spring sunshine and when bad things happen in threes

Oh, that littlest love of mine!  She would be outside 24 hours a day if she could!  As such, she seems to be forever sporting a muddy face and wild, wind swept hair.  And an imagination.  Such an imagination is developing in this tiny girl!  It’s amazing and endearing to watch as she mixes her mud muffins, adding a pinch of air to season her “greens” with and taking careful sips from an empty wooden cup and declaring her “tea”, “very ‘licious”.  Though sometimes that imagination of hers takes on a life of it’s own!  For example, several times a day I am very urgently called to save her from a bear.  No one knows where exactly this concept of a bear came from or why it has stuck, but it seems to be code for, “Mommy I’m out of my depth!  Pick me up now, quickly!”

The garden is coming along.  Sort of.  In fits and starts.

This post is something of a contradiction; pretty early spring scenes and difficult words that I’m stumbling over.  I’ve been quiet here lately.  Honestly, I’ve been quiet everywhere.

I have been struggling mightily.  While still actively treating the Lyme Disease that I contracted again last year, I’ve recently managed to acquire yet another tick borne illness.  This came just as I was finally starting to feel better and getting a sense of truly starting to reclaim my life. At the same time, there are others in our family with their own health struggles.  As the primary care-giver this means life can be very difficult, to say the least.   Complicated practical considerations aside, I’m daily called upon to model a sense of hope and optimism that I rarely feel.  It is both challenging and humbling and can quite frankly be downright depressing.  I am trying to rally, I really am.

I had been planning a project that I was really excited to share with all of you.  I was kind of hoping that you would be excited about it to, because I would like to do it together.  I’m determined to find a way to make it work still.  I need something inspiring to hold on to.


flowers and books and wool

I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird again, so that it will be fresh in my mind for discussing with the child I’m assigning it to.  That’s one of the nice things about homeschooling, you find yourself actually re-reading the classics instead of just thinking you should.  I am every bit as in love with Atticus Finch as I was twenty-odd years ago.  I’ve moved on to Sensible Physics Teaching (I know how you all envy my crazy, madcap life!).

What a difference a week can make, in terms of both weather and knitting alike!  I don’t want to jinx myself by saying it out loud, but in the back of my mind I’ve kind of been thinking that maybe, just maybe, there is a chance of finishing this vest in time for his birthday?  Of course all of those ends in need of working in must be taken into consideration.

He selected all of the colors.  All except for one are very close to the shades in the original.  He couldn’t find a yellow in the yarn we were using that suited, so went with a dark green instead. I’m not sure it has enough pop.  That star motif seems kind of murky to me.

In other knitterly news, I finally broke down and bought a set of interchangeable circular needles.  Remember Seraphina’s sweet little birthday romper?  The part I didn’t mention was that I managed to break 4 needles on that collar!  The first one was a valid break, just the strain of a great many stitches (almost 400 I think) on a well crafted teeny-tiny wooden needle.  The next three however were complete negligence on the needle manufacturer’s part.  For my birthday, Iain and Elijah plopped down what turned out to be a really cheaply made set of circular needles in front of me and declared that I was never allowed to complain about not having the right needle again!  This was a very sweet an thoughtful idea of course.  But when I couldn’t slide the stitches down the needle at all or the needle slipped right off the cord, dropping most of my stitches off the end, I quickly found other things to complain about!  Thankfully they were in bed at the time, so I was left twitching, muttering to myself, and wishing we kept hard liquor or some sort of sedative in the house, away from their scrutiny.

With a sigh I realized I needed to replace two of those broken needles for Elijah’s vest.  The more I thought about it the more all this buying a needle here and there, as needed, was getting ridiculous.  So with a friend’s encouragement and after assuring my family that chipping in for this would be an early Mother’s Day present that would make me deliriously happy, I took the plunge.  And can I just say, I LLLLLLOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVE them!  I mean so much.  I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.

