Sunday, January 31, 2010

happy moments

Simple little gifts that the weekend offered...

A winter hike for big sister and daddy...

A puppet play for little sister, mommy as the storyteller...

Soft pink sunsets....

And best of all... early morning on the back deck, pale sky, so much snow, we all stand together, holding hands, bare feet... greeted by the birds, and the sound so uncommon for January... water... melting, dripping, living...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

beautiful days

A quiet week, with lots of snow, lots of thought...

Lots of reading! We just read These Happy Golden Years, in just one week. Really we cannot help ourselves, Chloe asks so many times a day, "Can we read just one chapter?" We read the words slowly, but the stories pass quickly.

(And we have had no computer in the house for an entire week. Really nice.)

I look forward to returning and sharing more soon.
Well wishes to you all on these winter days!

Monday, January 18, 2010

oh dear...

Downstairs folding laundry... girls come to find me... "Yay! We were hoping you would be cheerful when we came down!"

Apparently my mood in the morning had not been all that cheerful.

Sigh... I am trying!

I have so, so much to be happy for!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

WIP Wednesday ~ Chloe's Handwork Bag

(and I am just publishing this now on tuesday evening cause somehow the edit/post/schedule thing is proving too difficult for me this evening....)

I embroidered this in stem stitch on organic cotton poplin. A wonderful fabric that I want to make just about everything out of! And I made the embroidery into a handwork bag for my Chloe Anne. I am sure I have said already how much I enjoyed working on this, and I was so happy to find just the right fabrics in my closet to go with the cream colored poplin. (These red and white fabrics have also had me unusually excited about upcoming Valentine's Day, and related sewing...)

And I really do so love this bag! If it was mine it would be one my most favorite things. It is also quite full as you can perhaps tell. It has two pockets inside, and it turned out much larger than I intended, though I really didn't intend (measure) anything, it just kind of all came together.

I am very happy to have created such a gift for my dear oldest child.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

our one small change

We always try to be conscious about the decisions we make as a family, as consumers, and as caretakers of the earth. I'd like to think that we make wise choices, and that our efforts are of some benefit. But I know that there will always be ways to do more good!

I think our focus for the month is going to be on packaging. This is something I often obsess about, and since food is pretty much the only thing we regularly purchase, our focus will be on food packaging. Now, we do not buy much packaged food as it is, and we recycle everything that we can, but our small town has somewhat limited recycling facilities, and it greatly distresses me every time I have to throw something away! This is something that we have been working on for a while now, but I feel myself getting more and more determined in my efforts!

We buy much of our food from the bulk bins at our local health food stores. (Always organic of course!) For several years now I have been very good about bringing glass jars for any liquids that we purchase... maple syrup, vanilla, and honey now that we use that too. But I do not always bring reusable bags for our grains, beans, etc.. I had always wanted to make cloth bags to hold these staples, but I was concerned that certain items, flours in particular, would somehow come through the fabric. Then a while I go I saw these great handmade bulk food bags and was assured that they would contain flours just fine. After all, all grains and flours used to be stored in fabric sacks. So I am going to finally make these. I'm sure mine will not be quite as fancy, no labels, I instead imagine myself holding a little scrap of paper with all the plu's written down, or just trying to remember them all in my head, I know most of them anyway, though that's probably not such a good idea...

One other thing that we have been trying to do lately is to remember to bring our own snacks when we go to town. It is about a 35 minute drive into town and when we go to run our errands, grocery shopping, library, etc... the girls will surely need something to eat before we head back home. We don't eat out at restaurants, (seriously, never, less than 10 times in more than 10 years), but we sometimes get a container of hummus and a loaf of bread from the bakery, or maybe a box of crackers, and even that just seems wasteful, as far as packaging goes, and money too. So now we try to always plan ahead and make something of our own to bring. Even if it is just our own hummus and bread. We always bring our own water bottles too.

So now I have a fun sewing project to look forward to also. And of course the bags will be made of fabrics from my stash, a good way to use up some of what I already have.

Thanks to Suzy for starting this great project, and for the extra motivation!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WIP Wednesday... catching up on December

Except for some evening work on Chloe's embroidery, I was not able to get much done on gifts until about a week before Christmas. So it was pretty tragic when my sewing machine broke two days before winter solstice! Although really, not too tragic, since we do happen to have another sewing machine. Jason actually had his own sewing machine when we first met, he did sew a bit on it, he probably would have used it more often, but then he ended up marrying a seamstress :) and I guess he never had the need to do much sewing. So really I was pretty lucky, all I had to do was go down into the crawl space and find the sewing machine. It was kind of weird to just start sewing on a different machine, but oh my goodness, it was like sewing on a brand new machine, quiet and smooth, it was super nice!

