Monday, March 30, 2009

Birthday Festivities

My daughter's 9th birthday is this Friday, and on her wish-list was a trip to Build-a-Bear. She's been there before (probably too many times), but I'm glad she still likes to do these things. Too many little girls become too old too fast, so as long as my daughter wants to go make a stuffed animal, even if it's at the mall, I'm all over it.

After you pick out your animal "carcass" (as my daughter and I jokingly call them), you take it to the stuffing machine. I can't tell if that pedal they have the children step on actually operates the blower, but it's cute either way.

Next you go through the little ceremony of picking out a heart, kissing it so your bear has love, rubbing it on your tummy so the bear is never hungry, rubbing it on your head so your bear is smart, etc, and then you put the heart into the bear just before the bear is sewn closed. My kids have always noticed that the heart gets stuffed into the bear's back, thereby making it anatomically incorrect, but again, it's cute either way.

Next the bear gets a fluffing at the air bath.

And since it was a birthday treat, I let my daughter pick out an outfit for the bear, plus a few accessories. Now we have a stylin' new friend in the house.
Meet Posie (named by my daughter):

Posie! How cute a name is that for a pink bear covered in flowers? I have a distaste for many things corporate, but I do love Build-a-Bear. (Note the overuse of the word "cute" in this post. There's something about Build-a-Bear. The only word you can use when discussing it is "cute".)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


All of these clothes fit my daughter just a few months ago. Now she can barely squeeze into them! Warmer weather is coming, and she has absolutely nothing to wear.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Teaser

It is 65 degrees F and sunny here today. What a gift! This weather won't remain, and I'm sure it will snow again before it warms up for real, but I will enjoy it while we have it. I went outside at high noon in short sleeves and cut back some perennials and the ornamental grass, hoping that I wouldn't find any spiders lurking in the plants. No spiders! I found a ladybug instead.

I planted some bulbs last fall, and they are starting to poke through. I have absolutely no memory of what I planted, so I'm in for some nice surprises.

I don't have any green clothing to wear today for St. Patrick's Day, but I did find these socks in my drawer. I don't need Smartwool today, so I dug a little deeper in the drawer. I wonder when I bought these? Aren't they fun?

Spring can actually be a difficult time of year for me. I struggle a little bit with depression when we move from winter to spring. I think that's caused by a combination of things. Spring is an ending in the academic year, so I might still be tuned into that. The change in time is also difficult for me, spring and fall. There's also this expectation that because it's sunnier and the days are longer and good weather is returning that we should be happy and productive. I don't have an excuse anymore to cozy up inside and eat cookies! I find myself craving really light-hearted reading to boost my mood. Really light-hearted reading. I tried to read The Friday Night Knitting Club, and I was enjoying it. The setting was cozy, the characters were interesting, the situation with the woman's ex reappearing and wanting to be part of her life again was intriguing, but (spoilers ahead) I sensed impending doom. I just knew something horrible was going to happen. So, I skipped ahead. Yes, sure enough, the main character is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and DIES. This book was not heading down a path I wanted to go, so I took it back to the library. I do not need to read about depressing things like that. I just don't. There is enough doom and gloom and cancer and tragic death in my real life. My recent surgery was because of an ovarian cyst, which was benign, but still. So I took the book back and got a Sophie Kinsella book instead. I wanted to get the first Shopaholic book, but there are 40 holds on it at my library! Forty! The book came out 8 years ago! I guess people are thinking about it again because of the movie, but really, is this kind of movie where you have to read the book first just so that you can say "Oh, the book was so much better?" I put my name on the wait list, but by the time it gets to me, my spring funk will have passed. Oh, well.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi Day

In celebration of Pi Day today, we went out for pie! The upside of going out for pie, rather than baking your own, is that you only eat one piece. However, we bought a box of Girl Scout Cookies on the way home, so we're really not all that virtuous.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

learning to embroider

After years of telling me that sewing and embroidery looked "boring", my daughter asked me out of the blue last week if I would teach her how to embroider. I told her NO. Just kidding. Really, I could barely contain my excitement when that unexpected request fell from her mouth. She asked me when we were in Michael's, dropping off my recuperation cross stitch for framing. She wanted to look at the craft kits while we there, and the embroidery kit caught her eye. I have everything she needs at home to embroider, but I totally understand the appeal of a flashy kit and having your own supplies, and since I had a coupon in my purse, and since she asked so nicely, and since I have been waiting for her to show some interest in any kind of needlework, I said YES! Yes, I will buy you the embroidery kit even though I know the scissors won't work and the floss will be sub par!

