A Morning Indoors

Hal is at ReWild’s Nature Immersion program on Fridays.  It’s the highlight of his week.  He gets to run around outside all day, learn primitive skills, and engage in loads of imaginative play with his friends.  He comes home tired, filthy, and very, very happy. It’s not just a benefit for him:  In a house with lots of kids, sending just one kid off for the day has lots of perks.  It not only provides him with adventure apart from his siblings, but it also reduces the conflict, mess, noise, etc in the house by a significant portion.  And considering

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October handwork

It has been a long time since I’ve joined The Yarn Along, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy knitting.  The children slept in this morning, and I made some progress on fingerless mitts (the WIP ones are for Bea’s upcoming 11th birthday.  I will needle-felt designs on them when I’m finished. The Yarn Along is about what we’re knitting and reading.  I’m not currently reading any novels (because lately I’m up typing book chapters late at night while the kids are in bed, instead of reading), but a whole bag full of books we ordered just came in at the

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Parkrose Market

I have had much time to blog the last several days, I’m working on stocking our Etsy store (Parkrose Market) with salves and balms and knitted things.  Trying to juggle all of my obligations at the moment is proving challenging, and I’m dropping a few balls here and there.  But, I’m still making progress and being anything less than busy doesn’t come naturally to me. I grow all of the herbs here (with the exception of myrrh), dry them in our solar dehydrator, and then infuse them into organic unrefined coconut oil and organic olive oil.  We use only local beeswax

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Red Squirrel

Ruth finished her little needle-felted squirrel. What it looked like a few days ago: natural wool for the core. Over the top went a white front and orange body, and finally peaked ears, and eyes. She’s very happy with it, and George liked it so much, he has requested she make him chipmunk for Christmas.    

Little Tomte, Wooly Squirrel

Astrid Lindgren’s The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox are two of our most-cherished winter-time books.  I adored them as a child, and am very glad my kids love them, too. A few years ago, Ruth made a needle-felted fox and little Tomten, and the boys still look forward to playing with them while I read the stories.   The Tomten cares for the creatures of the forest and keeps watch over the animals of the farm.  He is a gentle, quiet little gnome and these simple stories of his unseen interactions on the farm resonate with young children. My children have

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Needle-Felting Kit

The girls wanted to share about a recent birthday gift they made for a friend: a simple needle-felting kit. My kids – like many kids – really enjoy playing and crafting with bit of wool and yarn.  Ruth, in particular, has enjoyed needle felting ornaments and little animals for her siblings for quite a long time.  Ruth wanted to make a gift for her friend -who is also quite artistic – and Ruth thought she might enjoy making little wooly creations, too. First, we found a basket at the thrift store that met with everyone’s approval.  Then, the girls cut

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Healing Salve Recipe

‘Tis the Season to make Christmas gifts, and Bea and I started yesterday morning, making another, larger batch of comfrey-rosemary salve.  (Joining the KCCO today.) Comfrey, also known as knit-bone, is touted as having strong healing properties.   I have used it daily on my broken ankle once the stitches healed (don’t use the salve on open wounds), but it is also commonly used on bruises and other injuries.  It is a soothing salve to rub onto bumps, bruises, sore muscles, etc – all of which are common place in a house with 3 roller derby girls and very active, energetic kids.

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Mending and Muscari

One of my favorite wool sweaters finally wore a hole in the elbow.  It was from the thrift store and had quite a bit of wear when I found it, but I liked the blue-grey color, and I’m always a sucker for wool. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there was a hole in the elbow until we were on our way out the door, and my eldest pointed it out to me.  With no time to darn it, I sent her back into the house for a block of foam, some roving and a needle-felting needle – I’d have to mend

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Play Kits to go

Joining Nicole’s KCCO this week with a project I finished before the holidays, but am just now getting around to photographing. The toy baskets were getting out of control.  One of the children would be rummaging through, looking for all the pieces of a playset, and end up dumping over the whole basket in frustration just to find a missing piece. Christmas was coming, and I knew something had to change before the chaos in the living room got worse. My solution:  just before Thanksgiving, I retrieved a  little coat rack from basement storage.  A dear family friend had made

