Things have been getting awfully festive at our house lately! We put up our tree last weekend (after way more drama than I anticipated to get some white wire tree lights). Fred remembered just after we were done decorating that the box of presents his mother sent were not for under the tree, but on the tree. We opened them up, and amongst our annual ornaments, a gorgeous set of red crocheted snowflakes!!!! (you can see part of one in my new header). So. Excited.
There was also snowguy building! We had our first snow a week or two ago and the boys immediately got out an built a "snow guy". As you can see, 5 is pretty enamored...
Until he finally melted away a few days ago, every exit and entrance included a stop to put an arm around the snow guy. What a good friend my little dude is.
We had such a lovely Easter weekend! Fred was off on Friday and it was sunshine-y and not too cold so we had three whole days to frolic about and enjoy family adventures! We went to Lake Superior (just like last year's Easter), and hiked down into the Swedetown gorge where 5 got to throw the biggest rocks he could lift into the water, and Hungarian Falls where these shots were taken.
It's a bit of a scramble down to the falls, but if I could do it 8 months pregnant, I figured I could do it with a monkey on my back.
I was right.
The boys took off their shoes and socks and bravely (foolishly?) plunged their feet into the super frigid water.
5 found that he (big surprise) preferred playing with mud and throwing rocks to the hypothermia-inducing water.
They did manage to pull themselves away from rock throwing long enough to climb up as close as they could get to the falls (and it was pretty close- they got rather wet) for a little photo op. Those sweet boys of mine.
How did you celebrate the Easter/Passover/beautiful weekend?
Here in Hancock we have a significant Finnish American population. Because of this, we have some cultural events that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Most recently, we celebrated Heikinpäivä (or Heiki's day) marking Winter's halfway point.
We have a parade with people dressed as characters from the Kalevala (Finland's definitive collection of folk tales), Finnish folk dancing, Finnish food, and, most importantly, the market where you can buy crafts and Finnish products.
My husband and I spent a few months in Finland in 2008 and we picked up a few Finnish habits;
we love to sauna
we love rye bread
we love Marimekko
and Fred loves Salmiakki.
Salmiakki is a Finnish candy that almost everyone outside of Finland finds abhorrent. I can tolerate the liqueur, but the candy tastes vaguely like salted fish to me. It's very difficult to find in the states, so Fred looks forward to stocking up during Heikinpäivä.
5 got to try it for the first time last weekend. How do you think he liked it?
Butter and Sugar and Chocolate, Oh MY!
This is but a small sampling of the holiday treats I made last week. Partly because I ate a lot of them.... but also partly because I have to keep some secret from some certain people who might see this post. If you have any last minute gifts to be made, any of these three would be lovely (to receive, but also to make!) The best part? All of these recipes are available on the internet! With more pictures than I ever would have been able to take while boiling sugar!
I made this one first. It was really pretty easy- I actually did it all in the microwave. I only heated the various chocolates for 30 seconds at a time and always stirred very well to prevent scorching. You can find the recipe here on Orangette.
I will tell you that I LOVE to eat toffee, but did not EVER think that I would make toffee. Ever. But, I found a recipe that didn't require a candy thermometer, so I thought I MIGHT be able to do it. It is sooooo delicious! It has whole almonds and cashews in the candy part, plus toasty almond bits on top. It turned out perfectly. The recipe is here on GirlsGoneChild.
Sounds fancy, right? Right. This was by far the fanciest recipe I made- I saved it for last. I DID go out and get a candy thermometer, and I did wrap each one in wax paper. At just over an hour to make, this was way the longest recipe to make.. but totally worth it. The lavender is steeped in the cream and then removed, leaving such a fancy pants lavender flavor I feel like I should wear a hat when I eat them.
I got the recipe from the digital 2011 Winter Gift Guide Edition of Anthology- I think it's page 27 or so, but the whole thing is worth a read (or at least check out the pictures).
I will be taking a week off from blogging to accommodate lots of driving, followed by fantastic family gatherings. Wishing you a cozy holiday week full of camaraderie of the best kind!
This is a painted pinecone ornament that my husband made as a little boy. Cue the collective "awwww". It's one of my favorites.
I'm now prepared to admit that the arrival of this tree has done something to me. For the last two days, 5 and I have been listening to Christmas music while we work on finishing up our gifts.
