Sunday, December 26, 2010

Knit Fix

Okay, so after my last post I tried to felt the hat down to a human size. But some of the bulky yarn did not want to felt, it must have been pre-felted. So the hat still looked like it might fit an elephant. I decided to cut mittens out and then add a little more knitting to the hat so that it came over the ears a bit. I think it worked out pretty well. The mittens are super warm and cozy. Next time, I will not try to substitute needles that are four sizes too big!
And we got to enjoy a white Christmas!  Thankfully, Grandma finally arrived from the airport after a long night of cancelled flights and delays. We are getting in a lot of sledding while the snow is good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What happens when you don't check your gauge...

Oopsie, I should have stopped sooner! I really don't like to check my knitting gauge and this is what happens! May this be a lesson to us all. This is my last minute attempt at making Christmas presents. Well, I do have plans to remedy the situation... we will see how it goes. We all shared a very good laugh.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Knits and Outtakes

Here we are, a week from Christmas and I am just getting our family photo card made. I found it helpful to make it a New Year's card and not stress over sending them out before Christmas. It is supposed to be a joyful process, isn't it? I am just not going for the holiday stress this year. Which means that life is very low key, and the kids are coming up with their own wonderful gift making and holiday creations. It works well for me.
We have done a little bit of baking, though my icebox cookies that I baked without cooling first turned out quite terrible. (Don't try this!) Of course, my dear children ate them up with joy. But the texture came out all wrong. Vivienne made a delicious batch of lemon shortbread cookies. Here are some funny outtakes from our attempts at a Holiday card. Vivienne is sporting the newly knit hat that she churned out this morning. It is a fun, chunky knit which combined several colors of wool and has a two-tone design. I need to get knitting, too.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Leather crafting

The kids and I have enjoyed learning about leather crafting here and there in the last couple of years. We started to make mocassins last year, but never quite completed them. It is one of those projects that needs to be revisited. I gave up when my waxed thread got tangled into a ball by one very adorable little person. Mia worked with a local craftsman one day and made some nice work, and learned quite a lot. We have all of these leftover scraps  and yesterday I shared my admiration for these beautiful leather cuffs that I saw at the Big Crafty, made by Audrey Laine.  Vivienne's face lit up with ideas and off she went, working out her idea. Beacuse I found her ability to jump into action so inspiring, I completed my own project. Then our family took a trip to Earth Guild for more leather scraps so that we could continue our explorations. Vivienne is making a simple purse now, and has completed various other gifts which are really great.

         I think we will be making more of these. They are so simple and comfortable to wear.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Little Songbird

After two years of weekly practice, Mia got to enjoy the wonderful opportunity to sing with the Children's Choir for the Asheville Symphony. It was a delightful concert. Last year, the weather was poor and the event was cancelled. This year, we got snow but managed to keep the date. I am really proud of Mia for sticking with her commitment and so pleased to hear her sing. She is on the far right side of the photo.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crafting with Love

My kids really inspire me so often. Their hearts are so pure and generous. Mia and Vivienne looked at the mailing from Heifer International and decided that they wanted to raise money to give animals to families in need. They decided on a goal of getting one flock on chicks and one goat, which amounts to $140. Vivienne spent several days making five-finger knitted scarves. This girl can knit up a storm. She listened to the Narnia Chronicles on CD, and knitted six wool scarves. Mia had a wonderful idea of taking  blank note cards, and the handmade seed paper that her Grammy made with her over the weekend and created beautiful greetings to sell. Then, I consulted my friends and decided to share a vending table with Ines in front of the local health food store. The weather was miserably wet and chilly, and after a few hours of little traffic, the kids spirits were getting down. We stopped inside for hot cocoa and returned to the table. All of a sudden, we had a stirring of interest. Some ladies came and delighted in Mia's beautiful cards, enjoying her artistic drawings and sweet words. They bought some. Then a woman with her little boy bought the first scarf. The kids were excited again, and more shoppers stopped. Some friends came by and purchased items, and before we knew it, the girls had raised over $100!
Here is the seeded paper drying. The green paper has an herb mix, and the pink has a flower mix. Mia cut them into shapes and drew around them. Later the seed paper can be peeled off the cards and planted in the spring. I didn't remember to photograph Mia's beautiful cards before they sold.

Here are two books that my friend, Tracy suggested we look at. One Hen and Beatrice's Goat. Both are about the wonderful changes in their lives that came from the addition of a farm animal.

Jasper is getting crafty these days, too. his favorite thing is to make paper airplanes and other paper/tape "origami" creations. He just recently started representational drawings, here he is working on his latest masterpiece.

Another of Vivienne's crafting. She woke up early one morning and sewed an entire baby blanket by hand. One side is cotton velour, the other is soft flannel fat quarters from my favorite fabric designer, Anna Maria Horner. Vivi plans to donate it - we have a box in our neighborhood for collecting warm blankets for charity. (I am thinking of quilting over it a bit to make it super secure, but alas, my sewing machine is missing a part... curious little boy hands, ugh.)
I got inspired to get makin' after attending The Big Crafty show. My favorite finds (among so many talented artists!) were Katie Daisy and Dana Fesenfeld at Chomp. I took a poufy beanbag chair (which has been waiting for months to get revamped) and covered it with fab Irish wool sweaters, hand stitched and then needled felted over it. It makes a cheery seat by the fireside. I think it is time to bring out the knitting needles. Today was our first snow flurry!

Happy Crafting to all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Seasonal Table

We are already into the month of December and I wonder how this is possible! I feel like I just got used to the transition from summer to autumn and now the winter winds are blowing. Time for hot milk with honey and cinnamon, toasty fires, and advent surprises. Our seasonal table changed today. My dear friend, Ines, made this beautiful seasonal stand for me. I love it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving Thanks

It is a special time, when we give ourselves permission to savour family and friends, and to hold space in our lives for gratitude. I would like each meal that our family shares to be a bit like Thanksgiving. Sharing gratitude for the food we eat, the love that went into it's growth and preparation, and the relationships that we hold dear to our hearts. I could live without the more-than-ample proportions and butter-laden density of the "feast." But most importantly, I remind myself to give thanks. To the beautiful people who sit before me, to those who live far away, to those who have passed into the spirit world, to all living beings, everywhere. May you be free, may you have peace, may you find your bliss.

In case you are wondering, the first photo was the last slice of my vanilla-spiced caramel and pear tart. It
was really tasty. Another favorite of mine was the whipped sweet potatoes with cardamom.

love & gratitude,emily