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Christmas Preparations

We’re finally getting the sewing cleared away and readying the dining nook for Christmas dinner. (That big bag of oats will shortly become granola for Christmas gifts. ) And putting out some last-minute decorations… and making our traditional holiday persimmon bundt cake while the boys play with dinosaurs at my feet… and putting out the last few pieces of the children’s new Nativity on my grandma’s marble-top washstand. (As much as I’d love to have a Nativity set like this one or this one, I am really enjoying this budget-friendly set – the children can play with it as much

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The Tomten and the Fox

Needle felting is one of those crafts we feel drawn toward more in the winter months.  Both of the girls really enjoy making Christmas ornaments and decorations.  Harold is learning to use the needle tool safely, and often prefers playing with the tufts of roving and his older sisters’ finished projects. Astrid Lindgren’s Tomten books are among my favorite winter stories from childhood.  Harold requests we read them (along with Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise) at least once every day since I added them to the book basket. So, in honor of the the children’s fascination with the little red-hatted caretakers

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Yarn Along – Rhythm of the Home

I have a piece in the new issue of Rhythm of the Home .  It just came out today!   Hope you get a chance to read and try out the recipe – it is a family favorite. The entire issue is packed with beautiful, thoughtful and instructive articles from such talented women.  From felted sweater garlands to meditations on homeschooling in the winter months to Waldorf doll shoe instructions..Rhythm of the Home always puts out a great edition! Obviously, for the reading portion of Ginny’s Yarn Along, this morning I’m reading through the new issue of Rhythm of the Home. 

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Yarn Along

 Anyone else starting to feel the Christmas-knitting pressure? Finished a simple scarf (white mohair stash yarn I bought in college), and about to cast on some socks.  The yarn is a heathered grey 100% undyed Jacob sheep yarn handspun by a friend, from her own sheep.  I have knitted many projects with this yarn – it is  beautifully spun and well-balanced, and garments made from it have a fantastic drape. The socks will get some red patterning (100% wool thrifted sock yarn), as of yet to be determined, on the cuff. We are re-reading The Hobbit aloud as a family

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Tactile Play Part I

Grandma Jan and Cousin Ruby got the children Perler Beads last week.  I have fond memories of making Perler Bead crafts with friends as a child, and was pleased to see how much the children enjoyed them, too. Hal spent the first few minutes just running his fingers through the beads in the pie tin.  As a 3 year-old, he really enjoys the process of tactile play more than completing a project.  When he settled down and started to work with the form, applying each bead one by one, fine-tuning his hand-eye coordination and fine-pincher grip. The girls, being 7

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Forest Quilts

A friend from the coast and my next-door neighbor are both expecting, and we wanted to make them both something special.  The girls and I shopped the remnant section at Fabric Depot, as well as the fabric shelves at our local thrift store, and put together two forest-themed baby quilts. This one is a Rain Forest theme for the next-door neighbor.  We used thrifted flannel sheets (triple layered) for the batting and a thrifted cotton sheet for the backing fabric (thrifted sheets = my favorite frugal quilt backing). This was the first time in years I’ve made a separate bias

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A good, quiet morning

…reading a few chapters in Ann Voskamp’s book before the children were up… …enjoying granola in the breakfast nook after morning chores, watching chickens, ducks mucking happily around the yard  (Cran-Walnut Granola recipe at the bottom) …quilting for a neighbor’s baby, due in 2 weeks, while the children had breakfast. A welcome reprieve before tackling the general chaos of the day. Larksong’s Cranberry Walnut Granola Preheat oven to 325F, and get out two large jellyroll pans. In a large bowl, combine: 6 cups old fashioned oats 2 cups unsweetened, unsulfured coconut 1 cup wheat germ 1 heaping cup sesame seeds

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Beads and wire, and a little mania

Little Hen and I have been very busy the past two days working on Christmas gifts.  It may have, um, gotten a little out of hand. After a little mishap in which a certain little boy decided it would be hilarious to fling beads all over the living room while I was in the basement switching the laundry over, we have been beading until our fingers blistered (no joke!). If you’re a female relative, you just might be getting some earrings for Christmas.   We also made some pendants and beaded bookmarks for those without pierced ears.  (Shh.  Forget I said

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“It’s a Girl Thing” Kits

The kits are finished!! Many, many thanks to the nine ladies and three girls who helped sew, and the ladies who purchased fabric and undies for this project! Together, we have blessed and changed the lives of eleven young ladies in Ethiopia in a simple, but substantial way.  Thank you!

