Finding a feather on your path is a special gift, and for some, maybe even an omen. We can't always find feathers easily, but we can make them!!! And, the feathers we make can be of any size and color. They can hang on their own or become part of a larger project.
This paper craft is a fun way to create a wind catcher to hang in a window or a review mirror. This is a project that is appropriate for kids and easily adaptable to making mobiles or bookmarks.
Salt - table or coarse salt will help to create a speckled effect.
Oil pastels or crayons - If you choose to do so, you can draw or scribble with an oil pastel or crayon as a means to add further texture to your feather.
Watercolors - use regular or liquid watercolors. I used liquid watercolors for their intensity.
Paper - Use a good quality of watercolor paper.
Paint Brush - any will do! Precision not required!
Draw on your paper with the oil pastels and crayons. Just have fun, no need to be neat or controlled.
Paint liberally over the crayon with your watercolors. It's okay to really saturate your paper and leave "puddles".
Paint one side, let it dry, and then paint the other! Or be messy like me and paint both at the same time!!!
When your paper dries completely, brush the salt off of it!
Cut the paper into strips that are approximately the size of your feather. They can be a little larger.
Cut the strips into feather shapes. If you prefer to practice on a scrap piece of paper to ge an idea of the shape that you want, that works well, or even better, make a template.
Start making cuts into the feather. The cuts should be angled towards the tip of the feather. You can snip out some slivers to create the look of a feather's pieces coagulated together.
Snip both sides of the feather.
Grab some thread and a needle, and thread your needle and tie a knot in the ends.
Sew into the "stem" of your feather. Wrap your thread around to the knot and tie another knot to secure.
If you'd like, choose some beads to add as decoration and weight for your feather. Then, tie a knot in the top of the thread to create a loop for hanging.
Hang your finished feather and enjoy!!!
Applique and Embroidery
Pieced Denim with Dyed Yarn Quilting
Instructions for Sewing
I have a favorite t-shirt from Uniqlo that has unfortunately shrunk, while I have simultaneously grown larger. In analyzing the garment, I noticed that it was fairly simply constructed and decided that I could try to copy it.
Until now, I have only made dresses from patterns, which some other brilliant sewist designed.
I entered into this project with that feeling of not knowing how much I didn't know, but as usual I just jump in with fingers crosses.
Below, I show the process of making the hat and a little tale of making the shirt.
I then made more in various prints. See them below. Which one is your favorite?
To make my pattern, I folded my Uniqlo shirt in half length-wise. I traced the permiter of the folded shirt onto pattern paper.
I decided to use 1/2" seams and also added 2" to the width and 2" to the length. So since the pattern represents the shirt folded in half, I added 1 1/2" to the side, 2" to the bottom, and 1/2" to the sleeves, shoulder, and neck.
I cut my pattern twice (one front, one back), and I notched the front pattern to create a slight scoop of a neckline.
I also cut two tiny slivers of patterns for reinforcing the neckline.
After I made the first shirt, I created the remaining three in an assembly line fashion.
The Fashion Show
- The striped jersey had more stretch to it, making it a little more tricky to sew with.
- Something happened with my neckline that made it too tight to pull over my head. So, I had to take out some stitches and make a custom, notched collar.
- Next time I will order more than a yard of fabric for this project. I did not have enough fabric to allow for the print to line up. For instance, for the eye fabric, I was able to run the eyes horizontal on the front, but I had to align them vertically on the back. You can kind of see this in the photo.
Wow! What a great start to the 2019 “A Season To Make” Workshop Series!
We kicked off the series with learning to make Rug Hooked Pillows. Both days were realizations of my dream of creating opportunities to make in community and in nature, at the cottage.
I have had such powerful and creative experiences at Spring Bird’s Cottage, and this workshop series is one way to share that with guests and participants.
We laughed, created, and had so many great conversations - even confessions! (But those are not for this blog!)
Check out the photos below to see our creations and check out future workshops here!
So, I have an inner boyscout who fantasizes about making hand carved birds or small figurines, and a few years ago, I bought myself a carving knife and some balsa wood for my birthday. I fiddled with it trying to carve some fish. They were a bit clumsy, and I never got very far with it.
Then, while living at Spring Bird, Pat passed along a pocket knife (that I had given him while we were dating) to Abe who seems most at home at the fire pit, stripping long pieces of bark off of a stick with his foot propped up on a stone. I am jealous of his presence, his ability to pass the time guilt-free- languidly - to fall into a calm rhythm. While I am busily tackling projects of all sorts and stripes, I ache to just stop and sit and be with a stick.
