Monday, January 31, 2011

inside out

As promised, the baby gift I was so thrilled to make:

I'm getting back into the swing of creating which is friggin' fantastic because my hands were starting to get twitchy.  The idea for this baby quilt had been rolling around in my head for months.  It took an early baby and several 10:00pm-1:00am sessions to get 'er done.  But I loved every minute of it and though I welcomed sleep, I *almost* didn't want to finish.

My idea was simple: to make a baby blanket, shorter than crib-sized, that was also a play mat.  I thought of all the things that engaged J bugs through different stages.  In the beginning, it was strong black and white contrasts, then finer contrasts, then colors and textures (I incorporated ribbons, corduroy and embroidery floss ties).  Also, I wanted simple blocks because I needed to be able to finish the damn thing before this baby learns to crawl.  (Obviously.)  Ultimately, it is a blanket and the woman whose child will be the recipient is very pro-natural fibers, so I didn't want to get all crazy with crinkly paper or plastic eyeball buttons.
    (^Sorry about the out-of-focus photos; we were kind of in a hurry: J bug was about to leap off our front porch.^)

I adopted my step-mom's signature quilting style: 3 different colors of thread in 3 wavy lines (who wants to sew straight when you can sew crooked?) along each block.
I think it turned out stylish and functional with a touch of whimsy.  I dig it.  I envision this blanket on the floor, in the garden, over the car seat, in the stroller....
Or, a baby yoga mat.  

I may have been sewing by night, but we've been crafty by day as well.  Juniper received her first set of beeswax crayon blocks, perfect for a little scribbling and a lot of chewing.

Meanwhile, I made playdough.  Although I don't have my mom's old recipe, I found one through a blog who found it on the internet which I then tweaked, but just a tad.
Playdough Recipe: 

1 cup white flour
1/4 cup salt
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 to 2 tsps food coloring (my green is 2 tsps, purple is 1 and orange is 1/2)

Combine dry ingredients in a sauce pan, add wet ingredients, cook on medium-low and stir until dough forms a ball.  Lightly kneed with a smidgeon of flour, store in air-tight container.  
(Apparently, you can use Kool-Aid powder instead of food coloring, but I haven't tried it; I didn't want Juniper to confuse playdough with some sweet, edible, fruity treat.  Maybe next time.) 

:: The fact of Obama's State of the Union Address reminded me of this time last year, when I took my first step into the blogging world.  My original intent was to lay stake claims on a small corner of the internet where our far-flung family and friends could take a peek into our lives without me flooding their inbox.  And for the most part, that's what Clove's little Corner is all about.  But I've also come to realize this blog is MY corner.  It's my space where every week or so I shuffle through photos and thoughts and moments, pull out the parts I want to remember, or the parts that are hard, and string it together.  Sometimes I end up posting a necklace of mother-of pearl, and sometimes a child's lopsided string of plastic beads.  Nonetheless, this blog rests in the back of my mind all week, reminding me to pay attention, to be present to my life with my family--and for that, I am appreciative.  


:: Juniper had her fifteen-month check up at the vet's this week.  (Ha.  Pediatrician.  You knew what I meant.)  She continues to be tall (32"--83%), stout (24 lbs 6 oz--75%) and level-headed (50%).  Also, she talks.  We knew that, but thought it was normal.  Turns out, your average 15-month-old has 5 words.  We've stopped counting after twenty or thirty.  Maybe she'll grow up to be a great orator, the second female President of the United States (because by then, we'll surely have had one, right?  Sorry--didn't mean to jinx our country...NOT PALIN), and with her words of inspiration she'll bring about world peace, end poverty and hunger, save the last of our earth's untrammeled lands, and make truly sustainable living a reality.  That may be a tall order, but not for a 15-month-old with over thirty words.  And a molar.  Off the top of my head:

eyes :: ice
giraffe :: raff
bath :: basth 
bike :: bi
horse :: os
water :: labla  and my personal favorite,
belly button :: baaay-buh

Have a great week.  It may be my blog, but your e-mails and casual comments fuel my fire.  Thanks for reading, we adore you.    


