Winter Weekend

More snow!

I know, I’m probably the only person on the eastern seaboard right now who gets excited over seeing snow anymore. Can’t help it.  Even after trudging out in it in the morning to put out fresh hay and again for evening feeding (and to knock the accumulated snow off the shelter) I was still smitten with it.



The kids stayed mostly in their pj’s all day, snuggled on the couch with hot cocoa and popcorn watching Rise of the Guardians and Bob’s Burgers.

We also spent a not-insignificant amount of time watching the cat, who was watching the birds.


She knows how to keep us entertained!

I was able to get a decent amount of knitting done on my Shepherd sweater. I’ve got one sleeve finished and I’m about a third of the way done with the second. I can’t believe how slow it’s going.  Not that I am a quick knitter or anything, but man! All that cabling really slows me down.

I’ve got some patterns pulled out that I am hoping to get to work on soon as well. I want to make a few more Renfew tops, some Espresso leggings, and at least one more Lady Skater.  I’ve also got some lovely Moda Crepe that I want to use to make another Lonsdale.

It probably won’t happen today, but it’s an exciting prospect to have it lined up.

I’m also toying with the idea of making a rain jacket with Minoru since I will need one in June, because……and here comes the super big news of the year……I am heading to Europe for 15 days with my sister and middle child!

Specifically, we are flying into Edinburgh, Scotland and staying there for 3 nights.  Even in June I will likely need a light jacket or sweater in the evenings.  My friend Jessie and her family will be there at the same time. We are already looking ahead to having a pint together in Scotland!

We are then taking the train to London (where a rain jacket will be a must) where we will stay for 5 days before taking another train to Paris. Happily, my friend Jennifer lives in London and we will be able to meet up with her while we are there.  We are also lucky enough to be able to stay with my friend Aurelie at her apartment in Versailles for 3 nights.  I haven’t seen her since before Oona was born, so I am crazy excited!

After Paris we are heading to Wiesbaden, Germany to stay with my friend Diana, who’s been there for work since August.

I am still amazed that we will see someone we know in each European city we are visiting!

We’ve got our tickets and our hotels in the UK booked and I can’t even tell you how hard it is now to just wait. I’m throwing myself into my knitting and crafting and garden planning  to stay occupied.

Before we get there, spring will come. The garden will be planted and the bees will be out gathering pollen and nectar. And most important of all, Susan’s baby will be here!

It’s going to be an incredible year!



A London Dress For Neve

Neve’s been after me for a while to use some of my London-themed fabric to make her a dress, so this weekend I went through my patterns and we decided on the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver & S.


I used some Riley Blake fabric wit complimenting colors and patterns and cut it out two days ago.  Today I got to work on it all day and was done in just a few hours.

It was a breeze to throw together; though I think I might personally prefer this pattern made up in a soft knit.  Neve is pretty happy with it, though.



I did the bottom panel and the pocket yokes in the contrast fabric but left the top yoke in the main fabric.


I’m curious to see how it drapes after several washes and wearings; the fabric still has quite a bit of stiffness to it.





I can’t wait to try this pattern again; there are so many different fabric options that would be super cute with it!

Another Weekend, Come and Gone

The thing about blogging is that sometimes you’re at a loss for what to say after a weekend of lounging around with your cats, watching a Top Gear marathon on BBC.  Hardly makes for exciting reading, right?

I CAN tell you that we have gotten new neighbors, and Lucy and Orzo helpfully went over to personally greet them.  As it turns out, the woman over there is terrified of dogs.  *Sigh*

If we are very lucky they will be much like the previous neighbors, whom we barely even knew were there.

As for the neighbors behind us (the church) we discovered that (adding insult to injury) the clearing for the cemetery behind us was only part one.  Part two is the absolute clearcutting they will be doing to make themselves a new septic field for their new building (oh and the new neighbors want to clear cut as well – buhbye privacy!).

Thank goodness for cheap trees at Arbor Day Foundation. Looks like we’ll be buying spruce trees by the ton!

I did some more weeding in the gardens and pulled out all of the failed/failing squash plants.  The squash bugs beat me thoroughly, yet again.  I tried picking them off every day, twice a day.  It did no good.  I even tried the dish soap spray.  It made the plants look even worse.  Next year I’ll be using floating row covers and Neem oil.

The thing about Neem is that there’s no solid evidence of how it affects honeybees, so I have to be very careful.  The squash will only get sprayed at night when the bees are in their hives, and not at all once the plants have flowered.  Unfortunately it’s too late to try it this year.  The second planting of cucumber and zucchini I put in in July hasn’t grown very large due to the cooler weather.  If we don’t get a heatwave for the remainder of summer and into September I doubt they will fruit at all.

My tomato plants are looking great at the moment, and I’ve pulled a few nice cherry tomatoes off already.


Unfortunately the only varieties that are doing well are the Chadwick Cherry plants and the Mortgage Lifter plants.  None of the Cherokee Purple or San Marzano made it.

