Pages

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Living With Intention


Saying it is almost New Years and a time for reflection would be the easy explanation, but the truth is I have been in a pretty consistent period of reflection for quite some time, thinking about what is working, realizing what is not, and adjusting accordingly. With those realizations and adjustments I have experienced some growing pains as I create new patterns, learn to set boundaries, honor myself and prioritize my time, self care and the needs of myself and my family, yet with those pains comes the growth, and that has been so deeply needed.

As I continue to heal and grow I am trying to step back and leave space for what's to come and by doing so I am allowing what has been here all along to be reawakened and given space in my life so it can finally start to flourish. While it sounds so simple and it really is at the root of it all, it has not been an entirely smooth ride and I know I will continue to come along bumps and curves as I practice these new behaviors and as I try on things for size, realizing that not all of them will be the right fit. The good thing is, many will be and many already are and by allowing time and space in my life for that discovery I am giving myself the best gift of all this season as I allow myself to be myself in a more authentic way than I have ever allowed before.

This journey has brought me into diving deeper into herbal studies and has poked at my vulnerable spots in an attempt to get me writing again as well, so I will be making it a point to come here to do so. Meanwhile, here are some things I have been doing to aid in my self care and growth:

  • Walking with my sister. Two or three times a week we meet up and walk for about an hour and a half. By prioritizing this physical exercise I am benefiting in many ways. 
  • Making a meal plan and grocery list for around 10 days at a time. By doing so I have reduced the mental stress that I feel when I don't have a dinner plan or have the things I need to keep us all well fed. 
  • Exploring my interest! Making those herbal remedies, signing up for things that make me feel vulnerable so I can grow, taking time to knit, printing photos that make me smile, reading books that help me grow and stay inspired, gardening in any way I can, and more.
  • Weekly questions and connection with my guy. We're only two weeks in, but this has been wonderful self care and made a really big impact for us both already and led to positive changes in our lives and habits. 
  • Giving myself 15-30 minutes of "mom time" in the morning. E always cooks breakfast and has some time with the girls before starting work in the morning, so I've started taking a bit of time to read some inspirational boosts, jot down any insights and have a quick 5 minutes of meditation and getting my head on straight before I come out...it's been wonderful and made a huge difference in my patience and level of connection during the day.
  • Giving myself a bedtime and wake up time. This one is new and the biggest challenge for me as I really love staying up late, but it has been leaving me feeling better rested and more patient already and I know it's something I really need to do right now to be my best for myself and my family, so I am sticking to it. 
  • All the little good stuff: bath and book time, flower tinctures with intention and pulling a Soul Flower card, gratitude journal, warm cups of tea, nourishing foods, fresh air, planning ahead, etc. 
It can sound like so much, but they really are all such small changes individually and the longer each one is in place the easier they are to continue with as they become part of my new normal and as I see the positive impact of these adjustments.

While this is a pretty full time of year and maybe not the ideal time to be in such a time of transition into new habits, I have found it to be the best time for me as I feel like this work requires me to go inward in some big ways and it feels like the natural time of year to do so, even with more going on around me. I figure, if I can succeed in putting these healthy habits into place at this time of year it should be even easier at any other time and really, this is the time of year that I really need them most.

How about you? Do you have any self care practices that you count on to stay balanced or to aid in your own growth? Do you find yourself leaning more on those practices during the holiday season or letting them go a bit as things get busy? I'd love to know.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wishes and Dreams


A couple days ago I was trimming snap peas at the counter and the girls came up to me with this Things to Make and Do journal they had unearthed in the basement, wanting to show me one of the artworks they found inside. Having not seen this book since we moved I was curious to flip through and see what was inside and I felt such happiness as I looked through and was able to feel satisfaction and relief at seeing many of my wishes have come true. These things were all written in there far before Iz was born and this book was set aside once a baby (of our own!) filled my lap but the dreams are always on my mind and my wishes and dreams always guide me with every choice I make for our family. Every night when I write gratitudes I reflect on all of the good I can see and I have been doing this for years - long before things shifted for the better - and I credit that practice and continued hope and hard work for us continuing to manifest the things we want for our family. 

