Happy New Year everyone! More to come, but I just wanted to announce the winner of a spot in the Eyes Open E-course:
My goal for this year is...to make time for myself and for my inner artist. I recently started working full-time to pay for my son's college education (a blessing I am privileged to do...but it sure does put a damper on the "me" time :) I have always been a creative person...when I was four I wanted to "be an artist" when I grew up. I was quickly told that "artist's don't make any money...why don't you be a secretary?" So...I didn't pursue it...even though I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do...for me. So now here I am...mid life...not living my heart's desire. I have to tell you, it makes me SO HAPPY to read about your daughter's endeavors, and how you encourage them...and give her a place to be an artist. It is SO important...as you can see by what I did NOT do based on what was told to me at the age of four. It sticks with you...the positive and the negative. I believe your little girl will grow up to be her authentic self.
Anyway...there's my life story (Hi. Nice to meet you. lol)...and the reason I'd love to win this e-course...maybe it'll help me jump start my waning creativity...get me back to ME.
Congrats Michelle! Can't wait to have you a part of this course! I'll send you an e-mail!
i already have 2 pages in my journal full of goals for 2014. i'm excited to push forward in every area of my life, creating opportunities and manifesting even more of what we want our lives to be like. this is only the beginning; this house, this community, the work i'm doing now...our life is just starting and there is so much more to come.
it is exciting and so very motivating to think of it all, and know that it is all up to me to make it happen.
we wish you the most for 2014 and hope that all your dreams come true!
well, it's over. OVER! as much as i love the holidays, it's always nice to get back to regular life. somehow this holiday season consumed me more than ever before...i think it's because i was pretty knee deep in work and found that every spare moment i had was devoted to the holiday festivities (and the preparation!). the little one got a karaoke machine from santa which has been put to very good use already, and we anticipate many more early mornings awakened by a sweet little voice singing her favorite tunes.
i woke up in the middle of the night before christmas thinking about 2014 and all the things i needed/wanted to accomplish. it's not even a matter of NOT doing it...everything i want to do, i NEED to do. for myself and my work. it's very exciting, but also i found the whole notion intimidating for a moment. and that got me thinking about a 2014 challenge like those from the last three years.
so...would you all be up for a 2014 challenge? how about it? also, what would you like to see here on Bluebirdbaby in the coming year? i'd be so interested to know!
stay tuned for a Eyes Open post this weekend with a discount code and giveaway!
we went hunting for the perfect christmas tree at our favorite little spot just down the road from us. we did find the perfect tree (one for the living room and a small one for her room) and came home to decorate while sipping hot chocolate and listening to christmas tunes.
here's a glimpse...
stay tuned for TWO amazing giveaways this week! cheers!
for most of the holiday week and our celebrating, my camera was tucked away. but i managed to get a few shots of the birthday celebrations.
mark's birthday fell on thanksgiving this year, so we celebrated it a day earlier. the little one and i got his presents and cards ready, made him chocolate chip pancakes, espresso, and bacon, let him sleep in (he slept really late!), and then delivered him breakfast in bed.
we had a nice, relaxing day and then i prepared his requested dinner for some guests. he decided to wear his suit to dinner and had us all feeling rather underdressed! the little one entertained everyone by doing sketches of each person (she's really good...check out the one of mark!). we ended the evening with his favorite flourless chocolate torte and gelato.
he is determined to live to a 120 (like, REALLY deteremined...) so i guess we'll have many more years of celebrating in the future!
here are some photos of the day...
photo by the little one!
we hope you all had a fabulous thanksgiving! we spent the day with family and friends, celebrating thanksgiving AND mark's birthday. it was a wonderful day.
there's so much to be grateful for everyday. at this point i don't need a day designated to focusing on gratitude...i feel that way all the time! i feel very, very blessed.
what are you grateful for?
it's official; she is now seven. seven is that much closer to being a double digit. how did this all happen so fast?! she woke up yesterday morning and told me she felt different being seven. we made her a birthday breakfast (she requested chocolate chip pancakes) and had some small gifts for her to open before leaving for school. we delivered pumpkin cupcakes for her class and she came home with a big smile on her face.
two days before we hosted her birthday party. with friends old and new we celebrated the passing of another year. i made her a double chocolate cake, the kids painted and ran around the yard. they each decorated a canvas banner to string together and hang in her room. she received some wonderful, thoughtful gifts, and told us it was the best birthday ever.
i am so proud of the person she is, and the person she continues to become. she is smart, compassionate, helpful, caring, loving, and a joy to be around. she is someone i am so proud to know, and even prouder that i get to be her mama to help guide her through this life.
