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.
Papa’s upcycled hat and neck warmer…as modelled by Mama.
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.
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.
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.
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?!
And the sled made its first appearance of the season.
Mausi preparing to pull her brother…
Realizing that pulling her brother is actually quite hard work!
Perhaps shovelling is a better idea.
And pulling the can be left to Mama.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
For chilly fall mornings :: Tea bags by from the seeds on Etsy
Knitted veg set :: Wolverine Knits on Etsy
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:
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?
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.
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!
It seems to be mid to late summer every year that the cicadas come out and start to buzz in the trees. Most cicadas have a 2-5 year life-cycle (although there is a North America species that has a 17 year life-cycle!) and spend most of the time underground as nymphs feeding on sap in the roots of trees. They then make a tunnel and emerge, climb part way up a tree or other vegetation (garden walls work well too) and molt. The adults make the buzzing noise in the trees and leave behind these empty exoskeletons that Maus and I had great fun finding this year.
Showing off a find. She enjoyed running from tree to tree and searching up and down the sides for husks left clinging to the bark.
Cicada face? Our Cub came a long for the walk with Papa, but isn’t quite at the cicada exoskeleton collecting stage. Making faces? That he can do. (Although, of course, he may have just been working out an itch on his noise for this picture…)
And finally…a really neat look at the inside of a cicada nymph skin.
And also what happens when you procrastinate writing a PhD thesis chapter and play out alien battles with cicada skins (the guy on his side clearly lost the the battle…). Shh…don’t tell anyone.
Borage is one thing that grows well in our garden (tomatoes on the other hand failed miserably this year…). The borage plants with their pretty nodding flowers in shades of blue and violet are a favourite of bees and are often abuzz.
Borage flowers are edible, and make pretty additions to salads. They are also the perfect size to fit into an ice cube tray. So the other day we decided to see what borage flower ice cubes would be like. Quite sweet actually…little purple blue flowers frozen in ice.
We had them just in glasses of water, but I think they’d look great in jars of lemonade as well!
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