The baby babies are here, there is room for chickens and bees if we choose (which we will once things are more settled...at least bees...there's a lot of hawk action around here), we have more outdoor space and are nurturing our dreams by filling it with life and feeding our family from it and having so much more space for our girls to run and play, we are coming up on two years of E finding a new position that nearly doubled his income and allowed us to finally move and to start making progress toward other necessary goals. The other country thing? Well, as you can see, I don't have big dreams there, aside from exploring Canada (hopefully many times) and I feel confident that wish will be fulfilled at some point, but am not in any kind of hurry. I would say it looks like it's time to add some more wishes to those pages, but it really isn't as right now I am just happy to soak up things as they are after so many years of wishing.











Those first garden pictures are from about a month ago, so things are looking a bit different these days as all the babies fill out and go wild and it's been pretty spectacular to have this larger garden. It was a lot of work to get it all built and going for this first season and we still have more to do but we all make a pretty good team around here and while some things got a slower start than usual they are making up for lost time and anything that doesn't will get another chance in the years to come. 

Meanwhile we are harvesting radishes, lettuces, basil, kale, chard, ground cherries, snap peas in abundance, garden peas, cucumbers, banana peppers and tiny little strawberries which I am tickled pink by as I started all of those plants from seed just a few months ago and it's so rewarding to taste those tiny candy like berries already, knowing they'll pick up the pace in future years. Tomatoes are getting close, lots of lemon balm, catnip and orange mint were dried yesterday and sage today and there are some marigolds (for future dye experiments) and roses (for fun bath and body experiments) also drying today. Cucumber water is being guzzled and it's just all so good. I've waited patiently for years for this space and these dreams and it feels so wonderful. 

Do we have bigger dreams? Sure. Do we know that we'll be here forever? Nope. Are we enjoying being close and making this place cozy and abundant and wonderful? YES. Being close to everyone and having more outdoor space has been life changing in every way I knew it would be and I am incredibly grateful that this is my current reality.

Sara

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Making and Reading

We have been digging deep these past couple weeks as E and I work on our parenting and family goals together and while it is all going to be so beneficial, emotions have been high and I have been a bit exhausted from it all and busy trying to do that digging, but I did finally get around to sewing up a couple projects that I had the pieces cut out for a few weeks now.

Moon Pants for O. I remember this fabric coming in the mail while she was riding on my hip last year, still living at the old house and it feels good to finally have the time to make something for her with it. The pattern starts at size three so they are still a bit too big, but better big than small I say as she will surely continue to grow. 


Her second pair of Moon Pants.  One of the first things I made for her was with this fabric (a winter baby bonnet) so now it feels like it's hers and so when I saw I had enough left to squeeze out a pair of these in the smallest size I knew I must. I really like cutting out and assembling two or more things at a time to streamline things a bit as it is so much more efficient.


With The Girls
Us three girls made pb pinecone bird feeders this past week and they had a lot of messy fun with them. We haven't seen any birds actually come to them but all but three have disappeared completely, so we are thinking there are some other happy critters of some sort that have enjoyed them. Iz is pleased with that.


 And this because it makes my heart swell. Iz wanted to make one of her cousin's cards by herself and it's just the best seeing her add her own touch to our gift giving.


About mid-week last week we made our first batch of slime and it has provided hours of play. The recipe we used was glue, a bit of liquid starch and food coloring and I added a smidge of water too. All four of us are enjoying this really. This creation was what I think Iz was calling her rabbit duck. 

Food
We have been great about making a menu again to keep us on track and this week we made a different butternut squash soup than usual and it will be our new go-to. The recipe is Creamy Cashew Butternut Squash Soup from The New York Times. We didn't have fresh ginger so left it out but otherwise followed the recipe and definitely recommend it. And if you eat wheat our favorite quick and easy bread is the No Fuss Focaccia from the King Arthur Flour website. 

