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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Gift On The Last Day

Today when I woke up and looked out my bedroom window, it was snowing! Snowing really hard! The automobiles, carrying their cargo of humans to work made almost no sound due to the muffling effect of the heavy snow. A light breeze whispered through the branches of the tree outside my window and the sound of the snow falling from the cradling boughs made a soft breath of a thud as it landed on the roof of the porch, just beneath my window.

The scene was, to me, a glimpse of heaven on earth. White! Cold! Soft as a feather! Giving Jack a quick good morning scratch beneath the chin, I jumped out of bed and into my jeans and a heavy sweater. Roz and Jezz greeted me at the door to the kitchen that they call a bedroom, with excited whines and barks. They seemed as excited as I to get out into the snow for a quick romp.

We, the two dogs and I, ran down the stairs to the side door. With leashes attached, boots and coat on, we stepped out into the wonder of the snow. Now, none of us expected it to be as deep as it was. After all, yesterday the driveway was clear all the way to the blacktop. This morning? It was so deep that Jezz, the snow hound, found it difficult to manuver! She and Roz made a game of tucking their noses beneath the snow and rooting along like little wild boars! They looked so silly with their noses covered in snow as they romped around like puppies.

As I looked over the open expanse of white between our house and the neighboring rectory, my heart filled with a sense of peace. The sound of the snow falling and the dogs enjoying life gave me solace. What is it about winter, white snow, crisp air, silence that gives me such joy?

I am looking at this snow as a good omen of the year to come. On this last day of 2008, a year that has seen many changes in my life, I was given the gift of one of the things that I truly love. Snow.

May you all have a happy and joyous New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just Random Babble

Today will be spent cleaning the upstairs of the house. A blind eye was turned to so much over the holidays.
Time to catch up.

Later, pictures of the knitting will be taken and posted. Yes, I still knit! Craziness. I had intended to give all of my offspring a hand knit item this year. Only made it through two of them, Hijo Primero (DS1) and Hija Segunda (DD2).

The girl child, who is no longer a child, got a variation of the February Lady Sweater
by the author of Flint Knits blog. Her version is adorable and made by scads of knitters! It is truly a fad knit.

My version is slightly different.
Rather than garter stitch, I did stockinette with a rolled collar, cuffs and hem. Then it was adorned with shell buttons. The Hija loved it! At least she said she did.

The second completed Christmas knit was a pair of Chevalier Mittens for Hijo Primero. This awesome design was done by the author of MadeByMyself blog. Her stuff is amazing! A really talented designer.
Anyway, you saw her version, well, here is mine.

You can't see the detail due to the lighting and the fact that they were on the floor and not on a pair of hands. But, trust me, the boy loved them (again at his word). They were fun to knit as well. A bit of a challenge and quick...Gotta love it.

What did I not finish?
Hijo Segundo was going to get an Amra'n Gra' sweater.

But, shortly before Chrismas he informed me that he wasn't a "big fan" of sweaters and would rather get a scarf or socks or mittens. Go figure! Anyway, that put a damper on my knitting and it all came to a snail's pace.
Another unfinished item is the Oblique sweater by Veronik Avery. This one is destined for Hija Primera. I suppose it is alright to say that, knowing she come here to check up on her Madre. After all, the holiday is over and she may as well know that I was thinking of her!

Before the day is over I will get pictures of the 2 UFOs so my shame at not completing my Christmas knitting will be public.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Entertaining Santa

It looks as though Santa thought I was a fairly good girl this past year. In truth, I thought I was going to be getting a lump of coal, or a box of rocks. But, this was not to be so. Santa thought my naughty antics entertaining enough to reward me for my acting ability.

First, Santa knew that my old phone was difficult to use for text messaging. And, because the youngest son won't answer his phone but will check messages, I do lots of texting. Shortly before Christmas my phone mysteriously went dead. As in, no phone in, no phone out, no existing service, why don't you give up and not use this phone. It drove me nuts! The Santa delivery elf, taking pity upon me and my dilemma, left an early gift on my pillow one morning before I woke up.

