I haven’t knit myself a sweater since 2017. I felt this needed to be remedied. So I joined the Olive Knits January Gansey Sweater knit along.
The January Gansey Sweater is a pattern written by Olive Knits. There is a KAL group on Facebook and on Ravelry where people are sharing and asking questions. There also are weekly videos discussing the technical aspects of this sweater hosted by Marie Greene of OliveKnits. as luck would have it there happen to be a few other people besides myself making this sweater at the LYS, Flying Needles. I’ve chosen to knit mine with Berroco Ultra Wool DK in a pretty moss green color. I’m using the color #83118 in the dye lot of 7C4778. I’m modifying where I start the cables to what I feel will suit my charming Apple Shape a bit better, but otherwise will be following the pattern.
I chose this specific knit along because it included a technique I always wanted to try, underarm gussets. I would not be surprised if you just read that last sentence and it didn’t even sound like a real thing. Underarm Gusset, indeed. I assure you, all the non-knitters and knitters alike, that it is indeed real and it’s a very old and useful technique.
A Gansey or Guernsey Sweater is a traditional woolen knit sweater often worn my fisherman. Now, I’m not a fisherman, but I will be wearing this sweater. And, I do enjoy learning about historical clothing, especially when it also incorporates knitting.
As I was working along on my sweater it occurred to me it might be a good time to also go ahead and strip off the lavender flowers from the bouquet I bought at the Williamsburg Farmers Market this fall and make new sachets. While doing this I took this opportunity to add a couple drops of Lavender essential oil to some of the older lavender sachets I had made in the past. I now have freshly protected drawers in which I can store my sweater once I finish it.
I have six or so sweaters I’ve knit and a dresser full of other things knit. Mostly I knit with wool so protection against moths is really important.
So for the next week, I expect I’ll be plugging along on the stockinette body of my January Gansey Sweater. This will have the added bonus of making the fussy cabled section to be minimal. Allowing me to focus on my two oldest sons, Charlie and Ricky, while they are here for a visit. They will be here this coming weekend. I am very much looking forward to seeing them.
I will be starting the cables a few inches before the underarm gusset. I expect both these things will require my undivided attention. And in truth, I really want to give my boys my undivided attention, too. So I may have to set the sweater aside when I get to this point. Good thing I have several other projects I can knit as a back-up. You can never be too prepared.
I’m not really the type to set New Year’s resolutions. I always want to be working on bettering myself and our quality of life. I know I need to do things like exercise more, eat healthily and be more patient, always.
So rather than specifically have a resolution here are the things I want to focus on;
make the most of our acre and grow food, and actually eat it
focus on getting chemicals and toxins out of my life, that means you too, diet Pepsi
find my people, I’ve been a hermit this past year
In a nutshell, we are already planning what we want to grow, will refocus on shopping places like the local farmers market and the newly opened Earth Fare, clean up our eating with help from the previous two, and put myself out more in the knitting world and visit my family.
Short and sweet with the intent of accountability. Next time I’ll tell you a bit about my nephew’s visit with my mom. Anthony, too, is a huge fan of our chickens.
Until then I’m off to measure my gauge swatches on my January Gansey for the knit along I joined.
Happy Knitting, gardening, cooking or whatever brings you joy.
We had our first snow of the season last Sunday. It didn’t begin to stick until we had a few inches. So even though we had about four inches it was rather sparse on the ground. It was still beautiful.
The previous day Chuck had trimmed some holly bushes and I used the trimmings to add into the pots and window boxes to bring some Christmas cheer to the curb appeal of our house.
I knew I wanted to add some pine branches in and I considered picking some up when we were at Sam’s Club but I really didn’t want to pay for them. We have many Pine trees in the neighborhood and I thought I might ask one of the neighbors if I could trim some branches from theirs. As luck would have it, with the weight of the snow there were several downed branches from pine trees laying around on the sides of the road. Tim and I stopped and pick up several of the smaller ones. I popped them in the pots with the Hollys and I love how they look.
Let’s talk about a different type of snowflakes. Crocheted snowflakes! I purchased some of these charming snowflakes in the past at craft fairs in New Mexico. I previously hung them, with my particularly tall daughter’s help, from the sky light over our kitchen island. In our new house I needed a new way to display them. I decided to hang them from the window valance in our main living room. it has a large picture window and looks over our backyard. I had the perfect amount for that window. I hung them with command hooks and fishing line. They are so enchanting here. I really wanted to hang them from all our windows! But I didn’t have a source to purchase them here in Virgina.
