Ahhh, summer. Our mornings are so much more relaxed these days, but there is also so much more time to fill!
Here are some sites to inspire:
photo by Kate from An Everyday Story for Playful Learning
I’ve linked to Playful Learning before, it’s a wonderful site full of authentic activities your children (and you!) will love to experience together. The page of Activities for Kids has all kinds of fun inspiration – from art activities to well being.
Did you press flowers as a kid? I did and loved finding forgotten flowers as I was reading the books I used to press months later. Here’s a little tutorial to walk you through the process.
photo by Skip to My Lou
Skip to My Lou is a fabulous resource of parenting activities – including tons of great gift ideas for teachers! I love this list of literature based activities, especially this lupine seed packet to partner with a reading of Miss Rumphius.
When the weather is beautiful, we like to move our everyday activities outdoors. The girls love to paint outside and the clean up couldn’t be easier. We love using natural materials for stamping or painting.
This just seems wrong, but the girls got sick this week. Ginger seems through the worst of it, but I’m still constantly worrying about Ruby’s cough. We use many of these home remedies for the girls to help them get through their funk. Fingers crossed they’ll be back to themselves quickly, especially because Grandma and Gramps are here!
Any fun activities or helpful sites you can share?
I love celebrations with little kids around. Every thing is such a big! deal! We hosted a little Valentine making party for some of Ruby’s friends the weekend before the big day. There was paint and glitter all over our table, surrounded by very focused little girls.
Ruby made lovebugs.
We made salt dough hearts that some of the kids painted and glittered for their Valentines. We made a bunch of these years ago that we hang as a garland each February.
We had a little heart tic-tac-toe game out for girls to play when they needed a break.
And some strawberry ice cream sandwiches to munch on.
I made Gigi stuffed kitty.
John got a sleeve to the sweater I’m knitting him and special pencils. He gave me two boxes of cookies from a favorite far-away bakery – so thoughtful and delicious! I knit Ruby a scarf to keep her warm and “snuggled with my love” as she said (heart melts).
But the best part, by far, were the sweet little notes we all got from each other.
I can’t seem to get enough knitting lately. This week Ruby went to her twin friends’ birthday party and wanted to sew them some stuffed animals, so she and I sewed a bit, and I loved how quickly that came together. I thought I’d share some sites I like for craft supplies and hope you will too!
Layer Cake Shop has everything for a cute kids party: pretty cupcake liners, fun ice cream spoons, and a favorite in our house: paper straws.
I’m always inspired flipping through a Paper Source catalog. They have gorgeous papers, stationery, and DIY ideas.
I love that Magpie Patterns has sourced beautiful patterns for knitting, sewing, and embroidery in one place. They sell Brooklyn Tweed, Oliver + S and more.
Fabricworm has tons of beautiful fabrics. Searching their site and visiting Bolt always make me want to learn to sew better.
Brooklyn General and Purl Soho have fabric, yarn, patterns, and all the tools you’ll need to craft. It’s a relief to be able to get everything in one package!
Any favorite sources to add to my list? I’m off to finish making a batch of soap…
This month is always such a strange one for me. After all the busyness of the holidays and making, I just want to curl up with some hot tea and knit. I get a little cabin fever with the dark, cold, wet days too.
But I also feel the pull to organize, resolve, and energize my life. These opposite energies are challenging to balance.
We have sunshine today and I find myself following it around like a cat. I stand in a sunny window and soak it in. My oldest (well, not her age, just how long we’ve been friends) friend and I were inspired by Sarah and are sharing bits and pieces of our lives together via texts. I am treasuring this connection with my cross-country friend and the reminders to take notice and appreciate more in my own life.
I love walking through this little path in the woods near our house. It’s in a neighborhood, but it is hilly and full of birds. I can get there quickly and lose myself in the mossiness of it all.
There is the constant lure of these needles and the calming simple stitches on them. About a week ago I started this sleeve for John’s sweater and am now about half-way done. This is good progress for me who only finds little bits of time to sneak in some knitting. There are talks with a friend to knit together and I cannot wait to make some real progress.
So far, I think we’re making January pretty cozy.
I am exhausted. This has been quite the month. Let’s see…Ruby graduated from preschool and turned FIVE (on the same day!), my parents came to visit for a week, the girls both got pretty sick (we actually had to postpone Ruby’s birthday party because I took her to urgent care with a double ear infection instead), and…oh yes, we decided to sell our house.
We love our house for so many reasons. But we’ve always known this was a temporary home for us. We thought we would move in a couple more years, but decided that before Ruby started kindergarten would be better to cut down on big transitions for her. John has been restoring our kitchen cabinets which quickly went into overdrive mode along with purchasing a new furnace (ouch, that was expensive), repainting the front porch, lots of decluttering, and some over-due normal spring cleaning/maintenance.
So, um, I’ve been a little preoccupied. Luckily, I had a theme for Ruby’s party in mind ages ago. She is so excited to go to kindergarten and I used to teach kindergarteners, so we had a kindergarten birthday party. We welcomed her friends and asked them to pretend our house was a classroom. We made centers for them to visit – writing, calendar, library, construction, dramatic play (restaurant), dress up, and art got cut at the last minute (just like in real schools) because I just didn’t think I could deal with the space and mess issues of it ON THE DAY WE LISTED OUR HOUSE. Yes, her party was the same day we listed. And a realtor tour was the next day. Yes, I was insane during all of this.
