Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry and Thankful

Only five blog posts this year are leaving me feeling like I've missed the mark a little.  But in reality our family has had a really lovely year.  We have so much to be thankful for this year.  We are all healthy and gainfully employed.  We've enjoyed the community that we live in and we've spent a good amount of time with the people and in the places that we love.

Our girls are thriving.  They are curious and energetic.  They're perfecting sisterly bickering and have also displayed an unwavering defense of each other when the opportunity for defense is called for. We've watched their skills advance in reading, swimming, karate and socializing.  They are both in school this year for the first time.

It's been a year too of big commitments to our work, time spent and also effort to learn about new parts of the businesses that we are in.  It's been challenging and exhausting and sometimes demanding, but extremely rewarding.  I feel so very lucky to even have the opportunity to expand horizons and be surrounded by people for whom I have so much professional respect.

Our holiday break is off to a lovely start.  As I sit here on Christmas eve, it's snowing.  And for that I am so thankful.  Heaven to me is like the set of the 1942 movie Holiday Inn... snow falling, fireplaces and good company in a warm house.  Our presents are wrapped, the meal for tomorrow is prepped and ready to be slid into the oven and two small people are all hopped up on holiday excitement.

I hope that you and yours have a very merry holiday and that all of our new years are full of the best, and most basic pleasures.  Enjoy some warmth and company... all my best.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Brioche Knitting

This June I went back to Squam Lake for my fourth Squam Art Workshop.  It was as wonderful as it always is - four full days filled with creativity, friendship, fresh air and that amazing cold, clear New England lake that I love so much.  

In work - right and wrong sides

This year, I signed up to take a Brioche knitting class from the charming and talented Andrea Mowry.  She has become somewhat of a social media superstar in my instagram feed, and her prolific and beautiful designs are something that I've enjoyed watching for some time now.  I was thrilled to get the chance to take her class, and excited too to learn a new knitting technique.  

"Right" side
"Wrong" side
Her class was really, very well organized and she was very well prepared to teach a new technique that isn't necessarily difficult, but does require some new skills in interpreting patterns and "reading" your knitting differently.  She brought along a projector that was attached to her iPad and she was able to project an image of her own hands knitting, which was so very helpful for the dozen or so of us that were in the class.

Reminds me of an aerial view of row crops...
Navy row

We swatched and then moved on when we were ready to the Briochealicious shawl pattern.  It is a really pretty half moon shaped shawl  with three fairly wide bands of brioche stitch.  There were so many lovely color combinations.  I chose a blue green palette and an off-white/natural color as the "base" because I think I will get a lot of use out of this when the seasons change.  

This was also my first time knitting with Plucky Knitter yarn and I loved it.  The twist is good, and the yarn is soft.  I have great hopes that this will wear well and become a staple of my winter wardrobe.

"Wingspan" shot

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Love on Three Wheels

When I was a little girl, my parents had a kind and thoughtful neighbor who restored a little tricycle for me. His name was Mr. Schoen.  It was red and white when he finished and it spent many happy years on our patio and up and down our sidewalk and around and around in the garage with my sister and I.

My parents put it in storage when we grew too old for it, and pulled it out and brushed it off and sent it off with me to see what I might do to clean it up a year or two ago.  It was a well made trike, with solid rubber wheels, all metal construction and only a few bits that needed replacing.

Out of storage and in need of a little TLC

I started by taking it all apart.  I took lots of photos of it's assembly so that I had some hope of putting things back together in the right order... a little photo forensic reference for the back end of the project.
Front wheel and pedal

Rear wheels

It was pretty dirty and a little rusty, and I got all the pieces tidied up and then stripped them all of paint with that amazing orange stripper and a little bit of wire brushing here and there.  Soon it was down to plain metal and ready for primer.  It was a fun job to pick a paint color.  I bought two cans of automotive hot rod paint in metallic green and two cans of primer.  I picked a bright white gloss for the wheels and handlebar and metallic silver for the fender.

I was fortunate enough to find some new white plastic handles and a pair of perfectly sized vintage pedals... what luck!  Those were the only things that had to be replaced on the whole tricycle.

New old wheels

And we're off!

We are all so very happy with the finished product.  It's sturdy and shiny and is perfect for free wheeling around the basement and yard.  And I love that it's second renovation carries forward with it the kindness and care that was shared with me.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Then it was spring...

Springtime weather rolled around like it usually does, with some rain and a big greening.  My better half and I spent a beautiful long weekend with some good friends in North Carolina at John C. Campbell folk school.  It was a fun and relaxing experience for me, and an exciting introduction to a new found hobby for him.  I think he's taken to blacksmithing.

John C. Campbell Blacksmithing Shop

Noisy, hot and filled with enthusiasm

We came home to find flowers blooming and before we knew it easter was upon us and our girls gleefully engaged in more outdoor fun with their cousins.

Babe in the woods

Serious about egg hunting

Motoring along with a wagon load
of littles

Barn bones

Grape Hyacinths

Double Daffodils

Japanese tree peony

The small fry attended her first father daughter dance. And the report after the fact was that she burned up the dance floor with those merry little feet.  No wall flower in this house... The thought of it now, months later fills me with teary pride and the bitter sweetness of how independent and confident she is and how fleeting these years are.  We're soaking up as much as we can around these parts.

