Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Yarn Along}

This was one of those weeks where I feel like I didn't get a single thing *finished*, not only in the knitting realm, but even in life in general.
There were multiple, albeit small, projects (baking, organizing, crafting, art, paperwork etc) that I wanted to complete but just couldn't find the time during the rush of this busy season. I decided to just let them go-there's always next year for the Christmas projects, and valentines day for baking treats.

I did manage to finish a quick little hat for Lotte to go with her legwarmers, the purple really makes her shiny blue peepers stand out.
I used a bulkier yarn and modified the pattern slightly. I think I could have made this a little taller, but it fits her nicely now. If she outgrows it too quickly, I may add some ear flaps to get a little more life out of it.

of course she wouldn't hold still for a picture of her pretty purple hat...

This was the first hat that I knit rather than crocheted, so it was a bit of a learning experience. I could see though how this could become really addictive-I LOVE knitting in the round...and to think, all this time, I've been so scared to try it!

I'm about a fifth finished -(yes, a fifth) on a scarf that I've been working on for my Dad-nothing fancy, just a boring ol' brown wool Dad scarf. Brown suits Dad though, so I think he'll actually wear it. And there's something so cozy and comforting about simple brown wool.

and don't you just love the cake plate under the scarf? My mom made this little bright & pedestalled wonder for me for Christmas!

My reading this last little while has been sporadic and un-eventful. I haven't had enough time for a novel for myself but I'm hoping to squeeze one in soon as I've had reading withdrawal. Any suggestions?I did check out a few books from the library this week on knitting, crochet and baby food.
one of these things is not like the other...

I checked out both "chicks with sticks" knitting and crochet. The crochet one didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know, so I'll be taking that one back soon, but the knitting one has come in really handy. I'm not sure that I'll do any of the actual projects, but the instructions themselves are well written and easy to follow.
It's inspiring me to even try the scary button holes!

To hear more participants' weekly yarn along, visit Ginny's blog here.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

On a Long Winter's Night

When at home with my family on these long winter nights, and soaking up every minute of celebration, warmth and surprise, I can't help but have a sense of peace, and a truly joyous heart.
I'm reminded of words written by one of my favorite authors:

"Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete."
- Charles Dickens , What Christmas is as we Grow Older

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.... {yarn along}

Joining Ginny again in this weeks Yarn Along.
I have so many projects on the go right now; it truly is ridiculous how bad my crafter's ADD gets this time of year. Really, I should know by now that I shouldn't start more than one thing at a time. Alas, I just can't seem to help myself!

Last week, Anneliese posted some the pattern for these gorgeous rustic looking snowflakes crocheted from twine, and as soon as I saw them, I just knew that I would have to try making a miniature version of these with my pepperminty baker's twine.
I'm obsessed with this silly string and use it for all sorts of projects, and I've been dying to crochet something out of it for a long time, and this gave me the final shove.

I love the way that they turned out and hopefully will be able to squeeze in a few more for gift toppers! They're a little tiring on the eyes after a while, tiny stitches with stripey string...but these were worth it.

I've also finally finished Lotte's little leggings. I still have to weave in the tails, but they're finished and fit her pudgy little legs perfectly. They're actually a little long, and a wee bit baggy, which is good, I want her to fit these for a little while!

I still have one gift to complete for Christmas-which I've just started a couple of days ago {slap on the wrists!}
I can't wait to finish it up though, because I have 4 other projects in line that I can't wait to try!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Herbed No Knead Bread {Batter Bread}

I make this every once in a while in batches of two loaves, and it's usually gone within a day. If I'm lucky, I'll get a heel. Which sounds pathetic, but it's actually the best part!

This bread has the perfect crunchy crust to go with soups and stews. And if you should have the self control to let a few slices go stale, it makes amazing croutons!

You'll end up with a thick dough that is too moist to knead, but not as wet/runny as cake batter. It's sort of a cross between the two. I make ours in a stand mixer, but I have made it the old fashioned way with a mixing bowl and spoon. It's a little tiring on the arm, but hey, you get an extra slice of bread because you burned extra calories.

