Friday, December 10, 2010

Preparing For A Storm

As I set up for class on Wednesday, the weather was magnificently frightful. There was torrential rain accompanied by the patented Seattle wind and punctuated by one of the rarest of local weather phenomenon: lightening! (Okay, so I only heard a couple thunder peals and saw but a single flash of lightening, but that was enough to have it go down in the annuls as the electrical storm of 2010.)

Man, I love our wind storms. My daughter and I have been known to don our rain gear and head over to West Seattle where we've found a place to stand and let the waves stirred up in Elliott Bay crash over us. Weeeehaaaa! Sometimes we have to dodge chunks of driftwood. My favorite part is that we're never the only ones standing there in the waves. There are always a half dozen or so equally hearty souls out testing their rain wear.

The last time the winds came up, some of our parents lowered our portable canopy to prevent it from blowing away, which turned into a happy accident for our 2-year-olds. At the time, the kids were mostly fascinated with being able to touch the "roof," but I noticed the cozy spot underneath and this storm seemed like a perfect time to take advantage of it.

I started by hanging rainbow twinkle lights around the interior framework of the canopy. 

As I did, the wind whistled around me, buffeting the canopy, dousing me with what felt like buckets of rain water whenever I stepped outside the protection of the canopy, which itself seemed always on the verge of blowing away. Oh, this was going to be cozy! I then dragged out the cookie tree sans cookies, fighting the elements like a character from one of those movies who isn't going to let tragedy prevent him from making it a Merry Christmas after all. Yes, this assemblage of sticks and hooks was going to be our holiday tree.

But we would need ornaments. Inspired by a recent post from my friend Jenny at Let The Children Play I went for our collection of junk CDs and while in the storage room I spotted a box of even older cassette tapes. The cassette tapes would be perfect, especially since each one has 4 tiny screws that I hoped the kids could manage to remove on their own, releasing those spools of tape that I was certain would look wonderful rustling in the wind along with those shiny, spinning CDs.

I was soooo excited for this, but as I went about setting up the rest of the classroom, I watched in despair as the clouds broke up revealing a blue sky. What kind of weather deity would allow something like this to happen?!

By the time the kids arrived it was a gorgeous, sunny day. I don't think any of the kids even noticed the twinkle lights and it was hardly cozy, but we did still have fun making ornaments and decorating the tree. 

We used acrylic paint pens for putting color on the CDs.

 I'd provided twine for hanging the CDs, but once the kids discovered
the cassette tape, that's what they chose to use instead.

And I was right about something, it does look wonderful as it all spins, swirls and rustles in the wind. Photos just don't do it justice. She (and the cookie tree is definitely female) is a dancing flowing wonder -- the perfect way to celebrate the season here in the Pacific Northwest.

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Scott said...

A wonderful tree, indeed. And a great way to reuse/recycle those items. Looking at the loops of cassette tape and the dangling CDs, I can just imagine the spinning and flowing that happens when the wind blows. What a creative holiday tree!

Play for Life said...

Cool tree Tom! I think it's nice to break with the green fluffy Christmas tree tradition and put the children's individual spin on things. The Christmas tree our children painted and decorated last week has drawn more attention from our children than any other tree we've ever had! :) :)
Donna :) :)

Juliet Robertson said...

The tree is cool. It reminds me of one of my sisters bedrooms. She used melt vinyl records in the sun and hang these up. However instead of wood chips on the floor, there was a sea of black clothes. And lots of unwashed tea and coffee cups that were growing mould. But it was always an interesting room to visit.