Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Blog Love & A Giveaway

I just wanted to let you know that I've recently found a lovely new blog "A Journey to a Simple Happy Life", by the lovely Imene. I've added her to my blogroll, but wanted to specifically mention this post, with a giveaway for Living Crafts magazine.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Portraits ~ January

This year I want to post a (normally self) portrait of myself each month. I've seen some really fun versions on other blogs and I think it would be a fun project. This month I'm cheating a wee bit, and using pictures from last month that my sister-in-law Bitty took, but I just adore them, so I think it's okay. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Where is my baby, and who is this boy?!?!

Today was the inevitable first haircut.... for both children! Jenny just got a gentle trim to remove tangly ends of baby hair, but Anthony's was a bit more drastic. Having not one but two hair swirls, causing not one but two parts, long(er) hair just isn't an option for him. I thought about putting it off until Easter, or his 2nd birthday, but then I realized that I would just spend the next few months dreading it, so I decided to just get it all done on one day. I'm glad I did. I think. It wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't instantly turned into such a little boy!! I do love how much more animated his face appears though, such a sweet, adventurous little guy! I'll try to get a good picture of Jenny's hair. It's so cute, still past her shoulders, and now it flips out at the bottom. :-D

Friday, January 15, 2010

A few more finished items...

Wow, three finished knitting items in one week! To be sure I didn't start them all this week or anything, but it's very exciting! :) These gloves are my very first knit project for myself, (!!) thanks to the motivation of the "One For Me" ravelry group (read more about it at Hillary's blog HERE). I used Malabrigo yarn in the "Emerald Green" colorway, and THIS simple pattern. I think they took a little less than four hours to knit. Ravelry link HERE. I'd like to use the rest of the yarn to make THIS cowl (find it on Rav. as the Gloria Cowl) to go with them, doesn't it look cozy?
Next up we have Jenny's new fingerless gloves, made with leftover yarn from her sweater. These were simple and quick, and are my first attempt at cables!! I don't have any pictures of her wearing them yet, but I'm hoping to get some soon. I used THIS pattern (that fit her 3/4 year old hands perfectly, but I'll definitely add 3 or 6 more stitches next time for a little bit of growing room. Ravelry link HERE.

Well thank you all for looking! I have a bit of birthday knitting for Joseph to get finished up next, but I wont post pictures until his after his birthday, so that's probably it for a while, but you never know, I might do a little extra knitting on the side. ;) I have several sewing projects that I need to get started (and finished) though, so I'm sure I'll be able to share more finished projects soon! Have a great weekend...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WIP Wednesday:: Recently Finished

Yay!! I finally got this sweater finished. :) It is my first, and would have gone quickly if I hadn't taken so much time off to work on Christmas gifts. ;-) It is a simple top down raglan sleeve out of bulky yarn. She wore it all day and declared how much she loved it. I love having kids who appreciate their mama-mades! The pictures aren't the best, but the good light is all outside and it's too cold to take pictures without coats which rather defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Ravelry link HERE

I am hoping to get pictures of a few more items to share soon, but I'm having a hard time finding a free moment when the sun is still up. ;-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's that time of year...

You know, when you've been running the heat for a few months, and the air is dry. The last few weeks here have been crazy, it feels like we're drinking water constantly (I drink my entire water bottle at night and wake up thirsty!), dry skin, static-y hair, you know the drill. In addition to a humidifier in one of the bedrooms (at one end of the house), I've been running my stove top potpourri from sun up 'til bedtime. Not only does it help get water into the air, but it smells lovely too (even Anthony says so!). Unfortunately it doesn't exactly photograph well, but that's okay. It's pretty flexible, I've listed the whole "recipe", but I've been known to skip the apples, use orange essential oils, and lemon juice. ;)

Stove Top Potpourri

Into a 2qt. sauce pan place, one sliced lemon (or generous splash of lemon juice), peals of about two oranges (or about 8 drops of essential oil), and either apple peals and cores or you can use up those "dead" (but not rotten or moldy) apples, just chunk up- core and all- and toss in (Granny Smith looks especially pretty), then you want to add some cloves, some cinnamon, and I like to add some nutmeg and allspice too, but that's up to what you like. Whole cloves or ground are fine (check your local bulk food store for these, since they tend to be way WAY cheaper there), and you can use ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sticks that have been broken up. Fill pan to about 3/4" from the top with water once everything is in the pan and put onto a back burner at about a "4", or just onto the low side of medium. Once it starts boiling keep an eye on it, and add water throughout the day. You will need to refresh the spices every 24 hours or so, but you can just add to what you've got for about a week at a time. Just continue to add fruit peals or whatever as you notice the scents weakening. Just don't forget to watch it, you don't want to loose a pan! I find I have to add to mine every hour and a half or so. I have added a note to my front door to remind myself to turn it off before we leave, since it's so easy to just get used to it when you have it going for days. Tinker with it, make it smell like you would like, and enjoy!

