Archives, 2007

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vestibulum bibendum, ligula ut feugiat rutrum, mauris libero ultricies nulla, at hendrerit lectus dui bibendum metus. Phasellus quis nulla nec mauris sollicitudin ornare. Vivamus faucibus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Cras vulputate condimentum ipsum. Duis urna eros, commodo id, sagittis sed, sodales eu, ante. Etiam ante. Cras risus dolor, porta nec, adipiscing eu, scelerisque at, metus. Mauris nunc eros, porttitor nec, tincidunt ut, rutrum eget, massa. In facilisis nisi. Sed non lorem malesuada quam egestas bibendum. Quisque bibendum ullamcorper purus. Integer id diam vel elit adipiscing consectetuer. Phasellus vitae eros. Vivamus laoreet consectetuer tortor. In congue dignissim quam. Suspendisse nec purus vel velit ultricies bibendum.

Happy New Year!

The snow stopped when it was supposed to -- after dumping a fresh 9 inches on us -- so the city was able to get the streets and sidewalks plowed in time for the New Year's Eve By the Bay revels. We went to see the Katahdin Valley Boys 

and their wonderful bluegrass music.

Ameranouche, a gypsy jazz trio in the spirit of Django Reinhardt, came after them

ameranouche

Then over to Main Street for the parade of the Drum & Rabble Corps down to the landing and the bonfire

heretheycome


rabble

Then the bonfire

fire

The drums and the fire went on until 1 am. It is a great way to welcome in the New Year. 

This morning, the sun gave me a great beginning for my From My Window series launch --

window1

The Flickr Badge in the sidebar is now set for this series.

And now, Clue 1 of the Spring Surprise Shawl is up and I must start a knitting! Another snowstorm is due later today and we have a nice rib roast for dinner. 

Enjoy your day as we welcome 2008!

Janus

Last day of the old year and time to look back at what has been and forward to what will be.

In knitting:

I completed the following projects:

Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave stole

✦ Scheherazade stole from Pink Lemon Twist

✦ Leda's Dream Stole -- Pink Lemon Twist

✦ Honey Bee Stole from Anne Hanson

Mystic Waters Shawl

Krista Tee from White Lies Designs

I also knitted several pairs of socks, but they seem kind of matter of course to me.

Started, to be finished in a month or so:

✦ Secret of Chrysopolis Stole from the KAL of the same name

Guinevere 

✦ Feathers stole based on Swan Lake Mystery Stole

✦ And I got this blog going!

Not too shabby, I think.

 Looking ahead to 2008:

✦ I already have 4 lace projects lined up, continuing in my Lace KAL obsession.

✦ I want to knit one of Sharon Miller's patterns from Heirloom Knitting

✦ Contemplating possibly designing something myself.

✦ My daily photo From My Window, starts tomorrow. I'll create a Flickr set and put a link in the sidebar.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, so what the year ahead holds and where it will take me in knitting, reading, my work is open and waiting to be discovered in the living.

Blog 365?

Here is an idea whose time has not yet come for me -- Blog 365. Yes, a blog post a day for a year. I didn't manage to get a post a day for one month, November, so who would I be kidding to say I would do one a day for a year? I must say though that NaBloPoMo helped me to pick up the pace of my posting -- I have managed to post 20 out of 29 days so far this month and that, my friends, is progress.

Something along the lines of Blog 365 is on my agenda for 2008 though. I have a great view from my window -- across the harbor and down into Penobscot Bay. I have decided to do a Year From My Window and take a picture first thing when I get up each morning. I'm thinking of creating another blog for it -- I'll let you know.

Prep time

When I woke up this morning, it finally dawned on me that I have some serious prep work to do for several things I will be teaching in the next few months. At the end of January, I am teaching a one day seminar at the Senior College on blogs and blogging -- got to get that material organized. About Senior College -- I love this whole concept! Classes in short 6 week semesters on all kinds of subjects, many of them quite intellectually demanding, for folks who are 50 and older. It is a great group to teach plus no grades, tests or papers!

Then March 15, I will be doing a one day workshop at the C. G. Jung Center in Brunswick on Medea and Betrayal. I have done this workshop/seminar twice before here in Belfast so I have a good idea of how much territory I can cover in a day, but I want to work on it some more. 

