embrace- January 31st

It has been excruciatingly cold. The wind has done nothing but howl, the animals have taken to quickly running from their shelter to grab and drink and a snack and then retreating back.

There have been few eggs laid, and those that have been are frozen and cracked by the time we get to them. The kids and I hadn’t left the house until Thursday, our busy day filled with errands, music lessons and doggie classes, and we only reluctantly went out because of those obligations and because we were running low on important things, like toilet paper…and sanity.

Anything between January 2nd and some time in April (when our world thaws usually) is a bit trying in our neck of the woods. Most winters we can get out in it and participate in winter things, sledding, snowboarding, winter hikes and so on, all of which help to ward off the cabin fever. The below zero temps we have been experiencing this year and little kids just don’t mix, so we have been cooped up and forced to hibernate.

Fortunately, we have made the most of it and embraced our time inside. This weeks list is best shared in pictures, here is was we have done to embrace our time inside …

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Basking in the winter light. At least it feels warm when it’s shining inside.

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We enjoyed PJ reading a few stories to us.

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We hung out with our girl, Fenna, and worked on her obedience homework.

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We longing stared at the noonday sun, which looked oh so warm and inviting. On this particular day, I believe that the the temp, with windchill, was some where around -18F.

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We’re enjoying the beautiful sunsets that have started showing up more often again.

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They colored, painted, drew, practice writing and did puzzles in their giant workbooks.

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PJ created a city. I love how is drawings are evolving!

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Now that we have our sheep’s¬†fleece here and processed into rovings, I finally took the plunge, pulled the spinning wheel back out and decided to focus on getting better. Thanks to YouTube and Kevin, who kindly allows me an hours time, daily, to practice, I am learning and getting a little better every day. Here, I am spinning on of our lower-grade fleece, from our former sheep, Olive. It’s just right for practicing and working out the mistakes.

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Best of all, we got to spend a lot of time together, as a family. Drawing courtesy of PJ.

And Finally, on one day when we were relaxing in front of the fire PJ asked if we could show him how to tie his own shoes. We used this technique. It took about two hours and he was a pro at it. We all decided that the method was so simple and quick that we would all adopt it as our tying method of choice. He wanted to make a quick video and have me share it here so that all of you could hone your ninja-like shoe tying skills, as well. It will probably save you a whole 30 seconds getting ready in the morning, which, if you only were to tie your shoes once a day will, will gain you a whole 3 hours with which you can do so many other beautiful, fulfilling things with. You’re welcome. Also, this was his second take. You will understand after you watch. ūüėČ

What were you thankful for being forced having the opportunity to embrace this week? ūüėČ

december 21st- {gift}

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We visited with family, celebrated the shortest day, participated in traditions, ate delicious- homegrown food, played a new (and now much-loved) game by the light of the tree-in front of our solstice fire and then all drifted off to sleep early.

A perfect and Happy Solstice was had! Many Blessings to you and yours as the Sun gains strength this winter season! ‚̧

 

*Everyday this December I am striving to post a picture-a-day in the hopes of capturing the little moments that may seem ordinary at the time but, when strung together throughout this naturally hectic month, become the extraordinary ones that keep me ground until the new year. If you want to join me go here. I would love to share in your days as well. 

december 20th- {twinkle}

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Twinkle, Twinkle…

This was an ornament we made back when PJ was just over a year old. Kevin made the star shape, I wound the wire and sprayed the glue. And PJ? Well he threw the glitter, some of it hit the star, most of it ended up covering the kitchen table and floor.

It still sheds glitter every time I take it out of the ornament box, every time his sister moves it to a new spot on the tree during her (now daily) tree redecorating sessions and every time I put it away until next year’s holiday rolls around.

Every time I watch as the glitter hits the carpet, smiling.

*Everyday this December I am striving to post a picture-a-day in the hopes of capturing the little moments that may seem ordinary at the time but, when strung together throughout this naturally hectic month, become the extraordinary ones that keep me ground until the new year. If you want to join me go here. I would love to share in your days as well. 

december 16th- {hearth}

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I do all of my really deep relaxing sitting here, almost always with a warm beverage in hand and some sort of handwork at my side.

I am not one of those people who can just sit and relax by doing nothing. No, I have to keep my hands busy, as well as my brain, if I don’t keep that occupied it starts to cause me issue. My tendency to not be able to shut my thoughts down is why I have picked up so many craft skills over the years. That way I can sit and give my body a rest while keeping my over active mind at bay since it has something else to focus on .

Kevin says watching a fire is a hypnotic, meditative act. I agree with him, as long as I keep my hands busy.

