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October 2009
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December 2009

November 2009

finn's first ball

felt ball

If at first you don't succeed, throw the towel ... along with the soggy ball ... into the dryer. Felting, that is. I thought this project was doomed. It wasn't shrinking enough, I didn't have enough dark blue wool to cover the entire surface, and it seemed to be drying lopsided. Good thing that felting, as a craft, is so forgiving. Nothing like a hot dryer to whip that wool into shape.

felt ball

But oh, we had so much fun making this big ball of wool ... it wouldn't have mattered if the final product came out or not! After my hot water cooled a bit, Finn absolutely loved getting his hands in the water and on the wool. 

The ball is large as far as felt balls go - about 4 1/2" in diameter. I've noticed Finn's interest in larger objects, and his very intense desire to move along the floor (albeit backwards, much to his chagrin) and thought a big ball would match his needs both at the moment and well into the future. (Can you picture seven year-old Finn tossing this ball around the house? I swear there are moments, expressions, in which I can see the person he will become through the baby chub and drool.)

felt ball

I wound the roving round and round, as tightly as I could, until it measured about 6" in diameter, at which time I poured hot, soapy water over it. Finn and I turned, smooshed, submersed, and twisted it until it seemed pretty hopeless, as some of the outer layer of roving wasn't shrinking as it should.

felt ball

Hot dryer to the rescue! A thirty minute whirl with some towels did the trick. I added the dots with a felting needle.

All in all, this turned out to be a great little project. It got rave reviews from the youngest critic, both for the process and the finished product.

  felt ball

felt ball

looking for a band

music making

Beginning guitar player looking to play in a local band. Strengths: muting the strings, drooling on the strings, and bopping up and down on knees. Can sing "ah" if backup vocals are needed.

music making

We're getting more and more into a musical rhythm 'round these parts. We're always singing. In fact, I just had to ask Patrick to stop singing so that I could finish writing this sentence - we sing that much. This is nothing new - it's not like it just started when Finn was born so we could provide him with an enriching musical ambiance - we just sing. Some of us sing on tune and have a conniption if lyrics are wrong. Others of us have a more "free" way of singing and enjoy making up lyrics. I'll let you guess who's who. 

music making

Finny? He sings "aaaah". And he eats the guitar. His favorite song is "La Bamba".

The musical rhythm we've found is thanks to The Singing Day, the most worthwhile purchase I've made in a long time. Now Finn's day is peppered with even more singing, except now the songs are tied to specific activities and times of day, to help him orient himself in our family comings and goings and to help make his little life comfortably predictable. We have a song for waking up, a song for going outside, a song for swinging at the park, a song for cleaning, a song for gathering for our evening meal, and a song for bath time.

Some of the songs came directly from The Singing Day , and some were inspired by the author, who encourages you to make up your own songs. The swinging song is my own creation, and I've added one of my all-time favorite Raffi tunes to the mix before bedtime as Finn watches us brush our teeth:

When you wake up in the morning, it's a quarter to one, and you want to have a little fun, you brush your teeth. Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch... you brush your teeth (etc.)

Do you remember that one?

Singing throughout the day with predictable tunes can also help ease difficult transitions for toddlers and young children. It makes chores fun, and it has the wonderful benefit of making grumpy mamas happy once again. (I know this from personal experience!) If you're interested, read Nicole's post about the benefits of singing with her two young girls.

And with that, I'll leave you with a tune to stick in your heads - "Whistle While You Work" from Cinderella.

Off to cut some fabric for a really rad project for book number two! Do do do do do do do ....

it was a tough workout

backpacking with the babe

We took our baby backpack (along with the requisite baby) for its first spin this weekend. (Thanks for the hand-me-down, Auntie Melissa!) While the Fall color had mostly abandoned the branches, the leaves were still emitting plenty of color on the forest floor, making our hike a bit like walking over a giant Persian rug.

Finn bounced along happily, "singing" as usual). All of this bouncing and singing is hard work, as it turns out.

May the memories of the weekend carry you through your work week, too!

holiday traditions exchange 2009


What is the Holiday Traditions Exchange?

The Holiday Traditions Exchange is a swap that incorporates craft, cultural sharing, and thoughtful reflection about what the holidays mean to your family. It’s an opportunity to celebrate all that is non-commercial in this holiday season – and an opportunity to adopt a new, fun tradition for your family’s holiday repertoire.

To your partner, you will send:

1.) One handmade holiday decoration. Decorations made from any kind of medium are acceptable – from fabric to yarn, paper to paint.

2.) Your family's favorite holiday recipe.

3.) A “Tradition” Tutorial. This is description of one of your family’s special holiday traditions. If needed, you should provide step by step instructions. (For example, if your family makes graham cracker candy houses each year, you would provide more concrete instructions.) You might also consider sending along a couple of photos of the tradition in action.


  • You must be prepared to ship internationally. Your partner may be located in another country, as I can't take "country" requests. If you do need to ship overseas, think "small" and "flat" for your package - something that could fit in a Global Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope would be great. The cost to ship to all other countries is $12.95 US.
  • You must agree to the time line: Packages must be shipped by Friday, December 11th. If you have too much on your plate this holiday season, think twice before adding a swap to your activities! There's always next year.
  • If you do not send your partner a package, you won't be able to participate next year. I keep a record of people who don't send packages, so if you signed up in previous years and your package didn't make it out the door, I apologize, but I can't accept you this year. Please only sign up if you know you can comply with the above guidelines!

How can I participate?

Click on the link below - it will take you to a form to sign up for the exchange. Signups are only accepted via this form! If your sign up has been completed successfully, you will immediately receive a confirmation email.

