Friday, December 31, 2010

Revisiting the Earrings

I simply had to post a photo of the beautiful earrings Heron got me for Christmas! Did I mention that they were designed specifically for me and that no one else in the world has a pair like them?! Did I mention that they were designed by my incredibly talented friend, Heather Perry? Well, please humor me, my friends. A girl must gush about these things!

I remember stating in an earlier post that I wasn't really into "things." Please let me state for the record that I am, actually, completely turned on by things. What I'm not into is filling my house chock-a-block full of them! But yes, I love beautiful things! Why not surround yourself and your home with things that you love to look at? That thing could be as mundane as a broom. Consequently, I happen to love my broom. It's got a lovely light colored wooden handle with a handy leather loop so I can hang it up if I want to. And it's got natural bristles made of hay or some other natural fiber.

But I do digress. Here is a shot of me wearing my lovely new earrings. 

Not the best picture. But you get the idea, right? Love the shape and length. Thanks Heron and Heather!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Putting My Son to Bed & New Knitting Project

For some reason tonight, I just didn't want to put my son to bed. Some nights are like that. We're having fun, he's a little overtired so he's a tad goofy and snuggly. There's also the fact that it's nice and warm in the livingroom with the stove cranking out that luscious heat, but a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

I finally get him upstairs, much too late. Then I proceed to read him not one, not two, but several chapters of My Father's Dragon. When I turn out the light, I accept his request to "snuggle for a little bit." And it's so warm in that little bed. We're so cozy, side by side on the penquin flannel sheets that Santa brought him for Christmas. We make up stories for each other about volcanoes in Hawaii and boatrides in Passamaquoddy Bay. He lists his best friends and the places he'd most like to visit (Italy and Thailand, for the food, naturally). And I don't ever want to leave this bed. I want to stay here forever with Kieran, in our little flannel cocoon. I want to know everything about this little person.

At this point, I realize that the poor boy will never get to sleep as long as I'm in there with him, so I reluctantly leave the warmth of the bed. But what a moment, wouldn't you agree?

Now, onto some craftiness!

My mom gifted me with some really pretty yarn this Christmas. Nice and soft, too. I decided to knit myself a vest. I've been wanting to knit a vest for quite some time. Why? I have no idea. I don't believe I've ever owned or worn a vest. But maybe the knitter in me just doesn't want to bother with the sleeves!  At any rate, I've chosen a pretty one with a cable and some pretty lace, and have actually already begun. You're supposed to knit the front and back separately then sew up the seams. But that seems too complicated. Sewing seams is such a drag. So I'm knitting it in the round and just figuring out modifications as I go. Check it out. 

Here's a picture of the yarn and the beginning of this project.

Yeah, not a great picture. The color is tawny, taupe-y. Sort of a cross between a squirrel and a deer. Well, that doesn't sound all that great, but believe me, it is!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Christmas Finger and Other Adventures

We made it through Christmas. Quite nicely, I would say. It was a relaxed and mellow one spent with friends and family. We attended a lovely party thrown by my wonderful friend Cari (and her husband, Chris). That girl knows how to have a party! They have a big, beautiful home, and she laments the fact that most of the time we hang out in her kitchen around the island (Which she and Chris actually made out of an old dresser! They are so DIY!) It was attended by some of my dearest and most fun friends. Why, look, here are some of them, now!

That's me holding Kieran, Dana, Jana, and the lovely and generous Cari. Please let me take a moment to let you know that I purchased my midnight blue halter gown from my local thrift shop for one dollar! 

Christmas day was blessedly sunshiny. It's wonderful to actually get along with your parents and in-laws and that we all live nearby. We generally spend the holidays together as one unit, which is just what we did this year. In addition to all of us, we were joined by our honorary holiday family members, Dana and Amy, and Amy's two children, Cora and Ellis. This was all great fun for Kieran, who served as the Christmas Cross-dressing Elf/Bob the Builder. The boy's not confused. He just wants to look pretty for his guests (the pretty pink sheath) as well as embrace his ever deepening affection for Bob the Builder.

Kieran, the Christmas Cross-Dressing Elf!
Christmas surprises? Yes. One being a) the fact that I actually shopped for my husband, and b) he actually liked his gifts, which were mostly cooking related! He even proceeded to cook part of our Christmas brunch with that cast iron skillet! Yay! I must sheepishly admit that I'm a little on the lazy side when it comes to gift giving for my husband. I think I crack under the pressure of finding that certain special something. Well, that, coupled with the fact that I don't like to tax my brain all that much... But, this year, I was determined. And I think I accomplished my mission. Thanks goodness, since the other Christmas surprise turned out to be Heron's gift to me, a stunning pair of Heather Perry Fine Jewelry earrings! I think I actually squealed with delight! I love that the gift was a little on the romantic side (he's usually a bit more of the practical gift giver, which actually suits me extremely well). I also love the fact that he chose earrings from a local jewelry designer who also happens to be a good buddy of mine. Heather is an extremely gifted artist, and just a lovely person to boot. I regret I don't have any photos of those earrings. Will try to do that another day. But until then, check her out!