*Everyday this December I am striving to post a picture-a-day in the hopes of capturing the little moments that may seem ordinary at the time but, when strung together throughout this naturally hectic month, become the extraordinary ones that keep me ground until the new year. If you want to join me go here. I would love to share in your days as well. 

december 12th- {decoration}

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After days and days of PJ reminding me that we had not yet made this year’s gingerbread house I decided to clear this morning’s schedule and help them do it.

Around here, the¬†(unintentional) theme of this year has been “letting go.” I have been reminding myself of this while we prepare for the holidays, not only to conserve the energy I do have on any given day, but to release all of the pressure and just let the kids do as much as they can to help prepare for the season.

This year we followed the kids lead with decorating the annual gingerbread house, placing only the icing and letting them do the rest.

My favorite part is the Tootsie Roll firewood pile.

They have now moved on to placing the ornaments on the tree. The bottom two feet look fantastic! ūüėČ

It’s all just right!

*Everyday this December I am striving to post a picture-a-day in the hopes of capturing the little moments that may seem ordinary at the time but, when strung together throughout this naturally hectic month, become the extraordinary ones that keep me ground until the new year. If you want to join me go here. I would love to share in your days as well. 

december 10th- {red}

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Working on my redwork by the light of the tree.

I’m enjoying it with just the lights but I don’t think the kids are going to let it fly, as they have asked where the ornaments are for the past two days.

Hey, a girl can dream! ūüėČ

 

*Everyday this December I am striving to post a picture-a-day in the hopes of capturing the little moments that may seem ordinary at the time but, when strung together throughout this naturally hectic month, become the extraordinary ones that keep me ground until the new year. If you want to join me go here. I would love to share in your days as well. 

baby, it’s too cold outside

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We have had quite the cold snap around here as of late. A week with temperatures feeling like they are below zero, or colder. Hence, we have only done the absolutely necessary outside (breaking water in the few unheated waters, delivering daily meals and collecting eggs), you would too if, while milking your cow, the milk was freezing to the side of the pail almost instantaneously! Instead we have been attending to indoor chores (ugh, I’m getting tired of looking at tax paperwork) and doing our best to entertain ourselves while being cooped up for what looks to be a relatively short period of time. I have never been so happy to see a HIGH of 20 in the forecast.

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The sunrise is beautiful but I would rather be curled up inside, in front of the fire, with a hot cup of coffee.

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That 6 degrees on there, it actually felt like -15.

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They have spent a lot of time staring out the windows, wondering why we won’t let them go out to play in the snow.

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When we do venture out we are constantly looking for a quick escape from the frigid temperatures, this day we linger a little longer than usual in the barn wishing that sunlight streaming in actually felt warm.

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Through it all the ladies have kept up their laying and we have been fighting to keep the coop feeling warm for them. We do come out to a few frozen and, consequently, cracked eggs everyday though.

With every challenge there comes opportunity (that’s been my daily mantra as of late after all) and with our extra time inside we have been…

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Making future plans.

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Grabbing a nap when we can.

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Taking time to play games, Trivial Pursuit for the adults, Crazy 8s or Go Fish for the younger set and Scrabble for the bunch of us.

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Cuddling up in front of here whenever possible.

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Taking the time to sit and create when the urge strikes us.

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Being warmed by the sweetness that the kids show us. PJ brought this back to me after a trip out with Nonni. I think he learned that from his daddy. I’m glad he’s been paying attention.

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Been waking up to this in the slow cooker for breakfast, hoping it will help us to warm up on these very cold mornings. Overnight Oatmeal: Steel Cut oats cooked in milk and water, your choice of fruit (in this case Ida Red apples) cinnamon and maple syrup. Yum!

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And when nothing else was able to warm us up we indulged in a glass of this¬†(Rhubarb Tea is on the agenda for spring.) It’s delicious and if you haven’t tried it yet you should grab a bottle, your sweetie and cuddle up under a blanket, preferably by a roaring fire.

Here’s to staying warm. Cheers!

joining a yarn along

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I have been wondering how to include my knitting projects here for a while now. I am not a master knitter, we are not processing our own fleece yet and this is decidedly not a knitting and crafting blog. However, crafting, in all it manifestations, is a part of all of our lives, usually on a daily basis, which is why I would like to share a project here and there. I do not create patterns from scratch in my spare time (maybe I would if I had spare time?) with the exception of some Elizabeth Zimmerman sweaters. If you are unfamiliar with knitting, they are made using a predetermined calculation for sizing the sweater with different neck options. You take measurements of the person the sweater is for, figure out gauge and input your numbers into Elizabeth’s equation and, like magic, you have all your pertinent stitch counts.