Reading
I Just finished A Man Called Ove last night. I don't often read novels these days but had seen this one recommended many times so I went ahead and requested it from the library. I did enjoy it and right now I'm not too into explaining the whys most of the time as I am more caught up in the enjoying part of things but I so enjoyed having a good novel to get caught up in to balance out all of my typical non-fiction and memoirs.


That wraps it up, but today E took both girls out with him while I was left at home alone, well, aside from two dogs and a cat - we are never too alone around here, so I took that time to finish cutting out pieces for O's birthday dress and for a sun dress for her as well to coordinate with a yellow honey hive one I made for Iz last Summer. Making their clothes has always been something I hoped to do and I am glad to be setting aside more time to make that happen now that O is getting older. It makes me happy to look in their closet and see all of their dresses hanging up and knit sweaters piled high and to open up dresser drawers to find their pants and skirts looking back at me. Then there's the cozy hats keeping them warm as we go about in the cold. Their blankets on their beds. Really, so many things and goodness knows we all have our own visions of the mother we want to be, but I am just happy to be fulfilling mine in this one way at least and to be keeping my creative fire alive. 

I know once warmer temperatures come around my focus will shift a bit as we are able to spend more time outside and bedtimes move back so we can all enjoy the sunshine, so for now I plan to continue to keep ticking off my mental list of projects and working through my stash while these colder temperatures keep us company.

What have you been making or reading lately? 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Embrace


I have had a draft saved with this title, "embrace" for a couple of weeks, thinking I had found my word of the year, but the more I sat on it the more I realized it's just not right and that maybe for this year there is no single word or at least not one I have stumbled on just yet.  Embracing is definitely an everyday practice as I breathe deep through finding a millipede in the art room closet or find that little Leroy slipped off his dog diaper and peed on something again. I embrace the daily messes that are too abundant to track and I embrace that there is so much unknown in our world and in the greater world, but the word just still doesn't sum up my intentions for the year. 

This year we plan to continue settling into our house and our yard by painting and hanging art and sealing up the back room really well before building out the closets, making one into a pantry and kitchen storage of sorts since our kitchen space is tiny and making the other a more functional arts/crafts cupboard. We have garden beds to build and beds to plan and a garage to make functional for E to work in. We have a nearly two year old to continue to wait out sleeping through the night without a mid-night nursing or two. Simple speaking, we have hopes and plans aplenty and in these first couple years of living here there are going to be lots of changes and projects so while I do continue to plan to embrace life-as-is on a daily basis, to embrace our family of four, to embrace the necessity of patience, there are far too many changes in my mind to feel totally committed to such a thought.

So, while I don't have a single word for the year I do have hopes and I do have lots of love for having the opportunity to continue to change and grow as the year goes on. Meanwhile, I am embracing the hours of daylight already growing longer and am looking forward to more of that warm green grass beneath my feet when Spring comes back around and we get to experience our first Spring in our new yard. These cold days of lots of indoor time with our tiny outdoors loving people are a bit tricky and we all look forward to the warmer days that can't be too far off, but meanwhile I realize we have so much to be thankful for and am really grateful for a bit more time to order some seeds and to save back enough for supplies to get the big garden built before it's planting time. 

What about you? Do you pick a word for the year?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Making and Reading

I am finally feeling settled into this new year and back on my feet and really just trying to keep the momentum going long enough to create a new normal here in our home and to keep working toward being my best self and all...you know the drill. 

So on to the making since I was last here:

This is a hat for myself. I had been searching for patterns for myself for a long time, but could never settle on any or was disappointed by the outcomes when I would finally decide to give one a try, but once I was introduced to Okanagan Knit Co. I was hooked and I have loved all three of the hats I have made (two for myself and one for E). This latest one is called The Ponderosa hat and fills my desire for a second hat in a more neutral color. Bonus is that it is really fun to knit. I loved seeing the design take shape.