I made some simple decorations (inspired by One Charming Party) and cupcakes, John made the favors (similar to these but he used different materials) and we just tried to relax and enjoy the day. The girls had a great time and there was a lot of giggling in the dramatic play/restaurant center.
It was just what we needed. Cupcakes and giggles.
It’s birthday season in our house. John’s birthday was last week, next month is Ginger’s, and Ruby turns 5 (!) in May. A niece and nephew have spring birthdays too, so I’ve been searching for craft projects for birthday presents. I’m knitting a sweater for John, so he’s been getting pieces of that as part of his gifts. I thought I’d share some of my craft bookmarks that I turn to for ideas.
Petite Purls is a beautiful site full of knitting projects for children. The curated patterns are gorgeous and easy to follow.
The Crafts Dept. is the craft blog on the Martha Stewart site. There is a giant team of crafters behind the blog and the projects, so there’s something for everyone.
Skip to My Lou has recipes, art and craft projects for kids and adults. Lots of goodies!
What are your favorite craft sites?
All photos courtesy of the websites linked.
Valentine’s Day has become a bigger deal to me since Ruby has come along. John and I didn’t exchange gifts when we were younger, but Ruby has taught us to celebrate love any chance we get. She was so excited this year. The day before, she was making up songs all day long like, “Happy heart day. Tomorrow is heart day. I love heart day. I love love.” Then she slept in her clothes that she wanted to wear on Valentine’s Day.
She made her valentines for her class. We simply cut out a heart shaped sponge and she stamped with that, cut them out, and wrote her name on them. They were d0-able for her, didn’t become overwhelming, and turned out cute.
We also made some salt-dough hearts that we hung between the columns that separate our living and dining rooms.
And I made a cranberry apple tart from Once Upon a Tart that smelled amazing.
But, by far, the best part of Valentine’s Day were the valentines:
Even Ginger drew hearts all over the paper. I love this!
Did you celebrate? Please share your special traditions!
I didn’t give any handmade gifts this Christmas. I tried. I really did. I knit Ruby a hat that turned out to be gigantic. It was a strange pattern. It knit as one straight piece and then when you’re done, you sew the side together to make a cute fringe. So I couldn’t ever really see what it looked like and I couldn’t try it on well. But I worried the whole time that it was going to be too big.
I was attempting to make Ginger a super cute shift dress. But when I realized I wouldn’t have anything for Ruby, I decided to save the dress for another occasion and not stress about getting it done. I was running short on time as I was busier than expected with fulfilling La Petite Vie orders. (Yay!) I’ve been sewing little bits of the dress here and there and it is a disaster. I called it quits last night. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong on that one, but I’m blaming the pattern again. It really makes not sense to me.
My last couple of baking projects were less than thrilling. I had to frog the entire back of a sweater I’ve been knitting for John. I’m not sure what has happened to all my crafty mojo lately but I’m not liking this!
I need some success! Please point me to some simple no-fail projects! I’m hoping to knit some legwarmers for myself that look pretty straightforward. And a friend just had a baby, so I’ll be baking something for them. Maybe I’ll attempt this for Valentine’s Day gifts for the girls:
photo by purl bee
Or maybe I should set the craft projects aside and have some tea and chocolate.
We’ve all been busy trying to make gifts and decorations in time for the holidays. Fingers crossed the gifts will be done in time! It’s a little harder this year because I can’t make Ruby’s gift in front of her and this year she wants to get into the making big time. Which I’m LOVING!
This is her gift for Ginger – it’s going to be a bunny rabbit stuffed animal. She drew the bunny, I transferred it to the fabric and she and I embroidered it together. Ruby has done really well with the patience and fine motor skills needed for this. I’ve been really impressed. She is excited to sew on the sewing machine next.
We signed up to bring a craft to Ruby’s class on their last day of school before break. We made snowflakes with them. Ruby and I spent some time on Friday making a bunch more.
But before you think its all Christmas magic here in our house, let me tell you that while Ruby and I cut out snowflakes, Ginger was busy coloring with the art supply box next to us. She was by no means ignored, but somehow managed to eat a piece of chalk, get marker on a windowsill, write with pen on a dining room chair cover, and write on the floor with a marker. Multi-tasking with a 1.5 year old around is near impossible.
I really wanted to make something for each of the girls’ birthday gifts. I needed the time to devote to crafting and wanted to give them each something extra special so I started early, chose some simple projects, and squeezed in small bits of time to finish the gifts just in time.
Ginger got a heart pillow just like Ruby’s.
And Ruby got a cute little skirt made with the same fabric (I didn’t use the same fabric on purpose, I just like it!)
The skirt is similar to one that a friend made for Ruby when Ginger was born. I loved it so much and wanted to make another for Ruby to wear this next year.
Ginger is walking, but not confidently, so she needs me close by. My parents visited in July, John traveled twice in June, and I had a craft show in early July. Now I have a freelance job I’m working on and a wholesale order! Ruby’s had swimming lessons and learned how to read! By herself! For real! I am beyond thrilled. I have hopes that life will calm down a bit, but I think that may be a bit unrealistic. I just need to figure out how to keep up at this pace somehow. But last summer, just after Ginger was born, my mom had a stroke, so I was overwhelmed in a completely different way. I am constantly grateful for my family’s health and would much rather have this kind of overwhelm than last summer’s. We’re enjoying our lovely summer weather – hope you are too!