By Gabriela Tellier
Like many Alberta mamas, I am an immigrant mother. I arrived in Edmonton when I was 17 years old and was welcomed to a beautiful city, to a beautiful province and country, that I now call home. Today, I am the mother of two young children and am privileged to introduce to them the culture of their homeland, as well as that of their mother’s. My children are Canadian, and they are also Peruvian.
We recently celebrated Canada Day, a day that is very special for all Canadians, those who were born here, and those who arrived later in life. Inspired by that, I share this DIY. As a mother raising bicultural children, I am always looking for creative and fun ways to teach my children about both cultures. By getting the kids outside to explore, and making art together, I embrace multiculturalism in motherhood and honor the land that gave a home to my children and to the culture that came before them.
Our DIY begins in the outdoors where we collect our materials. I have a two-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son, and one of their favorite things to do is to be outside exploring nature. During our walks on the many beautiful Edmonton trails, my daughter picks up dandelions, pine cones, fallen branches, and she learns about the native flora. Through exploration, my children are embracing the nature of their homeland, and learning to love their mother’s language as they practice the names for trees, flowers and rocks in English and Spanish.
I like easy, simple and affordable DIYs. In this case, most of the materials are collected from nature, and the rest you most likely already have or are easy and inexpensive to get (ie. Dollar Store).
– Dandelions, pine cones, sticks (but the potential for materials is endless).
– Glue Gun
We began by cutting the stems off the dandelions we collected. We placed them face down between two sheets of paper in a large heavy book and allowed them to dry.
My daughter helped me tie “talking knots” or “quipu” into the string, a practice that is native to her Andean culture. The number and color of the knots conveyed meaning, sort of like writing. In this mobile, the number of knots in the strands read my children’s birthdays, and we used a green marker to color them.
Once the dandelions were dry, I glued a small piece of cardboard onto the back of the flowers for easier handling, and glued them back to back onto the string. I tied pine cones different heights and secured a little Spanish note in the shape of a leave in there for a special touch.
Once two pieces were completed, I placed them together at a perpendicular angle, and secured them with wrapped knot leaving a little loop at the top for hanging. And voila!
Gathering materials that are abundant in the Albertan flora, with addition of details native to my ethnic culture, my children and I create a simple, but special, piece of art that brings activity, culture, nature, and a sense of identity together. All encompassed by something all mothers, of all cultures, share – love.
I hope this inspires one of you.
Gabriela is a Peruvian mother of two young children and lives in Edmonton. Inspired by motherhood, she uses her blog as the platform in which she explores and documents her journey and growth as a mother and woman, through storytelling, pictures, words, and DIYs. Find Gabriela on her Blog, & Instagram