Sunday, February 27, 2011

First blooms

Is there anything more extraordinary than watching the first blooms pop out of the ground? These are the crocus bulbs that we handed out to friends and family at our wedding. My mom gifted these to me to plant in the ground at Thanksgiving for our new home. My dad and I were out there for a couple of hours that weekend, planting about 250 daffodils and crocus bulbs. He, shoveling the frosted dirt, and me on my knees, jamming the bulbs into the ground. I look at these crocus and it feels like a piece of our past transported to the canvas of this new nest. Two weeks from now will mark the first year of living here.... time has flown.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Such a lovely weekend we had! It's been in the sixties here and we just can't help but think about spring. Honestly, it's been hard to come indoors, and we've been working hard at cleaning up the yard and getting the garden ready. I did rummage around in my sewing room, and it's time to let go of some fabric. A Moda Wonderland Jelly Roll, anyone? We've been feeling the crunch of the recession on our family's business (and primary income.) I love all my fabrics, but it also feels wonderful to let go.

So, I'll be offering up yardage as I come across it (or can part with it.) Most of my fabrics are out of print, so there promises to be some good stuff over the next few weeks. If you're local and want to buy, email me and we can avoid the shipping and paypal costs. Any advice you have is welcome, as I'll be figuring this out as I go. I've noticed lots of folks destashing for seemingly fair prices, only to watch the buyer turn around and sell that fabric for more. That just doesn't seem right and I want to earn for the needs of my family. So... spread the word if you will, it's all here. I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sewing with seven year olds

Santa brought her a Singer 1507 sewing machine for Christmas. It was the one thing she asked for, so I was very relieved that he got it right. She's had a ball with it. Although she's used my machine a few times, we started with the basics. I let her get used to the petal on her new machine first. We did this without threading the machine. She ran the pedal with her foot, hands under her bottom, until she was able to start slowly and maintain a steady rhythm. Then we put thread in the machine and worked on stopping, starting, and following lines drawn on paper (straight, curvy, and angles.) It was worth the time at the front end to explain some use and care of the machine, along with the mini tutorials. We talked about the fact that everybody has to practice if they want to get better at something. I think that's such an important insight for kids, so I slip it in whenever I can. (Once in a while, I get some eye rolling from them, but I think they appreciate the reminder!)

Next, she moved onto making fairy quilts. She pieced blocks of fabrics, designing her layout beforehand. She created the entire mini quilt, start to finish, and was so thrilled. She made about ten more. The part that absolutely awed me was how she went about quilting each one. I was actually a bit nervous at first. She ran the machine like she was running a race; she looked more than a bit like a mad artist. I stopped myself from saying anything about needles and fingers, and just watched. I realized that she was essentially free motion quilting, just like she's seen her mom do so many times. The even more extraordinary thing (which will only mean something to you if you sew) is that she never dropped the feed dog, AND her stitches looked great! Hmmmm. If only I sewed as well as her when I was seven.

(Another one of her quilts, a felt bird that she made, and the pincushion I made for her to use with her first machine.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What daddy made him and why it's so amazing!

How cool is it when you're four and your dad makes you your own workbench? Especially if it's nicer than the average bear's! This creation has inspired hours of activity for our little guy. It has real child sized tools with it, including the safety glasses. It even has a handsaw that was his great grampy's. My favorite tool is the drill which is a Fiskar's old fashioned hand crank drill that really works. I've used it!

In this picture, he's got his piece of wood in the vice. It's cranked down and he hammers nails into the wood, saws it, drills it, colors it with markers.... you name it. When he was three, I remember starting to consider if little boys could be trusted to use tools safely. The resounding reply I got from several smart mamas was "ABSOLUTELY!!!"

Now that I see my little guy in action, I get it. He bangs on things anyway. He does big, loud, silly things. He takes risks that make me cringe sometimes, and I'm not a helicopter parent. He has this energy about him that is very, very boy. (Sorry to use the gender stereotype.) But... he can also be sweet and thoughtful and very directed in his activity. Giving him the responsibility for his own tools, the safe use of them, and a proper place to store them, has directed his energy and activity. Really. I'm a total convert. "Got some energy to get out? Why don't you go make something at your workbench, buddy." Bang, bang, bang. Everybody's happy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog's Day!

Six more weeks of winter?! No way. We can't take it, so we're bribing our groundhog. A few carrots maybe? We dug these up yesterday! We were completely surprised and there were plenty of squeals. It's so much like an Easter egg hunt, digging up root vegetables. These had been totally forgotten about in our garden. They were seeded this summer and we only found them when we were getting a bed ready for potatoes. It never ceases to amaze me that our food can grow into something so sweet and crispy from a teeny tiny seed.