Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DIY Alphabet Swing Toy

I just watched a really cool episode of B. Original on DIY! It's normally on Mondays, but we DVR it. :) Anyway, the segment I really loved was on making a wooden alphabet swing toy. you know, the frame with blocks of letters/pictures that spin/swing? So cool!  I haven't done any wood working since the 6th grade, but would be willing to try this! That is, if I can't convince my Mom to do it. :) she's an amazing carpenter! I'll have to post the cart/riding toy she made Angelo for his birthday! 

here's the link to the instructions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunny Day in the Yard

I watched my sister's dogs this weekend. These pics on Facebook are of all of us enjoying the sun, dirt, dandy lions and new leaves on Saturday. The captions on the pictures tell most of the story.  

I was taking pictures of leaves, beautiful, lush dandy lions, grass, etc. for a scrap book layout/art journal entry called "soothing sights of Spring". I'm always so relieved and greatful when Spring is finally here.  Winter is so long and depressing that when I see signs that it is further behind us, it does my soul good.  Saturday's temperatures felt more like summer, but I am not complaining.  It was a nice time, especially the day of a performance when Eric was out of town. My dear friend Libby was wonderful enough to come over and watch Angelo while I got ready and chase him at the theater during the show. Friends truly are flowers that never fade!

Morgantown public library story hour

Angelo had a good time at this. I thought it was ok. They did a cute craft. I think this was geared more towards the 3's in this 2 & 3 year old group. we arrived 5 minutes early and were the 1st there. the librarian wanted Angelo, who's just turned 2, to "sit and wait for the other kids". she didn't start until 10 after, so she expected him to sit and do nothing for 15 minutes. yeah, right. Then a good deal of the story included which birds were pretty and which were ugly. I actually think crows are pretty, but the librarian told the kids they were ugly. ... hmph! Angelo participated wonderfully when there was finally something to _do_ (pick out a bird, go to the table and tear open a package ...) We'll try again to see if it gets better. Angelo has a good attention span for a 2 year old, so I don't know how much I can tolerate hearing "now sit on your cushion"...

I instantly thought of a Mothering magazine article where a woman started her own story hour because the library one was ... well, like this one. had unrealistic expectations and was ... a bit disappointing.

More pics on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Belly Dance Fitness/Review class at Lakeview

Hey Folks,
Looks like we finally have something set up to fill the space until the next Basic Belly Dance class through the WVU Community Arts Program.

We'll have a Belly Dance Fitness/Review class at Lakeview (1 lakeview dr., morgantown, wv 26508) May 4, 11 and 18.  Mondays 7-8pm. Cost will be $30.  Register by sending payment to:
Kimberly Minardi
1008 Summers School Rd.
Morgantown, WV, 26508.

or, send Paypal payment to: Narah@Tribalbellydance.net for $30 (I won't ask for extra to cover fees this time since I'll need to know asap if we have enough people to hold the class.)

This is going to be a really fun class!  We'll review basic moves and variations, cover a few conditioning moves and have a really good time!  If you've never had any belly dance classes before, and would like to join us, that's ok. I do recommend that you take the basics class later to get more detail on technique, but we will still cover a basic breakdown in this class.

I know we've all been restless waiting for something to gel up, so I'm excited this has worked out. Please register as soon as you can so I know if we have enough to hold the class!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Angelo's First Trip to Niagra Falls

Angelo had fun on this outing. He loved seeing the seagulls and really wanted to "touch the birdie(s)" and "give [the stick he found] to the birdie". He enjoyed looking at the rapids and after a few minutes of looking at the falls, the wind really kicked up. He snuggled in with a shivery "woohoohoohoo" a couple times and then said "all done waterfall'. He had just as much fun climbing up and down a hill as he did with everything else. Aren't kids great for reminding us to enjoy the journey and not just the destination?

See more pictures on FaceBook!

