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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 9 October 2014
Historical record suggests that the first birthday celebrations emerged in Germany ~ where a 'kinderfeste' (children's celebration) was held on the anniversary of a child's birth. This was marked with candle lighting, feasting and often, with the wearing of a special birthday crown.
Why a crown?

Perhaps it reaches back to the earlier tradition of marking the birth day of kings and high persons with parties and feasting and dancing ~ often done in early times in order to surround the leader with people in order to dissuade evil spirits who were thought to prey on them particularly on the anniversary of their birth.

Today, when we mark the day of a child's birth, a special crown may be worn (in the Waldorf as well as other, such as Israeli, traditions) by the child to identify them as the focus of our joy and celebrating!

Making birthday crowns is one of my favourite creative endeavors.
Each crown made at Beneath the Rowan Tree is all natural, and made especially for a particular child.  Combining wet and needle felting, dyed silk, embroidery, beading, applique and other techniques the crown takes shape (and is adjustable in size, lasting a lifetime!).

Here is a round up of some of recent crowns:
It is a delight to work with families to create something personal for their child.
Sometimes we match a birthday theme.
Sometimes we go with the child's favourite colours or animals or hobbies...

And while I do receive more orders for girls than for boys, crowns are just as much for the boys!

And sometimes they are so wonderfully silly and personal that I can't even begin to explain them (and unfortunately this is the only photographic proof  I have of the "barefoot blonde tomboy rapunzel princess motorcycle ninja chasing a chicken house/ Baba Yaga")!
Custom crowns are generally available, depending on timeframe and my current customs list.
You can find a custom slot deposit listing and a couple of more standard designs (which can be personalized) in our SHOP.
You can also see the Gallery of finished work HERE.

I would LOVE to hear about the birthday traditions in your home! 
Please feel free to add them to the comment section♥♥.
Monday, 6 October 2014

A little fairy magic for your Monday!

Having just completed a little village of fairy and gnome homes for our garden (and the tutorial), I have chosen these magical handmade fairy accessories to feature this week in our weekly Waldorf round up.

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.
1. Fairy Mailbox, by Dragonfly Custom.
2. Fairy Spinning Wheel, by Pandora Jane.
3. Fairy Garden Kit, by Fairy Folk.
4. Fairy Boat Doll Bed, by The Hillcountry Dollmaker. .
5. Wee Folk Table and Chairs, by Earthetarian. 
6. Fairy Bedroom Set, by Fable House1 
7. Fairy Houses in a Cup, by Ginger Little.

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!  

Enjoy ♥♥
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Painted rocks make wonderful homes for the wee folk in your home or garden!
A fun nature craft with endless imaginative possibilities!

All have houses, each his own.
Built of brick or granite stone;
They live on cherries, they run wild~
I'd love to be a Fairy's child.
                         ~Robert Graves from "I'd Love to Be a Fairy's Child"

Our house is a 90 year old one-room schoolhouse, converted to a home.
Out front we have a mighty tree of 80+ years old~  our 80+ year old neighbour remembers planting the White Spruce at school as a very young child.
This elder tree has an air of magic about it and the (unkempt~ we have been here 3 months and the gardens are on the to-do list for next spring, although I'd like to work in some enrichment this fall!) garden around its base seems the right place for a little whimsy.
We are far enough north that our landscape consists of barely-covered granite ~ a relatively thin layer of topsoil over solid rock. Perfect for a pair of rock hounds like Rowan and myself!
All summer we have been collecting interesting rocks (beautiful pink granite in various states of mixed quartz/ mica / feldspar from way back when the world was beginning) to use for our gardens-to-be and the collection has been growing steadily (yes, I have been known to stop the car and jump out in the pouring rain to grab a likely specimen!).

Put together the rocks, the magical tree and a little craftiness and you have a fun and creative craft for the kids (and you, too!).
Here's what you need:
• craft paints (acrylics)
• paintbrushes (thick, soft and broad work best on uneven rock surfaces)
• acrylic sealant** ~ a crafty sealer intended for OUTDOOR protection
cats are optional.

**the paint may not stay on the rocks for eternity, but the sealer will prolong the life of your finished art for several seasons of weather and wear and both are suitable for use with the kiddos (who no longer eat their craft supplies! Although I have been known to eat paint every once in a while due to a bad habit of wetting my brush tips with my lips!).

I love this craft because you can S-T-R-E-T-C-H it out for keeping little hands busy!
• start with a nature walk to find rocks~ encourage the kids to look for flat surfaces, or rocks that look like a house to them (or fairies or fairy dogs as Rowan chose!).
• provide a bucket and scrub brush for the very important job of cleaning the rocks in preparation for painting
• spend some time sketching ideas, incorporating natural materials or ideas from storybooks etc.
And when you are done milking it (I'm not the only one who does this am I? I mean washing rocks was good for 2 hours of busy kid time here!) get painting!

The great thing about painting on rocks is that mistakes can simply be washed off with a little warm water and a scouring pad! The rock above got re-started twice!

