Monday, June 29, 2009

The Monday List

I've no snappy way to begin this post, and no nifty photos either. Guess we'll just have to get to it!

Last Week's Wrap-Up:

1. Spinning just didn't happen. It was TOO HOT! for most of the week. I don't mind knitting large woolen items in mid-summer, but the thought of a batch of sticky fiber makes me cringe.
2. & 3. Last week the girls and I went to tour one of the local gyms, which our family has since decided to join. My husband's new job will cover a portion of our membership as part of his benefits package (smart, really - preventative measures being cheaper than doctor bills!), and so a long-desired hope is coming to pass. While we were there, they let me check the girls into the play area so that I could take the time to be properly fitted at the running store. My new shoes should be here by the end of the week, and I'm VERY excited about it! Even better, I'm thinking about joining the running groups attached to the store. It could be very good for me.
4. Socks are done...thank GOD!
5. As you know, I did cast on for one beaded shawl - my Deep Woods Shawl - and I preped the yarn for a second - Entomology. Yay! I also just picked up the yarn I wanted to redo an older project. (details will be forthcoming)
6. Last week I started slowly moving back to my morning routine with baby steps in my journal. I'm happy to say that this morning I was able to hop out of bed at 6, and do almost the full routine. It feels GREAT!
7. I did call about the pottery class, but they didn't have space left in the session we needed. (Either that or they weren't having that session because they didn't have enough interested kids...the man I spoke with indicated both during the call, and I couldn't tell which was which.) We'll try again in the fall.

My wants perhaps felt more like needs to my heart last week, as I found myself working on quite a few of them, too.
1. & 2. While I didn't make any time for my art supplies, I did spend some time considering what I wanted to do with my writing. The simple answer is that I've challenged myself to a story a day. It need not be long, fancy, or particularly 'good' just needs to happen. I'm even counting very detailed descriptions of my dreams as a story, because that's what they are!
3. As I packed my bag for my Mommy's Night Off last week, I impulsively grabbed a skein of handspun and a copy of an old issue of Spin Off. That night I began my Old Shale shawl, and I am very pleased with it. It's exactly the sort of project I needed to push myself past the point of considering my handspun too precious to knit with. It's a good thing.
4. I spent some time considering what I really need to make some space my own this week. One of the simpler answers is that I need my books. When I gave my office up so that the Pixie could have her own room, my books ended up being boxed up and hidden away in our storage area. Over the last three years they've been stired and scattered, and you would be shocked to know how badly that hurts me. I faced it head on on Sunday, though, pulling all of my boxes out of our storage area and starting the process of putting them back to rights. If I can't have them out with me, than I need to at least know where they are and feel safe in knowing they are all together again. Special thanks to my Gram. When the process started to hurt too much, and when I started to feel too sorry for myself, I called Gram. She made me feel all right again.

I actually made a bit of progress on each of the three items in last week's Wish List. My eldest cleaned her room, much to my surprise and delight. On Sunday I began the process of organizing our storage area, in conjunction with my personal space issues. I'm sure I'll be talking about this more in weeks to come. As to the embroidery....well, I rather randomly discovered a lovely embroidery book on my night off last week. I didn't buy it, but I did spend some time looking through it's lovely pages. Who knows...this could go somewhere!

Whew! Now for this week's list:

  1. The spinning thing has to be at the top of the list - especially as we are not talking about a personal project, but something that I'm doing for/with someone else. Good thing the heat broke!
  2. I'm putting a huge priority on building on last week's progress with my lifestyle and health goals. Yay me!
  3. Now that the basement organization has begun, I really must continue with it. After all, I have now pulled a bunch of boxes out into the family area, and that's just not good.
  4. A story/day!
  1. Continue knitting on my projects - putzing as much as I like.
  2. Ahh....
  1. Ok, I've got nothing. It happens!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday's Workbasket