ETA~ I have all sorts of knitting to show you, but I haven't had the chance to get any pictures yet; hopefully today! So I think you'll be getting to see some FO's (finished objects, as opposed to UFO's, which would be un-finished objects) for WIP Wednesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Rest

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
~William Morris

This is my motto right now, and I'm having such fun! My house looks like a tornado has struck, but I know it will all start to fall into place soon. I've been getting rid of so much stuff; I'm not exactly a minimalist, but I am determined to cut things down until there is only what there is room for. Empty spaces might even be a good thing for a while. ;) I'll be sharing pictures in a week or two as things get finished up. I'm very excited to get to show off the pretty and practical spaces that I'm clearing and creating. So many good, positive, and necessary changes are being put into action around here these days...a new schedule is about finalized, complete with new routines and household management plans. Oh, it will be wonderful! I am one of those people who really do best with just the right amount of structure, not so much that I never get to be creative, but enough that all of the regular things are built into a fixed rhythm. My kids do too, and I have really been dropping the ball in this area lately. I think that the new rhythms will help with some of the sleeping problems going around here these days (Jenny and myself), I always sleep better when my mind and body can learn to depend on routines. I have allot of "OCD" and "ADHD" tendencies, so being able to count on the events of the next day really helps me. All the more reason to create a comfy cocoon of rhythm and order. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chunky Crayon Tutorial

Every so often I reach a point in my mothering journey where I get *so*tired* of picking up little bits of crayon from all over the place. I hate to throw the pieces away, but I know if I just keep them then I'll just be picking them up again the next day. This is my solution. My kids love the big multi colored crayons, and I love having so few items to pick up! I thought I'd share my method, as my very first tutorial!

Start by making sure that all of the paper has been removed from the crayons, (in our house they always peel the crayons before they even start coloring with them, lol) and sort them into whatever combinations you like. I did reds/pinks/white; yellow/orange/brown/grey; and blues/greens/purples. I have a regularly sized muffin tin, so that's what I used. I just filled the other spaces with papers, not sure if you have to, but somehow it seemed to make sense. :) Preheat oven to 275*F, and pop them in on a middle rack.

It took me about 8-10 minutes to get everything nicely melted. I have found that smaller pieces melt faster so you may want to be sure they're all about even when you split them up. Once about 90% is melted you can poke at them with a tooth pick. Not everything has to be melted, so long as you can push anything solid down into the liquid. Try not to stir it to much, or you will mix the colors up into a rather nasty shade. Once they are done, remove them from the oven and let the pan cool. I like to then pop it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, you can tell if they're ready to remove from the pan when there is a hairline crack around the entire edge.
Just flip the pan over onto a towel and smack each of the cups three or four-ish times. They'll be a bit funny looking on the top, but a few coloring sessions and they'll be fine. :)
And the colors are so pretty!
Let me know if you try it, and what you think!! I'm thinking of just doing this from the start from now fresh out of the box. I'm thinking it would be fun to make some in rainbow colors, or holiday themed ones. The possibilities are endless!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gratitude Friday

This week I am grateful for...

Warm sweaters
Good soups
New recipes
Clean(er) corners
Fresh homemaking plans
Successes that balance out the short comings

Care to join me? What are you grateful for this week?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Random Collage of Recent Pictures

My sweet boy, with his funny new teeth. He loves the yarn winder that I got for Christmas, you see,what could be better than something that makes balls?? The yarn is Malabrigo and oh so yummy. I will be using it to make myself these gloves, and this cowl. I joined a Ravelry group that's theme is knitting something for yourself every month. It looks like I'm not the only knitter who is always putting off our own projects. :) I'm so excited! I'm starting small, with just a few days worth of actual knitting, because I'm also working on some birthday gifts for Joseph. :)

There's also sewing in my future! I will be making the green and black prints into skirts, and I'm still deciding about the pink, it's so pale I might save it for Easter. I have a length of white on white print for a petticoat too...I'm in such bad need of skirts, I'm so excited to finally be getting some! :)

These next few are of our tree and of some of the ornaments I made this and last year... the cinnamon and applesauce ones are from this year, and the stained glass ones I made last year. The other stars I've gotten from Ten Thousand Villages.

In this one you can see a bit of the fabric strips I tied to the tree, I love how it turned out, so cute and cozy!

The cuties. :) Their great-grandmother got them both rain coats and rain boots, which will be perfect as soon as the snow switches to rain in a few months! We are making a major effort this year to spend between 30 minutes and an hour, at least, outside everyday...These will let us go out and play even when it's wet. :) I'm excited because I was even able to find a source (Land's End) that doesn't line their raincoats with fleece, so I don't have to worry about little Anthony's face. :) And aren't they just too cute?? :-D

This was taken on Christmas Eve, after they got their special Mama-made pj's. The pants are made from the flannel that is on their shirts. I am so pleased with how the appliqu├ęs turned out! I used a double sided iron on adhesive, and then zig-zaged around the edges. I LOVE this picture of them, especially because it captures Anthony's "Cheese" face. ;) As does this one, lol...
We put Jenny's hair in rag curls for Christmas. They worked so beautifully, but on our way to dinner it was raining so heavily that between the car and my in-law's porch her incredible curls completely deflated. It was fun though, and I think we're going to do it again soon-ish.
Then on the crafting front, this is the hat I made for my dad's birthday gift. The men in my family have um, rather large heads, so finding ready made hats can be a bit tricky. This was a fun, quick knit with bulky yarn on size 10-1/2 needles. And it fits and is loved! :-D

And these are just two silly pictures taken during desert tonight. :) I made vegetable soup for dinner, with brownies for desert. Anthony ate two bowls (and every last bean!) of the soup, and devoured his brownie. :-D I love it when he likes what I make! Jenny is rather harder to please. She is so good, and tries everything, but she has a very strong gag reflex, so if I make her eat more than a taste of something she doesn't like she throws up....SO NOT WORTH IT! She did try everything though, (*ahem* and only threw up a little bit...sigh, she just can't do chunky soups or potatoes of any kind. Odd isn't it?) and she loved her brownie. :)

She's so silly, it's absurdly hard to get a picture of her these days, since she's so eager to see the picture that she moves before the shutter closes. ;) The knot on her head was the prize for nose diving down the stairs at my parent's more reason I'm grateful for a one level house!!
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