Monday, December 30, 2013
This little nature pack is probably my favorite thing I've made in a long time. I would bet that I had as much fun making it as April has using it. The idea for it came from several places including the Handmade Home and Growing Up Sew Liberated. The results are pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
The bag itself is made from a 100% wool blanket I found at the thrift store. It was a nice choice for a sturdy fabric that could stand up to some of our west coast wet weather. Also it made a great medium on which to needle-felt the little wool squirrel. I lined the bag with just a simple cotton quilting fabric. I didn't use a pattern so there were a couple flaws (like I had hoped for a slightly narrower bag) but honestly you can't even tell.
I filled the bag with a bird identification book, kid-friendly binoculars, a little magnifying glass and a beautifully illustrated nature scavenger hunt. My friend is an incredibly talented artists so I was very blessed that she helped me by illustrating these cards. They would not have been as beautiful if it was left to me.
We took the whole pack out for a try this weekend and I have to admit Jon and I had just as much fun with the scavenger hunt as April did. She was also completely enamored with the binoculars and identifying every bird we came across. Encouraging curiosity was definitely the goal with the new nature pack so I feel pretty confident in declaring this project a success.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
We have been busy making all kinds of things for Christmas. Gifts, ornaments, goodies; it seems something new is being made every night. It's been such a treat to share the creative process with April. If I had to guess I would say that gingerbread house decorating and cookie baking has been her favorite activity so far. My favorite? I could never choose. Making gifts for others with my own hands gives me such joy. As I sew or knit or form, I imagine the recipient opening their gift and their joy.
Among the things being made are rice heat packs. I used Anna Maria Horner flannel and made one lavender scented, one chai and one just plain rice. We made beeswax ornaments (they smell so good), birdfeeder gifts and our usual peppermint bark. This peppermint bark is seriously addictive, it's important to have extra or someone's gift might be devoured. There are many other projects in the works that I hope to share with you after the holidays.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Any time now a new little family member should be joining us. New arrivals always deserve something made with love so several months ago I sat down to begin this cozy blanket. Christmas projects, the odd illness and just life seemed to slow the progress but it did finally get finished.
The colors were inspired by a blanket I saw on the PurlBee but instead of horizontal stripes, I made this one vertical. It is a simple garter stitch pattern with a color change every 14 rows. I fought my urge to use a soft wool and made this one with some Lion Brand acrylic for easy cleaning for the new parents. I'm really happy with the result (even if it isn't wool). It's super soft and cushy and the colors almost remind me of the Hudson's Bay blankets. If I can muster the commitment, I would like to make another of these blankets for my own new arrival.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Yes, oh yes, it is tree day already. The holiday season is really flying by this year. Perhaps it is because there seems to be so much to do with my young girl. Still, tree day is always a favorite. We probably should have waited a bit longer (especially considering how hard it is for me to take down my tree in the week before New Years) but the weekend came and we could not resist.
Though it was sunny, it was frigidly cold that day. I remember April's fingertips looking purple as she ran around touching all the trees. Silly girl is too much like her mama. Picking a tree is a sensory experience. You have to feel the needles and branches, smell that pine or fir and take plenty of time to gaze at it's every feature. I take tree day very seriously (can't you tell?). After much deliberation, we all agreed that this full. 5 ft noble fir was the one.
For the past few years we simply could not trust that April would not attempt to pull all the ornaments off the tree and in the process pull the entire tree down, so we usually used an extendable gate to enclose the tree. We took a chance this year and left the gate in the garage. We chose only to use non-breakable ornaments this year in case of an accidental tree collapse. It was a good excuse to make some special new ornaments with my girl. We whipped up some dried orange slice ornaments, a couple button ornaments and her favorite; the cinnamon dough ornaments. It made the tree so much more special seeing all the ornaments April and I hang made and hung together. She was so thrilled with the tree process and her joy just added so much more to an already special day.
The tree is now home and dressed. It is still, even days later, an exciting piece of conversation for my two-year-old. Sitting by the tree, all lit up, reading stories to my sweet daughter before bed is sure to become one of my favorite Christmas memories.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I've sadly been absent from this space for the past few weeks. Normally this would be a busy and exciting time for us as the Christmas season is upon us. However, I've been stuck in bed for several weeks and doing nothing of real interest. Except maybe working on something big, or rather, small. We should be welcoming our new tiny addition sometime in March. In the mean time, I'm pushing through the nausea, exhaustion and headaches to try to savor these last few months of one-on-one time with my little girl. And I suppose I'm also trying to do some crafting on the side.
So this space may go neglected from time to time as we go through this period of change. I hope, though, that I can update at least every couple of weeks. This is such a special place for me and of course a wonderful way to share with all of you.