Anticipation

This time of year is filled with anticipation. The greenery is filling in fast, and new additions to the garden are making us excited for the coming months. While we wait for our builder friend to come help with the final raised beds and fencing, we aren’t wasting time getting our veggies planted.

garden good

So far we’ve got cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, peppers, lettuce, beets, kale, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and radishes. There are also existing beds of asparagus and strawberries that we inherited from the previous homeowner. We’re eating our first asparagus crop tonight!

cukestomatoesgarden

We have five fruit trees planted and six berry bushes waiting in the wings,

bushesfruit trees

 

I’m also finding so many flowers that we’ve never had coming up throughout the yard. Check it out, we’ve got peonies, yo!

peonies

I’m still not sure what color they’re going to be (most likely pink), but who cares?! They’re friggin’ PEONIES!

We also have some mysterious flowers waiting to pop open here and there, like these vines on our smokehouse.

smokehouse

And what are these things, anyway?

cool flowers

Also adding to the anticipation is the nesting pair of house wrens that have recently taken up residence in our Williamsburg bird jar. I’ve always loved these jars and was happy to receive one from my mother-in-law when we moved. Todd mounted it near our compost piles, so we have an excuse to check on them frequently while trying not to disturb them. We often see one of them perched on the stick… it’s really stinkin’ cute.

wren nest

Otter sure has been enjoying the nice weather lately. We’ve made an outdoor run for him in the yard and he spends most of the day there, conversing with the ever growing population of wild rabbits in our yard.

otter

On a crafty note, Marin and I came up with a cute idea for a new headboard in her room. We had an old queen sized headboard that we had found in the garage of our old Vermont house. It was decent enough, but had some weird grapes stenciled on it, so we had to jazz it up a bit. I asked myself “what would a modern girl like that would last through the teenage years?”. BLACK! I’ll paint the sucker black!

When I brought this idea to Marin, she jazzed it up even more. Why not use chalkboard paint?

headboard

The end result is pretty cool, if I do say so, though the headboard is a little shorter than I had hoped. I think eventually I’ll add some leg extenders so she can decorate more than just the sides. The center of the headboard is a bit taller, you just can’t see it in the picture here (it’s covered by stuffed frog). I think chalk markers would probably help too, since we don’t want her to get chalk dust on her pillows…

It’s the beginning of the last 2 weeks of school and I’m really hoping to get my craft on. I’ll have some progress pics of the new projects up soon :).

knitting on porch

 

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The good and bad of making

Quite a lot is going on over here lately. We just received a delivery of our new fruit trees! I’ll get a good pic once we find a good resting spot for them, right now their in a jumbled mess in our driveway. Todd is in the midst of creating his dream garden, and he’s about 2/3 of the way there. It’s a slow and steady process, but will yield some major reward.

Spring day

Also in progress is our chicken coop, which will be delivered next week! We won’t have a run on it for a little while, but that’s ok since the chicks are still “chicks” and will have plenty of room in the coop itself. The brooder box is getting a bit cramped, as these little ladies are getting BIG! There are 9 in total, all standard sized breeds and, if all goes well, we will have a rainbow of eggs coming in 5-6 months.

They aren’t quite as cramped as they appear in the pics below, they just like to clamber together when they see a camera.

chicken end maychicken end may 2

I got some fun stuff in the mail recently! A nice pile of lovely fabrics. The three on the left I ordered from Miss Matatabi, which is my go-to for Japanese fabrics. The linen on the right is from a Lithuanian Etsy shop called LINENstep.

fabric

I’ve been puttering here and there prepping pattern pieces and cutting fabric. I’m actually quite fond of PDF sewing patterns, because I find it relaxing to cut and tape the pieces together. If I need a new size I just print the pattern out again!

patternspatterns 2

Unfortunately, I had one of those “DOH!” moments while serging my first Colette Mabel skirt this morning. It took assembling the skirt to near completion for me to realize that my seams are crazy wonky! It doesn’t really look this way when the skirt is laid flat…

mabel 1

But when you look closely at the seems they are all wavy and bumpy, making this skirt look rather terrible on me. It’s also too big in the waistband, there is no way this thing would ever stay up on me. *sigh*. The sad reality of making your own clothes is that they don’t all work out beautifully.

mabel seam

I’m assuming there is something up with my serger tension and I wish-oh-wish I could snap my fingers and it will be fixed! If anyone out there reading this has any advice, I am very new to using a serger and could use all the help I can get! Please comment below.

