Winter is not releasing its grip on us this year. We still have knee-deep snow on the ground, and temperatures have only just begun to creep up over the freezing mark. I've been doing a picture-a-day for Flickr, and it's depressing to see I'm at photo 67 and all my outdoor photos are STILL of snow snow snow. That is 67 straight days of relentless winter, people!
Fortunately it's been very sunny, but there are no signs of blooming or growth, and the rabbits have eaten my favorite shrubs down to little sticks. All the vegetation has been buried under snow for months now, so I'm sure those bunnies are hungry, but dang--did they have to eat my shrubs?
I've felt so blah this winter. I follow some of my favorite places in Michigan on various social media platforms, and I've been reading about ice caves on the lake shore, and how the Great Lakes are almost completely frozen over for the first time in 30 years, and worse, I've been reading about how great the snow conditions are for skiing and snowshoeing, but I haven't gone to enjoy any of it. None of it. I've been hunkered down in my house, feeling fatter and bleaker by the day.
It's just been too hard to get around to go see these things. Every weekend seemed like it brought another snowstorm. We still can't walk and drive easily around town because the sidewalks are treacherous--too much snow fell for everyone to keep things cleared. And all of the streets are narrower from snow banks, and now there are huge potholes everywhere.
On the happy side, I have cheered myself up with some cross stitch.
Weelittlestitches. I absolutely ADORE Anna's colorful, embroidered clothes! Much more so than the Ice Queen's shimmery gown.
And here is my WIP:
Recognize the quotation? The pattern is from Sampler Girl.
Speaking of Jane Austen quotations, I chuckle to myself over my complaints of the weather and the state of the roads. There is a subtle joke in the Emma Thompson movie version of Sense and Sensibility where the mother admonishes her youngest daughter to restrict her remarks to the weather and the state of the roads. This is what it's come to for me, too!
Even if I've been stuck at home, some people have ventured out to see some of the beauty this winter has created. I was particularly interested reading about this somewhat foolhardy adventure in Sleeping Bear Dunes where four men walked across frozen Lake Michigan to North Manitou Island. They went about it smartly, but I'm glad it wasn't my husband who had such a notion!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I made Quinoa Harvest Chili a few days ago, and it is delicious! I snapped the photo above when I ate leftovers for lunch today, and didn't realize the picture was blurry until it was too late to take another. If you squint, you can't tell it's blurry, but all that yummy wholesomeness should still be obvious.
My children are home from school this week, not due to weather, but because for some mysterious reason our school has this week off (this, in addition to Spring Break in April). I don't know why we didn't go see my parents in Florida this week. There must have been some reason we didn't think we could go this year, but that reason is eluding me now as I look out on more of this:
My kids are content to stay home all day long when they have a school break. My daughter has been watching lots of Olympics. Today I thought we'd try a new recipe from an old cookbook, and we made these S'more Buns from my bread machine cookbook.
To round out my sad stories, last week was extremely busy, and we had to be somewhere every single evening by 6:30 p.m. That makes dinnertime a stressful and rushed affair, so on Thursday I told everyone we would be ordering our dinner from a restaurant and my husband would pick it up on his way home from work. We NEVER do this. I cook our dinner 29 days out of 30. I was very much enjoying the stress-free afternoon and looking forward to my no-effort restaurant meal. I placed our order online, my husband picked up the food, and I was feeling pretty pleased with things, but as we passed around the meals, we realized that the food I had ordered had not been included. The restaurant had accidentally substituted a different meal, a meal with ingredients that were revolting to me and that I had absolutely no desire to eat. Is there supposed to be a lesson in there somewhere? I was glad it was mine and not one of the kids', but at the same time, AAAGGGHHH!
(I share all of this knowing full well none of these are really problems, and that there are so many worse things that could happen. In the grand scheme of things, I have absolutely nothing to complain about! But still, it does feel like it's been one annoyance after another lately.)
Monday, February 17, 2014
A few months ago I saw a picture on Instagram of a little girl wearing a hat with a pocket, and in the pocket was a little bear. I love toys in pockets, especially in unexpected pockets (evidence here and here), and after seeing that hat, I had to figure out how to make one for my great-niece. Etsy to the rescue! I found this darling pattern here.
