Saturday, August 27, 2011

Purple 2

Hmmm....What to do with this cheesecloth I've got hanging here?

It sure is a gorgeous colour!

Hmmm....maybe after I've picked out the fruit flies and the itty-bitty pieces of grape skin....

The cheesecloth is now a scarf!

What do you think. Should I open a shop?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Linking to Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real, today. 

...from Leila's fabulously funny and wonderfully wise blog.

I know I'm a little late for the Entranceway show-off, but if you only knew the work that went into this entranceway!

This is our side porch, which is our main entrance.

Pretty. Well, pretty is happy.
Carpet removed. Concrete painted. Curbside furniture spray-painted black. Likewise the dogfood bin. (Oops! How did that pot get there?)

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don't have any "before" pictures, but let me describe it as seriously gross. There was an "outdoor carpet" (who invented those?!) compacted with dog hair and sixty years of muddy boots. Earwigs lived in it. There was curbside furniture on it. The toys were kept, sometimes, in a broken basket. But mostly strewn all over the porch. The exposed concrete had several colours of flaking, probably toxic, paint.

How can anyone live like that? Well, I kept waiting for the Big Reno, so I never bothered to tend my little space. 

Here is my happier and more hospitable entrance. Thanks for the inspiration, Leila!

Happy. See how happy the dog is? She loves pretty entranceways. She loathes unpainted furniture.

More happy. Note the aesthetically un-offensive and practical toy bin. And the pile of knitting on the chair, just waiting...

Funny. Ah! Aesthetically-pleasing sticks of birch. Does the bark come off?

Why yes, it does! How fun. Who needs bubble wrap?
Real. A good day's work. Baby and dog are well-contented with their birch-shredding efforts.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011



the hair....

is off!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Grapes

They keep for weeks in the fridge. Good thing. The jelly-making process is slow, fun, and very very purple. Purple in the fridge. Purple on the baby. Purple on the floor. Purple on the counters. Purple up my arms! 

But it's so worth it for the beautiful evening of collecting wild grapes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

February Baby Sweater

(warning: another knitting post)

I finished my first little sweater! I couldn't be more thrilled, although it was a "learning" sweater and there are three or four goof-ups. For example, the aesthetically pleasing shell buttons are extremely sharp and threaten to slice the button holes. (Doesn't that sound so safe? Oh my )

The yarn is from Briggs and Little, one of the last remaining (and oldest) Canadian wool mills. It still smells like sheep. The yarn, that is. The doll is Bilbo Baggins, made by my talented mother.

Sorry, Mum, that IS stuffing you see in Matthias's hands. Bilbo is scheduled for surgery today, and I'll sew him right up. 

Oh, and the pattern! Elizabeth Zimmerman's brilliant February Baby Sweater, found in her Knitter's Almanac. It's knitted on two needles and is virtually seamless! My mods: stocking stitch body instead of lace pattern; sleeves were knit in the round on four needles (because I hate sewing seams).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hello friends! I'm linking you to an online version of our latest Summer issue  of Soul Gardening, for those who want to view it in person! 

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Folk Art Panel

(another sewing post)
After wrecking the pantry doors through attempted renovation plus appalling ignorance

wrecking my cupboards

...I had to make an emergency curtain. 

It turned into a really fun free-form sewing project. I started by cutting shapes at random and pinning them to an old sheet...

...that had already lived a long and useful life as a sheet, a duvet cover, and a chair cover.

I Then I sewed it all down with zig-zag stitch and machine-embroidered some wood-grain onto the tree. I have to say that feeding this much fabric through the sewing machine, with pins sticking out in every direction, felt a bit silly. There probably is a better way. But it was so lovely in the end!

A bit of embroidery here and there. I'll do more when I've gotten some other projects off my chest.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Soul Gardening—keeping alive the printed word!

important update: I made a change to the subscription info! See below for details

This is a plug for a project I've been involved in for the past year-and-a-half.

Soul Gardening is a journal written by Catholic mothers for Catholic mothers. (Although you certainly don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it!)

It's a collection of articles on topics as varied as baking, the spiritual life, kids art, cultivating romance with  your husband, and ideas for celebrating the liturgical year, to name a few! It is the original work of 4 contributors plus guest writers.

It also includes:

- recipes (tried and true! A great resource)

- a "Thrifty Wife" column with practical ideas for frugal living, 

- a children's section with poetry and rhymes (this is my personal favourite, as I'm always looking for seasonal poetry for my kids)

- book reviews

- original art

- and lots more!

Soul Gardening is currently falling below the cost of production, and we are desperately hoping not to raise the price. We want it to be affordable for mamas everywhere. That is why I am writing to ask: Would you consider getting a subscription, for yourself or a friend? (This would make a lovely shower gift for a young mother or bride!)

The subscription is $16/year US, $18 Canada, $20 International; four issues per year

You can pay by paypal to; or send a check to Elizabeth Peck P.O. Box 5132, Bremerton, WA, 98312

See here for more details.

I have to say, in all objectivity—even though I'm involved in the behind-the-scenes toil—that finding the latest issue of Soul Gardening in the mail is a big treat! It's not often that we get original reading material, especially material that feeds directly into our daily life.

Thanks, everyone! 


Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Transport 2

her name is Hildegard, after  Hildegard of Bingen

Our car is un-retired. Back on the road. No longer pushing up the daisies.

As much as we are reveling in the luxury, I look back on (yet another) summer of car-less-ness with much gratitude. 

We are all in better shape. 

Will and I spent a lot of time together, getting around on bike or foot. We talked to the kids. We talked to each other. When we went places as a family, each pulling a bike trailer overflowing with kids (oh, are there only three?), we had real, uninterrupted, grownup conversation! Not just the necessary husband/wife interchange about who left the fridge door open, but good stuff: environmentalism and the prolife movement (he talks, I listen), Waldorf pedagogy (I talk, he listens), our dream farm in the clouds (we both talk and talk). 

We felt the temperature change and "smelled" the seasons...the mud, the new leaves, the melting snow of early spring, the rich grassy smell of summer, and the dry, crickety smell of August.

As I began to slow down in my third-trimester tiredness, I stuck closer to home. I learned to love being where I am without relying on spontaneous travel to "escape" the duties of daily life.

We saved all kinds of money because we couldn't just run out and buy whatever we needed. We usually found we could do without, anyway. Or make it ourselves. Summer gas-prices didn't ruffle our feathers.

early spring romp

The lessons in simplicity of life abounded! I am so grateful for this time.

And now that I'm big as a whale and tired as an old coon hound, I'm grateful to sink into the car's seat, again!

I'm sure I wouldn't be quite this grateful without the summer of cycling.