We have had to put aside treehouse building for a time due to the rain. This week not only saw snow but had the renewed interest in building the treehouse. All of the lumber on this house is recycled wood. This week we hung our hand made doors and windows and started making the shingles for the siding out of bark peeled from logs. A huge thank-you to our favorite lumber-jacks who let us stop by the lumber mill to pick up these peelers. The scraps make great firewood to. Here's a look at Little Boy O and his treehouse.
Above is a very touching story about toymaker, mom, and artist Amber Dusick. Is what makes her story so important is that Amber, along with many other very talented crafters and toymakers would be made to halt their activities due to the New Consumer Safety Improvement Act, which demands expensive testing on toys. Small toymakers, such as Amber, can not afford to test their products and still make it cost effective for us to buy.
Toymaker Amber Dusick aka woodmouse has her wood shop in her garage in downtown LA. After the birth of her son, this one time farm girl from Wisconsin became nostalgic for the toys from her past: simple, natural toys that would inspire creativity and imaginative play, made from materials that wouldn't stick around in a landfill for thousands of years.
After years of silver smithing, throwing pottery and drawing with pen and ink, Amber finally found her medium in wood. Using sustainably harvested woods, non toxic paints and beeswax along with her wood burning tool, Amber was able to transfer the look and feel of her previous pen and ink drawings to wooden toys. Woodmouse, founder of the Natural Kids Team, is an ardent advocate of sustainable toys. The materials used are all natural and her toys are 100% compostable. Her imagery is reminiscent of of a child's crayon drawing come to life in wood.
A legion of crafters and toymakers joined together to have their voices heard in a congressional hearing. (From CoolMomPicks the following:)
On Jan 21 Two promising developments! First, a letter to Henry Waxman from members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (download the letter here) asking for a delay in the CPSIA for "fine-tuning" so that we can "save many jobs and ensure toys are safe." Representatives Joe Barton and George Radanovich write It is becoming clear that, without the rapid application of some common sense, the law also holds potential to impose vast economic hardship...The letters, phone calls and emails we have received...now number in the thousands...This situation is urgent.
Here is an overview of the situation and ways that you can help. Save Handmade ...Please!
We're all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys, clothes, and accessories made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, congress passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, a law which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust. The very same ones that we often feature here and in our yearly special edition gift guides.
With this act going into effect February 10 2009 so many people we love will be affected: Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single toxic chemical in them still don't have a single toxic chemical in them.
How to Get Involved -- it only takes 5 minutes of your time!
-Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here.
Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.
-Send an email directly to the CPSC or contact chairperson Nancy Nord at 301-504-7923
-Vote for amending the law on Change.org, digg style: We are currently one of 90 finalists, and if it makes the top ten proposals, it will be presented to President Obama in January! Edited to add: Whoo! The propsal has made the top 10 with more than 12,000 votes and close to 500 blogger "endoresements. Thank you so much for the support!
-Place the Save Handmade! button on your blog or website to help spread the word to everyone you know who cares about protecting the little guy and preserving beautiful items made with love for our children.
It has arrived...Inauguration Day. About a week ago I decided that I didn't want to be sitting home all by myself watching the biggest moment in U.S. history, at least the biggest moment in U.S. history since I've been alive. I sent out the emails saying we would have an Inauguration Brunch. Everyone can bring their best and favorite dishes and we could watch and share this moment together.
Monday we had the biggest snow fall in 7 years . It was already a holiday so we had a lot of snow play. When I woke up Tuesday morning it was by phone call from the school district stating that our schools had been closed. This was just perfect ....my children had wanted to stay home and watch the inauguration. Now not only would we be able to share this together but so would our closest friends and their children.
People started arriving at 10 AM and the last to leave said their good-byes at 5 pm. Here's how are day unfolded:
It was surprising how many of us can sing like Aretha. How many of you sang along? I know you did. What a moment it was watching her sing 'My Country Tis of Thee'.
First it was Joe and Jill Biden.
and then it was Barack and Michelle Obama
We stood for the oath and singing .....and then......
It was time to eat. A perfect day with all of my family and friends. And then do you know what happened ? At 5 pm it started snowing again. Yea!
Well finally it's here. After much nagging, whinning, and a very long and sunny cold snap. Our daily high on friday was 9 degrees Fahrenheit. We have snow. Yea!
It started slowly at first. We were watching it fall flake by flake. Then it started to pick up a little but we didn't get our hopes up.....until it covered the woodpile. "Alright everybody", I announced "It's a Serious Snow.
And then I moved away from the back door as I was almost run over by every age child imaginable. From the age of 3 to 20. My children and all of their friends. There was a day of sledding and then all of the soup and hot chocolate one could muster. I love snow days. I just really love snow days.
