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Tea and a Visitor

One of my kids’ favorite rituals is afternoon tea.  We used to have a high tea on Thursdays, but as the kids have grown and their needs have changed, we’ve shifted to having a casual afternoon tea any day of the week they want to sit down and have it. George inevitably wants to have tea every day, whether or not his siblings want to.  He loves getting out the china and his favorite mint tea and feeling very grown up. With our tea, we had the last of the Seckel pears from our tree, and the first of the

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Cassis Shawlette

The Cassis Shawlette is off the needles and blocked.  I made a few alterations to the pattern and am extremely pleased with the results. The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight I purchased on clearance ages ago and can’t remember the colorway.  It knits up very nicely, and I love the fuzzy halo and loft in the finished piece.  The yarn is extremely soft and great to work with.  I used about 3/4 of one skein for the shawlette and may make some baby booties with the remnants. Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along today, where we share what we’re knitting and

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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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Off the needles…pale blues.

Thrifted yarn and easy patterns = two finished shawlettes.   I think this yarn is alpaca.  It’s two shades done in stripes to get enough to make a shawlette.  The knitting is easy, mindless, meditative. This yarn is a wool/alpaca blend.  Simple feather n fan style shawlette.  Wish there had been more to make a larger shawl.  I’m just about done with a larger autumnal shawl in worsted brown and purple with a feather n fan border, and will post pics when I get it finished (maybe next week?) This one is a birthday present for my mom next week

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Snow Day Knitting

Joining Small Things for the Yarn Along today.  We’ve had what my eldest calls “knitting weather” the last few days – it’s been icy, and you just want to hide under a blanket and knit, knit, knit. The last few days we’ve had snow, followed by ice and more ice which made the roads undriveable.  The kids initially did a lot of sledding and playing outside until the falling snow turned to ice and everything became a dangerously slippery mess. The backyard garden isn’t much to look at, but I put out some seed for the birds and within minutes

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Hats and History Lessons

Joining Small Things this morning for her Yarn Along.  I’ve been knitting up a storm in preparation for craft bazaars  later in the month, but took a break from those projects to make a little hat, on request, for Bea.  I have an abundance of odds and ends of grey wool, and she requested a grey hat with a sunshine on it, so it seemed like a perfect chance to use up those little balls of wool. Bea is very interested in pre-Civil War history and instead of reading while I knitted and needle-felted her hat, we watched The Abolitionists on American

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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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Autumn Gifts

I’ve been busy the last few days making things for loved ones.  I have lots more to share, but am behind on uploading and editing photos.  So, for now, a few pictures of the gifts We’ve been making this week. Above:  A little indoor fairy garden as an early birthday present for Bea, who maintains the fairy garden outside in the yard, and is always sad to see it go dormant over the winter.  Now she’ll have her own little garden to tend to right in the windowsill. I have an abundance of beets, and my dad really loves beet

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Eve of Autumn

Today we said goodbye to summer and anticipate the impending arrival of autumn.  It has been warm and sunny during the day, but the crispness of fall has definitely made itself felt in the air. We’ve been pulling out pants (only to discover George has outgrown every pair that fit this spring) and mittens and vests and rain jackets.  The kitchen has been really chilly in the mornings, and it gives me an excuse to bake:  I’ve made bread two days in a row, and have plans to get up before the children to bake banana bread for breakfast tomorrow.

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January Sunshine

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along today with some sunny yellow sock knitting.  In the short, grey days of January, I often find myself picking bright, cheery yarn with which to knit.  It adds a little sunshine to the day. The yarn is my old standby – Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted mill end seconds – an 85% wool, 15% mohair yarn which is very durable and felts nicely while you wear it – making it ideal for socks and mittens and soakers.   The colorway is Prairie Goldenrod, and I bought several skeins a while back because I knew it would be good for

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Winter White Knitting

As is the Wednesday ritual: linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and the KCCO. The past few days, I’ve been re-reading The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, and pouring over the plans in Build Your Own Barrel Oven. A barrel oven seems like a very, very cool project for an outdoor oven, but after reading the construction details and seeing how one operates, I think we will stick with our original plan to build a simple cob wood-fired bread oven next summer. I finished a little wool soaker for a friend having a baby.  It made for a nice break from the Christmas

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Christmastide Yarn Along

I’ve been enjoying this book in the quiet of the early morning.  The prayers and passages are perfect for that time of day, while I knit a few rounds of a simple pattern and contemplate the season in which we are immersed.   The simple knitting that has kept my hands occupied while my mind is engaged with the reflections of Christmastide has been a pair of uncomplicated red mitts.  The mitts above are a pattern I have enjoyed making many times before.  These are for a gift exchange, and will get gussied up with a bit of needle-felting before they are

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Grey Stripes and Good Books

Slowly, slowly, we are beginning to decorate for Christmas.  Advent candles and readings at dinner…working with Grandpa on a new homemade Advent Spiral (because we currently use a little birthday ring from my preschool years in Germany)…Christmas toys appearing in corners of the house where the boys are sure to find and play with them. …and Christmas knitting continues in earnest.  George is growing like a weed and needs new hats.  While watching a documentary or two late at night, I knit up a little stocking cap for him (no pattern, just wingin’ it).  It is a study in grey, using leftover Kilcarra

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Early Nights and Elf Cowls

Although I’m originally an Air Force brat, and have lived all over, the Pacific Northwest has been my home for over a decade.  I cannot imagine living anywhere else.  There is so much to fall in love with here, especially for folks like us, who are undeterred by rain and love the outdoors.  There is one aspect of life in Portland that is rough for us:  the 4:30PM sunset this time of year. It is always a struggle to keep occupied and productive in those long dark evening hours. The last few evenings, we have enjoyed watching Tales from the Green