i love you, little one. you continue to amaze me each and every day...xo
this weekend was so special. we celebrate my sister's birthday and mother's day at the same time every year and have a simple gathering full of good food, wine, and music.
this year we hosted and it was just so much fun!
we started the weekend with going next door (yes...next door!) to a fabulous greenhouse and got a bunch of annuals to plant in pots for gifts.
on sunday morning i awoke to a choice of either breakfast in bed, or breakfast upon return from a run. so i chose to run! i ran 6 miles in the pouring rain and returned to my two loves waiting at the door with a towel to dry me off. they had the table all set with a fabulous breakfast (bacon, eggs, and kale) with espresso AND some champagne (wow!). they had the most fabulous gifts for me (how did i get so lucky?!) and both told me i was the best mother ever. aw!
we celebrated all day and into the night...mostly just celebrating being together, because as mark says..."it's what we do best!"
how was your mother's day?
we had the most fabulous weekend, complete with sun and warmth and open doors and laundry on the new line and painting outside and drinks on the patio.
we talked about garden plans and wedding plans and played baseball in the yard and went for walks and smiled in the sunshine. i think all of us in maine have been awaiting a day just like that. we just didn't want to go in.
here is what it all looked like:
what did you do this past weekend?
we rang in the new year with our first official party at the new place. it was mellow and just what we were hoping for.
good friends, good food, good drinks, good music.
we followed it with an annual brunch in town, a long walk, then back home to snuggle in and read while m painted the door.
the snow is piled high outside and it officially feels like winter, although we are already itching for spring and garden plans.
now we're up in the studio. he's working on his latest painting, i'm editing photos. we'll open another bottle of champagne in a bit, sit down at the table and write our plans for the new year. we have many. hopes, dreams, goals...lots of things to manifest. we'll make a big poster of it all for above each of our work desks.
this year has been one of the hardest and one of the best in my entire life. i lost a love that was so dear to me, i lost a home, i gained a love, i gained a home. it's been a wild ride. it took me from a home i so lovingly created to a two room studio with no shower or bathtub (that's right...that galvanized tub was more than just for kicks), a make-shift kitchen with hot water that lasted only 4 minutes at a time, a hot plate and toaster oven, a mini fridge that couldn't even fit a full sized bottle of orange juice. i sold many valuable possessions, some for the money and some just because i had no room for them. i learned the difference between what is important and what really doesn't matter. and the things that are important are few. they are the ones you love. possessions mean nothing.
i found the man i will now marry and a love blossomed in that crazy little place on the river. i showed the little one that in the face of adversary, if you work hard enough and push through the things that could get you down, you can do anything. i started with nothing at the beginning of this year. no money, no home. i worked so hard. she would always say, "Mama, do you remember when this was just an office? And now look...you made it a home."
m is constantly in awe of how i could go from nothing to this. he is always telling me that what i did verged on impossible. i mean, really...how did i do this? how did i go from nothing to buying a church all by myself? but that's what 2012 has been for me. full of hard work that has paid off. in every area of my life.
i'm sad to see it go, but i'm excited for this coming year. the hard work is somewhat behind us. we've arrived. now the fun work begins.
happy new year, my friends! xoxo
our first christmas here in the church.
it was perfect. the little one was with her papa this christmas, so we celebrated together a bit early.
that meant that we had all the gifts and celebrating over and done with by christmas eve, so mark and i spent all of christmas day sleeping late, drinking champagne, painting in the studio, taking photos, and generally just relaxing and laughing.
it was marvelous. we both decided it was the best christmas ever!
i hope you had a fabulous holiday too! what was your favorite part?
we went to cut down our tree yesterday. 16 acres of trees to choose from! we ended up with an 8 foot tall one for the living room, and a 4 foot one for e's room.
mark had way too much fun playing with the lights. we made sugar cookies and listened to christmas tunes and drank wine and danced around the place while starting to decorate.
we finished up the decorating tonight. more pics to come soon..
i brought my 35mm with me on the tree hunt, but also snapped these photos with my iPhone.
what did you do this weekend?!
we decorated our yearly gratitude tree. there is so much to be grateful for this year.
i ended the night with making a pumpkin pie for the festivities tomorrow with a pie crust recipe from this lovely lady. it turned out great and i'm very excited to share it tomorrow with friends and family.
happy thanksgiving everyone!
