The Cuteness Factor

I often share a new project each week, and I have started on a new project but, as it’s a gift, it will have to stay a secret for now. Instead, here is Molly wearing her On-the-goveralls.  Yes, these were suppose to be sized 0-6 months (turns out more like 12 months). One of the down sides of making clothes for your little ones to grow into is that it can be hard to catch them in the right size. They grow so quickly and soon those too big outfits have become too small! Not this time!

Here’s the upside: cuteness x 10!

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Yep, worth it!

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Sheep

Sheep!

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I’m counting down the days ’till we bring home our flock. We have found a  breeder of Coopworth sheep, conveniently near us. Shearing day is soon, followed by lambing, and then, after the lambs are old enough to wean (around 60 days) we’ll be bringing our small flock home.

The farm was kind enough to have us all over to meet their sheep and answer our (many) questions.  Struggling_along managed to snap some photos and carry Molly around while I got a bit more hands on with the ewes, and Ezra made fast friends with their dog.

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Rugs

Somehow I find myself working on not just one rug, but two! Maybe the cold, which seeps in through any crack it can find, is inspiring me to add layers to the floors. It has been extremely cold this year; I can’t remember the last time is was above freezing!

The first rug you might recognize. I began crocheting this rug a while back but I decided to pull it out and restart it in more of an oval shape than a circle using the new crotch hook I carved a few months back. When I get a little further along I’ll be sure to update the photo, here’s how it was…look at all that green grass!

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The second rug is a pom-pom rug. Consisting of a ton of pom-poms, sewn to a rug backing, it looks rather like a shag rug. I have a LOT of pom-poms to go but they are easy to make.

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A handful of pom-poms.

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Molly’s Poncho Continues

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It’s more purple than it looks here.

 This is just one of those projects that stretches on and on. Four months, it’s been! I was thinking I’d be done in a month but life has been full of activity; it’s hard to knit when your hands are full. I’m onto the back now. Once the front and back are the same length I’ll pick up stitches around the edge and add-on a trim and then the hood is picked up and knit around the neckline. Add a few buttons under the arms and…voilà, it’ll be done.
I do like the visual effect of the pattern. It’s a 24 row repeat and now that I’m “in the pattern” it’s easy enough to figure out where I am and which row I’m on. This is actually speeding things up a bit since I don’t have to spend 5 minutes just figuring out where I am when all I have is 5 minutes. Good thing I started it with spring in mind!

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Happy & Sad

Molly Stark is one!

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She’s climbing, walking and already trying to do whatever her older brothers are doing. Her first word was cat (a whole lot like Noah’ first word: hat) which is fitting because she just loves the cats.

I made her a knitted birthday crown but, being similar to a hat, she swipes it off her head before I can take a photo. I made it a tad large so she can wear it next year when she’ll be a bit more into birthdays and wearing birthday crowns.

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Noah made sure it was wearable.

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Now for the sad bit. Sasquatch, that “little” black puppy we kept out of Megan’s litter last year, was hit by a car. While he had his mischievous moments, like any puppy, he was a true buddy. He is greatly missed.

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Crafting with Kids

Kids love to make stuff.

Provide some materials, heck let them find their own materials, and all sorts of creations will appear. The creative process is a personal one so I try to leave what they create and how up to them. We have basic craft supplies on hand with occasional special material (for as long as they last). Simple materials have the potential to become anything. Take paper for an example:  sketch or paint on it;  fold a sheet of paper into a plane, a sun catcher, origami figures; cut them into snowflakes, paper doll chains; coat strips into paper mache. Sculp with clay, scented play dough or why not fondant for a change of pace?!  Whittle away at a piece of wood or nail them together. There are tons of materials I didn’t even mention too!

Kids crafts are simple so that they are within their abilities while providing a chance at mastery, an opportunity to be in control and have fun. No wonder art is often used in therapy! Join them creating something yourself. Model the attention to detail and dedication to your own project. A mess is practically unavoidable, but it’s a good sign folks are doing things! Honor their efforts even if the results aren’t quite a “masterpiece” (or even recognizable). Ask questions about what they made and why they choose to do what they did. Finally, put their (and your) work on display for others to see and be inspired by.

