Margery Niblock prints

Niblock
"Reverie" woodcut, and "Song of Peace" linoleum block print, by Margery Niblock.

Knowing how much I would love her work, a friend recently introduced me to local artist Margery Niblock. (You can read a bit about her career here.) Her work is quite appealing to me, particularly the child oriented pieces-- they seem to so simply and beautifully capture an innocence of childhood that I know we all want for our children. A mother herself, Margery quite clearly was inspired by her son (I adore this piece The Drawlings of her napping artist child!), which I can certainly identify with.

It took me so long to decide on which prints to order--I love them all--but in the end chose these two above, and am so pleased with them. It's been a treat to look at all of this work, and to have a few exchanges with Margery herself. She's parting with many of her prints right now, through Ebay, and they're all quite lovely, and very reasonably priced. You can check them out here.

pretty things

Ohbaratee
This lovely tee arrived this week from Bara. "All manner of pretty things" is certainly an accurate description of her shop, and now that the shirt has arrived I wonder how, exactly, I stopped myself at just this one? So many lovely things...beautiful paintings, tuffets (tuffets!), and my favorite - vintage treats packaged as the Magic Parcel. Thanks so very much, Erieann!

And on a completely unrelated note, I set up my own domain name and even figured out how to route it here (so impressed with myself), which means that www.soulemama.com will get you to this here blog lickety split (so will the old address...no need to change your bloglines or anything). Saving you just a few extra characters to type. I'm all about efficiency, you know. ;)

bacon, blogging, and babes

Bacon
Is there a better way to start the day than with bacon? I think not. Especially when it's preceeded by a quick thrift trip, and then two fabulous people for company, and a bit of blogging at breakfast (checking out Lisa Solomon's lovely new shop, by the way). Just perfect.

I've left those two lovely ladies to work away on the printing press (and can't wait to see the result later today), while I'm back in mama zone, doing family art. We've had Ezra's teepee since his birthday almost two months ago (a grandparent gift, from Magic Cabin) and with nearly daily requests from them to paint it, finally today was the perfect day to get at it.

Tee2_1
I value our family creating time so much, and usually it is quite idyllic and beautiful...but I sometimes forget that those beautiful idyllic moment of happily creating together can amount to a total of 20 minutes on some days. And then, I'm left with this:

Tee_2 Tee3_1
Being bailed on by the kids to finish the job, and a messy cleanup.

No matter. I'll take a page from my own advice and just put it all away and try again for another day. And walk away from it remembering the 10 minutes of happy creative bliss we did share together.

friends, in orange

Lisa3

Lisa2

Lisa4

More to come. After thrifting!

very excited

Lisa_1
(The door sign Calvin made for Lisa, just "in case she gets lost" in our, um, 6 room house.)

By far, one of the most powerful - and surprising - things to happen for me because of blogging has been the real friendships that have sparked. I'm blessed that one of those amazing people I've met lives a mere 5 miles from me, and we can see each other whenever we want - which is often, because she's such a joy. But just hours from now, a dear friend from all the way across the continent will be making her way here so that the three of us can spend a week together. A week that I expect to be full of laughter, creating, and connecting. I'm feeling quite blessed and quite excited today. Postings might be a bit light around here for just a bit as we all get settled. But I'm sure we'll be sharing evidence of our shenanigans here very soon. Now, if we could just do something about all this rain.

At the risk of repeating what you might have already 'heard' all over the blog world, there are two more things I'm very excited about today. Craftsanity (my favorite crafting listening!) released a podcast yesterday with the wonderful and amazing Alicia of Posie Gets Cozy. Even though it was far too late in the evening when I discovered this, I had to stay up and listen to her stories and her voice, which was as engaging as her writing. There's something so lovely to me about hearing the voice that belongs with the words I read every day.

And one more exciting new thing. Claire of Loobylu and her husband just today have launched a new website Kiddley, full of projects, products, links and ideas for families. I think we all could use as much inspiration, support and new ideas as possible on the journey of parenting, and this looks to be a fabulous resource for just that! And really now, anyone that has the gumption to birth a new website just about the time she's ready to birth a new baby? Well, that's a girl after my own heart.

a very random ten

This list has no cohesive theme, I assure you. And if you think it's any indication of the all-over-the-place state of my mind at the moment, well, yes...yes it is.

Ribbon_1
1. This lovely vintage ribbon arrived in the mail yesterday. I love it. Looove it. I bought it just a few days ago from LesBonRibbon. Super great prices, and the shipping was soo fast. Because you know, I really need more ribbon.

2. I'm in a time crunch. A very dear friend is coming here in just one week! One week! Yay! She'll be here for a week, and then we leave on a mini-vacation in Cape Cod. And so...there's soooo much to be done in the next week. Like plant the entire garden; clean my house; and most importantly: unbury the guest futon from a serious pile of fabric. This of course, also entails a day-long trip to IKEA to organize said fabric. Oy. Tick, Tick.

3. Wung it. Now, did I really make that up? I suppose I did. Geez. Having lived in Maine my entire life I know there are lots of bizarre phrases I use that no one else understands (except the natives of course): sideboard,  cellar, apiece, wicked. I assure you that I do not have a Maine accent, or atleast not one like you hear in the movies (which is never right, by the way.). But I suppose even "wung it" I can't blame on Maine. ;)

Ashley
4. Cool Coincidences. So, browsing around Etsy (which I spend way too much time doing. Have I mentioned my love for the color sampler? I'm sure I have.), I found the wonderful work of Ashley G, and had to order a print. The detail and color and creatures of her work are just so lovely, and intriguing, and I can't wait to get it up on my wall. And then I see that on the same day, Lisa received her own Ashley prints. Chances are that Lisa is the one that might have introduced me to her work, and I just forgot that. But I'd rather think it was a friendly coincidence. (note to self: don't forget frames at IKEA.)

