Larkspur’s Eighth

Amidst the chaos of our sick week, we celebrated Larkspur’s eighth birthday.  Our plan was to celebrate a day early because her birthday fell on Ash Wednesday this year.  Her main celebration did indeed happen then, but ended up stretching into Wednesday as well because by Tuesday night, most of us were feeling too terrible to eat the banana pudding that Larkspur requested (I made a cornstarch thickened vanilla pudding and a store bought gluten free yellow cake mix which I baked and then broke into pieces.  I layered cake with pudding and sliced bananas and topped with meringue.)

It’s nearly impossible to surprise my kids with their birthday gifts.  We typically honor requests, especially with the older children, and they seem to always figure out anything that we plan to surprise them with.  But I did have a few surprises for Larkspur this year. Lark is my child who sets up little “houses” or “offices” all over the house, everywhere she goes.  (The umbrella and blankets at the beach in yesterday’s post were her doing.)  She is particularly fond of bags, art supplies, and paper.  When Stephinie announced that she had stocked her shop with new handmade bags for kids, I knew that Larkspur would love one.  I ordered one right away with her upcoming birthday in mind.  Then I started thinking of the bag, and wanting to give it a purpose.  The obvious answer was a small sketch book and a new set of our favorite colored pencils which I could tuck inside to make her a portable art bag.  I thought I remembered Stephinie mentioning wanting to offer sewn pencil or crayon cases at some point, so I asked her if she would be willing to make one to match the bag for Larkspur.  I was thrilled when she agreed and then sent me photos of the finished product a few days later.  It was absolutely perfect.  Larkspur tried to pretend that she wasn’t surprised by this gift, but I know she was, and she definitely loves it.  I find her in different spots all over the house with the bag next to her, pencils and sketch book open in front of her.  (Stephinie is carrying both crayon and pencil cases in her shop now.)

The last minute gift was a handmade loom that I asked Jonny to make after seeing a similar one on Amanda Soule’s blog.  He explained that it wouldn’t be perfect, because he doesn’t have all the right tools, but that he could make something useable.  I think it turned out really well and it only cost a few dollars to make!  I ordered hand dyed t-shirt yarn for weaving from this shop.  Now if we can just figure out how to use this thing!  The make your own version of that loom doesn’t come with instructions on how to use it.  We didn’t think about that…it is similar to a regular pot holder loom, but only has pegs running along two sides.  If you have one, and care to share instructions, we’d be thankful!

I’d say that the most remarkable part of Larkspur’s birthday this year is the fact that she wasn’t sick!  She was my first child to complain of a bit of a headache and a sore throat.  I gave her a dose of this popular remedy, and she never really got sick.  Jonny had the same experience.  The rest of us weren’t so lucky.  Thankfully, Larkspur seemed to have a wonderful day (well, two days!) despite all the sickness around her.

(Birthday shawl photos later this week!)


  1. unas fotos preciosas, besos desde España

  2. What loveliness!! It certainly is hard to surprise them as they grow…but it is so nice to do once in awhile don’t you think?

    Glad everyone is on the mend!

  3. Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Larkspur! Lovely photo’s, it looks like a great day 🙂

  4. What a wonderful birthday! I recognized Stephinie’s bag right away. Such lovely work she does. Happy Birthday!

  5. First, what a beautiful birthday and what a beautiful handmade loom!

    Now, a loom like that with high sides and low sides is typically used with a shed stick and a shuttle.
    (Shed stick = sanded down paint stirrer, basically. Or you could use plastic rulers. I’m sure you could make a shuttle if you googled it. It’s just a thin rectangle of wood with large notches cut into it so you can wrap a long length of the material you are weaving around it.)

    You can warp that loom a couple of different ways.

    1.) You can use the pegs as spacing guides and wrap the yarn all the way around bar.
    2.) You can wrap the yarn only around the pegs.

    Either way, I’d suggest tying the yarn off on the corner of the lower side of the loom closest to where you begin your warp.

    There aren’t many youtube tutorials that use a shuttle on a smaller loom.

    This one is a product review, but it shows the parts fairly well, and how to warp the loom and use a shuttle. It wraps around pegs to make the warp.

    This one is a tutorial. It shows the method where you wrap around the whole top bar. The plus side of this method is that you have a natural gap for the shuttle in one direction, so its much faster to insert the shed stick.

