Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Around the House


 A perfect imprint of a fallen leaf on the concrete...
 All of the branches of the honey locusts are bare...
I am crafting...

Thinking about my Mom.  Tomorrow it will be 30 years since I lost her.  Two weeks before I had our son Mikey.  I was thirty, Mike will be thirty in two weeks...Unbelievable how quickly time passes.  Missing Mom is just a part of me now.  Having Mikey to take care of was a blessing to me and my Dad who was lost after Mom left us.  Grateful I had the kind of Mom mine was.  Kind and generous, talented and quick to laugh.  Beautiful inside and out.  The sweetest Grandma to our kids, and a  kind and loving Mother to my hubby.  Remembering a million happy memories.  October will always be hard...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Update


Since we had so much to do during the week, our weekend was pretty low key.  We walked at the Lake, but not on the beach as we  usually do.  There was no beach to speak of. The Lake was churning and roaring, and the beach was covered in pools of water washed up by the waves.  It was thrilling and awesome and scary all at the same time.  I have never heard the Lake roar and rumble like it did Saturday.
The sky was many shades of gray, and the wind was very cold.  We weren't really prepared for the wind and our walk was brisk but protected on the road where it was at least 20 degrees warmer. It took a while for our hands to thaw, but the amazing experience was worth the discomfort we felt.

 Early Sunday we went to the local thrift.  We had the place almost to ourselves, being early birds and wanting to get home before the Bear's game.  (They lost!)  I found a few cool things,  The little pilgrim girl, an oval mirror, a vintage 2 cup measuring bowl and a bag of yarn.
 She'll look great under a cloche.
This mirror had some funky decals on it that came off with a razor blade and a little adhesive remover.  It has two holes so it can be hung with a ribbon.
So many uses, and in my kitchen at the holidays, every bowl I have gets used. You might see a giant jar of pretzels behind the bowl.  A generous gift for no reason at all, found on our doorstep.  We have the sweetest friends. Thank you Jean and Tom.
The yarn was a kit to make a wreath for autumn, which I won't ever make.  Seven skeins of yarn for $4 was a deal.  Yarn will never go to waste, if I can't use it, Kristen will. You'd think after my last crochet project I wouldn't be thinking of crochet, but actually now that I can make whatever I want, I really want to crochet.  First, I am finishing a prayer shawl that I started long ago and there is a need for now.
While the beef stew for dinner cooked, we walked the neighborhood.  There is so much beauty just outside our door.  I never get tired of English Valley, in fact, I always dreamed of a place where nature was close enough to enjoy everyday.(More than a sparrow, a squirrel and the tree in the parkway.)  Growing up in the city, seeing a flock of geese fly by was a rare occurrence indeed.
 It is so peaceful and calming.  I so appreciate the beauty of a Autumn day.

 A neighbor's hydrangea kissed by frost.
 The kind of litter I really love.
No words, just sighs.

Thanks for stopping by my friends, and for all of your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Daniel Tiger, Beekman Boys and Groundhog Day


 Such a fun project to assemble, my babygrand's costume for Halloween.  Penny loves Daniel Tiger, so we went searching for all the elements to make her the perfect tiger.  I even made a tee shirt for under her costume featuring all the friends from Daniel's neighborhood.  Before I stuffed it all in a box to mail, I filled each pocket with fun sized packages of m&m's!  Being a grandma is so much fun!  Having a little one who gets so excited about everything is priceless!
My dearest took me to Woodstock to see our friends Josh and Brent, aka The Beekman Boys.  It was a part of an creative series at the historic Woodstock Opera House.
 We had the best time.  Josh and Brent spoke about their journey and about overcoming obstacles, viewing life from a positive prospective...all things we need to remember and appreciate about life, especially if things are not going your way.  It was especially meaningful to my husband who is at a crossroads in his career.  
 Hearing the story again about how they started their business, the bumps along the way and their humble
take on the great success of their company Beekman 1802 was inspiring.
 Then we waited to have Josh and Brent sign their latest book, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.
Charming, sweet and delightful...success has not changed these guys. We were the second from the last of a long line.  Josh and Brent signed our book and  we talked about Farmer John and crochet of all things and with a heartfelt, " Thank you Penny" from Brent sent us on our way.  I love those guys!

I just wanted to mention that Josh and Brent were leaving for a conference call with Target.  Starting Oct. 26th, Super Target will begin selling the Beekman's Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce.  Twenty five percent of the profits go to help struggling small American farmers.  Check it out!
We haven't been to Woodstock's downtown area in years and years.  I had to go to the gazebo and take a photo.  The film Groundhog Day was filmed right there.  I thought it should be mandatory for them to play the Pennsylvania Polka 24/7.  It would also be nice to have a life sized cutout of Bill Murray to take a photo with!

A great day, inspiring, fun and I can't get the Pennsylvania Polka out of my head!

