Tag: squam

squam-full circle

squam-full circle

i've come full circle.


i started this blog following my first retreat to squam art workshops in june 2009. as so many have shared their love and appreciation for elizabeth duvivier, i feel immense gratitude for so many of the dear souls that are now in my life thanks to my time spent at squam. this would take an entirely different post, thankfully lizzy house wrote a beautiful post about this back in 2013. she spoke of all the love that comes from shared connections. sometimes the joy can be overwhelming...all from one choice.

i am just coming back around to making the time to create full-time. my original goal with the blog was to offer ideas that we have found effective to be gentler to the earth with our daily needs. i am getting back around to this.

while i was away from the blog i spent much of the time learning to sew garments for myself.


i received a gift from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. they returned from a trip to italy with a bag made from washable paper fabric. it took me a while to find a source and to discover how best to sew the material that in many ways acts like leather. i have created a few products and felt that i was ready to sell! i decided that squam art fair would be the perfect place to begin this new adventure. i knew that i would have lovely support there. virginia and noah from gather here were hosting the first squam modern quilt show and several other makers who i know and adore would be there too. i was thrilled that my very dear mother was available to make the trip with me.


we had a lovely evening as expected. received a beautiful reception, informative feedback and my favorite part of the evening was discussing the washable paper fabric that i have been making many of my products from. i feel strongly that this product is a game changer. i have so many things that i want to make with it and collaborations in the works. hoping to share more soon. thank you to those who have encouraged and supported me.

this year at 1

this year at 1

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it's so challenging to know where to begin....well if you don't know about squam art workshop (saw) then please go and discover. it is held at the rockywold-deephaven camp-rdc in holderness, new hampshire.


i found this dreamy retreat last year when soulemama was blogging about speaking there. i was so fortunate to go and i know it sounds ridiculous but i really had a life changing experience. thank you elizabeth for your vision, persistence and the amazing teachers that you invited.6-7-2010 n 540

it was so lovely to see my dear, dear friends that i met last year. i've been so looking forward to seeing them and oh we had so much fun and laughed so good.
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many new wonderful friendships have begun on this trip too.

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my favorite shepherd was there too. if you don't have a favorite will soon...i just love susan gibbs from juniper moon farms can't wait to take our family there for a trip. my daughter has decided that she really wants to be a farmer, i asked her "don't you want to be a shepherd" and she said "no i want to have all the farm animals". there you have it...why limit yourself!

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the weather was also wonderful. we had the perfect combination of sunshine and rain the temperature was just right! the weather has clearly been very warm in new hampshire this spring because the water temperature was beautiful. many of us took a lovely swim. the water was so clear and very deep, so nice.

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this was the view from my bed. one morning we decided to sleep in just to enjoy the sound of the rain on the soothing, what a perfect choice we made!

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as if the location, classes, teachers and attendees were not enough...every night we had entertainment.

one night we heard a little from all who came to teach and from jenny doh.

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the amazing jonatha brooke played two nights for amazing...what a treat!

we were so fortunate one night she shared 2 brand new-unrecorded songs with us...looking forward to hearing those again real soon we hope...they were both so powerful.

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the multi-talented lizzy house spent an hour learning an unbelievable gaelic duet with jonatha and went up and sang for us. her grace and talent were as always inspiring.

we also heard a great story from jenn lee who will be teaching a storytelling class at squam in september, she has participated on the mainstage of the moth if you have never listened to the moth podcast, you should. there are some really great true stories on there.

almost done here...

we also heard from jess and casey who are ravlery! they told about how it all began. they are a classic comedy duo with a really great story.

last one for now i promise...this is how it is though...all of this and more...

stephanie pearl-mcphee the yarn harlot also held court one night. it was amazing to watch almost everyone in the playhouse knitting and watching a "comedy" act...can't say that i've seen that before.

much more to come soon...

