30 December 2011

old timey new years & a wish


isn't this victorian card fabulous? even the slightly creepy father time makes me happy. know what else makes me happy? you. i have enjoyed spending another year babbling into the ether at you - thanks.

my wish is that all of you have a wonderful end to 2011, & and even more wonderful 2012. see you next year!


24 December 2011

pretend-shopping gone global

comic :: property of mama is
my friend heather was inspired by my pretend-gifting to create a beautiful version of her own. of course, being the fabulous cowgoddess that she is, heather drew a comic to tell the tale. enjoy!


23 December 2011

pretend-shopping, the second

photo :: property of armadillo dreams

there were so many more things that i wanted to show you, so thought i would! whilst the last post featured items i pretend-bought myself, today's post focuses on items for my kids. let us begin!

* this pirate ship has to be the most wonderous pull-toy i have ever seen. 

* thehobbit & his friends are serious dr who fans, so he would love this itouch skin.

* how utterly fabulous is this toddler shirt?!!!

* another fabulous toddler shirt!! (disclaimer :: this one made by a friend of mine.)

* who wouldn't want to mustache-ify their mugs & cups? i am fairly certain that both of my boys would love these.

that is all for today, my one & only reader. that to-do list will not get to-done on its own.

21 December 2011

thursday things - pretend-shopping

photo :: property of little bits clothing co

this week's thursday things is being done today instead, as tomorrow i shall be off having solsticey (real word) adventures. enjoy!

i have been pretend-shopping quite a lot over the last few days. mostly i keep my finds to myself, with occasionally showing a friend what i pretend-bought for her/him. when i saw the above frock coat i just had to share with all of you. it is just too wonderful to not.

in fact the entire shop, little bits clothing co is wonderful. it is packed with handmade historical clothing & accessories. even bum rolls! i don't need a bum roll, as i am already rolling in the bum area, so to speak. i do, however, need that frock coat. yes, i know it is for a man, but i want it anyway.

here are a few more things that i pretend-bought for myself:

* this hat is simply perfect. i love having a warm head, but do not love beanies - on me, anyway. this is actually a hat, but crocheted, so maintaining a sense of beanieness (real word). 

* if these gorgeous boots were half a size larger, i would be more than pretend-buying them right this very moment.

* i am swoony for these salad tongs. pretty, aren't they?

* ack! eiffel tower scissors!! want.

i have pretend-bought ever so much more than this, but my wee elfling is done playing blocks, so the rest shall have to wait for another day.


19 December 2011

hustle & bustle & videos


there has been much hustle & even more bustle in thebelfry these last few days, which is why i have not been around to chat with you. unless you are vastly more together than i (& i suspect you are) you have been hustling & bustling as well, so not noticing my absence. shame on you.

it has been difficult, but we have managed to squeeze in some holidayness (real word). in addition to crafts & outings we have watched: miracle on 34th st (original & newer), elf, a charlie brown christmas, & a plethora of youtube videos. here are the videos getting the most play:


12 December 2011

random randomosity


good whatever it is where you are. here, it is just after five in the morning. the house is pitch black, my menfolk are sleeping, & the rain is softly falling outside. i don't know why i just typed outside. where else would the rain be falling? though with all the quirks, shall we say, of this old belfry, i imagine i am lucky that it is only raining outside.

i am closing my etsy shop at the end of the month, did i tell you? it was not a decision i made lightly, & it brings me great sadness to do so, but it is for the best. at least that is what i am telling myself. i am not closing my bizzie entirely, just this construct of it.

we have been indulging in a bit of holiday crafting. thus far elfling's most favorite activity has been stamping. i learned at hallowe'en that if i wanted something holidayish to hang on the art wall, i needed to set out only the appropriate stamps & colors, not the entire tin. so for this round of stamping i set out the santa & star stamps, & the colors: green, red, silver, & gold. after elfling declared his holiday art complete, i let him have the rest tin. that boy of mine can spend quite a long time stamping.

i did manage to make those magnets we chatted about. mine aren't nearly as cute as the ones in the tutorial, but i was short on time. the choice came down to a) forgo painting them, or 2) risk not getting them finished by xmas. i chose the former. that's them in the photo. they are good enough; there's that pesky good enough again; for a toddler -  i doubt elfling will care that he can see the wood grain.

once the sun rises i need to get sewing. my mother-in-law is coming for an early christmas, & i realized only last night that her gift was not finished. she travels a lot, so i am making her a large, flat-bottomed pouch that she can toss in her suitcase. to make it special, i had elfling draw on the fabric with permanent markers. he is only two, so basically it will look like someone scribbled all over her pouch. that said, she is a grandma, therefore will adore it as if rembrandt himself has done the scribbling.

that is all for this morning's random chat. i am in desperate need of coffee. thanks for visiting.


