corners of home…..

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This marks our fourth winter in this house.

It seems that each time we move and settle in, the time zips by more quickly than the last.

Didn't we just get here? Oh goodness, look at those little faces!

We're once again in the waiting phase after filling out the list, though this time we didn't put anything on it other than a request to stay here longer. Joe's command is trying hard to keep him. I am hopeful, but not counting any chickens so to speak. I think we have a good chance of getting one more year. And while I am grateful for that….. a one-year extension sort of just stretches out the waiting game even l-o-n-g-e-r. Instead of 6 months of worrying and waiting – you get 18. And so it goes.

Right now I am looking around this too big house that has held our family with the soft, kind eyes that I always do when leaving is on the horizon. With gratitude. I am grateful for this house & the people around us we have called home. Tidy, messy… all the corners of this space. I am excited to think we might be closer to starting our life on the farm and sad to think the time is nearing to leave. Again. Bittersweet, this leaving.

All these feelings mixed up inside my heart and belly. And my long time go-to for dealing with them? Tidy, organize, purge. I've actually laughed at myself quite a bit this time around at how predictable this has become – at least according to my family. 

I guess that's mostly all for now.

 

One last thing, a few bits to share…..

Honey Sweetened Marshmallows (top photo in sunday-morning-mochas – the BEST marshmallows ever!)

Currently on my needles (fluffy, squishy, goodness)

A Holiday Book List (c)heck the comments for even more books)

Squam Art Workshop Announcement (last call!)

New Facial Goods (by me!)

 

Happy Weekending to you….

xo,

s

 

wintering……

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We haven't had much of a real winter here. It's reminded me a whole lot of our years in southeast Alaska. Rain. Wet. Dark. Oh yeah, and the mud……

The poor grass is getting thin in spots and the mud piles are growing wider each day. I would love a big snowstorm to come and cover the garden and woods (and mud puddles) with a thick blanket of white. Snow makes everything look so tidy and it has that magical glow that almost makes up for it being dark at 4 in the afternoon.

Of course, the good thing about the mild weather is that we've hardly turned the heat on. The fireplace is doing a fine job keeping most of the house toasty warm. The bees are flying on warm afternoons. I love sitting on a stump outside their hive and watching them fly in and out. They were actually bringing pollen in the other day. I had one calendula bloom in my garden on Christmas Eve and there is a rogue dandelion that pops up every so often. They always find them.

Even though it hasn't felt like winter, our wintering activities are in full swing. There has been cozy fireside knitting and reading. Bread baking. Lots of afternoon popcorn. Hot cocoa and tea. And even though we took the tree down today, I left a lot of the twinkly lights up. I figured a little extra sparkle during these grey days couldn't hurt one bit.

Tell me how your wintering has been……

 

xo,

s

 

a year of hats : march (and paint too)

Hats.paint.1

Hats.paint.2

I almost had my hat finished this month and then realized I goofed up on the decrease while talking to Joe in the car. I'm not really good at talking and counting, I guess. So I have to pull it back out and redo it. It's close though! Just in time for spring biking weather for the hat wearer I am gifting it to. (it's this yarn and this pattern.)

It was a slow knitting month….. but a huge house project month. I've been in the studio every weekend. Cleaning, decluttering. And now painting! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to paint over the flat tannish-off-white paint in there. It's original to the addition that was built on the house over 15 years ago….. long overdo for some love. I finally chose a shade of white. Don't giggle, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Joe was sweet as could be listening to me ramble on about the undertones being the right shade for the light coming in. I want it to glow in there when the sun comes up. We'll see….. We've got two coats on but we ran out of time and paint. It really needs one more coat, but the littles and I are heading out tomorrow to the deep south. So it has to wait for now…..

Louisiana, here we come!! Sunshine. Friends. Warmth. Oh my. We are so excited!!

I won't be checking in here for a good ten days or so…. but I will be on instagram if you'd like to come along on our southern adventure.

See you soon!

xo,

s

DIY Chalk Paint Cabinet Makeover

I've been wanting to give a little facelift to these cabinets for quite awhile. Especially after we got the dining room aka homeschool room painted (saving that project for another post). At first I picked a green color…. and I really pretty much hated how it looked with the soft yellow in the dining room. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm totally blaming it on winter. Luckily, we had two of those smaller cabinets…… so I started over with a deep teal blue : Cathedral by Behr. The woman at the paint department was swooning over it, telling me her son's room had been painted that color and it looked different throughout the day depending on the light that was coming in…. she totally sold me. Even though I was worried it might be dark… or look odd once I mixed the plaster of paris into it (recipe after the pictures).

