Monthly Archives: August 2011

A lemonade stand


I’m afraid I haven’t done a single thing crafty or blog-worthy (with the possible exception of some newly invented cookies, but I forgot to photograph them so what’s the point?), but I’m posting anyway because Worth doesn’t feel well and won’t get off my lap, and if I’m going to sit here captive I may as well do something. So here is a random post about things that have been going on! The neighborhood kids had lemonade stand in my front yard. Unfortunately their accounting was almost as bad as their spelling, so it is unclear if the enterprise earned money or just annoyed the neighbors.

Worth got his first favorite pair of shoes. He tried these on at an outlet mall on the way home from an out-of-town wedding last weekend and we couldn’t even pry them off his feet to pay for them so we just snipped off the tags and he wore them home. He kept cooing over them and touching them and giggling in his car seat.  Hilarious and cute. I love that we finally found shoes he’ll actually keep on, plus they are mercifully easy to clean. The adorable t-shirt was a gift and I love it like he loves his shoes.

This was a picture that appeared on my blog back in June of Belle on her homemade dog bed…

and an updated snapshot, two months later. I’m glad kids don’t grow that fast! (And a disclaimer, Belle is not allowed to play with the kids’ toys ordinarily, but she has a deep and abiding fondness for this little knitted animal. She doesn’t eat it–she just plays with it and loves on it and since it seems to be no worse for wear as a shared toy I allow it. She’s just a baby too, after all, even though she’s more than doubled in size!)

May the Force be with Baby: A Star Wars Quilt


We’ve had a good first week of school! This is Dorothy getting ready to blow out our circle time candle on the first day. I’ve learned that a) homeschooling takes a lot more of my day than I had been able to comprehend (although I’d been warned about that) and b) I need to make some curriculum adjustments or we’ll both get bored in a hurry. I’ve purchased a ready-made kindergarten curriculum and I love many things about it but it’s a little soft on some skills we’re ready to march on into. That’s a great thing about homeschool, I have to say, because I can easily make these adjustments to suit my specific child.

And late last night after my wee padawans were snug in their beds I snuck back down to the sewing machine and made a baby quilt to gift to a friend. This is for the first baby of an old college pal. This friend is the only person with whom I’ve attended a midnight movie showing (he was in costume) and the only person I know who owns (or owned? It’s been a while…) red contact lenses. When he told me he and his wife were expecting a boy I knew I had to make him something cool and nothing light blue or fluffy.

I bought one fat quarter of Star Wars fabric on Etsy, then found coordinating prints on I used the licensed fabric to make homemade patches and then made strips of the rest. I’m not much of a quilter but I like the cutely haphazard look of strip blankets. I machine stitched it all and didn’t use batting because I wanted it to be thin and flexible enough to actually wrap the baby in. The finished size is 34 by 38 inches and the back is a soft black flannel. It felt funny to have the sewing machine threaded in black to make a baby gift, but I think this one will be appreciated by the baby’s father, at least.

Our homeschool "classroom"


We start school Monday! I loved this house before we purchased it party for this cozy, cabinlike room tucked down in the basement. Touring houses almost two years ago I kept my eye out for the perfect space the kids and I could dedicate to our creative endeavors–a parent/child studio.  I’m kind of joking when I now call it our homeschool classroom; we’ll learn here, as we’ll learn everywhere. We do have a table and chairs set aside in this room for our morning circle and lessons. I’ve not gotten much use out of this room up to this point because it is, ahem, rather afflicted by water. Like the kind that is supposed to stay outside in heavy rains. Yuck. But we’ve made some changes to our gutters and are hoping to have some professional work done soon. Meanwhile, I’ve ditched the rug and repainted the floor and I’m hopeful that even with a little water we should be able to clean up and move on.

