Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flower Arranging

When I first started taking J to a Montessori preschool for playtime, I saw the director patiently helping the children - eight 18 month to 3 year olds - cut flower stems and place single flowers in teeny tiny vases for their table for snack. I thought - how nice to have the time to do something like that. Somewhere I also thought - why spend time on something like that when there are snacks to make, stuff to clean up, laundry to do, etc.. and somewhere also in my mind I think I questioned doing something so fussy and so fraught with opportunity for messes with such little little kids. Shouldn't you wait until they were a bit more coordinated, and would really appreciate cut flowers on tables?

Then I read a whole lot more about Montessori methods and theory (and J started in the toddler program full time, not just for playtime) and I started to "get" the concept - all Montessori activities are building skills, and especially at the toddler age, when they are so clumsy (but so so eager to get it right) practicing balance, grace, and appreciation for beauty are really important. If not more important than later, since you are building their perception of their world - and if you want them to see beauty, the things around them should be beautiful. Seems simple now.

So yesterday on an unexpected day home due to car-puke (yuck!) I chased everyone out for a brief walk in the rain - rain that I felt confining us - it was a day when nothing was going as planned and everyone was getting cranky. J spotted our cosmos falling over by the fence and asked very nicely could we please do flower arranging? And you know, it was really fun. Mommy was the stem holder, J the cutter and Sweet P the arranger/putter in the vase person. J also assisted with the photos for this post. Eating our lunch we had something lovely to look at and the soft rain to listen to, and even though no one took naps the afternoon was a lot more .. gentle than I had foreseen, with quiet coloring and cutting out shapes with scissors.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kids Clothing Challenge III

Pjs for Sweet P. Who picked out the fabric, so maybe will wear them? Whipped them up last night while an indulgent Mr. Sycamore handled our night routine from bath to stories.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Kids Clothing Week Challenge II

I might be making it a kids clothing month challenge, in order to keep the stress to a minimum. I'm currently working on a really big and fussy fix-it Friday project, which is nearing completion - which means that any big chunk of time I get is spent in the shed with power tools and wood rather than in the sewing room with patterns and cloth.. that said, I just cleaned up the sewing room and it really inspires me to finish up the projects I pictured for an hour or so tonight.

When I read the challenge FAQs I was heartened to learn that knit items would count ... in fact, the challenge is just to spend one hour a day on kids clothes making, not to make 7 items or even to finish anything. My kind of challenge. Portable projects really zip along for me compared to 'sit in the sewing room uninterrupted so I can think' projects, and these mittens from Lion's site are super simple. Mittens disappear so rapidly I figured I needed a simple pattern and to make several pairs to avoid last winter's no mitten blues. Happily, J loves them, and has requested slippers to match. I also saw this totally cool monster scarf where it bites its own tail ... would be super cute in red. Maybe I will bust a whole skein of stash yarn?!?
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids Clothes I

Started on Monday, finished Tuesday, finally persuaded Sweet P to wear it today. The pocket was the charm, she loves that pocket. I think I would do the neck differently next time, I just lettuced everything but it kind of gives it a Flashdance kind of vibe, like it is not quite finished. It is slightly too short for a dress but will make a cute top over pants as it gets colder.

I've really been enjoying the chance to "have to" work for an hour every night. Thanks Elsie!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Chilis from our neighbor.

Our. Own. Pumpkins.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kids Clothing Challenge

From Elsie Marley's blog. Here are the prospects. My last two projects for Sweet P met with resistance, even complete horror. "I'm not wearing that.." I've tried to be very respectful of the toddler issues of comfort (i.e. scratchiness) and style, I must be more thoughtful of her current faves, I guess. J is much more open to possibilities, as long as it has whales on it. Anyone have a fabric or designer to recommend? Joanns is straight out of any whales at all. And guess what our Halloween costume request is?

For any other whale-crazy toddlers out there:

PS. Even though in the Virginia Piedmont it can be summer for another month, September makes me think of the smell of new sharpened pencils for school and woodsmoke on a chilly morning. I had snapped some shots of the apples on our table this week, and got inspired for a new look - caramel for fall. Hope you like it.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ruffles. From Oz.

Yes, Gina, it arrived! I love love love it! Very vintage, and full coverage. And, you know, RUFFLES. I feel just like Betty Crocker when I cook now, and felt I had to make an apple crumble (yummy - no photo, it was gone too fast). Pot roast, anyone?!

Thank you Gina!
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Big Bear Gifts

The birthday boy we visited over the weekend. Born just a month after Sweet P, I figured he could use a name banner too.

A cafe in DC we used to frequent. We were the oldest people there, by at least 15 years, and we are not even that old. I loved the logo, and the birthday boy is nicknamed the bear.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Sunnier Outlook

Back when I finished the Montessori Quilt in May, I mentioned Sweet P's birthday and my hopes she would get a quilt. I did find these sunny and flowery thrifted top sheets, but realistically I knew I didn't have time to get the quilt I wanted. But I did want to cover up her navy blanket, yes indeed. So I sewed a big duvet cover and now she snuggles under flowers every night. The yellows are thrifted pillow cases. This project only took a few hours to lay out the sheets and sew big long seams - my kind of project for the night before the big day.

This weekend we weekended at some friends' place in rural Virginia and had a fabulous time, returning refreshed. When it looks like this in the morning, you can't help but feel energized, ready to craft.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shouldn't Even Count

As a finished project. This curtain fell down THREE MONTHS AGO. On Mr. Sycamore. We have plaster on about 70% of our walls, the curtain pulled out a good chunk on its way down. This was one of those "little" projects that just go on and on - first find, cut, and paint an appropriate board, mount (taking at least 20 min each to find the studs beneath the plaster), hang the curtain rods wrong, put the curtains up temporarily, have them fall on Mr. Sycamore again, finally correct the rods and .. ta dah! A normal, non-descript curtain that you would never look twice at. Ah, the joys of homes. If the photo looks a little somber, it matches my mood on this project.
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Handmade and Thrifty

Another birthday present, handmade by Auntie G.

Thrifty goodness. A garage sale globe for $3 and a rush seat windsor for $10. Plus a whole pod of small sharks and whales for J, who only needs a bag to carry them in when they are not occupying the wading pool.
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