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{Crafting On} Quilt, Yarn and my very own Book!

 Hi there! So today I'm going to share with you a few finished projects (finished! hurray! ha!) for Crafting On with Frontier Dreams. The first being this little doll quilt for my Felicity doll, that is now my daughter's Felicity doll. Audrey turned 10 this month and so I decided it was time to pass down one of my childhood American Girl dolls to her.
   I ordered her one dress from this great etsy shop that sources tons of good quality and vintage American Girl Doll items, and also challenged myself to make a dress for the doll and a quilt and mattress and pillow set for a little bed we found at the antique mall. The mattress and pillow are made from simple red and white ticking, and the quilt is made up of triangles of heritage pattern fabrics (some of which came from our visit to Old Sturbridge Village, and others from a little quilt shop we have here in town).
   The quilting isnt the best, I admit--- I was on a time crunch, trying to get it all finished by the 10th. The backing of the quilt is the same red ticking of the mattress. At any rate, Felicity looks quite happy in her new set up and she's got her own spot in Audrey's room! These little projects make my heart fill all warm and fuzzy. I love being able to share this with Audrey, and am trying hard to be chill and not scare her off with my enthusiasm, haha!

  On the fiber front, this is the latest yarn off my wheel--- a fun color combo that reminds me of Mardi Gras! I got the roving at Fleece 'N Flax in Eureka Springs, AR. when I was there for the Eureka Fiber In The Ozarks retreat. I think it would make a great fluffy cowl. And I have plenty of time between now and next Mardi Gras to knit it up, dontcha think? ;)

  As for a book to share--- well, you know--- I cant resist! I want to show you MY BOOK! That is so amazing to say. My book. I have a book!
   I tell a little more about it and also have a giveaway in yesterday's post--- so please pop over there and see more and enter to win a FREE COPY!

   Writing and illustrating my own book has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I mean, prespelling kind of dream. I was writing gibberish books at a very young age. The first biography I wrote was my grandma's biography when she turned 50, lol, hopefully my spelling has improved since then.

  Having completed this process has me dreaming up new stories, but I think I will approach writing and illustrating differently in the future, especially since the way we do life has changed since I wrote and illustrated this book. First and foremost, I am mama here at home, and I am also mama the teacher as we continue our homeschool adventure. In all honesty its been hard for me to learn to balance what I want to do with what I need to do to make sure school and home life work best. I am having to take a deep breath and realize--- I cant do it all and to take it slow is ok. I dont want to be sorry in 10, 20 years that I was too distracted and stressed to truly enjoy my kids little years. Because although sometimes it feels like things will never calm down and be easy, I know one day, it will. One day my kids will be too big to want to cuddle with me, or read a book together, or need me to help them with a question in their school work. That is my life now, and it's ok ("it's ok! this is where you are!" that's what I tell myself.)

  But I still have things I want to make and projects to dream of. But now I know its ok if this all happens at a snail's pace.We will get there, eventually!~

What are you working on this week?
h

Out Now! Snow on Martinmas (and a giveaway!)


   Once upon a time I wrote a story about a beloved saint and the traditions that grew from his feast day. Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier, who had a chance encounter with a beggar that led him to rethink his life and faith, and ultimately become a monk....then a bishop....and finally, a saint!
  I spent a lot of time last year illustrating that story and now--- believe it or not--- it is PUBLISHED and it's A REAL BOOK! And I am SO excited to finally get to share Snow on Martinmas with YOU!

  The story opens in a snug English cottage where a grandma is making a dinner for Martinmas with her children. Since the holiday is a bit old and not as well known as many other feast days, the children don't know why the day is special. The Grandma tells the children all about the saint and all the things she did as a child on St. Martin's day, inspiring the children to celebrate in their own ways--- by doing things like making lanterns or playing soldier.
     I worked really hard on this for several months, but its still taken me a bit by surprise that its really here, all done, and ready to share! But I am so very excited to share this little book with you, and I hope you love it too.


  In honor of this big day, I am also giving away a FREE COPY of this book to one lucky winner! Just comment below to enter to win. If you'd like to increase your odds, share on social media and leave another comment telling me where you've shared! I will announce the winner on Saturday.

  And most of all, I hope that you love this book, I am proud of it and am so honored to have been given the chance to put it out into the world with Xist Publishing.

  Thanks so much--- and dont forget to comment!
Talk again soon--
H

{Crafting On} Lenten Shawl and Out Loud Reading


  In a decided effort to get better about blogging, I've decided to join Frontier Dreams with her Keep Calm and Craft On series, and show a little bit about the projects and good books we've been doing here at our house. This past school year has been a huge change for us, and we are finally finding our footing--- having changed from Public School to a homeschool/co-op situation. Also, my 'baby' is now a toddler' and while he can still act a little crazy, (a lot crazy) I am able to get a little more done that I was in the past.

