Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Thoughts

Last week Frodo and I took a walk about the yard and I remembered to take the camera and here are the photos that we snapped.  It was quite chilly that day and the snow disappeared the following day.

All of my southern bloggers are worried about their blooms.  So far nothing is sprouting out of the ordinary.  It is the same plants that have little buds on them.

It's nice to have some purple color during the winter.  During the summer there is never a bud....funny!

I did finish my Sprouts shawl yesterday but it is blocking as I type this so maybe I'll have some photos by Thursday.

In the background is some parsley that is STILL green!  I must say this has been the weirdest winter so far.  We are supposed to have normal temperatures this week but I do not think there is any snow in the forecast.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This was a very quiet weekend.  We went out on Friday night to our favorite local restaurant for salad and pizza.  Healthy and delicious!  We also picked up some evil donuts and they were oh so tasty and oh so not good for you.  I always get donuts with sprinkles, I am a child at heart.

Saturday we did a 40 minute drive to a grocery store so I could find millet.  It was no where to be found for me locally and I had an inkling that the trip would be productive.  I did find it and hopefully one day I will be making millet burgers......I have my fingers crossed that they taste as good as they read in the recipe!  If and when I make the recipe, I'll take photos and share them.

This morning we went to church.  After lunch at home, I had knitting with my friends.  I have fun listening to everyone chat and seeing what everyone knits.  Can you imagine if Yarn along on Wednesday was in person???  It would be the best social time ever!

Oh and I have discovered kalamata olives.......I wish I could eat the whole jar :)

Joining Amanda

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best Things

My favorite aunt, you know the one who received this shawl, cross stitched this lovely piece of art for us as a Christmas present one year.  I cannot remember which year I received it, but I love the saying.

My best things are my family (including Frodo), the nature that surrounds me, memories I've made through the years and my peaceful existence in this world. What could possibly be better than that?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yarn Along

Another yarn along has arrived!  I always enjoy seeing what everyone is reading and knitting every Wednesday.  My knitting is still the same three projects.  I decided to only show one project in my photo which is my sprouts shawl.  I am over half way done and at first it was difficult for me to find my rhythm.  I tend to memorize patterns so I need not rely on chart reading.  Not so with this shawl.  It is just not something to memorize, however I have found areas that allow me to look at the chart a little less often.  I am thoroughly enjoying this knit.  It is my first shawl that is knitted from end to end in an elongated triangle.

For my other knitting that is not in the above photo- I am working the body shaping decreasing on my hawthorne cardigan.  This is my tv knit because of the miles and miles of stockinette stitch.  I am not complaining, just stating a fact!  I am almost done with Chart B of my periwinkle frost shawl.  I am over half way done knitting this shawl and I love this pattern! If you're in the mood for lace knitting, try it

My book this week is the same, The Kitchen House.  I find it a compelling read overall.  I am enjoying the book and the story line never stops evolving.  It takes place on a plantation in the late 1700's when slavery and owning people is the norm.  This book skillfully exposes the hardships and adverse treatment slaves received without the graphic detail (I am ultra squeamish).  But it makes me very very sad to know that events I am reading in a fictional book have actually happened. 

Joining Ginny at small things 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Acquisitions

Last Friday we went to our local library book sale.  I look forward to this sale two times a year.  I always find something.  My only competition is my son who happens to find many books that I would love to pick up.  He is able to ferret out the classics so much faster that me.  It must be his youth and internal radar to where they are placed in the room.

Anyways, I was quite happy to pick up seven books for under seven dollars!  The Alcott book has a copyright printing of 1932-not in the best shape with the book spine.  The Alice in Wonderland book has a copyright printing of 1929. There is nothing like an old book!

I was thrilled to find a copy of My Antonia, would you believe I haven't read one Willa Cather book in my life---the shame!  I have read many of Alcott's books but I do not remember reading Rose in Bloom.  I first read Little Women when I was thirteen years old.  It was the "book" that inspired me to read in all of my free time.  That summer I would lie on the front porch swing with a glass of home brewed iced tea and a book while my friends were playing softball.

Do you have a book that started your reading craze?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Friday night we went out to a different restaurant for dinner as a family and we had the best fries ever.  Now keep in mind they were the worst fries for health because I believe they were fried twice-so crispy! It was nice to be out and about with our son since he returned to his campus today.

Lots of laundry was done by the laundry fairy so our son could pack as many clean clothes as possible. Starting Monday I am back to two to three loads a week.  I am not complaining since the fairy and I are one person.  We also went through the cupboards and stocked up on some snacks for the dorm.  Nothing like shopping at home.

Saturday brought a beautiful fantastic snow storm.  It was perfect-five inches of snow came tumbling down and we did not lose power.  What could possibly be better?  Because of the snow I decided to make apple raisin muffins from my Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Check out their website, they have quite a bit of recipes that look yummy.

