Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Days of Snow & Soup

Steve and I went out for coffee this morning and wandered into the ODU bookstore afterwards to browse the sale books. I bought a copy of Felt Jewelry and Billy Collins' Ballistics at thrift store prices. After I made my selections, I sat down with a copy of Artful Blogging and was excited to read interviews by Leslie, of A Friend to Knit With, and Sarah, of Thistle Downs Wool Design, blogs I keep on my blog roll and love to read. I thought it was pretty exciting. The rest of the magazine gave me some ideas I may incorporate into my creative life and as a result, onto my blog. Still mulling though.

Steve and I walked down to the beach after we got home; it was much warmer than the other day, but the horizon looked so unusual. Still some snow remaining on the dunes, but not much of it left on the sand. It was a lovely walk, though.

Here's one of the project bags I ordered from Ysolda; I ordered three different designs and this one is Stef's. The other two left the house before being photographed. So sweet.

Finally took a photo of the red scarf I originally intended for myself, but am now going to gift to a friend instead.

Here's what's newest on the needles: a Thermis cowl using the Quince & Co yarn I bought for myself, right before Christmas. So very soft, and I loved making the Thermis pattern last year and have been wanting to make another.

As for the soup, we've had vegetable, vegetarian chili, and now I've got a large pot of potato soup simmering on the stove. Snow always makes me want to hunker down and make bread and soup. Basic comfort food, especially after all the excess of Christmas feasting, don't you think?

Sunrise and Snow

I woke to a gorgeous sunrise sky yesterday morning. As usual, the photo doesn't really convey the richness, but this will have to do. We don't get icicles around here too often so these were picture worthy.

Finished my hat, which took twice as long since I had to knit it twice. I forgot to switch to the larger needles after the ribbing and it was way too short, so I ripped it back. It's still too short for me if I want my ears covered, so unless it blocks out larger, it'll go to one of the girls.

Mere and I ventured out yesterday; she had a hair appointment and some returns to take care of, so we went to lunch afterwards. It was a nice opportunity for us to spend some one on one time together. She's spending a few days at her dad's so I won't see her much more before they head home this weekend. Melissa left today for Blacksburg as she has to work, although she'll be back next week for about five more days. And Stef is here until the middle of January.
It was great having them all here together for a couple of days, making chili, soup, bread, cookies, tea, and coffee. It'll seem awfully quiet now. It's always hard for me to adjust, but going back to work on Monday will most likely take care of that.
Our New Year's Eve plans will involve taking down the tree, putting all the decorations away, and cleaning. Probably a little knitting too, I'm guessing. How 'bout you?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow on the Beach

We wrapped up in everything we had for our walk to the beach. Melissa in her "new" thrifted hat (I didn't knit it, just found it at the thrift store). Mere and Ollie on the beach.
Stef taking photos. (She's wearing a hat she made out of Rowan Cocoon and handwarmers I made her last Christmas.)

Mere, Stef, and Melissa. (Mere's wearing a hat I made out of Manos and had stashed away in the gift pile and Steve's scarf. Melissa apparently has NO handknits on; not sure how that happened!)

The girls and Ollie.

It was lovely.

After the Snowfall

Steve made some progress shoveling snow this morning before going in to work. The skies were still quite grey, but we didn't get any more snow.
Closer to noon, the skies cleared and the sun came out, making everything sparkling! We got over a foot; the truck bed was nearly full.

I'm so fascinated with the way the snow piled up, although Steve didn't enjoy having to dig out his truck quite so much.

We were very lucky not to lose power with this type of heavy, wet snow.

Snow chairs anyone?

Last year we found out that it was less hectic for everyone if we had the kids over the day after Christmas, which happens to be St. Stephen's Day, a coincidence my husband, Stephen, enjoys. We did it again this year, even though we had blizzard conditions, because our children refused to listen to us or the authorities about staying off the roads. I was worried about them but once they arrived (oddly all at the same time), I was happy. It was a great day of gift giving, game playing, and eating. Many rounds of Apples to Apples and Scattergories were played.

Mere, Ryan, and Stef stayed over, so we'll hang out again today, knitting, playing games, and eating. I made bread to go with the soup Steve made yesterday and the vegetarian chili I made this morning that's simmering in the crock pot. I put fresh rosemary on one of the loaves. Next time, I'm mixing some in the dough itself.

Right now, Mere is winding some of her Christmas yarn, and Stef and I are both knitting ourselves new hats. She's making the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, using the skein of Osprey yarn from Quince & Co. that she found in her stocking, (I'm a good stepmother!) and I'm making Cranberry Sauce using a skein of Shelter in blue (Almanac) that I bought at Purl in October, but saved as a Christmas gift to myself.
We're also planning to take a walk down to the beach in a bit. I'll post more snow photos after the walk. Hopefully I'll burn a few of the thousand or so extra calories I've eaten this past week. Loving the sweat pants a little too much!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowy St. Stephen's Day

It started snowing last night and it's still coming down. We have over a foot of snow, which counts as a blizzard around here. These photos were taken around 4 p.m. and I think the light is so interesting. Very blue.

