If you had told me, 1. I’d have a son someday or 2. I’d LOVE to sew little boy clothes, I would have said you were lying. Not ever did I imagine my life so filled and joyous with a little human of the male variety. He fits right in with our family and not one of us can imagine life without him. Every one of his sisters has so much love for him. And this little one is a true delight to be around. After three colicky babies, I got one that is filled with smiles and likes to sleep.
I had never paid much attention to little boy clothes, but now, to my delight, find them the absolute best. They are much easier and faster to sew. This little bubble came from Intemporels pour bébés (French Edition). I added elastic to the legs as because it would have been too big otherwise. And I thought the pocket was a nice little touch. In preparations for a little boy who could like to collect things — sewing pockets might come handy. I made this with lightweight washed linen. Oh, it is so cozy.
Goats hair brush (only the lap of luxury for this boy) and Ostheimer wooden figures from The Wooden Wagon. Pacifier chain was a gift.
Another little piece I made for him came from Intemporels pour bébés : Tome 2 (French Edition). Same author different book. This is Astrid’s newest book, the bubble above is from her first book. Unfortunately, he outgrew this one so quickly, I never photographed him wearing it. But, I will be making it again next Spring. And there are two patterns in this book I will try for Fall/Winter.
**Before I begin this post, let me say, yes, the cardboard box fills all of the descriptions of the wooden toys I mention below. But this post isn’t about the cardboard box.** Continue reading for a chance to win a $50 credit to The Wooden Wagon Toys and a discount code for happy shopping. GIVEAWAY is now CLOSED!!! Winner is Lauren Longenecker. Congratulations!!
Discount code nathalie20 is good through Sept 23, 2016.
When our oldest daughter was just a tiny human, I began collecting wooden toys for her to play with. I have long favored toys that are heirloom quality, are fun, foster open-ended play, do not run on batteries, and my all time favorite, looks great even when scattered on the floor. When you have one child, no problem. Four children, many birthday parties, and Christmases past (even though we value quality over quantity), I can’t claim to be a minimalist. Yes indeed, my children have toys.
With four children in our brood, the inevitable happened, their toys became a part of the decor. And if the toys are, as my friends Stacy calls them, aesthetically pleasing, my house always looks decorated. Win-win. The question I get asked many times over, whether online, or by a visiting friend is, “where do you get these toys?” Here it is. For nearly ten years I have been purchasing European toys and art supplies from The Wooden Wagon. This family owned company was founded by a stay-at-home dad back in 2003. On their site you will find beautiful, natural, safe, and creativity fostering toys. No batteries required. Which means, no crazy flashing lights or pre-recorded sounds. Amongst the brands they specialize in are our favorites: Ostheimer, Fagus, Grimms, and let’s not forget Stockmar & Lyra art supplies.
With all of that in mind, I partnered with the amazing folks over at The Wooden Wagon to bring you a 15% off your purchase coupon code nathalie15 good through Sept 23, 2016. Hooray! Happy shopping, friends. You also have a chance to win a $50 gift voucher to their online store. There are two ways to enter. 1- you can leave a comment below telling me which Ostheimer figures you would love to have (if you win the $50 voucher you don’t have to buy the figures you mentioned in the comment, the $50 voucher is good for any purchase). 2- on IG, follow @thewoodenwagon and @nathaliebearden leave a comment and tag three friends for a chance to win. I will choose ONE winner at random on Monday morning, September 19, 2016. Reminder, this is open to U.S. only as The Wooden Wagon does not ship internationally.
My favorite art supplies are from Stockmar. Yes, they are not cheap. But, they last a long time and my children know they need to treat it with care. I don’t bring out these supplies every time we do art. Only when they are working on their main lesson books. I have Stockmar liquid watercolor paints that I got 6 years ago. They are very concentrated and dilute well. I keep the stock vials in the refrigerator.
