KCWC – Days Five, Six and Seven

Well, I didn’t get as much sewing done as I would have liked but I was pretty productive for the Kids Clothing Week Challenge. But that was because we were at the MOFGA Common Ground Fair all day on Sunday!  We love the fair.  This is not your typical scary-amusement-rides-and-gross-food county fair.  No rides here, unless you count the $2 discount on admission you get for riding your bike into the fair.  Lots of displays on traditional crafts, huge fiber extravaganza, green living displays, spinning wheel demonstrations, rabbits, chickens, goats, alpacas, horses, and lots and lots of organic food.  And of course, the kid’s favorite, cardboard sledding!

Cardboard sledding at CGF

I always love to take pictures of all the yummy yarn.  I restrained myself this year and didn’t buy any fiber at all!  But I just have too much of it here in my stash and I need to use and organize it all before I can buy more.

Yummy hand-dyed yarn

The little pleated strip skirt is almost done, and hopefully I can knock it out today.  Just needs the ribbon hem and the waistband elastic.  I finished the Leila and Ben Sweet Little Dress in corduroy this morning.  I added a pocket using the pleated pocket tutorial from Made by Rae.  Because really…how can you not have a pocket to hold your little treasures??  The pattern only goes up to size 5 (bigger sizes are in the works from Leila and Ben) and I needed a size 6, so I just enlarged the pattern a little bit.  Made it a big longer and a little bit wider, trying to use the same dimensions as the other sizes.  And I added a little bit of length on the neck and sleeve elastic.

Full dress, made with fine wale corduroy

Pocket close-up

It’s hard to see the pocket there in the picture above because it’s made with the same fabric.  But, trust me, cute and just a little puckery to make it easy to get your hand in there.

Neckline close-up

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First grade hopes and dreams

We stopped by J’s first grade class this afternoon to show Grandma and Grandpa his classroom.  The children had drawn pictures, and written sentences, of their first grade “hopes and dreams” and posted them on the bulletin board.  I absolutely love J’s picture and dream!  “Learn how to take care of chickens.” How adorable is that?  And if you wanted some explanation of the drawing, those are two chickens, one is in the coop.  And that orange guy is a fox.  And the blue fence is keeping him out!  Obviously, our friend’s chickens have made an impression.  Hopefully the Blackberry photo quality isn’t too bad.

J's first grade hopes and dreams

Good-bye Montessori, Hello Public School!

Well, my baby is a first grader.  How did that happen?  Didn’t we just start at his wonderful Montessori school yesterday, his cute little three year-old face a little apprehensive, but totally game?  No?  That wasn’t yesterday?  That was THREE YEARS AGO?  *Blink*

J's first day at Montessori in 2007, Age 3

In the beginning, he liked to sit in his cubby until he was ready to join morning circle

Then it came time for year 2 of Primary.  He was now an expert and excited to go back to school.  They stay in the same classroom for all three years of Primary, so he was happy to be going back to his wonderful teachers, and the same friends.  With some new friends to meet as well!

Second year of Primary, Age 4

Doing transfer work on his first day of school

That was a super-fun year!  He learned so many things, including learning to read!  He has always been so excited to show me his reading chart which shows how many books he has completed.  After learning the sounds of letters, and how to blend the sounds (which took him a little while to master), they start reading real “books” with the Bob Books.  We also had them at home, and his teacher was concerned that perhaps he had memorized them.  But, I think that once he figured out that blending thing, he was ready!  He has become such a great reader!

Then, onto our big, important third year of Primary.  This was his Kindergarten year, and his big brother was attending our local public school.  Should we send J to Kindergarten there too?  We did consider it, but the Montessori program is so amazing.  And I thought that it was beneficial for him to complete the entire three years of the program.  He had been building on so many things his first and second year that he would get to experience in his third year.  He had watched and learned from those older children.  I wanted him to be the “older child” who could model for the younger ones.  Do all that work that he had seen them doing that he wanted to do too.  And what a great decision it was!  He loved his third year at Montessori!

