| May 11, 2012 | 9:13 am
This is the beginning of a new section on Clever Nesting. One of the things that makes this blog a nest, and not just a creative space is that I am a mommy bird with three chicks. I have been writing about these parenting adventures and saving the content on my computer without planning on sharing it. But something happened this week which makes me want to speak out more about this part of my life.
After the TIME magazine ran, I was contacted by Eric Mansfield from Chanel 3 News. He wanted to know if I would weigh in on the controversy. I agreed and this is the link to the video.
I didn’t get to say what I was hoping to say on air. I am proud of what I did say, but I was nervous so I forgot to mention that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years, and that the average global weaning age is around 4 years old. But even more importantly, I wanted to say we are all mom enough. And it inspired me to write the essay which follows the jump. Read more »
| May 9, 2012 | 10:42 am
I am so pleased to announce that I will be contributing some of my coffee bean bag purses and totes at the Portage Trail Barn Sale. My goal was to sew a bag a day for the past two weeks to prepare. That was insanity. There are so many moms who manage to juggle the work-at-home-mom gig. I don’t think that person is me.
I get distracted by my garden, my friends, my kids, my desire to learn how to build a drip irrigation system…. And another project that I am so excited to share, but I’m not quite ready yet.
Kid's Cape made by Portage Trail Barn
In any case. I have much less than 14 bags to offer at the sale, but the ones I do have are really great. You’ve seen the photos before. I’m also bringing some items which I made last year, some arm cuffs and headbands and stuff.
Mostly, I’m just glad to be a part of such a unique retail opportunity. My friend Mary Beth is such a creative and industrious person. She’s a real up-by-your-bootstraps kind of woman. And she has chickens, which is something I really want (anyone want an awesome house in west akron with fabulous neighors so I can move to a house with a yard big enough for chickens?).
There are many other vendors offering their wares at the sale, too. So you will need to check out the Portage Trail Barn blog to see her featured sellers to know what to look forward to. And even better, you can head over to the sale next weekend and feel all the hand crafted goodness with your own fingers. I am planning on restocking my supply of hand knit dish cloths. As well as finding some handmade gifts for my mom’s birthday!
- Spring Barn Sale- May 17-19
- Thursday 5p-8p
- Friday and Saturday 10a-3p
| April 24, 2012 | 2:10 pm
One of the reasons I love being a Girl Scout Leader is that everything that I am excited about fits in with the Girl Scouts purpose. Right now our girl are learning about the natural world and farming in our Journey “Between the Earth and Sky.” We’ve even been talking about regional crops, local food, and plant classifications. The leader’s guide for the journey recommended having a farmer come to talk to the troop about plants “special jobs” as we prepare to talk about sunflowers and their ability to clean up dirty places by drawing toxins like lead out of the soil.
Well, I immediately thought of local Paqarina Farms because of their work in urban farming in Akron. They might not have been using sunflowers to clean up their land in the Akron City Limits, but they have definitely used organic principals to make that rusty old patch of soil a viable farm which can even support customers and a CSA. I emailed Karmi, one of the owners of Paqarina to ask if she would come speak to our girls and she said, “absolutely!”
Yesterday was the day she came to speak with the girls and it was a hit! Our scouts were so amazed that our Farmer was not a man, but a woman! They sat down to hear “Miss Karmi” explain their bee hives, horse plows and companion planting. My daughter Olivia informed everyone that bee hive collapse is happening because of pesticides in High Fructose Corn Syrup (which was both adorable and embarassing). The Troop decided that I was the Queen Bee and they were the worker bees. And everyone played with tools.
Here’s the troop working in their journals drawing something they learned about farming from Miss Karmi. Most of the girls were really inspired by the “three sisters” so you can see their corn and beans in the pictures.
Miss Karmi invited us to visit in the summer when all of the crops are in full swing and her chickens are out and about. And I plan on paying her a visit to the Highland Square Countryside Conservancy Farmer’s Market on Thursdays this summer. I’ll keep you posted as to what else my kiddos learn from Miss Karmi later on!
| April 12, 2012 | 10:53 am
Look! My daughter, Elise is a Clever Nester, too. She became interested in Legos after finding my husband’s old set in his parents basement last year. After reading some Lego for girls reviews (this one came after our purchase but it is a great read!) we bought her a basic pink starter set for her fifth birthday. It’s just girlie enough, but can work with all the other Lego products for open ended fun.