Sticks are all around us at Spring Bird. Someone once asked me what I collect, and I think she didn’t believe me when I answered, “sticks”. Certain ones call to me, and I pick them up to display.
Well, I made some time recently to perch myself on top of my picnic table with knife in hand to peel back the bark on some sticks. If I couldn’t carve an intricate fish or bird figurine, maybe I could carve a snake. The idea of carving a snake from a stick makes me laugh. Can it even be called carving? In addition to crudely shaping a head and a tail, I wood burned geometric patterns. I loved all of it, and love my slithering snakes. They remind me of playing with a wooden snake as a child. Then, I found snakes to be slightly frightening, but I have grown to really appreciate their symbolism as a sign of rebirth, feminine power, and creativity. I want to reclaim snakes as a symbol of the goddess and not as evil.
BREAKING NEWS! I wrote this blog a couple of days ago. Then, tonight, my cats caught a snake! They were whipping it around. It showed its pink mouth at them. My Mom, who has been eager to see a snake at Spring Bird captured it all with her phone. It was very exciting! We think it is a young snake. I am guessing it is a type of garter snake, but it definitely looks different than the other greener ones that I have seen here. We kept the cats away from it, and eventually it slithered back into the brush. Can anyone identify it? Check out the slideshow below:
Check out the “carving” process below. Maybe this will inspire your inner boyscout?
Snakes For Sale!
And snakes are currently for sale at Spring Bird Cottage! $5 each!!!
Carving Snake Sticks!
Clean the bark off of sticks.
Shape a head and a tail.
Sand any rough areas.
Wood burn your design. You can draw a design on with a pencil if you want.
Enjoy your Snakes!
I am so pleased and excited to announce this year's Spring Bird Artist Residency Recipient, Dawn Bertuca!
Dawn's application spoke so well to the spirit of this residency, which supports artists, writers, and makers needing to find time away from busy lives.
Furthermore her work as a nature photographer connects so well to the mission of Spring Bird which seeks to connect humans with nature, to notice the patterns and changes in the seasons, and to use our creativity to build the world that we imagine.
During her residency, Dawn hopes to begin a new series of macro photography that will look at the patterns in nature. The residency will allow her to have time and space to capture just the right image!
I am so excited to see what develops (pun intended), and I think our founder, Torkel Korling, would be pleased that our first recipient is a photographer like him.
I posted some of Dawn's photographs's below, but follow her work and see more here:
Instagram: @dawnbertuca and @everybeautifuldayDB
Thank you to all who applied, your projects were inspiring!
Pat began the Forest Garden by defining its perimeter. It’s important to have strong defenses against hungry deer. He built a thick wall from the cutting down of honeysuckles, an invasive weed shrub. If the deer can’t see where they can land, they won’t jump. So far, it’s been pretty effective at keeping away our dear, deer friends.
In his first round of planting which included pawpaws, strawberries, raspberries, perennial onions, herbs and flowers, he planted a couple of rows of willow. The intention for the willow was to develop living hedges. Now after a couple of years getting established, our little shoots have grown into beautiful, long branches.
And after getting inspired from the likes of Mary Reynolds and Monty Don, we really want our gardens to embody a sense of magic and wonder. Our gardens have the potential to give us so much more than their fruits. We want our forest garden, in particular, to be a place for Spring Bird guests to experience and connect with the cultivation of food and beauty.
So, getting back to the willow, springtime is the best season to work with willow because the plants are still dormant and cuttings will have the whole growing season to become established. Over Spring Break, as a family, we decided to harvest some of the willow to make living willow arches.
It’s my intention that these two arches will be a focal point and add a level of sacredness to the garden. I hope the birds will enjoy them, as well. Now all I need is a bird bath to complement them!
As you know, I write Woolgathering, a nature magazine about our connection to the seasons. Part of the mission of this magazine is to inspire awareness of the patterns and cycles in nature, which requires observation and a practice of noticing.
My process of doing this has been most consistently to write notes on the list making app on my phone. Last Summer, the kids and I kept nature journals that would capture the place and its happenings of a particular moment in time. It also made note of the moon cycle and weather. It was involved, but I wanted to get better and keeping a log of the natural occurrences - the “firsts” and “lasts” of any season. I tried a couple of written methods that I incorporated into my Annalog Planners, but they didn’t endure. I really want to create a visual representation of these seasonal changes - so that I can grasp the feeling of the season instantly.