Natural toy sites

A friend just asked me to recommend some natural toy sites and thought I'd share:

i've ordered mostly from www.rosiehippo.com and www.hazelnutkids.com  they have a range of prices; some not too expensive, some expensive. I've also ordered from www.threesisterstoys.com you get free shipping in the us with code MOTHERING ... from Mothering magazine ad 

the place where I've found the best deals on safe, non-toxic toys was the most recent order for Angelo's birthday (so I was looking in the 2 year old range instead of baby range, but probably still will find some good ones). I bought lots of Melissa and Doug toys (guaranteed non-toxic coatings, lots of wooden toys. really cool options haven't seen in other lines. occasionally there's a plastic piece, but are really good over all- pic is of Angelo with his M & D "Pets" chunky puzzle) from www.fatbraintoys.com They have a natural/organic _section_ with lots of M & D toys. be sure you stay in that section because they also sell "regular" toys. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Angelo's Easter basket

We observe Easter as a celebration of Spring; after reading some really cool information about why eggs and bunnies are so prevalent  during Easter, I was more excited to celebrate.  My friend Terri Dodd got me this awesome book that details ancient (especially Celtic) celebrations. It talks about how at this time of year, people would supplement their winter stores with bird's eggs ... so, they went hunting for multi-colored eggs. There are many Goddesses with names that are variants of Easter and at least one is associated with the rabbit, a symbol of fertility (as are eggs). 

This year I happily collected books and puzzles from the $1 bins at Target and at TJ Max (they had awesome Melissa and Doug puzzles and really cute books. One has a magnet set - you place farm animals and equipment according to what the pages say. This was a really big hit!). I also got some egg shaped chalk at Big Lots. According to another book my awesome friend Terri got me, (Enchantment of the Fairy Realm) Fairies are extra active this time of year with all the leaves and flowers coming up and such. I hadn't really thought about it much, but one of the books I got him was a garden Fairy book where the Fairies plant seeds. Another was "Rainy Day Friends" and since it rains so much in the Spring, I thought that worked out well; again, I didn't really think about it, but that was a cool "coincidence".  I also got some 2 for 3 books from Books a Million. I was pretty happy with the haul.  We both love books!!! You'll notice there was no candy in the basket, and Angelo and I had a great time without it. (hooray, no grumpy child after the sugar crash!)  

I put plastic bags at the bottom of a wicker laundry basket (after I emptied the shoes we were storing in it) and covered them with one of my bellydance scarves for "grass". Then I arranged all the books and puzzles around the Bunny, which just had to have center stage. :)  When I brought it downstairs, I called for Angelo, "Come see your Easter basket!"  Not having really explained Easter to our 2-year-old, my husband was a little quicker and much more Pied Piper with, "Angelo, presents!" That got his attention and he came right up to the dining room where he happily explored his treasures while I told him why certain items tied into our celebration of Spring. 

I love that he's in his pajamas in these pictures, because it gives the illusion that it was actually morning. :) Angelo sleeps with us and we all go to bed late, so nothing happens in the morning without tremendous effort.  (Even on nights we go  to bed early, he still wakes up around the same time).  There are a  lot of out-of-the-ordinary things that I gladly do, but once in a while, because there aren't many parents around here who operate like we do, it's kind of nice to have the illusion of "normalcy".  That's really just so people will leave us alone. I don't have any intentions of doing things like everyone else just because it is common; it just gets tedious explaining why what other people do won't work for us (because I don't believe in most of those "things"). We had an egg hunt after nap time; I'll post about that in a while.  Holidays have gotten so much better, so much more meaningful for me now that we have Angelo. He's brought a wonderful sense of ritual into our lives. It was a very good day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Angelo's Easter Bunny

Ha Ha, I didn't think the tail would be first on the picture line up! :)

So, this has to be a fast post, unfortunately, but I'll try to get in all that I want to say. there may be a part II. :) 

I bought a bunch of organic, naturally dyed (or color grown) cotton and cotton stuffing last year after all the crazy toy recalls. I'm into natural stuff anyway, but thought I'd just make him a bunch of toys instead of wondering if they were safe. That, and I thought it would be fun. We do buy from natural toy companies and have found great, safe wooden toys.

