Parcel Review

I bet we won’t get mail today, but that’s okay, because the past week has been VERY good to me.  It started with a sock club kit last week, and goes through the three parcels I had to open yesterday, and you just have to see them.  The photos aren’t great because the snow clouds had already moved in, and I wasn’t dressed to stand out in what natural light there was and snap photo after photo, but you’ll get the idea.

Those cuties are MY alpacas, made by Anita.   She’s started making her signature clay animals as spinning wheel orifice hooks.  (Last link will take you to her Etsy shop.) 

I love the detail Anita puts into her creations.  Isn’t that the cutest little clay alpaca?  I’m not sure I can leave it hanging on my wheel, given Sissy’s latest path of destruction.  Both girls recognize Auntie ‘Nita’s scent and go ape when she sends even a note, much less something she’s crafted with her own hands.   Still, I have my own alpaca – two of ’em! 

I’m so blessed to have talented friends.  Do slip over to Episode 55 of Manic Purl’s podcast.   Dear Jessi got a much-deserved rave review of her SpringValley Yarns.   She’s famous!!  I’m glad I have an inside track, because I almost always have something on the needles with one of her yarns. 

On Tuesday, Amanda of NH Knitting Mama had a shop update.   I scored a “seconds” version of Franconia for a steal.  I MEAN A STEAL!!!!!  Amanda offered it as a second because one ply of the base didn’t take dye the same way the others did, but I *LOVE* it.  I also have a custom alpaca laceweight she dyed for me at the start of her dyeing career on the needles right now.

In keeping with the friends who dye theme, the most recent sock club kit from Dianne of Creatively Dyed Yarn.   Each of my indie dyer friends has her own style and base yarns, and I really think I could tell them apart with my eyes closed even!  I’ve never knitted socks with beads, but I’m going to have to with this kit.  Check out the pattern page on Ravelry for Sivia Harding’s Emerald Forest Socks!

I know this is a painfully long post, but go grab a cuppa’ and a bite to eat because there’s still more!

A few days ago, Grace’s Master Blocker challenged her readers, and because he must think like the Knight, I won!   I received the beautiful yarn above, and the extra goodies below.   I can’t wait to wind it up and knit with it.  I think it wants to be a shawl for me.  What do you think?

Grace must keep notebooks on what her friends like, because she always sends the most thoughtful packages.  I’m sipping the Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus now, and I think I’m in love.  I’d never tried Mighty Leaf  teas before, but I think another parcel will be on my porch about the time the mail carrier can get to us again.  I’m also ridiculously fond of those highlighters with the built-in sticky flags and notebooks.  The red dotted thing almost hidden is a little notebook, in case you didn’t put that together from my almost random comments.

I’ll just briefly note another Embrace the Lace package floated in this week too.  I think there’s only one more to go, but I’m honestly not sure.  Justice is grey, and that’s a shawl in the pattern.   There are better photos in the Ravelry group, of course. 

Last, but HARDLY least is a sneak peek at the Namaste Monroe that wandered to my house.  I couldn’t help myself Monday evening.  I love it, not that I’ll be using it for a few days, what with over a foot of snow on the ground and no signs of it stopping…   It’s roughly the same size as my beloved Newport (same color too), with that coveted outside pocket, firm sides…  I think my dream bag might have landed.  (Disclaimer:  My bad back and I do not strut around with these monster bags I carry.  The bags go from the vehicle inside work, office, home.  For shopping and other ambling experiences, I just carry a small bag with the Blackberry, wallet and keys.) 

My fingers were too cold to peel off all the protective wraps, or to get all around photos, but after I load that baby up and tote it around for a few days, I’ll do better and tell you what I really think.

So, what are you doing this weekend?  Evidently, I’ll be snowed in, knitting, spinning, reading, decluttering, baking…

Tea Network

Tea, the friendship-builder.  Tea, the networking tool.

