Thursday, November 26, 2009


quiet expression
abundant inspiration
joyful gratitude

My wishes for you, my family, my Spirit-Sisters and my Friends. Thanks to you for what you give. All days and today especially, I hope you find yourself surrounded by goodness and goodies and heaps of gratitude.

Much love - Annri

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the makings of a happy birthday

warning: long story but with a happy ending.

Hana turned five last Monday. To start things off right, she opened a few gifts in the morning, before big brother and dad went off for their days. Then, our usual but special playdate. Next, meatball making, cake baking and decorating with me! That all requires a stay-at-home-day which is our favorite kind, so there's a bonus gift. After her favorite dinner, came opening the extra surprise: her cool pink plasma car! Then blowing out the candle on her birthday cake! Check out the cute candle holder doll from The Small Object! That was one of Hana's a.m. gifts, and she was so tickled with a special holder that she decided to forego any other candles because "this is special enough by itself, mama." Sweetie! It was a great day.

After the "business" of celebrating, on Tuesday we began to prepare for her birthday party, which was Sunday. Hana's vision for the party included a pinata, "We definitely, definitely need to have a pinata, Mom!" She had been very consistent with that wish, so it became my vision too. My vision for a pinata included homemade, so we made a pretty good-sized mess with some flour, water, and newspaper; it was so fun! I love that after the mess got going, she asked for her apron (the one my mom made for her) and then there was no stopping her! I even took a pretty long phone call while Hana pasted away! One round bowl, one flat-bottomed bowl, some tape, some poster paint, a red felt ball cherry on top, and a healthy dose of imagination, and by Sunday we had a cute, petite cupcake pinata filled with lollipops, some mini candies, and flower fairies (and a race car, believe me, he liked the race car better)! Alas, I did not get a photo of the pinata.
For the party, Hana requested a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top, yummy! Serendipidously, Alison posted her recipe for buttercream frosting just that week, mentioning a chocolate version... hmmm... perfect! I got up the courage to try it (by myself Saturday night) and it worked out delicously! It seemed like Alison was right there in my kitchen holding my hand and encouraging me through the whole thing. Thank you, Alison!
Do you remember my watched-pot knits? Well, Saturday night while watching the frosting do its thing, I was putting the finishing re-touches on the princess crown hat Hana is wearing in the outdoor photo above (click on the pic to enlarge). Alison also held my hand through that one, as she designed it and included the pattern in her beautiful book, Fairy Tale Knits.
To make a sweet long story shorter, Alison and I go way back, about fifteen-years-and-five-children-between-us back (not to mention the number of knits and baskets between us!). After we'd known each other for about six years and had become very good friends, life moved her family away from Ann Arbor. I am a poor long-distance friend (however this blog and the internet are helping me mend my ways), so Alison and I were only in touch very infrequently. Miraculously, the occassional out-of-the-blue phone call or note would land itself at the moments in our respective lives when something wonderful was happening for the other; another baby, a year in Rome, Italy, another baby! Most recently, a comment on this blog cropped up, and the something wonderful was her book! My amazing friend, Alison, wrote a book! We have picked up where we left off many years ago, even coming to the realization that we read the same blogs, knit the same projects, and need a good buttercream frosting recipe! These coincidences are nothing new to our relationship, but even over all the miles and all this time, the things that brought us together when we were two miles apart remain the same; that is such a reassurance (and a testament to her patience as a friend). Thank you, Alison.
So, did you catch that, re-touches to the hat? After I finished it the first time, it stretched in length like crazy, it covered Hana's eyes! The beauty of the repair was that I only needed to take out the hem and picot edge since the hat and crown were knit separately and then joined for the edge and hem! Yes, I did see the wee hours of the morning, but hey, it wouldn't be a birthday around here if I hadn't!
Still with me? I warned you this would be long, but I hope you smiled a few times... we sure did!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today is Hana's fifth birthday! Of course, I wonder where the time has gone, but then I watch her, and I see. She has used this time wisely, and where I see missed moments and too many rushed times, she has inserted creativity, tolerance, and good humor. Five years ago on this day, I saw a creature, today I see a creator. Really, she's been creating since that very first day; she created a mother of two, a father of a daughter, a big brother, a family of four, just like that, just by virtue of being.
We are celebrating by having a usual Monday (a playdate, quiet afternoon), but we're sprinkling in some extra special moments (putting together a new puzzle, preparing a special meal) to make the day hers. Tonight there will be cake and singing and a few more presents. Not too much, enough to be special for her.