I decided that it might be kind of fun to pull everything out of the workbasket in my bedroom to see what exactly was in there. I did, after all, spend a rather large amount of time last week fussing over the state of my stash while trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. Sorry about the fuzzy pics....I didn't realize they were off until I posted them, and I just don't feel like unpacking the basket to do them again! 1. The cuff for a pair of Herringbone Socks. (Links are all Ravelry Links to save a wee bit of time today. My apologies to those of you who don't have Ravelry accounts!) I don't really consider this as an active's really just the prep work, which I did because I was afraid that I wouldn't ever get to knitting these socks. Funny.
2. The Princess Swatches. I think I'll finish the second one tomorrow. This is a luxurious knit...something I only work on when I can completely focus, relax and enjoy it. No hurry at all....and if it takes years, that's ok.

3. So what's a girl to knit with the heat index in the 105 range? Start working on an handspun alpaca jacket, of course! I've got the books pulled from the shelf to design something for myself, I love my swatch, and I'm ready to start!

4. I do have some finish work to do on the Matinee Jacket. I want to take it to my next guild meeting, so I have a couple of weeks. The baby isn't due for at least another month, anyway!

5. I dubbed this one the Friendship Shawl as the yarn was a birthday its real name - the Curved Shawl With Diamond Edge - is boring. Oddly, I feel no big rush to finish it. Every once in a while I pull it out, work a couple of repeats and then tuck it back into the basket. Some things are just best when allowed to happen at a slow pace.

6. This is the basic pair of socks that Really..Needs..To..Be..Done..Now...

7. Following along with my theme of slow enjoyment is the Botanica Medallion Cardi. I am enjoying it in bits and pieces, and I have no great need to finish it anytime soon. I imagine it'll be a great piece to add to my wardrobe - next summer.

8. You met my version of the Norwegian Woods Shawl earlier this week. I did the first repeat on my night off, and imagine I'll knock this one out pretty quick. The color is very soothing to me right now.

9. The surprise is this little gem. I've really needed to get past my weird issues with my handspun being too precious to knit with. On a whim, I grabbed this skein of merino (actually leftovers from a pair of mittens I made for Gram a couple of years ago), Spin Off and my needles as I headed out the door to my night off on Wednesday. The Old Shale Shawl is exactly what I needed - simple enough to show off the yarn to it's full glory but entertaining enough to keep this knitter happy. It's actually a lot farther along now than it was when I took the picture, and I imagine I'll finish it this weekend.
10. I also prepped some stash yarn and beads on Wednesday to become Entomology - a shawl from the new Knitty. (As an aside, Kudos to Knitty on all of the fabulous beaded knits designs!) That's about 1,300 beads....combined with a yarn that I never ever imagined pairing them with. I had a kismet sort of moment when I looked at them on Wednesday, and now I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Overdue Reveal

First of all, let me start by saying that a better camera is quickly becoming a priority in my life. Color is particularly difficult to capture with my current camera...and there's only so much I can do on the computer. Having said that, I added the last picture to my post because it's the best color shot I managed.
Now...on to the good stuff!
Let me introduce my second Firmament's Lace Shawl!
Designed by the lovely Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk, one cone of Nile Green
Needles: Addi Turbo, US 5, 3.75mm
Knitting Time: April 13 - June 5, 2009
Mods? I went up two needle sizes because the first time I made this shawl it wound up being way too small....and so was gifted to my very petite sort-of-sister-in-law. (One of my favorite people to gift with handknits!)

