Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Daze

clementines and coloring

This is how we spent our snow day yesterday.

out exploring

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm feeling super un-motivated today. It's bitter cold outside yet the sun streaming through the window is so warm it feels like I'm sitting on the beach - ahhhh. How about some random bullets:
  • I'm working on a care package for my college freshman brother. So far I'm putting in cookies, wool socks, a knitted hat, cash, what else? Ideas? He is facing finals next week and is stressed out to the max, poor guy. I wish I could put a plane ticket in that care package because I miss him terribly and feel the need to feed and spoil him thoroughly.
  • My son told me this morning that when I volunteer in his classroom it increases his popularity by at least 10%. That gave me a chuckle. I'm glad I can help, buddy.
  • My littlest man has had an ear infection for three weeks but the real pain seemed to come to a peak earlier this week. He spent Monday and Tuesday laying on my lap watching cartoons. It's torture when your kid is in pain. This morning he seemed ready and roaring to face the day which is great... so far so good! Lets hope that this darn ear infection is going to go away and STAY away now.
  • I'm knitting Route 66 socks, I'm crocheting a mega granny square afghan out of my Peace Fleece stash, I'm knitting slipper socks for my husband, a sweater for my oldest son. Needless to say, my needles and hooks are busy and progress is slow. Hopefully I'll have it all done by Christmas. The Route 66 socks are total selfish knitting though and of course what is drawing all of my attention. I'm awful like that.
  • I'm going to make lots of Christmas cookies this year and will be mailing out most of them. I'm thinking Egg Nog Snickerdoodles from the latest Cooks Country, peanut butter dream bars (old 4H recipe), waffle cookies (Grama Betty's prize recipe), chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies (Cooks Country), I saw a recipe for hazelnut lemon curd cookies (also Cooks Country) that I'd like to try, and I dunno -- whatever else strikes my fancy. I hope to get most done this weekend. I'll also make, truffles, peanut clusters, fudge and dipped pretzels. Most will be going to my sorely missed brother.
  • I made some penny rug Christmas ornaments. Two are designated for my boys -- I stitched their names on to the backs of them yesterday. (photos to come) I took one of the ornaments that my Grandma Martha made me off of our tree as a reference. It felt so wonderful to use one of her hand made ornaments as a guide. It felt like she was sitting right there with me and I was reminded of so many reasons why I loved her and also how much I am like her today.
  • I have a kit to make two needle felted gnomes that I'm going to make in to ornaments. I think my parents will get a kick out of them.
  • We bought a waffle iron a few weeks ago. It's been fun to make waffles with my boys. They both love to mix up the batter and the little man is in charge of letting me know when the red light turns to green.
  • We have NO snow. Well, a dusting but that is it. We're all twiddling our thumbs waiting for the first big wallop of snow. When, oh when will it be?
  • When I tell people out here that my boys love to sled, they correct me and say "oh, you mean sliding?" I think it's because 'sledding' refers to snowmobiling out here.
  • I miss all the Christmas lights in Des Moines... we used to love driving around looking at lights. There are a couple of houses here that decorate but nothing like living in a city.
OK -- back to my sock, my sunshine, and my tea. Cheers!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Look! I finished a project and I did not knit it. I took an impromptu lesson on penny rugs a couple weeks ago and have been blanket stitching pieces of wool together ever since. It's so simple and is a nice break from the knitting.

This pillow is definitely country cutesy which really isn't my style. But it's seasonal and I can stand it for the Christmas season. I'd love to work up some of my own designs. I see visions of sheep -- pumpkins -- owls -- with an artsy fresh funky feeling. I don't know when I'll get to that but it'd be fun. Until then, I'm having fun trying new kits.

There are kits galore for penny rug and applique projects online (no surprise there). I have been browsing the kits at Winterberry Cabin lately. This is the next kit I'm going to try. I also love all of the Wooly Lady applique kits... especially the pillows!

Anyway, it's been fun to find another hobby other than knitting that is still related to wool. There's just something about wool.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ascutney Aran Hat

Size 7 needles
Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd Worsted - Sage colorway

This was a very satisfying project. The pattern is fun with many different techniques ... provisional cast on, Kitchener stitch, fun cables, double decreases on the crown. A fun project, indeed.

