Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A little project

Last week I finished a small project that's been waiting on my "someday" list for um... 2 years.  ?   Can that be right?

I wish I had taken a before picture so you could appreciate the transformation.
You'll have to imagine a pretty beat up wooden dresser that had been very well used for many years.

I bought two of them, one for each of my boys, so I could take a before picture of the other one  - but it's so buried in the garage I can't even get to it for a picture ...  That's sad.   I hope it doesn't take me another 2 years to finish the second one... but it might.

Anyway - Here's what it looks like finished and in place in George's room.  I spent some time cleaning that room out again this weekend.  Oh how I LOVE to take 2 or 3 big bins of clutter to Goodwill!

It's nice to have somewhere to put the clothing now.  My old system (piles in the closet ) was not working.
The dressers I bought from a friend for $20.00 each, and the red paint was from the reject pile at the hardware store.  Somebody didn't like it I guess, but I think it's the perfect red.  $2.00.  So the whole dresser
cost me $22.00 and 2 hours of a little sanding/regluing/and painting.  And I lined the drawers with contact paper.  So that's another $1.00 or something.  Not bad, I think.

Now - here's the next "before" picture for you.

 A new project found at the local park.  I don't know who left it there, but I do know who found it.  Me.
And it's going to be awesome.

Someday :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Moment: Happy Blog Anniversary!

Today happens to be, much to my surprise, my 1 year blog anniversary!   I can't believe I've been here for a year, it sure went by quickly!  So I'm cheating (and I can because it's my anniversary!) and including a series of shots (since they are all related) for 
This Moment:
Entitled: "Let's take a nice picture of the Lego House we just spent hours working on together!"

Linking up with Soulemama.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Counting Days


I wanted to make a priority of posting at least something here on my blog this week.  I have not
forgotten about the blog - I feel best when I'm here regularly, writing, and posting what's going on in our family.
But it's not always possible.

I very often lately am finding myself thinking 'oh - I can't wait to share this on the blog' - and then a week goes
by and it never happens.

And that's OK.

One of the ways i'm attempting to deal with the stress of Christmas, is to let go of expectations.

For instance, My Grand Advent Calendar Plan was to knit 24 little mittens, and then fill them with goodies before the 1st.
By the 28th of November I had 6 mittens done.  And realizing that my time to work on knitting mittens was exactly 45 minutes to an hour after I get home from working the evening shift and before nodding off at night - that meant that I needed to produce at least 9 mittens each of the remaining nights, and at the speed of  roughly 7 minutes per mitten (and I'm rounding up with my time here).
I am a fast knitter, i think, but I am not a robot or a machine.

I had a long talk with myself and we determined my mitten making dreams were actually tipping all the way over from ambitious to fully delusional.

So I headed straight to our winter mitten/scarf/hat bin, and then when that still wasn't making my magic number of "24" I got out the paper and staples and made some mittens the quick and easy way.  Walah!

Our Finished Advent Calendar.
I got to bed around 11:00 - 11:45.  Maybe 12:15 at the latest.

I didn't have the smoothest of mornings, consequently, but the calendar is finished and that's what's important.
I think.

And in other news, a handful of other little happy things this morning, because I haven't done this in a while:

1.  The first egg.  I think it's a "Deb".  But it might be a "Celia"... It's definitely NOT a "Lill" who turned out to be a rooster.

2.  Clementines.  Oh boy - do I love them.

3.  Egg Nog.  Yep - I love that too.

4.  New books at the library.

5.  Thursdays.  (My last night of work for the week)

6.  And these new little guys.  It's a new series George is working on.  They are everywhere.
He actually calls them his "little guys"

7.  A small attempt at greater organizational living:  a new mail/library book/key station right inside the front door.

8.  Lastly - my new shoes - a nice new pair of black leather mary janes.  :)

How about you?  Any crazy holiday projects you've finished, abandoned, or modified in order to save
your sanity?
What happy little things are you finding this week?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mittens and Paper cuts

Good morning!