Have a great weekend my friends. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Update

Ah, serenity...  There wasn't much of that around here the last couple of weeks.  All because of a deadline I put on myself and a baby afghan I promised to make for a friend. This photo was taken at that friend's beautiful home in Indiana...but I am getting ahead of myself.
 Friday I cared for my beautiful little great nieces.  We got to pick up our first grader from school and spend some fun time with the two year old at home during the day.  Makes me remember all the energy involved in caring for young children.  I admire my SIL Elizabeth who does it all the time, and works too.

On Saturday we had so many things to do, but most importantly to find a red hoody sweatshirt for our baby grand.  She wants to be Daniel Tiger for Halloween and grandma and grandpa took the job of finding all the right elements for the costume.  If you are not familiar, Daniel Tiger is a character spun off from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  It is an animated series, but has the same gentle nature as Mr. Roger's show did and teaches the same values and life lessons I loved when my kids were small.

We started our search at the fancy pants mall and had to stop at the Pottery Barn to see what was new. (After visiting all the stores I though would have a red hoody, we finally found one at the Wallymart.) These giant reclaimed wooden doors was what was brand new at the PB.    
Another reason we need to raise our roof, so I can have giant doors and an arbor in the dining room. Pottery Barn does it all so beautifully.
 Sunday was a trip to Indiana.  A baby shower for our dear Charlotte's  sweet sister Christina.
 Pink camouflage was the color of the day...great eats...
 beautiful desserts...
 ...even a camouflage cake.  All of this was set in Charlotte's parent's beautiful home under a complete renovation.  It was a lovely party, so many kind and friendly faces, especially Charlotte.

 This is the project I alluded to in the last several weeks.  Charlotte's Mom sent me all the yarn and the pattern for an afghan.  I love to crochet, but this project was my most challenging ever.  Not that it was so very difficult, but that it was for someone else.  I am critical of my work for myself and I take that to a whole other degree of angst when it is for someone else.
 It took many many hours of crocheting to complete all the blocks, then over 20 hours to assemble all the blocks, and do the edging, all the while not sure that the finished afghan would be what they had imagined.

 Instead of sewing the blocks together, I crocheted each and every little block together, since a baby afghan needs to be washed often and sturdy.
 When it was all said and done, there was satisfaction in completing this project.
 Just remind me to never, ever volunteer for a project like this again!

 This was my contribution to the festivities.  The diaper cake...32 newborn diapers, wound around a bathroom tissue roll and secured with ribbon.  Two receiving blankets wrapped around and secured. Twelve tiny socks rolled into roses decorate the "cake" topped by a baby bottle with two binkies attached.  
Tiny socks make the cake!

After our whirlwind weekend, and completing my project that was weighing on me for a while, I feel footloose and fancy free. I'm starting to think about the holidays...but today I've declared my day off!

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Literary $5 Bag


At a rummage sale in nearby Barrington, in order to enter the rummage sale you had to first purchase a $5 bag.  This time it was a large black garbage bag. My dearest paid the $5 and into the sale we went. (you could get a refund if you didn't find anything... as if ;-) The house wear was picked over except for a few canning jars and a measuring cup.  I took a small box to hold my treasures and my honey found a cork board/white board combo for his office.  

 I went into the book room and found some beautiful books that are right up my alley... Southern Living Entertaining, Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Book (for Elizabeth, do you have one?), Leo Buscaglia Christmas Stories, A book of Wild Things with beautiful drawings (but musty as heck), a Women's Romantic Poetry Collection, a Victoria Book of  Fathers, a book for Children about the Star Spangled Banner (OMGoodness! I can't wait to display this for the 4th of July),  Ideals with a patriotic theme, and a book called Arboretum America...all about nature and our beautiful country.
 
  This book is so musty, but I want to copy some of the awesome drawings before it goes into the recycling.

When in the romantic mood...
 This is in the pop up Star Spangled Banner Book...so cool!
This little treasure I could not pass up.  We took it out of the frame and cleaned it up, but still needs some TLC.  A lithograph printed in 1975. I first visited Aspen in 1974, it is my most favorite place.  I went there as a 19 year old and remember the days spent there as clear as the high altitude blue sky.  I was so happy to return some 30 years later with my family to share with them the spectacular beauty of the Maroon Belles, the town of Aspen and a bittersweet visit to the heartbreakingly beautiful John Denver Sanctuary. A more beautiful memorial to the dear troubadour of my youth I could not imagine.
This is how I remember the town.  Victorian, quaint and oh so cool.  I think this lithograph might be straightened out with a professional framing. (somewhere down the road...) What else was in that $5 bag?
A sweater and scarf for me.  They went right to the wash, though I already wore the sweater, score!

Off to work.  I need to get over the "hump" which is Wednesday, so I can see another October romp this weekend!

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Penny