After a whole lot of deliberation I went with the 4″, small tip set with regular points and I am very happy with them.  Also almost every size needle I ever knit with is all organized in this one tiny packet.  I’m still amazed by that.  It seems like nothing and yet it’s everything.  Brilliant.


Spring Awakening: First Flowers

Part two in my collection of nature study necklaces (you can view part one here).

Coltsfoot“: The very first of flowers to appear in our area, we often spot their cheery yellow blooms surrounded by snow.

Pulmonaria“: Also known as lungwort.  With it’s multicolored blooms, semi-translucent, and delicately veined flowers nestled in a bed of mottled leaves, pulmonaria is one of the first flowers to appear in our garden each spring.

“Viola”: The johnny jump up, the violet, there are many names for this resilient quintessential spring flower.  The spring garden wouldn’t be complete without its sweet fragrance and beautiful array of colors.


Snippets: A Collection of Lace Necklaces for Mother’s Day

“Too narrow breadths for nought-except waistcoats for mice” ~ The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

Or for some lovely, delicate lace necklaces.  A much better use I think!  The mice can fend for themselves.  Available in Plum, Baby Blue, Mustard, Cream, Baby Blue Oval, and Navy Leaf Print.  Also for Mother’s Day a couple of hand embroidered wool brooches; Loved and Blessed.

The shop is just full to bursting with beautiful Mother’s Day gifts as well as a number of Earth Day inspired toys.


You know you must be a homeschooler…

When your 13 year old asks you to knit the sweater vest worn by one of his favorite documentary presenters and keeps pestering you to get on it because he can’t wait to wear it in public…I’m really quite convinced that I’m spending more time untangling the six balls of yarn attached to my work, than actually knitting.  Much more time.  This is supposed to be for his birthday in mid-May (as he keeps reminding me), but it’s not looking promising.

I’ve been reading Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief by the brilliant Katy Bowman, not just for myself, but also for the sake of my child with severe growing pains.  Helpful hint on that one, the only thing we’ve found that is really making a difference so far is regular high doses of vitamin D.  At first I found it amazingly challenging to be walking the right way.  Actually I could barely walk at all and slowly inched my way about holding onto furniture.  But it’s starting to become second nature now and I’m feeling strength returning to those under-worked muscles, as well as a general improvement in certain sorts of pain.  I think in the long run it’s going to be a very good thing.  So much so that I am seriously considering assigning reading it as part of an anatomy block for the older boys.  Perhaps it will influence them in their proclivity towards toe pinching, high heeled cowboy boots!

A couple of things for the shop:

A headscarf in nostalgic homespun.  One for me and one for the shop.  This fabric is fairly light weight and really scrunches up nicely.  And of course it can also be worn fully extended as well.  It’s just right for everyday wear.  I have a narrower version cut from the same fabric that I’ll be listing later in the week.

   And a few sets of birch candle holders:



home-made capsule wardrobe planning

The idea of a small, workable and completely loved wardrobe is still completely beguiling to me!  I planned to try to compile a spring/summer capsule for myself.  Inspiration board here.

I already messed up.  After putting my foot down and telling myself that from here on out I would only buy clothing I loved, I let myself be talked into (first clue there) buying a clearance dress (pressure point number 2) that I didn’t love.  It’s this one, if you are curious.  I thought that maybe it had enough elements that I liked.  I have a dress in a similar cut that I like.  It’s comfortable and easy to nurse in.  But the print isn’t really my style at all.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  It’s actually rather pretty, it’s just not at all *me*.  After purchasing it, I went back and looked at my mood board which has a definite feel to it, both in color scheme and style; all in shades of blue, fern green, goldenrod, and oatmeal, with emphasis on linen and chambray.  All of the styles and lines are really quite simple, with some pretty detailing; a beautifully shaped collar or perfectly formed pleats.  None of this was intentional, just clearly what I’m drawn to right now.  And I was immediately able to see that it was really all wrong for me.  I even pinned it to see it along with the rest and it sticks out like a sore thumb.  And it’s absolutely true that I mostly avoid wearing it.  Have I learned my lesson?  Who knows.