This week I'm working on making dozens and dozens of tiny mittens - a mitten garland slash Advent calendar.  Find the free pattern here if you want, but it's really just a basic mitten, made over and over
and over again, and it's using up all of my random scrap balls and left-over bits that I never know what
to do with.  The fun part will be putting little gifts and notes inside each one... I'm looking forward to that
part.  Not that I'm not enjoying knitting dozens and dozens of tiny mittens, but I am thinking ahead about
what I'll put inside them.  Little notes that say - Hot Chocolate time!  Let's go for a ride and look at the lights!  Time to bake cookies!   Let's make a paper chain today!  Christmas Movies and popcorn tonight!

yep - I'm looking forward to all of that.

Not to skip ahead of Thanksgiving - which I am also very much looking forward to!   But to be a knitter
you really must plan ahead much farther than other people.  Because it takes longer.  More prep time.

Other knitting update - the handwarmers are done, and are employed at my desk in the office where they
are doing much good keeping my hands toasty and allowing me to type at the same time. 

Lastly, the only thing I'm reading this week is this book I got from our library on Scherenschnitte...  which I hope to tell you more about tomorrow.  I've been working on some things - some papery things.

Linking up with Ginny at Small Things.

and speaking of small things - Here are Johann's first bits of hand knitting.   We are both extremely
proud of these, let me tell you. He took the picture too, and wanted very much to be a part of today's blog post to show you all what he's been working on too this week.
Love my new little knitter :)

Happy W(inds)day.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along: Hand Warmers

A nice week for knitting and reading.

The darkness of the power outage, and the dark nights that left me a little bit bored (in a good way!) and thumbing through random books on my shelf, led me to pull Tennyson and sit in the dark reading the long poem Enoch Arden for the first time.  A romantic tale of a shipwrecked sailor, who cannot return to his lovely wife and babies - and a triangle, and of dying heartbroken.  Sniff.  It was a good one.  I never pull these types of books from my shelf unless I'm bored and don't know what to do with myself, or what I feel like reading.  That's a shame.  I am always pleasantly surprised, and then I wonder - why on earth don't I read Tennyson more often?

This week I reshelved Tennyson, and pulled down Leaves of Grass instead.  I read a letter that Tennyson wrote to Whitman, so then I thought - yes, I haven't read him either lately.

So now I am - even though the lights are back on, and I've got plenty of knitting and other projects going that keep me busy in the evening.  
Sometimes, you need to stop and just read some good poetry.

In knitting news, I finally cast on for the handwarmers I set my mind on, and they are moving right along.  How lovely to not have to bother with the tedium of finger-knitting in a mitten and just stop at the palm!  I can't wait to wear them to work!

And what's on your night stand?  I'm still looking for my next good novel - something nice and thick. 
Haven't found anything yet.

Linking with Ginny at Small Things.

*** The yarn I'm using for my handwarmers is Lucia yarn by Stephanie at DirtyWaterDyeworks.  I am completely in love with the colors in the yarn, and the way they are working up in the finished mitten.  You can find her and her beautiful yarn here:


Monday, November 7, 2011

the trees, trees, trees came down, down, down!

Well, we lost a bunch (!) of oak trees in the late October snow storm that came on Halloween.

We were fortunate that nothing fell on the roof, which is always a concern, living underneath the pine giants that we do.

One other thing we are grateful for following the storm is a new (if temporary) play area that the fallen trees have made for the boys.
They are having a blast climbing around on the tree branches, and swinging from the limbs.  And without the risk of falling from a dangerous height, we are watching them explore and climb and pretend to their hearts' content.  They come inside smiling from ear to ear, smelling like fresh air and trees -

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why I love origami

Because -

It is so simple.

a couple sheets of paper,
a ribbon,
a button,
and a bead.

Plus 10 minutes of relaxing, slow, quiet time.


And in the end - something pretty for our home.

I've been watching a lot of tutorials on you tube, but when they're not complicated, I pull
the instructions off of websites like these:

This project has also got me thinking about cutting paper too.  I love that star!

