Monday, October 31, 2011

leaf mobile

The second leafy project I recently completed was

I dipped some of the leaves we collected into melted wax.
(It was parafin not beeswax. Shh...don't tell Martha.)

Then I strung them together
and hung them asymmetrically above my kitchen sink.
They look lovely with my yellow kitchen walls.
(Ahem...uh, why yes, I am a real person.
Those are real dishes untidily heaped in and around my real sink.
And that's my real sink sprayer nozzle thingy to the left of the sink
soaking in real vinegar to remove unfortunately real hard water deposits.
Real crafting takes a real toll on real housework...)

Since these photos were taken
the yellow leaves have turned decidedly brown,
but the red ones are still bright and beautiful.
They sway and turn so gracefully.
I enjoy observing them while I am washing my real dishes.

; )

Sunday, October 30, 2011

monday menu...or should I say sunday menu?

[zucchini pie photographed at the community harvest potluck]

Tangent: I am glad that I was raised to be willing, even eager, to try new foods. Having spent four of my childhood years in Brasil, I have had some interesting foods: all sorts of unusual tropical fruits and vegetables, fish eyes, and turtle meat, to name a few. I didn't like them all, but I enjoyed trying them. I still like trying new foods, whether it's sushi, an unidentifiable curry at an Indian buffet, zucchini pie at our local harvest potluck (it was surprisingly good, by the way), or the chayote that was on sale at our grocery store just last week. Experiencing food is a beautiful gift, and I hope that I can pass on some of the wonder and delight I feel in the colors, the smells, the textures, the balance of flavors to those around me. Maybe that's why I love taking pictures of the food I enjoy so much.

Anyway, on to menu planning. In one sense, last week's menu plan was a fiasco (not a single day's dinner was what I had planned it to be). However, since my grocery shopping and dinner making was still more organized that it would have been without a plan, and since we all enjoyed nourishing meals each night, I'll still consider it a success. I am hoping, though, that this week will proceed more nearly according to the plan:

M-pasta with grilled chicken and left over fresh tomato sauce
T-chili and fresh rolls
W-bagel sandwiches and fruit (Didn't get to it last week.)
Th-minestrone soup and leftover rolls (Didn't get to this last week either.)
F-chicken pot pie

I'd love to hear what culinary endeavors you have up your sleeves. (And I recommend the spot remover Zout for getting the stains out of the aforementioned sleeves.) What are you making this week?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

~The cinnamon rolls baking in the oven right now smell so good.
~Sweet Pea is wearing a little pink sleeper that has a print of teeny-tiny baskets of flowers, butterflies, fruits and veggies, and the cursive words "sweet pea" all over it. How appropriate.
~The feeling of little arms wrapped all the way around one's neck and shoulders for an affectionate squeeze is one of the best sensations ever.
~I made flourless fudge chocolate chip cookies last night. They were intense and delicious, perfect for killing a chocolate craving. While they were tasty, and I'll probably make them again, I don't foresee them becoming a top favorite.
~I bought a stained glass leaf necklace last week. I had been looking forward to getting it for so long that when it arrived on a day when I was already emotional, not looking quite like I had envisioned it, I was really disappointed. After a little adjustment, I decided that I do like it after all. Silly me.
~I intended to write posts on Thursday and Friday about the other two leaf projects the boys and I made last week. Ooops.
~On Thursday Benjamin and I played classical flute-and-piano music as background music at the fundraising banquet for our local crisis pregnancy center. We pulled it off amazingly well considering the amount of practice we had. I love making music with that man. : )
~Speaking of music, the other day Brother was playing the piano (he makes some beautiful incidental music!) and singing when he announced to me: "I singing a New Song, Mom!"
~Benjamin is out in the mountains getting firewood with a friend this morning. I'm so thankful. Having a fire in our wood stove will make the coldest days this winter much more bearable.
~The timer just beeped for the cinnamon rolls. Gotta run.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

leaf rubbings

Remember how I said that we collect lovely leaves during our autumnal meanderings? Well, last Friday we did three leaf projects with the specimens we gathered.

The first project we tackled was making leaf rubbings. Leaf rubbings are super-easy. All you do is arrange leaves vein side up on a piece of paper, place a second piece of paper on top of the leaves, and rub over the leaves with the side of a crayon with the paper peeled off.

