Throwing in the Towel

Well, as you may have noticed, we gave up on the 12 Days of Solstice, the day after Solstice.  I reacted badly to my antibiotics and the boys have been passing a bug back and forth since Thanksgiving.  I was tired and after Solstice, I just didn't care anymore.  We didn't make our annual ornaments or finish any handmade gifts.  We didn't go on a nature walk or sledding at midnight under the stars.  

In a way though, getting sick was the best thing that happened to our holiday season.  Instead, we made cozy nests on the couch and watched far too many old Warner Brother's cartoons on YouTube.  We shopped on Amazon and ate fruit with cheese and crackers for dinner.  We were quiet and peaceful and the house was filthy.  

You know what came from letting go of all those expectations?  The boys each came up to us the day after Christmas and said, "Mom.  Dad.  This was the best holiday ever."

Yes, yes it was.  

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Winter Solstice

On this, the shortest day of the year, we celebrate the changing of the seasons with good music, simple food and a warm glow of candle light. 

~ Wishing you a very Happy Winter Solstice ~

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12 Days of Solstice: Day 4

A great covert operation is under way around here:  handmade holiday gifts.  In our house, someone is always awake.  This means that there is never any good time for secret gift making and we have to get creative.  I won't even mention the hat I knit in the bathroom one year!  A few rows here, a few rows there...

Jake is up to something in the basement.

Luke has three gifts wrapped and under the tree.

I managed to knit this sweet little fox, while Mike and I watched a movie last night.  It's for Luke and I'm hoping that I can finish it tomorrow morning before he wakes up.

Now, that only leaves a gift for Cole, Jake and Mike.  I can totally make that happen in seven days, right?  Um, it's a good thing they won't mind if their handmade gifts are a little late this year!

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12 Days of Solstice: Days 2 and 3

We didn't even care that it was below zero cold, because the sun was shining.  

Christmas tree.  Check.

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12 Days of Solstice: Day 1

This is my favorite time of winter, when we take a few moments each day, for the next 12 days, to celebrate the changing of the seasons, another year around the sun, and finding our way out of the darkness and into the light.

* * * * *

Normally, our celebration begins on the eve of the Winter Solstice, but we all decided that after two weeks of being cooped up indoors, we needed a reason to rejoice!

Today, the thermometer rose above zero for the first time in far too long.  With a fresh blanket of snow, healthy babes and warm woolen mittens, we spent the afternoon at the sledding hill.  It felt so good to run and play and feel the warm sun on our cheeks!

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I Have Lyme Disease

With a nasty case of the flu making it's way through the house, I'm making my way through an illness of my own.  Last week, I found out I have Lyme disease.  As I look back over the last several months it seems obvious; aching joints, nausea, dizziness, weakness, etc., but it wasn't until the tell tale red ring showed up on my back that I knew exactly what was going on.  I needed a visit to the doctor.  He put me on a month of antibiotics and a diet of immune boosting foods, along with lots of rest and sleep.

It's times like this that I'm so grateful to be homeschooling and working from home.  Projects are finished when I've got the energy and I'm able to rest when I need to.  It's been our biggest holiday season ever for the shop, and Mike has been a huge help getting all of the holiday orders out in time!

So, we're only doing as much as necessary for the holiday season.  Celebrations will be very simple and more gifts may be purchased online, instead of made by hand.  I've made peace with it though, and am looking forward to our annual 12 Days of Solstice.... even if I do have to trade caramel corn and cookies for pomegranates and blueberries.

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Jack Pine Knitting Kit

I just love kits, don't you?  Sometimes I want to knit something fun, without having to run all over the countryside looking for the supplies!  The Jack Pine Knitting Kits come packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag and are perfect for gift giving.  You can find all the details here.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend~

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Knitting Mittens

It's been far too long since I've written about knitting, and a lot of knitting there has been...

I spent an afternoon last week sorting through the basket of winter accessories, trying to simplify our cold weather clutter.  It was overflowing with hats and mittens that had been worn out and out grown.  I love to see how much their little (and not so little) hands have grown from last year.  I even found a lone mitten of Luke's from when he was around 4 years old.  It's so tiny and I couldn't resist adding it to his keepsake box.

By the time I took out all unwanted items, the basket was almost empty.  No mittens?  Whatever shall I do?

