Things I have made

My knitting and crocheting has been a constant this year, often with miss Cherry Bo by my side while I count rows and track patterns.  With autumn a week away (at least on the calendar, since we are gong to hit 80+ degrees this week) I started working on my family’s cold-weather accessories.

Despite my constant feeling that I need more hours in the day to work on my projects, I am pretty happy with the items I have been able to make so far this year.

What was supposed to be a Christmas 2016 present ended up being a January 2017 gift instead when the original was ruined due to being much too over sized and my own frustration – in the end, however, both Steve and I were happy with the results:

ocasey

This is a very comfortable sweater, in the squishiest yarn ever (Knit Picks City Tweed) and he’s worn it proudly several times.

For myself, I made a sweater by one of my favorite designers – I had bought the yarn at Michaels and the sweater is just lovely to wear, very cozy.

meara

However, I will say that two of my favorite pieces are the sweaters I’ve made for my boys in their beloved green.

I love the fact that living in Wisconsin as we do now, I can make them these sweaters that will actually get worn.

I’ve also made some lighter tops as layering pieces for myself:

as well as various hats, scarves, and mittens.

I’m currently working on a cardigan for myself and have made a couple of winter hats but I’d like to make a few more scarves and hats for the boys and Steve. I usually have three or four projects that I work on at any time, and wish for more hours in the day to finish them!

If you’d like to see all my projects and works in progress, I track them all on Ravelry.

 

Meet Cherry!

It took me a few months after we lost Foxy to even consider getting a new dog.  Oh, I was always torturing myself by looking at the Humane Society pages, but to actually get to the point where I would go in and look at the dogs . . . nope, that didn’t happen for a while.

Finally, at the end of this past winter, Aidan and I headed over – we’d seen a dog named Cherry (for her cherry eyes) on the website, and we wanted to meet her.  She was a Southern lady, one of the many dogs that have little chance for adoption in some Southern states and get sent up here in hopes of finding a forever family.

Cherry was very sweet from the first moment, we don’t know what her background was, but she has been a loving girl and constant companion.  She does have separation anxiety and when I got a part-time job during the summer, she made her feelings known every time I would leave, even though Steve and the boys were home.  Having made the commitment of being with her, I felt that I needed to honor that and I quit my job (where I spent more than I made, so probably not a bad thing) and she is much happier now.

1006cherrysweater

She puts up with modeling the dog sweater I made for her and keeps me company while I knit, do laundry, clean house, etc.  She just wants to be with her mama.

If you come visit us she will greet you with lots of barking until she sniffs you – she just wants to make sure you’re not a meanie and once she gets to know you, she’ll bring you her toy to play.

She was described as a puggle – a mix of beagle and pug – but some people with more dog knowledge believe she also has some Mountain Cur or Boxer in her makeup.

We are happy to have welcomed Cherry – her official name is Cherry Cherry Bo Berry – into our family and hope she knows how much she is loved.  She recently went through some surgery to remove some teeth and fix a little bump on her eyelid that kept irritating her eye – our local vet staff is amazing and our girl is more comfortable than ever, we hope.  We just want her to have a good life with us.

A New Milestone

Last night our youngest accomplished something for the first time in his ten years of life.  He went to the movie theater.

Because of his sensitivity to noise, he was never able to tolerate the loud sound of a movie theater and has had to wait until movies he wanted were out on DVD or available online to see them.

Only one giant, terrifying creature, the King of the Monsters himself, could get Alexander to try this new challenge:

godzilla

Alexander has been waiting for this new movie, a Japanese release called Godzilla Resurgence, or Shin Godzilla; has learned to write the title in Japanese, and has made his own video trailers in anticipation of the movie.  Needless to say, this was a big deal for him.

The four of us booked our tickets and got ready to support Alex through his first movie theater experience.  He was thrilled to see the poster inside the theater and had his picture taken, he kept looking at me and smiling, thrilled to be watching his favorite movie character, and he was polite and quiet during the whole movie.

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This morning, he was still raving about the experience, calling it “the best thing I’ve ever done.”

We’re proud of Alex, and of Aidan for being such a supportive brother, encouraging Alex and reassuring him so his little brother would have a good experience.

