Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yarn Giveaway

Linda from Natural Suburbia is having another yarn giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to win her beautiful yarn.

I am giving away this beautiful Rainbow Yarn, this skein holds 100 grams / 3.5 ounces and it is so beautiful and soft .... It is a handspun, hand dyed skein. Don't forget to leave me your email so I can reach you when you win. This giveaway is open to the whole world...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dinner From the Garden

We have a small garden in our city sized yard, so it's indeed a special night when dinner is from the garden! Tonight's bounty was basil for pesto and raspberries for dessert.

My beautiful berry bowl is from my best friend Emily .

Here's our modest raspberry patch. We live in Hopkins which was known for it's many raspberry fields, but now the only raspberries growing are in our backyards.

Our beautiful basil! The smell is so heavenly.

Sam helping with the washing.

Presto Pesto!

Our cat Zooey (think J.D. Salinger) basking in the warm sun, being no help at all except making me smile!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making a Felt Pin

I was wanting to do some stitching on some felt pins I'm making and of course Sam wanted to make a pin too. I gave him some wool felt to cut and he glued some on paper and then wanted to start on his pin.

He gave me pieces which I layered in order of size. Then it was time to sew! I used a thick green cotton floss and asked Sam where to stick the needle which he would then pull through the felt.

Interest level waned after a few more stitches, so I put the pin back on to finish.

Sam calls his pin "Tin" which he explains is a kind of monster. You gotta love boys who like to combine sewing with monsters!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Free Pocket Gnome Knitting Pattern

I found this pattern on Plain and Joyful Living blog and have been knitting them ever since. I made a few changes to the hat and head from Tonya's original pattern, but otherwise it's the same. Share the love of gnomes by making one to give today!

To get started:

Materials: 20 yards of worsted weight wool yarn for the body color 5 yards of worsted weight wool yarn for the skin color clean carded sheep's wool for stuffing yarn needle size 6 knitting needles (for worsted weight) or size appropriate for weight of yarn
You can use any size needle and yarn to create different size gnome babies!

First Leg:

Cast on 10 stitches, leaving about a 10" tail for sewing up the leg
Knit 10 rows (garter stitch).
Cut yarn leaving a 5" tail.

Second Leg:

(push first leg to bottom of needles)
Cast on 10 stitches on same needle that first leg is on this time leaving about a 15" tail.
Like first leg, knit 10 rows (garter stitch).


Now knit both legs together (all 20 stitches). This will form the body.
Knit (garter stitch) for 16 rows


Now switch to the skin color - and knit 10 rows in the stockinette stitch (this is one row garter, one row purl). Knit 10 rows. On 11th row knit every 2 stitches together giving you 10 stitches.
Next bind off all 10 stitches.

Sew up the Body:

Start with the shorter piece of yarn on the leg and thread the needle. Fold the leg in half to meet in the middle. (Wrong sides together - the smooth part of the head will be on the inside) Start with a running stitch around the bottom of the leg and pull. Then stitch up the side of the leg.
Finish by making a knot with the other yarn end that is in the middle and tuck yarn ends to the outside.

Now take the longer string at the end of the other leg and thread yarn needle. Work just like the first leg except continue stitching up the back of the gnome baby. When you reach the skin color - tie off with the other colored yarn. Turn body right side out.

Stuff body with wool. Stuff legs first. I use the end of the knitting needle or crochet hook to get the wool in firmly. Stuff up to the beginning of the head.

Now take the yarn that you used to knit up the back of the body and make a running stitch between the body color and head color to form the neck. Tie a knot.
Now tuck all the loose strings into the head and take the skin color hanging yarn and thread needle. Sew up back of the head only to the top. Cut body color loose string inside head.
Stuff head with wool.

Now use a running stitch around top of head and tie off with other yarn string. Cut hanging yarns almost to the knot.


Cast on 8 stitches and knit 8 rows cast off.
Sew up cast off edge with a running stitch and then sew up side. Stuff Arm . Repeat for Arm 2.


Cast on 22 stitches. Knit four rows in garter stitch (Knit every row) for three rows. Then knit in stockinette stitch (purl a row, knit a row) for 3 more rows. Continue in stockinette stitch and knit two stitches together at the beginning and end of each knit row (every other row).
Continue this until there is only one stitch left. Cut yarn long (about 20") and pull through loop.
Put yarn in yarn needle and sew up back of hat. Finish by sewing hat around the head.

Strawberry Picking

We went strawberry picking today for the first time. It all started with a tractor ride to the far fields (this was by far Sam's favorite part.)

Here's Dan in his row doing the actual picking. It's a little hard on such a tall guy to have to get down so low.

You really have to hunt for the berries amongst all the foliage as they like to hide.

Of course, there is lots of eating too which Sam excelled. But, if you didn't watch him he'd put his half eaten strawberries back and grab a fresh one!

