Today She Said. . .

. . .just before crossing the street to school, “Mama, I think I have some orange juice stickins’ on my face.”

“Stickins”?   Hope that’s not on the spelling test.

Happy, happy Friday!

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Craft Show Sneak Peak, Part II

I am ready and patiently waiting.  The weather forecast is good.  And I have many new PK Handmade things to share with you.

Here, bracelets in all colors.  Earrings too.

And button rings just for fun.

There will also be playing-card garlands.  For those of you have seen these before, they go fasty fast.  Plus some new card designs and unique gift items.  And of course  journals for recording your child’s school year or upcoming holiday memories and hair clips in new Autumn designs.  But I can’t show you everything now.  For that you will have to visit me at Kaneville Fest this Saturday (by the Community Center) or Sunday (by the historic buildings), August 28 and 29.  And tell me you read the blog.  I’d love to meet you!

Hope to see you!

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Growing Place

Yes, another garden inspired field trip, this time to the Growing  Place in Montgomery.  More cool ideas for your, or my,  garden.  Here, and old window painted bright green is framed between fence posts and mounted with a planter box overflowing with succulents.  What a great garden-room divider.

Loved these rusty iron “branches” strung with colored crystal (plastic) beads.  They bob and sway when the wind blows and catch the light.

P loved the fairy gardens so we will have to make one.

More rusty iron, this time mounted on a barnwood door.

And a very cool laser cut spade.

Think I shall work in our garden a bit now that the weather is more comfortable.  Enjoy your day.

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sycamore Steam Show, Part 2

This is perhaps one of my favorite parts of the Steam Show, the chance to see from start to finish, how things were done 100 or so years ago.   The owners of these giant and really quite beautiful farm implements come from all over the area for the chance to share a bit of their farming history and to see, in this case,  their steam engine  in action.

We followed this “iron horse” as it pulled up to fill with coal and then silently rolled over to be inspected before having a chance to thresh a wagon-full of wheat.  The entire family was involved.  Mom was a spotter making sure no one walked in front of this quietly rolling hulk of iron.  Dad shoveled coal.  And daughters rode along.

See that black horizontal stripe?  That is an enormously long , thick canvas (?) belt that is attached to the smaller wheel on the side of the steam engine.  You can see it in the photo above.  When that wheel turns, the strap which is attached to the thresher (or corn shucking machine or wood saw) on the other end,  gives it power.  There is still a lot of man-power involved with all this technology.  Someone had to cut the hay and bundle it and stack if on the wagon and then fork it onto the thresher.

Ancient and rusty gears and pulleys on the thresher.

Black coal smoke from the “iron horse” in action and freshly threshed chaff.  The wheat is separated from the stalk in the thresher and collected in the red wagon.

The pile grows,

And grows.

The wagon is empty.  It took perhaps fifteen minutes.

I was just fascinated.  Hope you enjoyed the process too.

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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BTS Today

The backpack has been located.  Supplies have been delivered to the classroom.  Lunch has been made.  Photos have been taken.  The bell has rung.  Now what do I do?

I’m sure I’ll have it figured out by noon.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Little Hands Working

Such. . .


Published in: on August 17, 2010 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday’s Field Trip

This past Friday we took our annual visit to Sycamore for the Steam Show and Threshing Bee.  I have come to really look forward to this day in the country, learning how things used to be done before modern technology made things faster and more efficient for farmers.   When I am  there I am always reminded not only of my husband’s family history of farming, but also of my uncle who was a fruit farmer in California, and my grandpa who worked on a farm in Michigan as a young boy.  They both would have enjoyed this day.  I miss them both.

If you remember the children’s books by Richard Scarey,  especially What People Do Storybook, the Steam Show will show you what the book illustrates from threshing wheat all the way to grinding it into flour.  Growing up I loved these books and it has been fun re-reading them with P.  We like to trace with a finger the “path”  the wheat takes in the story “Where Bread Comes From”.

Row upon row of tractors, and farmers and their families walking among them to see what’s old.  They gather here every year  for a chance to use their, in some cases, 100 year old farm equipment, as it would have been used when these were the height of technology.  My favorite part of the day is the “noon whistle “, when every implement with a whistle or horn or bell, sounds it for several seconds.  It is the coolest cacaphony of sounds, I can’t even describe it.  Back in the day though, this was the lunch signal for farm hands to come out of the fields to eat.

Farmers visiting and sharing stories, wearing denim and plaid, shirts tucked in always, caps on.

Hay wagon waiting to be threshed.

P fell in love with a five-day-old calf.

There is a flea market and gathering of artisans, soapmaking, loom-weaving.  This woman shared that her pieces are woven out of old clothing, blue-jeans and chenille bedspreads.  Recycled beauty.

This steam engine is being driven by father and son.  They have just filled their engine with coal (the black stuff in the foreground) and water.  Now they will take their turn threshing wheat, or shucking corn, or sawing wood.

There was even a steam powered water pump.  Couldn’t just turn on the faucet.

What a great lesson.  I learn something new every year.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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. . .this last weekend before school begins.  So perhaps no photos today.  Just these words from our girl, who asked,

“Mama, have you ever gotten your feathers in a bunch?”

Oh dear.

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Garden Inspiration

A couple weeks ago, my mom, P and I took a birthday field trip to Blumen Gardens in Sycamore.  My mother-in-law introduced me to it seven or so years ago on a cold, drizzly late spring day just before P was born.  It was beautiful then, even on that raw day.  And this time rain was threatening.  That sort of makes everything more serene and calming in a riot of blooming things, when colors and birds and bugs (good bugs, of course) could take over.   And now, with the changes and additions it is just that much more inspiring.

I am a visual  girl (really, I worked for a large Chicago based department store doing visual display), and this place just gets it right every time.  I love the mix of vintage and new, found and repurposed items to highlight a vignette.  (Ever been to my house?)  Here, gorgeous blue hydrangeas and concrete hearts.

An old manufacturing plant with exposed brick and steel beams and huge expanses of glass serves as retail space as well as for special events.

Oh. My.  If only I had a wall that large in my home.

This space was new to me this year.  Imagine hosting an event here.

There were  billows of hydrangeas blooming everywhere in great cloud-like tufts,

and goldfinches all over these sunflowers.  I wish you could have seen and heard them.  Such sweet little chirps.

Perfectly weathered doors and more hydrangeas.

Can’t wait to visit this fall, my favorite season, when everything is golden and harvest-inspired.

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (3)  
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And Sometimes We Make Things Together

It was her idea to get out the Air-Dry Clay a couple days ago.  First we gathered our supplies: cookie cutters, play-doh tools, rolling pins, a crochet doilie.

Then we set to work.  Notice the ‘we’.  Yes I had to join in too so away went the computer, or book, or grocery list, what ever I was working on at the time.  This is my favorite kind of creating, no rules, no time limits.  The only thing you need is your imagination.  She had very specific ideas about what to make and to whom she would give the finished product.

I used cookie cutters and added texture with lace, shells, silverware, burlap.  Sometimes I need a day to get back to the basics, play with simple supplies and see where it takes me.  Now I want to make more, with my youthful muse by my side of course.

That was fun.  Thanks P!

Published in: on August 10, 2010 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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