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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 15 September 2014
Life is change.
Being able to change well, means living well.

We have been living in our new home for nearly 3 months now.

Highlands Afternoon

We survived the bugs. Oh mercy, the bugs.
There were days when I was nearly in tears thinking "what have we done?!" because of the bugs buzzing, biting, non-stop torturing of every warm blooded creature in our household.

This family was on our road this morning!
We bought and stacked 10 cords of firewood.

And this week I had to make our first fire in the wood burning furnace.
I was very proud of myself (and I know it isn't that big of a deal, I mean, people have relied on fire for a little while now, right?) and feeling very self-sufficient.

I am decompressing from years of work and ministry.
This means I have time tomorrow to do what didn't get done today AND nobody is watching to see if it is done to their expectations.
It's actually a very weird feeling.
Lonely and freeing at the same time.

Rowan is getting used to the freedom of being outdoors at will.
In barefeet.
She can skin-the-cat and put on a Cirque du Soleil worthy show on her swing set.
She has a fairy's house and a rainforest on the property.
She is also learning to adjust to the answer to "what are we doing today?" being "this.. just being here."
Andy is putting in the miles at his new trucking job
{and I think, enjoying having a wife who cooks and cleans now...}.

We have time to sit and read poetry, or divert off onto strange and wonderful trajectories during our homeschool lessons~ ending up bathing in the Ganges by video or pursuing our new (and in my case renewed!) fascination for all things Little House on the Prairie.
Boo & Bandit

Our kitties are beheading wee mousies (yay!) and the dogs (affectionately dubbed Big B and Little B) are loving daily adventures in meadow and wood.

You never know, when you leap into the unknown, how it will be.
But life is a series of leaps on faith, right?
And at this early juncture I can say that life is good.
It is far from perfect.
We have a lot of work to do, oh boy, do we ever.
But today I am grateful and happy and it is enough.

 Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
  'Twill be in the valley of love and delight

I hope that some part of your day has brought you joy ♥♥
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Some days (heck, weeks!) homeschooling is difficult.
Hair-pullingly, temper tantrumingly (me) hard.

Some days (heck, weeks!) really rock.

And today rocked.

I could go on (and on) about the tough days, and some day soon, I will, as I am sorting through some specific learning challenges and strengths identified in Rowan's recent academic assessment (and Asperger's diagnosis).
But today was one of the good ones.

And don't get me wrong.  We love homeschooling!
It is just right for us at this stage of Rowan's education and development, it's what she needs (and we are blessed to have professionals on our team that strongly agree!).

Actually, today wasn't going to be much of a school day.
I sent Rowan off with her reading and handwriting while I scrambled to catch up on orders 
after a three day stomach bug that knocked me flat.
As I was filling out and packing envelopes, I was thinking (again) how a shipping helper would be just the thing. And in strolls my newly-9 year old.
Even better, she asks if she can help!
(Stating that since her name is in the business name, she should really be part of it).
I shushed my inner control freak.
Let the lesson begin.
* executive function skills : sorting silks into sets, keeping track of several items at once, tidy labeling, consistency, sorting envelopes by destination.
* geography: find Hong Kong, Victoria (Australia), UK, California and various other states, on the map.
* life skills: addressing an envelope, postal codes, customs
And general context setting and world trade~ Rowan observed that I probably have fewer customers in Asia because they have access to more silk than we do in the Western world.
Which I had never considered. Huh.
Practical learning with a motivated and invested learner.  Score!

And then, she volunteered to wash and dry the dishes. which point I checked my child to see if she had been switched by the fairies or the aliens or the government...

She did the dishes... making observations about which objects float (and why), about the flow of water and the movement of soap bubbles and declaring:

...and no sign of fairy-alien-government tampering to be found... although she did hit her head when she fell of the horse in the barrel race on Saturday... hmmm.

Yes, this was one of those days when you just keep your head down and let the student do the learning as life sends it their way.
And with all the help I had I was able to do a sit down lesson after all~ and we enjoyed a rousing exploration of Kublai Khan and the adventures of Marco Polo!

How was your day? ♥♥
Monday, 8 September 2014
In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain. Rudolf Steiner called rhythm the 'carrier of life' and by marking each day with a colour, something visual and evocative, we help young children tap into the rhythm of their days.

The colour for Monday is Violet. 

To the best of my knowledge, each of these toys has been crafted from natural materials by the artisan. You won't find any plastic, eco- or poly-felt (which are acrylic) or harmful finishes. Making these treasures safe for the kids, warm in their hands and biodegradable when their work is done.

