Thursday, March 31, 2011

Operation Backpack Update

 Anisa from kidoinfo told me today that shipping to a U.S. military base overseas costs the same as shipping stateside!  Hooray!!!!  Now we can send even more backpacks to displaced children in Japan!

Scroll down to the next post to learn more about how to help out through the Misawa Girl Scouts troupe.

These beautiful illustrations are from "Nora's Surprise," by Japanese author and illustrator Satomi Ichikawa.  By the way, Benjy is fine.  He is just having his wool sheared.  Read this lovely book!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Help Japanese Children

Emily, who lives on an American military base in Japan, wrote to tell me about Operation Backpack. 

It sounds like a wonderful project to do with our children.  Find a new or gently used backpack, and fill it with items listed by Misawa Girl Scouts, the girl scout troupe on the base.  To see the list, click on the title of this post, or copy this... 

I will ask my son if he wants to fill a backpack for a girl or a boy.  He can help pick one out.  He can read the list and help choose the items.

If you are mailing the backpack from the United States, use the United States Postal Service and this address:

Misawa Girl Scouts
attn: Jessica Payne
Unit 5027
APO, AP 96319

Emily's blog is called Acte Gratuite,  You can visit to find out how her area and her family have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami, and how she is trying to help her neighbors by reading her recent posts.

These beautiful poems and drawings are from a vintage book, "Little Pictures of Japan," first published in 1925.  It is edited by Olive Beaupre Miller, with pictures by Katherine Sturges.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Color Joy

 I can't wait to wear this hat.  It is a simple roll-brimmed hat knit in some colors which look nice with my hair and skin.  I don't usually use these sorts of colors, so I have worked slowly, and frogged a lot of it as I experimented with the combinations.

 I used this scarf as inspiration for the color combinations.

 The purple looks very dominant in the basket, but there will only be one thin stripe of it.

 I may remove the gold and orange.  I love the way they look with the other colors, but with everything happening in the scarf already, that streak of sunshine in the hat might be too much.  Something more blended might look better.  What do you think?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gabriele's Flower Color Journey

Flowers Arranged by Gabriele of naturalinjapan
 I am thinking about my friend Gabriele these days, and some of our friends from Sendai.  Gabriele is from Chigasaki, Japan and lived near a crippled nuclear plant.  She and her family of two children have left their home forever and moved south out of the danger zone.  She is ensconced with her husband's family as they wait and try to decide what to do next.  This is what she wrote yesterday in her comment on her blog naturalinjapan:

Dear Beth, it is hell, as nobody cant decide anything, cant guess anything, cant say anything, its a time without a future. Worries dont finish, we cant start cleaning up, cant start mourning, cant start hoping,just staring paralyzed at Fukushima, its more stressful as the tsunami or the quake, because those actually finished. Only these 2 terrible events would have resulted in activity, in sad activity, but in activity, not into this unbearable waiting, into this seemingly endless fear. nothing left than praying.

Can you imagine?  Pray for my friend, Gabriele, and her family, and Japan.  In honor of her and her adopted country, I am linking to Gabriele's wonderful post for Acorn Pies, "A Flower Color Journey."  Gabriele designs and teaches flower arranging, and even has a book out about how to arrange flowers sensitively, by closely observing color detail.  Click on the title of this post to read it. 

We are thinking of you and your beautiful Japan, Gabriele.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Baby's Busy Day

 It's a busy day and there is so much to do!  I need to blow some bubbles,

clear twigs out of a crack in the pavement,

arrange the gravel,

check for holes in the wall,

touch the flowers,

 give full attention to a lollipop,
 inspect a dead tree and
 an old stump, 

take five in Mommy's arms,

 do play dough with the big children,

check out a toy Daddy had when he was a little boy,

do lunch,

help Mommy sweep the kitchen floor,

read a book without sitting down,

and take a power nap.
After my nap, I'm in such a hurry to get back to work, I don't have time to put on any pants.  What a busy, busy day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hat Love

I love to knit hats for people I love. I knitted this hat for my little boy. We passed it on to the little girl in the picture above, a good friend of ours. I love to see her wearing it. I designed it with the help of my collection of pattern books.

The pattern for this hat comes from Purl Bee. It was free, and the name of the pattern is "Giacomo's Hat." The colors suit this little red headed friend of mine very well.

I made this bonnet for the baby next door. Her mother loves bright colors. No plain old pink in that family.

Hand knit hats are wonderful new baby gifts.

This soft cotton spring hat was my child's, since passed on to a little friend. The pattern for this hat, and the orange bonnet, come from Minnow Knits, Too.

I designed this hat in collaboration with my son. He wanted volcanoes spewing fire and ash. He told me what colors to use, and I used graph paper to chart the design.

I use this Yankee Knitter Designs pattern over and over for my own color variations and charts. It is excellent. All patterns are written for both worsted and bulky weight yarns, for infant through adult! I love to use stripes....

Pink and white for a niece.

Blue and white for me....

Blue and gray for my grown son, Nicholas....

with a cashmere lining from an old sweater of his father's, so the hat won't be scratchy.

In the colors that the little one requested...

In blue and white for a little buddy, still on the needles....

and in some favorite colors of mine, blue and green, for another little friend! Knitting hats is one of the things I do to lift my spirits in the gloom of winter. I feel happy when I am doing something special for someone I love.

Let Your Baby Touch Spring

Spring is just beginning where we are, but I am so longing to be outdoors, in the sunshine, barefoot, with flowers blooming all around, dazzling my wondering eyes. The burst of spring documented in this post won't be here in New England for six weeks or more. But I can experience it now through the eyes of my nephew, in this posting from last spring.

Take me outside! Take me out of the stroller or sling and let me touch spring!

Let me feel grass on my skin.

It prickles.

It tickles. It makes me curl my toes.

Let me reach out with one finger to touch this eye-popping, velvety red azalea.

I love it.

I love this leaf so much I want to pull it off, put it in my mouth, and find out more about it.

I bring my hands together, gently, gently, to touch these candle-like blossoms.

I stroke these soft iris blades.

And when you bring lilac close to me, I am amazed. Light, softness, and fragrance. I'm going to need a nap after this. And my dreams are going to be breathtaking.

This adorable little butterball is my nephew and Godson. I love him. Take your baby outside like his Daddy did, and let him touch spring.