Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great Minds Think Pink

Like Mother Like Daughter -- Mom showed up this morning wearing the same outfit I was wearing! I couldn't resist a picture. :)

Thinking Pink -- #11

My new mug -- Christina found this lovely mug for me at a favorite thrift store. It matches the teacups on my mantle so well!

The month of pink is just about over. I've really had fun with this little project and I think I'm going to take Carla's suggestion and do green next month. I know it will be a lot harder. However, having a project like this makes me much more aware of color around me. So, stayed tuned for a month of "Green Scenes".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shopping for Yarn -- Creatively

For some time I have been anxious to knit myself a sweater. There has been just one catch -- how to come by the yarn. Thanks to my sister's coaching and help, I now have some lovely yarn, enough for several projects!

Here's how it works:

1. Find a sweater at Goodwill and purchase it (hopefully for about $2 when they have a sale). Look for sweaters with the appropriate wool content, nice color, and yarn that doesn't look microscopic in thickness. You also need to buy sweaters sewn together with what looks like a chain stitch -- not serged together. We found several Gap sweaters -- a chunky pink cotton, a creamy white wool. I also found a beautiful pink wool sweater that was too small for me in person but had enough yarn to re-make into something my size. The options are endless....

2. Find the seams -- the sweaters are usually sewn together with a v-shaped seam. If you can find the end and give it a good pull the sweater just falls apart (okay, so most of the time it takes a bit of work to find that end!). Unravel all the seams until you have pieces.

3. Frog the sweater (or, in other words, unravel it). You need to get the yarn into a skein for the next step. If you have the equipment, you can wind the yarn, as you unravel it, right onto a yarn-winder. Or, you can wind it into a ball by hand (picture immediately following). Once you have the yarn wound into a ball, you can take the ball and wind it into a skein.

Christina has all the proper equipment. So, when I do this with her, it goes pretty fast!

The kids love to help! :)

4. Wash the yarn. Once the yarn is put into skeins, it is time to wash it. The washing helps to erase the kinks and to clean it from whatever dust it collected at Goodwill. Hang the skeins up to dry.
5. Wind the Skeins into Balls. The final step is to take the skeins and turn them back into nice balls of yarn, ready for knitting.

6. Find a pattern and Knit! I've already been looking at patterns and discussing with Christina just what I'm going to make. I'm thinking of a cardigan out of this chunky pink and I have a vest in mind for the charcoal color shown on the skein winder above. Then, I'm not sure if I want another sweater or a shawl out of the light-weight pink wool at the top. We'll have to see... I'm just so excited to actually have yarn!!!
This may sound like a daunting process to many of you. However, if you have a little time, and not a lot of money, this is a terrific option. (And just think about how you are recycling, reusing, and therefore reducing!)
Look here for a project made with just such a sweater!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thinking Pink -- #10

I recently finished a few hats from a gorgeous ball of yarn which Christina hand-dyed. I made this hat for myself (I've been in desparate need, with no hat to wear all winter). The pattern is one that Christina made and you can find it on Ravelry -- a link is on Christina's blog).

The hat Rachel is wearing is knitted from a pattern on Soule Mama's blog. You'll find a link to this free pattern in the left side-bar. This hat was meant to fit me, but, since I used a smaller needle, it was just a bit tight and didn't look that great. Rachel was happy to become the recipient.
I had enough yarn to knit a third hat as well! Just a plain k2, p2 type that rolls up at the bottom with a nice big pom-pom on top.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Go South for the Winter....

"We go south for the winter, south for the winter....." sing the birds in Frog and Toad. Uncle Bill is following suit. Yesterday he left, amidst bright sunshine, for his trip to the south.

On Saturday Uncle Bill brought his rig over so we could all have a look before he left:

We climbed inside and drove around the block a few times, just to get an idea of what it will be like:

And here's the Captain himself:

The tiny kitchenette has a 4-burner stove top, little oven, and a fridge with a freezer that possibly has more square footage than my Scotland fridge/freezer did! The essentials like kettle, teapot, and tea cozy are carefully stowed during travel:

And the miniature pantry is growing (notice the "road food" sticking out of the box):

It's sad to see Uncle Bill go. We've had lots of adventures in the past few months and plenty of good food! However, just like in Mary Poppins, Mary can't stay in the same place forever. When the time is right, it's time to move on to the next place.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe journey, Uncle Bill! We'll look forward to your next visit!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thinking Pink -- #9

Sunday Lunch -- Sunday lunch with company is always a treat. It's a chance to sit down to a nicer meal than usual and to enjoy a long, leisurely conversation (of course punctuated by lots of interruptions and chatter from children). It's also a chance to pull out the china and enjoy tea as it should be enjoyed. My new tea cozy is a favorite. I love it's sumptuous pink colors.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thinking Pink -- #8

African Violets -- I'm happy that my violets are doing pretty well. I think they probably would appreciate being fed. It only happens once in a great while around here. The violets do help to brighten up winter days.

