christmas shopping: local indie craft fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a glorious syrup-filled waffle brunch, a few of our friends braved the rainy (hopefully soon-to-be snowy) weather with us, and arrived at the Maine Irish Heritage Center where Picnic was raging on! This craft fair/music festival/yeti sighting location (a yeti – seriously, check out their website) was swarming with damp, rosy-cheeked, and chatty shoppers. It was a joyous scene to be a part of – meeting local craftspeople, listening to their stories and to the festive music, and sipping on some fresh coffee. One of the vendors, Merchants Row, sold these striking puzzles and paintings – he had designed and then printed images on regionally-sourced and hand-carved wood in the shape of the counties in Maine and a sailor out at sea. Loads of special holiday gifts and pleasant company. Hope you enjoyed a (rainy or otherwise) lovely weekend as well!

big e & warm little heads

Yesterday Graham and I ventured down to the BIG E – an event I hadn’t attended in about a decade and have been craving to add to my autumnal indulgences this year. The day was filled with llamas, sheep, hatching chicks, baked potatoes, large pumpkins, canned jams and glorious New Englandiness – aaand we got to spend time with my parents and sister! Our favorites were the state houses and animal barns. And no, we did not try the fried butter. We also didn’t take any pictures while we were there, so I thought I’d share these with you:

a few of my projects from the summer and two of the sweet little heads they ended up on –

Couldn’t be any cuter. Have a lovely week!

pottery

My mom and sister used to take pottery classes at Canton Clay Works and made soooo many beautiful bowls, plates, mugs, you name it. This lucky girl, in scavenging the house for apartment goods for the fall, was gifted their ‘reject’ stash, which is so far from needing to be rejected – the discarded pottery is worthy of an etsy site that I keep not-so-subtly hinting for them to start.

My mom’s signature on the bottom of one of her mixing bowls.

Seester’s signature.

I found a pottery studio that offers classes in Portland… here. If I have time outside of a full-time job and pre-reqs, I’m tempted to try my hand at the wheel too – or I’ll just keep pushing my mom and sister for the etsy site so I can buy from them.

Can you tell I’m excited for Maine in September?!

knitting in the heat of summer

I am presently casting on in the humidity of mid-July. This is how inspired I was by Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, a book that my mom let me borrow.

I was already laughing out loud by the introduction. To quote the review on the back of the book, “Really? A laugh-out-loud book about hand knitting?” Well yes, really. Apparently the author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is a big deal in the blogging world. Being so ridiculously brand new to this “blogging world,” knitting, and many many other things that I’ve been trying out lately, I had no idea. You can find her blog here. The particular passage that got me so inspired wasn’t all that funny, it just struck a chord with me:

“It really does seem so simple. Knitting is only two stitches, knit and purl, yet with those two ordinary acts we knitters can take a ball of yarn and a couple of pointy sticks and create something useful and beautiful. An average sweater takes god-only-knows-how-many stitches to make, each one of them a simple act… I know it looks like a hat, but really, it’s four hours at the hospital, six hours on the bus, two hours alone at four in the morning when I couldn’t sleep because I tend to worry. It is all those hours when I chose to spend time warming another person. It’s giving them my time – time that I could have spent on anything, or anyone, else. Knitting is love, looped and warm.”

Stephanie also goes on to describe an event that I personally experienced as a newbie knitter last holiday season, which is apparently referred to by knitting veterans as It. Remember when I was all excited about my first knitting project? Well, after that positive accomplishment, I went to my favorite knitting store in SF and stocked up on all the yarn, needles, and patterns to knit the entirety of my holiday gift list. I should have known when I heard someone casually joking about their fledgling ambition across the store, “I remember when I thought I was going to knit all of my holiday gifts that first year, HA” that there might be a little problem in my planning. Let’s just say that my mom found me bleary-eyed in the basement on Christmas morning… still knitting. The official term for this delirious dedication to hand-knit gifts coupled with poor planning is It.

Did I learn? I suppose I developed some speed and a better understanding of how long certain projects take to complete, but here I am, planning to make most of my gifts for this holiday season. And I’m glad that I will have hilarious company in that effort, now that I’ve read this book, and know that I am far from the only one out there.

I’m casting on now, mid-July, in an effort to avoid doing It again. Wish me luck.

Projects

I’m very proud to announce that I have finished my first knitting project: a rolled-edge hat. It’s a bit too small for a woman’s head (since I was pretty impatient and didn’t exactly follow the pattern to the suggested full measurements) but I love it.

I love that winding string around sticks actually produces useful clothing! I also find knitting very soothing and meditative despite my beginner’s skill level. Handling such wonderful earthy materials- wood & wool – in a repetitive motion creates a soft rhythm for calm reflection and gentle productivity. On to the next project!

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I’m in love

with a blog.

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It’s filled with such adorable homemade ideas and images… and so many happy reminders of my childhood- digging through Mom’s collection of buttons, learning to cook, splattered paint from afternoon projects.

I happened upon this site while searching for knitting patterns to aid in my most recent endeavor: teaching myself how to knit. My mom and grandma showed me how to knit and purl when I was younger but my clumsy fingers don’t seem to remember much. I’ve been knitting my way through an instructional book in preparation for projects I’ll be tackling from the passenger seat on the drive from California to Connecticut.