Snowflakes are a perennial favorite for every preschool classroom. Hell, every classroom. And that is because they really are such an easy, lovely craft. I actually hadn't cut a snowflake since I was a child, so I had to look it up. I knew it involved folding paper and cutting. After I cut the snowflakes, I gave the children some glitter, glue and stickers to decorate their snowflakes, then we hung them on the studio windows. I love them. Beezus decorated her snowflake with strawberries, because she misses strawberries in December. *sigh*
Oh, right, pomander balls. Pomander balls are an ancient tradition of aromatherapy and protection against infection and disease. They are fruits, apples, oranges or lemons, with perfumes. They are then dried and hung, or put into vases, closets, drawers, as a natural moth repellant and air freshener. I just think they look cool. The kids loved this activity and Thor was even able to participate fully.
Then we took some cloves and put them in the holes.
The kids loved this part.
Then we rolled the apple and lemon in a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg that I ground in a mortar and pestle.
We put it in a dish on our sidetable. But I wanted to show you another idea. You can wrap some cloth or lace around it and hang the pomander balls.
Festive, no? And they smell divine. Just take them out and dry them before wrapping them up, because they might get moldy, if you know what I mean.
The 16th, we made some ornaments with cardstock and tissue paper. We traced cookie cutters onto paper and then used glue, glitter glue, markers and tissue paper squares and created little ornaments to hang around our house.
I have to say, I should probably do an entire post about the Shiny Rock Bask, because come to think of it, it is a totally versatile, awesome toy/play thing in our house. The kids pull the rocks out to drive matchbox cars on them. They become a gnome environ. They are studied. We talk about our travels and where we found rocks. We name them, put them back. We put them in color order. We also use rocks in our meditations. Rocks are serene, quiet, contemplative. When the kids are crazy, we pull them out, and I ask them to pick a rock that feels best to them--calming and lovely. I ask them to hold it and become like the rock. Sit still. I also ask them to imagine if the rock had a voice, what would it be? See, how cool rocks are?
It is the bask that keeps on giving. In our semi-circle, the shiny rock bask was pulled out, and the rocks were split in half. And the kids were asked to make a sacred spiral. I didn't explain what that was, but I explained what a spiral is. Did you know that the spiral is the oldest religious symbol found? The symbol is about the goddess and the womb, the everlasting life force. Part of why the spiral is used in solstice ceremony is that Winter Solstice is the time when the Earth Goddess gives birth to the Sun. It also is about change and transformation and acceptance. All things we have to wrestle with during Lucy's birthday and solstice.
As I felted, I watched Beezus' sacred spiral take shape. Thor occasionally stole a rock or three. His spiral was a pile of rocks. After Beezus was done, I told her she could take a photograph of her spiral, because it was an impermanent thing. And we worked together breaking it down and talking about that. Basically, it was me telling her about sand mandalas and meditations and impermanence.
Hope you enjoyed some of these solstice and winter crafts. I should be posting every day, but life is busy right now, and I am in the thick of my grief season.