Our little Cub turned 2 a month ago on March 1st, and although it wasn’t quite ready in time…the buttons were put on that next week, by a week later he had his birthday cardigan. Everyone needs a cardigan. Second only to a hoodie (and a hooded cardigan makes even that unnecessary) a cardigan is one of the most functional pieces of clothing for little people.

C cardi 2

This particular cardigan is the Wonder Years cardigan by Elizabeth Smith (my ravelry notes here) and was really quite enjoyable to knit. It knit quickly from the top down and the sleeves were knit on at the end from stitches set aside. The button band was last. I had a difficult time choosing buttons, as I couldn’t find any locally that I really liked. I finally settled on these, which actually match quite well, as the cardigan just needed to be completed. But I can’t say that I love the buttons.

C cardi 3

All that button indecision was about a week before my dad arrived at my door with the most amazing treasure under his arm…but more on that in the next post! In the mean time, our little man has a  new cardigan to wear as winter ever so slowly gives way to spring, and it looks as though he has enough room to grow so that it will fit next fall and winter as well. Success.

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Some new seeds just arrived from Cubits, and Maus and I have been busy dreaming about and planning our vegetable garden. There are two seed packets that I am especially excited about this year:

the funky, lobed, heirloom Reisetomate and the Japanese heirloom Black Futsu pumpkin/squash.

Cubits_Reisetomate

Cubits_Black Futsu

The tomatoes I’m excited about as I adore eating fresh tomatoes right from the garden…sadly I am the only one in this household at the moment, but perhaps the littles can be won over with such fun looking tomatoes!

And the pumpkin? Well, I haven’t tried growing pumpkins, and this one looks perfect to try with. The colour changes from black to yellowy and then settles on the tan in the picture in storage. It looks interesting, you can eat it, and you won’t find it easily, which makes it even more fun to try and grow.

What are you excited to start growing this year?

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C cardi

Little Mr. C’s 2nd birthday is fast approaching, and as it’s been a while since he has had some handknits made just for him, I thought a cozy cardigan would be just the thing. I’m knitting with with Rowan pure wool worsted, which is a superwash wool and so perfect for messy, busy 2-year olds and the pattern is the Wonder Years Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith. It’s lovely to have something on my needles again.

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Papa’s upcycled hat and neck warmer…as modelled by Mama.

papa's hat and neckwarmer

Papa doesn’t wear hats. Not really. But I’ve always felt that maybe it was because he didn’t have the right hat. So with the sweater parts leftover after making C another pair of longies this past fall I set about making a hat. I used one of mine to draw up a pattern and then one morning before taking the little Maus to school, we cut out and sewed up Papa’s hat.

And he wore it!

So, buoyed by the success of the hat, I used more of the sweater to fashion a matching neck warmer lined with grey cashmere that he then received for Christmas. But Papa doesn’t actually want to appear on this blog of mine…he would rather be behind the camera as he so often is. Which is okay, as I think I enjoy wearing the hat and neck warmer as much as he does.

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merino vest_1

It’s cold here just now. Really cold. At least really cold for southwestern Ontario. An average of -23°C not counting the windchill. I am ready for something a little warmer. Even -5°C would seem positively balmy! But the freezing temperatures have made me appreciate our woolies even more (and I wouldn’t have thought that possible). Top of the list at the moment are the kids’ merino wool undershirts.

Last year I bought one for Maus from a local mama’s Etsy shop. She wore it every day for a week and a half, and I knew I needed to make her another. I had an old light grey merino wool sweater that Papa had donated to the sewing heap, and I used a summer tank-top as a template. I wasn’t very precise, and didn’t actually make a pattern. I just lay the tank-top on top of the sweater and used my rotary cutter to cut around it. I then scooped out the front neck line a little more, making it a cm or 2 lower than the back. I sewed the shoulder and side seams, and then turned the neck and arm hole edges under a tad and zig-zag stitched them into place.

She wore those 2 undershirts all winter last year, and again this fall. However, this year I had 2 little people needing (and fitting) the same 2 undershirts, so another was in order.

merino vest_4

Another merino sweater sat in the pile, and so I used the light grey undershirt from last year as a template for this dark grey one. I knew I was making this particular one for Maus though, and so I thought I’d brighten up the dark grey with a red heart near the bottom.

merino vest_2

merino vest_3

Quick and simple. These vests go under everything, from long-sleeved shirts and dresses to t-shirts and button-down collared shirts. Cub even wears his to bed on occasion with a pair of wool longies. Because they are worn as a base layer, and naturally don’t get smelly, I hardly ever wash these things, and consequently they are always ready to go. I’m sort of thinking I may need one next…who knew that a men’s light weight merino sweater would be so very versatile?!

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It snowed a little while back, and with the excitement and business of Christmas I haven’t had a chance to share the activity of one of those snow days…
Cato snowCato thoroughly enjoying the colder weather.

And the sled made its first appearance of the season.

Mausi preparing to pull her brother…

Kids sled 1

Kids sled 2

Realizing that pulling her brother is actually quite hard work!

