Monday, January 28, 2013

Hats, so many Hats!

Knitting has been slow this year. I have dreams of completing sweaters and socks but so far all that seems to be coming off the needles are hats. With my toddler slowly giving up naps, I feel like I have less and less time to knit in peace. We've decided to get rid of cable so I'm hoping to use the time that I once devoted regular televisions shows to be creative. As I encourage April to be more creative in her life, I'm yearning to release my own creative energy. So many of my creative outlets have been neglected since becoming a mother. I need to remember to set an example for April and pursue the things that bring me inner peace and joy. So with that in mind I've been trying to work through my sad collection of neglected single skeins. So far I've made April a hat, Jon a hat, a friend a hat and I'm currently working on a hat for myself.

April's hat was knit from the beautiful Lollipop chunky yarn. The pattern is Wooly Wormhead's Quynn. Simple, quick and adorable. At this age any hat with ear flaps is welcome in the pile. I added braided ties to help keep it on her head.

Jon's hat is the Chunkeanie from Wooly Wormhead. The reverse stockinette stitch is perfect for this guys hat. I used the new Martha Stewart Alpaca yarn from Michaels for this one. It feels nice and looks great, I might just buy some of this yarn again (I don't usually shop at Michaels for yarn since I love wool but I was lucky to find this one).

The gift hat was a Stella Pixie hat. April's Stella is still a favorite. Thanks to the lovely ribbing it has lasted for years. This hat was again made with a yarn from Michaels. I can't even remember what it was called but I do remember it was a wool blend and it was the lovely subtle rainbow color that caught my eye. Thanks to a lack for size 3 double pointed needles this hat was also made with braided ties. I'm actually quite pleased with the result, it has a very bohemian fairy look to it.

The last hat in the picture is not technically a knit but it was made from a knit sweater. It was made from the pattern in Amanda Soule's Handmade Home. I then used some felt scraps and a little buttons to make a flower embellishment. If I made this hat again, I think I will use a heavier sweater, my choice is a bit thin for a winter hat.

Finally, the hat on the needles is the Knit Night hat. I'm using a ball of purple 100purewool yarn. I got it second-hand so I'm not sure of the colorway. It's slow going but I hope to finish it this week.
I think my next project will be more ambitious. Maybe a sweater for April, a lap blanket, a cowl. What's on your needles these days?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Puddles and Birds

Today was all about puddles and birds. We visited a local nature sanctuary and set out on a nature hike with the intention to have fun. Mommy and April were prepared with rain-boots (Daddy forgot). It had rained in the early morning hours so there were many puddles to be found. I have been trying to remind myself to be a playful parent, to enjoy simple moments with my child. I tried to enthrall myself in the hunt for puddles, enjoying the sounds of splashing and the squish of mud under my feet. The more excited I became the more fun April had being with me. Being in the moment just gets better and better.

We had the chance to view some special birds today. This particular area is always full of ducks. Visitors are allowed to feed the ducks here so they are very trusting of people. While April was having a chat with some ducks, Jon noticed one of the males looked a bit different. Sure enough his bill was a beautiful blue. I'm not sure I have ever seen a blue billed mallard. Perhaps I've been too busy to notice before.

A ruby throated hummingbird also caught our eye. Or rather, our ear! We were walking along when we heard his call. If the lighting isn't right you could miss him all together, but when the light hits his throat he is hard to miss. Ruby's are harder to find around here. The Anna's hummingbird is most common so it was quite a thrill to catch a good look at his guy.

What a gift it was to spend such an afternoon with such amazing people and stunning creatures. I certainly left the sanctuary with renewed energy, a clearer mind and a positive outlook. April too enjoyed her visit. Wet sock and a muddy face (but still a smile) was certainly the sign of time well spent!

Friday, January 25, 2013

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, January 22, 2013

New Art

The other day we decided it was time to get creative. I wanted to introduce April to some new art mediums. We've played with playdough before but we changed how we played with it. We've used crayons before but changed the type of crayon and paper. First we opened April's Art Kit and tried our new watercolors. April was in love. The process of getting the brush wet, choosing a color then applying brush strokes to the page was perfect for her age. She was practicing her names of the colors while choosing from the pallet. Painting is something we will do more often. Her paintings are beautiful, I'm looking forward to finding a way to display them.
Next we brought out some sketch paper and beeswax crayons. The crayons are perfect for little hands and the beeswax makes them smooth to use and gives a beautiful color. Normally April enjoys using soy crayons with animal coloring books but I loved giving her the opportunity to create her own image on much sturdier paper. Again, her creation was beautiful and she finished the project by neatly stacking her crayons in a sweet little tower.
Last we brought out her playdough. She is finally able to roll out the dough on her own. I've filled an old overnight case with fun supplies. I added several cookie cutters, a wooden rolling pin, a little butter knife, a pair of plastic scissors, several shells and others. She loves making an imprint then running her fingers over it. I'm enjoying watching her exploring her world with all her senses. Playdough is always a hit. Squishing, rolling, squeezing, smoothing, tearing, patting, poking, smelling (and at times tasting). Maybe one day I'll make some gluten free playdough so I'm don't have to worry about it going in her mouth.
Art Day was fun for us both. I can't wait to try more art mediums with her and display all her splendid creations.I've been reading the Creative Family and First Art for lots of inspiration.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Morning Mist

