Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Colt

On a trip to visit our horse this morning, we discovered that Winston has proclaimed himself the adoptive father to a little weanling colt. The colt was starting to take a toll on his mama, who is not in good health (she is in another pen a few yards away). As soon as the colt and his mama were introduced to Winston yesterday, Winston became very protective of him, keeping his other pasture-mate, and even the colt's own mama, away from him. Today, mama seemed very unconcerned, while meanwhile, Winston was quite upset when I took him up to the barn and away from the colt for a few mintues so that I could groom him. They called back and forth to each other until I returned Winston to his pen. I didn't find out what the colt's name is, but Noah called him Isaac. Noah calls all babies Isaac. The colt is a cute and friendly little guy, and is doing very well for his first day away from his mama. (The masks they are wearing keep the flies out of their eyes.)
It was a beautiful, but hot morning. The freshly cut hayfields were all aflutter with thousands of Clouded Yellow butterflies. Appropriately named, as there were literally clouds of them flying all around.

As we drove away through the clouds of butterflies, we were happy to know that our kind horse is easing one little colt's transition to life away from his mama's side.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Sewing For The Boys

Thanks to a few long naps from the boys this past weekend, a Daddy available to tend to them when they were not sleeping, and a late night or two, I have finished a couple more pairs of pants for Isaac using the Quick Change Trousers pattern from Handmade Beginnings. This time I made them 18 month size with 12 month length, and they seem to fit pretty well with room to grow. First up, Elephant pants, lined with flannel.
Next up, and quite possibly my favorite thing that I have ever sewn, the Fairytale pants. This pair is reversible. On one side, red linen (left over from a tunic I made for myself) with The Three Little Pigs on the bum...
Turn them inside out and they are brown corduroy (from a pair of pants that didn't fit me) with Little Red Riding Hood on the bum.

They are thick, warm, and oh so cute! The pictures really don't do them justice. Especially when the second I step outside to take pictures in some natural light, the toddler starts yelling through the open window that he has to use the potty. Then moments after I put said toddler down for a nap and sit down to try to edit the quickly snapped photos, the little babe wakes up and stakes a claim to my lap throughout the remainder of the blogging/photo-editing session. But I digress...

I consider myself a pretty novice sewer, but after making a couple pairs of these pants, they came together pretty quickly. Now that I don't have to read each step several times, I can make a pair in about 3 hours, divided up into many, many, many smaller chunks of (nap) time. I have not yet tried to size them up for Noah, but it is on my 'To Do' List, along with about a million other things.

Another recent project was a crayon roll for Noah's Stockmar block crayons. I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so I combined a few different ones to come up with my own. It turned out ok, but I am considering this one my prototype. It is made from the same red linen and Three Pigs fabric as Isaac's pants, with some cotton twill to tie it up.

The pockets are not as deep as I would have liked, but all the other dimensions came out pretty well. The elastic down the middle is for holding regular stick crayons, which we don't have yet. I may make another one or I may just live with the shallow pockets, because although the shallow pockets will bother me from here to eternity, do we really need two crayon rolls? Probably not.

Now I need to put the sewing machine away for a while and get to work on the several knitting projects I have in progress and the many more I want to get started before cold weather sets in.

~Jen (and Isaac)

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Garden

The tomatoes are ready! Finally, lots and lots of Brandywine tomatoes. They were worth the wait. So far we have been slicing and eating them as fast as we can, but we are getting a little behind and I see a batch of spaghetti sauce in the near future.

