Summertime is here! I often wonder how in the world I’m going to fill 13 consecutive weeks of “summer vacation,” and so I tend to start planning early. I’d like to offer up the Midsummer Festival E-Book as a way of filling summertime with festivities and delightful Waldorf-inspired crafts, songs, poems, and more. My coauthor, Eileen Straiton, and warmly I invite you to check out our e-book, and please tell a friend!
This wonderful Midsummer Festival E-Book, our labor of love, will bring the magic of summer into your home and help you keep celebrating throughout the season! It is packed full of Waldorf songs, stories, verses, crafting tutorials and much more to help you celebrate Midsummer and the Summer Solstice with the children in your home, classroom, or childcare environment.
Read Stories and Fairy Tales Filled with Sunshine to the Children
Enjoy Verses, Songs, Poems and Fingerplays that Celebrate the Coming of Summer
Learn about the History, Background and Symbolism of the Summer Solstice
Get Ideas for How to Create Your Own Meaning of this Special Festival
Enjoy a Solstice Feast
Play Solstice Games
Make a Midsummer Bonfire
Create Simple Beeswax Suns with the Children
Make a Solstice Wreath for the Birds
Design Midsummer String Art Sunbursts
Read a Story of The Sun Child and Create a Sun Child Necklace
Craft a Shiny Garden Suncatcher
Use a Rock Garden Sundial to Tell Time in Your Garden
Make a Catch the Sun Throw Toy for Your Child
Create a Paper Solstice Sun
Read How to Create Daytime and Nightime Midsummer Magic
Hang Summer Solstice Flags Indoors or Outdoors this Season
Plant a Midsummer Indoor Herb Garden
Craft a Sun Mosaic Birdbath
Make a Sunshine Fairy out of Wool Roving and Felt
Sew and Stuff Herbal Dream Pillows for St. John’s Eve
We’re in the final stretch of the school year. My kids are about to change overnight from Kindergartner and fifth grader to first grader and sixth grader. These last few days at school are spent packing up the classroom and moving items into the sixth grade room, horsing around, and enjoying lots of time with friends. The Kindergartners will spend as much of the next two days as possible outside. On Friday we’ll go to an annual end-of-year party at the home of one of Lucas’s classmates, where we always celebrate with style and great joy.
In a way, it’s no small accomplishment that they’ve completed this year. Their challenges may seem small compared to those that adults experience, but they are significant for the children.
My little Asher has grown from a somewhat shy baby to a confident, clowning boy of the world in the two years he’s been in Kindergarten. He is highly social, a great listener and storyteller, a good friend, a very fast runner, a heartthrob, and a proficient helper. He has mad cleanup skills now, thanks to Kindergarten, and his art has moved lightyears ahead of where it was even just a few months ago. I see so many signs in him that he is ready, that he’s “graduating” and moving on to first grade.
Yesterday we gathered in the Kindergarten yard to celebrate and watch the “olders” from both the White Rose and the Red Rose Kindergarten classes join together with their new first-grade teacher and ceremonially walk over to the first-grade classroom.
The parents created an arch over the walkway and the new teacher, Miss H, led them under it.
Many of the children were all smiles, several were nervous, several were super goofy; mine was, for this moment at least, acting jaded when he saw me and Daddy. But I saw him scampering along with the rest of the children, clearly enjoying himself.
They crossed the campus to the first grade, little ducklings all in a row.
It’s exciting to see these kids growing and changing, some of whom we’ve known since they were babies. This group has been playing together for a long time. And for Ian and me, there are so many new friends to make!
We parents got to wait and visit with each other until the “rising first graders” returned. Of course, the current first graders aren’t actually ready to relinquish their classroom, and our kids came back to their yard and classrooms to finish out the week.
Lucas, at 11, is finishing up a glorious, fifth-grade year, what some call the “golden year” of the school-age child. He reveled in woodworking, learned to enjoy orchestra class and playing his violin, improved in all subjects, and ached all year for their study of the Greeks to begin and then soaked up every morsel of it once it did. He trained his body all year to compete in the Pentathlon, and has continued to do so since the big day. He is every day more independent and competent and it’s a both joy to see and a huge help in my life. I’ve been experiencing some nostalgia lately because I’ve been going through old photos and working on our end-of-year gift to his departing class teacher, our beloved Ms. D, who is retiring this year. My how these fifth-graders have changed!