School is just about done for the week, and, according to my chart, we have only 60 days left!!! Yay! That translates to about 12 weeks. The end is somewhat in sight. Our weekend should be full, but fun. I'm looking forward to seeing my Uncle's camper, attending my first Pilates class, and meals shared with friends.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spring Purses -- Volume II

I finally have all the Spring Purses I made up on Etsy (where you can see more detail pictures of the insides, back, etc.):

I loved the Robin's Egg blue color of this purse:

Now that they are finished, I'm missing all the hand sewing that they created.

Oh well. My knitting is getting more attention.
I love this purse too, which is super soft:

Now it's time to turn my attention to tea cozies and aprons.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day -- The Party

And now for the Valentine's Party......

We had a simple dinner of crustless quiche, scones with jam and cream from the farm, a delicious assortment of berries and plenty of coffee and tea. Here are the gluten-free scones:

The table looked so festive!!!

The dining room was abuzz with talk and laughter, which makes me so happy:

After dinner Uncle Bill put the finishing touches on his famous made-from-scratch chocolate mousse:
He had found beautiful glasses at our favorite thrift stores for the mousse:

The mousse certainly lived up to its fame -- incredible!

Then it was time for the distribution of valentines from the valentine box. Rachel played mailman:
See how much fun everyone was having!:

The evening ended with a very funny game, played in the living room -- it's a new game called Quelf (I think). Anyway, we all enjoyed ourselves and now have lovely memories. And so no more valentines until next year. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day -- The Cookies

Valentine's afternoon we got things decorated for the party in the evening:

Red, and pink, and white, and lace, and ribbon are all so beautiful!!!

And so are conversation hearts:

Uncle Bill and Christina arrived at 4 and commenced with their truffles, made from scratch:

The children got down to the serious business of cookie decorating. How fun is it to glob on icing, pour on the sprinkles and create something deliciously edible!

Auntie C, Emily, and Susan helped to supervise the children while I cooked:

Rachel enjoyed the icing bags with decorator tips:

David superintended from the top of the table. I wonder how many cookies he ate?

The creations were just gorgeous!!! (In fact, they remind me of my coveted Cath Kidston catalog which arrived in the mail today)

There were strawberry cupcakes to decorate as well:

I really think the decorating has gone up a notch even from December!

Special thanks to Susan who helped the kids do such a great job!

More pictures to follow of the party at a later time.
Today I did my food shopping and we had a good morning of school. There was also afternoon "cuppa" with some neighbor ladies, so it's been a full day. I'm eager to hop in bed and read a few more chapters in North and South. It's so good!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thinking Pink -- #7

Doll Clothes -- Today was a day in which I decided to ignore the fact that the house was a TOTAL disaster. Today I decided NOT to venture out and go food shopping. Today was a day I was able to say YES to Rachel's request of "Mommy, can we sew together on the machine?" with very sweet results.

Valentine's Day -- Our Morning

We had a really lovely Valentine's Day on Saturday. We began the morning by a trip for the kids and me to Old Navy. Old Navy was giving away $5 coupons to each child that colored a valentine. Here's what we found, thanks to the clearance:

Rachel: fleece hat, brown flip-flops and a beautiful yellow zipped/hooded fleece (out of pocket = 40 cents)

Andrew: fleece hat, brown flip-flops and a lovely rugby-type casual shirt (out of pocket $2.50)

James: fleece hat, brown flip-flops and a nice sweater for next winter (out of pocket + 47 cents)

David: brown flip-flops and two pullover shirts he was desparately needing (out of pocket = 0)

The best deal of the day happened to be 3 pairs of trousers for Michael found at $3.50 each!

The kids did a super job in the store (I was worried) and it was really, really fun to have them each pick out things that would be useful and enjoyable for them. It certainly made my day!

Next we headed over to Marsh to visit Grandma and bring the flower ladies some raspberry muffins.
The florist section was covered with roses, everywhere, just waiting for husbands to buy them for their wives.

Grandma took a little break and we sat down for the kids to have donuts:

Then it was time to hurry home and get ready for cookie decorating and a valentine's party.

We had an eclectic mix of family and friends over in the evening and we had a BLAST!!! There are far too many pictures, so I'm going to split them up over a few days.
I was reflecting on Valentine's Days in the past. I remember one time thinking I was just about going to die exerting the effort to make pancakes on Valentine's Day for the children. Or the times it felt like climbing a mile-high mountain to think of making cards with the children. And then there was this year where it was so much easier. Who knows what next year will be like. I guess it's all about rolling with the punches and being content with those times when I can't do it, and counting my blessings when a day like Saturday comes around.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Valentine's Day is a wonderful excuse to show love to just about anyone you can think of, and of course to those closest to us as well. I hope you all have a special day!

Note: Em made the cookies :)