Friday, February 28, 2014

Birch beer

Just yesterday, Julian asked if I'd ever heard of birch beer. Yes, I have (River Cottage Handbook #12, Booze) but recalled that it wasn't anything special. Come to find out, there are two different things: one like beer beer and one like root beer. Then this  morning I saw this in the cooler of my favorite coffee shop in town. So there you go. Ever seen it? Ever tried it?

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I started this pillow cover from a scrap bag I got at my local quilt shop... in fall of 2012. I didn't have a pattern and I just sort of did some math and threw it all together. I would have done several things differently, and I did do those different things in the second pillow I started at the same time and have yet to finish. My deadline for these two projects is March 12. This pillow is a gift for my grandmother and the second one, which you've seen bits of already, is for my cousin, Natalie. Grandma is coming to visit on March 12 and I'd like to send them both home with her then. So glad to have this done, and in combination with the quilt finish from two weeks ago, I'm moving right along my WIP list!

I am going to wash it and give it a light starching, trying to get some of the original creases out of the fabric. I also hope to take a better picture of it, maybe the sun will shine when Grandma is here. She believes that pictures should be made with people and their things.

More snow flurries this morning. I said all those things about not wanting spring then I found myself feeling quite the opposite when I saw a bit of golf on the TV. The sunshine and green grass looked awfully nice, but isn't that the way it always is? We are so content until the world tells us there is something else.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

{Yarn Along} Bunny Knits

A dear friend from college is having a baby girl in April. Then, they are accepting (Lord willing) a missionary position to Sweden. She's been living in Texas for the past several years, which might as well be Sweden for all the time we get to visit. I am making a Maggie Rabbit for her little one - though I've chosen to name her Polly - so the caplet has been on my needles. It doesn't take long at all to work up and in one sitting I could have it finished but I have to be in the mood for the rhythm of knitting, since its something I don't do very often. To be quite honest, I like the look of having yarn on the needles, so I've stopped myself from finishing it up a time or two.  Can you tell the colors I fancy most these days?

[Ugh - I am so tired of my photos coming out with that wintry, ain't-no-sunshine-in-February-in-Morgantown hue.] As far as reading goes, I've been spending a lot of time reading through my newest favorite cookbook and this topiary book we picked up from our local used bookstore sale. On my Kindle, I'm reading The Lamplighter, by Maria Susanna Cummins.

Linking up with Ginny.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Longing

Everyone said that they were there, under the snow. I didn't believe it because I hadn't seen the ground in a month. But sure enough, there they are, the baby shoots of daffodils, snowdrops and hyacinths, peeking through the mulch. I also found the red knobs of budding peonies, but to photograph them at this stage felt too invasive, like I had barged into their dressing room unannounced. Julian chastised me for prematurely denuding them of their leaf litter but I always fear they will rot under the swampy mess that the melting snow leaves. This conversation happens every year, a family tradition I suppose.

I keep feeling perplexed that I'm not swooning for spring. This is odd for me, but for some reason I seem more accepting of the season than normal. I think all the snow has helped. I love the snow. I even tried to psyche myself up for spring by building my spring pinterest board. Not even that worked.

This morning, I asked about the weather and Julian stated that the high would be in the 30s. I felt deflated when I realized that nothing but a big coat would do. Maybe that was it - my first little glimpse of passive aggressive spring longing. I don't want to wear a big coat. I want my elbows to be free.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I hope she likes it!

My swap box is on its way to North Carolina. I wish I were, too. This is the collection of things I included, along with a note saying:

For your fire pit: some fire starters and a bundle of sage, cedar and lavender
For your friends: loose leaf teas to enjoy over a good chat
For your family: two of my favorite recipes
For your feet: lavender & eucalyptus salt soak
For your flock: a homemade flock block
For your fliers: a blend of bee-happy seeds from my garden
For when you're feeling foul: two bars of soap, one lavender & the other citrus spice

At the very end, I threw in two starts from my cactus that fell over. Another houseplant never did anyone harm, and I don't need six of the same one.

{this moment} never gets old

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Joining Soulemama.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Traipsing - the other side of the guard rail

Julian and I have both enjoyed the same keen observation these past few weeks. Ten inches of snow and a good pair of boots affords one some very liberating reckless abandon. When the rocks, crags, banks, ditches and stumps are covered in a blissful blanket of snow we have no fear to traipse and trod where we want. Its made getting outside much more fun. Julian joked at one point that we were actually probably standing in the middle of the river but couldn't tell. Surely this must be a metaphor of some kind. When we can see the landscape, we fear to tread but when we can't, we go happily along. Hmmm.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So sleepy....

We had the wonderful company of my in-laws this past weekend. Julian's grandmother visited us for the first time ever and she was rather pleased. I was so flattered when she said that she'd been away from home and never even missed it.

