Saturday, September 24, 2011


I finally finished my entry for Celebrate Color this month. Just in the nick of time too. The deadline is Monday!!! I knit these teeny-tiny little shoes for a certain little baby in my life. (No, not Gus) I think the colors are perfect for a little girl's Fall wardrobe and I love the little leaves! They took way longer than they should have, mostly because I've been scatterbrained for the last few weeks.  I think I have myself back together though and I'm looking forward to finishing up some other great projects that have been neglected lately.

I've been thinking about starting a new "thing" for myself. I've named it "Finish It Friday". The plan is for me to finish one project in its entirety every Friday. This could be one new project or finishing up one of those UFO's I have hanging around. We'll see how it goes. . . My project this past Friday was finishing up these adorable little booties. I love their buttery soft silkiness. This yarn is The Fibre Company's Road to China Light. Heaven in a skein I tell you! The pattern is "Tiny Shoes" from Ysolda Teague.

The next project on my list? My very first mug rug to swap. I'm trying to decide between two completely different Halloween designs. I'll probably end up doing one of each and then sending whichever one turns out the best. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Palette

I am so excited about Celebrate Color started by Rachel over at Stitched in Color! I finally finished my inspiration board and wanted to share it with you. I love the rich colors of plum set against the golds and greens. This is Fall.

From Top Left
Photo Credits: Chagrin Falls, Crocheted Cowl, Plum Cake, Purple Yarn, Gold Skein, Layering Shrug, Plum Yarn, Green Pumpkins, Fall Trees, Pumpkin Soup, Autumn Bouquet

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Dishes and Color.

My kitchen remodel has been done for a little over a year now. The only thing still missing is a dishwasher. Mostly, I don't notice that anything is missing at all. But about once a week we have friends over for dinner and at the end of the night the inevitable question is "Can I help you load the dishwasher?". I'm sure that most people think that I'm just being polite when I respond "No, I really don't mind doing the dishes." It's true though. I really, genuinely don't mind doing the dishes. It's soothing to me somehow. The repetition, the warm water, the solitude. It's a place I can get lost in my thoughts or I can get lost in the task. When Aaron is home we clean up together. Sometimes chatting enthusiastically about our day, other times lost in our own silent thoughts but still together.

Mowing the lawn is like that too. Quiet and meditative even when I'm in a hurry to beat the rain. This past weekend in the chaos of being both Mama and Dad I was beginning to feel a little battered. I'd been wondering when I'm ever going to have time to sew, or knit, or ride my horse, or blog again. I hired a babysitter to watch the kids for a few hours so I could mow and do other yard work. Of course when she arrived it looked like it was about to start pouring outside. So I quickly started the mower thinking "If I can just get the back yard done before it starts raining."  Then I thought "If I can just get the front yard done before it starts raining." Before I knew it the whole yard was almost done. As I went over the last little bit of the side yard around the garden and the rain drops started softly falling I thought "I can do this." I can etch out time every day for myself. I can let go of the things that aren't done at the end of the night. I can put Gus down sometimes. I can sew and knit and then blog about it. I can be strong.

So tonight to prove that I Can. I'm joining Rachel over at Stitched in Color to Celebrate Color and Fall. For me Fall is the time of year that embodies the way I feel doing mundane, solitary tasks. Peaceful, serene, meditative, crisp, fresh, keen, full of potential energy and new starts. There's just a certain something that fills the cool morning air that brings such promise for the day ahead. I can't wait until it's cool enough here to feel like that! The colors that come with Autumn always inspire me to create and reflect and I am so excited to join up with Rachel (Stitched in Color), Mollie (Wild Olive) and Shannon (LuvintheMommyhood) to celebrate the perfect season.

Celebrate Color

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

It hit me when I was about three quarters of the way done with weeding the garden yesterday. There's a hurricane coming. Darn. Why did I think that weeding was a good idea now? There is actually a time when weeds are good for a garden. Like when a major storm is coming and that's all that is growing in there. There are a few weeds left. Hopefully it'll be enough to prevent most of the erosion if the storm is as bad as they think it will be.

By now everyone has heard that Hurricane Irene is headed in our general direction. We won't know what impact to expect until the storm gets here. Sure, weather forecasters can make educated guesses about where the hurricane might head, but that is all they are, guesses. As for me and mine, we're staying home, hunkering down and looking forward to board games by candlelight. 

Not that I'm taking Irene lightly. In reality I'm a little bit nervous this time around. I know that everything will be fine. I'm just a teeny, tiny bit worried. My biggest fear? That a tree will fall on our house. We have lots of trees. 

