new moon, new year, new goals

17 January 2018 § Leave a comment



We don’t really do “resolutions” in this house, but the new year is a good time to set intentions and to think positively. The new moon of January in Capricorn is a time of honoring and refining our path, and with this in mind, it seems to be the right moment to share* some of our family’s goals and intentions for the coming year:

W • take violin lessons • do the entire origami calendar • go to maine to visit h&a&i • go to california to visit k&d,a&c • practice archery

A • watch all of the star wars movies • go to the field museum and art institute more • visit family

E • drive around all of lake michigan • exercise more • family travel • fulfill mk’s and my 15 year celebration idea

M • travel more, including visiting at least one place I have never been • get involved with a charity with a cause close to my heart • fulfill e’s and my 15 year celebration idea • exercise regularly

I truly believe in the “power of positive thinking”. There is something so rewarding in believing in a goal, treating others with kindness, and seeing how the universe rewards us. With these thoughts in mind, we shall see where this new year brings us.

xo, m




*I shared these over on instagram at the beginning of the month, but I think it would be nice to have these over here as well.

** photo is the overlook at pyramid point, from one of our trips last year.


a tropical air refresh

13 January 2018 § 2 Comments


One of our favorite places to visit in the colder months is the local botanical garden.

They have some amazing hothouses – both desert and tropical.  Every time we visit we find some new variety of plant we haven’t seen before. In early spring they have a butterfly exhibit, which is always a highlight of our year. And later this month there will be an orchid show; we are hoping it will be inspiring and lovely!

Recently we have been spending hours in the tropical conservatory –
refreshing our bodies and skin with some restorative humid air,
admiring the many varieties philodendren, palms,
(my favorite) monstera deliciosa,
dreaming of vacations in warmer locales,
and scheming of ways to make our home even more green than it already is.

Here are a few photos to bring some of that beautiful, happy color into your day.

xo, martha

hello once again

8 January 2018 § 1 Comment


tropical hothouse

tops and pottery by E

well hello there,
it has been a long while since we greeted each other.
i had started another small blog with the intention of sharing my knits and other handmades, but that quickly fell to the wayside when i realized there is so much more in my life than making.

and after a full year off from blogging, i am missing the sharing and the ease of looking back at where we have been, and what we have done.

A lot of busyness and work that cannot always be shared,
the shortness of days means there are often no photos taken.
but our life goes on in its fullest capacity,
running back and forth between school and activities, and when we do have a moment we sneak away to places of fulfillment.

Here’s a little tidbit of what we have been enjoying lately:

~ these amazing wooden spinning tops, which the boys got for Christmas

~ the Evolve album by Imagine Dragons

~ greenery and humidity in the tropical conservatory

~ knitting the Underwing mitts by Erica Huesser

~ concocting and drinking herbal teas

~ and trying to soak up whatever warmth we can!

i hope to visit this space often and to share a place of calm with you once more.

xo, martha


weekend away + magnolia cardigan

5 October 2015 § 2 Comments

magnolia cardigan | respite

If you follow me over on instagram,
you will have seen bits and pieces from our recent weekend away
to my grandparents’ idyllic home.
We all love visiting them, and now that the boys are a little older
they have a lot more freedom to play in the fields and woods.
But this weekend was all about the bows that they made with great-grandpa.
From his birthday book, W got the idea to make a bow for target shooting.
With Grandpa’s experience as an archer
they were able to make working long bows.
It was the thrill of the weekend!
(picture heavy post coming up, if you want to just see the knitting info click here)

toadstool | respitemorning field | respite  pointing out the flock of turkeysbirches | respite archer with his bow | respite archer | respite antique heirloom apple

earned through scouts by walking 50 miles

earned through scouts by walking 50 miles

We spent hours outdoors, despite the first truly cold weekend:
tromping around in the woods,
spotting deer and turkeys,
looking for animal tracks,
picking, and trying to identify, heirloom apples.
And, as always, we were all sad to go home.

magnolia cardigan | respite magnolia cardigan | respitemagnolia cardigan | respite morning walk | respitemorning walk | respite
With the cold weather,
I was able to wear my new magnolia cardigan for the first time.
And really, I didn’t take it off the whole weekend.
Toasty, soft, and in love with the color.

For the knitters out there, here are the specs:
Magnolia Cardigan by Joji 
3 skeins Madeleine Tosh Merino Light in the color dirty panther
and a shout out to Jimmy Beans Wool who went above and beyond
to help me find the exact shade of variegated charcoal black that I wanted,
based off a photo on pinterest!
4mm needles for the body, 3mm for the buttonband (still need to find buttons!)

