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On Becoming a Knitter


It is finally happening friends! If you've followed along here for some time now, you probably know I've always loved yarn and the idea of knitting. I've even dabbled in it a bit here and there, but not to the point of great skill or confidence. Anything beyond a simple garter stitch confused me, let alone pattern reading. I couldn't increase or decrease, and forget about casting off... somebody else (my daughter) would do that for me. 


You see, knitting doesn't come easily for my brain, which prefers to work in more flowy, idea oriented ways. Focusing on steps and details proves challenging for me (which is why writing out actual recipes is the hardest part of my work... but I do get it done, somehow). I suppose this is why knitting simple scarves in garter stitch appealed to me for so long, it doesn't get more easy breezy than that - allowing me to maintain a day-dreamy creative state all the while. 

Sounds good... except it's so boring!

And, I love yarn as much as I love fabric so I really need to know what to do with it. 


This year has brought many changes and improvements to our little homeschool, a new homeschool co-op being one of those things. We are having such a wonderful time there, and much to my surprise I've been able to take a class, a knitting class

This class and its wonderful teacher have changed everything for me. All the You Tube videos in the world couldn't help me learn certain skills, but sitting beside Cecilia for the last eight (or so) Wednesday mornings has taught me more about knitting than I've learned from the internet and books in over five years. Pattern reading, stitch markers, row counters, etc., I get it now.

What I needed was a teacher right beside me.

Plus, Cecilia tells me that my (very awkward and, um... unique) way of knitting looks "elegant." Who knew!?


Funny thing about my desire to move beyond scarves - the project Cecilia had me learn more skills on was indeed a scarf. A sampler scarf! Let me tell you, if your knitting skills are in the beginning stages as mine are (although I'm pretty sure I'm the last creative type blogger on her way to becoming a proficient knitter), a sampler scarf is a great idea. 


Basically, there are eight different "samples" in this pattern, each separated by six rows of garter stitch (I can do that!), they string together to make one beautiful scarf. Done in a knitting group setting the idea is to knit one section per week, taking your time, learning as you go. I cast on in a bulkier yarn than the pattern called for but I had my heart set on using it and Cecilia helped me adjust my needle size accordingly. The yarn I am using is wool so the scarf is a little squiggly and scrunchy right now, but once it is finished and blocked all should be properly shaped. 

Something about this sampler approach has allowed me to be incredibly patient. I can't tell you how many times I'd be within a few rows of finishing a section, messing up, and tearing out that section to start over. No big deal. Practice, practice, practice. And if I couldn't get it by Tuesday night, I knew I'd be seeing Cecilia the following morning. It's funny how each and every time I was stuck, I'd sit beside her for ten minutes of instruction and would be right back on track. There have been many small victories over the last couple of months. 


{The ever tricky "lacey" pattern. It's more delicate and airy in a less bulky yarn.}


There was the one "lacey" pattern that really had me stuck in between knitting classes. I instagramed about it and my talented friend Sophia offered to walk me through the process. Through a loooong series of amazing texts, I got it! She even drew diagrams and took pictures and texted those to me. Unbelievably helpful. 


So, I continued on and have knit five sections so far. The remaining three sections are super tricky and I'm not sure I'll include them in this go around or if I'll just finish the scarf with a repeat of a few of the sections I've already done. 


{The "spiral" section.}


{On the right, the yummy "fair isle" yarn. }

Meanwhile, I love the spiral section so much that I've decided to knit an entire scarf from it using smaller needles and a finer yarn. This yarn is adorable because it naturally knits up in a fair isle pattern. That's probably cheating but I'm all about baby-steps right now. I wish I could show you a picture of its progress but I recently took out all twenty inches that had been knit... a big oops took place... and I'm not skilled enough yet to 'fix it' when it comes to this sort of pattern. Someday. (I'm about to start over on that scarf and will share it when it's done.)