Here's what you need  for one loaf, but double it...really.

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)
3 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp thyme
2 tsp garlic powder

Oiled/greased loaf pan.

Combine the warm water and yeast in a bowl and let sit/dissolve for a couple of minutes.
Then add the sugar and salt,
Stir the flour in slowly, then add the milk and herbs.
If you're using a stand mixer, let it run a few minutes to be sure it's well mix. If you're using a bowl and spoon...cry a little and get over it. It will be worth it. I promise.

Now let it rise for about 30 minutes.
Then divide into loaf pans and let rise an additional 30 minutes.
Bake for about 40 minutes at 375f.

When it's done, let it cool a little on baking racks before indulging. It slices better when it isn't piping hot. It will be worth the wait, I promise.

I like mine just as it is with nothing on it, but feel free to butter it or melt cheese on it, whatever way you might fancy! Enjoy:)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lotte's Lavender Leggies {Yarn Along}

Joining Ginny again this week for a yarn along.

I have a lot of different projects on the go right now, but this is the one that I'm trying to finish up first. Because there are two involved, I'm terrified that now that I have one little leg warmer done that I'll never finish the other!

This is my first time knitting something on a circular needle, and I'm actually really enjoying it! My stitches are a little inconsistent in tension, and seem to be going slightly diagonal. I'm not sure what I was doing to cause it in the first leg warmer, but the second one isn't near as bad. (Any ideas, Rachel?)

Of course, when I'm finished the second one, it will look better than the first, and I'll want to take apart the first and do it over again.
I shall do my best to resist that temptation.
I was using scraps from a pile of gifted wool (see bottom picture!) and didn't have enough of the first shade of  purple to do two legwarmers, so I switched to a slightly darker purple half way down. I might play up the two tone with some applique afterwards, we'll see.

I haven't been able to do a lot of my own reading lately, but I've been reading "the Magicians Nephew" to the boys. I had forgotten how exciting these books were, I hadn't read them in a long time. I'm glad that the boys find them just as exciting as I did though, and beg for more.

This insane pile of yarn was given to me...I have no idea what to do with it all. Some of it's wool, and some of it is acrylic. I'll definitely keep the wool, but might donate a good portion of the acrylic to a senior centre or something similar. I'll never be able to use that much!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fort Wet Willies

While the little miss and I have been warm inside the house, the Men-folk around here have been busy outdoors with a project that has been dreamt about now 
for a long while.

"Plans" were drawn....

Materials were gathered...

Token awesome trap door installed in the floor....

Only a  few finishing touches left to be done, like paint, windows, doors, a tire swing etc.
I'm very proud of the Men folk around here for working together to build such an awesome fort!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Illustration Day

Decided to participate in this week's Illustration Friday.  I used to do these weekly just for fun, but life got busy (of course) and I sort of forgot about it. I like that there aren't really any rules aside from theme,-and that I'm allowed to let the paper be my playground.

This week's theme was "brigade". And honestly, this was the first thing that popped into my head.
When I was little, I used to imagine battles like this happening on the sewing table or in the sewing box while no one was looking.

Lotte let me paint a lot of this while she was in my lap. She only grabbed for the brush once!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheap Thrills, a Fender Bender & Free Toilet Paper {the rise, and quick fall of an almost perfect weekend}

Now that the Mr. is on parental leave, we have a lot more opportunity for family fun time. We decided several weeks ago, along side my sister Elise and her husband (we call him Siouxie, pronounced Susie-long story, more on that later) that we needed to make a day trip to Bass Pro Shop.
I say day trip, because it is, after all, a whole hour away, and the store is massive. One could easily spend hours there, really. And throw in a goofy pair of boys, two gun happy in a Sarah Palin-would-be-proud sort of way  men, and three infants, it could easily be a day before we were finished.

