Flurries and Starts

Today's post should include pictures from our journey to OMSI, one of our favorite Portland haunts. But I forgot the camera as I so very often do. So instead, here's our current favorite spot in town, our backyard!

Flower Flurries

In between downpours, we can barely wait to venture outdoors to check on the fairy houses, rearrange the pinecone piles, fill the birdfeeders (aka squirellfeeders) and run around screaming uncontrollably with our arms flapping in the air (that's me).

Ring Around

These scenes are from yesterday when petals from the neighbor’s ginormous cherry tree were blown into our yard, creating a flurry of dancing white fairies (as Holden described it).


This is our favorite outdoor picnic spot, under the pines, on my recent thrifted table cloth.

And in craft news, I’m done with the swap quilt…one month early due to my inability to read/grasp/follow directions. I thought the deadline was April 31, not May 31. And yes, my HUGE tip-off should’ve been the fact that April 31 doesn’t exist. I know I know. But it’s done, and I like it and I hope my swap partner likes it too. I'll post pics tomorrow.

And now with all this free time on my hands [ahem] I’ve joined this quilt-a-long. I’m thinking red and aqua quilt, but may go a different direction depending on which fabrics flap their arms and scream to me from the stash pile!


My Town, Day 2ish

Here’s a pic of our backyard today. Is that hail, you ask? Why yes, it is. Marble-sized ones, in fact. So glad I trusted my instincts and stayed inside today, and thankfully I have some pics from our Saturday Farmer’s Market excursion to share for My Town week

On these first few days that the sun makes an appearance after a long, wet winter, you can bet your bike that troves of Portlanders will be out and about, although farmer's market is this crowded even on the wettest, coldest days as well. Portland loves its veggies!

This magically became our dinner that evening.

And this will someday be the colors in my Rainbow Chard and Black Kale inspired quilt.

A boy and his leeks.

This would make a good quilt, too. I love those black cherry tulips.

And, one of my favorite memories of the day. The Wicky Pickers, who appropriately describe their style as "Eclectic swing, celtic and bluegrass" were playing. And it wasn't until I took this picture that I realized the guitarist had a little one in his sling the whole time. And this is what I love about Portland: you can be a guitarist, at the farmers market, in a eclectic swing celtic bluegrass band, amongst the flowers and chard, with your baby in your sling. The best of all worlds...


One Plus One Makes Six (and Two More)


Yesterday was our 6th wedding anniversary and we celebrated like any parents of 2 and 4-year-olds would...by attending two kid birthday parties. Nothing screams romance like purple icing’d birthday cake and Pippi Longstocking braids (the first party was a PL party) (of which I was the only attendant in Pippi attire) (nice).


To play along with Paper Dolls for Boys' My Town week, above is a shot of the old Kenton Firehouse in N Portland where the party took place. Thankfully, Portland is pretty jam-packed with cool buildings like this one, so even going to a 3-year-old Bday party can include a tour of an historic building.


These were our gifts to the newly-turned-3: an activity bag (I cheated and bought the tote, but did embroider the crazy happy scene on the front) with handmade crayon roll, a couple drawing books, some sculpies, and some handmade journals.


But, back to the anniversary…. If you’re not me, then the words “6th wedding anniversary” may not amaze and awe you like they do me. In a good way, though, because the past 6 years have flown by. Really flown, which is a good thing because the alternative is ‘dragged by’ and those could never be good descriptors for a marriage. My husband loves me, I know, because he stuck by my side when I was the only girl in the room with stick-straight-out braids at that 3-year-old Bday party. Now that’s true love.


We All Count

The craft room was abuzz with excitement this morning over the new scrap-scrap basket, so we decided to make a fabric collage. The hardest part of this project was getting the glued-on lid off the mod podge (not to mention the glued-on fabric scraps out of Esme’s hair...ahem). And once they got bored with the scraps, they searched around the craft room to incorporate found objects into the collage…leftover seeds from a seed packet, rice spilled from their earlier adventures in the tactile bin and bits and pieces from the recycle bag (yay!) And when they started gluing each other? Yes, that’s when the project came to a quick close.