I was amazed and surprised at the thoughtfulness of the little delivery elf to be so efficient and arrive so early to take care of my needs. What a sweet and thoughtful little worker bee.

Texting all of my friends and family became my pastime for the next few hours. It was so easy and texting became a breeze! I love my new LG EnV.

Then, on Christmas day, there was a small envelope cradled in the branches of the Christmas tree. That envelope had my name on it. What could it be? A million dollars? No, that would take more than a small envelope. Hmmm...Could it be an airline ticket to my dream vacation? Nope, Santa knows I don't like to fly. Just what could be in that little envelope. Well, it was a note, directing me to go down the the local ski shop at my earliest convenience.

Upon my arrival I was fitted for these!

Then, the man brought out these!

Can I just say WHOOT! Cross country skiing was one of my favorite things to do before moving to a climate too warm for the activity, then moving to a climate that was too harsh for the activity. Now, like the baby bear, this climate is "just right". Can't wait for the next snow storm to bring the white stuff back and give me a new layer of powder to break in my ski legs. Then, it is off to the trails. I want to do a bit of exploring on the old canal paths. Yes, pictures are promised along with a description of the trail and the sites along said path. Can't Wait!!!!!

Oh, have I mentioned that Santa thought I was rather entertaining this year?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

After the Storm

After the storm our ancient maple had more snow around the base. The snow blower added another layer of snow at the 3 foot level and extending about 2 feet up - that means the top of the blow snow is about 5 feet up. We now have a good 18 inches or so on the ground.

And - Another storm hits tomorrow! It should bring us another 6 to 9 inches. Get ready for another "after" pic.

The snow that we have received so far this year have been so different from the Wyoming snows. Here the snow seems to be falling like a whisper. Gentle, soft, powdery upon landing. The Wyoming snows always seemed harsh; angry, blowing, slapping your face when you ventured out.

The snow here makes me yearn to ski, to snow shoe, to make a snowman. The snow there made me want to sit at my window and watch as the pasture fence came into and went out of view.

I do believe I prefer the New York snow. It stays where you put it!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Before the Storm

Here is a picture I took this morning at 8:32 am. It is an ancient maple, right outside my door. This will be my focal point for the storm. The snow on the ground, from a previous storm, is about 3 inches deep. Our snow blower threw snow on the side of the tree. This snow is approximately 3 feet from the ground.
That is it for now. We shall see what the day brings.

  • 11:04 a.m. Snow began.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

A major winter storm is expected to hit the northeast today! We are expecting anywhere from 8 to 15 inches from this "fast moving" storm. We shall see.
The snow hasn't even begun to fall, yet the schools are informing everyone of an early release.
Storms seem to be taken seriously here.
In Wyoming, they didn't get serious until there was about 8 inches on the ground and the wind was gusting to 70 miles an hour.
Big storm people!
Batten down the hatches!
Gather your loved ones safely around you and stay OFF the roads.
I like that.

As the day progresses I will be heading out to my yard to get pics. Headed out right now to get one for a "Before and After" comparison.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Knit In Public!!!

The first time I knit in public was when I lived in Spain. It was back in the early 80s, before the craze hit the U.S. on such a grand scale.

I lived in a small town, Alcala de Henares. Many of the towns women would sit out at the sidewalk cafes of an evening and knit. A local woman friend of mine, when she discovered I was a knitter, invited me down to join them. Thrilled at being included in with the locals, I gladly accepted. I timed my arrival so as not to get there before said friend. By the time I did arrive many of the knitters were already there. Everyone got about the business of admiring everyone else’s handiwork, something I have noticed is sadly missing in many knitting groups I have attended, and then working on their projects. As I began to knit, everyone stopped and stared.

I didn’t understand why until they began to chuckle and my friend explained that I was spending more time throwing the yarn around the needle than I was knitting. At that time I was an English style not Continental style knitter. I quickly became a group project myself and they had me doing the “continental” in no time flat.

Then, in the late 80s, when I came back to this country and joined another knitting group, everyone looked at me and asked what I was doing. Occasionally someone would say, “Oh, that is the continental method.” As if that was odd or something. Once in a while I would get - “Oh, look, she is knitting backwards.” or “She is knitting wrong.” As if there is a wrong way to knit! If there is, please, someone, let me know!!!

