Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Merry

This Christmas, as always, my family spoiled everyone else and was absolutely thrilled to be spoiled themselves. And the best gift of all was the gift of each other and always working so well together to make each other merry. A great deal of food was consumed and it was all that lovely food stuff you don't buy (or make) under ordinary circumstances for ordinary eating days. Summer sausage and specialty cheeses, plates of assorted crackers, delicate cookies, big hearty breakfasts, bowls of candy, platters of fruit, sirloin steak deep fried individually in fondue hot oil, fresh breads. And to go along with all those delectable treats and eats, smiles and laughter and hugs. (I was thinking why shouldn't we treat ourselves to these goodies more than just on Christmas? Aren't we worth the indulgence more often? We work hard for a living and we should enjoy the fruits of our labor more often. Reward ourselves doing what we do every day and for being the good people that we are!) We have our lazy traditions, we have our hectic, crazy traditions. Hopefully we not only preserve old, but also create new traditions. Dad and I go shopping Christmas Eve to finish his gift purchases. We've done this since I was a child. Hopefully we will do this when I, too, am retired. We make several stops, have discussions of optimal stocking stuffers, and engage in the same argument every year. Don't ask, that is between the two of us, and it's always in jest and lighthearted and ends in belly laughs. It's our tradition and darnit, we will keep the fight going. Mom and I prepare cold salads to be eaten with the fondue and all sit around and share stories of Xmas Eves past and enjoy the feast. We usually follow with games and laughter. There is always laughter when the family is together. We've added members to the family and still the traditions and laughter continue and grow. I look forward to many years of traditions with these people. I look forward to bringing in new traditions. There were a few traditions of Christmases past that were missed this year, but they will be included the next, I'm sure. I would like to start a new tradition for my family. Knitted socks. My Mom, Dad and brother were finally (FINALLY) the recipients of knitted socks from me. It felt so good knitting them, knowing that they would finally be receiving the one knitted gift that they've asked for all these years. It felt so good, I forgot I don't like to knit socks. So, knitted socks...find your way into our traditions! The young one was a challenge to buy for this year. He's at an age where toys are no longer important, but what he is interested in is way too expensive. Based on his expressions, I think we got it right! The 26th everyone went home and I was left reflecting on how hectic and nutty the pre-Christmas days are. All the planning and shopping and knitting and shopping and planning and knitting and shopping and cleaning. Add to all of the family stuff the fact that I teach and need to do all those classroom Christmasy things as well. There is planning and shopping and executing for that as well. And then, suddenly, in 24 hours, it is over and won't happen again for 364 days. I was left in the house with glitter covering everything, tiny bits of paper floating about, snow tracked floors, beds to be made, gifts to be designated new spots, decorations to be dismantled and the echoes of the laughter and lovely that was my family at Christmas. Almost makes me wish it came more than once a year. (It's a used riding lawn mower, but he was thrilled to pieces! I was heartbroken that he couldn't get on it and ride, as it is the middle of winter in Illinois. ) So I'm thinking that maybe we spoil each other more often. Set out platters of fruit on an ordinary work night and indulge in a game of Farkle or Yahtzee. Knit someone a pair of socks and give it to them in a lovely package for no reason other than I love them. Buy a more expensive bottle of wine and turn the lights out in the living room and enjoy the falling snow. The year has not yet turned, but I do believe that this will be my resolution. To have a very merry ordinary day/week/month/year/life!

To all of my family and friends: thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for the warmth the very thought of you creates in me. Thank you for the love and the laughter. It's been a good year, but let's make next one a merry year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums...

A new Christmas gift to self! A KIP bag (knitting in progress) from Etsy shop Ruddawg http://www.etsy.com/shop/ruddawg?ref=top_trail that is absolutely adorable!

(If you are family, stop reading now and return to blog AFTER Christmas!). I have been doing deadline knitting, deadline knitting, deadline knitting for months now; well officially for over a month as I began November 1st. Not a big fan of deadline knitting, but it is self-created/self-imposed! I want to cast on a pretty small thing deserving of this girly and fabulous bag, but alas, I currently am knitting camouflage (yes, that's right, camouflage!) socks for dad and brother. That makes a total of four socks I have to make. Am finishing the third now. Row after tedious row of camouflage. The socks are being made identically so that there is no whining from the boys that the other got a better pair. If I were making different socks with different yarns and different patterns, perhaps I would not feel that I am slogging along. Camouflage yarn does not belong in this fabulous bag. After Christmas, I will cast on for a girly little object that will be fittingly worked in my bag. Until then, I will admire the hot pink details and satiny flourescent orange drawstring and flirty love birds and dream of exactly what projects are deserving of this KIP bag.

