Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Front Door Says It's Fall

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We took a walk today and I found the first colorful leaves of the year.  I've been keeping a lookout for fallen leaves every day so of course I had to nab these.  I think they make a sweet "wreath".  Sweet and natural, wrapped in wool, decorated with wooden beads.  Let's see how long it lasts...I think I'll try and leave it up until the frosts start coming.

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Fall Leaves

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekend Crown

Crown

Had a little fun with a crown for a friend today.  I love making these; the pattern is simple and they fit such a wide range of heads and ages.  I really wanted to add a little bit of detailing to this one.  The yarn is a very soft and pliable merino wool that feels incredibly gentle against the skin and it begs for some extra luxury. I want to make a soft and slouchy hat or sweater out of that stuff (Austermann Merino 105, mmmm).


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The little red "jewels" make me so happy.  Embroidery floss is so wonderful, no? Don't you love a little pop of the stuff on just about anything? I have been inspired to add flowers and floss to all of my clothes and projects lately, so expect to see a bit more shoddy embroidery in the future.  Hopefully my skills will eventually improve.  I think I stitch a bit too quickly.  I was reading Wild Olive the other day and this post encouraged and inspired me to slow my stitching down. (Wild Olive is such a sweet blog if you like embroidery and/or cuteness!)

Crown 2

I think I'll close with some random thoughts!  (Inspired by a new blogger I've just started following, Nette's Studio 23.)

Random thoughts:

1. I make lentil soup almost once a week and it's usually delicious. You would think I could get the water proportions right every time. You would think wrong.

2. Teething babies do not nurse well and they do not nap well.  Hoping that tomorrow is a better day with the normal amount of naps.

3. Sundays in Germany are especially quiet.  Sometimes I think about getting on a train and just riding through the countryside with Baby G. She loves trains.  I bet the train is extra quiet on Sundays.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Unstructured Creative Time

Cotton Yarn

I have been feeling super creatively stifled lately.  I don't know if it's the lack of sleep, lack of free time, abundance of dog hair on everything I try to make, or just some wacky combination of all of the above and a little extra, but I've been feeling more and more like knitting and crocheting are a c-h-o-r-e.  Whenever I get a moment of free time I usually rush over to one of my knitting baskets and whip out a work in progress to add a few rows.  But lately I've just had no gusto.

My solution is this: unstructured creative time.  I may not have much of it (time that is) but what little time I do have needs a bit more freedom.  Back in college I used to paint wild portraits on big canvases and despite all the stressors and frustrations I had in my life at that point, I felt consoled and unleashed by those paintings.  Now that I have a baby I have very limited time to play with oil pastels - they're extremely messy and I don't want any of them ending up on baby's skin - but I do have other more portable artistic skills in my repetoire.  I also have a very large stash of yarn.

All these things combined resulted in a very silly but very encouraging little rabbit yesterday.  She's a little crazy looking and she's got some weird spots, but she's an excellent start to what I hope will be a new artistic awakening in my life.  Time to really slow down and create what's in my head.

Bunny

Bunny 2

{This Moment}

Joining Amanda today. In her words...
{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
. . . . . . . . . .

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In My Studio 10.Sept 14

I've learned several new things today.

1. I should probably clean off my back porch. Specifically the back step that I chose to use as a backdrop for today's photos. (Now you're just going to see the dirt on the step instead of my projects...hm)  I was going for shabby chic but I think it turned into shabby weak (har har har).

2.  I did not take pictures of anything I'm working on for the craft show. It's happening next month and it's already giving me a headache. How do people with babies make time for this stuff?

3. Every time your baby farts and you think, "That was probably just a fart" it will inevitably be a poop.

Ok, onto this week's featured Works In Progress or WIPs!

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Pictured I've got:
  • A "Herbst" banner started (ah, more garlands!) which means autumn in German.  I was thinking about changing the border colors but seeing them on my screen I think I like the red and white!
  • A green and blue wool kitty sweater working up for my quirky lady-friend over at Tales n'Teacups.  
  • And a Baby Sophisticate sweater in blue wool (wow, I just wrote bloo wool...maybe the baby and I both need a nap).  Baby G is going to look so, so dapper in that thing.  


What's in your sewing, knitting, or crafting basket this week? If you're inspired to post what you're working on as well, leave a link to your blog in the comments! I would love to see.

All right, it's baby's nap time and mama's cleaning-the-back-steps-time.  Tschuess!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pumpkin & Yarn Craft Roundup

Roundup

All right people, it is SEPTEMBER! That means it's time for pumpkin stuff right? Well the blogosphere seems to think so anyways, so I'm jumping right up on that bandwagon. I've collected four fantastic and free pumpkin patterns and tested them out for your and (mostly) my decorating pleasure.  Let's take a look.

Pumpkin Garland

Pumpkin Garland Patch

Pumpkin Garland Closeup

1. My favorite thing...a garland!  Ah yes, if you're a regular reader or have ever been to my house you know that I'm obsessed with hanging garlands in my house.  Autumn is no exception! These pumpkins are so easy to make and string up.  They do eat up a good amount of yarn, however, so don't skimp on that front.  I used Red Heart Super Saver in Pumpkin (appropriate, no?) for these.  Tutorial found HERE at honest to nod.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie 2

2. The cuteness of crochet food is overwhelming (not with faces though...I can't get on board with crochet food with faces).  This pumpkin pie worked up in about fifteen minutes and is just too cute.  It is especially cute when my chubby little baby waves it around and drools on it.  Like she's eating a baby pumpkin pie...squee!  Pattern found HERE at Miss Dolkapots Krafties. Note: I omitted cardboard called for by the pattern since this will be used as a baby toy and needs to be machine washable.

