Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A couple months ago we started ordering a weekly box of organic vegetables straight from the farm. Not only are the vegetables healthier, the box is like a weekly surprise package that brought some new dynamics into the meal planning department... but the best thing about organic vegetables (at least for the 3-year-old in this house) is the life that comes with it. Sometimes there is a little snail in the box. Oh the joy! But in the beginning of March there was this little guy, who was spontaneously adopted by us.


When we found the little caterpillar in the box, my daughter asked what that was, and I told her, that it's a caterpillar like in her book and that it will become a butterfly. Maybe we could feed it and watch how that will happen... (The moment I said it, I was like why did I just say this, I got myself in a whole lot of trouble. Should've just put the thing out in the garden...) Of course she was excited about that idea. Well, there we went. Tried to feed the caterpillar with some salad. Didn't work. I prayed and hoped that somehow this will work, because I didn't want to put us through a traumatic experience of watching a caterpillar slowly die in front of us. Heck, I searched the internet and found some great advice. Turned out we have some kind of a moth, anyhow it's a butterfly still. And it eats only fennel (not chocolate cake! Good thing the Very Hungry Caterpillar has a tummy ache after eating that, how else to make clear to your child that chocolate cake won't help your real caterpillar grow! What did you think, Eric?! )


So I put one of the fennels that came with our veggie box and put it in some water, in order to keep the greens fresh. And I build this stylish caterpillar-arium. (two glasses, separated with a lid with a hole to put the fennel stick through and to protect the caterpillar from falling into the water, not airtight so it can breathe)


So after a couple of days of eating A LOT, the caterpillar rested. Changed his "suit" and came out a whole lot bigger... and kept eating on. Than one day Mister Caterpillar was very unrestful. The thing ran around the glass towards the top. I sort of knew that it's probably time for the cocoony part of the experiment. So I looked up some tips online again. And somebody wrote that it's a good idea to put a strip of rough paper in for both the caterpillar to be able to attach the cocoon to it and the butterfly to have something to hold on when it comes out. So that's what I did. Put a piece of rough cardboard in. And we watched. It spun some sort of net for almost 2 days.


And turned to this over night. A cocoon (See the brown thing inside the white net in the top corner of the glass in the above picture). My daughter and my husband thought this was really cool. Than we had guests over and I put it away, so that the wild kids won't run it over. And guess what. I totally knocked the whole thing over myself, duh! My heart stopped for a moment. I prayed another prayer, that please the butterfly will make it. And it did.


On Resurrection Sunday, I was sipping my coffee, and all of sudden I was wondering what's going on with the butterfly. I hadn't looked at it in a few days. We were nearing two weeks of cocoon. And Surprise, surprise! We had a butterfly. On resurrection Sunday. My daughter danced for joy! Her patience had paid off. A butterfly. OUR butterfly.


Well, I tried to take a few shots of it with open wings, which is nearly impossible. It only flies in the dark, and when you turn the light on or use a flash it instantly closes his wings and freezes. So that's all I got. And a few tips for you, if you ever happed to hatch a butterfly:

-keep the glass clean (empty out poo daily) and the food fresh
-avoid water inside the glass, to prevent infections
-don't expose to direct sunlight, bright spot in the room but no direct sunlight is ideal
-feed the caterpillar the plant you found it on
-it will eat a lot, than rest and change "suit". this can happen several times depending on how old your caterpillar is (ours did it only once so it was almost grown-up when we found it)
-don't touch or sqeeze your caterpillar (especially when it has rest days where it's changing 'suits') or the cocoon. if you switch out old food with new, add the new food and wait until the caterpillar climbed over to it. then remove the old dried up plant parts.
-if possible find out with an online search what kind of butterfly you have, some build their cocoon in the dirt, some on the plant, many hang on the highest available spot like ours (you will want to know if you have one that needs dirt in order to prepare for it...)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mad. Mat. Matters.



My baby boy is turning 7 months old this week. The days are loooong, mornings too early but months just fly by...  Now that little guy is sitting and crawling and pulling himself to stand.

zuri crawling

This made life easier and harder at the same time. Easier, because sitting up makes for a happy self-entertained baby (aka sewing time for mommy) but crawling and pulling himself up and opening drawers... that's trouble! (aka mommy runs for the 10th time from the sewing machine to the little guy who is holding himself with all his might in a crazy weird position at the play table in order not to fall down the life-threatening  4 inches he is off the floor.) But anyways, I finally got around to sew something pretty besides the 20+ prefold diapers made from recycled flannel sheets, which leads us to



A made a place mat for my daughter. It's Montessori inspired and shows the proper position of the plate, cup, spoon, knife and fork. I simply traced a plate, cup etc. on cotton fabric, cut it out fabric-glued it on top of the yellow gingham. I waited a bit until the glue was dry, ironed over it and stitched around the edges with buttonhole stitch. than I added a white layer of fabric to the back and sewed the green polka dot binding around the edges of the place mat. Currently we use it on the family table under a transparent plastic table cover (otherwise the place mat would need to go to the wash after every single meal and I'd need to make about 15 of those to have always one at hand...) And here is how she sets the table...


figuring out what direction to turn the knife



During those last 6 months or so I've been reading a lot. What better thing to do while nursing, right? Reading a lot of  interesting facts, helpful ideas, shocking truths, good advice. Most of it not entirely new to me, but with the deeper insights I gained I started making some actual changes. I feel good about those changes that made our life healthier, more thoughtful and to some extend also greener. I am sure you'll read about it more here. Though this is still a blog about my sewing and craft stuff, all those new changes will pop up here and there, too, because they matter - to me anyhow. Most likely though in the form of some creative project. Like the Montessori place mat. (Yes, I read a lot about Maria Montessori's ideas and I put some into practice at our home...) Enough, the baby starts eating his sisters shoe's. Got to save those!
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