Posted in Gardening, knitting, Ravelry knit projects, Shopping, Williamsburg, VA, yarn

Wool Sweaters

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.

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Photo credit to OliveKnits, Marie Greene from Ravelry

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.

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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.

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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.

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Wool Sweaters #protectwool #woolprotection #lavender #lavendersachets "lavenderesstionaloil

Happy knitting.

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Posted in Chickens, Family, traveling

Chicken Fever

Over the Holiday break, my mom drove down and brought my nephew, Anthony, with her. It was an extra treat for me to have both of them. Anthony is a sweet, creative, gentle boy with too much energy to be confined inside.

The first morning they were here I got up and went to let out the chickens as normal around 7am. Just as I was walking to the coop Anthony came barreling out the door with a long sleeve shirt in hand and one shoe still not on. He desperately wanted to go see the chickens with me! I said I would wait until he was properly clothed. Makes me laugh even now.

Dressed now, we headed up the hill. I let the chickens out of the coop and after they all ran out I teased him he would have to clean up the chicken poo. He, of course, was not interested in that. He only had eyes for the chickens, I’d say he had already caught the Chicken Fever after only one night here.

We had really nice weather, most of the day’s mom and Anthony were here it was in the upper 50’s and low 60’s. This was so nice because we spent a good amount of time outside. Which, of course, meant lots of time with chickens. He got up the nerve to pick up one of the chickens and he snagged Agnes! She is an Ameraucana and is very sweet and gentle.

I know the picture quality stinks but I snapped this from far away and had to zoom in

After just a few days he was very comfortable with the chickens. He gave them snacks every day. He even hunted the dirt for worms to give them. No doubt he would be a great Chicken Keeper. Katie? Andy? What do you think? Can he come to live here and take care of the chickens? I’m sure he wouldn’t even mind cleaning up the poo! He loved collecting all the eggs and was very excited about the blue ones. He asked if he could take home some eggs for mom and dad. He also ate eggs almost every day while here. He knew exactly which chicken gifted the egg he was eating. I’m sure that makes them taste better.

Anthony with Dottie, the White Leghorn.

As I’m writing this I’m watching the chickens via a closed circuit camera. I’m doing this because I’m trying to determine which one of my True Blues are laying. Currently, Louise, the chicken that was broody last fall and then molted, is in a nesting box. I really thought the blue egg layer was Kittie as she did not molt. Having said that subconsciously I must have thought really it was Louise because that is who I marked as laying in my chart as well as writing her name on the eggs.

A bit of egg-laying background. As the days get shorter chickens lay fewer eggs and some stop laying all together. The end of November we saw a definite decline in egg laying in our hen house. You know, just as Chuck starts doing extra baking of cookies, cakes, and bread. Hens do not lay eggs in the dark, so with the shorter days leading up to the Winter Solstice, this is normal for egg-laying. Now that we are on the other side of the solstice the days are beginning to get longer and therefore more eggs begin to be laid.

The nesting boxes have been like Grand Central Station today. So far I have an egg from Agnes, Ida, and Coco. Louise is still sitting in a box, she has been in and out for the last hour or so. She has been in four different boxes. I guess she is trying to get inspired. Perhaps Kittie has been the layer, and now with Lou, maybe I’ll get two True Blue eggs today. Yesterday I collected my first Cuckoo Maran egg from Gertrude since November!

I’ll keep watching while I do my chores. I hope today is another 5 egg day. We have had three of those this week. For the last month, we’ve been averaging 2 eggs a day. I actually had to buy a couple dozen eggs. With the longer days it will make for busier chickens.

Come for a visit and see if you catch the Chicken Fever, too! We will see how contagious it is with my brother-in-law, Pete, and his family here this weekend. Then the following weekend my oldest two boys, Charlie and Ricky, arrive from Michigan. Also, Charlie’s girlfriend, Agatha, is coming with them. Charlie said she wants to learn to knit, I can definitely help with that, and I think she is the most likely to catch Chicken Fever. I’m looking forward to these visits!

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Chicken Fever #chickens #backyardchickens #fresheggs #eggs #chickendustbath #Chickens

Happy knitting and happy egg collecting.

Posted in Home, knitting, traveling

Spring has Sprung

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.

two days ago the first baby has hatched

note the sparrow has used some of the cotton I placed out in asset feeder in the back yard

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.

