Category Archives: Crafting

Observations

Seasons Change

They tell me it’s spring, but the last few days have not seemed so. We spent most of Sunday inside except for necessities like doing laundry and driving to church. Instead of singing spring songs with the kids, I reverted back to some of our songs about snow and winter. Then last night we had a thunderstorm with hail and a power outage, followed by a light sprinkling of snow. Most of the snow has already melted.

On Sunday it snowed all day

On Sunday it snowed all day

But whether in defiance of the snow and cold winds, or simple spur-of-the-moment inspiration, I made this little spring picture to adorn our nature table. I copied it from a needle felting book I have, which I can’t remember the name of right now!

I guess this IS spring in southern Idaho — unsettled weather, still cold, still snowing every week or so, but brave daffodils nodding in the cold wind and the garden centers at various stores opened up once again.

And even if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate with my expectations, the sun is still visibly higher in the sky, out longer each day, and did its best to melt all the hail off the roads today.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

Sneakiness

Both of my kids are sneaky little #@$(#*&s. I could swear that SillyBilly got into the jar of quarters for laundry that I keep on my dresser the other day. I even heard the sound the quarters make hitting the glass, but I didn’t see it happen. And the other day he mysteriously “found” enough quarters “on the floor of the laundry room” to get a water bottle out of the vending machine. Bless his little heart, he knew he’d never get away with soda.

Then today, at lunchtime, he came back to the table after going to the bathroom and announced, “Mama, you might smell chocolate on my breath because my friend E. at school brought chocolates for snack today instead of yogurt.” Uh huh, funny coincidence that last night Anthropapa brought home a bag of peanut butter chocolates for me, and I detected a strong whiff of peanut on the boy’s breath in addition to chocolate. And that it was about 2 hours after snack time at that point. And that he chose that moment to “warn” me about smelling something on his breath.

Then later in the day Napoleona was coming down the hall toward me and when she said hello, I could tell there was something in her mouth. I asked her what she had in there, and in her beautiful innocence she opened wide to display a big peppermint candy. The only place she could have found a peppermint candy would be on my desk, left there from a trip to some restaurant or another a few weeks ago.

I confiscated the candy right out of her mouth and asked her to follow me to the bathroom. (I had to go, you see, and I’m used to having guests in there with me, if you know what I mean.) She immediately started sobbing with remorse and apologized profusely. I hugged her and explained that I wasn’t mad, just disappointed that she did something she shouldn’t have.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

Pray for Me

I have a new editing project. It’s about the definition of evil, specifically regarding things like serial killing. I haven’t been presented with a book yet that I wouldn’t edit, but right now this one comes close. I’ll need to guard myself against getting to weirded out by reading about icky stuff for several hours a day. The book is really investigating what we call “evil” and why, which is interesting, but unfortunately it’s all in the context of murder and psychotic killers.

I used to be able to tolerate, if not enjoy, horrible things in books and movies. But my tolerance for that has decreased dramatically since having children. And after not watching TV for so long, my tolerance for anything disturbing is way down as well. I’m hoping for this project I can focus on the technical stuff and not get too focused on the content. Wish me luck.

17 Comments

Filed under Books, Crafting, editing, Family, Napoleona, papa, Parenting, SillyBilly

Unsettled

(You will have to bear with me here. I have lots going on and came up with this cute little structure for the post that will not let me cut anything out! So read on, all 1,400 words, if you dare. If not, I won’t blame you — aren’t blog posts supposed to be no more than 250 words so that the modern human can properly digest them?)

1. not calm or tranquil; disturbed; unquiet

I have recently begun attending the church affiliated with SillyBilly’s school. I can’t recall now why I went the first time; perhaps it was simple curiosity about the services or wanting to find a new social connection. But I realized that at least once during each service I was getting choked up, disturbed, unquiet. So I decided to keep going, to see what might come out of that unquiet.