10 December 2011

santa peggie


put some presents under the tree. for me. (that is how we are singing the song these days.)

unlike his first 2 decembers, elfling is good & truly aware of the magic all around him. that awareness has breathed new life into traditions that had become stale, or forgotten over the last few years. don't get me wrong, thehobbit still adores the winter holidays, but he has long since outgrown the squealing at even drawings of santa stage. know what i mean?

oldies may remember me babbling about my santa collection last year. well, when we set them out the other day, elfling went mad! he wanted to hold each & every one, kiss them, hug them, & even have deep conversations a few. unfortunately, most of the santas are old, with a few being quite fragile, so we had to limit his santa-loving.

which brings us to the santa peg you see in the above photo. i knew elfling needed a santa that he could carry about with him, one that would survive a month of toddler kisses. it was great fun to paint, & i love the way it turned out. i did forget to paint arms, but i am pretending that i meant to do so - that can be our little secret.

as with steve, the santa peg is nowhere near perfect. i rushed it, so it would be ready when he woke from his nap. it is coming in whispers, but i am actually learning to find peace with doing things good enough. 

sing with me! santa peggie, put some presents under the tree...


01 December 2011

pouches gone bad


there are times when i think sewing is a good idea, only to later discover i was wrong. zippers are sewn in crooked, there is a tiny stain or snag i had not noticed, the design on the fabric is off, or something else is not as it should be. with a toddler & a teen in residence, these times occur more often than they had in years past.

many friends have suggested i list the items in theshop, at a discounted price, but the perfectionist in me just couldn't do it. until now. the pile of pouches gone bad was beginning to top that of the perfect ones, & i was running out of free time to sew more.

so (insert deep breath here) you can now find the bad boys in my etsy shop, at a considerable discount. don't be afraid of them, they aren't as bad as i have made them out to be - after all, not one of them has a prison record. that i know of.

the pretty linen pouch pictured above is for sale, as is a sweet taupe pouch. there are two others that have yet to be listed; both even prettier than these. 

thank you for taking the time to look at my pouches gone bad. i hope you like them.


30 November 2011

vintage books for kids

photo :: property of this site

a few months back a used book store took over the space that was once a border's. this shop is the most amazing place that ever there was! it is a huge space, filled with shelf after shelf of gently used books (my favorite kind!). most are priced at $1 or $2, which is unheard of even at thrift shops nowadays. 

i have yet to get myself more than a handful of books, because i find that i spend all of my time digging through the children's section. thehobbit has come home with many treasures, & elfling is now the proud owner of a large stack of some very cool board books. 

the best part? i have found some gorgeous vintage kids' books like the one pictured above. elfling likes charlie brown & snoopy, so i tossed the book onto my stack, without even looking at the condition. after all, a 2 year old doesn't much care if pages are torn, or scribbled upon. imagine my surprise when, once home, i discovered the book to not only be in pristine condition, but a first edition. needless to say it was elevated to books we look through only with mama or dada status.  i know, i'm a killjoy.

here are a few more vintage books we have recently added to our collection:

* richard scarry's busy, busy world was one of my favorite childhood books. my mother bought thehobbit many scarry books, which we saved, but not this one. i was thrilled to find a 1970 copy! apparently later editions were edited to be more p.c. - blah. our copy is missing half of one page, but as i only paid two dollars, i am not going to complain. besides, elfling enjoys stopping on that page to say "dis page es teared. bébé not teared et."

* richard scarry's best counting book ever is one i had not seen before. elfling is swoony for this book because it has green bug on nearly every page. our copy is from 1975, but looks as if it's never been read.

* little golden book - cars from 1973 is so cute! elfling loves vehicles of all sorts, so is going to adore this book. unlike the others i chatted about, this one has been set aside for xmas. 

like with other vintage treasures, searching for old books is not for the faint of heart. you have to love the hunt itself beyond measure, because it can be grueling. you also have to be willing to spend hours searching, knowing that most likely you will leave empty handed.

ok, i don't enjoy leaving without a treasure, but i do love, love, love the hunt. so tell me, what books from your childhood have you given your child(ren)?