Oh, in the midst of a life that is too often chaotic and frustrating and complicated, how nice to sit for 10 minutes and do something pleasing and simple and calming!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yarn Along: We Took to the Woods

A knitting update:  I'm still plinking away on the cashmere scarf.  Progress is slow, but I'm in no hurry.  I have decided not to knit any Christmas gifts this year, which immediately took a load off of the normal holiday knitting pressure.
I might make a couple pairs of small socks, or a quick pair of mittens, if I feel in the mood, but otherwise -
there is very little production going on (but a whole lot more enjoyment when I do sit down to knit)

Instead, the needle has been flying on my sewing machine.  How much faster it is to sew a Christmas present than to knit one!  Why didn't I think of this before?

When I get tired of my blue lacy thing, I pull down my Madelinetosh and dream of something yellow for me. Maybe a tea leaves?   Maybe this?  Still very much in the planning stage on my next sweater...  this yarn is too special to me to make a mistake on the pattern choice.   It's almost too special to actually knit with at all.

A reading update:  I am 6 and 3/4 (yes - exactly) through We Took to the Woods (amazon link).  And I love this book.  I really love it.  It is just exactly what I wanted to read, but I didn't know that until I began.  It's like reading a blog written 70-80 years ago about life in rural Maine.
When I finish that, I have no idea what I'll begin next.  I'm open to suggestions.  I started True Colors, but didn't make it more than a chapter in before I got bored.

I did pick up a pile of new books at the library book sale yesterday. I found an old hardcover copy of the  Audobon Field Guide of Birds, and another field guide of birds (the beautiful color pictures of all of the bird species are really why I bought the books), and a copy of Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy.   I was searching for a new novel to read, but came up with nothing.  Still I'm happy with the little pile I did come home with.

p.s.  Guess what came in this little shoebox yesterday in the mail?


A lovely friend sent me a scarf she knit (and a note and cookies too) - I gave her a knitting lesson when she came for a visit at the end of the summer last year.  It is so warm and squishy and soft, just the perfect attribute in a scarf.  Thank you Daphne!   It was so nice to get something fun in the mail for a change :)

Now, I'm off to bake some pumpkin bread!

Posted along with Ginny over at Small Things.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Projects

One of the nice things about this very rainy start to our Fall season, is that handy excuse rain gives us to stay inside and work on those inside-type of projects we all like to do.

For instance, it's very extremely hard to convince myself that cleaning out our closets is a great project on a day with bright sunshine and pleasant breezes.  But on a day that is dark, and drippy, it is a lot easier to tackle a messy closet.

Hold it right there.  I'm not saying I did clean out any of my closets.  I'm just saying it is easier to envision myself embarking on that type of project on a rainy day.

No no -  but here are some projects that we did work on this weekend :)

1.  I basted the quilt - which involved cleaning up the screened porch first (see I did do some cleaning) and then laying the three layers of the quilt sandwich across the floor.  Thank you to Aunt Dagmar for clueing me in to a product called 505, which is a temporary spray-on adhesive.  It made the basting so so easy!  I have no idea how people quilt three layers together using only safety pins to secure them to each other.
And then I rolled it up and began quilting it on my machine.  This will be the first quilt that I have ever finished from beginning to end entirely on my machine.  Which is neat.  I'm finding out fast that quilting takes a lot of thread.  A lot of thread.  A whole lot of thread.

2.  The boys finished making their little books about Fall.  They colored pictures (like these), and did some worksheets I printed (like these), and they wrote a list of their "Fall favorites" and a "Fall Story" and then we finished it off with collecting some leaves and making a few wax paper leaf pages.  We recycled a cardboard box for the covers and used a three-hole-punch and yarn as our binding.
They are very pleased with their books and will excitedly read them to anyone that passes by, including the cats and the chickens.  Jojo took his to school for share and tell.

3.  Mike has moved introduced home-made bagels to our Sunday morning breakfast this week.   All of us were excited about that new turn of events.  Bagels!  I have  to say, he conducts this bread making of his with a scientific mind-frame and furrowed brow.  He researches and reads, and jots down notes.  He measures, and checks, and checks again.  Very often I come into the kitchen, and there are four little loaves, laying peacefully under a flour-dusted blanket on the counter... it seems like they're napping, so I walk quietly and speak softly around them.  He gets temperatures just right in the oven, tossing cupfuls of water into the bottom for steam.  That man is getting a method down pat.  And I don't mind a bit.  But my jeans are getting tight.  So there's that problem.

