Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking it slow

I've been following the cat's advice today which is to do as little as possible. Unlike her however I've decided it's best not to swat or hiss at anyone who disturbs my peace, although the relentless pleading of the kids to put up ALL the Christmas decorations while making homemade pizza doughs pushed me close to the edge.

I was pretty wiped out yesterday and today, I guess from the buildup before Thanksgiving even though I really didn't feel overwhelmed by it all, just busy. I awoke this morning after 9 hours of sleep (!) still exhasuted and experiencing sensations reminiscent of the mono fiasco of February '08. So I decided it was best to wake ever so slowly, sit with a cup of coffee by the fire, watch more Monopoly, let the knitting sit and take a late walk with Sunny.

How different my route looks now compared to just a few weeks ago. Kevin spent several hours on the tractor with the leaf-sucker-upper today getting the last of them up. There is just no way to rake them all, unless maybe we had 10 kids.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


There's been alot of this going on here lately. After a more complete run through the rules and strategy (you can see they have the properties face down on community chest) the air in the house is growing increasingly competitive. That is, competition coming from our oldest, directed at our middle child who now holds all the high end properties complete with buildings and a nice wad of cash. John's stockpile is dwindling and/or mortgaged which irks him to no end, while his sister usually operates under the motto: Oh, you like money? I have money. Want some money? This game may never end.

Yes, the turkey was a success.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How I almost ruined the turkey 3 days before Thanksgiving

Okay, well it wouldn't have really been my fault if the turkey was ruined, but Thanksgiving would have been seriously botched had I not checked in on the turkey yesterday. I bought it fresh last week from Trader Joe's (yes, I'm sick of hearing myself talk about that place too and I promise to stop), sealed in a bag in a brine, guaranteed to be good 'till early December as long as the bag was not opened. I just happened to want to check the weight of it yesterday to estimate cooking time when I realized it was sitting in a puddle of brine in the plastic bag it was in. It didn't smell bad yet, but definitely smelled like raw bird and a chill went up my spine. I quickly was on the phone to the store, told them there was a puncture in the bag and the man said, "Oh, you need to bring that in so we can give you another one." Hallelujah. I don't think Wal Mart would have told me the same thing, do you? So I'm on turkey #2 and keep checking it every few hours. Yes, I know that's obessive.

I've been working like crazy lately, hence the decrease in posting frequency and here's some of the latest:

they're done in O-wool again this time with a pumkin-y color that makes me think of Thanksgiving. I don't have much of it so I'm tempted to just see what the response is locally before I list it in my Etsy shop. What do you think, should I call it "pumpkin cream" or "pumpkin spice" or some other name more fun than orange and cream?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

By chance

I'm without a picture for you today, at the time when I most need one. I was thinking about my last post today and how frequently (or infrequently) one might see "the brightest orange you can find and the brightest turquoise you can find" together in one place, unless perhaps you're talking about a sports team. And then I was driving home from a little sale I participated in, tired, sinking into my seat with the sun setting and me on the offramp, going around a big bend in the road just so happy to be going to my house, family, woodstove, pets and I saw it. Up in the sky were the brightest orange clouds and the brightest turquoise sky I'd ever seen. Together, in one place, like they belonged that way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The beauty of handmade

My instructions were this, make a necklace like the one above but with the brightest orange you can find and the brightest turquoise you can find, they're "her colors" (followed by a giggle). Taking orders for Christmas presents is sometimes a little daunting because you don't always know if the recipient will be happy. It's a much more comfortable situation to have something already made, have someone love it and buy it. That way you know for sure they'll be happy.

So I obliged anyway, crossing my fingers the whole time. Orange--bright. Turquoise--bright. Put them together and you have this:

The picture may be a bit grainy but you can get the effect. If that's what she loves, that's what she'll get and it certainly is one of a kind. Making things by hand ensures that there are no two alike and you can ask for whatever pleases you.

My favorite as always isn't the front of the necklace, it's really the back.

Done in the raspberry color, it looks like the real thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Knitting with tree trunks

I'm a mid-range knitting needle kind of girl. You can usually find me using anything from size 4's to 8's, but sometimes I branch out. That super chunky yarn I bought the other day requires huge needles which I didn't even have so I had to buy some 17's at the same time. Talk about a different knitting experience, they're almost too big to hold! Don't get me wrong, it was fun to make the scarf above and yes, fairly quick. I'm so fond of it and it's so cozy that I want to keep it for myself, or gift it so I can see it often and remember how good it feels.

