Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas

Wishing you a Happy Christmas where ever you may be.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Doud's Orchard

The Roann Covered bridge. It was a bit shaky. The field trip, not the bridge. Kole came home from school on Tuesday with a 102 degree temp. We were planning on traveling to Chicago the next morning for Fall break. Nope! Poor guy, but within 24 hours, the fever was gone an the son was ravenous. Ok, we'll go on a short trip to the orchard and pick pumpkins too.

I'd been to Doud's orchard the previous week with my friend Calla. She's an amazing cook and is very self sustaining when it comes to seasonal food, so we bought apples. I bought 1 small bag of beautiful Honey Crisp apples. They're similar to the Asian Pears. Juicy, crisp, sweet and a little grainy like pears are. Yum! Calla bought bags for sauce, pies, deserts and all sorts of things. I had the bug.

Just because it's so beautiful. Here is one of the trees across the lane from our apartment.

This is our haul. U-Pick pumpkins were 3 for $10. Good deal, plus I had to have my white pumpkin. They're like aliens, very cool and the insides are pale green. With every $12 you spend you get 1/2 a Peck of apples free. Ok, I can't pass up free food and still having most of the delicious apples at home from 4 days ago, I think I may be crazy.

This is inside. They have dozens of varieties that they grow and sort on the premises. Plus little knives around that you can taste the apples before buying. I also bought beautiful apple blossom honey that is produced there as well.

Here are some of the aliens. I bought the one in the center. It's very pretty. I wonder how it will taste when I roast it tomorrow?? We did end up going to Chicago later that day.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Happy Halloween

We all had a great time, although we weren't in Ireland this year. We usually congregate at the Barry's for an evening of fabulous food, rummaging through their neighborhood for candy and very excited children. We missed them, but had a great time with the Goldsmith's.

2 Gangsters, 1 Grim Reaper, 1 lady bug, 1 kangaroo, 1 gypsy, 1 mad scientist and me as Raggedy Anne. I didn't have the equipment or time to make my own costume, so I went to my mom's and borrowed hers. Stripy socks, bloomer and the whole deal. I love to dress up and the kids love when I make their costumes, so I did theirs.

We had great weather. A little cold, but it is October! Trick or Treat time is from 5:30-7:30. The police and Fire Dept were out with treats and patrolling the streets. I think there is plenty of candy to be had in 2 hours and you don't get kids at the door late into the night.

I did find it interesting that the police dept was couxing children over to their cars with bags of candy. So what was all the about "Not Talking to Strangers??" I love a small town!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It my favorite time of year. The air is cool and the leave are turning. The smell of burning leaves and Halloween is in the air. The first autumn Craft show is starting this weekend.

Some friends from church have an annual hayride. We were invited this year since we're in town. Roy was out of town, so the kids and I took the occasion to go and hang out in the country.

Mostly because I wasn't sure where I was going, we arrived early. Yes, I did know there would be skeet shooting, no, I wasn't planning on participating. But.... When in Rome.... Let the boy try. His father would be proud. Neil was a very good teacher with the older boys. Koleman loved it and decided that hunting was in his future. After asking him what he was planning on doing with the kill, he gave me a blank look. I guess he didn't realize that there might be actual killing involved in hunting. Maybe the shooting range is more to his liking.

I also had a go after several declines. I have nothing against guns in the proper environment, but have never actually held or shot one. 2 shots were enough for me. LOUD!!! Even with the head phones on. Enough!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 10th

My Older Sister Laurie got married this weekend. She married a wonderful man and their very happy. So are we. They've known one another for many years and have spent the last year of so just spending time together and falling in love. They're amazing parents to their 5 grown children and are wonderful examples to them. All the best.

This is my family. My younger sister Jenny is on the left, then mom (3 weeks after knee replacement surgery, Lauren (Laurie's youngest) Jordan kneeling (Laurie's oldest), Laurie, Me and her dearest friend Dena from California.

It was very cold (32 degrees), but sunny. It had rained for the previous few days, so an outdoor wedding on the lake was not certain. It was lovely and Laurie wasn't cold. Adrenalin!

Roy (DH) performed the ceremony for them. It was sweet of them to ask. Roy and Jim have been friends for some time, so he was thrilled.

The next day she ran the Chicago marathon. 26.2 miles! Her first one! She said that she was registered and paid for before the engagement came. You can't train for that and not do it. They're off to Hawaii next week. We all went up to watch and cheer. No, I was not inspired to try it myself. I know my limitations and it's 26.1 to many miles for me. Yes, she did make a veil for her running hat. Easy way to keep track of her amongst 40,000 runners. It was fun.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rivers and Tides

Thought this was really cool. There is a Sculpture in Context Exhibit going on at the Botanical Gardens in September. It's brilliant.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

In Honor of Spring

Felt Snails are the safest type. He was fun. I did him at the zoo demo a couple of weeks ago.
Another finger puppet to keep the mice company.

