Wednesday, December 14, 2011

comfort and joy

I was on a recent school field trip with my son, where we visited a beautiful local lake that was once inhabited by the Native people (Iroquoians to be specific).

It was a full day of walking around, observing the lake, learning about the trees and the way the Natives lived off the land.  It takes approximately 5 deer skins to outfit one child.  They didn’t have vitamin C from oranges to prevent them from getting scurvy, so they had rosehip tea instead.

I was amazed at all the ways they had to be resourceful.  Nothing was taken for granted, they all understood that it took a village to help each other, and they worked.  And worked hard.

The women worked on the farm.  They raised their children together and ran a full household.  The men hunted and protected their village.  They built from cedar trees around them.

Although they didn’t have the comforts of modern day living, I bet you they were happy.  Working together…as a village…as a family, is incredibly rewarding.  They cherished everything they had, because they hunted it or made it themselves.  And it’s all they had….nothing was left to waste. 

So this holiday season, I hope that I can be just as resourceful, using simple ingredients from my kitchen cupboard, to create things, while not as life dependent as rosehip tea, but something that is made by hand, to be cherished.

Homemade Clay Gift Tags

  • 2 cups of baking soda (about 1 box)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½  cups water
  • Sauce pan 
  • Spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Rubber stamps  (from the craft or dollar store) or toothpick
  • Straw

  • Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently, until it is too thick to stir with a spoon.
  • Cool for a few minutes, or until it's cool enough to touch. Place on the plastic wrap. (Clean/soak the pan immediately or you’ll have clay stuck on your pan!)
  • Roll out the dough so it’s the thickness you require. 
  • Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out your shapes.
  • Using a straw, cut a hole at the top of the ornament.
  • Using a toothpick (I like using the plastic ones which are easier to use), create your message if you want it handwritten, or use a rubber stamp.
  • Once you have molded it, it will take 1-2 days for the clay to dry. This clay can be painted with either Tempera or acrylic craft paints.

Joyfully, tag your gifts.

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