Since we’re going with painted concrete floors until the water problems are completely solved I thought I might as well have fun with the concept. I used exterior paint to make a big sun on the floor in front of our awesomely cozy (and functional) fireplace. On some wicked winter morning in a few months I will laugh at the snow and the cold outside, give thanks that I do not have to take my car on icy roads to participate in any kind of carpool, and will head down to our quilt-laden futon by the fire with a huge stack of good books, a mug of coffee, my kids and be happy.

New beeswax crayons.

Paintings move from the easel to our art line.

A thrift-store mirror and some hooks turn our dress-up box into a full station.

Tools of the trade…

And one snapshot of my garden, to represent that our “classroom” is actually much bigger than our basement studio. This is going to be an adventure! Hopefully one that is fun. I’m excited.
Wishing you and yours a happy start to the school year as well!

Our entryway and a perpetual calendar


I sometimes enjoy reading other blogs and often get inspired by them. There are only so many ways certain tasks or projects can be done, so there will often be some overlap between the creative projects of different crafty bloggers. There is a difference between inspiration, intentional knock-offs, and flat out copycatting, right? Last winter I bought yellow paint to makeover my family room, the exact same color I’ve used in my living spaces in my last two houses. I tried to think of ways to make a user-friendly entryway spot to keep my family’s accoutrements tidy near our main (side) entrance. I purchased a row of hooks, a little step stool from IKEA, and a big basket to keep everyone’s shoes in. I decided to blog about it after I painted the wall behind them. The very next week Soule Mama blogged about a very similar project and I had to laugh–maybe great minds think alike? Then I realized she actually did it a bit better than me because she included a row of hooks for the children, not requiring them to use the step stool like I was. So, inspired by her execution of a project that exists in many homes’ entryways, I added a row of bottom hooks myself after our recent paint job. The space now functions better. Isn’t sharing ideas great?

I’d like to make the point that while taking inspiration from the beautiful marketplace of the mama blogosphere is acceptable and even lovely, actually taking someone’s intellectual property and passing it off as your own is not okay. It is hurtful, wrong, and fundamentally uncreative to take something that belongs to someone else and present it to the world as if you own it. Inspiration is lovely. Following tutorials, giving credit and back-linking is grand. Passing another person’s intellectual property off as your own, especially in a way that diverts search engine traffic from the blog for which it is intended, is stealing. (Um, yeah, sorry I had to get all preachy, right? But I wouldn’t say it unless I felt like I needed to…)

Moving on, Dorothy has been asking me every day for a week how many days are left until we start school. Although homeschooling kindergarten at my house is actually going to be a pretty informal and fluid event, I have decided to follow the school schedule of our local public schools so that Dorothy and her public-schooling BFF next door will always have their days off together. It seemed high time for me to finish the perpetual calendar we will be referencing every morning and to let her see for herself how many days we have until we officially begin. I sewed rows of clear vinyl pockets over fabric that matches my new kitchen curtains. I printed off little cards with the days and numbers on them and inserted them into the pockets. I will task Dorothy will decorating/labeling the special days on our calendar (like the first day of school!) and she’ll add a sticker indicating the morning’s weather to each card as we go. Who knows, maybe the whole family will be better organized now that we have a pretty, easy-to-update calendar right there in the kitchen. (Yeah, right.)

It’s 100 degrees and I crocheted a sweater


The title pretty much sums it up. I made a baby doll-style sweater as a birthday gift for Dorothy’s friend. I used this pattern, which I think you must register to access, but if you knit or crochet you should be registered at Ravelry anyway. The sweater worked up nicely and I thought the skirted style was cute. I added the flower because I thought it needed it. The little birthday girl (and perhaps more importantly, her mother) seemed to like it.

I painted my family room this week! The family room is the large multipurpose room in the back of our house, which I photographed when we first moved in. My computer and my sewing table is in here, as are many of our toys and books. It’s my favorite room of the house and the biggest, so painting it has been a big task. I need to get stitching now because I want to photograph this room and the kitchen, but I don’t want to do it until I get the curtains done. It’s so exciting to be getting these rooms done though!