Saturday, 23 March 2013

Weaving Love

 "He got off the bench and went in to see Mother.
     Her hands were flying and her right foot was tapping the treadle of the loom. Back and forth the shuttle flew from her right hand to her left and back again, between the even threads of warp, and swiftly the threads of warp criss-crossed each other, catching fast the thread that the shuttle left behind it.
     Thud! said the treadle. Clackety-clack! said the shuttle. Thump! said the hand-bar, and back flew the shuttle.
     Mother's workroom was large and bright, and warm from the heating-stove's chimney. Mother's little rocking-chair was by one window, and beside it a basket of carpet-rags, torn for sewing. In a corner stood the idle spinning wheel. All along one wall were shelves full of hanks of red and brown and blue and yellow yarn, which Mother had dyed last summer...
  ...So everything was snug and comfortable in the house, and Almanzo went downstairs and took two more doughnuts from the doughnut jar, and then he played outdoors again with his sled."
                                                                    - from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Out of all the Little House books, that description has stayed with me since childhood because it was so full of warmth and security and plenitude (and a doughnut jar!). Now that I've gone searching for it again to share with you, I realise that there's something else beside the mystery and competency of Almanzo's Mother weaving that resonates with me: he calls it her workroom. And that is the proper and good name for it, a respectful term that hopefully will slip into my language as well. I have a little studio in the basement for which I am grateful, but someday, someday, I will have a space full of warmth and sunshine to work in.

A good friend of mine has just carved out a space of her own at her house. It's because she's fallen in love (please go read it - it's lovely and she's a great story-teller). Isn't it thrilling, and a bit contagious, when someone you hold dear falls head over heels like that?

Safiya's caught the bug as well. It started small, with a little cardboard loom that a friend showed her how to make (the resulting pink headbands and bracelets were to die for), and then one day we came back from out of town to find a loom magically on our doorstep.

It wasn't an orphan looking for a home (although it was welcomed to our family with the same kind of open arms), but a gift from a fairy-godmother-neighbour that is crafty and talented herself (more on her later) and knew of Safiya's burgeoning weaving desires.

 And so it goes. The love spreads and awakens things that you thought you had forgotten. There are plans and hope and excitement and a little bit of frustration and trepidation, because that is all part of it when you are in love.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Happy Second Day of Spring!

This is how our day started. With the smell of mashed potato pancakes and the sound of beads. I kept the Mighty Machines off (which is a feat in and of itself), put the box of beads in front of the patio door (on top of another box full of yarn) and that was how we ate breakfast. Well, Safiya was more civilised and ate at the kitchen table next to us, but close enough.

I didn't know that this box-of-stuff-that-kids-play-in is called a "sensory table", which has led to all sorts of cool google searches and discoveries. We have plans to expand in the playroom. Or rather, Safiya has plans :) So that I could have a quick shower, I threw Safiya some duct tape and toilet paper rolls and when I got out they were still at it:

Which is fantastic. I have to do a whole other post on having kids with a six year age gap. It's interesting and sometimes, well, perplexing, knowing whether to leave something or push it when it comes to how they relate to each other. They relate to each other particularly fine when it comes to cookies:

She makes, he eats. I found decapitated bunnies all over the house later, because really, why finish a cookie when you can just get your next bite from a new and exciting fresh one? Safiya is intent on bringing a whole bunch of baked goods to my Mom's for Easter, so we're freezing these ahead. The shapes make me smile, and I'm glad we found them. I'm just discovering that cookies in fun shapes taste better. It's true.

So beads, cookies, some phone calls, a hurried lunch, and then off to my dentist appointment. Zinadine fell asleep on the subway, so I had to carry him (snow + 40-odd-lbs of sleeping boy = realisation of age) and half-way across the cross-walk on a busy street he woke up suddenly and said  "My boot!" We went back to retrieve said boot, and finally made it to the dentist.

Boots and snow. Because after the morning sunshine this is what our second day of spring looked like:

I like the hopeful picture left by one of Safiya's friends. So, boots, snow, dentist (I love going to the dentist because I can't possibly be doing anything else at the time, although my dentist likes to regale people with the story of the time I was getting my teeth cleaned, breastfeeding an unhappy Zinadine, and helping Safiya spell something, all. at the. same. time! :) The dental hygienist was quite happy to have Safiya around to chat with.

Mr. S. met us there after work, we trekked back home as even more snow came blowing down, split up to do banking and pick up Ethiopian food (Mr. S. and Safiya), and start to clean the house (me and Zinadine. well, just me, really). And then the day petered out with dinner, dishes, discussion, bath, and people getting delirious with non-sleep (all of us). And now it's late and everyone's asleep except me, so off I go...

I don't often do a "day-in-the-life-of" but today seemed just like the right day, so there you go. Happy Second Day of Spring!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole (and Late for the Party)


I resisted for as long as I could. How could I, a fairly reasonable and responsible person, wade knowingly into dangerous waters? Not even to rescue someone.

Perhaps just for the sheer pleasure of it. Now I have to take back all the snark ("Pinterest? Yeah, I took a look, but how many pictures of dogs, ways to do your hair, and inspirational quotes do you really need in one day?") and humbly say that actually, I'm finding it pretty useful. (Anyway, I was just being snarky 'cause I figured it would be bad for me - as in a black hole of time-suck. When insecure, cover up with snark; it's a great plan.)

I blame my garden. Or lack thereof. Being a complete newbie and wanting to plant a whole bunch this spring and not really knowing what the plants I wanted look like. Well, Pinterest knows. Or rather, all you people over there do, and it's so nice and visual.

Our computer broke a while ago (we've just replaced it) and so went all my bookmarks. It made me realise two things. One: broken computers are a lovely respite from it all. For two weeks I didn't miss it in the least. Two: I didn't need any of my bookmarks. Isn't that slightly crazy? I was stunned. I would have sworn up and down that it was all so important. So, maybe I should live it instead of just saving it for later. When's later?

So, in the spirit of the old dog and her new tricks, I'm actually trying to do/make something every day from the things I've pinned. What the point otherwise? (See what I did there....the in the point of the pin? ha!...I need more sleep.)

p.s. all the pics above are from my boards...still a little rusty at getting things connected over here. but there's a link on the side there if you want to take a gander...

Friday, 15 March 2013

It was bound to happen.

Zinadine and I were reading a calm, lovely, baby animal book that ended with a little person-baby going to sleep, and as I nuzzled that milkweed-down hair of his and said, "Just like my baby. Just like you're my baby", he suddenly straightened up and looked me directly in the eye, and said simply...

"no. i'm  big."

and that was that.

Because he is big. With his fuzzy hair, impish grin and wee legs he jumps big, laughs big, talks big, and loves big.

And all of the sudden things are going so fast, even though they always were. And I wish I remembered more, wish I paid attention more, slowed down more. I feel like the something that's slipping isn't going away, but sliding, changing, moving somewhere else, somewhere over there.

And over there has ripped jeans not from falling in the playground, competent hands, amazing homemade-cupcake-making-ability, time needed on her own to recharge, time in the morning spent getting ready, a pressing need for independence, neatly folded clothes, messy playroom, hours spent reading, painting, questions and hopes and anxieties.

They are so good - they are the good, you know?