Talk To Me Yarn

I really really wish I was a yarn-whisperer.
My mother sends me these scrumptious bundles of homespun, hand-painted, soft as butta'. One at a time, I spend a week or so looking at them. Taking them out of the cabinet and placing them on a counter. I walk by them, stop a dozen times to pick them up and put them down.
Then I break out my old knitting magazines and go through them all, trying to find a match.
Then I spend a day or two on Ravelry. Same story.
Then I finally wind it into a ball. Place on a surface closer to my pillow.
Pick up, flip through my drawer of knitting needles.
Replace it, and in a day or two, repeat.
You're looking at an example of this. A ball of raspberry that finally whispered to me "hat!" Really? All this ordeal and all you want to be is a hat? I really wish we had better communication, yarn and me. Its frustrating to carry on this way for weeks for a hat. Maybe the yarn is mad at me for ignoring it whenever it says "shawl."
If we are to get along, Yarn, you need to stop saying that.


I'm proud I survived almost seven months away from my hot glue gun. Then Pinterest got the best of me, and broke me down until I found myself clawing through the bins of cheap mini-glue guns at the craft store. It was serious. I had to make some headbands. With flowers.
So here was my cathartic venture into headband-land. Won't you join me?
You will need:
One stem of silk flowers with small buds
Stretch/Elastic headbands (although this would work really well with fabric bands)
Scrap felt
Embroidery thread
Tapestry needle
and any beads or embellishments you might like, but I kept it simple this time.
First, get yourself some pretty silk buds. I went with hydrangeas. Then de-flower them. For each headband you will also need to cut two oval pieces of the felt, about two inches long.
Using a tapestry needle and some leftover embroidery ribbon string about 7 or 8 petals together and onto a piece of scrap felt, so you have a pretty flower-ey mess. Repeat four times, or until the felt is covered, and tie off on the back.
Hot glue-gunnin'. Oh yeah.
I attached a Goody elastic headband to a matching oval of scrap felt with one line of glue. Then glued the piece sewn with blossoms on top, sandwiching the headband firmly in between.

Carefully trim any felt backing that is visible from the top. Then you go enjoy the sunshine with your pretty new boho-headband. Spring can't get here soon enough-oh wait, its actually 65 degrees here in Virginia yesterday, and likely to hit 70 today.
And my five year old takes pretty good pictures if you ask me.

Love Is In the Air

Our Valentines Day went something like this:
We made our own version of these ( valentine cards for daddy. Instead of a plain banner, I had the boys get creative with watercolor paints and construction paper. For that little extra messy loveliness.
I did something pretty with my hair for a change. Which, unfortunately, did not last due to a much-needed workout.
We ate chocolates, compliments of Grandma and Grampa. And enjoyed our happy, messy little home together.

Finished Objects Friday

VOILA! We have finished knitting projects to share! And by we, I mean me.
I probably shouldn't even be blogging these because they will be gifted, but hopefully those peeps won't be reading this.
The first is the Nantes Hat from Interweave Knits mag, in soft and scrunchy Debbie Bliss cashmere. For a dear person who has been so kind and caring to me, but is going through a difficult ordeal right now. And not the first time, in fact it might be the fourth time?? I lost count. But she is brave, giving, and quick to offer help to others. So I'm sending some love her way.
The other isn't from any pattern per se. It was originally going to be a loose loose loose sweater for me with a pretty cable I took from the Vogue Stitionary. I started from the bottom up, and when I reached the chest it was obvious this would make a rearrrry cute tunic or dress for a little girl. So I improvised. Now all it needs is leggings and an undershirt and away it goes to one of the pretty little peanuts.
Unfortunately, I started this over a year ago! And my little notebook where I scratch down my pattern notes is somewhere in storage in the grand little state of Maryland. Maybe when I see it again I will post the pattern. I'm guessing this would be for a 2-4 year old. Also in Debbue Bliss, wool tweed.
The best knits I have ever made are gifted knits. And the best knits I have right now were gifted to me. That's all I have to say. Happy Friday!!!!

