Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Needle Felting and Planting

We have fallen in love with Thornton Burgess' nature tales such as those from his "Old Mother West Wind" series. Mr. Burgess firmly believed that imagination was "the birthright of every child" and this series of simple stories of the animals which inhabit his woodlands, and the mischief they create returns us to a magical realm which very much existed once upon a no-so distant past. If your child enjoys animals, I'd highly recommend this book. It was originally published in 1910 and a few of the stories from this edition (with illustrator Michael Hague - an ideal match) can be sampled free online here:

I should note that in the sequel, "Mother West Wind's Neighbors", there is a story that ends well, but concerns Farmer Brown's boy who tries to shoo Blacky the Crow from the cornfields using some violence, so you might want to preview before jumping into that book, but overall, the stories from Mr. Burgess are relatively sweet and gentle, though they do deal with a bit of mischief woven into them.

Now, back to our journey: We've been working on our spring nature table the past few weeks, adding to it as we go. The bunnies arrived earlier in the week (see blog posting below) and yesterday, we added a blue bird and a nest with her three colored eggs, along with moss on our trees.

The girls were so excited when the grass finally began to sprout on our naturescape and are enjoying hiding the three little bunnies in the grass. Can you spot them all? Cottontail is white, Flopsy is gray and Mopsy is brown (yes, the girls love the Peter Rabbit stories, for those of you who recognized the names)...Mopsy is a bit hard to find against the brown soil...

On this day, the girls tried needle felting for the first time. "E", who tends to be my clumsy, but tough one, did poke herself a few times, but kept right on felting. Here she is displaying her wool...

And here is "C" beginning to felt her wool into the desired shape. I admit, she's not so tough and did poke herself and drew blood, tears and declared she was finished for the day, but she did get fairly far into the project and will try again another day...

We bought these lovely single needle wooden handles made in Germany through Nova Natural.

"E" adds color to her shape. Can you guess what we're making for spring? Here's a hint: it's red/black and keeps aphids from eating our leaves...

If you guessed ladybugs, you're right! "E" made the long one. That was her vision and it turned out so cute! "C" made most of the one on the right, which turned out looking most like a ladybug.

Here they are on our nature table...a bit big, so we'll make some tiny ones to put on the naturescape itself :)

The rest of the day, we spent on planting and playing. We prepared a small indoor herb garden for the girls to help with "cooking duties" :)

It's just a simple self contained greenhouse where the girls measured teaspoons of water and then pushed in the seeds. We set it in a sunny spot and await our shoots. The girls will gather the basics here for the salads they will prepare this spring.

Since we had seeds left over, "C" and I decided to plant them outside in a planter while "E" decided to stay inside for a while and build with her blocks.

We planted our sunflowers in two spots.

"C" reminded me so much of my mother yesterday with her small flowered print shirt and hair tied back. Gramy loves to garden and learned from her Polish grandmother when she was just a little girl. We are eagerly awaiting Gramy's annual visit this summer. She flies 2,000 miles and always brings her green thumb!

Today, we will sow some organic vegetables indoors. Even though it is relatively warm here, it still gets cool at night.

Before signing off, I'd like to leave you with this adorable illustration...

This is our favorite one from the "Old Mother West Wind" book, a picture of Grandfather Frog and some of the Merry Little Breezes. It is from Chapter 3, "Why Grandfather Frog Has No Tail".

Anyone want to go on a search for frogs this weekend???


  1. Beautiful post and what wonderful things you have done to welcome spring! Your daughters are beautiful.

  2. I so enjoyed reading your post, your nature table is really lovely! I really loved your little nest it was so sweet. What a fun way to share spring with your beautiful daughters!

  3. The ladybirds are wonderful! I'm also a little accident prone when it comes to needlefelting (hence I don't do much).

    The book looks really beautiful, I'll have to look out for it.

  4. What a lovely nature table! Thank you for sharing the books. Glad to know I'm not the only one pricking my fingers with a needlefelting needle!

  5. Ooh, we love Old Mother West Wind too... mine doesn't have colour illustrations, just small black and white ones, I'll have to look out for a full colour version.
    Wow, you really had a full day. Your children look so happy!