Monthly Archives: February 2016

playin’

raking

boy

Play is something I think very important to kids (and it seems like lots of research is backing up that claim, too).  And by playing, I mean using imagination, running around outside, playing games – organized and not, and playing music.  Some days they get to play a lot, some days, not so much.  It depends on school, work, after school activities and schedules.  I try to make sure there is time each day to play music.  The girls practice, and we often put on other music to listen to during the day.  I would love to do more playing music with the girls, myself, but I usually have something else I need to do at the time (like make supper).  But, I am going to work on playing with them once a week – just strumming the guitar or uke with them for a song or two.  I am so impressed with the girls playing and the work they put into it.  Funny how the words ‘play’ and ‘work’ are used together for some endeavors.

violin

uke

We also play lots of games.  Rat-a-Tat-Cat is a recent favorite.  Steven and I will play in the mornings before he goes to preschool.  He loves the game, even though he doesn’t know his numbers yet, much less how to count.  He has figured out the order of numbers, if not the numbers, and knows which cards are good and their ranking.  So, he is fun to play with.  And, I get to teach him how to win and lose graciously. Such an important lesson.  There are also lots of games of cars and trains on the floor.

playing

And, I am so looking forward to warmer weather which will get all of us outside to play more.  None of us but William are really cold hardy, so we tend to huddle inside and even when bundled up don’t love being out in the cold.  We’ve had a taste of a warming a few days ago and it was great to be able to call in the children for supper from their outdoor games of fairy house building and “hunting”.

moss
I loved this moss we found on a walk with Steven the other day.

 

 

making, weaving

Last week, I did a bunch of sewing.  I made leggings and a t-shirt for Anne, a baby blanket, two pair of shorts for Evva, and a dress for a one year old.  Some of these makings were prototypes I was experimenting with, and I had children and friends to give them to, but the dress (and bloomers) for the one year old, I made because I loved the look and wanted to see how difficult it would be to make (not nearly as hard as I thought).  But, I have no one to give it too!   I loved this little dress.  I’ll hold on to it (maybe sell it?), and see what happens.

dress

Then, Hythe came up to me this weekend and said, I want to make something.  What do you want to make?  I want to weave, he said, and brought me a craft book with a picure of a loom set up inside a shoe box.  So, I found a shoe box, put in some warp yarns and gave him a large darning needle and yarn.  He loved it.  He made his own pattern of yarn colors, and started out with the ambitious plan to weave a blanket.  I told him the loom would only allow each piece to be a few inches wide, so he said he would weave lots of them and I could sew them together.  I think he soon realized that a weaving the size of a coaster was good enough, and satisfying enough.  I don’t know anything about how to take handwoven things off of a loom, or how to finish them, but I did my best and tied everything together.  Hythe trimmed up all the ends and he was so proud of his little woven coaster (or hot pad, as he calls it).  I have been using it to set my tea on for the last two mornings, and he likes to see it being used.

weaving1

done

002

withmugweaving

ice ice baby

ice

stomping

cutting ice

oyster

boy

We have been hiding inside for the last 3 days.  The temperatures have been COLD.  I don’t think it has gone above freezing – and the wind is blowing.  Brrrr.  We’ve not ventured out much, though the girls went horseback riding on Saturday (and came home to be thawed out in front of the fire afterwards), and I went out for a couple of walks.  The one thing, though, that will induce the children outside and get them excited about being outside, is ice.  And, snow, of course, but there’s no snow here now, just ice.  There is ice in the creeks, ice in the springs, ice in puddles.  It is fun to slide on, jump on, crack, cut (with oyster shells), stab (with screwdrivers), and throw.  If I want to get the children outside in this cold weather, I can’t say “let’s go swing” or, “let’s go on a walk”.  I just get moans and “no”s or children reluctantly shoved into coats and boots.  But, if I say “let’s go find some ice”, they rush to get their winter clothes on and are outside before I can pull on my boots.

 

family time

photo
We just returned from 5 days (3 full) in Park City, Utah.  I was not sure this getaway would be a real family vacation – thinking that we would be trying to ski as often as we could fit in the short amount of time we were there and we would not have a lot of quality family time.  But, I was wrong.  We had a wonderful time, together nearly the entire time – William and I, the children, our nephew, and my mother (and our sister-in-law for a short time).  Even though my mother, our nephew, and Steven either did not ski or were in ski school every day, we still had lots of quality time together.  And, that was partly because we stopped skiing everyday at about 3 and had the whole rest of the afternoon and evening to spend talking, playing, and relaxing together.  And, the kids really needed to relax and veg out after 6 hours of skiing!

“Out West”, I was reminded again on this trip, is majestic.  The mountains are large and rugged, rising into the sky, seeming to reach into heaven.  Space is so large – large mountains, but also large sky, large prairie, rocks, slopes.  So different from the mountains we live in here “back East”. We were in awe the whole time.

