Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This is a fun little craft I made up this morning. I love matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), daruma (Japanese egg shaped dolls), and kokeshi (Japanese hot spring souvenir dolls). This craft combines the styles of them all.
I had a few small wooden robin's eggs running around my craft drawer. It made a nice base.
First sand the top down a little to make it more like a daruma doll. Then (optionally) use a dremel tool to carve a tiny bit of definition for the face.
Finally add paint. I used a blade of grass for a paint brush and made the face to look a bit like a matryoshka. Blades of grass are a bit unwieldy, but fun for painting. I was not patient though and put a second coat of gloss on before the first one was completely dry. It gives it a bit of a trendy crackled look. Unfortunately I don't care for that look. Oh well. Other than that I'm pleased with how it turned out. Next year she will go into a fairy garden.... Or maybe I'll put a loop in the top to make her into a charm... She looks like a nature spirit peeking out of the grass to me. What do you think? This would be such a fun necklace to make for a little girl.
Thanks for visiting. Shine on!
Friday, July 25, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
We start every day with a nature walk. I let my son take the lead and just let him wander as he will throughout a park. I try not to distract him or direct him. This is his time to explore. On the way home (this particular day) we gathered several nature items.
Then we returned to our yard and separated out our nature treasures into four bowls. You can use anything for this. Rocks, acorns, chive blossoms, clover, etc.. Panda played for over an hour exploring colors, textures, smells, sorting, scrunching, pouring, stacking, picking up, and carrying!
When we were done, we washed the bowls together. First I washed them in the sink and then he washed them in a Tupperware bin. That was another splashy, soapy half hour of sensory play.
Just four little wooden bowls, and a whole lot of learning and growth.
Just four little wooden bowls, and a whole lot of learning and growth.
Have fun, and Shine on!
Summer is fading fast. Yesterday we spent the day outside, and while butterflies danced and twirled around us you sat in amazement on the grass with the sun setting your hair aglow.
These are moments that have no photos.
This morning we went for a bike ride/walk and you were so happy to present me with a Canadian Goose feather you found. You studied it, oh so intently. Smiled at it, and found it a worthy gift to give. I will never forget the light in your eyes as you handed it to me. You have few spoken words, but the light in your eyes spoke volumes. Little rocks, feathers, and nuts have been finding their way into your hands lately and have been reverently handed into my care. Every found treasure reminds me just how blessed I am.
These are moments without video.
Today I finished packing up the rest of your clothes you have outgrown. I soothed you to sleep for your nap, and tried not to cry as I started sorting through your "to big" pile of clothes finding things you have already outgrown. Perhaps it is because summer is on the downward swing, but I've noticed a lot of mothers talking about their children growing to fast lately. Perhaps it's because we have started looking at preschool for you (just a year and a half away). I don't know why, but I keep noticing all the little things and the big things that have changed about you, about me, about us since you entered our lives a short 15 months ago.
These are moments to fleeting to be captured by machines.
I hold all these moments in my heart. I record them here as best as I can, but know they don't do them justice. I hope one day you will look back on these letters with your own wee one and hear what I am trying to tell you, and then I hope you turn to your wee one and say....
Not at first. Just hold them.
Record those moments on your heart.
There is no other device powerful enough to hold these precious imprints,
and all to soon, they will be gone.
I love you dear dear Panda. Shine on.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Monday, July 14, 2014
Dear Son, Summer is in full swing with just a hint of being on the fading side. Before you know it Autumn will be here, but right now our lives are full of yard projects, home repairs, barbecues, long drives in the country side, and back yard picnics. This past week was a whirlwind of projects and lovely visits from friends. An interesting topic came up while we were chatting over tea. It seems that many of our friends think I have expensive tastes. This took me back at bit as I looked around our home decorated with recycled, refurbished, and donated items (practically all of our furniture came from friends who just had an extra such and such laying around); so I asked what made them think that way? The answer was because everything in our home is so open and matches. They think our home looks like a magazine. This made me laugh. To be fair that was the look I was going for, but there is a little rule that we try to live by that makes this all work out. We simply don't keep what we don't need, are choosy about what we put into our home, and value our empty spaces. "Empty" is such a subjective word here. For where other people see 'emptiness', we see memories. Little tokens and walls of photographs are nice... In moderation, but before to long a small memento collection can overtake a home and then all you are left with is clutter. Keeping our 'special memento collection' small, keeps it more special for us and our house open and free. With all the time we save from having to dust and organize such a collection, we are free to make more memories. Free to do yard projects, home repairs, barbecues, long drives in the country side, and back yard picnics.
I've heard the argument that time and energy spent on cleaning up and keeping a home in order takes away from making memories. To that I simply say.. Keeping a home clean means that 'clean-up' is faster making more time for memories; and we all work together so that 'clean-up time' is also memory making time.
Keep the important things in your life special, and try to minimize the clutter.
I love you with all my heart. Shine on.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A short while ago I promised someone I would do a post about International Talk Like a Pirate Day.. Sorry this is so late in coming.
Talk Like A Pirate Day (a real holiday) is September 19th. When my niece and nephew were younger I would throw them a party each year to celibate and it was always a blast. There was always a theme (how Captain BlackBeard stole our treasure This time), a map of some sort, treasure, gold coins (chocolate), and beer (root beer floats that is).