Some things that I am learning:

* I think I need to make a habit of setting aside a bit of money for clothes for myself, with the knowledge that things will wear out, etc over time.  Instead of it always being some sort of shocking crisis to discover I have absolutely nothing to wear.

* I also have to stop buying things just because they are cheap.  A habit that in part comes as a reaction to the above.

* I need to have more clarity on what I really love.  I am working on that one!

* I think that much of the time, I would actually save myself time by making certain items for myself.  So often I have something particular in mind and end up down the rabbit hole looking for it and usually not finding it.  When I could have spent that time just making what I wanted to begin with.

* Which leads me to: I need to make crafting for myself more of a priority.  I’m working on that one too.

I ended up with that Dottie Angel dress pattern, which I’ve long admired.  I even know just what fabric I want to use for it.  But , I’ve yet to think of a way to make it nursing friendly without ruining part of what I love about it.  It may well have to wait.  I’m trying not to be cranky about that.  Some other patterns I’m considering: the Washi dress and all it’s variations, the Ashland Dress, possibly the Esme Top, extended to short dress length?  Maybe something with this pattern?

A friend and I are doing a little sew along over the next couple of weeks.  I’m pretty excited!


Our baby turned two…

Her last hour of being one.

And if you were to ask her about it, she would say, “Seria burday March! Get wet. Go creek.  Shovel keep going!  Seria get.  Maia Rose get.  Iain carry home towel.  Have bath.  Pop-pop come Seria burday.  Talkin’ Me-mom on tv!  Open presents, rip, rip!  Have treat.  Eat Booberries.  Blow candle *blowing noises*, sing (actually singing now) ‘happy burday to you!’”

The waterfall that she so adored the week before was no longer running, so they cleared away the debris and as the flow returned dubbed it “Phina’s Fall”.

She was in constant motion; dancing, laughing, singing; too excited to go down for her nap.  We did and ate everything that she likes best.

Galen made her leg warmers.  When she opened them she exclaimed, “baby warmers!” and quickly pulled them on.  Since her birthday was the day before Easter, he also made her a basket out of cordage plied from dried iris leaves.  Mairi Rose embroidered a tiny violet on some felt and strung it on embroidery floss for a necklace.  She also brought her own five dollar bill to dance and from the stock of used dance clothes picked out the tiniest pair of ballet slippers she could find so that Seraphina could have her own dance shoes when they put on shows at home.  My mother crocheted her a beautiful afghan, using this pattern and Swish DK yarn in ‘Sugar Plum’.  If hand-made = love, this child goes beyond being adored, she’s downright worshiped.

My parents were supposed to stay with us for the weekend to help celebrate, but my mother became suddenly ill and couldn’t travel.  My father still came for an abbreviated visit and we manged to work it so that my mom could take part in the day through skype.  Hence the “talkin’ Me-mom tv!”

Her darling lamby!  Dear Melanie agreed to make that little lovie for her.  She has been a very happy addition to our home.  I found my sweet little violet contentedly “nursing” her earlier.

I’ve been admiring the work of Little Edith’s Knit since Seraphine was wee, so when she released one of her playsuit patterns in English, I just knew it had to be her birthday sweater.  If you are at all inclined towards baby lust, do not click through to that site.  Just trust me on this one.  It was also made from Swish DK, in “Carnation” this time.  The bonnet is a pattern I’ve been working on and hoping to send to test knitters soon, shown here in Reverie ‘Melon’.

How can it be that this tiny little love of mine is two already?!?  It’s all going much too fast for me.



Easter Sewing and Celebrating

A few of my necklaces were taken off the market, due to little people that I love being too attached to them.

Elijah finished sewing his shirt.  He consulted with me from time to time, but did all of the work himself.  Button up shirts are hard!  I consider that quite the accomplishment.  He used  Simplicity 1327, which we adjusted to fit him.

