Wool Slippers

I made myself a pair of wool slippers last winter, using an old sweater I felted. They have been so warm and comfy and I’ve worn them every day this winter, that I decided it was time to make some for my kids.

These are for Timothy, age 2:


All the materials came from the thrift store: the wool sweater I felted (there are always lots of those!), the soft leather I used on the soles, and the embroidery floss I used to sew it all together. They’re not perfect, but he seems to like them, he’s kept them on longer than he usually wears socks, at least. And they will definitely keep his feet toasty.

I’m still working on making up a pattern/instructions, which I hope to post soon. I’m planning to make a pair for Ben tonight (unless I fall asleep instead), and I’ll try to take photos of the process.


Comments (2)




It’s not spring quite yet, but we’ve started to be able to get outdoors again, and it feels good. This is the second Sunday in a row we’ve had a nice bonfire. Last week we even had our first outdoor meal of the year, by candle-, fire- and flashlight.


We’re getting some cleaning up done, some garden prep, and lots of fresh air. It’s good to be making progress already.


The boys always have fun wandering around out back, digging dirt or carrying stones around or riding tricycles. Or sometimes, just sitting watching the fire.


I enjoy sitting watching the fire too. (And watching Eric dig holes for our new fruit trees.) Although, I was also really thinking about spring, and working on garden plans and our big seed order. We’ll be starting to plant in just a few weeks!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On another note, I feel like I’ve been away from blogging for a long time. We’ve had a traumatic and eventful few months and it’s been hard to post about the little stuff.

At the end of September, my sister-in-law in Boston passed away unexpectedly. We spent a full four weeks travelling in October — first to Boston, then on a previously planned trip to N. Ireland and Spain, some of which was obviously painful, some was fun, but overall we were stressed and emotional. In December the 3 year old daughter of some of our closest friends was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She’s now halfway through radiation treatment and, aside from some temporary nerve damage from the surgery, she seems to be doing reasonably well.

And, finally, of course, there’s this:


Yes, we’re having another baby! We found out over Thanksgiving weekend. This photo is from a little over two weeks ago. I’m now 14 weeks, out of the first trimester, starting to mostly feel better. Baby is due in August.

I hope to be back here more often now, with more updates about the garden, the boys, the baby… and hopefully there’ll be more crafting to update about too. With the level of barely-functioning I’ve been at since mid-December, there’s been precious little to share in that area.


Comments (2)



It’s the end of summer.


We spent some time at the beach, although not enough this year.


We grew vegetables and flowers. The garden has been a major part of our life this summer.


We picked blackberries and made cheesecake. Blackberry mint cheesecake.

And now it’s fall. We’ve had three fires inside in the last few days, needing to warm the house up and feel cozy. And a bonfire a couple weeks ago too. I’m a little sad summer’s over, it was short, but I’m ready. Ready for apples and fires in the woodstove and bonfires outside and boots and falling leaves and, yes, the gray, the drizzle. Ready to move our life inside and read books, play games, do crafts, build forts and train tracks.


Comments (1)


More Harvesting

Various pictures of harvests from the last month. Some for a specific meal, some for freezing or keeping.

IMG_5050 IMG_5263


Timothy points out the carrots.


Ben and Timothy both helped… sort of…. dig up the potatoes. Mostly, Timothy threw the ones I dug up, and Ben looked for worms. Still, we got them all up. Out of the last three beds we got 45lbs of Yellow Finns, 45lbs of some sort of rose fingerling, I forget exactly what they are, and 35lbs of russets. There were two other beds harvested as we wanted to eat them over the last two or three months.

IMG_5334 IMG_5208



Comments (2)



Last August, I entered a simple quilt, my second ever, in the County Fair in August. It was fun to see it displayed, although it was folded and hung over a rail along with a lot of others. Some quilts are hung up from the ceiling, because you really need to see the whole thing to appreciate the design. I got a red ribbon (second place, although the entries are judged against a standard and not each other, so there are lots of each “place”). After the fair, I decided I wanted to do better this year.

My goal: I wanted to create and enter a quilt that needed to be hung from the ceiling.

I had almost a year, it seemed possible.

My husband helped me come up with a design within a month or two, based on a mathematical curve, the Sierpinski Curve:

I bought all the fabrics at Christmas, and started cutting them out in March.

