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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Three!

 

DSCN6558Ishmael is three!

What a fun day we had. The older boys arranged some games to play with Ishmael and we read Ishi’s favorite book: Let’s eat! Taking time to carefully study the birthday party scene. I think three is the first birthday when they can understand and fully embrace that their day is, well, their day. As per tradition we hung the birthday banner, set the table (with the blue table-cloth), lit a candle and ate the birthday boy’s requested meals: mac and cheese for lunch and for supper: roasted chicken with baked potatoes, corn and a salad (from our garden). And, of course, there was cake (blue cake), presents and three boys happily playing together (Molly wiggled about excitedly).

Ishmael always loves to help in the kitchen so rather than having the birthday cake make a surprise appearance Ishmael helped to make it. Of course a cook in the kitchen needs an apron. We have only one child’s apron and you can imagine the scene when two or more boys want to help. So I made Ishmael his very own apron. He picked out the (blue) dinosaur fabric from my stash. I had some matching yellow fabric that I used for the bias tape, which also is the neck and waist tie.

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While I had the sewing machine out I made him a zippered pillow case as well. It turned out nicely. The fabric has cute animals on it and I found a matching zipper which I managed to sew in successfully. Sorry no photos of it or the birthday party because my camera is lost.Cross your fingers we find it soon!

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Quilting

Early Saturday morning, since the kids weren’t going to let me sleep in any way, I got the idea to put to use a bunch of 5 inch squares I was kindly given by my Grandmother. What use could be more obvious for a bunch of small squares than a quilt?!  We have a small stack of handmade quilts made, lovingly for one or another of the kids, by a handful of relatives who are all wonderful quilters. These quilts see a lot of use! Noah, Ezra and Ishmael each have one on their beds. The rest of them are in frequent rotation for things like tents, picnics etc. Plus, small quilts make a great place to change, or just cuddle, a baby. Even though I’m nowhere near as skilled at quilting as my relatives I’ll get in some practice now. Perhaps someday, if this quilt survives its use, it’ll be passed on in a long tradition of family handmade items. If it doesn’t make it at least that means it saw some use and what could possibly be better than that?

  Half way there. DSCN5724

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Hot Pads

Hot pads live a hard life, or at least they do in my kitchen. Stains, rips, thin or burnt(!) spots, are inevitable. I needed a few new hot pads so I decided to sew some. While I was at it I thought of a few friends and family on my gift list who might be able to use a set too. They spend their fair share of time in the kitchen cooking and baking. My boys guessed on the first try which hot pads were for who. So rather than completely give away their gifts I’ll share just the hot pads I made for my kitchen. The first two are just fabric scraps I like and then I made some to match my new apron.

I looked at this tutorial to get me going. The square ones are a cinch; the mitts are a tad more complicated but doable. Go ahead, get the sewing machine out, make your own kitchen a bit more festive this holiday season, or make a few new hot pads for the cooks in your life.

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Portable Art Kits {KCCO}

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This past weekend my best friend held a birthday party for her two little ones. They’re the same age as my two oldest and have a lot of the same interests. My boys and I collaborated to make them each a gift. We decided they might enjoy a portable art kit, complete with crayons, paper, scissors, glue stick, and colored glitter glue.

For the younger of the two (a girl) the boys picked out a fleece cat print. Our friends recently got a kitten and my boys LOVE their cats so the cat print was voted the obvious choice. The fleece was thick so this was a “no-sew” project. Just cut slits, not too wide or the art supplies will slip out, and fold/ roll it up. To keep it closed I sewed on two buttons and cut to tiny slits in the far edge.

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For the older of the two (a boy) my boys picked out batman fabric. All the boys love batman, and superheros, ninjas etc. Since this fabric was thin cotton I padded it so the crayons wouldn’t break and the kit wouldn’t be flimsy.  I sewed on a pocket to hold the paper and little “tubes” to hold the rest. This one folds in thirds and ties closed.

DSCN3585DSCN3578Ready to go: in the car, to an appointment or restaurant, outside or just around the house.

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KCCO/Yarn Along {Reuse}

Sometimes the easiest way to have a new knit garment is to reuse a knit that’s already made. I was given a sweater and a pair of handmade socks that didn’t fit anyone in the family. Rather than tossing them aside I decided to turn them into something new. After removing the sleeves (sewing the armholes closed) and cutting the top of the sweater down into a waistband the sweater fit nicely as a skirt. The sleeves I made into legwarmers.

DSCN3536As for the socks I transformed them into wrist warmers. I cut off the toes, which were quite worn and darned once already anyways. Then I was able to unravel the socks. I left about an inch above the heel, before the ribbing. Using a small crochet hook I worked a simple bind off. This part is the wrist warmer’s bottom.

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A Few Tops {KCCO/Yarn Along}

Back before we had this shift in the weather, and it was still hot out, I found myself needing a few shirts that were not stretched out beyond wearing and were cool enough for summer. I just happened to be perusing  One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. I had this book for years but for some reason had never made anything from it. This time through I noted several patterns to make, after all they only use one yard of fabric, and to satisfy my actual need for shirts I made myself a Pintucked Top (pgs 130-131) and the incredibly easy Mother-Daughter Halter Tops (pgs 142-143). Although since I don’t have a daughter I just made one adult sized top. Having no bias tape on hand nor wanting to take the time to make any I resorted to doubling some bulky yarn and crocheting a simple chain to use instead. I used this same crocheted chain instead of ribbon on the halter top as well.

My and my 2 yr old’s attempts to take photos of me:

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Milking the goats. Pretty good photo for a toddler.

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The fabric up close- one of my favorites!

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The halter top. The back is just a simple tie, which my hair covers anyways.

Also, I’ve finished Sea and Sky Planet X which was a knitting project from earlier this summer. The cooler weather makes this the perfect time to wear it. This was my first time knitting with Noro. What took me so long!? I love the colors they use in their skeins.

DSCN3141And the front-it’s one piece.

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KCCO/Yarn Along {Table Runner and a New Life for a Hat}

DSCN9435My Grandmother sent up this fabric and for some reason I envisioned it as a table runner so that’s what we did, my helpers and I.

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DSCN9436It went together fairly quickly so we did a little work on what will one day be my new quilt. While we were digging through the fabrics we came across a hat I had knit a while back for the boys. Can you believe that’s Ezra?!

100_0084The hat brim had torn through and it needed a new life. So we fixed it:

DSCN9474DSCN9466A table runner, a “new” hat and two helpers who thought it was fun – definitely a good winter day!

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