Friday, February 17, 2012

homemade & lovin' it!

so...the kids all came down with funky colds & coughs this week. :( 

that is the bad news...the good news is that as i have been slowly creeping my way into the world of herbalistic remedies, we made our own medicines!! 

 it was so exciting & so...well, it was so cool to be able to make our own cough syrup vs spending $8-10 on the herbal ones @ the market. 

(side note, one of my good friend says 'market' instead of grocery store & i just LOVE it!  so, i am giving it a go...anything to help the chores seem less chore-ish, right?? ;)

anyway, 3 out of our 4 children woke up with coughs right off the bat, so i whipped up a standard honey & lemon juice cough syrup to get us on the road to healing...

super simple & you can use it immediately!!

1/2 c honey
1 1/2 tbps lemon juice

doseage: 1-2 tsp as needed.

yup, that's it! i put ours in a little jam jar, put on the lid & then shook it until combined.

the other & more potent & has to sit overnight, so i made it up as soon as i was done dosing out the other.

take a good-sized (yellow) onion & a squat little jar only slightly larger than said onion.  slice the onion up real thin & stuff it into the jar, then cover it all with honey.  if yours is like mine, you might need to stick your fingers (or a spoon -- in retrospect ;) in & sort of mush it all around to allow the honey to work its way down the sides & to the bottom of the jar.

let this sit overnight, then remove the onion leftover & store in the fridge. 

doseage: 1 tbsp (children 1-6 years) & 2 tbsp (ages 6 & over)

this was amazing!  bean had an especially nasty cough throughout the previous evening, all night long & when he woke up the next morning.  i gave him a tbsp of the onion syrup & he hardly coughed @ all for the next 3 hours or so.  a couple more doses & he was well on the mend.

i will warn you, it does smell very strong of onion, but it tastes like honey (well, aside from a wee bit of an onion after taste ;) 

i LOVE this for so many reasons, not the least of which is being able to physically see & touch each ingredient (unlike those insanely long named ones that are created in laboratories!)

and what's more...i am soon to be taking herb classes with my friend kati.  she is an absolute doll & an amazing woman in so many ways.  i truly love & respect her & can't wait for her classes to start.

the classes will run each monday in march, for a couple of hours each evening.  my sister is watching the kids & i am counting down the days!!

what's more, we get to keep the remedies/salves/syrups/tinctures, etc that we create in the class.  i can't wait!

don't worry, i'll share what i learn with you, most definitely!!  xo

Sunday, February 12, 2012

it's papa!!

bebe found this little superhero guy @ a friend's house & came running to me saying "look mama, it's papa!" i concur, it does bear a striking resemblance to lance. ;)

happy sunday...! xo

a transition & recent projects...

things here have been a little bit crazy as ev, our 2 year old (soon to be 3 @ the end of march) is in a bit of a transitional phase.

(translation:  she is no longer napping, of VERY rarely & is thus going to bed earlier & of course, waking up earlier as well).

this is all fine & dandy, except that i have gotten a bit (too?) comfortable to our 'old' know the one where i not only had an few hours each afternoon to sit & *breathe*, but i also i had the early morning hours to my self for crafting & reading & gazing out @ the morning's sunrise & what not.

all in good time a new rhythm will find its way to us...until then, i embrace our quiet mornings together and i try to sneak in a bit of extra "me time"/crafting time in where i can. ;)

here are a few projects that i have managed to complete over the past few weeks...
first up a pair of legwarmers, for my friend kristen...i'll be trading these with her for a special mother's day present for someone special...;)

lance's aunt cricket requested a pair of convertible mitts, ones that would reach up to her elbows.  she lives in michigan so i can imagine that the extra length does well to keep out the bitter cold winds!

for my mother's (now very late) christmas present, i have been working on a pair of convertible gloves.  these have given me a bit of a time...not because the pattern is difficult or anything, but just because hands vary so much.
i knit a 'sampler' mitt according to the pattern...

