Saturday, May 21, 2016

In the restlessness

I am starting to understand why so many become knitters when they are pregnant.  There is a call to create and nest for this brand new life that will enter into yours and change everything.  There is a restlessness.  Perhaps from not being able to get comfortable due to a changing body.  Or perhaps just due to a mind that won't settle down to the possibilities and the hopes and dreams one has for this little person and their family.  Today was such a morning.  I found myself awake and unable to go back to sleep at three a.m..  So what does one do? Gets up and creates... naturally!  I could have set up my sewing machine in order to finish those booties that are still half done. I could have worked on father's day presents.  But the hum and industriousness of the sewing machine just didn't feel right for this moment.  No.  The stillness of sitting with my feet up on the ottoman and wrapping yarn around two pieces of bamboo called me.  The morning is so still - even though this little one in my body is not.  I wanted something where I could sit in the stillness and concentrate on baby's little squirms.  I wanted to create for baby through the pain twisting in my back as baby tries to find its spot.  For this baby I wanted to be calm and totally aware of him or her... so stitch by stitch, breath by breath I sat until the sun rose and the pitter patter of little toddler feet calling "mama...mama..." found me.

Good morning everyone! Blessings on this weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A toy for baby

Reflecting on Liam's early stages has been so sweet.  Thinking about all of his milestones and the elation we felt at watching him.  Crawling, grasping, scooting... so many.  Thinking back to the way that he played, I remember wishing for more tab toys.  He loved to pull on things and manipulate small items with his fumbling chubby fingers.  So I made the baby a toy block, complete with tabs.

The block is actually quite large and can be rolled around and chased... perfect for encouraging baby to reach that crawling milestone.  I also added a jingle bell.  I wasn't sure about the jingle bell at first because Ross and I aren't a fan of noisy baby toys - but the little bell makes such a sweet sound that it is actually quite musical and I don't think that it will be too abrasive for baby's ears.

This block was actually inspired by one of Ayumi's old creations  for a toy color block for her baby girl.  Mine isn't as square as hers, but I am very pleased with it none the less.

Scrappy sewing is such an elated feeling. Taking little bits of this and that from here and there and constructing an entirely new piece of fabric.  That is the best kind of sewing in my opinion!

The projects on the list for baby are getting crossed off.  Which is wonderful considering we only have three months to go.  Baby's kicks are getting harder, a constant reminder that baby is growing and waiting to join our family.  It is a very exciting time.

Linking up to Finish it Friday! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sick day(s) ~ a new trick for my bag of tricks.

Our days have been so long lately.  Liam has been running a fever for the past three days and we are once again at home.  It has been hard on him - this little boy of mine who wants to play and run and use his body.  I have been trying so hard to expand my little sick day bag of tricks, but most of my activities were starting to become tiresome, both to him and to me.

So I picked up a much wanted item on our art list.  A spin art kit.  In our little town, our hardware store has an aisle with children's art supplies (isn't that great!), a lot of it by Melissa and Doug.  I am usually such a fan of Melissa and Doug products, but this one I wan't too thrilled with.  It doesn't rotate in a constant circle, but instead goes back and forth as the child pumps it with the handle.  It is nice because it has suction cups on the bottom of the device that allows the child to use both hands to pump. It will be nice to use for art playdates, but I think I am eventually going to try and invest in an old salad spinner for this particular art project.

Liam didn't seem to mind or notice that his mama wasn't too thrilled. He was really into spinning.  He got a kick out of pumping the handle back and forth.  But squeezing the paint out of the bottles was hands down the best part about it for him.  He was really into squeezing. Like, using one whole bottle on one little square. But that's alright - because today was more about discovering the materials. What they are and what they can do. Squeezing is a skill set that he is very interested in right now.  During bath time he has an old ketchup bottle that we fill with water and he spends several minutes just squeezing and refilling.  I am a fan of anything that helps to develop those tiny hand muscles.

On a mama note - I have been trying very hard to focus on the joy found within our day and once again I find myself so grateful for this space.  It has been helping me to focus on those one or two moments glittering through the hard spaces of a hard day stacked upon harder days.  It helps me to stop and document the laughter, the beauty, the joy that can always be found when we look hard enough.

