Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We've Arrived.

 We're here!  After a 24-hour flight, a week of stopover in Portland, Oregon, and a 12 hour drive through the western states we've arrived in heaven (also known as summertime in Montana.)   This is where we'll be spending the majority of our time during our trip and also where we'll celebrate our marriage come August.  My family has a house on a lake here.... a place very dear to my heart, it was built by my great-grandparents, immigrants from Lithuania.  Though it's been a few years since our last visit, upon arrival it feels as though we never left.  Just as with a few rare and magical friendships, it seems we can pick up exactly where we left off, regardless of how much actual time has passed. 

I thought I might use the rest of this post to share a few photos from the drive -- one I've been doing for 18 years, but never fails to stun me anew with its breathtaking beauty and inherent sense of Americana.  We stopped at a roadside diner in Ritzville for BLTs, burgers, and homemade pie; we drove through a tiny, one-street town aptly named "Paradise;" we passed countless farms and roadside fruit stalls....It was a good drive, getting better and better as we came closer to our destination, recognizing important landmarks and finally, thrillingly, spotting the lake as we crested a hill.

I love the additions of the windmills through the Columbia Gorge.  There's something truly majestic and beautiful about them.   No aesthetic objections here -- a far better sight than pollution any day.

P.s. I spent the more peaceful parts of our drive today reading this amazing, brilliant book, which happens to be written by my brother-in-law, Eric.   I literally could have kept my nose in the novel through the entire, gorgeous drive but it was also an enormous treat to put it aside until our arrival and savor the final chapters as I nursed my babe to sleep.  The late sunset outside, the sound of crickets chirping through the open windows, the last, satisfying pages of a wonderful book.  Bliss.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

From One Equinox to Another

We were rained out yesterday morning -- no market to be had.  I had a premonition (aka, the weather forecast) of this possibility all week, and while I tried my hardest to harness the amazing power of positive thinking, it seems that even that has its limitations.  Either that or someone with far more powerful brainwaves than I was hoping for rain.  Hard to tell.

Anyway, alas...Normally, we'd just postpone until the next sunny weekend, but the family and I are about to embark on a stint of traveling -- time to head to the northern hemisphere for visits with family and a few Very Important Weddings (my sister's and also a second one for us -- we were married some time ago on the beach in the Abel Tasman, and now it's time to celebrate our commitment with a different set of family and friends.)

I'm closing up my Felt shop for a little while.  I'll really miss Seedling while I'm away -- the past few months of getting the business rolling has been amazing.  Thank you to all of you who have supported me in these early months through your readership and lovely comments.  I love love love doing my work, keeping up on the blog, and spending time in my studio....It will be hard to leave, but also wonderful to return in the early spring full of new ideas and designs.   I'll check in here on the blog from time to time, but otherwise - - see you all in September! xox

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Creative Space

All of the above are works in progress....the studio has been busy-busy this week!  I'm getting ready (gulp) for my very first day at the Nelson craft/farmers market this Saturday, June 19th.  There's certainly something about standing behind your work and saying, "I made this"  that's a bit, well, terrifying.  Ok, exciting and terrifying, both.   Kudos to those of you that do this on a regular basis!  You are all brave, brave souls.

I'll keep this brief today -- typing one-handed, with my sleeping baby on my lap...

Anyway -- wish me luck!  I'll let you know how it goes.

ps This is my first day officially playing along with "My Creative Space" on Kootoyou.  Check out many others and their creative spaces here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reading, Listening, Cooking

Monday is typically our quietest day.  My husband and I share a car, and Monday is his day to drive (rather than bike or carpool) to work, so the kids and I enjoy a peaceful "home day."  I try to leave our time unscheduled, and we often have a leisurely morning spent doing all of the undones from the weekend list.  Folding and putting away laundry, cleaning the bath, trying to stock up the fridge with a few meals and snacks.  Thrilling, right?  No, not really, but it does feel good to prepare ourselves for the week.  This morning I spent a good hour in the kitchen whipping up a lentil soup for the week's lunches, a roasted-tomato, garlic, and portabello pasta sauce for dinner, and a double batch of apple-cinnamon-oat muffins for snacks.  Aya hung out in the Ergo, and Solomon stood beside me at the sink making "water soup" and "water muffins" (And hoo-boy, let me tell you, those were delicious.  The kid knows how to make an excellent water soup.)

I finally had a chance to flip through a stack of books I picked up at the Founders Book Fair last week.   Founders is such a great place to visit with kids  -- it's a historic park with many old storefronts, a bakery, a brewery, an old WWII aeroplane you can go inside, a playground, a train, a barn full of vintage buses and wagons -- the list goes on and on.  It also features an annual bookfair -- I picked up these six beauties before I was hurried away from the books (and toward the aeroplane) by my impatient toddler.  I'm not entirely sure what I'll "do" with them, but at 50 cents a pop, the bright covers were hard to resist.

 I'm also just about to finish up this lovely book -- an interesting combination of fiction and autobiography, gifted to me by my sister some time ago.   I've been reading up a storm lately; there's something about winter that just makes me want to crawl into bed, oh, around 7:30 or so and just read and read.  And music from this talented folksy singer-songwriter has been on repeat lately.  I just can't get enough.  (Find another favorite video here.)

