Children's Fashion Workshop



I'm Erin.  Gardening addict, incurable maker, insatiable reader, closet author, chronicler of childhood, wanderer, wonderer.  I'm glad you've come to sit a while with me.

Instagram @ewatsonhowe


Offhand comments:

9.y.o.-"I have three ant bites.  Can I use this stuff I found in the first aid kit on them?  It's called ant-acid." 

9.y.o.-"It would be awesome if we had a 3-d printer because then we could print anything. a tiny little model of Angkor Wat!"


if the mailman weren't a woman... I would have kissed her. I came home from the library to find this bounty waiting for me at the house. A big soil-filled bag of blueberry bushes and strawberry plants. A whole box of little packets of seeds. And, as though those things weren't enough, a newly-sharpened pair of my scissors, come home to me with whoosh-click precision in its shiny, razor-sharp blades. I hardly know where to start.

I guess it's a good thing she is a woman, after all.


surely there's rehab for this?

Hello, my name is Erin, and I am an addict.

If subclinical obsessive compulsiveness runs in families, in mine it's running a marathon. Fascinating people, to be certain, (even if I do say so) but obsessive to the last man.

And so I present the latest evidence of my own disorder-the remade crazy huge garden plan in the face of last year's abject failure. Do I remember the 4,000 square feet of weeds and dying tomato plants that failed to produce one watermelon, strawberry, or cantaloupe? No! Do I remember the few measly ears of corn and lonely jars of tomato sauce all that space and work took to make? Yes I do.

So this year we've moved the whole thing into less than 1/4 of last year's garden space, built boxes for raised beds, and are slowly and methodically filling them with (bought in) soil. And the picture above (do click on it to see a larger picture, please) is the result of days' worth of neglect of all other facets of my life to bring forth the Ultimate Garden Plan 2008. The garden that will not fail. The Answer to all Gardening Questions.

The 6 boxes are 4'x16', with 3' paths between boxes. The drawing is in no way to scale, but you can still get an idea of the vast amounts of, say, radishes that we plan to grow out there.

As soon as I have the boxes filled and the planting done, I'll post pictures of that.

The problem, see, is Spring. The second the world starts to thaw out, and tiny green leaves break forth from their tight winter buds, something crazy starts to happen in my mind. I've got to get out there. I've got to plant something. Summer always teaches me a lesson, with its withering heat and phenomenal weed growth, and I'm left wondering who on earth planted this huge garden and expected me to take care of it.

So check back in the fall. I'm usually less obsessive then.



"It is rare that one can see in a little boy the promise of a man, but one can almost always see in a little girl the threat of a woman." -Alexandre Dumas



There it is. I just want to get my sharp pair of Ginghers and cut it all up. These children have a cutting fetish. Anything that can be cut (and quite a few that oughtn't) will be cut with their sharp little scissors. I don't think I ever got over my cutting fetish. Just the way that really nice fabric feels as it goes through my sharp, heavy scissors is therapeutic, somehow. Ahh, to have something to look forward to.

My good list for yesterday is short. We went to the library, and toddler-bird actually sat still for maybe two stories out of the storytime. Progress! Usually he's running from one side of the room to the other, or out the door, or pushing other people's strollers around and going through purses. So the fact that he sat and listened is a great stride.

When we were leaving the library, I had baby-bird in his carseat under one arm, the two older birds behind me, and one hand for toddler-bird. I tried and tried to pick him up, but he kept melting out of my hand into a screaming puddle on the floor. Just as I was about to have to put everything down and start over, a friend saw that I needed help. She carried toddler-bird (and pushed her double stroller) all the way to the car and helped me put him in. I was embarrassed not to be the everything's-under-control mom, but it was so nice to have somebody reach out and help.

Last on yesterday's list-rain. Light rain that started in the late afternoon, steady rain that drummed on the windows while I made dinner and cleaned up, sonorous rain that pounded the roof while I lay in the dark waiting for sleep. When I woke up again at midnight to find a pacifier, the only sound was the constant, monotonous beat of the heavy rain, pouring down on our house where everybody was sleeping. In a place where there hasn't been enough water for a year, every raindrop is a gift, and yesterday they came down in buckets.

I wonder what today's gifts will be?


beachfront property


I’ve found myself lately going through the day, gathering up all the bad things that happen, and thinking what a failure each day has been on their account. Yesterday, instead, I wrote down each good thing that happened on my kitchen white board as it happened. And what a wonder! By the end of the day I had a tidy little list, which, upon review, cast an entirely different light on the day. Probably an old idea, but discovering old ideas and making them our own is called growth.

So here’s my list from yesterday:

1) The lid to my wheat mill came off on the first try. It’s got a sticky seal and usually I’m banging it with a heavy measuring cup to try to open it. Yesterday it just came off.

2) After putting the bread in the oven, I coaxed the children to come upstairs with me and clean their two rooms. We worked for probably an hour putting away toys, cleaning out dirty laundry, and vacuuming those two rooms thoroughly. All the while the bread was sending stomach-gnawing delicious smells all through the house. We had a great time cleaning, finished and dragged all our tools back downstairs, and attacked the bread when it came out of the oven. We all stood there, tired from working, and ate thick slabs of hot bread smeared down with butter and honey. Shared work, shared reward, and we were good friends.

3) My chunky-sweet baby-baby boy started to fall asleep in my lap while I was working on something else. I laid him back in my arm and just enjoyed holding him and sticking my nose in his hair and smelling him. He’s as delicious a baby as he can possibly be.

4) I came into the living room and found my older two with the doll house set up. They had taken construction paper and laid out a yellow strip right in front of the house, then blue strips behind them. I asked what that all was, and they told me, “This house is on the beach!”

5) The box of fabric I ordered shipped yesterday. It’s been a sick, long, busy month, and I haven’t had the time, energy, or money to order fabric to work on my book. The book is keeping me sane through the vicissitudes of life with a young family. I should get that nice, new, folded-up starchy-smelling stack of fabric today. I just love to run my finger down the stack of folds...

6) While I made dinner, I put a CD with Beethoven’s sonatas on the kitchen stereo. I certainly enjoy having a kitchen stereo. I know that Beethoven’s music is old. It’s probably overplayed. But it’s still achingly beautiful. Lovely to listen to while you make plain old dinner.

There’s the list. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the difficult things that happened yesterday, but by writing down the good ones, I remember to cherish them. What a discovery!