Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Oh boy playdough! After the grandparents left, we needed a little distraction. This one was by request. While at the grocery store we walked by the Koolaid packets which just happen to be at kid eye level. (Isn't that funny! Ah marketing.) Anyway, not to worry my kids only know the stuff as dye. I get a kick out of that. So playdough was requested and it's been a daily staple all week. I cannot believe that red!

Playdough recipe:
1C Flour
1C Water
1/4C Salt
2tsp Cream of Tartar
1Tbs Vegtable Oil (all I had was olive and it worked fine)
1 packet of Koolaid for color (optional)

I mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly then add the water, put it on the stove over a medium/low heat and stir like crazy. It will thicken up pretty fast. When it all rolls into a ball and looks like playdough that needs a little kneading it's done. Then if you have asbestos hands you can knead it right out of the pot or wait a few minutes until it cools.

Homemade for Christmas: some more doll photos

These are the cradles my Dad made for the dolls. I asked that they stack for storage as our little house is already full enough. Aren't these amazing?! I am always amazed at what that man comes up with. He is brilliant! (And yes they do come apart and are interchangeable)
These are the quilts my Mom made for the cradles. (She also made the mattresses) She used left over fabric from the baby blankets she made the girls when they were born. I thought that was a fantastic extra touch. It's also a good way to always know which one belongs to which girl. They already know the colors.

And while I was full of good intentions all I ended up having time left for was making two little sweaters. I'll get around to the shoes eventually. I found the sweater pattern on the Bamboletta blog. Ravlery also seems to have a couple good ones. This particular pattern is for a 15 inch doll and these were 16 inch dolls. I added a couple extra rows with increases before dividing for the sleeves. I think I would add a couple more rows next time to make them just a little bigger. I made these dolls with 16 inch Honey Doll kits from Joy's Waldorf Dolls. She seems to have retired but it looks like she's selling the business so keep checking back with her site if you're interested. There are also several other companies out there that sell doll kits. I have to say the whole experience was a lot of fun. And I am so pleased the girls have these family made treasures now. I am blessed to be a part of such a creative family. Well I've got a girl who's about to turn four so I'm off to create a birthday gift.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Dolls

So I realize it's late and tomorrow morning is going to come way to early but I couldn't go to sleep without finishing the second dress. You know how it is? Okay, maybe you don't but I was having a lot of fun sewing these dolls. And I'm not done yet! I still want to knit sweaters and shoes and maybe hats for these gals before Christmas. Hey we've still got a few weeks. I think it's more than possible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Martinmas and the Lantern Walk

This year we were blessed to attend our first lantern walk. This is such a wonderful tradition in Waldorf Education. The children spent the month of October painting and making lanterns. Then the other evening they got to light their lanterns and take a quite walk through dark woods to celebrate the light we will carry with us through the dark days of winter. Martinmas is a celebration of giving and selflessness. And this lantern walk was a beautiful, peaceful experience.
Listening to the story of St. Martin around the campfire before the lantern walk.

Lighting the lantern before our walk.

The ever brilliant sweater pants!

Here's another bit of quick morning sewing for you. We woke up one morning recently and it was COLD! We send our oldest to a Waldorf preschool a few mornings a week and they play outside no matter what the weather. I wanted her to be toasty so I made her a quick pair of sweater pants. This involves cutting the arms off an old sweater, sewing them together and adding elastic in the waistband. Couldn't be simpler. And like everything I make they are just a tad too big. I like growing room. Oh how I wish they made a sweater big enough for me to make a pair of these for myself.