The day started out perfectly. Lotte actually slept through the night, so we woke up feeling relatively rested. I had been under the weather all week, but was feeling much better after some much needed sleep.
We got in the car, and managed not to get stuck in any construction zones or traffic jams. Lotte slept (again!), the boys were happy, I even managed to crochet part of Zeke's hat-which is camouflaged, how fitting for bass pro shop...The day went like this.

Arrived at Bass Pro/Mall

Girls and babies first went to Old Navy. (Stopping by Starbucks, of course.)

Boys played at Bass Pro Shop.

All the babies simultaneously soiled themselves. We didn't bother trying on the awesome clothes we found-
That would be pushing our luck. We decided that we'd try them later at home.

Bought Edie and Lotte matching headbands. Toby didn't even get jealous.

Returned to bass pro to join the gentlemen.

Discovered that despite being rather content, Zeke had a fever and a sore throat. He insisted that he was OK.

Decided that we'd leave and go enjoy a frugal family meal at Costco.
I'm not embarrassed to say it. And besides, Siouxie insisted that we go somewhere where gravy smothered food was available.

We arrived to Costco,
Elise and Siouxie did not.
We received a text-"We were rear-ended....-all OK, but we're going home".

We go back to the car-we don't have a Costco membership.
Yes, we're that cheap. We sneak in with other family members.

Reuben finds a case of abandoned toilet paper in the parking lot of Costco, and without
missing a beat, swoops down and picks it up, and carries it to the car.

We're still hungry, the boys are still hungry, Lotte is back to sleep.
Decide to hit up a really cheap Chinese buffet called "happy court" that we've been to before.

Happy Court has been remodeled into an Expensive Japanese Restaurant.

We decide to go back to Hamilton to a different cheap Chinese Buffet.
Hamilton cheap Chinese buffet's prices have been changed to absurd holiday prices.

a little drama was added for this

We end up at good ol' PHO DO BO. (Vietnamese)

Lotte wakes up as soon as the food arrives, soils herself royally, and throws up all over me.
We get the rest of dinner TO GO.

We get home, and tuck in the two tired, but well behaved boys. They were troopers.

Mark informs me that he's starting to feel sick as well.

I try on my old navy clothes. Lotte tells me that 90% of them make me look like a fruit stand/carnival act.

At the end of the day, Reuben gently nudges me, and says...."at least we got free toilet paper."

I think we'll have to try bass pro day again in the new year. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Old Hat {Yarn Along}

Joining Ginny again for today's yarn along!
This sweet hat has lived and survived four children now. It's one of my favorites-and it's received more compliments than any other piece of clothing that my children have worn.

 When I crocheted it over 10 years ago, I never dreamed  that it would be included in so many of my favorite memories.

Kissing cold little cheeks after an early spring walk...Or sitting by a campfire with a sleeping bundle of love.
This hat has been through it all. It's been trampled in the back seat of the car.
It's been worn all over the continent.
Thrown up on.
It's been to football games.
Hockey Games.
Wet on.
Worn by various stuffies.
my sweet little niece borrowed the hat while she was a babe

It's been very well loved.

But it's starting to fall apart, and now with a brand new noggin to take care of, I'm afraid that it might not hold up. The ties are starting to fray, and I don't know how many more washes it can handle.

I don't want Lotte to be without my favorite hat though, so I need to re-create it.
I didn't follow a pattern when I made it, in fact, I'm not entirely sure that I made it out of embroidery floss. But I'm pretty sure.

I found the closest colours possible, and can't wait to start on this. Once I figure out exactly what I did, I'll share the pattern!

Monday, November 28, 2011

{Their World}

Every once in a while I'll leave my camera unattended, and later find the strangest, and sometimes most entertaining photos when I go to upload my memory card on to my computer.
Here are today's winners:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

At Last, She Knits! {yarn along}

I've spent the last few glorious {albeit sleepless} weeks in a drunken romance with Lotte.
I can't get enough of her, I just soak up every second I can.
We spend a lot of time curled up together on the couch while she eats. {or should I say, "snacks"?}

This has led to a lot of Internet time...and while I can't type with both hands, I can watch netflix, and YouTube!
Late last night while Lotte was in one of those "I'm no longer hungry but can we still play?" moods, it dawned on me to check out YouTube for knitting instructions. I can knit flat/square things in basic stitches, but circular knitting has always left me puzzled and confused, and my poor needles always end up shoved back in a box for "later". A girl can only knit so many scarves!

