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.

 

Winter White

It’s good and cold here. Face-hurting, lung-surprising cold. Skelly loves to eat the snow, but hates to walk in the cold. He wears his sweatshirt inside all the time now, and then we throw a coat or two on over top of that when we go out for a walk. If he’s on his bed, he’s under his blanket. He has finally learned to gently stand up from his bed, walk to his food and water bowls with blanket still draped over his shoulders, and then mosey back to his bed to lay down with the blanket still covering most of his body. Since he and I are the only ones home during the day, we don’t turn the heat on. We just layer. I found him like this yesterday afternoon…

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With his little investigation cone sticking out for fresh air…

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I love catching the frosty bits that form on the windows before they melt every morning. Just think, late sleepers miss this!

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I hit a few thrift stores earlier this week. I didn’t find a whole lot, but did bring home some gorgeous cloth hankies. As a little gifty to our wedding guests, there will be a basket of cloth hankies at the ceremony site for those who need them, to catch the happy tears. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for an extra-special one for me to use, and I think I may have found one. Or two? I can’t decide. I am a big old crier, so maybe I’ll need both! I’ll certainly need waterproof mascara.

Here’s the first one…

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and here’s the second one…

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Which do you think?

Stay warm!

 

 

Busy Bee

Whew! It’s been a while.  I’ve been w/out a computer for a few weeks (mine croaked) and things have been slightly wild here. We’ve had two sets of house guests come through in the last few weeks which was absolutely fun. But also really crowded. Ad and I agree that our next home needs to have two bedrooms. I love having family and friends visit but it really sucks that someone always has to have the couch. The bonus of having visitors is that you end up doing all the touristy things that you never do when you live somewhere. For example, we visited Chicago to see some sites. And we finally drug ourselves to a Badger’s game, which we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I don’t watch sports. At all. I don’t even have a TV. But the atmosphere and energy makes it pretty enjoyable, even when you have absolutely no idea what’s going on. And you can buy giant soft pretzels so….that’s a plus.

While we were wrapped up in entertaining visitors, fall arrived – my favorite season. I usually decorate the house but sadly that didn’t happen. The boxes full of decorations got shoved to the very back of our storage area at some point, and I just didn’t have the time or the energy to pull them all out. So instead I’ve been taking the pup on very long walks and appreciating the natural decorations that are so abundant at this time of year.

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For those who haven’t yet heard, Ad and I are moving to Houston, TX in the coming months. He did an internship there this summer for three months, and it resulted in a job offer which he has accepted. It’s pretty safe to say that I have ultra-mixed feelings about this move. I’m not terribly attached to Madison, but I do have a good job and good friends here, and my most favorite bar ever is w/in walking distance.  We also live in a beautiful neighborhood with great places to walk the pup. I hate heat, crowds, and big cities, so the thought of moving to one of the largest cities in one of the hottest states is a little tummy-turning for me. But I know there will be good things there as well, so I’m trying my very best to focus on those. It’s likely what we’ll able to rent a larger home than what we have now, so I plan on having lots of visitors (hint, hint)!

With that said, I hope you’ll all understand if my posts are a little sparse for the coming months. Our exact move date is unknown, and with the holidays coming, some important family functions, and ongoing wedding planning, who knows when I’ll get a few glorious minutes to sit down and fill you in!

It’s Done!

I finished the colorful baby blanket just in time, the shower is tomorrow! I apologize for the quality of the pictures, I was in a bit of a rush. There is only so much time in an evening and I still have to put away laundry, sweep the kitchen floor which Skelly has scattered with dog food, and get in the shower to wash the meringue out of my hair (don’t ask).

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Here it is, ripply and bright. I used the Neat Ripple Pattern from Lucy at Attic24. Her tutorial are always free and always easy to follow. The yarn is Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Honey Dew, Creme Brulee, Flamingo, Marina, Sea Foam, White, Peapod, and Peony. I did two rows of single stitches around the edge, to make a simple border. It’s hard to make something both colorful and gender neutral, but I think this fits the bill.

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And I must show you my new toy…a yarn bowl! I painted this one myself at one of those you-paint pottery places, and I’m pretty happy with the results. Even if my vines are a bit lumpy… One of my dearest friends is moving from Wisconsin back to the West Coast, so the pottery painting was one of many special activities we squeezed in before she left.

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The weather here has been less than springy, with lots of chilly temps, wind, rain, and even some hail this evening I think. It is duck weather. And to prove it, here is a duck sitting on the roof above our front door. Just because!

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She looks quite pleased with life.

 

Can it be?

Has spring finally come?! I was struck by the variety of bird calls I heard this morning when I took the dog out. He unceremoniously woke me up at 6:30 with a cold wet nose to the face. Not very kind considering it’s the weekend. I’ve checked the weather, and we do still have a few chilly days ahead of us, but they are followed again by warmer whether, and I can smell Spring.

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The windows are open, the Easter decorations put out, the crawl space organized and de-cluttered, and the spring quilt is on the bed. Soon I’ll be able to get in some gardening time. And can I just say…..thank God. Really. It always seems like a mini-miracle that spring actually happens, especially after a winter like the bitterly cold one we’ve just had.

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I gloriously spent the whole day in my pajamas, which is when I’m most productive. Stretchy pants are a must for crafting. Two of my coworkers are expecting their first babies in May, so I’m frantically trying to finish some gifts on time. I love the colors of this baby blanket. The pattern is from Attic24, a classic.

