Thursday, December 31, 2009

the year ends...

I do apologize for being so brief and rushed here, we really try to keep the computer off as much as possible during this holiday season, but I have been wanting to check in here and say hello, and also had this sudden realization that I didn't want to be posting anymore Christmas pictures once December ends. (Except for handmade gift posts, I still have all that to get to, and hope to return later next week with some pictures...)

Yet this is the only real Christmas day picture we have! Simple and sweet though, just like our day.
This evening I realized we had not taken any pictures of the tree either, so I took just a few...

I have been having the thought of bells in my head lately... time to ring in the new year!
Wishing all of you the best for this year to come!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

vintage christmas love

Some of our most treasured Christmas ornaments are the ones that I have from my childhood. My mom sure knew how to make Christmas wonderful and magical for us. That is one of the reasons that we make an effort to get past the horrible commercialism of the holidays and create some of our own special magic for our girls.

Here are just a few of the ornaments I remember from so long ago, now hanging on our own tree this year. There are more, handmade ones too, but we have not finished decorating yet.

And now this year we have something so special to me that I can barely stand it! This wooden tree is from my grandpa's house, I remember it so well, it means so much to me to now have it in my home. The girls were delighted when we brought it out. The little woman with the broom (Mrs. Claus?) was always my favorite. (Too bad she is not facing the camera...)

And here are the girls in their new winter dresses. I gave them to them on Winter Solstice. I ended up making a jumper style dress for Chloe... she is so long now that I didn't have anywhere near enough fabric to make a long sleeve down to her ankles dress like she wanted. But she seems to be very happy with this one. And Chessa loves hers so much, she says she is never going to take it off. I actually cheated on her dress... the bodice part was already done, sitting in a box of fabric for about 7 years! I have made a similar dress of darker green fabric for Chloe when she was 2. Apparently I had cut out a light green one but never finished it! (Kinda pathetic, I know.) So I just added some extra fabrics to the bottom to make it long enough. Both dresses are flannel, so soft and cuddly!

And in one last bit of news, dear Linda from Natural Suburbia is having a wonderful giveaway on her blog. Such beauty this sweet and talented woman creates with wool! There is just a bit more time to enter, so if you have not already done so, you should go quickly check it out. (Although I do think it would be nice if I won, since tomorrow is my birthday, I will be 37!)

Now back to the sewing machine...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Solstice

When all around is dark and still within the winter night,
The sun will rise within my heart and shine a warmer light.

(excerpt from a verse by Margaret Meyerkort, found in Let Us Form a Ring)

Wishing you all the most wonderful winter solstice blessings!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Although really it is past midnight, so I missed Wednesday...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

St. Lucia!

It was magical... hearing our daughter's footsteps upstairs, knowing that this was the special moment she had been waiting for, wondering if she would really light the candle all by herself... must have drifted back to sleep, suddenly the door opened, and the most lovely Lucia child greeted us.

She led us upstairs by candlelight, our tea was waiting at the table... it was 5:30 in the morning!!! She told us that the first time she woke up and checked the time it was 4:30! Thank goodness she decided that was a bit too early. It was snowing, we could tell even in the darkness, as we waited (a long time) for the sun to show its light. A wonderful way to start our day.

We were not able to start making the crown until Saturday evening! So while it may not be perfect, I am fairly impressed that it got done at all. And Chloe says it is her most favorite thing in our house, so at least she was pleased!

We did have our quiet Sunday evening Advent celebration too. This weeks story was the festival of animals. But we did not add anything to our nature table... we took it apart instead, along with most of the rest of our house. We are painting. You are more than welcome to consider us crazy for painting just 10 days before Christmas, but this is the soonest we have had any spare time. Everything should be back in order in a day or so. Hopefully!

(I am going to try to check in tomorrow to share a quick peek of my current embroidery project.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday ~ Embroidery Love

Well, I was hardly aware that today is Wednesday, but I think I can manage a little WIP update... we have been quite crafty here these days, with quiet hand stitching to bring some extra moments of peace.

My first little project came about quite suddenly... I was trying to remind myself how to do blanket stitch, and after just a few stitches I realized I was creating the ornament I would send to Nicole for her wonderful new project, The Wellness Tree. I really felt such joy as I worked on this, I hope it can bring some of the same to the recipient.

And the reason I was doing the blanket stitch... I made one of dear Rachel's sweet little bird ornaments. Perhaps you have already seen this in the latest issue of Living Crafts, and if so you can probably tell that I altered the pattern a bit. Fortunately Rachel knows me very well, I'm sure she would not be surprised to see that I was incapable of following her pattern exactly. (patterns, recipes, sure, I suppose I could follow them if I really tried, but...)

