Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thrift shopping: the next generation

Saturday, my friend Tim and I hit the thrift stores with Lucy. She's been thrift shopping with me since birth, first in the sling, then in the cart, and as of this weekend, on her own two feet.

The girl knows what she likes: books and baubles. A girl after her mama's heart.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

30 days of beauty: day 6

To warm up on these chilly, damp afternoons, I've been making tea for the kids this week. Here's their afternoon tea, set out on a new (old) tablecloth (yet another gift from Melissa).

And we have proof that spring is coming...the chickens are back to three eggs a day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lucy's handknits

I promised photos of some of Lucy's hand knit birthday gifts. The lighting was pretty poor and my day was hectic, so I did the best I could!

Here's Lucy modeling the hat and sweater from Melissa. The light's not much better than last night, but this is closer to the true color (which is fabulous with her eyes).

I didn't quite get a shot of it, but Melissa thought to include panels at the back that made it wider at the bottom (for her cloth-diapered bum).

(edited to add: Melissa got good pics of it. You can see more detail here if you're on Ravelry.)

This past weekend, we had a visit from Lucy's paternal grandparents. Grandma has made Lucy many wonderful sweaters and blankets and hats. This time, she brought her this dress:

(What a lot of work went into all that edging!)

And this whole outfit:

By request, she's been making Lucy some longies. She made this whole wool outfit to match this pair. How cozy and beautiful is that? (Wish it were my size...)

They're a bit big yet, but I'm sure they'll fit next winter. And that jumper should work as a vest for even longer.

I feel so blessed to have all these crafty women in my life. I love dressing Lucy in clothes someone's made just for her, and talking with her about where they came from. And I love that she wears clothing no one else has; it seems fitting that her unique self should have a unique look!

30 days of beauty: day 5

Ahh...the beautiful snow I've been longing for! Beginning, last night:

The same bush, this morning:

(The path is gone, buried by the fallen bushes. This snow is heavy!!)

And looking up, in the back yard:

It was fleeting. Mid day, the snow turned to rain. The yard is now a lake of brown muddy slush held in by walls of snow. It's supposed to rain for days. I'll be looking for the beauty!

1st knitting lesson

Our friend Melissa came over tonight, and brought a gift for Lucy's birthday--the sweater Lucy's wearing here (better photos in the light tomorrow), and the hat they're working on:

Lucy thought Melissa's fancy new knitting needles made a lovely necklace, and kept looping them around her neck.

Melissa gave her her own ball of yarn to work with, and Lucy soon transformed it into this:

(Lucy got many lovely handknits this birthday; I'll try to remember to photograph them all tomorrow. She's so lucky to have so many generous crafty people in her life!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

30 days of beauty: day 4

Ok, these 30 days don't have to be consecutive, but I've gone much too long! I've been sick and sleep deprived and February's been grey and it's been hard for me to see the beauty. But I'm feeling a bit better today and the sun is out and I decided to look until I found it.

Rosie, enjoying the sunshine and staying near--but not too near--to me and Lucy:

A bright spot in an otherwise dull garden:

Our garden girl, awaiting the summer:

And my very favorite: our new view of Lucy--holding our hand, wanting to walk with us everywhere.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unexpected treasures

Andi came home from work the other day with a big bag full of...what's that? Lovely wool and cotton yarn and tons of crochet hooks? What a wonderful unexpected surprise! A gift from a friend, who knits and knows I've begun to crochet. Thanks, Melissa! My crochet class was canceled last week due to (ridiculously-over prepared for) snow and this week to school vacation, so I'm itching to get back and find out what I might be able to do with this new treasure. I'm so excited to have a "stash" of yarn and hooks! (If you knit, you'll definitely want to check out Melissa's blog. She's made gorgeous things for Lucy, and she's got a book coming out soon!)

Another surprise came at the thrift shop, where I'd gone to look for potential treasure for the upcoming Vintage Swap. Naturally, as soon as I promise to swap some great stuff, I find nothing; I've been to several thrift shops in the past few weeks and walked away empty-handed--unheard of! (Sorry, Lorena! But don't worry, I'm still looking...) But I did spot this, which somehow found its way into my cart:

It's not well-made, or even old, but I like it all the same. I've got this vision of someday having a collection of old and new globes in all different sizes and colors (now we have 3). Already, I've overheard one precious after-nap conversation (the new globe is in the library, where the children nap), including this 4-year-old analysis: "The real earth is much bigger than that. It is bigger than a tree. It is bigger than a house. Way back when dinosaurs lived, it had to be bigger than they were!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My baby is 1!

How can my baby be a year old already? Everyone says it, because it's true: it flies. That little tiny bundle who'd disappear into the sling or drape across a shoulder and sleep most of the day has grown so fast and learned so much in the past 12 months, it's mind-boggling.

At one, Lucy:

-Smiles and laughs and finds great joy in every day.

-Loves passionately. She has favorite people who make her glow when they come into a room.

-Talks and talks and talks. Words: mama, baby, up, uh-oh, oh wow!, yeah, oh, dah do (gentle), hhh! (hot), mmmm, ball, mendow (window). Signs: finished, socks, telephone, hat, potty, bird. And a constant stream of beautiful babble.

-Understands so much of what we say to her. When she put a rock in her mouth and I asked "is it delicious?" she answered "mmmm!" When I say I'm going to go feed the chickens, she points to the window that faces the coop.

