Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pom Poms and Polar Bears

Rain, rain, rain!  It's probably been two months since we've had more than a 10-minute sprinkle.  I have missed it so much!

Not just rain, but quite a bit of wind.

Some bigger branches came down...

...and the pond filled with leaves, like it does every fall.

Our back Japanese Maple has very few leaves left, but the remaining ones are nice to look at!

We have a dwarf Japanese Maple in the front.  The leaves are the most beautiful brilliant red color!

Even the peonies are showing off today!

Between storms, squirrels are out and digging.

It's a lot easier to see their nests now, big tangles of leaves tucked away between branches.

The turkeys are out every morning, but it's always too dark to get a good picture.  Thankfully, our goslings - all grown up now! - are back.  I love to see them in the pond!

Since it's still quite warm (70 today!), I keep the windows open, both for the fresh air and for cat entertainment.  Tabitha is content to sit on a window sill and contemplate...

...but Bosewichte's long face is deliberately trying to make me feel guilty for keeping him indoors!

This is my busy season for work, so I don't have nearly as much time to craft.  I did recently finish a secret Christmas knitting project, with homemade pom poms!  I love them and am going to pom pom my next hat.

I spray-basted my 3 quilt layers, sweaty work crawling around on the stone tile and trying to straighten every wrinkle.  When finished, I tossed it over a rocking chair and am thinking about starting to machine quilt it...when I have time!

I recently got a good deal on some fat quarters of fabric, so named because they're one quarter of a yard.  Normally $2.50, I got these for around .40 each!  I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but it's nice to start growing a stash.

I recently bought this Alicia Paulson ornament-making kit that I ***LOVE***.  The tiny felt mitten design will be hand-stitched.  I want a white / brown / red theme for our Christmas tree so this is PERFECT!  And how cute is this coat?  I want this in a full-size model!

A clerk at the local Salvation Army gave me this mug for free when I asked about the price.  I brought it home and filled it with holly from the yard.  Now it's starting to feel a little festive!

It's dark and overcast now, and a storm is coming in this afternoon.  I just can't wait.  It reminds me of a book passage I read this week: 

"She rearranged the fire a little, mostly for the pleasure of handling the fluted steel poker, and sat down beside it.  Tea was already laid; there were honey sandwiches, brandy-snaps, and small ratafia biscuits; and there would, she knew, be crumpets.  Three new library books lay virginally on the fender stool, their bright paper wrappers unsullied by the subscriber's hand.  The clock on the mantlepiece chimed, very softly and precisely, five times.  A tug hooted from the river.  A sudden breeze brought the sharp tang of a bonfire in through the open window.  The jigsaw was almost complete, but there was still one piece missing...Mrs. Miniver, with a little sigh of contentment, rang for tea."  [Jan Struther, author]  

Doesn't that paint a lovely picture?  This weekend is supposed to be much cooler.  I'm going to make crumpets and curl up by the fire with a good book.  One of the many pleasures of my beloved fall.

Have a great week! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scallops and Stars

A yarn haul!  Knitpicks has their annual sale right before Thanksgiving, and I always take advantage of their great deals.  I spent $50 and got ALL THIS YARN!

The back row is going to be a slate blue fair isle sweater with a mustard, red, grey, tan, cream, and green yoke.  The grey yarn in front on the left is going to be a shoulder-covering cowl.  The rest of the yarn is fingering weight.  I bought it because I like the colors (a little more subdued than appears in this photo) and they'll be great for hats and other stranded projects.  Hooray!

I finally got to wear my recently-knitted mittens in Missouri last week and I love them.  They're my favorite mittens ever because they're so snug and warm. 

Every night I've slowly been working on a scarf with scalloped wedges.  It's knitted and purled through the back loop on BOTH sides of the project, so I won't be done any time soon.  It's all right...I'm not in a hurry.

I haven't done a bit of quilting in the past 2 time.  Before my trip, though, I did select a pattern for my new quilt and did a sample block with "junk" fabric.

It's a star within a star.  I'm going to be using peach, cream, sage green, and mustard colored fabric.  I can't WAIT to get started!!

The weather has been cooling off here, and the leaves are beautiful.  This is the view from my home office window:

I admire it daily!  Todd and I were out in the yard this weekend and I took more pictures of beautiful leaves. 

Borga kept an eye on things while Todd moved loads of dirt for a project he's working on.

Red berries!

An early camellia!

And still, more acorns than I've ever seen in my life.

We've finally turned the heat on, which means that we've gone from having 3 pets to having 1.  The cats stay under the main couch in the back living room and soak up the warmth from the floor vents.  They only venture out when I open a can of cat food.  ;)

It's been a bit of a sober few weeks at our house.  Todd and I have been disheartened over this election and all the ugliness that it's uncovered.  We're both committed as Christians to protecting the disenfranchised groups that are being marginalized by the Trump train, but reading the daily rhetoric has been so discouraging.  This will be a poignant Thanksgiving for us as we reflect on our blessings and see how we can move forward with our social justice aims.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Attack of the 43-Foot Rooster

The trees were beautiful, the weather was great, so it seemed like the perfect time for a November road trip with Todd, my brother, and sister-in-law! 

First up...the "most haunted" hotel in America...the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas!

Built in 1886, it was first a fancy hotel...

...then a college for fancy young women.

Finally, it was turned into a sketchy hospital that purported to cure cancer "with no x-ray, operation, or radium."  This is the original sign!

Norman Baker was the proprietor and a fascinating character.  After his cancer-curing venture failed, the Crescent eventually became a hotel again...and with such a storied past, it's got a few ghosts!  Is it just me, or do the hallway fire hoses look exactly like the ones in The Shining?

We went ghost-hunting with specialized readers, but alas, no nibbles!

Still, I loved the beautiful windows and all the original woodwork...

A great place for outdoor parties.

How can you not like a place that honors their cats in this way?

Next up, still in Arkansas...a 67 foot tall concrete Jesus that weighs over 2 million pounds!

Here's the view of it from the Crescent Hotel.

 And...who would think that I'd be able to see an actual piece of the Berlin Arkansas?

We stayed in super cute tree house cabins.

Last stop in Arkansas was Thorncrown Chapel, a church in the woods that has over 6,000 square feet of glass!

Hello, Missouri!  Home of the world's largest rooster (43 feet tall)...

Beautiful lakes.

We went to a fish hatchery.  Trout!

On to Silver Dollar City!  Lots of shopping...

Christmas lights...

Local artisans...

There were roller coasters (I did a baby one, but was too chicken for the big boys) AND a singing train ride. Win-win!

We stopped by the College of the Ozarks to see the campus, the architecture, and, oh, the chapel where Boyz II Men filmed a video in the '90s!  Oh yeah!

Now we're home and slo-o-o-o-owly getting back to the old schedule again.  Tabitha is disappointed that we aren't going anywhere else this month...she was very involved in the packing process and was fairly sure that she was going to get to take a ride in my suitcase!  Maybe next time.

Have a great week!