knit the first mitt according to pattern, but 4” vs the 2.5” called for, perfect! however, realized that the hand potion was much too loose/bulky for my mother’s petite hands.
so, re-knit using size #5 dpns
the ribbing & fingers seem to be perfect, so will stick with #6’s for them…

run down of mods…
ribbing in (k2,p2) knit 4” (vs 2.5” suggested)
knit hand portion & mitten flap w/size us #5 needles mitten flap in plain stock
modifying thumb to include flap as well

*all in all, once i got the first mitt tweaked & re-tweaked, the second one came together rather quickly.
the are very outdoorsy, my parents....kayaking, hiking, long weekend trip to hither & yon in their sportsmobile.  i do hope that these fit the bill, but i of course, sent along a note specifying that if there was ANYthing that she didn't like or needed tweaking, to let me know.  so, we'll see how they hold up in the "real world"
i did fall in love with these while making them & decidedly need to make myself a pair.  so, that is the tricky part...all my mods are in speculation...i like to make things for myself first, use them & then tweak them before gifting (if need be).  with these, we'll just have to wait & hear the reviews.
also, had to post this...
a scanned copy of my mom's hands that she emailed to me so that i could print it out & work the final measurements for her mitts...i LOVE it!  it now hangs on my project board. :)
saturday i took a bit of a *break* from making gifts & made myself a new hat!!  i realized not too long ago that, even though i am constantly knitting something, i hadn't knit something for myself since october 2010.  wowsers!

 figured i deserved a little something too.  so, i set to work on a roaring rainbow (a scrappy lyon hat) as our sweet pup more or less devoured my other favorite winter hat.  it still needs something...deciding between pom poms or tassels for the i-cord ends. 

i also plan on indulging myself with a few other knit lovelies.  i have my eye on both a sweater & a scarf/cowl (this one i am still deciding on).
still have one last christmas gift to knit though...
oh my gosh!!  i almost forgot the gift i made for my sister! is brilliant!!!  ok...i actually made 2, as i needed on as well...
that's right, knitting needles cases.  there are loads of tutorials our there for knitting needles holders/rolls/cases, but in the end this one looked right about perfect for us. 

both used mostly the same fabrics (scraps we found during our last visit to the clearance center).  i had to tweak the measurements here & there, but i had nearly enough of each.  ended up having to use other remnants for the interior pieces, but didn't they turn out lovely??

(please note the *secret* chicken favorite part, i must admit)

i let her pick, as this was her (extremely belated) christmas gift.  she aid that all her needles fit in it, so that is perfect!  my straight & dpn's fit, but i still need one more...shorter & with wider pockets for my circulars.

all in good time...
otherwise, we are gearing up for our spring session of homeschool co-op, along with working to get the garden prepped for the early crops.  giving lasagna gardening a go...on that note, i would like to thank my sister & her boyfriend, sam halbert, for their lovely christmas gift...*20* bags of leaves for our garden!!
whoop, whoop!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

working through it all...part #2

still working my way through byron katie's book. "i need your love -- is that true??".  taking it slow & really internalizing her words & working through all of the exercises.  posting what really hits home with me here, for others who may well benefit & for future reference for myself...;)

"Minding Your Manners" (page 40)
"...politeness & tact are supposed to be about consideration for others.  but notice how often they are really about trying to control the impression that you make...
...when you're being polite, are you living the part or just playing it??  the difference to notice here is the difference it makes to you.
for example, many people find it difficult to receive a kind remark or gift.  the focus on reciprocating right away, even with a thank-you, can keep you from fully receiving...
when you feel real gratitude it shows without effort.  whether or not anyone notices is up to them.  but if they do, they receive a much bigger gift, not small words & gestures, but gratitude itself.  people become very open in the presence of gratitude.  soon they want to give you everything.  things get out of control & love appears.
you can see this clearly with a hug.  you don't experience the hug you are getting if you are trying to hug back.  trying to hug back refuses the gift.  when you really receive it, you feel the arms around you, you feel the body, you feel the love inside you.  the receiving is the giving.  it's the most genuine thing you can give back."

