A Little R&R

Me and the MR have been off traveling the world again.

We missed rain, floods, and power outages at home. Seems like a good time to be away.

This is Mount Arenal viewed from a pool at Nayara Springs Resort near La Fortuna, CR.

But all good things must come to an end, so we are trading the sunshine and amazing animals of Costa Rica for the comforts of home.

I’ll try to share some of our adventures with you later this week. Until then Pura Vida!

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They Might Be Our Kind of People

You might not know this about me, but I have a thing for weird, giant, fake animals. I can’t help it; I’m just drawn to them.

In Prague last summer, the beer garden we stayed over had a giant clock cow. I forced Sweet Miss to pose with me.

When I visited Baby Girl in Eugene, it was a big green cow. Maybe it’s the dairy history of our valley that makes them so endearing.

When we visited Barcelona, I was intrigued by a statue of a Latin giraffe. In New York it was a random stack of rams that tickled my fancy.

After my nephew’s wedding, I made the girls pose with a dala horse—some kind of Swedish-thing. They had them all over town.

I may have even texted the MR a picture of a six-foot-tall metal chicken and threatened to bring it home to frighten the deer in the orchard.

That’s why I was amazed when the new neighbors up the hill moved in. They brought animals with them— the fake kind.

They even have a giant chicken. They might be our kind of people.

OK, share your quirks. What crazy thing are you drawn to?

Won’t You Join Me?

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of my knitting and crocheting projects. I have a pullover for Baby Girl that just needs to be sewn up, a cardigan and a vest for me that just needs a zipper and a little sewing, then there’s a baby sweater that needs some tweaking, and a sock that needs a mate, and yarn that’s bagged with a pattern just waiting for some time and energy, but all that’s been on hold for a bit.

I’ve been finishing up the Life of the Sky Crochet-a-long designed by Kate Veselunka. It is totally challenging, my first real foray into freeform crochet, and really cool. I’m quite happy with how my bag turned out.

I didn’t have access to the recommended yarn, so I used HiKoo CoBaSi and Zauberball Cotton. While both are great yarns, the CoBaSi is loosely woven and becomes more work when weaving in ends–let’s just say there are a lot of ends.

I’m excited to tell you we’re hosting a CAL at Quintessential Knits starting on February 20th. Sign up for the CAL on Facebook, and then stop by the shop for encouragement or advice. We’ve decided to feature a Hempathy for the CAL. I’m excited for take two. After working through it once, I have a few tips and tricks to share.

If our little corner of Washington state is hard for you to get to, I found the information on the Facebook page quite helpful, and I’m just one comment away. (Search for Life of the Sky CAL on FB to join.)

Sometimes I get organized and put a few posts together ahead of time. I’d forgotten that the pictures weren’t loading when I wrote this. Ahh, the best laid plans. Enjoy!

A Bargain Isn’t Always a Bargain

My mom worked retail for 30 years, and I managed to absorb some little nuggets. One of them was that January means inventory (weird work hours when your mom’s not home) and sales (because people want to have less merchandise to count).

So I wasn’t surprised to see lots of “white sales” during January. When me and the MR played hookey on MLKJ Day and headed to the mall, we checked out some furniture I’d been eyeing and then went to see about a bedspread. It was linen, it was on sale, it looked fine, and it was 30 percent off.

When I asked the MR for his opinion, he didn’t care. I told him it was OK, but I didn’t love it. He told me that was my answer and that he was surprised I even thinking about it. Hmm. That man has such wisdom sometimes.  If you feel ho-hum about it, why lay down a ton of cash?

I came home and decided to look online. For around $75, I bought a comforter and two shams for the bed on Joss & Main. It’s lightweight, yeah, a tightly-woven fabric, yeah, and has enough quilted pattern to hide dog fur and drool, yeah. Seems like a great deal.

I know I just bought a new patterned bedspread a year ago, but Cocoa’s paws have snagged it up horribly. And while she’s good about staying down when we’re home, there’s a definite dog-sleeping on the bed indentation when we arrive back from work or errands.

I’m rather excited about the matching shams. It might be too much gray, but for now I’m giving them a trial run.If it’s too bland, I can swap the shams for the ones I made ages ago. Perhaps they’d add some softness to the daybed in the sewing room. Lots of options, and no snagged fabric. I’m happy with my bargain.

