Tutorial: Michael’s Sword Napkin Holders for Michaelmas

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Can you feel it in the air? Michaelmas is coming!

This craft project is one that I created for the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book published by Little Acorn Learning. I’m posting it here courtesy of Little Acorn Learning. Please take a moment to look at all the fun projects and crafts and celebration ideas offered in our e-book. It provides so many wonderful, Waldorf-inspired ideas for enjoying this early fall season.

Michael’s Sword Napkin Holders

This simple craft project is one that the kids can do mostly on their own, with a little supervision. The napkin holders are a perfect special touch for your holiday table and a special Michaelmas meal.

Materials

  • toilet paper rolls (each makes two napkin holders)
  • masking tape
  • wide popsicle sticks
  • narrow half-size popsicle sticks
  • heavy-duty scissors
  • sandpaper
  • blue acrylic paint (or your preferred color)
  • yellow watercolor paint
  • paintbrushes
  • mod podge
  • gold glitter (optional)
  • low temperature glue gun and glue stick

Tutorial

Cut your toilet paper holders into halves. Try not to squish them too much. Wrap each ring with masking tape. It can be smooth or bumpy.

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With your blue acrylic paint, paint the tape covered rings thoroughly and let them dry.

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With heavy-duty scissors, cut one end of a wide popsicle stick to a point. If your stick splits, discard it and try another.

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With sandpaper, sand the pointed end so that it’s smooth and without splinters. This is the sword blade.

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Paint all of the sword blades and the same number of short popsicle sticks with a wash of golden watercolor paint. Let the pieces dry. When the blue rings are completely dry, coat them with a coat of mod podge. Paint it on just like paint. Let them dry again.

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With a little mod podge, you can add just a little gold glitter to your blue rings. Less is more for this step, or simply skip this part, if you prefer. Let the rings dry completely.

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Meanwhile, arrange your sword blades and cross pieces. Be sure all the wood pieces are completely dry before attempting to glue them. Apply a small dot of hot glue to the sword blade, add the cross piece, and press firmly. Repeat this for all the swords. (Supervise the kiddos during this stage. The little swords may be VERY exciting!)

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Add a little wavy line of hot glue to your dry blue ring.

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Quickly add a sword and press it down firmly.

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Let them set. Store the napkin rings someplace safe until the Michaelmas festival arrives.

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For your special Michaelmas meal, ask the children to pull a pretty napkin through each Michael sword napkin ring and set the table.

Check out the other ideas for a special Michaelmas meal in the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book published by Little Acorn Learning. Here is a teaser of all the sweet projects you’ll find in the e-book. Click on the link or the mosaic picture. Eileen Straiton and I would be honored if you would share. xo

Taste of the Contents of Our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book

133 PAGES of verses, fingerplays, poems, song, crafts, meditations, book recommendations, circle times, recipes, and much more to guide you in celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas

in your home or school!
  • Needle Felt a Beautiful Apple Mother Doll
  • Go on an Apple Picking Field Trip and Learn
    About Different Varieties of Apples
  • Design a Breathtaking Early Autumn Nature Table
  • Read Books with the Children Celebrating
    Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Make Your Own Apple Stamps
  • Enjoy Homemade Applesauce Together
  • Crochet an Apple for Your Nature Table or Play Kitchen
  • Create a Beautiful Autumn Candle Holder Centerpiece
  • Make an Archangel Michael Mobile
  • Harvest Natural Dye Materials from Outdoors and
    Make Capes of Light Playsilks
  • Hold a Michaelmas Family Feast
  • Create Dragons out of Nature Items
  • Bake Dragon Bread with the Children
  • Make a Dragon Tree Block Checker Set
  • Sculpt Dragons out of Modeling Material
  • Cut Out Paper Flying Dragons to Display on Your Wall
  • Make a Michaelmas Felt Play Set
  • Paint an Autumn Leaf Stencil Painting with Watercolors
  • Crochet Beautiful Autumn Leaves for Your Nature Table
  • Paint Your Own Interpretation of Michael and the Dragon
  • Look Inward and Face Your Own Dragons with our Caregiver Meditation
  • Share Verses and Songs About Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Meditate on Quotes from Steiner and Other Inspirational Individuals
  • Enjoy Pinecone Weaving
  • Share Circle Time Together
  • Make Michael Sword Napkin Holders
  • Sculpt Michaelmas Worry Beads
  • Craft an Autumn Equinox Wreath

So, if you’re wondering how to make this time of year feel magical, this e-book may be just what you need. Thanks for peeking!

