Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Garden in WInter

A few images from this morning in the back yard. Just the winter coating of snow and the special protected spots that offer up surprise little gifts.

Remnant of summer

sedum disguised as Queen Anne's Lace

winter dinner for the birds

A lost shot

Stone stairs

a bird bath

snow sculpture formed by an overhanging step


hidden  treasure

waiting for the spring

Reminds me of a tiny snowman trying to climb a wall

Zinnia in the snow

"Here's rosemary for remembrance"

The sundial - there is no time in the winter

a hint of greens to come, hidden in a nook

Entrance to the chipmunks' den

verdant greens, even in winter

Sunday, January 2, 2011


   I wish I had more of it - resolve, that is.  I hope to do things, I often succeed, but I rarely resolve to do them and follow through - too much pressure.  So here are my hopes for the new year (call them goals if you like):
* purge a great deal of un-needed, unused, or unhelpful things from my house and my life  
  • at least a third of the junk/fabric/etc in the basement sewing room which makes it too crowded to use as a sewing room!
  • there are still bins of baby clothes and toys in the attic, and my youngest is 5 now
  • I ask you, truly, how many sweaters does a person really need?

* practice patience

  • pretty self explanatory 

* try to be kinder

  • again- easy to understand.  As I tell the children, kindness counts. 
  • a little less sarcasm and a bit more encouragement - for everyone

* finish painting the kids bathroom

  • I got the walls done in an afternoon this summer, but never got the trim painted.  The walls are bright blue and the trim dull off-white.  It will look so much cleaner with the glossy bright white I have for it. 

* paint the kitchen

  • We have been living with the former owner's pale blue kitchen walls for five years and it is time to put my own mark on this.  The former owners were wall paper fanatics, and I have stripped the borders from one bathroom, the hall, and the kitchen, as well as the tiny flowered wallpaper from my two sons' bedrooms, and the mallard duck wall paper from the other bathroom.  
  • There is still a lot of their choices to change. 
    •  We did repaint the foyer from builder's beige to yellow, but had to stop before the second coat when our youngest entered his Picasso phase and started wall drawing.  
    • The dining room had old lady floral wall paper with a blue background and pink flowers - it's gotta go!  
    • Then the piece de resistance is the living room which has a white on white patterned paper.  This would be lovely, except when they hung the paper, instead of butting the edges up against each other, they overlapped it, so nearly every seam is lifting, and in the afternoon and evening, when the lighting is right, every seam is visible. 
    • My daughter has a wallpapered room as well, but her's was well done with lovely paper and although she wants us to strip it so she can paint her room purple, we've told her she is on the bottom of the list.  

* knit a complete pair of socks

  • I started a pair about a year and a half ago. I saw some sock yarn for sale and on a whim, bought it and started knitting the pattern found on the label.  I stopped somewhere in the middle of the heel gusset and i now have no idea where to begin again.  I also did something with the gauge because they look like they will be large enough for a diabetic person with swollen ankles.  I think I may have to rip out what I have and start from scratch!

*  knit an aran sweater

  • I talked about this last year, but realized I needed a book on cables and such in order to learn how to knit the fancy stitches required for the sweater.  I have a gorgeous sweater that my Irish godmother had made for me when I was fourteen - unfortunately, although it still fits from side to side and top to bottom, my arms are about 5 inches too long for it.  So I found some fisherman's wool yarn and will start with that.  I have also got some delicious wool fiber so I can spin the yarn for a second one after I get the technique down for the first.  If I do not make myself crazy with the first sweater - this "test sweater" will be for me - I hope to knit one for each of the children.

* losing a few pound wouldn't hurt me either!

Good luck with your resolutions, goals, hopes and other plans for the coming year. 

Happy New Year!

   The Christmas season was a welcome relief from the stressful semester we had at the college.  Budget cuts, as well as normal teaching  and design requirements, made this fall term feel more tiring that usual.
   Christmas Eve and Day our nuclear family was together at our home.  We did nothing grand,  mainly hung out, wrapped presents (Finished making some!) and baked/ate/slept.   My husband and I finished  our Christmas Eve wrapping/distribution duties at 3 a.m., and the children woke up at 5 a.m. ouch!
    The 26th saw my mother, one of my sisters and her son visiting us.  It was a lovely visit and we pulled out the china as well as my grandmother's crystal.

 This crystal has been in boxes for about 19 years, since I never felt I had the proper place to display/store it.  On top of that, with the number of times we have moved since we were married, I never felt we were in a place where I could unpack it without having to repack it all in a year or two.  It was like greeting an old friend to see it on the table.

   We opened our Christmas crackers and told the really bad jokes we found inside, and proudly sported our paper crowns in a very stylish manner.
My very chic nephew, daughter and husband in their Christmas crowns
grandma helping with great-grandmother's  "special glass"
   Now this was also the evening that the big snow storm hit the East Coast.  I had thought that they would be spending the night - this was what we had talked about, but my sister got it into her head that she had to drive home that night - even though we told them the storm was going to peter out by morning.  So, what is normally a 2.75 - 3 hour drive took them six hours.  Crazy!
   We traveled during the next week, but more on that in another post - I haven't had my coffee yet!

Some knitting

Here are a few photos of the afghan I made for my sister's Christmas gift.  I spun all the yarn and tried for a chunky, nubbly texture.  I like it.  She seems to like it, so all in all, I am pleased with the effort.
the unblocked afghan

I loved the heathery brown of the Romney lambswool

Pink is dyed Romney lambswool, the cream is Corriedale

I was aiming for a slightly bumpier texture, but maybe next time