If you look very closely you can see the little bird peeking out on the left

here she is with a bit of something to add to the nest

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.

for reference, the right side of the shed is the Chicken coop

This is how the coop looked before we changed anything. These chickens belong to the previous owners.

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 don’t know why but the always separate themselves into two teams of 6

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!

Happy Knitting and Bird watching!

Posted in Family, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

Spring Break

This year we sort of got to have a spring break! ON the heels of Chuck’s family reunion my brother and his family came during their spring break. We don’t really have a spring break in our house. My youngest is 21 and she is attending Paul Mitchell Beauty School in Tulsa, OK.  She doesn’t have a spring break there, it’s run more like a 9-5 job year round.

My brother, Andy, and his wife, Katie, have two children. Anthony and Sam.

They all arrived on Monday. Chuck had taken off from work the whole week. So it was like a big vacation for us, I guess really a stay-cation. Katie had wanted to take the kids to the ocean so we purposefully waited ourselves to do that with them. Tuesday we loaded up the van headed headed to the Atlantic Ocean, Virgina Beach specifically.  Being April the water was really cold but that didn’t stop us!

Sam and I decided it really was tooooooo cold

Anthony had brought the metal detector he had so he could comb the beach looking for treasures.  With a little discreet help from uncle Chuck both kids made out with a few dollars worth of change. Not too bad. Anthony is totally a “Ferdinand” and could probably spend all his days looking at the small details and beauty life has to offer, he’s so sweet. Sam… Sam is a very determined to be the best at everything, and she “already knows that” and isn’t shy to point it out. She was totally intrigued by the bigger kids at the beach trying to climb to the top of the climbing ropes. She jumped right in, and kept at it, until she made it to the tip top! It was pretty impressive watching her.

Dad made sure she didn’t fall, but he didn’t need to!

 

 

It was pretty fun down at the beach. The playground was popular with the kids. Even though it was spring break the beach wasn’t very busy. I can’t imagine going there during peak time. It must be a zoo! This way it felt like our own personal beach.

We had a great day for sure!

Continuing on in our stay-cation we took the kids to Jamestown settlement. I like Jamestown because it’s interactive. With an Indian village, Ships, and Fort it offers a rich history experience while out in the fresh air.

Since we were on kid time we skipped the inside museum and movies but those are worthwhile if you get a chance. We also were able to watch glass blowers at work, Anthony was really interested in that. And, frankly, so was I. Jamestown Settlement  tells all about life in the 17th century when the British were arriving to this area with the Virginia Company.

The next day we headed over to what in my opinion is the star of the historic triangle area, Colonial Williamsburg. This is a living history village that is focused around the birth of country. There are recreated and preserved buildings and places that were there in the 18th century. Places where our founding fathers met, where important discussions took place. and where the actual writing of the Declaration of Independence happened.  It’s pretty amazing to be able to experience this through the costumed interpreters. There are also actors all around portraying very real people. The day we were there we saw General Washington riding his horse through the Palace Greens!

It was a perfect weather day. Until, exactly as the Weather Channel predicted, at about 1:40pm there were brief, heavy showers.  We found shelter in one of the stores. It only lasted about 15 minutes.  Then the kids went on with Katie and my mom to the children’s interactive area where they were able to play period games and see children in period costumes going about their daily chores.

They liked this game the best. Anthony picked it up immediately. Sam took a little longer, but she doesn’t give up easily.

 

 

Chuck, Tim, Andy and myself headed off to explore elsewhere. I was really thrilled to share the Joinery with brother. He is a joiner, or as he would be called in today’s words, a finished carpenter. It was nice to see it through his eyes and here him talk about the tools and stuff.

It was a fast, short time with them. I hope they come back soon. We still have to hit up Yorktown! It was really nice to get this time with everyone, especially since my mom was here. too.

Why do I never think to get a group photo!?!

I hope you go out and explore the cool places you live near. Have you ever been to Colonial Williamsburg? If so tell me what you like the best, if not come visit us and we will go again with you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Home, knitting, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

The Reunion

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!

This is Pete

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.

Pete and Chuck the day they first met in person

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.

the siblings,  just missing Carolyn – Pete, Margaret, Chuck, Mary, Jane & Loc

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!

Carolyn’s family is missing and so are 3 of my children and others but we had a really good turn out and even Ron Anderson is here!

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.

Ruth, Ray.

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.

