Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun Sunday at The Clark

A few times a year The Clark Art Institute does a family day and it is not to be missed. This summer's event was no exception. It was centered around the art of Picasso and Degas. Art stations for kids were set-up everywhere where you could learn to sculpt with clay, create a Cubist cube, Mirror mosaic or make a flip book. Activities included riding a mechanical bull, swinging from a harness, helping to paint the mural, cooling off in the sprinkler park and more. We watched Flamenco Dancers, the Albany Berkshire Ballet, a ice sculptor, and the Boston Circus Guild build human towers.
Our two little budding artists really loved to paint.
Sam used lots of paint and like his coloring went for the big bold strokes with lots of movement
Ellie painted small and precise, which is how she usually colors and paints. She did break out a bit and had some big strokes when she found an open spot on the canvas
Family Fun Day at the Clark Art in Williamstown, MA.
Max loved the acrobats. They built all kinds of human towers! At the end of the day while they were waiting for their bus back to Boston, they included the kids in some fun. Great group!
We enjoyed the ice sculptures a lot and went to the gallery to look at the original. It gave Max an idea for his clay project. We should really take the kids more often, they are surprisingly well behaved in the galleries.
Loved cooling off from the heat with the ice and also at the "water park" that was set-up to cool people off. Lots of fun!
I wish I could always hear the back and forth between the two of them. They have their own little language. When we are someplace new, they often head out together now, ready to take on whatever awaits. They were in the zone today . . .

Swim Lesson with Miss Katie this Summer

Week One: Monday July 12th, Wednesday July 14th, and Thursday July 15th
Week Two: Monday July 19th, Wednesday July 21st, and Thursday July 22nd
Afternoons starting probably at 1 and ending by 4 this year. The times of each class will be set after seeing how many kids we will have this summer and the ages.
Half hour class for 3's and 4's just learning, parents might have
to be in the pool. Ellie and Sam will attempt this one
Half hour for the 4's and 5's (Evan and Connor from last year)
45 minutes for the 6, 7, 8's learning strokes, etc. (Ned, Ethan and Olivia's group from last year)
45-1 hour for the stroke development (Max, Julian, Ryan, Sean, Alex group from last year)
$40 per week (3 days) per child. Can do one week or two but payment by the week only this year, not by the day/class.
Julian, Alex, Ryan and Max two summer's ago
Ned, Olivia and Eli two summers ago
First summer Max took lessons from Miss Katie he was five and the lessons were with the KT crew hosted by the Hecks

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pillow Talk Swap Sent and a Peanut Problem . . .

Okay I know we all sometimes say this about a new project . . . but I really do LOVE how this turned out! The Linen with the Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner is a great match and the fun relaxed feel I have when I think of my partner in this swap. I don't want to giveaway who my partner was since the package just left town yesterday am for its new destination . . . but she is one cool chick and I have really enjoyed getting to know her over the last year. This on-line sewing community is a lot of fun!
In addition to this pillow, I made a few more with . . . but I think I will wait until next week when she receives the package to spill the beans here.
Like all the pillow swaps, I learned a lot with this one. My first time using the quilt binding method to finish off the pillow. I actually had to pull out the seam ripper the first time I put it together because I didn't like how the binding was pulling. I cut wider stripes to accomodate the thick "quilt sandwich" and make the binding more prominent.
I kept the back simple as well. The last swap I added a zipper, so this time I wanted to try buttonholes. Also I think the design added a little zing to the pillow. The buttonholes were pretty easy to do, I just measured where I wanted them, put the buttonhole foot on and hit the foot pedal. A couple of snips with the scissors and it was good to go. Next time I will adjust the buttonholes a bit bigger so I could have used a bigger button. The scale of the size 36 was good, but I think I would have liked them a size or two bigger. I got my buttons from my favorite supply shop on ETSY, very convenient to be able to shop at this great little shop by walking into our basement! You can access our supply shop through the link on the top navigation bar on this new blog layout!
Along with this main pillow I sent my partner a whole bunch of fun! I will do another post once she gets the package to tell you all about it. I am always so happy when a swap package is on its way. HOWEVER, after dropping this one off yesterday . . .
Max and I had a rough first day of summer event. The two little kids were at camp, so I told Max after we sent my swap package we would have a little fun. One of our favorite bagel bakeries is right next to the UPS store, so after mailing the package we went in to get a bagel. They usually have bagels to taste on the counter, but yesterday they had cookies. Max has a severe peanut allergy and we are always very careful. Maybe it was the whole carefree first day of summer . . . but he asked if he could try it and I asked the clerk if it was nut free, she said yes, so I told him okay. As soon as he put it on his tongue, he said "it tastes like peanut butter"
She said, oh it is peanut butter . . . you asked about nuts . . .
He didn't swallow and I quickly wiped out his mouth. I gave him two benadryl and also had him drink water within a minute of the event. His tongue got a little fuzzy and a couple of hives popped up on his face. Our hearts were racing. We were near a hospital and I had the epi-pen and other medicine on hand. I drove to the parking lot of the hospital and sat and watched him. I called the allergist and made sure I knew what to look for and how quickly he would react. If he would have ingested it, we would have had a much bigger problem.
Max and I both remained fairly calm, but it was a big scare. I think all the education and training from the allergist helped a ton. We have been ready for this since he was just 9 months old. He did tell me, "Mom, we need to be more careful". I told him how much I love him and how sorry I was. He told me, "it is okay, we all make mistakes" I felt so bad.
Here is to hoping that the rest of the summer will be uneventful! He has been safe at school for three years where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are on the menu every day and his first day home for the summer and he gets exposed before 10 am! Ughhhhhh.
We are hosting a end of the season party for Max's baseball team that Steve coached this season. So much to do and Steve has been traveling since Monday am. I am a little crazed at this point, but will somehow make it through. No sewing today for sure . . . but I will be cleaning the house and pool, baking a cake, shopping for food and drink and in my spare time taking care of three wild children! Enjoy your Friday!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last Day of Sam & Ellie's first year of school

