New Designs in Snapdragon Shop

Hello precious friends!  I hope your Thanksgiving was beautiful!  Such a wonderful holiday but I am now wondering if its better to just scarf down all that pie really fast so it is out of sight and no longer taunting me with it’s cinnamon goodness or to meter it out and eat sensible portions… I never have been good at pie rationing.

I’ve got some new designs going up over at Snapdragon Snippets: great paper-crafting SVG shop with Wintry Christmassy yumminess!

SweetLittleWood.yarnandneedles-1.1 SweetLittleWood.vintagebaubles-1.1 SweetLittleWood.snowglobe-1.1

These designs will also be available through my Etsy store soon!

xx Joanna

May The Stitch Count Be Ever In Your Favor- Yarn Along

 I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along.

I took K. and three friends to see the (annoyingly) next to last installment of The Hunger Games.  K. saw the last one with a few of her friends and on the way home from that showing they had the grand plan of going all together to the next one.  As I seem to be the only parent of the bunch who takes her children to the movies I am the default driver to these events.  I didn’t like the third book AT ALL.  So seeing it over two excruciatingly long movies was not for me.  So I dropped 4 excited, chattering teen girls at the all you can eat Chinese buffet followed by the cinema and took myself off for a few hours.

knit along Amanda

I happily discovered that M. had come to town to meet me so we had dinner and then settled into the Coffee Shop Which Must Not Be Named But Has Taken Over The World , had all I could drink caffeine, great company (I’m an introvert so good company = one person who I am totally and utterly comfortable with), Amanda and my clicking needles.  It would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for the fact that I realized after finishing the back fronts and one sleeve up to the yoke that I wasn’t going to have enough wool to finish it.  No kidding- after my last knitted debacle I was uber careful with gauge… well it didn’t work.  I am about 6 balls of wool short! SIX!  How did that happen?  I double checked everything wondering how it all went so wrong and I had it right and should have had more than enough I still cant figure it out!  So Amanda is frogged. And I’ve gone off knitting…

 I have been browsing through a book I stumbled upon at my local independent bookstore: Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini.  Its not revolutionary and is not full of new information but I like her style (lovely photography) and I love the ethos.  Really it is for absolute beginners at living more off the land.  I heard someone fault of this book for not being time practical… which is the truth of going frugal or green.  It requires work.  More work.  Of course it would be easier to roll up to Safeway and buy a tub of peanut butter.  Of course it would be less work to buy bread.  Of course mending clothes is going to be more time consuming than just buying more.  Its a choice you make pretty much every day: Am I going to get out there and break up the soil and plant or am I going to thank my grocer for shipping in all that stuff for me.

So having sat for the whole two and half hours waiting for the endless movie to end I thought about how much more fun it would be to have a knitting competition instead that doesn’t involve a load of adolescents killing each other!  So I’ve designed a logo:

Stitch Count Ever In Your Favor  @

 I think it’ll be great.

xx Jo

Pattern Building for Bikers Yarn Along

Harley Davidson’s and knitting aren’t something often mentioned in the same post but… here you find it!

M. has a Harley gifted to him by my sweet sister when we went to Tennessee this summer.  Its so very funny: he gets endlessly ribbed at work for riding a purple motorbike!  this time of year on mornings which are warm enough not to frost he wants to ride his bike but is a little put off by the cold which is pretty pervasive on a bike- the freezing air rushes up under the chin piece of his helmet and cut through almost any clothes worn.  Most biker scarves make you look like bank robber or Isis extremist- covered in black with just the eyes showing. I can’t show you a current photo because I managed to wear out both of my camera’s batteries without recharging… duh.

Knitting & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Knitting at the beach.

So I’ve been working on knitting M. a multiple temperature scarf which rides low across the shoulders and sits nicely flat under the edge of his snug leather jacket fits snug around the neck then rides high up his chin and lower face.  The knitted part is easy but he doesn’t like scratchy stuff against his neck so I have had to design it out of cotton.  And then as I’ve mentioned before he is a hot/cold/hot sort of guy and he bike to work in the cold and comes home when its about 30 degrees warmer so the scarf needs to meet those needs too.

