quilt stacks + weekend link love…….

quilt stacks & weekend link love.....

quilt stacks & weekend link love.....

It all started with that raccoon. I was in *love* with him. We just finished reading this, and so I just had to bring a little of that blue raccoon home with me. I picked out a few coordinating pieces throughout the shop. Once home I found a few more more from my stash. And now this colorful stack is waiting to become a quilt top. I've been swooning over grey + color lately (like this!!). You can see a few beauties on my quilt board. I love the simplicity of this pattern…….. (with deep grey sashing, of course). 

Do you have piles of fabric waiting for the right time to sew them up? Or perhaps next in line to sew? I love doing that…..

It's been awhile since I shared a list of link love with you. So here you go::

 

This quilt. I love it. LOVE with all capital letters sort of love.

 

Some words for your heart:: Thoughts on Crafting a Life  and It really does go by quickly. (sniff!)

 

I think the kids might be getting worms for Easter. Or at least maybe the mama will…..

 

Some etsy love :: printed feedsack towels, this print (really I love everything she does!), these planters, these peaches, and if I had a million dollars

 

Just for fun, a year ago this week……. roadtrippin'. I can't believe it's been a year already. Wow. Oopsie. It actually hasn't been a year. So uhm…. check out this post instead. Yarn & some (more!) chocolate peanut butter goodness.

 

Happy weekending to you all~~~

xo,

s

 

{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

39 only happens once, right? So I made him a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It involves far more chocolate ganache than a sane person should ever make for one dessert. I think it's about nine zillion calories a sliver. Seriously decadent indulgence. Totally his favorite combination of flavors.

He loved it.

(also, if you make this & it cracks. don't worry. the chocolate ganache fills in the crevasse, making the unsightly top beautiful again. it also becomes the tastiest cooking mishap. ever. also your dead-head husband will think it looks like a lightening bolt, and you can pretend you did it on purpose.)

But back to 39. I mean, wow, right? I remember stealing glances across a room of strangers some 17 years ago. We had met a week earlier. Him & me. He was turning 22. TWENTY-TWO. And I remember thinking he was so much older than me. By the end of the night we were hip to hip. Side by side. Laughing. It's pretty much been that way ever since. 

Happy birthday to my sweet man…… 

This whole crazy life is all the sweeter with you by my side.

xo~

s

a shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update::

shop update:: 

Finally (finally!) getting my stack of sewn bits photographed and into the shop.

It’s far more work than you might imagine to take shop-worthy pictures. Because my customers can’t touch and see my creations with their own eyes & hands, it’s so important. I’m learning….. figuring out the difference between what I like and what catches the potential customers eye. Separating my shop eye from my everyday eye…. if that makes sense?

I’ve been sewing up the kiddo bags in lots of four. So four bags of each color. This means less photographs! This is a good thing. I just listed six new colors. Swooning over the feather & fox ones myself and my little guy suggested the vikings and robots.

Adult-sized totes for the minimalist! Simple design. Solid linen back & cotton or linen print front. Padded quilted strap. Key/pen loop. The bag has a layer of flannel sandwiched inside for extra durability and weight. These are perfect for holding journal supplies, a few books & magazines, lunch, knitting projects, and more……

Two new silk colors. A lovely spring green and winter sky blue. Both in the large 35×35 inch size. They make awesome nature table cloths, dress up, capes, and more. The blue one is my favorite! It’s totally inspired by snowy winter nights. These are both limited colors dyed in OOAK small batches, like all my multi-color silks. I’m always open for color suggestions too! They really are so fun to dye up.

Lastly, I’m thinking of getting a few prints done again. Notecards. I’m down to my last ten of these. I think I want cards that actually open next time instead of post cards. Any thoughts? Small-ish ones? What size do you seem to use the most? Big enough to mail? Small to tuck in with gifts? I’m sort of hooked on a wildflower theme……. tell me what you think. I so love input from you all!

Happy Monday~~
xo,

s

 

homeschool q&a part 2……..

