Wednesday, February 29, 2012

look. Look! LOOK!

OK.  Sorry about that.  I'm just a little bit excited.  I hope everyone is doing well and having a wonderful week.  Mine has been FAB!!  This fabulousness started last week.  I know some of you know that I've been wanting to learn how to spin for a while, but classes are usually while I'm at work or during times when I have prior family obligations...and then there is the cost of the wheels - Yikes!  A dear sweet lady (Hello Alice! *Waving *) suggested that I contact my local spinning guild and I'm so glad I listened to her!

I started snooping around on the internet last week and found the contact for my local spinning guild. Lo and behold, she lives in my little town!!  Kismet! I say this, because my town is this little dot between two much larger cities and most people involved in this type of thing live in the cities.  Anyway, I picked up the phone and gave her a call.  I spoke to her very nice husband who was kind enough to relay a message and I spoke to her last Thursday.

Everything has been moving very quickly since then.  Natalie invited me to the Guild meeting on Sunday where I met some very talented ladies. They all made spinning look so incredibly easy as they sat there chatting, drinking their tea and spinning away on their wheels.  I also watched a woman use a spindle and it was so very mesmerizing.

After attending this meeting, I was more enthusiastic than ever. Natalie invited me over to her house last night, sat me down at a wheel and the lessons began. I have to tell you, when you are doing this for the first time, it's a bit tricky.  If you hold on to the fibers too long, it will twist too much and break.  If you don't hold onto it long enough, it's really lumpy and uneven.  I like to call this mess "artisan yarn." Also, when you are sitting in someone's studio (more on that in a minute) that you've just met, you have a tendency to be on your best behavior.  Ask anyone who knows me and they'll be the first to tell you, when I get frustrated, I have quite the potty mouth.  Some people call it "colorful" language.  It doesn't matter what you call it, it's not something that makes a very good impression.  On top of that, it's a little nerve racking to try something new with an audience right there.  Natalie generously let me borrow the wheel in the picture, just to see if I want to pursue this any further. She also gave me some lovely green and blue roving to practice with.  She sent me home with both and I produced.....

Ta Da!! It is far from perfect.  It's too twisted in some areas and not twisted enough in others.  This artisan yarn of mine is actually a mess, but I did it and I can't tell you how pleased I am!  Given time, I think I might actually get the hang of this! There is something very soothing and meditative about the process and I can see why so many people enjoy doing it...not to mention the satisfaction.

Now, about Natalie's studio....OH EM GEE!  I think I'm in love!  It's this lovely, large room with plenty of widows.  The walls, floors and cabinets are all white, but there is plenty of color.  She has three or four looms, several spinning wheels and a wall FULL of yarn and roving. It was like she had her on personal little yarn store right there at the end of the hallway.  I hope I didn't gawk too much.  She had these lovely little blue and white rugs on the floor that she wove from old blue jeans. And then there was Rosco.  I will admit that I am the worst with dog breeds, so I won't even try, but I have to say he had the sweetest temperament and biggest brown eyes ever - Just a love.

All in all, it has been a really successful week. Hope your week is as well!

Monday, February 27, 2012

{Magic of the Mundane}

Today, I am joining Sofia over at Sofia's Ideas for Magic of the Mundane. I so love this idea because it totally falls in line with my desire to get back to simple. It can be a picture, a poem or song, a short video or anything else that celebrates the Magic. So often, we get caught up in "where we're going" that we forget to look at the beauty of "where we are."

This lovely white monster is my dishwasher.  Most kitchens have them as standard equipment these days. It is emptied and refilled on a daily basis, sometime more than once.
This is a sink full of dirty dishes.  This happens on a daily basis as well.  It is my sons' duty to empty the dishwasher and fill it up every day.  It is my duty to remember to turn the dishwasher on at night before I go to bed so that we wake up to clean dishes.  Sometimes, this mama forgets.  So imagine my pleasant surprise this morning, when I found the dishwasher running because someone is looking out for their that's magic.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

This Moment

{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. Happy Friday!!
I don't know who loves who the most.
Inspired by Amanda Soule - Feel free to join in and share a link to your moment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Last Minute...and Sooo Slow

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their sweet comments and emails from this past weekend.  It meant the world to me and was like a great big "mama hug."  As my boys get older, life gets more difficult, disappointments are bigger and my hugs and kisses won't make it go away...not that they would allow either in public. But to be blunt, it sucks.  As their mama, I want to fix everything and it's very difficult to stand back and let them come to terms with it themselves.  There is no art to letting go, it's more like a slow amputation.

