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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vintage Bouquet Shawl


I love to knit and this shawl has kept me occupied for months! A pretty accessory can dress up the most basic outfit. My earrings were a Christmas gift from my husband. Cynthia at Antiquity Travelers on Etsy.com ( www.etsy.com/shop/AntiquityTravelers) made them up for me. They're green amethysts and mimic the color of my eyes (husband's remark - too cute!) Cynthia is a local jewelry artist in Connecticut and has a beautiful website. Shop locally whenever you can!





Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Star


The wise men followed a star to Bethlehem and found a baby worthy of fine gifts, our savior, Jesus Christ.










Our children are gifts from God. Lord, teach us to be worthy. And help us teach them to seek You.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reindeer Games


Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And big antlers little beady eyes.



And are actually gingerbread boys turned upside down!



And decorated with royal icing and candy snowflakes!



And there'a a whole herd of them waiting for Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Precious Time

Last week amid the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations I spent a few precious hours with my oldest grandchild who'll turn 4 next month. I didn't get to see him on Thanksgiving but sent two pies to my brother's home for all to enjoy. The first thing my little guy said to me this week was "Grandma, I really loved your pumpkin pie that you made - was that pumpkin cream pie?" James is not your typical 3 year old.


We melted pony beads in a heart shaped cake pan. I pre-sorted the beads and James arranged them carefully in the pan in a really pretty random design. I drilled a hole in the top and threaded fishing line through.

While he could still maintain interest, we decorated white chocolate coated Oreos and hung candy canes on the Christmas tree.
James had a great time. He'll never know that I referred to them as "tree", "star" and skiing accident.
I love having my grandchildren around any time they come to visit but a planned activity that focused on one little one at a time was extra special for both of us.
Little brother got some extra "Mommy and Me" time and then came for lunch.
There was time to rest at the end of a busy day. Sandy sort of collapsed after everybody went home.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ready to Bake?


So these two show up in my baking cabinet, looking all smart and sassy.  Ready to bake?  In this mess?  I've had an awful cold and I'm only getting back on my feet but I opened the cabinet door and there they were.  They said they were associates of the Pillsbury Dough Boy but they looked too tarty to be friends of his.  They reminded me that we already had the molasses and brown sugar so what was the hold up?  I feel like I've barely finished the last of the pumpkin pie and we're on to Christmas baking. What's with that? To be continued...




Monday, November 11, 2013

All Fall Down

I've been absent from my blog for a while.  Lots of sitting and lots of knitting. My shawl's finished except for the lace border. It's taking a "time-out". It's me - not the pattern.  I don't know why I can't seem to accept the fact that a repeat can end with a yo. So I decided to teach myself to knit socks from the toe up. Could I start with simple sock yarn and a cable long enough to work properly? Of course not. I had to use a cashmere blend that is difficult to rip back and magic loop with a needle that's a few inches too short. I've ordered the correct length in the correct needle size - it's on its way.
The reason I'm getting so much knitting done and don't have much to blog about is simple. I was playing with my almost-two-year-old grandson and fell in a hole. Actually, I got my weak leg (I call it my MS leg) stuck in a depression in the lawn as I was moving sideways to catch the baby at the bottom of the slide. My foot got caught, the body in motion stayed in motion. I pulled to the right to avoid landing square on the baby and twisted the bad leg. I thought I'd sprained it but the MRI showed that I actually broke a bone in my knee - much like a move by Tyson Chandler of the Knicks. (I am no Tyson Chandler...)
So I've been spending a lot of time sitting around. Many stitches being stitched - nothing finished. I haven't cried or thrown anything but I'm getting callouses on my butt  - I'm not kidding :(   ...  So the most I can summon up right now is a timely picture of two of my grandsons doing what kids do in the fall.  Unfortunately - so does Grandma!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

                                           


Looks good, right?  Believe it or not, it's got protein, fiber and calcium.  Cocoa and cinnamon are anti-imflammatory, pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A and fiber.  And the whole thing has 150 calories, no dairy (if you discount the little dollop of fat-free Readi-whip on top - add about 10 calories for that if you want it.)

Smoothies have become very popular for breakfast. Everybody's in a hurry, nobody gets enough vegetables, and we all get too much sugar.  If you want your smoothie to taste like pumpkin pie, leave out the cocoa, the cinnamon and the stevia and just add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.










Whip it all up in the blender and away you go.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 scoop Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Steva liquid
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 or 3 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Prepare pumpkin by freezing 1/2 cup portions in muffin tins and storing in freezer bag.
  2. Place all ingredients into blender container and process until smooth, stopping periodically to scrape down sides of container.
  3. Enjoy!
      
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 40
Calories 150
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 4.5g7%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 532mg22%
Potassium 420mg
Total Carbohydrate 17g6%
Dietary Fiber 9g36%
Sugars 4g
Protein 20g
Vitamin A 310%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 47%Iron 12%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Classic White Shirts - All the Ghouls Love Them!



I love a crisp white shirt with jeans. I always feel instantly pulled together, whatever the day brings. The "v" neckline elongates the face and neck. Scarves are fun and stylish but too much bulk around a woman's neckline may not always be flattering. That said, sometimes the shape of a basic shirt adds visual pounds to the body, especially around the middle. So notice that this shirt has darts that run up and down the front and back similar to princess seaming. Instant hourglass shaping! This one is a few years old and it's by Coldwater Creek. They still make these no-iron shirts with shaping but the sleeves are either long or roll-up with buttons. I've worn and washed this one many times and it still looks as good as the day I bought it. It still looked fresh after a "wicked good day" in Salem Mass last week.





