Don’t worry, no-one missed any important basketball games

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!

before the water damaged siding was replaced and it was repainted, we had the trellis added when we put in the fencing.

even thought the color change is subtle it seems cheerier with the new cream paint, navy shutters & white trim

 

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.

There’s ten chickens

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.

Happy knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Home, knitting, Michigan, Reading, traveling

Books, Books and more Books

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.

Here it is all set in it’s place in my living room

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!

and……..Happy knitting.

Posted in Reading, Williamsburg, VA

The Journey Begins

Today I moved my blog to WordPress from Blogger. I’m trying really hard to update things here regularly as I really want to share my love of knitting with you. I also want to keep track of the new things in my life. The year of 2018 is bringing so many different things. We moved from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Williamsburg, Virginia at the beginning of December in 2017. I’m really excited to live in a place that has such a rich history in the birth of our country! I’m looking forward to learning through the living history at Colonial Williamsburg and exploring Jamestown and Yorktown.

I’m currently reading the Lacemaker By Laura Frantz. It is set in Williamsburg, Virginia during the American Revolution. The Main character, Lady Elizabeth “Liberty” Lawson is charming, resilient and determined. As her world unravels around her Liberty sets her mind to fining a way to be independent using her creativity to make it on her own in a time when woman had little options. She uses her skill as a lace maker to set herself up in the folly behind the tavern Raleigh taking in lace orders and mending. [Raleigh is a real life tavern that saw many important meetings with General George Washington, Thomas Jefferson to name a few. Probably the walls hold all the secrets that went into the development of Declaration of Independence.] As the story progresses you find Liberty putting herself right in the middle of the danger and proving her name is just the beginning of who she is and what she stands for. This book is exactly what a new Virginian needs, I find I’m searching the history books to learn more about the names and places mentioned.

So here I go.

I’m on my way.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Posted in Home, Williamsburg, VA

Swirling thoughts keep swirling

 

We are closing on our new house on January 31st. Im spending too much time with all these thoughts and plans swirling around in my head. What colors to paint. Should I paint every room? Do I want neutrals or colors. Neutrals in some rooms, colors in others? What plants to plant. Hydrangea’s and Roses, definitely some Impatiens. Where to place furniture and art work. Living room will have our big couch but do I put my favorite chair in there or in the family room?it never ends.

 

I’m spending so much time scour Pinterest, Instagram and blogs trying to decide what my style will be.  I’m what I would consider hand me down eclectic. which won’t change,  but what is the overall feel I’m going for.

What I really love about this house is all the built in storage. It is homey and cottage-y. I will make sure to enhance all the moldings and builtins with my paint choices. White trim and cupboards is a definite yes. The family room and kitchen have beams that have been painted white and I will keep that, but these and the crown moldings are getting lost against the white ceilings. I will change the ceiling color just enough to make these features the glory of the rooms.

 

You can see the ceiling beams and moldings in the family room

 

this is one of many builtins in the hallway
one of the bedrooms

I’m pretty sure when I saw the builtins I was sold. Totally ready to move in.  I love the “dressing room” part of the master bedroom. There are matching builtins on either side of the 3-way mirror and a make up desk.  I can imagine a large mirror hanging above it with some new farmhouse style good lighting will be perfect. Eventually I may replace the counter or maybe open up the master bath into the dressing room area.

one side of the dressing room
make up desk with original 1962 sparkle countertop

A big challenge is definitely going to be the master closet. and it is just a closet.  very basic and very small. With some fresh paint and some smart storage choices I will make the best of it.  It’s a great time top finally pair down to that Capsule Wardrobe I’ve been planning.

please be kind
these clothes belong to the current home owner
more along these lines

 

Chuck asked why I didn’t want top build a house so I could make it exactly what I want.  I do have exactly what I want. to take something good and make it amazing.  To be the curator, the editor, the caretaker. This is what I want.
Now to get off the internet and finish knitting my hat. To keep my mind from swirling.
Happy Knitting.
Posted in Family, Home, traveling, Williamsburg, VA

New Year, New everything

Well, We’ve made a major life change. I never thought I’d make a big move again. We had been in Las Cruces, NM for the last eight years for my husband’s work, and again work as brought us across the country. NOW we are Virginians!

we spent New Year’s Eve in D.C. celebrating Stevie’s birthday

July 1st brought major contract changes at Chuck’s work and it was quickly clear working for the new company had lots of negatives. Chuck started looking for work in June/July and had a few job offers but nothing was quite right. We had specific criteria that needed to be met to make us to move. 1- closer to family; 2- services for present and longterm for Tim; 3- comparable cost of living/ salary ratio to Las Cruces; 4- benefits and retirement options closer to what Boeing had.  That was it. When Virginia started looking like the win, it was a good fit. Stevie would be just a few hours away in D.C sooooooooo……………The actual decision to move happened really fast. The official job offer in Williamsburg, VA. was given on November 7th, 2017 and we were all in yes.

