I love this time of year. Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are noticeably getting longer. Everything is beginning to spring. Lambs in the fields. Snowdrops in the hedgerow. More light. Still muddy, but slowly, everything becomes easier. Today marks the mid point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Winter turns to spring
It’s no accident that so many different societies choose to celebrate this time of year. Let’s face it. Who doesn’t like an excuse to celebrate? Especially after dark days and wintery weather. Brr.
Imbolc was yesterday. Candlemas and Groundhog Day are today. There is also the Chinese New Year that started on 28th January. Each one celebrates light and the new growing season, in their own way. So many traditions and myths. I’ve had a word with our local badger sett and they would prefer if I didn’t haul them out to check for their shadow.
We love to celebrate. We’ve made candles, cakes and lanterns in past years. How could we resist a craft project to celebrate the season? This year, we are making hand cranked storytelling craft. This is how we did it.
We used a small box, such as one that held tea or matches, or even a toilet tube, and cut out a window in the front.
Next we cut a strip of paper, which is as tall as the window in the box. Drawing a series of pictures, adding words and anything else that helped to tell our story.
Made four holes. Two in the top and two in the bottom, to put the rods through, which the paper strip rolls around. We used old felt tips, that had run dry, and pushed them through the holes as shown above.
With the pens in place, and using sticky tape, we attached one end of the picture strip to one of the pens. Rolled the paper around the pen, before sticking the other end of the strip to the second pen. Bit fiddly, but we got there in the end.
Carefully twisting the second pen to pull and wrap the paper strip around it. Transferring the paper from one pen to the other. And back again.
So many stories to tell and share. Encouraging children to tell stories. Voicing the tales as well as sharing the pictures.
I made a quick version to show the children, before we started. Not polished, but they got the idea.
Whether you light a candle or make a cake, I hope you find some way to celebrate the change of the season. Where ever you live.
Happy Candlemas/ Imbolc
Linking up to Fiona’s #Trash2Treasure linky. Have you been upcycling this month?
Sometimes two craft ideas collide. One is a sample to take into school for a Candlemas craft activity. The other idea uses felting.
I started off using the classic tissue paper glued onto a jam jar. I used a battery tealight to test the effect of the light through the different layers. As I tipped the jar this way and that, a real candle would never have survived. At one point it was upside down, which I’m pretty sure would have put a real flame out and flooded the liquid into the jar.
I wanted a more organic looking flame. If I’d used paper it would have given a clean outline. A little wool fibre made a good alternative. This is where the two craft ideas collided. I used a tiny bit of black wool to make the wick.
I’m always fascinated to see the other side of whatever I make. Sometimes it gives an interesting effect.
Next time I’d like to use just the wool fibre. I wonder……
(It’s Candlemas today. I was fascinated to read that the Groundhog Day tradition is supposed to originate in Europe. Instead of a Groundhog, it is meant to be a creature such as a badger or hedgehog that is pulled out to inspect the shadows. If it sees its own shadow, it is meant to return to its hole to continue hibernation. Not sure about you, but I cannot imagine putting my hand in a badger’s sett and hauling out one.)
So. I had three activities lined up to celebrate the halfway point of Winter. Hardly surprising that it was the edible one that caught the children’s imagination. The one we’ve done before.
Youngest even rushed out to the hen house to collect the eggs we needed.
There was talk of finding a little spade to dig out the hole at the top of the cake, ready to plant the sprouting shoots. That would be sweet. Maybe next year.
We used my favourite chocolate tray bake recipe and divided it between the muffin cases. I added chocolate chips to act as pretend stones in the cakes. We debated how to make roots. Something to add next year.
We used a pack of Renshaw icing to create the shoots beginning to burst through the soil. As a sign of the new life. The icing is the real reason the children love this activity. Not only can they have fun modelling it, but sooner or later, they will eat it. A sweet treat.
To make a change, we added a small bit of blue to some of the new growth. To give the impression of maybe hyacinth flowers readying to bloom.
A simple activity to celebrate the season, but it always goes down well. We’ve spotted the snowdrops in bloom along the lane, as we walk to school. This activity gave us a chance to discuss how nature was starting to wake up. Although some still slumbers.
Almost forgot, this one is for you.
Happy Imbolc. Blessings for all. Looking to Candlemas tomorrow and more craft activities. If I can persuade anyone to join in……