Only $24.99

Authors:
~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

 

 

School Days Are Back

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First day of school, September 2, 2014. Lucas is in seventh grade now. He is handsomer, and more grown up every day. (Alack! He is 5 feet 1.25 inches tall now!) He is bracing himself for more and harder schoolwork. I think he knows the stakes are higher and more will be expected of him. I’ve seen him mature a good deal over the summer. He is ready.

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Asher is starting second grade. Asher really didn’t want to go (this is the only shot he let me take in the morning before we drove to school). Asher gets a little nervous. I choose to take this sad face as evidence that he really enjoys his family time.

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But he jumped right in as soon as he saw his friends, playing tag, racing up the play structure, and then horsing around in line before shaking his teacher’s hand and going into the classroom.

Asher says recess is the best thing about school. He is excited about music class, with Ms. Greenberg. “It’s so fun!” Main lesson is boring, he says (they are beginning with Form Drawing). He likes German and Spanish, but German more. He hates Eurhythmy. So basically, he’s right where I’d expect him to be. My beautiful precocious boy is right on the cusp of learning to read. He cracks this joke all the time in a silly English accent: “I can’t read!” But soon, that won’t be true any more.

 

Love Is …

My children have learned the value of money. They both have things they want to buy, and are seeking jobs to earn cash. Asher claims this is 600 spikey balls, worth a penny each (because I hate them littering my yard). Lucas is presently sweeping and mopp

  • Seattle with my love—three glorious days away from home.
  • Grandmas who babysit my boys for free so I can meet my deadlines.
  • Dry Cucumber Soda.
  • Great summertime piano progress!
  • Giving away our handmade (and mama-made) treasures to younger children, who might just enjoy some of them.
  • Knowing my little niece is just down the street, attending a Waldorf in-home preschool that Lucas went to when he was little.
  • Watching my 12-year-old lace up his fancy new kicks and go running in preparation for the fall cross country season.
  • Joining in with a bunch of friendly, eager people from our Class of 2020 to do yard work for some beloved grandparents, who kindly bought the work day at our school fundraising auction—especially watching these rising seventh-graders hard at work pruning, shoveling gravel, and carrying heavy things.
  • Kayaking with my loves. (We need to build two skegs!)
  • Boys who wake up in the morning and play chess.
  • Beautiful, fresh-laid eggs, even if during the summer my boys don’t want to eat them.
  • Seeing old friends embrace change with camaraderie, grace, and style even while they are sad, and wishing them every happiness.
  • Handsome boys who spent the summer learning new skills, such as emptying and loading the dishwasher, and embracing (mostly) additional chores and household responsibilities to help Daddy and me.
  • Watching my boys come to understand money in a new way, realize that to have some of the things they want they must earn money and pay for these things themselves, and then actively seek jobs to earn this money (such as picking up liquidambar “spikey balls” and washing cars). They are negotiating when to spend hard-earned money and when to save. This is valuable stuff!
  • My new clothes dryer. Hallelujah for such inventions!
  • A boy who practices math during the summer with equanimity because his mama tells him to.
  • Trying to be patient with our drought, trying to use less water, trying not to cry because of dying plants, lawn, and shrubs.
  • Friends who say yes when I text them that I must get out of the house right now! Please meet me!
  • Friends who invite my children to play. You make the long summertime fun for them and I am so grateful!
  • Friends who work tirelessly to realize a shared dream. Thank you.
  • My dad’s friend George’s gorgeous, delicious tomatoes—but even better, the friendship that he and my dad share.
  • Making new friends online who do amazing things, capture spectacular moments, and share their talent with the world. I enjoy seeing their art very much.
  • Wondering what the future will bring, being patient in not knowing all answers, and trusting.

Such progress this summer!  I'm proud of my son. #summer #boys #12yearold #seventhgrade #piano #learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kayaking

Maiden voyage of the new-to-us kayaks that we've had for years. :-) They are harder to use than they look. #summer #boys #7yearold #12yearold #slowsummerseries #lake

We did it! We finally took our two kayaks out for a spin (really) on Lake Natoma on Sunday. A number of years ago, we were given two kayaks by my parents’ friends, the Joneses. They are sit-inside whitewater river kayaks, the really nimble kind that can flip over and back up, the kind whose pilots wear helmets. The first obstacle to enjoying this generous gift was we didn’t know how to use them. The second was that our boys were still rather small. The third was that we had no way of transporting them to any body of water.

So they sat. And waited.

We have a truck now, though, (we call it Bruce) and on a whim Sunday, we decided to see what we could do with these kayaks.

