I hadn’t ever thought to press a dandelion flower, but the children have taught me to find beauty and potential with everything. Dandelions press beautifully – who knew? They are delicate, the yellow color preserves well, and there is something magical about them. From the moment Penelope could walk, she has loved picking dandelions flowers. I imagine Oliver will be the same. Where live, these flowers are everywhere in the spring and summer, perhaps even over looked in their abundance, but they really are quite beautiful.
I didn’t grow up in Canada, so the dandelion is very much a flower that I consider native to the land. To my children, the dandelion is something they will have seen since the moment they were born, just a flower that grew in their home land. I imagine one day, when they are older, travelling the world, and come across a dandelion flower, they will remember this mobile, their mother, their father, where they came from. The dandelion flower, the inspiration for this DIY post.
As a mother raising bicultural children, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to teach them about both their cultures. My children are Canadian, and they are also Peruvian. I speak to them in Spanish so that they learn their mother’s tongue, I sing them the songs that I was sung as a child. During our walks in the beautiful Edmonton trails, Penelope picks up dandelions, fallen pine cones, tree sticks, and she learns about the flora of her country. Through exploration, my children are embracing the nature of their homeland, and learning to love their mother’s language as they practice the names for trees, flowers, rocks in English and Spanish.
As with any DIY that I do, like this and this , I look for it to be easy, simple and affordable. In this case, most of our materials are collected from nature, and the rest, most likely in your home already, or easy and inexpensive to get (ie- your local Dollar store).
We began by cutting the stems off the dandelions we collected, placed them face down between two sheets of paper in a large heavy book, and allowed them to dry. Penelope then helped me tie “talking knots”, or “quipu” into the string, a practice that is native to her Andean culture. The number and color of the knots conveyed meaning, sort of like writing. In this mobile, the number of knots in the strands reading both her and Oliver’s birthday.
Once the dandelions were dry, I glued a small piece of cardboard onto the back of the flowers for easier handling, and glued them back to back onto the string. I tied pine cones at different heights and secured a little Spanish note in there as a special touch.
Once two pieces were completed, I placed them together at a perpendicular angle, and secured them with wrapped knot, leaving a little loop at the top for hanging. And voila!
I love how this DIY turned out! In the process of making this mobile, with the stories I tell my children while we’re out exploring nature, they are learning about the history and the culture before them, and I give them a sense of identity, a place in the world.
Gathering materials that are abundant in the native flora of where we live, with addition of details native to my ethnic culture, my children and I create a simple, but special piece of art that brings activity, culture, and nature together. All encompassed by something all mothers, of all cultures, share – love.
I hope this inspires one of you.
Related post of Motherhood and Culture – here