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I guess they missed me. : )

A few pictures of things we’ve done over the last few months.

For Valentine’s Day we made corner bookmarks like this lighthouse one I made for our dear neighbor E. I cut 2.5 inch corners off of envelopes (red ones left over from Christmas cards were especially useful) and then attached 2 inch triangles of a different color or patterned paper to each side. The kids had fun mixing up colors and decorating with stamps, stickers and cut-outs from magazines and catalogs. We found the nursery/seed catalogs and the quilting fabric catalogs to be gold mines for this activity. You can find instructions for a similar corner page marker here at Tally’s Treasury.

lighthouse collage corner page marker bookmark

Then we stuck the bookmarks into these Valentine cards. I think I made up this sentiment myself, but it’s possible I heard it somewhere. In any case I found some free clip art online and made this card. I printed out enough copies for all the students in both of the kids classes and they colored and decorated as desired, making each one special for the recipient.

all occasion card for readers books world bookmark earth

I’m including links to the printable pdf version here if you’d like to use it, just print on cardstock or regular paper, fold in half and in half again. original Valentine’s Card. And the write-your-own-occasion card pictured above.

knitting a tapered skinny scarf with novelty yarn

I knit several skinny scarves out of novelty yarn. This is the sort of yarn that looks pretty or fun but you really don’t know what to do with, or at least I don’t. But I finally figured something out that is easy to make and looks good. With extra large needles, I knit loose garter stitch scarves about 3″ wide with a single ball of novelty yarn, about 75 yards, for a long accessory scarf that can wrap around the neck and hang down fashionably. These won’t keep you warm at all but they are fun to wear. Rather than making a blunt end I figured out how to increase and decrease to make tapered ends that give a little extra finishing touch. My construction notes are on my project page in Ravelry.

hand knit skinny scarf with tapered ends novelty yarn

rock candy crystals homemade kitchen science

The subject of gems and crystals came up and on the way to explaining how crystals grow, I decided we needed to do an experiment. This falls under the category of what I call kitchen science—real experiments you can do with stuff you already have around the house. Even though I know I’ve done this before, it took two tries to produce a sugar solution that grew several of these rock candy sticks. I used the instructions from Our crystals did not retain either the flavoring or coloring that we added to the solution. Nobody complained when it came time to eat them.

smashed pansy bookmark flower ink

I cannot remember why we did this but we had fun. The girl and I picked pansies out of the garden to make some smashed flower art. The colored juices from the plant are transferred to soft paper by force. I used some bookmark sized pieces of heavy paper left over from another project. We used a regular hammer, sandwiching the flower face down on the paper between a piece of paper towel on top and wax paper on the bottom, on top of a scrap piece of wood. I cut the green fleshy calyx off the pansy with sharp scissors after positioning it on the paper. You could use this technique to make cards, placecards for a summer meal, or even art to frame. Get more details on how to make prints from botanicals from this great post by Wendy of Build/Craft/Make/Bake. Too bad I read her post after we did this project but there is plenty of summer and plenty of blooms yet to try!

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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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Last year we built a 4×8 foot raised bed for vegetables and herbs. I’ve been cooking with some of the herbs for at least a month now. It’s wonderful to walk out and just snip off what I need, rinse and chop it right into the pot.

Small leaf basil and curly parsley, we also have dill and chives

fresh basil and parsley from the garden

zucchini and summer squash picked small at around 5-6 inches, delicious fresh or cooked

fresh zucchini and summer squash garden

In a few more weeks I hope to have peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden as well as blueberries and strawberries from other spots in the yard.


heirloom primroses – probably been here since the house was built

yellow primroses

baby squash – planted last month

young yellow squash

the first Stella D’Oro daylily – planted last year

stella d'oro daylily


These little charmers are called spiderwort. I have no idea why. And the Latin name is rather a mouthful, tradescantia. They are perennials, native to the eastern seaboard. I received a few bedraggled plants last year, and they have adapted happily, blooming profusely this year.

pink and blue spiderwort flowers

My favorite fruit salads are usually composed mostly of berries—no bananas for me thank you. This one here has strawberries, blueberries, red plum and blackberries. I’m hoping that later this summer we’ll have blueberries off our own bushes, wild blackberries and maybe a few strawberries as well. Confession, I really don’t know the difference between blackberries and black raspberries. But I think maybe what we have in our backyard is not like these storebought blackberries so maybe they are actually black raspberries.

fruit salad strawberries blueberries plum blackberries

We had a dead tree taken down so I let the kids, ours and the neighbors, play on it for a few hours. They had a great time pretending the tree was a fort, a castle, a mountain, a nest . . . We also enjoyed, well, some of us enjoyed peeling back the bark and watching all the creepy crawlies shy away from the light. There was also a rather intense debate on the possible dangers of mushrooms and fungi. I stayed out of it for the most part but helped guide them to the conclusion that mushrooms were best left alone unless bought in the store or eaten at a restaurant.