Quick Circle Skirt

I've had this wonderful Underwater Sisters fabric by Heather Ross for a while now. It's been waiting for just the right project. The girls have been getting up early ever since the time change. Early morning often makes for good sewing in our house. The girls seem to entertain themselves well first thing in the morning. So I whipped up this skirt. I used two layers of fabric because I wanted it to be a little warmer and it gave a nice little touch of color at the bottom. It has a simple elastic waist. I've even made the elastic a little long so as she grows I can remove the stitches and make it bigger. I think this skirt took me a little over an hour. Which got us to school in our fancy new duds just in time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Favorite Bread

This bread is so very good and hearty. The girls can't even wait until it stops steaming to grab a piece. It is a recipe that as far as I can tell has been passed from one mothering group to another. I think all recipes should be shared so everyone can share the love. So without further adieux here it is:

Makes 2 loaves:
2.5C hot water (about 115* F)
3.5C whole wheat flour
1/2C gluten flour
1.25Tbs yeast
1Tbs gluten (I usually put in just a bit more)
1/2C ground flax seed

Mix above in order for about 2min (truthfully with little hands helping the ingredients have gone in, in all kinds of orders and this bread always turns out)

1Tbs Salt
1Tbs lemon juice (or lime or orange any citrus)
1/3C Oil (I use olive oil)
1/3C honey (though I'll often substitute molasses in the winter for a darker more hearty bread)

Mix, then slowly add between 2.5 and 3.5 cups of flour. Add enough flour until it scrapes the bowl clean, but no more.

Knead for about 15 min--I let my KitchenAid do it for 10 min or so. Although kneading by hand is much much fun for little hands.

Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased loaf pans.

Cover and let rise until double, or slightly above the edge of the pan. Takes about 35 minutes in a slightly pre-warmed oven (don't forget to turn the oven off while bread is actually rising)
Bake 350*F for about 35 min or until internal temp is 190-200*F

My favorite soup right now goes so very well with this bread (though really what winter soup doesn't go well with bread?) I've been making a simple carrot soup. I caramelize an onion or two (or sometimes saute a couple leeks instead- not brown, just transparent) then toss in a pot with carrots and -just- cover with water. Too much water and your soup will be watery. Cook until carrots are soft. Add a touch of salt and pepper and fresh parsley if you've got it. Blend and serve. Great with above bread and a green salad.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Old, New Pants

I started knitting these pants two years ago for my older daughter. I got to the point where one leg was left to knit and I stopped. Can't remember why, maybe she got too big for them or maybe spring came. Anyhow, I picked them up again last winter thinking they would be good for kiddo number two. Again I stopped before they were finished. Well I rediscovered them this past week and three is a charm because they are being worn! I found them with a third of a knit icord. I figured if I waited until I finished the icord they would never actually get onto said kiddo's bottom. So a piece of cotton ribbon with have to suffice until I can get around to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Knitting after breakfast

We found a knit kitty this rainy, rainy morning which I had made for my older daughter a couple years ago. What a treasure it was back then. She loved it to death. It went everywhere with her. She still plays with is sometimes but not nearly as much as she used to. When we found it my younger daughter wanted it. Oh she wanted it! Naturally, even though she hadn't played with it in months my older daughter would not give it up. So I made another one. This is a lovely quick project. Just knit two squares (one half the size of the other). Use a blunt darning needle and the same color yarn to stitch the corners of the larger square together as triangles (one corner equals a foot). Then stuff with wool and stitch up the belly. Sew around the edge of the smaller square and pull together, stuff with wool and bind off. Sew the head to the body and pull the ears up out of the head and stitch into place. Then pull four stitches up on the backside and knit a tail in the round. Tada! a cat to be loved and adored. Now we're off to the farmers market before they run out of eggs.
Its as simple as this. Two knit squares. One half the size of the other.
New and old kitties lounging on a pillow. When I made the old one all I had for stuffing was some Kool-aid dyed wool hence the pink sticking out behind the blue yarn.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The girl likes to sew! JOY!

Lately my oldest has been asking to sew. I guess three years of watching me sew has paid off. I love that she is interested in sewing. Often she'll ask to sew when I am off doing something else. We've set up a bag full of scraps and bits of things I don't need anymore and she can sew when ever she wants.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adirondack balloon festival

We were lucky enough to make it to the Adirondack balloon festival this past weekend. This is the second year we have gone. And while last year was more impressive with numbers of balloons present it was still really neat.
I still have dreams from time to time of the balloon festival my folks took me to when I was wee. So I hope we are giving the girls similar life time memories.

