Rain. Boots. Bugs.
We've had quite the rainy stormy Memorial Day, with only brief glimpses of sunshine. Fred had the day off so we all played inside today. Five discovered he could scoot himself all the way under the couch, a delightful game until he realized he was stuck under the couch...
North Woods Weekend
We spent Saturday and Sunday with Fred's parents in Wisconsin's beautiful North woods. 5 found a new play spot in the very center of all the action and we got to celebrate our honorary Finnish-ness in the sauna.
We all thought it would be a great idea to go for a walk on one of the local trails. I had forgotten, however, that mosquitoes are the state bird. That's me, 100 yards ahead of everyone else, being chased by a hungry swarm of blood-sucking villains (and not even the studly Swedish variety). I don't think I'd run so far in years!
My Sister-In-Law, who has three sons, cleaned out her attic recently and bestowed upon us a most amazing collection of baby and toddler clothes! I sat down this dreary morning, ginger tea doctored with coconut milk and buckwheat honey in hand, and had consecutive mommy-hormone-surges imagining my little baby growing into these big-boy-clothes. Running around in shorts. Wearing rain boots. Dressing up! Oh the places we'll go, I love this Mama adventure.
Join me Wednesday for some cool new projects!
Some Friday Bits and Pieces
So this week was not terribly productive for me. I actually finished zero product this week. Hmmm... perhaps I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I didn't cook for the whole week this week as my sister and her gentleman suitor were with us this weekend and that threw me off a lot more than I thought it would. It was fun to make things that can't be made in quantity though. As I'm wrapping up this last week of May and preparing to spend the weekend with my In-Laws, I've found some things to share this evening.
Honestly I'm pretty ambivalent about the use of a pacifier. My mother regrets not using one with me, but I also hate the look of a child who's constantly "plugged". Five never had any interest in one and would just spit it out if we offered, but this week he's found it's a fun toy. He has no idea how to use one in the traditional sense, but enjoys chewing on it from every possible angle. He cracks me up.
More Birthday Pouches
My niece and nephew both have birthdays coming up and I thought I'd continue the trend of making pouches for them with their names on them. I just finished Gus' this afternoon. Gus is such a character and a bit of a wild man- I had fun picking out fabrics for him. I also chose to make a box bag, a fun, different kind of pouch. I'm pleased with how it turned out, I hope he likes it.
My niece's isn't done yet, but I'm looking forward to sharing it. She loves birds right now and I have some adorable Echino pieces with gorgeous little birds on them!
New Summery Recipe
The other night it was kind of warm-ish and still sunny (it doesn't get dark here until almost 10) and all I wanted for dinner was a mango lassi. And that's what I had. A few weeks ago we had some lovely and perfectly ripe Atoulfo mangos in our local coop. I was so glad I bought a bunch, chopped them up, and froze them for just such a night! This one is naturally gluten-free and surprisingly easy to make dairy-free. Enjoy! (click on the picture to go to the recipe or go to my cooking page)
Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend!
Lip Balm Tutorial
I have recently decided to start making my own beauty products. This is less because I am a can-do pioneer woman, and more because I have both sensitive skin and control issues.
After doing copious amounts of research, I discovered that many of the things I would like to make (chapstick, conditioner, lotion) are relatively easy and inexpensive to make. They also use a lot of the same ingredients. Bonus.
My first foray into this brave new world was making my own lip balm. I went online, read a ton of recipes, ordered some empty tubes and pipettes from this etsy shop, and got down to it!
The recipes I found online all ended up making the lip balm too soft, so my recipe isn't perfected yet, but I think I know where I'm going. Here's what I did as well as what I think I will do next time.