Kayaking!  #summer #boys #7yearold #secondgrader

We also rented a two-man sit-on-top kayak for Asher to ride on. He took to it like, well, a little boy on a boat! He loved jumping off and swimming in the lake too. “Wow, this life vest really makes it easy!”

My love #summer #love #marriage #lake

The kayaks we own have rounded bottoms without a keel. Paddling them in a straight line is tough. When I was piloting mine, I could go straight for a handful of strokes, and then the kayak would spin toward my paddle in the water to point in the opposite direction. This repeated spinning was frustrating. Ian had better luck than I did, using a ton of core strength and the foot pegs to counteract the spinning force.

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Lucas was a natural, really. He has way more experience with this sort of thing than the rest of us do, thanks to summer camps and stuff. He piloted one of our kayaks with good success, despite the spinning tendency. I regret not getting a shot of him in the kayak, but I was justifiably worried about dropping my phone in the drink.

We learned a lot and had fun. We learned that this little lake is a wonderful local resource that we should use more often. We learned that mama shouldn’t leave the sunscreen in the truck with the snacks. We learned that renting a kayak is a little pricey, but very nice (and easier to pilot than ours). We learned that Asher loves the water (we kind of knew he would). We learned, again, that Lucas is a competent young man who loves a challenge.

So thank you, Joneses, for this amazing gift! We hope to enjoy these kayaks more often in the future.

Our Evenings

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We have been spending our summer evenings reading. Daddy has been reading Harry Potter books to us for hours almost every night. We’re into the middle of book 4 now, and the children’s enthusiasm for this nightly ritual has not waned. They even prefer this over a movie night.

#magic #7yearold

You might say it has ignited their imagination.

Wizard #summer #boys #7yearold

This one loves to shout spells and play wizard.

Reading Harry Potter book 3 tonight under the wisteria while rare, blessed raindrops fall.

Sometimes we read outside together, if its not too hot. Sometimes we’re inside, enjoying the AC. Ian got the ebooks too, so if we’re out at a restaurant he can read to us while we’re waiting for a table, or when we’re waiting for the play to begin.

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Ian is a master of funny voices and accents. It’s amazing to hear him read a conversation in a scene with eight wizards in the room, some sounding Scottish, Irish, Russian, English, American, powerful, weak, evil, or snobby. He switches between these various voices with such facility. I applaud at the end of certain scenes because they sound damned difficult to read aloud!

I’m loving this summer’s evening entertainment. I love how we’re all enjoying it, how the Harry Potter books have wide enough appeal that all four of us are engaged. It’s simple, and sweet, and bonding.

Sweet Summer

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This is how our summer began. We took a trip to Tahoe in early June. At first it was just me and the boys, then Ian joined us for the last part. I learned last year how valuable it was to launch the summer with a trip, and repeating it this year was a good plan!

My lovely son #12yearold #summer #woods

Summertime is special time. I know it in my bones. For my children, summer is such a gift of freedom and light, with opportunity both to be in their bodies and to drift away on daydreams. Exploring the woods, freezing in the lake water, shifting the sand through their fingers—these are all precious experiences, for them and for me. I am always pleasantly shocked by the color of the sunlight through leaves.

Tahoe valley #summer #tahoe #nature #woods

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I spent many happy summer weekends here as a girl. I wanted to give that to my children too.

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Aspens #summer #tahoe #tree

#summer #boys #wild #tahoe

We had some wonderful beach time, and some forest time.

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#summer #boys #wild #tahoe

Little John on his fallen log #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

Here’s “Little John.” This fallen log forms a bridge across the creek.

Road trip #summer #boys #tahoe #mamaandbaby #mamainthepicture #12yearold

#summer #flowers #tahoe

I love these blue flax flowers.

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We had the dog beach almost completely to ourselves when we visited. The breeze was quite chilly.

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(Almost 7 and a half)
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(12)

Hiking Tallac trail #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

We had a great hike on the Tallac trail, above Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. The views were stunning.

Hiking Tallac trail #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

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Just some of the mountain wildflowers blooming in the Tahoe forest in June.  #summer #flowers #tahoe #nature #woods #wild

These are some of the wildflowers we found during this early summer trip. So pretty.

Obviously I’m way behind in my blogging, but nevertheless, here’s a vision into our sweet summer. Maybe posting this now is actually good, as I’m working on hanging onto this full and optimistic feeling as we now enter the final month of summer vacation.

Our love to all. We hope your summertime is full of sweetness too.

