This week marks the second anniversary of starting this blog. There have been 105 posts so far and in that time, my babies have continued to grow and change. I, too, have continued to grow and change. When I started this blog I wasn’t sure why I even started it, except to try something outside my comfort zone. Something that would push me to think about things a little differently – to create a personal rhythm to my week. Something to create structure where there was none, except that which relates to the growing of children. This blog was an experiment. It pushed me to try to answer these questions:
“Is there anything that I am doing this week that inspires me?”
“What am I thinking about now that will be difficult to remember later?”
“What can we do to keep exploring?””
There have been weeks when all our family could manage was to stick to the routine and get by. But then there were the weeks when I found a little extra creative energy to photograph a food dish that I was preparing for my family and wanted to share with you. There have been the weeks where it felt extremely important to mark the changes or joys happening that very minute. Or, those weeks that I thought about a project I was curious about and actually did it. Probably the most satisfying element of the blog has been when it has re-connected me to people in my community. Over the last few years the blog has held me accountable to my creative self and I have loved that.
Gus and I just took our first trip away from the babes. This felt big. This felt huge. It required so much planning and as we were leaving I wondered if the trip was actually worth all the work. I was worried about what kind of disaster would occur while we were gone. And I couldn’t stop thinking about the kids for the first few days… but eventually we relaxed. The grandparents that stepped in for us did so with gusto and everyone did so well. The whole thing was such a great experience and we are so thankful for the support. We had such a good time remembering that this whole party started with just the two of us ten years ago.
Lately, I have found my attention drifting towards a new creative project. I haven’t been posting here as frequently and I have been wondering whether the blog’s useful life is over. In some ways, it has served its purpose. It helped to re-awaken a curiosity in me and learn the value of taking time for myself to try things. This blog was started to track my progress on the path to reacquaint myself with who I am as an individual and who I want to be in the next chapter. Our trip reminded me that I have a bit more work to do on this path of discovery and separation.
In the future, it is likely that my passion projects will be shown on a different space entirely, so stay tuned for that; but whether it is on this blog or somewhere else, I am committed to continuing this work of experimenting, exploring and discovering. I hope you’re with me!
Spring is all about new beginnings. And I find myself in awe of how many friends are setting out on new roads. As excited as I am for these friends and their new adventures, I am also aware of feelings of being somewhat left behind. So, in an effort to positively move forward, I have been working hard on finding new sources of inspiration. I have been sewing like crazy and getting into other fun projects, (but many of those will have to wait to be shared)!
Taking a class can be wonderful inspiration. It could be a class about something you have always wanted to learn or something that just seems fun, or even a bit random. I have taken sewing classes that have taken my skills to new levels, as well as a random wool felting class resulting in some cute (and odd) little animals. Sometimes the best thing about taking a class isn’t the subject as much as what it inspires inside, who we meet, or simply the satisfaction of creating something with our own hands.
A few weeks ago a friend, M, and I took a class on how to bake french macarons. This is not something that I had a particular longing to know how to do… (I know how to buy them really well already). But, they do hold a certain fascination, don’t they? They reek of european sophistication and are currently very trendy. The crisp outer layer, the creamy center, the beautiful pastel colors… These three-layer cookies do make a happy little package, don’t you think?
And although I wouldn’t typically classify myself as a baker, I was reminded that it is so much fun to learn something new. There is something wonderfully beneficial in seeing someone demonstrate the intricacies of a recipe or process. By learning someone’s tips and tricks it removes the mystery and helps us to become a little more brave ourselves. Since our class a few weeks ago, at least nine batches of macarons have been made between the two of us. Can you say obsess much? We are currently looking for qualified taste-testers… Please contact me if you would like to be considered.
Author’s Note: I am excited to say that I will be taking my first Pantry at Delancey class this weekend. I have looked forward to trying out the The Pantry for a long time. It is a food photography workshop, so you can be the judge in future posts as to whether it was worth my time, but I’m sure it will be full of inspiration.
