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June 2010

Matching handspun yarn/project bags!

So Alecia (from madbird) and I came up with a really fun idea - matching a project bag with handspun yarn!

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Alecia chose two hedgehog patterns and I dyed up some wool to match the colors in the fabric. This is Hedgie Love.

hedgie love 1

This being our first collaboration, we have only made four kits - and two of them have already sold! They went on sale this morning at 10am. This one is called Quills.

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We're not planning to make more kits in this pattern (though we do have other plans for August/September - more about that in July!) so when they're gone, they are gone, baby!

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So, what do you think? Cool idea? I'm totally psyched. They look so cute together!


Tagged, oh my!

The lovely Kyong at Cheeky Tart's Dumb Blog (I didn't name it!) tagged me. So I'm it.

1- What’s your staple meal (i.e. what meal do you cook most often when you can’t be bothered to be adventurous)?

Spaghetti.

2- What do you want to be when you grow up?

A famous fiberista. A photographer would be nice too.

3- What book are you reading at the moment (if any)

I'm really not. I should be. I read The Historian recently. At first I was like what the heck is this? But then I dug it and I'm sorry it's over.

4- How do you relax?

You want the truth? I rarely get to do this, but my favorite way to relax is to lay down and focus on pretty much nothing for as long as I like. Sometimes there's coffee involved. I'm pretty sure that this is what I spent my 20s doing. I didn't get much else accomplished though.

5- What color are the interior walls of your home?

A medium, boring brown in the living/dining/hall area. Olive green in the kitchen. The bedroom is supposed to be gray but it's not yet (will look better than it sounds. it'd better, anyway). V's room is purple. The downstairs is celery green. The fiber room is pink. Out of all those, V's room is the only one we've painted. We've got a lot of work to do, huh?

6- What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Ice cream. Zoning out to crime dramas (The Mentalist is my favorite at the moment).

7- What time is bedtime and getting up time?

Bedtime is usually sometime between midnight and 1am. I get up around 6:45am. Why yes, I am chronically tired - why do you ask?

8- How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?

Not very long anymore. I used to spend a good hour or so reading them every day (maybe more), but I don't have that much time right now. So, maybe an hour a week on a good week. But I love blogs. I think it's awesome that I don't have to listen to "the experts." I can listen to whoever I want.

Are you reading this? Yes? Then tag - you're it!


Her first real project

V got a helium-filled balloon the other day and when she wanted to tie one of her stuffed cats to the balloon string, she was disappointed to find that the animal didn't float away.

That led to us looking for a toy that would float. There really weren't any that were light enough, so I got out the buttons.

V spent the next hour trying to find the right balance of buttons on the end of her balloon string that would allow the balloon to float around the room, but not all the way up to the ceiling.

I kept thinking this is this her first real homeschooling project!

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I think that because she continued trying to find the right mix of buttons on her own even when I had to leave her to go make dinner. She didn't need my help. She was engrossed in finding the solution to the problem.

And she did. I took these pictures from the floor. The balloon would float up toward the ceiling and then back down toward the ground. We had a fan on (have I mentioned how terribly hot it is here? gah.) so the air currents were moving it around all over the place. Really pretty to watch, despite it being a Hot Wheels balloon.

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Afterward, I asked her if she wanted to write down something about her discoveries, like on Sid the Science Kid, and she was very excited to do that. She drew pictures of the balloon with the buttons on the string and I wrote down her observations. If this is a sign of projects to come, I like it!


Out knitting

After we went to the science museum we went out to dinner. This pretty was in the parking lot.

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I brought my knitting inside - I'm still working on V's Kina sweater. One of the reasons it's taking me so long is because I had to start over three times.

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The instructions are wrong for the increases which, lucky for me, come near the beginning. I figured out what I needed to do to get the correct number of stitches (I did the first set of increases twice and then the second set of increases).  I'm down past the sleeves so it should be smooth sailing from here, I just don't get to knit that often. Other than that, this pattern (rav link) has been a piece of cake and I would suggest it to anyone wanting to knit a first cardigan. Should be super cute!

But I'm trying to see if I can move some things around and to get some more knitting time - especially with my own yarn. Last week I dyed up some wool for a skein of Honeycomb and it didn't quite turn out how I like it, so I think I'm going to spin and knit it myself. I'm excited!

What sort of crafty things have you been up to this summer (all two days of it)? Anything I should know about?


Tellus Science Museum

On Saturday, we went to the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, GA.

