Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent: Day 5

This is one of our two Advent seasonal tables. The beautiful cascading silk was hand-dyed with natural dyes by Syrendell. If you are looking for soft and artistically dyed silks, they have an amazing selection and do beautiful custom orders. I have a few silks I bought elsewhere, but they are nowhere near as soft or as beautiful as the ones from this creative family.

I needle felted a large, Old World Father Christmas with beautiful wool from Peace Fleece.

And on our other Advent seasonal table, we made a lovely Star Ladder inspired by a craft in the amazing book, All Year Round. Instead of using a blue ribbon, though, we cut strips of felt and sewed them together. And instead of star stickers, we cut star shapes out of felt and stitched them on as such.

Each day, the little angel travels down a star until she reaches the last one on Christmas Eve when we will then light our star candle at the bottom. We decorated the table with moss, evergreens, our Christmas gnomes and some beautiful crystals and rocks.

The angel is made out of tissue paper and wool. Needle felt a small ball and place it inside of a piece of tissue paper with rounded corners (see tutorial below). Tie string around the neck and twist the sides to make hands. Then attach the wings and you can either use a pin to move her down the star ladder or tape.

I also wanted to share our enchanting eco-twig house, beautifully hand made by the artist Rick Tan at Syrendell. It is made out of twigs from his yard, along with reclaimed fencing. We added the moss and the straw and it awaits our weary travelers on Christmas Eve. We will be adding to our nature table each Sunday in Advent.
Our quartz crystal was added here to represent the minerals on the 1st Sunday in Advent.

Last night, our special book pulled from our Christmas book basket was "Room for a Little One", purchased by the girls Gramy, which is a very sweet tale about the animals making room for each other and the Christ child on that special eve.

And for our Advent reading today, we shared another amazing story from "Christmas Roses: Legends for Advent". The story was entitled "The Old Woman Who Wanted a Gnome in Her Home" by the gifted story teller Jeanna Oterdahl. In the story, the old woman learns that only through giving of herself to someone else in need, would her house become a real home, complete with that special gnome.

Finally, for our December 3rd St. Nicholas Story, we enjoyed yet another fantastic tale by Christine Natale called, "Bishop Nicholas and the Family". I absolutely love the focus of the stories in this series, which is on the act of giving, rather than receiving. It is befitting and so needed in this season.

Our little St. Nicholas has found a nice home in the Advent wreath by the rose quartz crystal. He seems to be enjoying the stories about him. Elena and I finished our verse which I took from Wynstone's Winter book. Charley still has to finish hers, but I thought I would post pictures of them to sign us off for today!

It is absolutely amazing to me to see how in such a short time, the girls have learned to use the block crayons with such comfort and today, Elena decided to draw her own vision of St. Nicholas. I think it turned out much better than mine :D

Kind old man, St. Nicholas dear,
Come to our house this year.
Here's some straw and here's some hay
For your little donkey grey.

Pray put something in my shoe,
I've been good the whole year through,
Kind old man, St. Nicholas dear,
Come to our house this year.

~From Germany: Wynstone's Winter book


  1. Your Advent celebration is really special! Thank you for featuring our silk and twig house. The house looks perfect with the moss on it! I love the way that you used the felt stars (instead of stickers). Terrific MLBs!

  2. Such a beautiful blog post, I love your old world Father Christmas:)

  3. Thanks Jennifer & Linda! Jennifer, we LOVE the twig house and the silks. We use the silks all the time, especially in circle time when we do our finger plays and movement exercises. They're just wonderful and I love the colors. So unique and creative! And Linda, the girls are still sleeping with their Lily, Sadie and Seamus'. Can't wait to give them the Henry's for xmas :D Take care mammas!

  4. Oh so many wonderful ideas, I loved your books that you are reading they sound so good! I love your old world st Nick he is just beautiful! It makes me want to come to your home to celebrate this wonderful time of the year!!! : )
    Also I wanted to thank you for all the lovely comments you share on my blog. It always brightens my day to receive a comment from you!!!

  5. Jen,

    My, my you are a wonder with that felting needle. I am so wanting a Father Christmas!! I love the star ribbon, what is the story behind that? You have inspired me to make a sweet nature table. :)


  6. Jen, so much beauty! I adore your Father Christmas - he is so beautifully created. You are a talented needle felter. Both your advent seasonal tables are magical and I am sure your girls are delighted with them. The Star Ladder looks beautiful with the felt stars. Elena's picture of St Nicholas is wonderful and she certainly has grasped using the block crayons. Look at her writing away so well. Such inspiring, enjoyable posts.

  7. Jen, your father Christmas is soooo gorgeous!! Wow! Did you wet felt his coat first? We are making a St-Nick tomorrow... We might do a Fathe Christmas too!

  8. Hey Catherine! He did turn out lovely. He's one of my fav's. He is entirely needle felted and his coat was done after his body was finished. Make the head and arms and then form the body with your wool batting. Once that is done, cover it with the green wool. Then felt the coat over the arms and around the body. I usually needle felt the coat over the mat, even though it's attached to the body at the top, if that makes sense. That way, the coat can be lifted up and used to support him. It also looks cool, too! HTH!

  9. Jen, your needle-felted Father Christmas is so charming and dignified. I love him.

    I think your girls are very lucky to have such a creative mama. From what I've read here, I gather they cooperate so nicely with your craft projects and schooling. I sometimes get resistance from my 8-y-o when I have a vision for a project. Maybe my timing is sometimes bad; I have to fit in our "homeschooling" together after Waldorf school.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed reading about your Advent rituals. Your angel and star ladder are lovely, too!

  10. Oh thanks so much :) I admit that it doesn't always go as smoothly as I'd like - lol, but you are so right - it's all about the timing. Plus if your child is in a waldorf school all day, s/he might just need nonstructured play time and you can look for those moments to draw him/her in after that unstructured time. Sometimes, if you start something, they want to see what you're so engrossed in and ask to join in, too - I've done that before and it's worked like a charm, but don't let them know - lol!

    Anyway, thank you for your comments and hope you have a lovely holiday season! School will be on break soon, so great timing for some of those fun projects ;D