Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Year of Projects: Project 30, 31, 32 & 33

This year I am to complete 52 projects - here are some of them: 

Project 30: Another birthday hat for one of Isadora's friends.

Project 31: A wall of happiness for our living room. I collected thrifted frames for a long time before painting them all with craft paint and E covering them with a coat of clear sealer. There is plenty of room for this wall to grow as our family does...I just have to keep an eye out for more frames. These kinds of projects are slow going as we have to keep it affordable by buying used and refreshing, but they pay off is worth the wait.

Project 32: Felt Ravioli with Marinara. One of Isadora's (and our) closest friends was celebrating her birthday and since I knew they were trying to gather some play kitchen goodies I decided to make her these raviolis with marinara sauce. Their family owns a restaurant that serves such delights so it felt especially fitting. Oh, and I made a second set for Isadora's kitchen of course!

Project 33: A Hat for Me because I was in between things and always need something on the needles. I think it was this hat but it doesn't do that beautiful pattern justice! Not one I wear very often and I'll probably end up passing it along, but I'm always glad to have a project to work on and someone can definitely use it to keep their noggin warm! 

I have just completed project 48 and am working on a couple more today in hopes of having all holiday gifts completed and packaged before November's end. At that point we will turn toward crafting for our gal and having fun as a family...we have a chocolate factory tour planned for a few weekends from now to delight our sweetest girl. She was gifted a Curious George collection for her birthday and her favorite of those is Curious George Goes to the Chocolate Factory. I can't wait to let her visit one herself and make that story come to life - just not sure we will see any curious monkeys on our journey, but I guess you never know!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 27, 28 & 29

This year I am to complete 52 projects - here are some of them: 

Project 27: Honeycomb Shelves for Isadora's Room. I had been wanting something to fill the wall above Isadora's dresser and also some shelving to display her treasures, so I sent the idea for honeycomb shelves E's way and he liked the idea as well and put it into action. We chose this tutorial to follow and are so pleased with the outcome. I know things will be constantly shifting and changing up there as our Isadora changes and grows herself and I look forward to seeing the shelves, their contents and our little girl transforming over time.

Project 28: A Birthday Hat for Amelie. This one is for one of Isadora's best friends, a girl who looks great in red.

Project 29: A Birthday Dress for Isadora. A week before Isadora's birthday I was really itching to find her a dress with birds on it for her bird birthday party and then a link to a sale on The Sally Dress pattern  popped up in my instagram feed, inspiring me to purchase the pattern, run to the fabric store and get to work. I am a very inexperienced sewer and found myself a bit frustrated at times with my inexperience, but I love how the dress turned out, Isadora loves the dress (especially the big pockets) and I love continuing to grow in my skill-set, even when it leaves me frustrated...maybe that's when I'm learning the most.

This years goal has really pushed me to try new things, to dive in to the projects I have been wanting to accomplish for years and to not worry about everything being perfect. Sometimes things don't work out the first time, sometimes they are wonderful and quick, and other times there might be a few tears of confusion, but it has all been such an incredible challenge and experience for me, especially in letting go of perfectionism and in pushing myself to try new things. Have you ever felt that your creative journey has helped you to grow?


Friday, November 7, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 24, 25 & 26

This year I aim to complete 52 projects - here are some of them: 

These projects are all the same hat in different colors for various birthday gifts. We just went through the thick of birthday season for all of Isadora's friends and many of her cousins, so I decided to make most friends a hat as an affordable but meaningful gift.

Project 24: A Hat for Joshua

Project 25: A Hat for Isadora (she kept this one because I decided on another color for someone else).  She has others though so it will most likely be used more for baby sister.

Project 26: A Hat originally for a good friend, but saved back for Christmas for another kiddo and made larger for the birthday boy.

Simple this week and there are more hats to come, but now that I have made it through birthday season I am really looking forward to mixing it up while I start crafting for Christmas. If you have any favorite handmade gifts for 2, 3 or 7 year olds I would love to hear about them. 


Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 20, 21, 22 & 23

This year I aim to complete 52 projects - here are some of them:

Project 20: Color, number and letter rings. We don't really do flashcards as a way of learning, but I like having these around for Iz to look at for recognition and she loves looking through them to tell me what things are. 

Project 21: Mama's Flower Garden. As you can see things got a little wild in there on this first year. Sunflowers bloomed in abundance in the months to come, but the flax was out of control. Being something I've never grown before I wasn't sure what to expect and when it came time to plant I just scattered seeds and let it be. Next year there will be a lot less height and a lot more color. It's just nice to have the soil prepared and the fence in place to set this spot aside for just flowers. 

