Showing posts with label handwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label handwork. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dye Day!

                                                   Oh , hey! This is my 100th post!

Time to dye yarn with Grade 5!  I've posted this before, but we use kool-aide to dye the yarn. I soak natural hanks of yarn from Brown Sheep  in vinegar and water overnight, and dye the next day.

After having done this for many years, I think I've finally streamlined this and have it down!  This can be done in one 50 minute class if you are prepared, but more time is better.  The yarn sits in the sun in those baggies for days (I have the students put them out in the morning, and bring back in at the end of the school day). The next class we have in a week, we will rinse and hang the yarn to dry.

Have I mentioned I have 2 fifth grades, both at about 30 students...that's a lot of dyeing!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Welcome to the 2015/2016 School Year!

Oh boy, here we go again with good intentions of keeping up posts on this blog...has it really been 2 years? Well, there are a few projects that happened in that time, and here is one that was really successful with an 8th grade class.  Ladies and gents, regard the Adobe wood burning outdoor oven!  I used the plans from Sunset magazine:

note the can for the back vent

mixing the adobe, using clay from the garden

working on the door

adding adobe mixture to wire form
The door!

Forming opening to oven with curved flashing

Keeping adobe moist so not too many cracks

Burning out the cardboard barrel


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Handwork update and Happy New Year!

Winter break has been wonderful !  It's time to review the last half of the school year and gear up for the next few months.  Here are some pictures of where we are in some of my classes.

Fourth grade crossstitch:

First time I really gave artistic freedom...these are only a few, and I will try to post all of them because they really are so creative and are really enjoying it!  Yes, we have a Giants fan...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Steiner on handwork, in a nutshell.

While going through my notes on the history of the sewing machine, its role in the industrial revolution (not to mention economics, as it was the first household item to be bought with the HP , hire purchase, system...think "rent to own"...Singer had a good business partner in Clarke...time to live beyond our means, woohoo!)
Oh, I do digress...what I came across was a notion, perhaps a quote but my notes do not show a quote, so I am assuming it is a rephrasing maybe from Rudolf Steiner...of the whole purpose of handwork in the Waldorf school:

Steiner stated that the purpose (of handwork) was not necessarily to teach a particular skill, but rather to inspire a mindset of confidence and connectedness in the individual.

Oh, and this is my fave picture of Rudolf...about the age of my own son...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cloth Marionettes

I will use a lot of information from this book:

by Lucy and Grace Morton
This is one of the best step by step marionette making books I have ever seen!  I can't believe I hadn't seen it until now.   Got it for next to nothing used on Amazon.  

 I will use many of the patterns, and there are a few "check-list" type pages that really is a step by step guide, so great for kids !  So much of the work I would have done is already done for me.  I still haven't decided whether to do needle felted heads or not, the heads on these are sewn/stuffed heads.  The stringing is more complicated than I will do too, but it is nice info to have anyway.   I would also do these with hand sewing, not machines (because it would be for 7th grade).

Nice felted head tutorial, if I choose to felt the heads...(they would be much bigger, but shows the basics)

Off to make a prototype!  School meetings start tomorrow...what was I doing with all my free time this summer???
Ummm....oh, now I remember what I was doing with all that free time... :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

7th grade handwork 2012-13

7th grade handwork is complicated this limitations due to the "no handwork room" issue...sooo, we shall start with finishing up last year's project, the raffia hats.  It'll be tricky, there will probably be some new students, and a couple have left, so the dynamic of the class could change drastically.  I will feel it out for the first couple of weeks, but this is what I would like to accomplish with this class.

Finish raffia hats.

Boiled wool slippers (which we make from cutting up old felted sweaters)  I would love to make our own felt for these, but it is cost prohibitive...

Needle felting...start with needle felting something on the slippers maybe.  I really want to make soft marionettes with them, and needle felt the heads, hands and feet.  That is a ways down the road, so I will feel that project out.

Some simple woodworking, thinking about something like this:
...although I think this would be better for 6th grade....

Somewhere in there I would like to do a giving project for each grade, but have not come up with what yet!  Suggestions?