In other news, I bought my turkey today for Thanksgiving. Thrilling, I know, but I'm beginning to be impressed with how I'm changing my often last-minute ways. It has been a nail-biter in past years as to whether or not I'd actually have the thing thawed in time for the big day. Best part is it isn't frozen and it's already brined so Kevin and I don't have to wrangle it into a sheet rock bucket full of salty water and then in the already packed fridge the night before. Trader Joe's, you're the best.

I've even been buying Christmas presents here and there which hasn't gone unnoticed by Kevin. I got an "I'm proud of you" the other night for it. He's just glad he won't have to deal with my last minute stress next month. At least let's hope it goes that well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


picture of our brief snow, it lasted all of two minutes

I overheard Lauren and Allie playing today. There was pounding, jumping and labored breathing coming from the family room and Lauren's priceless commentary, oblivious that I was listening in.

"I'm trying to fly...stomp, jump, huff,'s almost working...I'm staying up a little longer!!-----------I'm still trying to fly...grunt, fall, stomp...I'm training...I'm IN training for flying--------------Here! Fly over this chair, Allie!!"-----

It's days like these that make me wonder how long innocence lasts, and why it doesn't and where it goes and who puts it there? Or maybe bits and pieces of it remain, buried deep, only to be unearthed by our children as it begs us to remember back to what it was like to be little and honestly believe that you maybe, really could, if you tried hard

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun in a bag

If you'd told me 7 years ago that a bag full of scrumptious yarn would make me a little giddy, I'd probably have looked at you funny. But things change as they do and today I went looking for some of my old stand bys and came home with those and some new things to try. I can't wait to dive into the ones above. It's 100% virgin wool and some of the softest stuff ever. Huge and chunky, a quick knit, I might have to hide it in the freezer so I do the work I'm supposed to be doing first.

I also bought some Berroco "Peruvia", gorgeous Peruvian highland wool and some of their Pure Merino too which is so soft and springy. But instead of getting going on all of that I have to make 4 more hats and 3 pairs of booties today to ship out tomorrow morning. Think it's going to be a late night.

So I'm in front of the fire right now yarn in my lap, computer in front, with my toes on the slate hearth, trying to toast them. Anyone else out there with Raynaud's? The worst is when the tippy tops of my ears itch, burn, turn bright red and swell to three times their size and stick out from my head in the middle of winter. Long hair helps hide them and I suppose a knitted hat would help if I didn't look so goofy in hats. Yes, you heard me right, the person who makes hundreds of hats every year only wears them under the cover of darkness or when skiing. And now at the risk of providing TMI I'm off to do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Be open and it will come

"Be open and it will come", I heard myself say out loud to a complete stranger yesterday at the holiday market. She had walked up to my booth attracted by the booties and remarked that they really looked like "the ones on Etsy". To which I told her she'd probably seen them there, they've even found their way to the front page a few times, but I was more excited to hear that she knew about Etsy at all. For all the people who do know about it, there are so many more who don't. Yet.

Anyway, she was talking about having so much time on her hands now that her children were grown and gone and how she loved to sew and knit and how hard it was to come up with original ideas and create your own niche. I agreed with her completely and then blurted out, "Be open and it will come". I kind of paused after, thinking, hey, that's open and it will come...that's just how some of my ideas have been born, not that they're the end all be all ideas, but that is how they're born, the good ones anyway.

It doesn't usually come so easily though. I tend to want to force ideas out, make things happen, control the future, but when I do I usually fall flat. It always seems easier to do SOMEthing rather than NOthing. But maybe when I think I'm doing nothing I really am doing more than something, maybe that's the place I really need to be all the time. Hmmm, food for thought.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fire and rain

The cold, rainy days are back, which means starting the woodstove back up. I have it so warm in the room I'm in right now that I almost have to leave, either that or put on shorts and short sleeves. I turned it down just so I don't drive the whole family out. The addition of a woodstove to our house has single-handedly changed my attitude toward winter. Knowing I can always go somewhere in the house to get warm and toasty is really a treat to look forward to that never gets old.

More inside time also means more knitting and crocheting, and a safe estimate is that I've made about 8 hats and 14 pairs of booties in just the past 3 or 4 days. I still have more to go to get ready for Saturday's show, but what else is new. I always want to make more than I'm actually physically capable of making.

