May Day Blooms

Happy May Day Folks!
When I was a little bitty thing we used to hand weave paper baskets and bring them to our neighbors stuffed full of flowers. I’m a bit bigger now, and the whole internet is my neighbor, so I say you all get flowers! I’ve put together a little collection of fun handmade finds from Etsy to brighten your day and warm your heart. Click the pictures of the items to learn more about each. Enjoy!

1. A trendy Floral Hoop Necklace from FreddieandGeorgia

2. A stunning Flower Crown from OhHiRosie

3. These marvelously bright Mini Clothespins from MAKINGtheNESTofIT

4. Some stunning Hand-Painted Yarn from LBArtYarn

Hand Painted Yarn

5. A beautiful resin Flower Necklace from NThandmadeJewelry

6. This amazing Felted Iris Hat from FeltedFlora

7. A sweet Baby Girl Shirt from primposies

8. These elegant Rolled Flowers from PaperPerfectPetals

9. This bright Zippered Wristlet from UnexpectedTreasure

10. A gorgeous Poppy Serving Bowl from TurningTrueStudios

11. And my Sunflower Cup Cozy From KnittyVet

Sunflower Coffee Cozy

Wow! Thank you to all the creators of the above items for sharing their gorgeous work.

Remember I am still offering FREE SHIPPING through Mother’s Day with the code MOMGIFT15 in the KnittyVet Shop. Now go enjoy your May Day!

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DIY Denim Heat Pack

We recently had a night that threatened frost… so this post is right on time!

What you need:
Old jeans. The softer the better, but not too threadbare or you may lose some rice.
Rice.
A sewing machine. Not strictly necessary but makes life easier.
Tea. Makes everything easier.

These jeans were the husband’s. They have a hole in an unfortunate location and so now belong to me.

And above is the tea. AWESOME TEA from Arbor Teas.

I trimmed the inner seam to make the heat pack a little more narrow than the full width of the leg. It ended up being about 7″ wide and almost 2 feet long.

Next I sewed the end shut and compartments for the rice so it wouldn’t all bunch at one end. I used yellow thread in a zig zag stitch because that’s the way I roll.

Next I sewed the cut edge partially, leaving holes into which I could pour rice. I poured rice. Mostly into the pack, but also on the table and floor. A funnel would make this a snap.

After the rice was in (not too full, you want a nice squishy pack), I finished sewing the edges. And continued to drink tea. About 2.5 minutes in the microwave (with a little cup of water) and the heating begins!!

And… pinnable!

Holiday Wrap Up

Writing about the holidays now is a little like going to an extended relative’s house in January and having another Christmas… fun but it feels a little odd.

We’ll just get caught up quick and move on. To possum yarn. No seriously. Really, this time for real.

We had a great trip to visit the grandparents and aunties and uncles… Little E made out like a bandit with books, toys, and more outfits than one little girl probably really needs. Her favorite part of the trip was smiling at all of the new faces, and being the center of attention for about two weeks.

 She sported reindeer horns (a longstanding tradition in my family)

 Helped make press cookies (she REALLY liked the jars of sprinkles)

 Was introduced to a special gift from Grandma – Badger Annie!

 Met her cousin for the first time and celebrated New Year’s Eve in a snazzy outfit.

 Cheered on the Packers (Her daddy actually went to the game in Green Bay… brrr!)

 And had fun watching the Badgers in the Rose Bowl… despite the loss.

Returning to our little house under a hill in MA was a little dreary – only mommy and daddy and the kitties to play with! We’ll be trying to spice life up in the near future by attending some classes – yoga? Dance? We’ll see.

Ok, the holidays are caught up.
Next: Cozy Give Away! Possum Yarn! Other fun things! Not quite as many baby photos!

The Mittens that Ate Manhatten

Ok, the mittens didn’t eat Manhattan. Not even a few buildings. But they have eaten my life the past few days. I’m making them on commission for an Etsy customer – I’m using Adrian Bizilia’s really excellent pattern – find it HERE.

I love how the colors have turned out, and I think the inside of the mitten is just as beautiful as the outside…

This, folks, is why you block. Unblocked mitten right, blocked mitten left.

My super fancy blocking frame? Yep, wire coat hanger. Works great.

I just have to knit the lining – I have some nice alpaca yarn. Back to mittens!

Oh, and remember, our 15% off sale at AWM ends December 3rd at midnight. Visit the site for a list of participating shops. Cheers!

