Sunday, February 28, 2010

lovely weekend

We had a low-key but lovely weekend full of crafts and food and friends. That kind of weekend defines lovely for me lately. If you care to take a gander, I've assembled a pictorial trip through our Saturday.

Philip and Finn spent much time wandering the castle rooms of Philip's tie-back, pop-up castle book.

We also tried our hand at pretzel-making, then took a poll of who prefers dipping in mustard and who prefers dipping in marinara sauce. The marinara sauce it was extremely cute hearing Finn ask for more "mawinawa" sauce.

We used all whole spelt flour and the pretzels were unanimously lauded by family and friends alike.

The kids spent a few minutes drawing their own interpretations of some art we plan to visit at the National Gallery. Elizabeth chose a Monet, Paulie chose a Seurat and Philip drew one of Rembrandt's self-portraits. The kids always enjoy making their own interpretation of various works of art and this was a great way to connect them to some of the art they'll be seeing in London.

I spent a bit of time in the early afternoon working on this little project I spied on Childhood Magic. Our breakfast eggs were fished out of these small holes in the top of the eggs so that I could use the shells to make beeswax candles.

I'll show you more of these candles later, but I think we might use these egg candles for our Lenten Lights this year. They are incredibly adorable!

While I was making egg-y candles, the olders were making oodles of friendship bracelets, which takes me back to my own childhood and raiding my mom's stash of cross-stitch thread. I love how timeless little crafts like that are.

The late afternoon and evening were spent with dear friends, the way all good Saturdays should end.

I hope your weekend was just as lovely!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

corners of creativity

We haven't spent very much time doing organized creating lately, thus the lack of posts about family creativity. We do spend some part of nearly every day indulging in our own favorite endeavors. Care to take a peak?

Finn's caddy has become a near permanent staple at the kitchen table. I love that!

I spent a few minutes today with some wool and warm, soapy water. More on that to come...

Elizabeth's creativity centered around the kitchen blender today. On her smoothie list: frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, frozen peaches, avocado, carrot, apple juice, Amazing Grass, probiotics, and vitamin D. (Yes, she added the greens, probiotics and D on her own. *pause, for my heart to swell*)

Paulie's been a paper-airplane-making machine lately. Testing them all, of course, to find the most aerodynamic design.

And the wax-o-glass crayons, they keep the olders in business and help them earn dollars.

My very favorite little corner of creativity today was the bathtub where Finn parroted the song he's heard Elizabeth singing for the last week which was part of her school study of the Renaissance. I can't get enough of that little voice singing "Whose Pigs Be These".

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

learning about London, part 2

We've been learning more about London (and England, by extension) over the last couple of weeks, mostly in reading and discussion. We've cleared out the section on England in our local library, and we also picked up some English folktales and biographies.

Together, we've read some more general picture books about England in general and about some of the landmarks.

Elizabeth prefers to immerse herself in English royalty.

Paulie is particularly enjoying a novel set in London about the statues of London coming to life.

Philip prefers English folktales and reading about the Egyptian mummies we will see at the British Museum. Elizabeth also enjoys the folktales, especially this version of Robin Hood that has tidbits of background about the story, the culture of England and various other information in the sidebar of each page.

Finn, well, he's all about the buses. We had this mini DK book about London, purchased at a used bookstore for about 10 cents, and all he can talk about is seeing the big clock from the big red bus. A friend of a friend, who heard we were headed to London, sent this full-sized copy of DK Kids' London for our kids. They've thoroughly enjoyed seeing more pictures of the sights. Thanks, Allysa!

And as a family, we've been reading Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. I printed out a map of Peter Pan's Kensington Gardens for each of them to follow along while I read the story since the book refers to various places in the garden all throughout the book. I was hoping that it would not only be helpful with the story, but would also familiarize them with with Kensington Gardens since we will be staying only a few blocks from there.

I really hope that all the reading we're doing now will make London come alive for them while we travel through the city and will help the trip have a bigger impression on them in the long run.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Not much going on here in the WIP department lately. I did get these finished last week, as well as Elizabeth's bag.

I've been trying to concentrate on this cute little baby sweater this week since it was backburner-ed for other things, like sickness, recently. Working on such a tiny little piece to keep a baby cozy brings a calm and relaxation to me that's different from other knitting.

I'm also adding a row here and there to my bust-the-stash blanket.

That's about all.

More WIPing happening on the London prep front. I'll share more tomorrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

turning 80

My grandmother, whom I love dearly and am very close to considering that I'm her only granddaughter, turns 80 tomorrow. In celebration of her life and the wonderful inspiration she is to so many in my family, we had a blowout bash on Saturday including 4 of her 6 siblings and their spouses, all of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, and various friends from far and near. The celebration was very fitting for the many lives she has touched with her generosity, kind heart and caring spirit. I can't say enough about what a wonderful person my grandmother is. Everything I know about faith in God, resourceful living, gardening, canning, and a great many other things, I either learned directly from her or by way of my parents from her. Happy 80th birthday, Granny!

