Remember that Bunting?

The bunting I showed you over and over again, in various stages of completion? It took hours for myself and several helpers to cut and sew and iron and attach until it was all done. Then it took hours and lots … Continue reading

Warm Fuzzies

It has been a week of warm fuzzies. I love holidays and I love food, so this is a good time of year for me! Ad’s brother came to spend a week with us, and we had a friend join us for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Our menu was roast turkey, butternut squash and barley risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli with walnut butter, green been casserole, potato rolls, wine, and pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. This was my first time roasting a turkey, and after the three of us plus the internet figured out how to get the little wire metal bit out from between the turkey’s legs, things went fairly smoothly!

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Ad has been hard at work on his thesis, so while he was at school his brother and I had a thrift store marathon – 6 in a row! I found some more bits for the wedding, and this adorable vintage deer. How sweet is she?! I think this could be the dangerous start to a new collection…

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I’ve gotten in some serious crochet time recently, and have found a new favorite crochet spot. I usually sit on the couch in the living room, but I really love the light that comes into the bedroom in the morning and early afternoon. It’s the only room in our house with two windows, and the little desk in there is a good spot to get things done when I make the effort to clear a space.

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And this little guy kept me company while I worked.

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Traditionally, we put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I always demand a real tree, despite the mess. I love the routine of selecting one and cutting it down, and I love the way it makes the house smell. However, this year we decided not to bother with it. We’ll only be here for a few weeks until we head home to Pennsylvania for Christmas, and then we won’t be back until the the beginning of February. By that time our little tree would have lost all of it’s needles, which would have been a giant mess.

So instead, I put up my tiny table top Christmas tree! It was mailed to me a few years ago by a dear friend, when I was still living in Washington and there was a period of time when we weren’t sure that we’d be able to come home for Christmas. This little tree makes me so happy. It came with lights, tiny candy canes and nutcracker ornaments, a star topper, and even a little tree skirt! Christmas lights make things exponentially cozier.

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Here’s a sneak peak of a project I’m in the midst of! I can’t wait to finish it and show you the results.

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I hope you all had a full, tasty, family filled Thanksgiving. Now…for some leftovers.

 

Four Mamas

Today started with a very quiet morning, which is my favorite type of morning. I skipped church (ooops!) to sleep in and then eat blueberry and raspberry pancakes with Ad since this is his last weekend at home before heading to Houston for his 3 month internship. Me and Skelly will be holding down the fort. I spent the rest of the morning digging about in the dirt in the backyard, which made me think of my mom, who is an excellent and energetic gardener. Then I realized that I actually have four mamas, which I think makes me quite lucky.

There’s my one, true, biological mama, who I still call every evening even though I’m almost 25 years old. The tradition started when I moved to Washington for college and was desperately home sick. I think during those first few weeks away from home I probably called her 2 or 3 times a day, because I didn’t know what to do with myself. Those days are over, but I still love talking to my mom. She helps me make sense of things, urges to me to see others’ points of views when I’m maybe being a wee bit selfish, cheers me up when I’m down, and provides daily updates about the land and people who surrounded me for the first 19 years of my life. She’s also always right. I’ve learned this now.

There’s my grandma, who I grew up next door to. It’s safe to say that I was a rather difficult child, and I often got shipped to grandma’s house when my mom had had enough. This was fine with me, as I usually got home made cookies and TV time, things that I didn’t have at home. The limited cooking and sewing skills that I have all came from my grandma, but unfortunately I did not got her cleaning gene, and she would be appalled at the current state of my floors. My grandma is usually a pretty quiet person but she has a very good sense of humor, and I’m always tickled by the funny things she says at the most unexpected moments. She’s a beautiful example of a woman aging gracefully. Hopefully she has passed that along to me!

Then there’s my West Coast Mom, who loved me as her own when I was 3,000 miles away from home. We’ve been through some rather trying times together, and I continuously admire the way she handles everything with such grace. She’s wise about the ways of mother nature, and I know when I have a tiny farm of my own someday she’ll be the one I turn to when I need some knowledge.