5. Skirts. Remember that skirt tutorial I promised y'all? Um yeah, I haven't done that yet. Sorry. That also means, sadly, that I haven't made any new skirts. BUT...I have found an answer for you! Head on over to Disdressed, where she's been making an AMAZING and quite detailed tutorial on skirts. So thorough and great. (And now I feel lifted of my guilt.)

6. Do I owe you an email? Because if you've emailed me and think you should have heard from me by now, try again. Having some funky computer issues (oh no!), as well as some funky brain issues (oh no!). Thank you. ;)

7. There's a small chance that after 6 months of living and breathing and dreaming it, we may just be moving on from the Wizard of Oz. That's all I'm going to say about that, for fear of jinxing us. More to come.

8. My dear sweet round, squeezable, bald baby girl just got FOUR teeth in TWO days (bringing the total to six for those of you counting...MOM.). Don't you think that would really really hurt?

9. How is it possible that I ran out of things to say? Must go get more coffee.

10. The end.

friends

Tagssm
These fabulous tags (with the yummiest of gold ink) just arrived in the mail from across town (I get such a kick out of local 'fun' mail, especially from people i see often. Something romantically old fashioned about it, I think.), and I adore them....almost as much as I adore mav herself. I'm so, so blessed that we're in the same spot of the world, and in each other's lives. And can I tell you how excited I am that another dear friend is headed this way for a visit next month? Really, really, really excited. I can't begin to imagine what fun the three of us will have together. Well, yes, I can and do imagine. And it's quite nice.

I'm feeling quite grateful and blessed today, so: a big 'cheers' to good friends!

i heart threadless

Tee_1
Really, I do. This shirt is the latest Threadless.com purchase to arrive at our home. I know this place is old news to a lot of you, but I had to post about it for anyone that hasn't checked it out yet. 'Cause we love shopping there (I'm slowly becoming a tee shirt girl. This is new.). And today there's the $10 a shirt sale going on. How cool is that? (Oh, but I will cry, cry, cry if they don't reprint 99 Luftballoons! Must. have.)

Tie One On- Mapron!

Tieoneon_2   Tieoneon3
Okay, so really it's a BOYpron, but here's my submission for February's Mapron Tie One On theme. The man and boys in my life already got an apron last summer for the Mini Me theme, so this time around, it's a boy apron for someone else. I used some corduroy, and a Makower 'safari' fabric that I adore. Calvin's modelling it in the photos (before I added the patch), but it sold in my shop this week and is headed to it's new home now. As always, I'm excited about a new month, and new apron theme!

Tieoneon2

Thanks for your feedback about books and lists--my lists are staying, they just might get moved around a bit. I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for all the kind Blogaversary wishes--it was so touching and encouraging. So, thank you!! I had intended to 'wrap up' the week with some other things that didn't end up really working out, perhaps another time (sorry it sounds so mysterious!). Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Whip Up

With only a little break to celebrate Chinese New Year, my weekend 'creating' time was spent impulsively (as in, 10 minutes from initial idea to action time) moving my living room (and playroom) into my dining room and vice versa. And then dealing with the huge ripple of moving furniture and things that this set off throughout the house. At one point, when the TV didn't fit into my new 'design' plan, I directed it into the attic (because steve is ever so indulgent of me and my furniture-moving impulses), and we promptly cancelled cable and netflix. What have I done? Besides the sanity that Mr Rogers brings me, what about PROJECT RUNWAY??!!

Anyway, while I get my house back in order (and find a place to hang out on Wednesday nights at 10), you've gotta head on over to Whip Up--a project spearheaded by Kath of Red Current. I've been anxiously awaiting the unfolding of this project and while the official launch isn't until next week--the design is lovely, and just browing around with what's there is a treat. Can't wait to see what comes of it.

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Tie One On - Apron from Clothes

Clothesapron_2
I've been all jazzed about this month's Tie One On.  I pulled some clothes together that were too small (see the clothes before here), and started cutting. I think this was my favorite apron to make so far--I looove recreating something new from something old. I feel thrifty, connected to the past, and environmentally in-tune, all at the same time. Ha! So the apron...it's from two old shirts--I used the back of the white eyelet shirt for the main fabric of the apron, and then used the other shirt for the waistband, trim, ties, and pockets (the pockets are the underarms--can you see it?). Great fun. Thanks for a great theme, Amy!

Tie One On!

Apron3_3
For December's Tie One On. I copied this shape and pattern from my absolute favorite apron to wear--it was my great grandmothers, and the cut and shape is just perfectly comfortable for me (the fourth one down here). I managed to pull this one together on the morning of December 23rd--with this great fabric I've been sitting on (vintage? I don't know--has anyone seen it before? I found it at a Salvation Army fabric sale and bought the whole bolt, I loved it so much), and a serious amount of bias tape. I wore it happily for the next two days, including for the brunch we hosted on Christmas morning. And then washed it, and packed it away to be 'rediscovered' next December. (which is also why this picture will have to be 'good enough'!)

