Wednesday, December 25, 2013

merry, happy, joyful

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

Wishing you lots of time with family and friends, good food, strong drinks, and plenty of naps. ;)

Monday, December 23, 2013

cozy love

Here's the knitted and cross stitched project I mentioned in the last post: a hot water bottle cozy! This pattern has become a go-to gift for me to make; I made a couple cabled ones last year, and I know that I'll return to the pattern again, making modifications to keep things interesting.

This year I wanted a project that I could knit on for long stretches without even glancing at a pattern. Give me those relaxing swaths of stockinette! So I knitted the pattern without the cable and then cross stitched a simple heart at the end. I really love how the plump red wool pops against the cream yarn. The result is a decidedly homemade-looking hot water bottle cozy, but I love that too. You can tell someone took time to create each stitch.

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We are finished with shopping, making, wrapping, decorating, and baking. Thank goodness! Now I'm looking forward to spending lots of time with family and eating all those holiday foods that I wait for all year. Happy holidays to you! 

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See more notes on my cross stitched hot water bottle cozy here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

home and hearth


Indeed, things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. We've had cold, snowy days and cozy nights by the fire. We were happy to have crisp white snow stick around for a bit last week. Snow usually melts away quickly here, except for the dirty gray piles that hang around parking lots for ages. 

The tree is up, most presents have been bought, and I have been knitting on one last gift at bedtime. I've almost finished the knitting part, and then I'm thinking of cross stitching a design on it. I've never tried that before, so I'm excited to see how it works out.

Can you see what a difference a month makes in my little guy? The top photo was taken last month, and the bottom photo is from this month. He's eight and a half months old already! He loves looking at (and touching) the lights on the Christmas tree and climbing on top of the wrapped presents. 

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I hope you all are staying snug and happy these days. Good luck to all of you still working on handmade gifts. We're down to the wire!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

stocking stuffer

Thank you all so much for the comments you left on my last post. I love sharing sweet moments with you because those are the moments I want to savor, and it's much harder to relive or try to put words to the difficult moments. Thank you for being so kind. I'm lucky to have you all around!

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And now, I really think we need to talk about this Christmas thing that's rushing full force at me. We haven't decorated yet, not even a measly paper snowflake, and we certainly haven't bought gifts yet. But all that will get done, this weekend I think, and then we'll still have a week and a half to laze about eating Christmas cookies. Ah, that's a nice thought, right? I'm going to try to keep calm during the Christmas frenzy festivities this year.

I don't have many handmade gifts to give this year because a certain baby doesn't leave much time for crafting. One of the few gifts is this bunny for my little guy. The pattern is called Nana's Bunnies and it's from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, a book I found at the library that has lots of patterns I like (especially the pixie hat and car coat). Anyway, this sweet bunny was featured on the book cover and was the reason I picked it up in the first place. I knitted mine from scraps of cotton yarn and stitched a jingle bell inside to add to the fun. It's a quick knit if you still need a stocking stuffer for a little person in your life.

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Are you giving handmade/homemade gifts this year? I'd love to hear what you're giving!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

something's gained

"Well something's lost, but something's gained in living every day."

from "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell

It's been rough going lately. I usually write about just the sweet moments here and keep the salty, sour, and bitter things to myself, but I'd feel like such a fraud if I didn't acknowledge that there have been some days lately that have knocked me for a loop. Most of it is normal motherhood stuff, feeling overwhelmed and tired, which probably can be chalked up to Jude waking up lots during the night lately. It's hard to think straight with so little sleep. But I've also been worried (so worried!) about a loved one and feeling at a loss as to how I can help. 

I can help myself though, so that's what I'm trying to do. I am working to be gentler, more forgiving, and more patient with myself. I've been drinking tea, taking walks, soaking in hot baths, and most certainly knitting, slowly but steadily knitting. 

I finished a cabled hat with a fold-over brim for K just in time for the first snow of the year. Finally, the man has a hat that keeps his ears warm. And I think he looks pretty handsome in it too. Hehe.  

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I hope you are finding ways to treat yourself kindly.

