After surviving the pumpkin patch last Saturday, we headed over to my cousin's house for a small gathering. Her family has a lovely house, and she decorated it so nicely for the party, that I wanted to share a couple of pictures from that day.
Sunday ended up being a pretty busy day because we were preparing for having friends over for a tomato canning and pumpkin carving extravaganza. We went to an entirely too crowded pumpkin patch on Saturday and picked up a few pumpkins that had to be dealt with on Sunday, so we had some friends over and sat down to carve some pumpkins.
In the meantime, Eric and a friend were posted in the kitchen canning the last of this year's heirloom tomatoes.
My friends are the closest thing I have to family in Seattle, and I have to say that last night felt like a family night. Eric made the chili and we all pitched in to make the cornbread while sipping on cider, then sat down to a lovely dinner. Every last bit of food was completely devoured. Now THAT is a good evening.
Just a quick post today to show you my newest hat. I bought some loop-d-loop granite yarn about a month ago when my mother was in town for a visit with a plan to knit an entirely different hat. In fact, that's exactly what I did. I knit up the hat, then my sister took one look at it and immediately told me it was a hippie hat. Now, I don't really have anything against "hippie hats", in fact, I don't truly even know what that is. It's just that after she said that, I felt like I needed to have dreadlocks in order to properly sport the hat. So, I ripped it out.
Then, I decided on another hat. This time, I would just make up my own pattern. With no real plan, I just started knitting it and decreasing at what I thought were intervals that made sense. Bad idea. I just ended up with a hat that had no real design, because it actually didn't have a design. So, I ripped it out.
Finally, I found a free pattern for this hat on Ravelry, and thought it was perfect. It has vintage styling, but I also loved adding the big, yellow button to brighten it up a bit.
My next task will be to find the perfect brown plaid coat to pair with the hat, and perhaps I'll need to make a cowl from the same cozy yarn.
I wanted to make some sort of decoration that brought the colors of autumn into the house without sticking to the typical autumnal color palette. I set out to decorate willow branches I had left over from the spring with leaves made out of colorful, patterned paper. It's a fun project that is instantly gratifying, and now that I've made this, I realize I could probably just keep it out year round.
Several sheets of patterned paper - you decide based on how much variety you want.
Several sheets of solid paper
Strong, fast-setting glue (I used gel super glue)
Tree branches (I used willow, but you could use just about anything)
Optional: leaf paper punch
Match up the patterned paper with a corresponding color of solid paper. I made mine so there was quite a bit of contrast, but you could try to match the colors as well. Using the glue stick, glue the two pages together.
Once the glue is dry, cut out leaf shapes in various sizes using either scissors or a paper punch.
After all of the leaves have been cut out, get your glue ready and determine where you want to put the leaves on the branches. The willow branches I used where great because the places on the branch where it was starting to bud created little slits that were a perfect place for sliding in the paper. I applied glue with a toothpick just at the bottom of the leaf, with the patterns facing outside. Let the leaves lay flat against the branch until well after they're dry.
When the leaves are dry, use your fingers or a pencil to curl the leaves back and give them more depth and shape.
Stick the branches into a vase and place in a prominent place, adding color to dreary autumn days.
It was rainy for most of the weekend, so I spent a good amount of time inside. I'm still in the midst of completing several projects while continually being struck by inspiration to start new ones. Sunday I just felt so unfocused, and nothing seemed to calm me down. I tried working out, playing and napping, none of which worked. Then, I sat down, turned on some Miles Davis and got to work on a special quilt for a very special person, and suddenly, I just felt right.
The boys went outside to play, and I was left alone to do some sewing for just a short time before starting to make dinner. It was the best I had felt all weekend.
If feels sort of unfair to celebrate the five year anniversary of my blog when I had a two year hiatus in the middle of that time. Nonetheless, I started this blog five years ago tomorrow.
Much has happened in my life since then: marriage, motherhood, 4 different homes (5 if you count one we lived in for a mere month), the job of my dreams working for a startup I truly believe in, and probably the most important thing of all, the return of my good health. For a long time, my life was off balance, but now I feel like the balance has been restored, and I just have to maintain it as much as possible in this hectic world.
I've made a renewed commitment to continue blogging, even when I know I've lost the majority of my readers. More than just about anything, it helps me to set aside the time to do something for myself. I am so grateful for any of you that take the time to come here, and every comment is cherished. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To celebrate my anniversary, I thought I'd share a little something with you. With all the canning we've been doing lately, we really needed some cute, non-generic jam labels, so we made these.
Please feel free to use them for your own canning or to label anything you choose. I just printed them onto a full sheet of sticker paper and cut them out, but you could also just print them on regular paper and glue them onto your jars. Enjoy!
Before I go, I just want to publicly credit my amazing husband. He helps me in immeasurable ways behind the scenes, and this could never be what it is without his help, undying support and encouragement.
My great grandparents settled a farm here in Washington back in 1933. My great aunt inherited the farm many years ago, and lovingly cares for it in the way only someone with a true love for the property could. She is a septuagenarian who still operates it as a working farm, beekeeping, raising cows and one horse. She loves sharing it with others, and last Saturday, she shared it with us.
There were three adorable calves born in August. When we arrived, all the cows were napping in the shade of the trees, cushioned by the leaves that had fallen to the ground.
We spent some time hiking around the property.
Petting and feeding the animals.
Little J got to hop onto this old Ford tractor.
And little J made a new friend.
A light bulb in the barn.
The old chicken coop.
I doubt it's necessary to say how special this place is to me. It is beautiful and serene, and I'm so appreciative that my aunt loves to share this with us. Not only does she share it with the family, but she regularly hosts tours to the farm and can talk first hand about the experience of growing up on the farm. We're already planning our next trip out there, hopefully within the next month when the leaves are a little further along in their transformation.
I've always had a special fondness for sheep. During my sophomore year in college, I suddenly developed this overwhelming desire to own a farm where I raise sheep, sheer them for wool, spin the wool then knit sweaters from the wool...in England, of course. I honestly have no idea where this came from, but I can only assume it has something to do with how I feel about sheep. First of all, they're just adorable and funny-looking with their big wooly bodies and skinny legs poking out from below. Second, they always seem to be smiling. They just seem so darn content and peaceful.
The fair had a fairly large sheep display, and there was a woman clipping a sheep when we were there.
In another area of the fair we saw a woman spinning wool.
I may not be getting that sheep farm in England anytime soon, but I can still enjoy spending time with sheep and, of course, continue to use their wool to knit warm, snuggly items for me and my family.