And my son is eager for new, exciting experiences, more alone time, more time away from his little brother, and more responsibility (specifically when and only when he wants it). I am highly cognizant of this and am working to find him experiences that stretch his previous limits. I’m thinking of it as measured risk-taking.
And so, summertime is almost here. I can see it in all the children. They are boundless and expansive and loud, as if their spirits are no longer contained within their bodies. The teachers look both pleased and tired. The parents … well, there is a kind of “oh, I can’t wait for summer” on their lips or behind their eyes. And I kind of get it.
Now, in the interest of honest, full disclosure, I admit to feeling great trepidation about the coming 13 weeks of summer vacation. 13. 13 weeks. That’s a lot of days. I always feel this way at the end of the school year. The eagerness I felt for summer as a child is very different from how I feel now that I’m a parent. I have some excitement and daydreams and some wonderful plans for us, but I also know that it won’t be a huge bowl of cherries every day.
The boys will be engaged in any number of wonderful activities and play. Swim and summer camp and weekend camping. They will be blessed with the “gift of boredom” and plenty of nature time and unscheduled time. They will do chores. They will bicker and negotiate and hurt each other and cooperate—all of which is essential to both their growth as humans and their relationship as brothers.
We will make the most of it, the best we can. And we will learn so much. We will all soak up all that Summer has to give us, and we will level up.
A mazillion years ago, when Ian lived in Sweden and I was visiting at Easter time, we saw everywhere in Upsala bare branches decorated with colorful feathers. We wondered, is this sympathetic magic? If the Swedish people decorate bare branches with feathers, are they invoking the coming of springtime? Of course, at Easter time, the ice and snow still holds sway, and warm days are still several months away. (As I type this it’s currently 27 degrees F there.)
“The Easter tree, or “påsk ris”, can be seen all over the country this time of year. Outside shop entrances, in peoples’ living rooms, outdoors in the neighbours’ gardens.”
I’ve had these bare branches in a vase in my home for a couple of months now. They held hearts on Valentine’s Day and they’ve lingered through the month of March. I’m pretty sure they’ve poked everyone in the eye at least once. I’m also sure that my Ian has wished I would take them away.
But, NO! I had a secret plan, you see. I wanted us to make him a påsk ris as a surprise. Because once, a mazillion years ago after we came home from Europe, I made one of these to decorate our very first apartment together at Easter time, and it was sweet and lovely and back then life was uncomplicated …
So anyway, Lucas, Asher and I made a påsk ris to surprise Daddy.
colorful craft feathers
Get out your low temperature glue gun and your patience and start gluing feathers on. That’s it. It takes a good long while and maybe an extra pair of hands to hold the feather in the warm glue until it sets.
But you can get funny photos while you’re doing it.
And then you can surprise people you live with and people who visit, and they’ll say, “What the heck is that?”
And then you can explain that the symbolism of the Easter tree is not about bringing on the spring, or sweeping out winter, or even about Easter witches—which is a Swedish thing! Really.
“But, apparently the Easter tree has a completely different origin and symbolism. It comes from the 1600′s. Swedish people in the 1600′s used to take twigs and sticks and beat each other with them on Good Friday to commemorate the suffering of Jesus. In the 1800′s and 1900′s, they started to be decorated and became a symbolic decoration for Easter.” —from Watching the Swedes
In a shady nook one moonlight night,
A leprechaun I spied
In scarlet coat and cap of green,
A cruiskeen by his side.
‘Twas tick, tack, tick, his hammer went,
Upon a weeny shoe,
And I laughed to think of a purse of gold,
But the fairy was laughing too.
With tiptoe step and beating heart,
Quite softly I drew nigh.
There was mischief in his merry face,
A twinkle in his eye;
He hammered and sang with a tiny voice,
And sipped the mountain dew;
Oh! I laughed to think he was caught at last,
But the fairy was laughing too.
As quick as thought I grasped the elf,
“Your fairy purse,” I cried,
“My purse?” said he, ” ’tis in her hand,
That lady by your side.”
I turned to look, the elf was off,
And what was I to do?
Oh! I laughed to think what a fool I’d been,
And the fairy was laughing too.
—Robert Dwyer Joyce
‘Twas a fine sunny day at harvest time when young Seamus O’Donnell, walking along the road, heard a tapping sound. Peering over the hedge, he saw a tiny man in a little leather apron, mending a little shoe.
“Well, well, well!” said Seamus to himself. “I truly never expected to meet a leprechaun. Now that I have, I must not let this chance slip away. For everyone knows that leprechauns keep a pot of gold hidden nearby. All I have to do is to find it, and I am set for the rest of my life.”
