12.30.2008

Thorpe Hat


I've slipped into this schedule where I'm staying up way too late at night and knitting after Burl falls asleep. This child of ours, still not a very good sleeper, stays up until midnight or so. That means my mama-time-after-he-falls-asleep lasts until 3 am or there abouts. Zombie knitting doesn't produce the best quality finished products. I made several silly mistakes with this hat, but it's still cute and gets the job done.

The details:
Thorpe pattern, size small. I used two worsted weight yarns, one a vintage thrifted wool, the other a hand-painted wool from Acorn Street. Size 9 needles.
I love the pattern, a popular one floating around blogger land. I first saw it at Yarn Pirate, (thanks for the idea Georgia!). Since casting on, I've seen it on several other sites, like here, and here, and here.
Alex has requested one now. I first need to finish his hat I started, frogged then restarted over week ago. I'm not worried though, I have plenty of zombie-knitting nights ahead of me.

12.29.2008

Seventy





Arkansas Travelers for my Papa on his 70th. Spending his day with him, listening to his stories and looking through old newspaper clippings from his baseball days at Chaffey High, I can't think of a better way to spend my day. Perhaps being at a baseball game with him just might top our evening tonight. But Spring isn't too far off, and that means baseball games with my dad, I can't wait. Happy 70th Dad.

*I of course tweaked this recipe: I've been making it for years and always add a little milk or cream, about 1/4 cup, I use baking soda instead of powder and increase the flour by 1/2 cup. For a vegan version, I use Earth Balance, egg replacement or eggs from rescued chicks.

12.28.2008

Every Winter


Each year about this time, Alex and I revisit the same conversation. Initiated by me, the conversation of "let's move to California?". I start searching the web for property on the Northern California Coast and brainstorming about how we could move our lives there and what we would do for a living. Buy a Bed and Breakfast? A Cafe perhaps? My daydreams of being back home get pretty intense.

This California girl really misses California winters right about now.

It's also about this time every year that Alex reminds me and I remind myself that I really do love living in Seattle. Come Spring, I'll remember why I love it so much. In about a month or two, when my paper whites start to bloom and it's time to start my seeds indoors, when my daffodils start to poke through the soil and I get started on my garden, that's when I remember why I love living in Seattle so much.

So, mostly for my benefit, here's a reminder of what I love most about living in Seattle:
Having my family near. My home. The ocean within walking distance and seeing it daily. Living at sea level and the security that gives me (I know, it makes no since). The safety I feel in the Puget Sound with all the waterways. The culture and diversity. The various Farmer's Markets. The grocery stores - yes I love the groceries available for my family. Trader Joe's less than a mile from my home. The many thrift stores.

So I keep reminding myself that all this recent snow shall melt soon enough. At least I don't live here.

12.26.2008

Christmas: Peace for All Creatures

Occasionally I'm needed at the farm to help with sick animals and sometimes that means putting them to sleep. This Christmas Eve it was Roy's time to go. I can't think of a more humbling and meaningful way to spend Christmas Eve than to celebrate the full circle of life: the birth of our Savior and the life of a beloved dog.

I met Roy a few years ago when he was rescued from the shelter and saved from euthanasia. I'm honored I was able to spend Christmas Eve with my family in his presence. And I'm even more grateful to Roy that he helped me teach my son about the true meaning of this season.

I have a belief that life and death, peace and compassion, heaven and earth, Christ, humans and animals, are all intertwined. And it's because of our Savior that we are able to become whole again. So in celebration of the birth of Jesus, I also thank those creatures who have taught me more about peace and compassion.

"Those creatures once scared and alone, welcome to Peace for now you are home"

12.22.2008

Snowed In




We've had so much snow the past few days, so many things around us are canceled or closed because of the conditions outside. We've spent our time hibernating indoors mostly, enjoying the time together, working on indoor activities and taking in the views outside our windows.

