Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Knit wit...

 

This is the first time I've ever attempted to knit in the round with double pointed needles.

I would really like to know what sadomasochist devised this particular form of torture.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Making it Monday--Sky Scarf progress...



Having almost reached the end of January (!), I thought it was time to show the progress made thus far on the Sky Scarf.

I'm using six colors to represent:
clear sky - light blue
summer sky - medium blue
overcast - light gray
thunderstorm - charcoal gray
fog - white
clouds - lace-weight variagated white/gray

Most days I use a combination of the the variagated 'cloud' yarn with one of the other colors.  The charcoal gray sticks out like a sore thumb...or like a crash of thunder.  That darkest stripe you see represents a storm full of lightning and thunder which poured four and a half inches of rain on us. 

I decided to do a garter stitch border and the center in stockinette.  I'm not crazy about the look of carrying the unused colors up the side, but I may go back at the end and crochet around the whole thing as Lynne suggested.

It's a fun project.  It only takes a few minutes to knit each day's two rows (after I untangle the yarn).  I'll be showing each month's progress at month's end.
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Patience rewarded...or...lost hope found...



Dear Kasey,

Do you remember all those times when you told me you didn't have the patience for crafts?  I thought that they must have switched babies in the hospital.  How could a child of mine not have the crafting gene?  But you look too much like me, so that was that.

Still, I pretty much coerced you into trying a little needlepoint kit trinket box once.  I think I had to end up finishing it.  You may have tried a tiny cross-stitch ornament another time, but it just wasn't something that seemed to interest you.

I finally gave up.  I treasured the little trinket box, thinking it would be the sole handcrafted effort of yours I would ever have.  And I thought that perhaps the gene had skipped a generation...and bided my time till I might have a granddaughter who showed the spark of shared passion.

But then you began decorating projects.  Painting furniture.  Painting rooms.  Making headboards.  I was so happy.  I could see that you had the gene after all...it just took a different path.

This Christmas was fabulous.  I love, love, love the wreath you made me and the stencilled piece you did for your dad.

And then today was the best day ever...long awaited and all but given up on.  A sewing lesson at your request!  You are awesome!  And you will probably surpass me in the end.  Because the one gene of mine that I'm happy to say you didn't get was the procrastination gene.  Oh my sweet, talented, productive girl.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

photo credit: Amazon.com

I finished Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan last Wednesday evening after posting it that morning.  I actually locked up the office after work and curled up in a chair in the back room to read for an hour before starting the hour commute home.  Once on the road, I let my Kindle read aloud to me.  Then when I got home I finished reading the last couple of chapters.

It wasn't until after I finished the book that I logged on to the blog, and when I did, I found a very nice surprise in the post comments.  The author left a comment.  So since I couldn't find a way to leave a message via your blog, I am hoping that you, Kate Kerrigan, come across this post as you did the last one.  I want you to know that I enjoyed the story and characters very much and look forward to the second book being available here in the States.

And thank you for leaving your comment.  It was a fun surprise.




This week I'm reading Snow Mountain Passage by James D. Houston.  A novel based on the Donner Party.

And yes, that is a lame attempt at a snow-like background in the photo...it's late...it's quilt batting...and I'm a dork.  No disrespect intended to the actual members of the Donner Party, their struggles through the tragic events that befell them, or their descendants.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taking the easy way...



I had intended to make a quiche for dinner tonight, but I didn't get home till about six.  So I rummaged through the freezer and found some meatballs from my last IKEA trip.  The pantry had instant mashed potatoes.  I made a simple white sauce and added a package of brown gravy mix to it.  Microwaved some frozen broccoli.  And opened a can of cranberry jelly to sub for lingonberry.

We were plating up dinner at six-thirty.

It is days like this that I wonder (guiltily) how my mother put a made-from-scratch dinner on the table every single night after a long day at work...and without a microwave or dishwasher.

I made this meal once for Caitlyn and Chloe when they were spending the night.  Caitlyn said that it was "very good, Grandma...just like at my school cafeteria."  Just what I've always aspired to be...the cafeteria lunch lady.

Carey isn't a fan of instant mashed potatoes, so no compliments forthcoming from him tonight.

Oh, well.  Tomorrow is another day.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good Morning, Good Night...

I love vintage Little Golden Books.

photo credit: Champ & Mabel Collectibles

This was my favorite when I was little...two stories in one.  Good Morning was about a little boy who didn't like to get up in the morning.  Good Night was about a little girl who didn't like to go to bed at night.  I STRONGLY identified with both!  I love those sweet illustrations by Eloise Wilkin...especially the pictures of the little girl playing with her Noah's Ark in the middle of the night while everyone else was asleep...that was the reason I collected Noah's Arks for many years.  I would like to have a copy of this book...but this one is $35.