Greeting the leprechaun politely, Seamus asked about his health. However, after a few minutes of idle conversation, Seamus became impatient. He grabbed the leprechaun and demanded to know where the gold was hidden.
“All right! All right!” cried the little man. “It is near here. I’ll show you.”
Together they set off across the fields as Seamus was careful never to take his eyes off the little man who was guiding him. At last they came to a field of golden ragwort.
The leprechaun pointed to a large plant.
“The gold is under here,” he said. “All you have to do is to dig down and find it.”
Now Seamus didn’t have anything with him to use for digging, but he was not entirely stupid. He pulled of his red neckerchief and tied it to the plant so that he would recognize it again.
“Promise me,” he said to the leprechaun, “that you will not untie that scarf.”
The little man promised faithfully.
Seamus dropped the leprechaun and ran home as fast as he could to fetch a shovel. Within five minutes, he was back at the field. But what a sight met his eyes! Every single ragwort plant in the whole field — and there were hundreds of them — had a red neckerchief tied around it.
Slowly, young Seamus walked home with his shovel. He didn’t have his gold. He didn’t have the leprechaun.
And now, he didn’t even have his neckerchief.
(Traditional Irish Legend)
Today was a busy, busy day, but we still took a little time for leprechaun fun. We made some yummy Sugar Shamrocks, then set out some treats. Our leprechaun party is now all ready for the Wee Folk. We have shamrock cookies, milk, and honey for them. Asher brought some pretty flowers to make it beautiful, and we made a wee banner that says “Welcome.” We’ll see what happens during the night.
I love St. Patrick’s Day. I love the rainbows and shamrocks, green foods, and stories of leprechauns and magic. Over the years, my kids and I have explored lots of St. Patrick’s Day books and this is a list of our favorites. Some are old, some, new. As usual, my fundamental recommendation is that you steer clear of licensed products. Believe me, although this list is long, lots of books didn’t make it onto this list.
Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Kelly Murphy is a fairly new treasure, published in 2009. This book is full of terrific art and a very clever lass who outwits the greedy King of the Leprechauns, who has stolen all the luck from the land and made the people suffer. Most leprechaun stories involve men or boys, and it’s great to have a heroine in the genre. The moral here is that you must depend on your wits, and not on your luck to be successful.
Clever Tom and the Leprechaun was published in 1988 by Linda Shute, who illustrated the book and adapted a traditional leprechaun story originally published in Legends and Traditions of South Ireland in 1825. Shute’s illustrations are watercolor and pencil and are quite lovely. Clever Tom, unfortunately for him, is not quite clever enough to get the sack of gold from the leprechaun shoemaker he captures one day.
To Sing a Song as Big as Ireland is by Nathan Zimelman and is illustrated by Jospeh Low. This is quite an old book, published in 1967, that we found at our library. The story is long and wonderful. A little boy named Terrence O’Flaherty O’Flynn wants more than anything to sing a song as big as Ireland, but he’s really quite small. He tries and tries to grow bigger so that he’ll have a strong voice, but none of his plans work out, not even standing on the dewy ground and beneath the warming sun, or carrying a goat on his shoulders like the strongest man in the county carries his horse. Finally the boy goes to ask his mother, who advises that he catch a leprechaun and get him to grant the boy his wish. The leprechaun gets it wrong several times before the boy can finally sing his song, and when he does “his song told of all of Ireland—its lakes and its hills and its green land, of every bird that rose on its air and every animal that grazed in its meadows and passed through its forests … it told of all of Ireland’s people, and so it was as big as Ireland itself.”
Too Many Leprechauns was published in 2007. Stephen Krensky wrote it and Dan Andreasen is the artist. I love the opening: “Finn O’Finnegan looked like a rogue and walked like a rascal, so it was widely thought that he was at least one or the other. And his shadow, which followed him closely and knew all of his secrets, might have said he was both.” The leprechauns have overrun the town of Dingle and they’re keeping everyone from sleeping with their endless tap-tap-tapping on their fairy shoes. Well, rascally Finn O’Finnegan will fix them. He finds flaws in the little shoemakers’ work, and they’re so insulted they show him their pile of gold coins earned from their shoe-making. Finn manages to hide their gold from them!