We are hosting Christmas at our house this year. I have grand plans, my friends, to make Christmas wonderful for all. Just ordered a load of Nestle Lion Bars from http://www.britishsupplies.com/ British chocolates are far superior to American. They contain more milk and less wax and are heavenly and divine! My parents and I discovered Lion Bars on a trip to London many years ago. Lion Bars will roar in the stockings this year! I've ordered from this company before and they are wonderful. I'm a bit worried about Christmas delivery, as I ordered just yesterday and not sure if this close to Christmas will delay my product delivery, but we'll see. If they're not here for stockings, I can eat them all myself after everyone departs!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The First Snow!

The boy who rarely sees morning before 10:00-11:00a.m. on weekends, was up at 7:30a.m. to play in the snow! It began last night, and continued through the night, so we rose to beautiful landscape this morning. As promised, I sat and knit and watched the snow. One Christmas present finished! Need to cast on for the next before I head to the basketball tournament this afternoon. Did I say what an aggressive player the boy has become this year? He has turned into a very good ball player!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Knitting is in my Forecast!

We have anywhere from 3-5 or 6-8 inches of snow forecasted for our area this evening. Snow should begin falling around 9:00p.m. and continue overnight. The disparity in the accumulated amount is due to the fact that we are on the border of the weather band producing the heavy amounts. Morning will tell. I must say that I am excited about the first snowfall! This week when temperatures took a turn for the cold, I was none to happy. We had a very mild fall and truly enjoyed the slow departure of my summer. I bemoaned the fact that I could no longer sit outside or walk to the post office (or do recess or bus duty) without bundling up. Was thinking "Yuck" with a capital "Y" about the arrival of winter. BUT...now there is the pretty stuff coming! Love the pretty stuff. I am anticipating the beauty out the windows of the living and dining room as I knit, knit, knit happily in the winter.
Of course, I'm under deadline knitting right now, which has me contemplating "cheating" on my knitting. I am one of those monogamous knitters. I love starting and finishing a product. Seeing a product through all its stages. I believe I am a process knitter; not a product knitter. It's not that I'm dying and/or impatient for the product, it's that I enjoy the process as it evolves into a product. But, lately I find myself daydreaming of other products. Almost convinced myself to cast on a different project the last few nights. "you know, I've been wanting to make myself mittens for years now...the weather is getting cold...wouldn't it be nice to go out in new handknit mittens? Plus, I've never made mittens before. What a fun, new project that would be. I'd be learning something new; I love learning new things, after all, I'm a teacher!" These thoughts bounce around in my head as I sit and work on Xmas project knitting. Several people are getting the same item and this particular item is two items (yes, socks, hopefully they won't read my blog or figure it out if they do). Not even different patterns. Not even different yarns. I never thought I'd say it, but...I know why knitters cheat!
This Thanksgiving, the adults got together for our feast and our annual photo. We were all bummed the boy wasn't with us, but we're going to try to photoshop him in. Thus far, this is what we have:
This last one will be the annual Christmas card. The first one was a fun attempt! Loads of fun was had posing for photos. Mom wanted us all on the floor, but a few were taken standing...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall Knitting

I have been doing plenty of "stealth" knitting that is now under deadline. Don't want to publish pictures as of yet (after Christmas) of those items on the needles, but have completed a few baby hats for new parents. I have another baby hat coming up before Christmas. I am under serious deadline knitting strain! People! Please don't bring forth new children this close to the holidays!!!!
Bunny Ears hat from Itty Bitty Hats. They look more like bear ears to me. But, cute, cute, cute. I have no little ones and these hats are so hard to part with. But, must admit, when mamas open them up in delight, giving them away is worthwhile. (Boots loves the knitting, but appears to be ready to attack!)
Rainbow Marley, again from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson: Hmmm, no cat in picture... Heather Hoodie Vest which I just love! It is WARM! Did not enjoy the big needle, bulky yarn knitting of cables, but adore the product. Chose the buttons this summer in a little shop in Oregon, IL called "Stitches in Time" which carries yarn and quilting items (as well as some fabulous buttons). My HHV languished over the summer as I don't like wool sitting in my lap in the heat of summer (even whilst sitting in air conditioning). Quickly finished it up as soon as fall temperatures warranted a yummy warm vest, which this indeed is. (Again, no pictures of kitties on knitting. Must explore this trend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's knitting season again

