Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Pillows

I was looking at the sad blue pillows on my couch this weekend, and thinking "I really don't like those" - and then I wondered, why did I buy them?  And then I took off the covers and got rid of them.

And then...  I ate another slice of Mike's birthday cake.

And a piece of chocolate.

And then...  I put together a thousand puzzles with the boys.  And played outside in the sprinkler with them.  And took a bike ride.

And THEN... I sat down at the sewing machine, and made myself some pillows that I DO like.

And now I'm happy.   and that's that.

The pillow tops are made with 10 strips from a Jelly Roll, in Moda's Verna line by Kate Spain... cut to 19.5" and sewn to a backing of simple muslin.  Closed with a velcro flap, because I had neither a zipper foot nor a 16" zipper to be found, (nor the skills to sew on a zipper)

I'm at that point in sewing where I have just enough knowledge about what I'm doing to be a little dangerous. I remember this point in my early days of knitting, where I spent more time going backwards in frustration, than I did going forwards.   And if I could just remember that when you are planning to turn something inside out that the right sides need to face each other (!!!) I could be saving a lot of thread.  Oh the thread I am wasting by sewing before thinking!!

Oh well.

Let's go have some more cake.  Cake for breakfast is totally ok.  If you take nothing else away from this post, at least remember that.

this is what the children do when I try to take a picture of a pillow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday: 10 good things


- a sunny and warm LONG weekend at home, just the four of us.  No place to be or go.  

- dirty dirty hands, mud piles, rock piles, and lots and lots of planting in the gardens.  All the seedlings are in, all the seeds are planted, all the window boxes are looking lovely.  Here we come Summer!

- a chicken coop progressing quite nicely (if not just a bit stressfully)

- a 3 year old who cannot for anything in the world keep a secret about what a certain birthday present might be, and the belly laughs that followed his unexpected  and terribly exited declaration during cake that daddy wouldn't believe his surprise coffee maker when he sees it!!! (espresso maker actually, but oh well)

- a light cake with fresh strawberries and mascarpone whipped cream.  yummy   (you SHOULD make this cake.  Go - now.)

- a blooming rhododendron, a beautiful and quite unique shade of deep red.  Makes me happy every time I look at the front of our home.

- boys who request face paint for no particular reason on a saturday morning, and are thereby immediately transformed into "hero super fairies" (?!) who save the world from the chicken man (?!)

- homemade ice cream.  there is really a little TOO much (is that possible?) home made ice cream going on around here thanks to him.  and this.   But in all seriousness -  the ratio in my freezer of ice cream to ... well...everything else is starting to tip frighteningly heavy on the ice cream side.  

- a 40th birthday for the most loved, and most lovable, man in the universe.   Doesn't look a day over 30. 

- a scary amount of laundry and cleaning and organizing and packing to be done in 2 short days before I leave for SAW.  It'll all get done.  (You can join me at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night when the panic really sets in.)  Until then, I'm just smiling and looking blissfully forward to my vacation!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

:: this moment ::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. inspired by SouleMama.
A single photo  – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Please excuse me while I get my life back together after our rather crazy extended weekend.  My beautiful sister and her new husband had THE MOST lovely wedding I've ever been too... and I have much to share and tell about...


right now - I am unpacking, cleaning out our TOTAL disaster of a road-trip Mini van (YUCK!) and swimming around in piles of paper at work (DOUBLE YUCK!)  I hate piles of paper.

In the meanwhile,  Please enjoy this picture of some sort of Amish Volleyball Tournament.  Oh yes - they have Volleyball Tournaments.  (Apparently)   And also please excuse the grainy picture, as I was trying to be respectful of their dislike of photographers, and took this shot from a hilltop perch across the road.

I'll resume normal posting shortly.


Friday, May 20, 2011

:: this moment ::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. inspired by SouleMama.
A single photo  – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

***  Play Ball!  ***

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarn Along: More of the horse

Oh what a crazy week!  I had big plans for this week - as far as posting in this space goes... and I'm watching as the days just go flying right by me.

Here's the horse from last week, now looking a lot more like a horse, but not quite done...

I lost my camera charger this week, and haven't been able to free my pictures from the fiber festival this past weekend (oh I can't wait to post my pictures from the festival - Next Week - promise)  and all of the other many pics I took over the week.  It's been driving me batty - not to have my pictures.

Then I heard my own voice in my head, a voice that is constantly asking the children "Did you look in your room?"  Did you look in your closet?  How about under your bed?