-Walks, some on her own, much more holding on to furniture or, preferably, the hand of a favorite person. Crawls when speed is the goal.

-Draws and paints enthusiastically.

-Loves to be read to, finds her favorite books and asks for them again and again, and looks at books on her own.

-Loves to be outside. When it's time to go out, she gets her boots and gives them to me to put on.

Oh, and so much more. It's overwhelming to me to try to sum up my brilliant, joyful, beautiful baby.

It pales in comparison to her, but I did make her a few things for her birthday. The crown, above (thanks to here and here for inspiration), and a bunting (from here, of course), below.

We put a candle in her bread at dinner time. Yes, we're goofy like that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

We're busy celebrating this weekend, with a houseful of family and friends come to wish Lucy a happy birthday (she'll be 1 on Monday!). I'll be back in this space as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

30 days of beauty: day 3

Beauty everywhere today...

in the sun shining through our blue IKEA bag (our laundry bag, transformed to stained glass):

in the wind whipping through the laundry, and in the gorgeous blue of the sky:

in a delicious pot of tea (goldenrod and anise hyssop):

in the nap-time arrangements created by the children for the stuffed animals:

in the studio:

And speaking of beauty...just look what arrived in the mail yesterday, for Lucy's first birthday. Our dear friend Julie has been working on this since Lucy was born, and couldn't wait one more second for us to open it. And no wonder! Look how amazing it is!

(I had only a moment to get these photos of the quilt, so they're not the best. But I hope you can see her amazing embroidery!) I love, love, love this quilt. All the beautiful images of childhood. The red work. The little girl in her adorable dress. The girlyness of the embroidery, contrasted with the bandanna fabric. Fabulous.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

30 days of beauty: day 2

This morning, I went into our library for a few minutes to put Lucy down for a nap. While I was out of the room, one of the older children called in a stage whisper "Lise! Do you want to see my snowflake?" I answered that I'd be back in a few minutes. When I returned, this is what greeted me:

The kids had set up the chairs right on the other side of the gate that separated us. I loved it: the display, the beautiful snowflakes, the contrast of red on white, the silent invitation to notice. A perfect spot of beauty on a February day.

The kids have been exploring the art and mathematics of snowflake cutting for several weeks now. With 17 years of early childhood teaching under my belt, cutting snowflakes is nothing new. But it's amazing how there's always something unique in each group of children, and how with close observation, more is revealed each time a subject is explored. I've been really struck this time around by how much mathematical thinking is involved in their work. I think I have a post or two in me about it, if anyone would be interested...

Monday, February 8, 2010

30 days of beauty: day 1

It's an ugly February around here. There's been hardly any snow this winter, but it's bitterly cold, so the yard is covered with a thin layer of icy snow/mud, speckled with chicken droppings, and scattered with objects frozen to the ground where they were dropped. The house is cluttered and messy. I'm having a rough time with some work issues. I need to refocus.

Just in time, Bluebirdbaby offered a "30 Days of Beauty Challenge."

30 Days of Beauty

A reminder to look for the beauty--those fleeting moments that we sometimes miss in the depths of winter. To slow down and notice it. And to photograph it, which is something I would like to learn to do better. (Still using a temperamental, rubber-banded broken camera, but still...)

So here's my first photo. Today, I was struck most by the light, which was intense and cheering. Coming inside after play in the yard, I noticed the shadow cast by this left-behind basket of toys.

What beauty have you found in your February days?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

First hat!

I did it!

I have a standing date on Saturday nights; an hours-long phone conversation with a friend. Last night's "quick little chat" gave me plenty of time to finish Lucy's hat.

The simple hat I'd learned in class begged for embellishment, I thought. I found a great tutorial at Little Birdie Secrets and was able to make a flower on my first try, though I hadn't yet learned a double crochet stitch (the tutorial has a video, so it's great for visual learners.) To top it off, I had the perfect vintage button.

Unfortunately, the hat would have fit her great a few months ago, but right now, it just barely fits. I used up absolutely all my yarn (and the red? that's the original scarf bit, re-incarnated). That's what you get when you use the left-over yarn you find around the house. Might be time to suck it up and actually buy a skein or two.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crochet, week 2

Look at that! I might actually be making a hat! Last week, I sat on the other side of the table from the hat-makers, thinking I was really too uncoordinated to be in this crochet class. This week, I was one of the hat-makers! What a thrill to see it take shape in my hands. And boy, do I love having some hand-work to do. When I'm sitting at the snack table with the last-to-finish child, or listening to my friend's late-night woes on the couch, or reading a long blog post, my fingers have something to do, and it settles me, helps me to slow down.

As you can see in the photo, Lucy's hands are kept busy, too, reaching for the hook, twisting around the yarn, making herself a part of this hat that will be hers when it's finished.

(And the scarf? It didn't make it. I ran out of yarn when it was still a wee short thing, and didn't have more. And returning to class, it was time to learn something else. I knew the deadline was a bit too close with everything else I'm trying to do right now. Next time.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Clay: 11-month style

Lucy now has enough experience in the studio using colored pencils, crayons, and paint to pretty much know not to put everything into her mouth. So this week, she got to join the big kids as they did clay.

(That big trash can in the background? That's where the clay is stored, to be available to the children at all times. But because it's closed, it suffers from "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome. This week, the kids re-discovered the clay, and we spent the morning watering it and hammering the heck out of it to soften it back up. I'll have to get it out for Lucy again soon, so she can have more of a satisfactory sensory experience.)