 I'm a hands on & visual learner, but I don't know anyone personally who can knit, {that lives anywhere near here anyway}, no one in my family knits,  and unfortunately I had always attempted to learn from what I like to call "the book of poorly illustrated diagrams".
But with the help of a few videos I've finally figured out circular knitting. I messed around with working four needles, and magic looping.{What an incredible concept!}

I found an easy beginner pattern that I'm really excited about trying.

I don't think that I'll  try alternating colours just yet step at a time!

p.s. I haven't been reading much lately other than a few magazines. I'll be working on finding something soon though. My hours are numbered, so whatever book I find has to be worth my time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Charlotte :My little Lottie:

It's been a little while since I've posted!
You see, I've been a little busier than normal lately-but the good kind of busy. The kind of busy that means constantly holding and cuddling a sweet, little, delicious smelling bundle.

I've been warned that by not putting her down very often, I'll "spoil" her...but in all honesty, I think she's spoiling me.
Even in the middle of the night, when she begins her "feed-a-thon", I can't help but thank God for this delicious little girl that he's blessed us with.

Charlotte Eliza Mae
was born at home on Monday, October 10th, 2011 (Canadian Thanksgiving!) at 5:53 am.
She looks so much like her Daddy!
I plan on doing nothing but soaking her in for the next few months.
This tiny stage flies by, and it's just too sweet to miss.

P.S: Toby and Edie have really porked up, and came home from the hospital last weekend. They are doing wonderfully.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny today in the weekly Yarn Along...

I've finally finished the little grey picot sweater for my niece.
I actually finished this up a couple of weeks ago, but didn't add the buttons until last night. I had to add something pink to it, so that she'll actually wear it! (She's rather choosy about her outfits, you see...) I also made a little hat to go with it. She won't be getting this until Christmas, but I'll be sure to take a picture of her in it when she finally gets it.

I've gotten a little further on the baby blanket-I love that this has such a simple pattern, so I can take it anywhere and pick it up where I left off without looking at the instructions-until I get to the border that is.

 I've been taking this blanket along with me everywhere to keep my hands busy.

To the midwife's office, the hospital when I visit my sweet itty bitty niece and nephew (who are doing fabulous, by the way, and are no longer so itty-bitty) and even to church.
I've mixed the pattern up a little, and I'm using two different shades of pink, just for kicks.

I finally found a book of my own to read.

Aside from the boys' homeschooling books that is. As fun as they are, I need a break from Daniel Boone, William Tell, and every other macho historical hero!

I'm a good chunk into "the Help" and have fallen in love with it. I adore the way that it's written from the different perspectives of each character, and that it's written in the way that they would actually speak.

Unfortunately though, having always struggled to fight my already "southern" accent, I find that after reading a chapter or two my accent starts to come back.
The boys pointed it out this afternoon, I hadn't really noticed. Zeke asked if I had been speaking with relatives back home on the phone. It comes out after those long phone calls sometimes, I just can't help it.

I'm loving the book so much that I'm afraid I'll now be disappointed with the movie!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DIY+Pregnant Brain

Without getting into too many details-the baby is going to be a little longer than we thought. We were afraid that she was going to be early, and now that she isn't, I sort of feel like I'm living life in limbo.
I don't know if it's just me, or women in general, who find the strangest tasks to pass time until a baby arrives.

Suddenly, the weirdest things pop on to our 'to do' lists, and become oddly important. And the tasks seem to grow weirder and weirder with each baby.

Right before I had Reuben, for some reason, I decided that my living room futon needed a new cover. Not great timing, but not so strange.

