Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life's Little Lessons

The last few weeks have been a blur of projects. Nothing brilliant or worthy of a tutorial, but all with their own little life lessons.

Lesson 1: Sharing the Workload is Less Stressful
Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings organized the kindergarten class' contribution to the school auction, a flag banner featuring artwork from every students. One of the other room parents approached me to handle the assembly. Never has a school project been so easy to make and so difficult to photograph. I wish I had been able to get a photo of it hung artistically against a rustic backdrop, but there just was not time as I raced to get it to the auction committee at the eleventh hour.

Lesson 2a: It's Okay to Be Semi-Homemade
When I was teaching Halloween always fell at a bad time for creating two elaborate costumes. A couple years ago I gave myself permission to focus on just one costume and purchase the other. This gives me time to enjoy focusing on the details. My personal challenge this year was to offset the store bought portions of Chiara's costume with upcycled materials for Xavier's. The yellow fabric and belt buckle were the only purchased items. Chiara's costume is made from a store bought leotard and skirt embellished with ears, rose, and tail to transform her into Angelina Ballerina for a dual purpose Halloween/Book Character Day costume. It turned out Angelina was a much better costume for her schools Book Character Day than for chilly trick or treating. Even with added leggings and swapping ballet shoes for sneakers, we had to cover the costume with her warmest winter coat.
Lesson 2b: Costumes Should Match Your Climate

Lesson 3: Test Before You Invest
I was very lucky this year to have two friends let me piggyback on their craft bazaar to get a feel for the experience without the expense. It was fun spending the day together, but in the end I decided the bazaar network is not for me.

Like hand dyed merino wool or hand knit baby items? Check out Sarah Brown Design and Pam Radmacher Crafts on Etsy or at the Seattle Christian Christmas Bazaar December 3rd.

Lesson 3: Don't Be Scared to Try Something New
Pumpkin seeds are pumpkin seeds, right? Nope. Usually I just plant seeds from the pumpkins harvested the previous year, but this last year I found myself buying new seed.  I grew a variety of pumpkins called Triple Treat. They were described as large enough to carve, flesh as good as a sugar pumpkin, and tasty seeds. I was drawn to this variety more for the dual purpose of carving and eating. I never expected the seeds to be so delicious! Unlike traditional pumpkin seeds the protective seed coating is thin and puffs into a light, crisp, football shape that doesn't interfere with the nutty goodness of the inside.

Lesson 4: Perfect is Boring
We made a trip over to the old house to clear out the last of the garden. We had planted our winter garden before realizing we would be moving, but as fate would have it, the house is still not rented. Only about half the carrots and turnips were full grown, but that did not bother Xavier. He gladly gobbled down sweet carrots, naming and eating the forked ones first.

Lesson 5: Teaching is More Rewarding than Doing
So much of the teaching I do as a mom is mundane and I had begun to forget how rewarding it is to share something you are passionate about with an eager learner. Although not her first sewing project, this is Chiara's first project that she conceived of, designed, planned, and executed with very little help from me. It is so rewarding to watch her use skills I have taught her to create her own project.

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