Joining in a little differently with the yarn along today, I mean, it is mostly made of yarn so I guess it counts right! This dreamcatcher came about by just playing with yarn and a hoop really, there wasn't any kind of plan it just evolved as I went along. The hoop is an old kids basketball hoop which I covered in a layer of tightly wrapped yarn. The tree started with the strand you can see going straight up from the bottom middle to the top middle, making the trunk. As I wrapped and thickened this central line I just took bits and pieces branching off whenever I felt like it. All the yarn wrapping took me about 2 days on and off in between normal mothering duties, cooking for hungry mouths and homeschooling. I then added the traditional netted 'dreamcatcher bits' in really really thin sewing thread (this was a delicate operation for sure!), and sewed some silver and white beads and crystals to it. The dangle underneath is made up of threads, lace, beads, a dried teasel and some dried everlast flowers that faith gave me a few years ago. It now hangs above my bed, hopefully letting some lovely dreams in.
Cold and beautiful January saw us visiting one of our favourite spots more often than not. A secluded piece of moorland with rocky pathways to a sparkly lake. It is rare for us to find anyone else on this particular walk as it's pretty hard to get to, so we enjoy the solitude and immense calm that seems to emanate from the lake. In the warmer months we take picnics and swimsuits and spend the day. This time of year we just take ourselves, wrapped up in layers of wool, stand at the edge and soak up as much as we can before hurrying back to the van. There are plans afoot to acquire a tandem kayak for adventures here but we will have to see how that can be worked out, fingers crossed!
Joining in with the yarn along today, just working on some socks while I wait for some creative inspiration to strike. Socks are always my standby, always needed, easy to transport and I've made so many that no pattern is needed (although here is my general sock recipe) so I can stop and start as necessary. Got some lovely purply mottled sock weight yarn from a local shop ad I'm really enjoying how they're coming out. Reading Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke, this was bought as a christmas present for Faith but I'm enjoying it too, If you like a bit of fantasy then I'm sure you would too - thoroughly recommended.
We are having the most beautiful winter, cold, fresh and sunny. The weather has been so warm here that the leaves clung to the branches much longer than usual, suddenly dropping in between our two visits to the woods. I have winter in my heart and although I enjoy the long nights of summer and all the good fun that brings, winter is where it's at for me. Going out, getting cold, feeling our cheeks go red in the wind and then coming home for hot chocolate and blankets, snuggles and stories.
Montessori maths materials. Need I say more. Well, yes, probably! The Montessori method for teaching maths involves a lot of manipulative materials that are tempting to touch and lovely to look at. The bead cabinet is one of my favourites but the price tag is a bit off-putting! This one is great and the cabinet to store it all in is too but together the cost is reaching thousands. Obviously not affordable, but crafty doesn't say can't, so here is my homemade version for considerably less (approx £40 total by buying the beads when on sale).
The materials. Beads - a whole load in various colours, wire ( I ended up going back for more), pliers, wire cutters, jump rings and plastic mesh.
The beginning - when I had no idea how long this was going to take!
The thousand cube! Yes it is solid and made of 1000 beads all wired together. Do you see the plastic mesh in between the edge rows and the second row in? That's what holds it all together.
The squares and cubes 1-10. I made one cube of each and the number of squares equal to its size, eg, 3 - 3x3 squares, 8 - 8x8 squares, 10 - 10x10 squares etc.
Bead bars, approximately 60 of each, although more of the 10 bars.
The bead chains. Short bead chains that show the square of each number (eg, 6x6), and the long chains show the cube of each number (eg 6x6x6). Let me tell you that the long chain of 10 is very very long and time consuming to make! It's extremely cool when you can compare it to the 10x10x10 cube and see that they are the same though!
I also made snake games which involve some more of the bead bars, some bead bars 1-10 in different colours for holding places, and again in another different colour for negative numbers. Somehow I forgot to photograph the snake game but here is one by another DIYer so you can see what I'm talking about.
I have plans to show you how we are using these beads in our homeschool, but for now I'm just taking a breath after all that bead stringing!
Just before the new year we went on our annual visit to the winter woods, a truly magical experience from rogue theatre that includes meeting fairies in the dark, trees lit by strings of lights and disco balls and fire dancers to guide your way. After a story from old man winter you make it to the tent where hot chocolate and warm blankets wait and then a wonderful show telling a winter story. This is one of the things our family looks forward to most about the winter season and if you ever have a chance to see it then make sure you get there.