We stayed in a beautiful, modern house, close to the slopes, and skied every day.  And, everyday we had bluebird skies and cold (but not too cold) weather. It was perfect conditions.  I couldn’t get many pictures because I was not willing to take my good camera out there (and I was more interested in skiing than photography).  I took a few pictures and videos on my phone, but the best pictures, the ones I wish I had on a hard drive, are only in my head.  One picture I hope to keep in my memory was of our oldest three children skiing in front of me, down a ridge on top of a mountain with a 360 degree view of the Wasatch Mountains, with confidence and joy – no one else in sight.  They outpaced me for nearly that whole long run (a blue trail, no less) – along the ridge, through the woods, and finally down a long, wide, empty slope – and I hope I can keep that beautiful, awe-inspiring moment with me.  My children truly impressed me with their skiing skill and confidence.

And, perhaps they come by it naturally.  William is quite a good skier and snowboarder, and my father was an impressive skier.  One night we got my mother to tell us some stories of my dad and his skiing abilities.  She said he was one of the best skiers she had ever seen, that he would ski down vertical slopes with speed and skill.  I remember learning how to ski when I was 5 (and my brother was 3).  I didn’t realize that my dad was a ski instructor at the mountain where and when I learned to ski, but I do remember watching him ski with grace and ease.  Unfortunately, he died less than a year later.  I like the thought that the love of skiing, and possibly some of his gracefulness on the slopes, may keep going in his grandchildren.

sweet pink shirt, a little boy, and spring

ev

back

swing

I was looking for a skinny pants pattern for Anne who wanted them to wear for her uniform for school, and I came across a new pattern company, Simple Life Pattern Company (and they are having a sale this week!).  I loved this cute shirt, so I bought that pattern too.  It was instantly a favorite.  I sewed this one up in an organic cotton jersey from Organic Cotton Plus.  I love pink, and I love this shade of pink (I made a little cardigan for myself from the same fabric).  But, this shirt is just perfect.  I made it long sleeve so that it could be worn in winter.  Evva loved the twirl of the peplum and the open back.  It will be in heavy rotation in her wardrobe, and that makes me happy.  Not all my sewing projects, despite the initial gladness the garment excites, make it into regular wardrobe rotation.  I will definitely be making more of these – and dresses too!

Of note this week – the crocuses (or croci) and snowdrops are blooming!!  My favorite sign of early spring.  The sign that gives me hope each year during the cold, gray days of winter.  And, bees were visiting these flowers!  Even though we don’t keep bees, I like that we have flowers for so many months of the year that help feed them.

And, Steven found a water gun from the summer and when I found out (at this moment) I had to explain that he could not shoot in the house – but it was awfully cute.  He also put on a set of glow bracelets from this weekend.  He was wearing a t-shirt I made for Hythe, but that now fits him.  Steven always liked that lightening bolt fabric and used to ask  (in his baby talk) to make one for him.  I never did get around to it, but when I pulled this out for Steven to wear the other day, he said “You made it for me!!”  Yes, baby, I did.  He was so happy.

boys

glow sticks

 

crocussnowdrops

sewing pattern organization

patterns

suit

pucci

dress

pattern org

I am working on getting my sewing area organized.  I have a very small area of our relatively small house for my sewing – and I have 2 sewing machines and a serger, plus loads of fabric, patterns, and notions.  I got more fabric, patterns, and notions from my grandmother over the last few months.  I have also inherited my grandmother’s sewing table (as well as one of those machines mentioned above) which we have no room for at present.  It is waiting in my mother’s house for when we might have room for it – we are hoping to build another room onto the house in the next year.

Anyway, I decided to start with my patterns.  I have “vintage” patterns from my grandmother, recent “big 4″ patterns, and quite a few indie pattern designer patterns.  I have children’s patterns, adult patterns, dresses, tops, pants, skirts, aprons, bathing suits.  The collection was in many bags and boxes scattered around my sewing area and office.  They were hard to locate or appreciate and they were getting more a more beat up every time I went through them. I bought 3” 3 ring binders and heavy duty page protectors, and I started sorting the patterns into age group (or size, I guess) and type of garment. I can now store nearly all of my patterns in these binders on the bookshelf in my office.  And, the binders can set upright as soon as I (or William) change the shelf height of one of the shelves!

For the pdf patterns I own, I keep them on file in my computer where I can sort them by type of garment, where they came from, etc.  I try to print my pdf’s at a local print shop with a large file.  Those patterns, I store in a corner of the sewing area, rolled up.  I usually print out instructions and trace the size I need on tracing paper – so those I am storing in the 3 rind binders.  It seems like a good system so far. I have over 100 patterns, but it seems like a reasonable amount – well, maybe slightly over reasonable, but that’s ok. I got a lot from my grandmother (cool vintage, crazy 80s and 90s – pretty cool Pucci, right?!), and I try to source indie patterns and small businesses.  So, I feel good about the amount of money I spent and how it was spent.  Now, I feel they are more organized and I can appreciate and use them much more!

This is such an improvement from my previous system, and I am happy with it so far.  Now, how to tackle the fabric stash??