Friday, September 27, 2013

Did you Imagine 8 Years Ago?

My husband and I had a nice time with my daughter and two of our grandsons yesterday


My daughter had been telling the almost four year old about looking for shells and sea glass.


We had lunch, watched  fishing boats, the seagulls and airplanes and then walked the beach.


And ran the beach and chased seagulls


Of course, a little rock-throwing was involved.  Where else can an 18 month old throw rocks?


And only on an outing with Grandma do you get to eat and ice cream as big as your head.

So this morning over coffee, my husband and I laughed about some of the antics yesterday.  The almost four year old's rendition of The Grand Old Duke of York (he has a British pre-school teacher) and his version of The Pledge of Allegiance.  How long a reach the baby has and how fast he can get to whatever he wants.  Every time we spend time with our grandchildren we're amazed at how much we love these kids and just how quickly they changed our lives.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Figs & Lace

                                            
I fell completely in love with this shawl called Vintage Bouquet designed by Dani Sunshine. Everything about stripes combined with lace makes me happy.  So I've started my version in Madeline Tosh Merino Light in "Fig" and "Antique Lace".  When I wear it around my shoulders this winter it will remind me of today - the day I plucked the last juicy fig from my fig tree.






And said "good-by" to Summer on the first day of Autumn.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Counting my Blessings One by One

My son is a wonderful dad. Not only to his baby but to his three step children as well.  He's not even quite 30 years old but he's mature way beyond his years. He's got a good job and a home of his own. He had some tough years after his dad passed away. Those times are behind us - the seeds of love were planted deeply. I'm so proud and grateful for my son and the man he's become. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Most Beautiful Bean

Adding height to a late summer/early fall garden is easy with Hyacinth Bean vines. Think "Jack and the Bean Stalk" - yes that kind of growth!  I put two tall obelisk shaped tuteurs in a front garden bed. One got more sun than the other and achieved more magnificent growth and flowers. Neither one of them disappointed me. I can imagine that a bride planning a backyard wedding could find a sunny spot in the Spring and cover an arbor by early September with gorgeous flowers at a fraction of the cost of a florist's design. It's even possible to use the flowers and pods in bouquets with beautiful results.  Take a look at this beautiful example of a bean clad arbor  from Ivyclad.com with a link to her blog.


These are in front of my home

And so are these...


Can you tell I'm seriously in love with this beautiful bean?


This lovely bouquet with Hyacinth Bean vine is from Springwellgardens.com
A bride (or the bride's mother) can really cut costs and grow mounds of these beautiful flowers from a couple of packets of seeds.  You can find them at Renee's Garden.com.













Thursday, September 5, 2013

Zuni Shawl - No Wool Yet!

It seems like everybody who knits is ready for Autumn. Bring on the crisp days, cold nights, flannel pajamas - NOT!  I can knit cotton for months more and it won't bother me a bit. I love the change of seasons but they're spinning around much too fast for me. I just finished Zuni designed by Danielle Chalson of Makewise Designs. I think it will look nice filling in the front of a denim jacket or around the neckline of a cotton t-shirt. Though I could go for a Dunkin Donut Pumpkin Spice coffee right about now...just saying.




Monday, September 2, 2013

Blackberry Jam - Summer in a Jar

I made 4 more small jars of blackberry jam today. But this time I didn't use extra pectin from the grocery store.  I didn't care for the texture of the jam I made when I added the extra pectin. It seemed too much like cranberry jelly for my liking. I collected a basket of blackberries from my "Chester" thornless blackberry bush and added them to a batch I'd stashed in the fridge. I guess I had about 6 cups altogether. I rinsed them well several times, added an inch of water and boiled them down. Then they went through my grandmother's ancient food mill to remove the seeds.  I added two cups of sugar and a pat of butter (to keep it from foaming) and boiled it down to a nice thick syrup. After I sterilized the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I poured the liquid jam into a measuring cup so I had a nice spout to work with. Then I poured the jam into the jars and processed them for another fifteen minutes at a nice high boil. When they cooled I heard a nice, tinny "pink" as they sealed all nice and tight. Ready to go into a nice basket of scones at Christmas time, when my blackberry canes are heaped with icy snow. Summer in a jar!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wedding Day!

 
My youngest nephew got married on Saturday. That's his older brother behind him, serving as his best man.  The groom wore his typical casual smile while his brother took his job very seriously!
 
 
His bride, escorted by her dad, ethereal in her DIY flapper style gown.
 
 
 
The groom thought so, too.
 
 
This lovely wedding is proof that a romantic affair (weather permitting) doesn't have to break the bank.  The tables were set with assorted clear medicine bottles, wine glasses, teacups with flowers and candles arranged within.  Paper lanterns and twinkle lights adorned the trees.  Dinner was assorted upscale barbecue on small plates collected at tag sales.  Casual and comfortable was the theme of the day.  The bride's attendants wore color coordinated dresses of differing styles and lengths and carried home made bouquets.  The groom's mother made the boutonnieres.  The bride bought her dress off the rack and added the fringed straps herself.  The floral arch was rented as was the antique bird cage that held the wedding cards.  Instead of a traditional wedding cake, the bride and groom opted for cake pops and ice cream.  The day hovered around a perfect 80 degrees with low humidity just as if it was ordered and paid for.