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Category: Tutorial.

Vermont Adventuring

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Saturday we went on a grand Vermont adventure, inspired by Sunny’s inaugural Odyssey of the Mind competition at a high school just south of Burlington.

Yes, apparently OOTM is even for kids as young as five. And it was as awkward and adorable as you might imagine. I didn’t have a OOTM program at my school growing up, but I have many friends that did and they got to do some pretty rad, nerdy, awesome projects thanks to the program, so when it was offered as a free extracurricular after school for Sunny, we jumped at the opportunity.

James and Sunny road a 6:30am school bus up to the high school, and Courtland and I joined them later in the afternoon. After watching the five minute presentation by Sunny’s team, the kids loaded the bus back up with their cardboard creations, and we Carts headed a little further north to explore Burlington.

Um, what an awesome AWESOME college town. I can’t believe that I’d never been. We ate great food. Had a great time exploring. And I purchased insane amounts of yarn at a great little yarn shop filled with local skeins. I am officially obsessed and looking forward to our next chance to venture north, preferably in more temperate conditions. And with our dSLR camera in tow. Below, a few iPhone snaps of our tour of the Green Mountain State. We heart Vermont!

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^^Courtland was so eager to help and feel a part of the team with her big sister. It was like Lord of the Flies with cardboard in the hallways, though. Mass chaos. A big part of the program is that the kids are self-sufficient and do their projects from start to finish (including loading and unloading the bus) without adult influence/aid. And so, the chaos level was at an all-time high with a group of Kindergarteners let loose and independent.^^


^^The team, presenting their take on the theme “Wacky Weather.” I particularly loved Sunny’s “TV” where she scrolled and offered up different drawings of weather thanks to those cardboard tubes and a long sheet of paper. She’s pictured above showing off a sunny day. How appropriate.^^

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^^Playing on frozen Lake Champlain was a huge hit. And the people ice sailing? So bad ass.^^

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^^As we passed through Middlebury en route home, James detoured to show me and the girls his summer stomping grounds. The girls had trouble believing that he canoed and swam in that frozen lake – but in just a few years, they’ll experience it themselves. Heyo canoe camp!^^

St. Onge Sweaters


The snow days preceding my trip to Seattle and then my cross country travels gave me ample time to finish these two sweaters for one of my oldest and dearest friend’s daughters. I find knitting to be a (relatively) relaxing and (definitely) rewarding activity during these cold winter months. I tend to retire my needles once the days lengthen and I can spend my time playing outdoors, but I love to hunker down and knit for those I love during these dark days of winter. It’s a time consuming activity, but I get so much joy from gifting handmade items that I’ve been able to carefully construct and personalize.

I’ve been meaning to make something for these sweet sisters for some time, and Clara’s 1st birthday was the perfect occasion. I love this little cardigan pattern so much – not only because it is a breeze to make, but because it fits for years and can be used during all the seasons. I worked with Spud and Chloe’s Sweater Yarn (holy amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever knit another baby/kid’s sweater in any other yarn) in Splash because the color reminded me of the color of Lydia’s little sailboat growing up. A huge part of our friendship is rooted in the sea, and we spent our childhoods sailing side by side. I loved finding a color that hinted at that history. I then couldn’t resist sourcing the buttons from Danforth Pewter, a Vermont company. Given that I now live in VT and Lydia went to College in VT, we both hold this state in high regard. And, I went with sea-themed buttons, opting for sand dollars that remind me of sunny summer days diving off the edge of boats into the sea to collect them from the sand bar and scallops that lined the shores of our beaches growing up.

I knit a size 18 months for the 1 year old and a size 5 for the 3 year old, and hope that they’ll enjoy them for years to come.

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.





For details visit my Ravelry project here

Katy’s Sweater


My big “goals” of our vacation in South Carolina included finishing this month’s book club novel (The Peripheral by William Gibson – Sci-fi isn’t usually my thing, but I enjoyed the wild ride of this story, despite being completely confused for the first 100 pages) and completing this baby sweater for a friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party the day after our return. With the extra yarn, I whipped up another gnome hat, and finally caught some images of the hat on a child to showcase the adorableness of the pattern. It’s a gudun.

Katy’s family has two kitty cats, so I couldn’t resist using these two cat buttons from my grandmother’s stash of buttons for her cardigan. My girls love their cardigans from Ann Mae, so I decided to give the pattern a try in two tones of purple (perfect for her Eph/Eph parents). I’ll definitely be making this sweater again. It’s a simple, top-down design and can be worn for years (while it gets shorter, we’ve found it makes a great extra layer through all seasons). Admittedly, working it two colors made it trickier (and the inside looks a hot mess because of it), but I love how it made the details pop.







Details about the gnome hat and the cardigan on my Ravelry.

