06.29.15Slowing down meant that today I stayed home with Lucy while Violet ventured out to Day Camp all on her own. We had a wonderful day being silly and getting things done a little gardening, a nice run, a bunch of computer work, and it culminated with her making tortillas from scratch for dinner – great to get a little hiatus before the whirlwind of the coming rest of the week.

Some of you might know that my son lives with a pretty severe heart condition, a Restrictive Myopathy. On Thursday he will undergo a risky procedure to restore a normal heart rhythm. My connection to our higher power is heightened and I feel positive and confident that Ben will weather this well and feel a sense of relief shortly afterward. Getting myself into this frame of mind requires an enormous level of energy.

On Friday I have a ticket to Ireland with two dear friends where we will spend an abbreviated stay exploring and preparing for our next family adventure. More on that another time.

Before any of this happens I need to get a few things done in the studio to be sure the momentum keeps flowing in my 10-day absence.

06.29.15.1Two the things will happen shortly after my return home. First I will be teaching my last Potholder Rug Workshop of the year on July 12 and 13. It is a Sunday/Monday and there are spots open for both days. You can register here – https://www.etsy.com/listing/208714254/july-12-13-2015-potholder-rug-weaving?ref=pr_shop

Second, Shire City Sessions will be turning this parking lot into a Live Music, Craft Beer, Food Truck EXTRAVAGANZA for the first time on July 20. There are posters to hang, t-shirts to print, reuseable cups to order and YIKES so little time!2015-06-26 19.06.51

Send a prayer to Ben. Let him and his issues be a reminder to love the ones you hold dear to your heart. Everyday you have to share with those special people is a blessing. Life is beautiful and precious.

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Ten years ago, I fell in love with painting chickens. I don’t know where the urge came from, but when it hit, it hit hard. This led of course, to looking at chickens a lot – or should I say, trying to look at them, as they never seemed to stay still for very long. I became fascinated by chickens and over time I’ve learned some fancy facts about our feathery friends.
Continue Reading → →

06.25.3.15My hubby and I own a former Catholic Church and rectory next door in Pittsfield MA. You might know about it – called Shire City Sanctuary – a Makerspace in the former church AND we have turned the adjacent rectory into 4 apartments right in the heart of our healing city. (Pittsfield has a long history of toxicity left in the wake of General Electric’s production – PCBs in the river, tainted soil given to land owners as ‘clean fill’ and even used in public school playgrounds.) For 30 years the EPA and GE have been arguing, talking about, and promising to cleaning it up and they never will. It has been such a long time that most people don’t remember the atrocities.

We remember – and know that waiting around for other people or government agencies to do the right thing is most often wasted time. We are taking the healing into our own hands.

Jay and Matt Lamb of Berkshire Earth Brigade working on a shade structure for vertical beds and a sitting area.
Jay Allard and Matt Lamb working on a shade structure for vertical beds and a sitting area.

Here is how: with Permaculture.

We are healing our ground with plants and mushrooms, creating productive, low maintenance, nurturing gardens for our tenants and neighbors to use and enjoy. We have hired Matt Lamb and a couple collaborators to turn our grounds into a magical healing wonderland of food and beauty. Stay tuned here for updates and pictures throughout the seasons. It all just started and is off to an amazing start.06.25.4.15

06.24.15

We have ants in our house. We are chemical phobic too so controlling pests is always alternative and sometimes not so effective. After dealing with little tiny ants for most of our super freezing cold winter and then an entourage of big fat black ants that moved in with the change of season we found a great solution and are currently living ant free!

Eyeball equal amounts of maple syrup and Borax. Stir them together in a shallow plate, saucer or jar top. We put a jar top full of this mix under our stove where the little tiny ants found and indulged in it. They soon dissipated. This last week I made a bigger batch and left it on the kitchen counter while we were gone for the day. After finding ants upstairs crawling across my pillow, traversing the top of our window molding and tickling my toes under my desk I sit here making this entry with nary an ant in sight. According to my hubby, the ants eat up the mix, carry it to their nests and it kills them. Sorry guys.

You can find Borax in the laundry aisle of most conventional grocery stores.

Do you have a highly effective non-toxic remedy to share?

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used clothing alchemy picnic blanket by crispina ffrench made from recycled corduroys

This weekend I will be selling all manner of Used Clothing Alchemy at the Hudson River Exchange Summer Market ~ From what I hear this is one not to be missed! I am really excited to have the opportunity to share my picnic blankets, summer clothing collection and all natural yoga mats in this beautiful outdoor setting right along the majestic Hudson River! For directions and hours you can check out their website at http://hudsonriverexchange.com. With all these picnic blankets coming together in the studio, I am planning a few picnics sprinkled throughout the summer. A hot sunny beach on Cape Cod, Inside Out stage at Jacob’s Pillow and The Lawn at Tanglewood are definite. Where is your favorite picnic destination?

Oh, I can just imagine the warm sun on my face now!

Add Joy, reduce disappointmentIt is summer vacation and my younger two kids have just finished second and third grade. (Our oldest is 22 and living the good life in Boston as he works for the summer before returning to Berklee this fall.) My husband and I are both self employed so we are going to work alternative schedules for the summer to save money and spend more time with our kids. My challenge will be to be present to The Littles when spending time together rather than finding ways to entertain them while I work.

