Monday, August 31, 2009

Shoes…in a literal, not metaphoric sense

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It would not be original, new, or even interesting to admit that I, as a girl, love shoes.  So I won’t.  (but I do!!!) 

I once heard the advice to always have a quality mattress and quality shoes…because if you are not in one, you are in the other!  Very good advice don’t you think?!

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We have a couple of new pairs of shoes in our home that I wanted to introduce to you.  Shoes are one part of my life that is not handmade.  Slippers, yes…shoes, no.  There are just so many fabulous pairs already made to choose from!!!  Well…the two new pairs of shoes have been met great enthusiasm. 

One little sir got his very first pair of big boy shoes.  This tall little man has got a serious set of feet and grew out of every pre-walking shoe available.  He was barefoot for quite a while before he had a solid enough walk to put him in sneakers.  (in reality though…I really like my babies barefoot as much as possible…so many things to feel and learn about through those sensitive little feet!) 

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One little miss got yet another pair of galoshes.  They are definitely the preferred choice in footwear!  They slip on and off so quickly and she can (and will) walk through anything in them.  Actually on sunday she was convinced that they were the perfect choice to wear with her (fanciest…and satin) yellow dress…because afterall they are yellow too!

Robinson Photos Aug 29 096Oh yes…we do enjoy our shoes!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Visit to History…and Taking it Home…

I love to visit places that teach, reiterate, and celebrate the philosophies that I hold fast to, and new ones that I am waiting to love and incorporate in my families life.  This search often takes me to the internet where I encounter countless blogs and sites authored by fabulous people with abundant talents.  The information exchange facilitated by the internet is truly wondrous.  My search also takes me to libraries (hello 700’s!!!), festivals, homes, and meetings.  Recently this search took my children and I to a historic home.  I have visited this home often and always soak up the spirit of handmade and family that is so present there.  It is a spirit that I want my children to feel. 

I have found that if I am well-prepared (food, timing, etc.), have realistic expectations, and have an understanding tour guide, that I can take, and enjoy, my children in many museum, and historic settings.  And, they can learn and grow from the experience at their own level and in a way that fascinates them.  That being said…I have been driven to tears in failed attempts…!  It’s a risky business…but when it works, its wonderful. 

This time it worked!!!

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At the entrance to the farm is the following plaque which reads:

“In just twelve years, the Smith family turned their hundred acres of forest into a farm that provided for their needs and stood as a monument to their family unity, thrift, and exemplary work habits.”

family unity…thrift…exemplary work habits

What a beautiful description and worthy goal for my own family.

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One thing that struck me was that so many important, functional items in the home were made beautiful.  While these items were so critical to daily life, time and effort was put into surrounding the family with bits of loveliness.  

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Lucy, the wonderful mama of this home, lived a handmade life.  She led her children in life and learning and in the constant pursuit of truth, beauty, and true happiness…all the time creating beauty around her. 

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Times and seasons change…current life becomes history…the future becomes the present…but values, philosophies and true principles hold fast.  Search to find truths and a way of life that works well for your family and then live and love your life fully.  Look to the past and bring it’s beauty back with you.  You won’t regret it. 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Things That Stay the Same

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There are some things that remain the same.  There are some things the I do not want to ever change.  They are beginnings.  They are early memories.  They are foundations. 

There are two sets of hands whose lives have changed, whose homes have changed, but whose hands have remained the same.  They are hands that I love to have my children see and touch and be loved by.  To me, these hands are the beginning of something beautiful. 

Much of my ability and interest in art and creating things of beauty has come from these hands.  My Nana and Grandpa have beautiful and talented hands.  Grandpa can make anything with his hands.  Literally.  My mother always told us he was the strongest man in the world…and we believed her!! Robinson Photos Aug 29 018 Nana worked with needle and thread to place bits of beauty throughout the homes of so many loved ones.  Now she is never without skeins and skeins of yarn filling countless baskets with hats, mitts, balls, blankets, prayer shawls, etc for those in need. 

Robinson Photos Aug 29 058This is more than just two pairs of hands committed to handmade.  This is two pairs of hands creating a foundation of handmade for their children, for their children’s children, and now for my children.  And someday… (though I remain in denial that this will actually happen)  for my  children’s children. 