Anyway, to make a very long story short, go ahead, knit in public! It doesn’t matter how you hold your yarn or how you work your needles! You are knitting dadgumit! You may learn something new or you may teach someone else something they have always wanted to learn.
I say again

What Are Friends For?

My friend Rebecca is always so thoughtful and giving. I suppose she knows the stress that builds up during the holiday season and wanted to help alleviate what she could. Wow! What a friend. How can one ask for more? Take heart! Because of her generosity we can all live a happier and less stressful holiday season. Below you will find a wonderful diet that should energize and fortify you for just about anything.

Don't let the Bah Humbugs get you down!

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds during the day.

1 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup skim milk

1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey's kiss

Afternoon Snack
The rest of the Hershey kisses in the bag
1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate chips

2 loaves garlic bread
1 family size supreme pizza
3 Snickers Bars

*you may add 4 glasses of red or white wine

Late Night Snack
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Playing With Fire

I just baked some Yule/Christmas cookies. Figured playing with fire was safer than trying to get pictures of the snow.

These cookies turned out awesome! Light, flaky, not too sweet.
They are a variation on a Russian Tea Cake, one of my favorites.

For those that want to give them a try they go something like this:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/2 cps butter
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cp powdered sugar

Beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

Stir in:
3 cps flour
1/2 cp finely chopped nuts (walnut or pecan)
And, my touch, 1 bag of cinnamon chips

measure out 1 level tbs of dough and form into ball, place on cookie sheet.
keep doing this until you rip your hair out or run out of cookie dough.
bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Sprinkle hot cookies with powdered sugar using sifter.
Leave on cookie sheet until completely cool.
Store in airtight container if there are any left at this point.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snowy Mornings and Olympic Practice

Finally, after weeks of waiting, a good snow fall!
I woke up to about 8 inches of fluffy whiteness that was so heavy with moisture that is stuck to everything.
Jezzie, the snow hound, was as happy as a lark upon being taken outdoors. Her little doggie heart was filled to bursting with the excitement of it all.

I went back inside to get the camera for pictures of the gorgeous new snow. Jezz was happy. So was I.

Camera in one hand, dog leash in the other, Jezz and I started back out for our first real photo op in the New York snow. It was glorious out doors. It was so pristine and white!

We stepped out into the crisp air, shut the door, turned to head down the steps and I felt my foot slip in the sticky, wet, white snow. I knew I was a goner the minute my footing became less than stable. So, giving up to gravity, my dog, my camera, all went willy nilly down the steps. Me cursing and trying to keep the precious camera out of the snow. Jezz jumping around, trying to stay out of my way, but enjoying the game nontheless. And gravity. The cursed gravity. Winning the game.

It is times like these when you really need a friend holding a video camera. Rebecca, where were you? I can see it in my minds eye. Camera held aloft, dog jumping around barking her fool head off, me, slipping as if in slow motion, banging my ample derrierre on each step of the luge-like trip to the bottom. And Rebecca laughing her not so ample derrierre off because she enjoys a good fall, even if it is at someone else's expence. (no offence meant there Becca)

Once my olympic luge run was complete I sat there, camera still held high, looking around to see if anyone had witnessed my humiliating tumble. Now, why does someone do that? You fall. You don't stop to see if anything is hurt. But you do look around to see if you are being watched. Why? Maybe if someone is watching you and laughing, you can laugh too. There you are, arms and legs broken, but because the onlookers are laughing, it must be the appropriate time, so laugh too! Dumb bunny! What if the onlookers were crying? Cry too? Or acting puzzled and confused? Oh, look, I fell, what do I do now? Any ideas?

I was safe from the crowd mentality and had only to deal with my over exuberant dog and the precariously dangling camera. Lying on my back, resting not too comfortably against the steps, I tried to figure out how to get up without getting the camera wet. Yes, I was a bit dazed. But the camera. My precious, soon to be replaced gem of a camera. Snow bound it was. Into the snow it went as I pushed myself to my feet and realized "My bum hurts."