Another fun passtime has been thinking about Christmas and ordering some favorite things from different Etsy shops. Some drawing pads and pencil rolls for the girls have already come and I'm waiting for some pouches and earrings for my nieces. There is so much more I have my eye on, but it takes me a while to make up my mind what to get. It's such a fun way to shop and a real time and gas saver too.

I'm still spreading the knitting/crocheting addiction and have successfully hooked niece #2 on crochet. I'm slowly building an army and as soon as I can get my own girls on board, there'll be no stopping us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The way it is

I've rebounded softly from my tizzy yesterday and not a moment too soon. I have to thank in part the brave commenters for their voices of reason and insight. Clearly I was overthinking things and my brain ran away with its thoughts which is always a dangerous position to be in. For those who believe I was being completely unsympathetic to my husband, you are also right. Who am I to stand in the way of idealism and dreams? How hard it is sometimes to fully clothe ourselves in the sweater of responsibility, diligence and duty to a family of five.

The end result is this. Kevin came home with a smile, and not a single mention of living caveman style. He even lined up his parents to babysit so we can go on a grossly overdue dinner date this weekend.

Today was a whirlwind of a different sort that started with breakfast and the book fair at school at 7:30. I really can't remember getting as excited as my kids were today to be getting new books. It was a mobbed library, with barely enough room to move and although it was a bit overstimulating (especially at that time of day), it sure looked like a great fundraiser for the school. Then we were off to preschool and a morning of errands, knitting and a yarn pickup. You know you're lucky when one of your friends moonlights at a fabulous knitting store in town and brings home yarn already wound into balls so you don't have to travel all the way into town to get it.

I tried to walk Sunny between the raindrops this afternoon since we missed our morning ritual due to the book fair. I shouldn't have taken the camera and tried to take decent pictures with her on the other end of the leash. I swear she's as hard to capture as children.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Controlled messiness, order, the cat and the commune

Since starting my own blog, I've gradually begun reading more and more blogs when time allows and I'm in awe of the way some people decorate, live and seem able to effectively juggle all that life has to offer. Lately in particular I'm drawn to the decorating aspect and how people get organized and work out of the home. I look for inspiration from places like this and this, and over here just to point out a few.

If you clicked on any of those links you'll see that my life, studio, degree of organization and knack for decorating is a far cry from theirs and generally looks something like this...

which I recently dubbed "controlled messiness". Thing is, I realize now that I'm one of those people who says, "sure, it looks messy, but I promise you, I know where every single little thing is". Luckily with the recent relocation of my work area, my mess is strictly relegated to this little area and not imposing on the house as a whole. At least that's how I justify it.

Miraculously, from the chaos comes extreme order that I pour into every piece of knitting or crochet I turn out. Here's the latest little goodie:

The booties to match are made, just haven't been photographed yet but they're some of the cutest yet I think.

As for the 13 year old cat, I was seriously worried she was a goner last night. She goes inside and out, all 6 1/2 pounds of her and occasionally will spend a night outside if I forget that she's out. Typically when it's cold I remember she's out because if she were inside she'd be all over our bed. Last night I couldn't find her. Anywhere. I kept going to the porch and flipping on the light throughout the evening which usually brings her up to the house to be let in. But she was nowhere to be seen. Finally at 10:30 I just decided she'd curled up in the barn somewhere which she'll do and was fine.

I got up early to take my walk with Sunny and she wasn't on the porch. So I looked for her body all around the property, on the road, etc. until I thought, maybe she's in the car. Sure enough, she'd spent the night in the van when one of the kids forgot to close the door and I did it remotely much later when I realized it was open. Whew. I hate that feeling.

And lastly, what would you do if your husband came to you and said he thought working for money was for the birds and thought we should just live off the land? I'm thinking it's a pre-forties midlife crisis which I'm not being very patient with. First I said I thought working and having an income was just a fact of life and that he needed to accept it and move on. And then I told him I thought the commune in the next county over would take him if he wanted to go. Be honest with me and tell me how insensive I'm being, please.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What will happen then?

What will happen when my models grow up? Will I stop knitting hats? Will my Etsy shop go under? Will I just make other stuff? Or will I have to, gulp, pay for new ones?

