Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth


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Preparing for the Festival Of Courage (Michaelmas in Fairyland)

This year I am working to tie together the lessons for my 3rd grader, first grader, and kindergartener.  I am calling it “Whole Family Homeschool”… where “one room schoolhouse” meets Waldorf education. :) I will have to post the beginning of our year’s container story soon, as it will help make sense of the chapter below.  But, rather than get so far behind in typing the stories out that I procrastinate forever (lol), I will share the first two days of our Michaelmas week stories.  As a bit of a background, each of my three children has been given a special book whilst on a mission in fairyland- my kindergarten daughter has The Real Mother Goose, my first grade son has An Illustrated Treasury of Grimm’s Fairytales, and my third grade son has Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy. These books have been given to them to help them meet the challenges they will face on their missions in lands of fairies, elves, gnomes… and of course… the land of humans!

*Day One*

There was spicy note of celebration in the air.  Everyone in the Elemental Realms was hurrying to finish their day’s work early and some were already preparing for festivities.  Cirrus, Arlo, and Tula were very wide-eyed all day, watching and waiting as the sense of anticipation, palpable and intoxicating, grew and grew. After a satisfying lunch of beech nut stew and blackberry pie, Tula’s book began to glow.  The boys watched excitedly as she opened it, straight down the middle as she had been shown, where a ribbon marked its center pages.  The pages began to flutter, then flip this way and that, until they finally settled.

Cirrus began to read the rhyme aloud to Arlo and Tula.

Jack be nimble, jack be quick,

Jack jump over the candlestick.

Jack be nimble, Jack be spry,

Jack jump over the apple pie.

Jack be nimble, Jack jump high

Jack fly up into the sky.

As they watched, daring fairies and mischievous elves began to dance about and hop over what appeared to be flaming boughs of goldenrod, and when they had tired of this, wee fairy pies.  Finally their jumping contest took to the air as they shot straight up, so quickly that they flew up above the page top and could not be seen til they gleefully descended again.  Arlo’s tummy fluttered a bit as he watched, and Cirrus immediately began to take running leaps at the nearest stand of goldenrod to see if he could make it over.  Tula giggled and shouted “I want to try, too!”

Cobble soon appeared and grunted in the grumpy way gnomes often do.  “Preparing for the Festival of Courage, I see.  Take care you don’t land in the thistles beyond”, he warned, pointing to a thistle patch just past the goldenrod Cirrus was about to throw himself over. And then, to their awe and delight, Cobble took a running start and launched himself through the air, defying all laws of Gnome Gravity, and cleared a single goldenrod plant that was at least four times his height. Tula giggled and Cirrus’s jaw dropped.

“Didn’t think I had it in me, did ya?” he boasted proudly.  I was a champion in my younger years I’ll have you know.  Won the Goldenrod Leaping Trophy three years in a row!” He dusted himself off, and sat upon a large toadstool nearby.

“Goldenrod, you see, is a very special plant.  While other flowers of its ilk blossom from bottom up upon their stalk, goldenrod buds from top to bottom, like a candle burning down.  Tonight the fire fairies will set all the goldenrod plants aglow, and they will burn like candles.  Tomorrow the humans shall wonder why almost all the goldenrod has faded away, but it is time, you see- time for all things to return to rest and pull inward.  It is time for flowers to fade and the days of light to dwindle to their lowest.  Lights out early for the animals, the elementals, the humans.  Now facing darkness can be scary for anyone, just as looking inward and facing your very own self can be daunting.  We all have parts of ourselves we aren’t quite sure we are happy with, things we want to change.  A Festival of Courage celebrates each one of us turning inward and making changes we know we must make. Of course being fairies, elves and gnomes we can’t accomplish any such task without merriment- and so the goldenrod leaping contests have become a tradition.  Nimble Jack was a fairy boy of long ago who set records yet to be beaten today, for fearlessly jumping over the highest and brightest blazing goldenrods.  That is where the rhyme comes from.  And then of course, their is the pie jumping contest… now that is my favorite part!” he said, patting his round gnome belly with a smile of satisfaction.

The children smiled too, and were still and thoughtful for a moment.  Soon they were practicing leaping over goldenrod again.