Last is my soon to be mom-in-law, Ad’s mom. A whole new mom, just waiting to happen! I already know that she’s an awesome lady who’s funny, hip, and quirky, and I’m so excited to learn more about her once I’m an official member of the clan.

There are plenty of other strong and loving women who have had a major impact on my life, but this post would quickly turn into a book if I tried to honor all of them. I’ll move on from the sappy stuff now, to show you what I’ve been up to lately. Remember the baby blanket from  the last post? I had some yarn left over from that to use up, so I whipped up this little sweater and bonnet for another co-worker who is expecting her first child, a little girl.

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This was my first time making clothing, and I think it turned out fairly well. I tried to make it feel as modern as possible, because I’m not really a fan of the super frilly vintage patterns that there are so many off. I think with little green or yellow leggings it would look quite cute, and not too old fashioned.

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The quality of the photos aren’t great, but as usual, I finished this the evening before I intended to give it away so there was no natural light to work with. Typical. I also made these with the leftovers…

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The two smaller ones have been shipped off to special people, but the bigger one is all mine. I rarely keep things that I make, but I have a little round side table that was calling out for some crafty color.

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Ad and I did something incredibly fun yesterday. We took our first class on bee keeping. Some of you know that my dream is to live in the middle of nowhere, in an old house, on a tiny farm with sheep, geese, chickens, and bees. Sadly this is a long way off, but bee-keeping is something I can do even if we are living in town. Ad is intrigued by bees because they are such social insects, so he’s on board too. As soon as I know what state I’ll be living in next spring and summer, bee keeping preparations will begin. I got a lot out of yesterday’s class, but I know there is still a lot more to learn, so I’ll need to do some studying. I just love the rhythm that comes with keeping bees; the life cycle of the bees, the weather patterns, the honey harvest, the winterizing. It feel so right. And so do these luscious hand-dipped bees wax candles that I bought yesterday from the lady who taught the class. Such a yummy scent and rich color.

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The weather is so nice today that the little bonsai juniper has moved out to the deck to soak up some sun.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mamas, aunts, grandmas, sisters, dog moms, cat moms, step-moms, soon-to-be-moms, and trying-to-be moms. You are strong and wonderful and important!

 

 

 

Color and Clotted Cream

I’m ready for winter to end. It’s cold and dull and grey and it’s making me cranky. I’ve also been sick, which doesn’t help. I woke up this morning and felt as though I was on the edge of a grumpy mini-melt down. Not good. I knew what I needed…some color and some clotted cream.

First the color… some lovely pink tulips

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And some delicious wool roving…Flower colors

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And Sky colors

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Which will eventually turn into more of these sweet little needle felted bird ornaments!

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Appropriately attired for this weather, no?

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Also some colorful wedding decor goodies. The collection is slowly growing. I hope it all comes together nicely, without looking like I bought everything at thrift stores, even though I have!

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And the scones and clotted cream. YUM.  With homemade strawberry freezer jam of course. Just like little bites of summer.

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I’m now disgustingly full, and ready for an early night. I think I’ll survive the winter.

Cozy Thoughts

The last few weeks have been spent trying to stay warm, with cozy activities and cozy thoughts. As you know by now, one of my favorite cold weather crafts is crocheting. You just can’t beat the warmth of a puffy toasty crochet blanket, that grows on your lap while you’re working away.  The blanket I’m working on now is still in it’s beginning stages, but we’ve got a few months of winter left in Wisconsin so I’ve no doubt that I’ll finish it before warm weather comes.

And while I absolutely appreciate the wonder of the seasons, I have been dreaming of warm weather. I worked up this forget-me-not teapot cozy free hand, so I now have a little reminder of spring in the kitchen. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially for a first attempt. The flower pattern is another freebie found here.