And I realized...   I had never looked for the charger under my bed.  I had never looked under my bed for anything apparently, in quite some time, because I was both pleasantly surprised and horrified by the haul of loot I unearthed when I ventured under there.  Lo and behold...

My charger!   (practice what you preach, mama.  Clean your own room)

So we'll have pictures and posts soon.   


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Headband for Summer: small tutorial

When black fly season hits in New Hampshire - I pull out my headgear... quickly.

I don't like to wear hats, especially in the summer - too hot, but I do like to cover my hair - especially when I'm outside and it works it's way out of my ponytail holder and starts flying all around... I hate when gnats and mosquitos and other creatures with too many legs and wings are flying around my hair.  

It bothers me.

 I will usually be found wearing one of these every day in the warmer months when I'm outdoors, and definitely when we head to the beach (it's a must!) , and so I thought I ought to open the door for you too to be as stylish as me.

Please read this as a joke - I am not laboring under any delusions that these headbands are fashion forward - I just personally like them, and I have never let the questionable glances from others  my husband dictate my sense of style (if you want to call it that... I did go through a lengthy period when I thought Dr. Maarten's went with everything, and then there was also a period of time I like to call my "jingly hippie skirt" era... 


So without further ado, I open myself up to your ridicule (just don't do it to my face) and offer you a

Summer Headband Tutorial  :)
(picture by Johann)


2 contrasting fabrics (this headband is reversible) - enough to cut an 18" x 18" triangle from each fabric, + 2 17" x 1" strips

CUT: 18" X 18" triangle from each fabric, and then cut 4" off of the end of each large triangle.  

You should have 2:  14" x 14" triangles, and 2: 4" x 26" x 20.5" trapezoids. 

Also cut 2 strips: 1" (or 1.5") x 17" long for the ties. (or you can use ribbon if you like)

SEW: Now match up each triangle to it's opposite trapezoid (right sides facing), and sew the trapezoid to the end of each triangle, so that you once again have 2 large triangles.

TRIM: each large triangle so sides are even, and press.

Make your ties by pressing 1/4" toward center on both sides of 1" strips, and then fold in half and press again.
                                                                Sew down the length of the tie.  (or just use some ribbon)

(sorry - that's not a great photo)

NOW: Place large triangles right sides facing

and here's the important part -

 pin your ties with the long side on the inside (or right sides) of the triangles at each corner...

and THEN sew 1/4 seam along the entire triangle, leaving just enough room to turn right side out.

Turn right side out, and press.

Top stitch 3/8" from edge along entire triangle, hand stitch the ends of your ties (if you made them) and you're finished!

Wear with pride and don't let my husband anyone tell you you look foolish, 

because you're a head scarf wearing, outdoorsy, flying-bug-repelling rock star kind of gal, and you know it!

ok - that's enough pictures of me for a while...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A half-done horse and Shalom of course!


Sorry I missed you yesterday - took a sick day as I had what I believe to be my first migraine.  Ugh.  I couldn't even nap, it was so painful!

But today - feeling much much better!

I'm just popping in for a minute, however, because in 15 minutes Spring Fling starts at J's preschool, and I simply must be there to blow bubbles, and make pinecone birdfeeders, and paint rocks.   :)

As part of Ginny's yarn along, I have this meager offering this morning for you -  you better sit down...

THAT lovely specimen will be a horse tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, though it doesn't look like much this morning.    Knit from a pattern in the book: 

a great resource book if you'd like to make your own toys for your children.  

M looked through the book last night, and then talked about making a wooden toy barn for the kids, so I set to work making the animals right away...  I'm sort of impulsive like that.

And here's a quick shot of my Shalom-in-progress.  Just knitting happily down the body now - ho-hum -
not much to see.  Maybe next week, now don't get your hopes up because I'm a flighty flighty gal, I'll have some SLEEVES for you to see.
Oh the excitement, it is simply too much!

and pssst, I may have a small tutorial up here tomorrow (unless I feel lazy tonight) if you want to poke your head back in here and make a summer headband with me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

the Weekend: well spent

Good morning,

We had a lovely weekend at home again.  Nice breezy weather - skies with huge interesting clouds (love huge clouds!), even a first passing thunderstorm (love those too!)