And in the spring I will be teaching about psychological type at the Senior College.

Yikes!

Then yesterday when I called Helen at Heavenly Socks Yarn -- because Spike made off with my teeny crochet hook that I use to apply beads when I knit -- she asked if I would be interested in teaching a course on beads and lace. Which I am but that's another preparation and I have to get a description in soon.

We had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

We did indeed. Christmas Eve we finished up wrapping and baking. I finally got the stole I made for my daughter blocked -- it is Scheherazade from MS 2. I ended up steam blocking rather than pinning it all out and it turned out just fine. The photo doesn't show the design very well but you get an idea --


It made me very happy that she loves it.

Yesterday we hung around here by ourselves till noon. It was lowkey for us as neither of us really wanted anything so we just enjoyed being with each other. then off to Courtney's house for dinner.


The moon was bright on the ride home, brighter than I have ever seen it. It was perfect.

Merry Christmas

There are cookies to be baked and presents to be wrapped today and tomorrow. And Tuesday we are off to my daughter's home for Christmas dinner. I'll be back to post here on Wednesday. 

Growing up is so very hard to do!

Christmas once the kids are grown up is tough in some new ways that I am still trying to figure out.

When I was growing up, my dad was in the Army so we almost never got to be with family at Christmas. My brothers were both grown and gone by the time I was 7, which meant that most years, it was just me and my parents. The last time my family had a big extended family get-together was in 1954 -- and even then, neither of my brothers were there though my grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles and cousins were. When I was in high school, one year both of my brothers came to our house for Christmas and there was a year or two like that when I was in college. And that background created in me a yearning for family on the holidays.

When my first husband and I got married, we went to visit our parents that first year but after that we decided we would stay home. And we began our own traditions which multiplied after the kids came along. Like the year, when David was 3, that we started going to the movies late afternoon on Christmas Eve as a way to help keep him from jumping out of his skin with excitement. And the Christmas Eve package with pajamas every year. And a special Christmas breakfast to eat after all the gifts were opened. And a big prime rib roast for dinner. I loved it all and love it still.

After the divorce we made some adjustments. The kids went to their dad's Christmas Eve and then came back to my house to spend the night and we would have our Christmas on Christmas Day. It wasn't the same. I missed going to the movies, which became an activity with their dad. But enough remained that I was happy and I built some new things for myself around the day they were not with me.

Then I moved to Michigan. That first year, both kids came out to be with us. It was a great time for us, though maybe not so much for them as there was a lot of new family and friends for them to meet. The next 3 years they came to see us, but not at Christmas. I missed them fiercely. Neal and I melded our traditions together -- to his friend's house Christmas Eve -- after we went to a movie -- and then Christmas at home before going out to visit his family.

Now we are back in Maine. And my daughter has married. Though both of my kids live within a couple of hours of here, we don't see them all that often -- and any ideas I had of casual Sunday dinners together are long gone. The first year they both came and all spent the night here and we had a Christmas a lot like the ones we used to have. Last year they came up Christmas afternoon. 

In June my daughter moved in to their new house. And she waned to have Christmas there. So she invited us. Initially it was to include her dad also, which would have been odd but okay with me, but he is unlikely to come. So we will go there Christmas Day for dinner. I understand her desire to have Christmas in her house, I really do. And I am more than willing to go this year. And we will have fun, I know.

But I am realizing that after being home for 35 of the last 37 years, I am really not wanting to do it this way again. I am finding it really hard to get into the holiday. We have had our tree up for 5 days now but still haven't put lights on it. And I keep putting off doing other holiday stuff. Because it just doesn't feel like Christmas to me knowing we won't be home that day. Silly, I know. But there it is. I like being the mom and gathering my family around me.

I think I have found a new sense of common ground with my mother, who must have felt much the way I do when I, her last child, decided not to come for Christmas. But what I want to do is find a way to make something new, that recognizes the changes that have occurred, that preserves the parts of what was that have a place in what will be, and that opens the way for what can be meaningful and delightful in a way similar to what was. I don't know yet what that will be. Maybe we will start a tradition of an open house for our friends around the holidays. The door here will always be open to my kids, but they must also know that they are free to develop their own traditions; we will work it all out. And in that mix, we will all find a way to celebrate our lives, together and separately.