Wonderful Webby Wednesday

Calvin's obsesssed with rhyming and alliterating (can I make that a verb?), and man, it's catchy! (He andEzra are also into "opera time," which is when you have to sing everything you want to say. i love that).

Thank you, thank you for all the wonderful comments left yesterday about "change". So very much appreciated. I'm exercising great restraint not to reply to everyone individually (I want to!), and that in itself may be the biggest and most helpful "blog change" of all for me. That, and reading fewer blogs (wah!!). But please know that even if I don't reply, I appreciate your words and thoughts. And big thanks to my insightful friend Jean who pointed out that blogging each day is, in a way, creating, and the blog it's own creation--an important one to me, at that. Anyhoo....

I've got a bunch of fun mail lately that all deserves it's own individual post, of course, but I'm going to lump it all together as a "wonderful webby wednesday" because it feels easy, and i'm into easy these days, okay? Here we go:

Lizette
I'm lovin' this band that I got from Lizette's new Etsy shop. Fun, fun. And now Calvin *really* wants one too....hmm...time to dip into that paypal stash again (I'll never get a new sewing machine at this rate!). Thanks, Lizette! And did you see her super cool packaging? Sooo satisfying to rip into that, let me tell ya.

Tania
A while back I bought a copy of Tania's coloring book (available in her shop), and we LOVE it here!! I finally remembered to take a picture of it in action. Thanks for the fun, Tania!

Frames
Slightly random, but definitely web related. I finally framed some prints I've had sadly laying around in-waiting for awhile. I went with Amy's recommendation of the frames over at Dick Blick (love them! Thank you!), and used them to frame a fabulous print by Katey of One Good Bumblebee, and the Tiny Showcase print by Camilla. I thought they should stay together on the wall too....it's SO much fun to have new art up, isn't it? (Whew, how many links can one paragraph have?!)

Jesshutchbookletcover
And has everyone seen the new booklet of knit toys by Jess Hutch.?  My copy arrived in the mail this week, and it's full of sweet treats to make. I think I'm going for the snake first. She's got more copies being printed soon, I believe. Oh, speaking of knitting--for some cool goth knitting, check out this place, the Anticraft.

Lisa
And then, rounding out Wonderful Webby Wednesday (I really need to get out more..I'm enjoying that alliteration wayyy too much)....Lisa once again has spoiled us rotten. I'm now deeming her the "greatest thing finder" ever (Pippi Longstocking, anyone?).....here once again she has found some FABULOUS vintage girls clothes for sweet Adelaide. And THAT DRESS!! Do you see it on the right? The fabulous detail on the front? Oh, it's yummy. And fun postcards and ribbon and ric rack. And a knitting book by a Maine author, that miraculously, I don't have! Yay! Yay! Yay for wonderful webby friends!

Back Tack Done!

Btbig
Whew! After a marathon session last night (thanks again, dear Steve), Back Tack II is done. I really struggled with this one--not only trying to figure out what my partner would like, but then finding the time to think about it, shop for it, and then create it. I'm having a hard time being "done" with this project--I feel like it could be so much "better,".... but I gave it all I had/have at the moment, so I'm going to have to let it go! Oh well, a lesson learned. ;) I do love, love, love these green fabrics together, and hope my partner does too. She wants to learn to embroider, so I hope this kit can get her started!

Bt2
I included:

  • a tote bag for carrying all the goods;
  • a pouch full of embroidery floss;
  • vintage linens and tea towels to embroider;
  • embroidery hoop;
  • a sewing "book" with sciscors and needles (I tried to "coordinate" by embroidering a flower just like the one on the fabric...let's not talk about the fact that it looks more like a cannibus leaf.);
  • The Complete Guide to Needlework (the bible, as far as I'm concerned!);
  • some Sublime Stitching iron-on patterns and instructions.

I need to add some yummy fun treats, and then pop it in the mail today. Thanks for your patience, my back tack partner!

A Promise, Not a Threat

Yes, I assure you this is just a promise, not a threat. We've been desperately trying to change our language around here so that we aren't "threatening" the kids ("if you do x, we aren't going to y" etc)...how that talk slipped into our parenting, I don't really know, but it isn't something I'm proud of as a parent, and I'm really working to change it now. So now Calvin's totally calling me on it all the time...can I tell you how many times I've heard lately, "that feels like a threat, Mama. It's not okay to threaten me". Basically anytime there's an "if" and a "then" in the same sentence. Arghhh!!!!

Anyway...that's not my point. My point is that I'm procrastinating TERRIBLY on back-tack. You might have noticed that it's almost the end of October. Damn! Granted, I'm a terrible procrastinator (I *lived* for the all nighters in college), but I'm not sure why I'm lacking so much inspiration for this project. I think it's that my partner is a fairly light blogger, and I'm not so confident of her tastes, likes/dislikes, etc. So here's my promise: no more blogging, emailing, nail filing, or other forms of dawdling until I complete this back tack project!

Backtack
Oh yeah, and next time I decide to sign up for something with a *deadline* while also parenting two excited boys and a newborn baby, will someone remind me of this? Thank you kindly. ;)

Updated to add: Okay, so since I know it will atleast take me the weekend to get this project done, I need to leave you with a happier image than that of me threatening my children (really, it's not that bad!). So here's one of my favorite things: dimples. Lucky for me, they're abundant in this house on everyone but me (even Steve has them somewhere under his beard). I love it!

