Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

A blessed and joyous Christmas Season to you and yours...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent is a Special Time

Christmas is nearly here and I have to say it is getting a bit exciting, isn't it? It really is a magical time of year. The waiting has taken on a new meaning to me this year. Our priest gave a wonderful homily at the beginning of advent explaining that it is a time of waiting. Waiting in line at the post office, waiting at more stop lights as traffic increases, waiting in line at the stores and of course, waiting for the birth of our Savior. How true... He encouraged us to use that time of waiting in a different way than we may have had previously. He told us to take a few minutes and pray, enjoy the wait. I thought that would be a bit challenging for me as I tend to be a Type A personality. I'm always moving; even when I'm sitting, I'm moving. My mind is always thinking of more than one thing at a time. So yes, it was challenging.. but I gave it a whirl. I am so happy I did. I am learning to wait PATIENTLY! And it's GOOD! I even LIKE it! I am waiting in line patiently, saying a little prayer for one need or another or for someone in line that looks like they need one (and who doesn't?). I have said many prayers of thanks; when I see someone that can't walk very good, thankful that I can walk, when I see an expectant mother, how grateful I am to have my own family and hope she enjoys the same with hers, how grateful I am to see a new day, the sunshine or the cold on my skin because I am able to breathe in the cold air outside, and on and on... I encourage you to give it a try. It's a practice I hope to carry with me beyond this wonderful season of advent.
We've been busy cookie and candy making... some for a cookie/candy swap and some just because it's a fun tradition. We've also made pieogre too, as we do every year.

And of course, I've been getting in some last minute gift-knitting. This is a ruffle scarf I made in a couple evenings. I saw it in my local yarn store made in a variagated yarn. Oh, so pretty. I made this one for Corey's fiance in a beautiful shade of purple. The yarn is Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. It's deliciously soft. I'd like to make one for myself so maybe after the New Year I'll settle in and make another.
I still have a couple more things on the needle... I'll keep you posted of my progress. I hope you, too, are enjoying this special time of waiting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Christmas Finishes

I feel the time crunch. Do you? Every year I promise myself that I won't stress about making a few Christmas gifts, but when the time is near I always find myself in a bit of a tizzy, trying to get it all done. Baking, pieogre -making, wrapping, cleaning and decorating... it seems the list goes on and on.
We got Kaleigh a Kindle and I thought I would sass it up a bit with a pretty cover. The fabric is an Amy Butler print with matching insides below...
I should have used the next bigger size pattern because this one is a little on the small size. Still usable but I had to take out the two upper corners to make the thing fit in. What a disappointment. After Christmas I'll make her another that will fit. I think I'll let her pick out her own fabric, too. That way she'll have two and one that fits and she really likes.

I started this piece last year. It's a free pattern from Gailpandesigns called A Christmas Wish-Free BOM. I believe it has nine blocks but I only completed four. My impatience didn't allow me to stitch all nine or to leave them as unfinished so I made a small table topper from it. Below is what it looks like being used.
Well, not too good of a pic, I'm afraid, but you get the idea. It really does look nice with a candle flickering atop. I told the kiddoes not to eat or drink on the coffee table while I have that out. I don't really want to have to wash it if I don't have to. As you can see, Billy, our dog taking his place on the couch. No matter how many times we tell him to get down he finds his way back up there again.

One other small finish; an Ipod cover for Cassidy. She is forever borrowing mine so we thought she should have her own. I thought a cute cover would go nicely and help protect it just in case she drops it.
Hope you are enjoying some snow...we haven't had any significant snowfall yet here in Massachusetts. I'm sure we will though...soon enough!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Me, Anyway

