Spring Bird Watch 2018

As you enter into our neighborhood there is a sign posted that says this is a Bird Sanctuary. From my experience that certainly is true. I’ve seen birds in our yard I’ve never seen in real life before, such as the Eastern Bluebird. I’ve seen Blue Jays, and we have those here, too. An assortment of woodpeckers, finches, thrashers, mockingbirds, cardinals and sparrows. More birds than I can recognize from a glance or from far off. We’ve added some extra feeders and suets cages to encourage than to stay long enough for me to pull out my new bird watching binoculars! Then I can look them up in my bird book to identify which bird I have.

We still have Robins. The Robin that started a brood with three eggs a few weeks ago is still here. Only one egg seemed to have hatched. The one bird is fully feathered and I expect will be heading out of the nest any day now. The momma is still diligently supervising and bringing food but she doesn’t spend time sitting in the nest any longer. You can see theres still at least one, but probably both, of the other eggs still in the nest. I wonder what would cause them not to develop enough to also hatch.

 

We also so far have one new baby sparrow! Hopefully all these little ones will make it. Both momma and papa Sparrows are taking care of this brood, they take turns never leaving the nest unattended for more than a moment. I think we also may have another Sparrow nest in the tree as I regularly see more than two female and males looking through the grass for worms right in the front yard.

 

 

 

As a new development we have House Finches setting up a nest in the third of our hanging flowers! The finches also seem to be tag team the build. With male and female bringing nesting supplies.

 

 

Our Winter Wrens in the bird houses in the back yard must be sitting on eggs by now. Rarely do I see any activity. Unless you get to close to the house! You’re likely to get dive bombed from the little door.  They do not want you too close.  I was putting wood chips around the flower bed the first time it happened.   It scared the crap out of me! The bird hit my hand and flew right back in. It happened so fast I never really even saw the bird.

I know that is what is was though because it happened again. But this time when I went to get the mail! This time the bird flew off and I investigated a bit. I saw that a different bird had built a nest in the newspaper box! SO the next time I went to get the mail I made a plan. I was real quiet, I walked slow and peeked in. And there in the nest was a tiny Winter Wren! AND THEN SHE FLEW OUT RIGHT AT ME!!!  That will get your heart racing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What birds do you have in your yard? Any Idea why the Robin’s eggs didn’t hatch?

I’m going to keep watching those birds! Happy birdwatching.

Edited to add:

I just went to go outside on the front porch…….To my surprise I saw the beginning of a new nest. In the wreath on my front door! I guess I will have a front row seat. and have to forbid my family from using this door for the nest several weeks.

 

Just like Mary and Joseph, when there is no vacancy at the inns (aka hanging flower baskets), you find yourself in the manger.

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Craftiness

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.

Got to love the floor to ceiling storage and my grandma’s sewing chair works perfectly here

 

I repurposed Hanna’s bulletin board and hung my antique sock blockers

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.

The little dresser fits perfectly under the window

A polka dot Lamp shade- it just doesn’t get cuter

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.

the stripes are vertical! I wonder if this will continue

check out my new Baggu zipper bag, it has chickens on it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Entrelac

It’s no secret that I love knitting more than just about anything else. I’m pretty fortunate to have a great LYS right here in Williamsburg. Flying Needles to feed my love. I really like the Wednesday knit-ins from 5-7pm. There’s a pleasant group of ladies that attend. I enjoy hearing about their lives, plus they’ve given me some great tips on other local places. Like the Carrot Tree restaurant. We’ve gone there a few times and will continue to. The last time we went we brought home a carrot cake that was delicious, it was moist and had lots of cream cheese frosting.

Now that we have begun too really settle into our new home I’m on a mission to refocus my knitting life. I am still working on my Find Your Fade KAL, I’m now well into the fourth color. I really need to get back into my all but forgotten socks, I dug thru all the -as of yet- unpacked boxes of yarn to find the specific skein of Wollmeise “We’re Different” blackish color I have been dreaming of. I’m going to use this to work the heels and toes on those socks.

