Friday, August 29, 2008

It is well

Little Sunny, chillin' out in the backyard. Yes, she has tons of puppy in her, but even at 4 months we have frequent glimpses of one potentially laid back dog. So much so that Kevin has said, "do you think anything's wrong with her?" No. I don't, but you never know. We see the vet next week.

She's getting into sticks and a tennis ball, but not obsessively so. Her obsession seems to be people. She just wants to please and hang out with us. She's slid nicely right into the family and is a much needed addition. Don't get me wrong I love my cats and wouldn't trade Betsey in for anything, but there's something indescribable a dog does that fills the heart.

I'm glad we waited almost two years since the passing of our beloved, Emma, the Golden Retriever Mix stray that found me in graduate school. She has a place in our hearts only she could fill, and we've missed her so.

But things seem just right now. This morning I found myself humming the tune to a hymn. Don't know the exact title, but the words, "it is well, it is well, with my soul" keep playing in my head.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meet Sunny

She's the newest member of the family. She started out in a hunting pen with her 3 siblings, as the product of a yellow lab and a hunting hound. She was named Sunflower but we shortened it to Sunny to match her wonderful color and happy disposition.

In just a few short hours she's proven herself to be smart, extremely sweet and lovable, wonderful with children, easily trainable and quite interested in the cat. That introduction will happen gradually as she gets used to us and her new surroundings but for now we're just so happy to have her.

I feel like a proud mama all over again. She came home, we took a nice long walk around the house, she peed, she pooped, she met grandpa, daddy and the kids and now she's taking a well-earned nap in her crate. Ahhh, the simple life.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I know, I know, it's kinda getting like the never ending slide show of your friend's vacation pictures that you never really wanted to see. But I promise it's almost over.

Part of the purpose of this blog is to serve as a little online scrapbook of sorts since I'm not the kind of girl who takes all the time (not to mention money) to actually make them in hard copy. So it's family memories as well as knitting, the business and all my other typical ramblings.

I've also been playing around with Picasa2 which I actually think is fun. Imagine that, fun on the computer. Who would have guessed?

Big daddy kayaker. He even got me out on that thing! It was fun but I'll keep those pictures to myself. I'm a bit wary of the big wide ocean, especially when I'm sitting just a few inches above it far away from land. It's really Jaws that did it to me. That, and the huge purple jellyfish I was riding over and the feeding sting rays that were launching themselves a foot or two out of the water. I wasn't out there long. I do however wish I'd gotten a close up of the dolphins that made their way up and down the length of the beach every day. Just like clockwork. What a sight.


Jockey's Ridge never fails to amaze me. How all that sand wound up there and how it all stays there is a mystery to me and I don't really want to go read about the science of how it works. I'd rather see it as a wonder of nature. The kids don't really care either, they just think it's awesome to be able to fly and jump or roll down a huge (I mean huge) pile of sand. The hanglider and kite watching entertains them as well. This time I mainly had fun taking pictures and video of it all.

Off the beaten path

While on vacation we do the usual stuff. We go to the beach, we eat seafood, we watch movies, play cards, eat more, go sightseeing, buy cheesy touristy stuff, but it seems we also find ourselves in the less typical vacation haunts.

Our dinner out led us to Wanchese, NC to the industrial section of town which of course is an industrial fishing area. It was some of the best seafood I've ever eaten and this includes shrimp right off the back of the boat on Bald Head Island and picking crabs on a picnic table on the Bay in Easton Maryland. But here you pull up, right in the middle of the working boats, near a fishy smelling dock and can see exactly where the boats pull in and bring their catch directly under the restaurant. Fresh. Yes.

We had to go back near the end of the trip to try a little fishing and crabbing for ourselves. Luckily there was a public area where we could do just that. No luck with the fishing but,

the kids had a ball with the crabs.

If you look closely you can see John whistling. Lots of whistling going on. He's getting Lauren hooked on it too.

Top Ten

Top ten things to remember on a beach vacation:

10. Sand gets everywhere at the beach, it's hard to forget where you are.

9. The locals will gladly take your money, but they would rather you go away.

8. It feels good to have your feet buried in the sand.

7. The ocean is stronger than you are.

6. A shovel, sand and a deep hole can keep kids completely enthralled for hours.

5. Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry never take a vacation.

