Sunday, May 31, 2009


Just what are you supposed to give each other on your eleventh wedding anniversary? I know it's not paper, and I'm positive it's not silver, gold or crystal. It's probably something random like picnic baskets or monogrammed linen handkerchiefs, neither of each which were gifts we exchanged. Instead, this is what eleven years looked like for us:

Eleven meant cards mutually exchanged, each with meanings almost identical.
Eleven found me up early and off to the market.
Eleven found Kevin and the kids up early and off to the dump, the P.O. (for me), the market, Lowe's and Dick's Sporting Goods.
Eleven meant the pool with the kids while Kevin replaced a doorknob for an old friend.
Eleven meant shrimp bought from the roadside stand which comes trucked in from Charleston, SC and tastes just as perfect as if I was sitting in a restaurant eating it on Shem Creek.
Eleven meant a family dinner with steaks, asparagus and our favorite rolls from Trader Joe's.
Eleven meant ice cream from Maggie Moo's and three kids with bright, neon-colored ice cream faces.
It meant a late night walk with Sunny, tucking the chickens in and then the kids and a collapse into bed for all of us.
Life is busy, it's full, it is ordinary and every day extraordinary. It is just how we like it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's new

Two new baby bootie combinations have come to life. The one above is inspired by my middle daughter who seeks out the pairing in her clothes whenever she gets the chance.

The one below was actually a special request from a friend a while back and I really like it.

They'll both be appearing at the market tomorrow, hope to see some of you there!

It's all about the personality

It's a process, this photography thing, and I think I'm finally learning a valuable lesson, one that I already knew but wasn't putting into practice, and it has to do with capturing the person in the picture. You know, who they really are, and not trying to force them into the way you think the picture should look.

I've taken so many more pictures of my youngest daughter lately because she's home so much more and we have the opportunity. So I'm used to her grumpiness, her solemn looks that haunt, her serious face. It's what she came with, what she does and here's how I know. I have picture after picture of her as an infant asleep, just a few months old with the biggest, frown-iest scowl on her face that you can imagine. We still laugh about those pictures. It's like there's a gravitational downward pull on her facial muscles. Contrast that to the fact that she's my giggliest child and you have a real puzzle on your hands.

And then there's my middle child. The soft and sensitive soul. The dreamer. The one so quiet that you have to go looking for her to make sure you still have her. She does not come by scowling naturally. She is peaceful, happy, gentle, a thinker. Photography sessions with her require more spontaneity, a quick click, distraction, a conversation, questions that evoke a certain response and then I can see her.

It is me who must adapt to the situation, rather than forcing my model into a certain box, or a look that I think I want. If I do this, I fail. If I let them be who they are, they shine every time. So I guess you could say I've brought to light a valuable metaphor for parenting. All because I went and bought a camera.

Oh, and the hat, you ask? Organic cotton crocheted earflap hat. Light pink with olive trim. I'll try to put it in the shop soon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And some more

So I'm figuring out what this lens does best, and what doesn't work so well. It's definitely not the lens for jewelry and even the booties are a bit small, but I'm liking what it does for my hats. That little pixie hat up there is a new one. Both are made with organic yarn, I just love the stuff.

Camera play

A few months back when I was in the midst of deciding whether or not to make a major camera change, I spoke about a circa 1970's Nikon camera my husband had. There was a time in high school where he worked for a friend's dad who sold cameras, used ones I think, and he came away with a nice one when it was all said and done.

It had one lens, a 50mm 1:2 (I'm told it's a good portrait lens) which took the most beautiful pictures, at least the 35mm film variety that I'd seen. In making the decision between buying a new Canon or Nikon, I went with the latter because the woman in the store told me I could use the old lens, even a 30 year old one on my new camera. She was right.

Finally today I started playing with it. I have to do everything manually, adjust the f-stop, focus, etc., but man is there a huge difference in what it can and will do than my other lens that came with the camera. I think I'll leave it on all day today and play.

New basket below, to show up in the shop soon. It's super thick and sturdy hemp and I think I need about 5 for myself. Can you see a difference in the picture? I especially like the toenail polish reflection in the floor in the top pic. Didn't see it at first, did you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Color on a rainy morning

I like it when a gift keeps on giving, year after year, season after season. Such is the case with this rosebush that Kevin and the kids gave me for Mother's Day several years ago.

