Sunday, February 28, 2016

signs of life

 I got this sudden, overwhelming urge to make something... anything... and my last carving was months ago. Quite a few of these carvings are things i have carved before... either for someone else or something i had made for myself that was broken. It felt really wonderful to get a little creativity flowing again. I feel like this little frenzy opened somewhat of a creative window inside me. I just feel different... slighty... like i have a little creative breeze flowing. Does that make sense? I broke out the sewing machine this weekend and it has been a long while since i have worked with fabric. I do enjoy the feeling of the fabric moving slowly under my hands and through the machine.
 I filled up my old notebook and retired it, so it was time to decorate my new one.
New number cards for the snack table at the little montessori school i'm subbing at. They set out trays of carrots, and pieces of cheese, crackers, etc, with little tongs and put these cards next to each thing so that the children know how much of each food they get to have and they come and serve themselves when they get hungry. It is adorable to watch.
I would like to introduce you to my new niece, Vivian Irie, who was born on February 17th. I got to go hold her and ... oh... that sweet newborn smell... and those tiny hands and feet... there is something so incredibly special about a brand new baby. I also gained a new nephew this month! Luca Giorgio was born on Feb. 11th. I have many photos of him on my phone but i need to get some transferred over to my computer so i can introduce you to him in my next post. I love watching my family expand and i am so excited to witness the lives of these two beautiful little people.

Speaking of new life... we have also expanded our farm family by four little chicks. They have been handled almost constantly but in my experience that makes for some really friendly chickens. I make sure they get breaks from the children of course, and they have to handle them gently or they loose their baby handling privileges. It has been going well. I am so glad that my little girls get to enjoy this wonderful experience the same way that the older two did.

They have been everywhere... these chicks... playing in the dollhouse, taking a ride in a little toy truck, hanging out on the desktop or snuggling in a lap. We are all thoroughly enjoying their presence in our home and our lives.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

little bits of now

 I think that my favorite part of our new teepee is finding this little one fast asleep inside. The lantern I put in the top makes it the biggest draw for my camera during these dark winter evenings. It's like a giant lamp in the living room. I think my goal for next winter is to introduce many more lamps and lanterns into the house. The difference it makes in the light around here is incredible.

Have you heard of Thredup? It's an online consignment store. You put in your sizes and then you can search by category, color, brand, whatever... and the best part... if there is anything you don't like you can send it back free of charge. I'm a pretty big fan. The box above is actually a few things I didn't like all packaged up and ready to return. If you want to check it out... you can use this link: and get $10 off your first purchase. 

We finally found the perfect hutch for our bunny friend.
The one we were using was borrowed and needs to be returned soon. The new one that I found is actually a very small chicken coop. It is perfect for a littler box trained bunny though! It was on sale... it's cute... and it provides a ton of room for the little guy to run around (and seek shelter). We still bring him in the house often, but now if we have a really busy day... I don't feel terribly guilty if we aren't able to get him out.

A few weeks ago the girls built some fairy houses in our flower gardens, and they are so excited watching all of the crocuses pop up perfectly around their little creations.

I planted these flowers last spring and they are my new favorites. It is called hellebore. I am planning to plant more this spring. Their leaves are really incredible looking and stay green and growing year round. Then they sprout these gorgeous flowers at the end of winter.
Spring planting...
now that is something to get excited about.

Friday, February 5, 2016

recommended reading

free desktop wallpaper: Oana Befort
i have used desktop calendars from Oana Befort and Geninne Zlatkis for years now. one of the things i don't really like about the calendar style wallpaper is that i feel like i have to change it each month. so, you can imagine my excitement when oana released this floral -non calendar- wallpaper. love it.
hopes for this summer...
pull out the rest of that overgrown laurel... and build a new chicken coop behind that pear tree.

