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I realize it has been a long time since I last posted. An obvious reason is my preoccupation with a certain little boy. It’s hard to craft or cook with one hand while bouncing up and down. There have also been times when we have been crafting but I haven’t taken step-by-step pictures because that does take a bit more time. Having two children who really enjoy “making” means that most of my projects are done with their “help”. And sometimes it’s not worth interrupting the rhythm of their creativity just because I might want to post the results to my blog.


This seems like a good time to remember why I keep this blog. This is mainly a personal record of the things I make with my hands. I used to make thing and then give them away without having taken pictures or adequate notes. Because I rarely follow instructions, I found it difficult to reproduce my creations, or even to remember even vaguely what I had done. So now I try to make a record of most projects. I also try to add links to references or pictures I might have found inspirational or helpful. I often refer to my own blog to remind myself how to do something I’ve done before, or to get started on a new project with roots in a previous project.

I’ve made this journal public because sometimes people ask me how I made something or when or why and it’s nice to have all my notes in one place to refer to or even pass on a link to a post. Because the blog is mainly for my own use, my pictures are not perfect, descriptions may be sketchy on one project, lengthier on another. Some projects may include patterns or tutorials, others may just be a photo reminder. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have questions about something in particular. I do try to answer all e-mails and I do like to provide more information when I have the time and know there is interest. I am constantly surprised and touched that people are interested in my creative process. And I am always happy to hear that you are motivated by a blog post to try something new yourself. Thank you all for reading and thanks especially to those who take the time to leave me a note!

Some pictures of the yard in spring bloom—the perfect sprig of lilac flowers, a chive blossom complete with spider silk lines, Solomon’s seal bending over the hostas on the north wall.

lilac in bloom chive flower edible

Solomons seal and variegated hosta foundation planting

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down feather on the snow

The sun is shining, we haven’t had any new snow to speak of in more than a week, the birds are singing, dropping little fluffy nesting feathers, and the squirrels are playing chase instead of making a beeline from stash to hidey hole. The snowblower-made sliding hill is still better than six feet tall and the snow in the yard can still swallow me thigh high in places but I’d like at least one more good dumping of fresh snow this season. It’s only February!

small stream in the snow

Above is the “stream” that runs through the empty lot behind our house. Laughingly referred to as waterfront property by the neighbor who owns the lot. I tend to think of it as little more than a drainage ditch but it does run all summer long and it looks rather picturesque here, doesn’t it?

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Buzzy Tree

We’ve been singing Laurie Berkner’s Buzz Buzz at the top of our voices. And the bees in our yard are enjoying our flowering cherry tree so much the tree is constantly buzzing with activity. I’ve counted three, maybe four different kinds of bees!

flowering cherry tree in bloom sargentii

bumblee bee in a cherry blossom bee in a cherry blossom

The boy and his sister have been singing their own song, flower snow in the summer, while dancing under the petal breeze. There’s nothing like spring in Maine to remind you of the intricate beauty and mind-boggling enormity of creation.

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Some pictures from our walks in the last week or so. I missed shooting the snow we had last Friday because I was driving through it. A bit annoying at this point after nearly two months of nothing. But spring is decidedly here and we have once again lucked out of mud season. (Last year we had plenty of snow but didn’t have much of a mud season because it just stayed cold until June I think.)

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Let me first say that I am not a photographer. I wish I had more skills in this area but most of the time the photos I take are just point and shoot and hope that there are no little fingers or cat tails in the way.

But today I needed to take some serious photos. For a serious project. So, I gathered my gear and put my head together as best as I could.

The lighting—overcast sky—perfect.

overcast winter sky

The props and the equipment—steadfast and serviceable.

tripod and case

The assistant—essential. I don’t know why she picked that hat. Maybe she thought we were going out to photograph animals?


Now I’ll weed through 60-odd photos and hope I shot one that will serve the design well. A good original is worth far more than countless hours of photo-editing. Too bad there wasn’t budget to hire a professional photographer to obtain said original. So there will be some photo-editing involved. But hopefully with a little skill and a little luck we’ll end up with a solid finished project. As my old boss, Bob, used to say, “Even a blind squirrel can hit one in ten.”

Kids and cats

It’s been nearly a year since Duke (ginger cream) and Lila (tuxedo) joined our family. It didn’t take all that long for them to seem content and even comfortable in our house but it’s taken quite a while for them to get lap cozy.

Here’s some cozy with Lila.

The girl in a rare slow moment with Duke.




skeletonized maple leaf against the snow

We haven’t had any new snow for quite a while. A few light dustings. Still the wind blows and animals leave their footprints.

skeletonized maple leaf and animal footprints in the snow rabbit

A tiny maple leaf, skeletonized by time and weather. Could those be rabbit footprints?

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Would you guess this is the drainage ditch that runs through the wooded lot behind our house? Looks pretty in the snow doesn’t it?

Nice, soft snow and just a bit sticky. We got about 10 inches Sunday night into Monday so it’s not like we really needed more today but it was pretty and fun. Yesterday I took the kids to the big hill in the woods but today we stayed closer to home. First things, the girl and I attempted a snowman. Grapes for eyes, a carrot nose and a green pepper smile. I wonder if some squirrel or bird will be enjoying a little frozen fruit and veggies soon.

snowman with grape eyes, carrot nose and green pepper mouth

Back inside we were sad to discover that ballet class was cancelled so we consoled ourselves by putting on American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake and making origami animals, including a swan of course.

origami swan

Silliness broke out as I spun brown wool. The girl was giving me handfuls of wool as needed and then decided that I wasn’t moving fast enough for her. She started patting the handfuls of wool on top of her head! Now how do you like that ‘do?


