my favorite kind of mess

Sometimes I get extremely tired of the constant swirl of disaster around here.  By this I mean my children’s tendency to need to play with their whole body causing a tornado of debris to fly behind them at a constant rate throughout the day.  Plain and simple, it’s a mess.  When whining to my mother about my woes, she reminded me that when I was little it was similar.  Yeah, yeah I thought.  But then she brought up a really good point.  The projects.  The crafts.  The experiments.  My inclination to create didn’t start as an adult, I have always been a soap making, worry doll wrapping, jacket sewing kind of girl.  (I have never been all that good at any of my hobbies mind you, but I always enjoy the process)  Needless to say, this habit of mine was (and is) not one of organization.   And while I have gotten a bit more diligent in the cleaning up process, it is still an effort.  I can only imagine what the remains of some of my projects looked like as a child.

Either way, this is the type of mess I suppose I always expected as a mother.  The dumping everything out everywhere you go variety wasn’t on my radar, and I am still learning to be tolerant of this seemingly destructive mess making technique.  But today, I got my wish.  I had a sit down and craft day with my boy.  Let me repeat that a SIT DOWN and craft day with my boy.  Yes, that’s right, he sat down, listened to sparkle stories while his little brother napped, and needle felted.  It was so fun.  And this was his creation.

IMG_7611 IMG_7612 IMG_7624I joined in on the fun too… Scary Fire Woman

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Pretty cool if you ask me.

preserving leaves

The easiest and most pleasurable way to preserve the color of fall is with beeswax!  I found my beeswax at a farmers market.  When you buy it unfiltered in bulk it is very inexpensive.  You will not be lacking in projects that require beeswax either.. think salve, lip balm, candles, and so much more!  Use a double boiler to heat it up, preferably a second hand one, for it will forever be the beeswax pot.  Wax is no easy task to remove.  Once it is good and melted bring it outside, gather up the most spectacular leaves you can find and dip!

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One dip is all that is necessary, any more and it’s too thick for the colors to shine through.  There are many ways you can display your leaves.  We made a mobile and intend on making a wreath as well.  A few grape vine wreathes and a few yards of yarn is all that you need!

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It was a lovely fall day!

mind your own… how to make a beeswax candle

Around here we light a lot of candles.  We eat each meal by them (my favorite being the sunrise breakfast), we bathe by them, we practice for our birthdays frequently, and we generally just congregate by them.  The flickering light, the sound, and the bit of warmth is so sweet in all seasons.

Recently a friend mentioned her issues with petroleum candles to me.  I must admit, while I have not been a fan of the scents of a store bought candle, I had not really put much thought into the dangers of burning a petroleum candle otherwise.  Well it turns out those paraffin filled candles are in fact dangerous.  Very much so.  Another reason it is nice to try to have an open mind and listen to others.  There is so much you can learn from this practice!  While it feels like everything is potentially harmful when you scrutinize it long enough, this is one that I feel is worthy of changing.  Besides, it turns out making beeswax candles is not only economical, but it is never-ending FUN.

I promise.

This is one for the men and the women.  The old and the young.  The crafty and the craft averse.  It is simple and satisfying.

First, soak 100% cotton or 100% linen strips of yarn or string in the following solution: 2 tbs. of borax (you can buy this extremely handy natural powder at the grocery store) 1 tsp. of sea salt and one cup of water.  Let them sit over night.

As far as the lengths of your wick goes, I would say it will vary depending on what you will be using for your holder.  Dipping them you should make them about 4 inches (to make two 2 inch candles) or if your holder is 3 inches tall, cut the wax about 4.5 inches to give you something to grab hold of when you are letting them set.

The next day drape your wicks over a line and let them dry completely.

Melt your wax in a pan you wish to keep as a candle making pan (or any other wax-y craft you may choose).

Tie each wick to a little weight, a pin, a safety pin, a button, a clip, a snap or even a rock would work.  It just has to fit inside your cup/object.  Place the wick inside and pour your wax in.  Be careful its hot!  Hold the wick upright or give it some leverage by placing it by a shelf you could weigh it down with until it dries.

