Friday, February 5, 2016

Drea's Shawl

I just finished one of the best knits. (I know I always say that.) This one though, so easy you could practically do it with your eyes closed. 
As much as I want to keep it, it will be sent to a very special someone.

The Details
Pattern: Drea's Shawl free pattern, found here.
Yarn: Lion Brand Tweed Stripes in marble
No modifications here, the pattern was very simple- off to start one for myself!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Magic Bars

Yes, magic bars are so wonderful. I upped the magic in mine, which means I added an extra pound of chocolate. My kids don't like the original recipe for these bars because they have nuts in them, so one must add something to fill in the gap.
 That something will always be chocolate chips.
Or butterscotch chips. Or caramel chips. We have tried all the chips.

Don't even take out your mixer for these. No need to soften butter or scoop dough. These are super easy.

1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 lbs milk chocolate chips or 1 lb chocolate chips and 1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 15 oz. Can of sweetened condensed milk

Melt 1 stick of butter in a 13x9" pan at 350 degrees.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs over melted butter, press with fork to make a crust.
Add 2 lbs milk chocolate chips evenly over crust (or one 1lb chocolate, then 1 cup walnuts)
Then 1 1/2 cups coconut over chocolate
Evenly pour 15 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk on top
Bake 25 minutes at 350- let cool for 15 minutes before cutting. If you can't wait that long throw them in the freezer for a bit.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Making Dolls

I dug out my sewing machine yesterday. It has been in hibernation for much too long. I decided to make a doll for my daughter. I really should use patterns, but I am more of a freestyle sewer. I am not sure if that is even a thing, but is just what I tend to do when it comes to sewing dolls and stuffed animals. I lack the patience it takes to cut out a pattern, then the fabric. I just go for it, so much more fun that way.
I have a horrible time getting the hair on dolls to look right, but thought using roving would work and it did! I literally needle felted it right on her head.
Her clothing is made from felted cashmere sweater scraps.
I am planning a quilt next. I cut all my fabric out in August so it is about time!

Monday, January 11, 2016

How I Avoid The Winter Blues

I love winter, and I love living in Maine. That doesn't mean that I don't suffer a bit from the winter blues. I think we all do to a point, don't we?
Although things like blue nail polish that your daughter buys you for Christmas and a dog curled at your feet help, outdoor exercise, crafting and healthy snacks seem to really, really help (for me anyway).
I started running (outside) on a regular basis a little over a year ago, and I could not believe the difference in my mood. I do believe it is that wonderful vitamin D. We also bundle up as a family and take long walks in the woods, or on the river behind our house (when it freezes) with our snowshoes or skis.
And these coconut date rolls from Bard Valley are simply amazing. They are the best healthy snack I have ever tried, and I have tried them all! They have two ingredients: dates and coconut. I got them in the produce section in our grocery store, next to the packaged medjool dates. It is hard to get off sugar after the holidays and these have been the perfect thing.
Right now I am knitting Drea's shawl. It is a free pattern, and it is so easy to knit up. It is supposed to be a gift for someone but I just may have to keep it for myself!
Happy winter, friends.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Extra Big, Extra Easy Chalkboard

I have never been one to keep the family schedule in my phone. I prefer to write things down (I am old fashioned that way) in a place where I won't miss it. A few years ago, my husband and I put together this huge chalkboard to go on a wall in our kitchen. The whole thing took less than an hour, and if memory serves, it was around $50.
Here is what you will need:
One piece lauan plywood  (we used a 4'x7'x 1/4" piece)
Chalkboard paint and paint roller
Finish nails and nail gun (if you don't have one I believe you can rent one from a big box hardware store)
Stain for trim

We simply nailed the piece of wood to the wall after painting it with chalkboard paint (you will want to use a level here). Finish nails are tiny, so if we decide to take it down, the damage to the wall is minimal. We then put up the trim that we had cut at the hardware store. No fancy corners needed (unless of course you want them) you can see what we did below.
Then, we nailed the trim on top of the plywood, so it was flush with the edge. Again, the nails are so tiny, you can only see a tiny hole, but you have to look very close. I like the added element of character they give.
I decided to stain the trim after it was hung, but it could also be left naked, or painted a different color.
If you decide to give this a go and have questions, let me know!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Stocking Tutorial

A few years ago, I made our stockings from some old felted cashmere sweaters and I wanted to share a tutorial with you. If you have any wool or cashmere sweaters that are stained or have a hole, this is a great way to repourpose them.
First, run them through the washer and dryer.
Find an old stocking or template to trace.
Turn sweater inside out so right sides are facing.

