Friday, March 27, 2009

Happpy Birthday Vivian!

This is my friend Vivian Kie. She is a former student of my parents' public high school art teaching legacy. And she has a way with showing up out of the blue. When I was a kid it was usually at Christmas, like on Christmas Day, and she would stay and chat for hours. I remember one year she had on Dr. Scholls.
Today as the girls and I were heading out to daycare she met us in front of the house. We were already in the car so she hopped in with us and went for the ride. Violet was terrified while Lucy had a long and informative conversation.
We spent the day working around the house and studio getting things in order for the work party we have happening tomorrow. Here she is sampling our soon to be installed commode. It was her birthday today, she thought she might have good luck finding me on account of the occassion and she was right. I had good luck too to have her around laughing and bustin' it out with me all day! She is a fine craftswoman and strong as an ox. Her shirt says it all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweaters Sweaters Sweaters

I love making sweaters and people seem to love to buy them. It works great in person but it is hard to do it online. How do you want to see them? Showing them on a person seems to categorize them. Would it be helpful to see specific measurements? I could measure the distance, straight across under arm holes, sleeve length, sweater length, and anything else that seems pertenant. Seems to me that if I had a couple of images like the ones shown here depicting front and back shown with specific measurements that would sell them well.
If you have ideas let me know!

Today was really Spring-like. I took all sorts of pictures on my morning run with Okemo but my iPhone is
having a problem. Now that I have become dependent on it I will likely have to run over to Albany in the next day or two to have it looked at at the Apple store in the dreaded mall. There is no where else to take it around these remote-ish parts.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yard Work

It has been hard to find time for creative work these last weeks. The kids were sick sick sick. Fevers, coughs, respiratory congestion. Then Chris got it and finally after thinking I survived the bout I ended up with a ear infection that resulted in a ruptured eardrum. It is really a bummer. My hearing is still muffled.

Got a line full of diapers done today in the cool sunshine. The yard got raked and the girls each scored mini rakes from the hardware store.

Tonight I am deep in the throes of second pages editing for The Sweater Chop Shop. It is fun but tedious.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coming Soon ~ SPRING

The snow still hides in shady spots but for the most part it was a rapid retreat. Lucy got down on all fours to 'smell the flowers' when I pointed out the crocuses coming up in the yard.

other stuff happening:
  • Was in ER at 2am this morning with what felt like a screwdriver in my head. Diagnosed with a middle ear infection. YIKES! Feeling MUCH better
  • Dad is home from ten days in Peru. He feels great and looks great too but the cancer is rockin' it more than ever.
  • Chris, the girls, and I will be making a three week trek to Ireland in May/June to help get John and Primm settled for their summer over there.
  • Ben is s t i l l sick! Been hacking and sputtering for a month and a half! Nothing terrible just a long bout of the flu - he even had a flu shot this year on account of his heart condition.
  • Alchemy Initiative is captivating a lot of my attention. Exciting collaborating with a quickly developing tribe here is Shire City. Stay up to date with that whole thing here
  • Garden planning happening now - chickens and bees on their way!
  • We are heading The Dream Away Lodge for Saint Patrick's Day FREE Boiled Dinner. Chris and I got married there and Daniel (the FREAK who owns the place) is one of our best friends.
  • Working on resting more and kicking this sickness that has taken up residence in my ear!

Friday, March 13, 2009

After School Program

Here are some of my favorite kids in Pittsfield! They are students at Reid Middle School right here in the city center and they are talented sewers making blankets from my production scrap.
I teach once a week to any Reid Middle School student interested in taking the class for free. It is held in the school cafeteria (I am trying to figure out a way to have the kids come to the studio which is by). At first I was really disheartened by the size of the group. There are usually only 5 or 6 kids. Now I have resolved to starting somewhere in the hope we can garner some interest and excitement in our local press and dignitaries. We are working on family tree blankets where the kids will have to learn about their family history and incorporate that into the blanket with imagery and names.
This came to me when one of the kids told me in all seriousness that she knew someone who’s grandparents were younger than her.
Hummmmm. . . . . . . . . . . . . well lets learn how that couldn't really ever be!