Leprechauns Never Lie, by Lorna and Lecia Balian, is a fun book about two women who are too lazy and old to do their daily work. The young woman, Ninny Nanny, sets out to find a leprechaun to change their fortune. She’s lucky enough to find one, and almost gets a great deal, but in the end, her laziness causes her to miss out on the biggest prize of all. Still, in the process, she and ailing Gram do get their chores done, and that’s a good thing after all. This book was originally published in two colors in 1980; in 2004 it came out again with beautiful full color illustrations by Lecia Balian.
Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk: An Irish Tale Told and Illustrated by Gerald McDermott is worthy of a read. Tim and his wife Kathleen are very poor, and she suggests that maybe he should go and find a job; alas there are no jobs to be found. Although Tim gets lucky enough to stumble upon a group of reveling leprechauns, he gets tricked out of his worthy prizes by neighbors. It’s all because he didn’t do exactly what the wee folk told him to do, and that’s what you get by cutting corners. The wicked, swindling neighbors get their comeuppance in the end, though, and Tim and his bonny Kate do make their fortune through the beneficence of the leprechauns. In these bright illustrations the leprechauns are all cute and charming, wearing green and scarlet.
A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski with art by Tom Curry might be an outlyer on this list. The story is about two rival towns, Tralee and Tralah, that compete each year to see which one decorates best for St. Patrick’s Day. Six-year-old Fiona Riley comes up with the plan for Tralee to finally win the contest. A leprechaun arrives and asks for help at all the doors, for his cows are stuck in the mud. Citizens of Tralee go to the cows’ rescue, despite their need to finish decorating for the contest, and their generous spirit is rewarded.
St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning, by Eve Bunting features no leprechauns or magic, but it’s magical nonetheless. Little Jamie wakes very early on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and feels sad that he is considered by his family too small to march in the village parade. But what do they know? He tiptoes out of the house and has a parade all his own with his sweet dog Nell and the slowly waking village. Jan Brett illustrated this sweet book using only three colors, and her pictures of the Irish countryside are charming and evocative. Bunting was born in Ireland and lived there for 30 years. She published this book in 1980.
A Pot o’ Gold is a wonderful anthology of Irish legends, poetry, songs, and even some recipes. It features a legend about St. Patrick, stories with the wee folk, mermaids, fairies, leprechauns, Finn McCool, and more. Works of authors such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Katharine Tynan, Arthur O’Shaughnessy, William Butler Yeats, and Jonathan Swift grace this anthology. If you were to buy only one book of Irish stories for children, this might be the one.
The Irish Cinderlad was written by Shirley Climo and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski, and was published in 1996. This is a male, Irish version of the Cinderella story based on two old Irish tales: “The Bracket Bull” from 1898 and “Billy Beg and His Butt” from 1905. The lad, Becan, is banished to the cow pasture when his stepmother and stepsisters come to live with him and his father. This fairy story features a magical bull, a giant, and an opportunity to rescue a princess from a terrible sea-dragon (à la Andromeda). Becan has his faithful friend, his own courage, and his giant feet to thank for his change of fortune, for no one else can fit into his lost boot.
O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott is a great book. The heroine is Kate O’Sullivan and she is a clever one! When the townspeople anger the witch by refusing to help when her beautiful stallion is taken as payment for taxes by the king, the town suffers terribly: cows won’t give milk, fishing nets come up empty, gardens fail, and everyone goes hungry. Kate convinces her da and brothers, Fergus and Kelly, that they should steal back the horse to appease the witch. But they’re not good horse thieves. It’s up to Kate’s storytelling to save them from the hangman’s rope. There are four great stories within the witch-horse-theft story. Leprechauns appear in one of them. But the best part is the unexpected twist at the end.
The Leprechaun’s Gold is a sweet Irish legend about friendship and generosity. The king of Ireland calls for all the harpists in the land to come and play in a contest. Young Tom is a braggart who thinks he is sure to win, but still stoops to sabotage. Old Pat is a kind gentleman who shares his music and meager possessions freely. On their way to the harping contest, they encounter a leprechaun in a bind. Tom refuses to help, knowing leprechauns are meddlesome troublemakers. Pat comes to the leprechaun’s aid and is rewarded for his kindness. “He played the merriest music ever heard, so wonderful that the wind itself stopped to listen. A wild tune it was, which filled the people’s hearts with joy and their lips with laughter.”
S is for Shamrock: And Ireland Alphabet by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Matt Faulkner provides lots of great lore and information about Ireland, including the Blarney Stone, the Claddagh, The Book of Kells, leprechauns, viking raids, and more. This book includes more factual information about Ireland than the storybooks on this list.
