Monday, October 31, 2011

A Handmade Holiday....on Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 

I gotta say, this is one of our most favorite holidays of the year...and as a added bonus, my baby turns 6 years old today.  I wonder if he still qualifies as my baby....

But anyways... on this great day, I am psyched to be joining in with Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living, for the Handmade Holiday!!

So, last week was completely crazy with work outside of the home, so I didn't get too much done, but I did manage to finish work on my first Virginia Rose (my very first attempt towards crocheted lace).  I am planning to do several more, and then connect them to be a small table topper.

In addition, I am nearly finished with a hat, crocheted from a very soft dark gray fiber.  Once complete, I will be using the excess fiber for a pair of matching mittens.

For more fun in the Handmade Holiday venue, head on over the Tonya's site, Plain and Joyful Living.  I will see you there!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rolling into November...

The days of October are numbered, but there is still some sun for the ladies...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My happy escape...

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

I am a bit embarrassed to say that I have spent very little time with my handy-work this week.  We are tackling deadlines in the tax prep world and I am have not been home very much.  The daddy has taken the homemaking role for house and children this week, and has been fabulous as I have been off at work.

But, I have been able to afford small happy escapes.  I finished my little felted bag over the weekend, and began my adventure into crocheted lace.  Pictured above is the beginning of a rose motif.  And with long periods of time spent by myself, traveling to and from the office, I have been continuing to listen to "A Discovery of Witches" on audio.

Head on over to Ginny's, Tami's, and Ambassador's Crochet other happy ventures into fiber and literary fun.

I will see you there!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Handmade Holiday in October...

We are joining in with Tanya at Plain and Joyful Living for the Handmade Holiday with crisp October morning.  And I do mean crisp - frost is glittering on the grass, and windshields may need a solid defrosting this morning!

But hey, it does start to bring rise to a holiday spirit - and snow is even on this week's forcast!

It has been a great week for crafting on our little corner of Vermont.  I have been continuing to work on the green shawl that I will be gifting come Christmas, but its growth has been slow.  The pattern is much more intricate than others I have worked on, and I need to keep a constant eye on the instructions.  Definitely not a project for when the kiddos are raising a ruckus.

I have continued to work on felting and am really excited on how it is turning out.  This week I took on a small project, that is actually part of a fall birthday gift, but is good practice for the slippers I have planning.

Using some left over woolen yarn from a past venture, I crocheted this little bag and flower.  Once complete, they dove to a hot washer until shunk and felted to a near solid fiber.  It will be used to hold the birthday gift (which, sadly, is not handcrafted), but I am excited that I was able to craft a little keepcake instead of spending a few dollars on a paper gift bag that would eventually end up in the recycling. 

This week, I am planning to do a little fiber shopping to get what I need for slippers, and also find some crochet thread to try my hand at some Irish lace.  It should be a busy handcrafting week!

For more great ideas for a Handmade Holiday, stop on over at Tonya's site, Plain and Joyful Living.  I will see you there!

Friday, October 21, 2011

And the weekend plans are.....?

It is Friday, and while I normally have some sort of an idea of what the weekend will bring at this point, I just can't keep it straight.

Hence waking at 5 am, eons before I hope to hear another member of this family walking the floor boards above me.  It is time to figure out what, exactly, is the plan.

Today is a day of work at the office - starting early, but ending at the banking hour of 5pm.  Not bad for a CPA enveloped in very busy part of the year! 

But, at 5, the day is not nearly over.  The son will be dropped off to me and we are heading out to a birthday party (please, oh please, don't let me forget to wrap the present!).  When the evening is through, it is onward home, and probably straight to bed.

Saturday will start with our often weekly fun of a play/crochet/garden date with nearby friend and her children.  She is the one embarking on next years garden extravaganza with us, so we are working hard to prep and get ready.  After the morning fun is through, it will be time to feed my little people, and then up the street we will walk, pumpkins in hand, for a pumpkin carving party!  And, if that wasn't enough fun, the evening will bring a Halloween party at the local elementary school.

I am exhausted just thinking of it!

Moving on to Sunday, I think the only event on tap is a playdate at a nearby playground.  Which, now that I write this, I am remembering that I should reconfirm with the other participants.....

And mixed in with all of this, I need to clean this house (and I didn't even mention the mouse I found in my home office!!  Cleaning time!), get some cooking done, organize for a party that we are hosting next weekend, and get several hours of more professional work done from home (please let there be no more mice in my home office....).

