Tuesday, August 19, 2014

just one more row...

Do you ever do that when reading?  Just one more page... Or knitting in this case, just one more row.

A while back I told you all about my love of knitting... although I learned to knit a long time ago, I haven't done much of it in recent years except for the occasional scarf or craft project.  Having Miss Bee around has kindled my interest again, especially since the projects are pretty quick when the someone is this small.

I even FINISHED a couple of old projects (gasp!)... like these tiny little Mary Jane style knit baby shoes.  I think this pair has been bouncing around my sewing stuff for at least two decades, yes I said two decades, and I can't believe that I still had BOTH of them... believe it or not the only finishing they required was the buttons.

A second project I finished up was a sweater I started a few years ago and obviously did not finish, are you noticing a pattern perhaps?  This baby, like Miss Bee, was an unknown gender so I had started the sweater in green with the intention of adding the pink or blue after the baby was born... needless to say it was finished with pink for Miss Bee!  Still a bit big for her but I'm sure she'll be fitting into it in no time.

Since I was feeling so proud of myself for finishing up a couple of projects I thought I'd have to start a new one... I'd come across the most adorable little green gingham dress at The Gap and couldn't resist... it was on clearance too... but I knew it would need a little sweater in case our fickle Pacific Northwest summer showed up and caused some cool days.

I had this yellow Cascade 220 yarn on hand from my felted knitted bag days and got on Etsy to look for baby "shrug style" sweaters that would use a worsted weight yarn.  I found a cute one that was even sent to me electronically so I could get on it right away.

It was a fun and quick project due to the yarn size being bigger than the typical baby weight yarn.  I even lived a bit dangerously and used the required double pointed needles for the sleeves instead of my usual cheat of regular needles and an underarm seam.  I was disappointed that I couldn't find a cute daisy like button (which is what was stuck in my mind as the perfect choice) but all in all happy with the finished sweater... yes, finished too!

Now you may remember this planned project from my "love knitting post"??  This yarn is the same yarn used in the green and pink sweater... a fantastic baby weight wool yarn made by Dale of Norway called Baby Ull.  A really soft, merino wool that is actually machine washable as well.

This pattern was a bit of a challenge for me both in the fair isle knitting and the way it was made with stitch holders for sleeves, the raglan shoulders and the fair isle pattern.  I had a promising start way back in March but kind of petered out on it when I got to the underarms and the part where all the pieces came together to be knit as a whole.... Fast forward about 4 1/2 months...

Since I hadn't done a fair isle project in years, I was pretty impressed with my neatness on my stitches and carrying of the second yarn.

Since the purple and gold is inspired by the colors of the University of Washington (Miss Bee's parents alma mater) and the mascot is a Husky we did look for little dog or husky button to no avail...

I do like the purple flowers and they are the right size and color but if Miss Bee has a brother some day we may have to keep looking for those dogs for a swap out..

.But now at least little Miss Bee is all ready for the upcoming season of college football...

In a stylish, yet warm and cozy manner!

Of course I have a couple more little knitting projects lined up including this one for winter... to be made out of a heavier weight yarn in charcoal, Cascade 128 Superwash which is very soft and fuzzy.  I purchased this pattern from the same Etsy seller as the yellow shrug pattern and am really looking forward to making this little swing style coat for cold fall and winter days.

But first will be this cute and super easy pattern out of some more Cascade yarn I've had for a bit... and this pattern?  Well it was a free pattern at Cascade Yarn's website

This is the yarn I'll be working with, but it actually looks a little more "denim-y" in person so I'm hoping it will have a little bit of a jean jacket look to it to go with a little sewing project I'm working on...

But for now, it feels good to have needles in hand again,

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

porch sitting

Last Thursday, around noon, my husband texted me a picture from our local antique store.  My first thought was "what are you doing at the antique store and why aren't you at work?"  My second thought was what a cool bench!  His actual comment with the picture was "Not sure where you'd put them but you need a birthday present"... I guess I'm pretty low maintenance since it was 3 weeks after my actual birthday but it's the thought that counts, right?  And where to put them?  Well I'm sure I could come up with something.

We've been "enjoying" unusually warm weather here in the Pacific Northwest so I decided to get some things done inside last Sunday instead of outside... fitting my birthday present into my front porch moved to the top of my list.

I had decided to rearrange a bit and take the two wicker chairs totally out of the space.  I picked them up at Pier 1 right after we moved here but they were never comfortable... I even tried down cushions but still way too hard and uncomfortable to sit in for very long... although my labs did love them.   (You can see my porch before here  , here and more recently here.)