I have gathered a few things together, you know, just in case. Mostly I made sure that I had a few gallons of bottled water, a flashlight (someone please remind me to get batteries tomorrow!), a pack of disposable diapers, important papers located and in case we have to evacuate, I scrubbed the house, did all the laundry and packed up some emergency knitting. I also took pictures of our household goods. Mostly the fabric stash and sewing machines. I figure the more prepared I am the less likely we'll actually have a significant storm. 

I'll try to update tomorrow when we know if the storm is just going to brush by us or if it's going to barrel in and take up residence.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Letter To Gus

My Dear Sweet Gus,
     For your first birthday I think it's important that you know a few things. First of all, you are a very special little boy who is loved more than you can possibly measure. You're very lucky because not only do you have a Mama and a Daddy who love you, you also have a big sister who takes such wonderful care of you. I wish you could have seen your sister's face the first time she saw you. She was so proud of her little brother! I know that the two of you are going to be such wonderful friends. 

     Secondly, you should know what kind of family you have. In particular, you should know something about your Daddy. You already know that he's a brave U.S. Marine. He's tall and handsome he loves you and your Sissa very much. He wanted to be with you on your special day today.  He loves his job but it hurts him to be away from all of us. There's something else you should know about Daddy. I wanted to give you a really super awesome, cool name but Daddy wouldn't let me. Let's just say that your name could have been DANGERous. Instead you got the very practical (and honorable) middle name of Paul after your great-grandfather. It is a very nice name. But it's no Danger. Just remember this when you're older.

Have a happy, happy birthday today, My Love. I can't wait to see how you change and grow between birthdays each year. I am one lucky mama!


The Birthday Boy!
The Funnel Cake!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The List.

So the other day week, I made a list of things to get done. It went like this

1. Clean the kitchen.
2. Vacuum the couches.
3. Dust the ceiling fans.
4. Laundry.
5. Scrub the baseboards.
6. Weed the garden.
7. Make Lovey for M.
8. Finish Quilt for A.
9. Second grade socks for Chickadee.
10. Update blog.

I wrote this list on the chalkboard in my kitchen on the 11th. Today is the 17th. The only things I've managed to get done so far is to clean the kitchen (because I do this everyday), do a couple of loads of laundry (only because we can't live without diapers and towels), and I did manage to weed a small corner of the garden the other day.

What is not on the list is: play with the kids, take Chickadee to ballet practice, chase Gus, walk the dogs, pull Gus out of the dog's food, wrestle Gus back into his diaper, go to story time, buy groceries and school shoes, take Chickadee to book club, set up the water table outside, feed the cat that is not ours, try not to lose my mind. Which is what I actually did.

But by some miracle this morning Gus didn't wake up me before or even at the same time I did. He's my early riser. As in he wants to be out of bed and up for the day no later than 6am. This morning however, he was still sound asleep when I got up at 6:30. So I took a leisurely shower, took some time to blow dry my hair and then, since the little man was still sleeping, I turned to my list. Out of all the things on there what did I decide to do? Update the blog. Everything else seemed too mundane. Of course Gus is awake now. I'm frantically typing this to get done before he realizes that he does not, in fact, have my full attention. 

I have been somewhat productive this week.  Somehow I did manage to make a couple of hats for Addie. This one with curly Q's  is my favorite hat ever!
This is the Ainsley Baby Hat by Nadine McLeod.

 I used Be Sweet Bambino. Which is an amazing blend of organic cotton and bamboo. It feels heavenly! 

And now I'm getting ready to start the promised Second Grade Socks. Chickadee and I started this tradition when she went off to Kindergarten. Every year on the first day of school she gets to wear a new pair of socks hand knit by Mama. That way I can be with her on her first day. This year she picked a surprisingly blue yarn. I love this color. She picked it to match the silver sneakers we bought. 

You can't really tell from the picture but the deep blue yarn has silver thread running through it. It's actual silver. It makes the socks antibacterial and antimicrobial. This is Dream in Color Smooshy. Wonderful stuff. The colors are a bit addicting but it's wonderful nonetheless. Did I mention that second grade starts in 7 days?!?!

