Saturday, January 24, 2009

Swim Class

I only had a nap's duration to devote...I have had this "Swim Class" fabric in my stash and Ava squeals every time it makes a rotation in the " I will make something with this today" pile.
I only had about enough energy to make a pillow, so the Swim Class pillow was made, finished just as I heard a little "hi" come from the baby monitor, notifying me of a little waker.
Fortunately or not, depending on your outlook, the back pieces of the pillow cover came out a smidge small, so I dug in my stash and found these sweet little goldfish in a fishbowl buttons, I just had to have at the time. Perfect!
There was much inspection, button opening and delight when Ava came down from her nap.
The little swim class pillow is right at home with the other orange pillows on the couch...until next time during the nap!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wooly Felties for Babies

I have been in a conundrum about shoes for Ava. I myself have narrow, sensitive and strange feet and have always had "issues" with shoes-they never are comfortable or fit just right it seems. Alas, my little daughter seems to have inherited another of her mama's characteristics, she doesn't like to keep shoes on, none of them seem to fit and now that she is just walking, we need to address the shoe issue.
The gold loafers? Too big.
The brown T-straps? Almost too small.
I have been dreading this obstacle since I became pregnant. I remember sobbing, 30 or so weeks in to the pregnancy, in a hormone induced panic, "What about SHOES!?! How will we find shoes that fit this baby!?!" My husband pretty much felt that we should cross that bridge when we got to it.
Well, we're at the bridge my dear.
I am starting with indoor shoes, as we have an old house with hard wood, chilly floors. I have had the distinct pleasure of wearing a pair of felted wool slippers, made by a friend of mine, every day for the last few months. I do mean every day. My feet would not have survived without them. So it occurred to me that I could probably knit a similar style shoe for Ava to wear inside so that her feet stay warm. I will put some puff paint dots on the bottom so she won't slip, but my first attempt at felting went pretty well.
We won't discuss that this pair of slippers originally started out as a pair for myself, and as usual, somewhere in the pattern, I went terribly astray and they ended up way too small. Never one to throw in the towel, relentless, my husband says, I decided to try felting this little mistake to see if they could get small enough for a 14 month old.
Voila! They needed some embellishment...
I whipped up a little pink flower and threaded raspberry yarn around the foot opening so that they can be cinched up a bit if they are a bit big at first.
When Ava woke up and was about to eat breakfast, she realized the delight of having new "shoes"- a feeling she may feel again and again over her lifetime. Funny how if you are a shoe girl, you are from very early on. Without provocation I should add. Well, maybe there has been a little...
Now if only I could figure out a way to fashion a warm, water resistant, outdoor winter boot for a baby...Or do I have to say toddler now?!?

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Worthy Wedding Mention-Flowers

I am very excited for a friend and colleague, Emily Carter of Emily Cater Floral Designs. Emily has had two very big events occur in her life recently: she started her own floral design business after over 12 years in the industry and she welcomed her second daughter. I am always inspired when a fellow woman in this industry achieves such great things in her life and her business. What a busy 2008 Emily had-when I spoke with her recently, she was very calm and at ease, which impressed me as I know I would have exuded a bit more frantic energy, had I just wrapped up a busy wedding season, while pregnant, opened the doors of my new business and was weeks away from having a baby!
(All Photos in this post are from Emily Carter Floral Designs web site)
Emily and I have done several weddings together and at each wedding, she was calm, professional, and kept a sense of humor-all critical for service providers in the success of a wedding. Emily's work is beautiful, creative and lush, and I have found that working with her is a treat.
The criteria I use in helping clients choose vendors that will best suit their needs, is strongly influenced by a vendor's capabilities and what they are like to work with. I certainly can't put my reputation on the line by referring someone who is anything but professional, kind, honest, capable, personable and emotionally vested in their work, and the client and I only want my clients to have great experiences with the service providers they choose. I like to think of the wedding team I help to assemble, as a little family, adopted by the client to help them create a meaningful, personal and successful event to celebrate their marriage.
Each client is different and their needs are very unique to them-Emily just gets this. Emily listens to each client and helps educate them on the specifics of the style and types of flowers they tell her they like, so that the design process involves the client. Many times, clients come to a floral meeting with some magazine photos or some color ideas, but aren't yet able to articulate the specifics and aren't sure of what they need until the floral designer helps them through the process.
That process takes a trained eye, an expert knowledge of materials, flowers and their peak seasons, along with open ears that really listen to what the client is saying. Emily has this ability to listen to a client and understand what they need, pairing their input with her professional and artistic abilities, her work exceeds expectations. Clients leave a floral meeting with Emily, excited, empowered and educated about the design and decor that Emily will provide for their weddings.
If you have upcoming floral needs for your wedding I encourage you to contact Emily, she is a dear and kind person with exceptional talent and you will enjoy the process of working with her!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ava's Second Photo Shoot