Alex has a bad case of cabin fever though. I've offered to teach him how to knit too, so he can pass the time more quickly. I think he's more happy staring out the windows, dreaming for the day Burl is big enough to go snowboarding with him.

Soon enough...

12.15.2008

What I Love: Waking Up




To the season's first snow outside. Warmth inside. Homemade cinnamon rolls. And mexican hot chocolate. And spending the day cuddled inside with my babe.

12.11.2008

Recent Craft Trades

I've had a great time the past couple months attending and selling in various craft fairs. I've had even more fun meeting other local crafters, and I've been even luckier to trade handmade goods with some of them.

At the top of my list is my good friend Georgia down the street at Yarn Pirate. I met her at La Leche League right after our boys were born. She was generous enough to trade some of her beautiful hand spun, hand dyed yarn. I'm still dreaming about what to knit with these. It has to be something special.
How cute is her little boy?!


Another one of my favorite trades was with local artist Greg Hartman of The Painted Perception. You can find him at the Freemont Market every Sunday. I fancy several of his paintings, especially this one. But the one that spoke to me the most was this interpretation of the Chinese Zodiac. It told me to take it home and hang it on my walls. I love the colors, the culture, and of course the animals.


I also took home this cute little picture frame made by Allie. It's handmade, the designs burned into it, then hand painted. Pretty cute isn't it? At this same fair, I met Anne of Tenuki Handcrafts. She graciously traded some of her lovely hand spun, hand dyed yarn.


Finally, last weekend was Urban Craft Uprising in Downtown Seattle. My favorite vendors were Betsy of Intertwined Designs and the Spinsters at Spincycle Yarns. It was a tough decision, but I settled on the hemp skirt and this yarn.

Cheers to supporting Indie Crafters.

12.05.2008

Creating with my Sister


Her, some peacock jewelery from our mom's peacock Mr. P., RIP. You can find her new ETSY shop here, it's not quite open yet. But stay tuned for some beautiful work, she's way more creative then I am. Oh how I adore having her back home near me on this coast.

Me, the beginnings of some I-Cord for a project I'm working on. The yarn is thrifted vintage wool. The needles are, I mean were, some of my favorite DPNs. They have just the right give and slip for small circumferences. I threw them in my tote yesterday to rush off to a craft fair I was selling in, one broke along the way. Blast! No worries though, I just saw the same set at the thrift store down the street for dirt cheep. I'm off to go snag them up before they're gone.

12.02.2008

Things are changing around here


This seems to be the state of things in our home lately.
Every room in our home seems to be a little jumbled currently. Painting, tiling, new stuff coming in, old stuff going out (that's always hard for me), yes, things are changing around here.

Even my blog has taken a turn for change. Since I'm doing some sort of creative endeavor on a daily basis, it's seems fitting to blog about that. We'll see where this takes me. Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.

Here's a peek at my new desk, isn't she awesome? More about her later.

What's especially exciting for us around here has been the homecoming of our nephew Taylor who lives with us. He's been in Connecticut serving a mission for the past two years. He's more like our brother than a nephew, since he's not much younger than us. He's the brother Alex never had, oh how we've missed him. Now I just need to empty his room that I've taken over...

11.23.2008

Kitchen Poetry: Looking In and Looking Out



When we first bought our home, some asked why we bought a home with such a small kitchen, considering how much I enjoy cooking.
Here's why. The large deck right outside the kitchen that's just begging to be become an expansion. Someday.
Our home had so much of what we were looking for. And what it doesn't currently have, it has the potential to become.
But for now, we make do with what we have, give thanks and remember there are so many who have so much less.
We love our little home and everything inside. We feel so safe and comfortable inside our home and are so grateful it's ours.

*Thanks for joining me on my week of Kitchen Poetry.

