Friday, January 30, 2009

I've always been very socially awkward about breaking into new communities. I don't know what it is because I'm a very outgoing person, people generally like me, I don't look too funny. I just feel really nervous that I won't know what to say or do, unless I'm in charge or have a very specific role to play I don't feel as comfortable at social events.
So anyway, I was very excited to get an e mail that my favorite local fabric store spool was having their first ever stitch party tonight... "a new monthly get together where we can show & tell about our projects, meet other talented crafters, and party!"
What perfect timing I thought... I've been going into this store since we moved here longing to learn how to sew, I sent (forced) Andrew to go there to buy my christmas present... now I finally have something to show for all my longing... I'll meet people who are even better at what I want to do, cool people I want to be friends with who will immediately accept me because of what my family has dubbed my sewing genius... Okay I may have pinpointed all my problems being socially awkward right in that one sentence.

Of course I was disappointed... I only got to talk to two people (about Esme's adorable sparkly shoes and when I spilled my wine on her baby... boy do I sound more dorky by the moment or what?) The problem of course is that I build these things up in my head... What I need to walk away with is the lesson that I should really stop doing that.

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me...

Okay, so here is some cool inspiration I got while I was there... redemption... redemption...

I thought these bunnies cut out of fabric were so cute...I could do that...

I also loved these bunnies and the circle of fabric with straight lines machine stitched through them...super cute!

jabber and projects

I've been talking with a few people lately about how Esme has been experimenting with "sentences". I was actually recently talking to my friend Julie whose son Isaac is five days younger than Esme and she was describing his recent jabber as "the experimentation of rhythm and cadence" which I thought was perfect.
Here's a video of Esme doing some experimentation as well as working on those fine motor skills fitting her buckles together on a high chair.


video

I'm very excited about a few things that I've done this week...so of course I better share :)
I put learn how to make yogurt on my "to do" list with a bit of skepticism at my ability to do so...but I one upped myself I made yogurt and granola this week and I don't think I did too bad for my first yogurt attempt and second granola attempt. The yogurt is less runny than Andrew's always was, which is exactly what I was hoping for and the granola is pretty good; just needs a little more honey (or maple syrup as my sister suggested). All of it is however, edible which is enough for me :)

I also bought some material for two projects I'm going to get done ASAP.
Here's a picture of the beautiful fabric...although I can't share any more details other than to say Cameron and Isla I'm so excited about what's headed your way!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wrapping up the Great North

We came back to the Twin Cities today and I don't have too much to say...other than to wonder why the cold had to follow us here...
But I thought I'd post some pictures as a wrap up to our time there.


Here's one of the outfits I made Esme
Corduroy pants and the little jacket has doggies on it!



I wish you could see this dress better...I'm going to try to post a closer picture

Here's the bodice...a bit better it's got this great curve and was definitely the hardest part to sew.

Esme trying to steal her Babka's beer at one of our favorite places, the Gunflint Tavern

Crazy Kid!

Esme decided she's moving in!

Esme says "That is the biggest bathtub I've ever seen!"

Babka's house is right on Lake Superior...which is pretty big for a bathtub...

Talk to you all again soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

snowshoeing with Santa Klaus and the Easter Bunny


I went snow-shoeing with my Mother-in-law today which was beautiful!
about a quarter of the way through our trip I, in characteristic fashion said "How much farther are we going to go? I only ask because I can already feel my calves burning and I would like to be able to walk tomorrow..."

We kept going "Just up to the next bend" and so by the time we finally stopped we decided to swap snowshoes to see if ME's pair was lighter than mine (She had been holding out on me just in case anyone was wondering...they were way lighter).

We were following a well traveled, very packed trail our entire way up the river and so I was shocked when as soon as I took my first snow shoe off my foot went right through the snow almost up to my knee. I honestly thought maybe I'd just hit a funny spot and was equally suprised when the same thing happened with the next foot.
We joked about how deceptive snow can be and as I began heading back the way we had come ME (Mary Ellen, for anyone who doesn't know) went on in the original direction to take a few more pictures, promising to catch up with me.

