Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Once in a Blue moon

The magical light of the second full moon this month welcomes the New Year of 2010! Although back in the mild sunny climes of the west now, the Phoenix family enjoyed the blast blizzard in the big apple. We were gifted with a trudge through Central Park with the local residents who were out enjoying the crispy undergrowth with sleds in tow. It was truly a most beautiful walk, the icy river sparkling under pelted flying snowballs, and we met a few frozen sno-men along the way. We spied ruddy smiling faces of those who ventured out and our winter wet hands were warmed with my favourite winter treat hot chestnuts!

Did you know? : The Aztecs made a red dye from the bracts of the the wild poinsettia bush and also used the sap to reduce fevers!

Many blessings this season to you and may this New Year be a prosperous, healthy and happy one!

Monday, December 14, 2009


And so to the advent spiral we go into the winter season! What a lovely way to create an inner moment of clarity in the darkness, by the offering of an apple clad candle, lit from a central point and a gradual glow illuminates the evergreen spiral. There are no actual pictures of this event since it can only be captured by the mind and soul, that is rightly so!

The Jusso stream and tree to read under

G.bye sweet nymph
The excitement at winter faire so electric, 3.5 hours of sleep, a fabulous 5th grade lecture and eurythmy lesson had my adrenals pumping for the day! My calloused elven hands are still busy making gifts and treasures, some will appear in the new and lovely, "Petals and Stems" shop at Westside Waldorf and will continue to pop up over the year I hope!

Infinity Cave Playscape

mermaids in waiting for a kit and kaboodle!

A fresh bounty of veggies fell my way when a spare CSA box was offered last week, and did I mention that we won a raffle to Mammoth Mountain!! We are so very excited, we've never won anything and have been wanting to to take the kids ski-iing for years! I feel the love, thank you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yep I know..

Straight off the workbench and into your hands! Here are some items made recently ( some are gone already). I will attempt to get more into the Etsy store by Thursday this week, but many items may well be whisked away by elves for eager little ones to play with. Please do stop by and see if there's something for you! I will be having a booth with the ever lovely Dragonfly Artisans at this years OCS winter faire Dec 12th from 10am-4pm, come and shop with all our talented artisan vendors making Waldorf items. 20 % proceeds support the school and the remainder will pay some tuition at Waldorf Institute of Southern California!!!

Partial to pears in a tree?

whimsy wands whipped and ready for magic

During this holiday season bringing light into our darkest days of winter, we remind ourselves that it is the giver who makes the gift precious. “Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.”
–James Russell Lowell, 1819–91

playscape big and small for every occasion and nature table

Put your hands and handiwork into your gifts ( or support handmade items by artisans). Make homemade gifts from the kitchen to share with loved ones and enjoy the simple pleasure of making and giving, not just doling out paper dough!
recycled sweater needle cases with felted embellishments

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank goodness!

Over the river, and through the wood,
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

It's that special time of year where the holidays queue up to create chaos unless you are carefully pretending not to notice and go at your own pace! This can be very useful for people like me who have way too much on the plate to start with!

some lovely large play-silks in rainbow, ocean and sunset hues will appear for sale soon!
I know it's cheesy, but I thought a short list of thankful things may be fun to play with. I am going to provide lolly (Popsicle) sticks to scribble on and pop in a jar on our table this year, so we can randomly note those things we are truly thankful for. Little Gandalf recently underwent an appendectomy and few days after being home he conveyed his thanks to us for being healthy when we made him and that he was alive, his words not mine - I know. Life can be overwhelming unless you really take time to set aside that special family time, slow down for a moment and look around you; smell the air; hear a bird and touch something that enlivens your senses. Look no further, with Thanksgiving right around the corner you can sidle right up to this one and do all of the above, with the ones you love! Or just pretend to hibernate for the winter!

The OCS Winter Faire this year is coming soon, Dec 12th - 11am-4pm, and promises to be as magical as ever. I really do not have time to make all the lovelies I wish to, but nevertheless the dragonfly artisans will be there with bells on, ( yes really)! I would love to see some of you in person, so please stop by and say hello!!

Some recycled needle case can be found with felted animal fronts

an array of kits and whimsical fancies will be on display both at the faire and in the etsy shop

Wishing all the fiber-fans-waldorf-homeschool-gardeners out there a very lovely, healthy and happy holiday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hath 31, phew!

With the wind blowing, 20ft waves just a few days ago and a low of oh, maybe 58 F ( tee hee) we've really hit winter here in La La Land! So to help the seasonal mood, we use a little (a lot) of imagination! With Donovan Boy and Little Gandalf rolling their eyes, in the most good-natured way of course - I am constantly and quite excitedly pointing out that there is snow on those far off mountains! The fastest Queen Winter for school and a rather gentlemanly King Winter for a fellow teacher as a 12th night pressie came to visit to help things along!

