Thursday, November 24, 2011

A gratitude that is never threadbare.

On this day, I enjoyed this editorial.

Family, food, and hanging out in the kitchen are some of my favorite things, so this holiday always ends up being a cozy, fun, happy one at our house. And although "[i]t is not the feast we give thanks for, but our presence at it," I am also grateful for the eats. And I am telling you -- I would put any amount of money on this -- no person on this planet could possibly tell that this was a vegan pumpkin pie with a block tofu in it! It's the best pumpkin pie I have ever had.

I'm thankful every day for my Ben and my Bee, and we had a beautiful holiday today with family. What a fun day. The little girl learned how to throw a ball today, and she GAVE ME A KISS, kind of a real kiss, for the first time! My heart pretty much melted and dripped out my big toe. Of course, I'd been begging her to give me a smooch on the cheek for about a week, ever since I realized she had entered some kind of mind-boggling, mental-sponge phase of existence during which we seem to be able to be able to teach her how to do just about anything.* I know learning how to give mommy a peck on the cheek isn't, at this point, much different than learning how to clap, or wave bye-bye, but I don't care. I choose to confer meaning upon this particular baby trick. I choose to consider it an act of affection [requiring significant persuasion].

I hope your holiday, Dear Reader, was filled, too, with tofu desserts and reluctant baby kisses! Happy Thanksgiving!

* Except sleep.

How to make a paper flower garland,
plus birthday party recap

I keep meaning to write a little something about Bee's birthday party, a small but agreeable affair involving homemade cake, some magenta paper roses, and a handful of friends, neighbors, and like-aged toddlers. Now that I get around to blogging about it, of course, I realize that the first sentence of this paragraph sums it up compactly and completely. What else to say, except that we had a sweet little time? And that I am a lucky mama for sure. It's going to be a beautiful thing, watching these little ones -- Bee and her peers -- grow big.

Now. As for those cutie-cute paper flowers. What happened is, I made a rose garland for an inexpensive party decoration. (I'll tell you how below. It is really no big thing.) Ridiculously, I failed to get an acceptable picture of the finished garland, but I do have these pretty a priori pics of the paper flowers pre-stringing. They will do, I say. They made kind of a charming decoration in the dining room that day, and, nowadays, the roses are strung around the perimeter of Bee's white wicker bedroom mirror, a cute birthday souvenir that she would chew up at the first opportunity.

Here's how to make a paper rose garland.

You need:
One package of colored tissue paper, the kind used for gift wrapping.
A roll of green painters' tape ("frog tape").
A pen or marker. It's nice if the ink is close in color to that of the tissue paper, but a bit darker, so that your lines won't be visible on the finished flowers.
Sewing needle.
Green or transparent thread.
2 thumbtacks.
  1. Unfold the tissue paper. Lay three or four sheets on top of each other (you're going to be maximizing your cutting by cutting through several sheets at once -- time is money, people!).
  2. Use the roll of green painters' tape to trace circles onto the top sheet of tissue paper. Trace around the outer edge unless you want miniature flowers -- in which case, use the inner edge. Trace as many circles as you can fit onto the top sheet.
  3. Cut out all the circles, cutting through all sheets.
  4. Assemble the flowers. Grab four little circles, hold them together, and loosely fold in half. You're not going for a crease here... just sort of gently hold the circles in a folded-in-half position. Grab the center and twist so that the circles stay together.
  5. Wrap about an inch and a half of green tape around the twisted part to make a bit of a stem.
  6. Fluff out the petals!
  7. After you've made all the flowers you can stand, thread the needle and sew through each of the flowers. They don't all need to go on facing the same direction. In fact, it looks better if they're not too meticulously arranged. Don't overthink it.
  8. Leave enough thread at the beginning and end of the garland that you can tie a loop at each end. Use thumbtacks to hang. Do enlist somebody (do you have a husband or something?) to help you carry the garland when you're hanging it up. One human being at each end, please! If the thread gets tangled, you're in for several minutes of pre-party cussing.
And, postscript, I think an esteemed board of some kind should award me a Crafting Under Duress prize before the end of 2011, because I did a significant portion of this silly project* while holding a snoring baby in my arms.
* Not the part with the scissors.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Bee turned one! One year old! Oh, our girl. Sweet bunny of ours. What a very long and short time a year is, or at least such a year as this has been.

