Friday, June 20, 2014

Through different eyes. . .a walk and our next camp assignment (and this is crafting related!!)

The end of this post is actually crafting related so skip to that if you want :) . But first, I took a walk today, through a 90-acre park that we have in Spokane, called Manito Park. There are so many areas to explore, but today my walk got to include a friend who is new to the area. I got to see the park through the eyes of someone who had never seen it before. . .and point out parts that were worth noting and see things that even I had never really noticed before. Here are a few highlights.

I enjoyed the colors, and the peaceful Japanese gardens. The Koi swimming in the pond. The fluttering and colorful Japanese Maple Trees. And the nice stroll through the blooming gardens.

We ended up sitting down to eat a picnic and a visitor came and claimed a PBJ sandwich we had on the table. The little stinker!!!!

And as we started to return to the car, I saw something that totally tied in to the walk from yesterday. Something I had probably walked by many times. But I really saw it for the first time today. And again, I was reminded of the people that I am learning about and having a chance to connect with this summer.

But today's walk also ties in to the next part of our camp experience - through different eyes. We are to spend 30 minutes today walking around our house and establishing a spot that will be our crafting spot home base for the summer. It needs light and wall space for hanging camp related things and a flat surface and a place to store things that will be out of the reach of prying hands (and we have a few of those around here.) I have spent the afternoon walking (around my house) and looking at my house, not as I normally do, but as someone with the job of seeing a space through different eyes - searching for a place that will serve a different purpose. I have a couple of ideas of where I want this spot to be. . .and what I would change about each spot if it were to become my home base for camp. . .and what would make each spot a good one. Time will tell which emerges as the winner. . .but how about you? If you were to dedicate a small (or large) space in your house to be your home base for your creative side, what would that look like? What would that involve for you? Would you need to clean out a big walk in closet or simply clear a bit of space in the corner of the living room or the abandoned desk in the basement? Would it have a comfy rocker, or an office chair? What things would you like around you? Do you need a place for your computer and printer nearby? Or a window or a brighter light? Would you prefer it be away from it all or in the middle of everything, but your own space set aside especially for you? How would you differentiate it from what's around? Or would you not and would you prefer it to somehow flow from your regular life to your crafting life in a very Zen like fashion? These are all things I considered today as I wandered around my house considering my potential camp sites. I will attempt to snap some photos tomorrow of the completely not organized places that might just serve me well this summer (and beyond?) . . .but until then, what do you imagine as your perfect place?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ready for your close-ups?

Today I took my two boys and my sister and her two kids to a great arboretum we have just outside the heart of downtown Spokane. As you can guess from the name, this place is full of trees. Tons of different types and varieties. I packed my bag with my camera, a camera for each of the boys, our journals and a HUGE box of color crayons and pens. The boys had a BLAST snapping photos of things they found interesting. And I followed suit, but focusing today on close ups. I tried to get up close and personal with things. . .and I love the results. Here are some of the cool leaves and other "normal" stuff we saw today. . . like clover, and flowers, and acorn tops and dandelions.

But we also saw some other cool things that were out of the ordinary and unexpected. . .

Like this pole hidden in a grove of trees and thistles, next to a small creek.

Minus the thistles, it was peaceful there. Spokane has several sister cities, so I'm guessing that this relates to that. A cool reminder too, of the people participating with me in Camp Aloha Friends from around the globe!

We also found this tree.

Covered in pieces of paper, notes and letters to a person who has passed. This tree and many others like it, have been planted in various places in Spokane in her honor. What a sweet tribute. But the one that caught my eye was this one:

I think I might like to have known this woman. . .and obviously her friends are good folks too - planting trees and leaving notes to inspire. A fun little surprise in the middle of the clearing for sure.

We climbed a few rocks, raced up the limbs of a few trees, dove into what the kids called "tree igloos" (where the branches hung to the ground and created a hideaway), and dipped sticks into the water.

Then my sister stumbled onto this unexpected treasure. Perfect for a close up. . .and not usually something you want to get close to:

You can almost hear it buzzing, right? The perfect ending to my day of close-ups!

All in all, it was a great day for a walk. Sunny. Warm. And there were half-priced milk shakes from Sonic to be enjoyed afterwards, as we drew our adventures in our journals and planned tomorrow's adventure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting my kids involved in my summer plans. . .

