Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Few More Christmas Things

We are busy getting ready for our Solstice celebration tomorrow but I still wanted to post these few Christmas things.
I've been trying to spend some time in the kitchen making my usual Christmas cookies and other sweets. It's a lot more challenging than I pictured. April usually needs something (a nurse, a diaper, a walk, something) just as I'm starting to melt chocolate or just before I need to take the cookies out of the oven. This new level of multitasking is taking longer to adjust to than I hoped. Non-the-less I've made some yummy peppermint bark and I have some gingerbread dough in the fridge waiting to be cut out and decorated. I also have plans to make some Coconut Oat Balls and a Buche-de-Noel for Christmas dinner.
I wasn't sure I would have the time for this next one but I did! I actually got the chance to make April her own special Christmas dress. It really only took me about 2 hours to put it together once I got the right fabric for the lining. The main fabric is some Anna Maria Horner fabric I got back in the summer and I used this pattern from Etsy. I used the size 12 months for most of the dress but cut it to the 6 month length so it wouldn't trip her. I'm actually really thrilled with this little dress (aside from a buttonhole incident). It's festive but that fabric allows for it to be worn after Christmas too.
Finally, I made this darling cross-stitch ornament I saw on the Purl Bee for her very first Christmas ornament. I like it because she can handle it as much as she wants and it isn't going to be damaged at all! I used a darling "Let it Snow" fabric for the back and that sweet polka-dot ribbon for the hanger. It has been a really long time since I did any cross-stitching but I really enjoyed this. I might need to make one for everyone!

I don't think I'll get a chance to post again before Christmas so Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Decking the Halls

We've been busy decking our halls. We've been taking advantage of the glorious sunny days and gone to collect berries and greens from local parks. Holly is an invasive species in our rain forests so we have been doing our part by removing it from the outdoors and bring it in for decoration.
We had a few very windy days this December so I've been using fallen greenery this year. I did have to collect a couple pieces from the tree but not much. The wind also knocked loose some lovely pine cones that are now on display in my home. I've thoroughly enjoyed the hunt for little treasures that will add the the holiday spirit already taking hold in my home.
Our tree day was as lovely as ever. I love tree day even more than Christmas day. I love bundling up and going to find that perfect tree. We all discuss what we think the perfect tree will be like on our drive out. The lot is lit with lights and smells heavenly. The hunt begins. Here, somewhere, is the tree that we were meant to have. There is always a small debate over which tree is the most wonderful but we never leave with a tree than someone doesn't completely love. I look forward to welcoming the tree in my home. It's like having your favorite friend come to stay. We carefully string the lights and sing carols as we hang our cherished ornaments. We finish just as it is time for bed. We turn off all the lights and watch our perfect tree glow for a moment or two and then we are off the bed. You can still smell the intoxicating scent drifting into the bedroom as we all fall asleep. Tree day is the best day.
Again this year, I took part in the wreath making class at a local nursery. I always have a really good time. It is such a creative process and every year I learn something new. It was a nice two hour break from being mommy. I was just me, expressing my love of the holidays with the local foliage. I'm so pleased with the wreath I made this year.
During these cold, dark months having pieces of nature in your home deepens your connection to the earth, to the natural rhythms taking place. The lush greens and vibrant reds and purples now liven my home. Even the wonderful smell of the pine, fir and cedar lighten my mood. We are looking forward to solstice and planning quite the welcome for those longer days.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fall at the Lake

These photos are from a trip to the lake we took a month ago but I just got a chance to really look at them the other night. It's been a beautiful fall. The air is clean and crisp. Even though it's been colder than usual, I haven't minded because it's been more dry and sunny than usual as well. April and I go for walks every single day but our walks out in nature are the ones I really treasure. I feel calm and balanced when I out in the natural world. I adore the "silence". No cars or motorcycles, lawn mowers or leaf blowers. It nourishes me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lyalya Hoodie

It's been colder than usual this year so I've been trying to make somethings to keep April warm on our outings.  As much as I love the Aviatrix hat, it is a bit small and doesn't really cover the back of her neck so I found this pattern and thought it would be a great solution. The pattern says that the baby size should fit 6 months-24 months so that's what I made. It is a bit small and doesn't fully cover her neck but I still love it. I also love the yarn I used. It is Misti Alpaca in Purplicious. It is so soft and the colorway is beautiful. I think I will be making this hat again only in the child size.
In the pictures you will notice April standing at her Montessori standing bar. She is also very interested in magnets so we've hung a little magnet board above the bar. She just showed me today she can stand alone without the bar and she is getting really good at walking with her walker wagon, she is even starting to walk with just one hand on the bar. She is getting so independent.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Contest

No I'm not hosting this contest, I'm simply spreading the word.