This is not something that's ever happened to me before. I don't even own any Christmas music (but Last.fm is awesome- I can type in "indie pop christmas" and get a playlist that goes on forever.)
Fred, who is WAY more of a humbug than I am, went out and got us some LED lights. I like them, but Fred thinks they vibrate, or flicker, or something...
Spiced Cheese Scones
These scones are SO tasty yummy good I just HAD to share them with you. Fred requested savory scones for breakfast this week, so I was shopping in the cheese section... and I found some Norwegian cheese (made in WI) spiced with cumin and cloves! Weird! And yum! So then, because two spices does not a party make, I decided to add some nutmeg and lemon zest. Party in the mouth!
3 Cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick of butter (chopped into biggish chunks)
8 oz cheese, grated (cumin clove, if you can find it, something else fancy if you can't)
1 1/2 Cups buttermilk
Put all the dry, powdery stuff into the food processor, add the butter chunks and give 'em a whirl. A few seconds should get the butter down to pebble size or smaller.
Dump all that good stuff into a big bowl and stir in the cheese.
Add the buttermilk and just mix it together- no extra stirring!
On a lightly floured surface, pat your dough into a inch-thick (or so) round and cut into wedges. However many wedges you want! Or make circles, or whatever!
Put your scone dough shapes onto a parchment papered- cookie sheet and bake for 30 min at 375- they should be browning on top.
We have had SUCH an eventful week! There are of course the boring grown-up things like finishing and sending off my Swedish commission, as well as the craft sale last weekend, but then there are the more important things like 5 perfecting his stinko-face, walking, talking, and general miracle-of-nature type things.
This picture above is an example of all the hard work 5 has been putting into getting that wicked stinko baby face just right.
The rest of his increasing awake time is spent:
b) saying his 4 words- dad, hat, hot, dog
c) putting on and taking of his hat
d) gnawing on things (like the rock in the picture on the right)
e) doing the above things in endless combinations
I thought I'd share a little snapshot of my booth at the Poor Artist's Sale in Calumet from last weekend. Not that it is so amazing or anything (I've seen the pictures from the quilt market, I know what can be done...), but it was awfully fun and I finally had my product kind of organized.
The table on the left held all of my baby products. All that stuff in the middle is accessories, and on the right are my home decor items. The pillows looked so lovely I had to show a close up-
So pretty! Yes, the pics are terribly overexposed and I am sincerely apologetic for inflicting them upon you, but, well, have you ever been in a high school gym? Have you ever taken a decent picture in one? Yeah, I didn't think so....
The show itself was wonderful. Such a great event put on by the Copper Country Art Center- it's one day, 6 hours, no distractions. Everyone is there to shop, there's no milling about to various jam bands or fried-something-on-a-stick eating, just bring your holiday shopping list and do it up. Also, nearly everyone I know is there so I can take care of all my socializing for the year at one time!
Now I can focus on holiday cooking! Yay! I'll be sharing some of my favorite seasonal recipes over the next few weeks.
What are your favorite holiday recipes?
I guess it's officially "Holiday Season" now that we're past Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd get into the spirit! I'm ready for my craft show this weekend and my costume commission is nearly done, giving me way more time to work on my holiday gifts.
We aim for about 75% handmade in our house, primarily made by me, so I have to spend A LOT of time finding ideas and inspiration. I've put together a small collection of tutorial links and handmade gift ideas that I love, in case you are looking for some inspiration!
1. Gorgeous fancy pants necklace tutorial at flamingotoes
2. Comfy flannel slippers tutorial from compulsive craftiness
3. DIY rope necklace from Honestly WTF
4. Trendy washer necklace DIY from the small object
For the Home
1. DIY map art from uniform natural
2. Cool crafty trivet from the small object
3. Recycled sweater blanket from shelterrific
For the Kiddos
1. Raglan sleeve shirt tutorial from craftiness is not optional
2. Adorable tiny owl tutowlrial from moonstitches
3. Lunch money cuff tutorial from a lemon squeezy home
For the Workmates
1. Crazy cute Norwegian coffee cosy tutorial at pickles (in English)
2. Cross stitch iPhone cases for those old-fashioned tech nerds at purlbee
3. Felted mittens with knitted cuffs tutorial also at purlbee
Hope you found something good! Feel free to leave a link to YOUR favorite tutorial in the comments!
Crochet Ornament/ Mobile Tutorial
I'm sure so many of you are sitting around this week, totally bored, wishing you had a little project to keep your hand busy....
