December 22, 2008

wrapping up and my new journal

day before yesterday, my toddler decided he wanted to paint.

his requests included statments like: will you get the painting stuff for me, please?
and: i really like to paint.

he's done so maybe twice, which is a sad admission since there was a time that i, myself, painted frequently - but taking out my paints and cleaning up afterward is a different animal than taking out paints for a child, letting them explore their creative genius, and cleaning up after them.

i think the word is anal, and that is what i tend to become when watching children paint. i want them to hold the brush just so. i want them to avoid dripping and dropping - even though i, myself, am guilty of sometimes making a mess. i want them to choose colors carefully, colors that actually complement one another and don't turn into a brown, mushy mess on the surface.

i breathe. i think about it. i use every opportunity i have with this toddler of mine to relinquish all expectations and judgments about art or how "arts and crafts" should be handled. backstory: when i was a child, i had to color in the lines or my mom would often just color for me. at three years old i was very distraught because i couldn't make the pages in my coloring books look as perfect as she could. i tried and i tried and to this day i am not the artist she is. of course, i have long ago given up a desire for perfection in my artwork (but not in other areas of my life) but i am still somewhat envious of how she can exact a colored pencil to do just what she wants it to do. she's not afraid of pressing too hard or wearing it down to nothing, another thing i need to get over. i tell myself, you know, they make more. and yet i'm still afraid to use my supplies until they're gone. don't know what that's about and i'm not interested in exploring that. so excuse my morning tangent...(this is why i should post only at night, but i had all this stuff to share and for two nights in a row, i've been too tired to get to it).

so, tangent over. i decided i would, in fact, let my toddler paint. i decided it would be a christmas present for his papa. we had done something similar for his papa's birthday, afterall. i was prepared to offer only minimal guidance and not hover, instruct, or criticize. and as always, i'd add only the tiniest of tiny, finishing touches.

i went into my craft closet to gather supplies and noticed the back of the box that my toddler's (as of yet incomplete) baby book came in. i didn't know what i'd been saving it for, nothing in particular, just for some future art project - and so it became the canvas. the sides would serve not only as mess prevention, but also a cute bordered frame. so i grabbed some crayola poster paints i got in a surprise swap once upon a time and i set about giving my child the tools to create.

next i decided we needed a way to hang this, so i found my cool memory makers multi-tip punch and made some holes for future eyelet placement...

and i let the toddler go about his business...

i thought i had taken a picture of the mostly finished project but there wasn't another on my camera. it looks great, though i still need to affix those eyelets (grommets? whatever they are) and apply some sort of something to the outer edge of the box to fancy up the "frame" - this will be done today at some point.

afterward, i was still feeling crafty and realized that christmas was coming relatively soon, so we finally got around to making the cards for my oldest son and my younger siblings. i picked up some two-pack DIY card kits in the dollar section at target. not sure i'll do that again since they're cute and all, but kind of blah - the adhesives aren't really good quality and yes! i expected more, even at 50 cents a piece. they look cute, though - and while i had this vision of letting my almost three-year old go all out and do *whatever* he pleased, in reality i had to unstick a few stickers and place them right side up, or where i thought they looked better. so not that complete free-spirited influence on my children, but i am making the effort and that's all that counts, right? right?

so now i'm thinking they look too polished to say a two year old did them, but mostly he did :)

that day i also *finally* got around to blocking the scarf i had made my mate for christmas. it had been done for a couple of weeks, at least, but i had set it aside and never got around to the finishing touches. so i wove in the ends of the yarn and put it to soak. i'm not sure why, even after blocking, it wants to roll in on itself - it may be the nature of the pattern or that my "blocking" was haphazard - but my real worry is that it will be too itchy for my man. the yarn felt soft in the skein, but not so much, once knitted.

i told him if he didn't like it, i'd eventually make him another, though it may be too warm to wear a scarf by the time it was complete. i really like the scarf askew pattern, though, so maybe he'll get a new one every christmas.

and because i take very little time to start creative projects by myself and for myself, i bought myself a pretty little journal yesterday. i didn't *need* one, as i have plenty of gorgeous journals already, but this one spoke to me. and i wanted something i could reserve just for this last leg of my pregnancy - and i had a journal i often referred to but it has become not so much an inspirational and uplifting book, but one full of complaints, half-hearted thoughts and incomplete musings. it's like the composition book i carried around when i was fifteen, full of all sorts of things, but not one single purpose, not anything i'd want to share with anyone else.

so. this journal jumped out and bit me with its beauty.

i hemmed and hawed and had several other pretty paper things in my hand (that's why i go to anthropolgie, really. the gorgeous $328 sweaters do very little for me, but their children's books and staionary. HEAVEN!) and i was careful to only select the most perfect thing. nothing was more than $12 and the price wasn't even an issue (though had the journal been $20, i probably would have set it back down so fast one might have thought my hand was on fire). then i turned it around, after flipping through the inside and loving the block print and the pink, green, and brown pages but not so sure about the lines. i prefer unlined pages in most cases. anyhow, i turn the journal around and this really gets me...

"where troubles melt like lemon drops" - it was my mom who pointed out that that's from "somewhere over the rainbow" - i just thought it was eclectic and a soft reminder that i need not worry and focus so much on fear and negativity during this painful, but beautiful journey - i have yet to decide if i'm only going to fill it with positive things, part of me wants to use it as a companion to birthing from within since i don't have the journal specifically created for that purpose. but i'm not sure i want to explore my fears here. and the pain i'm in will serve as a permanent memory within my mind, body, and spirit that i need not record it's every happening - why not relish in the delightful and reserve a little spot for it to exist in its own right? well that's the kind of question that comes to mind when this journal is in my hand!

yesterday was a good day and things seemed to come together well. we chose a name for the new baby and i carved out some time after my toddler was asleep to write about it...

and even if i might not be too careful about whether or not the contents of this journal be seen by others, for now it's private ;)

now i'm off to make a list for the day, attempt to follow it, and wrap as many gifts as i can with a toddler underfoot.

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