Monday, November 30

Graduating to Knitting a Baby Blanket...

Last week, Author left a question for Kate and me to answer:

I've just begin to knit and want to go beyond dishcloths. I'd like to knit a baby blanket. Any suggestions for an easy pattern and what yarn to use? I can't afford and don't need to use the expensive yarn, but is there a brand/store that you would recommend? I've looked at Hobby Lobby and Michaels and just end up confused. Patterns I've seen call for a certain needle size, but the yarn has a different recommended needle size. What to do??? I'm about to give up :(

I thought that it might be better to answer your questions through a blog post rather than a video so that I could easily share links.

When you are ready to move on to more complicated knitting, the first step is to chose a pattern.  Here are a few easy (and free) blankets that might appeal to you:

Easiest Baby Blanket
Garter Rib Baby Blanket
Project Linus Security Blanket 

Once you choose a pattern, you must look for materials.  All patterns list the weight of yarn and size of needles you will need for the pattern.  For all of these patterns, the yarn that is worsted weight.  

Yarns:  One of my favorite yarns that comes in worsted weight is Cascade Superwash 220.  It is available in a lot of lovely colors and can be washed in the washing machine, making it quite a workhorse.  You will need to buy around 4 skiens of the Cascade 220 to make any of these blankets.  Another option is to buy Patons Classic Wool at Michaels.  You will need 5 skeins of Patons.  

Needles:  Each blanket calls for a different sized needle (Easiest Baby Blanket: size 15, Garter Rib baby Blanket:  size 7, Project Linus:  size 10).  When you choose the blanket you would like and get your yarn, buy the needles you need in a circular size with a 24" cord.  

Notions:  It is helpful to have stitch markers (to help you keep track of where you are in your knitting), scissors, and a crochet hook (to weave in the tail once you cast off).

I hope that this little post helps you, Author.  Please let me know if there is anything else that you would like to know!

Sunday, November 29


  The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them."

G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, November 28

Saturday Pursuits...


When I went to draw a nice hot bath on Friday night and only cold water came out of the faucet, we discovered that the hot water heater was broken.  No hot water in our house doesn't just mean no hot bath... it also means no heat!  Due to the nature of the problem, we won't have the hot water heater fixed until Tuesday (at the earliest).  Instead of grumbling, we are focusing on the good things:

1.  We still have water!  
2.  The dishes can still be done in the dishwasher (which heats the water for every load).
3.  Laundry can be washed in cold water.
4.  We have a fireplace for heat and lots of wood to keep it going.
5.  Baking bread warms the kitchen and fills the house with it's mouth-watering scent
6.  The dining room roses are lasting longer in the cool air.
7.  It's still in the 50's out-of-doors.
8.  We have down comforters and good books to read beneath the covers.
9.  It's a gloomy, rainy day...  perfect for snuggling down.
10.  The beeswax candle my sister scented the air and added a pretty glow to our evening table.

Readers' Questions Answered...

In today's video, I answer two readers questions about household budgets, feminine exercise, supplements, and forging a good sibling bond.  Enjoy!

Show Notes

Friday, November 27

Late November Beach...


It was 65 degrees when we arrived home from our Thanksgiving travels, so we emptied the van, dealt with the mail, and then headed for the boardwalk to do a little bike riding.  We have to take advantage of these lovely days while we can...  cold weather is coming!

Thursday, November 26

In Thanksgiving...


In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other's homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings - for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms.” 
Cynthia Rylant


A Blessed and Joyful Thanksgiving to You All!

Tuesday, November 24

New York City...


The children and I accompanied Father John on a jaunt to Manhattan today.  He needed a few hours to do a little work, so we wandered over to Purl Soho and then walked two miles back to Papa, stopping along the way whenever we spotted something that caught our fancy.  We ducked into a little independent bookshop for a little while to peruse the shelves, purchased a few cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, played at a playground, watched firetrucks returning to the firehouse from an emergency, watched a baker ice cupcakes (at a different cupcakery), and chased lots of pigeons.  I love wandering around the city streets...  the weather was perfect and there was so much to see!

Monday, November 23



November--with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes--days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well, and his chimney drew.”

L.M. Montgomery

Sunday, November 22


After a long day of rain and chill, the clouds parted and we were able to watch one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen.  It had been a trying day cooped up in the house and as soon as the children noticed the glorious show outside our door, they dashed out and danced in the driveway.  Their joy was infectious and we returned inside for dinner and baths and bedtime with renewed spirits.  Glory to God for all things! 

Linen Pinafore Wrap Up...

Kate finished sewing the pinafores this afternoon and we have all of the details for you in this video!

Show Notes

Saturday, November 21

Knitting with Great Yarn on a Budget...

Kate and I are back with an update on the pinafores that we are working on during our visit together and a short discussion on how to afford luxurious yarn on a budget.  Please join in the discussion in the comments section and if you have any other questions to ask us while we are together for the next few days, fire away!  We'd love to hear from you!