I read the Granny Miller blog every time she makes a post. She's educated, sassy and is a source of abundant information on many topics. I've learned so much from her. Today she wrote about Wal-Mart's recent venture into Homeland Security. I was shocked. I wrote Wal-Mart an e-mail of my opinion and irritation at the whole thing. It reminded me of the books 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Eerily similar! And scary!
We've had so many around-the-table dinner discussions at my house referring to both books and how life is today. If you haven't read either books, I highly recommend both. If nothing else, read Granny Miller's post today. You may be just as shocked as I am. My next post will be something crafty; promise!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Scarf for a Manly Man

I find knitting for a man to be difficult. They don't want anything the least bit scratchy, nothing too matchy, and something that must be useful. I racked my brains trying to think of a gift our sweet piano teacher, Mr. B. When one of my friends brought over a finished scarf to show me, I knew that was it!
I really liked her scarf because it was soft and it wasn't long. It had a hole on one end to slide the other end into and it hung just on the chest. It wasn't long and taking up coat room in the chest area. Actually it's called a Keyhole Scarf. I knew I had to make one. So the above is the finished gift for our piano teacher. The color kind of looks like a piano, doesn't it? The coloring is just perfect. I bought the yarn and pattern kit through Herrschners using Curly Q Yarn by Red Heart. It's "cheap" yarn but machine washable/dryable, reasonably priced, knits up v-e-r-y quickly and makes a great gift. I ended up buying four more skeins of other pretty colors so I could make three more for gifts and one for myself. I like it that much!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trio of Woodsmoke Woolworks Sheep and Lambs Hats

I made a goal for myself last Wednesday that I would finish three hats by Sunday evening. I already had one done, the largest of the three, but still needed to start the other two! Well, guess what? I made it! My three youngest daughters will have their pink hats (to match their pink coats their grandma is giving them for Christmas)! The pattern, Sheep and Lambs by Woodsmoke Woolworks, can be found here. Today is just beautiful with blue, sunny skies and temps in the 40's. The little ones are outside enjoying the sunshine. I think I'll go out for a walk up the street to the mailbox and then make myself a cup of tea and pick up my cross-stitch project. It's nearly done, too. Very cute... just a few more x's and it'll be ready for finishing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Finding Quiet In Between the Chaos

We're smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend. I hope your day was filled with family, friends and lots of yummy food. Our Thanksgiving was very nice and the food was wonderful. I ate a bit too much so I need to watch myself over the next few days. I'm nearly done with my Christmas shopping but still have a few things left to make. I've been trying to get my work done during the day so in the evening I can relax with the kiddoes and watch some old movies and either cross-stitch, knit or sew. I've been trying to sneak in some quiet time just before bed, too. I'm enjoying reading, Old Christmas: From the Sketchbook of Washington Irving. It was written in 1875 and is such a relaxing read with many black and white, old-fashioned drawings. When that is complete I'd like to move on to The Home Book of Christmas by May Lamberton Becker. The book is a treasury of short stories, history, tradition and songs. It looks to be a very enjoyable read as well. I love to light a few candles and sip on either Hot Cinnamon Tea or Chocolate Mint Tea. Lately my husband has had the wood stove burning and it makes for a very snuggly, cozy retreat.
My days have been filled with homeschooling and the normal cooking, cleaning, errands and everyday-living type things with more shopping than usual thrown in. I like to make several gifts for my girls and I love to see their faces on Christmas morning when they open what I've made them. I thought Cassidy, who's ten, would like a little zippered pouch (which I've made many of) to hold her knitting and crochet tools in. She's just learning both arts and is in need of organizing her own things. I thought a little personalization was in order, too, so I cross-stitched her name on the front. The inside is lined with a pretty red cotton. The two prints together make for a very pretty combination. I have many other projects that are nearly done. I'll take pictures and post them, too, as I finish them up. I told both Kaleigh and Cassidy not to visit my blog until after Christmas as I don't want to spoil the little surprises I've made them. More to come!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homespun Living's Knitted Dishcloth and a Daytrip to Harney's Tea

A few of my on-line friends decided to do a knitted dishcloth swap. I decided to knit my favorite cloth of all time, Homespun Living's Waffle Dishcloth. I've made several for myself and not only do I like the design, but I also like that it has some texture and gets the sticky stuff off my countertops that my little ones leave behind.
Remember I mentioned that we enjoy daytrips? This jaunt was to Harney's Tea Room in Middleton, New York. As you can see, they offer a large selection of loose tea. They brew several flavors at a time that you can try and you are also able to taste a couple you may be curious about. The "upper-crust" of New England seem to enjoy the trip as much as my "oh-so-average" family does; so we not only enjoy the tea, we enjoy the clientelle as well!

