Monday, December 29, 2008

rainbow baby

Playing with sisters' silk scarves this afternoon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happiest of Holidays!

Us on Christmas Eve, after the obligatory jammie opening.

Beating a dead horse...but I still love the family star, and this shot has Marian toes, Reuben cheeks

AND a spit bubble. If you look very closely. See? Irresistible.

More when I find that rouge memory card...

(with all of the wrapping tossing, I am very very scared)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

fairy block puzzle

I love fairies. I especially love Cicely Mary Barker's sumptuous flower fairy illustrations. I check her books out from the library for the girls every now and then, and am kind of surprised when they don't get much reading. I finally admitted to myself the reason: her poetry just isn't that great. So I decided not to feel sacrilegious when I took an exacto knife to 2 of her mini books in making flower fairy blocks for the girls. We like the paintings best.

I found used books for a minimal price on Amazon (like this), and 1 1/4" wood cubes from Casey's Wood Products (I've also seen them at craft stores). The flower fairy paintings were a close match to the measurements of a 6-block (2x3) of the cubes: 2 1/2" x 3 3/4". You could recycle your own building or alphabet blocks for this project; just adjust the measurements accordingly.

I first cut the fairy pages with an exacto knife.The next step was to use a paper cutter to trim the prints to 2 1/2" x 3 3/4", then into 1 1/4" squares. I matched each paper square to a face of the cube, sometimes trimming another bitty slice off of an edge to make sure it fit the face without overhanging. Those little edges just wouldn't hold up to play & transport.
I used Mod Podge, glossy, since that's what I had on my shelves (I decided to use a smaller brush than the foam one pictured). I wiped a thin, but thorough, coat of Mod Podge on the wood, then quickly adhered the print square and finger-burnished it. I used another coat of Mod Podge to seal the surface, giving extra attention to the edges. Turn each cube on its side & repeat.
The Mod Podge was dry to the touch within a couple of minutes, but I split the gluing into two sessions a day apart, doing 4 faces the first day and 2 the second, to let them dry further, then dried them on a shelf, turning occasionally, for another week before packaging.

I froze on my great idea a bit mid-way through the purchases, afraid it would turn out sloppy, but was pleased at how easily and prettily they came out. I made 2 sets, one for each fairy in our household, and although I know 10 is a bit too old for block puzzles, the similar floral motifs could make them really pretty challenging, especially if the sets get mixed. I thought they'd be a good sit-still or take-to-church activity. The finished sets have a nice feel and almost do the illustrations justice.

morning smiles. sort of.

My winter baby sees precious little sun, but it's bright in the mornings in our bedroom. Reuben, fat and fed and rested, loves the light, and does his best smiling then.

Poorly (UN--I'm too lazy/time strapped to learn how) edited and of course not his best work, but this video is a bit of a peek at our wee darling, if you're one of those who wants to see how he moves his delicious parts. You know how it goes: baby is being cute, so you fetch the camera/flip, and return to the "hey, I was neglected!" baby who does not respond as well to a metal/plastic thing as to his beloved mama's face. Even when you do the good trick of placing the camera next to your face instead of in front of it. Because that just makes your picture get wonky/uncentered/focus on the wall. Oh, and guess what? Flip cameras don't focus well at 6". You can see a lot of Audrey's favorite thing: teeny lips in a round little O.

This is about a week ago, and especially for my sister Camie, who insisted on it. Thanks for loving him, even unseen, sweet sis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

At the goat house lately...

Life is all about baby here.
In the yummy ear-nibbling, sweet milky breath way.
And the please-will-you-sleep-for-just-one-hour
and the what can be making your soul so sad/angry/please stop crying ways
(blessedly only for a few hours in the evening)

one month old & sporting gifts from friend Holly: hand-knit cap & Under the Nile organic layette long-sleevie. A friend who really "gets" me.

It's hard to be so small and so clueless.

But so loved, too. The girls are working him in. Also a little bit of Christmas prep. The girls have sweet projects going, many of their own design, and I'm doing at least half of what I'd planned :).

a goates girls collaboration that's progressingowl babies: I'm afraid they fall into the "what I feel like making/not necessarily what the recipient wants" gift category. But c'mon: they're cutie! (and bamboo-soft). Tiny and simplified version of this sewing stars pattern. Given with the book, of course. And there will be a nest!