So spring doesn’t officially begin for 13 more days (not that I am counting), but signs of winter’s end are all around. I spotted our first camelia blooming, the daffodils are poking their little yellow heads out, and I now hear the birds chirping when I wake up in the morning.
I remember when Sam first went to preschool, he came home with a simple bird feeder that they made in class. The teacher reminded the students (and parents) that it can be difficult for birds to find food at this point in winter, so we can help by putting food out. The garden is still a bit bleak, with the grass just beginning to sprout, but by placing a bird feeder in our tree we can see wildlife happening right outside our kitchen window.
This is a quick and easy activity to do with the kids and it is so satisfying to see the birds (and squirrels) show up so regularly! We used peanut butter, a pine cone that we found outside, and a birdseed mix from our local hardware store. You can use any mix of peanut butter, vegetable shortening, or suet (a high-quality animal fat) and there are lots of choices of birdseeds. One tip we have learned is that wire is necessary to hang the pine cone. In years past, we have very hopefully hung our pine cones with string or yarn and were quickly thwarted by motivated squirrels that will bite through the string and steal the whole bird feeder! So far, the wire has worked like a charm.
Pine Cone Bird Feeder
1 large pine cone
12 inch length of flexible wire (we used some picture hanging wire)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup birdseed mix
Wrap the wire around the pine cone, leaving a length at the end to twist around a tree branch. Spread peanut butter onto the pine cone, getting it into all the little crevices. Then roll peanut butter-covered pine cone in seeds on a dish. Hang from tree and watch the birds show up. Remember to choose a tree branch that you can see from a window in your house. It took the birds a day or two to discover our bird feeder, but it has been a week now and all the seeds and peanut butter are gone. Time to make another one!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Lesley Poole & the Littles Part 2!
|*pictured above ~ Little Lifesavers|
|*pictured above ~ Ta Dot, Little Lifesavers|
I am thrilled to share that I have a guest post (my first!) over on making it fun, the blog for Michael Miller Fabrics.
Friday, February 28, 2014
|*pictured above ~ Which Way Stripe|
It is Mid-Winter Break here in Seattle…
Does everyone have this funny break, or is it just us?
Our family decided not to travel for this break, so instead, we’re digging deep with craft projects and getting a little messy! Sometimes I see that it takes a week of no school stretching out in front of me before I am willing to commit to messing up the kitchen with crafts. But I have to remember that the kids love it and (if I can let go of things being orderly) I do too.
Does everyone know how easy it is to make homemade play dough? I am not saying we do this all the time (see above). And we definitely have gone through our share of store-bought Play-Doh. But truly, it is just a matter of making sure you have the ingredients in your pantry, a few minutes of mixing over the stove, and, Voila – you have super soft dough!
We were recently given a book from my sister-in-law called Lotions, Potions, and Slime by Nancy Blakey. As much as I wish this wasn’t true, sometimes I’m more up for that stuff than others. But, it reminded me of all sorts of ideas on how to encourage imaginative gooey play. (Thanks, B!) We were originally introduced to homemade play dough at Co-op Preschool and clearly there are lots of variations on quantities for this type of recipe, but this is the one we used yesterday. It worked beautifully. Be sure to have cleaning supplies at hand though, as getting messy is part of the… um, fun.
Classic Homemade Play-dough
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar (acts as a preservative)
3 cups water
3-4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons baker’s food coloring (available at Michael’s, Amazon, or other arts and crafts stores from Wilton)
kool aid (for yummy smell)
Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar) in a large pot. Add the water and oil and stir over medium heat. Add food coloring to arrive at desired shade. Continue to cook and stir until dough thickens and gathers into a big ball.
Remove dough from heat and place onto a generously floured surface. When dough cools, knead until dough is smooth. Store in a plastic bag or covered bowl (no need to refrigerate).