thanksgiving outtakes

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What a challenge it can be to gather. For a photo, that is. Two wiggly gigglies, dapper in their hot-off-the-needles Milo vests (plus a Huck Finn Cap that Lachlan was proud to wear). No shoes for one boy, no smiles from the other. 

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One had his eyes on the pie from the get-go. Mom says I was the same way. I suppose some things never change. Cream was whipped in a chilled bowl and plopped atop the apple cranberry pie. Books were read, trains were pushed, lego towers built. 

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In most ways, it was a typical meal at Mima and Papa's house. A little more fancy, perhaps. But what makes it special is the attitude we bring to it and how we remember it. And I was ever so thankful to be right there, among the family I love, on a stunning autumn evening. 


giving thanks

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Inspired by the fat brush strokes in Giving Thanks, Finn sat down at his desk and started to work with a selection of brushes and paints. We chit chatted about colors, lines, and curves, then I walked away. An hour later, he presented his interpretation. Then he flashed that "I'm three so I never smile in a normal way when asked" smile. 

I'm awash with gratitude for all the little things this year. If I had known that this is the way it was going to turn out two years ago at this time, I would have saved myself those truck loads of worry. I'm still pretty amazed that I get to spend my days with two healthy and vibrant little boys.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends! I'll be back here in a week.


projects in progress

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:: Second Milo on the needles :: Snow Pixie hats on the cutting table ::

:: Other project-themed books ::

These handful of days have been off-kilter. Following an unprecedented string of good days, in which everything seemed to flow, the boys (and myself, no doubt) trudged through the last two days with low energy, sapped patience, and a general grumpy malaise. 

This time, though, I have a peace about it. I've come to expect these days, just as I expect the perfect ones. It even feels, dare I say ... comforting. I feel grateful to pass through very human situations together as a family; grateful to learn about each other and let each other experience a full spectrum of feelings. 

It also feels good to hop into a project in the creative space that opens up after a patch of ho-humness. There's plenty to do in the studio between now and Christmas, and the gift-making is kicking into gear. I'm also really liking my circular saw, and have my eyes on some of the projects in this book once the chicken coop is done.

And - I can't recommend highly enough Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert. It speaks to me right where I am as parent just starting off on the homeshooling journey, which can be totally daunting if you see all the ideas that can be done out there on the internet and all of the facts that can be passed on to a child. Here's an exceprt:

"Try to avoid pulling attention away from your child's project (his deepest interest) with random, one-off activities. Save casual field trips and similar activities for times between projects. The less you distract your child with random activities and interruptions, the more engaged and focused he'll be. You're giving him the opportunity to stay longer with what he cares about most; you're giving him the chance to build something really meaningful." 

Love.

Back to my projects. Have a wonderful weekend!


a chat with fat quarter shop & hurricane relief

Thanks to Chelsey at the Fat Quarter Shop for stopping by to chat about my booth! The other first place booth winners are interviewed, too - and the Sew Liberated segment starts at 3:10.

And ...

I wanted to share with you that Mariah of Playful Learning is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of any of her (wonderful) e-courses to hurricane relief between now and November 20. Learn more here. How generous is that?!

Another opportunity to provide for those in the storm's path - donate quilts or blankets to keep folks warm - details on the Fat Quarter Shop's blog.


they hammer in the morning...

... in the evening ... all over our land. Oh, it's darn cute around here, friends, let me tell you! Both Finn and Lachlan are ever-so-enthusiastic with our chicken coop building project. 

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building the chicken coop

building the chicken coop

building the chicken coop

building the chicken coop

building the chicken coop

Our pint-sized tools, work gloves, safety glasses and tool belt are from For Small Hands. Everything is the right size for Finn, (who hit the three-and-a-half marker on Saturday) and Lachlan enjoys using the safety glasses and hammer, too.

The bones of the coop are set - now for the roof (and everything else.) So far, so good - we're using the Garden Coop plans, and they're easy to follow for us woodworking novices. 

I'm not sure if you read the comments on Friday's post announcing the arrival of the chicks, but I have to share a conversation my mom had with Finn while they were driving home:

Mima: How are the new chicks, Finn?

Finn: Good! We can hold them if we sit on the floor and put our hands like this (two little hands cupped together).

(Pregnant pause.)

But we cannot throw them...(another pause)...Laquinn (Lachlan) doesn't know this.

Goodness! Must teach Lachlan not to throw the chicks, I suppose! The chicks are still alive and thriving, despite Finn's lack of high esteem for his brother's behavior. :)


tweet!

tweet!

tweet!

tweet!

Six baby girls joined our family yesterday! Four Ameraucanas and two Barred Plymouth Rocks - names for which are being thought up by me and the surreptitiously planted in the mind of Finn. If it were up to him, I do believe our chicks would have names like "tree" or "car" or whatever else he sees at any given moment. If it were up to Lachlan, we'd call them all "chicken coop," his new favorite phrase.

