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August 2009

summer weekending

finn's first dip in fresh water

On Saturday, Finn experienced his first fresh-water dip in the Eno River. How did he like it? The face says it all.

Um, guys? This water is NOT bath water. And despite my many rolls of chub, I don't have sufficient insulation. Please get me a wet suit, not a birthday suit, next time you try this.

Your slightly unhappy son,


sweet honey in the rock

On Sunday, we went to a free concert in the Duke Gardens. Finn was much more appreciative of the wonderful harmonies of Sweet Honey in the Rock, a female a cappella group par excellence. They sung him to sleep - the highest compliment that a musical group can receive.

sweet honey in the rock

It was lovely to see the gardens abloom with people.

What did you do this weekend?

beyond crayola

drawing with markers

I remember Crayola markers. I remember them well - I think I must have sighed in exasperation many-a-time while using them. "That green? Again?" Even for an eight year-old, the colors were meh. But I used them - I used them a lot. Didn't we all?

Since I am no longer a child (by most traditional definitions), and since I needed a nice set of illustration markers to draw the diagrams for my patterns, I opted for a set of grown-up markers. Why did I wait so long? These things are dreamy.

"But wait!" the Montessori teacher in me says. "Your children deserve a nice set of markers, too!" Did you see what Amy's girls do with their Mommy-only-stinky-markers? (Mine aren't stinky by the way ... and they cost way less than Copics.) I think every child who is past the drawing-on-the-wall phase should have nice markers. Giving children quality art materials really says something - not only does it help them produce art with less frustration, it tells them that we value their work.

I can't believe I'm saying this ... but I have to go, I need to get back to work. The pens in the corner over there are whispering my name ...

finn's forest

finn's forest

Finn's Forest, by Melissa Crowe at Little Pink House ... perhaps my favorite bit of handmade in the baby's room. The hoop has yet to find a permanent home on a wall because I love putting it in front of Finn while he plays on his tummy. He will stare at it for quite a long time.

Notice the two cats? Those are wool felt versions of our Amelie and Timoun

Gotta love that Melissa. The other forest friends are equally endearing - and I can't get over that fawn, with her wagging ear ...

finn's forest

If you would like to give wool felt applique a go, check out Melissa's sachet tutorial.

Thank you, my dear, for making us a cherished heirloom.

what we've been up to

reading a book

Reading lots of books. Finn's favorites, which elicit squeals of joy and abundant limb flailing:

Mama's Milk/Mama Me Alimenta

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

On the Day You Were Born

grasping a ring

Grasping his ring toy while making laughably loud grunting noises. His wooden grasping toy is from Pink House Handworks, and we've hung it above his changing area from a plant hanger.

drinking elefant milk

Drinking elephant milk. Seriously now. Who knew I was capable of producing pure cream, even butter, for my child? Three and a half months and he already weighs 16 pounds! This is one happy, pudgy baby.

I've been very busy behind the scenes this week, which will probably continue into next week. Very exciting stuff - book stuff, three-new-patterns-coming-out-soon stuff, and new website stuff. Oh, and second book stuff. Already! As long as I don't think of all the "stuff" all at once, I admit that I'm having a good time doing it all. Baby coos and smiles do help keep everything in perspective.

I should have something to show you for all this work in just a few short weeks!

beach blanket to go from handmade home

wedding gift

Did you know that sewing can be a sweat-producing workout? It most certainly can.

three beach blankets to go

When you make three beach blankets-to-go from Handmade Home in one day between the hours of nine a.m. and six p.m., you will burn a marathon's worth of calories. I kid you not. That, plus I didn't realize that the air conditioning vent in my studio was closed until well into the workout. Duh. Impromptu sauna.

The weddings made me do it. Two of them in one week, and a real desire to give handmade gifts.