My journal is made. And my suitcase is yet to arrive. . .but today starts one of the first long term projects of Camp Aloha Friends and it will be a challenge for me to follow through with it for the next 21 days. Remember that journal I made a couple of days ago? Well over the next 3 weeks, I will be putting it to good use. At least that's the goal :)

Mel directed us today to start walking. Yes. That's right. Walking. I love that she didn't say running, because as anyone who knows me knows, running and I are NOT friends. At all. But walking? Yeah. That I can do. So the goal is to walk for 20 minutes. And to look. To see what's around you and to document it. I plan to take my new camera (Canon T3i) with me every other day, and on the off days, I plan to carry my journal and a new pack of ever sharp colored pencils (Crayola brand of course) to document the world.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I will put photos up if something truly awesome catches my eye: @KnittingAmyK . . .(my Instagram is private, so if you want to follow me and I can't tell who you are or that you are a knitter or crafter by looking at YOUR Instagram, send me a message via here or Rav and I will add you :) )

I plan to bring Eli and Zach along for the ride and the walk! Today they helped me make paper bag books. These are awesome for kids because they come with built in pockets. This was a decent and simple tutorial I found that will show you how to do it: They even got a new box of glitter crayons to help add a little sparkle to their creations.

And then, we walk. Everyday. For 21 days. Some days, we will start and end at home. Other days we will start at a park, or the lake, or a trail. But we will do it. Today our adventures were close to home because of the rain. But even then, we were able to capture some fun photos of the life around us. We walked through our  yard and around "the loop" as the kids call it. We took the dog.

You should join us! And let me know what your walks look like!! Here are a few things I captured on our walk today. Hopefully the neighbors don't think I'm a weirdo snapping pictures of their lovely manicured (or UNmanicured as the case may be) gardens and the cute little fruits beginning to emerge in their trees :)

P.S. - As I sat here typing, my son came in and grabbed his not-so-great Fisher Price camera and went outside to capture his own yard. He came in with a few blurry photos that made me smile. . .as he told me all about his journey into his yard. Tomorrow, we journal our journey.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Summer!

The past few summers,by June 16th I've been knee deep in Camp Loopy through the Loopy Ewe. By this time in June, I was kicking myself for picking a 600 yard or 800 yard project instead of the 400 yard project that was required. I thoroughly enjoyed my Camp Loopy experiences, but wanted something a bit different this summer. So when Mel (mskiknits) of the Single Handed Knits blog and podcast threw out the idea of being a bunk leader (a Ravelry guide) for her summer camp called Camp Aloha Friends, I was ALL OVER IT! The coolest thing about Camp Aloha Friends is that it lasts almost 4 months! Yup. That's right, right through when the kids start school again. . .which is a nice way to tie up those last days of summer, right? The other cool thing? It's not just about knitting. . .you heard that right. I'm doing something that is NOT just knitting this summer! There will be teachers, experts in their field, teaching us about everything that you could possibly want to try or learn about : Animal husbandry, tatting, crochet, embroidery, card making, scrapbook creations, papercrafts, yarn dyeing, sewing, botanical pressing, weaving, Chinese knotting, quilting, creating special places for yourself, journaling and so much more!   (If you are just now reading this and you are interested in joining in, even if you are not a knitter, it's not too late. If you go to this page and scroll down to the very bottom, there is a link to sign up. This is several hundred dollars worth of online classes and instruction from people who know their stuff. . .plus you get to participate in all of the camp activities on our own private camp site! And the cost is less than a ticket to the closest big city! WAY cheaper than flying and a hotel!!) 

SO I plan to walk you through my summer and my Camp Aloha Friends experience. 

We are starting the experience by assembling a journal. Mel has given us a few options for the journal, but the biggest is that we have to be creative and use things we have around us. I might have cheated a bit since I had a whole bunch of scrapbooking stuff in the basement. . .but I DID use an old box from KnitPicks to create my cover, so that counts, right? 

I gathered my supplies and thought about my journal. 

I ended up using my scrapbook papers to cover the cardboard. And book rings. And lots of double sided stick tape. I used brown paper cardstock for the pages. And I cut them to be 7.5" x 7.5" square before running them through the printer. 

 I still don't know what we are going to be using this for, but I love these pages. No matter what I put on them, I'm pretty excited by how they turned out. 

And if you are interested in a quick DIY tutorial to make one of your own, check into the Camp website or to the Single Handed Knits blog where it was featured this week!