A Visit In Pictures

We had a wonderful visit from my parents last week. It was downright refreshing to have them with us. The kids were so happy, that for four days they totally forgot to act out at all. It was cuh-razzzy. And my parents can totally hang with our active lifestyle, so we could get a LOT of fun stuff into just a few days.
We enjoyed the beautiful weather, walked along Great Falls. Philip showed his grandma his favorite part.
We stopped to pretend we were little critters. (My sockhead hat, with tassels)

We visited beautiful Mt. Vernon. Felt closer to our nation's first president. And his wife, thanks to a very pushy tour guide.
We walked the battlefield at Manassas. A gorgeous space of land, with a sad history. And Nathan chased his shadow on Stone Bridge over Bull Run while Philip hiked with his grandparents.
We braced ourselves against the chilly weather and visited Harpers Ferry, WV. Then warmed ourselves up at the lovely Bluemont Vineyard on the way back. Best view, so-so wines, but great hospitality. "The Goat" Viognier was my favorite.
And we wrapped it up with some great meals and good talks together before my folks headed back north. Miss them so much already, but its their loving support that helps us push on through all the challenges that a life in the foreign service brings. I love you Mom and Dad!

Oh, and we just love how recycled jars, tissue paper, and Modpodge make the coolest things. In a twist on our Halloween luminaries, we created these for Valentine's Day:
I simply cut hearts in tissue paper. We saved half a dozen wide-mouth jars. I sponged a layer of Modpodge on the outside of each and let Philip smack hearts on them, starting with the largest. Since Modpodge (I used the glossy) dries fast, I re-applied a coat on each as we went along, getting down to the smallest hearts. Then allowed them to dry completely, about two hours, before we put them up for show. Now we can put tea lights in them and they will have a pretty rosy glow.

To My Little Man

It won't be long before my kisses, snuggles and affection bring eye-rolling from you. But I won't ever stop anyways.
I think you are absolutely perfect. So perfect it stuns me.
Sometimes people remark upon how obvious it is that I adore you. Truly.
The sound of your voices make my heart jump for joy. And when you play with your brother, which is all the time, you make me so proud that you are so kind and caring at so young.
Don't ever let someone's advice, no matter how kind it seems, make you change the way you are. Don't worry about the people who don't understand, because I will. Always.
If someone ever tells you that you 'try too hard' just walk away. People told me that every now and then. Luckily, I didn't listen and neither should you.
I have a hard time watching you sleep. Because I want so badly to pick you up and hold you close.
Be kind to others. No matter who they are. Being a gracious person is a rare quality. Even people you dislike deserve to be treated with respect. Its not 'fake," just basic human decency. It also takes a stronger person to be this way. Being rude is easy. But if you are anything like your parents, you won't ever look for the easy way.
When I think about dancing with you on your wedding day, I could crumble.
You will hate me for it sometimes, but I will expect better from you. Its not because I think you are better than anyone else. Its because I think you can DO better.
When you were born you turned our lives upside down in ways we never expected. It wasn't until you entered our world that we truly understood compassion. And love. Full, soul-warming, love.
I tell you all day long that I love you. And you tell me too.

For The Birds

Chinese New Year crafts and decorations down, we are working now on Valentine's Day. First, I had been planning a birdfeeder craft for the kids, so we incorporated felt and some cheap beads I found in a bin at the craft store for $.50. And there you have it, Sweetheart Birdfeeders. Sending our love out there. Into the universe or whatever.

Step one: Save your toilet paper rolls.

Step two: Cut out the cups from an egg carton to fit. Little P and I took some scrap yarn and tapestry needles and poked a hole in the bottom of the cup and strung as many beads as we liked, so they could dangle down. I cut hearts out of felt (we have no shortage of felt in this apartment!) and stitched them onto the bottom. I then ran the yarn back up through all the beads and into the cup. Anchor and tie inside the cup with another bead.

Step three: Using Elmer's glue, we glued a beaded cup into the bottom of each toilet paper roll and left to dry a few hours.

Step four: Liberally smear peanut butter all over each roll. Then roll in bird seed.

Step five: Hang outside. Admire. Whistle to the hungry birds. Talk to your kids about winter and food supply, etc.