I am so excited for a friend and colleague of mine, Sharyn Peavey to be coming over this Sunday to photograph Ava again! We had fun at Ava's 6 month shoot and the pictures that came out of that several hours are so scrumptious, I couldn't really decide on which to have printed, so I had about 80 4x6 prints made so I could look at all of them. I am hoping to have some sense of control over myself after this photo session, and actually be able to pick one or two photos to enlarge and frame. But in reality, I love Sharyn's eye and the way she captures people and light so much, that I am not sure I can choose just a few shots.
(Photos from Sharyn Peavey Photography web site)
It is fun to have a personal shoot with someone who you usually only work with professionally, for a client's personal event. Our first shoot was a good opportunity for Sharyn and I to talk and be ourselves and get to know each other better. Sharyn being a mommy too, and one who owns her own business, I feel like we have a common thread-it is comforting to spend time with another woman who understands how your shoes feel, and what you tackle everyday, you know!?!
Sharyn makes us feel comfortable, not self conscious, as I usually am in front of the camera. When Sharyn climbed up on my bed in her socks to get some pictures of Ava and I from above, I knew this was a woman of my own heart, so passionate and down to earth at the same time-can't wait for Sunday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

What do You want to Have, Do, Be?

Maybe if I write this here, it will be real and I will have to scrupulously hold myself accountable to attaining these goals. That is what is missing from my new life: Goals. Of course I have everyday goals to keep my daughter fed, dressed, intellectually and emotionally stimulated, hugged and kissed and rolled around on the floor with, well rested and happy. And there are the daily domestic goals of keeping the floors clean, the wood stove burning, the refrigerator and cupboards stocked, the laundry at bay and the dusting, cleaning... and ("AND", not "but", I must remind myself, because I really wanted this and I chose it) those are the only real goals I have had for the past 14 months. I have spent a wee bit of time examining where I am, who I am and what I want to achieve. Not only as a mother, a wife and domestic goddess , but as a woman, a human, a wedding planner and a business owner. I am making goals for this year, not for the rest of my living days as I would have done in the past, but just for these next 12 months in front of me. That should be a good start. I am reminded of an invaluable lesson from one of my former mentors, Michael Shultz, who always asked me to ask myself, " What do you want to Have? What do you want to Do, Who do you want to Be?" whenever I went to him a bit stuck. Ahh, respect those who help you help yourself-he is still on my personal board of directors ten years later. One of the wisest and smartest (there is a difference) men I have ever met. Really- in the top five. Wise and smart way beyond his years. This brings me to a list I have made of what I want to do, what I want to have and who I want to be in the coming year. I am a bit scared to write this here, it seems quite personal, but part of this for me is to convince myself that we are all connected by similar threads and that being afraid of yourself or your goals or that others will judge you is for sissies. I do not want to be a sissie this year! In no particular order: Who I want to Be: Fearless Adventurous Compassionate Strategic Spontaneous Sassy Successful Confident Capable Tough minded Organized Determined Stylish Fulfilled Positive Passionate Fair Forward thinking Happy Curious Realistic Funny Patient Loving Ready Strong Myself What I want to Do: Open my heart and mind to possibility Stay connected: to people, the wedding industry, style & color trends Define what makes my business different, newsworthy Decide how to show others how my business is different, implement that plan Write a work schedule for each week, including planning time for the big picture Tour 15 venues I haven't worked with before Read, read, read: magazines, blogs, books, newspapers...Read to learn and stay connected Introduce myself to 50 new people Design and produce 3 fabrics Publish the book I wrote for Ava Finish a knit sweater (at this point I am shooting for just one!) Plan a trip to Bar Harbor Take Ava out into the world to see, hear, smell, taste, explore and learn about life Swim in Echo Lake with Chris and Ava Have a cup of tea during Ava's nap. Hot when it is cold, iced when it is hot Take a soaky bath once a month-to make the time for me to think and relax Be active-weekly exercise commitment Be true to what I believe and my values Rekindle my relationship with my husband-um we did hang out together a lot before we became parents and we kinda liked each other a lot-need to make time for us again! Complete the restoration of our vintage camper (Oops! Did I just spill the beans!?! I promise more on this later and a whole separate blog will be unveiled for the process to be shared!!) What I want to Have: A sense of Wonder A healthy child A happy child A happy husband A strong marriage A finished camper A tidy house An organized workspace Peace of Mind A positive impact on those around me A clean garage Faith in my abilities A financial plan Belief that all the wonders I seek are within myself A professional haircut ( I appreciate my husband's artistry with the scissors, but it has been almost 2 years-I need a professional!) A clear vision for the future of my business, without self imposed limits A closet filled with only clothes that I wear. Buh-Bye maternity and size 6 items! (See realistic, above) Hope for the future Guts This should be a good start. Now I will go about defining HOW I will ride out to meet these challenges. This next part may take me a bit of time-but now that I have the goals written, I should be able to make a plan and then just work the plan. Whew. I have some work to do!