Its going to be a gift for his birthday but annoyingly he already knows all about it because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!  So he will read this and know more… again… Sigh.  I’m on prototype 3 but it is almost there.  It will have multiple linings which can be swapped out depending on the temperature.  I will share the pattern when it becomes finalized if anyone is interested… it could be I have a dorky biker husband who would rather wear a knitted cowl than a scary Isis style skull scarf and no one else would ever bother but maybe if there is one other knitter out there who is a total nerd addicted to his or her other half’s comfort…

I’ve been reading Days of Splendor Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey (another library digital copy… do you see a theme emerging?) I am quite frankly sickened by it.  The decadence and ignorance written in first person narrative.  Not really a fan but: I. Just. Keep. Reading. It.  Why is that?  I have thousands of books I want to read that would educate me and make me happy but I seem to be compulsively reading a book I don’t enjoy.

Can anyone recommend a good fictional book with a bit of historical accuracy that wont make me feel like guillotining the characters?

Getting late in today but I’m linking up with Ginny at Small Things.

xx Joanna

A Day at The Sea

I spent 15  years in the UK  trying and failing to make people understand how diverse California is.  Northern California- and especially in the mountains- is a totally different sort of climate to Southern CA which most non natives associate with all of CA.  M.’s brother lives in Southern CA and they have had some “cold” weather into the 65 F range which made M. and I laugh as we built a fire this morning and scraped thick ice off our cars!  No kidding…  we could see our breath in the bathroom this morning.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little WoodThe beaches in So Cal and Nor Cal couldn’t be more different from each-other.  For the most part our Northern California beaches aren’t that swim-able as we have some seriously deadly rip tides and rogue waves regularly take folks. More often than not its very misty on the coast.  But all the locals know that in spring and fall the mists lift and the Mendocino coast becomes a wonderful place of light, sun, sand and blue seas.  So sometimes we like to get sand in our shoes and enjoy the smell of salt air.  It makes M. a little homesick as swimming at the beach whenever possible is probably his family’s only real tradition.

Seaweed & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

seaweed & stones

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Do you see the heart in the cliff face between K. and E.?

Driftwood. A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Driftwood log that is a remarkably good bench.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Such a typical picture. M. and J. heads together playing some game with E. in her own world but nearby.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

M.’s stone named Mr. Bob. See… he has a little smile! Mr Bob won the “sea trials” where sadly Pink Punk and New Pink Punk were lost to the waves…

Sand in Toes. A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Black sandy toes.

Knitting & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

My day at the beach…

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Sausages cooked on our old secondhand camp cooker.

A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

A misty but bright day

Seaweed & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

more seaweed & stones

May your mists burn away and leave all your day with light and sun!

xx Jo

Giants in Autumn

Hibernation started early in the Sweet Little Wood!  We saw our chance for a long weekend and grasped it with two hands.  It was so glorious we are still floating in the bliss of a relaxing family and fun filled time.

We got out into nature which is pretty spectacular this time of year, so because not a scrap of crafting was done I will leave you with this view of our adventures: Hendy Woods in autumn: our local redwood grove.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

The Redwoods in Autumn are just coming to life.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And evidence of summer’s abundance remains

Hendy Woods in Autumn

The heat of summer has gone and moist cool air encourages the little green flourishes to arise.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

But the evidence of past lives remain.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And the wood cycle flourishes

Hendy Woods in Autumn

There are bridges to magical kingdoms.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And places where the fey stalk the living.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

But take care when crossing bridges

Hendy Woods in Autumn

for the trolls are looking for lunch.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Wonder at how the tiniest cones produce the biggest trees.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

And imagine the baby bird that found its way out of an egg the size of a small acorn.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Its a place to sit and wonder,

Hendy Woods in Autumn

at the magnificence of creation.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Where trees can look like lions…

Hendy Woods in Autumn

… ahem… and other things.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Its worth remembering that bees live in old tree stumps…  for when you put your foot in a bee’s nest.

Hendy Woods in Autumn

Savor it all and enjoy the ride.

xx Jo

Pumpkin for Pies

Stop! Don’t throw out those pumpkins! Don’t pass by that bargain pumpkin bin! Whatever you do- don’t smash it!