Dimples

More Holiday Inspiration

Though we mostly celebrate the Solstice around here, we do have a few traditional Christmas celebrations that I don't want to part with. One being stockings on Christmas morning. And so, I've made (mostly knit) stockings for Steve, myself and the boys on each of their first christmas' (I'll post pics of those when I finish Adelaide's!). And now, somehow in the next two months, I must do the same for sweet Adelaide. I've been looking around for inspiration and found these:

Stocking1
I love the bull's eye look of these (but could do without the fringy top), and the bold colors. Might be fun with felt. From Garnet Hill.

Stocking
And these felt ones (also from Garnet Hill), designed by Hable Construction, are fabulous too. I'm loving that red one.

Alder
Why am I so drawn to these Adler Big Foot Stockings from Hold Everything?  Could it be because they're $4.99!!??

Pocket
I also kind of like this Pocket Design, also from Hold Everything. This might be fun in felt, in much cooler colors.

Elf
Perhaps my favorite, this Elf Stocking from Anthropologie, of course. (Ezra's knit stocking, which you'll see soon, is pretty much a direct rip off of one I saw here last year! Bad, bad me.)

Pearl
One more from Anthropologie--this gorgeous Pearl Icing Stocking. Thought not appropriate for a little one, *I* really love it!

Okay...time to stop browsing and start making!

Mystery Revealed

Give up yet? Okay, here's one more clue about the fab blogger I met yesterday. This is a little treat she presented me with when we met yesterday: (forgive the crappy flash photo--it won't stop raining here).

A
The letterpress queen herself--it was mav, of course, of port2port! After being nervous to meet her, it all disappeared the second I saw her--she was so lovely and warm and kind (and Raven and Charlie too!). And what a treat to peek inside her space--so thoughtfully created, it makes me want to come home and chuck about half of my "stuff" for a cleaner, simpler look (oh, but I couldn't really!). I left our visit with the wonderful cards above (aren't they fun?), but more importantly, with the hope of more time spent with mav during this upcoming long, cold winter. Perhaps chatting by our woodstove over knitting and wine? Ah...
Oh, and one more mav related surprise coming in the next week or so!

Alright, back to working on my ROOM! Can I add enough caps and exclaimation points to that to express my excitement? I think not.

One more thing: I committed the ultimate craft blogging sin this weekend by making something and giving it away before taking a picture of it. When I realized this aloud to Steve, he said, "does that mean you didn't make it?". Hmnn...interesting. ;)

Tie One On!

Apron

Oh my god. I was sewing! It felt like like it had been AGES and not the two weeks that it's been in reality. Anyway....I tackled the September theme of a dishtowel apron for Tie One On. I am so, so grateful that Amy chose this theme for this month--it was a tiny enough project for me to handle, and give me the boost to get back into crafting after birthing. Thanks, Amy! I used an olive dishtowel from Target, added a waistband, ties and a pocket (I loved how this dishtowel was begging for more Ric Rac by the lines between the olives!). So easy, and so fun. This one will be headed to a certain martini lover I know for Christmas.

Stripy Socks

Socks

We're big fans of stripes around here, but not necessarily big fans of socks (my mom says that I only put socks on my kids when we're going to the doctors--same thing with onesies--I can't explain it).  I was, however, intrigued by the stripy sock competition and just had to snap a picture of the littlest stripy socks we have on the littlest toes in the family.

Back Tack II

My secret back tack buddy has been leaving anonymous comments lately, and I've been a total slacker about responding (okay, maybe slacker isn't the best word...I've been, um, a bit busy lately!). So here's some hints that I hope are helpful to her (I'm assuming it's a "her"...hey, where are all the crafting men in this blogging community??!!). And feel free to ask me any more questions that might help you out!

My "passion" is equally divided by knitting and sewing, though I anticipate having more time to knit this winter than sew. As for "new" crafts that I really want to try, I'm apparently in good company in wanting to attempt Crewel since I saw these sweet kits from Wool and Hoop. I love them all, but am particularly drawn to the red ones!

Crew

And this book coming out this fall (by the same designer as the kits) looks fabulous:

Crewel

And even though I've done quite a bit of embroidery from my kids' art, I don't actually *know* that much about embroidery, nor do I have that much embroidery "stuff"...so that would be cool too! I'm very excited about this new book, also coming out this fall, pointed out to me by Lyn of Molly Chicken:

Embr

But with all of that said, I'm up for trying ANY new craft! So have fun, my back tack partner--I'm sure I'll be thrilled with what arrives! Surprises are just so much fun. ;)

(Oh, and P.S. -- to answer your question, yes, I ADORE Catimini's whimsical designs...and Oilily too! If that helps you figure out my taste a bit!)

A few more answers:
*What are you favorite color combos of the moment?
I'm really drawn to reds and pinks right now.

* What colors combos are your least favs?
not such a big fan of yellows and oranges.

* Are you allergic to anything?
nope. well penicilin, but you won't be sending that, will you? ;)

* Coffee drinker,or tea drinker?
definitely tea.

FUN!!

Two Amazing Sisters

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Sneaky, sneaky these two are, I tell ya. For weeks there have been hints, sneak peeks and mentions of a collaborative effort on each of their blogs, and yet it was a complete surprise to me when the results of those efforts arrived in a package on my porch this afternoon.

Package_1
After taking all of this out of the box (with a beautiful Mia illustration on the outside!), I was so impressed with my ability to restrain myself from tearing into each package long enough for a picture. You can see that Calvin was ready too...

