garden fresh

Kale and parsley salad topped with the lemon-tahini dressing from the Oh She Glows Cookbook and roasted butternut squash.  Absolutely delicious!  Our squash this year has been amazingly flavorful.

Our neighbor remarked that it was like perpetual summer in our garden.  While that may be a bit of an overstatement, it’s true that we’ve been slowly working to extend the season.  Things are winding down, but there is still a lot of goodness coming in from the garden.  I think the ever-blooming strawberries are the most startling of the enchanted garden sights.  Despite several frosts the nasturtiums that remain in a somewhat sheltered corner are still blooming.  Almost all of the leaves have been stripped from the trees around us, but the calendula and all of the pansies and violas under Seraphina’s tree bloom on.   

We had one blissful, beautiful, warm and calm day.  I spent the afternoon in the garden.  I could use weeks upon weeks of that kind of afternoon, both because there is so much more to be done and because it soothes and nourishes my soul in a way that little else can.  When my children are grown I’m going to spend my days tending my garden and my nights knitting away, with occasional breaks to bake pumpkin bread for my grandchildren, using the fresh pumpkins that they help me to harvest.  Granted I haven’t a clue as to how exactly I’m going to fund this lifestyle, but do let me have my little day dream!

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wooly thoughts

Knitting is the saving of life.” ~Virginia Woolf (considering the source, this is perhaps not the best long term option for everyone…)

I’ve been having trouble concentrating this week.  It happens from time to time.  Looking back, I feel like this is the time of year when it’s most likely to happen, usually accompanied by visual disturbances, along with other little signs and signals, as a precursor to a massive migraine (something to look forward to).  Books of essays weren’t full enough to let me get into each story.  Books on all one subject felt like they were dragging on and on.  I took to bringing two books at a time with me when I cuddled up to nurse, just in case.  I didn’t want to be marooned with a book I had no tolerance for with no other options on hand!  It’s possible that in a bitter moment, in the back of my mind, I may even have accused the writers of not every trying to entertain me.  I finally seem to have settled into Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, edited by Ann Hood.

My knitting has been much the same…scattered.  Which may well be part of why I’m feeling out of sorts.  I am making some progress on Iain’s birthday sweater.  I finished the second sleeve and have joined both sleeves to the body to work the yoke.  The sleeves seem long, but then again, so are his arms.  A couple of observations from this project: this boy of mine, who came from me, that I bundled and carried for so long, is a giant.  Also, the yardage estimates on this pattern are way off.  There is a box of yarn headed my way and I’m praying it gets here fast before I lose all momentum again.  I have no real project at the moment for when Iain is around.  I’m in knitting limbo.  It is an uneasy and restless feeling for me to not have something to pick up and knit a few stitches on here and there.

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Wee Autumn Wardrobe (part 2)

The first dress I made on its own, just as a trial to make sure it fit and all of that.  The next 3 I made in rapid succession, assembly line style.  As I was sewing the ruffle on this one (the ruffle is my favorite part!) I was thinking that it’s rather whimsical and romantic, like if it were a decorating style it might be classed as French Country.  The bow came last and I questioned it up until the very end and after.  I couldn’t decide if it was too silly or too over the top, but I have to confess, more then any other dress, this is the one that makes me smile as I’m putting away laundry.

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Sukkot

With a third grader in the house, we find ourselves yet again celebrating many of the Jewish holidays as we work our way through the festivals of this particular school year.  I’ve really been enjoying eating out there.  Most days anyway!  Some days it’s quite cold and it’s always inconveniently far from the house.  BUT, it also drags us out into what may be some of the last days before serious cold hits.  Days that we might otherwise over look in our haste and let pass us by.  It pulls us out of the house, out of usual habits, out of ourselves and there is often something wonderful about that.  Tomorrow night we have some friends joining us.  Such a treat!

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41/52

Years ago, all of the kids used to pile into our bed every morning.  Together we would talk and laugh and plan our day.  It was a good way to start the morning.  Lately, as I lie awake at night waiting for sleep to overtake me, I’ll think about the day that has past.  Very often, especially if it was a hard day, the kind of day where I’m harsher than I mean to be or feeling like someone was overlooked, I’ll picture gathering them all into my bed in the morning, in a circle of love, all together- all seen, all heard, all at peace.  I resolve to start the next day just that way.  But than morning comes and everyone is already scattered and I wake up, groggy, to the sound of bickering.  Or someone asking what’s for breakfast? lunch? dinner?  And might we have ice-cream for one of those meals instead?  And do I know where their boot/ballet slippers/writing project got to?  And shouldn’t I tell so-and-so to not do fill-in-the-blank?!?  And already the day has begun and already I feel like I’m behind and my picture of calm and loving time together before the world comes crashing down around us has already shattered.  So when they all just showed up one morning, for no apparent reason, I thought it was worth noting.  And cherishing.  And trying to repeat if possible.    