Then I decided to take the pastor’s “Christianity 101” class on Monday nights. I’ve had a Bible since I was a little girl (and now own several) and went to Lutheran school for 5 years. Religion (or spirituality) has always interested me — I also attended Hebrew school for a short time as a girl and have studied Buddhism as an adult. I am the kind of person who will read the Gideon Bible in the hotel drawer instead of watching TV! So it’s not that I need to really learn what Christianity is. Rather, I’m interested in what this pastor has to say about this particular denomination.

The class often unsettles me. Missouri Synod Lutherans are fairly conservative. I’m partly conservative too — I much prefer the traditional service (hymns) to the contemporary service (praise band). But I believe enough of what I’ve read in Steiner’s cosmology and Christology to feel uncomfortable with many of mainstream Christianity’s views on eternal life, hell and heaven,and so on.

In any case I am enjoying the class and the Sunday services. I am enjoying taking Napoleona with me. I am even enjoying getting up early on Sunday and getting dressed up. And I’m enjoying my struggles with the disturbances to my thoughts on spirituality.

2. not decided or determined; inconstant; variable

This morning, when Napoleona and I went to church, it was sprinkling. A few hours later as we were finishing up in Sunday school, we heard some thunder and when we looked out the window, it was sleeting. Throughout the day we saw snow, sleet, and rain plus a few more peals of thunder. Evening has brought beautiful cloud formations with dashes of sun.

We made jokes on several occasions today about how it was springtime — yeah RIGHT! This is winter weather! But then we talked about how spring and autumn are really transitions between the main seasons of winter and summer — and even more so here in Idaho, with the cold and snow of winter and long, hot summers broken only briefly by these transitional times.

But come on! I just changed over our nature table to be all springy, with bunnies and flowers and such. What’s up with the snow???

3. not firm or steadfast in disposition or outlook; erratic; unstable

This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with some Waldorf homeschooling moms for an afternoon of crafting and chatting about parenting and Waldorf and anthroposophy. The ladies are all new to Waldorf and have little knowledge of the anthroposophical foundations, so I offered to chat about I’ve learned over the years. I also offered to show them how to make felted Easter eggs.

Now, this turned out to be quite the humbling experience. I discovered two things: I forgot the basics of felting and didn’t prepare by practicing or reading up on it. Our eggs were rather lumpy and were only rescued by extensive needle felting. And I discovered that while I feel that in my own head I have a sufficient grasp on basic concepts of anthroposophy, I can’t necessarily explain them well to others. So perhaps that’s telling me my grasp isn’t as good as I thought it was, or that I need to go back and re-read some basics to be clear on them again.

The ladies were quite forgiving (or unaware of my disconcerting feelings) and welcomed the idea of a regular study/craft group. Which will give me a structure to plan around so that I am better prepared and clear on what I’d like to say.

4. not living or staying in one place; nomadic

We are in the thick of summer planning right now. In past years, summers haven’t meant much in the way of change — the kids continued in their home-based day care, Anthropapa and I continued with our work, and the kids went for only short times at day summer camps. This year we have BIG plans.

Immediately after the school year ends, the kids and I will jet off to Los Angeles to visit with my parents. Both sets of parents have asked about Disneyland. I’m not automatically opposed to the idea, but I am opposed to my kids becoming embroiled in the Disney Industrial Complex’s marketing schemes. I think I could manage it so that we had a fun time doing age-appropriate things without focusing on buying character-driven products, but I’m not completely sure!

Then later in the summer the kids will be going out to the Seattle area to stay with other grandparents for a few weeks. Yes — they, the kids, will be staying. We, the parents, will not. We’ll take the drive out and do some things with the grandparents for a few days, and then we’ll leave them there for the grandparents to return to us later. Now, SillyBilly has stayed with his grandparents for a short time before, but we’ve never had both kids away and not for so long a time. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. (Other than sleep in, of course.)

5. not inhabited or populated

Over the last year or two I’ve developed a short list of editing clients: a scholarly publisher, a publisher with a scholarly imprint and a trade imprint, an author who has self-published several books, and a few authors working with a scholarly publisher that doesn’t offer editing services in-house. This has kept me steadily working with a good variety of projects and keeps me on my toes as far as working with different types of clients.