11.22.2008

Kitchen Poetry: Copper, Knives and a little Salt



More gifts. From my love, my parents and my in-laws.
The copper canisters are from Tao of Tea in Portland, OR. We picked those up on a drive down to my home in Mendocino several years ago.
The stock pots are Ruffoni, but with the older lids. Those can be found here.
The salt cellar was a gift from my mom. I like how it says "Sal"- latin for salt-, but also what my dad calls my mom, her name is Sally. That makes me happy.
And my knives are an assortment of Wusthof and Henckels. I love them so much. So much.

11.20.2008

Kichen Poetry: Water Bowl


It may not seem like much, but so very much happens right here in this little corner of my kitchen and it just had to be part of this series. From preparing the dogs' meals, to filling water dishes, to redirecting the unconttrolabel temptation it is for Burl to play in these water dishes. Yes, I do indeed spend a lot of time bending down right here in this little corner of my kitchen.

(any ideas how to keep a baby out of water dishes and still allow access for the dogs? I was thinking the bathtub.)

11.19.2008

Kitchen Poetry: Crocks


They hold my most used utensils. One was found in the shed when we bought our home, one found in my parent's "stuff", the third was a thrift find.

11.18.2008

Kitchen Poetry: Preserving Fall





A little bit of Autumn preserved: organic pears and apples.

11.17.2008

Kitchen Poetry: Above my sink


I miss and long to be back on the California coast someday. It may never happen, but I dream about it and hold on to the many pieces of memories from my youth growing up on the Northern California coast.
These are pictures I look at numerous times throughout the day, vineyards from home. I look at these and they take me back. To the thick California fog, the salty waves, the fog horns. So many happy memories.

Kitchen Poetry


I'm only two weeks late, but I've decided to join SimpleSparrow on her journey of Kitchen Poetry. I've procrastinated because my kitchen is so so small that I'm not quite sure how I'll find a weeks worth of posts to discuss it. This will be an artistic challenge for me, so if your up for it, follow me on this experiment.
Everyday for the next week, I'll take you on a tour of my kitchen. As I've thought about this project, I've had to focus less on the things I dislike about my kitchen (the size, the faux-wood countertops, the linoleum floors), and have tried taking my focus to the things I truly enjoy about this little space of mine. And with a little one at my ankles, so much of my time is spent in our kitchen these days, so a series of posts about the heart of our home seems fitting.
For those of you who know me well, you know that cooking is my first passion. And for those of you who know me even better, know that I've inherited (yes, I am a lot like her) my mother's love for kitchen ware.
I suppose that's what this journey may turn out to be, a gallery of my most favorite pieces that make up my kitchen; new, gifted, heirlooms, and of course thrifted items.
So please ignore my kitchen's weaknesses and forgive my greenness with photography, and walk with me a little ways through my kitchen. If you'd like, join me and share a little about your kitchen as well.
Here goes...

11.14.2008

Laughter

I'm the Chris Rock in Burl's life. Nobody has ever thought I'm as funny as my son thinks I am. And while I'm certainly not the funniest person in the world, I most definitely am the funniest person in his world. And if I'm the Chris Rock, then that makes Alex the Eddie Murphy in his life as well.

This child of ours reminds Alex and I that there is no feeling quite like a good, long belly-laugh. He also reminds us that it's the simple things our loved ones do that can bring such laughter and happiness. I never imagined I could thoroughly enjoy myself as much by merely siting on my kitchen floor with a maraca and my babe and laughing till we get the hiccups.

What about you? What memories, current or past, do you have of a good long belly-laugh with your loved ones?
video

10.26.2008

What I Love: My Childhood Books


My mom, sisters and I have vivid memories of one night years ago trying to go to sleep. I was about 5. My mama was reading to us, *trying* to get her three little girls to sleep.

While she was reading, *trying* to settle us down, she read the words, "the peepers were peeping in the pond", which caused those three little girls and one mama to burst into laughter that lasted far longer than one would expect. It was one of those moments that the laughter was contagious and kept being passed from one to the other, building stronger and stronger with each giggle. It certainly did not help us fall asleep.

We don't remember the rest of the story or which book it came from. But we'll never forget those words, the laughter, the togetherness and the feeling of happiness we all felt.

