Sunday, January 27, 2013

no two flurries alike

snow. my childhood winters were steeped in snow.

i can't say i long for those long, dark, frigid winters where scraping ice from windshields was a morning ritual. but i do love a rare central virginia snowfall now and again. the transformation of all the world's clutter to mounds of white sparkle is truly a gift. there is a fragile grace even to cars slowly making their way along an unplowed road. a bird lands on a snowy branch. a cat carefully paws through the heavy.

i was called to a birth in the early morning hours of our most recent snow. the fifteen mile drive into town was slick and sketchy in places, but very manageable. luckily i was able to pull around a pick up truck that was spinning out on a rise in the road.

i feel so fortunate to have witnessed the purest snow hours of the early morning, and to have that magical scene tied to an equally magical birth. what a way to begin a day! i returned home to a roaring fire in the woodstove, popovers that tristan and tashi had baked, and an afternoon of napping and play. school was canceled and tashi was in her wintry element. even though she was born in california, she has a fair bit of a northern snow maiden in her blood.

and to bring a close to the day, dan and i saw yo la tengo play in charlottesville's jefferson theater. the bitter subteens night was nothing but hot in the theater. they performed a perfect blend of music that mesmerizes and melts. i was blissed out, even in the most discordant moments. it was a rare and beautiful thursday.

the following pictures are from yesterday afternoon, two days after the snow, mostly melted but for a few patches that allowed for a tiny snow baboushka and sneaky snowball fight.

what will this week bring? forecasts call for freezing rain tomorrow, temperatures in the high 60's the following day, a possibility of severe thunderstorms wednesday, and by friday, more snow. is it spring? or is it a new season altogether, one yet unnamed? what ever it may be, enjoy each day, each a reminder of mother nature's power over us all!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

cold day doldrums

the camera, the blog, both have been a bit idle lately. the winter chill has set in.

tristan demanded yogurt with bananas and honey for breakfast. three bowls of it. and then he complained of being cold.

i enjoyed baked eggs with goat cheese and herbs. i didn't have heavy cream or fresh basil on hand, but milk worked well, and dry basil was also just fine. this dish is delicious and easy! and warm!

i made tristan some playdough later in the day. he had a giant melt down when he learned i'd made orange playdough. i thought he'd enjoy the sunny color on a dark day, especially since he loves tangerines, mango, carrots, and orange cheese. but as a wise friend pointed out, maybe orange is meant only for food. not a prize winning parenting moment for me. i thought he'd be overjoyed by the surprise, but his glee crumpled into a full on tantrum when i offered him the warm ball of fresh orange dough. my adult indignation rose to the surface and i hurled it into the trash. this did not help, not at all. dan offered some perspective, "don't be mad at him. his hair is heavy."

he came around later, and so did i, after lots of hugs and new library books. and i made a second batch of green playdough. but it was a rough patch there for a while. (recipe for playdough, below)

and tashi, she recently finished up a stunning collage project for art class. she printed out a photo of tristan in his halloween jester hat and duplicated it with hundreds of tiny magazine pieces. this is the work in progress:

i assumed she had used the hole puncher to make those tiny circles in the hat, but she said she cut them all out herself. well, there is a creative fire to bask in the warmth of!

homemade playdough (half this recipe makes plenty)

1 cup flour
1 tbs oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
food coloring (14+ drops)

put dry ingredients in a pan and shake a little to mix. add wet ingredients and stir. 
heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms. cool. knead.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

pillow talk

a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow - charlotte bronte

alas, i made tashi a pillow, the ruffle pillow from sweetwater's simple home 
(a book found on clearance recently). it is a belated birthday gift, 
a little something mixy matchy to go with her new comforter.

my sister-in-law gave me this delicious piece of aquamarine chenille that i used on the backside. 

the ruffles, made from baby blanket scraps, are sewn onto a nice piece 
of greenish linen i had in my collection. 

it was a very easy project, great for a beginner.

last year i made her this pillow, my first attempt at log cabin quilting. 

she is a busy teenager with a busy bedroom!

