A Feast

Not our feast... This one was all about the little animals visiting Mom and Dad's backyard. I spent as much time as possible at the kitchen table watching out the glass doors as wave after wave of furry and feathered friends made themselves busy. In the near corner of the yard is a large and lovely tree just laden in berries that was providing an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Myself, Dad, and Alexis still in pj's, getting a closer look out the living room window...

The sparrows and chickadees came first, pecking around the ground for little treats. Then came the robins and cardinals and blue jays and other lovely birds, like this one. It's crested like the cardinal or jay and wears the same black mask, but has the most lovely and subtle coloring - a pale yellow breast against soft grey with a bright stripe of yellow across the tip of the tail feathers. (Any bird enthusiasts out there whole have thoughts on who this lovely might be?) The cardinals and jays were, of course, too quick to catch in pictures...

With the larger birds came the squirrels.

Their antics and acrobatics were highly entertaining. They would run right out to the very tips of the branches in order to get the best berries, and then the branches would bounce and shake wildly, forcing the squirrels to scramble back to safer branches. At one point, I looked out and saw the white furry belly of one intrepid and determined squirrel as it held onto one branch with its back feet and plucked and ate berries with its front paws!

And at night, the raccoons...

The raccoon stayed out of the tree, probably too smart to risk testing their weight on the branches. Instead, they dug and snuffled in the leaves below for the fallen berries. I wonder if they turned up any of the squirrels' buried treasure? We saw a couple industrious fellas securing their winter food rations under the thick blanket of leaves...

Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast as much as these guys enjoyed theirs!

*Thank you Erin Joy and littlealma for identifying my mystery bird. Turns out that it's a Cedar Waxwing!



This stunning picture arrived in my in-box this morning from the fabulous British clothier, Toast. (Ok, lets take a moment to pause and think about that fabulous company name... Done? Now, back to the absolutely magical image.) Don't you just love that 1920's style coat? Pretty, pretty, pretty. For more delicious photographs, visit their site or order one of their catalogues. It's even more delicious than Thanksgiving dinner. And on that note, I hope you all enjoy a lovely holiday with friends and family. I'll see you back here next week.


Spoiled Rotten

No, I'm not talking about our Halloween Pumpkins, nor that head of cabbage lurking at the back of the veggie drawer....

One week ago today, Ryan, Lex and I were back in Illinois at Mom and Dad's to jointly celebrate my 33rd birthday and Dad's 60th. (Hooray, Dad!) Even though his was a more notable birthday, I'm afraid I was the one who was thoroughly spoiled. We had so much good food, I took a shopping trip in Mom's fabric stash, Mom took me out and bought me some maternity pieces, and then there were the birthday gifts...

Lex gave me this beautiful scarf, which has already seen lots of wear in the last week, and this adorable little notions bag made from tape measures.

Ryan picked all of my gifts up at Little Winter a couple of weekends ago. (It was a fabulous event!) Clockwise from the back left, Abby Try Again's 2011 calendar - gorgeous, a charming piece of found art from the lovely Cori Kindred, a fantastic necklace by Susan of Sulu Design, and the sweetest little hair pins by twigs & honey.

A closer look at the smaller pieces. An aside... Ryan bought me another of Susan's necklaces as an anniversary gift a couple of years ago, and she very kindly delivered it in person. Turns out, she lived just down our street! Not sure it's possible to buy art more local than that!

This fantastic little grouping of cupcake inspired gifts came from Sanna. At the top, a set of 4 silicone robot cupcake holders, some adorable Cupcake Shoppe stationary (they have mustaches!), a strawberry scented pen, and some kick-ass napkins.

Beth sent one of Barbara Kingsolver's early novels (love her!) and a pretty set of sticky notes in a beautiful little box. And I was just saying to Ryan how I'm such a nerd about school and office supplies...

Mom & Dad gave me a collection of maternity sewing patterns, plus the resources to buy myself some fabrics and yarns to fill out my maternity wardrobe and get started on things for Baby Bee. I already bought the most amazing fabric to make that dress on the far right, to wear layered with leggings and cardigans and such.

There were a few other lovely and generous gifts from too-kind friends and family. I am such a lucky girl! I've got to say that I feel especially touched as I had actually forgotten my own birthday! All of our recent busy-ness and planning for Baby Bee on top of the trip to Illinois and my birthday kept slipping right off my radar.

Oh, and I should probably mention another important birthday from last Monday...the first birthday of this humble blog! I had intended to make a big fuss, but I'm afraid we both got a little lost in the hurry of late. Thank you, dear readers, for tuning in over the last year to share my adventures and for providing so much enthusiastic encouragement, support, and feedback!


