I chose the name “Around the Sun” as I consider the passing seasons and the huge trip we make around the sun each and every year. I love nature and am inspired by it daily. I also love people, especially all the little one! And my own son, now 13, has been the most profound inspiration in my life. We have been homeschooling for over six years now…starting in second grade and now coming to the end of 8th grade. It has been a wonderful journey.
I started the Around the Sun blog because I saw so many popular craft sites out there that encourage the making of items that are actually harmful to the planet dressed up in brightly colored and exciting photographs. I especially remember one that featured a fantastic photograph of preschool age children lined up in a freshly made cardboard boat…covered in white duct tape. UGH! I think these ‘pretty pictures’ lure people into the idea that a cardboard boat would be ever so much nicer (and more photogenic) if it were covered in plastic tape that renders the cardboard un-recyclable and wastes many roles of duct tape for something that should be a child-led simple pleasure. Why couldn’t the picture just show happy kids playing in a box that in the moment was a boat, but that could morph into anything their hearts desired?
I respect a child’s need for play and creativity that is not directed by adults. I love teaching and working with young children while still allowing tons of free play. And I endeavor to balance my desire to create and make with my concerns for this little planet I call home. And I truly hope my own son’s future is secure here, and for that reason I always keep the environment in mind when I make something…I ask myself;
- Are the materials harmful to the environment?
- Will I really use this or will someone else find it useful? Will it bring joy?
- What if it were left outside, would it decay back into the ecosystem without negative consequences?
- Does it exploit other life on the planet…I try to keep things vegan.
Based on these questions I follow these guidelines;
- No plastics, including; hot glue guns, acrylic paint, duct tape, poly based materials, etc.
- I use up-cycled and recycled materials as much as possible, and use natural and organic new materials when needed.
- I try to make items that do not exploit other animals. That being said, I will happily use recycled wool and felt from old sweaters or blankets, or an old silk dress. You will see a few projects I made before I became vegan, and I let these stand, but offer suggestions on alternative materials, like bamboo felt instead of wool felt. It’s never too late to reconsider your impact on the environment and other creatures. As the demand for vegan materials rises, I hope they become more readily available.
- I only make what I think I’ll actually use and enjoy. I am around children a lot, so this is not a challenge for me, but I don’t like looking around my home and seeing piles of unfinished crafts, general clutter, or lots of unused toys and materials. The last thing I want to do (or encourage you to do) is ‘junk’ up the planet. So I try to keep it simple.
YOU! Your input and suggestions are so important to me. I think by sharing we can learn so much, so please don’t hesitate to make comments and offer your own thoughts and ideas.
My son and I at Harper’s Ferry, WV, when he was one year old, and when he was eight years old.
Bottle feeding a baby buffalo.
My son, when he was three, surrounded by quilts and toys that are all handmade.
All photos on this blog were taken by me, with the exception of photos that I’m in, which were taken by my husband.