Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Free Time!!

Wow, I can't believe how free I feel now that my class is over. She even let us out at 2:00 p.m. instead of keeping us until 5:00 p.m. It's so odd that I love learning and I even love the time we spend in class talking about teaching strategies and our experiences but I don't enjoy the work I have to do to turn in for a grade. When did that happen? I don't remember disliking this part of it so much, but maybe time has blurred my memories.

But what did I do with the free time? Washed a load of sheets, washed some dishes, finally finished reading the NY Times I bought last Sunday, and did a little knitting. It felt positively indulgent. Decadent, even. I swear, all I did this past week was go to work, come home, and work on my project until bedtime. No fun at all. I didn't even get to see much of the royal wedding! And even though it means my weekend consists of tonight and tomorrow, I feel like it's the best vacation ever! I'm pretty sure I'm not doing anything but reading and knitting until tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. when I watch Masterpiece Theater.

Let me catch you up on my knitting. Here is the cowl I made as a KAL project; it's by Larissa Brown of Stitch Marker. I used Berocco Vintage and it's quite warm and cozy. Versatile too. Here it is without any lacing.

Here it is pulled up for when it's super cold.And here's another way you can wear it with some lacing threaded through the eyelets and tied in a bow. I really like it and I'm sure I'll be making another one or two for gifting.

This is a project I started on spring break with the yarn I bought from Lion Brand Yarn Studio. I'm planning to use it in the kitchen; the rugs I use in front of the sink always get filthy and then get worn out looking from washing. Since I had such good luck with the bathroom rug I made, I thought I'd try something similar for the kitchen. This is Lion Brand Lion Cotton held double and when I'm happy with the size, I've got an interesting green to crochet an edge around it.

Since I finished my Spud & Chloe socks, I had to start another pair. This is Lorna's Laces yarn I've had in my stash for years. I am really trying to use the stash for projects, partially to save money, and partially because I feel guilty having so much yarn.

I bought the pretty wooden buttons at Brooklyn General, and Mere gave me the star shaped shell buttons as a gift. Aren't they lovely?And of course, the flowers are still blooming around our yard. These purple irises are some of my favorites; I just love the color of them. So much so, that I had to show you two photos of them!
Tomorrow, I'll show you all the different roses! Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I'll Be Back....

I just finished my huge project for the gifted class that ends tomorrow!! I am so excited to have this monkey off my back and I can't wait until I can write a real post. Just as soon as I finish my nine hour Saturday class. Without a lunch break. Tomorrow, my lovelies!

Monday, April 25, 2011

New York Continued: Brooklyn Bound

Continuing with my spring break adventure, Mere, Ryan, and I headed into Brooklyn on Friday. It was a gray, chilly, and damp day, but that was okay, as we had mostly indoor plans.

First stop was the Brooklyn Museum. I had no idea it was so large and beautiful.

This is the gorgeous tiled second floor, as seen from the fourth floor. I don't know if you are ever allowed to walk on it, but they were cleaning it while we were there and it was roped off.

This exhibit was on the first floor and I think it had something to do with architecture and/or design, but it was kind of other wordly feeling to walk around all of these fabric structures. It definitely changed the sound of the room, if that makes sense.

I found a knitted or crocheted piece, not positive which one it was.

But the real purpose of my visit was to see Judy Chicago's massive piece, The Dinner Party. My pictures do not begin to do it justice, it was so impressive.

There are nine (I think) needleworked panels leading into the exhibit.

This is just one place setting of the triangular table; it's representative of Caroline Herschel's work in the field of astronomy. Each of the 39 place settings includes a specially designed piece of needlework that is representative of the style that was common during the woman's lifetime, and a porcelain plate that represents the woman as well, in a more stylized way.

This one is for Sojourner Truth and has quilting as part of her tablecloth area.

The floor is covered with other notable women's names, written near the setting of the woman who lived during the same time period. It was truly amazing, especially when you know that it took five years to complete and was at one time a traveling exhibit.