with all the packing and painting and moving and everything in between, this halloween i found myself completely unable to make a homemade costume. she wanted to be Pippi Longstocking in the worst way, and i had some pretty grand ambitions of making the apron dress, finding the appropriate stockings, and possibly making some kind of Alfonzo horse for her to ride. but without a sewing machine, i had no way of doing it.
but i think her costume worked out pretty well. we put it all together from things we had at home. she really enjoyed it, almost more than all the elaborate costumes i've made in the past.
what were your little ones for halloween?
we're moving this weekend. it will be a lot of work. i'll give you all a tour when everything is finished...xoxo
i worked hard.
i must continue to word hard.
today i was told the good news...i am accepted.
the home is mine.
a gallery, a living space, a darkroom, a studio space, an office...it will all come true.
my dream, my hope to have something that will never go away. that is mine. something the little one will always have.
there's still so much riding on the inspections. i trust that it will all be okay.
fingers and toes are crossed. but for now, we celebrated. much of the hard work is done. but so much more remains.
he says he's so proud of me, and you know what? i am too.
Well, the little one played in her third violin recital (how is it possible?!) and did a marvelous job! For all of you who are familiar with the Suzuki method, she chose to play "Go Tell Aunt Rody" which is a very comfortable song for her. She just looked so cute! And she was just fantasic. I was so proud!
And after, I came back to celebrate having accompanied all the children in the recital on the piano...so much practicing and it was all over, so now I can focus on getting back to work! (Big sigh of relief!) We had some Salty Dogs from the recipe in 3191. My new favorite summer drink.
Happy Wednesday friends! xo
more old film.
this is our after thanksgiving dinner tradition...a walk down the road. it's always much needed after all that food.
it was a sweet walk, i remember. and sweet to be with family again.
but really...i just love the light in these photos.
i hope you all have a happy weekend! i've been painting the living room for days...you'll never guess the color! (the little one is very happy about it...)
We had a rockin' party last night. Stayed up way too late. Drank lots of wine and champagne. Danced. Sang. And had lots of fun in the photo booth...
There were close to 1,000 shots we took with the booth last night. I try to respect people's privacy, so here's a small sampling with most of the people you already know! What a great way to welcome in the year of 2012! Happy New Year!!!!
Well, Christmas was awesome. Really awesome. The little one got a kitty (a couple days early). The kitty is the sweetest thing ever. We had so much fun! Here are some pics from the day...
I hope you all had a great Christmas too! We are now prepping for our annual New Year's Eve BASH! Complete with photo booth, sequined everything, and lots of good music. Can't wait...!!
Well, I love getting things out in the open. Writing, processing, getting it all out there...it all helps in taking a step back and really observing the situation and how you'd like to proceed with it. Nothing has changed except my attutide about it. I've always made the best of whatever I'm given, but even with doing that I can still feel mournful for what I know could be. But, enough of that! It couldn't BE because it ISN'T! So I am making the best of what I've got while accepting that it's exactly what it is, and could never be anything else.
That probably sounds like much more nonsense all written out than it actually is in my head. But there it is. Thanks for being there through it all. This space is such a gift.
We've surely been making the best of our time this holiday season. Lots of baking, present making, cookie delivering, tree decorating, and holiday music singing (shall I mention the night the little one and I had an impromptu caroling experience? we skipped merrily while singing around the neighborhood like silly people in the dark!). And there are the things like the Christmas cards that will never be finished or even make it in the mail (how about New Year's cards?!), the tins of treats I wanted to make and deliver, the presents I can't afford, and all the rest that just aren't meant to be. And that's okay. Because with what we have, we are having so much fun with it. And that's the best.
I haven't even been capturing all our daily activities with my camera. Taking even a second away from those moments seems like too much. Sometimes I pull my iPhone out and capture the goodness. So above is all the goodness from cooking baking (twice!), packaging, delivering, and holiday cheer around town. We have been having so much fun...!
What have you been up to this holiday season?!
Our little town had an annual Christmas parade this past weekend. The little one and her friend got to ride with Santa in the wagon. Then it was off for hot chocolate followed by waiting in line to sit on Santa's lap. The little one asked for a "kitten" (oh my) and her friend asked for a surprise, despite my urging him to ask for a skateboarding ramp for the neighborhood.
I am so grateful for our wee town and all its quirky little festivals. There does seem to be quite a bit of them. Sometimes Sasa and I joke that it feels like we're living in Stars Hallow. All we need is Luke's Diner, and it would be complete!