This little tree came about when the girls needed Christmas trees for the dollhouse people. I decided to add some embroidery to my tree, but the girls just needle felted their decorations on. (actually I did Chessa's needle felting, but she laid out the wool.)

Now I guess it's time to get started on that Lucia crown!

And by the way... we got almost 3 feet of snow!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Second Week of Advent

I have found it interesting to be having many of the other special days in December occurring on Sundays... so each Sunday when we have our little advent celebration we are also celebrating St. Nicholas, or for next week, St. Lucia! So the St. Nicholas part of our day was not much more than a story and special cookies in the afternoon. I had though about giving them their winter dresses as a gift for that day, but then I realized that I was not remembering our tradition of them receiving their dresses for the winter solstice. We did decide that next year we will make honey cake and have apples and nuts. And the girls would like to leave out their shoes and see if they perhaps get an orange, or even chocolate.

In the evening we read more Tiptoes Lightly... the Festival of Plants. (Actually I have to pause and tell you about the chapter before... Jeremy Mouse meets the spirit of the olive tree. She weaves the life of the tree. I really love it.) So then there is the festival of plants, and they all gather together and say the Plant Blessing, and then they plant the Year Tree, and then they dance the Weaving Dance.

And we now have pine cones on our nature table, and two dried flowers that I always think are wintry with their whiteness.

Oh yes, and the Snow Queen visited the fairies the night before the festival,

and the girls would tell you that King Winter has arrived here!

They were playing outside nearly half of the day. I almost got pictures during the day... but it didn't quite happen. Snow in the dark evening is nice too though.

(I think there is an inch or two more since I took this picture just a while ago...)

(It was fun taking the snowy pictures in the dark...)

It is really becoming winter...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Days of Advent

Welcome December!

This will be only the second year that we have officially celebrated the entire Advent season. And to be honest, when this past Sunday arrived I was not feeling quite ready for it. Thank goodness for those small traditions that had already been created.

Our main Advent festivities occur on Sundays, when after dinner, with girls in pajamas, we gather around the nature table and have stories by candlelight. We read from the Tiptoes Lightly book, and follow along with fairies and gnomes as they celebrate the festivals of the season.

Our nature table follows along as well, starting off somewhat bare, with just a few crystals, drifts of snow... though here it is with candles as well, just after reading our first story.

We also have a winter tree which has adorned our table for several years now. Especially treasured as it was made by Jason... I love the cold icy feeling of the clear glass, very appropriate for our winter table I think.

Wishing you all a warm and wonderful Advent season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Season of Thanks

There is of course so much to be thankful for, not in just one certain season, or on one particular day. I am sure many of you feel the same way, that gratitude is a very important part of our lives every single day. I could go on and on about all that I am grateful for (if I had the time!) but right now I would like to say one thing... Thank you all, dear friends! I think I may have never said that here before. Thanks to all who read, who share in the conversation (or not), thank you for the new friendships, and to my old friends too!

I have been wanting to write this post for several days now, but seem to be lacking time lately. Many of the things on that list in my head of all that I want to do are getting postponed. (Starting a new list... things to get to after the holidays!)

Really though, my sincere thanks to you all! Writing here has become much more than I ever thought it would be... I so look forward to more time for sharing in the next year.

Wishing you all a wonderful day of thanks!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WIP Wednesday ~ Waldorf Dolls!

Here they are, finished and clothed.

It took me a while to get the dresses done. The little pinafore tops are simple, I love to make them. But I always struggle with how to make the dress underneath. I don't want to have to use velcro, and would prefer not to have a really bunched up elastic neck, but it has to somehow fit over their heads and all that hair! After several days I finally came up with a pattern I like.

These dolls are for two little red-headed sisters. The daughters of a friend from high school. They will be on their way to their new home later this week. I hope they they will be very loved!

Monday, November 16, 2009

some of our days

It was snowing for most of our weekend. Sunday especially was one of those quiet, darkish days, with the snow falling slowly, in a very comfortable feeling way. I spent a lot of time sewing, and that added to the good, comfortable feeling. Nice to be standing at the ironing board, cutting fabric, sewing at the machine.

And today was sunny. Bright blue sky. Very, very cold. But the sun was able to melt some of the snow away...