This is part two of a list of questions I am answering from my readers about how homeschooling works for our family.
You can read part one here
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . .
 

homeschool q&a part 2........

A few more questions from my readers::
 
I can envision children feeling like they are missing out, socially, by not going to school–was that ever a source of conflict for you/children? 
I have learned that "socialization" is subjective. Is socialization hanging out with people of your exact age, similar socioeconomic status, in one building, 30+ hours a week? Or is interacting with many different people in the world around you socialization? I don't say that to be a jerk, instead I offer it as something to ponder. My kids who are not attending school certainly don't hang out in a cardboard box by themselves all day. We find lots to do in our community to fill their "plays well with others" quota. And my big kids have had no issues interacting in the typical school scene when they arrived. Maybe kids are better equipped than we give them credit for? As my older ones got closer to high school, we met less kids their age and they expressed their interest in going to public school. That being said, my oldest daughter spent a ton of time hanging out with the mamas as a young teenager, genuinely being accepted and loved by them. This is *huge* for a teenage girl in my opinion. To have this sense of belonging in a circle of women. She had such a different attitude heading into the high school scene because she felt confident and comfortable about who she was as a young woman. This is vastly different than my own experience at her age.
 
Have/Had they asked to go to public school, but high school was the planned time for entering public school?
It's been decided as each child has brought it up. My oldest son was not happy at home & wanted to do something different. My oldest daughter was happy at home, but wanted a new challenge. The younger two aren't expressing any interest in attending public school currently. If at any point before high school the younger kids really wanted to do something different, we would certainly discuss & explore options. One of my main reasons for educating my kids at home is to teach them to be in charge of their eduction. That learning is something they do & seek out, not something that "happens to them". If they needed something I was not providing for them, I would honor their voice.
 
Have you utilized tutoring for math or science?  Practiced test taking in general?
Because we have only home schooled up to a jr. high level, my husband (who has a background in electrical engineering & environmental science) has been able to handle all of the science & math so far. When my older daughter knew she wanted to attend high school, we prepared her by studying very traditional math & science in 8th grade that required her to take tests & notes.
 
Lastly, I can't tell you how much things have evolved in the last seven years. The reasons we began this journey are far from why we continue it. I'm more laid back about what gets done and what we do. I have more confidence that despite my many imperfections, my kids will turn out just fine. (Regardless of Bill Nye's suggestion that they might lack the ability to interact socially. Phooey Mr. Nye) It turns out my current number one reason is freedom. Childhood is fleeting. You can catch up on math later in life, but not hours spent exploring who you are. I'm in no rush for my kids to grow up. It happens fast enough. I love that they get to be sort of unplugged from pop culture. Plus I really get a kick out of spending so much time with them. They're way cooler than I will ever be.
 
xo,
s
 
ps ~ If you missed the first post. I want to recap one important thing :  We all choose to educate our children in different ways. I don't think one is the only or right choice. I totally support and honor my fellow mama in the decision she makes that works best for her family. I truly mean that.
 

vote for me (pretty please)

vote for me (pretty please)

Well shucks. I'm late getting into the game as voting ends tomorrow….. but I thought I'd let you know just the same. C'mon over to Apartment Therapy and vote for me will you? It's the last day….. it will take just a few minutes…. and I thank you so very much for taking the time. I'm kind of giddy when my blog is shared in other spaces. I always look forward to meeting new friends in this little sapce here. 

I think you might have to sign in? But it's super quick and then you just hit the +1 button next to my name. Of course, you should scroll the list and vote for your other favorites too. You can vote for as many as you want…. so share the love and be inspired by some great blogs. (click on the house above to visit!) I think I only need about 50 people to vote for me to make it to the finals (laughing at that thought, but what the heck, a girl can dream!)

Thank you, thank you!!

I'll be here tomorrow with the last part of the homeschool q&a for you.

xo~

s

 

punxsutawney wasn’t kidding……

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

punxsutawney wasn't kidding......

