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.



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!




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.


Land Art


We couldn’t have asked for better weather to create land art today – The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens were sunny and clothed in beautiful autumn style!


A select group of adventurers thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands dirty looking for the perfect acorn to complete the project!


Let’s do it again soon!  🙂

Nuturing Curiosity While Out and About


There is  a lovely post that has been circulating a few days about nurturing curiosity in young children through the use of Inquiry Bags. It is lovely and has some fun ideas to help you with nurturing the spark in your own young child.

This idea is one of those good ones that fits so many approaches: The project-based learning approach as championed by Lori Pickert has the similar idea of bringing drawing supplies whenever children are out and about. And Nature journals are a post all of their own!

We have always had a bag of art supplies in the car. Ours is simple and just contains a sketchbook for each person and some pencils, but I love the idea of expanding these supplies to encourage curiosity more often, and adding things based on where we are off to. A magnifying glass is easy to come by and has a lot of uses, and my boys would love the measuring tape.

What do you do to encourage the spirit of inquiry in your children? Do you have things you take with you when you are out and about?

Getting out and about

It is a glorious time of year here in the Hills, and its time to get out and about! With all the glorious colours around at the moment, I have been thinking about a lot of the artists who use natural materials to create beautiful, temporary works of art. It goes by various names, but the most common seems to be land art. There are so many ideas out there.  These are beautiful.

There’s a lot pretty pictures on this gallery of Richard Shilling’s work.

Or for more simple, kid friendly ideas try Land Art for Kids!

And some more interesting ideas for making Land Art Mandalas on Playful Learning.

If you are interested in joining us for a Land Art day, we would love to have you. We are going to visit the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens on Wednesday the 7th of May from 10:00 am. There will be no charge for this, just a chance to chat with some like-minded people and create some art. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beauty of the Adelaide Hills.

Easter Baskets


Making Easter baskets is a great activity for kids. Living Creekside means we have bullrushes, so this year we decided to try make our Easter baskets out of them. Well, it was pretty tricky, so DH and I ended up doing most of it! Ah well,  we enjoyed it! When we had finished them, it was such a beautiful day we enjoyed sitting in the sun, so D made some fish, and I made a wreath.



Have a wonderful Easter, everyone!