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!

19 October 2011

the perfect farmhand...


 ...if your crop is mud.

elfling loves to help with farm chores, & i love having his help. in fact, i believe it is important for toddlers to do take part in chores. a favorite of his is watering.

as you can see from the photos, he is an expert at getting things watered. look how the dirt is good & fully watered - how he takes such care in making sure that even the tiny sticks get a thorough watering.

sadly, he has little patience for watering the things on thefarm that i need watered. sure, he will aim the hose at plants, but it's mostly at the leaves, fruits, or flowers. even then, he's on to the next plant before the first drop of moisture hits the last plant's base.

i have tried sneaking out to water, but, & i suspect a certain hobbit has something to do with this, he almost always discovers me, & insists on lending a hand. sigh

at least he's good at watering the dirt. we'll never suffer for a want of mud. plus,

he is so damned adorable.

the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful ~ e.e. cummings

~ peace.

18 October 2011

gnomie, pumpkin genus


how utterly adorable! i had forgotten how much i loved my little pumpkin gnomies. old timers may recall that i first made one for a hallowe'en swap, a few years back. every year since, soap has pestered me to make more, but i never did. until now :)

should you desire one for your very own, pumpkin gnomies can now be adopted from theshop !!

ack! i am keeping this one; he is too cute for words.


14 October 2011

let fauns be


elfling looked so cute in his faun ears that i had to take some photos.

of course being me, i could not stop myself from trying to get him to stand just so, & look this way & that.

he tolerated it quite well.

for all of 3 photos. sigh. way to ruin a fun toddler game, mama!


this is the land of narnia,' said the faun, 'where we are now; all that lies between the lamp-post and the great castle of cair paravel on the eastern sea.”
~ c.s. lewis - the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe

12 October 2011

farm happenings

do not be fooled by the title of this post - not much is happening on thefarm. we do have a bit of drama, as you can see in the above photo. some wretched squirrel made a snack of elfling's pumpkin! my guess is it's the same wretched squirrel who stole all but one of the apples off our tree. i didn't much care about the apples, but the pumpkin!!!

 there is some beauty still to be seen on thefarm.

i do so love the blossoms of the rosemary; they are so faery-like. this is my favorite variety - the trailing, or creeping rosemary. if you're looking for a bush that is low-maintenance, choose this one. not only is it pretty, it smells divine, & attracts bees.

you can always count on a bit of cuteness on thefarm, no matter the season. elfling takes his watering duties quite seriously. you will notice the official farmer outfit of jams top & diaper. not long after this photo was taken, he had to be stripped & wrapped in a towel, & his official farmer outfit hung on the line to dry. my elfling can get wetter than wet; it's a talent few posses.

can you believe that sad tomato plant still has fruit on its vines?! (please ignore the tall grasses growing in & about the plant. someone, who may or may not be me, has not weeded in quite some time.) none of the tomato plants have any new blossoms, so when these last fruits have ripened, we'll dig up the whole area.

while we are chattering about tomatoes: a friend recently asked why i grow my plants against the garage wall, & not out in thefarm. our first year at this house we did grow them out there. not one fruit set on any plant. after a lot of research i realized that it was the wind. we get a great deal of wind here, on a continual basis. tomato plants don't like wind. the next year we planted them against the garage, & all was as it should be. i think the white wall helps make up for the temperature as well. it does not get hot enough, for long enough, to grow tomatoes (cucumbers, peppers, etc). the wall reflects some of the heat back at the plants, which helps a great deal.

well, that is all for today. as i said, not much is happening on thefarm. what do you have growing? have you started your seeds for the next round of planting?


