Monday, November 25, 2013

books and quilts are us

reading time with the first grader on the couch, curled up under lolly lolly
this house has long been over run by books. now the quilts are starting to pile up, too. i think this is a good combination: books and quilts. what could be cozier?

when my quilting began 3 years ago (this month, actually!), i could not see down the line to a day when i would have so many quilts under my sewing belt. it just seemed impossible that i would find the time to make much of anything. now my kids ask, "where are you going to put all these quilts you are making, mom?" never fear, we haven't hit the saturation point yet.

reading and quilts collide at several points through out our day and our home.

sometimes we sit up to read during homeschool reading time with the younger girls and other times we lay down on the couch. d3 wanted to revisit BOB books, our go-to starter readers, a few days ago. since it was going to be easy, review type reading, we snuggled in on the couch. with the weather cooling off, the addition of a quilt was perfect. lolly lolly was her choice, of course.

 while she read, i may have also been studying the quilt in front of me. it's such a fascinating piece of work (not mine, you know - rachel hauser's). my fabric matching and purchasing has already been affected by it. i sure wish I knew what that awesome floral on the goldenrod background is.

most of the quilts i have in progress or in mind will either round out the collection of quilts that live in the family room, available for anyone to use in there, or will go on the play balcony for use during dramatic play. in addition to this, i've begun placing quilts in a few other strategic locations.

i recently turned this small corner of the landing at the top of our stairs into a junior readers corner. the little bookstand is nothing too special to look at, but it does the job of displaying books. perhaps i could paint it a pretty color. i was inspired to make this space by mariah bruehl's book playful learning. i won a spot in one of her ecourses about learning spaces 3 years ago and have been slowly implementing the ideas around the house. part of her philosophy is to make an attractive, inviting display to draw young learners in. (fyi - her website, playful learning, is a great parenting resource.)

this little corner could be a lot more attractive, but it's a good start and far better looking than the messy shelf of piled minutia i had here before. eventually i want to add some clip boards to the wall to hold the kids' art above the shelving and maybe make a comfy poof cushion for the reader to curl up on. for now, as an invitation to sit down and read, i'm using the little rocker d1 got for her first Christmas. at nearly 15 years old, it's starting to become a family heirloom. i draped out on a limb over the rocker for some added comfort and color in the corner. for the record, the invitation is working. even some bigger kids who can still fit their slender hips in that chair are perusing the selections or get suckered in to reading by their younger sisters.

each week, i change out most of the books on the shelf. this has been a great way to get them to revisit a few books several times during the week instead of just quickly browsing (and leaving huge messes behind) from the big shelves that hold literally thousands of children's books. with a few specially curated items, they engage more often and longer with individual titles. there is even a little shelf on the bottom for a collection of board books for the baby.

on the shelf this week:

stuck by oliver jeffers (hilarious)
the mitten by jan brett (classic/winter)
this is not my hat by jon klassen (again, hilarious!)
lilly's purple plastic purse by kevin henkes (classic/dealing with childhood issues)
each peach pear plum by janet and allan ahlberg (classic/rhyming)
oliver finds his way by phyllis root (childhood issue - getting lost)
the king who rained by fred gwynne (a child's literal look at common sayings)
why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears by verna aardema (classic fable)
the very hungry caterpillar by eric carle (classic)
olivia by ian falconer (classic/hilarious)
madeline by ludwig bemelmans (classic/rhymes)
the little house by viginia lee burton (classic)

maybe some readers would like to see what's on the shelf each week? i might could do that periodically.

another ritual around here that ebbs and flows in frequency is called "quilt time." my older children go to a math tutoring service for their math education in the afternoons. the 3 little girls and i have one hour to read together during this time. i tell them to grab their mama-mades and meet me in the family room for a read-aloud. it's the next best thing to an actual nap, which the older 2 don't do any more.

now that it's colder, they are piling on the quilts: one to lay on and another one or two to snuggle in.

our current read aloud picks: the flint heart by kathryn and john paterson, and the squirrel's birthday and other stories by toon tellegen.

so what's your favorite read under a quilt or spot in your home where reading and quilts collide?


  1. Wonderful moments. We adore books and quilts also.

  2. These are beautiful spaces and beautiful moments. I love your reading corner. It might not be all that your imagination envisages but little people don't notice this stuff. They will remember their special chair and their snugly quilt and the moment :-)
    E xx

  3. I am so excited look over your blog. It looks great. You have been busy. Beautiful quilts!

  4. You should email Rachel and ask her what that fabric is. I'm sure she'll tell you. It is beautiful!

  5. so gorgeous - such special moments. We love reading too - although it is too hot to snuggle under quilts! Usually we all lie on our bed with the fan on and sometimes have stories together, and sometimes I'll read to the youngest and my husband to the oldest. My Dad still read me 'bedtime stories' until I was 18 - a tradition I want to continue! Would love to hear more about what books are your favourites :-)

  6. I have a piece of that fabric too (from a Sew Fresh Fabrics scrap pack) and would love to know what it is! If you find out please share.

    I, for one, would love to see posts of your rotating bookshelf. Lucy and I are always looking for new books! We will look up Stuck on our next library trip :)

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  13. Oh we love a good book here, although Princess has recently decided she likes something a little bit scary, so we're slowly working through Roald Dahl. I spy some awesome quilts :-) We're all sick here which is an endless grottiness, and means I'm being very bad at catching up with people!

  14. I love seeing your quilts around your house. It makes a house feel like a home. Just lovely...


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