Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sadie's Cone

Remember my jogging buddy Sadie?  It is too cold now for me to be outside much because it bothers my athsma and all the bad weather bothers Sadie too.  Poor Sadie - since the arrival of snow and ice and SALT - she licks and licks and licks her paws and gets them all split and sore.  She has a mighty limp going on right now.  The only way to get her to leave her paws alone is to put on the cone.  Doesn't she look like an angel dog with her halo?
She is such a sweet dog and just loves it when I come over - here she is trying her hardest to get in close to say hi - except that cone thing hurts when she bangs it into your leg.  Ouch!
Here is her "little sister" Sophie.  Sophie is a mini Australian Shepherd.  My sister has always had labs and full sized A. Shepherds and Sophie is the 1st mini.  She is ever so soft and energetic.  And she loves to steal anything you put down - last time I was over she stole my sneaker before it was completely off my foot!  Last night I held on to them as I took them off and put them in the closet - but believe me - she was standing right there at the ready.
Their very beautiful Christmas tree!
While we visited I worked on my sock.  Almost done, but I am thinking I need to rip back a bit and start the toe decrease further up?  I don't know what happened here because usually I knit until I am a few rows above where my big toe starts and then start decreasing and get a perfect fit.  This time - well, I still have 2 toes sticking out.  No problem, I thought I would just add a few more rows but this is needing more and already my sock is starting to have a chimney.  Hummm.  Any ideas?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Concert of... Boots

One of my nephews is in a school choir - they go to school EARLY to practice.  They just had their series of holiday concerts.  I didn't go to the night time one at school, but they had another performance at the local senior center during the afternoon that I went to.  It was a full house, I tell you and very well received.  Here are some photos of the great art work that the school had on exhibit in the hall.  Fun, right?
What struck me as very funny, as the kids were lining up and trying to get into position - how many were wearing Ugg boots.  I think my feet would be too hot if I wore boots all day as shoes, but it is the very "in" style statement in this area!  There are 17 kids in the choir and here you can see 5 pairs of Uggs!  I wonder how many more kids they would have if practice was after school instead of in the wee hours of morning before school!  Based on the size of the class, 17 is a very strong turnout.

It was a great concert - the kids all worked hard and put lots of spirit into their performance!  It was so nice that they were able to be bused over to the Senior Center to give this extra performance.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Writing Exercise

Do you like to write?  I like to write.  And every once in awhile I actually put my mind into it and have a little fun. 
A couple of weeks ago I went to a little writing group with my sister (she goes weekly).  We were given 5 prompts to pick from and then 20 minutes to free write.  Afterward we got to read what we wrote and the group would discuss what they LIKED about the piece (this exercise re-enforces the strong points/phrases in your story).  The variety of writing was great - poetry, prose, stories - lots of things to make you think.
Want to try?  Just pick one of the prompts below, set the timer for 20 minutes and write - incorporating your prompt somewhere in what you write.  If you need a few extra minutes - take them, but really the idea is to wrap up your writing time in "about" 20 minutes.    I have never done a Mr. Linky post before but if I can figure it out I will do another blog post and put a Mr. Linky spot on it for sharing.
Here are the prompts we were given:
1.  Something seemed different
2.  Some things you will never forget
3.  It's all you could expect
4.  I can't remember
5.  It's too soon to tell
And here is what I wrote (I couldn't pick just 1 prompt so then went ahead and tried to use all 5 within the 20 minute writing time).  Just remember -this is the unedited version of what I wrote free-hand with pen and paper that day.  It needs some tidying up, especially with the verb tenses, etc., but it has potential - somewhere along the line.  Who knows?  I keep my writing in a 3 ring binder.  Really messy pieces I type and print out (believe me - I scribble all over my paper!).  But more often than not - I just stick the scribbled paper in my binder.  Well, we all have good intentions, right?  And only 24 hours in each day.  But anyway - on to the writing exercise:
Long and mournful, the foghorn's call beckoned.  The sound slowly wrapping around the scrubby pine trees, drifting down the steep rocks and floating out to sea on the dense fog.  From the top of the cliff Nettie stopped her careful descent down the slippery slope and paused to listen.  Something seemed different.  The foghorn brought a new memory.  The sound came again and wrapped around Nettie's heart slowly nudging her memory.  Secrets long held only in the darkest part of her nightly slumber - just a whisper of something that happened in the far distant past.  
The combination of the fog, the foghorn,   standing high on the cliff - all were pricking her subconcious.  "I can't remember", she uttered.  But she was lying to herself.  She did remember that frightful night so long ago.  "I can't remember", the words were sad and thick in her throat.  She stood and looked down at the fog and listened to the crashing of the waves below.  It's all you could expect on a night like this.  The nothingness but this place here and now.  She listened waiting for the foghorn's call again.  Rooted in her spot up so high from the tragedy that haunted her.  This nighttime misery she endured time and time again.  Because the foghorn had a story to tell.  And slowly Nettie would remember bits and pieces.  A mind will shut down, close off memories, but some things you will never forget.  The memory is there - behind a locked door.  She wanted the foghorn to finish the story.  So she waited and waited because the pieces of her past were floating around and around in her head waiting to be put together.  Could she will her unconscious mind to reveal her true past to herself?  It was too soon to tell.  But she knew this.  The foghorn held the key to the locked door.
OK - so that is what I wrote.  Now it is your turn!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Making a Few Small Christmas Presents