Kids sled 3

Perhaps shovelling is a better idea.

Kids sled 4

And pulling the can be left to Mama.

Kids sled 5

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Neck warmer_Maus1

November passed by much too quickly this year. Wasn’t it just Hallowe’en?

With November came the colder weather. Watching Maus on a particularly blustery walk home from school, as she tucked her face into the top of jacket, it occurred to me that the one thing missing from the winter wardrobe was a neck warmer! I had some wool from thrifted sweaters and so I set to work. First came Maus’s, with two shades of blue cashmere on the inside and a brown lambswool for the outside. I sewed on a blue cashmere heart appliqué and added wooden buttons I had been hanging on to for ages. The button loops are a dark blue hair elastic that I had cut in two to make smaller loops and sewed into one end.

Neck warmer_Maus3

The buttons are functional, and she can do them up and undo them on her own, but it isn’t necessary to open the neck warmer. Maus can pull the whole thing over her head done up. Here she’s wearing Mama’s hat, also recently upcycled from a thrifted sweater.

Neck warmer_Maus2

Not to be left out, Cub of course needed one as well. Even more so perhaps, as his snowsuit seems to have a larger gap at the neck. Rather than using the same design, I thought I’d try making one that didn’t open for Cub. One that he would have to just pull on.

Neck warmer_Cub1

Cub’s neck warmer is the same brown lambswool outer, but is lined with a felted pale aqua blue lambswool/cashmere blend that makes his neck warmer slightly thicker than Maus’s.

I’m pleased with the way they have turned out, and even more pleased with the fact that both kids wear them happily. Maus has worn hers to school all week, and Cub will continue to wear his inside almost as if he has forgotten that it is even on. Happy mama, warm kidlets. Perfect.

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on my needles October

As the days in October slowly get cooler, it is high time some new woollies get knit. Straight from Iceland (thanks A & M!) I am trying my hand at stranded knitting for the first time, using two different shades of green Lettlopi wool. I am using this pattern for a funky zig-zagged beret. But, I suspect my tension must be off a bit, as I am not convinced this hat will be very beret-like…

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The play food in our toy kitchen has been getting a lot of use recently. Mostly for pretend picnics, but occasionally for something completely different.

Play food selection available seems to be exploding of late. Typing “play food” (filtered by toys) into the search bar on Etsy yields 1716 items (at my last check). That can be a bit overwhelming, but choices are far more manageable when one searches for specific foods. Specific materials narrow the choices further…felt vegetables, knitted apples, wooden eggs etc.

With autumn just beginning, and with it all of the wonderful foods I associate with autumn…barrels of apples, pumpkins and squashes, and pies, and I thought it would be fun to search around for some harvest play food.

fromtheseeds_tea bags

For chilly fall mornings :: Tea bags by from the seeds on Etsy

Wolverin Knits_knitted veg

Knitted veg set :: Wolverine Knits on Etsy

fairtradefamily_crocheted apple pie

Crocheted apple pie with removable apple slices :: Fair Trade Family on Etsy

I was hoping to find some interesting squashes as play food on Etsy as well, but at the time that I was looking there was little to be found. So I took to searching for patterns for those who wish to make there own play food!

Make your own autumn play food:

Apple, Pear and Squash – free knitting patterns from Natural Suburbia

Felt pumpkin pie (and other food) tutorial (flat pumpkin pie) - Made

Another yummy pumkin pie pattern (3-dimentional, and also free) – Sew Mama Sew

Felt macarons pattern (just because they look SO very scrumptuous…not because they necessarily have anything to do with autumn…) – sweet emma jean on Etsy

 

Any other favourite autumn play foods? Or wonderful play food patterns?

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applesauce_1

 My little Maus started junior kindergarten this year, and although her kindergarten is all day, 5 days a week, we decided that we would still have frequent days at home. Not only would these days at home be rest days to unwind a little, they would also be perfect times to do something extra fun with mama while Cub was at daycare (the plan for the fall you see is that while Maus is at school, Cub is in daycare and mama is at home furiously writing her thesis). This past Friday was one such day, and we decided to make applesauce.

Our neighbour had picked up a bushel of apples for us, and it was a mixture of three varieties; I believe two varieties were Gala and MacIntosh, but I can’t quite figure out what the apple in the middle (in the picture above) is. Any thoughts?

Edited September 24th :: The middle apple in the photo above is a St. Lawrence apple. A harder to come by variety and sadly not available from this particular farmer again either as their single St. Lawrence apple tree fell over. I’m feeling extra privileged to be able to use this tasty variety.

The applesauce we made was plain and simple. No added sugar or spices. We didn’t peel or core them, we just quartered and tossed them into a pot with a bit of water at the bottom. Once the apples pieces were soft all the way through, we used a food mill (also kindly lent to us by our neighbour) and separated applesauce from peels and seeds.  We probably used somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the bushel and ended up with 4 litres of sauce.

Applesauce 2

Others from the bushel were taken out to be eating apples, and the rest are awaiting another cooking project or two…I do love apple season!

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