Now you must understand that I don’t really crochet.I’m really just a knitter. In fact I thought I was rather terrible at crochet. But I started researching for some patterns. I thought if I could fund some simple ones at least I’d give it ago. I came across this book on Ravelry, 100 Snowflakes. I was able to find it for purchase on Amazon and immediately ordered it.
Much to my surprise its very well written. It has written patterns as well as charted patterns for each snowflake. There pictured steps of each crochet stitch in the beginning of the book for quick reference. The snowflakes are grouped by Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. I began with Snowflake #1 and have currently worked through Snowflake #48. I’m proud to say my crochet skills have grown as I’ve moved through the book. I’m using Aunt Lydia’s #10 crochet thread and a size US 6 crochet hook.
In order for the snowflakes to really shine they need to be blocked with starch. Starch is surprisingly hard to find now a days. I looked at both Target and Walmart. There was spray starch but I needed the liquid kind so I could soak each snowflake and then pin it out. Amazon to the rescue. I ended up ordering Aleene’s Starch from Amazon. This is the exact starch suggested in the book.
Today I started blocking the snowflakes. It’s going to take a few rounds as I don’t have enough T-pins. I used some push pins put that doesn’t work as well since I can’t see the finer details because the pins take up more the visual space.
It’s been fun and I want to make all 100! I’m not sure that will happen before this Christmas because I just purchased a Snowman pattern by Susan B. Anderson that I really would like to work on.
If you give a mouse a cookie and all, then if you finish a shawl, you will probably begin a shawl. At least that is what I did.
I just finished the Maighdeann-ròin, the Seal Maiden, by Nat Raewulf. I made my with three colors, one was a lovely salmon pink tonal and the other two both had this color but one was mostly grey with speckles and the other pink, white and black. I typically am a matchy-match girl when it comes to colors so throwing in the mostly grey skein was a bit out of my comfort zone. I should clarify it’s not that it doesn’t match exactly……More that it evokes a different feeling. I’m not really explaining it right. I typically would have chosen a tonal in another solid color. Perhaps it that I would never have put the grey with the black together. I was really drawn into that grey one with how the yellow pops against the pink.
And here’s the thing. Now that the shawl is finished I actually really like the grey one better than the black, pink and white skein. So now the odd one out feels like its no longer the grey but instead the black. Funny how that happens.
Overall, I really like the finished shawl. I like the way the long tails curly-cue. I so wish I add made the picot edge more pronounced, it seems to need a more substantial defining edge. I used the backwards edge cast on and it wasn’t a good choice. I may go back and remove this and redo it but in reality of taking time to do this I probably will not.
That is this one. It is The River of Dreams by Lauren Rene. This shawl was specially designed for the LYS store, The Flying Needles, anniversary. I also got a special color way dyed yarn made just for this shop. The shawl uses 5 colors. Mine starts with a darker blue-turquoise working through to lighter and lighter turquoise to mostly white. I thought the blues was a nice choice for a shawl with river in the name.
The shawl is a big rectangle with a panel of lace and faux cables. I haven’t made a rectangle shawl in awhile so it will be nice for tv watching as there wont’t be any changes in stitch count.
I haven’t shown you a competed picture go my Magic Stripes scarf finished so I’m popping one here.
Around here there seems to be an abundance of yard work. Having an acre of land can be rather daunting. Especially having spent the last 8 years in the desert. Though we made plenty of garden space with raised beds and lots of flower pots we did have rocks instead of grass. Not cutting grass for so long has significantly skewed my perspective on the amount of time it takes for this task.
I told Max, whose responsibility it is to weed whack, that it would take me around an hour to cut the front yard. Here’s where my skewing comes in. It took me about three hours in reality! And mind you I have a riding lawnmower. Previously, Chuck or Max have taken turns at doing this job. I was relegated to this task as it’s currently one of the few I’m “allowed” to do.
What do I mean “allowed?” Well, apparently, I’ve broken my foot bones in three places. I wasn’t even aware I broke anything. I knew it hurt, particularly when walking on uneven ground or up and down hills and such. Some days it really hurt and others it wasn’t noticeable.
Until one day at Tim’s therapy, where I was sitting waiting for him, I dropped my kindle. I leaned forward to pick it up and I guess I put weight on my foot just right and had such a sharp pain for a second I thought I might pass out! I definitely saw stars. I set up a Podiatrist appointment that day.
