Friday, April 30, 2010

Freedom Designs

When I finish a big project I often have an explosion of work that has been waiting for me to get to it while I work on the "big one". Here are a few things that have been on the back burner. Above, another rufous hummer, since I enjoyed making Melinda's so much.

We've got a pair of cardinals nesting in our front hedge, so these are in honor of the proud parents-to-be.

And this is a skirt made from recycled silk and cashmere sweaters. It's about a size 8 (misses). I hope to get to another skirt today. But I also need to mow the lawn and waterproof my market we'll see what I can get to.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art for Nature's Sake

The Rug is Done!

Hallelujah! I've finished the braided rug and will be delivering it today! I hope it brings years of happiness and comfort to its new family.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Melinda's Hummer

This is a rufous hummingbird, rufous being the term used by biologists for a reddish-brown color. I made it for Melinda, who wants to give it to her new grandbaby.

Making it reminded me how much I enjoy making hummingbirds, so hopefully I will be making some more soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Saw A Pileated Woodpecker!!!

Like many birders, I keep a life list of the birds I've spotted (mine's not very long). I was very excited to see a bird on Friday that I'd never seen before - a pileated woodpecker. It was massive! Sitting at the top of a rotted tree, hammering away and making a huge noise, I knew this was a new one. I didn't get to see all of the markings, but definitely enough to make the identification.

So of course I had to come home and make one.

I started him on Saturday while I was at the Audubon Earth Fair - I thought that was fitting! I had a lovely day there, clear blue skies, good music, great people. It was a wonderful start to my outdoor season.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Red Breasted Nuthatch

I have a nuthatch pair that lives (if not in) near my yard. They are about the size of chickadees, and just as curious. It's always so funny to see them bouncing down the trunk of a tree head-first. Here's their song.

I'm off to the Audubon Earth Fair in Glastonbury tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to a gorgeous day in the sun, a beautiful start to my outdoor season. Sunday's Earthstock has been postponed due to the forecast rain till May 2, one week later.

Earth Day/Frugal Food

Another good week with no food waste...yay!
My local paper, The Harford Courant, ran a number of articles yesterday on frugality and green living. I really enjoyed the one about leftovers - Vintage Cuisine Reduces Carbon Footprint. Kristin from Frugal Girl is miles ahead of the author here! My plan for leftovers is usually not anything so fancy - they just get eaten for lunch the next day! I love being able to pull a container out of the fridge and have an instant lunch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

I'd like to introduce you to the ruby-crowned kinglet, one of the smallest birds I've ever seen.

This is made life-size, and it fits easily in my hand.
One day I walked past a pine tree that was holding a flock of these tiny birds, and it sounded like a lot of little bells ringing. It was a magical moment. If you listen to its song on Cornell's site, it's the first few notes of the recorded song that I must have been hearing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweater Play

I haven't played much with sweaters lately - I've been working on the braided rug I want to deliver really soon. When I ran out of fabric and needed to buy and prepare more (it got bought today), I took the chance to play with sweaters. I've been cutting the petals for the flower pins above for the past month or so, or maybe longer. I bring them to markets and shows and meetings for slow times or listening times, and I had bags of them just ready to go. Sunday night I sat down and spread them all out and had a blast playing with color.

I also pulled out some of the sweaters I bought at the bag sale at Goodwill a few weeks ago and had some fun.

That pink fabric comes from a soft LLBean lambswool sweater. I also made mittens and wrist warmers and still have a big hunk from the front of the sweater to work with.

These potholders and the longies below are from a great stripey sweater. Wouldn't these look great on a wee one?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mountain Bluebird

Here's a bird I don't/won't see in my region of the country. It's a mountain blue bird, seen west of the Rockies. Its song is similar to that of the Eastern blue bird; here's a link for the Cornell Ornithology site, where you can read about it and hear its song.

This morning when I was walking I heard a thrush. I don't know if it was a hermit thrush or a wood thrush, I was too far away to be able to distinguish the song - but it was wonderful to know that they are back for the summer. Here's a link to a post I wrote last summer about thrushes and it has a wonderful radio spot about the songs of thrushes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Here's a chickadee. There are 3 types of them in my guide to Eastern birds. This one is called the Black-Capped Chickadee and it's one of my all-time favorite birds. They are so small, cute and not too skittish, so if you sit still you can get rather close to them. I've heard of folks hand-feeding them, but I've never gotten that close. Here's a link from Cornell to hear them online. The last song in the list is typical of chickadees in my area. What do you hear? I was disappointed that a recording of the call was not included. It's a raspy "chicka-dee-dee-deee" where I live. I wonder if that changes with parts of the country as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Curly Little Girl and Rug Update

Here's a little sheep I started last night. She's kind of short and very curly, especially over her head, and she cracks me up. She's sitting on the rug I've been working on.

I only have about 6-8 inches left before it's done! I'm hoping to finish it this week.

You may be able to see one of the piles of sweaters that are waiting for me to get to work on them!
Have a great weekend!