Any shopping tips to share?

My People

You know how you send your children off to school, and they come home with all sorts of information and ideas you’ve never even heard of? I guess it means all that money we’re paying for education is actually doing something.

Sweet Miss graduated a couple years ago and started teaching at a new school last fall. She’s been using phrases like “Conscious Discipline” and “Reggio Emilia Approach”. Huh? Like I said before, it looks like she learned something in all that schooling.

One method she explained for dealing with a fussy child missing their mom or dad was to ask them who their person was. After that, you simple blow that person a kiss and say “I wish you well” and move on. I’m not sure how well that works, but I do agree it’s important to know who your people are.

My people are the ones on the mantel.

The MR and the girls are having a great time at a recent Dad’s Weekend, and then me and the MR are looking for King Kong on our trip to New York a few years ago. The photos are reminders of family and togetherness. I love how the green in the frame picks up on all the green in the stadium. It’s recycled from a motherboard (which the MR used to design), and we bought it back in Kansas when my nephew got married.

I’ve been searching for a frame for the picture of the two of us for ages. It’s an odd size, and it wouldn’t fit in a regular frame without having to crop out the top of the Empire State Building, and that’s kind of the whole point of the thing. A little wandering at Target last week, and a floating frame came to the rescue.

The picture with the penny is from Papa Larry. It arrived in the mail shortly after I finished the penny counters in the den area. And the slate and copper wire mirror I picked up on a family trip to eastern Washington.

I like knowing who my people are and surrounding us with memories.

Who are your people?

January ’18 Flew By

The first month of the year has come and gone with it’s accompanying highs and lows. Baby Girl went back to school, Sweet Miss is off teaching young children how to be better human beings, and me and the MR are holding down the homefront.

This month, I took My First Stab at Salt Block Cooking.  We’ve enjoyed salmon twice. (Note to self: don’t try to squish two fillets on the block, or one might drop down under the burner and create a large fire. Long tongs are a good thing.) I’m going to have to branch out; maybe the salt block cookbook I saw on Amazon would amp up the creativity.

I’ve watched many a beautiful sunrise here. You Just Never Know what secret delights your house will hold. I’ve also learned to deal with mice and ladybugs, but that’s another story.

I was promoting a decorating cleanse of sorts. I dubbed it a Reboot, but the MR was missing my chatchkies, so we put them back out before friends came over the other day. I have mixed things up a little here and there, and I know you’re going to like the mantel.

Just like the next time you visit, if you have to freshen up, you’ll smile at Baby Girl’s watercolors in the powder room. It’s all about Playing to Your Strengths.

One of our strengths–both me and the MR–is our ability to grow things. Houseplants seem to last forever around here with all the great light. Taking that into consideration, we’re Giving It (Our Citrus Grove) Another Go. The last tangerine died after I put Death Rain seasoning on the decorative stones to keep Cocoa from chewing on them and leaving them all over the house. She stopped, but so did the tree.

Finally, we received sad news this month with the passing of the MR’s close friend and another good family friend. Along with two deaths, we celebrated the arrival of another friend’s baby. Good times and bad times; they’re all part of life. We were happy to share a meal with friends and Make It Special.

 

February has already started off with a bang celebrating the MR’s birthday, and I have lots of other good things to share.

Hoping you have an wonder filled day.

 

Make It Special

Last week was a hard week for our family. First a close friend of my husband’s died. A few days later, my dad called to say a friend of his, someone we grew up with, a good friend to our family for many years had passed away.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s sudden or expected, whether your old or young, healthy or sick, a death leaves behind a hole. Friends and family need time to mourn. So Sunday, we hosted a gathering of people dealing with loss.

There’s healing in just being together. One friend brought homemade ice cream, others brought fresh baked bread, cookies leftover from a party, and smoked ribs.

While we talked, and laughed, and consoled, we nibbled on cheese and crackers and vegies and spent time together.

I smiled when I put out the slate cheese tray–a gift from the Fella a few years ago. The blue slumped bottles were from MeeMee and Papa. Bits and pieces of our life from those we love.

Me and the MR tend to be homebodies, but we are making a goal of opening our house to family and friends more often in the coming months in good times and in bad.