Burl has no interest yet in falling asleep while I read to him. His preference is to fall asleep while nursing or being walked outside, usually the latter. Even better, doing both. Already though, we're creating nighttime memories of our own. And while I long for the day when he'll fall asleep (and stay asleep for that matter) more easily by simply reading to him, I know I'll miss these moments; out in the cold, with tired back and arms, holding my warm babe and singing to him while walking our streets.

I have boxes and boxes of books from my childhood to read through to find which book those words came from and just what that story of the "peepers peeping" was all about. I so look forward to re-reading these books in my home, trying to find those words again. And in my search, creating new bedtime memories with my own family.

10.24.2008

Score!


Can a knitter ever enough knitting needles? The answer is no. In my quest to find needles, preferably vintage, to add to my collection at a reasonable price, I stumbled upon a pretty sweet, affordable deal. I found the life-long collection of someone who has passed on. It was like Christmas morning when I received the box in the mail. All shapes, sizes, colors and materials; I may never have need again for another set, (although it probably won't stop me from searching to add to my collection).

Whatever mood I'm in, I'll have a set of needles to fit: slippery ones for when I want to knit fast, metal needles for when I feel like hearing the stitches, wooden needles for when I want to feel the smoothness. Oh, these make me so happy. I think my favorite pair today are the vintage avocado green aluminum set.


I considered sorting and organizing them, but each time I open the box, smell their history and search through them, I feel the exhilaration all over again. So, disorganized and in the box they'll stay for now.


I want this lady (could be a man, but probably a woman) to know how much this treasure will be used and appreciated. Whatever their legacy, it will continue in my home with my children as I pass on the art and craft of knitting.

10.19.2008

Sweaters

Enormous thrifted wool sweater, you are about to become repurposed... several times in fact.


So are you, cashmere sweater.


Lots of snipping and an hour later or so - a couple pairs of cashmere-lined longies for Burl, a pair of mittens for mama, with leftovers to spare. We thank you, thrifted sweaters.

10.16.2008

It Was A Good Day

I've inherited my mother's love for thrifting, and I've become quite proficient at it the past several years. But it's been difficult for me to spend any amount time thrifting since Burl's birth, so it's been a while since experiencing the high of actually finding something I've been searching for.

Today on a whim, the three of us went on a quick thrifting trip to kill some time while waiting for my dad. Oh what a productive trip.


(Have I mentioned how I loathe our carpet and the color of our wood walls? We have hardwood floors underneath the carpet, but, that thin layer of carpet plays a big role in the small amount of insulation our chilly home has. So until we're able to better insulated our home, the carpet stays. More on our insulation saga in a later post.)

On our list of discoveries, *the* wooden, vintage, affordable rocking horse my mom and I have both had an eye out for. I see them on Craigslist, but not as charming or affordable as the one we found today. It made Burl's day. I think it made my mom's day even more.

It was indeed a good day of thrifting, spent with two of my favorite people.

10.15.2008

My Home: Our Corner


This photo represents well my life the past several months: Nursing babe with his hand in my mouth, us laying on a quilt I made, my favorite brown blanket (a wedding gift), cell phone and computer close by, Burt's Bees lip balm on hand (I'm a long-time addict), glass of water, pile of crafting magazines waiting to be organized, several in-progress knitting and crafting projects within reach.

Over the last several months, we've spent countless hours nursing, napping, and snuggling in this very spot; me, my baby and most of what is important to me. The only thing not obvious in the picture are the three little dogs snuggled under the blanket. And the only thing missing, is Alex. But he's usually close by on the other side of the room.

I'm a little sad, this corner, our little nook, will soon be changing. See the computer cords and the pedestal table? Both are unfriendly, (but oh so intriguing), to a little boy who is crawling, pulling himself up and starting to wonder on his own and discover new things; his favorite discoveries, dangerous areas! A new desk is on the lookout and will soon replace this little corner of ours.