Also, I cast on a stripey afghan (using washing machine friendly acrylic yarn) that will be knit entirely in a simple garter stitch. I chose a jewel-toned rainbow of yarn colors, plus some black for accents.

After learning a few intricate patterns and stitches, I quickly realized that I needed to have a project on hand requiring very little focus and attention, just knitting. After all, it's the holidays and there are countless hours of sappy Christmas movies to watch on The Hallmark Channel... oh yes, I just admitted that out loud. ;)

I wish I could offer a link to the sampler pattern but it is not online that I know of. For now, I'm celebrating these baby steps with gratitude for Cecilia, Sophia, and all you crafty knitting ladies who have inspired me over the years more than you'll ever know.

As I wrap this up, may I ask you a question? For you more experienced knitters, if you have a favorite yarn, book, website, pattern (especially for beginners), please share in the comments. Your resources are much appreciated. 

(Emphasis on favorite yarns, of course.) 

Winter is long and I do believe this will be the one where many pretty things finally come off the needles. 

Starting a New Tradition


Hello there! Before I begin today's post I wanted to let you know about my new Facebook page (for this blog) and invite you to come along and "like" the page if you are so inclined. Aside from connecting to you in a more casual, spontaneous way than I can here - I'm having fun sharing tidbits of our days, asking you questions about your days, etc... I've also been having great fun sharing my photos enhanced with some of my favorite words. The above three are samples of that, though they are hard to read here as I've reduced their size to fit into one tidy row. Do head on over to Facebook for a better view if you have a minute, and select the "like" button if you'd like to stay connected over there. Thank you!



It's never too late for new traditions. Too easily we can get hung up on our children not being so little anymore and fall into the "we've missed our chance" trap. It's not true! There's always opportunity for new traditions, for as long as we shall live. 


I haven't cooked Thanksgiving dinner for many years now. My Aunt has been hosting and her home is perfect for it - an early 19th century cape with exposed wooden beams, a lovely fireplace, and a big country kitchen - year after year we gather in her home on Thanksgiving day. She and I do take turns hosting Christmas, we both love to do so. 

But back to Thanksgiving. Not hosting naturally means no leftovers, and this is something certain family members of mine have missed greatly. Okay, all of us have missed the leftovers! So, sometimes we duplicate Thanksgiving Dinner a week later - not to miss out on the leftovers, the trimmings, the feast of great proprtions, in our own home. This duplicate meal has never been a regular thing, just something we've done when the mood strikes over the years.


This year it occured to me that we should make it a new annual tradition, better yet we should tie it in with decorating our Christmas tree! (We are 'get the tree as early as possible' kind of people.) And so this year, as we almost always do, the long weekend following Thanksgiving found us at our favorite tree farm choosing our annual tree. 

Meanwhile, as the tree search ensued, I was writing our menu and planning our tree trimming feast in the back of my mind. 

I won't say it all went perfectly, it didn't. Well, it's all fine... just going (yes, still going) reeeaaallly slowly. 


We do have a toddler puppy in the house this year, after all. This is the year our most precious, most fragile ornaments will not be going on the tree. Just in case. For a little boy who loves sticks more than anything in the world, he thinks the tree itself is his Christmas gift! We're working on it, and he's learning quickly that the tree is to be admired not eaten, but I won't be taking any chances with my favorite ornaments.


So, we prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving/Tree Trimming meal, and we are slowly decorating our tree. It didn't happen all in one day as I had envisioned. (Oh, those pesky expectations and how they disappoint.)

So far the tree is in the stand and covered in twinkly lights. I think that will be about it for now, we'll add ornaments throughout the week as time (and Scout) allows. It's kind of nice this way, the slow process of it all. Isn't it always the young ones that teach us the best way of doing things?


Perhaps next year our new tradition will be a bit more refined, full meal and full tree trimming in one celebratory day... or maybe it will take its sweet time as it seems to be doing this year, and as I hope December will too. Slow, slow, slow. Please.