I am a bit dizzy from it all.

Maybe I will just go back to bed.  Think that will help?

No?  I didn't think so...

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A little yarn with a lot of reading mixed in....

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

On the fiber side, I have been work on the woolen shawl that I will giving as a holiday gift this season.  It has been going along well, but I am needing to constantly read the pattern to insure that I am making the right stitches...and I am not used to reading patterns. 

But, on the plus side, I am really enjoying the process, and am looking foward to seeing how it turns out. 

My daughter's blanket is also growing a bit each day....

I am also making plans for other fiber projects to take on.  I wish to work more on felting, but am running into a quandary in finding woolen yarn that I can purchase that is within my price range....and it is a meager price range at the moment....  But, for now, I will just continue with the sizable yarn supply that I have tucked away :)

I have been doing more reading this week, which is thoroughly enjoyable.  My house is littered with various books, such as Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle', which I tap into whenever I need a bit of inspiration.  I also finished reading the Blosson Street series by Debbie Macomber

But, my favorite of all is the audio book that I am sinking into each time I am in the van (which is alot).  I am listening to a "Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness and am enthralled.  I have heard variously reviews of the books from friends, the negative critiquing the science aspect of the novel....but in knowing near to nothing science related (am much more of a math girl ;)  ) I am able to suspend any disbelief and just enjoy.

So, that is all that is going on in our little corner of the world.  Check out other Yarning Along at Ginny's, and some fun Work in Progress over at Tami's and at Ambassador Crochet.

See you there! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Planning for handmade...

Joining in with Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living today, for the Handmade Holiday.

And I am psyched to say that this prep has begun for us in our little corner of Vermont.

Meaning....I have finally finished untangling the crazy mess of yarn that I tumbled into.And, after re-evaluating the pattern I picked out for the shawl, I have jumped in and am running forward.  I do worry a bit that the fiber I am using isn't quite delicate enough for the pattern, but I am crossing my fingers that it will turn out OK.  I think that the color will be perfect for the recipient, so I really hope it works out....

This week, I intend to continue this shawl and also stop by a local store to find some yarn to use in felting slippers.

For more handmade holiday news, head on over to Tonya's site at Plain and Joyful Living.  I will see you there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An unsuspected success...

We had big plans for today...

In my minds eye, I saw myself waiting for the crack of dawn and then rushing outside to the newly enlarged garden.  I was going to run full force at the creation of more raised beds then I can count, and then relish in the future fruits of my labor.

But, that was not meant to be.

We awoke to the pouring of rain.  And while my husband still hurried off to greet the dawn from his duck blind, I merely gazed off into the sheets of rain coating the window glass.  This would not bode well.

And sadly, we were right.  While the rain sped away in the late morning, it was not until late afternoon until we ventured out to the garden.  Some of the saturation had fled the soil, but enough was still present to let the raising of garden beds be a tough task to tackle....but we trudged on, and ended a solid hour of wet work with several beds raised and in place. 

Thoroughly chilled, I fled back into the house to warm up and tend to more domestic details.  Many parts of the home have been cleaned, laundry and ironing have been dealt with, chapters of a book have been read, and I have actually finished untangling a mess of yarn that I have been struggling with for a week.

So, while the day didn't quite turn out as planned, it will still an unsuspected success of a different type. 

And I am glad.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A garden to plan....

The weekend is a full two days away, but I am already full of plans....

My husband is off and away during every possible free moment, enjoying the hunting season (which is our trade off for the tax season that pulls me from the home every winter and early spring), so it is just me and the kids.

And the giant garden has been tilled.  What once was about 1,000 square feet of edibles and tons of grass, is now a soon-to-be garden of nearly a quarter of an acre...even the person who came to till it on the Monday was amazed.

But, we are ready!

A close friend will be utilizing approximately 600 square feet for their our kitchen garden, and I hope to expand the fruiting bushes by double.  Other than that - we are up to our eyes in beds to raise, seeds to choose, and garden joy to tackle. 

This fall, the work will be limited to just raising the beds, to cut down on the work for next the winter, I will be pouring over seed catologs, aiming to choose the best heirloom seeds for our family and our climate, in the hopes to practice seed saving techniques for the years to follow.  And in the spring (post tax season, of course, we will be running at full tilt, planting and tilling, watering and mulching.

I can't wait!