Of course this little swap created a domino effect and everything on this side of porch was moved around.  An old metal plant stand that previously held my lemon tree was the perfect size for a side table and a vintage tray (yes that IS Niagara Falls) fit snugly on top.  Just right to hold my cold drink.

The bottom shelf fit a vintage child's booster seat... some gardening books and Martha's huge entertaining book that doesn't fit anywhere fit just perfectly.

My new perch for reading... and the sunny view isn't too bad either.

I kept the two down pillows from the wicker chairs to act as a cushion and snagged a pillow off the couch to lean against.  Now I have a cozy little spot to sit back and read a book... a spot that isn't in the living room when the TV is on... nor sitting at the dining room table or even in bed!

Just enough room for me to stretch out with a good book... and I think it may even stay clean since the dogs don't seem to care for it too much.

Removing the wicker chairs really made this little front porch seem bigger too.  Those chairs were pretty bulky, barely fitting through the doorway.

And perhaps you noticed that there was a metal chair to match the bench... one cool thing about both is that they actually fold up!  Nice during the holidays when the Christmas tree comes out here.

The other side didn't change much except for the little green wire plant stands moved back to their original spots in from of the windows... only one jade plant in each and lots of white milk glass bud vases to fill them up.

The freebie cabinet didn't move anywhere... this really is the perfect spot and it's shelves on the closed side are full of my growing Little People collection... just the right spot for some playing on the floor someday.

The scraggly lemon tree didn't stay in front of the door, it moved over into the right side corner but I was hunting for the plant saucer I needed to put it on before moving it.

And the other little addition?  Well, this was my purchase a couple of weeks ago.  A vintage metal child's outdoor chair.... it's actually a rocker too!

For now until a certain someone gets a bit bigger it can stay inside in the porch.

Cuz this little someone isn't quite ready for a chair of her own yet.

Last Friday I got to be the babysitter for a bit while my daughter had an appointment... it was a hot day and we enjoyed a little walk to Green Lake in Seattle.

But as you can see, as "selfie" expert I am not!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

tea & country, a bridal shower that is

It's been a busy summer and before that a busy spring here at Red Gate Farm.  A couple of weeks ago I hosted a bridal shower tea for my niece... my niece that is getting married here at Red Gate Farm in under 2 months!  But first up, I have to warn you all there are a ton of pictures here... so sit back with what else, but a cup of tea, and enjoy!

We used to have a store when I was growing up named "Town & Country"... it was a woman's clothing store but when I was thinking of a name for this post I thought "tea & country" kind of fit!  Although this shower was planned to be a tea party complete with rented chairs and tables; mismatched teapots, china and silver; thrifted linen tablecloths and napkins... it was also going to have a country element since well, I live in the country and weather permitting it would be outside.

We've been "enjoying" a hot and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest and although we actually had some heavy rain a few days before the shower, the day of the shower was gorgeous... and hot.

As usual, the shower had to have a theme... since it was a tea party and I wanted to request that the invitees bring recipes to share with the bride-to-be I was on the lookout for some fun recipe cards.  The macaron cards I found were the perfect colors and so fitting of a tea party.

I gathered supplies including baker's twine in fun colors to make up little bundles of recipe cards.

And found the perfect invitations on etsy.  Macarons, buntings and of course, the perfect colors (or at least some of my favorites)!

Part of the planning and implementation involved a trip to Seattle (and of course a day with Miss Bee!) to head to the world famous (really, it is) Pike Place Market for tea, flowers and a stop by at a french bakery.  Although it was a cloudy and rainy Thursday, the crowds were out in force on this July day.

I wanted to find a bunch of flowers in white to complement the zinnias, bachelor buttons and sunflowers from my own gardens but wasn't successful.  I do love the flower market and am amazed by the prices!  Low ones that is.

The french bakery was Le Panier... we needed a few french goodies... namely the macarons!  It was so crowded inside and out that I couldn't even get a good photo... oops.

Instead of balloons at the end of the drive we used an old chair painted in my favorite shade of ASCP and one of my infamous chalkboards for signage.

Another chalkboard directed the guests to my "backyard" for the afternoon tea.

Since I knew I would be quite busy with setting the tables and because of the placement of the tables in a shady area, I felt I wouldn't have a lot of time to decorate.  So the evening before I strung up some clothesline on my garden fence and hung handkerchiefs with tiny wooden clothespins.  Fun, festive and hopefully it drew guest's attention away from any weeds!

My vintage iron glider was put to use holding gifts for the bride-to-be.

And even the rustic greenhouse made for a whimsical backdrop to the tables.

Tables set with my collected, but mismatched, china and teacups.  Of course the white milk glass bud vases collected for my daughter's wedding a couple of years ago came out of hiding to be filled with garden flowers.

