Feb 28, 2010

Saint David's day crafts

Yes, you heard me! Not Saint Patrick's day crafts. Saint David's Day! or "Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant" in Welsh, because 1st March is Saint David's day and Saint David is the patron saint of Wales.

Not a lot of folk that I bump into out here in the US have a clue where Wales is, let alone who it's patron saint is, so here's an obscure cultural right hook for ya! I'm not about to have a "patron saint-off" with the Paddy fans, but thought it'd be nice to give Dewi a look in, as he's often sidelined due to not being sponsored by Guiness.

My family is from South Wales (Merthyr and Aberfan). I grew up in Brecon until I was six and then we moved to North Wales and I lived near Conwy until I went to university. My husband is from further into the hills. He's from a little town outside Caernarfon. Both our kids have Welsh names and we go back as often as we can afford, to visit our family, who still live there.

Wales is a truely beautiful place. So much so that in the Welsh language we have the word "Hiraeth", which has no literal translation into English, but means something along the lines of a deep heartfelt longing for the homeland, a kind of homesickness to your bones. Here are a few photos I took last time we were visiting, to give you an idea of the breathtaking landscape. Yes there are sheep and castles everywhere.
Here's a picture of me aged five looking uncertain about the Welsh national costume that my mum made for me (yes, we wore those to school on St David's day, some of us with a whole leek pinned to our chest!)

And here's a member of the Welsh mafia rocking the national costume outside Conwy's smallest house. Dig the shades!

So, for some nice Saint David's day crafts, we decided to make some kitchen paper and string leeks for the play kitchen (leeks are a national emblem for Wales), and some paper cup and doily welsh hats for the girl's dolls to wear, plus a few little welsh flags, because Wales has the coolest flag ever.

Kitchen Paper Leeks

These were easy peasy. Just paper towel, and string for the roots.

Fold your kitchen paper in half and snip sections half way down it to make the leaves of the leek.

Then fold it in half again and roll it up into a leek shape.

Pop a bit of tape on to hold it shut.

Cut some string pieces for roots and tie them on the bottom of the leek.

Then paint the leaves with watered down green food colouring.

Hang them up to dry upside down.

perfect play food for a pretend kitchen.

Paper cup Welsh Hats.

Welsh hats are a funny looking kind of amalgamation of stovepipe hats and pilgrim hats.

These were extremely cheap and cheerful too, because I had the paper cups and mini doilies on hand. just cut circles of card for the brim of the hat, and then a hole in the middle that is just smaller than the lip of the cup, so that the card will sit snuggly on the cup.

Glue it down.

Let the kids paint them up with black paint (original Welsh hats were black silk)

Once they have dried off, glue a doily underneath.

Then tear out the center of the doily once the glue is set.

Welsh flags

This is the lovely exciting Welsh flag, with a great big red dragon! Love it! Coolest flag ever. Here's a link to the Wiki commons file that you can use to print your own.

I just printed out a few in line art for the kids to colour and glue to wooden BBQ skewers. These remind me so much of the ones we used to get in little seaside sets of sand castle flags like these when we were kids.

All the dollies are dressed up ready for 1st March. We added a couple of little red shawls made from dollar store paper napkins that were left over from a birthday party.

Even Lola and Upsie Daisy.

If you want some ideas for Welsh foods that you could cook up for St David's day, then Bara Brith and Welsh Cakes are very yum. Our national dish is Welsh Rarebit (glorified cheese on toast)

Usually classes make egg carton daffodils like these for Saint David's day too, but we didn't have any egg cartons handy.

If you'd like to make a castle like many of those found across North Wales, here's a post from a while back, where we made one out of toilet roll tubes. It's not very patriotic though really, because most of those castles were built by the English when they were busy kicking our asses in the Middle Ages.

Anyhoo, before you all get carried away with Leprechauns and shamrock...
Happy Saint David's Day!


Pabuc said...

I dont speake Englısh...I'm from Turkiye...

Güzel blog :)

Anna Ander said...

Happy Saint David's! Loved Lola in the hat. And the pictures from Wales! We were there for my mother's fiftieth birthday, about ten years ago. I remember the sheep! A really beautiful place. As is this! This is my first time here, thanks for all the inspiration.