My friend Robbin has started a great new business. Abernathy Naturals is an online store that offers a great selection of babywearing products such as Storchenweige wraps and Suse's Kindergear, clothing diapering products and other great handmade items.
Robbin is really talented. We have a couple of items from her that we've used with April including legwarmers and a fantastic cloth diaper (both that she sewed herself). She is also the one person that has really given me the help and motivation to improve my knitting skills. She has made some beautiful things for her daughters and she's shown me how to do the same for my girl.
I'm really loving her store. It supports green living and she's stocking many of the items that parents who are planning to pursue attachment parenting will need and when you shop with her you are helping to support a home-based business for a stay-at-home mom. Isn't that the dream for most of us moms out there?
Anyways, the contest! She is offering a giveaway of 30% of a Storchenweige wrap of your choice plus free shipping up to $10. For contest rules and how to enter visit here. Also check out her store. The contest runs until November 30th. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Stocking for April

This will be April's first Christmas so naturally she needs a stocking. I refuse to buy one from the stores so I set out to make her one myself. I found this very Christmasy wool in the remnants bin at the local fabric store in the summer and bought it with the intention to use it for the stocking. Then I found the stocking pattern in Alicia Paulson's book Stitched in Time and I knew it was perfect.
Now Alicia does mention that this is a smaller stocking but I was ok with that since we have a minimalist view on Christmas anyways. But man is it small. It is so narrow I had trouble reaching the toe. I guess it will work for a kiddo though.
This stocking was just such a pain. Not the pattern's fault though. I had problems with my blanket stitch, sewed the buttons are crooked so I had to re-sew them, the heel and toe patches did not line up and I already ripped it a little bit while turning it right-side out.
So after much time, a few patch jobs and a lot of swear words, it is finished. The end result is pretty cute. I have some of the fabric left so I might make her a slightly bigger one that she can keep forever. For now, it works.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Sewing

It was a drizzly and blustery weekend which was perfect for sewing. It was nice to have Jon around to help keep April entertained. She is pulling on everything and I just can't do much sewing with her trying to climb into my lap. So this weekend was busy for me.

I made April a new pair of the quick change trouser's from Anna Maria Horner's book. I chose more muted colors this time but still fun (the subtle sage color and the grey polka-dots are perfect together). Last time didn't do they reverse fabric on the butt panel but I did this time and it is so cute. Sorry no pictures of April wearing the pants, right now she doesn't really want to get dressed at all.

I also made April a couple bibs using the Liberty Bibs template. April tends to drink water faster than she can swallow so it all drips down her chin. I wanted some new more absorbent bibs so these were made with some double sided terry to add to the absorbency. I also used some heavy snaps since April tends to pull off bibs with velcro.
I started work on April's stocking as well this weekend. It is turning out to be a real pain and I'm not sure that I'm going to be happy with the final product. I'll keep plugging away at it though (you never know, it could get better with time).
Hope you all had a productive and fun long weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let it go...

In motherhood there seems to be this pressure to do it all. Feed baby, bathe baby, change baby, entertain baby, put baby to sleep, do dishes, make meals, do laundry, wash the floors, tend the garden....the list goes on. I tried to keep to this list and be the model mother and wife. I found myself getting really run down and a little sad. I wasn't really enjoying the time with my daughter, it became just something on the to-do list and if something like bathing her or putting her to sleep took longer than I planned I would be behind on something else on my list. I also neglected to put any time on that list for myself. I even forgot to put down "Shower".
The list was impossible to maintain on a daily basis and I really beat myself up about the things that didn't get done instead of feeling joy in the things that were accomplished. What kind of mother was I becoming? In a strange way I felt I was implementing the routine and rhythm that so many books say is vital for children but the reality was that I was becoming overly scheduled and forgetting to acknowledge and go with the natural rhythm of life. I was so stressed about this role I felt I needed to fill that my health suffered. I got the worst stomach flu I've had in years. I become so dehydrated I couldn't even nurse my child. I had to put down the list and rest.
An amazing thing happened. I just never picked that list up again. I got over my flu and felt renewed. Yes, I had a fever of 103 but I slept, read books and drank tons of fluids and healed.
Before having kids I was pretty strict about the cleanliness of my home. I just can't function in a chaotic environment. But I made a commitment to myself and to April to not let the little messes come between us and happiness. I will tidy but I tell myself to let most of it go. I don't need to dust, sweep and vacuum all the time. Simply putting away the toys or cleaning off the table is enough to keep things tidy enough that we can play and work well. Sometimes if it is really bothering me, I just close the door to that room and we go somewhere else. Or better yet, we go outside.
It is a constant mantra for me but a good one. Just let it go. Focus on April. She is growing up and every minute is special. Sparkling clean floors are not the memories you want. No one is perfect so let it go. Who would have thought that I could be a better mother if I just dropped my to-do list.
See Mom, no need to fold, laundry is for fun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keeping April Warm

Something about colder weather just makes me want to knit. I've been making a couple things for Christmas but I managed to pump these out in a couple of evenings.

I want to keep April warm this year in yummy natural, homemade wool things. So I made her the Aviatrix hat out of unbleached merino wool. It is so lovely and soft. It's almost too small but for the moment it works really well. I love this pattern. I think it is one that I will use over and over again.

The mittens are made from alpaca wool. They are a little rougher but this wool doesn't pill as easily as the merino so I thought it would work better for the mitts. The pattern is simple and cute. The sizing fits small in my opinion (sorry for the terrible picture, I was having trouble getting the focus and color right).

