Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

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Thanksgiving and the recent uncovering of a bird’s nest in my garden made me think of a talisman I made almost 10 years ago. Talismans are objects which are believed to have magical powers. Unlike Amulets, which are for generic purpose, talismans bring good luck for a specific purpose. They also need to be charged with energy by a person who makes them.

Mine was a bird's nest made out of fine silver. I rolled each little twig out of precious metal clay and little by little formed a nest. It was then sintered in kiln which burned off the binding materials and after polishing, a tiny brilliant nest emerged. For eggs, I added two shiny oval shaped freshwater pearls. It could have been used as a pendant, but I just wanted to look and hold it.

At the time, we had already had several painful years of  trying to get  pregnant. It was probably on an unconscious level, that I made this symbolic nest in lieu of building a nest for a human baby. In any case, my thoughts were mostly (as they had been for ages) focused on the void in our lives. When I was concentrating on rolling out those tiny twigs,  I was charging each one of them with lots of hope. As it often happens, once you direct your energy somewhere else, the unimaginable happens. I got pregnant with our gorgeous son.

I got pre-occupied with my rounding belly and the hectic life in Manhattan. The little talisman was forgotten for years until we moved to suburbs and I learned that a dear friend of mine was struggling with the same issues I had. The cynic in me says it was our persistence, modern medicine and our skilled reproductive endocrinologist that deserve all the credit for the success. However,  I would like to live in a world where it’s ok to believe in magic, at least a little bit. So, I handed the bird's nest to my friend in a little box and told her the story about making it. Her son was born less than a year after that.

We decided that it would be great to create a pay-it-forward talisman. So, she gave the nest to her friend S who gave it to her friend K. So, far we have four silver nest babies, all boys by the way.

Oh, and what happened to the talisman next? S has it back on her bed side radiating hope, happy thoughts and energy for number two.

 

Let's face it. When it comes to kids' ready made curtains, they are not fun. Even if you can get over the boring-factor and the why-so-weirdly-short-factor, the quality is often unacceptably bad. I have had simple roman shades give up in less than a month. Supposedly, they were made for kids' rooms, so I had ambitious expectations for longer usage. Oh, how wrong I was!

Living extensive periods of time without blackout curtains is not an option for an 8 year old who wakes up with the sun (and specially for his parents). After the roman shades gave up, I obviously really had to do something about it. After spending several desperate hours going through the available boring and ugly curtains, I decided to move from ready made to home made.

I knew my artistic and design savvy son would like to choose his color and pattern. So, first we surfed some fabric sites together. Surprisingly easily, we settled to two space themed fabrics from the custom printer Spoonflower. We decided to have a bit fun and have one of the windows decorated with a different panel. Because the fabrics were both by the same very talented designer, Jennifer Wambach, we were still able to create a cohesive look to the room.

If you can sew straight line, you can sew curtains. Basically, I sewed the panel and blackout fabric into a gigantic sack. Then I turned it inside out (right sides out) and overstitched. The only thing left was to cut the holes to grommets (my package came with a template) and snap them to place. Just a few hours later, I was done! Well, until I'll start again and sew some new curtain panels for the jealous little brother.

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Ready and folded ride.

Ready and folded ride.

The fans of MTV’s  ingenious Pimp My Ride show can now liberate their inner rap master and pimp their own folded paper rides. With Foldify app for iPad, one can pimp also boxes and other figurines. However, as my boys and I fended off some flu infused haze, we opted for cars and buses.

You don’t need a garage filled with dude-types for these hot rods. You can paint with app’s brushes or use stamps that come with it. Every action you take in Foldify, is previewed in real-time 3D, without any delays or extra steps. Then you can print your figure using AirPrint or send as a PDF by e-mail. It is quite wonderful for the kids to use scissors and glue and hold the final 3D version in their hands. The app definitely develops spatial thinking and subsequent crafting helps with fine motor skills.

Quite honestly, after a while, I was tempted to bring the PDF to Photoshop and get those hubcaps spinning with real chrome. The stamps are limited and brushes a little clumsy. For now, I have resisted the temptation.