I marked the calendar today. Our first day getting out, rock hunting, rock throwing, sitting and enjoying the sun and the reflections of the water as it bubbled past. The elements fell into alignment this afternoon, warm, sunny and only a slight breeze, so we jumped into the car and drove to one of the nearby rivers for some casual exploring.
It's all still pretty bare, hardly any signs of green shoots coming up and only the faint sound of birds, but the sun was shining and it was WARM and it felt like a celebration.
We looked for items to bring home and draw in our Nature Journals. Little Brother found an animal bone, Middle Brother brought home a dried flower, Big Brother found a beautiful twisted branched and Sister brought home a leaf that reminds me of Lamb's Ear.
And, of course, we found rocks, lots of rocks. Looking for rocks with white lines through them...
looking for ones to make the colors of the rainbow...
and looking for heart-shapes...
Yellow-branched shrubs lined the highest parts of the riverbed, making a stark contrast with the otherwise drab surroundings.
The kids found sticks that became swords or guns or simply for dragging through the sand.
We heard some geese overhead and I managed to get a quick shot...
Faces were beginning to feel rosy and our rock bag was getting too heavy to carry so it meant time to go home. But, I felt content, knowing we're done with winter and that we have many rock-hunting river days ahead of us!
Let's just say it's a balance problem. If I'm making regular posts, reading blogs and commenting, then the laundry isn't done.
If the laundry is SO done that I'm wandering the house looking for more things to wash, then I haven't been posting or reading or commenting.
Add to that a washer that gave out and multiple trips to the laundromat
waiting for the new (very cool front-loading machine) to arrive and my blog posting is all out of whack ;)
I can't seem to manage to do both things at once, it's either one or the other. So, from my absence for the last week (or two?) you can rightly assume that laundry baskets are empty and drawers are full of fresh clothing and all's well in laundry-land. Phew! Now, to get back to posting....
Last year, we started a project in a corner of our backyard and it's *almost* finished. My husband built us a studio/school room/get-away spot. I'm so excited I get butterflies every time I walk in that red door! We really needed an area away from our living room to get messy with crafts and art projects. Our dining room table was in constant use - eat breakfast, clear table for drawing project, clear table for history project, clear table for lunch, clear table for folding laundry, clear table for painting, clear table for dinner... I'm sure many of you know how it is. So, we're all thrilled to have a place to go to, solely devoted to artistic and creative pursuits. I purchased a crocheted rug ($4!) at the thrift store a while ago to use in the studio
and also this trash can at a flea market.
I can't believe I finally get to pull them out of storage and put them to use :) I imagine it will still be a couple of weeks before all the last bits are done, but we've already been hanging out back there and getting the feel of it. I'll keep you posted with our progress!
When we were visiting the gallery the other day, we learned they were offering a free weaving class hosted by Minnesota artist/instructor Becka Rahn. To my chagrin, I've never really been excited about weaving. I tend to pursue crafts that are not only creative and beautiful, but have a practical aspect as well. Weaving, to me, meant wall-hangings, and, well, I just don't need a wall-hanging. But, we've enjoyed getting out lately and this was a free class for the family, so I thought, what the heck, let's go ;) Well, we had so much fun and Becka showed us such an easy technique that I must say I'm now a convert. I still don't need a wall-hanging, but I've discovered there are many other practical uses for weaving, i.e. rugs, place mats, coasters, etc. I thought I'd share with you the technique we were taught. This is appropriate for any beginner (there was even a 3 1/2 year old at the class).
yarn, as many colors as desired styrofoam tray (like a meat tray) scissors masking tape something to use as a shuttle (a popsicle stick, a bone tool, etc.) large plastic needle
1. Tape one end of yarn to the backside of the tray at the bottom corner as shown.
2. Wrap the yarn around the tray, back to front, until the whole tray is wrapped. Try to make the wraps equally spaced apart and finish with an even number of wraps. In this photo, I've wrapped around 8 times.
3. Turn the tray over to the front. The parallel lines you've just created is the warp. Now, cut some yarn about the length of your arm. You can use a new color or keep it the same. Tape one end of the yarn to your "shuttle". In the class, we used popsicle sticks, but at home I used one of our clay sculpting tools.
4. You're ready to start! Place the shuttle over or under (doesn't matter which) the first yarn and continue going over/under pulling the yarn through. Leave a nice sized tail.
5. If the shuttle finished by going over the last yarn, then go under the same yarn when you return and vice versa.
6. The yarn being woven through the warp is the weft. When you've used your length of yarn, cut, leave a tail, and tape on a new piece of yarn. Anytime you want to change colors, use the same technique. Again, if the shuttle finished by going over the last yarn, then start the new yarn by going under. If you finished under, then start by going over.
7. Here, I'm changing yarn colors. I'm using a bone tool as a shuttle and instead of taping the yarn, I'm just tying it through the hole.
8. I'm finished with the weaving part.
9. Turn the tray over and cut the thread through the center and un-tape the ends to release your weaving.
10. Now, you're ready to tie up all those loose ends!
11. Knot off the warp ends (the ones on the top and bottom) by tying in pairs.
12. The knot-tails can then be threaded through the weaving using your plastic needle. Don't do this step if you want to leave the threads for fringe.
12. Next, thread your plastic needle with a tail from the side and thread it through the length of the weaving. Continue until all tails are nicely tucked in.
13. All done!
Now, to give it a practical purpose, how about a nice cup of tea using your new woven coaster ;)
We had a nice break from our regular routine and went with our little homeschool group for another docent tour at one of the local galleries. This one was called The Seditious Stitch. The artists in the show seek to demonstrate that fiber arts, usually relegated to domestic and decorative craft, can be on par with modernist painting and sculpture.
Pieces above and below by artist Sheila Hicks
Work by Stephen Sollins...
Artist Hildur Bjarnadottir stitched "moss" on this tablecloth...
Sitting in the middle of "Lost in the Tall Grass: Sunday" by local artist Stephanie Marvel...
Sister trying her hand at weaving...
Our docent had a small activity for the kids afterwards - gluing a variety of yarn, in any inspired pattern, to a piece of black construction paper. The kids enjoyed the tour and it was nice for me to be able to sit back and let someone else be in charge for a bit ;) I enjoyed being a "bystander" and observing the kids in a different setting. I was able to concentrate on picture-taking and absorb all the creativity on display. Very relaxing and a good outing for all of us!