Friday, April 30, 2010

Commissioned!

Truly, it is a wonder I get anything "done" with the degree of crazymaking my life entails...even requires at times, but today I DID it. I CREATED. Inspired by a commission from a creatively supportive friend, I set about to create 3 animals, one of which was required to be a chicken (I read that as rooster.)
Furiously finishing this morning was no easy task, because I have kids, of course. Davis kept toddling into the road, Maddie kept refusing to get out of bed, and Serena kept saying things like "Davis has muffin sticking to the snot under his nose" and "Let's have a yard sale today, mama." You know, spontaneously throw together all our junk and haul it out to the front yard. We do yard sales that way even when we DO plan them. Magical thinking.
Anyway, here are the fruits of my efforts and someday I will have the camera skills to accurately portray my work. The animals turned out better than my photography did.
(he needed something to keep him from blowing away, hence the wrench)


By the way, Happy Oaks Day! Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby...hurrah for horses! It is truly a festive holiday around here, with at least a month-long celebration. Everyone can celebrate with Louisville by putting on a fine hat tomorrow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

May Day Wallflowers

Just make a few pouches, nail them to the wall, stick some empty spice jars with water in them, put in flowers to your heart's content and there, you are ready for May.


(the outtake...I promise not to apologize for my messy house!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Trouble with Motherhood

I thought this article was brilliant. I tend to gravitate toward the blogs that paint a rosy picture of parenting, end up feeling inadequate and insecure, swear off such blogs, only to come right back for more. (I have a post brewing about this....it's all about balancing beauty). To see this reminder that play is important for parents, too, is so helpful. We all have struggles. Isn't it nice to have a little help on the journey?
The Trouble with Motherhood

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Affirmation Song

Two streams of personal history....
Fourteen years ago, I was frequently found on an Amish farm, my eyes wide in the hush-light of a child's dawning, learning all I could from an experienced midwife. She had, even at that time, attended the births of 1200 children. She would play card games with her partner during a birth, and wake up from a convincingly deep sleep at the slightest, "pushy" moan. She had a waiting song she taught me, sung with mothers and fathers, sung softly to welcome the baby (to the tune of "Rose Red"):
Baby, baby, dear little baby
We are waiting for you to come
Mommy wants to nurse you, Daddy wants to name you
Come, baby, soon
I was her apprentice and the beauty of birth-themes: struggle, need, dependence and strength...the gentle welcoming of babies...the absolute privelege it was to witness and serve families this way....still makes me tear up.
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Just before that, before my childbearing career, I began a healing journey. Divine wisdom saw that I be given the opportunity to work in a Drug and Alcohol agency (as a VISTA volunteer). The exposure I received there was priceless and painful and wonderful. I began to see my family generations with new eyes, and recieve the inner work of healing wounds of addiction.  I still look on that time with gratitude, and even though it was awkward and vulnerable, it has shaped me in ways that are very, very good. Most of all, it has placed my feet firmly on the path of growth. A deep, sustained interest in "becoming" has followed, and has threaded together all my life themes.
At any rate, while working there, a co-worker told me about a book called, "Self-Esteem, a Family Affair", by Jean Illsley Clarke. One of the main ideas in the book is to bring affirmations to children and adults, within a developmental model.
This is where the streams converge. While holding my children, I often sing to them. I thought, why not give them a song of those affirming messages? What flowed was the "rose red" song from the births I had attended. Sad the minor key, so make it major and sing your affirmation songs.
The song I sing to Davis...I like to play with the words...make it fit even for the older girls...I think lots of families have little songs they sing just for their children. After several attempts to embed audio in Blogger, I gave up and put it there.
 In the book, there are affirmations for being (you have every right to be here, I'm glad you are a boy/girl, welcome to the world, I like to hold you, you don't have to hurry), affirmations for doing, feeling, and thinking, and much more.
This is really a simple song, and in this gift of welcoming and re-welcoming my children, I, too, am affirmed....midwifing my Self and theirs.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dry Tidbits

Well, we've had quite a week here. Davis developed pneumonia (albeit, a relatively mild case) and that has pretty much taken up the whole week. That and the opportunity to go to the handwork conference at Sunbridge. I'll be gone for 2 days, without kids. Without baby Davis. I tell you, it is one monumental effort to make sure everyone is taken care of and is where they need to be and with whom they need to be. Coincidentally, my husband is out of town, helping the 5th graders at their pentathlon (he is also the games teacher at our school). We will be passing like ships in the night. All the niggly details worked out but the mother guilt and worry is racking up, considering the busy, event-full weekend I'll be missing with my kids.
Other than that, I'm really excited about this. I have seen these booties before and cannot believe Simplicity re-issued that pattern.  Check out the other patterns they've reissued, and the doll clothing patterns. I'm a sucker for those sweet, vintage patterns.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm gonna write a book

The serious ideas: a book about felting exclusively using your washing machine
                           a book of Waldorf knitting patterns and verses to accompany them (which will probably be a self-published e-book coming out in May or most likely June)

