the many faces of onawa

It’s not often I get to slow down and just appreciate the pure joy and beauty that is my daughter. As life with two is a lot busier than I ever could have imagined. However, I am aware of this lack of presence with my precious baby girl and it makes me sad, as my son got an abundance of undivided attention from me both day and night. So I always make sure to take every opportunity I can to cherish her little sweet self; to simply stare into those big brown eyes and appreciate the wonder that she is.
I love You Onawa, more than you will ever know. Most of all I want you to know that even though I may be busy running around busy as can be, I appreciate you and all that you are, all that you have brought into my life.

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oatmeal – a start.

Well i’ve finally started on my Oatmeal Pullover. I’ve had this yarn for about a year (almost exactly) which means i’ve been peaking in the brown bag it came in for months, imagining how the skeins would look knit up. So it’s about time. I’m not exactly moving fast on this one, but it’s begun and it has a shape resembling a sweater, so it’s a start.

(Sunny was a big fan of these tags, chasing them as if they were his tail. So cute!!)

 

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pixies and bonnets

I can’t stop knitting these. Honestly. How cute are pixie hats and baby bonnets. After knitting a bunch of toques and then rosa hats and then cabled hats, I guess I was just in need of a new baby hat shape to work on. I had no idea I cared so much! April asked me to knit Onawa a pixie hat and obviously I was excited for a new project for our baby girl down in California. Knitting is my way of sending them a piece of us. I knew I would make it purple, because I wanted it to match the new doll that April made her ( and i’m hoping will blog for us! ) which is also wearing a purple pixie! I knew though, that I didn’t want to make the same pixie hat that everyone seems to make. Luckily, I remembered my sweet Tristan had bought me the book “Vintage knits for modern babies” for christmas!! By the way Tristan, spot on. So happily I whipped up a purple ‘vintage pixie cap’ and before you know it i’m making 4 more, and not long after that i’m making modern baby bonnets too. Why make one when you can knit a bunch?

Ravelry link for the pixies / Ravelry link for the bonnets

 

Sunny helped model them for me, until I had seen any real babies in them… like sweet Callum in his bonnet that we mailed him. Thanks Tim and Karen for sending me a picture of him! And Onawa for starting me on this trend!

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nina knits

Look at this knit covered beach bum, could there be anything cuter? I swiped these cell phone pics from April. The tunic she’s wearing is the Emma Tunic (fitting? Emma for Ema!) which I fell in love with the minute I discovered. The yarn I got at Knotty by Nature, my used-to-be local knitting store until they moved and broke my heart! Of course they are still local, just not AS local to me as they used to be. Anyhow I loved the gray and white yarn and bought a ton of skeins, using it for Onawa’s tunic and for Owen’s annual nina hat. The tunic turned out more shirt like than anything, so it could be knit a bit longer next time.. but at least it still fits? I died when I saw this photo of her on the beach, wearing the hat I made her in the fall too! The booties I believe are knit by her great grandma.

My tunic ravelry link here.


Rosa Hat)

For Owen I tried the hurricane hat. I actually made this one twice. The first hat seemed huge and fit Tristan’s head perfectly, so I couldn’t imagine it would fit Owen’s. So I cut down the stitches and tried again. Well it turns out that the one I made him just about fits Onawa instead! Luckily I have the first hat still which I mailed down today. Now the kids can be matching? I have no idea if they will like that. I bet Onawa would though, she seems pretty in love with her big brother!! (From what I can see online anyways – a sad nina living so far away)

Hurricane Ravelry link here

Obviously, I love these babies. I love knitting for them and they are such a big part of why i’m such an avid knitter to start. I hope they can look back one day on their piles of nina hats and small dresses and know just how much they are loved. – Jenna

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Christmas in Victoria

(This beautiful needle felted stocking was made for us by April!! April we love them!)