Jack’s Sweater


I spent most of last week knitting, tearing apart, knitting, tearing apart, and finally knitting this baby sweater for my dear friend’s son’s 1st birthday. Third time was indeed a charm. I fell in love with these puppy buttons as they reminded me of Jack’s two Puggles, Peanut and Butter, and I’d be itching to try this sweater pattern (the pattern Kaki’s FGM used to make Courtland’s 1st Christmas present.) My knitting process tends to involve lots of knitting and redoing and knitting and redoing when I’m learning or adapting a new pattern, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that this particular process was rather lengthy.

I’ve been in the knitting zone, having finished a Michigan-themed version of this sweater for Sunny’s FGP’s son’s Hanukkah gift (I failed to snap photos of it before dropping it in the mail, but Dellie’s handy with a camera, so I’m sure they’ll be documentation of it) and two of these adorable gnome hats for Kaki’s FGP’s daughters (I have now made a whole bunch of these hats and have yet to photograph them. It’s a fabulous little pattern, and a quick knit. I highly recommend and will try to document one the next time I do it). I’m now working on a purple sweater for Courtland, as I knit Sunny a rainbow dress last Christmas, so it’s my second born’s turn for a little hand knit love from mama.

But for now, Jack’s puppy sweater in his signature orange and camo-green.




Snowflake Ballerinas






We had a wonderful, snowy Thanksgiving, complete with Friday morning’s 2nd Annual Pie Breakfast with family, friends and neighbors. On Saturday, we ventured down the street to the local Christmas tree farm and got to decorating Cartwheel Farm for the upcoming season. My favorite addition to this year’s decor had to be these snowflake ballerinas. So elegant. So simple. So very lovely. Kimmy made an array of gorgeous paper snowflakes (see this video for her tutorial on how to obtain the ideal paper snowflake. It’s also embedded below.) and then we slid the snowflakes on ballerina silhouettes. (Download three here, here and here). I would recommend using heavier card stock for the ballerina silhouettes, and standard printer paper for the snowflakes.

I used clear fishing wire and Scotch tape to hang them around the house.


Bats (but of a much cozier variety than those in my last post titled “Bats”)


I couldn’t resist this pattern for cozy, plush bats (of course I couldn’t). Adorable. Ridiculous. Relatively quick. My kind of knitting project. I love that the feet have holes for dangling upside down, and that the wings can be secured lovingly around their bodies for sleeping. Courtland delights in buttoning and unbuttoning the wings. “Mama, the bats are cold. I have to make them snug and warm and cozy!”

They are an awesome Halloween present, indeed. And far more adorable than the bat in this post from last summer.











Details on the project and pattern on Ravelry here



Meet Henrietta. She briefly visited our flock up at the barn before heading to the home of one beloved one year old (Kaki’s FGP’s 2nd daughter, Lila). We celebrated Lila’s 1st birthday on Sunday, and I realized that I had yet to gift that sweet child something handmade from her Auntie Ashley (whereas her older sister, Brie, has received a number of hand knit sweaters from your truly). It was time for Lila Bean to have something especially made for her. I decided to avoid a sized item, as I know she’ll get to wear the hand-me-down sweaters I made for Brie, so I thought a barnyard plush with love from the critters of Cartwheel Farm might be an appropriate (albeit ridiculous) choice.

One of my wedding clients this summer gifted me this amazing Barnyard Knit pattern book, and so Henrietta was a great excuse to dive into that book and give one of the patterns a try. Admittedly, it does appear that Henrietta is sporting testicles on her face, but when taken on the whole, it is a fairly accurate representation of a chicken’s wattle. I’m looking forward to creating a whole flock of silly knit farm animals to compliment our live brood.





For more details on the project visit my Ravelry page here

Rainbow Party


Sunny’s birthday was indeed a rainbow-a-palooza. This is the kid who asked for a rainbow as her gift from Santa two Christmas’s ago, and who answers “rainbow” when asked her favorite color. All one need do is peek at her The Sunny Side series for proof of her love of all things Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.

It was admittedly a really really fun party theme to put together. Though Auntie Kimmy couldn’t attend the party, she helped with many a party idea, including this perfect free-printable Rainbow invitation. Sunny and I had fun assembling those for her five guests. (We expanded the guest list a bit for our closest friends and family, but Sunny had five friends from her preschool classroom in the mix, which was such a brilliant, manageable size. My mother has always said that the best rule of thumb is to invite the number of kids equivalent to your child’s age. Smart woman, that one.)

We were very fortunate to have a gorgeous spring day for the festivities, so we set up everything outside in our backyard where our swing set and other outdoor toys were easily accessible for play.


The party began with “The Rainbow Station.” We hired a local facepainter and had rainbow tattoos from Tattly and rainbow pony bead necklaces that Sunny made for each of her friends up on the rainbow picnic table. As guests arrived, they headed to the Rainbow Station for rainbow facepaint and tattoos and necklaces. I was so so impressed by each of the girls’ facepaint designs. And totally bummed when Kaki refused to join in the fun. That kid has strong, unchangeable feelings these days.