This piece was on the same floor and it's a really interesting statement on the nature of marriage and the rites that it represents.

After the museum, it was on to Brooklyn General Store. Ryan generously allowed himself to be photographed with me, although I'm not sure he expected it!

After walking around in the cold, I popped into a coffee shop and lucked into some relaxation time in this fabulous and cozy leather chair. If Steve and I ever find one (or two) of these in a thrift store, we are bringing it home for our library.

We ended up our day in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Brewery for some micro brews. Delicious!

Back at their house, sweet Olivia kept her eyes on me,

while I modeled my just finished Spud & Chloe Fine socks in Calypso. I had bought the yarn at Brooklyn General last April, and was determined to finish the second sock on this trip. Success!

Sinon took the opportunity to walk across my kitchen mat that is in progress, using the Lion Brand Lion Cotton I bought the day before at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Cats are like that, aren't they?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is It Over Already?

How can spring break be over already? At least I had a lovely visit with Mere and Ryan. I got into New York on Tuesday evening, after a slight delay out of Norfolk, and navigated the bus and train to their house, where Mere had vegetable lasagna waiting for me. She and I spent Wednesday just hanging around the house, taking a walk to the Stamford Public Library so I could buy some used books, and eating a great pizza at Remos.

Thursday we headed into Manhattan; it was a gorgeous, sunny day. I can't get over how many beautiful flowers there are throughout the city.

Our first stop was Lion Brand Yarn Studio, where these "flowers" were blooming.

I wanted a picture of Mere in front of the window, but she's not into it, so it's just me. Isn't their display wonderful? It's all knitted, even the astronaut! Am I holding a shopping bag? Why, yes I am, but I got a 25% discount because I'm a member of their Ravelry group! Cool, huh?

I know I took a picture of these door handles last year, but I do love them.

The next stop was M&J Trimming. I had never been there before, and it was overwhelming. This is just one little section of the store. Amazing. And overwhelming.

I needed reviving afterwards, so Mere took me to pinkberry where I ate pomegranate frozen yogurt with fresh blueberries. She noted that it's customary to take food photos before you eat but I couldn't wait. Yummy.

Honestly, we walked for quite awhile before we stopped for lunch, and this time I took the picture before devouring the food. Why don't I ever think to make simple and delicious meals like this one? It was delicious, filling, and light.

And because apparently I can never have enough photos of the Chrysler building, here is another one. But isn't it wonderful looking against the backdrop of the blue sky?

I'll post about the Brooklyn portion of my trip next, but for now, it's off to bath and bed. School is back in session tomorrow!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flowers, Continued

I didn't realize I had so much to say about flowers until I started replying to Mereknits comment, which got me thinking about so many other flowers. Azaleas and gladiolas are the flowers of my childhood. In this area where I grew up and now live again, there are primarily two types of azaleas, the small bloom ones and the old-fashioned large blooms which are my favorite. The house where I grew up had many large bloom azalea bushes, mostly in a light purple color and those are still my favorites, although I don't know if you can even get them anymore.

Camillas and dogwoods are also very prevalent around here. Although I love pink dogwoods, the white ones remind me of the first house I owned and where I had both of my daughters. We took the "just home from the hospital" photos of both the girls under that beautiful tree. I wish I still had those photos. We also had a gardenia bush at that house, but we dug it up and gave it away when I found out that its fragrance gave me sick headaches. So, even though they are beautiful, I will never have one.

Gladiolas remind me of my Aunt Rose, as she always had an abundance of them that she would cut and arrange into glorious bunches. Peonys are my mother's flower; she loves them but they must not grow as well here as they do in Pennsylvania, which is where she grew up. Still, I keep buying them for her and she keeps trying, so one day maybe.

Honeysuckle and wisteria are also favorites of mine, as they grow so well in the wild. I've always wanted both but they are so invasive, I'm not sure Steve would go for them.