Frugality Friday

I said it last week (I think) and I'll say it again: being part of the community who follows Frugal Girl has really helped me to be mindful of what is in my fridge and to use it before it goes to waste. I do confess that I had to let half a banana go to the compost because it was just too slimy to go into my smoothie, but I did use that other half and had a smoothie at lunch when I normally would not have. Then, yesterday morning, I had a hot cereal of rice and oats, and added strawberries along with my raisins and flax. If I hadn't done that, the rice and strawberries may have languished till they had to feed the compost, too.

All that said, I'm not sure how much I really count the stuff that languishes as waste, since it does go to compost, which eventually ends up nourishing us anyway.

Another happy frugality in action is that I've got a bit of my garden planted now. Last night my sweetie volunteered to cook so I could play in the garden, so now we have lettuce, snap peas, spinach, broccoli rabe, broccoli and swiss chard planted. I know I could have done this a month ago, but the days just go by too fast...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Goldfinch, Bluebird and a new Adventure

goldfinch song

I've been busy building up my inventory of birds for the spring and summer shows. Here's what I finished today. The links to hear the bird songs are under each photo. Enjoy!

Winter Caplanson from the Coventry Farmer's market is top-notch at spreading the work about our market, and her marketing strategies are key to the market's success. One of the strategies she uses is a Facebook page for the market. She has encouraged us vendors to make our own pages, so I did that today, as I've had a few uninterrupted hours (the Boy is out with Pepere). Here's the link to my page.

Now if I have any more time I will also try to write my spring newsletter!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recent Projects

Here's a chippy I made in preparation for my nature center/Earth Day shows next weekend.

And below is an American Kestrel, which is our smallest falcon, so small that it hunts crickets, among other things.

I'm going to try to post my spring calendar today. Ever have a day when it feels like you are moving through molasses? That's how I feel today, so we'll see if I can get blogger to cooperate with me. Hope you're having a smoother day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yellow Warbler

The pics are back!!! Mr. Real Photographer figured out a way to get the camera card to work, yipee!
So this guy is a yellow warbler, and you can listen to him here. I love that the description of his song is "sweet sweet sweet, I'm so sweet."
I made him last week, and he sold at the Litchfield Farmer's Market on Saturday to a really sweet little boy and his mom. I really enjoyed the market; it's in a beautiful space (the Litchfield Community Center) and the folks were very friendly. I don't expect anything else - the people who attend farmer's markets just seem to be the nicest folk.

Yesterday was the annual vendor's meeting for the Coventry Farmer's Market. As always, Winter and the other market masters had tons of great information for us, and it was good food and good fun.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red Letter Day at Sally's


Yesterday when I brought the Boy to his acting class, I stopped in at the Sally's across the street from the theater. I've run out of rug material and need more coats. Well, they didn't have any coats - darn! But they were having a bag sale on sweaters, and I found amazing wool sweaters for my work - stripes and Fair Isles and patterns of all kinds, and a few cashmeres and some solids. I got 2 bags, 21 sweaters in all, and paid only $15.98. Wowee!!!

Today I will felt them and I can't wait to start making things with them!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Questions

Still no pics...

Last night at church, my choir buddy shared with me a wonderful piece from a book she's reading called "The Discerning Heart". The part she shared was about finding God in everything - trees and rain and questions and people- and it was very beautiful. It made me think about my work. I need to be working to help pay the mortgage, and I need to be at home so I can homeschool with my guy, and I need to do work with my hands. So what I do fits all of those criteria. But I struggle with the question of is what I am doing good? Does it help people? I am, if anything, anti-consumerist, yet I need people to buy the things I make for this to work for me; so that is a conflict for me. I try to get around that by making things that are recycled, showing my concern for earth and helping others learn about recycling. Does what I do serve God? (It was easier to answer that question in my first career, nursing, and my second, mothering.) The only answer I have is that by bringing to people my imitations of God's creations, I hope that they are drawn to the awesome real Creator.

For Food Waste Friday, I can report again - no waste! It really has helped me, being part of this frugal community, to look in my fridge and eat what needs to be eaten before it goes by the by.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still No Photos

I'm still going sans photos, but wanted to share today's bird. I heard so many while I was out walking! I almost wanted to tell them to sing separately, so I could hear each one. At one point I heard one I didn't recognize, but a house wren nearby was calling so loudly I couldn't make out the one I was trying to hear. I wanted to tell it to Be Quiet! Sigh.

The newly returned bird I heard today was the Eastern Phoebe. It says its name, so it's pretty easy to identify. Here's the clip from Cornell, if you'd like to hear it.

Since I've been felting right-handed I've pretty much stuck to simpler birds, and I've gotten a good few done. But the organizer of the art show I'll be in in May asked me to be sure to bring along my "artier" pieces, and I'll want to have a bunch of really detailed birds. So yesterday I began work on a Northern Flicker and I was surprised to see that I can do the work well with both hands. We really are teachable beings, and that's such a comfort.