Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Bunny and Spider Man

I finished the stuffed bunny!  She is outfitted with a cute little eyelet dress in a worsted wool.  This pattern stressed me out but I'm glad I finished it.  She looks cute now that she is all put together.  Would I make it again?  Probably not.  I prefer not to have to sew my knitted things, I think.  

I will make some more clothes though with some other leftover yarn.  I dug up some safety eyes I had around which I think brings it together for me.  I just started another little short sleeve sweater for Willow to use up another batch of yarn.  Pictures will come next week with that one!  

Poor baby has been a little moody lately.  I tend to chalk it all up to teeth but all the crawling and now standing (!) that she is doing has brought on lots of new challenges.  She loves to eat but sometimes the frustration of the whole operation is too much for her.   It went better last night when I gave her so me to play with and fed her at the same time.  I think she just wants to feed herself but can't quite get the mechanics right yet.  Very independent!

This one was taken last night at 3am!  Full moon (worm moon I read) and an overwhelming desire to practice standing.  Who can resist that face.  Lot's of tea for me today.

Kevin shot this as I was headed out for work.  Some days it is so hard to leave.  Even Spider Man needs extra love and cuddles sometimes.  Oh my loves.  I hope they understand someday.

Yarn along here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugar Buzz

The annual Maple Syrup Sunday adventure happened this past weekend.  We went to Nash Valley Farm this year - same as last year.  

Lots of syrup to choose from.  We bought a gallon (!) of dark amber.  I like the darker variety because it has  a more distinct flavor.

I took a couple of pictures of their cows and this one looked so much like it is about to tell a joke that I had to give it one. Corny, I know.

The highlight of the day being the consumption of massive amounts of maple cotton candy.

Kevin posing with the goods.

They were boiling the sap in the sugar shack - it smelled so good.  It was like a sugar sauna.

Enjoying ice cream with Grammie.  Needless to say there certainly was enough sugar had by all.  I wouldn't mind tapping some trees someday but I don't think we would get much from the small ones in our little patch of woods.  It might be fun to give it a try though.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hand Printed Fabric Swap

I have been meaning to try some fabric printing with lino blocks for years.  Some ideas just need to cook a while I guess. It took the pressure of a swap to get me going.  I like art deco looking flowers and this ended up as the result.  I (well mostly Kevin) carved out the lino block.  I ended up using Speedball screen printing ink and a foam roller to do the printing.  The fabric is a cotton linen blend with a little bit of tooth and weight to it.  Plus we were all sugared up after Maple Sugar Sunday - more on that tomorrow.

I had to share the dining room table with Eliot and his MASSIVE amount of Lego's that he got from my cousin.  These are originally my brothers set from the 80's that was passed along to my cousins son and now to Eliot.  There are so many it is incredible.  But he was nice enough to share the creative space with me!

Inking up the block!  I used about 1/3 of the container for the whole yard.  

And the final product:

Overall I am happy with the end result.  I'd like to go back in and clean up the block a little and remove some high spots.  I had to clean the block with a rag before each print to make sure it was clean.  That became a little time consuming but fun.  This is a project I will definitely do again!  I had visions of a yellow bee among the flowers but I ran out of time.  Perhaps for a second run?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tea and Roasted Garlic

Tea and roasted garlic are about my two favorite things.  I made a tomato soup with two heads of roasted garlic first because I like it and second to help fend off all of the late winter, early spring illness that is going around.  When I sliced off the tops of these two heads I couldn't help noticing how pretty they were inside.  I think when I go up to the common ground fair this year I am going to have to bring home more garlic to taste test and grow.
My friend Heather was kind enough to include me on a recent tea purchase she made in bulk.  They are both amazing.  This one below is Chocolate Chai.  I just started to become a fan of chai recently and this has to be the best I have ever tasted.  I think the cardamom pods just make it sing.

This beauty is called Gold Rush and has a combination of mango, black tea and flowers.  It is SO good and just beautiful.  I really need a proper teapot!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Greening Up

We had a really fun, busy weekend over here.  We had visitors and a parade and lots of food.  

Things are starting to try and green up inside and out, too.  I noticed my orchid has a couple of new leaves and stems coming up.  This will be my first attempt at getting an orchid to flower for a 2nd time.  It seems to be headed in that direction.  Outside, despite the temperature being 16 at 8 am, my lilies are starting to poke up through the dirt next to the house.  My garden plans keep expanding!

Our second set of visitors included another little baby.  Her oldest boy and Eliot are two weeks apart and these two littlest are only 3 months apart.  They are both happy little kiddos.  Willow was in rare form showing off her vocal abilities.  

The boys had a great time playing loads of trains and marbles.  We would hear them bursting out in laughter now and then, that is always nice! 

I'm getting closer to finishing the knitted bunny.  Here it is in its disembodied state.  I have one arm left to do and hopefully enough yard to redo the ears.  the pattern is a little clunky in my opinion and there must be a mistake with the ears because I did them both the same and they are way too short to be rabbit ears.  They look more like dog ears to me.  Ah well, easy enough to fix.  Once it has its clothing and maybe a couple of felt flowers here and there it will be perfect for the Easter basket.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bagpipes Here I Come!