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

A wonderful friend of ours from South Africa once commented  about how horrified she was to see all the beautiful delicious pumpkins that are wasted in England around Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night.  We had been growing our own pumpkins for several years (finding canned pumpkin in England at that point was like gold-dust so… needs must) by then and we had stopped celebrating Halloween so I had a pure conscience on the pumpkin front when I nodded earnestly and agreed with her!  But in reality most of us either don’t know what to do with our pumpkins that sit and rot away on the front step or don’t really like most pumpkin recipes.  BUT  I have never met an American who didn’t like pumpkin pie!  So salvage that pumpkin- get it into your kitchen make it into a pumpkin pie nicer than any canned pumpkin you could buy!

Chop your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seed- save them and bake them yummy and very very good for you.

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

Chop half  at a time into narrow slices and carefully slice away the peel.  I find it easiest to peel it toward a board because pumpkin is pretty hard.

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

 

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

Roughly chop the pumpkin- very rough don’t bother to be precise.  The whole process  is so easy J. did the other half of my pumpkin!

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

This is what you will be left with: Seeds to bake, rind to compost and rough chopped pumpkin.  Put the pumpkin in water and boil it till it is soft.  Drain the pumpkin and let it cool in the strainer before putting it in a large freezer bag and freeze it for about two days or till it is frozen solid.

Using Fresh Pumpkin for Pie Tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood (8)

The day before you want to use the pumpkin take it out of the freezer and let it defrost: a huge amount of water will separate from the pumpkin- throw it out. Turn the drained lump of pumpkin out into a strainer lined with cheese cloth.  Twist the cheesecloth up tight around your pumpkin lump and press down on it with your hands- squeeze the lump until it stops loosing water and looks like a thick lump  rather like play-dough.

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

 

Using Fresh Pumpkins for Pie tutorial @ Sweet Little Wood

This one medium pumpkin made about the equivalent of one large can of pumpkin.  To make it into pie use whatever recipe you would normally (I use something very like this one but I exclude the ginger add a LOT more cinnamon, double the clove and add a dash of nutmeg).  If you got to the “lump phase” like in the photo above just mix up the evaporated milk and pumpkin and puree it before adding the other ingredients and bake as usual.  If your pumpkin is a little moister than my photo reduce the milk by half and add an extra egg, puree the pumpkin milk mix and then add the other ingredients and  bake as usual.

**Edit:  Some people prefer an oven baked method- it’s easier to peel for sure!  It takes a little longer to bake the pumpkin soft but it requires less time to prepare the pumpkin so that is the trade off.  I’ve always gotten better results from boiling but for you who like to know it all here is a link to a good how to.  It will be moister so play with your recipe and see what you get!  And the variety you use can make a difference both in texture and in moisture so again… a little bit of kitchen chemistry involved.**

There is a warning with all this though:  fresh pumpkin pie from real pumpkins is so much nicer than it’s supermarket shelf alternative you’re family may never eat canned pumpkin again without complaining that it tastes funny!

Have a wonderful weekend… I’ll be making pumpkin pie.

xx Jo

Secret Knitting Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along.

Amanda continues as I pick her up whenever I have time but most of my knitting has been taken up by a SECRET PROJECT… no no no not THAT secret project. This is a different secret project and it has to do with tiny owls.  Tiny knitting owls.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I have joined in with Tiny Owl Knits on Ravelry  for TOKmas– a sweet gift exchange with a little woodlandy-fairytale flavor.  My favorite flavor.  So my secret friend… I am feverishly finishing you some little somethings to make you smile!  In fact I thought I had done with the knitting part but I have had to come back to it.  But as you can see- I have a fire and a basket of wool so all is right with the world.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I haven’t managed to pick up a book that has held my attention this week but I am trying to work my way through The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  Which is lovely.  Very vivid storytelling with a gentle melodic feel.  The problem is when I am very interested in my knitting projects I have less time to hold a book in my hands…  Instead I am just enjoying the way a bundle of gnomish hats look!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

xx

Joanna

The Monday Project: Super Baby

My oldest niece (we will call her P.) is only 8 years younger than me.  We spent so much time together till she was 11 and I moved to England with M. that I felt like she was more of a little sister to me: in fact she is two months older than M.’s younger brother so it is plausible.  P. called me Nana -which is a long story that belongs to my eldest nephew but it really isn’t as weird as it seems. That has morphed now we are older into Aunt Joanna for most of my nieces and nephews though sometimes an Aunt Nana sneaks out and makes me all giddy inside.  I really wouldn’t mind if P. just called me Jo so long as she keeps calling me.

