Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Autumn wreath

The past couple of days we have been working on our autumn wreath, it is perhaps a bit early I admit, yet while it is still quite warm here, there is a very tangible feeling of autumn approaching, so why not welcome it with a pretty wreath.
 I was really excited to use the wreath base that I made during summer using  grape vines. 
Check here for details.
We started out by making felted acorn, I wet felted little balls simply by rolling tufts of wool roving between my palms, dipping it in hot water and adding a little dish soap. Keenan got busy selecting the caps off the acorns that we then hot glued the felted balls into.
Aren't they pretty, I love them!:)
To add a bit of sparkle I also glued some glitter onto a couple of the real acorns. I usually prefer simple, yet thought I would see how it looked, and decided to use these little glitter acorns on the wreath.
We also needle felted a few pumpkins, Kaleena made the one for the wreath, and the others we will use for our nature table. I found directions on how make these here.
Kaleena did a really great job with her pumpkin, this is the first time she used the needle without the cookie cutter to assist her like here.
Besides our handmade treasures we also used all these natural beauties, which we found on our walk today
Keenan made this with his glue gun, little berries in an acorn cap...
Which inspired me to make these
And here it is all finished, 
I think it turned out lovely, with just enough of each of the different elements included. I used hot glue to attach most of the decorations, except for the greens that could be easily woven into the wreath

~A very happy Tuesday to y'all~

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thoughtful Sunday; Living in the present lane

I have been thinking a lot about being present lately. It seems that we spend an awful lot of time thinking about moments that have already past; why did I do this or that, or the moments that are yet to come; what will I prepare for dinner tonight, all the while completely missing out on the only place where life happens, this very moment. This is not a new thought, it is something I dwelled into quite a bit in my years of intense yoga practice, and something that I think about often as I go about my daily doings, deep in thought as it were; somewhere else. I am deeply aware that when my mind wanders during any moment, I miss the magic and glory of what I am doing and life appears more grey, where as my full attention given to the present moment, makes all the colors pop and magic a possibility. 
We all do this, to a greater or lesser extent every day, and certainly there are aspects of our lives that need attention before they happen, yet what has me pondering this thought more of late, is the fact that we may to be passing this "habit" onto our children. It seems to me that we are so conditioned to bring up the future that we, without conscious thought, constantly apply this to our children.
Example; We have a trip planned to go visit good friends, these are friends that we do not see often and I know that the news will bring great excitement to the children. Lets say I share this with them today, and the trip is not for another two weeks, I can say with certainty that they will be asking when we are leaving almost, if not every day, and everyday they will then spend time in "waiting", thus missing out on the beauty that is happening right in front of them right now. If on the other hand I wait, containing myself, and only tell them just the day before we leave, will their excitement be any less? I doubt it and the waiting will only be a day, and still allow plenty of time for looking forward (in the eyes of a child) a timeframe that even my youngest can relate with. It seems to me, as I think about these things, that waiting to share exciting news until they are just about to happen, might allow our children to struggle less as adults when it comes to living their lives in the present moment.
Clearly we want to make our children happy, thus telling them things that we know will be exciting to them, yet what we are really doing, I believe, is conditioning them to thinking that everything exciting happens somewhere in the future, to always feel that there must be something to look forward to; the weekend, a birthday, people coming to visit, a trip or any other special event, instead of deeply realizing that there can be, indeed there is, excitement and beauty in every moment if we only take the time to live it when it is happening, which is always right now.
I have already caught myself a couple of times today wanting to share a thought of something happening tomorrow, and stopped. I feel certain that by keeping up this effort, I will help my children spend more time, as they naturally would without my input, in the here and now. And as they grow, living in the present lane, it will be quite natural for them to remain present and not something to be learned.

~I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, please feel free to share yours,
and a happy sunday to you all~

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The beauty that surrounds us

Might I share a few of the moments from our weekly trip to the country yesterday, where we gratefully picked up milk and eggs and marveled at the peace and quiet, and gorgeous natural world all around....
The thistles had me amazed, I find them so beautiful and fierce, and so magical

Kaleena called me excitedly over to revel at the Luna moth she had found, it was truly an amazingly beautiful creature, and it was for Kaleena a moment of tenderness as it was obvious that the moth was coming upon the end of its life cycle
While Keenan revisited a friend, Zoe the baby cow, who is growing up so quickly
We found a place in the woods where a couple of weeks ago the bears had retreated. It was cool and calm, with dabbled light filtering through the trees. It was a paradise for the children and they found a special spot and gathered feathers, crystals and acorns. Climbed trees and balanced on fallen over logs
The signs of autumn approaching is everywhere, and each day more. And while there is certainly no hurry; we still have weeks of warm weather while the mornings and nights gradually cool down, there is for me a certain comfort in the fact that the cycle continues, and as surely as we are now approaching the darker days and colder months, just as surely will we again welcome spring on the other side. I find this cycle so wonderful and life affirming
And I remember to each day marvel at the beauty that surrounds us, (except of course when I get myself stuck somewhere in my own tangled mind), and give thanks for this present moment.
~With love and gratitude~

Friday, August 27, 2010

This Moment

A friday ritual inspired by Soulmama
A single photo, no words
A moment I want to pause, treasure and remember
(this one is from the past, last winter in the Dominican Republic)
~A very happy weekend to you all~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pencil holder

Another homemade birthday present for Kaleena this year is going to
 be this pencil holder with color pencils inside.
I just kind of made it up as I went along, and I think it came out really sweet. 
I thought I would embroider her name, or at least the first letter, 
but couldn't get it right so I ended up sewing on a felt letter instead.
I made it especially for the Lyra pencils, as they came in a tin box, and I wanted a different way to contain these wonderful pencils, they are so lovely, will last "forever" and deserve a special place to live.
I used a large piece of wool felt,  an 18" square, folded up the bottom, and pinned in one pencil at a time. 
( In hindsight, I will definitely cut at the bottom rather than fold the next time, 
as it ended up a little crooked )

I sewed it up with a gold metallic thread by hand, surely it would have been easier on a machine, however I still have not gotten the one in the basement out of hibernation:), and I like the simplicity and innocent look of a hand sewn piece. I added a blanket stitch around the edges, and also added Kaleena's name and a heart for decoration. 
I thought I might add a button to close, but instead decided on a simple leather string which I sewed on and wrapped around, simple and pretty.
~I hope you are having a lovely day~

Monday, August 23, 2010

The yearly birthday book

Each year I make a birthday book for the children. It is a gathering of highlights from the year that passed, pictures that appeal to their memories and are sure to stay with them as they leaf through the pages. The books are greatly loved, and both children enjoy coming back and looking through the pages again and again. Once the excitement wears off, I keep them in a safe place and bring them them out on occasion, so that they will last for years to come. I make them very simply, 
and each year they are a little different.
If all my things were not packed up, I would show examples of previous years, however this is what Kaleena's will look like this year.
I used brown paper bags for the book cover, I made it a double layer for durability and because one side of the paper bag had writing. For the pages I used watercolor paper because I had it on hand, usually I might use card stock. To the front i Mod Podged a pressed flower.
Here it is all dry and shiny. I folded up all my paper, chose the pictures I wanted to use, cut them to size and glued them in the pages.
Then I used a strong household needle and waxed cotton string to sew up the middle
And here it is all finished. I keep it simple, with simple drawings and crayon colors.
I love how it turned out, and I am looking forward to give it to Kaleena.
~Thank you for sharing with me, and a very happy monday to you all~