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August 2007


I grew up in a rural area and became accustomed to a chorus of birds coaxing me out of bed in the mornings. While never introduced to proper bird watching, I do enjoy my fair share of observation and listening. Here's a wonderful resource to acquaint yourself (or your children or students) with the chirps and their composers:
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"Common Birds and their Songs" by Lang Elliott and Marie Read includes descriptions, full-page photos, and audio tracks for fifty common birds in North America. It's an incredible resource!
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You can also find this book in the Michael Olaf's "Child of the World" catalog. I can't recommend it enough! It will certainly be put to use in my classroom this coming school year.

Thanks for reading :)


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favorite things

First of all, I need to thank all of your who have purchased my sewing patterns. Thank you for your dear notes of encouragement, for supporting the hand-made movement, and for helping us save some money in preparation for starting a family. I really hope that you and your loved ones find joy in both making and using your creations.

Remember this tree pillow? Now it has a companion.

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These past few days I've been enjoying some hand stitching. Hand appliqué and embroidery - a few of my favorite things (aside from raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.) It's portable and relaxing. The needle pricks on the tips of the fingers add an element of surprise (okay, and pain ... but it's all worth it in the end.)

I'm loving the polka dot ties on the back:

appliqued pillow back ties 2
And did you see that Hillary just put her hand sewing pattern cards up for sale? I already bought mine. Can't wait to make the snail and the butterfly (which goes through metamorphosis ... caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly!) Oh, I can't wait to have my own children! In the meantime, these toys might find their way into my nieces' little hands!

By the way, don't forget to take your blankets outside tonight and tomorrow night to watch the meteor shower. What a way to spark your child's interest in astronomy! This year there’s no moonlight to interfere. The best time to watch is from 11 p.m. August 12 until dawn the next morning. If you have a dark sky, you may see a meteor once a minute on average. Cross your fingers for cloudless skies!

Happy stargazing/meteor marveling,

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make your own hand lotion

I'm a compulsive ingredients label reader. Mumblings of "Eew! Who would put that on their body!" and "Oh, that can't be good for you," seem to escape from my mouth when shopping for food and toiletries.

Several years ago I happened upon this book which has numerous recipes for making your own personal care products. We've gotten a lot of use out of it - and have had a blast emulsifying water and oil, coming up with custom essential oil fragrance combinations, and packaging up the yummy products for gifts and our own use. Here's to handmade - for your hands.

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Ingredients 6 oz. liquid oil (such as canola or olive oil) 3 oz. solid oil (coconut oil, shea butter, etc.) 1 oz. beeswax (find it here, along with other organic products) 9 oz. of water 20 drops of orange essential oil 30 drops of vanilla essential oil

Pour the 6 oz. of liquid oil into a 16 oz. heat-proof measuring cup. Add pieces of solid oil to the liquid oil until the total volume reaches the 9 oz. mark, then add the 1 oz. of beeswax. Put the measuring cup into a pot filled with water and place it over medium heat on the stove top. Stir until the all of the solids melt. This can take a little while.

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Remove the measuring cup from the water and let it cool to body temperature. It will become more thick and opaque - keep stirring it as it cools. Briefly place the 9 oz. of water in its own container into the pot (still filled with hot water) to bring it up to body temperature.
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Pour the 9 oz. of water into a larger mixing bowl. Get out your hand mixer and turn it on high speed. Slowly begin pouring the oil mixture into the water. Continue processing until the mixture reaches a thick, creamy consistency. Turn off the mixer and add the drops of essential oil, then mix it up a bit more.

Try not to eat it, okay? I know it smells good, but it's for your hands. :)

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P.S. - for you Montessorians out there ... wouldn't this be a great practical life activity for older elementary children?

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the pattern shop is now OPEN!

Check out my little pattern shop at! I do hope you'll like what you see there. Each pattern (the reading pillow, mei tai baby carrier, and the Montessori child's apron) is available for individual purchase as a PDF file that you can download and print off. Also, if you are so inclined, you can purchase all three patterns at a discount.

I'll be setting up a flickr group for those of you who make things using the Montessori By Hand patterns. I'm looking forward to seeing your creations!

Happy sewing, and a heartfelt thank you for your support!


reading pillow white circle
mei tai back carry
Montessori child's apron circle

a walk in the woods

orange mushroom
We needed an escape. I've been working really hard on the patterns and the website - writing text, taking pictures, putzing around on Adobe Photoshop, and learning how to maneuver InDesign for the pattern layout. Ouf! Plus, my abso-posi-ti-va-lute-ly loverly husband has been dedicating all of his free time to designing the new pattern shop website. In short, we've been spending far too much time in front of computers in this past week.

While it was difficult "leaving it all behind" for an entire day, we made it a priority to get out-of-doors, no matter the weather. With a small backpack, lunch essentials and our swimsuits, we drove to the edge of the Copper Canyon, parked the truck and started hiking down, in thick fog. Down. Down some more. Finally we arrived at the natural hot springs at the canyon floor. After three hours relaxing in the warm pool, we began the climb out, this time with the sun peeking from behind the clouds.

A leisurely hike observing all the different varieties of fungi, noting the songs of birds, and tasting cactus fruit. Reconnecting to nature. Rejuvenating. We needed that.

foggy forest

foggy fungi

two fun guys

rekowata indigenous life

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the lucky number and a heidi headband hiatus

Thanks for all of your comments! I used a this random number generator to pick the lucky lady, and the winner this time is ...

COMMENT #3! So Theresa, could you send me your mailing address when you get a chance? Felicidades, as we say down here south of the border. You can expect a package of handmade goodness by the end of August!

I took a few minutes today to make some of Amy's "Heidi Headbands" from Bend the Rules Sewing.

This one is for a six-year-old, so I added elastic instead of a twill tape tie so she can manage it without help from an adult.

Both the dog and the mushroom ribbon are from Reprodepot.
These are so quick and fun to make! Just sing Zippidy-doo-dah a few times and you'll be finished. (Okay, so I guess you'd have to sing it about 30 times.) May I suggest some other music instead? We just discovered Annet Louisan, a German singer whose music is relaxing in an "I'm-hanging-out-in-a-French-cafe" sort of way. Perfect for crafting, and perfect for adding to your world music curriculum!

My reading pillow has been getting some action, as well. Thinking about making your own? Be sure to sign up for my mailing list in the side bar! You'll be the first to know when the pattern becomes available!

Ta ta for now,

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