Over the last six months I’ve not worked with any authors — the one author took a break from his writing schedule, and for various reasons I haven’t gotten any work from the others. During the winter holidays the scholarly publisher slowed down quite a bit.

But . . . the two-imprint publisher approached me during the holidays with a new agreement. They had lost an in-house editor and wanted me to help them by taking an increased workload. They agreed to pay me a regular amount every single week (based on the budgets for all the projects combined) and I agreed to a rather full three-month schedule of editing and proofreading projects.

Now, the one thing I really dislike about freelancing is the uncertainty of my cash flow. This agreement has taken that out of the mix, and I feel like in a way I’ve died and gone to freelance editor heaven: according to the IRS, I am still freelancing because the publisher does not substantially control how I do my work, I am free to take other clients, I work off-site, they do not withhold taxes, and so on. And yet I am receiving a regular paycheck.

So now the only concern I have (because there has to be something to worry about, right?) is that I am letting my other clients slack a bit. I haven’t been bugging the scholarly publisher for new work consistently. I haven’t been seeking out new clients. This is making my client list a bit uninhabited, and the danger lies in the possibility that this wonderful agreement could come to a close and my cash flow will be in danger again. (This hasn’t happened so far, and in fact they just asked me to extend another three months. Whew!) But putting all one’s eggs in one basket is not a good idea in the freelancing world. So maybe when the kids area away I’ll drum up some new business, or learn a new skill I can add to my repertoire.

(Did you make it this far in my ramblings? Bless your patient soul!)
Enhanced by Zemanta

28 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Crafting, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, Religion, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf education

A Week in Photos

SillyBilly had the week off because his school was closed for parent-teacher conferences and teachers’ conferences. So in between him making LEGO contraptions, playing outside with friends (usually riding his bike or scooter, trying to climb a tree,or roaming around with a bunch of boys brandishing sticks and light sabers!), and eating me out of house and home, we did a few things together.

On Tuesday the Idaho Museum of Natural History was giving away bird guides to any kids who came in with an adult, in honor of the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. (We’ll have to figure out where we can do that, since our apartment complex only seems to attract starlings.) We hadn’t been to the museum yet, even though it’s just downstairs from Anthropapa’s office. It’s a great little museum, perfect for kids, with easily digestible exhibits and a nice hands-on science exploration room. We looked at lots of dinosaur and ancient mammal skeletons, displays of how a paleontology excavation looks, a video on Idaho geology, and some beautiful taxidermied local bird species. And of course ye olde gifte shoppe, which was selling real excavating tools (!) but we settled for some coloring books.

So after that we were inspired to make volcanoes! (You know: dinosaurs + geology = volcanoes, right?) First we made a practice one out of a paper plate, aluminum foil, and an empty yogurt container:

Our dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar lava was yellow because we were out of red food coloring!

Then after we got a handle on how the volcano would work, we made another one out of the yogurt container and air-dry clay:

I’ll have to convince SillyBilly to add a bit more clay, and then he’ll paint it. He’s also got big plans to add gravel and some dinosaurs to make a scene. Maybe I’ll make him some little clay palm trees to go with it.

One day this week we got a bit more snow (though it’s melted again by now) and since I had finally remembered to charge the camera batteries, we stopped on the way home from dropping off Anthropapa and Napoleona at ISU to get a shot of the beautiful Portneufs:

Next time I’ll try to zoom in a bit to show the peaks more, but at least you can see the beautiful colors and morning light of winter here. The city, which is somewhat lower than the bank of trees in the middle foreground, is at about about 4500′ and these mountains reach about 8000′.

Then just after I took that photo, I happened to look down at my feet:

Not my footprints, but those of a leetle rabbit who had passed by sometime earlier.