Sweets_1
Once these were both unwrapped, I was crying. I'll spare you all the long, rambling "amazement" at the blogging crafting community rant I'm known to go on, and just say that these sweet handmade gifts from Lisa and Stephanie meant a lot to me. This quilt (by Lisa) is so lovingly and beautifully made with the perfect fabrics (oh, I love, love, love them!), and the softie (by Stephanie) that matches (matches!) is so snuggly and sweet that I might have to sleep with it until the baby arrives.

Circus_1
And they were so thoughtful to include a little giftie for Calvin and Ezra. So perfectly chosen it was, too, this play circus, as you can see from their intent play with it, ignoring all requests for a "camera smile".

Thank you, thank you my friends. Really and truly.

Quilts for Katrina

Katrina
Here's my contribution for the Quilts for Katrina project started by Shanna. The blocks will be put together and auctioned off for the Red Cross, with some being donated as well.  I think she's accepting signups until the end of day today (Monday)--there's been an amazing response, and some wonderful contributions already posted on the Flickr group. There's something that feels good about using my hands to DO something about the nightmare going on for so many people, so I'm grateful for the chance to do this.

House_2
The embroidery is of course, from one of Calvin's drawings. He drew this, among lots of other houses, last week after learning about the hurricane. There's a really fine line at this age (or any age, for that matter) of deciding how much to expose him to of the world and it's sadness, while still wanting to protect that amazing, innocent 'cloud' that they have hovering over them the first few years of life. So while his knowledge of this incident is limited, his heart about it is enormous..like most other children right now, I'd imagine.

Something Good

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I know you've probably all seen this a million times over by now, but I'm posting it anyway, 'cause it's just such an awesome thing for Hurricane Katrina relief. I don't think I have the energy to post anything to sell, but certainly I can do some buying, can't I? And you can too....over at Etsy.com. There are some beautiful items up, and I'm sure more coming.

Also, Jenny of Queenthings has listed on Ebay a wonderful mixed media collage she did, to benefit the Red Cross.

And Hillary has listed her adorable Mini Me Apron and Doll on the Wee Wonderful Auction page, also to benefit the Red Cross.

The Love

Amy2
This is the lovely, sweet surprise that arrived in the mail for me (oops, I mean the baby) last week from Amy. I knew she had knit the booties from her posting them recently, but it was still a total surprise when they arrived--so beautifully packaged as is always the case with Amy--and surrounded by other fabulous goodies. Most special is the Wizard Of Oz illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerger. Amy posted about her wonderful illustrations long ago and I've been wanting to add something to our collection since. Amy was so right on--the illustrations are AMAZING. I don't think the wee one will mind that we're reading it to big brother right now, who's loving it as much as Mama is. 

Amy3
And just in case you didn't see them when she posted them, here are the sweet things up close. SOOO unbelievably soft and cozy--I can't wait to put them on baby toes this winter. Thank you, Amy!! Such sweetness. I continue to be amazed and blown away by the connections and relationships that this whole blogging community has created. My exchanges with Amy have been one of those rare, "real" relationships that I feel so blessed to have, despite being physically divided by a continent. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Amandaswap
And then the love continues....yesterday, this wonderful package arrived in the mail for me from Amanda. Just from the mere mention of my regret for not joining the fabric swap, she ever-so-sweetly sent me a package of just that! A huge loot of amazing fabric--so much fun stuff in here!! And some cool buttons and beads, and a fabulous card from her shop Homebaked. Thank you, Amanda!! And a Happy Belated Birthday to you, too!

And then one more very cool bloggy thing I must mention. Two weeks ago, I took the boys to our local train museum for a ride. Through some twist of fate, I'm sure, I entered through the "back" door and walked through the office. A woman working there followed us out and approached me asking if I had a blog! Ah! She totally recognized my boys, and we had had an email exchange or two in the past. It was so cool to meet Brandie face to face--she was so sweet and kind, just as I had imagined her from her blog. And so bizarre to have the blog world and real world collide like that. I'm hoping for a similar meeting on the street some day with Maria...

Back Tack II

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Yikes! What am I doing? I'm about to have a baby and who knows what comes after (three children!), and here I go signing up for Back Tack II! I really like the changes to this version--it provides much more control for freaks like me who need that sort of thing. Ha! Sign ups are opened a bit earlier than planned, and the list is filling up fast, so head on over and sign up!!

(Love the new button, Alison!).

Catching Up

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful well wishes and welcome home's! We had a marvelous time at camp, and have all come back feeling much lighter. For those of you that asked, the beautiful log cabin that we stayed at is the one my parents have been building--all from trees on their lot, cut, milled and built themselves. Amazing work, and so, so beautiful. It's on a wooded 40 acre lot on a very remote lake--we usually go up there for a week without seeing another person. This week was full of kayaking, sailing in that super fun "homemade" sailboat, great bass fishing from Calvin, and visiting with family. If only the location weren't so remote, I'd spend so much more of our summer there!

Berries
We arrived home in time for Calvin to discover that our blueberry bushes had completely gone wild! Yay!! Blueberry season in Maine!! And it looks like a really good crop this year, too. So...blueberry pancakes for breakfast today, and let's see...blueberry crisp for dessert! Yum!!

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And waiting for me in the mailbox upon arriving home was this lovely vintage fabric I bought on Ebay. I had planned to use this as a new diaper bag, but the print is a bit bigger than I thought, so that might need to be rethought. I uploaded this image into the Flickr vintage fabric group that Hillary started. It's taken me forever to get the time to figure out Flickr, and I still don't think I've explored it fully, but atleast I've started!