On the plus, I have enough of this cute double knit left to try again. I may just play it safe and make it all on my regular machine, the walking foot/jersey needle combo has always worked well for me…

In the meantime, the Cali Faye pocket skirt waits in the bullpen.

pocket skirt pieces

Happy Thursday 🙂

 

A blissful weekend

Have you ever had so much fun on a weekend getaway that you forgot to take pictures? I have… many times! And this past weekend was certainly no exception. With temps in the high 70s and a lake house in the North Woods to enjoy, I said “to hell with photos!” OK, not really. Luckily, Todd took some pics of the really important stuff, like this monster of a crappie Marin caught. We measured it and it was only two inches shy of the Wisconsin state record!

She wouldn’t touch it, so I had to help with the photo. We had a nice fish fry with this guy, plus a few other keepers.

Marin crappie

Anja had some decent catches too. Not bad for a tiny Dora fishing rod (we offered her a different one now that she’s bigger and she won’t have it).

Anja crappie

I did manage to snap a few pictures in the car home, only because I think kids on road trips are so cute, curling up with their blankies and listening to audiobooks. Marin is rockin’ her new moccasins, which is becoming an annual “Up North” tradition in our family.

Marin road tripAnja road trip

I don’t have any Me Made May pics from the weekend, but I did still participate. I wore all repeat shirts, so I didn’t feel the need to post them again. I’ll start up again with the posting today, so tune in soon :).

Catching up

There are a lot of things that I still need to smooth out as I dive into the blogging world. One of which is my technology (or lack of) available. I’m currently creating new posts in one of two ways, either on my desktop (like right now) or my iPad (when I’m in bed and too tired to sit at the computer). You can easily tell which posts were created where, because the iPad posts contain no links and minimal typing… because who actually enjoys typing with one finger? Get a keyboard, you say? Perhaps I should, once I get enough followers…

I struck gold on my walk this morning. Sweet sweet shroomy gold!

morel

Granted, this is nothing compared to the bushel full my husband and aunt found in Kettle Moraine last weekend, but I’ll take it! I’m a novice morel hunter!

I also finished my quick and satisfying knitting project, and this empty honey jar couldn’t be happier. I took a cup of tea in it to visit Marin at school yesterday and her friends oohed and ahhed over it. I think I found a new birthday gift option.

jar cozy

OK, I’m not ready to admit defeat, but Me Made May has been more challenging than I suspected. Alas, I have still made it 20 days without a repeat item. Those days are numbered, I fear, unless I get my tush behind the sewing machine and start cranking out some warm weather gear. I don’t think I could really justify posting a pic of me in a chunky wool cowl when it’s 70 degrees out. I should’ve played my knit goods card FIRST! Remembering to take a picture has also been challenging. See days 16 and 17 below…

Day 16 I wore my Scout Tee, which is technically my wearable muslin. I had this Denise Schmidt fabric that I found on sale lying around and gave it a shot. It’s really a great pattern! I did not expect something so simple to be such a loved wardrobe staple. Now I need to decide what to use for the next one.

For Day 17 I wore my second Wiksten Tova, this time the tunic version. Made in more wonderful linen from Merchant and Mills. It’s wrinkly… but good wrinkly. Does that exist, or is it just my weird thinking?

scout and tova

Day 18 I wore my favorite Washi Dress, and I say favorite because I’ve made this pattern three times and this is the only one that gets regular wear. Nani Iro double gauze helps with this. I omitted the neckline cutout and added piping, which turned out to be a major headache. I don’t recommend adding piping to a neckline if it’s supposed to have some drape.

washi dress

You like my face here? This is what happens when your husband is taking pics of your dress and then nonchalantly mentions that you look like you’re heading to a Phish show. Thanks, honey :).

Day 19 I wore my Easy Foldover Poncho from the pattern by Churchmouse Yarns. Sometimes the simplest things you make end up being the best, and this is a prime example. The Fiber Company’s Acadia yarn is like buttah and there are little blue flecks throughout the brown that the picture doesn’t pick up well. My mother once gave me the most valuable knitting advice that I continue to share to customers at work all the time, “use simple patterns, but use fabulous yarn”. Well said, Mom.

poncho

 

 

 

Young and free

The oldest was over at a friend’s house yesterday afternoon, so I had a few hours to spend with my littlest lamb.


I don’t get a lot of moments like these, when I can just sit back and savor this precious age and all its cuteness…



Please don’t get any bigger, sweetie.

Monday…

We have a new hammock chair…


It’s really fun…


And I’m putting the sweater project aside for a bit. A sudden thunderstorm made me crave some tea in a mason jar with knit cozy. Now I just need the knit cozy.