After seeing the dr, and getting X-rays, it was clear I had two very significant fractures in the bone second from the left with a hairline crack in another. It was concluded that between the pain meds I’m on for Fibromyalgia and not having any initial swelling or bruising I didn’t realize it had happened. [It’s most likely happened when I stepped wrong on a tree root raised above the ground. Probably the very one I asked Chuck to cut off that was by the chicken coop, since I always was tripping on it.] The powers that be must have decided to give me a wake up call. Saving the bones from actually breaking off by the continued stress of walking on them and therefore preventing the need for a surgery.
So, now I have a ugly, heavy, hot, robotic-like boot I have to wear for at least 6 weeks. And orders to stay off my foot whenever possible. Which as it turns out has been a real challenge for me, I’m not a very good patient.
But it is not so bad if I look at it from the point of how much time this leaves for knitting. And Chuck, being a great support, is doing a lot of the work I usually do and both boys are helping out, too.
And I have been doing lots of knitting. With each row I knit on my shawl I gain more and more stitches. Thus, each row requires more and more time to knit. I think that I’m winning. I’ve been powering through the Hydrangea Shawl like a beast. I’m now fully into color 4 of 5. While my shawl is clearly getting more blue as I switch through the colors I think my Hydrangeas are also getting bluer with the addition of fertilizer and the rusty things I’ve added around it. (Plus I’m saving all the coffee grounds in order to spread around the roots on my SIL, Carolyn’s, recommendation.)
What do you think? Are the flowers turning blue? Right at the centers I think.
I’ve never had a Hydrangea bush before. Luckily this house has 3! They are just coming into bloom. I noticed the buds yesterday. Do Hydrangeas have buds? I guess the flowers just before they open are buds?
Any way. I noticed them yesterday. They range in colors from purple to pink. As you may know, I have a great love of all things Red, White and Blue. My dining room has fallen into that realm accidentally. But my front porch is all about the Red, White and Blue intentionally. So, these Hydrangeas clearly need to be blue. Off to Lowe’s we go. [Max works there so we always choose Lowe’s over that other place with the orange logo.] I picked up fertilizer to add acidity to dirt around the Hydrangeas to encourage blue blooms. Among the fertilizer I also got several more bags of River Rock, it seems we have a never ending need for more rock. Did you know the more the soil is acidic they are blue, the more neutral they are purple, the more alkaline they are pink?
They have to be blue, am I right? We need more blue to offset the red. GO TEAM Red, White and Blue! (Side note; I’m thinking about adding my other bistro set to the porch as well.)
With the current colors ranging from purple to pink, definitely not blue, I’m hopeful its was not too late to add the fertilizer for this year. Next year I will get it out there earlier.
But this is not what is so interesting about my notice of the Hydrangea’s flowers…………The interesting part is actually all about the knitting!
Later in the day I was knitting on my Chevron Shenanigans shawl. And it hit me. The colors were the same as my Hydrangeas! I had no idea as the thought never occurred to me. I bought this kit last fall I think. While I still lived in New Mexico for sure. I’ve not given much thought about Hydrangeas or their colors previously. [How many time can I say Hydrangeas in one post!?!] Much less chosen colors of yarn for Hydrangeas. I’m using yarn from a Fade kit I purchased on Etsy from Woolfiend.
Well, I’ve decided I need to rename my shawl and henceforth it is the Hydrangea Shawl. I have a new perspective on creating color combos and project names. This shawl calls for five colors and you fade them into one another similar to how the Find Your Fade shawl is. Fading colors is exactly what the Hydrangea flowers are doing! Tip-Fading is super trendy still and can be great for stash busting.
I love to work chevrons and this one with short rows is fun and feels fast. I’ve developed a strategy using stitch markers that enables me to need to only glance at the pattern for reminders and to confirm stitch counts. There are 18 rows per section, and 22 sections for the large size I’m making. I’m currently about to start section 13. As you work the short rows, stitches are left behind, to be worked again later. In this case they are reintroduced in row 17. I use a stitch marker for each set of rows to make counting easier for me.
I’m using the small purple one to denote rows 1-2, the dragonfly one for rows 3-4, then the pins for each of the for consecutive rows3-4, then rows 13-14 & 15-16 are easily counted so I don’t mark them. I use the pink locking marker to count where the short row stops as I work towards it, I then replace it with the previously specified markers. This is working great, I can stop at any point and know exactly where I am in the sequence. And, unintentionally, the marker dish happens to be the Hydrangea colors as well! Bonus.
