Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Keep Calm Craft On {crafting on}

The act of creating, in one form or another, preserves my sanity amongst the chaos of life. This explains why I always have more than one project going at a time as well as why my housework tends to fall behind. I enjoy seeing what others are working on and keeping calm with, too. What are you creating? What is keeping you going? Snap a picture or two and share it with the rest of us by leaving your link below.

KCCO - Jan Brett inspired hoods (will need major blocking!)
I started working on the children's Jan Brett inspired Christmas hoods. This one will be C's (for her big blue eyes.)  K's hat will have the same colorways but in a different order and Little L's main colorway is mushroom. I actually already knit Little L's and am making changes to the pattern this time around after running into a few problems with his. It came out very cute, though. Soon I will be adding the pompoms to his.

While I am normally a super tight knitter, I tend to go the extreme opposite when doing colorwork. Thankfully it usually blocks out okay. I learned my lesson when I knit C's first birthday sweater - when it comes to colorwork, too loose is better than too tight.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention - this is my very first steeking project! Prayers, deep breaths and lots of gulps of coffee were had as I made my first cut. There is just something so counterintuitive about cutting into knitting.

What are you working on?! Happy creating!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rejuvenated!

baby alpacas baby alpacas Chester the barn cat feeding the  alpacas feeding the alpacas can't stop smiling babies in warm coats babies! feed us after he rolled around in the mud a bit evening walk evening walk loving the birthday girl smothering the birthday girl evening walk

Thanksgiving will mark one year living in Idaho. Even though it has been a full year I still struggle with sadness, our current living situation and missing our friends and community back in Oregon. Don't get me wrong, I am not walking around saying, "woe is me!" I am working hard to be grateful, focus on our blessings, and show that gratitude - we do have so very much to be grateful for and I really shouldn't complain. Yet my heart still aches.

This weekend was just what I needed to bring myself back to life. We went to visit a local alpaca farm owned by a woman I met at church. It was a simple, sweet little farm so close to our house yet so far away from suburban life. In short, it was a little slice of heaven. We all fell in love with the alpaca babies, enjoyed feeding the older alpacas and loving on their barn cat Chester. K just couldn't stop smiling the whole time, and even shy C came out of her shell quickly (a rarity.) The owners were incredibly sincere and made us feel so welcome. There was even some talk of K possibly joining 4H to care for the alpacas and use their fiber. On a side note - oh my, I never realized how soft alpaca fiber is. I had it in my head that it was rougher than sheep's wool. I was dead wrong.  I need to find some good alpaca yarn to knit with. Our dream of owning sheep one day has now changed to alpacas. I am hoping I can soak up some of their alpaca knowledge over the next three years.

After we spent a couple hours with the alpacas we went to greet the chickens. Little L was so ecstatic he just couldn't contain himself any longer. He found a mud puddle and proceeded to jump and roll in it. His sisters joined in on the fun, too. This made us crack up - they were so wild and free. Watching them so openly show their enthusiasm (for just being out away from a tiny back yard that's too close to neighbors and noisy with the hustle and bustle of base life) opened my eyes. I suddenly understood that we are being smothered by our current living situation. All of our time outside and daily nature walks are not enough. My children are meant to be wild and free (while enjoying the fulfilling work of farm life) and they need the openness to do just that. I need it, too. I need to break free from the box I am in and think of ways to bring us this freedom while we are still here (3 years left and counting down!)
Camping, exploring and all day hiking needs to become a priority and fast. That will help with the openness for now. Portland is famous for suburban homesteading so why can't I make that work here?

We spent our drive home talking about alpaca poo in our garden this spring and about how we can bring aspects of our homesteading dream to life in our current home. I felt rejuvenated and excited to start straight away. K and I discussed what we want to plant this spring in our little garden plot we prepared a couple of months ago and how we can get everyone involved in composting (which involved a nice little practical project for K to do.) I have so many ideas still running through my head that I can't sit still. We are going to make the most of our time here and get out of this rut starting right now.

p.s. - See those pics of Nara being smothered with love? It was her birthday! Happy birthday sweet patient Nara!!
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