The House Gobbaleen is by Lloyd Alexander, published in 1995. Tooley believes he has bad luck, and although his cat Gladsake knows Tooley’s luck is no better or worse than anyone’s, he thinks that a little help from the Friendly Folk is just what he needs. When a curious little man arrives on his doorstep, Tooley invites him in. It’s not long before the wicked little man has taken over Tooley’s favorite armchair, his bed, and is eating him out of house and home. Only Gladsake can save his master from his own foolishness and outsmart the little man.
Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland is by Tomie dePaola, a much beloved creator of children’s books. I’m actually not crazy about her books, but this book offers a comprehensive history of Patrick’s life and covers the miracles he is said to have performed. If you are looking for a kids’ book that covers the religious angle of this holiday, this might be the one for you.
This is a teaser mosaic of photos from our e-book. It covers St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Equinox, Ostara, and Easter, and is packed with Waldorf songs, stories, verses, crafting tutorials, caregiver meditations, fingerplays, and stories to inspire you and help you create fun and meaningful festival celebrations with children in your home or classroom.
Part One: Saint Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Poems and Finger Plays
The Four-Leaved Clover
Four-Leaf Clover Hunt
Caregiver Meditation: Luck
Saint Patrick’s Day Kid Craft
Make a Leprechaun House
Simple Shamrock Crown
St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Mobile
Shamrock Window Transparency
The Sunbeam’s Visit
Jolly Leprechaun Ring
St. Patrick’s Day Paper Ornaments
The Golden Purse and the Seeing Eyes
To Catch a Leprechaun
Dip a Rainbow
Part Two: Spring Equinox, Ostara To Spring
Seeds and Grateful Spring
The Story of the Two Seeds
Spring Equinox Wreath
Recycled Bird Feeder
The Feisty Fairy Story
Make a Fairy Pouch with Your Child
Build a Fairy House
Five Little Fairies Finger Play
Homemade Fairy Wings
Spring Bird Puppets
Spring Cleaning in the Home or Classroom
Natural Vinegar Cleaning Solution
Cherry Blossom Festival and Writing Haiku Poetry
Cherry Blossom Branches
Paint Cherry Blossoms
Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry
Pressed Flower Frame for Spring
Flower Pot Compost
Spring Zucchini Bread
Watercolor Flower Wreath
Simple Tissue Butterflies
Part Three: Easter The Easter Flower and Easter Week
Lent and Sacrifice
Five Little Easter Rabbits and other Rhymes
Creating Your Easter Nature Table
Easter from Calendar of the Soul
Caregiver Meditation: Awakening
Little Felted Chicks
Stewart’s A, B, C’s
Flood-Tide of Flowers
Easter Dish Garden
Dyeing Eggs with Natural Dyes
Dyeing Easter Wool
Easter Egg Rolling
Easter Glove Bunny
Paper Easter Bunnies Banner
Felt Easter Ornaments
Decoupage Easter Eggs
Needle-Felted Easter Egg
This volume is the fourth in our series of Festival E-Books designed to help you find a way into the natural and religious festivals that occur around the time of the Solstices and Equinoxes. We have endeavored to provide inspiration and celebration ideas that will help you create fulfilling and joyful holidays in your home or classroom.
Some of the craft projects in this e-book are geared for adults or older children (but everyone can enjoy them). We have written simple instructions and provided step-by-step photographs to assist you. Other projects are simple enough that even the youngest child can assist, for creating art is a fundamental human desire and an important part of learning and expressing ourselves.
Circle-time rhymes, fingerplays, and games are also an important part of learning about our bodies, our world, and our friends. Some of the classic poetry we included may speak especially to the adult caregiver or teacher, for we believe it is through maintaining a sense of wonder and a love of beauty that permits our souls to shine forth in our daily actions.
This volume contains both a nature-based religious perspective, honoring the Goddess of Spring, and a Christian perspective on the holy days of Lent and Easter, celebrating Christ’s resurrection. There is, in our opinion, significant overlap of symbols and traditions, and we feel they can coexist in the context of the spring festivals in peace.
My personal thanks go to my coauthor Eileen, for her can-do attitude, unflagging faith, endless creativity. I’d also like to say thank you to my husband and my children for their assistance, participation, and great tolerance of the many messes my creative projects produce in our home during book production.
