Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring cleaning, morning sky, papier mache dragons, and knit cuffs

So I got an itch to do something about some corners of my home that weren't working too well. Here's a 'before' shot of the chalkboard table and chairs that resided in our kitchen...a spot which always became a catchall for a basket of laundry.
And here's another corner...this is the living room and those are the couch cushions tossed on the chair there. On the floor is a basket of Plan City toys for the Parking Garage, which usually resides in the living room.And here's Lily's room. This was a bad, bad arrangement for many reasons. There just isn't a great place for these in her room and because of the placement they also were a catchall for laundry and toys, as you can plainly see. Ahem. Then, when they did get played with, all the toy food and dishes would somehow end up scattered everywhere in the room.
So! I moved the kitchen set *into* the kitchen! It works well there--the kids can cook while I cook (and they've already served me some yummy food!), there are already hooks there for their aprons, and my rule is that all the food and implements must stay on the green rug, so it keeps the mess contained. Yay!

And here's the living room--the chalk board table is now a blank canvas for artwork (chalk and eraser is in the bucket) and it's in close proximity to the bookshelf and library book basket for sitting down to read.And Lily's room is much more clutter-free. The ledge is now a perfect place to store a basket of her baby brother's toys. I love finding new ways to re-arrange and make our home and things work better for us.
I took this one morning last week--I think it was around 7 am. That blurred light above the neighbor's house across the street is the moon. The other blurred light is the porch light, I moved the camera too soon (um, there was a car coming and I still had my pj's on). But I still like this pic, the color of the sky is so pretty and there's the century old house across the street and the bare branches of the old maple...it's kinda neat.

Grace made this papier mache dragon from 'eragon' for a school project. I think it's 'Sapphira'. (I should know this). It turned out really cool.

Eric likes to knit! Here he is using his knitting spool while watching TV. That's a good use of TV time! He also has his own needles, but we haven't done that yet.
Here he is with his Superhero cuffs. "I can block lasers with them, just like Wonder Woman!" he says. I love that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

knitting (or not) in the park

One day last week we walked over to the park, it was so glorious out. It's March. In Indiana. Usually that consists of brown grass, frosts, even snow. And if not snow, then rain. This has been a March like no other though! The grass is green, my 'mini daffodils' (not sure of the correct term) are blooming, lilacs are budding. All way early! It's amazing. So this was a warm, almost 70 degree day and we packed down the stroller with drinks, snacks, toys, a blanket and my knitting. Then we walked downtown, across the river on the pedestrian bridge, and on the winding trails up to the park playground. I spread out the blanket and got out Calvin's toys and got out my knitting. What was Calvin most interested in? Mama's knitting. So sweet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

we came whirling

we came whirling
out of nothingness
scattering stars
like dust

the stars made a circle
and in the middle
we dance


Today I'm grateful for friends that love us and forgive hurts and welcome us back. For learning to hear the music and to dance to it unashamed. For continuing to learn who I am. For the determination to get back up when I fall and to show my children my own fraility and shortcomings...and to ask them for a fresh start, which they so freely give. For more love, more kindness, more of everything that's really important. For dancing on this earth with such amazing people that are in my life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

signs of spring!

I couldn't believe it when I swung the back gate open yesterday and saw this. Tulips! Lilac buds! It's still so early in March, but we've had unseasonably warm weather. Crazy. I'm trying to remember when they usually start coming up. It's so exciting! I can't say that I have big gardening plans this year, though I definitely want to plant some more perennials, and if it works out (if not this year, then next), do a co-op vegetable garden with friends. I'm anxious to see what comes back from what little I did manage to plant next year. I do have these large front flowerbeds that I hope to make a mass of color with perennials and annuals in the next few years.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

the knitting saga continues...

Eight years ago I had a neighbor that was teaching herself to knit from a book. I was intrigued, and since Martha Stewart knits (and she and I were constantly sharing Martha wisdom and mags), I thought 'hmm! I should learn to knit too!' I tried. Really hard. For like, a day. Then my neighbor moved away and I tried to put it out of my mind. I hung on to needles I'd enthusiastically bought from a garage sale somewhere along the way. Then 3 years ago I discovered a book, Kids Knitting, by Melanie Falick. A-ha! I thought, if it's written for kids, I just know I can learn! Uhhh, no. Even my attempts at making my own needles from wood dowels as per the book (maybe wood would work better for me than metal or plastic? I wondered) didn't do the trick. So again, I put the needles and yarn away.

So fast forward to recently and my still lingering wish to learn to make fabric from yarn with my own 2 hands. I discovered that 3 of my friends kinda know how to knit. I also found out there are local knitting groups. A friend and I went to one and I had someone show me how. I could actually do it (some)! The next day all of what I thought I'd learned had left me. I went to the library and checked out more books on knitting and went to youtube (love youtube!) and watched some tutorials. I'm slowly getting it. I can't imagine doing anything but the casting on and the basic knit stitch (seed stitch? purling? CABLES? how the ****?!) but baby steps, right?

I'm excited too, my kids also want to learn and I will be able to show them how.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Way better than a regular coloring book!

My kids, when they get a new coloring book as a present, only tend to color a few pages and then lose interest. This is why, when I periodically clean out the craft cabinet, I end up recycling a stack of partly used coloring books. And why, when I saw this wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary coloring book by Taro Gomi, I had to get it and see how the kids liked it. It offers direction but gives the user creative license. They have already spent a lot of time with this book (both the 11 and 6 year olds--the 3 year old will grow into it more). There are other books in the 'series'--I imagine we will be acquiring them all!