Alrighty that I've managed to depress everyone, let's move on to some yarn goodness.  I finally broke down and bought a couple of books.  I've been coveting them for a while now and finally succumbed to the urge...thank you Amazon.  The books are Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson of Purl Soho fame.  If you haven't ever checked this place out, I'm telling you to do so now.  Such a cool website and I can only imagine how awesome the actual brick or mortar is.  Also, they have a wonderful blog with free patterns called The Purl Bee...Love this! Anyway, I just love giving hand made gifts, so these books thrill me.  And they are so timely because a special someone has a birthday Friday and Car Guy reminded me yesterday...Yikes!  This particular person truly appreciates hand made gifts, so who am I to disappoint?

I'm making Kim's Hat with some left over yarn from the shawl I made for this same person for if she sees this, dead give away...oops! I'm making the simple rolled brim hat and when it's done, I'll probably add a little crocheted embellishment just to spruce it up a bit. Because everyone needs a little sprucing :)  This particular hat is in the two to four hour chapter, but for me it should be in the four to six hour chapter.  I am possibly the slowest knitter on the planet.  It's a little aggravating.  I can crochet a hat up in one evening...about one to two hours depending on the stitch.  Not knitting. Nope.  I cast this bad boy on last night and after working on it for a couple of hours, I have three I'm averaging  an inch and a half an hour.....sloooooowwww.  Here's hoping I get it done in time.

I'm also working on the Lady Kina sweater. This is a top down sweater and it's the first one I've ever done.  The pattern is for cap sleeves, but I want long sleeves so the stitches that would have been used for the cap sleeves are on stitch holders and I'll go pick them back up after I finish the body.  This is all experimental for me, so we'll see how it goes.  Dear Lady Kina was set to the side last night in favor of Kim's Hat.  Hope she's not a jealous lady.

Eventually I hope to learn to spin.  Car Guy thinks I'm batty, but there has got to be a great deal of satisfaction in the whole process. So if any one out there has a used, working spinning wheel, hook a girl up...with a reasonable price :)  Holy Cow! Have you seen how expensive those things are? 

So there you have it.  This is my world right now. Just grabbing moments here and there and knitting along. Hope everyone is enjoying their week!  Hold on, the weekend is almost here!

Monday, February 20, 2012

{Magic of the Mundane}

Today, I am joining Sofia over at Sofia's Ideas for Magic of the Mundane. I so love this idea because it totally falls in line with my desire to get back to simple. It can be a picture, a poem or song, a short video or anything else that celebrates the Magic. So often, we get caught up in "where we're going" that we forget to look at the beauty of "where we are."

My messy kitchen...this is something that happens on a regular basis as I do cook for my family quite a bit.  As with most mama's this is one of the most important thought out processes I go through.  Yesterday I made a huge pot of chili and let it simmer most of the day until is was perfect.  Usually when I look at the mess I create, I heave the deep sigh and dig in to clean it up.  But yesterday was a little different.  I had all my men home (husband and sons) safe and sound and enjoying the chili and being together. No one rushed off to be anywhere because of the not so mundane...

Snow!  Finally, after months of watching everyone else get snow, we got some too.  Last year by this time, we'd had 9 inches.  Now that's not the norm around here, but not getting any snow at all until the middle of February is not the norm either.
So today, I'm celebrating the mess that comes from this. The mess of making chili...the chopped onions, peppers, garlic, etc that somehow end up on the floor and countertops instead of in the pot (I'm a messy chef).  The mess of the dirty dishes from several bowls of chili eaten during the day that can make it to the sink, but not the dishwasher that is less that a foot away (Hello?!?!).  The mess of the wet patches of floor from frozen shoes thawing out. The mess that is life that we so take for granted.  There are some tough times in life, like Saturday, and some wonderful, beautiful time, like yesterday.  Celebrate the mess that is your life because there is beauty in the chaos.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Broken Hearted

 Today was such a difficult day. There were great victories and heart wrenching defeats.