Like my zinnias!

You may have noticed the field is planted in corn again this year... that is around 10 feet tall.  It actually made for kind of a cozy and intimate setting for the afternoon.

Guests started finding a seat upon arrival...

And the littles even a had a table of their own with pint sized chairs.

The mismatched theme carried throughout the place settings.

The teapots too...

Little creamer and sugars were at each table... this one from a thrift store is one of my favorites in white, gold and aqua.

You may notice the wrinkled linens... I personally embrace the wrinkled look since ironing all of these napkins and tablecloths was not on my to do list, and if I'm completely honest... no ironing is on my to do list!

Some Cath Kidston inspired fabric stood in for an additional tablecloth with vintage sugar spoons tucked in it's fold.

Paper straws, fun jar lids and mason jars in clear, blue and green were just waiting to be filled.

With lemonade or ice tea...

You could even add some sparkling water to make your own sparkling lemonade.  And since the day was quite hot, a pitcher of ice water was a must.

You may recognize most of this from my daughter's wedding.  I've finally gotten all of my "party stuff" in a big closet and organized but THAT show and tell is for another day!

The sweets table was all set up and waiting for the goodies...

And none too soon with guests arriving right on time.

Typical tea food like cucumber and cream cheese "sandwiches", chicken salad mini croissants, oriental chicken pasta salad and a Barefoot Contessa Frittata were all on the menu.

The sweets table was by far the prettiest...

The gorgeous, and quite tasty, macarons... including raspberry, pistachio, passion fruit, lemon, chocolate, espresso, vanilla and orange.

Pristine little meringues and chocolate sables (still in their bag) also came from the french bakery with some frozen eclairs from the plain old grocery store rounded out this end of the table.

Mini vanilla cupcakes, a recipe from Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle, make a ton and are so easy to make in a large batch of 96!

Plenty to share and take some home too!

And next to the cupcakes, my sugar cookies, which are always a hit, are easy to make ahead.

My pink and green milk glass pedestals joined the plain white milk glass for a fun display.... and the background was kind of pretty too.

Finally time to enjoy the efforts put forth by myself, my sister and my daughter... the hosts of the shower.

Everyone found a seat... and I, of course, have to point out Miss Bee being held by her great-grandmother, my mom.

The guest of honor, my niece, looking quite pretty as the bride-to-be.

Hopefully Red Gate Farm will look as pretty come the beginning of October for the big day.

The bride-to-be and her mom, my sis in law, as well as her two sisters.

The bride-to-be cheated a bit and was caught looking through her shower game booklet...

And notices the "70 days" and county page!

The booklets were fun to put togehter... with wrapping paper on the covers, macarons again, and a couple of games and a bingo card for gift opening... my favorite way to keep everyone involved in the actual gift opening.  One of the games had a "disney" theme since the bride and groom to be were engages at Disneyland AND she and her sisters kind of have a "disney" obsession.

Guests enjoyed the games and bingo.

My cohosts... of course the only picture and my daughter will not be thrilled to see she was caught with a cookie in hand... and mouth!

Miss Bee managed to sleep through the hubbub.

But for the littles not sleeping I had stocked the kid's table with crayons, paper dolls...

And whoops... not tiny kid friendly scissors!  I'll have to plan better in the future...

The bubbles kept some busy...

While the bride opened gifts... the first from my daughter and I.  A requested cake stand and a plethora of cupcake items inspired by a Trophy Cupcake box and theme!  And yes, the bride-to-be likes to make cupcakes!

A cute teapot was another well received gift...

Ribbons and bows from the gifts were used to create a traditional ribbon bouquet for the wedding rehearsal...

So fun...

And finally (well almost) a little favor for everyone to take with them...

We filled my vintage berry picking carts...

With cute little cups full of tea type goodies...

Each little bag contained a vintage tea cup with or without it's saucer; honey sticks in a couple of flavors like raspberry and orange; and little tea bags enclosed in glassine bags... Red Rose for one great grandmother and Lipton for the other.  And if you wonder where all those teacups came from?  Well the thrift stores and estate sales of course!

By evening all the guests were gone and the party venue looked a bit bare.

So I kept the bunting up just a bit longer!

And because I can't resist AND she was a much adored guest at the shower...

Miss Bee at 7 weeks...

Miss Bee at 8 weeks (love this expression!)...

Miss Bee two days after the shower at her 2 month doctor's appointment... looking rather skeptical of someone or something I must say...

And Miss Bee sleeping peacefully.  Two months already, hard to believe.
Like many of you, life at Red Gate Farm has been busy this summer but I hope to catch up on some posts as I've taken lots and lots of pictures to share.

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