Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bits of Creativity from the Week

We all appreciate how Abby makes desserts from start to finish by herself now.

 Watercolor painting

Abby has been experimenting with using watercolors and a Sharpie.

I have been working on one of Sarah's birthday gifts.

Part of my job in our business is the wood burning.   It can be tedious but it can allow for a bit of creativity as well.

I found that it was very helpful to plan out my projects for the week but not so helpful to set hard and fast goals for completion - too stressful!  However, I will continue to put my creative plans in my planner, but be flexible with what I accomplish while making sure to set aside bits of time each day.

Thank you for all of the thoughtful sharing in the previous post.  My only intention there was to raise awareness of the subtleties in advertisement - or maybe in this case, not so subtle.  We are each on our own path, however, I do know that children are the most precious gift we can be given.  Unfortunately, much in our culture does not reflect this belief.

Warm wishes for a joy filled weekend,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Did Having Children Become a Burden?

I borrowed an issue of Martha Stewart Living from the library yesterday and felt like crying when I came upon this advertisement.
I think it sends the message that it is more important to do what YOU want because once you have children you won't be able to experience the highs of self-absorbed living.    

Children are such a blessing and God will provide if you have faith.  He has shown us this over and over again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Knitting

I knit a little bunny for Emmy's Easter gift.  I had shared the pattern with the Rhythm of the Home two springs ago.  This bunny is knit with some left over yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery in Organic Cotton/Fine Wool which makes it a little more mouthing friendly for Emmy than many of the other toys I knit in 100% wool - and as usual, it is a very simple pattern.

Emmy's spring sweater is coming along well.  I am decreasing for the back and will be soon be starting the sleeves.

Nothing new to share on the reading end.  I am still working my way through and enjoying Into the Wilderness.

Looking forward to checking out what everyone else is knitting and reading at Ginny's Yarn Along.

Warm wishes,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday - a new week

In this new week where I am working on carving out creative time each day - above and beyond my homemaking duties - I am excited about all of the possibilities.

In my planner I have divided the rows into the following categories - Home Learning, Cleaning, Home Projects, Business, Creative Time,  Misc, and Meal Planning.  I use a very basic, inexpensive planner from Rod and Staff Publishers.

For today's creative time, I have planned to begin one of Sarah's birthday gifts - a wool felt name banner.  For me, it isn't really realistic to have the opportunity to have an hour of straight time.  So instead, I will gather the felt and put it on my secretary (work desk), design the letters on paper and cut out to pin on the felt and plan to get all of the letters cut out today.

I also want to share another creative mama - Erin from Tiny, Twist, Creative.  She and her husband are saving up to adopt their baby girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The proceeds of the sales from her beautiful tshirts, found in her shop, Dandelion Dream, go toward that goal.

Here is Emmy in her shirt - in a soft mauve with a hand printed bird.  I promise if you order a shirt from Erin, the drool will not be included.

Wishing you a beautiful week,

Friday, March 23, 2012

More on Nurturing Creativity

Renee's little ebook has been a wonderful reminder to me in so many ways and is such wonderful timing with my own personal goal this year to spend more time being creative.

How though?  With seven children and a husband; baking and cooking; planting and outdoor chores including animals; a house and clothing to clean;  planning and one-on-one time in home learning;  hmmmm.....  All of our lives are full, aren't they?

In Nurturing Creativity, Renee reminds us to take small bits of time and to also plan out spaces of time.  Or guess what?  It will never happen.  I have been so guilty of this - of telling myself that I can have my creating time when the meal has been prepped, the house in order, and the learning checklist for the day all checked off.  Well, is this ever a reality?  
Probably not - actually, most definitely not.

So, I knit or crochet while helping with home school work.  Have tea and a treat while perusing inspiring books or images I have saved to my computer to get my creative juices flowing.  Now, the part I have not been doing - setting aside time TO DO.   For me, this time would be for handwork - working with wool, printing, sewing, or drawing.

This coming week I am going to mark off time slots on my planner for creating and work towards sticking with them.  In addition, I am going to plan one bigger project that might encourage some of the other children to join in with me.