3rd Year of Primary, Kindergarten, Age 5

And yes, he’s still wearing the same fleece jacket!  We got a lot of years out of that jacket.  He has definitely outgrown it now.  He had a huge growth spurt between age 5 and 6.  In mind and body!  What an exciting year it was!  He brought home so many maps, became an amazing reader, and one of his favorite things….finished his math book and his number roll.   A huge roll of papers, connected by tape, where he wrote out the numbers from 1-1,000.  Yes, 1,000.  And at the end of the year, he completed his third Montessori birthday celebration when he turned 6.

His birthday sculpture representing the four elements

And this week, he said good-bye to Montessori and started first grade with big brother.  Wow, was he ever excited to ride on the bus!  And on the first and second days of school, I heard words like “awesome” and “excellent.”  Although, I don’t think we are saying good-bye to Montessori.  It’s not something that you say good-bye to really.  It’s such a part of him now.  And it’s a part of us, as a family.  We have made so many good friends over the last three years.  And we definitely aren’t saying good-bye to them!

But we are saying Hello to First Grade!

K (3rd grade, Age 8-almost) and J (1st grade, Age 6) on the first day of school, 2010

Second day of school, little bus snafu on the first day

Bye guys!

MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair

This year was our third Common Ground Fair.  Put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association every September, it is quite the event.  This is not your typical New England country fair.   There’s no midway, no carny rides, no skee-ball.  Just a big, beautiful Maine field with gorgeous animals, awesome fiber, and yummy Maine organic food.  Although of course there was fried dough – but it was Maine organic ingredients fried dough.  The boys had a ball in the Children’s Area where they got their faces painted, jumped in the haystack…many times, and hammered nails.  We did the cardboard sledding hill both on the way in and out.

Cardboard sledding is not as easy as snow sledding

Cardboard sledding is not as easy as snow sledding

Woo-hoo!  Haystack!

Woo-hoo! Haystack!

Hammering nails

Hammering nails

Go organic.  Buy local!

Go organic. Buy local!

We visited on Saturday because of the expected rain on Sunday.  Along with 52,000 other people, I think.  We met some friends there who were having their first Common Ground experience, and got to meet their new baby!  Wee!  She was precious.

Border Collie / Sheep demonstration - almost extremely popular

Border Collie / Sheep demonstration - always extremely popular

Cool foot-operated lathe

Cool foot-operated lathe

Hand drilling

Hand drilling

As always, my favorite is all the yummy wool and fiber.  I was good though, and only bought one thing.  A kit to make little table mats.  I’m not sure what they are called, but it has this weaving cloth that reminds me of latch hook, and you weave bits of wool roving in and out.  The boys had fun picking out a bunch of different colors of roving.  So, who knows how it is going to turn out!  The fair artwork this year was Maine heirloom apples, so with the hubby’s current obsession with cider making, we had to get something from the MOFGA store.  (Who am I kidding, we ALWAYS get something at the country store.)  The boys/men all got t-shirts, and I got this super-cool bag that I love, which I don’t seem to have a picture of.  I’ll remedy that.  It’s very cool.

Yummy yarn

Yummy yarn

More yummy yarn

More yummy yarn

Until next year, Common Ground Fair!

Hey wait!  Who's selling the kids?

Hey wait! Who's selling the kids?

Letterboxing at Fort Knox

Fort Knox

Fort Knox

After years of thinking about it, we finally took our first foray into Letterboxing a few weeks ago.  As is often the case, it’s one of those things that make you wonder what took you so long!  We took the opportunity of the long Labor Day weekend to go on a little day trip to Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory.  If you haven’t been and you’re in Maine, I highly recommend both of them!  I’d imagine that the observatory is super-cool right now with the fall color.  Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the mouth of the Penobscot River valley from potential future British naval incursion.  The boys really loved exploring all the dark tunnels and rooms, especially the underground storage areas for food!  Ooh, dark and scary in there.  Bring a flashlight!