23 November 2011

sans turkey

photo :: property of this website.
were i aware of my camera's whereabouts, i would have taken a few autumnal photos for you. los angeles in autumn is quite beautiful. as it is i had to rely on a google search for today's photo. i must say, that am happy i could not find the camera - just look at that wonderful old photo!

today my mind is filled with thoughts of food: what i am cooking, what i have gotten already, & what i have yet to buy. honestly, i do not know how people with large families manage. it is just we four, & i am having daydreams of chucking it all, & ordering pizza.

this year i am not attempting a fancy protein dish; instead i bought a quorn roast. earlier this year i discovered that if you thaw the roast, slice it into rounds, marinade it, then roast it, it is much more flavorful & moist. that is the plan for thanksgiving. want to see my menu?

* turk'y roast - with mushroom gravy

* green bean casserole - using fresh haricot vert, instead of canned, & a homemade soup base. i have always caramelized the onions myself for the casserole, but this year bought trader joe's can of fried onions instead. i am pretending it's to be retro, but honestly, i just haven't the time to cook everything from scratch.

* the brussels sprouts dish that i chatted about here.

* my mom's double-layer pie. ok it is actually libby's, but i don't recall the people at libby's ever making it for me, so i'm giving the kudos to my mother. i do alter the recipe a bit: milk, instead of evaporated & condensed, only one box of pudding mix, & i bake a regular pie crust. i do not like graham crusts. ew.

* sweet potatoes, roasted with olive oil, & red onions.

* stuffing. oh my one-&-only reader, i. love. stuffing. to the usual ingredients i add: 3 diced zucchini, a bag of diced mushrooms, tons of garlic, & chopped spinach - all sauteed until fully cooked. i also omit the butter, & add a can of cream of celery soup (or mushroom). i find that veggie broth is too tangy/salty, so use water as the liquid.

ok, now i am hungry.

tell me, what are you making this year? i promise to give you full credit, if i steal your menu :)

22 November 2011

on being thankful


like many of you, i am busy getting ready for thanksgiving. we do not celebrate the myth of the pilgrims & natives - i shan't go into the whys & such here. we do, however, celebrate being thankful. one thing for which i am quite thankful, is you. i am grateful that you take time out of your busy life to come here, & read my babblings. thank you.


18 November 2011

in which i fancied gloves


let me clarify: whilst i did want a pair of gloves, that is not what i meant by fancied. i saw these ugly plain pair of gloves in a dollar bin. thinking they would be fine as-is for going to the park, i bought them. after all, i don't have to be fancy at the park.

only, i simply couldn't let them be. i rummaged through my bins of vintage goodness, hoping to find black lace or velvet ribbon. sadly i found none. what i did find...

... were 2 fancy shell buttons!

now i know they look a bit not so very katish when sitting on my filthy floor, but look!

on, they are perfectly lovely! &, i imagine, they shall look lovelier still when worn with something that is not my jams top.

i am looking forward to taking my fancied gloves to the park.


17 November 2011

thursday things - soap

photo :: property of sacred waters soap co.

normally i feature items from different places that i have stumbled upon. because i also wanted to showcase the shops on my sidebar, i thought it would be fun to combine the two. & so, this week's thursday things is about soap - specifically soap from the oh so fabulous shannon, of sacred waters soap co.

shannon's own words:

I am inspired to create a quiet, simpler life filled with beauty. Soap making seems a perfect extension of that desire.
It all began 11 years ago, my daughter was born and so was my profession. Spurred to greater heights by a desire to stay home with my children and the onset of some skin allergies, I threw myself into the magic that is soap making. I have studied, asked old timers, and practiced hard to perfect my craft.

* pure & natural is my favorite by far. oh, did i forget to mention that we use her soaps? we do. i like this because i am a bit sensitive to fragrances, even natural ones, so having an unscented soap is perfect. i also appreciate having something i can feel comfortable using on elfling.

* the holly & spice soap would be a nice prezzie for those people you don't know very well. i think my postal carrier would love a wintery soap over the boxes of chocolates i know she gets each year.

*  organic peppermint foot scrub spa set - say that 3 times fast! this set has everything you need to make your feet feel good. minus the hot water, of course.

