Saturday, December 15, 2012

This Unschool Thing

Okay, time for complete honesty here. We've actually spent about the last year being secret schoolers. By that, I mean, M has been enrolled in preschool while the majority of our friends are unschoolers. I've been drawn to this educational philosophy for a long time. I sought out similar methods for my own higher education. But I was worried about HOW to do this. I mean, what if I fuck my kid up? I've spent the last year building my confidence. Learning that there is no HOW, there is only DO. Getting to know some amazing kids and families who are far from fucked up. Figuring out that my own education has only just begun. I will be learning just as much as from my child as she will from me. We will travel this learning journey together.

We've been out of school for nearly 3 weeks now. M has already declared that she "hates home school". When I ask her what it is that she hates, it's more about what she feels like she's going to miss out on. Most importantly, riding the bus BY HERSELF. Isn't it enough that we ride the city bus, on which she gets to stand up, switch seats, and pull the cord when she wants to get off? As a kid who rode the school bus for 10 years, I can tell you, it's miserable. Sit still, and where you're told, be quiet, get your hair pulled by the kid behind you. I guess it's the appeal of the unknown.

So, what have we been doing? Hanging out. Getting used to being together all the time. Making ornaments for a handmade ornament swap party (that we hosted). Decorating a gingerbread house. Swimming. Taking yoga classes. Reading Magic Tree House books. Visiting the library. Watching Curious George and Wild Krats. Listening to Pippi Longstocking on audio book. Having dance parties. Shopping local and less. Having dinner out with friends. Playing Pac Man. Hand sewing. Tracing M's body. Drumming. Singing. Rock wall climbing. Learning to tie shoes. Watching way too much My Little Pony. Forming letters and sounding out words. Painting. Drinking hot chocolate. Looking at Christmas lights. Asking questions, and figuring out this path together.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, not Christmas. The beginning of harvest time! Sure, I've been eating radishes, peas, carrots and microgreens for a few months, but now we're getting into the real deal! For about 2 weeks I've been getting 2-3 zucchinis every couple of days and a handful of green beans every other day. But today... today I went out to the garden and low and behold, a lemon cucumber and two Lemon Boy tomatoes!
Even though I have Farmers Market veggies in the fridge, I decided that tonight's salad should consist only of veggies from my own garden. So yum. Plus an extra tasty balsamic-hemp seed dressing. Now that I have discovered hemp seed oil, I will never use olive oil on my salad again.
Finally, check out these peppers. I have never successfully grown peppers before, but this year, my neighbor hooked me up with some pepper plants he had started in his greenhouse. I mean, look at these babies!
Something tells me there will be some more pickling and maybe even some salsa canning in my future!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Preschool Teacher Thank You

I wanted to create something special for M's preschool teachers, to say thank you for such an awesome year. Aprons are pretty easy projects, and I came up with a way to let the whole class participate in making them. Patchwork! I started out by cutting a whole bunch of 6"x6" squares of cream denim. I gave two pieces to each child, with a note asking parents to have their kid decorate the squares and return them to me. Note - if you do a project like this, don't forget to add a "return to me" date.
Now, I haven't done many projects with patchwork in the past. It seems to me, you have to be absolutely meticulous in your cutting and stitching, and while I am a bit of a perfectionist, I'm just not THAT perfect. Anyway, once I collected all the patches from the kiddos, and made a couple to represent students who were previously in the class but who had moved, I laid them out on the floor in the order I wanted.

After I had my layout, I started sewing pairs, going across. Then I sewed two pairs together, and then sewed each row together. I think that's the way patchwork works. That method worked pretty well for me, anyway. There is only one mistake and I'm pretty sure no one noticed.
Here are some of my favorite squares:

 Originally, I backed the aprons with the same denim, but found they were way too heavy. I picked up some quilters cotton in the teacher's favorite colors to make a waistband and ties. That worked much better. Here they are, folded and ready to give to their teachers.

