Making + Listening

MAKING: Projects in the works… the first being Ellie’s Busy Book that I should have started a year ago (because it looks like its going to be a LOT of work) and I’d planned to have it finished by her second birthday (which is four months away). I’m really hoping I can work and work and work and get it done in time. Here’s what I have so far.
ellies busy book

And I’m being super ambitious and I joined a Facebook sew-along group. One pattern was chosen and we are all making the same pinafore dress. I’m hoping this will help me start sewing clothes (which I’ve always wanted to do but never felt I could). I’m hoping with the online support of other ladies around the country working on the same pattern and giving tips and help along the way, I may be able to pull off my first dress for myself. We shall see.
pattern

I bought a sheet at the flea market to practice with. I didn’t want to buy any fancy fabric just yet in case I completely botch it up. If all goes well, I will try my hand at it again with some nicer linen.
pattern

I just love the picture of it. It makes me want to buy a farm and feed the chickens and pick flowers in it.

LISTENING: Our music repertoire is consisting mostly of this record (and c.d. in the car) and lots of this song and this song over and over. Oh and we borrowed this on tape at the library. Ellie is loving it!

 

-joining Dawn for Making and Listening! 

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Spring Making

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve really blogged. I fear I’m in a blogging lull as well as having a hard time these days fitting any kind of blogging in. My very busy toddler who dislikes sleep is part of the blogging lull culprit. Wanting to create and paint and read and play is the other culprit. I finally got my act together this week to take a few photos of what I’ve been making in the home and I thought I’d share (and hopefully I’ll be back to regular blogging soon).

I’ve been working on new felt characters for Ellie’s felt board. Like any young child, she is enjoying Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And I thought it very appropriate for spring-time to make her, her very own felt board set to go along with the book. It’s a bit slow going (as you can see I’ve only made it half way through the fruits) but I’m hoping in a week or so I can finish them up for her.
hungry caterpilar

on the board

I have also been debating how to set up a “spring table” for Ellie. I love the concepts and philosophy of Waldorf and when I taught preschool even incorporated some Waldorf philosophy into my classroom. One such thing was the nature table. I always try to have a basket of nature items Ellie has collected on her walks for her to explore at her leisure but I really loved the whimsical nature of having a playspace for spring time. Something that helps a child understand the colors and the development and the magic of the season. Since Ellie is still so young, I wanted to keep it simple. She’s very much enjoying periods of independent play with the little Ostheimer animals we got her for Christmas and so I bought some bunnies and a goose for her Easter basket (for this photo shoot, I brought out the bunnies and goose but shhh! Ellie won’t see them till Easter). So with those wooden animals in mind, I went to work on a fabric playscape for her table. Something she can move around if need be. I used wool felt and batik fabrics and created a lake, grass, a little bunny cave and some stepping-stones. It was a joy to make and she is using it now with the animals she has already. I think I’m going to have to make one for each season!
spring playscape

playscape with animlas

stepping stone bunny

 

cave

 

goose

 

the whole shabang

play time

the cave

horse play

 

-joining in with our Making part of Making + Listening with Dawn.

Making + Listening

There has been lots of MAKING that I haven’t had the chance to document yet, so I thought I would recap what I finished these past couple weeks and what I’m still working on.

isabel's mountain

another view of mountain

A little stuffed mountain for a friend close to the Rockies. A little reminder for her that she has a whole group of women rooting for her through some tough times.

etsy doll

Edith

This is Edith. She’ll be the first “softie- doll” to go in my shop. Made from scrappy fabric, wool felt and regular felt and completely hand sewn.

panda shirt

And this is an old t-shirt I jazzed up for Ellie just the other night. She’s been talking about panda’s these days (reading Panda Bear, Panda bear) and the other night she was telling me something very important and serious about a Panda (in her toddler gibberish that for the life of me I could not decipher). All I could gather was that a panda was involved and was very important in her realm of thought at that moment. So I thought I’d make her a panda sleep shirt, so she could hopefully dream of her furry friends. She LOVED it and wore it all day today too! I have no idea how felt washes, so I may be re-sewing this little guy back onto the shirt after tomorrow.

sweet panda girl

oh sweet girl!

As for LISTENING: Ellie has developed quite the taste for very specific music. Daily, we listen to Raffi’s “Pick  A Bale O’ Cotton”, “Frere Jacques” and the “popcorn song”. And in the evening we listen to Steve Martin’s “Pretty Flowers” (you can guess whose influence Steve Martin’s banjo music was) or Dan Zanes’ “Basement song”. Don’t dare try to put on anything different than those five songs, or you will get a scolding by an angry 17 month old!

I’m still working on finishing up Ellie’s felt board characters for the Taro Gomi book and after Cory posted a link on her blog and I decided I wanted in, I know there will be lots of making in the weeks to come. Check out this blogger swap, I’m very excited about it!

– joining Dawn for Making and Listening!

Making + Listening

MAKING:  We’ve been very busy creating, making, elving, whatever you want to call it. Ellie has been working on some gifts for family members (shhh!) and I have been using any and all napping time and sleeping time to try to get this advent calendar finished before advent runs out.

elving

 

art!

