Thursday, January 30, 2014

a tale of two hats

I'm on my third attempt at this qiviut hat for my husband (In the back).  First try was way too big, second try, sized down to smaller needles was looking like a newborn hat, and this third time around (after a year's intermission) I forgot some of the pattern notation and ended up ripping out a sizable portion of it. This hat and I, we are not best friends, to put it mildly.  It was slated for a Christmas present, then a birthday present, and now with only a few rows left to go, it's looking like it might be a good Valentines Day gift.  But for some reason, known to and understood only by knitters, I decided to start making another hat in the interim.  Because you know, with this really tough stretch of balmy winter temps we've been enjoying, I'm sure you can't have enough hats.  Maybe this spring-like weather just made me long for some colorful yarn... yes, that must be it.  All that qiviut knitting was starting to make my fingers sweat anyways. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


 The kids could hardly believe it this morning when daylight revealed an expanding patch of green grass out the front windows. 
 I can hardly believe it myself, this long spell of 40 degree weather.  I just need three inches more of my raised beds to thaw and I can plant some tulip bulbs.  This will probably happen, because this warm spell is supposed to continue on for at least another week. 
 It's lovely, this mild month in the middle of winter, but I do believe it has confused my circadian rhythm to an extent, because I have been going through a dismal patch of insomnia this last few weeks.  At least with the stomach flu, head cold, teething toddler and so on I have had lots of company in the long watches of the night.  I guess this strange weather is interrupting our Alaskan hibernation period.  Frankly, it has been a rough month for sleep. 
 But it sure is nice to get outside in the mild temps.  The hobbits are loving it.  Exploring our wooded paths we've seen all kinds of things that continue life as usual over the winter.
 Like this patch of evergreen (some trumpet lichens I think?)
And the chickens have been ever-so-kindly laying us an increasing supply of eggs (8 yesterday!) Eggs so beautiful that it feels like Easter every time I look at them.  So I guess every cloud has a silver lining.  And as this record-breaking warm January winds down to an end I know that this rough patch of sleep and sick kids are things that will soon become distant memories.  And in the meanwhile, I am so thankful for good breakfast coffee and fresh eggs.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I'm having a hard time believing that this is indeed Alaska in January. Yesterday it warmed up to close to 40 and rained off nearly all of the fluffy white stuff that has adorned our yard since November.
I'm not complaining...really.  It feels downright balmy out, and on Thursday there was great fun to be had building snowmen, and yesterday the road was clear enough that I actually took the kids for a walk with the stroller.  It feels like spring time, but we all know just what kind of a trick that is.
It has the chickens fooled.  They are a happy bunch and have been steadily laying more and more eggs.  Today there were 7; even the first much anticipated blue one from "Sweety" our only Ameraucana hen.
The weather forecast is calling for at least another week of this. 
Stay asleep trees!  There are months of cold ahead yet. 
Speaking of sleep, I was able to make Sadie's new big girl bed a duvet cover this week.  
She calls it her patchwork fairy and butterfly garden. 
Can you tell that my soul just craves bright colors on these short winter days? 
I just loved this piece of fairy fabric from Hawethorne Threads, and I made the bright patchwork so it was reversible (per Sadie's request).  This turned out to be a quick project with the help of my trusty serger.  This is the second "quiltish" thing I've sewed with it, and I have to say that as long as you aren't sewing anything complex or small this thing makes the projects just fly.  The kids had lots of fun helping me with this, rearranging the entire contents of my sewing room, and also the arrangement of the patchwork squares so many times that I have no idea if the final product even closely resembles the one I thoughtfully put together during nap time. I also discovered that Eli really likes to lap sit and watch the sewing process. It's a little nerve racking at times because his curious little hands get waved closer and closer to the needles as he shouts "round and round!" with glee. 
 It made for some interesting seams, and one Amish style mistake that I left in rather than rip out a whole seam of serged stitches and re-adjust all my binding pieces.  
oh well.  No duvet covers are perfect.

But this one works just right to warm up Sadie's big girl room.  Now I just need to build her bed frame, finish painting her shelves and sew some curtains.  Oh, and figure out how to arrange everything with some groovy feng shui. It'll get there.  Eventually.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This week was mitten sewing week.  Because when it comes to children you can never have too much patience, or too many mittens in January.  I started by sewing Eli a pair of mittens from an upcycled wool sweater with some pretty trim.  Then I sewed Sadie a pair from a different sweater (which I thought was cool) but they didn't pass muster.  First, they looked too different from Eli's, then the strings inside bothered her (note to self: felted fairisle = no good for the tactile sensitive child.) After much tears, and exasperation on my part... I let Sadie pick out her own trim and wool--which I should have just done in the first place.  This is what she picked.
I used a pattern from an Oliver + S sewing book I have.  It's really quick and easy, and perfect for felted wool.  As a surprise I decided to applique a fairy on a pink t-shirt to go with them. For my girl who loves pink, and fairies.
This applique is just a cut out of some amazing Alexander Henry fabric I found here.
Isn't it sweet?  I actually bought a bunch of it to sew a duvet cover for Sadie's new big-girl bed.  
There's something good for the soul about bright colors in January.  And all this pink has me garden dreaming of things like this:
 and this...
and this...
ah.... summer.  It'll come around again, but till it does
there's lots of sitting by warm fires, and knitting  to be done.
and of course, pouring through seed catalogs with a hot cup of coffee in hand.