Cut out stocking and additional strip for hanging. My strip is about 12 inches long.
Place strip inside stocking in the shape of a loop, leaving the ends out a bit so you catch them while you are sewing it up.

Sew, turn inside out.
This does not have to be done on a machine, you can sew by hand or use some sewing glue.   It works really well, as long as you let it dry before hanging.

Enjoy!  If you decide to make these and have any questions, let me know.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Night I Ran Away From My Family

I don't remember the specifics. All I remember is wanting to drive. I was infuriated at my husband and children. I pressed the garage door opener so hard, that the button stuck in place and I couldn't close the door after pulling the car out. It was raining, the garage would get wet, I didn't care. Such a badass moment for a mother that is always lecturing, nagging, and worried about the safety of her family. Do they worry about me? I doubt it. Of course they do. Get hold of yourself. Just go.

I was fuming. I was driving to get away from my family, yet I missed them.
I wanted to send a message, yet this felt too harsh. I cared, but not enough to turn around. I didn't know where I was going but I needed to scream and yell for all the times I had held it together.

Like the time I thought my nipple got bitten off. I realize a nine month old babe can not say "No thank you mom, I think I am done with the whole, milk coming out of your boob thing," but seeing my child turn into a Parana at two in the morning was no what I had expected. I didn't even scream. I didn't want to startle my groggy baby or risk waking up the rest of the house. I endured severe nipple pain, just so the rest of you could sleep. How's that for badass?

Or the time I was called a "fun sponge" because jumping on the sofa while eating handfuls of cookies is frowned upon in our house. Fun? I am fun. I was fun. I knew all the words to every Abba song in college. I would dance all night on a rickety stage, in the backwoods of Vermont with a whiskey sour in each hand, then devour the Trucker Special at the local diner. Damn, they will never see me be that kind of fun. Unless I pull out some of my old tricks at their college graduation. They will rue the day they ever called ME a fun sponge.

I never yelled at anyone for flinging vomit in my eyes or mouth. I try to be understanding about the fact that you don't like to wake up in the middle of the night and puke all over yourself. Flinging the vomit from your hands all over the room is just another way of saying, "Why me? Why do I have to go through this again. This blows." 
I didn't even get cross the next day when I was on sofa having a puking party myself and you were feeling like a million bucks and decided to finger paint all over the wall. This was mostly because I had no energy to get pissed, but I should still get credit for that one. I did make you clean it up the next day, but it should also be noted that I was very calm about the whole thing.

For all the times I have run myself ragged, taking care of everyone and all their needs, and was still able to get a scratch made meal on the table deserves a medal. Moms don't get medals, though. They get, "this was better the last time." "I wish we could eat at McDonald's" or "didn't you add salt to this?" I have felt like flipping the table over numerous times, but I don't. That would be scary. Also, I really like my dishes and don't want to see them broken.

After I was done throwing my temper tantrum that night, I drove back home, a better version of myself. My kids and husband greeted me at the door, with looks on their faces that almost brought me to my knees. I felt horrible. They had been worried and scared. Worried, like I was the time I thought I lost a nipple. Scared, like I was the time I knew puke hitting me in the eye would lead to being bent over the throne the next day, while my husband was out of town on a hunting trip and I had three small kids at home.
They still talk about it, "Mom, remember the time you got mad and ran away?" They will always remember. I can't take it back. They don't remember all times I held it together. They are not supposed to. They are just kids and I am their mother, and that is what mothers do for their kids. Most of the time.
I will always remember too. I remember it was exactly what I needed in that moment.
I love being a mother. Even during the shit moments. I am thankful and my heart is full. There is nothing on this planet that has shown me who I am, like being a mother has. I wanted this. I will always want this. Even if I am speeding away on a rainy Saturday night, I will always want this.