Tuesday, August 2, 2011

on the First Day

Today is the first day of school.  Aria and I are both a bit nervous.  She wonders what first grade will be like.  I wonder what it'll be like to homeschool "for real" while keeping all the other plates spinning.  Fortunately, we're easing into things a bit, since Aria and her younger brother are attending Music & Arts camp this week.  While they were away this morning, I did the laundry and strove to process some blog drama with patience, perspective and grace.  And then, I chose to move on.  Because there are school tables to clean.  Chalkboards to erase.  Memories to be made.

::First Day of School::

I set up each child's desk with a large, blank piece of paper and a first day surprise - new crayons in a mama-made crayon roll!

Stockmar Beeswax Crayons

Nothing says school like new school supplies!  Crayons are a big deal around here because we don't do markers.  Long ago, I read Amanda Soule's The Creative Family and caught the beeswax crayon bug.  Do you know about beeswax crayons? How I love them.  Let me count the ways...  Smell like honey.  Apply about 400 times more color than Crayola.  Petroleum-free.  Oh, and the block crayons never, ever, ever break.  Even when your 1-year-old throws them across the room.  Even when your 3-year-old colors so hard he makes holes in the paper.  Even when your 5-year-old uses them like blocks.  They do look like bricks when they're brand-new, but after some use the edges round nicely and they're really so much more versatile than stick crayons.  I prefer to use the blocks.  We sell both beeswax blocks and sticks at my non-toxic baby store.  You know, just in case you have a little one who needs a new set of crayons (and/or a mother who needs an excuse to make a crayon roll).

old vs. new Block Crayons

Here's a shot of an old block crayon from a set over 2 years old. This, our first set, will be mine now. See that felt crayon-holder in the corner? I think that was my very, very first sewing project. Hey, it's still in one piece!  Though, it's felt which is so, so forgiving.

crayon rolls

Our new crayon rolls hold 16 stick crayons and 12 block crayons. The roll design was inspired by some instructions in my homeschooling curriculum, but I modified it to fit our needs. For one, I had to add those color-coded pockets. As if I could resist!

mama made a surprise

It's layered with batting to protect the sticks if it's dropped. For kid-friendly closure, an elastic loop extends from one end. Just roll them up, elastic and go.

kid-friendly elastic closure

Definitely not the most attractive finish, but I know from experience that "easy" is a must if I want closure to happen at all.

So, as I type they're in their rooms enjoying new crayons during rest time.  And after rest, it really begins.  Today we start "form drawing," a practice unique to Waldorf education, and one I'm particularly excited about.  Wish me luck!

50 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you experienced some drama, but your crayon holder definitely brightens things up a bit! It's really cute, and such a sweet first day gift. I've never used these beeswax crayons, but I love the brick ones. They look fun!

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  2. Those crayons look amazing! Before I read the rest of the post, I saw the picture & thought, "Wow, those crayons look GOOD". I'm a teacher (2.5-6 year olds), and I don't use markers either. I don't believe in them. Kids need something with drag, to help them control their drawing. We use colored pencils, and their art is always gorgeous!
    I absolutely love the color-coded rollups, and now I want to make one with those crayons for my niece!

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  3. I need to get some of those crayons!!

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  4. Sorry for all the drama -- I think I know what you're talking about, and it all seems absurd to me. But anyways...those crayons look wonderful and I've always heard great things about Waldorf. Have a wonderful day.

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  5. I love Creative Family, Amanda Soule, Beeswax crayons & now your amazing crayon roll!!! I have seen lots of examples, but this is my favorite. Don't worry about the drama, "this too shall pass," hopefully it has run its course. Very impressed you are homeschooling a 1st grader, the idea is so appealing to me, but I just don't know if I could actually do it. I'm sure you'll have a great year, it's off to a wonderful start!

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  6. Thanks for the information on the crayons. They are something I really need to look into getting! My daughter keeps wanting to eat her crayons and it scares me about what might be in the crayola brand. The fact that they say non-toxic does not reassure me.

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  7. Those crayon rolls are amazing!! Good luck with the homeschooling!! you'll do great!