The kit actually isn't bad. It came with an instruction booklet, transfers, floss, felt, needles, fabric, a hoop, and scissors. The scissors really don't work, but I've already given her a decent pair to replace them.

Here is her first embroidery, ever. I could just scream with happiness.

And her second. She experimented with this one, trying to outline it in a running stitch, but when she didn't like how that looked, I told her to just do another running stitch all around to fill in the gaps. She enjoyed that solution.

We got a good chuckle out of this, because before she stitched on the eye my son (who is not the world's most supportive sibling) said "That's the worst-looking heart I've ever seen. It looks like a fish!" HA! It's supposed to be a fish. Joke's on him.
This third one was supposed to be a cloud, but I goofed up the transfer and the lines weren't very clear, so when she stitched the outline, she thought it resembled a paw print more than a cloud. Seizing upon that, she embellished the inside to make it into a true paw print.

And the final one, a star, which she drew on paper, then traced onto the felt using a sharpie. I need to research how to transfer an embroidery pattern onto felt. I think I saw a tutorial somewhere, but I read so much all the time, I can never remember where I saw things. Hopefully I bookmarked it. If anyone has any suggestions on good ways to get an embroidery pattern onto felt, I'd love it if you'd share.

Now every evening I hear "Mom, can I do some embroidering?" This is really just as good as the day when she realized she could read, and said to me with a dawning realization "Hey, I know. When I'm bored, I could find a book and read!" YES! YES! YES!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week of Color: Rainbow II

Whew, eight blog posts in eight days. That's been a bit of work! It's also been a lot of fun. Thanks to Lynn at The Little Red Hen for the Color Week idea, and for letting me play along! I've loved looking at all the colorful pictures on various blogs and in the Color Week Flickr group. It's made spring seem right around the corner. We saw this rainbow last summer as we crossed a bridge from Vermont into New York.
This colorful building is in Montreal. My sister had a doll house from the late 1960s that looked a lot like this building, all colored plastic and modular. Groovy.

My daughter drew this fish in art class.

My son drew this fish in art class.

A crochet afghan I am not quite finished with yet. It would be a good take-along project if it weren't getting so big!

My final conservatory picture for color week! Thanks for looking.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Week of Color: Purple

The first thing I ever crocheted. A purse for my daughter. I made this two years ago.
Another of my early crochet projects. Seeing things like this on Flickr were what finally drove me to learn how to crochet.
My bunch-o-grapes teapot.

Ah, and you thought you'd escape without another conservatory photo. That's why I saved it for last!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Week of Color: Blue

This last picture is a watercolor of my children, painted by my niece from a photograph.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Week of Color: Green

Yoda. Crocheted for my son. Pattern purchased here.

A cheerful bird, nice for spring decorating.

An all-green cross-stitch sampler I made thirteen years ago.

And more conservatory photos. I timed my trip to the conservatory right for Color Week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Week of Color: Yellow

Photos above from our trip to the conservatory.

I don't have much yellow at home.

I wonder how many bananas we will see today in the Color Week Flickr group?

Last weekend the kids wanted to have a drawing contest with my husband. They asked me to be judge, and to provide a theme. I suggested they draw a happy dancing banana. I have no idea how that idea popped into my head! Results were hilarious! I declared my son's drawing the winner.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Week of Color: Orange

We spent Sunday at a local conservatory. They have a fairy garden display this month, with statues of Cicely Mary Barker's fairies hiding among the plants. Visitors can make a booklet to record their fairy findings. My daughter found ten fairies, and several trolls.

Quite a magical day.

Here is my daughter's booklet. It's not orange. Sorry.

And instructions on the back for how to make your own twig booklet. Some of the directions are obscured, but once you get started, it's pretty obvious what to do. Please ask me if this needs to be clearer.