I was reminded of the awesome idea of making ice wreaths by resurrection fern . I saw this idea awhile back in Martha Stewart mag, and had it in my files, but had forgotten. So clever! All of my cranberries kind of floated to the top, and hence are on the bottom, but I think it's still pretty!
Here it yesterday, with a candle in the middle for a magical little solstice scene outside while we ate dinner. We gazed out at for a bit, but it was too windy and it blew out pretty fast.
I got so excited about this ice decor, that I made little ornaments with oranges and cranberries in muffin tins to hang on our wreaths outside, too. They've gotten a little bit melty since the wreaths are in the sun, but they're holding on. I think this will be a new tradition, if it's cold enough at Christmas each year. Clara thought it was a hoot.
Yesterday was a first birthday celebration! It was small, but festive, with just Grandparents and an Auntie, and Lil had a great time! I kept it very very simple, which I've decided is my new philosophy for birthdays. I decided to make her presents, instead of getting her a bunch of toys that she probably won't play with (plus Santa is coming!)
I made Ina's Carrot Cake, which was super, super moist and yummy. Lillian was not a fan. It was her very first taste of a sweet, and she puckered up and spit it out! She is definitely more of a savory girl, for sure!
Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl! You're so, so loved by everyone, with your contagious, silly grin and your funny jibber-jabber, and your fancy dancing.
Here is our advent calendar for this year. I have tons and tons of sweaters that I've felted, and stashed away in our attic. I figured it was high time I actually did something with them, as Jay is always grumbling that I have too much stuff up there (he's very concerned about the orderliness on the attic!) So, I made some wee stockings and strung them up with mini clothespins. I debated embroidering numbers on each one, and figured that that can wait until next year, so I chintzed out and used stickers. Then we just peel them off when the day is done. There is a little bunny to hop to each day, and each stocking has a little activity in it. Although Clara has yet to care about either activity, today or yesterday. I may have to think of some better ones!
Today is my dad's b'day, so I made him the best chocolate cake in the world. I think I've said it here before, but I'll say it again, Ina's, Beatty's Chocolate Cake is hands down the tastiest chocolate cake I've ever made. Moist, dark, chocolatey perfection.
After I took this picture, I remembered that I had my sugared violets in the freezer that I made this Spring! They have been neglected and forgotten in there, crushed under peas and chicken nuggets. Only 3 survived in their entirety; the rest are merely petals, but I think they'll look nice on some cupcakes eventually.
Also, I've been sneaking in moments of productivity the past few days. I've been working on a few Christmas presents. I picked up the book Fleecie Pets by Fiona Goble quite a while ago, thinking that they would be the perfect thing to make for the girls. I can recycle a bunch of fleece clothing I have in my attic, and Lillian can chomp on them with reckless abandon. Clara loves to flip through the book, and has informed me that she wants an entire family of bears, bunnies and kitties. Preferably pink. So, I'll be making a few of these, with a variety of clothing, to put under the tree this year. The perfect project to whip up during the course of two naptimes. I was thinking, you could probably make them out of lightweight felted sweaters also. hmmm…I'll try that next.
Oh, also, I wanted to share two inspiring things. Check out Anna Maria Horner's new fabric. This is so, so lovely! Perfect colors, perfect vintagey floral. I love the block idea-I see curtains, a quilt, maybe. Check out the dress she made with it. I can't wait to get some of this. AND, as a late b'day present to myself, I purchased this print by Amanda Blake. Is it not the loveliest thing? I love it so much, my heart flutters a bit when I look at it! I adore her work.
This notebook belonged to my great-grandmother, Clara Louise. I really love to flip through it's pages and imagine her, at 11 years old, at work on the essays, little stories and fanciful drawings that fill its pages. The last image of the house (which I believe must be the cottage she lived in, where she went flying through the basement window and landing in the coal shoot on her sled one winters day…she always used to tell that story!) was drawn exactly 94 years ago today! I love these family treasures!
