Monthly Archives: April 2015

Morning Jetty …


Oak Bluffs – Martha’s Vineyard

Rough Passage …

IMG_1032 copy

Blooms In Surprising Places …


Poster for the Global Art Gathering in Brighton

I decided to get painterly again!

And it was fun.

For those process-lovers...

I started out with marker and quick-sketched lots of different concepts.  Here are my faves:

At first, I started drawing in Illustrator, but most people in the MATS Bootcamp were going digital right away, and I couldn't get the kind of texture in the marks that I wanted.  And I felt like I couldn't really get that kind of energy using just vector imaging.  So, I went painterly.  I was so happy to get painting!  I adjoined 4 square canvases and painted them as if they were one.  I used paper, paint, ink, fabric, and all kinds of pens. 

See the seams where the canvases met?
Then, I sliced them apart with an exacto blade and scanned them individual at a very high resolution.  I then took it to Photoshop where I painted and patched the seams, collaged some more, and then added the text.  And there you have it!

So what's the poster about?  Well, it's a real event happening in Brighton, and I'm super excited to be going!  It includes speakers and networking, and best of all... it's in Brighton!  I cannot wait to visit the city.  I've heard such great things, and can't wait to see for myself! You can find out more information about the Global Art Gathering here.

Jumping Off the Cliff

I know it’s been a while since I put anything up on this site. Frankly, there hasn’t been anything worth writing about. I’ve was working my way through what some people would call a “depressive period”, and it lasted a good long while. Too long, honestly. But I’m over it now, I think, and things are on the upswing.

All that to say – I’m taking a deep breath and jumping off the cliff into the world of onlne business. I am launching a store sometime in the next two weeks. By May 15, 2015, Elaine’s Essentials – my collection of skin care products – will be officially launched via Thanks in no small part to my brother, my sister-in-law, and many friends who agreed to be product testers.

I’d been noodling on starting an online business for a while. Those of you who know me well will remember the soy candle phase. The crocheted character hat phase. And the “I’ll spin and dye and sell my own yarn” phase. Yeah – failures, all of them. Due in no small part to my own lizard brain telling me I couldn’t ever be successful doing what I was doing, and who was I to think I had better products than anyone out there, and when are you going to have time to do this, and HEAVENS above, you really think people are going to PAY for this crap??

So yeah – nothing happened. I did add some things to my Etsy store, but nothing ever happened, and so I didn’t do anything more. No, wait – I lied. I did a local craft show and realized I hate to crochet for production. HATE it. Whatever joy I had in the activity got sucked right out of it. So I abandoned that idea, too.

Fast forward to an afternoon on Pinterest and a look at the homemade lip balm recipes. My kids and I use an INSANE amount of lip balm. Insane. What if I could save us all some money and make it at home? The kids were on board and even told me what flavors they would like. Awesome! This could work!

Well, you know you have to spend money to make things, and at the time, I didn’t have the money. A few weeks later, my son called, and in the course of conversation, asked how the lip balm was coming. I told him it wasn’t. We chatted a little and he said he’d “keep an eye on the mail for it.” For what?? Lip balm that wasn’t ever going to arrive? He was the impetus I needed. I had a little extra money and bought the supplies. And made lip balm. Then I made a sugar scrub. And a salt foot scrub. And a body butter. And gave them to friends to try out. All with the seed of an idea that an online store just *might* be in my future. I picked the brains of friends in business online. I sent test packages to friends. The body butter was a failure, but the other products got favorable reviews. My sister-in-law helped me name the endeavor. I bought more ingredients. I bought containers and labels. I had the labels printed. I made product at night and on weekends. I took photos. I had a purpose. I have spent a lot of money that I’m hoping to recoup, but this time, I am feeling really good about this. I think I’ve come at it the right way this time, and I love what I’m doing. I’m still polling the hive mind about scents and textures and things so I can make a great product that people would be interested in buying. The site is coming together and there are actually some nice photos on there. I have miles to go…much product to make and package, but I finally bought shipping boxes! And figured out how to stop the jars from leaking if they tip over in transport. As I know they will.

BUT – I am excited and ready to do this. So, my dear friends keep your eyes peeled for Elaine’s Essentials. A line of natural skin care products that I really think you’re going to love.

Introducing Scout

The last two weeks have been such a whirlwind of change that I completely forgot to update the blog until Fran mentioned our newest lamb in the comments of Amy’s last post. It’s so hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks and one day since Scout Thomas arrived, two weeks early thanks to a wicked and fast acting case of pre-eclampsia. We are completely, utterly, hopelessly in love and nothing will ever be the same again. 11037180_10206053626837502_9028858308409763832_n For those of you keeping score at home, Scout weighed 8 lbs 1.5 ozs, was 19 inches long and was born very suddenly at 9:05 p.m. on April 13th. IMG_0131 IMG_0155 IMG_0221 IMG_0315 IMG_0318 IMG_0333 IMG_0337 IMG_0364 IMG_0385

Mom, Dad, big sister and baby are all doing well– exhausted but very happy.

More as soon as I figure out how to juggle all this.