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I'm really, really happy with the way they came out! The paint is a little gritty, but it adds to the vintage-y look. I'm sure real chalk paint would be more smooth….. but this was a lot cheaper and I could pick ANY color I wanted. I took the photo of the lid to show you that the color didn't really change at all adding the plaster of paris to it. (blob on the left is after, right is before) I was really surprised by this, since this color is so dark and has a deep base. After painting three coats on, I waxed the cabinets with minwax finishing paste. It's messy hard work. Don't let it dry too long. But it looks really great and has a durable finish. In the future I'll look for something more natural. It was pretty stinky!

I tried several DIY recipes online for the chalk paint before landing on one I liked. If it's too thick, it drips once you paint it on the cabinet, and doesn't seem to cover as nicely….. at least in my experience. I liked the look of thin coats. Even though I ended up covering it three times, I had better control of where the paint ended up. I chose a satin finish hoping it would be more cleanable because these are cabinets that get a lot of use. I'm not sure that made a difference? The end result was very matte until I waxed it. But I love the way it looks for sure! (the small one is our homeschool books, the large one is art supplies)

 

DIY CHALK PAINT::

1/3  cup  plaster of paris

1/3  cup  water

1 cup paint (I used satin Behr Ultra)

*whisk the water and paint together. let sit for ten minutes to help the water absorb the plaster of paris. whisk vigorously again. some people blend it? I was worried about air bubbles so I just mixed it by hand. mix the paint in very well. that's it!

 

I did read that some people did not like the look of using a paint+primer if they were distressing the cabinet. I knew I was not going to do this, so I chose a paint+primer to make sure I covered years of grime on our old cabinets. I did lightly sand everything before I painted too.

I completely splurged on the knew knobs. I bought them with a 20% off coupon here. They were still kind of spendy……. but I ADORE them. And the project was still under $75, so not too bad.

DETAILS::

Two old Ikea cabinets. Solid Pine. Previously had a waxed finish.

Behr Ultra Paint Satin Finish in Cathedral (Home Depot $16)

Plaster of Paris (Home Depot – clearance box because it had been opened $2)

Minwax Finishing Paste (Home Depot $10)

Decorative Knobs (Restoration Hardware – $12 each, I got them 20% off on sale)

I haven't painted furniture since I was in high school and my parents let me paint everything in my room black. (Thanks mom & dad!) And while I do love the look of natural wood, this is the perfect sort of project for tired old pieces that need a little makeover. I'm eyeing the bedroom set we bought from the previous owners and thinking of yellow….. or triangles. Decisions, decisions……

Have a happy Monday!

xo,

s

 

maybe it’s cabin fever

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I suddenly decided to clean out closets.

I'm not sure what it was. To be honest, it's usually not the mess. It's usually something I'm thinking about that is totally unrelated to the mess. Decluttering helps clear my mind. And the best time to get rid of piles of stuff is when your mind is preoccupied. It takes a lot to grab your attention, you know? More stuff goes in the bag.

So I hit my side of the closet and dresser first. One bag. Two bag. My favorite thrifted sweater that I've had for over a decade finally got the boot. The book shelf after that (woah mama, this lady is on a roll.) One box, two box to donate plus one HUGE stack to sell on Amazon. On to the kitchen and pantry. Three box. I would have started in the studio next, but we leave soon for a quick trip north for my new little nephew's baptism….. so I temporarily stopped the get-rid-of-stuff train.

I have a lot of shifting to do in the studio. I recently sold my spinning wheel…… did I tell you that already? I don't remember. And I'm paring down what I sell in my shop, no more sewn goods for the time being. I'm hoping to do some patterns for my aprons, bags, art wraps, and doll quilts as pdf downloads…. available this spring (fingers crossed). All of that is the long way of saying I suddenly realized that if I am not sewing for other people, I have entirely too much fabric. And yarn. Which is always falling on my head. I thought of taking pictures of each thing and selling them individually….. but I think it would be so much fun to put together mystery studio bundles. And you have to say "mystery studio bundles!" in a booming theatrical voice, c'mon it's fun! Each would contain a few half yards of fabric, one skein of yarn, and some other random goodies. Just like Soulemama did f-o-r-e-v-e-r ago when they moved into their farmhouse. What do you think? I love a good surprise!