But during the magical craft table transformation from gluing to painting area, I discovered to my slacker-parent amazement that Esme Claire can count! While lining up the paint bottles (her favorite activity) she appointed each one their rightly place in the favorite color hierarchy (with a “twelveteen” thrown in there for fun). She wavers on the periphery, but has 5 to 11 down pat. We couldn’t be more proud of our little self-taught counter, or feel more guilty that we were unaware of this skill. So goes life with two little ones.


And, one more dote on the kids… This is Holden’s drawing of the lion from this Alexander Henry print. I love the soulful eyes and smile. OK, done doting!


Five Word Wednesday



To Do:
To Do Pile




Craft Room ReDo

In honor of earth day, and due to the fact that I spent 15+ minutes looking for my fabric marker (only to find it amongst the kids’ markers) and then spent another 10 minutes searching for my straight edge cutting thingy (again, a ramp for Holden's race cars), I decided it was time for a craft room overhaul today. But not before busting out this fast and easy fabric ball for a sweet little one-year old’s upcoming bday. I plan on making two more bigger ones once my work area magically reappears.

Baby Ball

So here are our accomplishments for the day:

  • Set up and created labels for a better craft room recycling system.
  • Created a fabric scrap basket that is easily accessible to little gluers and sewers. I’m especially excited about this, because it’s a use for the “scraps of the scraps”…all those tiny scraps of favorite fabric that you hate throwing out but are really too small to sew with. Voila – kid art to the rescue!
  • Created a bin of “repurposed art” which mostly houses Esme’s famous “one swipe and I’m done” painting projects for the kids to cut up, paint on, draw on, etc.
  • Cleaned up our art display area and decided which creations to save, which to give away and which to repurpose.


    And now on to my sewing table…yikes!

    Craft Room Mess

  • 4.21.2008

    Back to Crafts

    Star Swap Quilt

    Here's the front of the doll quilt for the swap. I still need to quilt it and add a label, but I'm liking it and think (hope, hope, hope!) my swap partner will like it too.

    9 Patch Swap Quilt

    And here's my first unsuccessful attempt at a disappearing 9-patch. Although now that I've had a chance to get away from it for awhile, I kinda like it again. I think we just got on each other's nerves: too close; hovering; over-analyzing each decision. Kinda like a codependent relationship. But, we are coming away friends and that's all that matters, right?

    And totally unrelated, but I can't stop thinking about this article. Especially since I read that some scientists are comparing BPA's damaging effects to that of DDT.

    At any rate, I’m so glad to see our neighbors up north taking a stand on this issue, and hope the rest of the world follows in their footsteps, although it seems the US still only has "some concern." As a parent, I'm not willing to wait around for the NTP to become "more concerned" and thankfully can access great info on BPA-free products from sites like Z recommends that give me much needed comfort during my many “we need to raise our kids in a bubble” freakout moments. Here is Zrec's post on all the BPA news as of late.

    OK, sorry to be a downer. Back to happy, plastic-free crafting!!


    The Why I Blog Blog

    Crafty mama Lace over at Rusted Buttons has tagged me to answer some blog Q’s. So here I go:

    Why did you start your blog?
    Aside from keeping family and friends up to date on our life (AKA giving the grandparents their weekly baby pic fix) I started my blog to connect with other crafty mom bloggers, to hold myself accountable for all the big talkin’ I do and to feel connected to the amazing explosion of creativity that is happening in the craftworld right now. It’s also a way for me to avoid keeping up to date on the kid’s baby books. I mean, who has the time to run to those books every time the wee ones do something insanely cute? And anyway, the stuff I really want to remember would never end up in the books anyway as I don’t recall a page for “baby’s first sneeze-fart combo” or “how we pried a garbanzo bean out of little Esme’s ear today.” Yeah, that is truly the stuff I want to remember and I feel free to do so via my blog.

    How did you come up with your blog name?
    Since it took me a year to commit to WhatKnot (yeah, a year!), I really don’t remember how I came up with the name? I think it was my husband’s idea actually. And after a year of rolling it around in my head, and going through all the other names in my imaginary blog name book, I ended up picking the very first name that I was drawn to. Come to think of it, we did the same thing when naming both our kids.