I’m 3 days behind in Me Made May postings (the horror!). I’ll keep it brief!

Day 13 I kind of cheated and wore a beaded necklace I made, but it still counts, right?!


Day 14 I wore my Skirt As Top tee. This is such an easy shirt to make, with only two pattern pieces, and the fit is great. Fabric from Art Gallery. I forgot to take a pic while I wore it, so this is fresh from the laundry basket the next day.


Day 15 I almost forgot a photo (I need to master this whole blogging thing), but Todd saved the day right before bed. This is my first Lark Tee, also my first serged project. It’s stil… um… Not hemmed. I’ll get to that eventually.


😊

Orioles

Wow. What an amazing bird. Though we’ve been seeing many colorful friends on our feeder and in the fruit trees lately, these little guys take the prize. It’s a shame they don’t stick around our neck of the woods for the whole summer, but we can at least enjoy them while they pass through…

I’ve been playing with my serger lately! It’s amazing that I’ve had one for two years and have only touched it once to thread the thing. It’s crazy intimidating, all those loopers and needles and hooky thingies. I was expecting I’d have to make an offering and perform a ritualistic dance before operating. Alas, after minimal (okay, moderate) amounts of cursing I managed to whip out a Lark Tee! The seams aren’t perfect, but neither am I, so it’s fine.


I haven’t hemmed it yet. I’m going to try it with my twin needle, which is another first for me. Woohoo, milestones!

For day 11 of the Me Made May challenge we had some thick fog, allowing for cool but not cold temperatures. Todd and I decided to do a little birding down by the creek in our yard and I wore my Top 64 from the pattern by Merchant and Mills. This one is made in a thicker tweed flannel, but I think this top would work really well in a lighter chambray. I’m eyeing the new double gauze chambray from Robert Kaufman…


For day 12 I got lazy and snapped a selfie of my Noddlehead pajama pants. Though I don’t love the waistband on these, they are the most durable pajamas I’ve ever had. I think they’re going on 4 years of regular wear and still look new!


And, of course, the tulips are peaking 

Finished and Unfinished Projects

Few finished projects are more satisfying than a quilt, especially a queen sized one! I’m happy to say I just finished my first such quilt. The top item on my list of 2016 goals was to make a quilt for one of my girls. Marin, my 9 year old, was elated to hear this. Anja, 7, said “no thanks, Mom, I just want a Star Wars blanket”. Oh, how different they are…

The official pattern for this quilt is called “Night Light” by Villa Rosa Designs. I expanded it to a queen size, though it still came up a wee bit short (72″ square). No matter, it still looks great on Marin’s bed and she loves it. The quilting was done by Patched Works in Elm Grove, WI, and they did a great job. As much as I would have liked to quilt it myself, my back hurt just thinking about it.

Marin quilt fullMarin quilt panda - Copy

I backed it with a blue tweed flannel I found at My Material Matters in Thiensville. I’m a big fan of using textured fabrics as backings. So cozy!

Marin quilt folded

I’m currently working on another project that will bring huge amounts of joy when finished. It’s the Shirley Temple pullover pattern from Baby Cocktails. Due to fair amounts of cabling and my lack of patience, this sweater keeps getting put away for stretches of time while I knit other stuff on the side. I’m knitting the adult size for ME in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, which I think I like… not really sure yet. It’s a bit scratchier than I expected, but folks keep assuring me it will soften with time. We’ll see.

Sweater progress 5.11.16

I had to throw my Stowe Bag in there too because I love it!

Days 9 and 10 of the Me Made May (#mmm2016) challenge are now past. We haven’t had the greatest weather, the much needed rain has finally arrived, so I’m pulling out my cozier items. Monday was still a bit sunny, so I decided to wear my Belladonna Dress to work. This proved to be a big mistake. It’s too small! Granted it has always been too small (now I remember why I never wear it!). I drafted between 3 sizes when I made this, but my waistband and bodice measurements were a little… off. Thus making this dress feel more like a corset. Nevertheless, I managed to make it until 4pm without busting a seam. Congrats to me!

Belladona Dress

The back detail in this pattern is very cool and easy to make. I will have to try again on this one in a bigger size, unless I decide I like the inevitable muffin top that this dress creates.  Uff da!

Belladona back - Copy

Day 10 was very rainy, so I wore the Ellipses shawl by Romi Hill. I knit this in Annapurna yarn from A Verb For Keeping Warm, and I wish I had bought more skeins of this! My mother loved this shawl so much, she made a near identical one using Road to China from the Fiber Company. It came out beautifully and I would recommend that as silkier alternative.

