The Kissing Hand for Evie Raccoon

“Chester Racoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried. ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ he told his mother. ‘I want to stay home with you. I want to play with my friends. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing. Please may I stay home with you?'”
~ The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Racoon-IMG_5887

October 29, 2014 PART I

It was three days before Halloween and I thought I was let off the hook from making a costume for Evie because, I repeat, it was THREE DAYS before Halloween and she had a dozen other costumes hanging in her closet. I was 4 months pregnant and ultimately too tired to do anything that required my focus. But just as I was confirming with her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she grabbed a book off of her shelf titled The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. She was a bit obsessed with this story for the entire month, asking everyone to read it to her repeatedly. It is about a young raccoon named Chester, who is a bit nervous about going to school. Mrs. Raccoon kisses his center palm and tells him that “whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.’

While every little girl in the world wanted to be Princess Elsa, Evie [5 years old] wanted to be Chester Raccoon. She read the book over and over again and thought that it was the cutest story of a raccoon and his mother. I must have asked her a dozen times, “Are you sure you want to be a raccoon?” She was absolutely unwavering about the idea.

Third Fitting

PART II

Evie wanted her entire body to be covered in fur, but I told her that we should just make a fur coat that she could add to her fall/winter wardrobe. We went to the fabric store to find grey faux fur, and I worked on her costume over the course of 2 days…

PART IV

PART III

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick o' Treating

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick-or-Treating in the daytime

Trick o'Treating with her best friend, Graham

Evening Trick-or-Treating with her best friend, Graham

Raccoon DIY Costume

Raccoon-Costume-6-2014SUPPLIES FOR COAT:
Grey Faux Fur [1 1/2-2 Yards]
Black Thread

SUPPLIES FOR EARS & TAIL:
Grey Faux Fur
Black Fabric
Black Thread
Headband
Safety Pin [to pin tail on coat]
Polyester Stuffing

I don’t have any photos of the process, but it’s simple if you know how to duplicate a pattern. I started with a basic pattern–tracing the front, back, and sleeves–using a coat she already owned. We used one of her black headbands and sewed ears onto it. The tail was stuffed with polyester stuffing and the selvage side of the fabric was incorporated to look like stripes. There wasn’t quite enough fabric [approx. 1 yard] so the tail and sleeves were a little short. Had I bought more fabric, I would have made her tail longer and spray painted thick black stripes. To complete the outfit, she rummaged through her drawers and found a plain light grey shirt, black leggings, and a dark grey tulle skirt [Zara Girls].

TheKissingHandPresently, 10 days before Halloween, I asked her what she wanted to be. One would think she would be influenced into being a Disney Princess after seeing other little girls walking around in their costumes throughout the month of October–but Evie blurted out to our neighbor last week that she wanted to be a… mammal from the weasel family. Predictably, our neighbor’s eyes bulged out of her sockets and her nose and upper lip scrunched up on one side as she muttered under her breath, “A whaaaaat?” I presumed she was expecting to hear that she was going to be a pretty and dainty something

…But Evie has another original idea–unwavering in her decision, again. She’s also hoping that I would agree to dress Emaline up as the same thing.

xx
Jena

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Wild Daisies & A Wreath of Eucalyptus Branches.

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

“Daisy, give yourself away.  Look up at the rain, a beautiful display of power and surrender, giving us today and she gives herself away.”
Jon Foreman

We came to the Berrious one morning, with a nature list of things to collect to spruce up our home; bringing the outdoors, indoors.  I had ambivalent feelings of the weather, anticipating yet another victory for the sun, whom I wasn’t rooting for at all.  Thankfully, the warmth slowly dissipated as the fog crept in and covered our playing grounds.  We sat underneath the shade of an enormous pine tree, where the air was even chillier.  Evie collected lavender wild daisies, searched for giant pinecones, and came across slithering black slugs that made her shudder a second time as she told me her terrifying encounters with all of them as she fished for squirrels.

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It didn’t hurt.  It was just an accident, mommy.  It didn’t hurt.” Evie said.

What didn’t hurt?  Did you hurt the slug?  Did you kill it?” I asked.

No.  I saw the slug, and was afraid, and so I pressed it with my finger and it didn’t hurt me.  But it put slobber on my fingers and so it died!  But it was an accident,” she replied as her voice trailed off into a whisper.

The slug left a fingerprint of its sticky residue on Evie’s fingertips.  Traces of black pigment from its skin also stained her fingers.  It really nauseated me to think that she practically stabbed the slug to its death.  I quickly pulled out the antibacterial wipes.  My insides twisted and turned as I tried to calmly wipe the residue of slug mucous off her fingers, while at the same time wiping the expression of grossness off my face.  I cannot understand the inhabitance of gross terrestrials that slither and crawl upon this earth; what is their purpose?  I sat there unentertained by the repulsive thought that my daughter just killed a slug with her brave bare hands.  Deep inside, I might have been more traumatized than she was.

