Goodbye 2008

There's only about 8 1/2 hours of 2008 left here in the Pacific Northwest.  In looking back, I can truly say that the year has been a very good one for us.  Like everyone else, we've seen our investments take a tumble, but at least we have investments!  In looking at my retirement account, it may have an impact on whether or not I can completely retire next year, but time will tell.  Hubby, the sons, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, sisters, brothers and parents are all in reasonably good health.  Life is good.

I spent today enjoying the fruits of my labor and some really nice Christmas gifts.  Ben and Abby gave me an gift certificate and I bought Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day.  I made my first loaf:


Yum!  I think this is the best bread I've ever had – especially spread with my own homemade apple butter.  I made white bread for hubby – he prefers it over whole wheat.  I usually don't like white bread that much, but this was very good.  I'm really looking forward to trying the whole wheat recipes with my own home ground wheat. 

This afternoon, I fired up my iPod shuffle (thanks Dr. Olson) and loaded in some new tunes (thanks Allen for the iTunes gift certicate) and did some lace blocking while listening to The Priests.  Talk about the voice of angels!!  Lace and beautiful music – how good can it get?

Garden Shawl before:


And after:


I guess blocking a blue shawl on a blue carpet doesn't make for the best of pictures, does it?

Specs:  Garden Shawl by Fiddlesticks Knitting
Yarn:  Baruffa Cashwool
Needles:  I forget – 2/3??  Something like that.

I will always think of this as Hester's shawl.  I was working on it when she died and in the weeks after I immersed myself in it as a way of dealing with my grief.  When Maggie arrived I was way too busy to focus on lace and put it away for a while.  I'm glad to have it finished by the end of the year.

Our plans tonight are the same as most of our New Year's Eves.  We plan to eat leftovers and attempt to stay up until 10:00 p.m.  We are real party animals!  Happy New Year!!

Lotsa Knitting

One thing about being snowed in is that there is lotsa time for knitting!  We were not able to get our cars unstuck until yesterday.  I know the snow didn't look that extreme from the photos, but underneath the snow was ice and underneath that gravel, so it was impossible to get traction on the hill up to our house.  We were downright giddy with delight at being able to finally get out yesterday!

While stuck in the house, I engaged in one of my favorite activities – watching cheesy science fiction movies and knitting.  I was determined to conquer the border on the Garden Shawl – and I did!  This is what victory looks like:


All that's left is to weave in a few ends and block.  Since I have the next week off I should be able to get to it fairly quickly.  Usually I like doing the borders on shawls, but this border seemed to be tedious in the extreme.  Perhaps it was because the pattern was difficult to memorize.  It took me about half the edging before I really got it down.

Tomorrow we're really going to get out and are going to the mainland for shopping, lunch out and a movie, courtesy of my sister.  I am way beyond giddy at the prospect.  Is there really a world out there? 

Maggie is going a little stir crazy.  She did get out while there was snow, but now that it is melting, it is a muddy mess out there.  We're going to have to put her on the treadmill to expend some excess energy.  We've spent endless hours throwing her ball down the hall.  She's a good little girl, though, and brings it back every time.  If she drops it where you can't reach it, all you have to say is, "It's too far away!" and she'll nudge it with her nose until you can reach it.

In the meantime, she pretended to be snuggly with my sister, but I think she had ulterior motives:


Although usually a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, I have decided not to make any this year.  I am going to use the next week off work to try and get a little more organized.  I'll try to do an organizational project each day and my reward will be some "play" time.  So far I've organized the hutch in our kitchen, which had become a dumping spot for just about everything. 

My major job will be organizing my sewing room – AGAIN!  I do not seem to have the knack of keeping it tidy when I'm working on a project.  I hope to find the bottom so I can start on a new project on New Year's Day.  I usually start a new project for the new year.  This year it will be a quilt rather than a knitting project – so stay tuned!

Hope this finds everyone safe and digging out from all the snow.  Happy New Year to all my readers!


Well, it's official.  We are snowed in!  On Monday my boss came and picked me up down at the highway, but yesterday hubby decided to brave the elements and take me to work.  Things went well until he tried to get back up our driveway.  This is a far as he got:


This photo was taken about 20 feet down the driveway from our garage.  So close, but so far away!  My sister got a little closer:


You can see the side of our garage in the background.  However, we are NOT complaining.  We're just so thrilled that she made it at all.  It just wouldn't be Christmas without her here. 