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  8. Thanks for the tip about the crayons....I just ordered some of the blocks for my grandaughter.
    I have made the crayon roll ups before, but never thought about the color coding...nice touch!

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  9. Good luck! We used to homeschool and will do so again once we return to Australia. It is incredibly rewarding and lots of fun.

    Oh, I love the crayon roll too.

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  10. A little teary as I read your post, thinking back to all of our 'first day' of a new school year. I homeschooled my two children for 13 years and LOVED IT!
    My children ALWAYS got a new box of crayons (and still do, now that they are in college). It is just a symbol between us (they put them in a Chistmas Shoe Box later on to give to someone). ENJOY!! The years fly by so quickly.

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  11. Those crayon rolls are adorable!! I am off to read about beeswax crayons :)

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  12. Those crayons are superb! In elementary school we were only allowed to use the crayons of that brand and though they are expensive, they are worth the price.
    And your cases are wonderful! Can´t wait until I get my sewing machine.
    Regards!

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  13. Congrats to you Rachel for "moving on" I think that is the perfect decision!

    Good luck with the new school year!

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  14. What a great gift! We have beeswax crayons and love them!! Good luck with the Homeschooling!!!

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  15. Adorable crayon rolls! Love them, perfect for the start of school.

    You know I've been keeping an eye on all this "drama" and I think what the other party just recently posted was absolutely uncalled for. She stated her feelings with the first post, she needs to move on. Plus, I really don't think your original post was "sickening" or "shameful" at all. After all, you didn't say you HATED those designs, you were simply stating a matter of taste, as we are all entitled to our own preferences and tastes. Anyway, I'm glad you are letting it slide...that is definitely taking the high road and it's a good example to us. Keep on keepin' on girl.

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  16. Cool crayons! And awesome crayon holder! Man, when my little girl gets old enough for school I'm going to have some work to do! ;)

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  17. Wonderful blog post! I'm going to have to try the beeswax crayons as I have a 1 year old, 5 year old and 8 year old that LOVE to color. Your holder is simply awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I would LOVE to make one of those rolls! Do you have a tutorial? I can't find anything posted on the homeschooling page about them. So, so cute!!!

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    1. YES!! Please can you offer us a tutorial? I have just started "Homeschooling" my three littles and am not so good a sewing by the seat of my pants. I could use some guidance and yours are quite lovely! Thank you in advance.

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  19. I love the beeswax crayons, will have to try those out.

    Wishing you a successful year of 1st grade!

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  20. Ouch, I'm glad that last post was removed. The crayon holder looks wonderful, love those chunky ones!

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  21. First day of school in August? You're brave. I wait till September because I'm old skool.

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  22. Good luck with school! Your crayon rolls are fantastic and on my 'must make' list. I like your patience, perspective and grace, then move on approach :)

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  23. So cute! I did not know about the crayon blocks, never seen them before. So it is good to know that they exist and are so good.

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  24. Love those roll ups. And super cute color coded. I had no idea about those crayons. I will definitely look into those. Might be good stocking stuffers!
    :)

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  25. The crayon rolls are adorable with the color coding...great practice for kids to keep track of putting things where need to go! Looking into the block beeswax crayons, they are so interesting!

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  26. Drama, be gone! Hello to the more important things in life. Cute rolls. :)

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  27. I think I sewed over 100 crayon holders very like those (solid color, however) over 4 years for our Waldorf charter school. I made a special one for lyra pencils for home--the crayons just stay in the boxes! And yes, best crayons ever, and the pencils are fab too.

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  28. Love the roll and I am going to have to check out those crayons for sure. We started school today too--fun times ahead!

