Monday, October 31, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011 - Knit Hat and Felt Hearts

I finished Mike's hat.  Nolan tried it on for size and it fits pretty well, but I think for the rest of the boys' hats I will just cast on 88 stitches.

Sarah worked on some more hearts this past week for our advent heart basket.

Looking forward to reading about some ideas to get started on a new Christmas project this week.

To share leave a comment with your link.
Warm wishes,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It felt like Christmas morning in our house this morning

(Sorry about the blurry picture - I took it through our window inside)

As Mike, Emmy and I were still resting in bed this morning, at about 6:45 (Sundays we get up a just a bit later than the rest of the week), we could hear the children saying - "There is snow!, Snow!"  Oh the excitement.

Right after breakfast, the winter clothing hunt began.  I had just sorted through the hats and mittens yesterday but had not pulled out snow pants and snow boots.   Then outside for a time - tracking, throwing snowballs, and just laying down in the snow.

To be joyful  like children on the morning of the first snowfall! - something to strive for.

Blessings to all and warm wishes for a peaceful Sunday,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Favorite Pumpkin Recipes this Fall

So far this autumn, these are my two favorite pumpkin recipes:

This first one is a nice morning bread.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread 

3/4 C demerara sugar or sucanat 
1/4 butter, softened 
1 egg 
3/4 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree 
3 T. orange juice 
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, pumpkin, orange juice, and orange zest. Set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Pour pumpkin mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, and stir until no lumps remain. 
Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan. (This recipe makes one 8x4 loaf) 
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick or fork (should come out clean).

This next one is a delicious dessert!

Pumpkin Bars

3/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups flour

Mix in large bowl.
Pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch pan

Bake 350 degrees. Bake 35-40 minutes or until pick inserted comes out clean

3 oz. softened cream cheese
1 Tbs. orange juice or milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups powered sugar

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Sarah's new hair cut.

Abraham playing in a "fort" of scrap wood beside the barn.

Sarah pushing Abraham on a tricycle we found at recycling.  Oh, what a beautiful day it was yesterday!

And we celebrated Mike's 45th birthday.  Notice the duct taped paper bags for gift wrapping from the children:)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Handmade Holiday 2011

I don't have anything too exciting to share this week as I am working on a very simple knit hat for dear husband.

I know it would probably be neater to knit with circular needles but then I would have to buy size 8 circular as well as size 8 double pointed needles.

This is a simple pattern - just cast on 92 stitches.  Knit 2, Purl 2 each row across for 2 inches.  Then stockinette stitch for 4" and then begin decreasing.

Looking forward to seeing what you are working on.

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Knitting and Reading again for the Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Things again this Wednesday - don't the weeks just go by so fast?  I am knitting these sweet little Mary Jane style wool booties for our shop.  They are a quick and easy knit and again from my favorite knitting book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.

With just a few pages left to go in Deeply Rooted, I am looking for another bedtime book.  Deeply Rooted is again, a great read if you are passionate about food, and specifically about keeping our food choices local as much as possible and out of the hands of big business.

This little book, Small Acts of Kindness, is a children's book that was recommended and how wonderful to go along with our kindness theme.  It is just great - starting with one small act of kindness from a little boy giving his mother a hug in the morning and how that leads to another act of kindness from his mother to someone else, and so on and so on....

Looking forward to finding out what you reading and knitting or crocheting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Christmas Countdown with Wool Hearts - Handmade Holiday - 2011

I love the idea of making the whole Christmas season special, not just the one day and I like the idea of an advent calender but didn't want something that involved treats or small gifts for everyone each of the 25 days as that could get really expensive or time consuming to make, so I came up with this idea to countdown the days before Christmas.

This is so simple - I don't think that I have ever crafted anything that could be classified as complex - anybody can make these and it is a great project for children as well.