Spending Christmas in Victoria meant I could soak up every second of holiday while working away in my living room. Crafting this year was like a full time job! I started in November and worked away on knits and quilts almost every single day. It was perfect and so lovely. I was a bit in denial about taking down our tree a couple weeks ago, but we ripped the bandaid and now i’m happy to have that extra bit of space back. Still knitting though, as it is winter after all! I know it’s late, but Merry Christmas! All the gifts to come! – Jenna

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fall fairies

Inspired by my friend Alixandra Mullins we decided to make our very own fall fairy house for our garden. We started by taking a nature walk through the woods. As we took our walk we spoke of fairies, we noticed the changes around us,  and we collected items for our fairy house. Everything from the falling leaves to the acorns on the ground, spoke to us that fall was indeed in the air. For our fairy house we collected leaves, moss, and acorn tops and soon both Owen and Onawa were fast asleep. I continued my walk enjoying the quite of the woods, and letting the beautiful wonders of mother earth rejuvenate me. Back at home I got out our metarials. For this project you will need:

  • A hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Wooden bird house (we purchased ours from Beverly’s)
  • Items picked up from nature (leaves, acorns, moss, etc.)
I laid out all of our items found on our walk on the table next to the bird house and let Owen apply the Elmer’s glue to the bird house and start adding the nature items on. I added hot glue to parts that were not sticking so well. Once we felt our creation was complete we let it dry and once ready we moved it out to our garden. The fairy house has been a great addition to our garden. Owen has fun checking it out everyday, inspecting it for new critters or maybe even a fairy that has moved in.

We have yet to notice any visitors to the fairy house but we are sure to check it everyday in anticipation of a new friend.

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rain of leaves

Leaves

Little  leaves, little leaves,
High up in the trees,
Little leaves, little leaves,
Swinging in the breeze.
Autumn comes along
And they change from red to brown
Winter comes along.
And they flutter to the ground.

Inspired by this little poem and our valentines painting activity I brought out our stack of coffee filters and started cutting them into the shapes of leaves. I then set out some fall water color paints for Owen on yogurt lids that I collect and keep for such activities and he was off painting.

Then as he would finish up painting leaves I would hang them up to dry on some yarn I had strung across our kitchen window and give him some more blank leaves to paint. Once completely dried we added some glue to the leaves and stuck them to our sliding glass door for all to enjoy.


This is the paper that was set under the leaves Owen was painting. Doesn’t it just look gorgeous?

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The story of Ema Onawa

Six weeks ago our daughter Ema Onawa was born. These first weeks with her have been blissful as we have been enjoying and relishing in every moment, first smiles, first cries, first cuddles, all of it spectacular. We are just now slowly exiting the baby bubble and the fog that comes along with having a newborn. Onawa was born at home September 8th 2011 at 11:34 p.m. Surrounded by family and friends our baby girl was welcomed into our home and on to this magical place we call Earth with peace, warmth and love.

My labor started on the morning of the 8th, I went about my day taking care of Owen and tidying up the house not exactly sure if that day would ultimitely be our childs birthday or not. I did however ask Sal to stay home from work as my contractions were strong and regular enough for me to think it might be time for us to meet out baby sooner rather than later. As the day went on my contractions stayed quite regular, about 10-15 minutes apart and strong enough that I would take pause when feeling one come on. I stayed in touch with my birth team throughout the day, letting them know how I was feeling. Around 6 p.m. I was starting to think this birth was going to be the same story as with Owen, long and in need of help to get moving. It had almost been 12 hours of pre labor and although I was feeling fine I was getting scared that I would have a repeat of Owen’s birth story. And so I decided to ask my friend Marika over. Extremely knowlegable about birth, as well as a strong, supportive woman and a close friend I knew she was the perfect support person for my labor. When Marika arrived at my house I was upstairs in the bath. With the bussiness of the day and taking care of a toddler I was feeling that maybe I was stuck in early labor because I was not focused and so I decided to take some much needed time alone. Surround by the aromas of birthing oils and candlelight I started to look inward, letting myself surrender to the birthing process, asking it to come to me, and focusing on my strengh as a women and my abilities to birth from within. I was glad for this time alone to welcome birth, I told my little one I was ready to meet him or her, ( as we did not find out our baby’s gender) that we would together have a peaceful and safe birthing journey. After being in the bath for about 60 minutes I decided I was feeling a bit too relaxed and that I was ready to start feeling these contactions stronger. I was ready to meet my baby and I wanted it to happen before the night was through.