10 October 2011

of treasures found

property of ::  s. striker
found written in the front of vintage copy of the third anti-coloring book, purchased last week at a used book shop:

about school - by r. nukerji

he always wanted to say things. but no one understood.
he always wanted to explain things. but no one cared.
so he drew.
sometimes he would just draw and it wasn't anything. he 
wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.
he would lie out on the grass and look up in the sky and it would
be only him and the sky and the things inside that needed
and it was after that, that he drew the picture. it was a beautiful
picture. he kept it under the pillow and would let no one
see it.
and he would look at it every night and think about it. and when
it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it.
and it was all of him. and he loved it.
when he started school he brought it with him. not to show 
anyone, butt just to have it with him like a friend.
it was funny about school.
he sat in a square, brown desk like all the other square, brown 
desks and he thought it should be red.
and his room was a square, brown room. like all the other
and it was tight and close. and stiff.
he hated to hold the pencil and the chalk, with his arm stiff
and his feet flat on the floor, with the teacher watching
and watching.
and then he had to write numbers. and they weren't anything.
they were worse than the letters that could be something if you
put them together.
and the numbers were tight and square and he hated the 
whole thing.
the teacher came and spoke to him. she told him to wear a tie
like all the other boys. he said he didn't like them and she
said it didn't matter.
after that they drew. and he drew all yellow and it was the way
he felt about morning. and it was beautiful.
the teacher came and smiled at him. "what's this?" she said.
"why don't you draw something like ken's drawing? isn't 
that beautiful?"
it was all questions.
after that his mother bought him a tie and he always drew
airplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.
and he threw the old picture away.
and when he lay out alone looking at the sky, it was big and 
blue and all of everything, but he wasn't anymore.
he was square inside and brown, and his hands were stiff, and 
he was like anyone else. and the thing inside him that
needed saying didn't need saying anymore.
it had stopped pushing. it was crushed. stiff.
like everything else.


05 October 2011

of mustaches...


those besticked mustaches, from elfling's birthday, are still being played with. not all have survived, & some are looking a bit done for (do you see the one on the left is missing something?), but that doesn't seem to bother my wee menfolk.

i have to say that i am in love with this photo. we printed a copy onto card-stock, for their grammie's birthday. hers was in color. i had to make it sepia for myself; the old timey mustaches seemed to demand it. 

so you don't worry: no, we do not let elfling play with the mustaches unsupervised. those are skewers, after all. he has to have one of us with him, & he's not to run about with one. i am working on a toddler set for the holidays. if i manage it, i'll share the how-to. stop rolling your eyes at me. i did say if. i am not that far removed from reality ;)

have you taken any mustachioed photos of your kids? i'd love to see them.

04 October 2011

i'm such a boob!


how did i manage to forget to advertise the give-away on mama is? it's not too late, you can still enter to win the zippered boobie pouch! here is what you do:

go to heather's website mama is. in the comments section, write what you'd put in a pouch (of any size!). get creative, because that is how the winner will be chosen. oh, & feel free to suck up to me, because heather has asked me to pick the winner :)

the pouch is sturdy, made from reclaimed fabric. the breast is satin & velvet, & the nipple is a pink pearl. no, that is not your imagination, i sewed the pearl to droop a bit - clearly it's a boob that's been nursed upon. you can see more photos in theshop.

note :: the title of her post says that the contest is for members only. she has since changed her mind, & opened it to everyone.

good luck!


ps. heather is the talented artist behind the famous comics: hathor the cow goddess & mama is. she is also the author of simply give birth.

02 October 2011

a tree of a different sort


please know that i have not abandoned you. not entirely, at least. the other week i found myself pottering about a genealogy site, & next thing you know i was spending every waking hour either working on my family tree, or thinking about it. i don't know if it is possible to sprain ones eyeballs, but i just may have.

it doesn't help that a certain tinker  has been feeding the fire with her own genealogy obsession. i like to think that she's being helpful, when she sends me documents she has found for me, but truly? most likely she doesn't want to sit alone in the crazy-barrel.

one of the unexpected bonuses to this newest of adventures - i stumbled upon two cousins! on the same day, even. both are from my daddy-o's branch of the tree: one paternal, the other maternal. &, &, &?! they are of my generation. how fabulously cool is that?

what? wait! what am i doing here, chattering with you? there are manifests to be examined, fancy &/or messy handwriting to be puzzled over, & wow! is this another person's mistake, or did he have two families?

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