Today I watched my oldest son and several of his teammates wrestle the last matches of their high school career and it was devastating.  

I've watched these boys go from awkward, terrified freshmen wrestlers to strong, confident young men. They are an amazing group of young men, so there for each other with support whether they win or lose. But today was particularly difficult as we had four seniors that will not be going to the state wrestling tournament. Some of them made it last year and got so close this year, but just didn't quite get there. 

It breaks a mama's heart to see these boys so crushed. To know how hard they worked and hoped and dreamed.  To watch "E" kiss his fingers then touch the mat one last time.  To watch them struggle with their pride and their tears and have to hold back your own because it would just make it harder for them to keep their heads up if they saw you crying for them.

"From long hair and little weights." They've come a long way and I'm so very proud.  Ride hard and rest easy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Moment

{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. Happy Friday!!
Just one of the cute things a man finds to show he loves me.
Inspired by Amanda Soule - Feel free to join in and share a link to your moment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I had to pop in to say hello and share some wonderful news.  Some of it is personal and some suites me personally, which will make sense once all is shared...
This first is that Number One Son qualified for the regional wrestling tournament!!  I am so proud of him! He has worked hard for this and being that this is his senior year, I love that he's doing well. So this weekend, we will be in a hot, stinky gym cheering our son and his teammates on.  A total of 10 wrestlers from his high school made it to regionals.  In my opinion, as an unbiased mama (ahem), that is pretty dang impressive.

The next bit of news comes from two blogs I follow and it is directly related to getting back to basics and finding the joy in simple living.

The first is Laura Emily...she has opened an Etsy store called Good Earth Living.  She opened it in January and I wanted to give her a chance to get everything settled and ready before I said anything...because you know I have such a huge following that this will crash the Etsy server.  Not!  However, when I see something I believe in, I like to share it.  Laura Emily is a certified Holistic Wellness Coach, so she knows what she's doing and her store has a nice selection of natural balms, supplemental tinctures, soap nuts and room sprays.  I personally believe in the practice of natural healing as I have seen some amazing things accomplished by it through herbs, juicing, whole foods, etc.  Go by and take a gander at her stuff - You might just see something you like!

The other is from Amanda Soule.  She has a wonderful blog that I've mentioned before (as in every Friday) and she is the author of three lovely books.  Now she has delved into the magazine business.  Taproot is her latest venture. This magazine is dedicated to those of us who are trying to find our way back to being our own suppliers rather than just consumers, of getting back to basics and a simpler, fuller life.  For me personally, this is a very timely publication and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Just another thing to go check out.

So there you have it - The things that have made me smile today.  Hope you enjoy!

FYI - These little blurbs, on this tiny space, in the vastness that we call the blogosphere, are of my own accord and are not paid advertisements.  I'm just spreading the word.  You know, the whole grass roots movement of word of mouth man....(said in a really laid back hippy kind of way)

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Magic of the Mundane}

Today, I am joining Sofia over at Sofia's Ideas for Magic of the Mundane.  This is such a wonderful idea and so totally falls in line with my desire to get back to simple.  It can be a picture, a poem or song, a short video or anything else that celebrates the Magic.  So often, we get caught up in "where we're going" that we forget to look at the beauty of "where we are."  I know I'm guilty of it. So with that in mind, my magic moment for today is....drum roll please.....
Breakfast.  More specifically, Sunday Morning Breakfast.  As the boys have gotten older, and our lives have gotten busier, sitting down together for a meal has gotten more difficult. So every Sunday morning we have breakfast together.  Usually, because it's A LOT cheaper, I cook. And let me tell you, cooking for two teenage boys is no small feat because they eat their weight in food.  But this is the time that we all sit together, discuss our week and have quality time.  I count on this to feel connected with my family.  Now don't get me wrong, we usually have dinner together several times a week, but someone is always going, so the meal is usually rushed. 

My Sunday routine is to get up before The Boys, fix breakfast and then go wake them up...usually with the threat that someone (their father) is going to eat their bacon...or sausage...or whatever else I might have prepared. Then we sit down together and eat, talk, laugh and pester, and just enjoy each others company.   Number One Son will be going to college next year, so I have to grab these moments while I can.