The idea of learning how to play the bagpipes has been rattling around in my head since I was about 12 years old.  I remember hearing someone play and my father making the suggestion that I could learn how to do it.  I half hazardly looked around for a teacher then but didn't find a good or convenient fit.  

A couple of weeks ago the idea appealed to me again and I came across a non profit band that teaches new players for free!  I bought my practice chanter and I've had my first lesson!  I find it amazing that the opportunity fell in to my lap so quickly after the initial search and also that the babysitting stars seem to be aligning, too.  To have all of that work out is kind of amazing especially with our wacky work schedules and Willow's sensitivities.  This will be the FIRST thing I have done entirely for myself on a regular basis with out kids or husband since having Eliot.  I think after nearly 7 years an hour out of the house once a week is justified!  

The chanter is an interesting sounding instrument.  It is sort of like a clarinet crossed with a kazoo.  It has a reed and is a little tricky to hold right now for me.  But, I am determined.  After a year I get to try the actual pipes!

Now I need to go and make a nice crafty case for it.  I am thinking some flannel and embroidery is in order.

And why end my streak of silly baby pictures now?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

401 With Bunnies and Knitting

I just noticed this is my 401st post!  How time flies... Of course that isn't including my former blog from the child free, cheese making years hah.  

I have been trying to get some good pictures of the girls for a while now.  They usually don't get along very well when they have been out running around together but last night they were playing and laying down side by side.  They even snuggled!  Yay - maybe the tide has turned?  Rosie is the white one and Smokey is in gray.  They were shorn a couple of weeks ago so you can really see their big sparkly eyes.  They look so tiny now!  I have enough fiber collected that I really need to get started spinning.  Any drop spindle recommendations?

Rosie can get pretty bossy but Smokey seemed fine with it this time.  Willow has been a little frightened of them but as long as she was in my lap she didn't mind the occasional sniffs and happy jumps.

I am working on a tiny knitting project to serve both as an Easter present for Willow and a scrap buster for me.  It doesn't look like much now but it will be one of these little bunnies when I am done.

Most of the snow is gone now but I dug up these pictures from our last snow storm because I think they are so funny.  Eliot and Kevin built zombie snowmen to guard our house.  I ran into someone I didn't know who knew what house we were in because of these guys.  So funny.

 Equipped with all manor of gadgets.

And of course I had to toss in a baby picture.  She is crawling forward now (another Kevin video) and she said both Mama and Dada yesterday!  So cute.

Yarning along over here.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Long Week

This week has been one of those weeks.  Willow came down with a bad case of RSV (respiratory virus) that is fairly common but effects some children badly.  We wound up at the hospital because she was wheezing pretty badly and clearly needed some support.  So after a steroid shot and lots of words of warning about what to look out for we came home with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, an inhaler and an anxious mother.  My little sensitive girl!  She is doing really well now though and has come through it no worse for the wear.  Of course in the middle of all of this our electricity went out to half of our house so we had no stove, laundry or dishwasher.  But we are through it, thankfully.

 Climbing mount laundry.

We watched a ton of Star Wars over the last few days.  

I entered a handmade fabric swap a few weeks ago.  I plan to do a block print with two designs.  I will talk and show more about that when I make a little progress.

I finally had a moment to open my seed catalog, too.  Eliot went through and circled what he wanted and I have been going through and editing and adding.  I might try to start some seeds this year instead of buying seedlings for tomatoes and cucumbers like I usually do.  We'll see!  I'd also like a cut flower garden, a new spot for an herb garden, and additional box for veggies and a few more little things....

And, I think I've decided on a button for Willows little sweater.  That will be the last touch to wrap it up.  I think I am going to make her a little knitted bunny for Easter with some of my leftovers.  Eliot tells me he wants a ninja/darthvader bunny.

Here is to a fresh new week coming up soon!  A cute little video of the pterodactyl children.  It is a facebook link but it should work here. They call and respond in screeches across the house.  Excuse the tired and mildly annoyed mama - this was right about when the power came back on.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Vegan for 30 Days

I thought I would talk a little bit about my food adventures over the last couple of months.  I haven't been able to eat dairy since Willow was born which changed the way I eat significantly.  As a former cheese maker that was particularly hard to give up.  I have found some good subs along the way and decided I would try going vegan for 30 days to see how it jived with my system.

Well, to put it mildly it didn't jive with me at all.  I was a little surprised but over all I ended up even gaining weight!  Weight loss wasn't my goal it was simply to try a new way of eating.   It was an eyeopener for me to learn how different body types really do require different food.  I have known for a while that I need to take it easy on the wheat but other than that everything is game.

The experiment also brought many different cook books and recipe ideas that I had never even thought of before!  That was really fun because I like to cook, a lot.  It is my moment at the end of the day when I keep my mind busy enough to let go of the day and the kids are usually, mostly occupied.

A couple of recommendations for folks who want to eat less meat:

Veganomicon: Great book overall.  I use this multiple times a week.
Vegan Slow Cooker: My newest addition with several real winners including Indonesian Stew and African Peanut Soup.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: Amazing cupcakes! They are all winners.

And below are some other non-vegan cookbooks that get regular rotation in my kitchen.

The aftermath of cupcakes:

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