Review: Kirsten Kapur Shawl Book One

Review: Kirsten Kapur Shawl Book One post image


First, the facts:

Title: Kirsten Kapur Shawl Book One: Ten Best Loved Shawls from Through the Loops

Author: Kirsten Kapur

Published by: Kirsten Kapur Designs, 2015

Pages: 51

Type: Shawl patterns


No chapters, just patterns

KS: Kirsten Kapur Shawl #1

The In-Depth Look:

First, the really encouraging thing about this book is that it’s clearly labled “Shawl Book One,” which implies there’s going to be a shawl book two at some point, and maybe a third and a fourth … all of which is great news, because Kirsten designs some really beautiful shawls.

This book is a collection of ten patterns that she’s already published–so do be aware that it’s possible you might have some of them already–but still take a look at this book anyway, because the designs are well worth it.

I’ll say right now that I love Kirsten’s designs. I’ve knitted at least two of her shawl patterns in the past and own a bunch more that I haven’t gotten to yet. (Okay, for full disclosure, I’m actually at the very end of knitting my second one right now. I’ve got about three rows to go. That’s close enough to count as past-tense for the sake of the review, right?) So, you know, I might be biased, but I was lucky enough to see her display of shawls in person at Trillium Yarns just last week and they look just as good as they should. Kirsten has a really nice touch with combining colors in a shawl which is something I think is tricky to do, but I really I like when it’s done well. Her lace patterns flow nicely with the shaping of her pieces, too. I like her shawls. Lace isn’t something everybody can do well, after all.

The ten patterns gathered here cover the gamut of shawls–in shapes, you’ve got rectangle, triangle, half-pi, and crescent. There are two-color and single-color options. Airy confections sit alongside slightly more substantial, cozier shawls. There are stripes. Garter stitch. Lace. Basically, your basic range of shawl variations, with full-circle and square being about the only regular shapes I can think are not represented.

The patterns are Kirsten’s most-popular, the title says, but the photos in the book are all new, taken by the fabulous Gale Zucker, and beautiful as always. The book is nice and glossy and good to look at, as well as a handy size to tuck into your knitting bag.

You can get this book in digital format, print format, or both, and is sold through Kirsten’s website. Here’s the link at MagCloud.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by the author. Thank you!

My Gush: I already knew I loved the shawls, so what’s not to love?

Finished Project: Minoru Jacket

Huzzah! I finished my Minoru rain jacket in time for my trip to Europe!

I used regular ol’ cotton twill in grey for the outer portion and a fun Llama print by Michael Miller for the lining.

This was the first time I’ve ever made something so complex, and though I had a few hangups, it’s not as remedial as I was afraid it would be.


The collar has a handy zipper pocket in the back to store the hood away if you don’t want to use it or leave it hanging off your back. The collar itself is very tall, which I really like.


It’ll keep the rain off, for sure. I’ll also be spraying it down with a good water repellent treatment.


I also think that next time (oh yes, I’ll make more – it was super fun!) I will make the next size down. It’s just a tad big, and I think I’d like it a bit more fitted.


Check out the llamas!


You’ll notice I am also wearing my Sew Lisette Portfolio dress from a few years back.


The back has a wide elastic band to cinch in a bit and create a more flattering silhouette.


The twill and the lining make it a bit bulky and heavy for just a raincoat, but I wanted a little bit extra warmth, just in case.  We’ll be in Edinburgh in the first bit of June and I’m not sure how warm the temps will be.

I’m thrilled with it. and I’m feeling well prepared for rainy weather!

Tagged: Sewing

Coffee And Grand Opening …

This is the third post in a row about my Saturday coffee outings with daughter Deb.  This past Saturday we went to the lovely and historic town of Morristown, New Jersey.

 Of course, coffee first.


After coffee we walked around town a little bit and took some pictures including one that was obviously a photo shoot going on.


This clever sign caught my eye …

We then headed over to the new Whole Foods that opened only days ago.

pikage-INHRMGAnother nice coffee outing.

The coffee picture is from a different outing.. just want to say that before any eagle-eyed people notice it… and you know who you are :)

Shear Bliss

Too corny?

Ah, well.  Yesterday the flock finally was freed from their heavy fleeces (just in time for temps to plummet and rain to fall all day today). But yesterday. Yesterday was glorious.  Later in the evening there was much more frolicking than I have seen since…..well, last spring.


I love watching Emily work, and I love seeing the wool coming off to reveal the little bodies underneath.


Wembley’s fleece came off in a solid, felted clump, not unlike a rug.  Poor thing. When a sheep has been as sick as she was, it’s no surprise.  I’m sure the three or four baths I gave her didn’t help. But, now she’s well and free of the old fleece and can start a new, healthy coat.


Now, this. This is what I love to see. The colored flock. The sun-bleached outer layer, the darker layer at the skin, and all the variation in between.


The pure Border Leicesters were mostly silver underneath; the Border Leicester/ Cormo crosses were more black underneath.


Our friend Amy came and helped out with hooves, while Emily’s dog watched (and snatched hoof clipping to chew on).. Seriously, she was a HUGE help. And unsurprisingly, Emily can easily manage a sheep one-handed while Amy and I struggled tag-teaming them.


The goats were surprisingly well-behaved for her.


Neve helped out, too, of course!






Ursa – who is seriously the tiniest thing once you get her out of her coat!


Wembley the Wonder Lamb.

I know everyone is sad we were unable to have a party for shearing this spring, but trust me, we had a great reason (BABYBABYBABY) that Susan will update y’all with soon enough.

In the meantime, I hope all of your steps are as light and carefree as the flock!

Tagged: Farm, Pets