Category Archives: Food

cook, knit, plant, repeat

The woods are misty green.  There are violets everywhere.  Seraphina calls them “Violet Juliette ..(our last name)..”s (her name is Seraphina Violet Juliette).  Dandelions are “Gordie-Dandy lions”, a reference to our friends Gordie and Dandy.

We’re trying to blitz-plant the garden.  The black flies are suddenly terrible.  We come up with a plan, all run out the door and try to put it into action right quick, before the bugs make us so crazy that we are all driven back inside in a buzzing cloud.

Elijah’s vest is done, and with a week to spare! There were 155 ends to work in. He counted. It’s now blocking.

I’ve mostly been getting on with some mending. Which is a good thing, since I tend to neglect it and with 5 active children it’s often much needed. Sometimes I can be so foolish! I found an entire sweater who’s only flaw was snapped yarn on a single stitch! Somehow I never thought to just fix it. And in my head there was a terrible lot that needed fixing about it, which I suppose is what happens when you leave something at the bottom of a work basket for years. Because why else wouldn’t I have just fixed it? Oh no, surely it must be a big project. Oh well, at least I’ve discovered it in time for it to pass through 3 more children! Sometimes having a big family brings with it less obvious blessings….like second, third and fourth chances!

Otherwise my knitting is sort of stalled out. I started playing around with making up a stitch pattern. It’s interesting looking, but I don’t think it’s the type of fabric I want for the project I had in mind. Too stiff. I want something mindless, but not quite as mindless as my blanket. Something quick and satisfying.
I have this little bit of yarn here that I know is not enough to turn into a vest for Galen, but that I still want to turn into a vest for Galen, and therefore keep trying to convince myself that it is indeed possible. Even though it’s really not.  And he doesn’t even really need a vest.  It was just a whim of mine.

I’m still reading and enjoying Spark Joy.

Yesterday I woke up thinking of the great many things I wanted to do with the day, but I ended up spending most of it in the kitchen, cooking, very, very slowly.  Pictured above is the Urban Poser Tomato-less Marinara in progress and this Oxtail Stew, which turned out on the greasy side, but that may have been due to some of my modifications.


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?


Week in the Life, Tuesday

Steamed broccoli, topped with leftover turkey and gravy for breakfast.

Can you hear the constant clicking from there?  Sometimes it’s maddening, but mostly it’s fun.

Happy-at-home clothes: an old beloved dress (I bought this one when I was 14!) and my folded, both of which have seen better days!

Glorious day!  We brought as much of our schoolwork outside as possible.

A lot of melting and a lot of splashing!

Feeding the birds at our neighbor’s house where the chickadees will eat right out of your hand.

These days, no matter where I am, I always have a bit of work with me.  Sometimes just managing to sneak in a stitch here and a stitch there is the only way anything ever gets done.

They tapped a few birch trees on one of the last days of gathering maple sap.  Tapping birches is a first for us this year and part of a self-directed Woods Day school project for the younger set.

Frost burned pansies uncovered around Seraphina’s apricot tree.  She asks to go and visit her tree everyday and tells people about each of our fruit trees.

Cassava Oven Fries for a late day snack.  A real treat!

She helped me pull all of the evergreen boughs off of the lavender, a delightfully fragrant job.


Week in the Life, Sunday

Him: knitting

Her: making a friendship bracelet

I have paint colors swirling through my mind.  Our favorite paint company is going out of business and I frantically (before it all sold out!) picked out colors for our next several projects.  It’s just arrived and I’m amusing myself by painting a swatch a day so I can see each color in place.  Today’s selection is “Delicate Peach”.

We had tuna salad for breakfast, which contained “Q-mummers” (cucumbers), one of my favorite baby words at the moment.

This is what life really looks like here right now!  Always food in progress, always dishes in progress, clothes drying, the latest projects unceremoniously scooped from the dinning room table and dumped on the ironing board- which never seems to get put away, boxes of next-size and season up kids’ clothes sitting about, waiting for me to finish sorting them, people everywhere; hectic, cluttered and full.

Goodies in progress for the shop.  One of the things keeping my hands so full of late.

I managed to leave the house wearing all clothing I like!  Of course, we don’t have a full-length mirror, so photos of myself are uhm, educational.

A day of gathering supplies: for the shop, for upcoming birthdays, for home improvement projects.

He wants to sew himself a shirt.

Out past nap time, poor little love!

Back home with our bounty for the beef and veggie stew that simmered in the crockpot the whole time we were away.

Iain secretly bought Mairi Rose the tiny sewing kit she had been coveting.  So sweet.

Beautiful fabrics, each one intended for something different, looking very comfortably harmonious all together.