102813-FallWreath

Evie and I gathered large branches that had fallen from the Eucalyptus trees and dissected it branch by branch, forming a pile of mahogany colored twigs at our feet, and also picking off all of the leaves and clustered buds.  I envisioned a simple fall wreath for our front door– dark brown twigs layered together, fastened pinecones and tiny wild red berries bunched along the bottom half, and lastly, a simple satin or lace ribbon to hang it on a nail above the peek hole of our door.  I had no luck finding any red berries.

Wreaths take on many symbolic meanings in different cultures and beliefs.  I am a Christian and our family celebrates Christmas; so I am enamored by all the symbolic meanings behind most of the décor that is apparent in the months of November and December.  The advent evergreen wreath, symbolizes the everlasting life through Jesus; it is circular to represent God– with no beginning and no end.  But even though it hangs in significance, honestly, I just want our front door to be fall-esque; and in December, winter-esque.

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28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

Time goes by quickly when we’re outdoors.  After a couple hours in the Berrious, we sat on our picnic blanket and munched on the snacks that I had brought.  I don’t think I can resist pumpkin sales this year, especially after roasting my first successful batch of pumpkin seeds.  The seeds were lightly golden, the insides were perfectly crunchy, and the salty taste and process of cracking the outer shell was just as addicting as eating sunflower seeds while watching a baseball game.  Unmindfully, I haven’t thought much about pumpkins being the prime vegetable on our table, rather than just a front porch halloween decoration.  When I was a child, my mother roasted the pumpkin seeds from our carved jack-o-lanterns, and both my grandmas occasionally made soups using pumpkin squash and other types of gourds for cooking.  In all honesty, I don’t know how to make one dish from my ethnic background; I am Filipina.  Needless to say, pumpkin is not a foreign food to me, it is part of my culture; I just did not anticipate the day that I would have to pick up where my mother and grandmas left off after I became a mother and a wife.  This includes, decorating for the holidays!

"These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!"

“These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!”

FALL WREATH

SUPPLIES:
A Bebe Florist
Branches
Pinecones
Hot Glue Gun + Glue Stick Refills

1.  Circle Template.  I used my largest circular knitting loom and traced a template with chalk on my working surface.

2.  Break branches into smaller sizes and start laying out your sticks following your circle template and hot-gluing it together at the same time.  Keep adding more branches and filling spaces until you are satisfied.

3.  Fasten pinecones and other nature finds to your wreath.

 xx
JENA

OCTOBER | My Idea of Fall.

3 October 2013 Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

3 October 2013 Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

When we were in Santa Cruz on our road trip, we took a walk down Pacific Avenue and found a bookstore called Logos Books & Records, where I marveled at a wide selection of crafting, knitting, crocheting, and sewing books all in one corner.  I came home with a book titled, Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaffer.  As I skimmed through the pages, I knew that this was my idea of fall.  Not to mention, I’ve already found my winter coat.
Morning on the Prado + Couture Sewing Techniques + sticker: Vessel Drum Co

Morning on El Prado + Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaffer  + Coffee (Sticker: Vessel Drum Co)

God put a coat with character and a story on a rack, on a day that I was not expecting to look for a coat, though I’ve had this particular one envisioned in my head for quite some time– and it only makes me testify again of how He faithfully answers even my daydreams.  I traded in old clothes to Buffalo Exchange, and acquired a new vintage Lilli Ann couture swing coat of the 1960’s for only $24.  It’s perfect.  Its made of a blend of mohair and wool.

How to make a birds nest for birds...on the pavement.

How to make a birds nest for birds…on the pavement.

Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote of The Autumn (1833): “Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild, Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is fait on them– The summer flowers depart– Sit still–as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart

Evie.  Her musing heart does not seize in imagination and wonder, no matter the season and place we are in.  Yesterday, we spent five hours in the park exploring new trails and resting under the shade of a tree– making up stories about animals, mermaids, and pirates.  I watched her collect fallen twigs and autumn leaves off the pavement in the Organ Pavilion, making a birds’ nest for “the birds that want a new home.”  She makes a nest everywhere we go, genuinely caring for the little creatures, and resting assure that they will most certainly settle into her nests.  I cannot express how I am so thankful to have  a daughter after my own heart.  One day, we will have our own tree… {God  willing} our own backyard, or field, a meadow,… or an entire hillside!– building a tree house from dawn till dusk, stringing curtains with garlands of leaves, and weaving flower crowns.

Evie in noir | Knitted turban styled headband by me

Evie en noir

Thus far, this season has been truly giving— of family, life, travels, and motivation to be a wife and a mother full of intentional creativity; whether in explorations, crafts, or even in the kitchen.  We have nothing spectacular on our calendar for this month, but I hope to make an effort in baking a very savory apple or pumpkin pie from scratch (or watching someone bake a very savory apple or pumpkin pie from scratch).  Also, if the time permits, gather with friends for a joyous and whimsical evening in costume.  Julian is always on the list, come November, for what I like to describe as trees of inferno red leaves, as well as pumpkin patches, and apple picking.

Knitted Seed Stitch Turban by Me

I Knitted this Seed Stitch Turban for Evie during the frigid Spring

Knitting, sewing, and reading… this fall to the sound of  Phil Wickham‘s latest album “The Ascension” and Evan Wickham‘s “Christmas Music Vol.1″.

xx
JENA