Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lately (returns)...Week 6

this week I've been...

remembering last year's Halloween preparations
trying to stop eating so much sugar
cooking squash every night
drinking tulsi tea
reading four books at once, including two I started years ago
wanting more time in each day
creating new items for my shop
playing on the trampoline
deciding what projects to do next
wishing for cats, goats, or any kind of baby animal to grace me with its presence
planning for a time when above baby animal would actually be appropriate for my life
wondering when I'll have more time to write
loving babies! (mine, everyone elses)
listening to Chobie singing along to Buck Owens
needing another epsom salt bath soon
noticing new mushrooms popping up here and there
exploring the back woodsy half of our new yard
thinking about the origins of our Halloween celebrations
getting ready for a week of homeschool
feeling content, relieved to have settled in after the move

gratitude for...
pumpkin season
seeing the creek every morning
Bee's new words
Chobie's enthusiasm for making things to sell in my shop
pumpkin seeds
warm weather in October
the first fire of the winter season
well water
husband's sweet family
Chobie's stories
homemade apple butter

What's been keeping you busy lately? Feel free to leave links to your recent posts, I'd love to look at them.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Little Stitches Big Stitches

It's happened!

My compulsive sewing is spreading to my children. Last year, I don't know how many times I wrote it into my homeschool plans to introduce sewing. I had it all planned out to use a crochet square with a big blunt yarn needle and go over some basic stitching. Except that I kept missing the step where I made the crochet square ahead of time. So Chobie never got to practice stitches that way.

So the other day when I was sewing some faces on some cats, he came up and asked if he sew too. He proceeded to explain to me that he wanted to make things to sell in my shop. Kids really do learn through imitation, right?

So I had him pick out some fabric and I cut out a little piece for him to practice stitches on. He picked it up surprisingly quickly.

I cut off part of the sleeve of an old sweater (love to upcycle!) and had him sew the bottom to make a pouch. The top seam was already finished for him because it was the end of the sleeve. All he had to do was sew a straight line of stitches across the bottom and then turn it inside out.


Coincidentally, all of this happened right after reading this post about how much kids learn from sewing. From this one little project Chobie learned the basics of how seams work and he made a functional object. He plans to use his new pouch to store "treasures" in. I think it builds your kids self esteem when they are able to make something they can use. I know that I always feel good when I make something myself.

So do you write down a date for "first stitches" in the baby book or what?

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Time Tea Blend

It really has been everything fall themed for the last couple of weeks around here. Today, I concocted the perfect fall time tea blend. It tastes a little like chai, but it's caffeine free and nourishing.

Nettle - the mother of nourishing herbs full of phytonutrients and minerals

Raspberry leaf - another great nourishing herb that has a special affinity for the female reproductive system. It's tannin content gives the tea blend a flavor that's reminiscent of black tea.

Licorice - just a pinch, licorice nourishes the adrenals and helps ward off winter illnesses.

Ginger - is warming and spicy and an anti-inflammatory.

And my secret ingredient: pumpkin pie spice. Yep. A powdered spice blend in a tea. I actually wanted to put cinnamon in it, but we were out so I used the pie spice instead.

After brewing add your favorite creamer. I used coconut oil in mine and it blended with the other flavors perfectly. You can add a natural sweetener too, but the licorice and pie spice blend already give it a sweet flavor, so you'll want to go easy on it.


This post was shared on Mostly Handmade Mondays.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Our Annual Pumpkin Patch Visit

We recently had a chance to head out to the pumpkin patch and pick our pumpkins for this Halloween.

Now, the pumpkin patches in this neck of the woods are not like the ones that I grew up with that were literally just a patch of pumpkins on the ground. The ones in this area are little carnivals with pumpkins on the ground off in the distance.

We went on a weekday (Friday) so the carnival aspect was a bit toned down. We did get to go on the giant slide

and Chobie got a chance to play around on the hay jump.

I wanted to jump too, but it wasn't exactly grown-up sized. Plus, it took a surprising effort to capture the mid-air shot on this one. And that was with me and my mom trying to capture the perfect hay jump photo.

He picked out his outfit for the day, right down to the cowboy boots. He's been really into dresses lately.

We wandered through the hay maze. I took some photos, including this selfie just to showcase how photogenic I am (not).

Bee slept through a lot of the visit to the pumpkin patch, but he did wake up in time to get to check out some pumpkins

ride the pumpkin wagon

and look at the animals.  My personal favorite were the pygmy goats and their babies.


Bee also had to pet a couple of tractors while we were at the farm.

As we were wandering around right before we left, I also spotted and subsequently swooned over this old timey carousel. It wasn't open at the moment, but I enjoyed looking at it just as well.

And so our festive autumn continues.

How is your fall? Have you picked your pumpkins yet?

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Which Pin Cushion...You Choose

 In preparation for my upcoming shop opening, I've cranked up the hours I spend sewing each week. (And of course, in recovery from our move and in the interest of practicing good self-care, I've cranked down all of the time that I spend doing things other than sleeping...So we'll see when the shop actually opens...)

What I'm getting at is, I need a pin cushion. And fast. The stray pins always falling off of my work bench and onto the floor with kids running around threaten to puncture those cute little feet. And my cute little feet too.

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you know that I've been seeking pinspiration and pinning like mad to my Projects board. Now I'd like your help choosing from the...

I've narrowed it down to options. These are my favorites after looking at bunches of pins.