Okay so they will be actually going to "school" more this summer then they went all year . . . but it is in the form of summer camp and they do have 2 weeks off! But for the record books, Sam and Ellie finished their first year of school. They attended the YMCA of Saratoga Springs every Friday am from 9:45 to 11:45.
Diploma for the year
The year got off to a rocky start with Sam crying every time I tried to leave him. Ellie was fine the first few classes, but as she watched Sam get attention each week . . . she decided to cry and hold my other leg. We worked through it and as time went by, they got better and better letting go of me. So glad we signed up. The teachers are great and it got them used to the idea, that when Mom leaves she always comes back.
I remember Max at 2 year old pre-school actually threw up after I left the first few times and he continued to cry and cry. I was called out of the MOPS meetings quite a few times after one of his incidents and was known as the mom who's kids throws up . . . not a great way to meet new friends! Anyway a wonderful teacher stuck with Max and after the first few weeks he was fine and really never looked back when being left by me for the rest of pre-school and when he started kindergarten. That is my hope for this experience with Sam and Ellie . . . time will tell! Because they are going to quite a few "camps" read "summer pre-school" I am hoping the fall will be an easy transition since they will never really got out of the "going to school habit".
Max and I started to sing the Mommy always comes back song (same song I sang to him 5 years ago) to them each Friday am. I thought it would put Sam at ease, but most days it just got him more nervous. When I was heading to the door, he would tell Miss Claire . . . my mommy's coming back, she always comes back, she never would forget me . . .
So highlights of the year for them both - painting, painting and more painting. Both kids love to paint and school gave them their start. They attended a yoga class, had fun with music, went on walks in the fall, a halloween parade through the Y, fun in the gym when it was too cold to play outside, lots of fun on the playground, all kinds of stories and dancing, teddy bear picnics . . . it was a great class and they had a great time.
Also it was their first time with friends other than each other. They did for the most part stick together most Fridays. Or they would play with others and then always check back in with each other.
The best part of the experience by far was Miss Lisa and Miss Claire. They were great first teachers and so sweet and loving to the kids. When Sam had trouble leaving me, they always had a painting project at the ready to distract him . . . he cast me aside for painting every time.
Ellie hugging Miss Claire
Ellie hugging Miss Claire
Sam hugging Miss Claire
Sam hugging Miss Claire
Hugging Miss Lisa
Saying thank-you to Miss Lisa
Cubbies and backpacks
2 year old Classroom
Playground at Pre-school
Hanging on the playground
Playing on Playground
Thanks for a great year and we will see you M-W- Fri all July and then again in September!

Gathered Clutch Inspiration

Dear Partner:

I am a go with the flow kind of girl. I LOVE all fabrics and really am easy to please. That being said, I find it hard to make something for someone in a swap when they say, "surprise me" or "I love anything". So here is what I am crazy for right now in pictures.
Linen and jewel tones, like AMH Bohemian and Little Folks lines, make my heart skip a beat. Love all Heather Ross, but her Mendocino line has stole my heart. Echino is always a favorite for all the bold graphic and rich color pallete. Laurie Wisburn's new Tufted Tweets has me swooning in so many ways, especially the colors and the graphic prints. Again all this might be helpful, but oh how I love all fabrics. All things Sandi, Joel, Denyse, Anna, both Heathers, etc.
Thanks in advance for creating something for me. It will be put to good use straight away. Three children have created a crazy little life for us right now and I am a grab and go kind of gal. This little clutch will be a great addition to the racing out the door lifestyle we have embraced! I think if I have my Starbucks card in hand and a few dollars I can take on anything the day has to throw my way!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homefun? Last homework of the year was almost enjoyable.