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Pumpkin Roundup

3. Looking for a place to stash a couple of trick-or-treat sized candies? Somewhere cute and autumn themed? Look no further than this tiny pumpkin box.  It works up quickly and is just big enough to hold a few choice pieces of candy away from prying eyes.  Pattern found HERE at one sheepish girl (which is a totally adorable blog. If you aren't already following her you should be!)

Pumpkin

4.  Last, but not least, what would a pumpkin craft roundup be without a plain and simple pumpkin?  This one is itty bitty and perfect for little baby hands.  Pattern found HERE at Planet June.

Happy crafting!
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

{This Moment}

Oops...forgot to post yesterday.  Won't you join me for this moment?

Joining Amanda today. In her words...
{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
. . . . . . . . . .

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cinnamon Garland DIY

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Ah, another season another...garland? Well in my house that's just how things roll. I've waxed poetic on and on about my garland obsession in the past (*ahem* tassels *ahem* German words *ahem*) and today I've got another one to share.  If you're crafty or grew up in a crafty family you've probably made cinnamon ornaments for your Christmas tree in the past.  Since it is way, WAY too early to be thinking about Christmas, despite what my She&Him Spotify channel thinks, I decided to make some of these ornaments into autumn garlands to give my house a little spicy scent booster.

There are a ton of tutorials on the Internet for this sort of thing.  There are probably way more exhaustive and better tutorials than mine.  In fact, I'm not even going to call this a tutorial.  I'll just tell you what I did:

Preheat the oven to a low temp.  My oven's lowest temperature is 150 C (about 300 F) which isn't that low, but it's what I've got.

Take 1 cup of cinnamon and mix it with 1 cup of applesauce.  It will take a while and you will think that the ratio is off and that you need to add more applesauce, but you probably don't.  You probably just need to mix it a little bit longer.  Also, wear an apron. Cinnamon stains like crazy.
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Once your "dough" is all mixed together, roll it out on a cinnamon sprinkled surface. I rolled mine to the thickness of about a 1/4 an inch.  Use a cute cookie cutter and cut out your shapes! Put them on your baking sheet. You can fit a lot of these on one baking sheet because you can put them really really close together.  The dough won't spread during baking, all you're doing is evaporating the moisture from the apple sauce.  If anything, they get smaller in the oven!

Use a chopstick tip or something of a similar size to gently poke holes in your ornaments.  Pop them in the oven until they're hard.  I left mine in for about two hours.  Warning: your house will smell very strongly of cinnamon.  It will be glorious.
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Once they come out of the oven and have a chance to cool on the drying rack, thread a small needle with some twine or yarn and string your garland! Voila!  I've only had these up for a day so I'm not sure how much air freshening they're doing, but they're cute and I get a little whiff of cinnamon every time I walk under them.  Yumm. Hello, September.
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Gnome Hat for Baby G

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Gnome Hat 1

Gnome Hat 2

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Still no handmade hat or scarf for mama, but baby G now has perhaps the cutest hat in existence. Hyperbole? No, it is amazing.  I can't get enough of pointy hats! They are so whimsical and evoke a sense of fairy tales and woodland creatures that feels so appropriate in Germany.  The color is a little wild. I bought it on sale at Anja's in Landstuhl with the intention of using it for pumpkin hats to sell at my booth this October.  I may use the other two balls for that, but this one needed to be something for my baby.  With wool and alpaca this hat is so soft and cuddly and will definitely keep my little peanut's ears and head toasty this winter (if she'll keep it on!) I made one size up in hopes that she can wear it through the next winter as well.  Full pattern notes on Ravelry.  Pattern: The Gnome Hat by Dani Davis Yarn: Lang Sempione

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Aepfel Pfluecken!

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Apple picking is the quintessential autumn activity.  After several years in Hawaii we couldn't wait until it was properly fall to visit our local apple orchard for some farm fresh apples.  Now that it's September I can blog about it, right? Right, I'm going to do it anyway.

We aren't the best at being morning people so it was a good thing that Appel Happel (right outside of Mainz for those of you who know where that is) has morning as well as afternoon hours.  After a nice long drive, and plenty of knitting on my part, we pulled off the autobahn and followed the bright yellow signs to our apple haven.  By the time we arrived a bright sunny day had turned into a typical cloudy German one.  But that was just fine because K and I are from the Pacific Northwest where cloudy and rainy are the status quo.  Gladys was just happy to get out of her carseat.

After a brief conversation with the owner's daughter and tasting the different apples available to pick we grabbed a wheelbarrow and headed for the orchard.  Some of the rows were totally barren, having been picked completely clean.  Others were full and heavy with huge bunches of apples.  We settled on only two types of apple, Elstar and Rubinette.  Baby G even picked a few, though she was far more interested in the leaves!

Once we'd loaded our bags with apples we made our way back to the shop to have them weighed. This time we spoke with the owner, an older German man who didn't speak English.  It was a wonderful opportunity to practice my German, which I think he appreciated because we got an extra couple glasses of apple cider and he insisted on taking a picture of all of us together before we left.  We came home with a bottle of fresh apple cider and big smiles on our faces.  It was an amazing trip and also resulted in some of the best applesauce I have ever had in my life.  Fresh apples, a bit of cider, and a dash of cinnamon for several hours in a crock pot equals pure deliciousness.  Yum.

The owner and his daughter also asked us to mention that they will be doing evening picking on Saturday September 13th from 9pm to midnight where there will be pumpkin soup, apple wine, a bonfire, and you can take a headlamp into the orchard to pick apples! That sounds incredibly fun to me! There's also an apple festival taking place there on September 27 and 28 (More details on their website). Happy fall!

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