Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Oops!" ~ The Both Of Us!

As we plug along with our unpacking and setting up house (will it never end, you ask?), I think that it's probably to be expected that not everything will go smoothly. Such is the case with the cabinet to go under Bruce's new TV. 

Ordered nearly two months ago, and only just delivered, the "soft, somewhat country blue" that we thought we were getting is very different from the "I belong in your Florida condo blue" that we got. So, after minimal deliberation (no, we do not want to wait another two months, and the cabinet is otherwise what we wanted), I ordered some chalk paint in a lovely "Spanish Moss" green, and hope to set to work on painting it sometime next week. The paint may or may not arrive in time for me to share some pictures next week, but I will down the line if it doesn't.

Fortunately, Bruce and I both roll with the punches pretty well with this sort of thing. We have had over a year honing our patience skills!

The picture below is similar to one that I posted to FaceBook last week. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a tremendous storm had rolled through, blowing neighbors lawn furniture down our street, and filling the ravine behind our home with water. This past week, we had a similar, though more severe experience. I didn't realize at the time that I posted the picture of the clouds behind our home, that many homes in our area suffered severe damage. It was only the next morning, when I got texts and emails from friends elsewhere checking to see how we were, and then my trip around town, that I realized how lucky we were. It is quite amazing that no one was hurt. 

At the time, I was simply marveling at the peculiar clouds, and how I felt certain that there was a knitting pattern to be found in them. We were very fortunate.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"We are making progress, slowly, but we are making it." ~ Me

Obviously not a "moving in" picture, but connected anyhow. I have been working slowly on a simple shawl since before leaving Florida. Something mindless and good for travel. Well, I stretched it out as long as I could, and finally finished it last night at knitting. 

I have hunted and hunted in the boxes that I can reach to try to find some of my yarn stash, but it is buried too deep. Bruce has also made a valiant effort on my behalf, but neither one of us has been able to unearth what I know is a treasure trove of yarn.

Fortunately, a scarf kit that I had ordered arrived today. It will at least allow me to have something in my hands while at knitting group. That doesn't necessarily mean I will be actively knitting, but I will look the part!

Now for a bit of a housing update. It has been somewhat slow moving, but we are making progress every day. Bruce ended up returning some boxes to storage that we don't need to deal with right now, like Christmas boxes and things that we know we are going to have to get rid of. This will hopefully give us a chance to focus on only those things that need to be immediately dealt with. Also, the painting is complete! This is major as we repainted every wall but three (in the living room). Things are lighter and fresher, and most definitely more "us". We are moving along!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." ~ Matsuo Basho

As promised, an update on our move -in process! We are here, furniture, boxes and all. Working on unpacking, painting and cleaning all at the same time. It is overwhelming and exciting. I should have taken a picture of our garage - wall-to-wall boxes. I told Bruce that if I just went in and out of the front door, and never went in the garage, I would think that we were in pretty good shape!

Actually, we are in pretty good shape. The lion's share of boxes are mine for studio and soaping. The soaping materials will ultimately go on shelves along the garage wall. As for the studio boxes, that will be a ways down the road. We have two bedrooms, no basement and no attic. Which all add up to no room for a studio. We have some ideas, and I'll keep you posted as those ideas develop.

While the walls in the larger bathroom were painted a color ideal for Florida, we will did not keep it. First primed, and then painted a very pale shade of blue (not the color that you see).

On our second night here, we found ourselves under a tornado watch. We have never seen such weather. As we looked out the front windows at one point, we saw two lawn chairs cartwheel down the street. When the rains had subsided, the gully behind our home was transformed into a pond. Fortunately, locally there was no serious damage. At one point Bruce mentioned that he thought that we had moved to Tully, not Kansas!

 While things are still in disarray, come quitting time each night, we are comfortable and know that progress is being made. We are home!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"No Blog This Week" ~ Me

Ok - I'm too "in upheaval" to post this week, but it's all good. It really is! Next week!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

“Anne has as many shades as a rainbow and every shade is the prettiest while it lasts. “ ~ Uplifting Quotes from Anne f Green Gables ~ L.L. Montgomery

As we count down the days till we move, I find myself occasionally at loose ends. There is so much to be done, but can't even be started till we are in our new house. There will no "time on my hands" next week! So this week, one of the things I decided to do was to clean up all of my "saves" on FaceBook.  The result is the list below - a several month accumulation of sites that struck my fancy!