The first thing we saw was the Foucault's Pendulum. The guide said that there's a small motor that helps balance out the air currents in the building, but otherwise the pendulum knocks down the blocks because of the earth's rotation beneath it. We didn't see it knock down any blocks, but she said to check back when our visit was over to see how many had been knocked down while we were gone.

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We discovered a lot of things about dinosaurs at the museum - like that V is the same length as an Apatosaurus femur.

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These are the claws of an Eremotherium - aka Giant Ground Sloth. These sloths grew to 13 feet tall!

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We discovered that V knows what an ammonite looks like (thanks, Dinosaur Train!)

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V is dwarfed by the Protostega (giant sea turtle).

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Touch this if you dare! Oh yeah, V dared all right.

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When she read this, she touched it some more.

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The "tiny" hand of the T-Rex.

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R looking at the Loch Ness Monster. I've always been fascinated by the legend of Nessie. Seeing an Elasmosaurus skeleton up close was very cool.

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Here V is digging for fossils.

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And here this cute kidlet has discovered a dinosaur fossil!

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In the "My Big Backyard" area of the museum, V found lots to play with. These are spinning magnets - spin one around and the others will spin.

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And at the end of our visit, we found that the earth had rotated enough to knock down four blocks. Pretty cool.

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V would've liked to stay forever, but they were closing for the evening. I see a family membership in our future.

(There are 23 photos total in my flickr set, if you're interested in more dinosaur bones!)


More from the chair

More of Zasha in her chair.

Zasha loves her chair

Today is R's birthday! We're going to the science museum today. Hopefully he'll find time to play with his birthday present. And I'm sure there will be time for chocolate cake and ice cream...

Editing this to add this photo of Catnip (secretly called "titty cat" by some of us because she is, erm, anatomically correct) at V's insistence.

Catnip loves her chair

This kid never fails to make me laugh.


V is for...

I saw this great photo yesterday and wanted to do one like it, so I asked V to lay on the floor of the foyer and let me take a few pictures. Before I even laid down I realized that it wasn't going to work because I had my 50mm lens on the camera and I couldn't back up far enough to get the shot. I also quickly realized that she would not be patient enough for me to go get the best lens for the job and switch them out, so I just went with what I had.

I shot these in color, but b&w white really works best. Normally I might think a shot I take is decent or pretty good. Rarely do I think, oh yeah, I totally nailed that one. And if I do, I even more rarely say it out loud. But for me, this one is one of those perfect shots. Wall worthy.

J'adore...

V is for Violet

If you look at the large size, you might be able to see that she has Topaz written on her arm and the remnants of a kitty nose and whiskers on her face. She was pretending to be a cat I used to have named Topaz. Such a sweet girl. Today she's off with her daddy to ride the merry-go-round while I get some yarnie stuff done. Gosh, at the love!


Cat in window

A lot of good things have come to us lately, including a free chair for the homeschooling room, just as I'd hoped for! It's a chair-and-a-half and though it's not pristine, I threw a beautiful crocheted table cloth over it (also given to me recently - thanks M!) and V helped out by arranging her favorite baby blankets on it too. Perfect for reading a book together downstairs where it's cool in this summery heat.

But I think the cats like it even more than we do.

Cat in window

Zasha spends a lot of time on this chair, sleeping on it and looking out the window. She's such a gentle cat. And I think V is growing on her. Despite V being too loud and too full of energy for this kitty's delicate nervous system, Zasha has been known to swing by quickly for a pet and to sleep at the foot of V's bed at night.

As for me, I love Zasha tremendously, but as recently as last night when I saw her from the corner of my eye skulking out of the room, I thought it was Wylie for just a split second. And that kinda breaks my heart a little every time it happens. But I do love that Zasha lets me (and only me) hold her like a baby as I tell her how much we love her, how happy we are to have her with us, and what a good cat she is.


Wiley Eats

Instead of writing the sequel to The Cat and the Person Play Together yesterday, we wrote a book called Wiley Eats.

It was a true family collaboration. V drew the pictures, wrote WILE and EAT, glued on the wool, and came up with 100% of the text.

Wiley Eats Cover

I wrote the Y and the S on the cover, colored the cats, wrote down the text V dictated, and made the dots in the litterbox.

Wiley Eats Page 1

R wrote the authors'/illustrators' names on the cover.

Wiley Eats Page 2

I think the story really comes to its logical conclusion - yes? This is real life, y'all. Everybody's gotta use the litterbox sometime.