November 8th [Hanna’s 21st birthday BTW] we all flew to Washington D.C. on a previously planned family vacation. Our oldest child, Stevie, and her husband relocated there the year before. All 6 kids were there and the spouses/boyfriends came too.  This was not connected to the accepted job in VA we have had it in the works pretty much since they moved. It takes time to organize everyone’s schedules. We spent a week there exploring the city and enjoying each others company. It was the first time we went on vacation with all our children as adults. It was a whirlwind of busy days filled with museums, shopping, eating good food and a lot of.

I love how the girls gather in the quiet spaces, finding camaraderie, blurting their thoughts, opinions and quips at the boys in unexpected moments. The boys usually ended their days with each other, beers (or harder stuff) and ridiculousness. There seems to be an ongoing battle of whit, each very funny in their own right, arguing over whose terrible jokes cost a quarter. Charlie thinks he’s the best person to pass the final judgment. I think we all agree Matt wins the game.  I

t was nice that we started our day gathered at Stevie’s and Matt’s then could split off into smaller groups for individual preferences and again join up to end the days together. My favorite part was everyone together over dinner as a family sharing ourselves.  Stevie served us a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in her home on Saturday.  With room for all of us and she and Matt graciously extended the invite to a few invaluable friends, Resa, Alvin and Elizabeth. I’m very thankful for this trip and everyone making the time to be there.

this is our last meal together
Matt had to work so Charlie helped him join us in spirit

When we returned home there was a mad rush of packing and getting our home ready to be on the market. I stalked Zillow and Realtor.com trying to see what housing would be like and researching Williamsburg, VA. Chuck made a zillion calls and arranged a place for us to stay and planned out all the travel arrangements. We had everything packed up and shipped across country by Dec1st. It was an overwhelming time of goodbyes and tears. Max and Hanna drove to Tulsa, Ok. and we headed to Virginia on Dec 2nd.  I still can’t comprehend all that happened in November, I’m not sure there really was a November in 2017. I miss many aspects of NM, especially my friends.

Now we are starting out in 2018 with an accepted offer on a new house in Williamsburg, we close January 31st. Hopefully moving in on February 1st. Then all the fun will begin for real. First order of business will be to become official Virginians with new Drivers licenses and State Id’s so we can start getting Tim on track with services and therapies. Hanna has been here with us, having flown here the second week of December from OK. She has her friend Hannah visiting for a few weeks before they both head out to their schools in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Max was expected yesterday but there was the crazy snow explosion that shut everything down for a couple days. He will be here tomorrow and we plan to enjoy a delicious meal at Sal’s by Victor, probably our favorite restaurant in Williamsburg. We have a few more weeks before Hanna leaves so it’ll be real cozy in the two bedroom apartment we are staying in, 6 adults all cramped in. I’m sure it will be fine. It’s just a few weeks………….

I hope to keep track here of all the house plans and decorating. In general, all that is the making of a house into a home. I’m overexcited about this new house. I have so many plans swirling around in my head. I need to start making them real.

This is the new house!

Just looking at this picture I can see removing all the shrubs and replacing them with roses or hydrangeas, something flowering and inviting. I need to add some color. I’m sure my little metal bistros table with be super cute up on the porch, perhaps with a colorful oil cloth  tablecloth, maybe a rocking chair or two, red ones.  Maybe I’ll paint the chairs to the bistro table bright green or yellow……..Hurry up already January 31st!

My knitting mojo has been all screwy. I knit hats for my nephew and niece that both turned out too big so I had to reknit them. I sent the larger ones to my son and daughter in-law. In the end it was great mistake!  I will detail the hats better in another post.

 

Charlie and Leah seem pretty ok with my mistake
they’re pretty sweet themselves

I also, just last night, finished my Shusui Shrug so information coming soon on that too.

Happy Knitting!