Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little Bird Book

Two of our closest friends, who live in San Francisco, sent my son the sweetest little book of photographs about an abandoned bird named "Pepito". There is very little text in the book, only a page of introduction and four words on the second-to-last page. The photographs are beautiful and show the story of Pepito as he gets bigger and stronger. My son and I look at the photos and talk about what is happening in each one, and it's such fun to hear the narrative from a child's perspective. I like the idea of very little (or no) text, too, because it's a book that can be shared with anyone, regardless of language barriers.

Pepito by Eduardo Soler at Blurb.com's bookstore

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Needle Felted Flower & Bird

I made a pincushion for my friend's birthday that looked like a little yellow pear, but I am very forgetful and never remember to photograph things before I give them away. In lieu of photos of the pear, I'm posting pics of some older pieces I finished. The first one is a large pink flower that can be a brooch or attached to a handbag or knit cap. The second is a robin sitting on three eggs in a nest, the purpose of which apparently is for my son to carry around the house, then leave on the floor somewhere for his puppy to chew on. It's been repaired a few times since this photo was taken, but it still looks pretty good.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And It's Only Tuesday

This morning went along like a typical day with my son, involving messes like orange juice in the button divots of the ottoman and an entire foam-rubber alphabet plus the numbers 0 through 9 displayed on the living room floor. The ultimate adrenalin-rush happened when I found him dangling by his fingertips from the top of the large metal birdcage in our sunroom, and unable to reach him in time, watched the entire thing tip forward in the direction of a large, glass-fronted cabinet. It was atypical of him, but he fell clear of the entire thing, and received for his efforts only a small scratch on his knee, and there is a minor scrape on the bottom of the cabinet. A few inches either way, and there'd have been broken glass or little toddler legs cut by sharp metal or both. The scratch on my son is in good company with the six bruises, twelve scabs, and three other scrapes currently decorating his legs.

I decided we'd spend the second half of the day outside, and it went something like a Calvin and Hobbes sandbox strip. It'll be okay if my husband doesn't ask me what happened to all of the water in his goldfish pond...


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Secret Language of Toddlers

I seem to be the only person who can understand my son. This morning, when he said, "Mama, I uh show you the bih pie-yer!", I knew that he said, "Mama, I'm going to show you the big spider!". Luckily for me, he thinks that the smallest of bugs is a "giant pie-yer!". Last night, he had a phone conversation with my dad that went something like this:

Grampa! I uh die-yo-sore! He angwy! Roooaaaarrrr! He sweeping now. Grampa! I rye my Grator outside! I pih the ticks and uh to the Holy Mokes! And the carry backfire! Goo-nite! I wuv you.

Loosely translated:

Grandpa! I have a dinosaur! He's angry! Roooaaaarrrr! [wraps up the plastic dinosaur in a damp dishtowel] He's sleeping now. Grandpa! I ride my Gator outside. I pick up sticks and take them to the Holy Smokes (the fire pit)! And there was scary backfire*! Good night! I love you.

*a miles-away neighbor was target practicing with a shotgun


Monday, July 13, 2009

Bedroom Before & After

When we decided my son was old enough, we moved him across the hall from the nursery to his "big boy room". This room was another series of stripping wallpaper, removing carpet, and floor refinishing. I found a ufo graphic online that I liked, and sketched it out on the wall with chalk, then filled it in with grey paint. The alien and the robot are outlines of an Uglydoll and a robot softie that my son sleeps with. He also has a little ghost/goblin named "Blah!" that he asked me to paint, so I plan to add that and another, smaller ufo.

The rocker was a vintage find from my mother, and I plan to rewire the old metal Saturn lamp. We'll swap out the crib for a farmhouse-style twin bed soon, but the toddler rail made the transition to the new room easier for my son. And it's not pictured, but I inherited from a friend a 1960's "flying saucer" glass pendant lamp and hard-wired it where there was a ceiling fixture. Kids' rooms are so much fun to do, and they're the only rooms in the house where I don't mind having a bit of a theme.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Baked Apples

I think we've already established that I'm not much of a cook, so it should be no surprise that two of my three baked apples split in half. I bought these cute little dishes from one of the women who grew up in our home (and whose daughter babysits our son - small town!), and she said her mother made baked apples in them. They're signed and dated '73 on the bottom - her mother was a painter, so I'm guessing they were from a ceramist friend. I love all things 70's, and I also like the history of happiness that small objects can carry. When my son asked me about the dishes, I told him that the children who lived here before him ate baked apples from them. He said, "Oh!" in that sweet way toddlers do.

I do not own an apple corer, so I stabbed a knife around the core and popped them out (which is probably why two of them broke). Then I stuffed some raisins in the center and sprinkled brown sugar and a little cinnamon on top. I didn't have any apple juice to pour in the bottoms of the dishes (to keep the apples from drying), so I used orange juice. As per my vintage Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I peeled the skins from the tops and baked them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. My son , squeezed between my husband and me on our small wicker sofa in the sun room, devoured his with some vanilla ice cream. My husband complained that I left the skins on, but I thought mine was delicious, with the skin just a little tart from the orange juice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bicycle Trail

I used to ride my bike a lot when I lived in Miami - to the pharmacy drive-through, around the neighborhood with friends, to the Post Office (back in the olden days, before Click-N-Ship), and to buy barbeque sandwiches and watermelon soda from the guy who worked a bbq stand from his pickup truck. In the summer, it was way too hot to ride during the day, so we'd go in the evenings, when it was a cool 85 degrees or so. If we wanted to ride on a trail, there was a flat, baking-hot loop of concrete that went through Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park - if you wanted the off-road experience, I guess you could try riding over one of the many alligators that sun themselves along the path.

During Michigan summers, it's rarely too hot for me to ride my bike, and there's definitely a shorter season for it, but there are some really pretty trails, with trees, rivers, and hills. We leave the truck at one of the parks, ride the trail around into the downtown area, get ice cream or visit with friends, then ride through town back to the park. I would say it's perfect if the summer in Michigan lasted longer and I weren't wearing an undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, and cardigan as I type this. In July.