Will you join in with me to set aside some time for creativity in the coming weeks?

Warm wishes,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nurturing Creativity

I had the pleasure of receiving this new ebook in my inbox the other day, 

Nurturing Creativity - A Guide for Busy Moms 
by Renee Tougas of the blog FIMBY, Fun in My Back Yard

Only some time in the last few months had I come upon her blog and learned her family was realizing their dream of living intentionally together, much like our family had done.  They are just in the beginning phases of working and living together as both mom and dad work to build their creative businesses.

Renee is a gifted writer that drew me in the first time I read her blog.  She writes from her heart.   She writes of her accomplishments, challenges, gifts and goals.  

In her new ebook, Renee, wants us all to know that we are creative.  

"The goal is to grow creatively, to express the Divine beauty and creative gifts you have been given.  And in doing so, to bless and serve others."

She says to start with small beginnings - but just start!  

Just a page written,  a small garden plot planted,  or a beautiful meal prepared.  

Don't wait until conditions are perfect because they never will be.  

(I receive no monetary benefit from the sales of this, just wanted to share.)

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Knitting Pink

I am still working on Emmy's spring sweater - just about ready to do the decreases to work each side.
Again, the pattern is from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies and it is the Anya's Cardigan.  I decided to make the largest size, 12 - 24 months and I am using straight size 5 needles with dk baby yarn in soft pink.

Still reading - at over 700 pages and only reading before sleep this could take some time - but really enjoying Into the Wilderness.
Our before bedtime story with some of the children is now Tumtum and Nutmeg.  This is the first book of the series.  We actually read the second, first, but it really didn't matter.  Sarah and Abraham enjoy listening to me read it to them, and Abby quickly read the whole book herself.

Is anyone working on any small Easter knitting or crocheting projects?  I am looking for some ideas.

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Sarah traced and cut a banner of butterflies.

Saying hello outside in shorts.

Switching from shoes to sandals

Breaking and collecting ice (it is a very shallow pond)

Not a typical first day of spring here in northern Vermont.  I think usually the first day of spring brings snow flurries and cold.  But not this year - much more like the first day of summer.

We are enjoying it, though, because what a gift to receive during a full week of March, filling a month that is often long and damp and raw and muddy (there is still mud though!).

Enjoy!  and Happy Spring!
Warm wishes,

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Difference a Day Makes, A Year

On Saturday one of my gardens was nearly clear of snow and the temperatures were climbing into the sixties.
Getting out in the sunshine, feeling the warmth, using my muscles, cleaning up the debris, moving the rocks - so energizing.

By Sunday the temperatures soared into the seventies and I was able to work in the garden.  

What a difference in my energy compared to being pregnant last spring.  I remember willing myself to just spend 10 minutes each day in the garden and how hard even that was with feeling terrible during those first five months of the pregnancy.   As I think back I wish I hadn't been so hard on myself and simply embraced the lousy feeling and gone for walks more and laid down to rest more, instead of making myself work in the garden.   I should have remembered last year that being pregnant was a short season.  And now that I am blessed with abundant energy again, I need to remember to not overdue it, to give my body time to adjust each day to the physical work that it hasn't done for nearly two years.   

With a six month old and all the other demands in my life, the garden won't be expanded this year, instead I will work to improve what we have.  It felt amazing to jump on the shovel yesterday and lift a full load of soil and to sift my fingers through it removing the roots that don't belong anymore.  The garden above was filled with a type of cover plant and each year I work to clear more of the roots.

Soon, we will visit our neighbor's compost pile and spend the day bringing loads to our little homestead to cover our gardens again, and this year, for the first time, we will turn it over with a tiller to combine the old with the new.  I avoided doing it yearly to minimize compaction and disruption of the soil by only tilling when absolutely necessary.  And then in just a couple more weeks, the first seeds will be planted.

What a blessing to start anew each spring.