Here's to our girl of vision and creativity: May you always possess the power to create your beautiful vision as you possess it today. Happy Birthday, Dear Hana!
ETA: In case you're interested, I fancy this Hana's theme song: Wonder, by Natalie Merchant.
Do certain songs seem like they just fit certain moments in your life, as if life was a show with a soundtrack?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Many of you know my sister, Si. But did you know this about her? She and her friend, Helen, have begun a great knitwear business called Rain+Jack! When she was visiting over the summer, I got a sneak peek at some of the wooly goodness that they make with their own four hands, and the pieces are to-die-for cozy and happy. Of course, the website is fun; if you know my sister you knew it would be. You get to pick out color combinations and then "click!" you're the designer! How cool is that? Very. You could go tonal and neutral with the heather greys or ivory, or you could go happy and fun with the bright shades (the geranium is my favorite)!

You'll see that the styles are simple but chic. The Toastie hat is adorable any which way you wear it! At the top of the Stovie hat, it's an i-cord sorta chimney cuteness! Scarfigan makes me want to button up and wedge myself into the couch with my knitting and a podcast. That design is so cute with the contrast (or not) pockets which peek out down at the bottom - I love that best! And for the un-giftable someone, the iCosy in their colors is so great (I'm thinking teenagers' and their school colors).

Woo-hoo! GO RAIN+JACK!!! Please, go check it out, go play designer, and go shopping!

Can you tell that I'm proud?! ;-)

my place and yours: blog hq

This week's My Place and Yours theme is Blog HQ. So, here's my computing corner. It's in the living room these days, tucked in the corner by the window. I can be nearby for Hana playing around since her favorite play space is any space I'm in! It's nice that the feeling's mutual!

It's an old table that we found at our local treasure shop way back when, before kids. It has a creaky sway to it; one of those sounds that worrisome yet familiar and homey. The candle holder was a birthday gift from a too far away friend. The lidded pumpkin sculpture is a Koji original (I think from grade 5?); I can't tell you how precious it is to me, but you probably have objet d'art for which you have similar feelings... A gnome home and the resident gnome from a school sale many years ago. A stack of wooden slices which Hana placed there a while ago and for some reason I like them there (they also make nice coasters). And then the small piece of free-form crochet, also from Koji's hands (grade 3). On the wall, a root wreath that friends gave to me for my birthday over a decade ago at our local farmers' market. Within the wreath, my wooly goddess of curly-locks, Aubergine, whom I bought for myself for a long-ago birthday.

My corner is full of love, you see...

Monday, November 2, 2009


Here they are! Twenty-five new mini-socks/stockings that I knit for Socktoberfest! Add these to the few I knit last year, and that's plenty for an Advent garland and some gifts. I'm so glad that I did this as a knitalong on Ravelry, because being part of a group really upped the mo-jo for me to keep going. :) Here they are for their formal photo-shoot. Aren't they cute?! ;-) Now, to figure out the garland part... finger-knitted chain? ribbon? 25 mini's on a small tree? Oh, what fun! Then the hard part... what to put inside each one??? Any suggestions? Please?!
I'm off to make this yumminess for my family and a friend's, so I'd better sign off. Feels like November outside, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

BOO! Did you have a fun-filled Halloween? We sure did! Pumpkins to carve, leaves to jump in, food to bake, costumes to change into (and change into again!), grandparents to visit, and dinner & trick-or-treating with good friends! Phew. The baking I did were gallettes/handpies a'la Maya. Yummy! I will definitely make them again, soon. (note to self: do not shy away from making home-made crust, it's no biggie!) Mmmm...
I will try to have a Socktoberfest Mini-sock/stocking wrap-up post tomorrow. My attention turned to the craft room today, so it's looking pretty tidy and ready for some holiday creatin'!