Homemade Paper – Handicraft (Homeschool)

If you’ve ever been part of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling community you’ve heard of Handicrafts before. They are not cut and paste type of crafts but something that requires a learned skill that is useful and can be built upon with attention to detail, practice and perseverance.

Here’s a post from our local Charlotte Mason group that shares about their bi-annual Handicraft Fair and What a Handicraft Is as well as the Ambleside Online post on handicrafts.

This year we’re working through The Precious People curriculum by The Peaceful Press which focuses on ancient world history as well as their cultures. This is part of what we do during our morning time together (ages 4, 7, 10, 13, 15 & 17). As we were studying Egypt we learned how they made paper from the papyrus plant which made us want to explore how we can make paper with what we have available to us.

During one of our morning times we watched some tutorials on how to make paper from recycled paper strips. A few days later I set the task for my 15 year old to make the mold and the deckle with supplies he found in our garage. He pulled out the saw and table and set up the umbrella for some shade (that’s what you call working smart).

On a side note, while we were looking up how to make paper we found someone who made paper from grass, that’s a neat idea.

Here is the finished product using scrap wood, screen and staples. He measured and cut everything on his own. Though he did let the younger ones help with the stapling under his supervision.

We took an old sheet and cut it into strips slightly bigger than the mold. You need one for every sheet of paper you make.

First you shred and soak the paper and then you blend it to create a pulp. You put the pulp into a bin of water and getting the right consistency takes practice. Our first go at it was more successful than our second so we’ll have to persevere and keep practicing.

Sponge the excess water off of the screen so the paper sticks to the sheet.

Here’s a video to show our process and the fun personalities I get to enjoy each day. 🙂

We set heavy things on the sheets because we didn’t want the breeze we get in our backyard to mess up our sheets up paper as they were drying.

The final sheets of paper that we then put between some heavy books to press down and flatten.

Our sheets are thicker because of the screen we used (it’s not a fine screen) which is what we were going for. We want them to be more for water colors/painting.

The kids plan to fold the papers in half and sew them together to make journals to sell and give as gifts.

There you have it, our homemade paper that didn’t cost us anything because we already had the supplies!

I’m excited to see how the final product will look and I’ll make sure to update this once they’ve finished their journals.

What have been some handicrafts that your family has enjoyed? I’d love to hear!

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A Minimalist Christmas – Gift Ideas

(This post was originally published on Orange County Moms Blog)

Back in October I was in the hardware store and there were Christmas decorations that greeted us as we walked through the sliding doors. We as a family totally love Christmas and really the whole season, so it never bothers me when all the decor comes out, even if it’s before Halloween.


The sign on the bench said to take a selfie.

We live in a time where everything is so easily accessible. Literally at our finger tips! If I can order it online and not have to leave the comfort of my home? Ummm, who can say no to that? Not this mama!

I wanted to talk about Christmas now because November is “the deal month” where all the stores are thankful for you so here’s another “deal to show our appreciation…” I’m not saying this is a bad thing. For sure if it’s something you’ve had your eye on and just been waiting for the sale, it’s a good thing. I just wanted to bring up another way to approach the season of giving without loading your house with more stuff.

We have 8 people in our home… we’ve got some stuff… It’s really unavoidable to accumulate stuff. But it’s also mentally draining to be surrounded by stuff! So my kids and I (actually mostly my kids) came up with a list of non toy/stuff gift ideas. I basically asked them what things they would like to receive. They are 3, 6,9, 11 and 13. My 3 year old didn’t help with this list but you’ll see some suggestions for that age as well.

So hide those gift catalogs when they come in the mail and check out this minimalist list instead.

Gift Cards! Money is fun but gift cards make you go to that specific place which makes it feel like a special outing for your kids. So here are some places that my 6 year old said he would like gift cards from.

In N Out, Home Depot, Costco, Bass Pro Shop, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Savers.

Special Treats! We very rarely buy candy since one of mine is allergic to food dyes and dye free candy is expensive so my kids look forward to their stockings filled with special treats. These are things my 13 year old said.

Licorice, cookies, gummies, chocolate coins (from Trader Joe’s)

Tools! Not much needs to be explained here. All boys and girls need tools and they have kids kits at hardware stores.

Plants! Cleaning the air and adding beauty to the home. Good idea son!

Carving Kits! There’s stamp carving, soap carving and for those more advanced, wood carving.

Books! We’re a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family so good books are the best! Not more to say here.

Arts and Crafts Supplies! We’re talking journals, gel pens, paints, stamps, colored pencils, canvases, nice paper, face paints, glitter glue, paint brushes, etc. We bought our 3 year old a pack of colorful glitter glue and she was the happiest little person ever!

Army/Survival/Camping Gear! This was mostly from my boys who wear camouflage attire more often than not. We just took some family pictures and I had to prepare my 11 year old before hand that he would not be dressed in his army fatigues. My request was met with disappointment but he got over it and put a button up shirt on for his mama.

Army watch, straw filters, hand pump, tent, chairs, rope, grappling hook, flash light, first aid kit, canteen, walkie talkies, hydro packs.

Bible/Devotionals! There’s devotionals for all ages and my 9 year old just reminded me that he needs his own bible (his older brother and sister got one for their birthdays with their names on them).

Camera! My 13 year old said a film camera and I also thought about sun print paper.

Season Passes! Some places that came to mind are, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, Aquarium, Zoo, Legoland.

Skill Lessons! Archery, instruments, sewing, painting/drawing, climbing, etc. Do your kids have an interest in something specific? A lot of times there’s deals for the first lesson for them to try it out.

Experiences! Ziplining, road trips, camping, family game night (new board games?), family story night (new books?), cruise.

Subscription Boxes! There’s so many great subscription boxes now that come with science experiment, history or art supplies. They’re basically like a unit study in a box and the kids get a new one every month. Fun!

The idea behind these non toy things is, they’re dual purpose, open ended, foster creativity and encourage time together. That was the hope in putting this list together.

I would love to hear how you have a minimalist Christmas!




Alaina Nunez is the professional photographer who specializes in documenting unforgettable moments in a lifestyle and documentary way. Home is in sunny Southern California with her husband and 6 children. They love to travel on road trips together so if you’re not in the area and looking to have Alaina document your newborn, family or intimate wedding Contact her to see if she’ll be passing through your area.




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