Before I had Zeke, I needed to get all my Christmas cards done early-not just written, that wasn't good enough. They had to be handmade as well. Oh, and I had to make a bunch of "snowflake" ornaments that I had seen in a Martha Stewart Kids magazine, out of pipe cleaners and borax. Yes, that's right, pipe cleaners.

My mom also contributes to this fun little routine-I think that she nests right along with us. When I was pregnant with Zeke, she decided that for some reason, I had too many kinds of salad dressing in my refrigerator and dumped them all together into one bottle-and then afterwards laughed about how that probably wasn't really helpful but it just seemed so important at the time.

That, and that's what her Mom always did to "help". Grandma even had a sick little motto about her own tendency to condense one's refrigerator contents..."Best kinds mixed!!"

I couldn't help but laugh last week, when the two of us sat in my living room, and we found ourselves performing the strangest tasks yet-all in the name of "getting ready for baby."

 Well, maybe not stranger than the salad dressing.

Mom had suddenly decided that it was time to pair my family's odd socks. I had quite a stash, several bags actually, and she got them all out and started playing go-fish. She actually found quite a few matches. Apparently I do not need to add socks to my Christmas list this year.

I, on the other hand, found myself cutting up toilet paper rolls, and actually using them for crafts, like I was a first grader all over again. 

After getting some raised eyebrows from Mark and my sister when they found my hidden stash of empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls-and I refused to tell them what they were for, I got down to business.

Cross legged on the couch, huffing and puffing through "false" labour (lemme tell ya, there ain't NOTHIN' false about contractions-whether they're doing anything productive or not) and gluing bits of cardboard into a floral pattern.

As absurd as it sounds, it didn't turn out half bad. I plan to take this carnival act one step further and bring spray paint into the game-something bright and shiny, and hang it on the wall over the little Miss's crib.

For the record, after he saw the finished product, even Mark admitted that my strange little creation was actually kinda cool.

If you'd like to make your own flower, all you need is toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls) and craft glue.
Flatten the rolls, cut into bands (a toilet paper roll should give you about four circles).
Pop them out a bit so that you have a flower petal shape, and glue together on a flat surface, in any pattern you desire!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ten Reasons I love Autumn Babies

My first Autumn Babe, at age 2

When I first found out that I was expecting yet another autumn baby, I was a little, well, overwhelmed.

Not that it normally matters what time of year a baby is born, they're blessings regardless of their timing.

However, all of our birthdays are in Autumn. Mine, The Mr's, both of our boys, both of our mothers, the Mr's brother...the list really goes on. (and on, and on.)
It's always been a little bit of a challenge to separate one family member's birthday from that of another. And with kids, gift giving is always kind of tricky, because we want to be careful not to blend right in to Christmas!

But as the cool weather is starting to set in, and I'm getting rounder by the day, I'm reminded of why I loved having babies this time of the year. (Aside from Autumn being my favorite season.)

1. Cuddle time is not sweaty time. I love nothing more than snuggling up close with my newborn, and keeping them skin to skin. But as much as I love this, I can't imagine how that might be in, say, August, when the sun is at it's hottest and the humidity levels are through the roof. Same goes for wearing a baby wrap.

2. Festivities. Autumn is loaded with a roller coaster of holidays, keeping families close and spirits high. I can't think of a better way to spend those (often dark) postpartum months than surrounded by close family and friends.

3. Perfect day for a walk. I can take my little one around the block  for some sun, without her getting a sunburn or heat rash, and yet she won't be cold and miserable.

4. Cozy baby sweaters, blankets and hats. All those sweet little knitted outfits and blankets will actually serve a purpose.

5. Comfort food. All the things that sound appealing to eat, either while sick, or right after having a baby, are meals that tend to be on the menu this time of year. Hot cider, Tea, chicken noodle soup, pumpkin pie, baked sweet potatoes...

