Monday, September 29, 2014

Learning to Sew with Echo

Cloud pillow, made by Echo and I

You may or may not remember that I started teaching myself to sew shortly before Echo was born. I got a cheap sewing machine at a thrift store and upgraded fairly quickly to something new once I found out how much I loved sewing. Sadly I don't have a ton of time for all the sewing projects I want to do lately but I am beyond excited that Echo has expressed an interest in learning how to use the machine. I've started Helping her make a few projects and wanted to show them off here.

Echo's blanket
I started by letting her sew on pieces of construction paper. I put the pedal on the table so she can press it with her hand while I guide the paper through the machine. After she had that down she started sewing scraps of fabric together to make a "blanket". She really likes getting to try different types of stitches, especially the embroidery stitches, on the machine.

After we worked on her blanket some I helped her make a pillow for her room (top picture). I did all the cutting of course, her cutting skills are getting much better but fabric is hard to cut and cutting out specific shapes is still beyond her. I let her help with the sewing though and she helped stuff the pillow which was probably her favorite part. Now she gets to sleep on a pillow that she helped to make every night! I really hope that her interest in sewing continues and that I get to help her on lots of future projects!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Echo Turning Two

Today my baby girl is turning two! Words can't describe how much I love this sweet daughter of mine. Over the past two years I have watched her grow and change, emerging in to a beautiful, confidant and fun little girl. That's right, she's not my baby any more, she is a full blown little girl!

I continually marvel at her sense of humor and her amazing personality. She has brought so much love and light in to our lives.

Watching Echo with Clover has been such a joy this year. She has proved herself to be loving and nurturing to her little sister. I have confidence that she will always be there for her and that they will be great friends.

I don't have time to write all I would like to today, instead I will go spend time with my extraordinary daughter on her special day. I love you Echo! I'm so happy I get to be your mommy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Repurposing the Loft

A start to the new layout for the loft

In the almost four years we have lived in this house the loft space has undergone a number of reincarnations. It's served as an office, a studio, a family room/den, and a TV room in our short years here. As Echo gets older we are realizing the need to transform the space yet again and we have big plans this time!

I have always appreciated this space as a bonus room, giving us the extra space for whatever we needed it for at the time. Now that Echo is getting big enough to play with toys, do art projects and generally interact with the world around her more we want to create a "work space" that the whole family can use. I have recently been reading up on something called Project Based Home Schooling (check out the blog to learn more and realizing the importance of giving the kids as well as ourselves a dedicated project space where we can experiment, make a mess and spread out whatever projects we are working on. Project based home schooling is a lot like unscholling in that it is child directed and the parents act as mentors and facilitators but it is a little more structured than what I would like to do with our kids. Nonetheless, it is a really exciting way to learn and there are lots of ideas I plan to incorporate in to our lives as the kids get older.
Reading nook

We have a lot of ideas for this space and want to make it an important part of our family life. It will need lots of storage for art supplies, books, blocks, puzzles, games, media and raw materials that can be used to create. We also want lots of floor space for work and play (which should be basically the same thing for kids, at least as far as I'm concerned).

Eric usually reads to us while we do art or work puzzles so we left a big comfy chair that he can sit in while he reads. It's positioned nicely by the window so it's a nice place to day dream as well, and it's big enough for the girls to snuggle up and look at pictures in the books we read.

The most important aspect of the work space however is giving Echo (and later Clover) her own space to work. So we started by lowering an existing table to kid height and stocking it with materials. It is still a tiny bit tall for her so we put out a chair that is her size as well as a floor cushion she can stand on.

Echo's desk
 I put out paper, glue, beads, buttons, scissors, stickers, natural materials like sea shells and acorns, colored pencils and office supplies to name a few. The idea is to provide her with exciting and stimulating materials and let her take the lead on what she wants to do with them. She has been very interested in learning how to cut and sew lately so I have been working with her a lot on that.

Supplies to inspire Echo

Speaking of sewing, I also made space for my sewing machine and computer in the loft. This lets me work on my projects right alongside Echo. If you are going to raise self directed learners one of the best things you can do is show them what life long learning looks like and be passionate about your own projects as well as theirs. Luckily I always have a million projects I want to do so this is no problem for me ;-) We moved my computer to the standing desk that Eric used to use before he moved his office to our basement and it is a great resource for looking up tutorials, playing music or watching videos.

Our next step will be to install more shelving and move the rest of our reference books up to the project space (these will range from art books to music books, computer programing books to writing books, pretty much anything you can think of). We also want to rip up the carpet and put in some kind of hard floor that is better for building blocks and doing messy art projects. I want to make this a priority over the next year so that we have it full functional by the time Echo is 3 and Clover is 1. We have started to get some use out of it already and it has been a wonderful place to hang out as a family so far!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August Photos

Wow we have had a busy month! I can hardly believe it but Clover is 4 weeks old today! Life has been slowly returning to normal, or rather we are establishing our new normal with two kids. We have had a lot of fun playing at the park and enjoying visits from friends and family this past month. Here are some photos of what we've been up to.

We spent a lot of time playing at East Cobb Park this month in spite of the heat. Echo loves to play in the creek there!

Clover's first trip to the park.

Getting coffee at one of our favorite spots.

My 3 favorite girls! Love them all so much!

A visit from Grandpa Don and Grandma Jody

Marietta Square

At Whole Foods story time, she looks so big with her pig tails!

Back at the park again

A visit from Will and Neil, long time family friends

Neil, Isaac and Echo reading a book

Clover and Grandad at the zoo

The whole gang (minus my dad) visiting the zoo