Sunday, January 29, 2012

And there was light and it was good

Since opening my early childhood program 6 years ago, I've been intending to buy a light table, but somehow hadn't yet. This year, however, the children's interest in light, color, and transparency is very strong, and my drive for a fresh start had me eager to finally get one. (Not to mention that suddenly it seems they're all over blog-land, so it just felt ridiculous that I hadn't ever gotten around to it!).

I followed Mariah's advice and got this one (no affiliation). It arrived this week, and it's just as wonderful as I had hoped. I couldn't wait to give it a try, so at the moment, it's just on the table in the middle of the studio. I'm hoping to set it up with its own organized spot soon. Meanwhile, we've explored water beads (another bloggy discovery, thanks to Play at Home Mom),

Lucy's used it to create an "x-ray" of "Boogie Bear" (Andi's childhood bear),

and this morning (still in pjs), we explored purple sand with paintbrushes. I started out with a pyrex casserole dish, but wanted to expand, so looked around the basement for something that would keep the sand on top of the light box. I found a storm window, which worked pretty well.

I added jingle shells from last fall's beach excursion, and loved how they glowed. I couldn't resist the gorgeousness, and had to join into the play.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A fresh start: self-portrait basket tags

My fresh start applies to my work, too, not just my personal life. And, in the same way, I'm beginning with the environment. Yesterday's project was small but very satisfying: new basket tags.

Each of the kids in my early-childhood program has a basket where they store extra clothes, diapers, and lovies from home. Early on, when they were all infants and toddlers, I labeled their baskets with their photo, their name, and their personal color (which I use to identify their washcloths, towels, and other supplies). But now the kids are older (nearly 3-nearly 5) and can all read their own names, so that isn't all necessary. I'd recently ordered new photos for fresh basket tags, but before they got here, I had an idea I liked even better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A fresh start

(slipcover, temporarily stalled in progress)
As all the various bloggers started writing about their one-word resolutions this year, one phrase kept coming into my head: "a fresh start." So cliched, for the new year. And yet, it was just what I was craving--desperately needing--in so many aspects of my life. And so "a fresh start" has become my mantra.

I've found myself very motivated so far in 2012, and I've been riding that wave of motivation to create a fresh start in my home. (When my environment is beautiful, it's so much easier for me to create a fresh start in other areas as well.) It has meant very late nights and very little time for blogging, but what a thrill to finally get to some things that have been bugging me for ages.

(Bathroom, on its way from the calming lovely blue we've had too many years to an exciting red; temporarily stalled, too, due to the unfortunate purchase of horrible cheap paint. Benjamin Moore, I do love you.)

(Hallway, being transformed from dull tan to lively pink. I have a hard time with change. Both of these new colors are shocking to me at the moment, but I trust that in the end I'll love it.)

(Andi, motivated to tackle the hallway by a friend visiting from Virginia. Sometimes a friend's help is exactly what's needed to get a fresh start!)

(Still scraping windows.)

Back to work!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A tomten in our home

One of Lucy's very favorite books this winter is The Tomten and the Fox. Tidying up a cabinet recently, I came across this gorgeous fox I'd gotten once at a tag sale, and was inspired to make her a tomten to go with it.

I'm just figuring out the wonderful world of craft supplies, and am working out kinks like paint pens bleeding on the wood, and tan paint coming out greyish. (I need to figure these things out soon, as I have big peg-people plans for Lucy's birthday next month.) But overall, I'm pretty thrilled with how he came out.

Lucy is too. (Here she is playing with him before the glue on his beard has even dried.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yarn along: tying up loose ends

I finished two crochet projects yesterday! (Well, almost; just need to weave in ends.)

I finally did the sock-monkey coffee-cozy I'd intended for a Christmas gift for my sister. (It got bumped for her birthday next week.) Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to fit an actual take-out cup! (Not without spilled coffee everywhere.) It's awfully cute, though. Shoot. (Edited to add: it fits!)

And I finished my purple cardiff cowl. Next up is Lucy's matching one, by request, and then I'm going to move on to something other than cowls (I've made 5 of these since Thanksgiving!)

I'm reading a bit of fluff at the moment, because I just finished something horrifying. I'm also reading All Together Singing in the Kitchen, written by local musicians/former parent-in-my-classroom/Lucy's infant music teachers Katryna and Nerissa Neilds. Like me, they were raised in a musical home, with parents who made music and instruments all around, and it really shaped who they are. I've just begun the book, but I can tell already it's going to be inspiring and useful. (There are little ideas that are so obvious, but somehow I hadn't thought of them. Like sitting at the piano, playing a note, and playing match-the-note, singing it with your child. Lucy loves to play at the piano, and would enjoy a simple game like that.)

What are you working on? Check out Ginny's yarn along for more inspiration.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A little Epiphany celebration

The tree, nearly bare.
A three kings' cake, with stars (positioned by Lucy).
A story read over dinner.

A glorious sunset.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the last day of Christmas...

It's the last day of Christmas, so I think I can still get away with some Christmas photos, can't I? We had a very drawn-out celebration, opening gifts over many days due to sickness and family and friends' travel schedules. We had three little open-gifts-with-friends moments, a quiet Christmas day with just our little family of three, and a big belated Christmas with my extended family of ten. Each one was special, and it was actually really nice to draw it out over time.

Checking out her new tree house with Tim.

Checking to see if Eric liked her present. She'd thought of it herself--"we should get him some yarn, so he can make himself a hat"--and chose the yarn from our stash.

Opening "her" stocking on Christmas morning. (I haven't actually made her one yet. This is one of a set of three my mother made for me and my sisters when we were little. I loved getting to share it with her, and she loved it, too.)

Playing with the amazing mouse family made for her by our 7-year-old friend, Jenna.

Stockings (again, from my childhood) awaiting my family on our belated Christmas morning.

Everyone gathered here, like I like it.

Playing with a game from "Great Jane," in the Christmas dress from Granny.

Silliness with Bob and Alexa. (Our family Christmases seem to always require a silly-costumes shot.)

Three cousins look at Lucy's annual grandparent-gift photo album.

Enough partying.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yarn along, with an extra book

(Whoa--a whole week went by! I had so much I wanted to share. Oh, well, it was well-spent relaxing.) Meanwhile, here we are back at the Yarn Along. My cardiff cowl is coming along very slowly (argh...I had to pull out the first row twice! I've been distracted...), but at least I have no deadline on this one! I've started The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, which was a Christmas present. It's such a fascinating book, told all in vintage pictures and scraps of text, as if it's a scrapbook from the twenties. (Lucy says "grown-up books don't usually have pictures!") It doesn't feel quite like reading a novel, but I'm really enjoying it! If you like the 20s or enjoy looking through vintage ephemera, you should definitely check this one out.

And, since I was on vacation, I finished my last book and read a whole other book since the last yarn-along, and I just had to mention it, because it was a great read! After Astrid and Veronika (a truly beautiful book, but very sad), I needed something lighter. I looked through the heap I'd thrifted recently with a friend and chose:

Shelter Me

It turned out to be less chick-lit-ish than I suspected it might be. I loved the characters, and found myself completely wrapped up in the story. It was rather predictable, but I didn't care one bit; it was just the perfect read for vacation. Recommended!