Sewing Service – “It’s a Girl Thing”

I’ve been given permission to put up a section of a recent post from Andrea’s blog, Babe of My Heart: Every month, I have to deal with what most girls deal with…a monthly cycle. Sorry if that’s too personal to say–but it should come as no surprise to you. I take for granted that every month I stock up on the things I need…and I can get them in any size, weight and style I would like. And not only that–I complain about my cramps. I complain that I am a bit inconvenienced and I remind my husband that he

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Twirly Skirts, revisited

A few more twirly skirts for the girls (yes, I’m addicted to sewing these!) This one, which is a bit shorter (hits just below the knee on Little Hen) is a mix of thrift store fabric and 1/2 yd of clearance fabric, and thrifted ribbon (at the bottom).  Total cost = $2.10! This is my favorite – so bright and cheerful – it’s 1 yd of Kaffe Fassat‘s red cabbage print (on clearance for $3/yd!), some thrifted pink cotton and remnants of orange and yellow batik-print fabric from another project.  Total cost, estimated at $4. This one will be a

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Twirly Skirts

The girls have finally gotten their long-asked-for twirly skirts!  I used 7 Layer Studio’s tutorial and Going Sew Crazy’s as well, and sort of mushed them together, used whatever measurements of scrap fabric I had on hand.  Thankfully, twirly skirts are pretty forgivable and they turned out great! Little Hen’s skirt used some thrift store fabric, including the blue-bird ruffle on the bottom,  an old pale blue polka-dotted crib sheet for the waist panel and strip above the ruffle.   The elastic was also from the thrift store, but the butterfly print fabric was on clearance at the fabric store, so

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Under the Sea

The children went to a Storybook Costume Ball with their cousins last night.   We had a two-day scramble to throw together some costumes, but we pulled it off just in time!    Here’s a little bit on what we made: Little Hen wanted to be Amphitrite, the Queen of the Ocean, wife of Poseiden, in Greek Mythology. Her costume: $0.50 -A blue velvet skirt from the thrift store (with about 12 holes in it that we had to mend) $0.00 – a tank top from her closet with a seahorse on it and a “seaweed” looking scarf from my closet

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Summer Sewing

The past week, we’ve been tackling some simple sewing projects (and I mean simple, and even then my seams are wonky). Most other times of the year, sewing feels more like an obligation, but it’s really relaxing after dinner in the summer – especially after grubbing around in the dirt in the garden much of the day, it’s nice to sit down with pretty, clean stacks of cotton prints and play, you know? Last week, on the way to the library, we made an impulsive stop at The Fabric Depot (my first visit, ever), where I happened to find bolts

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A budding artist

Look who decided to help himself to the craft supply box while I was attempting to make dinner (and the girls were having a tickle war). It’s hard to believe that Tum Tum will be TWO next month…he’s outgrowing so much of his sweet baby-ness.  I loved watching him drawing intently and singing to himself all the while – he’s growing into such a big boy so very fast…bittersweet, really.

Last-minute handmade gifts

The weather here has been  bitterly, bitterly cold (we are eagerly anticipating our annual Christmas trip to Florida next weekend!!).  The past few days, we’ve built a big fort out of chairs and blankets in the living room.  We’ve been spending our mornings snuggled under it, reading Christmas stories (like this collection of short stories, and this, and this). While Tum Tum naps in the afternoon, the girls and I have been finishing some last-minute Christmas gift sewing.   The children’s’ Great Aunt gave us some lovely blue toile, and I picked up some other fabric at the thrift store (including

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