For Baby Bee

I have started making for Baby Bee. The last few months have seen me pouring over books of both sewing and knitting patterns while dreaming of our eagerly anticipated little one. But even with all of that inspiration, I wasn't quite ready to pick up needles (of one sort or another).

At first, I think I hesitated because this is my first pregnancy, and you never know, right? How painful it would've been to dive right into the making of things only to not have it all work out. Once I passed into my second trimester, I began thinking more seriously about what I wanted to make for Baby Bee. I looked through all of the books again, making mental lists as I went along. But still, I waited.

Then, two patterns found me at once. The first is a free pattern for Angora Baby Booties which came to the yarn shop with a shipment of Plymouth Angora. Sally, our superstar proprietress, suggested I choose a color and make a shop sample, which I could then take home for Baby Bee's arrival. Um, yes please! I decided on this beautiful blue, thinking that it could really work for a boy or a girl. The booties took only one skein of yarn and knit up in an evening.

*photo from Spud & Chloe.

The next pattern was one I nearly swooned over when I spotted it for an add in a the new holiday issue of Vogue Knitting, which is a great issue, by the way... When I showed the picture to Adrienne, one of my lovely co-workers, mentioned that we had just gotten a shipment of Spud and Chloe yarns and patterns containing everything I'd need to knit it up. Of course I bought it all (the pattern and 4 skeins of Outer) and started that night. The chunky yarn worked up really fast, and I still have nearly an entire skein left with with which to make something else. I'm showing you the pattern picture and not my finished project because it will just photograph so much better once Baby Bee is here to model. The color I chose does not show on their website, but I will tell you that it is a beautiful aqua. Actually, it kinda matches the living room perfectly. Gotta love my consistency!

There will, of course, be many more projects to come - both knit and sewn. I've gathered patterns, hoarded library books, and begun a list. And I can't wait to share each and every one with you.


Ta Da!

Sorry for the long absence, lovely ones. Our computer got the sniffles and it took a few days to get the situation under control. Everything is now back to normal, or better than normal, and I'm really excited to share a couple of recently finished knitting projects with you.

Oh, but before I get started, thank you ever so much about all of the kind wishes and comments for our big news!

Alright, here we go...

First up is the Edwardian Jacket, a Debbie Bliss pattern of the same name, knit in her Cashmerino Astrakhan. Let me tell you, the yarn is as luxe as it looks, but the shaping was an absolute bear 'cause I couldn't see the stitches to save my life. Stitch markers to the rescue!

Here's a closer look at the fantastic buttons I found.

Next, my second attempt at my Sweet Temptation, a Sublime pattern worked in their Extra Fine Merino Wool DK. I ran short of the yarn, so I heavily modified the sleeves. They turned out great, though, don't you think? And, I learned a new method - Top Down Set-In Sleeves, from Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits.

I added little pleats at each of the elbow. I am ridiculously proud of myself!!!

Ok, I know this is pretty short, but I've got to race around and get myself ready for work. I hope to be back tomorrow with photos of my first knitted projects for Baby Bee!


Pumpkin Time!

Have I mentioned that fall is my favorite season? Well, I think it is. Catch me in spring when the crocus start popping up and we get our first breaks from winter weather, and I'll probably tell you that spring is my favorite. And, when we're busy taking camping trips, shopping at the Farmer's Market and enjoying Farm Concerts and a surplus of berries and peaches and melon, I'll tell you that summer is my favorite. So perhaps I'm fickle... But right now it's fall, the season of my birth... a time to prepare for the bustle of the holidays and the quiet of winter... a time for Pumpkins!

A couple of weeks ago, Farmer Don held his annual Harvest Hoe Down. We met up with many of our favorite people and enjoyed food (roasted corn and caramel apples!), music, hayrides and a HUGE bonfire. (Wish I had pictures for you, but I was too busy having fun...) Unfortunately, the light didn't last long enough for us to pick out our pumpkins, as planned.

So, the next day, Ryan picked me up from work and we returned to the farm and the pumpkin patch. Ryan went for a multi-colored pumpkin. Maybe because it matched his hoodie?

Next, we found the perfect pumpkin for Baby Bee. Isn't it cute?

Aren't those purple corn stalks amazing? I think it's Indian Corn.

My favorite pumpkins are the Cinderella Pumpkins. I love the shape and the deep reddish orange tones of the shell. Plus, you know, they're named after Cinderella...

Finally, we found my perfect pumpkin... And wasn't it clever of me to wear blue so that the oranges would really stand out?

We don't really get into the whole carving thing at our house, so our little family of pumpkins will decorate the front porch through Thanksgiving. After that, we might try roasting mine and making it into a pie or muffins or a cake, as I just read the Cinderella Pumpkins make good puree. Mmmm...