She uses the Legos to build elaborate houses with multiple rooms, gardens, stables, cars and appliances. I’m completely impressed and see a possible Elise Lloyd Wright in my future.
We bought Olivia a set of Legos for Christmas, too. The Hogwarts Castle set. Olivia, Elise, and my husband Rob all sat down together and built the castle following the directions to a T. Then it went up on a shelf until last week when Rob gave Elise permission to harvest it for parts. She was already using Hagrid’s hair to make a second mom, and all the wands for broom sticks (see photo below), but now she wanted to use the castle windows for her home.
I always see her working on it on her work table. I help her get the one block thick pieces unstuck every once in a while. But some how I hadn’t noticed how elaborate her house was until today when I was vacuuming under the table and had to grab all the loose pieces before they got sucked up. Did you see that stove? Did you see the table, complete with center piece and service ware? It’s amazing! No wonder my two year old, Cressida, is always trying to steal it!
She even has an area rug in this room. And vases on the shelf below the TV. See what I’m saying? Elise Lloyd Wright. Lego Genius.
| October 7, 2011 | 1:29 pm
My dear friend, Mary, has joined up with www.BringEliHome.com to raise money for a very worthy cause. Eli is the victim of parental kidnapping and is being held illegally in Turkey since 2010. Sara, Eli’s mother, has been fighting to get him home ever since.
Well, like I said, Mary has joined with Sara to raise money for her travel and legal fees through the sales of her crochet hat pattern, the Bring Eli Home Hat.
Besides being a fantastic cause, it’s also a fantastic hat pattern. Here’s me wearing my fuchsia version (which Mary made). It’s a perfect casual hat, awesome for bad hair days, and very very versatile. I plan on making one to use up some rainbow wool that I have left over from a previous project.
So, check out the links. Say a prayer, and buy the pattern or make a donation. I can’t imagine being away from my sweet girls for a week, let alone a year. Let’s help bring Eli home.
| May 6, 2011 | 10:28 pm
Sub-titled: Much Belated.
But we went right from Easter to Crafty Mart around here and I had a hard time keeping up. I think I missed a week’s post. Sorry about that. Those of you who follow us on facebook (link over there ——->) know that I have decided to scale back my posts to once a week. Therefore you’ll probably find more info in each post and I’ll be able to spend a bit more time with my kiddos.
I tried my darnedest to get some good pictures of the girls in their Easter Dresses. But, goodness, it is really hard to get three children to stand still. It’s even harder to get three girls who love their spinny dresses to hold still. And yet even harder to get them to hold still in their spinny dresses long enough for a clear shot in indoor lighting because it was about 40 degrees and raining. Blah! But this will have to do!
Olivia’s is my favorite. I spent the most time playing fabric against each other for her dress and I gathered the under skirt to make it much fuller and princessy. Since hers is the biggest each girl will get the chance to wear that dress, so it got the most attention to detail.
The other amazing thing we did this Easter was head over to Rob’s parents’ house to dye eggs the Martha Stewart way. We wrapped them in cut up silk ties. They turned out absolutely amazing. We had so much fun seeing them when we unwrapped them I think we dyed at least 3 dozen eggs. Maybe 4. It was a real shame to eat them.
| March 15, 2011 | 1:29 pm
Yesterday was Pi day, 3/14 for 3.14. And though I may be a craft-nerd now, I used to be an everything-nerd and so celebrating Pi day was kind of a fun idea. My kids are only 1, 4 and 6 so it was really confusing for them as I tried to explain the point of Pi, but I did manage to get Olivia to recite the formula for the circumference of a circle.
I made homemade pizzas, which I love to do on quick dinner nights. I make the dough in my bread machine while I run afternoon carpool and we all make our own pies when we get home. It’s like craft night and dinner time all in one.
To incorporate my theme we used the slices lines of the pizza to explain the radius of a circle. And the crust could represent the circumference. All the cheese represented the area. I might not be a bad homeschooling mom after all. Too bad my kids are so social, they would drive me nuts if they were here all day.