This little girl has really flowered in the last several months. Bee is radiant, and seems to be learning all the time (it's all happening so fast now!), and has developed what is clearly, and surprisingly, a fantastic sense of humor. Little girl! Where do you come from?!

To raise a child is to have a mystery revealed to oneself.

We gave Bee a couple of little presents for her birthday, including this great clickety-clack push toy,* and she shocked us by immediately standing up and taking several steps while pushing the thing! I mean, she's been pulling herself up and hanging onto the furniture (for dear life, both thrilled and nervous), taking only the occasional guarded step or two -- so Ben and I were astonished to see her just get up and go. It's further evidence that, as my friend Kara puts it, toys are an investment. It's really true. The right toy at the right time can be so great for a kid's development and for her enjoyment of life!

We did have a little party in Bee's honor, and I'll report on that sweet event, Dear Reader, before too long. Our household became Contagion Headquarters shortly after Bee's birthday, and we've all been feeling like a bunch of crap, on and off, for what feels like about a month. So I'm taking my good old time getting photos together and whatevers. For now: a couple pics of our gal standing around like it's totally no big deal.**

* The chomping/clickety-clacking is actually really soft/gentle/pleasant. Thank god the makers of wooden toys know enough to cover things in felt.
** Wearing a cardigan I made her AND a hat I made her. Bam!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A prairie life for me.

Well, Bee and I dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder for Halloween. Cute! Fun! Ben's mom made Bee's dress, and I bought her baby-sized prairie bonnet at the historical society (it's going to be next summer's sun hat, too... don't care if that's weird). For my DIY contribution, I knitted up a pair of barely-staying-on prairie boots (Ravelry link) for her. Two pairs, if I'm honest -- the first set was too small (I think I screamed, "noooooooo!" upon realizing it).

As for my own costume, it's more or less the same LIW one I've worn lo these many Halloweens... at some point I procured better boots and an amazing petticoat, and I did upgrade to the more historically accurate dress after that sweet Gunne Sax one* finally stopped fitting! Ironically, after my year of not being able to eat anything delicious, the Gunne Sax dress would definitely fit again... but I got rid of it when we moved. And at this point, I've invested enough dough in costume improvements (over the better part of a decade) that I'm basically locked into dressing as LIW every October for the rest of my life. Which is fine by me, especially since having a kid means I get to create a new costume each year anyway. Yes, soon enough Bee will be able to come up with her own costume ideas, and I like to think I'll be happy to help bring her concepts to life, but I figure I still have next Halloween to dress her however I damn well choose (because two-year-olds don't have opinions about things, right? HAHAHA). And I do have some thoughts (and also these other thoughts) on Bee's 2012 costume already...

Anyway, on Halloween, Ben,** Bee, and I went trick-or-treating with some friends. Since we didn't want any candy (Bee's too young, we're vegan, Ben is still eating last year's candy, etc.), it really amounted to visiting the neighbors to show off our prairie girl costumes. Of course, Bee, at a year old, didn't understand anything about Halloween. But she did understand that she was outside being trotted around the neighborhood (in the dark!) instead of getting a bath and going to bed, so she was pretty high on life. And the jack-o'-lanterns on neighbors' porches made her laugh, which made us laugh. Yayz! Halloween!

October being a holiday-studded month for us, I'll share with you next time, Dear Reader, a recap of Bee's first birthday party. Honestly, with all the birthdays around here, beginning in mid-October, it's ALL HOLIDAYS ALL THE TIME until the new year.

* Oh, that Gunne Sax dress. Man. I wore that thing frequently in college as a non-costume, with some Nine West boots. (A 1970s dress was already vintage back then.)
** Uncostumed. I've graciously stopped trying to convince Ben to dress up as Charles 'Pa' Ingalls, because, you know, we have to let our spouses make their own choices in life, right? Even if we think it's a TERRIBLE MISTAKE.