Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Studio Tour

and from the files of hands and feet...

Heather at Beauty That Moves, has offered up Summer Studio Tour: a chance to share and visit our summer studios, keep up with what we're working on, what's in process. She'll be posting her view on Fridays and I will try to do the same. The idea is to use less words, just photos. Care to join us? (You'll see I posted her nifty button on the sidebar to my blog.)
But you know summer. How things happen at a moment's notice. The utter lack of rhythm. So I am being loose about it, in the spirit of summer: I'll post a summer studio entry between Friday and Sunday. Hopefully. Or maybe on the occasional Wednesday.
And what is the studio anyway? I don't have a dedicated space in my home for my work. I have the kitchen table, the counter, the ironing board, the picnic blanket. So we'll use that loosely also.
Thanks, Heather, for this new inspiration. And Happy Summer, indeed.

~eat love not fear~

The thing I love most about my work as a librarian is connecting people and resources: it's sort of thrilling, like matchmaking. So when Jenny the Lokel Yokel wanted me to come and celebrate her new solar clothes dryer and share the recipe for homemade laundry soap, I was all for it in the spirit of sharing good ideas that help families be healthy and save the planet.
She blogged about it here. And in the post, you can see that I am wearing this nifty blue tee shirt (Anne Klein, thrifted for $2.99, even more awesome). I wanted to give you some closer-ups of it because it is so fab. It's a collaborative effort between the Lokel Yokel and the CraftingMamaLibrarian: designed and conceived together. She silk-screened it with a low-tech method she saw on YouTube that makes me think of the 80s show MacGyver, if he had been into craftyness---using an embroidery hoop and Mod Podge! So thank you, Jenny, the most excellent MacGyver of crafting!
Eat Love Not Fear. The slogan makes me think of my happy chickens who feel the warm sunshine on their feathers, who nibble up a fat worm, chase after a delicious moth, and scratch up the compost. It's about choosing foods that were raised with love and sunshine and rain, knowing your farmer, knowing your chickens.
If Jenny goes into mass production, I will let you know! Or you could friend The Birchwood Motel on Facebook!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nikki McClure

Oh Nikki McClure! You know how I adore her work. You have seen this post and this post and even mentioned here, because I just love how she captures the small moments of life in family and community. Her lovely images feel like visual haikus, the absolute essence that is captured.
She is now so big that she is illustrating children's books with the likes of Cynthia Rylant, All in a Day, and now has a new picture book, Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
When I opened the first page of this new treasure, the beautiful red endpapers had a design that grabbed me right away. I knew when I saw it that I loved it. Forever. And that I wanted it, forever.
I hadn't thought that I would get another tattoo, but as soon as I saw this image of strawberry leaves and vines and flowers, I knew it would be my next one. It is strawberry season here right now, in fact.
But it didn't feel right to do it without the artist's permission. Not just because I am a librarian who cares about intellectual property, but because I respect this artist's work so much that I wanted her blessing. She gave it and I am so grateful.

I am also so grateful to the ink artist who used his steady hand and skill to slightly modify the design so it would remain a lasting and beautiful image: Seth, from Atlantic Studios in Rockland. His co-worker called it "the detail-iest" design. Indeed.
And thanks to Kimberly who took pictures of the process and Sylvan who took pictures the day after.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

~snaps of summer~

The summer is already in full swing around here. We have finished up the school year with many festive celebrations for the special family members I have; it already feels like a million years ago now that it all ended in such a blur of social activity! Though I like being social, and I like my librarian work, which is all about being with people, I am inwardly a hermit (a vacation at home, alone, is my kind of good time). I need time at home, alone or with my family, to fill myself back up.
But I am married to someone who is the opposite. I'll say something like: Hey, let's have a couple people over for dinner! (And I'm thinking, wow, look how good I'm being, actually suggesting a social activity!) And before I know it, we are hosting an intimate bonfire for 20.It's fine that we're different in this way. I probably encourage him to be more stay-at-home and I know he pushes me to embrace the joys of big parties. It's the big things that really matter that we are in absolute agreement about.
So you've been seeing some pictures here of Sylvan's last baseball game of 2010. We had some special friends join us for the game, including two of his classmates who were SO proud and excited for Sylvan's successes! And also in attendance was this person, above, getting a closer view of the game and a taste of the metal chainlink, one of our most favorite babies.
Atalanta Joy @ five days
Can you believe those cheeks?
And speaking of babies! Only hours after the ballgame, and with much hard work on the part of her Mama, this new sweetness was born! And lucky me, I got to be there for her birth: at home in the water tub. Her siblings and dad were in attendance, with two midwives and another friend, and I had been asked to take pictures of the birth. This was much harder than I thought it would be! It went against every instinct I had, which was to keep things nice and dark for this brand-new person and her family. Every time I took a photo I winced, even with the low-light flash setting. I was so relieved, when I brought over the CD of pictures, that the mama had *no idea* that I had been taking so many and she was glad to have them! Whew.
Atalanta's proud big sister who has been waiting to dress this new baby for a very long time. Nine months and then some.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Greening Your Laundry

new A-line skirt
with gorgeous linen Japanese fabric from Alewives

Seems like the word is getting round to bloggers in Maine about the goodness of homemade laundry soap. You may have read it here first, but look who else is on the homemade kick! And some laundry sweetness, as well as a CraftingMama shout-out, is here also on the blog of Little Bits and Bobbin (if you need to know how much I love this gal, check this post out. swoon.)
cleaning products:
homemade scouring powder and toilet-cleaning supplies

I am also pleased to tell you that on June 23rd, Wednesday @ 11 a.m., I will be giving a demo/talk about greening your laundry at the Birchwood Motel in Camden, ME. Read this post about how Jenny and Eric are making green choices for their local business: making their own laundry soap and installing a gorgeous new laundry line is just a start. Think about how awesome it would be to sleep on sun-dried sheets, laundered without chemicals, the next time you stay in a motel! The workshop is free and participants will go home with a sample (and laundry soap recipe), as well as resources about alternatives to chemicals in our homes.

To register, Friend/Like the Birchwood Motel on Facebook and leave your RSVP there!
New PJ pants around here. In the photo above, Sylvan models his new pair in a fabric called Hedgehog Love (also from Alewives). What is not to love about THAT? The sad news is that I underbought fabric for these, which means that I am not readily embracing the true size of this boy who was/is my baby.

For the extra long-leggedy one, Jonas, I knew that I needed quantity. I used a pattern from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, Pajamas for Everyone, and I made the ADULT size Small. I thought, Oh Ho, I can just whack off a bunch of length and they'll fit him fine. Well, I am here to tell you that I did not do any chopping of any length. My 11 year-old boy who was/is my baby is also really the size of a small adult (in height, anyway). Wow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blogger without...

A camera for a week, while it went galavanting off to Costa Rica with my husband and his 12 8th graders. It saw leaf-cutting ants, large spiders, and two-toed sloths, not to mention amazing foliage and gorgeous young people having fun and doing good things in the world.

Then, I was a Blogger Without Any Decent Light to Shoot By. The camera was home, but the light was crappy for several days. Rain and more rain. Dull, dull, dull light.
hmm, which sweetie could this be for?
little smocked dress goodness
(a matching doll dress is forthcoming)
The good news about rain is that there was plenty of sewing time around here. New reversible apron, similar to the one I made here, the Amy Butler Overlay Apron. (Which was not cheap to make, btw, because you are pretty much making two skirts, but is lovely anyway!) I decided to choose one fabric that was more subdued:
And one fabric that was in-your-face Happy:
Thanks to Sylvan for being my photographer and dealing with the very low light and my mood with equanimity.