Friday, October 29, 2010

Catching the gold...

...while I still can. It's almost gone!

(the views from our backyard, 2 days ago, before the rain which took down most of the leaves)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Slipper weather

It's officially slipper weather here in New England--has been for a while in our chilly house! And Lucy didn't have any. So, several weeks ago, I got to work on a pair of tiny slippers, thinking they'd be ready in no time. Well, I messed up. And ripped it all out. And messed up again. And again. And again. It became very clear that I am decidedly still a beginner at crochet. I finally finished them--but they are two different sizes! The second came out much smaller than the first (probably more close to the size I actually needed).

But on her feet, they worked ok, so I called it good enough. I added some pink suede soles (cut from a thrift-store jacket), which work well to keep them from being too slippery on wooden floors.

(Please excuse the horrible shot--we're in that impossible-to-photograph toddler stage!) As you can see, one comes up quite a bit further on her ankle. Oh, well--they still keep her warm.

The pattern is free on Ravelry (and there, you can see cuter ones made by accomplished crocheters!). If I can do it (sort of), you can too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In the studio: getting to know clay

This year's group of children is particularly interested in clay.
Yesterday, we explored the clay more even more fully than we have so far.

How well do you know clay?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Slacker mom at the playground

I am not one of those parents who climbs the toddler play structure, holding my baby's hands. I don't lift her to the monkey bars to "help" her across. I usually sit and watch while she plays. I probably look like the lazy parent to many others, or even the neglectful parent. (At a playground this weekend, as I sat in the middle watching my very-independent toddler explore all the tunnels and stairs and bridges and make friends and stir puddles, I kept hearing surprised other parents saying "oh! there's a baby in here!") But it's always been my philosophy to support children as they stretch themselves toward that next goal, rather than to do it for them. I usually help with words--and not many. Today there was a perfect example from our time at a nearby play structure.

"Mama, help me!" (This gap is too big for my leg to cross!)

"Hmm. What if you held onto this log?"
(No--see? I still can't do it.)

"Huh. I wonder how you could get across?"
(Well, I guess maybe I could walk on this chain like a tightrope.)

(Yes! That worked!)

Those appalled parents at the playground this weekend, when they eventually spotted me sitting on a bench, kept commenting on what a great climber Lucy is, and how confident and independent. Yup, that's 'cause her lazy old mom won't help her a bit!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life among the leaves

It's been a busy week around here, as you can see by the lack of posts!
Luckily, we've found some time to do this:

(Lucy and a friend are drawing in their journals after I took their dictation. I've got a pile of books from a recent library sale that I'm taking a closer look at before cataloging and tagging them on Librarything. I'll show you those soon.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gone to Nanny's

Please excuse our absence; we went to visit Lucy's Nanny (my mom). It was Lucy's first time at Nanny's house, and she had a fabulous time. Nanny had all her favorite foods on hand, and lots of interesting things to discover, and so many fun things to do.

(We were there for a long weekend, but the camera battery only lasted one day/one dress.)
Thanks for all your sweet comments on my last post! I haven't heard those words again yet, but my heart's still glowing.
And a question for you... Any ideas about how to fix my header? I'm sure you've noticed its sad state. I'd learned how to make a header from A Foothill Home Companion's great tutorial. But now, Flickr's gone and changed, and I can no longer figure out how to use a header I make there. (They won't let me steal the url, it seems.) So I'm back to the blogger template (ugh). Help?

Friday, October 8, 2010

She said "I love you"

When I asked her for a hug this morning, she said "I love you."

I've been waiting 19 months to hear those words.
Or maybe I've been waiting for 41 years.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In the studio: stuff in clay

Recently, Lucy has become almost completely independent with the clay. She gets a clay board, puts it on the studio table, opens the clay bucket, calls for help getting clay (because she's too short to reach all the way down in to the bucket), and helps herself to tools. Meanwhile, another child has become attached to using clay at my house, and it's his daily request. Between the two of them, they've got everyone interested in using clay on a daily basis.

One of their favorite things to do is to stick stuff in the clay. Yesterday, I set out copper wire to support this interest. Lucy loved filling her clay with wires, and was soon joined by two boys who helped her bend and twist the wire into interesting shapes. Then they started thinking about other possibilities, which soon led to this "birthday cake":

I suspect this year's group is going to be fluent in the "language" of clay. I'm eager to see where they take us next.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Books to read while the tannins leach

(Out of your acorns, that is.)

Here's the third installment of my book list for our "squirreling away" project. These are the books we're reading about acorns and squirrels. If your kids, too, are filling their pockets with acorns or noticing the squirrels at work in the yard, you may enjoy these books:

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.
This book has a familiar story-line, much like Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider. In this case, the squirrel is too busy to play with the other animals, because he's gathering nuts, berries, seeds, and corn. As always with her books, the animal illustrations are wonderful, and there's lots of interesting detail in the pictures for young children to notice and discuss. This is one of my favorite fall books, perfect for toddlers.

Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman.
The kids love this story about a squirrel who accidentally outwits a bull, helping him find his first found-by-himself acorns. There are all those great adventure-story aspects: a journey, a difficult mission, danger, darkness. And the black-and-white (and red) drawings are simple and appealing. As a bonus, there's a nut-cracker: a tool we've been using which is new to most of the kids.

Seeds and More Seeds by Millicent E. Selsam and Tomi Ungerer. Because, of course, acorns are seeds (one of many types in this book), and as we gather acorns, we're finding lots of other seeds, too, not to mention pits and seeds in the fruit we process (I love how everything's connected to something else, and every single thing the kids are interested in has the potential to lead us to learning about anything else). Of course, any good seed book would do, but I love vintage books, and this is a great one.

Chipmunk Song by Joanne Ryder and Lynne Cherry.
This one's quite a bit more complicated, and if you're reading to toddlers, you may find yourself talking about the pictures rather than reading all the text. But the text is poetic, and you may be surprised to find that children of all ages can appreciate it. But what really grabs me here are the pictures. The kids love looking at all the details of the underground burrows, pointing out all the various animals, and pretending to eat the berries right off the page. Just beautiful.

Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith.
Here, too, it's the illustrations that draw me to this book. Oh, how I love Brian Wildsmith's animals! The kids must, too, as they gravitated to this book as soon as I put it in the basket. The text here is solidly nonfiction--no poetic imaginative prose here. But I was fascinated to learn new things here. Did you know squirrel nests have 2 rooms? That squirrels eat mushrooms? That they can swim?

What are you reading this fall?

By the way...if you click on a link and find yourself at IndieBound, and then buy a book through there from your local independent bookstore, I should theoretically earn a bit of change (hasn't happened yet). If you find yourself at Librarything, it's because IndieBound didn't have it and I want you to see the book without finding yourself at an online giant retailer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vintage Swap package safely in Ohio

Kristi received her Vintage Swaps package, so now it's safe to show what I sent her. She told me she loves buttons, vintage pillowcases, housewares (anything vintage for the kitchen), sewing trim, ribbon, bias tape; and lime green, purples, oranges, blues, and yellows. I had a lot of fun shopping for her, and better luck this time around. Here's what I put in her package:

(I have that same blue creamer, and love it so much!)
A vintage sheet in blues, greens, and purples:

A small tablecloth that I covet for myself:

A sack of vintage trims (and I forgot to photograph the box of vintage buttons I included):

(Isn't that floral trim great? I got one for myself, too.)

It sounds like Kristi liked it. Hooray! It's very fun to choose things for someone else, but also a little nerve-wracking! Heather, thanks so much for organizing the swap. I love doing it, and look forward to the next one!