Boy and girl messenger bags

So, I was home only two days this week but I managed to make two soft-sided messenger bags for Collage's stocking this Sunday (click the green box to the right on top).

It really helps that our house, especially my studio, is spotless. Working without clutter is so much easier.

The theme for this month's First Sunday (it was First Thursday for awhile) was "What boys and girls are made of..."
Since it is almost back to school time, I thought messenger bags would be perfect.

Once I found three coordinating fabrics in my stash, it all fell into place.

Wanting to jazz up the flaps, I tried my hand at machine embroidery.

With coordinating quilters' fabrics, I lined the interiors and added lots of pockets in a variety of widths.

I think these would work nicely as knitting or diaper totes.

"See you again" on Sunday after we get back from the North American Pipe Band Championships.



The field next to where we were camped out for an Irish Festival yesterday was full of wildflowers.

I honed in on the thistles.

The first ones I saw weren't blooming very well.

They also weren't prickly like the ones we saw in Scotland.

Others in our group pointed out giant prickly ones further out.

I took pictures then carefully cut blooms off
to bring home to dry.

Pretty but dangerous at the same time.

Ask dh about reaching down while driving
and grabbing onto the pile of them.


Elf hat

Just like my avoidance of using sewing patterns, I find that I crochet without instructions. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes they are disastrous. This project just turned out funny.

I thought I'd make a beanie-style wool hat to match the scarf I made earlier this year.

As I kept going, I realized it was turning into an elf hat that wouldn't even fit me. Good thing as I won't be wearing the goofy-looking thing anyway. LOL

I have no idea why the look of the stitches changed about a dozen rows up but I like that the brim looks different than the point.

Now does anyone have any easy hat-making instructions to share?


Celtic Crossworks

Being a crafter and knowing how hard it is to make money
doing what you love, I always try to stop at the vendor booths
when we are at Scottish festivals.

This past weekend, I talked with a lovely couple from MA,
mainly about the Maine Highland Games and Scottish Festival.

My cousin emailed me last week that they are going to it and,
coincidentally, I saw a brochure for this event in the crafters'
booth. After hearing their description of a Celtic festival
overlooking a Maine beach, I really want to go.

I was initially drawn in by Celtic Crossworks' elaborate
Celtic Folk Wheels. I enjoyed their beauty but also
tried to figure out how they are made.

I bought a small ornament that I now have hanging
on my front door, and may just buy more
for Christmas presents.

I had a hard time deciding on which set of sweet faerie note cards
to get. I felt "Faerie Mother & Child" was appropriate.
See the wee one in the leaf at the bottom left?

I'm now inspired to get out all my Celtic-themed books
and incorporate the ideas in my artwork. Or maybe I'll just buy
one of their quilt kits or more notecards...


Sharing with you

The house is clean and ready to show, it's going to pour all day and we have absolutely no plans. Perfect time to get caught up online and share with you what has been going on around here.

I took photos to prove that I can indeed get my house uncluttered and presentable. Even if we don't end up moving, this was a great opportunity to change how we live.

Here is my favorite part of the house,
the master suite we added 3 years ago.

We know we'll have a hard time finding a house
with something similar.

I think we doubled the house's closet space
by adding this walk-in closet, lol.

And our master bath may not be big but it is ours.
No boys allowed!!! (Why oh why haven't we ever removed
the red inspection sticker from the sink, lol.)

This is what you enter as you come in our front door --
our dining room, but more importantly my studio.

This is a far cry from what it looked like two weeks ago.
It was embarrassing having anyone come over.
All my supplies are now organized, crated up and out of the way.

Here is the view into the room I am in now.
I'm sitting in the chair in the distance using the computer.

This is the back half of the house, the living room.
It didn't stay clean very long before the boys took toys out.

Half of their stuff is in storage and you wouldn't even know it.
We are going to reduce and donate when we go to bring things back. They won't miss it at all.

Here is the view from the living room into the kitchen. We never got around to updating the kitchen cabinets or replacing the harvest gold stove but it functions for us.

What we do need is backpack, shoe and coat storage
as we always use the back door there at the left
and there is nowhere to put stuff.

With all of our traveling, and because my supplies
are mostly packed away, I finished up a very long, very soft scarf
from leftover mohair-blend yarn.

I wanted it super long so I could fold it over like this.
Dh laughed at me this morning when I was wearing it with a fan
blowing on me because it was so warm around my neck. LOL

My 10yo didn't spend the weekend away with us,
he was in Lake Placid watching his uncle
compete in the Ironman. (more about that here)

He's the ultimate junk collector like his mom.
While digging in the sand at the beach, he found
this heavy Coke bottle. I'm pretty sure it isn't very old,
but it will be nice for him to display on a shelf.

While digging in the dirt in front of my sister's house
he found this rusty WWII U.S. Marine Corps pocket knife.
Again, not worth much but fun for him to keep.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out
to my niece's blog. She is doing field work in Tanzania, Africa
and after months of horrid living conditions within a city,
she is living further out and has been able to take safari.

She and her boyfriend are sharing beautiful photos and descriptions of their adventures on their blog.


Pictures of our weekend away

We drove in one giant circle this week -- for multiple bagpipe band events. Here are the photographic highlights.

First, on Thursday night, it was a trip to Vermont to see my son's camp instructors in concert. I realized it was much easier to have the little ones at outdoor events instead of trying to get them to sit still and quiet in an auditorium.

Here's the whole camp crew.

Little guy tells us he wants to play the big bass drum, but he settled for practicing on the tenor.

We drove home after the concert then drove back up again to get my camper the next day. We got to stop at Scotland by the Yard for some imported goodies. Oldest picked out a Sherlock Holmes hat, I got a hair clip and ribbon and the little boys only wanted shortbread cookies.

The view I next to the store I captured reminds me of the photos I took on our bus tour of the Trossachs in Scotland.

We drove Friday night to Northhampton, MA so we could be ready for an early AM start at Glasgowlands Scottish Festival. Look Park is such a beautiful setting.

Oldest didn't do so well in his solo competition.

Neither did his band.

That's him on the far left.

Dh, however, got some really great comments for his first time ever playing the bass drum in competition! He has played tenor, bass and bagpipes and competes as a drum major. Now all he needs to do is play the snares and he's the bagpipe band Renaissance man, lol.

Onto Harriman State Park in southern New York State for the Rockland County Feis on Sunday. My soloist and the band did a lot better, placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Head over here to see how the little guys spent their time in the weekend's 90°-plus heat.


Recent acquisitions of the paper and fabric kind

I bought all of this at garage sales and had to pack them right up.
I'm glad I took the time to take pictures. I look forward to
rediscovering them and creating something lovely.

I've been drawn to books of sheet music lately.
I'd like to do more collage/assemblage
and these lend themselves well to the backgrounds.
Books with missing covers and water stains tend
to be really cheap and I don't feel guilty taking them apart.

Sometimes I get lucky and find beautifully illustrated song books.

This illustration is to die for. I like it even more
because it is done in blue instead of traditional black.

Even the pre-turn-of-the-century (2oth that is)
design work is fascinating.

I had to get this one just for the famous names,
both of the stars and the show.

Too-ra-loo-ra has special meaning for us, so I gave this one to dh
for Father's Day. He has sung his own version of this song
to the boys at bedtime since the oldest was an infant.
Now he knows all of the words, lol.

I found lots of vintage fabric at a huge church rummage sale
back in June. I think these are all cottons from the 40s and 50s.

These brighter ones seem to be from the 60s and 70s.

This sheet will make some really cute pillowcase dresses.

These are all wool, even the white with large squares
in the background. Not sure what I'll do with them.