Today after church I made sure nothing was left behind from our traveler.  It's so quiet now.  I love when the kids are home and I love when it is just the two of us......oh and Frodo :)

Joining Amanda

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Moment

(had to post two photos-when no one is paying attention to Frodo he hides under the ottoman and does tiny arfs until you look for him.  I caught him in the act this time!!)

Joining Amanda at soulemama

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cardigan Love

Every day I wear a cardigan and most of the time the cardigan was made my me.  Cardigans are flattering for any figure and you can wear it buttoned up or not-gives it a different look.  I have found the best way to have any knitted garment fit the way you would like is to measure existing pieces in your wardrobe and adjust the pattern accordingly.  If you already have a favorite sweater-measure it!  It is much better than measuring yourself.

For instance, I always knit at least seventeen-nineteen inches from the underarm to wrist since I am taller.  I also will knit at least fourteen inches for the body of a sweater, sometimes more.  Lengthening and shortening knitting garments is quite an easy fix for fit.

I tend to prefer to knit with thin yarn.  Double knitting or thinner if possible.  I have worsted weight cardigans like tea leaves, but they feel bulky when I wear a coat. I have to be in the mood to wear it. Of course thin yarn will mean that the sweater might take a bit longer to knit but to me it is worth it. Thin yarn drapes better and I think it pills less especially if it is a natural animal fiber.

Also I knit with at least a two ply.  Single ply is just awful for a sweater- it pills like mad. Another way to avoid pilling is to knit with a tighter gauge.  The tighter the gauge the less friction occurs in the knitted fabric which means less pilling.

My hawthorne cardigan is shaping up quite nicely.  I love the simplicity of the pattern.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yarn Along

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a great week this week.  I am always stunned when Wednesday rolls along, seems like the days are just flying by for me.

I finished Rilla of Ingleside and it really is one of the best out of the series (a total of eight books).  I think I liked this one most because WWI breaks out and there is a lot of heart ache experienced by the heroine.  A crisis seems to make the characters more realistic for me.  So I have finished the series and I'm happy to report I am back to reading contemporary fiction.  I started The Kitchen House last night and so far it's interesting.  I am not too far into the story line so my opinions are newly developing.

My Periwinkle Frost Shawl has been my number one focus the past week.  I finished chart A and started chart B which is not a very long chart to knit.  I wish I could explain why I am so into this project.  Let's just say it brings me great joy to sit and knit a few rows here and there.  My other project is my Hawthorne Cardigan.  I work on this when watching TV.  Stockinette knitting and TV watching go hand in hand to ward off boredom and to minimize errors.  I would hate to frog the shawl because of my mistakes.  I finished the raglan increasing, divided off the sleeves and have joined the body.  So there is only some simple waist shaping in my near future.

Joining Ginny at small things

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today is a wintry tour of my yard.  The above photo is my long driveway.  The township already came and cindered the road.  I wonder what time they awake to get the job done?

My favorite slip on boots that were hand me downs from my sister about five or six years ago.  I do not think they will ever wear out.  I can wear them with two pairs of socks (the outer layer is always wool!).

This is the back of the fence, remember over the summer when Frodo was escaping?  Good times...

One of my lilac bushes that no matter how much the deer eat in the spring it blossoms.  Very resilient bush!  As for the deer, I am not going to try to stop them.  I know I am out numbered.  We have at least five deer that walk through our property almost every day.  The twins are fully grown now.  A couple of days ago they were in the woods watching me as I was out with Frodo.  They are quite nosy :)

And last but not least I think this is golden rod.....but maybe it isn't.  I know it is a weed and we did not purposefully plant it.  I find it beautiful.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This weekend brought snow and some very very chilly weather.  Like wear your wool socks and wool scarves in the house kind of weather.  I snapped some photos and enjoyed the freezing cold air.

Because of my husband's affinity to sports, there was once again lots of football games to watch.  I barely listened and I sat and knitted away on my projects.  He'll ask me who I think will win, I'll ask who is the underdog (I always go with underdog).  Then we have a discussion about whether the underdog has a chance.  We have fun that way :)

Today I played hide and seek with Frodo.  I sneak up on him around corners of the kitchen and family room, he loves it and runs around and goes crazy.  A game that I can rely on to tire him out as he tends to have high energy.

Today was also a mashed potato-gravy-baked chicken-and yorkshire pudding day. There was corn served too and that is what made it healthy (besides not peeling the red potatoes).  I am serving up my son's favorite meals before he goes back to his campus next weekend.