These Sunday mornings help center my world.  It's just breakfast, but it is definitely magic.

Friday, February 10, 2012

This Moment

{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. Happy Friday!!

Inspired by Amanda Soule - Feel free to join in and share a link to your moment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cross your fingers....

Tomorrow is finally my day in court for my traffic violation from 2009.  I'm sure I'll have to pay a heavy fine, but otherwise should be just fine. I seriously doubt that I'll have to do any hard jail time and might get off with time served....Ha Ha. I probably won't get to check out everyone's {this moment} posts until this weekend, but I will get there :) Please keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Often Wonder

Hello everyone!  Hope you are doing well this week.  I'm afraid that sickness has invaded our home.  Car Guy actually stayed home from work Monday and Tuesday.  I think I can count on my fingers how many times he done that in the last twenty years.  Then Number Two Son came down with it and stayed home yesterday and today.  It's not the flu, but has many flu like symptoms....fever, sniffles, coughing, minus the actual getting sick part. Number One Son and I feel like we're in a sick ward.  Maybe I should buy us some masks....

Having sick ones at home makes me wonder about the paths we take in our lives and what would have happened if I'd taken a different one.  I'm not talking about the "what if I hadn't married my husband" type of path either.  That one was a given as far as I'm concerned, as was having my children.  Those were decisions made that I would never change or wonder about. But what if I had stayed on the same path that I was on in college?

I was raised in the suburbs, but I had the benefit of going to my Aunt and Uncle's as a child.  They didn't live on a farm, but they had around 400 acres of land and I absolutely adored it.  My Aunt had a lovely garden and my Uncle kept bees. I remember going there as a child and having meals with fresh vegetables from the garden and running amok with my cousins. It was wonderful.

We also had a neighbor that had a farm not far from the house.  He would go every evening when he got home from his office job to take care of the cows.  He had a donkey/mule (don't remember which) called Beauty that no one could ride...but he/she could pull a plow like nobody's business.  Sometimes, if we were lucky, he'd take us kids with him.  We'd "help" him feed the cows and play in the hay barn.

I went on to college and my slight hippy tendencies became stronger, though slightly muffled by the eighties. By the time my husband met me I was "crunchy", but not a full blown "granola."  I think he found it amusing.  I enjoyed camping and hiking. I had long (to my butt) blond hair, lived in blue jeans but wore makeup. (Hello, can you say vain?)  I had a mouth that would make a sailor proud and wouldn't take crap off anyone.  The only thing that's changed since then is my hair has gotten darker and slightly shorter with age.  I probably dress more hippy now than I did then, but I still live in blue jeans.  My eating habits are slowly working their way back to how I ate then too - Lots of fruits and veggies and very little meat (mostly chicken and fish).  But during all this, there was a little part of me that wanted to go back the neighbor's farm or my Aunt and Uncle's place.

I've always appreciated what I call the "home arts" of knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, canning, etc.  I grew up with it all around me, I just didn't learn a lot of it until I was older...and this is where I start to wonder.  What if I'd paid more attention and learned younger?  What if I'd spent more time in the garden, or the kitchen for that matter, with either one of my grandmothers?  Would I have picked up gardening?  Would I have taken these skills with me? Would I have been the cool but quirky mom that knows how to make or do anything their kids needed while everyone else's mom was taking on corporate America?  Would it have changed the way I raised my boys? Probably. I don't know if it would have been better, possibly just different. And there are no guarantees that they would have taken anything away from it or if they would have been just as oblivious to it as I was, but I wonder.

I know that "what ifs" are often a waste of time, but sometimes I just can't help it.  Sometimes I want to quit my job and ask my Aunt if I could build a little house on her land, support myself with a garden and some farm animals and maybe raise Alpacas...and bless her heart, she'd probably welcome me with open arms. The older I get, the more appealing it sounds. And I think Car Guy is starting to agree with me, just a little.  I'm afraid it will have to wait a while though. We've two boys that have no desire to live "out in the middle of nowhere" and we need to keep working as they want to go to college. I'll give them that, but once they're done....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Does This Happen To You?

