Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 15, 16 & 17

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

Project 15: Simple swing set for our family. We didn't want a large framed set for the limited space we have in our yard, so we looked up plans and ideas and E put them into place to build the wood frame, adding a swing our daughter received for her birthday and another swing with brackets that can hold up to 350lbs so any adult we know could enjoy some swinging too. We then dug out the dirt, lined the edges with pavers and moved lots of wood chips in to fill in underneath. Grass would have been perfectly fine, but we have a dog that loves to dig and dig and dig, so we were trying to minimize the amount of tripping holes and the amount of mud being tracked into our home, so this is perfect. I requested a hanging planter on each end to brighten the place up and then we called it complete. 

Project 16: Water Table. I wanted something simple for outdoor water play but didn't want another big plastic thing in our backyard or to spend the money on one, so I found this under the bed box we already had and E and I put our heads together to settle on a simple plan and he found enough scrap wood to throw it together one night while I put our daughter to bed. This table is used every time we are outdoors by our own family and any visiting children and I love the simplicity of it. When the weather turns cooler it could also be used for sand/gravel/dirt. I'm thinking dirt with different rocks scattered throughout so our rock loving girl can go hunting for them.

Project 17: Pin Cushion. This one is plain and simple enough. Just a quick little project for a quick feeling of accomplishment. Plus, I'd been saving this little milk glass cup around for this purpose for ages, so glad to finally throw it together. 

Where has your creative energy been directed lately? Any fun creations or plans for those to come?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 12, 13 & 14

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

Project 12: A children's/sensory/fun garden in the corner of our larger garden. We thought our sweetest would enjoy a place of her own to dig and play while we worked on planting and weeding. These days there are marigolds along the edges and we need a lot less clothes when visiting and it is serving its purpose well...on some days. There is much more interest on our daughter's part in ripping up the purposefully planted items than digging in her special plot of earth, but we do hang out together in there from time to time and her cousins all love to dig and play in there as well.

Project 13: Book/Toy ledges for Dora-Do's room. These are super simple but also super effective and useful. Here's a link to a tutorial. The books and toys are constantly rotated by tiny hands and she has also found it to be a useful spot to place her water bottle at night.

Project 14: Wooden sheep and pig. We finally got our hands on a scroll saw so I was excited to sketch out these two and get to work. They are made with scrap oak from another project and the details were made with a wood-burning tool with the color being added on with basic watercolors and then covered with a homemade wood cream. I hope to make more in the future, but will use a softer wood to see what the difference is. 

I have a bit of catching up to do as one of my most recent projects kept me away from others for a bit, but I have no doubt I will make it to 52 by the end of the year and I will be interested to look back on all I have done. 

Have you been working on any projects of your own lately? 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 9, 10 & 11

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

Project 9: A 16x20 frame for our bathroom. Just a quick first-time-is-all-I-am-doing brush of the words "you are beautiful and strong" on watercolor paper and mounted on scrap fabric then put into an already had on hand frame that was black but re-painted white for this purpose. This one didn't cost anything and it may not be the perfect script, but it does make me smile each time I am greeted with it.

Project 10: A knit rainbow cat for my gal's Easter basket. I was craving a project and had some sock weight yarn with no purpose so did a search on ravelry and settled on this project. If I can ever find a link to it I will be sure to add it for anyone who might be interested. It was a quick knit with it all being knit in one piece aside from the arms and tail and seams being added for the legs and ears and would make a quick and easy new baby gift. I would use a different yarn in the future and try to sew the face on before filling or use different methods, but it was a fun and quick project to make a dent in that ball of yarn. 

Project 11: An "Imagine" banner for the wall above my daughter's art table. This was another use-what-you-have project using scraps of floral fabrics and a couple packages of tiny bias tape I had on hand.

More to come!


Monday, June 30, 2014

We took our second family camping trip with friends a few weeks ago and though we packed up a night early due to a sore throat that could not handle another night of cold, it was worth it, it is always worth it. Going to bed bundled up from the cold and waking up by the light of the sun, watching my daughter totally at peace with her surroundings, throwing rocks in the lake over and over and over again, trying to gently wash away her uneasiness with water with bits of time on a boat and a raft, painting rocks and legs, eating out of coolers and containers, just being outside full time. 

This latest trip was a bit tougher for me for unexpected reasons, sore throat aside. Driving there to our friends family property I was excited to trade in pavement for gravel roads, but I caught myself with tears in my eyes throughout the weekend as a sort of mourning for what I have lost, a home I can no longer go back to but the only place the ever did truly feel like a home, our own family property where I spent weekends and summers and holiday vacations freely exploring with nowhere to be and nobody looking over my shoulder. Where I would travel the woods with my dog Patches by my side and find myself in the cow pastures of my great uncle who lives on the neighboring land. A place that is just a few gravel roads down from the tiny one room church and cemetery where three generations of my family is at rest, my own father, his mother, and her mother and father too.  A place where I would collect fireflies and tomato worms in glass jars provided by my grandmother, would pick plums and berries and ride propane tanks like horses. A place that shaped a part of me that I cherish most. A place that was lost due to family circumstances that are far more complex than simply stating "My uncle lost it to the bank" but that really come down to that simple phrase. The aching in my heart for this land is constant and having to see what he put it through before it was lost, the destruction of the one place I loved with all my heart - it is devastating, heartbreaking, maddening. Knowing the blame, if one has to be placed, also goes to my own father in his own way for the choices he made which kept him from being there to stop it - the wondering at how different things could have been, but oh that thought, that thought runs so deep on so many levels as I am sure it does for anyone, but addiction also runs deep, it ran through the blood of my father and probably through the blood of my uncle as well just as it runs through my own, being put into check on a regular basis, being kept at bay but sometimes just barely. Always being careful and mindful and wishing the lightening up could come so easily as it did as a kid, as it did when I set myself sailing on a rusty grey bike down the hills of that very place and after that point considered myself a rider, self taught in an afternoon. Childhood memories and childhood hurt have the deepest roots and oh how those pains run deep and revisit us unexpectedly. 

There was once a tree planted in the corner of our current yard, back between where the shed is now and where our garden fence runs. This tree was removed before I ever stepped foot on this land and you would never know it was there from the surface, yet when digging in the garden, when tilling the soil or making holes for plants I find that old trees roots, I find them sprawled across the garden, causing me trouble, making me slow down, and sometimes causing backbreaking work and moments of giving up due to their size and their desire to stay put. Pain seems to follow a similar pattern, the hurts coming to the surface at those most inconvenient times, those times that you just want to carry on, to move forward in life, to get that plant in the ground and move on already, yet the choice is really just that - to move on already or to get in there and get dirty and do the hard work to get that root out once and for all, to leave room for something else to grow in it's place. It is hard work and it is constant, but the fruit that comes from this work is so delicious, so refreshing in the work that went in to it's growth.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

Spring is here as are endless time outdoors and in the garden, fallen nests, CSA bounties, a mother's day campout with my dearest mom friends, dirt under our fingernails and on our toes. We are in a challenging time lately as has been normal for us since diving into parenthood, but we are moving forward, trying every trick to make our girl happy and relieve her teething pain and I am occasionally hiding out to give my dear body a break while E takes over for a spell. Thank goodness we have a yard that is becoming my favorite little oasis, a place to play in the dirt to help strike a balance in our days, a little somewhere to breathe fresh air and see life sprout forth from the tiniest of seeds, something I will never tire of seeing or ever stop being amazed by. While we may not be in the easiest season of life we are in my favorite one so far, one of incredible growth and one in which I am more me than ever before while still having plenty of challenges to overcome and more than enough goals to last me a lifetime.