"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Friday, March 29, 2013

For Little Hands:: Vacationing

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
I don't have any crafting ideas for you this week because we are busy crafting a holiday to DC. I'll just share some photos with you on how we've begun to do that :)

Snuggles are imperative to beginning a vacation
Rainbows have been finding us lately.....hope in form.
Late night shaking the sillies out

Goofing and smiles!

Sleepiness and more snuggles is vacation


I hope this finds all of you well and enjoying your holiday weekend! xoxo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter


The first of our spring time flowers have begun to peek there pretty little blossoms this week. I've been desperate for some joy as it has been a sad time in our home (more about that below).As I was driving around aimlessly the other day I saw these lovely gifts off the side of the road. I just had to stop and take in their beauty and express my gratitude for their existence and snap this picture. The crocus, the flower of St. Valentine, is also associated with joy and merriment, devotion, and love. All of which are entirely appropriate for this season of my life.
{ happy }

We're on vacation this week. We get away every couple of years or so and by the time things fall into place well enough for us to actually pull off an excursion, our vessels are in desperate need of refilling/refreshing. It's always a rocky start, this time in particular (again, you'll find out why below). Emotions ran high, we were all fragile and raw. By the time we left, it was past dinner time and we had 6 hours to go before we reached the half way point of our trip. Needless to say, the joy and merriment :) that we each felt to have simply left our sadness behind was well worth the immense amount of frantic preparations and scurrying about to simply make it out the door at all. We're happy to be in the midst of dear ones who we love and who bring so much joy to our hearts. Healing will be well underway in their company.
{ funny }
This photo speaks for itself :)
{ real }

This is a photo of me and my pup of 11 years. Rosco passed away on Tuesday. Sadly, we had to intervene. I never imagined that would have been something I would ever have to do, but, it was. It was an amazingly powerful day. I could get into all the details of the whys and hows and what brought us to the point of no return, but really, there's no point. The only thing that matters is that his passing was truly beautiful. He came to me at a mere 4 months old via a pit bull rescue group. He needed a lot of immediate care and I was more than willing to give it to him. In return, he was the man of my house for many years. He was the guardian and protector of my children and me. He would stay awake at night and keep guard and then sleep most days to be ready for the children in the afternoon. He loved walks in the woods and mountains. He didn't fancy water much but would tolerate our insatiable need for the river and creeks around our home. He traveled to Block Island and Kentucky many times and  to NYC  on a weekly/bi-weekly basis for many years. Rosco won over the hearts of my parents. my father in particular. He called him Waldo because we were always asking "Where's Rosco?" because at my folks he could go and go between creeks and meadows and wander to his heart's content. His life meant so much to our little pack. Even as he aged and withdrew more and more, his sheer existence meant we were whole. Over the last few years he didn't travel anymore, he didn't spend his days wandering. He spent them in loving devotion to simply being present, for us. He chose to continue his life based on love alone. I have so many beautiful images of him now; his fur is clean and shiny and full, his smile is big and his eyes are bright.
This song came to me out of nowhere this last week. I was immediately drawn to it without really knowing the words. My 5 year old wanted to hear it over and over, and so we listened. When Rosco passed, all of a sudden, the words clicked. I highlighted the parts that really resonated with me quite deeply. Part of the images I have are of him sitting in a meadow, looking my way, waiting. Just waiting, for me. And I believe he will be.......
Well, I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of darkness
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun
But I'll kneel down,
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down,
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step
And relent

Well, you forgave and I won't forgetKnow what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way shake the excess

'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart

So tame my flesh
And fix my eyes
A tethered mind freed from the lies

And I'll kneel down,
Wait for now
I'll kneel down,
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Meet Flora and Blossom

Good Monday, friends! I'd like to take a moment and introduce you to my darlings, Flora and Blossom. These ladies will be sent away to my buddies in a peg doll swap that I'm participating in started by Margaret over at We Bloom Here. This is my first swap and I'm so excited!!
Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. ~ The Koran

Hi! I'm Blossom :)
Hi! I'm Flora :)


Friday, March 22, 2013

For Little Hands:: Pysanky

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.

Easter is just around the corner and we've been working feverishly to create some beautiful Pysanky eggs for our Easter tree. We are planning to get away over the holiday, but traditions run deep in our family. Regardless of where we'll be celebrating, our home will continue to hold the preparations we've set; the essence of our honor to the Lenten season and the newness and comfort in knowing that with love and forgiveness all things are possible.