For weeks I've been finishing up this season's wedding work, and with one wedding left to complete, I feel like I'll be a whole new person soon! I've got some really awesome shoots coming up that I can't wait to share. And so many creative ideas. I love having creative ideas. Living with such a passion for creating and noticing and dreaming is a wonderful gift. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming (how will I ever do it all?!), but for the most part it is extremely invigorating. Do you ever feel like that?
The photo above was taken at the local library during the Santa visit. It was one of the only times I've ever asked her to pose for a photo, or to sit in a certain place. The light, the symmetry, the colors were all just too much. Putting her in the middle just blew me away. I love it.
Happy Monday, my friends! I'll be back with some sweet links...
every year it's the same.
and that's a good thing.
30 people, tons of food, more pies than 30 people could ever finish (which means there's half a pumpkin pie in our fridge that i'm looking forward to later), a walk to the ocean after dinner, an early evening with a good movie, and collapsing into bed early.
we have so much to be grateful for this year. i love that there is a whole day that reminds us to be grateful.
what are you grateful for this year?
So, Elisabeth requested last week to be a butterfly for Halloween. A monarch butterfly, to be precise. I was really happy about her choice. This seemed easy compared to previous years!
I made a cardboard cutout of the wings, covered it with felt, and decorated it monarch-style. We made antennae out of a headband and pipe cleaners, then found fancy black shoes and clothes for the rest! It was a super fun project for us both to work on.
We went around the neighborhood with one of her best buds (who was not a butterfly, but rather a fairy...) and collected some treats. Then it was back home for a pizza party and three hours of handing out candy!
It was so sweet to see these two running around the neighborhood at dusk. I swear I think I even saw them fly....
How was your Halloween?!
We went on our annual pumpkin hunt this weekend. We take our wagon up the street to the local farm stand and choose three big pumpkins to take home and carve.
This year we added a little something extra...the little one and Sasa made homemade pumpkin pie using pumpkins from our garden! It was so sweet watching them cooking all afternoon in the kitchen. The little one has been wanting to bake and cook and do anything and everything she can in the kitchen. She even requested to wash the dishes the other night. Um, okay...!
Our trip up to the farm stand was shot all on film and Polaroids, but I did manage to capture some of the carving fun with my digital camera! The little one wanted me to carve a horse in mine, she made a funny face (a super cute one I think!), and Sasa wanted to make a gnome house.
We finished the evening with pie, ice cream, and our favorite pumpkin book!
I finally finished her costume yesterday and she is very pleased. Looks like the real deal, if I do say so myself. Pictures to follow...
What are you or your wee ones being for Halloween?!
I am the mama of a 5 year old. It seems so crazy that 5 years have passed since she was first born. I never realized why mothers would still call their grown children their "babies" but now I do. I look at her and still see the one year old toddling off on those little pudgy legs. She will always be my baby.
But 5...wow. 5 is BIG! She was so proud of herself too. We spent Friday celebrating with our birthday breakfast table tradition, a walk in the woods with friends and picnic by the river, and a dinner out complete with chocolate cake and the best french fries ever, then followed it all with a fantastic concert where we heard a fiddle player not only play the most amazing fiddle music ever, but also dance while doing it!
Then Saturday we had the big party. She requested a "giant potluck party" like we often have throughout the summer. Wasn't too hard to round up a bunch of friends last minute to make it all happen. But it all came together nicely. Instead of gifts, she asked for donations to bring to the animal shelter. We got a giant basket full, plus bags of food, and two big dog beds! People were so awesome! So that sparked an animal themed party, complete with "pin the tail on Pepper" (not the real Pepper...), a photo booth, face painting and animal ear making, and the best dog bone cake ever made!
It was a blast (we are all still recovering) and I think we heard the phrase "you throw the best parties!" about twenty times. But all that really matters is that my big 5 year old enjoyed herself, and that she did. See for yourself...
And the photo booth, which was hilarious and filled with way more adults than children...
A big thanks to all the sweet friends who made this night so special!! You are all the best. We love you guys. xoxo
I've been slowly turning our backyard into more of a gathering space in anticipation of summer parties, so after building a fire pit (Sasa rocks!) on Friday, we decided to have a spontaneous 4th celebration! Spontaneous or not, Sasa said at the peak we had about 35 people show. It was awesome! So much fun!
There were sparklers, smores (I made some gluten-free graham crackers for the little one and they turned out great!), hula hooping, scootering, dancing, singing, bocce ball, roasting hot dogs and burgers over the fire, and lots of chatter and fun! Oh, and the food...it was unbelievable!
We've already been asked when the next one will be...!
