Sunday, June 28, 2009

High Tea

Rose Tea anyone? Butterfly cake with that? Feeling very ladylike in Ama's gold gloves and pretty dress from Grandmama, off to celebrate a special friend's 9th birthday. It was like stepping back in time - the kitchen smelt glorious - of homely baking, the lace-covered table was piled high with old-fashioned goodies: matchsticks, peppermint and rose creams, sponge cakes; the pretty girls all dressed in their finest; and the cook resplendent in an authentic 1950's housecoat and apron! (Pity I don't have a photo).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Winter Solstice

Last week our family enjoyed one of our favourite nights of the year - Winter Solstice. For seven years now we have rugged up in our warm coats and hats and ventured out into the darkness of the starry Southern skies. We have gathered with our school and kinder communities - many who have now become close friends - and celebrated the darkness and the light. Every year as I witness the children holding aloft their lanterns as they walk and sing I am reminded of that every human being on this Earth has a light inside of them and that when we hold onto this light within, we shed light on our world and all those around us. It is truly moving, hushed and beautiful night as we make a string of stars through the inky dark.

At my youngest daughter's school, the Grade 6 children bring the light to the school with a procession of fire torches, with reverance, they slowly make their way into the middle of our gathering and finish in a spiral...then we all sing and hand in hand step forward on our lantern walk.

I walk with my lantern,
My lantern walks with me.
The starts up in heaven,
They shine on me.
My light goes out,
we all go home,
Labimmel, labahmmel, laboom!

Under the full moon light we dance;
spirits dance, we dance;
join in hands we dance;
join in souls rejoice.

And my favourite

The gift of the light, we thankfully take
For it shall not be, alone for our sake
The gift of the light, we thankfully bring
To shine on our way, this midwinter's day
This soft candle light, we'll keep in our heart
To warm us each one, when we are apart

This year, we had the great pleasure of experiencing two winter festivals. At my oldest daughter's school we gathered in the hall in complete darkness - it was a truly reverant and holy atmosphere to be in. It is my daughter's turn to be part of this next year, so I am saving up to talk about it until then....

Each year my girls have made a new lantern in their class - we have quite a lovely collection now: glass jars decorated with tissue paper, tin cans with nail hole patterns for the light to shine through, ballon shaped paper-mache lantern, and watercolour painted paper lanterns.

This is how T made her paper lantern:
  • Take a piece of quality water colour paper
  • Cut it to size, and fold over the top by 3 cm for a smooth edge
  • Fold the paper into a cylinder shape and measure the diameter of the bottom
  • Cut a circular piece of cardboard to the size of your diameter
  • Make cuts half the diameter of the cardboard circle in length along the bottom of your paper
  • Unfold your paper and decorate using watercolour paints
  • Fold and glue to the top edge and then fold into the cylinder shape and secure with glue (use a peg to keep it together while the glue dries).
  • Place the cardboard circle into the base of your cylinder then secure in place by pasting the cut pieces of the bottom of your lantern over the top
  • Make two holes in the top of your lantern and use plaited wool to make a handle
  • Glue a tealight candle in the base
  • Light your candle and enjoy the beautiful glow....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Art of Being and Bonding...

There's something very special about the bond between a father and his daughter don't you think? For the last couple of years my girls have been spending time at Aussie Rules footy with their Dad. It's not that they are avid footy fans, in fact alot of the time they don't seem to know what's going on at all. But they do really enjoy this time for no other reason that it is special time just spent with their Dad, sharing his passion, sharing a whole day together, cheering together, talking together, walking to the game together, bonding...

Dan (who is a very special friend, and now works with us in our Honeybee stores, and helping out - and he is a HUGE help - in our warehouse), just sent me this lovely photo which captured something of his weekend - setting up this imaginative play scene with his 7 year-old daughter. There's no better way to spend a weekend as far as I'm concerned, than just "being" and "playing" with your children. The precious years of childhood pass so quickly. When I look at this photo I imagine the small nuances, the subtle moments, the real "creating" that may have unfolded - the creating of a relationship, of communication, of intimacy, of love, of discussion, of joy, of negotiation, of patience, of bonding, of being...

Today, I spent five and a half hours in the car with my youngest daughter, driving her to a specialist optometrist. We had to drive down one of the most BORING stretches of roads in Victoria, but I have to say it was a lovely trip. We didn't put the radio on, we didn't play any games (not consciously), we were just enjoying spending time together, we didn't do much at all except BE - basking in each other's company!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Favourite Rainy Saturday Fun

Rollerskating spells:
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling (on two skinny blades)
Outstanding skill (after weeks of practise and falling over)
Linking hands
Legs moving, sprawling, wobbling, racing...
Endless giggles
Really good friends
Speed skating (which means Mummy turns white!)
Amazing balance
Top ten tunes and crazy dances
Impressing Mummy with boundless energy and daring skill :-)
Never wanting to leave
Great fun for all the family!!!!!!!
If you're in Melbourne check out Skaterz where we spend many a rainy Saturday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The joy of turning 11

My eldest daughter turned 11 a couple of weeks ago. I really don't know how the years fly by so quickly, but they do...always a reminder to me to enjoy every day, every moment.