This is my 'tween hat, and I can report it's a big hit with both of my girls and my two nieces. You know, the ones that are hard to buy for and increasingly style conscious. It's in the shop now, with more color combinations forthcoming. And the bonus, it may just fit you too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday's distractions

I shouldn't go in Anthropologie when I need to concentrate on making hats and booties and getting ready for two upcoming shows. I swear that place is so inspiring and interesting to walk into, I just can't help myself and I'm really not a shopper. Don't know if I've said that before but I'm probably the worst shopper I know. I'm a really good looker though, and I look and look, study and touch, wonder and think and then decide that I have what I need. Of course there are exceptions to that and my clothes are not from 1985, but it's quite commonplace for me to go shopping, come home, have Kevin ask me where my bags are and upon reporting that I have none, he shakes his head and walks away.

I went there yesterday (to Anthro) and of course the Christmas decorations are popping out everywhere along with holiday scents and other things that tease and coerce us into buying early. It got me thinking that I really needed to add some handmade ornaments to my shop and the ones above were just made this morning. I have grand ideas for some tiny sweater ornaments too, but we'll see what actually comes to fruition. Too many ideas, too little time.

As for the other distractions, there's a small one called the sunny and beautiful 75 degree day in November that we're currently having. The other thing that sidetracked me today was Trader Joe's. It's quickly becoming my favorite grocery store. It's little which I love because I get distracted (I'm sensing a trend) if the place is too huge, the prices are fantastic and here I mean even better than the mega chains for lots of the things I buy, and they're fast and friendly inside which is getting harder to come by and I really don't see the need for unwarranted grumpiness. It's so good I almost want to work there.

Clearly the last distraction for today is this darn computer. See you later, I'm going outside.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In every day

We've all heard it said that a mother really is a nurse, a doctor, a maid, a cook, a chauffeur, a therapist, a friend, a comforter, a disciplinarian, a playmate, and a teacher just to name a few, and I never understood this fully until I became one. Yet the position entails so much more, we're not just the list above, those who serve and carry out the daily tasks as if robots, no we're more than that, with responsibilities that are indescribable and huge. With motherhood (or parenthood in general) comes the responsibility of love, that calls us outside of ourselves and into a place the enormity of which is terrifying and exhilirating often at the same time.

Today found me on a field trip to the local children's museum with about 70 second graders, four classes to be exact, full of energy, bright, wide eyes and eagerness. Native Americans were the topic of interest and the demonstation/exploration intended to drive home those vocabulary words and concepts we've been going over like Sioux and pueblo, Powhatan and Sioux.

But of course there's much more to do there like dig in the sand, play drums and chimes, get dirty with glue and paint, make sculptures, get wet and weave.

I'm thinking my son got the point though, as he is now outside sitting on a rock by a tree, surrounded by the branches that comprise his "teepee", with two rocks in his hands trying to make fire. (who says we don't homeschool?)

And the ensuing conversation:

Lauren: "WhAAt is a teepee?"

John: "A house that Indians used to live in."

Lauren: "Where in the wORld did you get thAAt from?"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mostly orange

Before the show's over,

before they're all gone,

I couldn't resist sharing the view from our little oasis.

And some withering Jack-O-lanterns,

before they're gobbled up by the local rescue pigs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

And the knitting goes on and on

A knit hat and crocheted booties to match, made with organic wool/cotton yarn,

along with the hat below were added to the shop today.

I sit here at my desk, on the computer, simultaneously making booties, with Allie on her art mat at my feet with her watercolors.

"You never let me paint!" she informed me, to which I answered, "I will if you can locate your art mat!" And wonder of wonders she did.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


If Webster's defines slumber as sleep or an inactive state, then slumber party is precisely not what we had last night, especially not with a group of 8 year old boys. Let me tell you first that Kevin and I had a ball and loved having the boys over who we found hilarious, innocent, good spirited and wild. Lucky for us there's room to run out here, but that just meant all eyes outside all the time, some quick reflexes, and the ability to think ahead (like an 8 year old boy) to be ready for what might happen next.

I'm happy to report only minor, brief injuries and that they actually went to bed a little after 10. The time change was a bump in the road, and when our grumpy 13 year old cat, Betsey prowled around their room at 5:20 (new time) this morning waking everyone up, I knew we'd be worn out today.

In addition to the bit of woodworking above, the matchbox cars and track were a big draw,

there was a literally neverending game of chase and tag with multiple light sabers and multiple Nerf guns,

and a puppy who followed it all believing she'd turned into a little boy. If you x-rayed her right now you'd probably find about 15 Nerf gun bullets. Not kidding.