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I love the slow unfolding of spring here. Every season really, but especially spring, seems to bring subtle changes every day.

Behind the house in the “wild” there are various ferns poking up to uncurl their fronds and strange primordial-looking plants pushing up through piles of dead leaves.

fern leaves uncurling

curled fern heads fiddleheads

ghost pale ferns


And around the front of the house we have a swath of cheery daffodils nodding under the flowering cherry tree. A gentle breeze sends pale pink petals drifting like snow.

yellow daffodils foundation planting

cherry blossoms sakura against the blue sky

cherry blossoms against white wood sakura

More to come.

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raised bed garden

grew these:

home grown roma tomatoes

and became this:

tomato sauce from home grown garden tomatoes

About three times over the course of the last few months. All from three roma tomato plants. I was also able to throw in our own parsley and chives into several batches of tomato sauce. And I even added some puréed squash to the last batch. Next year I’ll be looking for one of those handcranked tomato presses. The zucchini and the cucumbers didn’t produce much, maybe the heat? And an unknown visitor kept sampling the beans, but otherwise we had very little problem with pests. Fresh mint and dill made it to the table quite a few times, mmmm.

We haven’t had a really hard frost but enough to wilt most of the tender garden. The parsley will produce until it gets buried in snow. This is the first year we’ve had a garden in several years and I’m looking forward to next year already.


It’s been several years since we’ve had a vegetable garden. Not since we moved in fact. So this spring as I was moving perennials around, I was also contemplating where to put in a raised bed. I decided to remove a tired flower bed that had been taken over by primroses. They were quite a sight in bloom but not so much to look at the rest of the summer and a black hole for balls, toys and the feet and even backsides of children running through the yard. I gave away at least 50 bags of the plants through our local freecycle exposing a large area of dirt. So when we decided on the spot for the raised bed, Rich removed the sod before putting the wooden frame in place and I transplanted the chunks of sod to the site of the former flower bed. It worked wonderfully.

digging up sod for a raised garden bed

Two months later we are enjoying the fruits of our labor, a few purchased seedlings and a number of gifted transplants (and a yard+ of loam/compost). The blackberries came from a few old plants barely visible among the brambles at the edge of the woods behind the house. We’ve also enjoyed fresh dill, chives and greens this summer. I’m waiting on more cukes, zukes, ‘maters and squash to ripen in the coming weeks. The peppers, alas, have shown little inclination to do anything. I may pot them and bring them inside.



I don’t have a lot of pictures to show for it just yet but I’ve been spending a lot of time bent over a shovel out in the yard. I’m going to share with you the best gardening tip ever, received from my mother, who doesn’t think she’s creative. Divide hostas using a cordless saw. Now if that’s not creative thinking, what is??

dividing hostas with a cordless reciprocating saw

Of course I didn’t have the foresight to strip the sod out of the desired planting area beforehand. When the kids (my two and one of the neighbor’s) asked to help plant the chunks of hosta I just had to dig the holes as fast as I could and let them plunk the hostas into the ground. I also received some Solomon’s seal from a freecycler and put those in behind, also some upright phlox which I hope will flower white. I do plan on removing the rest of the sod and filling in with some lily of the valley that are not happy in their current location, and perhaps some white tulips and then a really short groundcover if necessary. Maybe just mulch. Anyway, the north end of the house, once bare, is now beginning to take on my vision of a green and white shade garden.

hostas and solomon's seal


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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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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salad greens growing in a hanging planter basket

I started container gardening when we moved to our first apartment in Maine. We had a small balcony that got just enough sun for me to grow a few tomato and pepper plants on the railing. I enjoyed how clean and easy this was, no bugs to combat, no bending over. When we moved into a house, Rich built a raised bed and we had several gardens there. That was nice too but I still found it really convenient to grow our salad greens in planters on the front doorstep where I could just snip a salad without putting on my shoes.

This is our first summer in the new house and while I had really hoped to put in a vegetable garden it just hasn’t happened. In hindsight it’s probably better that we didn’t as here we are approaching July and we’ve had about three days of sunshine.

But I did start some salad greens in this hanging basket. I had the seeds and I had the basket and the hooks were still stuck in the ground where they got “planted” on moving day. I should have planted both baskets for a more frequent harvest, I still could given the cool weather here in Maine. But the rain-loving slugs and snails that have been eating everything on the ground haven’t bothered my salad greens at all! Salad greens don’t need a deep container and once the leaves are 3-4″ tall you can harvest once a week or so and they will continue to send up new leaves as long as it doesn’t get too hot. You can even move the baskets or planters around!


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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marigold flower in a paper cone hung on a doorknob

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!

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. . . 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?

ghostly ferns creepy plant

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.

 young ferns unfurling

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