It feels like I've mentally had chickens for a long time - since we lived in Mexico and had neighbors' chickens free-ranging in our yard. I've owned chicken books for years. I always knew we'd eventually get a backyard flock, but it wasn't until now that everything fell into its proper place. The boys don't self-destruct if I do something else for a little while. They get along and entertain each other. We have enough money to buy wood and a circular saw to build a coop, and we get enough sleep so that using the circular saw is no longer just plain foolishness! We're going to be "cooped up" for the next few weekends in order to focus on building a home for our little ladies. Here's to mastering power tools!


autumn snapshots

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Autumn started out with baby nakedness, though we seem to be in full-clad balaclava season now. (I love these hoods, and so do the boys - they keep their necks so cozy! I think some mama made knitted versions are called for.) In between quilt market preparations, we had a month full of apples, leaves crunching under foot, and seasonal art projects.

We made a weekend camping trip to the mountains to visit Sky Top Orchard and came back with baskets overflowing with ripe, red apples. We poured over The Artful Year: Autumn Crafts and Recipes, and loved our pumpkin waffles, pumpkin play dough, and other leaf-related art projects. We had friends over for a campfire and Lachlan tasted his first s'more (which he didn't finish - apparently he prefers spicy thai peanut and vegetable soup, the leftovers of which he gobbled up for breakfast the other day!)

My knitting needles are clicking away. All the winter clothes have been dug out from their summer hiding spots. Rays of golden light angle low and fall onto my typing fingers, through the bright windows in my studio, quiet for one more day before six little chicks make it their temporary home. 

Things are feeling just right.


back in the saddle

First things first - I can't start writing before I send out a heartfelt thank-you to my dear friend Charlotte, who kept my blog filled with beautiful pictures and thoughtful words while I was getting ready for Quilt Market. The Beatles were right - you can get by with a little (or a lot - in my case!) help from your friends.

And thank you to you, dear readers, for understanding my need to be absent from this space in order to spend any "extra" time I had focused on my boys. It's all a juggling act, and, for me at least, I just have to cross things off of my list and not look back. These boys are only little once.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

But the sewing gig? Not too bad. My Quilt Market right-of-passage complete, I can now reflect on the logistical nightmare of it with a touch of comedic hindsight. Oh my, I do hate logistics and  event planning. This I now know about myself. The late shipment of my booth? The "missing" 1x4 studs on one section of my booth wall? Golly, man. Once again, though, my "at-least-we're-not-in-the-hospital" mantra got me through just fine. Lack of logistical finesse in type B personalities is always made up for by a "whatever, it will all work out" attitude to snags in the road.

Enough of the getting there and back part, though. You probably want to know about what happened once the Sew Liberated booth was set up, right? Here it is!

Quilt Market Fall 2012

This was the fun part - the decorating! You can also see four of my five new patterns on display - the blue dress, the colorful quilt, the white apron, and the yellow top. I assure you that they do have more creative names than color descriptions! They're due out by January 1st. I'll certainly let you know more once we're closer to the release date. And check out my logo poster, c/o my neighbors at Spoonflower - did you know they now do custom printed wallpaper? This stuff is great, let me tell you. It worked superbly for my "kraft paper" logo, although I'll likely choose another design for a wall in my house ...

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Yep! It's true! Sew Liberated is taking sewing patterns into the next generation with free video tutorials for our newest garment patterns. You'll get to watch my amazing intern, Danica, sew up everthing from the first to the last step!

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Just after the booth prize committe showed up an awarded us with a 1st prize in the single booth category, I posed with the giganticus ribbon and the nifty plaque (that would find a home next to my trophy for the free throw tournament I won in 6th grade, if I still had it ...) But wow, I totally wasn't expecting this! There were so many other booths there that were utterly beautiful and I'm sure they deserve this prize more than I do.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

I can't go on, though, without mentioning Kim. Kim Ventura has been working at Sew Liberated for several years now, and I can most certainly say that, without her help, Quilt Market wouldn't have been possible. (And a lot of other things wouldn't have been possible either - see that quilt there? She's the genius behind the quilt.) Kim stepped up and, though we'd worked together for years, we'd never met in person. (She's in Ohio and has helped out with sample sewing and techical writing since she tested the Schoolhouse Tunic back in the day!) She got on a plane and flew to Houston, helped set up the booth, introduce Sew Liberated to fabric shop owners who we hadn't met before, and just kept me in such good spirits throughout the five days we were in Houston. Such a kind, thoughtful, creative person! (I'm bummed this picture didn't turn out great, but it makes me happy just looking at it - thank you, Kim!)

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Here I am with Christine Haynes, the easy going and fun sewing teacher, fellow Craftsy instructor and pattern designer! Christine works at Sew L.A. - a great sewing studio in Los Angeles.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

I met lots of very lovely people at Market, including mother-and-daughter team April and Anita, who own Sew To Speak in Columbus, OH. We had dinner with Rae, hobnobbed with fabric companies, and got to know many other amazing designers. I only with I had had more time to take more pictures of other booths! It's a real visual explosion, this Quilt Market thing. You leave with way more things on your "to-make" list than you had when you arrived.

I'm pleased to say that everything is now unpacked, my studio has been spiffed up for some actual sewing, and things are back to normal once again.

Well, if you count bringing home six baby chicks on Thursday as normal, that is!