Marika and I headed into Owen’s bedroom to have her feel the baby’s position and to practice some reflexology on my feet. Marika suggested we call our friend Jessica over for some labor inducive acupuncture and I completely agreed that that would be a good idea. Jessica arrived around 8 p.m. and got me set up with some needles. All the while Sal and Owen were by my side. When I would have a contraction Owen would come to me, embrassing me tightly. I could tell he wasn’t scared for me but genuinely feeling compassion for me and giving me his support. I could feel his love for me radiating out of his body on to mine. Love is such a powerful thing, and birth has shown me that like no other experience in life. When held by Owen I hardly felt the pain of my contractions at all, and as the night progessed and the intensity of my contractions hightened Sal was nessasary for me to get through. I needed his love and pressence that night like I needed air to breath.

Once all the needles were in place Jessica let me know she would now simply tweak them a little to get my labor coming on stronger. Immediately I received the strongest contraction I had felt all day and from that one out they kept coming 4 minutes apart. If anyone ever needed living proof that acupuncture can work this was it! By this time it was 8:30 p.m. and time for our little Owen to go to bed. His Nana and Lito came to pick him up. I was sad to have him go and sad that he would miss out on this experience, however he needed his rest and looking back on it now I wonder if I truly could have let myself progress into the heart of labor with him present.

With labor now fully active Marika phoned for Roxanne (our midwife) to come over. By 9 p.m. Rox had arrived with her daughter as her birth assistant. My birth team had meanwhile set up the rest of the house for birth. The lights were dimmed, candles lit, peaceful music put on and our bedroom ready for birthing. Rox checked me and I was dilated to 5 centimeters, this made me so happy, I knew I would be soon meeting my baby. My friend Rebecca arrived shortly after this as she was to take photos of the birth. I was in the middle of a strong contraction when she arrived but as soon as I got a break I took time to say hello. My whole birth team was now present and their love and positive energy was helping me through this beautiful journey.

Labor was really starting to pick up now, I was trying different positions, vocalizing throughout my contractions and needing Sal’s touch every moment of it. His presence was calm and so supportive, exactly what I needed him to be. As the contractions got stronger I kept waiting to fall into some foggy laborland where I would be sort of lost within myself but rather I found myself extremely alert and the most present I have ever felt in my life. Between contractions I was able to stay connected to what was happening around me and when another contraction would come I would completely let it wash over me, never resisting but rather becoming one with the sensation.

Suddenly my body was sweating profusely, I was so hot and decided it was time to remove all layers. My body began shaking out of my control and I finally hit a point in my labor where I was telling everyone around me I couldn’t do it anymore, I told Rox if it got any harder I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. This was a sure sign that I was in transition. Rox asked to check my cervix again, I was at 8 centimeters and this felt very disappointing to me as I thought hours had gone by but little did I know it had only been about one hour since she had last checked me. My labor was moving fast, I however wasn’t aware of that. Not too long after this I started feeling the urge to push. I was sitting up on the bed leaning back into Sal, not at all how I had envisioned birthing but actually so perfect. I could lean back into him when I needed rest and push into his arms for strength when I needed to push. It was with this part of my labor that I realized how much I truly did not experience pushing with Owen’s birth. My epidural had worn off by the time I was pushing him out but wow that could not compare to what I was now feeling.