Week 4: January 24-30
“Whom have you met because of something related to tea? Share something about this person and how your relationship began and blossomed.”

Cute little tea magnets

I can’t begin to count the friendships I’ve made through tea.  Instead, I’m going to mention a couple of significant ones, and note that I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the tea swaps, meeting so many tea lovers, and making new friends.

To clarify, I’m not sure how many people I’ve actually MET through tea related things, but it’s amazing how a shared love of tea has deepened many connections in my life. 

Because I never pulled out my camera while we were together, I don’t have a photo of Ruth.  I could steal one from her, but I won’t.  I can however, remind you of the tea she brought me when we met in person!    Tea, dogs, books, knitting, and a friendship was born.   We’ve shared one cuppa’ in person, and countless more as we email, read each other’s blogs and chat on Facebook almost daily!

I was thoroughly spoiled in one tea swap by Nannette.   Just because life gets in the way and we don’t chat regularly doesn’t mean I don’t still think of Nannette.  The garden flag she gave me still graces the back deck.

I believe tea swaps introduced me to Holly too, and as tea tends to do, I then got to know her sister Lacey.  (I have the flowering teas in my car, and next week when MJ is back in the office some, I’ll be able to get things shipped!)  They’re both kind, thoughtful, talented women and maybe one day, life will let us share a cuppa’ in person.

While I could go on all day, I’ll close by mentioning Wendy.  I’m not sure which swap brought us together, but she’s shared a lot of tea with me, in person and by mail.   In fact, I can’t  recall a time we’ve gotten together she hasn’t handed me some new tea finds to try.  (Now THAT is a true tea friend!)

I couldn’t begin to list all the friendships I’ve made through tea, whether tea brought us together or not.  Please know that if I didn’t mention you, I still adore you and appreciate the teas you’ve shared with me!

Tea is a special part of so many of my friendships, all the way back to my toddler days, when a neighbor lady took on my mother and insisted I could – WOULD – have a proper tea with her.  There’s just something cementing about sitting down with a cuppa’ and another person… if they aren’t a friend when you plop down, they will be before the last sip!

Thanks again Ruth, for continuing this Hot Tea Month tradition.  Sip on!

Hound Dawg

Well…  I thought I had a photo in Flickr that I don’t, so we’ll revist the topic I seem to have mistakenly tagged a health issue on Sissy’s blog

After the hound owners weighed in, it seems that being a little destructive, particularly where trash is concerned, is no sign of a starving basset.   Gmarie reminded me that Sis is just a teenager, testing her boundaries.  Barbara pointed out that some senior bassets STILL have a thing for trash.  Sissy is proudest of the honorary PWD award Sue and her pack proposed upon reading of Sissy’s path of destruction.   She also appreciates all the advice and support the other dogs have sent her!

The good dog at our house  wee Gretchen Greer is rather concerned about the potential for another BIG SNOW this weekend.  The set-up is very similar to the December storm, although at the time I’m writing, it seems we’ll just dodge the heavy snow line and we’ll get a nice blanket of the white stuff, but not enough to cripple the area again.


Dogs on Thursday, little friday, friday eve as a college girlfriend called it today…  It all adds up to Thankful it is Thursday.  This has been a rather calm week for me, and I’m thankful for that. 

Yesterday, happy post.  Today, thankful.  They’re connected, happiness and thankfulness, but they’re not the same thing.

Vintage photo from around 1990?

Since I just finished lunch with my favorite aunt, there’s my happy photo that makes me so thankful.  It’s not a great photo of either of us, but sadly, it’s the best of the photos of us I have in Flickr!  (See’Nita?  You aren’t the only one I torture…)

Now to finish up at work and go home and download the photo(s) I thought I had to blog about today…

Happy 101

Grace has bestowed a sweet little award on me.  I’m always honored when people just read my blog, but awards really ice the (cup)cake!  Thank you, Grace!

