invisible tides

I spent weeks wracking my brain to come up with a birthday gift for my mother.  Nothing seemed right.  I asked her (several times) whether there was anything she wanted, and she insisted that she couldn't think of anything.  Then, in a flash, I remembered necklaces I'd seen last November at an art fair at my son's school. That evening, I rushed past the tables set out with lovely things -- then about-faced for a close-up look at these necklaces.  They are created with the tiniest, most intricate fronds of seaweed, and I only had a moment to gaze before I ran off to volunteer at the book fair. Eight months later, these seaweed pendants popped into my head as the perfect gift.

My mother loves the ocean, so I suspected that these tiny seaweed fronds, caught under glass, eternally swaying in an invisible tide, would appeal to her.  And I had to tell you about them, too, because, really, they are rather amazing.  A few weeks ago, when I visited Cassie (the woman who creates this jewelry) in her home, I spent a very long time marveling at the colors & shapes she captures;  some of the seaweed looks like miniature trees from Japanese ink paintings, while others look like veins and capillaries carrying life-blood, and still others just seem to float on imaginary, dream-like oceans...

And not only does Cassie create pendants, she also has seaweed-art mounted in frames to hang on the wall, and preserved between panes of glass to hang in the window.  If you would like to see more of Cassie's designs, her etsy shop is HERE.


tutorial :: garden stepping stones

Years ago, when we first bought our house, I made stepping stones for the garden. The old stones are mossy & weathered, and when I told my children I had made them, they decided they wanted to make some, too.  So, a few weeks ago I gathered supplies, invited over a friend of my older son and we got to work.

An assortment of glass tiles & flattened glass marbles
Clear vinyl pot saucers (we used these)
A bag of cement
A bucket for mixing cement
Rubber gloves and some cleaning rags

STEP 1 :: Scoop several cups of cement into your bucket. Add water and stir. For best results, put on rubber gloves and mix by hand.  Keep adding small amounts of water or cement as needed until the cement is the approximate consistency of thick cake batter.

STEP 2 ::  Scoop cement into your clear vinyl pot saucers until 1 cm below the brim.

STEP 3 ::  Have children add tiles & marbles, etc... to decorate.  Be sure the items are pressed in firmly with the edges slightly submerged or the items might fall out once the cement is dry.

STEP 4 ::  Once the design is completed, use a damp rag to gently wipe any cement smudges off the tops of the tiles and marbles.

STEP 5 ::  Allow to dry several days, remove from the molds and find homes for your beautiful stepping stones in the garden.


tutorial :: a heart welcome-mat

Hello!  Today I thought I'd draw your attention to one of my favorite tutorials from several years back.  Every time I cross the threshold of my house, I am reminded of how much I enjoyed making this super-easy doormat.  However, the doormat I made 4 years ago was looking tired, so a few weeks ago I made a new one, and this time, instead of being strapped into a baby swing, my little guy was able to lend a hand. You can find the tutorial HERE.  If you try this project, let me know how it turns out (wouldn't it make a nice housewarming gift?)

What's currently by your front door to welcome family & friends?


bloom boys

It's been a while since I've written a proper blog post -- not just posted photos, but written actual paragraphs.  There have been some fluctuations in the land of Bloom so it feels like a good time to chatter. Here goes...

Do you ever read the acknowledgement sections at ends of books?  I always read them because I'm curious whom the author will thank and how they will thank them.  I'm not sure when my curiosity about author's acknowledgements started -- was it before or after I had written an acknowledgement section of my own?  At any rate, have you ever taken a look at the acknowledgement section in my first book?  The first person I thank is my younger son.  Why?  I never could have written that book unless he was a prodigious sleeper: 10-11 hours every night and 3 hours every afternoon. It was during those hours in the afternoon when I got most of my work done... but guess who stopped sleeping in the afternoon 3 months ago? Of course it was bound to happen, but now I'm sorely missing time for focused work and feel like I haven't had two consecutive moments in which to string together a coherent thought.  Meanwhile, my afternoons (and kitchen table) are filled with endless perler beads (glow-in-the-dark), pony beads (glow-in-the-dark), sculpy clay (glow-in-the-dark!), Spirograph (we have this set and this set), water colors, plus crayons and other drawing implements of every sort.  Even the occasional peg doll has been painted, however I still haven't finished the proposal for book number 3... sigh. 

Besides our fun afternoons, the upside is we are now able to undertake more ambitious adventures. My little one was the sort of child who really needed his daytime sleep, and needed to sleep at home, which was very limiting.  All adventures ended at 1:00 promptly, or a certain small person fell to pieces.  As soon as this was no longer the case we were off and running, and what an amazing spring break we had! After 4+ years staying close to home, I've still barely recovered from our spring break adventures here & here.

All to say, I know how much you love tutorials (as much as I love creating and posting them, I suspect).  I'm feeling a bit forlorn that I haven't been able to post any really nice ones lately, but perhaps you can bear with me until the autumn when my little one starts kindergarten (!)

As inevitable as it was that my pre-schooler would stop napping during the day, so was it inevitable that the shoe-size of my older son would suddenly surpass my own. I had inklings of this in late fall when he out-grew a new pair of shoes after just a few weeks.  And now he has grown 2 inches in height and increased 2 shoe sizes over the past two months. Yikes.  I can no longer rest my chin on the top of his mopsy head and, at the rate he's going, I wonder whether he will be taller than I am by end of summer. (He is currently 5'2". I am slightly over 5'6".)  Inevitable, of course, but still shocking when it happens...

I hope all is well with you and yours.  Please do say hello and send me your own updates if you're so inclined. I always love hearing from you.