Thursday, April 23, 2009


Preparations are underway. The store-bought portion of "Marian's favorite snacks": potato chips and ketchup. Marshmallows. Sugar cereal. Crackers (not, but I thought it was needed to go with the beloved cheese). Jelly bellys. And, the latest obsession: dark chocolate. Fancy dark chocolate--she prefers 70% cacao. It's pretty awesome.
We decided on two white cell pinatas, for different ages, because our treat pile was bigger than our available balloon size and the shopping just had to end. Marian loves papier mache; Audrey flatly refuses to participate in anything so "yucky".

And the shirts! Ah!
81 still shining shirts arrived yesterday and today Reuben and I sorted them. By color instead of style and size this time. For obvious reasons. See the super-awesome rainbow here. And this series' super-special secret here. You're going to be so sad if you weren't in on this ;).

I couldn't decide which gratuitous baby shot to use, so included both, of course!
Which is your favorite?
(the last one does have the dangling baby drool going for it...ay! you should see his poor bulging baby gums up top!)

pay it forward

Remember this? Oh so long ago?

Finally finished! I decided on lavender sachets, since it's putting-away-sweaters season and because I was needing handword-while-nursing projects, the only ones I could manage with the baby at the time. Hand-embroidered on white linen while nursing the sweetest of babies and stuffed with lavender. Maybe you'll get the smell of both!

Just one glitch: I forgot to ask for addresses. I'll leave a comment on your respective blogs, lucky winners, but I'd be much obliged if you'd drop me a line: three_goats (at) Awesome blossom.

(Cynthia: yours is already packaged with the shirts. And Spencer's baby mug. Finally!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

all invited!

Please join us as we celebrate Marian's new birthday: the first anniversary of her blessedly successful bone marrow transplant.

Friday, April 24th
The Beistle Pavilion in Southampton Township Park
(in Shippensburg on Airport Road)
4:30-7:00 pm

Park fun, cotton candy, crafts (of course!), and Marian's favorite snacks. Drop in when you can, for as long as you'd like, but you don't want to miss the white cell pinata at 5:30, followed by cake.

See you Friday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Audrey painted this--part of a quick in-the-hall series--at school on a Flex Friday and I think it's really evocative. Spring's showers and sun and growth. I want her to do another on better paper, but am hesitant--creating on demand usually ends badly. I love watercolors.


CPLT=complete. The kiln got too hot (it's been so long; I'm inexpert!), so a few bowls were glazed to the shelf and sacrificed to the chisel (which still makes me choke a little when I think of it--they were such a lovely green...). But I'm pleased overall, and excited to list a month.... I haven't even looked through them properly; I had to pack them quick (and hot), and the boxes have been neglected on my porch for 3 days.


I squeezed in an estate auction last week and it was way too fun. I could only stay a couple of hours (Marian had earned--for eating vegetables--a date with her dad to Monsters Vs. Aliens, so we had to leave), but too-quickly amassed a pile of goodies. You just motion as the price rises and then no one else bids and suddenly it's yours. Only once was my "oops" really sincere, and I was only out $4, so the horror factor was low (little bowls, not pictured).I've only been to a couple of auctions, and am so fascinated by the whole process: who attends, what this un-named individual has amassed during his/her/their lifetime, what items soar up in a bid war, what goes for $1. The people watching is really great, as is the watching of Valerie; I find my own mental machinations endlessly fascinating, and easily slip into a third-person self characterization. I put in an absentee bid (losing) for a great child's roll top desk, and have been spinning over its loss all week: I should have driven back and won it! Oh, my, what would I have ended up spending? Audrey would have loved it! An absentee bid is such a good idea: this way I cannot go over my limit ($25 over what Nathan suggested). Oh, it matched my desk... I should always do absentee bids on the big ticket items. Where would we store it before the move anyway? I want it. Give it up, little brain. Et cetera.

The linens above--most actually linen--I also bid on absentee, and won (exciting Monday phone message). They were heavily starched, and more yellowed than I realized until I soaked them and saw the water. The green striped are my favorite. The linens in the top picture are really delicate, and each a napkins-plus-small-tablecloth set. Tea parties only, I suppose. I cannot imagine washing greasy tomato sauce out of them...
This particular auction house--the closest to our home--holds regular Friday night auctions, and I have a practical reason for attending: garden tools. Dangerous, I think to myself...of myself.Box of linen linens: $5
Glass terrarium: $1
Box of child's 45 records: $4

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I've not been a music girl. But sometimes I get really passionate. Like for the Highwaymen.

I find, though, that my interest is rekindling. Two recent favorites:

Regina Spektor. N & I went to see her a year or so ago, which is very rare for me. Our friend Greg happily forced us into it, and I love her. Quirky, gentle, humorous, genuine, and such a voice! You can play much of her music straight from her website, here:

Just discovered Lisa Hannigan. So lovely. Plus, she's crafty. Her album, Sea Sew, features embroidered song lyrics. AND, this music video: A room of papercuts! I love everything about this video: her simple style, the suitcase (I've been buying them up lately--$1 for any at our local thrift store!), the blue walls, the smiles, and all the snipping...

