nest building :: a tutorial


Here we are, heading into the season of  nesting, of new beginnings and rejuvenation.  And, while I feel so hopeful and invested in the ground that will soon be bursting with newness and life, I continue to grieve the loss of my grandmother.  In the past ten years or so, when spring came around and her Azalea bushes would burst pink and new, she would feel so truly lucky and free to live fully.   All of the fragile round eggs, tender greens, and bright colors of new life brought her so much joy and lightness of spirit.

When I was nineteen or so, and witnessing my first cold, slow New England spring, my mother shipped a snow globe to my dorm room.   It is a glass globe with white flakes floating in water, and from beneath the sparkly snow grows three hearty crocuses.  In the package was a note reminding me that spring will soon come.

It is just the very beginning.  We have cold, wet, frozen weather passing by today and tomorrow.  I know the colors will soon arrive, though. And, I know I'm left here to witness this beauty.  Thankfully.  I'll bear witness in the grandest of company and with my usual innocent disbelief. Can trees really be that beautiful?   But, still, there is heaviness in my heart.  I miss her.

And, so I decided that maybe I'd prepare a bit, like the mama birds do.  I made a nest and filled it with bright blue clay eggs. It is my reminder that I must continue to build and to believe in the beauty that surrounds me.


Materials:  air dry clay or Fimo, craft paint, brush, wax paper, dried grass and stalks


Begin by shaping ten or more small (1 1/2" or so) clay eggs. Chick and her friend helped roll and shape the little eggs. Don't worry about making them perfectly smooth since the paint ends up hiding a lot of the little dents and dings.


Either air dry over night or bake on low heat depending on whether you are using Fimo or air dry clay.



This is Mouse clickety clicking the dry clay eggs in her hands.  Paint the eggs blue (or any color, really).  Cover all of the eggs with paint, and set them to dry on wax paper.  Once dry, touch up the bottoms with more paint and let dry again.


The kids and I gathered dry grass and old stalks from last year's plants.  And, then the nest building began. 

I have so much respect for mama birds.  Nest building is slow, careful work.  I twisted, wound, shaped, fluffed, pressed, and wove the dried plants into a plump nest. I used the long, tough stalks for the main shape of the nest, and then the soft fluffy dried grass for the inside.  It was just the kind of quiet, methodical spring work my heart needed.

Here it sits on a bookcase.  A quiet reminder - a love message - to myself that I was not left behind.

xo emily

6 comments:

  1. I love this! You know how I feel about birds and nests - this is so appealing to me!

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  2. You're bringing me to tears, E. You have a way with words. There's something about missing those Beloved grandparents... The nests are beautiful, by the way. xoxo

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  4. Bittersweet - spring and newness, and then the loss of a grandparent. Love the nests.

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