Archive for the ‘Waldorf’ Category


finding my rhythm

September 18, 2010

School is well underway now. Two weeks in and I’m finally starting to feel like I can handle this. I was so incredibly tired the first week and I couldn’t believe how wild my class was. It’s amazing what the excitement of being back at school and the addition of a few energetic souls can do to a class. I’m sure having a new teacher also added to the craziness. In any case, we’re finding ourselves and I’m learning to balance my incredible work load with some time for fun and exploration.

In the days before school began I was busy readying the room and worrying about being able to meet the class. Now two weeks later I find I know what I need to do and can be delighted by the simplest of surprises: a child who tested my patience all day waving madly when we crossed paths in town or the light unconscious humming of a song we learned earlier in the morning. It’s been two weeks and I can honestly say there is only one other time where I still enjoyed the job this far in. Yes!

Yesterday evening and today have found Kevin and I out enjoying the beach and then when I settled into work this afternoon birthday verses somehow streamed their way through me and onto the page. It’s so nice when that flow just happens without the pressure of a deadline. In any case I thought it might be nice for me to share some of the verses. Note that I did not go into the depth that some teachers do – crafting a verse with an anapest, iambic, trochee or dactyl foot to meet the temperament of the child. I am thankful for the wisdom a colleague offered – that it’s more important to create something that speaks to me about the child and meets him or her. That, and that a bit of rhyme can go a long way.

Here goes:

1. Far off the jagged shore
On the high open seas,
The greatest of creatures
Kindly watches o’er me.

In struggles and triumphs
I know to be me
And trust in my kind heart
That beats with the sea.

2. Bright-eyed and wakeful
I greet the light
That shines on me
With all its might
Reminding me before the night
That I must do what’s true and right.

3. Steadfast I stand
Like a tree on the land.
What my heart knows is true,
Like the sun, does shine through.

4. Lightly on my nimble feet,
Through the rocks and twigs I sneak,
Until I find my home at last
Among the trees and wild grass.

5. Not fearing vengeful pain or wrath
My feet stick firmly to the path;
From mountains high to valleys deep,
My spirit roams spreading love and peace.

And now we’re off for a night of music playing with friends while the song funky town plays to remind us of why we chose to live here. Oh how I’m loving this new life today!


a little bit of mythology

February 24, 2010

My current teaching practice is with a class of grade fours that are currently in their Norse Mythology block.

Other than recognizing the name of the God, Thor, Norse mythology has been completely foreign to me. There are 9 worlds with unusual names like Muspelheim, Alfheim, Jotunheim, Midgard and Svartheim. Those names are among the easier things to pronounce – the characters, the things they carry, etc. are all strange and new. The world tree, Yggdrasil, is a little more typical of the names in this mythology.

For next week I’m working on telling a story of the three norns: Urda who sees the past, Verdandi who sees the present and Skulda who sees the future. The norns are a mysterious bunch and they spin together the threads of past, present and future for each human beings life.

The class teacher has an image of the different worlds and other key elements on the chalkboard and the children seem quite interested in the three women who live among the roots of Yggdrasil. Not only will I be telling a story in front of a class for the first time but I’ll also be leading them in a shaded colour pencil drawing (another first for me) sometime next week. I still have a few days to prepare but today I played around a little and did a first sketch of the type of drawing I plan to lead them in. Skulda’s face is rarely seen so I want her to appear a little further back in the shadows of Yggdrasils roots. There is a drawing in each of the books I have but I thought looking back to the past, straight on for the present and forward for the future would be helpful. I’m not sure whether I’ll go with having them staggered from left to right as well or one directly above the other. All things for me to fine tune in the coming evenings I guess.

three norns


a few of my paintings

February 20, 2010

Wow, I’ve been horrible with photos and info on my teacher training. I downloaded some photos of the painting work I did in the fall and it’s high time I shared it! Nothing too earth shattering but a learning and growing process none the less.

catching up on photos of fall 2009 paintings.

catching up on photos of fall 2009 paintings..

catching up on photos of fall 2009 art

More recently we experimented with our adult interpretations of the early parts of the Hebrew creation story. This painting exercise was so liberating and exciting for me – I’m even pleased with the result. I don’t expect I’d want to lead grade three students in flicking water across their page but you never know;)

hebrew creation story - feb 10

hebrew creation story part 2 feb 10


math geek

January 15, 2010

Okay, I don’t really think that’s me… Kevin is much more likely to fit that description but there might be a change brewing.