So, I've been diligently knitting on a towel for a couple of weeks now and it is going soooo  s   l   o  w.  Argh!  Why is that?  I so want to finish it, but it just doesn't seem to be moving?  I feel like I'm going to be eternally stuck at 12.5 inches on this thing.  At first, I was so excited.  I was learning something new and it's such a pretty pattern.  My first lament was "Am I was ever going to be able to memorize the stitch pattern?" (Answer - No) Now I'm just trying to finish it.

Well, I finally got disgusted with it this past weekend.  We were sitting in yet another wrestling tournament (Number One Son came in fourth!!) and I was still knitting this darn towel.  I was so bored - *yawn* This particular tournament was fairly well organized (SHOCKER!) and we were done at a reasonable time.  I believe we were home by around 4:00 pm....Total shocker. And I pulled out the towel and I know I looked at it with total dread - insert heavy sigh here. That's when I decided I needed a respite from it. Don't worry, I'll finish it because it's important to me, but I just won't finish it right now.

So what did I do, you ask?  (This is so bad)  I started something else. I didn't pick up my incarceration socks and complete them....or any other item that I should be completing -  like hemming a friend's curtains that I've had for a month.  Noooooo.....I went through my stash and found a pretty gray yarn and decided to start a sweater...the Lady know, because I have nothing better to do.

Why did I do this?!?!  Has this ever happened to you? Any great insight would be greatly appreciated because I'm feeling a little sheepish...kind of like when you're eating a cookie and you haven't finished yet and you catch yourself reaching for another....Oh.  You don't do that?  Never mind.

Friday, February 3, 2012

This Moment

{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. Happy Friday!!
Looks like someone wants some strawberries!

Inspired by Amanda Soule - Feel free to join in and share a link to your moment.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Busy Week

Hello everyone!  Hope you are having a good week.  Ours has been very busy. It started on Monday with dinner at the newest Biscuit's house. 

Oh! I've been asked what a Biscuit is so here's a quick explanation.  Biscuits are a wonderful group of women that meet once a week to knit, crochet, laugh, get rowdy, get disapproving looks in restaurants, etc.  Ultimately, Biscuits are the best support group a girl could have.  I met these girls about a year ago and they have become some of the best friends.  We don't judge, just love.  It's a wonderful thing...and we like new members.  Doesn't matter how old you are, what you do for a living or if you crochet or knit...we'll let you join us. But we'll eventually turn you into a hooker if you're not careful  : )

Anyway...we had dinner at Sparkle's house Monday - a delish pasta free lasagna and a cake made with a can of Cheerwine...I kid you not.  It's the first soft drink I've had in ages, but it doesn't really count since I didn't drink it, right?!? All of the food was wonderful and hanging out with a few Biscuits is always good. Sparkle is the latest addition.  Mel picked her up at the gym....Lol!

Last night, we had a wrestling match. Number Two Son wrestled JV and pinned his opponent and Number One Son wrestled Varsity and won his match based on points.  I was so proud of my boys! Tomorrow night is another wrestling match against one of our most hated rivals and Saturday is another wrestling tournament

Tonight, is our regularly scheduled Biscuit Night.  I think we'll be meeting at my house instead of Panera's.  This way we can be as loud and obnoxious as we want....Car Guy and the Boys can't say anything about that because boys are always louder and more obnoxious than girls...that's my story and I'm sticking too it.

I have been slowly working on a knitted gift for my sister-in-law's mother.  This sweet lady used to be an avid knitter.  From what I gather, she no longer knits...not sure why, but when she found out that I did, she packed up all of her needles, hooks and yarn and sent them my way.  How incredibly sweet! So I'm making her a Guest Towel.  It seems to be moving along pretty good.  I'm sure, for a more experienced knitter, it would go a lot faster.  I seem to get most of it done at the wrestling tournaments we go to each weekend. I hope to finish it this weekend, so I can get it into the mail to her.  I'm using Peaches & Cream Cotton yarn. I'll take pictures of it when it's all done and blocked.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.  Things should slow down a little bit after wrestling season is over.  It's really funny, I complain about how busy it keeps us, but once the season is over, I'll miss it terribly...especially since this is Number One Son's senior year. *sniff, sniff* They grow up so fast.  See you Friday!