Weekending: Father’s Day Edition!

A fabulous Father’s Day Weekend with farmers markets, visits to the sea center and walks through the native garden, homemade potato salad and summer kale salad from the garden. Tee Pee tunnels, handprints by Ellie and paintings by Mama. Sun tea and local coffee, steaks and chicken on the grill. Dancing and bluegrass and after dinner walks and kite flying. A fun weekend to celebrate the joys of fatherhood with my Dad and with Jeff- Two amazing fathers! Hoping all of the fathers out there had a glorious day!
sunflowers

farmers market load

handprint

father shirt

card

fathers day loot

daddy and ellie

walking

sea center

forest

torey pine

potato salad

sun tea

gma and e dance

gpa and e

gpas painting

teepee

strawberry kale salad

gpa

kites

fathers day 2014

 

*joining in with Pumpkin Sunrise and Weekending.

Portrait Project

24/52

24/52

eloise: you walk around with the silk over your head, “Way A-ya, A-Eeee?” There she is!! You continue the same game over and over and each time you laugh with joy as if it’s the first time you’ve ever played it.

*you refer to yourself as “A-ya” (Ella) but whenever I say, “Ell-uh?”, you correct yourself and say, “no. A-Eeeee!”

A Birthday Busy Book

Okay, this post is going to be long, just to warn you…. I am nearly finished with Ellie’s Birthday Busy/Quiet book. I finished it way ahead of schedule (Ellie’s birthday isn’t till August), but I’m just so thrilled with how the whole thing came out, I have to share it with you early.
I’ve always wanted to make Ellie her own quiet book. (Some people refer to them as quiet books, some people call them busy books. I couldn’t fit “quiet” on the cover, so I went with busy book. Here is a more detailed description of what a busy book is, in case you had no idea what I am talking about. So, I had planned to make Ellie a busy book for her first Christmas but of course through all the nursing and the general new mothering happening (plus the 3 trips we took cross-country in her first year), making anything was pretty much out of the question. About six months ago, I felt like I was getting enough time after she went down for bed to start working on a busy book. I had been planning in my head for a while and I wanted the book to reflect Ellie’s likes as well as be something she could keep always and enjoy throughout her toddler-hood too.

It took me almost 5 months to make. I followed no template. Everything was completely hand-sewn and free form. Here it is in all its glory… I present “Ellie’s Busy Book” ! (Can you tell I’m a little excited?!)

presenting the book

busy book

Most of the fabric I used, were ones that were already in my stash. It was neat using bits and pieces from other projects. Many of them I had used to make other children softie animals.

page one

Page One is a personal chalkboard. Ellie loves drawing with chalk outside and is just starting to enjoy coloring. I found some chalkboard fabric and made a little felt E in the top corner and a little pocket to hold the chalk in the bottom corner. It was one of the easier pages, but I love the soft purples to start out with.

E

oage 2 farmers market

Page 2 and 3 are the Farmers Market pages. We have visited the farmers market so many weekends with Ellie since she was born. It’s a place Jeff and I love. It was only natural for me to start with building some type of farmers market page. I created a large basket (kind of like the ones we carry to the market every weekend), so that Ellie can fill the basket with fruit and veggies she finds in the bins. I thought I’d make it a little educational as well by adding numbers  to the bins corresponding with

how many bits of produce are in each bin.
farmers market bin

Page 4 and 5 are the Banjo pages. As many of you who read this blog regularly know, the banjo is common talk around here. Daddy plays it every night and Ellie has always loved dancing to his music. We even got Ellie her very own stuffed banjo for Christmas this past year. I thought a banjo page would be fun for her. She will be able to strum the banjo strings on page 5 and page 4 is a photo of her dancing to Daddy playing some tunes (she’s also holding the Daddy banjo peg doll I made for Jeff’s birthday this year too).

banjo pages

daddy plays b

banjo page

Page 6 and 7 are the Kite pages. Ellie’s love of kites started when we put on the Mary Poppins song “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” many months ago. She wanted to hear the song over and over again. Then we bought her a little kite (and one for Daddy too) and we fly those kites pretty regularly around the park and the beach. It’s one of her favorite things to do. Page 6 is Ellie and Mama flying her kite for the first time on the beach near our home. Page 7 is a removable kite with ribbon tassels as well as removable shapes on the kite. Each are attached with snaps to encourage some fine motor work as well as exploring shapes and puzzles.

kite pages

 

mama and kite

shapes

Page eight and nine are the train pages. This was the most complicated of all the pages. Hand-sewing each piece of track down was a bit tedious, but it did come out pretty cute. Ellie is in a big train phase these days. We watch the train every Wednesday, she’s just started to really play with her wooden train set we found at the swap meet and Gramma and Grandpa have taken her on a train ride at the local mall several times too. She can’t get enough trains.

train page

She will be able to open the caboose there to find little felt Wizard of Oz people (I was a very big fan of WofO for many years and my mom got me a Wizard of Oz apron, that I wear regularly while cooking or painting. Ellie loves to point out each character. I thought having her own little set of characters would tickle her.
woo charecters

For the next two trains, I made little windows for Ellie to open and close. Inside are two of the three pigs (another story we tell often and enjoy).

pigs

The sock monkey train conductor comes off of his post as well. He’s attached by a snap for easy removal.

sock monkey train conductor

The last page is an Ellie fabric doll page. Kind of like her own personal paper doll kit. I printed out a photo of her on fabric paper, fashioned a “fabric doll” and made several different articles of clothing. In these photos I haven’t quite finished it yet, but Ellie will be able to attach the clothes to the “Ellie doll” with velcro. And everything fits into the little pocket closet.