When I returned to school for the New Year we had a one week math course with a math professor/Waldorf parent and it got me all fired up about math. Then I learned that I would be with a middle school class during their geometry block, starting this week. The geometry I got in high school was easy enough for me to follow but it always seemed sooo dry and boring. Actually most of high school math was like that or missed me completely (I’m thinking the calculus we did with graphing calcuators – ugh).

After last week I was all excited about math, but concerned about the unfamiliar task of working with young adolescents and terrified about how to bring geometry in a way that would actually connect with them. I’m so thankful that I get to work with such a wise and sense aware mentor. I’m eating up all the new and interesting things I can learn about the golden section, compass and straight edge geometric constructions and the platonic solids. My head is spinning about all the cool things I need to investigate further and at the same time, I’m getting to experience some things that don’t usually come with math in school. Namely, looking at the golden section as used in art, exploring geometry with clay, leading meditative reflection, discovering the meaning of “new” words, finding an appetite for my own inner reflection and so much more.

And yeah, this math part… that piece about wanting to be a math teacher, the very thing that motivated me to even think about becoming a teacher so many years ago, is burning ever brighter within me. I love it and can’t wait for next week’s adventures!


crayon roll for sticks and blocks

December 24, 2009

I’ve been wanting to make myself a roll for my growing collection of Stockmar block and stick crayons for a while now and last week I finally got started. I had figured there would be instructions available somewhere on-line but I didn’t find them. I like figuring out these sorts of things for myself so *maybe* I didn’t look that hard. A few friends have asked how I made mine so now I’m sharing my how to.

First off, I used two fabrics and interfacing to give the roll a little more body and support to the outside layer. A scrap of denim, flannel or home dec weight fabric would likely work just as well and is probably only necessary when the two visible fabrics are quilting cotton.

crayon roll

Because I wanted to maximize the use of my fabrics, I worked it out so that I could make 2 crayon rolls for each of my fabrics. The yardage (meterage?) requirements for two crayon rolls are:

Fabric A (purple fabric in my example): 0.4 metres
Fabric B (batik): 0.3 metres
Interfacing: 0.8 metres (or 0.4 if you’re only making one roll since it’s usually less than 104 cm wide)
Matching ribbon or cord for ties: 1.3 metres

Before really getting into this project I washed, dried and ironed the fabrics (but not the interfacing).

1. Cut fabrics and interfacing:
– from fabric A cut two rectangles (one for each crayon roll) measuring 36 cm x 52 cm (14 1/4″ x 20.5″).
– from the interfacing cut another rectangle (or two) measuring 36 cm x 52 cm (14 1/4″ x 20.5″).
– from fabric B cut two rectangles measuring 30 cm x 52 cm (12″ x 20.5″).

2. Stack one piece of each fabric in the following order from bottom to top:
– interfacing
– fabric A, right side up
– fabric B, right side down
being sure to align the two short sides and one long side.

3. Pin the 3 materials together along one long side and sew 1 cm (1/2″) away from this edge.

crayon roll - pinning long edge

4. Align the materials along the opposing long side (note that fabric B will be shorter than the rest but all three should be lined up together). Pin and sew as in step 3.

crayon roll - inside panel is shorter

5. Press seams allowances towards fabric B, then turn the fabric tube right side and press these seams again.

crayon roll - pressing seams towards inside panel fabric

6. Centre the panel of fabric B so that even amounts of fabric A show above and below. (Note that this alignment doesn’t need to be perfect since the seams will be hidden in the pockets.) Press the edges at the top and bottom of your fabric tube.

