Advent Is Here, St. Nick Is Coming

St. Nicholas #waldorf #waldorfhome #festivals #holiday #needlefelting

I am sometimes a late bloomer, or adopter, or whatever. Advent has arrived, but half of us were sick, so, we’re … um … easing into it. We will catch up. We will slowly begin to set up for Christmas.

Do you ever find your energy for festivals and family celebrations waning? I do, sometimes. This time of year can be so overwhelming. I try to remember that my To-Do list only exists in my mind—no one else can see it. No one’s judging me when I don’t get to things I intend to do. No one knows but me. So I try to set my intentions, make my priorities clear to myself, and then let the rest go. If it happens, great! If it doesn’t, that’s OK too. As important as rhythm is, balance and sanity are just as necessary in family life. We’re only human.

One of the things that I find to be a little difficult these days is preserving the festivals for my younger son, while my older son ages past them. Not that Lucas is done with Christmas or Halloween, or really anything with treats, but he’s getting a little blasé about the stories and myths surrounding our holidays. We work hard to infuse beauty and joy and wonder into our home and family life. And keeping the magic alive for Asher is important to me. But children grow—out of some things and into others—and that’s as it should be. As a tween, Lucas is sometimes a bit lukewarm about things, and that attitude can affect my ebullient, sanguine 7-year-old, who is living into these festivals with his whole self.

There we are.

St. Nicholas’s Day is upon us (tomorrow, Saturday, December 6). We talked about St. Nicholas at breakfast this morning. Asher had lots to say because he’s been hearing stories about the Bishop of Myrna at school. He is excited for St. Nicholas to come! And he remembered that St. Nicholas brings yummy oranges. I’m sure something exciting is happening today at school. St. Nicholas and Rupert have visited the classes at school before. We’ll polish our shoes tonight, and see if any small goodies come for tomorrow morning. Simple and small is best. I’ve spiffed up my St. Nicholas nature table doll, who is a few years old now. He’s looking pretty dapper again, ready to bring goodies to the world’s children and to herald the coming of the Winter Sun King.

In honor of St. Nicholas’s Day, Eileen and I are having a one-day sale on our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book today only (December 5)! It’s available for half price ($9.99) at

The e-book offers poems, stories, songs, crafts, and many special ways that families, schools, or childcare professionals can celebrate a simple, peaceful month of December. We wrote this e-book with the hope we might help people create thoughtful, heartfelt holidays, with less frenzied commercialism and more togetherness time.

Advent Mosaic 10 x 3

This mosaic is a peek at what’s in our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book. Many thanks for reading this far, and for spreading the word to anyone who might be interested in our offering. And whatever you do this month to celebrate whichever holidays you celebrate, do it with simplicity, love, and joy. Blessings of the season on you and your loved ones!


Snowflake Fairies Tutorial

Snowflake Fairy with Face

In between chilly outings, when we’re inside warming up, is a wonderful time to appreciate the beauty of winter. Paper snowflakes are festive and look lovely decorating windows and our family cuts beautiful snowflakes every year.  Here is a project for making lovely snowflake fairies to flutter and dance in the air. Hang them over a heating vent to see them blow about, just like a real, falling snowflake.

Note: Some Waldorf educators recommend that you not make needle-felted figures and animals in the presence of young children, who may find the action of repeatedly needling the woolen bodies to shape them somewhat disturbing.



  • coffee filter
  • chenille stems
  • needle and thread
  • scissors
  • wool batting
  • needle-felting needle and pad

IMG_9664 IMG_9665

Start by forming the skeleton of your fairy. Cut your chenille stem in half. Twist a loop into the center of one half; this is your fairy’s head with arms attached. Fold the other half over (body and legs). Then put one leg of the folded chenille stem through the loop. The two pieces are now interlocked. About an inch farther down, where the pelvis of the figure would be, twist again to make two legs. You should now have a wire “stick figure” like you see in the right photo above. Fold the smallest possible bit of wire over at the end of each limb, to form tiny hands and feet and keep the cut wire from poking anyone.


