Friday, January 11, 2019

Hygge Fever (To the Tune of Boogie Fever)

Has anyone else noticed that hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is freakin' everywhere this winter? It's not the first year I've heard of it, but 2018-2019 is the winter of white people loving hygge. If you've been in a cave (or not on Instagram), hygge is a Danish word used to describe a cozy, charming, or special feeling. #hyggehome #hyggelife #hyggestyle #hyggelifestyle #hyggehomeschool #hyggehygge (those are all honest to god from Instagram, the last one has been used over 9000 times.)

Ok I'm being silly but honestly, who doesn't love coziness in the cold and dark months? I absolutely hated winter when I worked in an office, but now that I'm self employed I am ALL OVER this hygge business. When I was picking out yarn for my second annual attempt at a temperature blanket, I kept going back to the Red Heart Hygge yarn, because it's just so darn soft and cozy! 

The idea behind a temperature blanket is that you crochet (or knit) a row every day that corresponds to the high temperature for that day. I started one last year or the year before, and the major mistake I made was thinking that I live in a temperate climate with a clear "rainbow" of temperatures from winter to spring to summer to fall, and I picked a literal rainbow of yarn. The problem is that I live in St Louis, where January is mostly in the 40s, with some snow, but we could have a cold snap below zero, and some 60-70 degree days in the dead of winter. Using a selection of yarn that looks lovely as a rainbow looks UGLY when you're mapping St Louis temperatures. It was really awful.

So I abandoned that approach and decided that I would also work out a new "temperature gauge" this year, with less colors. Here's a screenshot of my spreadsheet (thanks to my friend Jennifer for the build): 

The other issue I ran into the first time was that I was using too many colors for narrow temperature ranges, and the turns/color changes were making the ends really fat. I think having one color for everything "below freezing" and one for everything "above 90" and then everything else falling into 3 groups is going to greatly improve the aesthetic. The ONE other piece of advice I have for you, if you're going to try this, is to check your gauge and do the math on blanket size. I already had to start over after week 1 because I realized I was going to have a 3'x8' table runner. 

Now I just have to keep up with it all year! And plan lots of vacations for those purple stripes!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Missouri Botannical Garden on the Go Pack

Check out what we found on a quiet day at Brookings Center! Usually Lilly is too busy playing with kids for us to get into a lot of the learning stations, but yesterday it was DEAD. I guess everyone thought it would rain all day, but the afternoon was gorgeous. We were talking about cacao, which is in the Climatron, and looking at seeds and a seed pod on this desk, and we noticed these cool backpacks! We took the Art one out into the garden and had a great time hunting for sculptures.

This pack had a guest book (we added our interpretation of the Chihuly sculptures in Climatron), an activity book with writing and drawing prompts, a set of laminated color cards, and a set of laminated cards about the art in the garden, as well as crayons, colored pencils and markers.

There's enough activity in the bag for multiple trips with a small fry like Lilly, and a solid afternoon or two with older kids. The folks working in the Kemper Center had never seen them before, but the guestbook in the backpack had entries going back a couple years. So, I'm not sure if these are NEW new or if they just got new bags recently. In any case, we look forward to many more afternoons of exploring!

Monday, January 7, 2019


This morning I woke up from a weird dream I don't remember now. It was 6:30 in the morning, a rainy Monday, and the house was so dark and still. Francis was probably at the gym.

I thought about picking up my phone.
I thought about how much work I could do before Lilly woke up.
I thought about how I could be productive.

But instead I told myself that I don't have to be busy every second of the day! I'm self-employed, not a slave.

Cosleeping is definitely my favorite parenting choice I've made so far. It makes me all Care Bear Tenderheart and the hearts just shoot out of my belly. A rainy, dreary Monday is the best time to snuggle up with a toddler who will spend 12 hours talking singing once she wakes up. So that's what I did. <3

Saturday, January 5, 2019

New Year, Fresh Start!

I am not a New Year's Resolutions person and believe there is no time like the present to make a change, but this year I had some personal revelations that happened to coincide with the New Year.  At the end of 2018 I realized that Facebook had essentially become a replacement for smoking, which I quit 6 years ago. I was just a little mouse in a Skinner box, hitting the bar for a pellet of attention or amusement. Most of the time I was reaching for my phone for reason at all, interrupting all of my productive activities. I know a lot of people who know me will be like, "ya think?" Shut up, I'm admitting it.

Honestly, I have really missed blogging but I was so in my own head about "fixing" this blog. This is the same thing that messed up Craves, Caves, & Graves for me, and I've been having a lot of  conversations with myself and others about why that is. No matter how good or bad I am at web design, I've always had blog followers. Sometimes a lot of them! So I must have done something right at some point, right? My "resolution" is to just to do what I love with this blog, love myself as I am, share what I want to share, and not fuss about how it looks or how many people read it.

Here's where we are for 2019: We want to downsize from Franceth Manor to Franceth Cottage or Franceth Bungalow. We want to learn more about sustainability and urban farming and the ultimate goal (maybe not in 2019) is a net zero house. I have a goal to earn my Ruby Team Manager rank with Jewelscent, and I also want to earn my IATAN card for my travel business. We are learning about homeschooling! And in general, we just want to learn new skills, learn to support ourselves, and share our knowledge with others. So that's the Franceth Manor blog mission statement!