Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I'm always wondering how much I should be involving myself in the children's creative projects. Sometimes I need to be in there, not maybe for inspiration, but because someone has to weld the utility knife to cut the cardboard and remember exactly where the pipecleaners are stored. I'm also the official mixer of sparkles and white glue (though, application is not my territory) and the opener of acrylic paint tops. Occasionally I make small suggestions like perhaps cutting the eye holes within two feet of each other. I also am a great dispenser of the words, "what do you think?" Or the many varitions, "how would you do it?", "what else could you use?", and the direct, "do it yourself." I am a hands off kind of person when it comes to kids and crafts. I think that works really well with the wee ones I care for. (I had one child in my care actually throw her body over her craft at our public library when another lady, frustrated by my kidlet's slow pace, kept trying to take over threading straw pieces onto string for her. Me, I just make sure she's taken a pee before she sits down for a project and leave her to it.)

Letting Smootch lead herself with her creative work has taught me much. Like how being a bit of a slacker in housekeeping and keeping the kids on task actually enriches their environment (it's amazing what stuff Smootch can find for her collages if she mines the carpets). How paint can be applied with almost every part of your body and to every part of your body.* How right Bob Ross was to welcome 'happy accidents.' And it's how I learnt that robots actually have horns.

So much knowledge in one little brain.

*Inspiration there was probably Beaumont's 'Aint Gonna Paint No More' - one of our top ten favoritest books ever.

Monday, March 30, 2009

she says to me

This past weekend I attended a conference for early childhood caregivers. Frightening enough, I attended one session called, 'Early detection of eating disorders.' And I had a preschooler in mind. (Not Smootch mind you. She has an amazing happy attitude towards food now. In my house we do not say, 'yuck' to food. The rule is that we prepare delicious food, and that if there is a problem that it is with the eater, not the food. Smootch has been coached to say, 'this food is not agreeable to my palatte.' Which is completely stinkin' cute to hear a four year old say.)

During the conference they had a mini trade show, where there was a Usborne books seller had set up. Completely unable to resist the 'That's not my..." board books series, I wandered over to have a looksee. I ended up buying a few books, including a big book of Things To Do. Because Smootch has reached the age where she is starting to flop around whining on about being 'bored.'

Bored! Good for her!

She'll discover all sorts of new ways to entertain herself now, because I am not going to help her out. Well, except for maybe providing the occasional bit of inspiration. The Big Book of Things To Do is sorta neat. Smootch doesn't often get new books, mostly we borrow from the library, so she was fairly excited about this book with all sorts of craft and dress up ideas in it for her. She's hoppin' around and bouncing, waving the book around, and she says, 'yay! I hope I get bored soon!'

I feel, somehow, we're taken the long, wandering, scenic path, but we are still heading in the right direction.

Friday, March 27, 2009


My life. I keep trying to complicate it. I have these lists of things to do. Housework, house selling work, sewing work, child work, work, work, busy work. I feel like with the extra hours of sun that I have this opportunity to fit even more to dos in the day. The details and minutae of the moments get lost, as the list grows longer with the day.

But, my life, is filled with these little hands that keep poking and prodding my attention towards the details. The small. The wonderously simple. I both curse and bless these little reminders. It would be all so much easier without the complications of children, but it would also be meaningless. Always trying to find the balance.

And always trying to remember that at least some of the extra sun hours in the day are meant to be spent lingering over dinnertime, enjoying each others company.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

time keeps on slipping

Having the house listed for sale is a bit like being suspended in a time vacuum. We've already packed up what we do not use often (and a few things that we do, like Smootch's rubber boots) but we dare not pack up more because, well, life continues on even though we are moving.

And life does move. Birdie's first birthday is just three weeks away. My first craft show is a week away. My sewing room is now a little corner tucked behind some boxes.

I'm making a few garments to demo my patterns for the craft/art show (Snell auditorium, saturday april 4, 10-5, if you are in my neck of the woods). It's been awhile since I visited some of the patterns. I had to consult with my instructions to remember how to assemble a lace up dress.

At least finding fabric in my sewing shanty is as easy as opening up a box from the top of the pile of fabric boxes. Finding a specific fabric, well, not so easy.
I lucked out on the second box with an embroidered linen to make a lace up dress with for the show. I love linen. It's made of flax, a crop that uses much less pesticides and herbicides than killer cotton. It's long lasting, it feels good to wear, it breathes, and it's a dream to press. It's one fabric Smootch loves to wear and doesn't care that it's in a neutral colour. It says something about quality when the pink and purple queen wants to wear the taupe.