The YARN -- oh my word my friends -- the yarn is incredible. I am a sucker for classic worsted wool. I gravitate to it whenever I'm in a yarn store. I love it for it's versatility. It's truly the 'box of crayons' yarn of them all in my opinion. Stonehedge Fiber Mill has an amazing rainbow of colors for their Shepherd Worsted merino top and this sage green was a beauty... it was heathery and had just the slightest hint of yellow in it that just added a touch of sunshine to it. But beyond the color, this yarn is the softest worsted weight classic wool I've ever felt or knit with. Yes, obnoxiously I put that in bold face that is how much I love it. This yarn is not terribly easy to find and there aren't any yarn stores in Maine that carry it. I bought mine from a Ravelry friend. You really should seek this yarn out for yourself and enjoy it. I know you will!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Triple Seed Stitch Cowl

This cowl was pure delight to knit. I used Malabrigo Rios (Indiecita colorway) that I got on a whim at Halcyon Yarn recently. I just love this colorway and this yarn is truly squishy buttery soft.

The pattern is just my own... with size 6 needles, CO 112 sts, join in to the round being careful not to twist stitches, k1p1 for three rounds, the p1k1 for three rounds... repeat until you're close to running out of yarn. Then repeat in pattern for 2 rounds, then bind off in pattern.

I washed and blocked and this cowl got even squishier and softer! It'll be a lovely, lofty, lightweight neck warmer for a friend this winter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Year in Pictures - Week ?

So I've gotten severely off track with my Year in Pictures project. I'm not going to try to play catch-up. I'm just going to post a couple favorites and move on. I don't think I'm going to be able to stay completely organized like I want to, but I'm still going to participate as much as I can.

We live in the woods and have exactly one neighbor. They made sure to let us know that the boys need to come Trick or Treat at their house on Halloween. They are so great at making our boys feel special and we appreciate it so much.

We have an amazing little Japanese Maple tree in our side garden. It was spectacular this fall. It turned the most perfect shade of red well after all the other trees were past their peak. It was a wonderful late fall treat. They're all gone now, but it's a nice treat to look back on the pictures.

A break in the clouds behind our house on a peaceful fall evening.

We had stuffed acorn squash for supper the other night. It was good but well... very squashy... and while I like squash, I don't LOVE it. The rice was superb though. I used Alton Brown's brown rice salad recipe and it was fantastic.

My son is growing like a weed! He already wears my shoes and they're going to be too small soon enough (probably a good thing since he looks silly walking around in my shoes) but he also can easily wear my handknit socks. I caught him rifling through my handknit sock drawer the other day looking for a pair ... my first thought was "EEEK! I need to find a new place to hide all the letters to Santa!" But then I was just so thrilled that my socks fit him. We have sorted out all of the 'boyish' handknit socks that I have for him to borrow for a while. It won't be long at the rate he's growing but hopefully we can get through the winter.

On a side note, I don't think he believes in Santa anymore but we sort of have this 'wink wink' agreement about Santa. He knows that he has to keep it alive for his brother.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Year in Pictures - Week 4


10/7 - a little out of town shopping.


10/8 - Fryeburg Fair


10/9 - I will never get tired of playing lincoln logs.


10/10 - It was gorgeous tonight. The wind finally died down and we spent a long time playing outside.


10/11 - Pardon the odd reflections -- I took this through our kitchen window. It's impossible to tell how big these turkeys are in this photo but they're huge. We have dozens that circle the house throughout the day. They're our feathered friends that we've watched grow up from little babies earlier this summer. It was so funny when they were young because they'd jump and hop around in the tall grasses to get the grains off the top.


10/12 - a favorite snack


10/13 - steamy lake -- the air was cold this morning but the lake is still warm.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Year in Pictures - Week 3

15: 365

9/30 - Yet another rainy gloomy day. Today the little man sat at the table most of the afternoon making pictures while Eric and I moved furniture around.

16: 365

10/1 - Just a quick errand to run but the view was incredible. I had to pull over to take it in and get a quick snap.


10/2 - The sun was setting and making pretty shadows on the wall... this chair is where I do most of my knitting.