I think this little set looks so cute on and the colors work well together. I have a couple more wooley things are on the go to keep April warm with so stay tuned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Plain Vest

A little while ago I made April this Plain Vest. It was a really easy and quick knit and it actually looked really cute when finished. It was however way too small. I made the 12 month size but it seems more like a 6 month size. I did squish her into it just because it was so cute. I might try again and make some modifications so it will fit better.
I do love the yarn I used. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and Punta Merino Lace. They feel lovely together and I'm really happy with the color.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 Hope it was as delicious as ours.
 Full of family fun!

 With maybe a few dragon sightings.
Happy Halloween! Hope you and your family had lots of fun and laughter on this day of in-between.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Picking

This year was April's first trip to the pumpkin patch. I love going to the pumpkin patch. I love the earthy smell, the vivid colors and the hunt for the perfect pumpkin. I really enjoyed watching April experience that for the first time. She wasn't overly interested in the pumpkins but really enjoyed playing in the mud. It was a glorious fall day and just fun all round.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

1st Anniversary

Today is our first wedding anniversary. It's been a good day to reflected on this past year. I can't believe how fast time seems to be passing. This time last year I was walking down the aisle towards the kindest, most patient and loving man I could have ever hoped to spend my life with. We've been together for 5 years but this past year, our first year as husband and wife, has been the most eventful. We had our baby, she's grown and changed, Jon's started an new job, completed another year of school and we've experienced the ebb and flow of friends and family coming and going from our lives. Today as I think back on what a challenging first year it's been, I don't think I could be more happy and content than I am now.
Happy Anniversary my love. Thank you for everything you are and everything you do. I love you with all my heart.
As I said before I don't really want to put our wedding pictures out there but I had to share this one, it was a special moment and captured the magic of that day perfectly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healing Basket

This is a project that was inspired by Amanda Blake Soule's healing basket. She discusses her family's healing basket in The Creative Family. Her family's basket stays in the home but ours is one that we leave in our trunk so we have it when we are out exploring. At home we don't some much have a healing basket as a healing bin under our bathroom sink. It contains the best natural remedies for every aliment we commonly see here as well as a great aromatherapy collection.
 It always seems that if we are gone all day, hiking or beach combing or swimming at the lake, someone always gets a sunburn or a cut knee or a bee sting.  I just want to have all these natural, soothing remedies on hand when our family is away from home.
At the moment we have bandaids, tweezers, tiger balm (for those sore muscles after a long hike), calendula salve, Bach's Rescue Remedy, natural hand sanitizer (we have the Burt's Bees one at the moment but I would really like to try to make my own), pure aloe and an old-fashioned ice pack (I like these because if you are on a day trip but need an ice pack you can just pop into a fast food place and get some ice from the soda machine and fill the pack).  I also have a copy of Amy's Potions and Concoctions in there.
I will be adding some tea tree oil, nux vomica, Arnica (and maybe some in salve form too)  Ivy Itch ReLeaf and I'd like to try making some Goldenseal Salve for cuts from Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal. Also, next summer (since it isn't really a problem these days) I will be making Amy's Bug's Don't Like Me Balm for the basket.
Does your family have a healing basket? What's in your basket?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's Finished!

I started this dress for April back in July and then didn't work on it for months. A few weeks ago I decided to just finish it. Even though it is a summer dress I thought she could wear it as a jumper. I'm so relieved to have it finished.
I used a pattern from the Debbie Bliss magazine. The yarn is organic cotton. It's actually a pretty easy pattern but it's time consuming. I'm not a huge fan of the yarn, it pulls really easily. I shortened the skirt by 2 inches from what the pattern recommended. I wanted April to be able to wear it but not trip when she crawled. It's actually the perfect length.

Sorry it doesn't photograph well on the hanger but you get the idea.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Inspired by SouleMama

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving here in Canada and we got together with family last night for our annual feast. It was so special to share it with my daughter this year. We did a combo of local fruit and veggies with a few imported treats.
On the menu was a lovely turkey stuffed with an apple walnut stuffing (made with apples and celery from my garden) and topped with bacon and an herb butter rub, brussel sprouts with apples and bacon (again apples from my garden and local brussel sprouts), butternut squash soup (local butternut), goat cheese stuffed figs (goat cheese from Saltspring), homemade cheddar perogies and cucumber salad (cucumber from my grandma's garden). It was delightful! I enjoy the cooking almost as much as the eating.

It was a really nice day yesterday so while the turkey cooked we picked apples, playing in the garden and April tried walking with a toy my mom got her. She was so proud of herself, she really enjoys being independent.

April's dinner was some nice roasted butternut squash. We have tried feeding her acorn squash from the garden before but she hated it. The butternut was definitely an improvement. She really liked when I put a spoonful of squash on her tray for her to feed herself with.
This year I am thankful for -
 - a healthy, beautiful, happy baby girl who makes my life better everyday
- a patient and loving husband who is the very best partner for me
- supportive and loving parents who are continuing to parent even though I have a family of my own
- friends and family who make the difference on those difficult days as new mom
- fresh, nutritious food grown in my own backyard
- a comfortable home and beautiful city to live in
- laughter, love and health

 Happy Thanksgiving!