Happy 4th to you! I hope your holiday is fabulous!!
It was all too perfect and lovely.
We had a sweet little visit from my mama, BBQs with friends and family, fresh flowers inside, running through the sprinkler, back porch songs, lots of sunshine and time in the garden, cooking and baking, just born baby goats, dreaming up new ideas and plans, and had a wonderful time all being together.
and thank you all for entering the sweet giveaway over the weekend! Random.org chose #20...
what a great shop, thanks for introducing me! As for summer, my dream is simple, outside fun with lots of camping trips with the family!
Angie...send me an e-mail (email@example.com) and we'll get your cape out! Yay! Congrats!
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Cheers!
Easter started an early 5:30 a.m. The little one was so super excited about a bunny hopping throughout the house that she woke up much ealier than usual! The night before we left the Easter bunny a letter, some carrots and spinach, and a basket full of eggs for him to hide. Our eggs came out so beautifully. We will definitely be using vegetable dyes again. The sweet little yellow egg basket I found on Etsy weeks ago and had it shipped all the way from Canada. It arrived just in time!
We enjoyed some chocolate (a bit too much), two egg hunts, a delicious sushi lunch made by Sasa and enjoyed with friends and Baba (my mama!), many hours drawing chalk on the sidewalk and riding our bikes, and a lovely early bedtime to finish the day.
Today we enjoyed the warm air, even though the sun didn't want to come out. I spent three hours on the front porch watching the little one ride her bike back and forth in barefeet and her pajamas. Then we came inside and made delicious scones after visiting our chickens for some eggs.
I hope your Easter weekend was terrific!!
Wow. Thank you so much for your thoughts on my New Year's post. They meant so much. Each day this year, I have woken up and chosen to live with intention and gratitude. It's been lovely! I really believe 2011 will be a much easier year for us and I'm so looking forward to it!!
I've intended to get a handmade holiday post up here before now, but life was just crazy. Things are slowing down after all the festivities, parties (except for Sasa's birthday which is TOMORROW!), friends visiting, road trips, etc that come along with the holidays. So finally here's a glimpse of the handmade goodies...
Santa and his elves worked really hard this year. They even enlisted the help of Sasa and Grandpa! So together they all finished these magnificient playstands! Our budget is insanely tight, so thinking about buying presents was just out of the picture. I'd say 85% of them were handmade! Yay! These playstands are just amazing and the little one adores them. She saw them in a catalog (why, oh why must toy companies bombard our mailbox for weeks leading up to Christmas?!) and said she'd really like to have a cozy place of her own. So we made that happen.
The silk was the only thing I had to purchase. I collected mini baskets at thrift shops and filled them with acorns, acorn caps, chestnuts, pinecones, and other woodland treasures. She LOVES these. She uses them to play store and cooks soup with them. I traded my amazing friend who raises sheep for the sheepskin. I just love it.
The playstands are used everyday, and are made into everything from a fort to a store to a stall. There is no end to what her imagination can do with them.
And remember the note she left for Santa? She really, really, reeeeeaaaallllly, wanted a horse. Well, Santa and his elves and Mama worked hard on one for her. His name is Woody. He even has a leather bridle and reins! She was so excited...she rides him all over the house.
Well, that was our handmade Christmas! Did you do any handmade holiday goodies? If so, I'd love to hear!!
I had this whole post in mind about 2010; about how I couldn't wait to see it go, about how it was filled with horrible news, hard days, stumbling blocks, and more hardships I care to ever write about here.
But then, on New Year's Eve, I found myself sitting in a circle of friends and family at a cozy little farm. Just sitting, laughing, eating, drinking, listening, and being. In that moment, I chose to love 2010...hardships, struggles, and all. Because that moment is really what life is all about.
It's funny how life seems to play games with us. How much can we deal with at one time? How many times can we be hit with devestating news in a single month? Or how just waking up in the morning can be the biggest effort of the day? And yet...we are always still standing. Always. Because it's what we do.
In the midst of the mess, there are friends inviting you over for a drink and a good cry, random acts of kindness that make you believe in the good of the world once more, and the unwavering love of a single human being who wants nothing more than to love you. And those things are all amazing.
And life, no matter how hard or trying it may seem, really does rock. Gratitude, living in the moment, and love are the most important things we can do for ourselves and others. They really are what life is all about. And I pretty much guarantee you, if you live with intention, gratitude, and love...life will really love you back.
So here's to 2011. It will be an amazing year, full of love.
