Life Is A Highway

Kid Cars

Gas is $3.85 a gallon and I just spent a half hour driving around in the middle of the night trying to get my one-year-old to sleep. Had it worked, I’d be asleep right now. Instead, I’m writing this post.

Stealing my bobbins

The little bugger (that’s the one in question, stealing my bobbins) has hardly slept in 3 days. I’m guessing he has an ear infection or a nasty case of teething. These revelations never come to you during the hours of 9 – 5 when you can actually do something about them. They don’t come when you can call someone: your mom, a friend, the doctor. Instead at 2:30 a.m. I realized he wasn’t just being a pain in the butt, he was likely not feeling well. Or feeling worse than I thought.

I have never driven my kids around in the middle of the night to make them sleep, even though it’s been suggested. But I was at a loss and the neighbors are probably tired of hearing his wailing. So off we went. At 2:30 a.m. In the car.

Despite the earlier humidity, it was cool outside.

Off we went in search of sleep. Up the hill, down the otherside. In my sleepy state I chose a route with the least amount of stop signs, maximum amount of rolling hills and straight shots. I was sure he’d be out in 5 minutes. Nope. Too much to see at 2:33 a.m. Three cars, a big rig and a bicyclist (yes a bicyclist, but he/she was wearing reflective clothing!).

I watched his face in the rearview mirror as we passed street lights, trying to assess his nearness to sleep. At mile 10.3 I thought I saw him nodding off. Instead he sang a few bars of a made-up ditty, likely to keep him awake so he could see the big trucks on the highway.

Gas is $3.85 a gallon and I drove 20.7 miles and the kid didn’t fall asleep. This is having kids. When we returned home, he emptied my purse of cars and is playing with them now instead of sleeping.

Big Nappy BagA while back, Melody tagged me to see what I carry around in that behemoth of a bag I tote around. I cried, “No tagbacks!” something I haven’t said since second grade. But alas, I was still tagged. (Honestly, I don’t get this online tagging thing). I guess what’s in your purse reveals something about your personality.

I’d like to say I carry around a tiny little clutch with driver’s license, credit card, $100 and a funny, intelligent read. Not so. Instead, my purse is more like a flea market/used car lot.

So here goes.

First the bag above is a circa 2007 made by my sister-in-law Kris from Etsuko Furuya fabric from the Amy Butler Nappy Bag pattern. Note the all-important cellphone pocket on one shoulder and cute spider on the other. Big bag essentialsIt’s so huge, I joke that one day I’ll look in there and find a frozen turkey I forgot from weeks ago.

The essentials that go in any bag: wallet, cell phone, check book, diapers and wipes and coffee cuff for emergency coffee stops.
The kids stuff: artist book, crayons, Batman bib, snack cups,lots of cars,. Sad will be the day when giving my 1-year-old won’t solve every problem. Cars 2

Other stuff that keeps me ticking: lip gloss, business cards and that lady with the funny nose that keeps me amused.

Plus the all important collection of paper junk: paint sample I want to match curtains to; Ninja girls fabric I want to buy more of; one of many to-do lists; myriad of coupons.

Stuff MOre stuff

Missing on picture day was my every-important day planner that contains about 16 to-do lists. I think it was giving a lecture at a local college on time management that day.

Since I began to write this post, I’ve rescued 3 Matchbox Cars from my 1-year-olds pajamas, he has (funnily enough) emptied my purse completely and he’s now compemplating banging really loudly on the Barbie piano. Time to exit the highway and go to bed. Hopefully.

Porcupine Quill Earring Class

Amethyst Single Class

You have a chance to learn how to make these porcupine quill earrings.

Out of Our Hands will be sponsoring my Porcupine Quill Earring Class on Sunday, June 1 from noon to 2 p.m. The class costs $40 and all supplies are included. You’ll come away from the class with a pair of earrings made with porcupine quills, silver or gold-plated earwires and semi-precious stone chips. Amethyst chips are featured above, but you can also choose from peridot (green), citirine (yellow) or aquamarine (blue).

Classes like this give artists and customers a chance to meet and chat. I get a greater understanding of how the rest of world sees my pieces. The results are sometimes very surprising. Customers get a glimpse of the creative process and working with the materials, giving them a greater appreciation for handmade items.

So come join the fun. Space is limited, so sign up soon with Out of Our Hands, Emmaus, PA, by contacting or 610-965-4806.

In other news, my Vanilla blog post is featured on The Crafty Crow today. This fun site is tagged “a children’s craft collective.” Created by Cassi of Bella Dia as a way to wrangle interesting kids crafts from all over the Internet, it’s a great resource if you’re stumped on how to keep the wee ones busy today.

Making vanilla gets kids involved in cooking at the very beginning of the process and helps them see that all ingredients come from somewhere, not just the store.

The vanilla beans went into the bottleBottled Vanilla beans almost 6 weeks ago. Today the liquid is the color of strong tea, a beautiful golden brown, but it still has a mightty vodka bite, so it needs a little more time. Visuals on that to come, as my husband just walked out the door with the camera.

Check out Crafty Crow’s other posts for the day, too, and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Shop Update

Black Horse Hair and Garnet Earrings

I’ve added some new items to my Etsy shop and not just any items, but my two favorite pieces I have in stock right now.

First up are these horse hair earrings above. I love the earrings. The hammered bead cone on top of the horse hair and garnet just makes these look so classy. Hopefully I can get some more of these bead cones and add them to most of my horse hair earrings.