**Coming soon -- a few photos of the new one-of-a-kind "Welcome" sleep gowns I've been working on.  That is, if I manage to tear myself away from my evening-long reading sessions, and get out to the studio....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Weekend that Was

 On Saturday, we attended a very special placenta burial/tree planting ceremony just a hill over from the Centre of New Zealand.  As far as I know, Nelson is the first and only place in New Zealand to preside over a ceremony such as this on public land.  A group of families and midwives convened above the Maitai Valley to plant native trees over the whenua -- returning this life-giving organ back to the earth and symbolically connecting our children to the place where they were born.  We attended the planting last year as well and were able to plant Solomon's placenta (which had been in our freezer for some time) under a Black Pine. This year we planted Aya's placenta under a Totara seedling, right next to her brother's tree.  The hike up to the planting site was lovely -- I walked with Aya on my back and Solomon was pushed up in the buggy.  At the top, friends met, mothers and fathers chatted, children played, apples were passed around, songs were sung, and the site was blessed by a local Maori minister.  The view over the valley is stunning, and I look forward to returning many times to visit our trees.

This friendly Fantail kept us company throughout the morning.  What a wonderful omen!  I love these beautiful birds.

What else did the weekend hold?  A rare (rare, rare) dinner party with a small group of friends.  I neither cooked nor cleaned (thank you, wonderful husband....) and the whole thing felt incredibly low-key and enjoyable.  My friend Amelia presented me with this amazing piece of embroidery as a studio-warming gift.  I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the stitching is absolutely perfect and amazingly intricate.  Such a lovely gift.  It will be framed and hung on the studio wall.


There were also several early risings to watch live-streaming of the World Cup.  (Ahem, I wasn't actually up early because of the World Cup, and I doubt the kids were either, but the two events did coincide.)


Also much cozy indoor playing with trains (two more sets, courtesy of the toy library.) And some winterizing of the garden.  The berry bushes and passion fruit were covered, the compost was turned, the gutters were cleaned....


 And then?  Well, then we were all a bit beat.  Baths all around, scrambled eggs for dinner, and an early bedtime for the wee ones.  Soon I'll head out to the studio with a hot mug of tea.  Hope you all had wonderful weekends as well.  xx

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What I've been working on: My Creative Space

Since I've joined the chatter in the blogosphere, I've noticed that on Thursdays a lot of crafty bloggers share a theme called, "My Creative Space."  Can anyone shed a little light on this for me?  Is it an unspoken weekly ritual?  Does anyone know where it originated?  I really love reading about others' creative spaces, and well, I like being part of a community, so I thought I'd try it out.....

For this, my first official "Creative Space", I'll share with you a few photos from my most recent collection for My Baby and Me (sent off this morning!  Boy, does it feel good getting that parcel picked up....)  These items will be sold by MBAM via their website and also at various North Island markets such as Mary's Market.

It was really enjoyable working on these - I feel like with each set that I do, I learn so much more about my process, balancing the design, mixing colors, etc.  It will be interesting to see how things develop a few months or a year from now in terms of style and designs.  

Right now, my Felt shop is looking a bit bare, but I'm working on building up some stock for my first stall at the Nelson Saturday Market on June 19th (eeep!)  Fortunately, I'll be doing the market with a friend, which should help take the pressure off a little.   Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dye! Dye! Dye! (Part 2)

What can I say?  I'm hooked on dyeing.  Spend $15.00 to transform a bunch of sad, stained, but generally sturdy garments into beautifully renewed and beautifully hued new wearables?  Heck, yes!  Take the above -- grimy white booties, a lovely but see-through skirt, a splotched top...add a few items that were sadly stained by an errant red dishcloth....All are things that it seems silly to get rid of, but probably wouldn't even be accepted by Goodwill in their current state.  Dye to the rescue!  I went with the pricier i-Dye from the get-go this time, having learned my lesson about cheaper dyes during my earlier forays.

Olive green is one of my favorite colors; even though I really loaded the machine up with clothing, the end result was a wonderful, deep green.  The darker color was a good choice for covering up more persistent stains.

Such an easy, satisfying project.  With the i-Dye, the washing machine does all of the work for you --   pulling your clothing out at the end is a bit like Christmas.   It always feels good to find a way to continue to use something rather than discard it at the first sign of trouble.  Me: 1, household stains and red dishcloths: 0.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What timing!

Maddie from the awesome Kiwi design blog Lil' Magoolie, has just shared this article via Facebook titled, "Avoiding the Mumpreneur Pitfalls."  What timing!  I've been thinking quite a lot about these issues lately, and as always, it's wonderful to know that I'm not alone.  In one way or another, these challenges must be universal to all mothers who run small businesses while raising a family.  This article really hit home -- particularly numbers 3 and 4 ("Squeezing Work into Naptime" and "Working on Everything at Once.")  While I really do think that having a separate physical space to do my work has helped me to focus on one aspect of life at a time, I am certainly guilty of trying to cram as much as I possibly can within the ever-changing framework of my children's sleep habits.  Oh, the agony of a napless day!

At any rate, it's a short article, but one that is well worth reading.  Also, the micro-business site on which it's featured (Flying Solo) is new to me, but one I'll be checking frequently from now on.

And just to keep things interesting, a photo:

Three 2-year-olds riding their trikes hell-for-leather down by the Maitai river.  Watch out world! 

Hope you all had lovely weekends....xx

Monday, June 7, 2010

Come On In....

As promised, a few photos of the studio.    I'm still just settling in, but having this space is amazing.  I can get totally lost in what I'm doing, listen to whatever playlist I'm fixating on at the moment, or even just sit (!) and think a bit.

And there you have it -- the grand tour: my desk, blackboard, shelves, Valentine from S, ironing board with an order ready to go out, and a framed copy of a note my grandfather wrote and kept in his wallet throughout his life.   Ta-da!  Simple, small, wonderful.  And mine all mine.  How amazing to have a "room of one's own" in the midst of a life in which even taking a shower can easily turn into full-family affair.  

Speaking of which....may as well go enjoy some of that space now.  6 pm and the kids are in bed!  Time to get a bit of work done.  xx