Today we decided we would sally forth and walk down to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  It's about 3/4 of a mile downhill to town and about 2 miles uphill back.  We were doing fine until we came around the corner at the bottom of the hill and the wind off the water hit us.  It got a little frigid at that point, so we decided discretion was the better part of valor and hopped on the bus for the trip home.  Here we are setting out:


And here's the end of our driveway:


The crazy thing is that once you get to the end of the driveway, the roads are bare and wet.  We just can't get that far.  The good news is that we should be thawed out by the weekend.

I decided I needed to revisit my UFO's and picked up the Garden Shawl.  The only thing left is the border, but it is pretty tedious! 


I'm about halfway done.  I haven't done any lace in a while and this took some adjusting after working with worsted weight yarn.  But, like riding a bicycle it came back and I'm in a rhythm.  I'd like to get this done before Nancy Bush's class in January, but we'll see.  I am off work until January 5th and can't go anywhere for the immediate future so . . . .

A Merry Christmas to all.  I hope you are surrounded by loved ones as we are.  God has been so incredibly good to us this year and we are very, very thankful.  We miss Ben, Abby and the granddaughters, but will be able to video chat with them as they open their presents from us.  Love to you all!

Snow Days(s)

We've had some uncharacteristic cold and snowy weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  A snowstorm blew through last Wednesday and Thursday, dumping about 5 inches.  I can just hear Marguerite laughing.  Five inches?  That's springtime in Michigan!  But around here it brings things to a screeching halt.  We rarely get snow and when it does come it doesn't hang around more than a day or two.  This is not only hanging around, it's inviting company.   An even worse storm is predicted starting this afternoon, this one bringing high winds along with it.  So we are prepared and hunkered down.  I have plenty of yarn to keep me entertained, we have a gas stove to keep us warm, a generator to keep the fridge and the internet going and pleasant company aka Bill, Kirby and Maggie.

Maggie, by the way absolutely adores snow!  I should have gotten some video, but she runs and leaps and pounces through it with great abandon.  And she especially loves catching snowballs:


I have continued on my digital scrapbooking and am having so much fun it's ridiculous!  I'm not going to be posting a lot of my pages, but I do want to show you this one that I'm particularly proud of.  This will be one of the first pages of Ivy's scrapbook:


Is that not exceedingly sweet?  This was created using the Baby Robin kit from

Another project that's grabbed my attention:


Potholders!  I needed to make one for a gift exchange and found they were like potato chips – I couldn't just make one.  I got a little carried away.

Never fear that knitting has totally taken a back seat.  Several of our LYS have gotten together with a goal of 100 blankets for Project Linus before the tulips bloom.  This will be my contribution:


It's interesting how the picture came out – it's not that stripey in real life.  This is Encore worsted in the Drifting colorway and the pattern is out of my favorite baby afghan book – Leisure Arts "Our Best Knit Baby Afghans".  I'm finding this so addicting that I may revisit my charity knitting direction.  Besides Project Linus, our local Pregnancy Care Center can always use afghans.   It's the perfect mindless knitting.  The patterns in the book are easily memorized and you just plug into cruise control and go.  No shaping, no fitting, no gauge issues.  The only problem is that after a while they're not so portable.  I guess that's what socks are for, right?

I'm not sure if I'll post again until after Christmas.  I hope the holidays find you surrounded by those you love.   It's hard to imagine peace in our world, but I hope this season reminds us of the gift of God's Son who is able to bring peace to our hearts. 

Going Digital

A rare mid-week post!  You lucky dogs, you.  One of the projects I've been excited about since getting my new computer is delving into the realm of digital scrapbooking.  I've loved the idea of scrapbooking, but accumulating all the paraphernalia associated with it has discouraged me.  I love the idea of digital scrapbooking.  With the encouragement of Theresa, I am making a slow beginning.  Here is my very first page:


This is not an original, but was done by following the excellent tutorial of Linda Sattgast from Scrapper's Guide.  I highly recommend her video.  It takes you by the hand and leads you through the basics of Photoshop Elements.  I did add a few little touches of my own.

My second page was made using the kit Warmest Wishes from

Christmas 2006

It's extremely simple compared to some of the pages out there, but I am quite proud of it.  It only took me about 2 1/2 hours!  I'm hoping to get much more original and a little speedier as I go along.  And more accurate – after I finished this page I realized it is four generations!  The "real" copy has been edited to correct that.


