The Great Outdoors

We live in Maine. It gets cold. It snows. Sometimes it snows a lot and gets really cold. So far we have had just that kind of winter. Lucky for us we love to get out in it and play!

A few days after Christmas we took a little trip to Boston to skate on Frog Pond. We are not city savvy so it was an adventure for us. It was a blast though. It happened to be a warm 0 degrees in Boston that week. You could say we headed south to warm up because Maine was in the double digit negatives! Despite the cold though we had a wonderful time. 1228171351_resized

The girls have started cross country ski lessons again. I snowshoe while they ski. I enjoy walking in the woods, thinking, and seeing nature up close. Winter gives everything a different look. My husband bought snowshoes this year so we have been going out together at times.

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The place we go to a lot has a nice warming Yurt. It really is nice on these extremely cold days to be able to go inside to thaw out.

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I would love to go to some different places here in Maine. I know about the Maine Huts to Trails. We have never gone but would love to. I am more interested in finding some trails that are free! If you know of any could you let me know?

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Yesterday we trudged through the woods with our ice skates in hand and skated on frozen pools throughout the woods. It was so beautiful and the ice was so smooth. The air was cold, but the sun was shining. I didn’t get any pictures! That’s okay though, we were in the moment, and enjoying every bit of it. This is why winter is one of my favorite seasons. There is time to enjoy the outdoors. There are minimal outdoor chores to do. I love the crisp clean air. No humidity. Once you get moving you stay warm. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy this beautiful season!

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Public, Private, Charter, Home?

My oldest daughter is 14. She has been homeschooling all her life. It is getting time to think about formal education of some sort. If not for the education then for the social opportunities. Rural Maine living makes it very hard to meet other kids and it is even harder when you homeschool. Where we live right now the choices for teen socialization is very limited.

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My daughter tried Jr. High school at the public school last September but realized it just wasn’t what she wanted. Maybe it was culture shock, maybe it was the work load. Maybe it was a combination. She is currently attending a democratic style private school program that meets twice a week. It is about 45 minutes away. She spends the night with a friend that is also attending the program. Normally it would be pretty expensive (for us) but they offered her a full scholarship because they are just starting out and want to attract other students. It is working for now.

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“For now” are the key words. I always have to have my eye on what is next. I won’t be able to pay for the tuition next year. Unless they offer another scholarship I really don’t see her going there again. Also, two days is kind of a disruption in a way. She does some math and reading here at home and a couple of subjects at the school but I am not sure she is really delving into anything deeply. Maybe she doesn’t need to.

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We just heard about a new charter high school that may be opening up. It is a bit closer and would be free because my state recognizes charter schools and my town would pay the tuition. I haven’t been to a meeting yet but I imagine it would be every day. I would need to drive her there and then pick her up.

There is always public High School. My daughter didn’t like the Jr. High but maybe high school is different. She would be able to continue being in the orchestra program.

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I have been a parent long enough to know that this has to be what is best for her. I am a little worried that at her age she may only be thinking about sociability. I am not worried about college. If that is what she wants then it will be possible even if she stayed home through high school. I want her to make an informed decision about education. Where will she have the most opportunity to learn new things. Find her passion. All at the same time as making quality, lasting friendships.

I guess I’ll keep you posted.

I Want a Warm Quilt!

Sometime in the beginnings of winter my daughter told me she loved the quilt I made her and it was really pretty and all but that it just wasn’t all that warm. She felt because it was quilted quite heavily that all the holes in it was making it not warm. She may have a point there but it was probably that it had cotton batting in it. She asked if I would make her a warm quilt. Music to a quilter’s ears!

I decided to make both daughters warm quilts for Christmas. Simple quilts, tied, and with wool, high loft batting. I also used flannel on the backs. They came out very nice and both of my daughters love them.

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I had the girls choose two colors they liked at the fabric store and then I built on that. I used a simple brick pattern. All the blocks are the same shape and size then sewn in brick layer pattern. It was very easy and quick to make. Good thing since I didn’t really start until a week before Christmas. It is amazing what you can get done when you push through it. The only thing I didn’t do before wrapping them was attach the binding to the other side of the quilts. But doing that after Christmas kept me warm in the sub-freezing temps we have had here in Maine.

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And now they are finished and on the beds and declared ‘very warm and cozy’! Success. Did you make any of your Christmas gifts this year?

Yarn Along!

I am so happy Ginny started up the Yarn Along again. I didn’t join in every week but now that it is a once a month venture I may be able to do that.

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I have been slowly reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I love it so far. I have been busy and busy always means I fall asleep reading pretty quickly. Things are slower now thankfully and I am hoping to delve into it. I began reading it to an older friend. She could no longer see or walk and being read to was one of her remaining joys. She passed away last month at the age of 92. That could be another reason I haven’t gotten very far in the book.

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My weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with knitting and sewing. I have a sweater (for me) on the needles but I just recently picked that up again. I knit up two hats for my daughters and we are happy with them. They are from the pattern Hats for All by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I got it from Ravelry. I love the pattern so much that these hats were the second set I made for my girls.

Thank you Ginny for reintroducing the Yarn Along. Can’t wait to see what everyone has been up to!