Polka Pocket Patch

There is this little, sweet yet slightly grown up and sophisticated sweater in Ava's wardrobe that recently succumbed to some, umm...toddler terrorizing. Well, in her defense, there was a loose thread of yarn poking out, how could she resist?
Where there once was a little pocket, there grew a gaping hole because, I, master of all I attempt (ha-ha!), thought I could detach the remainder of the said pocket and sew it back on. Which probably is possible and likely has been done before. My attempt produced a large hole in the actual knitting of the sweater itself and once I patched that up with some unsightly sewing, I realized that the little pocket had outsmarted me.
I turned to a new best friend of mine, double sided interfacing. I stuck a circle patch of this cute little quarter yard I recently acquired, on both the inside and the outside of the sweater. Now I have only to zig zag stitch around the exterior of the patch and Ava will have a custom and more interesting version of her old sweater. I mean does a 14 month old really need to have 2 pockets in which to carry her personal affects!?!
I think not.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Well I didn't exactly envision ringing in 2009 with a vomiting 14 month old. Not exactly. It was my first time with a vomiting child, other than the innocent and not so scary "spit ups" of my daughter's infancy. At around, oh, 4 a.m. when her crib was stripped to our last set of sheets, and us to our last sets of jammies and towels, I felt pretty rehearsed, prepared even, for this bout of the stomach flu. Graphic, I know, but if you have children you will understand, if you don't, please use your imagination and then forgive me!
How heartbreaking to see your child so sick and so helpless. I think I went into auto pilot mode. My poor squeamish husband stood by, wads of waiting baby wipes in both hands, trying to clean me up as I had to remove layer after layer of clothes with each wave. He was a bit pale, now that I think about it. Ashen even. But he stayed with us, changing over loads of laundry, cleaning me up, changing her crib and trash bags like a worker bee. All night. I guess he figured that if I was the one on rocking, puke catching and comforting duty, he could at least provide janitorial services. We were a brilliant team in those sad, endless and dark hours. I knew the day would come, but I didn't expect it on New Year's Eve! Good times were not had by all. Then for the finale, the next night I too was not well and the poor husband had to help two of us vomiting ladies. All night. Good thing he had a dress rehearsal the night before. Ahhh-vomit-makes for a pleasant new year, don't you think? The next day, my husband told me I handled everything, " excellently" I'll take that as a compliment. As excellently as you can handle such adventures I guess. I just did the best I could to keep Ava comfortable and clean and calm.
So on a lighter and less disgusting note, our wood stove is up and running! The Reactor we call it, and we have been sans oil heat for a few days, enjoying that radiating heat of a wood fire. Though I feel like I have a new infant in the house again, that needs to be fed every few hours, I am adjusting. Ava likes to yell down through the grate in the floor to the basement when her Dad loads the wood stove- "DAAADDY!!" she screams, until he comes over to the vent and looks up at her through the floor. "Hi!" she squeals as though it is the first time, every time. So funny.