So, Iz had a dress that this is part of that I had found at a thrift store years ago. After she outgrew it I had tucked it away in my fabric bins, planning to use the cute corduroy critter fabric for some kind of future project, but one day she was looking through the bins and gasped and said how she had missed that dress and followed up by insisting she needed to wear it every day, but that when she was finished I could have it back to make her a skirt out of. So, here it is. Today she learned about seam rippers by helping me remove a black sewn on waste tie and then it was just cutting the top off, making an elastic casing and sewing it shut while E gave them baths and then watching her smile when she took it from my hands. I love that these simple things can bring her so much pleasure.


Another Iz request this week was roasted chickpeas for snack time and I thought they were worth sharing because they're quite a tasty snack. We make them from time to time, usually when Iz asks, and I appreciate that they have a good amount of protein, fiber and iron in them and that she will gobble them up. From trying lots of things we have settled on preheating the oven to 450F and rinsing two cans of beans (could use freshly made too of course). We then pat them kind of dry on a dish towel and pick out any loose skins before tossing the three cups of beans with 2tbsp olive oil. Then, you can season them however you like. This time Iz sprinkled on salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast and they were really good. I usually set the timer for 20 minutes and then give them a stir and then back in for another 20 or so. At least with this oven. In our old one I would leave them in forever, so obviously that's all dependent on your stove. Just give them a good first stretch and then keep an eye on them every 5-10 minutes.


And reading! First let me say that I am so happy to be finding more time to read again and second let me say that I loved this book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. In this memoir she speaks of her time raising teenagers and moving to a new home and the entire journey and emotions surrounding it all and even though my children are both four and under I still found myself tearing up on the regular because I already know how much that will ache and how our journey as mothers will only continue to require us to grow, which is actually quite the gift, yet a challenging one. I found this book both honest and relatable which are both things I crave in a memoir.


This book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach is not one I have completed because it has a passage for each day of the year, but I am already really enjoying the daily reflection and I have found it to be the perfect fit for a daily read for me so far. It even got me back to the daily practice of writing my five gratitudes again and that alone is a gift. When Iz was about five months old I found myself drowning in anxiety and had to really fight to get myself back above water and one of the many things I did was to start a gratitude journal. It was life changing and really helped me to focus on all of the good that was surrounding me even in what I would consider pretty tough times for our family. Love filled and beautiful but challenging in many ways, but gratitude really can move mountains and I found myself getting to such a positive place that I credit in helping our family get to a better place overall. Days were still hard but nothing could truly defeat my positive attitude or my belief that it would all work out as it should if we kept looking at the bright side and focusing on what we did have. Anyway, this book goes well right alongside all of that and though I'm only half a month in I would really recommend it.  

That is all for now, but there is no doubt I will be back soon with more to share as I have a full list of projects I would like to complete and a big stack of library books that I am making my way through. Let me know if you have been making, reading, cooking anything lately that you feel is worth sharing. I would love to see/hear/read about it. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Christmas This Year and Thoughts on Those to Come

My sister's girls up top and Iz(orange) and O(blue) on the bottom made one day when they came to play.

Christmas Living Room
Iz testing out her first Piggy Paint by the fire Christmas morning

My sweet Two Potters pitcher as my gift from E and the girls and our traditional Christmas cinnamon rolls.

A little time in the woods at our nearest park on our foggy Christmas afternoon.





























Recently I read through many old posts here to clean things up a bit before taking time to write in this space again and while I was doing so I found myself smiling, tearing up and generally reminiscent. As this was all happening around the holidays I found one post surrounding Iz's first Christmas to be very relevant as I talked about how our holidays needed to change and would have to eventually. We always knew we didn't want to run about or to spend hours of our holiday in the car - especially with one or the other of our daughters crying the entire hour which is stressful for us all and really unfair to them - but we kept trying and going with it and hoping things would change and trying to get up the courage to do what was best for us.