So, all that being said, it will be a full weekend - full of dirt, iron rakes and shoves, and lots of hopes and dreams....

But until is Thursday ;)  Happy day, y'all!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All along the fiber front...

And.....we're back!

To the Yarn Along with Ginny!  To the Work in Progress with Tami!

There was a lot of happenings on the fiber front this week.  To start, after last Wednesday's post, I hauled cookies and finished up my felted slippers.  It was quite magical to see how a hot washer could transform them. 

Oh so floppy...

Transformed to firm and felted!
   I am now eager to get some more woollen yarn and try again.  In particular, I am thinking of picking up some fiber by Stitch anyone tried this yet?  I have read some great reviews, but haven't actually come eye to eye with the brand as of yet.

Almost blanket stage...

And, then there was a purse...
Over the weekend, a last minute gift for a little girl prompted me to transform that baby blanket into a crocheted purse.  I am quite pleased with the result! 

I just hope that the recipient was happy as well.  Normally, our birthday giving to my daughters friends include small plastic items like Littlest Pet Shops - but my daughter had her heart set on a handmade gift - which I am totally happy to support.  But...nevermind the fact that she made this decision just 2 hours before the start of the party.... 

So, with those two items off their respective hooks, I am concentratiing on my daughter's blanket, and a shawl I am making for the holiday season....
In the beginning...

A work in process...
 the blanket has come a long way since the start...



At the start...

In the tangle...

but the shawl...well lets just say it is in the development stages....

On the reading end of the spectrum, I have put aside the latest Jim Butcher novel for the moment, in favor of Debbie Macomber's 'The Shop on Blossom Street'.  It is a light read, reminding me of Maeve Binchy, a solid favorite of mine.  Charming and fun - a sweet read for a fiber lover :)

So, that is all on this end.  Check back to Ginny's site for more Yarn Along fun and Tami's site for other Work In Progress.  I will see you there :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

A start to the handmade season....

So, I am pretty excited over the idea of a Handmade Holiday....and am so happy that Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living is hosting it again this year!

But I am still in the brainstorming stage....

I have determined that I will be making a shawl for a family member - and using the green yarn I picked up in Maine. 

I am currently working very hard to actually move it from a skein to a ball...;)  It looked so easy, but now, looks like my cat attacked it...let's just say that I am enjoying the meditative properties of untangling this web...

I was blessed with some time with just me and my son this weekend (my was daughter off to a friend house on Saturday - she was SO excited!!) and this made a trip to the library much for managable.  So... I cleared them out of crochet and knitting books.  Well, not totally....I must have left a few, at least.

In particular, I checked out the "Encyclopedia of Crochet" by Donna Kooler.  This pattern on page 180 looks like a winner for the shawl I have in mind - I don't normally follow patterns, but for this project, I want to give it a try...

Outside of this shawl, I have not made any solid moves towards putting together handmade holiday gifts, but I have been gathering ideas....

My daughter has requested a stuffed cat for holidays - a red one to be exact.  I am looking forward to learning how to do that. 

In addition, I have been working on felting lately, and would love to get a good enough handle on the art so that I can make slippers for some extended family far, I have made myself a part of slippers that are lovely, but a bit on the small side, and then a gray pair that, unfortunately, were not made from pure wool and did not felt...  :(

So, I am just at the beginning of this holiday prep process, but I am excited.  With the help of Tonya's blog at Plain and Joyful Living, I am started early and am looking forward to seeing everyone elses ideas as well.

For other ideas (and inspiration!) check Tonya's blog for the Monday Handmade Holiday postings.  That's where I am heading!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A bit of the unexpected....

So, the weekend hasn't quite turned out the way that I have planned....

And I have a skunk who may want to be my pet.

But, I get ahead of myself...

We had thought that we would be working on the expanded garden this weekend.  See, our garden is currently about 20 ft by 50 ft, or 1,000 square feet.

Next year, it will be a quarter of an acre.  Huge!  And I can't wait, so I want to get a start on it.  My husband hired someone in the area to come a rototil the area this weekend.  Once complete, we are heading out to start raising beds and adding compost for spring.

But, it appears that many others had the same idea....and the person is very busy....and may not be here for several weeks.

So, the garden is on hold. 

Then, on Friday evening, my daughter received an invite to a birthday party on Saturday.  Needless to say, we did not have anything for the little girl who was having the celebration. 