Regular readers will know that this year my daughter moved to a new school, and being quite shy, it takes her some time to make friends - she's very thoughtful and considered they way she goes about it, and that takes time. I thought it might help if her classmates could come to her home, to get more of a picture of who she is, and to get to know her a little better. Besides, we love parties at home - I think out of "19" combined birthdays, we have so far only had one away from home, and that was for my youngest last year who celebrated at her 8th at one of her favourite past-times "rollerskating".

The birthday girl came up with her own "theme" for her party, browsing through her Great Big Glorious Book for Girls she came across the idea for an "Orange" party.

Orange Birthday Party (from The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls)
*Invitations: orange, of course, and orange shaped
*Dress code: anything, as long as it's orange
*Food and drink: oragnes, orange cheese, orange peppers and carrots; orange juice, orange jelly and anything else you can think of that's orange.
*Birthday cake: orange-shaped and flavoured, with orange icing!

We added pumpkin soup, melon and marshmallow skewers, and capsicum dip with carrot sticks.

And of course the orange birthday cake.

Party games included "Find the Orange" a variation on a treasure hunt; each orange had a number painted on it, and at the end the numbers each person had found were added up - the closest to the birthday girls age was the winner!!! There was also "Pass the Orange" which got lots of giggles from the girls as they had to pass the orange from foot to foot without dropping it.

It was a really beautiful day, all of the girls really enjoyed themselves, played beautifully together, and were very caring towards the birthday girl. A few were even heard to say "this is the coolest party ever". It makes my heart sing to know that a group of 11 year old girls can still have a really good time together in such a simple way.

And the wonderful thing is that my daughter gained her confidence that day, and her friendships have continued to blossom beautifully....

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Threads of life, threads of silk....

Have you ever noticed that life is like a giant tapestry? Up close, we are weaving our threads, intent on our creation, our picture, and then we take a step back and we notice the larger picture, the many threads of our lives, and the lives of others, drawing together to make up the tapestry of life. Well this week was one of those weeks when my attention was drawn to the bigger picture for a moment, when threads from three corners of the world seemed to come together for a moment, to create a little detail, a small picture, of the greater tapestry.

It started in our Malvern store, we had visitors all the way from the beautiful province of Suzhou in China, which happens to be the ancient city of silk, as well as being known for it's beautiful gardens and landscapes (see above). Our visitors were a young family attending a Steiner Kindergarten in China - they took photos of our store - and were very excited about seeing so many Steiner-inpsired toys and books in one place. After three visits, and all of us overcoming our language barriers with lots of patience and smiles from both ends, they left with lots of new inspiration for their Kinder. Steiner books and art supplies are VERY expensive in China, so we rummaged around and found a big pile of donations for them, and in return we received a beautiful pure silk scarf and an address in China to go visit! (Here's wishing).

Now this morning, I logged in to see what all my bloggy friends were up to today, and another thread was drawn into the picture. Mike from Sarah's Silks in Forestville, California - who supplies us with all our lovely silk dress-ups and playcloths - is in China, and what's more on his way to Suzhou!!! If you meet Vivian, Mike, send our love from Honeybee!!!! You can read all about Mike's journey on his Sarah's Silk Blog. Mike has been visiting the Chengdu Waldorf School and has some great pictures and experiences to share. It makes my heart sing to know that Steiner education if finding a place in China.

Today is World Environment Day, so it seems rather appropriate to thread another needle and tell you a little about Sarah's Silks. Sarah's Silks is one of my favourite companies because they are living proof that it is possible to manufacture in China ethically and provide people with meaningful work. The people at Sarah's Silks (which is a family run business) have visited China from the outset and ensured that the workers have good conditions and fair pay. Their silks are hand-hemmed in a small village near Shanghai, and the seamstresses work often in their homes, as their children play nearby.

From an environmental point of view, silk is a natural fiber, produced by silk worms, and therefore a renewable resource. The majority of the worlds silk comes from China, so it makes sense (from a carbon footprint point of view) that the products be manufactured where the raw materials are grown. (photo courtesty of Alberto's photostream).

Thank you to these inspirational little creatures - for making the strongest thread in the world, and for all of you out there - each of us linking to each other in sometimes invisible ways - but nonetheless through the strong threads of being human!