Luke's mittens were first, one pair in a natural Fisherman's Wool and one pair in Shepherd's Wool.  This Fisherman's Wool is fantastic, because it retains the natural lanolin and keeps hands especially warm in wet snow, but the Shepherd's Wool is sooooo soft.  This was my first time working with the yarn, and I didn't want to lose any of the softness that can come from dyeing.  I also know that white mittens and white snow don't mix, so I dyed just a tiny bit of the skein red for some color at the finger tips.  To my delight, the red is just as soft and the rest of the mitten.

I designed these mittens a few years back and they've been my go to pattern for everyone.  I love that they're interchangeable, so you don't have to worry about which mitten goes on which hand.  I also love the tubular cast on.  It's incredibly stretchy and has a beautiful finished edge.  The color pattern was thrown in, because I love neutrals with a pop of color!  It was a great way to use up the left over bits of yarn from the stash, too.

I've knit these about a bazillion times for my kiddos, but I'd really appreciate having some test knitters make sure they fit appropriately for everyone.

If you'd like to test knit the Adair Mittens, please send me an email at:  thesittingtree at gmail dot com and let me know what size you'd like to knit:  2 to 4 years, 5 to 7 years, 8 to 10 years, Adult Small, or Adult Large.  I'll choose at least one person for each size.  I ask that you be able to complete the mittens by December 15th and also be able to try them on the recipient right away so we know that they fit.

What have you been knitting lately?

p.s. Joining Ginny

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Cyber Monday Sale

We're having a Cyber Monday Sale in the shop.  Take 20% off your entire purchase using coupon code Cyber2013.

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Small Business Saturday

It's Small Business Saturday, and we'd just like to say thanks to all of you who choose to spend your hard earned moola on small, local, or handmade businesses!  We will be adding new items to our shop all week, so be sure to check in often.  We'd also love for you to take a minute and check out our sponsors...

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Knitting Kit :: Rustic I Cord Wrap Bracelet

Everyday, I get emails from customers asking to buy the yarn and button just like the photo of the Rustic I Cord Wrap Bracelet.  So, I decided to put some knitting kits together.  Each kit contains hand dyed merino wool superwash yarn, a coconut wooden button and the knitting pattern.  You can find all the details here.  

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Spoon Carving

I bought myself a set of spoon carving knives for my birthday.  The day they arrived, I no sooner took them out of the package, than my oldest boy ran off with them.  "Ooooh, carving knives," was all I heard as he ran to the wood pile looking for scraps.  Oak, maple, pine.... whatever he can get his hands on.  Maybe I'll buy myself wood carving knives for Christmas instead.

p.s. We're having a giveaway here.  

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Homesteading: Building a Chicken Coop out of Recycled Materials

Well, we decided that maybe building an entire house before winter was a tad ambitious... and so we've decided to wait until spring to start the actual construction.  We didn't want all that wood sitting out over the winter, if indeed we couldn't finish before the snow got too deep to work.  The good thing, though, is that we've already put in the footings, so we won't have to wait for the ground to thaw out.

Feeling disappointed, we decided to go ahead and build a chicken coop to help lift our sprits and feel like we were doing something to move the homestead forward.  

On the eve of the first work day, with frozen fingers, sore shoulders and drops of rain streaming down my glasses, I sat back to take stock of the small amount of work we had accomplished.  Exhausted and frustrated by the weather and turn of events, I watched a flock of geese overhead.  I admired how they were able to flow and work together gracefully.  Each creature knowing exactly what it was supposed to do... until they didn't.  All at once, the birds scattered, twisting and turning haphazardly, almost as if they were falling out of the sky.  Jake said they just hit a gust of wind and got thrown out of formation, it happens all the time.  In a few minutes, they'll be back on track.  He was right, of course.

p.s.  In case you're wondering about photo details... The floor, siding and trim are from the playhouse and deck we took apart.  The skylight window was free from a friend.  The bricks, screws and plywood were leftovers from a previous project here at home.  The only things we had to buy were 2x4's, tar paper, and steel roofing panels.  We did find some free panels on craigslist, but decided the hour drive to pick them up wasn't worth it.  We rented a generator for the electric drill and circular saw, as we thought it would make work go faster.  We're not sold on power tools, except the nail gun.  We all really liked the air nailer.  By the third day, we ditched the electric tools for hand tools.  For us, they're faster and more accurate.  See that pile of wood in front of my feet?  That was all we had for scraps!  We learned from a lot of mistakes, and our motto of the day became: "We'll fix that right up with some trim!"  With the last moments of light, we boarded up the front with scrap plywood until spring, chatted with a neighbor, and took a moment to remember that it's all about the journey.  

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