f a i r y

Chick and I made fairy houses or as she likes to call it, "the big fairy hotel." She spent lots of time loading up their abodes with crab apples just in case they happen to find themselves a little snacky. This kind of outdoor play makes me think of The Girl From the North's recent post about Dinoland, which made me smile.


We spent the weekend with family visiting baby cows and goats, eating the world's biggest donut, and watching our town's 250 anniversary parade in the rain.



xo e

I read The Story of the Root-Children, by Sibylle Von Olfers, to Chick on the first day of autumn as a way to welcome the change in seasons. It is so sweet and enchanted in that elfin kind of way. It tells a short tale of the root children who live under the earth waiting for spring to arrive so that they can decorate the earth with their colors and spirits. We both decided that these shy, spritely little children are probably more than ready for a good long rest after all of their dancing and prancing and swimming (not to mention all of those curmudgeonly beetles that hog the swimming hole).

I find the pictures and earthy color pallet inspiring. It added to the sense of peace and tranquility that autumn often brings to our home.

xo e

finding fall box: remake

Since today, at around 5:30, marks the first day of autumn, I decided that Chick and I should go on a finding fall search in our backyard while Miss. Mouse naps soundly in her bed upstairs. We found yellow leaves, seed pods, acorns, a gazillion tiny pine cones, and lots of flies and bugs that decided to be born in today's balmy weather. It made me smile each time Chick thought of something that wouldn't fit into our tidy, little finding fall box, like "colder night air," "loose, rainy branches," and "that the nights are getting shorter."

The finding fall box is made out of all recycled materials. I used an Annie's Cheddar Bunnies box that I wrapped with a brown paper bag, and I used some old catalogs for the little acorn decorations. The inside paper lining is an old piece of scrap paper that I cut to size and stamped with the numbers 1-6.

I like the idea of limiting our display to six items at a time, so that we can be selective and purposeful as we change and rotate our pieces of nature as we like. I think I will make finding boxes for the other three seasons as well.

I also feel the need to introduce you to our new best friend: the mulch pile. We bought this lovely pile of mulch in June and, since then, it has been sitting on our driveway. I've actually grown attached to it since it reminds me of all of the fun things we did this summer instead of spreading boring old mulch.

Happy Fall!

xo e

w e e k e n d

I do actually have some crafty things to post about. There is the back to school (a little late, I know) story stone series that I have been plugging away at since the summer, and a little felt necklace that I have been scheming up.

But, lately, all I seem to want to post about are the colors and shapes and beauty that have been surrounding me during my late summer adventures. This time, I met two friends, from the college years, at a beautiful little camp on a pond in New Hampshire. Right away, I got to have an almost nap in the sunny spot on the dock, and then we sat on the porch and sipped tea while I stared at the water and rocks and trees in a way that I don't always have the chance to do. I brought a slew of vegetables from our C.S.A. farm share, and we slow roasted all of them throughout the late afternoon. There was eggplant, swirly beets, garlic, carrots, cauliflower (not from the farm), and red onions. We ate them with buttery pasta and salmon with crispy prosciutto.

Before settling down for dinner, we drank Proseco and ate bread with strawberries, ricotta salata, and arugula (otherwise known as rocket) on crusty French bread. Divine.


The colors were deep and rich and beautiful.

There was much reminiscing about the old days, like faux trips to Boston and the way Tom first won us over with his acoustic version of The Indigo Girls' Closer to Fine. The camp is without heat, so I came prepared with fleece socks and three blankets. Our toes and fingers may have been cold from the late summer - almost autumn - air, but between the oven, the lit candles, the warm blankets, the wine, and our laughter, we were plenty warm. And, plenty happy.

Psssst: Amy at Mod Podge Rocks has her first ever give-away on her blog, and it happens to be quite useful if you like to collage or decoupage. I recommend taking a peek.

xo e

story tags :: remake


This project started because of Chick's deep desire to continue the ferry adventure conversation. These days, when we get out of the car, she asks if we can pretend our whole house is a ferry boat, and when she goes to sleep she asks for stories about ship adventures in the high seas. Little bits of our adventure keep trickling into our daily conversation, so one afternoon I went scavenging through the paper recycling bin to find a way to make our memories a little more permanent.