She and my mother-in-law graciously helped me finish a long time WIP, my scrappy triangles quilt. I started it back in 2010, when I wasn't working right after we'd moved to Morgantown. It had just a few snips and stitches to take care of but I just couldn't bring myself to pull it out and go through the tedium, but it wasn't unpleasant with good company.

I left home as our family pulled out of the drive and now have just returned from a 24 hour trip to Naples, Florida, of all places. I had a dinner function there for work last night, so my boss and I flew down yesterday morning, had dinner, made merry, slept and flew back home. I don't recommend it. I didn't even get ONE photo of the sunset on the beach because my phone was dead. If it weren't for the blisters all over my feet (consequences of forcing my wintery feet into summery shoes about two months before they are ready) I would believe it was all just a dream.

I did take a picture of this palm tree as I was rushing BACK INTO the airport this morning. How lame. I suppose you can't tell that it's right between the terminal and the rental car return... the advantage of sly angles.

P.S. No... I haven't mailed my blog swap box... but I haven't gotten one either so there. I promise I'm thinking about it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

{this moment} Rarest Sunshine

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments. 
 Joining Soulemama.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting out...



Our weekend was rather dramatic, for me at least. Julian was a lot more cool-headed. Families are sometimes tricky and sometimes painful but I am so glad that Julian is there to keep me on an even keel. That said, we had a wonderful outing on Saturday morning and added some good birds to our list.

The lake has thawed, mostly, but the ducks still haven't returned. We are in the in-between stage where everything that goes south has already gone but its not time yet for things to start coming north. We've gotten to see a few neat things because the frigid weather froze the Great Lakes over, but I hope that the super cold is behind us, even if it means not seeing surf scoters and swans.

We saw many things, the neatest of which were a few Eastern Towhees doing just what the bird book said they would do by "rummaging noisily through the leaves and debris on the forest floor." We also saw some crazy iciles underneath the bridge and a Christmas tree graveyard that seemed odd and out of place. It would be a wonderful bird habitat but we both agreed it is likely not going to be there for long. We suspect they plan to pitch the trees into the lake to increase fish habitat, but until now the lake was frozen over.

Friday, February 7, 2014

{this moment} digging out

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments. 
 Joining Soulemama.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The game is on!

Well, the swap is on. Hmm... I'm going through Sherlock withdrawal and even after we thoughtfully considered whether we should watch to the very end of the season and wait a whole year in turmoil or spread the episodes out bit by bit. Two things: I can't even believe I'm talking about this because on-demand TV watching still blows my mind because we can actually decide when to watch or not (and we don't even watch it on a TV anyway) and we have absolutely NO self control so of course there was no real question about waiting. The only possible answer was to binge. And of course, none of this makes sense to people who don't watch the show... so...

Can you tell I'm a bit distracted? Anyhow... back to the issue at hand - the swap. I'm pretty excited. For starters, I LOVE giving gifts and I love sending mail so gifts that I get to send in the mail are the best. Secondly, its all homemade or edible so that's super fun too.

At first I really struggled with whether the package should be a reflection of me or specifically tailored to the person to whom it was given. After being assigned a swappee {?} and doing a little sleuthing of my own (you see, he's always there... in my mind) I realized there are many things I have in common with said secret swapee {SS} and that the package will be a lovely reflection of us both. Here are some commonalities that popped out from her blog :: birdsong :: honeybees :: garden :: fire pit :: jam :: coffee and tea.

What is quite the mystery (gah!) is that I don't know the blogger who's looking at me right now and wondering the same thing. Oh, I love gifts and surprises. I love them, love them, love them.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blogger swap!

I am tickled pink to be participating in a blogger swap hosted by Amanda at SweetPotatoClaire. She is bringing together bloggers {women} who appreciate the value {beauty} of home/handmade things and want to share them with each other. She does this in real life, not just online, and has had great success, so I am looking forward to gleaning some goodness {inspiration} from the other blogs as well. Stay tuned and I will post more about my swap package as it comes together!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekending - Sherlock and Surf Scoter

Our weekend was perfect. Julian had to go volunteer at a science fair for high schoolers, so since we were out and about early on Saturday anyway, we stopped by the Morgantown dam and saw the surf scoter that has been evading us all week. It was a first for us. It is quite the odd duck (bahhaha) and rare for the area so it may be a once-in-a-lifer.

Saturday afternoon, Julian was consumed with pre-lacrosse season activities so I took the opportunity to snuggle on the couch downstairs with a book. I'm trying to keep the reading light with some classic kid-lit, since we've binge watched all three seasons of Sherlock this past week. My nerves are a bit frayed.

The first of our orchids started to bloom but we don't get enough sun here to open them all the way. They run out of energy with their eyelids half open, I feel the same way. Ahh. This is what weekends were made for.

Linking up with Amanda.