4. Kids still love to hear the ocean in a seashell.

3. Sun, wind, sand and the sound of crashing waves will put even the most stubborn person (like me) to sleep.

2. Getting knocked down by a wave isn't nearly as important as whether or not you get back up.

1. As important as you think you are, life goes on at home without you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


As with most addicts, knitting or otherwise, temptation has gotten the best of me and that Inca organic cotton was beckoning me to knit with it. I made a few hats with the cream colored yarn, sold one and put one in the shop, but I really wanted to try the carmel color as well. Shoulders or no shoulders I've made one for a 6-12 month old and one for a 1-2 year old. It's just so soft, thick and cozy and the slubs make it interesting even though it's just a simple little hat.

Booties with it? No. I tried and I'd have to totally revamp my pattern because it's so thick. I'll probably just buy something organic that would match. That little bootie pattern took me all of E.T. (the movie) to figure out. Think I'll stick with it for a while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I've been knitting too much

You're right, these are crochet, but you get the idea. As painful as it is, I've given myself a mandatory restriction on said knitting/crochet. My shoulders are so sore I can hardly stand it so things just have to wait for now. All that pretty new yarn. Can wait.

So enjoy the new pics of my new line of dark chocolate crocheted booties. Any chocolate is good chocolate in my book.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

least effort

Bit by bit I'm managing to read my way through Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and last night I came upon a very important chapter, "The Law of Least Effort". Let me clarify here that what I'm really after, what I really want in life more than anything else is joy. Plain and simple. So when I read the book, I tend to insert joy where he says success.

Anyway, this chapter talks quite a bit at first about nature (near and dear to my heart) and basically how nature doesn't have to TRY, it just IS.

If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn't try to grow, it just grows. Fish don't try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don't try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don't try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn't try to spin on it's own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.

I believe this to be true and can see how much frustration I create when I try to force things to be a certain way. It does nothing but tie me up in knots and impedes creative thought. Here is a very simple example. This morning when I took that picture on my walk, a particular song was repeating in my head. I don't even remember what it was, just that it wasn't a very good or favorite song and I really wanted to get stuck on another song. So I tried, but my brain kept going back to the original and I kept forcing it to try to play the one I like more. Every time, I reverted back until finally I remembered this law of least effort. Go with was is, right now, right here in the present. Now I can't even remember what song it was. It played itself out.

The only stumbling block I've come to with this law has to do with disciplining the kids. Yesterday we were at Jackie's store which is a place they feel very relaxed. She has great kids stuff in there for them to play with and sometimes her kids are there and mine with hers tend to get a little wild. (understatement) Well, it was just my kids this day but I gave them the 30 second speech in the car about what was acceptable behavior in a store and what was unacceptable. I spelled out what I would take away from each if they failed to remember the rules. And yet, Lauren ended up flying through the store howling on a broom, Allie was throwing wooden eggs and John was doing every big brother thing he could to be a wild banshee antagonizing his sisters.

So, applying this law of least effort, was I supposed to say to myself, "Gee, I see my kids are behaving like wild untamed hooligans. This is their intrinsic nature, I think I'll let them be." Or, was I right in taking away some of John's prized Lego boats and dessert after dinner from the girls? I wish he would address that one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This little guy was the cause of great attention and observation today, and even tears from the girls when a spider threatened to eat him. Mommy was of course ready to give a spiel about how things happen in nature, but John, hating to hear his sisters cry, took care of matters and obliterated the spider. Tears. Gone. Caterpillar--moving on to safer ground.

I was sitting on the steps out back while all this was happening, unable to dig holes in the concrete we call dirt, and so it was a good time to finally start the felted bag order I need to finish. Who buys autumn sedum in August when the ground is this hard? Me.

I've spent the day rebounding from a bad early morning dream having to do with childhood. I just can't seem to shake it, but several things have helped.

Kevin: "At least it was just a dream". hmmmm

Halsey: (not knowing she was helping and related to something totally different) "It does sound like a very busy, but fun few weeks coming up for your family. Enjoy them. We put so much into our lives because we see so much potential, we enjoy learning new things, and watching the world through our children's eyes. Enjoy and have faith it will all fall into place just fine." hmmm, watching the world through our children's eyes, that must have been the caterpillar part.

Magazine: "Choose happiness." hmmm, heard it before, like a broken record, yep, think I'll do that today. Think I'll pass some of those happy thoughts on to this little dahlia that just can't quite seem to open it's bloom.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I've been waking up before the kids lately and going out for an early morning walk followed by a little yoga and stretching. It's an attempt at resetting my clock and turning back to what will soon be the school schedule. But more than that it's taking time to treat my body well and start the day on the right foot by waking up naturally. The morning coffee still follows, but the body feels much better by then.

