Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love is in the air

Most people go crazy for Christmas. I do love the lights, the gift giving and making, the food, and the general jolly-ness of the Christmas season. But V-day has my heart. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentine's day and look forward to it all year. I have no idea why. But I remember being in elementary school saving up quarters for weeks in advance in order to bless my friends with a cookie from the cafeteria on Valentine's day. My love for it went up a notch when I accepted the surname of Hart. Come on, it just fit. No wonder I always loved the Hallmark holiday loathed by so many.

January 3rd Christmas decorations went down to the basement. By 7:30 a.m. on January 4th (I have children who rise literally at the crack of dawn) our living room looked like it ate a box of conversation hearts and threw up.

Because Willow, and I to be honest, is/are never satisfied with the amount of decorations we have. . . we set to work. She thought it was very important that she and Cedar have Valentine's day pillow cases. Down to the basement we went, and up we came with some white fabric and some V-day themed scraps (thanks Aunt Jean!). After swiping a potato and some fabric paint from the art cupboard we were in the business of making new pillow covers.

I carved a heart in a potato.

Willow stamped both her and Cedar's material by dipping said stamp into red fabric paint.
They dried, then we ironed them.

I sewed three edges and added some festive heart adorned trim. . . wha-lah. . . new pillow cases.

Which also moonlight as sleepingbags for Barbie, Ken and their beach lovin', High School Musical singing friends.

Oh, hearts and love and red! Make me oh so happy!

Handmade Christmas

As I had mentioned before we didn't have as much of a homemade Christmas as we normally do, but before I start sharing posts on valentine's day crafts I thought I'd share a few things that did come from my hands and not a store.

First up, silhouette pillows of Willow, Cedar and their cousins for my parents. Despite a few moments of almost losing it, I enjoyed making them. Their were many steps involved which is not typical of a project for me. I tend to have a short attention when it comes to projects, preferring instant gratification over attention to detail and the need for patience. I used this tutorial. I have made several thing's from Jill's website and love all of them. I think this hoodie may need to be next for the little man.

This pattern was very clear and easy to follow. I added a hand embroidered initial under each silhouette. I may even make some for us. Wait, actually making something for me? What is the world coming to? I have made precisely two things for myself in the past and I think it's about time for that to change. Plus, I'm currently loving any opportunity to display silhouettes. Fun, classy, and they just plain make me happy.

Next up, ugly monsters. I had been wanting to make them for a while. They were intended for my niece and nephew but two little munchkins I know claimed them as their own. They made a good fit, suiting each of their personalities perfectly. The best part about them is that I didn't buy one thing to make them. I had the itch to make them, gathered materials that were literally laying around my sewing area, and an hour later they were stuffed and were on the receiving end of sticky hugs.

I'm hoping there will be more handmades to share following next Christmas!

Saint Britney?

Ok, definitely not true. However, I have a short story of her "help".

Over coming self-doubt is a huge issue for me and I've been hard at work in the recent past trying to take those thoughts captive and not let them control me.

I was battling such thoughts while giving Cedar a bath the other day. As if on cue, I suddenly heard the lyrics from Britney Spears' song "Stronger" blaring from the living room (thanks to my own personal D.J. Willow and her love of Glee music). Immediately I collected those thoughts rambling around in my head trying their best to deteriorate the light and cheerful mood we had been enjoying that day. In minutes memory verses fled into my mind and strengthened my armory against the enemy. One more battle won. One step closer to victory.

Thank you Britney for a random act of encouragement that I seriously never thought would come from, well, in judgemental terms, from the likes of someone like you. Thank you Willow for your impeccable timing. And thank you Jesus for being stronger and sharing a bit of it with me. I am daily in awe of your strength and love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Outdoor adventures

We've been spending a lot of of time in the good ol' out-of-doors. Now, if you know me you're probably laughing. I call myself a nature lover, and I am. As long as the grass is green and the sun is out so, so am I; I even LOVE rain. But if there's cold or snow I prefer to observe nature from behind a window pane preferably with a cup of hot tea (more specifically this one, thanks Sis!) in hand and wrapped in a cozy afghan. I am in no way a lover of cold weather or winter activities (accept drinking tea and hot cocoa, of course). . . . but this year I'm trying with all I've got.

We've been attempting to lure some birds into our yard but have not had much luck. Everyday we layer on the gear and head outside to refill the water bowl and check on our food level, we even occasionally leave a yummy treat such as an orange, a pile of cranberries or cashews. But they are dissing us. Hardcore. Any suggestions?
Yesterday we went to the Chippewa Nature Center (oh how I wish this place was in our backyard!). We all enjoyed the winter exploration activities they had set up. Ice fishing in cardboard boxes (Willow was a tad bit upset that all she caught were perch), tracing/rubbing snowflakes, stamping prints of woodland animals, trees, and even scat (Daddy Oak was appalled by this, haha), and plays were put on in the puppet show theater. The highlight of that area was snow. Not real snow of course but this fun stuff. I was told they sell it at the Dollar Tree! I've been pondering ideas for sensory boxes and tables for a while and I am SO going to snatch up some of this stuff. I think I played in it longer than the munchkins did! Snow! Inside! without having to be cold! Score!(I see more felt board accessories and some homemade tree blocks in our near future)

Afterward we headed out to the trails. For a quarter mile or so we were all enjoying the snowy trails and were listening keenly to bird calls and songs(they have birds?!) until Cedar, while skipping with all the joy and calamity of an almost two year old, biffed it. HARD. On his face. I immediately picked up the screaming statue of a child to see blood dripping down into his mouth. We promptly did an about face and booked it back to the car. After clearing the blood, some snuggles and a drink, he smiled and as if to prove that he is in fact all boy, he proudly strutted his scraped up, swollen, and still somewhat bloody nose and upper lip.
(the day after, swelling down, minimal bruising, and his ever constant smirk)
This morning we put away the Christmas decorations and hauled the tree to the curb. There were tears (from Willow), sampling of pine needles(Cedar), and a sigh of relief (mama). We decorating the waiting tree with popcorn and cranberries and slices of orange, in hope once again of baiting some beautiful birdies.
What makes you happy to be outside?