This growing up business is very hard sometimes.

Stay tuned...

I am halfway through the last clue for Mystic Waters. It's possible I will finish it today though tomorrow is more likely.

In the meantime, a cookie recipe to keep you busy -- I have had this recipe for around 15 years and no longer remember where it came from.

Ginger-rum sandwich cookies  

2 C flour 

2/3 C granulated sugar 

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 

1/4 tsp salt 

1/2 C cold butter, cut into 8 pieces 

1/2 C sour cream 

1 egg white beaten with 2 tsp water for glaze  

Preheat oven to 350? . Grease 3 large baking sheets. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, ginger and sale. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs ( I use my food processor). Add sour cream and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  

On a floured surface roll dough out 1/8" thick. Cut out dough using a well floured cutter. Brush cookies with glaze. Place 1" apart on baking sheets. 
 
Bake 8-11 minutes, until pale golden on top. Cool on racks. 
 
Ginger-rum buttercream  

1 1/2 C  butter softened 

2-3 tsp. minced crystallized ginger 

3 C powdered sugar 

3 T. dark rum 
 
Beat together butter and ginger until creamy. Add powdered sugar 1/4 C at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually drizzle in rum, beating until smooth and creamy. 
 
Spread buttercream about 1/8" thick over bottoms, top with glazed cookie tops. Store in airtight container at room temp for 3 days, in frig for 5 days. Can be frozen. 

And the meme goes on...

So here I am cruising through blogs this afternoon and I discover more items for the meme --


25. Shopping...I am proud to say I have not been in a mall in 3 years. Of course it helps that I live in a small town far from the nearest one, but I swore off them even before I came here. I hate, loathe, despise malls! I shop locally and online.

26. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all?)
We put a wreath on the door. And we always have vague ideas about something more. But it doesn't usually happen.

27. Favorite Christmas cookie?
Hmm, today I would say ginger-rum sandwich cookie. But it could and likely will change.

28. Do you own Christmassy clothing or jewelry?
I have a red sweater I made sometime in the very early 90's. It is quite something with some red angora, sequins and other glories that only that period and a crazy Anny Blatt design could bring. I wear it on Christmas defiantly  with pride.

29. Do you believe in Santa? 

But of course!

Christmas Meme

I saw this on several blogs, so I stole it.

Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?   Wrapping paper. When I was in high school I got all involved with learning to make fancy bows and I did that until I had kids. Then came the stick on bows. Then came the no bows because kittens and kids took them off. 
 
2. Real or artificial tree?   Real. My father sold Christmas trees during the Depression -- I heard the stories every year when I was growing up. I ended up being somewhat perfectionistically committed to finding the most nearly perfect tree possible. But artificial is just a no-go for me.

3. When do you put up the tree?  Any time after Thanksgiving.This year it will be this week. I think we'll get the tree tomorrow.

4. When do you take it down?  New Year's Day or sometime before Valentine's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog?  Only the kind I make.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?  a Madame Alexander doll which was Jo from Little Women.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?  No.

8. Hardest person to buy for?  My son.

9. Easiest person to buy for?  My husband.

10. Worst Christmas present you ever got?  A box of dishwasher detergent. My ex-husband thought it was a joke. The humor of it evaded me.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail but only a few.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?  A Christmas Story followed closely by Elf.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?  When the spirit moves me.

14.. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?  No.

15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas?  Roast beef.

 
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?  Clear and this year we have new LED lights which are kind of yellow like candlelight.

17. Favorite Christmas song?  Good King Wenceslas

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?  Stay at home. But this year, we will go to my daughter's house Christmas Day. Because i am a good and flexible mom.

19. Can you name all of Santa's Reindeer?   Yes.

20. Angel or star on top of tree? Neither
  
        21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning.  Morning.

22. Most annoying thing this time of year?  Too much hype

23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? Nope.  Lots of ornaments from my childhood, my kids' childhoods, things we have gotten along the way. Combination of breakable and unbreakable. We buy a new ornament every year.

24. What do you leave for Santa?  Used to be cookies and milk.






Slow start...