Joe was in NY with the little kids when that pesky groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. So far, Punxsutawney Phil has been right. We've gotten at least six inches of snow every week since. The weather is calling for warm days through the weekend. Up into the 50's. And guess what on Monday? 31 degrees and snow showers. Oh boy! As a random side note, when Sam was about 3 he learned about Punxsatawney Phil (pronounced pux-a-tawn-y), and he reversed the beginning sounds on the two words. Resulting in a rather surprisingly named groundhog, said with an incredibly cute 3 year old lisp. My sister-in-law still laughs about that story. I think she may have encouraged him to tell Grandma about Phil too….. Grandma also thought it was great, of course. 

Back to the snow though. We've had a lot of fun in it. Snowball fights, snowmen, snowshoeing. Notice how Luke takes his snowshoes off in the second to last photo…. he slips his boots off with the snowshoes still strapped onto them. So funny. My arms have gotten a workout from the shoveling. I actually really enjoy shoveling snow. Crazy, right? But I really do. Joe & I tend to shovel every few hours…. instead of waiting until we're buried we do "damage control" during the storm. One of the most peaceful sounds in the universe is shoveling snow at 11 pm on a Saturday night. I'm serious…. everything is so quiet. You can hear the snowflakes land if they're the really big ones. It's magic. 

We took Maggie for her first snowshoe trip and she was unleashed the entire time. She listened so well. Heel, leave it, the works. I usually bring a training collar (it beeps if she gets too far ahead). But the batteries were dead so we just went without it. While I'd love to think the time I've spent training her has something to do with it (thank you Cesar). The truth is, I'm just lucky. She's such a sweet eager to please dog. She stayed right with us & even resisted the urge to follow fresh deer tracks into the woods. Have I told you I love this dog? I mean seriously, I love her. 

Out in the field her hound nose got the best of her. She could not resist rooting in the snow, full head buried, to sniff our some sort of rodent. She favors moles here at the house. I've no idea what she was after in the field (she still listened and stayed close) but she was hilarious to watch as she rooted and snuffled through it. I've never had a dog so led by her nose. We have no idea what she is for sure, but there is definitely some hound blood in there. What a funny girl….

I guess that's all for tonight. Today was one of those insane days. Sophie started violin/fiddle lessons, we made a trek to the feed store, grocery store, 4H, writing club, picked two teenagers up from friends houses, and Joe has the big girl out tonight at an open mic at a local music store. I was beat by the end of the day. I served everyone salads loaded with tomatoes, cheese, & olives and fresh irish soda bread & butter for dinner. Easy. Cheap. Guilt free. 

The little two begged for Harry Potter 2 at the library and they just started it. This means for the next hour it is just me, a splash of bourbon, the fire, and some knitting. Pretty much the perfect way to end this busy day…..

xo~

s

ps ~ some fun for you knitters. that is one well traveled hat above. knit in louisiana three years ago (oh my!), snowshoeing in alaska, and now a brief snowman hat in massachusetts…..

 

 

swift & knit……

swift & knit

swift & knit

swift & knit 

The cowl is done! I actually finished it a few weeks ago and it just took me awhile to stitch it together and get it photographed. {Thank you Emily for the awesome idea of making it an infinity cowl!} Goofy selfies just for you. I don't really love taking photos of myself. Am I supposed to smile? Look serious? I really don't know what to do….. Anyhow, it turned out lovely. Beautiful squishy deliciously soft yarn. Perfect to wear around the house & tucked into my jacket, especially because we just got another four inches of snow and it looks like winter is doing her best to hold on as long as she can. I'll take snow over sleet anyday though. Joe & I spent hours shoveling the gigantic driveway, clearing the slush last weekend. We actually built a trough to get the water off the driveway to avoid having our own ice skating rink. It was one heck of a workout for sure.