That picture above was something that brought me great joy.  It has been hard to do anything because all Liam wants to do is be close to me.  When I'm working in the kitchen, he often peeks over the couch and holds out his arms for me, wanting me close to him.  Before I sat next to him, I got my camera, intending to capture his sad little face, and instead that little ham of a boy lit up for me.
Smiled at me.  And it made me smile.

Oh yes ~ there is always a joyful moment when we look hard enough.  I just have to continue to open my eyes and my heart to them as they come along.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


We are still battling this cold bug here in our little corner of the world. I have been grateful for the snatches of time that I have been able to find to do a little creating in between my current full time job of nurse, cleaner of vomit, cook, and giver of cuddles.  A creative outlet is indeed so refreshing - even ten minutes during a hard won nap time with a few hand stitches can make such a difference in my day.  It really helps me to slow down.  Not just my pace, but my thought process - which currently tends to race at how to keep this under the weather little boy loved and nurtured.

But on to the project at hand!

So many of my mama friends have exclaimed that children make you brave.  In this case I have to whole heartedly agree.  As long as I have been reading blogs, I have envied those who had the skills to knit their children clothes.  A child in a knitted sweater just seems so wrapped in good intentions.  So slowly, this hand project has been worked on a little by little.  It is the classic cardigan from this book and the yarn is Madelinetosh Tosk Merina DK in the color way Silverfox.  I think the fact that I am in love with this pattern and utterly head over heals in love with this yarn have kept me going.  Have pushed me forward even though the  many times I've had to frog because of miscounting have made me want to just pull everything out and make really expensive knitted wash cloths. What has motivated me the most I have to say is imagining this new little baby being able to wear this knitted cardigan when the weather cools.  I've chosen the 3-6 month size since that is how old baby will be when he/she is ready to wear it.

I'm not good at learning things two dimensionally.  I never have.  My learning style is very visual.  I need to be able to see what I need to do. and youtube have been such amazing resources. I've turned to videos on those sites several times to get me through new things.  Like casting on for sleeves? Oh my.  I worked myself up to a semi-panic when I realized I had to do something that wasn't purl or knit stitch.  But as all new things go... it is only hard until you learn it.  And then you have that skill set down.


The hoping heart that our children give us totally make us brave. Wouldn't you agree?

Linking up with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On at Frontier Dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A time for everything

We have been hit so hard the past three weeks with sickness. Like a vicious circle, each getting sick after one after another. I think the hardest thing I've ever done in my life has been to take care of a toddler, while sick, while pregnant.  Oh my.  I don't want to dwell on the hard though.  This isn't what I want for this space.  I want this space to reflect the joy and the love and the blessings.

And oh there were blessings amongst it all.  Like the fact that Liam was such a trooper while we stayed holed up in the house during my battle with this cold bug.  Like the fact that his smile is so readily given.  Or the fact that his type of play is changing before my eyes.  The way that he imitates. The way that he imagines.  This little boy of mine is loosing the baby in him... and then when sickness hits him, a glimmer of that baby returns in the need for snuggles.  In the need to be close. And I take every advantage of it... as I rock him, and hold him close to my heart.  Those moments are fleeting, every kick of this new baby growing in my tummy reminds me.  Change is in the air and it is coming fast.

I want to stop and relish these moments.  These moments of quiet. These moments where it is just him and I with his ear near my heart as I hold him close and listen. Listen to his rhythm.  Listen to him just be.  