Well, the tree is already outside (waiting to be decorated with edible ornaments for our animal friends), the decorations are packed away, the rooms have been rearranged to accomodate the new gifts (and the teething puppy), and I am snuggling in with a cup of tea listening to the sleet hitting the window panes. My loves are upstairs asleep...one with a flu, one just plain tired little girl, and one who's supposed to sleep 18 hours a day (right...). Fly is by my side, curled up at my feet. I am so grateful for him and his presence.
Our Christmas was lovely. Dinners with family and friends, delicious food, good wine, laughter, surprises, and lots of love. The presents were handmade or thrifted (more on those later) and it was so nice to celebrate simply. Next year I want it even simpler.
Now we are settling in to a new rhythm with a puppy. Lots of walks, lots of learning, and lots of chewy toys.
We are expecting our first blizzard tonight. We're all anxious to wake up to a winter wonderland. There is hot chocolate to be made, sledding to enjoy, snowmen to construct, and snowshoes in need of wear. I think it will be an exciting day.
I'm anticipating the start of the new year. There is much to reflect upon as we leave behind this past one, and much to look forward to with the fresh start of the next one.
I hope you enjoyed your holidays too. I would love to hear about them. Would you share? xoxo.
We had our big holiday celebration yesterday. Sasa surprised us with a super secret present...a Border Collie puppy! I'll introduce her more next week!
And thank you, thank you, thank you for all your well wishes for Fly. Miraculously, the lymphoma was misdiagnosed!! So after an intense round of antibiotics he is doing very well! And he has been re-energized by his new little sister. I have no doubt that all of the well wishes floating around out there for him really aided in his recovery, so thank you very much.
Merry Christmas everyone!! I've gotta go...a certain puppy is chewing on my chair leg...
Thanks to all who entered the giveaway!!! Random.org chose #26 ::
Money can't buy quality time spent with family! Thanks for bringing such a cool company to our attention.
Yay Kimberly!! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and Holstee will get your new wallet off to you!
I finally finished Sasa's hat, just in time for Solstice! I started it in November (I think) and it being my first hat ever, I was a wee bit confused starting out. I ripped it out three times before finally settling on the right size. But then it all came together and it fits him perfectly!
So the I moved onto one for the little one. It took me a day from start to finish, which was so satisfying. She loves it too!
And then I had to have one too, of course! So I started mine today and will likely have it finished by tonight. Yay!
All pattern details and notes are here!
In other news, we have been busy, busy elves lately. I'm finished up oodles of work tonight in time for the big day, and am also a bit under the weather. But our tree looks amazing, the presents are coming together, and all the sweet goodies have been baked. Yay!
Merry Christmas everyone! Maybe I'll be back before the big day, but just in case I'm not...enjoy your holiday!! xoxo.
I love the winter Solstice. I love our yearly tradition of visiting a friend's farm for a spectacular bonfire and delicious feast. Despite the sprinkling rain (snow...where ARE you??!) and insanely mild temperatures, we still snuggled in close to the bonfire and had a marvelous night.
I brought materials for the kids to do a Solstice lantern craft. We made our own little jars of sunshine!
Happy Solstice to you all! I'll be back tomorrow with some Solstice knitting and the winner of the giveaway. xoxo.
It's that time. Massive amounts of Christmas cards are going in the mail tomorrow. I was contacted by Pinhole Press for an exciting opportunity developing as we speak, and after exploring their site, I was smitten with their Christmas card designs.
I chose three photos from a shoot my lovely friend did for us earlier in the month, uploaded them to Pinhole Press and designed the card. It was SO easy and simple.
Pinhole Press is offering my readers an awesome 10% off your orders, with the coupon code "PinholePressVIP" Check out their awesome calendars!! What a great New Year's gift!!
Thanks Pinhole Press!! Check out their website here.
Thanks to all who entered my giveaway! It was so sweet reading all of your holiday traditions. So many awesome ideas in there!!
Random.org chose commenter #60 ::
I love this giveaway! My favorite tradition is lighting the advent wreath every night at dinner. I spend all week looking forward to Sunday so we can light the next candle.
So congrats Erin!! pPease e-mail me with your mailing address at email@example.com and I will send your package out ASAP!
Here's a little glimpse of our magical sleigh ride on our friend's farm where we went to find the perfect Christmas tree...
It was so very sweet and magical. The perfect memory for a little one to have around the holidays. We feel very lucky for friends, for the simple things, for such special moments that make life so wonderful. xoxo.
