Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Monday, February 28, 2011


But first, some hearts. I don't think I've posted a photo of the Valentine's gift, my oldest daughter, Mere sent me; it's a gorgeous heart lace cowl. I've worn it quite a bit since I got it, as it's so light and pretty, with lovely shell buttons. It's funny, even though we both knit, we never knit the same types of things. She loves knitting vintage patterns with fine gauge yarn and tiny needles and rarely uses worsted weight, while worsted weight with number seven needles is my favorite choice and the laceweight stuff makes me fidgety! Thanks again, Mere!

Now for the quilts. My mom and I went to a quilt show in Hampton yesterday and it was overwhelming. I love quilts, but other than the doll quilt I made when I was eleven or twelve, I've never made any. Even when I did a lot of sewing, I never got up the nerve to tackle quilting. It just seems so daunting to me. But I love looking at them, and it turns out, so does my mom. We had a lovely "girls" day out together. I wish I had taken more photos, but here are the ones I did manage to get.
This is Santas Around the World.

This one was amazing, so detailed, like a painting. The card said the quilter modeled it from a jigsaw puzzle.

This one seemed very Colonial looking to me.

My mom liked this one a lot.

And another Christmas one, this one on a black background, which seemed unusual but was quite striking.

Again, I wish I had taken more photos, but I'll have to wait until next year I guess.

I'm in the middle of an Elizabeth Gaskell marathon right now. I watched North and South last week, Wives and Daughters over the weekend, and now I'm on the Cranford series. I even skipped most of the Oscars to watch episode one of the Cranfords! It's odd, but when Cranford first aired on Masterpiece, I didn't love it, and now, I'm totally addicted. At least I'm making fantastic progress on the baby blanket while I watch. At this rate, I'll probably finish it by tomorrow night. Hope you had a lovely Monday!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yellow & White

Forsythia is such a pretty flower, isn't it? It is the epitome of spring to me, right up there with daffodils. These are two branches I cut off of our large forsythia and brought indoors; they look pretty in the blue vase don't they?

Almost done with the second skein of yarn; one more to go. I think it's a sweet pattern, but not sure I'd do it again anytime soon. I am ready to tackle the February Baby Sweater, however, since this is the same stitch pattern.

Lots of school work to do today, trying to catch up from my latest week of illness. Thank goodness I'm feeling more like myself. Happy Sunday to you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm at the recuperating stage where I feel well enough to want to do things, but too weak to make much headway. I've noticed that when I'm sick at home for any length of time, I reread Laurie Colwin's books, Home Cooking, and More Home Cooking. If you've never read them, you should. Reading them is like sitting with a friend in her lovely kitchen sharing a cup of hot tea. (Be aware that you will want to eat comfort food while you're reading, but there's nothing wrong with that, is there?) I have added another ritual this time--reading SouleMama's archives. I read her blog on a daily basis, and I own her books, but it's also interesting to go back through her archives too. She is such an inspiring person, so welcoming and calm and thoughtful. Try it, next time you need a little comfort.

Yarn Giveaway

Remember the baby blanket I started and didn't like? It's from Dale of Norway and Sirdar Salsa. I'm offering to ship it as is with the following skeins of baby project yarn to anyone who wants it. In the picture is more Dale of Norway, a skein of Cascade Superwash, Plymouth Yarn Jelli Beenz, and some unidentified skeins, including a mint green cotton.
Just let me know if you're interested and it's yours!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Vile Virus

I am dealing with the most awful virus right now. It started at 3 a.m. on Monday morning with disgusting details I will omit that went on for about eight miserable hours. The rest of the day was spent in bed with a horrendous headache that is continuing today. I haven't been able to read or knit longer than ten minutes at a time, so I thought I'd try and distract myself with pictures of yarn. (By the way, I've noticed that 75% of my photo folders are labeled "yarn", which isn't much of a filing system, is it?)

Here is the baby blanket in progress; I was able to knit on it on our daytrip to Richmond Saturday, but I spent some of the time tinking too, so progress is slower than it should be for this simple pattern.

Here is the trial blanket I started and will frog; I don't like garter stitch with this yarn and I don't really like the pale yellow either. I think I'm going to bundle all the yellow yarn up and give it away. I've had it for years, and everytime I try to knit something with it I put it back, so it needs to go.
Here's the crazy section. Despite a resolution to stop buying yarn until I've used some of the gorgeous yarn I already own, I picked this up Saturday, cause it reminded me of the denim yarn I used to knit baby boy hats with and can no longer find. It's a finer gauge, but I'm pretty sure it'll be an adorable infant cap.

