Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bush Chopping Blues

We've been uncharacteristically dry for spring and it is making the longer days, but less light in the house (because of the new leaves) feel much like fall. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of tackling the flower beds - where to begin? We've been here long enough that I have gotten the easy and obvious things finished, but now onto the tough chores of pruning and reclaiming the place from the periwinkle vines. Did I mention that I have clematis buds? Well, I do.

I've had a little bit of time in the past few days to knit on my sister's shawl. I dropped a stitch, which you can see up in the photo, and it is being a bit of a hassle to pick up. It's two rows of garter stitch, a purl row, then two more of garter. I've picked the whole thing back up once already but didn't get it right and being a single ply yarn, it is starting to get fuzzy. I just need to do it when I have nothing else to think about - which means it will never get done.

I plan to podcast this afternoon but first I am requiring myself to finish painting the hallway and turn the compost. I'd also like to prune one of our bushes before Julian gets home, as I know if he were here he would keep saying with caution, "Are you sure about this?" Yes, yes I am. I want to whack that bush within an inch of it's life. No "just a little off the top" this time. It needs a real chop.


What's keeping you busy? Show and tell with me and the folks over at Yarn Along.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I have so many ideas knocking around in my head - questions, conversations, ideas. I try to make notes of them so when I have the leisure (and in my head, that's pronounced lezure like in Poldark, hehe) time to sit at the computer and organize my thoughts I will share some of them with you.

I am having my family for Easter lunch. It it the first holiday I have hosted for my side of the family and I am a bit anxious. I have seen my brother once in two years; neither he nor my brother-in-law have laid eyes on this house. It is so much nicer now than on the day we moved in. We have accomplished an amazing number of home improvement chores, but I still am trying to find the balance between putting my life on display for my family's approval and also realizing that because of Easter, I do not need it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bitty Shawl

This is my only FO to talk about... well, it was off the needles before this but I only just made peace with the blocking part. It is the Emerald City Shawlette from Jimmy Beans Wool done on #6 needles with only one strand of Lion Brand Amazing in Mauna Loa.

I steam blocked it unforgivingly with my iron and a boat load of pins, as it is half wool, half acrylic. Its points could be a bit pointier, but considering that my target audience is a toddler (and the bind off was a wee bit tight), I think it is very Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way. It will go into the mail, very delayed, along with two other packages tomorrow. I just love snail mail.

In other news, I've just undertaken the assignment of hosting my first family holiday this Easter. I hope to have my parents, brother and possibly my sister and brother-in-law. While they aren't expecting a big to-do, I am a big-to-do kind of girl and so I've got the long list written and 12 days to accomplish my mission of getting the house as ship-shape as a work in progress can be.

That said, I don't know what knitting and reading may get done over the next two weeks but I'm hoping it will at least be something share-worthy. What are you working on?

Show and tell with me and other knitty friends over at Small Things.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Break: Survived.

front door remodel :: picnic for our playday :: williamsburg woodwork : beekeeping woodenware 
assembled and ready :: scones on the porch steps :: intoxicating perfume :: bee boxes complete 
cabbage pasties :: herring gull :: nesting osprey pair

We have both just survived the most productive spring break had by anyone, anywhere. Ever. Now that I am looking at these photos, it occurs to me that I didn't even document helf of what we got done (tore a fence out, refinished bathroom cabinets, built a bluebird box, etc.)

Whew. We worked from sun up til midnight each night except for our play day to Williamsburg with our nephews on Wednesday and a birding trip on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, I spent having fun with a knitty friend, Nailya. Besides that, we were busy busy busy.

We both feel better for it despite the fact that we are now enduring Monday morning after a time change even more exhausted and usual. It is amazing how an insane flurry of productivity lifts the spirit and calms the nerves. I am reminded of this fact by this wonderful quote by Michael Bridge:

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."

Pretty deep, huh? Who knew you could say such a thing about hammers and nails, paint brushes and doorbells. But it's true. Good work begets good feelings and tired or no, we are both so much the better for it. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


This week I experimented with a new way of doing the podcast, in little snippets that make the uploading on my end much more user friendly. I think it turned out well, if I do say so myself.

I forgot to show some of my yarn acquisitions last week and go into a bit of detail with them now. The pictures above show my new yarns as well as some cotton fabrics I plan to use in new projects.

Have a little look-see.

Podcasts I love:
Eva @ The Charm of It
Tilly Trout
Kate @ Bluestocking Podcast

Links to my Ravelry projects:
(You see how easy that is for me, instead of separate links to each pattern and yarn? Whew!)
Evie's Shawl
Penguin's Blankie
Land Agent (David-the-bird-master) Mittens

Sewing Patterns:
Dottie Angel Frock
Dwell Mini Quilt
Quilted Tea Cozy

Blackbird House
The Nightingale
Poisonwood Bible Read-along

Book Review - Easter Blessings

Well hello, March! Welcome back.

The past two days have been downright balmy. Though today is a bit more nippy, we can all tell that spring is just around the bend. And with spring comes jelly bean season!

I was in the store last night and couldn't figure out what the trick-or-treat buckets were doing out this time of year. It turns out it isn't enough to get a chocolate bunny, a new dress, and some crinkly plastic grass. Now we have monstrous action hero buckets capable of holding "all their favorite brands" of goodies. I rolled my eyes and resisted my own favorite brands as I navigated the rest of my mediocre shopping experience -- Starburst jelly beans, anyone?

This made me even more excited that I got a copy of The Berenstain Bears' Easter Blessings by Mike Berenstain to review for Worthy Publishing. This book continues to build upon the great childhood legacy of these famous bears, as Mike crafts new stories - and new lessons - after taking over the role of author from his late parents. 

The board book opens with the Bear family enjoying breakfast on Easter Morning. The blessing is said and the meal is enjoyed, then the grandparents arrive with baskets of goodies for Brother, Sister, and Honey. The kids are delighted, but the grandparents state that church is the priority on Easter Morning and no treats will be enjoyed until afterward. 

On the way to church, the Bear family counts their blessings and at the end of the book a very simple Gospel message is shared by Preacher Brown. This sweet book is a classic introduction to Easter for any toddler, with the same charming characters and bright illustrations I recall from my own childhood Berenstain Bear books. I hope that a great many of your little ones' Ironman Easter barrels have this book lovingly tucked inside!