Anything need persuading out there?

Gathering up her Tools

What's a Level?

Little Mechanic

Little Mechanic

Little Mechanic

Raised Garden Bed Frames

A Dog in his Domain

Raised Garden Bed Frames

We Can Do It!

We took advantage of decent weather and a long weekend to get some yard work done. Mr. Cleaver mowed the lawn, Little Miss did lawn mower maintenance (it’s electric and I’d highly recommend it), and Steinbeck keep guard. Meanwhile, I put on my best Bobby C. shirt,  pulled out the tools, and put together two very long overdue frame for raised beds.

When we first bought our home 3 1/2 years ago it came with a big above ground pool and accompanying deck. As much as I love to swim, neither Mr. Cleaver or I had any desire to maintain an above-ground pool, so in our first year of ownership we put the pool and the deck up for free on Craigslist and got someone to take them off our hands. We cut back the weeds and (mostly) leveled the soil. Then with pregnancy and new babies, I didn’t do much in the garden at all.

But this year, with a helpful little assistant to keep tract of all the hand tools, we finally got it done. At least the frame building bit. Now I just need to get some dirt, and plants – but oh to have a vegetable garden again! I so enjoyed it back when I had a community garden plot. It’s a bit late to start anything from seed, but if memory (and a blog post) serve me well, I’ve still got time to put some plants in the ground and get a decent harvest. Now to decide what to plant!



Ready for a Stroll

Sand Cherry in Bloom

Creeping Phlox

Ready for a Stroll

Birch and Bleeding Heart




Bleeding Heart


Having grown up in California, and gone to college in the Oregon, I have a slew of friends who still reside in those more temperate climes. So while we still had snow on the ground, my Facebook feed was filled with West Coast photos of freshly bloomed daffodils. Now, June is in sight, the snow is but a memory and the daffodils have come and gone, but it feels as if Spring has just arrived in Maine. Suddenly the grass is green, the trees have leaves, and everything is in bloom.

In my own little garden, the sand cherry is in bloom, the violets are out, the bleeding heart has grown to massive proportions and the tulips are starting to fade.  My perennial bed, now in its third year,  is starting to fill in and I may have to start doing some dividing come fall.

Now that the weather is nicer, LMC and I have started taking a little stroll together before I head to work in the mornings, giving me a chance to scope out the neighbors yards for ideas. The phlox that’s everywhere? Totally want some of my own. That perennial bed around that birch tree? Divine!

When we first moved into our little house, I  started my flower beds with no real plan or knowledge. I got the gift of some plants from friend’s gardens, picked up a few of my own and started digging out red brick mulch, tearing out layers of landscape fabric, and plopping plants down and crossing my fingers. Three years later, between some experience and episodes of This Old House, I’m starting to learn more about this gardening thing. Or at least paying more attention. I know enough to know that moving plants is pretty easy, dark mulch makes everything look better and if something doesn’t work out you can always plant something new in its place.

It’s good to be out in the garden again.

Our first nursery furniture purchase


Painting done!

Nursery painted

A baby thing or two


The nesting instinct is strong in the Cleaver household these days.

Things are beginning to come together in bits and pieces. The nursery got painted this weekend, we’ve ordered new carpet to replace the mismatched (and smelly!) carpet in all the bedrooms, and have even purchased (or made!) a few things for the Wee Babe. Once the carpet is installed next week, we’ll be able to start setting up the nursery for reals, and not just on paper.

With about 9 weeks to go before my due date, it seems both like time is going by way too fast and not nearly fast enough. I’ve definitely hit the tired and uncomfy part of the third trimester, but there’s still so much to do! That said, one thing I’ve learned to appreciate about this pregnancy is that it’s forced me to just SLOW DOWN and rest when I need to, something I’ve never been terribly good at.

After all, my most important job these days is gestating, and I seem to be doing pretty well there. 🙂

30 week, 3 day bump





Yes, I just made a spreadsheet for my holiday baking



Back when I first started blogging, I made a promise to myself that I’d never apologize for my blogging, particularly for not blogging for a while. Because as we all know, life happens and sometimes that gets in the way of the best intentions of a twice-weekly posting schedule.