The bunny is based off of a "rag doll" that I was first inspired by on Crafters Coast to Coast on DIY.  It is really this doll, minus the hair and clothes, plus ears and a tail. Couldn't find that episode anymore on DIYnetwork.com, but this video also was something I referenced and is basically the same thing.  The differences are that I also drew out a pattern for the ears (pretty basic, not hard to do) and traced a jar or something else round for the tail (I think I used a plate for the head pattern.)  I used a sage and cream gingham for the body/limbs/outer ears/tail and a lush, thick silk for the ear linings. I was going for pattern and texture to make the bunny more interesting.  Pattern and texture are good for developing brains. :)

1. draw pattern
2. cut out material
3, sew up limbs and ears (lined)
4. make the face (I used felt for the eyes and a pink "faux fur" for the nose. they are actually glued. the whiskers and mouth are machine stitched
5. sew on ears. The ears were a little tricky when I had to turn the bunny right side out. I tried pinning them (folded down and pinned in the center of the face) while I sewed them, and that worked well for keeping them out of the seam on the head, but the pin broke and pulled a little hole when I pulled it all through turning  it. Sew the ears on, lining side in, over the face, before sewing the two head/body pieces together.
6. sew head/body pieces together, right sides together
7. turn all pieces right side out
8. clip corners
9. stuff limbs and body/head
10. use a hand basting stitch to gather the circle/tail about 1/2 inch in. knot to secure.  stuff tail and sew across opening a few times. (hand stitch)
11. use a hidden stitch to close up the body and limbs and to attach limbs and tail
12. take pictures and do a happy dance
13. give to little one
14. take more pictures
15. send me those pictures. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Collage card

oh dear, I feel like Indiana Jones being chased by that big rolling rock again.   Am catching up on sleep, laundry, email, event posts, group moderation and now blogging. So, I thought I'd post a project I did at the beginning of March for a friend's baby shower. This was for Rachel Benbow/Baraka, a friend I met in the Pittsburgh belly dance community who now lives in Greece. And her husband Cristos Demetrius. She moved from Pittsburgh to NY, NY and has been living out of the country for a few years now. I tell her her life sounds like a movie script and that her journal is rich! :) I love hearing of her adventures. This latest one, Motherhood, is sure to be the greatest yet!   

So, the green, linen textured card base is from an enormous scrap booking pack I got at Big Lots.  I inked the edges with copper ink. The base papers I believe are from K & Company. The first layer I simply cut a little smaller than the card. The second layer is torn and the edges inked with copper ink (mosaic collection ...  the petal inks you can get at Michael's. ). The stamp I got on Ebay and is from Stampington (Baby buttons collage). I stamped it on card stock and antiqued it with sepia ink (used a cosmetic sponge and ink pad), then cut it out along the border. The baby fairy post is from Art Chix (www.artchix.com) and antiqued with the little brown ink pad in Memory Makers distressing kit. I liked it better than the sad baby on the stamp.  the tag at the top is from JoAnn's.  I have a journaling stamp (the kind where you can rotate the letters to say what you want. fairly wide, very useful. got it at Michael's). the red fiber tied to the tag is from a big basket I got for christmas one year... Sam's sells these types of baskets, but I'm not positive that it came from there.  I used a glue specifically made for metal (got it at Michael's ... I've spent a lot of time there. :) ) to attach the three spiral paper clips, which I got at the local grocery store's office supply isle.  

It was very fun and therapeutic to make this. I hope to work on a "rag doll" organic cotton bunny tonight for Angelo's Easter basket. Many of the same pattern pieces I made for the pirate.  I've got to make something... I'm dying to! :)