Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dining Room Reveal and Knitted Pumpkins

Living out here in the country is changing me for the better.   Interior decorating has been my lifelong passion.   How to arrange a mantle?  What colors are soothing in a home?  How to make something look more pleasing to the eye?  Where to arrange the furniture? Making an art of it all. 

But somewhere along my journey, I forgot,
that sometimes the most beautiful things
are the most
These days, a walk outside reveals more natural beauty now than any purchased accessory from a store.  I find myself looking out the window more than I look at the walls.  I am every day in awe of the powerful simple beauty of trees.  Or the creek nearby.
It's not that I didn't love nature before, I was always one of those kids that played outside alone all day every day.  I found solace in the trees and the dirt and the frogs.
But life happens, and usually we live where we have to instead of where we want to.   When we lived in town, my views were concrete streets and telephone poles.
So I focused on arranging my furniture and painting my walls and finding that perfect accessory. I had forgotten to remember some of the simple things.
When we found this place, I was disappointed by the brown and the brass and the 1970's chic.
But now,
Instead of having to go and seek out the natural,
It's just a part of my daily rhythm.
The wind rustling the ferns outside the window,
The sound of the frogs croaking at night,
The sun coming up over the horizon from the deck,
The cedars waving their lacy branches.
And I've found myself changing.  Being grateful.  Going more slowly sometimes. Knitting and Spinning more. Taking longer to get inside projects done.  Bringing the outdoors in as home décor: branches in the dining room, leaves on the mantle, pinecones in jars.
These things are becoming my home decorating accessories, more often than not.  And though I still stop dead in my tracks at the sight of a good French chair, I'm finding that the balance is sometimes swinging more in favor of the natural and the rustic. 
And the blend between the two styles.  Well, I like it, a lot. :)  I'm still calling it Trees and Toile. 
So, even though my Dining Room isn't 'perfect' or totally 'finished'. (Planning to paint the woodwork white pretty soon) I'm going to show it to you now, along with my favorite accessories, my hand-knitted pumpkins!
This is how my Dining Room looked before. Not too bad, but not very exciting.

Here it is now.  New paint, new chandelier, new half-wall (to avoid a drop down the stairs) and new curtains and rods.

Here's where our finished chalkboard ended up.  And of course, this would be the one time of year that I willingly embrace the brown.

It's my uptown white furniture, my French black and white toile curtains, and my chandelier....
Meeting up with brown and orange and rustic textures. 

This is our craigslist secretary.   I was going to paint it, but I actually like the natural color here.  The family laptop resides inside, but it's easily hidden for entertaining or family dinners.
The knitted pumpkins of course, are my favorite part.  Here's my Ravelry link to the pumpkins. They are a great beginner project, if you are a new knitter.  Knitting these helped me pass a lot of time during soccer practices, pick-up lines, and waiting rooms.  It makes the décor in my home even more personal to me.

And it gave me a way to use up some of my odd skeins of handspun yarn.

They look great on the hutch that we painted.
I hope you like our Dining Room as much as I do!
Sharing with:
Ginny's Small Things
Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On
Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday
French Country Cottage's Feathered Nest Friday
Jennifer Rizzo's Fabulously Creative Friday

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Loveliness

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. - Anne Shirley, LM Montgomery.








Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Ultimate Fate of Your Woolen Hand-Knits is Death!

Charlotte's Pinwheel sweater.

Some quick research into the history of hand-knitting will reveal one fact:  There really isn't very many examples of knitting from the past.  Museums aren't exactly full of old socks or hats or sweaters.  Not that they didn't exist, but because they were all mostly made of wool, they well, they disintegrated.

That is, the eventual fate of all lovely woolen hand-knits.

So why all the fuss about making these things out of wool in the first place?

Well, for some of us, there is nothing like the warmth and comfort of wool.  They way it keeps one from getting neither too hot or too cold.  The naturalness of it all - coming from living creatures and not chemical factories.  The rustic feel and texture of knitted stitches in wool.  The feeling of being part of a process, from shearing, to spinning, to knitting, to wearing.  It's all of these things, and then maybe something more that I just can't quite put into words.

So I guess I must spend my time knitting things that are destined for the trash - or the compost heap, or whatever.

I am trying to remind myself of this, and remember the big picture, the whole scheme of things, the cycle of life, and so on.

But really I'm a little blighted.

I knew my little one's pinwheel sweater would not last forever, but this?

It just happened so much sooner than I expected it!   We were headed out in the family mini-van to get blizzards, and like so many of those sudden family experiences, BLECH, my little girl vomited all over her beautiful, mama-made, hand-knit sweater.

Didn't see that one coming.

Turns out, she wasn't even ill, just an upset tummy.

I worried about the sweater a little, of course, but I did not panic.  I know how to wash and care for wool.

That night, I gently hand-washed it in the bathroom sink.  And carefully laid it out flat on some towels to dry. And checked it first thing in the morning.

I almost RETCHED.  The smell was still there, and was horrible!

I hand washed it again, same process.  And again, a third time.  Still, the smell was so deep it wouldn't come out.


Yeah, some of you folks can see this coming.

I did that thing you are never supposed to do to woolen hand-knits.

I put it into the washing machine.

And now I know why.

Please don't judge me, I was desperate.  I was trying to save it.
I put it on the gentlest of cycles, honestly.  And checked on it.  And pulled it out carefully.

And that's when I saw the holes!  Not little holes that could be easily darned or patched-up.  But big ones, and the rope-edging was unraveling and pulling away from the sweater.  Things that are beyond my capacity to fix, I was certain.

I put the sweater away, accepting that I would probably never be able to fix it.  For over a year.  Then one day, I pulled it out, and my little one saw it, and cried for it!  She missed her mama-sweater.

I figured, What's the worst I can do?

I laid it out, and carefully started stitching holes.

I fixed it.


We used to have to roll up those sleeves.