Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sorry …

Do you notice anything out of place here ?


Click …



Sort Of Snow Days

We have had a “sort of” snow day.  We had a dusting overnight and we’ve been enjoying watching the fluffy, light flurries we have been seeing off and on all day.  Though the snow has long since melted into the mud, we’ve been slow to start today, and slow to accomplish much. That’s what “sort of” snow days are about; things like enjoying that the Paperwhites finally bloomed.



And that Mr. Cini is snoozing happily by my feet.


I’ve also been enjoying my new little llama ornament I got for Christmas.  I have a fierce ache where Jerry belongs, and I love having this little guy as a reminder of him.  One day we will bring home another llama, I promise. Until then my task is keeping this one safe from the kitten, who likes to climb onto the fireplace mantle where he lives and secret him away to chew on him.


Lastly, days like today are perfect for getting some serious knitting done.


My Shepherd sweater. Still stuck on the sleeves. Or as my friend Tanya says, “stuck on sleeve island”. I feel like I’ve been working on this one sleeve forever and ever and ever. It’s killing me.  I want to be done so I can wear it. And start THIS year’s Shepherd Sweater!


Tagged: Homeschooling, Knitting, Pets

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself …

 Settling down with a good book, a view of the water and a gentle breeze definitely was an expression of relaxation for me.


Some Favorite 2014 Pictures …

My creation

MATS Bootcamp #1

Our first Make Art That Sells (MATS) Assignment Bootcamp (whooh mouthful!) assignment was to brainstorm with Edwardian Brooches...and then, we were to turn our musings into a journal cover.

This is what I came up with for the assignment:

Here's how I got there...

We got our Mini Brief and after preliminary research, I started sketching like crazy.
sketching like crazy!

ballpoint pen crazy sketches
You can probably already see which direction I chose to follow in the end, but at first I didn't know.  I went in a couple of directions at once. I wasn't sure which idea would work, and I brought some of the sketches onto my tracing table.  Other sketches I painted over, others I traced with felt-tip pen, but I scanned everything first -- just in case it didn't work out.

In the end, I felt I needed to pick a style.  My sketches went generally into three styles:
1) swoopy intricate
2) crunchy colorful painty
3) slightly naive line-art

I went with "swoopy intricate" and then I created two moodboards: an observational one from the research and a style guide to help reign in my madness.

FYI: These mood-boards were from a template from a really helpful Skillshare class with Elizabeth Olwen.  The class really helped me with workflow and technical tips with Illustrator.  I can highly recommend it if you're looking to figure out how to make a repeating pattern in Illustrator.

I focused mainly on plants, flowers, and birds... although I really wanted to try insects I just had to focus.  I really could have worked on it forever.  This is the trap I set for myself.  Infinite possibilities and I just drown.

Anyway, the mood-boards set me on my course and my ship sailed here next.

I played with hundreds of variations with the brooch widgets until I saw a classmate's background treatment, and it clicked for me.  That's what I was missing.  Context!  So, I added textures to the background.  Tweaked the elements some more, and even started a whole new artboard where I tried something completely different, and then cleaned things up for the final mock-up layout.  And, that's how I got to the journal cover and accessories I turned in.

It's been a while since I felt like I was doing something super exciting while I was illustrating.  I still get excited about knitting design, but it had been a while in the illustration department.  Reflecting upon the first MATS Assignment Bootcamp 2015 assignment, that's what I felt.  I felt energized about drawing.  I'm elated that the Assignment Bootcamp community is turning out to be more awe-inspiring and supportive than I could have ever imagined.

Random Wednesday Ravings

I’m not going to lie. Right now, getting any school done during the day has been a real effort. I have very little desire to keep everyone on task, and they have even less desire to do so.  The weather has been weird, there’s a lot of chores that need to be done (and furry friends needing to be snuggled) that I’d rather take care of, there’s other things that everyone would rather be doing.

Yet we slog through it as best as we can anyway, and hope it sticks. Today I cut Neve off before math because she couldn’t sit still and I sent her into the kitchen to make these:


This book is full of wonderful recipes for baking that are perfect for Neve’s current abilities.


It calmed her down, avoided the usual math tantrum, and kept her from distracting Emily. And bonus! She has to measure stuff, so…..math!

Ugh. Actually, no. It’s nice when you see homeschool people and blogs talk about using fun activities that incorporate learning math and science, and that’s great when your kids are like 7. But Neve really needs to be working on more complicated geometry and elementary algebra that she isn’t going to learn from whipping out a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sorry, unschoolers. I’ve seen what happens when a kid isn’t well prepared for the SAT’s and college. You pay for two years of “Math for Dummies” and the like at the local community college before your kid can even start working on their degree requirements.  As much as we don’t love math, it is far easier for them to learn it young and keep building on it than trying from nearly scratch at 18.  And that whole argument about how kids will naturally learn what they need based on their interests? Also no. Not every kid is born motivated to work on improving their brains. It’s a discipline that for many has to be taught, along with time management skills.  And when at 16 your kid suddenly has to cram an entire school  lifetime’s worth of math into a year to prepare for college…it isn’t pretty.   Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of our public school systems. But there is a level of base knowledge everyone needs, no matter how they are educated.

This is where my brain is these days. It’s mired in the many things that have to happen each day and it certainly feels many days that we are just getting further and further behind. So we keep at it, knowing that this time is finite, and we will never get it back.



Tagged: Homeschooling

Darkening Sky …


Book Nook …



Chore Day!

I don’t usually sing the praises of warm weather in January; mostly because it’s enough of a tease that it makes those bone-chilling February days seem cruel after the fact.  Today, though, we were lucky enough that it was both a holiday AND the weather was nice enough that we could tackle some more important farm work with Paul home. And BONUS: I had my phone with me so you can see some sweet sheepy noses!


One of our lambs, Finchley, has been scouring (he has diarrhea), and since they can get super dehydrated, super fast, I’ve been giving him a supplemental bottle of lamb milk.  The dogs absolutely LOVE it.  Here’s Orzo having a bit after Finchley’s evening dose.


I’ve also discovered that I can’t mix this stuff up in the kitchen if the kitten is around or she will tear me to bits trying to get at it.


Lamb congregation. They were expecting me to produce their evening food.


Yeardley and Wimbledon seem to be having a conversation.


Mabel got moved to the back coop.


Fairfax is looking sassy.


Get my good side.


Fresh bale, delivered into the new shelter……


….which hopefully can withstand Caramel.


Check out Perivale’s spotted ears!!!!







Wembley still likes to get all up in your business.


Suspicious Wimbledon is suspicious.


We also finally got our Christmas tree out to them, and they dove right in.


Hannah loooooooves the taste of pine!


We also got some fresh bedding into the prison coop and discovered an egg had been laid.  Fingers crossed this means we will start seeing some production out of these girls at last! (We’ve been threatening them with the stewpot but they’ve been unphased.)

Now that we’ve had this lovely mid-50’s weather I wonder how long before I’ll be posting super snow pictures!

Tagged: Farm, Pets