Before I can knit though, we're off to the library for story time and then Chickadee has Nutcracker practice. I'll be back eventually soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keepin' It Real

So, it's 0230, do you know where your baby is? Mine is on the living room floor, no diaper, dumping out all of his wipes (including the liquid) and tooting away. He's been awake since about 1:00am crying and fussing and kicking his mama. I tried taking him to bed with me to nurse which resulted in him screaming, pulling at my nipple and generally thrashing around. Definitely NOT sleeping. So, I thought he had gas. Put him on his belly. Tried holding his knees to his chest. Walked around while swaying and singing. Nothing was working. Then I thought, "hey, let's try changing your diaper". He looked at me as if to say "gee mom, what a great idea, what in the heck took you so long?". So I took his diaper off and the smell of ammonia knocked me over. Like he had managed to pour straight ammonia into his diaper. YUCK! His little diaper area is all red so we're spending some naked time in the living room at 2:30am. And he totally has gas. Now that he's crawling around and getting his toots out he feels much better. I think the funny faces he's making is helping the most. I love this little man. Stink and all. Even no sleep and all.

I hope your day is going as well as mine so far. Only not the being up at 0230 with a fussy baby part. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I promise that I haven't run away to some far off island in the middle of the ocean (yet!). Just when I thought that this year couldn't possibly get any crazier, it did. My wonderful sister-in-law, Renae, is a labor and delivery nurse going back to school to become a midwife. Last year she took time off work and came and stayed with me for the birth of my son. And not just a little bit. She stayed for three weeks. I was horribly grouchy most of that time and she still stayed. Luckily for me.  She made such a tremendous difference in my birth experience and my life. I was overjoyed to have her share in that time with me and our family. Thanks Ian, for letting her stay with us.

Now Renae has given birth to her own precious little baby.  Adalee was born on July 20th, seven weeks too early with a condition known as Trisomy 13. The prognosis might seem discouraging but little Addie isn't worried. She has been approaching each day with such joy and exuberance! She weighed just over 2 pounds at birth and she has steadily been gaining weight over the past couple of weeks. She had a PDA (a congenital heart defect) that has healed on its own, a substantial hole in her scalp that is closing up without plastic surgery and after a brief time on the ventilator she is now breathing well on her own.

I can't begin to explain  how much we all love this beautiful little girl. She has shown such strength and love in the short time she's been with us. I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with her and her Mommy and Daddy this past week. It was a very humbling experience. Ian and Renae are so proud of their daughter and with good reason. She is perfect. Adalee has brought our family closer together and closer to God. She has touched each one of us so profoundly there aren't enough words in the universe to describe it. I can only say that for me, being near Addie feels like standing in the palm of His hand and feeling His breath on my face.

Please say a prayer (or two or a hundred) for Adalee's continued journey. Please pray for her health to continue to improve, specifically that her brain continues to instruct the rest of her body to function normally. Pray for the health of her Mommy and Daddy, to guide the hands and hearts of her caregivers while she stays in the NICU and that everyone who meets her continues to be so blessed.

Here are a few pictures of Addie. Shared of course, with her parents permission.

Adalee has her own Bible verse. This is not it. This is a verse I came across this morning that reminded me of her.

You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the Living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come into the presence of God. (Hebrews 12;22-23).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No idea. . .

Really. I. Have. No. Idea. How. This. Happened.

Here's the true story. . .

uh-oh. what just happened?

 what have I done?

cheerful whistling will somehow disguise the fact that somehow 


 somehow just showed up in my online shopping cart. 

THEN, it had the actual nerve to arrive, completely unannounced yet somehow addressed to me, at my house. Hoo-rumph!

(I'm just kidding, wonderful Mendocino fabric. You know I couldn't resist your charm and charisma. Plus, the mail carrier saw my happy dance from the mailbox to my front door. Not even joking about that.)

It's not exactly cheating on my fabric diet. I did say that I could buy supplies for projects that need to be finished. Well, this is for the bathroom project that certainly needs finishing. My plan is to frame a few of my favorites. (but how to decide which are my favoritist favorites?) The rest will be cut up, added to and made into a shower curtain. I love them. All of them. Here are a few more pictures. Look at your own risk. You may end up wanting them too. . .

This was a completely true story. Even the bit with the coffee stain.

What I learned from this:
1. You can't trust that Mendocino line. It has a mind of it's own and it does what it wants. Including following me home.
2. Be careful where you set your coffee when blogging.
3. I am a way better artist than I thought. My actual office chair is not that nice.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

House Things

Last month we went to visit friends in Virginia and family in Ohio and the thing that struck me the most when I got home was just how bare my house is. I don't mean empty. Just not decorated. I don't have a lot of pictures on the walls. No art. No cohesive themes. Unless of course toys scattered everywhere in every room counts. Or dog fur. So I'm going to spruce up a bit around here. I wasn't going to blog about the sad state of my house at first. Not because I don't love you all, but because I secretly want everyone to believe that my house is beautifully put together and everything is always perfectly in it's place. That's just not so. We live in our house. My kids play here, my dogs shed here, sneaky snakes find their way in, we track in sand from the beach and dirt from the garden, and I love it. And I know that most of my friends live in their houses too. So. I'm going to show you my not-so-perfect house and my endeavors to make it more beautific. No, really, that's a real word. Beautific. Doesn't it just roll off your tongue?