Friday, December 5, 2008

one month

and getting plumper

Saturday, November 15, 2008

the upside of being down

After a week pretty much off-computer, I just spent a happy 1/2 hour on favorite blogs (I really need to update my sidebar, list from 2 years ago...), and have 461 posts left. And now a diaper change.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

for the big sisters

It's a Frandsen family tradition for the baby to bring gifts to his older siblings. Reuben inspired the making of these little baby care sets, using the wee darlings I gave the girls for Christmas from Aunt Boo's Babies (I linked her "sold" page because her shop is pretty much empty and here you can admire and hope she starts working more soon...not that I am...) Felt birdy toy, linen embroidered bib, rattles (crocheted cotton wristlets with rose quartz and labradorite), silver spoon (hammered silver wire), washcloths and blanket made from Reuben's own scraps.


I've never heard of a greater infant smiler than my own wee man. Every feeding is followed by sleepy bliss and slow-crawling smiles, and I can often coax them out by kissing his cheeks. My baby books may disagree, but my Reuben knows pleasure and quick smiles are part of his code. I've spent much time trying to catch one; these just-off-peak blurs are my best evidence:

baby baby mine

I have had grand plans of sorting the couple of hundred baby photos we have (can't erase a one) and writing out the birth story (exhilarating but hard) and writing a new e-mail that goes to current addresses (Nathan sent a next-morning one using a 3-year-old list of "who we send newsletters to") and...I still will. May very well.

But until then, by order of my sister Mindy, here are some photos of Reuben. On his one-week birthday, which was two days ago. It already makes me catch my breath that he is bigger than that now; I both feel slightly faint that this much time has passed I may not have cherished enough and panicked at the thought of the very recent past: I need the postnatal recovery of all body systems to continue, God-speed!

Reuben Anders Wilde Goates, 8 # 7 oz, 21", 5:56 pm, 11/4/08. Another post soon on being born on election day: a most auspicious time for birth and beginnings.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

mama to mama

Amanda Soule has started a new website: Mama to Mama. It's beginning by gathering help for mum-to-mum craftivism, a lovely concept that is pretty much handmade service opportunities: crafting for good. Her own description writes:

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again."
-Stephen Grellet

As crafters, the reasons we create are many. Just one may be to spread a little bit of peace into the world, to make a small but meaningful difference in one person's life through a simple act of crafting with intention. Mama to Mama seeks to find ways to connect handcrafters with mothers, children and families in need of a little bit of handmade love.

The first project, due December 10th, is gathering newborn caps for a Maine-based organization that benefits Haiti, and offers an easy PDF pattern for making knotted caps from old T-shirts. Read all of the details, and send 'em in. A family at our school recently adopted 3 beautiful children from a Haitian orphanage, so our family has been particularly sensitive to the need in that struggling country. Luckily, I have a boxful of old tees :), and my girls will love helping with the choosing & sewing. I'm personally grateful for a good service start to our holiday gifting and wanting, and will post pictures of our caps soon. And want to see yours!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Photo tag

Heather photo-tagged me today: show the 4th photo in your 4th folder. Hers was much more appropriate for Halloween: a mouse tumor (her husband is a biologist). We're just a season off: goat & Mare, sledding in 2003.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

morning light

My little stack of blankets & burpers (isn't there a better word for these? seems kind of coarse).

All of the blankets are single layers, bound with bias tape: the two flannel with packaged ones, and the bamboo fleece with tape I made. I made the flannel ones thin to be good swaddlers, in case that's this baby's preference, and 45" square. The packaged tape is kind of scratchy, so I decided not to use it for the burp cloths. I just stitched a double layer, quick-turned & top-stitched. With inexpert leaf & cloud motifs machine quilted on top. Audrey turned everything last night into a talk show, "Lights", so I narrated the whole process of making the green toile one. If her imagination ever gets a direct line to youtube, then I'll imbed the tutorial :). Marian is halfway done sewing a burp cloth with the fabric she chose; hopefully we'll be able to work on it tomorrow & show you on her blog.

Did I mention how much I love this bamboo? The last blanket was big, so this was just 36" square. And I can't wait to put a naked baby on it. My family is going to be so thrilled when I stop being pregnant and sneakily turning down the heat :). They're all freezing...

love note

I need to buy a scanner...but in the mean time, will share a slightly-fuzzed photo of a note Marian wrote me when I was gone a few weekends ago to an Exponent II retreat and she was lonesome.