I had a birthday this week!  I absolutely refuse to reveal my age, but hubby made me a darling little cake:


To celebrate my birthday, I had a meeting with my boss and told him that this would be my last year with the practice.  I plan to retire no later than my birthday next year.  I have to admit he took it well – there was a minimum of whining and moaning.  I now have 362 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes and 6 (no, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) seconds until retirement.   But who's counting?  The one thing that could change retirement would be if a social worker position came open with Headstart.  The job is tailor made for my degree and I wouldn't mind having a chance to put it to use for a year or two.

In between the celebrations I've been finishing up Christmas gifts.  The little red sweater and hat are finished:


Keiara is going for her first picture with Santa this weekend, so I gave the set to her mother so she would have something special to wear.  Lisa was thrilled and promised me a picture.  With her permission I'll post it here so you can all see how cute she is.

I also finished a little present for Ivy – a Yo-Yo Bunny:


The yo-yo's were great fun to make.  The rest of it – not so much.   I tried to get all the bloodstains off the head.  I lost count of how many times I stuck myself.  Now I can get their box off in the mail early next week. 

This year we decided to do something different with our tree.  We've always had a big one – or at least as big as we could handle in our sunroom.  I did bow to the necessity for an artifical one several years ago at the urging of my fire inspector hubby.  This year he suggested a live tree.  We bought a beautiful little blue spruce that will hopefully serve as our Christmas tree for several years to come:


Rather than pull out the huge box of ornaments we've collected over the years, we used a box of miniature ornaments that I've collected, but that always seemed to get lost on the big tree.  I did pull out some especially sentimental favorites, such as the little plastic stained glass angels that my sister sent us on our very first Christmas.  They're been on our tree for 37 years now!  Over the years I bought a new ornament for each of the boys every year.  I decided to retire those this year and instead have started the new tradition for the granddaughters.  I had already bought them ornaments for the past years, and added a new one for each of them for this year.  When they establish their own household, they'll have a box of ornaments to put on their first tree.  I still think the tree needs something – a touch of red perhaps.  So I'll check in town today to see if I can find some miniature apples or bows.

A blogging friend of mine, Theresa, has started a digital scrapbooking blog.  If you get a chance, pop on over to Forget Me Nots Designs and give her a big ole cyber hug!  She is an incredibly talented and inspirational lady.

Yarn Thief

Edited:  For some reason Typepad is not playing nice with my pictures.  I've had a trouble ticket in for almost a week, with no resolution.  So I deleted the offending post and have reposted using .jpg's instead of .gif's.  Not sure what the problem is because I've been formatting my pictures the same way for at least a year or more!

Up until now Maggie's been pretty good with my yarn.  She hasn't bothered anything that wasn't at floor level.  Until now.  Hubby came home from shopping the other day to this pretty picture:


This was in a ziploc bag on the sofa!  Bad dog!!  Fortunately no serious damage was done.

I had a fun weekend.  Saturday, thanks to my sister, I got to go see "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at the 5th Avenue theater.  It was the most fun I've ever had at a musical.  I think rollicking would be a good description.  Our seats were only four rows from the stage, so we had a great view.  Thanks sis!

Today I drove back from Seattle to join our knitting group at the annual Christmas dinner sponsored by our sister group.  As you might remember, we host a picnic for them in the summer and they host the Christmas party for us:


The food was great, the company even better and the show and tell inspiring.  And to top it all off, our group was gifted with delightful snow people and Christmas trees:


This little lady went home with me.  Isn't she precious?  What a generous group.

In preparation for the trip to my sisters I knew I wanted something mindless to work on.  I'm pretty much done with Christmas projects other than a few machine embroidered pieces, so I wanted something very simple and with no deadlines.  In the past I've knitted for Children in Common, but since they have been making fewer trips overseas, they are pretty much stocked up on sweaters.  So, I've decided to do some knitting for the Guideposts Knit for Kids.  I'm not overwhelmed with the pattern they provide, but they do say that you can use another pattern, so I 'm using Knitting Pure and Simple's top down pullover.  I like that it has a raised back neck and no sewing!  During the weekend I managed to get the body done on one little sweater:


I don't seem to have the necessary needles for the sleeves, so while I'm waiting for my Knit Picks order I started another one:


Both sweaters are Encore – my favorite machine washable yarn for kids.

Time to go relax and enjoy our local PBS presentation of "The Priests".  Talk about beautiful music!