Nesting

As it is Spring, I have felt the urge to clean, organize, tidy up, and beautify. Many times this hits me in September. It may again. I guess it makes sense, every 6 months or so I need to restart.

I ‘Spring’ cleaned the house. It took me four days. I was battling some kind of virus but that wasn’t going to stop me. It was time. I don’t think I have cleaned the house this well in a few years. I still have to do the outside windows but that will wait until it is a bit nicer out. For now though, the curtains, floors, walls, cabinets, and inside windows got a good cleaning.

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When I say beautifying I mean switching things around, putting out new candles and changing where the plants go. I went outside and found some early blooming flowers and trees to bring in. Every year I fill little vases with small bits of flowers from outside. I love seeing them at the kitchen window. There isn’t that much color outside right now but when I see it at my window it tricks my mind into thinking that flowers are blooming everywhere.

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Dean brought out the table and chairs for the deck. I put out a vase of Forsythia that is just about ready to bloom. It really is quite inviting of a space now. I think we may eat our lunch out there today. Spring really has arrived here in Maine now. I have been in that nesting mood even though there are no babies on the way!

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The girls and I planted some flowers and broccoli last week and many of them are up and thriving. It is time to start the battle of the broccoli! I have a history with broccoli. I will not quit trying to grow it by seed. We eat a lot of broccoli and my dream is to grow enough to freeze it like I do green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I will succeed!

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I harvested my first batch of spinach last week. I topped pizza with it, put it in a salad, and added it to smoothies. More to come this week. Gardening season has officially started here. I may even plant some peas soon.

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This blog can’t have enough pictures of pizza! One of my favorite foods. I have a lot of favorite foods. By the looks of the pizza I also like cheese.

I feel quite energized right now. Probably because of the warmer weather, I am over my cold, and I have a very clean, beautiful house. Seize the day!

 

 

 

The Sweetness of Spring

The girls have Spring Fever like never before. One of my daughters said that if it snows again she will scream! They both have been reminiscing summer days where they can run outside without shoes and forage around in the woods. Days where they are outside all day working on their shelters and playing together. Well my dears those days are coming I promise. But we are living in Maine and always have and this is the way it is.

There are some Spring things going on. Not outside the window of course where there is still two feet of snow and the forecast says more today. Inside is where we have proof of spring. The cauldrons are full of sweet sap and it is slowly boiling away and turning into syrup. That syrup will be used all year long for baking and for pouring over our breakfast of pancakes and waffles. Yum, Yum!

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It doesn’t look very pretty in the beginning. Especially if you look really close and see the bugs that have gotten stuck in there. No worries, it all gets strained out later. It is a slow process and one that needs constant attention. When the sap really starts to turn into syrup you can turn your back for five minutes and it would have turned to candy. All over your stove. What a mess! Once, we under estimated the amount on the wood stove . We left for the day thinking that the wood stove would cool down and no boiling would take place. When we got home it smelled like burned syrup and sure enough when we checked the pot there was hard, black, burned syrup. So really you cannot ever rest unless you take the sap off the stove and put it in some snow to keep cool. It is a fun process though and the outcome, when done properly, is so worth it.

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So, Spring is here because the syrup is being made. The girls are starting softball soon. The Red Sox just played, and won their first game. My seeds should be coming this week too and then we will get busy inside, planning and planting the garden! Before we know it we will be out digging and transplanting. All in good time. In the meantime I will watch my sap, knit a sweater, and sew some blocks!

Happy April!

 

Signs of Spring

Spring has arrived. That is what the calendar says. Some people would say there is no way that Spring has arrived to the state of Maine but I have noticed that there are signs of Spring here. Not in the form of flowers or buds. Signs nonetheless.

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The sun is higher now. This photo was taken at 4PM. The sun is setting much later now. I know the time change helped with that but still, it is later.

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I went for a walk this weekend. It just felt like Spring.

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We dug out one of the hoop houses this weekend too. I was thinking that there must be something in there since the sun has been higher. We had to dig about 3 ft down to be able to lift the plastic.

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I was not surprised to see some green. Most of it is overwintered but I did notice a little new growth. I guess this means gardening season has begun! Now I need to get out there and plant some more lettuce and spinach seeds.

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The sap is flowing as well which is always a sign of Spring. I didn’t collect sap last year and I really missed the syrup. It is so expensive to buy in the store. This year we should have a nice amount. It is simmering on the stove as I write this.

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Another sign of Spring is the sun on my face is warm and I love the feeling. On my walk I put my hand up to block the sun so I could see something that was on a tree and I felt the warmth of the sun on my hand. It is so strong.

Happy Spring to you! Hope you are seeing some signs around you.

 

Knitting Saved Me

I know that sounds very dramatic. It is true though. I learned to knit during one of the most stressful times in my adult life. It was a distraction to say the least. It was calming. There are many things that knitting has done for me, but the most important for me was the way it stopped me from obsessing about particular things. No, it didn’t solve all of the problems going on at the time. It certainly helped me handle them a little better.

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The above picture was one of my first projects. I made two poncho sweaters for my daughters. They were quite little and still growing and they did not wear them for long. But I didn’t care. It took me about a year to make them, but again I didn’t care. The act of knitting was so meditative, so fun that I would knit just to knit.

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In time I learned how to knit, purl, increase, and bind off. I learned how to block. I made hats, scarves, and cowls. Now I am making sweaters, and socks and mitts.

Knitting gives me something to do. Just sitting and waiting is hard for me. I believe it is hard for most people. I bring my knitting pretty much everywhere. On car rides, appointments, when I wait for one of my children, to watch movies, recently I even brought my knitting into a restaurant and knit while we were waiting for a table. My daughter did too, which was great.