    Do your friends and family know about your blog and what do they think?
    Oh they know. And I’m sure they think I’m insane for taking on yet another project, but I think they (grandparents mostly) appreciate the pictures and peeks into our daily lives. I think I make my BFF giggle a bunch (since she calls me on the phone giggling at my posts a bunch).

    4. How do you write posts?
    Most of my blog writing happens in my head while I’m cooking, crafting or creating in some way. I think I do all these things interchangeably..design quilts while I’m cooking; create recipes while I’m sewing; write posts while I’m fingerpainting with my kids… Then I just have to pray that I remember everything I’ve “written” during the day when I sit down at the keyboard at night.

    Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?
    No trolls and no mean comments. I did delete a spam comment off flickr after I posted a picture of Holden dressed up in his pretend birthday suit. Dress up…birthday suit…what was I thinking? Of course I should’ve expected a pretend Russian girl to want to meet me with a word combo like that!

    6. Do you check your stats or care how many people read your blog. If you care how do you increase traffic?
    I don’t know how to check my stats, other than on flickr where they are right there front and center. I do care that people read my blog, because I’ve “met” and kept in touch with some really nice, creative, inspiring people through it. And no plans to increase traffic as again, I have no idea how to do that (or the time!)

    And now the hard part… I haven’t met many bloggers yet and most of the ones I read have already been tagged. So how about Salt & Chocolate
    Mary Beth and Our Grown Family Julie (my cousin-in-law!)…? Forgive me if either of you have already been tagged but if not, I'd love to hear your answers so consider yourselves “it!”

    Happy weekend everyone!!!


    Just Swap Me

    I finished the front of the swap doll quilt today…and instantly hated it. So, I’m starting anew. I know, I'm lame. But there was something about the pattern from the beginning that just didn’t flip my switch. Plus, either a pole shift occurred that caused mathematics and the entire physical world to undergo serious upheaval, or I screwed up on the measurements. Either way, that quilt did not cooperate with the 20 inch square size limit no matter how many times I measured and remeasured. So back to the self-healing cutting board I go…

    And, did you see? Superbuzzy is having a sale! I've been eyeing this "Quaint Village" pattern for awhile to use on an embroidered wall hanging in Esme's room and at 20% off, I can finally justify it...along with a few other prints that I couldn't live even one more second of my life without.

    My inner voice keeps whispering, "red and brown quillllllllllt." So you know, gotta keep her happy!


    Sculpey + Playdough = Looooooooove

    I gave the kids a choice for our morning activity because we GOTS to have some sort of plan each day to keep us sane. Their choices were either indoor playpark OR make playdough and go to library storytime. Esme’s choice, of course, was “indoor playdough park.” Should’ve seen that one coming.

    So, indoor playdough park it was… As an add-on to
    this post, and inspired yet again by The Artful Parent, our newest obsession of the hour is sculpey-to-playdough imprints. We began by making some new fresh dough using this recipe (colorless, because I’m still searching for the perfect natural food dye…any suggestions??). Then, used our sculpey prints to imprint the dough. I’m not sure which project I like better, making the sculpey prints or imprinting…kinda like the chicken or the egg question.

    Sculpies + Playdough

    In either case, this newfound craft sent us journeying to the farthest reaches of the house (still gloomsville outside) for the newest and most texture-y of items to imprint upon our dough. I have to admit that I was the instigator here, as I am a tactile nut. And the kids don’t fall too far from the nut tree [ahem]. Now I just need to figure out how to use my camera so I can take some decent pics. Perhaps that would be a good activity for tomorrow.

    Sculpies + Playdough, take 2

    Also, the kids threw a birthday party for themselves today, including dress up and extensive decorating [sigh].

    Dress Me Up Holden

    I'm just tickled that they used the bean bag eggs as gifts!

    Bday Presents

    And I can hear Esme over the monitor now, waaaaaay past her bedtime, singing happy birthday to everyone in our family. Including the cat [big, BIG sigh]...


