About Kerry and Love Those “Hands at Home”

I’m Kerry and, for me, it’s all about the making. Whether I make it or you make it, or someone’s grandfather made it, whether it’s a cake, or a quilt, or a fiddle tune, if it’s made by “loving hands at home,” I’m for it.

I grew up on a farm and learned to make stuff really early; everybody in my family made stuff. I’ve been a sort of serial crafter/artisan, focusing intensely on one or two things at a time, then moving on to add something else. Some of the hobbies with which I’ve had full-blown committed relationships over the years are drawing and painting, metal smithing, quilting, baking, guitar playing, and candy making. But it could also be said that I’ve never met a craft I haven’t tried, so I’ve had flirtations with crocheting and knitting, rug hooking, polymer clay, beading, ceramics, needlepoint . . . the list goes on.

It’s not just about me making things, though. I can’t get enough of the stuff other people made, especially if it has the look of age about it. I amassed a ridiculously huge collection of vintage linens because they were embroidered by hand (I imagined my grandmothers’ hands making them) and these tablecloths and dish towels were being sold for pennies at flea markets! I couldn’t let them sit there, unloved.And the handmade doesn’t have to be a tangible object and it doesn’t have to be made by hands, per se—I’m just as drawn to a traditional folk song as I am to an old hand-stitched quilt. If it’s made by you, or me, or the humans who came before us, and it bears the imprint of the individual who created it, I’m for it!
Other basic info: I’m a former college professor and administrator. I took early retirement and moved, with my husband (who loves to make stuff, too!), to a house that desperately needed loving hands. We live on fabulous Lake Champlain, in upstate New York. I indulge my current obsessions, candy making and acting as a sort of Humane Society to find loving homes for vintage linens, with an Etsy shop called KerryCan. If you’re curious, you can check it out here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KerryCan. I promise you this blog is not meant to sell you stuff, though!

77 thoughts on “About Kerry and Love Those “Hands at Home”

  1. Just visited your Etsy shop, you have some lovely items in there, I love embroidered tablecloths so it was great to have a browse. I added your shop to my ‘Favourites’ so I can keep returning!. Have a lovely day. Cath

  2. Pingback: The Very Inspiring Blogger Award | Mrs Fox's Finery & Fancies

  3. Hi Kerry, I just wanted to let you know that another blogger nominated me for ‘The Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ and I in turn have nominated your blog. 

    I have a piece about it on my page if you want to take a look. Hope your having a good Christmas x

    • That’s a well-deserved nomination for you! And thank you so much for nominating my blog and for all the really nice things you said in your post! I may not follow though on the nomination, for a a variety of reasons, but I am so pleased and honored that you like my blog!

      I hope your Christmas has been wonderful! Looking forward to seeing what you have to say in 2014!

  4. Hey Kerry! Great to meet you…too funny, you left your first comment at the Corner yesterday, and this morning I find you on Leanne’s blog, in all your crafty Christmas glory…Looking forward to following your adventures in crafting!

  5. Wow, ya sure are crafty in just about everything! Wish I could do crafts as well as you. But for me, I can’t seem to work a sewing machine. I think I did all right with cross stitching, though. It certainly requires patience! Sweet blog you have here!

  6. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, because if you had not I would perhaps never have found you! I think we just might be little soul-mates, as I too, in my time have made and collected many of the things which you have turned your hand to. There is a huge history of rag-rug making in my family because I come from a mining village in the Midlands, in England and all the miners wives made rugs from their old wool winter coats. These rugs went in front of the rayburns, which burned with coal. I am going to follow your blog as I can not bear to miss what you are doing.-Karen

    • Thanks for the absolutely lovely comment, Karen! Have you blogged about your family and the rag rugs? That’s so neat! I’m really looking forward to your future posts, too–I love finding kindred spirits!

      • Thank you so much for planting the seed of an idea for a new post on my blog! I simply had not thought about writing about my connections with rag rugs and coal. My Grandfather was the Manager of a pit and was awarded the C.B. E for producing so much coal during the war. I love coal! And have a real fire and rag rugs in my house. Perfect for my cats to sit on!- Karen.

