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wow, it has been a really long time.  and i have a lot of projects that i have been working on for the last 9 months to share!  so here we go.  in the spring detroit finally got it’s very own farm and garden store, called detroit farm and garden (that we will refer to as dfg from here on) opened by my friend and neighbor jeff.  i, along with my talented friend nina created the logo for dfg.  i made the center image for the logo and nina did the rest, including creating the font in the word detroit!   after the store opened jeff asked me to come in and talk about creating some signage for the store.  he had made two huge chalkboards that sit behind the counter.  they are made from plywood painted with chalkboard paint, and he envisioned that they would house information on bulk items, new products, classes and any other pertinent information.

blank looming chalkboards

each chalkboard is 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  as i did some research on chalk i discovered that those handy chalk pens don’t work so well on chalkboard painted boards.  they look great, but they leave a ghost image after erased, especially color pigmented markers, as the material is too porous and the pigment seeps in.  they apparently erase just fine on a regular chalkboard.  so we went with regular chalk, which is harder to work with in some ways than chalk markers.  the first thing i did was decide how to divide up information and make a small to scale mock up of the boards and get a basic idea of how much room to allocate each area.  then i figured out how big the text had to be for it to be legible from the door.

chalkboards being gridded off

using painters tape (one of my favorite tools to always have on hand!) i marked off the boards into sections and to make sure that the text was straight and evenly spaced.

left board sketched in


right board sketched in


after the board was gridded off i drew everything in with regular white chalk, which was sort of like sketching in with pencil.  next i made sure that everything looked as it should and was spelled correctly.

starting to put color in

after the initial laying down of information i went in with the colored chalk to make it pop!!!  and then many hours later it was finished and extremely colorful!!

finished boards

it popped really well in the space as jeff was working with a limited color palette in the space, following the colors in the logo.  you may be surprised to hear that a farm and garden store would have a color palette at all, but this is not your average farm and garden store!  it has all of your farm and garden needs, and it is a very well put together store.  there is a better photo of the chalkboards and the store itself in this slide show from the free press.  this post is very process heavy, mainly because i personally love seeing how people do the things that they do, so when i remember to document the process i will post it here, as well as the final project!!


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Filed under arty stuff, commission, detroit, farm, garden, Uncategorized

cold and sunny

hi there, it seems that i have unintentionally taken a vacation from this blog.  so here is a catch up from the last couple (er, few) months.  mostly i have spent the past few months coughing, being feverish, sleeping, and then recovering.  a few days after my last post i came down with pneumonia!  i have never had pneumonia before, in fact i have never had a fever that i remember either.  but i came down with both.  so i very very sick for about two weeks until my doctor figured out that i had legionnaires disease.  then i was given the right antibiotic and started getting better, but those two weeks were pretty miserable.  then it took me a few months to recover from being that sick.  i spent a lot of time sleeping, reading and knitting as i din’t have much energy for anything else.  but now i am just about back to normal.  it is just strange adjusting to normal life and not being sick.  while i was sick i managed to make an appearance at my art show closing, but within half an hour of being there i started swaying while standing up and patrick took me home.  but i would like to send a thank you out to all the good friends who dropped off soup, juice, flowers, cookies and sent me much love during that time.  i was feeling miserable, but very loved.  after i started getting better the holidays seemed to hit.  i still can’t believe that it is december!!  i feel like i am  living in a slight haze because it feels like i missed an entire season.  but i have a back log of knitting projects to share, as i’ve spent a lot of time knitting in the past few months.  this is a shawl i finished in july for my mother in law, for her birthday, a lovely gift for an even lovelier woman!.  it is by far the most complicated thing i have ever made!!!  i made a lot of mistakes, but learned a lot as well and i think it came out beautifully.  raveled here.  i also put up a post today on patrick’s blog about making soap.  and more creative spaces here!

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june, really?

ok i am going to make this brief as i am baby watching at the moment.  the baby is sleeping in her chair beside me on the kitchen counter.  she seems to really like the kitchen.  so here is a quick catch-up and new challenge for me.  first off the baby is not mine, but resides with some dear friends whom just introduced her to the world a little over 2 weeks ago.  i have been super busy with gardens, bees and artwork.  we have a lot of beautiful lettuce in the garden, almost ready for harvest, planted all our tomatoes (which are now being destroyed by rabbits!!) irises are in full bloom, and almost finished.  we harvested all the spinach that we planted in august (about a bushel) and finally ripped the plants out.  i requeened our hive at our house, my first time ever doing that, and am hoping that they accept her.  i have quite a few art projects in the works to post about in the upcoming months.  i have been very bad about updating on here, so i am challenging myself to post a picture a day for the next week to get myself back into the swing of things.   check out more creative spaces here.

