Monday, December 26, 2011

Beautiful Day

Today couldn't have been nicer if it came from Santa himself.
Such a beautiful day surely called for a walk outside to take some photos and see the sights.
I hope your Monday has been pleasant and did not, as ours did, include a trip to the mall.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Following in her Mama's procrastinating footsteps, the Elder started a project yesterday for her new American Girl Doll -Kit.
 She made a sketch first and then I unleashed her on the big box of felt and she came up with this.

Now all the members of our family have a stocking!
I hope your day has been lots of fun, we've been filling it with present time, eating sweet treats, going to the movies and now we're on our way to celebrate with the extended family.

Friday, December 23, 2011


It seems like every year about this time I get the itch to work with wood. I don't know why I don't do it all the time, since I really love it!
3 years ago my crafty mama group got together and built these amazing toolboxes, the same year I tried (not so successfully) to make a bunch of wooden scoops to give as gifts with some homemade bath salts, and, come to think of it, that was the year of the bunk beds too.
I skipped the following year since we had our bathroom redone and I had probably had seen enough of woodworking for the time being...
Anyway, last year I made wooden ornaments for my annual swap and this year I am building a cradle for the Elder.
I posted about it the other day, and I did decide to make it over.
After I visited with my carpenter friend I looked up jigsaw prices online and found one for super cheap at a local hardware store.
Last night I grabbed my $7.00 sheet of plywood and went to work.
I decided not to bother my carpenter friend again, so it's not quite as plumb as the first draft, but it's serviceable and I had the satisfaction of doing it all myself with no help. (I'm forcibly reminded of some 2-year-old progeny of mine screaming "I DO IT" whenever offered help, hmm)

 Here it is primed, and ready.
The final product took a couple of coats of primer and a couple of coats of paint. I may still need to touch up the paint at some future date, but I didn't think it would dry in time if I made another pass before tomorrow.
 Next I practiced the rose decoration on a scrap, this one turned out a little nicer than the one that ended up on the finished product, but again, it's serviceable and I am pleased with the results.
My sister came over tonight and helped me put together the mattress, pillow and coverlet.
The blanket is made from a beautiful piece of embroidery that I found at a craft sale about 4 years ago. It was a little stained, so I got it very cheaply. I cut around the stains and my sis assembled the blanket (using the serger for the first time in her life) and it all came out rather nicely.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Extremely Last-Minute Teacher Gifts

This morning I realized that I hadn't gotten anything for The Younger's teacher yet, and today is the last day of the year, so I grabbed some ingredients and a couple of jars and made some bath salts and spiced cocoa mix.
For the bath salts I used 1 cup of epsom salts, 1/3 cup of olive oil and a few drops of an essential oil.
The cocoa mix was 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. To be used 1-2 tablespoons to a cup of warm milk.
Super easy, home-made and heartfelt, even if it is last-minute...
Have a happy Christmas if I don't see you first,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yarn Along

Yarn Along time, Yay! This Saturday I will be subbing in, singing at a local church and the choir director let us know that we could wear black with a festive sweater if we had one. I realized that I had only a little work to do on this sweater (that I started on July 26th, if the Ravelry page is to be believed) and what's more festive than a bunch of red cables?
I had work knitting to do in the mean-time so it's been neglected in a bag waiting for its turn.
I brought it along to early Christmas with the in laws and was able to finish up a sleeve and start assembly this weekend.
All that remains is the last third or so of the collar, and I think I can finish that waiting in the carpool line this week.
I'll be excited to wear it at last!
The book is Rilla of Ingleside, the 8th and final installment of the Anne of Green Gables series.
I don't know what number of times I have read this particular of L.M. Montgomery's books, but it's more than a couple.
It's a fascinating look at the day-to-day lives of a Canadian family during World War I.
The domestic details are what I find most interesting. There are descriptions of hand-sewing hems on sheets, and knitting socks for the boys at the front, along with organizing Red Cross groups and raising money for the war effort.
I just can't get enough of L.M.'s first-hand look at this troubled time.

What's on your needles this week?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rough Draft

Last week as I was out Christmas shopping for the kids I saw this beautiful print by Jessie Wilcox Smith (something's wrong with blogger and I can't hyperlink, google her, she's awesome) and since the thing that The Elder wants most of all for Christmas is a trundle bed for her dolly I thought I would attempt to duplicate the cradle in the print.
My friend's husband is a carpenter and we traded piano lessons for a little shop time and professional know-how last Friday.

The finished product came out a little long and narrow, so I would call this a first draft, but the construction was pretty simple, and I think I could whip up a second one that might fit Kit a little better in no time.
The first one took about 2 hours, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that I could finish a second one, and paint it, before Christmas. I still have 6 days...
What crazy things are you planning this week?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yarn Along

It's Yarn Along time!
I have had to put these mittens on hold in favor of Christmas Stocking knitting, but I am excited to get back to them. The pattern is called Ringo + Elwood, and I think I may have seen them the first time on another Yarn Along post a few weeks ago.
There are two versions included in the pattern Ringo (a racoon as seen above) and Elwood (a beaver)
The Younger has just conveniently lost one of his dragon mittens and so he'll need some new ones anyway!

Sometimes I just randomly grab a book from my Anne of Green Gables collection and this week it was Rainbow Valley. As I type I still have tears on my face from finishing this charming and heartfelt story.
Rainbow Valley is about Anne and Gilbert's children growing up in an idyllic fairyland of beautiful trees and brooks, catching trout for impromptu lunches and having the kind of childhood I wish for my own children.
L. M. Montgomery wrote Rainbow Valley after the end of the first World War and you can see hints of a darker time looming for the children in Glen St. Mary.
Her final Anne book Rilla of Ingleside is about how the war effects everyone in the village and is possibly my favorite of the series.
I may have to read it next.
What's on your needles and nightstand this week?

Monday, December 12, 2011


This tiny baby turned eight today.
A sweet, kind, smart and lovely person she's turning out to be!
Happy Birthday, Elder!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Extreme(ly awesome!)

This morning one of my high-school friends posted this amazingness on facebook and I just had to share it here.

And then I followed the link to their youtube page and here was a sweet arrangement of my fav-o-rite wanky song from the 90s.

Call me a cheeseball if you must, but I love More Than Words, and I don't care who knows it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Sweeter Music

I have just come from my first Christmas concert with The Singers and I had such a good time!
I would strongly encourage local folks to come and take in a show. Even the weather is cooperating with some lovely snow to put us all in the Christmas spirit.
We're singing a nice mix of music from the early 20th century through to two brand new songs composed this year.
Though it's not listed above we are also singing tomorrow, Sunday December 4th at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Edina, MN at 4 PM.