Wednesday, September 18, 2013

considering balance as autumn equinox approaches

as much as i was holding on to summer, i have to admit, the autumn season brings a satisfying order. we are much better at organizing our days and getting out of the house, at least most of the time. and i am far more prone to focusing on crafts and walks (rather than picnics and swimming) to enliven our days. yesterday we got ourselves into our woods. 

it had been a while, really. there were changes. areas of tall grass that arose after the abundant summer rains. large fallen branches that had been precariously propped up by surrounding trees lay shattered on the forest floor. and our little "beach" and wading area along the creek had taken on a new shape altogether.

it was temperate and dry with exquisite light falling and rolling back at repeat intervals. no humidity. no rumbles of an impending storm. a great sense of ease in the outdoor world.

we gathered pods and acorns and bark and bits of forest and returned to our deck to fashion a mobile. tristan was frustrated with the project and proclaimed it "stupid," but i knew he would be pleased with the end result.

it hangs in the middle of our living room, dancing through the days with us, seeking balance as autumn equinox approaches. seeking balance, as we all must.

it makes tristan jump with joy!

all the beautiful back lighting (and living room clutter) made it very difficult to photograph! 

inspiration was found here.

i really love how it is a constant reminder of the need for balance. i hope to bring my family relationships, home life, and creativity back into balance this autumn season. summer was full of distraction and distance, even though we were all very close together much of the time. autumn is the season to gather together, to collect the autumn harvest, to cook, create, feast, and celebrate. and my mother is moving here from michigan! i look forward to each of these days, the opening of the busy but productive field. 

what do you hope to bring in balance as the equinox approaches? 
as the light balances with the dark, it is an amazing opportunity to adjust your intentions! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

where we are

it's been one of those weeks where my mind reached a peak of mama madness and then climbed back down quickly. wasn't sure i was going to make it to level ground without falling, but i did. yes i did. and now i'm back on the path, one foot after another. breathe. breathe. 

here are some scenes from around the ranch.

happily, the antique singer is humming again. i'm very pleased, but wish my machine with fancy stitches worked as i've been inspired and want a little more stitching freedom. ah well. i'm beginning to prepare for the holiday market (oh i am so very behind on production) and am adding in these new reversible mug mandalas. many more to come, and what a great way to use up all those fabric scraps! i plan to add in cloth napkin rings as well.  hoping to expand the offerings for those who are not seeking baby gifts!

the blankets are off to a slow start. but there will be blankets. and bibs. yes indeed.

meet buck nekked. 
yea, that's how we roll some days. 
he harvested potatoes. just a few. 
they were delicious.

he washed off in the wading pool afterwards. wow was it hot this week.

but today it has dropped like 20 degrees. lovely autumn is approaching. the small garden is drying out. there is one tiny pumpkin turning orange. green tomatoes dangle among dying leaves, slowly turning red. small zucchinis and cucumbers continue.

and the acorns are beginning to rain down. i think we may need hard hats!

autumn light invigorates us before the darkness of winter settles in.

and this is our cat loki, who lives up to his name. he is a very, very naughty 11 year old cat. but isn't he ever so handsome? his sister luna is hiding somewhere.

the corgi is our neighbor dog, dorothy, who likes to visit us sometimes and clean our floor by snuffling around for crumbs. she and loki recently met. i was proud of my boy cat who is generally terrified of dogs. he hung out for a while, staring her down. she looks a little nervous. 

and now i am dreaming of having a dog!

thanks for visiting!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

best of the borrowed books

the library is a primary destination for my children and i. there is always a huge slippery stack of library books in our living room. we visit several of the regional libraries quite regularly and go through magnificent book after magnificent book. the one disadvantage is that, unless i keep close track of the remarkable reads, i don't necessarily remember their titles and authors. 

thus best of the borrowed books is born! i'll be focusing on picture books, as they are the core of my visits to the library with tristan. but also because picture books are the great cross roads of language arts and visual arts.

it may be hard to narrow it down really. i pulled these four out of a stack of about 15 books, and the only reason i didn't continue pulling out more is that the lighting for picture taking was bad. i do apologize in advance for the poor images. 

the first book i pulled out of the pile was jazz baby by lisa wheeler and r. gregory christie.

the text of the book reads like a jazz tune, and there is a baby directing the show. who can resist a baby that says, "go, man, go!"

parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles join in to dance and scat until baby falls into a sweet sleep. it's fun to read, look at, and think about. and it is a great introduction to jazz, the feel of jazz, and the fun of it!

i think i like the idea behind on meadowview street more than anything. written and illustrated by henry cole, it is about a girl and her family who move into a shiny new home in a housing development where there are no trees, and certainly no meadows.

you've seen these developments crop up everywhere, and maybe even live in a beautiful new house nestled in one. first the clear cut, then the complete upturning of the earth, and then house after house after house on streets with names like sylvan forest, wildberry lane, and grassy knoll.

caroline of meadowview street has an idea. as her dad starts to mow the lawn she asks that he protect one flower. and then a few flowers. and then a whole patch of them. dad realizes the beauty and diversity in the patch, and pitches the lawnmower. they continue to enhance their natural habitat until their yard transforms into a beautiful nature sanctuary.

the neighbors eyeball the transformation with suspicion and fascination. 
but will they follow suit?

the circus ship by chris van dusen is an entertaining romp with sharp illustrations and great empathy for animals.

there is a little bit of drama.


and humor! and what is better than being able to tell your children that the other worldly story you just read is based on a true event?

another such story based on a true event is the wonder horse, by the beloved emily arnold mccully.

even the horse's animal loving veterinarian owner, a former slave named bill key, doesn't think this awkward little foal has much hope.

but the foal is feisty and determined and ends up being brilliant, a horse that can read, distinguish colors, and make change from a cash register. so his owner takes him on the road, where he loves to entertain.

but of course there are haters who try to bring  his show down, not only because they think the show is fake, but because they are likely quite racist. you will have to read it to find out how bill key handles the haters!

there were several other books we loved out of our pile. stars by mary lyn ray and marla frazee. minette's feast, by susanna reich. and the baby in the hat by alan ahlberg and andre amstutz. but alas, you will have to click the links to learn more about those!