I have made


The things on my wrists today. The watch is what I refer to as my maternity watch, the one I turned to when my wrist became to bloated to fit into the metal wristband of my then-favored watch. To replace the original band, a worn-through woven tape thing, I strung a wrist-sized circumference of elastic through a scrap of fabric. It's now my go-to watch when the rest of my day's attire is on the bleak side. The bracelets are simple metal rounds, strung up with sashiko emroidery thread in a macrame-like maneuver. I'd seen something similar online, and it reminded me of when I was little, wrapping lengths of string around pencils and other things I had at my disposal. Such was the excitement of my childhood.

Hearts and more hearts



I didn't adopt the Love name as my own until a few years after the nuptials  (despite Mr. New Media's half-hearted nagging) that paved the way for it. Bear and The Boy, however, were born into it, and a reverence for this holiday will be expected of them by all those well-meaning teachers and coworkers and credit-card-glancing cashiers who feel compelled to comment on the aptness of our name on this day, as if it were some concerted effort on our part to observe what's really just an excuse to consume more chocolate. Whatever the burdens we bear with it, the name seems a good enough excuse to instill in the kids the general feeling of gratification that arises from making, even toiling, over something for the better part of two weeks, to hand out to friends and classmates, and most likely forgotten about ten minutes later.


For The Boy's Valentines this year, we decided on heart-shaped crayons to go with little stitched notebooks. Four-and-a-half is a pretty awesome age, provided you have the energy to ply the pre-schooler with a steady stream of tasks and assistance. "I really want a project, Momma," is an actual whine-staple heard around here, a pretty cool thing, really. And on days I'm up to it, we set about smelting down crayons in novelty silicone molds, or drawing out the design for our stamp (the actual carving I reserve for a nice little activity for myself), or inking and stamping the notebooks to serve as the Valentine card itself, or affixing the crayons to the notebooks with a gooey glue dot and tying a neat length of yarn around each complete Valentine for good measure. 


And it's a pretty sweet thing when, all throughout the process, your Boy's mantra is "I think my friends will really like this."

Bear, of course, doesn't have the same concept of making for others. And, admittedly, her involvement in the manufacturing of the wool felt heart stuffies was minimal. But I wanted to make something that I thought someone in the under-two set might enjoy. And to personalize it and get Bear's hand in the project, we inked up her literal hand (actually, just a finger), and stamped some vaguely heart-shaped fingerprints onto little tags to sew to each heart.


Now, I don't have photographic documentation of the stamping part. Because the last thing you want to do, when you have a toddler immersed in paint meant to permanently mark up fabric, is to turn your back for one misguided (read: stupid) nanosecond to grab that expensive camera you don't even let the kids touch under the most sanitary of conditions.

But let's just imagine that you're the clerk working at the precinct station, and it's your job to print and book the latest perp dragged in by the loose cannon detective and his surly partner (that's how it works in real police departments, right?). That is how firmly you must hold on to your toddler's ink-laden finger while she grins her crazy little teeth off and flails her free arm in a whole-bodied attempt at one-handed entropy. 

When it's over, Bear, for all her toddler addled-ness, does understand when I tell her to go wash her hands, and happily totters off to the bathroom where she plays in the sink for a spell, and then wanders back and climbs up to the craft table where she admires her handiwork and swipes one for herself.


And that's a pretty sweet thing, too.


Tags: block print, crayons, felt, hearts, stamp, valentine


We took the freshly carved block out for a spin today, first in a cheap-o stamp pad that had miraculously not gone dry in the year since I last used it, then in proper block-printing ink in an undeniable red. Even managed not to make a horrific mess. Unfortunately, either the ink went on too thick, or some of the carving ended up too fine, so remediation will be required before Valentines can go out.


Sunday is pancake day. And the responsibility falls squarely on me to make it happen. Doesn't matter if it's Mother's day, or 12K race day, or I'm too sick for life day. Pancakes get made by me. Because if I didn't, I fear there would be family-wide revolt. This shot was taken with a new lens, another baddie procured from Photojojo. The adjective used most often to describe the Diana+ lens' effect is "dreamy". Basically, it's what you might expect when shooting with a plastic toy lens, which is what it is. Which, I gotta say, takes a lot of the pressure off of trying to get the perfect shot. More shots here.


The last of the jar cakes. We'd kept a handful of this year's batch of cranberry cakes (baked neatly into leeeetle jars), and have been picking them off one by one. These things are supposed to keep up to a year. I don't ever intend to test the upper limit of their shelf stability.


As close as we get to comfort food around here. Take cooked, unseasoned ramen, stir fry with okra and pan-fried tofu (extra firm, please). Toss with soy sauce and hoisin. Don't forget, when cutting up the tofu, to set some aside, before cooking, for children to swipe off the cutting board as a pre-dinner snack. What? Don't care for okra? No worries. Bear will scarf down any you leave behind in your bowl.


The Boy, amongst his considerable loot, received a pirate ship kit for Christmas, to be assembled and painted and given a place of honor on the mantle. It also came with a cardboard eye patch which we dutifully cut from the box and strung with elastic. The Boy played the part well, "argggg"-ing in response to every query for a weekend. Now it's time to make something a little more permanent, so freezer paper was cut to make a stencil and ironed on to some fabric. The Boy did the honors with some craft paint.