Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow!

We awoke to snow this morning! I love always makes me feel better...I think it's partly just because so much light is reflected into the house. Whatever the reason, I'll take the lift in spirits I get whenever there is a fresh snow. This little carpenter gothic is one of the older homes in our town. It's now owned by the historical society.

Downtown it's a little slushy. I think we are supposed to be getting more snow tonight and tomorrow though. Right now it's so warm...I think we are at about 35 degrees.

Our babies are home! We've had a house full of kids this weekend. It's been wonderful to have the house full and hear the laughter and teasing going on all week. Most of them have to go back to school today. For all the home improvement bloggers out there...the background in this pic in our stairway. A yet to be finished project.

Hawkeye was pleased as punch to have his girl home. Every time she sat down, he'd crawl on top of her for some attention.

We did a lot of sitting by the fire this weekend. We had family over for Thanksgiving Day and had a wonderful time and ate way too much. I hope you all had a good holiday too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gotta love a day when the mail brings you books!

I've been waiting for Danny Gregory's new book, "An Illustrated Life" to come...I ordered it months ago and it's just now out. I'll be spending the rest of the evening curled up being inspired.

I finished my little sock bag tonight. Well, except the lining....I'll have to search around for a good fabric to line it with. Actually the bottom of the bag is a better match to the knitted part than it looks in the picture...flash photography isn't my forte.

Preparing for winter..and knitting

I spent yesterday going through various baskets and boxes...sorting, storing and packing things up to take to a charity shop. I'm a stasher and piler...even when it looks neat around here there are baskets full of stuff accumulating.

Look! Empty baskets!

I put all my stashed yarn in one spot so I'll be able to find it, did some laundry, washed the windows inside and out in the kit/family room. The dining room is easy to pile up...we are readers and this is where we read and eat breakfast. The reading material tends to pile up there. I cleaned that up so I'd have a nice fresh start for Thanksgiving dinner. In spite of all this looks messier now! But that's always the looks worse before it looks better.

In the middle of all that, I found this in the bottom of one of the baskets. I bought the supplies in Galena a couple of years ago, but never knit it up. It makes a small bag and I don't carry small bags. But now I'm knitting socks and I think it will be the perfect size for toting around a sock-in-progress.

So last night I knit it up on huge needles and threw it in the washer to the colors. Just have to sew it up after it dries.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A different kind of Christmas giving........and a request for party ideas!

Times are tight with lay-offs and all the talk of the economy. Some of that has already touched members of our extended family so we thought we might try something that will simplify our giving, and enhance it at the same time.

Normally we buy gifts for all the aunts, uncles and cousins. This year instead of having the usual gift exchange we are going to gather for a New Year's Eve celebration and bring contributions to throw into a common piggy bank. Other friends usually come for New Years and they will be welcome to add to the gift too if they wish. Then later in the evening we will have the kids count it and decide what kind of animals we can buy through Heifer International. Our town has a big First Night celebration and we thought the we could mail off our gift when we go uptown for the entertainment.

Not sure what Heifer is all about? From their website:

"Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. For more than 60 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. And since 1944, we have helped 48 million people through training in livestock development and livestock gifts that multiply.

Every gift of an animal provides direct benefits such as milk, eggs, wool, fertilizer, as well as indirect benefits that increase family incomes for better housing, nutrition, health care and school fees for children. Recipients “pass on the gift” of offspring of their cows, goats and other livestock to others in an ever-widening circle of hope.

Heifer currently works in more than 57 countries, including the U.S."

Now, I'd like to make this fun for the kids...especially the little ones who are still in grade school. If you have any ideas themed around farm animals, I'd love to hear them! Just leave me a comment with ideas or links to them. Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winnings, Socks and Homecoming

I just got an email from Aaron at informing me that my post was drawn as the winner in their "Home for the Holidays" contest. I'm so the spirit of it being a winning about our home I think I will probably use it to pay for paint. My last trip to the paint store ran $295 dollars and the prize is $250. That will just about pay my bill! Woo-hooo!

If you are renovating or building or working on a house at all, you should check out There's a wealth of information there and a bunch of people who understand your pain....I mean, your joy!

I finished a new pair of socks...they don't exactly match (though they are the same length...just don't look it here) but I love them anyway.

Our baby girl came home from college for Thanksgiving...I think Hawkeye is glad to have her home. I know I am!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Perfect Tree Topper

I love old fashioned Christmas ornaments......even if they are new ones made like the old ones. We've always had a bow at the top of our tree....this is because I have never, in all these years, been able to find a tree topper that I liked. I wanted a star because of the star in the Bible leading folks to Christ. But none of them really tripped my trigger. Until last week:

I was attending the Illinois Main Street conference in Decatur and of course we had to explore their downtown. I found this Wendy Addison star in one of their cute shops. It's perfect...just what I was looking for...extremely sparkly with out actually having lights in it, large but not heavy, and two sided in case I ever have the tree in the middle of a room. And it only took me 26 years to find it!

This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by SC Johnson’s Right@Home. Check them out at . Also please check out for more entries.