I found pushing to be a much more interactive part of labor, you have to give it all the strength you can muster, you have to make yourself experience pain like no other, it’s a choice I find you have to make, not something that just takes you over. Whereas with contractions you just let them wash over you and you go along for the ride. I found myself holding back when pushing because as soon as the pain would get unbearable I would stop or not give it as much power. I finally had to come to terms with myself that if I wanted to meet my baby I would have to feel the worst pain I have ever known. I started telling myself, “burning!”, ” I want this to burn” while pushing as I knew that would mean my baby was crowning. I was starting to get very impatient to meet this little one, I had waited 9 months to meet this little being inside of me and I didn’t want to wait anymore. I needed to hold my baby, I needed to give him or her some big kisses. I screamed a few “get this baby out”, “OUT!!!”, “I want my baby!” a few times, the people living in the townhouse next to us must have had an entertaining night for sure. Soon our baby’s head was crowning and once out I still had to push like crazy, no sliding out after the head for this gal, this was one BIG baby! Finally My work paid off and Rox placed her on to my bare chest. I looked down to my baby and couldn’t stop exclaiming “I love you, I love you so much!”. Hypnotized by my baby I never even thought to check for gender, Sal finally asked if we could find out, what a trooper for waiting so long to ask. A little girl! We couldn’t have been happier. She started inching her way to my breast and did a great job latching right on. Our little girl was so alert, with eyes wide open, a few people in the room commented on how wide awake she was and that was when I knew her name would have to symbolize this and also my birth experience of being so utterly present the entire time. We later decided on Ema; meaning embracing everything and Onawa; meaning wide awake, the perfect description of her being and my birth experience.

About an hour after her birth, after sheets had been changed, our baby girl weighed, food consumed I started feeling intense contractions again. I had been feeling some pretty gnarly after pains but this was different I knew something wasn’t right. As soon as I let Rox know how I was feeling she also knew something was wrong. I was hemorrhaging, my uterus had filled with blood cloths from the wound site left behind by my placenta. Rox gave me a shot of pitocin and began to palpate my stomach, helping to push out the blood clots. I lost about 5 cups of blood and was wiped out at the end out this. I just kept thinking how unfair this was. That I had gone through all that work to meet by baby and that now I was too exhausted and in pain to just simply enjoy her. But it is because of my daughter that I was able to stay conscious and to co-operate with what Rox wanted me to do. And even after experiencing this part to my birth experience I would still describe my whole experience to be beautiful, empowering and extraordinary. The people that were present were everything I needed them to be and will forever reside in my memory of that day. This birth was also everything I needed it to be, healing, empowering and of course a gift; gifting my husband and I with the most precious and perfect baby we could ever want.

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felted eggs

Lately our little boy has been quite fascinated by chicken’s. So much so that his Lito (or Grandpa) actually got him two chicken’s of his very own to help take care of. He loves to give his chicken’s big hugs and even kisses. Oh how this boy needs a farm! Along with his obsession with chicken’s comes an interest in eggs. He just loves when we get to crack an egg when baking something yummy, unfortunately I never let him have a turn at breaking open the egg. I’m not quite ready for that mess just yet! So I thought it was time for him to get some little play eggs of his own for his play kitchen. I had seen some play eggs before online but made of wood. I thought that felted eggs would be just as great, maybe even better! All his other play food is already made of felt so I thought they would tie in very well together. In plus I love any excuse to felt some wool.

I decided that wet felting would be the best way to go for this project, pulled out my natural undyed wool and got to work. I tried my best to get Kai involved in the process, as I love the idea of him being able to help out to make his own toys and especially to be able to play with water and wool. However, it is quite hard for a two year old to understand or be able to have the fine motor skills to be able to shape an eggs out of a wet glob of wool. So I simply have him his own little ball of wool and let him do as he pleased with it. He enjoyed this very much. To make these felted eggs you will need the following.

