Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh So Funny!

You all must go and check out this site.

Threadbared is a hilarious little blog done by two southern girls that pokes fun at those oh so weird pictures on the front of sewing pattern envelopes. They feature patterns from the 40's to the 80's, and they are just too funny! I laughed so hard while browsing my way through insomnia the other night that I woke my husband.

I can remember looking at patterns when I was little and thinking that sometimes they just didn't look right. These ladies hit the descriptions right on the head!

Scoot on over and enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Empty House

Well, my hubby left this morning for four days. He is off on another jeep adventure, somewhere in Pennsylvania. I opted not to go, since the trip would consist of me sitting in the wilderness for four days, trying to amuse my twenty-one month old and seeing my husband for a total of 40 minutes a day during the gap between when they stumble in from the trail and when he collapses into a snoring heap.
Since the whole family wasn't going, he decided to stay in a hotel, and is splitting his room with some guy he barely knows. I hope he's having fun!

It's funny how empty the house feels without him. Even though his usual schedule keeps him away from home a lot, it just seems different somehow, when I know that he won't be there when I wake up in the morning. Very strange.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tomatoes and Fears

Tomato canning day, here at our little house, and due to our house being so little, my MIL and I joined forces and did the job in their basement canning kitchen. Seventeen sparkling quarts of alternating red and yellow tomatoes, lined up in my pantry. Winking merrily and promising untold treasures of chili, soup, and sauces.

I really enjoy canning with my MIL. Aside from the fact that the work goes much faster with two sets of hands and two tongues wagging, I also get a chance to take a peek at my husband from her point of view. I can honestly say that I like spending time with her, and when it comes to canning, she definitely knows the way to go!

My PIL have a cozy little kitchen in their basement that they use just for canning. Their house had originally had a business in the basement, so the
whole bottom of the house is fully equipped with all of the creature comforts, circa 1954. They do A LOT of preserving and have everything set up so efficiently that it is a dream to work there. You feel like you could tackle even the messiest job alone! The only downside is the fact that I have to walk past The Crow to get there.

My FIL is a hunter and marksman, He has been since boyhood, and his gun office is also in the basement. Outside the door is the bird who has haunted my dreams since the early days of my marriage. A stuffed albino crow, mounted very realistically on a log. It stands there, head cocked, sleek white feathers gleaming, fixing you with it's pink-eyed stare. Crows are very large birds, when encountered face to face, and this strange specimen is no exception. His pointed beak and forbidding presence make it easy to see why some might think that crows are the transporters of the souls of the dead.

I don't remember the details of the story, other than the fact that the bird died, either as my FIL's pet or a surprise find while out hunting squirrel one day as a boy. Nick (my FIL) was so taken by the bird, that he had it stuffed and mounted to be able to enjoy it's beauty always. I met it in the first week of my marriage, as I was moving my things into my PIL's home. My hubby and I (due to various reasons, including eloping six months early) stayed with them until things were finalized on our house, and our room was just down the hall from The Crow.

I'm not sure why the bird bothers me so much, but I find it very unsettling. I swear that I often can see it moving out of the corner of my eye! My imagination has been fueled by too many spooky novels and scary stories and I had no problem imagining that strange bird hopping down the hall to our room, white feathers glowing in the darkness, and perching itself on our footboard, a la Poe's "Raven". "Awk! Nevermore!"

It's very funny to my hubby and FIL. They tease me mercilessly about "The Crow". In fact, during the early years of our marriage, I could rely on turning this or that corner and finding the thing lying in wait with one or the other of them, to see if they could get a rise out of me. They are quite the comedians. My daughter seems to love the bird and thinks that it is a great playmate!

Ahh, the things that one must go through for delicious canned tomatoes!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Obsession

Ok, I think it's time to put away the dishcloths for awhile.

