December 26, 2013

Christmas Crafting

The gifts are all distributed, so it's time to share what Manda Claus crafted!
I made Mr. Cool a new red hat:
I made Lincoln a slightly off Spock Monkey,
And Mr. Cool and I crafted him a Lego table:
For my dad, nephews, and friends I made fancy pillowcases--the blue cowboy fabric was one my mom and I had made together:
For all my related ladies and friends, I made Chapstick cozies:
I made ornaments:
I knitted bracelets for my knitting posse and sister:
I knitted a hat for my ninth nephew:
Stuffed some stockings with play dough building kits:
I crafted Cinderella sculpture hair bows for my niece, and sewed her Cinderella aprons:

Whew!  Manda Claus is tired!

December 15, 2013

Ramblings on my Mom's birthday

Today would have been my mom's 63rd birthday--I loved her birthday as a child because it meant only ten more days until Christmas!  I don't think mom necessarily loved having a birthday so close to Christmas, although it did lead to her name, Joy. Today in church we lit the candle of joy for advent--I misted up quite a bit--it felt like a birthday candle, and a reminder of her deep belief.
A friend passed along this picture from my parents' wedding invitations--I love how young and gorgeous mom looks.
I have a little tree filled with ornaments mom made--this time of year feels very filled with her presence.  Decorations, recipes, and dates are intimately connected with her.  I think this will always be true, but hopefully the bitter will continue to leach out, leaving only the sweet.
I have been sewing lots of gifts on my mom's Bernina (sewing machine) this month--she was so amazing at sewing, and I am improving.  I miss having her help, and admonition for my corner cutting.  It is lovely to sew on her machine, though, to have a connection to something she touched and created with.
I have seen almost every sunrise this year--sometimes I wake up and watch them and then go back to bed--and every one is a burst of hope and renewed joy.  I love you, mom--thank you for the joy of Christmas and life that you nourished in me.

November 25, 2013

Our Fall Adventure, Part 4: Capulin Volcano National Monument

On the advice of Mr. Cool's brother, we made a fairly short detour from Raton, NM to visit Capulin Volcano.  I had no idea that that part of New Mexico had been rife with volcanos--and we had a great hike--we had the volcano all to ourselves!  The volcano had a lovely shelter built in the 1930s, and a winding road initially carved out with plows and livestock.  We managed three stamps in our National Park System passports this trip, and each one was amazing in its own right.  I'm not sure if Lincoln will remember this trip, but hopefully we can show him the stamps and trigger a faint recollection!
Lincoln near the top of the volcano--overlooking the vent (and parking lot!)
View from the top of Capulin--you can see Baby Capulin, a smaller cinder cone volcano.
Volcanic rock near the vent.
The 1930s era shelter, built with bricks of volcanic rock.

November 23, 2013

Our Fall Adventure, Part Three: Scottsdale

The main part of our trip was spent relaxing in the best place to relax:  a spot known for retirees!

We spent a lot of time in the pool--Lincoln swam for ten straight days!

We commemorated our trip to Arches in Lego.

We visited the Phoenix Children's Museum--Lincoln loved the forest made of pool noodles!

We rode a train and carousel!

We enjoyed our time as a family--this was our first long trip that was just the three of us, and while we did get a bit tired if each other, we also had a lovely time!  And we got to eat this lovely thing at Oregano's!

November 14, 2013

Our Fall Adventure, Part 2: Montezuma's Castle National Monument

I remembered stopping by this beautifully set cliff dwelling when I was a little girl traveling through Arizona--and I was pleased to find it as simple and lovely as I remembered.  
This is the main building that remains--not huge, but well-preserved.  And the ancient peoples who lived here picked a gorgeous place to live--and we were lucky enough to visit before all the sycamore trees had lost their golden leaves.

November 12, 2013

Our Fall Adventure, Part 1: Arches National Park

Once again, as the leaves changed color, we loaded up for a family road trip.  This time, we decided to start with a park that none of us had visited--so we left at 4 AM for Moab, UT.  

I was amazed at the beauty--I has not expected simple stone arches to be so peaceful and powerful--but I am learning that I am drawn to that timeless combination of stone and sky.  I also loved how accessible each arch was--definitely within the wheelhouse if an anti-hiker and a 4-year-old!
First stop--Balanced Rock--which highlights the fragility of these time and nature-sculpted art pieces.
Mr. Cool and Lincoln's favorite hike was through a narrow crevasse and sand to Sand Dune Arch, which awed us with its colors.
An easy climb led us to Windows and Turret--more lovely arches, forming perfect frames for sky.
Early the next morning we set out on a longer hike to Landscape Arch, which is an amazingly fragile piece of stone.
On our way back, we viewed Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch.
A simply grand trip--and we had just begun our adventure!  (I will leave you with one of this knitter's favorites:  Sheep Rock!)

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Lincolnstein chose and helped design his own costume this year--it just keeps getting more fun!
He had a grand adventure trick or treating, and was even more excited to hand it out.  What a lad!

October 30, 2013

Halloween Craftacular!

Thanks to Pinterest, I had loads of ideas for crafty times at our preschool.  I did have to release any perfectionism, or desire for things to look just right.  Lincoln is more of an abstract artist.
Monster googly eye art--he drew some squiggles and was done.  I could have done this for an hour!
This was one of my favorites--paint chip pumpkins and Frankensteins.  The normal-ish ones are mine--Lincoln is the abstract artist.
Tape and paper mummy--and more googly eyes!
Q-tip skeleton--head by mom
We both got a bit frustrated with this spiderweb, although he was happy at the end.  It's time for some kiddie lacing/sewing practice.
Marshmallow ghost--he's saying boo!
We have a whole gallery of our Halloween art--and I've already got him looking forward to creating a Thanksgiving one!

ETA:  the artist added to the ghost!

October 15, 2013

It's time to wear wool!

I made my dad a simple cowl out of lovely Chugwater blue merino wool.
I made myself a bright rainbow cowl out of alpaca and wool yarn that pooled pleasingly.

I also finished my first pair of patterned socks--in Ron Weasly wool yarn, in a pattern called the Burrow.
I started these on my way to Alaska and finished them last night.  Five months is pretty good for me when it comes to socks!