As the years went on we kept feeling the pull and this year Iz specifically asked if we could stay home in our pjs all day on Christmas and with that we decided it was time to make the change. So, we did and it was just what we had wished for. We saw E's parents the morning of Christmas Eve and saw my family that evening before coming home to get the girls to bed, mix up cinnamon roll dough and fill stockings, without worry of packing up bags and pjs and preparing food for the following day.

We spent the morning opening a few gifts, enjoying the warmth of our fireplace, eating our rolls, painting toes, reading new books and just generally enjoying each other. We were also gifted with a rather warm-for-December day so after O's nap Iz agreed to get out of pjs for a bit so we traveled less than a mile to the other side of our neighborhood and played there for a couple of hours before coming home for homemade pizza, dip and fruit in the living room while watching The Snowy Day and just being together. Slow and simple. Just the way we needed it. Just the way we had desired for so long. Every year may look a little different as we find our way to some new normals but this feels right for us and it feels fair and respectful to our girls and since we know that is what is most important, we will embrace it with big happy smiles and wide open arms. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Making and Reading

A few months ago I gave up on the idea of trying to figure out what was wrong with my sewing machine and wasting hours of E and I's time each time I sewed anything. We looked into having mine looked at but that alone would be one hundred dollars. While we would still like to do that eventually or to sell it to someone else to repair, we made the choice to spend thirty dollars more and get a basic model Janome and it was a great decision. Sewing is fun for me again and now leaves me feeling satisfied rather than in tears and it's a lucky thing seeing how I plan on making all of those birthday gifts this year. This week I got started for the two birthday girls of the week.

A bee hive skirt and shirt set for a six year old I love. I always love this fabric from 1canoe2 and have quite a bit more to use - never a bad thing!

A bird skirt and shirt set for a sweet soon-to-be two year old. I bought this fabric without a project a long time ago and couldn't decide what to do with it, but I really like it for this and think I'll make one of the other sets for later in the year in this same fabric.  

These were fun to make and something simple enough for gifting. With seven nieces and nephews, our own girls and four friends-that-are-like-family kids we have a lot of little ones to celebrate throughout the year, so sweet but relatively simple projects are best and I think most of the girls are going to be getting these sets this year. 

Right now I've committed to not buying any additional fabric or yarn until I work through my stash and I actually really like having those parameters to work in as I get started on this years making. I am not suffering in the least by having those parameters at this point anyway as there is plenty that has accumulated.

Also, I found this information from crafterhours to be very helpful when not being able to measure the girls I was sewing for: http://www.crafterhoursblog.com/2012/05/note-on-sewing-skirts-for-girls.html

Now on to what I have been reading. Now that O is sleeping in the girls room E moved a lamp into our room and I am able to read myself to sleep again, which has also led to me choosing to pick up a book at other times as well. Lucky for me six of my holds came in at once from the library so it's keeping me motivated to make time for reading as I will have to get them back there before too long.

I just finished and returned this one, "Balanced and Barefoot" by Angela J. Hanscom. Books like this are good for me to read at this time of year. As a naturally very cold natured person it is hard for me to get out with the girls when the temperature drops, so while I have read much of this information in other places before, the reminders of how critical that unstructured outdoor play is something I needed and appreciated. 

I also just finished "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by Rhoda Janzen and for me it was just okay. Most any memoir will keep my interest enough for a start to finish read and I did enjoy it enough to finish, but I didn't find myself craving it. 

Now I am off to work on my knitting for the evening before curling up under the covers with another book, one I am really enjoying, but more on that later. 