Brother was interested and tried to make leaf rubbings, but he didn't quite get it. I made a few leaf rubbings on his paper for him, and then he was quite happy to draw his own designs with crayons and colored pencils.

Little Man, however, really enjoyed the project. He needed help holding the papers steady, but other than that, he had the process down.

I like his unconventional use of colors for autumn leaves.

Of all the leaf rubbings Little Man made, this is my favorite. We had so much fun with this project. I'm already planning to try to make it happen again next year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

leafy meanderings

We have been enjoying
a late, warm autumn here in Montana.

The mornings are nippy-cold;
heavy frost turns our yard into a field of glinting diamonds.

But the afternoons have been clear and warm
with merely a hint of breeze.

It's the type of perfect weather
that results in brilliantly hued leaves.

It is also perfect for taking
meandering yet purposeful walks
on which we collect treasures.

We gather spruce cones, lovely leaves, photos,
and happy memories of time together.

Monday, October 24, 2011

our family photos

Making sure we get a decent annual family photo is pretty important to me. I'm not quite willing to move earth and sky, but I'm afraid that I come close sometimes. This year I decided to do a simple photo session in our back yard (we really can't make too much of a photo-taking production with three children four and under in tow) on the first Saturday in October (you never know when it's going to snow here in Montana, and I'd rather not shiver through the session). The following are three of my very favorites.

Little Man's face in the photo above
is just like one I made for a family photo when I was small.
And Brother's moody cuteness
is, well, CUTE.

This picture makes me happy.
We look relaxed and cheerful, and the light is gorgeous!

my favorite

This event could not have taken place without the kind support of dedicated individuals. I'd like to begin by expressing thanks to my parents for taking the photos. I'd also like to extend my sincere gratitude to Little Man and Brother for pulling together their ragged emotions, wearing the clothes I dictated, and resisting the lure of the sand box. Last but not least, I'd like to thank my dear Benjamin who showed unwavering support for The Cause and without whom, the Family Photo Session of 2011 would have been a weepy disaster. ; )

monday menu

[stew photographed at the community harvest potluck]

I've been blogging in such fits and starts lately. It frustrates me. I'd love to write perfectly spaced, predictably published blog posts, but guess what, I'm not perfect. I'm learning to be okay with that. : ) I can't believe that it's been a whole week since I've posted! Time flies when you're having fun. Anyway, here's what I'm planning on making this week.

M-roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli
T-savory chicken leftover (a celery-rich chicken gravy over elbow pasta)
W-bagel sandwiches and fruit
Th-minestrone soup and fresh rolls
F-stir fry over brown rice

What are you mixing up this week?

Monday, October 17, 2011

monday menu

[pasta salad photographed at the community harvest potluck]

M-It's my birthday today! So I get a nice little birthday dinner made by my Mum.
T-tacos (I didn't get to them last week; instead we had ramen one night because we had colds.)
W-tomato soup and grilled cheese
Th-chili with homemade rolls
F-pasta and chicken with red sauce

What are you making this week?

Friday, October 14, 2011

october calendars

Last month I wrote about the August and September calendars I printed for the boys (especially Little Man) to help them count down to special events and learn calendar skills. They went over so well that I decided to make October calendars with them too.

They both colored their pages carefully in characteristic styles. Little Mans is rainbowy meticulous, while Brother's is splashy random. I love them both. : )

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Back story: We have friends whose oldest arrived just two minutes after Little Man did. We were friends long before we had the boys. When we met we would never have imagined that someday we'd be laboring in next-door hospital rooms. Fortunately we had different doctors...

Anyway, Little Man's birthday-buddy's party was last week. I enjoyed whipping up a treasure bag (based on this hobo sack tutorial) which we gave to him with a monster truck tucked inside. This might be my favorite treasure bag that I've made so far (and I've made a lot of them!). I just love the rich red plaid and the perfectly coordinating khaki lining. I was almost a little bit sad to see it go, but the birthday boy liked it, so I was okay. : )

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Autumn has arrived with a vengeance in our corner of the world. Golden leaves flame against dripping grey or brilliant blue skies; the breeze is nippy-cool. Sweaters, warm tea, and hot soup are comfortingly welcome. Also welcome are new autumn accessories! Lucky for me, I have two fabulously fun new scarves that I made based on an idea I found on Pinterest.

[Please excuse the headless photo; it was't a good self-timer portrait day.]

