Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Ten for Tuesday

It's Tuesday.  I love Tuesdays...it's knit night.  But tonight I'm not going to knitting because the band is having their Holiday Concert.  Justine is playing in the orchestra as well as the band this year.  I'm excited!  The neighborhood is also having a bonfire at our little community beach tonight.  If we get home in time, we'll walk over and join them.  So today's Ten for Tuesday:

Ten Things I Truly Enjoy About the Holiday Season.

1.  The Christmas Tree.  Our tree is turned on first thing in the morning (when it's still dark) and it's the last thing to be turned off at night.  I love looking at it...every ornament means something to me.  The tree this year makes me think of Veronica...she helped put it up and jump started my Christmas Spirit!

2.  I love to knit presents for my family.  This doesn't always happen but it did last year and again this year.  I love keeping them secret...not that anyone pays any attention to my "knitting zone" anyway.  When I see a loved one (friend and family) in something I knit, it makes my heart happy.

3.  I love to see houses decorated for the holidays...especially at night! We saw one the other night, on the way to my friend Teri's house...OMG!  We're gonna have to bring the kids by so they can see it...a huge yard and house covered with displays/lights.  Our new neighborhood has a holiday decorating contest...I think next year we'll get into it for sure!

4.  My homemade Almond Roca.  Love making it, cracking it, eating it and giving it!

5.  I love that this year Justine asked me to number the presents under the tree.  Last year I didn't, no particular reason, just didn't do it.  You know what I mean?  You put a number on the presents instead of a name so the "guessers" can't guess!  Brilliant! I've been doing it for years.  My mom did it when we were kids.  I have to be really careful not to lose the list of which number is for which person, too.

6.  I love reading uplifting stories of gratitude, giving and friendship on social media.  It's hard to find with all the horrors in the world and political BS all over the place but it's there if you look hard enough (and block certain people). My head isn't buried in the sand...but it's looking for the positive not the negative.

7.  I really enjoy the holiday commercials that make me cry!  The one with the grandma holding her grandson on Christmas morning, telling the baby about her little boy (daddy)...I think it's a coffee commercial.  I'm just a sucker for that schmaltz.

8.  Christmas movies!  I love so many and watch year round but REALLY ramp up my viewing this time of year.  Besides, I have to knit all the gifts, so why not watch Christmas movies at the same time?!  haha  I really love The Santa Clause, Elf and Love Actually.  Oh! and The Christmas Story, too.  I wish I had a copy of Pocket Full of Miracles...mom and I would watch that while decorating her tree.  I guess it's not technically a "christmas" movie...but mom and I consider it one.

9.  I love Christmas baking and cookie decorating!  Well, truth be told, Veronica has taken over as the cookie baker the last few years but we all get in on the decorating!  Justine has already made a batch of Peppermint Biscoti with Chocolate and Peppermint candies on top...oh so good!  No telling what we'll make this year!

10.  I just don't feel the rush of the holiday season like I did when the kids were smaller.  I feel life has a slower pace (some days more than others) and I can take my time about things.  Some things can wait.  I'm going to enjoy all the beautiful sights and sounds...hugs and hand shakes...cookies and movies this year.  Hope you do too!

Last winter.  Don't tell anyone but....I miss the Polar Vortex!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We're Home!

Hello!  Finally surfacing after the move!  YEAH!  We got all our stuff moved to the new house, thanks to a bunch of Mike's buddies from work, mid November.  It wasn't easy.  We have so much crap.  Nothing like moving to make you look at your life and think...I gotta get rid of this stuff.  Not my yarn, but all that other stuff.  HAHA!  The week before we moved, we rented an open trailer to move some "small" stuff (boxes and small furniture we could get down the stairs ourselves).  Remember we moved from a four-story townhouse.  FOUR STORIES!!  I don't miss it or those stairs one bit!  
Here's my dining room after the move.  It was so frustrating to live with things like this for even a few days.  Mike and the kids went to work/school so I was stuck at home with THIS. I couldn't move the furniture or boxes...too heavy!  So I just did what I could and it was ok.  

My sweet friend Teri sent me flowers to welcome us to our new home.  After seeing that photo of my dining room, she said, "I thought you could put the flowers on your dining room table, but um..."  haha!  Well, we did get that room squared away and ate at the table for Thanksgiving...and the flowers were there!