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dream come true…

Remember?  Before we left for our trip, I determined that our Sweet Wild Violet was in need of some clothing, and quick!  I’ve been wanting to detail the making of her wee fall wardrobe, but it’s quite beyond my abilities at the moment to sit here for long enough to do so.  A little here and a little there will have to do.  This bitty dress is the first in a set of four.  As I needed something quick and easy, all of them were based off of the Anna Maria Horner Peice-a-Bake Baby Dress, size 12 months.  I tried to do something a little different for each so that they all had a personality of their own.  This one is simple and sweet.  The most basic of basics. 

And yes, there is a bit of a color theme going on.  I’m like a scratched record with colors, I often get stuck.

Pattern: Baby Scarf by Liesl Gibson

I believe one of the yarns is some O-Wool in ‘Oatmeal’, the other is the yarn leftover from Mairi’s mittens.

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a lilac smocked vintage baby cardigan…

A couple of months ago a friend emailed me and asked what I was currently knitting.  As I typed my reply I thought, “goodness, almost all my favorite things in that one little sentence!”.  At one time I said that if there was ever to be another baby in the house, this sweater would be the very first thing I knit.  It wasn’t, but it is certainly one of the ones that I love the most.  I modified the pattern fairly heavily to accommodate baby size, the weight of the yarn, the amount of yarn.

This project and these pictures are from a little while ago.  I can’t believe how much younger she looks!  And chubbier!  Sweet smooshy, milk-mouth, butterball.  She has stretched and thinned out quite a bit over the last month.

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yarn along

I’m currently reading the Fedco Catalog.  That probably sounds strange to anyone who doesn’t get the Fedco Catalog.  Perhaps even to people who do?  But it’s full of articles, stories and advice.  Though honestly I read most of the plant descriptions as well and dream, dream, dream.  I’ve planted millions of lush gardens in my head.

I decided what Seraphina was being for Halloween ages ago, But it was just last night that it occurred to me that I should probably actually make the costume at some point, so that is what I am now working on!

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in the beginning…

Some scenes from our first week of school, that have taken me a full month to post!  Every year has a different feel, with different priorities.  I can’t quite explain why, but this year it seemed really important to start the school year off working all together before we broke off into separate age-appropriate groups.  This is tricky with kids kindergarten up through high school!  I knew we would be visiting the art museum, so I basically made that our focus for the first couple of weeks.  There are actually some really nice lesson plans in the teachers resources section of their site.  I utilized a couple of them and everyone worked at their own level.  There was one on geometry and quilts.  I made it easier for some and harder for others and adapted the whole thing to our life style…meaning we didn’t stop at paper quilts, but broke out fabric and needles as well.  I’ve been re-working our homeschooling room and decided that I’m sick of the poster of hatchling turtles.  It’s feeling old and tired.  What better way to kick off the new year then with a project that instructs while beautifying our space?

I started every morning by arranging large sheets of paper on the floor, with art supplies in the center.  I had them all lay on their stomachs.  Each day I would choose a different piece of classical music to play and they were to draw how it made them feel or anything that they thought of as they listened, the idea being less to create a perfect picture and more to get used to conveying emotion.  I have no idea where this idea came from, it is not my own, I believe I read about it many years ago.  Afterwards we would go around and anyone who wanted to share would talk about what they drew and why.  Elijah, who thinks in horses the way that I think in yarn, complained about the mood changing.  Of Rhapsody in Blue he said, “At first it was like a lipizzaner doing dressage, but then it suddenly became a herd of mustangs racing full speed in a cloud of dust.”  I would then pull the big boys aside for a bit to talk about the composer, the time period and significance of each piece.

The butterflies!  We listened to a free Sparkle Story where the children surprised their homeschooling parents by decorating with butterflies as a teacher gift to start the new year.  Mairi was inspired to start making butterflies out of coffee filters that she found in the craft drawer.  Iain and Elijah picked up on her idea and started making intricate paper cut ones while referencing a field guide with actual pictures of butterflies to copy.

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