As important as a commitment to a life filled with handmade is the importance of knowing where it all began.  For each one it is different.  And maybe it is beginning with you. 

There are some things that remain the same…and that is exactly as it should be!    Robinson Photos Aug 29 026 Robinson Photos Aug 29 020This is a model of the African Queen that Grandpa is currently building.  He drew up the plans himself and is making it from scratch.

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Built by him…stitched by her

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Built by him…dusted by her!!!

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The “sticks” by Nana-Dears closet (the great grandkids call her Nana-Dear sooo sweet!).  A favorite place to dance, spin, and simply walk through!!!  (I really think that is the whole reason she has them there!!!)       

Following the Sun

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We have been following the sun the past few days.  We followed the sun to a beautiful poolside.  We followed the sun to a favorite home filled with handmade, and two of my favorite pairs of hands in the world.  We followed the sun to the woods to a home built by hands and filled with little feet.  Then we drove through the rain and found the sun again at home.  Sweet, calm, familiar home.  Filled with projects, produce, and all of my favorite sunshines!!!

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Where has the sun led you lately?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


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Good clean dirt!

Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it. ~Not Your Average Dictionary

What a delight to watch a boy in a garden…dirt between his toes…dirt on his pants…dirt on his shirt…fresh green beans in his hands…and a grin on his face!!! Oh the joy….of good clean dirt!!!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prairie Points Tutorial

This summer I discovered the joy of making doll quilts.  I cannot take all the credit.  It was not my idea…the fabric choice was heavily influenced…the embellishments..well we won’t get into that…and the quantity…my oh my!!!  It all began when my little miss began to recognize a need for a better stocked “linen closet” for her dollies.  Don’t worry each doll bed or cradle had some niceties…but each dollie?!?!?…there was some work to be done! 

So began my love affair with doll quilts.  They are the perfect project.  Really.  They are small…instant gratification!  They need small pieces…hello scrap box(es!!)!  They beg to be embellished…bring on the ribbon, buttons, and trims!  They are made to suit a little miss…endless color scheme and design possibilities.  They are also a great opportunity to practice new techniques, experiment with new designs, test your ideas for larger projects and delight delight delight a little miss!!! 

The scrap boxes, ribbon bag, and trim drawer were raided for perfect little bits and when all were chosen and sorted by the discerning eye of a three year old we dove in!  Amazingly enough she had some great color schemes (yes…I was worried!), and we are working on quilts to match the seasons.  As part of the summer quilt I included prairie points on the bottom hem.  They are delightful.

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(This is a very wrinkly, thread covered ((I ALWAYS snip threads last…yucky job!)), doll quilt.  It is backed with fleece with no batting.  The safety pins are keeping it all together until I get to machine quilting it. I’ll show you more of its bits of beauty further on.)


I remember my mother making a full size quilt when I was little and putting prairie points all around the entire edge.  Wow!!  They are a bit time consuming (but it is easy folding and ironing and moves along…especially with the right music!), and use a fair amount of fabric, but are so adorable and can be used in so many projects.  I would love to see how you use them. 

So….I am pleased to bring you A Handmade Childhood’s very first tutorial::


You will need: 1 square of fabric for each point  (size depends on how big you want the finished point)

First decide how big you want your point to be.  Once you have determined the size of the finished point use this simple formula for determining the size of the square of fabric you will need.

Height of finished point x 2 = ______ + 1/2 “

Example: for a 2” point::        2 x 2 = 4 + 1/2 =  4 1/2”

Pretty simple right!

So you have your square measurements…lets put it together.

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1.) Fold your square from one point to another.  Press.

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2.)  Then fold in half again.  Press.

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Here is your point.  Your stitch line is 1/4” from the raw edge.

3.) Points are fitted inside one another however deeply you like.

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4.) Pin in position.

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You now have a prairie point edge!!!

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A bit of (wrinkly) stitched beauty.

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A bit of lacy beauty chosen…like everything…by little fingers.

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This was my first attempt at paper piecing technique from several years ago.  It was buried in my scrap bin and the little miss thought it was “..sooo beeeeauteeeeful mama!!!”…so in it went. 


Have fun prairie pointing!!!