So this week I’m laying pretty low as I hurt my foot somehow a few weeks ago. Doing yard work probably. Since it’s still bothering me I’m trying to stay off it as much as I can. That’s giving me a bit of extra knitting time so I won’t be complaining. I do have a doctor appointment next week with a podiatrist if it’s not any better. Until then.
Our house is basically set up in two parts. The main house has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, dinning room, family room, living room, and kitchen. The other side of the house originally was a two car garage. At some point to was incorporated into part of the house with two bedrooms, a half bath, laundry room and what I use as a mudroom. Giving us a 5 bedroom and two and a half baths house. I use one of the five bedrooms as my craft room and it is one of the two bedrooms at the far end of the house. The other bedroom is Hanna’s/guest room. All of these spaces have builtins that make them feel like they have alway been a part of the house. That is something I love about this area of there house. Following are a few pictures of how the room looked when we bought the house.
This room will have many different functions, but the main one is storing and will allow space for my knitting and other many craft desires to have a proper home. This is greatly reflected with how this room is decorated. I like to decorate with functional pieces as well as some of the fluff added in a room that makes it feel finished. I used Chuck’s warping board (for weaving) and the sock blockers my brother made me for Christmas one year and paired it with a natural dye grouping that had been framed, this was a Mother’s Day gift from my younger kids. Decor that is useful.
With the builtins and a closet that is all shelves I have pretty great storage. I put all of my yarn into plastic bags to protect it from moths, there seem to be a abundance of those tiny white moths that want all my yarn. I put one of our sofa tables in here, it works great for winding yarn and using it as a counter height work space. The table previously had a life as a coffee bar in the Casita in our New Mexico home. I’ve purposely left the center of the room free of furniture. This gives me the perfect place to lay out my blocking boards for blocking large knitted items such as shawls. The blocked item can then stay pinned out for plenty of time, undisturbed by people or dogs while it dries. I’ve very quickly realized the quick drying time afforded me by the desert air in New Mexico has been replaced by lllllllloooooonnnnnnngggggg drying times in the humid air of Virginia.
Another really great use of this open space is for me to do yoga. Not to mention it has a life as an extra guest room. This floor space allows us to set up a blow up bed in the event we have extra guests beyond our guest room capacity. This came in very handy with when my mom and her friend, Judy, came to visit and again when we had the Hretz reunion here.
You might think this is where I do my knitting. In reality most of my knitting is done in the evening when we have time to watch tv or in waiting rooms at dr appointments. Lately it’s been more of the latter rather than the former.
I found a cute vintage dresser that is a sweet, little, green painted thing. It fits perfectly under the window which, gives me another place for a lamp and I used it display a shawl Chuck wove. This house doesn’t have many overhead lights, so lamps it is. When I found the llama lamp at World Market I knew it had to live in this space.
Paint is one of the cheapest ways to change the feeling of the place. I’ve always loved turquoise and it is perfect for a craft space, don’t you agree? This is a Sherwin Williams 6765 Spa. I don’t know if it is spa but it for sure is Crafty. I love this space and need to spend more time here. Knitting or not.
The knitting. If your here for the knitting, and many are, there isn’t much. But here is what there is.
I’m on the second sock, still of Hermione’s Socks. I’m about the start the pattern on the leg. This means I’m barley into the second sock (hangs head in shame) and so far my spiral striping in not spiraling. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure I really care. I’m not sure I don’t really care. But I am going to keep moving ever so slowly along. I’m sure if I hadn’t started the other pair of socks, The NO Purl Monkey socks by Cookie A I would’ve finished the other ones. In all fairness I did start the new pair as a gift that is on a time crunch.
I’ve also made a little progress on my Magic Stripes scarf. I’m not quite halfway done. It’s really a fun project and I wouldn’t mind just knitting away on this until it’s done. I do have an itch to start a shawl. I’m thinking about Chevron Shenanigans by Stephen West. Chevrons are some of my favorite knit stitch combinations.
There you go. Now let’s go knit!
Happy Knitting or what ever craftiness your feeling today.
We moved into this neighborhood, Queen’s Lake, the first week of February. It was a beautiful neighborhood with two pools, playgrounds, and even a lake. I fell in love with it. Back in December when we looked at this house had in no way prepared me for the true beauty of the place. Shamefully, I don’t have any pictures, but I will try to do justice to it.