Now that we're unpacked from camp and are in the final weeks of baby preparation, I need to get crafting for baby!  On the (very optimistic) agenda are finishing the baby quilt I started ages ago, making some cloth pads for mama and burp cloths and bibs for babe, sewing a new baby carrier like this one, and finish knitting the Wild Stripes baby blanket. I'm afraid that this list means that I won't get around to a sock monkey or more sadly for me, a pink lemonade apron.  Instead, I'll have to live vicariously through all of the wonderful submissions I see popping up everywhere in blogland!!

Back Tack Arrival!!

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My BackTack packaged arrived all the way from Singapore!  Such goodness, check out the beautiful cake (that I've wanted to make forever, but haven't done yet--this one is so well made!), two sweet bags full of goodness, and some yummy teas and treats (missing from the photo, because they lasted all of two seconds).

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Bag #1, which opens up with a drawstring and has lots of sweet pockets on the inside. Beads, lace, trim, wooden buttons (too cute!), and lovely stitch markers!

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And inside bag #2 was this lovely Paton's baby yarn. Thank you so much, Back Tack partner!! But I'm totally stumped...I cannot figure out who it's from. The note had a name, but no web address. And the fabric isn't in the Flickr gallery anywhere. I've obsessively gone through the BackTack list of participants to no avail. This is killing me! Speak up, please-- I must know who you are!

Thanks so much to Nicole and Alison for all the hard work that must have gone into organizing this project. Can't wait to see the final gallery of finished stuff.

Miss Fiona Henrietta

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May I introduce Miss Fiona Henrietta? She's just recently arrived to us in Maine, all the way from Australia, and she's adjusting quite nicely to the vast weather change, as you can see. She was part of a bag swap that I did with the wonderfully talented Fiona of Hop Skip Jump, and I couldn't be happier! She's simply adorable, and so beautifully made. Ezra's a big fan, too, and we're currently in discussions over WHO she belongs with--me or him.  Her name comes from her creator, obviously, and with a Henrietta added on from Calvin (yes, that would be after Henrietta the pussycat from Mr. Rogers!).

Thanks so much Fiona!!! I'm in love!

Cooking Up an Apron

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I'm totally lovin' all the amazing aprons I see cropping up all over the place for Amy's wonderful Tie One On (have you all seen Hilary's yet? Wow! I'm so in love).  And I'm thrilled with the apron posts Amy's updating over there too--so fun to share the apron love.  That said, this is about as far as I've come with getting my apron started:

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Isn't this a great pattern? I think I'm going to go with the bottom right apron, and I have some ideas to "westernize" it a bit. I'm trying desperately to just use things in my stash, but wow, I'm so in love with all the way cool cowgirl themed fabrics out there. Have you seen these?

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They're all from Reprodepot's Cowboy Roundup selection.  Someone please stop me from placing an order!! I've got a crazy craft list that I must get through before I allow myself the "treat" of this apron project (ah, the back-tack challenge that has me SO stumped, getting out bag orders, some swaps in progress, and oh yeah...my kids need summer PJ's NOW!).  Gotta get moving on it...

Stashing the Fabric

Fabric storage...a nightmare for lots of us, right? I've tried hangers, racks, and shelves and it always seems to end up looking like a big mess. I'm a fairly organized person and it just kills me to look at this all the time:

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Appalling, I know. And this is only about half of it. So I was browsing online late one night for a solution and found this:

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From The Fabric Organizer.  It seems so simple--hard plastic for wrapping fabric, keeping it slim, and easy to see! It's about $12 for 10, I think, which could get expensive to do a whole fabric stash. But I was thinking I could make my own--perhaps from cardboard.

Has anyone done anthing like this? Or something else that's successful? I'm taking full advantage of my pregnancy nesting instinct and want to get this organized!! The yarn stash is next....oy!

Another Rainy Week

Authority_3 Ugh. Rain. I really try not to complain about the weather (we are in Maine, after all), but this is getting ridiculous. We're headed into weekend #6 (or is it 7?) of full-on rain, and the weekdays have been the same. Wool socks. Head colds. Woodstove. Hot soup. Not things I imagined from late May.  I haven't even tilled the garden, let alone plant anything yet.  If it were just me, I think I could nestle in and bear it with lots of crafting time. But it's entirely different with two young children who need to move their bodies--outside. Ah, it has to turn sometime, right? RIGHT??? Amidst the rain, I have been busy crafting-- working on backtack, a little "shop" for my bags (coming next week, I hope), making progress on some knitting, as well as beginning the quilt for my parents.  But nothing I can show yet. 

President_3So, in the meantime .. how about some pics of the kids? ;) These are two of my favorite tees--both from Babywit. Definitely check out their site--some great stuff. (I really want the "don't forget to wipe my ass" tee shirt, but Steve thinks it's too far over the top. Damn). I think these photos were taken about a year and a half ago--could it have been the primaries? I can't remember now, but I do remember putting Ezra in this shirt ALL the time. It's okay to impose your poltical values on your children, right? (no answers to that please!)

Happy Weekend, everyone! I hope it's sunny wherever you are!

Studio Confidantes, Part Two

It's complete! Go on over the Naive Knitting Blog and see the beautiful slideshow that the talented Martha put together.

Studio Confidantes

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At the last minute, I decided to jump into Martha's Studio Confidante Project over at Naive Knitting.  I love what I've already seen here and here, and here--can't wait to see it all put together. Fun!

