Sunday, September 22, 2013


We've had this section of fence that's been falling down for years.  (I really wish I was kidding about that.  But I'm not.)  So, I fixed it.

Fences make such rich metaphors, and we use them in all sorts of ways.   

My body and mind worked together on this metaphor of fence building -- as in: strong fences make good neighbors.  You know, boundaries.

I deconstructed the old fence and removed the wide variety of screws, nails, and various fasteners used over the years to try to hold it up. 

I assessed what I had to work with and moved forward.

I got out my shovel and made level ground on which to put my fence.

I used what I had available.  I didn't have any work gloves, so I used my gardening gloves to keep out the splinters.

The boards were weathered, but still sturdy. I replaced the supports.

I took it bit by bit, letting each step guide me to the next, based on intuition and common sense. What would make sense here?  What is needed?  What can I do today?

I asked for help finding the right hardware even though I didn't know what things were called.  Whether I looked foolish could not be considered.

I put it all together with a sturdy tool I borrowed from a friend.

Is it perfect?  Nope.
Could someone else have done a better job?  Maybe.
Could someone else have done it faster?  Probably.
Is it sturdy?  Yes.

It's what was needed, and I did it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tiny Toys to Make & Use

Fairy gardens (and trucks, and doll houses, and race cars, and dinosaurs) need people.  We made these three summers ago from acrylic paints and wooden pegs we bought at Michael's.  I'm happy to see that they've resurfaced -- they're lots of fun!  

The guy on the left was lovingly named Oliver by one-year-old Linus.  Come to think of it, everything was named Oliver that year!

 The trick is to use a toothpick to paint thin lines and small hearts & flowers.

What else have we transformed for dollhouses and gardens with a little paint?  Drawer pulls have become toadstools.  Wooden plugs (screw hole buttons) have become tiny cupcakes and tiny toadstools.

It's getting to be that time of year when we spend more time indoors.  These are the bitty treasures that show up in lots of our fall and winter activities.  Fun for play, but also for storytelling, drawing, math.  And they're great in a "take along pouch" -- where I toss in a handful of surprises to play with while waiting.  Because there is always some waiting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Need to Get Away?

Made by friends, this beautiful origami ornament inspired us to share it with our book club.  We fancied it looked like a whimsical hot air balloon, transporting us over oceans and continents, just as it did Professor William Waterman Sherman and his fellow Krakatoans in The Twenty-One Balloons.

 Follow the simple directions for a waterbomb base.
Then complete your balloon.
(This site has clear and easy directions for so many kid friendly projects.)

 Thread your needle with embroidery floss.  
Be sure the eye of the needle will pass through the beads you'll be using.
Tie a bell onto the end of the floss (where you would normally knot it).

 String beads.

   Add your balloon by inserting the needle through the blowing hole 
and pushing it through to the other side.

  String more beads.

Tie it off by creating a loop, for hanging.

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Leaping Game Spotlight!

Happy to have on our shelf a game with a name that says it all: Leaping Frogs.  No need to sit still!  Funny frog bean bags to bounce off a lily pad trampoline - perfect for us all.  

(Feeling mathy?  Make up your own rules about what to do with the numbers.  Feeling crafty?  Make your own frogs.  And lily pads.  What would you build as a trampoline?)

We must have frogs on our minds.  We're listening to The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker and yesterday Book! Book! Book! by Bruss & Beeke was excavated from our book stacks.

Wonder what else will pop up?