Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer!! It's summer!! Sort of!!

Well, we have made it through our first official year homeschooling. There were field trips and ballet recitals and library visits and lots and lots of glue projects. It's been wonderful and I am so happy with the choice we made to do this. I'll give you details as the summer goes on, but for today, I want to share a knitting project I've been working on.

My Gramma has been knitting for 65 years. She doesn't do it much anymore as it really is hard on her hands, but knitting has always been there for her. Especially when life gets challenging. It is her constant. It has become that for me, too. Recently, she gave me all of the yarn she's been saving in her attic and eaves, collecting it for most of those 65 years. My house has been insulated with this beautiful yarn for a while now, and I finally decided that it is'nt doing anyone any good sitting in a plastic tub out of sight. So I am knitting it up. Most of it. Some of it I'll pass along...My Gramma likes a good sale, and well, sometimes there is a reason the yarn is on sale. I recently finished a project for my little one, that I'd love to show you.

It is Helena and with a few changes to the pattern, I managed to use all of the yarn except for about 13". I made the button band thinner and knit the sleeves last, dividing up all the yarn that was left. I was so happy with the way it fit and that the color was so great on my girl.

Well, the sweater sat in my work basket for a while, waiting for the "perfect" buttons. Yesterday I figued out the solution. I went into the top drawer of my Great-great grandmother's sewing machine (the one she used to sew flour sacks for their store,)and looked through her buttons. She gave the sewing machine (and those buttons) to her daugter -- my Great Grandma-- a wonderful woman who lived more than a hundred years and taught me cursive. She then gave it to her daughter -- my Gramma. Then from Gramma to my Mom, and Mom to me. All of us had touched those buttons. So, I pulled out 3 of them. I wonder what they were on before they made it to the button drawer.

Now they are on the sweater, made from my Gramma's yarn, on her needles, I knit for my little girl.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The best laid plans...

My pal and I sat down at her table and discussed and drew pictures and figured out what to spend our week sewing. So many ideas! So much fun planning with her!
And then the coughing started. So, now a week later, there is nothing to show you. Well, I could show you my sketches, but you don't really want to see those. If my pal had a blog, I would send you over to her, to see all of the fabulousness she has created. But sewing projects from me? Well. I've got plenty of nothing. So I think my kids clothes challenge week will happen in a little bit. When we all stop with the coughing and can focus on things a bit better. I know you don't mind.
Happy notes:
Little one had a very happy day pretending to be Rupert Bear and got to sleep at a normal hour.
I made a huge pot of soup so that I wont have to cook dinner tomorrow night.
My Gramma comes to visit on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What I did on my Summer vacation

The highlights: sewed, knit, picked berries, burned strawberry jam, swam, swam, swam, collected sea glass, shells, and sand, read a great book, read some not so great books, made more strawberry jam -- this time no burning, picked blueberries, made blueberry jam, got really excited about all the jam, sewed more, knit more, cleaned off my dining room table, got my very own computer, saw friends, caught fireflies, went to the farmers' market, played games, saw my Gramma, ate crabs in the backyard, celebrated some birthdays, rode bikes...

A very eventful uneventful summer.

And now it's back to school time. The phrase is a bit of a misnomer for us. We homeschool, so really...there is no "back to" school time. It's just a continuation of what we have doing. This is our first "official" year. But I think that I've come to realize, that for us, nothing really changed for the first day of school. We just did what we do. We had a big ta'do with pictures and everything for our first day of homeschool co-op, but the school part, the everyday learning, that just moved on at its own pace. No stop or start to our year. It's nice, and a bit unsettling (for me) at the same time, since this is not the norm I grew up with. But the great thing, and the thing that helped me to know that we are doing the right thing for us, is that it is the norm for little one. She loves the way she gets to learn new things. It is so much a part of her everyday. It would be like having a first day of tooth brushing picture after brushing her teeth for 5 years. Arbitrary. And yet, a good reason to pause, and mark this time that is going by oh so quickly.

So, in other news

Jade with Craft Hope has put out a fantastic book. Check it out. It's lovely and amazing, just like Jade. (ps, that's my Hope Note on page 50! ACK!)