Pysanky is a beautiful and meditative way to decorate eggs for Easter. It requires patience and a gentle hand. I have found, that for the littlest hands (1-3 year olds) beeswax crayons are a safer option for the resist part, instead of the hot wax and a hot kistka. The dying can remain the same but with a bit more adult assistance. Charlotte was 4 when she used her first kistka. I sat right beside her and showed her all the hot parts of the process. I sat closely to her and did my best to help her avoid any spills of hot wax. It was the look on her face when she dyed her egg, with each dipping of color it was if magic was happening right before her eyes. And it was!

The process of Pysanky requires some specific tools::

~ Natural beeswax blocks
~ Kistkas (medium size works best for little hands)
Kistkas are the tools used to draw the melted wax onto the egg. The more modern ones have plastic handle and a brass cup with a spout. 
~ Egg dye in various colors from light to dark
(we have Mason jars filled with yellow, orange, pumpkin, pink, red, scarlet, light green, turquoise, light blue, royal blue, and purple)
~ Lit candles to heat up the kistka and melt the wax of the egg when completed
~ Eggs, blown out or not (the ones left with the yolks will eventually dry out over time)
~ Rags for soaking up the dye and wiping of the hot wax

There are many wonderful books available that will give you the run down and even step by step instructions for designs. This is not an instant gratification project. It takes much time and patience. An egg can take a whole day or more depending on how intricate the design. 

To give you an overview of how Pysanky is done::

First, draw your basic design on your egg with a pencil. Then, you heat up the kistka in the flame of a lit candle. Scoop up some beeswax into the cup of the kistka, and begin drawing the first bit of your design onto your egg. These first lines will be white when you're finished. Then you dip your egg into the first light color of your choosing. You must go from lightest colors to darkest. Each line drawn with wax after you've dyed the egg will be the last color you dipped. I hope this makes sense :) Pysanky is basically wax resist/batik style egg decorating. If you haven't tried it, you must! Find a book that inspires you, and have at it! The heirlooms that will come from the creations you make will be worth the time and energy learning this technique. 

There is a bit of a disclaimer I will attach to this. When committing to Pysanky egg dying you are agreeing to take a risk of heartbreak if an egg should break, especially after hours of work and prayer have been poured over its creation. I find that this process reminds me of the ebbs and flows of living; how I might have worked so hard at something only to have it fall apart or with great effort and care I might have been afforded the honor of seeing my passion come to form, but in the end, the lesson I come away with is that nothing is mine to keep, only to nourish and love. I can tend to, breathe life in to, and gently care and provide for this little gift but there is a path that belongs to the process, and it's not mine to control. 

You have to take risks. We only understand the miracle of life when we allow the unexpected to happen. ~ Paulo Coelho

I wish for you all a wonderful week of preparations for the Easter time upon us. I would love to see and hear all about your egg dying eggstravaganzas (I couldn't help it!!!). If you have pictures you'd like to share, post them to our Facebook page. I will add them into the Shared Inspiration album. 

Spring has sprung and Easter is near,
 Bringing about laughter and cheer.
Be merry, be light, and prepare the way,
To honor and welcome the newness of each day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter
{ pretty}
Pysanky eggs. They are so pretty. For the past few years we've really delved deep into creating pysanky eggs. Kiki and Seri are still too young(they participate along side us in other ways) but Charlotte and the big kids love it. It's very meditative and when we're all sitting at the table, candles burning and the aroma of hot beeswax fills the air one can't help but fall into the reverence.....the quiet prayerful state. With each stroke of the kistka, with each design created, there is meaning beyond our knowing.
{ happy }

This little bean....her little love lights up our lives in so many ways. It's her smile that strikes deep, and those piercing blue eyes. She's got a direct shot to our heartstrings. Seraphina's new favorite spot is in the backpack. I was unsure of how she'd do looking forward from behind as opposed to snuggled in front by our hearts but, so long as she's bundled and slathered in peet and lavender oil, she seems to do fine. She is our HSP (highly sensitive person) so a lot goes into making sure she is protected on every level imaginable, even for something as simple as going to the grocery. All of that aside, this little lass is one happy little bugger.
{ funny }

Charlotte has been big into babywearing lately. I was calling and calling her for breakfast one morning and finally, after like the fourth time, I wandered in and discovered what she was up to! As I snapped the picture she was calling back "Hold on, Mama! I'm trying to tie my Moby!"
{ real }

It's really Spring. We've been having an assortment of visitors to our bird feeders over the past week or so. This is our first visit from the Titmouse. Aren't they sweet?! I could stand at that window all day and watch the busyness of it all.
"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Friday, March 15, 2013

For Little Hands:: Maple Sugaring

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.