Oh!  Wait, I'm jumping the gun. Back it up! We closed on the house the morning of October 23rd.  We met with our agent, our loan agent (both had lovely gifts for us!), seller's agent and title officer.  It was all very nice and friendly...really great.  We signed away and BOOM...we're new home owners!  That afternoon we went to the house and started working.  We worked every day, all day for three weeks. We painted almost the entire interior of the house, including the ceilings.  The house was SOOOOO dirty!  I'm telling you, I've never worked so hard in my life.  Forget the gym membership, just buy a house and paint the darn thing.  I would go over in the morning, stay all day, then Mike would take over when he got home from work.  One night he stayed till midnight, painting.  The floor guys came (a few days earlier than expected...awesome) and put in new vinyl flooring in the den and kitchen.  They did a great job...we had the den painted but not the kitchen.  Then we started on the kitchen.
The floor guys had to remove the stove and fridge.  The counter guys asked that, if possible, we not put the stove back till after the counters are installed.  And they were gonna try to get them in by Thanksgiving.  What?!  Long story short...they did get them in before Thanksgiving...yeah!  They were installed one week after we moved in, the day before Veronica flew in.  I was SO relieved.  I really wanted to cook Thanksgiving dinner in my new home.  That turkey was the first thing I cooked in my new kitchen!

You can see the hideousness of the wall color and flooring no doubt. 
New floor (kind of all over pattern...looks like concrete), new color on cabinets...
New wall color and new counters!  Yeah!  Mike is removing the old counters...they came apart in three pieces.  Whew!
 Then after the counters Mike installed a new faucet, garbage disposal (needed wiring, too since they never had one before) and all the plumbing.  Really, Mike has been amazing!  He's done so much himself.  Poor guy...I have a new list every day for him to do.  Yesterday he said, "I'm looking forward to the day I can just come home and do nothing."  I wonder if that will ever happen.  Someday, maybe.

Most of the kitchen work was done after we moved in.  We still have the second half-bath to paint, the kitchen cabinet doors to paint, organize the basement, and a bunch of other stuff that is on Mike's list.

While Veronica was here over Thanksgiving, she and I got a TON of stuff done.  We put the new run in the living room, unpacked a bunch of boxes, painted the drawers for the kitchen and hung up most of our pictures so the house is really feeling like home.  She kept me working (even between my "I don't know where this is gonna go!" meltdowns). 

I think she's passed out in this photo.  It was so hard to get that rug in the room full of furniture.  The run is 9' x 12'!  But we did it...and it looks great!  I need more rugs.

We still don't have curtains on the huge front window.  Hello neighbor's! But last night (cyber monday) I ordered some.  So they should be up soon.  That's how things are going...we do little bit by little bit and when things get done, they get done.  

Veronica helped get the tree up for Christmas...and stockings!
Before ornaments.  Also, it's a bit like Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree...the star on top bends over a bit.  That's fine with us!  

The mantel is high enough to hang the stockings and keep them up during a fire.  We LOVE our new fireplace!!!  We've already had a bunch of evenings with a cozy fire ablaze...so nice!!!

Mike, the girls and I did some adventuring out on Black Friday and on Small Business Saturday.  It was easy and fun...both days!  The trick is to go early, not crazy shopper early but early in the day, early.  This is the second BF shopping trip for me and the girls...we go around 8am and end around Noon.  We got some great bargains!

Veronica and I walked to a local park with Gracie.  It's nice and big with trails and a little bridge.  I'll have to make it a habit of walking Gracie there in the future.  Today it's raining and cold...day two of this and tomorrow will be more of the same.  That's ok, plenty to do in the new house.  Still boxes to open and stuff to find a place for....and stuff to organize.  And when I run out of that, I can start painting those kitchen cabinet doors! Or sit and knit and watch a movie.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Adventure Starts Friday

You may or may not know this, but I'm moving.  Again.  This time it's only a couple miles away.  Yeah!  

We moved here to Maryland July 2012 and rented a house.  We held on to our house in Florida because it was a bad time to sell and buying is so expensive here...so rent here, rent out the house there.  Fast forward to this past July...we sold our house in Florida.  It as harder than I thought...oh, not finding a buyer, that happened pretty quick, but letting go of that house.  First of all, we wanted to pull more money out of it but that wasn't gonna happen for who knows how long, if ever BUT we did pull money out, for which I am grateful.

The house in Florida kind of stands as a symbol of our strength.  Our strength that we could move across country and be OK.  We made a new home in an area where we didn't know anyone.  Our family made many good memories in that house and community.  I made friends there I love and miss every day.

But I know things change and you have to adapt.  So we moved up here.  Now I have friends here I love and a community we love but I haven't felt like we've put down roots.  This house we live in now, it's not the same.  It's a rental, so I always knew it would be temporary.  I feel like I've been on hold since moving here.  Waiting for a house we can call our own and creating new memories to add to our lives.

All that begins on Friday!

