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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

and now...

3pumpkinslittle on Instagram 


Moving right along. (Sort of.)

I have officially found my tipping point. I've actually always wondered what that might know, that point in your life where the plate of stuff you're balancing just gets out of whack on one spot. It gets a little too heavy, and so the plate tips. And that pesky thing you thought you could handle slides off, and takes everything else crashing down with it. (Okay, maybe that's not the origin of the phrase "tipping point" but it's how I think of it.)

So for the record, my tipping point came when trying to handle these tasks: prepping House 1 to move out of, prepping House 2 to move into, securing a renter for House 1, only to lose the renter unexpectedly (due to a health issue so we worked with her to release her from the lease!), snow storms causing no full weeks of schools for, I don't know, EVER?, new sports seasons (team momming, because of course), PTO President work, dyeing for a springtime yarn show, dyeing for a HUGE wholesale order, traveling husband, and just in general keeping the boys fed and clothed and modestly happy...oh. And a basement flood in House 1, requiring extensive remedial work, then finding new renters.

But here's the thing about one's tipping point. I think you can actually just stay down there, settling in with all the broken bits--because heck, you're broken, too--and throw one killer pity party (which I'm not going to lie--I totally did for more than a hot second). Or you can look around, pick up what can be salvaged, and just get back to the work of getting it done.

Spoiler Alert: It's taken me some time but I've chosen option 2. And although I might at some point revisit the last couple of months to document some things, for now, I am moving right along.

One of the things we are trying to do in this new house is to stop waiting. Stop waiting for the house to be "company ready" before hosting parties. Stop waiting for the boxes to be cleared out before getting started on some projects. The energy we get from a little DIY hit motivates us and reminds us why we signed up for the absolute headache of moving houses after 14 years in one spot. This house has so much potential, and sprucing it up during the unpacking, instead of waiting for us to unpack, sort, and purge through it all, needs to happen, lest we choose tipping point Option 1 mentioned above.

Here's how I envision our "stop waiting" mantra in action. I will tackle each space as having several levels of design needs/actions. So in general I've identified these levels as follows: 1) get settled and use the space, learning pros/cons; 2) make modest/frugal/flexible stylistic changes to make it functional and more aesthetically pleasing "for now"; 3) make longer term renovations and investments in changing out decor/furnishings/finishes (looking at you, kitchen backsplash with dragonflies everywhere). Hopefully, I'll capture it all on here. Because again...the potential of this house is absolutely amazing and thrilling to us.

First up? Our dining room. We had dear friends back in town recently and we wanted to host a group of close-knit neighbors for a sit down dinner. The dining party totaled 13 adults and one of the reasons we bought this house was because of the dining room size...I wanted to be sure to that our first diner party was indeed in the dining room!

We lived in the house and used the space for a few months to confirm that we wanted to keep the dining room where it currently resides--off the kitchen. There was some initial thought that we'd swap it with the living room. But we dreamed that having a large dining room in the middle of the house might actually foster more gathering. A real family table hub used every day, not just a handful of times on special occasions. And I'm happy to report that after living here a few months, the dining room has absolutely become the heart of the house.

The changes we've made so far include swapping out the chandelier and adding a new area rug (our prior dining room rug is too small because our table now lives fully extended given the size of the room). I still need to settle on paint color. And I'm not 100% sure on the shelving styling. Never did I think I could have too much display space, given my collection of dishes and serviceware. But all of these open shelves took me a bit of time to figure out. And it's still ongoing.

I am trying to keep the table set for family dinners. It helps remind us that we are gathering together in the evening. And I find it also helps keep the clutter from accumulating on such a temptingly large, flat surface! Also, can we just admire the chandelier of my dreams for a minute? It took some time to hang but I could not possibly love it more. We wil swap in matching sconces when the budget allows (this chandy was scored during Wayfair Day. I was so excited to see it on sale!)

