Category Archives: pretty things

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.


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.


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!


More Shop Goodies….

The Mama Collaborative shop is now open for business!  Just in case I haven’t sparked your interest with my last couple posts….

How about some adorable toddler tote bags?

Reversible baby smocks in darling prints?

What say you to gorgeous wool art bracelets?

Handwoven organic cotton washcloths anyone?

Patchwork bibs and burpcloths?

Head scarves in pretty prints?

Hand embroidered fabric covered buttons?

Vintage inspired patchwork potholders?

Or perhaps some adorned with Sashiko stitching?

More yarn?  Seriously, who could say no to more yarn?!?

And so much more!  We’re working to get our listings live for you this morning.  All told, I think we should have around 70 items out there, so stop by and have a look around!


Mama Collaborative

I am so excited, pleased, honored and proud to be announcing the grand opening of Mama Collaborative!

A couple of months ago I was invited to join a group of extremely talented and creative mother-artisans in a virtual community of support.  Together we’ve quietly been working behind the scenes in preparation for our shop opening on March 1st!

I have to tell you, all week I’ve been watching drafts of listings piling up and I am just gobsmacked.  The beauty created by these women is mind boggling.

For our first stocking we had kind of a loose spring theme.  If you are looking for little toys to slip into Easter baskets, fresh accessories to wear for an Equinox celebration, decorations for your nature table or supplies for you spring crafting, look no further!

Email Address:  

*A note to gmail users: with the new gmail layout the newsletter may be delivered under your “promotional” tab.  You can drag it to your inbox so that future newsletters, full of crafty goodness, will be delivered directly to your inbox.  

You can also help us to get the word out by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram.  And please do stop by our shop on Tuesday, March 1st and see what all the fuss is about!

And now let me introduce you to my partners!  I suspect you’ll recognize a couple of them as some of your favorite bloggers…

Kim: I am a homeschooling mama to one, a writer, nature lover, dreamer, foodie, lover of all things handmade, and a creative doer. I am happy to be here with these other inspiring mamas. Kim blogs at

Melanie: Home school mama to five in New England. We spend our days together creating all sorts of things, attempting to garden, reading good books,and observing the natural world, where we draw much inspiration.

Tonya: So happy to be working with these other women to share our creative pursuits. As a mom of seven children, I find joy and beauty in the daily ordinary of raising a family, keeping up with our homestead dreams, and helping to run a family business. Tonya blogs at

Jules: Hello, I’m Jules and I’m delighted to be with these inspiring women. I am a mama, a wife, and a shepherd who loves all things woolly. We are raising our three kids on a farm in BC, trying to make as much of our own food, clothing, and furniture.

Kris: I am a mama to four and farmer’s wife who loves all things handmade. We live on a small farmstead in Vermont where we attempt to grow most of our food and raise veggies, milk, eggs, meats and maple for our community.

Elizabeth: Mama to three unschooled boys :: Tiny house living :: Off grid homesteader :: Lover of wool :: Maker of natural goods :: blogs at

Taisa: I am a mama to three, living in a cabin in the mountains where we homeschool, make stuff and grow a weedy little garden. I am delighted to be joining these amazing, creative mamas in this collaborative.



the perfect everyday cardigan

It would be nice to be with a man who wants to know what’s underneath my cardigan. FYI, it’s another cardigan. ~Amy Farrah Fowler

No, my ideal cardigan is not of pink lace, though this yarn is heavenly…baby soft, both in tone and texture, like knitting wisps of pearly cloud at sunset.

I’m in a period of self examination.  As a mother, do you find yourself over-looking yourself?  I know I do.  I’ll put the greatest of care and thought into decisions and purchases for the children and others, but for myself I just take whatever comes my way.  Whatever is easiest.  Whatever requires the least amount of thought and effort.  I’m trying to be better about caring for myself.  If nothing else, I really want to be a better role model for my girls.

A big part of this process seems to be about paying closer attention to the things that I truly love.  It’s a little startling to realize that I often don’t really know my own likes and dislikes!

For the last, gosh, 20 years or so, I’ve always had a go-to cardigan.  There are others in my collection.  I do love me a good cardigan- that much I know!  But there is always one that I grab consistently, most of the days of the year.  Sad to say, so far I’ve never made a sweater that has been elevated to this status.  My current everyday cardi is on it’s deathbed; pilling, threadbare and well past being presentable in public.  Which has left me considering the elements of my perfect everyday cardigan…  Grey- my last two were grey, that seems to be a theme.  It has to be fairly washable.  At least half wool, just cotton doesn’t cut it.  Not too fitted, but also not too bulky.  Pockets, there must be pockets.  At least thigh length, I think.  Some sort of closure.  Soft.

This pattern was love at first sight.  I think I literally gasped when I saw it.  I really don’t know why, but it just felt entirely right.  The only item off my list that it lacks is some sort of closure, which I think can be remedied with a pretty clasp.  Inconveniently for me, the pattern isn’t available on it’s own, but only as part of a $22 book, which adds a considerable amount to the final sweater cost.  I’ve tried to convince myself of the merits of other patterns, but this one seems to be the one.

Yarn wise I’m thinking Swish Worsted in Dove Heather.  I really should do Marble Heather or Cobblestone Heather.  They would be more practical.  Sometimes I resent practicality.  I’ve really been drawn to lighter colors lately, but with five kids, a garden to tend and most of my day being spent in the kitchen….  Still, I really would prefer the Dove.  Do I risk it?  I think it might just be worth it…  It will be a while before I’m able to put aside the money for it, so I have some time to decide.

Are you as cardigan crazy as I am?  What would be your ideal?



Before leaving for our trip, I went on something of a sunhat sewing bender.  The large males of our clan have their own thing going on.  Steve is a baseball cap kind of guy.  The. End.  The older boys rock their own personal farm-hand-style looks; Elijah in his well worn cowboy hat and Iain in an old, hand-me-down straw hat.  Everyone else?  They got new hats….

Seraphina’s is the same old Angry Chicken Bonnet that I’ve made more times than I can count.  This one was made from fabric meant to match a little half-finished dress that’s been sitting on my sewing table since, oh, November or so…, trimmed with off-set, butter yellow, velvet ric-rac.

I don’t think I ever shared the most recent winter bonnet I made for Mairi using this same pattern?

We found out that it was going to be bitter cold the night before one of her outdoor (obviously) nature programs and I wanted something that was going to cover her ears and wrap around her cheeks.  Of course I had to be able to make it quickly and with supplies I had on hand.  I made this using scraps from my coat.  I also managed to eek out an extra pair of mittens for Galen that night, using the same material, but I don’t think I ever took pictures of them and they have long since been packed away for the season.

On to Rosebud’s summer accessories…

She said she wanted a hat in greens, yellows, and oranges with flowers, hearts, leaves and other “spring things”.  I wanted a hat that would offer a lot protection for for her very fair complexion.  I did what I could!  At one point it was going to be patchwork with different fabrics for each section of the crown, but the fabrics refused to play together nicely.  I simplified it and came up with this, which she seems to be pleased with and which clashes with her bathing suit something fierce!

This lovely reversible hat pattern came from the My Childhood Treasures Etsy store.

While the girls received ribbons, silky bows and velvet trim, Galen got lots and lots of top-stitching on a sandpiper covered hat, in his favorite color, made from the free Oliver and S Reversible Bucket Hat pattern.

Pathetic attempts at self portraits….

Why yes, this is what my hair looks like towards the end of a week camping.  Sexy beach-y waves, my backside!

Mine was made from the same pattern as Mairi’s.  All of the hats were made with fabric left over from other projects, but I thought it best not to bore you with listing them all!