Friday, May 31, 2013

Simplify your life by giving this same gift three times this month.

Just when you are ready to relax and enjoy a few potluck cocktail picnic barbeques, you realize some of these events are actually stressful. Not only do you need to figure out an appropriate dish to bring for each situation (gluten free? vegan? peanut allergy?only grown in a 25 mile radius?) and how to dress (quirky fancy? overcast? bonfire? by the water in the evening?) you might also need to bring A GIFT.

To help you simplify the gift giving part of your life, I have just stitched up a fresh batch of key rings.

Each design is individually machine stitched on felt and backed with reclaimed leather. Sturdy yet supple, they make a classy gift:

for the graduate
 Leaving home for the first time, starting at a new office or just heading out into the world for new adventures, send them off with style or let them know they always have a way to come back home. Depending on how you present this one, it can be extremely poetic and sentimental or just a casual congrats for that co-worker or nephew who has finished studying.

for dad 
Nothing says Father's Day like leather and metal, something practical and sturdy that won't clutter up his zone. He'll think of you every day as he goes off to do whatever he does. (I'll have some more thoughts on father's day in my next post...)

for a guest you want to stay a little longer

Have a nice set of keys for summer visitors to make themselves at home. Or perhaps you want to make sure that special friend always has a place to park. (Did you like the movie Singles as much as I did in high school? If you missed this 90s romcom taking place in the Seattle music scene, just know that having a place to park was major romantic commitment innuendo...)Giving someone a key to your place really is a big deal, do it with some flair.

Buy a key ring or three at the market this weekend for $15 each and you will be ready with a remarkable little token for whatever situations June may bring.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

what you can learn from being blue in a parade (any rainbow would want you)

Every year Loving Space forms a human rainbow and walks in the Jr Ski-to-Sea parade. Our friend Olle invited us to be blue dragons with him. I feel like I've been saying No all the time lately to all the "good ideas" the boys come up with. But this one seemed reasonable and since Franklin will be starting preschool there soon I said "Yes."(actually I said something like," I don't have time to make any costumes, but we can wear some blue...")

But then I got nervous. Was I intruding on their special thing? Would we know enough other families? Would I remember their names? Would we be wearing the appropriate amount of blue? Would it be weird since Franklin doesn't actually go to school yet?  Would we have the right snacks? Was there a protocol?

Would they want us in their rainbow?

[Insert anytime you've felt that everyone else has it figured out, has the right credentials, knows everyone else in the room, has the right clothes to wear...]

I was half way hoping the event would be rained out just to avoid this imagined awkwardness. But mere weather cannot stop the insistence of young blue dragons. As I was zipping up my blue striped jumpsuit this phrase came to me:

why wouldn't they want me in their rainbow?!

I was a little shy at first. And then I had an awesome time waving and walking and being part of something really special. So that's my new personal pep talk phrase and you can use it too.  You can even imagine me in these surprisingly glamorous vertical stripes as I say it to you:

If you are willing to show up as yourself, with some spirit, any rainbow would want you.
 Show up.
 Let your color shine.

If you want to join my rainbow simply sign up for my monthly newsletter and shine on.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can you embrace plastic toys and still be a conscious parent?

I was going to write a post about Simplicity Parenting and how my classic moth and squirrel animals can fit so nicely into a natural nursery full of open ended play opportunities.

Then I looked around my actual house.

Then I saw this fabulous photo from Dosfamily that I joyfully copied above with Franklin (&Steeb's) toys.

And I knew there was a different story to write today.

I read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and was inspired.  To slow down and savor the rhythm of our days. To filter out the nasty world and protect childhood. To take a garbage bag to Franklin's toys, leaving only a few silk scarves, a hand carved gnome village and a clump of bees wax. If you are feeling overwhelmed, out of control, or generally frustrated with modern American parenting, Simplicity Parenting is a wonderful guide.

But I have to admit, I love clutter and collecting and the layers of life in all our stuff. There is something awesome about a mish mash of colorful characters all slightly different sizes, from different eras, none a complete set, making a weird diverse universe. I don't want to feel guilty about that.

I like toys. It's why I make them. If I had the skills and tools to make colorful plastic figures of my animals I probably would. But I have a sewing machine and a pile of cashmere. So I make what I make: fabulously huggable handcrafted critters with subtle personality and green sensibilities.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

tiger mother

Here's the piece Franklin and I submitted for MAKE.SHIFT gallery's collaborative kids/adults art show on Friday. We talked about making a tiger and drew some sketches. He isn't drawing figures yet, but was excited about doing stripes. So I had him do the surface design. Then he drew some circle-ish shapes for the face and body patterns. He also gave me direction like "it needs two legs on each side" which sounds obvious and a bit bossy, but is slightly different than my usual critters. So it really was a collaborative effort, different than either of us would have created on our own.

If you want to make animals with me, get your name on the mailing list. One of these days I'm going to start teaching classes again and newsletter subscribers will be the first to know.