10/3 - Today was a gorgeous fall day. This is Horseshoe Pond in Stow, Maine. We had fun frolicking in the woods... we hiked a little, we explored deep woods back roads, we found new places to canoe. We went back roads all the way in to North Conway, NH to avoid as much traffic as possible ... our route took us up and over Hurricane Mountain -- what a fun road that is.


10/4 - Joe Booker Stew -- (beef stew with dumplings) Here I am testing the dumplings ... they weren't quite done. This stew was phenomenal. I don't know if you can call mine the traditional 'Joe Booker' because I didn't use the salt pork... but it was still great. The leftovers were even better and I put half away (sans dumplings) in the freezer, too.

10/5 - Today I sat at the kitchen table for hours seaming up my new cardigan. The pattern is October Frost by Lisa Lloyd. I was shooting to be done this week so I really pushed it and got it finished. It still needs to block, but over all I'm absolutely thrilled with the end result. FO Photos to come!


10/6 Remember last year when I had woodstove envy? Well then you can probably guess how happy we are that we have a woodstove now! Wow how far we've come in one year. I can't believe that this is the third house we've lived in since that post last year. That's two of the three huge moves we've made since February of 2009. I'm still reminded constantly about all that we've been through in such a short amount of time... I'm very eager for it to all start fading in to the background. We're working on that -- life is settling down quite a bit and for the most part we're very happy with how everything worked out... and the woodstove sure is a nice bonus!

photos taken this week: 46

Monday, October 4, 2010

Year in Pictures - Week 2


9/23 MISS! No pictures taken today


9/24 - Today it's cloudy, humid, foggy, and all around gloomy... but the leaves reflected on the lake are still pretty!


9/25 - This is what 2 cord of firewood looks like. That's 11200 lbs of wood! We worked all day to transfer it from the pile in the front yard to neatly stacked on the patio and ready for winter. I'm excited about all of the cozy nights in front of the wood stove... but kind of sad that I've lost my view on the patio.


9/26 - I can already see that one of the challenges with this project will be picking just one photo per day. Today would be one of those days. After a long, hard, busy week we took off on a Sunday drive up to Rangeley to do some leaf peeping... it was still very wet and gloomy and the views were limited. However, we did still see some amazing foliage. My favorite photo from the day was this one of my oldest son. I love that he's getting more interested in photography and is so observant. He takes some pretty good shots, too!


9/27 - I forgot to post the goodies I got from when we visited Harrisville Designs a couple weeks ago. I got this yarn in a kit to knit the Bumblebee Jacket by Vivian Hoxbro. I have been a big fan of these kits for a long time. They were on deep discount in the store so it was just meant to be.


9/28 - With my new work schedule and Tommy's new preschool schedule, the only day that we have with just each other is Tuesday. I really look forward to these days with my little man. It's odd to go from being attached at the hip 24/7 to one day a week just the two of us. Today it was another rainy gloomy day but we didn't let it dampen our spirits... in this photo we're taking a walk up our driveway.


9/29 - One of my kitchen window sills. The marigold on the right is one that Jacob brought home from school last year for Mother's Day. The tart in the warmer is 'Pumpkin Cupcake' from Yankee candle, and the house is holding Dove chocolates.

photos taken this week: 223

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Year in Pictures - Week 1

She started it and I thought I'd play along. Happy Birthday to us!

1:365 Minestrone

9/16 -Today is my 33rd birthday. I made a big pot of minestrone (my fave) and as you can see it was messy. I have very limited counter space in this house (why does it seem like every time we move I lose counter space?!) The soup was delicious and since it was my birthday, I didn't have to clean this mess up.

2:365 Work

9/17 - I worked at the yarn shop today. I'm thrilled about this new arrangement. New faces, new friends, new opportunities. I kept thinking all day long that 'wow, I'm getting paid for this!'

3:365 Budding Artist

9/18 - Smiley faces with arms and legs are my new favorite pieces of art and are pure genius.

4:365 Ahh Lake

9/19 - It's meditative to live near a natural body of water for numerous reasons. For me it's very therapeutic to take it all in every time I'm going to and from home. Each time I drive through here, I give thanks. The leaves have changed quite a bit since I took this photo... I'll have to do a comparison shot.