I wanted the kids to give the aprons at their graduation. Then they could all see their teachers reactions, and show them their squares. Rather than waste wrapping paper, I just folded the aprons so that the patchwork was inside and tied them with pretty coordinated ribbon.

I think they went over pretty well!

Thank you, Miss Betsy and Miss Michelle for a super year! We will miss preschool, but will see you around the museum!

Gratuitous Graduation Shot.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Finally! Some dry weather! Yeah, yeah, the rain is good, it makes the green. But plants need sunlight too, and my garden is LOVING it!

I had to thin the radishes. I think that thinning is my least favorite part of gardening. I feel like I'm telling those poor little plants "sorry, guys, you're just not good enough".
Now, I could wash them, trim the roots, and eat them. But... I have MICROGREENS! Yum.
If you've never had microgreens, you should. As Marley and I say, they are delicious and nutritious! I'll be having a microgreen salad for lunch today. They are also great on sandwiches and burgers. This time I bought a packet of microgreen seeds, but you can cut baby lettuce, radish, bok choi, pea sprouts, sunflower sprouts and more. Speaking of pea sprouts...
Reason 236 that I LOVE Burgerville. If your in SW Washington or NW Oregon, you know what I'm talking about. On a recent trip South, my parents took Marley to Burgerville and got her a kids meal. No crappy toy in there. No sir. Only a biodegradable bamboo pot with a packet of Oregon Sweet Peas.

And then, finally, just to do a little bragging...
That's right. Tomatoes. These were actually grown from seed in my neighbor's greenhouse.

Also ready to eat today - wild strawberries!

On my "To Do" list today - planting potatoes (3 kinds!), sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds! Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mom's Mobile

For Mother's Day, my mom asked for a found object mobile. She had seen some she liked on Craftster and sent me the thread links. I had been saving thrifted spoons to make plant markers a la kittykill but thought that I could maybe use the same technique for the mobile.

Materials included thrifted silverware, thrifted metal colander, glass beads, prisms, silver colored wire from my stash, and brass colored wire from the craft store. Side note - in the jewelry section 3 yards of brass wire is $5.99 while in the flower section 5 yards of the same wire (different brand, but no real difference that I could see) is $3.99. It pays to shop around, even the same store. Then, brother and I spent a kid-free morning smashing spoons, stringing beads and twirling wire. Here is what we came up with.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I just sent off my first non-Craftster swap package. I know, I know, I said I was taking a hiatus, but then I found this yahoo group that is for Waldorf moms to swap crafts. There was some attempt at getting a Waldorf swap started on Craftster, but it never really got off the ground. I thought it would be fun to get some things made from natural materials made with our lifestyle in mind.

The theme was Mushrooms, Hedgehogs, and Gnomes... Oh My! I love my little peg doll gnomes, but they are all over the internet and I wanted to try something different. I thought about needle felting mushrooms, then, while browsing around Ravelry, I found this pattern for five different mushrooms to knit and felt!

Aren't they cute? After I knit all of the pieces, I wet felted them in hot soapy water. They didn't felt as tightly as I thought they would. I don't have a ton of experience with wet felting - I've usually done it with roving. I've never attempted to felt anything I've knit myself even though I consider myself a pro at fulling wool sweaters! After the 'shrooms dried, I needle felted the spots with white roving, then I stuffed the stems with wool batting and stitched them together. Voila! I really hope they go over well with the other swappers. This is a different swap than I am used to. I LOVE the community and friends I have over at Craftster, and I love the way the swaps there are organized, the banter and the camaraderie that grows as you discuss your progress on your package Mad Lib style. This swap is a bit strange to me - you send all of your items to one organizer, who then repackages them and mails them out to the participants. There is no discussion, no getting to know a single partner.

Anyway, as I said before, I am definitely on swap hiatus for the summer. I will be crafting for M and myself, and I have been planning lots of fun activities for us to do this summer. Stay tuned!