This is an absolutely lovely shawl, and the balance of the design pleases me no end. Right now it's resting on the back of my recently reclaimed rocking chair in front of my knitting bookshelf. (We'll discuss later the state of the bookshelf....) It's absolutely perfect, and I'm very pleased with how well it turned out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Surprise Arrives...With Happy Results

To my surprise, a gift box arrived in the mail yesterday. I had completely forgotten that I had been the lucky recipient of a gift from my blog friend Margene for having been commenter #49,700 on her way to the momentous 50,000th comment. What a wonderful treat!*
Now it just so happens that I've had kind of an odd knitting week. The weather turned this last week, and we're now in the throes of miserable Missouri heat and humidity, which has left me in a semi-lethargic state. The projects I have on the needles right now are projects that I'm perfectly content to putz on, which hasn't helped, and for some reason I just haven't been interested in casting on something new. (Although I have had the sock/lace yarn bin and my beads out for an entire week trying to figure something out.)
Enter the gift yarn...which reminded me immediately of deep, shadowy places in an old-growth forest.
When I pulled out my bead box and discovered how perfectly some of my beads went with the yarn, I knew immediately that it was going to be Sivia Harding's Norwegian Woods Shawl, and that I needed to start immediately! The really exciting thing is that the yarn is Webs own Kangaroo Dyer Alpaca/Silk Laceweight....a yarn I'm very familiar with, and very fond of. No swatching required here!

I cast on before I went to bed last night and did the first wee bit. I'm VERY excited about this project!
Thank You Margene!

*PS How could she possibly have known I was going to be in a lavender sort of mood yesterday? When the chocolate arrived I was drinking a lavender/elderberry Kombucha (a summer treat) ....thinking about how very much I love the taste of lavender!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Monday List

I am really enjoying my new 3-category system for my weekly list. As I'd hoped, it's a great way to organize my thoughts while also taking some of the pressure off of myself! This week I'll add in one more slight alteration - and that is that I'll include the weekly summary in each section instead of doing it all at once.

Now let's get right down to business.

I'm quite happy to report that I easily managed most of my 'must-do's' from last week. Just to show that I mean business, those three things are at the top of the list this week.
  1. Spin! and spin....and spin....and spin....and get the idea.
  2. Go to the Running Store and try to get shoes. PRAY that it works. Thanks to everyone that offered advice last week. If you knew how many seriously awful shoe situations I've been through, you would understand the angst. I went into a brief period of mourning when I discovered that the pair I own now has been discontinued as they are literally the best pair of shoes I've ever had.
  3. Rebuild my healthy lifestyle. To be honest, I've been doing some emotional work on myself lately, and have figured out a few things which have knocked me off balance. The band-aid has been ripped away, and it's time to let it heal and move on.
  4. Finish my socks. I just have the foot and toe, and I really want to move on!
  5. Cast on some lace with beads. I'm moving this to the top of the list because I've spent the last week staring at my seed beads and lace yarns. It's time to get moving!
  6. Resume my morning routine. I let go of my early morning journal writing and yoga habit while the girls were gone, and I've yet to get back to it. That's BAD! I'm always better when I do it.
  7. Enroll the Princess in Parent-Child Pottery at Access Arts. Should be fun!

I am delighted to tell you that I did two things on my want list last week. I DID play with my art supplies, and even produced a rather simple sketch on Sunday which I happen to be mighty pleased with. Perhaps I'll share it with you later on this week. Also, I went on a massive book binge last week, reading 5 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels in about 6 days. Summer - for me - is the time for silly, fun reading, and it was a delight! Up until I had children, I read like this all of the time, and I do miss that. (How many kids do you know that get into trouble for reading too much?)
  1. To consider my writing. I know this is very vague, but I'm not sure where I'm going with it at this point. It's been on my mind, though.
  2. MORE playing with my art supplies.
  3. Start knitting something with homespun. I have a touch of silliness about my homespun - as in I almost feel as if it's too sacred to be used. I need to get over that, and I do have some lovely yarns. There are ideas percolating.
  4. Figure out how to carve out some personal space in our home. I gave up my office when we had the Pixie, and I've struggled since then with the feeling that I have nowhere that's truly mine. For my sake, I really need to do something about this.

  1. Again with organizing the basement.
  2. Again with the cleaning of the girls' rooms.
  3. Learn how to embroider. I've played with it from time to time, but have never really done anything with it. I have some ideas, though....

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three Bags Full

A sheep farm, two small girls, bottle-raised lambs, and (Oh, Yes!) miniature horses....a match made in heaven.

