Friday, June 24, 2011

:: This Messy Moment ::

I have been a long time participator in Amanda's This Moment posts over at Soulemama.  This week, I'm adding my own flavor.  

Sometimes when I look back at the week's photos to choose my "moment", I have more photos that look like this than that look like this.  So I'm beginning my own take on Friday's "This Moment" and it's called:

This Week's Messy Moment

*** A picture of our craft room/dining room  ***

If you too have no shame, and you'd like to leave a link to your messy moment, please feel free to do so in the comments.  It'll make me feel better :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NH Sheep and Wool Festival: A Rather Belated Post

This post is SO behind the times.  But that's me, lately.  WAY behind.  Back in May, we went as a family to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, and I never posted my pictures.  So today, here I am to finally do that.  Because this blog is supposed to be sort of a family journal for us, and if I start leaving out our excursions willy-nilly, then who knows what I will leave out next?

Luckily, we decided on a whim to go on Saturday this year, instead of our usual Sunday trip, and I am so glad we did, because Sunday was a downpour of rain from beginning to end.

We began in the spinning and weaving section...  This friendly woman did her best to show G how to send the shuttle through the loom.  He did ok, but he was more interested in moving the heddle up and down.  That's a Harrisville loom - you already know that I think they're cool.  :)

All rocks must be climbed and conquered.  It's required.  Little Boys 101.
Some extremely proud looking llamas.  

And this guy.   Love the color of this alpaca.

and here's one with a fresh haircut.   Their necks look so long and too thin with their hair short.
We witnessed some sort of strange sheep and owner dress-up pageant going on in one of the barns.   Notice there are no llamas (because they have more dignity, obviously)

A Corinne sighting in the wild (my first).  This is Stephanie of Dirty Water Dyeworks.  I love the color of her Corinne, and she had the most lovely yarns for sale, too!   I picked up some beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn,  in the Beryl colorway, and I am thinking of casting on for a Haruni shawl with it.  But I'm not 100% sure yet on the project, so for now it's waiting.

It looks like she'll be at Sock Summit this year, so if you're going - definitely check out her yarns!

But other than that one yarn purchase, I really didn't haul a lot of loot out of this year's festival like I normally do.  I picked up some wool, and some cute buttons, but that was it.

And that's because I spent half of my money on a surprise drive-by yard sale find before we even got to the festival.  BUT LOOK!!

I found a dress form, in great condition, for $40!!!  I was so excited, I was clapping my hands and squealing like a child all the way to the wool festival.

Once again, one of my favorite days of the year.  Fiber festival day never disappoints!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Splitting Open

Oy, I'm feeling sort of "split open at the seams" lately.  Definitely frayed.

There are times where I think to myself "Well, it's all come together."  I look about and the dishes are clean, the fridge has been cleaned out and there is a satisfactory amount of new/clean food inside it, meals are relatively thought out and ready to be prepared.  on time.  The children are fed/clean (relatively)/dressed (relatively)/playing happily.  The work on my desk is respectable and manageable.  My to-do lists are looking actually "do-able", and not crazily run-amuck.  

Life seems put together.  

Like the stars have aligned and everything's right with my universe.

This is not one of those days/weeks/possibly months.   If one of you readers could please just let me know, I'm a Sagittarius (if you're curious) - is there something wrong in the alignment of my planets, the stars, my aura possibly... ?

Because I have a million things on my mind, a million things on my plate.  Can't focus, can't even pay attention long enough to read more than a paragraph of something.  I walk in a certain direction and then forget where I was walking to before I've made it to my destination.  I throw laundry into the wash, and then before adding soap I find myself suddenly in an upstairs bedroom (I probably in retrospect walked up there for more laundry) sorting books back onto a child's bookshelf, and then before I know it, there I am standing in the kitchen holding a pile of dishes I found in the living room, and lI'm ooking at the sink, trying to remember where I might have hidden the dish soap and why on earth it isn't right beside the sink where it's always been.  forever.

And I remember, there is nothing planned for dinner, and there is probably no way on earth to finish the tasks I have set for myself to complete today, and furthermore, when was the last time I showered?  Did I do that today?  Because I cannot remember.