Of all my nieces and nephews (there are 13) I know her best of all which must have something to do with the time we spent together all those years ago.  She is the person who calls me most frequently and because she lives in my hometown some 6 hours away I probably have seen her more often since the move than any of the rest of the family.  I feel that I know P. like a sister where my other nieces I was always more of an aunt figure.  I’m not sure if anyone else gets the differentiation.   Probably it comes down to how I treat her: I tell her what I think and I don’t pamper her; that doesn’t always go down well but it is actually a complement so I will continue to do it anyway!   If I am honest P. probably gets a raw deal from it : Aunties are always nicer than sisters when it comes down to being spoiled rotten!

Super Baby 12 months of onesies @ Sweet Little Wood

P. recently had her third baby.  I have taken care of the three girl thing and she now has three boys so balance has been restored to cosmic forces. I am a lucky lucky Auntie because this weekend we braved the rain and drove the hundreds of miles so I could visit her and kiss that sweet wee boy.  And now- my friends- I can share with you the project I’ve been working on for awhile and itching to show!

Months and months ago on Pintrest I saw THIS:

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

I haven’t been able to find anyone to attribute this craft project to but I think it is brilliant.  And strangely there is nothing quite as cute on Etsy.  So when I found out one of my nieces was expecting a boy I decided I had to do this project but I wanted to up the ante (pun intended) and make it super cool!

Introducing a Pintresting SUPER BABY gift:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

months 1-3 and the three designs

You can get the files for the pattern at the bottom of the page in SVG format, Silhouette cut file format , PNG and JPEG format. If you have a craft cutter like a Silhouette Cameo its easy-peasy to use otherwise the PNG/JPEG are there to use as a templates. My files are for private use only please do not reproduce the files, sell the files, or sell products made from the files without my permission.

I started out with the intention of doing the wax paper method but I had run out of wax paper so I decided to try to wing the painting using just card as a stencil… EPIC FAIL!  Don’t try this at home children! So I reverted to lovely old vinyl!  I so wish I had taken pictures of my craptastrophe… it was rather a mess.

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

You can easily make the onsies using a wax paper stensil and hand cut design… assuming that you unlike me have got the wax paper when it comes to it!   I have linked to a wax paper stenciling tutorial before but I will give the steps her as well.

What you will need:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Wax Paper

Printed image in reverse

 craft knife

fabric paint or all surface paint in 3 colors

paint roller, brush or sponge

1: For cutting the pattern by hand first print the PNG or JPEG in reverse onto copy paper with each image being about 4 inches wide.  Iron wax paper (wax side) to the un-printed side of the paper and cut the pattern using a craft knife.  You many want to leave the word “month/s” off your pattern and just include the number for quick cutting.  If you have a craft cutter cut your patterns out of self adhesive stencil material or follow the instructions above without printing and cut the reinforced wax paper on a light card-stock setting on your machine using the SVGs provided.

2: Iron a square of wax paper larger than your pattern- wax to fabric- inside the chest of the onesies. This will support the fabric, stop it pulling and prevent paint from going through the fabric to the back of the onesie.

3: Peel the copy paper off the wax paper and apply the wax paper wax side down to the chest of the onesies and iron in place. 

4: paint the onesie inside the wax paper stencil using a sponge to dab on paint or a paint-roller .  Immediately remove the front wax paper but leave the inside wax paper till the paint is dry.

5: When dry remove the inner wax paper and allow the paint to set a few days before washing.

What I used:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Easy-weed vinyl in green black and red

An iron and my Silhouette Cameo

 For the Vinyl cut version follow the Vinyl manufacturers instructions for application and care.

Superhero Baby 12 Months Of Onesies Zip File

Have a wonderful sweet morning this autumnal Monday!

xx

Nana