Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's my inner grandma

Oh, finally, some sewing again! Bad lighting be damned, I said, and just got to it. You could wait around your whole life for perfection, but that would be so much waiting and not enough fun. In the meantime, I whipped up this little number, in fabric selected for me by Susan and Matthew on their recent visit to Alewives Fabrics.
who doesn't need an apron with personality?!

There was something so freeing about tasking them with picking out fabric for this project. I love surprises! Also, I knew I would love the fabric no matter what because: 1) they don't stock bad fabric at Alewives and, 2) I love Matthew and Susan. So now this apron has a nice connection with some dear friends.
The Church Ladies' Apron Pattern by Mary Mulari was pretty quick to work up and took just one yard of each fabric for front and back. I lowered the location of the pockets because otherwise they were located around my midsection, which I am not keen to draw attention to. Also, I found that the piece that fits around the neck needed about 1" less fabric to fit right on my 5'6" frame. The only tedious part was ironing and hemming the pockets, and there was a small discrepancy between what the pattern said and what I thought was right; I went with 1/4" folded under once and then again to finish the pocket hems.
Such a fun way to showcase fabrics with great prints. My apron's reverse side is this lovely textured green. And, though I love my pretty half-aprons (just waist down), they are not so practical for actual cooking, where I tend to splatter and spill on my upper parts. So now, this lovely addition to my collection.

You can't have too many aprons, shoes, or handbags in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the Beautiful was all around, pt. 2

...And also the ridiculous.

While sitting shoreside, knitting, chatting, making sure no one drowned, and sharing book titles with a dear friend, I became aware of this odd buzz/hummy sort of sound. Very rhythmic. Perhaps a boat rubbing on another something? Pretty soon, the above creature, buzz-humming through his face mask, came forth from the unbriny depths and I captured him on film. (This might possibly be the best picture of summer, but let me know if you disagree.)

We also saw these creepy crawlies as well.
above photo by Mr. CraftingMama
(this one's for you Aunt Carrrie, check that greenish one out in full-size)
Did I mention the knitting? The maker of these socks was reclined in a hammock, oh so lovely, creating these rainbow visions for her feet. She finished the first sock in about one day plus a little more---I know, crazy. And she complained about the second sock syndrome??? Go figure.
The sweater sleeve! Begun here. And then here (again). This picture is just a few inches from completion. Now it's done.
Some of us adore strategy games like this one (and for the record, my gamer says that this is the original plus TWO extension sets, Seafarers and Knights/Cities), and if you're a regular reader, you'll know I'm not one of them. The rules alone sometimes take hours to hash out, and I'm pretty ready to move on after about the first 10 minutes of this. "I'll trade you a sheep for a brick." This is the type of talk that you hear when you walk by the game table and it sounds pretty absurd: really? a whole game about sheeps and bricks???
The days begin like this. Reading on the porch in our cozy nests of hoodies and blankets, sometimes cuddling up with a friend or relation for added warmth. The Personal Librarian was remiss this year, for although she came bearing a bag of library books (13 in all), the complete TinTin collection stayed at home. (Not entirely an oversight, but let's move on). Bilious blue blistering barnacles, in the words of Captain Haddock! I promise promise to never leave Tintin and Snowy behind again!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the Beautiful was all around, pt. 1

Once upon a time there were two boys and a boat. And a kayak paddle. They explored the limits of the elements and the vessel and had quite a grand time doing it. One time they realized that there was too much wind for them to sail back and there they were, marooned! So a rescue mission was enacted: the two boys paddled back to shore in the relief kayak while a dad and another boy waited in the boat. Another dad found the keys to the motor boat, and he and the two boys motored out for the rescue of dad and boy, towing the sail boat home.
coming to dock was always a bit hairy
One small and salty sailor (wait, or should that be fresh?) tied another sailor up!
Mostly there was lots of water and plenty of boats (allsorts) and kids and friends and giggles and knitting and games and meals for ten. (OK, so we had no mattress-riding this year or live private piano concerts by a professional musician, but you can't have everything all the time.) What we had was restful and relaxing sleep to the sound of the loons calling. And somehow being *away* from all of our projects and email and to-do lists was a pretty great gift too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The studio corner is coming along. As you can see, it's a little dark over there, so we'll be thinking of some lighting solutions. And I have no chair yet, but I am manifesting something thrifted/found and red, please.
Jonas's orange room looks great. The color is most true in these two above photos. He is enjoying setting things up for himself---you'll notice the LEGO display cabinet, above. What he really loves about the new set-up is the ability to read in bed (now that he's not sharing with Sylvan)...sigh, a boy after his mother's heart. It's a pretty cozy set-up! It's a good time to have a space of ones own, at almost-twelve.
And from the summer kitchen...
The garden is bursting with tomatoes, something that is unusual for us Mainers. It's been hot and mostly dry. (Gardening readers, why am I seeing some little white mildewy spots on the leaves just today? Is there something to do about it?) Our favorite snack is these little Sun Golds, which are like eating exploding sunshine candy in your mouth.
We're fans of salad pizza around here. A little drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette on the dough, pile on a bunch--really a bunch!-- of greens (this was kale and arugula), then shredded beets, cherry or sun gold tomatoes, red onions, a little goat milk feta (for those eating dairy), and a bit more vinaigrette on top. Delish. And a great way to eat a lot of veggies in one meal.
Off for the last hurrah of summer at Moosehead Lake, our annual visit of fun and kids and friends and water. The summer is almost gone and although it's been great, it's also been hard work. I am ready for some structure again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Studio Tour :: 5

