Monday, October 25, 2010

There are times when Hot Chocolate is called for.....

....and I don't mean just plain old hot chocolate - I mean the fancy kind that has absolutely every decadent addition that one has on hand.

And there doesn't have to be any sort of a fancy reason either - no reason required.

Yesterday I found myself with a small chunk of time alone with my little scientist.  With 5 kids, alone time is precious, and very much a priority.  I know,  I've said that many times before, but I really believe that one on one - making time for it no matter what is one of the best things we can do as parents.

And so here we were alone, and I thought to myself - it's a day for hot chocolate.  With whip cream.  And the scientist pipes up with the fact that he knows where some marshmallows are hidden ;)  Ahem.
Then I remembered that there was still a little jar of those maraschino  cherries in the fridge.  The ones that make me cringe at the amount of dye in them, but that as a special treat can seriously make a child's day ;)

Next thing you know we had a plan.  Hot Chocolate Deluxe, Grilled Cheese sandwiches (still immensely satisfying after 3 years of no dairy in the house ) and a game of Goblet (kind of a complicated version of tic tac toe - sort of ...)

There is a certain smile, and air of contented calm that comes over my kids when we have alone time.  Even a short little bit is enough to show a difference in the little ( or big) one.

I aim for a whole day with each child on a regular basis, but even a little bit of time is something I'm grateful for and will jump at an opportunity for.  I've even been known to give up my own alone time when a little one gave me that puppy dog look and a "please can we have some alone time?"

I really love all the possible combinations in a large family - the dynamic is so different with each combination.  We often will split up - with some kids going off with dad, and some with me.  It's a little less busy, a little less chaotic- and well it's just different :)  And now that my oldest babysits there are even more possible combinations - and even the possibility for a mom and dad solo expedition too ;)

And no - you don't have to have hot chocolate..... but it sure is fun :)

I heart faces - Pink

This is my entry for this week's challenge over at i heart faces.  

The theme this week, is "Pink" 

When I took this photo, I was actually photographing her older sister in an outfit I'd sewn - I was so focussed on getting good shots (it was for a tutorial) that I plum forgot about Little Miss A here - until she walked up in front of the camera with this very sweet expression on her face, obviously having come to the conclusion that it must be her turn now :)  Those eyes!  What a stunner :)

Be sure to head on over to i heart faces to check out all the wonderful entries :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tutorial: I'd like some Rainbows on my Refashioned woolens if you please :)

I've been dying things with koolaid, or food coloring for a while now - I did loads of silks, and then last Christmas I dyed some wool leg warmers.    Then one day it hit me - and to be honest I don't know why it took so long ;)  - I could dye the sweaters I've been repurposing!  So of course I got right down to it and grabbed a boring pale pink sweater I'd found (see above) - terrible color, but nice and soft - and it quickly became this:

Not bad for straight red food coloring hey?

Perfect for a girl who believes that the best color ever is pink, who turns her little nose up in the air at the idea of wearing anything else -
(anyone know how I might turn the red snowsuit I've got for her pink ?? )

So this is very simple - all you do is choose your color(s) and add to water with a couple of glugs of vinegar.  There ought to be enough water to fully cover the garment.  So lots of drops will make a brighter more saturated color, less will make a paler color.  If it's not dark enough, pull out the garment, add more color, and then put the garment back in - this will help to make sure the color is even.  

This will work for all animal based fibres - silk, wool etc.  It will just suck the color up like a sponge, until the water is almost clear again.
Note:  This won't work on other fibres - cotton is a no go :(  

When you've got it the way you want it, place it in a steamer and steam it for 35 minutes or so to set the color. 

Rinse well in cold water, and you're done.  The color holds up to washing quite well - I wash on cold, in the machine if it's a fabric that can take it, or by hand.

Now at this point my mind started spinning with all sorts of ideas and next thing I knew I had discovered this:

OMG!  Can you believe that color?  I swear it's food coloring.

And it was *easy*

I had found that with the previous project, the wool- being quite water resistant, didn't want to take the liquid in at first.  So with this project, I got it fully wet, and squeezed the water out first.  Then I laid it out on a towel.  This did stain the towel just a bit, so use either a dark colored one, or one that you don't care about.

So this project is actually a men's wool undershirt.  It's quite thin, which I find works nicely for kids' clothes, and it's not itchy - definitely a big requirement, or it will be all for naught when it doesn't get worn.

I laid it out flat on the towel and smoothed it nice and flat.  Then I got my sewing ruler, and used that to sort of keep the color going where I wanted it.  I found that it's actually quite easy, to keep the color contained - I think perhaps because it sucks the color up soooooo quickly.  I only used red, yellow, and blue for this - overlapping the colors to get a rainbow effect.

I wanted this to soak right through to the second layer - and it did.  I'm not sure how well that would work with a thicker sweater - you'd have to play around with it and just keep checking I think.  You could place a barrier tho and do the front and back separately.