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Archangel

The forecast for today is miserable – snow, freezing rain.  In anticipation, we finished winterizing the garden and got the garlic crop planted and mulched (weeks and weeks later than normal).   The duck house and chicken coop have been mucked and loads of fresh straw added, since the birds are not yet acclimated to the cold weather just now coming our way.  With the outdoor chores done, we can keep to the house knowing everything is taken care of outside. I got a pot of white bean soup going first thing so I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner

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Little Mitts – Free Pattern

  As promised, I’ve written up my very simple pattern for children’s fingerless mitts to share with you.  But more on that later in this post.  First, Ginny’s Yarn Along and the KCCO:   The children and I are re-listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Hard to believe it’s been four years since the last time we listened to it.  We are all enjoying it just as much as the first time. Bea got a new whittling book for her birthday, and we have been reading through it together.  Her grandparents also got her leather finger guards, and we have ordered a set

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Little Mitts, Little Hands

Strep throat and a chest cold swept through the family this week, so we have done little else besides snuggle and attempt to get well.  New “Triple Crown” thornless blackberries are waiting to be planted in the garden, the grapes and raspberries need to be pruned back for the winter.  However, nearly every item on this week’s “to-do” list this week has been abandoned in favor of long waits – for throat cultures at the urgent care, and antibiotics at the pharmacy. I cannot sit still without some handwork to keep me occupied.  All of the waiting for medical appointments

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Yarn Along: Annis

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along this week. Knitting: I’m finishing up the Annis Shawl in Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering weight yarn.  The yarn was purchased several years ago on clearance, but I had never found the  right pattern for it until I recently came across “Annis” on Ravelry. Reading: Just finished re-reading How To Make A Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield.  Every time I thumb through it, I glean something new to apply to our landscape. On a whim I snagged On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-Rae Lee from the library “Best Picks” shelf.  It is a Dystopian post-apocalyptic novel, and while I

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Hop Blossoms and Dragonfly Wings

A few pictures from the last two days: The boys helped me pick hops this afternoon, which we will dry for tea.  Usually, we pick them for brewing beer, but I’m told a few blossoms steeped in hot water with a little honey makes a very soothing bedtime tea, so we are going to try it this winter. Baking sesame-oat and shredded-wheat spelt breads yesterday so the kids could have a snack before derby scrimmage. My ankle swells very quickly, and I spent a lot of time with my foot propped up, reading to the children and knitting Christmas presents.

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Snowy Yarn Along

  George peered out the window this morning and asked, “Where all my snow go?”  Winter’s brief visit has ended, leaving us a landscape of sodden ground and emerging daffodils. While we were snowed in for four brief days, I baked – and my voracious mob of children consumed – four loaves of bread, endless desserts, and two 9×13 dishes of oatmeal applesauce cake.  The original gluten-free recipe can be found here, but due the flurry of baking and our inability to get to a grocery, I was forced to rework the recipe around the contents of my pantry.  The

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Midwinter Sunshine

  Off the needles:   A simple pair of mitts for a gift exchange, to which I added a little needle-felted embellishment. Ruth painted a cheery sun on the card and we sewed a drawstring gift bag to round out the gift, and packaged it up.   It was sent it on its way across the country, where it will bring a fellow Grinnellian some Christmas cheer. To bring our own family a bit of sunshine in midwinter, a batch of sunny bright marmalade was in order.  I was planning on plain old orange, but when I managed to get

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December Afternoon

Knitting a few rows on some Toasty mitts , Daily checks on fermenting veggies.  Jalapeno Purple kraut all finished and getting jarred up for gifts.  Plain sauerkraut coming along nicely.  It will be ready to serve with Christmas dinner. (The weight goes back on top when I’m done checking, so all cabbage is submerged below the brine.) Vying for space in front of the heater vent to thaw frozen fingers and toes, Enjoying the ever-rotating display of Christmas decorations the children arrange and rearrange as they play with them. Back tomorrow with a recipe for the coming Solstice, and some

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Permie Book + New Socks

  Taking a break from a busy day to quickly join the Yarn Along.   I have a penchant for permaculture books, and something about reading up on landscape design and permaculture theory just pairs well with knitting.  This morning I finished The Resilient Farm and Homestead while casting on a pair of socks. The book is well-written and not-t00-technical.  It is geared toward those folks with property, and/or those new to the ideas of resilience and permaculture homesteading.    While I may not have enough land for sheep and goats and a duck pond, the book still had a lot to offer, and

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Rejoining the Yarn Along

A little early morning, bleary-eyed knitting with my early-riser. He was up long before his siblings, so we snuggled in bed as he sifted through a jar of buttons (one of his favorite past-times), and I chugged coffee and finished a few inches on this little project: Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along this morning, and Nicole for her KCCO.  I am in-between books at the moment, but have been a tad-bit obsessed with watching Wrapunzel’s tutorials while I knit. Looking forward to visiting the other knitters in the Yarn Along after the kids are in bed tonight.  

Yarn Along for a New Year

Glad to be joining Ginny this morning, as she restarts her Yarn Along for 2013. Today is our first day back to homeschooling after winter break. This year, in an attempt to better meet our children’s educational and emotional needs, we’ve made some changes to the way we “do homeschool”.  From the outside, I think most observers would still label us “unschoolers”, and sometimes I would agree, but sometimes we need some more structure.  That is the beauty of educating at home – styles, focus, areas of interest, can all ebb and flow in order to best facilitate joyful and

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