    Personally, I was not a fan of shed sticks and shuttles when I was using a loom that small. It seemed just as easy to me to use a tapestry needle to weave the thread through.

    It’s much easier to begin that way. The best videos on that method I found were by I.K. Tolbert, who is an elementary school art teacher. It shows a speeded up version of the who project at the beginning of the video, then breaks it down into little steps, individual stitches and common errors. She uses a cardboard loom with her students, so perhaps Beatrice could learn as well if she is interested.

    Should Larkspur find she really likes the shuttle and shed stick method, you may want to try making a homemade heddle bar some rainy afternoon. It makes inserting the shed stick easier. It’s not a difficult project – you basically just need a dowel and lots of loops of yarn. You put one end of the loop around the dowel, pass the other end under one of your warp threads and then back over the bar. You do this for every other warp thread, and then you can just lift up on the heddle bar to make inserting the shed stick in the second direction easier. That bit about the heddle bar probably didn’t make sense, but if you get to that point hopefully it gives you something you can google. 🙂

    Good luck weaving!

  6. you do such a lovely job with their birthdays. it may be hard for anyone in their lives to top how sweet you make the day for them. they may just want to come home to you for every birthday even when they’re grown up 😉
    is that tablecloth from target? it looks just like one I had in my hand to buy the other day and then I put it back- mainly because it wasn’t quite long enough . I think I need to look online and see if they have one big enough for our table because I really do love it.

    • Yes! The tablecloth is from Target. Larkspur had mentioned really, really wanting a pink tablecloth on the table for her birthday. That was the best I could come up with! She loved it and it fits our long table and is machine washable.

  7. I think this is a great how-to on the potholder loom, and it has photos –

    Happy Birthday, Larkspur!

  8. Happy, happy birthday to Larkspur!! I just love the blue plaid
    blouse she is wearing, it looks beautiful on her!! Your home looks
    so filled with happiness and laughter…hope all is well after your illness
    and the chimney fire…never an end to trials as long as we are on this earth,

  9. Happy belated birthday to Larkspur, looks like she did have a wonderful time celebrating – so pleased she wasn’t sick for her birthday as that would not of been fun for her. Hope the ills are leaving your home – winter bugs are never fun.
    Love Leanne

  10. Noreen Crone-Findlay has a ton of helpful youtube videos for small looms. (And she has the most lovely voice, too!) Here’s here video of how to weave with yarn on a potholder loom to get Miss Larkspur started:

  11. Everything is wonderful! I just love your posts on your kids’ birthdays! I always enjoy looking at all of the creative gifts you give your kids. I’ve wanted to get Lily one of those looms, but they’re sooo pricey. I love that Jonny made that himself! Have you tried to Google directions? I’m sure you have. 😉 Thanks for linking to Stephinie’s shop again. I love the bags and matching pencil rolls! They are so cute!

  12. Happy birthday! The gifts are so lovely! Hope you all feel better soon.

  13. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl. It looks like a wonderful celebration despite the sickness.

  14. I’m so glad to see she loves it! I really enjoyed collaborating on the design 🙂 What a yummy looking dessert and special celebration…… Happy 8th trip around the sun Larkspur!

  15. I am so impressed with Jonny’s loom! It looks just like the one in the catalog. We were planning to get one for Julia’s birthday this year but now I am wondering if we could make one instead. Hmm…

    I’m so glad you are all feeling better (you are now, right?) and that Larkspur had a wonderful birthday in the midst of it. Happiest birthday to her. xo

  16. An accomplishment just to have had her Birthday so nicely done when you were all sick! What a wonderful set of gifts she got!!

  17. Jennifer says:

    My guess is that the loom would work similarly to this

    It looks like she had a wonderful day. You do such a nice job with thoughtful gifts for your kids.
    Happy birthday, Larkspur!

  18. Cathy from Conway says:

    Ginny, I found your blog through Pioneer Woman. I hope you consider it a compliment that now I have to check YOU as well as her every day for new posts! I appreciate so much the handmade/homemade things I see in your pictures. I have also enjoyed watching your children grow up! I have eight year old twins, a boy and a girl, so it is especially sweet to see your Larkspur turning eight.

  19. beautiful birthday and she looks so happy with her gifts and “cake”. I hope everyone is feeling much better now. Not very much fun is it? But think of the immunity you all built!

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