This morning was spent in the mist. We bundled up and headed out to the lake. I seem to underestimate the cold these days so today I was wishing for an extra layer. Still it was a wonderful way to start our day. The air was clean and crisp but everything along the lake sparkled with tiny drops of water. It was quiet and peaceful. April splashed in every puddle she could find and watched for ducks. I took deep breaths of the wet, wonderful air and prepared myself for all this day will bring.

I'm continuing to work on bring mindfulness into my life. It is always a challenge not to thing too far ahead but I often find it easier to be in the moment when I'm in nature. It's a struggle to live in the city but need nature so much. Luckily we don't have too far to travel to find the peace of the natural world. I find I focus on my breathing when the air is clearer, I focus on my steps when the terrain is changing, I focus on the sounds when it isn't just noise. April is benefiting as well. She is true nature child. She sleeps better, plays better and is more inquisitive when we get out-of-doors. When I tell her we are going hiking she cheers and runs to get her hat and boots on. I must continue to take our activities into nature even on days when the weather is less than ideal. Our individual wellness as well as the wellness of our family depends on it. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mid-Winter Harvest

How blessed we are to live in a climate that allows for continual harvests from our backyard garden. Yesterday I collect a big basket of garden goodies and enjoyed an amazing roasted veggie dish for dinner (simply roasted carrots, turnips and garlic in a dish with olive oil, smoked sea salt and pepper). We got beautiful carrots (thanks in part to this fertilizer, small but sweet purple top turnips, a few small beets, a couple leeks and of course the trusty kale. We also have a few herbs for harvest in the green house and it looks as though we will have cabbage in the spring. I'm pretty pleased with my winter garden this year. There were some disappointments but the harvest is just as tasty as in the fall.
If I do a winter garden next year (which I'm almost certain I will) I think I will need better crop covers and I will need to be more proactive about pest control. The birds and slugs have really done a number on my brussels sprouts and cabbage. The cabbage might make it but the brussels are done for. I also think a bit more soil amendments will go a long way. My carrots were wonderful but my parsnips are small and sad. My beets are also really small. The last lesson I learned is that I need to plant most of my winter plants even earlier than I did this year. It's tough since the garden is in full swing in the summer but a bit more planning on my part should yield better results next year.

Friday, January 18, 2013

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In the Inlet

This past weekend we paid a visit to one of our favorite places. Todd Inlet is a beautiful quiet retreat not too far from our home. It's a quick and easy hike down Mackenzie Bight to the inlet. We are always treated to stunning views and animal visitors. Although we didn't spot any seals, we did enjoy listening to the ravens call. What a clear (yet icy) and beautiful day. A perfect way to get a good dose of nature and bring back a sense of calm after the holidays.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Seedy Saturday

Wow, a new year already and it seems preparations for a new growing season are under-way. It feels like we only just covered our beds for the winter. We spent this past Saturday at Seedy Saturday at Haliburton Farms. I love when I have the opportunity to get together with other small-scale farmers. There was a community seed swap, that although I had nothing to contribute reminded just how many things can grow here and how many seeds I could be saving.
I took the opportunity to pick up a few seed packages for herbs and flowers and some greens. There were lovely displays that just got me thinking more and more about saving seeds. I think that will be my mission this year. Save as many seeds as I can.
They also had a young seedsavers area. On the drive out I was telling April that we were going to get seeds to grow plants but she was so confused. The little childrens area had books, coloring and allowed the children to blend their own seed mix of flowers and herbs. It was lovely to see the understanding on her face when we left. Yes, we were there for the seeds.
Before we left, we took the time to wander through the gardens. It was a cold day and though the sun was out, much was still frozen (as it is in my garden). However, walking past their brussels sprouts made me realize that mine have no hope at this point, the slugs have won that battle.
We headed home, seed packets in hand, dreaming of the garden that is only months away from taking form. The excitement is building.

Friday, January 4, 2013

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