Saturday, August 29, 2009

Patchwork scarf

When I needed to come up with a big project for my youth sewing camp a few weeks ago, I panicked. What would appeal to ten and eleven year-old girls, be fairly straightforward, and fun? Plus, I had included fabric painting in the course description, so I needed to work that in. In the end, I decided on a patchwork scarf made of half painted fabric, and half commercial fabrics. Here's my sample:

Blue and orange patchwork scarf

After I made mine, I knew I had to simplify it a little more, so I made their patchwork rectangles longer, so that they'd sew 4 rectangles on each side, instead of 5. It'd be a stretch for the kids, but I hoped they'd have fun painting fabric, at least. And they did -- never underestimate how much tweens love glittery paints!

We painted first thing in the morning, and put their fabric on racks outside in the 90+ degree heat. Then I had them cut out their commercial fabrics before they went to lunch. After lunch, the paint was plenty dry, so they cut out the rest of the rectangles. The tricky part was getting them to piece the scarf together correctly. I don't get uptight about crooked seams, but they were sewing stuff together backwards, so there was a lot of seam ripping. Much moaning and "this is stupid" and "I don't like scarves" and so forth. In the end, I think 3 out of six finished, and I was really impressed at how nice the scarves looked. This is probably a better project for more advanced and motivated adult students, because the kids just didn't think they were that cool. But I do love mine!

My kid, now

My son gets annoyed when I start snapping a lot of photos of him. Can't say that I blame him, but what's a mother to do? Sometimes I have the urge to freeze the moment, and to capture that lovely boy just as he is.

With sunflowers at the farmers' market

(at the farmers' market)

Swinging the water bottle

(on the hiking trail)

Heart leaf

(you've got my heart, kid)

First day of 5th grade

(first day of 5th grade!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talking about swine flu

Tonight Ross and Chris and I were sitting at the table, playing cards, when the subject of swine flu came up. Chris and I both lectured Ross about washing his hands, and using tissues, and keeping his fingers out of his mouth, and other such things. We were not delicate about the matter. We told him that many people may die from this thing, and that if his dad, a diabetic, gets it, he may well end up in the hospital. Not to mention that Ross himself is in a high-risk group this time.

My responsible, serious boy started to look very grave indeed. And I wondered if we had gone too far, if we had needlessly scared the crap out of him. He lightened up as we resumed the game, so I don't think he'll have nightmares, but still, I wonder.

How do we as parents convey vital information in a manner that gets our kids to pay attention, but doesn't cause them distress? I always try to be straightforward and honest with Ross, but sometimes I know I'm lacking in subtlety and compassion. Is it a kindness to soften the message a bit? Or do I risk having him not taking the information seriously if I try to cushion it?

What have you said to your kids about swine flu? When you were a kid, do you remember something your parents said to you in a serious situation that was helpful, or harmful? (I'm thinking about diseases like AIDS and polio, but also more broadly -- death in the family, serious illness, and so forth.) I'd love to know what worked, and what didn't work, for you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

In any moment

In any moment, I can choose to be my truest self.

I can let go of the past, my "story," my grievances, my tightly wound-up adultness, and just be.

A simple miracle, emerging in every moment of our lives.

Light rays and clouds

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our new car

My wonderful, diligent husband did a lot of research and dragged my reluctant self to dealer lots, and now his efforts have paid off: we have bought a new car. Introducing our 2009 Hyundai Elantra:

Our new car

We've mostly been a 1-car family over the years, but Ross will be going to a different school this year, and we needed a second car to make sure we can get him there and back again. (Talk about a spendy school supply item!) Plus, our Jeep is 12 years old -- still running fine, but it doesn't hurt to have something newer, just in case.

Ross in Hyundai

Can you believe that he'll be learning to drive this car in 5 years??? Yikes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rose among the thorns

Red rose among the thorns

Winter was very hard here in Spokane. All of my rose bushes looked dead this spring. They were here when we bought the house, and I had tended them as best as I could, but I am not a big fan of hybrid tea roses. Give me a unruly species rose any day, but the fussy ones are not my favorites. So, when the bushes looked bad, I thought, okay, good, I'll dig them out and put something else there.

Never count out a rose bush, though. They have all since come back and bloomed, without any care from me. Yes, sadly, I have not even cut back the dead canes this year. They've had little love from me, although I have been watering them when I water the lawn. And that is all they have needed from me, apparently.

They have triumphed despite my neglect, and my disdain, and my plotting against them. They have produced beauty from the sunshine. I can learn tenacity from these roses.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What's new, pussycat?

She's been a while in the making, but at last she's finished.

Chenille cat

The blue eyes and the pink collar came to pass, as I'd thought they would. I embroidered her eyes the same way I made the hearts on my last post, with the same muslin over felt. The pink chenille heart came from one of my favorite thrift stores, Value Village. It's one of those things that I bought because I liked it, not because I instantly knew what I was going to do with it.

Chenille cat back

Long tail!

Chenille cat face

The collar is made from vintage barkcloth, found in a lovely bundle of fabric goodies at Area 58, my favorite antique/vintage store in Spokane. The blue rhinestone pendant was from my husband's grandmother. Her whiskers were almost pink, but Ross thought white was a better choice, and I like his judgement on the matter.

Chenille cat collar

I thought it would be nice if the collar could be removed, so I sewed on a vintage glass button and a rattail loop for a closure. Now she can take it off and relax at the end of the day . . .