crayon roll - centering inside panel

7. Make the folds for the pockets. To accommodate stick crayons, I made a fold 5.5 cm (2″) away from one of the creases I made in step 6. For blocks, I folded the fabric over 4 cm (1 5/8″). No matter what the pocket sizes, the folds need to be firmly pressed for the subsequent steps to work.

crayon roll - folding first pocket

8. Pin the the centre of the fabric or ribbon tie in place on one of the short sides of the fabric. Pin to either fabric A or B before turning the whole works inside out.

crayon roll - attaching ties

9. Preparing the fabric for sewing is the most difficult process. In order for the side seams to be neat, the fabric tube needs to be folded along the creases made in steps 6 and 7 but now the pockets stick into the middle of the inside tube as show in this photo. Be sure that the loose ends of the ribbon are away from the open ends so they don’t get sewn into the wrong spot.

crayon roll - positioning pockets

10. Place pins and sew down the side of the roll where the ribbon is attached using a 1 cm (1/2″) seam allowance. Be sure to double back at the start and the end of this seam and where the ribbon attaches.

11. There needs to be a space for turning the roll right side out so at the end without the ribbon, pin and sew a seam over each set of pockets using a 1 cm (1/2″) seam allowance being sure to double back at each end of each pocket.

12. Clip corners. If you would like to reduce the bulk you may also want to grade the seams.

crayon roll - clipping corners

13. Turn the roll right side out. It should look much like it did after step 7 except that the side edges are now concealed by the seams you just sewed.

14. Fold over the loose fabric edges at the opening where you turned the pouch right side out. Pin in place. (Hand sew if desired.)

crayon roll - pinning opening closed

15. Mark sewing lines to make the individual crayon pockets.
– You’ll want 48 cm (19″) between the top stitching on either end of the roll so that each crayon can have a 4 cm (just under 1 5/8″) wide pocket. When I used a lightweight cord my top stitching on either side needed to be 7mm from the end of the fabric.
– Draw (with chalk) individual pocket lines every 4 cm starting after the top stitching line on one side.
– This pattern allows for top stitching along the top and bottom of the pocket 0.5 cm (1/4″) from the edge. Mark this stitching line with chalk.

crayon roll - drawing out stitching lines

16. Add a few pins to ensure that the pocket flaps stay where you want them and then sew the pockets in a zig zag pattern like so:

crayon roll stitching pattern

Once you’ve reached the far end of the roll it’s time to do one final round of the perimeter.

17. Use a clean, dry toothbrush to remove chalk lines and stuff with 12 block and 12 stick crayons!

finished crayon roll


artsy evening

October 8, 2009

We had a big paper due today but as we’re finishing our block tomorrow it felt like I had such freedom in what to do tonight.  I had the house to myself and was feeling tired so I watched more online shows than I should have while also getting some other things off my to do list:

Making and writing thank you cards


Finishing my first Waldorf doll – a baby really.  Our teacher actually sewed up the bodies and the skin fabric; we stuffed and did all the sewing that is visible on the outside.  There’s more of that hand stitching that it looks – gathering at the hands, feet, waist and neck and then of course making the hat.  It didn’t take that long but having to wait two days to be able to finish it up was surprisingly difficult.  I’ll take sewing over essay writing any day!

Waldorf baby

Have a great turkey weekend!



September 28, 2009

It’s only been two weeks since I made this temporary move to smaller quarters with only only a fraction of my stuff but it’s been liberating to see how much more I can do with my time.  I’m still in shock that I’ve turned to hand sewing so often!

I already wrote about the bags I made the first week: the second one fits my eurythmy slippers perfectly and the other one has been used even more.  Sometimes I use it to carry all my tins of “colours” and other times my birks.  Then there were the leaf faeries we had for homework last week.

leaf faeries

This weekend I returned to another one of my favourite handwork arts: KNITTING!

