Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter's Day Well Spent

Friday night and Saturday brought a little snow and a lot of freezing rain, sleet and ice our way. It made for a very grey, cold, wet day.

OUTSIDE: Brrrrrr!

INSIDE: Simmering chili.


INSIDE: Corn bread. (To go with the chili, of course!)

OUTSIDE: Lonely swingset.

INSIDE: Monopoly by the fire.

OUTSIDE Not much traffic today!

INSIDE: Warm, spicy chai. (Recipe can be found here.)

OUTSIDE: Ice everywhere.

INSIDE: Plenty of time for knitting. You can read more about my Valentine's scarf here on Ravelry.

I lived in Michigan for 5 years. I remember how stir crazy I could get with months of days like this. I certainly don't miss that! However, in these parts we don't get much "proper" winter weather. A weekend of forced hibernation has been rather nice. It has been quite pleasant, I confess, to have a few days where everything shuts down, and everyone slows down!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quilt Pics (new and improved)

Thanks to some helpful suggestions in the comments of my last post (thank you, Laura) I have taken some better photos of my fabric.

Here is the binding and the backing.

Now, I just need to get myself a tripod so that my pics aren't so fuzzy. I can't seem to take a shot without shaking the camera. :-P

Friday, January 29, 2010

Quilt Along!


I love to visit the blog "i have to say..." and I am thrilled to tell you that Randi is hosting a quilt-along. Whether you are a novice or an experienced quilter, it's not too late to join! It will be 6 weeks of easy, step-by-step instructions in small, bite-sized do-able chunks. You can read more about it here.

I am thinking of using these fabrics to go into my living room, which has deep, rich, pumpkin walls, an oriental rug with cranberry red, golds and blues, and a sofa with greens, reds, golds and a touch of the pumpkin color.

Stress Mittens

I've been meaning to show off my new pair of mittens that I knit this past weekend. I call them my "Stress Mittens" because knitting them was an effort at coping with all the laundry and plumbing frustrations we were having.

However, this week has not been my best and I've not found much time to blog. I will spare you all the gory details of that. Perhaps in another post.

Here is a picture of the finished pair. And I know I've said this before, but I must repeat myself and say that my skills at photography do not do the colors of this yarn justice.

I am using a Canon PowerShot SX100 IS. I take my photos in natural light whenever possible. I am not using the flash and I have Picasa for photo editing, only editing my photos when the image needs cleaning up or in an effort to adjust color so that it looks as close as possible to the real thing. I feel that the photos above are somewhat washed out and less vivid than reality. I don't feel the greens and plums are showing true. The plums look more like brown on my monitor. Any photography advice is most welcome!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Laundry woes.

Wednesday -- LG front load washer dies.

Thursday -- Take washer apart and determine it needs to be replaced.

Friday -- Shop and stress over buying new washing machine.

Saturday am -- New Whirlpool washer delivered.

Saturday am (later) -- First load of laundry running and drain pipe completely overflows.

Rest of Saturday -- Research problem on internet, clean drain, flush drain with hose, check drain vent, visit hardware store to search for possible solutions.

Saturday evening -- Another load of laundry, another overflow.

Sunday -- Seriously considering one of these:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Well, Fiddle-Dee-Dee!!

My mechanic has had a nice visit with my car today for the 3rd time in less than a month. I hope to be finally rid of that "check engine" light continually mocking me.

My 19 year-old son's car totally died on his way back to university a few weeks ago. It was beyond repair.

Our desktop computer went belly-up last month. It refused to be resucitated and had to be replaced.

Now, I have this sitting in the middle of my kitchen:

Yes, that would be my washing machine. Sadly out of commission!

Ahhh, well. We have taken it apart and determined it is too expensive to fix, so against our wishes, a new one is on its way tomorrow. If my family will just give up eating for a month, we will be able to pay for it!!

Shall I whine and complain?? Nope! Instead, I will put my hands on my hips and exclaim, "Fiddle dee dee!" just like Miss Scarlett. I will count my blessings...a healthy family, a roof over my head, a loving God...

And, I will solace myself in some lovely fiber that has been sitting in my stash, waiting patiently to be knitted up:

I wish the photo could convey the yummy goodness of this yarn. However, either due to the lighting, my camera's weakness or simply my ineptitude with a camera, I seem unable to capture the true richness of color that this fiber has. It is hand painted and each stitch evokes from me another "Oooooo! Love that color! Aaaaah! Now that one is exquisite!"

I have cast on some mittens.

I am making up the pattern myself. If it they turn out, they will be most welcome on cold walks with the hubby.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I finished this a few weeks ago. I have been wearing it a LOT! It can be worn as a shawl, but I tend to drape it around my neck like this.

Pattern: Multnomah (available free here)
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino (1 skein - 420 yards)
Yarn color: Green Mountain Madness
Needles: Size 4 (3.5 mm)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Burp Cloths

What do you make when someone really cool and funky is having a baby shower?