First off, you drive to the neighbor via the Historic Colonial Parkway. This is a peaceful drive which is tree lined and very much like a step pack in time. This is not a typical road, there are no lines denoting lanes, there are no street lights, and the exits are discreet with the only signs being brown and white street signs set lower than usual of to the side. There are beautiful brick bridges were other streets cross the parkway, they add beauty while discretely hiding the moderns roads. As you travel down this scenic drive you will find many historic plaques telling you of the historic importance of this area, from John Smith and Pocahontas to the Siege of Yorktown where General Washington beat Cornwallis. (If you have ten minutes watch the videos on the history channel in the link.) Not to mention all the exciting this that happened and are still happening in Colonial Williamsburg, also a stop on the parkway. But I digress.
Once you exit the parkway and drive a couple hundred feet on Hubbard Lane you’ll turn onto Lakeshead Dr. This is a mile long street that leads into the east side of the Queen’s Lake neighborhood and also to the Quarterpath Park. Lakeshead is bordered to the right and left by a natural wooded area creating a lovely canopy of green foliage and completely blocking off your view to the Colonial Parkway and smattered into the left you will see an occasional beautiful home, one of my favorites is the first house which is a charming colonial style, two story, green house. You immediately feel like you have ventured off into the country. Turning onto East Queens you can’t help but notice how this spring has proved to be incredibly majestic, most of the houses on this street have huge Dogwood trees, both white and pink, and there are hundreds of Azaleas in an array of colors. Red, white, pink, coral, fuchsia and so on. The Daffodils were also glorious this spring, There is so much beauty in this neighborhood. You really should plan to come see us at the end of April beginning of May. It is breathtaking.
I know we are full into our spring, in addition to all the plants and trees awaking the birds are busily making homes and starting new families. We have not one, but two, bird nests in our hanging plants on the front porch. I have tried to discretely snoop and take a few pictures. We have a Robin’s nest in the one. Did you know Robin’s eggs hatch after only 12-14 days? The other nest is a Sparrow’s. While the momma Robin tends to her nest solo the Sparrow’s are a two bird production! I’m not really sure exactly which Sparrow it is, the eggs are white with very faint brown speckles.
I was quite surprised how tidy and perfectly round the Robin’s nest is. Several years ago my brother, Andy, made a Robin’s perch and Bat house for me as a Christmas gift. I just assumed the Robin would make a sloppy nest. Apparently they do like a platform to build there nest on rather than a house but the are very good architects.
Two Saturday’s ago we attended Art on the Square in Williamsburg were there were hundreds of artists selling their creations. We found these super cute birdhouses made by a very charming couple from a farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virgina. They are the Fly Home Birdhouses, and for all my Michigan peeps they attend the Ann Arbor Art Show. We scored two of them. I placed them in the flower bed directly behind our house. Within days we had a Wren setting up home! As luck would have it, it is in the house we placed directly behind the living room window. We have a front row seat to all the action.
I think this is a Winter Wren. It’s a tiny little thing and seems to be working in tandem with a male to build the nest. It has been great fun watching as they try to fit sticks ad all sorts of seeds and tree fluff into the box.
Since I seem to be all about the birds, let me continue onto the most important birds around here. The chickens! I haven’t updated my blog nearly as much as I would like to, and we have done lots of work around here in the yard. My main goal was to finish updating the chicken coop so we could move them from inside the house to the coop. This weekend that happened!
The previous owners had chickens here before we bought the house and they converted one of the side sheds to a chicken coop. I assume, like the other side it was originally just storage. The first thing we added another set of nesting boxes as you can see in the picture below. Ours are the unpainted ones and the painted ones were already here.
The previous owners cut holes in the walls and covered them with wire cloth and plastic sheeting. I assume to create windows but as it was winter they covered the open windows with the plastic. The ground is cement and over all I’d say the coop is pretty secure from potential predators. The first thing we did was put actual windows in, allowing us to open or close them depending on the weather. We covered the exterior of the windows with wire cloth to prevent access via the screens from predators. I spent a lot of time reading books and various internet things about what is best for chickens. I found the Chicken Chick to be a favorite resource. I love her book and her blog. I’ve implemented several of her ideas and am so far pleased with them.