How each the Whole its substance gives,
each in the other works and lives!
See heavenly forces rising and descending,
their golden urns reciprocally lending:
on wings that winnow sweet blessing
from heaven through the earth they're pressing,
to fill the All with harmonies caressing.
~ Goethe
We missed last week's For Little Hands as well as all of this week due to so much busyness that has crept up kind of suddenly. We found ourselves in the midst of needing a new car. We knew we'd need one, eventually, but all at once it became quite clear we needed it sooner rather than later. Much of my time and energy went into researching, finding, and surrendering to the process. We didn't have much money to spend on a "new to us" car and being the family size that we are we were finding that affordable options were limited to a certain style vehicle. We finally found the car we could see ourselves in. It was within our price range, could hold all seven of us comfortably, needed minimal work, was a bit higher on our hoped for mileage but in the end, and after hours of research on my husband's part, we felt this particular vehicle would be our best option. Like Kiki in the photo above, we took a leap of faith and just let the process guide us, making decisions as we needed to along the way, and simply sailed through it. Anyway, it made for a very quick week!

The community Maple Syrup evaporator
This week also found us in the midst of Maple Syrup season. Living in an intentional community provides us many opportunities to jump in and help create our experiences. The process behind maple sugaring is such a beautifully in tune expression, children love it and get so much out of the process. If you live in an area where you could visit a farm that taps their trees and processes for maple syrup I highly recommend you try and visit. From beginning to end it's such an enlivening experience; the vitality and connection to the natural rhythm around you is palpable.
Seraphina has been enjoying more time outdoors as her health strengthens. Her new favorite spot is in the backpack!
One of the best parts of maple sugaring is collecting the sap. We've got about 20 or so trees tapped here so there is more than enough for each child to go around with a collection bucket and collect the sap. It's such a sweet wonder and the look of awe and excitement from the children as they open the lid to the buckets, discover the watery sap within, pour it into their bucket, and then, of course, sneak a taste of the sweet sap from their bucket. Children know the reverence and respect this process deserves. They're so joyful and fully immersed in the experience. They're gentle and loving.
The littlest hands can help by finding the sap buckets on the tree, they can help pour the sap into the catch buckets, they can help carry the sap-laden buckets, and they can help by simple smiling and loving the process; running about, laughing and playing and reaching in, over and over again, to taste the sweet sap.

It's an "all hands on deck" experience. Many hands make light work.

One of Kiki's favorite ways to help was by holding on to the sap collection bucket and sneaking tastes
of the sap when she thought I wasn't looking!

Full to the brim soup pot full of partially evaporated sap
After a few days of evaporating the sap we each went home with a soup pot full of mostly evaporated syrup to finish on our stove top. This part requires patience.....littles might have a hard time waiting especially with the long awaited gift being so close they could taste it! When I found their patience being tried, I reminded them of all the hard work that went into collecting and preparing the sap, the fun and community that was built in the experience, and then...I offered them a taste of the almost ready syrup.

Reduced by over half after 3 hours of cooking

After 3 hours of finishing we ended up with 2 full quarts of syrup and an immediate request for pancakes for breakfast the next day!
We went to bed with the taste of what our beautiful Sugar Maples have provided for us, the satisfaction of hard work behind us and the promise of more in the next few weeks. We all felt tied more closely to the land that surrounds us and gave thanks for the abundance.
In what ways do you honor the natural rhythms around you? How do you plug in and connect to the land that surrounds you?

Friday, March 1, 2013

For Little Hands:: Rainbows

A lovely rainbow, see it span,
So brightly shining o'er the land.
It is so bright, gold, green, and blue.
I'd like to climb it now with you.
~ Painting song from Charlotte's Waldorf kindy.
Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
We encountered the most beautiful rainbow earlier this week and it still has our heart. It's been mostly gray here this week, lots of rain and slushiness.....we thought it was a great idea to bring some rainbow energy into our handwork activity for today.  
I brought out all of our wool roving and together we pulled out all the colors of the rainbow:: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. I let Kiki just mix it up and play with it how ever she saw fit.
Then, I had her spread the wool all over a piece of felt that was the shape of a circle, about 8 inches in diameter. 
Then, we slathered it with dish soap and began to felt it very, very gently.
Here is a great link to Rosy ~ Posy on wet felting a picture scene. We didn't have any netting or mesh so ours didn't turn out exactly how we'd hoped......but, we made it work for us :)
To help keep our felted wool attached to our felt piece (because we didn't have any mesh to protect to wool, we couldn't really rub it vigorously enough to help it felt to the round felt piece) we made some shamrocks to sew to our rainbow.
Here is our finished rainbow wall hanging. You can see where the wool felted itself but not to the felt backing. It's still beautiful, though. We hung it up next to the littles kitchen space, right at eye level. Kiki stops to look at it whenever she passes by it. It's a lovely splash of color against the gray, dim light from outdoors.
Wishing you all days full of color and whimsy xo

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