Spanish Garlic Soup

Basic Green Soup

Avgolemno with Chicken Meatballs

Welsh Rarebit

Stuffed Chicken with Herbs and Garlic Butter

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Oil and Garlic

Peanut Sauce

Beauty and the Beast Be Our Guest Recipes

Coffee/Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha-Mascapone Frosting

Creamy Polenta with Parmesan and Sausage

Pate Brisee

Baked Eggs in Creamed Spinach

Slowcooker Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Stout and Pecan Pie

Common Garlic Mistakes

Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Shortbread Coins

Best Boxed Chicken Broth/Stock for Cooking

Mini Herbed Pommes Anna

Grilled Endive Salad with Salted Garlic Parmesan Crumble

And Now for Knitting!

Knitpicks Video Tutorial

Knitting Techniques - Knit Front, Slip Back

How to Use a Lifeline

Stranded Colorwork

Video Tutrials on Beautiful Crochet Edgings and Trimmings

How to Knit the Smocking Pattern

Knitted Necklace

Knitting Mentor Series

12 Yarn Ball Types

2000 Year Old Spinner

Icelandic Lamb Videos


Simple Math Tricks You Wish You Always Knew

Norway - The Happiest Country on Earth

How To Be More Scandinavian

The Best Exercises for Aging Muscles

Literary Map of the World

The Most Entertaining and Uplifting Quotes from Anne of Green Gables

Gravity Defying Funiculars

How Swedish Students Let Off Steam

11 Numbers You Should Have On Speed Dial

What Was Life Like For Women in the Viking Age?

The Danish Secret to Getting Through the Winter

This Remote Scottish Island is Coming Back to Life

8 Lovely Facts About The Secret Garden

The Glossary of Happiness

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Patience is the art of concealing your impatience." ~ Guy Kawasaki

So, back home in Central New York for a little more than a week. It feels good to be back, even though we are not in our new home yet. After having waited nearly a year, you would think that a couple more weeks wouldn't be that big a deal, but I am finding it harder than ever to be patient.

The previous owners, who have been renting from us since our closing back in December, have been wonderful about letting us go in and measure, ponder, and brainstorm about furniture placement.

The home of the friends that we are staying with sits uphill from our new home, and with binoculars in hand, I can look right down into the garage of our new residence. I have become a voyeur, stalking from up above. Is the garage door open? Are those packed boxes that I see?

Ugh! Impatience! I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"How are we defining nature? Is it the limit of what we are looking at when we see green and we see trees? Or is it everything?" ~ Catherine Alice Michaelis, Craft In America, PBS

Finally, a new episode of Craft in America! The newest installment (preview below) focuses on nature.

Premiering on April 21st on PBS, I was very excited to see that one the featured artists is someone whose work I have shared here! The art of Patrick Dougherty will be highlighted, but you can revisit my post on his work in the link below! 

And here are a couple of pictures from that post three years ago!


As always, I am eager to see this latest contribution. Remember that you can view all of the prior episodes at Craft in America!

If you have trouble viewing the preview because you are seeing this via email, go directly to my blog.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"I feel extremely lucky, extremely grateful, and a little bittersweet, too." ~ Wentworth Miller

I know that I have posted from this spot (Witham Beach, near the House of Refuge, Stuart, Florida) numerous times over the last few years, but it is one of my favorite spots, and seems like an appropriate parting shot before we head north.

By the end of the week, we will be on the road. It is definitely a mixed feeling. It has been a wonderful winter. I have found myself feeling (for the first time) like a bit of a Stuart native, yet making new friends and enjoying new experiences all winter long. On the other hand however, I am so excited to be heading north and getting ready to move into our new home. The movers have been scheduled, we are considering paint colors, and trying to figure out how everything is going to fit (it isn't).