Fall is here, as is Tina and Derek's baby boy, so it's time to be knitting again! (Boots with handknits again!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meetings

A span of five generations meets for the first time: Our littlest meets his big uncle and is tickled that they share a hairstyle:And they bonded immediately:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Happy Birthday to my best friend Kelly! Hope this is a good one for you! Love you my friend!

We've been friends for so many years and our friendship remains. Life would not have nearly as much zest and zeal without you in my life. You have always accepted me for exactly who I am despite all my quirks and foibles and shortcomings. (or maybe because of?) You understand me even when you don't understand me or I don't even understand myself. I love you my friend, and am grateful that you continue to be in my life.

All the monkeys in the zoo are singing just for you: Happy Birthday you little chimp, eek, eek!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Nothing Gets Done Around Here

Why the laundry doesn't get folded:Why the bed doesn't get made:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just in Time for Spring Cleaning

This is the Happy Broom. I live with a man and an 11 year old boy (with lots of friends) and three boy kitties. My existing broom just was not happy, and quite frankly, I wasn't happy whilst using it. While shopping with a friend, I saw this lovely flower be-decked broom. She said "that is a happy broom". I have brought the Happy Broom home. I use the Happy Broom a lot. I am currently happy using the Happy Broom. (Some days I hold onto the Happy Broom like she is the mother ship.)
Now I just need a happy mop...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring is in the Air (and so is my boyfriend)

A beautiful weekend. Everyone should get on a trampoline. It's a great workout and good for the soul. Feels wonderful to be weightless, and it promotes a heaping helping of the giggles and chuckles and out and out laughter, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine! video

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Francis Ruth, Revisited presented

Finished in time for spring weather. Don't think I'll be wearing this until next fall or winter, unless spring temps drop, which is possible here in the Midwest. Pictures above show the open weave, despite using a smaller needle than called for, as well as a bathroom mirror in desperate need of cleaning!!! Picture below shows truer color of actual sweater as well as photographer laughing at herself trying to take a picture in a mirror.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boots may need a hand-knit for himself!

Francis Ruth, Revisited is blocking on the bed. Boots is, apparently, attached to her. This sweater was completed on Sunday, finishing work done on Tuesday evening in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day. Such a lovely green for the holiday. Being a teacher, it is imperative, that I wear green on St. Paddy's Day, lest I be bruised up by little fingers a'pinchin' me. Not to complain, but Spring unveiled itself this week and Wednesday's forecast was upper 60s. If I worked out of doors, I may have been able to stomach a 100% wool sweater (the sleeves are 3/4 length, after all). However, I work in a 100+year old school building. The boiler system is either on or off. Let's just say I leave the classroom window open year round. There was no way I could wear this lovely finished object if it was in the 60s outside with a heater kicking out heat all day. Do the Irish have red faces? Beads of perspiration on their faces? That would have been my condition. But, there is hope for Francis Ruth, Revisited after all. Spring will take a little rest this weekend and temps will dip back to winter-like conditions. So perhaps she will see wear before the season ends after all! I have been working on a stealth project and lest she read this blog, which I don't think she does with regularity, I will not post about it. Plan to start up Heather Hoodie Vest as well. Will need to have something to work on while in her company. While the man and I were having a bite to eat at Jimmy Johns a week or so ago, I found ample reading material on the walls. As an avid reader, I will read anything, apparently, even the walls. A quote I found during my wall-read was by Dave Berry "there is a fine line between hobbies and mental illness". I approach that line on many an occasion. As I've said, Francis Ruth was finished (March's finished object for the resolution) on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday afternoon, the boy had a speech tournament (took second place in humorous duet!!!). I had enough time to run home from work and grab a snack and get in the man's car to drive to the tournament. While racing home, I realized I did not have any projects on needles, nor did I have that time to wind a hank into a ball to cast-on a new one. What to do? What to do? Seriously? Go to a 4-hour tournament with lots of in-between-speeches-time-on-your-hands with NO KNITTING????? Ah, thank goodness! Salvation! Blessed startitis! I remembered a small project begun much earlier that I could quickly get my hands on and into my purse. Whew! That was a close one! Congratulations to the boy and his partner for a very excellent performance at speech. they had the judges laughing outright at their antics. Many of the performances brought smiles and even chuckles, but outright laughter...that was the biggest compliment. This was their first competition ever. I was in speech as a young'un and I feel qualified to say that they surpassed, hands-down, everyone we saw (other than the little girls who took first place). The two little ladies who won first place definitely deserved the honor. But the boys...we're bursting with pride!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Travels with Booties