We visited a sheep farm last night belonging to one of my guild friends so that I could look at fleece. Janet had also invited the girls so that they could meet the lambs and help with the evening feeding. You can see how well that went over! We also got to meet the miniature horses - which I didn't know they had - and introduced the girls to the idea of Guinea fowl. The girls and I loved our visit, which just served as further proof that our family would probably be better off on a farm of our own.
I came home with 7 lbs of fleece, which will be blended with some giant angora that I have left over from my rabbit show days. It's gorgeous stuff, and I can't wait to have it processed! Janet also very nicely sent home a small bag of roving for the Princess to spin after the poor girl rather sadly told her that she didn't have any fiber of her own left.
The downside - after working with her wheel for a wee little bit last night, Princess announced that she wanted her very own double treadle wheel because Mom's wheel was a whole lot easier to work with. Either that, or she wants to borrow mine....

Gifted At Last!

My BKB and her birthday gift - a skein of handspun, made from Butterfly Girl Designs Rocky Road.

My apologies...none of the rest of the pictures turned out very well, and I didn't stop and take measurments/make detail notes of the skein before I gifted it.

What I can say is that I'm very satisfied with how this gift turned out....and I think my BKB likes it, too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Happy Am I?

It's a fairly well known fact that I listen to only two kinds of music - musical theater and Irish. It's probably a slightly lesser known fact that there's one big exception, and that's ABBA. I LOVE all things ABBA. (Shout out to my friend Frankie Pooh, my fellow Dancing Queen!!!)

What most people don't actually know is that Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice actually wrote and produced a fantastic musical all about international politics, great emotional upheaval and the game of chess. I found Chess in college, and was immediately smitten. Of course, the original stars that phenomenal Elaine Paige, whose talent and career I secretly wished I possessed. Sadly, singing is just not my gift, and so I have to live my fantasies through my collection of musicals.

I digress.

So last night I went to B&N for a little bit of quiet time. On my way out the door I stopped to pay for a couple of trashy novels (summer tis the season!). As I stepped to the counter, I saw it....A NEW FULL-LENGTH CONCERT RECORDING OF CHESS STARING SOME OF MY FAVORITE BROADWAY PERFORMERS.

Friends, today I am in heaven.

PS. I just found out there's a DVD....

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Monday List

A view from Dad's garden....and one of the prettiest purples I've ever seen.

First up, our review of last week:
  1. I was quite successful with the Must-Do list. The only thing I didn't do was to work on organizing the storage area - but that's because I bought that second batch of yarn before I came home last Tuesday and was able to get started on the baby gift a lot sooner than expected. Yay!
  2. On the Want-To-Do list, I only managed a haircut this week...although that in and of itself was pretty important given how ragged I was starting to look. Again, the baby gift dominated my time.
  3. The Wishes went up in smoke....which is just fine!

And so, for this week:

The Must-Do's:

  1. Come up with better names for my three categories on my Monday Lists.
  2. Take the girls to the library to sign up for summer reading. Yay! This is one of MY favorite things about summer - and it should be really exciting this year with the Princess reading on her own.
  3. Prepare my Convention Report for Thursday. I was a tad disorganized last year, and I would like it to be better this time around.
  4. Finish a knitting project - doesn't matter which one, I just want to finish something. As I've said, it's bothered me more and more lately to have more than 3ish projects on the needles at a time, and I have projects I'd like to start!
  5. Spin! I have a collaborative project that I seriously need to get to work on.
  6. Which reminds me...I finished my BKB's birthday gift a while back, and I really need to give it to her this week!
  7. Get myself back on my healthy lifestyle schedule. I let it slip last week as I was 'on vacation.'
  8. Speaking of which, I have to reschedule my acupuncture appointment. Whoops.
  9. Also speaking of which, I need to do something about my running shoes as mine are clearly approaching the end. Problem is, no one here in town carries wide widths (I measure a 6.5 E - a near impossibility), and so I either risk the local place ordering something, or I go to St. Louis. Sigh.