That said, every since this summer there seems to have been a lot of LIFE happening and this past month has been no exception.

Since Thanksgiving, the Cleaver household has experienced a total of the following:

  • 1 holiday dinner hosted;
  • 2 full days of holiday baking and a pair of second-degree burns;
  • 2 1/2 hours in a semi-frozen field shooting photos for an upcoming design collaboration;
  • 3 knitted items finished being finished at 11:30pm the evening prior to said photo shoot;
  • 3 weeks of contractors installing, among other things, insulation in our attic and a new ceiling in our living room;
  • 4 colds (2 for me and 2 for the mister, and maybe even one for the dog!);
  • Watched Skyfall, The Hobbit, Les Mis, and a handful of Harry Potter films; and
  • 17 boxes of stuff from my mother’s house in California arrived and were sorted and stored.

Mr. Cleaver and I had both agreed that we would just get through all of this and enjoy our Christmas to the fullest extent possible. We had a great time with Mr. Cleaver’s family on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Now that we’ve had a few days to breathe (and a grateful snow day home from work for me) – we at the Cleaver camp are turning our attentions to that next most important of projects: preparing for the Wee Baby Cleaver!

After several weeks of joking, last week I gave a co-worker/friend a list of all the little things on my to-do list that I’ve been ignoring for far too long and gave her full permission to bug me about them.

The list contains things like sew the belt loops back on my lady grey coat (done!), order harp strings (done!), and fix tiny rust spot on car (not done!).

In this spirit, here are two things I finished recently.


About a year later than I intended to, I finally made curtains for the built-in bookcase in my living room. The clearance home dec fabric I bought ended up being a bit stiffer than I thought it’d be, but it still looks miles better than being able to see the miscellaneous stuff on the shelves!


And I handed off a sample for a new design on Monday. I don’t know when it’ll come out (probably fall), but I really like the way this one turned out and I can’t wait to show you the whole thing!

Some other things I hope to finish soon:

  • a pair of socks for Mr. Cleaver,
  • spinning my Sheep Heid yarn, and
  • shipping out some submission swatches!

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn’t want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don’t pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.



And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.


During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.


My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.



I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven’t quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I’ve released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It’s amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There’s snow on the ground outside now and it’s a few days to Christmas. It’s been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!



One of the things Mr. Cleaver and I were most excited about when we moved from our one-bedroom apartment to the house is that we’d have space to have people over.

Oh sure, we had friends over to the old apartment, but, for example, when another couple came over for dinner once we had to move the table into the living room because there wasn’t space in the kitchen. So it was a tad limiting.

But now our home is constantly filled with family and friends and that’s my favorite thing about being a homeowner.


This past weekend was the best iteration of that so far with our housewarming/birthday BBQ and Hoedown.

We invited a bunch of our friends, family, and coworkers over for a potluck and BBQ. Friends and family brought the sides and we provided drinks, meat, and the band.


Which makes this the coolest party I’ve ever thrown.

Of course all the credit for the band goes to Mr. Cleaver, who after seeing a set by our favorite New England band Brown Bird, sent them an email to see if they would do a home show. They said they could, gave us a price and some available dates, and we worked it all out.

As Mr. Cleaver said, it like when you hear about people who have Jay Z at their bar-mitzvah or something, but on our scale.

(If you want an example of what it was like, Brown Bird played a set at the Newport Folk Festival the preceding weekend that you can stream in its entirety at NPR.)

It wasn’t the cheapest thing we’ve ever done, but we both agreed that the experience and the memories were worth every penny. Particularly because all the guests had a great time too (or at least that’s what they told us) and several wanted to steal Steinbeck, who charmed practically everyone. 🙂


It took a little when we first moved back to Maine in the late August of 2008 to really settle in and find our groove, but I was reflecting on our life in Portland earlier today and thinking about how wonderfully FULL it is and how I’m so grateful for it all.

(On a side note: I’ve just joined the chirping masses on Twitter, you can see my latest tweet in the sidebar or follow me @Ms_Cleaver).

Next Page »