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I’ve been in a bit of a funk about sewing lately. Not sure why. I have a list of projects and no motivation to do them. Part of it is undoubtedly due to my new passion for spinning and knitting and the unseasonably cool weather. So I finally kicked myself into doing something last night just to get back into it.
I made this little skirt for the girl out of remnants. I wish I could remember who the designer is of the flower print. There was only a bit of the floral and even less of the almost solid brown I used for the coordinate so I had to get pretty creative with the cutting. It worked out well I think. I added a little dimensional flower cut out of the very last scraps. I stitched the shape on the machine, slit the back open, turned and stuffed it with a bit of cotton batting and then stitched the hole closed, layered the flower center on and stitched through to the waistband. I don’t normally do much ornamentation but this seemed appropriate and was actually really easy to do.
And it doesn’t really show in the pictures but the floral tier is slightly wider than the waist tier so I had to gather the floral panel and pin it to the bottom of the waist tier. Not one of my favorite sewing tasks. But I think it was worth it as the skirt has a nice twirl factor without being too bulky at the waist. The girl even let me take her picture wearing it. I’ll count that as a success. And yes, now I feel like sewing again.
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.
The girl enjoyed the music thoroughly.
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!
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.
One of our favorite walking spots since we moved to Maine is Wolf’s Neck Woods State Park, only minutes from downtown Freeport, home to L.L.Bean which is a sight to see in and of itself. The park trails wind through the woods and down to the rocky shore. The girl struggled to keep up with the boy as they raced up and down the trails past the storm-worn roots of a downed tree, stopping occasionally to check on tiny wild flowers and spy squirrels, chipmunks and birds.
Reaching the shore, we looked out on a few of the many islands of Casco Bay. Hopping along the rocks, we found tiny shrimp swimming in little pools, barnacle-encrusted shells and tiny periwinkles traveling slowly across the rocks.
My favorite view:
Lady slippers are wild orchids that grow up here in New England and a few other places maybe. I believe they are a protected species. I happened on a healthy patch of pink and yellow lady slippers while out walking with the kids. I was able to photograph them in several stages from just poking up through last year’s fallen leaves to full bloom.
This showed up on our doorknob last week, courtesy of one of the neighborhood kids. I don’t know what the little blue guy represents exactly but the cone was addressed to the boy and the girl and held a single marigold plant with it’s rootball wrapped in aluminum foil. The kids were thrilled and we planted it right away. I thought it was an awfully cute idea and how neighborly!
. . . in the back yard. We have an empty lot behind us which is kind of nice as it gives our shallow in-town lot the illusion of depth. But let me tell you, there are some strange wild things back there. How about these ghostly looking ferns?
The creepy plant on the right is a “magic beanstalk” according to the girl. What she does not know is that it is going to grow up into a huge monstrous semi-woody, take-over-anything-in-its-path weed. And since they poked their little red heads up they seem to grow inches everyday. I don’t know what they are or how to combat them but I know we need to come up with a plan fast!
Here’s something prettier: vintage daffodils massed in front of the house. According to our sweet neighbor across the street, they have been here about 50 years. My guess is they were planted by the original owners of the house.
And here are the delicate unfurling ferns that were the inspiration for my fiddlehead pendant.
I scored a few of these previously used black boxes, a little dusty but sturdy. They are some sort of thin but hard board covered in faded black paper and lined with foam covered with cheap velvet. (I’m sure these will be very easy to gut.) Some of them have little latches and some of them have self-closing hinges. Some are approximately 5×7″ and others are 6×8″, about 2.5″ deep. I didn’t know what I would do with them but obviously they have great potential. The girl appropriated one for her little dolls as soon as I got them in the door!
So I’m throwing this out there to my readers. What would you do with one of these? I’d love to hear your ideas on how you might decorate the outsides and what you might put inside. I’m thinking treasure boxes, photo storage, special gift packaging, triptychs, memory boxes, craft tool cases, decoupage purse. What are you thinking? Leave me a comment by May 5th and I’ll be giving a few of these out.** Feel free to spread the word, I want to hear lots of ideas!