As I began walking I started thinking about how snow is not the only deceptive thing in the world, my mommy brain got going and I started wondering what other, bigger deceptive things my daughter will have to face.
For some reason the first thing that came to mind were all the blog posts I read this holiday season, almost every mom I knew had one, about whether or not to let their child believe in Santa Klaus and the Easter Bunny...should they believe, for how long, what are the long term ramifications of lying to your child, etc...etc...
Putting those questions in the context of this deceptive snow really got me thinking.
Santa Klaus is in effect very similar to this deceptively deep snow...and yet if I lived my life trying to stay away from all things deceptive for fear that they would hurt me, in one way or another, I never would have had this beautiful experience today.
Becuase someone created this fabulous instruments, snowshoes, I can use something otherwise deceptive to become a thing of beauty, and experience of beauty. ME and I were discussing how, without braving this deception these are areas no one would ever see, there is just no other way to go up a raging river at the bottom of a steep ravine.

So...what will I do about Santa Klaus? Well I think he's sort of like the snow shoes...not to mix the analgy too much. I think he can be used, wisely and carefully, to make an already beautiful holiday a bit more fun...I think Santa Klaus should never be the bearer of any life altering or much desired gifts, I think Santa Klaus should not be widely talked about or praised...but I also don't want Esme being the child who says to another no you can't walk in that snow...Santa Klaus doesn't exist...
I think there is a way to present these joyful childhood experiences while keeping them from being lies...to work in this tradition as a thing that adds to the beauty of the experience.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My little priest in training (poor child)

I'm still laughing...
today Esme and I went to Babka's church which is just a little different than our church where we go every Sunday.
Everything in the North woods is a bit more laid back and church is no exception...needless to say the procession is two people (still wearing their mukluks), there is no chanting, the gospel was read from the same pulpit as the other readings and the sermon was preached from the very same pulpit (GASP!!)
So today while her Babka was preparing the communion (there's probably some techincal term for this that I just don't know) Esme must have noticed that something was sorely missing from this church experience.
She grabbed a prayer book and opened it about half way so that she could comfortably hold it in her hands...she put it up in front of her face and walked to the front of the church, to the middle of the aisle...all of this while singing mind you.
At this point I thought the book was (in her mind) a hymnal and she was just singing.
As soon as she got to the front she turned, lowered the book a bit, stopped singing, and just held the book there in front of her face.
At this point it hit me...
Esme was chanting the gospel!

This child watches everything...she will be a boat bearer sooner than we think.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

not plagarization but rather, recycling...

I just found this poem on someone elses blog and it feels so North to me that I had to share it.
It made me happy.
Sometimes I feel like the only peace I have these days is the peace of wild things...why not embrace it!

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows
in me and I wake in the night at the least
sound
in fear of what my life and my
children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood
drake
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with
forethought
of grief. I come into the presence
of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind
stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and
am free.

--Wendell Berry



Willa (the kitty) trying to find peace in a box
(I've tried to explain to her that sometimes I feel driven to the same thing)

Esme and her Babka making gingerbread cookies


Peace of a wild thing illustrated
(Esme made a snow angel next to her Babka)



Friday, January 16, 2009

new slippers and sewing lessons

Esme got new cozy warm slippers...



cause you need that when it's 25 below.

We're in the Great North Woods, Grand Marais, MN to be exact spending a week with Grandma or Babka as Esme calls her. I'm getting sewing lessons and enjoying a few extra hands to help with Esme while we hibernate in this cold, cold weather.

Here's a sample of what I've been learning. We started where I think all people must start when they learn to sew, making an apron with gathers and a pocket and no pattern (I think we'll stop just over that next hill :)) A typical outing with my mother in law...


Apparently in sewing there is also a lot of ironing




the first few stitches...or preparing for them anyway



Yea! a pocket...isn't this great fabric?



A deer stopped by mid-lesson to snack on the berries out front


The gathers...one of my favorite parts, and a little tricky if I do say so myself!


I'm especially proud of this little box I made with the x in the middle



I am sooo Donna Reed!







Luckily while I'm sewing there are grandma's (and a kitty) to entertain Esme


bath time with Babka


So that's us here in the freezing North...more to come on our adventures where all the women are strong the men are (what are the men?) and the children are above average...isn't that how it goes in Lake Wobegon?