Materials:

  • Natural, undyed wool
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • A small towel
  • A felting needle (not nessasary but helpful)
  • An empty carton of eggs (I cut a 12 dozen carton of eggs in half that I had in the crafting closet for this project)

To get started fill your bowl of water (warm water works best), have your dishsoap and other supplies nearby and now begin by pulling out some wool. To begin you must start shaping thin layers of wool into an oval (egg shape). The technique I like best is to take a thin strip of wool about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide and start by placing my index finger in the center of the wool strip then wrapping the wool around my finger then folding over the wool under my finger and continuing in till I achieve a tiny ball. I then take another thin strip of wool of the same size and wrap it around this ball. I continue this process in till I achieve the shape and size I desire. This is where a felting needle can come in handy. Poke the needle into your shape when peices of wool seem not to be staying together tightly enough or it can also help you achieve the specific shape you are going for. For example when making felted balls I never found I needed a needle but with the eggs I found since the shape was a bit harder to achieve the needle was of a lot of help.

Once you have got the shape and size you want (make sure it is larger than what you want the final product too look like as the wool will shrink when put through the wet felting process) hold your egg either between both hands or just one and submerge under water. You want to hold your wool securly enough that it retains its shape under water but not so tightly that you smooch it flat or into an unreconizable shape. You will see air bubbles emerging to the surface and once all the air bubbles have stopped you may lift the eggs out of the bowl of water slowly. Be very gentle here, as if holding a baby chick in your hands as you do not want your wool to become a big glob of nothing resembling an egg. Now add the dish soap to the wool and begin to rotate the egg between your hands gently. You will soon see lots of lather building up, this is a good thing. Continue this process till the egg becomes firm and as the egg gets firmer you can handle the eggs with a bit more vigorous touch. Once near the end of the process you may gently squeeze the egg between your hands to ride of some of the water inside the wool, however be very careful not to do this too early as it can cause you shape to become all wrinkly. Once the wool looks well felted and your shape is nice and firm you may let you egg out to dry on a towel. This can sometimes take up to 2-3 days. A good video tutorial I like about wet felting can be found here. It is how I learned to make felted wool balls and I find it very helpful.

The end product: a half dozen of life size felted eggs for my little boy to cook and bake with. Love, love, love!

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cozy feet

I first saw these booties on Soule Mama and soon after found the pattern on ravelry. I thought they would be the perfect knit for this new baby of ours. Every little newborn needs cozy warm feet and it was time for me to learn how to knit some booties! Since I had never before knitted booties I was feeling a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pull this off. They looked pretty hard to knit since they were just so cute and not that simple looking. However, I did find them under the search “easy baby knits” at one point and told myself then and there that if I really put my mind to it I could knit anything. So my attitude going into this was to just go for it, not to hold back and not to be overly causous either because sometimes that is what causes me to stop and give up when it comes to a new pattern because I simply get overwhelmed thinking it is too hard and that I can’t do it, when really I never even give myself the change to really try in the first place.

I was so excited about making these little booties that I got started in quite the hurry. I stared into my basket of yarn and chose my favorite yarn, then my favorite needles, not paying any attention to following any sort of gauge. I soon discovered these booties would not be fitting my newborn baby any time soon but kept on knitting as I thought they would look equally adorable on my Kai. In plus I just couldn’t stop knitting these things. It became such an easy knit and I was having so much fun learning all sorts of new techniques I had never used before. Four hours later I had one complete bootie; well not counting the straps. The straps are actually very challenging. I ended up taking them in to my local knitting shop to get some help and even she said the pattern was quite confusing when it came to the straps.

Despite the challenge and frustration of finishing the straps I thoroughly enjoying making these booties and can’t wait to get started on my next pair. Which will hopefully fit a newborn! My due date is actually in two weeks now so not too sure if I will be able to complete them before this baby arrives but one day I will master newborn size booties, I will! As for now our little Kai has toasty feet and how adorable will it be for him to have matching booties with his little brother or sister!!

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