I finally set-up my sewing machine for an afternoon on the dining room table.  After cutting a bunch of squares I set my sister to work sewing them together.  And we made this cute little doll quilt for one of my niece's.  It isn't finished in this photo - I need to get a piece of flannel for the back and will tie the intersecting seams with purple embroidery floss.  And you need a matching pillow for a doll quilt, right?  Except I didn't have enough of those fabrics (I used 2 fat quarters) to make a pillow so I used muslin for the center and bordered it with the print fabric - dark purple on one side, light purple on the other.  I think it is cute!
And since I was on a roll, I continued right on and made a few lavender sachets.  You can't see too well in this photo, but I did use a decorative stitch along the outside edge.  They are always a fun little gift to tuck into a small gift bag with a bit of tissue paper.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Tree Season

You can count on me to love any Christmas tree.  I have had all sorts of fake ones - hand made ones too, even a white one that my Mom declared looked like a toilet bowl brush.  And real ones - some years we have had really interesting real trees.  Once my Dad brought home a one sided real one - Mom said "no way".  So Dad went back out into the woods and found the twin and we tied the 2 together - the tree was pretty rounded at the bottom and then the top branched out - we had a 2 top tree that year!  And just the other day one of my sister's and I were remember Nana & Grandpa's old silver tree that had a colored disc that went around and around and turned the tree red, blue, gold and green.  Funny!
Above - one of my sister's real trees (I have lots of sisters so don't even try to keep them all straight!).  I have clearer photos, but I sort-ov liked the blurry light effect.  Even though that means you don't get to see all their great ornaments that her daughter did an excellent job of getting just so on that tree.  We got it this past weekend from a really fun tree lot.  They had lots of trees staked to the ground so you could see how they looked.  Nice trees!
They had nice wreaths.
But the very best part of all - they had a bon-fire set up with s'mores fixings (the good stuff - Hershey's chocolate!), hot apple cider and hot chocolate.  No extra charge!  This is their 1st year selling trees and I would say that everyone will come back again next year.  Who can say no to a new tradition involving s'mores and Christmas trees! 
Oh - and a very friendly black lab - but I forgot to take his photo.
Here is a photo of the tree where I am right now - someone lent it to us and the decorations.  I think it looks pretty at night with the lights on.  My sister (a different one) is going to draw an angel and we are going to make a cone to tape it onto for the topper.  If you have an extra tree in the basement or garage - maybe someone in your community would like it.  I am happy that someone had an extra for us.
Last weekend we went to my nephew & his familys house.  We decorated that tree and had a nice family dinner.  Don't ask me what my crazy camera did for this photo, but here you go.

In Austria, my husband's sister uses real candles and glass ornaments.  The tree doesn't get set up until Christmas Eve and comes down before New Years.  It is a real tree but shaped differently than what I am used to with big spaces between the branches to allow for those candles.

I always like my own ornaments - when I am where they are at Christmas!  We have lots of apples, beads, crochet snowflakes, angels, musical instruments, birds, little wrapped presents and a great assortment of ornaments - even one that I painted when I was 3 years old... last time I had it all set up was 2 years ago (photo below).  I guess next year I should pack the ornaments and ship them over to Austria (they are in Canada and I am in the US so that plan won't work for this year).  Because my sweet little boy and husband are over there with no ornaments of their own this year - someone is lending them ornaments though and DH plans on getting a small tree this week.
And they do have an Advent wreath (here's a photo from last year) and my collection of rhinestone trees.

And a box of presents from Santa are enroute - winging their way across the ocean even as I type this.  At least if I don't make it over there Santa will.  After all - Santa rides for free in that magical sleigh of his.  Airline tickets are so expensive over the holidays this year that we are juggling plans and trying to make things work without blowing our budget.  But at the very least, you can always count on a tree making things look festive.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Finished My Socks!

Ta-Da!  Finished.  The other night one of my sister's was here visiting and she wove in all the hanging yarns for me while we chatted.  Isn't that great company?  I don't like weaving ends.
I have cast on a new pair - this pair won't have such long cuffs. Do you ever get to this stage and stop and wonder if you should make your start of a sock into a glove?  I think this pattern would be very pretty for gloves, but maybe in a solid color. 
Knitting is more portable than sewing with a machine, so that is what I am going with these days.  I do have a few small sewing projects I would like to get to, and maybe, maybe I will get around to it some time this week?  Maybe not.  I am busy.  And when I am not busy - I try to get outside to enjoy my beautiful Cape Cod.  Yes, it is cold, but oh so lovely.  
One of these days I might be able to sit down and catch my breath enough to tell you a few good stories, but in the meantime enjoy my photos!  As the saying goes - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fat Quarter Vase

The other day someone brought my sister these beautiful flowers!  We did not have a vase in the house that was heavy enough to support their weight, but small enough to keep the stems together.  We ended up cutting the top off an Ocean Spray cranberry juice container.  I wrapped a fat quarter around the bottle and tied it into place with a ribbon.  I just love our new vase!  Easy to change the fabric to match the season or your flowers too!  Give it a try!