5:365 Pikes Hill

Not the greatest photo but I'm going to stay true to my task at hand... it's the only photo I took today. This road is incredibly steep... I wasn't to the steep downhill yet. At the top of the hill the view is enough to cause one to get teary -- the mountains to the west, our small town in the valley below and the hills beyond. But don't get too choked up and keep that foot on the brake because it feels like it's straight downhill from here!

6:365 A Walk in the Woods

9/21 - The boys and I took a walk after school today. It was just too nice to head inside to make dinner and do homework. We can't wait for many more walks throughout the fall. The colors will be amazing.

7:365 Hopscotch

9/22 - We add a few squares every time we come outside. Since taking this I think we're up to 96.

photos taken this week: 128

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Harrisville Designs

I live with a house full of boys. Most of our weekends are filled with outdoorsy activities that directly contrast with my favorite hobby: Knitting! You won't find me complaining though because I also love the great outdoors and all the fun that we have. But this past weekend I got to choose what we were going to to totally based on what I wanted to do. So, we took a little field trip over to Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire.

The drive took about five hours one way! But the drive... ohhh... it's spectacular! We drove through the White Mountains on the Kancamagus Highway (route 112) which is just stunning. It was a route through the mountains that we have not taken before, then we went through Concord which is a charming town and eventually wound our way through the woods to the tiny village of Harrisville.

Like many villages here in New England, it was like driving in to a scene set back in time. My boys all instantly took off in the opposite direction of the weaving studio and just let me take it all in. I did just sort of wander around the shop for a few minutes. I know it's cheesy but it was a bit of a spiritual experience. I could just feel the history, the creativity, the potential, the warmth shared in craft. It was an inspired space filled with inspiring yarns.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I started this sock and am in love with it. However, I'm not in love with the multi-colored yarn. It's Crystal Palace Mini Mochi in the Autumn Rainbow colorway. The yarn is a single ply but is a wool/nylon blend. I thought the nylon would make it stronger but not the case. I've already had it pull apart twice and have come upon a knot. Not things I like to discover while knitting a sock. I'm thinking that I'll do the foot the semi-solid off white.... K1C2 Crock-o-Dye. But it's a bummer since all the 'fun' of the sock will be under my pant leg. Ahhh well. I'll knit this pattern again with stronger sock yarn. 2.5mm circ / my own pattern.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I drive by this field of sunflowers quite often and today I just had to stop and take a couple of photos...

I've been eager for fall for weeks now. But all of the sudden I'm craving sunshine and warmth for a few more weeks... fall can wait. We all know what comes after.... shiver.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We work well together...

... one obsession meets another ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baxter State Park

I've been trying to find the words to describe our recent camping trip to Baxter State Park.

In short: AMAZING.

We canoed, hiked, stargazed, ooh'd and ahh'd a lot, ate toasted marshmallows, read, knit, laughed, joked, slept in a tent, sat around a campfire, heard moose, saw quail, didn't see moose or bear, made new friends, and then canoed and hiked some more. It was SUCH fun! It was your typical camping experience, really, but everything was just right and magical in a simple way. We cannot wait to go back for more next year.

The air was crisp, the sun was warm, the water was crystal clear, the trees were huge, the quiet was wonderful. The best part? No cell phone service!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One more Iowa photo...

(click to embiggen)

I snapped this photo the morning that we left Iowa... June 25. It was a stunning morning... that drive between Edgewood and Dubuque. Stacia, I know you know it well. It's just so beautiful. The rolling hills, the low fog on the fields, the sunrise, the quiet. Ahhh, Iowa. I might be having a love affair with Maine, but you'll always be home sweet home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tunes on Tuesday

We Will Rock You - Queen (in lego!)

This is just a creative little video that we found one day -- my boys LOVE it... enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

As I sit down to write this, I'm thinking "WOW, is it really still Tuesday?" This has been one heck of a marathon day. We're in the thick of summer activities and that combined with just moving means I'm constantly doing something. It feels good to SIT for a minute between bedtimes and kick back for a few. I thought I'd participate in this weeks Ten on Tuesday, hosted by Carole.

The topic this week is: 10 Things You Like About Where You Live.