Be sure to visit these shops (all chosen freely by me~ these are not advertisers~ that's how we roll around here!) AND to check out our years of Waldorf features here on the BTRT blog  (see the list of labels on the right hand side column) to connect with talented and conscientious artisans of wonder-full things! 
1. Gnome, by i love my OM.
3. Rosepe, by Shroompers.
4. Purple Upcycled Rabbit, by Humble Toys. 
6. Violet Butterfly, by Outside Everywhere.
7. Felt Horse, by Garden Birdie.
Enjoy ♥♥
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Make your own felt hair clips for your little girl (or yourself!).
Pretty, colorful, matchy matchy or simple ~ easy and fun to make with small scraps of felt!
My daughter has lost or outgrown most of the pretty hair clips she had when she was a wee girl.  At the ripe old age of nine, and having grown her hair long again, she wants some new ones!  And, admittedly, given that she has my hairline (falls straight forward over the face), the sensory seeking habit of chewing her hair AND hair in the face is one of my personal pet peeves ~ we really need some new clips around here.

Having felt scraps and hair clips on hand, I went looking for a tutorial to help me, and couldn't find quite what I was looking for. So, after a little engineering and experimenting on my part, I am writing my own. Voila!
Here's what you need:
*  hair clips (snap clips ~ no slip ~ find at craft or dollar store)
* felt ** (sheets of felt, felted sweaters)
* scissors
* embroidery floss (the pictured designs were all done with 3 strands)
* needles
* pencil & paper OR disappearing ink pen

**A word about felt: Call me a felt snob, but you can't go wrong with quality wool felt. Craft store acrylic is thin and pulls apart easily which will make this project very frustrating and the results short-lived. You can read more about the differences between acrylic & wool felt HERE.

I should also note that this is one of those projects that can easily become more expensive and time consuming than simply purchasing the desired item. I spent 3 hours yesterday completing ONE clip... now, it could be done in under an hour, but I chose to make a bajillion french knots. So be warned.

Here's what you do:

1. Make a template for your felt.
Using your pencil and paper, trace around the hair clip you plan to use, giving yourself at least 1/4" extra around the edges. You can make your felt bits larger or in a variety of shapes at this point~ read on and you will see how this is possible, once you understand the construction.
Cut out your template piece.

Alternately, using a disappearing ink/ water soluble marker, trace the clip right onto the felt you wish to use and continue to step 2.

2.  Cut out your felt pieces.
Place or pin your template onto the felt of your choice.
You need to CUT TWO matching pieces for each clip you plan to make.
You can cut twice, or fold your felt over and cut both pieces at once.

Don't worry too much about smooth, perfect edges... the biggest concern is that your clip will be covered without pushing too much against the seams when sewn. Check this by laying the clip on the pieces in the open and closed position and ensuring you have that 1/4" minimum around the edges.

3. Make a slit in the back piece.
Choose your back piece of felt.
Using your scissors, you want to make a slit about 2/3 of the way up on the back, wide enough to insert your 'naked' hair clip. This may take a little experimentation, so be prepared to re-cut this piece!  See the images for best explanation.

4. Embellish the front piece.
Have fun! Go wild! Use a variety of stitches to create texture and appeal.
Stitching on to the small piece without a hoop does make some stitches a little tricky, but you can do it (I know you can!). Keep the back tidy and snip all your ends closely.

If your design is directional (ie needs to be upright) make sure you are stitching it for the appropriate side of the head (ie. my daughter pulls her hair on her left side back, so designs need to be properly oriented for that side!)

5. Put it all together.
Finish your clip using blanket stitch.
{You could also do a running stitch for variety}.

Blanket stitch is quite forgiving and will hide any bumps any uneven edges fairly well.
When you are done, use your scissors to carefully trim and uneven edges between the blanket stitches.

And there you have it! Your very own custom made wool felt hair clips ♥
Dontcha want to make another one?
We'd love to see your finished products!
Follow us on Pinterest (@btrt) or Instagram (@beneaththerowantree) and use hashtag #btrt to share your finished projects ♥♥

Friday, 5 September 2014
The 'Stay Warm' mittens are perfect hand warmers for kids on cool mornings!
Knit these fingerless mitts in an evening, using scraps or a bit of  favorite yarn.