The Want To Do's:

  1. Do my second swatch for the Princess.
  2. Play with my watercolor pencils and my colored pencils. They appeal to me in a way that no other art supplies do at this point, and I need to figure out what they can do and what I can do with them.
  3. Clean and organize my bedroom so the redecorating can begin!
  4. Clean and organize the girls' bedrooms so that they don't make me nuts.
  5. Write a letter....don't know to whom, exactly, but it is a good way to ease back into writing.
  6. Read lots. I have been lately, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. That's a silly statement given that I grew up constantly getting into trouble for reading too much (to the detriment of almost everything else) but I had.

The Wishes:

  1. Phone calls to dance studios have been downgraded because I'm just not quite ready yet. However, I do want to make sure to keep them in mind.
  2. My quilt pieces come to's about time to start working on that.
  3. Organize the basement....Ha!
  4. Use my seed beads. I'm in full magpie mode right now, and I find myself returning to my bead box repeatedly to play with my shiny things.
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 5 - The Day of the Shower

This afternoon I had the great privilege of attending a baby shower for a very special baby. In fact, I think tomorrow I might dig out some pictures of the mommy-to-be and I for a post in the near future. In the meantime, this does signal the official end of my WIP series.

And so, as of 11:00 this morning I had....

One perfect pair of bunny booties.
Pattern: Debbie Bliss, Nursery Knits
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 1 skein chocolate (003), remnants of pale pink (600)
Needles: Addi Turbo, 3.25 mm, 24 inch
No modifications at all! I've made probably a half dozen pair of these sweet little booties, and I never get tired of them! I'm just kicking myself for not taking a picture of the bottom so that I could show you how clever they really are.

And One Perfect Bonnet
Pattern: Lacy Bonnet by Erika Knight in Knitting For Two
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 1 skein in soft pink (600)
Needles: Addi Turbo 4.5 mm (US 7), 24 inch
Mods: I simplified the ribbon ties, but other than that I didn't change a thing! This is one of my all-time favorite baby hats, and I just think it's as sweet as can be.
I completed all of the finish work on these two little gems this morning, and then carefully wrapped them up for the baby shower.
I also wrapped up the not-quite finished top. I got a laugh, but everyone understood. I included a note which explained what happened - and also gave some credit for the gift to my Mom, who paid for the yarn and then gave me a child-free week to work. Also included in the gift, and sadly not photographed, was a beautiful wooden rattle carved from a single piece of walnut.

Pattern: Matinee Coat, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Yarn: You guessed it! 4 skeins in our pale pink. (I adore this particular color!)
Needles: Also the 3.25 mm Addis. I also am using a 3.0mm for trim
Mods: I left the basic pattern intact, but I made it completely seamless. I cast on for the entire thing at the bottom, divided it at the armholes, did a 3-needle bind-off at the shoulders and then picked up stitches for the sleeve and worked them from the top down to the cuff. It just makes sense. I've about 3-4 hours of knitting left before I can send it off to it's new home. The baby won't be here until early August anyway!

Days 3 and 4

Herculean effort, non-stop knitting, loads of coffee, stiff, painful fingers and hands that clearly did not want to knit for much longer yielded this by the end of the fourth day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 2

I woke this morning feeling quite hopeful about my baby gifts, having completed the hat and the main portion of the booties yesterday.* After fussing a bit over the size, I cast on for the cardigan with one big alteration. Yes, I am doing the entire thing in one piece to save time and just makes sense! I was able to complete 4 1/2 inches of the bottom today, and perhaps will be able to finish the rest of the body tomorrow. I've another two inches to go (and will most likely work on it some more tonight) before drastically reducing the stitch count. After that, it should fly!