To hopefully remediate my garden woes I’m working on the soil this year.  We have had historically poor soil; fortunately we have crazy amounts of compost!  The area that was the lambing pen this year has broken down into the blackest, slickest dirt you could hope for (hay plus wood shavings plus lots of pee and poop sitting in the sun alllll summer).  I’ve been digging it up with the tractor and dumping it on areas of the gardens that are done for the season.  We also have plenty of fallen hay (full of poop from the livestock) that I will till in this fall and leave for next spring, in hopes of helping build better dirt for growing.

But for now my focus is on fall. The spots where the squash was pulled out were planted with brussels sprouts, parsnips, kale and chard. Garlic seeds are on order, and strawberries will be ordered soon for a spring bloom.

My mums are already blooming (crazy, right?).


Once they start selling these in stores I’ll buy a few more to continue lining the walkway out front with them.


This little jealous mister hung out with me while I tried to clean the craft room a bit. I didn’t get very far.  I got all of the coming year’s school stuff sorted and that was about it.


We DID make time to roast marshmallows.


Orzo and Lucy were on hand in case we dropped any.


And maybe to try and sneak one from the bag if Maddie would just look away.



There’s a whole lotta kitty lovin’ going on.


It’s going to be a sad day when she can’t fit in the napkin basket anymore.


Of course, it will be nice to have a place to put the new napkins I made.

And these ones for Halloween:


I guess as it turns out that for a weekend where it seemed like not much happened, I had a lot to say!


Red Lady Skater

This weekend I was very excited to finally try out the Lady Skater Pattern from Kitschy Coo.

I had bought some red organic cotton from specifically for it and couldn’t wait to cut into it.  I mean, seriously – a dress that’s made to be flattering out of easy-to-care-for and comfortable tee shirt fabric?



I am super happy with it.  I did have to take it down a few sizes from where I thought I should be.  Even after measuring it was too big the first go around.  I honestly could probably even take another inch out of the waist area, but right now I am just enjoying the swing of the skirt and the softness of the fabric.


I haven’t hemmed the bottom yet; with knits like this it’s best to wear them a few times to let the fabric settle out where it’s going to fall before adding a hem.  Also, it was a pretty clean cut so I may not need to hem at all, if I don’t want it to be super “finished”.  It’s got a tiny bit of a natural “roll” right now that I am kind of digging.


I really want to make one in every color now.  I think this one is going to look fantastic with my Shepherd sweater once it’s done, in all its creamy oatmeal-brownness!


And shut up about my hair.  I know it’s waaay overdue and my roots like terrible.

I’ll get to it.



Sewing Victory!

I decided that since the temperature wasn’t going to get very high and it was going to rain all weekend I could justify dedicating the entire weekend to sewing.

I’m so glad I did – it’s been glorious!

The first project I worked on was a dress I had started last summer for Oona and figured I had better finish before it was too small!


The pattern is Oliver & S’s “Family Reunion”.

I don’t remember where the fabric is from, unfortunately.  I bought it quite awhile ago.


The only modifications I made to the pattern are that I did not add little decorative  buttons on the front tab , and I did not topstitch the hem.


I had to fight my sewing machine to get the automatic buttonhole feature working properly.  It took two needle changes, a cleaning out of the bobbin casing (lots of lint!) and a change of thread.  Sometimes it’s just fussy things like that.

The buttons on this are vintage ones that were my grandmother’s.  They match perfectly, don’t they?


I just adore this fabric!



She wore it all day and wouldn’t even remove it for bedtime.

I’ve moved on to my next projects: The Lady Skater Dress in a red cotton and The Renfrew shirt in a blue Ponte de Roma knit (its a poly/rayon blend I normally wouldn’t go for, but it’s very nice and drapey.

I have plenty of Harney and Sons tea to fortify me (and Neve made chocolate chip cookies), so hopefully I will have progress photos soon!


Getting Too Ambitious

It’s almost March.  March means St. Patrick’s Day.  It means my wedding anniversary.  It means it’s almost spring.

We’ve already started digging out our books about Irish folklore for school, and searching out just the right shade of green polish for our toenails.  My iTunes playlist has been updated with plenty of Irish artists (John Cunningham is a favorite).

We’re starting to think about watching Darby O’Gill And The Little People.

We’re craving the look of green grass and the sound of new lambs bleating and sproinging around in the fields.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

March is a month of contradiction.  It heralds the vernal equinox but it also usually is the month of our biggest snows. Actual spring is still a ways off.  Even though my spring seed list is complete it is too early to start them just yet.

For now we must content ourselves with mostly indoor projects and finish those things we can before we move on to the outdoor ones.  And in doing so, it’s been difficult not to be overly ambitious.  After all, I have had some wonderful things lined up for quite awhile awaiting my time.