The scenery was so beautiful as we meandered along our way...

Old churches are scattered throughout the countryside, and churches like this are in nearly every town center.

A lone silo that once belonged to a thriving farm. There are still many dairy and cattle farms along the way. I always enjoy traveling through western Connecticut and into New York. We make the little trip usually twice a year and visit several antique shops dotted along the way.
Lately we've been busy cleaning up the gardens and yard. Once the fall chores are under control, we'll be taking more daytrips. We seem to visit the same places year after year depending on the season. I'll be sure to bring you along on more of our daytrips throughout New England.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Daytrip to Salem and Sew Nautical Finish

Fall is such a beautiful time of year, don'tchya think? I've been stitching or knitting in the evenings and we've managed to sneak in a few weekend day trips. My most recent finish is Sew Nautical by Carol of istitch. I changed the color of the linen and used silk thread instead of the colors on Carol's original. I finished it as a heavy-weight using the book The Heavy Weights by Judy Odell of Just a Thought. This will be a gift for my brother and sister-in-law to go along with the pillowcases I made over the summer.
We went to Salem, MA the day before Halloween. What a hoot that was! As we walked to The House of Seven Gables we passed some interesting sites. This red house is so typical of the homes we walked by.

This scary view was in front of one of the homes we walked past. There was a sign on the front gate that read, "Please enjoy the display but don't open the gate!" We thought it was quite amusing.

Here is a pic of some of my kiddoes. My oldest son and his fiance didn't make it to Salem quite yet, so we decided to start the day without them. My second son was supposed to come along, too, but sleep seemed like a better deal to him!
This is the side of The House and the street is rather narrow.

This is a pic inside the patio portion of The House. It really does have seven gables! Everyone, and I mean everyone, counted the gables! The tour of the house is quite nice and the trip up the hidden staircase is um.... troubling! If you don't like closed in spaces, this is not the staircase to go up.
Our day was very tiring but so much fun. We didn't do any of the scary stuff as I didn't want my little ones frightened. There was an incredible amount of people and some were dressed as witches, warlocks, warewolves, etc. Most were just playing but some weren't! ...LOL... which was scary in itself! There is a lot of history in Salem, MA, so if you ever have the opportunity to visit, I would. Glouchester is nearby too, and I hear is a beautiful seaport to visit. We tried to get there but the traffic was very heavy by the time we left Salem so we didn't go. My little ones were asleep before we reached the highway! I'll be back soon with a knitting finish and another day trip!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Black Bird Designs Love is in the Air

Well, even though it's not February, love is in the air, anyway. The weather is just beautiful and the trees are prettier than ever. The air is crisp and clear and the nights are nice and cool. Makes me want to sit with a nice big cup of coffee and knit or stitch every night! Too bad I can't quite make that a reality. I did, however, manage to finish these two little cuties by Blackbird Designs. The finishing work was much less complicated than I imagined and the little beads add a nice little sparkle. I used some tips from Mary-Katheryn's blog and am very happy with these little babies. I'm surely going to make some more. Mary-Katheryn has many made up along with many other beautiful pieces, so if you'd like some stitching inspiration, grab something nice and hot to drink and give her blog a visit.
Hope your fall is cozy and warm.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Trip to Webs!