And just a little note I need to add...our amazingly loved Fly Dog is very sick. He's old and was diagnosed with canine lymphoma. He's in kidney failure and we're not sure if he has days or a couple of weeks. It hit fast (just a few days ago) and very hard. The news has been particularly hard after all the losses we've had these last few months. And the holidays coming up...oh, I'm so teary just writing this. I feel sick to my stomach and am finding it hard to digest the news. Fly is a local celebrity. He is so loved. Please, if you can, keep him in your thoughts. Wish him an easy road to the next life.
Depending on what happens and when, I may be sparse here. I'm just having a hard time with this news. Thanks for your support, my sweet friends. xoxo.
Happy St. Nicholas Day!! St. Nicholas paid a visit to the little one recently. She was so excited. The night before we polish our shoes, write a letter to St. Nicholas, bake a special treat to leave him, get some hay and a carrot for his horse (apparently his horse's name is Snowflake! Who knew?!), and we leave it outside her bedroom door. In the morning, the little one finds her shoes filled with gold covered chocolate coins, a candy cane, and a special gift with a note left by St. Nicholas.
This year she awoke to find a special horse harness for play made by one of St. Nicholas' elves. Wow. St. Nicholas even told her that the bells on the reins were from his very own horse. She was so excited.
We also began celebrating the first week of Advent on Sunday. We got out our birthday ring which also doubles as an Advent wreath. We sang our candle lighting song for Advent:
"I light the night my candle burns,
I light the night my candle burns.
First one, then two, then three, then four,
my heart is shining like a star."
Next we read the words for the first week of Advent:
"The first light of Advent is the light of stones.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones."
We placed some special crystals the little one got for her birthday, some seashells we found on the beach this summer, and some beachstones as well.
And there wasn't really a better day to celebrate, because we got our very first winter snowstorm today! It was SO much fun. I was very satisfied with our snow activities...we made chili (for a chilly day!), cornbread, apple crisp, shoveled the driveway and the porch, went grocery shopping, took out the fall plantings in our window boxes and put in a variety of winter greens, went sledding, I made a wreath (my first one!!), had three delicious homemade meals, and got some knitting done. Such a good day.
I love that we live in this little town. The little one calls it "our cozy town." It was slippery out there and so very snowy, but we could walk everywhere we needed to go. We trek through our backyard to get to the co-op and I bring this amazing basket Sasa got me for my birthday. It fits all our groceries, usually ends up weighing more than I do, but is so nice to be able to carry our food home on foot.
The wreath making was so exciting and super successful. I cut some berries and vines out back and added them to the greens we got at Sasa's sister's house over the weekend. I think the wreath turned out pretty great and it now hangs on our front door!
So yay for winter and St. Nicholas, and Advent! Tis the season for sure!
Happy Monday y'all! xoxo. Oh, and stay tuned for another awesome giveaway on Wednesday, and more to come next week!!
Well, our little town had a holiday festival this past weekend. Complete with a parade (we were in it!), Santa in his sleigh, and a free showing of the Grinch in the local theater. It was so sweet. The little one got to ride in the front of a snow plow in the parade, while I rode in the back (haha!), and dressed as an elf. She met Santa at the start of the parade, then after the parade it seemed like all the kids in the town lined up to sit on Santa's lap in the theater. The line filled the theater, went out the doors, down the stairs, and into the street!
She sat on Santa's lap and asked him for the present she wants the most (Santa's elves and I are workin' on it! She's getting a completely handmade Christmas this year...). I snapped this photo. Wasn't it such a sweet moment?
We left before the movie and talked about Santa the rest of the day. The little one already has us listening to Christmas music...nothing like a four year old to get you in a festive mood!
Hope your weekend was full of fun too!!
With Thanksgiving coming, the little one and I got started on our yearly gratitude tree. We did the same last year (see here) and it was so much fun!
I made more leaves (the tracings came from Martha Stewart online...we used the same for our felt leaf garland) and we got to chat a little bit about what we were grateful for this year. The little one listed all the animals in her life first, then went on to draw many things found outside (grass, snow, trees, etc.). I made a few as well and it was fun to think of all the things I am grateful for in my life. There is just so much!
The little one's favorite part was punching holes in the leaves and stringing some yarn through. Then we went outside to find the perfect fallen branch to hang them from.
Once it was done, we placed it in a vase on the top of our piano, where we would see it all day long.
It's an easy, fun project for little ones and adults, and what could be better than thinking about the little things in your life that bring you joy?!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be back after the holidays. xoxo.