The box you see in the picture is the original yarn order for this project. I made a last minute decision as to patterns and yarns late last Saturday and immediately placed an online order. I knew it would most likely show up today....and originally was going to just do an IOU. However, when I found out that the girls were going to stay with my parents this week I made a snap decision to go to their local yarn store as I was pretty sure they carried the same yarn. I'm sooooo glad I did it! Yep, I now have to deal with an extra batch of yarn that will have to be returned....but I've also had almost two extra days to work on my sweet baby things and probably won't have to do an IOU. I think it's worth the trouble of an extra trip to the post office!

*Full pattern details will appear in the final post of this series.

Day One

Ok, so I'm a little bit late. I had intended to post this last night.....but our Internet access went out in advance of a storm. Whoops! My four day adventure begins with this lovely bowl of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in my absolute favorite pink with a touch of chocolate thrown in for good measure. I have no kids, no pressing work to do around the house and a baby shower on Sunday for a rather special baby. Normally, I don't do a lot of posting about my process...but under these circumstances I thought it would be interesting to go ahead and record my progress each day.

After breakfast I set myself up on my deck with knitting supplies, coffee and a stack of patterns. How
I'd finished the bonnet by lunchtime.

By the time we went out for dinner I had the first of the booties done.

Both booties were complete by 9 last night - when I officially set the knitting aside for the day.

Next up....the sweater....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Which I See The Wisdom Of My Husband's Ways

I left my camera at my parents house.


I blocked a new shawl yesterday and was just sick that I didn't have a camera so that I could take pictures while it was nicely pinned out on the floor. I wondered what I was to do with my blog this week without pictures of projects I would be working on.

Then my husband reminded me.

Several months ago he bought a cheap camera to have as a back-up just in case.

Bless his heart.

I'm going to try something different this week. Look for the first of a four-day series starting this evening!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Return of the Monday List!

Nothing at Art in the Park compared with eldest's fishy pinch pot from Kindergarten Clay Club!

After great contemplation, I have decided to return to my Monday Lists. When it boils right down to it, they are a great way to help me stay focused and get things done. In fact, in the time since I suspended it, I've been meandering without purpose. (We've had a lot going on, makes a difference.)

HOWEVER, there will be a few slight changes to the list. I am going to divide it up into three sections - the Must do's, the Want to do's and the Wishes. (Names subject to change when I have more time to think about it. The point is to take some of the pressure off of myself by clearly showing that while some things do really need to be accomplished, most of my lists are really about hope and/or ideas that are just starting to form.
Without Further Ado, my list for this week:
The Must Do's:
  1. I need to work on the baby gift for the shower next weekend. I'm actually quite ok with an IOU if it doesn't get finished - but I would like to at least have the hat and booties made. The thing is, that I completely changed my mind on Saturday about what I was going to do...and ordered the yarn late that day. Ah well, I'm happy with my decision, and so long as the yarn is here by Wednesday I should have time.
  2. Here's the good news.....The girls are going to spend the week with my parents. We came up yesterday for a short visit, and they managed to charm their grands into letting them stay. (It wasn't difficult.) I am going home early tomorrow....which means that I'll have lots of time at home by myself this week! SO.......until the yarn shows up, I'm going to work on organizing our basement storage area, which has turned into a disaster this winter.
  3. Oh, and I do want to get my latest shawl's on this list because I don't want it to linger for weeks.
  4. Arrange babysitting for a lunchtime P.E.O. meeting next week. (We only have one daytime meeting/year, and I have to go because I have to present a program on convention.)

The Want To Do's:

  1. Do my second swatch for the Princess Shawl. That's right! Swatching has begun, and I've already given myself enough time with the first yarn to get a real feel for what it would be like to work with it. It's absolutely lovely...but the next is a blend of cashmere and silk....
  2. I would like to finish up my socks and/or make significant progress on my summer cardi. We'll see. I'm enjoying both, but am not at all in a hurry.
  3. I would also like to cast on for my 5th NaKniSweMoDo sweater. I swatched on Saturday, and may get started today.
  4. Get a haircut.
  5. Start making phone calls about music classes for the Princess and/or dance classes for myself.
  6. Figure out how to more securely attach the skirts onto the girls' Easter dresses. As suspected, hand stitching just isn't sturdy enough for two active kids.

