Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Castanet’s Sketch Kit

April 29, 2009

my sketch kit

Originally uploaded by Castanet

I’ve shared before Castanet’s Field Bag. Now it’s time to share her Sketch Kit, a must have collection of necessities for the traveling artists and all naturalists. Click on the image and it will take you to her Flickr page where she has added notes of all the contents in her sketch kit. Then follow her link to her blog to read more about her adventures with her kids.


Felted Fleece Spring Nature Table Baskets

March 13, 2009

Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow

Booh and I made a set of little spring baskets by felting raw fleece. Recently we went to a local farm to watch them shear their sheep and we got to take home a small bag of the skirted fleece. I wanted to add the fleece to our spring nature table and the idea of felted baskets came to mind.   We took the raw fleece and wrapped it around a river stone. We then felted it using hot water and soap. I love the organic look of these and how the silvery Pussy Willow catkins from the tree in our backyard look nestled inside. To me it is the perfect addition to Booh’s spring nature table.

The one above is a close-up of the smallest one in the bunch (this one is for “T&Z”). I love the wispy edges.   And the close-up of the one below is the largest one which we filled to the brim with Pussy Willow catkins and placed in the center of our nature table.  We made several baskets to share and swap with others that have a nature table too.  We’re sending them off today and are looking forward to what treasures we get in return!

Felted Fleece Spring Baskets & Pussy Willow Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow 

Winter Tree Study

February 9, 2009

Every morning at 6:30, Booh and I snuggle up on the couch and watch the morning winter sky light up as the sun slowly rises above the hills.  We’ve been recording the morning temperature, time, phases of the moon, weather conditions and any nature observations we can make from the window.  The coldest temperature we’ve recorded this year was negative 12-degrees … 24-degrees below freezing!  On that day our nature observation was steam coming off of the river!

This was the same day that Booh noticed patterns the branches of the deciduous trees made and how the morning sky made patches of negative space in between.  I decided to do a winter tree study with her and I came up with two projects I wanted to share.

Winter Tree Study Collage


The first one was a collage project.  After painting watercolor paper the color of the sky, we used strips of brown and black construction paper and glued them to our canvas of blue.  The idea was to glue one tree together first, followed by a second tree of a different color, and so on, creating the illusion of depth.  As you can see above (collage on left), Booh had her own methodology. I wanted to add more to mine but ran out of time.  – When we glued the strips of construction paper onto our dried blue canvas, we allowed the strips to project off of the page, and when we are done I trimmed the strips to make a smooth edge

Tree Study with BeeswaxBEESWAX

Continuing with our Winter Tree Study, we used Stockmar modelling beeswax and made little sculptures of our deciduous tree observations.  This time we added the river with its snowy bank and ice floating by.  

These medallions make a great addition to our winter nature table.  I’d like to make one for spring, summer and autumn with her too to add to our nature table as the seasons change.

How to Make a Gnome

December 6, 2008

This is a super easy nature craft we learned how to do during the winter fair at Booh’s school:

Material list: acorn, unfinished wooden bead, felting wool, felt, raffia, silk flower (optional), hot glue gun and a fine tip magic marker.

  1. Draw a simple face on the unfinished wooden bead with a fine tip marker.
  2. Glue the wooden bead atop an acorn that is just larger than the bead.
  3. Glue a small lock of felting wool to the top of the wooden bead.
  4. Glue a rectangular piece of felt on top of the wool lock.
  5. Tie around the “neck” a piece of raffia, holding down the felt “scarf.”

Another option:
Between Step 2 & 3, take a detached silk flower and cut a hole in the middle, just large enough to push over the “head” of the gnome. Leave off Step 4 and glue an acorn top on as a hat instead.

These make great handmade “green” gifts for the holidays. You can coordinate the colors to match the seasons and make them for May Day, Winter Solstice, or Fall Equinox to give as gifts or add to a nature table.