Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines and Snowy Days


 Did you enjoy a Happy Valentine's Day yesterday? I adore Valentine's Day. It's not an enormous day, but there is so much room for creativity! I was thinking yesterday about why I like this little holiday so much and I think it is because it is a little holiday. While I love tradition, there are not necessarily buckets of tradition attached to the day. We don't all take the day off and travel far and wide to great gatherings, the mail does not stop, and if you're really lucky, the mail carrier actually brings you a special treat in the mail! How rare - and fun - is that, nowadays?

I also like that Valentines themselves generally are, or certainly can be, little. I haven't purchased a Valentine in years (though I don't have anything against that), but I fondly remember all the little cards and envelopes we shared with classmates. Delivering all the Valentines to the various decorated "mailboxes" we'd crafted days before the big event was the highlight of the day, of course.

Now, when I make Valentines, they are most often small, similar in size to an ATC ("artist trading card) or baseball card. This year I made bookmarks. I think over the course of this next year, I am going to be on the lookout for tiny things - trinkets; miniatures - to attach to next year's Valentines.

But before I get too far into the events of yesterday, I will roll back the calendar a bit to the beginning of the month to catch you up on some of the things we've been doing.

We've had more snow in the first couple of weeks of February than we had the whole month of dark January. I am always happy when the calendar flips to February, because you really get to see the re-emergence of the light! That said, just as "sunshiny showers last for less than half an hour," you rarely get lots of snow without a white sky to match.

We had a series of Alberta Clippers (don't ask me... I'm just repeating what they say on the news...) come through that, over the course of 3 or 4 days, left us with an inch or two of snow every night overnight. We'd wake up to new frosting and new shoveling every morning. This past Saturday we had some wet, wet snow which, of course, is the perfect recipe for building snowmen!



Taking advantage of my outdoor family members, I sent Eve out with birdseed while I took photos in my slippers!








(Our big snowman has squash tops for sunglasses!)


Snowy days outside means its cozy inside. Up in our attic schoolroom art and crafting is flourishing! How can one resist a table full of art supplies, just beckoning? I have been working on my own paintings and sketchbooks and there have been many days of late that the girls have just sat down to begin something for themselves. 

This is my view from my corner chair where I read to the girls. They obviously have their own tasks and reading to attend to as well, but our "together work" happens first. While I read/teach, the girls work on various projects of their choosing. Here, Eve is finishing up knitting her second leg-warmer. Knitting, she will tell you, was not her choosing, but after she puts in her 30 minutes on her long-term knitting project for the year (Maia's was a hat... so she's done!), she pulls out her sketchbook or paints or whatever else she chooses. Maia has been enjoying watercolors and has begun filling up her new, mixed-media sketchbook with new drawings now in COLOR! :)


Back outside, the sun has climbed higher in the sky and things are seeming brighter longer. I took lots of pictures of this northern junco who comes for regular mealtimes at our feeder on the deck. I just loved the lacy look that the ice had made: a little, icy gazebo! These photos will be fun to play with when I get my photo-editing software up and running again. It's on the to-do list, but evidently not close enough to the top...


The brighter light and a few days of warmer temperatures (in the 30's F!!) gave me a little buzz of spring fever. Trader Joe's had tulips and daffodils and hyacinth stems this past Wednesday. I resisted the hyacinths (they were a bit pricier and I'm not that ready to wrap my mind around spring, with their potent, delicious fragrance) but next time I think I'll be ready to indulge. In the meantime, these soft tulips and some bright, cheery daffodils have graced our tables and added color to our rooms.



Yesterday morning - Valentine's morning - brought with it more new snow that stayed on the trees, wet and heavy til after midday. The sun was bright and high in the sky and it really was quite a picture.






And finally, a sample of a few Valentines of the day. Maia promises a cake and Eve drew Paul and I this darling picture. We had been looking at old scrapbooks on Wednesday which was the inspiration for this darling, unique Valentine.
 

...and a sample here to of the Valentines I gave out this year. Nothing spectacular, but a little token made with love, as always. 

Happy Friday, all! Have a blessed weekend! :)
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