Speaking of Joe….. he suprised me with a swift & ball winder for Christmas. I was so excited. Truthfully I think everyone in the house was so excited. No more helping mama to wind balls of yarn. I love being able to make these perfect little center pull cones. I swoon over the whole process…. my little guy does too. He's always first in line to operate the ball winder……

swift & knit

swift & knit

swift & knit

swift & knit

swift & knit

Isn't that orange the best ever? I adore it. It's Spice by Luna Grey Fiber Arts in her bulky weight. It's totally perfect for this sweater which is getting so close to being done!! (Ravelry details on the cowl & sweater.) What are you knitting these days? Leave me a link so I can come visit and see….

xo,

s

ps ~ yarning along with Ginny today….

 

 

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook ~ for you!

WH-Cover-Flat-400px tall copy-1

When Valarie asked me to review the newest book from Audrey Press, The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook by Donna Ashton, I was so thrilled! I've known both Valarie and Donna in the online homeschool circle for years and I was sure anything they created together would be full of magic……

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is exactly the thing I wished I had when I began learning about Waldorf education many years ago. While completely fascinated with this style of learning, I was so overwhelmed at the thought of doing it all. Donna does such an amazing job of simplifying the ideas of Waldorf, while encouraging you to explore more as time and need allows. She meets you right where you are on your homeschool journey, assuring you not only that you can do it, but that you don't have to do it all. That is the beauty of Waldorf inspired homeschooling. You can choose the things that resonate with you, the things you know your child will love, and go from there. 

In these pages you will find the basics of creating rhythm, a learning environment in your home, planning, choosing a curriculum, presenting the material to your children, and support from a mother who is currently on the very same journey. She also takes the time to address the importance of finding time for self care. This is something I personally struggled with greatly in my early days of homeschooling. I spent so much time care-taking and teaching and running the household that I forgot to fill my own well. I think as mothers this is a common issue, and I was so happy that Donna shared her thoughts on this. This book is the kind that will end up dog-eared and highlighted and revisited by the homeschooling mother.

Collage

Whether you are knew to, curious about, or a long time Waldorf inspired homeschooler : this book has something to offer you. Donna has worked so hard to create a support system for her fellow homeschoolers, and her book shares so much of her wealth of experience and knowledge. I'm so excited to be able to offer a copy to one of you!!

The book is specially priced for the new release right now, and if you leave a comment here you can enter for a chance to win a copy! This giveaway is open to anyone in the world. (Thank you Valarie!)

You can visit this page to learn more about this wonderful book. Feel free to share this giveaway with your friends & Waldorf communities.

Giveaway open thru Monday 2/17 ~ winner will be announced Tuesday 2/18.

Best of luck to you!

xo~

s

 

p.s ~ As a disclaimer of sorts, I want to be clear that Gypsy Forest is sponsored by Audrey Press. However I do not write paid reviews and opinions in this post are my own real true opinions. Both Valarie & Donna are long time friends of mine & I am genuinely happy to support their incredible work!

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

congratulations Erin K! You are the winner! Enjoy~~  

 

homeschool q&a part 1 (finally, I know…..)

homeschool q&a (finally, I know.....)

 

*my youngest, sewing while skyping with her friend*

Well gosh. I had such a hard time wrapping my brain around how to write this post. I had really meant to do it months ago when we began our school year and several of you asked how we did things. The truth is, I tend to tread lightly on this subject because it can really spark some strong feelings in people. I know you all have different ways you choose to educate your children and I don't judge any of them, or you. We all choose different paths, you know? I don't think one is the only or right choice. I truly honor our individuality.

If you're curious about how & why we started homeschooling, you can start with this post from a few years ago.

And now, some questions from you ~ answered by me:  

How much time do you spend daily on school?
This is a tough one because my kids spend HOURS a day learning something through their many (many!) crazy, messy, creative shenanigans. Things that teach them volumes, but cannot be tidily put into a subject box. I value this tremendously. That being said, actual sit down time with me teaching them is somewhere in the two – three hours range, at least four days a week, between the two of them. We cover writing, math, spelling, reading, history & science in this time on any given day. We use a mish-mash of curriculum and guides, things I've found work well for my kids & for me as their teacher. They sometimes groan over things they don't love, but we still get through it. Sort of like they sometimes groan over chores, which still need to get done.
 
