July 24, 2014

Waldorf Festival Dates for 2014-15

Waldorf Festival Dates
"Candleburning" by Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/148763. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons.

A large part of Waldorf or seasonally inspired education revolves around the rhythms, seasons, festivals, and holidays of the year. I find it much easier to plan out our school year, if I start first with writing down all festival dates before I plan anything else. Last year, I shared a list of the Waldorf festival dates for the 2013-14 school year, and I’d thought I’d do so again this year.

For those who are new to Waldorf, you do not need to celebrate any or all of these festivals/holidays. Homeschoolers and Waldorf schools, alike, choose to celebrate the festivals and holidays that are important to themselves and their community. I happen to list a few holidays that some of you may never have heard of, but which are important in my community, which has a large number people of the Hare Krishna and Muslim faiths. Meanwhile, I know almost nothing of Buddhist or Hindu holidays. Also, I was raised Catholic, so am more familiar and comfortable with the liturgical calendar celebrations, yet my husband was raised Jewish, so I take that into account also. In addition, I have many friends who identify with more Earth-based and/or Goddess religions, so I am heavily influenced by these celebrations as well. Finally, there are the holidays for own's home countries that should be taken into account. In all, the calendar can get very busy, very easily, so it is important to not over schedule yourself. If you find yourself wanting to celebrate so many festivals and/or holidays that you can’t think straight, you might want to consider celebrating the festivals and holidays in a simpler form. One does not need to redecorate the house for each and every festival or holiday!

  • September
    • 1 – Labor Day
    • 11 – Patriot Day
    • 23 - Autumn Equinox and Mabon
    • 29 – Michaelmas
  • October
    • 4 – Eid al-Adha
    • 13 - Columbus Day
    • 31 – Halloween and Samhain
  • November
    • 1 – All Saints’ Day
    • 2 – All Souls’ Day
    • 4 – Election Day (United States)
    • 11 – Martinmas and Veteran’s Day
    • 23 – Diwali
    • 27 – Thanksgiving (United States)
    • 30 – Advent Sunday
  • December
    • 6 – Saint Nicholas Day
    • 13 – Saint Lucia Day
    • 16 – Hanukkah starts
    • 21 – Winter Solstice/Yule
    • 24 – Christmas Eve and Hanukkah Ends
    • 25 – Christmas
    • 26 – Boxing Day, Saint Stephen’s Day, and Kwanzaa begins
    • 31 – New Year’s Eve
  • January
    • 1 – New Year’s Day, Kwanzaa ends
    • 5 – Twelfth Night
    • 6 – Epiphany and Three Kings’ Day
    • 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February
    • 1 – Imbolc and St. Brighid's Day
    • 2 – Candlemas and Groundhog’s Day (United States)
    • 14 – Saint Valentine’s Day
    • 16 – Presidents’ Day (United States)
    • 17 – Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras
    • 18 – Ash Wednesday (Lent begins)
    • 19 – Chinese New Year
  • March
    • 5 – Purim
    • 17 – Saint Patrick’s Day
    • 20 – Spring Equinox and Ostara
    • 29 - Palm Sunday
  • April
    • 1 – April Fool’s Day
    • 2 – Maundy Thursday and Lent ends
    • 3 – Good Friday and Passover begins
    • 5 – Easter
    • 11 – Passover ends
    • 22 – Earth Day
    • 24 – Arbor Day
  • May
    • 1 – May Day and Beltane
    • 5 – Cinco de Mayo
    • 10 – Mother’s Day (United States)
    • 14 – Ascension Day
    • 24 – Whitsun and Pentecost
    • 25 – Memorial Day (United States)
  • June
    • 14 – Flag Day (United States)
    • 18 – Ramadan begins
    • 20 – Midsummer Eve
    • 21 – Summer solstice and Father’s Day (United States)
    • 24 – Saint John’s Day
  • July
    • 4 – Independence Day (United States)
    • 16 – Ramadan ends
    • 17 – Eid al-Fitr
  • August
    • 1 – Lammas and Lughnasadh
    • 15 - Assumption Day


July 23, 2014

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsRecently, Sola and I made some bubble wands. I was really surprised that they worked as well as store-bought wands. To make these wands, you need some copper wire (I used 18 gauge), beads, wire cutters, jeweler’s block, and ball-peen/jeweler's hammer.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The first thing that you will want to do is to decide how you want to make your handle. I have seen some people on Pinterest who made the ends into swirls, but I was worried that Sola could still poke her finger on the raw end of the wire, so I opted to tuck the wire under the bottom bead. To do this, I curved the wire into a “u”. Then I used my ball-pean hammer and jeweler’s block to hammer the “u” shape until it was very flat. The more you hammer metal, the stiffer it gets, so it won’t lose its shape.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

We then started stringing beads on to the wire in the pattern that we both liked (you might have to use a smaller bead for the very first bead, just so it won’t slide off the bottom.

