I hope you have enjoyed the Crafts Around The World series. While differences are obvious, I love seeing how much we have in common as well, namely, loving our children and wanting to spend time with them. Doing crafts and cooking together are always fun - they may not remember the details of the craft or the recipe but they will remember the time that you spent with them and that's what it's all about anyway.
Thank you so much to my wonderful guest bloggers without whom this series would not have been possible:
“Russia is the biggest country according to its territory. Half of its lands lie in the Polar circle and beyond the Arctic circle. It is also a country with the biggest amount and territory of wood (22 per cent of the world forests are in Russia).
The capital of Russia is Moscow. The Moscow Kremlin is situated in the very center of the capital of Russia. Since 1991, the Kremlin has been the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. The ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Cathedral of Basil the Blessed is a Russian Orthodox cathedral erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–1561. It marks the geometric center of the city. The design of the building has no analogues in Russian architecture.
The Russian language is spoken by 278 million Earthlings (fifth most of all languages).
Lake Baikal situated in the south of Eastern Siberia is the deepest and most ancient freshwater lake in the world.
Yury Gagarin, a soviet cosmonaut: on 12 April 1961, he became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth.
A fox is the most famous trickster in Russian folk tales.
In ancient Russia a frog was put into the milk to keep it fresh and cool.
Only 4 kms separate Russia and the USA in the closest point”.
A Pottery Bird :: Russian Dyimkovsky Toys
"The Dyimkovsky Toy (a kind of pottery figurine) appeared in the 15th century when Tzar Ivan III moved the inhabitants of Ustyug the Great to wild lands which were called Dyimka (now being a district of Vyatka) trying to bend them to his will and Moscow. During spring holidays, these people organized cheerful activities, a clay penny whistle being a symbol of them. When the holiday ended, the whistles were placed on the window-sills between the frames. Some time later, they started making all kinds of clay animals and people.
Each Dymkovskaya Toy is a handmade work of art which has no copies. What is the difference between Dyimkovskaya toy and other toys made of clay? It is the snowish white which carries a festive but simple pattern made of geometric figures.
The technique of making a Dyimkovsky toy is very simple. The toy is made of red clay mixed with river sand. The figures are made from elements which are connected with each other with liquid clay. Then the toy is dried, fired (at 800 degrees Celsius temperature) and covered with chalk mixed with milk. The final stage is the decoration with colourful patterns. Nowadays, one can use any kind of clay and industrial whitewash when making such toys.
On the other hand, it is not so easy to make a clay toy which is light and steady at the same time. Each plant making such toys in Russia does not allow the secrets of preparation leave its walls. Today we suggest you to make such a bird:
How To Make A Russian Clay Bird (please click on all pictures to see them larger)
Equipment: a brush a jar of water a towel (for the hands to be always dry) clay mixed with water (it should be soft like plasticine) a wet cotton napkin/piece of cloth (to keep the clay covered)
The clay should be neither too dry nor too soft.
The elements which Dyimkovskaya toys are made from: a ball, a “sausage” and a “drop”.
The stages of making the Bird:
For the body:
a ball is turned into a flat cake,
a cup is made of the flat cake,
the edges of the cup are put together and
a “dumpling” is made which is hollow inside.
For the leg:
a ball is turned into a drop,
the lower edge of the drop (=leg) is made concaved (for steadiness) and the upper edge of the drop is turned into a cradle
(the edges of the cradle are sharpened) to be connected to the body.
Before connecting the body and the leg, the place of their meeting is moistened with water with the help of a brush. The bodyand the leg are joined and are grinded in with rotator movements.
For the head:
The head is a ball the diameter of which is a bit smaller than the diameter of the breast. The neck is made like the leg but the cradles are made both at the lower and upper edges.
The lower end is joined with the body and
the upper end – with the head.
For the tail:
make a flat cake from a ball,
at its lower edge prepare a groove matching the back of the body.
Stick the tail to the body. It is important that the tail and the head should be symmetrical.
For the beak:
The beak is a pointed drop. It is attached to the middle of the head.
For the wings:
Make two drops and
flatten them into leaves,
cradle one edge and
stick the leaves to the body.
One can decorate the head with a ball or a flat cake (like a beret). It can also look like a cock’s crest.
The breast and the neck are decorated with a small beard.
The wings and the tail can be decorated with drops and flat cakes.
Drying and Baking
The toy is being dried up during about 24 hours (depends on its thickness). The baking is made in a special oven at 800 degrees (Celsius temperature). In Russian villages, for baking toys people gather all of them from all the houses of the village and stoke up fire in the brick oven for 24 hours changing each other on duty. It is impossible to make the baking in the home oven. But one can do without baking. The toy which has not been baked is not so solid but one can use it both for playing and decoration.