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While there's no "studio" per se in my home (ah, but I dream about the next house....), this is a little corner of my sunporch that I've taken over to keep fabric, yarn, and goodies. I wouldn't dare show you a picture of the whole frightening mess, but here's a little nook on top of a crate of fabric.  From left to right is a "bouquet" of flowers that Calvin made for me one morning when I was sick; a woodblock painting I did a while ago;  my recently added beautiful modbird from Lisa; and Willy the Wizard/Witch (hey--don't make fun, I only get to name the babies around here). I made this papier mache hand puppet last year for Calvin and then promptly took it back because I love it so. I guess you could say she makes the magic happen, and sometimes, she puts a nasty spell on my projects too. You just never can tell what she's going to do.

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Oh, and the pictures at the foot of the wizard! From left to right, a funny doggie pic that I found in with a box of needlepoint supplies at an estate sale. I would guess it's from the 50's---I suppose it was this woman's "studio confidante", and I can't seem to part with it! Second, is a photo from the 20's that I love, of a young woman holding up what I presume to be a bottle of alcohol--having a grand time (I have a thing for old pictures--not so surprising, is it?); and last, is my sweet adorable husband when he was 5 or so. I love this picture!

Okay, let's see yours! There's still time...head on over to Naive Knitting today to submit your confidante!

Skirt Envy

I think it's just because my belly won't fit in them that I've been noticing all the ADORABLE skirts popping up this season. I saw, and promptly fell in love with, both Amy's and Tania's sweet summer skirts. And then in every online browsing experience, I swear I come across another one that I love!

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Check out this sweet embroidered thing from Red Dress Shoppe.

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Lovin' this horsey one from BlackBird Fashions.

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Isn't this fabulous?Love, Love, Love it!  From Amet and Sasha.

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And I can't decide which of the skirts I like best from Made With Love By Hannah. They're all amazing! So Yummy!

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And finally, one that would fit my growing belly, from Due Maternity. Of course, it's twice the price of all the other skirts above that I like better. Guess I'd better get sewing some belly panels. ;)

I Heart the Internets

(Note: Sorry, but you're all in for another sappyish post from me. I'm 5 months pregnant. I can't be expected to control these hormones. )

Don't you all just love this crafting blogging community? Seriously, I get so inspired by everyone out there,  and it's such a treat to see all the creating that people are up to--often done  "on the side",  with young children in tow, or another profession as a day job (and as a side note to that, check out  the wonderful post on Naive Knitting Blog last week about the "art" of "crafting"...great insight). But besides all the motivation just from seeing the end creations, I'm particuarly moved by the genuine support and energy that people are willing to share.  One such person that totally fits that bill is Amy over at Angry Chicken.  She's so freakin' cool. ;) A little bit ago, she sent me a lovely package full of all sorts of goodies--some patterns that were totally suited to me (felt wee folk!); lovely vintage buttons; beautiful stationary; and a kids CD that we just can't stop dancing to (Dan Zanes rocks!). Thank you, Amy!

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Normally, I'd give this next fabulous creation it's own blog entry, but I think it fits nicely with the tone of  'sharing the internet love' that Amy so totally has. Lisa, of a bird in the hand does just that too--not only amazing creations, but wonderfully kind energy to boot. And so, a modbird just had to make it's way here to our home.  Here she is, adjusting to life on the East Coast quite nicely. (Though, I thought she was getting a bit lonely, so a new modbird friend will be making it's way here soon too! Eek!).

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Thanks to all for sharing the internet love. 

Back Tack

I'm in. Are you? Go sign up!

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Dolls and Toy Animals

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I found this book buried deep on my craft bookshelf this weekend--I picked it up at a yard sale last year and completely forgot about it! It's Dolls and Toy Animals-- a Danish book published in 1973.  The directions in here are very clear, and I just love the style of the dolls and animals. Here are a few of my favorites--I hope they appear clear, the book is black and white and a tiny bit grainy.

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Knitted Dolls. Check out this caption in the book: "These four knitted dolls have obviously been out on a spree and are waiting on a barrel for the hangover to wear off".

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I hope to try this Kangaroo mama and baby soon. They suggest felt--how perfect. ;)

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Pipe Cleaner Dolls.

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Cloth Dolls.

Meet Stanley

I've had a few comments/conversations lately that have reminded me of this fabulous project I want to mention.

I bought Calvin his Waldorf doll for his second Solstice, and wanted to do the same for Ezra. I had every intention of putting my Kinder Dolls book to use and making Ezra his doll.  But as I got closer and closer to December, and I heard more and more people talk about how much harder it is than it looks to make one, I wimped out. And perfectly timed, was our local Waldorf school fair, where I stumbled on a table by this amazing project. The Q'ewar Project is a cooperative that works with women in Peru to make Waldorf inspired dolls, while building community and creating work at the same time. The dolls were just AMAZING....like, unbelievably beautifully amazing. And the cost was really quite wonderful for the quality ($75-90).   Oh, the detail on these dolls! The solid body construction, the handknit clothing--hat, booties and sweater--love it!

