Saturday, July 31, 2010

Out Kalooping


The Main Street Store

Main Street  -  Albion, NY

A few steps from the Erie Canal on the main street of this small farming town is one of my favorite thrifting haunts.  The store funds many of the community action programs of the area.  Literacy and computer classes, unemployment counseling, and many charitable services are provided here.  It makes the thrifting all the more fun to know the money goes to a good cause!  I never fail to fall in love with something here.  Once it was a set of two perfect yellow chairs…which technically weren’t for sale…but one can now be seen here, and the other is not far from it!!  Most recently it was a china cabinet that is currently receiving a facelift…and that I am sooo excited to show you!  There is something special that builds between a girl and her thrifting spots.  It’s a relationship that must be respected and nurtured!  But oh is it worth it! 

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Friday, July 30, 2010


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Yesterday was my birthday, and though I never thought I would be this way…I really had a hard time swallowing the number that is now me.  I know many of you will think I am just plain silly…young…and silly.  But for me, this birthday brought me much closer to the big 30 than I am ready for.  I should have it all together by now.  I should be more.  I should be done with my childish antics!!  But I’m not…I am so not close to being put together…I am still much less…and childish antics are still quite regular!!!  It’s a disheartening reality this birthday thing.  Ah well…!

Today, however is a birthday I am much more excited about.  Today is the birthday of this little blog of mine.  And I am a bit embarrassed to say that I believe it took longer and was much more anguishing for me to figure out and create this blog than it was for my mother to bring me into this world.  I have loved this blog, the perspective that is has brought to my daily life, the friendships that have been created through it, the support it has brought, and the joy…oh the joy it brings!  I am so excited with the direction it is taking and can’t wait to show you all the changes I’ll be making to it.  It’s been a wonderful journey. 

Thanks for stopping in and sharing moments of your life with me. 

Just for memories sake, here is the very first post I made.  Back when I was still using blogger to publish…what a tricky little phase that was!  Everyone was much happier when I discovered Windows Live Writer…so fabulous!  In case you are also struggling with the limitations of publishing on blogger I would definitely recommend Live Writer.  But not that I’m one to give advice…my blog and I are still both quite young and inexperienced! 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cookie Tray Play


With all the very busy things that little hands are engaged in all day long here sometimes we all need some quiet, calm, tiny things to be engrossed in.  Gross motor skills are constantly in motion adventuring, playing, and helping with the home.  One of our (many) favorite ways to bring out the fine motor skills of little hands is to bring out “the little things”.  The miniature village brought back from Germany last summer by their grandparents, and a zoo set that spent many hours in the tiny fingers of my own hands and those of my siblings.  (I looked and looked for a source for those of you who might want to have your own zoo set and this is the best I could find.  Maybe if you searched without an almost 2 year old on your lap….!)105_7172

We call our play with these miniature sets “cookie tray play”.  They happily choose their cookie tray and set up their play within its walls.  And for mama the fear of losing such precious (and oh so little) pieces is alleviated…a little!  They have been drawn to this play each day for the past few (very hot) days which has been wonderful for all the kitchen work that summer harvests bring.  (See the giant pressure canner in the background!  We have become great friends the past few days.)  105_7173105_7171

Here’s to the tiny play of tiny hands.  So dear, so precious, so valuable!! 

Happy summer days my friends. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We had three very varying experiences at a refreshing splash park recently.  We all left exhausted…some happily…some grumpily…and some just plain exhausted!!!  The extreme heat was relieved completely for a little pink girly who flitted here and there for hours.  The same heat simply melted a little boy who found the water too cold and unpredictable and the playground way too hot.  Check out the shot of him explaining that he would not go down the slide because it was too hot!…and in his defense it really was and only wet children were braving the playground!  In the end it was me who was just plain hot and tired by the end!  But when one person has a glorious time it is enough to save the day for the two who were physically connected in 100 degree weather for hours.  It is oh so hard to be all in sync sometimes! 

Ah…sweet summertime! 

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I remember the summer my little girl decided that water in a splash park was about as much fun as the ocean and pool.  I think this is the summer for my little guy.  Guess we’ll have to make our visits regular to break him in!  I think we can handle that! 

Now…to get the relish canned so we can splash guilt free! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, said,

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.”

To a child truer words have never been spoken. The earth, in all its wonders and delights, is pure magic to a child. It sparks the creative spirit and ignites the imagination in such a way that nothing can extinguish it. There is nothing that can replace free exploration and adventure, toes deep in sand and soil, hands filled with bits of nature, hair blowing and twisting in the breeze, and minds absolutely soaring.  Creative play. There is simply nothing that can replace it. The earth delights in it, children delight in it.