i put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when i could not sleep i wrote in the dark 
henry david thoreau

Sunday, January 06, 2013

hand made (or assembled) for the holidays

aside from all the baking of biscotti, cookies, granola, and granola bars that's been going on around here lately, and aside from all the blanket & bib sewing i did for the holiday market, there were a few precious handmade gifts that found their way under the tree, and there are even a few yet to come! i blogged a while ago about the tiny trinkets tote i made for tristan. gratefully, we managed to make a few more things.

for tristan, tashi found some like-new hard cover copies of winnie-the-pooh and the house at pooh corner at a thrift store, sans dust covers. so she made her own dust covers. pretty sweet, eh? she has been reading the books, chapter by chapter, to her little brother, who is loving it. and my heart melts.

i put together an outdoor exploration kit for tashi and tristan, inspired by this book, also thrifted.

i had all sorts of ambitions about what i would make for the kit, and what i would find for the kit, which didn't entirely play out. but i think it turned out pretty well regardless. 

firstly i wanted to make an outdoor collection bag for both tristan and tashi. i managed to eke out tristan's on christmas eve, and i still owe tashi hers. i will either make a tashi-sized version of the same bag, or another bag altogether. 

this one is amy karol's simple tote, from bend the rules sewing. i apologize about the quality of the phone photos, taken late on christmas eve!

here is the kit, with all its stuff!

a couple of magnifying glasses. . .

a few guide books (to add to the bird, herb, night sky, and stone guides we already have around the house):

 some notebooks & pencils, for sketching out and writing down observations. . .

a sunprint kit, bird alphabet coloring book, and few books about the mysteries of nature for tashi to read to tristan. they had a successful first session of exploration, though tristan was determined to find bugs, and there are very few aside from stink bugs this time of year. he will learn a lot from exploring the outdoors with tashi, and they will learn a lot together. more heart melt-age.

every time we go to the toy store downtown tristan spends the entire time playing with the little table top sand boxes. so we made one. i found this wooden box for $1. we scooped up some sand from our outdoor sandbox. and we found this collection of cast iron space toys to add in. moonwalk anyone?

of course sand gets on the floor. so the wooden box sits in this bigger cardboard box, which helps.

i picked up these cloth napkins for the family, made from recycled cotton. and then i made some napkin holders with pearly snaps. i came up with the idea for the napkin holders, though i'm sure there are dozens of similar and/or identical patterns all over the internet! oh and the hedgehog and tree stump? they are salt and pepper shakers, found at a favorite local crafty store, o' suzannah. need an owl or a hedgehog or a spotted mushroom? visit o' suzannah!

in addition to owing tashi an outdoor exploration bag, i owe her a pillow, promised at her birthday, to match her new bedroom decor (comforter, rug, and lamp, none hand made!). and so a ruffle pillow from sweetwater's handmade home is in progress. it should only take an hour or two to assemble, but i must admit, a post holiday laze has taken over me. so i have all the fabrics picked out, and only the front and back fabrics cut out!

finally, here is tristan, working on his hand art kit, gifted to him from aunt nari. googly eyes, pom poms, crayons, and glue = true love.

by the way, part two is coming, where i show off the amazing things my mother knit for all of us!

did you make or gift or receive anything handmade for the holidays? 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

decade and one half

yesterday my daughter turned 15. she is as beautiful and sweet as ever. we are so fortunate to have her on our team, a partner in the journey. i learn so much from her. she is wise, kind, creative, and funny. she is talented and strong. she is a source of inspiration and great depths of love. it is difficult watching her grow so quickly, but it is also amazing. what a beautiful woman she is becoming. she is a source of light in a troubled world, and i am eternally grateful to her for that.

we treated her and her friend rachel to lunch at a favorite indian restaurant, milan.

we communed with some neighbors.

we relaxed

and had cake

and there were some presents too

happy new year, tashi! 
i will never forget that day 15 years ago when i gazed into your eyes for the first time. 
a tumultuous journey brought you to earth and we both landed softly in the radiance of pure love.