At the top, I also wanted to make sure that the wire ends were safely tucked into the beads, so I first stuck the end of the wire into the top bead, not bothering to shape the wand.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Then I shaped the wire into circular shapes (you can make any shape you want). I twisted the wire at the base of the wand, where it enters the beads. You want to twist the wire nice and snug up against the beads to make the handle stiff, or else it will be flopping all around.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

And that is it! We’ve also been experimenting with several DIY bubble solution recipes.

Homemade Beaded Bubble Wands - From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells


July 16, 2014

Yarn Along Wednesday - Some Socks for Me

Yarn Along Wednesday - Some Socks for Me | Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

You would think that with the lazy days of summer, I’d be getting more knitting done, but our lack of structure seems to be sabotaging all my efforts to finish up a knitting project. I finished the first shoe that I was knitting for Sola’s doll and realized that the shoe was way to large. We’re kind of at a crossroads in regards to Sola’s toys right now anyway. She has been playing with the neighborhood kids a lot. As such, she has been influenced by peer pressure quite a bit. All the neighborhood girls have American Girl dolls, so now Sola only wants an American Girl doll and says she hates her Waldorf doll. Given that the strength of her relationship with the neighborhood kids can vacillate quite a bit, I’m not prepared to toss out her Waldorf doll yet, but at the same time, I’m not feeling super inspired to make any new clothes for it. Instead, I am focusing on using up all the sock yarn that I purchased and have not used. No one in my family, besides me, would appreciate hand knit socks, so I will be making several pairs for myself. Normally, I don’t wear socks much, but maybe having hand knit socks will change that. At the very least, I will greatly appreciate them during the coldest days of winter.  


Reading-wise, I’ve been finding lots of time to read while sitting on the front porch keeping and eye on Sola, as she tries to navigate the world of neighborhood children, or sitting on park benches, while she learns to do the monkey bars all by herself. I’ve been reading three books since I last posted. I’m not sure what I was expecting from the first book, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Danah Boyd, but it wasn’t what I got. Maybe if my older kids were younger, this book would have been more meaningful to me. It probably would have reassured me that my kids weren’t going to become the spawn of Satan due to their use of social media. Since Primo is about to turn 23, I’ve been dealing with kids and social media for about 15 years now. Since, for me, this book's sole purpose seemed to be to convince me that though kids socialize differently these days, it is all okay, and because I already knew all this, the book came across as if it were hitting me over the head with the message.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman, was a light and enjoyable read. It left me feeling sighing happily when I finished the last page. I’m just going to post Amazon’s description of the book, because it does a good job of setting your expectations, "When Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt, the pretty but crazy 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen, dies suddenly, her twelve-year-old daughter CeeCee has barely a hope left in the world. To her rescue arrives Great Aunt Tootie in the most magnificent car CeeCee has ever seen, and she is whisked away to the storybook city of Savannah. For some flowers, Aunt Tootie holds, are born to bloom only south of the Mason-Dixon line and soon, among the sweet scent of magnolias and the loving warmth of Tootie and her colourful collection of friends, it looks as though CeeCee has arrived in paradise. But when a darker side to the Southern dream threatens this delicate, newfound happiness, Aunt Tootie and her friends must rally to CeeCee's aid. Warm yet heartbreaking, and generously spiced with humor, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is the story of a girl who loses her mother but finds many others under a balmy Georgia sun."

Botany for the Artist: An Inspirational Guide to Drawing Plants, by Sarah Simblet, is a book that is going to take me awhile to finish. It covers a great deal of botany, while also addressing the various technical issues that arise when drawing plants. The images inside the book are absolutely gorgeous and the book may very well serve as a coffee table book when I am done, as I think almost anyone would enjoy leafing through its pages (pun not intended, but hey, it’s there!). Here is a good video review of the book, that shows you the inside, so you can get an idea of how extraordinarily beautiful it is. 

What about you? Have you been reading anything interesting? Have you been able to find time to knit during the summer? As always, I will be sharing this post with:


Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.