Monday, November 30, 2009

Loving Hands

Nico and Birgitte

Recently at our local Waldorf School's Harvest Faire, I had the most wonderful opportunity to visit with my dear, dear friend Christine Schreier, the proprietor of The Puppenstube. Sometimes in your life, you are fortunate to meet people whose spirit touches you with warmth and whose lifeforce gives you so much joy...Christine is one such person. While many of you know her from the gorgeous wooden Buntspechte figures she carries in her shop, it is her dolls that I hold close to my heart. It's become increasingly important to me to have the toys that my children play with be made with loving hands. Hands that put love and care into their craft. Hands that want to honor this magical time that is childhood. Though hundreds of dolls have been birthed through her hands, you can feel her joy in creating each one.

Luca sleeps with his Star Child Baby

Recently Christine moved up north to Lake County where she is neighbors with the illustrious Bill Bluhm of Heartwood Arts. I had the privilege to meet Bill that day and I have to say, I was a bit star struck. Bill is the inventor of the building playclip, each one made by his hands, and the artist who creates beautiful gnome homes. Bill is a big, gentle bear of a man who is so incredibly thoughtful in his work. He is an artisan who creates toys that honor nature and allow children to fully explore where their imagination takes them.

Luca with one of his favorite toys, the hollow from the Heartwood Arts block set

These amazing artisans Christine and Bill, have begun collaborating on new toy designs and I was blessed to be the recipient of their first collaboration... the ferrynewcastle.

"The original and first ferrynewcastle for Marina by Bill Bluhm, 11/17/09"

This piece was inspired by a dream that visited Bill one night. When he woke the next morning, he set to work on recreating this vision and by the end of the day the ferrynewcastle was born. It is an incredibly beautiful piece of art that takes my boys away in their play to magical lands where little gnomes and fairies hide.

Christine and Bill, both of have years of experience of being toy makers, but more importantly also of being Waldorf parents. They are truly lovely wonderful people and it is reflected in the playthings that they create. There are many new designs in the works for the upcoming year and I am so excited to see what transpires with my dear friend and my new friend!

Much love and gratitude to you, Christine and Bill!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Dragon Boy and Me

41 sounds so old
I have a few grey hairs
More than a few pounds of baby weight to shed...

...but I also have an adoring, adorable husband
who makes me rainbow cake for my birthday
A little baby boy who lets me put goofy hoods on him
(and says "Mama" for the first time today!)
Two little boys who still believe that if they look hard enough, they will see fairies and gnomes
...and I feel like I have it all :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


*My brother made this really incredible video of our afternoon, I wanted to share!*

For the lovely, sun-lit day spent with family

For my sweet, funny boys who melt my heart and shower me with hugs and kisses

For my husband who is the heart and rock of our home

For my parents who though I am grown with children of my own, make me feel cared for and constantly remind me that I am a daughter who is loved

For my brother who reminded me today how much he loves me through his beautiful work

For my friends who support me and make me laugh when life seems too serious to be funny

For all of you for just always being present and caring...

I give thanks and gratitude

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving To You All

With Love,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Luca Bean is One!

Happy Birthday to our Luca Bean!

It's hard to believe that it's only been a year that you've been with us!

Our souls feel as if they've been joined for an eternity

Little boys shouldn't be as beautiful, sweet and as charming as you are
but you manage :)

...and we are joyful
that we are family

Happy, Joyous Birthday to Our Precious Boy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chasing the Light

Photography is new love for me. The camera and I only been acquainted for a year but oh, I do love it so. I love the stillness in the moment before the shutter clicks... I love the way I look at things differently as if framing a shot...I love how I see things through new eyes that finds the beauty in everything and I love the reverence I feel when a scene illuminated by natural light strikes a chord within...

I don't really know how to use the flash well, so I learn how to use the camera to catch the light in the way that I'd like, but more often than not I learn to follow the light wherever it may be.