We also finished the walls with bead board so that they are completely covered. I believe the leftover bead board from a previous master bathroom renovation had been used to cover part of the walls in the coop. We picked up two sheets at Lowe’s and finished the job. We also used two panels of white plastic trellis to cover the ceilings to prevent the chickens from possibly hitting their heads on roofing nails. We then moved the nesting boxes to the righthand side and lowered them. A tip from the Chicken Chick, she said chickens will sleep on the highest point and you don’t want the nesting boxes to be where they sleep in order to keep them cleaner and therefore have less chance of poop on your eggs. Also, on the Chicken Chick recommendations, we added two roosts and a poop deck. (A poop deck is under the roosts and all the poop lands on this and you can easily scrape it into a bucket to dump into a the compost.) It works like a charm! I painted everything with outdoor paint, mainly so it would be durable and painted wood is less likely to absorb moister than unpainted wood. We added a couple inches of sand to the bottom, which will dry quickly in the event it gets wet, I can scoop poop out with a cat litter scoop and it won’t decompose and mold.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Since I’m a total nerd, I decorated it a bit. We built some frames that we covered in wire cloth to go under the poop deck. This is for two reasons. One, to prevent chickens from congregating under the deck where I will store their food and stuff in a large tub. Two, in the event of a sick chicken needing separation do to pecking or whatever. This is where we will put any new chicken we introduce to the flock. We still need to build a door but right now the tub seems to be blocking the opening just fine.
The chickens have made themselves at home and are very happy. I snapped this picture last night at about 9pm. They are all tucked up in bed, nice and tight. On the highest spot in the coop. Super glad I rearranged things.
I not nearly enough to report on the knitting front. I did FINALLY finish my Find your Fade for the KAL at Flying Needles. Which I haven’t even managed to get there to show the completed project, ugh. I still have not blocked it, although, I’m thinking I might not. I like that it is extra squishy. I love how it turned out.
Sometimes I feel like I’ll never have the free time to produce any mentionable knitting here. I’m still knitting the same pair of Hermione’s socks, I am now on the second sock. I did start a pair NO Purl Monkey socks, this is a fun project. I haven’t even created a project file for them on Ravelry yet. This weekend we are traveling to Cincinnati, OH. for our niece, Katherine’s, graduation. She is now a Nurse! I’m looking forward to sharing in this special occasion with her. As a bonus- I have car knitting time! WhhooooooHooooooooo!
The month of March was a whirlwind. It was a flurry of house things and guests and crazy. So, what was it all about? Family. New family and known family. This will be a long post so be prepared……
The end of November, 2017 we were at dinner with very dear friends saying goodbye as we were leaving a couple days later to move from New Mexico to Virgina. This was an extremely emotional time on it’s own. Then……My husband received an email and then a phone call in quick succession. Chuck said “I think this might be my brother!” everyone at the table was like- WHAT!?!
The story in a nut shell. Way back when, Richard, [Chuck’s dad] in Vietnam had had a relationship with a Vietnamese woman. This relationship created two children, both boys. At some point there were family commitments that required Richard to break off the contact to Vietnam. It wasn’t until many years later, when his American kids were adults that he shared he had had this relationship and two children. I can’t say what information was shared as I wasn’t part of that, but I do know that names and specific places were left unspoken. Therefore no contact had ever happened. Until that dinner!
Pete began a long search to try to find his long lost father. It took a lot of sleuthing and creative thinking. Eventually, Pete had a DNA test done and uploaded it to Ancestry.com. This made a connection! But not quite what he was hoping for. The DNA connected to Ron Anderson, a cousin, not a direct connection to Pete’s dad. There had been a family disconnect many years ago with the Anderson’s and the Hretz’s, leaving more questions than answers. It seemed like a dead end. But Pete is persistent and wasn’t about to stop there. He contacted a DNA Detective he had met through a Facebook group. This person took all the of the collected info and starting digging. Within 5 hours there was a name, Richard Hretz, he had 5 daughters, 2 sons and had lived in Florida. This matched the most up to date information Pete’s mom had known. Since Hretz is not a typical spelling and all along Pete’s mom was saying his name was Richard Rets, that was a complication that had to be overcome for the connection to be made. Pete was armed with email addresses and phone numbers. He had never been closer! He sent out a flurry of emails to all the addresses. My husband being the only living sibling with the last name still Hretz was the first connection. And he did indeed make that connection! Pete had found his lost family at last. Facts were shared and plans to meet were made.
As we had moved to Williamsburg, VA we were only 3 hours from where Pete and his family live in Raleigh, NC. Pete came for a visit to meet Chuck and they starting making plans to get all the family together to meet Pete and Loc (the other brother) and since we are pretty centrally located between all the siblings we offered host everyone.