And yes, we will be getting the DVD when it comes out.

 

 

A year later . . .

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog.  In fact, it’s been just over a year.  The main reason is, a year ago (October 7) we lost our sweet Foxy girl.  She was killed in a car accident and I could not write anything without writing about it, and writing about it sent me into a bad, bad place emotionally for a long time.

It is now October 2016 and within the last year we have lost a parent (my mom), lost two jobs (Steve, now happily employed again), thrown two birthday parties (one TARDIS, one Lego/Dino), and adopted a new member of the family – Miss Cherry Cherry Bo Berry.

It has been a tough year but we are looking forward to the future, are getting ready to enjoy the holidays in beautiful Wisconsin, where the trees are changing color every day and there is a chill in the air that I love.

See you soon!

Fall dining room decor

The leaves are already turning color here, and we’re enjoying the views from our living room and dining room windows.  I recently changed up our dining room table to reflect the changing seasons.

I purchased the runner on clearance last December (I think) at Target, and it’s been sitting in my Fall storage bin until last week.  The fleur-de-lis candlesticks are from Goodwill, they are really heavy and I spray painted them black.  I saw the tapers at World Market, they have lots of them in fall colors and I thought they would be a nice accent.

Our friends M & J gifted us the vintage MOET poster, we brought it all the way from California and it goes perfectly with the warm feel we want for the dining room.

The faux-croc stamped chargers are from Michaels, I saw them and thought they made such a statement, and I like mixing different tones of golds and browns.  The centerpiece is a grapevine wreath (also from Michaels) layered with a garland with a gorgeous scented candle in the middle.  We first got a similar candle from our cousin and now it’s a must once summer ends, it lasted forever in California but I have a feeling it will be lit a lot more often here 😀

Fall wish list

I’m really trying NOT to rush the whole fall thing because two years ago my BFF and I decorated our houses for fall on the first week of August and it was November and we were still sweating in ninety-degree weather. But, I figure I’m not actually buying anything, just, ya know, talking about it, so hopefully I won’t jinx things too much.

The key for me is to know what suits me and what does not, because as much as I love this dress, that salmon color looks like ass with my coloring. And this shirt looks super cute on the model, but I have D-cups, and button downs are the bugbears of my wardrobe.

After all that ado, here are a few pieces in a coveting:

2015 august

Parka Snow BootsBlazer Tee Tote Top Necklace

Our first Easter egg hunt in Wisconsin

The Easter Bunny found us! The boys were thrilled to see how much he left out for them, two dozen eggs filled with sweet goodness, which is now being rationed so that they’re not bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day.

Alex was very anti-Easter egg hunt at first, he said he was “too busy” but eventually he came around. Aidan had no such doubts and was only concerned that the Easter Bunny found us at the new house.



I think Alex is glad he changed his mind.

Aidan examines his loot.

We had fun watching our boys scouting around the backyard. Foxy chose to stay inside the house, nice and cozy.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

We are homeowners (again) !!!

Finally, on Friday, papers were signed and the house is officially ours. Well, officially the bank’s, for us to repay on a monthly basis, but in any case, we are happy to be homeowners in the fine state of Wisconsin.

My favorite feature of our new house is how bright it is. Our California house has always felt so dark to me, but this new house is full of huge windows and, added to the open concept floor plan, makes for a very bright home. This is the living room:

I have been debating two-story curtains, but I think I am going to live in the house for a bit before I make a final decision. If I do decide on them, they would be something very neutral, maybe a silk dupioni. I like the idea of neutrals with mixed metals for the living room, I came up with something like this:

I have the two peacock prints, which have warm teals, golds, and touches of rust, good starting points for a nice, cohesive palette.

We are in California for a few more days, packing up our home, and then we will be making a road trip to our new home. Stay tuned for more of our adventures!

Paris Vacation – part 3

The day after my birthday I had the most amazing food tour with a long-time favorite blogger — Clotilde Dusoulier from Chocolate & Zucchini.  I am a fan of Clotilde’s style of cooking and her storytelling, and when I found out she does these two-hour food tours around Paris, I had to schedule one during our vacation.