Joining Amanda

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Side Tracked

Yesterday I did some cleaning on the main floor.  I dusted the family room, living room and then the dining room.  Then I was sidetracked.  I saw on the floor a big basket of sea shells that we have collected  over the years from going to the beach as a family.  I picked up the basket and started going through the collection, picking out the tiny shells and the pretty stones.  I do not know how much time I spent doing this.  Does it matter?  I was on a mission!

My idea was to display them where I could see them.  My kitchen window sill is the perfect place-I tend to stand there a lot during the day (I wonder why?).  So now I have a beautiful reminder of family vacations where we would pick up one or two shells or stones and place in a pocket.  I also have memories of big beach pails held by little hands, and shovels and digging for treasures.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yarn Along

Okay, so I have been casting on a lot of projects.  I just can't resist.  I have been really knitting up a storm on the periwinkle frost shawl and I am still on chart A.  I am more than half way done with the first chart and I can see my progress-I love this shawl!  My Hawthorne Cardigan has only had one or two rows added since last week.  My Sprouts Shawl is working up nicely!  I cannot stop singing the praises for Malabrigo Sock yarn-it is soft and squishy and has excellent stitch definition.  I think it is a treat to knit with for socks or for a shawl.  I also have in mind making a sweater one day out of it.

My reading this week is still Rilla of Ingleside.  It might be the best book in the series.  I am so glad that I am finally reading it. What a pleasure to observe the main character maturing during the events of World War I through her experiences.  Amazingly she is taking care of a newborn infant at fifteen years of age.  I remember babysitting a three month old when I was sixteen and it was not an easy task (for me).  I called my mom every half hour peppering her with questions about how to get the little baby to stop crying.  He must have missed his mother.

I thought I would include a photo of the the cowl I finished last week.  Before my daughter left for school I remembered to get the camera. They match her legwarmers, so when she is running she will look so "together".  Maybe she doesn't wear them together?  I'll have to ask.

Joining Ginny at small things

Monday, January 9, 2012

Long and Winding

I don't know about you, but it seems to be a little bit lighter than usual around 4:30 p.m.  I was doing dishes and I thought "we should walk before it gets dark!"

If you utter the word "walk" anywhere near Frodo you are committed to walking.  He looks so eager and happy, he prances all around doing twirls-he should have been in the circus.

We haven't walked the dirt road for many many weeks.  Mainly because of deer season and I am afraid I might be mistaken for a deer.  My dad insists that it would not happen but I do not believe him.  So from Thanksgiving until one to two weeks after deer season I steer clear of the dirt road.  Only paved residential roads.

It was so nice to be out and about in the woods.  There might be one car that passes by.  This walk there was a car and a neighbor's golden retriever walking down the road.  He loves to greet Frodo.  Frodo wishes he was as big as a golden retriever.

I might complain there is no snow this winter but I do enjoy walking in 40-50 degree weather and my running shoes stay squeaky clean!

I believe I will always want to live with woods nearby.  I can listen to the silence and be in harmony with nature.   I am so thankful that walking can be done anytime and anywhere with anyone.   Frodo is thankful that he knows the word "walk"

(photos in this post were taken by my son)

Sunday, January 8, 2012


This photo would be perfect if there was some SNOW in it....Sorry, I really am hoping for some snow and so far it exists only in my imagination.  I am fondly remembering last year's winter when we had some decent snowfall and some beautiful quiet frozen mornings.

My weekend was a little bittersweet.  I am seeing all of my coffee table (without piles of books) which I am thrilled to bits about, but I am seeing it because my daughter went back to her apartment on Friday. Oh well March break will be here before I know it (and so will the clutter!).

My weekend has been filled with reading and relaxing.  More football games because of the playoffs.  I am not a sport fanatic but I married one and sometimes I listen to what he says...sometimes. We also polished off all of the lingering left overs from the crazy holidays.

This morning at Mass I was a little sad that the Christmas carols are over.  It seems that Advent and Christmas fly by for me.  I also am loving the new mass editing more than I thought I would.  It almost echoes a more traditional Mass that I remember from my past which is kind of neat.

Linking with Amanda at the habit of being

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hawthorne Cardigan

Well I was pretty sure when I casted on that I needed to go down a needle size for my cardigan.  The six just seemed too loose.  How lucky I was to be wearing the first cardigan to compare gauge (without measuring) to notice that I needed to switch needles.  I only had a couple rows to rip out so it was not devastating.

I know I have stated this before, but I love top down construction.  I do not like to sew seams and I like that the bulk of the knitting is done at the very beginning.  If you have not tried top down and you are familiar with sweater knitting, you should give it a try.  The only negative to top down construction is that there are no shoulder seams which leads to less structure at the top of the sweater.