Everyone was transformed into a Rainbow Explosion of Awesome.










I’m completely bummed that I failed at documenting our food/drink spread on our back deck. Sunny and Kaki woke up from their naps just before the party (when I thought I’d be running around snapping a few “before” pix, but instead was drawing rainbow chalk into my daughters’ hair. We used this hair chalk and it was messy but just right for the occasion.)

We’d strung a slew of Sunny’s rainbow paintings across the deck with rainbow lanterns. We had a big bowl of rainbow goldfish and Skittles that we’d arranged in rainbow order. My favorite touch was the rainbow fruit skewers: Raspberry (red), Clementine slice (orange), Pineapple (yellow), Green Grape (green), Blueberry (blue) and Purple Grape (purple). Loved those so. We had a cooler of juice boxes alongside a cooler of beer for the parents, and big pitchers of fresh squeezed mint lemonade. We picked up simple rainbow cups, plates, napkins and straws from the local Dollar Store.  And we decorated with the rainbow colored wooden stacking blocks from when the girls were babies, including one that was in the shape of a rainbow (alas, no picture to show for it).



I even braved baking a six layer rainbow cake. Many a Dark n’Stormy and some moral support from friends late Friday night are perhaps the only reason I saw it through. Sure, it was lopsided, and I used enough food coloring that everyone pooped rainbow for days, but the reaction from the kids when we sliced it open was priceless. Well worth the leaning tower of rainbow and technicolor shits.

Also, how great are those ombré rainbow candles? Found here.








And there was present opening… and people definitely got the memo. Sunny is our artist, and she now has enough art supplies to last her all year long.




Ghillie and Ranger couldn’t come to the party so they sent rainbow ribbon dancers as party favors for all of the girls…


And, a rainbow bounce house… which, as you saw, was truly the heart of the party and entertainment. So much fun for the kids, and made socializing with the grown-ups far simpler.


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After everyone departed, Sunny coped with the post-party low (WHY DID EVERYONE HAVE TO LEAVE! I FEEL SO SAD INSIDE!) by coloring in the sunshine in her rainbow butterfly flower fairy costume on the S.S. Rainboat, a beloved gift from Kaki’s FGPs.



Five sure started out with a bang. It’s going to be quite an exciting year. Holding on to our hats and our hearts!

Jellyfish Lanterns

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It’s been quite some time since I showcased a DIY project here. Admittedly, it’s because it’s been quite some time since I’ve done one. I did many knitting projects for Christmas presents and documented exactly none of them (#fail), and have been on a craft/diy hiatus most of 2014.

But the girls’ preschool has their annual fundraiser this coming weekend, and I volunteered to be on the decor committee for the dance on Saturday night. The theme is “Under the Sea,” so I offered to create some spirited albeit elegant jellyfish lanterns for the occasion. I am quite pleased with the result. I made up six of them, and will try to capture some photographs of them hanging in the space for the dance. In the meantime, they’ve taken up residence in our guest room to keep small human and canine paws alike away from them. They are a pain in the butt to transport, so I’ve been ferrying them over to the school one at a time this week.

Here’s how I put them together…

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White lanterns, 16″ – $22 for 10 

– I followed the directions included in package and assembled each lantern, tying a piece of clear fishing line to the top to hang them while I assembled the jellyfish tentacles.

White crepe paper streamers, 500ft – $4.50

- I rolled out the streamers and cut the roll every four feet (or so) to use as tentacles.

Wavy foil door curtain – $13

– I cut off the top of the curtain that kept the strips of foil attached to one another. I then folded and cut all the strips in half to use as tentacles.

White plastic table covers – $3

– I cut the table covers into 2-3 inch strips, approximately four feet in length. I then pulled at either side of the strips, along the length of the strip, to create the wavy, uneven effect. These were the final material I used for tentacles.

Glue gun and sticks
Clear fishing line




I then strung the various tentacles around the bottom third of the lantern, following the row of seams to keep them evenly hung. I used a glue gun to hold them in place, and then covered up the tops of all the materials with one of the strips of wavy plastic.


I also tied some of the streamers to the inner bar of the lantern to give the tentacles some depth.


They’re really quite attractive and fun. And they’ve inspired the kids to reenact the jellyfish scene from “Nemo” on the regular.

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Alas, I have to work this weekend so I’ll miss their debut, but I am hoping that they’re a hit!

Cardigan Nation


Once again, my girls are benefiting from the talents of my dear friends. Ann Mae gifted the girls these gorgeous hand knit cardigans this Christmas, and they love them so. Namely, because of the EXCELLENT button choices.


^^LADY BUGS for Kaki!^^


^^Wild Jungle animals for Sunny.^^


^^They are showing you what a Lion looks like when she ROARS!!!^^



^^I love the detail under the arm for the sides of the sweaters. What a wonderful pattern. You can find it here if you’d like to give it a try.^^


Pattern: “In Threes: A Baby Cardigan”