this one is huge for me, as i am one of those who has had a hard time receiving any sorts of gifts/remarks/etc without trying to settle up first thing. i say 'who has had' because i have changed dramatically in this department. mainly since my pregnancy with our last child, our daughter, evyn.
with our boys (x3) my pregnancies were life as usual, aside from a growing belly & a larger appetite. i didn't have to change a thing, other than the size pants i wore. ;) but activity & responsibility wise everything was life as usual. with evyn, however, everything changed. i went into preterm labor with her @ 5months & ended up spending a night in the emergency room with our midwife trying desperately to figure out what was going on. in the end, despite running every test that she could think of, we couldn't figure out what was going on. so, i was discharged & told more or less to 'keep it chill'.
i kept having pains & severe ones @ that. i had to really manage how much i took on each day & with 3 young children, a husband who works second shift & homeschooling, my plate was more or less full to begin with. up until this point, all of my mom friends had referred to me as "super mom, but now i couldn't even walk our dog without taking 2 or 3 breaks.
it was insanely frustrating, as i was used to being the one in charge & now my body was & i had NO choice but to listen or else risk losing this pregnancy. but for all the aggravation, i learned a lot about myself.
i learned that i was a control freak, a perfectionist, constantly pushing my limits, which brought about mad amounts of stress. i learned that sleep was my friend & that things would fall into place without my having to be 'the one' to do it all.
i learned to let go & to breath & to enjoy. i learned that it was 'ok' to sit down & that i didn't always have to be doing something productive.
i had to rest more, which meant that some things i had previously considered 'mandatory' had to get scratched of my list altogether. AND i learned that no one hated me for not doing them (as i had previously thought that they would).
this was a big wake up call, on so many different levels.
i had to learn to ask for help, something that i was absolutely horrible @ doing (pride & ego, you know?? ;). i learned that people didn't look down on me or think any less of me because of it.
if was, in what byron calls, 'the state of gratitude'. i could feel the love around me & it wasn't because of anything i was doing. it was simply because i was loved.
granted things got slightly back to normal after ev was born, once we settled into our new rhythm as a family of 6. but some things remained as they were -- i no longer stress about things as much. i do what i can & i know that that is enough.
i have gotten better @ asking for help, though i could probably be better still. i constantly work on balance & no longer try to control everything.  we each do the best we can with what we have & where we are each moment & as i tell our children (& remind myself as well) our best is all we can do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

**free pattern wednesday**

like a great many of you, my grandmother was of the crafty sort.  i remember receiving various handmades from a personalized crocheted stocking to a popper santa claus made from a toilet paper tube, & more recently cross stitched birthday cards.   these days, nearing 90, she isn't able to craft nearly as much as she used to, or wants to because of arthritis.  this makes her handmades even more special.

i have made her various things throughout the years, but nothing recent & certainly nothing knit.  this is partly due to her living in arizona where handknits really aren't practical...  when my sister-in-law requested a set of dishcloths for christmas it hit me, 'duh!!' that is what i could knit for grandma. ;)

i had planned on, of course, an "i love grandma" (or) "#1 grandma" cloth (or) some such.  imagine my surprise when i couldn't find ANY such patterns on ravelry.  