I live quite close to WEBS in Northampton, MA. I go there about twice a year. The reason I only go twice a year is because it can be a dangerous place; I could spend quite a bit of money there. If you've never been there and you live close by, you've got to go. It's a candy store for knitters. The store is very large, with a very nice showroom in the front. Yarns from all over, patterns and everything else is right there, beautifully displayed. The picture above is of the back room. It's quite large with several aisles of discounted yarn. My daughters and I spent two hours browsing the yarns.

After filling a basket with yarn, putting some back and then filling it up again, this is what we came home with. Ahhh... I can't wait to start some new projects!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Happened to my Followers?

I have no idea what happened to my Followers. They vanished on my blog. :(
If you are one, please sign up, again. I feel so alone...
And then I clicked and there they are. Fickle Google!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sure Feels Good...

to finish up a few pieces of needlework that have been hanging around. This one is called Sew Nautical by Carol. You can order it as a PDF for $4.00 (I think) by going to Carol's piece was stitched on white linen with blue, teal, red and gold threads. I did mine a bit differently on aqua linen with silk thread. It's funny how if you change the linen and thread you get a totally different look. I made this for my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas to go along with their pillowcases I made a few posts back. I'm not sure if I'll finish it as a pillow or a heavy weight. Either way, I'll take a pic when I'm done.

This is another little piece I completed last night. I really want to make several more of these babies. This one is Be Mine by the Love is in the Air leaflet by Blackbird Designs. I would also like to stitch February's Violet also in the same leaflet. I have several other patterns, too, that I'd like to do. I will finish this one as a little stocking as this is an entire series of mini cross stitch stockings. They are so beautiful when hung on a little tree. If you hit Mary Kathryn on my sidebar, you can scroll through her blog entries and see some. The are so beautiful.
As a little side note, I just added the "Follower's Gadget" on my sidebar. Would love to have you come visit me often!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snowflake Hat and Mitten Set

I'm so happy... two posts within a week! I made this Snowflake Hat for Kaleigh for Christmas. It's a free pattern from It's the same pattern I made several hats out of last year. I really like it!
I started out making the mittens using Noro Kuryeon yarn I had in my stash. Seeing I had quite a bit left over, I decided to make the hat to match. The white yarn is angora; nice and soft.
I'm not making too many Christmas gifts this year. I found a few very nice things on sale while shopping for Corey and Kyle's girlfriends and a beautiful pants, top and jacket set for my mom. I'm still going to give each of my daughters a home made gift along with their 'regular' gifts, as they really like something hand-made by me. This will free me up to make fewer gifts and just concentrate on things I really want to make for our home or ourselves. I guess what bothers me is so many people think that home-made equals cheap. When you buy quality materials, it is not cheap! Many times I can go to the store and buy ready-made costing me much less than if I purchased the materials to make it myself. Add time in there and you've got one expensive gift! So instead of making myself crazy, I'm rethinking how to handle Christmas this year. I'll let you know how it works out!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gravy Train and Crocheted Slippers

The Gravy Train is Back! Yes, we're celebrating as my husband is back to work! After fourteen months of unemployment, his old work called him back. We thought a cake and balloons were in order. Let the partaaaay begin! We've been surely blessed the past year and God provided for all our needs. God is good!

Kaleigh found the pattern for these little slippers free on the net. I think she found it in Ravelary. Aren't they cute? She made them for a friend's birthday.

I'm not much of a crocheter, myself but she held my hand and guided me through.

Both pairs are for Jen, Kyle's girlfriend. She likes pink so we thought both pairs would be perfect for her. I think they'll keep her tootsies nice and cozy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cassidy's Shawl, Woodstove and a Treat

Finally, something to show! I knit this shawl using 100 Purewool; my favorite yarn of all time! It's so soft and nice to work with. Anyway, I just knit a basic triangular shawl and then did a shell stitch border all the way around and then a chain six into the 'holes' of the shell border on two sides. It turned out quite nice. I think Cassidy will be happy with it on Christmas morning.

