Tuesday, March 30, 2010


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I love the concept of welcome. Open arms, open minds, open hearts, a space made ready and special…oh yes…it is simply wonderful to welcome, and be welcomed. Our culture welcomes ceremoniously in several occasions. We welcome new couples, new homes, new years, new phases of life, … and perhaps the very best welcomes of all are for brand new lives. Is there anything better than welcoming a new baby in spring! I think not!!!

Babies seem to be entering my life on all sides…(except from the inside of me of course…let’s make that clear!). The studio is buzzing with plans for many of these wee babes which I am excited to share with you. And these days I have been looking forward to sharing the joy of planning a small part of the welcome for a new spring baby girl into our circle of family and friends. Oh, is this girl going to be loved!!!

I put together some very simple but (I think) darling invitations. Just a bit of cut and paste, and a little ink…easy peasy! (I used Amy Butler papers. With fabric or paper that woman is genius! Love her!) I’ll share more bits of the welcoming soon! But for now….

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March 119

Wooden clothes pins, restless from a winter spent indoors shut away in their basket, stick up in all angles mirroring the branches of the naked trees all around.  The first laundry hanging is always nice, always hopeful, always reaffirming to turn to nature to help in yet another way with our household.  Yes…above all, spring is hopeful.  Hopeful of warmth, green, sun, growth, soil…and just so many wonderful springy things!! 

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Monday, March 29, 2010


It’s a dreary, rainy, chilly chilly day today…so we’re off to the Strong Museum of Play!!!  Whatever the weather where you are I hope your day is filled with play adventures, imagination, and creative fun! 

February 210(Her favorite place to “hide” from even littler hands than hers.  I don’t mind…she needs her space once in a while and the bean exploring is sooo therapeutic!!!)

Happy Monday friends!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Of Stories and Mermaids

Living in a rather rural area we have to travel quite a bit to do common errands.  To simplify and economize we tend to do marathon trips getting lots done on one day and staying at home as much as we can the rest of the week.  We all like it better that day.  But on those errand days we spend quite a bit of time together in a small contained space!  My (seriously brilliant!!) husband burned a collection of stories from StoryNory on cd for me for Christmas for these days.  I say they are for me when really they are all children stories…but oh what a gift for mom!!!  We really love them and have been known to even (*gasp*) sit in the car for a few extra minutes in a parking lot to finish up a story.  Our minds have been dreaming through the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Aesops Fables….although our collection will soon broaden…!  The narrator for these stories is truly gifted.  Pop over and take a look! 

We recently listened to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, on the way to who-knows-where…or maybe it was on the way back from there…who knows!!!  At any rate…we have been mermaids ever since.  Willingly or unwillingly, we are now a family of mermaids under the constant instruction, inspirations, and enthusiastic direction of our own little mermaid.  It is quite fun actually, and our next library trip will focus on the marvels of underwater worlds!!  

Well…it just so happened that in the studio sat just about half a yard of fabric that could be described as none other than mermaid scales.  Gold mermaid scales.  It just waited for the right project…and a girl that could pull off fabric like this!  Well…I most definitely had both of those…especially the latter!!!  March 011Photo by the little mermaid.

March 002Using a favorite balloon hem skirt as a pattern we put together our own little mermaid skirt!  It doesn’t have the drape that the orange corduroy does…but it works!  She has worn it gleefully all day during her mermaid adventures!  It was a quick easy project.  I took pictures and will put together a tutorial for it tomorrow (possibly!!).  I think I might even have enough fabric for one of these.  Although I don’t think I have yarn with quite that much funk…we’ll see what I can come up with!  March 052

Happy creating friends! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Montessori Teen Board … on the fly

We were in the middle of a few learning activities the other day and were struggling with a solid grasp of teens. I had been wanting to make a teen board for her for a while…so got right on it, quick and easy, without any overthinking about materials or processes. All about the function really is just fine sometimes! I am needing to make bead bars for her math work. So much to do!!! For now we have been using horse chesnuts, buttons, and (on the day pictured) little plastic shapes. February 302

I got her started sorting the plastic bits by color and shape and got to work myself on the teen board. She worked with me at the end which is always fun. She really likes helping to make some of her “school things.”

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How to Make a Montessori Teen Board:


Poster board

Sharpie (permanent marker)


Paper cutter or scissors

Step 1. Cut the poster board to 4” x 30”. I was working with poster board that was smaller than “normal” so ended up having to make mine in two sections. Doesn’t change the effectiveness of the activity at all! Also cut a strip of poster board 2”x 30”. Again…I was working with smaller board so have two of these strips also.