Wiley Eats Page 3 Epilogue

So, what do you think? Do I have a storyteller or do I have a storyteller? An artist too, I think!

P.S. If you're here now, that means you found me after the changeover. What do you think of the new site? Nice? Can you find me easily whenever you want? That's what I'm hoping...


Starting tomorrow, everything will change

Ok, not everything. But if you subscribe to this blog, you might want to update your readers tomorrow because...

http://springtreeroad.com will be my landing page.

http://blog.springtreeroad.com will be my blog (nothing there yet, though).

But if you subscribe to http://springtreeroad.typepad.com/ in a reader, that should still work just fine.

I haven't picked the winner of the giveaway yet, but I will try to notify her by this evening, Tuesday evening at the very latest. I have picked the winner and emailed her. If this goes well I'm sure I will do it again soon, so please check back!

Today I'm dyeing wool and V and I are collaborating on the sequel to our (very) short (4-page) book, The Cat and the Person Play Together. She draws some pictures, I draw what she tells me to draw, and I write the story from her dictation. So much fun for us both!

I hope you have a wonderful Monday as well!


Love to knit? Have a knitting blog? Not too busy? A working giveaway

Hiya! I want to have a giveaway - let's call it a working giveaway ... or maybe a collaboration. Yeah, that sounds nice. I want to have a collaboration!

Here's what I need - someone who:

  • would like to try my handspun yarn
  • has a blog that is at least a bit about your knitting or crochet
  • has the time to knit/crochet a small project within the next month
  • is willing to blog about the project with photos and links I provide

If this sounds like you, then leave a comment and I'll pick one person. You'll receive one skein of yarn of your choice from either of my shops, knit up a project of your choice (it can be your own design, but the pattern needs to be available online - does not have to be a free pattern, but must be available) , and blog about it within a month from when you get the yarn.

Anybody game? Comments will close sometime on Sunday, June 13, and I'll email the winner once I close the comments.


V's gone viral

A couple of weeks go I got an email from the nice folks at youtube telling me that one of my videos of V had gone viral and did I want to put ads on it? I said yes - I doubt it'll earn enough for the college fund, but I just really wanted to see what it was like. You hear about youtube videos going viral but I certainly never thought it would happen to me.

At 20k+ views, it's not exactly a blockbuster but it's been fun to watch the numbers go up. So...you want to see it? It's a video of V playing with a wooden alphabet puzzle . I got her the puzzle because I had the idea that it might be easier to learn your letters if you could actually manipulate them with your hands. No idea if that would work for every kid, but V had them down easily by 18-months-old.

It's not even funny! And here I thought only the funny ones went viral!


Maria's handspun scarf

Yesterday I sent out my newsletter announcing the opening of my new shop and I mentioned there that you can get $10 off your next order if you will blog about making something from my yarn or fiber and send me the link to use here on my blog. Maria, one of my lovely customers, emailed me back saying that she didn't have a blog but she wanted to share some pictures with me of the scarf she made from my "Fresh Cut" yarn that she got a little while ago.

Maria's Scarf 2

I told her hey, let me use the pictures on my own blog and I'll be happy to give you the $10 off and she agreed. How sweet of her!

Maria crocheted the Chain Maille Scarf (rav link). She said that this was the first thing she'd ever crocheted and that she "adored the Merino/Tencel combination which made it slide through the fingers so easily and the constantly changing colours were a joy." That makes me so happy to hear! I love it when people are as excited by fiber as I am.

Maria's Scarf 1

So thank you to Maria for allowing me to use her words and photos - I very much appreciate it. Your scarf looks just beautiful!

I often think of myself as having a "micro-business" because it's just me here, dyeing, spinning, photographing, marketing, etc. I really feel like I must be doing something right when someone goes out of her way to tell me she found my shop through a friend (online or otherwise!). So this offer is open to you too - if you blog about a project you've finished with my yarn/fiber, send me the link (and feel free to add your photos to my Flickr group). If you don't have a blog, email me the photos, along with permission to use them here and on Flickr. Either way, you'll get $10 off your next order for spreading the love!


Same handspun yarn, brand new shop!

So, I went and opened a new shop - it's still handspun yarn, but this time it's completely my own space.

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Of course I love my Etsy shop - Etsy is a great place for me to be and I'm not at all planning to close that shop. But since summer is almost here and things are slow, it seemed like the right time to devote myself to building something from scratch.

