Sweet

K. is celebrating her 16th birthday today.

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And we are all celebrating the beautiful wonderful girl that she is!  K. is not an extrovert and is not particularly fond of being in the lime light so I will leave it at this:

She is one of the nicest people I know.  Discerning but fiercely devoted to fairness.

Happy Birthday my darling.

xx

Mommy

Bunny Watch: Champagne

Champagne (our biggest New Zealand doe) is going to kit this week.

Champagne, New Zealand doe

A few facts:

30 days = a rabbit’s gestation

once in 24 hours= the frequency of the doe feeding her kits

3 to 5 days= about how long before the babies get fur

10 days= the time the bunnies will open their eyes

2 weeks= about the time before the babies are ready to leave the nest and begin hopping about the cage

Champagne is a lovely doe, and currently very docile.  She is happy to be stroked and likes her nose scratched but this is our first litter from her so until we see her caring for them appropriately we don’t know what sort of breeder she will make.

Champagne, New Zealand doe

I promise pictures of tiny baby bunnies when we start to see them!  Welcome to bunny watch 2015! 🙂

xx

Joanna

An Introduction to Les Trois Soeurs

 I have three  local (ish) cousins. The three daughters of my mother’s sister.  The youngest of these three remarkable women was my very best friend growing up.  She and her partner developed a wonderful line of jewelry which they sell…  A LOT.  Over time both her sister’s have also gotten into the jewelry business.  So here in rural Northern California in little homes and big homes and art studios scattered around these talented wonderful sweeties are hand making wearable art and shipping it to sell in shops and boutiques all over the country.

Now its our turn.Les Trois Souers

My three talented and wonderful daughters are being helped by my cousin and dear friend to create their own line of jewelry…

Les Trois Soeurs

Les Trois Souers

The Three Sisters.

I’m focusing on getting the business off the ground and we are only selling wholesale at the moment but out of the next run of earrings I intend to set aside a batch for sale in my Etsy shop.  Our hope is that by M. and I putting in the effort now we will be able to eventually hand the business over to the girls to grow, fund their college years and set up a nice nest egg for the future.  Currently we sell in Williams, Arizona off Route 66 in a fantastic little western wear store called “Western Outfitters”.  Soon we will be in Santa Barbara and Bodega Bay in Northern California.

Les Trois Souers

I wanted to offer you my lovely readers a pair of earrings. Comment below with your choice of color.  (There are about 50 color, pattern and shape variations… so don’t be shy!)

Next Friday I will draw a name out of a hat and contact the lovely lucky reader for an address.

Les Trois Souers

xx

Jo

Hurry Up and Wait- Yarn Along

Honey's Pollen Colectors

E’sther’s Honey’s.

Last week was one of those weeks where we (meaning my daughters) had a lot on.  I spent my whole week driving hither and yon.  Where I would have to sit and wait (for my daughters) before driving hither and yon again.  On the bright side… I’m a knitter so much was accomplished!

I did very little on my Margaret Dashwood Shawl but J. is catching up with me knitting hers so that is no bad thing. I started over on the cowl neck for the-sweater-which-must-not-be-named THREE TIMES before frogging each one… and now I’m procrastinating with Esther’s pair of Honey’s Pollen Collectors.  I got 90% of one leg-warmer done while sitting around at the County Science Fair on Saturday!  They knit up fast.

I have actually plowed through three books this week too and they were all delicious.  Currently I’m reading A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce.  It is a YA book and I am not kidding you that it is one of the best YA Fantasy reads I have ever picked up.  It is a re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin set in the mid 19th century at the cusp of the industrial revolution.  Bunce melds historical mill work wonderfully with a fairy-tale that the magic in it feels utterly real!  It’s one of those books borrowed from the library that I will certainly be buying for our home library.

I am linking up with Ginny for a Yarn Along on this cold spring morning!

xx

Joanna

The Monday Project: Honey’s Pollen Collectors

Honey bees collect pollen on their little leg warmers to take back to the hive to make food for little baby bees. Now you can too in a one size, no gauge Free-Bee legwarmer!

A  few months ago K. asked for leg warmers.  I foolishly decided to make up my own pattern.  They were finished pretty quickly and I was immediately coerced into buying yarn for another two pair for E. and J.  so I could keep trial running the pattern in different yarns.  I put the second run aside for awhile but not before I decided I really wanted to share the pattern.  I finally picked up the knitting again and dug out the scraps of paper I had scratched out notes on to write it up.

There were some peeks at K.’s pair when we went mushrooming in December:

Honey Bees Knees Legwarmers.  A free knitting pattern @Sweet Little Wood

Well my sweet friends… this is actually the first pattern I have written down.  (YIKE!!)   And I am more than a little nervous to be offering it to the knitting world… What if it has a million mistakes?? Or WORSE… what if no one even likes it enough to have a go at the pattern….  so I am hoping some of you darlings out there might fancy some Honey’s Pollen Collector Leg Warmers and might also be willing to give me some feed back on my pattern and how they turn out in different yarns and tensions.  GULP…  Its one size and they stretch.  I used a cheaper 20% wool yarn photographed on K. but the pair I’m currently knitting is in a much nicer cashmere and has a much more pleasant spring to it so your yarn can really make a difference! Its also up on my Ravelry. xx

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Honey’s Pollen Collector Leg Warmers by Sweet Little Wood

Yarn: Aran/Bulky yarn makes a large pair of Legwarmers (will stretch up to about 17 inches at the calf- great on bigger legs over leggings or smaller legs over jeans) or Worsted/DK which will make a smaller pair of legwarmers (will stretch up to about 12 inches at the calf).