4 am

The time I finished glazing last night. I just cannot seem to do it any other way. The great thing about working at a university is that I was not all alone in the building...

Such love to my long suffering husband who was up with the baby when I came home. Thawing a second bottle of breastmilk. Working on taxes.

But also kudos to Reuben, who wasn't a screamer. "He was just kicking around, doing his penguin flippers thing for awhile, until I decided, 'I guess I need to feed that kid.'"

Photos: that kid, admiring the spring garland hanging from our chandelier yesterday. And the other funny little kid, who had to change her whole outfit this morning to be a cowgirl.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

more printing

I am now a fabric printing dabbler.
Very small dabbles: you saw the dishtowels :)

But, but...I've been so inspired by Galbraith & Paul since I ran across their site last week.
Hand-printed textiles that are so lovely and I keep thinking...since I cannot find that perfect bedding...Do you think I could pull it off? Dare I try on huge fabric without big stretchers? What would you (who have nearly as much experience as I--2 afternoons!) suggest I keep in mind when trying? What should I do to keep my fabric nice and flat? How to keep it gorgeous, not grand-scale Stampin' Up? Somehow it seems more possible because this beautiful little design company is in Philadelphia and it's sort of nearby. Which is crazy, but might just give me the courage to be like them. Only very little. And probably just one-off.

I started on a linen/cotton duvet cover with piecing and hand embroidered vines (1/2 done) on the sashing 5 years ago, and have had all the pieces out this week, trying to recapture my vision. The idea was for it to be reversible, and I think the cream side was going to have grosgrain ribbon border, which is no longer very fresh (though I think I still have the ribbon). Perhaps it will be printed instead... I have an olive branch and more lino blocks...(is there possibility or doomed hours in those ellipses? I know I should use spare moments in sorting and packing at this point, but if that seems really horribly, suicidally dull some magically open afternoon, could I do this?? Nathan thinks I'm "putting the cart before the horse" in my acquisition-for-the-house plans and he's right, and I obediently exerted such control at the auction yesterday...but. . . see? more ellipses of possibility!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hedgehog Armageddon

I guess I need to rethink my hedgehog obsession.

I learned they are dangerous little beasts.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within - Hedgehogs
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Good thing mine are all inanimate.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

snip, snip part II

Today, thoughtful after my shower, I gave Audrey (10) the scissors. For that weird little part in back that I know I can't reach.

Marian (watching from the toilet, because that's how mornings are), gave an exaggerated eye roll and head shake, a Marian classic. "You should not had done that," was her sage advice.


Yesterday was our home inspection and it was awfully fun to hang out in our new house for a couple of hours, even if it was with the nice man who was looking hard for (and explaining) all of its problems. None too serious, luckily, so we're going ahead! It's funny, house-buying. We saw our little cottage twice, decided, then have been stuck in this soon-ours-but-not-now limbo, banned from the house for politeness-sake, lustily examining any photos we can find online (Audrey & I: Marian & Nathan don't like to play this game as much as we do). The house has been recently totally remodeled, and tastefully so, and thus move-in ready, but I'm trying to decide if we should paint a bit before furnishing. Yesterday I discovered that the bedroom we will be using is currently a very pale blue, not my choice, so it became the prime painting candidate. Then I saw this today on decor8...Reconsidering. Now we just wait 3 more weeks before seeing it all again. Though the very nice lady-who-lives-there has been warned that I'm stopping by to deadhead the roses this week. Because one of us is more interested in their summer blooming than the other :).

My decorating tastes used to be very earthy. Very neutrals with green. But lately I'm starved for COLORcolorCOLOR. Which may incite me to actually use all that creative juice for decorating my home instead of just making more stacks of tiny little things. Except, bummer, must make this conversion on a we-just-blew-the-wad-on-a-house budget.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

dishtowel love

Hello, Spring Break crafting! We've had nasty bronchitis colds here and it has seriously hurt our crafting mojo, but today, the first day of our Spring Break, we are back!

The standard Christmas gift this year from the Goates girls was block printed kitchen linens, either towels or "everyday" napkins. I posted some teaser photos of the girls working with their printing and the blocks we were working on, but I don't think the finished products ever showed up. Because we were being oh-so-gifty-secret. I looked, and don't think the little wrapped packets got photos. But these process shots from December do show the girls' sweet blocks:I love this sort of craft with my girls: taking something they drew and expanding their art into something useful/finished. Especially if it means I get to try a new technique. For this project, which I think turned out so great, each drew me a little something, within the size parameters I requested (I split a page into boxes and they filled them in). I transferred the art (just with pencil rubbing) to a soft rubber block (I used this material from Dick Blick) and carved it. I bought the Speedball beginner set, and it's fine for my dabbler's needs. We worked together (with Versatex printing inks (I bought set #2), a brayer, and a sheet of glass) to print dozens of images.

