My Secret to a Tidy House : : Stay Out of It












IMG_9264Last winter, due to various family affairs, we called in a house cleaner to come and clean for us every two weeks. She’s been a lovely addition, but as she is quite pregnant (don’t worry, she’s been bringing a helper the last few months) we will soon be without her for a while. She came yesterday and I have been trying to savor with every bit of my being these last couple of cleanings. The children have been put on strict notice that they are to keep the house looking exactly as is, for 24-hours. That’s all I ask, 24-hours of a spic and span house. Myself, though, I cannot be trusted. Left to my own devices I can create a royal mess, so I have formed a new plan which means I must stay out of the house. A tidy house with no one in it must continue to stay tidy, right?

So today I went outside and walked around and enjoyed the first light. I made a tiny mess on the stove for our breakfast, but then I packed up the kids and sent them to school and drove myself to the next town over for a very rare little in-take of knitting, reading, and growing inspiration. All in the name of a tidy house, I tell you.

Before the Sale Ends on Monday | DIY Bundle

Today in the mail I received a Viili Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health. It’s a unique Finnish yogurt start that allows you to culture the yogurt at room temperature. I’m pretty excited to try it, because a lot of my hesitation in making yogurt is keeping it at that finicky 110 degrees for 12 hours. Anyway I’m telling you this because I got the yogurt culture for free because I bought the Ultimate Healthy Living bundle that I told you about a few weeks ago. This yogurt culture along with a handful of other goodies (that I’ll be receiving soon) were free bonuses.

They aren’t going to release the Healthy Living Bundle again until next September, but right now they are offering a DIY bundle, which is a collection of dozens upon dozens of DIY e-books. And as bonuses they are offering a free Craftsy class (which I’ve been meaning to look into), a free sewing pattern to UpCraftClub, $15 credit towards an art print and another $15 to an online stationery store. Lots of fun things.

I just found out that for the Craftsy class, you can choose from one of 15 classes, listed below and two are gardening classes! I kind of want to take all of them.

  • The Essentials for Understanding Light
  • 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know
  • Artisan Bread Making
  • Basics of Digital Photography
  • The Perfect Cupcake
  • Gorgeous Garden Design
  • Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit
  • Family Photography: Candid Moments and Storytelling
  • Custom-fit Slipcovers: Chairs
  • Vegetable Gardening: Innovative Small-Space
  • Fun with Mixed Media
  • Drawers for Cabinetry and Fine Furniture
  • Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know
  • Creative Die Cutting With Your Cricut
  • Beginner Serging
  • Sewing Custom Curtains & Draperies
  • Sewing Custom Roman Shades
  • Scrapbooking With Style: Clean & Simple Layouts

If you like sewing you’ll love this bundle, there are a few really cute patterns in it. (I just sewed something this past week, did you see on facebook or instagram??) Actually, if you like making anything you’ll probably love this bundle. It’s only on sale until midnight on Monday, so if you want it, act quickly!

Knitting & Reading about Home Grown Boys




IMG_9205I guess sometimes I take my self too seriously in the knitting department. I start most knitting projects with careful research on how the pattern is written. Is it written in a way that I will enjoy the process? Will I learn something new? What about the design? It’s not too trendy. I hope it will be something I’ll wear for years. And how about that yarn? Locally produced? Maybe it’s dyed in a one-of-a-kind artisanal way. Is it double plyed so it won’t pill up as easily? Yada yada yada.

And then my son brings me his favorite two neon-like yarns and pleads with me to knit him something. ‘You never knit me anything! Please knit something for me.’ That warms my heart, but wouldn’t you much rather have these beautifully naturally dyed colors for your hat? ‘Umm, no Mom!’

Now that the hat is finished, I’m so very glad he insisted on exactly what he wanted, because this was one of the funnest knitting projects I’ve done in a while. Look at those fun, bright colors. I have a bit of a sweater knitting addiction yet to knit a hat? Instant gratification, I was done in 24 hours! Amazing. And he loves it, he’s worn it for three days straight although he’s made me promise to add a pom-pom to the top. (ravelry notes here)

These days, that boy is constantly wanting to go down to this creek. It filled with water after our early December rains and now it’s teaming with life. Frogs galore, minnows and water bugs are some of the treasures he finds. If left to his own devices he’d spend all day long, every day down there. And I do try and let him. But there are two things that tend to hold me back. One is that he’s bound to come home drenched and muddy. The second thing is fear. I can mostly see him down there from the house or yard. But all those fearful parent things that run through our heads hold me back from letting him play free of supervision. Like what if he slips and hits his head on a rock? What if a rattlesnake (which no one has ever seen around here) sneaks out and bites him. What if a thirsty mountain lion makes it’s way past the vineyard fences to get a drink? What if, what if, what if…. Silly thoughts I know.

What is encouraging me to let him play more down there is the book I’m reading Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World. What a great book! After reading The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharpe suggested you really put books to use, underline them, dog-ear them, write notes in the margins. Use up your books. And this is the first book since that I’ve been doing that. I have pages folded down and I have underlines and stars all over this book. Ben Hewitt (you can check out his blog) tells, in short chapters, the story of how he and his wife Peggy have chosen to raise their two boys on a farm in Vermont. What I enjoy about his writing style, besides his mastery of putting beautiful words together, is his non-judgemental attitude about how they are living their lives. I’ve read a bookshelf full of tales about living an ‘alternative’ lifestyle and many discount a mainstream life in a pretty judgement way. I don’t care much for those books. We are all trying our best. What I enjoy about Ben’s view is that I come away encouraged to live life and raise my children the way I think they should be raised. It’s a really good book and I think you should give it a read.

One of my underlined passages about Ben’s hope for his sons:

Of all the things I want for them, connection to place and a sense of knowing how they fit into this world usurps all others. I want this for them more than happiness, because I think mere happiness is a shallow elucidation of the human experience, and by itself is not a particularly sturdy emotional foundation upon which to build a fulfilling life. I want this for them more than success, at least insofar as our culture has come to define success as being a product of money and power and recognition. I want this for them more than physical vitality, because I believe that good health–and not just health of body, but also of emotion and spirit–is only possible when one feels connected to and secure in their place.

(also read Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter a friend lent to me…super inspiring as well!)

(linking up with Frontier Dreams & Small Thing’s Yarn Along)

Salami & Meyer Lemon Sandwich

Salami & Meyer Lemon Sandwich

This past weekend started a multi-day cold spell around these parts. They were the first freeze days we’ve had this year. Last year we had a really long cold spell in December which killed all of our citrus. Over the summer we cleared out a new space on the south foundation wall of our house…

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how to make 2015 the best year ever

Best Gardening Year Ever | A Year Long Series

Happy New Year! For the past handful of years I’ve started the year writing out a long list of goals. Not really resolutions, but firm goals that I can physically cross off as the year passes. For months leading up to now, I’ve had the thought in my head that this year will be a…

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Bunny Mittens

Knitting & Reading | A Year in Review

I finished it! The Barn Sweater from Taproot. Just under the wire too. I had wanted to finish it before this last Knitting & Reading post of the year and as I put it on to take these pictures it was just barely damp from having blocked it. I love it too. Before blocking it…

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State of the Garden : : December

It appears that Mother Nature was sick of California whining about the drought, because we have been getting more rain that we could have imagined. While the drought isn’t officially over and we’ll need a lot more rain to recover, this is an incredible start towards feeling less guilty turning on the spiget. On rare…

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