We drove from Taos through Angel Fire. I'd never been to Angel Fire, we always take the northern route. It was lovely. The clouds were thick that morning and the roadsides were covered, covered, with sunflowers and asters which remained bright and cheerful despite the spooky forests surrounding them.
In our own backyard this morning, we have hummingbirds. We've had many this summer, visiting our hibiscus. I finally broke down and put out a feeder, an offensive bright red plastic nightmare, but oh, the beauties it brings to my dining room window. They were so plentiful in the mountains. We also saw, I think, a hummingbird moth, which I'd only learned about on the internet a couple of weeks ago thanks to someone's blog post (can't remember the blogger). Tell me if I'm wrong, friendly readers. I'm always scared to ID something because I imagine you all in your living rooms, rolling your eyes, "That's not a ****. It's clearly a ****. Everybody knows that!"
I sat watching the children swim in the little wading pool. Two pinwheels in the garden caught my eye. I remembered this - Isn't that just the most beautiful quilt? I'm not overly fond of traditional quilt designs. I like squares, simplicity, neat lines. But the pinwheel quilt had been flitting through my mind for months. On a whim, I collected some tiny scraps and made my first square. I loved it.
Over the next week, I made many-many-many more squares. Originally it was pink and white. And then it was this or that or any number of things. In the end, I threw in a bit of most of the scraps of fabric I've used over the past two years. It was to be our family camping quilt, keeping us warm around the campfire in the evenings.
Can I say that I love it? I don't mean to sound egotistical because I'm not a grand quilter. It's not the style or the perfect stitches (they're not perfect). It's the way this fabric is from my daughter's crib sheet and that fabric is from my son's crib skirt. I only had just enough to make one square from doll skirt leftovers. It's the resourcefulness that this quilt represents to me, most of it just using what I had on hand - such tiny scraps I couldn't bear to throw out. It's not my usual monochromatic style. It's not designed in any sense of the word - for goodness sake there's a fish in there. But it's exactly what I think a quilt ought to be. And I love it.
Quilts are so hard to photograph.
The details- The pinwheel quilt square is super easy. I did this all on the machine and that's my only regret. I had no choice, for I needed to finish the quilt in a week - whew! But I do hope to someday remove the machine quilted stitches for hand quilted. A personal preference and nothing more. Machine quilting is too fast for me and I end up with wonky lines.
It is the real start of the year for moms and children, so here goes:
I will make sure we have enough groceries in the house for a good breakfast (this morning I served yogurt and garlic toast! Mmmm!) We finally have some options and I will take advantage of our new freedom.
I will keep the kitchen more organized. This requires a trip to Target for some new canisters. Why don't I have canisters? Seriously?
Lucy loves tea time. I love tea time. I will make this a priority.
I will read picture books during tea time. Lucy still likes picture books, but our reading time is rare and I usually opt for chapter books with her. The picture book years are falling away with my oldest (yes, my chest hurts as I write that). I'm going to make the most of it this year.
Stuff that's just not gonna happen:
Keep my car clean - ha, ha!
Follow through on long term projects - my one brilliant idea being a year's worth of recipe cards - writing each recipe down as we make them through the year with dates and all. This won't happen. I want it to happen, badly. Isn't it a great idea though? Don't you just love it? Sigh. Won't happen.
Keep papers organized. I glanced down at my desk just then. This one bugs me because I do pride myself on being organized - or I used to. The papers overwhelm me.
I will have more start-of-the-year themed posts up this week - including our craft plans which are coming together and a few other unit studies. Fun, fun. I'm quite chatty right now (enter blogger's block...NOW).
"Then we will pick some lingonberries," said Anna's mother. "They make a beautiful red dye."
At the end of the summer, Anna's mother knew just the place in the woods to find the ripest lingonberries.
A New Coat for Anna - Anita Lobel
We visited La Lana Wools while in Taos. It is a yarn shop that specializes in plant dyed yarn. I resolved not to purchase anything because I can't knit right now - my hands just aren't cooperating. But I did spy this gorgeous logwood dyed yarn. And sure I wanted it - it's violet. But I resisted.
My husband, whose most frequently uttered phrase is "You only live once", told me to get out of the store and of course, met me on the sidewalk with a little package of not one, but two skeins. "You can't make anything out of just one, can you?" (But he hides the best candy from me on high shelves, so don't think he's too wonderful.) (Except that he really is too wonderful.)
I'm rather obsessed with the idea of plant dyed anything. I resist the urge to plunk down a fortune in these creative and scientific pursuits because I have plenty of hobbies as it is (see also: making my own soap, which I yearn to do on a daily basis). The chapter in the Martha series where Melissa Wiley writes about plant dyed yarns was fascinating, in a completely repulsive way which still sends my Lucy into fits of laughter. I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far with an experiment, but still. Fascinating.
I mentioned I'm reading Little Women to Lucy - and she loves it. I'm surprised at how much she comprehends the little life lessons. I'm surprised at how much richer it is for me, reading it to my daughter. And it makes Lucy laugh when she loses her temper with her baby brother and I correct her with a simple, "Josephine...".
But I can't finish it. Not with my sensitive little girl. I keep hinting that something really sad happens. We're just going to stop at the end of part one.
Someone out there tell me you get the title. I've been giggling about that all day.
I remember when my son was an infant. Like many others, his sleep schedule was a mess. In hindsight, his allergies were responsible but we didn't know that. Desperate for an answer, I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It recommended taking the baby outside in the morning to help set their rhythm or something. I can't remember the details, but it worked beautifully. I still try to do this every day when the weather is nice.
What kept my spirits up, as I was tipping piles of ice off of our tent top, was that we were still together and we were experiencing something real. Not one single time did my children complain about the lack of television, even on the 11 hour drive. They spent most of their time blissfully throwing stones into the stream by our campsite. And I'm not going to get all preachy and philosophical, because I love my television. I don't have the opportunity to watch it much, but I love it. But we balance it. And every minute we spend outdoors feels wholly good to me.
The stream running through the woods alongside the hiking trail, early in the morning.
This is one of those funny photos that didn't turn out like I expected, but in the end, is one of my favorites.
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