Elsie Marley is having a kids clothing challenge week that I've signed up to try. An hour a day, you work on kids clothes, sewing, knitting, whatever. It sounds fun to me! Wanna play too?

How was your summer? What's happening this Fall?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And we're back!

Hello! The sun came out and we ran outside. RAN! After months of crazy snow and winter sicks and grey grey days, we blinked in the bright sun and spring was here! YeeHaw! Park days! Boat days! Picnic days!

The news...let's see, we put some snow peas in the ground (they worked out well last year,) the sage and parsley came back (BONUS!) and I have been drawing up little garden plans to get things just right...I think that it's going to be a mostly herb year for me. Maybe some hangy tomatoes too. My dog really loves to play with them, so I need to get them up off the ground. Last year, she ate (well, just played with until they went flat) every tomato we grew. Seriously. So, this year, maybe one plant for the dog-ball tree and three for us to eat.

I have been sewing up a storm. I made little one's spring dress, from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. The Flower Girl Dress. Gotta say, I love this book. The pattern was easy to follow, easy to alter, and a blast to sew. I made a short version as well for a little play shirt for little one -- cut up some cotton kids curtains to make it -- why are you humming songs from The Sound of Music? Maria Von Trapp had it dead on. If my little one wants to climb trees and totally demolish this little shirt, well, that's what summer is for, right? Second time around fabric is wonderful -- and very very soft, too. And did you know that cotton baby leggings make great summer jammie shorts for thin 4 year olds? I cut the bottom off of a gazillion pairs of baby jammies and gave the new short edge a little lettuce ruffle. Cute! From the cut off part of the pants, I cut a shape and appliqued it onto light cotton camis. TaDa! Matching jammie sets for the almost 5 year old!

More sewing stuff...Jade over at Craft Hope has set up another project. This one is sewing bean bags for the Liberia Orphan Education Project. Alphabet bags, shape bags, number bags -- I am making mine out of felt and stuffing them with aquarium gravel. They are so fast and easy to make. If you are crafty, or know someone who is crafty, please stop by Jade's site. You will be so happy you did! PS, you can pre-order her Craft Hope book now on Amazon!

In other news...In January, I got my very first Moosewood cookbook. Wow! It was so far out of my comfort zone. I couldn't pronounce half the food in there, let alone imagine how it would taste. So, in the spirit of trying something new every month, I have been cooking out of this cookbook since January. Not one miss. Every recipe so far -- even the ones that I was sure would taste like a foot -- has been great. Beyond great. My daughter, with very strong opinions about food, has been loving kale. Kale? Yep. This is really fun figuring out great new (to us) foods. Bonus (I am calling it the Moosewood Effect): had to buy new jeans. 2 sizes smaller! That was really fun.

Hope all is going well with you, too. How has your spring been? What's growing in your garden?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ahhhh Fall

So, Fall. I love it. Every September I want to sew corduroy skirts and sharpen pencils. I love the crunchy leaves, and the hmmmm-should-I-wear-a-jacket-today-or-no kind of weather. I get really productive in the fall. We went apple picking and ended up with enough pie filling for 12 apple pies. I have to remember to put the jars in the freezer before the pie filling ends up in our morning oatmeal (not that that would be wrong at all.) Crafting up a storm (an announcement is pending on that front!) too: little sewn notebooks, Morsbags, holiday presents, Project 5 of Craft Hope, sewing fall skirts and jammies for the little one...and on and on and on.

Fall is kind of like the first hill of the roller coaster. You are click clicking up the track and thinking oh boy oh boy oh boy with your eyes squashed shut. It seems to be taking forever to get to the top of the hill so you open your eyes and look around. What a view. Wow! I can see the whole park from up here. Oh look, there is the funnel cake stAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Whipped headlong downhill into the holidays (fun yes, but sometimes a blur and not alot of time to focus on the little moments).

I like the downhill a bunch. I love the climb to the top.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Ever since I embarked on this journey, I have been learning new things about drying clothes outside.

Some were pretty obvious ::
Towels line-dried feel like plywood, but smell like summer.

Some were not quite so obvious ::
Where I live, it gets pretty hot midday, but because of our big old oak trees, the backyard is completely shaded. If I don't hang towels out first thing in the morning, they aren't going to be dry before nighttime.

