Monday, November 29, 2010


Thanksgiving came & went...good food, family & friends...ooh how blessed I am.  Hope all the FAF gang enjoyed their own traditions and celebratory rituals.  My in law family is smaller this year, FIL died in September but my MIL is physically so much healthier than she was 4 months ago, we could not feel overcome with sadness.  My FIL would have been as happy as we are because he always worried more about her than he did himself.  Life was richer because he was a part of it and we will continue to enjoy life in his honor.

Friday, November 26, 2010

And the third one was just right!

Ah, the sweet nostalgia when I got a small flat-rate USPS box in the mail today!  It was like Dish Rag Tag was back in action -- especially since the box was from our very own Diane in NC!

And it contained hats!  Gorgeous, gorgeous hats that I am sorely tempted to keep for myself.  Hence this post; if I put pictures of them and then am caught wearing them, I will be publicly shamed.  I hope this blog will keep me honest.

Diane called these "Three Bears."


Papa Bear ...


Mama Bear ...


... and Baby Bear.


I am trying to guess the yarns (and patterns) Diane used from the fiber content and care tags she included inside each hat. Why guess? Because they all are so beautiful to see and touch that I want to knit with these yarns myself! The gray man's hat (my favorite, I admit) is 100% Peruvian Highland Wool (but it couldn't possibly be Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, could it? So soft and touchable!). It's garter stitch between columns of knit stitches, with spiral decreases at the top. The cream women's hat is 85% merino and 15% cashmere -- cable panels of small and alternating small/large cables. And the baby hat is incredibly silky 70% organic cotton and 30% bamboo, simple stockinette with an adorable tassel.

Diane, you are a talented knitter with admirable taste. And generous, too! Thank you for being part of this project!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Had a good Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so much, however, this time is bitter-sweet. It was four years ago this week that my father went into the hospital, eventually passing away 2 days after Christmas, 4 days after my parents 50th wedding anniversary. The holidays have not been the same since. On top of that, one of my nieces was put in the hospital this week when she tried to harm herself so she was also missed during our family time today. I have been listening to this song over and over the last few days and thought I would share it with you. Life sure ain't easy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Went to see Harry Potter tonight with my niece.  I wasn't impressed, tho I'm not a true Potter fanatic, most likely will see part 2 just because but I certainly won't add this movie to my personal collection.  Popcorn & Pepsi were half price tonight, an unexpected bonus to the evening!!  I also want to see Unstoppable because I like the actors.  I'm not afraid to attend movies solo, so my list of want to sees can be lengthy. What movies have you seen that you can recommend?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Been Busy!

We are very luck to have moved to an area that has three major universities. There is one that is about ten miles from our home. We have tapped into their activities, concerts, and plays. This past week we went on campus three times. The first was a concert to hear a ladies a cappella group. We enjoyed listening to them and was amazed by their beautiful voices. The next night we went to see a two jazz ensembles play. Before the concert my husband, Bob went to a lecture on film history and cinematography. He was excited to sit in with the students during this presentation. While he was in the lecture I read a book in the student center. (I didn't want to scare any of the students with my knitting.) Bob joined me for the concert after his lecture. The Ensemble II was the first half of the show and they were great. The second half of the concert was Ensemble I who were the more experienced musicians. OMG, they were incredible. I didn't want them to stop playing. Very talented kids in the A Cappella and Jazz Ensembles. Something interesting we noticed while looking through the program was that the A Cappella group were all majoring in liberal arts programs and the Jazz Ensemble members were Science, Math & Engineering majors. Today we were back on campus for their Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair at the university's Crafts Center. I couldn't believe the unique designs that these artists put into their work.

Coralee, I am reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and enjoying it very much. Still trying to get all the characters straight. I heard about the book written by Scott Simon and it got good reviews. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it too. Let me know how you liked Harry Potter. Don't give anything away. I'll be seeing it Thanksgiving weekend with my brother and his family.

The hat shelf is filling up!

More hats are rolling in for the clients of Conway Cradle Care!  Yesterday's mail brought two contributions, from Leah in New York and from Amy in New Jersey.  Check this out!


