The perfect summer day...

Today was one of those perfect summer days I dream about all winter long...

The sun, just bright enough to warm my soul...

 A gentle breeze, just strong enough to send the sweet scent of clover trailing past my face...

And a charming young boy, who knows how to compel his mama into giving him some chocolate!

Here's to beautiful days~

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Laundry Day...

Laundry day... You know what I'm talking about.  The mountain.  The scrubbing.  The rinsing.  The wringing.  The hanging.  The folding.  The hoping it gets put away before it makes it back to the mountain...

In between loads of laundry, here's what we accomplished today...
Afternoon nap on my lap...

knitting while said kid sleeps on lap...

post~nap reading...

Here are a few etsy finds that are sure to help sustain you through to that last layer of the mountain...

As if anyone needed an excuse!   

I tried some of this last winter and it is amazing!  

I really want one of these to do the laundry outside this summer.

Remarkably, even without a dryer, we still have the sock problem. 

Useful for a multitude of purposes.  

In my world, all days would end like this.  

Have a wonderful week, everyone~ 

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And the Winner is....

~~~Drum roll, please~~~  
And the winner is...  Tangent Spiral!  Congratulations, Carly!! You can contact me when you're ready for your free pattern!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated.  It was so much fun to hear all of your thoughts and ideas!  I can't wait to do it again soon~

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For the love of bull frogs...

Jake and some of his friends are presenting their program, "Aquatic Animals and their Habitats" at our local library's summer reading program next Wednesday.  They've been collecting reptiles all week and this is by far my favorite.  This giant female bull frog is over 12" long with her hind legs stretched out!
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On my needles...

I'm really enjoying this little summer lull in sales to create some new one~of~a~kind pieces for fall.  On my needles, is a pair of wide~leg longies with yarn I dyed to be reminiscent of a night's sky at dusk, illuminated by a full moon.

For this design, I'm planning on loads of hand knit and crochet applique, maybe a little needle felting, and a few other surprises too...

What's in your work basket this week?
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Road trip...

Sometimes all you need for a little sunshine in your life is to have someone yell, ROAD TRIP!  We woke up this morning wondering what to do and in a serendipitous moment, we resolved to grab our sweaters and head north 144 miles to one of our favorite cities...

Our first stop was the Omnimax theater where we hid out until the rain storm passed. (Yes, more rain.  Big suprise.)  The boys had never seen a film on an Omnimax screen and were in awe of the sheer size and feeling of being a part of the film!

Still raining, so next we hopped aboard the Trolly.  For 50¢ we could ride all through the city for as long as we liked!  

(It's really hard to get photos in focus on a bouncing Trolly car!)

At one of the stops, my sweet husband jumped off to grab a bag of cotton candy from this beachside vendor.

                                                                 Photo by Cole

As the rain cleared off, we departed for the pier to watch some wildlife, a sailboat race and visit the 100 year old North Pier Lighthouse as well as the Breakwater Fog Light, which was built in 1874 to protect the waters of the St. Louis Bay.

                                                          Photo by Cole

We never were very good at following the rules!

I'm so grateful to have a family who's willing to embrace the unexpected and follow along side me in all my crazy adventures!

If you have a favorite road trip or spontaneous moment, I'd love to hear about it!

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Basic gluten~free flour mix...

I recently picked up Cybele Pascal's, Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook from the library, and I can't tell you how happy I am to finally find a basic, all purpose, gluten~free flour mix that tastes like the real deal!  

Our go-to flour has been the Kinnikinnik brand, but with all of us having wheat allergies, commercial mixes can quickly blow the weekly food budget.   

For baking day this week, we decided to try a banana~raisin quick bread and I'm proud to say that it's the first pan in a long time that hasn't gone immediately into the trash!

Basic Gluten Free Flour Recipe::
*4 C. Authentic Foods Brown Rice Flour
*1 1/2 C. Ener G Potato Starch Flour
*2/3 C. Ener G Tapioca Starch Flour

Mix it all together and store in air tight container.

Banana~Raisin Gluten Free Quick Bread Recipe::
3 C. ripe bananas
1 2/3 C. sugar
2/3 C. veggie oil
2t. vanilla
4 eggs
3 C. basic gf flour mix
2 1/2t. xanthan gum
2t. baking soda
1/2t. baking powder
1t. salt
1t. cinnamon
1/2t. nutmeg
1C raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9 x 13 baking pan.  Mix all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients.  Stir in raisins.  Pour batter into pan and bake until knife comes out clean (approx 25 minutes).

Overall, delicious, but a little dry.  I think next time I'll add a little milk to the mix and see what happens.
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Summer Solstice... a week long celebration

Geesh, it seems like a long time since I've been in this space, but we've been celebrating a week long cumulation of birthdays, family visiting from Michigan, Father's Day, and Solstice!  We danced around the fire, played some beautiful music, ate a menacing amount of sugar and shared much love.  

Today, we just relaxed and made some treats for the backyard birds.  We ended up with so many that I think tomorrow we'll take a hike through the woods and leave a treat for our woodland friends also!

We used Emily's recipe but tweaked it a little.  We added a little more flour so the shapes would hold without keeping the cookie cutter in them.  Also since it was baking day and the oven was already hot,  I threw the pan in the oven for 20 minutes to firm them up a little faster.  When the pan cooled, we poked holes through the edge and using a large plastic needle, threaded them with scraps of wool yarn.  I can't wait to see what kind of birds we attract!

Here's to a beautiful week~

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Name that cowl...

Over vacation I stumbled upon these two trees next to each other in a park.

I fell in love with the graceful spiraling trunk of the cherry tree,  alongside the solid, rugged texture of this enormous,  ancient cottonwood.  I immediately decided the contrasting textures would make a remarkable knitting design, but what would I make?  After all, I was on vacation and wanted something quick and easy that didn't require much of my attention.... a cowl.

Talk about instant gratification!!!  After I finally figured out what stitches I needed to use to achieve the textures I was hoping for, it was easily finished in two days!

I really can't believe I never made one of these cozy cowls before.  With larger needles, the garment is light, airy, and easily manipulated into a multitude of shapes, as well as reversible and cozy warm for those damp rainy (and yes all to soon, snowy) days.

Now to name it.  This beguiling cowl needs an equally pleasing name, and I can't find it.  I keep hoping it will come to me in a dream or pop into my head on a bike ride through the countryside, but nothing~zip~nada.

So.... I'm hoping all of my wonderful readers will help me out, and let's have a little contest to boot!  I'm taking any and all ideas of names for this cowl.  I'll pick my favorite next Friday and the winner will receive a free pattern!!

If you absolutely must have this no~name cowl right this minute, you can purchase the pdf version at my shop, TheSittingTree.
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