Monday, December 31, 2012

Swedish Secret

My Swedish friend May just let me in on a little kids-in-cold-weather secret.  I was lamenting about the gap above the top of Emmett's parka collar, and how blowing snow seems somehow magnetized to that tender spot. So she showed me how she had tied a handkerchief around her son Fisher's neck to keep the snow and breezes out, and said that that is how they all do it in Sweden.  So simple, and so genius!
Today Emmett and Markus tried it, and it turns out to be a great idea for multiple reasons: it can't get tangled, or wrapped too tight like a scarf, and it also can't fall off, it is totally adjustable to different size necks, and the cotton cloth is soft and not itchy against sensitive baby skin.  Also, they are cheap, and readily available, and easy to wash. Thanks May, and thanks Sweden!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas From Campestral And A Joyful DIY!

 Happy Christmas Eve everyone!  I have already had my post-Christmas-busy-season-crash, which was marked by almost one full day of sitting around in my pajamas and staring at the wall.  I also managed to squeeze in a quick cold too, and now I'm back on my feet and ready to take on some much ignored (not so fun) life administration and (fun) projects.  Here is a quick little holiday decorating DIY that is simple and quick enough to do with little helpers, as long as you keep them away from the X-Acto knife.  Here is what you'll need:
 You could actually just use scissors instead, if you want to make it more kid-friendly.  And the paper is a sheet of card stock with a layer of book pages glue-sticked to each side.  If you want to be holiday appropriate you could use a sheet of Christmas carolling music, or a holiday themed book.  
 Now just write your letters on your glued book page paper.  You can do any word you want, or you could do your family members' initials, or 2012, or 2013, or anything that grabs you.  And you can get the kiddos involved here.  Mine was very helpful.
   Next you are going to cut out your letters, either with scissors or with your Ex-Acto like so:
Now if you want to be neat about it you can erase all of the pencil marks from around the edge of your letters.  It took me two tries to write a decent J, so I had to do some erasing.
Now all that is left is punching a hole, or poking a hole with a thumbtack or nail, and stringing through a loop of some kind of string to hang them with.  You could also hook them on one long piece of cord together to make a garland to hang on your mantel or in a doorway.  And you're done!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out there, and may your days be merry and bright!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Surprise Generosity From Down Under

 In the past year I have become friends with quite a few fantastic and talented people through my Fiddleheads shop on Etsy.  Last week I got a surprise Christmas care package from Lesa of LesaLikes, full of yummy Australian treats, like the malt balls pictured above.  Isn't that so sweet?  It gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling all week.  Lesa makes beautiful colorful brooches made from antique lace, felt and wood.  There's one in the photo below.  Click here to see some more of her whimsical and feminine work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cookies

Emmett is finally getting old enough to be interested in kitchen projects. He likes measuring, pouring, and mixing the ingredients, the rolling pin, and all the flour everywhere.  It is a total free-for-all, but it is fun.
Thanks so much to everyone who came over for the open studio on Sunday!  It was so fun to see you all, and really great to reconnect with some old old friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Work For This Weekend's Open Studio, (Plus Coupon Codes For Online Shopping!)

I'm really looking forward to my open studio this Sunday.  I've been busy making lots of new work, and I can't wait to get people's reactions to it.  Also, my studio really needs cleaning, and the only time it seems like I can motivate to do a good job is to first invite over everyone I know.  Here is a little sampling of some of the new work I'll be offering this Sunday.  And remember, everything will be 20% off retail price, PLUS 20% of the profits will be donated to Emmett's preschool, The Little School in Weston, VT.
 I hope you can make it to the Open Studio, which is This Sunday, the 9th, from 11-5 (or later), 256 Haywood Rd, Chester.  But if you don't happen to be in rural Southern Vermont,  or those hours just don't work for you I am offering a 20% discount on my everything on both of my websites from now until the end of the day on the 9th.  Just enter the coupon code OPENSTUDIO when you check out on both and!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun With School Lunch

I've been getting creative with cookie cutters for Emmett's lunch.  Here is what went with him in the panda lunchbox today: Polar Bear on a Melting Icecap.  Should be a great talking point for jump starting the conversation about global warming in The Sunshine Room!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This year Emmett is finally old enough to get into some of the rituals of Christmas, which is really fun.  And we are in the middle of perpetrating the Santa Claus story on him too, which is really odd and hilarious.  "Well, you see, there's this guy, with a red suit, some flying reindeer, and a sleigh. . . "  Poor kid looks pretty confused (rightly so) about the whole Santa scenario.  
But mythical stories aside, we went out and chopped down an actual tree (by "we" read "TH" when it came to the chopping down part) this weekend, wrestled with getting the lights to work, and managed to trim the tree as a family.  Emmett LOVED it.  He kept saying: "we're decorating the tree!!" and racing back to the ornament box to hang yet another ornament on the same heavily drooping branch.
It was pretty darn cute.  And it made me feel so happy to hang so many homemade ornaments or ornaments made by friends, folks like Jeni from Odette NY, Nick from Tsuga Studios, and Sasha from What, No Mints? And we still use the little origami paper light covers that my friend Mohammed taught us all how to make at a tree trimming party in our old Brooklyn apartment.  It's so special to hang all of our ornaments with a personal story, and now we even have a few beauties made by Emmett, and I'm sure there will be many more to come!
So we are enjoying the holidays so far, in our quiet way.  I'm still working like a dog (don't know why people say that, since our dog does is not exactly the picture of industry) but am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And luckily I enjoy my work (perhaps preferred with a little more moderation) and feel very happy with the idea that so many people out there will be exchanging one of my pieces with a loved one this holiday season.  That is pretty amazing.
 I hope you all can steal a moment or two every day to stare at your tree, preferably with a glass of something bubbly in hand.  Tis the season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Last of the Green Things

I am very proud of these brussels sprouts, because I grew them from seed.  Brussels sprouts have a very long growing season, so they can be hard to grow up here where the gardening season is relatively short.  So most years I try to grow a few of the slower growing things from seed, winter squash, melons, leeks, and mostly fail.  Usually my little seedlings are so puny by the time it is time to put them in the ground that they are pretty much doomed to fail.  But not this time!  Most of the sprouts are pretty small, much smaller than you'd get in a store, but they are very tasty.

The top picture is one of the leaves from the brussels sprout plant that went astray on its way to the compost pile.  I found it the next morning covered in frost.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wreath Decorating

 Carolyn and I went to a wreath decorating class in Chester last week, and now I have a wreath up next to my door at the earliest point in the season ever.  The lovely woman who was running the seminal foraged all kinds of natural items from the woods and fields for us to use.  There was also ample gold and silver spray paint on hand to add a little sparkle, because sometimes you just have to spray paint something gold.

Friday, November 23, 2012


A quick photo recap of Thanksgiving with friends.  So thankful to have them, and that they are here for the weekend.