Leah sent these two colorful hats: one baby-sized, one a wonderfully cozy oversized adult version. My daughter likes to name my knits, and the one she's wearing -- her favorite of all the ones I had her wear in this modeling session -- she called "Colorful Sparks."


This is the adult-sized hat Amy sent (made of Malabrigo ... ahhhhh). My modeled shots of it were out of focus, unfortunately, and this color is really hard to photograph.


Amy's toddler-sized cabled hat is made of Blue Sky Alpaca cotton -- look at how those cables pop!

I am so overwhelmed by the hours of work put in by my teammates and their friends on this project. Leah and Amy, you rock! Not only are my students going to be inspired by these, but the local kids who receive these hats for themselves and their children are going to know how much they mean to their community, near and far.


Diane--- did you ever decide on a book to read?
I'm reading Baby We Were Meant for Each Other by Scott Simon, of NPR fame, right now......what a great book about adoption.  It makes me laugh, cry, smile and generally just feel good.  I should be knitting instead of reading because I have a scarf to finish (Sorry, Leah!!) but I'm the first to get the book from our library and I can't renew...don't want to either, loving it.
Getting birthday cards ready for overseas, Marty's Uncle Jurgen is having a birthday 12/3...sometimes it takes weeks for the cards to arrive.
Spaghetti sauce in the crock pot for later, Marty is out hunting and the sunshine is calling me outside to work in flower beds.  Plan to end the day seeing Harry Potter with my brother & nephew.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Heading to Pittsburgh for a couple of days for work.  Accounting staff is trying to teach me some accounting....Gayle!!!!.... I'm making progress but I really think you have to have the  mind for it.  When she points things out to me they make sense but I can't seem to find the "things" on my own yet.   I have a great mentor....lots of patience :)....I'm lucky.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First hat received!

Thank you, Gayle, for the very special hat you contributed to my class's project!  Not only is it beautiful work, in a beautiful color, in a beautiful yarn, but the prayer you enclosed makes it a real gift of the heart and spirit.

Here's my daughter modeling it for my blog!


Holy Cow what a day

This is what I posted to FB a few minutes ago........
‎4whlr is running, ready to transport me to.... the wood pile!! Throwing wood down the chute for a bit, quick stop at craft show, I said quick!!, post office, WalMart, Humane Society for feline nailcutting lesson and then pick up MIL for the afternoon. Maybe not so quick stop at JoAnn Fabrics, Sam's Club and recycle center, not much more I can squeeze in.....except fixing supper, laundry, paying bills, etc :)
AND hopefully before the lights go out, knitting to top off a productive busy day.....icing on the cake:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taste of Home

My oldest daughter and I attended the Taste of Home Cooking Show tonight and had a great time. This is something like the 10th show we have attended and always enjoy it. Got some great new recipe ideas and enjoyed the company of good friends. Of course, I did not take my camera so no picture. Maybe I will remember next time!

Veterans Day

Stand Tall and Be Proud, we salute you and thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cookie A Sock Patterns

If anyone is interested in a Cookie A sock pattern you can go to this link to get her BFF sock pattern.

You can also go to Knitty and get other Cookie A patterns.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conway Cradle Care hat appeal update!

If you are contributing hats to the Conway Cradle Care service project, I hereby invite you to become honorary members of the class!

We have our own Ravelry group, Craft Wisely.  After debriefing our Craft-In and doing some planning for the Cradle Care Christmas party with the students today, I've started a thread in that group to keep a running count of the hats being made and contributed.

Please stop by and list the hat or hats that you are contributing, whether it is done or in progress or even just planned.  If things change, just edit your post (preferably to add more hats!).

That will allow all of us to see how the project is progressing.  I'll update the thread header with a ballpark figure of how many hats (and what types) are needed once I hear back from the organization's leaders about their current client list.

My students are so inspired and humbled thinking of the folks around the country they've never met working alongside them.  I've introduced you to them in my last post -- now come by, post your hats, and let them welcome you in person!


As soon as I finish this post, I'm going outside, working outside mornings this week, hoping to get caught up on my flower bed transplanting and winterization duties.  This summer, my Dad came out from IL and helped me build a potting shed in my back yard.  I'm doing some landscaping work around it too.   Will try to post pictures when I make some progress.