Chris and I have conferences in the basement now, after Ava goes to bed, we sit around the wood stove in our 98 year old basement, (visualize here with me-not such a soothing atmosphere!), drinks in hand, sitting on children's school chairs and we talk until our cheeks are pink and we can no longer bear the 500 degree heat coming off of the wood stove. Is there a better winter feeling than soaking up all the warmth you can stand of a wood stove in your jammies, teeth already brushed and face already washed, and then racing up to bed and cozying in while your entire being is still toasty!?! Divine.
On installation day I was on Ava duty, and the boys were outside, up on the roof, in and out of the basement, measuring, measuring again, out in the street wrangling a 30 foot steel tube, scuttling up and down ladders, yelling up a hole in the chimney from the basement to the roof to communicate the position of the liner and such. It was all very exciting.
The success of this great project cannot be celebrated without the mention of many great people who had a hand in the process.
(Thanks Dad & Uncle Glenn for getting up on the roof and installing the 30 foot chimney liner to make this possible! Thanks Dad for the many limited availability hours since this summer spent splitting wood with us, thanks for your determination and expertise. Thanks again to our friends Ted & Vicki for generously giving us the wood stove! Thanks to our talented and trusty friend Matt for expertly fixing our chimney top and for cutting the hole in the base of the chimney for the wood stove on a very short and inconvenient notice!) You are all cordially invited to our lovely basement for refreshments and lively conversation around the warmth of the wood stove, any time.
And to leave you with a better image than I gave you at the start, here is a little friend that Ava and I have been feeding outside our kitchen window. This little cream dipped Junco comes for breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack at the same times that Ava sits by the window eating her respective meals and snacks-much to her delight. I love his little legs and his plump little belly-Ava screams in amazement every time she looks out from her high chair and there is this little gray -blue fellow, snacking away on the millet we sprinkle on the railing top. Juncos are ground feeders predominantly as I understand it, and they love millet. I encourage you to sprinkle a bit where you can see them, they will come and gorge and leave the sweetest little footprints in the snow. Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Final Bow

I have been very sad about a family death we recently had. On the Sunday before Christmas, my beloved Grandfather Ed passed away. I have been wanting to write about him, but needed some time to process and be distracted by the somber bustle of Christmas. It doesn't seem to soothe me that it "was time" and that he was ill and "ready". I miss him. I really missed his laugh at Christmas, I missed seeing my husband sitting next to Grandpa Ed, both eating way too many mixed nuts and sipping on too-stiff rum cocktails. I miss how Ed's whole face lit up when he saw you come into the room. I admired how he loved his family and friends and was always up for a project. What a dear man. I can't shake my sadness-I feel as though he is still here, but I just can't see him.
I am grateful for the many years I had with him, and that he was with us during some big milestones in our lives-graduations, when we bought our first house, our wedding, the birth of our first child, the growth of us grandchildren. What a great man, with great generosity, a great sense of humor, real compassion, and a work ethic that never quit. He always made me feel welcome and comfortable and he will be dearly missed. We love you Gramp Ed, you are in all of us.