When the boy got home we all decided to take a walk, waving to neighbors and kicking through several inches of new snow. Back at the house the boy went in to get the snow tube and I got the camera. The end of our driveway had a fairly good plow pile left from the last storm and Rich snowblowed even more on top last night making for a pretty good high spot to slide down from into the backyard.


And just a bit more silliness as we used up the last of the daylight.


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mushroom in the leaves blue boots splashing in a puddle of leaves last zinnia of summer

A mushroom (or toadstool according to our neighbor E.), blue boots splashing in a puddle, one last zinnia of summer

autumn leaves on the wet pavement one green leaf in a puddle of autumn leaves white fungus growing out of a stump

leaves on the wet pavement, one last green leaf, fungus growing on a stump

autumn road into the old cemetery squirrel sitting up on haunches eating an acorn

looking down the lane into the old cemetery, a little friend getting fat

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Nasturtiums planted by the boy, too red to be real.
red nasturtiums

Our own peapod clinging valiantly to a brave corn stalk.
young pea pod

Running for joy across the steps of the old meetinghouse.

One picket out of place.
one picket out of place


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What to do when you get to the beach and it looks like this?

low tide at Winslow Park beach

Climb over silky smooth driftwood, splunk through the river muck, carefully examine an empty horseshoe crab shell . . .

driftwood log

horseshoe crab shell

and make sandcastles!


Add a moat.

building sandcastles at low tide

Notice that it looks kind of like a turtle and add feet and a tail.

sand castle with turtle shaped moat walls

While you’re digging in the sand, scoop out some river clay and shape a bird with a . . . ummmm . . . pancake to sit on the turtle’s head.

fresh river clay bird on a rock

Call it a day and take the kids home to play in the sprinkler. Enjoy your summer!

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We spent July 4th with part of my husband’s family. One of his cousins lives in a 200+ year old house that they saved from demolition and have restored in a gentle fashion. By that I mean they repaired a giant hole that ran through the roof and down through the floors to the basement, swept the leaves and animals out of the corners, etc. and generally took the entire house apart and put it back together, but left the marks of the years on floorboards, window frames, doorways, etc. in a lovely way. They opened up the house and grounds to extended family and friends for a feast, water fun for the kids and dogs, watching the town parade together and enjoying the gardens and the waterfall view.

The boy’s favorite part of the parade—Revolutionary War re-enactors gun salute.

Revolutionary re-enactors in a parade

The girl enjoyed the music thoroughly.


Cousin Heather, emcee of the fun!

family gathering

lilies in the garden

old mill stonework and waterfall

bright pink lily

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Our busy weekend started with a trip with Nana and Granddad to the SEE Science Center in Manchester, NH. Housed in one of the historic mill buildings by the river, the hands-on science center includes two floors of hands-on displays and experiments in light, sound, movement, water pressure, AND the world’s largest permanent installation of LEGO bricks built at minifigure scale (55:1). The installation is a replica of a portion of the Amoskeag Mill complex including some of the important buildings of Manchester circa 1900. It includes numerous buildings, some 8000 minifigures, more than 3 million bricks, flowing water and running trains.

largest mini-fig scale permanent LEGO installation in the world of the Amoskeag Mill complex Manchester NH train at the LEGO millyard project at SEE Science Center

I expected the LEGO buildings to be the favorite of the boy who is quite a LEGO fan. He enjoyed most of the exhibits including a pulley lift chair and was particularly interested in a set of guitar strings installed in front of a giant striped wheel which allowed you to see the sound wave patterns, which unfortunately I could not capture with the camera. Use your imagination. (Seen the original Fantasia recently? No? Check it out!)

img_4649 img_4667

Me, I’ve always liked old buildings and these are quite beautiful, inside and out. The view of the old stairs are for Annie, the Mistress of Stairs. (Don’t know that about her? Ask!)

mill building on the Merrimack River, Manchester NH old stairs in mill building, Amoskeag Millyard, NH

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We went out to camp last weekend for our church retreat. Most of the pictures I took this year were of people but here are a few outside shots. Classic purple irises have been blooming at the bottom of the lodge steps for years. This lodge window struck me with that same color combination I’ve been seeing lately, red trimmed window with a faded turquoise curtain behind, surrounded by the weathered wood. Nothing trendy here, more likely an accident out of the remnant bin!

classic purple irises old red trim window in log building

It was rather a wet weekend but the kids enjoyed themselves immensely. And I think the adults had a pretty relaxing time too. It’s so nice to spend the weekend with friends and be able to let the kids roam around and do their own thing, now that mine are old enough to be (reasonably) trusted to stay together within the camp grounds and show up to ring the dinner bell.

playing softball at camp

brooms and dustpan kids on a mission

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wool roving hung on child's wooden rocking chair

This is the gunsmoke colorway in superwash merino/tencel blend I purchased from Spunky Eclectic. Manly don’t you think? (Sorry Rich, this is for my Daddy. I don’t think he reads my blog but I won’t say what I’ll knit out of this after I spin it.)

I’ve been working on improving my photography skills. Inside the house, morning light seems to work out the best. I draped the braid of wool roving over the kids’ rocking chair. This is a treasure given to us by a dear friend before she passed away, I suppose it’s an antique, she told us it was purchased from Sears Roebuck by her father-in-law for her children. I love it and so do the kids. I had no idea how pretty this photo would turn out. My best photos have always been taken outdoors.