And these two beauties seemed to be perfect for a striped baby pullover (all the coworkers seem to have baby boys), especially since the yarn is discontinued and it's superwash!

I bought this last week because it was on sale and I liked the colors but I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, other than enjoy looking at it.

It's sitting on top of the dvd of the BBC's North & South I rented Sunday night. That was a timely rental, as it was the only thing I could manage to do when I was awake. I finished it this afternoon and it was grand. While the main characters were wonderful, I also loved Sinead Cusack as John's mother. It filled my Masterpiece jones this week, since I didn't really enjoy the one that's running now, although I'm not sure why. My next rental is going to be Wives & Daughters, just as soon as I'm well enough to make the video store run.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Almost Spring Sunday

I actually took this photo of my front window Friday afternoon; it was still daylight when I got home around 5 p.m., which means spring is on her way! And it was warm enough to open the front and back door for some much needed fresh air.

Okay, so I've got two posts started from earlier in the week and neither one seems relevant now, so I'll just start from today. It was a lovely birthday this year, made special by my husband, friends (including the blogging kind), family, and students. Although we usually go out of town for a combo Valentine/birthday weekend, this year it just wasn't going to happen. Steve's oldest daughter is getting married next month and I've had quite a few dates with the dentist, so we stayed in town and Steve treated me to dinner(s) out and many lovely gifts, including earrings, knitting books, and this Lantern Moon double point needle case. He definitely spoils me.

Yesterday, Steve and I drove up to Richmond, picked up Stef, and went to the Virginia Fine Arts Museum to view the Picasso exhibit that's on loan from the Musee' National Picasso. It was a beautiful day, so we walked outside a bit afterwards,
then drove to the Carytown district, where we just happened to end up in front of The Yarn Lounge; I picked up a couple of skeins (three) of yarn and Ysolda's second book. I also worked on the baby blanket a lot, so I'm about one third of the way through it. I had started it with a finer gauge yarn, but when I messed up the pattern, I decided to go for a more durable and faster gauge.

After Steve and I got home from having coffee this morning, I worked in the yard a bit. It's quite springlike, sunny and warm. I cleared out some dead brush and trash and noticed that the forsythia bush has buds and is almost ready to bloom. I love the cheery yellow-ness of forsythia, don't you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

This is me at nine months old. I was smiling at an early age and I'm still smiling now. My parents were living in Arkansas at the time this picture was taken. They were dirt poor but apparently they spent what little money they had on a studio picture of their first born. Don't you love the large curl on the top of my head?? My mother spent most of my childhood trying to make my hair curly and it seems she started early.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

I had hoped to make this for VDay, but I'm home sick (yes, again), so it'll have to wait.

Hope you have a lovely day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Short Weekend

The Friday after the Snowday felt like a Monday. (Huh?) The kids and I slogged through the day, and then I spent three hours after work sitting in another classroom, this time as a student, in the second class in the gifted education series. And then turned around and went back on Saturday morning for another eight hours, without a lunch break! Whew, long weekend.

I did manage to finish the Pebble vest, which is really cute, but looks awfully small. It's stretchy though, so it will probably fit. I think these buttons would work, but they're a bit big and I only have six, so if I use them, I'll have to reknit the shoulder with only one buttonhole instead of two.

I'm thinking of starting one of those super-sized cowls next, although I should work on a sock. Should? There is no should in knitting, only do. Hmm, maybe I'll start a Yoda kimono. . . .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Throwing Out 50 Things

I had a very productive day today, although if you walked into my house, you'd be hard pressed to see anything different. I know it was done though and I feel quite content about it all. I accomplished four out of six of my original goals for today and one of them was throwing out 50 things. I didn't actually count them, but I did list them (which may have slowed me down a bit but since I needed periodic breaks anyway, I think it was a wash.)

Anyway here is my list, which probably proves that I tend to be a bit compulsive at times (feel free to mock or pity).