When I was first packing I thought I might have the opportunity to work on a 90% complete sweater that I started 3 or 4 Christmases ago.  In the end it didn’t fit in my bags. It’s a Christmas project anyways so to work on it at that time of year again will actually be quite nice and perhaps will help me relax and rest like I should! Here’s hoping I can block it will still fit:)

The mainstay of my knitting has been toques, especially the ear flap ones. I’ve been doing fewer and fewer every year – and none last year – so it has definitely felt like time for something new.

On Saturday I ventured to the yarn store and fell in love with yarn after yarn. I was craving something a bit bigger than a toque but smaller than a whole sweater and after much debating of patterns and yarns I settled on a sweater vest in this Manos blend of rich fall colours.


Working on it will force me to schedule some relax time but also keep my hands busy when I take a bit of a break to watch Bones once a week….

Have a great week!


first handwork lesson

September 23, 2009

So today we had our first handwork lesson.  I’ve been looking forward to it and am so glad we didn’t have to wait months for this.  Given that we’re studying early childhood right now I thought we would dive right in with the kind of project one could teach a kindergarten class.  Instead we went for something for us first: a needle book.


I’m not overly inclined towards embroidery or patterned linings peeking out behind a plain cover so I used the printed fabric for the outside.  And you can see from my uneven blanket stitches in the inside that I could certainly have more practice with hand stitches.

I have a much smaller needle book that I made to go with my sewing case in the summer that I’m quite inclined to keep using both of those items but I did finish my assignment.  I’ll figure out what to do with it later.


such an appropriate quote

September 17, 2009

Long story short: Kevin happened upon this quote a few days ago after worrying about the peach seed (inside the pit) that he ate.  I thought it was worth sharing and it’s especially fitting since it’s part of what has fueled my decision to change career directions.  It also helped me figure out what to say for my presentation when the day after Kevin found the quote.

“A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – German dramatist, novelist, poet, scientist (1749-1832).  A name I’m becoming more an more familiar with as I deepen my knowledge of Waldorf Education.  I love it when more  eloquent ways of describing what I’m thinking or feeling land on my lap like this!


feels like christmas

September 15, 2009

Strange that I should say so but that’s what I thought.  It’s funny though, because for me Christmas is definitely not about the Christian version of things but more about the seasonal change that we celebrate with friends, family and neighbours.  I probably come across as dissing other cultures and that’s not what I mean to say.  More that I’ve found a reason to celebrate now so “Christmas” is actually fun now instead of a time of year I dread.  In any case there were a few big gifts for me today.

Eurythmy that moved me.  Eurythmy unlike any I’d done before.  I’m so thankful for the experience this morning with my fellow students, members of the community and one very talented teacher.  I am also happy that I don’t have to feel the guilt I had this summer where it was a constant tug of war for me to get to class and stay engaged.  Phewf, eurythmy really can be what I’d imagined, and more.

15 - grey paint

Time to paint and simple, yet focused tasks.  The first was to figure out how to paint a wet sheet of paper a consistently light shade of grey without diluting our jars of thick,  heavy black paint.  We also painted for contrast using the same paint.  I went back and forth in a lemniscaped pattern and when after a very short time I felt like I was done, I went back and “unpainted” some spaces.  I was very happy with the results and glad for the extra time to experiment.  Now if I could just give myself that much time at home!

15 - lyre

Another gift and the one that actually moved me to thinking today was like Christmas, was the opening my beautifully wrapped lyre.  It’s not required for teacher training but when I visited the kindergarten classroom in Hawaii I had the chance to play the lyre and have wanted to hear and make that music ever since.  I enjoy singing so recorder playing has been rather frustrating.  I still need to figure out how to tune it but for now the resonance of each string I pluck is enough!

15 - new fabric (batiks)

And my final gift so far today was finding fabric.  I wasn’t looking for anything but when out to find some other specialty items I happened across a fabric store that had one of my favourite prints, just in a different colour than what I used for my favourite baby quilt a few years ago.  I’ve been admiring the bags people carry their eurythmy shoes in so later this week I’ll try and get started on mine.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first full day of teacher training and am so looking forward to what I’m going to learn over the coming months and years!