Here I am holding the bounty of the day. We picked 30 lbs. by the end of our visit and ate who knows how much! Now, off to the kitchen for some baking and freezing of such summer goodness!

Shelling Peas

I stumbled upon a fun activity to do with my family the other day - shelling peas! We went to the farmer's market Saturday morning, as is our routine, and purchased some sugar snaps peas. The skins had gotten tough so I decided to shell them and just use the peas for some fried rice I planned to make. We usually sit in the park next to the market and eat our goodies, this week cookies and black raspberries, and our son Sam runs around. So, I started shelling the peas into the now empty raspberry container, Dan was helping me and then Sam stopped running, an amazing feat in itself, and joined us. We sat and finished the lot together munching on peas and chatting - truly a lovely 10 minutes! Next week I plan to buy more to freeze and can only hope to recapture the experience!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dying Flowers Experiment from 5 Orange Potatoes

Queen Anne's Lace Fireworks!

Don't these colored Queen Anne's Lace flowers look like fireworks? They would make a beautiful July 4th decoration and you'll have a chance to teach the kids some botony on the side. ;) I saw Joy, You know how we're an art family, do it with her family, and me being the nature girl I am HAD to try it. I've done this with carnations and celery, but this is by far my favorite flower for this experiment!

What you need:
Freshly cut Queen Anne's Lace flowers
Food coloring (we used Easter egg dye)
Clear bottles

Now, simply color the water (10-20 drops) and add a flower to each bottle. Then wait, keep checking the flowers every 10 minutes. Let them sit overnight too, they get brighter and bolder with time.

We tried this experiment ourselves this weekend with Daisies, but didn't get quite the spectacular results that 5 Orange Potatoes did with her Queen Anne's Lace.

Our best color was blue.

Our next best color was orange, but it looks rather more yellow than orange.

Red was the only other we saw a color change, albeit faint.

All in all it was a fun experiment to do with my son and a very lovely centerpiece for the table. Check out the original entry

My Nature Table and Center Piece

My favorite activity as of late has been arranging flowers from the garden for our table centerpiece and for our nature table (really just a shelf in our bookcase - our house is small.) In Minnesota the winters are long so in the summer I go plant crazy as their time here is short.

Her's our dining room table with a bouquet of Cosmos and Lady's Mantle flowers and leaves. Their color is so golden I used my son's gold silky to match and I'm so happy with the effect. We put Dan's father's day card out as the sailboat makes me think of summer on the lake when I was a kid. To represent fire we have our candle, fire gnome, and fire angel (her colors are yellow, orange and red so my son called her a fire angel when we first got her - ditto with the gnome. I guess you could say he likes fire as he's a Leo with red hair!) Lastly, I put out one of my felted flower puzzles just to have more flowers.

This is our small nature shelf. I found it hard to photograph as it doesn't get a lot of natural light. Currently it has the first 2 purple cone flowers from our yard along with more lady's mantle flowers (they look great with everything!) Gnomes are all over our house as I love to knit them, so here is no exception. I choose pink and yellow as our summer colored gnomes who I imagine are helping bring about the flowers in our garden. We also have a few butterflies, a bluebird on her nest, a couple of mushrooms (not too common in our yard which has pretty sandy soil), rocks and a yellow silky. My mom gave me the picture of the girl blowing a danelion and I just loved the old fashioned feel it emits. She purchased it from a company called Moonlight & Roses ( who carry these large postcards and cards with all sorts of fairy, sprite, and gnome designs. I'm currently trying to pick out a card for Fall, but having a difficult time choosing.

Giveaway From Natural Suburbia

Crafting and a Giveaway...

Sock Wool Giveaway:

This beautiful hand dyed ball of 100g sock wool has been very kindly donated by my friend Carle', for my giveaway. Carle' has hand dyed this wool herself and also has a stunning Etsy shop where she has just listed her hand spun wool,

If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on my blog and I will choose and announce the winner next Saturday.

I would really appreciate it if you would link to this giveaway in your blogposts for more people to have a chance to win, but if you would just like to enter and not post about it, that is just fine too. I look forward to hearing from you all....

Have a lovely 4th of July weekend.... I of course, will be spinning....



Check out Linda's Blog Entry at

My Garden on a Saturday Morning

We just got back from the Farmer's Market and I took some pictures of what's blooming now. Above is a wild petunia which is a Minnesota native.

My hydrangea bushes are now in full bloom.

I love the delicate pink of my mallow. It differs so much from the rest of the garden and always makes me think of little girls in their pink leotards learning ballet.

The Bees were also busy on this gray morning.

My butterfly weed has had a hard time this summer with Japanese Beetles eating them before they got a chance to grow. I'm curious if this larvae is more beetles or something else. Hmm...must check it out on the internet.

More bees.

Lastly, here's queen of the meadow, another Minnesota native, whose "crown" is really quite fabulous!