Category Archives: Our Little Home

topsy turvy

I have been nesting.  Not pregnant nesting, but it’s autumn going into what may be a long winter of much time inside, nesting.  It’s spring cleaning in autumn.  It’s bringing about change by physically making it happen.  It’s messy in the midst of it.  I probably should have warned you before those startling photos above.  This here, is my most favorite project of all.  We’re turning our office/random-crafting-storage-place into an actual, fully functional studio.  I’m so very excited!  But well, right now, it kind of looks like this (which falls more under the category of ‘daunting’ then ‘exciting’).  Except that I cleared out a couple more boxes after taking these pictures.  Most of the stuff (currently piled on every flat surface in the room) came from those closets in the background.  And I should have/would have taken pictures inside them as well, except I’ve already started setting things right in there, so I thought that should wait until the final “finished” unveiling.

In the meantime, I’m slowly working away in here.  And daydreaming of what’s to come, occasionally adding things to a little inspiration board that I created just for this project.


Our Bedroom

It’s been over a year since we moved into this house.  At the time, I promised to give a tour of all the rooms once they were all set up and “done”, but I never made it past the kitchen.  What is done really when you are talking about a space that is lived in, lived with and ever evolving to meet our ever evolving needs, interests and tastes?  And, much like our last house, this is only a rental home.  We’re still not sure how long we will be staying.  There are some things that we can’t change, and others that it doesn’t make sense to change.

This is where we are at, right now.  Not in the future and not in the past.  This room is “decorated”, if you can call it that, in much the same way that I suspect most rooms in most people’s houses are.  Just a collection of things that we’ve come into possession of by various means (a hand-me-down bed here, a refurbished tag sale find there, some birthday gift sheets on the bed), put together in a room, in a way that works for our life right now.  There is very little rhyme or reason to it all.  I hung my belly cast up, because it was in my way in a closet.  The weaving on the dresser is there for similar reasons.  I picked up that little Jessie Willcox Smith print on a whim, to frame for Màiri when she has her own room.  Until then, it’s balanced on this ledge.  The photograph of Steve and I is hung up so high because there was a nail there already and I didn’t want to put another hole in the wall.

There is no color scheme or over-all look to be achieved, it can’t be qualified as this style or that.  It just simply is.  And I’m ok with that.  It’s pleasant and light and airy and suits our needs just fine.  The room itself is a beautiful space, esthetically pleasing without any help from me.

Really what pleases me the most is it’s simplicity.  There is no clutter to curtail, nothing in the room that rightfully belongs elsewhere.  It is all useful to the room’s purpose, comfortable and nothing more.  There are the books we are currently reading in the bedtime hours on the nightstand, clothes in the dresser and closets, bedding to warm and comfort us and not much more.    Ultimately, that’s what I wish for in all of the spaces of our home.  Just the things that we want and need, everything with and in it’s place and nothing more.

It’s just ever-so-much easier to achieve in a bedroom, that has such a simple and basic purpose to begin with, unlike, say a living room, that serves as a space for entertainment, quiet time alone for grownups, play space for little ones, school space for middle ones, library, sometimes sewing room, art space, music room and so forth.

Can you tell that I crawled across the bed to get some of the earlier photos?  I know it’s all rather rumpled here, but I just love the way the late afternoon light streams through these windows in autumn.



Week in the Life, Thursday


~we made banana “ice-cream” in the morning (just frozen bananas whipped up to be creamy)

~I taught Elijah how to scramble eggs.  We served them with kimchi and black eyed peas.

~I spent too long, early in the morning, looking at house stuff on-line.


~dancing with Iain in the kitchendancing 2

~Today Galen was a gnome gathering crystals.

laundry chute

~Oh my dearest, beloved laundry chute, how very much you mean to me!


~random stack of readables, just before it was tidied away.

~I spent the better part of the afternoon doing things like scrubbing trashcans….it’s a very glamorous life, I know…

doing dishes

~dish washing photo courtesy of Iain.

aiken drum

~Aiken Drum


~Baking day, we were supposed to be making almond flour crackers and somehow ended up making peanut butter cookies instead.  Funny how that happened.  I think the Papa appreciated the plate of well done ones waiting for him when he got home from work.  He prefers them that way.

cookies for daddy


~I have no idea why they find watching Steve cut the lawn so fascinating, but they do…


hair cut

~Galen got a haircut…

more hair cut

~as you can probably tell by all of the blocks and silk scarves in the background, there was all kinds of imaginative play going on in the living room all day.

hair cut 3



~”hop up my lady!”

hop up my lady

~All together, singing in the kitchen…while I cooked salmon cakes.

~Iain and Elijah had a bath in our big double tub. They consider it nearly as good as having their own swimming pool. When they came out, Iain informed me that he’d “gone under” 315 times and declared himself a giant prune.


