A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hollyhock Dolls and Daisy Chains

I was thinking of things that I did when I was a kid. We didn't have many toys and our parents encouraged us to stay outside and play. A lot of creative things came from our little brains. Most of my friends had little gardens in their yards. We had a huge veggie garden, but we didn't have a lot of flowers. I do remember my grandma having hollyhocks in her yard and there were daisies everywhere. Most of my "garden" memories were from war times, when I spent time with my grandma.

You may well remember some of these projects from your own childhood and will enjoy passing them on to your own children, complete with stories of who you made the projects with, how old you were, and so on. Some of these are new to me...maybe I'll be a kid again and do some of them.

Grape leaf hat: Pick several of the largest leaves from your grape vine (any kind of large leaf will do) and use pieces of the vine to carefully attach three or more leaves together upside down. Add a marigold at the peak, and the littlest child can be a garden elf.

Flower lai: Use marigolds or other sturdy flowers and supervise an older child with a large needle threaded with dental floss to string the flowers together through their base to make a strand long enough to easily fit over the child's head. He or she can wear it that night to the "luau," that is, burgers grilled outside and eaten on the patio.

Wood nymph crown: Use some dried grapevines or other flexible foliage to twist into a circle the right size to sit atop the child's head. Tuck petunia ,nasturtium, daisy and snapdragon blossoms in between the foliage. Add plenty of leaves to make the crown lush. A wide ribbon trailing down the back is a nice touch. This sounds like the little crowns that I have made for flower girls.

Fish in a bottle. Choose a large bottle and take it, along with a pencil or nail, out to the zucchini patch. Scratch a fish shape into the side of a tiny vegetable, then slip the forming squash through the neck, all the way into the bottle. In time, the fish will grow to fill the bottle. Your child will love showing his magical "fish in a bottle" to the other kids. I first saw this at a friend's house. Her husband showed me his cucumber growing in a bottle. I have seen a piece of fruit done the same way.

Hollyhock dolls: Use an inverted bloom, nipped at the bud, for the doll's skirt. Then, a couple of closed buds, speared with a toothpick, attached to the skirt, form the doll's bodice and head. Spear an additional toothpick horizontally through the bodice to serve as the doll's arms. Use a fine point marker to draw eyes and a mouth on the bud that serves as the head. Use a small bloom or a single petal as the dolls hat. Make a group of dolls, all different shades and colors, and spend a little time under a tree with your favorite little girl, staging a hollyhock doll dance. We made these for hours....once I had a little wedding of bride and her wedding party. So cute.

Faerie Tea Party: Help a little girl host her own tea party using her imagination as a guide. Use fern fronds for place mats, acorn cups fill in as doll-sized tea cups, and serve a choice of birchbark sandwiches filled with buttercup spread and tea brewed from moss. Dessert is, of course, pebbles a la mud. Didn't we girls all love a tea party? My kids always had them. Son Tim loved the easy bake oven...LuAnn would make him little cakes to eat. The cakes were so tiny...she had to layer many...to make him a cake big enough for his appetite.In a previous post I told of son John's tipped over tea party.

Daisy Grandmothers: These are made by trimming the daisy's petals into bonnet shapes, leaving two long ones for the bonnet ties. To complete their faces, use a soft pencil to draw two eyes and a smile on the yellow center of the flower. Is it possible these old ladies are the grandmothers of the hollyhock dolls above? This is new to me....sounds cute.

Walnut Boats: To make a boat, fill a half of a walnut shell with mud or a gumdrop. Stick in a toothpick for a mast and use a leaf for a sail. Float in a pan of water or down the gutter. If it is twilight, insert a birthday candle in place of the mast. I used to make tiny mice and put them in the walnut half and tuck a piece of flannel over for a blanket.

Clover Chain: Pick a clover, slit the stem just below the flower head with your thumbnail. Push another clover stem through the slit until its head stops it from going further. Continue as long as you like. A five-foot chain makes a usable jump rope. Now this is where the daisies come in...you can do the same with a daisy. We would make necklaces and wear them all day.

Do you remember looking for a four leaf clover. We had long lazy days of summer. There we were lying in the warm grass....just looking for a four leaf clover and just having the best time being warmed by the sun and having time to dream our childhood dreams.


The pictures above are from a children's book...I know that you can't read the print on the picture...just wanted to show the illustrations and how beautiful they are.Here is the description of the story.

Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom.Includes an author's note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls."Priscilla and the Hollyhocks tells a story too often ignored or overlooked — a story of how the west was not won but captured. Reading about Priscilla's remarkable life makes all our hearts a bit warmer while filling our heads with a much-needed piece of American history." The author is Anne Broyles.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Balisha, oh, I remember childhood days of making hollyhock dolls.We did so many things back then because of lack of money to keep ourselves busy. I think it instilled in us a better appreciation for things and a creativity that children today miss out on. Very good memories.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Absolutely beautiful childrens books. I loved this post...but then I always do. :)

Balisha said...

I was looking at a seed catalog last night and thought of all the things that I have done with bits of nature. Being a little girl, a Mom, a scout leader, a babysitter, and now a Grandma... it seems that I have done it all.I love to see new things that kids are doing now.

One Woman's Journey said...

I remember so well making the hollyhock dolls and daisy chains. My mother could spot 4 leaf clovers in a second. Thank you for the fond memories. What is the name of the children's book?
Have a great day.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Beautifully written, beautiful memories.

Balisha said...

The author is Anne Boyles. The book is called, Priscilla and the Hollyhocks." Thankyou for your lovely comments.I still love children's books. I have been known to check one out from the library...just to see what children are reading. I wish our adult books had more illustrations.Some children's books are pieces of art.