Twisted Minuet Wrister Pattern

Happy Sunday and start to the holiday season – in honor of the giving spirit I’ve finally transcribed my pattern for the companion wristers to our Twisted Minuet Scarf. You can still find the scarf pattern HERE – enjoy the new wristers and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!

If you like these wristers but aren’t quite sure that knitting them yourself is your style… They can be made to order! 

Twisted Minuet Wrister Patternhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/73275475/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-1mjl29tn7j8d7m6i4rlq(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

A little baby knitting

I’ll admit it, I’ve taken full advantage of knitting for a wee one over the past year. How could I resist when there are books like Kristen Rengren’s Vintage Baby Knits? The book is full of updated, adorable patterns… I finished E’s pixie hat and immediately cast on some purple yarn for a sweater. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Our little pixie

In case you had any doubts that these were legitimate vintage patterns… here is E’s great uncle modeling HIS pixie hat back in the ’50s.

Shop Handmade!

Remember to shop locally this holiday season! Follow the link to join a group of folks who are dedicated to handmade vs box store gifts.

Here is a fun collection of items to get you started – a baby boy treasury in honor of our good friends from Michigan who welcomed a healthy baby boy into their lives yesterday!

 

You can also find a great group of artists at www.artisansofwmass.com – for all of your holiday gifting needs. Shopping handmade! Woot!

Baby Wipes – Tutorial

We try to be reasonably green around here… and I like to keep the chemicals touching my baby to a minimum. We cloth diaper as much as possible and I wanted a way to use plain water to wipe the little baby bottom. Although we ended up with several baby washcloths from a variety of sources, I didn’t really like them for wiping. Most were just not squishy and absorbent enough to do the job.

I grabbed some 100% cotton WASHABLE worsted weight yarn and went to work.

This is the easiest knitting pattern. Ever. I mean, seriously, if you can’t knit a scarf but want to knit your friend a baby gift? THESE ARE PERFECT. And if you can knit decently, they’ll just go really fast.

I used size US 9 needles… I happened to grab my trusty dps, but straights work just as well.

Cast on 16… or 18, or 20. Your wipe will just be slightly larger.

Knit back and forth in garter stitch until the wipe measures 2 inches or your desired width. This is about 16 rows. No purling, just knit. See how easy?

The finished product! These wipes are also great for facial cleansers… not the same ones as the baby wipes of course… perhaps color code?

So they look pretty freshly made, but you may wonder how they hold up. The following is a picture of some wipes after heavy use and many trips through the washer (Hot water!!) and dryer (Hot air!). They actually become MORE absorbent the more they are washed… just like cotton cloth diapers.

Happy Wiping!

Applesauce, applesauce

As you may have surmised from yesterday’s photo, the little tyke and I recently visited the apple orchard. We went to Cold Springs Orchard, a teaching, research and working orchard maintained by the University of Massachusetts, on a stunningly beautiful autumn day. We strolled through the rows of trees heavy with late fall fruit and then headed to the cider barn to pore over the tempting varieties.

I’ll let you visit the Cold Spring website yourselves to get a full idea of the range of apples available. We picked out some Honeycrisp, Winter Banana, Emerald and a few more for eating fresh, then picked up 2 peck bags of seconds for turning into applesauce.

All these apples should make about 16 pints of applesauce, but they would need to be done in about 4 batches due to the space chopped apples consume. And if each batch needed to simmer for HOURS, well, with a 2 month old to watch and hold I knew I needed a better plan.

Enter the pressure cooker! About 10 or 12 minutes to come up to pressure, 5 minutes at pressure, cool under cold water, and done!


You don’t need to peel or core the apples… just wash well, quarter, and throw them in the pressure cooker!

A nifty food mill

 After cooking the apples will be mushy and saucy. To remove the skins and cores I used a strainer, ladle, and a little elbow grease, but a food mill or similar item would make this job even easier…

I decided to freeze some of the applesauce in ice cube trays for later use as baby food. Makes it easy to grab just a few servings from the freezer.

Finally I wanted to can some of the applesauce since our freezer space is getting tight. Mostly from all of the peaches our tree produced this year (yum!).
The easy 15 minute waterbath canning process is very well spelled out over at Pick Your Own, so I won’t repeat that here, just leave you with a tantalizing photo of the finished product. And my helper.


And… We’re back!

When I last blogged it was early spring and things were just beginning to grow, including me! Throughout the spring and summer I nurtured the garden and a little baby. Now it is fall, the garden is done, and and baby is here and not so little! I’ll be trying to catch up with some good posts as I’m able (the long awaited Kiwi yarn post, applesauce and PIES), but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a few photos of the babe and me.