Friday, April 27, 2012

Hand Sewn Doll

In preparation for the preschool's Carnival on May 5th, I also made a hand sewn doll for the hand made fundraising booth. When my youngest was about two, I made him a doll completely by hand only to be stymied by the hair. How to attach it? For my son's doll, I painstakingly sewed on each strand directly to the head and knotted the yarn. Not recommended. It took a really long time.

I bought the book Sewing Dolls by Karin Neuschutz after my son's doll was complete in hopes of learning more about the construction of hand sewn dolls in the Waldorf style. For this doll, I sewed the yarn flat onto the head like a yarn toupee, then added rows of yarn hair on top of that to give more depth to the hair style.

The early sewing was very quick.

Including sewing the face. However, that yarn hair still undoes me. I think this doll may be the last one I ever make. And it can be yours, if you come to Sierra Madre Community Nursery School's Carnival on May 5, 2012, and saunter to the hand made booth and buy it. Your support is appreciated.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden Work

The end of school nears. The sunny weekend bears the promise of summer around the corner. I find myself in the yard pulling weeds, day dreaming, planning summer trips and preparing for the preschool's school's end carnival. This year, I finally got it together to plant some seed starts and replant many succulents to sell at the garden booth of the preschool fundraiser. Each family is required to donate a plant, but I've always wanted to bring a few more. There's no added cost, it's just a matter of planning and a push from good intentions to action.

A few weeks ago, I posted a query for terra cotta pots on freecycle. A fellow poster cleaned out her reserves and left them in neat stacks on her front porch. I picked them up & put them to use with clippings from my garden. I hope these pups will find a good new home. Perhaps you? Carnival is May 5, 2012, 10AM-4PM at Sierra Vista Park in Sierra Madre.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Newt of the Season

Our after school canyon adventure with classmates marked the first catch (and release) of a newt this season.

Other wildlife sightings: juncos, one raven swooping low through the canyon & many squirrels. None held.

From fellow adventurer Julie Desmond on the newt (thanks, Julie!):
It was a California newt. They go through a terrestrial phase (non-breeding, where their skin is all bumpy) and an aquatic phase (breeding, where their skin becomes smooth and they develop a swollen 'vent' (what we were noticing on its underside) and rough 'nuptial pads' on their hands each year once they reach maturity (after 2-3 years). They tend to return to the same breeding spot every year, sometimes traversing miles over land to get there (they're often seen in large numbers after spring rains heading to breeding spots). Their skin secretes tetrodotoxin, 'a potent neurotoxin which can cause death in many animals if eaten in sufficient quantity' (but note that the poison can also be ingested through a mucous membrane or a cut in the skin, so care should always be taken when handling them). Tetrodotoxin is the same toxin that pufferfish produce.

Monday, April 16, 2012


volunteer succulents given new home

the unseen magic of the seed: basil, cilantro & dill

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joshua Tree Redux

We headed out to Joshua Tree to take in more desert spring.

Kids in rocks.

Pinon pine.

Departing lunch at the Inn.

A garden wander.

Brazen visit from a juvenile Cooper's Hawk to close the adventure.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Through Freecycle, we picked up a stack of contemporary Boy Scout manuals. My youngest son spotted the instructions on how to build a windlass.

He waited patiently for the milk carton to become available, opting for refills at dinner to do his part. I found him at the table with all the tools at the ready, so we dove in and made the vision a reality.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Beach Day

Cousins in town remind us, everyday is a beach day. Dolphins all day. Pelicans gliding mere inches over the cresting waves, so graceful in an awkward body. Blimp sighting with a message to buy vodka. Clear drive over Kanan Dume with the mountains in bloom, everything plump and green from the recent rains, punctuated with the bright yellow blossoms of Prince's Plume. Smiles that start from the bottom of your feet and bubble up and explode, one after another.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nasturtium Island

Prior to the St. Patrick's rain two weeks ago, my youngest son pulled this nasturtium and put it in an empty tub. The rain hit. A small pool formed. The flowers grew. I found it when looking for a container to hold pulled weeds from the pathway. It felt like a gift for my manual labor.