We close on a house here in Maryland.  Not Annapolis, that's a big ticket item we just can't afford BUT right next door is a wonderful town called Arnold.  I mean really, it's so close, it feels like the same town.  Just a different name on the address label.  Arnold.  I hear Helga yelling, "Hey! Arnold!" every time I say it.  What? You don't know the Hey Arnold! cartoon?  The kid with the football shaped head?  Oh. Well, look it up on Youtube.

I shared some details on the house in a previous post (the last one...scroll down on the right and look for it, if you didn't read it already). I'll share photos of us through out this adventure.  I'm sure some of it will be very entertaining.  

Here's a file photo that the realtor had...we'll post much better ones soon!

Monday, October 19, 2015

End of the Row Yarn Colleges

I like to help promote my yarns by making colleges and posting them on social media.  So just in case you're not following me on FB or IG (and certainly if you don't even know what those initials stand for)...here are a few of my latest creations.  Some of the yarns are available in the shop (just in case you can't resist them).

And these are ones that sold out but I will be adding again soon (like next week):

 And these two...my best sellers!  I'll be adding more to the shop as well...

All the yarns are machine wash and are a blend of superwash merino wool and nylon.  Perfect for socks, shawls, cowls, mitts...well, just about everything.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's a Busy Life

Hey! I know it's been a while.  Been busy.  You too, I bet.  Fall always seems to be busier than other times of the year.  School starts then it seems like one holiday after another till BOOM! it's New Year's Day.  Right?

Yesterday was a holiday.  Yeah.  Columbus Day.  In high school I always loved this holiday...no school and a parade!  It was a parade we did downtown San Diego...with horses, so you had to watch your step and march around any "droppings".  haha  But yesterday, totally forgot. And why would I remember?!  The kids had school, Mike had work and my day went on as usual.  Until I went to the post office to mail a couple packages.  My post office is in the back of a cute little store that sells cards, art supplies, office supplies and all things Maryland.  I notice the light is off in the back of the store, so I ask the guy, "Um, so what time does the Post Office close?" (Cuz I'm thinking, what the hell, it's only 3pm, it should be open!) He says, "Well, it's a holiday today so it's closed." Queue forehead slap.  So guess I'll be making another trip today.  Not so painful, because Dunkin is a few doors down...and ice coffee is just the ticket on a nice Fall day of 75 degrees.  Oh yes!

So I've been dyeing.  Woohoo!  And selling too!!  I did a bunch of new colors called Multi-Colorways.  The yarns have bright colors, in a mix that isn't self striping so little to no pooling.  Non knitters...pooling is when a particular color groups together when knitted, therefore creating a "pool" of color.  Some knitters don't mind them, some really, really, really hate pooling. I don't mind. If it's pretty and colorful, I love it.  So back to my yarn...colorful, no pooling.  Want to see some?

I also did some tonal/semi-solid colorways.  New colorways that are hand mixed by me in my kitchen, just for you.  If you like that sort of thing, I realize not all people knit, of course (poor devils).  I do! It's a wrench to post it in the shop and not hide it in my own stash sometimes!!  haha

I really like to bring in anything new I dye to my friends in my knit group.  It gives me a good gauge as to what knitters will like.  They are so supportive of me...just love them!!  I brought in this bunch, they bought a few so some of the colors will take a while to get into the shop.  Some I've already posted. Here's the one on top:

I'll continue to post new yarns/colorways over the next few weeks.  Trying to get a jump on our big move, because I may be busy with the new house.  Scratch that "may".  I will be, for sure!

Yes, that's right...we've moving (AGAIN)!!  This time only a few miles away, thank God!  We've been renting since moving here, 3 1/2 years ago and can't wait to own again.  We sold our home in Florida at the end of July and when we found we could get out of our lease, we took the opportunity to look for a new house.  Let me clarify, the house isn't "new" but new to us.  It was built in 1964.  It is one town over, so schools stay the same.  We close in a couple weeks and will do some painting and work in the house before moving in mid-November.  Here are some cool things about the house:  it's on a 1/2 acre lot!, there is a private beach (no HOA fees) that is about 200 feet away, there is a full basement (meaning the size of the house, not improved but BIG), there is a whole home fan (a built in fan in the middle of the house so when the windows are open, it sucks all the warm air up and out and brings in the cooler air from the outside), one car garage and a lawn tractor (riding mower) for cutting the grass.  The house is on a corner and runs the length of the block so we have neighbors on one side only.

One weird thing.  There aren't a bunch of trees on the lot...except for Christmas trees.  Yes.  Christmas trees.  It's like Harry (Harry, previous owner, passed on now) got a live Christmas tree every year, then randomly planted them in the yard.  Three of them are HUGE.  I'm gonna see if I can give them away or Mike will be cutting some down come Spring.  Then we'll plant pretty trees that turn in the Fall.

