Weeds into Toys

Arrowhead Weed toy

Hi again folks. What have you been up to? I hope it’s getting warm and green wherever you are.

Here in Charlotte it’s very warm now, too warm, but it’s been exciting to see all the flowers make an appearance, and inevitably, there are lots of weeds popping up, too. Lately I’ve been thinking about the things my friends and I used to do with various weeds when we were kids.

  • There was the weeds-into-pop-guns trick, pictured above (arrowhead weeds, I just learned they’re called).
  • Clover chains
  • Trying to make a grass blade whistle (okay, not weeds, but still counts)
  • Of course making a wish on dandelion heads

Know any others?

I’ve been so focused on my writing goals that I haven’t been doing a lot of crafts and (interesting) cooking, though I do have a few things l’d like to share in the coming weeks. Our last day of school is today, which means my schedule will be quite a bit different from here until the end of August.

I’ll try to be here as much as I can, but you may find me more frequently on Twitter and Instagram, since those are easy for quick snippets. My Twitter handle is @emilysmithpearc and I’m on Instagram as Emily Smith Pearce.

Good news! I reached the goals I set for myself with both my nonfiction and YA novel manuscripts. This is big. So much writing done this year, though it’s easy to wish I had gotten even more done.

Currently reading: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger and The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson (both purchased at Park Road Books). Currently watching: Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black.

 

Advertisements

The Cardboard Factory

Cardboard Crafts

I’m not exactly sure where it started (maybe with the rocket? maybe with this book?), but over the course of the summer, our dining room became piled high with cardboard creations.

I thought I’d share a few, in case they might inspire you or your kids. The center photo is the first guitar my son made. The others, clockwise from the top: a rocket, guitar  #2 and drum, shadow puppets, tube puppets, shadow puppet theater, and sword.

Summer’s over, and the factory had to be cleaned up, but we make sure to have a small cardboard stash at all times for building material. For more kid’s crafts, click here.

Itty Bitty Stick People and Furniture

DSC_1031

I scooped up these beauties at the last Waldorf craft basar we attended in Germany. I got them as much for myself as for the kids.

Carved Doll Stove

Don’t the stove and tiny pot, just like, kill you? I realize it’s hard to tell the scale here, but the pot has about the same circumference as an acorn top. I’m powerless before this kind of stuff. Makes me want to take up whittling, because, you know, I totally need another creative hobby.

Hand Carved Toys

Acorn dishes!

DSC_1030A teensy Fair Isle cape!

I think one of the things I like best about these is the bark. For some reason it never occurs to me to make things out of actual sticks from trees.

Hope you had a good weekend. I’m pressing forward on my novel revisions, though I had a reminder this morning of just how slow I am when I looked at where I was last year this same week. Yipes!

Are you in a reflective mood about what you’ve done over the past year? Celebrating goals met? Making new ones?

Handcrafted Tiny Toys

I seem to have a thing for tiny-ness. These beauties are from the Waldorf School Christmas Bazaar here in Hannover. Aren’t they awesome? The little wooden table and chairs were for my niece, but now I’m sad that I didn’t buy any for our kids. And let’s be honest, I want my own, too.  What could be better than having tea out of acorn cups while sitting at your tiny, tiny tisch? We did keep some of the tiny dolls in dresses, and well, there’s always the May bazaar!

There’s something a little bit magical about small toys out of branches. They make me think of Miss Hickory coming alive and the way, when I was a kid, I hoped my own pine cone/ moss/ acorn arrangements would turn into a colony of wood sprites.

The finger puppets went to my kids, so they’re still around. They’re so very German—-the little people are called zwerge, which is kind of like dwarves but only in the Snow White’s dwarves kind of way. They are maybe a little closer to what we’d call gnomes.