It blooms for most of the summer if I'm good about keeping it watered when things get really dry. I especially like the way they look in my kitchen window on a misty May morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So began the summer season this past weekend, with the hot, muggy weather, cookouts, the pool and family gatherings. Each year is so different from the last and I often stop to take note of the changes in our children. Now when I say, "please go shuck the corn", they can, and they do it well. I feel like I have not only a band of mess-makers, but also a band of helpers and doers and it's no longer the one woman show it once was.

Of course, they add their special touches to the process.

After eating way too much, there was a mandatory game of wiffle ball. John raced out to the field immediately following dinner with his Radio Flyer loaded down with baseballs, gloves and even a heavy, metal pitching machine (don't really know how he got it in there) so he could throw in a little big boy baseball/hitting practice too.

The game is far from regulation and is more about hitting, running, falling, giggling, rolling around in the grass, stealing bases and trying not to get tagged by Daddy. With the increasing age of the children, so increases the seriousness of the batting.

First up, we have, Miss "enough strikes to exhaust the pitcher".

Followed by our natural who hits best when she tries the least.

Then they get down to business.

It could only have been more American if there were apple pie involved, but there's always next weekend. Meanwhile, they're succeeding in making my heart melt a little more each day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's new

First of all, this camera is so much better at photographing my jewelry I can hardly stand it. I'm even having serious thoughts about opening another Etsy shop dedicated solely to jewelry. Anyway, I received these awesome silver pendants in the mail the other day and could hardly wait to make them into something. Are they so cool or what?

I was worried they'd be fragile, but I've been testing them out and trying to smash them with my hands and I can't! Yes, that's my primitive version of product testing and I'm sticking with it. Meanwhile, I'm off to make more and come up with a clever shop name, this might take a while!

Mission accomplished

One timeless kid tradition,

officially passed down.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Getting ready for market

I've had these sweaters completed for a while now and realized I hadn't taken pictures of them or listed them in my Etsy shop yet after a photoshoot yesterday with a friend. This time she had the camera and I was her model (yikes!), and it reminded me that I really purchased my new camera to take better product photos for my shop, not just to play around with on this blog.

So I got busy this morning and took some simple photos that I hope to list in the shop soon. But for now these little goodies are headed to the market tomorrow,

for a hot and hopefully busy day!

top picture: organic cotton hand knit sweater, size 6-12 months

second picture: I love my little tags!

third picture: hand knit baby sweater, size 0-6 months

fourth picture: simple crocheted necklace with vintage faceted glass button pendant

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the evening

I was thinking last night about how I used to babysit for a family down the street when I was in high school, and how I used to blast the stereo into a set of headphones once the kids had gone to bed. This couple had the most extensive CD collection I've ever seen to this day, and each time I was there the first one I headed for was a particular Led Zeppelin CD, the first song on which was entitled, "In the Evening". Those are the first three words of the song, sung in a synthesized a capella sort of way and then they totally rock out. It made me feel free and I loved it.

These last few evenings have been freeing as well, as we slowly shed our winter selves, where the grassy fields beg for bare feet and simple play. Allie spent the better part of her afternoon and evening picking the teeny wild strawberries that have popped out all over, and with her continued love of "baking", she made a cake with what else, but a strawberry on top.

I'm happy to kick off the one pair of shoes I live in from now until October, and feel the cool grass on my feet,

and make repeated visits to the honeysuckle, just like I made a point to do when I was a child. Only then I would stand for extended periods, picking each flower and pulling out the stamen to suck the sweet juice from the flower. Do kids do that anymore? Tonight I think I'll teach mine how.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hints of summer

My mother-in-law says this is the smell of her childhood. If that's true, I think it must have been heaven. There are hundreds of these blooms on the giant bush in our front yard, if you can call it a bush, it's at least one story tall. I make up excuses just to pass by it so I can catch a sweet whiff.

These are the days when the shoes come off, fleece cover-ups are too hot and the kids are flying out of them both,

and running wild.

