Friday, December 27, 2013

Works in progress

I have been letting far too much time go by between posts, but I never feel like I should share stuff when it's less than halfway done, you know? But today I am bucking that trend and sharing three unfinished projects at once. Three! Can you even stand the excitement right now? Yeah, I didn't think so.

First up is something I have hated for a long time: our carpeted stairs.

In fact, I hated them so much, I apparently did not include them in photos unless I had no choice, so incidentally modeling several of the stairs in this shot from last summer are Ethan and his first marionette, Zucchini Man,

Ethan and Zucchini Man, posing on the carpet that was

And the whole staircase, newly without carpet (but with a fresh coat of paint on the risers),


Lydia, doing her best Vanna, wanted us to see every luxurious, shaggy detail in this months-old photo,

Lydia Vannas us the luxurious, shaggy texture

And now mercifully bare, you can see where there was once a runner down the center, but that will be easy enough to even out (I'm waiting for Spring though, so I don't poison us all with varnish fumes).

needs the color evened out, but still pretty nice!

So that's one unfinished project. You should have SEEN the dust under the padding. Horrifying. So glad it's gone.

Next up is the dining room I've never been happy with. When we bought the house four years ago, the dining room was a really interesting combination of avocado green on top, and sage green on the bottom, as seen in the before part of this "old" before&after thinger:

dining room before and after

The colors looked nice after that, even though pinky curtains aren't really my thing...

new dining room colors

But the sage green is also the color of the entire living room, and it seemed sort of redundant to have it in two rooms right next to each other. So when I scored some exciting red paint on super clearance on a rare trip to a certain W word store, I was beyond thrilled!

new color on lid

It actually looked really nice at first,

star side after

And when I was able to afford new curtains, it looked even nicer,

dining room rearranged - other side

... in photos. In real life, it was dark and small, and the red paint got this weird faded look/possible film on it in places, and the upper half of the walls always had a greenish cast to them, as if the avocado was peeking through. CRAZY MAKING, especially sitting in there in the evenings in the artificial light, but I couldn't bring myself to paint again so soon, you know?

Until recently, when inspiration (and free white paint) struck, and my hand was forced,

repainting the dining room, yet again

After three freaking coats of primer and two coats of actual white wall paint (all on the bottom half), the weirdo red was gone for good. Then the yellow began to transform the top. I was scared, because yellow paint sometimes can be so awful and go so very wrong(scroll down for the yellow story), but hey, guess what? It turned out beautifully, and is exactly what we were going for.

repainting the dining room, yet again

I have since hung the curtains and some of the stuff is back on the walls, but I still have some putting away to do and finished pictures to take. But we are very happy with it. Much warmer and cozier, and no longer so dark and dingy looking.

NOW THEN. That project inspired the next thing I am going to share, because while this is something I have wanted to make for a long time, it probably would not have been started today had I not glanced at a bare part of the dining room wall and had an "Aha!" moment.

DIY silhouette bandwagon, I am on you!



ethan silhouette


noah silhouette

I should perhaps pause here to explain that Lydia's picture (next up) is a composite of three images, simply because she is 19 months old and incapable of sitting still long enough for my increasingly slow camera to capture her correctly. It looks creepy like this, but it looked creepier with my severed fingers all over her neck and head, trust me on that one.

lydia (composite)

lydia silhouette

And because it is always interesting to compare the appearances of siblings and search for similarities, here they are together:


As soon as I have the money for three 11 x 14 black frames probably matted to 8 x 10 openings (unless I change my mind at some point), I plan on having these digital templates printed and having a go at cutting. I hope I can make it through all three kids without losing patience. I am not, uh, the best at paper cutting, so we'll see how it goes... But if I succeed, they will be framed individually and hung side by side in the dining room, and I can't wait!

But because I can't ever do anything nice and leave it that way, here is the silhouette I've done of myself.

amber silhouette

I can't wait to hang this one up somewhere special.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


sun coming up


bright sunny day out there

muppet tree silhouette

peeking out the front door

ooh, vintage-y

good morning!


neighbor's yard

Shepherd again

This month has been a whirlwind of Christmas decorating, housecleaning/organizing (and subsequent donating of many unwanted items -- yay for less stuff in the house!), and knitting when I can squeeze it in.

This weekend is cookie baking time, so if anybody in this house isn't yet in the holiday spirit, the sugar overload ought to get them there...

But now I hear another closet calling to be emptied and sorted through, so I'll wish you Happy Holidays and be on my way for now!

boys' school fundraiser wreath

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I am a huge copycat, aka: I am also a plant poacher, aka: If I do it in the name of Christmas, it's okay, right?


The Christmasy box on my porch that you see above is shameful for two reasons. The biggest would be that I totally ripped off the idea from a box arrangement my next door neighbor purchased while out and about the other day, as seen here:

my neighbor's porch -- inspiration!