~sweet dreams and moonbeams

creating at squam 2010

i know that many that attended last year were wondering if it was going to live up to our previous experience. my thought was it "is" going to live up to last year. in reality i was very nervous again because i don't see myself as an artist. i was very overwhelmed by how creative and talented people are. it was very interesting when i sat down for my first class painting in a day with the marvelous marisa haedike creator of creative thursday - marisa went around the room and asked everyone to share why they were taking the class. many said that they were not confident painting. that they had fear! here are the painting results from her class.

needless to say these artists need not fear. when we went around the class at the end everyone expressed an ease and expressed their joy in their finished paintings. thank you marisa.

am discovering (happily) that i enjoy trying new things (clearly the case with the number of barely used tools in our creative space)

i actually

clever mobiles taught by the lovely lizzy house

the class that got away... reinvention with the magnificent maya donenfeld creator of mayamade

the newest meaning in my life-1st reflections from squam

the newest meaning in my life-1st reflections from squam

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well this isn't how i thought i was going to begin my blog post about squam!

i'm just now overwhelmed with the desire to share what i just a few moments ago while chatting with my husband discovered about myself.

i have some strong beliefs about happiness. the most primal to me is that you choose to create your own! i've met many people along the way and have learned this to be so. we can be slung so much negativity, but we can really choose how we respond to it.

what i learned about myself just now is that i feel the calling to help people learn to choose happiness!!!

i haven't figured out yet how i'm going to make this a reality...i just now know that i will!

i also learned

~ i really enjoy being around creative people

~ i really enjoy seeing the process of making something new and beautiful or something old beautiful

~ i love the energy that is present in this, nurturing, positive, encouraging and supportive

~ i realized that i'm not an especially creative or a talented artist

~ more importantly i've realized that i'm comfortable with this revelation

~ i've learned that i can still enjoy the process of creating without the pressure or need to create something extraordinary.

~ i can create for the enjoyment of the process, the opportunity to learn something new and for the experience of being with very talented, creative and supportive people that love to create and express themselves beautifully.

~ most of all i've discovered that i want to be the supporting, nurturing, calm, caring person that i know i am and that can be the amazing gift that i give to my family, friends and others that i meet along the way

that is what i'm thinking now.

