Category Archives: celebrations and festivals

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?
KCCO

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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.

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Just in time for Easter…

Our Spring Celebrations collection is going live today!  We’re stocking the shop with everything you need for a beautiful and unique hand-crafted Easter and/or Equinox celebration.

   I’ve been having fun making these little hand embroidered pendants.  They remind me of sweet fancifully decorated eggs.  Each one is on a ribbon long enough that it can be worn as a necklace.  They are also perfect for decorating an egg tree, nature table, basket or just about anywhere!

Just click the title above each set to see the listing!

Little Lamb:

It’s hard to say for certain, but she may just be my favorite.  The colors are softer in person, more muted and delicate.

Bird’s Nest:

This one has a great textural quality. And the color combination ended up being just gorgeous.

Ladybugs:Inspired by the one I found climbing my bedroom curtain.  The first of the season.  Spring is coming folks!

Small Rainbow Pendant:

So cheerful and bright!

And the large Rainbow:

Just beginning to peek out from behind some needle felted clouds.

One little Frolicking Bunny:

In fun girly colors with polka dot ribbon ties.

And the Chick:

The kids say he looks rather disgruntled, but that’s just a part of his charm.  I say he’s all the cuter for it.  And several of them have claimed him as their favorite, so I can only assume that they concur.

There are going to be so many wonderfully tempting treasures added to the shop over the next couple of days!  Do stop by and check it out!  And be sure to order soon so that we can make certain all the loveliness arrives on time!

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Dairy Free White Chocolate Ice Cream

I totally dropped the ball on a birthday party for the kids this year.  Birthday sweaters? check.  Quilts? check.  Wonder book with at least a week’s worth of entries for the emerging 7 year old? check.  Treasure hunt obstacle course?  check.  Meaningful charm for Mairi’s bracelet?  check.  Plan crazy, exciting, right of passage adventure for 16 year old? check.  Fancy cakes made to their exact specifications? check.  Well thought out, carefully planned party?  Nope, not so much!

Not that we always do a party.  But they did specifically request one this year.  To which I said yes.  And then promptly forgot about it until just days before their birthday.  So when a friend called to say that her son wanted to spend his birthday with us and had we done anything for our kids yet? (answer: yes!  A whole, whole lot in fact, just not a party…)  Between us we have 4 kids with January birthdays.  The answer?  A laid-back, two family, 4-in-1 birthday party,

And it was good.  Just right, really.  Good, nourishing food.  Basket ball and ping pong tournaments.  Dress up and dance play.  A few simple gifts.  And the comfortable feeling of being with dear old friends.

There son knit Iain a hat.  That one is a boy after my own heart.  The beautiful beeswax candle was their gift to Mairi.  She’s enchanted.  We’re both really itching to make candles now.

Since we had already done the cake thing, I decided to play around with ice cream for the “party”.  We made a White Chocolate and Clementine Bombe inspired by this recipe.  Our version included home-made dairy free white chocolate ice cream.  Which was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

Dairy Free White Chocolate Ice Cream

6 egg yokes

1 1/2 cups of sugar

450 ml full fat canned coconut milk

200 grams of cocoa butter, broken into small pieces

450 ml of cashew cream (see below)

seeds from 1 1/2 vanilla pods

2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the cashew cream: place cashews in a high power blended, such as a Vitamix.  Add water to the same level as the cashews and blend until smooth.  If you don’t have a high power blender, try soaking the cashews for several hours first.

Mix the vanilla extract and vanilla seeds into the cashew cream.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yokes and sugar together.

Slowly heat the coconut milk in a small pot until it just about reaches the boiling point, but do not allow it to boil.  Whisking continuously, pour the hot milk over the egg mixture and return to the pot.  Stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it forms a film on the back of a wooden spoon.

  Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa butter until melted.  Allow the mix to come to room temperature.  Stir in the vanilla cashew cream and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Run through an ice cream maker, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Makes approximately 2 quarts.

The “baby bombe” consisted of cashew cream, coconut milk and banana, frozen in a lined teacup.  She was pretty thrilled, as you might imagine!

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A 7th Birthday and a 16th Birthday

Considering the clues and untangling his way through his birthday gift treasure hunt.

“Happy birthday to YOU!”

That handsome young man up there, could that really by my little son??  The one I used to carry about in a star covered sling and tickle and kiss and cuddle?  Can it really be that same boy, who when I hugged him last night, swept me off my feet and carried me across the kitchen?