A close-up of the shell. I've also made a ring using the same process. He doesn't like to share!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Well, I'm off to Loch Lomond Scotland for the International Feltmakers Association annual AGM. 4 days of workshops, socializing and seeing the wonder of felt. I'm scheduled for 3 workshops: Art Therapy, Printing on Felt and Shibori (which is meticulous tying, then over dying)
Heading off with 12 ladies from Feltmakers Ireland tomorrow at some wee hour of the morning. Should be great!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annette Quentin-Stoll

Finally a post.

Feltmakers Ireland has just hosted a marvelous German felt maker. We invited her to come and give 2 two-day work shops. She has recently published an amazing book called The Felted Play. It's a composition of early work from Textile Design school and recent work. Soft toys, play mats for babies, puppets and inverted pleating provide exceptional texture and interest.

She makes unbelievably smooth felt. Very thin and light weight. Amazingly cute and child like. Hidden pockets and folding surprises. It was really a pleasure to learn from her.

This it the mouse finger puppet that I made after coming home from helping all day on Thursday. Plus another brown mouse and of course DD needed to make a pink one with purple ears and tail. The design is very simple, yet very effective. As you can tell, I was impressed!

This is the 1st group with their mats that were made the first day, as well as all the items that were made the second day.

Workshop 2 was animals. We did a small mat the first morning to learn how to insert dimensional pockets, spikes and tubes. This is my camellion. He turned out well. It was very difficult because of it's size. Making and inserting the tail and legs was hard as well. Annette does most of her felting dry in the beginning which makes it tricky to work with initially. I got the eyes and 3 legs done by the end of the first day and took the rest home. I worked until 10:00pm and finally got the body laid out, eyes and legs attached and was ready to do the tail the next morning. I would have never finished if I hadn't done a bit of homework.

This the the group shot of the second workshop. There were 2 seahorses, a mythical animal, spotted chicken, dragon, yak, snail, Very Hungry Caterpillar, elephant, cat and a spotty insect. Everyone had a great time and I'm very happy to have taken the workshop from a talented Felt Maker. Thanks Annette and Sonja!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day or Keebler Factory?

We love baking at our house. Allergies and waistlines prevent us from doing more, but when holidays come... We must bake.
Avery wanted to make up cookies for Valentines Day for her class mates. Might as well do both classes while we're at it. So 2 batches later we have dozens of cookies. DD thought we might ice and decorated each one.
This was Wednesday night. Thursday schedule was jammed with Mom's craft morning at school, Feltmaking with 2nd Class in the afternoon and Family Fun Night to follow. Hardly had time to make dinner and swallow it.

So when time it short, production mode commences. Put the children to work. Decorated 60+ cookies in one shot. 3 colours of icing, bags and tips and off we go.

I think they turned out well and the children seemed to enjoy them. Have a great day whatever you're doing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mehmet Girgic - Felt Rug Workshop

I've just completed a three day workshop with Mehmet Girgic. Nicola Brown is hosting him for 2 workshops this month. He's a fantastic rug maker from Turkey. Very calm, doesn't lecture, gives as much help as people want. He started by teaching us the Osman method, which starts with making ropes and outlining your design. Then you fill in each section with colour. The same colour choices were given to everyone and I was amazed at the style differences that came out of it. Myself and 9 others took the course.

This is the basic rug base that everyone started out with. You could make them smaller if you wanted by cutting them. It is really a pre-felt of cheesecloth and a light layer of wool. These were provided for us, but it would be interesting to try and make them.

Here is a bit of the outlining. Using tops, you pull off a sliver and roll in on your leg to make a yarn type of material.

Filling in is done by wetting the wool with thick olive oil soap/water and stretching it into the outlined form. It can be difficult in the pointed areas.

This is how far I got by the end of the 1st day. It takes a lot of time to do this.

The final finishing of the corners before laying it out to be rolled.

Huge mats were brought in from Turkey to roll the rugs on. We rolled 4-5 at a time.

One they were rolled up, we rolled them in one direction to tighten the mat down so nothing would shift in the design work. The mat was lifted, turned and rolled to the other end for about 10 minutes.

We then tried to stay behind and on top of the roll. Kicking and stamping for about an hour. Always turning and rolling in the same direction. It makes smooth, dense felt this way. This is Elizabeth Bonnar and Mehmet working on the rugs.

The final rolling with 4 rugs together. It's a lot of work, but well worth it.

Here are all the rugs that were done before we left. Nicola and I were taking pictures. Check out Feltmakers Ireland and Clasheen for more photos and videos on the course.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Glasses

I got new glasses. I find it odd that you have to get used to glasses that are measured for your eyes. Like shoes you have to break in.. " Wear them a week or two and you'll adjust" So I did. I'm sure my sinus headaches came from them. Took them back... "Sorry, we made them too strong" "We'll lower the script" so they did. First two days, I'm back with the headache, but not as much and last night I discovered that my head wasn't hurting at all, except when I went to look for a lost lipstick under the cabinet. Thought my brains were going to pop out from the eye sockets. Won't do that again. That's what kids are for, Right??

Anyway, I like them a lot and think everyone needs more than one pair of glasses. You don't wear the same shirt everyday, so why do it with this. As soon as the "newness" wears off, I'll take the green ones in for an update.

I'm off to County Carlow for a felt rug making workshop for a couple of days. Laundry first.