Blog a la Cart

Month: November, 2012

The Twelve DIYs of Christmas

Tomorrow is December 1st – may the Christmas decorating commence chez Cart! Tonight we’re procuring our tree from the tree farm down the street and the rest of the weekend we’ll be in full on holiday mode. Here is a round up of last year’s Christmas tutorials. May they bring some Christmas cheer to you abode. Happy crafting!

Make ’em: 1.Magazine Christmas Tree; 2. Wooden Gift Tags; 3. Button Garland; 4. Ice Skate Ornaments; 5. Paper Towel Roll Star Ornaments; 6. Gift Bow Hair Bow; 7. Pine Cone Christmas Tree; 8. Crochet Candy Cane; 9. Chalkboard Wine Glasses; 10. Glitter Shoes; 11. Baby Sock Advent Calendar; 12. Paper Garlands

Overheard // 5

As I mentioned yesterday, Sunny has taken to saying some truly magical, hysterical things. She’s also taken to dressing herself in magical, hysterical ways. She laid out this outfit on the floor of her bedroom earlier this week, and rocked it out with complete and utter pride. Hey, the girl’s developing her own style.

This week I’ve been up to my elbows in Christmas gift making, James has been buried in Admissions files (yay Reading Season!) and we’ve got a full weekend of visitors, Holiday Walks, Reindog parades, Pottery open houses, and Christmas decorating on the agenda. I hope that each of you have a truly joyful weekend, too! Here are some gems overheard in the house this week.


Yesterday, when I took Addison and Courtland to see “Rise of the Guardians” and Sunny observed a tree with a popcorn garland in the lobby of the theater, her mind nearly exploded.

Her: Mama! There is POPCORN on the CHRISTMAS TREE! But popcorn doesn’t go on a tree. It goes in your tummy.
Me: Well, you can make garlands out of popcorn. We can even do that at our house and decorate our Christmas tree with popcorn.
Her: <eyes wide as saucers> OKAY! (Ed. note: If she were eight years older than she is now, the response would have been SHUT. UP.)


She’s also VERY into monsters. And is very concerned about monsters coming to our home and eating her stuffed animals. Thus, she hides them in old pretzel containers.

Her: Daddy says that monsters don’t live in Vermont. But I think that baby monsters live here. But they don’t have teeth. So they can’t eat me. They can have cookies with my Bitty Baby.
Me: Well, then why is Shaun the Sheep in the pretzel container if monsters don’t live in Vermont?
Her: Because foxes and coyotes live in Vermont and might eat him. And monsters DO live in Blooming Grove and Massachusetts. So Momar and Doda might bring them to Vermont. I have to be careful.


And, my favorite comment to date, as it gets at the innocence and beauty of a child’s thoughts.

Her: I’m going to have a party in the play room, next to the Christmas tree.
Him: Oh really? Who are you inviting to this party?
Her: You, and mommy, and Courtland, and Ursa, and Hanna, and Auntie Kimmy, and Momar, and Doda, and Ghillie, and Ranger.
Him: Well, Momar and Doda and Kimmy and Ghillie and Ranger won’t be visiting for awhile, so we may have to postpone the party.
Her: That’s okay. I’ll just have the party in my heart, instead. 

And may you all have parties in your hearts this weekend.

Currently Reading

I’ve got books on the brain, it would seem. I’m currently reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for book group, and I’m struck by the brilliance of the 9-year old narrator. His voice brings such endearing quirkiness and truth to the story. I think about that a lot, actually. About the brilliance of children. Sunny says simple yet poignantly honest and true things all the time. It’s why some of the best life advice comes from books like Le Petit Prince and Winnie the Pooh. If only we’d listen to the words of our children, and try to recapture their approach to the world – we’d all be much happier. And wiser.

What are you reading these days? Any book recommendations for my group?

Sunny’s Bookshelf

Here are the books that we’ve been reading nightly, if not multiple times daily, during Sunny’s bedtime routine. I would recommend any of these for a little reader in your life this holiday season. As a parent, I can honestly say that I will always welcome a new book into our growing library over another toy or stuffed animal. You can never have too many books. Truth!

So tell me please, what books should I be adding to Sunny’s bookshelf this Christmas?

Read ’em: 1. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves; 2. The Napping House; 3. Harry the Dirty Dog; 4. The Going to Bed Book; 5. Silly Sally; 6. Kitten’s First Full Moon; 7. Where the Wild Things Are; 8. Click Clack Moo; 9. The Lorax10. I Took The Moon For a Walk11. Harold and the Purple Crayon12. L M N O Peas; 13. Press Here; 14. The Quiet Book; 15. The Loud Book!

Yarn Bomb Stair Railing

It finally happened. BOOM! My first Yarn Bomb!

