Monday, April 14, 2014

Mini-Vacation

Over last weekend, my youngest and I took a mini-vacation, just the two of us.

We went to my parents so Roo could have a well-earned time by himself with all of the animals. It was perfect timing. Grandma had 5 baby goats that required a lot of bottle feeding.

 Several older goats as well- Roo just loved feeding them their "lunch".  At once point, he was picking up some hay and found himself surrounded by goats. His comment? "Hoo-whee!!! That's a lot ub goats!!!".
 The cat wasn't in the best of moods, but Grandma  held her so Roo could pet her a little.
 Blowing bubbles is more fun when you get to blow them at the dogs....
Grandma provided him with treats for the dogs too. He just loves feeding the animals- and they rather enjoy it also. ;)

He had so much fun. That night I put him to bed, left him alone for 10 minutes, and came back to this:
He had such a great time!
I rather enjoyed myself as well. No dishes, no cooking, no 1,000 questions from 4 different directions- just hanging out watching my youngest enjoy himself, talking with my parents and friends, and even reading a little. It was needed.
Now to get back to the busy life....

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Other Fiber Arts

I love knitting. I have loved it since that day over 10 years ago that my dear friend Michelle introduced me to the knit stitch.

However, as my knowledge of knitting grew, so did my awareness of the Other Fiber Arts.
Crochet, Spinning, Weaving, Tatting...there are so many things to do with fiber! I have wanted for a long time to explore some of the other fiber arts, but for various reasons, knitting has been my focus.

I've played with crochet a little. My grandma taught me when I was a wiggly 6 year old. I learned all of 2 stitches, and made lots of odd clothing for my little toys. But I don't have the love for crochet I have for knitting. I've learned a little more since then- I can crochet flowers now- but crochet is my accent for knitting, not my art.

I've played with spinning a little. I got my husband to make me some drop spindles, got a little fiber and a book and played with it. But I never learned to love it with the drop spindle. I always wondered what would happen if I got a spinning wheel. It just seemed to me that with a wheel I could do so much more so much faster that it would be more fun. (I'm a product knitter not a process knitter, if you know what I mean, and getting a tiny result with a lot of effort encourages me to find a new way of doing it -or just a new thing to do.)  But a wheel is expensive and not a need, so spinning just sort of died out for me. I got rid of the spindles, fleece, and book during a move, but I always wondered- "what if".

Well, I get to find out!


This lovely little versatile spinning wheel entered my home to stay last Friday night!  Yesterday, I finally had an opportunity to sit down, watch a couple YouTube videos on how to card wool for spinning, and do some actual spinning on a wheel.

I love it.

I don't think spinning will ever replace knitting for me, I love knitting too much- and it is so much more portable (because I'm still on into the drop spindle, sorry.), but I can definitely enjoy this!

This is my second basket full of rolags (wool that has been hand-carded and rolled in preparation for spinning). I was having too much fun learning to remember to take pictures of my first batch. This is sitting next to the rocking chair behind the wheel just waiting for me to have some free time.

This is my first attempt at spinning on a wheel. It's obvious even in the photo that the wool is uneven, too tightly spun, thick and thin, and has a lot of issues- but it's my first attempt....It took me a while to figure out the tension for the bobbin and flyer (the thing the yarn is on, and the part with the hooks that spins the yarn onto the bobbin), and I still don't think it's quite right. I'll get it figured though! And I'll have even more yarn for my knitting!

This gorgeous wheel and a whole bunch of wool and fiber to practice and play with was a gift. I am blessed beyond words. Once again, I have been given the ability to pursue something I very much wanted to do but couldn't afford to start.

Thank you, dearest Lynn. You were right. I am having a blast.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Huh.

Random little things that have been making me go "huh" lately:

1) Cutting my littlest one's fingernails, I find myself realizing that I used to cut my other kids' nails too; and I don't even remember when that stopped. Nostalgia hits a mom at odd moments for odd reasons. I wouldn't want to cut all their fingernails now, but I miss doing it. Why do I miss doing it? It must have something to do with that whole, "they're getting too old too fast" thing.