The most dramatic growth in our garden this year has to be the Russian Mammoth Sunflowers. They tower above our heads and are bending over from the weight of their dinner plate sized flower heads. I told Curtis we should have planted these all around our yard and we would have had plenty of shade on the hot days we have been having. The bees seem to love them too. I haven't decided yet if we will dry the seeds for ourselves or leave them for the birds.
There has also been plenty of cucumbers and pear tomatoes. I found a great recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh that uses almost all ingredients we have growing right in our own backyard (if only I had a lemon tree!). I have made a couple batches now and we eat it over several days, adding the feta just before serving. It is such a fresh, summer salad!
Today as I was outside harvesting some parsley and mint for another batch, I saw these little guys munching away on the carrot tops.
They are Black Swallowtail caterpillars. There are two large ones and a few smaller ones. I brought them inside and we will continue to feed them and watch them grow and change into butterflies. They are supposed to like parsley, which we have a lot of. It is funny that they were on the other side of the garden eating the carrot tops instead. Noah calls them 'ducks,' and I don't know why.
Because they had already eaten down a bunch of carrot tops, I had to harvest a few. I steamed these pretty Cosmic Purple carrots and mashed them up for Isaac to eat for dinner. He loved them of course. They were his first taste of garden goodness.The garden will soon be winding down for the summer, though I might try planting some more lettuce and spinach as the weather gets cooler. We shall see...


Friday, August 13, 2010

This Moment

Please click here to see our simple, extraordinary moment of the week. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Six Months

Dear Isaac,
You are six months old today. It seems like such a short time ago that I scooped you up out of the water when, in your hurry to finally meet us, you blessed your Daddy and me with the gift of being the only ones present for your entry into this world. Six short months, and yet already I cannot remember my life without your smiling face. Happy Half-Birthday, Sunshine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sewing for the Boys

Over the past couple of years, I have come to realize that it is really, really hard to cute pants for baby boys. I'll admit, I do have some criteria. They need to be made of natural fibers. It would be excellent if they came in colors other than blue, grey, or brown, because really, shouldn't a baby be in cheerful, happy colors? Here is the most difficult point: They need to fit over an ample-sized, cloth diapered bottom. Once a baby hits the 12 month size (even if they are only 6 months old), everything is cut so trim that it is nearly impossible to get them over a big baby bottom. There are a few companies that cut their knit pants a little roomier for cloth diapered bottoms, but they cost more than I would spend on a pair of pants for myself. And truly, I do not want to spend an arm and a leg on something that is really only going to fit for a few months. So what is the mama of a chubby, cloth-diapered baby to do? Get sewing, of course!
First up, some light-weight summer pants. These are the Huck Finn pants (for Isaac Fynn) from Weekend Sewing. They are meant to be ankle length, but I had to make the 24 month size to fit Isaac's waist and hip measurement, so they are regular pants length on him. I also made a pair that are red and white striped seer-sucker fabric (not pictured).
Next up, cool weather pants. I used the pattern for the Quick Change Trousers in Handmade Beginnings which are intended to be reversible. Instead of making them reversible, I lined them with flannel to make them super warm and soft inside for fall and winter. The pattern allows for growth by including cuffed pants legs that can be uncuffed as the baby grows. I made the 12 month size with the slight modification suggested here for accommodating the larger cloth diapered bum. They fit just about perfect right now over a cloth diaper, with some wiggle room if he is in a disposable, so I am trying another pair using the 18 month pattern with a 12 month length. I love how the pattern gives the opportunity to play with several fabrics. Cute and colorful with room to grow!
If I get adventurous enough, I may try to increase the sizing to make a pair or two for Noah as well. There is a stack of super cute fabrics just waiting to become pants for my boys.


My One and Only

With Curtis out of town on business and Noah spending the weekend with his Grandparents, Isaac got to be my one and only boy this weekend. For the first time in his little life he got all my attention to himself for four whole days. I made the most of each and every moment, filling the days with snuggling, gazing and smooching my little sunshine boy. And he drank it all in; laying in the sun listening to me play the piano, and sitting and playing next to me while I enjoyed leisurely meals picnicking in the living room.Now that he can hold a toy, he will finally sit in the stroller so we can go for long walks. Hooray! We went for lots of walks, even though it threatened to rain at any minute and was about 90 degrees outside.He also had his first rides in the Grandpa swing.
During naps, I got in some sewing and knitting time, making good progress on some projects that I will share later this week.

Tonight my other boys return, so today will be filled with more snuggling, giggles, and a million trillion kisses. Because, for a few days, he was my one and only boy.