St. Patrick’s Day Potatoes

We have one very small tradition for St. Patrick’s Day. It involves potatoes, dirt, and Guinness.

Prepping the beds.
Beautiful dirt.
Potatoes cut and ready to plant.
Ben planting.
Tim planting.

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Pear Blossom

Spring is truly here. This was a few days ago — there are so many more blossoms open now on this tree, and others are joining in.


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Celebrate the BOY!

There’s always lots of ideas, patterns and tutorials around the web for things to make for little girls. So this month, as a crafting mother of three boys, I’ve been really enjoying Celebrate the BOY! month by MADE and Made by Rae.

I don’t have nearly as much time to sew as I’d like, and it’s not like my to-sew list was short to begin with, but now I’ve got inspiration to keep me going for months!

So far, I’ve only followed the tutorial for the 90 Minute Shirt — a simple, lap shoulder, long sleeve shirt, made from a recycled adult t-shirt. But I’ve made THREE. All for Nathaniel, and all out of clothes of mine that I no longer wear, or scraps from my stash which originally came from the thrift store. I LOVE making new cute clothes for the littlest guy, especially when it doesn’t involve a big trip to the mainland or lots of money. (I’ll make stuff for the older ones too, I promise, but they’re fussier and have more to say about the finished results.)

The first one:


And then it looked too plain so I added a giraffe using the freezer paper stencil technique. (I also made the pants and shoes in this photo from a felted wool sweater a while ago. An entire mama-made outfit!)


And the next night:


I think he likes it:


And finally:


During the sewing of the first two shirts, I was getting more and more mad at my sewing machine. It kept breaking threads every few stitches, or getting jammed, just making the entire thing take way longer than it needed to. I was about ready to throw it out the window and buy a serger and a new machine. But! Before I started the last one, I changed the needle again, and this time, it worked perfectly. I got through the whole shirt without one broken thread. I’m a little puzzled, but I’ll take it. The serger is on hold for now.

And I just hit the thrift store for more shirts to re-use for my guys. 🙂

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Spring Bulbs

Crocuses are flowering.


Garlic is coming up.


We planted three kinds this year, some is further ahead than others.


We are still using last year’s garlic, and we haven’t even touched the softneck ones I braided yet. It’s not going to last ’til July, when we harvest this, though. Hopefully this year we’ve planted enough to last a full year.

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Trains and Cameras

Last Sunday we went to Seattle for a Flickr meetup. The boys, of course, brought their cameras too. We lost the crowd pretty quickly, but spent a while hanging out on the bridge Eric designed back in his engineering days, which is conveniently located over the train tracks.

Boys love train tracks.

Timothy checking out his photo of the train tracks:


Ben showing me his picture of the train tracks:


Boys comparing photos of train tracks?:


ALL the boys taking pictures of the train tracks:


And long after the photography became boring, one little boy was patiently waiting to actually see the train leave:


(It had been sitting in the station for probably an hour, with people coming and going, and he did finally get to see it go.)

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Wool Pants

I’ve made Nathaniel a few pairs of wool pants from the sleeves of thrift store sweaters, but I think these new ones are perhaps my favorites.


I had found a nice soft J. Crew sweater, and it felted up really nicely, but it had holes in the elbows. The elbows make the bum of baby pants. So I covered the holes with pockets made of the same sweater fabric, sewn on with contrasting thread.


There are matching shoes in the works, but he hasn’t given me another evening to work on them again yet. Soon, I hope.

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Fire and Painted Rocks

It’s January, yes. It’s winter, yes.

But it’s mild, and it feels like so much spring, and we all needed to spend some time outside. We worked hard this morning, gathering branches and transporting them (in the truck, the boys love that part!) to the other end of the yard. I even managed to resist the urge to weed the floor of the little forest (the creeping blackberries, they take over!).

After lunch, we burned.


And the boys painted rocks. It keeps them out of the fire, you know.


Luckily we have an almost endless supply of them, because they can both paint a lot.


Some of Timothy’s works of art:


And some of Ben’s:


The rocks will be strewn about the little forest, making paths or hiding in bushes. Maybe I will have to weed after all.


We even got a little garden prep done. Timothy helped me weed and turn over last year’s garlic bed in preparation for planting out the strawberry runners.


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gardening,kids,kids' art & craft,seasons

Christmas Tree

Rather belatedly, pictures of our tree this year.

(I’m trying to catch up, and trying not to allow the fact that I have all these outdated but unposted posts stop me from posting at all.)


In the field, it looked big, but not huge. We cut it off a good 4′ from the bottom.


It was still really tall and required a ladder to light the top.



Not the best pictures, but these are the only ones I managed to get. It’s full of old ornaments and homemade ones, by us and by the kids, and some we’ve found at thrift stores.

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We’ve had some really cold weather during the last month or two, and we made an interesting discovery: when it gets really really cold, like stays-below-freezing-for-many-days sort of cold, all those yogurt containers the kids left outside had filled with rainwater and frozen, from the top down, in a really fascinating pattern.


When you find one that still has water at the bottom, you can *carefully* remove the chunk of ice at the top and turn it upside down, and find these fingers of ice that were reaching down into the water.


They remind me of fir trees.


A whole frozen forest of fir trees.


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Winter Walk at the Beach

Today seemed like the perfect day for a walk on the beach — mild, gray, but not raining; tide on its way out.


Perfect time to explore some of the amazing driftwood structures people build here.




This one was shaped like an igloo, complete with entrance tunnel.


The kids could fit inside, but we couldn’t. Once they crawled through the entrance, they could even stand up — it was actually quite spacious. I could stick the camera through a gap in the wall though.


And then there was climbing…



And digging in the sand…


And finally, the construction of a crane using found materials…


Some of the driftwood is really amazing to look at up close….




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