@ any rate, i found this one & liked it. decided to modify it a bit though, taking out one of the hearts, to make it a bit less busy & change the 'mom' to 'gma'...

please enjoy the pattern, & do let me know if there are any difficult to understand bits, errors, etc... xo

"i love grandma" dish/washcloth

materials needed:
*worsted weight of choice (i used lily sugar n' cream)
*us size #4 needles (you can use larger needles, but the pattern won't show up as well)
*tapestry needle to weave in ends

CO 47 sts
rows 1-8 knit
row 9 (& all odd rows) knit across
row 10; k4, p39, k4
row 12; k4, p5, k7, p3, k2, p5, k2, p2, k2, p5, k2, p4, k4
row 14; k4, p5, k1, p5, k1, p4, k1, p5, k1, p4, * k1, p5* (2x), k4
row 16; k4, p5, k1, p5, k1, p4, k1, p5, k1, p4, *k1, p5* (2x), k4
row 18; k4, p5, k1, p2, k4, p4, k1, p5, k1, p4, k7, p5, k4
row 20; k4, p5, k1, p10, *k1, p2* (2x), k1, p4, *k1,p5* (2x), k4
row 22; k4, p5, k1, p10, k1, p1, k3, p1, k1, p4, k2, p3, k2, p5, k4
row 24; k4, p5, k1, p5, k1, p4, k3, p1, k3, p5, k2, p1, k2, p6, k4
row 26; k4, p5, k7, *p3, k3*(2x), p6, k1, p8, k4
row 28; k4, p39, k4
row 30; k4, p14, k1, p24, k4
row 32; k4, p13, k1, p1, k1, p23, k4
row 34; k4, p12, k1, p3, k1, p6, k1, p15, k4
row 36; k4, p11, k1, *p2, k1* (2x), p4, k3, p14, k4
row 38; k4, p10, k1, p2, k3, p2, k1, p2, k2, p1, k2, p13, k4
row 40; k4, p9, k1, p2, k5, p2, k3, p3, k2, p12, k4
row 42; k4, p8, k1, p2, *k3, p1* (2x), k2, p2, k1, p2, k2, p11, k4
row 44; k4, p8, k1, p2, k2, p3, k4, p2, k3, p2, k2, p10, k4
row 46; k4, p8, k1, p5, k1, p2, k2, p2, k5, p2, k2, p9, k4
row 48; k4, p9, k1, p3, k5, p2, k7, p2, k2, p8, k4
row 50; k4, p10, k3, p2, k2, p2, k9, p2, k2, p7, k4
row 52; k4, p14, k2, p2, k11, p2, k2, p6, k4
row 54; k4, p3, k8, p2, k2, p2, k13, p2, k2, p5, k4
row 56; k4, p3, k1, p2, k2, p2, *k1, p2* (2x), k7, p1, k7, p2, k1, p5, k4
row 58; k4, p6, k2, p5, k1, p2, k6, p3, k6, p2, k1, p5, k4
row 60; k4, p6, k2, p5, *k1, p2, k5, p2* (2x), k1, p5, k4
row 62; k4, p6, k2, p5, k1, p3, k3, *p2, k3* (2x), p3, k1, p5, k4
row 64; k4, p6, k2, p5, k2, p6, k2, p1, k2, p6, k2, p5, k4
row 66; k4, p3, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p3, k2, p4, k2, p3, k2, p4, k2, p6, k4
row 68; k4, p3, k8, p4, k6, p5, k6, p7, k4
row 69; knit
row 70; k4, p39, k4
rows 71-78, knit
row 79; BO all sts but last 2.  knit a 3" i-cord, pull yarn through loops to 'seal'.  cut yarn, leaving a 6" ort so tail to sew i-cord to cloth.  block & gift to a grandmoth that you know & LOVE!!


Monday, January 16, 2012

more of our handmade christmas (in january :)...

wrapping up our handmade holidays posts... 
 (get it??...'wrapping',  tee, hee ;) 

my sister-in-law terri, asked for dishcloths so i whipped her up a set in her favorite colors & with the potential theme of her favorite things.  i say 'potential' because she said she "loves everything!" 

so, i did a bit of (pattern) hunting & this is what i came up with...

 this is my all-time favorite dishcloth pattern, it is  i knit one for terri (pink) & one for my grandma as well...
'her hometown' is michigan, so this one is definitely a perfect addition to the set...