Anyway...

I'm sitting here not wanting to go to bed.  And normally on a Thursday night I wouldn't have to, as this is usually the beginning of my weekend.  But since I'm filling in for a co-worker tomorrow, I know I have to.  So I will.

I still won't want to get up in the morning though.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...


photo credit: Amazon.com


Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan...story of early 20th century immigration from Ireland to the United States.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Estate sale...

I have seen other bloggers post about great thrifting finds, and I have bemoaned my lack of luck in this department...until now.

 At the estate sale that I happened upon during our long weekend, I found this beautiful blue and yellow appliqued quilt top.  The prices at the sale seemed to be higher than I liked.  I thought this would be more than I wanted to pay, since it was still there on the third and last day of the sale.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained.  When I asked the price, I was told $10.  Score!

It does have one little piecing 'flaw,' in that the quilter seemed to run out of fabric on the very last square.  One corner has some fabric substitution...which I find absolutely endearing.

This quilter did beautiful applique, and the fabrics seem to be in very good condition.  There is some blue discoloration in a few places on the muslin background.  I think it may be that the blue fabric's dye ran a little.  I'm assuming that (and the corner substitutions) may be why it was never quilted.  I think it is an excellent opportunity to maybe practice some free-motion machine quilting someday.

Unfortunately, I had no cash on me, and I knew they wouldn't take an non-local check.  Susan saved the day by loaning me a ten.

On the way to the pay station, I spotted this vintage tennis racket.  These are showing up a lot in decorating these days.  So I picked it up as well.  I told the cashier that the quilt top was $10 and the racket was marked $2, and I would be happy to pay that, but I only had a ten dollar bill and some out-of-town checks, and I asked if she would consider letting me have both of them for just ten dollars.  She accepted.  Yea!  I think the fact that it was the last day of the sale paid off for me.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Long weekending...

Cell phone photo with flash in very dim restaurant.  This sushi roll is called 'Catepillar'...such a beautiful presentation.

We had a wonderful long weekend visiting family and friends.

Thursday we drove up to stay with Carey's sister and mother.  It was so good to see them and spend some time together.  Friday afternoon I left Carey at his sister's house, and drove another hour or so to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousin for a few hours.  It had been about two and a half years since I'd seen them...such a good visit.

Saturday we left his sister's, and we drove up to Arlington to see my friends Susan and the other Kathleen.  Kathleen has been working there for a few months, but will be heading home to Kentucky soon, so we wanted to see her before she goes.  We girls had a really great time chatting and laughing while Carey accomplished several odd jobs around the house for Susan...replacing a broken light bulb, repairing a light switch, reattaching a toilet paper holder, moving a desk...my husband is such an easy-going and helpful person.  Then we went to Sushi Domo and had a fabulous sushi dinner...such a treat!

We stayed the night at a hotel, and both woke up exclaiming what a good night's sleep we'd had in the most comfortable bed ever.  On the way back to Susan's, I spotted a sign advertising an estate sale, so after we breakfasted together, we girls took a little field trip while Carey busied himself with another project.

The trip was short of duration and long in miles, and even though we squeezed a LOT of activities into it, it was very relaxing and pleasant.

Today it's back to laundry and getting ready to go back to work tomorrow.  And I took some time out to take Chandler and the girls to lunch and the library...I'm so thankful we are close enough to share some quick together time.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fathers and sons...



Carey and Jared, early '90s

I'm posting this photo for no particular reason, except that Caroline had a photo of her men on her blog yesterday that reminded me so much of this one, that I had to track this one down.  It's my favorite photo of the two of them, and it was taken by my talented friend Drew.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...


Just finished The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna.  Lonely hearts in 1970s rural Ireland. 

I'm posting opinions of finished books on the 2012 Reading Challenge page.



 And now I'm reading Sarah by Marek Halter, a novel based on the lives of biblical couple, Abraham and Sarah.  It really helps one think of them as three dimensional characters.

I plan on Carey driving on our upcoming trip, so I'll have lots of reading time.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Another handcrafted Christmas gift...



This was Kasey's play kitchen back in the day...I think we originally bought it in the early '80s and it was well used before it even came to our family.  We bought it from our church when they were remodeling some classrooms.  And I would guess that it was probably handmade by a church member back in the '50s or '60s.

The girls have never seen it, because before the move we had it stored in one of the out buildings, and since the move it has been in the garage awaiting my plans.  Carey repainted it in Martha Stewart green.  I added the 'window'  and after much searching found the perfect-sized new 'sink.' 