Show Notes:

Friday, November 20

Linen Pinafores: Day One...

I'm with my sister and we have just begun sewing the linen pinafores we're making this week for our little daughters and for Kate (I have one that I received as a gift a few Christmases ago). We're hoping to do a few videos this week, so stay tuned for more of our antics!

Wednesday, November 18



My husband took care of the leaves this afternoon, while the boys played with the red wagon and I cleaned out the window boxes.  Our sweet girl tucked herself up on the couch with her knitting and watched Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time while we were outside.  She's in the midst of making several little rabbits to give to her baby cousins on Thanksgiving.  Just before it got too dark to be out, a farmer brought his combine over to start harvesting in the field next door. 

My sister is coming to visit for a few days...  I cannot wait to squeeze those babies of hers!  In preparation for a sewing project that we want to work on while she's here, I ran out to the fabric store to buy a few yards of beautiful oatmeal colored linen and thread to match.  I washed it as soon as I got home and it is whirring in the dryer as I type.  We have several things planned for her visit...  it will be fun to share it all with you!

Tuesday, November 17

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

Church in the Home
The Entrance of the Theotokos is on November 21st (Saturday) We'll be reading one of our favorite books, The Story of Mary, the Mother of God, and we'll be setting up our feast day shelf.  I'd also like to make a nice lunch for after Liturgy on Saturday. 

For the past week or two, I have been enjoying episodes of Foyle's War on Netflix.  It has filled the hole that was left when the first season of  Home Fires wrapped up. Here's the first episode to whet your appetite:

In My Knitting Basket
I cast on to a black version of the Palmyre shawl on Friday and am really pleased with how quickly it is going.  This time, I plan on making it a smidge bigger and am eager to see how it turns out.  It will be a great staple for my autumn and winter wardrobe.

It seems as if the cool weather is here to stay.  As I prepared breakfast this morning, the children filled the  little bird feeder outside our dining room window with seed for the feathered friends that visit us all winter.  We are planning on tidying up the window boxes and maybe even planting the multitude of daffodil bulbs that we bought in October this week, as well.    

Living Well
While my father-in-law was here for our little Thanksgiving celebration earlier this month, I introduced him to Mrs. Meyer's hand soap.  We took a little outing to a shop nearby that sells much of the Mrs. Meyer's line and after smelling every single bottle of soap, we each picked out a couple bottles (which he very generously paid for!).  I put my bottle of Bluebell hand soap in our little powder room yesterday and it smells so wonderful! 

Monday, November 16


Happiness fills the
earth as long as
lighness defeats darkness

-Sugar Plum, age 9 

Sunday, November 15

And the Kettles Sing...

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

-Clyde Watson

Saturday, November 14

The National Gallery of Art (again)...


  It is becoming a tradition for us to pop into the National Gallery of Art on our excursions to Washington, D.C.  The above snaps are the works that caught my eye as we wandered though this time.

Saturday Pursuits...


The merry trio and I were able to stay in Washington overnight and had two lovely days to wander around the city while Papa attended meetings Friday and Saturday.  

The best part of our visit to the city was getting to meet wonderful Lila and her three beautiful little daughters on Friday morning.  She brought us to a cafe, where we ordered cups of Bellocq tea (The Queen's Guard!  A new favorite, I think!) and the children ate brownies (that we are still talking about today!).  We also went to a a playground that was really amazing and full of play equipment that was exciting and challenging (pictured above is a different [but still amazing playground] at the National Cathedral we visited on Saturday afternoon).  I'm so glad that we were able to visit one another and hope that we'll be able to again soon!

Thursday, November 12

Apple Bread...

I spotted a recipe for Apple Bread in The Wall Street Journal  this weekend and just had to try it.  This bread is so delicious!  It was gobbled right up by the hungry hordes!


Apple Bread

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons buttermilk or sour cream
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, diced apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Make batter:  Use an electric mixer to cream 1 stick of butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, blending well.  Stir in two cups flour and salt.  Add baking soda to buttermilk and allow to dissolve.  Add buttermilk to batter, mixing well.  Stir vanilla and apple into batter.  Make topping:  blend butter and sugar.  Add cinnamon, nuts, and remaining flour.  Spoon batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with topping.  Bake until set, 55-60 minutes.  Let cool slightly before removing from pan, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, November 11

Get it Together, Mama!


Last night, at about one in the morning, I realized that it was November 11th and that I had totally missed preparing for Saint Martin's feastday (I thought that the 11th was this Friday).  It was so disappointing!  I went out tonight after the little ones went to get a few things so that we can celebrate tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll be able to get my act together! 

Tuesday, November 10

Fun on the Farm...


The trio and I went to visit our friend's micro farm today!  Kathleen has so many beautiful vegetables growing in her bit of dirt and explained some of the ins and outs of farming, selling at farmers' markets, and operating a csa to us.  The vegetables look so lovely with raindrops sparkling on them, don't you think?
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