Another tradition we have on Martinmas is baking something seasonal and sharing it with friends in town. Yesterday we spent the morning baking pumpkin bread, made butter again, and loaded it up in our basket. We then took a walk into town (thank goodness the sun is out again! it's so wonderful) and delivered it to all our pals.
Our family lantern walk last night was so lovely. A trip around the neighborhood after dinner, with our lanterns lighting the way. So magical!
The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling,
Its beam shines far in darkest night
Dear Lantern guard me with your light.
~ Festivals, Family, and Food
A beautiful evening at a local Waldorf school. A gathering with hot cider, fall snacks, and outside play. Then a lantern lit walk through the field to a circle where we listened to a Martinmas story, and then sang our way back to the cars.
So we're gearing up for Martinmas tomorrow. (By the time you read this, it will probably be Martinmas! I write my posts last at night...) I love, love, love Martinmas. Somehow it gears me up for winter and snow. The lanterns are just in time for the beginnings of dark nights. I wrote about last Martinmas here and had a mini-tutorial about our papermache lanterns. Now I'd like to share another way to make lanterns! This would be a good project for tomorrow morning with your wee ones, then you can light them at night while you eat hot soup and warm bread. Yum.
Here we go...
You'll need ::
Set your wee one(s) up with the paint and let them cover the entire paper. I like wet-on-wet watercoloring, so I drenched the paper with a wet sponge first. I told the little one we wanted to paint a brilliant winter sunset and didn't want any of the white showing. She did a pretty good job!
Then kiss your little one for being so dang cute.
Tada! All done. Now it needs to dry. Our paper was pretty drenched and thick, so we let it dry overnight.
Okay, once your paper is dry, I cut ours into pieces about 12 inches in length by 10 inches in height. On the bottom (the long side) cut 2 inches up into the paper every 2 inches across the entire length.
Now, join the sides (your cut edge will be at the bottom) and staple. We stapled just 4 times down the length of the side.
Turn your lantern "tube" bottom side up. Fold in the cuts you made. It should make a nice round bottom.
Cut a circle the diameter of the bottom and glue the heck out of it. We tried a glue stick first (purple, of course), then moved on to Elmer's which was a tad stronger.
Place it in the bottom inside of the lantern, on top of all those cut tabs joined together. Put something heavy on it and let it sit to dry for a while. (We used a pumpkin!)
Now get ready for your handle. Cut a long strip about 2 inches by 20 inches or so. (You could just punch holes in the side and use yarn if you are out of paper at this point.)
Fold the paper into itself to create a nice, strong handle.
Staple each end to the sides.
Tada! Finished lanterns! Yay!
You can also cut out shapes and fill them with tissue paper. We didn't opt to do this because we liked our watercolors. We put tea lights on the bottom and taped the bottoms down. So pretty.
But it's such a fun project and I love this little celebration. More on our Martinmas celebration tomorrow...happy lantern making!!
Four. Four! I can't believe it. I really can't. Four seems like we've entered the big kid stage. She's grown, matured, and blossomed so much in the last few weeks. It's like she was gearing up for four, knowing exactly what it meant.
She was surprised by a visit from the birthday fairies this morning. Her birthday ring (with a new ornament and the number 4) was shining with four bright candles and the birthday fairies left some sweet little gifts. A card, illustrated with all the things she's done as a three year old accompanied her mama made gifts. She just adored the card and loved looking at all the amazing things she'd done.
I had been secretly knitting her this Milo Vest for the past month. I'll post more about it later, but I'll just say that I knit the size 6, hoping it would fit for a few years. Well, it will! It's much too big now. But maybe when she's five she can make it work. For now, I'll start knitting a smaller one...
Then it was the birthday pants. A yearly tradition! The fit of these was so right on. I was very excited. However, tights and leggings seem to be in the spotlight right now, so I'll have to wait for the day she decides corduroy is back on her list!
And her most beloved gift...the camera. She was over the moon. And I made a strap so it matched mine. She's my new little assistant for sure. Her love of photography has not quit and I so hope this gives her the opportunity to be just as creative as mama! She's already taken some great ones!
I'm the mama of a 4 year old! A 4 year old who seems to be a great joy in our wee town. This girl had happy birthday songs and cards and flowers and balloons and "Happy Birthday" chalk drawings and gifts everywhere she went. It was amazing. She is loved by so many.
Her birthday night ended with a serenade by a professional guitar player and a whole restaurant full of people. What a lucky girl. She was beaming all day long, and I was too. I am one lucky mama to have such a wonderful wee person in my life.
I love you, baby girl. Happy birthday!