I guess that's all I have to share this morning. Maybe I'll head to the bathroom drawers next. My lovely kiddos have a knack for collecting odd bits of things in there…. along with never throwing a band-aid wrapper away. Ever. Instead they pile up in the back of the drawer, because, you know…. the bathroom trash can is sooooooo far away from the drawer that contains band-aids. Goofy kids.

xo,

s

 

ps – if you wonder I've been stopping in here less, I blame it all on instagram. all the cool kids are there. come on over. it's pretty fun!

  

ongoings & some link love……

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

:: fire cider to bottle

:: fresh fabric stacks

:: a clean up date night with my studio & a glass of wine is in order (goodness, it's messy in there)

:: seedlings getting taller every day

:: old globe making my kids and me smile as they find their favorite places

:: new tiny bolga baskets

:: gumbo for dinner tonight

:: fresh cookbooks 

:: painting wooden eggs with the kids tonight

:: the light in here at 3:30…… love

 

Some weekend links for you……

~ I ordered two new vegan cookbooks this week,  here and here. They are both very, very good!

~ Some good ideas for using stinging nettle this spring.

~ This Owl and this moon….. I am in love with her art. For sure.

~ Fairy garden season is here!

~ The overprotected kid. (loved this!)

~ Things to eat : tahini toast and chickpea avocado sandwiches. (Amanda, that last one has your name all over it!)

~ Just for fun, a year ago this week.

 

Some of you may have seen my post on the gypsyforest facebook page about my friends at  Cubit's being featured in Etsy's Quit your Day Job series. It is so awesome to see a hard working small business be in the spotlight. AND they just bought a 13 acre farm! Congratulations Laura and Ryan. Today is the last day to enter this giveaway for a six pack of their herb seeds too!

Also, I have TWO awesome giveaways planned for you this weekend! So swing back in to enter.

xo,

s

  

welcome to the studio……

I can’t begin to tell you how reluctant I was to do all this.

Joe and I playfully bantered for months on the subject. He wanted the suite. The bathroom. A place to shave in his underwear every morning. As the sole breadwinner, this was getting pretty hard for me to argue with. Especially because he wanted me to take advantage of the space in the apartment as my studio. “It might be the only real studio you ever have,” he kept telling me. I’ve been so attached to the idea of having a guest suite though, I really loved the lavish retreat we had to offer our friends. Joe was not giving up this fight however, and finally he won. After moving the contents of three rooms around to make it all happen, I realize that I won too. Maybe even the most of all.

The studio! It’s amazing. I keep pinching myself. I really am so glad we did it now. We still have a nice guest room upstairs. Joe got his bathroom. And we can fit extra guests or our kids in the studio to make room if need be. It’s pretty nice. But the studio, for real! I still can’t believe it.

So come on in…..

 

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

welcome to the studio.....

Ahhhhh! Right?  

A few little details….. in case you are wondering. The majority of the project was reusing things we had. However, after perusing the web for studio inspiration…. I knew I wanted some good shelving. With a $500 budget we purchased shelving, baskets, lighting, curtains, casters & hardware from ikea. We also purchased a laminate butcher block style board from home depot. Joe used scrap wood, the butcher block board, and casters to make me a rolling work station. It’s the perfect height for cutting and working. Much like the one he had in his garage back in Louisiana. I absolutely love it! Next he installed two lights above my sewing space. Again, handy man is my hero. Lastly he installed a curtain on the shelf (!!!) I love this. I’m totally smitten with the nature collection feel of the curtains. They protect my fiber from sunshine and help the room feel duo purpose-ish for company if we need to share the space. I’m so smitten with all of it. At some point in the future I plan to paint & hang up some artwork….. but all of that can evolve slowly over time. Likely with a few more gnomes here and there…. because I love gnomes.

My friend Amanda wanted a video of the space, she’s so funny. And while I may be a half decent photographer…. I am no film maker. I did it anyway, so here you go. A video tour. (oh my) don’t laugh too hard…..

xo,

s

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=137818

 

home & such……

home and such......

home and such......

home and such......

home and such......

home and such......

home and such......

The sun is hanging lower in the sky and the light that cascades through my living room by late morning is glorious. All my worries about this room being dark and dreary over the winter have been cast aside. Between the sun and the glowing fire, it's the best place to be.

Over the last few weeks I have visited with many friends and family in this space, all the while knitting a few stitches here and there. The solo mitten that had been in my stash f-o-r-e-v-e-r (along with matching hat) got its mate and made their way to my little nephew. Yes, I forgot to take a picture before I packed them up. Speaking of forgetting, or truly just the art of being busy, the beautiful pile of beeswax dipped leaves never made their way to becoming garland. Ahhh, well. Good intentions anyway.