The details:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and use a link to her blog (or hyperlink).
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know!

I bet you could guess what I’ll list as my happy things, but…

The Knight.  He doesn’t get as much press as he should.  I realized last week, one day when he was out sick, that he really does brighten my day, just like the fur-girls do.  Neighbor Guy drives to our house and picks up the Knight’s work truck when the Knight is off, and last week, I happily said, “Oh, here comes my husband!” when I saw the truck pull in the lot, only to realize the Knight was at home sleeping…

The fur-girls, of course.   I babble about their special abilities to make me happy regularly, but for a totally different spin, visit Sissy’s blog today…  

My girlfriends.   They don’t get enough press either.  Local or not, my friends keep me balanced.  They know when I need to laugh, listen when I need to cry, inspire me, challenge me and just make me a better woman.  It is truly an honor to call each of you my friend!

Family.  If there’s a group I neglect here on my blog, family would get the blue ribbon.  That’s not to say they aren’t important to me…  It’s more a matter of privacy.  They make me crazy and mad, but there’s a lot of joy there too.

The Outer Banks.  I’ve also written tons about how that place soothes my soul, and there are so many different facets to happy.  I like sheer joy, but I also treasure pure bliss and simple contentment.   There’s a lot to be said for just being at peace.

Snow!!   (Another BIG SNOW this weekend?  Maybe?)  I intentionally picked a photo that shows it SNOWING.   I think I am happiest watching it snow, when the blanket of white is still undisturbed.

Tea.  There’s just something about wrapping my hands around a warm cuppa’ that warms me from within, even before I take that first sip.  (This special cup was a gift from Anita, but it also reminds me of a special weekend with friends and of the beach…)

Flowers, especially roses.  The Knight just doesn’t get how happy cut flowers make me.  They brighten the room and my mood!   (These beauties also serve as reminders of a fun evening with friends.  They were sent home with me after a fundraiser as a thank-you from the fundraising chair… )

I like silly fun too.  I think one of the keys to  happiness is never take yourself too seriously.  (I should also note that I was a bit shocked at how many photos I have with tongues stuck out…)

I know Anita hates this photo, so I do apologize for using it again, but I love the laughter so evident here.

Memories.  My memories make me happy.  Bittersweet is still happy for me, most of the time.  Tennyson was right; it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.   Something tells me (bottom right corner) that it’s probably a good thing that my grandmother and Sissy didn’t get a chance to meet.  Although for the record, Gretchen is also crazy for peppermints now too!

And now, to pass it on…  I hate to choose, so please feel free to share your Happy 101 list with me!  You certainly don’t have to do photos as I did, but do let me know if you post your own list.

Mango Minister Edition

So, does this belong on Sissy’s blog or mine?  Well, since Sissy’s blog is primarily about her journey to health – for now- it goes here.  Plus, if I put it on Sis’s blog, then I’d have to decide where to post Gretchie’s entry…  See?!  Much easier to put them both here and move on.

My name is Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy, but folks just call my Sissy.  Clearly, I am a DIVA, which is to say I’m a female.  Obviously, I am all Hound Dog.  I am standing on my throne, watching the critters play in my kingdom.  I used to give chase, but since I lose my hearing – and my little sister – when I put my nose to the ground, I am restricted to the pen or a leash.  (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)  Mom will email with her email addy and concise version of the entry, because I can’t be bothered with details.  (Surely I’ll be the only hound entry sporting a wimple?)

OBX February 2009

Haddon Wood’s Gretchen the Crup here, or as I’m more fittingly called these days, Lady Gretchen Greer.   But don’t let the pretty face and fancy frocks fool you; I’m a rough and tumble, play hard and play harder girl terrier terror.   Sissy’s only in charge because she gets in more trouble that way  I allow her to be.   It might shock my fans to know that I am more than qualified to be a CDIT – Cracker Dog Insane Terrier – or more fittingly, Crup Dog of Intelligence and Trickery.  Cute, little, and a few perfectly timed licks and prances keeps me in everyone’s good graces.

