Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Holiday Aftermath

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We had a fun and busy day with twenty family members and a few friends. Such a treat for me to have everyone but one sister and her family make it to our farm. 

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon together. 

Took a hayride on the wagon attached to the back of the tractor ....


and of course ate turkey.... Thank you David for doing an awesome carving job, once again. I cooked three of them this year so there was plenty for leftovers and to send away. David stood there carving forever!


Even the dogs had enough!

The day after we all went to my sister Nancy's house to re-convene and have our annual craft day. Nancy supplied us with the makings of beeswax candles that were super easy to make. She saw an article in the lastest Martha Stewart Living and ordered from the featured company although I do not know the name - sorry. The cousins who are usually all over the crafting instead decided they wanted to KNIT instead of make other things. 


I was happy they were doing that although the adults all missed them sitting at the table and yacking away. The four nieces are quite the knitters although I still can't get Julia interested. There was one sweater going, one hat, and two headbands. I think they kept knitting all weekend long.

You can see Olivia's sweater above that she is working on from Color By Kristin from the book of the same name. The sweater is called Norwegian Dreams and you can read about it here on Ravelry. The yarn was a Christmas gift last year and this is Olivia's FIRST SWEATER! Olivia is using Lamb's Ears 3249 for the background and Deep Blue Sea 3248 for the main motif. For her lower border, she is using Magenta 3232 and Spring Green 3215. It is going to be gorgeous. She is bound and determined to finish it this year. It's a lot of knitting for a busy college student.

Thanksgiving is over once again and now the mad rush begins. Much more to my liking to eat and chat than shop and stress out. Check out Monica's take on keeping calm for December. 

The house is so quiet now! I hope you and yours had a great holiday and are still stretching the turkey leftovers out. Tonight it is turkey pot pie for the second time. I use a puff pastry sheet for the topping because I am very lazy about making pie dough.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frieda's 111th Birthday + Color by Kristin Yarn Giveaway

I was lucky to have had my grandma Frieda play a large part in my early life. When my 4 sisters and I were small, we would frequently be dropped off at her home while my mom went to a church meeting or one of the other organizations she was involved in. Gram lived across town from us and frequently came to our home to care for us. Every Christmas she would make us all matching flannel nightgowns often trimmed with hand tatted lace which my great grandmother made by the yard and Gram had held onto for years. On Christmas eve, she would arrive with the 5 boxes and we would rip them open, put on the nighties, and Dad would take the annual photo with our pug dog Pixie. 

Frieda Roessler Nicholas in her early 80's sitting on her sunporch

Frieda Roessler Nicholas immigrated from Thalheim, Germany when she was 10 years old. When she arrived in America, speaking no English, she and her parents became part of the large German immigrant population in Dover, NJ. She learned English and graduated from the 8th grade. She then went to work at Gunther's Hosiery Mill adding the tops to silk stockings. She married my grandfather Arch who was from an English immigrant family in 1920. She worked at the hosiery factory until she had her first child Harry in 1923 and then later my Dad Arch in 1928. After her husband died in 1950, Gram went to work at a local elementary school and ran the school cafeteria. Gram wasn't a book educated woman but she was constantly reading, expanding her knowledge and interests. She was a big fan of PBS, Masterpiece Theatre and Prevention Magazine.

Gram was an amazing quilter, embroiderer, gardener, sewer, baker, and cook but what I remember her doing the most was crocheting. When I was about 10 years old, she taught me to crochet and for years, I made ponchos (it was the 70's), scarves, bags, and whatever else was featured in those great oversized "McCall's Needlework and Crafts" magazines which I used to spend hours pouring over when Mom brought them home from the grocery store. As a teen, I did many crafts - embroidery, needlepoint, crochet, but sewing was my main interest. I spent hours and hours cutting out patterns, sewing blouses, jackets, pants, skirts, coats while watching my favorite NY Mets on our old black and white t.v.

Gram with her Christmas Stollen - still a tradition in our family
Whenever Gram would come over, I would show her my latest project. Gram was my most encouraging and positive fan - my biggest cheerleader. I can still hear her say "Oh, Kristin, you are so clever" in her understated voice. If I was ever having a bad day, Gram would make me feel better. When I went away to college and graduate school, Gram wrote me letters weekly in her beautiful cursive and I wrote her back. Her letters were full of what she was cooking, baking, and doing in her garden. A couple months ago, I found those letters and sat down and teared up as I read through them.

This summer Mom gave me a beat-up gold recipe box. I didn't know what it was and opened it. In it was Gram's handwriting on 3 x 5" index cards. I have poured through the recipes several times, recognizing handwriting from other family members who had contributed to the box. It is a treasure and I hope one day I can organize it, try out many of the recipes, and put them down in some kind of format to share with the other women and cooks in our family. (Thank you Fernando for taking care of this box for all these years and for thinking of me!)

So this week, we are celebrating what would have been Gram's 111th birthday with a Color By Kristin Giveaway. Gram always loved a good contest; during the Depression, she won a washing machine and frequently told us that she had only been lucky once. Here's what I have for you all - one 25 gram ball of the twenty colors of my Color By Kristin Yarn, courtesy of Classic Elite Yarns. One knitter or crocheter is going to be very lucky!

Here's how you enter...... Leave a note in the comments about an older person in your life - past or present - who influenced you and why. As always, leave an easy way to get a hold of you, e-mail, blog address, or Ravelry ID.