Dresses for my girls…there is kind of a funny story behind these.  Last year our friend and neighbor was here helping us with some carpentry work when, because sometimes I forget to just keep these things in my head, I exclaimed, “I really just want to make a baby dress out of your drop cloth!”  And of course somewhat to my embarrassment, she insisted I take the drop cloth.  And because it was a big old sheet, there was enough for two dresses and head scarves as well.  I used Simplicity 1264 which is a reprint of a ’50′s pajama pattern.  I simply lengthened the tops a bit.  I also put them together with total disregard for pattern instructions, just piecing it however seemed quickest and easiest. More on the bonnet in another post.

Let’s see, what else is new?  I’m currently completely lost in this book, working on Mother’s Day gifts for the shop, trying to get the gardens and yard cleaned up in preparation for planting, obsessively spring cleaning and trying to fit some remodeling projects in.  I’m seriously considering just assigning the kids some books to read and math sheets and devoting all of next week to decluttering, deep cleaning and repairing the house and yard.  I have this huge desire to get life in order right now.  I have such trouble finding balance in this season.  There is so much I wish to accomplish.  The pull outside seems at odds with the desire for that big push in the final months of the school year to try to fit in everything I would like.  Do others struggle with this?


full weekend

Such a full weekend!  I haven’t even had a chance to sort through my photos yet.  There were, uhm, over 1,000 when I transferred them.  How embarrassing!  I may have gone a bit overboard.  But it was a banner week.  Our baby turned two.  Our oldest got his driver’s permit (!) and of course there was Easter as well.

I do not have a single knitting project on needled right now.  Well, except for that perennial blanket project, but that doesn’t really count.  It is such a strange feeling!  Next up is more deadline knitting, in the form of Elijah’s birthday sweater, which I am very eager to start, but also a little nervous about.

For several years there I finished up Galen’s birthday sweater way in advance, so that after the holidays quickly followed by Iain and Mairi’s joint birthday, there would this delightfully exciting and relaxing lull.  I *love* creating for my children and doing special projects for the holidays and their birthdays.  But at the end, when all was finished it was this giant sigh of relief and giddiness when I realized that, WAIT!  There is nothing that I have to be working on right now!  I could start anything, anything at all!  Maybe even something for me?  Revolutionary idea there.  A whole world full of possibilities!

This is not so much the case anymore.  With the holidays in December, two birthdays in January, one in February, one in March and one in May, everything is pretty much back to back.  And now with regular deadlines for the shop* to factor in as well.  My stars, I feel like a busy woman.  Perhaps that relaxed, easy crafting feeling will hit come summer time?  Or maybe when my children are grown?!?

*I promise to start talking about other things again soon.


spring awakening

Spring here does not explode in a brilliant burst of colorful blooms.  For us that comes much later.  No, spring on our mountain, in the woods, emerges slowly.  It is a subtle, moody, almost brooding affair.

The world exists mostly in shades of grey and worn, dull, weathered brown, bringing the details that in other seasons go unnoticed into sharp relief.  The bright green of lichen and flecks of moss, emerging from a long snow covered branch.As the world warms, we slacken our brisk pace, stopping to take in all the minute details.Details: Lichen and Moss- machine and hand embroidery on wool felt with a gunmetal grey base, hung on an adjustable leather cord.

♦ ♦ ♦

The snow melts and as it recedes the creeks swell up over rocks and ledges, only to come cascading back down.

Details: “Cascade”- Hand embroidery, applique and needle felting on and with wool felt and cotton velour, with an antique bronze base and fixed 28″ leather cord.

♦ ♦ ♦

These ferns are evergreen.  You see them in the spring, sprawled in great rings, pressed flat to the ground where the snow of months past held them fast.  It is still early yet, but after a time the fiddleheads will start appearing, poking their way out of the mud and slowly unfurling their delicate fronds.Details: “Unfurl”- Hand embroidery on wool felt with vintage cotton ric rac accents and vintage button closure.

♦ ♦ ♦

All three were inspired by our woodland walks and all three are now available for purchase through our shop.