Week in the Life 2011, Tuesday


~We had a visitor this morning, the neighborhood cat that Galen has christened ‘Ginger Cat’.  Ginger Cat let Galen pet her for the first time ever, and quite a bit more.  They played and snuggled together outside for nearly half an hour.  They are very good friends now.  Not even Rosebud running out and squealing with wild excitement disturbed them.  After kitty had left, Màiri Rose decided that she should be called ‘Baby Cat’ instead and a heated argument ensued.

ginger cat


~More cooking for the boys this morning.  This time the herbed almond bread that they make so often.  Màiri Rose, who was feeling fussy at the time, decided that she only wanted certain herbs in hers and not others, so they made her her own little loaf.  She is so clearly their little darling.

gathering herbs


brother and sister

~Over breakfast Elijah was talking about how he’d hit a baseball through a window a couple of months back.  He concluded the story with, “and we never played in that spot again….except that we did.”  Then he told the story of Iain and him inadvertently hitting a ball into a bush which, unbeknownst to them, contained a hornets nest, with painful results.  And that story concluded with, “and we never played in that spot again……………………..except that we did.”bath

~I took a hot, hot lavender bath trying to ward off an impending migraine.reading

~The fixing of remote control cars was on the agenda today.


~I’ve been messing with all kinds of crazy braids and things, now that my hair is getting long again.  Today was a dutch-lace, half-crown braid, heavily rumpled by laying down to read to little ones at nap time.

queen anne

crown braid


~Màiri Rose got a piece of a cornstarch packing peanut stuck up her nose.  I had to bride her with a frozen strawberry so that she would let me extract it with fine tip tweezers.

playing a game

Asian slaw

tiny crocs

~Galen took it upon himself to harvest a big bunch of violet greens to have with dinner.

violet greens

Elijah tree

~More thunderstorms late in the afternoon.  Steve is convinced that God doesn’t want him to cut the lawn.


~We opened the next to the last jar of green tomato chutney from last summer to have with our chicken, green and yellow beans and violet greens at dinner.monopoly

~Màiri only changed her clothes four times today.  I think that may be a record.


~Galen insisted on wearing long sleeves and pants, all in black (well, some navy blue, but it’s best not to mention it), so that he could be a gorilla.

bedtime 2


July 25, 2011

This post is part of the Week in the Life project.


This feels like a throw back sort of day.  Suddenly there are paper airplanes everywhere again, after not seeing one for months.  Likewise there is a baby doll in a sling going along with us everywhere, for the first time in a very long time.  Maybe even a year?  Or more??


~Started a big batch of pickles fermenting this afternoon, in our new crock with the little blue bird on it.  By evening they were already  starting to smell pickle-ish.

for pickles

~Galen in a room alone, telling jokes to himself; “What do dinosaurs eat? Kale!”


~lots of reading and silly boys playing in the rain in the afternoon.  Rosebud thought it was too cold on her face.

~the Phillies lost, Lee has a bad reputation around the house again


~Buckwheat pancakes, with strawberries on top, bacon and fresh almond milk for supper, since we had guests during our usual Sunday brunch this week.  Iain and Elijah insisted on making the meal themselves, including the requisite little “Màiri Cakes” and refused any and all offers of help.  Galen insisted on setting the table himself. Galen and Màiri Rose sliced the strawberries with butter knives, Màiri in her typical fashion; slice a berry…take a bite…slice it again…take a bite…put whatever is left, bite marks and all, into the bowl, while reassuring everyone that she was only “tasting a tinesy bit”.


~We mostly did laundry and straightened up while they cooked, but we also spent a bit of time with the two tiny ones, cuddling, singing “I’ll fly away” and laughing on the futon.





~Joking about Billy Joel and Elton John tunes over dinner.  The grownups that is, the kids resumed their, “our parents are acting crazy again” faces, and continued on with their food.  And no, I do not remember which album “Tell Her About It” was on.

~picked up the Jane Austen dress that I had tossed aside months ago because after tidying up my studio, I can’t remember where I put my notes and patterns for my other projects and I didn’t feel like looking for them.

~I can’t believe the change in the weather.  That heat wave really did break.  I wore a sweater for a while this morning.  When I came up to bed, after Steve had been settled for quite a while, I was mean enough to put my cold feet on him.  He was sweet and smushed them up between his to warm them, instead of say, violently kicking me away as would have been justified.





Dear old friends, good food, some splashing in the river, the celebrating of milestones, a couple of errands run, some home care done, a well known walk with a beautiful view, and to bed early, Sunday night, with a breeze (oh that blessed breeze!) finally blowing in at our window.  It was  a good weekend.  What did you do?


our little housemates

nature journal

Date: 7/12/11     Time: 12:23    Weather: Sunny    Location: the backyard


*Phoebes’ nest under our porch
*baby phoebes in the nest
*baby phoebes calling for food
*Mama phoebe is bringing food to the babies.
*Two yellow butterflies playing in the sun
*One orange butterfly, flying around
*A little white moth flying around the flowers

    ~copied, with permission from the nature journal of Elijah


    We had a nest of Eastern Phoebes at the Little House too.  They came every year and nested in the same place.  Every year we enjoyed watching them hatch and grow, with the yard all full of baby bird sounds.pheobe

    I’ve really come to the conclusion that a home is not a home without a nest of Phoebes.


    rhubarb and a grain-free crust


    We found a giant and I mean giant rhubarb plant in an out-of-the-way, seldom visited corner of the yard last week.  There were some babies as well, but the mother plant was a sight to see.

