Wednesday, November 27, 2013

snow and tears

Norah enjoyed her first time being outside in the snow. 
Then she didn't.

I officially returned to work last week and have been running a marathon ever since. I don't know when it starts or ends, I just know that from the moment I wake up, I'm on the go until I fall asleep (only to be awakened numerous times through the night). And repeat.

Still, all is well. I have a very busy class full of healthy, noisy, curious children. The snow has finally covered the depressing drab we call November, and there is a whole new pile of stuff (mittens, hats, boots, neckwarmers) to manage and search for every morning before school, and to hang to dry in the evening. Our house is toasty warm but we still have to get our winter's wood in (when I finally get paid in December). We're deep into the stews, soups, and shepherd's pie that everyone so loves during the darker months.

The best moment of the day is when I walk through the door in the early evening darkness, to see Norah walking (already??) towards me with excited giggles, for the cuddles and nursing she's awaited all day. She sprouted two teeth just in time for her first birthday (in a few weeks) and is safe in the arms of her Nanny (my beloved mom) every day until January, when her daddy will take over as stay-at-home-parent. For all the dread I felt about leaving her, the transition has been quite smooth. 

The Christmas lists have started appearing. For Jude, all things vikings, Star Wars, and pirates are in. Violet's requests are a bit more challenging (one of Santa's real elves, and a Shrink Ray). I may have to whip one of these up in those rare and serendipitous moments when a) the kids are all asleep and b)I manage to stay awake. Margot has been quiet about her dreams for Christmas morning, but I'm guessing that the gorgeous wooden doll house scored (by my brother at a Toronto yard sale) will be a hit. And Norah? 

I'm busily finishing the last stitches on my offerings for our annual Advent exchange (with my friends at Wabi Sabi Wanderings, Twig and Toadstool, and Embracing the Now...really, we were all friends before we started blogging!) It's gotten a bit ridiculous, really, because although we say we do this for our children, we (all five of us) know that we're crafting out of love for one another. 

I love creating special items to share with these women because I know they will enjoy every single stitch, will appreciate the time and energy it took to find the time to create them, and will joyfully hang them on their evergreen trees every year.

And that is my update for now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

morning by candlelight

Early on a November morning, I heard the hum of furnace and fan fade as strong winds took our power out. We were a few days away from turning our clocks back an hour, so I crept down the stairs into complete darkness. It didn't take long to get the wood stove rumbling away, and by the time my early-risers stepped into the kitchen, the candles and lamp were lit to cast their warm, beautiful light on two warm, beautiful little faces.

A spell is cast by candlelight, and their morning voices and play were hushed. They picked up their game of Camelot where they'd left off the night before, and were delighted to eat oatmeal cooked over the wood stove. Once again, they referred to Little House in the Big Woods (which we have now finished reading; we've moved on to Little House on the Prairie), musing on how much life stays the same for humans. We need warmth and light, food and family. Seated around the kitchen table in the soft glow of candlelight, we felt as isolated~and as complete~ as the Ingalls family. 

They love when the power goes out, and I have to admit, so do I. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fairy Exhibitionists?

I think some fairy tailors left their work out on my rocking chair the other night. Or there might be some naked fairies around. 

Just kidding. I'm working on some clothes for some Wee Folk to contribute to my annual Advent Offerings (I'll write more about this another day). I get a little carried away with the details. Have I ever mentioned that my dream job, if I lived in Hollywood, would be to work on hand work for period costumes? Think Willow. Think The Lord of the Rings. Rustic colours, natural fibres, tiny stitching. Bless my soul.

These dresses and undershirts are itty bitty, teeny weeny, and so sweet. Wait till they have tiny doll bodies filling them out! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Little Purple Knitted Pony

 Oliver's curiosity couldn't be contained when I posed this purple pony on the gate, and he had to come over for a closer look. I made this little equine from some bits and bobs of my hand spun wool (leftovers from Violet's Spruce Tree Mittens) in celebration of a friend's fifth birthday.
This little gal is pretty special, so just a horse wouldn't do...she needed a tiny personalized saddle to dress her pony up. Hearts, stars, flowers, purples and pinks...oh my! How could I go wrong when creating something so unique and sweet for a five year old?
Alas, Oliver had to say good bye to his newest herd-mate too soon. My girls got into the hand-making spirit and asked to sew some little tags as gift embellishments.
Somehow I get the feeling that I'm going to be asked for hand-stitched, wool felt saddles for all of Margot's knitted horses. I'll have to draw the line at making one for Oliver. Although...wouldn't that be beautiful?? Oh, just watch me now.
Horse pattern available at Natural Suburbia.

Friday, November 1, 2013

surfacing, for a moment

Our lives have settled into new rhythms these days. 

Night nursing a baby with a cold. Snotty streaks on my yoga pants. The daily crap shoot of choosing coats and footwear for my children in Canadian Fall (and invariably getting it wrong), and trying to keep said coats and footwear from overtaking the house. Preparing for a return to work (in two weeks). Letting the horses out and in each day, along with grooming, hoof-picking, poop-shoveling, and general petting and crooning that they inspire. Trying to stretch our funds through the last few weeks of my maternity leave, and anticipating my first pay cheque in a year! Thinking ahead to Norah's first birthday, snowboarding lessons, and Christmas.

There have been moments where my kitchen floor is tidy (see first photo), small bits of spinning and knitting, and unexpected gifts of wildlife sightings right outside my kitchen window. This doe was an apparition, come to snack on crab apples, then disappearing into the woods as softly as she'd come. There have been moments of sewing, the big (Margot' Dorothy costume for Halloween), the medium (flannel pajamas for Margot's doll), and the tiny (in preparation for Advent).

We've let our home internet go for the time being, and I've found the extra time I have to be a joy (although the inconvenience of hauling the laptop to the local library and navigating the dodgy WiFi connection is not such a joy).

Thank you for stopping by. Bear with me. We're busy and living the real life, the good life, the sleepless but full and beautiful life here at the Knitty Gritty Homestead.