i'm going to write another post about my second amazing adventure to squam. hoping to have it out this afternoon. thanks to all that have inspired me and help me to come to this conclusion.

~~~sunshine and happiness to you today

creating at squam

creating at squam

the path to class

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felting class

my first class was felting with another new creative friend and house mate betz white she has 2 books that you need to check out.

Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects
Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials

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my felted project in process

i wish that i had taken more pictures in this class. everyone made very unique things. i was really feeling challenged with my design and my sewing skills. with so much support in this class i pushed on and ended up with a nearly finished bag, nothing short of a miracle. one of the big goals is to complete projects. this was the only class that i did not do some initial prep for.

creative characters

i did get to take one of mirsa's classes. yippee! as soon as i signed up for this class we started to discussing what types of charcters i could make. i asked helen if she would make some drawings that i could use to make some characters. in the end, i used a drawing that my husband and i love very much that she did before i even knew about squam.

meet shy horse.

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this is the pattern that i made from helen's picture in the process of cutting the pieces.

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this is the pattern all cut and pinned and ready to sew. it went just fine. marisa was so encouraging. i so enjoyed my day.

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i stuffed it was some buckwheat that helen loves and sewed it up. i still need to work on the embellishments but shy horse is all together! helen loved her.

i am very excited. i can't wait to make more of these from her drawings. i think that this is going to be something very fun that we can do with her friends too. so much of this project the kids will be able to do. i think they will love picking out the fabric and embellishments.

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here are most of the other creative characters from my class. again incredible creative.

block printing fabric

the last class that i took was block printing with incredible lizzy house

i don't want to seem redundant but she is yet another amazingly creative new fabulous friend from nirvana.

we really clicked. i am just sorry that i missed the first two days with her. but we had fun after that.

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here is lizzy giving us the printing demonstration

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i made blocks from helen's shy horse and another older picture that she had done called "baby bird in a tree"

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here is the take home of my creations from my time at squam.

the second night that i was there when we were visiting in nirvana and sharing some wine i was able to make some bracelets for breast cancer. the other two night that i had left i was so exhausted from creating during the day, eating and the evening events that i didn't have any energy to make more bracelets.

in the fish bowl

i am very excited to be starting an online course called in the fish bowl with my friend marisa of creative thursday who was one of my amazing teachers at SQUAM. i feel so fortunate to be taking this course. i was also so fortunate to share a our wonderful house nirvava with her and so many other wonderful, talented and dynamic women.

Tags: creating, squam
saw - squam art workshops - nirvana

saw - squam art workshops - nirvana


how to even start about this amazing experience. i may need to just share the pictures because the words still have not come after being home for over a week. when i keep starting most of what i say sounds very cliche.

i added a little wine to the mix and here comes the share+++ who cares how cliche it sounds, it was a life changing experience and i made so many incredible friends and enjoyed myself so much i want to share it!

Photo 1

this was my first look at squam in the light of the morning.

i can tell you when we decided that i was going to attend i had so much anxiety about what classes i should take. there were so many that i wanted to take and so little time. i had no idea how many people were going to be trying to register and how many spots there were, i thought i would be lucky if i could get in, let alone get the classes that i wanted. oh the joy to get the note from elizabeth that i was confirmed and had my first choices! yippee!!!

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nirvana - the camp

i feel so fortunate that elizabeth, the creator of this event, put me in the cabin appropriately named nirvana with so many talented and creative women. i loved being in the "vault". i feel so nourished by my nirvana family. i was living with the women that were teaching my classes this was so incredible. they were so fun and so honest and shared so much of themselves as did all of my other wonderful housemates. so many late nights.

i was anxious about attending this workshop. i had no idea what to expect. the photos from the previous retreat can't begin to describe what it was like there. the campus is really expansive and all tucked into the woods and surrounded by water. beautiful everywhere you look.

when i first started college i went in as a studio art major. i had terrible creative anxiety and lack of self-confidence. i can appreciate creativity but it does not come freely to me. i know what i like but cannot readily express what i would like to.

it was extremely overwhelming how talented and creative the attendees were. i knew already that the teachers were but this was very intimidating. that did not last long though because everyone was really so supportive. they would share ideas for my projects and ask for input on their projects. also we were all so happy to be there. everyone was smiling all the time and chatting with everyone else. even if you were not in class with them you said hello to them and chatted in line or when you were looking at all the production on display at the end of the day. it was so exciting to be in such a positive mutually supportive group.

the product that came out at the end of the day was so overwhelming. that these beautiful pieces could be taught and created in such little time was amazing. i wanted to take so many home with me. also wished that i could have taken so many other classes in addition to what i took.

Photo 4

painting a day with my new sweet friend marisa haedike one of the many great classes that i could not fit in my schedule

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printing with botanical designs with another new sweet friend maya donenfeld and another wonderful class i did not attend

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one more wonderful maya class. coffee sack hack, repurposing with burlap missed this one too.

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lauren smith and derek fagerstrom taught wallpaper projects. I couldn't fit this class in either but I bought their book of the same title.