The Wishes:

  1. A trip to Urban Arts & Crafts for a few beading supplies so that I can finish up a couple of pieces.
  2. The urge to draw and/or paint has been growing again lately. That needs work.
  3. Likewise, the urge to write is hitting hard and fast. (As in, I'm reading a very popular series that spawned a tv show now, and I keep thinking that I could do better.....) For years I felt like I had nothing to say, but I'm starting to realize that was just fear talking.
  4. Mom presented me with the new quilt she made for us, and so it's time to start thinking seriously about paint and new curtains for our bedroom.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Now Where Did I Put That Camera

Yesterday was a near perfect day.

I woke up and spent a little bit of time with my journal.

Then I cleaned up and went in to the Farmer's Market...which has quickly become one of the great joys of my life. I get a bit teary when I get there each time....we'll blame that on the farming in my blood...and I always find some treasures. This time I brought home a fresh scone from Uprise Bakery, some lovely new carrots, gooseberries for my dad, rhubarb to freeze, hot chocolate disks (Who would have thought that some of the best chocolate was made right here in town?), goat cheese and a beaded bracelet to set aside as a gift for the Princess.

When I got home, I took my coffee and my scone out to the back porch with the latest issue of Spin Off for a quiet, and quite lovely breakfast.

Then we packed the kids up and went in to Stevens Lake to Art in the Park - one of our favorite activities. We were delighted with the new set up this year and the difference we saw in the vendors. My husband - who has always enjoyed the experience - actually fell in love with some art this year, which gave us an afternoon of lively discussion. I treated myself to a lovely shawl pin and a beautiful mug, and the girls each made a tie-dye shirt with the help of festival volunteers. We've always loved this event, but it was better this year for some reason.

The girls were being so good that we took them out for a late lunch.

Once home, we had a quiet afternoon of rest and play, during which I made another of Nigella's wonderful Cornmeal Rhubarb cakes. (Seriously, it's one of my favorite cookbooks!) The girls peacefully (for the most part) took their baths and went to bed.

Sean and I then sat down to our Saturday night tradition - horror movies on tv. We laughed because we found last night's entry on Lifetime, which is not exactly known for horror. In fact, we were a bit puzzled until we realized that it stared a very young Kristen Stewart...and that she was now being given top billing because of her Twilight fame. The movie was suitably bad, and we had a great time watching it. Sean even pulled out our espresso machine to make mochas.

It was a perfect day...and I didn't take pictures of any of it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do You Know P.E.O.?

Last weekend I attended the 116th annual convention of the Missouri State Chapter of P.E.O. as the delegate for my beloved Chapter FA. (FA is for FABULOUS!) The little red wagon was a table centerpiece, which I happily purchased for my girls - although they aren't allowed to play with it until after I give my report on the convention to the chapter at our next meeting. The weekend was informative and energizing, and it reminded me of exactly why I love my chapter and my P.E.O. so very much.

You may be wondering what P.E.O. is. Chances are, you know many P.E.O.'s, but don't really know what our organization is about, or what it does. That's not entirely by accident. Until fairly recently, P.E.O. was considered a 'secret' society. However, over the last several years P.E.O. International has really been encouraging us to share the good news about our sisterhood. There are, after all, only three things that must be kept secret...and NO, I'm not about to spill the beans on them!

So what exactly is P.E.O.?

Simply put, P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization which supports higher education for women. Our sisterhood was founded in 1869 by seven women at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa who were annoyed because two of them had been turned down by the sorority. (What's the phrase about well-behaved women and the history books?) They wanted to build an organization that welcomed all....and they certainly succeeded in that goal. Over the years P.E.O. has grown from a small friendship society to an International organization with approximately a quarter of a million members in the United States and Canada which supports five main projects.