Today Joe and Mike both had the day off and we made a pilgrimage of sorts. Well, if you are a hunter or fisherman it is. This is a huge store with displays of wildlife that are almost like a museum's.
Giant aquariums line an entire room....we got there just as feeding time began. I had fun keeping my guys company, knit socks on the car ride, and believe it or not, bought more than they did. I found some great shoes that will be perfect to wear to work this winter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Cactus

Isn't this lovely? Honestly, all the variety in nature just boggles the mind. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about all the time and energy I spend making things and and just trying to make things pretty. You know, especially when I think of some of my friends who are nursing or teaching school children or practicing environmental law and such (God bless my brainy friends!). Then I think about how God could have had everything the same color, maybe a few designs of flora and fauna, but instead, look what he did.....He gave us so much color and variety. Animals that just make us stop in wonder! Some that are so odd looking that we just have to laugh. And then I realize that He made me the way I am and gave me that desire to create.

On a more practical note, my house plants have to be tough, since I frequently forget to water them. I just brought the last ones off the front porch today and even though we've had a few snow flakes already, they are still alive! I bought this Christmas Cactus last year and it spent the summer on the back porch. It's been inside for a couple of weeks now....I went into the living room today to water it and saw that it was bursting into bloom. Maybe it's a Thanksgiving Cactus!

A little indoor garden junk....I use little chairs as plant stands. This plant is sitting in a little wheelchair that my granddad made for his oldest daughter who had Spina Bifida. He designed a wheelchair that she could use herself, and would be low to the ground so she could play with toys on the floor like other kids. Sadly, back then they did not know how to operate for SB and she died when she was five. Grandaddy and Nana refined the design and added an option for a stroller handle and marketed them to hospitals. There's that creative thing again....but boy, inspired by their daughter, they really did think of something that helped people. Every time I look at that chair I think about how much they loved their kids.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monkey Socks Done!

This is my second complete pair of socks. The pattern is called Monkey and you can find it at I did the pattern as written except I made it with no purls...when you come to an instruction to purl, knit instead. I got that idea from many of the knitters at Ravelry. I love this pattern and it fits so nicely.

It's rainy out, so I'll have to settle for flash pics. In real life, the colors are so pretty. If we ever get some light, I'll have to try to replace these pics for some better ones.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home is where the heart is....

I gave the dog a bath, changed the mantle from Halloween to autumn decor, made a fire in the fireplace and I'm doing laundry. I'm going to knit a little while the next load is drying. I feel so content being here getting these things done. I know that doesn't sound like an exciting day, but I'm looking forward to the day when I can spend my days at home again.

I love running the shop, but I don't like being away from home and having things fall so behind here. I don't think it will happen anytime right away though. The shop is starting to pick up and I'm hoping the income from that can help with our daughter's college expenses. I don't want to give you the impression that I'm the perfect homemaker even when I am home though...I usually have a ton of projects, volunteering, and of course I always have struggled with being organized. But this is where my heart is.

I love to put lights on the mantle. When we renovated the kitchen, I had them put an outlet on the mantle. Now I can have the lights with out cords draping all over. It's pretty easy to hide the outlet with greenery, photos or other objects.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Christmas Decorating.....what?

I know, it seems too early....

but our whole town is holding Holiday Open Houses this weekend. Sooooo, that means we decorate!

The good thing is that it's now done at the shop, and the day after Thanksgiving, I'll be in the mood again to decorate at home.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Image from Huffington Post?

Chicago had a beautiful night to welcome a newly elected president...President-elect Barack Obama. He gave a beautiful speech. I thought Senator McCain's speech was very well done too, and just right to start coming back together.

Now the real work begins....and what a huge job lies ahead.

This image from a message board with no credit. If you know where I can give credit please let me know.

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of puppy these little girls get!

Monday, November 03, 2008

When my day off falls on a 76 degree November day.....

well, how could we resist? We just had to get out and enjoy it! Hawkeye says, "Come on, Mom!"

Our courthouse is a gem.

Lincoln practiced law in our county.

The colors are amazing for this late in the season!

Several of these bridges make it easy to walk from place to place in our little town.

Then we went for a ride and ended up at my aunt and uncle's farm. As I walked, I found myself feeling full of hope for the future. I've been very anxious about the election lately, but today I felt at peace. I just prayed that God's will be done. I hope this is the time and the place for history to be made. This is not a political blog, but some of you know I support Obama. I'm excited that we have an amazing with dignity, morals, family values, a strong love for his country, and tons of brains to vote for. I'm happy for our country that 50 years following the civil rights movement we have come to this point. Whether you agree with my choice or not, I hope you all get out and exercise your right to vote. It's an amazing country we live in and a wonderful thing that we get to have our say.

Time to go back home and get busy!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall Colors....leaves, paint, & yarn

We've got a nice indian summer going on here. After the dew dried, Joe made some progress on getting that last bit of the house painted.

Fall is looking so good this year. Last year we didn't have much color for some reason, but this year is wonderful. The sun was not even out from the clouds when I took this late this evening. I hope it's sunny tomorrow so I can get some pics.

Margaret at Fabrics & Fibers & Frills was kind enough to wind my yarn into balls for me....aren't they yummy?!

My socks are coming along due to my obsessive knitting. I've been working on them in every spare minute and staying up way, way too late listening to podcasts on CraftSanity. If you like to craft and listen at the same time you will love Jennifer's podcasts...she interviews successful craftspeople and learns the inside stuff you always wanted to ask your favorite indie crafters. I worked at the shop today, and anytime we didn't have customers I was listening and knitting. Soon I won't be able to do that since we will be madly working to transform the shop for Christmas.