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*Day Two*

“Cobble, must all of us leap over the goldenrod when the fire fairies set it on fire?” Arlo asked timidly.  Part of him wanted to imagine himself breaking new records, and part of him was a little scared.

Cobble grinned.  “Ah, when the night is upon us and the excitement of everyone touches your heart, it will embolden you lad.  Take courage from your friends.  But courage, you know, is not about having no fear.  It is about meeting your fear with grace, and understanding that fear is but an illusion, something that falls away when we do what we know, deep down here, is right” he said putting his hand upon his heart.

“I dare say Arlo, but your book seems to be positively glowing!” Cobble pointed to Arlo’s Treasury of Fairytales.

Arlo, quivering with excitement, set his brightly lit book down and it began to flip and flap, until it settled upon the Tale of the Four Skilful Brothers.  Cirrus abandoned his athletics and sat down to read the story to the two smaller children.

When he had finished, the three children and Cobble the Gnome watched as pictures appeared upon the pages where once words had flowed, illustrating the story.  The gently quivering page finally settled upon a magnificent giant of a dragon, curled up in the shape of a huge D.  Arlo traced the D of the dragon’s body on the page, and as he did his finger brushed lightly upon a beautiful crested shield that decorated the borders of the page, where knights in shining armor and beautiful maidens danced happily.  His finger tingled and the book began to shake and shimmy yet again, until three shields and swords shook free of the pages and landed all about them with a metallic clamor.

“Well I’ll be”, Cobble said.  All your accoutrements for the Festival of Courage.  My, but your swords and shields are very plain.  That won’t do- you’d best see the color fairies and ask for paints to add your crests. And while you’re at it, I dare say you might ask them to dye you some golden capes, for all the other fairy folk will be wearing them tonight.”

And so Cobble led the excited children to the village and brought them to a hut with a sign that read “Fairy and Elfen Dyeworks, LTD”.


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Dyeing Silk With Goldenrod (Michaelmas Capes!)

I can remember being annoyed with goldenrod when I first moved to the country.  It really dominates the September landscape, makes it hard to hike through our meadows, has a bad rap for causing allergies (the true culprit is ragweed),and did not seem to have much practical use.  Seven years later, I truly appreciate it- and not just because it dyes silk and wool a lovely, natural yellow- but for its essence and what it represents.  While goldenrod does have medicinal uses, it is also “The Bee Gold Rush”- offering our friends, the bees, a magnificent feast just when they need it most- before a long, cold winter.  While I am busy canning tomatoes and freezing corn, the bees are stocking up their larder with goldenrod nectar.

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If you spend some time with plants- meditating on them, sitting amongst them- I think it is possible to get a feeling for their work and purpose.  Goldenrod is a very giving, humble, and yet glorious plant. It is as though it has soaked up an entire summer of sun and then reflects it back to the world, standing tall and yet head modestly, slightly bowed- gathering all along the roadsides to greet passers by and create a celebratory gold-lined path on many of our country roads. It is also anti-inflammatory and diuretic, having a number of uses as a healing herb.

In Julia Grave’s incredible book The Language of Plants: A Guide to the Doctrine of Signatures, she talks about the difference between “a single, showy flower” and “a group of flowers giving an impression as if they were one flower.” The latter “often have to do with our comportment in groups, or the unification of all our sub-parts, of self”.  In North American goldenrod, single flowers are grouped into little flowers which are then additionally grouped into a rod.  This is a “double grouping process”

“It is the flower essence for children who seek attention from the group by acting in a negative way. It will enable them to act in harmony with the group without needing negative attention… In whichever variation, grouped flowers play on the theme of the individual versus the larger human context.”

Julia also talks about the significance of the order in which a flower blooms.

“Most flowers along spikes bloom from the bottom up… they open their lowest flowers first… it is remarkable that Goldenrod blooms from above down… The whole gesture is one of preparing to go in after the outward gesture of summer... Blooming with a gesture of a warm glowing candle that burns downward, Goldenrod speaks of bringing in the energy.”