Priming and Painting
The traditional toy was primed with a mixture of flour and skimmed milk. Now the toys are primed with white acrylic or water-dispersion paints. The priming should be ideally white.
For painting, it is better to use acrylic paints as they do not soil when being touched. The paint should be diluted till it becomes like liquid sour cream. The strokes should be even and not transparent.
The Elements of Painting
Ancient signs which have got a meaning: a circle means the sun, a ring is an amulet, a line is a road, dots are human traces and a “river” is a river. The painting consists of these elements.
In May 2009, President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev visited Kirovsky Museum of Art named after Vasnetsov brothers. The climax point of the excursion was the exhibition of Dyumkovsky toys in one of the halls. The President was suggested to model a toy. “I have done your errand, - finally said the President showing the toy he had made and starting painting it”. Afterwards, he shared his impressions, “Super! For a long time I hadn’t made and experienced such things!”
A Russian Dish - Vareniki
Russians love making and eating vareniki- a kind of stuffed dumplings. For a step-by-step tutorial please click on this link at Parents' Ideas." ---
Russia is brought to you by guest bloggers Anastasia and Natalie of Parents’ Ideas. They are married mums and live in two different cities of Russia. Anastasia and Natalie are mostly interested in parents’ ideas, tips and tricks on how to make household chores a joyful activity and the process of the child’s upbringing rich and absorbing for all the members of the family. On the pages of their blog they are sharing their parental experience and the experience of other parents which includes parents’ tips, arts and crafts and recipes of tasty dishes.
If you have any questions about Russia please leave them in the comments in the next few days and Anastasia and Natalie will answer them! ---
People all over the world have long loved playing board games. Here's how to make a traditional Korean family board game called Yut-Nori (pronounced "yoonnori"). It's especially popular during the New Year, but it can be played any time. My parents, who are from Korea, used to play this game with us when we were growing up in the U.S.. It's a lot of fun and I wanted to introduce my children to the game, because playing games from other countries is a great way for kids to learn that that children all over the world are just like them - they enjoy playing games and having fun together. Children will also be interested to see that many board games share similar elements even though they have such diverse origins - this one reminds our kids of games like Sorry or Pass the Pigs. Like other board games of this type, this game enhances budding numeracy skills.
Yut-nori consists of a board (in Korea, it's usually made of cloth with circles and lines drawn on it, but I drew ours on paper), four sticks which are curved on one side and flat on another, and markers (we like collecting pretty stones and buttons to use as markers for handmade games). If you're handy with a penknife, you can carve four sticks out of wood, but I thought decorating craft sticks would be easier, and fun for kids to make on their own, so this is our variation on the traditional game.
These are striped to represent the flat side and dotted to represent the curved side (but you can decorate however you like as long as you are consistent. For instance you could try solid color on one side, a pattern on the other, or drawings on one side and blank on the other side....use your imagination).
Take a piece of paper or cardboard and decorate as shown above. You'll have circles going around in a square, connected by lines. The X in the middle is a shortcut that you can take if you happen to land on the corners. Make one of the circles in the corner your home base or starting point.
The point of the game is to be the first person to move around the circle and return back to home base. If you land on a corner, you can take a shortcut, and if you happen to land on the center spot, you can take another shortcut.
You advance your pieces by throwing the sticks in the air and seeing how they fall.
If they fall with one dotted side up, you advance one space. If two dotted sides are up, you advance two spaces. If three dotted sides are up, you advance three spaces. If four dotted sides are up, you advance four spaces. If four striped sides land face up, you advance five spaces.
If you got all dotted or all striped sides face up, you can take another turn. --- Check out more about Christine at Origami Mommy. For a delicious sounding Korean treat try her recipe for sweet Korean pancakes!
"Mexico is a country with various cultures mixed together. The original native people were the Aztecs and Mayas. They had their customs and traditions. When Christopher Columbus arrived to the new continent (America), many Spaniards came and stayed. They brought their own customs and traditions. So what happened? The customs got mixed together and new customs appeared.
The Piñata is a product of two similar traditions. The Aztecs would decorate clay pots in the shape of their gods. Inside they would put fruits and nuts, and when they broke them, the spilling fruits represented abundance.
The Spaniards had seen a similar custom in China in which cardboard figures were hung and hit to spill out bananas for New Year's good luck.