Plus, how could I not make one for our own little family?  When you start sewing large projects like this, I think it best to take a tip from Henry Ford and go at it assembly-line style. It totally works - it's so much easier to do everything at once. These blankets even have handmade double-fold binding ... it's just as easy to make 24 yards as it is to make 8. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

And I LOVE them.

baby toes on blanket

Our blanket's opening day ...

baby on beach blanket to go

I used a combination of thrifted fabric, vintage sheets, and stash fabric to make the blanket top. The backing consists of some heavy-weight upholstery fabric that I bought for pennies last year when a local fabric store closed its doors. I love how the weight of the backing fabric makes the blanket so much more sturdy (and it has the added benefit of keeping it on the ground in the wind).

baby on beach blanket to go

wedding gift

upholstery fabric for backing

Three blankets at no cost, and three oh-so-useful handmade treasures. I can't wait to get ours really dirty. Like Amanda said, I'm sure it will be the backdrop of so many family adventures (and photos!)  Where will it visit - the beach? the gardens? national parks? How many family meals will it host? How many sets of little toes will it welcome?

A blanket like this isn't just handmade - it's a maker of memories.

travels with the babe

Never leave home without a baby carrier. Seriously. I think that the Moby Wrap stole the show, not Finn. Patrick's preferred mode of baby-toting got him lots of funny comments from family members, such as:

"What is that, toilet paper?" "Nice fashion statement." "I'm tired, can I get in there?" "Is there a baby somewhere in there?" and "Cool body turban."

This is the same family that insists on having certain members do stand up comedy at virtually every family gathering. Same jokes? Hmmm ... I'll let other family members weigh in on that question!

playing pool with baby

But yes, the Moby rocked. So did Finn. He really dealt with everything quite well, and was up for anything as long as he could snuggle up with Daddy when he'd had enough.

with great grandpa

He met his great grandpa.

with micah and jess

He met the gorgeous bride and the dapper groom.

with auntie liz and tim

He met his Auntie Liz, and then ...

...yawn was time for the Moby again.

three of us at reception

sponsor giveaway :: lullaby slings

Let me introduce you to Emily - my good friend from high school and the mama behind Lullaby Slings! Emily and I lived a short distance from each other growing up in the mountains, but our paths didn't cross until high school when we took many of the same classes and sung together in choir. She's a genuine, deep-thinking individual who I'm happy to be in touch with all these years later. (I tried to find a picture of us in our dorky choir outfits, but it must still be in the picture chest in my parents' house. Too bad - we looked really dorky, if I recall! Not that we were dorky ... ahem ... it was just the 90's dresses that did it to us.) ;)

Emily blogs about her life with three boys here and sells her hand-sewn goods at her Etsy store.

rainbow batik sling
Lullaby Slings was created out of a desire to share the beauty of
baby-wearing with other mothers.  I discovered baby-wearing with my
first son.  He was an intense baby and I will always be grateful to
the woman who said "try this" and handed me a sling!  After using a
variety of carriers with my three children, I developed my own
favorite patterns and started sewing them for friends, and then
friends of friends, eventually opening an Etsy shop.  I enjoy creating
beautiful, comfortable carriers and I love knowing what a difference
they make for mothers and babies.

Currently I sew ring slings, mei tais, toddler play slings, snuggle
blankets, burp cloths, and scale slings for use in midwifery
practices.  You can order pre-made items, or let me create a
customized item just for you!

midwifery scale sling 001

snuggle blanket

Emily is going to give away a baby snuggle blanket (example pictured above) to a randomly chosen commenter, and is offering 15% off of items already in her store and 10% off custom orders. Just enter "sewliberated" in the notes to the seller over at Etsy and the discount will be refunded via PayPal. Comments will close in one week, and the sale for Sew Liberated readers will continue through Tuesday, August 18.

three months

Finn marks three months today! What a three-month period it has been for him - already well loved and well traveled. (The only bump in the road of the journey was him peeing on us when we tried to change his diaper on our seats in the airplane ... but we all thought it was hilarious, him included! More on our travels tomorrow.)

In the past week, Finn has become a master of his hands. It is such a joy to watch his concentration (and personality) blossom as he tries to touch and experience all that comes within reach. These pictures say more than words ...

The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.

~Maria Montessori

finn and the fork

finn and the fork

finn loves food

finn loves food

finn loves food

finn loves food

finn loves food

finn and food

And in case you were wondering ... yes, the fork did end up on the floor!