Rainbow Garden

Last and best #summer #flowers #gardening #red #rose
My red-orange obsession--all blooming now. #spring #gardening #flowers #red
#orange blooms my July garden #summer #flowers #gardening
Summer yellows #summer #flowers #gardening #yellow
Just some of the greens #summer #gardening #colors #green
My blues,  blooming now #summer #flowers #gardening #blue
#summer #purple #flowers #gardening
Pink and peach #summer #flowers #gardening #peach #pink
I don't have a lot of white in my garden,  but this is what's happening now.  #summer #flowers #gardening #white

This is my garden in summer. These photos were all taken between the very end of May and July 7.

This is, of course, the very best of it. We are having a terrible drought in California, and I’ve been conserving water. I’ve not pictured my yellowed lawn or the roses with burnt petals. I’ve not pictured the patches of bare dirt or my lack of much-needed mulch (where does it go?).  I haven’t pictured how my hydrangeas have 90 percent fewer flowers than usual. Naturally, I don’t photograph the plants that perish. I kill things all the time.

This is the best that I can show in this hot time of year.

But I want to show it because I love it and because I have worked very hard over the last 11 years turning into this third-acre of weeds and potholes into my oasis, my home. This is my English garden, California-style, and infused with all the flare of a Brazilian Carnival that I can muster. This is what my dreams look like at night. A jungle of color. A rush of blossoms. A heaving of growth and urgency. A riot of shapes and textures.

I can’t explain why this garden is important to me, except to say, this is how I surround myself and my family with beauty.

Sleepaway Camp

A little guarded and anxious this morning. Then seven of his friends arrived to go with him. It's going to be awesome.  I'm a proud mama. #summer #waldorf #camp #12yearold #seventhgrade

My sweet 12-year-old left this morning for his first sleepaway camp experience. He and six friends from his school (most from his same class) left for Camp Winthers, which is in the mountains not too far from our city. We are very excited for him and we’re sure he’s going to have a wonderful time. He had a little trouble sleeping last night because he was anxious, but I don’t think he’ll be feeling that way for long. I think he looks a little guarded in this photo.

Waiting for buddies, and for roll call. Camp Winthers,  here they come! #summer #boys #kids #waldorf #friends # camp

This is the same summer camp that Ian went to when he was a boy, and later, as a teen, he worked as a camp counselor there. He assures us that they will keep Lucas so busy with fun activities he won’t have time to be homesick. Ian has already send Lucas a care package so it will reach him before the end of the week.

He will canoe, hike, play, learn, swim, and explore all week. He’ll have no little brother or mama or dad nagging him. He’ll be with some of his best buddies for five whole days.

Lucas and some of his friends left for Camp Winthers this morning. First time at sleepaway camp! #summer #12yearold #friends #waldorf #camp

I’m very grateful that Lucas got to go on two week-long trips earlier this year with his class and teacher. They were great practice for this first opportunity to be without parents or a familiar teacher. My son is a kind, sensible, competent guy, who has great friends, and who makes friends easily. I am pleased he’s getting the chance to stretch his wings in this way.

Bon voyage, my love!

Low-Key Independence Day

Berries and sugar #summer #4thofjuly #independenceday #food #celebrations #family #holiday

Strawberry and blueberry cobbler #summer #4thofjuly #independenceday #food #celebrations #family #holiday

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It was a slow day for us, this Independence Day. We were all tired from staying up too late the night before with friends. We opted to stay home, watch silly “Independence Day,” grill burgers, and eat homemade strawberry and blueberry cobbler. We burned some money in the form of fireworks, and then hit the hay. There was food and fire, and the boys were satisfied. And it was enough.

Edit 7/6/2014 [I've linked up to my friend's Slow Summer Series at Little Acorn Learning. If you and your family are enjoying peaceful, slow moments this summer, join us here to share and inspire others to slow down and savor life.]

 

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day! Wishing everyone a safe, fun, exciting celebration! #summer #festivals #holiday #traditions #gardening #flowers

Happy Independence Day, my friends! We are wishing you safe, fun, and exciting celebrations today. May you be surrounded by your loves, and may you contemplate for a just a moment or two how very blessed we are to live in this nation of high ideals like freedom, equality, peace, opportunity, and love. However imperfectly we achieve these, may we never, never cease striving for them.

Throwback photo from 2002

Defender of Justice

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I’m feeling sleepy and sentimental, so I offer up these three shots from previous Independence Days (2002, 2008, and 2011).

And now I’m off to make a blueberry/strawberry cobbler. Because 4th of July.

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  • About Sara

    Hello! Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, a freelance editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2014 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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