To Make Some Lip Balm
you will need:
2.5 tsp grated beeswax (I used 2 tsp)
2.5 tsp coconut oil (or another oil that is the consistency of butter at room temperature)
1.5 tsp cocoa butter (or another oil that looks like cracked earth at room temperature)
2 tsp jojoba oil
1 tsp almond oil (or just 1 Tbsp oil that is liquid at room temperature)
.5 tsp vitamin E oil
some drops of essential oil or extract if you wish (I used vanilla extract)
a grater that you will not need for food ever again
some wax or parchment paper would be helpful to grate beeswax onto
some type of double boiler arrangement (I used an old almond butter jar in a pan of water)
empty tubes or whatever vessel you choose for your lip balm
pipettes or a medicine dropper
Put all the ingredients except the vitamin E oil and essential oil into a jar and place in a pan of boiling water. It should start to melt right away. As soon as everything is liquid, remove from heat.
Mix in the last two ingredients and put into lip balm tubes. Hurry, it starts to solidify right away! Fill the tubes ALL THE WAY up, as it dries it will shrink down. Let them sit, leave them alone, until they have fully hardened, a few hours maybe.
Enjoy your sweet, un-chapped lips! Even with my super-helpful helper below, this took me 20 minutes, start to finish and yielded 6 .15oz tubes. Now comes the fun part of making up cool labels!
Join me Friday for the best Mango Lassi recipe you've ever tasted!
Five's First Parade
Saturday morning the boys and I got to be in the Parade of Thanks! One of Fred's students made this bus into a mobile art classroom (cool!) last semester but wasn't around this weekend to represent Finlandia University in the parade. The Freds had a great time playing bus driver...
The little one loved it so much he thought he'd go solo.
Before anyone accuses me of being a Britney Spears mom, I thought I'd better include the proper safety pic.
Springtime in the Keweenaw
My sister and her boyfriend have been visiting this weekend. On Sunday we had a brief period of kind of sunny, not raining time so we decided to enjoy waterfall season in the Keweenaw! My favorite, Hungarian Falls, is just a 15 minute drive from our house and a perfect example of how gorgeous it can be here.
Five slept through a lot of the walking, but woke up as soon as we got to the falls. He LOVED the waterfall, and he LOVES his Auntie Ariel (hence the big smile in the picture).
Five doesn't remember (I don't think), but he'd actually been here before. Last October, my friend Rachael took some beautiful pregnancy photos of me here. It seemed appropriate that we capture the moment upon our return.
What adventuring are you doing this week?
Join me Wednesday for a new tutorial!
Happy Baby Pose
I used to do yoga. It was great- I would go about 3 three times a week, get all stretchy and tired, and I would feel fantastic the rest of the week. Then I moved to the UP. This is not to say that there are no yoga teachers in the UP, because there are, but I am one of those people who often has a hard time with transitions...
I moved up here 5 years ago and I still see my hair stylist in Madison (or cut my own hair, more often than not). I still haven't chosen a new primary care physician, or a dentist either. It's not even that I don't think we'll be up here long enough to make it worthwhile, we've already been here 5 years, and we'll probably be here a few more. Again, a hard time with transitions.
I LOVED my yoga teacher in Madison. There simply is no one else for me. I would rather stop doing yoga than go to someone else. Unless, of course, that someone is my child.
In the past week, 5 has managed to master "happy baby pose" (featured above). He was grabbing one of his feet for a few weeks, but now he has them both. Every time I see him do this, I think about "happy baby pose", yoga, and how much I miss it, or how much better I would feel if I just did a few sun salutations each morning. It's also that restless time of year when I am itching to get out and "do something" after the long winter, which is intensified by the media's declaration that bikini season is just around the corner (not that I ever do a lot of gearing up for "bikini" season...).
So perhaps I will just do a happy baby pose with my happy baby. Coincidentally, this week, he has been uncharacteristically unhappy. hmmm.
Number One Placemat
This is the first one. Yes, it is lovely, I think. The rest are nearly done. Last night, after I finished this one, I was working on its mate and I ran out of bobbin thread. Somehow, this crossed a line for me and I decided I simply couldn't sew another stitch that night. This is unfortunate as today the very mechanics of my sewing machine are mysteriously eluding me. I've decided that we both need a brief rest and tomorrow we will be bffs yet again.
