Monday, February 25, 2013

super quick doll clothes

   Like many Waldorf moms, over the years I've hand made my daughter some beautiful dolls only to have her cast them aside for simple store bought versions that relatives and friends have given her.  It took me quite a while to figure out that it wasn't so much the manufactured playthings she loved more than those I lovingly and painstakingly crafted; rather, it was their fancy clothes collections and ease of dressing that were the magical draw!    (How come our children won't just love the toys WE love?  A post for another time...) 
  Of late, her favorite dolls for dressing and playing are two Groovy Girls.  There's something about the size (and freakish proportions) of these particular dolls that just really appeals to my daughter.  I've embraced them but, if you're not familiar with these gals, they often come with some pretty racy outfits.  We use them but have tried to add some fun, more young-girly ensembles through our crafting.  Oma's been knitting them sweaters and skirts and I've sewn a few pairs of pants and skirts as well.  But last week, Oma had a designer breakthrough and came up with this super-quick-and-easy-doll-clothes-in-minutes idea!  

Basically, it utilizes the sleeves of old pajamas and whatever trim is laying around.  In no time at all Groovy Rainy and Groovy Toni had garments for nearly every occasion.

We're always outgrowing cotton pajamas and they come in  a pretty interesting variety of colors and designs.  Simply chop off the sleeves, finish the cut edge (or don't) and add a little something to give the wardrobe some style...

Since Naiya started gymnastics, she wanted Toni to have her own leotard.  We cut holes for the arms to go through and put in a few stitches by hand to separate the two leg holes.  (Naiya insisted on the little circle of yellow felt for "decoration".   The kid loves adornment.)

This cute summer dress has a ribbon sewn around the stretched bottom.  Stretching the fabric as the trim was sewn on caused it to curl into the frilly pattern seen here.  Straps and buttons (those were Naiya's idea) finished this summery selection.

Pants are basically a skirt cut and stitched for legs up the middle.

Roll those pants out and pull 'em up for a trendy jumpsuit.

(Wait... are these ridiculous things still in style?)

It's hard to tell in this shot but this mini dress has a white lace layer on top of the printed under layer. 

A little gold lame fancies up any simple design.

Who doesn't have packets of mint green ric rac just waiting for the perfect project?

(And a child that thinks a bell would make for a fine bit of embellishment?)

Another gown dressed up with a small bit of lace and ribbon straps that tie around the neck.

Thanks Oma!  Now we've got playtime outfits for every occasion for weeks to come.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

happy valentine's day

A hundred hearts would be too few
To carry all my love for you

Happy Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


(This time around, I'm just re-publishing my Lenten post of last year because, you know, sometimes I'm a little busy...)

 “No, we’re not Catholic,” we tell our friends, “but, it’s true, we often observe Lent.”  Some people think this is kind of nuts.  Admittedly, it seems odd, but I was reading this article on the science of self denial by Jeffrey Kluger of Time today and I feel like it offered some insight into why the observance of holidays like Lent can be beneficial for those of both the religious and secular persuasions (and to some degree explains why we have taken to observing it ourselves.)   It was about how this season is not only one of spiritual penance, piety, and submission but also one which leads to the development of impulse control and, ultimately, can lead to greater self confidence and even increased happiness.  Kluger writes:
When it comes to good-time holidays, Lent does not rank very high. Nor do Ramadan or Yom Kippur, of course, and no wonder. They are all about saying no to something (or many things) you love. Where's the egg nog and holiday joy in all that? But we observe these less-than-festive celebrations all the same -- and we have good reason to do so. There are hidden benefits to so much ritualized self-denial...
   Lent has traditionally been a time of penance and abstention, a time to contemplate the sufferings and temptations of Christ as he fasted for forty days in the wilderness.  Historically, this was a time when certain Christians removed all animal flesh, dairy and eggs from their diets and gave renewed focus to prayer and charity. 

   Neither Ryan or I grew up observing this kind of asceticism, but there’s something about the Lenten season that has always appealed to us.  It’s the focus on temperance and self sacrifice and the turning inward toward contemplation and stillness that just seems appropriate for this time of year.  (Also, my willpower could really use a whole season dedicated to its strengthening any time.)

Every time an observer of Lent craves -- and resists the lure of -- a forbidden indulgence is a tiny reminder of a commitment made...  Neurologists and behavioral psychologists generally think of willpower as what's known as "domain general," which means that the more you practice it to control one behavior -- say, overeating -- the more it starts to apply itself to other parts of your life like exercising more or drinking less...

   Additionally, there’s something in knowing that there is a whole community of folks out there struggling to strengthen their will with me.  Through the experience of abstention, I think, we all come to foster gratitude for the plenty that we regularly enjoy.  With our modern culture’s tendency toward overindulgence, many of us live in varying states of excess, almost always giving in to our impulses.  We’re quite attached to food, drink, media, comfort, pretty things and modern conveniences of every kind.  It’s easy to forget that all over the world (and even in our own local communities) people struggle just to survive.  Giving a vice or a pleasure up by choice, it seems to me, helps to strengthen something within us and also connects us, in a small way, to the greater community in which we live.  

   For the children in our lives (who are forever living in a world of imitation), I think the Lenten mood helps cultivate a feeling of reverence and gratitude as well.  Who doesn't need more of that, right?  Despite religious affiliations (or lack thereof), maybe it's not so strange that folks embrace this season of sacrifice and all it has to offer. 

   "Happy Lent" surely isn't the proper salutation here but... I'd like to wish that the spirit of this season rests untroubled in your hearts.  Happy renunciation to all?   

Friday, February 8, 2013

daily verses

Since Naiya started in Parent/Child classes at her Waldorf school, we've been collecting all manner of fingerplays and verses.  Sometimes I share those I find in various collections with her and sometimes she brings home those she hears and sings in her classes each day to share with me.  (If you're interested in this sort of thing, you can view those we've gathered in the Verses and Fingerplays tabs above.)  Today she brought this one home.  It was accompanied by a sweet little tune that I'm not able to offer here, but I thought some of you home-schoolers (or those who live in a constant winter battle with mud and debris) would appreciate for content nonetheless.

When I come in from outside play
I take my shoes off right away
I put them in my cubby so
This is where they always go...

This is where they rest just so.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

festivals of winter

It's Mid-Winter!  Today marks the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and is celebrated around the world as Imbolc, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day and Groundhog Day.  (It's also Auntie Erika's and Kate's birthday.  Happy birthday girls!)
I've talked in past years about this day and our celebrations here and here, so I'll not say much this time around except to share this lovely piece of writing from the book series I'm currently reading...
May all enjoy and embrace the returning of the light.

The Winter Feast by Hendrik van the Elder Balen
"Winterfest is as much a celebration of the darkest part of the year as a festival of the returning light.  For the first three days of Winterfest, we pay homage to the darkness.  The tales told and puppet shows presented are those that tell of resting times and happy endings.  The foods are salt fish and smoked flesh, harvested roots and fruit from last summer.  Then, on the midday of the festival, there is a hunt.  New blood is shed to celebrate the breaking point of the year, and new meat is brought fresh to the table, to be eaten with grain harvested from the year before.  The next three days are days that look toward the coming summer.  The looms are threaded with gayer thread, and the weavers take over an end of the Great Hall to vie among themselves for the brightest patterns and lightest weave.  The tales told are ones that tell of beginnings of things, and of how things came to be..."
                                                                    from Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
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