Children

Concert Honors Children

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We can feel the spirit of the blowing wind
A mighty source of power in our lives
Offering another way to fill our needs
Nature’s gift can help us carry on.” ~ Raffi

Did Raffi’s playful music spin the soundtrack of your family’s early life? The larger significance in Raffi’s lyrics ring remarkably relevant today — like this nudge towards exploring the power of clean, powerful wind energy.

Raffi is still making music for families and advocating for a “child-honouring approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems.” 

On April 28th, grab a kid or grandkid and check out Raffi’s concert in New York City. The concert is presented in association with Moms Clean Air Force and all proceeds benefit the Centre For Child-Honouring.

Dreaming In Color: A Free Knitted Hat Pattern

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“I never felt daunted by difficulties or blocked alleys. Somehow, I knew the path I was on was right, and my trust in that sense was stronger than the limitation of my own personal comforts or desires.” ~ artist and knitting designer, Kaffe Fassett

My daughter presented me with the autobiography of Kaffe Fassett, Dreaming In Color. The luscious multi-layered book has been feeding my post-holiday soul. In the afterglow of holiday overload, extended family dinners and massive clean ups, I pause each evening and curl up with this book. The inspirational words and opalescent photographs of Kaffe’s lifelong creative journey have encapsulated me from the harsh reality of the last few weeks.

Kaffe Fassett's art, Dreaming In Color

Kaffe Fassett’s art, Dreaming In Color

From Kaffe’s bohemian beginnings in Big Sur to his royal rambles in England, his life unfolds to touch the hearts of painters, mosaic and fabric artists. But the book reaches deep into the souls of knitters who cannot resist replicating his colorful and whimsically patterned designs.

I took a workshop with Kaffe in Lenox, MA in the ‘80’s when his book, Glorious Color landed in the U.S. Following Kaffe’s visionary career has influenced my use of color and my knitting ethic. It blew away my neutrally classic ideas about color. What…me use such revolutionary colors? What…me leave my unwoven yarn ends dangling? It was a lawless approach that I wholly embraced. All very freeing and bursting with wonder!

Kaffe Fassett knitted design.

Kaffe Fassett knitted design.

Dreaming In Color reads like a visual pattern. The book is gorgeously designed, which is no surprise given publisher and friend, Melanie Falick’s expert eye for both editing and design.

It is the perfect book to top off the holiday and sustain a knitter throughout the long winter months.

Earlier this season, I thought about Kaffe Fassett when I chose the colors for my knitted gifts. I designed a simple hat (above) that stitched up quickly, and I’m glad a riot of colors landed in my knitting bag — orange, turquoise, chartreuse, ochre — knitted with a thick, nubby, soft merino yarn.

 

In the openness of the New Year, let’s remember the best things in life are handmade – from our precious children to the coziest of hats.


Chunky Hat (free knitting pattern)

Materials
2 skeins Malabrigo Merino yarn
Size 11 circular 11″ needles
Size 11 double pointed needles
Tapestry needle

Directions
Cast on 56 sts on circular needle. Place marker and join.

K2, P2 for approximately 6″

Begin decrease rows as follows (change to double pointed needles when it becomes too tight on the circular needles):

Row 1: k4, k2 tog, repeat around row
Row 2: k around row
Row 3: K3, k2 tog, repeat around row
Row 4: k around row
Row 5: K2, k2 tog, repeat around row
Row 6: k around row
Row 7: K1, K2 tog, repeat around row
Row 8: K2 tog repeat until 6 sts remain.

Cut yarn, leaving 6” tail and thread tapestry needle, draw needle thru remaining 6 sts. Pull tightly, weave in ends.

Main photo: Ben Fink, model: Jordyn Cormier

Bury Guns Not Kids.

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I grew up in a family of creatives.

Really.

Here’s how the news of the horrific killings in Newtown, CT. made the email rounds through my family:

I sent my last post to my brother Howard, an engineer, entrepreneur businessman, founder of iRocku and a dad.

He forwarded an idea to my first cousin Allen, an advertising executive and CEO, father, grandfather and the creator of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

Howard’s idea was to create a ‘war against guns.’

The next day, Allen’s email included this poster (above) and this note: “Howard, Your ‘Gun War.’ The first shot. I hope it’s heard round the world.”

Then my son composed and played the music on this video.

Let’s keep this message in our hearts this holiday season.

Really.

Poster: Korey Kay and Partners

Keeping Our Babies Safe

I vividly remember the day my son was born, order almost 24 years ago. A fleeting, but frightening thought seeped into my hopes and dreams for my beautiful baby boy—“How will I keep you safe from going to war?” The Vietnam War, with images of killing fields and the gruesome draft was the reality of my younger years.

Our generation of parents has been lucky, killer drafts have not touched our babies.

But guns have.

When my son was 16, one Sunday afternoon we went to the local mall to buy him jeans at the Gap. At the time, he had just gotten his learner’s permit, so I reluctantly handed over the keys and off we went for the 20-minute drive to the mall.

He carefully guided the car into a spot near the entrance to the mall where he didn’t have to negotiate too many rows of parked cars. Easy in, easy out.

Once in the mall, as we approached the doors to the Gap we heard someone yell “shooter” — people started running frantically — all in one direction — away from the sharp sound of gunshots. I made a snap decision to get the hell out of the mall. In a protective gesture, my son grabbed my hand and we ran through the mall as the stores locked down. I noticed there were holes in the new cars that lined the main aisle of the mall — bullet holes. Once we made it out to the parking lot, I almost lost it when I saw parents with babies and children hiding under parked cars. My son handed me the keys and I sped home.

While we made it home safely, nothing was easy about the following days and nights. Bullets may have spared our flesh, but they grazed our psyches, leaving us raw and feeling profoundly unsafe.

Officials stated the 24 year-old shooter had “a “lurid fascination” with the 1999 Columbine shootings.” Friends said he was “dangerously disturbed…the gun was purchased at a local gun show.”

Many of us are summoning up our experiences as parents, teachers, children and even gun owners, as we try to make sense of the most horrific and senseless killing of beautiful innocent children.

My heart has now moved from ache to anger as I read article after article addressing what Nicholas Kristof prescribes here: “The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.”

Politics is a messy business. It’s easy to turn away from the ugly noise that has overcome our political system. It’s easy to let someone else fight the insidious battles over power and money. But this is our fight as mothers…fathers…parents…and citizens.

We must demand that our children are safe from gun violence.

Do you want your children asking their babies, “How will I keep you safe at school, at the mall, in the playground, in the movie theatre, on your college campus,…in our home?”

Painting: Vasudeo S. Gaitonde

Horror, Heartbreak, Help

A simple child, cheap

That lightly draws its breath, order

And feels life in every limb, troche

What should it know of death?

~ Wordsworth

I SIGNED THIS. WILL YOU?

Photo used with permission: Juliet R. Harrison Photography