So the two customs got together, and became the Piñata we know today. The traditional Piñata has seven spikes which represent the seven capital sins. The colorful paper represents temptation. The fruits and candy inside represent the rewards you recieve when you overcome temptation and do not sin. That is why Mexican Piñatas are so hard to break!! You have to work hard to get your reward.
How to Make a Mexican Piñata
Scissors Clay pot
Cut up newspaper Tissue paper (any color) Engrudo (see recipe below) Metallic paper (even aluminum foil works) Paintbrush (it can also be done with your fingers)
boiling water juice from 1 lime ½ cup all purpose flour
Almost nobody in Mexico uses normal white glue for this project. The paste is homemade, and done the following way:
Pour the flour into the boiling water. Stir constantly (I use a whisk)until you have a medium thick consistency. Try to break down the bigger lumps, but small lumps are not a problem. Pour in the lime juice. Let the paste cool before using. It will thicken as it cools. It shouldn’t be watery, but if it gets too thick, add more hot water and stir. If you do not want to use this paste, you can use normal white glue. Just water it down a bit.
Take your time with this craft. It can take 1 to 2 hours to make this. But if you have helping hands, it is much easier.
Paste cut up newspaper pieces onto pot. It is easier to brush (or use fingers) to put engrudo (or white glue) onto pot, and then apply paper. After it is completely covered, let it dry.
Meanwhile make 4 cones. There is not a fixed size for this. It all depends on the pot. Mine is small, so my cones are small.
Take poster board (even cereal box cardboard can be used!) and roll to make cone. Keep in place with tape.
Cut bottom so it is even. Cut 1 cm. nicks all around the base of the cone. Do this with all four cones.
Cut long strips of tissue paper. These will be put at the tip of each cone. Paste to the tip and then cover the cones with metallic paper. This paper can be taped onto the cone. Set aside.
Cut long strips of tissue paper. Probably 5 cm. wide would be OK. Fold in half lengthwise. Again, nick the whole length of tissue paper strips. When done, open the strips and turn around so you have a strip with a rounded edge (something like what is put on turkey drumsticks for Thanksgiving).
Cut 2 round (or oval, depending on the shape of the pot) pieces of metallic paper, and paste onto the front and back of the pot.
Now paste the cones with the engrudo (or watered down white glue) to the newspaper covered pot. The nicks at the bottom help the cone keep in place while pasting. Wait a few minutes for the paste on the cones to set.
Now carefully take the turned out pieces of tissue paper, and start pasting them around the base of each cone. Layer one strip slightly below the first, and go on working towards the body of the pot till you get to the metallic paper you pasted before. Again, apply paste to pot, and then put paper on the paste, it’s much easier this way.
Put a layer of tissue paper making a round shape around the metallic front and back of the pot. There will be some empty spaces.
Cut tissue paper circles, put your finger in the middle of each circle and wrap the paper around your finger. Dip the center into the engrudo and paste it into the empty spaces.
And you are finished!! If you are going to actually use the piñata (break it) wait at least a day for it to dry, if you don’t, it won’t break properly (and you’ll have a mess).
What is put into Mexican Piñatas? The big, Christmas Piñatas will have oranges, tangerines, sugar canes, peanuts, and some candy. Birthday Piñatas have candy and small toys.
The children take turns to hit the piñata while everybody else sings a song about taking aim to hit the piñata. Hope you enjoy making one of these yourself!
Mexicans love fruit water. They will make fruit water with almost anything, even flowers!! The Jamaica is a flower similar to the hibiscus.
It is plucked and dried, and sold in the market by weight.
To make the water all you have to do is add the dried flowers to boiling water, let it boil a while longer, and then strain. The water will be very concentrated so once it is cool more water is added and some sugar.
It is served in a glass pitcher with lots of ice. Perfect for warm days!!
Here we love Tostadas because it can be made with anything. Our favorite (and easiest) recipe is as follows:
•spread the tostada with refried beans •add some sour cream •put slices of ham on top •add shredded lettuce •add some sliced onion
On top of everything you can add some Jalapeño peppers or the salsa of your choice.
What else can you add? Tomatoes, shredded carrots, cooked chicken, anything you want!!
--- Mexico is brought to you by Angie of At Home In Mexico. Angie is a mother to two sons and is a teacher in Guanajuato Mexico. A visit to her blog is like a virtual trip to Mexico! Check out this post for a trip to a candy factory and this one about shoe shopping in Léon. You can see pictures of her travels around the country such as this series of San Miguel de Allende (one of my favorite places) and lots more great recipes such as pozole verde and quesadillas.
If you have any questions about Mexico please leave them in the comments in the next few days and Angie will answer them! --- Links of Interest: