Bloomed Skirt, Alabama Chanin

Alabama Chanin
Longtime readers might remember when I started this skirt, from the Alabama Stitch Book. I put it away for almost a year during a time when I had no luck making anything I could wear… nothing fit, nothing hung right (lots of disasters I won’t waste time sharing). But it was such an enjoyable project to make, all it took was me cleaning out the studio shelf it was on to remember how much I loved it.READ MORE

Summer Camp Pillow

Summer Camp Pillow
Emma leaves for summer camp on Sunday. Her first time, if you don’t count the two camping trips she’s gone on with her school, which were short and heavily chaperoned by parent friends who were a cell phone call away. This one is 4 days, and about an hour away. A perfect starter one (for me as much as for her).READ MORE

Books for Young Girls


Thank you all so much for the suggestions of good books for girls. I knew you guys would be a good resource. For some reason, I was struggling to find books that felt right. But now I have a ton to read through and suggest to our girls. I think I will give a list of these and to the moms and daughters, since we won’t get to all of them. Maybe group them by genre, something like that. That would help me, because I could spend all day in a bookstore, or on amazon, looking at what each book is about. Ten year old girls are still teetering in that little girl stage in my mind, so I don’t want to throw on something too heavy too early. Here’s the list (in no particular order)-
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (our group will be starting with this one)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Are You There God, Its Me Margaret by Judy Blume
Esperanza Rising
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
A Year Down Yonder
The Giver
Everything on A Waffle
City of Ember
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
The Lightening Thief series
New Moon Magazine (love this Heather, thanks!)
Where the Red Fern Grows
A Wrinkle in Time
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Outsiders
The Sign of the Beaver
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Bridge to Terabithia
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Mr. Poppers Penguins
Tale of Desperaux
James and the Giant Peach
The Cricket in Times Square
My Side of the Mountain
Caddie Woodlawn
Harriet the Spy
Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes mysteries
Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes mysteries
Blue Balliet’s Chasing Vermeer/Wright 3/The Calder Game
Tamora Pierce‘s books
Absolutely Normal Chaos
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Women
Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine
books by Deborah Ellis , Carol Matas or Kit Pearson
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight
Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voight
The Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale
Exiles by Hilary McKay
Girls in Love, Girls in Tears, Secrets, and Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson books (a British author, could
not see her mentioned on amazon)
Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
The Care and Keeping of You American Girl series (I, personally second this series, Emma has loved all
of these!)
Because of Winn Dixie
The Doll People        
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Me and the Blondes 
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 
Loser by Jerry Spinelli 
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimann
Betsy, Tacy and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace
The Mother Daughter Book Club
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of A Tree by Lauren Tarshis
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Framed by Frank Cottrell B

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume
Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
Blubber by Judy Blume
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Searching for Redbird by Sharon Creech
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The Daring Book for Girls
The Emily of New Moon trilogy by LM Montgomery
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
I received some emails asking for more information about our mother/daughter group, so I thought I’d include it in this post in case others have questions too. I am very fortunate to be very close to the moms whose daughters are in Emma’s 4th grade class. Most of the girls have been in class together since Kindergarten, and, in my opinion, have been exceptional as far as kindness and consideration towards each other. The social problems among them have been few and are usually handled easily, these are very easy-going girls. A few of us invited the moms in our class to create this discussion group with us. It would be a place to begin to talk about some of the many changes that will begin to take place (or has already begun to take place) in their lives…puberty… boys…social conflicts…body image…etc. One of our moms is also a teacher, one who is well respected within our community for her sensitivity and knowledge of social emotional lives of young children, and she graciously agreed to be our group’s facilitator. A group like this needs a facilitator. I cannot stress the importance of her role enough; she prepares what we will discuss and do at the meeting beforehand, keeps the flow of activity going, ever so gently pushes us all to try new things, and helps us establish our group “norms” or rules, which are:
1. Come in with an open mind.

2. What is discussed in the group stays in the group.
3. Challenge yourself (and I’m not wording that one right, but the idea is to try new things.)
We also ask that no siblings attend, that food or snacks happen at the beginning and then is put away (before we made this rule, food was a huge distraction for the girls during the meeting). We give the girls 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each meeting to run around, play, and catch up. The actual meeting itself is 1 hour, so an hour and a half total. That is the limit of the girl’s willingness to focus and keep in the discussion, at times we’ve even ended early for lack of focus. It should be casual and fun, but an active discussion, and we try to be sensitive to what is working.

My role is to simply schedule the meetings, which happen monthly and rotate at each family’s home.

We have been meeting now for a year. Some of the girls simply don’t like it and don’t want to come (a few have dropped out). Some of them love it and wish we had more meetings (that would be Emma’s perspective). We try to be sensitive to what works and doesn’t work, evaluate when we can with a moms-only meeting. We spent the first 6 meetings or so doing a variety of activities that helped us see our likenesses, or to learn new things about each other (“I didn’t know you did bird calls!?”), after that we slowly worked our way into topics such as “What does mean feel like?” and “What does a confident girl look like?”, which is really just touching the surface of what our group will eventually cover. These meetings are not to finger point at anyone (I don’t know why anyone would come if that were the case.) Book discussions work really well for these girls right now. We’ve had a guest author come and talk with the girls about her book, and girls who never spoke up were suddenly full of questions. A few of the girls told us that they feel most comfortable discussing while doing something (suggested maybe an art project, cooking, etc), less eye contact made them feel more at ease, so we’re going to try some new things. That’s why we’ve decided to stick with books for a more casual summer meetings, with a little emotional, social aspect in there for us to discuss.

But, to be clear, this is not a book group, but more of a friendship group. Our hope and our goal is to spend quality time with our girls on a Sunday afternoon, once a month, to gain insight into everyone’s feelings on the topics we discuss. I’m always surprised by Emma’s comments in these meetings, pleasantly so. I was an incredibly shy kid (so was Peter), my hope is for her to find her voice, to believe that she matters, regardless of what icky social things that may come up in the future (which they will, I believe that’s how we learn and grow at that age). I love spending this time with her and the other moms and daughters. I highly recommend it to any group of women and daughters who feel they could gain anything from a group like this. It does not have to be highly structured, or really be anything more than a meeting to be together. I am not an expert, I only speak from my small example. I stumble constantly as a parent, and it makes me feel good to know Emma has this support system of strong, confident moms in her life.

MayaMade Buckets, and Books

MayaMade buckets
I’ve wanted a whole family of MayaMade buckets for the longest time. They are so lovingly designed (repurposing old coffee bags into useful things like this is genious), Maya has a keen attention to detail and a great aesthetic. When she made her bucket pattern available as a pdf pattern, I clicked as fast as I could and tore through the house, looking for that coffee bag I had somewhere, but, alas, it has vanished. I do have home dec weight fabric though, and that works for these buckets too. So, I spent today with kids seemingly happy and content just staying and hanging around the house, and sewed up a few of Maya’s buckets. OK, five. The pattern is flawless, I know its been tested many times and it shows.READ MORE

Summer Vacation Rules

summer vacation
Hello first week of summer vacation. Let’s see, so far we have made our own bubble mix and bubble wands, made our father’s day gifts and cards, been to a concert, had very long (but fun) playdates, grilled out, played games, been to Portland, we’ve been to the water, limitless kid crafting, had some really fun music in heavy rotation, made cookies, painted wooden articulated lizards, filled up our Ipods and listened to them, and watched a couple movies.
Keep in mind we are wrapping up our first week. I am completely exhausted.READ MORE

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