Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring is Here - Almost, and a Surprise Garden

Last week, just as all my bulbs were pushing up, and primroses were blooming, we got a bit of snow. 

We loved the effect of snow falling at night, lit by the floodlights on the deck!
And my daughter asked if she could 'dress-up' for an artistic photo.
And my son, too :)
And after some hot cocoa and some warming-up, it was right back to spring, with all the snow quickly gone.
The fun part about having just moved, is that it is a process of delightful discovery in the garden.
I had no idea what would bloom.
So far I've seen daffodils, and mini-daffodils, and primroses, and grape hyacinth.
Things are budding and blooming all over the place. 

Forsythia, and bushes with fragrant pink flowers I do not recognize.
Framing the curve of the pond are bunches of daffodils, in between bunches of something else, with forsythia beginning to bud in the back.
And iris coming out of the water.
So much more to come.
So much to discover. 
It's going to be so lovely.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Sweater for Ruff Ruff

I finally knitted a sweater for Ruff-Ruff!

Ruff-Ruff, of course, is a stuffed dog.  We should re-name him to "Rough Rough."  He's been on maybe one adventure too many.  He has had several surgeries. 

I used The Sitting Tree's pattern for this doll sweater, the Luna sweater

I loved the square shaping.

I also made the buttons!!  Using the tutorial at The Sitting Tree, we cut some fir branches into 1/4 inch rounds, sanded them, drilled holes, and oiled them to bring out the wood finish.  They are my favorite thing, right now!  Could the bark on the rim be any cooler??

My 8-year-old boy suggested awhile ago that it would be so nice if I'd knit something  for Ruff-Ruff, who's favorite color is maroon, by the way.   

Isn't that wonderful?

I am living a wonderful kind of life.  It's hard, sometimes painful, and very tiring, but wonderful.

My kids are different from their peers.

They make up games, they have their own inside jokes, they just filmed a short fairy-tale production.

They appreciate art, they take unique photos, they knit with me, they spend hours drawing and coloring.

They have made an art of playing with sticks and rocks.  And as I write this there sit some homeade bows and arrows near me.

I have two boys (18 months apart) that cannot call a day complete unless they have had a chance to really talk to each other.  They whine to me when the other one is gone too long. 

They don't often ask for things, and they don't expect them. 

But many kids without all the electronic bells and whistles, the fashions, and the toys their friend's have become resentful instead of creative.

My kids are not resentful. They are grateful. And they are kind.

We are not hillbillies.  My kids are even in public school, most of the time. We love our television, a lot, and probably watch way too much.   And our computer.  Maybe this would be the time to say my husband is a network engineer?  And I'm no perfect Momma:  my biggest failing is that my temper too often gets the better of me.

With 5 kids I can't do what I could if I just had one or two.  It's true. Is it ok for me to say that in cyberspace? Sometimes I feel this enormous pressure to make sure that all my kids are geniuses, athletes, and musicians extraordinaire.  There is not one single day that goes by that I don't feel that pressure. 

Funny thing is, after 14 years of this mommy stuff, I'm starting to realize that sometimes less really is more.  And sometimes, it is precisely this lack of material things and running around, that has caused my kids to draw closer to each other.  It has brought out some fierce creativity and compassion. 

And despite all of our many imperfections, we have something really special in our home.  Every day there is this feeling of acceptance and freedom to be yourself in our home.  I hope my kids never grow up! I'm sure I won't!

My daughter asked for a weaving loom for her 13th birthday.  She knew there would be no smart phone or DS.  She has created the most amazing things! Now at 14 she wants to be a fashion designer and a graphic artist.

My son asked for a kit with bird-watching stuff in it for Christmas.  Santa gave him a bird guide, some binoculars, and bird-feed.  He sits in a quiet camp chair by the creek and waits quietly for them to come by.  He finds the extra peace that he really needs.

Yes, we now have a beautiful lot with natural wonders for my kids to explore. We are so thrilled!  But this is new to us.  The seeds for this were planted long ago, with five little kids in a 1500 square foot house.  Our setting has changed for the better, but the day-to-day is still the same. 

I have been blessed, truly blessed, to share my life with these kids.  They are so patient with me.  I'm so lucky! And to every day be a small part of their exciting, wonderful world.

And all of this of course, leads to, a sweater for Ruff-Ruff.  Without suspecting a thing, my boy got to open one of Mama's signature, special brown boxes.  And he adored this little sweater.  Really.  What kid asks for that?

Mine does.

Don't I have it good?

Happy Birthday to our Alainator! May he always be just a little bit (I did say just a little bit) wild and free! Just the way we love him. 

Linking up to
Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On
Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday
Tami Ami's Finished Object Friday

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urania - The Butterfly Shawl

Today I'm sharing my current knitting WIP, or work-in-progress, as well as a book I am enjoying right now.

I am finally working on a shawl called Urania.

It's name comes from a moth with unique colors.  When it's finished, I hope that will make more sense. 

I came across the shawl on display at a favorite knitting store in Poulsbo, Washington, Amanda's Art-Yarn.

I've seen a lot of shawls.  Some really cool ones, some really beautiful ones.

I'd never seen anything like this before.  Wild contrasting colors!  Colors that shouldn't go together - but they do! 

I knew I had to make it.

This was in August.

It had to wait for it's turn on the needles.

In between all the laundry, the dishes, the kid's schoolwork, sick kids, and that crazy life of mine.

Poor sick girl this week. 

It's now time.

Here we are, with lovely, easy, rows of garter stitch in these amazing bright colors.

An easy pattern for sure.

I can't wait to finish!

We've also been enjoying the book, Extra Yarn.

Although reading it to a two-year-old can be slightly hazardous.

As it may have led to a skein of yarn getting unraveled into one large web all over the living room.

Sorry I did not take a picture of that, but should have.

But I do have something else, to quickly show you.

A sneak preview of a little project for my hand-knits that I am so excited about.

Happy Knitting!

Sharing today with Ginny's Yarn Along,
Tami Ami's Work In Progress Wednesday,
and Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rustic Springscapes


I'm so excited about my Springscapes this year.

I've had Spring Fever for so long. 

If you don't know me, I just moved into a house that looks like a treehouse.

And faces the edge of a forest.

I've coined my new style Trees and Toile.

To mix my love of all things elegant, with the rustic things I am finding all around me.

On my entryway sideboard there are so many natural elements: pussywillows, acorns, moss, nests, etc.
This nest came down when we were pruning.

I hung easter eggs from pussywillow branches.

I still have a hard time actually buying moss from a craft store. Has something to do with how much work it is to remove moss from things around here.  The bright green moss was taken from an outbuilding rooftop. It is at least 5 inches thick! The other moss was purchased at the dollar store.


I recently got a 35mm 1.8G lens for my Nikon D3100.  I know this will mean something to some of you out there.  Finally, I'm getting good interior photos!!  I still have a lot to learn about photography, but I'm so excited to be making progress.

Here's my Spring Tablescape, complete with lovely tulips from my husband :)

My big news is that today we had some SUNBREAKS!!!!!  It seemed appropriate to dress my littlest munchkin in a lovely Spring dress and then head outside :)

Please check out all the fabulous links for the 6 Days of Spring!

One favorite is the Lovely Green decor at Town and Country Living.
And of course French Country Cottage's Spring Mantle.