As sappy as this may sound I wanted to do a project with my Dad before he wasn't able to travel or physically help me.  Everytime I look out my kitchen window, I smile, cry, or laugh about some memory that comes back from this summer. I also give thanks for the opportunity to spend that week with my Dad, a week I will never forget.  Do you have a special Dad or Mom memory......wanna share it? 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Must See Video!

You have to see this video on "Christmas Knitting". It is a similar discussion that I have had with my husband many times.

Here is the URL address:

Enjoy and have a good laugh.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Thanks Diane and Coralee. That sweater was a pretty easy knit. It took less than 8 wks. I take a picture of everything I make. Most of the pictures get posted on facebook. Feel free to add me as a friend. I have not heard of Cookie A sock patterns. I will have to check that out. I did find the book someone on another team sent to Emily, the Eco-Kitchen book. I think I will order myself one. I need the place mats for my dining room table. I have my first hat for Donna ready to mail.


We are looking like a real blog with the photos. I am so excited to see the pictures. I love it. Now I have to figure how to add my own.

Getting back to our "Happy Hens Hat Knitting Group" The idea that Coralee came up with giving 4 to Donna, 4 to a charity we chose, and 4 to our local charity sounds like a great idea. Our goal is to have 12 hats by the middle of November 2011. You can count me in.

I'm almost done knitting my hat for Donna. Then I start knitting a hat, mittens and scarf set for myself. We will be spending Thanksgiving in the Detroit area and Christmas in the Cleveland area. It's COLD in the Midwest, unlike NC where you don't need all of those winter accessories. Three weeks to get it done along with my other knits.

I have made Cookie A Socks. I found them to be so beautiful that I don't want to wear them. Her directions are clear and the construction of her socks is amazing. I have down loaded her new book but haven't had a chance to look at it yet. In the future, I will be knitting more of her socks.

Gayle, that style of the sweater looks nice on you. I could see why you would want to make another one. Did it take you long to do?

Donna thanks for sharing the pictures.


That looks like a great pattern Gayle and it fits you very well.  Donna has some great pictures of things she has knit on her blog.  I'm such a dork, never think to take photos but most of the things I knit are for others.  I do finally have a sweater in process for myself but it always gets pushed to the back as I work on other things.  I love the hat pattern, like that it is part crochet and part knit, certain I will enjoy making it.  Perhaps may make one for myself too.  I just looked at a sock pattern book by Cookie A....has anyone made her socks?  They look fabulous and funky...I like!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What I have been doing on the side

Just thought I would share the other project I was working on before I got the DRT box and after it left my hands and while I was wait for the eternity for the post office to get the box back to Emily.

I found this pattern on Emily's blog in the gallery and ordered it online and downloaded it. I really like it and am considering make another in a different color but we will see how that works out.

And more hats

I think all of you know about the service project being undertaken by my students this semester.  I sent you details in an e-mail shortly after our triumphant silver medal performance.  Well, today we kicked off the hat drive publicly with a Craft-In on our university's campus.  Here are some pictures from the event!


We wanted to make a visual statement, so we collected all the handmade items members of the class had on hand and hung them on a series of clotheslines.


Some students did research on teen pregnancy and developed a fact sheet. We put the facts on slips of paper and pinned them to the knitted and crocheted objects, so browsers would be educated as they enjoyed the handwork.


We knitted and crocheted on the courtyard all morning in force. Several passersby asked for impromptu lessons. Many more asked if the items were for sale. We got a few spontaneous donations (that wasn't part of our plan!).

Group portrait

If you are joining us in this project by knitting hats for the clients of Conway Cradle Care -- for teens, female and unisex, and for babies up to two years old -- these are the students you're crafting alongside. Their spirit of service was evident in this morning's event. And they're already inspired knowing that people they've never met care enough to be a part of this effort at a distance. Thank you in advance!


I have made a couple of comments on post but I am not sure anyone sees them so I am beginning to think that instead of comments I should just post my thoughts.

So, I have one hat made for Donna's collect. I like the idea of making one a month..think I can handle that better than one a week.