The Turtle

This turtle pin cushion. I instantly fall for anything creature-like. So having this little guy next to me while I sew would be very charming. The one problem is that I cannot read the instructions because they are in Japanese (I think). The site is totally worth a visit though because it's full of cute things like this turtle. It can't be that hard to make though right?

The Little Birds in Little Pots

Next up are these two that I was thinking about combining. The little pots were pinned from a Google Images search (in Spanish, no less) so I don't have a source on that one (here's a link to the pin). The other one I found on Nestle and Soar, and is originally from Feltmates.

Fancy Fabric with Felt Balls

What about this combo? I like the button in the middle of the first, and that it's round. It was created by Gigi from Clutter Bliss. I thought it would be even cuter with the felt balls like the pin cushion on the right by Jennifer Heynen.

The Donut

I don't eat a lot of donuts anymore with being (mostly) gluten-free, but I do deeply enjoy a good donut. So why not have a cute little donut pin cushion? The pin links to another cute roundup on Moogly but is originally from Nevadamama. I haven't been doing much crochet lately, so this would be fun. I  probably wouldn't do beads for sprinkles because it would get in the way of quick punctures. And the frosting would have to be pink. Pink frosting is the best.

The Mason Jar Pin Cushion

But if I didn't want to spend hours crocheting, I could do this instead which looks much quicker and has the dual function of storage. It's cute and functional, and as a Virgo I really enjoy this type of thing. It's from The Seasoned Homemaker.

The Classic Cushion Pin Cushion

Finally, this little beauty. It seems like an easy pattern, but the stitching makes it very pretty. After seeing all of the fantastic pin cushions out there, the simplicity of this one from You Go Girl appealed to me.

So what do you think?

Which Pin Cushion is the best?
The Turtle
The Little Birds in Little Pots
Fancy Fabrics with Felt Balls
The Donut
The Mason Jar Pin Cushion
The Classic Cushion Pin Cushion
Poll Maker

Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to leave a more detailed argument for your choice, or if you're torn between a couple, or if you want to suggest something that I've overlooked.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Apple Stories, Apple Prints, Apple Time!

No matter how many times I do it, it's still a pleasant little surprise to cut open an apple and see the star inside.

This year, after we harvested up a big crate of apples, I told my kiddos this sweet little story about how the star got inside of the apple. (This site is full of all kinds of fabulous information for the Waldorf-inspired homeschooler, by the way. Totally recommended).

After we cut the apples open I set up some apple printing. I had the genius idea of using wax paper to put the paint on for printing, so that we would have space to blot on the same surface.

So this happened while I was pouring the paint...

A wax paper party! Another perfect autumn afternoon, right? Everything going according to plan. Um...not so much. (And, that's Chobie's loaded UPS truck in the background in case you were wondering what all of the boxes on the futon were about.)

Anyway, we cleaned up and got to printing.

They turned out pretty good for toddler and kindergartener art.

After we discovered the hidden star inside the apple, I shared the classic story about the little red house with no windows, no doors and a star inside. I love story telling with my kids. It engages the imagination in a deeper, more creative way than picture books do. It opens the way for the kind of visual imagery that we use as adults when we read novels, or think about complicated spacial problems. (I wrote a post about this a while back so you can read more.)

Meanwhile, we chopped up all the apples...well I chopped up the apples while the kids threw them in the pot and started cooking up a giant pot of apple butter on the stove.

Have you been enjoying any apple inspired fun lately? Feel free to leave links to your apple activities or recipes below, I'd love to see them!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Our Weekend

After a long week of work on my upcoming Etsy shop, there was a lot to take care of this weekend. Car maintenance, never ending list of chores, and a lawn that should have really been mowed a couple of weeks ago.

We went out to enjoy the last bit of warm weather instead, since it was Bee's birthday weekend (He's already 2! Hooray!).

Saturday we visited the nature trail up the road from our new house. With all the leaves fallen on the trail, it was a picture-perfect fall scene. My inner-nerd was squealing with delight with how magical it was to be walking down the trail in T-shirt weather in October. I half expected to actually see gnomes pop out from behind a clump of mushrooms.

On Sunday I pretended like we were just headed out for the morning so I could take care of some of the items from the above mentioned list of presently neglected responsibilities. What actually happened:

We went for another walk along the bay and gathered acorns and other dried seeds and leaves for our nature table. Then we drove to another nearby beach and harvested wild mushrooms in the woods. I found and picked more mushrooms than I ever have before (I think a whopping total of six chantrelles). My husband, however, is a mushroom finding genius so we ended up with a backpack full within a couple of hours. Chobie was playing mushroom construction, a game where he piled up fallen branches to clear space to "help the mushrooms grow."

Then we walked down to the beach, waded in the water, watched the tide come in, gathered shells and played. Like it was still summer and we were having a (mini) day at the beach. It felt good, like I was making up for lost time during the packing-cleaning-organzing spree that actually was my summer this year.

After stopping at a couple sadly disappointing thrift shops so that Chobie could look for a present for Bee (who's birthday is today) we went home to have a dinner, that my husband was kind enough to cook, of wild mushroom pasta, salmon and salad with hazelnuts. We shared it with a dear friend, who was actually present for Bee's labor and birth two years ago, in honor of Bee's 2nd birthday.

I think that this was the closest thing we've had to a perfect weekend in a long time. And of course, we continued with our Bee birthday celebration.

How was your weekend?

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