Please join me and my family at today’s post on Jump Into A Book. We were delighted to be asked to contribute to this year’s Family Book Festival, which features book reviews and activities by other bloggers, artists, and writers. These wonderful posts are designed to get you and your family reading together and enjoying literature and family time.
We created a project based on The Hobbit: There and Back Again, by J.R.R. Tolkien because we all love the book so much. Just arriving at the decision of what to make was a long journey in itself! We’ve shared our process and a tutorial for making a diorama of a scene from the book. There’s modeling material, paint, gold foil, and dragons! What could be better?
Be sure to browse at Jump Into A Book and read all about the project other families did, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway—you or your school could win 31 Dr. Seuss books! Giveaway closes at the end of March 1st 2012 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be announced on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2nd.
Many thanks to Valarie for inviting us to play in the Family Book Festival!
This was the scene in our home this past weekend. Our kids sat down with us and tackled their two class sets of valentines. I helped by cutting out many, many hearts …
And amid kitchen clutter and projects and homework, we all set to work. Holidays always have to fit into the middle of everyday life, don’t they?
Lucas was totally independent. He’s a pro at valentines now. Asher needed some coaxing, but soon got into the swing of things. Honestly, I couldn’t believe we finished them all in one session!
The smiley faces and bear faces were his idea. I have revived a practice I had as a little girl, saving flower catalogs and using their pretty flower photos for making valentines.
Even Daddy got to make some valentines to show his appreciation for some co-workers.
Here are Lucas’s valentines. There’s something so boyish about them. We considered a fancy crafty-type of thing, but he chose the simple route.
So, now the house is decorated a bit. Red tulips are arranged in a crystal vase on the table. Tomorrow we’ll wake up to a Valentine’s Day breakfast, with a special treat or two—because it’s these three boys who hold the key to my heart, and every day I would like to give them all the sacred oceans, the beauteous moon above, sunshine magic, and a daily miracle if I could. It is for them my heart beats.
Does your family celebrate Chinese New Year? We have just begun the Year of the Snake. “This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create.” In the spirit of the Chinese art of paper-cutting, I offer this simple papercut garland craft tutorial for you to decorate your home. If you and the kids can cut a paper snowflake, you can make this.
red square kite paper, red Japanese silk paper, or squared red construction paper
If your paper isn’t already square, make it so.
Fold each square into fourths (in half and then in half again). Cut an interesting pattern into the square, in the same way that you would cut a paper snowflake. Chevrons, stripes, triangle, curls, “snakes,” and hearts are all good shapes to cut. Be sure that you are cutting through all four layers of paper. Although you can cut off the “middle” corner to make a center hole, try to preserve each of the other three corners. This will keep your paper flags square.
If you cut five or seven or more of these, you can string them onto a piece of red yarn to make a festive banner to hang in your home or school. Each flag can be unique.
Your banner will do double duty as a Valentine’s Day decoration, if you cut a few hearts.
See more wonderful festival craft projects in our Festival E-Books, by Eileen Foley Straiton of Little Acorn Learning and myself. The Spring Festival E-Book is coming soon! We are hard at work on this e-book now. Stay tuned!
If you live in a warm area like mine, winters are less about snow and snow play and more about crisp days, rain, fog, and overnight freezes. Back in December, we observed that nights of below-freezing temps were causing our birdbath to freeze over. We decided to do an experiment to see if we could remove the sheet of ice from the birdbath without breaking it. When that proved possible, we wondered if we could maybe decorate the ice and freeze pretty bits of nature into the ice.
We put some winter bird berries and bits of evergreen needles on the large disk of ice, then laid the ice disk back into the birdbath (with nature bits on top of the ice). We added a little very cold water from the garden hose and waited for the next overnight freeze. We didn’t know if our experiment would work!
In the morning, we found the birdbath iced over again, and our leaves and berries embedded in the ice (but moved from our original placement). We had to wait a few hours for the day to warm enough for us to lift the ice out of the birdbath. While we waited, we brought a bowl of warm water from the house and warmed a metal kebab skewer in the water. We carefully bored two holes in the ice disk while it was still seated safely in the birdbath.
We lifted out the disk and poked a piece of twine through the two holes to make a wide hanger. Then we hung the ice medallion in a tree and watched the winter sunlight sparkle through it.
I think we’ll try this again sometime with pretty yarn in a coil.
Of course, this pretty piece of nature art didn’t last long. Perhaps if you live in a colder climate the ice medallion will stay longer?
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.