One of our holiday recipients was Holly, who deserves millions of gifts for giving Audrey a warm little spot with their family whenever our medical or baby drama makes A's parents unavailable. Yesterday Holly asked me after school, "Where can I get more of those towels? I love them and..." Come and play! (oh: also, 6 bright young artists filled our kitchen table with sketches. The big girls carved eraser stamps to add detail, but for most designs we chose to use freezer paper stencils so everyone's original work could be featured on their own towel. Holly tore everyone a big sheet of freezer paper and the kids drew a dozen designs each, then went outside to play while the mums cut & ironed the stencils. We chose a couple of the simpler shapes (and still took hours to exacto them out) and each child painted their own towel. We called them in one or two at a time to do the painting, which was a very good idea.I'm afraid the boys particularly love their creations very much and have promised NOT to share with their mom. Good thing I talked her into making her own (with a sweet little fish she carved).*I took more detailed photos of the stencil process while helping Marian with her party towel today, and we'll fill in freezer paper stencil instructions for you on her blog, I'm a Craft Artist. Right here. Hopefully tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

coulda woulda shoulda

I just didn't get into the studio enough for an Easter shop-stocking. I still think I'll have pots for the girls for Easter, but not in time to mail to others (and for them to find & buy them!).

Probably for the best, because like I have time to ship!

But I've been working.At least I'm to the glazing step now. Finally.


I feel like I've been temperate in the garland category. Because there are so many that I see in happy crafty blogland that I have found so appealing. But I realized today that I had 3 garland set ups in my house and that was just two too many. Much as I love it, I reflected that April was too late for my awesome Valentine's Day garland, so I just left my dishes in the lurch (guess how often this happens?) and took it down, telling Audrey, who was spread out with her homework in the living room, that it and the sparkle snow (documented here), up in the window this year, just were past. She agreed, "Yeah, because snow is not what we're going for anymore." Indeed. I headed upstairs to the attic ("I'm finding the cards we wind them on") and she kindly took down the snowflakes.

Hm...It turns out that my usual method of winding garlands directly onto their cards is a very good thing.

I rescued a few multi-spangle strands while we watched Bolt (it was pretty awesome), but pretty much just peeled the rest apart and A put the pieces in a ziploc. I'll make it again next year.

The garland I left up is a new one I sewed for my studio window, and is my first non-seasonal one. I'm trying to plot which window should win its grace in the new house...

I cut a pile of leaf shapes from 4 shades of green wool felt, natural linen, and a loose-weave linen. The last is a stiff backing that lined some wool felt I found by the yard at our local fabric odds and ends store. It was intended for facing suit collars, but I peeled the two layers apart and like both of them for different purposes. The wool felt is fine and soft and, though I only found it in 3 colors, it was $5/yd (so I should have bought more...though, yes, there is plenty in my stash!). For most of the "vines" I pulled the felt and linen leaves at random from a bag while I sewed them all in a chain with green thread. I felt like the heavier linen leaves needed a vine with a bit more body, so I laid a medium-weight green crochet thread along the leaves and zig-zagged over it. The technique was experimental, but worked very neatly.

The window is one of the most viewable in our house; it faces the much-used side alley and isn't covered by a porch overhang like most on the ground floor. Previously, the windowsill was covered by a jumbly stack of empty jars (saved for pysanky dyes, incidentally, so now being used!), and just not so cute. I made the cranes (lovely papers that you cannot see) with Origami Club at the girls' school our first year here. They've been sitting in the window, but I strung them up to fly and put the raindrop crystal in a more prominent place. I bought the stained glass bird perching on the garland branch at the Corn Festival last year and Marian made the tissue paper raindrop (it's laminated & staying with me!) at school. This photo shows all the lovely sillhouettes; the blue and green colors are nice, too, in different light. I love them.

Twisting in the wind
I took the garlands outside, trying to get a better photo, but they blew in the wind. The photos were blurry, but I loved how the string lengths between set up the individual leaves to twirl. I'd love to hang these from a porch, but I'm afraid they would tangle with each other. Ideas to prevent this?

still more pysanky

Crafting time has been eaten up by pysanky this week. I've been making special eggs for the ladies on my visiting route for church, plus a couple of others I thought might like special wishes. Tonight/tomorrow morning is _time_ to do the varnishing & blowing & I'll show all my results then. I've had a few more friends over (okay, 12 in total--Marian insisted we count them up this afternoon), the girls each did a couple, andI worked in those precious night time hours that are working out better with baby this week. Lovely.
Last night, I had just a couple more tracks left on my audiobook (a crafting essential for me), so thought I'd finish it up and use the extra 8 minutes to organize that drawer of little ones' coloring supplies that wouldn't close. These are the loose colored pencils. Not the many boxes in their individual organizers at the upstairs table, or the twist-ups, or the boxes in their church bags or those that are part of bigger kits or the miniatures. Just the loose ones. I think we might not need any art supplies in Easter baskets this year...