Finally cut the wick until it’s just so, and you’re finished!

You can get fancy with your holders.  I tried a turtle shell and some cups I made in ceramics back in college.  I have been enjoying thinking up the other possibilities!

If you want to do birthday candles, you just dip the wick in making sure its straight, let it dry, then dip again until you have the thickness you desire.

So, I did what any rational woman would do: I hurried out to the farmers market and purchased six and a half pounds of the golden good stuff.  Oh the possibilities…

a knitty nap

Upon knitting the last rows (for now… seems I miscalculated and need one last skein of yarn to knit up that last stripe) I realized that I have indeed only knitted this beauty of a stole at the most subdued and calm points in our wild days.  Each day, at universal nap time (you didn’t know? One o’clock people!  Siesta!), as the boys are heading to the land of nod, I sit in their doorway, sing a few tunes and knit a few rows.  Sometimes I get carried away and remain there for the duration of nap time humming and knitting, knitting and whispering the words to every song I can think of.  Other times I just knit the few rows it takes to put them out soundly, and move on.  It is important I continue this ritual for avoiding the nap time crazies is ideal because they share a room and it tends to spiral out of control quite quickly.

I figure that if a piece of fabric holds the energy you put into it this one will exude a feeling of calm.  It will wrap you up in a peaceful whirl of mossy sea green.  It will give a consistent reminder in a hectic day that there is a bit of tenderness and quiet in a life somewhere, perhaps your own, not too far from where you stand.

It is pretty fitting that this is a gift for my mama, the queen of the afternoon lie down.  Without fail, this busy woman finds time to savor the restful hours of the afternoon with a quiet afternoon nap.  Glorious.  A thing of envy, I promise.

So, one last ball of this merino fingering will be at my doorstep in a few days, and alas, I can begin a new project.  For this one was a doozy.

Of course their were the occasional long drive rows too, though equally restful, with two boys sound asleep in the back.  

Frogging for perfection: Just what she deserves.

In the world of knitting there is an all too familiar verb used for tearing out stitch upon stitch of looped yarn when a mistake occurs.  That word is frogging.  When knitting, if you discover a mistake after many rows, there is no way to go in and just fix that one stitch for it all to become right.  You must tear out (frog) until you come to that row, erasing all those hours of work.  Just like that.

Well I will be honest.  I am normally  not that kind of knitter.  I usually stake claim in the hopes that imperfection makes it beautiful!  Or I tell myself, surely I would not want this to be one of those projects that goes on and on forever, why not just accept the little mistake now and move on!

Attempting a lace project was no less scary than beginning a first sweater or a tiny pair of socks.  I just cast right on and despite distractions, glasses of wine, interesting conversations and the like, I kept on knitting.  But through and through I managed to find myself not one or two stitches off, but a whopping twelve!  When I increased the twelve over the next few rows to bring me back to the original 96 I cast on, the curve of the stole grew to such massive turn it began to form a lump.  A giant unattractive lump.

Taking into account the cost of the yarn, the time still needed to finish this enormous 80 inch piece, and most importantly the recipient of it, I decided to do the unimaginable.  You see when weighing the pros and cons of doing such an act I couldn’t help but envision the moment of truth.  I saw my mama unwrapping the gift of the giant stole, in a foamy sea green of impossibly soft merino and bamboo.  I pictured her flipping it over her shoulder and I so wanted to be proud of all the work I did.  I wanted her to look and feel simply fantastic in this accessory.

But, unless I erased the work I had done over the last month, I knew such a vision would not occur.  So I did it.  And to my surprise, it was much less painful than I imagined!  I felt no remorse.  I felt nothing really.

Oh and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for when reading the size of my needles it appears I had ahem… read them upside down and what I thought was a dainty little six was a chunky nine in disguise.  So you see, it never would have worked out anyways had I not decided to frog it up.

 

I do hope that my mama’s will look this glorious when it is all said and done.  

Oh yes, and lucky me won this pattern book on the blog soulemama.com!  It will get good use, you can be sure of that.