Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Musical Monday



They aren't wearing green sleeves, but the Harp Twins play a lovely arrangement of "What Child is This?"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Advice

The Caterpillar begins his busking career

Ever feel stressed about Christmas preparations?  D2 had a great idea the other day:
"Why don't we just let Santa take care of all the presents this year?" 
It would be easier, wouldn't it?  I told him that giving builds character, though.  He's not off the hook yet.

I don't feel stressed so much as occasionally paralyzed.  I love to make gifts, but the process usually includes some time for doubt.  Am I doing this right?  Will they want it, anyway?

I had a great idea, and started right off on it.  After a while, though, it wasn't going my way.  Scoot happened to come by.  I showed him the problems, and he had a helpful idea.  Then he said,
"Just do it, and you can fix it later."
Sometimes children's confidence can be a bit overwhelming.  Mine believe that Mom can fix (almost) anything.  I wasn't ready.  I set that project aside for a while. 

Today I decided to believe in Scoot's belief.  I fixed one problem, then two.  A big one remained, so I stepped away again, thought about something else.  And then I thought of the solution.  So I finished the project, and I think it will do.  

You can succeed, too!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Musical Monday

Good wishes from some very merry gentlemen!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Musical Monday

For a silly start to the season:


The Caterpillar loves the Carol of the Bells.  He's read up on its Ukrainian spring-time origins, and loves it for Christmas, or any other time of the year.  Here is a version he discovered recently.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November

It went by fast, didn't it?
This November, Scoot turned 14.  Here he is with his apple-pie-ice-cream pie.  Yum.
George Bernard Shaw said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."  Not Scoot.  I was careful, when discussing the party with one friend's mother, to say the boys would "just be hanging out," since that's the accepted terminology for even younger kids.  But I knew, with Scoot in charge, they'd be playing.  They played badminton outside in the dark, they played board games inside, and whatever they called it, they had a good time.

The Caterpillar likes to play with fire (in a responsible way).  He has always been fascinated by Guy Fawkes Day.  This year he finally made his own Guy,
and burned it.  The night was too wet for much of a bonfire, but the paper Guy briefly lit up a jack o'lantern that was still on the porch.  I hope the Caterpillar is satisfied.
Inspired by more current events, Rollo and D2 held an election for the president of the stuffed animals.  They all came to the convention.  After a primary, Dandelionslayer facilitated a nearly-secret general vote.  The old guard, in the form of Scoot's venerable dog, Kafunga, won by a narrow margin.  He was inaugurated a couple of days later, and gave an inspiring speech with all four paws on the Bible.  The president believes in minimal government, and has avoided any scandals thus far.
The Cub Scouts had their marble tournament this month, but for various reasons, D2 didn't receive any instruction at den meetings.  The night before, his brothers tried to teach him to play.  We all agreed that shooting is pretty hard, but they showed him the best they could.  "Why don't you do it this way?" D2 asked, trying something quite different.  It fit the letter of the rules, so he did it the next day, and won. 
D2 also took charge of Thanksgiving decorations.  Besides these two turkeys, roosting in their tree (did you know they do that?), he also constructed a paper roasted turkey.  We decided the feathery crew didn't need to meet that one.

We are grateful for creativity!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween, 2014

Halloween is not just a day anymore.  It is a season.  And I don't even decorate.  But there seem to be more opportunities for dressing up every year.  And dressing up is the good part, so I don't mind.
First there was the Trunk-or-Treat at the church.  This is D2 as Bilbo Baggins.  He's been planning this outfit for a long time, at least the green shirt and red vest.  When it was time to go, he couldn't find his ring or clear Arkenstone.  If you saw the room he shares with Rollo, you would not be surprised that even such astounding treasures can disappear.  But he made do with a green jewel, and his trusty sword, Sting.  It was blue all night--there must be too many orcs around at Halloween time. 

Rollo wanted to be a Mistborn, a magical warrior from the books by Brandon Sanderson.  Most of them are noble, so he wore a dress shirt and frock coat with his misty gray cloak.  And even though everyone who knew anything said, "But Mistborn don't use swords," he insisted on carrying the sword D2 received for his birthday.  He did put it to use in a prearranged epic duel with a friend out in the parking lot, so it was not a waste.
Meanwhile, Scoot and the Caterpillar were on duty at a football game.  The fans were supposed to wear black that night, so the band, in its usual contrary fashion, went neon.  The Caterpillar designed his shirt, using an embroidery file from EmbroideryShristi (lots of fun patterns there!), and I barely finished it in time.  Scoot borrowed some of the Caterpillar's things.  I don't think it works to be a neon ninja, especially when playing the bari sax--he was sure easy to spot.

Next was the Halloween piano recital.  Every year our piano teacher arranges a little performance at a local Alzheimer's care home.  The kids dress up and play spooky music and the residents pay more or less attention.  This time the spooky music worked, I guess.  One old lady kept saying she was afraid, but stayed in her seat with one of the staff keeping her company.  One man sang along to some of the more popular music (the older kids tended to play show tunes and movie themes), and did pretty well.  Another man offered the teacher some music he had written and asked her to play it.  It was arranged for concert band, though, so it would be hard to sight-read on a piano.  Anyway, Rollo and D2 wore their same costumes.  Scoot wore a lab coat, bowler hat, and stick-on curly moustache.  I thought he'd wear it again later, and I failed to take a picture, but he reminded me of art by Magritte.

There was another football game that evening.  Each section of the band chose a costume theme.  So the Caterpillar was the red part of the rainbow of mellophones. The saxophone section decided to be superheroes, and Scoot was the coolest hero of all--Frozone.  We thought it would be a chilly night, but the cold didn't bother him at all.
When Halloween itself rolled around, I wondered if the boys had had enough.  "It's not raining right now," I said as twilight closed in.  "Do you want to go trick-or-treating?"  Five minutes later, it was pouring.  But by the time they were actually ready to go, the rain had stopped.  We had quite a nice walk around the usual neighborhood.  There weren't many kids out.  Maybe we were a bit late, maybe the threat of rain was too much?  But the boys had a good time and collected a good haul.  Maybe I should go reduce their inventory a bit . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Embroidered Baby Quilt

 I found this quilt top in Grandma O's sewing room, all hand-embroidered, pieced, and prairie-pointed.  I thought it deserved to be finished.
So I added some batting and navy flannel backing, and quilted it three ways.  First, I used the walking foot to stitch straight lines along the edges of the blue blocks.  Then I used the embroidery function to apply quilting motifs.  Finally, I used that odd little clear echo quilting foot to outline the embroidered animals.  This was my first free-motion project, and I thought it went rather well.
Speaking of the animals, weeping bears are not my style.  It seems to me that babies learn from day one that there is plenty to cry about in this life.  Why remind them on a blanket?  I do like this lamb, though.  It even looks sort of  familiar.  Does anyone recognize these patterns?

I've sent this collaboration off to Project Linus.  Hopefully a distressed child will find comfort and warmth with these little animals.