Planning to pick strawberries

Okay, I’ve decided! I’m going to go to a U-Pick strawberry farm and pick lots and lots of strawberries and make jam! I’ve never made jam. But, I’m really into the idea of being able to have some locally produced food, not just during the summer harvesting season but also in the cold Maine winter. So, I found a local U-Pick farm and here is their picking update for tomorrow.

“We will reopen for picking on Thursday starting at 7:30 in the morning. This will be our third day of picking in a 25 day or so season. We will be closed some days to allow the berries to ripen. Picking conditions on Thursday will be excellent. Those wishing to pick in the afternoon, please call ahead just before coming to the farm to make sure we have plenty of ripe berries to pick.”

Wah! I can’t go! I so want to go! But, aside from that whole work thing, the lawn tractor repairman is coming sometime between 8a-5pm (uh thanks for narrowing it down for me) and DH is going crazy looking at our overgrown lawn and not being able to mow it. Hopefully, there will be some good picking weather next week and I will go then. I will just have to keep checking. I didn’t realize the picking season was only 25 days long! There is a farm just down the street, but their sign says that their U-Pick is closed for the season for some reason. So, this one looks great, but it’s about 30 minutes away.

So, can anyone point me in the right direction for how to make jam?

Right Arm being delivered by Fed Ex on Thursday

So, have you ever heard that phrase, “It’s like my right arm”? Well, that’s how I feel without my camera. I’m lost without it! I keep thinking of things I want to take a picture of, and then have this let-down feeling of, “uh, but I can’t.” Yeah, those disposable cameras just aren’t cutting it in terms of the digital camera, instant-gratification feeling. So, I got an email this morning from the Canon repair center that my camera is on its way home! Woo-hoo! Should arrive on Thursday, just it time to take pictures of weekend fun. I also really want to take some pictures of our garden. It is growing by leaps and bounds.

So, a better picture of the completed birthday crown will be forthcoming, and I am hoping to get started on my Montessori practical life aprons in the next few days. Did I mention my embroidered bunny is also completed? I just need to hand-wash it and then decide what I’m going to do with it. I’m contemplating making it the centerpiece of a doll-sized quilt.

Living Crafts magazine

I just got an email from Living Crafts magazine with a teaser about the subject of their fall issue (on newsstands August 15 – November 15). WOOL! Woo-hoo! Wool hedgehogs (cool), wool pumpkins, wool paintings, an article about wool roving, a resource directory on wool, as well as Elf hats, Gnome hats, crowns for children and mother/daughter cardigans.

How cool does all of that sound? I can’t wait to get it! If you don’t subscribe to this magazine, you should pick up a copy and check it out. It has great projects in it.

Completed birthday crown

Okay, the picture is awful. But that’s the best that I can do with my camera off to the repair shop and my not too stellar camera phone. When I get my camera back, I will take a better one! But, in any case, I finished my son’s birthday crown this morning. His birthday is next week, so none too soon! I used the pattern in The Creative Family as the basis of the design. I really liked how it turned out. You can’t see it in the picture, but there is an elastic band in the back and I covered it with some cute star fabric. Her instructions in the book don’t talk about covering the band. So, the first time I did it, I just made a fabric tube as long as the elastic. Quickly realized (thankfully) that wasn’t going to work because what would happen when you needed the elastic to stretch in two years? So, made a new fabric tube that was about 1.5 times as long as the elastic and scrunched it up, and it worked great. Not too bad of a learning curve. At least I hadn’t sewn it into the crown yet!

I got the blue and cream wool felt from Weir Dolls. The star is Marcus Brothers hand-dyed wool felt that I got at my local quilting store. I embroidered the letter “J” on the star before I assembled the crown. I just free-handed it with a split stitch. And the ribbon is a jacquard ribbon that I picked up at my local Joanns.

Birthday Crown

Well, I’m working on my son’s birthday crown, but I can’t share pictures. Wah! My camera had a little mishap. Not my fault at all, and hopefully easily correctable, I just haven’t had time to investigate where one goes to repair a camera. The little metal connector that gives you a connection to the batteries popped off when I opened the battery compartment and now the camera has no power. Total bummer.

In any case, I’ll just describe what I am doing! I am making a birthday crown out of wool felt, as described in Amanda Blake Soule‘s book, The Creative Family. My son’s birthday is in about a week and I’d better hurry up and finish it! It’s blue and cream with a mottled yellow star on the front. Then I’m going to embroider his initial on each side. Then, I just need to back it with another piece of felt and sew the elastic band on the back. He is going to wear it when we celebrate his birthday! What fun!

Bird Songs

This book just came today, Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song. We bought it for my son’s Montessori class as his birthday gift to the class. We are celebrating his birthday at school on Monday and he is very excited to walk around the sun with his globe four times! He wants me to make strawberry and blueberry muffins as the special snack.

In any case, the book arrived today, and oh my. It’s amazing. It’s hard cover and has a built in digital player. You scroll through the numbers until you find the one that matches the number for the bird on the page. The sound quality is wonderful. The boys LOVE it. I also ordered the one that has the songs of birds from around the world, Bird Songs from Around the World, and we are going to keep that one at home. That one hasn’t arrived yet. In any case, I highly recommend the North American one. It really is amazing and a wonderful addition to our home library. There is also a new one out that is called The Backyard Birdsong Guide which we might have to get too. That is more of a handheld type version being a smaller format.

Hoot! Hoot! Owl pajamas

I’m very happy with how my first pajama set came out! I made flannel pants for my older son with some cute owl fabric that I got at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Then I had this awesome owl fabric that I got from Sew Mama Sew (it’s from On a Whim by Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman), so I cut out a couple of owls, and adhered them to an American Apparel long sleeve tee (BEWARE, they run really small!), then did a tight zigzag stitch around the outside of the shapes. Admittedly, the zig zag isn’t beautiful and I see more practice in my future. But, they are pajamas, so no big deal!

Now, I need to make a set for my younger son. He wants a bird on his, so I’m going to use my Pink Bird Seed fabric from when I won Sew Mama Sew’s Free Fabric Friday. I’m not sure what I will make the pants out of. I think I might make them out of the shark flannel I have even though that won’t match the bird. He would just dig the sharks.

Daddy-Squirrel Craftiness

I just want to share the latest craftiness happening on the Daddy-Squirrel side of the tree. I am very proud of him! He finished the kids’ play structure last weekend. He built the entire thing himself using a plan from a company called Jack’s Backyard. It was built using locally harvested Eastern White Cedar that he got from a local mill. It came rough cut, so he first had to plane all of the wood. Then cut it up according to specifications, router the edges so it would all be rounded off, and then assemble and put it all together. It is absolutely beautiful. The cedar is wonderful, and the kids are having the best time with it. My youngest asked to go swing for a few minutes before we left for school this morning!

It is still missing the roof tarp and some telescopes that I’ve ordered. I had to get the tarp custom made because the platform is a bit bigger than what is apparently standard. Next on the crafty Daddy-squirrel’s list? I’ve asked him to make a kid-sized picnic table so we can seat more people to eat out on our porch. We ate dinner last night out on our screened porch and it was gorgeous outside. I love summer!

Current project underway: Flannel pajama pants with matching appliqued t-shirt. I just need to put in the waist elastic and they are done. After that, either another pair for my younger son, or I promised to make fun practical life aprons for our Montessori class! I also really want to try some freezer paper stenciling as described in The Creative Family.