and a (second) sweet owl version, as everyone i know LOVES owls!!  i knit 2 of this for terri & one for,! ;) 

i really liked the seed stitch owl that i made for the littles, so made one more of those in blue for grandma as well.

these cat-tastic mitts are for my niece, who LOVES everything cat-ish...
used my mini mitt pattern & added on felted sweater bits to make the paws.  was inspired by this lion brand pattern...
introducing the 'black dragon', aydin's yule sweater of choice.  it took right @ 24 hours to make, but he wears is all the time, so very much worth it!!

definitely got the intarsia things down, as well, after this one...;)

"sleek", a gap-tastic cowl for my mom (well, technically mother-in-law)

took just a smidge under 3 skeins & right @ 9 hours to knit.
i am wondering is she'll love it as much as i had wanted her too.  she is smaller than me, by a good 6" & this thing comes to my hips.  so, i can picture her being completely swallowed up by it. :(

my husband says she'll love it & i just don't know how to wear it.  this might well be true as i am ridiculous like that. ;)
it does feel super squishy & warm & those are both very good things, right??

i feel like i should re-knit this on  size #13s, as that would probably take off the bonus 6"...  as in the difference between jan's (the creator's) length (to her bellybutton) & mine (to da' hip).

guess, i'll give it a go & include a note that i can re-do shorter or thinner, etc & see what she says.

i just  think that my m-i-l is too polite to say anything. :(

and lastly, for now anyway, is the dual name hat i knit for crystal...
 it has two names because both are so perfect that i can't seem to decide which one to go went with them both!  "'s a secret (pocket)"

i tacked down 3 of the 4 sides to create a secret pocket!!  crystal said that it would be the perfect size for her ipod nano...also poisonwood green.  ;)

the "poisonwood" part comes from the yarns own colorway (aka poison"), but also because i just happen to be reading the poisonwood bible for our book club.
hooray for holiday hand knits...

still have 4 more to go, i think...some really cool convertible mitts variations, and a special something for my sista'. :)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

workin' through it all...

last december a friend recommended a few books to me.  one of which was byron katie's "loving what is". 

once i got my hands on a copy of this book, i more of less devoured it & bought a copy of my own (returning the other to our local library).

her philosophy is simple & pure & as much as i tried to argue with it in the beginning, i couldn't.

she says things that i have heard said a million different ways, but her way is so down-to-earth, logical that it resonated with me more or less instantaneously.
now, a quick bit of background on books & me...  i had to sort of take a break from reading books for a bit, as each new book i read became my new mantra.  i am very good @ seeing all sides of a story & also very good @ trusting others before myself.  (boo!) 

her book, though it does present her outlook on life, is definitely self help....  she just presents the concept of inquiry, which is the act of questioning our thoughts & asking 'is that true?'. 

you might be surprised how much we alter reality with our thinking.  by arguing with reality, as in thinking that is should be anything other than it is, is where our pain, frustration, aggravation, etc comes from.

after reading her first book, i discovered that she has quite a few more.  so, i checked out the second one form our library & added it to my book swap wish list. ;)

i thought i would share some bits & pieces with you as i read & work through it, parts that really make me pause & reflect on their meaning in my life & may well speak to you as well...

so, thus begins our journey through "i need your love -- is that true??" (byron katie)

daytime reality check: everything supports me

"...suppose you've eaten your breakfast, sat down in your favorite chair & picked up this book.

your neck supports your head.  the bones & muscles of you chest support your breathing.  the earth supports the building you live in.  various stars & planets hold the earth in orbit.  outside your window a man walks his dog.  can you be sure that he isn't playing a role in your support??  he may work everyday in a cubicle, filing papers for the power company that makes your lights come on.

among the people you see on the street & the countless hands & eyes working behind the scenes, can you be sure than there isn't anyone who isn't supporting your existence??

the same question applies to the generations of ancestors who preceded you & to the various plants & animals that had something to do with your breakfast.  how many unlikely coincidences all you to be here? 