I made the bear out of felt (tracing a photo I found in a book for a template), and secured him to the inside of the pocket with a two-strand crochet chain. I made the chain too short to be a strangulation hazard, but long enough that the bear can come out and play.
I wish I had made something like this for my kids when they were little!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
This has been a brutal winter. We've been getting lots of snow with no warm temperatures between snow storms, so nothing melts, and the snow keeps piling up and up and up. We haven't seen grass since Christmas!
Last Saturday we had a few hours of temperatures slightly above freezing, just enough to turn the bottom layer of snow into slush before it all froze again into sheer ice, so now we have treacherous ice underneath all that snow. This morning when my son left for school he slipped and fell in our driveway. When he left, I closed the back door behind him and heard a thud immediately thereafter. Before I could even wonder if he'd fallen, he came bursting back inside, covered in snow. He looked rather offended that his feet had betrayed him. I helped him brush all the snow off before it melted, then shooed him on his way again.
It snowed all morning. School probably should have been closed, but it wasn't. When the snow finally stopped this afternoon, I went outside to shovel. Our driveway is like a canyon, with snow piled high along both sides, and I struggled with where to put the new snow. The snow was heavy and deep, and I had to battle to keep my balance on the smooth icy under layer. As I labored away, the snow removal company several of my neighbors employ pulled up with their trucks and their snowblowers. I hesitated, considering my two able-bodied teenagers who should theoretically be able to help me shovel when they got home from school, then decided what the heck, I would free us all from the chore. I waved at the crew, asked them if they'd shovel me out, too, and ten minutes later my sidewalks and driveway were clear!
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I managed to successfully recover from the knitting disaster. Whew! I had to rip out a lot of rows. I was worried I wouldn't be able to figure out what row I needed to restart with, because knitting boggles me like that, but after a couple of false starts, I was on my way. I tell myself that recovering from mistakes only gives me more experience and makes me a better knitter. Right?
I LOVE the yarn I used! Malabrigo Arroyo in the color Azules. It's so soft and cuddly, and the varying shades of blues and the hint of purple give it a nice dimension.
The pattern is free and can be found here.
Looks like we still have plenty of winter left, so I should get lots of use out of this in the next couple of months. Um, yay, I think?
For my next knitting project, I am going to attempt to make a striped toddler-sized hat for my great niece. Wish me luck!
P.S. I set the photo to appear as "large". If it is too big that you only see part of it on your screen, please let me know.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Yesterday my son had some band mates here to rehearse music they are working on for a school concert. These kids aren't really friends of his, just fellow band members. Even though our Christmas tree is long gone, I still have winter decorations up. Apparently this was remarkable to the band mates, as they asked my son why there were so many snowman things in our house.
My son said, "Umm, they are winter decorations." The kids were flabbergasted, which surprised me. Maybe I spend too much time in blogland, but I didn't think it was THAT uncommon to have seasonal decorations.
After his classmates left, my son strolled around our house and counted 75 snowmen-related things. It was my turn to be flabbergasted. Seventy-five? That couldn't be right. Surely it's just 20 or so. I walked around the house and did my own count. I was stunned to count 75.
It's not 75 snowmen per se. Some of those 75 are images of snowmen, depicted in cross stitch or painted on a mug. But still. That's a lot of snowmen. And now I'm being mocked by teenagers. My husband said, "Mocked by teens? That's inevitable when you're a mother."
It's time to put the snowmen away anyway. I'm sick of looking at them. (All 75 of them!) I'll tell my son to invite those kids back next week so they can laugh at all my Valentine's hearts.
|Snowman I cross stitched|
|Small painting I bought at an art fair|
|painted my daughter when she was in kindergarten|
|My daughter and I painted a bunch of wooden snowmen a few years ago|
|My collection of snowmen figurines. Combination of my own purchases and things that were given to me|
|Sock snowmen made by my children. The one on the far right was knit for me by my aunt.|
|Fisher Price Snowman. Old toy repurposed as a decoration.|
|Pitcher I purchased.|
|Snowman I cross stitched, paired with an old toy.|