The 12 days of Pascal’s triangular Christmas

For the recreational mathematicians amongst us, some Christmas fun! The 12 days of Pascal’s triangular Christmas.



Water beads

A lovely friend gave us these water beads. (Thank you!) Aren’t they lovely!


They start as tiny balls that you soak in water for a few hours,  producing these bouncy, squishy,  pour-able beads.


This time we just spooned and sorted. I am thinking next time we will get the overhead projector out.

Dye Adventures – A Revisit

I have enjoyed dyeing clothes with a group of friends, but usually that is big batches and clothes. I wanted to experiement with natural dyes. It was almost Easter, so here go the eggs! We followed the recipes we found online for dyes, and it was pretty straightforward. It was however a little smelly! The onion smelled like my high school photography room. What’s that about? Don’t follow their recipe too closely though – our onions boiled dry and how exactly are you supposed to sieve out tumeric?

Dyes, ready to go

Once the dyes were done, we put our hard boiled eggs in and left them for an hour or more. The orange and yellow worked fairly well, but the pink was barely visible.

The eggs

Then we had leftover dye, and the activity said it could be used for cloth, so in went some very dirty singlets! It took a while – I soaked them in dye overnight, then left them in the bag overnight, then rinsed them out and washed them, then soaked them in salt (it’s supposed to help set the dye), then I washed them and dried them. And here they are!

The first dye batch

The left is onion. It is a very rusty brown. The middle is turmeric, it was bright yellow until it touched the soapy water, then it went brown too. Maybe a chemist can explain that to me? Anyway the right was the beetroot, and as you can see, it really didn’t work.

So I mixed the last of the turmeric and onion dye together and redyed it. And the result?

The mixed dye

I’m really pleased with he way they turned out. Now it has been a few years. The colours did not stay in especially well, but they weren’t too bad, really. And it was fun!


I can’t tell you what’s in them…


And who knows what magic they can perform…


…but I so know they were all natural, crushed from our garden and a few kitchen ingredients.


I have seen a few potion kits doing the rounds (this one is very cool!) and knew my boys would love them. I finally got to it! Here’s the potion kit I set out this morning.


The motar and pestle was something that wasn’t in any of the ones I saw, but was inspired by a PD session I went to recently. (More about that soon!) But it was a hit, and that was how the children managed to get such great colours. Amazing, huh? All those white powders at the bottom?  Bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, rock salt and self raising flour. And in each of the jugs I put water and vinegar.


I’m thinking we might experiment with natural fabric dyes next. I have done it before,  but the children were very little,  and they probably don’t remember it. Look out tomorrow for the flashback post about that.

Spring in the Atelier


The Wattles are always the first to show. They fill up with a family of New Holland Honeyeaters, raising young.

Next it’s the plum flowers.  They put on a lovely display this year but it didn’t last long! The bees swarmed all over it, and we sat underneath and watched those honeyeaters chase them.

Spring crafts to come,  but if you want to get started, have a look at my Pinterest board. The birds have been very popular!


Walking the Labyrinth

It is the return of the light, the time of the wattle blooms and sprouting bulbs in the frost. Traditionally, this is the time to walk the labyrinth.

I circle in. I get dizzy. I stumble and I loose our way. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I do not focus on the end, but one step ahead. One step at a time,  and suddenly, surprisingly,  I am out.

I am walking the labyrinth.  Every day. Remind me to put one foot in front of the other, to not focus on the end. Remind me I will be out soon. May it be sooner than I think.




It’s been cold around here. While I am not a huge fan of the cold weather,  I have to confess that ice and frost are a novelty to this coast-dwelling West Aussie. So every time it happens,  I am out taking pictures in my slippers.


Apologies to my neighbours.


Anyway,  I usually have the garden to myself at that time of the day.  Even the dog flakes on me! Fortunately,  that means I get to enjoy it more,  and it is more likely I will get a visitor. Like this lovely golden whistler who serranaded me the other morning.


Not the best shot,  I know.  He was fast!


It is a great way to start the day,  with stillness,  before the bustle of breakfast and getting dressed.  Maybe even worth the chilly feet. Maybe.


Conferencing Homeschooling

It is an exciting time to be a homeschooler, as it is growing around the world. And we are finally being noticed too. Coming up soon is the GTCASA Conference, for parents and teachers,  and it includes a section on homeschooling!  It would be great if we could have a whole lot of homeschoolers there, and it could be really useful for anyone who wants to learn more about homeschooling, or just starting out too. Look out for me there, I’m going to be involved in the homeschool symposium session.