now on to the reading...
i didn't do a lot of reading last year.
i just didn't make it a priority i guess. i did have a few really good reads that i would recommend and they are the snow childthe nesting place, paper to petal, all issues of taproot magazine, and mink river. that is my sad list of recommended reads from 2015.
this year will be different though. it is only february and i am off to a good start. 
my list:
  • "how to catch a frog" by Heather Ross. i love this book. it has me completely captivated. instead of sharing my own review though, i am going to share this review by anna maria horner. which is the one that put this book on my reading list. 
  • "shooting with soul" by Alessandra Cave. i have only just begun this book, but i already feel inspired by it. it is mostly full of photography prompts that encourage you to find your artistic voice.
  • "my rag doll" by Corinne Crasbercu. obviously, this is a sewing book. it has one doll body pattern and then many different hair and face styles, and many different clothing, shoe, and accessory patterns. i find it adorable and inspiring. i have not found any time for doll sewing just yet, but when i do... i am very excited to give these patterns a try.
  • "playful learning" by Mariah Bruehl. this is a re-read for me. i love this book. lots of ideas and activities for encouraging learning at home. my favorite section in this book is "build it and they will come" which gives multiple ideas for creating learning spaces in your home. areas where the children will have access to materials so that they can create and learn on their own at any time.
  • taproot magazine. i have read every issue of taproot and i am a huge fan.
 i plan to read these books to my older children over the next couple months. they are historical fiction novels and i read both of them as a kid and both of them made quite an impression on me. "johnny tremain" by Eshter Forbes takes place in boston at the start of the american revolution. johnny ends up working at the boston observer, participates in the boston tea party, and many other exciting historical events. i'll share more about this classic after we actually read it... it's been a long time. "the silver sword" by ian seraillier (and later went by the title "escape from warsaw") takes place during world war 2. after their parents arrest, three children must take care of each other and hide from the nazis amidst the rubble of their destroyed city. then they learn that their father is alive and has escaped. so they travel across the battlefields of europe to find their parents.
 some of our favorites for the younger crowd:
  • "if you lived here: houses of the world" by Giles Laroche. we love this book. beautiful art and information on different houses from all over the world and throughout history. 
  • "the blue hill meadows" by Cynthia Rylant. four seasonal stories about a wonderful family living out in the country. 
  • "the little house" by Virginia Lee Burton. a sweet book about a little house that loves it's life out in the country. then slowly the city begins to move in around it and everything changes... but don't worry there is a very happy ending.
  • "chrysanthemum" and "lilly's purple plastic purse" by Kevin Henkes. we LOVE these stories. i especially have a sweet spot for chrysanthemum. each of these girls goes through a bit of a hard spot in the story but both have adorable endings.
  • "miss rumphius" by Barbara Cooney. this book is so special. it was my favorite as a little girl. if you haven't read it, you must! if only everyone did something to make the world more beautiful.
  • "flotsam" by David Weisner. this is a book without words. the incredible illustrations tell a story of an underwater camera that is found by a boy on the beach, and oh! the things that camera has seen!

have you read any of these books?
do you have any recommendations for me?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

on the cusp of change

 my youngest turned five on saturday.
each year we move a little farther away from baby days and toddler hood. 
on one hand i feel a bit sad and nostalgic about it all... but on the another hand i am ever so ready and excited for what's to come next.
 my little ollie jane absolutely adores monkeys.
she also adores our hand painted peg doll family made by the amazing summer. so i asked summer to make a monkey family for her. not only did she make an incredible monkey family, but she included some very special extras.
 the sweet stuffy above she said has been looking for someone to love him, and my ollie loves him so very much. i just love that adorable face.
 the monkey family is even better than i thought it would be... i am so impressed with her creativity and attention to detail.

 and this extra is so very special...
it is jane goodall and her little chimpanzee friends.
i must admit... i knew very little about jane goodall. i also knew that ollie knew very little about her and would not fully appreciate this gift without a little more knowledge. so i ordered some books on jane to go with the pegs. oh. my. goodness. first of all, what an incredible woman, and secondly, there are so many wonderful similarities to my own little "jane". what fun we have had learning about her and her adventures. thank you so much summer for all the wonderful things you brought into my little ollie's life on her birthday!

 above are some very sweet handmades by her older sisters. those two are so creative and thoughtful. i was not home to help them sew their creations together, so they stapled them. i personally think this was absolutely brilliant on their part. 
five years old... such a wonderful age.
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