And thank you for reading. I appreciate it! I will be back with sweet moments soon.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

odessa for alice

I've wanted to write this post for weeks now, but I've struggled with what to say and how to say it. So, I'll just jump in. 

I made this hat for my grandma Alice. She just finished up chemo to treat ovarian cancer. She lost her hair because of the chemo, and when I saw her last month she kept saying how cold she was. So I figured the least I could do was to make her a hat, the warmest, softest hat I could manage, that would keep her toasty all winter long and remind her that she's got lots of people who care about her. 

I picked out the coziest yarn I had in my stash: half a skein of Juniper Moon's Herriot, which is a lush baby alpaca that knits up like a dream. I'd been saving it for something special, and this project seemed like exactly that. The half skein worried me at first, but the Odessa pattern worked well with the small amount of yarn (110 yards or so) that I had. 

My family had a brunch recently to celebrate the end of Grandma Alice's chemo. It was a big get-together with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and more food than we could ever eat. We laughed and talked and held babies. It felt really good to see my grandma in better spirits, smiling and even playing poker with the family. I'm hoping this hat will keep her spirits high throughout the winter.

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If you'd like to make a hat to help keep up the spirits of someone receiving chemo, check out the Halos of Hope Ravelry page


See more details of my Odessa here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


A few of you asked about the challah in the last post. This bread is my favorite because it's rich with eggs, honey, and butter. Plus, the recipe is simple to make at home. You just fling all the ingredients together in a bowl, let the dough rise, and then put it in the fridge to bake at your convenience.

When I make a batch of this dough, I usually bake two larger loaves throughout the week and then use the final third of the dough to make cinnamon rolls (I use the filling and icing from this recipe). Yeah, challah-baking weeks are pretty happy weeks around here. It's just the thing to keep us warm and fed on gray November days.

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Also in our kitchen:

We've been loving these pumpkin doughnut muffins (thanks to Liesl!).

I could eat vegetable enchiladas every day.

Homemade pizza has been in heavy rotation. We like Mark Bittman's crust and this tomato sauce.

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What's going on in your kitchen these days?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

there for the taking

I'm finding little things to appreciate lately, bits of joy there for the taking if only I choose to notice: treetops lighting up the sky, sunflower seeds to plant next year, warm challah with salt and butter, and a soft alpaca hat on the needles. 

Here's hoping you're finding your own bits of joy. I'd love to hear about what's making your moments brighter these days.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

halloween mitts


Happy Halloween! 

I made these mitts for a good friend. Last year she sent me a couple skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway Plena with a note that the dusky purple and glowing orange reminded her of Halloween night. I liked these mitts so much that I've already cast on a pair for myself, too. 

Have a warm and safe Halloween! We are supposed to have a rainy evening, so I'm not sure if any trick-or-treaters will venture out. We'll have candy and a little costumed fellow regardless. I stayed up late putting the finishing touches on Jude's costume. Here's a sneak peek

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

fall days

I've been trying to soak up October's sunny days and get outside on the cold ones too. Jude and I bundle up and walk until my feet get tired. We walk all around, new ways each time. He usually falls asleep eventually but never fails to wake up as soon as we're back home. 

He's crawling backward these days and pulling up in his crib and on the furniture. He looks so happy every time I find him standing up in his crib. It must feel amazing to go from being able to only sit or lie down to suddenly being able to stand upright. What a great new view, right? 

We've ventured to a couple fall festivals too. Jude rolled around in a pile of pumpkins and ate some Swiss chard and cilantro that he swiped from a garden. He's got fast little hands that dart to his mouth like a flash when he finds something he likes. 

 I hope you're finding things you like these days. As for me, I'm knitting away in my spare minutes and drinking hot chocolate now that we've got some cool weather. I'm looking forward to making Maya's apple cake (a fall tradition now) and something pumpkin. If you've got any favorite pumpkin recipes, send them my way. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

striped rosa

In high school and college I did some of my best work late at night before tests and papers were due. I'd stay up till the wee hours studying and writing, and then I'd crawl into bed a couple hours before dawn for a nap before heading to class. Now I feel like I can barely string a sentence together after dinner. I'm much more of a morning person now and would rather wake up early to get things done than stay up late. However, I'm stretched thin this week because we've had late nights and early mornings, which has made the days feel like they go on forever. Not to mention we've gone through our 3-day supply of cloth diapers in 2 days!