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When I see goldenrod now, I see a living, vibrant metaphor of my place in the cycle of the seasons; I remember to check in with myself and often find the busyness of autumn is truly burning my candle low, and I feel the stirrings of anticipation for the slower pace of winter.

To dye with it, you want only the blossoms, as leaves and stems will contribute a greenish tone to your dye pot. You can use the blossoms fresh or dried.  It is time consuming to strip the blossoms from the stems, so find a pleasant spot or some pleasant company and settle in!

Prior to dyeing your silk, you may wish to mordant it. This ensures the color stays vibrant and your dye job does not fade or rinse out. Some people use vinegar as a mordant, but I find alum to be more effective and the safest of the mordants.  Common consensus is to use 1/4 the weight of the item to be dyed worth of alum, and in my dye pot I generally do a few yards of silk with 1 tablespoon of alum and 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  Handle the alum carefully (do not inhale or eat!). It is also well-advised to have a reserved dye pot and not use your pot for cooking edibles if you use mordants in it. Enamelware pots (like those typically used for canning) make great dye pots.

To mordant your silk, add the alum and cream of tartar and enough water to completely cover your silk, with extra for evaporation, and let dissolve.  Then heat the water to a gentle simmer (do not boil- may ruin the sheen of the silk!) and allow the silk to soak for an hour.  Now, remove from heat and let soak overnight. When cooled, ring out but do not rinse. You can allow it to sit in a cool place for a few days and this will “set” the silk all the more.

The day before you dye, you’ll want to put your blossoms in the dye pot with enough water to cover the blossoms and silk you intend to use (do not add silk yet though), and extra to account for evaporation. Bring blossoms and water to a boil for 20 minutes; remove from heat and allow to soak overnight. You may wish to add tumeric or marigold if you would like a more vibrant yellow; I usually add a few petals of this flower (not sure of the name) that shoots up each year in our garden to herald September.

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Strain the flowers and add your silk to the pot (and perhaps some natural wool felt or natural roving if you wish!). Heat, but do not boil (this damages the sheen of the silk), stir well to distribute dye evenly and be sure silk is not folded up as this will effect dye distribution. After an hour, remove from heat and allow to cool.

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Rinse and dry- all done!

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Don’t forget to dry some goldenrod for later.  It will cheer you up and remind you of Indian summer during the dark winter.

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If you are dyeing a large piece of silk as I did for our nature table, this is a great tutorial on hand-hemming silk. If you are dying a pre-hemmed 35″ square silk and wish to turn it into a cape, you can simply tie two corners to fasten the cape or get fancy and fold one edge down about an inch or so, sew in place, and thread a finger-knitted yellow chain through the “sleeve” for a tie.


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Turning Work Into Play: “We Need To Tidy Our House Because…”

The house has been a bit of a disaster lately.  With a walking toddler on the loose, everything seems to land on the floor.  Trails of destruction follow in his cute little wake.  I don’t know how many times I’ve rescued older siblings’ pajamas from the toilet bowl this month, but I think I may just limit our potty breaks to the upstairs bathroom and use our downstairs latrine as a sensory table.

The older kids have begun to forget to put their own things away as they have adjusted to life with Little Mr. Messy and his constant mayhem.  It’s time to inspire them a little, and if *you* happen to have a nine year old boy you may know that those sweet little Waldorf tidying up songs that charmed your children in their early years no longer seem to spark that inner neat freak. So I’ve come up with the “We Need To Tidy Our House Because…” jar.  Every time I feel a tidying session is needed, to the jar goes a lucky child and decides our fate… which scenario will we face for the next 30 minutes of our lives?