In other news, I am sending off my book proposal to a publisher. I have been procrastinating out of fear, but my good friend told me that this was my opportunity to start my wall of rejection letters. Gaining a wall of rejection letters is just as good as getting the deal, so I’m taking the plunge. Maybe I’ll make a collage of my rejections…
In other other news, I picked a pattern for the girls’ Easter dresses. I received a copy to review of Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn from their publisher. I haven’t made anything from it yet, but I am pumped to give it a go for my girls dresses. The projects are quite enticing! So after I get my proposal in the mail I will start cutting fabric. I’ll make Cressida’s as my “muslin” before I make it for the other girls that way if I mess it up it will be on less fabric!
| February 17, 2011 | 11:39 pm
Olivia is in Kindergarten, which means that our whole family is blazing new trails. She is reading and making friends. I am being asked to be the craft mom for holiday parties.
OK, her accomplishments are a little more ground breaking than mine. True. But I do have to struggle to keep to my ideals of crafting– upcycled, useful, valuable, beautiful, etc.– while making a craft that 24 six year olds can do in 15 minutes. And it’s a bonus if no one cries.
Which reminds me! Have I ever shared my ethos on children’s crafting? People have often asked me to teach crafts to children. Upon seeing what I have planned to do they tell me that kids can’t do such and such. I’ve sewn with 3 year olds, made stained glass with pre-schoolers, and finger knit with Daisy Scouts. And I believe that kids can do all of it, just not as well as an adult can do it. They may not finish. It might not be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It might even get thrown away on the way out the door. But if the children were able to keep themselves busy doing the work you gave them, and no one cried, it was a well planned craft. The kids could do it, and they learned something new. End rant.
Well, for the Valentine’s Day party I designed these little magnet clips for the kids to make. We used felted sweaters for the hearts, glued them to clothes pins with magnet strip on the back. To decorate the hearts I punched out heart shapes from my Zero Landfill wallpaper books and the children added their pictures. No one cried, and all the clips looked great hanging on the white board while they dried.
I can’t wait until the next party!
| January 12, 2011 | 1:50 pm
Remember my gift recommendation book list? Well, I was able to get a copy of Emily Martin’s Paper Doll Primer for my girls for Christmas (the last copy at our local Barnes and Noble, though I bet it is reordered by now) and we’ve been playing with it alot.
Let me tell you, this book has really reached my expectations. I love how the dolls are on card stock pages so that you don’t have to reinforce them to keep them nice. I also love the old-fashioned tabs on the clothing to fold over the edges of the dolls. That’s how I remember playing with my paper dolls as a kid.
Each doll has some back story so that you can build off of Emily Martin’s imagination for your playtime. Of course you can just make it all up as you go along as well, which is what my girls are doing. They received another doll book for Christmas, which they like to play with just as much as Emily’s book, but I don’t find any inspiration in the bright overly cartoony drawings in the other book and much prefer playing with my girls when they are using the Paper Doll Primer book. I can honestly say I even enjoy cutting out the dolls (the other book the dolls pop out) and choosing which outfit to put on the dolls. They are all clothing items I wish I could wear myself.
The only downfall to the book is the large section of clothes in the back of the book come on double sided pages. I cut out a skirt for our doll, and when I looked at the reverse page I noticed I had cut into a dress I would have liked to use later. If she releases a second book, or a second edition of this book, I would likely buy it if that problem was remedied. Over all I am blissful over our purchase, and am looking forward to more books from the dear Black Apple.
| December 13, 2010 | 10:11 pm
Today we had a snow day so I had all my girls home with me for the first time in months. We spent the day making paper ornaments and a nativity scene with my wall paper from Zero Landfill. I wish I could show them to you today, but having all three with me was a little more over whelming now that they’re used to school and I didn’t sit down until after dark and the lighting stinks. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow I guess. So instead I will show you these new ornaments I made for the girls at the Craft Akron anniversary party two weekends ago.
I struggled with whether I should make them all the same, or if I should go ahead and do them each differently since I was planning to give them all at the same time. I don’t like how sometimes gift giving can turn into arguing when there are three sisters involved. But in the end I went with different takes on the same theme, which was gold and maroon with musical notes and scrolling letters.
To make these we dripped dye into a glass bulb and poured glitter into the bulb and shook it up to coat the walls. Then we glued a fanned circle of scrapbook paper to the front of the bulb and embellished it with a disk of paper.
Everyone loved their ornament and we hung them on the tree right away. And thankfully no one bickered.