One of the colors I am repeating throughout the house is navy blue. It's a longtime favorite. Current navy chairs are just temporary ones I grabbed a few years ago when hosting a big dinner. I can't recall where I found them but they will need to be replaced asap as they hardly have any cushion left in them. I could not find a runner long enough for the table so I overlapped two. 

While unpacking, I came across several bottles of shells collected during our various family beach trips. Some were labeled, and some were not. Instead of keeping them separated (and shoved, unseen, onto shelves) I poured them out to serve as part of our everyday tablescape. The boys swear they remember finding certain shells :)!

For now, the built ins flanking the fire place are housing an assortment of serviceware. I also added in my cookbook collection. Still working on the styling but am very happy to at least have our things out of boxes. 

The mantle is currently styled with a mirror I painted, old books and a wedding photo. Most of the finishes and frames from our last house are silver tones or black. To try my hand at mixing metals, I added in some of my Thai pottery I've collected for years. I believe every room needs a touch of greenery so the sprig is a cutting I am trying to root.

All in all, I am thrilled with the space. What remains: selecting wall color; finding new dining chairs; replacing wall sconces; adding some art; jumping on the faux fiddle leaf bandwagon. This room is windowless so it's the only option. And I've seen some faux versions that are incredible so although I never thought I'd go faux, I'm extremely tempted.

Next up, the powder room gets fully gutted!


We're in the new house! (But just barely.)

We hatched our plan to move houses (just a few doors over in our neighborhood) last fall--in mid October to be exact. And so, after weeks and weeks of waiting, Moving Day 1 was upon us. And what did Mother Nature have in store? Our first snowstorm of 2019. And a doozie one at that.

About nine inches fell during the one weekend it was vital to move over some belongings. I say vital because we scheduled contractors to arrive to the house this week to install hardwoods and repaint the foyer. (I plan to tackle most of the painting in the house myself, because I love to paint, but I did not have the time or energy to paint the two story area of the stairwell.)

We still managed to move over a significant amount of boxes. But it was an absolutely crazy weekend. Because our crew showed up early to beat the snow...and the former homeowner's departure was delayed due to the storm. So we had four groupings doing their own thing--us, with helpful neighbors and friends, moving in our boxes; movers moving out the former home owners' belongings; our contractor crew breaking ground on the kitchen flooring; and the former owners trying to do the final sweep of their things to ready themselves for a cross country departure. We zig zagged and crossed paths with one another, and tried not to slip on the snow, and in the end, I am completely stunned at how much we managed to accomplish. 

Here are some preliminary pictures of the foyer. Even though we are living with the rest of the house "as is" for some time before we embark on renovations, we are tackling the foyer straight away. Again, just cell phone snaps for now until I can unearth the boxes with my photography equipment.

The before: a light blue wall color, that read periwinkle in certain lighting. Gold and cream checkerboard tile.

The paneling continues down a hall that leads to the powder room on the left, and dining room/kitchen straight ahead.

There are several things planned for this area: replacing tile with hardwoods; new light fixtures; removing stair runner; refinishing stair treads; paint everything a creamy white; eventually add additional moulding.

Here is an in process shot--I love a good sneak peek! 

This shot was taken at night, and seeing the space in that lighting (or lack of) confirmed that I am absolutely thrilled with how the painting turned out. And good thing, too. Because it took me ages to settle on the right white for this space. Originally I planned to use Benjamin Moore's Cotton Balls. But when I put a sample up in the space, it just seemed to fall flat in certain lighting or time of day. I next tried Benjamin Moore's Simply White, and really liked it. But when I went to the Sherwin Williams store, the technician talked me out of doing everything (walls, ceiling, trim) in a color match to Simply White. So instead, I took some samples of whites by Sherwin Williams and back to the house I went, tip toeing around our crew breaking up the tile. 

In the end, SW Alabaster won out. A warning about this color, though--it looks really warm with the first coat. I almost yelled, "no, stop!" mid project because I thought I'd made a huge mistake and picked a color that would read yellow. But as time was not on my side, I instead asked for a quick sampling of two coats. And once I saw that, I was sold. Alabaster is definitely a cream white, but with just enough warmth to keep things from looking stark or sterile. I absolutely love it.