The semi-serious ideas:
               Chicken Soup for the Sanguine Soul (stories of triumph over convention)
               Chicken Soup for the Melancholic Soul (stories of triumph through great suffering)
               Chicken Soup for the Phlegmatic Soul (stories of triumph and comfort)
               Chicken Soup for the Choleric Soul (stories of just plain triumph. And conquest.)
               How To Succeed in Slacking Without Really Trying (my husband thinks this should be a blank book)
             
My new series of how-to blog posts, involving only things I REALLY excel in:
                How To Never Apologize For Your Messy House (ok, I'm not really good at this but I wish I were, and the topical research for this blog post will surely enlighten me)
               How To Teach Your Children the Difference Between Clean Clothes and Dirty Clothes (hint: the ones your child just threw on the floor because you decided not to wear them are clean and this must be repeated ad infinitum or ad nauseum, whichever comes first)
               How to Move To Your Next Task Without Finishing the First One (VERY tricky)
               How To Effectively Avoid Housework (it's not as easy as it first appears)
               How To Forget Everything You Apparently Only Thought You Knew (It's a requirement for parenting...it really is.)
               How To Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Could Be Doing Today (a form of loosely controlled procrastination)
               How To Deal With Old Food and Its Corresponding Insects, as Found In Your Teenager's Room
I'm sure there are more areas of expertise I can write about, but this will give me a good start.

              

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Deepening

Do you ever wonder why people experience many of the same things at the same time? Or, at least it seems that way to me. Kind of like the Egyptian pyramids mirroring the South American pyramids.
I had that moment just now. I have been feeling a big old depression-flavored paragraph coming on, and have been noticing the melancholy in others. I read this this morning, and had to pass it along, because it explains so much.
I have had every intention of writing about walking the line between artist and mother. But I realize it is not usually the "mother" part that gets in the way of creating...the "mother" part, for me, can inspire creativity...like the plants that miraculously thrive in sidewalk cracks and wall crevices. It's not that...it is my self that gets in the way...my own depressive tendencies...my ability to confuse creating with producing.
Reading about soultides has helped bring perspective to those thoughts.
Blessed Sunday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Until My (Next) Dyeing Day

I love dreaming and making plans. with two art shows coming up, I am truly enjoying figuring out what to make and sell. Also, I have this yarn I bought...an alpaca lace (doesn't that sound dreamy?) to make the Whisper Cardigan. I played around with dyeing it...mostly green with a little red in there. It's brighter than it looks...it was so sunny out today when I snapped the picture.

Truly, I have no business casting on for another project or starting something before I get all the other somethings done. But such is spring, eh? I am merely responding to an ancient, primal call to (re)produce....to bloom all over, to plan, to create. All the white blossoms falling around me and the birds chattering loudly...they are my benediction to go forth and sing the gospel of spring. And so, I indulge in the pleasure of starting way more than I can possibly hope to finish.
It has been so hot here in Kentucky. I love dyeing when it is hot. I do a form of sun dyeing, you could say. I heat the dyestuffs on the stove, but instead of simmering them there, I turn off the stove, cover the pots, and leave them in the hot, hot sun. They are kept quite hot out there, and the sun does all the work, and I reduce my electrical usage. I have been trying the Greener Shades dyes. So far, I am not in love with them, but maybe with practice I'll be happier.

I love talking about my dyeing days. I will probably dye until my dying days. I will probably be blogging on any dyeing day, and on my dying day. You will hear about it every time someone here dyes.
(please forgive the bad puns...they are like chocolate...I truly can't stop myself.)
Well, enough of that. On the parenting front, several experiences have occurred where I did not know what I thought I knew, and that has left me truly humbled. I am taking that as a sign that I need to observe more, talk less; respond instead of react. Those are always good mantras to adopt.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Giveaway

Just click over here and sign up to win!

One Moment

(I have to put an explanation) After weeks of holding on, taking one or two steps at a time and then stopping, this 16-month-old boy is walking! Yay!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Mother Load

Lately, things have become desperate on many fronts. First of all, there is the sleep front. Anyone who has been in the same house as a teething baby knows that you just don't sleep for the whole entire year they teethe. And then there is my husband. He is not sleeping either because we live in the Allergy Capitol of the World. And he has Allergies, with a capital A. When you have two not-sleeping people in the same house, living with at least one not-sleeping baby and a couple of other kids, and pets too, everyone starts disliking everything everyone else does. Last nerves are being popped off one by one. Of course, it all becomes my fault because I am the mother, and mothers are all-powerful that way (not to be confused with the kind of power that can get a child to stop what they are doing right now because you mean it and because you said so. That power is reserved for grandparents and neighbors ) From there it just spirals down into I can't do this anymore. I'm not cut out for this. I didn't sign up for this. I am not the right mother for these children. I quit.
And then I stuck there for a day. And the next day, And a week passes...maybe more.I started to become irritated, and would find my inner wellspring full of anger instead of the resources I need.
Thinking about this started because I've been on spring break this week. My goals were to clean house and wrap up a couple of projects, plan for school, taxes, and prepare for upcoming art fairs. Well, so far I've only cleaned house. For FOUR DAYS. Actually, four wonderful days. As I was cleaning my house, I started to notice something. Somehow, I was not feeling so stuck. I actually felt lighter, hopeful, joyful. I wondered how long it had been since I'd given in to joy like this? I mean joy...I can always muster up cheer, but joy is deeper than mere mood and does not rely on outer circumstances. It felt so good to accomplish so much.
Truly, I just needed room to breathe. I needed to take whole days to do nothing but blow bubbles and do dishes. I needed temporary relief from our hectic pace....time to just be the mother of this house.
And thanks to this cleansing renewal,  I like everyone again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Happy Easter