 

First and Full

I woke up early this morning. Before 5. I was rested and couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up. It was clear and cold and bright as day but of course the sun had not come up yet. The moon was full.  The first full moon on the first of the year. That is pretty special. It was so pretty I had to go outside. I could see every tree, every shadow of every tree. It was beautiful. What a way to start a morning.

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I am back to CurlyCueCreates after a bit of a break. I haven’t been blogging for a couple of months. I haven’t been reading many blogs either. Truth be known I find myself on my phone more these days. I am not happy about it and mean to change it. In all fairness to myself, I have been pretty busy getting ready and enjoying the holidays.

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Like many people I do use this time of year to reflect and resolve. I don’t have any big resolutions this year. I did some new things last year. Went outside my comfort zone so to speak and I am happy with that. This year I resolve to get better at what is working and do better at what is not. How is that? Enough for me.

Since I was last here it did get considerably colder. I wrote how it had been such a warm fall and that I didn’t think we would get winter. Well, of course we have. We have almost two feet of snow and the temperatures have been very, very cold. Over a week now of single and negative digit temps. Brrrr! We decided to go a bit south after Christmas. Only to Boston. The temps were a bit warmer but still quite nippy. We went to Frog Pond to skate and visited Little Italy for supper. It was so fun!

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I have been knitting and quilting! Lots of sewing and creating. I made my sons pillowcases and bought them new pillows for Christmas. My husband and I put together many home made food items for them too. Granola, salsa, and apple rings. This year I made my daughters new winter quilts.

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I will post more about the quilts but for now just snippets. I am still sewing the bindings on. I wrapped the quilts with the bindings on but not sewn to the backside. I just ran out of time! But they loved them and thought they were beautiful. They are very warm because I used wool batting. As I sew on the binding I am covered up in the quilts and now I really want one for me! Something to cover up with on these very cold nights.

Today my husband returns to work after a long vacation. The girls and I are not getting right back into our full schedule. Music lessons start up as does ballet. Cross country ski-ing does too. I think some baking, reading, games and crafts are still in order for a while before we get back into our real schedule.

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Enjoy the New Year!!

Bringing it Inside

Today is warm-ish. It is 58 degrees on a November morning. The house is warm without a fire. The weatherman says that November reality will hit tomorrow. I am ready!

I harvested the last (maybe) of the spinach, arugula, and lettuce yesterday. I picked raspberry leaves to dry for tea. I picked the last of the flowers that were blooming and made a nice bouquet.  I dug up two pepper plants that were still flowering and re-potted them. I am hoping for some winter peppers. It felt good walking around and realizing that soon everything will be covered in snow. Hopefully. I like snow.

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This is the season for apples! Pie making is in full swing and I peeled, cored, and sliced many apples to dry. My kids love dried apples. They are so sweet. I will need to do another batch though, since they get eaten so fast. They are great in oatmeal, granola, or just eaten like chips. Healthy chips!

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Even though it is warm, it is rainy and it feels as though we should be inside. So here we are, tucked in. The birds are at the feeder, girls are doing their thing, and I am ready to make some soup! How are you getting ready for winter?

 

I Made the Plunge! I’m Teaching!

For a while now I have wanted to teach sewing classes. I hoed and hummed about it. Planned it out in my head. Thought about it some more and then one morning I got on my computer and posted classes! I got a huge response and was very encouraged.

I started with a four week beginner sewing class. I was so amazed that I had a blast! It wasn’t stressful at all. I enjoyed teaching these ladies (no men signed up) to sew. I just had my second session beginner sewing class the other night and I have added a beginner Quilt class to my list that starts this Saturday.

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I started out teaching about the machine. How to thread it. What the parts all did. We took it slow. I had amazing students. They really wanted to learn to sew.

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Our first project was a pillowcase using the burrito method. My classes include everything. I have a lot of fabric to use up! I think including everything is helpful to a beginner anyway. I remember when I started to sew I didn’t even know what types of fabric were good for what!

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I am using my home right now. I have a finished off basement that is cozy and warm and inviting. I have a big table and desk and ironing station. It worked out well. I did have an offer from a store owner to teach there but once I made it clear that I include fabric and supplies in my classes and that I would not be ‘selling’ fabric she decided it wouldn’t work. Oh well.

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Next up we made drawstring bags. It was so fun to see their faces when the bags started forming. I think one of the best things about teaching is seeing how happy the students are about sewing.

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My first Beginner Quilt class starts on Saturday. Last night I spent some time preparing. I can’t wait!

If you are in Maine and are interested in classes here are the links.

Quilt class and Sewing class.

Just in Time

We have been having some cool mornings here. I love it! So nice to be able to wear a soft, warm handknit. I really want to have lots of different hand made things to wear. I have been sewing more clothes too. I don’t have many hand knits so this summer I was a knitting fool! I finished two sweaters and a shawlette. I have two more sweaters planned.

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I am not a fast knitter by any stretch. One sweater was knit in worsted weight. It knit up fairly fast. The other sweater took longer as it was fingering weight. Both sweaters were top down and no sewing on the sleeves. The sleeves were 3/4 length. One sweater was just knit or purl and the other had a very challenging pattern to it.  They were fun to make. I now have three sweaters made by me!

