Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Solstice Lanterns

Next monday is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For those who don't know, the Winter Solstice marks midwinter; the shortest day and longest night of the year.
From a Pagan viewpoint, the Winter Solstice represents the rebirth of the Lord, the Sun, in the eternal cycle. It signifies the end of the darkness, as the days slowly but surely get longer and life returns as the Earth once again is warmed.

Of all the things I miss about living on the North Coast, I think the Winter Solstice Lantern Parade rates the highest. Every year on the Solstice we would line the streets of Lismore to watch the beautiful spectacle parade down the main streets. The whole community was involved; school kids, local charities, groups and businesses. Everyone carried a lantern, ranging from small triangular lanterns decorated by little school kids, to huge dragons and Unicorns and earth mothers, some taking three or four people to carry them! The groups would be interspersed with different bands and musicians creating a celebratory atmosphere.
We'd follow the procession down through the town to the river, where a spectacular firey finale would await. Indi was only a baby the first time we went, but I still remember that awe-filled look in her eyes at the fireworks. Once the smoke had cleared, everyone strolled back into town to celebrate with a street party with market stalls, food, street entertainers and of course music!

So, in leiu of such a warming event, I've decided to create some little lanterns of our own to welcome the return of the sun.
I've used the Star Lantern Tutorial from CHILDHOOD MAGIC to create these lanterns (thankyou Ariella!)

First we painted the circles. We just used cheapo water paints.

Here are the finished designs. I painted both sides of mine (the red spiral one and the central sun/flower one), but Indi only painted one side of hers (the rainbow serpent-looking one). She decided that catching lizards basking in the winter sun was more exciting than painting!

Once the paint was dry, we painted the paper with olive oil to make it translucent. I did this on newspaper to minimise mess. We painted both sides of the circles (ideally, we'd have sourced some proper translucent paper, but what can I say ... I'm disorganised, a cheapskate, and I like a challenge!)

Blot off the excess oil as best you can, then hang them somewhere inside to dry a bit.

Once they are dry(-ish) it is time to fold! The actual folding part was bit tricky for Indi (almost 5), but she enjoyed watching. She took the job of cutting the edges off the circle to make it an octagon.

About halfway through. I can appreciate how origami is such an addictive pastime :)  

And here is the end result!

I have to get some electric candles to light them up for our weekend solstice celebration; real candles will be too dangerous considering that they are paper soaked in oil!
BUT I'm terribly impatient and just couldn't wait to see what they'd look like lit up ...
So I snuck outside with a candle and the camera while the kids were playing with Craig ...

Beautiful, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Dog

I felt sorry for my little fox terrier, Rocko ... he stands at the back door shivering and looking miserable. Hopefully this helps him to stay warm!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just For a Giggle ...

Indi discovered the Photo Booth program on my computer today ...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Salt Dough

Another rainy day... another day of inside play.

Today we made some salt dough figurines. Here's how we did it ...

One cup of salt

Two cups of plain flour

Mix them together in a bowl

Add one cup of water, a little at a time, and mix with a knife until it's workable enough to knead. Knead the dough until it is smooth and consistent.


The best thing about this craft is that Keanu could join in too. Indi always wants to do things that are a bit above Keanu's capabilities, so it's nice to find something that we could all enjoy. 

Here are our final designs ...

Indi made the horse herself and we made the mermaid together. We used the garlic crusher to make the hair and mane. The other one is a 'cookie' with sprinkles on top.

We baked them in the oven at about 100 degrees Celcius. They took 2 hours! I don't think the cookie is even hard through to the middle. Next time we might have to make them a bit thinner!

We did plan on painting them this afternoon when Keanu was asleep, but I guess it was just too much excitement for Miss Indi, because she has slept all afternoon too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Crocheted Bag

Here is my first 'Ravelry' project.

I bought this cotton from Spotlight on clearance. I'm not really fond of the colour, but for less than $1 a ball I couldn't very well leave it there!
I stuffed up on the straps too; one of them is twisted! I suppose you have to expect these things when the majority of your crocheting is done one-handed with a squirming baby breastfeeding on your lap.