* her laundry soap powder works as well as she claims. shannon graciously let me try a sample of the lavender zen, & i loved it.  sadly, it does not come packaged with an actual person to do the laundry.

there is so much  more to see, & she is happy to take custom orders. please take a look at her shop. the soaps are simply divine.

shannon is offering a discount for the bestest readers in all of blogdom! enter the code soapbox when checking out. woo & hoo, baby!


16 November 2011

ampersand, the end


i could tell you that i have been meaning to show you the completed ampersand for ages. i could, but i would be lying. not about the meaning to bit, but about the completed bit. you see, i kept waiting for time to do the thing properly. it would seem that life with a teen & a toddler leaves one with no time for doing anything, proper or otherwise.

today i asked thehobbit to play with elfling, & set about just getting it done. i knew that rushing the completion would mean a wonky ampersand, but it was either that, or stare at the half-finished project for the rest of my life. i have enough of those, thank you very much.

so it doesn't look like it would have had i had the time, & i am having to force myself to be content with its many imperfections - but that is ok she keeps telling herself.

what do you think? pretend you do not see all the imperfections, please. lie to me if you need. & remember: all comments that do not contain words of praise could quite possibly be deleted.

eventually it will hang higher on the wall, but for now it sits on the mirror. oh, ignore the dusty mirror, please.

it feels good to have one less half-completed project cluttering my home & head.



14 November 2011

we save the brains


thehobbit has begun the annual collecting of the brains. in more polite circles this is known as harvesting nasturtium seeds.

polite circles are dreadfully dull, if you ask me.

what is going on in your garden?


11 November 2011

it's all right


there is such magic in the early morning sunlight. my sewing nook faces eastward, so is filled with this magic at the start of each day. i love how it makes me feel.

things are especially messy at the moment, what with the recent flurry of sewing goodies for theshop. i prefer sewing in the morning, to soak in some of that magic, but my children prefer otherwise :)

today i got as far as poking through my bin of vintage bits & bobs, before i was thwarted. i had hoped on finishing the latest fancy pouch whilst they ate, but a certain elfling insisted he needed an audience for banana-eating, & that his brother would simply not do.

that seen to, i did try to get some sewing done, but the sunlight was quickly settling behind dark clouds. without the sunlight, it just feels cold & normal in there - not nearly as enjoyable as with.

i snapped a few photos before calling it a day.

here comes the sun, & i say
it's all right.


08 November 2011

elevensies, the sale

photo :: property of ???
beginning this friday, 11-11-11, there will be free shipping on all orders over $11.00! 

ooh & aah kat, but for how long?, you ask. well, my dearest one & only reader, that is the best part of all. this elevensies celebratory goodness will last as long as the year does. by my calendar that means things should go back to normal come the first of january - unless you can find a way to stretch time, that is.

i have already begun sewing & painting lovely goodies for you, & will continue to do so until mid december. in addition to the things usually found in theshop, there shall be: toddler birthday crowns, adventure kits, acorn gnomie kits, fancy lined pouches, & more!

the hows & whats:

beginning 11-11-11 (pacific time, usa), go to theshop, & make your purchases. if your order totals $11.00 or more, you will get free shipping. you needn't let me know anything, nor enter a code of any sort. before your order ships, i'll simply refund your shipping to your paypal account - easy peasy! (please contact me if you need to make your purchase without waiting for the refund. i understand how tough times are right now, & am happy to fidget things for you.)

there you have it! please spread the word, so others can take advantage of the elevensies celebratory sale (& so a certain someone can pay for her blended mocha addiction.)

happy shopping! & happy eleven eleven eleven!


07 November 2011

downton abbey

have you seen it yet? i fell in love with the series earlier this year, when it played on pbs. that link will take you to pbs' downton abbey page, & give you the dates for season two's airing. i have already seen season two! in fact, i just finished watching the last episode. i have connections, don't you know?

actually, i haven't. i watched the second season on fast pass :) 

photo :: property of here

would you just look at those gorgeous costumes? i tell you, there were times i had to replay an episode, because i'd missed so much in paying more attention to what people were wearing. i want that gown on the left - minus the lace collar. 

there is to be a special christmas episode, & then we have to wait until next year for season three. i hate waiting. until then, i shall have to be content with watching the whole thing from the beginning. over & over & over & ...


