Holy Crafty batman!

I did it!  After a winter of  careful stencil making, slow zenful stitching, and unyielding devotion I finally finished my latest off white Bloomer skirt from Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Stitch Book.  I love this book and have made several of the projects in it.

Natalie Chanin pioneered a stitching technique that creates intricate patterns and textures in cotton jersey that are 100% hand stitched – when I look at her collection of couture fashion it makes me jelly in the knees – LOVE!

Previously I had used spray paint for applying the stencil designs but I was so inspired by the prospect of crafting one of a kind fancy clothes for myself out of cotton t-shirts that I posted a request on my local Freecycle site for an airbrush & compressor which -  amazingly enough someone donated to me!!!  I am still learning how to use the airbrush setup but I have big plans – big plans indeed.

May 3rd, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Television and kids

In my Mommy dream world my kids never watch television.  Enter reality. Sometimes I really can’t manage two screaming kids while cooking dinner, sometimes I need to take a shower, sometimes I have spent the entire day being super mommy and I need a moment to myself.   BUT the sad reality is that there seems to be an evil backlash  – TV addiction.  Unfortunately, the little people in my house don’t watch their short snippet of TV and merrily go on their way, oh no, they want MORE and MORE of it.  My boys follow me around with an agitated soul expressing their undying need to watch MORE and MORE.  It becomes yet another battle in the day. The whiney “when can I watch TV” question comes up so frequently that I wish I had the physical and mental strength to hurl the damn television into the stratosphere.  I can imagine it now floating peacefully in space bonking against asteroids.  If only I had real super powers, I would never need to “plug the kids” in and I could be the Mother I had always imagined.  If only!

If you love/hate your television here is a coloring page for you to enjoy!

Right click,save to a file and print it for Captain Crafty coloring fun.


May 2nd, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Kickin crockpot beef stew

Here on our little farm we are lucky enough to raise our own hormone free grass-fed cattle.  This is a slow cooker beef stew recipe I made that turns out delicious every time. It takes very little time to prepare but a whole day to cook,  so worth it.


Zoe’s Kickin Crockpot Beef Stew

prep time 20 minutes (even with children clinging to your legs), cook time 6 hours


2 lbs. Lean beef stew meat cut into 1×1 chunks

1/4 Cup White flour (salted and peppered)

6 Medium size carrots peeled and chopped

5 Red potatoes cut into 1×1 pieces

4 Leeks  (or 1/2 cup finely cut onion slivers) white part only thinly sliced

2 Cups water

1 Cup red wine

2 Cups beef broth (I use ox-beef bullion rather than liquid stock)

1 TBL Brown sugar

1 TBL Paprika

3 0z Tomato paste

1 tsp  Fresh or dried tarragon and thyme

1 1/2 Cups frozen peas

Salt and Pepper to taste


Turn on your slow cooker and let it heat up while you prep your vegetables.  Cut off and discard the leaves and roots of your leeks leaving the white to light green middle part, slice them length wise and soak them in water for several minutes to remove dirt and silt residue.

Take your trimmed and cut stew meat and put it in the crockpot, add flour and toss.

Add  water, red wine, carrots,and leaks, potatoes to the pot.

In a separate container add tomato paste,paprika, herbs, and brown sugar to beef broth and whisk to fully mix. Add mixture to the pot.

Lightly toss stew ingredients and cook on high setting for 5 hours.

In the last hour add frozen peas.

Salt and pepper to taste, serve with fresh crusty bread.

Serves 8








May 2nd, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Dump trucks working in the garden

The weather has finally turned warm and the time is NOW for planting. Quick, before the bugs hatch!! Bright crisp mornings are spectacular here in the Berkshires and there aint no better time to get out there and ready the soil for a hopeful harvest.  Alas, there are always so many things to do, sometimes Spring can feel a bit overwhelming.  I grew up on an organic farm and I am still learning to have a quaint peaceful vegi patch versus high yield turbo crops – I am trying to turn down my need to become a “weeding machine” and learn to putter about enjoying the view.  Plus gardening with children, like any undertaking with small ones, requires a heavy dose of detachment.    Some years all the seeds get planted late or scattered across the lawn, some years the chickens give themselves a dust bath right where you planted your carrots, some years the children UNplant all your starts in their own make believe “harvest”.  Such is farming, no matter what you plant, you never do know what you’ll harvest!

For now we are excited to have wee pea sprouts – let’s hope the blue birds and robins don’t notice.

May 1st, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Yay for Printables!

Here in Captain Crafty Land we are drawing and coloring most days.  My twin boys are four years old and they like to play a game called “Make Mama draw it”.  Which, as you can probably imagine, involves me drawing what ever the heck they dictate (oh, and I do mean dictate) and them coloring it in. I  have found that store bought coloring books are often filled with advertising for the latest  animation film or popular television characters – bummer.  For me it’s fun to pull characters and situations together that are unique and completely noncommercial, even strange. It’s something that gets the kids to wonder and talk about.  How DID that alien and the kid in the bunny suit meet and what are their favorite ice cream flavors??? Where is her space ship, waiting for your kids to draw it in there, of course!  Captain Crafty Printables are something we would like to share with you.  Please right click the image, save to a folder and print our coloring pages for your personal use.  Please have lots of fun!



May 1st, 2011 by zoe No Comments

A whopper day at the park

The weather got warm for ONE heavenly day.  We spent 4 plus hours of that day at the park enjoying every bit of the sun we could.  We climbed the the stairs to the top of the slide many many times, rode bikes with and without pedals, pumped our legs furiously on the swings reaching for the clouds, hid and found Easter eggs, ran the bases in an imaginary ball game and got 50 cent ice cream cones at the hardware store.  Wow – now that’s a day.

April 18th, 2011 by zoe No Comments