Primm Turner ffrench

This is my Mom. She celebrated her 80th birthday on March 9,2009. Born in Richmond VA to Doris Bryant Turner and Albert Turner. She moved 16 times growing up, graduated high school at the age of 16 and began teaching art in public school at the age of 20.
Last May a delightful grandmotherly woman named Abby Cutter, showed up at the house in Stockbridge. I was there and answered the door. She asked if she could just come in and say hello to Primm. Mom had been her art teacher the first year she was teaching. Abby made the trip from Virginia, in part to tell Primm how much she had influenced her life. There ought to be more teachers like her out there!

She and my dad still share the house we all grew up in on Main Street in Stockbridge, MA. While they are both blessed with relative good health, there are things that mom needs help doing. For the last year we have been working on filing a claim and actually receiving financial help from TransAmerica Long Term Care Insurance Co. No luck yet. What a debacle! Just wanted to shout out to Mom and say thanks for being a strong female role model and for trying your best to leave your kids without the financial burden of aging parents. Too bad the insurance industry is such a farce!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Spring is in the air after a long snow cover. This winter we had white all around straight through. Not sure if all that cold contributed to the nastiness of our flu season but I sure am glad we are coming out of that! Literally from February 7 until March 3 someone in the house had a fever. Violet is still coughing alot at night and Ben has been missing A LOT of school! Send him healing prayers. He is a little more fragile than most of us with a really serious heart condition. His spirits are good and he is eating homemade chicken soup from his dad's kitchen.

As March 1st arrived with yet another nice thick blanket of the white stuff I was reminded by my friend Peter that 'it goes out like a lamb'. Thanks Pete! that really helped me through those first few days of the month. The girls are back at daycare and I am back to a works schedule that feels productive. Lots of construction on the property happening. New tenants downstairs the first of the month. Good friends with great kids! YAY for that.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Coming Soon

Thawing was happening at an astounding rate today. Just what I needed after being cooped up with sick kids for three weeks!
Our chickens will be here next month and bees coming along in early May~

Friday, March 6, 2009

Return to Relative Normalcy

Finally after what seems like it really couldn't be an accurate timeframe, of nearly a MONTH! my two girls and hubby are back in their saddles so I can think about getting back in mine!

Someone in my house had a fever beginning February 9 and ending two days ago, March 3!
Until now I have been known to poo-poo the whole bird flu/holy-shit! there-is-going-to-be-a-flu-epidemic panic that hits my news radar every once in a while. This past month has turned me into a Purel wielding, cough on your shoulder, don't come over if you are sick mom.
It has also been really nice to spend so much time with my girls and have a chance to settle down and not rush. That is the good part. We set up an impromptu kids painting studio in the hall, practiced morning yoga (2 toddlers make THAT creative and interesting and sometimes rather short lived!) and made lots of homemade food.

While going over it all in my head, there has been a lot of progress in many areas of my work/life even with all the sickness we had around here.

Alchemy Initiative, the development of our former church, rectory, and convent is rolling along. You can read all about that on a blog devoted to that project. Check that out at It is pretty hard to separate my doings and the doings that go on that blog as my life is entwined throughout.
Part of that project is an urban farm/garden - we have ordered 18 chicks and 3lbs of bees. Chris kept bees for years up in his Hobit house in Becket before we were married. He is excited about getting that going on again. It is a first time endeavor for me! I wonder how many bees there are in three pounds? I envision some hobit magic softening our urban harshness with the introduction of honey bees here.
Chickens shared my garden for many years before we left Great Barrington. I am really excited to bring that aspect of home to this place. Someone once told me that chickens signify prosperity in China. They eat harmful grubs, ticks, and compost, fertilize hungry soil, and give warm, healthy eggs. We plan some sort of a greenhouse/coop that is still in design stages. Better get on that cause the chicks will be here soon.
A fieldtrip is planned for bee pick-up on May 9th.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Plague-Like Flu

Really since the first week of February someone in our house has had a fever. Actually the fevers all seem to have broken for the last 24 hours. Maybe this time we are on the mend. I never got it but all three kids and Chris did. I am really tired of playing nurse and being in the house. Haven't gotten much done in the studio either. Toward the end of today the Lucy and Violet were playing Ring Around The Rosie. Sure beats the excessive neediness, hair-pulling, pushing, grabbing and general naughtiness that seeped in prior!
Maybe we will all be back in our routine by the end of the week!