Project 22: Butterfly, Bird & Wildflower prints for Isadora's room.  I had been brainstorming for the best way to fill this wall for months and just couldn't think of anything that felt right for our girls room. Then I saw these prints from Imagine Childhood and scooped them right up. It took a long time to purchase the frames, but I eventually gathered coupons and found these and then jumped into the tedious task of cutting, lining up and taping scrapbook paper for backing them. I love how they turned out and Isadora loves looking at all of the plants and creatures on her wall. A perfect fit for our nature loving girl. 

Project 23: Bow Holder for Isadora's room. I had been thinking this one up for a long while and was glad to finally put scroll saw to wood to make it happen. After cutting the pieces I sanded everything down and added lines with a wood-burning tool before adding on some highly concentrated watercolors and adding on ribbon to hold the bows. Grammy has made her many bows since and I have plans to make some as well so I may have to add longer ribbons, but it is so nice to have these all accessible rather than searching for them when needed and I like the added sunshine in her space.  

I'm on project 40 now and on track to reach my goal of 52 by the end of the year so expect to see a weekly post of projects through December while I catch up. Have you been making anything lately? Any holiday projects being made? 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall will always feel like a bittersweet time for me. As the leaves change, the temperatures cool and I wrap myself in corduroy and sweaters I feel a certain kind of peace I don't often feel, bringing me toward deep breaths and toward feeling most like myself. The cool air is refreshing in a way that humid air just can't match and I feel a pull to slow down even more, to craft, create, bake and explore. Grocery runs can be made without worry about things ruining if I don't pack a cooler and don't want to return home right away. Fires are made in pits and clothes left smelling like camping. Jackets are pulled out and fill the rack by the door, but a certain sadness also fills my heart as all of these pleasures make their way in. 

As the air cools and the leaves begin to change I am pulled back to an October five years ago, recalling a phone call, tears, a hurried drive toward a hospital through a torrential down-pour that just wouldn't let up. As the clouds shifted above I moved in a cloud of my own, one of disbelief, of confusion, of anger, of doubt. When we arrived my hand held his - unresponsive - my face in a perpetual state of redness and eyes pooled with tears, leaving his side to make room for others but quickly filling that space again when nobody else moved forward. The colostomy bag let off a smell that made me feel guilty for not wanting to be near it, so now and then I would turn my head for a breath of fresh air all the while machines forced fresh air into his lungs as well, the background to my whispered pleading for him to please wake up, to please show us a sign, the artificial filling of his lungs to provide him with the oxygen to sustain slowly whooshing in and out, in and out, in and out, the very thing which he lacked for too many minutes, the lack of which left us all here, gathered around him and helpless. Wires were attached, tests performed, poking and talking mixed with my silent begging for all of this to end, for all of this to just be another hurdle to overcome, another thing to just make us all stronger and something that would open his eyes to the changes that needed to be made. His eyes though, they would not open no matter how hard my guts were twisting with pleas, so we waited and waited and waited some more.

Later I had my first and last moments alone with him in order to say goodbye, but even as I did - the organ harvesters waiting not-so-patiently in the wings - I struggled to believe he would not at last open his eyes and give us all a surprise ending I was so desperately hoping for so I continued to beg in whispers and hope until I thought my body would explode with the pressure of such emotion, but in the end it was the end and there was nothing I could do. The next days continued in a haze of which I only remember certain details - the questioning of what truly happened, the forced hugs, the misunderstandings, the umbrellas, the pizza in a town where I no longer felt welcome, my recording his last voicemail so as to not lose the sound of his voice, the familiar sights passing by as my head rested on the window, the country air on my cheeks and cows grazing in Uncle John's fields, the knowing this would be the last time I would for sure be back in that place, the heartbreaking trips down memory lane. When we pulled away from the small cemetery, leaving my father, grandmother and great-grandparents there in dust sent up from tires on gravel I tried to look back, tried to see them lower him in to the ground for the closure, but I did not receive it and with a four hour round trip I am not sure when I will.

Now we continue on as you do and it doesn't get easier. For some people it may, but I no longer believe it ever will. I don't think a day will come when a stranger in my rearview mirror reminds me of my dad and my eyes don't swell with tears. I don't think a day will come when the scent of cigarettes and old spice don't make me think of him and the bear hugs he gave best. I will always credit my loves of nature and of treasure hunting to him and I will always think of him when I see a freshly plowed field ripe for an arrowhead hunt. I no longer blame anyone else for what happened, time has provided clarity on that if nothing else. Addiction is strong, it is stronger than any bear hug I have met, stronger than the harshest of storms and unfortunately it is stronger than my dad was and will ever get a chance to be. While it's not the way I wish things were it is a reality I live with and one I have and will continue to learn from with each passing year. So as the leaves fall and the seasons change I continue to move forward, constantly trying to live the life I have imagined and practice gratitude for something each day even on the hard ones. I love my daughter with all I have and try to find forgiveness and understanding when it is not so easy to come by because I now know that some second chances are over way too quickly and every story must eventually come to an end.