Warm wishes,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Little Things

A stump for a chair with a doily on top

Patching Abraham's jeans

French toast for dinner using the bounty of eggs and syrup

Holding Emmy

Simple art

What little things are you enjoying?
Warm wishes,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Animals, Bikes and Almost Spring

The animals, bikes and children are out more now with the weather warming!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Knitting and Reading

I have started knitting Emmy a spring sweater in a dk weight mixed yarn that was given to me from a sweet reader (who figured out she knows my father through reading the blog) and passed on a bag of yarn to him to give to me.  

The pattern is from the same book I have mentioned so many times here, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  What I appreciate most about this book is that none of the patterns requires circular needles so I  don't have to go out and buy a new size and length for each pattern.  Also, most of the patterns call for size 3 and 6 needles.  Finally, the patterns are mostly simple.  This sweater pattern is probably my most ambitious knitting project to date, but I am sure it would still be categorized in the easy or easy/intermediate range.  So far the front and back are knitting back and forth as one piece with a kind of basket weave pattern with some hole design.

I have started a book which I am really enjoying - Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati.  I am working as the librarian at our little local library last week and this week while the regular librarian is on vacation.  My friend recommended this book to me knowing that I enjoy books that are set during a more simpler time and I am glad she did.  The library is open just 11 hours per week and Emmy and I have been enjoying seeing friends and catching up with the townspeople.  

Looking forward to seeing all of the other knitting and reading at Ginny's yarn along.

Warm wishes,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thankful Monday...

Sometimes on Mondays I have a bit of a hard time getting back into a routine and feel overwhelmed,  so I thought I would think of what I am thankful for right now - 

*Spending time with my daughter, Abby this morning, reading and studying Beautiful Girlhood together

*My children's creativity - Abraham making a caterpillar of pattern blocks and Sarah painting a rock she just found outside

*Lots of eggs from the chickens to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner (though not all on the same day)

*Not boiling the maple syrup too long today (I over boiled the first batch to nearly a granulated state)

*Today's warm beautiful weather that is melting the snow

*That it will still be light enough after supper to go for a walk

Wishing you a wonderful week.
Warm wishes,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just More Emmy

We are delighting in this little girl, if only time would slow down just a bit.  She will be 6 months old in just 11 days.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reading, Knitting, and Thinking

Finished two vest with this so simple pattern.  The little one is made with dk weight yarn, using size 5 needles.  It is a gift for our neighbor's new baby girl that was just born about one week ago.  The larger vest (about a 3T) was knit on size 8 needles with worsted weight yarn from Peace Fleece and has been added to my etsy shop.

I was excited to receive Taproot in the mail the other day and found a few moments the other afternoon to sit down and read with a cup of tea.  It is comforting to read of others that value much of the same things that our family does - caring for the earth, growing food, family, and community.

Now we are debating whether to make the hour drive after church on this Sunday to meet Amanda, Ben and others at the Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick to celebrate Taproot's launch.  For us, an hour's drive in our 1992 Suburban means that one of the children will have to stay home because we still haven't bought another car -(yes, there are 9 of us now and our Suburban seats just 8), and an hour's drive there and back probably means about 9 gallons of gas - which we try to limit because of financial and environmental reasons.  So the debate continues because it would be wonderful to be there.

Joining in this week with Ginny's wonderful Yarn Along.

(One more important note - a blog reader, Melissa - sent me an email asking for help as her family's home burned to the ground on March 1.  As both a Christian and a human being, I believe that when I am asked to help, I should do so if possible.  Therefore, if you feel led, Melissa's family is accepting donations to aid them in getting their life back together.)

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Play and Work

Little Gnomes, Acorn Tops and Branches

A new tree fort - a creation by Abby and Isaac

Firewood boxes to fill

Firewood, Pillows and Toes

Isn't it wonderful when work and play become one in the same?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beautiful Afternoon

Saturday started as an overcast, snowy day and turned into a beautiful sunny, 50 degree afternoon that called us all outside.  Mike and Abraham added a couple more maple taps.

Sparky and Madeline investigating the pails.

Some chicken love.

I enjoyed a quiet walk down our road with Emmy.

When I returned it was neat to watch the goats eating the buds off a tree Sarah had cut down herself in an overgrown area.

I am looking forward to the coming days where we will all be outside more.