Today there is snow falling outside! It won't amount to more than a couple of inches, but how perfectly cozy for the first days of Christmas music, twinkly lights and yummy leftovers. 

How to Prepare a Pomegranate :: Video


I did an excellent job of hanging on to October this year. Each day felt longer than the last and my focus remained clear on each crisp breath of fresh air. It lingered on and on and I loved every moment of it. 

Have I told you how much I love November too? Even though this month is flying by much faster than October, I still love it so. November doesn't have too many lovers; with its grey rainy weather, bare trees, and shorter days. But to me, all of that is still new - a fresh canvas for living these inward days. Come March I'm ready for the leaves, light and warmth to return for sure, but November somehow feels new, in a winding down sort of way. 

And, the holidays are upon us! A time of celebration, gratitude, reflection and peace. A perfect preparation for the hibernating months ahead. Of course, it is also a time for food. This year Adam and I plan to roast chestnuts in our campfire outdoors, we can't believe we've never done that before! Also, we are loving the ever present citrus fruits and cranberries, the apples for pie making and spices for chai drinking. Oh, this time of year...

A fruit that many of us associate with the holidays is the beautiful pomegranate, filled with elusive crimson seeds and delicious antioxidant juice. But sometimes getting to those seeds proves challenging and as a result, these wonderful fruits are passed over far too often at the market.  

So today, as many of us are gearing up in our kitchens for the festivities that lie ahead, I thought I'd take the mystery out of preparing a pomegranate for eating in this short little video. Thanks to Emily for doing the filming and to Scout for... well, for his cuteness. 

When choosing a pomegranate at the market, look for one with skin that is fairly uniform and unblemished. Also, the heavier fruits are the juiciest. 

I hope those of you who've been intimidated by pomegranates will feel a little more confident in preparing this nutritious gem. It really is a simple process, a rather meditative one too. 

Things have been so quiet here this month, thanks for hanging in there with me. Between working, homeschooling, and my parents visiting, life seemed to be about as full as I could manage, even though I've missed being here so very much. I know the quiet will soon pass and these blog walls will burst with activity once again... and so it goes. 

Wishing each of you a bountiful week ahead, filled with moments of festivity and moments of peace too. 

Baked Fruit for Breakfast (and life in general)


Perhaps it was the intense energy of the election, I'm sure in part it was the hurricane... I've felt quiet lately. My parents are here for a few weeks and we're all trying as best we can to keep our completely home-based work and school life as we are used to. Other than that we'll enjoy Thanksgiving, hanging out, and I'm sure some hunting for dad and Adam. There was talk of fly fishing too (it's cold!). 


Along with drawing inward a little, I'm also feeling excited about the upcoming holidays! We haven't played Christmas music yet or watched holiday movies,  but there has been talk of both. This year we'll put our outside decorations up the weekend before Thanksgiving, an extra week or two of twinkly lights means an extra week or two of pretty. And happy.

I've done most of my shopping already (gifts aren't a huge focus for us so this was fairly simple), which leaves the height of the holiday season for the slower pace of handcrafting seasonal gifts and decor, and for spending extra time in the kitchen.






With the seasons turning and the holidays approaching, our appetites begin to change once again. Cold yogurt with fresh berries is replaced by baked fruit with vanilla nut cream sauce. Sauteed greens with a single egg is replaced by the heartier "two eggs scrambled with a slice of (our current favorite) toast, please." Cold months, warm foods.

Would you like to make some baked fruit for your breakfast?


Baked Fruit for Breakfast  (with Vanilla Nut Cream Sauce)


  • 4 cups sliced apples
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries or cherries
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • hemp seed for sprinkling on top


 preheat oven to 350°

  1. In a glass pie plate arrange fruit, toss with cinnamon. Drizzle with honey.
  2. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  3. Serve, passing the hemp seed and Nut Cream Sauce at the table.

Nut Cream Sauce

Makes about 3 cups. Cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch.