{Granny, in magenta,
with all her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids}

{Granny with her great-grandkids}

Since my brother and his family came to town for Granny's birthday celebration, they stayed at our house for the weekend. We took advantage of the fabulous weather today and made a visit to one of our favorite nearby wooded parks.

There, we...

climbed trees,

walked the trails,

poked at melting snow,

crossed ravines (or started to, anyway),

collected pinecones,

found a spider egg sac,

crouched in a gnome hole,

and discovered nature's "po'corn".

A very full weekend, indeed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Silent Saturday

{The Tomten and the Fox}

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elizabeth's rainbow bag

I'm finally ready to share with you the culmination of the collaborative effort between Elizabeth and I on her rainbow bag. This project ended up taking a bit longer than I anticipated, although the adorable rainbow-ness made it worth the trouble in the end. In moving my yarn stash to it's new home, Elizabeth and I discovered this beautiful rainbow yarn, purchased way back when. Elizabeth enjoyed this yarn immensely in her early crocheting days so we put our heads together to think of a good project for the rest of this happy yarn. Elizabeth's rainbow bag was born.

Intended to hold a few of her necessary items for tooling around London, like this rainbow change purse, she loved the matchy-matchy, yet completely different way the rainbow bags went together.

Of course, we had to spend some time tooling around etsy looking for the perfect button.

Unfortunately, when our buttons arrived, they weren't "buttons" at all! But we received a few extras in different rainbow patterns so that made it all ok. ;)

Next we were on the hunt for button shanks, which I'd never heard of until this little project. What do you know?! Etsy has those too!

We got our buttons shanked, and Elizabeth's rainbow bag is finally complete and ready to travel the world.

Now...what to do with all those non-buttons and button shanks?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

He loves me...

While I could go on and on about the wonderful man that I'm blessed to be married to, and I have, I just wanted to share a tiny nugget about St. Valentine's Day. I realize that was days ago now, and the shops have already pulled out their shamrocks, but the sickness which pervaded our house around that time precluded me from writing much. (We're all better now; thanks for the well-wishes!)

In addition to ringing in our Valentine's day with a puking little one on his lap, Paul, with his amazing taste for unusual gifts, came through again with a winner of a Valentine's day present.

Blend Creations, started by a husband-wife design team in 2005, created this Connections necklace. Accented with Swarovski crystals to represent the birthmonth of each member of our family, this necklace is a precious, yet modern and amazingly designed, reminder of my loved ones. What a wonderful hubby I have to gift me with his love and amazing jewelry like this. ;)

I hope everyone's Valentine's day was amazing and lovely!

Monday, February 15, 2010

the inevitable

The tummy bug spread and spared no one in the house save mama who just feels a bit blah. Back soon with more art-family goodness, but in the meantime, we'll be eating crackers and applesauce, sleeping in adorable kids-twined-together poses, reading about Henry VIII and watching too much Shaun the Sheep. Stay well!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

what I thought...

I thought we were going to go see some cute little sheep lose their wooly coats this weekend, just like last year. I thought we were going to come home from the sheep farm and relax for a few hours. I thought we were going to have a sitter watch the kids while we went out to dinner with some friends. I thought we were going to wake up on Valentine's Day morning, go to church and spend some low-key time together as a family.

What I didn't think was that it would snow...again. What I didn't think was that we wouldn't be able to see our furry sheep friends lose their coats for the first time in 4 years.

What I didn't think was that I would come up with an impromptu Valentine's craft of heart painting (while I taught a friend how to knit in the round)...

and that I would string the hearts to cheer up our kitchen. (See how beautiful it was today? It's like the weather was mocking me after keeping me from the sheep yesterday!)

What I didn't think was that I would spend all evening stitching Valentine hearts for my kids, until midnight, while consoling a stomach flu-ridden Finn who couldn't stop vomiting long enough to sleep for 15 minutes straight.

Although the Valentine hearts were a huge hit with the kids, the $5 they contained were even more appreciated by olders who are saving every nickel and dime right now.

(Finn just got stickers in his heart, but he didn't mind.)

What I didn't think was that we'd blessed this weekend with friends who needed to get out of dodge (dodge being the snow-pocalypse DC area). We are always so excited to have them in for the weekend! My friend Jenni's little girl, Charlie, even spent a few minutes modeling her new Valentine's dress that her talented mommy made for the holiday. :)

While I'm sometimes disappointed by what I thought would happen that didn't, I'm appreciative of what I have nonetheless. I hope you had a lovely Valentine's day!