Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tao of Vegetables


Just as I was starting to believe it was going to be a very early Spring this year in Vermont, we got hit with that blast of cold to freeze me in my place and assure me I do still live in the north land. I think it reached negative twenty one night. Ice actually penetrated through our bedroom ceiling. Good thing we have no shortage of blankets! We spent Valentine's day in this deep freeze, and I think my brain is still a bit frozen from it all, despite much warmer weather yesterday. I am trying to thaw out my mind by turning my thoughts toward the garden and seedlings, while simultaneously trying to crochet Elsa a warmer pair of mittens. I'm also feeling a bit sick again. I realized this is the main reason winter drives me a bit crazy. I can deal with the freezing weather, but there's always so much sickness to fight off. Oona was home with a snow day yesterday. I love snow days, even if we don't always make it into the snow. The first thing Oona asks on a snow day is if she can stay in her pjs all day... oh, but of course! I forced myself into the kitchen so as not to sit around in a dazed fog. The girls and I made strawberry and chocolate chips muffins and then I made candied orange peel that I intend to dip in chocolate and carrot and chickpea tagine from this book. And then we had dolly birthday party... the best kind, in my opinion... as all the preparations are pretend. Today, I'm not feeling quite so ambitious and just need to rest and day dream about warmer days to come.


  Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In those minutes between here and there...

 I've found that elusive moment of quiet while Jake plays with the kiddos downstairs before bed. I wanted to quickly share some of my recently finished projects (and one of Oona's) before I dig in to some new fabric that arrived in the mail today. A common saying around here is... "Next Fall, when Elsa is preschool...". That is when mountains will be moved, monuments will be built, pigs will fly and the Etsy shop might finally get updated!  Two and half hours of free time each week day will mean that I can finally get back to business (hopefully) or at least sanity. Of course, I secretly want to make it happen before then, but I've also excepted I have a high demand toddler and a wacky schedule with Oona's preschool starting in the middle of the day... to and fro... to and fro. But I am glad  to see that after a very slow start in January, I am managing to squeeze in a tiny bit of making here and there.

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Planting Seeds

Surely it doesn't matter if the ground hog saw his shadow yesterday because Spring has already arrived here, if all the mud and rain and buds on the trees are any indication. I guess it might be a bit premature to start much planting here in the North country, but there are lots of good things we are growing indoors. I'm having a good time slowly reading through this book by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community called "Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children". I stumbled on it back in November in a local bookstore, and purchased it for my birthday because I know it is one of those books I will read and use over and over again. It also comes with a CD to accompany the book with songs and a few guided meditations to accompany the activities outlined in the book. The book is about cultivating mindfulness in children, but of course that must start in ourselves, which is why the most useful chapter to me so far has been chapter 3 "Cultivating your own Mindfulness". It helps you to see how and why we can live more cooperatively and compassionately with our partners and community. If anything, the book has simply reminded me to stop and breathe whenever and where ever there is opportunity. My plan is to get through the whole book and then try to slowly introduce some of these practices to the children if they are interested. It might be better suited to them as they get a little older, but there's certainly no harm in trying. We already try to have them stop and breathe when they are angry. The other thing I love about these practices is that they help them to see how all things are connected... from the rock, to the chair, to the food on our plate. It is so important to protecting and nurturing our world to realize the connection between all things.

The little crochet wool hearts above are now finished and hanging on some branches we pruned and put in a mason jar for a Valentine's tree. I'd like to have the kids make some ornaments to hang too. The wool was a lucky find at the thrift store. All the colors above were part of the bag and they just went so perfectly together, that I had to go with the color scheme. I have more, and plan to use some of it to start a weaving project with Oona. With rain pouring down outside, we've been busily making all afternoon. Oona had a scheduled day off from school and so we've stayed in our pjs, ate some cookies and created all manner of strange things today. I had planned on having Oona make her classmates bookmarks for V-day, but she came up with something even better. I'll have to take a picture and share them after they've been delivered. It's always so wonderful to see the crazy things kids come up with, and you have to do little more than plant a seed (or hand them a tool) for their imaginations to go wild.

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Crafting with Kids

February, I know you're a swift month, so I'd really like to make the most of you. The family is finally coming out of a fog of sickness... colds for all, flu for Oona and ear infections (for my littlest one and I). Oona spent the last week home from preschool, and it was truly nice to have her all to ourselves, despite feeling terrible. I'm feeling more than ready to get back to the land of the living, and also the land of creating. One of my favorite things to do, besides creating by myself, is to create with my girls. I'm often mentally jotting down things I'd like to try with them, and I thought it would be fun to put together a monthly list of crafts for us to do together. A few of the items on the list are things we've already tried, but I thought might be of interest to someone else. I have no ambition to do everything on the list, just to do things when we feel like it. The days are already so full with school and their own games and projects as well as my own stuff.

Bead fairies made by Oona from a kit from her aunt... I made one with her and then she took the materials and free formed the rest... adding bits of paper and tape when she felt like it. The picture is actually a set... table, chair, food, chimney, windows, rose garden in the back. Oona loves to draw these interactive pictures that she can use for her dollies. She gave this one to me with a fairy as a Valentine's gift and quickly show me how to play with it! She could have just drawn everything, but cut out pieces of paper and taped them on.

February Crafting with Kids: 
 (note: my kids are 5 and 2.5... younger child can help with some, but not all of these projects)

- wet felted hearts
- cut branch(es) and make a Valentine tree in mason jar with homemade ornaments
- make ice lanterns in milk jugs (a bit too warm for that today at fifty degrees!)
- origami hearts
- owl V-day bookmarks for Oona's classmates
- V-day mailbox out of felt or recycled cereal boxes
- doll Valentines
- peppermint bark hearts and candied orange rind dipped in chocolate
- growing crystals in pretty jars and seashells to decorate
- hanging heart ice lanterns made with natural materials (pine, berries, etc.)  and string using little metal heart pans
- paper V-day fairies to hang in the living room
- loom weaving
- make marbleized paper
- Valentines for family
- bake V-day cookies
- pipe cleaner and bead icicles

Wet felted hearts and bits of dried orange peel in shapes hang from our nature branch.

Collaborative mini mural we worked on last night. It has also been transformed into a playscape for random toys.