Anyway, exciting and busy times ahead for us!  We just can't wait to be rid of all these stairs in this rental (it's 4 stories)!  The new house is a rancher and the only stairs are to the basement!  I need to start packing and picking out paint colors and throwing away stuff.... the list is a long one.

I hope all is well with you and yours!  I know my peeps in California are boiling, hang in there guys!  And just because I can rub it in...this week we might get our first FROST!!  That will help the leaves turn and color should really ramp up.  Sorry...had share...I'm still so happy I'm not in that heat of California anymore. We are really enjoying seasonal changes.  And I can't wait for it to snow at my new house!!  Maybe we can build a snowman in the front yard!!  Woohoo!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hello again. Hello!

Hello!  Yeah, been a while. Over two months...jeez!  I'd like to tell you that I've been super busy and just can't fit blogging into my hectic day but....not the case.  Well, at least I'm back.

Veronica just left us to go back to school and I got a few pics from our adventures.  She didn't seem too keen on doing a lot of running around seeing stuff (touristy stuff) but we managed to do a couple fun, low key things. Mike took a day off one day and we went to St. Michael's on the Oxford Bellevue Ferry.  It's the oldest privately owned ferry service in the US. Mike and I took this ferry another time and really enjoyed it!  It leaves from Oxford and crosses the Tred Avon River to Bellevue (about 10-ish minutes) and then it's a 7 mile drive to St. Michael's. It only holds about 6 cars and several bikes.  Apparently this is part of a nice biking route you can take while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Eastern Shore as we saw many bikers, several on the ferry.  

The weather was perfect!  We even had a lovely lunch, by the water, outside in St. Michael's! 

Veronica who hadn't driven a car since she was with us in January, really wanted to drive off the ferry and into St. Michael's...I sat in back and knit on a sock.  

I had a bit of a scare while in St. Michael's.  The LYS Frivolous Fibers had a "for lease" sign out front....oh, no!  Another yarn shop going away?!  I had to go into the shop to check (and I didn't buy any yarn).  Turns out she's just moving.  Whew!!  She said they're moving to Easton, which is a little bigger than St. M's and not as remote.  So I guess I'll have to re-visit after the big move and see the new shop.  

So I've been doing some painting lately.  This is a page from my art journal.  I've been doing some cards, too.  

And I've been doing some knitting too. Duh.  Here's a sampling.  

This shawl is made with Madelinetosh Merino Light.  It's a PicnicKnits's pattern.  I love how big it is...can't wait for Fall to wear it!

Here are a couple things knit with my own yarns. Remember I started an Etsy shop:  End of the Row Yarns

 The socks are Blue Peninsula's Hulst socks and the shawl is another beauty by PicnicKnits.  It is big and lovely!  Hurry up Fall!

The shop business has slowed quite a bit, yarns sales can do that in summer.  Maybe things will pick up in Fall.  I'm working on dyeing some very colorful sock yarn.  Gonna bring it to knit group tonight to see what they think.  Yeah!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dancing Leaf Farm Field Trip

Our knit group took a field trip to Dancing Leaf Farm in Barnesville, MD on Saturday.  The owner, Dalis, opened up her farm and offered demos on taking a sheep fleece through the entire process until it becomes yarn.  Very interesting and fun to watch.  And the yarn is so nice!

 The sheep we saw had some dye on them...can you see her pink head?
 Yarn and roving in the dye pot.  A much bigger operation than mine, that's for sure!  I got some ideas from watching her operate.
 Here Dalis is, about to remove carded wool from the wash for the second time.  It takes a while to get all the lanolin (oil) out of the wool apparently.
 Her shop was in a little house and in addition to tons of yarn there were buttons, pins and artwork.
 Really colorful and pretty yarn!
 Yarn and roving in every nook and cranny!
 Stuff on the wall was hard to resist.  Yeah, I didn't.
 Clever display, don't you think...vintage suitcases and yarn!
 So we watched her dye the wool and hang it up on the fence to dry.  The colorful yarn hanging on the fence, outside in the sunshine...so cool!  It did dry pretty quick...but not quick enough, knitters were buying it up...right off the fence!  Someone in our group was watching a particular skein from our vantage point (under a tree, knitting).  When she figured out it didn't belong to anyone, she snatched it up!  Yeah Margaret!
 No mistaking this sheep belongs to Dancing Leaf Farms!

 Knitting going on under a tree with yarn drying fence in the background.  The weather was perfect, breezy and warm but super comfortable in the shade.

 Everyone got in on the action!  Watching the demos, shopping for yarn, eating lunch and relaxing on the farm.  It was a great day!
 I had to get this guys photo...face turned toward the sun, kicking back on the yarn fence. I think he enjoyed himself, too.