So, where have I been?  where am I now?  Who knows - these are questions I'll have to ask myself later.  

Because right now -

I'm busy flying into bits and pieces. 

But I'm trying to keeps my wits about me (what few seem to be left) and remember that it's all ups and downs.  The pieces of my life will sometimes arrange themselves in a nice neat order, and they will sometimes lie in a jumbled mess on the floor. 

This is life with a family.  Life with cats, and skunks that stop by for a visit, life with boys, and dirt and sand, life with other human beings, who wear clothes and get them dirty, who read books and make artwork and leave out the glitter and glue for others to attend to (I don't mind.  truly.  Let them have glitter!)  Life with a husband who works so hard!  and cares so much about all of us!  and who very frequently sees a big picture (but not a big mess)

Life is really and awesomely so good.

Even when it's an utter and complete mess. 

And even when I'm scattered here into bits and pieces.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday: list of happy

happy for :::

- a toddler so wiped out by a lovely weekend that he fell fast asleep (almost in mid-sentence) last night on the kitchen floor.  Poor tired babe - that's the mark of a weekend well-spent, I think.

- a first-trip-of-the-season to our favorite beach.  A windy and cloudy day, but a day at the beach all the same.  Wave jumping, cloud-watching, sand-digging, picnic-eating, and yes (I am so weak) ice cream cones all around at the end.  

- more work (oh much more work!!) completed on the camper.  We'll be heading out on our inaugural campout very shortly, so the repairs and renovations have moved into fever-pitch mode in the last 48 hours.  And it's coming along...  white paint everywhere (bye bye dark wood paneling - blech!), new curtains, hardware, new bench covers, it's gonna look  *nice*  :)

- and along with the camper work - plans and plans are being made for the upcoming family camping reunion.   I want to have a tentative itinerary in place by mid-week, so I'm busy working that out too.

- J is no longer a pre-schooler and had his last day of school this past week.  He loved going to school (Mom is it a school day today?!) and was always so excited to jump out of the car when we pulled up, and his teacher was such a lovely, caring, and warm woman.   I'm so grateful his first young steps into school were such a delightful experience for him.  Now - he's a Kindergartener (a mark of distinction he does not take lightly.  It's kind of a big deal)

- I found a mother strawberry plant at our favorite farmstand and we're now plotting out the best place for next year's strawberry patch...  The woman told me that a strawberry patch can produce for 30 years!  I plant the mother plant, and the offshoots (the daughters) will root themselves in the garden around her, and then form new plants.  and so on, and so on.  So we're trying to plot it well, and not be too haphazard with the placement.  The problem is, the area in our yard that would probably be best, has a number of trees that need to come down first, so for now, the mother is patiently waiting in her pot, and will probably stay there for quite a while.

- I passed my certification exam with a 90%.  I got the results on Wednesday and have been inner-celebrating every since.  Now moving right along to the job search.   I just need to find something with the perfect mix of flexibility, a convenient commute, a pleasant work atmosphere, friendly co-workers, and a challenging and stimulating without being overwhelming workload (yes - I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may be searching for this "dream job" for a long while)

- celebrating my husband this weekend, and the extraordinary father he is.  truly.   If ever a man was adored by his 2 sons, he is.  and rightly so. 

- and finally, celebrating the first farmer's market saturday of the summer (hooray!) and also the first CSA share of the summer.  Eggs, maple syrup, radishes, arugula, herbs, and more.   Bring on the veggies :)  It's been a long winter here in New England.  And on that note, our garden's looking good too.  The tomatoes especially are much happier this year in their new raised bed.  They didn't do well at all last year in the bed by the side of the house, so this year we planted the broccoli, and pumpkins, and cucumbers and beans there, which are all doing much better than the tomatoes ever did.   location, location, location.  

                                                    * A happy week to all of you!  *

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Freezer Paper Stenciling: New Tees for the boys (and me)

One thing I took home from SAW was a burning desire to apply paint to fabric as soon as I unpacked my bags (which took me 5 days).  So this weekend, the boys (all three of them - Mike wanted to give it a try too) and I
sat down with our freezer paper and fabric paints and went to town.
So much fun.
Here's J's:

he used a stencil from his drawing supplies

Here's G's:

(I did the drawing and cutting for this one, G did the lovely paint job)

And here's mine - the sequence of drawings was Mike's fine idea.