These two fabrics just scream “early spring” for me.  They’ve been sitting on a shelf for several years now, patiently waiting to become a quilt.  I’m hoping I can start some cutting on it today.


And then there’s this incredible llama-themed fabric Susan bought me last year for my birthday.  I am just as smitten with it today as I was when I first saw it (look at the llamas!  And the knitting needles with balls of yarn!!!), and I can’t wait for the perfect quilt project for it.


Let’s not forget this adorable British-themed fabric I have been collecting in small bits here and there over the last year.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pour myself a cup of tea and look through one of my British Country Living magazines.

See?  Fairly overwhelmed with sewing possibilities!

But what about knitting?  I have about a million and one projects lined up to go on the needles, but for now I am thrilled to be moving along nicely with my Shepherd Sweater:


I’ve reached that magical point in knitting it where I can begin to split out for the sleeves and the front.


The most miraculous part? I am not even remotely bored with this yet.  I don’t know if it’s the yarn, the pattern or the combination of both, but this is still thoroughly enjoyable knitting.  I can see myself casting on another one as soon as this one is complete.  No, I am not even kidding. Maybe I can use some of my cream-colored Aran weight yarn?  Or the teal blue one?

Either way I need more hours in my day.  And more months before spring, apparently.

Nearly There

It’s December 23.  I cannot believe how quickly we’ve gotten here.  I wish we had a few more days to linger in this “it’s nearly Christmas” glow, where everyone is home (or on their way home) with friends and family in joyful anticipation and excitement (unlike the nasty holiday crowds in the bigger stores today).

We may not have accomplished everything I’d hoped in time, but we did do quite a lot.  Holiday stories were read.  Gingerbread houses were made (and eaten).




My Christmas quilt was finally finished.


Friends were received and parties were attended.




Lots of food was prepared (and eaten!)





One more glorious day of “before-ness” is left us.  One more day before the explosion of gifts and sugar-loaded children.  One more day.


I’m going to curl up with my cutie and watch It’s A Wonderful Life with some mulled wine.

It’s nearly time.

Everyone Loves Tanya!

My wonderfully sweet friend Tanya came and stayed with us this weekend so she could have some visiting time with us before the holidays, and to see Susan and accompany us to our friend Lisa’s Christmas.

We also managed to talk her into staying an extra few days so we could take a trip up to Ikea and pick up Francis the ram.

Tanya’s visits are always lovely and calming, but this time she did something extra special for me.


She made- MADE -Susan and I each one of these felted pin cushions.  I can’t even tell you how much I love this.  I would love it even if it was store bought, but the fact that she crafted it herself makes it so much more meaningful.


She made it to look like an English manor house (knowing how much I like all things English!)  Check out the walkway.  And the little chimney and smoke!  You know what’s even better/more amazing about the bushes and smoke?


They’re pins!!!!!!

I truly have some of the best friends a girl could ask for, and I am going to be more mindful every day to tell them so.

Tanya?  I love you!  You’re awesome!

If you’re interested in where the idea came from or to make one of your own, you can buy the pattern HERE from the talented designer, Mimi Kirchner.


Iced In

Right now I should be drinking wine, eating delicious homemade pumpkin ravioli, and enjoying a lot of warmth and laughter with some of my best friends.

Instead, I am sitting in my pajamas drinking coffee and looking forward to next week, when our annual holiday book club meeting will take place due to today’s ice storm.

We are well and truly iced in here.  And by “here” I mean our property, not necessarily the house, because we have to go outside and care for the flock, ice or no.


It’s miserable out there.  The gates were iced over and stuck shut.  The slope down to the pasture was all iced over.  The outer pen where Lucy and Orzo currently live is all slushed mud and poo. The pig pen is nearly solid ice.  So is the back deck, though Cini has been hanging out there anyway.

So yeah, feeding was tons of fun, with all that cold, wet wool pressed up against my legs, and jerk-face Jerry trying to knock the bucket out of my hands.

The good news is that the tank de-icer is working beautifully! The water tanks are nice and full and liquid.

In between feedings we all huddled around the fireplace for a bit and I got some actual sewing done.


New pajama pants for me in a lovely flannel I bought last year. I also reconfigured the serger so I could put a rolled edge on some holiday fabric squares to make napkins.

There’s a zillion other things I’d really like to get done.  Like my Shepherd sweater, or some new Christmas pillows for the couch.

I also wouldn’t mind getting started on some cookie baking.  Or knitting some socks with some of the yarn I’ve been dyeing.


These are the holiday colorways I came up with. It’s been fun messing around with color and learning how the chemicals work, but alas, the whole caboodle of supplies has been boxed up and is on its way to Lauria so she can finish up the JMF Sock Club yarn.  However, I’ll be playing with it some more in the near future and helping Susan and Lauria with it next year once I’m a little more confident.

BUT rather than all of those super fun and creative things, I am going to make dinner for everyone.

No rest for the weary, as they say.