Thursday, April 16, 2015

getting out

Now that  the weather is lovely we have been spending a lot of time outdoors. Lots of hiking and nature walks. And afterwards always a peaceful sit down.
Yesterday we stopped on a bridge to enjoy the view. Swans, turtles, fish and herons entertained us. I happened to be carrying treats and tea which made our rest even nicer.
She always has her art supplies with her. She drew while our little tag-along guinea pig got cozy under the shade of her book.
This one doesn't tire easily. While we enjoyed our repose she ran back and forth at top speed. Everyone at her own pace, that's the way we "school" and the way we live. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Polish Easter

I enjoy keeping food traditions for holidays. My heritage is a mix of Polish, Hungarian and Puerto Rican. Easter always means Polish for me. Having lived with my Polish grandma for a good part of my life I can't imagine the Easter meal any other way. There is something about the experience of food that brings back memories very deeply. I love thinking that the traditions I create now will live through my children and their future children. 

My New Years Eve meal is always Latino. It can't get more festive for ringing in the new year than that! I make some of my own concoctions as well as my husband's favorites that he grew up with. He is 100% NY Puerto Rican, his family is steeped in food tradition. His mom has taught me how to make the family favorites. Our Thanksgiving is all American, we like to eat what we suspect the Pilgrims might have. For Christmas it's Victorian England for us, we have no familial ties there. Both my husband and I are literature fiends, we wish to experience a Dicken's fantasy Christmas. Let's get back to Easter!...
I used buttery babka dough this year to make buns for Good Friday.
Of course, the lamb cake made its appearance. You can see one of my "dressed" lambs here.
Days before Easter my daughter was busy planning out her egg dying designs as I was busy planning my meal. I will probably save this paper forever.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Talk of Spring

I really want to talk to you of Springtime, birds and bright colors popping up out of the ground. But I can't because here in NY, right is snowing! Not just a few flurries, it's coming down fast in big clumps. 

Instead, to satisfy my need for the cute and colorful I will show you this gift that I crocheted for a little friend. I also made a cotton lunch sack to store it in when not being played with using one of my favorite japanese fabrics. 
It evokes a day that I am eagerly awaiting. A day of blue sky, warm sun and pretty picnic. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Queen ALICE Doll

The nice person who purchased my MAd Alice doll commissioned me to make her a companion doll. I have been itching to make another Alice, all I needed was this fresh kick in the pants to actually do it. She suggested I make Queen Alice from 'Through the Looking Glass'. I picked fabric and trims that evoke a playing card, chess game feel but that didn't scream it. I wanted her crown to be too big for her, for her eyes to be piercing like a cat, but not obvious cat eyes.
This doll went through a couple of major changes before she finished up looking like this. First she had platinum blonde hair in a very uptight up-do twist.  She also has a full length gown. She looked very royal, very much a queen. But she wasn't playful or childlike in any way. So, I took off the fancy hair and went with a crazy bright curly head instead. That did the trick. Immediately she became younger and much more fun. After the adventure Alice goes through to reach the other side of the chess board she should be at least a little messy.
Next to go was the gown. I cut it to tea length to show off stripy leg warmers and a flash of ruffled bloomer. I was pretty happy with her at this point. I thought she was finished.
Then my daughter mentioned how Alice shook The Red Queen into the black kitten at the end of the story. I added the kitten. It adds to the story, but doesn't interfere with the look of the doll.

`And as for you,' she went on, turning fiercly upon the Red Queen, who she considered as the cause of all the mischief -- but the Queen was no longer at her side -- she had suddenly dwindled down to the size of a little doll, and was now on the table, merrily running round and round after her own shawl, which was trailing behind her.
At any other time, Alice would have felt surprised at this, but she was far too much excited to be surprised at anything now. `As for you,' she repeated, catching hold of the little creature in the very act of jumping over a bottle which had just lighted upon the table, `I'll shake you into a kitten, that I will!'
She took her off the table as she spoke, and shook her backwards and forwards with all her might.
The Red Queen made no resistance whatever; only her face grew very small, and her eyes got large and green: and still, as Alice went on shaking her, she kept on growing shorter -- and fatter -- and softer -- and rounder -- and --

-- and it really was a kitten, after all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is coming!!

Last week we went down by the Hudson River to take a walk. The water was frozen and was sticking up in sharp slabs almost onto the land. It was amazing. You could actually walk on the river, a river of large green pointed vertical slabs of ice. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me. I have been thinking about how amazing it was and waiting for a day when I could return to take pictures. Today was that day. We were free, the sun was shining, so we went back down to the river with a winter picnic. 

But, when we got to the river's edge the ice was gone. What ice that was left was swiftly floating downstream. Instead of feeling disappointed that I wouldn't see that ice again until next year I was excited because Spring is coming!

 "The world is a beautiful book, but of little use to him who cannot read it." 
- Carlo Goldini, 1757

Friday, February 27, 2015

Who Are You?

When I made the switch from commuting designer to homeschooling housewife I jumped right into ladies groups, kid groups, floral aprons and regular dusting. None of those things have ever appealed to me, so why did I do them? Why do we put ourselves into molds that don’t fit?
I am not a floral apron. I am a stained lab coat with burn marks and a few rodent hairs. But I can still make you a mean scone if you want it.
My point? If you’re feeling trapped maybe you need to figure out who you are.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

prayer hat

A good friend of mine is fighting an aggressive cancer. A couple of weeks ago she was telling me how she was going to start very strong chemo and her hair was most likely going to fall out. In the two decades that I have known her I have always been struck by two things when she walks into a room: her long-legged height and her thick long brown hair. When she told me about her hair I tried to not let my face react the way my heart felt. I know that in the grand scheme of things hair does not matter. But, it is the needle on the haystack of a series of already unbearable things.

As soon as she said she would lose her hair this exact hat popped into my mind. The style, the color, the fit. It was all there. I knew I had to make it. Four days later I was sending it off to her. It also happened to be her birthday. 

She called me yesterday. She has been feeling lousy from the chemo and yes, she did lose her hair. She loves the hat, it's the hat she has been looking for. She found one on etsy but it wasn't right. She said she never takes if off because her wig looks bad without it. I feel like this hat was a gift from God to my friend. I just had to follow a path that was already laid. 

I  prayed for healing through every stitch I knit. 
Would you please say a prayer for my friend?