I sewed in spurts over the next few months, always after the kids were in bed, working on sections of 4 x 4 blocks. In the week or two before the fair’s entry date, I finished the piecing (more than a quarter of it in a week!), and got the top all put together, minus borders, only 3 days before the deadline.


But there were still borders, layering and quilting, and binding to do….

It didn’t happen.

In fact, I haven’t touched it since, and that was three weeks ago. It’s not exactly out of character, leaving things to the last minute (right, mum and dad? ;-)) but usually I manage to pull it off. Not this time. Sigh. I’m disappointed, but I do still intend to finish it.

Maybe in time for next year’s fair.


Comments (8)


Backyard Camping

A week ago, when it was hot, we decided to sleep in tents at the far end of our yard. Seems a little crazy, so close but so far from the comfort of our normal beds.


It was fun, though. I was in the big tent with Timothy, and opted not to put the rainfly on to start with, because it was such a beautiful clear starry night and I wanted to look up through the netting at the sky. Which was great and beautiful til I was woken at 5am by the rain coming in and we had to leap up and put the rainfly on in a hurry!

Eric and Ben were in the smaller green tent (Eric’s from his childhood). Don’t they look all cozy in there?


Still soundly sleeping, long after Timothy had dragged me up and out.

The boys really seemed to have fun. I think this is something we’ll have to do more of!


Comments (2)



We’re at the point now where many of our meals are coming from the garden.


Two out of five potato beds are dug up, the last quarter of the second bed yielded over 10lbs of nice red potatoes. We’ve started eating carrots and parsnips, broccoli, green beans (but only the yellow bush beans are ready, so are they really still called green beans?), and zucchini (although I’m still waiting to feel overwhelmed and eager to give them away).


All five cauliflowers were ready in a space of two weeks, so three of them are in the freezer.


We’re still eating chard and salads regularly, and tonight we ate baby beet greens because the bed needed thinned. The herbs are all going crazy.


The first tomatoes are nearly ready. We have peppers and tomatilloes coming, pumpkins getting big and butternut squash starting to form. There are flowers in a couple of spots in the garden, just for a splash of color.


Oh, and the blackberries are ready! We’ve made one batch of jam so far, and I threw some in banana bread the other day. There’s a big bag in the freezer too. Lots and lots more coming.


Comments (1)



Umm, eight days since my last post. Yeah, the daily thing’s not going so well, I guess. But I’m still posting more often than I used to, and that was sort of the ultimate goal, so I’m not going to get too upset.


Dinner a few nights ago. Fresh fava beans from the garden, with some pasta, loads of fresh thyme and oregano (from the garden) and olive oil and feta. Simple, fresh, and so delicious.

Favas are really good when they’re in season, but it’s a short season, it takes a lot of pods (a couple pounds!) to get enough beans to make a meal, and they’re so much work to prepare. You have to shell them, boil them briefly, then skin each bean. You might start to wonder if it’s really worth the effort.

But then you eat them.

And it is.

And we’re figuring out how we can grow a larger crop next year, because really, we might only get that one meal plus a little more out of this year’s fava bed. And that is not enough.


Comments (1)




Last weekend, at a local island festival.


Comments (0)


It’s a Girl!!

Well, actually, two girls. Two female kiwi vines.

We moved into this house last September, and the previous owner told us the two kiwi vines out back were supposed to be a male and a female, but since they’d never produced anything in the seven years they’d been there, she thought, perhaps, they were, in fact, both the same. Two males, or two females, she didn’t know.

(Quick kiwi lesson: The female bears fruit after about 5 – 9 years, but needs a male plant, of any age, for pollination. The only way to tell the sex of a kiwi vine is to look at the flowers when they bloom in late spring/early summer.)

We waited and waited and waited for flowers, hoping for at least one female so we might have a chance at fresh kiwi fruit this year or next. We even planted a male in the spring, just in case, but the slugs ate it.

A couple of days ago, the first flower opened on one of the vines. I looked up the pictures online and discovered, to our great delight, it is a female! And today, the second vine opened flowers and it’s also female!


Now all we need is a male to pollinate them. It can be done by hand — we just need to find someone with some flowering male kiwi vines who can donate a few flowers to kiss our flowers and hopefully we’ll have fruit!

And next year, we can try planting a male again and coddle it a bit more to ensure survival and a crop of garden fresh kiwi fruit!


Comments (2)