December 03, 2011

Piper's Room: Finished

Piper spent an unexpected by us, planned by her, week at the farm after our visit for harvest dinner. In her absence I made a plan to clean her room, wash everything, vacuum really well, do a bit of organizing. In the process of that I got the urge to just finish up her room - at long last, as a surprise.

At three and a half, I find it important to have a space her own, in which she's made some of the choices. Choices about the things she cares about; wall color, fabric for her bed, having a blanket on the end of her bed to make it 'fancy', maybe an accessory here or there. 

Before the room was actually our's (her's), Piper had request a striped room. Mostly the result of paint chip love. Too many beautiful colors to settle on just one. Eventually, with a bit of persuasion she agreed on one color. Picking two shades of pink for one wall of stripes.

Piper has this amazing antique bed that was in the farm that her Gigi grew up in. When I was little that was where we, as a family, went on vacation. It wasn't a functioning farm any longer, rather a get-away for the family. As a graduation present Gigi gave the bed to me. A tall painted white ages ago iron bed with flowers on the head and foot boards and worn brass knobs. It was one of the best presents I've ever received. Living in a half story house for six years meant that use of the bed was temporarily handed over to one of my sisters at my parents farm. My dream, after having Piper, was to hand over the use of that bed to her. A bed for a princess.  Our purchase of this home made that reality. And she loves it.

To make the bed a major focal point of her room we choose the wall behind her bed for the stripes.

 I painted her old bedside table a dark teal for a fresh look. Which wouldn't be complete with out her stack of currently reading chapter books. One, On the Banks of Plum Creek, Piper and I are reading together a bed and rest time. What a special treat for us both. Piper is a book lover if I've ever met one. It's absolutely charming to hear her reading these books to herself.

Upon her request I found more art for her walls. A free printable from Feed Your Soul: the Free Art Project in an old frame I found in the basement.

A couple of weeks back she broke her piggy bank when she set her heart on buying herself an ice cream. She took the saying, 'break the bank' seriously. I grabbed a blue Mason jar from the kitchen and embroidered a bit of linen from a discarded pair of Zac's pants turning it into a new bank for her change.

A girl after my own heart! Granny chic. We found this doily at the thrift store for $.50 and thought we'd use it as a dresser scarf. Perhaps covering a bit of the wear on the top.

The sewer in me loves fabric. The scraps of fabric (or vintage tea towel in the large hoop) in thrifted embroidery hoops have been remade for each room Piper's had. The charm of embroidery has been a favorite of mine for some time now. I'm fairly new to it. But I was inspired by a few images I found while helping gather ideas for a girlfriend's daughter's room led me to making this little piece of embroidery for Piper. A simple dandelion blowing and her name. I did it at the same time as I did her piggy bank.

 A shelf left with the house holds a few pictures/prints, vintage blocks we're gathering to spell out her name, and a small vase filled with a collection of discarded guinea feathers (one Americauna feather too) she and I found at the farm this fall.

A project Piper and I worked on a couple of weekends ago was this cradle Zac's mom had given Piper for her 'kids'. It was in need a of a paint job. In some spare moments alone while Calder napped, she and I painted it with left over paint from our atelier. The whole time we worked Piper told me how OoOo and Chloe love teal and how they had wanted their bed to be painted. It's not a perfect paint job, but there is beauty in that imperfection. The next morning up before the boys, we made those girls a blanket to match their mama's with left over scraps from Piper's duvet and an old sheet.

So it's finished...for now. Decorating is always an evolution, as Piper has already reminded me of, saying she wants to add more pretty stuff to her room. Indeed, always more pretty stuff.

November 18, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. via

November 17, 2011

Fall Dinners

When it's cold and dark outside by dinner time, our normal mealtime candles feel so much more cozy and magical. Hope all of you are finding ways to make these shortening days with their dark evenings special.

November 08, 2011

Muffin Making

We had ourselves a little time; measuring and mixing and tasting and baking these delicious pumpkin muffins. Oh, we made a big mess. Messy, to the extent of Calder requiring a change of shirt and wash-up while the first batch baked. Baking with littles is always much messier than it usually is. Actually, pretty much everything done with Calder is much messier. Eventually, that won't be the case. But for now it is, and that's fine - we can clean up.

Now we'll be eating muffins all week.

November 07, 2011


The Madison chapter of sisters and I took the kids bowling Saturday night. Oh yes, we're that hip! We shared a pitcher of beer, bowled a game - and it was fun. Piper was very excited about it. Wore her tutu skirt and everything. Calder, as always, was a curious man. Taking all three of us grown ups to keep track of him. Bowling only kept his interest for a short bit. As I expected, being too small to really work that ball yet. He'd pick up a ball and say, 'hey-ee!' (translation: heavy) put it down and move along to what every else caught his eye.

Piper played the whole game. Mostly by herself. She'd lug her ball up to the foul line, get down on her knees and push the ball down the lane. Then lie down for the show. While the rest of us patiently waited out her ball's s-l-o-w journey. By the time it reached the pins it had such a small amount of momentum that it barely had the power to knock any pins down. Piper didn't mind, and celebrated joyously over every pin she did get.

She loved her ball. In between her turns, she'd stand guard over it at the ball return. Touching it, leaning on it, posing on it. Even going so far as giving the kids in the next lane over the evil eye so they wouldn't try to snatch her precious ball.