I’ve been eager to try this since my pregnancy with Courtland, when I first began ogling Magda Sayeg work. The greatest thing about yarn bombing is that you don’t actually need to be a knitter to yarn bomb. In fact, while I do indeed knit, I used a blanket that a friend found at Goodwill for the project. The ultimate repurpose. You could also cut up old sweaters – and if you were concerned about the pieces unraveling, you could felt them in a hot wash prior. Ah the possibilities!

When we first moved into the house, we were lacking a stair railing. James installed this super basic piece of wood that was just screaming for a make over. This seemed like the perfect project with which to test out yarn bombing.

I literally just took this blanket, wrapped it around the railing, stitched loosely along the underside of the railing to connect the two edges of the blanket. Then, I trimmed the blanket, and went back with a more thorough stitch to secure the piece to the railing and prevent the stitches from unraveling. I needed to do this three times to cover the length of the railing. And then, BOOM! It was covered in colorful, wooly goodness.

I’m quite pleased with the result. While the yarn was relatively cheap quality and some very interesting color choices (check out that Sherbert multicolored goodness) – it looks cozy and playful wrapped along the railing.

It’s also Courtland approved. She loves to run her little hands up and down the textures and grooves of the yarn.

Here is what the house looked like before we moved in. As you can see, we’ve been painting up a storm, but we still need to make the wall leading up the stairs the new grey color, and we need to put a fresh coat of white along the staircase. But slowly, it’s coming together. James and my dad installed the antique runner onto the stairs to make them less slippery and also warmer during the winter months, and now the stair railing echoes that cozy vibe. And of course, my beloved yellow door adds a punch of color.

So cozy that you could just lie down and take a nap on the step of your choosing! What do you think?

Camilla Babe Sweater // update

Remember this sweater that I finished at the end of last winter slash beginning of spring? Well, it now appropriately fits our Whaley Baby. I love it so! I put Courtland in it almost daily to maximize enjoyment since our Little Big Foot will rapidly outgrow its stitches. Queue weeping about the onslaught of time!

You can find details about the sweater and the link to the pattern in my Ravelry projects here.

Diaper Duty

Common perception is that Diaper Duty is one of the more unpleasant responsibilities of parenthood. It’s a dirty job but a parent’s gotta do it.

And while, yes, the actual act of changing your kid’s soiled hiney isn’t the most delightful of duties, the diaper change routine from a more holistic perspective is actually one of my favorite times with my babies. And I did just apply the term “holistic” to changing diapers. I give you permission to wet willie the shit outta my ear if you ever encounter me in person – take me down a peg.

ANYWAY, now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, I don’t get as much quiet, intimate, one-on-one time with Courtland. But during the diaper routine, I have her undivided attention for five whole minutes, which is 10 times longer than any other point in the day.


That is how I imagine the thought blasts in her brain during every second of every day. Except when she’s on the changing table. Then she’s giggly and sweet and contained, in one place, for minutes on end. She coos and babbles and smiles and grins and I nearly forget that we’re there to clean her butt and not just revel in the love and happiness between us. I’ve had this conversation with a number of moms and dads, but thought it was one of those parenting ‘secrets’ that I must share here: Diaper changing is one of the loveliest moments of the day with your child.

Who knew wiping ass could be so sweet?!

Ace & Jig // giveaway

I’ve been crushing on Ace & Jig for a while now, so I thought it was high time to share the goodness with all of you. Their clothing is loose and wearable – easy breezy – yet cut in such a way that is utterly stylish and lovely. I would like every piece of Fall/Winter 2012 collection in my closet, a thank you very much! Emilio approves that claim.

I threw some of my cold weather accessories over the Pleated Minidress, as life in Vermont in November requires. Some leggings and boots transition it easily from early fall into winter. It’s casual and comfortable enough for lazing around the house on the weekend and flexible enough to dress up for a dinner out. I wore it all Thanksgiving – the color just screamed fall. And lucky for you, you can own this dress, too!

To enter to win a Pleated Minidress in Scarlet:

• ‘like’ Ace & Jig and Blog a la Cart on Facebook, then come back here and tell us you like us, you really like us! in the comments.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email section of the comment box so I can contact you if you win! Limited sizing available. The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, December 3 at 5pm EST. Open worldwide. Total Value: $180

Christmas Elves

It would seem that two of Santa’s elves have taken up residence at Cartwheel Farm. I’m holding Momar responsible.

It is going to be an amazing December.

Currently Reading

Get out the tissues, folks. Especially if you’re a dog lover.

I think about this more than ever because of Ursa. I am present in ways I would not have been were she not diagnosed. And I am thankful for every extra day I get with my happy Inky Stinky. Read the full letter from Fiona Apple about her dog, Janet, here.