6. By Spring, my baby will be *ready* to be out and about. I love that we're headed into winter, when the world just sort of shuts down. If you're going to be stuck inside anyway, it might as well be with a new bundle! I don't feel like I'm missing out on too many events this way. After Christmas and New Years...what much happens in the winter? Nada.
And when things DO start happening, my little one will be old enough that I won't worry so much about bringing her into crowds and to outdoor events etc.

7. Household chores are at their lowest. No garden to tend anymore, not grass to cut, no garden to plant, very few fruits and veggies to preserve, no snow to shovel. (I'm hoping!)

8. Fall/winter wardrobe is much friendlier to the postpartum body. I know that it will be almost a year before I have to set foot near a beach.

9. Cold and Flu season: the perfect excuse for not passing my baby around.
Ever go to the mall, or to a restaurant and have a random (well-meaning, I'm sure) old lady come up and insist that they hold your baby?

I have encountered this-multiple times. I've found that during these seasons, somehow the answer of  "I'm worried about them catching a bug" seems to be an acceptable answer, while in the spring and summer, it just doesn't seem to fly.
I also find that if I can kind of keep a blanket over the baby at most times, it tends to deter those baby grabber hands.

(For the record-any reason I provide to any total stranger should be reason enough, and I would not let a stranger hold my baby no matter how hard they tried or insisted. I try to let the sweet little old ladies down gently though.)

10. Nursing.
Nursing with a cover while the baby is still learning doesn't make my head (or the baby's) want to explode like an overheated steam engine.
In warmer weather, sitting under a blanket would be like camping out in a green house!

 By the time the time spring rolls around, the baby is a pro and a cover isn't needed.
(please note that this is MY personal preference. I don't care what other mothers choose to do in regards to covering/not covering.)

To all the other autumn expectant Mamas, enjoy your wee ones!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Their World

Every once in a while I'll leave my camera unattended, and later find the weirdest, and sometimes most entertaining photos when I go to upload my memory card on to my computer.
Here are today's winners:

I particularly like the last one, it's Reuben in a nutshell.
This is about all we see of him most of the summer. A wild-shirtless thing, with bug aquarium at hand, who only comes inside to feed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yarn Along : Picot Bottomed Pee Pee Pants

Joining Ginny again in today's Yarn Along...

I've finally finished up a little project-wee soaker pants. I tried to find a pattern I liked, but they all seemed to be knitted, and alas, I cannot knit. (yet...) And the crochet patterns that I did find all seemed to be really loosely stitched, which sort of defeats the purpose.
So, I took a stab at making up my own. I still have to make a little drawstring of some sort, as these are perfectly square to accommodate those puffy little diapers.
And an added funny bonus, they're self standing!
I know these posts should include what I'm reading, however I haven't done much leisurely reading at all lately. Almost all my reading has been from the boys' homeschooling curriculum. (Which I confess, I rather enjoy...especially the history.) Right now we're starting into Canadian History with "Discover Canada".
I'm trying to get the boys off to a good start in so that we can take a few days off when the little Miss arrives.

I'm in the last stretch of pregnancy and scrambling to get some things done around here. However, I've been told to take it *really* easy at least for another week, until I hit 37 weeks. My midwife is afraid that I'll go early if I move too much. So I've been folding laundry, and organizing boxes etc from the couch...slowly crossing things off my list. 
Luckily, I have the sweetest mother and sister in the world who have come over to help me on several occasions and do the things that I'm not supposed to be doing. (Painting, carrying laundry and boxes etc-since we had to completely empty our baby room-it was our storage unit!)

Last week I made this baby sling (sewing is a sitting activity, thank goodness!!) I may post a tutorial on it soon. I love the way it fits and holds a position snugly. I even tried it out with my 3 year old niece. She thought it was pretty funny to be put in a baby sling, but cooperated for the sake of my experiment. I told her it was for the baby, and she happily obliged.
I've just started on this sweet little baby blanket in a really yummy strawberry colour. I really don't think that I'll get this done before the big day, but I'm quite OK with that. It's just going to be something to do when I *have* to be sitting...and maybe something I'll pick up now and then after the baby is born as we're cuddling. I can't wait for all those sweet snuggles!