In this new remake craft, cereal and tissue boxes became gift tags, wall hangings, story telling cards, or memory cards. I cut the boxes into little cardboard squares, gave them rounded edges, and I made little collages onto them using magazines and junk mail. Each square represents something important about our journey, and Chick now has little pictures to use as she retells it again and again.


She especially likes to put them in chronological order, which is fun for me to observe since it is a fairly subjective process. In her mind, where does the beach fall in the line-up? The town? The pinwheel?


I used cereal and tissue boxes, a rotary paper cutter, a rounded edge punch, magazines and junk mail, and a decoupage medium (Mod Podge, diluted craft glue, etc.) to make the story tags.




Here, I used the cereal box tag to make a little sign for a very special teeny tiny boy's bedroom. Welcome to the world little Finn!


xo e

o l d


Our super fun friend and neighbor, Erica, wrote late Saturday night suggesting the possibility of driving an hour east to Old Sturbridge Village for a little adventure. I love historical villages. I just do, and I'm willing to be frank about it. There is something about the DIY, use everything, waste nothing, practical, horse drawn wagon sensibility that I find inspiring and completely fascinating. My parents tell me that when I was little they would give me five or six really fun choices for our summer family vacation, and every time I would choose the Old Sturbridge Village/Boston option. Its true! I know it is true because I remember my love affair with the old houses, tin and candle making, and peppermint candy sticks.


This historical village, in particular, is especially beautiful and pastoral with a working farm and acres of pasture land and gardens. There is also a fancy little indoor play area where the kids can sell pickled cucumbers and eggs from barrels, stack firewood, and pull carrots from the garden.


Yesterday, in the fire pit, they were dying wool with natural dyes. Oh, the colors! She used iron to make the really dark eggplant one.



Isn't this old blue farm thing pretty? I love this particular shade of blue.


Side note: If you ever feel parched and decide to get slushies on the drive home from somewhere, don't stop at Cumberland Farms for $0.79 any size slushies. There is a reason they are $0.79. Just three sips and we felt like we had eaten a dozen sour gummy candies in under a minute. Chick, who rarely eats anything that artificial and weird, was all, "Mama, this drink just doesn't taste so good." I'm pretty sure we will just go for milk shakes the next time we want a sweet, dessert drink.

Another side note: I also just have to mention that I'm feeling really excited about my lovely friend Nicole's (One Golden Apple) skirt, dress, and tunic top designs. She is a super talented crafter who has been, recently, doing the most amazing things with jersey. Her eye for color along with her simple, beautiful designs and her unique finishing techniques make me feel like I need to be cutting and sewing and getting down and dirty with jersey ... right now. She pinkie swear promised me that her techniques are simple and satisfying. I think I might begin with a long tunic sort of design since that is the sort of thing I like to wear.

The end.

Off to cook dinner.

xo e

i s s u e


I'm all excited because my Collage Circle Garland project is in Family Fun's "Everyday Fun" section in the September 2009 issue. My name is in teeny tiny print running up the side of the page, which makes me so happy since I didn't even notice that my name was there until our friend *Justin* pointed it out.

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by incredibly thoughtful, inspired, lovely friends and readers who encourage and support my craftiness. Really.

xo e

ferry


This past Saturday we went on an adventure to Greenport, NY. After waking up bright and early, we drove two hours south to New London, CT where we met up with my parents and took a ferry boat across the Long Island Sound to Greenport, NY. There, we visited family and played at a private little beach where the water was just right for hours of swimming. The beach was quiet with small waves and there were little orange shells and other beach treasures covering the sand. After a beautiful lunch of lobster, corn salad, fresh tomatoes, potato salad, and the peach cobbler, we strolled through town, went on a super zoom carousel, hugged good-bye, and drove to the ferry port to wait for our boat.

While at the port, I was wrangling some pajamas on Mouse, and Chick and Tom discovered a little beach that was covered - COVERED - in rounded, smooth, beautiful stones of all sizes and colors . I almost died. In my neck of the woods, it sometimes takes me weeks to find the right stone, and here I was face-to-face with millions of stones that are perfect for making story stones. I grabbed a bucket and some bags and filled them to the brim with stones. The ferry traffic director people thought I was wacko because I kept crossing in front of streams of exiting cars to plop my enormous bags of stones into my trunk. There was sweat and fast running and probably an embarrassing look of determination on my face. But, who cares, right? I have enough stones to last me years and years and years. Oh, and there was also the most beautiful sky and pinkish moon. The evening felt magical.