Come Hell or high water, these placemats will be on my Rispok Etsy page next week!
My sister and her gentleman friend will be visiting this weekend from Virginia. If weather permits, we will be enjoying the Keweenaw Peninsula's gorgeous, but brief, waterfall season. Hopefully I will have some loveliness to share with you come Monday.
Enjoy Your Spring Weekend!
Placemats and Procrastination
These are the screenprints for the soon-to-come placemats! The one on the right is modified from a stencil you may have seen before and I created the one on the left yesterday. I think they complement each other nicely. All the pieces are printed, heat set, and I've cut out the fabrics they will be sandwiched between. Yay! Only a day behind schedule, too! That will seem more impressive once you see all my distractions below...
I make a lot of things out of old T-shirts. T-shirts that would otherwise be thrown away usually. I strive to create the absolute least waste from my materials though. I am often left with sleeves and the uneven pieces near the neck and have been wondering what I can do with them. My question has been answered. I will make my boy pants!
In sorting my collection of scraps, I discovered I had a ton of sleeves that were already the perfect pants length. Even easier! I was hoping to have a tutorial for these ready today, but the technique I used for the waistband needs some refining... perhaps next week.
They are super easy though, I think they took me 30 or 40 minutes to make, start to finish.
Anyone who has read any of my posts may be able to guess that being surrounded by colorful, patterned textiles is one of my favorite things. There is so much truth to this. However, we have a small house, and I married a man who likes white space so much that THX1138 is one of his favorite movies (look it up, you'll laugh), so I cannot fit all the patterns I want in the quantities I want them. This is a super-rambly way of saying that I LOVE scrap fabric.
Not only do I save my own scraps to use in applique and patchwork, but I get scrap packs from other etsy sellers, put them all in a basket, and keep them as my private treasure chest. I feel like a squirrel with a nut stash. Every time I have a tiny project, I pull the basket out and sort through ALL of it (it's no fun to have it organized) pulling out bits and pieces that I like, sorting through over and over again until I have culled the collection to perfection.
The above pictures are the result of such a sort, this time thinking about making two more strap covers for 5 to chew on. It turns out those are handy things to have and in greater quantities than we currently have. I was so pleased with this current round I had to share it with you.
What projects do you have in mind this Spring? What are you working on instead (if you are anything like me)?
Friday will, fingers crossed, bring fabulous new placemat sets! Hope your week is swell!
Beautiful Sunshiny Monday!
That's right, I survived a crabby, no-sleep baby while having a cold, and now I'm stronger than ever! The sun is out and I had leftover french toast for lunch. Life is good. It was so beautiful I had to share it with you. The french toast was pretty regular- sourdough bread, almond milk, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom, but the toppings. It is ALL. ABOUT. THE TOPPINGS. Sliced banana, pecan pieces, and faux whipped cream made with coconut milk. So good!
French Toast is Delicious
Oh, the Life of A Model
We did not one, but TWO photo shoots outside today. I finally finished some sun hats this weekend so it was time to document them. The first shoot had limited success as I was the sole photographer and I have much to learn about taking pictures outside. Everything was very overexposed-y and I was bummed.
After Fred came home I asked him if he would help me try again. He took one look at the camera settings and, of course, knew where I had gone wrong. Unfortunately, the second time around, 5 was feeling much less amenable to being a hat model- he could remove the hat nearly as fast as we could get it on him. Sure looks cute though!
You can find the first sun hat on my Rispok Etsy shop. Look for a new one each day this week!
Rispok products are now available for sale at the Copper Country Community Art Center in Hancock, Michigan. If you're in town, stop by- they have two different exhibits each month plus the sales gallery!
I'll be working on a batch of placemats all week, so be sure to check in and see how it's going! I'm hoping to share a new baby pants tutorial this week as well (fingers crossed!)