Take a small bit of wool roving, roll it into a ball, and insert it into the loop of the figure’s head. Then wrap a bit more roving around the head and begin to needle it in place into an attractive head shape.


Using very small bits of wool, wrap around the figure’s body and arms. I find making a crisscross of wool that goes from shoulder to waist in both directions to be a good method. Needle this wool until it’s firm and stationary. The fairy’s arms may need more needling than the body to make them graceful and slender.


Now add a bigger fluff of wool to create a woolen petticoat. You can either allow the fairy’s feet to show below the fluffy skirt, or make the skirt extend below the feet.


Fold a white, circular coffee filter into quarters or eighths and cut a snowflake. Cut a very small tip off the snowflake and unfold it.


This is the only tricky part: Gently guide your fairy’s head through the center hole in your snowflake. Go slowly to avoid tearing the paper. If the head won’t fit through the hole, refold the snowflake and cut the tip just a tiny bit more to widen the hole and fit the head through.

Snowflake Fairy in Progress

You have a choice now. You can either put the fairy’s arms through holes in your snowflake (if you have such holes) to make a dress (see above), or you can gently move one arm at a time up through the neck hole of the snowflake to make it a skirt instead of a dress. This part is not unlike carefully dressing a small child, except your fairy will wiggle less.


Next, use another chenille stem and form a circle. Twist the two ends together to seal the circle. Then twist the circle into a figure eight. These are your fairy’s wings. Use a bit of wool to tack the wings onto the fairy’s back. Now give your fairy some white hair, and allow it to flow over the center of her back where the wings meet the back.

Snowflake Fairy with Belt

If you made a dress, you might wish to belt it with a ribbon, bit of string, or a braid of wool roving.

Snowflake Fairy with Up-do

Here is a fairy with a skirt. You can give your fairy a fancy hairdo, if you like, by coiling wool into a bun and needling it onto her head. You can also add a face using tiny bits of color needled in for eyes and a mouth (as seen in the top photo). The fairies are adorable either way.

Snowflake Fairies

Now, you can make more snowflake fairies and hang them near each other to dance in the air, or display them with other snowflakes.

 Snowy Garland wih Snowflake Fairies

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Needle-Felted Harvest Mother

This is my best work to date. I made this needle-felted Harvest Mother as a donation for our school’s Country Store fundraiser, part of Sacramento Waldorf School’s Harvest Faire, which is being held this Saturday, October 23. Now that’s she’s done, I’m kind of sorry to have to give her up. She took about four hours to make, spread over several evenings. She is about 9 inches tall and the widest part of her skirt is about 7 inches across.

Needle-Felted Harvest Mother

I tried to gently stripe the colors to suggest agricultural rows. I tried to suggest that from her body flows all good things: crops of pumpkins, cabbages, and greens. I tried to use colors that bring to mind dried-up summer grains and tired fields ready for resting. I tried to suggest that she is the goddess of foods gathered in and the growing foods that will nourish us in time, in a never-ending cycle. I hope you can see the wind in her hair.

I admit, that’s a lot to suggest with a bunch of fluff!

Needle-Felted Harvest Mother Close-Up, Cornucopia in Arms

It’s amazing what a little needle can do! She is holding a cornucopia in her arms, can you tell?

Needle-Felted Harvest Mother Skirt Detail Needle-Felted Harvest Mother Skirt Detail

These are two details of her earthy skirt, with various crops growing on it. I love the pumpkin vines the most. I would have loved to make grapes and wheat, but I couldn’t seem to make the wool cooperate in that way for superfine details.

I’m ridiculously proud of this doll! I don’t really want to give her up, but she is going for a good cause. I just hope they sell her for a decent amount and that the person who buys her loves her as much as I do.

Michaelmas Craft: Making Dragons!

Think wisely,
Speak well,
Stand upright
And St. Michael
Will lead you
from darkness
to Light.

Lucas's Sculpture of St. Michael Battling the Dragon within a Ring of Fire

Yesterday afternoon, after school, the boys and I pulled down some Crayola modeling “clay” (in exciting day-glo colors) that we had on hand and sculpted dragons in honor of Michaelmas. We spent a happy 30 to 40 minutes sculpting, with each of us working on our own dragon.

