We've been asked to share a few of our unschooling, crafting, ecology &  community resources...The thing is, I half started this blog as part of my own learning adventure.  I don't quite no how to do it efficiently here, & although I could figure it out & I love Blogger...we're now at
Over the next weeks I'll have some of our favorite articles, curriculum sources & links up.  We'll see you there!

On the Dock/In the Woods

The gnomies went all out last night, I guess.  Most of New England is in a constant thunderstorm/squall/break/black-out/drizzle/lightning cycle, & dreading the end of their would-be summer.  But for us Californians, it's an amazing, etheric-woozy moment that's lasting & lasting.  The woods are pure candyshop for my inner gatherer, & it's my favorite thing to see what my fellow earth angels have been up to.
There's acorn trails, bark shanties, moss gardens, lake plumbing, birch tunnels & even telephone poles.  Loveliness.

And between the rains, there's breakfast on the dock, our way: Pilipino Fried Eggs on Spanish Veggies, Baked Tilapia, Rice, Sweet Mint Tea, Organic Sparkling Lemonade, Gluten-Free Banana Muffins & a bit of Vegetarian OyakoDon.  Yeah.

Why: Sewing

In America we have all kinds of made-up, ridiculous forms of deprivation.   I recently facilitated an event where a financially fortunate woman insisted on calling people poor.  You know, we've all said it: "Poor People."  After much work with the masterful Lillie P. Allen, she determined that people might not have money or resources, but that doesn't mean that they, themselves were "poor."  Like of inferior quality.  They just didn't have resources.
Oh, but to grow up in a home without a homemaker- poor thing!  I don't mean a work-at-home mom.  Or even a mom at all.  In some families it's another relative or a visiting friend, a sensitive administrator, or a nesting child.  I'm talking about someone who has an eye for warmth & a soulful impulse.  My mom was a single parent, working three jobs & starting random businesses.  We got turkeys from the church on Thanksgiving.  We were certainly lower class for a bit there.  But she was a homemaker, who cherished our family & relished cooking & cleaning & doing things thoroughly, with organization.  She was (& is) creative & community-oriented, so we never really wanted for anything at all.  And as far as I'm concerned we had the ultimate privilege: a crafty mama.
So when I speak of American Deprivation I'm referring to a bunch of stuff & no sense of work ethic.  No examples of basic-need-generation.  No relationship to how a sweater becomes a sweater.  We once a had a babysitter - a UCDavis Student, mind you, that asked me if I was "Actually okay letting them eat food from farmers?"  Wasn't I "scared they might be dirty or toxic or they might catch something?"  My 4 year-old had to explain to her where food comes from & why she, too should only eat organic!  I speak from the pedestal of a privileged childhood: so many nights drifting off to the sound of a whirring Singer machine from which appeared blankets, dresses, toys.  Not an abundance, she was exhausted after all.   But enough.
So that is my goal:  to produce enough.  I worked in fashion, as a stylist in LA.  With A-list actors, supermodels & Grammy winners.  I love designer clothing.  But this is why I sew.  To produce enough.  To occasionally tap into spirit when I see it all come together.  To be an example worth imitating, both in action & being.  Not all the time.  Not weekly or even daily.  But enough.  That they can be privileged to be in my home & I can accept being privileged to have made the effort to do it myself.

3 Generations Later

I kinda can't believe his luck sometimes.  He's always generating crazy stuff out of nowhere, like truly lost keys & wallets, random animal sightings, spontaneous gifts from strangers.  Ever since he was in utero- really.  He even refers to himself as the kid who can manifest anything, as in, "Hey Mom, do you think we can start our own school, where kids just come & play, This Week, 'cause, like, you know how I Can Manifest Anything?"  Of course, the following Wednesday our house was loaded with kids of all ages: our 3 boys, the 2 kids I invited, plus 4 from the block.  That would be 9 kids piling every pillow in my home onto my former diningroom floor & diving for 3 hours straight.  He wasn't surprised one bit.  Just really proud & grateful they all had fun at his "school."
So of course he was born with a life-long best friend, too.  How do I know?  Because his Dad & her mom & uncle can sit around talking design & essential oils while laughing at memories from the Eighties.  Because their grandparents can cocktail it up like nobody's business - & always do.  And because they both know eachother's docks like the back of their hand.
They both love catching "bass" (little black minnows.  maybe they're bass.  maybe) Tying the ropes.  Singing "Mount Washingmachine."  Making fairy houses.  Playing with Mimi.  They're both funny & strong willed & smart.  They were caught trying to untie their tube from the dock several different ways - so confident were they in their boating skills.  They saw eachother all of 24 hours this year & as they said, "It seems kinda like we're still at last year."

It all might seem hard for Tonka, but as always he's just totally fine in the world.  Although I can't imagine it's easy being a toddler, in your life jacket, in a tube, tied to a rope & being pulled through the woods by two big kids.  But toddlerhood's joy comes from challenge & accomplishment, doesn't it?  Not to mention that he's just as lucky, since her little sister is exactly his age.Their dad said last week, "Good thing there's a house between us." 