Needles: set of 4 &4.5 DPN for Aran/Bulky or 3.75 DPN and 4 DPN for Worsted/DK weight yarn; a cable needle

No gauge. The width of the stretched rib pattern is the same at the ankle as the calf so if your initial 2×2 rib stretches to the diameter you want you’re good to go.

Beehive Pattern Notes:
S2BK2 slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold at back knit 2 off left hand needle
K2C knit 2 off cable needle
S2FK2 slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold at front knit 2 off left hand needle

Beehive Row A: {S2BK2, K2C, S2FK2, K2C} repeat around
Beehive Row B: {S2FK2, K2C, S2BK2, K2C} repeat around

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Cast on 48 stitches on smaller DPN and divide stitches between 4 needles and place marker at beginning of round

{K2, P2} in the round for approximately 4 inches (shoten or lengthen as desired).

Increase round: {K2, M1K, P2, M1P} repeat around (72 stitches)

Knit 1 round on larger DPN

Begin Bee-hive pattern

Row 1: Beehive Row A

Row 2-5: knit round

Row 6: Beehive Row B

Row 7- 12: Knit round

Row 13: Beehive Row A

Row 14- 20: knit around

Row 21: Beehive Row B

Row 22 -28: knit round

Repeat rows 13 -28 twice more (Repeat more to add more length)

Repeat rows 13 -1 (in reverse order)

Decrease round: {K1, K2T} repeat around (48 stitches)

Change to smaller needles if snug upper cuff is desired

{K2, P2} around till cuff measures approx. 4 inches.

Cast off loosely in rib.

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Honey's Pollen Collecters Legwarmers.  A free knitting pattern @Sweet Little Wood

If you try them let me know how they turn out!

xx

Joanna

Fabulous Faberge Eggs

Faberge style egg SVG file for Silhouette and Cricut .

Easter is coming and I’ve designed a couple of files I have been dreaming of for a long time!

Faberge style eggs in a simple SVG designed for Silhouette Cameo Studio Designer and Cricut Design Studio users! Available at my Etsy shop and (cheaper!!) through SnapDragon Snippits.

Faberge style egg SVG file for Silhouette and Cricut .

I’ve designed three eggs all of which can be placed on the sweet stand that is included in the file.  The stand is simply made of three pieces which slot together.

Faberge style egg SVG file for Silhouette and Cricut .

They are super duper easy to put together by gently folding the five sides up together and gluing/sticking the circular tabs together.  Add the cute crown and bow if you like and your eggs are ready for some seriously elegant hunting!  They look adorable as part of a table display and can be stuffed with little treats so long as you keep them light (it is made of paper after all)!

Faberge style egg SVG file for Silhouette and Cricut .

Faberge style egg SVG file for Silhouette and Cricut .

Happy Crafting all!

xx

Joanna

Mommy And Daughter Knit Along- Yarn Along

Margaret Dashwood Shawl @ Sweet Little WoodBeing a Bear of Very Little Attention Span I am officially bored with the green knitted thing which I am having to tell constant half-truths about to hide its true destination. Uggg… too much subterfuge.  I might just come out with it and tell her soon and put myself out of my misery.

So naturally in my boredom I cast on three different projects. None of them were in my Ravelry queue.  I cannot seem to stop myself from doing this… even as I am looping on a foundation row I’m thinking “STOP IT!  Just get on with something else!”  So I have frogged two of them because I realized they were poorly thought out and likely to end in disaster but I have kept on my needles Margaret Dashwood Shawl from The Best Of Jane Austen Knits.  Partially because I am so in love with knitting it but mostly because of this:

Jessica's Margaret Dashwood Shawl @ Sweet Little Wood

J. has be knitting simple scarf shapes for dolls etc intermittently for awhile but she recently got a taste for designing by making something special for K.’s upcoming 16th birthday.  She really wanted to try a real pattern and I happened to have the Margaret Dashwood Shawl pattern photocopied already.  She has been working so dedicatedly she was nearly caught up with me on her first day.  Sadly for her I knit all day while she goes to school so I have outstripped her by far.  But we are knitting (at different paces) this shawl together.

Jessica's Margaret Dashwood Shawl @ Sweet Little Wood

That’s my girl!

Yesterday morning- like any normal Tuesday- was a school morning with all the alarm clocks and blurry bed heads normally involved with a Tuesday morning.  But we all slept through our alarms!  5 people all fast asleep when the bus left and work started and the home-school tutor was on his computer wondering where his students were!  K. and E. got up and got to work but M. J. and I decided to treat it like a windfall and had a wonderful lay in bed and knit morning.  That is to say: J. and I worked on our Margaret Dashwood Shawl and M. read a Terry Pratchet novel.  Our only excuse was Daylight Saving Time Sleep Defficiency (I made that up but we all know it should be diagnose-able).   It was glorious and so wonderfully relaxing I feel like I can face the rest of my chaotic week now.

