Monthly Archives: January 2015

Quilting and Weather

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Well, I wrote a very long, and somewhat rambly post to go along with this picture-dump post, and then accidentally deleted the text. So, this is take two, the abridged version of my original post.

I started a log cabin quilt (inspired by Alicia, following this tutorial) for June last weekend when I had some friends over for crafting and mimosas. I finished two squares while my friends were over and then, realizing how much fun it was, couldn’t seem to stop and made another eleven squares over the next two days. I need seven more before I can piece the top all together. I wouldn’t have stopped, but I ran out of strips and need to cut more before going any further. What a fun project it is turning out to be!

It has warmed up here, it seems so early in the year, but we are in short sleeves and sandals during the day. I am trying to enjoy it– it is nice to be out in the sunshine, but deep down I am quite a bit envious of those on the east coast who are covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. If you are in the snow, please send some my way, or even just a little rain. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accept what seasons are like in a desert climate.

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log cabin quilt

log cabin quilt squares

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Silk Play Scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf

Homeschooling has always been a part of the plan for our family. Before Lucy was born I began reading about different methods of homeschooling, leaning almost exclusively toward free range learning and unschooling. Now, as we are quickly approaching the age of four, and all her friends are going off to preschool, I have had to put some serious thought into what direction we want to go in.

While I love the idea of unschooling, we are at a point right now where we need more structure in our daily lives, which is where the lovely Waldorf method of learning comes in. I don’t know if it is what we will do long term (and who knows, at some point I may realize homeschooling just isn’t for us), but for right now I am devouring book after book about creating rhythm in the home and the importance of including Lucy, and eventually June, in our day to day work.

The thought behind Waldorf based play is something I agree with completely–when it comes to toys, less really is more. The onslaught of toys that came into our house over the holidays has lit a fire under my bum. I have been steadily working to ween out the toys that aren’t played with and bring on more natural toys. As I have tucked away baskets of toys, I see Lucy spending more time with the toys that are kept out. Her play lasts longer when there are less distractions and more importantly, less clutter in front of her. Over the past week I have donated a few items, but just put away about 75% of her toys. Not once has she asked for any of them back. Out of site out of mind, right? I don’t plan on getting rid of them until she is ready, but for now I may just rotate them out on a weekly or bi weekly basis, though I do plan on following her lead.

One of the things I kept reading about online and through various Waldorf books are these beautifully colored play scarves. After checking out a few sites and seeing the high cost of a square of cloth, I decided to purchase white silk and dye them myself (I followed these instructions). Before the dying process, I handed one to Lucy and she instantly thought, “snowball fight”. We then spent a few minutes bunching them up and throwing them at each other. Such fun!

We dyed them with Kool-Aid, three packets per scarf, and they turned out beautifully. I love the soft pastel colors that they turned out to be. Upon drying they were promptly turned into a play tent. The scarves, which were purchased here, are the 35” x 35” size. They are the perfect size to use in a variety of ways. Lucy balled two of them up in a bowl from her play kitchen, then stuck her swirly colored “cake” into the oven to bake. I hope to get one or two even larger scarfs for things like puppet show curtains or for a proper chair fort. For now though, I think these colorful squares of cloth are going to be getting much use.

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarves

kool aid dyed silk waldorf play scarf

The New American Herbal – A Book Review

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So, I hope you all don’t mind these occasional book reviews. I have a serious book hoarding problem. In my younger years I thought the perfect profession for me would be to be a librarian, and really I still feel that way. Maybe if I was a single gal, but as a mama of two with plans to home school and future plans to homestead, a job outside the home is not really in the cards for me.

I got this beautiful book, The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr, in the mail a few weeks back and have been leafing through it on and off since then, absorbing the information about whichever plant or herb strikes my fancy on that particular day. I have had an interest in herbalism for many years, though I have relied on google and advice from friends whenever I need a cure for a common ailment.

This book is a wealth of knowledge on one of my favorite subjects. The herbs it covers are not exclusive to medicinal uses, but also cover ones used for fragrance, ornamental, and culinary purposes. Each herb has a general overview in a small box on the side of each page which includes how it is used, where it originated from, a bit about how to grow it, the season to harvest the herb, as well as any safety precautions that need to be noted. The majority of the text then goes on to tell stories, history, and other interesting tidbits about the plant listed.

I am so happy to have this book in my collection now, as I know it will see much use when curiosity strikes and I want to thumb through and pick up a bit more knowledge on what I am cooking with, the tea I am drinking, or the herb I am taking in a tincture. It really is a great reference guide.

I have not yet tried any of the recipes, but the pictures are so beautiful that I can’t imagine they taste anything short of delicious!

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I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Lucy’s Quilt

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I hope you are all getting on well in the New Year. I am so happy that things are finally starting to settle down and my projects no longer have a deadline.

I finished Lucy’s quilt sometime around mid December, and just as soon as I did I went out and bought fabrics to start one for June. Though it took me the better part of the year to complete, piecing together this quilt was one of the most enjoyable projects I have completed in a long, long time. I am just itching to get a little time to start cutting up the next one.

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Christmas and New Year

christmas presents under tree

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I love the holidays, but boy am I relieved once they are over. I finally realized this year that I like the days surrounding Christmas far better than I like the actual event. There is the excitement of the upcoming holiday, which we spend weeks preparing for, cooking seasonal foods, decorating the tree, making gifts, listening to Christmas music, then the day comes and more often than not it is a bit stressful. The days following are my favorite. My crafting no longer has a deadline, everyone is relaxed, and by that time I am ready to be done with the Christmas music for another 11 months.

On Christmas morning we all woke up together and I reminded Lucy that it was the big day. She rushed out of bed, pulled back the curtain and excitedly asked, “did it snow?” It was a bit heartbreaking to inform her that as long as we are living in San Diego there will never be a chance of a white Christmas.

Christmas was wonderful this year. I think I only picked up my phone once or twice during the day, and it was not to keep up with social media or check my email. We made a simple and delicious meal that I feel proud of. My house was somewhat cleaned the night before the occasion, then the three year old woke up. It was a total disaster by the time my sister, my dad and his wife came by for our late Christmas lunch. Yet I didn’t care. I felt comfortable and happy to see everyone. I have always felt somewhat insecure in my lack of tidiness (especially since having kids), but in the past year I have begun to let that all go. It is liberating. In the evening we went and visited with the other set of grandparents. Many presents were opened, wine was poured, and fun was had by all.

Here we are at the New Year, and I still feel like I am recovering from Christmas. I guess it will be a little while before I am back on track. It has been a good year, but I look forward to the next one. Happy 2015!