4.   Since we happen to be avid little leaf collectors in the Fall, we ended up with a rather large pile of pretty leaves on the table after our last walk.  So we took a bunch of old jars off of the shelf, and made these this weekend.  That was fun.  I have never used my mod podge.  I bought it one time, without a particular project in mind.   It's been waiting in my art supplies since then.  Until this moment.  I like mod podge.  Mod podge.  Yes.  I like it.  Yes I do.
But it stinks.

And some other Fall ideas I love:

5.  Warm spiced apple cider.  Yep.  I'll be taking that to work this week.

6.  This idea

7.  This isn't Fall related, but I LOVE it!   And it's got me thinking a whole lot about embroidering on linen.  Which never occurred to me before.

8.  And these.  I need these.  And they're simple, and simple is always good.

And for that matter, these too.  In fact, the Purlbee has been posting good idea after good idea lately.

9.  And lastly, I hesitate to send you over here, because she's so damn funny you'll probably never bother coming back here... but I can't help myself.  I have to share the funny.  This website makes me laugh every day, sometimes until I get to that painfully awkward cry-laughing stage in which other people look at me quizzically, wondering if I'm mentally ill.  (I'm not.)    (yet.)

What are you making this week?  What's got you laughing till you cry?

Friday, October 14, 2011

:: this moment ::

A Friday ritual, inspired by Soulemama.

A single photo - capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random Post

Hello -

oh boy - will life just please slow down for 2 seconds so I can catch up please.  !!!

Me - over here - I am that over-winded, out-of-practice runner who is bowed over, face down, clutching her knees on the sideline, with one finger held in the air, and the other holding her sides for the runner's cramp.

I'd like to post every day here, of course, for we are surely doing and making and running all about with life, doing fun things that I'd like to share with you. 

But since I'm only making it here to this space about once a week - I'll just get started...

1.   Lots and lots and lots more apples.  There's a fresh pie crust in the fridge, waiting so patiently to be turned into a pie (maybe tomorrow!?) and we're up to our eyeballs in canned applesauce and baking apples.  So so so glad I put in the effort (with extra thanks to my lovely neighbor who stopped in - ok - I yanked her off the street - to help with the canning).  if I never peel another apple, that's ok.

2.  I am hereby proclaiming Mike the "master baker of our town".  If you'd like to stop by and try one of his several varieties of fresh baked 12 grain maple syrup italian french oh my goodness bread -
well -
Don't Bother.  I already ate it all.  And there's none left for you.   He's baking every other day though, so if you stop by randomly, (before I get home from work) then you might get lucky.  

3.   A beautiful friend of mine, a long while ago - handed me a mysterious bag out of the blue.  And inside was the most delightful and touching surprise - a bag of precut fabric squares that she and her mother had collected and assembled for a quilt.   At the time i was busy working away at my sister's quilt so I didn't have time to do anything except marvel at how pretty the fabric was and tuck it away for later.  Now is later.

And I have finished the quilt top.  Jojo claimed it for his own - and I begrudgingly agreed.  Because I wanted it for myself.  But I'll share.  It's not like it's bread after all.  I can share this.
I'm calling this quilt "Memere's Garden" - each square (I think they are vintage pillow cases and bed sheets) has a flower motif.
Yes, friends who give bags of fabric (or yarn) are by far the best sorts of people to know.

4.  Other sewing is taking place too.  Coffee sack buckets and purses and totes, and some little zippered pouches.  The totes and pouches are my own, and the bucket pattern can be purchased here, from the lovely and oh so friendly Maya.  Oh I can't tear myself away from my sewing machine!  And at a time of year when I should be knitting I guess.  It is knitting season after all.  no Sewing season!  Knitting season!!  Sewing Season!!  Fire!!  (the boys have been watching the loony tunes a lot lately.  obviously.)

5.  My mini van broke down, just about the same day G's latest hospital bills and the school tuition check came due.  That was an awesome day.  Not. 

6. And what else?  More else.  But I've got to run to work.

I will try so hard to come back and dribble on about myself and my family tomorrow... will you come back too?

(insert random obligatory fall foliage shots here)

(that's Rhama following me on my walk.  he always does.  he's over protective.)
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