19 April 2015 § Leave a comment
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.
8 April 2015 § Leave a comment
It has been a long while since anything handmade was added to my own wardrobe.
However, in the last week I finished three pieces,
and am feeling inspired to do more!
Made from Quince & Co’s wool/silk yarn Tern.
Knit on 3.25mm needles. Six skeins of yarn almost exactly.
The pattern lengths are a little bit different than what her photos show,
and although she states that the pattern isn’t what the sample is,
I wish she had given measurements for the length differences.
As a tallish person (5’7″/170cm) I always add a little bit of length to patterns.
This one had an extra inch and half knit in,
and then blocked a little more than that.
The raglan length is a little short, so if I were to knit it again,
I might add another half-inch in there as well.
Overall, I like it, and am hoping that with wear I will love it.
Also two tanks for layering, and staying cool –
if warm weather ever arrives!
I really debated which of the great tank patterns to use
Grainline’s or Wiksten’s.
Both have such great reviews, with minor alterations in silhouette.
I eventually decided on the Wiksten tank,
because of my shoulder shape and I liked the shirt-tail hem.
For the ‘wearable muslin’ I used some vintage poly/cotton fabric.
Usually in RTW I fit between a medium and a small,
so I took a leap and cut a straight medium,
after adding 1/4″ to the bottom of the pattern.
When I tried it on the shoulders and front/bust fit perfectly.
but the sides needed a little slimming.
For the Liberty tana lawn tank,
I cut a medium to the underarm, then a small for the sides, still adding the length to the bottom.
Using Grainline’s bias neckline tutorial is an absolute must.
Although the process is a bit fiddly,
doing the understitching gave every seam the best finish,
and actually made the topstitching go more smoothly.
I LOVE the end result for both tanks. No wonder it has become a hit pattern, such a great basic.
Although I am fairly certain I will make a couple more in solid colors,
I am tempted to also try the new Cali Faye Collection tank pattern,
because of the lovely scoop back,
but perhaps will try her dress pattern instead!
6 April 2015 § Leave a comment
One of the highlights of each spring is the trip to
our local botanical garden’s butterfly exhibit.
For eight weeks they release thousands of tropical butterflies
in the conservatory.
It is hot, humid, and busy,
but always astounding.
We only ever capture a few of the fifty species on camera,
but it is one of those outings where it is far better to live in the moment
than wait for the perfect photo opportunity.
27 February 2015 § Leave a comment
My birthday was yesterday,
and every year I kind of dread it;
thinking of growing older,
birthdays of years past overshadowed
by other things in life.
Yet, I am always pleasantly surprised
by all the love and care my family puts into
making it a special day.
I played with my favorite two year old,
enjoyed a long leisurely coffee date
with some favorite mamas of mine.
Meandered around the fabric store
for a long time,
looking over cottons, linens, and laces.
Despite the feet of snow and frigid temperatures,
I pretended it was spring.
Wearing a new bright blue Breton,
enjoying a dinner with my little family ~
chinook salmon with fresh dill, asparagus, new potatoes,
and a baby lettuces salad,
with (an old family recipe) sponge cake
little strawberries and whipped cream
All my favorite things wrapped up in a day.
23 February 2015 § 1 Comment
Not long after the new year,
Kyrie of The Little Snail and I were chatting
about how worn out our household essentials were
becoming after a decade or so of marriage.
And how, when you are young and setting up house
you don’t think of the longevity of the basics,
but after using the ugliest plastic things for a long time
you realize that William Morris was right,
that you should
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.”
We decided that a goal for 2015 would be to
replace our worn out items, or those we no longer use,
with things we find to be more beautiful.
As we bring lovelier goods into our home,
those old things had to be removed.
Not an exercise in mindless buying,
a mindful exercise to decide what we want in our homes long term.
This weekend I picked up an Italian wooden broom at TJMaxx,
to replace the old nasty plastic one that I never liked.
Also, thanks to the generosity of a perfect stranger,
I have two new canvas bags for groceries,
replacing those strange but ubiquitous polypropelene ones.
Won’t you join Kyrie and I in this little endeavor?
We’ll be using #beautymeetsutility to chronicle our journey.
1 January 2015 § Leave a comment
A post from this summer that was never published. Oddly enough, I have been thinking about house decorating again, so it seems appropriate to publish today.
I love to see the corners of other people’s homes,
the way the set up vignettes,
the furniture they choose,
the calm or busyness of their decorating habits.
Here are some of my favorite spots around our house.
All of our wall hangings are personal to us –
photos I’ve taken on our vacations,
paintings loved ones have done,
a Celtic knot from a long ago trip to Wales.
Recently I picked up a medium gold frame at the thrift store,
and am hunting for the perfect thing to put in it.
So many beautiful pieces of art out there,
I wish there was unlimited budget for it!
Right now some photos that were already on the wall are
centered inside it,
reminding me of Picture, Picture,
soon I hope to find something that speaks to me.
A recently rearranged living room,
and new drapes have breathed new life into our living space.
Everything feels more open and properly placed.
Favorite bits of our place. Share yours!
I love to see them.
1 January 2015 § 2 Comments
It’s been a long while since I have posted here.
So much has happened for our little family,
nothing we had imagined 2014 would be.
The last five days I have been dealing with illness
thinking about the year to come –
ways to make this year far better than the last.
We made a list last night at dinner –
Our Hopes and Goals for 2015 ::
~ Respect and good behavior at home and at the grandparents (the boys came up with this on their own!)
~ Whistle train Millie, and train to retrieve (family goal)
~ Do more birding and surpass our record bird count (family)
~ Go on more hikes (family)
~ Camp (family)
~ Create food and flower gardens (mama)
~ And tend to them properly (mama again, I am not a great gardener and want to change this!)
~ Backpacking trip (papa and A – both a cub scout requirement and fun for them)
~ More spiritual study at home (family, but W especially requested it – in 7 year old terms. ha!)
~ Record our activities and memories in a tangible way (mama. Not sure whether that means more presence here and printing more photos, or just more print. Though I do hope to write here more often. It really is a nice record to have.)
~ Merge beauty and utility in our house more. Clearing out the things we do not use, and replacing the solely utilitarian items with ones we like to look at. (This is a goal with a friend!)
~ Travel, both our large trips planned and unplanned weekend getaways.
Do you have any goals for 2015?