I wrapped dishes, silverware, and cookware for their under-the-tree gifts.  After all of the gifts were open, I asked them to take the dishes to the playroom where they found the kitchen.  They were VERY excited, and they have been cooking up all kinds of fun to share with us ever since.


Here's Caitlyn with some tomato soup she made for us on Saturday.


And Chloe served us a beautiful 'Cob' salad.
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  I'm a week into the Sky Scarf, and I'm wondering if I will stick it out.  It is a frustrating job to keep five skeins of yarn untangled!

2.  I'm a week into the 2012 Reading Challenge, and I am on track with my One Year Bible, but I have already picked up a new book on Kindle rather than one from the stack.

3.  Today was a fun day spent just hanging around the house with Kasey and the girls.

4.  I'm looking forward to a quick but visit-filled trip this coming week.  We will be going to see Carey's sister and mother.  I'll leave him there and take an afternoon away on my own to go see my cousin and aunt and uncle.  Then before Carey and I head home, we will jump over to the Dallas area to visit with the other Kathleen before she heads back to Kentucky. 

5.  There is so much work to do...and the more I procrastinate, the more it piles up...literally.

6.  Tomorrow:  clean out car, finish laundry catch up, fill a box to take to Goodwill, bake bread, make menu/grocery list, do the shopping. 

7.  Tonight I am ready to curl up under the covers with my Kindle.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge


So here's another of my year-long goals that I alluded too a couple of days ago.

Caroline wrote awhile back about a reading challenge for 2012 that she was joining.  It was such an awesome idea, that I had to jump in.

Here's the plan.  Shop your bookshelves for twelve books (plus two alternates) that have been languishing on your shelves for at least a year, waiting for you to get around to reading them.  That gives you an average of one per month to get read during 2012.  The alternates are in case there are some in your selection of twelve that you can't bring yourself to finish.

I'm not officially joining the 'real' challenge because...well...I didn't make the deadline.  But that doesn't mean I don't acknowledge that it is an awesome plan of action, and want to tag along...and this way I don't have to adhere to the rules about linking etc.  :)

So here are my selections:
  1. Firebird -  by Janice Graham
  2. Paula - by Isabel Allende
  3. Almost There - by Nuala O'Faolain
  4. Snow Mountain Passage - by James D Houston
  5. An Irish Country Doctor - by Patrick Taylor
  6. Mariana - by Susanna Kearsley
  7. The Poisonwood Bible - by Barbara Kingsolver
  8. Ladies With Options - by Cynthia Hartwick
  9. Sarah - by Marek Halter
10. Breakfast With Buddha - by Roland Merullo
11. Knit Together - by Debbie Macomber
12. The One Year Bible - by Divine inspiration
      ...this is a re-read for me, but it's been awhile.  It was already in the stack, and then when talking to one of my sisters she said she had started reading on January first the copy that I gave her awhile back.  I said, oh good, I'll be doing it with you.  If anyone finds the thought of reading the Bible cover to cover daunting, I highly recommend the One Year Bible.  It's broken up into readings for the year, and each day has some Old Testament, some New Testament, a Psalm, and a Proverb.

And the alternates:
1. Among Schoolchildren - by Tracy Kidder
2. An Echo In The Bone - by Diana Gabaldon

I'm setting this post up as a separate page on the blog.  I will be crossing out titles as I make progress, and I will write very short reviews.  My 'Reading List' page where I've been tracking/reviewing for the past couple of years was getting quite long.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grill girll...



This is what my husband got me for Christmas.  I'm not sure that he wanted to, but it's what I asked for.  His way of barbecuing involves what seems like hours of fire building with mesquite, and I was wanting to be able to do some grilling myself quickly and easily.

So I've been experimenting. 



 This was last night's dinner.  Salmon and vegetables.  Soooooooooooooooo good.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012...



A new year is upon us!  I got a little sidetracked last week, so more crafty Christmas photos will have to be posted later.  The above photo shows the makings of my 2012 undertaking.

I came across this idea initiated by Leigh at leafcutterdesigns.com and thought it was absolutely brilliant.  This is called the Sky Scarf.  You start out with yarns in blues, white, and grays, then each day you knit a stripe in colors that match the sky that day. Over the year you will have a record of the year's weather patterns in your scarf.

Since you only knit one stripe (two rows) a day, I think it is a very manageable goal, even for me.  On January 1st I cast on and knit the first two rows.  My plan is to show my progress on the first of each month through the year.  You are supposed to end up with a five-foot scarf at year's end.  I am adjusting my pattern and yarn just a bit, so I may end up with something a bit different.  My gauge sample was very close to that suggested though, so I'm not too worried.

I have two other year-long goals this year, so stay tuned.  :)
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