Back to my loss of the month of March. Having just bought and moved into our house in February there were so many things I wanted to do to make it a home. [I basically updated every aspect of the house!] A home I would be sharing with almost every immediate member of both Chuck’s family and mine. I really wanted it to look it’s best. We had 50 people for the reunion, serving dinner both Friday and Saturday. Our oldest daughter, Stevie, came down from Alexandria, VA on the train. Which was so amazing. (I reallllllly like her!) As a added bonus we had the pleasure of Chuck’s sister, Jane, and her family stay with us for the whole weekend. And, I have to say, I think that was my favorite part of the weekend!
Jane is lovely and her husband, Bill, is so funny. She has two beautiful, charming daughters who brought their boyfriends for a wonderful spark of youth and enthusiasm. They arrived Thursday evening giving us some extra time to visit with just them. It was great. I truly hope they will come back often!
So who all came? I’ll list them in order by age of the siblings and I won’t include boyfriends and girlfriends to simplify things. The order; sibling, spouse and children.
Mary, Keith and Beth and Laura.
Chuck, Kym, and Stevie, Tim and Max and my mom.
Margaret and Joey and Jillian.
Jane, Bill and Sarah and Abbey.
Loc and Alyssa.
Pete, Lin and Sean and Richie.
Even Ron Anderson, who really was the link that connected everyone, was able to make it! Such an amazing thing, this finding of lost family, I know my shortened version is not nearly enough to really show what a blessing this is for everyone. Pete said this was the happiest day of his life. I’m honored and humbled to have been a part of it. It is wonderful to have so many together for a happy occasion.
And I really want to say this house was great for entertaining. Many of the cousins gathered in the dining room to play games. The siblings collected themselves in the family room to share their lives with each other. Pete being new to the whole sister thing seemed to have his heart bursting with joy. Pete fondly referred to them as “the sisters” which was adorable. Everyone else fit comfortably into the living room and kitchen. There really was a perfect balance. At least, from my perspective.
Probably the biggest last minute push to get the house ready was our Shed. We had the entire exterior of the house painted and had the roof, brick and shed power washed previously. The shed definitely was shabby. And it has so much potential! Bill, from Virginia Painting CO, made an extra effort to squeeze in the shed for us. I really don’t think the pictures do it justice!
We replaced the door and added exterior lights in addition to wood siding repair and all the painting.
My mom had identified the windows each of the shutters belonged to and hung them when she was here last. Essentially rescuing the shutters, the previous owners had left them abandoned on a pallet behind the shed. Did I mention my mom also arrived on Friday, I love having her here! We still plan to add flower window boxes, in ground gardens around the front and side. The door will be painted red. I can’t wait to have flowers blooming all around. Plus, we will install a fence that will enclose behind the shed as if it were it’s own backyard. The chicken coop is on the right side that looks like an add-on of the shed. The fence will allow the chickens yard time that is safer from predators when I can’t be there for them to free range the entire yard. I do realize the hawks will still pose a problem even when I am there. My youngest daughter, Hanna, said I have a chicken problem. I told her it was how I was coping from missing her.
What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment. They are so cute. I’m going to put together a new brooder in the big watermelon box I got from Sam’s Club tonight so they have enough space. They currently are in the largest storage box I could find. The new bigger brooder will require them to move from the living room to the mud room. I’ll miss hearing all the chirping. They are about five weeks from heading outside to their forever home. The previous owners also had chickens in this space. We are upgrading the inside of the coop so it is everything a happy chicken needs. Very exciting!
My brother and his family were here last week. I want to tell you about that but it will have to wait until next time.
I’m going to go knit on my Find your Fade. I’m on the sixth color and really want to get this finished. I, of course, managed to get another terrible cold. All the extra germs from guests I suppose. Autoimmune Diseases suck! At least I wasn’t sick with my niece and nephew here.
The Craft room. This room will be the death of me. It has all the potential in the world to be my everything room. It has great built ins, great light and great closet storage. With one consistent problem. I have too much stuff!
