Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun

I recently received an email message from Coupon Caboodle entitled "Fun without Funds."  I'm always interested in opportunities for free entertainment.  Such events are even more valuable in the summer, when I need some excuse to get the boys out of their caves.  So I opened the message eagerly.  Here is what I found:
  • Walking, Hiking, and Running  I do enjoy these.  The boys don't find my jogging particularly entertaining, so they zoom ahead on their scooters in more or less formal races.
  • Cooking and Baking  I make the boys do more of this in the summer, too. 
  • Writing  Here I am, though the competition for the computer is pretty keen.
  • Reading Library Books  We check out an average of 20 every three weeks, often with a few more in between.
  • Playing an Instrument  The writer of the message admitted that musical instruments are not generally free.  And if you call it practicing, the entertainment value drops significantly.  However, we do sort of collect instruments around here, and everyone likes to try them.  This is the latest:

A handmade marimba.  It arrived from Guatemala yesterday, in a package with 103 stamps on it.  Dandelionslayer, our resident percussion expert, has longed for a marimba for years.  It cost more than tickets for most concerts that we attend, but the music will last longer, too.

So, we already do everything on the list.  We must be having fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The summer solstice was also the boys' first day of summer vacation from school.  The Caterpillar thought that coincidence made all the snow days worthwhile.  I'm not so sure.  But it actually felt like summer as well.  Summer in Western Washington, anyway.  All 75 degrees of it.

It was good enough for Rollo and D2.  They got out the sprinkler, dutifully applied sunblock to their snowy skin, and made a swamp to splash in.

On the second day of vacation, we went back to school.  Just can't stay away, can we?  You see, Rollo brought a friend home with him.

This is Jake, the painted lady caterpillar.  Rollo's classroom was an absolute menagerie this year.  Besides the resident fish, mice, dog, and hamster, the children raised worms in the fall, and caterpillars in the spring.  They kept the butterflies, instead of doing a grand launch, and let the life cycle begin again.  Jake is a member of the second generation. 

Rollo learned that caterpillars like to eat lupine leaves, and he brought some home with Jake.  But soon he needed a refill.  What to do?  We don't have any in our garden.  But Rollo knew.  He told me the Legend of the Lupines: 

"An old teacher, before Mrs. E. was here, read a book about this person who went around the world, and where she went, she would plant lupine seeds. The teacher wanted to do the same thing, and so she took her class back behind the fence at the school and planted some lupine seeds. And now, all these years later, they have come in use for caterpillar food."

I was interested to see the Secret Lupine Garden.  So the boys hopped on their scooters, and off we went.  Not far behind Rollo's classroom, there was one plant with a few purple flowers.  It provided some serviceable leaves, but didn't impress me.  Since we were there, the boys enjoyed the playground that wasn't occupied by those poor kids who have to go to school all summer.  I decided to wander back to the fence and see what was on the other side.

There I found the Secret Lupine Garden.  There were all colors, growing amid the long grass and other wildflowers.  Is the legend true?  Was there a Mrs. Lupine-seed who traveled the world, planting caterpillar food?  Or was it . . . Dennis Moore?

Friday, June 17, 2011

I hadn't thought of it that way...

D2:  Since it's called "Toys R Us," we can't give anything from there to someone else.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stash to Treasure: Basement Baby Blanket

The previous owners of our house left a few things behind.  Some we really appreciate, like the dining room table that we use every day, and the stove on the back porch that I use for canning.  Some were not so desirable, like the black-and-gold bed frame that we got rid of immediately.  One surprising find was a stack of fabric left in the crawl space under the house. 

Pink fabric, of course, and flowery.  Not what we needed for our decor.  But they were large pieces, and I wanted to do something with them, someday, for someone else. 

Someday finally arrived.  I added some blue fabric and batting, and turned the pink legacy into a warm baby blanket.  Our stake Relief Society is collecting quilts and other items for LDS Humanitarian Services this year.  One blanket is a drop in the bucket of worldwide need, but it is a drop I'm happy to add.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stash to Treasure: Pink

Last summer I sewed several small square tablecloths for a wedding reception.  This project left me with some significant scraps of pale pink crepe.  In our male-dominated household, there's not a great deal of demand for pink items, so the stack has been sitting in my sewing nook since then.  But I have finally found some purpose for pinkness.

First, I sewed a dress for a friend's baby that is on the way.  Baby dresses are so fun.  I bought the Sunrise Designs pattern, which seems to be off the market now, when I still hoped I might need it for my own family.  But I've had a great time using it for others.  Most of the pieces of this dress came from the smallest scraps, and did not make a significant dent in the pink stack, so I tried something for me.

Okay, so the skirt, from Simplicity 2416, is not that exciting.  When I first put it on, it looked more like an apron than a graceful faux wrap skirt.  But it used a few of the larger pieces of the stack.  And I'm quite pleased with the blouse I made to go with it:

I used Simplicity 2936 and an embroidered linen blend, and it is perfect.

Now, as it turns out, my boys have not always been averse to pinkness.  I think all four of them have claimed pink as a favorite color at some time.  So I asked each if he would like a pink bow tie.  The Caterpillar said that he probably would not wear one, which was fine.  The others clearly said "Yes," so I planned to make three.  I started with one bow tie, which turned out nicely, and offered it to the younger boys.  Each denied any desire or interest in a pink bow tie.  I was a bit miffed, but put it away for the future.

Lo and behold, Scoot asked to wear the pink bow tie yesterday.

Aren't we a lovely couple?  Note: Scoot was standing on a step.  He is not that tall.  Yet.

I still have plenty of pink.  Any requests?