BOOK REVIEW: Natural Color by Sasha Duerr

As someone who enjoys needle felting I was always curious if (or rather how) can I dye my own wool and, although a number of chemical dyes are available, natural colors always seemed more attractive . For that reason Sasha Duerr‘s book “Natural Color” immediately caught my attention. I used to look through blogs and natural dyeing videos and tried to systematize all the information somehow, and it is nice to see there is an actual book that got all the questions I had covered. Let’s take a look.


The book discusses the entire process of natural dyeing, from finding the plants, getting the color out and until the final result is ready. Truly it is a wealth of information, presented in a friendly, accessible manner . And not just basics, the book touched various techniques too. The recipes are very straightforward and precise, quite easy to follow. I loved how the recipes were organized by season , and although not all the plants are available in my region for foraging specifically, some are and I can’t wait to try. There is a section on mordants that I found very helpful, different options are discussed and the process is explained so well, I really appreciate the meticulousness. The photography is beautiful and  I am getting inspired by merely looking through the book.

Overall impression: I am in love with all the projects in this book, not just for wardrobe, but for the house too. I am looking forward to trying them one by one. The book is a valuable asset to anyone who is interested in natural dying. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: Paper Goods Projects by Jodi Levine

Just in time for the school year! Paper Goods Projects is a book full of simple crafts that don’t require too much time, yet look good both as an accessory to an imaginative playtime and a party. The book is written by Jodi Levine who was a part of Martha Stewart creative team for over 19 years. The cover copy promises total re-evaluation of one’s pantry shelves and tons of  fun with household materials. Let’s see if it lives up to it.

paper goods projects

This  colorful book offers a variety of simple and cute craft ideas from all sorts of materials available at most homes: coffee filters, paper towel tubes, balloons, milk cartons , etc.  It is separated into four sections according to the material. Coffee Filters and Cupcake Papers is my most favorite of the four. Dyed Coffee Filters look amazing. The projects include flowers and cake topper ideas. Second section is dedicated to paper plates, bags and doilies. It is also quite creative and there are number of ideas I am excited to implement such as garland, masks and paper bag decoration ideas. The third section is my least favorite and is dedicated to balloon creations. The balloon cake toppers are just not appealing at all to me and table decorations are plain ugly, sorry to say. The only project I would really like to do with my kids is balloon solar system. The final section is dedicated to the materials found in recycling bin-cartons, cereal boxes and paper tubes. I liked the ideas for paper town out of boxes and cartons, tube animals look great as well.

Overall impression: I somehow expected something extraordinary from this book, and while there are some wonderful ideas, there is not much I haven’t seen before on various blogs and Pinterest. As I’ve written above, balloon section (which is 1/4 of the book) is useless to me. The book is pretty– bright colors and lovely photography. The crafts are simple and easy to put together with kids of different ages. 3 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Silk Road Study part 1

This week we began our Silk Road Study, this is part one.

We had an awesome visit at Denver Museum of Nature and Science exhibit. It is called Traveling the Silk Road. It was most interesting visit. We got to learn a lot about major stops of the Great Silk Road. We learned about market life, means of transportation, tales and perils.I highly recommend this exhibition, it is on for another month.

Silk Road exhibition

Before visiting the museum we watched TED video about Silk Road

I decided to use Marco Polo’s travels as a guideline for our study. A biography video for Marco Polo can be found here. I got a very good book at the museum’s shop. Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China by Janise Herbert. This book is great, it talks about Marco Polo’s travels and provides around 20 activities.

Marco Polo for kids book

This week we talked about  Marco setting off on his journey. Children created a medieval map. We looked at a few  old maps and tried to re-create them, not forgetting to include monsters that lurked in the seas and lands long ago. The fact that we visited Mythic Creatures exhibit earlier this week helped a lot. Children painted their maps on paper grocery bags, I made little boats for them out of polymer clay.

medieval map making

medieval map and clay boat

Our next stop this week was Turkey. We located it on the map, learned a bit about its history, practiced saying simple words in Turkish( a video for common words and phrases can be found here)

We talked about carpets that were made there (children actually got a couple of souvenir bookmarks from the exhibition) and children found it fascinating that making of a carpet could take months. We tried cereal box weaving at home.  It is very simple to make a loom cut a large rectangle out of a cardboard box, make notches to string the yarn and start weaving using yarn, fabric or embroidery thread. Children used grandma’s knitting left overs.

cereal box weaving

final result

final result

Children loved this project.

We also visited Denver Mint this week and besides learning how the coins are made, we had a chance to discuss what was used as a payment among the traders of long ago.

This was first part of our learning about the Great Silk Road, stay tuned for more.

Week’s Roundup: Two weeks edition: March 13- March 22,2015

Wow, I realized I skipped a roundup last week, we were so busy and life got so chaotic. I must make an effort and do better.

Picture of the week:

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

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Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve everybody 🙂 !

Children are counting hours at this point, tomorrow at the same time they will go to bed to wake up to presents under the tree, and delicious special breakfast, and, who knows, maybe even snow.

Today’s plan was to make a paper village. Frankly, I was dreading making a town out of little boxes, so I looked online for some alternative, and then I stumbled upon a wonderful display of paper houses at one of the loveliest Russian blogs about children’s playtimes.

It looked easy enough to make, so this afternoon we sat down to try and create some magic

paper city

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Our business is winding down little by little, and it feels so good.

We are continuing to brighten up our days with small holiday activities ( days 1-5 and 6-10)

DAY 11: We were supposed to have a hike, but little C. didn’t feel very well, so we decided to organize and put together a little Holiday book pile

just a part of our collection

just a part of our collection

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