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And I churned out some more wedding bunting! 96 little triangles so far, and many hundreds to go. The wedding is not until June 2015 though, so I’ve got plenty of time. Our reception will be held under a big white tent, and I’m imagining colorful fabric bunting draping back and forth from the tent frame to create a fluttery ceiling.

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The dog has tried to get in on the crafting action too. You can see that his tail is still bandaged. We believe the  bone has probably healed at this point, but there is still some swelling and tender spots of skin so we’re leaving it wrapped to avoid having the wound reopen when it’s knocked about. We did take the bandage off for an  hour today,  so that the skin could get some air, and we’ll continue to do that until the bandage comes off for good. Baby steps!

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Skelly is very happy it’s spring. Hope it’s warming up where you are!

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!

So Many Good Things

My blog posts have been a little infrequent lately, but good things keep happening which has kept me pretty busy! Thankfully, my job has been bumped up from 16 hours a week to full time. The position is still only temporary, but at least I’ll get 40 hours a week doing what I like to do until it ends sometime in September. Along with the hours increase, I also got a raise which doubles my salary. The perks of being an MSW! Which of course brings me to the fact that I graduated a few weeks ago. Now, let the loan pay-off begin.

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Check out that sweet Master’s hood…

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And I got engaged! That one was a bit of a surprise.

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The wedding is two years off, but the planning and purchasing has already begun. Here’s a tiny thrifted taste of what is to come…

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My mom is visiting from Pennsylvania for a week, so we’ve been celebrating this excitement together. Our time has been spent thrifting, yard sale-ing (her first time ever!), and relaxing on the back deck.

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This sleepy bunny sat in the yard for at least on hour today while we enjoyed our tasty home grown purchases from the farmer’s market. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a rabbit lounge before…

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To top it all off, tomorrow I have friends coming to celebrate my birthday. So much goodness, my little heart could just burst! I hope things are going equally as well for all of you.

Swiss Alpine Cheese Making Hut – Hasliburg

Some more (very delayed) Swiss pics for you! It’s been almost a year since that trip, and I’m ready to do it again. Right now. I could very happily live there…just need to learn German first.

One of our day trips to an alpine cheese hut did not require much travel. It was located on the alps just above Hasliburg, the area we were staying in. We took a gondola ride up the mountain and hopped off among the clouds. The pictures below show the outside of the cheese making hut, and the surrounding areas. It was difficult to take pictures inside because the hut was small, dark, and full of people. The cheese maker was a woman in her 30s, who lives there during the summer months with her young daughter and some piggies. When we visited, she had a young man assisting her, but he was only there temporarily. She used to be a teacher but quit her job to learn the trade of cheese making (which requires an apprenticeship and extremely large muscles). The hut has running water but no electricity, and some of the huts that she uses in other areas don’t have either. She’s responsible for rounding up and milking a heard of about 20 cows. They are no fences on the alps, so she has to get up early in the morning and walk about until she finds them, using the sounds of their bells to help her. She remarked that it’s very difficult to get the cows to come to the hut for milking, because the areas they graze are so rich with food. She makes the cheese in the hut, using huge cauldrons and water heated outside, and then the cheese is aged in a cave. A cave! Apparently, people who have lived in the area their whole lives can taste a cheese and tell what area of the alps the cows were grazing, and what plants they were eating. I think it certainly takes a unique kind of person to do her job. She works extremely hard, often only sleeping for 6 or 7 hours each night if things go well, for very little money and spends much of her time alone. She was such a gregarious and friendly person, with a great sense of humor, so it seems strange to think of her up there by herself with just her young daughter. Here are some shots of the gondola, the cheese-making hut, and the stunning views.

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After the cheese making demonstration and some delicious samples, Ad and I decided to travel home the non-gondola way, on monster bikes and then by foot. Monster bikes are terrifying. Just terrifying. I have terrible balance, a fear of heights, the ability to trip and fall over my own two feet, and I haven’t even ridden a regular bike in about 3 years. I sucked it up though, and managed to make it down the alp with what I feel was only a minor amount of screaming. The dorky helmet accentuated my giant head quite nicely I think. I looked like a fool, but a happy fool.

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After the death defying monster bike decent, we hiked the rest of the way home. Hasliburg is really probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The views in every direction are absolutely breathtaking. Everything is so simple and clean and natural.

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There are more Swiss pictures to come…

Long Weekend

It’s the last weekend before the semester starts, and thankfully it’s a long one.  We celebrated Ad’s birthday, took a chilly walk, ate some yummy food, and I wallowed in crafty goodness.

We’ll start with the birthday fun. Here’s the man of the hour, tearing open his presents!

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And blowing out his candles on his fancy home made cake! I found the recipe for the cake here, and it’s a real doozy. Rich, moist, chocolatey  and of course – very easy. You start with a boxed chocolate cake mix and add to it.

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We went to Mickey’s, a local bar, for supper. Our friend Sean surprised Ad with this snazzy Mickey’s shirt!

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Today we took a very cold post-birthday walk. We saw some brave ice skaters, and some even braver ducks. It was 16°F.

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Back to our toasty warm house.

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And of course, I did some crafting.

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Ad fixed some delicious food in his brand new toaster oven, but he’ll tell you about that later!