Another practice that I have let go of is keeping a sketchbook. At some point last year, I decided that my drawing and painting had to be “for” something, that I could eventually sell. In other words, if I was making something, it had to directly lead to making money. And, I have come to realize that I really miss having this place to play with ideas. I miss the experimental nature of a sketchbook and having a place to just make something for its own sake.
Finally, one lovely practice that I started last year was to send a monthly emailed Almanac to subscribers that recounted all natural and creative milestones of that month. I really enjoy taking time to reflect on all that happened during a month and sharing this with readers who may not be able to visit Spring Bird. They can get a taste of what’s going on and stay updated, etc. AND although I try to take pictures of nature, they do not always capture the feeling of the season.
SO, it occurred to me that I could revisit my sketchbook by visually portraying the monthly natural happenings, and share the illustrations within the context of the monthly Almanac! Duh!
Anyway, I had the most fun making this illustration of March, which saw our first duck egg getting laid on the 2nd, the great melt happening on the 13th, snowdrops, jonquils, and chipmunks poking up on the 14th, skunk cabbage sprouting on the 17th, and we planted milkweed seeds also on the 17th in the upper meadow. Also, throughout the month, we saw flocks of robins return, and the bucks shed their antlers. The grasses are still brown, and the leaves exist in paper thin layers, devoid of color, and oh yes, there is the mud!
If you would like to be receiving monthly updates about Spring Bird, please subscribe here. And if you have signed up for monthly updates but haven’t been receiving them? Check your spam folder. Sometimes we get pushed there. You have to mark us as “not spam”. We are working on trying to prevent this from happening with our next Almanac.
Speaking of, the March Almanac will be mailed at the end of this month, which is REALLY soon. So, look for that in your inbox.
Thank you for going through this lengthy process of discernment. I encourage you to notice seasonal changes. You don’t have to write them down or draw them, unless you want to, of course. Just notice the things happening around you. It’s amazing what surrounds us!
Big Plans, Small Steps
As I wrote in Monday’s post, I have my penchant for planning. I believe a planned life is a life full of intention and meaning.
I prefer paper planners for achieving goals and dreams. It helps me to write and rewrite goals and tasks, and I know there is science out there to back this up. We are more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down repeatedly.
After being dissatisfied with conventional planners, I devised my own version over these last few years. I call this paper calendar and planning system, Annalog Planners, because I like puns, but I believe that this system is adaptable to your own needs. It’s a simple framework that you can tweak to meet your work habits and preferences.
I truly believe in this system that breaks down BIG GOALS into SMALL STEPS that are then applied to your timeline. Each day counts towards building a beautiful life full of intention and meaning!
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
To learn more, watch this informational video:
So last week, I led the workshop for a small group, and was delighted to find that Joyce was right! She and the participants taught me much more about the process of wrapping yarn around sticks. The workshop was an opportunity to practice creativity without having too much pressure on technique and outcome. Even better, it was an opportunity to share stories while our hands were busy winding.
We also talked about life’s stages, works, passions, jobs, and passions and how we choose to spend our time here on earth. As we talked about our experiences, we slowed our minds and hearts as our hands kept busy. There was opportunity to listen while we wound, to admire the color combinations of each other’s branches - to notice that the color choices and patterns resemble ourselves. We found joy in this simple experience.
And by the end of the evening, I realized that this Sweater For Sticks Workshop was much more than I had thought it could be. The participants encouraged me to develop it further.
So, I decided to formalize this workshop and make it available to groups of all shapes and sizes. I'm excited to see how it takes shape!
I believe we all possess unique purpose for this life, and we all have something important to share with the world. Our creativity is an important engine for revealing ourselves to the world in fulfilling ways.
The Sweaters for Sticks Workshop allows participants to visualize our branching sticks as a metaphor for our true purpose and reason for being, which flows or branches into each area of our life - family, school, work, friends, spirituality, and hobbies.
The bits of colorful yarn represent the choices and intentions we all make as we express our true purpose within each area of our life. When choosing colors to wrap around the sticks we can think about how we spend our time how we want to make our lives. We can ask ourselves, how is our life taking shape and how would we like it take shape.
Meanwhile, during the process of choosing and wrapping, participants can share stories and practice listening and being heard.
When we put thoughts and intentions behind our choices - we can create beautiful and interesting lives. We manifest these beautiful lives that are unique to us - that reflect our beauty.
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.
Adventures In Natural Dyeing
A Season To Make
Creativity Tools And Books
Make And Do Art
Philosophy Of Creativity