Posts Tagged ‘everyday’

Nature Hunters

June 29th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

We live at the edge of a big woods.  There are a lot of trails that snake and wind right out the back door.  Essentially, for the boys, the wild of nature is everywhere. Lately we have been turning our walks into nature hunts, we find clues and research what we find. The boy’s head out the door with their little tools and we see what we can measure, draw and document. It makes for lots of good questions – who ate here, who’s scat is that, what animal was this, and whoa look at that mushroom!

Here are some of this weeks findings ….

A dear friend turned 4 this week and we thought he might like a Bug Hunter Kit of his own. I sewed up a little messenger bag  loosely based on this tutorial from Fish Stick and Fries and filled it with tools of the bug hunting trade.

On another bug hunting note unfortunately the ticks seems awfully bad this year and we have to be extra careful to check ourselves after our woodsy expeditions.  Thankfully we rarely get bit. If someone does, I always write the date of the bite and location on the body on our calendar, then I write the same information a month later. That way we don’t forget to watch for fevers, rashes or other symptoms of Lyme disease during that time. That way this forgetful Mama doesn’t have to stress out trying to remember when that dreadful tick bite happened!



Living with Toys!

June 27th, 2011 by zoe 2 Comments

Living with toys isn’t always easy. They are supposed to amuse occupy and delight the children with the primary goal being – they are so absorbed in playing with their super-crusher monster baby that  they haven’t bugged Mommy all day.  Secondary goal – they are so intellectually stimulated by playing with their superplasma word gizmo and are now reading on par with high school seniors.   Then there are the less spoken of toy truths – they were going to go all ballistic and tantrumy in the store if you didn’t buy them SOMETHING.

Or they HAVE to have ALL the coolest toys because that is the American dream of a perfect childhood.

Whatever the reason, there always seem to be too many toys in my life. Which is funny because I hardly ever buy them. Okay maybe that is not entirely true!  Nonetheless more toys are constantly funneling in like unwanted rodents and I am constantly packing them out like, like, like – unwanted rodents. In a perfect world heaps of toys would make for happier, more engaged, more delightful children … RIGHT! Unfortunately there are often fights, bickering, and battles over the little hunks of plastic not to mention they quickly break becoming obstacles for me to trip on. Nevermind the mind-blowing environmental impact all this absolute junk is having on our lovely planet.  So for summer I am putting most of our toys away (partially, in truth, because I redecorated and never did get most of the boys stuff out again). So, we are making toys out of the rubbish bin, stuff that can easily be recycled when it ceases to amuse. This Week I am thinking we can finally make THESE!  And we are playing with real tools and trying to get all educational and inspired.  Come winter I am sure I will weaken and the toys will be pulled from the dark crannies of the basement to once again litter the landscape of my home. In the meantime I can now sweep the floor without first picking up 3 hundred million little pieces. In the meantime we are playing baby, gardener, prep cook, critter hunter, and painter. And when I happen to find myself eyeing anything toy related in the store I look at it and ask myself this -

When it is strewn cast off onto the floor will I…

a. Be glad I bought it because the boys happily play with it all the time.

b. Curse the day it was popped from its plastic ejected mold.

c. While no one is looking, throw it away.

d. Congratulate myself on the fact that it is made from eco-friendly wood and can at least be burned to heat our home.

e. Wish I had used the money to buy another Viburnum bush, LOVE!


(This Moment) Chick School

June 24th, 2011 by zoe 4 Comments

(This Moment)

A single moment of the week expressed through photo, a moment to to savor and ponder , inspired by soulemama.

Needle Felting

June 20th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

I love needle felting.  I find the endless colors of wool roving, instant designing and incessant needle jabbing to be great fun. For me there is something almost therapeutic about using felting needles. The stabbing and poking of  wool roving into fabric becomes meditative, similar to knitters who find a calm zen in the rhythm and flow of needle and yarn.  If you have ever tried it you might agree, if not let me share.  Wool is shorn from the sheep, washed, dyed and carded, at this stage before being spun the wool is called “roving”. Wool roving is all cottony and fluffy with long fiber strands and just like children’s hair it loves to tangle. The needles used in needle felting have barbed tips that essentially tangle the wool fibers together making felt (with lots and lots of poking that is).  Wool sweaters can easily be ornamented with a rainbow of colors and pattern with this technique, wool roving can also be felted into 3D forms creating any sort of shape. The materials are simple and affordable – you can usually find them at your local yarn shop or online. The techniques are easily learned – the only hazard being the occasional prick from the needle. You may not be inspired to make sweaters in the heat of the summer but don’t worry, I will remind about you about needle felting again come fall!

I sewed these children’s sweaters with fabric reclaimed  from retired wool adult sweaters and embellished them with needle felted patterns. I have made several for my boys and sold mountains at craft fairs. But I had never managed to make one for myself!  Last week I finally finished a couple more of these sweaters.  One was a gift for my fabulous friend Erica, the computer mastermind that makes my tech dreams come true. Thank you Erica!  The other was for ME.  The fabric is a wool jersey knit and the pattern is my new favorite Simplicity #2560. Though nothing too wild or complicated the needle felted english roses are just enough to make me feel a bit happy and dolled up.  There are still a couple of yards of hot pink wool jersey sitting up in the studio, hmm… what to sew up next.

Oh, and I’m working on the cutest hand stitching tutorial, perfect for a baby gift, it’s just taking me a bit longer.  The children, the garden, the lake, even the bright stars are all calling my name these summer days and nights!

{This Moment} In Full Bloom

June 17th, 2011 by zoe 7 Comments

This Moment inspired by soulemama – a single photo to pause, savor and remember.

Check back tomorrow for a new stitching tutorial!

A box of love

June 14th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

This week I sent off a gift with a special thank you note. Yes the gift was well received but the note, just a simple note of love and thanks, was apparently treasured.  I was told it went into “the box”.  “What is the box?” I asked….

The box is a special place to save  the very best notes from family, words to revisit when feeling  underappreciated or down. A keeper of sweet words to savor and ponder as children grow and hit inevitable speed bumps in their tenderness or try on less endearing qualities. The box is a safety deposit of kindness and goodness, thankfulness and love.  Little notes saved from children now grown. Kind thoughts from teenagers on their way to adulthood.  Cards and letters sent from afar exclaiming delight in the wide of the world.  All that goodness saved in “the box”.

Forever, I wish these little hands would make me bouquets of love but I know it will not always be so. On my dresser lives an old cigar box that has spent many years being filled with bits of sentiment but I do believe something larger and official is in order.  Because I surely hope there is a day when it is filled to the brim with the very best gifts any Mama could ask for – kind words from her children.