It's a slow start to Christmas for me this year. We haven't gotten our tree yet and likely won't until Tuesday. And though my cards have arrived, I have not begun to address them. No holiday knitting for me to do as I finished the stole for my friend and will not be knitting for anyone else. 


So this weekend, I will figure out what cookies we will make and I'll start writing cards.

But first I have to finish listening to The Last Town on Earth, which is our book group book this month. It took me a while to get into the book, but now I like it a great deal. I have only 3 hours left to listen to, so I should finish today. And while I do, I will knit clue 7 of Mystic Waters.

Tallying

I have finished Clue 5 of Mystic Waters, meaning I am now just 2 clues behind. The rows have become pretty long but the pattern is fun to knit so it goes easily. 


I want also to make some more headway on Secret of the Stole -- all the clues have been issued, but I have 3 left to knit. I am bartering this one with a friend who is an artist -- she will give me one of her masks in exchange. So, I need to get going on it.

I decided I will use the terra-cotta cashmere/silk for the Secret of Chrysopolis. I ordered beads yesterday so when they arrive I will start that one.

Now here is where the madness enters -- there are 5 mystery KALs starting after the holidays and I plan on downloading the clues and knitting them as I can. I have yarn for Spring Surprise(the Yahoo Group name is spelled "Surprice), and for at least 3 of the others.  But right after Christmas I need to gather the information and assign yarn to project and figure out how to organize myself. 

On some level, I seem to be operating as if a lace pattern and yarn famine is imminent. 

Isn't it a rule...

that you start a new project as soon as you finish an old one, even if you have a gazillion others on the needles? I'm sure I read that somewhere.

Anyway, I started itching to start something new. So I made a swatch out of the terra-cotta Colourmart cashmere/silk. 


I made no effort to hard block it and didn't even pin it. I washed it in hot water then finger-blocked it and let it dry. It measures 5" wide, which is about 6 stitches/inch. The length, and my swatch is one pattern repeat sorter than given in the pattern, is 4.5" over 20 rows. So it looks like gauge would be fine. The stole would end up about 21" wide, which is what I like. Now I have to decide if it is too open. This yarn is so light and soft. I would add beads, which would increase the weight and give more drape. What do you think?

It snowed all day Monday into yesterday. We had flurries into the afternoon. We ended up with about 14".

It was very cold when I got up today -- 6F. When I looked out, I saw the arctic sea smoke, which always seems magical to me. Here is what I saw at sunrise this morning--


SNOW!

They promised snow and it has arrived!

We're expecting 12-14". One of the things I love about living here is that a snowstorm is  cause for excitement. not panic. Yesterday when we went to buy cat litter, the supermarket was not filled with panicked people buying bread and milk -- because we know snow is not the end of civilization as we know it. Pretty soon there will be kids sledding down the hill outside our house -- one of the best things about our house is that we live right on one of the premiere sledding hills in town so we get to watch and hear kids reveling in the delights of snow.



Our street has already been plowed once and the storm has hardly begun -- we are supposed to get snow through tomorrow morning. The Belfast road crew does an outstanding job!

Now to a day of knitting and watching movies.

Red sky at morning

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. There is a snow storm coming.



We have some preparing to do today for the coming storm -- get the snow shovel out. Find the mittens. Lay in a supply of good snow storm goodies to eat. Reschedule the book group meeting tomorrow night. Charge the iPod and camera batteries. And then when the snow starts, hunker down and enjoy it.

Tomorrow might be a good day to block the stoles I have completed -- I have 4 now awaiting blocking and it doesn't look like the blocking fairy is going to come long and do it for me. 

And I just want to say that I love what I am seeing of Morocco  -- look here at A Few Stitches Short. Red beads win me every time! And what's not to love about another blog with readers numbered in the tens like mine?!

A new month

Well, it's December 1 and it is clear that I did not make a post a day in November. But I did manage to make 20 of them, altogether, and that is quite a bit for me. So it served the purpose of showing me I can post more often and I shall endeavor to try to continue. And next year, maybe I will achieve the target.

