Mom’s Nature Journal Signs of Autumn

This past week I noticed our grapevine leaves had started to turn pale green, browns and fall off.  I sketched  some autumn grapevine leaves for my weekly mom’s nature journal.

I played around with my watercolor pencils, mixing, blending and coloring different blocks  of autumn colours along the left side of my page.  I painted my leaf with watercolor paints. I also made a leaf rubbing and blended watercolor pencils over the brown paper which I tore and pasted along the right side of my 2-page layout.

Taking time each week to draw, sketch or paint in my nature journal is such an enjoyable moment of “Mother Culture” and it is an ongoing  exploration and place of interest and growth.

Join Barb’s  Outdoor Mom Journal using her prompts each month.  Share  your journal with us on your own blog or on her blog in a comment.

  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

What inspires you in your nature journalling?

In Grace, Nadene

Mom’s Nature Journal Leaves

For my weekly nature journal time, I decided to focus on unusual leaves and I was inspired with these colorful plants ~

20170215_174012This week I took out my watercolor pencils.  With just my fine waterbrush and the watercolor pencils, I was able to create detailed, blended colors that suited my leaves perfectly.

20170224_162245Watercolor pencils have several wonderful advantages:

  • Fine pencil points allow for tiny, accurate details in your sketch.
  • You can blend pencil colors while dry on the paper, or you can blend perfectly using a blending pencil.
  • With water brush you can blend the colored areas on the paper just like watercolor paints.
  • You can wash over large areas with water once you lightly color over the area with pencils.
  • You can achieve a lovely transparency with watercolor pencils.
  • If you wet the pencil tip or draw over wet paper before drawing on it, you can achieve an intense, deep color.   A thick opaque look can be achieved by dipping the pencil tip in water and applying the color wet.
  • If you brush the tips of the watercolor pencils with a wet paintbrush, you can use your pencils just like a tiny paint pallet.  For bright bold colors, take the pigment directly from your pencil tip. Dip your brush in water and press to the tip of the pencil. This will give you undiluted pigment for strong colors.
  • You can make a paint pallet for your children:  Use sturdy cardstock and thickly color little blocks of each color.  You child needs a little water and a brush and can dab the colored block to lift off pigment to paint.
  • There is absolutely no mess or cleaning up.
  • These pencils last for ever!  Buy quality pencils and look after them and they will serve you for years!
  • Watercolor pencils are fabulous for outdoor painting.  They are easy to store and easy to handle.  I put an elastic band around them and hold the bunch of pencils in one hand and quickly dab the pencil tips with my waterbrush or grab the pencil I need to sketch or color my page.
  • Watercolor pencils dry quickly and can you can store them in a pencil bag straight away.

Join Barb’s  Outdoor Mom Journal using her prompts each month.  Share  your journal with us on your own blog or on her blog in a comment.

  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

What inspires you in your nature journalling?

In Grace, Nadene

Mom’s Nature Journal inspiration

With my teenager’s increasing independence in their homeschooling, our days have settled into a new rhythm, and I have found peace in making some new, small, personal goals for myself.  Charlotte Mason calls it “Mother Culture“.  One of my goals is to regularly sketch in my nature journal.   I look forward to quietly making an entry once a week during a lovely time of quiet observation, some scientific research, and creative sketching, painting or journaling.

20170203_154302 Here is where I find inspiration for my nature journaling ~

Outdoor Mom Journal

Barb at Handbook of Nature Study runs a monthly Outdoor Hour Challenge which we enjoyed in our early homeschool years.  She also shares her Outdoor Mom Journal each month.  She encourages moms to answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on her blog in a comment.

Her nature journal prompts are open-ended statements ~

  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

Simple, gentle prompts which lead to her monthly Outdoor Mom Journal posts.

20170203_154312Nature Finds

As my grown children and older teens no longer go on nature walks, I am privileged to go for walks with my little  granddaughter who comes to visit us often.  She notices all the tiny details and loves to pick up leaves, feathers, stones and any other interesting nature finds.  I keep her nature finds on a little tray.  Often I use her finds as a journal inspiration.

This nature tray was inspired by Celeste, a mommy to 6 little kiddies under 8, of Joyous Lessons, who writes about their nature tray.   She set up a little tray for her family’s nature finds and encouraged her children to look at, play around with, and record these ‘finds’ in their journals.  At the end of the week she stores or clears the tray ready for the new week.