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  • The ruler of our kingdom has declared from hence day forth, every messy home shall be the royal habitat for thousands of our knights whom the wizard of our warring enemy kingdom has enchanted into angry skunks with diarrhea.
  • An angry obsessive compulsive gnome will cause mushrooms to sprout from the ears and spinach to sprout from the hair follicles of every child who does not keep their home tidy.  He will then harvest said mushrooms and spinach and feed it to the children every night for dinner.
  • Our home has been transformed into an ogre’s den and if we do not clean it before they return, the spell will remain and we will be ogre stew.
  • An evil fairy has cast a spell that turns every item in our house that is not in its proper place to slimy toads.
  • A mad scientist has devised a machine that will transport every messy home to a parallel universe where giant worms rule over humans and force them to eat chocolate fruity pasta three times a day (my eldest hates chocolate, my middle child detests fruit, and my four year old is a sworn member of the Pasta Haters 4Ever Club!).
  • The president is coming to visit and will offer our family a million dollar contract to teach genetically engineered monkey robots to clean the White House if we impress him with our spiffy janitorial abilities.
  • We are oppressed peasants from an impoverished medieval time who have traveled to the future and if we clean the house we have materialized in, we can keep it and stay forever.
  • An angry neat freak elf has enchanted our home and every speck of dust or dirt will transform to flesh eating fungus within an hour’s time.
  • Our family has received an offer from a mysterious philanthropist to donate $1000 to us for every room we clean in an hour.

How are you inspiring your kids to lend a helping hand these days? :)

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Guest Post- Kids And Knitting Go Hand-in-Hand

Today I am happy to welcome Elizabeth from Handwork Homeschool. She is here to inspire us with visions of handmade splendor!

 

Summer-time knitting – the perfect way to while away an afternoon.

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Ahhh, doesn’t that conjure up the most wonderful image of sitting under a shady tree, watching your little ones happily playing while you turn out piece after marvelous piece?

Perhaps, you have your favourite drink by your elbow, a stash of delicious yarn & a pair of magic knitting needles….  whoa… what?!

You may have dreamt this dream, but we all know that it’s a real trick to make it happen!

Knitting is pretty easy to learn but what about finding the time to actually knit ?


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Oddly enough, whenever someone sees my children wearing a handknit sweater
or playing with a knitted toy, they are always shocked to find out that I made it!

They KNOW that I knit & yet, they always say, “but you HOMESCHOOL!!!
When do you find the time to knit along with everything else you do ???”

I just smile & look off into the distance – they don’t need to know all of my secrets
but I’ll share them with you!

One of the most amazing things about knitting is that you can build up a project bit by bit.

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“Every stitch counts!”

It is such a great feeling to knit a little bit everyday, especially when the rest of your day is filled with tasks that you have to do over & over –  laundry, dishes, making meals, sweeping floors, getting the groceries – you know you did them but sometimes, it feels like you didn’t actually accomplish anything all day.

That’s when a few rows of knitting can remind you that the
little things are worth doing
.

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If you’re a knitter,  you probably recognize the feeling that washes over
you once you settle down with your needles for a few minutes.

Did you know that it’s not all in your imagination?

Recently scientists have been doing studies into what knitting actually does
to your mind & body.  It’s calming & yet makes you incredibly alert at
the same time. The rhythmic act of making the stitches frees your mind to wander – allowing you to slip into a relaxed state almost instantly.

No mats, special clothes, babysitters or headstands necessary!

What other form of meditation can you practice while your kids are jumping
on the couch?!

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The best thing is that you’ve got something to show for your work.
A little toy, a sweater for your babe or even a new pillow for that well-bounced couch.

Knitting can add so much to your life:

  • dazzling colours, patterns & textures to play with
  • time to think & create something of your own
  • a way for you to give a gift that will always be remembered

Speaking of gifts, teaching your child to knit has got to be one of the best
that you could ever give.  One that will increase in value as the years
pass.

At first, knitting will be a challenge, one that makes his brain tell his hands
to move in new ways.  Then after a while, he’ll begin to hone his skills of
perseverance & patience as he works to finish a project.

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Before you know it, he’ll be making gifts for you.  He won’t know that
the little knit bag he made is only half of the present, the other part
is the shining look of joy in his eyes as you admire his work.

When I first found out about Waldorf, one of the main things that drew me to
it was the fact that handwork was included in the children’s regular lessons.
I really liked the idea that it was considered important enough to spend
time on along with the academic subjects.

As we’ve walked the homeschool “path”, I’ve watched my son & daughter
blossom & grow.  I’ve learned a lot about how to teach them & they’ve learned
how to have their Mama as their teacher.