The changes in my body though constantly remind me that there will be another little person that will expand my heart.  That things still need to be made ready.  I've put the to do list away and have stopped trying to cross things off.  Instead, I listen to my body and my heart, letting me know want I to work on - and working on it slowly as time and energy allow.  Slow.  Slow hand stitching and detailing seem to be what I want.  That is how this little squirrel came to be stitched. Booties are in the works from this book.  And the process is coming together slowly.  Cutting here while Liam naps.  Pinning there while he eats his snack.  Eventually they will come together.  I'm not worried.  Instead I'm taking more time to get in as many cuddles as I possibly can.  Because there is a time for everything I am constantly reminded.  A time for everything indeed.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Art in our Home

I checked the book, The Artful Parent by Jean Van't Hul from the library a couple of months ago and I was so inspired and moved by it that I began diving deep into the importance of process art for children.  My little home library on children's art actually really grew and I have been reading voraciously on the topic. A lot of my creativity is being channeled into these projects and I'd like so much to share it with you all.  

Usually I have three goals for Liam to accomplish every day.  An art activity, a sensory activity, and to be engaged in a meaningful work activity for our home.  Usually art is done in the mornings after breakfast, or it is done after nap.  Sometimes Liam is really into it and activities can last up to an hour, and sometimes it can last about a minute.  I try not to get discouraged when activities last a minute with two marks on the page and clean up for it lasts about twenty.  It's about the process - not the product.  It's about the experience I'm giving my child.  I repeat that to myself when I get discouraged and it really helps.  

Painting with a paint brush is a common activity.  It has been so interesting to see Liam's grip change from a hammer grip to a modified pencil grip! Although painting with a paintbrush is a common activity here, it is often action art that really engages him.  

Painting with cars was a big hit.  We don't tend to buy plastic toys for him, I am a big fan of a few wooden toys.  Once in a while though plastic toys make their way into our home as gifts or hand me downs, and they have actually found a place in our play during art. They are great because they wash so easily! 

Q-tip pointillism was an activity from The Artful Parent.  It's a great activity since most of the materials are already on hand.  

Marble Art.  Oh this activity.  We must have done this activity at least twenty five times in the past two months.  He just keeps asking for it! This activity engages so many different things.  He is really into transferring with tongs, so developmentally, this is right on track with him.  Rolling the marbles around with the cardboard box is extremely entertaining for this little guy.  Oh I wish I could capture every smile and laugh that this experience has given! 

Having Liam help to clean up after art is a big thing for me.  I want him to associate clean up with the process of making art.  A bucket of warm soapy water is always readied for him and then he helps me to rinse all of the materials used.  Often times, it becomes a sensory game and water gets everywhere... but that's ok I remind myself.  What is spilled water to the experience that my child is getting? 

And last but not least, my personal favorite part.  Documenting his work.  A date, a note about the materials, and a small note about the process.  We have a wire bound book used for a lot of his art, but also those art activities on loose bits of paper get housed in a container.  I plan on making him an art portfolio for his birthday so we can all have an artifact of his art during his first year that we really  started doing art.

Do you do art with your children? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

To Liam and my little kicker.  Thank you for making me a mother.  You are the best gift I could have ever received.  You make me a more patient, compassionate, and loving version of myself.  Thank you for rewriting my life's story.

To all you mothers out there.... I hope you have a wonderful love filled day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sewing what we need

I have been looking at all of the clothes that have been saved from when Liam was a baby and trying to take stock of what we have, what I can make, and what we should buy.  So much of Liam's clothes in those early months were hand me downs that got returned that we actually don't really have much baby clothes for those early months. Which actually really works out because this baby will be born in the summer, and the summer time is also hurricane time, and it can get so oppressively hot that we wouldn't want to burden baby with extra layers.  Liam was happy in a diaper or a onesie for the first three months of his life so we are going with that direction for this baby as well.  So looking to the winter months, or also known as the wet season over here, a few more layers would be needed to stay comfortable.  I fell in love with Anna Maria Horner's Knick Knack Knickers pattern and knew that I wanted to sew some up for this new baby.  Can't you see it being so cute paired with an envelope tee or a onesie?  Think of those chubby little six month legs kicking!

I have really been trying to hold myself back from making things that we don't need.  I have the cutest idea for a special receiving blanket for baby but we have so many leftover from Liam that I couldn't justify the fabric use for it.  But that's ok... because there are so many other sweet things on my list that I am excited about!

What are your favorite makes when you're expecting or for baby gifts?  Do you have anything in particular that you love?