Sneezing and Teething
Today's post is somewhat abbreviated due to unforeseen crabbiness and a compromised ability to cope with said crabbiness in the form of a wretched cold. I'm thinking the little man is getting ready to cut a tooth. We have all the signs, plus, this is the crabbiest he's been in four months. Don't worry, I captured the brief happy period to share with you all.
He quickly moved on to more pressing endeavors.
I will leave you with a cornucopia of harbingers of summer. I promise, they're coming.
5 is 6 (months)
The (Not So) Little (Half)Birthday Boy!
My funny little man is a half-year old today! Everyone says it goes by so fast, but it goes by SO FAST.
Birthday Presents! (kind of)
Because being in the middle of 10 projects isn't quite enough, I decided to print a few shirts for Five today. I had a stack of kid's clothes in various sizes that I dyed at least a year ago, so I pulled out the stuff that would fit him well enough and got my stencils out!
The technique is basically the same as printing with bleach, but with more variables. I have to consider how the color of the fabric will interact with the color of the ink, how thick the ink is, etc. I chose what would go where with which color and planned my order to minimize washing of brushes and stencils and maximize built-in drying time.
I think they turned out just great. I still have to heat set the ink and wash them again, but I will post pics with the ever popular model ASAP.
New Summer-y Recipe
This weekend the weather was so fabulous I simply could not bring myself to cook any hot food for the week. I made this lovely summer tortellini salad, ramp leaf pesto and provolone sandwiches and muesli for breakfast. Check out the summer tortellini salad recipe!
I would like to thank everyone for such wonderful comments, especially in the past week. I apologize if I have yet to respond to your comment- it is my sincere intent to reply to every comment I receive, I'm just running a bit behind this week. I appreciate each and every one of you and am so glad you choose to share with me (and all of us!)
See you Friday!
First Mother\'s Day
Tea With My Boys
I had a lovely first Mother's Day. I got to sleep in until 8:30 wahoo! My boys took me to our local tea house for lunch. They have three-tiered trays of finger sandwiches and sweets and fancy hats in case you find yourself a bit underdressed. We had a fabulous time and I was quite surprised.
Bigger Fred also helped our son make me a card. I found the process as charming as the result; he got him to hold on to colored pencils and then aimed his flailing arms over a piece of paper. We made a video for posterity. It seemed necessary.
For the Mamas
My husband and I were talking about the concept of Mother's Day this weekend. Fred thought that perhaps the millions of women who work so hard taking care of their families for little to no recognition would not like the idea of a single day to recognize the mamas, freeing everyone to take them for granted the other 364. I had a slightly less pessimistic view, but I also enjoy the idea of a special day. I also am not one to toil away in silence and tend to voice my needs for cherishing and adulation readily.
How do you feel about Mother's Day? How do you like to celebrate?
I've been thinking about all the women I know who wear so many hats- teachers, produce divas, students, and also the guardians and caretakers of our future. It's pretty amazing.
I think of my own mother, who practiced attachment parenting when it was still called spoiling your children, who worked so hard to instill in us the fundamentals of citizenship, kindness, and justice, who worked three jobs to provide for two of the sassiest and most independent little girls who ever walked this Earth, who I'm proud to call my friend.
For the Boy Who Made Me a Mama
He is the reason I get to celebrate Mother's Day. He is the reason I get to celebrate every day. It is my honor and privilege to help guide this little guy on his way and hopefully get to appreciate him for the rest of my life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I am living now- it is everything I could've hoped for and more.
I hope you all have had a wonderful start to your weeks as well. See you Wednesday!
Update: I had some questions about this picture of Five. This is his bathtub! It is not, in fact, just a bucket! These bathtubs are AMAZING. They've been available in Europe for quite some time and in the States only a few years. There are a few different brand names, here's a link to the one we have.They keep baby upright and mostly submerged in the water so he doesn't get cold or scared. Good stuff!
My name is Ansley Knoch. I am the creator of Rispok, a line of accessories for big and little people made from repurposed materials. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my husband, Fred, and our son, also Fred, better known as 5.