The trim is SW Pure White, which is a brighter, truer white that gives a crisp look, without any jarring contrast. For the walls (inclusive of the moulding) we went with a matte finish. I think keeping the moulding in the same matte finish as the walls gives the space such a modern, clean, with a touch of glam, vibe. The crown and base trim are in semi-gloss. 

The stain for the hardwoods goes on tomorrow so I'll update with a picture asap. I'm still narrowing down lighting choices--I think I need to wait until we settle on the art and foyer furniture to figure that one out. But I will say that the entire house is outfitted with gorgeous brass outlet covers and heating/air grates. So I'm leaning towards that finish. Plus, I have my heart set on including some shots from our Thailand trip two years ago to visit family. And I think having some of those photos framed out in brass will look really sharp. Stay tuned! We move our furniture, and ourselves, this weekend. And wouldn't you know it, another winter storm just might be brewing for Moving Day 2.


My Single Knitted FO of the Holidays.

The sweater, the shawl, the cowl, and the scarf, all planned as my holiday knits, are still languishing in various states of almost-ready. Those knits are from patterns. And for most of our two-week holiday break, the dream of sitting and knitting, per a pattern, was merely that--a dream.

But I did manage to knit a hat. It is aran weight, and it's from what I call my Always Aran pattern. Not so much a pattern but a recipe. I know if I cast on a certain number of stitches (in my case 84) on certain needles (US 8s for the brim, switching to 9s or 10s for the body) in my Duck Duck Wool Aran, I can knit mindlessly, even when throwing in a few columns of cables, and I'll get a very wearable hat.

Here's the result of my latest recipe. 

It is knit from yarn I dyed for a special club colorway for the sweetest yarn shop. (I'll link to the source after I double check that all orders have shipped.) I think it's so pretty. And I swear it knit itself.

Those speckles! On a neutral. I think this would be amazing in a sweater.

There are many exciting things about our move (which is in one more sleep! Well, one more sleep until we start the move. Seven more sleeps until we begin living there). But a knitterly thing that ranks very high on the exciting list is that the house has a space earmarked for a proper dye studio. In its current state, the space is unfinished and not much to look at. But just you wait! (Mood board reveal to follow.)


You Should Be Packing. (Let's Mood Board Instead!)

I have to admit that even I (a self-proclaimed to-do-list crusher, if ever there was) am feeling a little overwhelmed with the mountains left to pack and ready for the movers. And it's not helping that my back decided to go rogue and revolt by seizing up, thereby forcing me to take it easier than planned this week. Classic reminder that the key to just about everything is to remain flexible (and I mean that in the most literal of ways here--I have had a string of running injuries this year and my yoga practice has gone out the window, along with my flexibility. It has caused me endless bonus woes.).

To keep me productive and upright, I have found a steady rhythm of pack, pack, pack, rest a little, pack, pack, pack is working. And one of the things that helps me just soldier on with the seemingly endless tasks, is to take a break to imagine some pretty spaces that will eventually come together at the end of this strugglefest. Here is a mood board I created for what I'm thinking for our living room. Just the bones, or basics, for now as there are two rooms vying to be the living room. And until we live in the space for a bit, I can't decide which one will win out. One is off the kitchen (pros: placement, lovely fireplace; cons: no natural light) and the other is off the foyer (pros: three pretty windows; cons: placement, i.e. not open to the hub of the home). I can envision either of the rooms outfitted with this overall look:

1. Some pretty abstract art. Loving the moody, broody vibe of this particular set. 

2. We'll use our current cream sofa, which is similar to what's pictured here. (Ours is from Storehouse Furniture and I can't seem to find a link.)

3. I'll be trying to source a less spendy version of this gorgeous brass triple arm lamp

4. Currently planning to use Benjamin Moore colors White Dove (walls) and Simply White (trim and ceiling). This may change depending on the room's lighting.