Frosty King comes a knocking at Seeds of Joy!

Just had to share a quick pic of some lovely damp bark, recently 'collected' at Wilderness Park!

Rivers of bark - the first in a new collection!
Shall I make this into a felted illustration of the wonderful Norse legends of old?? Seems excessive but still it may be fun!

For those who don't celebrate 12th night , please do see last years' post about Wassail for all the deets!

New Moon tonight, the Jasmine is particulary strong at night and during a waxing moon...hmmm!
some unfinished Goldsworthyesque art left lying around in the forest.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wild and Wooly

Where are the wild things? At Otis Fine Arts college today for sure!!

I had the immense pleasure of guiding a workshop with some of the students and faculty, who were indeed wildly dedicated and talented in pursuit of a new wooly medium to play with! I hope to return next semester and help more students immerse themselves in the fluff and colour of the fiber art world.

Some creations are still being completed but I had to share some their lovely work thus far.

Fabulous Teddy complete with his own change of head...

Gargantuan squid in the making..

Cute steg still in the works

medicine woman with buffalo rug

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Switch Witch?

October certainly disappeared in a flurry of flu, chicken soup/probiotics and finally a sea of candy to boot! Luckily the Switch Witch came to save us from mounds of sugar and left in it's place a toy and a book for Donovan Boy and Little Gandalf! Did she get to you too, were you willing to give up your stash of goodies for something less edible?

I do hope everyone had a lovely month of splendid Autumn weather and festivities!

This little picture is something finished today that will be for sale on both Etsy and at the annual Winter Faire on Dec 12th, here will be lots more of goodies to see and buy from various artisans including The Dragonfly Artisans too! More on that later!

Needle felted Autumn Wool painting

Goulish glow in the dark skeleton readies for an evening of candy collecting..

I'm so sad, we lost the seeds to mold because I was too tired to roast them right away!
Lady Autumn was blown in on the blustery winds to deliver a whispered secret and gift from the forest, of acorn gnomies to the kinder kids. Will she turn up again soon elsewhere I wonder?

What a lovely pumpkin patch of work from the 2nd grade kids!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh Really?

... is this the first post for October? I don't know about you but I've been uber busy with teaching, training and generally pretending I don't get sick even when my kids do!

A dragon was discovered lurking around the kitchen table and he finally took off for fairer pastures! Now I'm really behind on my cross stitch homework and flute practice!

The Taos Wool Festival was as always a joy to behold with the splendour of Autumn colours, the seasonally slower river chasing the yellowing cottonwood trees and n'er a nip in the clean mountain air either! Filled with armloads of buffalo and alpaca batt, curly roving and a huge amount of coffee, I was honoured to teach my first out-of-state felting workshop with some lovely ladies from far and near. They allowed me to push their noggins and talent to sculpt gorgeous Goddess dolls! Final doll pics to come very soon, right ladies?

Some fabulous new work by Heart of Felt artists
-I'll feature them here soon!

Couple of odd things to share about our weekend in Taos, NM...it's not often you find a goat tied up in the town square Saturday night, but a very friendly little bleater he was too. The day we left was a bit of a rush to the airport in Albuquerque, so when the engine refused to start we managed to look lame enough to solicit help from a couple of friendly local law enforcement officers, who were more than mildly amused by our rotten battery connection! One can of Coca-cola later and we were off...I'm pretty sure no eluding to the obvious facts are needed here, right?

Lady Autumn is preparing for her annual visit to the Ocean Charter kindergarten, she will of course be armed with secrets to whisper and an army of acorn gnomies.

The beautiful Harvest Moon shone clear, Sukkoth is still in full swing, and although we are fighting some whacky fever thing, we are thankful to stay connected to nature, family and

"No two gardens are the same, no two days are the same in one garden"
Hugh Johnson

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To Sleep, to dream?

For those of you who know me, I like to sport an English accent of sorts, actually I am a Brit, but am mistaken for an Ozzie quite often - must be my Californian drawl mix, which leads me to share some interesting habits that do seem to stick around for good or ill!! The all important nap, the tea break ( my fav) and the love for capturing breathing moments to maintain sanity!

Koi in Balboa pond at the botanical gardens

The Ritual of an Afternoon Nap by Diane Prusha and article text by Dr Susan Johnson and my two pennies worth of course!

Sitting down, putting your feet up, closing your eyes, and taking 3-5 deep deliberate breaths in and out, and picture a happy natural place, a babbling brook or a warm sandy beach, reading a book under a tree in the woods?