Surprisingly, its not too much yarn. don’t get me wrong, I have a VERY healthy stash. My problem is; I have sooooooo many books. I donated easily half my books when I moved from Michigan to New Mexico and did the same thing again when I moved to Virginia from New Mexico. I’m sure I was Librarian in a previous life. How else can I explain it. I do read a lot. And in truth I prefer real books to the electronic counterpart, especially knitting books. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a kindle, which I totally love. I use it every day. My kindle is the paperwhite version. It is lightweight and easy to slip into my purse or even the pocket on my hoodie. I have read tons of books on the kindle, both via the Library and Amazon. This is a great way to read those books you read only once, maybe a few like the Harry Potter’s that you read over and over, but are huge and heavy,
So why is it that I have all these paper versions that take up space? Yet I know I will pick up and take home 42 new books at the resale shop or next garage sale I swing into. I mean, what if I don’t and the books sit on the shelf forever gathering dust, until they actually turn into dust? Or worse, what if someone just dumps them into the garbage? Truly, it doesn’t really matter if I literally found 7 copies of To Kill A Mockingbird when I unpacked. Never mind that there are 3 copies of Where the Red Fern Grows or 4 copies of Pride and Prejudice. And, I won’t tell you I have more than a reasonable amount of Knitting Rules by Stephanie Peral-McPhee [even though I gave 2 copies of that exact book to friends when I moved]. These are books you absolutely have to have read. If you haven’t go, I mean right now, go and buy yourself a copy. Or come get one of mine. Bring it back though. I might need it.
But seriously, with great books like the These Wonderful People I found at an estate sale last year, can you blame me…..This book was gifted to someone on October 5th, 1945. October 5th!!! That just happens to be my oldest friend Colette’s birthday. There are stories from Helen Keller and Thomas Edison, to name a few. I had to have it. I HAVE TO HAVE IT!
And now I’ve gone off on tangent. Long story, short… too late. I really need to donate some of these books to make room to unpack the rest of these boxes. I see myself working in this room. Like actually working IN THIS room. Not working on making this room workable. Seriously, Look at some of the other people in this book that I have to have. —————>
In keeping with this effort I have been searching for a couple new cabinets. I really wanted to get the non-knitting books out of the craft room and into other areas of the house. This meant I would need a cabinet large enough to Style with decor items as well as some books and maybe yarn. Only my hand spun yarn, not yarn from the stash. I also want a cabinet just for knitting books. I already have a great lawyers cabinet I picked up second hand for a steal three or four years ago.
And I found them, two perfect cabinets. I saw the first one on Facebook Market place. It was listed there by Sweet Caroline’s. This is a really cute shop that has a large variety of things from furniture to jewelry. Much of it is restyled or handmade.
I put this in the place I previously had the lawyers cabinet. It is lower and wider. It has about the same shelving area, however with this being lower, I was able to place the temple rubbing from Thailand we have from Chuck’s mom above it. It’s one of my favorite pictures and it’s lived in a variety of spots in our homes. It is the perfect cabinet. It has the original finish, with original glass, and it’s solid. I love the wood detailing in the doors, reminiscent of our large windows. Overall, it is exactly what I wanted but didn’t know it.
The other cabinet I picked up was also from Sweet Caroline’s. It has been repainted with white chalk paint making it seem light and airy. I really like the wire in the doors because that makes it more casual. It is just the right size to house my knitting books. If I never get another one that is! Anyway, it’s also perfect.
Then there’s my beloved lawyers cabinet. I’ve mentioned once or twice. I moved this to my bedroom. Creating a sweet, little reading nook. I found the chair for 10 bucks! What a steal. But back to books. I put an assortment of books I’ve collected over the years. There a random sewing book, a collection of the classics and well as all the Charles Dickens stories. Incase you need some light reading.
I imagine having a library sometimes. The kind with wall to wall, ceiling to floor shelving. The kind that requires a library ladder. Probably because one of my most favorite places is the Detroit Public library’s main branch. When I was in high school I would skip school to go there. Wander the halls to see what might inspire me. There was so much to stimulate my mind. Not just the books (and there plenty of those), but the walls, the ceilings, even the air.If you haven’t gone I highly recommend you do. Watch this video and I promise you’ll add it to your must go places. Be sure to go to the DIA, too. Might I suggest you join the Detroit Friends of the Library. It’s a good cause to support, we need to keep places like this alive.
I also spent a fair amount of time at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) which is right across the street from there. I have print of Diego Rivera’s mural, Detroit Industry, that is in the central courtyard with in the museum. This is worth the price of admission alone. Really, it tells the story of Detroit so well, be sure to take the tour so you don’t miss a thing.
Any way, I didn’t mean to veer off into Detroit. I feel more like I have a handle on my craft room today. I have 3 of the 4 upper cabinets emptied and ready for the YARN. I will empty every box in that room this weekend. That’s my goal anyway. I am getting there, and so far no one has died. I think I can get in some knitting this weekend to!