Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter Season!

I am so happy with how these butterflies turned out! They are so light, and glowing, and ethereal! I used a completely different technique from last time. It made me nervous because I wasn't sure it was going to work, and I was working under a deadline! But I feel that although the first batch is more technically correct in their colors or designs, this batch is more true to the airy nature of the butterfly. And, therefore, more representative of Christ's risen body. I left the empty cocoons hanging as a symbol of Christ's empty tomb.

A comment from B made me realize that although we had a tree full of butterflies we shouldn't leave out our daily butterflies, so they all came to flutter around our wreath. And below our butterfly tree there is an abundance of bunnies, birds, root babies and a lamb. And of course the Blessed Sacrament (holy card); the star of the whole season!

He is risen! Happy Easter Season! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On Good Friday, when I am not cooking food . . .

. . . what better way to use the stove than to dye things!

I had beets (upper right, with a wool egg), red cabbage (upper left, with wool eggs and silk yardage), and yellow onion skins (lower left, with wool eggs and silk yardage). After the fibers had been dyed I added vinegar and dyed real eggs.

I also wanted to try the flower resist method. I used regular old grocery store dyes.

The bundles themselves were so pretty!

I left the flowers on a few for this picture because I thought that was pretty too! It makes my heart sing when every step of a project is beautiful!

The flower resist worked way better than I thought it would. And I got some neat tie dye effects where I tied the panty hose.

These are the veggie dyed eggs. From left to right; beet juice for an hour or so, beet juice over night, yellow onion skins for several hours, yellow onion skins over night, red cabbage for several hours, same.

The wool eggs from left to right; beet juice, yellow onion skins, yellow onion skins for longer, red cabbage (for some reason the camera enhanced what is really a very faint blue), red cabbage for longer. I didn't notice until I took this picture that they actually make a pretty good rainbow!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

As of last night I did not have any formed plans for marking Maundy Thursday. I had invited some friends over to make unleavened bread, but that was it. As it turned out we had a wonderful time throwing together a shared meal with unleavened bread, hard boiled eggs and charoset. I made up a Seder plate just so we could see the beauty of the display. I don't have a shank bone on hand, and I decided not to put out any horseradish because none of us were going to eat it. Since we were only imaginatively participating in a Passover meal, I thought imaginative shank bones and imaginative bitter herbs would do. It is really lovely when happenings emerge organically. That is definitely something this type A personality needs to learn to trust more often! Perhaps, to further deepen the physical participation in the traditions of the season, me and my little ones will have a foot washing party later on. : )

Monday, April 14, 2014

And Now For Some Whimsy

Look who popped out of their little pots on Palm Sunday!

Left to right we have Snowdrop, Garlic, Fiddle Head Fern, and Crocus.

I also love how our seasonal table is being taken over completely by the green.

The figure of Christ carrying the cross, our holy card of the crucifixion, and the crown of thorns are almost invisible amongst the new life. : )

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Technical Difficulties and a Change in Operating Proceedure

For some reason it always surprises me when I encounter a project that doesn't sail smoothly from start to finish without any false starts and practice runs. How's that for humility! I think sometimes my vision of the end product is so clear that I cannot fathom how anything could go wrong. If I could only jump right from the planning stage to the finished stage . . . it is all those intermediary steps that trip me up! What? Opaque, heavily painted muslin doesn't resemble the iridescent and multifaceted feather's of a butterfly's wing?! What, do you have to be God  to create a butterfly that doesn't list drunkenly to the side?! What's that about Pride going before a fall . . . ?

I am anxiously anticipating starting my second round of butterflies. This first set was for our "color of the day wreath". In some Waldorf schools they use a color of the day to help preliterate children feel the flow and repeats of the weeks. The colors are pretty standard:

Monday is Purple Day
Tuesday is Red Day (We do pink)
Wednesday is Yellow Day
Thursday is Orange Day
Friday is Green Day (As someone who grew up in the 90's this always makes me laugh!)
Saturday is Blue Day
Sunday is White Day.

I started incorporating the color of the day last summer for just that reason; to help B have a sense of the unit of time we call a week. It was my challenge and goal to organize our activities so that the same thing falls on the same day each week, giving our week a balanced rhythm. The color of the day is to give B a visual way to track where we were in that rhythm. I hung a wreath in the dining room where we can see it prominently. We have had various beings, according to the seasons, help us track the color of the day. These butterflies made their appearance on Ash Wednesday in anticipation of the coming of Spring and the celebration of Easter. A second set of butterflies will hatch out of their cocoons on the nature table Easter morning. That gives me just under two weeks.

Hopefully, with that amount of time, and the practice from the first set I will find a groove, but for some reason I am still anxious. I didn't give myself a whole lot of time before Ash Wednesday to work through the kinks in the technical side of this project. Some of our new visitors didn't take flight until more than a week after their first appearance, and I found myself up late each night painting the next day's butterfly. This is not how I like to work, but I am finding that crafting time is growing scarcer and scarcer.

Because, of course, I am so very rarely alone anymore!

I am facing a shift in thinking. Crafting used to be by and for me. Then, it became for me and my children, but still by me. Slowly (or not so slowly!) it is becoming crafting by me and my children. I honestly don't know how I feel about that! (blush) Ultimately, I hope very much that my children learn from me, and enjoy making things with their hands. I hope to pass on the confidence of being able to tackle any project, and the enjoyment of making beautiful things.  But there is a part of me that really enjoys creating something and setting it out, unexplained, to be found, and played with, and marveled at. And there is certainly a part of my that enjoys working in peace without having to stop mid flow to fix, or straighten, or clean up. I suppose it will just take some adjustments in time management; definitely some patience on my part; and some clear boundaries about which is my project and which is our project.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Passion Sunday brings us to the last two week stretch of the season of Lent.

Our caterpillars have closed themselves into their cocoons.

Our little felt bulb babies have been covered over with a warm layer of wool.

(After some sorting) the Christmas Limas have been planted.

Our Easter wheat has been sewn into the soil.

Our icons have been veiled.

Along the road to Easter we have come to the point where we begin to dwell on the enclosure of the tomb. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" - John 12:24. We have surrounded ourselves with seeds of hidden transformation. Although everywhere we look we see only the outer, lifeless surface, we heard today the story of one man's unexpected emergence, and the cry that has been taken up in our house is "Lazarus! Come Out!" In the coming weeks, through our symbols, we will begin to see how life emerges out of the tomb.