Okay, so that's ridiculous, but I will say that these are fun to do on a car ride, and I'm thinking probably a lot of us will be taking car rides of varying lengths over the next several weeks.
I was inspired by a much more complicated and beautiful version of these on Etsy a few weeks ago and thought that it would be just the thing for my colorful scrap yarn and some 2 1/2" metal bracelets I bought MANY years ago and have yet to wear.
To make these, you will need:
1. small amounts of different colors of yarn (I used worsted weight, but finer would be fine too)
2. some kind of metal rings (2 1/2' worked well, but bigger would probably look nice too)
3. about 15 min to make each one
4. the ability to chain, slip stitch, single crochet, and double crochet- pretty simple!
The Nitty-Gritty Details
Row 1- chain 6, connect with slip stitch so you have a loop.
Row 2- chain 3(counts as one double crochet), double crochet into loop, chain 2,( 2 double crochet into loop, chain 2)repeat this 4 more times so you have a total of 6 groups of 2 double crochet, join to first chain 3 with slip stitch, break off yarn 1.
Row 3-Join yarn 2 with slip stitch in any chain 2 from row 2, chain 3(counts as one double crochet), 2 more double crochet into same chain 2 space, chain 2, (3 double crochet into next chain 2 space, chain 2) repeat 4 more times, join with slip stitch, break off yarn 2
Row 4 (or, if you're using different size metal ring and/or yarn, whenever your circle is approx the same size as your ring)- holding crochet and ring together, join yarn 3 with slip stitch in any chain 2 space AROUND metal ring as well, chain 1, 3 single crochet in same chain 2 space around metal ring as well, single crochet in each double crochet and 3 single crochet in each chain 2 space all the way around, making each stitch around the metal ring too, join chain 1 with slip stitch and bind off, leaving long tail to work with later.
Repeat for as many as you feel like making. Join them to a branch or colander or whatever to make a mobile, or tie them to each other to make a beautiful garland, or tie hooks onto the tails to make ornaments!
New Product Sneak Peek!
I will be debuting a new product at the Poor Artist's Sale Dec 3 in Calumet- coasters! Some are screen printed, some are designer fabrics (you may notice some Marimekko in the background there). They will be selling for $20 for a set of 4 and any that survive the show in Calumet will be posted on my Etsy shop with plenty of time to ship for the holidays!
I'll be taking the rest of the week off to celebrate all the many many things I have to be grateful for and to celebrate my husband's birthday! In the meantime, here is a list of a few of the things I'm giving thanks for right now. What are you grateful for today?
5's teething fever has broken
the really nice folks at our local post office
sweet potato pecan pie (cooling on the counter!)
all of you! who read my stories and share yours with me and help me remember that I'm not alone!
That's right, we took our family cheesiness level to the max yesterday. We did a holiday photo shoot, in the snow, wearing our coordinated outfits. Fred thinks I've lost my mind, but he knows better than to question the woman who does all of our holiday stuff with nary a complaint...
The fabric that is common to all three of our shirts is a vintage knit (cotton/poly blend I think) that I found at our local Fiberama! Isn't it grand? I feel like 5 just stepped out of an After School Special from 1982. Fred's sleeves are from a recycled Tshirt (it says "beef" on his shoulder, ha!), and both my shirt body and the ribbing are recycled on mine.
The photos were all taken by our friend Rachael (who also did my pregnancy photos). She does such amazing work, seriously, Fred is not photogenic, this is incredible.
5 has been a teething dooze the last 24 hours- fever, crying, total crabness, not such great sleeping, etc- so knowing that I'd be getting all the photos this morning really helped me through. This afternoon, he was playing on the floor, starts crying and turns to me with blood all over his mouth. I'm SO glad I'd already obsessively read everything that can happen while babies are teething because it was hard to take even knowing it was normal!
Even though I don't usually like pictures that accentuate my ever-deepening wrinkles, I think the black&white makes them look elegant and distinguished here....
Look! You can see that first tooth that sprouted about 6 weeks ago!
Come back Wednesday, when I'll be talking about a super cool and easy crochet project I've been working on!
The little bumblebee buzzed about the house for nearly a half an hour before melting down and passing out. He missed all the trick-or-treaters. Dad had fun though. And really, isn't that what it's all about?
What did you dress up as this year?
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.