On other days we went to the library, where SillyBilly all by himself asked the reference librarian where to find books on dragons. We hit the thrift store to buy some shirts, as both kids have been doing all sorts of growing lately. And both kids made a pile of valentines for school. (Napoleona had her party today — we were evidently the only ones to make our own valentines. I’m not sure I get why Spiderman, Hannah Montana, and sexy fairies have to do with Valentine’s day. Ours had hearts punched out, heart stickers…just hearts.)

This afternoon after we made some rosemary bread together, SillyBilly asked to use the camera. Things rapidly got out of hand:

In that last one he is wiggling his latest loose tooth. Where did this big boy come from, and what did he do with my baby boy? And then I see things like this, and I can already imagine the young man he will become:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

18 Comments

Filed under Crafting, Family, Napoleona, play, Science, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly

Whirling, Twirling

This time of year, it seems like no matter how much I intend to plan ahead and not procrastinate, I am always in a full dither by the week of Christmas. I think I’m getting a bit better each year, but still — three days to Christmas (and Hannukah starting now) and I’m still making presents! Sheesh.

My thoughts have been like whirling, twirling snowflakes lately too. In no particular order:

  • Snow is charming. The giant clumps of icy mud adhering to everyone’s wheel wells are not. Though, when they fall off in big clumps in the middle of the road, I can amuse myself by imagining what sort of snow horse left those kind of road apples.
  • I just finished reading Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth for the first time. I was shocked by the ending. What an amazing moralist and social observer. Now I’m in the middle of The Custom of the Country.
  • God moves in mysterious ways. I’ve been stressing out lately over the unpredictability of my freelance income. Then I got an email a few days ago from a long-time client of mine, offering me essentially constant work for the next few months and — get this — a weekly paycheck. I’m so grateful.
  • I had the pleasure of hearing Anthropapa sing with the ISU Camerata Singers on Friday, performing Puccini’s Messa as well as a variety of shorter pieces and carols, in the beautiful Stephens Performing Art Center’s Grand Concert Hall. The Puccini was a bit uneven, but not because of the performers — it’s all Puccini’s fault.The Kyrie was oddly light-hearted, considering the text is a plea for mercy, and the Gloria seemed like a choral Gilbert and Sullivan piece. But the Credo and Agnus Dei were amazing. Now I get to plan for April’s performance of one of my favorites, Orff’s Carmina Burana.
  • I made several holiday gifts this year, with crochet, knitting, embroidery, felting, and clay sculpture! The kids helped with the sculpture too. I think I’ll plan to do the same for next year, only I’ll plan a bit farther ahead. Really, I will.
  • I also tried to make a stable for the nativity scene on our nature table. Since I didn’t plan ahead for this either, I had to use what was at hand: cardboard from the recycle bin! It teetered over some time yesterday, and I have not had time to fix it. So we missed this Advent Sunday’s addition of the shepherds, because the whole thing is in such disarray. I’ll fix it in time for Christmas, I swear! Sigh. So much for the wonder and awe of the season.
  • We finally got our Christmas tree yesterday. The kids helped me decorate it, and it looks sweet. We have such a mishmash of ornaments, but most of them have sentimental value. I like that the tree doesn’t look “Decorated” with a capital D.
  • The night I went to Anthropapa’s concert, his co-worker had our kids over for her son’s birthday party. When we arrived to pick the kids up at a late and cold hour, she plied us with hot buttered rum and rum balls. Now that was yummy. And we slept well.

OK, off to bed now. We’re supposed to be getting more snow with wind tomorrow, which should make it oh-so-fun to get groceries and mail gifts like I’d planned. At least I got to get all this random useless crap stuff out of my head!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

12 Comments

Filed under Crafting, Family, holidays, Nature tables, papa, Silliness and Mayhem

Yes, We are Hobbits

We ended up having two, count ’em, two Thanksgiving dinners this weekend.

Turkey #1 was had at Anthropapa’s boss’s house on Thursday. We brought homemade rolls and brussels sprouts, she made everything else. Which was great, as we didn’t have a kitchen full of dirty dishes, and we had a wonderful, convivial meal. Our kids ran around with their kids, we marveled at the wonders of secret gigantic food storage closets* (the house was originally built for a Mormon family), and we had two kinds of pie with ice cream for dessert. Abundance and gratitude, all around.