04 November 2011

clever goings-on


longer ago than i care to admit, i lost my kitchen blackboard's eraser. since then i have used rags, scraps of wool, thehobbit's eraser (which he promptly took back), & even a potholder - basically, whatever was at hand. oh. & my hand.

last week i had a few minutes to myself, so made an item whose purpose is solely to remove chalk from my blackboard. in other words, an actual eraser.

it was so simple:

* take two rectangles of felt, & pink their edges, so they will be oh so fancy.

* cut a small twig to size, making sure you have no sharp bits left behind.

* with some embroidery floss, affix the twig to the center of one felt rectangle.

* place the rectangles, wrong sides, together, & sew three sides shut.

* shove a blob of stuffing into the opening (you could even use felt scraps for this), & stitch the remaining side shut.

* marvel at the cleverness of you.


03 November 2011

thursday things - make it yourself

photo :: my new toddler-sized birthday crown, for sale soon!
i have decided to do away with all pretense, & just admit that i am already working on the winter holiday stuff. sigh. it is not that i want to, i have no choice. if prezzies are going to get made, & theshop is going to overflow with goodies for sale, then i cannot wait for the actual season to arrive. blah.

this week's thursday things focuses on prezzies you can make. hoorah, tutorials!!!

* wooden alphabet magnets this is the set i am making for elfling. i had been searching for new magnets for him, as his set is missing a few letters. it was fine when the magnets were just for moving around the front of my washing machine, but now that he is learning his letters, it's probably best to have them all. 

* mp3 player arm band thehobbit needs one of these! i won't bother with the patchwork (though i do love it myself) & just make it all black, or dark gray. those are the only colors he'll wear these days. i think it's the teen uniform here in los angeles she wrote, ignoring the fact that those are pretty much the only colors she wears as well.

* wrist cuff oh yes! both manlyman & thehobbit are getting an upcycled wrist cuff. 

ack! he is awake? already? sigh. ok, my sweet one & only reader, that will have to be it for today. happy crafting!


02 November 2011

steve, pegged


elfling was given a dvd featuring 3 episodes of blue's clues. assuming he'd enjoy it a few times, then lose interest, i popped on the disc. yeah. there will be no losing of interest anytime soon. my wee boy is knee-deep in bluesmania. he talks, non-stop, about the show, sings the songs, & asks to play bahlews clews, as he calls it, over & over.

as i am trying to make most of the boys' holiday prezzies this year, i decided that a blue's clues play set was in order.

above is my first attempt at steve. not good enough for theshop, but just fine for my own 2 year-old.

i cannot show you my first blue as she, well - wondering if i was being hard on myself, i showed her to elfling. he did not even know who it was! he just sat, staring at her, with a look of utter confusion on his sweet face. that is telling, my friends.

hopefully i will manage a blue peg soon, as i am not so sure a steve's clues play set would be as thrilling ;)


ps :: this is not another too-early xmas post - it is a too-early solstice post. so there.

01 November 2011

a rockin' ho ho ho

photo ::  property of  mimi kirchner

ok, i know i am always one of the first in line each year for complaining about early xmas posts. that said? i just had to show you this doll. isn't he fabulous? i always knew santa was hiding tattoos under his velvets.

you may return to your candy now.


29 October 2011

of pumpkins, brooms, & black cats


funny isn't it- how you only see things in photos when looking at them later? i had the camera in the yard with me this morning, in case elfling did something adorable. thehobbit was with us as well, but he is a teenager. teens are not known for being adorable. angsty, yes. adorable, not so much.

anyway, i remembered that a friend had asked to see the scarf i was working on, so snapped a photo of that. then the neighbor's kitten, ivy, came to visit, so i snapped a few of her antics. & so on.

when i transferred the photographs to the computer, i noticed the timely goings-on: the pumpkin colored ball of yarn, the tattered broom, & the black cat. & none of it planned! i don't normally have brooms on my lawn, by the way; elfling had been sweeping up the dirt clods he'd tossed onto the patio.

don't you love serendipity?

when witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near halloween.
~author unknown


27 October 2011

thursday things - hallowe'en


only a few days to go, & i am finally getting into the spirit (ha!) of things. this year thehobbit is going as a zombie doctor. all his friends are going as a dead/zombie/vampire/etc something-or-others. nobody wants to just be the something, they have to all have to be spookified (real word) somehow. bunch of nuts. or would that be bunch of zombie nuts? hahahaha, i just realized how that reads. i am not erasing it - zombie nuts! hahaha. sorry. i spend too much time with a 13yo & his friends.

here are some fabulous hallowe'en things i spotted when pottering about:

* ouija board ring! enough said.