Lucas’s sculpture was ambitious! He sculpted the Archangel Michael battling the dragon within a ring of fire! He is justifiably pleased with the result. He certainly remembered the story well.

Making Dragons for Michaelmas

Making Dragons for Michaelmas

Asher got to use a plastic knife! Big fun.

My Dragon and Asher's Dragon

Here is my dragon posing next to Asher’s dragon, which morphed a lot during our crafting, just as you would expect for a 3-year-old. His dragon also got lots of lovely dragon play.

Needle-Felted Dragon for Michaelmas

Here is a needle-felted dragon I made last Sunday. I had some time in the company of some of my favorite people in the world and my hands happily worked on this while we were visiting. I think he needs some fiery breath!

Some of my research into Michaelmas has brought me to these lovely resources, which I gladly share. I am actually still debating about whether to cook a Michaelmas meal today or save it for Friday, when our school will celebrate this festival.

Waldorf Library

The Parenting Passageway

Rockin Granola

Rudolf Steiner Archive

Mama Roots Branching Out

New Fibers for Handwork

Ian and spent just about an hour in Placerville last weekend, on our way to South Lake Tahoe for a short getaway. Mom had said, “Why don’t you get out of town for a while?” Why not, indeed!

Since we didn’t have the boys in tow, I dragged Ian to Lofty Lou’s, where I pawed at the yarn and came home with these gems. He’s such a good sport!

Gorgeous Fiber from Lofty Lou's in Placerville

This is a four-ounce ball of Firestar, a sparkly nylon fiber that can be carded with wool or silk or other fibers and either spun or needle-felted. Pretty!

Hand-dyed Wool Roving for Felting

And this is a lovely hank of hand-painted wool in an array of autumn browns, golds, and russet reds that I’m hoping will inspire some lovely autumnal artwork. Or I could spin it into luscious yarn, which I haven’t done since last February and I really should practice so I don’t forget how.

Or maybe both. That’s what I love about roving; it can become so many things! And I’ve just spent a bit of time on and I must say, YUM!

Needle-Felted Mushroom Family

These red and white cap mushrooms look so cute and magical, they’ve captured the imaginations of thousands of authors and illustrators, crafters, and Waldorf families, not to mention the wacky game designers at Nintendo.

They are, in actuality, Amanita muscaria, commonly known as fly agaric or fly Amanita, and are poisonous and psychoactive. So if you see them growing, don’t eat them. Please avoid them. Take a picture, but leave them be. They belong to the fairies,  gnomes, and other magical creatures of the forest, and not at all to human beings.

Needle-Felted Mushroom Family

Mushroom Mother and Baby Mushroom Child Mushroom Child and Father

Needle-Felted Mushroom Family Top Down

This little family of Mushroom People, the Amanitas,  just wouldn’t stop clamoring in my head until they were made. They are needle-felted out of 100 percent wool roving and without any internal wire structure, so they are very soft and lovable. I expect they will come and visit our nature table in the autumn.

Needle-Felted Wool Painting: “Summer Bliss”

"Summer Bliss" Needle-Felted Wool Painting

My second wool painting

"Summer Bliss" Wool Painting Detail


Needle-Felted Spring

I’ve been doing a lot of needle-felting in the evenings after the children go to bed. I’m finding that my capacity for intense mental concentration (as I would need for editing) is just no longer there after about 9 p.m. I’m enough of a worrywart that I have trouble relaxing and find that having something to occupy my hands helps. I can’t really explain why the stabby-stabby motion of needle-felting is soothing to me, but there you go.

Here’s my new blue bird friend. Somehow, making spring art (art? can I call it that?) seems appropriate. This mama bird will live on our nature table for a while.

I just wasn’t satisfied with the eyes I tried out. I kind of like her without eyes, but maybe I’ll add some later.

These three blue eggs are only about an inch long.

However, these Easter eggs I’ve been needle-felting are two and a half inches long and fit nicely in the palm of my hand.

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, 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.

    © 2003–2018 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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