Boy it was hard to choose just one photo each!!   I’m sure some of you have other faves… what did I forget?

Don’t Blink

I blinked, and Friday was gone.  I blinked again, and we were in the big city shopping Saturday night.  I napped, and it was Sunday evening, and here we are…

I accomplished nothing, really.  I read some (THIS), I knitted some (THIS), and we shopped far more than I like to, and yet I still don’t have a dress for Vintage Vegas.  That also means there’s no pie report, because who wants to make a pie for one?  (Actually, I do have a cool cookbook that could probably help me with that problem…)

Why pie for one?  Because my Knight has been sick, and he has no tastebuds.  We didn’t even dine anywhere worth reporting on Saturday while in the big city, because even Fuddruckers was a waste of money for a man with no appetite and even fewer tastebuds.  So, National Pie Day gets a raincheck, and I’m still shopping for something vintage-cocktail for the I hate my knees crowd…

Seriously, good readers.  I am no fashionista, but I have really cute, hip friends, and I don’t want to be the frumpy one in our photos.  I keep hearing that I need to show my chubby knees, and if that’s the case, I want links.  I still have time to shop online.   Keep in mind I’m 40, more than a little conservative, and even putting it kindly, I’m a very full hourglass shape.

Here’s a list of stores in my area that MIGHT have something worth trying on… maybe.  Of course I already own no fewer than five “little black dresses” but only one shows knees, and frankly…  let’s just say it’s a special event and a want a new dress, okay?!

Don’t forget these beauties.  If the dress you suggest allows me to wear them, the world will be a better place. 

Thanks in advance for the advice and input!

How was your weekend?

Also, please pop over and wish a friend a happy third blogiversary.   And many more, Miss Me!

Pie, anyone?

Frozen Peppermint Pie

Thanks to The Blond Duck, we’ll be celebrating National Pie Day tomorrow.  Sissy’s hoping for the peppermint pie from Christmas Eve, but that won’t be happening, even though she has  I have plenty of peppermint ice cream and peppermint candies on hand.

I don’t have a recipe, but that one was made as follows, per the Knight’s relation:

1 container peppermint ice cream, roughly one quart

about 20 peppermints, the striped kind

1 graham cracker pie crust (or I bet the chocolate version would be great, but don’t feed it to your dogs!)

whipped topping for decoration

Set aside a few whole peppermints and crush the rest.  Set aside 1/4 of crushed mixture for garnish. 

Combine softened ice cream and remainder of crushed mints.  Pour into crust.  Top with remaining mints & whipped topping.  Freeze for at least two hours. 

What’s your favorite pie?  Favorite recipe?  We’re very fond of pumpkin, pecan and from there, we become a his ‘n hers pie household.  I love chocolate chess and he loves lemon.  I have outstanding recipes for all of the above, so you’ll have to come back later to see what  fix!

We’re having a great ice-day today.  The whole pack has been very lazy, and it’s been great!

It’s been a hectic week.  Most of it has been good and/or fun busy stuff, but still, I’m delighted with the early start to the long weekend.  I ventured out last night and finally gifted that blanket, which I finished in August, for a September baby. 

February 2008

The two blankies live together now, with two adorable little boys.  If my friends have another baby, she (er, or he?) will also get a blankie at some point in the first year of her/his life, because every knitter loves to give a gift that is treasured, used, enjoyed and most of all, appreciated.  (Click HERE to learn more about the green blanket, or Rav-stalkers can find both there.)

Only other basset hound owners might get this, but Wednesday night, Sis just relaxed and let the Knight trim her toenails – ALL of them!  No one got scratched.  No one whimpered.   No one swore or huffed.  It was good.  It was very good!  For the newer readers, easy-going Gretchen has never been a problem.