I was sitting on the sofa today, knitting of course, while my hubby was watching TV. He glanced my way and then bursts out with, "How many of those things are you going to make?" I look up with surprise showing on my face, as he rarely notices anything that I am working on, especially if he is watching TV. He then says, "I've counted ten just lying around this morning." He then proceeded to give me a look that said "you are obsessed, I'm going to check into getting you some professional help!" and turned back to his show, shaking his head.

Better start a new project soon. I don't want him to worry.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Gryffendor Behemoth

Here is a picture of my finished HP scarf. To answer your question, Erin, it's obviously a Gryffendor. My sister is a huge Won-Won fan, so she always sides with the Lions. And yes, that is a Christmas gift bag that it is propped up on. It's already wrapped and put away. Most of my Christmas gifts are. Feel free to hate me for being so uptight and overprepared, lol!

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 19, 2005

On Knitting

I've been on a knitting roll recently. I finished my SS/CoS Harry Potter scarf last weekend. I am amazed at it's finished length! I can't believe that I sat down and knitted something over six feet long and it only took me a few months on and off! If any of you had a look at my pile of half-finished projects, you would realize just how big of a miracle this scarf is. My sister is going to go mad over it at Christmas!

On Monday, I made a lovely wool moebius scarf (If anyone one is looking for a quick fun project that makes a lovely and soft gift, this scarf is great! Even I finished it in one day!) for my Freecycle yarn angel. This wonderful woman has, on several occasions, given me dozens of skeins of different Lion Brand Yarns. Her brother has crafting connections and brings her piles of yarn when they discontinue a color or style. She insists that she can't work with anything but "plain old yarn" and so gives away the excess (usually 40 to 50 skeins at a time!) through Freecycle. So, not only do I get to take a crack at some large projects that normally my budget wouldn't allow for but, I also get the pleasure of spreading around some really great yarn to my family and friends!

I've been in dishcloth high gear for the last few days though. My Grandma always complains that she can't find knitted dishcloths like she had when she was a girl, so now that I can knit, I'm giving her a whole bag of them for Christmas, to use or hand out to the neighbors as she pleases. They whip up so quick and I like working with cotton. I love anything that gives me such gratifyingly quick results!

While doing all of this knitting, I've been re-reading the Harry Potter books, on audio book. I got hooked on audio books back in my pre-Mommy days,when I worked for the country's second largest jewelry firm. My job was to look through our jewelry orders and check for quality and accuracy, and then call the suppliers when there was a problem. As most of the jewels sold in this country are imported from elsewhere, I had to do most of my calling in the late evening hours to compensate for time differences. This meant that I and the other girls in my department, spent many nighttime hours in a huge, empty office building, listening to our own voices echo around the place. Our solution was Walkman's and Audio books. Back then you couldn't get them on CD and most libraries in our area had a small selection. We would check out four or five at a time and then trade around with each other when we had finished our own. On average, I finished four or five books a week this way!

My love for audio books has never waned. Now there are so many more titles available and so many formats too. I always have one book going in the car and I've been begging for a Mp3 player for Christmas so that I can take them on the go. And now that I have discovered knitting, I can happily while away many an hour, making wonderful presents and listening to great stories! If you have never given audio books a try, make a trip to the library to pick up a copy of an old favorite. Pop it in while you do the dishes or work on some handiwork. You'll find that it will replace the TV or the radio quite often!

But back to knitting. (I swear, it takes very little distraction to get me off on a wild tangent!) My next sizable project is going to be a PoA/GoF Hufflepuff scarf for myself, to wear to the next HP movie premiere in November.(yes, I AM a Hufflepuff badger!) I'm trying to decide whether to make it in Red Heart acrylic, like my sister's or some beautiful Knitpicks Merino Style. Both are so affordable, but I worry about ordering enough from Knitpicks to finish atypically.knit's lovely pattern. I stink at figuring out the amount of yarn that I need for a given project. Unless it's spelled out for me in the pattern, I always buy too little or too much. Anyone have any advice?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Autumn on it's Way

Well, it's official. It may only be halfway through August, but Autumn is knocking on the door. I made my first batch of Zucchini Bread tonight.