I've kept Gary busy, too, putting in a woodstove in our bedroom. My brother gave us the stove and it was in our garage over the winter. It was a tad bit rusted so Gary sanded the rust off and then spray-painted it with black woodstove paint. It looks brand new. He also cut our wood floor and tiled it where the stove sits. He installed the piping (although in this picture the pipe that goes through the wall wasn't in, yet. It's all hooked up now and ready to go. I have a jar of lavender stems from my garden sitting on top of the stove waiting for the fire to burn. I read to throw them in for a sweet scent of lavender.

I entered a little give-away from Mary-Katherine's blog (see my sidebar) and won this adorable felt and beaded cookie that I use to put my needlework needles in. It's so cute! I also won a skein of Belle Soie hand dyed silk in Strawberry Shortcake! The color is just beautiful and I can't wait to use it! Thank you to Mary-Katherine! Please hit my sidebar and take a peek at her blog and shop. She has the most beautiful projects!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crochet Edged Pillowcases

Wow it has been such a long time since I blogged. Summer is nearly gone. With all the garden goodness, I've been trying to can and freeze whatever is coming out of there. In between, I've been enjoying the summer; the meteor shower, our 27th anniversary, birthdays, trips to the beach and of course, vegging by the pool. Today it's rather rainy but I'm happy for it. I'm getting ready for the school year to begin, with setting up a new desk for Cassidy and my learning area for the littlies. They are so excited to start and I am too, but I'm still trying to squeeze in the last bits of summer.
Our kitchen table is so pretty with flowers from the garden. Every few days I'm able to pick something else and put it in a vase. I love the way the table looks with different embroidered linens and fresh flowers.

I've been pretty busy beginning on Christmas gifts, too. I made these pillowcases with a crocheted edge from a fantastic tutorial from Step by step directions complete with much entertainment made for a real fun project. I made four of these pillowcases: two for my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas (they'll be getting something else, too... I'll show you that when it's done) one for Kyle's girlfriend for her going away party gift (she's off to nurse anthestist school) and one for our couch. I made real good use of the material and directions! I'm nearly done with a shawl for Cassidy; I'll show that soon, too. Hopefully I won't stay away from blogging this long. It takes forever for my pictures to load up so I shy away from making a post. Maybe if I can get one of the kiddoes to clean up my camera it won't take so long. I'd love it if you would leave me a comment... would hate to think I'm talking to myself

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rhode Island Version II

I'm back with a few more pictures. Casey and Corey went on an eight hour deep sea fishing trip. They came back with five fluke. They had a great time together...

Kaleigh goofing around on a lifeguard chair; she always makes me laugh...

Caressa in a sandy hole they all dug...

Swimming at the dock. Lots of good dockside fishing here and interesting boats and ferries coming and going...

The entrance to the campground. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've walked "up to the gate" and around the campground for my walk. So peaceful and so, so many memories... Sure wish my dad was still here to share them with.

Rhode Island Version I

I don't know how others bloggers do it but I just can't get the hang of posting exactly what I want; so please, bear with me. I'm going to do two posts because I can't seem to upload all the pictures I want in one... sorry. Anyway, here is a pic of a sunset on the lake right across the road from the entrance to the campground we stayed at. I've been going there for forty years and this was my first time going since my dad passed away. I have so many happy memories there, spending lots of time with my parents as they were seasonal there and for a time so were Gary and I before our fourth child came and it became too much to travel down there every weekend. So it was bitter-sweet for me...

Caressa is wreaking havoc in the van...

This was Casey's gameboard one day... One of my MODG families (Amy) sent Kaleigh the game. She's very sweet and knew Kaleigh would enjoy the game. We had LOTS of laughs playing...

Here Gary and I have a quiet moment; most of the time it wasn't quiet, but that's O.K...

A sneak peak of my front garden back at home. Everything is blooming and it's really pretty right now. I'll do another post too as I have a few more vacation pictures to share.... be right back...