If you look carefully in this picture you can see the snow on the garden fence through the curtain. This is the nature table that Chloe set up in their bedroom, which is now more often known as "Kindergarten". Chloe has created her own little Waldorf kindergarten, made especially for Chessa. So she of course would be Miss Chloe. They do circle time, story time, wool crafts... This has been going on for many weeks now.

There is an abundance of branches and sticks.. rocks and pine cones.. acorns and cattail leaves...

Some special books...

I love the bench that they made! And on the table is Chloe's lantern.

We went on our lantern walk on Wednesday. The girls did watercolor paintings in the morning while I baked bread, all which we brought with us to Sara's in the afternoon. A fun farm visit with sweet children, lantern making, a bit of wandering in the fields. Good food... pumpkin soup, roasted vegetables, fresh bread. And then bundling up and out into the dark night with our lanterns. It was an almost all girl lantern walk. The boys were too busy working on the skateboard ramp but Jason took a little break and came with us. And one littlest boy crept into bed right after dinner, being much too tired to go out on a walk, or perhaps a little bit too afraid of bears.

This is the only picture I have of the lanterns that night. If I had known that the picture in the dark was really going to turn out then I would have taken more.

I have so much enjoyed reading about everyone's Martinmas celebrations this year! The stories, the beautiful lanterns. We read the Martinmas story from the Festival of Stones, one of our first Tiptoes Lightly books from when Chloe was 5 or so. I love to have these special stories which we can read or tell again and again, year after year.

I would love to make more lanterns now. I have always wanted to do tissue paper jar ones. And I can't believe those beautiful beeswax lanterns! Such wonderful creations... I can just imagine the warmth, the scent, the glow... Perhaps you have seen that my dear friend Rachel (and by dear friend I mean one of the most kind full of love people I have ever known) has posted a beeswax lantern making tutorial.

Speaking of beeswax, we bought some local honey this past week. We had some on homemade bread, and this morning some in our oatmeal. It is thick, it moves slowly, that is nice, we slow down...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

last night and last month...

We had our first home camp fire last night. (Is it still called a campfire if it is just in your backyard?) And Jason started the fire with a bow drill, one of the many amazing skills he learned at Tracker School.

Once he got the coal started in the tinder we all helped gently blow on it to get it going a bit...

and then into the fire circle it went.

Warmth, light, a space for family gathering!

I also wanted to introduce you to my new friend. Ms. Henny Penny. I am seriously in love with her. She sits on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, I say hello to her every day, we spend a lot of time together. (You know, cause of all the time I spend washing dishes.) Ms. Henny came to be with our family at the end of last month. October 25th was our 10th wedding anniversary! Chessa and I went to the antique shops in town to see if we could find a special family treasure as a gift for the day. And so we did! Without realizing it, I found exactly what I was looking for. We had one just like her when I was little. I feel like she was missing from our home. And now here she is. Can you tell I really do love her?

Perhaps I should have been instead talking about how much I love Jason, that most wonderful husband of mine, whom I have now been married to for more than 10 years. My kind, compassionate, handsome soul mate, who is also such an amazing father. We were married at my dad's house in Washington, on Whidby Island. It was a tiny wedding. We couldn't invite everyone so we invited no one. It was also kind of last minute. We had known for several years that we would get married, have children, be together forever. But in September of 1999 we decided that we did not want to wait any longer, for any of it, baby included. We decided we had to get married the next month. We chose a date. My dad and his wife arranged everything. We flew to Washington. We were married on the water. It was a rainy day, but cleared up just in time for our ceremony. The woman that my dad's wife found to marry us was wonderful! She helped make our wedding magical. You know what is so funny.... about 5 years later I was looking around on the internet for festival ideas, I don't remember which festival, but I came across this woman who leads what she calls "a festival life". It was the woman who married us! And she used to be a Waldorf teacher! She even trained in England with Margaret Meyerkort. I always knew she was a special woman, I was so happy to find out more about her. Super neat, I thought. Now, if I was more technically savvy I suppose I could scan some pictures of our wedding day and post them here. But I tried the scanner thing once, about 6 years, didn't work. Hmm, I see people doing it all the time now. Oh well, trust me, it was a beautiful day!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

weekend fun and holiday thoughts

Sometimes I don't post anything because I don't have any good pictures to accompany my words. Then again, sometimes I feel I'm not sharing any words that are all that significant. But I shall write anyhow...

Our weekend was very nice. We have been blessed with absolutely perfect autumn weather. Sun, warmth, blue Colorado sky! We are taking advantage of it by getting as much outside work done as we can. Jason is working on a stone wall and a small fire circle. The girls are busy with mud and clay, and lots of running through the tall golden grasses. We are also trying to complete some additional garden beds. We should have about twice as much growing space next spring!