**Oh, I have to add to this...with much thought I have come to the conclusion that I will try to do wet felted slippers with this class, the kind like this:

LOL, that's me with my slippers!  I think it will work, I will take small groups of no more than 10, while my assistant Robin leads them in the raffia hats.  They may want to needle felt a bit on them too.  Wish me luck, the last time I attempted this the class ended up having a soap suds throwing battle which made me never want to do it again!  (it was just soap suds for goodness sakes,  but I remember feeling very disappointed and a little angry...hopefully if that happens this year I can laugh it off?)  I think it will be a great experience with this class!

After all that is done, we have options.  Marionettes? Renaissance shirts?  I will be meeting with the class teacher to see if there is anything he would like to see happen...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

8th grade 2012-2013

Let's start with 8th grade curriculum this year....
I have the challenge of working without a Handwork room, our school is bursting at the seams and they needed my room for a classroom.  We are double tracked all the way to 4th grade now!  Great for our school, not so great for classroomless me :(
Oh, but it is just a challenge, and with some clever maneuvering , we will make it work!  Woodwork may be put on the chopping block (sorry, couldn't resist) for now, as that is a space hog.  Perhaps some simple whittling (I digress, let's stick to 8th grade, right?)

So, since we will be working in one room, my assistant and I have decided to split the class, one half working on sewing and the other working on inkle looms.

We will begin the year together going over the sewing machine, it's role in the industrial revolution (did you know that in Sacramento, where I live, one of the major streets, Howe Ave, is named after Elias Howe of sewing machine fame?  He is also buried here)  We will put the "human sewing machine" together, and take one of my vintage sewing machines apart, oil it, and put it back together.
It is nice for them to see the mechanics that really have not essentially changed since the invention (with the newer machines one can't see inside.)
After this, we will split the class of about 30 (I don't have the class list yet, could  be more or fewer, but I order and plan for 30 to be safe).  I am storing 5 sewing machines for 15 students to share in their classroom, each student making pajama pants.   I use a simple pj pant patern with elastic for the waist.   The other 15 will be working on inkle looms.  After a few months we will switch.
I have to leave a few months at the end of the year to work on a gift from them for the school, TBA.  (last year was a quilt wall hanging)

My source for the inkle loom is

Pine box traders mini inkle loom.  Great price, and they deliver so fast!  I ordered 12...might have to order more!  They are just the right size, and will make a strap 5 ft long.  Love it!
I haven't decided whether to use yarn or embroidery floss...maybe both!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Year 1012-13 planning

Raffia Hat Making
Here we go again!  Planning the next school year is a little daunting sometimes....especially because I like to mix it up a little, while some things never change, I have pretty much carte blanche to add any projects that strikes my fancy, and fits a particular class.  For example, at the end of the last school year I stopped everything we were doing with the 6th grade and started raffia hat making....I saw it as a homeopathic remedy for a bit wild and out of control class (well, more than a bit actually....).  I saw all that wild rafia having to be formed into some semblance of organization, and I thought that was exactly what I would like to see happen with this pull themselves together into something harmonious, useful and beautiful.  Did it work?  Well, actually it did.  Pretty cool.

I ordered the 35 lb. hat grade raffia, which will last me for years!  I also ordered the book Raffia Hat Making by Ann Fennell from the same source.  Pretty basic stuff.

Skills needed:  Braiding skills, for more advanced students, a 4 strand braid was used.  I like that better as it lays flatter.
We just braided and braided and added more raffia and braided and braided and then starting with a spiral sewed it all up (like a rag rug) and formed it the way they wanted.  It is surprising how each hat turns out differently, and not always the way we want!  We will still be doing this at the beginning of this year, no-one finished (some took the project home over the summer)

Now, go out and make a hat!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Empty Nest Book Reviews

Enpty nest book reviews.

OK, so I am not turning this blog into an "empty nest" blog, but I do intend on including more personal musing mixed in with the usual handwork thing.  I think that doing that will make me a little more interested in posting more often, because frankly, it was getting a little boring trying to just stay on handwork related subjects all the time.

So, just wanted to say a few words about a few books that I have recently read regarding "empty nest syndrome", feeling that I needed some affirmation about what I was going through, and this is what I found:  In general, these books did not make me feel better, but worse.

 Beyond the Mommy Years, How to Live Happily Ever After...After the Kids Leave Home  by Carin Rubenstein, Phd.  Well, this one was full of well investigated situations of cross sections of women from all over and how they deal and cope with mid-life empty nest.  The title is misleading, it is NOT a how to book.  It left me feeling both hopeful and hopeless, and actually made me feel kind of anxious with statements like "the fifties are a last chance decade"...yeah, like I needed that.  Read it if you want, it was pretty matter of fact.  The chapter on sex was depressing as heck.