* haunted house pdf this is very sweet. it would be fun to build with a child.

* the count's castle theatre & here is a gorgeous one for the teens to build. or you!

* nodder he gives me the creeps, yet still i want him for my very own.

* elegant treat bags these make me wish we were having a party.

* jams ack! so cute. i think i may have to get these for elfling. good thing he is small for his age :)

* it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown quite possibly the best holiday movie ever.

dear great pumpkin, i am looking forward to your arrival on hallowe'en night. i hope you will bring me lots of presents. ~ linus


25 October 2011

the veil is getting thin


as i went out walking this fall afternoon,
i heard a whisper whispering.
i heard a whisper whispering,
upon this fine fall day...

as i went out walking this fall afternoon,
i heard a laugh a' laughing.
i heard a laugh a' laughing,
upon this fine fall day...

i heard this whisper and i wondered,
i heard this laugh and then i knew.
the time is getting near my friends,
the time that i hold dear my friends,
the veil is getting thin my friends,
and strange things will pass through.
author :: unknown

24 October 2011

in which a pumpkin patch...


...isn't. we have not had time to get to an actual pumpkin patch this year. thehobbit could care less, being a great old man of 13, but elfling is just coming into his awareness of special events & times of year. bad mama.

i did not want to miss out on an opportunity for adorable pumpkiny photos, so found an alternative to the pumpkin patch - trader joe's! the store we frequent has a fun display out front, with crates of pumpkins, & even some of those cut-out photo stand things. sorry, am completely blanking on what those are called.

how i got adorable pumpkiny photos without an actual pumpkin patch: thehobbit moved some of the pumpkins in one of the crates, in went elfling, & out came my camera. poof! instant pumpkin patch.

apparently my idea was brilliant, because another mama had been watching, & asked us to leave the pumpkins like that, so that she could do the same. if only i could bottle my brilliant mind ;)

have a lovely day, do!

22 October 2011

montessori - the second


another, & so soon? oh dearest kat, you did say you would not become a montessori blogger! easy now tiger, i photographed both activities on the same quite overcast, sorry for the dark photos day, so am merely posting the second before i forget the photos exist. see? i would not lie to you.

this installment: sorting! elfling thinks this activity is the most fun ever. he will play & play & play with his sorting kit for toddler-eons. i did learn early on that i have to watch for signs that his attention is waning; if i let him end this activity on his own, he will start tossing the pieces into their baskets, which quickly leads to throwing them. occasionally at things. more specifically, brother-type-things.

according to the books i've been reading (a post for another day), they can sort bits by: color, size, shape, & so on. i wanted to test the activity before spending money, so just pulled wooden things from my shop's supply bins. now that i know he loves sorting, i am on the hunt for the perfect objects & containers.

you set out a few small containers, (you'll need one for each kind of object), & one larger, filled with the assorted bits. to show elfling how to play, i placed one different item in each basket. it did not take long at all for him to catch on. by the way, elfling calls this activity same-same. i took his cue, & began asking same-same? when he'd put a bit in the wrong basket. if he says it is the same, i don't correct him. i just say ok. he usually sees his mistake later.

once all the bits are sorted, elfling pours them back into the larger container, & starts again. he keeps at this until an object gets tossed - which is when i tell him it is time for clean-up. without (yet) making a fuss, he: stacks the baskets, places the stack in the bigger basket, puts the sorting bits into the top of the stack, shuts the lid, & slides it back on its shelf. all on his own! ok, i do help with the latch, but honestly, that's the extent of my aid.

this is not unique to my toddler. in fact, i did not fully believe it would work beyond a few oh this is interesting times. but it does work! the more i ask him to help me with things, & the more jobs that are specifically his to do, the happier, & calmer he seems. too bad it doesn't work with teenagers.

a few notes on this activity:

* i use smallish objects, because 1) he is not known to put things in his mouth, & b) this is not an activity he's left alone to do; someone is always in the room with him. opt for larger bits if this is not the case with your toddler.

* objects for sorting: blocks, wooden shapes, pom-poms, acorns, smooth stones or shells, & so on. decide how you want to sort, consider the ability & age of your toddler, & pick what you like. i only went with all wood, because it's what i had on hand.