For now, I'm savoring every moment I have with my little boy nursing in this very spot.

10.02.2008

Shop Open!



I just opened my ETSY shop! Come have a look. I currently have candles available for a fundraiser to benefit KCACC Exposed, a citizen-run group working to help the animals of King County. I'm also doing a sale this weekend to donate to my good friends of Pasado's.


If you feel at all inclined to make a positive impact by helping either of these groups, let me know! I'm very excited to use my creations to help the animals under the care of both organizations. I think the candles will make great Holiday gifts and the proceeds will go directly towards helping the animals.

I've worked closely with the good people who run these groups and feel very positive about the difference they make in the lives of the animals under their care. I'm honored to be part of both organizations and to know the heros who run them.

If you would like to make a purchase directly through me, just send me a message. I can do local sales as well as shipments. This has been a longtime dream of mine and has taken years of work before taking this big leap. So here goes. For the animals!

9.29.2008

Stroller Attempt: Take Two

Since our baby now weighs 21 pounds and it's getting more and more laborious to carry him for extended periods of time, we decided to try the stroller again. It didn't go so well.



So in his sling he went for the day. This was at the state fair a couple weeks ago. When we're home all day, it's much easier to carry him around and let him roll around the floor as he wishes. I don't blame him, I wouldn't want to be strapped in something either.

It did come in handy having the stroller though.


Anyway, I really want to get one of these, I think he'd be much more comfortable. Not to mention our dogs. I often find them snuggled together sleeping.


Can you just picture me pulling a red wagon with my baby and our dogs all cozied up in it? Heck, I want someone to pull me in a wagon snuggled up with my baby and my dogs. Wouldn't that be nice?!

9.25.2008

A Week of Events

This past week or so has given us several happenings to say good bye to, some to say hello to, some to celebrate and others that make us feel melancholy. First of all, we've had to say good by to our gummy-baby; our boy finally cut his first two teeth. It happened last week, one right after the other. Trying to capture a decent image of them was not an easy task. And while he's been oh-so-gentle on me, he hasn't been so gentle on his teethers, my hairbrush for example. I'm grateful he's more considerate with his mama's skin than he is with a wooden handle, those little teeth are sharp! Poor guy...



For our main event Alex and I celebrated our 5th anniversary this past Saturday. Five wonderful years, boy they've gone by fast. In some ways we miss feeling more youthful but are so proud of what we've accomplished thus far and so excited for what our lifetime ahead together will bring us.

The day after our anniversary was the 6th month mark of Burl's birth. The weekend was spent trying to be lazy, but was instead filled with sleepless nights and grand efforts trying to keep our baby comfortable (you know how it can be having a teething baby who's tummy is getting used to digesting more solids).



We've said good bye to summer and hello to autumn. I'm always excited to welcome in autumn, it's my favorite time of year. Burl and I go for many nature walks throughout our days and even nights. His love for and comfort in the outdoors have grown. He's developed a fondness for falling asleep in my arms while walking outside as I sing to him. These sweet moments feeling the chill in the air and the warmth of his body against me in the safe, coziness of our neighborhood are ones that I'll treasure.

9.09.2008

Catching Up

Things have been a little hectic in the Ek household lately. With family visiting, trips back and forth to the airport, visits to the zoo, Alex's business, things have kept us on our toes. Along with all of this, I've been going through our (mostly my) "stuff" and rearranging our rooms. There is some serious purging and organizing going on around here.


I have MANY projects going on around the house. You can see I always have my little helper with me.

Yes, that is a peppermill Burl is playing with and no, I don't let my baby play with medicine bottles. It's an old pill vile with hair pins in it, one of his favorite toys. Ya do what ya gotta do.

Our baby's a happy guy and makes his mama and papa even more happy. He's getting more and more busy and getting pretty, ah-hem, plump these days. Our healthy six month old is the same size as most 1 and 2 year olds I know. Hooray for vegetarianism and breastfeeding.