All this to say, I'm not sure I can write a coherent post about this hat I made for my sister, but I'm going to try because it feels mighty nice to be sitting here typing away about knitting instead of standing at the changing table.

So yes, the hat. It's a Striped Rosa. I picked the pattern and my sister chose the color combination. I'm glad I already told her about it because otherwise I'd be tempted to keep it for myself. I may have worn it around the house once, just to make sure it was a good hat (it is!), but now it's safely packed away in my cedar chest until Christmastime. This is the third year in a row I've made my sister a Christmas present from this yarn (she previously received a bow headband and mitts). Somehow the yarn seemed to multiply every time I looked away, but this is really the last of it.

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I finished this Striped Rosa hat as part of My Sister's Knitter's KAL/CAL. Up next is a Fall KAL/CAL. I've already cast on a few things. Are you joining in? 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

baby antlers and booties

Finally, my favorite month has begun. Oh, October. The changes in light, the smell of woodsmoke lingering in the air, the chill creeping in. The reds, russets, rusts, and golds clinging to the trees, swirling down in gusts of wind, and waiting for footfall to crunch through.

Jude won't eat his cereal, but he'll eat as many leaves as he can get his hands on. When we sit outside together I'll often find his fingers wrapped around a leaf. He tastes each leaf thoughtfully and goes back for more. I keep fishing stems and other leaf litter out of his mouth. He also plucks purple mums from my pots, and we sprinkle their petals like confetti on the porch steps. We watch the birds flying south. They make a ruckus in the trees and sky that he sometimes imitates.

The Baby Antler cardigan and booties are to keep him warm on our daily outings. He's so snuggly wrapped in all that wool!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

gratitude sunday

My husband's grandpa passed away this week. It's been an emotional time, but it's also been time to take stock of some good things. I'm sitting here on a Sunday night with a cup of hot tea, my hair still wet from a warm shower. Jude is sound asleep, and I've got a good book waiting on my bedside table.

This week I'm grateful for:

  • hearing Jude's belly laughs and watching him interact with many generations of family.
  • being with my husband's family to say goodbye to his grandpa.
  • celebrating my husband's birthday with him.
  • knitting baby bear hats for two little girls expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
  • teaching a friend to knit.
  • receiving a skein of handspun yarn.
  • finishing a sweater, hat, and booties for Jude. (He will be the warmest baby on the block.)
  • going to a festival downtown, where I finally figured out what 3-D printing means.
  • letting fall breezes blow through open windows.
  • spending a rainy afternoon at a coffee shop.
  • feeding Jude his first solid food. (He's not so sure he likes it.)

knitting lesson

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What good things are going on in your life? I'd love to hear what you're appreciating lately.


I'm joining up with Wooly Moss Roots for Gratitude Sunday.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

babies love hats

Remember this old-fashioned baby hat? Baby loves it. Haha.

Ravelry notes here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

knitting, of late

I've got several projects on the needles these days and not many coming off the needles, but I'm knitting a few stitches every day, which makes me happy. 

I finally (finally!) sewed buttons on the Baby Sophisticate (practically a year later). It's made of baby alpaca, so it's soft and squishy and should stretch easily around his round belly. I think little J is going to look sufficiently old-mannish in his shawl-collared cardigan this fall. Now he just needs some slippers to shuffle around the house in and a book of crossword puzzles to carry around. Our little old man.

I've also been chugging away on my Larch Cardigan after taking a summer break from it. I finished the fronts and backs, seamed the shoulders, and am working on a sleeve. I keep measuring the sweater and myself, and I think it will fit. If not, I'll block it to fit my post-baby body. I'm wearing this cardigan come fall!

And finally, I actually finished a cabled hat for J, but after weaving in ends, I discovered it's too short. I think I'll pick up stitches around the bottom and knit an inch of ribbing. I hope that will work. Otherwise I'll just save it for a baby gift.

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What are you working on these days?


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