Stopped in at Goodwill, hoping to find a bunch of mugs and bowls.  We’ve broken so many lately.  All it yielded was a single specimen to add to my collection of random, mismatched, floral pottery mugs.  And this little enamelware bowl!

Which I quietly packed away, along side a tiny 25-cent pot.  One to serve Seraphina’s birthday treats in and one as a gift to add to her kitchen set.  Three dollars well spent (including the mug).

Later in the evening our dear neighbor stopped round with a gift.  And inside…

Just what I was needing!

Homeschooling these days takes place at all hours, on all days.  The older boys are preparing for an important presentation.

Complete with very stylish pointers!


A Giant 10th Birthday Post

When I promised extra posting this week, I did not anticipate the wind storm that took out our internet access.  Sorry about that!

Sweater first? “Reversible Revelation” in Wool of the Andes Superwash, color: “Brass Heather”.  As the name implies, it is, in fact, reversible.  There is no right side.  Each has it’s own distinctive look:

This seemed like an excellent idea for a kid who often can’t be bothered with paying attention to what way his clothes go on.  At least for my benefit anyway, since he doesn’t really care if it’s inside out or not.  Hey, he’ll happily walk around wearing just one shoe, while I look on cringing.

The waitress at the college town, hipster, juice bar made a fuss about his “fashionable” ensemble; mama-made pants and sweater, topped with his spiffy hand-me-down brown cord blazer.  Dapper.

Food: This year we decorated gingerbread houses, instead of his usual gingerbread men. Autoimmune Friendly Gingerbread with Creamy Maple Frosting, made fancy with dried fruit and what we call “Yam Creamies”, which I’ll talk more about some other time.  We’re still on the intro diet and not supposed to be consuming sweets, but I made an exception for his birthday (and ended up with several people up half the night with belly aches as a consequence.  such is life.)

And now, the big, top secret project!  It pretty much all worked out as planned. In under three hours, while he was at said juice bar, followed by the music shop with my dad, this space…

became this…

The only part that didn’t quite work out was the light fixture.  I accidentally ordered a plug-in fixture when I meant to get one to wire in.  There are no outlets in that hallway.  But otherwise, somewhat miraculously, everything came together exactly as I had planned.

Both a space to work and create as well as a place to read and relax, plus extra storage besides, was asking a lot out of this petite 38″ x 66″ space.  The window seat has a hinged lid, with lots of storage space underneath, to help lighten the load in Iain’s attic bedroom (hence the boxes in the “before” photo).  I tried to work with what we had as much as possible.  The valence-hung on a rod my neighbor was getting rid of- and the divider curtain were both made from fabric I had on hand.  One of the pillow covers was fashioned from an old work shirt of Steve’s.  My sister painted those sweet pandas several years ago.  I’ve just been waiting for the right place to hang them in this house.  I love how the painting perfectly picks up the colors from all the pillows.  I’m ashamed to say it was an afterthought that just happened to work out brilliantly.

We managed to frame the window seat and build the stool with scraps of lumber from the basement.  We adjusted Ana White’s X-Bench plans to fit the space and finished it with some leftover General Finishes Milk Paint in “Persian Blue”.  It tucks all the way under the $20 cleaned up Craig’s List desk to save space.  A couple of old items refreshed by mingling with a few new accessories and just like that, he has his very own cozy nook crafted out of an area that was previously unused space.  Pretty nifty, that!


Sewing Pattern Giveaway: Leotards and Swimsuits

Hello, hello!  We have been sssoooo busy.  The snow is receding, our trees are all tapped, and we are up checking for lambs several times a day.  Could spring really be coming?

I will be posting more this week.  I will, I will.  We’ll have a right good catch up.  I have such exciting news!  But until then, anyone want some sewing patterns?
I’m getting real about which patterns I’m actually going to use in the future and these didn’t make the cut.  My local fabric store was giving away out of print patterns and I must have gotten greedy.  The truth is I only ever use the same leotard pattern over and over again.  I don’t really need these.  They are all leotard or swimsuit patterns.  Five are girls sizes 4-7, one is a woman’s XS-XL.  Some of the envelopes are a little beat up, but all of the patterns are complete and unused.  Send me an email (upper right corner there) or leave a comment if you are interested!  There will be more patterns of various sorts coming soon!

An AIP Valentine’s Day

Our first holiday with expectations since starting AIP.  Our traditional Valentine’s Day menu is potato pancakes, bacon and applesauce for dinner, with cinnamon rolls for dessert.  These Sweet Potato Latkes were not quite the same, but wonderfully satisfying.  Some people expressed a preference for them!  The bacon was missed.  I haven’t been able to find safe bacon yet.  But we served them with plain baked apples and they were greatly enjoyed (Galen ate 16).

