Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quiet Book Sewalong: Page #2

Next up in the sewalong: Three Little Pigs!

 Once upon a time,

Three little pigs set out to build houses for themselves.   

 One pig built a house out of straw, and one used sticks for her house. 

But one very smart pig used bricks to build a nice solid house.   

The three pigs had lots of fun living in their quiet hillside community, until...  

The big bad wolf showed up.   

I won't tell you what happened to the straw house and the stick house; let's just say they were no match for the wolf's huff-puff-puff.  In the end, one house was left standing... and boiled wolf soup was on the menu for dinner.

What you don't see in these pictures:  all of the characters are finger puppets, the houses open up like books so the pigs can really go inside, and everything stores inside the pockets formed by the hills. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Every spring, my colleagues and I visit the local schools to encourage kids to come to the public library over the summer.  Our theme this year is "Dream Big!" so I put together a shadow puppet play for my school visits.  See if you can guess what the story is...

I have a great little shadow puppet theater that I got from Hearthsong quite a few years ago.  I used it a ton as a school librarian, but for whatever reason, it sees less action now that I'm at a public library. 

This clip lamp works really well... and it's easy to carry around!

Wait!  What's happening?  It's almost like a jungle is growing in that bedroom...

Backstage, you can see how the jungle pieces just clip right on to the top of the theater.

They even cover up the window, making the puppeteer's job a little bit easier (one less thing to take off and put back up later).

And an ocean tumbled by...

with a private boat for Max.

Rumpus rumpus rumpus

Max, I hope you're hungry, because believe it or not, your dinner is still hot.  The end.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Garden Tour

 Remember the terrace garden we planted back in March?  Things are growing in it!!!  Things that will one day be edible!  We have watermelon, butternut squash, green beans, lettuce and tomatoes all coming up.  I love it! 

 Be bought a few tomato plants, but the one on the far right of this photo is one that we grew from a seed.  It might be a good idea to move the tomato cage, huh?

In our backyard, we have the raised beds that Karl built last year.  One is full of lettuce...

(it's supposed to be 90 degrees here this weekend, so I'm afraid we'll have to pick all of our lettuce before it withers away)

The other box is exploding with kale:

I can't wait till we can start harvesting some homegrown goodness! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quiet Book Sewalong: Page #1

Carissa is leading a darling sewalong!  I am not the world's most confident, skilled, or patient seamstress.  But I decided to try the quiet book sewalong, just for fun! 

The first page is a snail marble maze.  But mine's not a maze; it's just a marble free-for-all.  The biggest trick was finding material for the snail shell.  It was supposed to be sheer.  Hmm.  The most sheer fabric in my box of scraps wasn't actually sheer at all... it was white with a cute floral pattern on it.  It would have made an adorable snail shell, but the whole point was to be able to see the marble through the shell, so I went to the fabric store and picked up some actual sheer fabric-- with sparkles!  Here are the two contestants for the shell material.  I call them Floral and Sparkly.  Sparkly won.   


At the fabric store, I also did something completely unprecedented and purchased thread to match the fabric colors I was going to be using.  Typically, I just go with whatever is on my machine (when I got it out last night, it had dark green on the top and white in the bobbin).  Using matching colors meant winding more bobbins and threading my machine a few extra times, but it was totally worth it.  I recommend it.  I may even have to buy some more bobbins! 

 Here is my finished quiet book page!  The idea is that a toddler can push the marble around inside the snail shell.  I love the sparkly fabric because the sparkles actually stick up, so you feel them on the pads of your fingers as you roll the marble around.  Hello, sensory experience. 

The back of the page is even cute!  

The marble, up close and personal (don't you just want to touch those sparkles?).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


1.  Remember that swimming class I started a while back?  Well, it's still going on, and I love it.  We meet three mornings a week from 7:00-8:00.  And it's fabulous. 

2.  I'm super excited to be doing Carissa's sew-along project!  My sewing machine does not see nearly enough action, so this will be the perfect opportunity to get it humming on a regular basis. 

3.  I have now worked ten days in a row (including one 11-hour day), and I'm tired. 

4.  We get to go to a wedding this weekend!  I love weddings.  And this one is going to be gorgeous! 

5.  This semester, I had a practicum student from UW-Madison.  She is fantastic.  I got to take her out for dinner last night to celebrate her graduation and the fact that she already landed a great job!  We went to the Sunroom Cafe on State Street.  The last time I went there was in 2005, with my practicum advisor.  I have to admit, it's fun to be on this end of the equation. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ten on Ten: Garage Sale Edition

Last night, Karl and I made a list of things to look for at garage sales.  Practical items that we actually have uses for. 

None of the goodies I picked up today are on that list...

1.  9:15am.  Welcome to Wisconsin, where it's always brat o'clock. Note the grill on the far left. 
2.  Okay, so I already have one Fisher Price Little People Sesame Street.  But as long as I was buying the little bus (for fifty cents), it just made sense to buy Sesame Street, too.  And it came with the garbage truck.   
3.  One dollar for this big box of cardboard blocks!
4.  The seller of the blocks threw in Speedy Gonzales for free. 
5 and 6.  I was thrilled to find this Lite-Brite, and even more thrilled at the seller's handwritten "Hours of Fun" tag.  My only hesitation was that the set didn't come with very many pegs. 
7.  Serendipitously, at the very next sale, I found these.  I am not making this up!  It was basically a garage sale miracle, if you believe in those. 
8.  Vintage tablecloth
9.  Deviled egg dish... totally unnecessary, but I've secretly wanted one for a long time, so it was worth the dollar. 
10.  I passed these up, but if we lived in a mansion I would have bought them.  Also if we lived in a mansion we would have an entire room dedicated to deviled egg dishes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lawnmowers and Bacon Cookers

Our lawnmower is on the fritz.  My already overcommitted husband has spent hours taking it apart, fixing, adjusting, and reassembling, but it's still not working.  Meanwhile, our yard is reaching new heights.  Literally. 

Last night, Karl knocked on the door of a house in our neighborhood where there is always a crowd of lawnmowers in the driveway.  We didn't know who lived in the house, but we were hoping he or she might be able to fix our mower.  A 92-year-old man answered the door.  Not only is he looking at our mower, but...
  • He worked side-by-side for years with Karl's great uncle as an engineer at Oscar Mayer
  • He bought my mother-in-law's microwave bacon cooker at our yard sale a couple of years ago
As an added bonus (as if there needs to be one), I called Karl about half an hour after he had left the house.  He told he that he was at Maurice's.  Of course, I thought he meant the dreadful clothing store best known for its floral dresses and tapered jeans.  I was a teensy bit annoyed-- I thought he was going to ask about getting our mower fixed, and instead, he was hanging out at the mall, looking for a fake pearl barrette?  But don't worry.  The lawn mower guy's name is Maurice. 

The Oscar Mayer/microwave bacon cooker/Maurice's combination had me smiling all evening long. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mischief Portfolio

I once spent a year living in an Eskimo village in Alaska.  There wasn't much to do there, so I spent most of my time reading Judy Blume books and filling up my Mischief Portfolio.  Yes, that's right, I had a Mischief Portfolio.  It was really just a regular notebook, and I used it to record my (attempts at) hilarious pranks.  That portfolio is long gone, and I'm thinking lately about starting up a new one.  Don't you think Old Abe on Bascom Hill could use a little something?

Like maybe, I don't know, legwarmers???