Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn Cleaning and Beautiful Handmade Toys

I am in the process of getting rid of at least 75% of our earthly possessions. I felt like all I did was clean, and still our house always looked like a hurricane just came through. My girls had too many toys, most of which they never played with. So, out with (almost) everything cheap or plastic, as well as all of the non-handmade soft toys and dolls, unless it was something one of the girls really loved. We donated the books that weren't favorites and the clothes that hadn't been worn for a while. The result is a house that is always clean and in order! Yay! I still pick up a little all day, but the house looks a million times better than before, with much less effort. Even better is that the girls really play with the toys they have, since there is much easier access to their favorite things. We've noticed that the toys Isla gets out are played with for a much longer period of time, and she never asks to watch movies anymore! Another huge plus is that I feel so much less stressed. Less is more!

Anyway, needless to say we are not really in the market for more toys. However, I just stumbled upon this great website for natural, waldorf inspired toys. It's called Sage Dream Design, and has the sweetest playscapes and dolls made from wool, and her things are so magical I may just spring for a couple.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waldorf Window Stars

I love Waldorf window stars, and was so excited to try my hand at a couple. It's a really easy DIY project, and was fun for me, but I'm trying to find a way to make it fun (i.e. not frustrating!) for my 3 year-old. We found this great tutorial online, on one of my favorite Waldorf-crafty blogs, Twig and Toadstool, and used the same colors since they were perfect for this time of year. I'm excited to decorate our house in honor of the season, since you can't always tell by looking outside!

These window stars are made from kite paper, and you can find it in packs online. The paper I had was 6x6, so there was a left-over strip of paper after cutting out the rectangles for each piece. I cut that strip in half to make the smaller window star you see in the picture, and the same pattern worked for that. The next project I'll post is dying silk... you can see the purple and turquoise piece I did this afternoon drying on the chairs in the background of the first picture. It was my first try, so we'll see how it turns out!

My Natural and Organic Sugar Cookie Recipe

In search of more Autumn crafts and projects, Isla and I decided to make cookies in Fall-inspired shapes, and frost them in the color of the season. We came up with our own version of the classic, to make these cookies a little more on the natural side. I am a big advocate of less sugar for kids, so we made these "sugar" cookies with hardly any sugar. To make them sweet, we glazed them with a little *wince* store-bought frosting which we made orange with natural food coloring. We bought our food coloring from Whole Foods, but if you are crafty in the kitchen, you can make a good orange using tumeric (for the yellow) and beet extract (for the red), and mixing it all together. Our make-shift cookie recipe:

1 c. organic unsalted butter at room temp.
1/2 to 3/4 c. (up to you) organic sweetener (we used evaporated cane juice)
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 c. organic all purpose whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix up the butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir in the dry to the wet a little at a time. Pat the dough into a ball and pop in the fridge, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.

Flour a cutting board and roll out the dough. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or line with foil) and bake approximately 8 minutes at 350F. While cookies are in the oven, if you are using store-bought frosting like me, scoop some out into a bowl, add food coloring and mix together. Let cookies cool before frosting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn Nature Table / Playscape

I love the Fall! Isla's Autumn Nature Table is always changing, and she spent a lot of time and care making it just right this afternoon. She uses it like a playscape and has fun finding new things to add to it. We walked the neighborhood in search of Fall leaves, and were lucky to find a bunch right around the corner. All of the extras we are in the process of pressing, and then we'll mod-podge them onto a short, squatty glass vase for a candle-holder centerpiece for the dinner table. I'm hoping the pumpkins from our garden will be ready soon so we can add one to the Fall scape. Later this week, if it stays chilly, I plan on making apple cider and we can serve it in cups made from apples!