Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Diggin' in the Dirt

Oh how I love digging in the dirt...the smell, the texture, the bugs to show my children, the possibilities of what will grow in it...

I spent some time these past few weekends getting the vegetable and herb garden prepared. I had a little help from my friend Kelly (thanks !) The first thing we did, was add some lovely smelling chicken manure to the soil, along with some other compost. When I say lovely, I think I might be one of the only people I know, who loves the smell of it . This year, I planted tomato's, 3 types, cucumbers, radish seeds, basil, chives, flat leaf parsley, strawberry's, arugula, and mixed lettuce greens. In pots there will be pineapple orange mint (said to be great in Mojitos), chamomile, sage and whatever else I can get my hands on at the farmer's market next week.

The vegetable garden is always a work in progress, I can keep adding more plants and seeds as I go. That's the beauty of it. The plants are tiny now, but give them a month with sun, h2o, and some tender loving care, and they will be very happy and abundant. One of the greatest joys I get in life, is going to my garden before dinner to pick fresh veggies for our dinner salad, and herbs for whatever dish I am making. The taste is so wonderful....mmmm.... I will post some recipe's in the future, using these ingredients.

While I was digging in the dirt, my Better Half (yes, I said better half) was using his muscles, and sweat along with the new Circular saw, to construct me an absolutely beautiful cutting table for my sewing studio. I have been babysitting a tall cutting table and a sewing table for a friend (thanks Tammy) and now it is time for them to go back to their original home. So, after about 5 or so hours...this is the finished piece.

The picture does not do it is really much lovelier in person. Its all wood, 70" by 30", stained a nice color, and the bonus, it has wheels !!

Thank you, Alan ! Once again, you have found a way to my heart ... I love you !

Speaking of hearts, it wouldn't be a perfect day without finding the hearts that Chloe drew on the flower pots....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Art Night

Last night, Chloe's school hosted Art Night. It is essentially a display of all of the artwork that the kids have created during the school year, in there art classes. This was my first one, and I was overwhelmed by how amazingly beautiful it was. It pretty much brought me to tears when I arrived at the school in the afternoon to pick up Chloe. But I am sappy like that... I wish I had pictures that could give you an idea of the whole scale of it, but since I don't, you get to see mostly Chloe's work...yes, I am biased... The school's art teacher worked so hard to get all of this done...she is amazing. This is yet another experience that reminds me of how fortunate we are to be involved in this school...

I love this one...

Her love of Pony's

We love heart's !

Portraits of Morgna

Chloe's Brilliant Kindergarten Teacher
Each classroom created an a rendition of their teacher, on the classroom cool..

Chloe's picture of Miss Morgan

Oh, there is more...

This was one of my Favorite rooms...

The school also auctioned off work made by the students, and in each classroom some sort of hands on art activity was offered. We loved the finger knitting room. Chloe caught on like a pro... Sorry, no pictures of that, we were to busy doing it.

This last picture gives you a little bit of an idea of what it looked like outside the classrooms. It was way cooler than this shot. Each child had their own silhouette on the walls...among all the other art. Wish I knew how to shoot panoramic, it would have looked great... Have to wait till next year for that..

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Matching Frocks

The Hubbie made it home with the camera. Yeah !!! It was hard not to take any photo's for 5 days, but I survived.

Chloe and I were at the Fabric Store one day, and we were talking about the dresses she would like me to make for her and her American Girl Doll which, she so sweetly has named "Butterfly Flower".

As we strolled down the fabric isles, this floral print from Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy line, caught Chloe's eye. She got really excited and said it reminded her of sunshine. So there I was buying 2 yards of it, and now, I wish I would have gotten more, that's always the case these days.

Those of you who are intimate with American Girls, will notice, she is not the lovely doll in the picture. The dress made it's way to one-handed Ariel...nice to know they can share. ( Don't ask me where her other hand is )

I used an old pattern for a pajama top, and drafted the rest. It was a really easy and quick dress to sew. For "Butterfly Flower" I just measured her, and pretty much winged it on the drafting part. It fit so well, that I will definitely be making more for the summer.

I made the dresses on Mother's Day, while Daddy took care of the kids. When I was done Chloe was already asleep, so I hung up both dresses on her door knob, for her to see when she awoke in the morning. There is something so deeply satisfying for me, to be able to do that while she is sleeping. Knowing she will wake up and find her new dress waiting for her, is really a sweet gift, not only for her, but for me to. I hope she has happy memories of this when she is older. From now on, I think I will always give her something I've made that way.

Blake says he wants a dress just like Chloe's, but I will make him something a little more his style... On to the next project...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mmmm Good

A frozen Yogurt Treat on our way out of Ikea...

Yummy, yet contemplative times for Blake, sitting on Ikea's funky outdoor chairs...