She says,

“In a way, this holds me accountable too: I don’t like to clear out the tray until I have had time to document and sketch a bit, but the tray must be emptied to make room for our new finds. So through the routine, I’m nudged into at least a weekly journal entry.
This seems like such a minor tip–perhaps this is something you already do!  But if you’re anything like me, it’s little things, those easy habits that allow the “extras” to become smoothly woven into the rhythm of our days, that make all the difference.  It’s this little habit that prods me to get out the colored pencils and notebooks!”
Instagram
I find some amazing inspiration on the Internet.  Remember I posted about Helen at Middlewood Journal?  Here’s someone who inspires me I found on Instagram … I am totally in awe of  L Gastinger, who describes herself as “a botanical artist, illustrator, documenter and interpreter of all things exquisite and awesome in nature”.   Her double-page spreads are so intricate, details and perfect, you simply must pop over to view her work!
lara-gastiger-nature-journal
My Garden
Lastly, I love gardening and this year has been a year of big gardening changes for me.  After struggling for years working in my vegetable garden which was very near a row of willow trees, my hubby and I finally created a shade-netted vegetable garden in a lovely, sunny open space.  It has been a joy to harvest food in less than 3 months! garden I also completely transformed a decorative flower garden into a herb and salad/ kitchen garden outside my back door.  I cut down huge shrubs, transplanted flowering plants and moved all my herbs.  I prepared the new beds with ash, manure and compost layers and covered them with a thick mulch layer.  Late summer and autumn seeds and seedlings are in and I am already planning my winter seeds. With all this happening, there is plenty to note, sketch, paint, photograph and journal!
So, simply, I plan to set time aside each week for my nature journal entries and aim to participate in a monthly Outdoor Mom’s Journal.
What about you?  What inspires you in your nature journalling?
In Grace, Nadene

Nature Journal Inspiration

Every now and then I find fresh nature journal inspiration and here’s a fabulous blog I spent most of my afternoon browsing recently ~

Middlewood Journal

middlewood-journalHelen is a freelance writer and illustrator and a regular contributor to the Wildlife in North Carolina magazine. She teaches weekly nature journaling classes and various workshops.

Her journal pages are filled with detailed sketches, all painted and labelled accurately, and her notes  and observational recordings frame her pages.  They are works of art and utterly inspiring!

middlewood-pageI added several of her journal pages to my Pinterest Nature Board.

Barb at Handbook of Nature Study wrote about her Nature Journal Goals for 2017  to include a weekly entry.  Barb’s children have all left the nest, yet her nature journalling is still an important part of her life.  She inspires me to make time to form creative, personal habits that feed and grow my love for the outdoors and nature.

What are your favourite nature journal blogs?  Do you keep a nature journal?  Why not stop and join your children in their nature walks?  Who knows, your nature journal could form a lasting habit!

Blessings, Nadene

 

Mammal’s Fur

We have really enjoyed our Outdoor Hour Challenge ~ mammals studies this month!

Our first week we studied animal fur and without a second thought, my daughter insisted we “study” our cats’ fur!

Our cats didn’t object!  They purred with contentment as we stroked and felt their fur.  Using words, we talked about texture, length, colors, the way the fur lay, how the cats cleaned their fur and what differences we noticed between the short-haired and the long-haired cats.

We then wrote in our nature journals.

I was slightly shocked to discover that Miss.L10 had taken some “samples” to paste into her nature journal!  She assured me that I wouldn’t even notice where she had snipped some fur off!  Her journal entries where not ‘scientific’.  I noticed how descriptive and emotive her words were.  I think this is good. It is lovely to related to observations with all our senses. (I also noticed how poor her spelling is …we’ll add some of these words to our thematic list)

My journal entry was more objective and comparative, my word “Fur” separating the different cat’s fur.

We love the Outdoor Hour Challenges each week. Apart from the weekly challenges, the nature grid gives us plenty of ideas to follow-up as well.

Have you joined in?

Blessings,

Nature Journals ~ Karee Tree

This month’s Outdoor Hour Challenge theme is

Trees

We studied the Karee tree just outside my bedroom window.  I sketched it one afternoon.

This week we examined the leaves and bark of the same tree.

Miss.L10 took paper and made some bark rubbings and picked some leaves to bring inside.

We used the bark rubbing as part of the background for the nature journal page.

I suggested that we try to make “negative” leaf rubbings – place the leaf on top of the page and rub over the edge of the leaf creating an outline of the leaf.  I filled my page with these shapes.  the little lines created a lovely texture.