Last night they decided to bury each other in grass clippings in the mowed field and gave a collective, "aaawwwwww!" when I told them it was time to come in for showers. It must have kept them occupied for 45 minutes or so.

When people wonder why we live where we do, or can't fathom the idea of not living in a suburban neighborhood, these are just a few of the things that come to my mind that I don't want to live without. I'm carried back in time here to a simpler way, to fun of our own making, to a less confusing place, where the magic of childhood is alive and well. I couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Probably the best part of Allie's completion of preschool is the fact that we no longer have to drive 20 minutes each way into town and back. It was a huge time-eater and even Allie had begun to complain about the drive these past few months. Now that it's over, we have more freedom with our mornings, which means I can practice taking pictures.

So enjoy a few from this morning. Here's the proof that I planted some gladioli the right way:

and proof that the butterfly bush is alive and well even though Kevin tries to convice me every August that "it's toast".

The vegetable plants survived overnight despite the frost warnings (what?). Someone has covered them with plastic the past two nights! See, I really am trying to be a more responsible gardener this year. Now if I can just weed more consistantly we'll be getting somewhere.

I was under constant surveillance by Sunny, who just wants to go this morning. I'm not sure where, but hunting would probably suit her fine. Unfortunately for her she landed in a hunter-free house.

As good things must end, so does this little bit of play time. Work beckons, errands are pending and a certain 5 year old needs some attention. Until tomorrow...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flying the coop

The chickens are out and about. They're getting acclimated to their yard, they follow each other in and out like cattle, they're acting like, well, chickens I suppose. The first night I had to capture each one and put them inside before they killed themselves trying to bolt through the wire fencing to escape. The second night all went in when I opened the gate except one, who I had to capture before she killed herself trying to bash through the wire fencing. We're making clear progress.

This morning when I opened their door to the yard they followed each other out like it was old hat, proving my neighbor at the market right. He told me that they follow a routine well and once you show them a new one, they have it down in 2 or 3 days. I'm glad because I don't really like the looks of their necks straining to squeeze through the fence, nor do I want to chase them around every night. Come winter that might get old.

These chickens are a good daily reminder of what life is like at it's most basic level. That food and water, shelter and protection from danger are all they really need to survive and thrive. That wants don't even enter the picture and that they already come with all the internal programming they need to have a good life. The difference between us and them is that basic instinct is all they listen to. Today I'm going to try to be more like my chickens. Don't laugh.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Catching up

We were off our usual routine this Sunday morning as Lauren and I headed to the doctor around 8:30. Her eye was swollen shut with poison ivy and it was popping up all over her head and neck. Kevin could barely move his head from repeated injury and working too hard, and Allie has a new cold. Needless to say, church did not want our plague and so we opted out. Just as well, I think we all needed a day to lay low and catch up on life and even slow our bodies down that have been moving so fast all week.

The market continues to be a great thing for my business, for creating new friendships and for learning a ton about growing plants. I'm right next to an herb gardner this year and I just sit and listen to her wealth of knowledge all morning long, soaking up as much as I possibly can. I'm determined to become a better caretaker of our plants/gardens. I may even be making herbal teas by the end of the summer if she rubs off on me enough!

I took some pictures this morning for a customer in Sweden and so I thought I'd stick them in here. Too often I forget to include enough pictures of the fiber arts!

Crocheted basket: (I'm loving the orange)

(and my little tags on the top!)

And finally, a chicken coop update. While I was at the market yesterday, Kevin and the kids finished the outside yard for the chickens--here it isn't quite finished. They're getting acclimated to being outside and learning how to go in and out. Last night I went in the yard to put them all back in the coop for the night and they all decided to try to kamikaze themselves through the wire fencing! They have a little learning to do yet. I'd also like to point out the gorgeous, healthy, huge poison ivy vines growing up the trees in the background. The doctor said this morning I needed to get rid of our poison ivy. Ha! Lady, you have no idea what you're dealing with--this picture doesn't even come close to showing it all.

Stay tuned, there's more to come, just too much to fit in one post: Chickens out in their yard, finished plans for the addition (Kevin's copying them at Kinko's as we speak) and more new creations as I churn them out. Life really is good.