Friday, October 30, 2009

Handmade Fridays - mamma4earth

This Friday, I'd like to spotlight a mama who not only makes the the most beautiful knitted toys, but also sells lovely South African wool, homeschools her 4 children, and keeps a lovely blog too. I have raved about Linda's lovely wool yarn many, many, many times, but she really has some of the cutest knitted animals around.

Finn's long favorite bedtime story has been Owl Babies. Every night, for months on end, we read owl babies, and Finn would lament "poor Bill." So for Easter, Bill appeared in Finn's Easter basket. Of course, Bill had a very hard time finding his mommy at our house, although Finn did a very good job of loving and cuddling him. When I went away for a week this summer to take a class, I thought Finn and Bill might both need an extra mommy around, and mamma4earth's knitted owl made a perfect mommy owl. As you can see below, Finn was thrilled.

Even now that Owl Babies isn't read for every bedtime story, and Finn enjoys a wider variety of books, this lovely owl still holds a special place in our family.

PS. You should also check out Linda's lovely unicorns. I adore them!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

::Right now::

::Bits of bright color peeking between the crunchy, brown leaf layer in our yard::

::Evening twilight to play outside after dinner::

::Autumn hats bringing color to the yard::

::A blur of a little boy who's always on the move::

::Finished nut wreath on the front door::

::Tea-loving little ones, sipping so sweetly::

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pizza Mummies and WIP Wednesday

After receiving an email yesterday with a link to these Pizza Mummies, I decided it might be a good way to bring some fun to an otherwise dreary, rainy day. We bought some sprouted grain English muffins, organic pizza sauce, organic string cheese, olives and green pepper. I'm not an olive fan, and therefore, don't generally keep them in the house so this project was great because all 3 boys decided they do like olives.

They turned out to be a very scary treat. :)

On to WIP Wednesday...I finally finished this group of hats I've been working on for a long, long time.

And I started knitting this blanket that will be part of Paulie's Christmas. I couldn't decide if I wanted to commit to another Christmas blanket. Ultimately, I took the plunge, and it's knitting up rather quickly.

The pattern is a Quaker Rib Afghan and the yarn is organic cotton in it's natural toffee color from Knit Picks. I've decided that I like the fact that this pattern repeats in a chunk of 14 rows as opposed to the last blanket I knit. I can set myself a goal of knitting one repeat every day, and in 5 days, I'm already 25% of the way done with the blanket. (Yes, I'm still trying to be in the moment and enjoy the knitting for what it is, but I don't want to take forever so I get bored with the project either.)

Happy crafting, everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Three Little Ghostesses

Three little ghostesses
Sitting on postesses,
Eating buttered toastesses,
Greasing their fistesses,
Up to their wristesses,
Oh, what beastesses
To make such feastesses!

After hearing this poem several times over the last couple of weeks, my kids have been walking around quoting parts of it, which led to an idea by Paulie to make a puppet show out of it.

We wet felted undyed wool roving around our index fingers.

Then we poked holes in the sides to squeeze through some pipe cleaner. I suppose it would have been more authentic to cover the pipe cleaner, but the kids really enjoyed being able to pose the arms. Then we needle felted little buttered toastesses.

Paulie made the stage and postesses out of a cardboard box we had in the garage. Voila! The Three Little Ghostesses on stage!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn at Hanging Rock

A few members of our family are getting over another wave of sickness right now (including me, What is up with my catching every bug the kids bring home this fall...I've been taking all my supplements, and then some!), but we weren't going to let it keep us from checking out autumn in all it's glory. The leaf color peaked this weekend in the nearby foothills of the NC mountains, and we took full advantage of feeling mostly better by taking a hike at Hanging Rock State Park.

We stuck to the easier trails, but the kids had the most fun of any nature adventure we've done in a while.

Leaves were waiting to be collected.

Cliff faces begged to be explored

Waterfalls beckoned us to admire their chilly glory.

And the leaves...

they did not disappoint.

We even found a "gnome-multiplex" at the root base of this fallen oak.

And we walked...and we breathed.

And sorted out which leaves were special enough to keep.

And held on to our rocks.

And marveled at the beauty around us.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Hanging Rock. For now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Day

This morning dawned muggy, misty and somewhat rainy, and since we've had 2 more kids down with fever/sniffles for the last 2 days, we decided to find a fun, indoor activity to occupy us today. So we sent Paul off to the farmer's market bright and early in search of good carving pumpkins (and cooking pumpkins, butternut squash and cider). The kids were anxiously waiting on the porch for him to return.

He didn't disappoint and returned with several lovely pumpkins for us to carve.

The kids set about seriously drawing various faces to help them figure out what they wanted to carve on the pumpkins.

Then the pumpkin gutting began!

Even Finn was a big helper.

All of the older kids carved their own pumpkins. This is the first year we've let them handle the carving knives and saws on their own.

We munched on roasted pumpkin seeds while we carved, of course.

When the pumpkins were all carved, we lined them up on the back deck to admire them...

And eagerly anticipated nightfall so we could enjoy them in full glory.

Ooh, what scary, glowing faces!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Handmade Fridays - mamaroots

I know that many of my friends in the blogiverse have already discovered mamaroots on etsy, but I couldn't let her go unrecognized on Handmade Fridays. Her handmade wooden toys are simple and lovely. We especially love the storybook sets she makes. Mamaroots has also been hosting giveaways on Monster Mondays on her blog. Below are two of our favorite sets from mamaroots:

My husband, Paul, has long been fascinated by all aspects of cryptozoology (we won't mention his retirement dreams of buying a house on Lake Champlain and a pair of binoculars) so when I saw this adorable Nessie on mamaroots, I knew she needed to be part of our family. She was intended for Finn, but was purchased when he was quite young, so she's been hiding in our closet for some time (not surprising for a Nessie, is it?) We're now thinking she might make a Halloween fairy debut (in exchange for Finn's yucky Halloween candy, a la Frontier Dream's idea).

Our very favorite handmade set from mamaroots are animals and a mitten from the book Any room for me? These adorable animals generously make room for one another in this beautifully illustrated version of the Ukrainian folktale. Mamaroots wooden animals and repurposed-wool mitten make this book come alive in our home as we place each animal snuggly in the mitten during the reading.

What handmades are you loving right now?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Date!

Elizabeth and I are going on a date tonight. You can watch the video below to see what Elizabeth and I will be doing this evening, although not at Slane Castle, unfortunately. Elizabeth has been a Celtic Woman fan almost as long as I have, and we'll both get to see them in concert for the first time tonight.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Mostly ho-hum here on WIP Wednesday this week as I'm working on some of the same ol' stuff. I'm almost done with the Christmas tree garland I started a while back, although Paulie and Elizabeth stretched it out last night and declared that it "might wrap around the tree twice so you will definitely need more yarn". Who asked their opinion, anyway. Actually, we're thinking of getting a small tree with a root ball to just decorate with only handmade ornaments, and I think this garland might wrap around that little tree nicely.

Still working on these hats too. Three and a half hats down, one hat left after this one is complete, for some very special guests that will be visiting soon.

The lighting was horrible and the smiles a little forced, but I had to include this quicky shot that I snapped as the kids were on the way out the door for school this morning. All in mama-made hats. :)

PS. Thanks for all the well-wishes! The illnesses were relatively mild, and we're all back in good health now.