Monday, December 17, 2012

in the classroom

I spent some joyful moments last night as I prepared for today's lesson:
cutting 1,568 rectangles of tissue paper
and practicing my folds

and many more joyful moments were spent this afternoon
as I and 28 children made tissue paper stars together
joy in the classroom
it was nice

for some of the boys, the folding was tricky
they feel as if they are all thumbs
we started calling them ninja stars
and the folding became martial arts minus any fighting
there was great success!

I said, "a Jedi folder, you are, young man"
and the smile was contagious

simple joys and small successes 
it was nice

they all brought their stars home
- as did I -
and these they are:

(the how to:

Saturday, December 15, 2012


it seems as if everything is weeping today


dear ones in Newtown,
I have no words
but words are not what is needed
just a hand that reaches out
I stretch mine across these miles

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

victorian kissing ball

this last Sunday afternoon, I took a class at a local nursery and made a victorian kissing ball
- hey - 
a girl can never have too many kisses

I loved how it turned out, so I came home with the supplies I needed to make more of them

The How To

what you will need :
an ivy plant in a 4 inch pot
floral wire
a heavier gauge wire for the hook
sphagnum moss soaking in water
miscellaneous greens
pliers for bending the heavier wire

first step:
remove your ivy plant from the pot, keeping as much dirt attached to the root ball as possible, and wrap the dirt ball with sphagnum moss. Wring out the moss after removing it from the water, or you will have a soggy mess on your hands.

second step:
using your thin floral wire, begin wrapping it into a ball shape.
I used a lot of wire - about four pieces that were 16" 
(it might be easier if you use floral wire that is on a spool and then you can use one long length of it)

third step:
 make "hairpins" with the floral wire
these are about 4 inches each and bent in the middle into a u-shape
use these to pin the ivy tendrils into your moss ball

fourth step:
 bend your heavy gauge wire so that it has a j-shape at one end
insert this through the middle of your ball
for best results, have the bottom of your ball be full and the top bare

fifth step:
bend the top of your wire to form a hanger
attach greens with more of the pins (filling in any bare spots)

attach a bow at the top
also: dried flowers, pinecones, sparkly baubles ... dress it up any way you would like
(that's the fun part!)

** to care for your kissing ball, simply immerse it in water once a week **
the instructor told us she has one from two years ago
- in the summer, she hangs it under a shady tree -
(remove ribbons etc and refurbish it next year)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

mend and make do

(I took these pictures yesterday 
it was a sunny day believe it or not!
winter light is tricky at best)


a stack of teabag papers
and you know me well - to know it is one of my favorite things

just one of the things I love:
stitching on them

this was a whitework embroidery vanity cloth of my grandmothers
unfortunately, there were many tears and stains 
but they mend beautifully with teabag paper patches and sashiko stitching

they were stashed in a stack of old mending ...
... now they are individual wall hangings

(on Etsy)

Friday, November 30, 2012

staying in

 it's been rainy and gray outdoors

and a good day to stay in

one of my birthday gifts was a stack of hexagon quilt squares
made from vintage fabrics and handstitched
... they were just waiting for me to come along

I've set aside some of the squares that aren't being included in a mini quilt I'm working on
 they make darling little mug rugs
- the perfect thing to work on when it's so dreary outdoors -

making rainbows in spite of the weather

Monday, November 26, 2012

frost here, fog there

this morning we woke up to a coating of frost on everything

I was out with my camera as soon as there was enough daylight

and then after the early morning drop offs at school and the bus stop
I went out to the valley to see the fog

fog gives everything a softness

and what little color there is
is laid gently against a canvas of mist

in my home
there has been lots of thankfulness these last five days
and now this particular mom is thankful for the return of our regular routine

(exclamation point)

Monday, November 19, 2012

orange craving

if you have been reading my blog for a while
you already know that right about this time of year I get a big orange caving

I dry slices in the oven
.... and then use them to make stuff (of course!)

how I dry my orange slices:
slice the oranges relatively thinly - about 1/4 inch thick I guess
lay out on wax paper on a cookie sheet
bake at 200 degrees (f)
check every hour - flipping the slices over is a good idea too
do this until dry (about 3 hours?)

... and save the end bits!
drop them into a saucepan with a cinnamon stick and some water
simmer and smell .... my, oh my, it's like heaven

and then comes the fun part
... making stuff!
like these ornaments

ornament DIY ingredients:
dried orange slice
hot glue pieces of lichen in the middle
hot glue a deconstructed pinecone on top of that 
(or some other kind of bead, button or bauble)
dip in melted beeswax 
(beeswax: a fantastic preservative - and it smells great too)

 .... here's a link to the wreath I made last year ....

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I've been thinking a lot lately about passing along the art of handwork for the next generation
sometimes I fear that such things will vanish in the fog of the glowing screen of Kindles and iPads
my own kids see me working with my hands constantly
sewing, knitting, painting, cooking
and I'm always so grateful when they express an interest
but it's a constant battle to get them to turn off the devices and open up a book
or better yet, learn a skill
but this was the scene today
we began work on a stitch sampler
and while we worked we talked about how I learned and who I learned it from
and how many generations have gone before us
and perhaps will follow
it was a good day to do the slow sew

Monday, November 5, 2012

photo transfer on glass

I tried something new today
have you seen my old tried and true photo transfer technique that I use on watercolor paper?
(click here for the tutorial)
well, I thought it might work on some of my beach glass

it actually works better on beach glass than it does on paper

the two pieces pictured below are from my outing on the trail a couple of days ago:

here you can see how different they all look depending on the thickness of the glass:

the pieces I chose were pretty clear - the roughest one being the one on the far right

the glass was very weathered and gives the image a foggy look to it
but if you flip it over it's really quite visible:

I am so pleased with these results!
I will definitely be making lots more of these!

Friday, November 2, 2012


a recent conversation posed the question,
what do you do when you're needing inspiration?

my answer was 
getting out in nature

today, it was a 30 minute walk on the trail

and I took my camera

so, if I were to revisit that original conversation,
the more complete answer would be
getting out in nature with my camera

life has been 
hectic lately

time to slow down and take time to see

Saturday, October 27, 2012

refrigerator poetry and other things

 it is cold and drizzly outside

but colorful

and we are indoors with our creativity

one of us is fixing things
(like a broken light switch)
another one is sewing
(an Alice in Wonderland Costume)
another one is working on a 4H project
(growing a rose on it's own root)
and another one is at a friend's house
(probably hanging out and eating candy)

and another one painted a bunch of rocks
(that would be me)

the refrigerator poetry is all anonymous 
and who wrote what is a mystery
(none of it came from me)
don't you just LOVE that?

Monday, October 22, 2012

28 degrees

(the mitten on the right is turned inside out)

I finished these thrummed mittens over the weekend
the inside is fluffy fleecy roving wool which will felt over time
I'm thinking these are probably the warmest mittens ever invented
and having been invented in Eastern Canada,
I'm also thinking
they would know

(green tomato)

and because it was forecast to be 28 degrees last night
we brought all our tomatoes in

I think I'll make pickles and chutney and stuff like that
as if I didn't already have enough to do
but I'll be glad when it's 28 degrees outside and I can open a jar of almost sun

 thank you 
Marilla O'Brien of Moonlight and Laughter for the excellent knitting kit
the directions were thorough and very easy to follow
I LOVE my new mittens!