Tuesday, August 30, 2011

handmade goodness & no, not all of the knit variety...;)

as i mentioned in my last post, we are currently knee deep in homeschooling & lovin' it!
for one thing, it gives me an outlet to do all the projects & try all the cool recipes that i clip out of magazines... ;)

last week, for baking day we wanted to make come candied lemon & orange peels.  well, you eat the oranges of course, but then how to get to the lemon peels w/out wasting the 'meat'.  orin's bright idea was to make lemonade!

so, homemade lemonade it was...

while the boys were mixing up the lemonade, i started on the candied orange & lemon peels...
first you boil them for a good 20 min or so...

we didn't really go for the lemon peels, but the orange peels were delish! ;)

*side note: i rolled them in sugar, as directed, but then brushed them off a bit.  perfect!*

for our handwork project, we made a super cool bug house/critter cage.

i had a few pages from magazines & books, but none seemed right for us.  we wanted one that we could keep out caterpillars & crickets in, but that would also house the toads & other smallish critters that frequent our yard.

so, we winged it...

using some scrap wood, a bit of metal screening that we had leftover from another project & a few hooks...  the boys LOVE it, but now they each want their own! 

our first 'resident' the eastern tent caterpillar...

looks like we'll be making 3 more this week, along with a couple extras for a few friends whose birthdays are coming up. ;)

now for the craftiness...

this lot i call 'a taste of honey', as that is what this colorway reminds me of... 

also working on a 'pebble' in this colorway...

here are the 'everyday gray' mini mitts i mentioned in my last post...

all of those are for the 'heritage festival' coming up october 1st.

next i had a custom order from *my mom*! ;) she requested another waldorf ball & doll gift set for a friend's baby shower...

and lastly, i had another custom order this week from a local mama.  she requested a custom set of eco-friendly, kid sized napkins for each of her daughters. 

they attend public school & bring *waste free* lunches each day.  she thought that a set of reusable cloth napkins would be the cherry on top!

each napkin is made from upcycled fabrics which makes for a ooak (on of a kind) set, as well as an even greater "ode to mother earth"...

each napkin measures ~7sq" & is made from either 100% cotton (or) a cotton/linen blend.

and what lovelies have you been working on this week??


Sunday, August 28, 2011

recent creative endevors...

august arrived & everything got amazingly busy, super fast!   i've been wanting to post more regularly, but honestly there are just NOT enough hours in a day to do all the things that i need/want to do.  so... we'll have to settle for random bits of goodness. ;)
the madison county heritage festival is coming up the first saturday in october & sammi (my sister) & i are working hard to stock up knit & hand sewn lovelies for our table. 

i was keeping the shop updated as well, but everything kept selling!  this is normally a good thing, but not as we are trying to have a *full table*!
i recently had an order for this knit vest... 

sized to fit a 3-4 yr old...
well, i ordered 2 skeins of paton's classic wool. the colorway is light gray mix.  it is such a perfect, everyday gray that i wanted to make a more manly vest with it as well. 
like this one...
not only did i have enough yarn for this sweet vest, but i had enough left over to make a pair of mini mitts as well!

i made a lot of these water bottle for a swap this past spring.  i also made a few extras for our family.  ever since then, ehren & evyn have been wanting their own totes.  so, i took a few days & got their "wish list" done.  well @ least part of it, they always seem to have a list of t hings for me to make/do.  it is good job security though, right?? ;)

both are 100% cotton.  ehren's is pisgah yarns peaches n' cream, 'fiesta' colorway.

and ev's is lily's, sugar n'cream, 'hot pink' colorway
i also had a few custom order soaps for the shop. the first is a serene woodland scene...
the second is for an early christmas order. her son LOVES all things wizard of oz, so i went with the dvd cover art as inspiration.

tuesday is handwork day, part of our homeschool day.  this week we made a step stool for the littles, though we have ALL used it for various tasks.
we had a simple, plastic step stool for many years, well for 10 years to be exact.  a few weeks back one of the legs cracked & instead of buying a new one, i called my dad. 

he & my older brother built one when i was a little girl that is still used to his day.  you know it is a good design when it has stood the test of time for nearly 30 years, right??  so, i got the dimensions for it & set off to look in our scrap wood pile to see what leftovers bits we had that could be sued to make a similar model. 

the original was made out with poplar 1x8's as that is what they had one hand.  we however, had nothing that fit that bill.  we did have some 3/4" hardwood plywood that was leftover from a tv shelf that lance built a few months back. 

we had to modify things a bit, but for the most part is it the same size as the original (16" long x 8" wide & 6" high)

there are 2 cross bars, made with 2x2's.  one is set off to the left & @ the top of the stool & the other is set off to the right & @ the bottom of the stool

we also used a drill bit the same size as the screw heads, frilled down 1/8" or so, so that the screws would be set in to the top piece.  a *bonus* tip from my dad.

other tips...all pieces we sanded before assembling.  we glued each piece in place for added strength & durability & of course, we pre-drilled.   each 2x2 cross bar has 2 screws, vs one to keep them from turning. (this i learned when building the chicken tractors.)