  1. Welp, it seems like the comment that you left on my blog could have very well been me writing about our sleep woes. We've been working hard to get her to fall asleep some other way than nursing and it is exhausting!! She gets so fired up about it...full of stamina. Thanks so much for sharing, if you find something that magically works, please let me know!

    A few things about this most recent post:
    1. That baby blanket is beautiful. I love the colors that you picked.
    2. I laughed out loud (in a good, good way) at the photo of Juniper's up close face in the snow. Great picture.
    3. Juniper seems like a little firecracker!

  2. That blanket is really really gorgeous.
    Love Juniper's words and your appreciation of them.

  3. What an amazing blanket. Lovely, lovely. You've inspired me to list the words Olive is saying, for before too long they'll change...

  4. I was so amazed when Theo busted out a budding vocabulary. Today I bought him his first learn-to-read books. Tomorrow Sully will be 18 months and his words are beginning to flow like a gentle stream. Love that!

    The quilt is precious. Great job!

  5. I saw a comment from you on MamaDigs about your little one comfort nursing all night and I felt your pain. I don't know if she'll tell you how she got Ruby to sleep, but I'll tell you what worked a few weeks ago with my 20 month old. Believe it or not, all it really took was to ask him. Crazy, right?

    Anyway, he went up and down with his sleep - sometimes only waking once a night, sometimes 3/4 times a night. We were on a good roll of fewer wakings when he started waking earlier and earlier for his first feed. I wasn't in the mood to go backward, so instead of nursing right away I picked him up, held him, rocked him and tried to withhold nursing without too much fussing. I'd talk to him about how he needed to sleep and eventually told him that if he ate then, he wasn't going to eat again that night. And the strangest thing happened - he listened to me. He nursed, went back to sleep, and didn't get back up until morning. He did it 2 nights in a row, so I wondered if I was on to something.

    I thought I'd experiment and talk to him multiple times through the day about how he needs to sleep, I need to sleep, "the boobies" need to sleep (sorry if tmi) and we all need to sleep all night long in our beds. I really calmly and sweetly drilled the concept into him one day. And that night he slept through (for the 3rd time in his life - the first 2 when he was 14 months old).

    The next 2 nights he woke up, but I knew he could survive without nursing, so I withheld. I rocked him and talked to him again about how we all need to sleep (stressing that the boobies need to sleep) and that he wasn't going to nurse now. He was upset initially, but not inconsolable and he calmed down quickly. After 20 minutes or so of rocking he was ready to go back to his bed without nursing - and again he slept until morning. 2 nights of that routine and he was done. He officially sleeps through the night.

    We continue to talk on and off through the day about how everyone needs to sleep all night, although the conversations are definitely becoming fewer and farther between. Every few nights he wakes up and cries out once or twice, but seems to realize immediately that it's "night night time" and stops calling for me. He turns on his glowing musical seahorse and goes to sleep. I can't tell you how much that amazes me. I never used it as a soothing tool, but he discovered that it works for him. Smart cookie.

    Anyway, I know that's a super long post - sorry. And I also know that this "technique" won't work with a lot of kiddos. But it sounds like yours is very verbal, like mine, and it might just be the ticket - if not now, then in a few months. I can't tell you how pain-free the process has been (especially considering how I'd dreaded nightweaning). I think I lucked out in that we were both ready - me to work for change, and him to understand what I wanted from him.

    Anyway, that's my story. Good luck to you. I hope you start getting some sleep soon.

  6. Amber: I just wanted you to know how much I *appreciate* your advice. When I first read your comment, I thought, "Duh! I can't believe I didn't think of that! We talk to Juniper about eating, peeing and pooping and everything in between...but we NEVER talk about sleep!" So anyway, we started a new conversation in our house thanks to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


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