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I knit a shawlette for a wedding I am going to. I will wear it over a black dress.

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Not a great picture but it shows the lace. I had some trouble with this pattern at the start but found my groove. I really love it.

What are you knitting up these days?

 

 

 

Oh, My Golly!

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Don’t you hate hearing people say “I’ve been sooo busy!” ? I do, but I find myself saying it. I’ve read articles on how to not be so busy or at least to think about the busyness in a different way.  Like finding joy along the way. Like how we saw a beautiful rainbow on our way to orchestra class last Friday. My busy times have been good ones so it isn’t a negative thing. I do regret not really having time to sit and blog. ‘They’ say it’s all about making the time. So, hear I go!

I finally stopped itching! We are still having summer here in Maine so at least I get to enjoy some of it! I was out in the garden yesterday. I thinned beets while my daughter harvested zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and a few small cukes. The garden is still producing and it is middle of September! I am thinking of ordering some chicks. They would be laying by Spring. The only thing stopping me is my inability to make a decision. I am worried it will be too cold. The chicken FB site says it will be fine. I really should just do it. I have a beautiful, large and safe coop that has gone unused for a year. It is time.

I have been knitting, and sewing. I made a dress ( A Washi ) and I have been doing some alterations for a friend. I am knitting a shawlette for a wedding I may be going to. (I say may because I still have not settled childcare for the girls yet) I am also working on socks. I am finding my groove again. Even making up menus and baking bread again. Routines work so well for me.

Speaking of routines we have a brand new one this year. My oldest daughter is going to school. Eighth grade! I am at home with just one child. That hasn’t happened since 1991! My youngest daughter and I have started Bullet Journals together. So far it is very fun. We are taking our ‘school’ year pretty slow. Planning what we want to do. I know it will have sewing and art. Yes, a little math too. We even put in a rest and relaxation (knitting) time in our schedule. That I love.

I missed the boat in blogging about all our camping trips, the girls’ camps, and some landscaping project that we have been working on all summer. I am looking forward to my 50th birthday! Wow, Oh my Golly, 50! I can’t decide what I want to do. I am torn between going away by myself for some quiet and pampering or a get together with our family here at home. Maybe I will have to do both!

I hope you all are in your fall groove. It feels good!

 

The Summer of Itch

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It isn’t a secret that I am not a fan of summer. I tolerate it. This summer has actually temperature wise been amazing. Here in Maine we have not really had the hot and humid days that we often get. It has been quite mild. It could have been a glorious summer.

Instead it has been a very itchy and uncomfortable one. It all started in May. A Tent caterpillar got into my jeans. I ended up with a very itchy rash on my right leg, my rear end, waist and both arms (from pulling the legs inside out to check inside my pants). Anywhere the caterpillar went inside my jeans I ended up itchy. That lasted about a week. I managed it with Benadryl and itch cream.

Then at the end of July I got bit by a tick. I didn’t know it though. While camping I discovered a big bulls eye rash on my hip. Okay, so I have Lyme. Two blood tests showed I had it but caught it early. Good! The day I took my antibiotic I started itching all over my legs, one arm, my neck and face. I figured I had hives. I talked to the doctor and she figured it was hives. So then I got Prednisone and a different antibiotic. The itching did not stop. It was terrible. I took myself off the antibiotic until I could see the doctor. Coincidentally, the doctor said I had Poison Ivy. I have never had it in my life. The doctor said because it was my first time I got it bad. He also said because of the antibiotic my T cells and white blood cells had gone into overdrive.

So I started back up on the antibiotic and proceeded to start itching in different places. My back, stomach, breasts, even my scalp. Not an allergic reaction but certainly a consequence of the antibiotic. It wasn’t hives and it was not as itchy as the Poison Ivy so I have been putting up with it.

But I’m not done. Wouldn’t you know it but I started itching a tad bit down there. You know, in my private areas. I had been taking a Probiotic along with the antibiotic the whole time. I had been trying to rest and eat right. So I figured in my denial, that I would not get a yeast infection as well. The itching was mild. I ignored it. I had called the doctor so much that I really didn’t want to again. So about a week into the mild itching I decided to buy some cream. It worked and I was happy. Then while camping the cream started to not work. So again, instead of calling the doctor I went to the drugstore and bought some over the counter anti fungus cream and suppository. Sorry this is so graphic. Well, it didn’t work. I was so itchy, and swollen and uncomfortable that I finally did call the doctor. They must have heard the panic in my voice because for the first time they called me back very quickly and said there was a prescription called in for a pill. (Yes another one) and that that should take care of it. It may take a few days but it should help. Well we are almost 24 hours in and it is a bit better.

I am so, so, tired to itching. I decided to not show pictures of all my rashes and itchiness. Instead I am showing happy pictures of my garden, a dress I am working on, a shawlette I am knitting, and a lovely, beautiful picture of some red leaves I found while camping. I cannot wait for fall. For a freeze actually. Freeze all the bugs and ticks and itchy things for this season. I have had enough!