I’m doing the Smooth Operator Heel by Susan B Anderson

Last night I cast on a scarf that I want to knit with yarn I purchased at my LYS last Wednesday. The pattern is Magic Stripe Hot Pad or Scarf by Sarah H Baldwin.  It’s a four row repeat that has a few unique things. I have some tips to help remember the pattern, identify which row your on and how to fix mistakes. I’m hoping to teach this as a class coming up at the shop this spring. It’s a really cool striped scarf that has horizontal stripes on one side and vertical on the other. It will mystify everyone that sees it and make other knitters want to knit one!

you really want two skeins that don’t match or have any common colors for the most impact

Entrelac is one of my favorite knitting techniques. I plan to teach an Entrelac class using this really cute headband pattern from Knitty.com. It’s easy to memorize and once you have that “ah-ha” moment it can be really fast and fun. Especially if you use a self striping yarn like Noro. As a bonus, eveytime I use Noro I think of my dear friend, Raquel. She absolutely hates Noro as much as I love it. It was always fun to “discuss” the wonder of such a great yarn with her. I miss her………

this picture is taken directly from Knitty.com and the pattern Quant

Happy Knitting.

Colonial-ish

One of my favorite things about this new house is the feelings it gives me. All warm and cozy, lots of natural light and good bones. It feels historic, and in fact, some of the neighbors call it the colonial house. I didn’t think of it in terms of colonial, being surrounded by Colonial Williamsburg there are so many authentic colonial homes and this one was built in 1962 not 1762. I do like the idea of it being colonial though. It is half a century plus in age so why not. I decided to go with colors for the exterior that would be reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg colors. In a Patriotic way. Red, White and Blue!

The house is a yellowish color with a red front door and white trim. The paint is very weathered and has definitely seen better days.  Also, there are beautiful exterior trim  around the windows and door that currently are the same yellow color, they blend in. In my opinion these are intended as a statement of class or elegance. I will have them painted in the same Pure White [all colors are Sherwin Williams] that all the trim will be. The siding is going to be Colonial White, which is more cream than white so it will have a nice contrast. I’m going with Real Red for the front door.

This is before the door surround and door are repainted.

This after everything is painted. I took the picture further away so you can see the. blue ceiling.

We have Bill Jowers, the Virgina Painting company, doing the work. They also painted the entire interior. They have done a great job on all of it! They are very good at their job, time efficient and they clean up when they are all done. Can you believe they painted every inch of our 2700 square feet house in under a week and the exterior in two days!?! I’m searching for the perfect carriage lights and larger brass house numbers. I also have wreaths to hang on the windows and am hunting for the perfect front door swag.

Note in the picture below; The siding has already been repainted the Colonial White, you can see the difference of the yellow still around the window on the right, Bill put a bit of white on the window to the left to check the coverage. See the demarcation line on the soffit where it has been repainted vs old paint?

work in progress, look at that sky!

We have shutters on some of the windows, some not. When we moved in we saw there were extra shutters behind the shed,  enough to go with all the windows on the back of the house and as a surprise for the shed. Four of the front windows have shutters brackets but the shutters are unfortunately long gone. I couldn’t take them from the back to put on the front windows as the front windows are much larger. It’s not in the budget right now to have real woods ones made to match, so for now we will just paint the ones we do have. And they will be painted Honorable Blue.

Isn’t it cute. I will give more info on the history if the shed at a later date.

We have some damaged wood siding on the shed. This needs to be repaired. We will also be adding windows to the chicken coop and a new front and side door. The shed painting will happen later in the month. But it is significantly cuter already with the new arbor and rehung shutters. My mom planted a climbing rose on the left side of the arbor which will be so lovely once out grows up on that arbor.

The other thing I’m excited about the paint is the BLUE ceiling! This is the same color of all my interior ceilings, Moonmist. I’ve read that blue ceiling on the porch will help keep bugs at bay, but it will also make the crown moldings really pop, and yes there are crown moldings outside too!

I love this house!

And if you need some painting done give Bill a call 804-815-1458.

Making a home

This moving stuff is so much, not so fun, work.  Luckily Stevie came just a few days after we moved in and really made a huge dent in the unpacking.

Then my mom and her friend, Judy, were here last week. They completely unpacked Hanna’s boxes. That was a really big help. Since Hanna is away at school her room will be the acting as the guest room. My mom also worked in the yard quite a bit. She really misses having a large yard, I’m happy to accommodate her love of gardening. She prepped some garden areas, put out lots of garden decor and planted some roses. She was happy and I was happy!