**This post is was first published in 2011. Sharing again as the weather cools this autumn!**

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One of the prominent principles in Waldorf education is the concept of warmth, and its importance physically, emotionally and developmentally for children.
Although we are happy homeschoolers these days, these mittens were inspired by my little one's chilly fingers while waiting for the bus on nippy northern Ontario mornings!
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The mittens pictured are made with my very favourite colorway, on my very favourite yarn:
Green String’s ‘McKenzie’s Rainbow’ on worsted weight Purewool single ply merino.
And the very best part?  The mittens used so little that I still have lots left for many other projects!

This pattern is written for children age 3-8, or thereabouts (real, technical, huh?).
Pictured on an average 6 year old’s hands.
For an older child,(6,7,8) I would suggest making a shorter wrist cuff for a better fit at the cuff opening.

Size 7 US double pointed needles (dpns)
Approx. 1.25 oz. of Worsted Weight yarn
2 Stitch Markers
A few yards of a contrasting colour for rosettes (optional)

K = knit
P = purl
Increase by knitting into the front and back of the increase stitch.

Cast on 32 stitches (loosely) and distribute evenly on your DPNs.
Work in K2 P2 ribbing until your cuffs reach the desired length.
The pictured mitts have 4" cuffs.
Knit around 5 times/rows.
Purl the next two rounds.
Knit 4 rounds.
Purl 2 rounds.
Knit one round.
Begin shaping thumb:
1:  Knit 2, increase 1 in the next stitch. Place Marker.  Knit the remainder of this round until 3
stitches remain. Place marker. Increase one stitch in the next stitch, knit 2.
2: Knit
3: Knit until 1 stitch before your marker, increase one stitch. Slip marker, knit to the second
marker. Slip Marker. Increase one stitch. Knit to end of row. (36 stitches on needles)
4: Knit
Repeat rows 3 & 4 until you have 46 stitches.
On the last Knit row, knit to the second marker. Slip marker. Knit 3. Bind off the next 14 stitches
(this will create the thumb).
Continue to knit until the mitten is as long as you would like~ I find that for my 6 year old
daughter, I need only do 2 rows in knit before proceeding to the ribbing to finish off.
Do 5 rounds in K2P2 ribbing.
Cast off knitwise.
Weave in your ends.
Add a stitch or two to the thumb gusset as needed to clean it up where it separates from the body
of the mitten.

Rosettes: I simply used a doubled strand of contrasting yarn and a needle.
Weave in the ends, and bring the needle through to the front between the two stripes of purl stitching. Make a French Knot by wrapping the yarn twice around the needle. Secure your ends (and don't leave any loops behind the rosettes for little fingers to catch on the way in!).
Please feel free to adapt (or improve!) as your heart desires.
If you do want to share the pattern, or adapt and share it, or sell the mitts you make with it, do so with my blessing. It would be wonderfully courteous if you would also include a link back to my blog and credit the pattern to me (Lori Campbell/ Beneath the Rowan Tree). Stay warm! ♥♥
©Photos and text Copyright Lori Campbell/ Beneath the Rowan Tree, 2011.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
It's Waldorf Wednesday and these gorgeous handmade picks (ha! picks! get it? apples? picks?!) would make perfect gifts for the teacher!
{And if you homeschool like we do... that means YOU!}

The fresh, crisp air and back-to-school time have me thinking about apples and fall and harvest time.
So, I went searching for some inspiring handmade lovelies that would really be an asset to getting in to the autumn mood or decorating the fall nature table.
Each one is handmade by an Etsy artisan, inspired by the Waldorf tradition, which lifts up the natural world and reflects it in natural materials. 

To the best of my knowledge, each of these toys has been crafted from natural materials by the artisan. You won't find any plastic, eco- or poly-felt (which are acrylic) or harmful finishes. Making these treasures safe for the kids, warm in their hands and biodegradable when their work is done.

Be sure to visit these shops (all chosen freely by me~ these are not advertisers~ that's how we roll around here!) AND to check out our years of Waldorf features here on the BTRT blog  (see the list of labels on the right hand side column) to connect with talented and conscientious artisans of wonder-full things!
 1. Abel Loves Apples, by Mama Roots
2. .Apple, by Stone House Crafts.
3. Wooden Apple Pie, by Arts of the Heart.
4. Apple Tree Wool Painting, by Magic Wool.
**5. Apple Scented Play Dough, by Love Bubs.**
6. Apple Doll, by Fairy Shadow.
7. Apple Lacing Puzzle, by The Wooden Horse.

**Love Bubs has offered a discount code for readers (yay!)~ use code ROWAN at checkout for 15% off your entire purchase!

Enjoy! ♥♥
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