Saturday, 23 March 2013

Easter Club Week Five - Brunch Club

For our fifth week, we decided to do something different.  We invited parents and neighbours to join us for a fundraising brunch for Blythswood Care, which is administered locally. My boys have enjoyed helping out at their annual shoe boxes event, where thousands of boxes, filled with practical presents, are checked and packed into lorries before being sent off to countries acroos Eastern Europe and even India. Blythswood help support many small Christain run projects, and we had heard that they were looking to raise money for nutrious breakfasts for an orphanage in Romania. It seems like a little money can go a long way.

The children all brought along their home baking - as you can see from a the impressive array above! Everyone worked hard setting up the kitchen, decorating menus, a moneybox and cakes. We buttered lots of rolls - bacon rolls are very popular around here.

It was really lovely having all our guests, including Danny from Blythswood who shared some photos of the place where our money was going - we raised enough to give a child a good breakfast for a year!

We did also have time to finish the Faces of Easter and to marvel at how fast our rye grass cross has grown this week...oh and to try out some those wonderful cakes!

Proud - Fier

This one is for Granny Poppy in France! C'est pour toi, Granny Poppy,  il etait si fier d'etre dans l'equipe! Regarde comme il est beau dans ses vetements sportifs. Il a beaucoup aime le concours, malgre la neige! Bisous x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pysanky Making

Although I would love to get out to the garden and start clearing the way for spring growth, the weather has been pretty horrible recently, so at weekends I have spent some happy times playing around with eggs. Pysanky Eggs are a Ukranian folk tradition. Eggs are decorated using a batik style, with wax and layers of dyes. A finished egg can be kept for many years.

The hardest part is controlling the flow of wax. Traditionally the tool used is a kistka, and these are readily available on the internet. However, what I have to hand is a batik pen, given to me a long time ago. It is similar - a wooden handle with a metal nib and reservoir. Some beeswax pellets are put into the pen, which is held over a candle flame until melted. Then you draw the pen over the egg, in whatever design you like.

 I found this helpful book at a jumble sale just before Christmas. It has lots of helpful tips and wonderful drawings of traditional motifs, as well as descriptions of Ukranian Eater customs. I also found this site very helpful - a great introduction to Pysanky. There are some some good colouring pages too.

It is lovely seeing the pattern and layers of colour build up. The instructions help you to build up to complex geometric patterns but there are also many traditional folkloric motifs which draw from nature, and are more freeflowing.

Finally you melt off all the wax and get the big reveal! This is the exciting part! And addictive too...

A friend recently challenged me about the pagan origins of egg painting, but as I thought about it, not only are these eggs lovely objects in their own right, they are, in the words of Jerome Berryman 'real Easter eggs...the eggs were trying to say with colours and words what had happened that day'. If Christ is in the business of making all things new, then I think that can apply to our art and celebrations as Christians too.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Easter Club Week Four

Another lovely week with our group. The children really got the idea of finding something in the room to tell a little more of the ongoing story The Faces of Easter, as you can see from the picture above. I was pleased that they are starting to feel comfortable with going to my story shelf and pulling things out from other stories. They also picked up some everyday objects, including toys and were keen to explain the connection with the story - a lego Samurai reminded us of the Roman occupation of Israel, for example. My husband was really intrigued by some of the observations they made. It kept us thinking long afterwards.

I offered a few choices this week for our response time - we are fortunate to have plenty of time and it is so lovely not to rush anything. We marked out the shape of a cross with pebbles in a box of compost, then sowed some rye grass seeds. Already some little sprouts of growth are showing. We will use it for our church service on Easter Sunday then give it as a present.

I have been trying to share something about different ways of praying, and this week talked about praying when we don't have any words...a very common experience isn't it? Sometimes when I struggle to find words but still want to intentionally pray, I just sit with a wee wooden cross in my hand. I just wanted the children to know it's OK to pray like that, and sometimes very powerful! So I offered them some wooden crosses to sand and wax, to use like that if they wish. We had a short practice at the end - cue some giggles, of course!

A friend who does Messy Church kindly gave me a big bag of leftover Easter crafts - Easter week bracelets, cards, bookmarks and so on. Although these types of crafts are very structured, they seemed very popular and engrossing. Yet again, I am struck by the importance of the process, rather than the product. My boys really enjoyed the beading - but show little interest in what they have made! A couple of the older girls (in their early teens) remarked how relaxing colouring in is. I guess that they probably don't have much chance to do it now, but this simple activity is indeed very satisfying. I am going to keep my eyes out for colouring which might prove attractive to older children. 

Next week (Saturday 23rd March) our Easter Club is planning to have a brunch for friends and neighbours, in aid of Blythswood Christian Care. If you live in the neighbourhood and want to join us for coffee, cake, bacon rolls etc, you would be very welcome to come along at 11am to our house.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Easter Club Week Three

Our group met again yesterday, a little smaller than usual, but I don't mind, as there is always more time for each child in a smaller group. I took a little extra time to help the group get ready for the story. It is a wonderful group as they are so enthusiastic and participate in everything, but I realised that they also need to know about being ready on the inside - which isn't about being quiet and sitting still - although that can help! We talked about being quiet on the inside so we don't miss something which may be just for them. This is such a helpful part of Godly Play, and respectful of where each child is at. It helps them to learn about themselves and prepare themselves internally.

I started telling the Faces of Easter story, which can be told over several weeks. Last year my material was very simple - laminated pictures, but this year I am so happy to have the artwork mounted on boards and a nice wooden rack. There are a few people in Inverness and the Highlands starting out with Godly Play. We have got together a couple of times to make some of the  materials together. I will have to share about those days another time but they have been great fun and very enjoyable - especially all the cake that people bring along!

 At the end of the story, instead of the usual wondering questions, the children are asked to find something else in the room that helps tell the story. They were very enthusiastic about that! As it was in our living room there were many items they could choose, and their reasons for doing so were very interesting and beautiful.
As this first part of the story focuses on the birth and childhood of Jesus, I asked the children if they wanted to make a gift for Mother's Day. In Great Britain it is always three Sundays before Easter.  I supplied some simple cloth bags, pens and fabric paints and let them create a special bag for their mothers. They worked really hard on this and everyone produced a gift to make any mother's heart fill up.

 Of course I had to be very careful not to look too much at what my boys were doing! I'll show you their's in another posting, but if you were celebrating Mother's Day today, I hope, like me, you had a wonderful day.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Weekend Work

No Easter Club this week, as I was invited to go and do a bit of storytelling at a local church that's considering using Godly Play. However, I did find time to carry on a little with my woodwork project...lots of sanding, sanding, sanding...can you tell what it's going to be?

I have a busy week ahead...but I hope there'll be time to enjoy a few peaceful moments. Have a good week too!