My mom and I had a lovely variety of autumn colored yarns between us for making into pretty scarf strands. I got so carried away with all of the exciting textures and colors that I ended up having enough to make two scarves. (I tried them all in one scarf at first and the effect was...well..bulky. So bulky, in fact, that it looked like my scarf was wearing me instead of the other way around!)

Anyway, I ended up making two autumn-colored scarves. I bundled the extra one up with a pretty gift tag and mailed it to my friend Katie who lives in Idaho.

I couldn't stop at just those two scarves, though, and had to use my blue, grey, and white scraps to make a third. This one is even less bulky and is much more like an accessory than a piece of ward-of-the-cold-air gear. I like having the variety. : )

This project was perfect for using up all of those extra little bits of yarn that are too big to throw away but too small to complete a project. Plus I can pick it up and set it down as many times as my interruption-full life demands without losing stitches or needing to find my place again. I can easily foresee more of these chain-stitched scarves in my crafting future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


a couple of weeks ago
i enjoyed
sitting down with the boys
and doing some coloring

[Brother's version-bright splashes of color]

[Little Man's version-careful rainbow petals]

[my version-whimsical additions]

as you can see
i got a little carried away
and had tons of fun

(the coloring pages came from made by joel)

Monday, October 10, 2011

two months

Our baby girl's two month birthday was last Friday. She changes a little every day, just enough that it's noticeable but not enough to make it less of a shock when I stop to think and realize just how quickly the time is flying by.

Right now Sweet Pea...

is 10 pounds even
loves to eat
doesn't mind a bottle
likes her pacifier but can usually do without it
sleeps so well--at least 5 hours straight every night
still doesn't have a nap schedule
really loves to snuggle
likes to swing
enjoys tummy time
is holding her head up with ever-increasing stability
has focused on and reached for objects a few times
shows what might be the beginning of a preference for a little doll
is a social, chatty baby, cooing and gooing every time she makes eye contact
gets all excited, flapping her limbs and grinning, when she seems me coming
seems to be trying to sing along with Daddy
observes her brothers intently
smiles frequently and occasionally laughs
tolerates headbands for only a little while
looks extra-cute in purple

I love my boys and wouldn't change them for the world, but I have to admit that there's something special about having a little lady in the house. I'm so grateful to have Sweet Pea in our family!

monday menu

[potato salad photographed at the community harvest potluck]

M-grilled chicken, orzo with parmesan and basil, grilled corn on the cob (Didn't get to this last week.)
T-stir fry over brown rice
W-grilled cheese, tomato soup, and fruit
Th-black bean burgers (Didn't get to this one last week either.)
F- tacos

I think I'll also sneak in an apple crisp. Plus I'm planning on making a batch of apple butter and a batch of plum jam with fruit that has been given to us. I should be a delicious week! What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

Friday, October 7, 2011

hats in progress

I have about a dozen hats sitting around my dining room and kitchen right now in various stages of completion. I love making things, but making a whole bunch of the same thing at the same time tends to leave me frustrated and annoyed. I joke about how someday when I'm rich and famous I'll design stuff and hire other people to make and market it...

In the meantime, however, I am thankful for beautiful fabric and an abundance of things to keep me busy. (I dislike being bored more than I dislike production work.) I'm thankful that even though the hats are all basically the same, there are enough variations to keep them from becoming too wearisome. I'm thankful that when I'm done with these, I will have one more project crossed off my list. I'm thankful that I'll have a new hat or two for a very low cost and a few to sell. And last but certainly not least, I'm thankful for a friend who purchased the one hat I have actually finished so far this week!

[Doesn't Emily look cute sporting her new hat?]

Linking up with Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

all things bright and beautiful

The boys received some rainbow scratch art sheets as a gift at their birthday party. I couldn't resist appropriating one. (Though, as Little Man told me, I really should have asked before using it. He's right. I should have.)

I had such fun scratching away the black to make brilliant flowers and curly-cues. As I scratched, the words of a hymn popped into my mind, and I added the first phrase since it fit with almost ironic perfection. (John Rutter's version is my favorite. Do give it a listen; it's worth your time.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

fun sized pears

A couple of weeks ago, seckel pears were on sale. They were so little and cute that I just had to try some. I'm happy to report that they were as tasty as they were cute, so if you see some for a good price, snap them up! And while you're snapping, why not use them as subjects as you practice your photography skills?