And goodness gracious, that sweet girl of mine in morning glory blue!  I’ve been wanting to make one of those dresses for years now.  I don’t know why I waited so long?  The pattern is Caesia made in Swish DK, “Twilight”.  Now that’s my kind of princess dress!

If I don’t mention Iain’s sweater can we just pretend that everything went well and that you don’t notice anything, uhm, askew?  This sweater was coming along absolutely beautifully.  I was so excited about it!  The very last thing I had to do was the shaping around the collar.  I walked away from it for a while and couldn’t for the life of me figure out where I was when I picked it up again.  There were days of knitting and ripping and nothing looking right.  Then when I did figure it out things kept going wrong with the shaping.  Nothing would lay as it should.  The cables looked strange.  His birthday loomed ever closer.  I was stressed and not sleeping and feeling like my brain was going to explode and come oozing out my ear.  It got to the point where I couldn’t bear to think about it for a moment longer and I switched to nice, simple, soothing ribbing.  ahhh…  I was so feed up with the whole thing that I couldn’t even be bothered to do it exactly the same on both sides.  The asymmetrical look is in, right?  Yeah, I meant to do that.  Well, actually I did mean to do it, but only because I was at my wit’s end!

The pattern is #732 by Bergere de France made in Comfy Worsted, “Planetarium”.  Even tracking down the pattern was an ordeal.  Alas, after all of that, it’s too short. (!!!)  It fits very nicely across the chest, which I was worried about.  And the sleeves are fine.  Probably because I was so worried about those that I added a couple of extra inches in length.  I added a bit of length to the body as well, but clearly not enough.  I blame the 4 1/4″ that he grew in the last year.  He will get some wear out of it, just not nearly as much as I had hoped. boo.

I finally finished Mairi’s quilt, started several years ago.  I couldn’t figure out a way to discretely do the hand-quilting on Iain’s without him noticing (it’s huge), and I really wanted it to be a surprise.  So I gave him the completed quilt top, along with batting and backing.

I know, it’s such a cliché, so much so that even saying so is a cliché, but I really can’t believe how big these two loves of mine are getting and how very quickly it’s all going! My heart is full of joy and yet aching all at once.

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Christmas 2015

I never plan to take a giant blog break at this time of year, sometimes I even make an effort not to, but it always happens anyway.

I opted out of sewing Christmas pajamas this year, both because I had other projects to concentrate on and because I had something specific in mind that I very much did not want to make.  We purchased double thick, wool-cotton red union suits for the kids.  The making of which would have required sewing about a gazillion button holes in stretch fabric.  My brain translated that as akin to being trapped in a medieval torture device while forced to watch people burn perfectly good yarn.  No, no, and no I say!  It was a good purchase.  They will wear them under work clothes, under snow gear and around the house all winter long.

I was, however, content to do a little Christmas knitting and since the suits we bought came in sizes to fit everyone except for dear Seraphina, I made her one.  Very cute.  And I was right, that Hollyberry is an amazing color for her.

The whole time I was planning for Christmas, I was thinking in terms of keeping everyone warm for the winter.  Steve and I decided together that it was far more important to us that they feel well cared for than entertained.  We gathered together coats and wool socks to go with those woolly suits.  Wool on wool on wool, to shelter our babes from the harshness of a New England winter in the mountains.  On Christmas Day we beat the long standing record high by something like 15 degrees.  I walked barefoot in the garden, mostly so that I could say that I had.  It was far from unpleasant, though a little moist.

Don’t be too freaked out by the shorts and the fan.  It wasn’t that warm!  But I’ve noticed that teenagers tend to exaggerate these things for effect.and there was a smokey kitchen mishap (one of Galen’s precious pies bubbled over).

Some of the kids were devastated by the idea of a truly green Christmas, but they appeared to have a good time all the same.  To me it actually seemed the grandest of gifts.  It will be a story to tell, a memory to share, “Remember that Christmas where we were out playing football in tee-shirts?!?”  After a full summer of not really having the strength to step outside, much less enjoy the weather, I hoped and prayed for a long mild autumn.  And when I was granted it, I found my days too full of trying to play catch up to go out and enjoy it.  But on this one glorious day, I had nothing much left to do and I just reveled in it.  And, well, finally harvested my horseradish…

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