Maybe he is on the verge of the "Brain Freeze" Oh no, that hurts !!

I was planning to write a post about the Dress I made for Chloe. But my Hubbie left town with the camera before I could download all the fun shots I took of her frolicking in it. She does have it on in the photo above, so you can at least get a taste of the fabric...reminds us of sunshine. I will write about it later this week.

P.S. If you don't already now, Ikea is back to selling fabric off the bolt, and there are some great designs ! Check them out on your next Ikea Tour.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Secret Garden

Originally uploaded by ebilflindas.

I was at Chloe's School again gardening. This time we planted flowers in what we call "The Secret Garden". Which is a small space on the way into school where we have some raised flower beds, a sand box and a slide for the kids to frolic in. We had a brilliant show of Iceland Poppies for the winter, but they needed to be replaced. I am sad to say I never got any photographs of them in there glory... oh well, there is always next winter. I am really into red and purple colors in the garden these days, so I picked up some Red Geranium's, Purple Petunia's, and a very cool plant called HypoEstes, which the kids and I renamed, the "Green and Pink plant."

Originally uploaded by ebilflindas.

When I garden with the kids, it is so hard to get good pictures, so I asked one of my favorite Dad's to come help and shoot some pictures. He is an Amazing Photographer, and great fun to be with. The photographs in this post are all his work. I thank him for capturing these moments, because let me tell you they happen so quick with Kindergartners.

I loved every photo I wanted to post them all, but thank goodness I learned how to link, click here to see the rest of them, they are under "Gardening Super Stars".

Thanks so much Emil !! I will cherish these for a long time to come...
P.S. I hope you won't mind being the Official School Garden Photographer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Harvest Time

A few days ago I helped Chloe's Kindergarten class harvest the veggies they planted a few months back. They each had an individual pot in which they planted carrot, radish and lettuce seeds. I tried to incorporate some math when they were planting and told them to take 3 of each seed...well, they ended up with about 20 or so, in a tiny pot...that made for a great lesson in learning about how to thin the seedlings after they sprouted.

We harvested the radishes and some lettuce, and a nice big carrot, for Cinnamon Sugar, the class Guinea Pig. The kids were so funny tasting the radishes... most said it was to spicy, but a few just chowed them down. I think we left them in the soil to long, so they were not exactly the best quality, but hey, I think they got the idea. It is great to garden with 5 and 6 year olds...they love plants, bugs, and dirt, and it is amazing how much they really know about the subject. I only wish I had individual, one on one, gardening time with each of me, it is one of the most amazing things you can do with a child, work in the dirt, learn about the earth, the plants and the gifts they give us.

Which leads me to my next subject.... The food we eat ....

I was fortunate enough to attend an open forum last night held by The Nutrition and Health Conference. (Thank you Alan !) The conference is a three day long event for Medical Professionals, who want to start incorporating integrated medicine into their practices, essentially educating patients about what they are putting into their bodies and how it can improve overall health. The forum was open to the public and the speakers were;

Dr Andrew Weil, M.D.
If you don't know who he should...check him out

Author, Michael Pollan. He has a book out called "The Omnivore's Dilemma" If there is anything you take from this....please READ this book..if will change the way you think. Another great book of his "The Botany of Desire" So wonderful especially if you are a Gardener.

Daniel Imhoff, Writer and Researcher who's most recent book is called "Food Fight" a citizen's guide to a Food and Farm Bill.

This forum was such an eye opener for me on many levels, that I can't stop thinking about it. I am pretty educated on what food I buy. I only buy organic produce, try to support the farmers market vendors, make sure the dairy I buy is not tainted with hormones, and stay away from farmed fish. But, after hearing these men speak, I realized there is a whole component I was not educated about, The Farm Bill. I really had no idea what this overwhelming piece of legislation is about, and how it effects us... but I am going to educate myself and read "Food Fight".

I was having a conversation yesterday, before I went to this forum, with another parent, about the organic garden we want to start at our new school location next year. We talked about her passion for a healthy school lunch program, and how we could possibly use what we grow to feed our kids at school. So it was wild how I then found myself, that evening, sitting in front of these intelligent and informative minds, who are on the forefront of a movement that is hopefully going to change what we are growing and what we are eating in our society. I could go on and on, but I would not do this subject justice. I encourage you to link onto these folks websites and read up on what is going on. I know we are inundated these days with which cause to support and give our time to...but this's not just about what we eat, and what we feed our families, it is about where the food comes from, and how it effects our health, our economy and the environment we live in. I think it is worth your time to take a look. I know for me, I need to educate myself on the farm bill, write letters to my Senators and Congress People, but most importantly, I need to keep putting my time and energy into creating an organic edible garden for our school, and continue the one I have at home...