Now, here is where our Christmas gift giving takes a bit of a gruesome turn...

Heron received a couple of fancy new knives (can you tell where this is going?) as well as a very nifty  electric knife sharpener. He was thrilled. For the past couple days, I'd be puttering around the house when all of a sudden I'd hear the electric thrum of that knife sharpener. Suffice it to say that Heron was in a state of culinary ecstasy.

Unfortunately, that ecstasy came to a halt yesterday evening as he was chopping scallions to go with our white chicken chili. Yes, you guessed it! He just happened to cut off a little extra somethin' somethin' along with those scallions!. Luckily, our dear neighbor, Reggie, is a nurse, and he came right over to tend to Heron's wound. It was a clean, diagonal cut through the nail of his left index finger. (Gross bit ahead) And judging by what I found when I cleaned up those scallions, he lost a wee bit of his fingertip as well! He's doing just fine today, and even chopped veggies for dinner. It will look a little nasty for awhile, but Reggie says it will indeed heal eventually. 

Here's the "after" photo!

I've spent the past couple days in a sort of purging and reorganizing frenzy. Most importantly, I reorganized my craft supplies, fabric, yarn, etc. with this handy dandy wire shelving unit.

Books, yarn, fabric and other crafty supplies neat and organized! 

I also took a bunch of stuff to the thrift shop today. Purging and reorganizing always feel good. The house feels lighter, more streamlined. And I feel ready to begin some new projects this week!

It's been blowing like crazy here on Moose Island. I hope you are all warm and toasty wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Packages & Letter from Santa

So, last night there was a bit of a selling and buying frenzy on Etsy. My crow banner was featured in an extremely successful Buy and Replace Treasury. The deal is if you buy an item featured in the treasury, the spot vacated is replaced by one of your items. The items are, for the most part, very reasonably priced, so it's a great opportunity to gain exposure for your shop as well as a way to make new friends! I bought this cool pair of owl earrings from a fellow Maine Etsian. Check them out, and check out her great shop: So that meant that two of my items were featured on the treasury. Both of which sold! Yay! Okay, so a selling "frenzy" might be a bit of a stretch. But I was extremely pleased, nevertheless.

I enjoyed packaging things up this morning (I also had a Secret Santa prezzie I wanted to send out). I hope people enjoy opening their packages, and more importantly, enjoy what is IN their package! I thought the packages looked pretty, so I decided to share a photo of them.

Wouldn't you be excited to receive these sweet packages in the mail?

I make gift tags and send personal messages in each package I send out using card stock and cotton fabric. I glue pieces of fabric to the cardstock, then sew the pieces of fabric to the cardstock using the sewing machine. It gives the packages a special, handmade touch. And they're fun to make.

Kieran has been composing his letter to Santa for quite a while, but it wasn't until a few days ago that we actually popped the finished letter into the special post office box. Yesterday he received his own personal letter from Santa.  You've heard the cliche about kids' eyes lighting up when they talk about Santa, right? Well, let me bore you all by telling you that my son's eyes lit up when he realized that Santa had sent a letter especially for him. As a result, we have read that letter to him probably ten times. He even folded up the letter and tucked it in his pocket to take with him to his art group today so he could share it with his friends.

At the ripe old age of four, this is the first year Kieran has taken a real interest in the whole Christmas/Santa phenomenon. And as cliche as this sounds, it is truly magical to see your child's eyes shine with wonder, imagination, and hope. Thankfully, I have the opportunity to see this look often as he learns to make his way in this world. It's a look that holds a lot of power for a parent. It breaks my heart and fills me with so much love I can hardly stand it. I'm not sure that makes much sense, but there it is.  So here is my Christmas wish for him, and for all of us. May we all continue to live lives of wonder, imagination and delight in the world around us.

In other news, Heron's holiday vacation begins today! Kieran and I are excited to have him around. And I like that he gets a break from his daily routine. Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I get to stay home everyday. I mean, taking care of a home and a four year old isn't exactly easy, but I'm my own boss and we do lots of fun things. Add that to the fact that I'm actually not much of a homemaker and I don't do any of the cooking, this might not seem like such a great deal! Therefore, I am truly grateful that Heron is out there every day making it possible for me to be at home. He is a very patient, supportive (and indulgent) husband!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My New Love and a Little Craftiness

I like to think that in this life I travel lightly. Meaning I don't like to have too much stuff hanging around. I'm not a big fan of the knick knack.  I get excited when I make the decision to get rid of one more things that seems unnecessary in our life. All that being said, man, I am really excited about the latest addition to our family of material possessions! Here she is!

My very own own buttercreamy/yellow rotary phone! 