* if you decide to use small baskets for your sorting bins, i recommend sturdy ones. the ones we are temporarily using are from my kitchen (small ceramic tart pans sit in them, when serving), & not meant to take the wear & tear of a 2 year-old.

* there are a lot of pieces to this activity, so make sure your box/basket/bag closes securely. the cute basket you see in the photos used to hold a small ceramic picnic set. i like it for this kit, because it's lightweight, large enough hold everything, has a latch & handle, & can double as the larger container.



21 October 2011

montessori - part one


back when thehobbit was a dinky guy, i stumbled upon montessori education. i looked into it, but didn't implement anything, because i had shortly after stumbled upon waldorf education. the latter suited thehobbit's personality & style of learning much better. i did send away for the fabulous catalog however, which i still get.

recently i realized that montessori would be a better fit for elfling, so began re-researching it. as elfling only just turned two, i needed more information on implementing montessori at home, as opposed to homeschooling montessori. one of my favorite blogs is written by a former montessori teacher, who now has a toddler of her own. i popped over there, & found some things to get us started.

i have no intention of becoming a montessori blogger, but i thought i would share, every so often, some things that we are trying out. this post is the first installment :)

a scissoring activity. don't freak on me, i bought toddler scissors. he can squeeze his finger between the blades as hard as he likes, but it won't cut him. i tried it. hurts like the dickens, but it left not even a scratch. like meg, i created a kit: a box, which holds strips of paper, & scissors.

elfling has yet to get the hang of the scissors, but that doesn't seem to keep him from having fun. i have to hold the paper for him, & he uses both hands to work the blades open & shut. he likes to have the cut bits fall into the lid of the box. when he's bored with the activity, he goes about taking each scrap of paper out of the lid, then tossing them all over the room. the tossing part he does have the hang of.

when even paper-tossing loses its allure, he puts his scissors & intact strips back in the box, shuts the lid, & hands it to me. i like to keep this kit on a higher shelf, so whilst i am putting the kit away, he walks around, picking up his tossings.

for those of you who don't believe little ones can pick up after themselves, take a look at meg's toddler in action, here. when i saw that, i knew montessori was just what elfling needed :)


20 October 2011

thursday things - vintage kitcheny stuff

photo :: property of beatrice in blue

on  my mind quite a bit these days are kitcheny things, specifically those of a vintage bent. as my things get broken, & for some reason things are breaking at top speed of late, i find myself scouring thrift shops for replacements. it would be much easier to buy new items, of course, but easy isn't always best. 

i could say that i buy used because i am making a conscious choice to live a more green life, one in tune with mother nature. i could say that, but i would be lying to you. the truth of the matter is that i am utterly head-over-heels in love with old stuff, & that's why i buy vintage. the green-living/mother nature part is a bonus; one for which i am thankful. it balances the fact that i am also in love with hair dye.

so back to thoughts of kitcheny things. last week i was on the hunt for mixing bowls. do you remember the fabulous sunbeam bowl from earlier this summer? well, i found another! this one is identical to the first, also in perfect condition, only smaller. i had been hoping to find large mixing bowls, but there weren't any to be found.

because i cannot go thrifting every single day (though to hear manlyman tell it, i do) i have been poking through etsy's vintage section. such gorgeous vintagey treasures! i thought i would share some with you.

* teensy molds - (pictured above) i actually have a stack of these! some in that shape, others with more rounded bottoms. she has them priced quite well, if you're in the market for a set.

* child's oven - i. want. this. as i haven't that much money to spend on frivolity any room at thebelfry for it, i shall leave the sweet oven for someone else.

* cake carrier - how sweet! i don't think i've ever seen one like this. i adore the wooden acorn knob on the lid.

* egg beater - a must-have in any kitchen. well, in mine, for sure. i have a gorgeous vintage beater that we use almost daily. i've yet to meet a person who doesn't love cranking the handle of an old fashioned egg beater. even elfling loves to beat eggs, though he needs to use both hands to crank the handle, & it takes forever ;)

* mixing bowl - gorgeous! i bet if i had one of these my baking would improve. that's how it works, in case you didn't know.

refrigerator ware - i love, love, love these! ok, not so much the color, but the containers themselves are simply perfect. it is rare to find these in thrift shops (where i live), & even more rare to find a set. with lids! i store blocks of cream cheese in my lone dinky container. 

sigh. there is so much more to share with you, but elfling disagrees. i am off to snuggle. happy shopping!

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