    Pants Gone Awry…and a Family Wedding

    I got zero accomplished this weekend craftwise. No, that’s not true… I got negative accomplished if you consider my attempt to make Esme some pants out of a recycled T shirt that are now buried deep in the recycling bin to hide my shame. The instructions are in my new favorite book and there’s nothing wrong with them - well written and clear. It's all user error. I just can’t sew pants. The end.

    Portland surprised us with an amazing sun-filled, 70+ degree Saturday in which we played and picnic’d amongst the backyard pines. Holden built fairy houses while Esme screamed at every bug, slug and spiderweb that crossed her path and I lazed on a backyard quilt reading said new favorite book. Even Brian relaxed, a true rarity.

    And how’s the weather today, you ask? Yes, well today is 45 degrees and hailing. So Esme and I were treated to a performance of “Holden the Amazing Mosquito” in his homemade “thee-AY-ter” and the kids planned their wedding and got married. That’s normal, right?


    Their vows were to:
    1) dance
    2) be nice
    3) love each other
    4) tickle their toes


    All the normal stuff… The ceremony was a formal affair and activities included trampoline jumping, dinosaur playing, picking out which living room chair would be theirs, duck duck goose and making foccacia. There was some grumbling over who got to wear the pink cowboy boots (Holden won) but it was a successful event overall. Oh and they renamed themselves: Esme is now “Dinosaur Dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex Sabine” (I got to choose her fourth middle name) and Holden is Sarah Three Horns. Remember, he’s quite happy in pink cowboy boots so the name shouldn’t surprise you.

    Cowboy Boots

    As far as my children marrying each other, I’m totally fine with it. I’m just grateful they’re not beating each other over the head with the cowboy boots.



    I’ve been saving up some kid craft project pics so prepare yourself for a picture-laden post (Did you hear that squeal emanating from California? That was my mom…). And my husband just handed me a grapefruit martini, so I’ll refrain from using big words…

    Sculpy Prints
    Sculpey relief prints via The Artful Parent is our current favorite. You impress found nature objects into sculpey clay and then bake. They're fun to make and both kids can get lost in creative play with these for long periods of time. The imprints have amazing detail - see the Artful Parent post as my pics were all washed out (sad face). Toddler and preschooler friendly and no cleanup!!

    Puff Paint
    Puff Paint Creations
    Puff Paint also via The Artful Parent
    A mixture of flour, salt, water & food coloring painted on cardboard then microwaved to “puff up.” This was perfect for the 2-year-old need to slather paint on thick, as the thicker the paint, the puffier the outcome. They both liked it but didn’t really get what we were doing until the end, so it was kindof like a “you’ll see, it’ll be really really fun” kind of project. Super easy though and minimal cleanup.

    Inspired by this fabulous book where Holden can “read” the recipe, here they're making Fruity Granola (and yes, they eat it!!) I love the Moosewood cookbooks and the kiddums adore Mollie Katzen’s delightful illustrations. The kid quotes inside are hilarious, too! Heavy on the cleanup, but worth it if they're eating wheat germ (we tweaked the recipe).

    Holden Embroidery
    Embroidery (love that concentrated foot action in the pic!)
    Holden has graduated to a true embroidery needle and linen (as opposed to plastic/blunt needle on burlap) and is doing really well. What’s more impressive is when he starts getting tired or frustrated with it, he ends his sewing session and moves onto something else. I could use some lessons on that…

    Because I had to throw in a plug for my WIP Doll Quilt for the swap… It’s a disappearing 9 patch and that’s all I’m gonna say, but the kids love arranging and rearranging the blocks into different designs (hmmm, wonder where they got that from?). I like Holden’s use of negative space on this one…

    Garbanzo Beans
    Tree Art
    PB Pinecone
    Tried and true:
    Garbanzo beans – give the kids open access to the bulk bins and they will come away with a favorite pastime!
    Tree art – nature’s canvas
    and Peanut Butter + Birdseed Pinecones

    And finally, a Montessori “Plan of the House” project from this book where you draw a house and the child is supposed to fill in the details of the home: cozy living room, colorful kitchen, warm inviting yard... Um, my child drew the house on fire. He did draw a little kitty house beside it, so there is hope (for the cat at least)!