Modifications ::

~changed garter stitch to stocking stitch
~provisionally cast on both back and fronts, knit to underarms, then did a 3 needle bind off on the inside for more stability in the shoulders.
~used my favorite Carol Sunday’s Short Rows technique for short row shaping rather than the usual w&t
~knit the upper body to the size M length. Picked up the Medium sleeve stitch count as well.
~knit body to 16” then did 1×1 ribbing for 2 inches, with Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off
~alternated skeins to avoid pooling
~buttonband is approx 9 rows (double the pattern) with 6 buttonholes
~love the yarn color, I am curious how the yarn will hold up re: pilling because it is so soft and is not a blend. i will update after a few months wear.

All in all, both a weekend and a sweater to love!


5 October 2015 Comments Off on birthday

birthday boy | respitebirthday cake |respite birthday cake | respite birthday gifts for an 8 year old | respite

candles | respite

Oh, how belatedly I am writing this post.
So many intentions to write,share,
and remember
but time just slips away.

W’s 8th birthday was a month ago.
And birthdays are a special thing around here.
The one day that is all about you.
Your likes, dislikes, and wishes catered to.

Extended family celebrations surrounded his day,
an ice cream party at the park.
His actual birthday included a dinner of bangers and mash,
a raspberry sponge cake with whipped cream,
and gifts selected with his funny and diverse interests in mind.

A jellycat kitty he named Victoria
This fun book full of activities and lessons geared towards boys, but would be great for girls as well
A tee with a contrast pocket
A solar system puzzle with wall poster
A feather headdress made from feathers found on our walks
(sanitized in a combo of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol)
and a polar bear  for his cake

It is hard to believe that he is 8 and in second grade,
but what a wonderful day he had.

*the amazon links are affiliate ones, and if you purchase directly from the link I make a small percentage off the sale.*

diy: overdyeing a silk shirt

9 August 2015 Comments Off on diy: overdyeing a silk shirt

overdyeing a patterned silk shirt | respite

A couple years ago I clearance purchased a patterned silk tee from JCrew, 
And even though I wore it quite a bit while it was new,
it would sit for months in my closet unworn
(pink is not a color I gravitate towards).
until I realized that overdyeing it black would up its chances of being worn.

Although I have dyed wool from a natural state,
overdyeing an already patterned item made me slightly more hesitant.
But since it wasn’t a favorite as it was,
the worst that would happen is a lesson learned,
and if it did work then all the better!

Before I began, I wanted to make sure that I did everything properly,
and looked up a few tutorials using RIT dyes.
However, very few talked about using actual silk, or it was for the shibori method
and I couldn’t find any about overdyeing a patterned item.

In the end, I threw caution to the wind (sort of),
bought a bottle of liquid RIT dye in True Black,
and did the following:

~ Mix a paste of baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide and pretreat any stains. This also removes underarm/deodorant residue.

~ After that has set for 30-60 minutes, handwash with regular laundry detergent. Rinse. Making sure the garment is nicely soaked. You want it to be wet when you set it in the dye.

~ Bring a LARGE pot of water in a stainless steel pan to a simmer over medium heat, add 2/3 or a whole bottle of liquid RIT dye to the pot, along with a cup of white vinegar.

~ Add your garment and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you stir frequently using stainless utensils or a wooden spoon that you don’t care about, and that the WHOLE piece of clothing gets exposed to the dye. I think a bit of my shirt was scrunched up part of the time and the upper back did not get saturated as well as I would have liked.

~ Rinse in warm water, gradually getting cooler, until the water runs clear.

~ Wash in a conditioning soap to restore the proteins back to the silk. Roll it up in an old towel pressing the water out as best as you can. Let air dry most of the way, and then iron on a silk setting.

Remember that if you don’t use stainless steel items, or if your sink isn’t stainless. The dye will stain Immediately. We don’t have any sinks or drains that are stainless, so I dumped my dye pot in the garden and used stainless mixing bowls for rinsing outdoors.

On very close examination, a faint bit of the pattern remains,
but all in all, it does not look like a diy,
which deems it a success.


19 April 2015 Comments Off on weekending

walk | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog

This weekend was the first in a long time that
we had no extra obligations.
The weather was beautiful,
and we spent the majority of it out walking.

Saturday’s walk in field and woods
quickly turned muddy,
the four of us squelched our way through a couple miles,
alternating between laughing about it and complaining.
We came home, rinsed off, grilled burgers
then had root beer floats and hot fudge** sundaes for dessert.

Sunday was relaxing with a quiet morning of
boys reading and building masterpieces with Lego bricks,
E and I slowly savoring our coffees.
The weather was still beautiful, so we walked again
refreshing our memories of all the birds we hadn’t seen for months.
After chatting about our town’s history,
we decided on an impromptu visit to the local museum where we
spent hours looking at the “our town” exhibits,
as well as the gallery of Dutch paintings from the
17th and 19th centuries.

A perfect weekend to remember.

*but have to remember my camera next time!
iphone photos just do not cut it.

**the hot fudge sauce was made using this recipe,
but swapped the corn syrup for honey (about 5T) and
half the chocolate for 6T cocoa powder + 1T extra butter.
Otherwise followed it as written.