I tried to get some sewing done, but really much more time was spent in the kitchen. Bread baking this morning, and we had homemade pizza for dinner tonight.

I did do lots of thinking about sewing though... made a list of gift ideas to make for the girls... New dresses of course, something I have done since Chloe's first Christmas. They want long sleeve dresses, and I'm thinking of using some beautiful printed flannels that I have, I'm just trying to figure out a style that won't come out looking like a nightgown. Kind of challenging, but I have some ideas.

I am also going to make them new aprons. Their favorite game to play lately is "Waldorf kindergarten" and Chloe keeps going on and on about her need for a new apron. I have some special embroideries in mind that may find their way onto the aprons.

I would love to knit them some warm wool mittens but I have never knitted mittens before. Would anyone like to recommend a very simple, very easy beginner mitten pattern? I actually spent some time on Ravelry last night looking for one but didn't find anything very appealing. (And speaking of Ravelry, oh my, it's pretty neat. And did you know that you can have "friends" on Ravelry? I had no clue until someone mentioned that she had added me as a friend. Maybe after I'm done here I will have to go find some of you over there...)

I will probably also make new doll dresses and maybe doll quilts and pillows too. (Kind of cheating here cause I already have one little doll quilt from this summer, so I just have to make one more. There, now I have already gotten started on gifts. Yea.)

I may also make them pin cushions or little needle books as stocking stuffers. Felt headbands are another idea. I'm not sure if this is a too big, too ambitious list. Hopefully I can get it all done. We usually do not buy any gifts other than a few special books. Anyone else want to share some of their gift making ideas??

One last thing before I go... did you all see these beautiful crowns? Chloe is so looking forward to St. Lucia day! She has many plans for it, and is very concerned over what she will do for a crown. I haven't mentioned it to her yet, but I thought we could make a felted one, wool candles and everything. Of course I wasn't entirely sure how I intended to go about making them, so I was very excited when I saw these one. And Cadi was kind enough to explain much of the process to me. (Thank you!) If you look in the comments of my last post, or in the comments on her blog, you can get more details.

See you later this week!

p.s I just remembered... I might make knitted sweaters for the dolls. And maybe some felted bowls. I don't know how to make felted bowls, but I would probably just crochet some a little extra big and then put them in a pillowcase in the washing machine. Or maybe that is a totally bad idea and very wrong way. These are just ideas anyways, I would say nothing is definite except for the dresses and aprons. Maybe Jason wants to make them some little baskets....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WIP Wednesday

(Again on Tuesday evening. I tried to schedule it for Wednesday morning, but for some reason it is insisting on publishing now.)

I finally finished my needle felted autumn woman! This is the first felted figure I have done besides my little gnome, and I am pretty happy with her. She was so much fun to create, and as I went along I kept imagining more and more possibilities.

I kept her pretty simple, adding just one tiny orange flower in the back of her hair.

And although she wasn't yet on our nature table on November 1st, she was sitting there before midnight. She greeted the girls the next morning... they are in love with her.

I also got some more knitting done this past week. I still hadn't finished my wool hat, it sat on the needles for two months, but when I saw a forecasted low of 9 degrees last week I quickly finished it up!

And I am happy to say that I did meet my goal of finishing the two Waldorf dolls by November 1st. Unless you count their clothes, which I am not. I did start their dresses though. I will wait until next week to share some pictures of them.

Now, finally, I can turn my attention to the girls gifts for the holidays. My head is full of ideas!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Orange - part 2

More orange! The back cover of the Wynstones Autumn book...

the last vase of calendula, still brightening our kitchen table...

not quite ripe tomato, so it is orange rather than red. This makes me especially happy. We have three tomato plants in containers which have now been indoors for more than a month. Our tomato plants in the garden froze on the first day of autumn, so this has really extended the harvest for us. The plants are just covered in tomatoes, which I'm sure we will still be eating at Thanksgiving, and maybe even on the first day of winter!!

Pretty pot holder that my sister gave me, which usually sits in my sewing space with pin cushion or scissors on it...

and orange fabric, just a few which happened to be out, I could have gone digging for more...

little wall hanging that I made about 7 years ago... in my mind the orange plaid fabric represents the sunset, cause in my mind plaid is good for everything!

Orange flowers on one of my most treasured possessions, a vintage Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt... you will see and hear more about this another time...

Orange wool braiding made by Chloe...

basket full of yarn...

and a corner of our nature table, so orange and golden it seems to be nearly radiating light!