I took this shot this morning and started fiddling around with Picasa2 that's already on my computer and I was too much in my rut to try. Miracle of miracles it also has the resizing feature I need to make uploading photos to Etsy easier. Amazing what you find and learn when you take the time to click on every little thing you can when editing photos. Don't know if the effects will show up in this one, but we'll see when I publish. My excuse here is that I really don't like computers that much. Could you tell? I find them necessary and exciting but don't really want to take hours and hours figuring everything out. I'd much rather go sit outside.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's that time of year

The crepe myrtle are in full bloom, the drought has dried up the grass so much that it hurts to go barefoot, I'm reapeating myself to my kids, "Go outside. Go back outside", and I overhear mother after mother talking about feeling guilty for wishing school would start. The kids are wild and antsy, and mommy's trying to remain calm and understanding. One home-schooling friend of mine has started her kids back perhaps for this very reason.

To top it all off, we have another apparent injury in the house. Hopefully this time not too serious but with Allie it's hard to tell. She's my crier of wolf and wails at the most minute scratch. She took a tiny tumble down 3 steps this morning and has been limping around all day, saying how she needs to go to the doctor. She can walk on her foot, she can move her foot, it might be a little swollen but it's hard to tell and she laid under my chair at the pool for an hour poking at me, whining and looking all around miserable. One cast per summer is enough, isn't it?

As I type this she just called down the stairs and said, "Mom! It doesn't hurt!" Ahhh, the wonders of a little ibuprofen, an icepack, and the luxury of watching Spongebob on my bed. Let's hope for similar luck tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the Hiccup

I was poised and ready, we'd been camera looking, lots of thought has been put into the purchase, business has been excellent and I thought I knew what camera to buy. We were goin' for it. Then, Kevin placed a call to his real estate broker/realtor brother who reminded him, "Etsy will only allow a certain file size to be uploaded." Pause. He's right. D**n. So now the research entails loading pictures to a resizer to see if the bigger files even look that fantastic still as the box of m and m's did in the store (they were incredible). The 12.2 mp pictures may look the same as those from my 6mp camera once all that is said and done. My jewelry may do just as well if I (really Kevin) make a light box and use the camera I have. Even with my current pics Etsy frequently will tell me my file sizes are too big to be uploaded. Phooey.

Thank goodness this little hiccup came BEFORE the big purchase. I'm scouring the forums on Etsy to learn all I can about resizing files, light boxes, lighting in general, etc. And, I'm uncovering and fiddling around with all the options my current camera comes with. I just want to avoid hearing this from friends, "your pictures really don't do your products justice. They look so much better in person."

All this of course requires a high speed internet connection, so I'll be at the coffee shop today while the girls are at a birthday party. Don't even get me started on that issue.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Old friends, new friends

If you told me 16 years ago that my best friend in graduate school and I would still be best friends and hanging out with our 5 children at her parents house at the river 16 years later, I don't think I could have pictured it. If you told me that my son and her two boys would be instantly like brothers, I would have been amazed, but that's just what has happened.

We went to see her and her boys, and her sister-in-law and her two boys as well. So there were 3 moms and 7 kids, all swimming, jumping, catching crabs, wave-runnering, boating, throwing tennis balls for the 4 large dogs (that was Lauren's calling), and just having an all-around great time. Rough, I know, but it was good to get me out of my work mode and have real fun with the kids. The water toys are nice, but they would have been just as happy with only water, chicken necks, a net, crabs, tennis balls, dogs, sand, buckets and friends. Very simple.

It's like magic when time with friends is so easy, free and honest. It's so hard to find, and takes nurturing to keep. And that's just what I intend to do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now what?

Finally the yarn came that I'd been waiting for. It took 8 days to get here which isn't that bad I guess except when you're really excited. And I got free shipping so I'm not too perturbed. There's a whole box of Cotton Fleece, but this is the stuff I've never seen before and what I couldn't wait to touch. It does not dissapoint, but I really want to plan something special because it's very special yarn, and 100% organic, no dyes, to go with the new stuff in the shop. My plan originally was to just make my same baby hats and booties with it and I may still do that, but I always think about new designs when the opportunity presents itself.

They look very cozy up there in the wicker rocker on the front porch, don't you think? Just waiting for some needles and company. A whopping 325 yds. per skein. Oh yeah.

I've been feeling lately like I'm walking around in a movie again, where my ears and eyes are open and I see and hear the most bizarre stuff that I never thought I'd see or hear. Everything is totally surreal and I wonder if it's really happening. I can't really go into much detail, but when this happens I seem to follow the same pattern. I try to listen without judgement (as much as I may want to judge--I really hope I'm not judging), stop short of giving unsolicited advice, and then set a course for self-examination and a reaffirmation of what's really important in my life. Hence the romantic dinner for two last night while the kids are at a little music camp up at church in the evenings this week. There's another nice one planned for this evening. The luxury of eating with Kevin at home with veritable peace and quiet is just what we need from time to time and seems like such an indulgence!