to explore this for a while, look around you & see if there is anything that you can say for sure doesn't play some role in supporting you.  now look again @ the 3 a.m thought "nothing supports me without my efforts."  wouldn't it be truer to say, "everyhting supports me without my efforts??"  the truth is that here you are, sitting in your chair, doing nothing & begin fully supported.

everything supports you whether or not you even notice it, whether or not you think about it or understand it, whether or not you love it or hate it, whether or not you're happy or sad, asleep or awake, motivated or unmotivated.  it just supports you without asking for anything in return....

complicated & intricate as your requirements are for existence might be, they are all being met.  @ this moment, there is nothing you need, nothing you need to do.  notice how it feels to that in that thought.

now think of something you don't have.

this thought that kicks you out of heaven.

the thought that kicks you our of heaven could be "i'd be a little more comfortable if i had a pillow."  or it could be "i'd be happier if my partner were here."

without that thought you're in heaven -- just sitting in your chair, being supported.  when you believe the thought that something is missing, what do you experience??  the immediate effect might be subtle -- only a slight restlessness as your attention moves away from what you already have.  but with that shift of attention, you give up the peace you have as you sit in your chair.  by seeking comfort, your give yourself discomfort."

byron katie, 'i need you love -- is that true??"  (pages 8 - 9)

Monday, January 2, 2012

a little bit of everything & an introduction...

another holiday post...

the second to last in fact, as i have a few work in progresses that i hope to have finished up & mailed within the next week or so.

one of the best loved christmas gifts that we received this year were these gorgeous rainbow blocks, from nova natural...

each one of our children, from our 2 year old up to our 11 year old have been building beautiful & unique towers, castles, & sculptures ever since they were opened on christmas eve!

one of ehren's castles, complete with a tunnel for his car...
orin's person...
oh my, & santa brought this on christmas morning.  isn't it amazing!?!
a handmade table & chair set for our littles...

custom from totem woodworks...
it is so much sturdier than anything i could have found in a shop, and handmade to boot!  definitely an heirloom if there ever was one...
okay, these aren't exactly christmas gifts, but our littles love playing with rags in the bath.  until i have given them various washcloths. 
but while searching for dishcloth patterns for a certain sister-in-law's christmas basket, i came across this sweet owl patterned cloth. & it is smaller than most, so even more perfect for our young ones.

ok & if you aren't sold on them yet, they use only .4 oz of yarn!  can you possibly think of a better knit to use up your littlest cotton niblets??  i think not. ;)

and lastly i would like to introduce miss maya to you...
she is a golder retrieve pup, 6 months old, that we adopted from the yancey county animal shelter, december 30th.

we had a golder retriever about 7 years ago, and she was such an integral part of our family.  so much love!  however, she was hit by a car when she was just 3 years old.  we have spent the last 4 years, well, yearning i suppose for another retriever.  

they are so sweet & amazing family dogs, so good with kids (not so much with the chickens, but i am sure that will mellow out @ some point ;).

we thought about getting another one this past summer; we thought that we were ready, but we weren't. 

dogs are like children & if you have ever loved & lost then you know what i mean by this.  they bring so much love, life & personality toour lives that it can be very emotional to think of 'replacing' them.

we kept talking about it though...

when we went to Florida this past september, it seemed as though everyone has a golder retriever & i took that to be a sign.  but we still didn't want to rush into anything...

i just happen to look on this past thursday (it's harmless to look, right?? ;) for a golden retriever pup & there she was & in burnsville no less (about 30 min from us).

however, we just knew that she wouldn't be there when we arrived, it would have been too good to be true, you know??  but she was & the attraction was immediate.  she went with us out to their puppy play yard & it was just a perfect fit.

& the rest is history, as they say, right??

i thought our house was full of love before, but now it just emanates...  our house is so much happier with maya & i am thankful to have been able to give a sweet dog a home that, well, might have had a different future...

blessings to each of you in this new year!!  xo