5. I picked up a campaign chest years ago for a steal on Craigslist ($40 maybe?). It just needs the wood and brass refreshed and a few plates replaced. I know a lot of folks paint these and I'm not necessarily opposed to that idea--I can picture it looking amazing in a navy gloss finish. But I actually like the ginger tones of the wood as is, so I have no plans to paint it straight away. 

6. We have a nice wood coffee table from Pottery Barn we could use for the time being. But hoping to go this route eventually if I can find the right piece.

7. Planning a neutral rug for now. Might swap it out for something with black or navy if the room is feeling too meh.

8. A fiddle leaf tree. Probably in a wicker basket. Because you can only see that so many times on Pinterest before needing one just like it. I picked up a little fiddle and so far, so good in keeping it alive. I daresay it's even thriving. So now I'm encouraged to try my hand at a larger one. (Keeping indoor plants alive is not my strong suit. But I'm working on it.)

It's so fun dreaming how the spaces will eventually look. Do you use mood boards to plan? I am such a visual person that I find it truly helps me tackle a project. I plan to create a new Pinterest board of all my mood boards for the new house. The laundry room is next. Hopefully soon, there will be enough there to see how the house design is shaping up.

Okay. My "rest a little" time is up. Back to pack, pack, pack.


You Finally Renovated Your Bathroom. Enjoy! Now Move.

Our current house has been our home for almost fourteen years. And probably within days of moving in, we began dreaming how we'd renovate the bathrooms. I clipped magazine photos, saved blog posts, then started Pinning when Pinterest came along...we interviewed several contractors until we found an amazing crew.

We made our building material choices, visited countless tile shops, ordered vanities and fixtures. And finally, finally, we broke ground on the two baths upstairs. But then we decided to move! And although the "new" house has the master bathroom space we've always craved (his and her vanities, a soaking tub, even a sauna for Pete's sake), the materials are not at all in line with what I just painstakingly planned and oversaw installation of in our current home. Also, the boys bath is only slightly larger, in addition to needing a refresh. Since I'm pretty sure tearing out everything and starting over will not be in the budget, I'm going to have to figure out how to make the space feel as dreamy as what we're leaving.

First up was the boys bathroom. I will apologize upfront that there are no "before" pictures. I love me a good before/after reveal with the best of them. And I should have planned accordingly. But I simply never thought of taking photos of the bathrooms in their original state. Let's just say they were depressing. We kept the layout the same, except we added a pocket door. It was such a game changer! We chose a solid wood door and I love the warmth it adds to all of the tile and marble.

We went with oversized subway tile (4 x 16!) throughout and a marble mosaic hex for the flooring. A detail I love is how we ran the trim molding all around the room, picking up from the tile wainscot and through the shower wall tiles. This did wonders to make the small room feel larger as your eye follows it around the room instead of stopping where the wall tiles stop. Also, splurging on the tile baseboards and ending the runs with bullnose (vice using Schluter strips or the sort) really prevented any choppiness, while striking the classic vibe I wanted. The medicine cabinet chosen is both a surface mount and inset--offering a deceivingly generous amount of storage in such a small space. I can't seem to find an online link but I know I purchased it off the shelf from Home Depot. The lighting is missing bulbs in this picture but we went with a vintage looking bulb style for an industrial meets traditional flair. The shower column came in the wrong polished finish--so ignore that--because we swapped it out. The rest of the finishes are brushed nickel and I'm now such a fan. It has a just a touch of warmth beneath the cool nickel that speaks to my metal-mixing loving heart. So although I didn't mix in any brass here, you can bet I will in the new house.

A funny thing about the vanity--we had actually ordered a different one from a supplier on the West Coast. And then it went missing. Our contractors are the speediest folks around--and we simply could not wait for the shipment. So off to Lowe's I went and was delighted to find an off the shelf single vanity that I truly liked. At only 30" it boasts considerable storage. And the dark charcoal color adds a nice contrast. In fact, when we received the other vanity (finally), I decided it was too light for the boys' bathroom (I'll show that vanity ended up in the powder room).