I love the snow furniture on our back deck.

It's a heavy, wet snow, which thankfully hasn't brought our power lines down.

On Christmas Eve, we had cookie making, using Purl Bee's recipe. When I say "we", I mean Mere and Melissa made them. They were their gifts for the grandmas and the aunts, who loved them. The girls usually make cookies or candy and give them on thrifted plates, which I think such a good idea. They used to make ornaments when they were younger, but now food is the gift of choice.

This is Mere, putting them together.

Random photo: my finished owl mittens, with the beaded eyes; they were a much better choice than the buttons I originally tried.

Now I'm in a sort of knitting limbo. I think I want to start something big, but I'm not sure what yet. So my plan is to finish some more of my in progress projects while I think about it. I also started a hat for myself, despite not being a hat person. I'm trying the Cranberry Sauce pattern, using some blue Shelter yarn I got for Christmas. I'm hoping it'll be close enough to a slouch hat to look okay on me. And I had Mere unravel my Awbrey cowl, since even though it was pretty, it was too snug to be comfortable. I'm not sure what I'll reuse the yarn for yet, maybe some more coffee cozies. What's in your after Christmas knitting queue?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Peace. Joy. Compassion.

Wishing for these gifts for you.

Wishing for these gifts for me.

Peace. Joy. Compassion.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Eve of Christmas Eve

I actually did take a walk on the beach yesterday; the day was very grey. As usual at this time of year, the beach was deserted, just the way I like it.

I coerced Melissa into modeling her new glasses and the scarf I made her last year, before she headed out to meet up with friends.

Made a coffee sleeve out of Noro Kuryon last night; so easy, I'm going to make another.

And finished the Awbry cowl out of Noro Bonbori. Love the look, but it's pretty snug. I think either larger needles on that yarn (I'm a tight knitter) or trying different yarn would yield a looser cowl, but I definitely like the pattern. Very quick knit too!

Today is crafting day, while we wait on Meredith and Ryan to arrive from Connecticut. I'll definitely post photos of the process and the products!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Knitting Contemplation

As I was sitting on the couch knitting the other night, I reflected on three things. First, I felt (only slightly) guilty at preparing for Christmas by doing something as enjoyable as knitting, instead of those poor people who have to shop at malls for their gifts. Steve was wrapping gifts and I was knitting. It seemed unfair somehow.

Secondly, I thought about how much joy knitting brings me. I love the fact that I can be so creative with an art that has been around for so long. Knitting connects me to the past in a way that I really appreciate.

And lastly, I love the fact that my skill level has increased to the point that there are so many options available to me that weren't when I first started out. Don't get me wrong, I loved all twenty or so scarves that I knit the first year I learned. I was proud of each and every one of those garter stitch scarves and didn't even aspire to try another knitting project.

Stef and Melissa came home yesterday, which was also my last school day until January. I wanted to stay up late and watch Toy Story 3 with them, but I was in bed by 10:00 p.m. My toothache still hasn't gone away, which is frustrating, but it has improved a little. (Or maybe I'm just getting used to it?) I've gained six pounds in three weeks and feel crappy about it. Trying to get back on the wagon, so to speak. I'm hoping to get outside and walk on the beach today, which should help my mood as well as my metabolism. And knitting. Knitting helps.

I've started this to knit in between knitting untold pairs of Toasty mitts as well as finishing up other small projects that have been languishing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Purely Knitting Post

I decided that since I'm way behind on posting about finished knitting projects, I'd try and catch up here.

I finished my mom's sweater! I definitely learned that I can make a sweater in one month if I dedicate myself to it. Good information for me to know. I'm really happy with it, especially the neckline and the waist shaping. I really hope she loves it. One of the Regular Guy beanie hats, using the Brooklyn Tweed inspiration.
Toasty handwarmers, thumbs still to add, using Noro Kuryeon. Fraternal twins.

Seed stitch bracelet from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts for my friend, Laura. Button jar diving time. This is in lieu of a larger project using this yarn that will have to be completed after Christmas.

Two more Regular Guy Beanies.

A Brooklyn Tweed Noro scarf; didn't love the color combo on this one, but it'll be warm.

Another pair of Toasty's using the Plymouth Boku yarn I bought in Connecticut. I really like these.

A scarf using my favorite scarf yarn, Baby Grande Alpaca. Soft, soft, soft, perfect for wrapping around one's neck. K1, P1, nothing fancy.

So that pretty much catches my knitting posting up, with the exception of a surprise project that I'll post about after Christmas. Exciting!
Toothache slowly getting better but still on meds for pain. Yuck. Back to wrapping presents to put under the tree!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Still enjoying the look of a little snow around here.
Amidst all of my whining about my teeth the past few days I forgot to share the good news about the gifted class I took: I made an A+! Very happy about it.