I used wool felt but you could also use upcycled felted wool (think old sweaters) and cut out 24 hearts and one star for number 25.  I used pinking shears so that I could just use a simple running stitch around the heart instead of the blanket stitch to save a bit of time but the blanket stitch would certainly look nice as well.  Leave a hole to stuff with wool and then finish sewing closed.  Don't forget to add a loop for hanging.  I am thankful to have Sarah helping me with these.

Next, we are needle felting the numbers on each heart.   You could instead embroider the numbers.

We will be putting all of our hearts and star in a basket and then take out the appropriate number each day beginning December 1st to hang on our Christmas tree.  But other options would be to have a smaller  branch "tree" to hang them or some other creative idea.

I look forward to your sharing.  Please leave a link in the comment if you have posted about your project, recipe, plans, etc...
Warm wishes, Tonya

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scenes from the Past Week

Adding a side to our barn/shed - the new barn is not going to get built before the snow comes as we have other priorities financially right now, so we need to add on to each side.  One side is to store the bicycles and recycling bins so we can clear out 1/2 the barn to make room for a milking stand and another pen area.  The other side overhang will be for the goats to have a little extra space this winter.  They will at least be able to step outside.

 The goats are helping to clean out the gardens.

 The chickens get free range now that the gardens are all through.  They enjoy scratching in the compost pile.

 A scene just a short drive from our home.

 More cutting, splitting and stacking.

 Granola making.

 Apple butter canning.

The last of the apples from our two trees in one more apple crisp.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Knit Pants and Another Farming and Food Book

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things this Wednesday to share more about the knit baby pants and what I am reading.

For the baby pants, I have altered the pattern a bit from the book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.

Cast on for front.
Using size 4 needles, and worsted weight yarn, cast on 26 stitches.  Knit 6 rows garter stitch, on the 6th row increase 2 stitches evenly across row.
Continue in stockinette stitch until leg measures 5 1/2 inches long.
Cut yarn.
Cast on 26 stitches on same needle.
Repeat as above.

When other leg measures 5 1/2" long finish on a purl row.
Next row knit all the way across both legs.
Continue knitting in the stockinette stitch until piece measures 9 1/2 inches long.  Now knit in the garter stitch for 3 rows.
Next row you will be adding holes for the drawstring.  Knit 5 stitches, Knit 2 Together, Yarn Over, Knit 5 stitches, Knit 2 together, Yarn Over - repeat across row.
Knit 3 more rows and bind off.
Repeat exactly the same for back.
Using a crochet hook, chain to fit all the way around the waist of the pants.   Using a yarn needle, weave chain in and out of holes around waist.

I am reading a really good nonfiction book - Deeply Rooted, Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa M. Hamilton.  Her writing is engaging and holds your interest as she introduces the reader to farmers who are not part of the giant world of agribusiness.  As Wendell Berry writes in a review of the book, "...these people have had the courage to use their own intelligence in their own places."

Looking forward to reading about your book choices and what is on your needles.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Three Weeks!

Emmy is wearing a hand knit sweater from our friend and neighbor and little shoes I knit for her.  At three weeks she is more awake, alert and bright-eyed.  She has, also, developed  a fussy time in the evening from about 7:00 - 9:00 pm when she finally falls asleep.  I continue to be in awe of her and fall in love with her a little more each day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Handmade Holiday - Wool Needle Felted Upcycled Hot Pot Pad

This came out fairly well, but it has given me ideas for improvement.
Let me first share what I did ~

I started with an old wool sweater that was felted (washed in hot water) and traced around a large plate to cut out a circle.

Next using a piece of wool yarn, I blanket stitched around the edge.  Then using bits of wool roving, I began needle felting a design onto the piece.

I was thinking this would be nice for a soup pot.  I am thinking, though, that when I make more, maybe I will add a design around the edges so that when a pot is on top, the design is still visible.

I look forward to all of the sharing!
Please leave a note in your comment with ideas and links.

I have made this little button if you want to add it to your blog and please link it here.

Blessings and warm wishes,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rummage Sale Vintage Embroidery Finds

Yesterday Dear Husband, Emmy and I travelled out in the morning to go to a rummage sale.  The ride was just gorgeous as the colors are still beautiful as we road over the mountain.