   My latest knitting project is a Lenten Knit-Along with Willfulmina on Instagram. The project is one I started a little before Lent began, and is a sort of 'wing it' project, hahaha (aren't they all, when it comes to me?) Im using a skein of yarn that I dyed with madder root, and have faded in a nice skein of natural oatmeal colored yarn from my friend Lavonne. Once I've used up that skein I'm wanting to add a dark blue section and try (try) to do a picot bind-off. I've got less than a month until Easter....wish me luck! ;)

   A book we just finished as a read-aloud is this ADORABLE little book "The Mouse of Amherst" about a mouse that lives in Emily Dickinson's home and learns to write poetry. Inside it has simple ink illustrations and is less than 100 pages long. We read the whole thing in 2 sittings, and its a great book for a child trying to ease into chapter books.
   At the end there's a biography of Emily Dickinson and I was surprised how enthralled Audrey was with it all (she's not as much into the old timey stuff as I am 'that's not my style' she tells me, her Tasha Tudor mama). She wants to visit the Dickinson home on our summer trip out east and hey, Im just thrilled she's excited about doing it!

  And so, that's what we're up to right now--- although I always have about 15 other projects Im wanting to do. Another is make a Dottie Angel apron I bought the pattern for, and also to start a simple quilt with the fabric I dyed with the madder root a while back. And of course, knit another shawl! It's always something!

Hope you get a little crafty time today! And you can follow along with the Keep Calm and Craft On blogs here at Frontier Dreams.

Til next time,
H

Tasha Tuesday: Spring Chickens


   I never had chickens growing up. I honestly didnt know much about them, although they appealed to me--- especially little fluffy footed bantams. And the idea of having your own eggs, just right outside your door, seemed like such fun!
   From reading Tasha Tudor's books and seeing photos and documentaries on her life, I could tell that Tasha had an affinity for chickens. Whether she was giving the barnyard rooster a haircut for her latest marionette, or drawing baby chicks for Easter scenes, it was obvious that Tasha had a love for these little feathered creatures!

   This past fall, as fate would have it, we inherited a chicken coop. My daughter, always eager to add one more critter to our ever expanding 'urban homestead' (which Im sure we qualify as, now!) was eager to start her own flock. I was nervous though--- as the one who usually ends up being the sole caregiver of such homestead--- and concerned about another mess to clean and mouths to feed. But she persisted. And then there we were, at the feed store looking at sweet little cheep-cheeping faces and....well....

Oh, Tasha was right! These chickens have become my darlings. I daresay I love them more than the children do--- well, perhaps just a smidge. They love them a lot too. We began with older chicks, who had already lost their fuzz and had feathers. I was concerned that, since we bought them in the autumn, they might get too cold once the weather turned.
  We began with three bantams--- Angelica, Eliza--- and Peggy! Inspired by the Hamilton musical, of course! A couple of months in though, Eliza showed signs that she was, ahem, Elijah. And her cockadoodle-doos, soon began to ring throughout the neighborhood! We also ended up with a 'mystery chicken' that a granny was talked into buying at the feed store, and this big white bird is named Midge, and she is now the leader of the flock.
  The noise from our rooster was getting frequent though, and we knew we couldnt keep him in town. Thankfully we were able to rehome our proud rooster at Audrey's co-op, which raises small animals and we came upon a local feed store that sells not only chicks, but mature pullets! We decided to go with the pullets, so that we knew for certain we were getting ladies, and brought home two Easter Eggers. They were soon named Martha Washington and Betsy Ross! And darling Betsy, ever industrious, gifted us with a perfect mint green egg the very next day!

  So now, our yard is scattered with chickens and luckily the cats have all decided these strange birds are mama's and not meant for eating. I now have a new appreciation for all the little chickens and other birds Tasha used within her illustrations, and will also smile at the memory of meeting the chickens from Tasha's grand daughter's flock when we went to tour the home a few summers ago.

   Of course, at this time of year, chicks and chickens are a sign of the coming Easter season, and its the perfect time to bring out the spring themed Tasha Tudor books. Robbie and I have been reading through "1 is one" for counting, and Tasha's book "A Time To Keep" is always a great book to cuddle up with, as it goes through all the seasons.

  And so, that sounds like a good plan to me--- a thumb through Tasha's pretty spring books and a big cup of tea. Its sunny here today, and very very warm! The tulips are even blooming. Spring, I think, is here to stay. Here's hoping that this is a nice quiet spring day, and we get another round of pretty eggs! Wishing you a wonderful early spring day as well.....

  And of course, as always---
Take Joy!~
h