The last days of the school year, friend or foe? I have to say I am just not sure. The hustle and bustle. Party after party. All the thank-you gifts, my head is spinning. It would be so nice if it could all wind down nice and slow. Instead at my son's school the end of the year stuff starts in mid-may. By the time the last week comes all the kids, teachers and parents are just done.
Last week Max asked to practice his spelling words. My response is if you can find them, I will read them to you. I just don't care anymore, make it end! At the start of the year when we went to open house and the teacher called homework, "homefun" I really had to chuckle. I thought the kids were too smart to fall for such a silly catch phrase.
Although that is exactly what Max called it all year. When he would say, "I have to go finish my homefun" I would often snicker under my breath. Not much about the little bit of homework a 2nd grader brings home and getting him to do it, never was much fun. I really digress, but wanted to remember years later how excited he was to actually be of an age where he had homework.
So although I hate this lame duck period when the kids go to school to basically hang out, watch movies and enjoy some serious recess time . . . I was thrilled for him to complete his last "homeFUN" project of the year. The kids were each given a classmate to make a year end award for. They were to write down words that describe their classmate and then pick one to use for the theme of an award. The award could take on any form.
Max was given his friend Sophia. He described her as friendly, sweet, nice and positive. He decided that the word Sunny really summed her up and included all the descriptive words. She is just fun to be around. He wanted to make the award useful and we did some brainstorming. I think all the pillow swaps I have been participating in gave him the idea. It was fun to see his creative wheels turning and see his ideas take form.
Once he had Sunny Sophia . . . the rest just came together. He thinks that purple, bikes and hearts are her favorite things. Well we had fabric that represented the first two. So here is what he came up with.
Last Homework project of the year
The proud pillow artisian displaying his creation
Pillow with quilted sides
The picture of Sophia and the lined fabric print added a lot of whimsy and made the project quick and easy! Love this Cosmo Cricket fabric.
Actually surprised how easy the fabric printer sheets were to use. Max ran it under cold water to set the inks and dried it between two paper towels. The images came out bright and fun! Super easy to do.
Close-up of Max's pillow for classmate
Love the crooked circle and how his zig zag did a little more zag than zig. We did use some fusing under the circle and he stitched all over everything, so it should stay put.
Proud Creator of Pillow
The back was the worst trauma of the project and had to be ripped out partially and redone. We pinned the envelope flaps in the wrong order, which is a trend for me with every pillow I make. It looks like I teach others the same way . . . Another picture with a quick note to Sophia made it personal. Who knows maybe they will end up best buddies years from now and this will be something they can laugh over.
Last homework project done, check. Play-off baseball game on Thursday. Field day on Friday. Mayor's Cup Saturday. Father's Day on Sunday. Class Picnic on Tuesday. Then school is out for summer next Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Favorite ETSY fabric shop has a wonderful giveaway

Seriously, how cute is this fabric? Head on over to Kerri at Sew Deerly Loved for a chance to win some fabric created by her newly commissioned artwork by the talented Ariel.
Head on over to Kerri's blog for a chance to win. You might want to check out her ETSY fabric store, the prices are great and the selection is divine! Not to mention every order from Sew Deerly Loved comes folded so nicely, wrapped with lovely twine and a sweet card. Every order is a wonderful experience and I look to her shop prior to purchasing anywhere else.
Good Luck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A year of practice and about a minute of dancing . . . lots of looking cute though!

Ellie started taking dance lessons this year when she was about two and a half. It started off with the older girls in her class (4-5 year olds) leading her around the classroom like their cute little doll. Finally she started to get the hang of it and started to actually dance. She loves it! She usually belts out the songs and wildly swings her leg as she works her big step - heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe.
They started practicing for the recital in about January on their routine to "There ain't nobody here but us chickens" . I really thought that we would need to not attend the recital and that it was too much for a three year old. However, it soon became apparent that she loved it and that she wanted to be a part of the big number! Even that night I thought that she might be a little too scared . . . not at all! She sat backstage with all the other girls and took it all in. She shared her lip gloss and proudly applied it before going on stage. It was a riot. When I had to leave and she left to actually go onstage, she seemed a little nervous, but held the helpers hand and went right out. We were sitting on the floor right in front of the stage, so she relaxed as soon as she saw us. Max gave her the thumbs up and she blew us kisses, yelled "hi, mommy" and was good to go. (over 500 tickets were sold for the event and it is held in a big auditorium.
Here are the photos, you can see she started off looking around and then began to dance.
Waiting to go on
Backstage waiting for their turn to dance
First stepped on stage
Was checking out the stage when they first came onstage
then looked out at all the people, over 500 tickets were sold and it was pretty full, scary for a three year old . . . then she saw us right in front of the stage on the floor watching and you could see the tension leave her . . .
Maggie and Ellie
Maggie and Ellie danced next to one another and they spent a lot of time smiling to each other and looking around at the start of the routine
Heel, Toe, Heel, Toe . . .
her favorite move . . . heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe!
Actually dancing
then some loud kicks (she loves this part!)
a little attitude and sass!
Big finish
the big finish, they crouch down and then jump up with hands in the air (didn't get that shot!)
Loved flowers from brothers
thrilled to have flowers from her brothers - loved them
leaving with their new umbrellas
Sam having fun in the rain
sam didn't want to leave all the girls and loved playing with his umbrella
So happy Proud Big Brother
Max was very sweet to his sister. He told her how great she did, how pretty she looked and that he loved her. It was a proud moment for her to get her brother's thumbs up!
waiting for Sam who was having lots of fun in the puddles and rain! This was Steve's first big day off the couch and he was sporting some stylish footwear - lose the black sock grandpa!

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