Once a Year

It gets this quiet.Once a year it becomes important to hang laundry in the woods.  To share a step-stool just to be close to the younger brother.  To sweep the pine needles...

Plane Goodies

For Pond @ 2.5 Years:

Gerda Muller's Seasons Books.  So sweet with no text, just children doing what they do when outside.
Thin beeswax in every color.  For sculpting, hole punching, decorating.  It takes a bit of quiet & patience to melt the wax, then it makes your hands all warm & honey-smelling.  With plants dyes & no stick, this is as clean as sculpting gets.
Old-fashioned clothesline & clothespins with drawstring bag.  So he can hang things off me & make a fort in his seat.
Silk - for hiding, for sleeping, for warmth, for a bit of home.
Locally harvested, spun & plant-dyed fingerknitting wool.  By Colors of Nature.
"Hand" paper punch.
Translucent window star paper in a rainbow of colors.
Large wooden play clip.
Wooden car with a hole, large enough to drag through the airport.
2 kinds of bug-view scopes.
Journal with stickers.
Block crayons.
Drawstring pouch with hematite magnets.

I've had a bit of travel anxiety this past week.  There's so much to do, to set up for our house guests here, to prepare for there, to tie up everywhere.  Before distinguishing what was going on for me I kept thinking, "How's this gonna work?  D's going to want to sleep. We've got 3 boys.  He can't sleep!  They're just going to want me the entire time.  Baby loves to scream.  He's a total screamer.  He doesn't like to nurse while he's awake.  I only know how to nurse to calm on planes!!! This is going to suck!!"  You know, the record player that gets louder & louder until we hear it.   What's actually so is that my sweet baby is just so in love with these two big brothers of his, so he's distracted all the time.  He'll be fine on the plane, & I just need to be ready for the screams, which come when he's happy & come when he's frustrated.  Which he very well may be on a cross-country flight.   And D is, of course so happy to stay up the whole flight & be a king about all of it.   Once I took the time to create how this flight's going to go & got in dialogue with my partner, I got more related to reality.  As women we're well trained in communicating, but somehow we still manage to be running a monologue in our heads.  Especially when it comes to asking for help.  A context of partnership makes all the difference, doesn't it?    Or more importantly, remembering that the people in our lives are there because they love us, they want us to be happy & cared for & nourished.  Just like we want for them.

All that helps at least as much as toy bags.  

So we've ransacked our art supplies & rainy day boxes & here's what we've got.  They are ecstatic.

And I'm calm with just that little high that comes from laying things out in a lovely way, enough to appreciate the colors, the organization, the textures, & mostly the reminders of each sweet child & how he uses things. 

Crafts Supplies = Happyness Frenzy

 It's here, it's here, it's here! Ohmigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh! Aye. Ya-Yaye Ohmygoodness! My very own first Gocco.   Long awaited, years really.  It's too beautiful to use.  A piece of plastic actually worth fawning over.  And Lotta's printing book for inspiration, which I scored for $6 at the Friends of the San Francisco Library at Fort Mason Center while waiting for a table atGreens (aka Favorite City Eats. Favorite.).  I'm so into her screen printing on fabric - love it, love it, love it.  But all those chemical-ly inks mixed with little boys makes for a very scary situation.  So this is so beyond exciting for me.  I mean you should see me! Obviously, I Am Ranting.  But what you can't see is my grown-up-mommy-version of the Happy Pee Pee Dansk jig.  I've got lotsa great borrowed ideas.  Like this. And thisAnd this.  I mean, I'm excited.

And as we head to Lake Winnepesaukee we'll be bringing 2 thick stacks of envelopes for 6 & 7 year-olds to print, so that Love & J (aka the Rainbow Lite-Brites Box Girl) can write eachother once they're back on different coasts again.  I mean, this thing's practical.

And at the co-op the sale bin had these Lotta notecards at half-off!  Crazymaking.  I'm going to make them into little blank books like Sally, AmyAmanda. The boys already know they're for them so they've been transferring images of "boy" embroidery patterns into them & then drawing roads, tracks & stations to tie them all together.  They really seem to honor the fancy materials & put more love & care into their work.

And from Goodness & Pomadour24, a little sweetness itself.  Japanese linens & tapes for making the boys "concession-stand money aprons," "tool belts," & "work pouches."  Don't ask me, I'm just the stitcher.  I don't even do the pedal work.  I'll show you what they come up with.
It never fails to amaze me.  

Like this sweet ballerina by my girl Jelly Bean.  She comes over on Wednesdays, asks for a little bit of wool, a little bit of fabric, a glue gun here, fancy pens there.  2 months later, Ta-Dah!  Kids know what they want, they just need materials & someone to bounce their ideas off of, just like the rest of us.