Then I sketched the leaves, painted them and outlined the details. 

A few short, descriptive notes and my journal page was complete.

MissL.10 enjoyed a similar approach.

I have found so much nature journaling inspiration at Jane LaFazio.com’s ~ Sketchbook and lots more on Pinterest.

Join in the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Blessings,

Nature Study & OHC September

We re-started our Nature Study this term

with the arrival of our spring here in South Africa.

I created a First Week of Spring Grid (click for your free download)

We chose one box for each day of the first week.

I chose to study and sketch all the different fruit trees in bud in our orchard:

Barb of Handbook of Nature Study has a new approach for her Outdoor Hour Challenges using a grid.

It has helped us focus on a simple topic for each week.

Last week we studied ants.

Miss.L10 and I stood watching the ants scurry about their disturbed holes and kept our distance! We all know how our ant bite!

We noticed the large and small-sized ants.  Some ants ran straight back to the hole while others ran around in random circles.

We sat and sketched the ants.

By the time we were finished, there was not an ant to be seen.

All was calm again.

This week we crawled on our bellies with our camera to take a photo capturing a “Bug’s Eye View” ~

It was interesting to look at plants in our garden from a new and unusual angle.

It gave us a different perspective.

Miss L10 couldn’t choose the best of her 3 photos and pasted them all on her notebook page.  She didn’t want to write descriptive words about her bug’s eye view.

I had some creative fun and wrote words extending out of my central photo.

Lovely, simple nature study sessions!

How does the new approach work for you?  Share how you keep it simple and relaxed in the comments.  Join Barb and all of us for the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Blessings,

Nature Journal ~ Cape Weaver’s Nest

Cape Weaver Birds

Image by tim ellis via Flickr

Hundreds of Cape Weavers have made nests in several of our trees on our farm.

They only come for their spring breeding season. The males flitter and fight over branches and frantically build their exquisite nests. They hang upside down from their nests fluttering their wings and singing to attract the females.  With so many birds in our trees, it is a very noisy, busy time!

When the little dull greyish-beige females are satisfied with the nest, they mate and she lays a little blue egg.  Within a few weeks the baby hatches and both parents fly to and fro to feed the hungry baby.

And then, after several noisy months, the weavers leave.  Only a few stragglers and newbies stay, building nests and singing for attention.

Now, and then nests and egg shells fall.  We’ve even seen little babies on the ground after stormy winds.

All these details make for an excellent nature study.

This week, a particularly lovely nest fell and we could sit and sketch it.

My little 8-year-old painted her sketch:

I took my time and sketched a really detailed nest.

We are enjoying our December school break and I have found that the girls have not taken part in the Sketch Tuesday assignments.  I am glad that we have still enjoyed our time outdoors doing nature study.

Blessings,

Nature Journal ~ baby Robins in a nest

It is spring/ summer here in the Cape.

Cape Weavers noisily build nests and raise their chicks in almost every tree in our garden.

Swallows, Wagtails, Sunbirds and Sparrows feed often at our feeder or fly about in the garden.

Charlotte Mason said,

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature diary is a source of delight to a child.

Every day’s walk gives him something to enter.”

This week we came across a tiny nest in one of our hay bales in the open shed.  The bale was low enough for my youngest to easily peer into.

Two tiny eggs were in the small nest.

We were thrilled when a day later, the chicks hatched.

With excited shrieks, the girls ran to tell me.

I grabbed my camera and our new nature study bags.

Quietly we approached.

Keeping our distance we peeped at the fluffy, fragile little birds.

Miss. K whispered a few little whistle calls and both heads popped up with beaks open wide.

I took some photos and we withdrew to see if the mother bird would come feed her babies, but she flitted about in a nearby tree, but wouldn’t come while we were still there.

So, we moved even further away and opened our nature journals and described what we saw.

My 8-year-old drew the picture of the chick and painted her sketch.  She and I both studied the photo on the camera to see some details.  (Oh the joys of a digital camera!  It is so good to zoom in on a photo!)

My 11-year-old sketched her nest and chicks in pencil and then wrote some really detailed observations.  She related her experiences with a moving conclusion, “I love those birds!”

What a wonderful time outdoors in summer.  God’s creation is truly marvellous!

(Oh, since then, the birds are bigger and have more feathers.  We will visit with our nature journals each week and keep notes.  It will make a really excellent study.)

What wonderful nature study moments did you all have this summer?

Blessings,