I can feel that stirring in my soul when the first of the harvest starts to come in. The mercury may still be reading in the nineties, but once we start pulling veggies in from the garden, I'm ready to get out the sweaters and make pumpkin pie. The bread I made tonight perfumed the whole house with the harvest smells of cinnamon and cloves. And that first slice, still warm and slathered in butter, was a balm for my summer weary soul. I love Fall and Winter, and I just can't wait for them to get here!

I think I just talked myself into another slice!

Monday, August 8, 2005

Myrtle Beach

Well, my family and I are back from our surprise vacation to Myrtle Beach. Things went well, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I got my first look at he the ocean and only one mild sunburn.

We left at 5:40 AM on Thursday morning to start on our 11 hour drive. My hubby, who plans and drives a trip like Clark W. Griswold, expected a smooth, straight through drive with maybe one stop for lunch and two potty breaks. He still hasn't gotten used to the idea of what traveling with a one-year old entails. All in all, we didn't do too badly on time. Even with all of the unplanned stopping, we still made it in under thirteen hours.

Our hotel was wonderful (a very kind gift from my PIL who were with us), right on the beach with pools and whirlpools galore. We were on the 14th floor, which was actually the 13th. I never understand this. Do they think that superstitious people are that easily fooled? Just because it is labeled 14 doesn't make it any less the 13th floor. The fact that the elevator numbers skip from 12 to 14 should be a dead giveaway! lol! But all superstitious silliness aside, the view from our balcony was breathtaking. The only thing that I regret was the fact that the air conditioning was so loud that when the door was closed you couldn't hear the ocean, even though we were mere feet away from it.

The weather was beautiful, but hot. We did a little shopping and a lot of eating. My husband went parasailing and drug me along for the boat ride on the choppy morning before a storm rolled in. I decided then and there that I was never sailing the ocean again on anything smaller than a cruise ship. I love boats and I am an experienced ski boat driver, but those waves in all of that vastness had me so tense that my muscles were sore the next day. The armchair historian in me couldn't help but think of all of those people who have come to this country across the choppy waters of the Atlantic. I kept picturing Pilgrims and my own Irish ancestors crossing that water, not knowing what they were coming to. And I thought I was scared!

I really loved the ocean, but I think I could have done without Myrtle Beach. It was so crowded and noisy. Very touristy. The Atlantic of Maine is more my speed. Cold and wild. I'm not exactly a beach bunny. Below, you can see a few snaps of the trip.

The ride home took even longer (15 hours) and I was glad to see our little house. I've finally gotten all of the all of the clothes put away and the sand out of our hair and shoes. I'm ready to stay home for awhile.
Our fifth stop of the day, during our 12 hour drive down. Posted by Picasa
The unnatural, super green, beach grass outside our hotel. Posted by Picasa
The view from our 14th (actually 13th) floor balcony.  Posted by Picasa
The hotel's lazy river 12 floors below. Posted by Picasa
Shell searching on our first morning. Posted by Picasa
Peanut and Brian's sandcastle attempt. Posted by Picasa
My fearless (after 10 minutes) daughter kept begging to go out farther and farther to meet the waves coming in. Posted by Picasa
Peanut and the waves. Posted by Picasa
Everyone still fairly cheerful, despite shopping outdoors in 95 degree weather. Posted by Picasa
Our beautiful morning view Posted by Picasa
Godlight and storm breakers on our last morning. Posted by Picasa
Peanut stuffing in the nuggets at a Micky D's in NC. Posted by Picasa
Sparky's, the world biggest and strangest souvenier shop. They sold everything from boiled peanuts to Minnetonka Moccasins. Posted by Picasa
Too Many Hours in The Car Posted by Picasa