I am feeling a bit better today, thanks to the drug cocktail of Vicodin and prescription Motrin. Steve and I did a little book buying at a library sale, went for breakfast, then walked a bit around downtown, buying a few little gifts. Now he's gone to do a good deed for my niece and I'm planning to make a few gift bags from the always inspiring SouleMama. I don't plan to wrap everything in them, but maybe if they are well received, I can begin an ongoing collection of them. I do know that my oldest has rejected them; she said she likes the act of tearing off the gift paper, even if it's recycled newspaper wrapping.

Photos later, I promise!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Still in Pain

I thought about this post this morning when i was at the endodontist, quietly crying. Apparently the stuff they injected in my gum to numb the area also contained epinephrine, which gave me the jitters and made me feel incredibly weird, and when the dental tech I've never met before took my hand to calm me, I was overwhelmed with emotion and began crying. And it was okay.

Sitting in the chair for an hour and a half having a very difficult root canal was not fun and even worse is the fact that I'm still in pain and should expect to be throughout the weekend, thanks to the incredible inflammation in the tooth area, according to my new endodontist. I had been told by friends that once the root canal was done, the pain was gone, but this is not proving true for me. I feel duped, like women in the midst of labor feel when they realize how much pain the transition stage entails. He also told me I have a high pain threshold, which will shock all my friends and family who hear my complaining and whining on a regular basis. (I'm really not a suck it up kind of person.)

The office staff did compliment me on my felted bag, my silver earrings, my scarf, and my hat in progress, probably an effort to "calm the crazy woman". Since only half my face was working at the time, I hope they could tell how happy that made me. What a nice group of people they were, which is good since I'm going to be seeing them again in three weeks.

So, I'm chugging along on some knitting and hope to photograph some of it tomorrow. Now it's back to the Vicodin, warm tea, and Bones. Be glad I don't have your phone number, otherwise I'd probably call and complain some more.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Day

My school division called a snow day today in anticipation of snow and icy rain. I plan on enjoying it just as soon as I get some relief from this aching tooth.

Steve and I have been cooking all week for his branch's open house; he puts on a lavish spread for his customers. We made four pans of lasagna, two pans of macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, beef kabobs, and he's picking up a spiral ham as well. I don't remember what else he's having, but that's only about half.

After he left for work, I cleaned out the cabinets, threw some old rice krispie cereal out in the yard for the birds, and when I get home from the dentist, I'm making chicken noodle soup and cleaning out the refrigerator. Then I plan to wrap my Christmas presents and knit while watching season two of Bones, my new favorite rental. I picked it up on the way home from work yesterday in anticipation of the day off.

Change of plans: Went to the dentist, can't get the root canal until tomorrow, and it took over an hour to drive what is normally a twenty minute route home, thanks to the snow that started falling while I was in the dentist's office. I'm cranky and in pain and feel like I've been cheated out of enjoying the lovely snow. Taking a nap instead of doing any of the plans I made. Back later.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chardonnay, Chicken, and Christmas

I'm starting to feel a bit stressed. I left school as soon as the students did yesterday, planning to wrap a bunch of Christmas presents and write out my Christmas cards, but felt overwhelmed by what I have and what I have left to do. Yikes.

I did actually make some of the salt scrubs over the weekend and they smell delicious. I also mixed up my holiday "stew" for the stove top, (there has to be a better word) to make the house smell all Christmasy, and I had music playing too. But I could feel my neck tightening up and I wasn't feeling the joy. I think it's the decision making that makes me tired. (Either that or the aching tooth that probably needs a root canal. Happy Christmas!)

Tonight I came home and threw together a delicious supper, if I do say so myself. I had an open bottle of Chardonnay from Sunday, so I poured myself a glass, then marinated some chicken breast tenders in a cup or so of the wine while I cooked a cup of orzo with some garlic cloves. When the orzo was done, I drained it, added a little olive oil and some sun dried tomatoes I had bought from an olive bar in the grocery store on Saturday and covered the pan. I browned the chicken tenders in some more olive oil, with paprika, salt, and pepper. When they were good and sizzly, I added the wine and let most of it boil away, then dumped in the orzo. I added some Parmesan cheese to it, and yummy! It was delicious!
I ate it out of one of my thrift store bowls.
I love thrift store dishes and I'm not entirely sure why. Any ideas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Annual Re-gifting Party!

My girls only re-gifting party was so much fun that we decided we have to do it again next year. The premise of the re-gift was that you had to bring something you already owned; no buying allowed. Low stress, no cost, and lots of fun. We had a great time talking, eating, opening gifts, trading them, eating, talking, and eating some more. Plus we collected two grocery bags full of canned goods to donate to the local food bank. What great friends I have.

This photo shows just a portion of the goodies we had.

Here's a group in my jam packed living room/library.
And some more lovely ladies in the sunroom. You can see how cozy we all were!

The exciting news of today though is our "big" snow!! Totally unexpected and although it doesn't look like much to most of you, it's a lot for our area, believe me.

I love, love, love the way the air feels and smells when it snows, so clean and crisp. Brings out all my nesting instincts!

Speaking of nesting, I need to stock up on some felt for when the girls come home. We're doing craft camp and these look like great ideas!!