2) I'm 4 days into doing "oil pulling".  It's this somewhat odd thing I discovered through friends' posts on Facebook (my husband teases me endlessly for what I learn on FB and Pinterest!).  Read this article on it for more information; but basically, it's just swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for as long as you can stand it (I don't think I've made it longer than 5 minutes yet- if I'm lucky). Supposedly, it's very healthy and a good way to detox your mouth.  Possibly even whiten your teeth. I don't know if it's whitening my teeth, but after the first day, I noticed my teeth felt incredibly clean- which is always a good feeling.
    I have to say, I totally disagree with the opinion of the author of the aforementioned article that oil pulling is divine and sensual.  3 out of the 4 days, I've gagged horribly as I spit out the coconut oil. It's hard enough to put it in my mouth (in its fairly solid state), get it liquid, and swish it for a long time. Now, I like coconut oil, but that much of it raw and alone in my mouth is pretty intense.  So healthy, yeah, I can see that (I use coconut oil for a great variety of things, it's amazing- see this article); divine and sensual? Not so much. Pretty raw, organic, granola, hippie, and all that kind of thing.  I'm definitely enjoying the clean mouth feeling. But then, hubby has been teasing me about being a hippie for a while now....

3) Every time I think I've gotten something figured out, I find out I'm wrong.
I've had a design in my mind for some yarn for a couple years (it had to wait, I was knitting some books), and finally sat down to turn it into reality.  I totally figured I'd be sailing through it, it's a nice basic design for a cabled tank-top.  Yeah, not so much. I've knit and frogged (rippit, rippit) it 4 times already. Huh. Guess I don't know as much as I thought I did....

4)  I am continually amazed at little "coincidences".
For example, this morning, my oldest son informed me that he was out of notebook paper for school ("I can't do that report after all, Mom."). So I dredged some up from somewhere ("Oh, yes you can!"), and gave it to him, making a note to purchase more on grocery day as we have absolutely no more.
  This afternoon, a friend comes to visit- on her way out the door, she says, "Oh, I have some school supplies my kids don't need, could you use them??"
Packages of notebook paper on my doorstep.
Coincidence? I've never believed in the word and I never will. Call it what it is: Providence. He is Jehovah Jireh after all....

5) Every now and then, I feel like I need a little bit of encouragement. Life is hard, you know? And always changing- just when you get used to one kind of "hard", everything changes and you run into a new kind of "hard". Last night, I found more than just a little bit of encouragement. I found a lot. Here. For moms of older kids. (so much for that thing called "coincidence" again...the timing is always just so perfect, you know?)
 Huh.
Suddenly, I find myself a mom of older kids.
I guess that's pretty much how this post started, isn't it?

 Huh....


Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow Days 2014

 Last Thursday, it started snowing.

The kids were thrilled.

We don't often get snow in this typically rather wet part of the Pacific Northwest.



Snowmen were built, bikes were tested for weather-worthiness, and fortresses were constructed.

Saturday, the freezing rain came, and the fortresses became almost indestructible (and in-constructable as well)
The novelty wore off as the city shut down. Classes were cancelled, churches were closed, and we settled in to enjoy each other in our wonderfully warm home.
Warm fires, good books, fun games, walks in the snow to return to hot chocolate, knitting- and the kids' first time watching "The Fellowship of the Rings".
Snow days are good days. :D

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oh! Hello There!

Ack. I can't believe it's been two and a half months since I posted! Craziness!  And to be honest- I wouldn't be posting now, but my awesome sister-in-love reminded me I have a blog....

So since my last book was published, I've been super busy with family life.

We had a most excellent Thanksgiving.  Lots and lots of people came to our house and laughed and talked and ate way too much and laughed some more. We are so blessed to live in such a wonderful big house where we have room to entertain everyone we want to. What an amazing time it was.

Christmas was just fun and crazy and overwhelming and the best time with family. We went to my parents for the Day and J's parents for a few days after so he could help with some home projects, and it was great. Until the Roo got super sick the last 18hrs we were there- but we made it home with no vomiting, and J's van held together until he pulled into the driveway, when it gave up.  We made it there and back safely, though! That was a big answer to prayer.

January- I'm just in shock. I can't believe the month is gone.

My sweet Bear turned 8. Eight! What?! He lost his two front teeth for the occasion, and got his own room complete with his drum set.  I think he is happy. I know we are.

Then, my Sweetheart turned 12. Twelve. Ok, stop. I'm so not ready.  Not that that matters. Here we are anyway.  She is beautiful and growing and learning- and teaching me. I'm so thankful for this amazing daughter.

