Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earth Day

I celebrated Earth Day by dressing my children in green and unloading lovely green made-of-earth bowls from a biodiesel-fueled kiln.I'm way behind on wedding gifts, and planned to send this stack off in pairs to assorted cousins and nephew/nieces. But I find myself a bit in love with these beauties and not quite sure enough of their rapturous reception to package them up yet. Even called my brother Paul, who knows one of the couples very well, to see if they had ever complimented his set of Valerie bowls. Hmmm. Yes, actually. Shoot. That's at least 2 not-for-me!

I mean, if they'll be doorstops or cat bowls, I'd rather send off some Target gift cards, you know?

But then again, could anyone really be that callous?


Nature Monsters
So it just all came together for me that you can buy other people's designs on Spoonflower. I don't have the artistry or technical know-how to come up with my own right now, but how bad does Reuben want pjs in this fabric??

Pretty bad.

(Still expensive, but quality reports have been excellent, and if you just need a yard...).

sproutwood bound

I'm wildly excited for this weekend's faerie festival at Sproutwood Farm. I first read about the festival in Family Fun magazine the spring before we moved to Pennsylvania, right after we had decided. We looked forward to the festival all year, then were a little awed by the sometimes astounding people watching available there.

This year, I have convinced four of my loveliest lady friends and their families to come along. Last night, I worked up a little temporary something for my male child. Linen mesh under wool felt. Oh, we are going to be so cute!

spring planting

The girls and I finally gathered an afternoon for some planting, including the blueberry bushes that have been sitting on my steps (and somehow survived!) for 3 weeks now. This year we split our 3' x 6' raised bed evenly to give each of us 6 square feet. I took the back row and added climbing supports for first peas and then tomato/cucumber/squash vines, and each girl gets a block of six to plant whatever they want.

We planted half and will finish this week.

I remembered that, in my childhood, the youngest one got to plant the peas, because the seeds are big enough for wee fingers to handle. I introduced the idea to Reuben, and he caught right on, grabbing the seed packet and poking seed after seed (often several in a hole!) into the finger holes I made along the fencing.
Then (and before) he totally wrecked havoc. He's getting very very good at that.

We started making markers, but I could only find a couple of wooden sticks to use.Luckily, today was the first day of our area's Salvation Army Fabric and Craft Sale* (oh, my, the goodness!) and I picked up a packet.*More to share on that later, including a celebrity sighting (her vintage fabric finds from the Pittsburgh sale here and the photo of the opening line here got me especially excited for ours). I babbled like a crazy woman :). A crazy woman with a baby on my back and arms overflowing with vintage and new goodness. So pretty much we were best friends on sight (aka she was very nice to me. And is so pretty in person).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Among other things

Wednesdays in the Woods is back. I wish this tree was in our yard. What do you think? Chair or Fairy Circle?

The last couple of weeks have flown by, keeping me busy with props for Audrey's middle school musical, organizing our church's Princess Ball, hosting a tea party, not getting my beauty sleep, and trying to be dog owners. It didn't work, and I'm feeling wise to realize it, but also feeling like I might not have a soul. We love and miss her, but she might not miss us :). Sigh. We did wait until even Marian agreed.Also fully back (though far beyond the 5-month-old version): Reuben's hair. Needing to show it off to my mother is what brought me here tonight. Our last walk together:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

fairy houses

Monday we visited Becci's beautiful yard (her husband is a landscape architect and oh, it shows!) and brought home Reuben's first sunburn (that first clear sunny day outside in spring always gets me--a little windy, felt cool...) and two new fairy homes.

I love Family Fun magazine because their projects are so do-able: no mail-order fancy-pants supplies needed (though oh how I love those!). I read it so much at doctor's offices that I've never subscribed, though perhaps also never missed an issue, because I live there. And now that our medical drama is abating (my beloved resilient ones!), I still don't need to subscribe because Becci tears out the best projects and gathers supplies. Although FF has an extensive website, it usually takes awhile for projects to get on their website, so I cannot link it, but the article shared the fairy house project an elementary teacher did with her students.
The parenthetical exclamation points in this post are killing me (stop already!).

The fairy houses pictured were marvelous in their detail, but all followed a basic construction technique: screw a few branches into a split log base, then pile on the details. Our log bases were pretty thick, so we drilled 3/4" to 1" holes halfway into them, pooled in some wood glue, then wedged in our chosen branches. If the fit was tight enough, that was sufficient. If the branches were still a little loose, we added screws and/or nails from the top, angling them to go through the branch into the base. It would be neater to drill the screws from the bottom, but the precision required was beyond the scope of our morning project.

As we added platforms and steps (balsa wood, branch slices, and popsicle sticks), I initially was using finish nails and twine lashing to attach them, but was finally converted to using the good ol' glue gun. The bulk of the glue is great for attaching bits to irregular surfaces, and my kids appreciated the instant results (read: were totally bored watching my little adjustments, then loved just having their ideas implemented NOW).I took advantage of miter saw proximity to have Becci slice up a collection of birch branches I found at my dentist's while Reuben and I were wandering outside waiting for Audrey last week ("Well, maybe someone is saving them?" Oh, no, the receptionist was quite certain they were available). I believe her, because the branches must have been sitting out for quite awhile; the center wood is falling apart, leaving bark rings and hollowing stumps. Plans...My approach to the project was to have my girls carefully plan out which branches they wanted and exactly where I should trim them and place them on the base. It took a long time. While we were still measuring, Becci's kids were already building platforms and canopies and little peg dolls to populate them because she just grabbed a couple of branches and popped them together, yielding bigger, more free-form houses. Because they weren't over controlled, there were more building and creating and attaching possibilities and the houses turned out fantastic. By the time our bases were done, the girls' creative energies were waning. I do love them still, but they weren't interested at that point in adding many wee details.Her poor son has to suffer through so much girl-ness, but has learned how to deal: his tree houses army men.His sister's. These photos don't really show it, but their houses are about 2x the size of ours :).Marian'sAudrey'sMonday evening, introductions were made. All approved.Happy mother/daughter crafting.