What’s on tap for your weekend?  With the Knight being sick, I’m sticking close to home.   I need to do laundry, bake a pie or two, and maybe make more chicken soup…

Be Still…

… my heart.

Is there anything on earth more beautiful?  (I know, your children, your dogs… it’s all good.)

Just so you know, each girl is watching a different critter in the woods.  Sis doesn’t know she isn’t a sight hound, and I won’t tell her until she hits 45 or so and needs bifocals…

Yeah, there are other simple things in my life that make me smile, but those two NEVER fail.  Ever.  In fact, all I can do is count the minutes – 135 or so – until I get to go home and get greeted as though I’m the most important thing in their worlds too!

Happy little friday!  This has been a busy week, and I’m looking forward to down time, but more about that tomorrow.  In the meantime, Happy Dogs on Thursday!

Gnome Christmas

What?   You thought Christmas was over?  It is, most places, but I had to finish up my Gnomespun polwarth

That’s the pretty braid Ann brought me back from Rhinebeck.   I love the colors!

Navajo (3-ply) on left, two-ply on right

I spent several days discussing how to ply it.   In the end, two-ply won out, because the yarn is SOFT, and I wanted to make the most of it.  Yeah, the colors “stick together” a bit more in the tiny bit of navajo plying I did, but not enough to make me sorry I two-plied the bulk of the yarn. 

Excuse the rough-looking hand

Those of you with some fiber-reading skills will note the vast difference in twist.  Both yarns are balanced, which is to say that when the skeins were hanging to dry, in loops, there was no interest on either side of the bottom loop in bending to see the other side of itself.  (Think helix?) 

So, I’m asking my fiber mentors…  The way I see it, a navajo ply is more akin to the “hard” twist in Socks That Rock, which makes the yarn wear well as a sock, but takes away some of the drape in a shawl, while the two-ply, albeit close to under-spun (to accentuate the softness of this yarn!), will have great drape and won’t be too friction resistant.  Do I have that right?

Ironically, the three-ply (navajo plied) isn’t much thicker than the very light fingering of the two-ply.  THAT surprised me!

What to knit?  I was thinking maybe something like this…  (Sorry non-Ravelry folks…  It’s a scarf-shawlette-thingee…)

To those awaiting a Sissy update, well… that’s next.  Hopefully, I’ll get that post up in the next hour or so.

Here it is, the latest update…

Memory on a Stick

Today, I was going to blog about my beautiful handspun FO.  Was.  Can’t, because when one takes photos without a memory card in the camera, there are no photos to upload and share.  Hem. 

Pretty Chan yarn from Creatively Dyed I forgot to blog before...

The shame of it all is that despite all the flashing symbols, I didn’t realize what I’d done until I tried to download the photos onto my laptop.  (Download vs. upload… forgive me if my usage isn’t correct?!)  After searching my handbag and each pair of pants I wore last week, a second search of the bag – you know ladies, when you shove your hand to the bottom of the bag and just shake? – yielded the lost card.

I have always done things in “spells.”  There was the lock myself out of car and home spell in my early 20s.  Of late, I’ve left my cell phone in the charger or in a vehicle no fewer than a half-dozen times since New Years Eve.  I think I shall not allow myself to remove the memory card from my “good” camera for a while, and just upload (download?) photos at home until we can be sure this is no new phase in my scatterbrained life.

Chan, Ann (Marie) & Kelly yarns, hanging out together

No, I’m not REALLY scattered, but we all have our moments, don’t we?

Can one of you pop over to play?  I have “Apples on a stick just make me sick, make my heart go 2-46…” on the brain.  I just need someone to sit and play that clappy-hands game from my youth…

Also, at some point in the next 8 hours or so, I’ll update Sissy’s blog with the details of yesterday’s trip to wondervet.   I am also getting down to the wire on entering the girls in Mango Minister

Hope those of you off yesterday in the States are muddling through your little monday okay!