Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Austin Children's Museum at the Dell Discovery Center

For Elijah's birthday this year, rather than have a conventional birthday party, we decided to go out together as a family instead.  Greg's parents and brother are here visiting with us, so on Saturday, we drove into Austin to the Dell Discovery Center and had great fun.  Because there were 6 adults, the children were able to split up or hang out together, playing at the different centers and exploring every part of it.

After a few hours we went out to a little courtyard where we found shade and ate our lunch that we'd brought, then went back to the Discovery center for another few hours.  It was a tiring but good day, and most importantly, Elijah felt very special.

















Stitching while watching over sleeping Jonah








Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer moments

Loving these sleepy summer mornings....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bookmarks worthy of Dr. Dolittle

When I was little my mom always made time to read chapter books to us, reading to us before we got into bed, and it was one of our favorite parts of the day.  I remember sometimes, with particularly exciting adventures, that she would let us stay up late, just as excited as we were to find out what happened next in the story.  Now that I'm a mother, I'm discovering how much time and energy my mom invested to make our childhood special and memorable.  She encouraged creativity, gave us room to do our own thing, and included us in the things that she was interested in; gardening, baking, cooking, sewing.  She taught us to be fearless in any plan to make things from scratch, and to make our own imaginative fun. 

In a small step towards this end, one of my summer goals is to make reading together with my children a priority.  Last week we started reading the chapter book Dr. Dolittle:

The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Yearling Book)

We're all enjoying it much more than I'd expected.  I think that I watched a few minutes of the movie Eddie Murphy starred in (released in '98), but was kind of turned off by the cheap humor.  The book, as it turns out, is smart and engaging for children and adults alike, so we look forward to our reading time each day.  Now that we've gotten to the real adventure part of the story, they've been begging me to read extra chapters, which is always a good sign.

When I was paging through Rae Grant's book Homemade Fun the other day, I came across her bookmark project, and decided that it would be much more fun to have a cool animal bookmark than a ripped little slip of paper tucked in to the current chapter.







These are the bookmarks that Andrew ended up with (the others ended up coloring full pictures -- sometimes when you're 3 or 5, you can miss the point of a project...which is fine as long as everyone has fun!):


You can get the "pattern" for the project for free on Rae's site: Summer Reading Bookmarks.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Papercut and embroidery fun

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Amy Karol's (of Angry Chicken fame) eMailorder sets, and was completely smitten by the papercut designs in eMailorder #10.  I decided that I simply had to have some of that charming, folksy cute on my wall.  Two evenings later...





The children call the clothes line "Poppy and Nana's backyard" because they have a line between two trees that looks very similar.  Thusly, the little cabin has been dubbed "Poppy and Nana's house".  They do have a wood burning stove smoking away in the winter, so I suppose it's fairly accurate.  :)

Oh my gosh, and now I've just discovered that in Amy Karol's eMailorder #8, she has a papercut pattern for a bunny on a swing.  A BUNNY ON A SWING!  (...getting out my tiny swivel knife and some more black paper...)

I finished up the Man Hill embroidery (design by Aimee Ray of little dear Etsy shop and Doodle Stitching book):


I need to stitch both Thinking and Happy Garden to complete the set that is going to hang in the playroom (framed or stretched on canvas), but in the meantime, I've got it up on my inspiration line in my studio (along with Bird Hill on the other end).


It's a happy thing to look up at now and again while I'm working on other things.

Next in my Q-snap-frame is an embroidery design transfered from one of Sparky's drawings:


(Billy helped me, of course.)

This will eventually be the front of an eco tote -- his idea -- for when he goes shopping.  That's my boy!  :)  Embroidering a child's drawing is the ultimate in doodle stitching!  Creative freedom at it's best.

Thanks to all of the sewing going on around here lately, my children have all taken on an interest in stitching things themselves.  As much as they love to "help" me by pushing the presser foot on my machine ("agghh!! not so fast!!  wait--wait--wait!!!"), I've decided to start giving Andrew and Elijah Sewing Lessons so that they can start to handsew things themselves.  I love how empowering it is to put skills like this in the care of little hands.

We got out our sewing cards yesterday afternoon (while the younger two were napping) along with our new favorite children's crafting book/summer fun guide Homemade Fun (by Rae Grant of the always inspiring My Little Hen), and got to stitching.



They had already learned the running stitch a while back, so I decided they were ready to take on the blanket stitch, and within minutes, Andrew (6 years old) was doing nearly perfect stitches all on his own.


Elijah (5) had a little bit of a harder time because of the shape of the tree he was working on, but he managed to get the hang of it as well, and they were so proud of their finished pieces.


I cannot even tell you how much use we've gotten out of these cards.  They lace an re-lace them while they sit with me in my studio from time to time and feel like they're involved in what I'm doing.  So sweet!

Afterwords the boys took it upon themselves to make some of their own sewing cards, and had a good solid hour of quiet, focused crative play.  I love it when that happens!

Come back tomorrow for another simple Homemade Fun project!
Homemade Fun: 101 Crafts and Activities to Do with Kids