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Anyway, I am a fairly new reader to Ginny’s blog, Small Things, but her Wednesday Yarn Along seems like the perfect way to post updates on my knitting projects, also infusing each week with incentive to make progress when motivation begins to wane. All while affording me a way to not only include what I am reading at the moment, but to get some great inspiration and ideas, both of the knitting and book sort, and, at the same time, sharing it here with you.

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This is my version of a Textured Shawl Recipe, not a proper pattern, per say, but more of a guide in using different stitches while using your preferred method of knitting up a triangle shawl. My notes (what little of them there are) can be found here on my Ravelry page. I had bought some Malabrigo Worsted at my LYS, it’s not my favorite yarn to work with but it is soft and this particular colorway is quite pretty. Depending on the light it can appear anywhere from purple, to gray and even sometimes black. I had actually put this on the needles before the holidays but with the christmas knitting and crafting surge, which always takes hold in December, I set it aside until after the new year.

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If you asked Kevin about my knitting he would tell you that I am most definitely a frustrated pattern writer at heart because every time I choose a pattern to knit I inevitably have to tweak it. I tell him that is what all knitters do, hoping to attain a custom fit or to use a preferred method, but I have yet to convince him and his stock response is “If you aren’t going to follow the directions why don’t you just make a pattern for yourself.” (I am quite sure that I lack both in knowledge and creativity to make my own patterns so, for now, I will stick with using those written by others.) As usual this project was no different and with suggestions from Ravelry users I made a few changes, the biggest being that I decided to reverse the called for textured pattern on the left side of the shawl so that everything appeared to radiate from the center line knowing that once completed it would drive me nuts if it did not . I am happy with the result achieved, thanks to that minor tweak, but I think it caused the knitting to become tedious and slow (maybe that’s why the pattern writer chose not to reverse it herself?) I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to casting off soon and moving on to something else.

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As for the books, I am reading Shannon Hayes’ Radical Homemakers, which I thought I had not read, then when I looked at the Kindle app on the IPad, realized that I had bought it over a year ago and had already gotten through over half of it. Since I have been feeling frustrated as of late, and in need of a little encouragement in this lifestyle we have chosen, I decided to reread and actually finish it this time. I also have been “stealing” Kevin’s abridged version of Henry Stephens’s Book of the Farm, a gift that I had given him for Solstice and that he obviously does not guard well. It is a book from 19th century Britain, a sort of “how to” of living life on a farm, which is broken up and organized according to the four seasons. It is loaded with ideas on how to work and live on the farm using old and often quite creative methods. I love it!

What have you been Knitting (or just crafting in general) and reading these days?

December 7th

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My new hobby that fills me with holiday cheer each time I work on it.

I read about these cross stitch patterns on Alicia Paulson’s blog Posie gets cozy. When you have a minute or more (her beautiful blog is a feast for the eyes and will pull you in for a few hours, at least that’s what happens to me) stop over and look around. I obviously love her blog and think all of her crafts and fiber arts are gorgeous, so the second I saw her new project I knew I had to start one. The patterns come from this Etsy shop and are the creation of the owner Jacob de Graaf of Modern Folk Embroidery. I was pleasantly surprised (while writing this post actually) to see on Instagram last night that Amanda Soule, author and creator of the blog SouleMama has also started a project from Modern Folk. She, however, seems to be moving faster on her project than I am on mine. I have been working on the one in the picture above since the middle of last week.

I am in love with every single pattern Modern Folk has up for sale. I had been searching for a modern take on cross stitch or embroidery and this fit the bill. I especially love the old world feel they have. Plus, once I finish the snowflake pincushion sampler (I thought a small project would be a good start) I’m thinking a larger sampler like this one or maybe this one will look great hanging in our dining room, of course the accent color in that room is red, so it is a happy coincidence that should work out well.

I haven’t cross stitched since I was about 7 years old and if I remember correctly my lack of patience, combined with unpolished fine motor skills, caused me to set it aside quite quickly. But now? Now I am in love. It is a great craft to do when taking a break from knitting, while allowing me to sit amongst the family by the fire and work on it, something I can’t always do sitting in front of the sewing machine which is my other none knitting crafting outlet.

I expect this project, and the new ones to come, will continue to find its way into photos here over the next few months. As long as the wood stove is cranking I plan to be cuddled up in my green chair, with a cup of tea beside me, and my cross stitch in my lap.

What are you crafting this holiday season?

I also just realized that a fellow blogger, Jayne over at DaiseyJayne, has her header picture set to a redwork cross stitch sampler. I love how this blogging can bring like minded people together from all over the world. Kindred spirits, of that I am sure! Hop on over to her space for great crafting ideas and beautiful furniture makeovers.