Several people have emailed me about this little white house shelf. I bought it years ago at a junk store and painted it white. But, you are in luck. I received an H&M catalog today and saw this little white shelf. Looks pretty cute! The Jenny Lind bed is from my last antiquing trip to Round Top, TX. Best $50 I ever spent. Fox lamp is from Target, from four or so years ago. Knitted cloud pillow from Bla Bla and Liberty of London pillow made by me. The side table is also from my antiquing trips. It was an ugly orange rattan color and I painted it white. Y’know, painting stuff white makes it new! haha! Well, mostly. I don’t paint beautiful antique furniture, though. I’ve got my limits.
Year two of a homemade education has commenced this week. Friends, I can’t even recognize myself when I say this, I am finding so much joy in this journey. When I say this to you, though, do not forget that circumstances change and so do feelings. There are ups and there are downs. What I write here is about today, not two weeks or a year from now. This first week back on the saddle of teaching has been so different from last year. Last year I took for granted little things like…elements of surprise. Really, week one last year was all about, let’s open these books and get to learning! Needless to say, that didn’t work well and the tone I had set was having me nearly waving a white flag by week two.
This time around I had some forethought to prepare a few sweet things to make the first day more special. Which made our week so special. Which, as I see now in my crystal ball, made our year so wholesome. Haha, wouldn’t that be wonderful? I have no idea what will happen during week two. There’s a toddler and a 4month old to juggle here as well, so I am keeping any unrealistic expectations in check. But, I will savor these sweet feelings of joy for as long as I can. Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “Home is the nicest word there is”. And right now, for us, home is the best place to be.
On the first day of school this week, I got up earlier than usual, made their favorite breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. I had organized our school room the night before and left little surprises for them to find on the morning of our first lessons. Very simple things like sharpened pencils in a little box for each of them, fresh flowers, a little apple wrapped with twine and a handwritten note. Nothing Pinterest worthy, but for them, it was the best surprise. Children are so easy to please, it is us with our grown up brains and attitudes that tend to spoil all of the fun.
Our first week ended with our first day of co-op. A friend introduced me to her little group and we joined them for this year. It is nothing academic, we do that here at home. But it is an opportunity to loosen up a bit, do a little art, speak in public, and make new friends. The cherry on top!
Do you have any builders in your house? I have two, right now. Building with tape, wood, paper, legos, strings, you name it. My girls are always making stuff. They even added pulleys and ropes all over their backyard playset. They need to add a sign there that says, “Play at your own risk!” This past Spring I came across a set of classes called HouseStories. The title alone had my interest piqued and upon further investigation, I knew it was just the thing for my girls. Maureen Ferry, is a local architect and the mind behind HouseStories. She has done a superb job in putting these classes together and if you are local to The Woodlands, check it out. My oldest girl had so much fun in the Spring class that she wanted to take the class again. So this past Summer I signed up both girls and they had the most fun building and studying architecture with Maureen.
During the classes, which span a week long, they explored how and why people built six different habitats; the girls brought home some real architecture masterpieces! Again, you can read more about HouseStories here. For those of you who are not locals, scroll to the bottom for some books suggestions I think you will love.
These are some books we’ve read or are still reading. I added some animal architecture to the list as well. Animals are the master architects and their homes are worth studying. The Animal Architecture Book is mesmerizing; it is filled with gorgeous photography. And if you can buy only one of the human architecture books, let The Story of Buildings be it. This is a beautifully illustrated and written architecture history book. I don’t know what my children retained from it, but I learned a lot about early buildings.
The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond
From Mud Huts to Skyscrapers
Iggy Peck, Architect
Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes
A City Through Time
For some reason, I can’t seem to build up enough inner excitement to make a quilt. But, I am overcompensating in the kids clothes sewing department. This little bubble is just the perfect little outfit for my littlest girl. The flutter sleeves, gathered leg holes, and mother of pearl buttons are spot on. I don’t know about you, but I love one piece outfits as much as I love cooking one pot meals. Makes life so much easier.
Here’s the info on this little piece.
Pattern is from Intemporels pour bébés : Tome 2 (French Edition). The pattern is in French, but if you know how to sew garments, it is not hard to figure things out. If you are not familiar to sewing clothes, this might not be the best place to start.
Fabric from Cotton & Steel
Baby is mine.
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