Our projects are:
  1. P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) - need-based scholarships to women who's college education has been interupted.
  2. P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund (ELF) - very low interest rate loans available to women seeking their post-graduate education.
  3. P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund (IPS) - scholarships to assist international women in seeking their education in the US, with the caviat that they are to return home to use that education.
  4. P.E.O. Scholar Awards - merit-based scholarships for post-graduate work. (Trust me, these women are brilliant.)
  5. Cottey College - a private tw0-year women's college, located here in Missouri. Would you believe that a trip to Europe is included in their second year at no additional cost? 10-1 student-teacher ratios, an executive chef and full transference to other schools are all among the perks.

You can find more information about our projects and about our sisterhood at P.E.O. Internationale's website. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions...or just find a P.E.O. to ask! Chances are, she'd love to talk about it!

And thank you for letting me get on my soapbox today!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When Your Children Behave....

You can easily finish 1/2 of the edging on a shawl in one day. The girls were so happy to have yesterday together that I barely saw them all day long.

Only 44 repeats to go!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

News Flash!

Whoops! I just took a moment to look back through the last few posts, and realized that I had completely forgotten to give you our big news after leaving a teaser about it. Sorry!

Quick and easy - my husband has a new job! As of June 15th, he'll be working for Carfax, once again as a computer geek. The decision to change jobs was purely financial, and he's leaving the old job on the absolute best of terms. At this point, I'm not sure what we're the most excited about - the fact that this job will be more challenging than the last (allowing room for personal initiative!), the people he will be working with or the significant (to us) financial gain. Personally, I'm thrilled that he's so excited about his new responsibilities and coworkers, and I'm relieved that our financial strains seem to be coming to an end. For our family, this is definitely a good thing.

Today's Workbasket

Let's revisit the WIP's that I am working with. First, I'm closing in on the end of my second Firmaments Lace Shawl. Weee! I've done about 12 repeats of the edging - with only 84 to go! I'm not in a hurry. This could take a little while. Except that I am in a hurry. I want to show it off at my next guild meeting - which is next week. Better get moving....
Languishing for way too long are my "Spring Is Coming" socks. They are just a plain, basic pair of socks...and I really need to finish them. I've started the heel flap for sock number two, which means that just a couple of days of focused knitting is all that I really need to finish them. Spring has sprung, and it's time to move on to another pair.

My Botanica Medallion Cardi is also moving very slowly. According to some admittedly not so scientific calculations, I have about 100 more repeats to do on the edging. This one is also going to take a while, and I'm really not in too much of a hurry with it. It is my NaKniSweMoDo fourth sweater, but if it doesn't get finished for this summer, than I'm fine with that.

What else? I desperately need to be working on a baby gift for a shower I'm attending in two weeks. I'm seriously dragging my heels because I'm just not in the mood to knit gifts and/or baby things. Plus, I have an idea for a pattern to use...but there are plenty of things wrong with that pattern and I don't know if I have the time or energy to rewrite it. I'm procrastinating because no matter what I do it won't be as perfect as I want it to be..... At any rate, I'm giving myself until the end of today to make a decision because it absolutely needs to be in progress by the end of the week at the latest.
The real problem - I'm ready to move on with some new projects, but don't feel like I can do that until these are finished up. I'm ready, though, for some new lace with some new yarn, a new cardigan out of the reclaimed yarn from my maternity sweater and perhaps some (gasp!) patterned socks. The siren song of these new projects is awfully hard to ignore. Hmmmm..... I sense the Green Woman is behind this....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Last Day

This is the little girl we sent to kindergarten last fall.

And here she is today...on the last day of her wonderful kindergarten year.

My husband and I are very grateful to our school, the administrators and most especially the teachers for having created a warm, loving, fun, and safe environment for our little one to learn in. We could not have asked for a better kindergarten experience, and we thank our lucky stars that we just happened to live in this particular school district.

And now...let the summer fun begin!