From the coat closet:
  1. Cinnamon broom that no longer smells of cinnamon
  2. Net bag that held cinnamon pinecones
  3. Orange acrylic cardigan
  4. Navy cardigan
  5. one pair of tennis shoes
  6. one pair of sandals
  7. one pair of too small shoes


  1. Guggenheim program book
  2. physician survey form, never mailed
  3. some weird plastic promotional paper cutter
  4. "gold" bracelet, circa 1980
  5. ten books
  6. four magazines


  1. plastic Christmas storage jar
  2. fifteen wine "corks" that aren't really cork
  3. one box of gingerbread "tea"
  4. twenty small paper bags
  5. two plastic storage containers
  6. three empty spaghetti sauce jars


  1. one set of clear plastic shower curtain rings
  2. Four bags of hotel shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap. (sending these to Mere)


  1. Five pairs of socks
  2. Twenty pairs of underwear
  3. one bra
  4. five tubes of hotel lotion
  5. one half slip


  1. Five music cds

I put the things that weren't thrown out into the trunk of my car and dropped them off at the thrift store. I didn't even count the three large bags of stuff that were already in the trunk from the purging I did a couple of weeks ago!

Oddly enough, the two items on my list that I didn't do were knitting related! I'm making up for that now though, so all is well. Since most of the snow melted today, I'll be back at work tomorrow. I am so grateful I had today though, since I have class tomorrow night after work and then all day on Saturday, so it won't feel like much of a weekend to me. Hope you have a good one!

Snow Day!

We got our snow day!!

It's supposed to be in the high 30's this afternoon, so more than likely I'll be back at work tomorrow, but this is quite nice. I made a list last night of what I want to do today, in no particular order:
  1. Throw out 50 things (actually donate most of it to a thrift store).
  2. Figure out mistake on the coffee and cream baby sweater.
  3. Clean out the refrigerator.
  4. Make bread?
  5. Vacuum/mop bedroom rug and floor.
  6. Roast more red potatoes for my lunch.

I don't think that's too ambitious, do you?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow, Food, & Knitting, Not Necessarily in That Order

I tried again with the roasted sweet potatoes last night and this time, I got a winner. I took one sweet potato, six or so little red skinned potatoes, one Granny Smith apple, and the leftover parts of a yellow pepper, an orange pepper, and a purple onion, chopped it all, tossed the lot with olive oil and roasted it on a pan at 450. After 20 minutes I shook the pan, put it back in for 15 more minutes, then grated some parmesan cheese on it and let it melt. Oh my, it was delicious. I could have eaten the whole pan of it myself, but I was a nice wife and shared it with Steve.

I sauted chicken breasts in white wine and a little olive oil, but they weren't anything to brag about. A little bland, actually. Such is the dinner mojo this week. One win and a couple of losses. The rest of the week I'm eating out due to work and class committments, so hopefully my average of good meals will improve, eh?

As for knitting, I started a Pebble vest for my friend's baby boy shower gift. I'm using a lovely soft yarn, Berroco Vintage, I couldn't resist buying a few weeks ago. It's a darker blue (need to find the label) than I'd normally use for a baby gift, but I'm branching out a bit. Still haven't figured out the error on the cream and toffee cardigan, but I will. Eventually.

We're expecting an inch or two of snow tonight, which of course has our local weather forecasters besides themselves. I'm personally hoping for a snow day (yes, two inches would do it for us here in the wimpy south), or at the very least, a two hour delay. What can I say? I'm a middle school teacher!

Monday, February 7, 2011

One of Those Nights

The sweet potato fries got overcooked. Steve liked them okay, but I wasn't impressed. I decided to knit. This is the baby hat pattern from One Skein, but for some reason, it's coming out way too large.
Something is wrong with this sweater but I haven't found the time/patience to figure it out yet.
I need to find the pattern for this market bag I started last June.

Getting tired of working on this cowl.

I think I'm having a knit snit. Maybe I'll cast on for a simple k1, p1 scarf.
Or maybe I'll just go to bed. 'Night!

Monday Eats

I'm making these for dinner tonight, as soon as I get off of the computer. I'm also completely copying her menu and making these as a side dish. This is my reward for drinking quite a few of my meals lately. No, not that kind of drinking, smoothie drinking to baby my poor teeth. Turns out I hadn't broken more of my tooth, it was the temporary filling that came out. Good news for me, or at least as good as it gets lately.

I also wore purple tights to school today with my grey skirt, which was out of my comfort zone, but looked fine. Should have taken a photo, but I'm already in my sweats. Plus, my teammate told me I looked like I had been up all night, which she meant as concern, but is never really a good look. It's because I had my contacts in and nothing hiding the bags. Getting old sucks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rainy Day Beach

I realized I forgot to post the rainy day beach photos yesterday. This is a public beach about one mile from our house. We never go there but I thought I'd check it out yesterday.