Inside the tunnels in the fort

Inside the tunnels in the fort

One of many cannons

One of many cannons

Fort Knox tunnels

Fort Knox tunnels

Food storage areas

Food storage areas

Penobscot Narrows Observatory

Penobscot Narrows Observatory

View of the Penobscot River

View of the Penobscot River

Letterboxing is a treasure hunt style outdoor adventure.  A “letterbox” is a waterproof container containing a rubber stamp, often hand carved, and a log book.  You can go online to Letterboxing.org, or atlasquest.com (my favorite), and search for letterbox plants in your area (or the area you are visiting, etc.).  There are clues given for how to find the letterbox.  Such as, “find three trees growing close together, walk 10 paces north, and dig under some rocks to find the box.”  Or something like that.  You have your own personal stamp and log book.  You stamp the letterbox log book with your stamp, write a note, then use the letterbox stamp to stamp your personal log book.  It’s a lot of fun!  Really takes very little start-up costs, unlike geocaching where you need a personal GPS unit.

Our first letterbox was in a picnic area near Fort Knox, and then we also found four letterboxes in Fort Knox.  They all had awesome hand carved stamps.  One of the things about letterboxing is that you are supposed to be careful and not draw attention to yourself.  When you find the letterbox, it’s important to replace it as you found it, hiding it so the casual observer won’t notice it.  This is slightly difficult with a 5yo who is very excited, LOL!  You are also not supposed to share your log book with others.  Part of the fun is discovering the cool stamp, so you don’t want to give away the surprise by showing others your stamp collection.

Looking for our first letterbox

Looking for our first letterbox

K's Ecojot journal that he chose as his letterboxing log book

K's Ecojot journal that he chose as his letterboxing log book

And to top off a perfect day, we saw a sign as we were headed home that proclaimed, “Blueberries – Last Days!”  So of course, we quickly turned and bought 15 pounds of Maine wild blueberries from a local farm.  Mmmm……blueberry jam, blueberry pie, blueberry muffins….

15 pounds of blueberries for $33, how can you pass that up?

15 pounds of blueberries for $33, how can you pass that up?

Blueberry Pie, recipe from Cook's Illustrated, July/Aug 2008, Issue 93

Blueberry Pie, recipe from Cook's Illustrated, July/Aug 2008, Issue 93

I highly recommend this blueberry pie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.  It was amazing!  Firm filling without any off-flavors from using too much tapioca or flour or whatnot.  The crust uses vodka!  It was so flaky and yummy.  The vodka adds more liquid to make it easier to roll out, but the vodka then evaporates in the oven, so the crust turns out flaky.

Freezer paper stencils for camping 2009

Moose freezer paper stencil shirt

Moose freezer paper stencil shirt

Last year, I made freezer paper stencils of bears for our first annual camping trip with our good friends.  I created a tutorial for it, if you want to check it out.  This year, we planned to go back to the same campground (even the same sites!), and the boys decided that they wanted moose this year.  They turned out great.  Our camping trip, not so much.  We have had the rainiest/coldest summer here in Maine, and it rained all day on the Saturday of our trip.  We decided to cancel, and we had a sleepover at our friend’s house instead.  We did a nice climb up Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park on Friday,  had sleepover on the rainy Saturday, and then went with them on Sunday to a state park on the ocean to have some cold swimming (ocean temp was 53 degrees that day!).  When the Best Hikes With Kids book tells you that a climb is “moderate,” listen to them. I think it’s a great book, and the boys were able to do the hike, but it wasn’t easy by any means. Goes from 200ft to 800ft in half a mile. The boys felt very accomplished!  K was like a mountain goat (he’s almost 7), it was a bit harder for J who is just five.

Climbing Mt. Battie

Climbing Mt. Battie

Climbing Mt. Battie, Camden Hills State Park

Climbing Mt. Battie

Reid State Park

Reid State Park

A small update to the tutorial however.  I once again used the Tulip Soft paint.  On the bottle, it had some additional instructions that I didn’t remember from last time.  It said to hold a steaming iron about 2 inches above the image for about 10 seconds.  I wasn’t sure what this was for since it didn’t give any further information.  I didn’t think it was required for setting the image because it didn’t state that, but I wasn’t sure what would happen when you did it.  So I decided to try it.  It made the image all puffy and three dimensional.  So, now we have 3-D moose!