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Filed under beekeeping, creative space, food and farming, garden, life, Uncategorized

happy may day!!

well happy may day, a great holiday in my opinion, a celebration of spring and political protest!  i have not been up to too much in the studio, so once again i will inundate you with pastoral scenes from my back yard.


so here is what is happening in the yard:

• spinach that was planted in august under hoops is still going strong
• the ornamental pear tree in our front yard is in bloom, detroit has a lot of flowering trees, so spring
here is quite lovely!
• new garden beds have been prepped and are ready for planting
• our carpet of violets in the side yard has returned!
• a bird house i put out 3 years ago is finally inhabited by a bird, i have not  figured out what kind of bird,
but seeing a twiggy nest in there was quite exciting
• fava beans popping out of the ground

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keeping warm at the little house

it has finally stopped snowing, but the blizzard of the century seems to have fallen a little flat, although it is certainly cold enough.  so in the art department of little house farms i have been working on a commission paper cut that i finished today, but will not post until after it has been sent in the mail!  otherwise i have been trying to take it easy.  on sunday i worked on quilting a quilt i made for patrick for his 30th birthday.  he just turned 34, and we have been sleeping with it on our bed, with it being full of safety pin,s for the past four years.  the only impetus for me to complete the project is that i wanted to make another quilt, but it was gently suggested that i finish the first one i made before starting another one.  well after machine quilting for 4 hours my back had had enough.  i think the quilting was just the tipping point.  i think what really did it was the month of drawing and cutting paper in a hunched over position, while sitting in a crappy chair with a flat top table.  so now i am in search of an adjustable height good quality used drafting table and most importantly, an ergonomic drafting chair.  any suggestions would be welcome.  so instead of starting lots of new projects i have been laying around with a hot water bottle on my back.  in the meantime i finished a hat i was working on.  it was a pattern picked out for patrick, and made using some bamboo/wool/angora yarn i had on hand.  i gave it a few stripes because i did not have enough of any one yarn to finish it.  when it was complete patrick liked it well enough to call it his own.  i really like using the bamboo/wool yarn, it is really soft and warm and was great to work with.  check out more creative spaces here and details about the hat here.


Filed under arty stuff, creative space, knitting, papercut, sewing, Uncategorized, winter

honey extraction

patrick and i are having our first little house farms fundraiser, here are the details lifted directly from his blog!!!

in an attempt to make the garden a little more self sefficent we are doing a fundraiser to support next years crops.   specificly we are trying to raise funds for more compost so we can expand the garden and tools so we can prep beds better.  with that in mind we present the first little house farms fundraiser – mark you calendar

Garlic Fest!

October 2nd from 6-8 pm. at little house farms ( email at mpatrickcrouch(at)yahoo(dot)com for address) we will have 10 varieties of garlic to taste test – help us decide what to plant for next year.  Plus all kinds of garlic foods – home-made chevre with garlic honey, roasted garlic with taste bread, veggies and garlic dip, roasted garlic ice cream, and paw paw ice cream.  plus little house farms honey for sale, ma’s garlic art, and samples of our home-made mead.  it’s sliding scale 10-40 dollars.  hope to see you saturday.

in other news patrick and i extracted honey today from our backyard hives.  i am sure patrick will post a more process oriented write up about this subject in the not too distant future.  we also bought jars from a local bottle supply company, and are headed out for a fancy dinner tonight because it is now detroit restaurant week!

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a short day in pictures

a short day for pictures, but not a short day for me.  we processed and canned a half bushel of tomatoes today and oven roasted and dehydrated the other half.  instead of packing whole tomatoes we sort of made a juice/sauce that we cooked and then put through the food mill.  it was a lot easier than whole tomatoes.  i also made some lacto fermented soda from some of the gingeraid of yesterday.  then we prepared for extracting honey tomorrow.  which means we have a space heater and honey supers in our bathroom right now to warm the honey up so it will flow out of the comb.  then this evening we attended a sukkot party at our neighbors house.  for not being jewish we seem to celebrate a lot of jewish holidays!!  most of these photos were actually taken by patrick.  he has taken a shine to my camera.  but tomorrow i will take plenty of pictures of most likely, honey extraction and put up some information on little house farms first fundraising event.  so until then, enjoy.

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Filed under detroit, farm, food and farming, photos, Uncategorized