I love that I'm back in New England. I lived in Massachusetts for a while and then Connecticut when I married my husband and we had our firstborn boy. I've actually lived most of my adult life in New England and it truly feels like where I'm supposed to be now... finally. Whenever we're returning from long road trips to visit family, when we hit New England I feel like we're home even though we aren't quite. I'm pretty familiar with the entire region.

Maine has always been 'a part of the plan' for my husband and me. I'm glad that we stuck it out through the first rocky year of living here after moving away from our wonderful life in Iowa and that we're settling in once and for all. Time is starting to slow down just a little bit and we're settling in for the long haul. We're thrilled to be able to raise our boys here.

Here is my contribution to Ten on Tuesday... and some reasons why we love it here so much...

1. The clean air.... right in my neck of the woods it's particularly pine-y. We live in the foothills of the White Mountains. It's especially dense woods and the air is so clean here. It's also a prime recreation area so we always can smell the hint of a campfire. In the winter it's woodstoves. The air is just so clean here. I also love it because my son's allergies have significantly decreased since we moved to Maine.

2. The quiet. It doesn't take long to be 'in the middle of no where' in Maine. Traffic is minimal... even our small town (which is actually three neighboring towns) has three stop lights. It's a bustling town but 'traffic' is all relative. Drive out of town a little bit and you pretty much have the road to yourself. Plus, we're at least 45 minutes from the nearest interstate so there's no traffic noise. Actually, here at our new house we're far off the road and don't have any traffic. The only traffic we do hear is on the lake... boats, ski-doos, laughter. It's good traffic.

3. The lakes. Natural lakes. Crystal clear, abutting dense deep woods and granite cliffs. They're just so beautiful. There are so many small lakes around here -- I think on our last drive around the area we counted seven but there are so many more.

4. Being close to the ocean. We live about 90 minutes from our absolute favorite beach. We go as often as possible. Every time we do, we all just bubble up with glee.

5. Community. Out here in our small town, folks are VERY close-knit and while that has been a challenge to break in to, people are starting to warm up to us and welcoming us in to their community. We're happy to be a part of such a rich family environment.

6. Outdoor recreation. I love that no matter what time of year, people are outside having fun here. Outside recreation is the main focus at all times out here. We just LOVE that.

7. The ability to just be. People generally don't care what you're up to. They don't meddle, they just sort of let you be and expect to be left alone. I respect that.

8. The wildlife.... the birds, the loons, the moose, the occasional black bear, the porcupines, the howling coyotes, the family of wild turkeys. I love watching it all.

9. LOCAL FOOD!!! The local food market is not a fashionable, trendy thing here. Small farms are alive and thriving here... it's so wonderful to always have a bounty of local produce, dairy, meats, eggs, breads, seafood, younameit right here all the time. I don't take it for granted and try to buy as much local food as possible. The farmer's markets are great but there are a ton of farm stands so we generally just go to the farms themselves for our food. We're building relationships with the folks who are providing our food and I just love that!

10. I feel that New England is the knitting capital of the world. The knitting community is so rich here. So commonplace even. So many people knit that it's not even a big deal. But we're just absolutely spoiled having the best fiber festivals, local mills, farms, and very special yarn stores to visit. But not only that but major suppliers for the rest of the USA are based here in New England. This region is also rich with talented designers as well. It's overwhelming to me to feel like I'm at the center of the hobby that I love so much.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tunes on Tuesday

Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Swimming lessons: day 1

Today the boys started swimming lessons! Not really something new for us -- except that lessons here are held in the lake, and not in a high tech aquatic center in suburbia. My boys took to the water like fish! I went in with the babe during his lesson to help ease his nerves and he did great... and it was the first time that I've ever stuck my foot in a lake! I was all "EEEK! and EWWWW!" on the inside but couldn't show an ounce of emotion other than joy and confidence on the outside.

Big brother absolutely LOVED swimming in the lake! I see us spending lots of time swimming in the lakes around here from now on. Out in the distance along the buoys there was someone swimming long, leisurely laps. It looked so appealing to me.... maybe.... just maybe.... I mean, I was on the swim team you know and it was my favorite source of exercise... it just looked so meditative out there on the lake under the sunshine, cruising along the rope. I'll work up to that... until then... I'll take baby steps right along with my own little duckling!