doll page

 

clothes

I’m still working on putting together a few more outfits, but for the most part, it’s finished.

ellie doll

the clothes

On the inside flap before you close the book, I placed a fabric photo of Jeff and Ellie and I (taken by this incredible photographer). A little inscription for the birthday girl.

inscription photo

inscription

the book

It was such a joy putting this book together for Ellie. I would sneak downstairs every night and whittle away at it while she slept. She’s never been a great sleeper so some nights I’d only get a few stitches in before she was calling for me again. But, I got it done. It feels so good to have completed something like this. Something she will hopefully love and cherish.

stitches

Ten Things

Ten things that are making me happy right now …

ledge

1. A happy window ledge adorned with leaf specimens from our walks around the neighborhood.

guides

2. New nature guides to help us really get to know our local flora and fauna.

newly beeswaxed peg people

3. Newly beeswaxed handmade peg people.

taproot4. Taproot and the wonderful garden planner that came with it (I love Phoebe Wahl’s art)!
sending out peg people5. Sending out my Etsy store orders!! Yay!

independent play

6.. Independent play.

home art

7. New pieces of art for the home.

trout

8. New summer toys for Ellie’s play table and watching her play with them!

flowers

9. Flowers blooming in our backyard.

hops

10. Jeff’s hops growing beautifully in the ground!

what ten things are making you happy at the moment?

 

 

A Summer Play Mat

I’ve been sewing like crazy these past couple months. I have like 4 projects going all at the same time. The other day, Jeff came over to me and said, “how many projects are you doing?! You are dancing all over the place with needle thread, paint and sanding tools!” And it’s very true. Any time my busy child is sleeping, I go straight to work on a project. This week I was working hard to make Ellie a summer time play mat. I love the idea of a nature table (it was my pride and joy when I was a preschool teacher), but I also love the idea of having the nature we find, mingle with the toys we have out. And providing that seasonal aspect, the colors that summer time brings, the images summertime procures; I wanted to create something special for summertime play.

beach mat

I went about creating a beachy feel, with the different colors of an ocean blue as the centerpiece. I created rocks with luxurious wool felt, hoping to give a tide pool effect.

whole shebang

I made stepping-stones and a grassy area and then backed the whole thing with a funky and bright vintage tablecloth. And with a little help from Gerda Mueller’s Summer, I had a delightful back drop to bring it all together.
finished productAdd some great mermaid figures and some handmade peg people as well as some local beach wood and you’ve got yourself a summer play scape! Ellie loved it and as you can tell by all the photos and my blubbering, I kind of love it myself. In fact, I was going to present all of this to her on the solstice but I just couldn’t wait that long! This is California after all, and it’s felt like summer for quite a while already.

playing

I even whipped up a little starfish with some batik scraps I had left over. It adds some summer color to the tide pools don’t you think?
starfish

I love making these types of things for Ellie and now for other people’s children as well. I was a very imaginative child and loved creating special play spaces for my toys. I hope these play mats are simple enough to leave the play experiences up to the children but inspiring enough to expand and support imaginative play. I know it brings a smile to my face, every time I see Ellie playing at her table with the things I have made her. It is a joy to watch her play.

*I do have another summer time play mat complete with fabric tree stumps to enjoy in the shop. It has the same vintage backing but its a whole lot greener than this one. Perfect for a woodsy summer playscape. Check it out here.

 

Weekending!

Busy weekend. Stayed out too late both nights. Late afternoon visit to Santa Barbara with the Grandparents. Ellie got to ride the carousel while the sun was setting. (I got to see the tail end of this creative lady’s art fair booth too). Sunday was a bike ride to the butcher and a visit to the park. Then off to a dinner party with homegrown food and lovely company. A nice weekend that went by way too fast. How was yours?

late afternoon

a new sweater

g and me

hurry there it is!

i want that one

gm and the carousel

dinner at lanas

picnic

22 Months and some odds and ends

Ellie is 22 months old today! We’re getting closer to 2, I can’t believe it. She’s definitely acting more like a two-year old and less like a baby these days. All of a sudden, she’s talking in full sentences (many of which we can’t understand just yet, but sentences and words oh my)! She’s also been busy really playing with her toys. She pretends to hide her peg dolls and animals and then they “run, run, run” all over the play mat. She loves anything to do with water; pouring it, drinking it, swimming in it. Once upon a time, we couldn’t get this child to take a bath and now she’s a water aficionado. She starts a swimming class with her Daddy at the end of the month. Something low-key, at our local city pool, where she’ll just be getting used to being in the water and learning some basic techniques. I’m hoping she will enjoy this time with her Dada as well as the swimming. The hour they are gone for swimming, Mama gets to enjoy some creative painting and crafting time, so as anxious as I am about Ellie doing a class with Daddy (away from me), I’m trying to see it more as a great way for them to connect and for me to get some Mama time in.
22months

Other things happening around these parts…

I just put a few new things in my Etsy shop! Some summertime inspired peg dolls and a lovely summer time play mat (that I really wanted to keep for myself,  I liked it so much) and I created a Snow Queen for my “Frozen” mats for those families who would rather have the original Hans Christen Anderson story instead of the Disney-fied version. Check them out here!

sea fairy

sun fairy

Snow Queen mat

snow queen

 

I’ve also been trying to fit in painting here and there. I’m desperately trying to catch up in this online class I’m taking. There’s a break this summer, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up. It’s challenging and exciting and sometimes frustrating when my art doesn’t come out on paper the way I see it in my head, but I think that’s probably a good step to learning more and getting better.

class

What are you creating or up to these days?