Tuesday, 15 July 2014
The short days and long nights of winter call for some gentle, nurturing family activities at ours. We've been enjoying making our own beeswax candles to light our evening meals. The gentle light and honey scent bring warmth to our table and our home. Our children delight in watching the candles flicker and melt at different rates and how rolling the candles differently brings different results.
Rolling the candles is fun for everyone in the family, with warm hands and honey scents filling the air as we work. Even our three-year-old rolls candles with ease, after a little help to roll the wick. We like to play with different shapes, from tall and slender to short and triangular.
Sometimes we'll mix things up and cut out shapes from the beeswax to decorate with. We decorate the candles we've made or make garlands to decorate our home. Sometimes we make extra candles for gifts that'll bring a little honey warmth and light to a loved one's home.
You can find our beeswax and candle making kits here.
Find a collection of our favourite beeswax related pins here.
Monday, 23 June 2014
Winter Solstice blessings to you, Garden lovers! We had a rather beautiful Winter Solstice weekend. We did a little candle rolling, winter decorating, gift giving and a whole lot of celebrating and we're more than a bit grateful for the beautiful little shop full of things in our home.
You can read all about our weekend celebrations here.
And you can find our winter range at Spiral Garden here.
Then there's all the plastic and fact that these tools should be regularly replaced. If you're a family of five, like ours, that's a whole lot of plastic thrown into landfill over a lifetime.
We like to keep things simple by buying bamboo toothbrushes in bulk here. They're soft, lightweight fair-trade, sustainable and compostable. All things we love.
To combat the confusion of five plain wooden toothbrushes in the holder, we decorate them ourselves. Any paint will do, but our favourite, most simple way to decorate them is using our Giotto Materials Markers. They're permanent paint markers that work on absorbent materials like ceramic, stone and wood. Easy to hold, mess free and vibrant and make for a fun activity. What we love best is that we can choose our most favourite colours and patterns and every toothbrush is different. Like a little evolving art installation in our bathroom.
You can find our Giotto Materials Markers here.
*NB: we've not been paid to endorse the environmental toothbrush, we just thing they're a great product*
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
One of the most loved corners of our home has always been the little play kitchen. We have some beautiful old wooden vegetables, a wooden tea set and some home made bits and pieces but lately we felt that it could do with a freshen up…
So when we finally received our much-wished-for Papoose felt toys order, we were thrilled to hand our children two of our most favourite sets, the pizza set and the bento set... Actually, the children rather begged, they were so taken with their beauty. What happened next amazed us…
All three children (even the almost 11 year old) played for three days straight. They were cooks, restaurant owners, busy parents… They had picnics, played shops… They covered mathematical concepts like fractions, addition, subtraction and currency and they wrote menus, bills, even restaurant reviews! It was amazing! Concentration like I've not seen in them for a long while, as their days were completely devoted to the game.
The gorgeous, sturdy food, happily has stood up to the test. Its robust fabric, expertly stitched by hand, and made from pure wool. The Papoose range is handmade in Nepal, under a fair trade scheme. It's wonderful to know that families helping to create toys, that our children play with, are provided for. All the wool is sourced in Australia and NZ, so the sheep are happy too - and so soft! These toys are so soft and beautiful to hold and amazing to play with.
Next on the list of our children's requests is the felt vegetables and fruit, for a balanced diet, of course. There's also a fair amount of eye-ing off of the felt playmats and indoor games… But we're saving them for a rainy day.
Find our Papoose range here.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
We adore playing and puddling with watercolours of any sort. Some we take travelling, or pull out when we're working on something detailed. Sometimes we like to do some wet-on-wet painting, as our eldest daughter practiced at her Steiner kindergarten. Sometimes we like to just play with colour and water and see where the medium takes us.
We were thrilled to get our hands on some Washable Watercolours this week. Made in Australia, these paints promised to be vivid and easy to use, and they didn't disappoint. With a three-year-old artist in our home, art can sometimes get messy. Especially when attentions are divided among children of varying ages. She wants to work with the same freedom her elder siblings have. While we attempt to model appropriate use of the materials, we also don't want to hinder creative expression or experimentation, so we let them all go for it.
Sometimes MESSY is an understatement.
SO we were THRILLED to hear about these new washable paints. Very quick to set up, with no mixing required, they are ready to go when placed in small jars, ice-cube trays or the like. Easy to remove from clothing, hands and most surfaces means easy clean-ups for me and more creative freedom for them.
We were also thrilled at their affordable price. No more cringing at mixed colour jars or mysterious paint-coloured finger prints around the house… And despite all their playing and puddling, very little paint was actually used.
Not to mention the beautiful colours and the way they blended. Even just three simple primary colours yielded a whole, beautiful rainbow, with ease.
Best of all, they work well for all ages. The fact that they are made in Australia is an added bonus for us, keeping the product's environmental and ethical footprint to a minimum. We started with just three colours, Red, Blue and Yellow, but a whole spectrum is available should you desire more. Right now Spiral Garden stocks Orange, Green and Purple, but more are available on request.
We're wondering what to do next with our washable watercolours. Apparently they are fantastic for colouring wood, rainbow rice and other sensory play materials and anywhere you might use large quantities of food dye. Have a look at this blog post for some more ideas. And this one too!
You can find our Washable Watercolours here.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
A lazy afternoon, no plans and a big sister wanting to create something quick and fun to give her two smaller sisters...
By a stroke of luck, her Grandmother (who has impeccably good taste and a sense for these things) gave her a Sukie Button Factory and before we knew it we had a button each and spares. There was talk of gifts and friends and suddenly buttons were being counted and grouped, then divided and multiplied. Colours were discussed and new Sukie-inspired designs were created... And I do believe we have a quick and fun lazy afternoon craft project on hand for a long time to come.
Find our Sukie Button Factory here.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
For a long time now, one of our favourite indoor activities has been colouring. We love opening a gorgeous colouring book and sharing filling the pages with colour together. Or taking a page each and working on something beautiful of our own making. Sometimes we'll even draw pictures in black outline and swap them to colour in! No matter what or how we colour, it always makes for comfortable, quiet time together.
We reach for our favourite pencils, crayons or paints and let the colours fill the page. We negotiate sharing space and favourite colours. We try different styles of colouring and talk about the shapes, shading, lines and different styles that make up the artworks that we are working with. We plan what we'll do next. We learn and develop motor skills, we explore colour... and we have fun!
Best of all, colouring is something we can all do together. It's an activity that takes as long as you like and travels well. We love colouring!
We have a beautiful range of colouring books and pencils, crayons and paints available in our store, including the beautiful Charley Harper colouring book you see above. This one has pages you can tear out, which makes colouring together super easy!
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of colouring, there is loads of information in the links below. Happy colouring! xx
Developmental Benefits of Coloring
5 Reasons Why Every Adult Needs a Coloring Book
7 Benefits of Coloring
The Benefits of Colouring-In for the Elderly