Saturday, May 30, 2009

Skirt Update

Love it. Wore it all day. Only took it off for the pool. Charlie likes it, too.

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Today's Skirt and P.S.

Today's skirt was cut out last night after the daily poolside social and sewn-up this morning starting at 4:30 am when I couldn't sleep. The skirt must have been calling to me to finish it! The fabric is Denyse Schmidt's from the Katie Jump Rope collection . The pattern is Simplicity 7229. Easy and comfortable, I used another finger-knitted drawstring from dishcloth cotton. Thanks to my daughter for the photo.

P.S. Even when you may be too young to knit, you can always pretend to knit!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Yesterday's PJ's

The activity that took over yesterday was sewing. Because I was getting together with a friend for a sew-a-long, I had to clear off some space on the dining room table for our projects and her sewing machine. Before she came over, I cut out these Capri pants (Simplicity 7229) to try out the sizing because I really want to make the skirt out of some more expensive fabric.

I'm still such a beginner that I don't have much confidence. Pattern sizing is so crazy, and pattern reading is not yet intuitive. Except for cutting the fabric out on the wrong side and almost sewing a seam in the wrong place, all worked out well. I wore the pants as comfortable PJ's last night. I made the drawstring from dishcloth cotton using the finger-knitting technique.

The summer skirt is today's project (and hopefully, tomorrow's post!).

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tea Party Brunch

As this summer starts, I'm reminded of how many activities can be packed into one day, how early in the day serious activity starts at my house, and how many messes we can make through it all.

The photos from above reflect one multi-layered activity started at around 6:00 am and completed at 10:30 am. The girls (my daughter and her friend) made mini-treats for breakfast (mini as in the size for their dolls). They made a mini oatmeal creme pie cake (blogged here at 9:22 am). They made mini rolls when I was baking some bread, and they made mini sandwiches for their picnic. I helped them with nothing besides following behind and wiping up a few crumbs here and there. By the time they had done all of this, it was only 10:00 am, and I suggested that they have a brunch instead of lunch with all of their goodies. They rolled out the blanket, gathered the mini tea set, and headed outside for their feast.

There were many other activities of the day after 10:30 am, but this one was the sweetest. Summer gives us the time to do things like this. Something surprising and unplanned can take over a morning or an afternoon if we let it happen.

I wonder what it will be today?

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer Sewing Started

I woke up on Saturday morning with the urge to sew. My dining room table has had two sewing machines on it since December-- and piles of fabric, scissors, thread, needles, etc. Now, at the end of the May and the beginning of summer, I am finally getting to some projects! Yesterday, I turned out three small projects for gift-giving. This morning, I sewed my first pair of shorts! Feelings of accomplishment abound.

My daughter caught the sewing bug, too. She whipped up three mini tote bags for three hand-stamped journals for herself and two friends. One bag and journal made it to a birthday party on Saturday morning, while the other two were finished on Sunday.

I love blank journals waiting for words, sentences, ideas, sketches, poems, lists-- whatever. I love these journals with their butterflies, and I love their little fabric homes of flowers and pockets. What will three 9- (and almost 9) year-old girls write in them?

"It's secret, Mom."

Yes, I remember that.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Growing, Growing, Gone

There will be no more Kindergartners in this family. Growing, growing, gone.

We are saying goodbye to a little girl's beloved school tomorrow. Growing, growing, gone.

Another year of teaching-- growing, growing, gone.

But we have seedlings growing in the red wagon-- growing until they are ready to be planted and can withstand the dog.

We have books to read together. . . continuing the adventures of the 6th Harry Potter with a new first grader, wandering through Narnia with the young lady in the family and introducing her to the magical world of Hobbits.

We have sewing, knitting, book-making, gardening, and art projects waiting for our attention.

Happy summer! Until it is gone, too, and a new school year begins.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Flower Arranging for Breakfast

I was the student. My son's beloved Granny Rie was the teacher. She knows a lot about arranging flowers. She knows a lot about lots of things. The flowers were for my son's transition from Kindergarten to first grade. Special flowers for a special day.

My reflection taking the photo (and Granny Rie's reflection arranging the greenery gathered from the yard) are in the Matisse print. I love reflection surprises!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Adding the Sky

I started adding the sky to this log-cabin sunflower blanket (started back in October just before this blog was started in November). Several other projects intervened. School got busy. Blogging. Holidays.

But summer is around the corner, and I can't wait because I'll have time for things like this. I'll knit at the pool. I'll knit in the morning, noon, and night.