Citron Vert et Violette handspun yarn bfl bluefaced leicester wool purple violet lime green 005

Any questions? One I can think of that you might have is about shipping charges. If you happen to find two yarn/fiber lovelies that you'd like to buy only one's in the Etsy shop and one's in the new shop, I'll mail them together and refund the overage in shipping, no problem! Other than that, let me know if you have any questions.

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The new shop isn't completely ready yet. I still have to write up some stuff for it. But for the people who know me best, I decided I didn't want to keep it quiet any longer. I'll be working on both shops over the long, hot summer (unlike these flowers, I was completely wilting today out in the backyard!) and stocking them up for fall.

As always, I thank you for your continued support. My customers and blog readers are wonderful. I'm so blessed by each of you!

Also (only a week late - so sorry about that!), I wanted to let you know that there's an interview with me over at the Rambling Designs blog.


Davie and Chiyo

I got an email from one of the owners of the cutest little Etsy shop a few weeks ago, asking if I would take photos of V modeling two of their new products. Well, I couldn't resist that!

So Davie and Chiyo sent me the cutest flowergirl clutch and headband - they make beautiful customized clutches for wedding parties.

The listings are up - it's amazing seeing V in their listings! It's almost like looking at some other kid! Here's the purse and the headband. Pretty headband and purse on my sweet girl!


Being Outside

This morning, V wanted to take some pictures outside with her little Fisher Price kid's camera. Here are some of her best shots - she wanted to call the series "Being Outside."

This is the neighbors' giant, gorgeous hydrangea bush. I love V's shadow.

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Closer up of the blooms. So pretty.

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Our mailbox - I think the flare is my favorite.

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Feet & rainbow dress!

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A maple leaf V picked from our tree in the front yard and then put on the driveway so she could photograph it. That camera is hard to compose photos with, but I like how the tippy top is cut off.

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Who knew a gutter could look so cool?

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V is already lobbying for a better camera that holds more pictures. I know the feeling. Ha ha.


A clear idea

One of the things that's constantly on my mind is homeschooling. Or unschooling. Or some sort of combination of the two. We think V will be a really good candidate for unschooling (though, truthfully, we think all children are) because she is such the go-getter. If she has a question, she needs an answer. And we're happy to help her when she needs it and happy to let her figure it out when she doesn't.

At 4.5, V has been reading for a good year now. I don't think I could say that I taught her to read exactly. I was always better in English class than math or science. R tells me he learned to read in daycare when he was 3. So, genes? All I know is that we've been talking about letters and the sounds they make and the sounds at the beginning/end/middle of words and what words mean and what they look like since before she could possibly understand. But we've never pushed, it's always a fun thing. So now she can read. This is very helpful in the car on trips to see the grandparents - especially since we've been through 2 DVD players now (so annoying).

But just because she can read, doesn't mean she always understands what she reads. And it doesn't mean that she writes. Or that she's doing calculus. She's a regular 4-year-old kid. But still, it's exciting. Because she's fresh. She has no preconceived notions of what learning should be like. If she decides she likes worksheets, we'll get her worksheets. But if not, that's A-Ok with me. There is always another way to learn something.

Yesterday my MIL gave us these bookshelves. They're in the playroom now - which is also where my computer is and I'm guessing the formal homeschooling area of the house. Though I'm sure the actual learning will take place all over, it'll be nice to have a place for the books, pencils, paper, etc.

V set the books on top of the shelves to look like our local library. I have a really hard time not buying every single book I think might interest her, in addition to the ones she wants. So we have a lot. And I want ever-more. Thank goodness for the library!

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I finally have a clear idea for this room. I'd like a twin mattress to use as a daybed/guest bed. Also a chair or loveseat. A lamp or three. A proper desk for my computer. One day I want these shelves as well. And I super-de-duper want this wall map.

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I truly think one of the greatest perks of homeschooling must be doing it how you want to do it, how it works best for your family. Like having a ($5 from a local thrift store! woot!) Hello Kitty table as your desk. And having Movie Fridays. And filming science experiments to post on the internet (one day soon, I hope). Daytrips to roadside historical sites. Or whatever we feel like doing. I found The Organic Sister blog the other day and have been reading it from now to the beginning. While I sometimes wish we could just pack it up and head out, I don't see this happening. But that's what Tara and her family have done and I'm enjoying reading about it. Knowing what I know about school from my own experience (and believe me when I say that this is just the tip of my iceberg), reading what I've read about it, and (so far) feeling the relaxed attitude and yet constant learning that goes on with my own child, I have to say I feel pretty lucky to live in this age of the Internet and all the resources that are available to us.

Just wanted to say that.