While I have a large handmade altar, it has kind of been in storage since I bought new couches for the upstairs. It just doesn’t seem to fit quite right anywhere. Yet I refuse to give up having that little island of spiritual fulfillment in my home (and home for our gratitude journal) so we have kind of made an impromptu altar/nature table in the middle of our dinner table on one of my large pine cutting boards. For breakfast and lunch it stays put, and the pitcher gets filled with water, but sometimes it is cleared off for dinner to make way for the dishes of food (though often I make the plates up at the counter and bring them over though to keep little hands away from oven hot dishes.) The children add and take away seasonal items and toys as the week progresses so it is always a fresh little display in the house. I kind of like how often it changes, never a chance for the energy to stagnate around it.
I have had a variety of gladiolas in the vase (which is just an old milk bottle) for several weeks now but after seeing an inspiring pin on Pinterest, I fell in love with the idea of making a watercolor tree with the kids. Today we had some drive (ie: I felt prepared to deal with painting kids) as well as some time to burn, so we set about the project.
I laid a coffee filter down on a thick sheet of white construction paper (I find it absorbs the excess water well and looks really pretty afterwards too) and sprayed it lightly with water. Then we painted them with watercolors. I didn’t have anymore liquid watercolors so we just the cheapo Crayola case you can get in the grocery store, broken up and mixed with some water. They colors were not quite as bright as liquid watercolors but they worked just fine in a pinch. The marker technique I used awhile ago to make coffee filter suncatchers would work great for this project too and is great for even younger children.
While the filters dried, we went on a walk to the park collecting long thing sticks for the vase (and some dried grasses the children took a fancy too,) had a picnic, and played on the swings. Swings are the best, aren’t they?
When we got home the helped me arrange the sticks and grasses in the vase. I then stacked up the painted coffee filters and cut out leaf shapes out of them. (You might want to make a leaf template if you are unsure about cutting freehand.) The children enjoyed sorting them by size as I did this, which was a nice little side game and made the next step even easier. I hot glued the leaves onto the sticks, under close child instruction of course, to make sure each was placed exactly where little minds through they should go. Around the top of the vase I just hot glued some “leaves” that I cut out from the construction paper since it always looks so pretty after a project like this (I often save it to make gift tags.)
I love the result so much. It looks especially stunning when the sun comes through the patio door and filters through the “leaves”. Best Autumn centerpiece ever.