She loves me. But I am, fortunately, not her only hope.

and I finally go to bed :P

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

bees leaves

I found a nice sample of leaves on campus when I picked up Audrey yesterday (early to avoid the Sarah Palin crowd traffic: she came to our tiny university & it was crazy to see the lines...) and borrowed resurrection fern's beeswax preservation idea to keep 'em bright. I didn't have those lovely thin beeswax sheets, so made my own by melting a beeswax chunk in a parchment-lined pan, cooling, then placing the resulting sheet over my leaves. Less pretty, but when I melted the whole thing in the oven, the bottoms were covered adequately without using a bottom sheet of wax. Mid-melt: I removed the hot leaves with tweezers & let the excess wax drip off while still nice and hot to keep the beeswax thin & transparent. These are waxed: Note to self: don't cook the leaves. Our seasonal tableau yesterday, arrangement by Audrey!


We had two lovely leaf afternoons, but it's been rainy (the same storms that have postponed the World Series in our fine state) and our piles of leaves are just not as nice lately. So I'm grateful for these moments in my favorite season.
(Audrey thought her leaf landing yielded a bird's nest, and the bird needed a good tootin' call.)
We have two 80-year old sycamore trees in our yard, far too tall to be explorable (and no low branches for climbing; you can see one behind me), and most of the leaves are about hand-sized. But every once in a while one of these GIANTS flutter down, and I think mystical thoughts about the topmost branches...
During my last labor, a photo of Audrey was really key to keeping me focused and determined: this is why! I remembered. I think this will be the one I take with me...very soon. A lucky boy to have such sisters.

sewing for baby

Yesterday in the midwife/OB practice waiting room, Marian and I found a handy layette guide and I, with my first boy (pink polka dots I have saved not as charming) & first winter baby (he's going to freeze!), went into a sudden "not enough blankets!" panic. Luckily, we passed a fabric store on the way home and both chose our favorite flannel. I finished sewing this fabric tonight:Other baby sewing has been pretty much focused on crib sheets for the crib & cradle, as well as some covers for the inflatable diaper changing pad shown below. Sewn from my beloved green leaf Kaufman bamboo print (Meg sent me more this week in a darling baby package: thank you! I was down to selvage strips...) and a super-clearanced IKEA duvet I bought for the express purpose of cutting up and using its soft cotton textured weave for my new sweetheart.My other fabric passion is a very plush 100% bamboo fleece I bought from Both sides are ultra-soft, so the two blankets I've made use a single layer. It's really, really lovely, and stays nice after washing. This one is bound with a nice chocolate linen, with a sweet little guild of the forest fern hedgie embroidery. The leaf blanket was inspired by this one on the purl blog, backed with a simple white flannel.I've also been delving a bit into diapers, and the bamboo fleece was originally purchased with diaper sewing in mind. Bamboo is the new hot diaper fiber--super absorbent, with natural anti-bacterial qualities. Plus soft for the sweet bum. I've zigzagged a few washcloths, and made some cloth inserts for my gDiapers: one layer of bamboo fleece over two of microfiber (super absorbent, but not so nice against the skin. Audrey refuses to touch our microfiber cloths, which I've happily used for cleaning for a long time). More maybe when I find what I like from my sample stash.

The girls are unexpectedly transfixed by the cloth diaper concept. When our sample pack came from Jillian's Drawers last week, everything got tried on stuffed animals. Then the animals were entertained. Audrey has determined that she is "diaper captain" and Marian may be the "diaper queen." Or the other way 'round. I get confused. Bets on how long their enthusiasm will last? Some are taking bets on mine...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freezing Obama Mama

Inviting a friend to join in on the freezer paper stencil fun finally pushed me to making my own Obama Mama tee. And it just barely still fits my mummy tummy.

I was feeling badly that I haven't been able to articulate my own endorsement of Barack Obama as well as this, but then I'd be on the NY Times editorial board, too, and my kids need me right now ;)...
Freezer paper stenciling is easy-peasy (quick couplets are the theme tonight), and works for pretty impressively fine detail. Get yerself some freezer paper; I found mine at Food Lion. Draw on the paper side (can trace, which is awfully handy), cut out the innards with an exacto knife, iron it on your fabric whatever (until it sticks; my iron is pretty much always on "cotton"), slip in a folded bit from your recycling bin so the paint doesn't soak through, dab on dye or paint (I've used both Versatex & Jacquard textile dyes and they both are great; minimal "hand"), let it dry (like 15 minutes or so for impatient me), heatset with iron. I put some paper between, which I'm not sure is necessary, but makes me feel better, especially since my iron is cheap-o & tends to stick.

Look brilliant! from the 20th, while the girls played in the leaves (it was getting dark, but I promised we'd spend some time that day in the red leaves in the park across the street):Taken in the bathroom at the phlebotomy lab yesterday (10/28) while I waited for Marian, so this is the most current belly pic available!).