House Mother said...

Wonderful leeks! Great cutting activity for fine motor practice -- always on my mind.

We are planning a trip to Wales around Easter time. Thanks for the photos -- I have heard Wales is beautiful and, with that flag, a sure win with my dragon-chasing kids.

Happy St. David's Day!

Leigh @ Toasted said...

Hey. I've just started reading your blog and it's great. Nice surprise to see you're from Wales. I've done a week-long bicycle ride across Wales and LOVE the place. We even gave our son a Welsh name - because we liked it but also because of our affection for Wales. Thanks for those awesome pictures as reminders.

Playing by the book said...

I LOVE the leeks :-)

Amy said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We love Wales and can't wait to visit again someday. We spent some time in north Wales and visited all the towns you mention and some in between. One of our favorite parts of the area was the road signs in more than one language. Also, I love slate! And wool. And green. And dragons. And listening to people speak in Wales. Very nice people too. Especially in out of the way places. I can't wait to have some fun today!

lisa said...

Wow! Cool word! And super cool crafts!

Debbie said...

My family and I are Americans, but we've lived in the NW part of England for the past 5 years. North Wales is one of our favorite places to visit! We've been to the castles at Beaumaris, Caernarfon, and Conwy several times, and Llandudno (particularly the Great Orme if it's a nice day) is also a favorite! In fact we were just in Conwy and Llandudno a few days ago--to show some visiting family our favorite sites! I love your St. David's Day crafts--very nice! Also enjoyed your beautiful photos. What a great heritage to pass on to your children!

Rhiannon said...

What a great idea! My dad was born in Merthyr and sister was born in Brecon and they lived in a nearby village until my sister was about three. We now live in New Zealand.
What a lovely bit of culture to teach to your kiddies and to remind you of your background. I love the contrast of the traditional welsh hats and uppsy daisy doll! haha.
Great photos, too. As always : )

Valorie said...

Love Lola giving the shifty eye to the welsh flag. Very cute!

Gherkin said...

Greetings from Cardiff!

Great post- fab crafty ideas for little hands too!

Jules said...

I'm half Welsh and also have a photo of me dressed as a little Welsh girl from a St David's Day many moons ago.

Fantastic crafts, I especially love the leeks.

Unknown said...

Happy Saint David's Day! My girls are in their Welsh costumes... but alas, I didn't do any crafts with them. Love those leeks! I'll have to make them with my girls next year.

kelly said...

Daisy Doo!

Love the photos. I live about an hour away from the Welsh border and have family who live there.

MaryAnne said...

Happy St. David's Day! Both of my dad's parents were half Welsh (Merthyr Tydfil area), so I guess that makes me a weird sort of quarter Welsh? When my family lived in France, we took the ferry across and drove through Wales. I remember that it was stunningly gorgeous with loads of newborn lambs. My mom was navigating, and she sent my dad on several detours through the green parts of the map because she loved the sheep so much!

Loved the picture of you as a girl all dressed up for St David's day - I think your girls look a lot like you!

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsey said...

Wow! What a lovely surprise to have so many people commenting that are from or have visited Wales! Either I have a lot more subscibers than i realised, or there are a lot more people with Welsh roots out there across the world. Either way, very cool!

Debbie: I'm from a village called Deganwy that is inbetween Conwy and Llandudno. You probably drove through it going from one to the other!

Rhiannon: My Mum was born in Merthyr and I was born in Brecon. I wonder if our families ever met! It's amazing how small the world can seem at times. I was on a dive boat in Australia in 2001 and discovered the skipper's family were from Merthyr too and had emmigrated to Australia to try gold mining instead of coal mining :)

MaryAnne: I'm amazed that you have links to Merthyr too! Such a small world! Are any of your relatives from there still alive? I think it's so cool that they probably met some of my family. My gran was the Aberfan district nurse and my mum worked in Boots Chemist in the high street there when she was a girl, so they met a lot of locals :)

Anonymous said...

Those are the most amazing paper leeks that I have ever seen!

Pam said...

