Catching Up

loritotehoneycowl

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Not quite sure how we got to mid-January. I had the best intentions of blogging throughout the holidays but obviously I didn’t. I didn’t even do a year-in-review.  Oh well, time to move forward. 🙂 I probably made more gifts this year than I have in years past but as a total rookie blogger, I didn’t take any good pictures of what I made.  The two photos up top were taken with my phone at my Mom’s house after I had already gifted the items. It didn’t even occur to me to take the pictures until after so I snagged them back for a quick picture.  So there is obviously zero photo-styling going on those shots.  Haha.  I made the Honey Cowl for my sister Lonnie.  I loved, loved, loved this pattern and knitting with Madeline Tosh DK.  The tote is the Wool + Wax Tote from Making:FAUNA. I made this for my sister-in-law Lori and I loved making this tote, too.  I plan to make another one for myself.  I really liked working with waxed canvas and how much structure it provided to the bag.  We made a ton of soaps, orange oil and beeswax salves and apple cinnamon lip balm but I only got pictures of the soaps.  We did two kinds of soap – a honey buttermilk cold process soap and a honey goat’s milk soap made with a soap base.  I think both kinds came out great and I loved the molds that we found to fit with our honey and bee theme. Those adorable mugs were made by Ceara for her friends.  She saw the idea on Pinterest (you use a gold Sharpie and letter stencils) and they came out so awesome.  She filled them with some soaps and lip balms.

December seems like a million years ago now.  We had a wonderful, relaxing holiday week together.  It was so nice that we were all off from work and school.  We went to the Vineyard for Christmas in Edgartown earlier in the month.  It was freezing on the day of the parade.  Last year it was so warm, we didn’t even wear jackets and this year, we could barely stand to walk around. But the parade is always so charming and the locals do such a good job making it a fun event.

2017 is off to a good but busy start.  I am really committed to making the time to be creative this year and I am hoping to take on some new challenges and even a creative adventure.  Last week, I won my first-ever Instagram giveaway – 10 gorgeous skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Arbor from Squam Art Workshops!  I was ridiculously excited about it and a little dorky.  The yarn is so soft and  I can’t wait to make something with it but I need to finish a few projects first. I owe Sean a hat, though, so I may just have to cast on for that. He is not much for wool but this yarn is so soft, it may change his mind.

One of my challenges for the year is to learn to take better photos and hopefully, in turn, improve my blogging game.  The two photos on the bottom were taken after the first “lesson” in an on-line photo course I signed up for.  I have had a pretty decent DSLR camera for almost 10 years.  However, I always take photos in auto-mode and I have never been able to take a photo in low light or actually capture a light bulb or a fire or anything of that nature. I have tried a million times.  But after this lesson and getting out my manual and playing around for awhile – success!! That’s the only reason for posting that. Haha. The bottom one of the succulents was taken after playing around with aperture.  So let’s hope that 2017 brings more photos like the bottom and less like the top. xo

Thankful

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I really thought I would be blogging more regularly but for now, in this stage of life, I will have to settle for a catch-up blog.  Earlier this fall, we took Teagan’s Girl Scout troop to a local Audubon wildlife sanctuary to work on their animal habitat badge.  I have driven by this place about a hundred times but in my 14 years living here, have never gone until we were forced to find a place quickly because our original place cancelled our tour. It was so beautiful and peaceful; we just had to go back with Sean and Ceara when we had a free afternoon. Now that I know what a great place it is, I can’t wait to go back in the spring when we might be able to see the osprey that live in that nest.

We have been playing with air dry clay a little bit and we made these little ornaments for a fundraiser at my work.  They were the perfect thing for people who only wanted to spend a couple of dollars and they were really fun to make. The girls made a few other treasures that are still getting some finishing touches.  A few of the things they made are for Christmas gifts and I am impressed with how much time and detail they have put into their creations.

I had bought this Rifle Paper & Co fabric with the intention of turning it into little zip pouches for Christmas gifts but after looking at it for a little while, I knew that the gold would be perfect with my china so I decided to made a quick table runner.  I absolutely love the way it came out and it looks even better without the table-cloth underneath. The navy and gold combination feels really holiday-ish without being too fall or too Christmassy.  I balanced all the gold with some burlap silverware holders.  Can’t be too fancy. 🙂  I just stitched them up with a navy blue zig-zag stitch and cut up a Target dollar bin garland for some greenery.  But we had to keep with tradition; so we displayed the pilgrim napkin rings that we made about 5 years ago and of course, we made our pilgrim hats, which are just chocolate covered marshmallows on top of upside-down Fudge Stripe cookies.  I think I saw the idea (as well as the pilgrim napkin rings) in some issue of Family Fun a million years ago but it has stuck and they will probably always be on our Thanksgiving menu!

I finished the Livie cardigan that I knit for my cousin’s daughter and I am really happy with how it came out.  The yarn is incredibly soft and I was thrilled to find a button that matched perfectly in the jars of buttons that I inherited from Sean’s grandmother.  I still have a lot of knitting and sewing to go before Christmas but I am making progress and enjoying making as much as I can.

Speaking of that, we made our first batch of soap with honey from the bees!  We made a honey/ginger/orange/buttermilk soap and it smells amazing.  We used a recipe from Pure Soapmaking but made a few tweaks that didn’t mess with the critical parts of the recipe. I was a little nervous about working with lye (even with all the precautions) so I had my trusty assistant take on that part but my fear was a little overboard and I am ready to take it on for the next batches.  Since soap has to cure for four weeks, we have to make more this week if we want to have it ready for Christmas.  Our goal is to be able to make a few different things with honey and/or beeswax to give out as gifts.  I am so excited to finally be able to make stuff from our hives.  xo