Today marks day four of  “spring break” for the institution where I teach.  This year I have been reveling in a number of projects at a relaxing pace.  Yesterday L4 was sorely disappointed because I wouldn’t let her go play in the fickle, yet harsh weather.  To distract her I said, “Do you want to paint with me?”  This is almost universally greeted with shouts of joy and yesterday was no exception.

Box of Paints

She pulled out a canvas, brushes and her old paint smock.  Then she went to town squeezing out colors into her little paint tray while I pulled out a few muted shades and squirted a bit onto my tray and rolled the brayer through them.

L4's Pallete

L4 began dabbing colors about and painting the word “love” on her canvas.

L4's full canvas

I pulled out my canvas prepped from the day before with a symbolic-to-me collage.

Growth in progress

Side by side we sunk into our respective projects.  It was just plain good.  All too soon it was time to stop and put away our materials and get my girl out to her bus.  Just a day in a life, but it a happy one.

It’s here!  I am honored to be a contributor again to this beautiful publication.


My piece is entitled, “The Sign of the Robin.”  I’m also part of the give-away being hosted to celebrate the launch of the spring edition here.  Thank you to all of you who come and visit me here as your presence encouraged me to write for ROTH.  And to those of you who are visiting for the first time as a result of ROTH, I’m so glad to have you here.  Welcome!

Now–go check out all the amazing projects and articles in the Spring Edition!

First Plantings 2011My yearly February ritual of planting the tiny little black seeds that will become aromatic additions to our meals in the form of onions.

How many of you find the smell of wet soil uplifting? I do, at least in February when the soil is generally under snow which may or may not be white and the sky is generally some shade of gray. I drop into the rhythm of garden beginnings with glee: pour the soil, add the water, mix it around almost kneading it like bread dough, fill the cells, drop the seeds, cover, begin again. This happened a little over a week ago… And now?

Onion Seedlings 2011

Oh yes, the time has begun.  My onion seeds have sprouted along with some seeds I started for a friend’s garden.  I’m still waiting on the reticent celery seedlings to make an appearance. Despite the rain washing over our snowy world today with nary a sunbeam in sight there are these slim bright green stems that can not help but brighten the room (that and their grow lights). Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more about the rhythm of spring in our family, so stay tuned!

Ode to a Hat

Snap Pea Rosa 2

My ears aren’t cold outside anymore. Thanks, Amanda!

Snap Pea Rosa 3

I was able to use yarn leftover from other projects. Thanks, thrifty me.

Snap Pea Rosa 1

I took a picture of my face, full frontal view. I never do this. In fact, I like to avoid shots of my face altogether. You might have noticed that in this space. Thanks to my word for 2011, growth. (And thanks to L1, my personal Holly King, for giving me the gift of this word.)

After Many (More) Days

Last spring I wrote about finally carving a stamp after wanting to for so long.  I actually carved a couple of other things since then, and have 1 little project which I starting embroidering, much like I did on this one. But honestly, I haven’t touched any of it since November.  On Friday morning I was catching up on blogs and read this post by Melissa at Tiny Happy.  That was all it took, despite not feeling my best due to impending cold virus of some sort, I hopped up off the couch and pulled out my carving materials and journal with sketches.  L4 sat across from me with her own journal and creative material and we both happily passed the morning.

Bird carving 1

Bird Carving 2

That afternoon I was set to take a friend out for her birthday and had been waiting for inspiration to strike for wrapping up her hand knit gift.

Bird Carving 3

I feel a little silly to admit that I was more excited about the stamp I created and used than the socks on which I had spent countless hours creating tiny, tiny stitches. I loved knitting the socks and was happy with how they came out (see them here, here, and here).  But that little birdie (my mother’s nickname for me!) reminded me of the other creative pursuits which I love and all the new skills to learn.  A gift to me, then, too.

{this moment}

Hat & Kitty Love

From Soulemama: “{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

Buttons Get Me Every Time

Every time I try to finish a project, that is.  Or maybe I should say “closures” do?  Exhibit A: L4’s Roo coat, Exhibit B: My Ambrosia sweater, Exhibit C, L4’s birthday sweater last year, Exhibit D, a sweater I finished in January and just sewed a button onto yesterday:

Claret Sark 1

Claret Sark 2

Pattern: Tumeric by Veera

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock in oxblood

Mods: I put the button on the neckline instead of the pleat because it tipped forward when at the bottom of the pleat.  If I was going to go through all the trouble of finding a good button, I wanted to be able to see it!  Find any other ramblings about the project here on Ravelry.

Two of the above listed projects still don’t have closures.

Stylish Clothes for My Girl

Last fall I bought this book amidst all of my holiday handmade frenzy because L4 is starting to get too big for the patterns in some of my other Japanese sewing books:

Stylish Clothes for GirlsI want this dress for me!

Some of the Patterns InsideHow cute are those kids and their clothes?  Any wonder I bought this book?

After having her peruse it for patterns she liked, it promptly was put aside in order to finish all of the gifts I was making.  January came and I actually traced and cut a pattern and even cut the fabric for it:

Dress Beginnings

Then it sat, again, going “nah-nah, nah-nah” at me on my sewing desk.  Why?  Usually the lack of directions in English doesn’t bother me, I’ve sewn enough that I can blaze ahead and figure things out.  One step of this dress simply confounded me, so I ignored it for many weeks.  I finally had at it again and ignored the directions and just made it sort of look like the picture without doing all that I was supposed to for it.

Guess what?

Dancing in the New Dress

Come closer so I can tell you…

Dress G, Front

*** She didn’t care!***

As soon as I showed her the finished dress she said, “Mama, I love it!” Then L4 hugged it to her body and found jeans to wear with it to school that very day.  She was also very obliging in allowing me to photograph her in it before school, dancing all about and posing as she pleased.

New Dress Happiness

Her favorite part about the dress isn’t the colors (some of her favorites) or polka dots (again, a favorite of hers) or even the large pockets on the front of it (who doesn’t like pockets on a dress?).  “Mama, it’s such a good twirling dress!”

Dress G, Back

Yes, yes it is, my love.

Hearts and Crafts

Brownie Hearts

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s brownies, the valentine day treat L1 & I made for our family to have tonight. We all had the “edges” of them last night. You know, so they wouldn’t go to waste!

This year both kids made their valentines. One of them reveled in it, made it all after seeing some fun examples online. The other was excited at first, then it was like pulling teeth every step of the way to get them finished on Sunday evening to take to school the next day. Can you guess which was which?

Valentine MakingLook, the iPad is open to the Smitten Kitchen recipe while the kids crafted away

Regardless, they both got them done and it was fun for me to see how they each decided to do theirs. This year we attached some yummy organic lollipops to each and the leftovers were hidden in a cabinet.

Now it’s Monday and I’ve ignored my grading since last Wednesday.  It’s going to wait a bit longer this morning, too, while I catch a ride on the trainer and take the dog out.  It seems we’re back to gray skies here again today after multiple days of sunshine in a row.

Wishing you all an easeful transition to Monday and the week ahead.

{this moment}

Super-Sized Peasy

From Soulemama: “{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”