Easter started out just fine. My parents were in town, and I woke up feeling much better. Saturday had brought me a stomach flu, so I missed out on all the family festivities that day. But glorious Easter...a good day to plant....


We colored eggs.....

And went hiding them at the farm....and finding the ones Gus the dog did not eat.

Gus is VERY affectionate!
Oh, and the dress. It's one of the Big 3 patterns...I am unsure as to which since I cut it out oh, 3 years ago after I got the fabric. The fabric has a story. It was purchased on a trip to New York City I took right before a music conference at Sunbridge College. It was the first, and only, solo trip I have taken as a mother. I rented someone's couch off of Craig's list for my lodging arrangements. I had 3 goals for my two days in the Big Apple: run the 6 mile loop in Central Park (I thought that would be a good way to get a "feel" for the people of NYC, as opposed to the subway), eat at Quintessence, my most favorite restaurant in the whole world (it's raw), and wander the fabric district. I did all that, and found this super-cheap yellow cotton eyelet and the ribbon too. Even though I cut it out that long ago, it fits her. I just eliminated the seam allowance and did most of it on my serger. I had every intention of finshing sweet smocked clothes for each of the littlest ones, but Plan B is pretty sweet in my opinion.
I think you will see some sewing around here...I get to make bridesmaid dresses for my brother-in-law's wedding. Thankfully, there are only 2 bridesmaids, and it will hopefully cause me to finish all the ufo's.
Spring...beautiful spring!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What is your blogging temperament?

Have you ever wondered about your temperament? If you are a blogger, your temperament may already be showing. I am always fascinated by the temperaments, and as an amateur observer of blog psychology, I thought I'd put together this post based on my observations. I have to say as well, I am not the type to label folks for the sake of taking away their fun or overanalyzing them. These are tendencies, and we all have parts of these parts inside. I find all these modalities for making sense of personality incredibly useful for personal development.  Just for fun, read on to see what kind of blogger you are.
The Phlegmatic Blogger: This blogger is thought of and celebrated as everyone's friend. They are the "steady Eddies" of the blog world: they post regularly, they are consistent and calm, and their posts tend to be about food, routine, and rhythm: all the things they are good at and that they love. They love their friends, too, and tend to make deep connections in the blog world. Their blogs tend to have a rounded feel to them. They are most likely to be the ones to participate in such things as "Wordless Wednesday".  They are reliable.
Phlegmatics are very satisfied with their lives, and that shows through in their writing.
The Melancholic Blogger: The melancholic blogger has such a huge heart for the world and its sufferings. They also have a tendency to get caught up in their own sufferings, and tend to blog for personal development. Melancholic bloggers have perfectionist tendencies, and can use their blogs to gather prayers or funds for those less fortunate. Their blogs tend to be very neat and well ordered. Melancholic bloggers are deep and thoughtful, and incredibly sensitive. They, too, make the deepest connections in the blog world.
The Choleric Blogger is confident, strong-willed, and comfortable in a leadership role. They are likely to have "How to Blog" blogs or be in a position to tell anyone how to do anything. They do see what needs to be done, and if they have a dissatisfaction with injustice or a social cause, there is no stopping them as they use their blog to right wrongs. They are not given to being driven by their emotions, and usually have the right answer. Their blogs tend to thrive on controversy, as choleric bloggers are great at debate. They need to feel loved and popular, but have trouble forming deep connections. Their blogs tend to be visually stimulating.
The Sanguine Blogger is the one you want to have at a party. They can be witty, chatty in their writing style, and flit from topic to topic, preferring to not be tied down to just one genre of blog. They love compliments and love people, therefore, they want lots of comments. Sanguines blog when they feel like it, and blog what they feel like writing about in any given moment. They tend to be colorful, and their blogs can be visually interesting. While they make friends easily and love easily, they tend to be a little shallow in their behind-the-scenes connections.  Their lives seem exciting and free because of their many and varied interests.
What say ye? Recognize anyone in these descriptions???

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Happenings

While I've been away from this space, I've been contributing to other blog spaces. I am thrilled and honored to be part of Rhythm of the Home Blog this week, and also I have an article about Waldorf handwork up at The Magic Onions blog. Please visit these beautiful spaces and by all means, leave a comment.
In other news, we are getting ready for Easter, and Spring Break! I have a big project I'm working on and hope to finish the biggest part over spring break. And garden. And blog. And daydream.