Monthly Archives: October 2011

at least there’s…


It’s been a long week or two around here but the air is starting to clear. We got into this vicious cycle of fixing one thing and as a result having two other things break, you know those cycles. For instance take the car in for an oil change and find out it needs a full day of servicing. Make pear cider for the enjoyment of all, only to see that half of it explodes all over your garage covering all your belongings in a thin coat of sugary stickiness (can’t wait to see the ant infiltration after this!). Indulge in having some new flooring installed only to realize the reality of having to shorten all the doors and cut/paint/install all new baseboard. Light bulbs keep burning out. One kid got strep. You know the drill.

But at least there is seeing your little ones learn how to fish.


And walks in a fall vineyard.

And foggy concerts in Golden Gate Park.

And lomography.

Hope all is well functioning in your world!

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Filed under Life in Sonoma, Our Weekends

Kids Clothes ‘Quarter’ Challenge

If any of you follow elsie marley, you’ll know that this week is her Kid’s Clothes Week Challenge. I’ve never participated before, not because I don’t sew, but because I’ve never gotten myself organized enough to do it. I did manage to fit two hours into this week of sew time, but being that I’ve got my hands in so many other projects, sewing is slow around here. So I thought I’d show you what I’ve made this quarter. And really, it’s just plain cheating as two items are knitted and one my mom sewed.
Early in summer our little girl started to ambulate in a most amusing manner, she began to scoot on her rear. Very funny to watch, but not so easy on her light pink pant bottoms. A new pair of darker pants were needed to hide my lackadaisical mopping tendencies.
I used an old shirt of Scott’s for these with a little decoration inspired by Alabama Chanin.
Next up, I finished this little cardigan for her and asked my mom to sew up this Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress to match. So cute! And what a masterful job my mom did, as always. There are so many pieces to this little dress, I cannot believe the detail work.
And this is what I turned out this week in my two hours. Another little play outfit from some of my old t-shirts.
I even managed to finish this sweater for myself. Sorry for the crummy photo, I’m still trying to figure out self portraits. As you can see, I have a lot to learn still. This is my very favorite sweater that I’ve made to date. Details on ravelry.
And thanks to those who clued us into the fact that that Sulfur Shelf mushroom I showed last week was edible! We sauteed it up and ate only a few pieces (to make sure we didn’t get sick from it) and then read that if you find them growing on eucalyptus trees you shouldn’t eat them. Hmmm, that’s exactly where we found it. However it didn’t make us sick. Not sure if we should continue to eat them or avoid them, any advice?

Were any of you able to get some kids clothing sewn this week?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Natural Dying with Walnuts


We have a number of walnut trees at our new house, but there is this one in particular that grows huge walnuts. State Fair prize winner sized walnuts. I mean, look at that thing! In the past week, those green hulls have started cracking open, almost like flowers to reveal the walnuts inside of them. We’ve been having great fun collecting them, my youngest son and I. One of his favorite activities at school is the nut cracking activity and knowing that his teacher is always in need of walnuts, he runs out there to collect her a bag as often as he thinks of it.

The other month, when we took the day to go to Point Reyes, I came across the book Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes by Rebecca Burgess. Have you heard of her? She started the Fibershed project where she challenged herself for one year, to wear only clothes that were locally produced. And I’m not talking about just sewn locally, but that the fibers were actually grown locally too! Incredible! Well a new friend of mine (and you’ll see why we’ve been keeping in touch if you click over to her blog) recently took a workshop by Rebecca and reading about it left me totally inspired. As if I need another hobby, I wanted to try my hand at natural dying. After some research I found that walnuts are a great and easy start. A gateway drug, if you will.


With walnuts, you don’t need a mordant or anything fancy to make the dye work. From one tutuorial I read, you just place a handful of walnut hulls (doesn’t matter the variety of walnuts) into a jar of water and leave it for a week. Which I did. A mold started to grow on the top by day 7, which is when I scooped off the mold and strained the dye. I had a whole slew of Cascade Eco yarn that was left over from a Shalom gone very wrong. I had been wanting to dye it for ages. So I cut off a little bit of yarn and tossed it into the dye for about 20 minutes or so. Maybe longer or maybe less. I didn’t keep track, it was about as long as it took to clean the kitchen with a ‘yank-everything-out-of-the-cupboards’ baby following me.

And this is how it turned out. I liked it, so I threw about half of my stash into the jar. Ran off to go pick the kids up from school, ran another errand and came home and took it out.

And this is what I had. Pretty, isn’t it? I rinsed it out and hung it to dry.

Now I have this incredible autumnal looking yarn to work with. I left half of the yarn undyed so I could make something that was striped. I’m thinking maybe a striped Oatmeal? I don’t know, any knitters have any pattern/design suggestions?

Do any of you dabble in natural dying? What have you learned? Now I’m eager to learn more!

p.s. You can find me here on Ravelry, and I’m now on Pinterest!

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Recipes

Autumn in the garden

Autumn, my very favorite time of year!
Angel Wing Begonia

(my two begonias, which I’ve had for about 9 years now, gifted from friends and family)

(the walnuts are starting to fall on our newly mulched paths / standing amongst the eucalytus bark)

(bizarre looking fungus that appeared in the first rain)

(the seedlings are in the ground)

Wishing you all a warm cozy start to autumn!

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Filed under State of the Garden