I finished up a painfully cute pair of booties on the road to pick up the Harley from her 5000mile check-up. I found the burliest dude I could at Woodstock Harley-Davidson and he was sport enough to pose with the booties for me. These biker dudes enjoyed the booties (really, who can resist booties this cute?) They are Blue Jean Booties by Kathie Popadin. Uh-dorable!! Thanks to Woodstock, IL Harley-Davidson for the boots' first outing.
The booties made their way around the store as well:
Step into a legend, indeed!
They did not get their first ride on a Harley, but did pose on an H-D trike:
And they've made it home for their ties and final pose before being gifted to Tina and Derek:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Wicked is off the needles! I am two months into meeting my New Year's Resolution of at least a project a month. January saw Simply Marilyn (from The Best of Interweave Knits) and February has brought forth baby items and now Wicked (purchaed from Zephyrstyle, but just saw that it's on knitlulu. What happened to Rachel and Sarah? Are they not working together anymore? Zephrystyle is still there, but Wicked is not on the site - it's on Knitlulu.com). Not sure I really like the sweater as much as I liked the picture on the pattern. I didn't really want the short sleeves. Was waffling between short and long, perusing finished projects on Ravelry, and the boy spotted a project with this length sleeve. He really liked it and promoted it. So, I took his advice. I may make it a few inches longer in the ribbing. I basically followed the pattern without modifications, knowing that I don't prefer short sweaters. Not that it's cropped or anything, but I like my rather large hips to have a bit of coverage. Wicked has not been worn in public yet as I've yet to block it. Now, it's been off the needles several days and is still not blocking. Why? you ask...
Because this is what our village water looks like right now!
Or rather it's what it looked like the day Wicked was finished and for a few days after. Our water looks good now. Maybe I'll soak and block tonight.
Is it my imagination or does the pocket look crooked?
Of course, got a new project immediately on the needles. Francis Revisited by Beth Silverstein. I'm naming it Francis Ruth Revisited, as that was my maternal grandmother's name (less the word revisited). I found this painfully gorgeous yarn. the pattern calls for seven skeins and my LYS had 6 of the same dye lot and one other. I went ahead and bought them. Figured I could do the waist and arm banding as well as the cowl in the other dye lot. Hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the butt! I could not get gauge at needle size 10 so am using 10.5, still not getting exact gauge but did not want a sweater on 11s. Thought the weave would be too open. I'm not one to wear shirts under long sleeve sweaters as I get too warm. I'm feeling like this may be too open a weave on 10.5s, but we'll see. The yarn is Cascade Pastaza in a lovely emerald green. Here's Boots visiting Francis Ruth Revisited:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meme - 30 Things You May (or may not) Know About Me

1. I am a rabid Who fan.
2. I teach English language learners.
3. I believe I have the best job in the world.
4. I taught on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for many years.
5. The only phrase I can say in Navajo is "the red ants are biting me".
6. When I was pulled over once, and the police officer asked me if I knew I was going 10 miles over the speed limit, I responded by saying "It's payday".
7. I once met Alice Cooper, and he spoke directly to me.
8. I did not get his autograph (even though there was a pen in his hand).
9. I did not get his picture (even though I was holding my camera).
10. I told him I was going to The Who concert. (he said he was too).
11. I do not speak well under pressure. (obviously)
12. I have a "Who wall" in my house.
13. My favorite place in the world is London, England.
14. I cried when I went through Westminster Abbey.
15. I hated history in high school.
16. I love history as an adult.
17. I am addicted to lip balm.
18. I once dreamed of being an archaeologist.
19. I have a friend who was an archaeologist.
20. I have hiked the Grand Canyon.
21. I sing to my cats.
22. My prized possession is an autographed picture of Pete Townshend from Woodstock.
23. I read all the Nancy Drew books when I was a girl.
24. I would like to meet Pete Townshend someday, but I will probably say something stupid like "I met Alice Cooper".
25. I co-wrote my high school class song.
26. I used to own a pet sitting business.
27. I will discuss my bowel habits with anybody. (If you have even met me casually, chances are you already know this about me.)
28. I hate to bake.
29. I love to cook.
30. I have a tattoo of the feminist symbol on my body.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Resolution Progress - FOs