I have been reflecting a lot on holidays and the discrepancy between fantasy and reality as I consider how I would like to have Thanksgiving in the future. I should say at the outset that Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday despite my connection to its origins. For me it seems like a mountain of work to make a meal which is soon gone. And I am not the world's biggest fan of turkey -- though I must say our organic free range bird was the very best tasting one I have ever had.

When I was growing up, my father was in the Army and we were usually living too far away to have holidays with extended family. My brothers are much older than I and were off on their own from the time I was 7. One year, when I was 8 and we were stationed at Ft. Knox, I got the measles. What I remember most about that year is that we didn't get to eat in the mess hall with all the soldiers -- well, that and the fact that I threw up at dinner. So I grew up with wonderful fantasies of the Norman Rockwell kind of holidays with family and friends gathered together around the table -- the whole works. I thought that when I married and had children that was what we would develop.

Some days titles just don't spring to mind

It's another cold day and it has been snowing a bit. The Jack o' lantern that we left out for the squirrels to munch on got a nice white hat this afternoon


Tomorrow it's time to get started on preparations for Thanksgiving dinner. This year it will be just my husband and my son and me as my daughter and her husband are going to my kids' dad's for dinner -- that's the way of divorced families. For many years i have not much enjoyed Thanksgiving. It always seemed like a lot of work for a meal and I couldn't find other benefit to it. But somewhere along the line this last year, my attitude seems to have changed and I am really looking forward to it. Neal picked up our organic turkey from the Co-op this morning and we got all of the other ingredients for all the things we usually make. It will be much more food than three people reasonably need but then again, we can send my son home with food and still have enough left over that we won't be cooking again until the weekend. It helps a lot that Neal shares the cooking chores with me so that we both can enjoy the preparation as well as the meal itself. And he is that most desirable of all kitchen partners -- he likes to do the prep work!

I joined 3 more lace alongs that will starts in the new year --

1. Secret of the Stole ii

2. The Secret of Bad Nauheim

3. The Fisherman's Wife

I am too lazy to look up the urls but you can find them by searching at Yahoo Groups. It's madness to do this, I know, but there are many worse kinds have.

Chilly Sunday

It's cold today -- just 36F at noon. So thoughts of coffee cake entered my head when I got up. I searched my trove of recipes and came upon a cranberry nut upside down coffee cake that I got from somewhere a few years ago. We buy lots of fresh cranberries in season. I love the tart taste and use them in all kinds of things. And best of all, we can get organic berries grown right next door in Lincolnville.

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake -- from Allrecipes.com


INGREDIENTS:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cups cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans -- I used chopped walnuts because that is what I had on hand
 
1/2 cup butter, room
temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS:
1.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
2.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil, then pour into bottom of springform pan. Sprinkle with cranberries and pecans.
3.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4.
Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan. Serve warm.

It's yummy!


P1020348

So I sat and drank my tea and looked out my window. 



No more NaNoPoBlo

I am not even sure what the correct acronym is, but clearly I am not a post a day kind of person, though I must say I have enjoyed picking up the pace of my posting, so this experiment is not for naught. 

It snowed yesterday. Thursday it was warm and in the 50's and yesterday it snowed. Up north there was even some accumulation. Today it is clear and brisk and obviously winter is soon upon us.

Kim, at The Woolen Rabbit, mentioned in her post last night that she is not seeing so many in progress pictures these days and that she missed them. I hadn't been posting many of my various lace projects because lace is not much to look at before it is blocked. But I take her point because i also enjoy seeing things in progress. In that spirit, here are a couple of mine --

First, Leda's Dream, from Pink Lemon Twist, is now about 60% complete. I am using 2 strands of Colourmart 2/28 cashmere in the color cyclamen. which is fiendishly difficult to accurately capture.

leda

It's a pretty easy knit and I expect to finish it by the end of the month.

And I am on row 149 of the Mystic Waters Shawl. It is too big to finger block the whole thing without taking it off the needle. I love this pattern -- just enough challenge to keep me on my toes. I am using a single strand of Colourmart 3/45 cashmere/silk and 3.00 mm needle.

mystic

These two and the Thermal are getting most of my attention these days.

But look at what arrived yesterday -- MORE of the 3/45 cashmere/silk, this time in terra-cotta!

Brrrrrr!

I was greeted with this when I went out this morning.



© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.