Before I knit today, however, I have a list of things to do. This is my reward at the end of the day. It is wonderful to have something to look forward to.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009







pointed toes reaching

ballerinas dancing music

This poem is a Fib-- a form I learned about from Sarah Campbell here. (The Fib is a creation of Greg Pincus). She wrote a Fib in the comments of my previous ballet post about the dress rehearsal, so I tried one for the recital. Fun!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

Pink slippered feet
and sky dresses
laughing a dance.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother Nature Day

This is the box turtle found in our yard yesterday. She had been caught in the fence around our new compost pile until my son rescued her, observed her for a while, and let her go. There were also tiny snails attached to some eggshells in our compost pile.

These are the slugs that my children watched and fed after googling what they eat. They also googled what box turtles eat. They put them in the bird bath for a temporary home. My daughter grabs the camera now to document events like this. She took all of these photos except the butterfly photo.

This is the earthworm-- as long as the biggest feet in the photo-- that we saw after releasing a monarch butterfly. The children were amazed. As my son says, "Awesome!"

This is one of our butterflies on our lantana that grows inches every day. We gave two "about to emerge" butterflies to friends, so that they could watch and release miracles where they live. One may have emerged yesterday, and we are hoping the other comes out today.

We spent the day gardening yesterday-- a variegated basil variety, some trailing flowers in hanging baskets, seeds for zinnias, sunflowers, cilantro, watermelon, and pumpkin. My blog and my life have taken a decided turn toward nature, wouldn't you say? The butterfly experience combined with gardening at school have taken over parts of my life and influenced what I'm doing at home, what I'm reading, what I teach, and the knitting projects that I'm plotting and planning. I am still knitting and dreaming about the next log cabin blanket I might start that features colors from monarch caterpillars on one side and colors from monarch butterflies on the other side. Inspiration is everywhere, and I'm always on the look-out for it.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Ballerina Blossom

I had not planned on posting today for this blog because I knew that I needed to spend my precious time on another blog and on the dreaded housework that has been accumulating in my busyness and which strongly correlated with the activity on the aforementioned blog post. "No, Julie. No. No. No! You cannot sit at the computer all day or wander around the mazes of Flickr. You cannot surf the Internet for new and interesting blogs. You cannot organize your growing photo collection and create endless photo collages on Picasa. Don't even think about opening Facebook!" You know your housework is out of control when you are embarrassed for the teenage sitter to come later tonight.

But. . . how could I resist this? I looked out the home-office window to see this little blossom floating in the wind. The white flower was attached to a run-away spider silk, so it appeared to be dancing on its stage of green grass. I grabbed the camera and wished I could have zoomed even more. I love the very short video below because the birds are providing the music for this tiny, delicate dancer. What a small and precious moment.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

King and Queen

The King

The Last Release

The Queen

The last of our monarch's at home emerged today. The first one, our only male, emerged a few hours before the female. One's name was Slinky and one was Yellow. I was never sure which was which. When the children came home from school along with a friend, we released the female onto the milkweed plant in our butterfly garden. I had released the male earlier to make room for the other butterfly in the small container. My son was thrilled that we finally had a male! He was still on the lantana plant when we got home from carpool, but he flew away to a tree when we went outside.

I couldn't resist a few more photos. Like my Japanese maple, I can't take enough to fully capture their beauty and to satisfy my wonder.

Now, we have 4 empty chrysalises and three empty containers-- unless we are lucky enough to have some new eggs or caterpillars on our milkweed plant. Our hearts and minds, however, are full, and we are as rich as kings and queens from this miraculous experience.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Butterfly Colors

Both of my cats were extremely interested in me taking photographs of Matilda, and I love how their fur coordinates so nicely with her orange, black and white. We had to be careful about making sure they were not outside getting too close because Matilda hung around our house for about 24 hours even after we released her. She didn't seem to want to fly. After hanging out in the garage all afternoon, I transferred her to the backyard after the rain stopped. I worried about her all day while I was at school and rushed home to find, thankfully, that she was not still on the lantana but enjoying her butterfly wings somewhere else.

I enjoyed her butterfly wings and butterfly body immensely. Because she didn't immediately fly off as Winslow did yesterday, I was able to take photograph after photograph of her and study her legs, feet, body, antennae, wings, spots, and face up-close and at leisure. What a gift. Some of my best photos are on this blog post from yesterday. I've included a couple more below.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sabbath Haiku

Butterfly Sabbath
Open and clear chrysalis
Wings beat, rest, and fly

There has been all manner of excitement this Sunday. The children and I decided to take our sabbath at home. Our first chrysalis opened to reveal "a beautiful butterfly." We are still waiting for her to fly away. My daughter and I both let her crawl on our fingers, hands, and arms with her prickly feet. I transferred her to a butterfly bush in our little, backyard garden. The rain has died down.

The children both did their own blog posts about Matilda (who used to be Buddy) here and here. My daughter wrote her a poem and read it to her. . . hoping she would fly off.

I hope she will be happy for her brief life out in the world. She is resting in the wind and air now. I hope she is able to feel the sun, drink from flowers, walk across leaves, find another butterfly friend, and lay her eggs.

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