(Yes…I use my quilting rulers and cutting board for paper all the time…especially on big projects! Just keep a rotary cutter just for paper and be prepared to replace the blade a bit more often than your fabric blade!! I learned this trick in art school!) February 296

Step 2. Draw lines with your marker across the 4” x 30” strip of poster board every 3”.

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Step 3. Lay the 2” x 30” strip over the right half of the 4”x 30” strip.

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Step 4. Mark a “1” in each space.

Step 5. Lay the 2” x 30” strip over the left half of the 4”x 30” strip.

Step 6. Mark a “0” in each space. Now you have a long strip of 10’s.

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Step 7. Cut the 2” x 30” strip of poster board into 2” x 3” segments.

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Step 8. Write the numbers 1-9 on the 2” x 3” segments.

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You’re done! Wasn’t that easy! Check out this sight for ideas of how to introduce the teen board.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


February 317 I’m going to bare a smidge of my inner bits today and admit that I am prone to bouts of self doubt, low self-confidence, and your basic run of the mill inferiority complex. It’s something that I’ve always struggled with. That I am constantly working on. It is a challenge that I hope my children never face. I do so want them to be confident. In whoever they become…if only they can be confident!

Choosing to start a blog was easy…actually starting it was not! You see, prior to jumping into this beautiful community I had only brushed the outer most edges of it. (I still think I really haven’t met a fraction of the amazing talent out there!) After starting this blog and beginning to meet some of you I began to see the true immensity of the talent of this community. The community of mothers, crafters, artisans, teachers, writers, etc.

It is both beautiful and breathtaking. And there is no end to it! Each blog I discover through one of you has it’s own blogroll…and each blog on the roll has it own blogroll….! It’s incredible! Now I have to admit that I love a good blog hop! Sometimes it is just what I need….it’s kind of like chocolate for the crafter…not that it replaces chocolate..it’s just another form of it!! Lucky crafters! I have found that a good perusal of the creative blogs that I love can inspire and uplift, the way only likeminded people can. However, at times, those perusals can leave me completely overwhelmed by all that I am not making, all the time others seem to have, and all the time that I do not!

I see snippets of others lives through their blogs. Just as others see snippets of mine. They see the snippets that have brought me joy. The snippets that I want to remember forever. The snippets that have inspired me…and hope that they inspire you. It would break my heart if my little space here brought anyone feelings of inadequacy and grossness! I know the same must be true for all those bloggers out there whose beautiful blogs terrify me at times!

I wonder at times if I’m alone in my thinking. I have often thought I was alone in much of my interests till I met this amazing community! It is fantastic to not be the only weird vintagey crafty one!!!

So…all the sharing of inner bits aside…I have realized several things and made adjustments to my blogging life.

  • Blogging about the creative life I share with my children can easily get in the way of living the creative life that I share with my children…at least while they are very young. So…I never write while my children are up busy and playing…if I don’t write at night…I don’t write! So if you find this space quiet you can know that we’ve been much too much fun creating!

  • Reading the blogs of other amazing mothers can’t get in the way of my being the mother my children need. So…blog reading needs to happen at night too, or the rare moment that my children are on their own and content. (This is difficult as the computer seems to be a magnet for mayhem for the littles! Oh how my little man likes to push the power button!)

  • Creating for my family is what led to blogging…and blogging should not lead away from creating for my family. So I work very hard to keep things in focus and create for those I love because I love them and forget about tutorial requests or the fact that I have visitors each day that may want to see this or that…it can wait a bit!

You may have noticed a trend among these bullets. It’s all about focus and balance. Focus on a creative life. Balance in regards to a blogging life. Though, oh my, do I love this blogging life. I wouldn’t trade meeting and being a part of this community for anything. It is a truly beautiful thing and it has brought such inspiration and joy to my life. I hope it has brought you joy as well.

These adjustments have worked wonders. Though it is an ever changing process…as most things are…I believe I’m on the up hill of really utilizing and enjoying this community. My circle is small. I focus on my family. I focus on my home. I focus on our journey towards creative lives. I keep myself in check. I limit the number of amazing things to be a part of for the sake of the little dears I spend my days with. I limit the number of projects I begin for the sake of my sanity…and in turn the sanity of all those around me! I limit the time I spend blogging for the sake of my creative endeavors. I limit to achieve more. And I have!

In case you are worried…I have no intention of going anywhere! I love to share our life and creative days with you. I hope they inspire and uplift and never leave you discouraged or overwhelmed. It really would break my heart to know it.

Thank you friends. Really…thank you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I added a picture to yesterday’s post of our boy….and wow does he look like his Dad or what!!!