I also did the dying on this before sewing - I wasn't sure if it would work to be honest, and I didn't want to take the time to sew if there was a chance I would wreck it with the dye ;)   I suppose it could have easily gone the other way too lol - I might have wrecked in in the sewing stage!  Lucky for me I didn't tho ;)

I did go back at the end and touch up a few places - just making sure it was all fully saturated.  The back side did end up with a few little white bits, but it still looks fine, as it's minimal.

 I've been waiting and waiting to do this tutorial - I wanted to sew something with the finished piece!

So here's my little sweetie in her rainbow dress :)  And what luck that it matches her rainbow leg warmers perfectly!  Me thinks this little lady might just have to be something rainbowy for Halloween - hmmmm Rainbow Fairy Princess?  Yes my girls are at that age where any costume choice has 
"Fairy Princess" attached ;) Oh and Ballerina too ;)

The leg warmers were *not* dyed by me - it was just a brilliant coincidence that the colors match so darned well.

Is your mind spinning with all the possibilities??????

Mine sure it ;)

I'm thinking a turkey baster would be super helpful for color control.

I''m thinking cookie cutters would make it possible to make simple shapes like hearts.

You can go bright, or you can tone it way down with much less concentrated colors.

You never have to pass up a boring colored, but otherwise awesome sweater to cut up ever again!

Yes I'm giddy :)

My oldest daughter will see this and say something along the lines of
"See mom?  I told you you're a hippy"

Nope, but I do love rainbows.....

If you try out this tutorial, or any others here, I'd really really love to see photos :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Today I walked a path all my own.

I had time to stop and smell the roses - ok they weren't roses - but beautiful in a fall sort of way...

especially when you take the time to *really* look....

which in my world means through a lens ;)

 There was plenty of time for sewing, and a new tutorial will be up tomorrow if I can catch a certain little girl in her new rainbow dress.....that shouldn't be hard since she won't take it off ;)

Days alone leave me feeling new again.  Refreshed and really glad to be with my kids.

And I even got to enjoy the sun disappearing right next to my favorite frog :)

What is your favorite way to spend your alone time?

What do you do to take care of you? 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Acid drop nailed

Is there much more satisfying for a 10 year old boy than to nail a skateboard trick?

Well - for those who like skateboarding ;)

And no - I'm not talking about drugs ;)  An acid drop in skateboarding is just what you see here...

rolling off a high bench onto flat ground.

It's tricky stuff - I know I can't do it ;)


and on to the next goal...... and hurry! The snow's gonna fly soon enough, or rain at the very least.  The skateboarding season is almost at a up - skiing!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


    A hard frost, hurrying to dig the last of the potatoes.  Bringing in the squash.

Always a moment with my camera, noticing every little change in a way I never have before. 

 Each season is brand new with an eye that has become enraptured with the thrill 

of catching that soul satisfying shot.

It's chicken soup time, with chickens we raised ourselves, potatoes and carrots grown right here on our land, and made with loving hands to warm us right through.

And still the sun shines on.  
I can feel winter approaching and I bet it's going to sneak up and pounce!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another First

A certain little four year old girl started her first piano / recorder lesson this week.  There were some worries on her part over possible shyness (this was a frustration for her with both dance and swimming) but this time.......    
not a trace :)

As a homeschooling mama of 5, I've taken my kids to loads of lessons over the years.  With our days free, there is plenty of time for lessons away from home while still leaving lots of quiet at home time as well.   This is my girl's first year for lessons.  She announced in the summer that she would be taking piano in the fall.  And how perfect is it that her teacher is one of her favorite people?

Very perfect :)  

With all concerns of shyness out of the way, she was free to dive in head first.   It's such a relief to know without a doubt that my little girl is in the hands of someone who is just so gentle and kind, and ever so patient.  She really *gets* kids in a way not many adults do.  I like that.  A lot.  Thanks for that Marcia :)

morning noon and night

Monday, October 11, 2010

A new take on window art

I recently discovered this completely wonderful and inspiring blog, and of the many many many projects that I was desperate to try out, this one had to be done *immediately*.  I'm not entirely sure I've come across this much creativity in one blog, perhaps ever.  Ok - I'm done raving ;)

Here's what came of ours.....

I found that my youngest wasn't really there yet - she helped a little, but mostly she enjoyed cutting up tissue paper with scissors into teeny tiny pieces ;)  My 4 1/2 year old loved the project, and sat with me for at least 2 hours, but then lost interest and wanted me to finish ;)  I at that point was fully absorbed ;)  And so I did ;)  There is still more to do one of these days to fill in the left side, but it's beautiful as can be in the mean time.  I love that since we used a water based gluestick type glue (she's got a handy dandy photo of the exact same one we used over at filth wizardy) we'll be able to wash it all off when it fades, or we're just bored and want the window back :)

There are so many ways to be creative - it can be overwhelming trying to just pick one and go with it - I can easily get lost in reading all the various possibilities ;)  The best tho is when you find a great idea and just go with it!  not too much thinking, and lots of doing ;)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Almost ready

It's almost time to harvest the squash.  They are getting more orange by the day  - We're just waiting for the vines to die down...