Recently I started working on a photography project for the wonderful toy website Carl and Me. I'm photographing some of our boys favorite toys, Fagus vehicles. It's been a fun assignment positioning the trucks as seen through the eyes of a child as I often found myself belly down in the dirt.

But the light, sigh, the light. What a funny mistress she is, dancing through the trees in the morning for beautiful effect or shining harshly in the afternoon- giving everything a bright, white caste. As the days grow shorter, I find myself missing the light as the sun sets ever so early. It makes for a funny photography schedule, but I am thankful for a patient, generous toyshop proprietor.

So this has been my work in progress these days, doing what I love, spending time with the camera and chasing the light...

As always with warmth and light~

Please do take a moment and check out Carl and Me. I found this incredible shop when I was searching for my Nico's birthday gift. Not only do they carry an extensive selection of the wonderful, high quality Fagus Trucks which are made in a German Factory that hires and trains developmentally challenged adults, there is also an amazing selection of toys that as mother of three boys, I know I will look forward to having in the years to come!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Nourishment. That is the only word I can use to describe my morning with my crafty friends who I call my Inspiration Circle. I think I must have gone for too long of a stretch with only the kids and not enough "me time" because there were more than a few times that I probably was laughing a little too loudly or sitting there with a huge, dumb grin on my face, just out of the sheer joy of being with other women who just get it. Women who are warm, creative, talented and oh my God, funny as all get out. It's really so wonderful to hang out with moms who are just so real. I'm truly a lucky gal :)

Andrea taught me how to spin wool using a drop spindle. I never thought of yarn as having an energy, but as I spun it I could see how the feel of it and the movement can lend itself to a certain energy.

Beth was learning how to Andean Ply, a method in which one length of yarn (or single ball) is made into a two ply yarn by wrapping it in ones hand and then taking the two ends and re-spinning it in the other direction.
Andrea is spinning using this gorgeous drop spindle called a Jenkins Turkish Spindle. The crossbars are made out of pink ivory wood, her son calls those spindles The Helicopters.

Namja was working on a knitted fairy doll. I could not believe the four tiny needles she was using to make the arms and thumb! Her three year old daughter told her the arm looked like a part of the male anatomy... and of course, with the mindset of thirteen year old girls at a slumber party, we found this hilarious.

Jenny displays the crocheted blanket in progress which was incredibly yummy and soft

Kay works on a scarf for her daughter

Look at this beautiful rustic loom Andrea's husband found on the sidewalk!

I really love and treasure these times with these incredible women, there is so much learning and encouragement! I feel like this is what morning tea would be like if you, my dear blogging friends could all come together :)

Thank you my wonderful crafty friends near and far,
for all the inspiration and nourishment you provide!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Work In Progress Wednesday- Me and Some Ornaments

Watching and learning as Luca crawls away

You'll have to excuse me as I hijack the WIP theme to talk about the most pressing work in progress lately- me. As I read my many parenting books a common theme arises of the inner work of parents. For me, it means developing the emotional strength to give your children the best of you that you are able and sometimes doing less. I have to admit that until recently, I had always tended to the helicopter style of parenting, hovering over the boys as they were little making sure that they wouldn't fall to now refereeing the older boys skirmishes. But I am learning to take a step back. I'm learning to trust that the Luca may have some frustrations as he learns to stand... and falls again. I'm learning that when I resolve conflict between Matteo and Nico I'm taking away the opportunity for them to learn how to work things out and compromise. I have to be honest in that it is a lot of work to learn to trust in the process.

Yesterday we were at our favorite park. There are gorgeous large redwood trees and a beautiful babbling stream that runs through it. Matteo and Nico decided to explore along the stream, then decided to explore in the stream. My first instinct was to scream at them to get out of the water, but I took a step back and looked at the situation from a larger perspective... it wasn't that cold (this is California after all) and the stream was slow moving and pretty shallow. So I took a deep breath and let them be.