**Two catches – I’ll want you to e-mail a picture of your finished project to post here on my blog by May 31 and I won’t be sending any outside the US, because I’m broke, sorry.
So I’ve been thinking for a while about blogrolls and the fact that until recently I didn’t actually follow any blogs. My first blog was a joint one with Annie (SpinKnit). It started with a hankering to work side by side despite the fact that we had never actually met in the flesh and live on opposite sides of the continent. So we decided to have a virtual shared studio so we could show each other and our friends pictures of what we were doing craftwise. Then Annie got the fiber bug and became SpinKnit. I took a break from blogging for a while but I’d gotten a taste for it so I knew eventually I’d start again.
I’ve always done crafty things, ever since I can remember. One of my big problems is that I will make a new idea and then give it away. I wouldn’t know how I did it and I wouldn’t even have a picture of it. I didn’t really start taking pictures until we got a digital camera so that would be about 2002 I guess. I did start a sketchbook long before that, maybe 1988, but most of that is projects that were never expected to become reality.
So this blogging thing is great for me, it serves as a sort of personal scrapbook of finished projects and it also allows me to easily share those with friends. And I like to write babble, particularly analysis and process. For my readers that means more comparisons and tutorials on the way. I won’t say when . . . the kiddos don’t allow me a lot of brain time. :)
About the blogroll, I’ve really just started with that because as I confessed above I don’t generally read other blogs. I don’t generally read craft books either. I just don’t get much inspiration from other crafters I guess. My inspiration tends to come from the need of the moment coupled with the materials at hand, or else from something totally random – like the curve of a furniture leg suggesting the line of a dress. But I do find that there are other people out there who think like me and it’s interesting to see what they are doing. Or else people who think entirely different from me and it’s interesting to see what they are doing too! Did that make any sense? Anyway, I intend to write a bit about the people in my blogroll – a little introduction so you know why I’ve put a link to their blog, maybe a particular project or post I found most appealing, how I know them, etc.
And just so this post isn’t completely wordy. I rescued this azalea twig from the ice and amazingly it has bloomed inside!
I really can’t draw but I’m trying to learn. Having two kids who want me to draw something fast with fat crayons really helps. You can’t think too much you just have to draw something that has the simplest relevant details. I always draw the same sort of flowers, large round center with five round petals crowding around the center. It’s taken me about three years to get the petals all about the same size and shape. Today when the girl asked to make flowers I almost drew those same old flowers. Then I decided it was time to try something different. Without looking at anything I took a pen and drew on some craft foam (yeah that stuff I don’t really care for). Admittedly I had to sketch it several times before I had a decent shape I could cut out but it’s totally different! Almost modern looking. I also attempted a different leaf shape than my standard teardrop. Here are a few pictures to illustrate the process of making the flowers less two dimensional. I’m also including a printable PDF with the patterns and instructions to make your own craft foam flowers or simply print, color and cut on sturdy paper. When I traced the flowers into bezier curves in Freehand, I did my best to retain the loose hand drawn shape of the petals. You’ll notice one of the petals is quite lopsided, almost like a boot shape, makes it easier to line up the mirror images!
PS. I also apologize for the fuzziness of these pictures. I’m trying to work on using natural light because that usually produces truer colors but I was having a hard time getting good focus at the same time.
PPS. A good way to use up those leftover bits of colored paper and craft foam is to cut them into relatively small pieces and use them to make a mosaic on black paper. Kids love this!
A lovely photo of crocuses by Frogginette inspired me to post pictures of the green shoots sprouting at our house. They have been doused with fresh snow twice since I first noticed them but they keep growing. These as-yet unidentified bulb sprouts are actually right up next to the house which is why they are apparently unaware that the rest of the yard is still blanketed in two feet of snow.
In this photo I am attempting to show how deep the snow is just inches away.