Our tour took place in Montmartre, we met at a Metro stop and began walking around, stopping at various bakeries and food shops, and ending with a cheese course that was out of this world.

Our tour started at Le Grenier à Pain, a bakery that won the top prize for best baguette in Paris in 2010. This means, aside from the title and prestige, that they get to provide the bread for the Elysee, the home of the French President.

Clotilde showed us what to look for in a good quality baguette compared to a more industrially made one. As with many things, imperfection or unevenness is a sign of a hand-made bread. Also the bottom of the baguette can show you whether it was machine or hand-made. Ours was delicious, of course.

Next we stopped at one of the locations of a celebrity baker’s chain. Gontran Cherrier makes an amazing croissant, and that is saying something in Paris. We also tried a roll made with squid ink — perfect to accompany a seafood meal — and I purchased some brioche for the next day’s breakfast. So good. You can see the croissant and the squid ink roll on the tray between Steve and Clotilde, and my brioche were in the bag.

Our next, delicious “lesson” was at another bakery where we sampled a rustic plum tart. Let me just say that I have tried making plum tarts since we have a plum tree in our yard and my creations did not come close to the crumbly, sweet and tart loveliness that was this one from Les Petits Mitrons.

We stopped at a fancy foods store, where you might get a gift for your Parisian hostess if you were invited for dinner. So many pretty and delicious things! I am a soup fiend and wanted one of each of these bottled soups:

Last but not least was the cheese shop, La Fromagerie Lepic. Cheese is a huge deal in France. Like Champagne, which can only call itself Champagne if it is made in the region of Champagne (otherwise it’s called sparkling wine here in the US), French cheeses can only be given their regional name if made in the specific region by a specific method. We sampled a cheese course’s worth of cheeses, from mild to strong, as you would present at the table.

Because I was too busy stuffing my face with baguette and cheese, I only took pictures of four of the five cheeses we tried, but Clotilde kindly sent me the list of what we sampled:
– Banon (the goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves)
– Moelleux du Mont Revard (creamy mountain cheese with small holes)
– Morbier (with a layer of ash in the middle)
– Comté (mountain cheese)
– Roquefort (blue sheep’s milk)

The one picture I missed is the one of the Comté, but in the collage you can see the other four in order of listing, clockwise starting from bottom left. My favorites were the Banon and the Comté, but they were all really good. Clotilde brought a knife and plates and we sat on a bench to enjoy our cheese course.

Clotilde kept up a running commentary on what we were purchasing, along with various tidbits on the shops and traditions in Parisian food life. Like her blog and books, her way of speaking is full of knowledge but approachable. There is no condescension here, you feel like you are walking around with a long-time friend. I would highly recommend taking one of her tours if you are planning on visiting Paris.

Paris Vacation – part 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly present to you — the Louvre.

I’m not even going to try and tell you about this museum because a) there is so much to cover and b) there are many, many places where you can read about all its treasures, where the narrative will do it the justice it deserves.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

THAT said, both Steve and I had been to the Louvre before and while I had spent a lot of time here, he had visited during a remodeling, so some areas had been closed.  We chose to only cover those areas since we’d both seen the rest and you can really spend an entire day, or more, just at the Louvre.

By the way, it was my birthday and my darling love was so confused about what day it was that it was only after I told him twice that it was November 12 that he went “oh hey, happy birthday!”  😀

Our place was really close to the Louvre, so much so that in fact we went through the courtyard a few times as a short-cut.  As you do.

Speaking of our place, we chose to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel.  First, it ended up costing us much less than a hotel room for 10 nights.  Second, we had amenities like free phone calls to the US, a washing machine and drying rack, kitchen, etc.  The apartment was located super close to the Louvre, as I mentioned, and there were some bakeries and restaurants on the same street, plus a Christian Louboutin store.  Hello!

We also visited the Musee d’Orsay where there was a very interesting exhibition on the Marquis de Sade.  Ahem.  I was bummed that my favorite painting in the world – Cabanel’s The Birth of Venus — was on loan in Tokyo.

Despite that personal setback, it was a day filled with gorgeous artwork and our first full day in Paris, and we enjoyed it so very much.

More on our adventure soon!