These trees are the beach trees of my childhood. It's such a familiar landscape to me, the pine trees bent from the wind off of the bay.

I thought the lifeguard stand looked pretty against the grey-blue of the bay. You can even see a couple of raindrops on my camera lens.

All in all, it was an interesting morning, just wandering around like a tourist in my hometown.

I did some other wandering yesterday, of the computer kind. Meredith told me about something she had seen in ReadyMade, a magazine I like but haven't read in awhile, so I decided to look at it online, which led me down a rabbit hole into some interesting blogs. This one got me thinking about the clothes I wear, which is very unusual. I've never been into fashion, choosing comfort over style 99 times out of 100. (and I'm sure it shows!) But the author of this blog does an interesting clothing challenge called the 30/30/30. While I don't intend to do the challenge myself, it did get me thinking about playing around more with color, which is something I've been trying to do in my knitting. So I'm going to try to spice it up a little this week, to help offset the grey days we've been having around here. I'll let you know how it goes.

Another article I read was about getting rid of 50 things
, an idea that also appeals to me. What is about the numbers and the challenges? Anyway, I've got two bags in my living room to start collecting stuff to take (back) to the thrift store. It can't hurt, right?

By the way, my mom loved the pink scarf I made her! Happy Birthday, Mom! I can only hope I look as good as she does when I'm 71.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Morning Wanderings

I took myself to breakfast this morning; I went to Borjo's for coffee and a spinach mozzerella pannini. It's near ODU, although it was too early on a Saturday to see any college students.

I sat in a chair just like this one. Steve and I would love a pair of these in our library; he probably would prefer another color, but I like the cheeriness of these just as they are.

While I was there, I made a heart shaped dishcloth. Even though it wasn't as big as I meant it to be, I'll still use it. Maybe.

It was rainy and grey outside, but not terribly cold (low 40's F) so I stopped at the beach on my way home, then met my parents at the thrift store, where I bought two baskets and three sweaters.

Now I'm home snug and dry, listening to the rain. And knitting.

Oh, and by the way, another piece of tooth broke off. While I was flossing.

The dental drama continues.

I'm not even surprised anymore.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Craft Club

My daughters decided to do a "craft club" with each other a couple of weeks ago. When Melissa told me about it, I asked if I could join too. Turns out, Meredith came up with the idea so she could get something handmade from her sister, Melissa! I decided to participate anyway, and I mailed off their gifts yesterday. As soon as they both get them, I'll share photos. I couldn't even put it on Ravelry, cause Mere is a member!

Melissa also thinks I've been a homebody too much lately, based mostly on my blog posts I think. (Renting entire seasons of Bones and Lie To Me didn't help me get out much either. Tell me, when you rent seasons of something, does it start feeling like a part-time job?)

So tomorrow I plan to get out and take some photos to post. And not just of my knitting either!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Food & Knitting, What Else?

I got a lot of knitting done this weekend. A couple of stealth projects for the girls, and a completed sock out of some Spud & Chloe yarn I bought from Brooklyn General last February; I now have two single socks, but not a pair. The other single is the Noro sockyarn. They'll get completed soon enough. And when they do, I'll have two pair.

I started the baby sweater for my coworker who is due to deliver the end of April. I chose the cardigan from MLMKG and making it striped.

This is the dishcloth I made using Crystal Palace chenille; it's lightweight but gave me a lift using it this morning. It's such a spring like green. As I said the other day, I'm trying to be a little more mindful and deliberate when doing some of the normally mindless tasks and a new dishcloth is a reminder. It's the little things, you know?

Speaking of dishes, here are some from tonight's dinner preparation; Butternut Squash Lasagna, inspired by barefoot rooster's post last week.

It took an awful lot of prep work, especially for a weeknight, but it was definitely worth it. I had planned to make it this past weekend, but didn't feel well so I postponed it. I felt energetic today, so I decided to give it a go.
I couldn't find chard, so I substituted fresh spinach.

I used a brush to spread the squash mixture. I bought two squash, but next time would get three.

And I used twice as much cheese as the recipe called for, but it's not like I'm going to make it every week.

I should have taken a photo after I took it out of the oven, but we were starving by then. Steve said it's one of the best meals I've made in a long time. (He meant that as a compliment.) He has a way with words.