Candlemas is coming! This is one of the Waldorf Big Ones and marks the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. From February 2 on, the days will lengthen and snowdrops will begin to poke through the hard ground. It might not be warm yet, but there’s at least the promise of sunnier days. Candlemas is celebrated in conjunction with St. Brigid’s Day, and the January Envelope includes DIY Brigid bendy doll and candle rolling crafts. Before my envelope arrives, though, I’m gearing up by setting out my Root Children scene. Mid-January might seem a little early for a spring display, but it’s a multi-phase production: first the children sleep, then they prepare their clothes and flowers, and finally they come to the surface. I thought you all might enjoy a quick tutorial on setting up your own scene.
Remember that cool Grimm’s Rainbow you bought your kids for Christmas? Well, it’s January; they’ve had it long enough. I’m kidding, of course, but look around the house and find something that can make an underground home for your Root Children. You can use various Grimm’s stackers or regular blocks. You can cut up a disposable roasting pan or paper bowls. You might even incorporate the dragon cave from our Michaelmas envelope.
Then you’ll need to apologize to the pigs and chickens for taking their dirt playsilk. Check on the horse while you’re at it; he’s not looking so hot. I recognize that a dirt playsilk is a pretty specialized item. Once again, shop your house. You can cut up an old t-shirt, or perhaps you have some brown Thanksgiving napkins. The fabric doesn’t have to be silk (the cloth I use for snow in this scene is an old window panel!). If you can’t find any brown fabric at home, you might want to visit your local craft store. Choose a cloth that flows and folds easily.
Next, prepare your roots. You want to create a gnarled underground space, so include a few different areas at varying heights. I knew I wanted to incorporate my star garland tree and King Winter, so I made sure they had places to stand (no, King Winter is not in the Root Children, but I like him and want to keep him around as long as possible. Besides, Mother Nature looks enough like Mrs. Thaw. It’s just a big ol’ Sibylle von Olfers/Elsa Beskow party over here). Also, I wanted “snow” at the top and bottom of the scene, so I temporarily clipped the excess material out of the way.
Once you’ve got your arches where you think you’ll like them, drape your dirt silk (or other fabric, as the case may be) on top. You want most of the fabric to hang in front the arches so you’ll have lots of cloth to play with as you make your roots.
Then push the fabric into and under the arches to create spaces between roots. Waldorf mom pro tip: do this during nap time, because chances are you’ll use some interesting words while getting your little nooks and crannies perfect (No? Just me?). After that, all you’ve got to do is plop your Root Children, Mother Nature, and King Winter around your scene.
But Casey, you say, I don’t know how to make Root Children, Mother Nature, or King Winter. Yes, you do! If you can make a wool fairy, you can make these guys! As a reminder, check out Sam’s pumpkin fairy tutorial here. To make Root Children, just use brown wool and felt the dress to a point. To make the standing figures, use my handy dandy toilet paper roll trick (yes, mine are felted solid, but this method is faster and uses less wool. If I had to do it again, I’d do it this way). Ta-da. You’ve got a nice little scene that you will be able to use for the next several weeks as you and your children observe the changes of the seasons.
Visit the blog again near the end of February when I’ll show you how to dress up your Root Children and get them to stand. Hint: yes, it involves toilet paper rolls! Also, do you follow Happy Hedgehog Post on Pinterest? Check out our winter and spring boards!