Yesterday Mimi and I took a 3 hour drive to Murfreesboro so that she could audition for Govenor' school. Honestly, I had not looked forward to a three hour drive there, a 10 minute audition, and a three hour drive back.
I'm so glad we did this. Not only did she nail the audition but we had one of those golden moments when time just stops. There was quite a few rounds of careeoke, where we sing all of our favorite songs off of the I-pod. There was a new found restaurant called Demo's where we discovered "baked chicken soup". Really incredibly good. And then there was the telling and remembering of stories from all of those "Yesterdays". I would do anything to hold onto moments like these with all of my children, forever.
Oh and let's not forget the baked chicken soup.
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
5 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
4 cups cubed, baked chicken (or shredded rotisserie cooked chicken)
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, combine the first three ingredients; bring to a boil. Add the chicken and rice. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
Whisk together eggs and lemon juice; quickly stir into soup. Add oregano and pepper. Serve immediately.
Greetings friends. I have been in search of snow for awhile now. Due to the lack of snow Ihave created a flickr group to share our snow photos.They can be scenic, outside of your homes,sking,playing,snowman making etc. All I want is just to see the white stuff.
You can find me here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/loveofsnow/
I really look forward to seeing your photos. They are threatening snow flurries tonight. If you knew how many times we hear this every winter and it never happens. Please let me live vicariously through all of you. The photos below were taken in Oregon,Sweden, and Iceland. Enjoy !
Shortly after my last blog post I had a dream that it was raining on me from my bedroom ceiling. I didn't thing it shocking at the time because it was really raining hard outside. It was one of those vivid dreams that seem so real. I told everyone in the family about it at breakfast.
After my family went off to school and work I went up to my office for a while. From my desk I kept hearing this dripping sound and it kept getting louder until it was just the sound of rushing water. Remembering my dream from the previous night I kept looking for the water on my ceiling. It was dry as a bone.
Finally the sound was so loud that I could follow it..........as I walked into the bathroom the wall facing me was a cascade of water running down the wall. Apparently there's a leak around the chimney.
On the very same day as I was calling a roof repair team I noticed that my downstairs ceiling in the familyroom was dripping. A huge watermark and stain was there. Clearly I had a plumbing problem so I called the plumber.
The roof can't be fixed until the rain stops for a few days. Until then we are using a tarp with weights. The plumbing problem got fixed quickly by replacing a pipe.
Later that evening, the lovely MIss Miriam went upstairs to take a shower. I was sitting in the kitchen doing homework with Omar when we started hearing water splashing. where is it ? Four spouts of dripping water were leaking down my kitchen wall from Miriams bathroom upstairs. We put a bucket underneath it until we could figure it out.
Next day the plumber came back to say that the plumbing is fine. It must be leaking through the tile. They don't do tile so I had to wait for Marshal ,our handyman to come. Finally last week Marshal came by to say that we could regrout the bathroom,which won't last very long or we could replace the shower and tub with a one piece unit. "Great" I said. Let's do that. There is just one little problem......the door to the bathroom isn't wide enough to get the one piece shower/tub unit in. Back to Lowe's I went with my bath and shower. Finally we had to settle on a two piece unit because we could get it into the bathroom.
I've felt like the little dutch boy putting my finger in the dam. So this is where I have been. Hopefully by the end of this week the "leaky cauldron" will be repaired.
'Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.'
-- Victor Hugo
It started in music school. I was tired of carrying around large tablets of staff paper,or three ring binders filled with wrinkled compositions. While in London one spring day I ran across a Moleskine book which was created for composers. It was small. It could fit in my backpack or purse, and it created a sense of security that anything I was thinking could be saved by writing it down in a descrete manner.
If it worked so well for music couldn't it work well for writing and musical ideas that hadn't been put to music yet ? ......of course they could. For many years Moleskines were hard to find in the U.S. ! Everytime I went to Europe I would stock up on them, just incase I never came back and needed a lifetime supply in the US. So purchases were made in multiples of music , journal, and small black notebooks that have filled up over the years with a number of ideas and creative moments.
Flash ahead 15 years..........
It was a first business meeting with my now LearnSweden business partner Per Svangren. We sit down, order a coffee and.......everyone pulled out their moleskines. As far as I was concerned there wasn't a need for further discussion. Anyone who carries multiple moleskines for multiple creative moods and ideas would make an incredible business partner. I was right.....he has.
Someone who tickles my funny bone often is a blogger and creative thinker named Nick Cernis. He has written a lexicon inside a blog on the addiction to Moleskines. To discover if you are one or not ,have a look at his article Moleskine Notebooks: The Ultimate Guide . This isn't to be missed. I even discovered Molskines I didn't know exsisted. For all of my travels I will have to buy the city guides. I might need a 12 step program after this......but why ? I'll just live in my little black book bliss !
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