Winner will be picked by Random Number Generator. Contest ends Friday November 16th at 11:59 p.m. - just in time to get the winner their yarn for holiday crafting.
Contest is over. Thanks everyone for entering. The winner Cindy who wrote:
For me it was my Grandmother Zona who taught me needlework First there were sewing cards- cardboard with pictures and holes. Then it was embroidery, then spool knitting with a wooden spool with nails that Grandpa fixed for me. Then she taught me to knit. Recently I was delighted to have one of my granddaughters ask me to teach her to crochet. Thanks - Cindy (I am kidnurse on Ravelry)
Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Give Me "Culture"

We don't have a lot of time in the summer months (much less any other time of year) to do things as a family unit. Julia was busy with summer school the entire month of July and now this current week. Last week was our only chance to maybe do something together - all three of us. No time or resources for overnight trips to faraway places. We had to fit our "vacation" into a day. Since I was planning the day, I got to choose. Me, I went for a bit of culture. The family said yes and the day was set aside. No moving sheep. No taking care of the garden. No book stuff. No blog. No nothing.

French's home Chesterwood

Off we went to the Berkshires in search of "Chesterwood." I am a sucker for old homes, especially those owned by artistic kinds of people. Lucky for us, Chesterwood is now owned by The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the home and studio are open to the public. This home was built by and owned by Daniel Chester French who was a prolific sculptor of the early 20th century. You know his work - yes, you do - even if you don't think you know a darn bit about sculpture. He sculpted Abraham Lincoln for the DC Lincoln Memorial. See - you do know. 

 (All photos from National Trust website colorized in Camera+ App for iPhone - photos are not allowed inside and it was raining so I didn't take any of my own.)

French's studio in the evening 
I really do love to visit homes of people who made art that endures. We are very fortunate that these places exist. So many of them could have been bulldozed or left to rot into the ground because of lack of funds and foresight. Daniel Chester French's family home is not that big. It is left as he left it - preserved by his only daughter Margaret who gave it to the National Trust. 

Hydrangeas blooming - perfect spot for a wedding
My favorite part of the house was the corinthian columns in the hall which were topped with corn. Oh how fabulous - combining the image of corn, grain and the farming life with a gorgeous column in the hall in this agrarian farming area. The story goes that his studio took a real life cast of shucked corn and they then casted several of them to build the column. Unfortunately you cannot take photos in this home and I cannot find anything on the internet to document these gorgeous columns. I drew this in Photoshop for all of you so you would have a visual.

Illustration by moi, corn image from here
Daniel Chester French's studio is just to die for. It is very tall, well illuminated, and full of small scale models of many of the sculptures that French is famous for. The guide answered all the questions, explaining the sculpting and casting process of his work including his partnership with the Piccirilli Brothers in New York who had immigrated from Italy. Our guide told us that half of French's fee for the Lincoln Memorial actually went to the Picccirilli Brothers company who upscaled French's model to the enormous size as it sits in Washington DC. It took 28 blocks of Georgia White marble, weighing 150 tons, to create the famous 19-foot statue. The Piccirilli Bros also carved the Lions in front of the NY Public Library. Sadly, this type of art and talent has pretty much disappeared from the world now.

The most memorable feature of the studio is the railroad tracks that are hidden in the floor inside the studio. When needed, the side of the building opened up and the current sculpture in work could be rolled outside to be observed in real light from varying distances. Wow! is about all I can say. 

Inside of the studio - look at those windows!
After the visit to Daniel's house, we headed off to Lenox and eat ice cream and visit "The Taste of Lenox" at Coloful Stitches which is in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous yarn stores in the world.


I interviewed Bonnie Burton, the creator of this great display here on this post. I guess it was a day of sculpture... this part, Bonnie's knitting sculpture. If you get a chance - go visit Colorful Stitches just to take a look at her intriguing knitted food art display. Awesome! And all the yarn too - a visual and sensual feast for all.

My favorite part of the display is the hot dog with mustard and relish and potato chips. 

Hope you and your family are all enjoying the last days as summer before school starts up again and life resumes its normal hectic pace. And don't forget to eat some corn!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Visits and Upcoming Farm Class August 4th!

One of the nice things about summer is the chance to spend extended time with family members who don't live close to our farm. A few weeks ago Julia and I spent a couple nights at my sister Laurie's in eastern Massachusetts. Julia loves all her cousins and I can't help thinking that they are her "siblings" since she doesn't have any real siblings - unless you count the dogs and cats and kittens. Speaking of.... here's a cute shot of one of Petunia's kitties to start your day off with a smile. 

My niece Olivia is at university now in Philadelphia and is really busy studying and growing up into a fine young adult. Ever since she was a toddler, she has been making things with her hands. As a little girl, she really got into using Sculpey. She made 100's of animals and figures - astounding talent for such a young kid.  A couple years ago she went to "Snow Farm" out here in western Massachusetts where she began learning to throw pots. Now that she is in college, she has been using some of those skills taking University pottery classes and taking advantage of the art department facilities. This summer Olivia got a scholarship to Peters Valley Craft School in western NJ. Lucky girl! Here are some of the pots she made.

She learned to make stamps for relief.

She made a gorgeous terracotta clay fairy house for Laurie's garden. See the stamped decoration above the door.


And this set of fluted bowls.

But this my friends is the piece de resistance..... A set of lidded vessels with gorgeous flowers on top.

You never know where a little crafting as a kid will go, do you? 


I'm trying to get her to open an etsy shop. What do you all think? Beautiful job Olivia!

Now that you see what my niece Olivia has created this summer, let me tell you all about an opportunity to come here to our Leyden Glen Farm on August 4th. It's the first of my One Day Retreats for the season. I have 4 spaces left at them moment. The theme of this retreat is 

Tomorrow I'll be back with a little more about the class. For today if you are interested, check out....

There are plenty of fun places to visit if you decide to come for a weekend. Find my favorites here. Our farm is located 2 hours west of Boston and 3 1/2 hours north of NYC.