Asher’s Pillowcase

I sewed a thing! I made this pillowcase for Asher’s birthday at the end of January, but of course, a pillowcase doesn’t get top billing when it comes time to celebrate turning 3, either for him or for me, so I’m only getting around to gloating about it now. I used an online tutorial that I found here, to help me with the french seams, which were entirely new to me. The tutorial is great! Much thanks to its creator!

I can’t quite explain it, but I’m really digging this pale, spring green with the dark red. This color combination is all over the boys’ bedroom now. I hope they like it as much as I do. (The green rug is new from Ikea and we all love it, especially the price.)

I have supplies for a pillowcase for Lucas, too. Which I hope to make sometime soon.

Waldorf School Auction Donation (WIP)

Later this month we’ll be attending Love Auction #9 at the Sacramento Waldorf School, the annual fundraiser auction. I’m finishing my handcrafted items to donate by Friday. Here’s a peek:

A birthday bunting (or playroom/bedroom decoration) made from three recycled, thrifted, 100% cotton shirts that my friend, Anne, found and gave to me. I love the variegated fabric; it lends a definite Waldorf, watercolory feel to the bunting. The bunting is three yards long. (I’ve never cut up a garment before to salvage the fabric for another purpose. It felt very strange, but oddly satisfying.)

A birthday crown (or dress-up crown) for a boy or a girl (or a king or queen or wizard or astronomer) made from 70% wool felt and sewed by hand. I started this on the plane to New Jersey a week ago. The nifty thread-cutting pendant my mom let me borrow was very useful! Sewing on the plane was a soothing way to pass some time. I still have to put the elastic on the back of the crown to finish it off.

Last year, my donation was needle-felted gnomes and a fairy and a book of Tiptoes Lightly stories. No idea how to assign a value to these items for the school to use as a starting bid. Suggestions?

Spinning

This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was about four years old, sitting on the floor of Dotty’s home and playing with her “Sleeping Beauty”-style spinning wheel.

I took a spinning class this weekend from my new friends at Syrendell. (Lucky for me they are local!) Jennifer Tan and her daughter, Joey, taught us how to use the drop spindle and let us try spinning on a wheel, too. The drop spindle is fairly simple in concept and it didn’t take too long to catch on. My first attempt is on the far right of the photo below. I started with a brown wool roving, then spun some white Merino wool with tencil, then tried a muted green/blue wool. It’s all on one skein. It’s lumpy and wonky and imperfect and I love it!

We got to create batts of prepared wool fiber on a drum carder, which felt surprisingly like painting with wool and created such a gorgeous, fluffy, ready-to-spin batt. I loved laying out the colors and wondering how they might combine in the spun yarn.

I bought a spindle for myself and took home the two batts of fiber I had prepared, one green and one rainbow. On Saturday afternoon, I spun the green into yarn and Lucas helped me. He was really curious and I think we can do this together. On Sunday, I spun the rainbow fiber and it was wonderful! It has lumps and places that are over- or underspun. Making perfectly even, consistent yarn is clearly not something one learns in a day!

Now I have something else to do with all that wool roving I’ve bought over the years for needle-felting.

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

Oh what a time we had!

We decided to crack open the wonderful cheesemaking kit that our dear friends Tox and Shannon brought us. This past Saturday we made a special trek to Whole Foods for pasturized (not ultra pasturized) whole milk. We probably can get it elsewhere, but weren’t certain where, and we were quite sure we could find what we needed there. Whole Foods also has raw milk, which is supposed to be best for cheese, but as it was really pricey, we decided not to use raw milk on the first try. (You know, in case the magic didn’t work.)

Lucas dissolved the citric acid in chlorine-free water.

The kit came with everything we needed except the milk and the chlorine-free water.

Here’s our milk, frothy and cooking.

We slowly heated the milk to 90° F, added the rennet, and waited for it to coagulate the milk solids.

Then we tested to see if it had done it’s job. Yep, the whey was clearish and the milk solids (curds) were congealed and looked like custard.

I think Asher is praying to the goddess of milk, Hathor, here. Daddy carefully cut the curds.

The curds were returned to the heat and heated to 110° F. We had to make a water bath (185° F) and dip our colander full of mozzarella curds into the hot water. This made them elastic and stretchable!

Then we were able to   s  t  r  e  t  c  h our mozzarella (we ate some at this point). Stretching elongates the proteins (but I don’t know what that means).

We formed it into our heart shape. It cooled in its ice bath for 10 minutes and voilà, MOZZARELLA CHEESE!

Kitchen science is awesome. Now here’s the crazy part: If we had been better prepared and more experienced, we could have taken the whey, the byproduct of the mozzarella, and make … more cheese from it. The whey must be used within three hours though, and we weren’t prepared to start a new cheesemaking project then. It was time to eat!

Thanks, Tox and Shannon!

Crowning Achievement

I made another thing—one that you can hold in your hand. Before, it wasn’t there. Then I made it and now it is! This making stuff is quite miraculous to me still.

Ever since I read Amanda Soule’s book The Creative Family, I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to make Asher a birthday crown. I tried talking myself out of doing it a dozen times—after all, Asher’s really picky about what he’ll wear on his body and we have had more than enough fights tantrums disagreements over clothing during the past six months. Honestly, I thought he would never wear a birthday crown, and I try hard not to set myself up for disappointments of the kind that might come with hand-sewing a special gift for the birthday boy to wear and then finding that he won’t wear it.