Knitting during all this?  Well, I managed to knit one thing for each kid and sew one thing for each kid for Christmas, plus knitting for most of our extended family gifts. I didn't really do any designing though. After finishing the last sample knit for the big book last March, knitting kind of went out the window for a few months. It wasn't until August that I really had any desire to knit again. That book was  a lot of work!  Now, I'm knitting, but I'm having a great time following other people's patterns instead of coming up with my own.

I finished a huge project- that World Map Afghan. It took me 3 years (since I started just before I got the book contracts), but it's done! And on my Bear's bed. He loves it. I need to get a photo of it, but have been negligent.

I made myself a cowl and matching "gloves",

made my daughter a horse beanie,
made my nieces and nephew some awesome toys from Susan B. Anderson books (they rock. Super cute toys, and some of them can be knit in a day- talk about instant gratification in knitting!), made a whole bunch of knitting headbands for various family members...
and lots of other little accessory knits- as well as a sweater for my Dad's 70th birthday and a matching vest for my Mom's Christmas.
It's been tons of fun. Simple knitting- following patterns instead of making them. Just the break I've needed. I only have plans for 1 design in the coming months, and while that is subject to change, this break from the designing section is really relaxing.

Besides knitting, I'm having tons of fun making Natural health and beauty products. I just got stuff to try my hand at natural deodorant- now I just have to find the time to do it. ;)

When I'm not playing with string or tallow, I'm teaching my kids, taking Taekwondo classes, taking my kids to Akido, swim lessons, youth group (yes, she is that old.), and SkateChurch.  Oh yeah, and cleaning, cooking...... Sometimes I feel like the typical "Soccer Mom".  

Life is good. Crazy, but good. And I like it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Done, It's Done, It's Done!!!!

3 years.

Sweat. (Dudes, you know you're committed when you knit with bulky weight 100% wool in Summer)

Tears. (Really, don't try to learn steeking on a design with donated wool that costs a lot of money. It's dumb. But thank God, it worked.)

And a LOT of frogging. 

I present 31 original Lobug Designs patterns in one book:


Currently in e-book form. If you want a print copy, contact me and we'll talk. 

Just in time for Christmas! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Story

Last Christmas, my wonderful Polish sister-in-love gave me this great ebook. All these excellent DIY recipes for beauty from Mommypotamus.

I confess I was a little bit overwhelmed by it at first. I wasn't sure if or when I would use it. At the time, we  had just (2months before) started the GAPS diet, and I was crazy busy just dealing with food- I didn't have time to deal with other aspects of my life. But the ebook looked interesting, and I figured at some point I'd have time to look at it.

The time came. I thought I would try a couple things to see if I could eliminate some chemical use from my life. I think the first thing I tried was the toothpaste, and I was hooked. For the first time since my last pregnancy (3yrs before), I was able to brush my teeth without feeling like I needed to gag and throw-up 30 seconds into it. And my teeth felt cleaner than with the store-bought chemical gunk. I was hooked.

I tried some lotion and balm.  My daughter loved it. I thought it was okay, but wasn't totally sold on the lotions. The lip balm, however, was excellent. I quit using any other.

Then, I had some tallow that I had rendered myself to use for the GAPS diet, and found that it was part of the recipes for some of the lotions and balms in the ebook. (more on tallow and rendering it) I gave a jar to my sis-in-love, and she used it for a moisturizer.

She discovered though, that it was too hard to use by itself, so she added some oils. Then, she graciously shared some of the mix with me. She discovered that it was a fantastic facial cream and helped her skin immensely. I tried it, but preferred my plain coconut oil. It got me thinking, though. From the research I'd done working with the ebook from Mommypotamus, my history of study of essential oils and such in Massage School years ago, and the lotion my sis-in-love gave me, I started experimenting.

I played with the recipes from the book, did more research, added things to the lotion my sis-in-love made, and found some really great natural health and beauty aids. Partly because I have access to large amounts of tallow (way too much for  me to use just for cooking or for lotions for just my family), I decided to see if others would be interested...... I gave some lotions away, my Mom gave some away.... my Mom sold some for me.... I tried some new recipes.... and Natural Health and Beauty by LobugDesigns on Etsy happened.



Check it out. I'm still experimenting. Right now I've got an Eczema Balm being tested, and more ideas.  So check back occasionally. It's good stuff. I love it. I use it constantly, and so does my family. Natural is always better than Chemical....