 

advent

 

advent pieces

LISTEN: As for music, we’ve had the record player sweetly playing The Carpenters Christmas, John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas, Tony Bennett’s Snowfall and a slew of other Christmas favorites.

-joining Dawn with Making and Listening. 

making + listening

kitty for mia

MAKING : Sneak Preview of a special softie that’s getting the final touches for a good friend’s daughter’s first birthday party this weekend.

watercolors

watercolor work

We did some work with watercolors for the first time a few days ago for some lantern making to celebrate the seasons and light changing to colder and darker.

the finished project

Normally I would never cut up children’s art work like I did with Ellie’s watercolor (that’s a whole other post about respecting children’s art, something I’ve studied and implemented in all of my classrooms when I taught preschool- I touched on it briefly here), but because we had set out to create lanterns and the fact that this was less of  an art project and more of a craft project, my conscious didn’t feel as bad, cutting into the painting to create something else with it.

the lantern

the finished product!

light it up

Add a LED light and we had ourselves a lantern!

We took a little walk the other day with the lantern in the dark right before bed and Ellie seemed to think the whole experience was pretty cool. She didn’t want to go inside! (If you want more information about celebrating Martinmas, and how you can make lanterns, you can find some great info here, here and here. We’re not quite sure if Martinmas and it’s religious aspects are something we necessarily want to practice celebrating, but I really like the idea of lighting the darkness and celebrating the seasonal aspect of welcoming autumn and winter). 

LISTENING: We’ve been hearing a lot of banjo tunes around these parts these days, some by this guy, some oldies and mostly from Daddy. He’s getting pretty good.

-joining in with Dawn over at Simplethingsnotebook. 

Making + Listening

Zucchini bread

MAKING: I just made another Zucchini loaf in a bundt pan this week. Boy are we enjoying this zucchini bread. We’ve had a few zucchini’s from our own garden and a plethora of zucchini from our CSA share rolling in every week. This is the only way I will eat zucchini and Jeff and Ellie don’t think it’s half bad either. I thought I’d share the recipe. It’s full of sugar, but I’ve cut the sugar in half and it’s still pretty sweet and I’m sure substituting honey or another sweetener of your liking would work just fine as well.

Zucchini Bread (or muffins) 

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

yield: 2 loaves or 24 muffins

3 eggs

1 cup olive or vegetable oil (I have also substituted coconut oil)

1 3/4 cups sugar (you can swap the sugar out with any sweetener or reduce the amount of sugar by 3/4 and it’s still pretty sweet)

2 cups grated zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally or line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

fall coasters

 

I’ve also been working on some autumnal inspired coasters with some scraps that were begging me to do something with them. Almost done with number one and I’d like to make at least a set of four.

LISTENING: We’ve been listening to a whole slew of things lately. A lot of banjo. A lot of Raffi. And a little John Mayer, a little John Denver and a little classical to keep the moods steady.

 

-joining Dawn over at SImple Things Notebook. 

Making + Listening + Soulful September

a new project

in the process

lion

whale

a felt board for Ellie

MAKING: Inspired by a friend’s fireplace turned felt board, I realized it was high time I made a felt board for Ellie. We don’t have much space for an extra-large one at the moment, but I came across a piece of lightweight wood that fit perfectly in Ellie’s toy corner in the living room. I staple-gunned the felt to the wood and nailed it to the wall. Easy peasy. However, I have become obsessed with making little felt story people now. Any extra time has been devoted to coming up with new little felt guys. I started with “slippery fish” (an old preschool tune perfect for toddlers to follow along) and I’m working on the characters from Polar bear, Polar bear, since Ellie is very into these stories at the moment. It’s been a fun new project and I’m excited to start using the felt board for new ways to stimulate and entertain my busy 13 month old!

banjo music

LISTENING: Ellie and I took a walk to our local record store  this week, in search of some inspiration for Daddy’s new-found love for anything Banjo. We’ve been enjoying a lot of new (new to us) bluegrass these days and looking forward to hearing Daddy play more tunes as well.

As for Soulful September... this is the last week of my soulful september. I’ve learned a lot about balance and what I can and cannot fit into my days right now with a 13 month old at my heels. I do want to do more of these types of challenges. I think it keeps my soul healthy and even though at times I found it frustrating that I couldn’t get everything done in a day, it was helpful to have a goal in mind to keep me motivated.

Reading: Jeff passed this piece along by Steve Martin about his banjo playing journey which I found an interesting read.

Moving: Never got past the walking every day and doing my physical therapy exercises (almost) every day. But I’m calling it a success, because I did get outside moving.

Writing: I think starting Amanda’s writing course on the 30th is definitely a good move. I’ll be keeping my writing going even after Soulful September and learning and growing through this anticipated course.

Meditating: This is the one that has fallen by the way side more times than not. It’s just so very difficult to get any “quiet” time when you are caring for a toddler all day and night. I want to work on this and as Ellie get’s older, I’m hoping I can even get back to my yoga practice outside the house every once in a while to really focus on my meditation practices.

-joining Dawn for Making and Listening (and ending my own Soulful September).