Friday, January 10, 2014


Check out the blaze on that there birthday cake!  Actually, I feel like I haven't aged a bit this year.  Literally, because through some mathematical miscalculations I actually thought I turned thirty-three last January. All year I've been thinking I was thirty-three, and telling people so. Therefore, today when I actually did turn thirty-three it was no big thang. Besides, I've always loved my double-digit years. 

And what a perfect birthday it was.  Loren gave me the day to do whatever I fancied.  After a delicious Sadie & Dad prepared breakfast, and a sort-of sleep in (Sadie kept coming in the room and waking me up by telling me NOT to come in the kitchen because there was a big surprise happening in there) I got to go on a date with my favorite spa buddy for a mani-pedi.
 It was just so nice to have some mother-daughter time.  I can tell that Sadie has really been craving some one-on-one time which is hard to do these days with Eli, aka "mama-velcro boy."  It was a fine thing to get to give this little girl some of my undivided attention.  And also a fine thing to snuggle up that aforementioned little boy when I got home.

Later, after a beautiful walk in the snowy dusk, I came home to a warm house, full of people I love.
And an amazing dinner cooked by Loren...
All day I felt loved and pampered by my peeps. I can't even imagine a nicer way to ring in my thirty-third year.  If this day was any indication of what's to come it's probably going to be one of the best years yet.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

In the New Year

The year got off to a bit of a rough start round here as we all came down with a disgusting stomach flu that involved mucho puko, several sleepless nights of holding sick bebbies, and so. much. laundry.  As Murphy would have it, our 30-year-old dryer kicked it in the middle of this rukus (thank goodness it wasn't the washer) so as we round off this first week of January we are all feeling much better and are also the proud new owners of a shiny, brand-new dryer.  Besides being sick over the new year this has been such a lovely and, for the most part, low-key holiday season that it feels good to start this 2014 at home, just being together as a family, sick or no.  I was looking through photos of years past and finding my heart strings tugged.  I just cant get over how fast kids grow.

This girl is 3 1/2 now.  She is growing like a sprout... turning into this funny little person who loves volcanoes, fairies, and books. She is beginning to count, and write some letters (T, H, I, S, O, P, Q) I love seeing her first depictions of the world in crayon and paper.  She has such a kind heart, and a love for taking care of her chickens, and her chickadees (as she calls them) but I kid you not... this one has a mind like a steel trap.  You can't get anything past her, and you can't get away with any of that tricky reverse-psychology that you see parents use on their kids.  We pretty much have to shoot straight with Sadie, and lead by example...and that is just as it should be.  There are so many fascinating aspects of her personality, a wonderful mix of serious and silly; she is truly a joy and a treasure in our lives.

And this guy... oh my.  In one year he has gone from the most roly-poly butterball-alicious baby to this busy, bustling little man.  His current interests are climbing and jumping off of things, banging his toys on walls, and especially windows, unloading the dishwasher, throwing food and splashing all the water out of the bath.  He loves all things mechanical: the vacuum, the mixer, the washing machine, the blender, the drill...if it has a motor, this guy digs it.  I walked into the room this morning and he was embracing the air purifier singing it a little song.  He is so funny.  He is in the midst of a independence and language building period.  In the last few months his vocabulary has increased 10 fold, although most of it is only still discernible to his close family--but my favorite is when he is ready for bed and asks for "book milk" which is his way of saying he wants to nurse and read a book.   Eli wants to do everything that his big sister does--and it breaks his baby heart when he gets left out. This puts us in an interesting and slightly challenging dynamic when it comes to some of Sadie's favorite activities (crayons, paint, marbles, clay...) but we are almost to a stage of comfort where they can engage in most of the same toys and art supplies--that will be so nice.

Loren and I are loving every minute of this messy, glorious and exhausting parenting journey.  Every day is a blessing and a joy--no matter how many crayons get eaten, how much puke gets cleaned, and how many loads of laundry need washed.  These early years are so precious and so fleeting--we take every wiggly snuggle and slobbery kiss we can get, read Everybody Poops with enthusiasm for the five-hundreth time, and laugh and love these two little amazing people with open hearts and minds-- and that is exactly what we plan to continue with in this new year.  Many blessings to you and yours, happy 2014!