Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crafting with my kids: The mighty birch

Rachel over at Nest Full of Eggs recently posted about a photography challenge where she photographed a birch tree in four seasons.   The post brought back many memories for me.    My best friend’s childhood home (directly across the street from my home) always had a birch tree in the front yard when we were growing up. My aunt and uncle in Hanover, New Hampshire had a splendid birch forest on their lot.  When my husband and I travelled to Russia in 1996, we had a chance to visit Tolstoy’s estate (yasna polyana)  –  a birch forest lines the path going up to the estate.  These photos were taken on my old Canon SLR, so I scanned them.
On the Yasna Polyana property is an intertwined oak and birch - apparently symbolic of love.
tolstoy0001.BMP This is Tolstoy’s tomb, at the edge of the marvellous wood.  { From my travel diary: It was the first public burial  in Russia that was not attended by a priest.  Tolstoy chose this spot because it conjured up a childhood memory of his older brother (Nikolai) who told Tolstoy that he had secretly buried a little green stick on which he had carved a magic spell.  Whoever found that green wand would become its master and would have the power to make everyone happy.  Tolstoy wanted to be buried with that little green wand.}
November 7: Leo died at six this morning. I was not allowed in until his last breath.
I was not allowed to say good-bye to my husband. Cruel people. Sonia’s Diary.
All this to say, we worked on this wonderful birch tree project this weekend.   Two bloggers I follow knitty gritty homestead and wee folk art have done this with their wee ones. It is based on Kathy Barbro’s art lesson. Here is our experience and I highly recommend it.
Salting. {We used celtic sea salt}.
Peeling off the tape.
The finished projects.

{PS All pundits predict Christopher Plummer is supposed to receive the Oscar tonight. He should have received it for playing Tolstoy in the Last Station :). }
Have a great week!


  1. What a fabulous project. We have a few birch in the woods behind our house. Both girls would love this.

  2. What a neat project, KJ. I really liked reading the story about Tolstoy's tomb, too. So interesting.

  3. you know I love birch trees ~ thanks again for introducing me to that special place in Russia with the gorgeous birch lined road !!

  4. Wow! This is an amazing post!
    I love your art project and simply must do it with my kids!
    Thank you for sharing your photos!

  5. Neat memories and so cool that you've seen Tolstoy's estate. I've read more Dostoyevsky than Tolstoy - all that I've read from Tolstoy is Anna Karenina.

    You girls did a great job - isn't it cool to use salt or rice or something to create patterns with water paint - I love it.


  6. Hmm. I love playing with salt on watercolors. I may have to try some with my kids tomorrow. The birch effect is stunning.

  7. What a cool salt effect. So much fun! I bet my little guy would love to try this out. He loves experimenting.

  8. I adore birch trees too. My sister painted some in high school and I stole her painting and have kept it all of these years. What a neat project!


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