Thursday, March 31, 2011

Signs of Spring

Spring is the million different greens of new growth.

Spring is the bright blue of the sky and the sidewalk chalk that stains little fingers.
Spring is the red of radio flyer tricycles and heated little cheeks.
Spring is yellow and warm - sunshine shared with cousins.
Spring is the smell of sweaty baby heads, nodding off in sleep.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An old camera, a new quilt

As my camera is sitting in my sister's house, 474 miles away, I decided to pull out my old point and shoot camera this morning so I could share my latest project.
My old camera is now my son's camera. It has been his for a year and a half, and the camera is over six years old the best I can figure. The thing just won't die!!  Its a Canon.  That is why I own another Canon camera.  There are times I wished the stupid thing would just break so I would have an excuse to buy a new camera, but otherwise I cannot find a fault with my Canon cameras.

Kids take pictures of the funniest things.
Note the blurry center of the photo.
Kids do not know how to keep their fingers off the lens.

Anyhow, back to my project. I make a quilt for each of my children. It is a crib blanket that becomes a lap quilt. Each child's quilt is folded up at the foot of their bed. We take them in the car for night time road trips. The kids build forts with them. They carry them into my bedroom in the middle of the night to pull over themselves on the floor by my bed.

I started Connor's quilt when I was pregnant with him.  I believe I finished it right around the time he turned one.  That has been my pattern.  Start the quilt once I know what the sex of my baby will be, and finish it around their first birthday.  After all, its too big for them to use before that anyway, right?
Well, I finally finished Donovan's quilt.  He is only about 20 months old, but I cut me some slack - I didn't start working on his until after he was born!

The silly thing is that it has been sitting on my sewing desk for six months just about complete.  It took me only one hour to finish it. I never got around to it because, well, I just didn't really like it.  The problem with starting a quilt and finishing it one year later is that your style may change.  

Donovan's quilt is perfect.  It is made up of exact triangles all formed into a windmill, each one identical to the others. I spent a lot of time cutting and ironing these exact little triangles.
While I was eager to try this block a year and a half ago, I now lean more towards scrap quilts.
I love this one that I made for my mother.

Anyhow, I am happy that I finally finished Donovan's quilt. The blocks are pretty amazing, and I hope he treasures the quilt for many, many years, and treasures the fact that his mother lovingly made it with her own hands.
The old camera still takes a decent picture, huh?

Now I am free to get back to the sewing machine and any scrappy, crafty design I want to create!
How I wish that I didn't have to cook dinner tonight, I have some fun projects calling my name.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I sat on the beach

Yes, over this past weekend, I dug my toes in the sand and watched my kiddos frolic in the waves.
I definitely was not in a bathing suit, and it definitely was not 80 degrees.
It was in the 60's and windy, and I sat with a blanket wrapped around me, but I still enjoyed watching the kids play.
An Arizona kid cannot stay out of the ocean, no matter what the temperature happens to be.
I have a picture of them, the kids racing the waves up to the shore, soaked from the waist down...
but I left my camera in Los Angeles.  Good place for it, I know.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We Were Tired of Living in a House

Every once in a while, you come across a treasure in some thrift store or at some garage sale, a treasure that becomes worth so much more than the pennies you paid for it.
I picked up this book at a local thrift store for 10 cents about five years ago.
by Liesel Moak Skorpen illustrated by Doris Burn
It didn't look like this when I bought it, it looks like this after many, many hands have lovingly turned the pages. It has become my favorite children's book.  I can't say if my children love it as much as I do, they rotate favorites regularly.
I think this book speaks to the child and the mother in me. I love how the story follows a poetic format.  The perfectly real illustrations depict childhood play that is every imaginative child's dream, and the vibes coming off the parents makes me laugh, because I totally have been there. Look how frustrated they are with the mess, the drawings on the wall, and the utter chaos.
And look how frustrated the kids are with their parents.  I love that the girl is the most defiant, it kind of reminds me of my own household! :)  And check out the dog!  I want a dog that is that loyal!
So the kids decide to move out. They pack their bags, bringing sweaters, socks, scarves, mittens, and hats.
Did you ever want to run away as a child?  Did your parents ever make you sooo mad that you were headed out the back window before you lost your nerve? 
The one time I remember wanting to run away, I never got as far as thinking of where I'd go.
My imagination couldn't run anywhere, my anger had first dibs.

If I did stop and take the time to think of the perfect non-parent place, I don't know what I would have come up with, but these adventurous children found some wonderfully magical places to run away to.
These children moved first to a tree.
"There was always a breeze in the afternoon
that rippled through our roof.
Above in a branch lived a speckled bird
who sang all day for the sake of a song,
and our roof in the autumn turned scarlet and gold.
We liked our tree,
until we tumbled out."
That didn't deter these children.  They packed their bags once again with,
"sweaters and socks and scarves and mittens
and scarlet leaves and gold."

They moved to a pond,
and packed up again to move to a cave.
Once they met the bears, they packed their bags yet again, and moved to the sea.

Isn't this drawing fantastic?! My kids and I talk about how tangible it seems. We can feel the wind, and taste the salt, even though the sea isn't even in the picture.
"We built a castle on the shore
from salty water and warm sea sand
with turrets and towers and moats about.
We hunted for treasure and dove in the waves
and slept to the pleasant songs of the surf.
We liked our castle on the shore,
but the tides kept washing us out to sea.

So we packed our bags with sweaters
and scarlet leaves and gold
and a frog who was a particular friend
and precious stones that caught and held the sun
and seashells singing like the surf."
I love how their bag now contains all the treasures from their travels. Never mind where the socks and mittens have been left. Never mind that they left home in the first place.  Mom and Dad have missed the little hooligans, and welcome them home with open arms.

Because really, the endless mess and the art on the walls are nothing compared to the joy that children bring.

Now that our book is on its last leg, I can't bring myself to tape it up, or even get rid of it.  The illustrations are fabulous, and make me think of carefree summer days. I have an idea to frame some of them, like the scene of the kids in the tree and the sea scene.
Or perhaps I will make photocopies of the best pages first, and give them to my kids as coloring pages.
What do you do with a favorite worn out book that you can't bear to close the pages of?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Fever?

Light filters into our bedroom when we awake at 7 am.  Sometimes I hear the birds chirping.
I do believe we are making our way into Spring.
Never mind that it is a cloudy, gray day today and that tomorrow we are supposed to get snow.
I am ready for sunshine and warmth.

I told Dean of what I was dreaming of: eighty degree weather, sandy bare feet, kicking back and relaxing with a book, the sound of waves crashing, being able to go into the grocery store in my bathing suit and not look odd. 

"I have an idea," he said.  "I will heat up both our hot packs and put them under the covers at your feet. Then it will feel like 80 degrees.  You can put on your swimsuit if you want."