Sunday, December 26, 2010

This year's favourite Christmas song

I haven't posted any quotes in the last two weeks, because I don't have anything appropriate to this moment of my life - I have many I wrote down years ago, but somehow none of them seem right. I used to read 2-3 books concurrently and to slow down my reading jot down the bits I liked; now I usually struggle to get through one book for a long time and avoid the ones with the complicated plot or too many characters.

However, today I have a musical one. I was tired of hearing “Jingle Bells” over and over again from my daughter, who learned it at the kindergarten, therefore got us Ella Fitzgerald’s “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas” CD and fall totally in love with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – you’ll probably be able to tell why I feel sentimental about it if you listen to the words.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stocking Fillers

Back in Russia, when I was a child, we didn’t celebrate Christmas (it being a religious holiday and religion, while not exactly prohibited, being strongly discouraged and mostly not mentioned), instead we celebrated, in a very similar fashion, New Year. I don’t remember us getting gifts such as toys (though we probably did), however each child always got a bag of sweets, which contained chocolates, various types of lollies, zefir and one or sometimes even TWO mandarins. Zefir is similar to marshmallow, but bigger, softer and fluffier on the inside and crustier on the outside. Both zefir and mandarin were a special treat – as average simple family in a small town we were unlikely to be able to find either one (but especially mandarins) in the shops at any other time than before New Year.

Mandarin & Zefir

This year I got a packet of zefir from a Russia shop. The ones in my childhood were always white and not covered in shaved coconut, however Katya and I shared one yesterday and it tasted and smelled exactly like I remember. The smell of zefir and mandarins is the smell of winter celebrations to me. I’m slowly accepting my husband’s Christmas traditions and starting to mix them with my own New Year’s ones, so this year each stocking will contain a pink zefir and a mandarin.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope there is lots of laughter and joy in your house, plenty of food on your table, many wonderful people around it and some present for everyone under the tree.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dancing to fun music

Katya and I spent five days mostly in bed or on the couch due to the horrible flu. Today in the morning, when we felt significantly better and had some energy, I couldn’t resist giving Katya one of the items that was supposed to go into her stocking – Dan Zanes and Friends’ CD Family Dance. It turned out to be great for dancing and jumping around and being totally silly. Who can resist being silly to the “All around the kitchen”? Here is the video of it from their YouTube channel:

(BTW did you notice the orange dress in the video? I definitely need to learn to sew so I can make one like that for myself as I totally love it.)

And according to Dan Zanes & Friends website they are coming to London in February – maybe we can go and see them live and be silly in public.

I want to ramble on about music for kids, cloth for boys and sewing, but I better go and see if I can make five stockings in the next 32 hours.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First fatality

We had our first fatality – Ozzie the Goldfish died last night. I shed one or two tears for the poor thing in private. Never thought I’ll get attached to a goldfish, but surprisingly they all have their own unique personalities and one can get to know them pretty well (and get attached) while watching and taking care of them everyday. Katya didn’t seem too perturbed, but when we went swimming pretended to be a dead fish by floating on her back without moving and demanded stories about the dead fish. She loves stories - everything has to be turned into a story – “tell me a story” is her most common demand. I wish I was a better storyteller.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Knitting socks will have to wait

Did I say I'm going to attempt to knit a pair of socks for myself? I think they'll have to wait until after Christmas as my plan to make only one handmade present snowballed and now I'm making two time-consuming ones for Katya and few tiny ones for various people. Oh, I also promised to make FIVE Christmas stockings.

Before the snowballing effect took place, I made another crochet flower brooch out of leftover Noro Kureyon Sock (here the ones I made back in summer)
Flower Brooch

Ironically as soon as I managed to use up most of it I found a gorgeous blanket pattern and ordered more Kureyon Sock yarn in different colourways, so there could be many more flower brooches in the future.

I managed to crochet two snowflakes before loosing interest and finding the paper ones we made last year to decorate the kitchen window.
Winter Window

And to keep my child's legs warm I knitted a pair of legwarmers from the yarn I bought online for my husband's hat. He is happy with blue one, but wants an yellower orange - I have a pretty good idea of the colour he'll like, but can't find it anywhere.

Katya, who sometimes refuses to wear COTTON knitted-looking dresses, because they are scratchy!!!, actually loves the legwarmers and wears them inside and outside everyday. However, she requested a green and yellow pair, because now it is her favourite colour combination. So maybe I'll never get around to knitting my pair of socks.

I wonder how other multi-crafters choose their next project and if they ever end up making anything for themselves or just keep on producing items for their family and friends.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Teaching & learning

One thing has remained with me above all - how little I did as a person, and how much came about through the children in my care, and through their efforts. The more I learned to know them, the more I realised that they were constantly teaching me. They were not encumbered by the heavy baggage of material knowledge that adults possess. They seemed to have resources that were fresh, inspired, and full of star wisdom. My best moments were those in which I was truly open to what the children had to teach me. For that, I am deeply grateful.
From "School as a Journey" by Torin M. Finser