On the drive home we stopped at this gorgeous playground at the foot of two enormous mountains with dramatic rock faces towering above, nicknamed the ox and the fox. The landscape in West Virginia really is spectacular. We soaked our toes in the Potomac and caught crawdads. I'm so glad the kids are getting to experience crawdad hunting... it was one of my favorite early memories from growing up in Missouri. My old house was in the suburbs, but still surrounded by forests and streams and lakes at the end of each street in nearly every direction. We also had huge boulders scattered through our yard covered in fossils that were fun to climb on.
We escaped for a whirlwind weekend to visit my brother and his family in West Virginia. I think I've mentioned before that he lives on a farm on top of mountain. It's an amazingly beautiful spot to explore. Unfortunately, this weekend was extremely hot with heat too overwhelming to do much hiking. And also, due to the mild winter, the mouse and rodent population multiplied, and so, the ticks have multiplied, too. They love the mouse host and from there move up to the larger animals including us. So that was a real turn off. We'd never had this tick problem before and we've spent a lot time running through those hay fields. I covered myself and my daughter in bug repellent which seemed to help, but the other half of the family refused, also refusing to go on walks.
We spent one night in a tent in my brother's "front yard". It was lovely to fall asleep to the sound of crickets and frogs and watch the sliver of a moon through the tent window. The temperature was perfect after dark, but required a sleeping bag in the early morning. My husband and I woke to the sound of high-pitched snorting and snuffling in the night, I think it was a deer... glad he left us alone, but it sure got the heart racing.
To cool off a bit, we did visit a nearby "swimming hole". It was a magnificent spot surrounded by high cliffs and forests with nice boulders to sit on. The kids had fun swimming with their cousins and searching for crawdads.
I went for a sunset walk with my brother through the hay fields and to the top of the property. The clouds were immense. The hay is ready to harvest and he'll probably start next weekend. We visited the cows though I've kind of developed a fear of cows. They're big!
I convinced the family to go for a short morning walk to the lower hayfield. We spotted one deer bounding through the hay, I'm suspecting it was our visitor from the night before.
Many tiny grasshoppers and other critters were discovered...
Oh! And if you have a chance, please visit Little Homestead in the Desert to see an interview about Mermaids and Moss. Thank you, Kathryn, for offering me this opportunity to work with you... it was lots of fun.
We haven't been going on many picnics this year. The past few springs and summers we usually managed to picnic alone or with friends at least once a week, but my husband's job is very demanding and he has been working many long hours. It stinks. I need my picnics!
We did squeeze in a sunset picnic a couple weekends ago when we were at the beach. And it was fantastic. I highly recommend it. Just order some pizza, grab a blanket and go!
My little guy has been under the weather this week... it's been a rough few days and a real disappointment because he's missing his last days of school. But he's been excited by all the sewing taking place in my studio, ummm... I mean the dining room.
My tiny tomato pin cushion [originally my mother's] has been transformed into a little spider with most of the pins being moved to the bottom to act as feet and several google eyes glued to the front. He says it's a baby toy. A bit dangerous, but a very sweet baby toy. He has big love for google eyes, big love. This attraction is actually how his how his artistic career began, some of you may remember his Valentine's Day project which was all thought up by him. Since then he's been drawing dozens and dozens of one-eyed and multi-eyed monsters, spiders, snowmen, creatures, mommies with many legs and and at least one google eye.
He's been requesting a special pillow for himself and so we whipped one up two days ago. I used the same envelope pillow pattern from Maya Donenfeld'sReinvention. It's a really easy pattern because of the well-written instructions. I love it. I chose to paint a many-legged critter, part spider, part spirit similar to the ones found in Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
I think he really likes his new pillow even though he refused to be photographed with it. Klaus didn't mind modeling in his place. During the photo shoot, the boy decided to glue a google eye to a blueberry... anything and everything seems to wear a google eye in our house these days.
He also asked for a tiny pillow for his pet hedgehog. He helped with the stuffing, suggesting that we should use snow and clouds. And then, of course, I still need to make a tiny tent for the hedgehog, too. Maybe we'll do that tomorrow.
I'm so happy to finally have my copy of Reinvention by Maya Donenfeld of maya*made. Maya is so crafty and creative. I've been inspired by her work for a very long time. I mentioned her last November when I made these holiday cards. Her book is filled with so many fabulous projects like the Little Forager Skirt and the Toadstool Cottage. I'm plotting a date night with a friend so that we can make some Burlap Bins... hopefully soon.
I used her Arithmetic Pillows as an inspiration for these raincloud pillows. I love, love the arithmetic idea, too, and plan to make some soon. I just felt an urgent desire to make rainclouds, maybe because of the torrential downpours this spring has delivered.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't re-purpose any linen, but instead used some quilting weight cotton that I already had. I still had leftover metallic gold fabric paint from the star cape escapade. And I was so happy to finally use the naked IKEA pillow inserts that have been causing chaos and taking up space in the closet for months.
I found some great things at yard sales this weekend. Not only did I find a highly coveted globe, but I also found:
... and ...
... and ...
The three little houses were only $3 each, how could I resist? And the larger Marx steel dollhouse was a tiny bit more, but definitely worth it. Recently, I'd been admiring a similar one at a local antique store that was priced more than three times higher than what I paid for this one. Yay! Oh, and I also discovered that everyone smiles and has something to say, when you walk down the street carrying a dollhouse.