And now Steve is filling our yard with wonderful rugosa roses, which grow very well in the sandy soil we have. I love the idea that in just a few years, we will have a yard overflowing with beach roses, making our place "Rose's Beach Cottage" in both meanings of the word.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Flowers

I looked outside the window this morning and noticed that we have a lot of flowers blooming. Even though the forsythia and daffodils are finished, we have a lot going on in the yard. Steve has been planting roses ever since we moved here three years ago and he refers to them by their botannical names. This one is Therese, using the French pronunciation. I can't believe this lilac. He just transplanted it from one corner of our yard to another location and it now has these gorgeous, lush blooms.
It smells wonderful too!
This is one of six blueberry bushes, and they're all loaded with blooms.
This sprawling rose bush is named Robusto. He's loaded with buds and is going to screen the ugly metal fence for us.
I'll end with a shot of the asparagus bed. Not a flower exactly, but oh, so delicious! So green and fresh tasting.

Enjoy your spring Saturday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Break is Finally Here!

My spring break started at 4:00 p.m. today and I was in my pajamas by 6:00 p.m, but I feel at loose ends somehow.

I'm scheduled to receive another steroid shot in my foot in the morning, followed by a visit to the library book sale, but the rest of the weekend is pretty wide open. I'm hoping to clear out a few more bags worth of stuff to donate to the thrift store this weekend, and maybe do a little school work. Then I'm going to choose my traveling knitting, because I'm flying to New York on Tuesday for a visit with Meredith! I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to take my second Spud & Chloe sock, which is appropriate, since I bought the yarn at Brooklyn General last April, but I'm not sure what else I'm taking.

I'm test knitting a cowl for Larissa Brown, using some blue Berroco Vintage in Dungaree blue, but I'll probably be finished with it before I leave, so I doubt I'll be taking it with me.
The holes you see are meant for lacing of some type, whether it's I-cord, ribbon, or anything else you think would work. I haven't decided on what I'm going to use yet, but check out Larissa's version.

Have a happy spring weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2011

This and That

I am on a Stitch Marker marathon. I just finished her Crow cowl, using some grey Baby Grande Alpaca, (I love how it looks cabled, without actually being cabled!),

and I immediately cast on another using a luscious chocolate brown skein of Quince & Co. Puffin that I gifted myself with around Christmas time. I also have Wintergreen, a baby bonnet from her newest e-book, Bonnet Love, about half way finished. Isn't the stitch pattern pretty? Not sure about my choice in yarn though.

And now I get to be a test knitter for her new cowl pattern, French Press Cowl! This is my first time out as a test knitter and I'm pretty excited about it!

In food news, I soaked some dried garbanzo beans Friday night and cooked them Saturday so I could continue my current food craving for roasted chick peas seasoned with chili powder and a touch of salt. They're like popcorn, but easier on my teeth! I've already roasted one quart and used a second quart to make a double batch of hummus. I will definitely do this again soon.

And speaking of teeth, another filling broke this week, a new one just done in January. Hopefully the dentist will replace it free of charge, since my dental insurance maxed out for the year already.

Random comment: I'm so looking forward to visiting Mere over spring break! Our theme is Explore Brooklyn!

We had some lovely rain Friday night, the kind that sounds good, if that makes sense. Steve worked in the yard most of the day Saturday, while I puttered around inside doing school work and knitting.

And since I've wound my way back to knitting, here is the prefelted version of one of the projects I suggested to my Knit Cafe students: an all purpose wallet. I need to measure it before and after I felt it, so I can modify if necessary. Hah! Who am I kidding? Modify, shmodify, this is a done deal!

Friday, April 8, 2011


"Life is about not knowing, having to change, and taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity" - Gilda Radner.

Isn't it funny how we find blog posts at just the right time? I found this quote at
tentenknits today, just when I needed it. Steve and I are looking at a big change coming at us and while he accepts risk and change with open arms, I tend to face it with fear and dragging feet. I'm definitely a person who makes the best of every situation, but embrace change? Not my style, really. And this would be a big change indeed.