These pictures are just cell phone ones I snapped quickly to share with friends on Facebook. I wish I had remembered to take some better ones once I finished styling the space--we went with a pretty white shower curtain and floor mats, and wooden accessories to inject even more warmth. All of those things are now packed away so perhaps we'll get to see them in the next house. 

I'll link to the main materials and sources below. Wanted to save them as I might need them sooner rather than later if I can't stick with my pledge to live with things for a bit in the "new" house. And once I unpack my files and come across the purchasing info for the other materials (like lighting and fixtures), I'll update this post. (p.s. I'll share the master bath reno next.) 

Walls are in Imperial Bianco Gloss from the Tile Shop with the following components:
4 x 16 Ceramic Subway (plus bullnose pieces)

Flooring: 3 x 3 Hampton Carrara Hex Marble Mosaic also from the Tile Shop

Vanity: 30" Single Vanity with marble counter top 


Walls are in Valspar Gravity 

Trim and ceiling are Valspar Ultra White


Happy New Year. Happy New Home (to be).

I may have mentioned that all three boys are now very good swimmers. It did not start that way--not by a long shot. Some kids take to water like fish. But not ours. Here's a photo of our youngest begging me to rescue him from lessons.

Just look at those eyes. Did I do what they beckoned? No. I did not, although I'm sure it felt like it nearly killed me. And I may have overcompensated by buying him a few extra treats that week. But I stayed off that deck, hard as it was, and let him figure things out with his fabulous coaches. And by the end of the week, he was jumping off the diving board. So. Just like I told them, the best way to get good at something is to trust in your abilities, be open to learning, and then jump in and try. So here I go.

And I should note, I am doing so even though my writing is rusty. Like, incredibly rusty. But I'm excited to journal again and I know the more I practice, the sooner I'll settle back into a voice I recognize as my own. My tastes and interests are both familiar and new, so the content here might likewise flip back and forth from topics I've touched upon (family, cooking, knitting, DIY, running...) as well as new obsessions (cookie decorating, endurance training, organizing, skincare, and home decor). It's all part of what makes up my little corner and I'd like to memorialize these things. The only New Year's Resolution I made this year is to be more present. And this blog will hopefully have a large place in that effort.

And! As the post title suggests, it will be a fine time to be more present as we embark on turning a new-to-us house into our home. We are moving but four doors down in our beloved neighborhood. It is a larger house, with several features we've planned to add on someday, such as a front porch, large master bath, and...drumroll...a mudroom. And I do mean an honest-to-goodness mudroom--not just muddy rooms, because I have plenty of those right here. In the new house there is a blank slate of a room between garage and kitchen. I don't even have to design it to function as a multi-purpose laundry/mudroom because the laundry room is upstairs (in another dedicated space. Pinch me now.) Seriously. Half the neighborhood jokes that we are moving because of the mudroom and upstairs laundry. And you know what? They are not wrong.

Now, the finishes and appointments of the home lean more traditional than our current tastes--so I'm looking forward to redesigning the spaces to reflect our style. Which is what, exactly? That's the fun part I can't wait to figure out. Along with so many, I've watched all the Fixer Uppers. So I won't deny that shiplapping a wall will likely happen. But I also feel drawn to a more modern aesthetic lately. 

I don't have many pictures to put up in this post because, well, everything is in boxes, including my camera--we begin the move this weekend! But here's a recent shot of our family of five since I cannot remember how to update the sidebars. Charlie was recently promoted to Colonel in the Marine Corps reserve and we tried to clean up for the lovely ceremony. Isn't it shocking how big the boys are (now 15, 13, and 10)?

I'll take more pictures for the upcoming posts...but I wanted to get the journaling going and not overthink it too much. Because sometimes when you do, you won't just jump in.


Let’s all be “speck”tacular, shall we?