Inviting the bounty and beauty of nature into the outdoor play area my children already enjoy, for us, meant creating a garden specifically dedicated to their exploration and discovery.  The result has been incredible.  At this point in the summer our garden has begun to be a bit of a jungle…which is met each day with increasing delight.  Oh do I wish we could welcome you into our garden to romp and play with us. 


While I recognize that not all of you may have the space or inclination to create a children’s garden of this size, you can easily incorporate the living, breathing, magic of nature into your play spaces.  Potted plants and trees can come inside, window boxes on play houses or swingsets are delightful, clusters of potted flowers and vegetables can transform decks and patios, and even a few herbs and flowers along a hedge or yard fence create a haven for exploration and discovery. 

While I was planning and dreaming up our children’s garden I thoroughly enjoyed pouring over every Child’s Garden book I could find.  Here are two of my favorites…but there are oh so many more wonderful ones to devour!!  (The images are links, by the way!)

     Natural Playscapes

I wish you could all come and explore with us here, but for now…

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The following two tomato plants were planted at the same time from the same six pack from the nursery.  One in the garden  whose soil had been heavily supplemented with compost and manure, and one into a pot with ordinary and rather poor topsoil.  The result has been a remarkable and spontaneaous lesson in soil quality and gardening.  The small one is pathetic it’s true…but the big one…holy hugeness!!!  And there’s two of those huge ones…yikes!


Wishing you happy summer days filled with the beauty and bounty of nature.   

Monday, July 26, 2010

The 15 minute Remake…and a Very Important Question!!!

I was given this fantastic little box recently by my mother.  We both knew the painting on the top was…hmm…not my style!!!  But we both also knew that it would not take much to turn it into something truly great…and that I would love doing it! 

Lots of fantastic ideas of how to refinish the top came to surface in my busy little brain but in the end I went with the quick and easy and let Amy Butler do most of the work!!  In less than 15 minutes (literally!!!) I sanded the sides to remove some of the paint…cut a beautiful Amy Butler paper to size, glued it on, and applied clear varnish to seal it.  I love it!  Now what to put in it…! 

105_7077105_7137105_7139105_7143105_7144105_7147105_7150Do you like the new look!  And that dill…yum!         

So…on to the very important question! 

We are looking for a new “just right” read-aloud chapter book for the little miss.  I would love to hear what some of your family favorites are!! 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Out Kalooping

kaloop  (kä-loop) verb  1.  to go out and about  2.  to shop with a group of friends  3.  to fill a morning, afternoon, evening…or entire day, with merriment and laughter and pleasure shopping       

*purists believe that true kalooping should include all three definitions!!!

Kalooping has been a favorite pastime of mine since before I can remember.  It originated with my mother, her mother, and her dear sister.  The combination of those three amazing women is always true merriment and abundant laughter.  My sisters and I relished in being included in their kalooping and now I am treasuring bringing along my own daughter!! 

In the spirit of kalooping I bring you a new series!  Each Saturday join me in some of my favorite local shops.  Most of you are not local to me and won’t be able to visit these shops yourself…but I hope you enjoy kalooping with me nonetheless!!!




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The Whole Nine Yards

513 Main Street

Medina, NY 14103

I happened upon this little shop, run by Shawna Baldwin, a few years ago not too long after she had opened.  In this rural area quality fabric stores are few and far between…but this one is fantastic.  It’s just so warm and cozy….and infinitely inspiring.  Located in an old shop on Historic Medina’s Main Street the building itself is positively oozing with character.  Can you see the mosaic entrance in the first picture?  Love it!  There’s high ceilings, lots of original cabinetry and lighting…and to top it off Shawna has filled it with her own constantly rotating selection of antiques.  There are stories and character and history everywhere you look.  For a girl who loves clean graphic design and fresh modern looks,  I my heart still skips a beat in a room full of antiques and bits and bobs from the past. 

Along with antiques Shawna has a fabulous taste in fabric and a true grasp of local quilting needs and has a remarkable inventory of fabrics.  My favorite: the 1930’s!  With drowsy cat and a stool to pull up to the cutting table with coloring book, and crayons my children also love our visits here. 

So with our kick-off post of “Out Kalooping”, here’s to local quilt shops that feel a bit like a personal studio, a bit like a cozy living room with fire in the fireplace, and a bit like pumpkin pie (yum!)!!!