Now, on to some of that marvellous wool I got for my birthday ...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tea for Two

What a glorious sunshine-filled day! Nature is never as beautiful as when the sun comes out after the rain; the colours are so intense! I feel really energised tonight after spending the first day outside in what feels like weeks.
After spending the morning pottering around the garden, playing in the cubby, choosing a spot in Indi's garden for her raspberry plant, hanging some washing, and planting and transplanting a few things we decided that an afternoon tea party in the sun was in order.

My friend Ben bought me some beautiful tea for my birthday this week. It's a blend of green tea, olive leaves, rose petals, spearmint, cornflowers and chrysanthemums. I've been saving it for when I can actually sit down, relax and enjoy instead of my usual make a cup then run off to hang washing only to return to a lukewarm mug!

It's a tea to indulge all the senses; when the water is poured over it all the flowers swell and open up. It looks very pretty in the crystal teapot.

Keanu was asleep, so Indi set up a rug on the front porch in the sun.

It was really enjoying just lazing about in the sun, kinda lost in her idiosyncratic ways, when I realised how little one-on-one time we actually spend together.
I remember when she was younger and we lived up North. We'd spend our days together in no rush to be anywhere or do anything in particular. It was just the three of us; soo little mess!
Most days now it feels like I barely have time to stop for a cup of tea! Craig is away a lot with work, so I'm spreading myself pretty thin to give both kids time and attention, keep the house in some sort of order, as well as finding a little bit of time for myself (which I really need to do otherwise I turn into an irritable crabby so-and-so).

It doesn't leave a lot of opportunity for peaceful tea parties, so today I'm grateful that I had the chance to spend a little bit of time with my beautiful daughter Indica Rose xoxo

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brrrrrrrr! An Update from Coolsville ;)

It's cold and wet and windy and we've been stuck inside for days. The wet washing is threatening to rise up and overtake the house and the kids are going a little bit crazy because we haven't been outside to play.
We've been staying in bed later and later and then we need to turn the lights on early in the afternoon because it's so dark.

Certainly not weather conducive to gardening! I managed to get out the back today for a short time in between the rain. It's so wet! The poor vegies look like they're about to float away.
It's too wet to plant anything unfortunately. Over the last few weeks I've been gifted lots of plants; a couple of avocado trees, some raspberries, a red cordyline, not to mention my broccoli seedlings that are patiently waiting to go in the ground, the pineapple tops that we sprouted still sitting on the kitchen bench and the poor lime trees that have been sitting miserably in their pots for way too long.

On a bright note, the zygo cactus' have started to flower. What beautiful intricate flowers to put some colour into the grey days!

And some jonquil bulbs from a friend last year have popped their little green heads up.

On the craft front: lots has been happening. One thing I do like about the cold weather; snuggling up with a crochet hook and loads of yarn! I've jumped on the Ravelry bandwagon so have loads of inspiration. This coupled with the fact that I was gifted loads of gorgeous yarn for my birthday on Monday has led to lots of projects being started.

Not a lot to report on the homeschool front. We were doing a lot of outside activities but the weather has put a stop on Indi's garden for the time being. The closest we've been to outside education is digging up worms to feed to Nim.
She has been very interested in earth sciences lately. We've been reading a book about the universe and our planet. I picked this book up in a second-hand shop a while ago (I have an addiction to those 70's style kiddie encyclopaedias ;) ) and it's been very useful.

Today we read and talked about how the earth spins on it's axis, creating day and night. Indi deduced that even though it's night time here, it's daytime on the other side of the earth. I showed her how the axis is tilted and, as the earth revolves around the sun, this is what causes the weather to change throughout the year. We also looked at how the moon 'changes' shape and why it does so. If this cloudy weather ever buggers off I'd like to create a moon calendar with her.

And finally, an update on the guinea pigs.
I'm sad to say that we lost another baby :( so just one little fella left. Worse still, one of my males died aswell. Just like Bali; he seemed fine in the morning when I went out and fed them but was dead by the afternoon :( .
The little baby seems to be doing great though. I still have him inside with Jazzy; he's very vocal and scampers around and eats with gusto, so I really hope he's going to be ok.