The form will no longer be available after 200 participants sign up, or after midnight on Friday, November 13, whichever comes first.

Click here to sign up for the exchange.

***Before sending your package, be sure to take pics and post them to the Holiday Traditions Exchange Flickr Group!***

Much warmth,


P.S. Feel free to take a button -  cut and paste the following code to add to your blog:


the jane hat

jane hat

Mnkay ... so you're right, this isn't a sewn garment. But it sort of counts as Design Fridays, right? (Nod your head.) Right.

I'm just having the toughest time squeezing in sewing time for myself. I'm at the machine whenever I'm not with Finn, coming up with project after project for book two, but boy - I can't wait until this book stuff lets up a bit and I can make myself some new, much needed clothing staples.

jane hat

Thankfully I can find the time to knit myself a warm hat - an absolute necessity when you have bed head and haven't found the time to shower before going to the grocery store. This little number, "Jane" by Jane Richmond Designs, was knitted over two days during sleepy nursing sessions and other quiet moments.

jane hat

I'm considering turning off the heat in our house so I can wear it inside, too. I'm in love.

it's here!

the book!

No, not the double chin, sillies ... the advance copy of my book! It's real! It's shiny! It has my name on it, and my name is spelled correctly!

the book!

Oh my. You can imagine the fluttering of the stomach butterflies as I leafed through actual pages for the first time. It's so surreal.

The official publishing date is December 7th, just a few weeks away. For those of you who are eyeing it for your own Christmas stockings, do let your significant others/mothers/friends know that I now have gift certificates available for sale that are good for all items in my shop. Simply let him/her know that *hint hint* you think that a gift certificate would fit nicely in your stocking, and then *forget* you ever mentioned it. :)

the book!

the book!

I love the baby trying his darnedest to crawl in the background. What he wouldn't give for Inspector Gadget arms right now. (Gasp!, you say, Did she watch cartoons as a child?!) Why yes, I did. And Inspector Gadget was my favorite.

Check in tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12 noon to sign up for the Holiday Traditions Exchange!

holiday traditions exchange update

Sign-ups will start at 12 noon (EST) on Wednesday, November 11th. This year, the sign-ups are limited to 200 people. Visit my blog at noon on Wednesday to assure your spot! I apologize for not being able to offer unlimited spots - it's just too much for me to put on my plate right now. Thanks for your understanding!

being neighborly

nature walk

I want my son to enjoy nature - to feel comfortable there, to respect its beauty and its prickles. I want him to want to be outside.

nature walk

Perhaps I'm more relaxed about dirt, insects, and leaves-in-the-mouth because I grew up in the mountains on thirty acres of pure bliss which practically bordered a national forest. I soak up the sweet smell of decaying leaves. I'm transported back to countless childhood memories when the mixed scent of pine trees and smoke from a wood fire finds its was into my neighborhood.

nature walk

I totally get it that you want to eat those leaves, little guy. They feel so crinkly, smell so earthy, and look so enticing.

While a nature table is a nice way to bring a bit of the outside in, I feel strongly that the best way to experience Nature is by being among it - within it, on top of it, below it ... rolling around in it, smelling it, and feeling it, no matter its temperament (cold or warm).

I try to make it a priority to get out with Finn every day. Not for a fast, calorie-burning, mama-paced walk along the road, but for a slow walk to a little wooded area bordering a small park. In this stretch of land forgotten by people, the deer have moved in, along with other many-legged beings which we tend not to welcome into our houses. So, good neighbors that we are, we go to visit them in their homes, bringing along a baby giggle and a knitting project.

nature walk

And there we sit, in the dirt, listening to the latest bird gossip and admiring the beauty of tree bark.

the nature corner

Even before we welcomed Finn into our family, I knew we would never be able to have a nature table. You see, we have cats. Cats with a love of wool. Cats who, while the rest of us sleep, go around pushing every small-ish object underneath the couch to be lost forever. Cats who love it when I knit more than I love knitting.

A table displaying the bounty and beauty of Nature would just be a feline free-for-all in our house. 

Rather than succumb to feline domination (as often happens), I found a solution in the form of a nature cabinet. 

our nature corner

our nature corner

Ha! Try to open that door without opposable thumbs, cats! This little cabinet is open for exploration when both the baby (and cats) can be properly supervised. We close it at night and when the human sentinels are out of the house (when all kitty mischief tends to break loose). 

our nature corner

After months and months of looking for a corner cabinet in my thrifting outings, I finally opted for purchasing the cabinet from an Etsy seller, Buck Creek Furnishings.

our nature corner

our nature corner

The knitted goodness you see on our shelves (and the Autumn-colored silk) comes from my wonderfully thoughtful Seasons Round Exchange partner, Nicole

Nicole and her girls were the recipients of the little needle felted acorn sprite which I found here. Their package also contained a very special something ... my first attempt at needle felting.

seasons round exchange

While my needle felting mojo is nowhere near as good as the creator of the acorn sprite, I did have a lot of fun making my Autumn Lady tapestry.

Sign-ups for the Holiday Traditions Exchange begin at 12 noon (EST) on Tuesday , November 10th Wednesday, November 11th - mark your calendars and visit on the 11th to reserve your spot. I'm only accepting 200 participants this year due to the time-heavy nature of organizing an exchange, but I've also streamlined the sign-up process. I don't know about you, but I've already started listening to a Christmas song here and there ... one must do such things when organizing a Holiday Exchange! :)

... oh, and Tastebook friend invites go out tomorrow!