Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a tale of two sweaters

Although I really did not need another online habit pulling me away from my other chores and responsibilities, when Pinterest came calling she was so enchanting and enticing that I took the plunge and joined her for a dance. She wooed me with her lovely crafts, charming home projects, delectable cuisines and stylish apparel. Before I knew it, we were going steady, and I brought her home to meet the family.

When I found 2 projects that needed felted sweater (already have those on hand, check!), Finn and I decided to show off Ms. Pinterest a bit and see if she could do a bit more than be an online friend.

We gathered our felted sweaters, embroidery floss, and I melted some wax, while I examined the many glass jars that are tucked into (literally) every nook and cranny of my kitchen, searching for the next jar candleholder.

The ex-raw honey jar it is! One the wax was poured and cooling with a wick centered, Finn and I made quick work of Pinterest project #1, courtesy of Mamaroots.

Although I didn't really follow her pattern, just freehand cut the hat, the idea is the same. Finn glued on a wooly beard while I sewed the hat, and another tomten joined the family.

Finn was taken aback by his brown hat, rather than the typical red one that tomten's wear.

But the tomten in my head was the old, old tomte from The Tomte's Christmas Porridge, and his hat is decidedly brown.

Finn didn't let the hat color bother him for long, he quickly found a small pottery bowl from my Art-o-mat collection and a fox from our window puzzle to perform The Tomten and the Fox.

His tomten happily shared his porridge with Reynard, the fox.

Then we had to read it again so he could act through his play one more time.

By the time we were through playing with the tomten, the candle was sufficiently cooled and I began the second Pinterest project of the day. I think the project would have gone more quickly if I had used the sleeve of a felted sweater like the pin shows, but I really wanted to use the design across the center of the sweater I felted.

I blanket stitched around the top and bottom of the sweater to give it a more finished look. What a warm and cozy winter candle!

Have you completed any Pinterest projects? Or are you resisting her woo?

Monday, January 30, 2012

green in winter

Although yesterday was one of our cooler days over the last week, the temperatures in our area still hit the 50 degree mark, and we decided to throw on our jackets and take a small hike at one of our favorite little hiking spots. I was startled, although why, I'm not sure, to notice how green the forest was during this late-January hike. I thought we would have a frigid snap of weather at some point this winter, but we really haven't had much winter weather at all this year. I welcome the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, and to send the children outdoors, but I fear what this warm winter might mean for our summer. Alas, we enjoyed our hike choosing to remain in the moment and enjoy the relative warmth of our mid-winter day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

birthday handknits

Some of you caught a glimpse of Elizabeth's birthday sweater in yesterday's post. She slipped it on almost as soon as she finished opening her gifts. Yay for appreciated handknits!

I was a tad nervous at how this sweater might fit since I used an adult x-small pattern and adjusted the body slightly shorter and the sleeves a little longer based on measurements I took of Elizabeth. I couldn't be more pleased though with how it turned out from a fitting perspective. She has about 1-2 inches to spare all the way around which is perfect for a sweater that *might* fit for a second winter.

The colors are perfect on her, which is no surprise since she chose the colorway of the yarn. She's such a bright ray of sunshine that bright colors suit her well.

The socks are nice and bright as well, although a slightly different colorway. They have enough of the same colors as the sweater, and Elizabeth never seems bothered by mix-and-match bright prints. (Here's an oldie but goodie to prove that point.)

I've come to the realization that with hand knit socks, unless you use elasticized yarn, they just don't want to stay up very well. And so Elizabeth has almost knee socks that are cozy and slouchy, although she doesn't seem to mind their tend to slouch.

So cozy in fact, that I almost want to steal them for myself!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

celebrating Elizabeth

Celebrating Elizabeth's 11th birthday today required 5 sleepover friends, much dressing up and dancing, a little bit of outside play, much torture of brothers, who are not used to being outnumbered by the girls, and some candlemaking thrown in for good measure.

And so we rung in 11 with as much style as possible. Also on this 11th celebration of Elizabeth's birth, we made a trip to the pet store where she spent some hard-saved cash on a hamster, thus completing the required 3 month waiting period to make sure she really wanted the hamster and would agree to perform all required tasks in caring for him. She is over-the-moon about our newest family member, Tiny Benny.

Following the sleepover fun, Elizabeth was treated like royalty as her brother's prepared her dinner throne.

Her requested dinner of cinnamon raisin mochi with sunbutter and maple syrup, corn on the cob, and fruit salad was served, along with some fresh salsa and sun-dried tomato hummus with chips.

She enjoyed her beloved mochi, eating more than twice as much as her brothers, and then made a wish and blew out her birthday ring candles.

Next came present opening, which we kept small and meaningful, a few new handknits, several books, and her big surprise, a Nikon Coolpix.

Quite the stylin' photographer we have now!

Friday, January 27, 2012

{this moment} - cabbage stamping

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

sprucing up the library

Our library received a makeover about 2 months ago (has it really been that long?!) that seemed to take forever to finish because I waited until just before the holidays to begin, then of course, had no time to work on the curtains. The previous curtains in the library were actually the reason for the sprucing. They dry rotted right in the window (it's a southwest facing window), and they were sheer, which didn't work very well for our sometimes guest room anyway.

So after perusing etsy for what felt like months, I finally stumbled on a fabric I liked: It's a Hoot by Moda Fabrics in Pistachio. I *thought* the blue in the fabric would match the previous wall color, but alas, when the fabric arrived, the blue was more aqua, and the wall color was not going to be able to remain the same. So...we painted the walls celery, using a no-VOC paint, of course and then rearranged a bit. The lamp and end table were borrowed from other spots in the house where they weren't seeing much use. Fortunately it took me SO long to get around to sewing the new curtains, that my friend, Jenni, came to visit and offered to do the sewing (and even lined them!) for me, then had them completed and mailed back to me in a week. She's the best!

The everything wall received it's semi-annual sprucing at the same time and we decided, ahem, to buy a tv to hang on the library wall. While I was aghast at Paul's first mention of hanging a tv in here, neither of us have really ever liked the centerpiece, mantle-top tv in the family room, which was what we were trying to eliminate. The new tv in the library is not very large and hardly noticeable in a room with wall-to-wall randomness. Not to mention we rarely watch any kind of tv (we have no cable) so having it out of the way is wonderful.

We did keep Wills on the wall to keep us honest in our book buying. How can you look him in the eye and read a cheesy romance novel?!

Unfortunately the result of all the library sprucing and tv switching means that we are now left with a hole in our living room. Or a bare wall, more precisely. Over Christmas it worked well with some greenery, candles, and some tall glass trees. I couldn't leave the glass trees because they were just too Christmasy, and the greenery is not going to last forever so I need a good decorating idea for this space.

I'm sure we'll stumble across a sculpture or other art piece sometime that will be wonderful for this space, but I know that if I just go looking for one, it won't be perfect and probably will be too costly. Perfect art pieces need to be stumbled upon, I think. But if you have an idea for something to occupy the space for the short term, I'm all ears. :)