When I first started homeschooling, I didn’t realize that knitting could affect them  on so many levels.   After more than 30 years of knitting (yes, it’s hard to believe…) & then teaching it to my son, I decided it was time to find out exactly why it was part of
Steiner’s first curriculum.

Oh, the things I’ve discovered!

This summer, I’m finally ready to share the course that I’ve been working on for years…

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When I first introduced my son to the fibre arts,  I was so excited.
The funny thing was, that I wasn’t sure what to do first!

I searched for a complete step-by-step course that would show me what to do &
when to do it.

Guess what?  I couldn’t find one.

So, I figured I’d better roll up my sleeves & create my own.

One that would teach the basics (stitches, starting, finishing) as well as  few
extras (shaping, colourwork) along with some creative work (designing
your own Tell-Tale Playscape) mixed in with a touch of theory (just HOW
will I teach my child to knit & WHEN?).

BONUS

If you enroll in the COMPLETE course before June 18th, you’ll also get access
to the all NEW mini-course,

“How to Write a Fantastic Container Story”

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If you’d like to know more about The KNIT Lessons you can pop over HERE

The KNIT Lessons - Handwork Homeschool

Before you go – let me tell you about one extra cool part of this course.

In keeping with my theme of making this course a real All-In-One Experience, I’ve teamed up with Becca here at Cedar Ring Circle to create some amazing
“The KNIT Lessons” kits.

Whether you take Babes ‘n’ Yarns (Part ONE), Tell-Tale Knits (Part TWO) or opt for
the complete The KNIT Lessons – Make YOUR Story – we’ve got one for you.

Each kit contains a complete collection of yarns & tools that are perfectly suited to make the exercises & projects during the course.  She’s giving you a fab deal
(better than retail prices) & you will get it all in this nice neat package… so after you purchase your course tuition, head on over to Cedar Ring Circle and pick up your materials.

The Knit Lessons Kit

It’s always great to save time AND money!

This summer, come on over to Handwork Homeschool  & join a global
community of knitters (a great mix of beginners, experts & everybody in between)
who are going to have a great time learning, making & imagining with some
yarn & a couple of “sticks”!

By the way,
there’ll be step-by-step video tutorials, all the virtual handholding
you want, printables & lots of FUN!

See you in class!

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P.S.  I’d like to thank Becca so much for sharing her spot on the ‘net
with me today & helping me make this course truly interactive!
This is the closest thing I can get to putting you in my car & driving you to the
nearest yarn shop!

Let’s learn & KNIT at Handwork Homeschool !


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Waldorf Moms Have LOTS To Look Forward To!

Why?

Great things are coming!

If you haven’t heard, here’s a little heads up.

1. Donna Ashton’s annual Waldorf Connection Global Homeschooling Expo is scheduled for June 13-15th, and it’s free!  She has put together a wonderful assortment of speakers, and you can listen from the comfort of your own home. It takes a lot of talent to contain the pure Waldorf power of both Eugene Schwarz and Marsha Johnson in one venue, but if anyone can, Donna can! And she’ll do it with finesse, because she’s like the Terry Gross of the Waldorf world.  I can’t wait to listen to Anne-Marie Fryer Wilboltt’s talk about using grains in a gluten-free world (one sort of feels like a rebel baking bread these days in the crunchy crowds, know what I mean?), and Ingun Schneider discuss the Extra Lesson and sensory issues.  But most of all, I am waiting with baited breath to hear Rick Tan explain how to tell my kids about the birds and the bees, Waldorf style.  No, not the actual birds and bees- *those* birds-and-bees. Wonder with me if you will… what kind of container story can we make up for this one?  Is there a fairytale that may magically bypass the awkward moments and impress upon our child’s psyche all he or she needs to know about the matter?  Do we plan a farm field trip and hope the animals are feeling frisky (I’ll admit, that has sort of been my plan until now but I am not sure if my son’s wives will appreciate it. PLEASE HELP ME, RICK!)? If I can’t tune in for anything else, *this* I need to know.