Margaret Dashwood Shawl @ Sweet Little Wood

I’m linking up with Jenny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along!

xx

Jo

The Monday Project: A Hobbit Hole Tissue Box

Hello my dear Bagginses and Boffins, Tooks and Brandybucks, Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, Bracegirdles and Proudfoots.  It’s the beginning of allergy season in Bag End and quite frankly no self respecting Hobbit should be without some sort of nose blowing material!  To battle this sneezey time of the year I offer you a limited time SVG free-bee!

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

Its fun and easy to make and the pieces are mostly self explanatory.  All the pieces can be cut from 12 x 12 card and you will need 2 sheets for the Hobbit Hole walls, 1 sheet for the roofing and several colors of scrap card for all the embellishments. As usual please do not distribute or sell my files or sell products made from my files.  The file will remain free on this site (at the bottom) for about a month, after which time I will be offering it for sale in my shop at SnapDragon Snipits and Etsy.

1: Once your pieces are cut by hand, Silhouette Cameo (using the full size SVG) or Cricut Design Space (using the 50% SVG expanded to full size) adhere the windows and door to the back of the body of the house, crease the perforations and use double sided tape to stick together the edges.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

2: Place the window frames and door frame on the outside of your hobbit hole windows/door.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

3: compile your tiny window boxes with as much foliage and flowers as you think Samwise Gamgee can manage to keep watered.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

4:Place the bushy foliage with the perforations aligned with the corner of the house.  The join in the front should be covered by the front door step.DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

5: Once the front, back and sides of your hobbit house are compiled you can put the sides on. I suggest sticking the A frame part together first and then the sides.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

6: The roof is compiled of 5 pieces.  But this photo shows it all in one piece… 5 pieces are much cuter but I ran out of time so just go with it eh? Align them slightly layered like shingles ensuring that the tissue hole lines up. Pop it over your tissue box!

Tissue Hobbit Hole SVG files for Silhouette and Cricut.

I hope you enjoy it!  I’ll be at the Green Dragon if you have any questions.

xx Jo

Story of 2015- Yarn Along

This pretty much sums up my year since January.

Food Budgeting @ Sweet Little Wood

I have been knitting  a second Christmas Morning Sweater by Caddy Melville Ledbetter with Manos De Uruguay “Velvet Pincushion” since early January and trying to make our food budget stretch as far as I possibly can.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time with this cook book : Economy Gastronomy.   It has made feeding my family for less totally doable.  It’s a theme in our house that the food budget is one of the only places where there is room to cut.  In early 2013 I was shopping once a week and our month’s grocery bill was more than our month’s rent… seriously.  M. and I could not believe how expensive food was and that it was full of GMOs, corn syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable fats which we had been easily avoiding in the UK because of EU and UK food labeling laws.

With some tweaks in what I bought and where I shopped I got our bill down to about $800 whilst avoiding most of the previously mentioned food baddies.  For us that was still too high and felt like extortion when I had been feeding my whole family in England for about $720 a month without having to think or plan at all.   So I sat down to researching what other people do.  Last summer I tried couponing.  No kidding it really is cheaper but only if you are willing to buy the sort of foods advertising wants you to buy.  For a month our entire grocery bill was $50 a week but we were eating all those things I really really hate.  And I was feeding my family out of pre-made, salty, sugar laden crap whilst spending a huge amount of time scouring the web for sales and coupons which would match up.  It was easily a full time job and very very unsatisfactory.

So since then I had been looking much harder for solutions.  Because I cook almost everything from scratch it was really the staples that were killing us and (amazingly to me) the weekly shopping!

So in January I learned to shop just once a month.  Ironically we had been told by some wise soul before we ever moved back to the US that if you want to find the best prices on natural food you should shop where the Mexicans shop.  That is what I do for half of the groceries: Food Maxx.  The other half I buy in bulk at Costco.  We are a few months in now and I can say genuinely the learning curve was harsh: planning a month of menus and all the different events that may come up and then transform that into a working shopping list from several different stores AND then to buy it all in one swoop is hard. Super hard. But it gets easier and easier again.  I  have traded in 5 grocery trips a month which with making a shopping list travelling to the stores, shopping and getting home again = about 18 hours a month,  for one gargantuan and a little scary shopping day along side about two days of planning(= about 12 hours a month).  Its worth the effort just for my own time sake but it has also cut our shopping down to $550 a month.  That is about $18 a day or $3.66 per person per day or $1.66 per meal per person.  Seriously.  Less than $20 per day on food for a family of 5 and that is without taking into account the food we grow during the summer which will cut the bill down even more sharply.

I initially wondered if it was worth it… the extra thinking and planning and the huge shop that needs two people to complete it in a day.  But then I realized saving only the difference in our $800 shopping bill and my current $550 is like giving M. a 8% pay raise.  So yeah its worth it.

Today I am linking up with Ginny at Small Things for a Yarn Along!

xx Joanna