After we boarded the boat, Chick fell asleep in my arms with the ocean spray blowing onto her hair and me covering her with a sweatshirt to warm her. Miss Mouse faked us out with a big dramatic interpretation of sleep when really she just wanted to stay awake for the entire ride so she could point to the water and say "Bubbles. More Bubbles."




Here are some of the stones that were not gathered up into one of my totes.


The ferry boat.



The next day, the girls' hair smelled like the sea, which made me wistful since I know it won't be until next summer that we will frolic in it again.

xo e

peachy

I'm known to make a peach cobbler on Labor Day weekend. There is something about a peach cobbler that both reminds me that it is the end of summer and makes me feel like summer is unending. How is that for a paradox? At this time each year the farm down the road has peaches filling their bins. They are practically spilling onto the floor telling me there is an endless, most plentiful supply of summer fruit. Summer indeed! Yet, the leaves are just beginning to turn around here, and I know that apples and squash will soon take over. So, I buy tons of those peaches and I make a dessert that is sweet and indulgent, and when I'm quiet I can hear it whisper, "Relax! It's still summer!"

The farm offers nice big bags of utility peaches for $4.00 a bag, which always inspires me to bake them down into what, for me, feels like the perfect dessert. Don't be horrified if you bite into a utility peach and it tastes like a tasteless sponge with hints of peach. Once those beautifully ripe utility peaches simmer, they will be knock-your-socks-off flavorful. I love how the peaches get soft and even more peachy as they bubble under the biscuit topping. It is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. This year, we went on a beach adventure (pictures to follow), so the cobbler traveled with us - across the Long Island Sound -to Greenport, NY.

The recipe I use is modified from one that was torn from a newspaper years ago. While I've read peach cobbler recipes that suggest peeling the skins, I really don't see the need since they become soft and almost indistinguishable after it cooks. I just slice the peaches as is -with the skins on- and toss them in a big bowl with the lemon juice.


I use this particular drop biscuit top recipe for berry cobblers too. It is simple and has the perfect balance of butter, sweet, dough.

Peach Cobbler
modified from a recipe torn from a local newspaper insert

8 medium peaches - sliced with skins on
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t cinnamon

Drop biscuit top
1 1/2 ounces chilled butter
1 cup flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss sliced peaches with lemon juice. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then toss with the peaches. Put in a buttered baking dish and bake until hot and bubbling. In my oven, this takes about 25-35 minutes depending on how many peaches I've used.

While peaches are baking, prepare biscuit topping. Put all dry ingredients and chilled butter in a food processor and pulse until it is crumbly. Alternatively, you can use two forks or a pastry blender to combine. Put crumbly mixture into a mixing bowl and gently whisk in the milk. Be mindful not to over-mix.

Drop biscuit topping onto the hot peaches and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Just peachy.

xo e

a hoot


We're back from our trip to the coast of Maine, and we had so much fun! The food highlights were clam chowder, lobster-on-the-go [read: fresh lobster tail mixed with mayo on a grilled hot dog bun], baked, stuffed haddock, and breakfast for dinner at our favorite Portsmouth, NH breakfast place, The Friendly Toast. Chick is still talking about how her pancake was in the shape of a bunny with butter pats for the eyes and nose.

Tom got to catch a few of tropical storm Danny's waves since the waves were pretty organized and moderately sized - perfect for him. We spent lots of time on a beautiful sandy beach and some time sorting through the rocky tidal pools. We found safe, sandy places for Miss. Mouse to explore, and Chick was old enough (and capable enough) to rock scramble her way into some pretty cool tidal pools. I think that both Mouse and Chick's most favorite part of beach play was digging in the sand right by the shore where the water kept filling up their deep, soggy holes. They just kept digging and digging until they were desperate for lunch.

Oh, and one of the best parts was getting to cross a tidal river at low tide! At the deepest point, the water was up to Chick's chest, but she trudged through that tidal river mud like it was nobody's business.

As much as I love getting away, I always sleep better at home. So, here we are, back at home, doing our regular things. On Wednesday, I made this special order owl t-shirt for a local friend. I'd been dreaming up the design for quite awhile, so it felt good to finally make it.


I'm off to make my favorite peach cobbler. I make it every Labor Day weekend, and I promise pictures and a recipe by the end of the long weekend.


hoot!

xo e