knitted scrubbies for the sink:
simple garden twine, cast on 12 and knit until it's sponge-sized

The annual rock-balancing playdate was had on our favorite beach, between Mr. CraftingMama and our dear friend Matthew from StillmanSays. It's a family past-time and we spread the joys of rock-balancing at any beach we visit that features rocks. They get started and pretty soon other beach-goers are inspired also. Summer studio is everywhere...
Another great production by Terra Diddle Collective, "The Phoenix Awakening," featuring our own thespian Jonas. Who plays an evil king just fabulously! He had some great choreography and I always delight in seeing him enter new roles with his zest for the dramatic.
Kathryn's sets were incredible, as always, and the natural lighting was a joy to photograph.
This is the summer studio post about what everyone else has been doing. I am still, boringly, working on that sweater sleeve. Less boringly, totally all-consuming recently, but not quite ready to photograph is the space transformation you are probably sick to death of hearing me go on about here. It's close. Very close. And it's taken most of my creative juices to produce.

Here's what's thrilling: my studio-corner-to-be has been unearthed from behind boxes of all of our books (now on bookshelves again!--librarian's heart goes pitterpat). I even saw my sewing machine back behind all those books! This idea of the corner of my own came from this post by the Yellow Door Paperie and I just fell in love with the possibility of something small and mine, even if I couldn't have a dreamy studio space. My Corner will need some work: more lighting, perhaps a small wall of a light colored paint behind it, maybe a bulletin board. I put the table in and set my sewing machine on top. It feels exciting, like new shoes. Will post pictures soon, promise.

::thanks to BeautyThatMoves for providing the space for connection through the summer studio tour!::

Sunday, August 8, 2010

~pictures of summer~

Around here, summer is just rolling along. Garden, kitchen, life, beloved friends and family, home improvement project, etc. It's just going.
I thought you might like to see the inside of our two hundred year-old walls, and the hole in the wall that is awaiting a fresh, unrotty window in what will be Jonas's room.
the new guest room:
Ben Moore "sesame," sort of a lovely cream of asparagus soup color
looks great in lots of lighting

We've been swimming, blessed with a true summer, at many favorite watering holes. Including a nearby quarry, located conveniently on our commute, just 8 minutes away. There are all levels for jumping, from zero to 20 feet. I'm a zero type of person, if you'd like to know: I walk in, thank you very much. The water is delicious and your skin feels amazing after swimming in this spring-fed, 121 feet deep hole.
The season of fresh eating is upon us. Salads that are beautiful and good to eat, from the garden: this one is arugula and mesclun with raw grated golden beets and red onions. Tossed with salt, pepper, and balsamic and olive oil, you have close to perfection in a salad bowl. Lots of pepper.
How long to cook your fresh corn? I'm so glad you asked. And I'll tell you because I care and because it's something I have quite a bit of passion about. Overcooked corn is like a pithy peach or a mealy apple or salad greens with dirt on them.
So here goes. Boil your water. Put in your corn, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. For THREE MINUTES. That's it. Not a second more. And then you invert the lid and put whatever ears you aren't consuming immediately right on the lid, so they don't cook any more but still stay warm. Seriously. THREE. Only.

Cucumbers are happening. In a big way. Like half a dozen or eight per day from our garden. Please don't leave the table without consuming your requisite number of cukes.
These are a spiky Japanese variety that we got from our CSA. There is lots of potential here for making cute little hedgehogs that are edible, but we just ate them up without pretense. What more perfect dish to put them in than my baby bowl of Wedgewood: "But round the end of the cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor!"
This is what we do with overly large ones: juggle them and then let the children smash them with hammers.