The Empty Nest, 31 parents tell the truth about relationships, love, and freedom ater the kids flly the coop  edited by Karen Stabiner.  Read this if you want to cry for days.  I was feeling pretty good about things, then I picked this book up and had a crying breakdown that lasted for the entire book.  It was torturous.  So, if you need a good cry, which you probably are not a stranger of if your kid(s) just flew the coop, this is your book.  I wish I never read it, it took me days to get back on a happy track!  This is what I call a " misery loves company" kind of book.

133 Ways to Avoid Going Cuckoo When the Kids Fly the Nest by Lauren Schaffer and Sandy Fleischl Wasserman.  This book is a quick quirky read.  It is a humorous look at the ENS, and I think does the job quite well.  Fun to read, good advice, nothing that will leave your heart in tatters on the floor.  Great advice, some I took on, like NOT making knee jerk decisions the week after your kid is gone, like throwing all his stuff out (which I almost did), moving (which I thought about), quitting your job (gave that some thought), etc.  Very pragmatic advice, I wish I had read it before so that I didn't fall into booby traps that would start the water works (like sitting in my son's room crying, shoulda closed that door for a while until I was ready for that one!  That said, the fact that it was in this book made me feel a little less crazy, and for the record, I can easily go in and out of my son's room without a breakdown a month after his launch)

Anyway, that is about all the books I will read on this subject.  Did they help?  Not really, but the last one did a little bit and made me laugh when I didn't think I had a laugh left in me!

Well, I had one more read left in me evidently!  Just finished Fun Without Dick and Jane, Your Guide to a Delightfully Empty Nest by Christie Mellor.  This book is a possitive look at life after kids, and won't allow you to look at things in a negative light.  Pretty uplifting overall, I would have tossed it if it started to get wallowy in misery...(she also wrote "The Three Martini Playdate" and "The Three Martini Family Vacation", so if you read those, you know what you are in for!

Now to finish up my handwork curriculum, I intend to have everything set and ordered by week's end. Next post will be all about that!  Onwards and upwards !!

(oh, and the picture is my son in his 6th grade play as Merlin)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh boy oh boy, I have been away from this for a while!

I put all my extra time into my son's senior year at Sacramento Waldorf School.
I am forever grateful that he decided to return to waldorf for his last two years of high school, and I think that decision was life changing for him in a very positive way.
He is now living in the Bay Area, he was antsy to leave home and be independent  from the day he was born it seems.
What a dynamic beautiful intelligent talented young man!  

I am in the throws of ENS (empty nest syndrome) for which I was totally unprepared!  More on that later, but it is getting better.  It has only been a month, the first two weeks were brutal (read:  laying in his bed sobbing for hours...uh oh, not good, but I have discovered not abnormal!)  Anyway, it is FOR REAL, and looking back the whole senior year was kinda was preparing me for this, lots of lasts (last first day of school etc.)  The absolute most emotional day was the senior walk through, where the seniors are honored by each class from K through 11th, and they sing them songs and offer flowers, and at the end each senior has a huge bouquet of flowers!  Loved and cried every minute of it!  
So, as far as HANDWORK goes, I am in the middle of fine tuning some curriculum for the next school year and putting in orders for supplies.  I promise to get back to that and posting more often to help anyone out there also teaching handwork!  It will be an interesting year, my first without having a son in school, so most of my attention will be teaching handwork.  I literally have to have everything nailed down by the end of this week, as my niece is getting married in Lake Tahoe just when school starts, so I don't want to have to worry about work and can fully enjoy the week of family filled events!

Sunday, February 26, 2012



I think I will include this in the Handwork curriculum....I can also see a woodworking project out of this!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Western Waldorf Teacher's Conference

Wow, the Western Waldorf Teacher's Conference was AMAZING and all about handwork!!! My particular break away workshop was felting slippers.  Luckily, the green wood workers were right outside my window, so I feel like I got tutorials in both.  More pictures in a few days when I have more time, but here is a look:

(oh, and the insights from Angus Gorden of Ruskin Mill were so inspiring,   more on that later too!)