Four season crowns

It's taken me 4 weeks to do about 6 hours worth of hand sewing but I've finally finished these crowns. The colors at the local craft store were some what limited. But the kiddo's don't mind in the least. They run around playing 'Queen of the fall' or 'King of the winter' or 'Lady of the spring'. These crowns have become a staple in our outdoor walks and play. We cannot seem to go on a walk in the woods without them. You'll probably see a lot of these crowns in the coming months.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Boat races in absentia

Every year since I was small my family has celebrated labor day in the north woods of Michigan with friends, food, costumes and boat races. Now these aren't your usual kind of boat races. These races have been running fifty plus years and the boats are small and made on site. Folks come from all up and down the river with entrant numbers sometimes reaching ninety. I have only ever missed three years since we began going and this year was one of them. Admittedly I was somewhat disappointed but decided to make the best of the situation. We invited some of our local friends to the the park for our own boat race. The only rule was that the boats had to be made of things we found in the woods so that they could break down in the river if we couldn't catch them.

On the search for good boat building supplies

Boat building in action

The launch!

Only one boat (that we know of) crossed the finish line. Yep is was a river wrought with peril for homemade boats. But boy did we have fun. What a day, what a day. Thanks to the friends who joined us and thanks to the river for being so obliging (even if you did eat our boats).
Fifty years of fabric, or someone else's stash

I was recently given the most marvelous gift of twelve or so plastic grocery bags of fabric. There were fabrics in there from the 50's through the 90's and perhaps some from even before then. This was a woman who saved every last scrap of everything remotely, even possibly reusable. A child of the depression, she knew the value of reuse. She saved everything from old curtains and cushion covers to old hand made articles of clothing. There was even the very start of a quilt in there. Before I even washed anything, I freecycled some of the synthetics and a few others. I love fabric but even I cannot own that much fabric. So now I'm down to the gems plus a few others. In truth some of it is rather rotten. But the lovely lady who's fabric this was took care of that for me too. In among all the other fabrics was the beginning of a braided rag rug. I've always wanted to make a rag rug and now I've got the material for it.

Some wonderful articles of clothing were to be had. This was the only one remotely wearable. I'm not quite sure why it was in there. It only has a small hole in the skirt.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Repurposed sweater part one

A little time for this.... A little time for that... and everything else in between. My but we've been busy. I haven't had time to sit down at the computer to post in several days. So I'll play a little catch up.
So I was flipping through a children's clothing catalogue the other day and came across a wonderful knit dress. Never one to spend $50 on a dress for a four year old, I've decided to do it myself. Did I mention I am kind of a cheapskate? I also don't want to spend $30 on the yarn it would take to make it. So I'm trying something new. We went to the Salvation Army and bought a woman's sweater for about $5. I'm going to try to recycle the yarn into a dress. This is a shot of us unraveling the sweater. I couldn't help but hear the Weezer sweater song in my head the whole while. I'm going to try and write the dress pattern myself too. I'll let you know how that goes.
And when we just can't stand to be in the house any longer, we take a trip to the park.
A dinner party in the back yard! We haven't got much space in the house so when we have folks over to dinner, we take it outside (in the summer of corse). I love being able to sew because I can do things like whip up some quick napkins for a thing such as said dinner party. In truth I realized about 2 hours before our guests arrived that we were short a few napkins. I could have thrown some in the washer but what fun would that have been (any excuse for new napkins). My new theme is a different napkin for everyone. It adds flair to the table. It all turned out quite nicely though. Don't you think? Not to bad for something we threw together on short notice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here is a fun little project I made for a birthday gift. It is a princess and the pea set. The doll was from a pattern in Alicia Paulson's Stitched In Time. I downsized it a bit. But otherwise it's just about the same. I got the idea for the set initially from a Soulemama post where she made a princess and the pea set. In her post she references Treefall Design and a similar project she did there. The web just goes on and one doesn't it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What to do when the little ones wake up early? Go blueberry picking of course.
Big sister shows little sister which ones to pick.

We got there just as the blueberry patch opened. The grass was still wet. The air smelled of early August, a bit parched, like the earth had been baking in the sun all summer.

The day's take. It was a great day for blueberry picking. It is so hard to leave when the picking is that good. But after two hours the girls were done. Still, we got a pie, some jam and a bunch in the freezer from it all. Not too shabby.