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As if that wasn’t adorable enough, I’ve made some baby goodies. A coworker of mine and his wife are expecting their first child. I don’t know him well and I’ve never met his wife, but babies are worth celebrating so I wanted to give him something small. The hat pattern and glove pattern were both free, and worked up really quickly. I’ve finally bought a Clover Pom Pom maker which are all the rage, and I can see why. Such a nice fluffy pom-pom!

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So enough of the cozy activities, on to the cozy thoughts. I live on a skinny isthmus that runs between two lakes, which have both frozen over for the winter. For the past few weeks Ad and I have noticed a mini evergreen forest out in the middle of Lake Monona. Last weekend, when the temperature was above zero and the wind was not whipping, we shuffled our way out to the trees to see what it was all about. Well I shuffled. Ad is much more capable of staying upright than I am on ice, so he strolled along confidently.

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We found a carefully placed spiral of trees, covered in colorful fabric scraps with little written notes. The spiral is divided into two halves, Entrances and Exits. Each half of the spiral has a little wooden box full of fabric strips, a marker, and some instructions.

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I decided to reflect on an Exit. My great grandpa ,who I’ve always called Pappy, passed away last fall, just shy of his 102nd birthday. His funeral was held in Pennsylvania, and I couldn’t go. Being new at my job, I didn’t have very much vacation time saved up. If I had taken time off of work to drive home for his funeral, then I wouldn’t have had enough time saved up to go home at Christmas. Christmas w/out my family was something I didn’t want to face, so I stayed in Madison and celebrated my Pappy’s life in my own way, as best as I could.

I guess I hadn’t quite finished my goodbye though, and I felt a bit overwhelmed and teary eyed standing in that spiral of trees surrounded by everyone’s reflections on the Exits they had experienced. It felt right to add my Pappy to this community of goodbyes, so that’s what I did.

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Despite the fact that I shared the space in the spiral with some others, and there were happy dogs running around in circles, it seemed a very calm place. The snow keeps things quiet.

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I had my moment, and then we made our way back home again. My head was full of cozy thoughts.

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Winter Chill

I’m home today with some nasty crud that I’m trying not to spread around the hospital where I work. It’s just as well really, because it’s nice being tucked up in my cozy house on such a chilly day.  It’s -11° F, but feels like -23°F when you factor in the wind chill, so it’s best to stay inside where the cold cannot sink into your bones, with a mug of tea. This is mug weather. A tea cup just wouldn’t cut it.

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Not that I’m complaining! I live in a toasty heated house, and I really only have to go outside twice a day, to and from work. My heart goes out to folks  who don’t have warm houses to go to, and to the farmers who are trying their best to keep their animals warm and fed.  I can hardly fathom what it must have been like to live here before modern heating, and insulation, and fleece sweaters, and gas ovens, and thermal socks. Skelly doesn’t even want to think about it! He stays under his blanket as much as possible, although it slips off during the night when he re-arranges himself and he hasn’t figured out how to put it back on himself yet. That’s my job.

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The Christmas decorations have come down now, for the most part. This always makes me a little blue, but I did feel ready this year. Our Christmas tree was beautiful, but much too big for our living room so it feels more spacious with it gone. There’s room to breath, and much more light. Some wintery decorations remain, both mine, and mother nature’s.

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Stay warm!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope you’re all lucky enough to be spending the day with loved ones, and stuffing yourselves full of delicious food. Sometimes between the baking, and the cooking, and the cleaning so my house looks presentable for guests…it’s a little hard to focus on giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day. But I’m going to do my best! In fact, it’s something I’m going to work on for the entire Holiday season. I have so much to be grateful for. I get to wake up with my best friend every day, in my cozy house, in my safe neighborhood, and travel to a good paying job that I (usually) enjoy, w/out fear of violence or persecution.  I have food on my table and people that love me. It’s a truly wonderful thing that I dare not take for granted.

So if you’d like to practice gratefulness with me,  I’ll leave you with this quote from the great and powerful Oprah Winfrey. Can you tell I dig Oprah?

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”