She was such a treat with her slow play and dramatic sequence of movements at every turn. A reminder to enjoy the game - as much as a mama with a two year old on the loose could.

After our bowling was done, Piper asked to play the claw game. Zac is the only person I know who wins almost every time at that game. Which was my excuse for not wanting to play. Although, in hindsight I would rather waste the fifty cents on her and I playing and losing, than have Zac play, win, and have to deal with the garbage toy prize we end up with.

Must remember to just enjoy the game.

October 14, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. via

October 10, 2011

Weekend Scenes

~ With family and friends, we celebrated Calder's life with us. ~

October 08, 2011

Calder Turns Two

Today Calder is two. Somewhat hard to wrap my head around that. Seems like just yesterday he shocked us to our core with his arrival. I have many unresolved issues regarding his birth. Ones that I hope not to let Calder know of. Surely he'll ask one day years from now, and I hope at that point I have all the right answers for him. One thing I have no unresolved issues about is the blessing that he is in my life, all our lives.

Calder is such a beautiful, sweet, smart and funny little boy. He has brought such joy to my life. Reminding us that our life is full of amazing, supportive, loving people to be thankful for. Blessing this mama with a relationship that Piper was physically unable to provide. A relationship that he shows no signs of being ready to give up for a long, long while. He's shown us how similar two kids can be, yet how immensely different they are. He's shown me the preciousness of a full nights sleep. This little man is quite the character!

Twenty four pounds and two years later, with out doubt we all love this little man with our whole beings. And he will continue to bless our lives.

This face, or some variation of it, is what we get when he says he's two. 

September 16, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. via

September 15, 2011


Before we moved into our house, I had a list (still have) a list compiled of projects and things I'd like to do in this forever house. Since we'd only been in the house a few times, not everything would work out as I had envisioned once we were actually in. One of those was a chalkboard wall. My littles, as most I'd guess, like chalk. At the farm there is a big, real slate, chalkboard in the kitchen. Used by all, for lists, notes, phone messages, and for small 'drawings' by visitors. Something about the process of drawing and erasing that is thrilling to them. I thought there was a section of blank wall in our new kitchen that I could paint up. As it turned out, that section was oddly shaped, and small, due to a couple light switches and an outlet. I kept it on the back burner, as I worked on other things thinking of an alternative spot. 

Then I came this post on a blog that is very inspirational to me, and I had my spot. Off our kitchen is a hallway with the back door. A door that was in need of a paint job - like so much else in our home. Perfect! A few weeks ago I went to work. In getting the paint, which is not no-voc like the rest of the paint in our house, I was happy to discover a tint-able version. In original planning I thought my choices would only be black or green. Moonstone (gray) suited me much better.

The kids, Calder especially, like it. He also thinks chalk inside is for writing on the floor. Which is coincidentally slate, but not that kind. Luckily, it washes easily. The eraser that is so popular with them however, doesn't clean very well. We've resorted to just wiping it down with a damp rag. And when I pass through I can focus on the one thing that is done in this space. Instead of the unfinished - well nearly everything. I like the little drawings I find there too!


With so much paint left, the possibilities floated through my mind. Then I remembered this I had found last summer when Piper was just starting to show real interest in chalk. At the time we were trying to sell our house and decided to forgo that project. We just happened to have a scrap of plywood left (which after some help from a very nice stranger boy while Zac was out of town I got home on the roof of our car) from the sandbox cover. Few coats of paint and a week later, we had another outside activity for the backyard. They did on occasion write on the part of the driveway that is in the backyard. But, as many of you saw, it's not the smoothest surface for drawing. 

 Sometimes I get so excited about projects for the kids, possibly more excited then they do. I was beside myself to show this to Piper and Calder after nap time. Calder indulged me - that sweet little mama's man.

September 13, 2011

Just Peachy

Old news, right. Really old. Canning that is. Lots of preserving of summer's yield all season long. With moving and apartment living I have yet to do much preserving this year. No garden, means no excess of anything, planned or otherwise. 

Other than my living at home years I've always done it alone. Which is fine, still a satisfying outcome. This year when a bushel of peaches ordered through my mama came in ready to use a couple weeks back. I packed up the littles and my jars at our first opportunity and headed to the farm for a group canning session. One really full day of work and a few hours on a second day - done. Three bushels of peaches in jars, pies or bellies.

Pictures by my papa. 
My baby brother seen in the first picture did not help, just caught in the picture as he snagged a peach (or three) to eat. I don't think I've had the pleasure of spending that much chatty time with my sister-in-law, and she's been around for some years now. It sure was nice.

Sure is nice to look at these lovelies too! Waiting to be joined by raspberry jam, apple sauce and pears. Fruity goodness to take with us into winter.

Totally not peach related...we came at just the right time to see the Monarch come out of its chrysalis. We had done this many, many times as I was growing up. I so wanted to share this with Piper this year. I combed the bike path near our apartment for a caterpillar on milkweed. Alas, I was looking too early - as they had only found their's a couple weeks before. I was elated when I saw the jar with a milkweed stem and chrysalis on the dining room table when we arrived. And over joyed when the butterfly emerged over night, that I could share this magic with Piper. Both kids stared and gently stroked the wings. Later, after enough practice and strength had been gained, my mama set it out on the porch and it flew away. Another of nature's amazing gifts off on its journey.