So much for pictures.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Economic Times

Don't we all wish that prices were lower? It seems as though my dollar is transparent. You can only stretch those bad boys so much and they begin to disintegrate. The holiday season brings the economic situation into focus - sharp focus, with a macro lens! No matter where you go, prices are insane. What's a shopper to do?

Well, I for one, refuse to shop for Christmas gifts. For the past couple of years we, or rather I, have done minimal shopping. Rather, I get a gift card with the amount of money that was budgeted for that person's gifts and they get to shop the Christmas sales. Mind you, that is only for immediate family. Others may not understand my abhorence for holiday shopping and the crowds. And, rather than a purchased gift to place under the tree, there is a handmade item. The handmade items are my way of showing or demonstrating how much that person means to me. The time and effort put into the gift, usually a knitted sweater, socks, gloves, etc., is much more meaningful than throwing money on a counter in exchange for an item the person may or may not use.

I know, a handmade gift isn't always looked upon as a "gift" and you can't take it back or return it; but with a handmade gift, you know the person was thinking of you when they made it. And, isn't it the thought that counts? That is what I was always told.

Don't we all wish prices were lower? I know I do. As a result, I lowered the prices on all my Payloadz patterns. Won't have an impact on the economy, but it sure makes me feel better.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Harlingen Girls! Up on Payloadz

I do believe that the latest sock design is uploaded to Payloadz. This one will also be available in January. But, if you just can't wait, here is the link for the pattern:

Harlingen Girls!

Captain Jack Explores His Moods

Not only do I, the Capt of Jack, enjoy wool rugs, but I am a moody Kitteh too. Sometimes I am an angry Kitteh, sometimes I am green with envy cuz that dog Jezzabelle gets all the attention. Other times, I just want to fade into the ugly wallpaper and become a "Wall Kitteh" and then, pop out and become the "In your face Kitteh". Yes, I am the Capt of Jack!

Captain Jack says

Sleeping on wool is good for the belly. You can bite it, chew it, throw it up like a hairball 3 days later. Yum.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Xanadu Comes in January

The first pattern to be posted on Emma's Daughter Designs will be Xanadu.

This yoga (or dance) sock will be available for immediate PDF download.

Uploading Pics

Why can't I get my pictures from PhotoBucket to upload to Blogger? I have tried and tried and am beginning to feel a bit of the Benjamin Franklin definition of crazy. There are only so many ways to do this and when you repeat these ways ad nauseum, craziness does seem simpler. Is there something I am missing?
Today is the photo loading lesson day.

And, today is the beginning of the clean-up over at the other blog getting it ready to host pattern sales.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Artistry of Time

This photo was taken last summer during a walk through the old burying ground in Clinton. Jack and I thought we would share it with you during our exploration of blog page layouts. I do believe we have mastered the script beside the photo thing. If it wasn't for Jack, I would still be working on it.

Jack also thought it was cool that the script is on the right side of the tree and the marker is surrounded on the left side of the tree. He likes the artistic quality of time.

Jack Lives In My Room

Posted by Picasa
Now for the learning to begin. For a picture to really look good in a post, you must be able to do different things with the placement. Jack knows this. He is always moving and posing. He wants to know how to get the script to flow around him rather than be above or below. He knows it can be done. But how? Well, since I have all the fingers and the prehensile thumb, it is my assignment to figure this out.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another New Blog

Sometimes we feel the need to clean house. Sometimes we feel the need to wash clothes. Sometimes we feel the need to move blogs.
I am feeling the need to move!

Hope the learning curve on this one is a bit easier. And, I was going to clean up the old blog anyway. May as well start a new, fresh one and let the other one die a natural death.

Why move? Sometimes you just have to. Sometimes life has a way of hinting that it needs to be done. If you don't listen, life has a way of slapping you up-side the head to get your attention. Got my slap, time to move.

I have seen some nice blogs done on eblogger. May as well give it a try. And, it is free! Let's call this a move of economics. In these trying times we need to save every penny we can. Why not save on the blog?

Tomorrow, after all the household responsibilities are taken care of, I will begin the process of moving.
How about a housewarming gift!