I tried again to capture the green of the living room…. no luck. It insists on being yellow in photographs. I don't blame it really, I love yellow too.

Would you like a peek at my current knitting project? The fisherman sweater for my little guy in Jackie's Spectra. (spice colorway) It's delicious and quick in such a bulky yarn….. perfect for a gal who can only manage a row or two here and there. I just finished the yoke & split the sleeves. Adding a bit of stripes next with those other colors you see. One is a grayish-coco and the other is curry. See, I told you her yarn was delicious….. all food colors!

I'm off to get some sewing done for the fair this weekend! I'll be in New Hampshire here. Over 50 artists with goods priced under $50. It looks like it will be a wonderful event.

See you tomorrow with some link love and Saturday for a giveaway from the shop!

xo~

s

 

bits of home……

bits of home......

bits of home......

bits of home......

bits of home......

bits of home......

bits of home......

bits of home......

 

I'm afraid if I mention being busy again you may all groan and run for the hills.

So instead, I'll share a bit of what is going on here.

A tiny bit of something wonderful is happening. After years of having my shop as a hobby that supported my fabric love (ahem), in the past year it has grown to be more than that. It is still very small, mind you. But the sales have become regular and I have become busy. The kind of busy that is real work, not just hobby fun. And so, I have added a good bit of more onto the always much to do list. Luckily for me, Joe is very supportive of this little dream of mine….. the only resistance is on my own part. It's a funny thing…. hobby becoming work. It's good. It's hard. It takes balance. That last part is the trickiest.

Last night though, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in front of the fireplace with a fresh library book. I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water so I could do just that. Then I saw the cabbage. Three of them. And the bag of apples a day past their prime. I had left them out on purpose. I had to either deal with them or put them away (again). I looked longingly at my book, sighed, and got out the knife. It took the remainder of the evening to make 3 quarts of applesauce and a half gallon of kraut, but I was glad to get the task done.

This morning the little kids (who stayed up way past their bedtime, they had to sample warm applesauce you know) slept in. I read a little by the fire and then got to work. I made my ever lengthening to do list and noticed much of it happens here. Work, school, food, reading, creative bits, and more.

Most everything wonderful happens here. Home

For this, I am truly grateful.

Happy weekending.

xo~

 

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)


we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

we. did. it. (a mostly finished makeover)

 

De-gloss walls.

Sand.

Wipe down sandy messy walls and vacuum.

Patch Holes. Patch knots.

Sand patch jobs.

Prime (forever). 2 coats worth.

Let kids play nearby with little supervision.

Even the dog is concerned about kid mess.

Eeek, look at our mess.

Paint. 2 coats. 

Teach kid to rewire outlets.

Clean up (a lot). 

No more brown paneling. Joe won the color with his green. I'm saving my cream for the kitchen now. Yellow for the dining room and maybe the book shelf room too.

This room doesn't get a lot of direct light, more like soft filtered light. It makes the green look sort of yellow-ish. It's actually a grey-ish light green. We replaced the existing curtains with some I've been holding onto for years. They're just Ikea curtains, but I love them. I love even more that they are from our Wisconsin house (five years & two moves ago), in a room painted almost the exact same color. I didn't realize that until we hung them up and I had a total déjà vu moment. I had exactly enough and I didn't even have to hem them, they were perfect. We bought new curtain rods at Target. We mounted them a bit wide and moved the existing hooks up so the curtains let in a lot more light when pulled back. What a difference this makes!!

I took a picture to show you the tile we put in where we had to pull the mantel out. I love the copper tiles in there. Speaking of copper, Joe's brother made that copper guy, the brewer, for us awhile back. It's nice to have him hanging out by our fire now.

We moved the furniture around a tiny bit, hung up snowshoes, Joe taught Soph to swap out the electrical outlets. We still need to paint the ceiling, replace/fix moulding where we pulled the bookshelves out, but that will come another weekend. I also have some beautiful pieces of art we picked up in Sitka the summer before last, I can't wait to get them framed and hung up in here.

Speaking of which, I never showed you the sunroom mini makeover! We pulled the blinds out, painted it a lovely soft grey (with a hint of blue), unfortunately had to replace the couch, added two new chairs & hung up our old wooden propeller. Have I told you my dad picked it up at a yard sale when he was fifteen? That was awhile ago. Ahem. And it has since traveled from Idaho, to Alaska, to Cape Cod, back to Alaska, to Wisconsin, to Louisiana, and now to Massachusetts for the second time. Crazy right? Joe also hung up some family photos, which make me swoon every time I look at them.

It's feeling more like home all the time……

xo~

s