Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Murgatroyd's Garden - Judy Zavos

Murgatroyd's Garden, written by Judy Zavos and illustrated by Drahos Zak, was the fabulous Australian children's book for our last Creativity Workshop.

This is a very funny story about a little boy who refuses to wash his hair. And hijinks ensue. The illustrations are top-notch. Again, out of print (oh what I would give to own a printing press... there are so soo many books I'd like to bring back into print!) and so you can pick up copies very cheaply now that we all have Amazon and can have any book we want sent to us at any time from anywhere in the world.

I find it hard to explain to my children what life was like before the Internet, when you actually had to call used booksellers all around the country to try to find a title you were seeking.

In Sunday's Creativity Workshop, we first (and completely spontaneously) decorated my student's cape with a pretty moon-shaped button from my button collection. Then she was interested in Zac's Beach Sensory Bin (10 lbs of white cornmeal + an assortment of shells) so she played a while with that.

Next up, wet felting soaps! This is a wonderful sensory activity in and of itself.

Felted Soaps
    This is a wonderful use for the tiny soaps you get in hotel rooms!!

    • tiny hotel soaps (I also like the half bar size from the Etsy store Sweet Sally's Soaps)
    • a basin of very hot water
    • a pile of towels
    • wool roving in assorted colors
    • wool yarn for wrapping
    • a cooling rack for baked goods

    Organic Soap Sampler Set, 9 Half Bars

    Carefully wrap the wool roving around the soap horizontally as well as vertically, overlapping fibers and making sure none of the soap shows through. If you have younger children doing this, or particularly sanguine or choleric children, I strongly suggest wrapping pure wool yarn around the roving and tying the yarn so that the roving stays in place. The yarn will felt into the wool and become an additional decorative element. It is sweet to wrap the yarn around as if you were wrapping a package, and complete it by tying a little bow.

    Hold the wrapped soap in one hand above the bowl of very hot water and gently scoop and sprinkle the water with the other hand. Continue until the roving is completely saturated but don't work so swiftly that your wool is dislodged. Flip the soap over and wet the other side. Then hold the soap between both hands and gently rub so that the wool begins to lock together and felt. It is ok to dip it in the water several times once the wool has slightly felted and can handle being dunked without the roving being dislodged.

    Continue to rub. Bubbles will start to come through the wool!

    Continue to dunk, rub, and work on your felt, rubbing the soap more and more vigorously (some use a washboard or a cheese grater for even more friction at the end of the process), until you are happy with the finished product. Set your beautiful soap on a rack to dry.

    It is helpful to explain to the recipient of your gift what you have made for him or her. We learned this last Christmas. A "soap in a sweater" is a lovely present, although not a particularly obvious one, because you don't need to use a washcloth with your soap. Washcloth included! And when all the soap has been used up -- it will shrink as you wash with it -- just pop it in your sock drawer to use as a sachet.

We made three wet felted soaps and then it was time for snack. The kids all worked together to make a dairy-free Carob Frostie and then we enjoyed it during the book Murgatroyd's Garden.

My student ended with some embroidery, embroidering a design onto the back of a doll cape for one of her younger sisters. My original idea was to embroider flowers but she had her own vision. She created a face complete with eyelashes of pink eyelash yarn! She embroidered one open eye and one closed eye, then started on creating pink and turquoise hair. Right before it was time to leave she begged me to be able to do another painting with her feet, like we did last time, so we taped up a long piece of paper to the bathroom wall, covered the bathroom floor with towels, and got to work. She didn't have enough time to finish it before her parent came... so it is still waiting in a my bathroom, an unfinished masterpiece, ready for next week.

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