But, two days before Asher’s birthday, I still couldn’t stop thinking about making him a crown. And so I started. I had the felt at home already.

I drew several designs before settling on flying birds. Then I noodled around with the birds till I liked their arrangement. I dragged the kids to the fabric store to find the right kind of stars and some pretty thread.

And I worked diligently with my rainbow stitches. And Lucas helped with some, but not many because Mama is a control freak.

I used silver thread to make the stars sparkle. And the Gingher embroidery scissors my boys bought me for Christmas sure came in handy!

I made the inside lining green like the leaves, hand-sewed the two pieces together, and attached the elastic to the back. And I finished in time.

And Asher wore it! I’m so proud of this! This photo is one I took the day after his birthday party because I wasn’t satisfied with my shots from the party—he just wouldn’t sit still that day! Doesn’t he look regal?

(Lucas wants a crown for his birthday, too.)

I guess now I pack the crown away to use again on his next birthday, but I kind of hate to do that. I think I have to for it to be a special, though. What would you do?

Preparations

We’ve been working today, getting ready for Asher’s birthday tomorrow. The bunting I made is hung, the pillowcase I sewed for him is done, the birthday crown I decided just yesterday to make for him is done but for the final fitting and seam. The cake is baked and cooling, and it will be ready for decorating tomorrow morning.

I took a ton of photos today, but here are a few of my favorites.

Birthday Bunting

I’ve been working on a project that I learned about through Amanda Soule’s SouleMama blog and her book The Creative Family. It was the perfect project to allow me to practice with all the awesome new tools I got for Christmas.

What is it, you ask?

It’s a bunting for decorating. Some might call it a banner. It’s reusable, unlike crepe paper. I thought it would be nice to use this to decorate for Asher’s upcoming birthday party. I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m pretty stoked about how it turned out!

First, I bought fat quarters and spent entirely too much money. (If I were already a sewer with lots of useful fabric scraps lying about, this wouldn’t have been necessary.) To cut out the triangles I used the Fiskars rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat my mother gave to me for Christmas. I also used the little Gingher embroidery shears that Lucas and Asher gave me and the Singer “Prélude” sewing machine from Mom and Dad.

That rotary cutter is an amazing and beautiful tool. Cutting took only a fraction of the time I thought it would take.

Isn’t my Singer pretty?

Over several short sessions, I sewed the triangles closed. Today I sewed the bunting all together using wide bias tape. It went very smoothly. I am still debating about whether to pink all the triangle edges.

I think it’s very festive!  The bunting is six yards long and I have enough triangles to make another of probably the same size. I think I will, since I’m not sure what I’d do with all these leftover triangles. I suppose I could try to make a quilt, but I think I’m not really ready for that yet.

Rainy Day Musings

It’s 10:30 a.m. on a holiday. My boys are all home and presently engaged in drawing backdrops for the Lego movie they plan on making today. I have no idea how they will accomplish this, given that we have an old-fashioned camcorder and not a fancy digital camera, nor any editing software. Perhaps I’m overthinking it. I’m hearing phrases about aliens and space police and stop-motion. Asher is helping, so it will be interesting to watch with one eye how this project unfolds (and potentially is destroyed by Baby Godzilla) .

I’m sitting here in my office in my living room trying to work and not pay too much attention to everyone. I’m trying to edit a strategy guide for a ubiquitous game franchise and it feels for all the world like I’ve read these exact words a hundred million times before. (OK. Maybe I’m not trying all that hard if I’ve stopped to write this post.)

Rain is falling outside and my throat’s a little sore, but I know there’s no point in going back to bed to rest more.

I’ve signed up for a class on developmental editing for fiction—I’m interested in learning how other people tackle this sort of thing, especially since I work in a vacuum most of the time. I’m hopeful that I’ll learn a bunch that will help me land more such projects. So I’m looking forward to the class and also hoping that it won’t take too much time away from my projects.

I’m starting a new project tomorrow and I’ll be working directly with the author. I expect another big nursing copyedit to come my way, but this one won’t be a whole book. I’ll be editing test questions and I expect that to take about two months, starting any day now.

My meeting with my uncle, who is the editor in chief for a religious publisher, was very productive. I get to look at his fall list and choose some books that sound interesting to me. I don’t know if I’ll really get my pick(s), but it sounds like a strong possibility. His books are very clever, scholarly, and carry some cachet, and the prospect of working on something challenging sounds good.

So, at the moment, I’m feeling pretty great about where I am in the world. Some interesting new things are on my horizon! Oh! And I bought a fabulous new coat yesterday.

Conference Day!

Today is exciting because this afternoon Ian and I get to meet with Lucas’s second-grade teacher to see how he’s doing in school. (Our meeting should have occurred last November, but we didn’t make our appointment [insert guilty feeling here].)

Since our Waldorf school doesn’t give out grades, this is our big, mid-year opportunity to find out what’s going on with Lucas and how he’s progressing academically, socially, artistically, and emotionally—from his teacher’s perspective. I know what I think—that he’s brilliant and creative and diabolical and sensitive and totally likable—but then, I’m his mother, and decidedly not the one trying to teach him maths and cursive handwriting!

December Snapshot 8

Painting by Lucas. Feliz Navidad!

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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