I wrote the paragraph above about six weeks ago, but didn't post it. Now it turns out that change has come, but not exactly the change I was originally writing about. But isn't that usually the way? In order to respect the privacy of my family, I can't say a whole lot about what is going on just now, but suffice it to say that we are undergoing some big changes. The type of change that may seem bad at first but will more than likely make us stronger. The most important thing is that we all have our health and we all have each other, and really, those are not only the most important things, they're really the only things, aren't they? My family and I have the opportunity to be creative and to grow and to try some new things, and that's just what we're going to do.

Have a fabulous weekend, dear ones.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knit Cafe

I started Knit Cafe today after school and what a lovely time we had. I had five girls show up, four of whom are in my homeroom, and they are all just the sweetest things. They loved the yarn I picked out and they loved the idea of sitting around learning how to knit. I decided to put all the cotton yarn in one basket and all the wool in another, just like I store yarn at my house, and they really seemed to appreciate the aesthetics of it. It was so relaxing and nice to sit and chat with them, and I can't wait for our next class. My plan is for them to make a washcloth out the cotton, and a small purse/pouch out of the wool so I can also introduce them to felting. I told them I'll bring my button jar in so they can embellish it as well.

Dinner tonight was a clean out the refrigerator type meal; salad with roasted chickpeas, and homemade hummus. Just what we needed on this lovely spring day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mellow Monday

Despite going to bed way too late last night, I had a wonderful Monday. I thought I'd crash and burn around 2 p.m., but I'm still going strong. One of my students even remarked at how relaxed I seemed, and I told her it was Mellow Monday. She gave me a funny look.

I'm making a version of this for dinner tonight, using what I have and leaving out what I don't. For one thing, I'm adding some potatoes to the onions, along with the other ingredients, hoping that tastes good. Can't imagine it wouldn't, can you?

I stopped for yarn and needles after work today, since I'm going to be teaching an after school knitting class again this year. It was kind of a last minute decision but I figured, what the heck. I'm trying to up the "cool" vibe by calling it Knit Cafe.

I bought about equal amounts of Debbie Stoller's Full O' Sheep yarn for some felted project options, like coasters and i-Pod cases, and Sugar 'n Cream cotton for a washcloth option. (Sorry about the 90 degree off normal photo, but either blogger or my computer is being cranky.) I think middle schoolers will like those colors, don't you?

I did get some of the finished projects washed this weekend, ready for gifting, including this little pink hat. I just love this pattern. And just for fun: Thank you, Ann & Kay, for the super-fantastic link!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday in Spring

Another busy Saturday around here. I had a doctor appointment this morning to get a steroid shot in my right heel (plantar fasciitis again), then Steve, Lindsay, Jonathan and I drove up to Richmond to go out for lunch with Stef. We went to Dot's Back Inn, a place that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, that's pretty fun and has good food.

We passed this lavender flower climbing plant walking back to the car; I don't know what it is, but it was so pretty.

Before we headed back home, I popped in to The Yarn Lounge again. I bought a skein of Rowan cashsoft dk in pale pink to make another baby cap, the one from One Skein that I think is so sweet. And I also picked up two skeins of Mission Falls 1824 cotton, one in purple and one in lavendar, also earmarked for a baby gift.

I finished the Owl Baby vest on the way up, so it'll be ready to mail as soon as I give it a little wash tomorrow.
As a random aside, I've been feeling like making some crocheted granny squares for some reason. Not sure where the urge is coming from, but they may be in my future.

Steve and I watched an episode of The Tudors tonight; I rented the first season and we just finished episode three. I'm not sure I'm sold on this series, just a little too much sex I think. Not that I'm against it, it just seems a little forced somehow. Anyway, the jury is still out on it. I think I'd rather get season two of Nurse Jackie. Or some really good Masterpiece Theater videos. What are you watching these days?