Did I really need a vintage rotary phone? Not exactly. It was more of a whim. I think they're cool looking, and they're definitely more comfy to talk on then these new fangled cordless thingies! And, now we'll have access to the out side world when the power goes out! (she says as she tries to convince herself that spending money on an obsolete object makes practical sense). Oh shoot! Practicality be damned. I wanted her. She's beautiful, and you should hear her ring! I found her on Etsy and got a good deal. Merry Christmas to me!

On a more crafty note, I made a little zip bag for Molly yesterday. It took me most of the morning. I hadn't made one in a long time, and I made some dumb mistakes. I had to call on my one of my best friends, the seam ripper, more then once! Anyway, here's how it turned out. I think she'll like it.

I thought I would indulge her love of rick rack. And who am I kidding? I absolutely adore rick rack!

I'm working on a project for Kieran that could turn out to be a total disaster since I'm sorta making it up as I go along. I already made a huge blunder, but I'm going with it! I'm determined to make it work. And kids don't care about straight lines or even seams. I'll show you when I'm done!

The snow melted overnight. It's on the warmish side but blowing like crazy. This has been great for our hens, who haven't dared venture out of their house for a week or two, anyway. So, in honor of the girls, here is a picture of them enjoying this weather.

Because I have showcased the girls (of which we have 12) I had better add a snap of our cat, Daniel. He has a few issues. What cat doesn't. But most of time he is a dear.

Even Daniel is fan of our new phone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fried Chicken and Fennel Salad

I figure it's best if I come clean about something right away. I don't cook. I mean, I must have at one time. Once upon a time I did live on my own and managed to sustain myself somehow. Oh, I can whip up some pretty good scrambled eggs. I can cook pasta. I can pop bread into the toaster, and even make oatmeal when pressed. Mostly I stick to the breakfast arena. Baking is another matter, but let's save that for another day.

Luckily, I am blessed with a husband who cooks. A husband who likes to cook. Heron comes home from a full day of teaching and almost immediately begins rifling through cookbooks and back issues of Cooks Illustrated. He is an adventurous cook and isn't afraid to attempt new and complicated dishes. But tonight? Fried chicken and biscuits!

My brother-in-law, Damon, and his longtime squeeze, Molly, (who, by the way, I refer to as my sister-in-law, just for future reference!) joined us for this feast. They are both fabulous cooks, also, and together they created a deliciously crunchy fennel-greens-citrus-walnut salad with some kind of balsamic-y dressing. All in all a real treat of a meal.

Molly, Damon, Kieran and Heron chow down on the good eats.

After the meal Kieran treated us to some singing and dress-up performances. Here he is as a "killer gnome".  (His term, not mine. Should I be worried?)

The "killer gnome" strikes a menacing pose.

This wonderful evening capped off an afternoon spent in the big city of Calais. I did a little visiting with my good buddy and sister in craftiness, Jana. Then I stopped in at the Calais Bookstore, where I spent an hour getting lost in all those books. This is the kind of shop where you stumble upon a fabulous book you didn't even realize you needed or wanted. There are stacks everywhere. The proprietor (I can't recall her name right now) keeps up on all the current titles in addition to the extensive and varied collection of second hand offerings. I had to tear myself away from the knitting books (especially New England Knits and Last Minute Knitted Gifts) and remind myself I was shopping for others! I purchased a couple of new identification guides  (mushrooms and  trees) for Kieran. Also for Kieran, I scored a used copy of The Way Things Work by David Macaulay. I had been considering this book for him for awhile. What a find!  An exciting book for a little boy interested in, well, the way things work! I have no doubt that everyone could find something in this eclectic little book shop. You locals should check it out. We are lucky to have that gem of a place so close by.

This week will be busy with last minute Christmas craftiness. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Let's Get This Started!

What better way to begin then to just begin? And since my intention is to use this space as a place to talk about the things I make, find, do, or think, let's take a moment to talk about the Charlie Bag.

And here she is!

Isn't she lovely?!
I discovered this fabulous pattern on Etsy one day and immediately decided I had to have it! Here is the link:

This is a sweet pleated bag (pattern offers several variations of cool pleating options), classically shaped, of medium size. Everything you need will stow away nicely in this comfy bag. Love it! Pattern is extremely well written and easy to follow. 

The bag was created by Lauren of Olive Tree Textiles. She is very generous with her copyright policy and allows folks to sell the bags they make, so long as they credit her pattern. She creates wonderful stuff and I recommend you check her out!

This particular bag was made for my sister-in-law, Molly, who will be gifting it to her sister. I hope she likes it! Molly picked up this fabric at Marden's, the Downeast mecca for crafters and thrifty folk. The fabric prices are unbelievably cheap, this particular fabric costing less than $3/yard.

In the spirit of the season, here's a photo of the tree my husband, son and I hauled out of the woods behind our house this afternoon. It's some sort of spruce, a bit on the Charlie Brown side. But it suits us perfectly!

Well, I guess we're off to a good start!