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New Original: A Mother's Prayer

    A few days ago I finished up a new painting, and although I was a little nervous about how it was going, I think it ended up looking nice. This is "A Mother's Prayer", and depicts a young women with a little baby, standing before an icon of Mary and the Christ Child. In the shadowy background you can just make out other icons in the candle light....but standing before the icon, that is the true source of the light.

    This piece came to be out of my sketch book....and I have been drawing and sketching even more at the table this cold morning. We are expecting freezing rain that turns to snow at, of course, just about the time of school pick up! Im planning to bake a chicken for dinner and have candles going (and the kettle, of course) it is a quiet, gray day good for sketching and painting.

    This new little painting is now available in my etsy shop, and I'm thinking about Lent and Easter and spring art. There are plans for a spring open house in the works with my friends at Blue Heron. But for now....I'm watching the frostiness outside and enjoying my little potted plants inside. I got this African Violet at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and it's blooming like mad...I love the light edges of the dark purple blooms. I've got my photo of the family from St. Petersburg resting against it...I just love looking at the photo, it makes me so happy. I still wonder each day who they were...

   And now, time to brew some more tea. Change out the laundry (always, its never ending...) do the dishes, sit down to my sketch book. Each painting is done one sketch, one mark at a time...

Til the next post,
Take Joy!

{Crafting On} Gnomes & Weaving

  Good morning, friends! Hope you are well!~ Today I thought I'd join Frontier Dreams for her Crafting On series and show a bit of what I've been working on this week....as always, I have about 25 projects going on at once, but these are a few of my favorites :D

   I just finished these little gnomes for my son to give him tomorrow as a St Valentine's Day treat! I got the idea from Sugarhouse Workshop, as she has a tutorial on making little Waldorf gnomes on her website. I highly recommend it! They were simple and a pleasure to create. I used some my dyed wool for rug hooking and wool applique for their hats and capes and I love the earthy colors of them. This wool is a bit of a hoarded stash for 'someday' projects but I decided "well, I have a project NOW and I'll use it!" So, here they are....I also painted a little paper mache box I had on hand to look like a little cabin to store them in. So they have a house as well :D

   I'm also thrilled and very relieved to have the loom up and running again with a fresh warp. I have decided that warping a loom is very much an activity that takes a village. I have tried to do it on my own, but I cant get the tension right. Luckily my mother-in-law used to weave a lot and she was able to come over and help me get this thing operational. It is still a bit of a work in process--- when I got the loom it didnt have its crank any longer, and to buy another one is about $80-- at least. And, well, I just can't bring myself to spend $80 on a crank! So I do it by hand ;) seems to work alright! This is what I've got on the loom right now:

   I've woven a tartan style cowl for myself, and at the moment I'm just playing around with some multi-colored yarn that I handspun myself, and I like the colors its weaving up. Looking at it here, it sorta goes with my gnomes, doesnt it? Maybe I should sew it up as a little gnome bed to put in their cabin when I get the whole warp woven and cut off the loom.

   I think on my next warp, though, I'm going to cheat....you can tie a new warp onto an old one by tying the old strings and the new ones together and then winding it all on again...that way there's no need to re-thread it all. Isnt that deviously clever? (I did not come up with this old idea, haha, but I'm happy to swipe it!)

   As well as a multitude of projects, I'm always reading a multitude of books (or simply hoarding them!) but the latest one on top of my reading pile is this new-ish biography of the Romanov sisters, called, well, The Romanov Sisters. I've just started but its very well written and very readable. The story of the Romanovs and old Russia is a fascination I've had since I was a teenager, so when I came upon this book at a bargain book store I couldn't just leave it there, you know?

   And on top of all this...I am painting a bit! And always sending out orders! I also just made a fresh order for new prints and restocking much beloved prints, and those will all be in the shop ASAP!

   thanks so much for your visit today!~ Talk more soon,

Homespun Kitchen Pursuits

   I'm not really one for New Year's Resolutions, but the coming a new year does inspire me to make fresh plans and come up with new ideas for how I'd like to spend my time, money and energy.  One small idea has turned into a bit of a kitchen project for me, because I've decided to try to buy and consume less plastic in our grocery shopping.
   It came about, too, as I've started a weekly bread baking session, and wanted something quick and easy to store my bread in that also wasn't plastic. After spending a week clumsily wrapping and re-wrapping my bread in kraft paper, it struck me that I needed a BAG for this bread! I also felt like I needed some reusable little sacks that I could produce in when I bought it at the store. And so, a little sewing project happened one night, with some ticking I had on hand (another goal for 2019? Use the craft supplies I already have!)

   These are the bags I made, and I am pretty pleased with how they turned out! I made some loaf sized to contain bread, and also some small or longer ones that can hold produce while buying at the store. I was so proud yesterday when I was able to use NO plastic sleeves at all for my produce, just my little bags....

   Making them was relatively easy, just a little more work than a simple pillow case. I folded the ticking into the shape I wanted (square or rectangle) and sewed the bottom and one side together, leaving about 2 inches at the opening unsewn. Then I folded the opening into a loose hem with the side open so that I could run a red cotton yarn string through it for a draw string. I tied the ends of the strings together so they wouldnt fall out and voila! My bread and produce bags are ready to use! I'm even thinking I need more....

   Now when I make my bread, I will have something handy and easy to use to store it in. If I put the bread in the bag and then put it in my metal bread box, it keeps very nicely and doesn't go hard or stale. This is a simple white bread (sometimes with a little wheat flour added) that is good with savory or sweet things. I like it with a bit of butter and honey or jam, or as sandwich or dinner bread. I am planning on sharing my recipe I use in my upcoming newsletter if you'd like to sign up!

   And as if they knew there were some goings-on happening in the kitchen, my little flock suddenly started laying again with a vengeance, with two of last year's chicks now able to lay. Our 'naked-necker', Elvira, has started to lay the most lovely, olive green eggs! That is because her mother was an Americauna, which are known for their pastel colored eggs. She is so funny.....the most interesting girl in the yard, for sure, with her bare neck but head of black 'hair' as if she were a flapper from the '20s!
    We are now totally supplied with eggs, although I think that will depend on the weather in the next month or so....we get terribly cold days, and then romanced with days near 60 degrees! My daffodils have been tricked too, and have started coming up. But there's always a surprise cold winter day before spring really comes to stay.

   Well, I better get started with this day! I hope you are well and warm! And if you have any ideas on how to limit consumption of plastic in daily life, please share! I'd so appreciate it!~
til then,
Take Joy!