That Agape Family

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Category: Crafts

Art Is Not My Forte – A Nature Journal

I love to look at art. I think it’s beautiful, and I marvel at how people can create such magnificent pieces. I enjoy looking at the children’s books we take out at the library, and I examine the various techniques the illustrators use. That being said, I suck at drawing, and most things related to the visual arts.

No, seriously. I’m not trying to be self-deprecating, nor am I fishing for compliments (what? No! You’re fantastic! – Liar). I’ve simply come to the realization that art (drawing, painting, etc.) is not something I’m good at. I’m OK with that. I have other strong points, and frankly, I’ve never had the patience or determination to work at it in order to get better at it. I would try to draw here and there, but I never put any true effort into it. I expected it to come naturally to me. If you’ve ever seen my drawing of Peppa Pig’s father, you would wholeheartedly agree.

But, because we are choosing to homeschool, I so desperately want to give our daughters a well rounded experience, which includes art. So, I’m giving it the good old college try – I’ve started a Nature Journal.

A nature journal is where you record your experiences and discoveries in nature. I recently read I Love Dirt, and one of the suggestions for a winter activity was to sketch a slumbering tree. Here is the view from our backyard:

Winter Window

And here is my rendition:

Winter Window Sketch

On the left is one type of tree (which, after a quick Google search, would appear to be a Corkscrew Willow Tree) and on the right we have a Maple tree.

It was frigidly cold here in Toronto today (-18 Celcius, with a windchill somewhere around the -37 Celcius mark), so we opted to hunker down inside today.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone by doing art in the first place. I’m also working on my Wreck This Journal. I got it shortly after having Little Miss. I wanted to stretch myself in terms of my creativity, and this has been an interesting outlet. I’m also demonstrating creating with Little Miss, in hopes that she will take an interest and enjoy partaking in the creating experience. Thankfully, Grandma loves art, and has significantly more talent, so she’ll likely be covering many of these art areas.

What do you feel is not your forte?



Her Journey Stick

As I may have mentioned before, we are part of a Forest School Playgroup. We meet once a week, year round, in the forest. We have a beautiful creek that the children can explore, as well as fallen trees that are great for climbing. So, if you happen to see photos of us in the forest, they are likely from our playgroup.

One of the leaders brought yarn last week, so the children could make Journey Sticks. My mom had told me about them a few months ago, so I was eager to see if Little Miss was interested in making one. The purpose of the Journey Stick is to attach items you find along your journey – a collection of sorts – to a stick of your choice. Here is hers:

She chose flowers, weeds, leaves, and grass, because she felt they were beautiful. Some children decided to attach acorns, while others wanted a rock – creativity was needed to attach those items.

A journey stick is a fun way to have a momento from the forest. However, please be aware of your impact on your surroundings. This is not an activity we do every week, nor do we regularly pick items from the forest. Some flowers are protected in Ontario (like the Trillium), and if you pick them, you can face hefty fines. We generally take the approach of take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints, but occasionally, we create something from the forest. We try to be as hands on as possible, while also minimizing our impact as much as we can.


Her Quiet Book

I made a quiet book for Little Miss for her second birthday. A quiet book is designed to keep a child’s attention with various activities, usually involving fine motor skills. I’ve personally used ours while out to dinner, or while visiting someone who doesn’t necessarily have a “child friendly” home. Or, when I’m worried she may get into a little too much mischief.

I hand sewed all the pages, except for when I sewed them back to back, in which case I used a sewing machine. It was a great learning experience, and it took me about a month and a half to complete, while only working on it during the evenings. I tried to keep my costs low by using what I had on hand.

Here are some of the pages:

Title Page QB WM

This is the Title Page. The letters were bought precut, and had an adhesive on the back, which made working with them easier, although sewing them was a pain.

Clothes Line Page QB WMThe Clothes Line Page. The little clothes pegs do actually work, and the apples snap off and go in the basket.

Pie Page QB WM

This page was designed to practice weaving.

Flower Page QB WM

This Flower Page allows LM to remove the flowers (practice using buttons), and the butterflies go along the string “maze”.

Shoe Tying Page WM

The Shoelace Page to practice doing up your shoelaces.

Colour Chain QB WM

This is a Colour Chain Page to practice colours, and each link snaps into itself.

Alphabet Page QB WM

The Alphabet Page. I wrote the lower case letters onto the felt, and the upper case letters are kept in the back of the book (see the Last Page at the bottom). The only tricky part is that these are also adhesive stickers. I left the backing on them, hoping that she would just leave them be, but no such luck. I’m going to try to remove the adhesive with Goo Gone, so we’ll see how that goes.

Button Page QB WM


The Button Page. This page was created to practice counting and shapes. This is very near and dear to me, because these are from a collection of buttons my mom had on hand, and some of them are from clothing I had when I was little. I told you I tried to keep costs low 😉

Tetris QB WM

The Tetris Page. I added a few extra pieces, just for fun 🙂

Spell My Name QB WM Edit

Spell My Name Page was created so that she could practice spelling her name. Unfortunately, I am currently having the same issue I did with the alphabet page, where the backing has been taken off. A slight modification of removing the glue will hopefully work.

Fishing Page QB WM

The Fishing Page! One of my absolute favourites. The “fishing pole” is made from a chop stick, and had a magnet glued to the end of a string. Inside each of the fish is a magnet, so she can go “fishing”. There is an opening at the top of the pond, so the fish live there when not in use.

Canada Page QB WM

The Oh Canada Page. Another one of my favourites. My daughter loves to sing O Canada, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into the book. This page was designed to practice using a zipper (on the tent).

Back Page QB WM

The Last Page. This is where the alphabet is stored when not in use.

I forgot to take a couple of pictures of pages, so if you like, you can watch a video of the full book, along with a bit more detail, here:

Little Miss’s Quiet Book

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I really enjoyed the creative outlet this provided. My husband challenged me a couple of times to add more detail (the lilies in the fishing pond, and the fire on the Canada page), which I naturally took on 🙂



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