most of the ladies from nirvana. we are missing three. not sure how they escaped. photo from laura nelkin

i need to let you know who all of my new friends are here. i will also add the nirvana ladies that are missing from the photo.

alexandra almeyda, me, kellen meyer, lizzy house, laura nelkin, maggie hollinbeck, betz white, marisa haedike, maya donenfeld, missing - donna collins, andrea mckeen and kristin bonner

missing you all!

i did have some ideas about what i would like to accomplish while i was away from home. i really thought that this would be a time that i could learn about some ways to repurpose material and find new activities that i could share with my daughter.

i had planned on having the evenings to myself to rest and create having quiet time away from the calls of family and house work. i enjoyed my new friends so much that i only slept between 5 and 6 hours a night and enjoyed every minute that i could. i also had plans to set up my blog while i was there so that i could better record the experience and not have to try to remember when i returned home. again there was no time for that.

the time went so quickly. we had three yummy healthy (if you chose) meals each day. you didn't want to miss a meal not because you were necessarily hungry, but it was such a great time to catch up about the classes and visit with your new friends. also at afternoon and evening meals most of the classes would display what they were working for everyone to see.

we were also working off those great meals walking to all of our events and classes. all of my classes were a 15 to 20 minute walk through the woods . i never knew how heavy my sewing machine was until i started carrying it through the woods to class. where else would you go and see someone walking in the woods with a sewing machine. to think that a little over a month ago i didn't even know how to use this machine. you could say that i had a crash course. my mother-in-law actually gave me a lesson almost 2 months ago now. she helped me make some napkins and showed me how to use the machine.

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nirvana dock - finally made it down here on the last day as i was leaving. how can we fit more hours in the day!

the next post is the classes that i did take. i think that i may be blogging about this workshop forever...

the beginning

the beginning

Hawaii 302 i am mother to one adventurous girl and wife to a very patient and supportive husband. trying to create a healthy peaceful environment for my family and friends.

We are looking to discover ways that we could be gentler to the earth. I wanted to start a blog to follow our journey. There were so many things that people have done in the past that have gone away due to the abundance of our nation. I am working to reduce our consumption; we have a long way to go.

Also on this blog I will be sharing other adventures that we have as a family and my quest to create more of what we use.

Inaguration With all the talk in the news about how we need to help our environment and the great toll that the war has been taking on our economy, I had been so surprised that more emphasis hadnb t been on the way the b everymanb pitched in to help with these issues in the 1930b s and 40b s. I have always loved the idea of the victory garden I was so excited to find this link. It makes me so happy that Michelle Obama has made this so chic. It was also so timely for the Kit Kittredge movie to come out too. My daughter is so funny now when I wear vintage skirts and dresses she asks me if I am wearing flour sacks like they did in the movie.

I feel that we need to look back to find out some of the lost art of conservation. As I was growing up both sets of my grandparents had habits that they had learned growing up in the depression. I always wondered why more people didnb t do some of these things.

My maternal grandmother was uber-creative. She did everything; she sewed most of her kids clothes, she also made many of their toys and dresses for their dolls, she knitted, crocheted, embroidered, cross stitched, canned, baked, cooked, and gardened this list seems endless. Amazingly she did this all while holding down a job out of the house. I remember her hanging clothes on the line instead of using the dryer; outside in the summer, inside in the winter.

My paternal grandmother was also a very busy woman. She had 9 kids and needed to stretch everything a little farther. They lived in the city but had a plot that they leased and would farm. They also sold eggs to the neighbors. My grandfather seemed to have endless odd jobs he was very resourceful he could do just about any odd job he washed windows, worked in the bingo halls and delivered flowers at the holidays all in addition to his fulltime job. When he b retiredb he painted, wallpapered and taught classes about basic home repair.

I remember my grandmother being a big recycler. I know that they used to take trips to the salvage yard all the time drop off paper and other things. My father told me that they saved tin, bacon grease and rubber for the war effort. He also told me that a couple of local garderners donated land in the city for the neighbors to plant victory gardens. l

When I was little one of my favorite jobs was to recycle the newspaper. I kept paper bags of old newspapers and magazines in the basement. When we had enough to fill the trunk my father would drive me to the dump. We would drive onto a scale, we would go empty the car of papers and then have the car weighed again. They would pay us for what we left. I thought I was that was so cool.

I used to save pencil shavings and sawdust too; I believed that one day I would find something that I could make with them. My theory at the time was to use them with glue to decorate a breakfast in bed tray, something of a disaster as you could imagine. Hopefully I will come up with some better ideas for us soon.

I wanted to start this blog for some time now. I must be honest; I have been procrastinating. My husband started a family blog in 2005 to keep my family posted when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I really enjoyed sharing photos and what we were doing as a family once we were able to leave the breast cancer topic, but I was not very consistent posting, the blog software that we used was not very user friendly for photo posting and that was the bulk of what I wanted to post. Then I found some really amazing blogs that used typepad and thought I should give it another try.

I have been following this inspiring blog called Soule Mama since March 2008. She is amazingly talented mother of four of what I must believe are super sweet kids. She generously shares so much about what she and her family are creating. I was reading her blog one day in January and she mentioned that she was going to be speaking at SAW b Squam Art Workshop in June. I looked at the information and the classes that were being taught and thought this would be such a great opportunity. I was telling my husband about it and he said you should go. I was so excited and anxious, there were so many great teachers and classes it was so hard to choose just three.

Well. I have been trying to gather my thoughts from this stunning four days of creating in the woods. And here begins the blog...