Of course, they had a wonderful time. They played explorers, they played that they were fishermen, they simply just played. So I am learning, I am doing my inner work and seeing the rewards of my children learning to be strong and independent.

I wonder how other mothers do it... how do you find the strength to let your children fall and make their own choices for better or worse? As the boys get older and their world gets larger, it does get exciting but more anxiety producing for at least this mama. I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you do it...

So not to totally take this post off the WIPster track, here are some ornaments I'm working on using wood slices and a wood burning gun.

... in celebration of my precious, magical boys...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nico Fantastico!

My Love,
You are three today and we feel so blessed that we are yours and you are ours.
You take my breath away with your exuberance for life.
Yes, it makes a mama anxious how you jump into all things feet first,
with nary a glance at the consequences,
but it also inspires my admiration for how you embrace life and all that it offers...
All the world is yours to discover

You are a whirlwind
You are beautiful
You are amazing
You are so very loved, little Nico Lico.

I love you my precious boy
Thank you for choosing us

With all my heart,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Singin' in the Kitchen

Matteo and Luca spent an afternoon playing in the kitchen...

Matteo was cooking up something tasty

We set fruit on the table

Had a Cafe Fanny postcard for inspiration

Luca set the table

Matteo served up the meal

Here we go singin' in the kitchen
all together now singin' in the kitchen
Everybody singin' in the kitchen
bangin' on the pats and pans

Mommy and daddy singin' in the kitchen
baby laughin' singin' in the kitchen
All the kids singin' in the kitchen
bangin' on the pats and pans

- "Singin' in the Kitchen", Shel Silverstein

Wishing everyone a lot of happy singin' this weekend!

WIP Wednesday- Little Furniture

I've been obsessed lately with the look of Waldorf Kindergarten Rooms and how I can replicate some aspects of them into our home.

(I had asked Ivan if we could make the boys playspace look more like a Waldorf Kindergarten and his reply to me totally without sarcasm was "you mean it doesn't already?")

Many Waldorf Kindergartens have these gorgeous lazured peachy pink walls, which sadly, even as forward thinking as Ivan is, he probably wouldn't allow me to do at home, especially in the dining room which is the boys primary play space. What is really striking for me is the use of natural materials as playthings and furniture. So we spent the weekend gathering wood scraps locally to outfit our playspace.

We brought home two of these redwood stumps from a site where there had been some tree removal.

The boys and I had a splendid time removing the bark from the tree. As much as I appreciate the aesthetic of leaving the bark on, redwood bark can be quite messy and houses some little guests that I don't necessarily want also residing inside our home. I used a hammer and a cold metal chisel to loosen the bark and the boys quite enjoyed ripping it off :). We ended up saving the bark that came off in big pieces as the boys wanted to use it for gnome homes.

After taking the bark off, I moved this massive piece of wood onto to our deck to do the sanding... I mention this only because the darn thing weighs over 80 pounds and I nearly threw out my back moving it! I spent a bit of time sanding the jagged surface and edges. The wood was actually still a bit "wet" from being recently cut and I didn't want some of the pieces hanging to dry and splinter. Matteo told me that he thought the grain looked like a rainbow :).

I have a bit more sanding to do and I'd like to put a finish it. A toymaker told me his trick of mixing flaxseed oil and beeswax, coating the wood object and then letting it sit in the sun covered with a black garbage bag for a few days to let the finish bake in. But for now, my Matteo was anxious to use the table for his own tree blocks building

Once it's done, I'll have Ivan move it indoors where I think it can be various things, like a nature table, play table, kids chair or even turn it upside down to be a teeter totter of sorts. I love that this was something free from nature and that it truly can be whatever we imagine it to be....

What are some of you and your childrens favorite natural toys?

Thanks for checking in on my work in progress! I'm hoping that I'll have something smaller (and significantly lighter!) to share next week!