It’s (mostly) cold and wet, grey and dreary outside.  But oh so cozy and quiet (some of the time!) inside.  We’re enjoying the last few days indoors as winter squeezes out it’s last few drops of cold.  Cleaning, sorting, putting away, organizing and purging as we get ready for a season of gardening, outdoor living, harvesting, crafting (every season is for crafting is it not!!), and so much more!  We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the last of 2009’s pears.  Wow those go down fast!!!  Our thoughts are already turning to 2010’s canning and processing…and oh, do we have big plans!!! February 366February 365 Whatever the weather where you are I hope your days are happy and productive … full of happy memories from seasons past and hopeful thoughts for the seasons to come! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Matthew!

There’s nothing better than celebrating the day your very best friend entered the world.  I am sure glad he’s here! 


Now hop on over here and take a look at the 21st century version of this boy!  

*The pictures of our own boy are from the beginning of my blogging days…when I was just getting to know the community I had entered…and was still shy of sharing my littles faces.  Not to worry…just look at the picture above (and take off a few chubs) !!!

***Look what I found!!****

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pizza and a Movie Night

I love picking up traditions from other families! Not only does it add another wonderful facet to our family life and rhythm, it also reminds us of the family that shared a bit of their life an rhythm with us…and that is very special indeed. My sister’s family enjoys “pizza and a movie night” each Friday together…and it didn’t take long for us to assume that yummy tradition into our own week. We’re big fans! In fact my daughter often measures the week by how many days until “pizza and a movie night”. And each week on “library day” when we choose a (usually non-fiction) movie to check out she has a big discussion with the librarian about the plans for that week’s yummy night!

Part of what I love about this tradition is that it doesn’t center around a holiday as so many of our most beloved traditions do. It is simply something wonderful, memorable, and fun that we love to do together as a family…again and again and again!

I have been excited by the infinite variations of “pizza.” There are so many exciting recipes I would love try. And can I tell you how anxious I am to pick fresh veggies from the garden for our dish! I know, I know…patience!!! But for now we’ve been having a lot of fun trying different toppings and techniques and getting warmed up to stretch my wings and try some funky, and hopefully delicious, stuff! I think we’ll have to ease everyone into the idea of pizza that isn’t the traditional crust – sauce – cheese – toppings!

But for now…here’s our latest “Pizza and a Movie Night” Pizza!

“Peek-a-Boo” Pizza

(aptly named for the way the yummy goodness peeks through the breading!)

This is more like a technique than a recipe and will work with any crust recipe and topping combination. Here is the crust recipe that is my standard. It is very reliable and tasty! (I added a bit of parsley … in case you’re worried about the flecks of who-knows-what in the dough pictured!)

Pizza Crust

1 1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons oil

*A few notes: in regards to flour, I have used (successfully!) every combination imaginable of bread flour, whole wheat flour, and all purpose flour.

Step 1. Make your dough and separate if needed. The above recipe makes one pizza normally…so makes one “Peek-a-Boo” Pizza.

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Step 2. Roll out your dough into a rectangle. The same size that you would make for a “normal” pizza. I will say that my rectangle is usually a bit more rectangular…and I really wish I could pin that on the little ones helping…but this time it was all me! Poor wonky little thing…it sure was yummy though!

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*Transfer your dough to a greased pizza stone or cookie sheet or cast iron griddle or…! I forgot this step…makes for some tricky improv down the road a step or two!

Step 3. Spread your sauce, cheese, toppings, etc down the middle third (plus a bit) of the dough.

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Step 4. Slice the remaining dough with a pizza roller 1 – 1 1/2 inches apart and at an angle.February 473

Step 5. Pull the strips up and over the pizza filling working alternatively from one side to the other. Overlap in the middle. February 474

Step 6. Bake at 450 degrees for approx. 15 minutes (or until cheese is bubbling out from the slits in the dough)

February 479February 480Enjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Out of Doors…Once Again

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In my head I know that beautiful Spring weather as we have been enjoying just can’t last forever…that it might even (gasp) snow again. But my heart has linked itself to the pure magic of the past few days. The sun, fresh air, newly dug earth, tiny buds, garden plans….oh I’m sunk! We have been, and will be spending every possible moment out of doors until we are forced indoors by mother-nature herself!!!

Welcome back Spring! Oh how glad we are to see you!

Friday, March 19, 2010


“Hooray…Hooray…!!! Look at all this free land!!!” (At the top of her voice) as both of them literally burst outside onto a brand new almost completely green yard. I believe the “look at all this free land” comment references this book that we recently read…and loved. We shouted a welcome back greeting to the geese and watched in awe as they changed from one fabulous “v” formation into another.

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We haven’t only been outside lately! There’s been some exciting creating happening inside too! Here’s a sneak peek!

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