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Archive for the ‘Family and friends’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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My son might like green hair, but we all like math in our house.  So much that we attended Math Night at the kids’ school.  It was fun!!  We had 3 different rotations during the evening.  At two of them we played games with the kids, adding twists to classic card games like War.

Math Night 2

The third had the kids in the library learning about the math books there and some websites with computer games and we were in the auditorium with the principal and vice-principle where they discussed tips and strategies for homework and gave us a fantastic list of resources for math literature and websites with age-appropriate learning games.

Math Night 1_1

The only downside was the time, as it went until 8 o’clock at which point my children become pumpkins.  Seriously, the last five minutes were excruciating.  We were playing cards and L3 got a gloating smile on his face when he won a round, which his sister immediately recognized and which immediately sent her over the edge of being tired into a place of where we wanted the ground to swallow us whole–until we started distracting her.  Thank goodness for distractions!  We made it out alive and home and everyone snuggled into bed without too much more fuss.  The blip at the end was worth the evening of fun with numbers.  What can I say?  We’re a family of nerds. 🙂

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That’s what I think when I knit or sew anything for my boy now.  He’s nine and a half, and someday soon I feel like it just won’t be cool to wear something his mama has made for him and that he won’t be snuggling in my lap anymore (or he won’t fit in it!).  Each time he is happy with what I’ve made him, it’s a little celebration.  I finally got pictures of him wearing his solstice sweater and thought I’d share here.

Thistle Waistcoat 4_1

Thistle Waistcoat 3_1

Thistle Waistcoat 5_1

Knitting Stats

Pattern: Boy’s waistcoat by Katya Frankel, size 30″

Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Woodland in Prussian Blue

Knitting friends, this yarn was great!  It’s a wool/nettle blend.  Yes, I knit with nettles!  It has a lovely drape to it and spit spliced like a dream. 🙂

No mods to this pattern, save for leaving off the pockets.  Vests for the men-folk are rocking my knitting world!  Someday I’ll share the progress on L1’s vest.  Knitting is getting a bit difficult as the winter ravages the skin on my fingertips.  My skin keeps snagging on my wool, not pleasant.

Thistle Waistcoat 1_1My not-so-little boy in his serious photo-shoot mode!

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Cool Kid

My boy, that is. He’s 9 and uses words like “sick” to describe something he likes and has an opinion on how he wants his hair cut now. This opinion includes wanting color in it. Not permanent, but color to accentuate the style. I will admit here and now that I love it. Despite the oppositional moments, it’s fun to watch him being his own person each day.

And the color? I always thought I wouldn’t want to color my own hair. But between my boy’s adventurous nature and the increasing number of silver strands in mine, I have been tempted. I’ll probably just keep thinking about it and not actually act on the impulse in my head that says, “you need streak of color to braid in!”

How about you, do you color?  Why or why not? Any gentle on you & nature options that anyone has tried?

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Pyorre No More

You see that? It’s what is left of L1’s sweater I was making him for his 35th birthday. He turned 36 in December. Yes, I’m that brilliant of a wife. Once upon a time those balls were two sleeves and about 10 inches of the body of a really great sweater. But I didn’t enjoy working on it AT ALL. I was feeling guilty when I didn’t work on it, but unhappy when I did knit it. It was not a good combination.

So as I finished this sweater I knit for a friend:
Sanguine Sigh 3I frogged L1’s sweater. Dear as Tracey is to me, she isn’t my husband. But she got a sweater from me (or will soon, it’s in the mail!) and L1 didn’t.

He takes it all in stride and has happily agreed to a lovely zipper front sweater vest (no sleeves, hurray!). The yarn has been ordered for it because, sadly, the fiber I was using for the frogged sweater is not the right weight. I think it’s going to go toward my boy’s birthday sweater (whatever that might be!) this coming summer. Lest you think L1 is a complete saint, I have knit him a completed sweater in the past, sleeves included:
L1's Drizzle

Now I think I’ll keep knitting the sweater for me…

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