Since I'm not a bajillionaire I'm going to go slowly as time and my budget allows. I'll try to remember to take "before" pictures and not just skip straight to the "better" pictures. I'm starting with the guest/kids' bathroom. I decided on a chic, underwater, mermaid, sea creature theme. It's going to be so much fun! I can't wait to share all of my projects. So far my list includes a seashell mirror, new shower curtain, tentacles wall hooks and some art. Be sure to let me know what you think as I go! That way I don't do anything too crazy when the clevers attack. Hopefully.

So here goes. Here is my "before" picture of the small hall bathroom. 

 Hmm, wish I had thought of closing the toilet seat before right this minute. Oh, and the drawer.

Any ideas?

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Projects.

Hey there! I just wanted to share some pictures of my latest projects with you all. I'm having a lot of fun and keeping myself all kinds of busy! I recently reorganized my sewing area and sorted through most of the fabric in the china hutch. My plan is to systematically go through and finish all of the already started projects before allowing myself to buy any. More. Fabric. That's only because this is the only way for me to store. More. Fabric. Do you see where this is leading yet? That's right, More. Fabric. 

Yep, another attack of the clevers bites the dust. Anyhow, back to the pictures. 

baby quilt

I love these colors!
soon to be needle case

As of yet I have the following in various stages of completion:
Quilt for Kaitlyn I finished the top for a long time ago, in 1999, who cares anyway? 
Origami flower quilt
Turkey wall hanging
Dress for Chickadee
Romper for Gus
Renae's Quilt

I have plenty of other projects planned but not started yet. I do hereby solemnly with a somewhat straight face, swear to diligently work only on the projects that I already purchased supplies for. Unless I need more supplies to finish the project. Or just more supplies.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Holy Macaroni!

Whoa! I can't believe that I've let a month go by with no new post! Wow! Time sure flies around here. In my own defense I have been a teeny, tiny bit busy. With the big trip to Ohio to visit family, Aaron leaving for the other side of the world, taking care of the kids, the house, the garden, the dogs and the spotty internet connection. (Why, cruel internet service provider, can't you just let me have one whole, uninterrupted hour of internet?) Phew. 

I have been meaning to post. I've been composing long, eloquent, humorous blog posts in my head at random times during the day. The only problem is that my thoughts aren't remotely transmitted to blogger instantaneously. Including the fabulous pictures (which never turn out quite so well in real life.) Finding a quiet moment to sit at the computer and write has been difficult. And not just because of the guilt I feel about the piling up laundry and dirty bathrooms. It's more because it's in these quiet moments that I'm not too busy to think about everything going on. When I'm busy I don't have to think about my mom still being in the hospital. After more than four months. My poor dad staying there with her. Going to work at 3am so he can be at the hospital from 9am-9pm, sleep a few hours and get up and do it again. Aaron deploying, again. Katie dealing with his deployment, again. (She asked in her very first email to him if he was hurt. We had just dropped him off.) And possibly the worst news of all. My grandmother has lung cancer. Stage 3. 20% survival rate. It's killing me. It's killing me because she's my very best friend. She's always there for me. Always. I can talk to her about anything. And she knows me better than me. She's been witness to my most unbearable mistakes and my greatest joys. And it's killing me to not be there with her every second through this. She's not supposed to be around the babies and I couldn't not be here to see Aaron off. We're heading down there next weekend. Don't tell her doctor that I'm letting her hold her great-grandkids as much as she wants. So please, say a prayer for us. I could really use it right now.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Day of First Grade

Well, I guess my little Chickadee is all grown up. Tomorrow is her last day of first grade and I'm a little sad. Sad that time is going by much faster than I would like it to, sad to be saying good-bye to her teacher and sad that one day I'll be writing that tomorrow will be her last day of high school. Oh, hold on. Tissue break. . .

Anyway, to celebrate a wonderful first grade year Chickadee's class helped me to make this for their teacher:

Isn't it wonderful? We were supposed to give it to Ms. McGuyer tomorrow on the last day of school but we were too impatient to wait so we took it in today.  The kids were very excited to see their artwork displayed on the quilt. And I think that Ms.McGuyer was pleased as well. It took a little legwork to get this done without her knowing. The art teacher at school helped. A lot! I took the supplies in one day last month and the kids did their squares as an art project. Then I added the borders to each child's drawing and sashed them together. Finally I quilted around the outside, inside and middle of each border with matching thread. I wanted to create a clean, simple design that would make the art stand out. I think it worked out pretty well.