And my daughter wanted to give her something homemade.  So, I went to the bag to see what was a on the hooks....and found a baby blanket in process. 

So, with a bit of inspiration, the blanket was turned into a purse for the little girl.  And, to go into the purse, my daughter crafted a paper cat....and then we whipped up a matching hat.  Needless to say, no pictures were taken of the hat, as I was literally tying it off as I was telling the kids to get in the van and buckle up....

The day that followed was great - just me and my son, foot loose and fancy free.  We visited the local video store, we hung out at the library....great times!  And the evening was finished out with my completion of slippers to felt in the morning!

However, that didn't quite work out....I tried to felt them...but only thought that I was working with pure wool.  But, having lost the label a long time ago, I was obviously wrong.  And now I have some super large grey slipper shapes....Not quite the plan.

And to go full circle, I now have a skunk in the hay shed.  And he doesn't seem to be in any great hurry to move out. 

So, everything in the hay shed is all over the chicken yard, the kids are barred from the backyard, the chickens probably ran away and moved in with the neighbors, and we have a play date starting in 45 minutes!!!!  And that doesn't even include the son that refuses to get dressed, but is asking me to call his friend's mother every 5 minutes to find out when they will be here.

So....I will finish my breakfast, make another cup of coffee, and take a deep breath.

What's the worse that can happen?  A pet skunk isn't the end of the world, right? ;)

Friday, October 7, 2011

A list to tackle.... is Friday again.

And I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

But excited....

It just occurred to me how much I need to get done over the next few days...makes working at the office look easy.

It is currently 5:30 am, and I been up for over an hour.  The husband has been fed, packed, and is off to work.  While I should be up and active, I am instead crocheting yet another pair of slippers - this time in a bulky gray wool that I *hope* to be ready to felt much later today....

What I should be doing, however, is much more....

-laundry needs to be folded and put away...
-dishwasher should be emptied and loaded again....
-cat litter needs to be changed....
-chickens need to be let out of the coop, and the freshed with food, clean water, and fresh hay for bedding....
-school fundraiser information need to be reviewed for Christmas present possibilities...
-expanded garden needs to be staked in case the rototiller arrives today...

And of course, the kids need to be up in less than an hour, I need to get my tush in gear for a day at the office, and we need to be out the door by 7:30am.

So, I am left wondering, why am I sitting here, writing and crocheting, when so much needs to be done?

Well, I can think of several reasons, first being that this blog is a bit of my mind's filter.  Once I type this all out, the list looks clearer and more managable.  I may not be able to get it all done before we need to leave for the day, but the key items will be handled and the rest will be ready to tackle once we arrive back home in the evening.

Second....well, I really like to crochet.  Like, really.  So, of course it is what I want to do in the morning! 

However, I have been thinking a bit more about what I am making....  See, I have a husband and two kids, but the husband has absolutely no interest in anything handmade and the kids already have lots. And I love to make little things, like hats and small blankets, but I run out of recipients.... 

So, I am thinking about opening a small Etsy store, and maybe selling a few items.  I know very little about selling handmade items, and have only been a buyer via Etsy, but is is fun to contemplate.  Something else to ponder....

But in the meantime, I must stop pondering the future and get moving.  It is now 5:40am and my window of opportunity to be productive before the kids awake is growing smaller and smaller each moment.

Yikes!  Gotta go!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


So....I was so completely excited last night over the slippers that I hauled cookies and finished them up!  And then felted them!

It was amazing!!



I am completely shocked by how easy it was!  Just some time in a hot washer with a tad bit of detergent....and ta da!

That being said - I did learn quite a bit from the experience, and this will not be the end...  I found the fiber I used to be awesome, and I love the colors.  However, in the slipper itself, I need to make the toe wider and the sides and back higher.  Right now, these fit like slip-ons, but ideally, the next ones will be a more secure fit.

That being said - I love them.  Now, where's my hook?  Let's go another round!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So many projects....

I can't believe that it is Wednesday again! 
You blink, and we are back....back to the Yarn Along :)

And... to add to the fun, I am also joining with Tami's Work in Process this week!!

So, I know that I talked last week about getting so much done over this past weekend....but we were in the car alot....and I suddenly learned that I tend to get just a bit car sick (yes, I know, TMI...), and crocheting suddenly became not such a good idea....
So, the blanket for my daughter is still in process....getting bigger, but not quite done yet.