  7. Hi Seymour here the mascot of ADKArtsBoutique on Etsy. Just wanted to let you know that I liked your shop and some of your beautiful items. 🙂

    • How incredibly incredible!! Thank you so much for pointing me this direction–I’m sure I’d never have seen it otherwise. The artist’s vision and attention to detail is unreal!

  8. Hi Kerry: I love your blog and your crafts. I am a writer for the Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, NY. Not sure if you are a local gal or not. I have a profile to write on Catherine Macomb, who wrote the song Battle of Champlain. While googling I found your site with your beautiful letter to Catherine about the quilt you made. Can I talk to you about what the song and making the quilt meant to you? My work number is 565-4185 until 6 p.m. today, or at home tomorrow and until Tuesday, 562-3948. I hope we can connect!

    • Hi Susan! Thanks so much for all your kind words! I do live in the Plattsburgh area and I’d love to talk to you but I’m actually in Dublin right now and won’t be home until 9/12. If you see any point to talking at that late date, let me know!!


      • Unfortunately we are publishing the Battle of Plattsburgh feature stories starting Sept. 7 and I need to write about Catherine by Sept. 2. Can you just give me a few sentences in a reply (I know it will be hard; the song is so beautiful) saying what struck you about Catherine Macomb’s song “Banks of Champlain” that enticed you to create a quilt using the words. And, where is the quilt now? I am going to mention your quilt, blog, etsy site, in my story so wanted a few words from you about Catherine. On another thought, my grandmother was born in Dublin in the late 1800s and my mother is British. I’d also love to meet when you get home again! Have a great trip!

        • Hi, here are some comments, mostly taken from the original blog post:

          I made the quilt as part of a challenge run by the quilt guild in the Plattsburgh area. The challenge, called Cot to Coffin quilts, has been used by different groups as they’ve celebrated the 200 anniversary Of the battles of the war of 1812. I loved the idea that these quilts focus us on people often overlooked by history—the foot soldiers and the women left at home as the battles were waged.

          I imagine a mother or wife hurrying to make a quilt to send with her son or husband, to keep him warm and to bring a bit of home into battle. And, should the worst happen, the quilt, and the love stitched in, could carry the soldier to his grave.

          The project allowed me to honor a song I’ve loved for a long time. I learned the song, “The Banks of Champlain,” years and years ago from an album by my folk hero, Pete Seeger. The song is said to have been written by the wife of the field commander of the Battle of Plattsburgh, to convey her thoughts and worries as she watched the battle unfold.

          I love this romantic narrative, as it poignantly relays the thoughts of a woman who worries about her husband at war. She doesn’t just send him off to war and worry from afar but, rather, she watches as he fights the war before her very eyes.

          I hand embroidered the word to the song on panels of the quilt. The top of the quilt features the Great Seal of the United States, a design that was popular in the US at the time. The quilting of the design and the embroidery is all done by hand.

          My quilt and about 40 others made for the challenge will hang in City Hall, in Plattsburgh, during the Battle of Plattsburgh festivities.

  9. Hi Kerry: I have woven your comments into my story on Catherine. Also, I’d love to do a business story on you for the Press-Republican. When you get home from your trip and have time to catch your breath, please give it some thought and let me know. You are in a unique business niche with the blog, etsy, linen and chocolate loves!

    • Hi Polo! Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge your kindness–this has been a very crazy, busy time for me! I am so honored that you thought of my blog and nominated it for this award! I probably won’t act on the nomination and nominate others, both because I’m so busy right now and because I have not gotten into the award scene in the past. But that doesn’t keep me from being pleased to be nominated–thank you so much!

  10. I just came over to your lovely cool blog after reading a blog post from my beloved foodie friend Liz!

    I am going to explore your cool blog now! 🙂 Greetings from a foodie from Belgium!