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  29. Totally off topic! Fair warning! But here goes: I do not remember how I came across your blog last week. But, I did. I came across the "confession" post. And I was up until 4 am, computer shut off at 9pm, thinking about how my life has changed. Blogs rarely make me do that. For this reason I felt compelled to comment. I wanted to tell you that I really like your blog. I enjoy your honesty, color, and conversation with your readers. Long ago I blogged, crafted, and was emulating so much of what I saw in my favorite blogs. Then I moved to a state where home birth was illegal and had to abandon the training I was in to become a home birth midwife. I went to a 4 year nursing program and just graduated. During that time I bought fabric, yarn, and homeschool supplies, but my old life was incompatible with my school life. So I basically just became a mini hoarder. (So ashamed, but it is the truth) As I am now and RN, yay!, and am returning to my life as it used to be, I feel burdened and overwhelmed. Do I still know how to sew, can I be this person...blah, blah, blah....BUT THEN...when I came across your blog and read your posts and the comments by your readers I realized that I need to let it go. I need to just sew, not worry about it. I need to clear out the shelves and focus....on a few projects at a time. Because it is OK. It is OK to get rid of stuff that I bought to stay connected to the craft world but that now clogs up my world overwhelming me. So I wanted to write to let you know that your blog affected me in a deep way. Not just you but all of your readers. All of the comments I read. So thank you! (sorry for the length.)

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  30. Can I come to your school? I love new fresh crayons and I feel creative just looking at them.

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  31. Oh how I remember those days! Your post made me a bit weepy though because we have finished our homeschooling journey. It was an adventure to rival all adventures and I am so thankful for those years. Our youngest heads off to college in a few weeks. I may have to spend the day flipping through the scrapbooks of our homeschooling days. I will have teary eyes and a thankful heart. May your school year be blessed!

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  33. Best wishes with your family's new venture! Great new crayon rolls - how fun!

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  34. My daughter teaches school. I will have to tell her about the beeswax crayons. They look great. Her son is five and I bet he would love some of these.

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  35. "On the first day of school, mytrue love gave to me......a gorgeous crayon rollup!" darling!

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  36. OMG You pieced a color coded crayon holder... and now I need to make one too. They are so sweet. I know beeswax crayons are awesome too!

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  37. The crayon holder is so ridiculously awesome. I love that you had the fabric to match each crayon color. That's what makes it fabulous.

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  38. *love* <3 <3 --- I love the color coded pockets. Thats how I did my daughter's roll as well. :)

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  39. hope the blog drama is gone. you should read "llama llama red pajama". at one point in the book the momma says "stop all of this llama drama"

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  40. Nicke - I love that book!

    Unknown - your comment is incredible. Thank-you so much for reminding me why this all started.

    Anonymous - I'm sorry, the pattern is not mine and copyrighted, so I can't share it here. There's a stick crayon-only type of crayon holder pattern in the book "Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts".

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  41. Your blog has become my favorite craft blog. I thought the original post was great. Sometimes people can be oversensitive, given that you were referencing commercial design. Artists, writers, most professions, require a robust attitude to comment. What you wrote was constructive, very clear and specific and not personal. It was not negative or insulting. I admire your attitude.

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  42. We started our first day of school Monday as well, and to clarify, we also homeschool. This is the start of our second year after pulling our son out of a private Christian school. This year our 2 kids are starting kindergarten and fifth grade! Quite a difference. Good luck to you as you begin your new school year! I am amazed at the time you must find to sew, a balance I am still working on with our schedule. It's hard to not feel that sense of self loss when we get immersed into our year, but I know it is for the good of our children and they will (hopefully) reap the benefits one day. LOVE the crayons!!

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  43. You're crayon holder is awesome!! I love the color coordination. I'm looking into the beeswax crayons as well. Love the bricks! Thanks for such an inspirational blog!

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  44. The crayon rolls are so cute! And I have to check out the beeswax chunky crayons for the grandson.

    Please accept a blog award from me! I am a new follower! Stop by my blog to accept.

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  45. I did not know you ran a store! Wow you are a busy person! I also didn't know about beeswax crayons and will for sure be buying some for my ubercreative daughter. Hope the blog drama is not too bad and hope that its something that can be rolled off...

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  46. so cute. pink chalk also sells the pattern that is in the book.

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  47. I adore the color-coded crayon keeper. It's so lovely!

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  48. So happy to have found this. My two older girls(one named Aria) and I are getting ready for our first year of homeschooling this fall. This is going to be out little summer project. Great!

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