A few more garments before the show. I'll post them over at my portfolio as they come into being.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

dayhome safari

The Man and I have been reviewing a dvd that details a method of discipline encouraged by the dayhome agency we contract with. In the video, the 'expert' advocates parents and caregivers to think of themselves 'wild animal tamers'.

Last week I came upon this little tableau left on the floor after the kids were done tiding up.

A message, perhaps?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


A few days ago, this was us:

Today, though, was another story. Someone finally told the sun it is March and time to come out. I spent the day chasing the sun around the house. Well, when I wasn't outside basking in the gloriousness of it all.

I wasn't the only one chasing the sun today.

And birdie boy too...

I caught this little stacker toy hanging out in a sunspot in the living room.

While I was taking a photo I heard the distinctive thump squish scrape thump squish scrape of birdie doing his odd little bum scoot into the room while dragging along his favorite fairy wand (oh, come now, don't we all have our favorite magic wands?) Normally he'd be high tailing it towards my camera, being so close to the ground and invitingly grabbable, but the stacker in the sunlight was the focus of his determined scoot.

And then something neat happened.

I wish I could of taken pictures of all the wand waving birdie did trying to get the sun to sparkle just right across his feet. Eventually I ended up with the wand while birdie tried catching the sparkles. Holding up the wooden stacker discs and catching the sun to flash himself in the eye also provided a bit of entertainment and wonder. All told, birdie spent, oh, 10 intent minutes or so inspecting the properties of bright light and reflective surfaces. Which is a lifetime practically in terms of baby attention span.

And you will never be able to tell him ever that his fairy wand isn't magic. Or me, that the sun isn't medicine.

Friday, March 6, 2009

when you're this big, they call you mama

I'm not exactly sure how this happened exactly, but it occured to me just today that I'm not really a housewife anymore. Yes, I know, given that I have the domestic skills of a nomadic sloth, and you could say that I haven't been much of a housewife ever, but still, I've been edged out of my figurehead position and into something a bit more suiting.

I am no longer sahm. I am wahm.

Right now I have two businesses on the go and am the sole income for this family. I am the breadwinner. I am the provider. I am... The Man.

Does this make The Man the Mama?

While he does not actually lacate, he has more or less smoothly taken over as chief dispenser of food, bandaids, and fun during the six or so hours a day I need right now to take care of business.

When I mentioned to The Man today that I have crossed acronyms, he took a moment to figure out what his possible title would be. He looked fairly aggreived when he said, "does this make me a wad?"

But, no, he would be a sahd. Which he resents not being awarded the 'w'. Status seeking is a hard habit to break your first couple of months out of the workforce I guess. Of course, The Man's arguement is that what is doing at home is actually quite a bit of work, thank you very much, and he resents not having that acknowledged.

Well, duh. (rolls eyes)

Anyhoo, before I get too far down that road, I'm going to change tracks and just talk about me for a change. Let's talk work.

As many of you know, one of the things I do is make stuff. I've been busy revamping my previously published patterns, fancy new covers even, and busy developing a few more for an art and craft show coming up in april. It shall be my in person debut.

Everything I've done so far has been online, making my model's photogenic natures extremely important (they have to be photogenic to make up for my not so hot photography skills).

So far so good with Smootch. She's a natural. Even when I accidently click a picture of her feet while I'm hoisting myself off the ground and she is running off to do whoknowswhat in a stained tee shirt, she still photographs like a freaky vogue model.
The boy, though, has his mother's relationship with the camera. Not so good. Bit stormy sometimes. I know I shouldn't compare the kids, but for every beautiful photo of Smootch easily taken there is one of Birdie looking like the anti-gerber baby.

Observe, a fairly typical shot of Birdie:The absolute best picture we have of him in the last couple of weeks is of his reflection in a garbage can.I'm sure I need not say more.

He's not the worst of the models around here though. I'm afraid I've won that award. I may or not photo well, I can't tell. I know that I can hardly look at a picture of myself - my eyes are hardly ever open and I'm always making a weird face that looks a lot like I've been caught saying, "don't you point that freaking camera at me!" Oh, I'm fat too. But, whatever. The big issue right now is the what-the-heck-have-I-done-to-my-head dilemma.

Between the sketchy beginnings of dreadlocks, and the very odd mullet making regrowth of my post pregnancy hair loss, does anyone even notice the lovely circle skirt and wrap tee I've made?...


What? Oh, sorry. I was distracted by the dreaded mullet.

So, that this my new life as a worker bee. I have no idea what to make of my new position around here, but I am pleased that we all get to try out something different. The Man has an opportunity to enjoy a very close and slightly servantile relationship with his precious children, and I can enjoy the freedom of holeing up in our freezing cold basement to huddle over sewing machines. I am so liberated.