Do you have required reading time?
My big kids are voracious readers. However, when my kids are learning to read + practicing their new skills, we do try our best to have a short reading time every day during the week. Enough to read a short chapter in an easy reader or a few pages of a favorite picture book. You can read more about my thoughts on reading here.
 
Okay, so your bigger kids are going to public school.  What was the matriculation process like, to figure out what grade they were to be placed in?  Did they have to take a placement test?
Both my high school kids took standardized testing for math to be placed. Especially in New England, I was firm that my daughter did not need testing in anything else. I wanted them to meet her and talk to her and *then* if they had any concerns we could address them. Freshman level classes are pretty basic + required. So I felt math was the only one she needed to be "placed" properly in. It took a bit of back & forth but after they met her, they were totally okay with just the math test. Both of my kids entered high school to take "at or above" grade level classes. 
 
How do you answer your children when they ask why you homeschool?  
I tell them now that we homeschool for the freedom & flexibility. I'm trying to get them to tell people "I homeschool" instead of "oh, I don't go to school." We're still working on that. The latter statement results in a lot of funny looks from folks!
 
I've got a few more questions for you in part 2, which I'll publish next week. Tomorrow I've got something else in store for you. See you then!
 
xo,
s
 

right now i am……..

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am......

right now i am...... 

More random life bits. I hope you don't mind.

Have you ever wished to be a cat? I'm not really a cat person. I don't love them. Well, I love ours…. but as a whole I don't swoon over cats. I definitely lean towards dogs. But to be a cat? I mean seriously. They eat, bask in the sun and sleep. Not so bad….

All schoolwork possible is done next to the fire these days. My poor little southern boy keeps asking me if winter will ever end. "I'm tired of all these clothes." he tells me. "I just need shorts and bare feet now." That sounds pretty good to me too. It's been cold all week. And back to the fire, I thought the mess would bother me more, but it doesn't at all. I mean, come spring I'll be wiping down walls and scrubbing the whole room for sure….. but in the meantime the extra dust, pine needles, and occasional spiders are a-okay by me. Basking in the warm glow is worth it all…..

Beans, chips, avocado and beer. Late night dinner by the fire. I got half of dinner ready last night and zipped out the door to bee(!) school(!) leaving the evening shuffle all to Joe. I arrived home to a vacuumed and mopped house. He is so good. I've been working on an online herbal class too. It appears I am a master of adding even more to our busy days. I think that is just life. It feels good to be doing something I want to do though. Something I have to show up for. I'm usually just the chauffeur for someone else. So, yeah. This is good busy.

I am struggling with photographing those silk colors. None of them show up accurately despite my best of intentions. Then I tossed them in a pile and took a picture and it ends up being the closest yet. New larger silk scarves on the bottom, turquoise smaller silk scarves in the middle, and some new multicolored playsilks on the top. I have been taking so many pictures…. trying to get a shop update pulled together. It's my least favorite part about work. And the most important part too. Hoping to have it all done by the end of the week…..

I have a quilt top to show you!! (insert super excited squeal!!) I just need someone tall enough to hold it up + home when it is light out. This weekend? I can't wait for you to see it. So much treasured stash in there. Anna Maria's Good Folks from forever ago (have you seen her new quilt, swoon…..) and also some Mendocino from Heather Ross. Speaking of HR…. my sweet friend gifted me (and herself) to a weekend workshop with her. WITH HER. Eeep!! It's in June. In NYC. Just the two of us. I can't believe it.

Lastly. Dessert for breakfast. I made some crazy good granola. I used half coconut & half oats. You have to use the super big coconut flakes. Also, I added a half cup of chia seeds. Which sort of get stuck in your teeth. Just thought you should know if you tried throwing them in there. But it was so totally delicious with strawberries and nutmeg cashew creme. Yum, yum, yum.

Off to get this day started…… (after granola, of course.)

xo,

s