We made (what is becoming our traditional) balloon lanterns at the preschool this week. Last night we celebrated Martinmas and gathered by the lake near our preschool for our lantern walk. (See previous festivals here and here.) The crazy weather we had all week had finally calmed and while the night was quite cold, at least the winds had died down. Our group has more than doubled from our previous years so I was thrilled to see that every family was there.
I would have loved to get photos of the group to show the parade of children walking along with their glowing lanterns, but it is a challenge to remain "present" while leading and attending a festival. I did sneak a (blurry) photo of Julen as at one point he shot off ahead of the group singing our lantern song at the top of his lungs.
While there are many wonderful variations of a lantern song, the one we use is a very simple one, just perfect for our preschoolers to learn.
My lantern, my lantern, shining near and far
Shining like a moon, shining like a sun shining like a silver star.
The lanterns really do look pretty with the light glowing through, like here, with the sun shining in on some waiting to go home.
While I had hoped to try a different kind of lantern this year...like this paper bag version, or maybe one of these found at Flickr
...it was long overdue. I packed up my boys on Friday morning and met my brother and his family at our cabin. Nobody had been there the entire summer. The grass was long, there were leaves to rake and there had been unwanted visitors in the house leaving behind nuts and nests made of old blankets. But the boys played and played...happy to be in the company of their cousins. We saw the full moon rise over the lake, listened to the loons call and then later it rained and rained. We gathered acorns and stones and moss. We cooked our meal over an outdoor fire. We watched the eagles soar high over our heads. We talked and laughed and walked outside in the light drizzle. This is a magical place.
It's a project most people are familiar with, but I do want to start documenting our weekly preschool projects here once again. It's been a little rough getting into our handwork this year...we have sixteen new students and of those only one is four years old...the rest are three. And many, a young three. So we've started out slowly...working with beeswax one day a week, drawing another, last week we practiced using scissors. This week we did leaf printing. A perfect project for younger children.
I used the lid of my cake pan to hold the paint (acrylics in a variety of colors). The children were free to add colors as they liked...just a bit, spread around works very well.
Then the children pressed the leaf into the ink...I used a big leafed plant in my garden (I have no idea what it is) but a rhubarb leaf would work very well.
Then we transfered the leaf to the paper. The children really need to press down all around the leaf...making sure to press all the way to the corners. It takes a minute or two for small hands to be able to do this.
Carefully lift the leaf off the paper.
The results of the mixed colors are striking.
And each one comes out so differently, despite using the same leaf over and over.
I have Dorie to blame thank for my getting involved in another swap I had no business signing up for. But I truly do love making pincushions and it has been a while...so, this time I made one for the Scrappy Pincushion Swap on Flickr (check out all the beautiful creations that have been posted there).
I went with a design I used to make a while back (three years ago already?!!), using felt flower shapes I punch from wool with a sizzix paddle punch.
My idea was to make an English garden by covering a bed of leaves with flowers...as you can see, this is one big pincushion.
It looks pretty boring with just the leaves showing.
But once you add the flower pins, the garden really comes to life.
Here's a side view so you can see all the flowers are pins.
If it's not used as a pincushion, it would be a nice thing for idle hands to play around with. There are so many different possibilities of how to design the garden.
I received my pincushion in the mail last week from Solidia. She is a master sewer, and I couldn't be more thrilled with this beautiful pincushion she made for me. I just love the fabrics she chose, the colors and of course adding that sparkly brooch to the center gives this piece a bit of glamour too.
I've been a saver of things all my life. I save letters, magazines, old clothes. And I have a lot of trouble letting go of these "things" when I know it's really time. This past summer I started the daunting task of clearing out my basement. My momentum halted when I came across a box of clothes that belonged to my father. I didn't know what to do with it. He passed away over sixteen years ago and yet I couldn't make up my mind what to do with his things. They are nothing special...a hat, a cheap overcoat, some plaid pants that made me laugh...but they are reminders of him and I am having trouble parting with them. Yet, they don't even carry his smell anymore. What's the point. So what did I do? I closed up the box and walked away from it and haven't returned to my basement project since.
My saving habits even extend to the internet...I save emails, links, web pages and (yes) blog posts. It clutters up my life so much I'm sure I'm not even aware of to what degree.
So when bloglines announced they were shutting down (November 1st for those who still aren't aware) I went into a bit of a panic. I dare not admit how many dozens and dozens and dozens of blog posts I had saved there. Patterns, tutorials, craft ideas for kids, beautiful photos, meaningful poems, teaching lessons...you name it...I saved it....and I began to wonder how I was going to filter through everything in a timely manner, without losing anything that must have been of great importance at one time. So, I've been making the slow transition from bloglines to google reader (aren't there ANY other options?) and I've been quite over-whelmed I must admit, so I've just been staying away from the blog world all together these days.
But it was time. I decided I just had to start letting go...and that's just what I did. I went to bloglines and looked at all the feeds and all the saved posts and just deleted them all. Gone. The weight was lifted. Hey, it's a start, right?
Google reader here I come.
On the lighter side...we've been enjoying an incredible and unseasonably warm autumn here. The boys and I just can't get enough outdoor time.