When I saw her porch, I just had to have a fabulous Christmas box too. HAD. TO. How could a person look at an arrangement like that and not fall in love? Especially since I knew I had two or three old wooden boxes to choose from, and a buttload of pinecones, because man do I love pinecones.

pinecone love

To complete the mirror effect, I propped up my old sled (which has been a beloved holiday decorating staple for me for many years now) on our side of the railing.

my materials

Now. The second part of my shame is that, with the exception of the holly clipped with permission from an across-the-street neighbor's tree, the plant bits were all brazenly stolen from a parking lot down the block. It abuts several back yards, many of which have truly lovely conifers on their property lines that lean over enticingly -- irresistibly even -- and one which sported those phenomenal red berries that were too perfect to pass up.

my ill-gotten botanical gains

What can I say? I ought to be ashamed of myself, but I'm not, and I'll probably do it again next year. (You know, as long as I don't get caught.)

sled, much happier now

After sticking a few inside things around the house on Friday, putting up our usual outside stuff yesterday, and doing this today, I am now absolutely brimming with Christmas spirit. We're hoping to get our tree next weekend, and I am extra super looking forward to cookie baking this year since all three kids can be really involved in both the making and eating thereof.

Everything about Christmastime has always been magical for me, and having young children in my life right now definitely makes it all the more exciting.


Well, that and copying other people's awesome decorating ideas. ;)

Friday, November 29, 2013

So where did November go?

bittersweet vine

Since I still hadn't decided if I was tired of listening to my inane drivel and seeing my same pictures over and over again here in my little corner of the internet, I decided I must not be, and that I would just keep plugging away.

bittersweet vine

Things have been... What's a nice word for, "Lydia is getting a good jump on the terrible twos and is practically unbearable to be around one moment and full of heart-melting amazingness the next?" Then there's the trying to keep up with all the boys' school stuff, and bill stuff, and money worries, and worry worries, and me getting overwhelmed (shock!) and questioning every major life decision I've ever made, and all the while continuing on my never-ending and seemingly fruitless quest for better mental health -- well, somehow we keep on doing our thing, and each day fades into the night without any major damage.

butterfly bush new growth

So really, the word I am looking for is just "life."

knockout rose

clematis still blooming

dead leaves, new flowers

rainbow chard

my first broccoli

(Despite the cold snap, we had quite a few things still growing throughout most of the month.)

a little nighttime knitting

The Shepherd

So there I am. Wandering around my increasingly dormant back yard, and knitting. Always knitting. Well, when I'm not tearing through some exciting house project (hint: no more carpet in the upstairs hallway or on the stairs).

The Shepherd

But yeah, mostly a lot of knitting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Perpetual Blogging Vacation

quiet moment

Long time no see. Again.

I can't seem to decide if I am still a blogger or not. For the past few months, I have been mostly "not," but I have been knitting.

starting yoke

9-17 (2)

9-17 (3)



This sweater (Bláithín, by Kate Davies), was blogged about in six different posts on the Juniper Moon Farm blog and finished promptly (for me anyway). I was very pleased with it, but had quite a shock when it was featured on the front page of Ravelry for a few days with a group of incredibly lovely sweaters. If that burst of excitement didn't further fuel my current knitting frenzy, then I don't know what did. Because certainly it couldn't be my natural and unfortunate tendency to do, oh, everything obsessively...

My sweater (HowdyPandowdy's Woolen Blaithin) was featured on the front page of Ravelry!


With that project completed, it was time to back up a little and finally dive into the two beauties from The Shepherd and the Shearer.

on left: 2013 Colored Share, on right: The Shepherd and the Shearer yarn

we're ready for bath time!

(That is Mr. Ambry's and my queen size bed, just to give you an idea of how much yarn is all laid out there.)

As I already have a cabled pullover in a natural white, I decided to use the lighter yarn for my Shepherd hoodie.

The Shepherd and the Shearer yarn

half-heartedly blocked

And the (undyed) colored flock share for my Shearer pullover.

juniper moon farm colored share

swatching for The Shearer

I started the Shepherd first and haven't had a ton of time for it, but it's creeping along.

seed stitch

The Shepherd progress

Another almost completed work in progress is a Bláithín (junior) for Lydia, although I made it in a larger size to use up the rest of the white yarn, so it may not fit her this year.

for Lydia's Blaithin

Lydia's Blaithin

lydia's blaithin

And for the times I need something a little simpler to work on, a Charlie pullover for Lydia.

Lydia's "Charlie" pullover

Lydia's "Charlie" pullover

That's about it. I knit when I can grab a few minutes between Lydia wrangling and attempting to complete the necessary housework. Out of all the things I like to do, knitting is probably the easiest to pick up and put down with a million interruptions.

So for now: knitting. And maybe blogging. Or maybe not. Guess we'll find out. ;)