  11. Not so long ago, I reached a sad conclusion. I can’t do anything with my hands. I regret the time my grand parents were still alive. I wish they had taught me how to garden, make seeds from old flowers, etc. But I’m trying to make things myself most of the time these days, thanks to internet and I have a lot of satisfaction 🙂 so I understand how proud you must be 🙂

    • You know, it’s interesting because I always wish I’d paid more attention to what my grandparents could’ve taught me, too! I learned some things but so much of it was lost. I think the key thing I learned was the appreciation for stuff made by hand, an interest in learning. And, as you say, we have so many resources from which to learn! Thanks for the visit!

  12. Pingback: Something Old, Something New | Gardening Nirvana

  13. I just read Alys’ post and realized where the new follow has come from. A kindred creative spirit. Thank you so much. Isn’t Alys such a delight? I loved your vintage tablecloth. I have a large number of embroidered table clothes that I brought back from my trips to Germany and Switzerland. But they are so different than the vintage style. I look forward to getting to know you.

      • I took a look at your Etsy site. Do you make those or do you acquire them? I love the look of vintage and have a good deal of vintage lace I was going to use on a quilt one day. 🙂 You know that phrase, “I’m gonna”

        • Oh, I only wish I could make things like that–the linens I sell are all vintage. I have tons of things I can’t use, because of damage, and am always trying to think of things to do with them–maybe I should make a quilt, too!

  14. Pingback: Loving Hands and A Birthday to Remember | Love Those "Hands at Home"

  15. Thank-you so much for visiting my blog and for the follow. I have loved reading a few more of your posts this evening and I am following you too now. I am so pleased Sheryl mentioned you in her post; I have seen comments from you on various other blogs I follow.

  16. Pingback: Weaving for pleasure | From Pyrenees to Pennines

  17. Hi Kerry, I live and work in Quebec City. Among other things I am a designer, and have just recently started to learn to weave. I read your post about your visit to Leclerc Looms in Plessisville last year. For another time, I’d be happy to meet you there and serve as an interpreter. I am still a novice weaver, really only the very beginnings, but I am a passionate designer and am already enthralled by the possibilities of weaving. Rubbing shoulders with experienced weavers (I know there are many in Quebec to look up!) seems a win for me. I am also a researcher working on smart garments, part of why I am interested in weaving for its possibilities. Anyway, if you plan a return visit at some point, let me know.

    • What an adventure you’re starting out on, Geoffrey! I’ve only been weaving for a couple years and I know you’ll love it, especially with your design and research skills. I don’t know that I’ll be going back to Plessisville to shop again–it’s a long drive from here and I can get the Brassard cotton yarns, which I love, on-line and delivered to my door! On the other hand, it’s a very heady experience to wander around that store! I’m heading to Ontario this week, to pick up my newest loom . . . Do you have a blog?

      • I have a research blog at “cognitivegeomatics.blogspot.com” but I haven’t posted for a while and it’s a bit technical. You can see my designs at “www.facebook.com/transformagarments” and also my older designs at “www.facebook.com/gdotmoda”

  18. Thank you Kerry for the follow. I see you’ve popped to mine from Pauline’s blog which is v kind. I’ll let my wife have a copy of the link to your blog. She’s after your own heart, weaver etc as much as she can.

  19. Hi Kerry,

    I’m the Community  Manager with Anagram Interactive, where we specialize in connecting  established brands with prominent bloggers. We are currently running a campaign for one of the top online stationery brands that you and your readers might find very interesting.
    Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and I’ll show you how to get started. Please kindly write to me at helen@anagraminteractive.com

  20. Hello cousin! I came upon your site while researching my family history. My line is through Truman’s brother, David Brainard. He changed his name to Brown in order to match with Civil War records. He left Saranac to go to Michigan and then Burlington, Iowa, where my great grandfather, grandfather, and father grew up. I, too love family heirlooms and craft items. I will be going on a family history field trip to New England in September. Perhaps we could connect in some way.
    Karen Brown karenb1115@yahoo.com

  21. Pingback: On Retrospect: The People – A Frank Angle

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