    We have a whole new yard and chunk of land to explore and discover through the seasons yet again this year.  As my children happen to be very fond of nibbling at things around the yard, they have found their discoveries here to be quite satisfactory.  The violets have already come and gone, the best wood sorrel spots have been scouted out, the many patches of wild strawberries are picked over daily, with occasional tastes of the thyme growing wild throughout the lawn, while the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and autumn olives continue to be monitored, with hopes of a good harvest in the future.


    What to do with the bountiful rhubarb?  We made tarts.  We’ve been eating mostly grain-free lately, in an effort to curtail the very painful abdominal migraines of one of the children, as well as other things.  It’s challenging but it’s helping.  It’s helping a lot.   So we carry on.  I took my basic gluten-free pie crust (found here) and changed it around a bit.  Instead of the flour ratio listed, I used 1 cup each of almond flour, coconut flour and arrowroot flour.  I left the xanthan gum out altogether.  I’ve never been big on adding gums to my baked goods and since reading this I haven’t used them at all.  Otherwise I just made one batch, in exactly the same way.  Ok, well, I didn’t chill the dough.  It was still baseball season after all and who has that kind of time?!?  The chilling just makes it better for rolling out.  I skipped all of that an just pressed it into pans.  And it was not just good, it was *wonderful*.  Yum, yum, yum.  I think I might go check the yard for some more rhubarb today.

    p.s. I added a little list of links to the sidebar.  Just some random little things that strike my fancy; some books, some recipes, some crafts, some music, some pretty little things.  I plan to change it from time to time, so take a peek every once in a while.


    moving up


    The past week has been full of milestones.  One minor one, that didn’t seem small at all to me, is in cleaning out everyone’s drawers, I packed away what may well be our last onsie.  Can it really be that our baby days are over?  Maybe.  Maybe not, but really, it’s the first time in well over a decade that I’ve had no reason to have baby things around.  Coinciding with this, Little Rosebud got her first big girl bed.  Oh my.


    It’s still tucked right up to mine, after-all, she’s still a bit of a baby yet.  In honor of all of this growing up that they all insist on doing, this post is a little tribute to the bed she recently spent her last night in.  Because it was a very special spot indeed.


    Back in July of 2009, my sister and I started working on hand-piecing a quilt for Màiri Rose.  I wanted to spend her week long visit working on a craft project together and she wanted to learn to quilt by hand, so this is what we agreed on.  She picked all of the fabrics from my stash, while I, most unhelpfully, stood over her shoulder questioning her taste.  To be fair, she was just as adamant about questioning my sanity with regard to my fabric collection.  shrug. It’s a sister thing.

    The photos above are all from that visit.  The last one is of the two of them, under the completed quilt top, the night before my sister left.  I don’t really remember exactly who did what anymore.  I know we both pieced it.  I think I did most of the cutting.  She did most of the embroidery, but I the roses and some of the trickier parts.


    This past winter, she returned it to us, fully quilted.  All done by hand.


    On the bed frame and futon, made by a friend for his own children, over the pillow, sheets and blanket that I made when this bed was Galen’s, rests Màiri’s quilt.

    framed flowers


    It’s reversible.


    I knitted the blanket at the foot of the bed.  The one hanging over the side was crocheted by my mother.

    bed again

    I asked her if she could make a Tiramisu Blanket because the pattern is just so darn pretty.


    Each and every element of this bed was lovingly made by someone who cares about her.

    bed run

    But who wouldn’t be excited about a brand new, big and fluffy bed??


    The Wee Girl and I?  We had plans.  Ana White plans to be exact (I do so love Ana’s site).  I was dreaming a little dream of this daybed .  Do you see that green version there?!?  It gets my heart all aflutter.  Not being certain if I could find a healthy alternative to the MDF and knowing that my handy husband was likely to frown rather deeply at plans that require cutting scallops, I was willing to settle for this simple bed maybe with some pre-made wood embellishments and painted prettily?  That is until my darling husband burst my bubble by reminding me of the bed frame we had in the shed.  The rather rustic bed frame that wasn’t appealing to me at all.  He offered to paint it pink.  I explained that it wouldn’t help.  It’s not what I had in mind (the tiny floral print whole-cloth quilt that I have floating around my mind, just doesn’t mesh at all), but… it will do.  I figure if the worst I can complain about is not having to buy or make something, well then, it’s a pretty darn good life and I should go right ahead and shut up and be grateful!  Mission accomplished.