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2. From Handwork Homeschool, Elizabeth’s “The Knit Lessons“.  It is like a magical adventure through knitting, both to shore up your own newbie or intermediate skills AND your present-this-to-your-child skills, even if you yourself are an expert! After this course, your youngster will be knitting like a sailor.  Which is pretty much better than anything else they can do that a sailor would.  Drinking and cursing come to mind. LOL. You will also be guided through creating an entire fairytale scene in yarn, and it gets better…. Elizabeth and I have teamed up.  She will be offering the course, and I will be offering complete materials packages.  From sanding your dowel, to adding a cute little wooden cap to the end of it and polishing it smooth, to finger-spinning your own yarn from raw wool straight off the sheep, to a beautiful knitted playscpae- this course will be unlike any other available. Stay tuned for a course and materials scholarship opportunity!

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3. Affordable rocker boards! Yes, these things have taken the natural toy world by storm.  They began appearing in Waldorf early childhood classrooms years ago.  Who knew a bent piece of wood could be so versatile… so entertaining… so …expensive? After many requests from Cedar Ring Circle members, I teamed up with an Amish woodworker to create boards that would be a little easier on the budget.  My first batch sold out before I could even list them online, and I already have a growing list of buyers for the next batch, so I highly recommend pre-ordering one so little Johnny does not have to wait til he’s graduating from college to get one of these. Although it would make a fabulous graduation gift. :) Best of all, I am offering you, my fabulous blog readers, $10 off when you pre-order this week. Use the code ROCKNROLL.  That will make your board just $89 plus shipping (and will help me order the needed materials)!

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 Hope to “see you” at either the Expo or the Knit Lessons. And please share this post and help spread the news about all these wonderful things!

 

 

 


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In The Morning

My desk sits facing a large picture window where our backyard, acres and acres, stretches out over a gradual incline, topping off at the crest of a hill.  Mist has descended down from the hill, almost to our house. The ash tree just beyond the window is finally pushing forth new leaves; ash tend to be very late to awaken from their winter slumber.  I watch as the branches tremble when small winged guests make their landings, then groom themselves for a moment, and flit away.  The starling on an uppermost branch has quite the morning care ritual; so much tail feather shaking, under-wing preening, and looking about to see who may be watching.  Down below in the grass,  the dandelions have gone to seed and seem, in wispy globes, to be ghostlike orbs hovering- countless- everywhere.  Paired with the dense fog, the morning has an other-worldly quality. A bit eery, but very beautiful, and I am so thankful for the peace and stillness.  The children will wake soon, and I hope I can hold onto this feeling to come back to through the day when things get lively.

For a moment, I have a guilty feeling that I should be reading my Bible in these few moments of alone-ness as day breaks. Growing up, I was indoctrinated that the success of my spiritual path required this.  But, that never seems to start the day off right for me; it just leaves me confused, mind swirling as I try to make sense of what I read.   It very may well not even be the text that creates these feelings- but the fear that was layered through those pages by people who seemed to doubt any intrinsic attraction I might have to goodness, and instead, appealed to my sense of self preservation to convince me to embrace God. But I am not motivated by promises, by rewards, by threats, by punishments- they are all the same thing, an insult to my higher nature, a cat call to base impulse.  I am motivated by love, beauty, peace…  I find it just beyond my doorstep.

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Even the grass seems insanely beautiful with its coat of miniscule dew drops.

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This last one, the raindrop falling from the forsythia branch- it feels as though the branch is weeping and just brings tears to my own eyes.  It has been a long, hard year and only just this past month, has the hardness begun to yield to something in which I find comfort and a deep sense of peace again- I recognize them as long lost friends. I know there is both bitter and sweet; I am willing to taste both in the feast of life. Feist’s “So Sorry” plays through my head; I feel that I am singing it to the cosmos, acknowledging all the tantrums I threw in the face of difficulties and frustrations.  There is no guilt, more a fondness for and humor in the humanity of my response, and a knowing that I am so loved and accepted despite any inadequacies- and perhaps, because of them.

 


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Beeswax Flower Candle Tutorial and Giveaway

Ahhh… new colors in beeswax sheets!  I just ordered more for my shop, and could not resist playing with them myself.  Many people think of rolled candles when they think of beeswax sheets; but their flexibility and the natural stickiness of the wax lend them to so many creative possibilities beyond a simple taper! So, roll up your sleeves and get ready for a little candle art.