And one really good thing came out of the whole broken sewing machine situation. I decided to take a sewing break and started on a needle felted doll instead.

I knew the first doll would be for Chloe. I tried to choose colors that were more wintry, and I always make Chloe's dolls darker than Chessa's. Chloe is so dark, and Chessa is so fair.

So here is fair Chessa's doll. I noticed she was looking a bit fuzzy today. I am hoping she will stand up to gentle play, and at least I can just do a little extra needle felting to neaten her up if I need to. I made them with bendable arms, my first time trying this style. (and still only the second and third needle felted dolls that I have done.) Of course I had such a wonderful time making them. You can just ask Jason how I go on and on to him expressing my happiness and excitement as I am needle felting. Actually I get that way about embroidery too, and sewing, and...

At first I thought I would make these to be mama dolls, and I was going to make little babies bundled up for them to hold in their arms. But then I decided I would not, so that the girls could choose for them to be whatever kind of doll they wanted, not necessarily mama dolls. Well, within two hours of receiving them on Christmas morning the girls were asking me to make babies for them. I am so glad I made these dolls for them! They are so, so loved. All throughout Christmas day their lives were created for them, families, stories... such happiness they have brought!

Hopefully next week I will have pictures to share of a few other things I made. There were the simple white dresses for the dolls, and doll quilts too. And then the embroidery project. I guess I will leave it as a surprise what I made with the embroidery. For those who wanted to know, the pattern is available at PatternBee, the most wonderful vintage embroidery shop. Some patterns are available as free downloads, including the beautiful stitching girl. And some of you asked how long I have been embroidering... more than 17 years! It has always been one of my favorite handwork activities. I used to put embroideries on every dress I made. I have not done as much in recent years, but it is something I really want to start focusing more on again. Maybe I should make a list of crafting resolutions for the year, that would be fun, but then again, I'm always dreaming of creating, so it's not really just a new year thing.

Well, that was a lot more crafting talk than crafting pictures.
Happy creating!

Monday, January 4, 2010

a real post...

Hello friends, I hope everyone is well and enjoying this new year!

(Early the other morning, the moon still up, peeking through the pines.)

So, the amazing mother artist woman Angela has been doing some great writing on her blog lately. She has had me in a quite contemplative mood. (Actually many of you have, lots of great new year/inspirational talk going on!) So, I was catching up on Angela's blog the other day and she was writing about being real. A friend of hers gave her an award for being real, and I saw that I was among those that she passed the award on to. I so appreciate that she thought of me, though was kind of surprised too. I guess I'm not sure that I have been sharing any great amounts of reality here lately. Or maybe I have... I don't have time to go back and read my own posts at the moment... And really I think there may still be some shyness going on here. Anyhow... yes, I have been fairly thoughtful lately. Though I guess I always am. What I am thinking about? Ha ha! Probably about 100 different things! See, now that gets me thinking about focus... I certainly need some! I still haven't even gotten to my point yet. But here it is... I just wanted to spend some time sharing some more real bits of our days, our life. But now it is getting late, I haven't said much of anything yet, I think we may have to settle for a rambling paragraph... (can you tell I am in a rambling mood?) here I go...

rambling bits of reality... We had a long day. We went to town, but didn't go until past noon because Chloe and I had lesson work to do in the morning. It went very well. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when it was over. Since last spring our lesson time has definitely been a bit more challenging, Chloe is not always the willing student, and I am not always the most patient teacher. It sure can frustrating! But we are both trying really hard and it is getting better. I would say mostly it's those darn times tables causing the problems. (Oh my, it's like I swore. I almost feel like I should delete it.) She always enjoys our main lesson work though. She is such an artist with her writing and her drawings. Soon I will finally post some pictures of what we did this past autumn. We have a lesson book made of watercolor paintings from our creation story block. And we spent an entire month making a farming story lesson book, that we will be continuing during a second block this spring. Hmm, well now this is almost turning into a homeschool post. There's not too much more to say about our day anyway. Enjoyed our drive to town as always, the girls sang most of the way, first Christmas songs, then farm songs. Last week Chessa sang all the way to my brother-in-law's house, 45 minutes! Of course once we got to the house she didn't say a word, not for several hours. She won't talk in front of other people. Interesting, yes? Oh, sweet little Chessa. She will make eye contact if she likes you though. And she is so very expressive, even without her voice.

Ok, there, I told you it would be rambling. And I shall return with more soon. Also on my mind is Suzy's One Small Change Project. I have seen some super neat posts from others taking part and am excited with thoughts of my own.

Well wishes to all!
Renee :)