What are reading and making lately? Any good patterns or titles to share? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Making

I will always be grateful for motherhood and how it has realigned me with my creative side and allowed me to flourish there while giving myself permission to just dive in and create and see what comes out on the other side. The year I was pregnant with O I challenged myself to a year of 52 projects and through that year I far surpassed that number while I found my way to such a great place, a place where I could look back and see progress in my skills and confidence and see all of the things I created that I was able to decorate our home with, dress my girls with, gift to others and so on.

The feeling that year gave me, one of satisfaction and love and being connected with a part of me that had been buried for so long has shaped me into a new person in some ways and that is a person I am happy to be, one I was waiting to sync up with for a long time. I'm still intimidated by certain patterns or plans or thoughts or whatever, but the difference between now and pre-ultra-creative-year is that I don't let those things stop me. I allow myself to grow and to mess up and to let things be what they are. I'm often ripping out sewing to fix a mistake or unknitting stitches to purl them instead, but I keep going and that feels really satisfying in a way that I really needed and continue to need. 

This past year there were far less projects made while I cared for two young children and we spent our time painting trim and fixing things and cleaning out the house to sell and then the moving and so on, but here are the things I have photos of that I have created since last April or so. I'll look forward to sharing more as I go now that I am back in this space. 



Moon Pants for Iz

More Moon Pants for Iz




 A Winter Baby Bonnet for a sweet friend who turned one in August - the first item I sewed in our new home.


A Sally Dress in cute Honey Hive fabric for a niece that was turning four and had sadly outgrown an old bee dress she loved. I made Iz a sundress in the same fabric right before moving but can't find a photo. We'll definitely be seeing more of this fabric though because I bought yardage of it in two colorways once when 1Canoe2 was having a fabric sale and it's washed and waiting.


A new Winter Baby Bonnet for O as she had outgrown her previous one and I lover her in this fabric.


A Flax Sweater (but with accidental different sleeves and a less stretchy bind off than I would have liked - especially in cotton - but I learned for the next one and Iz loves this one - was wearing it today actually.


 Iz's fourth birthday dress for our first celebration in our new home. I started a tradition of making her a birthday dress each year starting on her second birthday and look forward to continuing to do so and starting the same for O this February - fabric is ready and waiting! This dress is probably my favorite that I have made.


Something for me! A Gellatly Hat in pretty hand dyed yarn by Ginny Sheller. I rarely make myself anything (going to change that) but I was really wanting a hat that I love and I have finally found it. This is a really fun pattern with a pretty outcome.


 A package of sweet baby things (tiny In Threes, Rabbit Ear Teether, Winter Baby Bonnet and Reversible Booties) gifted to a dear friend as we anticipated the arrival of her little girl. She's here now and going on two months and absolutely wonderful.


 A Flax Sweater for O


 The Knox hat for my E. Love this pattern too...and this guy. This pattern as well as the Gellatly are by Okanagan Knit Co. and are both winners and I also just printed the newly released Ponderosa hat pattern as well (planning to make one in the color above for me and one in more of the Ginny Sheller green I have to gift).


 Car Seat Poncho for O


 Car Seat Poncho for Iz in the sock monkeys she picked out - I got supplies for these after a group text with friends got me all excited and eager to make one too and they are fun and simple to make but now that they are made I think we could have done without them as we have thin fleeces they can safely wear in the car, but they think they are fun and I think they might be nice in early Spring or in the Fall when we are just walking down the street or going on a quick run out of the house.


 Iz's Christmas Sweater and Hat (Wyatt Sweater and Luuk Hat with added pom pom)


 O's Christmas Sweater and Hat (Wyatt Sweater and Luuk Hat with added pom pom)


A Luuk Hat with added pom pom for a gift for a nephew whose third birthday we will be celebrating this weekend.


Whew! There they are and with that I am off to get started on the many projects I have in mind for this year. So far on the short list are moon pants, hats, skirt and shirt sets (for gifts), sweaters , a blanket and well...the list goes on. O started wanting to read and cuddle to sleep with Iz and E recently rather than me nursing her down and with that I feel the time to create coming back around and I am pretty excited about that opportunity.