This first week we are sharing a sitter/entertainer with our good friends who also have two little girls similarly aged. We plan to fill days with summer fun, from wading in the brook catching critters to a day at the town beach and maybe a couple of kid-oriented local museum trips. Here’s to a summer full of fun and adventure with time to get things done and add joy!

What are you planning for the summer to add joy on your path?

 

 

 

06.20.15I am not the only one to feel overwhelmed with the number of things on my daily list to accomplish. The inability to keep-up results in constantly feeling  disappointed. There are just too many very interesting, enchanting, mind-widening, entreprenuerial things to do in my everyday.

It has recently occurred to me that what is most important, is to live a beautiful life. It is my mission.  With this in mind, my blog is back in action – a soft reappearance.  Join me on my path of reducing expectation, with it’s resulting disappointment and increasing presence and  joy. There are bound to be significant changes along the way.

My first hurdle is realizing my inability to successfully run three businesses, stay healthy, and have a beautiful life –

Got some thinking to do, come along and lets see where we find ourselves.

What can you change in your life to add joy and diminish disappointment?

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Here in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts is it simply beautiful, our new leaves are turning from that sweet baby leaf green to a hardy summer hue. We have been busting out AWESOME denim and corduroy picnic blankets in the studio and developing a full line of clothing from 100% cotton recycled t-shirts. While my attention has been focused on production, there has been a little unexpected hiatus here at www.crispina.com. A few things have been going on that are wreaking havoc on our usual sequence. Becca, our trusty weekly treasury builder who normally posts on Mondays has run into a glitch with the software she has been using to create her posts. Jay, our creative genius webmaster is working on figuring out what that is all about – even while traveling in Iceland with his brand new baby boy, Atticus and his lovely lady Huck who is participating in an arts conference there. Laurie, who writes ReconsumerEyes that normally posts on Tuesdays is out of commission due to threatening emails, phone calls and written correspondence over the use of images found on the internet with no indication of copyright. Apparently the images in question were produced by Getty Images and have copyright protection. YIKES!

While Jay is working out the software glitch, I am committed to getting things back on track using only original images. Thanks for staying tuned. I’ll keep you posted on how things unfold.

The good news is that it is finally raining in our Beautiful Berkshires. The fruit trees my hubby and I are planting will be very happy about this.05.19.15.2

Isn’t it great to get outdoors? Isn’t it also great to enjoy a delicious meal? So, how much more exponentially great is it to enjoy a fine dining experience outside? Let this treasury inspire you to create the perfect picnic with your loved ones.


Vintage Picnic Basket, Farmh…
$38

Upcycled Vintage Folding Cam…
$69

Handmade Maple Serving Board…
$60

Set of 9 wicker picnic plate…
$32

Red Ticking 100% Cotton Picn…
$125

Juniper wooden spoons
$7

Blue Enamel Bowl – Soviet vi…
$10

Wine carrier handmade out of…
$55

Garden Tic Tac Toe
$18

Di: In Golden Wheat Panama S…
$195

XL French Vintage wire baske…
$90

SPECIAL- 6+1 Bonus Hand Prin…
$38

2 Ceramic lidded jars spice …
$42

SANDWICH Wrap- beeswax & clo…
$10

Handmade leather water bottl…
$85

Croquet Set with Stand and B…
$149

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It’s Screen Free Week and I’ve made it my mission to convince you that the joys of going screen free are so immediate and immense, so real and reliable, that you’ll turn off your device once you’ve read this post and not log back on until next week!

Screen Free Week is a global celebration that invites everyone, young and old, to rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen. Begun in the 1990’s as “Turn the TV Off” week, it has now grown into a broader invitation to shuck all the online time and rediscover reading, playing, thinking, creating and connecting. It is an opportunity for all of us to go back to the experiences we used to have before technology played such a dominant role in our lives.

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Nowadays, between smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions, the sheer number of screens in a home can seem overwhelming. But it wasn’t that long ago that we were without these devices. It wasn’t that long ago that our time was more our own and our connections were more real.

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If your family is drenched in technology and it feels challenging to know how to approach the idea of Screen Free Week with your children, here are some simple ideas:

Play outside with your children in the fresh spring air.

Move your furniture around into a fresh, new arrangement.

Call someone you love and have a long evening chat.

Cook something new.

Listen to music. Or better yet, play live music.

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Play word games, board games, card games or a jigsaw puzzle.

Read aloud after dinner.

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Give your time to someone who needs you.

Take a long walk and really let yourself meander.

Sew. Tinker. Paint. Fix.

These are just a few of the many ways you can rediscover the essential joys that have gone by the wayside in recent years. Once you dive into any one of these pleasures, you are certain to springboard into more and end up with a great new list of your own.

One thing is certain. When you turn off your screens you will be amazed at how much more time you have. You’ll realize that you pour a lot of your time away, getting caught up in unnecessary wanderings online. You’ll reconnect with aspects of yourself and your life that you don’t even know you’ve been missing. You’ll have a lot more fun. Fresh, real life fun.

So go on. It’s time.

Turn this screen off.