we sealed the wood with a beeswax polish to help being a bit of shine to it & protect the wood as well.

all in all i am pleased.  it is a super stable design, though i do wish we would have had better wood on hand.  it'll do though donkey...;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

oh, what's this???...

as i mentioned in my last post a lot has been going on here & i have not had a lot of time to post about it.  so much is changing...little things here & there are making a big difference & i LOVE it!!

one such change would be out lovely new kitchen, which i will get to shortly.  actually it isn't really new, but it did get a patch job & a lick of paint, courtesy of my sister sk.

 i have always loved yellow, so bright & cheery. black-eyed susans, goldenrod (which is my favorite crayola crayon of all time, by the way), the sunbeams, squash blossoms, yarn, etc... so, it is no wonder that yellow houses always seem to be reaching out to me & calling my name.

when we first painted out kitchen, i knew i wanted a yellow kitchen/dining room.  however, we are a very high energy lot, so i chose this pastel hue.  thought that it might help us to chill a wee bit (@ least @ meal times, anyway ;).

here then is the before...a pale yellow.

our dining room doubles as our homeschool/craft room

and now, for the during...

does anyone else's walls have this many "battle scars"??

and, finally, the after...a lovely color dubbed 'carotene'.  the names actually makes me love it even more, if that is possible.

& it is all thanks to samantha koontz, (my sister), who gifted me the 2 gallons of paint& my sweet baboo who actually chose this color out of the lot...
 now, for the rest of the house, right??

ehren,m our 4 year old, says we should paint each room a different rainbow color... i LOVE it!!  now, to get papa on board...;)

happy friday, loves!...xo

Thursday, August 11, 2011

hmmm...where to begin.

it appears that i have once again taken a longer that expected hiatus from the land of blogging.  i keep meaning to write, but then...well, life has other plans.

i, along with 2 other amazing mamas, have been working hard to get our co-op up & running for our 5th session.  we began last fall, with about 8 families & have more than doubled in size since then.  some families have moved on, some come for one session & then take a break, only to come back again later & others are new friends that we have met along the way.

 we get better with each session...more organized, more "under our belts" to learn from.  this session we are really stepping things up.  we've created a membership brochure (very professional, right?? ;), we also have composition notebooks for each of our volunteer positions.  these, i think, are going to come in very handy, not only as a reference of where we have been, but for where we are going.

there are 2 big changes this session, though that have us all very excited.  one is that we now have a home, a real home!  we have moved around quite a bit, starting out @ a community center, then on to renting a few rooms in an old high school, that has a new life as an artist studio.  both were 'ok', but neither was "us" & neither was the right fit.  @ our new space we actually have on site storage, which is huge, as well as the run of the building on wed.  but better than that, we are loved!

we are renting from a woman who loves what we are doing, she loves that we homeschool, the focus on bringing our community together...she loves the children.  it is such an amazing feeling to have such love & support under our feet, really.

second, we are changing our approach to service projects.  in the past we did the standard issue ones, river cleanup, volunteering @ a food bank, helping out @ a food drive, visiting the local landfill & learning about waste, recycling & such.  these all left us feeling as though we have truly given something back to our community, and yet there was something lacking. 

but now we are focusing on our local community, our community...the madison county homeschooling tribe.  (yes, that is our name!) & now we are living up to it.

we have decided to host monthly work parties.  whoever in our group has a need, whether it be help repairing their roof, cleaning our their basement, building a chicken coop, refinishing a floor, winterizing their home puts their name in the database.  when it is their turn, they pick a date, gather a list of materials & tools required, & provide refreshments for the lot of us.  everyone else in the group that can make it out, gathers, working together to get the job done.  the children play (supervised by a few mamas/papas), the rest of the parents work. 

not only do we all have things that need tending to @ our homes, but how better to live up to our name of tribe than by walking the walk.  the impact on both us & our children is that we know the folks that we are helping, they are our friends. 

our children see us loading up tools & materials, heading over to help out our neighbor in need.  this makes so much more of an impact on them & on us. seeing the faces, the gratitude...that love & energy then goes back into the tribe.  everything comes full circle...

i am so very excited to see how everything is taking shape, & so amazingly glad to be a part of such an wonderful community of people. 

what started as a spanish class, became a homeschool cooperative, and has now grown to encompass so many more facets of our lives than perhaps we ever thought possible.  we continue to be the community of love & support that we were each previously searching/longing for, that each family should have one their journey to raise our children, that we started out to become, but we have already become so much more....

i look forward to where this wandering path leads us next...

in truth, there were many things i planned on discussing with you all tonight, but in the end, i suppose there was one speaking louder than all of the others. 

the inspiration comes, perhaps from "knit two", which i just finished reading. (it is the second book in the "friday night knitting club" series.)  it closes with a reflection of how lucky they each are to have each other & much along the same lines as what i have written here tonight...it all came about unexpectedly. 

what began as one woman's journey, became a yarn shop, which led to a knitting club, which led to lifelong friendships & a loving supportive community.  none of which was ever expected, but perhaps that is what made it all the more of a blessing.

may we each find the love & community that we are searching for...

blessings & good night. xo