- found a new park with a walking trail around a pond (a great recommendation from our friends),

- got some ice cream together and ate it out on the sidewalk curb while we watched the cars and the clouds pass by,

-was sent on a Mama's Day Treasure Hunt through the house on Sunday morning after a homemade crepe breakfast for my mama's day gifts (yay for my new wool winder!!! and yay for little construction paper cards in which I see "mom" written by my little ones, and I am portrayed as a circular sun with hair and arms and legs protruding from my smiling head.   LOVE that card forever!!)

- poked around at the local flower/garden center to get ideas, but didn't buy anything.

- decided for sure on the placement of the future home for the chickens.  It's definitely definite now, after much much discussion, here, there, and everywhere.  That coop was fully-imagined in about 6 different places in our yard, and I think we have finally hit on the one spot that will be best (for now)

- and last, but not least, I have won something in a drawing!  That hardly ever happens!  Once, I won a drawing for a pink, stuffed bunny from my dentist when I was 7 and was in the "no cavity" club... , and recently I won a set of lovely stitch markers from Affectioknit, but those are the only two things I can ever remember winning...  until I checked my inbox this morning to see I won the drawing for a gift certificate from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics offered at Soulemama's blog this weekend.  I am so excited to shop for some new fabric -  what a pleasant day-after-Mother's-day surprise :)

Now I'm off to poke around on their website... try to decide what to choose among all of their beautiful fabrics.   What a lovely dilemma I'm about to have!

Friday, May 6, 2011

::this moment::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. inspired by SouleMama.
A single photo  – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

***  Happy Weekend  ***

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A wee bit more sewing

My goal last night was to make 4 more dish drying mats... (they are sort of addicting)  And I  *love* that they're backed with recycled terry cloth... it makes me happy to take something I might normally not re-use and turn it into something pretty.  It's a new muscle I'm flexing... up there in my gray matter... trying to *see* old things differently, instead of just seeing things to donate or throw away. 

Anyway, I fell one short of my goal - and finished with 3 dish mats instead of 4.  That's OK, the 4th was for me to keep, while the first 3 are for Mother's Day gifts.

Here they are all done,

and here they are all wrapped up and ready to be mailed...

didn't give specifics before (because there really were no specifics for the first one I made - I didn't even measure, I just went right in and cut)

You need:
1.  one piece terry cloth/towel material = 21 x 15

2.  2 pieces cotton fabric for the top sides = 3.5 x 15

3.  1 piece cotton fabric for the top center = 15 x 15

*  Sew the side pieces to the center fabric with a 1/4" seam allowance, and press flat.   Place the top fabric of the mat and the terry cloth backing right sides facing each other, and sew with 1/4" seam along the outside of the rectangle, leaving just enough room on one edge to turn inside out.  Turn right sides out, and top sew along the edges - 1/4" to 1/2" in, turning the rough edges under for a smooth edge when you come to the opened edge.

That's it.  Probably easy enough that you wouldn't need any instruction, but there it is anyway

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday with Yarn

Good Morning -

I am here with an update on my Shalom, which I'm knitting as a part of Linda's Knit-a-long.

Well, last week's blue cotton Shalom went tink, tink, tink, back to the yarn pile - for another project some other day.  Not only was it iMPOSSIBle to get gauge (I exhausted my needle supply and my patience), but I also found it to be fuzzing a little more than I like in a sweater.  So I'll have to sit on that yarn for a bit longer -

Then, I lost a couple of days swimming in the over 4000 other Shalom projects that are posted on Ravelry (!!!)   Eventually I pulled my bleary-eyed self away from the computer, noted a couple of measurements and modifications that I planned to employ, and began the actual knitting = TAKE TWO!

Luckily, I already had a healthy chunk of Cascade Eco Wool + in my stash - that will step in and do the job quite nicely.  (THIS is a perfect reason why one should always have a respectable size stash at the ready)   A deep pink, another color that has been tricky to photograph inside, but when it's all nice and done, I'll take it outside for a photo shoot.  I've shortened the yoke rows by 2, cast on 77 instead of 67, and am adding 5 button rows.


G was happy to do some live action shots of the sweater yoke-in-progress for you...

Andrew Henry's Meadow
 (sorry for the blurry photo - my photo mysteriously disappeared so I had to borrow Amazon's picture)

and here's the latest addition to our book shelf, as part of Ginny's YarnandBookAlong.   LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!  mostly for the awesome illustrations, but the story of the runaway/inventor/builder - young Andrew Henry is very good too. 

Pencil drawings done by the author herself.  

Reading or knitting anything yourself this Wednesday?  I would love to hear about it!!
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