 

And here they are all together below, so you can see scale. Also below are a beeswax candle shaped like a beehive, a hand-sewn first aid kit (complete with a piece of candy), and a knight’s tunic. Playing knights is very important here. I don’t know if it’s a Waldorf thing or a general German thing, but you’ve really gotta invest in swords and pretend chain mail if you want to keep up with the cool kids.

Some of these items (tiny dolls with dresses, knight’s tunic, first-aid kit, beehive candle) were made by Waldorf school parents and students. The others were made by vendors at the bazaar, I think some by these folks.  The website is all in German—sorry—but sometimes you can find Waldorf stuff on etsy if you search with that term.

Speaking of tiny things, Angry Chicken had a fun post about them just this week, which led me also to these cool tiny things and an awesome new-to-me blog. 

Okay, I really have to get back to my writing work. Things are happening with my book projects—so happy.

Big Girl’s Room and Patchwork Duvet

The Cuppa Cuppa patchwork is finished, and we rearranged a few things in my daughter’s room to coordinate.

The elephant painting is one of three animal paintings that I made for her nursery before she was born. She’s now seven and still loves it, which makes me so happy, of course. And very glad I didn’t paint a mural on the wall, since she was born two moves ago.

The stuffed elephant was designed and hand-sewn by my dear friend Minnemie when my girl was a newborn. So glad that he’s still loved as well.

The sweet pajama cat (you stuff him with your pjs) was made by my mom from the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor.

The matryoshka doll wall decals are from local shop Enna (the seller, Anne Wendtlandt, also has an etsy shop from which she ships internationally).

And lastly, the Tooth Fairy pillow was mine, made by our neighbor back in the day. Love the 70’s Holly Hobby vibe.

I’m really glad I convinced my girl to tone down the pink in the patchwork scheme. All the sudden she’s feeling like a “big girl” and not as interested in pink and purple princesses, so thankfully she still likes the patchwork now that it’s finished.

If you want to know more about the making of this patchwork, here are posts about the beginning, middle, and almost-finished stages. It’s constructed with improvisational piecing using self-dyed, commercial, and recycled fabrics, inspired by this quilt by Malka Dubrawsky.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It’s always a bit strange overseas, since no one celebrates it here. On Sunday Advent season begins, though, and Christmas markets have opened, which are a big deal here and lots of fun. Happy weekend!

Whadya Get?

We got lots of nice things for Christmas. These are some things I bought at the Waldorf School Christmas Bazaar or that my son brought home from the Waldorf Kindergarten here in Hannover. Some things have already been engulfed into the Land of Lost Toys, but maybe they’ll turn up for their close-ups soon.

The Waldorf community makes the most awesome toys in the world, in my opinion. Above are a hand puppet (the bearded guy), a tiny knitted doll and crib on a string, a snowflake angel ornament, and a beeswax turtle. I’m kind of wishing I were six so I could wear the crib doll around my neck. The crib reverses into a little pouch so you can carry her safely.

Below are a first aid kit (has bandages and cotton and, very German, a piece of candy), a crocheted crown, and a beeswax nativity scene. Sadly, Joseph has already lost a limb. Sorry Joseph! You were just too tempting to let alone. My three-year-old son really wanted the first aid kit—-he calls it his wallet. I love the uneven blanket stitching.

Check out some new features on the blog: you can now get more easily to my favorite projects/ tutorials, recipes, and writing exercises, plus you can see my flickr stream. Off to make sandwiches for supper. I have totally picked up this German tradition—it’s a lot easier on old mom.

All Aboard

Aren’t these great? They’re from the Waldorf Kindergarten craft bazaar here in Hannover.  I bought one for each family member, since, you know, we’re a family of explorers and all.

I wanted to buy everything they had. Really, the Waldorf folks know what they’re doing when it comes to toys. All handmade, all totally awesome and actually the prices were quite reasonable considering the quality. In addition to these boats there were whole hand-carved villages, hand-sewn dolls, crocheted crowns, wool felt animals, the whole nine yards. I could’ve stayed and played all day.