After lunch, the warm sun dappling the room with rays of gold, the wind softly playing with the curtains, humming a well liked song, while we wash our hands, the closing of the curtains, lying down on a soft bed, the light blanket floating down, lighting a candle, the telling of a gentle nature story, a back rub, fingers to the lips in a shhhh.... The blowing out of the candle. Stillness. Silence. An hour passes.
The quiet song returns, the curtains are gently opened, the folding of the blanket, a hug, a yawn.
A ritual has just been created.
A rhythmic breath.
A mood.

In this silence and space, a child’s morning “food” is digested. The food is basically anything and everything that is felt and taken in by all the senses during the busy work and play. As parents and teachers, it is our work and more importantly our inner work to give our children safe, secure, and quiet out breaths. Creating little rituals in our day will help us manage the out breaths more easily.

Taking the time to establish these special times may take a bit of effort but will be well worth it for you and your child. And, children love ritual! Creating silence strengthens a child’s patience and active attention, which is the foundation for all learning.

Accordingly, a child’s natural physiological rhythm is alert and active in the morning hours but tire out at about one, with a sharp decline until about three. At this time, there is another peak and then a second decline at bedtime around seven o’clock.

Sure, children love commotion, but they also hunger for quiet. We can create quiet for them with our own relaxed breathing in and out.

It is a challenge for us to commit to these rituals and be mindful of the patterns of the day, but your child will be rested and able to fall asleep more easily promise!! This all leads to a
healthier immune and sensory system, and a more content and happy child. The added bonus for you is the feeling and knowledge that you are protecting and nurturing your child’s growth and health. This holds them in a way that gives them freedom, so they may grow into the human beings they are meant to be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And a cup of tea for me!

'Instant family' by the gnomeschoolers,
thanks to Fiona Duthie for showing me this pattern to share this Summer!!

Whether you are in a traditional type school or are homeschooling, the end of the whimsy of Summer hits hard while the weather is still baking hot ( well here any way!) Sweltering in high degree heat isn't fun unless you are sipping iced tea ( or Pimms) by a pool or the like. Mixed with breathing difficulties and itchy skin comes the sad realisation that much of our lovely Los Angeles mountain regions burned away to a crisp, some areas hadn't burned in over 100 years, that's mind blowing to think that it will be generations before those gorgeous trees are re-established. You can be sure that my family and I will be planting new trees when the first opportunity arises!

cubby tree
As an English transplant, I'm fairly wilting in the heat, fighting off weeds that take advantage of my delicate nature and surprise surprise - busy as a bee. Always fun to do creative projects with friends, ranging from helping dye silks for a pre-school co-op, wet felting a huge wall hanging or teaching some parents how to whip up a woolly puppet in a flash is all wonderful fodder for this Phoenix!

the mega-hanging before felting..oh my poo old back!!!
Mark your calenders, Oct 3rd and 4th the Taos Wool festival in New Mexico and I'd love to see you there, register to join my workshop to create a goddess art doll sculpture and wander the delights of this gorgeous little town!

Little Gandlaf has lost so many teeth recently, these poor fairy pillows are nearly redundant!
check the shop....

Been too busy? Have a cuppa and a biscuit on me!

These lovely paintings became perfect backgrounds for a cursive writing alphabet for4th graders!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dippy Dippy

....from hell's heart, I stab at thee; for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee."

Oops wrong 'dying' words, titter...however, upon some stretched pondering, I'm led to try and conclude that my constant stabbing (with felting needles silly) and spit - yes, every good tendril deserves a little, may have some meaning. Creating woolly rivers? Releasing stress? Thinking more clearly, or could it possibly be a half-decent excuse to listen to a few favourite albums really loud all the way through without being disturbed??????

Well, no hate or hell here, but it's a great quote anyway and both Moby Dick and Star Trek's Wrath of Khan rank somewhere high on the fav list that I will probably not share - ever. unless I'm feeling particularly dorky that day and think someone cares to see it.
rainbow drying...where's that gold?
Anyway, I've been painting more silky batches recently and desperately want to have more time and space to really play with it in a more meaningful way. I do envy those that get to play with colour on a regular basis and hope to really diversify this with some young-uns soon! Huh? Meaning, I will soon be starting work at Seeds of Joy helping guide children on their journey through kindergarten this year. My first out of home job for over 10 years, yelp! but O-man wants it that way...eh?

dipping into the dye pots
Some of these unique silks may actually make it to the shop, but most will be given as gifts :-) I hope you like them. I'll be working for a few more days on getting nature table items and dolls made for 4th grade, 1st grade and kinder too, then it's onto some yummy custom work - DRAGONS!! Stay tuned.
summer selection almost gone but not forgotten

oceans blowing in the wind

Live long and prosper! sorry, resistance is useless.