So thanks again to Maya for introducing me to this easy/fun/addictive craft, and if you haven't tried it - here's what you need:

freezer paper, fabric paints, an exacto-knife and self-healing mat, a pencil, some paint brushes, and some fabric to paint on.

and here's how:

1.  draw an image you like, or let your kids draw a simple image or trace a stenciled image onto the papery side of your freezer paper (or find one and print it out - I hear you can feed freezer paper into the printer if you cut it 8.5 by 11".

2.  cut it out (use your exacto knife and a self-healing mat underneath)

3.  iron your cut-out image onto the fabric you intend to print on, shiny side down.  We used 100% tees for this project, but I've tried on muslin, and linen, and 100% cotton totebags too.   Make sure all of the edges of your cut-out stencil are securely ironed onto the fabric so paint doesn't bleed through.

4.  paint it (this is the part the kids can do).  As far as fabric paints go, I've now used both the Tulip and Jacquard brand fabric paints, and I liked the colors and the quality of the Jacquard far more!!

5.  Let it dry (this is the hard part - we all got very antsy waiting for the paint to dry, and I eventually had to pull out the hair dryer to speed it along)

6.  Pull off the stencil and admire your fine work!  You're amazing!  (Heat-set your paint with an iron again, before wearing or washing your fabric)

7.  Don your super-cool sunglasses (even if it's totally cloudy and raining) and dance around in your house.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Squam Art Workshop

I returned from Squam Art Workshop last Sunday, and I am finally going to sit down now and write about it.

First of all -

A             W             E               S              O            M             E.

I have never experienced four days of such positive, creative energy in my life!  The people I met were amazing, and talented, and friendly, and I learned so much from all of the teachers and classes, and also just from my fellow cabin mates and workshop attendees, that by Saturday I really needed to take a breather and just sit on the dock and let my brain relax.  It's still all sinking in in little bits and pieces...   I learned the process of preparing and using silk directly from the bombyx cocoon.   The silk hankies are super delicate and wispy and you pull or draft your "yarn" directly from the stretched cocoon.  In class we learned to stretch the cocoon over these frames with nails, and then you layer and layer and layer them (kind of like phyllo dough, but with silk) and from there - you can dye them any way you please (which is a craft I intend to try some day with my little guys), and then just pull and knit.  And the silk is wonderfully soft and beautifully shiny.  It was a great class.    (oh yeah - and also - it was taught by the Yarn Harlot herself.   So there's that)

I also took classes on drop spindling (had never done this before.  it's fun!  but I'm going to need a lot of practice)  and crochet with Denny McMillan (loved her!!), and a class called Botanical Printing, with Maya of Maya*Made (Go to her blog post to see more about that class.  What a great class!  She was so warm and sweet!  and I had so much fun learning how to make prints on fabric with freezer paper  (more on that tomorrow).

When we weren't in class, the nights were filled with music (Jonatha Brooke played guitar and sang for us the first night), and interesting speakers, and then there was the Squam Art Fair on Saturday night to wrap up the weekend. Ysolda Teague was there, selling and signing copies of her new book Little Red in the City, (which you should get if you knit, for the sizing and technique info alone, never mind all of the beautiful patterns in it as well.)

and even if there had been NO art workshop, I was in heaven the minute I pulled up to my lakeside cabin, Cragsmere (it was huge - there were 14 of us there!), and made myself at home.  Knitting by the wood fire every evening, sitting by the water on the dock (it was sunny on Saturday)
and walking through the woods on beautiful trails to each class.    *sigh*     I'm a lucky girl.

( try not to be too impressed with how tidy my room is...)

 I finihsed my "branching out" scarf while I was there, and
 a little embroidered piece as well.

 (art fair)
 my lovely Roomie Ramona
 funny housemates Andrea and Mary re-telling a story by the fire

And finally - there was a daily Waffle and Ice Cream Sundae Bar.

I think I've said enough.
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