Black HH with HornOften I use a variety of bead to finish off the earrings, which give the earrings a rustic feel, like those at right. But these shiny hammer sterling tops really kick it up a notch, as Emeril would say, and give it the flash and sophistication needed for a more classic style.

The other reason I love these: the photo actually captures the color of the garnet drops. I really need to invest in an SLR camera and macro lens. Not in the budget today, so I need to figure out the intricacies of my current camera, and I’m not exactly an ace. I snap lots of photos and hope for the best. The stars aligned, or maybe the lighting was just right, when I took that picture.

Next up is this pair of quilled earrings.

Quilled TearDrop Earrings

I love these because they are my second “break out” piece (I’ll be posting my first break out piece later this week). By break out piece I mean I finally made the craft my own and did my own thing.

Porcupine quillwork is a very old art and much of what is know about it was collected by a Smithsonian scientist in the early 1900s.By the time he talked with quillworkers who’d learned their craft from generations of other quillworkers this technique was falling out of favor among most Native American Indians. There isn’t much information on quillwork, and it makes you wonder how much of craft was lost along the way.

I’m not of Native American descent (at least not that I know of) and had no one to teach me the techniques, so for years I’ve been teaching myself porcupine quillwork by reading books, looking a museum pieces and using classic trial and error. The designs and techniques I’ve done up until recently have been literally by the book, or the way people interpreted the creation of quillwork, so I could learn the techniques. With these earrings I decided to do a different shape with the quills and the leather. An artist was born.

This was reinforced yesterday while listening to a CraftCast podcast interviewing Thomas Mann. Imitation is how we learn, he said, and once you move beyond the imitation you can become your own artist. Mann goes on to explain how imitation as learning manifests itself at craft show where in a certain time period all the work looks similar. (An interesting note for you locals: Thomas Mann embarked on his art-laden path at 8 years old when he began attending the Baum School of Art in Allentown.) The podcast is worth a listen, as are most of Alison Lee’s CraftCast podcasts.

I’ll keep you updated as I add more pieces to my shop in the next few days.

In the meantime, I took a little fieldtrip into my beadbox to make a few gifts for Mother’s Day and birthdays. Here are the results:

Hematite and Porcelain Necklace

Hematite and porcelain bead necklace with…

Porcelain Earrings

…matching earrings.

Bead and Pearl Earrings

A pair of bead and pearl earrings.

Red Porcelain and Suede Earrings Polka Dot Cylinders

My friend picked out the red porcelain beads and pink cylinders with black polka dots and I made them into earrings for her. Hope she likes them.

Best Mother’s Day Ever

I just had the best Mother’s Day ever.

Canoe Opener

No flowers or candy involved. No breakfast in bed (even though a little one said she was going to). No gifts at all. Okay, so I did get a little bag my wee one made a preschool, filled with very fragrant potpourri and a badge. But nothing store bought.

And yet, it was the best mother’s day…

Reason #1: The WHOLE family slept til 9 a.m. That’s right, we ALL slept through the night and until 9 a.m. If you have kids, you know what an accomplishment this is. If you don’t have kids…well…I won’t hold it against you that you can sleep ’til 9 a.m. every Sunday.

Reason #2: Laid back friends. Yes we awoke at 9, but we had friends coming at 10 a.m. to go canoeing. One hour to: dress four of us, make breakfast for four, get “I fell into the water clothes,” find paddles and life vests, put canoe on car. Sure.

We got most of it done, except for the canoe on car. My canoe hasn’t seen water in many years (last permit expired in 2002) so I couldn’t even remember how to get it on the car.

Luckily my friends and their boys roll with the punches. We got canoe on car with not damage to our car, no damage to any neighbors cars (we live VERY close to other people) and hopefully no embarrassing video on YouTube (very close to people with video cameras to tape their schmo neighbors doing something stupid).

Canoe with kidsReason #3: Goofing on the river. Nets, buckets, canoe. Throwing rocks. Watching ducks. Trying to catch fish smaller than my fingernail with a butterfly net. Shuttling kids up and down the river on their first-ever canoe rides.

Reason #4: Leaving the vestiages of society behind. I was so excited to go canoeing I forgot my mongo bag with wallet, cell phone, day planner, etc. All I had in my pocket was my keys, 2 clothespins and a twist tie.

Reason #5: Lunch on the fly. I scrounged up a credit card between us adults and headed to a local store to pick up lunch. No planning or cooking. No thinking about nutritional balance and who likes what. Just hoagies and macaroni salad. Yum!

Canoe ShoesReason #6: Coming home to a clean house. My husband’s gift to me was cleaning the whole house on Saturday. So when I returned to the homestead after a rough day on the water, I had nothing to do but relax and put up my raisin-wrinkled toes.

Best Mother’s Day ever.

Corn Festing

What a great way to celebrate spring that with a festival! I spent the weekend at the Museum of Indian Culture’s Spring Corn Festival. Some highlights:

Lots of dancing by native peoples in regalia. Head Dancer Robert SilentThunder performs a special dance in honor of the Museum of Indian Culture.

Native Dancer 2

The turtle I worked on the last few weeks found a happy, new home.Turtle in Hair

Two of the teaching tipis.


My little pink with her uncle, learning to throw the atlatl, an ancient hunting weapon.


Yes that’s me wearing gloves while demonstrating quillwork at my booth. Saturday was overcast and the breeze blowing off the Lehigh River was c-c-c-cold. Sunday was sunny and gorgeous.

Sue at the Indian Fest