Ellipses shawl

Though it is still a bit dreary out, I can at least enjoy the plethora of migrant birds outside our window. Just this morning we’ve spotted Nashville Warblers, House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Orioles, Robins, Nuthatches, Cardinals, Chickadees, House Finches, and Willow Flycatchers. Happy Wednesday 🙂

 

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! Of course I’m a little late, but that’s only because I was way too busy enjoying my Mother’s Day yesterday to post about it. I hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful, relaxing day. It was glorious out here, sunny and near 70. Todd made me breakfast in bed, and the girls played nicely outside almost all day. Indeed, the weekend went way too fast.

Breakfast in bedwhite flowers

Mei Mei ming ming

Sweater yardSpring day

This past weekend also included days 7 and 8 of the #memademay challenge! Honestly, I’m getting a wee bit nervous as the amount of available handmade clothing items in my closet shrinks. I’m hoping to spend some time this week playing with the serger I bought 2 years ago and have never used. I need some extra hand holding to figure out the tension on that thing. Once I have it down there will be some new Lark Tees added to the mix, so stay tuned.

For Day 7 I wore my Endless Summer Tunic, pattern from A Verb For Keeping Warm. If you ever find yourself in Oakland, CA, please make an effort to visit this shop (or find them here). Their collection of fabrics, yarns, and natural dyes are so inspiring. I love that they have samples of their own patterns available for customers to try on. I made this tunic with a bamboo blend linen that I also purchased from this shop. The picture is not very detailed due to my seated position, but you can get the idea.

Endless tunic

Day 8 (yesterday) I wore my new favorite blouse, my Beatrix Top from Made By Rae patterns! I think Rae and I are built similarly, I’ve never needed to adjust her patterns at all. The darts fall perfectly and the fit is great. For this top I used an Ikat Indian fabric that I found on clearance at Hancock. What a score! Add some coconut buttons down the back and it’s a rather unique piece. If I were to make another Beatrix down the road I think I may skip buttonholes altogether and simply attach the buttons directly to the placket. The neck opening is wide enough so you don’t need to undo them to take the top on or off.

Beatrix top

Happy Monday!

Me Made May Days 5 and 6

Wisconsin weather is a funny thing. Two days ago it was 45 degrees. 45! I couldn’t believe I was pulling out the UGG boots yet again. Today it was 80. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 61. Don’t get me wrong, I love the seasons and I was looking forward to some crazy “El Nino-ness”… But 45?! I did manage to frolick (as promised) in the yard today and grab some nice Spring shots. Gotta strike while the iron is hot, amiright?
We have a great little campfire pit set up by the creek now. We haven’t used it lately, but I promised my daughter Marin she could torch her latest cursive homework in it, so we may be firing it up sometime this weekend.


This old rock wall is so amazing. The amount of life it’s sustaining is impressive, especially when you figure how many snakes are probably in there. My uncle once lifted a stone from an old rock wall to reveal at least ten garter snakes tangled together. He thought it would be hilarious if he grabbed a handful and tossed them at my cousin and I. I think I will admire this one from afar.



I’m still only scraping the surface of my me-made clothing stash, so I feel pretty confident that I’ll make it through most of the month without double dipping, or dressing one of my kids in their handknit sweaters and trying to pose them as me. It is becoming apparent, though, that I have a LOT of shirts to show and not much in the “bottom” category. This is something I may try to remedy before the month is up if time permits, especially if skirt season is coming! However, I’ve been grasping every warm day like its the last one on Earth and haven’t spent much time in the sewing room lately. We’ll see.

For Day 5 of the Challenge I wore my Wiksten Tova shirt that I made in a cream colored double gauze. The double gauze was a great fabric choice for this since it’s so so soft and makes the front placket fall nicely. This is the third Tova I’ve made. I’m not a huge fan of the color, but since it fits so well and is so comfortable it still manages to get plenty of wear.


Today is Day 6 and it was a summery wonderland! I decided to keep the Wiksten flow going and I wore my Wiksten Tank, made in the most buttery soft linen ever. I love Merchant and Mills! Back in Cali when I worked at Once Around I had easy access to such finery. Alas, not here (*sad sniffing commences*). If you’re admiring the jazzy belt, it was a hand-me-down from my mother, apparently handmade in Provincetown, MA, in the 1970s. So, in theory, it counts towards the handmade outfit!

Happy Friday!