We have our work cut out for us, but this is the end of a year-long road, and we are ready. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Key West- because you don't have to shovel sunshine" ~ Jackie Gibbons

And now, for Part II of our trip to Key West! I mentioned in my previous post that I'd never seen so many shades of blue. It's true. Between the sky and the water, shifting shades from morning till night. It's difficult to describe how the water is in Key West. It's right there. It's not a gradual beach that gets deeper and deeper. It's right there. The activity on the water is ceaseless.

Low wall separating land and water.

Another spot that we visited was "The Little White House". We were not permitted to take pictures inside as it is still considered a government residence. It's simplicity and charm cannot be overstated. Truman was known as the "Common Man's Man." It's easy to see why he would be comfortable staying here. From 1946 to 1952, he used the Winter White House exactly 11 times. He loved the anonymity it provided him. A quiet place, away from the crowds, in order to get his work done. 

During those stays, he often played cards late into the night with the Press Corps, and was known to sneak out at night, eluding the Secret Service so that he could wander the island on his own as a "Common Man".

One of the things that Key West is known for is spectacular sunsets. We were there only two evenings, and unfortunately, neither one of them shared the sunsets of lore. However, there can be no doubting that they were beautiful anyhow!

As we drove out to Key West , we travelled miles and miles with water directly on either side of us. We wondered aloud how the electrical poles, which were placed in the water, not on land, were serviced and repaired when needed. We had that question answered on our return trip!

Such a wonderful get away - a trip for all of the senses! I'm sure that we will do it again one day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Key West... Where a chicken can cross the road and his motivation will not be questioned!" ~ Cheryl Casale Huftalen

Last week, Bruce and I made a few day trip to Key West. We had never been to the Keys before, and this was a true treat. I admit that I had the wrong idea of what Key West was like. I was envisioning a sleepy, Caribbean type of town. Wrong! Key West reminded me of New Orleans - loud and very walkable, and Provincetown - funky and very walkable. Not a bad combination, but it took me by surprise. I am going to break our trip up into two blog posts, with part II coming next Wednesday.

One of the first things that we did, once we settled into our B and B, was to take a trolly car tour around the town. This was well worth it. We then visited the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. This had been recommended by a friend and it was amazing! Bruce and I agreed that it almost felt like we were in a Disney World attraction, but everything was real.

"Walk Among Hundreds of Living Butterflies and Colorful Birds! Take a stroll through a tropical paradise... walk through an exotic and inviting environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature -- butterflies.

During your breathtaking journey you will experience an impressive collection of flowering plants, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the “flowers of the sky.” Witness some 50 to 60 different species from around the world, as well as varieties of colorful birds, all under a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat.

Our butterflies are not collected from the wild. They come from butterfly farming operations. The captive breeding of butterflies is well suited to tropical regions and can be an environmentally beneficial endeavor through the release of excess production into the wild and the culture of native shrubs, flowers and trees as host and nectar plants. You will have a unique opportunity to observe butterflies and birds in a tropical setting. The diversity of size, shape, color, patterns and behavior make these delicate winged creatures a delight to see."

There are two resident flamingoes. 

A "Turaco"

One thing that we found out very quickly is that chickens and roosters are EVERYWHERE! We heard "cockadoodle-doing" all day and night!

Even under barstools.

On our second day we went to the Hemingway House.

"The Hemingway home was built in 1851 in the Spanish Colonial style, and was constructed of native rock hewn from the grounds. The home was in great disrepair when it the Hemingways took ownership, but both Ernest and Pauline could see beyond the rubble and ruin, and appreciated the grand architecture and stateliness of the home. The massive restoration and remodeling they undertook in the early 1930’s turned the home into the National Historical Landmark that thousands of tourists visit and enjoy today." 

"The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes. About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have 4 and 5 toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens. Most cats have extra toes on their front feet and sometimes on their back feet as well. Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw.

Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship's captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related. The polydactyl cats are not a particular breed. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell. White, Black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities."

Some of Key West's vibrant foliage.

 Next week - I never knew there were so many shades of blue!