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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Christmas SAL, finally, along with Signs of Spring!

After weeks of working on wedding projects, I've finally made a little start on my Christmas SAL project. I had a bit more done until I noticed that it was in the wrong place, and you can see by the big holes exactly where I frogged. Hopefully that won't show once I do the part that really belongs there.

Meanwhile, out in our yard we have lots of signs of spring, at least a month earlier than usual. It's fun though to see all these lovely colors after all the winter grey.

Back in the Midwest crocuses would come up through the melting snow. They don't have to do that here, but they are among the first signs of spring in our area as well.

Even the currants are blooming!

The other day the paper said that the daffodils are in full bloom up north, and that heralds tulip season, again much earlier than usual.

This little guy is a start from the large bush in our sideyard; I thought it might do better in the front where it's sunnier.

If you look in the right spot from our bedroom window, this is what you see. Signs of spring are everywhere.

Not to be out done by their outside relatives, our houseplants are in a springlike mood. The african violets have buds, and this plant which comes from my sister's plant is full of little "goldfish" and very happy to see longer days with more light. Yea, spring!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"April in February!"

That was a headline in today's paper. The skies were blue, the temperatures mild, and signs of spring were everywhere you looked. We couldn't resist the temptation to hop in the car and decided to take the Cascade Loop over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth and then go home over Blewett Pass which is a tad higher than Stevens.

As you can see, Leavenworth is a town with a Bavarian theme. All the buildings reflect this and the signs are all in German. Usually there are lots of tourists, and today was no exception,but we finally found a parking place and had a nice lunch at Sandy's Waffle House before continuing our journey.

Before you start up to the pass, if you watch carefully, you can turn off on a snippet of the Old Cascade Highway and view a very long tunnel.
If you take the train from Seattle to Chicago like we did in 1979, you will go through the tunnel.

Just seeing it and the sloping train bed with Highway 2 in the distance makes me think of my Grandpa Curtis who worked "out West" on the railroads in this area as a young man. What hard work that must have been!

We saw lots of folks skiing at both passes. It was a perfect day to be on the slopes or in the car. I got a lot of knitting done too! And that reminds me, I finally found the button for this hat that I finished last week. It's from a pattern I first saw on Dee's blog and also on Ravelry, but I "shrunk" it down to toddler size.

The last thing I want to show is the pretty Valentine's surprise I received from Pat Winter. She is so clever, and even the way she packages her gifts is always extraordinary. This time she made a tiny pocket from what looks like an old pattern of some sort. Isn't that little heart cute? Thank you, Pat, for thinking of me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a busy week, and this coming one promises more of the same. Before any more time passes though, I want to thank Pam for this cute little bird that is now perched on a shelf in my sewing room. Isn't it cute? Pat Winter surprised me with a pretty little heart pin yesterday, and I'll show that on my next post.

The wedding projects are almost finished! Here's a sneak peak at the second one, and I just put the last stitch into the ring bearer pillow tonight. I have one other thing I might make, but these three projects have been top stitching priority since the holidays. Now, I can finally get to work on the Christmas SAL. I've done a little stitching on it and lots of ripping!

Both of our traveling kids are back home. Here's a photo that Catherine sent to prove that she really did make it to the top of Mount Kenya. Quite a hike, I'd say, on top of a busy work schedule... I think she looks a bit chilly, don't you?

And I guess it's cold in Chicago, too. Jill sent this photo of Daniel wearing the bunting I made five years ago for David. That was a cute pattern, and I'm happy that it has proven useful.

And on our various trips this week in the car, I finished off a couple more dishcloths. I really like the color choices of Sugar 'n Cream; believe it or not, this one is called "natural"! Now I need to get back to the sweaters that have been languishing on my needles since before Christmas.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dishcloths and Other Things

Let's hear it for dishcloths! Whenever I need a quick project and some "time off" from my current cross stitch project, a dishcloth is the answer. The pattern for this one was on the yarn label and was fun. A dishcloth is also a perfect place to practice a new stitch like this one. I had no idea what happened when you knit into the stitch below: a nifty pattern. Dick says they're too pretty to use. I guess he and Catherine think alike. Looks who's mighty pleased to have borrowed big brother's uniform. Polished fingernails and all, she can hold her own and will need to being in the middle of two brothers. Speaking of fingernails, do you think there's any hope for my thumb? It got caught in my friend's keyless car door in early December, and the nail finally fell off this week. Maybe I'll have to wear gloves to the weddings?

Today is the last, I think, of David's birthday celebrations. He and some friends are meeting at a pretend playground, whatever that is. As you can see, this threesome has had plenty of fun lately.
You just never know what's going on outside. Friday while I was at my quilt meeting Dick caught this view out our den window. It's not quite as exciting as the giraffes that Catherine's been seeing, but surprising nonetheless, since we do not live in the woods!

Yep! Bambi stopped to take a peek in our window on the way through our neighborhood. You just never know what to expect when you look out our den window!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where does the time go?

I've been rather delinquent lately in posting, but it seems like the days are flying by and those two weddings are getting closer by the minute. One wedding gift is finished but for the framing, and the other is well under way. I can't show either but will give you a peek at the one that is done.

When I need a break from cross stitching, I get out my knitting needles. My SIL Mary gave me a fun scarf pattern by Ann Norling and some pretty yarn for Christmas, and it's been a really enjoyable project. In fact I started another one with yarn from my stash! Isn't that shocking?

Meanwhile, back in the Midwest, David has turned five. (How can that be? It seems like he was just born!) His current interest is all things related to space travel, but he requested a train cake just to keep things interesting. Thanks to Skype, we got to participate in the party and watch him blow out his candles.

Jill is getting quite good at making special request cakes. So far, she's also made a space shuttle cake, David's request for his dad's birthday.

Sophia's had her first haircut and somehow talked the lady into painting her nails! Auntie Catherine will be so proud. She's in Africa at the moment, and Uncle Carl is in China!

Daniel has his first tooth and is sitting himself up. I'd forgotten making the quilt he's sitting on; it's the first one I made for David.

And here in the Pacific Northwest, we've been told it was the warmest January on record. The witch hazel is still out, but on our walk today we saw heather in full bloom as well as a few plum blossoms and a couple of brave crocuses! And here's the photo we received yesterday from Chicago. I sure hope all that snow melts before we get there next month........ Now, where did I put my needle? It's back to work.