Monday, January 31, 2011

stained glass valentine

A nice thing about Valentine's Day is that the theme is so easy to craft.  Hearts, hearts and more hearts in all of Naiya's favorite colors.  We painted the poster board cut-out frames of this "stained glass" yesterday and today added the inside made from colored tissue hearts, white glue and parchment paper.  Although in the photo the frames look black (because of the outside light), they're actually red, pink and purple with fairie sparkles all around.
(No fairies were harmed in the making of this project.)

peter paintbrush

When we sat down to do our first Valentine craft today Naiya said she had something special for me.  "Hold out your hand mommy," she instructed.  She then held her paint brush and while brushing the palm of my hand sang,
Peter Paintbrush dances always on his toes (gently painting my hand)
Never on his bottom (crushing the brush into my palm)  Never on his nose (tapping the wooden end)
Always on his tippy, tippy, tippy, tippy toes (one "tippy" brushing for each finger and the thumb on "toes")

I'm always so delighted to share these special rhymes with her.  It's a glimpse into her precious time at school and the sweet happenings there to which I am so infrequently privy.   I'm also often surprised at her level of recall and the length and detail of what she remembers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

the first buds

With mid-winter fast approaching we're just seeing the first of the growth and green.

Friday, January 28, 2011

the likes and dislikes of those who are four

After her first taste of something new from the bowl in front of her and spoon in hand Naiya says, "I don't like that."  She dips her spoon in for a second try though and then squeals, "Oh, I like that a lot!"


rain clouds & rain,  day time,  two flowers,  camping fire & person,  waterfall,  waterfall II

On the wall in the play room I change out my favorite of Naiya's works of art.  This was a batch of wet-on-wet water colors on small scraps that were some of her first intentionally objective art pieces.  The titles are her own.

adam hurst

Yesterday we were on a little nature walk in a hill park near our home when we ran into some friends we hadn't seen in over a year.  My old cello teacher and his family were strolling in the fading afternoon light as well.  I don't know why I've never mentioned before that for a while I took cello lessons.  I'm a lover of melancholy music and after seven disastrous years playing violin as a kid I had always wanted to be able to play what, to me, is the most beautiful sounding instrument in all the world.  I got a cello about ten years ago and had classical lessons for about a year before I moved here to Oregon where I just didn't pick it up again.  I realized that I didn't really want to learn theory and play the kind of music that most cello instructors wanted me to learn.
Then one day we were shopping at the downtown Farmer's Market when I heard it.  This mournful but poignant and haunting cello... just behind the organic tomatoes.  I was transfixed and sat on the grass listening for almost half an hour.  That was the music I wanted to play.
To make a long story short, I enlisted the player of that incredible sound to instruct me.  He's a composer of original works in a kind of Gypsy/Middle Eastern/Indian raga style and took me on as this enthusiastic but not too motivated and completely unskilled student.  He never put a book or sheet music of any kind in front of me but the process of learning was really incredible.  The instruction I remember most was, "Play so that it's beautiful to you."  I practiced a whole week just moving the bow across open strings and listening.  Just listening.  I learned intervals and embellishments and practiced at putting them together but the whole process was really remarkable.  I've played various instruments and sung in choirs and on stage my whole life but something was different with this.  Maybe part of it was my love of the instrument, but part of it was also the style of teaching.  Unlike all of my musical experience of the past where theory and repetitive scales and a kind of cerebral understanding of the music was mildly pounded into me, Adam taught in a way that I felt the music came out of me.  Out of my love for the cello and the sound and the feeling of the music itself.
I'm sad to say that despite the incredible experience, I'm negligent when it comes to practice and, after one long holiday break, I just never called for a lesson again.  It turns out that Adam stopped teaching too.
Because I ran into him though, and because I like to promote things Portland, I wanted to share my favorite local artist with you.  Adam Hurst.  Check him out.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

wire rimmed glasses

We were driving through downtown today on our way to Powell's. I was sitting in the passenger seat as I usually do. Stopped at a street corner I look to my right and see this older gentleman heading toward the crosswalk. He has on a pair of wire rimmed glasses. The kind that bend easily when removed. He was walking with a book in one hand and with his free hand he reached up and took off those glasses. As a one handed gesture, he had to unhook them from behind one ear then gently ease them across his face.
He was just taking off his glasses. It wasn't anything. He probably does it dozens of times a day. There was something about it though. I've seen it before. The bendable wire rim, the slight down-tilt of the head. It was beautiful.
Some moments are just like that.

Friday, January 14, 2011

first haircut

Perhaps some of you are wondering how, at four and a quarter years old, this can be her first haircut.  The child has decided to take it slow.  The long, curly mullet has been in the works her whole life.  Since the bangs are nowhere in sight though, we decided to trim off that fine baby hair in back and on the sides.  Perhaps now the front end will feel inspired to join the rest of her head.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

chicken garland

This year we made the traditional popcorn and cranberry garland.  I don't recall if I ever made that as a child myself, but I like the concept and once she'd heard that such a thing could be done, Naiya would not let the idea go.  I had given little thought to what would happen with this tasty string once it came off our tree but a friend of Ryan talked about putting his out for the birds.  We've got birds!  Three fat, earth-bound birds.  They especially enjoyed the cranberries.

Friday, January 7, 2011

paper evergreens

There's a craft event at our Waldorf School in the beginning of December called Heart of Advent.  There are various projects that those who come can create while chatting and sipping tea with friends.  It's a very pleasant and incredibly useful and inspiring gathering. I made these paper trees there which, I think, were meant to be a Christmas decoration, but when I was boxing things up to put away for next year I decided to leave them for everyday play.  We are Oregonians after all.  The evergreens are ever green and ever present.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Growing up, this wasn't a day we recognized.  In Germany though, where my mother is from, this was the end of the Christmas season.  Their candle-lit tree did not arrive until Christmas Eve and it was taken down on the 6th of January.   It is on this day that some recognize and celebrate the coming of the magi or the three kings who followed a star to visit and bring gifts to the Christ Child in Bethlehem.  Other traditions recognize this day as the baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan and the moment that the Christ Spirit entered an earthly body and so changed the nature of our world forever.  The days since Christmas Eve are the twelve Holy Nights and epiphany marks their end as an acknowledgment of the manifestation of the Divine on earth.  Really though, as birth signifies, it is just a beginning.
These are the thoughts, stories and spirit upon which we reflect as today, in Oma's tradition, we take down the adornments of the season and clean, pare down and simplify our outer and inner world to prepare ourselves for the coming year.
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