 Rowan (age 9) decided that instead of painting a gnome or fairy home on to the rock as I had done, she would turn the entire rock into a house~ complete with chimney, windows, door and an address '193'. She also painted a fish pond, a little fairy and a fairy dog! That's my girl ♥!

We are looking forward to an infestation of fairies and gnomes this fall ~ we just hope the kitties don't catch them!

The little shoes of fairies are
So light and soft and small
That though a million pass you by
You would not hear at all.
            ~Annette Wynne "Fairy Shoes"
Enjoy ♥♥!
Thursday, 2 October 2014
As a fiber lover and artisan, it is endlessly fascinating to see women around the world working with fiber in their local colours, customs and culture.

I have a feeling some of you might feel the same way?

While studying the Vikings recently my daughter reflected on the nature of many of the artifacts that are used to help us explore history and understand its people.  {Making connections and seeing patterns seems to be one of her gifts as a person with Asperger's ~ which I'll write about more soon}. She noted that we base our understanding so much on 'hard' materials~ rock, gold, iron, even wood~ but women's work has been in the realm of soft goods, many of which do not survive the centuries. AND that if NOT for those women's work, the Viking men would not have been able to strike out from land for the unknown seas... the women wove their sails! Girl Power!
I have not had the opportunity to travel far, but I have two sisters who have.
My sister Jennifer has travelled broadly in South America and studied in Thailand as a Rotary Peace Scholar. She is also a pretty great photographer.
Rowan and I return again and again to Jenn's photos while studying various parts of the world in homeschool.
Today we were studying the Inca in Peru and benefited richly from Jenn's trip to Machu Pichu. Which reminded me that I really *need* a few of her pictures printed for my studio space (in the planning stages). And I feel down the rabbit hole of her beautiful fiber photos~ so I thought I would share ♥.

The fiber:
The artisans:
The photographer & a new friend:
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing her experience and lending us homebound types a little peek into another part of the world and the women there. ♥♥

Tuesday, 30 September 2014
 In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain. Rudolph Steiner called rhythm the 'carrier of life'.

It is so much fun to feature handmade, natural items that would be wonderful to help mark the rhythm of the week at home with your little ones.
Tuesday is brilliant, bold and wonderful RED.

Each item is handmade by an Etsy artisan, inspired by the Waldorf tradition or coherent with its values, which lifts up the natural world and reflects it in natural materials.

1. Toadstool Ornaments, by Balloon Highway.
2. Crayon Roll, by Filz Arts.
3. Toadstool Mother & Baby, by Tansy Dolls.
4. Mushroom Doll, At the Butterfly Ball. 
5. Gnome & Toadstool, by Sterrendaalders. 
6. Pocket Doll, by Reves de Poupees.
7. Soft Toy Mushroom, by Polar Bear Creations.

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!
Enjoy ♥♥

Monday, 29 September 2014
There is nothing like a nature hike on a gorgeous autumn day to make you fall in love with the world all over again.

We took advantage of the warm Indian Summer days last week to get outside and explore.
On Friday, we were joined by some homeschooling friends as we ventured back an unmarked road on to Crown Land (just that~ owned by the Crown/ government~ Canada still being part of the Commonwealth).
We live in an area rich with amazing trails and potential for adventure, although I admit to being a little bit of a conservative about hiking off into the great unknown, because it is great BIG and well, unknown! And there are bears. And poison ivy. And bears that might chase you into poison ivy... I don't know! I grew up in farm country!

{Also, the window for woodland exploration is quite short in the fall, as before long these woods will be full of hunters and we don't take chances on hiking during hunting season!}

The trail was rich with learning opportunities.
My daughter showed me the moose tracks that came from a trotting moose and those from a walking moose (so cool!). The kids found a variety of mushrooms (left safely in place!) and collected a galaxy of interesting rocks shaped like the moon and spotted like Jupiter. I even had the 'honour' of digging through some sort of canid scat to get bones for my daughter's collection (ew!).
Rowan helping a little friend build a dam.
I love that homeschooling gives the children so many opportunities to work with other kids of various ages and our group of infant, 5, 7 and 9 year olds worked very well together. The kids got loads of exercise and when we stopped at the lake at the end of the trail, they enjoyed some imaginative play.
The marshy portion of the walk presented an opportunity for more play in the warm fall sunshine. The kids worked hard to build dams along the edge of the marsh, where water was spilling on to the road. (I find the marshes fascinating, and hope in the next week or two to do some Nature Study and learn more about them).
Before long the snow will come, with its own beauties, and stay for many months.
And spring brings the bugs.
And summer the tourists. 
But in the autumn, we grab every chance we get to bask in the beauty of our natural setting, letting time slow and the love affair with tree and rock, marsh and lake kindle in our children.
The light in this alley of trees was rosy pink as the sun shone through the red maple leaves.
On top of all the great things we did and learned on our hike, there is the added bonus of tired kids and dogs! My motto has always been 'better living through exhaustion' when it comes to dogs, and I think it applies to kids as well!  Bandit, pictured below, was asleep before I started the car to leave.
What adventures have you been on lately?
What wonders does your home bring to you in this season?
Please do share in the comments! ♥♥
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