When I first started dyeing three years ago, quite a few speckled colorways came from my dyepots.  Granted, not every one was on purpose (ha!)…but for the most part, they were.  And I soon figured out a speckle technique that gave me the results I wanted.  But then as the business grew, I concentrated on developing my repeatable colorways…and complex semi-solids by which sweater dreams are made. 

But at every trunk show, without fail, I am asked for more speckles.  No one wants me to stop semi-solids…but there is an unquestionable demand for some “fun” colorways to mix in there.  So I finally spent dye session after dye session developing some “keeper” speckled colorways that will coordinate perfectly with the rest of DDW’s colors.  I’m far from finished playing, but wanted to share some new colors.  (Btw, all skeins were popped into the Etsy shop and quickly sold out.  But I’m dyeing more early next week to update the shop.  Because speckled socks?  To kick off springtime?  Yes, please!)

Easel in the Park (shown on 80/20 Sock)


Ribbon Barrette (shown on 80/20 Sock)


Dessert First (shown on DDW Sport Sock)


I’m turning off the dyepots for a few days to focus on throwing a combined birthday party for the boys.  If you can believe it, they turn 13, 11, and 8 this spring!  Looking back at past blog posts when the boys were in preschool…and realizing that there are YEARS not captured on this blog…has me a little sad.  So I am trying to do better.  These years are truly zipping by. 




Well hi there!  (FYI:  I’m just going to gloss over the fact that last October I promised to visit this space consistently…because we’re friends, right?  Real friends.  And real friends are those that can pick up where they left off without so much as a hiccup.  So that’s what I’m doing.  Treating you like a real friend.)

I wanted to post a picture of my Always Aran Hat pattern that I....yep...ALWAYS have in some state of progress on a set of needles. 


Whether it's at swim practice, lacrosse practice, basketball practice, or the doctor's (aka where I feel like I spend most of my life with three boys--who's with me?), I love always having an easy knit ready to grab and go.  It's super quick, easily modified (change up the cable!), and...might I humbly suggest...perfect for a skein of Duck Duck Wool Merno Aran (which coincidentally will be in the Etsy shop soon--swear!). 


I'll post the pattern up on my blog or Ravelry eventually but for now, I plan to exclusively include it with any purchase of DDW Aran, sound good?  Plus--bonus!--if we all knit new hats I bet spring is here to stay.  And we'll just be ahead of the hat-game for next year.  Win win.

Best, Sandra


Here we go.

Back from Rhinebeck and there is so much to tell.  And as I don't want to forget the little things--because together, they are what make all the things larger than life--I decided now was a great time to dust off the blog and get back to this space.

So here we go:  I declare a renewed interest in capturing the every day.  And as I re-enter normal daily operations of doctor appointments, PTO and PTA, lunches, laundry for days, stop-and-go knitting, shopping/cooking, small business tasks, marathon training, keeping house, etc., I am wearing all the handknits to help me hold onto the incredible spirit of Rhinebeck.  It filled my "love tank" as my Rhinebeck housemates called it, and I'm mindful that the path I'm on is not TO somewhere.  It's my very destination. And I am posting this now to help me remember how lucky I am to get to live this sweet life.*


*except the broken Jennie the Potter mug by Will.  Because that was not so sweet.  And not even a super cute mantra bracelet gifted by my dear friend Hallie will convince me otherwise.


Getting ready...

to get back to this space.  I know, I know.  It's been far too long.  And as I sat and thought about what to start with, I would again put off writing a post to bridge so much time.  This happened roughly 12 times since last summer.  Perhaps, then, the best way to get started is to simply start.  

So hello.  I'm back.  Much has happened--and yet, in a lot of ways, things are the same.  Both the change and the steadiness are good things.  I'll try to recap while also capturing what's going on these days.  And of course, a picture always helps.

Here I am, happy as can be, after scoring some souvenir yarn in Saratoga, NY last week.  Do I look different?  Or sort of the same.  I think both.  xo, Sandra