This is an edible school garden that inspires me, (thanks Caroline), hope it inspires you...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Apple Crazy

I finally finished my very first custom apron order on Thursday, in record time I might add. A Preschool Mom wanted matching aprons, for her Daughter and Mother-In-Law for Mother's Day.

I originally started with the idea of a basic bib style with heart pockets similar to the one I made for Nikkala (see Mommy & Me post below). Lately, I am finding that my designs start out with idea, then end up turning into something totally different, funny how the whole creative process works. After getting the fabric home, over the course of a few days, the apron style changed, the pockets turned into apple shapes, with felt leaves, and buttons. The names on the top section were hand embroidered onto the yellow fabric the night before I got to sewing, when it came time to applique them onto the apron...well they had to become apple shapes to... When I finally made it to bed that night...around 2:30 am or so, I realized, I just went Apple Crazy !!!

When I make this style again, I think I will add another apple shape pocket, make it two. Then I would leave the apple shape off of the hand embroidered name, keep that part simple, that way the focal point of the design will be the pockets.

A few things I learned...

Its time to get intimate with my Canon Power Shot S80 Owners Manual. That way, when I only have 5 minutes to shoot my designs before delivering them to there new owners, I might be happy with the resulting photographs.

Never try to sew brand new designs in a 2 day time limit. It's good to take time with the creative process, walk away, do something your family's laundry that's turned out to be a mountain high, or go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Here is a what it looks like to be a Mama that stayed up into the wee hours of the night going Apple Crazy... At least I got to wake up to my two little lovers !!!! Notice, my left eye is lazy... reminds me of a Beck Song, forgot the name.

By the way the Apple Aprons new owners are I am I...

Next Project...after sleep catch up...A Summer Dress or Two for Chloe, shorts for Blake, and maybe a new skirt for Mama ...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Heart Notes

From Chloe ....

Let's just say we have lots and lots of embellished Post-It-Notes around here these days..

Monday, May 7, 2007

Mommy & Me

Just finished these Aprons for a Birthday Present this weekend. They are for our little friend Nikkala and her Mom, Ellen. I was only going to make Nikkala an apron, but realized Momma had to have one to.. I hope they like them. Nikkala is always sporting bright, whimsical colors when we see these should be right up her alley. Happy Birthday Nikkala and Ellen !!

Here are some new fabric's for a custom order I will be working on for Mother's Day...

Have a Lovely Monday!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sewing 101

My Father-In-Law was in town this past week, and although he tends to drive me crazy during his visits...we did find something enjoyable to do together. He has been asking me for a while now to teach him how to sew. I was not looking forward to it, because I can get a little selfish with my very limited creative time, but in the end, I was glad to teach him.

He decided he wanted to make himself an Apron. He is a pretty simple guy, so he had no interest in my good fabric's ... but I did have some brown cotton twill I was saving for some lining for a future purse.

I must say, Grandpa took to sewing pretty well. He used to be a draftsmen, so measuring and cutting was quite easy for him. I just needed to show him how to use the trusty Kenmore, and was all good. It also helped him that he is an artist. He designs jewelry, check out the sterling silver bracelet I have on in the photo of my apron, in my first post.

After about 4 plus hours, a couple of his favorite cocktail's and a is the finished project. We used a pattern that I traced off of a simple bib apron. I even got him to use some Heat'n'Bond to add some embellishments. I was really proud..and I think he was to..

My Studio currently resides in our garage. My Husband has worked really hard to make it a nice space for I spend my evenings in there, with music of course, our Cat, Eddie, and lately some small friends... Two Baby Possums. I must say they are much cuter and less scary than there Parents. We found a vent that they were sneaking into the garage through, and after realizing they were chowing down poor Eddie's grub, we covered the vent. One of them was still inside and we wondered for days where it was. Well, I went to throw out some trash and there it was sleeping in the garbage can...we got this photo..check out the detail on those looks so much like stitching...strange...

We let it out, and have not seen or heard from it since. Eddie thanks me for her plate being full again !

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hearts & Mountains

We have been battling the nasty Strep A in our house these past few weeks...among other nasty virus's...a whole other blog post in itself, but I will leave that for another day. Two nights ago I had to take Chloe back to the Doctor's office. We keep a bag with small sketch books, markers and crayons in the keep little hands busy, and look what she came up with...Beautiful Mountains ! I am just blown away by the pictures that come out of this little girl.... so I will most likely be posting many of her drawings. Of course I cherise all of her work, and can't let go of any of it...I see stacks and stacks of plastic bins labeled "Chloe's Art" in our future garage...and the conversation my Hubbie and I will have over it.... :)

I am working on another apron...a gift for a lovely friend of ours...and of course...heart pockets are in order !!

Thanks to all you wonderful people who left such nice and supportive comments on my first post...Lots of Love back to you all !!!!