Knitting has taught me how to fail. How to mess something up and own it. Knitting has also taught me how to try and try again. Not to quit when I fail. Valuable lessons and never too late to learn. I will be 50 this year!

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Once I saw a pattern for a lacy scarf in a book and just had to make it. So I learned yarn overs and how to count. Of course I knew how to count but I think knitting counting is harder. This was the project that I learned about a life line. This project taught me a lot about patience. I was never a very patient person. Didn’t like to wait, didn’t like to not know something. I am also a perfectionist and that was hard as a new knitter. I am very good at ripping out projects and starting over so that I can get it right. I still mess up my knitting, still frog it, and still keep on going and get it right eventually. That takes lots of patience.

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Knitting is just for me. It is time for me. Even if I am waiting for someone to get out of class, even if I am teaching math, playing a game with a child, I can knit, for me. Even when I am making something for someone else, the knitting is for me.

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Knitting is exciting. Most people would look at me funny if I said that out loud but don’t you agree? Isn’t it exciting to be in a yarn store and see and feel all that fiber? I love going to fairs and touching the animals that make the yarn and then going into the booths and feeling all the different fibers. Wool, angora, alpaca! I love it all. It is exciting to learn new skills. Sometime this year I want to learn to cable. Right now I am learning how to read a chart. Something new!

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The above picture is the beginning of a sweater. I have to read a chart. So far I am on the third try. Finally it looks the way it is supposed to. I may even put in a life line soon in case I mess up farther along. I am proud of myself for learning something new and for not quitting. (I almost did but my daughters talked me out of it. Boy do I love them!)

So, knitting has done so much for me. It calms me. It keeps my mind and hands busy. Knitting has taught me patience. I am keeping my brain healthy with all the new skills. It is something just for me and that is a wonderful thing for anyone that does things for other people all day. Knitting adds so much to my life and I am glad I learned.

How about you? Why do you like to knit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Snow Again!

Interestingly on the day I decide to do a blog post there is another blizzard blowing its way through Maine. The very last post before this one we were having a big storm as well. It is almost pure white outside my window.

I brought some Forsythia inside a few weeks ago, as I always do every single year. I love forcing them to bloom. It gives us a bit of color and warmth during the white and cold of winter.

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I have been sewing and knitting like crazy. I know Spring and gardening are on its way so I am trying to fit in as much stitching as I can before I get busy outside. The girls are doing their classes at the outdoor adventure school again on Fridays and that gives me a whole day to myself. I don’t really need the day though because my night sewing and afternoon knitting have been consistent enough to make progress.

I made these cute little zipper bags for projects or whatever will fit in them. I love the fabric so much and I have been trying to use up some recycled denim.

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They were so easy to make and I plan to make more! I am really excited that I was able to get over my fear of zippers. I also have been making journal covers and some drawstring bags.

While the snow is blowing and coming down in sheets I am cooking a whole chicken in the cast iron pot on the wood stove. It is smelling so, so good that I want to eat it right now. I will cook up some rice and make a nice salty, creamy gravy.

In future posts I plan to show you all my sewing machines. I just got another antique one. And I want to tell you what knitting has done for me since I learned. Stay tuned. And thanks for visiting my blog!

 

 

Piles of Snow

Here in the northeast we are getting a good old fashioned blizzard. It is very exciting. The girls have been measuring it since last night. So far in about 12 hours we have 18 inches of snow.

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We are warm and cozy inside. Working on our projects. My husband is working from home today too. We had a nice pancake breakfast with apples, blueberries and bananas. The work of clean up will come later. It is still snowing like crazy.

I still have not found my camera. I guess it is officially lost. I will have to use my phone for a while until I save up enough extra for another camera. I will do a little research on them too.

My menu is a bit simple this week. My husband leaves for RI tomorrow and it will just be the three of us here until Friday night. I have quite a few leftover meals in the fridge and the freezer. Time to clean out.

Monday:  Stew beef and gravy over rice with salad

Tuesday:  Grab it

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Grab it

Friday:  Whole Chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots        

Saturday: Pork Chops Rice and broccoli

Sunday: Seafood Chowder

Enjoy the weather whatever it is for you! 

 

 

Five Stars Picnic Quilt

Did you ever start making a quilt and not really know who it was for or why you were making it? I started making a quilt before Christmas. I purchased a pattern that I loved from Cory Yoder on Coriander Quilts. She named the quilt Persimmon. It looked really easy and it was so eye catching. I have never been very good at reading directions from start to finish. I didn’t surprise myself much when I started making this quilt the blocks were huge. I started looking at the pattern and realized that if I continued to make as many blocks as was called for in the pattern, the quilt would be big enough to cover my roof. After a little research, and reading the directions a little more carefully, I found that there are jelly rolls and there are also Honey buns. I was supposed to buy a honey bun. So my blocks were about double the size they should have been.

I took the blocks I had already made and placed them in such a way that there are four colored stars and one big white star in the center.

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I really love it now that it is hanging and I can see the stars. I decided that we would use this quilt for our picnics and beach days. The fabric has little girls doing cartwheels and jumping rope. It is super cute and the colors are bold and bright. The fabric is from a line by Aneela Hoey and it is called Posy.

The quilt looks pretty cool on the backside as well.

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I am going to take Cory’s advice on quilting it and use long stitches and hand quilt it. I started quilting last night. I am using an old, big hoop I have. It may be a little bit too big but all my other ones are way too small. So I am making do, and it is going well.

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I plan to quilt in blue, pink and yellow embroidery thread. It is fun quilting with the big stitches. Much easier than the tiny ones.

What are you making this week?