But, no leftovers. No turkey sandwiches, no turkey curry, nada.

The boss was at Costco today and saw that they had indeed overstocked on turkeys as she thought they had, and were selling them for 49 cents a pound, which was about 1/3 what she paid for her turkey. So, she bought us one and dropped it off for us! And refused to take any money for it.

We love Anthropapa’s boss.

Now, it was a fresh turkey, so I felt compelled to cook it today. Mostly because there was no way at nineteen-pound turkey would fit in our fridge under current conditions. It barely fit into our apartment-sized oven in any case.

Typically, Anthropapa is in charge of the turkey, but he was in Salt Lake City trying to rescue his broken MacBook at the Apple store. So I made turkey #2, all by myself. And made mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables (OK, frozen, but still, it was another pot of food on the range), cranberry sauce, and gravy.**

So we had Second Thanksgiving. And we were very thankful.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

After we ate, we decorated our Gratitude Turkey. I neglected to charge the camera batteries, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations until I decide to post a photo. I made the bird out of construction paper, and made separate tail feathers. As everyone told me something they were thankful for, I wrote each thing on a feather, and taped them on the bird. We’re a little behind on hanging it up since tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent, but I think we will anyway.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

* That is, gigantic closets for food storage, not closets for storing gigantic food.

** No stuffing. Nana’s is the best, and I only have so many pots/hands/stovetop space.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

12 Comments

Filed under Crafting, Family, Food, friends, holidays, papa

O Frabjous Day!

O, blessed day! Oh day of cleaning and crafting and cooking! Oh, no turkey leftovers!

Wait, that last one’s not so good. Darn.

I boiled some newspapers that the kids had gladly ripped into tiny shreds. The goal is papier mache pulp. Right now I have a steaming pot of gray pulpy stuff with blackish bits floating in tan water. Right, Christmas presents ho! I have all confidence that said ugly stuff will transform into items of delight. At some point.

Anthropapa and I went on a mini cleaning spree, in anticipation of holiday decorating. Amazing what a few minutes of focused attention will achieve, when one has previously taken to simply gazing around in consternation and giving up. Meanwhile the kids played outside for several hours, at one point playing hide and seek with some neighbor kids. Love that!

I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Recipe here. They are the bomb. Hard to go wrong with butter, sugar, flour and chocolate. With pumpkin.

On another, less frabjous note — as I was writing this, Napoleona slipped on the kitchen floor and split open the underside of her upper lip, up where the lip turns into gum. Ow. And nothing for it except an ice pack, and perhaps some weak sage tea rinse later.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

7 Comments

Filed under Crafting, Family, Food, holidays, Napoleona, papa, play, Silliness and Mayhem

When Crafters Get Riled Up

I get a daily email from Craftzine.com’s blog with all kinds of crafty goodness. Today’s edition contained something of a bombshell:

Earrings made from squirrel feet.

Normally very few people put comments on these posts, but this one has received over 50 comments so far. Some people are mightily offended, some people are so offended that they are canceling their subscriptions. Others think it’s an artistic expression, not something they specifically like, but neutral as an art piece. Others have pointed out the hypocrisy in the unlikelihood that the offended people are also vegans and therefore never consume or use animal products. Several people also pointed out the hypocrisy in speciesism: only the ugly animals are OK to consume.

My thought? If you don’t like it, scroll down. Or unsubscribe, if you feel compelled to do so. But don’t knock Craftzine or the artist for doing something you don’t like. Unless you’re the artist’s patron, you got nothin’ to say about what they choose to do.

Craftzine is full of crafty, artistic goodness. Today’s edition also included a birdseed skull, Japanese temari balls, felted oven mitts, and a stuffed cloth turkey. And squirrel feet.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

8 Comments

Filed under art, Crafting, Nature, Rants, Silliness and Mayhem