Please excuse the photos, they are very old, and taken from a photo album.
This picture is the day light version of the ghost ship above (yes I had a smoke machine at one time). The story for this party was that Captain BlackBeard had stolen our treasure.. again.. This time in the dark, but his sock caught on a twig and unraveled as he ran. To find our treasure we had to follow the unraveled sock yarn. I unwound a 1 pound skein of yarn zigzagging around my parents yard. We did this in the dark to make it even more fun. There was a spooky graveyard and lots and lots of Halloween lights. We made smores using ghost peeps and spent hours playing in the cardboard ship.
This picture is kind of hard to make out, but we made boats out of walnut shells and then had a race blowing them down two gutters side by side.
This was a simple fort we built out of sheets. Our treasure consisted of broken jewelry, buttons, bits, and bobbles. Talk Like a Pirate Day does not need to cost a lot. Draw a map, wrap a cloth around your head, and begin to speak like a pirate. Instant memories. You can also find a lot of printable activities online. One year I hid gold coins and each coin had a clue where to find the next hint, and the last one was to the treasure. Another year I made a map and cut it apart and they had to find all the map pieces to find their treasure.
This was another ghostly hunt. I drew ghost faces on many MANY white balloons and hid them around the house. The kids had to find the ghosts and stun them (tap them with a light stick, which causes them to jump in the air a bit), trap them in pillowcases, and lock them in this dungeon (put them on the bed).
This is part of a maze I built in my parents back yard... I could not get the whole thing in one photo. It was a 64 by 62 foot maze of yarn and Popsicle sticks. I grafted it out on paper first so it was easy to put in. It took them two and a half hours to get though the maze to claim their treasure, so frustrating because they could see the old steamer truck treasure chest the whole time. Hehehe, I was such a stinker.
I made these dolls one year for my niece and nephew, They were hiding in the treasure chest, and I think they were well loved. Some crafts we did in years past were:
Coloring and cutting out pirate masks, Popsicle stick treasure chests, toilet paper tube telescopes, a skeleton made out of milk jugs, beaded necklaces, Jolly Roger coasters, and little pirate ships made out of just about anything and everything (pop bottles, shells, walnut shells, clay, milk cartons, origami, and so on and so forth). Once we traced ourselves on the driveway in chalk and then colored in our outlines to make pirate self portraits.
I hope that gives someone a few ideas.
So get out there me hearties, and have a jolly good whale of a time this Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Here is our third and final finished huge summer project! I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos, it has weakened my neck in such a way that there is pressure on my brain-stem and I am no longer able to balance on a regular bicycle. For someone who lived to bike this was a devastating blow.
So we bought a trike that does most of the balancing for me. The problem is, there are no good child seats or trailers for a trike. So we built one. This is how my trike looked before we added the bike seat. Words can't express how happy I am to be riding again. My inspiration for this project come from Green-Trust.Org
We used an old plywood shelf that was just taking up space in the garage for the box. The dimensions were taken from the pre-existing basket. They vary slightly from trike to trike.
We used L-brackets to assemble the box.
Then we painted and built a simple frame for a sunshade out of 1"X2". The seat was the most perplexing part. My sister-in-law gave us an old child bike cart and the problem was solved. We already owned and only had use for one (for Bear to take Panda out), so we took the seat out of the second cart and used it. This allows Panda to be in more of a sling type of seat that absorbs impact and makes for a smoother ride. There are also two seat belts so we can continue to use this rickshaw-trike should we have another child later on.
Now to decorate. This is the cloth and fringe we used for the sunroof. It works perfectly. The height of the roof was determined by where my back is when I'm riding. We needed it to sit higher than my back so it would not bump, but low enough to still provide shade. This was trial and error measurements that will be different for everybody.
The Rickshaw was attached using the same parts from the preexisting basket, but we did have to buy slightly longer bolts. When Panda grows we can raise the seat by moving up the screws and the bar in the back as needed.
A view from the back. We made sure to add plenty of reflectors.
So here we are back out on the road again. We attached the basket from the back to the front with some brackets and supports. This basket can hold up to four paper bags (three is a bit better), or a picnic basket and blanket quite nicely. It is great for outings, trips to the store, the local band-shell, the library, picnics, the park.. Really anything. We LOVE this bike!
Thanks for visiting.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
First I tuck in our blanket,. but leave the ends of it sticking out. Then we place an ice pack on it. The blanket acts as an insulator.
Next we put in the food items we want coldest. We really don't pack a lot (yes that is soda... A LOT of soda, but Bear is on vacation and we wanted something fun).
On the top of the blanket I like to add some items for play. For Panda we brought a gnome, a hand kite, a little car, a ladybug for tossing, a book, and some bubbles. This lets us sit just a little bit longer and enjoy the view while Panda is happily entertained. (The bubbles are always a huge hit). Way back when Bear and I were dating we would bring things like; a book to read together, bubbles, a Frisbee, and maybe a card game.
And that's how we pack a picnic basket.
And that's how we pack a picnic basket.
Mask of Chief Little Crow overlooking the falls.
The river was so flooded that some trails were completely washed away.