Burp cloths!

But not just boring, plain white burp cloths. Burp cloths with personality.

And with hand-crocheted edgings.

And you know you have succeeded in making something totally cool when your 17 year-old says, "Mom, someday when I have babies, will you make me burp cloths?"

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tea for Two

Yesterday my friend, Melissa, invited me over for tea and girl talk. She really made it special. There were candles and pretty dishes. There was fresh fruit and whipped cream. She even made homemade scones (orange-chocolate chip) but they were so yummy I forgot to take a picture of them!

But the pies de resistance was the tea! First she filled her nifty clear glass teapot with hot water. Then she dropped in a boring, nondescript, unremarkable, dry bud.

That is when the show began. Slowly, the bud began to open into a lovely flower.

Not only pretty to look at, it was delicious too!

Taking a photo from above was a real challenge! The lense on the camera tended to steam up, but I finally worked it out.

Tea was followed by knitting and more girl talk. It was such a nice time.

While I was there, I finally got to take some photos of the sweater I crocheted for her baby shower months and months ago. I am happy to say it looked well-worn.

Then the baby woke up all smiles and coos. Isn't she precious?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Things that I have completed...

Often, when I feel down, I practice the "count your blessings" approach to remind me that things aren't so bad. So, in that spirit, and as a positive response to my previous post which may have seemed a bit whiny, I am going to count some things that as a wife and mother I have finished, completed, accomplished. Let's see if I can come up with at least 10 things I have successfully seen to the conclusion and I no longer do on a daily/monthly/yearly basis.

1) Learn to cook (poor hubby suffered through much trial and error and lumpy gravy)
2) Childbirth (did this 7 times, and it never got easier!)
2b) Wear maternity clothes (certainly don't miss that!)
3) Nursing and baby bottles
4) Diapers (Boy! That was a lot of work!)
5) Potty training
6) Change the linens on a wet bed (this comes with #5 above)
7) Teach kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade (youngest is now in 3rd grade)
8) Travel with diaper bag and sippy cups always in tow
9) Buckle my kids in car seats
10) Wake up to find myself doing uncomfortable contortions in an effort to not wake the child that has crawled into bed with us

Now, that was pretty easy to do. In fact, I confess finding myself slightly nostalgic and sad to think I won't be doing some of those things again. I do so love babies! I guess there are always grandchildren to look forward to some day.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lost and FO

At the risk of being brutally honest and shattering any illusion that my life is all roses and sunshine (snort! snort!), I must confess I feel I have lost something lately...has anyone seen my joy? It seems to have wandered off. If you should stumble across it, would you send it back to me please?

I have now been a stay-at-home mom for approximately 21 years. I fear that I may have grown weary in well doing. No need to panic. I'm not planning to go out and get a job, or leave my family, or anything drastic like that. But the truth of the matter is, a lot of what my life consists of has become drudgery to me. There is a never-ending cycle of laundry and dishes and cooking and home schooling. Most of these are tasks that are never DONE, finished, complete. I can get the family all fed and the kitchen all clean, only to find a few hours later there are hungry mouths and a huge mess to deal with all over again! I don't often get the chance to do something, clap my hands together and think "There! Now that's complete! I don't have to do that again!"

Right now, homemaking feels less like an interesting journey down a scenic path; more like a marathon run by doing laps on a short round track over and over again. I'm not throwing in the towel or calling it quits. I continue to do what needs to be done, but I want my mojo back! I want to enjoy doing things I need to do. I want to feel inspired. So, should you look out your window and happen to see my joy running past, would you quickly nab it for me?

Well, that covers the "lost." Now on to the "FO" (otherwise known as "finished object.")

No, not my son. He's still a work in progress. ;-P The FO is the scarf around his neck. The pattern is "Daybreak" knit with Cascade Yarns Heritage Hand Painted Sock Yarn, colors -- 9872 "Thunder" and 5601 Black.

Here is a photo of it while still in progress, but it gives an idea of the shape of the scarf/shawl.

The photo really doesn't do the "thunder" colorway justice. It is a gorgeous hand-painted yarn with greys and some denim blues and even a bit of mossy green in it. It was really yummy to knit with. Originally it was made for my college boy in the mountains (not the one in the photo.) However, I learned that he preferred something in more "earthy" colors. Truth be told, I was thrilled! As I knit it, I fell in love with my Daybreak and I really didn't want to give it away. I have been wearing it quite a bit. It is amazing how much warmer I feel with some wool wrapped around my neck.

***Edited to add an afterthought: Don't want anyone out there to think I am drowning in the depths of despair. I'm okay, honestly! I am sure everyone feels this way about their life/occupation/career sometimes. I think I will read through Proverbs 31 and pull out my copy of "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" for a little inspiration.


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