So without any further ado....meet Stanley, Ezra's go-everywhere sidekick. Check out the detail on his hat and sweater in the closeup (and ignore the yogurt on his face--Stanley's just learning to eat with a spoon):

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Randomness from the Fevered Mama

Finally, my fever is going down. Gosh, that felt like WEEKS....I'm such a baby when it comes to the flu. And this morning, just as I knew my own fever was starting to diminish, I looked over to see Ezra tossing and turning. Yup, 103. Poor baby--tomorrow is his birthday!!!! But apparently, he's a much stronger soul than I am; and unlike me, he even finds creative energy from being sick. Check out this amazing creation he worked on all morning. He told me there's a whole bunch of things in here: a tire, a bike, a lion, a person, and lots of blue.

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Ezra, almost 2!

In my fevered haze yesterday, I checked my email to see that the Spring Knitty is up!  Yay. I've already decided that I must make Via Diagonale and Tie One On.  But oh, how I wish there were somewhere I could appropriately wear Cleaves, I love it so! Um, the playground, maybe?

Oh, and cleaning out my camera files, I found this pic that I hadn't shared yet. It's the doll dress I made to match Caroline's dress I posted about last week. I'm happy with how the matching doll dress came out--I think it makes a cute set. And I'm told that Caroline slept in her dress one night--the sign of a happy four year old gift recipeint for sure. Success!

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I'm Smitten....

I surely am. I stumbled across the I'm Smitten website a few weeks ago, and was so drawn to the work that I splurged a little and placed an order. The treats arrived yesterday, and I'm so pleased.  Here's the print.

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And this wonderful tote, and card.

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In other very exciting news....I BOUGHT A SERGER last night!!! A Janome 634D, and I can't wait for it to arrive so I can start playing with it! Yay!

And in much less exciting news, my fever has come back with a vengeance.  I'm going back to bed.  Ugh.

A YUMMY Tutorial!

Cake

aio from Shinhatsubai! has just posted a tutorial on Craftster for her delicious felt cake (created originally, I believe, for the Alice in Wonderland Month of Softies). I've been admiring this cake ever since I saw it, and am so pleased that she decided to share her tutorial for it (Thank You!!). How fun will it be to make variations of this for the kids' "play kitchen"? Or even better....for me!! YUM!!! 

Easter Inspiration

So, Easter's next week? How is that possible? There is a mountain of snow in our backyard that certainly isn't going anywhere in the next week! Damn...how will we ever do an easter egg hunt (that Calvin is so excited about--remembering last year). Oh yeah, and how will I ever get any Easter "stuff" done? I've got half of ONE knitted bunny done--I still need to do another. Yikes. 

Bookcover

So, in the interest of procrastinating on easter crafting even longer, I bought this book at Marden's yesterday. It's adorable! So much great stuff in there that I won't have time to make this year (but next year, you know, once there are THREE children in the house--then, THEN....I'll have LOTS of free time for Easter crafts!! Ha!). Here are two of my favorite "must do's" in the book..... the egg tree, and the "Ivory Eggshells with Lemon Cream". Oh yumminess.

Eggtree Tart

"The Return of Spring" Coloring Book and More!

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I saw this great coloring book on GetCrafty  and had to check it out. There are some really fun illustrations in here--perfect for bringing springtime on! Calvin and I have been having lots of fun coloring it in.

To get your own (free!) copy, visit her Jessica's blog and send her an email requesting the pdf file. In return, she asks you to link to a "finished" page (will do soon!).  Thanks, Jessica, for putting it together! What a great idea!

We were so inspired by the idea of creating your own coloring book, that we're doing just that! Yesterday I worked on a few pictures for it, and hope to do some more today. I've copied a few for the kids to color in already, but I'm thinking about putting together a bunch of springtime drawings, copying and binding them so they look like a "real" coloring book (hee hee), and including them in their Easter baskets. Here's a quick pic of the drawings I did yesterday to get started. Be gentle--my drawing skills are so rusty, but it was fun nonetheless. And luckily, my kids are forgiving!

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March: Month of Softies

Oh my gosh, it's 2am, and I just woke up to pee once again (the pregnancy pee-all-night thing has already set it! God, I need to do some kegels.). I happened to sit at the computer, and for the millionth time today checked Loobylu for the MOS update. And Yay, it's up! I was so excited, I had to post about it.

Loobylu has announced the Month of Softies theme for March:  Self-portrait of the Artist as  a Young Child.  I think I'm going to go for it and try to come up with something. Jessie, are you in? Anyone else?

Be sure to check out all the entries (over 100!) for the February Theme of Alice in Wonderland (bummed I missed that one!!). Some AMAZING stuff on there!!! Totally inspiring.

Okay, back to bed, dreaming of Alice dolls, surely.

Inspiration

So I started this blog totally intending to use it share daily creations with online crafty folk. BUT....in recent months, my creative spark has gone kaput (It's gotten so bad that I've been watching movies WITHOUT even knitting!! Oy! What has become of me?). Thank goodness I've got the boys to fill the blogging void in the meantime. :) In the meantime, while *I* haven't been crafting, I have been watching others--and am totally inspired by my daily check ins at: Craftster Wee Wonderfuls My Paper Crane Thimble Knit Happens So, to spark my interest, I recently ordered some of my favorite yarn from my favorite seller at www.handpaintedyarn.com (thanks for the link, Trina!).  And finally, the yarn arrived yesterday:

Is it not luscious??? I can't wait to dive in--not sure what to do with it yet. I was thinking another Sophie bag, but wouldn't this make a beautiful BABY blanket, with some Rowan kidsilk mohair added in? Ah, dreamy. I'm hoping the inspiration continues and that this means a beginning to the end of this terrible first trimester. I've spent enough time hanging out on the bathroom floor--I'm ready to do some knitting!!!