How Freaking Cute are These!!!
I've spent most of February working away at baby knits for a soon to arrive bundle of baby boy joy. He will be bedecked with hand knits if I have anything to do with it!
I set down Wicked for the baby shower gifts. I'll be picking up Wicked again (actually picked it back up today).
But wait!!! There's more...
The sweater is a Debbie Bliss - Ribbed Baby Jacket in Bernat Cotton Tots. Booties are from KnitSimple. The jacket has puppy buttons and the booties have matching bone buttons. Mom to be also received a baby hat and baby kimono (Itty Bitty Hats and Mason Dixon Knitting patterns, respectively).
Boyfriend wants a pair of the converse slippers. Found an adult pattern on Ravelry from another Ravelry user. Will order the pattern and knit him some, as he's broken through his slippers (which I knit last year, and which graced this blog when I did).
Here's the progress on Wicked:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

video Mama's Little Girl That was what Estelle was made of! Major change #2: I lost my little girl this past November, two days before Thanksgiving. She was an absolute doll. Everyone who met and knew Stella knows what I'm saying. She was just a lovely little girl. She loved loved loved the petting, especially on her cheeks and head. She wasn't demanding like the boys, though. She minded her own business but if you happened to sit down next to her and began to stroke, she was in heaven! If you were premature in finishing your strokes, she would head butt your arm to remind you that she was not demanding, "but, hey, since you're right here and you've already started..." I adopted Estelle from friends in Page, AZ who were headed off to Saipan to teach. They had three kitties they needed to find homes for and Estelle (whom they called India) had already had two new homes and again returned to them. This was no fault of hers. In one of the homes, the child appeared to have an allergy; in the next home the current cat developed a marking behavior as a result of having Estelle introduced into the home. I told my friend I would take her under two conditions: 1) that they would never ask for her back, and 2) that I could re-name her. She just did NOT look like an India. She was a chubby, frumpy little girl with a bright orange belly and I instantly named her Estelle. She started out life in unfortunate circumstances. She was abused and kicked for three years before being rescued. My friends adopted her from a shelter and following the adoption learned her story and that she had been a mama. She was a timid man-fearing kitty that they brought into their home to begin her new life surrounded by love. They loved her for three years before she entered my home and heart. So, despite her tough beginning she gave love and received love, was warm and happy and healthy for many years. We believe she was 15 or 16 when she passed. Estelle loved my man from the moment she met him. We joked that he was her boyfriend and not mine. Quite a statement for my man and quite a statement for her that she totally forgot her fear of men and wanted to be near him and have him love on her. She gazed at him in adoration (much the way I do). She had a little call that sounded like "mama" and she barked more than meowed. She had pretty little feet and her pads were mottled orange, pink and black. She left her mark for me forever with her footprint. We found out on a Friday that she had cancer and was at the vet because of a quick deterioration of her health. The vet told us that she was definitely uncomfortable and quite possibly in pain. We made the decision to have him come to the house to help her go in the love and comfort of her mama's arms the following Tuesday. We showered that little girl with love, affection and all the attention she wanted over the weekend and Monday. We kept her as comfortable as possible. My man insisted we buy her a heated pad, which she immediately took to and spent the rest of her sleeping time on. It remains where it was, with her lovely fur still on it, but now it includes a mascara tear smudge as well. I love you little girl! I miss you! I'll see you when I get there and we'll share head butts and Stella lovin' all over again! Thank you for the paw print. It has been a great source of comfort to me. Sleep warmly with Jacob. We miss you here. Your pawprint is on our lives forever.