Growing up before our very eyes...
The spring of 2017 also goes down as the best mushroom hunt of my life.  I think I've finally got the knack.  I think my dear dad and I scored probably 8 pounds of fresh morels.  So fun, and after a good washing, so delicious. Aren't they beautiful?

The spoils of our springtime hunt

Casting on
On the knitting front, I started the " Find your fade" shawl, written by Andrea Mowry.  I had every intention of using up my yarn stash in this project, and I won't ruin the end of the story, but I'll just say that my intentions, although true in the beginning, didn't hold to the end.  The end result is better for it.  More on that soon...

Monday, August 7, 2017

First Quarter 2017 Catch Up

I've been writing here with so much more regularity than you can tell.  I've wrote first about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The nice long and relaxed break we took at the beginning of the new year, and then the preparation for a very special birthday.  In my head, these ideas for blog posts float around.  Just waiting for me to sit down and put them onto "paper."

Sous chef and royal taster

Amores cake... graham cracker cake,
chocolate filling and marshmallow-y frosting

Things are very good in these parts.  Our holidays were filled with wonderful visits from family and friends.  Good food.  Down time spent at home.  Good books.  And creativity.  Winter was a series of starts and stops.  The temperature rose and fells, and there was almost no snow to speak of... and thankfully, just one short lived ice storm (which I may or may not have been trapped on the interstate in).

There were a few hand made gifts.  Socks for both of my parents, and a little trousseau of doll clothes for the dolls that I made the girls a couple years ago.  They were wild about them... and have spent several long hours since, playing and changing the outfits of their "Kanga" and "Foxie".  They also have grown quite attached to the Wes Anderson movie (based on the Roald Dahl story) The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  It really is good, for both kiddos and grown ups.  The fox doll, which was an Alicia Paulson pattern bears a strong resemblance to the "puppet" that plays Mr. Fox in the movie.

Holiday Socks for my dear dad.

I've been spinning and knitting a bit.  I turned that handspun Merino Silk into a doubly long cowl.  I knit it in a really simple stockinette band so that the color shifts would be clear and distinct.  I am very happy with the result.

Nest fiber - Merino Silk "Amanar"

Handspun cowl

I spun up some blue and brown wool that was probably the finest that I had ever managed.  And the I tried to turn them into a pair of fingerless mitts.  I promptly frogged them because they were gigantic and I didn't love the striping that was going on.  But the spinning was really really fun.

"Emerald Pools" Roving from Nest Fiber

Pretty single ply

Navajo or chain plied finished product

And I started over knitting a sweater that I had started (literally) years ago.  It's a Rowan wool blend yarn that was too pretty to give up on.  I downloaded the Charlie cardigan from the Make.Wear.Love website and was pretty diligent about finishing the project.

It fits really well, maybe even on the big side.  And through the fantastic community that is Revelry, I was able to find enough extra yarn to keep it from being short sleeved.  (I'm not so good at calculating yardage, it seems.)

Sweater back in progress
Finished Cardigan... fits well.

I've got so much more to record... between then and now.  I've been gone longer than I intended and I'm missing the habit of capturing not only the projects that are always ongoing, but also the little details that fill our days here.  So hang with me if you'd like... I am going to take a run at reinstating the blogging habit.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Decorative Gourd Season...

It has taken me nearly three weeks to finish this post – phew.  Here we are in November and closing in on Thanksgiving.  October went by this year at a frenetic pace, and with some unseasonably warm days.  As I began to write this post on November 1st, it was 77-degrees out.  It was so nice to be able to wander without wearing multiple layers, or paying a heating bill.  On the other hand, Iwas ready to switch to the cold weather wardrobe and enjoy some comfort food.  It feels now, three weeks later that the weather is finally changed.

Sunrise on an impromptu camping
And it's compliment...

Frost Pears
The girls and I have been reading up a storm lately.  We've just about worn the cover off of Wolfie the Bunny.  And we also were lent a copy of a Captain Underpants book.  And that was an even bigger hit.  And how could it not be... with characters called "Professor Poopypants" and a name conversion guide that designated my girls as Falafel and Oprah Bubblechunks.  So funny.  They giggled and giggled.  We are entering the era when any kind of bodily function association is wildly funny.  Beware the Halloween jokes... I won't burden you with them here.


Halloween was fun.  Our inadvertent theme was "spots" this year.  We repurposed a jaguar costume for the peanut, and the small fry was a dalmatian.  They ran and ran and ran.  House to house, telling jokes and ogling the neighborhood Halloween decor.  We carved pumpkins that my parents grew from seed and made sugar cookies. It was a successful holiday.

On the making front, things have been a little slower.  I've been spinning a bit, and slowly chipping away on a couple knitting projects.  The big excitement is that I'm planning to attempt an Alabama Chanin-style project in a week or so with my dear Jen.  We've got several yards of jersey cotton, Natalie Chanin's book, and a load of ambition.  We'll see if we emerge with anything wearable...  I'll be sure to post back here, even if the end result is a large t-shirt-turned-potholder.  Cross your fingers for us.
Nest Fibers – Falkland Wool