I've also been experiencing some of those coincidences that aren't really coincidences. Yesterday I was presented with a big-time opportunity, with big-time status and big-time shoppers. But right away I felt strange and apprehensive about the whole thing, never mind the fact that I'm not big time nor am I "in the big time". It just didn't seem to fit my personality, my direction or goals, or my ethics to put it bluntly, so I declined. I feel good about it. Then I remembered what I read yesterday morning at the breakfast table before the big opportunity showed itself.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. --Matthew 7:13-14

I really hope I'm going through that narrow gate.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


1. John has taken to making microscopic origami. He's been mildly obsessed with it since he learned some in a camp this summer. The boy cracks me up and amazes me all at the same time. Of course the microscopic part was his own idea. The Legos are just about out of hand. Every day he painstakingly constructs a new boat to take with him to the pool. I'm sorry for the other mothers because he's now got about 3 or 4 other boys doing the same thing.

2. The porch is now classified as "unfinished but fully functional". So it fits right in with the rest of the house. I swear when I'm 60 I'm still going to be describing the house as a work in progress. At least it's always interesting. The odd post up there is because it's a new one. The span of the roof was too heavy for the number of posts that were there originally. The step is just temporary. The plan is to tear out the border and make the step wrap around the length and width of the whole thing. I'm so glad we decided on wood instead of redoing the concrete. It's much brighter, softer, homier and more welcoming. It even looks bigger somehow.

You might wonder why there's a new chimney cap sitting on the porch. That's because the old one was smashed when a huge branch fell on the house Friday night. I was sitting in the room below it and it was so loud and long that I thought the porch Kevin had just finished was falling down. It was so big he couldn't even move it and had to saw it up right there. Never a dull moment.

3. The first of my organic offerings are now in the shop. I ordered some other organic yarn and have been waiting all week to get it. I just about can't wait and hope it comes tomorrow.

4. This crazy thing happens every year and I'm jealous, one of my friends makes it an annual event for she and her husband and another couple. She says they come back looking much like the Beverly Hillbillies with cars and trucks completely loaded down with antiques and other wonderful old stuff. They must have some patient husbands!

5. Last but not least, the Goochland market is really taking off. The past two Saturdays there were 1,230 and 1,350 people there and today's issue of Discover Richmond (an insert in the paper) listed it as one of the best kept secrets in Richmond. It's totally the little market that could!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The debate

The floor joists are in and the floor should follow very soon. We've come such a long way since the skunk episode. Last night we discovered that Mr. Groundhog had infiltrated the temporary blockade under the front porch. Kevin was promptly under the house and finally "bombed" the two remaining holes under there. Of course the instructions on the package read, "Do not use under inhabited dwellings." But we had them plugged up and the fan running again. Now, if we can bypass a dead smell in the next few days we'll be doing good.

For those who are super-observant and handy, yes, the joist hangers are upside down in the picture above. Don't worry, he's just laying them out so he can nail them in place.

The debate I mention is no longer about the porch, but about the camera. I've been polling everyone I can about what they have, what they like, don't like, etc. It seems there are two camps. The Nikon camp and the Canon camp. I'm not in any camp. Kevin says, "go ahead and get one". I say, we already have one and I'm willing to share. Blame it on my frugal nature, my midwestern upbringing, my position that if I already have one why do I need another. I am like that, good or bad. I'm not the kind of person credit card companies thrive on. If I have a pair of black shoes for church, why do I need another? I have a purse that suits me just fine and I paid $15 dollars for at TJMaxx, why do I need another? My one pair of jeans are nice, they fit, I'm not so fond of jeans in the first place, why do I need more? Hand-me-downs for the kids? Bring 'em on.

Then there's the business voice in my head that reminds me in the online world it's all about the picture. People are naturally drawn to well-taken, high quality photos and I get that, I am too. So to be competitive in the market and advance the business I think I'll have to bite the bullet I don't want to bite. It's one of those things I'm sure I'll wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

Hope you enjoyed this little figuring-it-out-while-I'm-writing moment. For the local folks, yes, I'll be at the market. If you're thinking about a hat or two for the Fall/Winter, place your orders now. The custom orders are cueing up and I'm going to try to stay organized and not too crazy busy to enjoy the Fall this year.