Today I will be transporting my daughter back to her campus.  She is packing as I type.  I can see my coffee table (over half) and my laundry duties will diminish somewhat.  While I am traveling this afternoon, my husband will be home cooking up a curry for dinner (YUM!).  My son will be helping his sister haul various "stuff" into the apartment and hopefully be doing some of the driving.  These past three weeks have flown by.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Bowl and a Cowl

Don't you think that bowl and cowl should rhyme?  Well it was just a thought.  I finished my daughter's cowl last night while watching the very last Harry Potter movie with the family.  The drama had the stitches flying off the needles!  I only just soaked it early this morning and I am not sure if I will get a photo of it being worn.  I have my fingers crossed but just in case here are two photos of it drying in the guest bedroom.

I always block my knits and I always use a wool wash.  I like knowing that I do not have to rinse the soap out of the knitwear.  I think soaking allows the fiber to "bloom", it also removes any chemicals and last bits of dye that are still in the wool after it has been processed.  It always feels softer to me.

I fill up the sink (or tub) with very warm water and add a splash of wool wash then throw the knitted item in and submerge it.  I soak at least 20 minutes.......I have been known to soak for 7 hours because I forgot and that's okay too.  Then I wring (yes, wring) it out.  I try to do it very very gently.  If it is a sweater I toss it into the washer and put it through the spin/drain cycle.  DO NOT wring cashmere-it is too delicate.  I only wring wool, alpaca, and silk fibers.

If it is lace, I pin out the project right onto my carpeting.  Otherwise I just lay it out and gently reshape it.
I am to much of a chicken to try the hand wash cycle on my front loader, I am afraid I would be crying buckets of tears if it felted my knits.

So anyways, since the word bowl is in the post title, here is a wonderful gift I received from my father and his wife for Christmas.  It's a hand crafted yarn bowl from one of their local artisans.  Right now it's just holding some lace weight yarn.  I have some ideas of some yarn that would be perfect to use in this bowl and see if it really works.  When visiting my sister, she was knitting a scarf for her son using the bowl to control the yarn-great invention!  I also think it is lovely to look at.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yarn Along

For knitting this week I have been focusing on finishing the cowl for my daughter before she goes back to her apartment on Friday.  I have about 7-9 rows to go.  I have great hopes that I will be casting off today and soaking in wool wash and blocking by tonight.  My other project that has gained my knitting attention is a new sweater that I blogged about yesterday.  I am winging it on the gauge......which means there is a good chance (50%) that I might be ripping it out.  I tend to knit whatever needle size is called for in a pattern so fingers crossed that this is true.  How I wish I would have documented the needles size on the first sweater.

I finished Digging to America and I really did not care for it as much as I had hoped.  There really was no conflict to be resolved.  More like a character exploration.  At the very very end there was some tiny minor conflict resolution that had me thinking "that's it?".  I am glad I finished the book.  So now I have started the eighth book in the Anne series, Rilla of Ingleside.  How did Santa know that I wanted this book???  He is just amazing sometimes.

Joining Ginny at small things

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Prepare the Way

Prepare the way for some new projects, of course!!  I am so excited to start a few new items and both are for me.  This lovely yarn is Prime Alpaca in sport weight that I bought at the PA Endless Mountain Fiber Festival in 2010, unfortunately due to the heavy flooding this past fall they did not have their booth.

I've decided to make the Gooseberry Cardigan, again.  I wear this cardigan a lot through the winter and I want another one!  Can you believe that I did not document what needle size I used on Ravelry?  Jeez.  So that means I have to do gauge.  Bleh.

I thought you all would love to see my expensive swift, ha ha.  For some reason two chairs back to back works for me and my upper arms get a much needed workout.  Anyways, onto my other lovely bundle of yarn.

This is a skein of Malabrigo Sock in the lettuce colorway.  I am not sure which shawl pattern I am going to start.  I am leaning towards one of the seven shawls by Romi Hill.  I love the decision making process.

Have you any new knitting projects in the horizon?

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year

I was so lucky yesterday to wake up and see such a pretty sky when I took Frodo outside.  So once we were back in our house, I quickly grabbed my camera and headed out to capture the moment.  My first new day of the new year was spent going to Mass and then putting away the Christmas decorations.  I know they are supposed to stay up until the Epiphany but I just cannot last that long.

I'm I little tired from the work.  However, I had many helpers carrying the full boxes back to where they are stored until next Christmas.  My living room looks so tidy and a bit empty.  I still have the mess on the coffee table.  That will be there until the kids go back to their campuses.

Today I am going grocery shopping and picking up some new ingredients to start the yummy meal plans that I have created from my new cookbooks.  I am going to try one new recipe a week---at least!  Steering towards whole foods and way less sugar.

I don't cook from prepackaged because they (food manufacturers) love to sprinkle dairy in everything.  However I am in a rut and keep cooking the same meals.....blah.  So as I experiment I hope to remember to take a photo of my hits and misses.

I wish all of you a very happy new year filled with lots of love, luck, health and happiness!!