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Monday, August 11, 2014

6 year blog-a-versary

I was going down memory lane last week, and I realized that I wrote my first blog post 6 years ago.  Where does the time go?  What I found particularly crazy was how prophetic my post was. At that point in time Jon and I both had full time jobs, plus he had two additional part time jobs. We owned 4 cars.  We had a mortgage.  More disturbingly...we had no intention of changing our lives. If anything we wanted more, we just didn't know what more meant.  (more money? more time? more space? more savings?)

Knowing that, look at what I wrote.

"It's so easy to get caught up in the world of school, work, paycheck, death. I wanted to break free and make sure that I was living the life I wanted to live. And more importantly now that I'm a mom, to live the kind of of life I want my children to live. "

It seems so plain to me now...what I was looking for AND how to get it.  But back then they were just words...until I read them the other day I had no idea how long I had been searching for the life that I am just now beginning to live. I can see now the path I was searching for then, but it was not an obvious choice that we made to end up here...it was more like a series of smaller seemingly unrelated choices.

For now I really just want to reminisce about six years of becoming maggie blue.  This started with me feeling like something was missing and trying to find the person I was meant to be...and I can finally say I am happily, healthfully on that journey. I am Maggie Blue.  It started with an idea, then an ETSY shop, which turned into learning and trying new things, which led to; construction school, buying a foreclosed farm and living in a camper while renovating the house...then we switched gears completely and moved to Alaska and upped the ante by downsizing & simplifying by moving onto a boat...

Whew...that is the summed up version anyway.

Along the way I made these things, and that's what today is about for me...looking back and seeing the changes in myself, but also celebrating my creative accomplishments.  I really didn't realize just how many things I had created (that I am truly proud of) until I looked backwards over the last 6 years.



I truly can't believe I made all these things.  I also can't believe I live on a boat in Alaska.  I am so blessed to have been able to find the person that I didn't even realize I was searching for all those years ago.  But I suspect that if I could go back and tell 6-years-ago-me about my life, she'd be smiling from ear to ear...just like I am right now in this moment. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day Kayak

Happy Father's Day to our Daddy...without whom we would not be living in this amazing place where we can kayak, hike, explore, boat, fish, hammock, float...and just be.  Thank you.
 
 












squidy the felted bowl



Sometimes in life you just have to accept that you are awesome.

I know, it's a hard lesson...but even the hard lessons need to be learned.




I learned my lesson last night when I finished a project that Laurel and I had started together.  It was going to be an embroidered felted bowl.  (felted first, with an embroidered design inside the bowl on the bottom) First I crocheted the bowl, then we felted it by tossing it in the washer and dryer with all our other laundry. (I know...we're so awesome we can experiment with a new craft AND get the halibut blood out of my pants at the same time)


I had never felted anything like this before, so I was surprised to see it didn't shrink that much.  Since it was still so tall I thought the design might look better on the outside.  I gave it some thought, and I decided to needle felt a design on instead.  (the kids and I had just tried our first needle felting project the week before) We had some leftover wool; and at first I was thinking starfish...since they are around us all the time.  But then I had an inspired thought...a squid!  


All in all...it took no more than 10 minutes to felt the little guy!  We all loved him so much we gave him a home on our super-special-project shelf.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Embroidered Forest Family



It's been a while since I've worked this hard on a craft project.  Thank goodness for motivating friends...and for friends who are having babies (and have cute taste).

The original pinspiration for the project were these cute little embroidery kits that you can buy and make from ETSY seller kiriki.



We decided to make something similar ourselves, and made them into pillows for the crib we were buying for the mom-to-be.   We sketched out a few ideas, and then finally picked the ones we liked best.  From there we made a pattern and did a test run on the size to make sure we liked it before we started cutting the good fabric.


Since we wanted them to all be the same size, I used the same pattern for all three.  I made three sets of paper ears and taped them on when it was time for each animal.



The embroidery was where I got to have some fun.  I haven't hand embroidered in a while...so I stopped by the library and got a couple of books to help inspire me and remind me of some techniques. This was also the most time consuming part...thankfully embroidery can go anywhere you go...so I was able to stitch at the library, the REC center, during swim lessons, during speech therapy, etc.


I think they came out great...in fact...we liked them so much we're planning a little something for our place!

Ketchikan, Alaska Tourist for a Day: Round 3



 Alaska will always be in my blood, no matter where else we go in life.  It truly is an amazing place.  We're lucky enough to be here, to be living on a boat, to be given the chances to really see/feel/hear what this place is all about.



One of the most fun ways to do that is by seeing what the tourists see.  So every year on tourist-for-day we go out and act the part.  Go TFAD!



This year we added the Aleutian Ballad Bering Sea tour to our list of to-dones in Ketchikan.  (and it did not disappoint!)  We were swarmed by bald eagles, we saw king crab, giant shrimp, an octopus, pulled in rockfish...and more.  All the tour guides had a lifetime of Bering Sea and other Alaskan fishing stories.  Thankfully the kids' new cameras came just in time...they used them a lot!








Thursday, March 6, 2014

Octopus Earrings: An Education in Burning Polymer Clay

 


This has been a crafty week for us.  I knitted a baby hat, setting off several days of pom pom making for the kids.  We've been taking a paper mache class, and just put the final layers on our projects.  And, we made these earrings.  ACTUALLY, the kids made these earring...I managed to nearly destroy them.

My kids are really into making things with polymer clay.  They got the Klutz Clay Charms book for Christmas and have pretty much worked their way through it.  Luke in particular got really good at making octopuses.  He keeps making them, then leaving them in bad places...which has made for lots of octopus splats on the floor.


This time he made one that I really wanted to make into earrings, so I put it in a safe place.  Then Laurel made it's sister-pus, and I attempted to bake them in my not-so-high-quality propane oven.  This is where things went horribly wrong.  You can't control the heat in our oven...it's basically on or off.  So I kept turning it off and on, opening and closing the door to regulate the heat.  But regardless of all that effort, the last time I opened the door to check, the tentacles had begun to burn.  Sigh. 


Thankfully, they seemed strong enough...so I decided to paint and glaze them.


And now, presenting my favorite new earrings...


I love my kids.

This is what it looked like the night we painted the earrings,
so I couldn't help myself...I opened the doors wide and snapped a picture.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Paper Portraits: Happy Family Project 1



I know I've mentioned this before, but when you  live in a small space you have to really consider what you keep. Since there isn't much room, every item that you keep either needs to be useful (like underwear or a coffeepot), or really special. 

This one is really special...every time I see it I feel my soul get warm (even when I'm mad at my husband).  I love how his eyes look worried and mine look irritated...who knew we could capture ourselves so well, without even trying!



I had no idea how much I would love these when I came up with the idea...but I really do. 

This was a super simple project; craft paper, a cheap canvas (3 for $3), scissors, glue and Modge Podge.  The only "rule" was that you could only use paper.  No drawing, writing, etc.  All the details of the face, hair, background, etc were all cut or torn from the craft paper.  (I wouldn't use construction paper for this, it doesn't hold up as well)

This was Laurel's second portrait that she made, it
was in a childrens' art exhibit at the Main Street Gallery

Cut the pieces and glue them on to the canvas really well.  Once they are secure it's time to coat it in Modge Podge, but if the parts aren't glued on well the Modge Podge causes the pieces to bubble up.

Give it time to dry...and then instant masterpiece.  Hang and enjoy for years to come.  I loved that Jon (who never crafts) really had fun doing this with us. The kids made one too and we gifted them to Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas.  (Grandma and Grandpa made one as well, this project is good for all ages!)

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