All four of the boys really love their 2009 shirts, even if we didn’t actually go camping.  They all still wear their bear shirts from last year too!  I love it when you can see how appreciated your crafting efforts are.

Maine Quilts 2009

Two friends and I went to the Maine Quilt show this past weekend which is put on by the Pine Tree Quilters Guild.  Wow, fun!  I’ve never been to a quilt show before, so I don’t know how this one compares with others, but I thought it was great.  We got there at 9am, left at 2pm, and probably could have stayed longer but we were starving.  Tons of great shops, both local and from away.  My favorite shop at the show was Alewives Fabric in Nobleboro, Maine.  They had a ton of great fabric, patterns, etc.  They were also demonstrating making fabric floorcloths, which look very cool.  A few days earlier they had gotten in the Heather Ross Far, Far Away collection in the double gauze.  I have never seen the double gauze, which was intriguing.  I was also able to test out a long arm quilting machine briefly.  I can see how that would be a lot of fun if I had $10k just laying around, LOL!

I was actually good, and all I bought were a few patterns.  It was hard to pass up all that gorgeous fabric!  I think this wool applique pattern from Lakeview Primitives will be a nice wall hanging for Christmas.  It was fun to see the fabric in person, versus all the internet window shopping that I normally do.  For example, my friend bought some home dec weight fabric from Denyse Schmidt’s County Fair collection, and it was so much prettier in person than it seemed online.  She’s going to make an Amy Butler Birdie Sling with the fabric, which Alewives had displayed in their stall, and is way cute.  I didn’t realize just from looking at the pattern that the shoulder handle is really just one strap and not two.  Really comfortable.

Another shop, the Calico Basket Quilt Shop, in Windham, Maine was doing a small demonstration on making exploding pineapple blocks.  Way cool.  The next day, I made some up with a Moda Flutterby charm pack that I had laying around, and they were really quick and easy.  You take two charm squares, and sew them all the way around, facing each other.  Then, you draw two lines diagonally between each corner.  You pull up just the top fabric, and clip a tiny bit in the middle where the lines cross, and then you cut all the way along both diagonal lines up to the seam.  You fold back the resulting triangles and press.  Sew a bunch together, and voila!  These are the simple ones.  You can keep combining the squares to make more intricate ones.

Exploding Pineapples

Exploding Pineapples

I have been in a flurry of cleaning for guests and the fact that we are going to be doing a tiny home renovation project that requires me to empty out my office.  Scary.  Very scary.  So, I have several projects in the works that are not done yet.  Sigh.

I did finish another US map quickie quilt for a friend of mine.  This time I used some great state fabric that I found at Joanns in their 4th of July/holiday section for the backing.

US Map Tied Quilt

US Map Tied Quilt

I also finally created a label for the baby quilt that I finished for my friend awhile back.  So, I need to wash it and it will be done!  I’m making her older girls some tote bags, which is why I haven’t sent it off yet.  I’m using the tutorial that Skip to My Lou just posted a little while ago.

The label is just a piece of natural colored organic cotton and I embroidered the baby’s name on it.  Then, I used a fabric pen to stamp the word FOR and hand-write my name and the year.  I then just pressed under a seam allowance, and used a blind stitch to tack it onto the back, making sure to only catch the backing fabric and not the front!

Quilt label

Quilt label

Cut out tote bags and summer shorts

Cut out tote bags and summer shorts

Underneath the tote bags are about five pairs of shorts that are cut and ready to sew together.  But I’m trying to get my gifts done first!  We’ve also been having a little Maine beach fun since it finally feels like summer!

IMG_4188 (1024x768)

Water was 53 degrees that day.  Brr!

Water was 53 degrees that day. Brr!