To make stunning beeswax flower candles, gather up a few supplies…

  • Candleholders (I used the brass holders that fit in birthday rings and advent spirals)
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife and/or Scissors
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Wick
  • Flower Cookie Cutters (check out the baking/cake making section of the craft store)
  • Beeswax Sheets (greens for stems and leaves; bright flower colors for petals)
  • A Cute Helper

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Start cutting out your beeswax flower shapes.  You may want to help your child choose the most judicious spacing of where to cut, so you have the least amount of scraps.  Scraps can be saved and melted down for future candle making- I like to use little molds like this and make floating candles for special occasions in a rainbow of colors.

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After pressing down firmly on the first side, carefully flip your sheet over and press the wax downward over the cutter to ensure a clean cut.

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Now carefully pop your shape out.

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We were able to get six petals per sheet, which was perfect for one flower.

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For the butterflies, I used two beeswax sheets (ten cut-outs).

To make the flower stems, cut sheets of green in different lengths.  We used a variety of sizes ranging from 3.5 to 7 inches, so they could be close together without bumping against each other like they would if they were all the same height.  I also used a variety of greens on the stems- dark, medium, and light. If you make the stems too tall, they are likely to crack when you press down on them to attach the flowers (unless perhaps you decide to make the stems thicker than we did).

When rolling candles, you want the wax to be nice and warm, so it is flexible and does not crack.  I kept a pot of water simmering on the stove and held my stem wax over it for a few seconds til it felt a little floppy. Once properly flexible, you can press your wick down at one edge and roll tightly.

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Keep your candle holder of choice nearby, so you can check the diameter of the candle to ensure a snug fit.  Leave a long tail on your wick, as you will need to thread your petals with it.

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I rolled until the candle was slightly thicker than the holder.  Then, using two fingers, press the wax together to condense it enough to squeeze it into the holder.  A tight fit is better than a loose fit… no need to set the neighborhood on fire, right?

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Next, grab your wooden skewer and poke a hole through the center of your petal cut outs.  I do them one at a time, then match the first to the second to line them up and so on, to ensure the holes are all uniform and the petals will be centered well when threaded onto the wick.

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Start threading your petals onto the wick, one at a time.  If the wick end gets frayed, just rub your fingers on some beeswax sheet scraps and then smooth the wick with your waxy fingers; it should help the wick thread easier.

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Once you’ve threaded all the petals on, carefully yet firmly press the center of petals down.  You want them to stick firmly, without pressing so hard that the stem bends or cracks.  When the petals are attached, you can begin to gently curve the top layers upward and the bottom layers downward to give them their layered petal look.

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If you like, shape a leaf with your knife or scissors and press onto the stem. :)

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For the butterfly, place your cutouts in to equal stacks.  Cut two small pieces of wick just long enough for the candle and antennae.

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Press the second stack onto the first firmly, squishing the middle a bit.  Then, carefully separate the layers a little, so the wings look as if they are fluttering in flight.

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These make wonderfully festive candles for a birthday ring!

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Couldn’t resist breaking out a birthday spiral too.  Since today is my birthday. ;)

Which means… we need to celebrate!

So… I’m doing a giveaway! It includes…

  • One of these lovely, locally made spirals.  Handcrafted by an Amish neighbor, they utilize a variety of woods to give them a unique, dual-tone effect 
  • 12 brass candleholders and twelve Grimm’s decorations of your choice!
  • A gold 35″ silk from Sarah’s Silks
  • A Create-Your-Own-Assortment Beeswax Sheet Kit with 12 beeswax sheets in your choice of colors, so you can try your hand at some flower candles (or whatever your heart desires!). 

Entry is open to US residents… please leave ONE comment to enter, and if you share on social media, don’t forget to tell me in your comment and you get 3 extra entry points for each share!

Giveaway

Giveaway closes on Sunday night, May 18th at midnight. 

And the winner is Gabi- “Happy birthday to you! Lovely giveaway…can’t wait!”

Congratulations, Gabi :)

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