Here's the back:

A. holding up the quilt for me!

I love the back!

Things I learned from this project: 
1. Clipping all the thread as you go really is helpful at the end.
2. Next time I would like the kids to draw self-portraits.
3. It's time for a new sewing machine.
4. I should learn to take better photographs. 

Here are a few more pictures from this project:

the beginning
after the sashing
choosing layout
my square

Gus's square
washed, dried, and ready to go!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A New Friend. . .

Phew! It's been awhile since I posted, but today was an exciting day so I just had to share. No, it's not crafty. But it is exciting. First of all, I got to play in the garden this morning. Hooray! I spent about an hour weeding and planting a few more squash, eggplant, cucumber and basil transplants. Everything is finally looking decent. Not great yet, but decent. There's something very gratifying about weeding a garden. After all the fun I had playing in the dirt I needed a shower, which I took. What I did not need was to have a new friend when I got out of the shower. In my bedroom. Just hanging out. Yep, there he was. This fellow.

Notice I took the picture after  he was safely out of the house. This guy is a king snake, totally harmless, well, at least non-venomous. Luckily I'm not afraid of snakes (I think they're cool) and was able to broom him out of my bedroom in a timely fashion. The best part about him though, copperhead snakes are on his menu. Normally I'm not an advocate of killing venomous snakes just for the sake of killing venomous snakes. But I'm also not a fan of copperheads living in my yard with a young baby crawling around. So Mr.King Snake go do your job! And don't come back in the house please.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Because

 So, my little guy has been growing steadily over the past few months. Eight actually. Today he is eight whole months old. How did that happen? He is such a joyful, happy baby. I'm so lucky to have two kids that are happy babies. I'm a little sad to admit how fast Gus is growing out of everything. Including his diapers. It's taken me way longer to let go of his itty bitty newborn diapers than I'd like to admit. I just like looking at them. He was so wee little. But, I finally decided that it was time to give up those first newborn sized diapers and so I sold them. I packaged them up  and put them in the mail yesterday. Just because I added these:

I figure, I like surprises. And I like little bitty knitted things. So. I figure the ladies getting the diapers would like this stuff too. Aren't these just so cute? They each took about an hour from start to finish. I magic looped them both because I thought that the double pointed needles were too fiddly. I used a pattern for the longies and made up the soaker pattern. It took a couple of tries but I finally got it right. So when the Mamas open up their diaper boxes this is what they'll see:
. While I was knitting these up my husband wanted to know what I was knitting them for. Well, I tried to explain to him, they're for cuteness. "Huh?" was written all over his face. Just for fun, I tried again. "I may have married a crazy woman." flashed in his eyes. (I know because I've seen it there before) I sighed and gave up. I think that he just doesn't understand the fun of a simple, little surprise or doing something just for the fun of it. Or knitting for cuteness's sake. Oh, well. At least I have friends who understand. Right?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cucumber "Sushi"

I'm always trying to come up with new and inventive lunches for Chickadee. I'm lucky in that she will try just about anything and likes almost everything including sushi. The other day I had a flash of inspiration and came up with a great idea. I can't put sushi in her lunch I can put fake sushi in there. What I came up with was a hollowed out cucumber filled with rice, veggies and cream cheese. Here, I'll show you what I mean. . .

First you start by slicing your cucumber in half. Then hollow it out like so. I used the business end of a potato peeler to do the job.

Next, choose your filling and start slicing. I used red pepper, carrots, asparagus spears, rice, cream cheese and avocado. You want long, skinny slivers.

Step 3: Stuff your cucumber. It helps to go from softest to hardest ingredient. For instance, I started with the rice, mashed that down with a butter knife, added the avocado, then cream cheese, then peppers, asparagus and finally the carrots. Hint: If you can't get something through, feed it in alongside a carrot. Works like a charm. Trust me. It's also helpful to really pack stuff in there. The more jammed in there it is the better.

Slice your cucumber into little sushi "rolls"

Pack up and enjoy for lunch! These were fun and they tasted really yummy! The two things I learned from this are: 1. Sometimes I have good ideas and 2. I need a new cutting board. (Mostly for taking good blog pictures)

When I look at other blogs my thoughts are usually like this; "Hey, that's really cool. Maybe I could do that." Then; "How much time did that take?" And finally "Doesn't she have kids? Where the heck were they while she spent x hours doing that and taking pictures for the blog?" So in case you were thinking that too, these didn't take that long (like 20 minutes or so), Katie was sleeping and Gus was here. . .

"helping". So now you know and you can relax and enjoy your "sushi".