Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another hour or so last night, and the ornament is finished.


and back:

I really like the way this one came out. The hardanger is #8 and #12 pearl cotton, the tassel is #8 pearl cotton, and the twisted cording is #5 pearl cotton (only two strands, which surprised me. It gives a nice size cord when it twists back on itself.) So I used all three sizes of thread that Shaun's co-worker (Maggie) gave to me.

I hurried up and finished this last night, even though I still have my cold, because I wanted it ready for Shaun to take to work today and give to Maggie. But they're closed for New Year's Eve, silly me. Oh well, I'll take it Monday.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Here are some of the things I meant to post before Christmas, but never got around to. First, we have a crafty endeavor of the botanical kind.

I can't stand to buy a wreath for $25 or more, when every year there are dozens of branches blown down around the house and the Lab that are free for the taking. I'm so cheap that I even reuse the bow, pinecone, wire framework, and wrapping wire from year to year. This year, I got fancy and added some lichen-tufted twigs. I think it looks quite snazzy.

Here's a shot of our inside tree this year:

Emma had quite the haul of presents. Shaun's dad and stepmom always go a little overboard on the gifts. While I'm not a fan of giving excessive presents, just to be giving presents, they did send lots of books and clothes this year. Clothes she can grow into are always appreciated, and I love that she loves to read. I think the prize this year was the paintbox my sister and her boyfriend sent. She absolutely loves it.

The Thursday night before Christmas, I got all inspired and decided to bake a loaf of Christmas bread, to have on Christmas morning. After I got going, I decided that this would also make good presents for the babysitter, the people at the Lab, and to take to a Christmas Eve party. So I went to town with the bread-baking. (it's actually not as much work as it looks like- one recipe makes two loaves.)

This is Julekage, the Norwegian version of Scandinavian Christmas bread, and one of my favorite recipes. It's a sweet bread, made with milk and eggs and cardamom and candied or dried fruit, with drizzly icing, and is entirely yummy. I could eat a whole loaf myself. Actually, I almost did. Shaun and Emma don't like it, so Dad and I polished it off. I should make this more...

Lastly, here's what I did on Wednesday. Start to finish, about eight hours.

Emma and I have both had massive colds (contracted from my dad) this week, so after he left on Wednesday morning, we both camped out on the couch all day. Thank goodness for Winnie-the-Pooh and Maisy DVDs. Between the movies, Emma's afternoon nap, and early bedtime, I finished the entire front of a large hardanger ornament, while trying to forget that I couldn't breathe and my sinuses were about to explode. This will be a present for a woman Shaun works with, because she gave me a big bag of unused spools of pearl cotton in various sizes, found in her mother's things after she passed away.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just been in a fibery/blogging/creative slump. Full of holiday non-cheer. I've had all these ideas that I think "I want to put that on my blog" but it seems like a lot of work and I never seem to get to it. We don't have internet access at home, so the only time I have online is during the day at the lab. (Which actually is fine, because there's usually some down time while I'm waiting for the autoclave to finish or something, and that way we don't have to pay for our internet and we get a blazing-fast connection.)

I also haven't been doing much except crocheting snowflakes the past three weeks anyway, and seriously, how many pictures of snowflakes do I really need to post? Suffice it to say that there have been a lot. BUT, I am now CAUGHT UP on orders! I have had three blissfully snowflake-free evenings this week, and actually got some spinning done. I finished spinning the green multicolored Colonial top (that I started spinning here), bringing the total bobbins of singles to five. I plied more than half of it into a lovely soft three-ply last night. Tonight I'll finish plying, and will hopefully get to post some pictures.

I guess the other reason that I haven't posted much recently is that my dad is visiting again, and once again, there's excessive cleaning, litterbox scooping, cooking, and stressing. I had just about recovered from having him here in October, and here he is again. Naturally, even thinking that thought makes me feel like a horrible person. I mean, of COURSE I don't want him to sit in his house in Maine alone, having the first Christmas without Mom all by himself, but I wish...what? That he hadn't come? No. That we could have gone to Maine? No, because then we would ALL have been in the house without Mom.

That the car accident had never happened and Mom was still alive?


Saturday, December 17, 2005

When you go to tuck in your two year old after her 10 minutes of "alone-reading-time" before bed, and she stands up in her crib to give you a big hug and says "You make me happy, Mama," how can you do anything but melt? I have tears in my eyes just remembering.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This is why I haven't posted much recently:

The most recent batch of snowflakes... still have many to do.

I miss spinning. I miss knitting. I miss doing anything other than snowflakes. So far I have used up three spools of #30 crochet cotton on snowflakes. At 500 yards per spool, that's 1500 yards. Nearly a mile of thread turned into snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

While Emma and I were at the beach this morning, I saw a new bird! It was a Black Turnstone, foraging along the edge of the water. They are really striking, especially when they fly. Quite a beautiful pattern on their wings.

This brings my life list total to 381 species of birds!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snowflakes are taking over my world. I have never crocheted so many snowflakes in one week. Tonight or tomorrow I should be able to finish up the last of the five mobiles I got orders for last week, then I have to make two mobiles, several more large individual flakes, and two "garland strings" of three flakes each for the gallery, three garland strings for a friend, and two mobiles for a different friend.

The response to my work has been amazing and gratifying, but I may never get to do anything else fibery for the rest of my life.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Happy December! The snow started about noon today, and continued through the whole afternoon. We have about three inches, on the parts of the yard that weren't shaded by fir trees. Emma was thrilled, and kept wanting to "Go play snow go play snow go play snow!"

The feeders in the backyard were swarming with juncos and chickadees, who left the most amazing pattern of tracks in the snow.

Here's the view straight out from the back deck, over the valley.

The front yard (I keep typing "yarn" instead of "yard") and view across the cul-de-sac were equally lovely.

A fresh snowfall is so pretty. It's early for us to have this much snow, but I expect it'll be gone tomorrow, as it's already starting to warm up a bit.

The shrub rose in the backyard is still blooming, and this bud looked beautiful with its cap of snow.