Hi there,

love your blog and delighted to see St. David's Day get some deserved attention. I am teacher in Australia - just moved from Adelaide to beautiful Pt. Lincoln - and I lived in Merthyr Tydfil in 2002 and taught across the valley in Bargoed for the whole year. A brilliant experience. Have many friends and fabulous memories of South Wales in particular and am hoping to visit again this year.
Our daughter is named Carys due to having lived in Wales and loved the name!
Pam xxx

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Thanks for the education! Very fun. Love the national costume, and the leeks! I haven't been to Wales (yet) but I've watched Dr. Who and Torchwood. :)

Lacy @ Catholic Icing said...

Ok, how is it possible that I find this now... 2 days later?! Lol! Great stuff! Love it and saving the link ;-)

Stephanie said...

Very fun! I went to college in Carmarthen and love to teach my children about Wales and the beautiful country that I loved! Hope to take them there someday.

christine said...

I live in Conwy, well, Gyffin just outside of Conwy. Grew up near merthyr (mining village called fochriw) and have lived in Arizona between living in these two places where my hubby is from.

Found this post on the Crafty Crw, will definitely be doing them with the kids next Saint David's day : ) Thanks!

Emily said...

Thanks for the info! Our last name is Welsh and I'd like to teach the kids some of their history.

Charity said...

This is so great to see - thank you! My husband is from Porth Cawl (near Bridgend), and we're always trying to help our children learn about the place he's from. His parents are here in Canada as well, so we haven't had the "need" to go back for a visit, but we're longing to take the kids one day.

Valerie said...

Great activities! And those photos of the country are so gorgeous!

Hippy Goodwife said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for the alternative to St. Patrick! Much prefer St. David.

Almost There Society said...

You've made me homesick! I had to wear that national costume when I was younger...and for this St.David's Day I wore a Daffodil brooch :)

. said...

I just read your entire blog and I just have to say that you. Are. AWESOME. My new hero.

I'm commenting here because I love the leeks, they are so cute!

Needless to say, I'm following you now! XD

SuzyQ said...

I would love to visit Wales - mostly due to the place-names, which I haven't a clue how to pronounce! But which fascinate me anyway.Plus the countryside looks just gorgeous... /happy sigh. Thank you so much for sharing!

Christine at Origami Mommy said...

The leeks are pretty amazing! I love them. It's so nice to learn so much about Wales - thank you so much!

Lucy said...

Thank you for sharing so much fun info about St David's day. Love it! My mom used to always read books to her kindergarten class about Wales and they would go pick daffodils that day. Was sad this year because there weren't any to pick. Too cold this winter. She would have had so much fun doing the fun craft things with her kids at school that you shared.

Recovering Noah said...

I just discovered your blog... I wish I'd done it a month earlier! We celebrated St. David's Day by making daffodils out of egg cartons and making sheep out of paper and cotton balls that we strung throughout the house. They're still up!

My husband grew up in England, but his family is Welsh and his parents live in a tiny village in mid-Wales called Tregaron. So beautiful there! (But I can't handle the weather.. too cold for this Texan. lol)

Now... off to recruit some paper bags to make iron on transfers..

Elizabeth said...

I love the Welsh crafs! I'm from California but have been to Wales four times- Cardiff mostly and LOVED it. such a beautiful country with beautiful people. I still have a Welsh flagging hanging on my wall and a framed Welsh Map...like I said, I loved it. Rumors are that some of my family originated from Wales (Cummins- is the last name, is it Welsh that you know of?) and I can only hope. Thanks for the great history lesson and craft ideas!

Donna said...

Aha, this is probably why the neighbor at the end of the street had a Welsh flag on the porch, when he normally doesn't. Thanks for all the craft ideas, the leeks are great!

Mamizeit said...

this is exactly what I was looking for! One of my daughters has her 4th birthday within the next days and the big wish is a "Kaufmannsladen", shop thing like... thank you very much!!!

Menai said...

Fabulous ideas! Thank you. I'm off to suggest to my daughter's preschool teacher (we live in India and she attends an American International School) that I help the class with March 1 crafts! As you may guess from the name, my parents are Welsh - though I've lived only in Scotland and England (and now India) due to father's and now husband's jobs. Your pictures certainly brought a tear to my eye from family holiday reminiscences!