It was a church sale I had been to before and knew that it would be worthwhile.  ended up with many pieces of clothing for the family, some bed sheets, baskets, a butter dish, books,   and these beautiful hand embroidered linens - all for $14.00.

I love imagining the women who sat and made each of these and all of the time and care that went into each piece.  I hope to make the time to do some of my own to perhaps become family heirlooms.

Enjoy your day today - it is a beautiful warm sunny day here in northern Vermont.
Warm wishes and blessings,

Some Notes -
~ Tomorrow is the Handmade Holiday post.  I have an upcycled wool project to share.
~ I have had several questions about the pattern for the knit baby pants.  I altered the one from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies just a bit, and will share it on Wednesday

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dyeing Wool Yarn

After seeing the process of "painting" wool yarn on various blogs and in an old issue of Living Crafts magazine, the girls and I decided to give it a try using food coloring.

First I put a few "glugs" of vinegar in a large pan with water and heated to near boiling.  I added each skein of yarn for a minute to soak, one at a time and placed on towels on our table.  In most tutorials I have noticed they used plastic, but we didn't have any, so there was a bit of a mess under the towels when we were done.

I took the hot water/vinegar from the pot and poured a some in six bowls and then added about 8 drops of food coloring total to each bowl to make red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  

Next we spooned the color on each of our skeins of yarn.

I then heated up about 1" of water in a large canning pot and then put the bottle (canner) holder over the edge of the pan and when the water came to a boil, I carefully put one of the dyed skeins of yarn around (in) the jar holder, then put the cover on to steam the yarn for about 3 - 4 minutes.  Next, the yarn was removed to cool down and then I rinsed it under lukewarm water and wrung it out then hung to dry.

Abby winding up her yarn.

Her finished yarn

Sarah finger knitting with her yarn.  She wants to double finger knit it to make a jump rope.  Her dad will help her make some branch handles.

My finished yarn.

The colors came out a bit faded, but it was a fun process.  It sure makes me appreciate those that make truly beautiful hand dyed yarns such as The Sitting Tree, Springtree Road, Sweet Basil Fibre Works, and Brambleberry Yarns.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things today as knitting is one thing I have been able to do a bit of.  Nursing, holding baby and knitting seem to go together well.

The pair of pants I had knit for Emmy are too big, so I cast on another pair using smaller needles (size 3) and some cotton yarn (75% from recycled cotton by Lion Brand).  I have one side done and hope to finish the other side in the next couple of days as she really could use them.  For this pair I decided to add button holes along the top band to thread a drawstring through.

I pulled out a book from the shelves, 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, that I have had for some time and re-read a chapter.  This week our family is focusing on practicing kindness - to each other in choosing the words we use carefully.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Loving right now....

  • the beauty outside
  • our first egg from our chicks
  • these slow days that fly by... does this make sense?  Before I know it, I look at the clock and it already says 11:00 am....
  • Abraham's person drawings
  • sweet little feet
  • our two week old Emmy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011

I am using the same journal book as last season as there is still plenty of blank pages, but am adding a hand crocheted wool cover.

Each Monday I will be sharing in this space what I am working on for this year's holiday season.  For sure, everything we give won't be handmade this year as I simply don't have the time to make everything, but my goals include:
  • at least one handmade item for each child and dear husband
  • what I do not get around to making, I plan to buy from other family businesses and local small businesses which will be very modest and thoughtful little somethings
  • handmade goodies for friends and family including food mixes, jellies, and baked goods
  • make some simple decorations for our home and table
  • keep things simple! - focus on the meaning of the season
You can read through last year's posts by typing "handmade holiday" in the "search this blog" box -  scroll down and look on the left side of the blog.

I would love it if you would consider sharing your ideas and projects on Mondays with all of us by leaving a comment with a link to your post. (It can be an older post, it doesn't have to be a Monday post.) 

Warm wishes,