Donate hats

I'm willing to give it a try Diane, but I need to finish my scarf exchange with Leah's gang first.  FAF Captain Donna has a great program going that could use hats, (I'm planning to knit at least two for her in December) perhaps we could consider her for a partial donation, say 4 hats each, another group charity for 4 hats each and the remaining 4 to a hometown charity.  Anyone else interested in doing a Happy Hens Hat knitting group:)???

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Coralee -Your friend has a wonderful and thoughtful idea about knitting 52 different hats a week. It does sound like a lot of fun. She is a generous person to donate all the hats at the end of the year. Like you, I have many ideas but not enough time to follow them through.

I know I can't knit a hat a week but I could do one a month. I'm willing to knit 12 different hats and wondering if anyone is willing to do this with me? At the end of November we could donate them to a charity for their Christmas party. Thoughts anyone?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Potatoe Peels

I loved that book Diane, it was humorous, informative, sad, colorful, full of great characters and a real joy to read.  At first I had a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight but it wasn't long before I knew them well.  The letters are amazing.  How great that you were able to meet one of the authors.

Leah's idea is great. I've often thought I would try to read a certain list of books but I always end up deviating from the list :)  Off & on for the last couple of years, I've tried to follow along with my local library's book club, reading the books though not always attending the meeting.  I find that I must not experience books like most of the people in the book club because some of the conversations left me puzzled......wondering if we'd read the same book!!  But I have definitely read and enjoyed books that I would not have chosen for my personal "to read" list because of the book club.

A friend of mine is knitting a different hat pattern each week this year, 52 hats for donation by years end.  Isn't  that cool, I want to try it.  All these great ideas, not always enough time.....

Thank You

I want to thank everyone for their recommendations. These will give me a good selection to choose from after my next book. I am going to make a list and carry it with me so the next time I'm at the bookstore I can pick up a couple of them. I totally forgot about Alexander McCall Smith's and his series. I started reading his series a couple of years ago but I don't know why I didn't continue with them. Both books by Coralee seemed interesting. I will let you know my opinion after I finish reading them.

My next book is going to be, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. I saw the co-author Mary Ann Shaffer on the library channel in Northern Virginia when I was up there in Sept. She explained how the book came to being and her role in editing the story. It intrigued me so much when she read a chapter of this epistolary novel, that I went right out to purchase a copy.

The book blog, "A Year of Books" by Leah is going to be an excellent source of books for all of us who enjoy reading.

More Book Recs

I've been involved in an online project where a group of us are reading a book a month for a year. It's been a good way to get me reading again--and was quite fun to come up with a list.

You can find my book blog HERE.

I can recommend "Wolf Hall" for an absorbing and very well-written, at times thrilling, piece of historical fiction.

Also Van Reid's "Moosepath League" books.

And how about Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe series?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Recommendations

I read these books this summer, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and The Help by Kathryn Stockett and recommend them both.
Skloot was a bit dry in a couple spots but her tenaciousness and sense of humor in dealing with the struggles she encountered and overcame while researching the book added to the realism of the story.  Some of the facts regarding the treatment of Henrietta, her family and her race saddened me but most amazing stories have a harsh side somewhere or they wouldn't be as compelling.
Stockett's writing pulled me in 100%, I wanted to be Skeeter's friend and punch her so called "friends" in the stomach !!  I'm not really violent, the post office bomb threat was a joke, honest!:) Parts of Skeeter's story hit too close to home, childhood trauma, that still hurts today.....crazy huh??  If you read either one let me know what you think, if anyone else has read them, would love to hear your opinion. 
I enjoy for recommendations and research.

Looking For A Good Book?

I'm finishing the book "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" and in search of another good one to read. Since I moved to NC from MA. I seemed to have lost my edge in knowing what's going on in the literary world and the up and coming authors. I used to be a person who knew every book on the Top 10 and the go-to person for a good read.

Things have changed. Maybe it is the slower life style? Having different friends? Or my interests are not the same? I was the person who used to read everything she could get her hands on since the age of 4, would rather read then go out on a date, and was known to always have a book on them but rarely reads novels now.

It's not that I don't read. I do read the newspaper and online news and though I hate to say it knitting books but that's another story for another time. When I go to the bookstore I get the urge to buy a book but having a hard time finding one. What are other people reading? Does anyone have a recommendation?