Mairi and Galen came up with a darling plan to surprise their brothers with a Valentine’s Day brunch when they arrived home from work.  They made all of the decorations.  I helped them to plan the meal and Steve assisted in it’s preparation.  Heart shaped Bread Sticks with “Curried” Chicken Salad and a large bowl of fruit salad; all sorts of fruit chopped up and made fancy by tossing with chopped dates, the juice of an orange and coconut flakes.  When we went to clean up, we each found a valentine under our plates.

For our little treat to the children, I made packets of freeze dried fruit, wrapped in pink tissue paper, decorated with stickers.

I think I over compensated a bit because I also made Pumpkin Spice Granola for dessert, but everyone was much too full to eat it!  Actually, Iain, Elijah and I each had a little taste, much later in the evening, over a game of Flag Frenzy.


Dairy Free Cheddar Onion Petals and an AIP Super Bowl

This is why I could never be a food blogger.  To be a food blogger, you need to look ahead and pull together fabulous dishes in advance so that when holidays and other occasions come around, everyone can benefit from your experience.  But no, I am a craft blogger.  I make things.  And when I’m done making them, I tell you about them.  When I get the chance.  Even if it’s two days too late to be of any use.

For those who were wondering, our latest food venture is the Auto-Immune Paleo Protocol, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post, which is probably going to be quite long as it is.  This site has been an incredible resource.  It’s going pretty well so far.  One aspect that has been an absolute pleasure is that Seraphina can now have everything we eat, exactly as we eat it.  Or well, maybe cut up a little smaller anyway.  There is no more cooking a whole meal only to remember just as I’m about to serve it that baby has nothing to eat.  I don’t miss the ensuing panic one bit.

The older male types in the house seem to feel that viewing at least part of the Super Bowl is important.  I think it’s more that it’s an event than anything else.  Me?  I couldn’t care less.  Seriously, I had to look up whether Super Bowl was one word or two.  But it’s once a year, so I try to humor them.

Since we just started with all this food stuff and I’m trying to keep it fun, I thought I would surprise them with a special snack.  I cut plantains on a diagonal and fried them in coconut oil.  Once salted, I served them with this sauce, hoping it would be kind of nacho-ish.  It wasn’t really, but they still found it delicious.  I ate mine at the dinning room table with Seraphina while reading a book, which was just fine with me.

Steve went to bed before the half time show. After which I suggested we switch to watching an episode of Africa.  They both readily agreed.  My hand-quilting and I where happy to join them.

I’ve been making these Onion Petals for a while now.  It’s inspired by a recipe I found in an issue of Mary Jane’s Farm.  As is, they are not AIP compliant.  But without the paprika they would be.  They are a great favorite in this house.

“Cheddar” Onion Petals

4 onions
2 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
3 T coconut milk
3 T nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp kelp powder (optional)
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine everything except the onions in a medium mixing bowl.  Slice off the ends of the onions and peel them.  Slice in half like this…

and then in half again like this:

For the larger outside layers, I sometimes cut them in half again.

Pull apart all of the layers and toss them in the sauce to coat well.  Dehydrate at 145 for approximately 8 hours until crisp.  Serve immediately (they re-hydrate quickly and don’t keep well).



Breakfast in bed.  I don’t think I’ve ever been served breakfast in bed before.  They went all out with dairy free eggs florentine over home-made grain free English muffins.

My sisters came to stay for the weekend.  One knitted me socks and brought me herb and citrus finishing salts.  The other tried to make my birthday dreams of tiramisu a reality.  Her efforts resulted in what she coined “tiramisoup”.  We had to freeze it to be able to stick candles in it…and there was much insistence that there be candles.  All 35 of them, fire safety be hanged.  So another ice cream cake.  This one a surprise.  But it still tasted good.  And kind of a last hurrah for us, as we are embarking on some serious dietary changes.  I’m over-whelmed by this, but also looking forward to it in a way.  I want to feel well again, truly, truly well.

In a supreme act of creativity and sweetness, Steve tracked down a night robe, from approximately 1905.  It’s huge and billowy and comfy and rustles when I walk and I look kind of ridiculous in it, but he says it’s somehow sexy.  The detail on the eyelet trim is amazing and I love it all, even the ridiculousness.

We had a little walk, on my beautiful birthday.  This year has been crazy.  We spent all of November and December wondering when winter would start and at the end of January we’re all asking each other, “Is it over already?”  I can’t even tell you how deeply grateful I am.  I think another long winter would have done me in.  I feel the hope of spring even in mid-winter and time in my garden feels close at hand.  The Wee Girl is utterly perplexed by her lack of needing a snowsuit.  She can not fathom why she’s being let outside without one.  But she still wears her boots.  Her new-ish pink snow boots that she thinks are the bees-knees, which make little star prints in the melty snow when we go off to visit the birds.