Some extra info I have stumbled into ::
Cotton kid clothes only get a little crunchy, so everyone thinks that I starch and iron them (!!).
It is still as much fun to run through the sheets now as it was when I was a kid.
My linen closet smells like the one at my Grandmother's lake house (that is a really good thing.)
I love looking at all of my knit dishclothes hanging out.
I prefer the kind of clothespins without the spring.
If you hang something too close to the bird probably will have to rewash it.
2 cleats and a rope make a fantastic "retractable" clothesline for far less money than the spring loaded ones that won't hold their tension.

I really like doing this.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation.

I know. It's not quite over yet. But the big trip we have been waiting for has come and gone. Last week, we went up to Langhorne PA with my brother and his fam and went here. It was so much fun! Little one kept tapping my shoulder and saying "Can you BELIEVE it? We are getting to see the REAL ELMO!" I thought she was going to lose her cute little mind when he walked by in a parade. My little one is a bit reserved and likes to feel out a situation before stepping in. I figured that she would maybe wave to some of the characters and then grab my leg for a while. Well, she saw Elmo, ran over to him and kissed his hand!

She is still talking about it!
The really cool thing about traveling with a 4 year old is that everything is an adventure. We went to the grocery store to get some "special room breakfast and dinner picnic" things. That was met with "WOW! We have never been to this grocery store before! Their apples are nowhere near their bananas!" Very cool. One of her favorite rides? The Shuttle-ride (that would be the van we took from the hotel to the park.) This was such a great vacation. I am so happy we went.

It did get me thinking, too. There are so many cool things to do where we live (even going to the post office can be a big deal for us -- more about that later.) So, we bought a sketch book and that has become little one's passport book. Everywhere we go -- like the library or the local museums -- we get a stamp and a brochure if they have one. When we get home, we write in the book what our favorite parts of the trip were. We have taken to calling this the "Let's see where we end up" game. We get in the car and "see" where we end up. Yep. I usually have a plan where that will be, but she doesn't know it, so if the place I thought of is closed or whatever, we just keep going until we find something cool to do. Wednesday it was a Jousting (!) tournament. I'd never seen one either. Loads of people, tailgating with big fancy hats and summer drinks. I could very much get into this sport. We saw a yellow ladybug that day too.

The post office trip happened before we left on vacation. Jade from Craft Hope --who I have decided is some sort of super hero, wielding a glue gun and knitting needles and spreading joy across the planet -- just finished up Project 3. While our usual suspects couldn't come over to play, everyone gets pretty far flung in the summer, friends sent over stuff to send along to Jade. You can even see the little squares I knit for hankies on the Craft Hope site. They are the red and white stack. I made them cotton because, well, they would be soft, hypoallergenic, and er, absorbent. I remember being floored by the sheer volume of spit up babies are able to achieve. Sorry. That was kinda gross. But really, it is just amazing! Where do those tiny little babies keep all that ick?? Ok. I'll stop. Again, sorry. The point here is that we got to help out some more friends we have never met, that live in places we will probably never go, all because of the amazing efforts of Jade (who's third baby is due any minute!) Seriously, people. A superhero.

Now that the summer is winding up, my thoughts are turning to school and what we will be playing with this year. I think some backyard explorations are in order this year. I got this amazing book from my in-laws for my birthday (along with so many other fabulous things I will share with you soon) and am so excited to do all of the activities in it. We have been taking these little string walks from the book, which are such fun. It's how we found our yellow ladybug. You take a little bit of string, and put it in the grass. Pretend you are tiny and walk along the string -- you can use your fingers as legs, that's always fun -- and see what you find on your teeny tiny hike. We keep doing this one, because since it is August and crazy hot, we don't really want to move around that much. So, we get a little lemonade and have fairy hikes. I think I might show the kids in our homeschool co-op this one. It really is a nice way to slow down and see things you normally miss. Also, Blue Yonder's Book of Days is on my wish list for this year. You really have to check this out. I think it's going to be wonderful for us.

So there you have it. I never really have an answer for the What have you guys been doing this summer? question. All evidence to the contrary, right? Really though. I guess that all the little tiny things my family does are the important things to us. But how many people want to hear the details of our grocery shopping adventure?
That's why I love you guys for reading this. Till next time.