This time change has everyone up so early! I'm sure I'm not the only parent going through this. At around 5:30 everyone starts to peep, and that's that. Rise and shine! Not even going to bed later at night will get them to sleep in. So, what do you do with all of that extra time in the morning? (Well, after I grumble and feel sorry for myself), make pumpkin pancakes! This recipe is delicious. The past couple of years I've tried other recipes that were kind of lackluster, but this one comes out great. And if you're ridiculous like me, you'll put a big dollop of whipped cream on them and it's just like eating pumpkin pie for breakfast! (What was that I said about purging all sugar from my body after all of that Halloween candy? oh well)
With the holidays approaching, I've been thinking about snuggly winter clothes, and what the girls will wear as we gather for glittery festivities and also gather around the fireplace at home on cold, snowy days. I really like these cozy baby clothes designed byStella McCartney for Gap. I love the muted colors and the cashmere factor. Nothing says "snuggle with me!" like a baby dressed in cashmere. I personally would like some cashmere leggings to lounge around in. Wouldn't that be great? Head to toe cashmere, pants and sweater, wrapped up in a cashmere blanket and a cashmere hat and scarf and socks too. yes! Until a baby slings sweet potato or peas at you. oh well, a girl can dream. BUT these clothes for the wee littles, are pretty reasonably priced, so it might be ok if a little pea gets flung on them.
Now, I couldn't get Clara to wear these clothes, since she likes bright, bright colors, and she would think these are "boring" But little Lillian has no choice! I also love the Jcrew girls clothes, which I never paid the slightest bit of attention to until last week. And then I couldn't stop obsessing over them. Some really cute things…like mini versions of what I would want to wear. And at about the same price as adult clothes, so that probably won't be happening around here. Oh, and I also always love Olive Juice. Again, Clara would say "boring!" but I love them. So oldfashioned and slightly Frenchie. Cute, cute.
Miss sassy-pants fairy and tigerlily Lil. Lil looked so cute in this picture, I figured that it overshadowed the fact that my eyes were closed and it looks like I have no legs!
A fun day was had by all. Candy consumption reached an all time high. I'm feeling the need to make a nice, nourishing soup. I have to get this book from the library, but it's constantly checked out! Must purge all sugar from my body!!
I'm sorry about my rant in that last post. It really made me feel better, though, to just make a sort of announcement, to put it out there, that I was feeling creatively challenged and overhwhelmed. Just writing it here suddenly made me feel more positive and I managed to crank out a cute kitty for a b'day present for a special little guy AND to make a Halloween costume for Lil in the same day. So maybe I can work under pressure after all. Deadline pressure, just not pressure from wailing wee ones.
Today, I think I’ll attempt to head to the fabric store with the kids. This is never an easy feat. The place is cramped, and I am indecisive, Clara is impatient, and Lillian is heavy in her baby carrier. BUT I need to make a Halloween costume for Lil! I have procrastinated to a ridiculous point, and grandparents are going to be bummed if baby doesn’t show up at the door in a costume. Clara already has hers, purchased by her Nana- a sparkly pink fairy princess, of course! I was thinking Lil could be a Lily, how appropriate! Thisis simple and great because she can stay in her carrier, and she doesn’t really have to “wear” anything uncomfortable.
At the mention of procrastinating, it brings me to the point of my Halloween animals. Here are a few of them, unfinished. And rather sad and forlorn looking, I might add. Look at that poor brown bear’s face! Boo hoo! I am finding it really, really hard to find a good balance between creating and mothering. I cannot seem to find the time in the day for both. I know I have talked (whined) about this here before, but I feel compelled to mention it again. It just baffles me why I can’t seem to find the energy or time to make a handful of cute critters. Months, it takes me, stealing moments here and there. I daydream mostly, making sketches and jotting down ideas, getting inspired. I have to plot out how I will use these stolen moments when they sneak up on me. Ready, set go! Make something as fast as I can; an arm, an ear, a dress for a bunny, before the kids wake up or someone cries out for assistance or juice, or whatever else. I have a very hard time creating under pressure. And I know I’m not the only mother/artist in this boat. We all are in it together. How do you find a balance? I feel like my JOB is to be a mom right now. I decided that it would be best to stay at home with my children, and I feel rather guilty when I am not devoting myself to that task. I know that if I really wanted to create, I would make the time for art. But when everyone is finally in their beds at night, I find all I want to do is crawl into bed myself. I used to be able to stay up late, finding that nighttime was my most creative time. Now it is my comfy jammies, good book, a bit of TV and then flat out asleep by time.
I’ve been reading some inspiring entries on the Wish Studioblog. The series Wishmamasis very helpful and applicable, hearing other women with the same creative plight.
I am going to figure this all out. I need to take some time to recharge my creative batteries. I’m going to start working on different projects entirely when I get a few moments. I need to venture outside what I’ve been making for years to sell, and really try to do something else…something frivolous and personal and old-fashioned. Like quilts or rug hooking or crosstitch. I don’t know. I’m rambling on, but I feel a bit better, to get a little bit of that out in the open. I hope you are all having a lovely, creative, productive day! Some cupcakes for you! (No problem finding time to bake!)