And, to add to it all...I couldn't help but work on some other projects as well.  You know, gotta mix it up sometimes. ;)

So, I am working on a scarf - very bulky weight gray in a fishnet type pattern.

It's not quite done yet, but I am already envisioning a matching hat.

And yesterday, I began work on a pair of Mary Jane style slippers again.  The last time, I was shooting from the hip (i.e. no pattern) and it didn't quite go well.  This time, I have done some research and found some guidelines. 

You will see the slippers look a bit big and wobbly - that is purposeful.  The yarn is a wool that is known to be good for felting.  I am hoping to try that technique on these slippers in order make them a bit more solid and substantial.

And finally, to round it all out - I have plans for something new....while on vaca, we came across an awesome shop, and I couldn't help but get some of this Peruvian Highland wool.  I couldn't resist the color!  Given the yardage, I think it will make a great shawl to give for the holidays.

Well, that is all that is going on with the fiber front over here.  Be sure to check out Ginny's site for other Yarn Along happenings and Tami's site for other Work in Process!! me a favor, if you don't mind...don't tell my daughter about all of these plans of mine....I am supposed to be finishing that blanket! ;) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A handmade holiday - hurray!

So...I am super excited.

I just learned yesterday that one of my most favorite blogs will be hosting a Handmade Holiday again.  They did this for 2010, but being disorganized, and not having a blog, I didn't participate.

But this year - I will!  I am so excited!!

You can find all of the details right here.  A huge thanks for Tonya for doing this again for 2011 :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back home...

So, the trip to Maine was a success!

But I am so happy to be home.

The kids were with their grandparents this weekend, and they had a blast. But the son, in a short-lived burst of sadness (before he was excited by something and dropped the phone) wanted to know WHY we had to be gone for TWO nights. And right then, I was ready to get home.

But we had a great time. We were foot loose and fancy free, with no solid plans - which was a great change from our normally crazy scheduled life. And this lack of plans were handy when we “indulged” a bit too much on Friday, and were less than ready for the Saturday ahead. But, we got our act in gear and managed to head north to Freeport for some happy times at LL Beans, and I personally went a bit crazy at Bass Shoes (as much as I try to simply and minimize my consumerisms….I have such a weak spot for boots…)

Lunch was spent at a great pub, where I was able to get an 802 WoodChuck (something I never get when I am actually in 802...Amber is my standby….), and then we were off to Kittery. There, we set up shop at the Kittery Trading Post.

There, practical matters were tended it. I finally got a Gerber for my keychain, so that next time I am stuck in the hay shed tackling tangles of twine, I will be able to cut myself out. And then we also looked at their fierce selection of guns…a sticky point for me.

I have been able to get through my whole life so far without ever shooting a gun. I hate to even be near them….but I live with an avid hunter. And we have recently learned that our property on the other side of town is home to bear, moose, lynx, and coyote.

None of these bother me over much, as we are ideally seeing their property to be somewhat of a wildlife preserve - but we found out that the coyote are packing up during the day, right by our access road. And we regularly bring the kids with us when we are working on the land.

As anyone familiar with coyotes knows, those beasts think nothing of approaching people once they are packed up. And they aren’t exactly friendly.
And so, I am operating from a place of fear, thinking that it would be the most responsible thing if I were to learn to handle firepower, should it be needed to protect my children, but still breaking out in the cold sweat at the thought of actually doing it…

So, the trading post was a great place to immerse myself in the atmosphere of these uncomfortable objects…but I am still at a bit of a cross roads as far as how to move forwards.

Once that shopping venture was complete, it was time to drive into something a bit more fitting for my soul…and wasn’t I lucky to spot a local yarn haven! In I went, while the husband hid in the van, and in there I stayed for a long, long time….So many choices, I just could not decide. I ended up leaving with a large skein of emerald dyed highland wool, and I can’t wait to start working with it! But self restraint must be practiced until my daughter’s blanket is finished….must not be sidetracked….well, not too much.

I am realizing that I could go on and on…but that will do nothing to start getting dinner ready for the table. And that should be the next point of business. But I am quite pleased to say that I actually know what I will be cooking. Some veggies with garlic sausage send down from a friend’s farm. Completely delicious!

But first, I think I will need to start of the coffee for some liquid energy…It just may be an early night ;)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A walk on the coast...

So amazing to know that you are walking on the very end of the continent....I don't think I could ever get used to that idea.  The beauty is overwhelming.