Here are some recent creations:

Be Happy and Always Smile

DSCN8543 DSCN8547 DSCN8549 DSCN8560 DSCN8569Whew! It’s been a while since I last posted. Between the holidays and this cold, or flu, or whatever it is going around I’ve mostly been in nursing/recovery mode. The boys and  I do have a few crafting projects to share with you but that will have to be another day. For now here’s a reminder to Be Happy and Always Smile, brought to you by Molly!

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Winter Holidays = Cookies

It’s that time of year! Winter is well and truly here; winter solstice and Christmas are just around the corner. Our outdoor projects have been traded for some much-needed indoor renovations. So we’re shifting things here and there, patching walls and ceilings and generally making a huge mess. That’s right, a week ’till Christmas and we’re tearing the house apart. Not to worry though, this is just a classic example of “it gets worse before it gets better”, and we are beyond ready to be rid of these old pepto bismol pink walls!

But, as we all know, the holidays are not about whether or not your walls are pink, or if your house is spotless in time for guests, the holidays are about being together with those we love. So while we are chipping away at the piles of stuff (in hopes of fitting a tree in here somewhere) we’re also making time to bake cookies (and eat them with friends), play in the snow, craft ornaments, read, and just spend time together.

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DSCN8453The tree is by Ezra and the I is by Ishmael, of course!

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DSCN8410On the topic of cookies, if you’re looking for a gluten/grain/nut/ egg/dairy free (AIP Compliant, Autoimmune Protocol) cookies you have to try these Jam-filled Thumbprint Cookies from Delicious Obsessions. I tried a couple other AIP cookie recipes with such dismal results I almost gave up on the idea of cookies. These are a mixture of coconut butter, shredded coconut and coconut flour which give the cookies a great crumbly cookie texture. You can make your own coconut butter by running shredded coconut through the food processor until it resembles a nut butter. It will be runny and a tad grainy immediately after processing but it will set up, like store brought coconut butter, with a little time. These cookies work best with warm stir-able coconut butter so freshly made coconut butter is perfect.

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DSCN8445For everyone else, we made these to use with the cookie cutters. Everyone says they’re good and it’s a great recipe for kids because the dough is easy to handle and doesn’t fall apart easily. We also made these thumbprint cookies this year. They have no nuts so my kids prefer them to the traditional nut rolled thumbprint cookies. I find we make a handful of the same kinds of cookies every year plus one or two new kinds for fun. Cookies are essential for the holidays – and we’re fresh out!

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A Quick Knit and Bacon Experiment

Sometimes a quick knitting project is needed. Something you can finish in a day, maybe two. Molly needed another winter hat so it all worked out quite well. Molly is at the stage where hats are a fun game. I put the hat on her head, she swipes it off and waves it about. Sometimes she tries to put it on herself. Don’t think of helping her cause then she’ll pull it back off and it starts all over.

I had some leftover yarn from this BSJ and a pattern for a cute hat. I lost the pattern though (!), so I just made it up as I went along, ending up with an elvish hat. The older brothers just love all things elf related so they’re excited about the prospect of Molly outgrowing said hat and having their stuffies get to wear it. In fact, Molly’s hat went for a round of trying on and has disappeared. SO, no cute photos of Molly “in” her hat.

As not to leave you photo less I’ll share with you a recent experiment in our bacon curing. Normally I cure our sides or bacon in the fridge with just maple syrup, brown sugar and salt. No nitrates.  I think I’ve done several posts on how I make it previously if you look under recipes. It’s good but, not like store bacon. I thought it was possibly the nitrate factor. Celery is a natural source of nitrates and I had plenty of celery in the garden. I made one half with added juiced celery and one without.

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With (below)

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We cooked up a couple of slices of each. They were tasty and pretty close in flavor. Although, we both thought that maybe, the one with celery was better; a little deeper in flavor. We would have cooked up a bit more for comparison’s sake but Sasquatch, that little puppy Megan had last year, snatch up the side of bacon and devoured it. So we’ll be trying that again and keeping a better eye on the dogs.

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