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight then drained
  • 1 cup dates (soaked first if dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups water or almond milk

To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. May take a minute or so, scrape down sides if needed. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to one week. 


Print:  Baked Fruit for Breakfast (with Vanilla Nut Cream Sauce)







Sunday felt so cold. As happy as my herbs looked in the gardens, I knew it was time to gather what was needed for winter use. This year I did a second planting of dill and cilantro, what a good idea that was! Into November we had plenty of both - all lush and green, loving the cooler temps and not rushing to seed. I will defintiely do that again next year. 


As it turned out, harvesting the herbs was perfect timing - nature had plans for a snowstorm this week! A classic nor'easter came our way yesterday afternoon, leaving several inches of snow across our state and other parts of the northeast.

If I may put in a request, Mother Nature... as pretty as the snow is, and as much as it truly hushed the day, please send only warmth and sunshine our way until those still without power and homes can get back on their feet. Thank you kindly. 


As much as I'm wishing for a storm reprieve, Scout is beside himself with the snow! Seeing a puppy experience their first snow is one of the funniest things. He wouldn't go out the door on his own, he just laid down once he took a look outside and did not budge a muscle. So I picked him up, carried him over the threshold and down the steps - then he immediately thought it was the best thing ever! Running, jumping, eating, sneezing... so cute and hysterical. Then we came back inside and he spent much of the afternoon sitting in front of the sliding glass door barking at the falling snow. Later in the evening Adam took him out for a game of snow-soccer as all of his beloved sticks were now buried. I think snow-soccer was such fun he's forgotten about those sticks... for now. 


I hope you don't mind, but as life and energy are what they are these days, I may drop into a little morning, noon and night rhythm for a bit. Perhaps sprinkled throughout regular posting - yes, that feels right for now. My shoulders just relaxed thinking about morning, noon and night. Such a favorite. 















We have returned to the electrified land of the 21st century. One can't help but to pause and reflect during times like these.

Sandy did not damage our inland the way Irene did. Connecticut's shoreline though is another, devastatingly sad story. As is New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. 

I'm grateful for the technology that allowed us to see this coming, giving most of us the chance to prepare. The loss of life would have been in the thousands without it. Still, for the many who did lose their life and the families that remain behind, my heart is heavy. 

In my lifetime of forty years, I've experienced five extraordinary weather events - devastating storms that halted daily life, destroyed property beyond repair, claimed lives. Three of those five weather events occurred within the last fourteen months.

Times are changing.

There is talk online and in real life about prepping - some folks are totally into it, others think it's kind of a wacky idea.  I'm a Virgo which means by birthright I lean strongly toward the camp of preparedness. 

I find myself asking questions.

Are we able to heat our home during a winter power outage without dependency on a fuel-run generator? Could we adequately supply our clean water needs without relying on bottled water? Do we possess first aid skills and supplies? Are we relying too heavily on our large freezer for storing our food supply? Speaking of food supply, is ours where it should be? What is "should be"? Should we have a proper and well built outhouse, just like Adam's grandmother maintains on her property... just in case

Some of these questions I'm happy with the answers to, others not as much. 

I'm not an alarmist. I don't have a two year supply of food or a plan to bug-out, but I am a human who is wired to survive and most importantly perhaps, I'm a mother responsible for the life of her young.

I think about these things... do you? 

For now, I'm grateful for the familiarity and ease of everyday living. Today was one of my homeschool days (Adam has three and I have two). Tomorrow morning I can't wait to catch up with my workshop and see how everyone is doing this week. 

If you too were in the path of Hurricane Sandy, I'm hoping you have not suffered too greatly and life is beginning to get back to normal. 

Stay well everyone, thank you for thinking of my family and fellow east-coasters during this time, and thank you for the space to ponder wild thoughts such as prepping and readiness this afternoon. Feel free to share your own thoughts and resources on the subject, if you are so inpsired. 

Take care, friends. xoxo