I’m the indoor cat to my mom’s outdoor cat.

I love decorating, moving things around and editing what we have to work in new ways. I have an eclectic style, a bit farmhouse, a bit traditional and now a bit New Mexican. We don’t typically buy new furniture or big investment types of purchases. I like to change things around so garage or resale purchases are better for the budget and frankly my style. We have many family pieces, like the tv that my grandma dragged from someone’s trash to her house, she gutted out the tv parts leaving the shell of the case. She then refinished it, adding glass doors and a glass shelf. I use it to house the various crystal we have, also, mostly hand me downs.  I love this sort of stuff. Historical pieces, well, my history anyway.

This is the TV cabinet my Grandma repurposed

I want our house to be…..timeless, not trendy. You won’t find a sign that says “Farmhouse” or drop cloth curtains hanging from our windows or anything like that. Not trendy, rather, updated and comfortable.

After mom and Judy left I went in and added the little touches to Hanna’s room that make a place special. She wanted to incorporate cacti into the design and I found these cute cacti lights at Pier One so I tucked those under the edge of the upper cabinets. Super cute if you ask me.

Hanna chose a pretty Emerald green but I went with the lightest color on the card, Breaktime, to give a spa like feel. Before she left  for school Hanna picked out some throw pillows and accent pieces to go in her room. plus we purchased the chair and nightstands I previously talked about on my blog. I purchased new all white linens to keep with the spa/hotel vibe I wanted. I’m going to add several pictures of her room for you. What do you think? I love how it turned out.

Hanna loves it, too. And we are ready for guests! Whose coming next? YOU?

I’m hoping to squeeze in some knitting this weekend. I really should get in my craft room and finish unpacking there. I have way too many books. Not to mention I haven’t even opened the boxes labeled yarn or crafts yet, I won’t say it out loud but it’s a hot mess in there. Look at the picture with your eyes closed please.

Real life ahead————–>

Happy knitting.

 

 

Yarn Tasting

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to go to my LYS, the Flying Needles, yarn tasting event. Kim Dyes Yarn was the featured Indie Dyer. I new this would be a fun easy going evening and I new I would be ready for a break after almost two full weeks of moving work. My boys kept asking me when the wine tasting I was going to was. Too funny.

Kim Dyes Yarns offers a large array of colors, weights and fiber choices. There was a cute berry basket filled with 5 different yarns, they were wrapped around cute little wooden tags, a nice typed up sheet giving the yarn details and there even was a piece of chocolate. Kim was charming and sweet. Her enthusiasm about the yarn bases was contagious. She has chosen a really great selection of yarns to dye. She has named all her bases after different foods. How fitting since delicious is a word I often use to describe yarn.

Kim has a great eye for color and has so many beautiful colorways she invented. Some are themed around music and tv shows. There’s a  nice sprinkling of tonals to blend in with some of the louder color combos.

One clear favorite among the group was her sparkle yarn. This is different than many sparkle yarns I’ve encountered. The sparkle is a single strand that is plied among the other fibers rather than bits and pieces blended in.  She called this one Sugarcookies. It is 92/8% Superwash Merino/Lurex. It is a very round, bouncy yarn that is super soft and……. well it’s delicious.

Kim debuted a new yarn at the shop as well. Angel Food; it is a luxurious worsted MCN blend of 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. This one. too, was a favorite. I myself would love to use this to knit the Central Park Hoodie.

I, of course, had to buy myself some yarn. You know, since I don’t have any yarn to knit…. I picked up a skein of Sourdough Sock. I felt this was the perfect type since my husband is quite good at making sourdough bread. I chose the color way Dark Forest Bright Sky. It is so “me” colors.

I also really needed the Flan Fingering single ply yarn in the color way Murky Pond. This is a 70/30 superwash Merino/silk. I just fell in love with this yarn. and the color.

To round out my purchases I managed to snag one of the few Thrummed Mitten kits. The yarn is Granola Bar Aran which is a tweed in the color way Robin. The fiber is a beautiful rainbow of bright colors.  I can’t wait to get started on this.

It was such a pleasant evening. I’m really glad that I took the night off and joined in the fun. I very much miss my friends and the camaraderie of knitters.

 

Happy Knitting xoxo