family, knitting, living

Posts tagged “family

Becca on my mind….

Irony of ironies….I’ve spent the weekend cooking and this evening knitting.  Of course, this is not unusual for me.  The weekends around here include all things home….cleaning, cooking, spending time with the girls, hanging out, knitting…ect.  None of this could be considered ironic or even odd, except that I’ve been thinking about my sis in France over the last few days, a lot.  I was getting ready to post my photos of dinner tonight and my new knitting project, when I just realized that my new favorite cookbook is named Around My French Table and the pattern I just started, Wrenna, is from a book called French Girls Knits.   Oh, and I forgot…I made French Onion soup for dinner yesterady!!  The recipe for the Onion soup was in the same cookbook.

I also took a photo of the left over scones I made Saturday morning.  Some friend of ours moved from here to Decatur, GA this summer.  Thier youngest was best buds with our oldest.  So, we had them over Saturday and invited the girls from Grey’s class.  I made three batches of scones for us to nibble on and made a fourth batch to take to our new neighbors about five houses down.  Henry and I have appointed ourselves the unofficial welcoming committee on our street.  We may branch out into the neighborhood…just depends on my baking keeping up with the moving!  Anyway, out new neighbors are actual a family from our girls school..  We are so excited to have them.  The number of children in our neighborhood seems to be growing.  I am very excited for the girls.

Here’s a photo of the dinner and a photo of the knitting.

By the way…notice all of those pears?!  My Aunt Nancy brought them to us.  There is about 3 gallons of them.  I plan on making a pear and port compote to can.  It sounds like autumn so much, I can’t resist.  I am imagining serving the compote with turkey this Thanksgiving.   Becca, I wish you were going to be here.  Maybe I can ship a jar of compote.


K is for Kanning (I know, it’s spelled with a “C”)

I am not going to do knitting for the K post because that is too predictable, especially from me.  So, I cheated a bit and I am going to do canning for K since at least the first letter sounds like a K.  It’s my blog and I reserve the right to do as I please ;-).  Anyway, I have been canning all weekend…by that I mean 12 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday.   This is my first real go at canning.  I am starting this year because for a while Henry and I have really been interested in where our food is coming from and what goes in it.  In early spring we decided that we were going to take down a few trees, build a retaining wall and have a really big garden.  It is not finished as it was a bigger undertaking than I first thought, but it will be ready for next year.  I decided to stick my feet in the canning pool this year using vegetables that someone else grew.  We have a really good farmers market in Nashville, so I made a trip last Friday and stocked up on some in season favorites and supplemented with some items that were regional like peaches, as well as some things that are a little further afield…lemons.  My mom let me borrow my grandmother’s water bath canner and a bunch of canning books.  I also bought a pressure canner because I knew some things we would want were not acidic enough to be safe in the water bath canner.

I made lemon curd, peach salsa, peach and almond jam with thyme, red pepper jelly, tomatoes and preserved lemons (salt preservation, no canning for it).  I have to say that while it was not the easiest thing I have ever done, it was not the hardest either.  I do think it is going to prove enjoyable and very, very satisfying and will get easier as I develop a system.  The only real issue I had was something called “siphoning.”  This happens when the contents of a canned item migrates from the jar into the pressure canner.  This happens when the pressure changes too rapidly….the pressure changed too rapidly in my case because I failed to read the part that suggests leaving the items in the canner for five minutes after the pressure returns to zero and after you have removed the vent weight.  Live and learn…I had to reprocess the lemon curd.  now, the taste did not change, but the color changed significantly.  The lemon curd was a beautiful sunny yellow until the second run through the pressure canner…now it is a muddy brown.  I have photographic proof of all of this activity below….even the mud brown lemon curd.  We have already been into everything and found it to be well worth the effort.  I know it will be doubly worth it this winter when we can relive the glory days of summer through food.


G is for Grateful

I have so many things to be grateful for this week.  As you may have noticed, I missed “G” last week.   We were in the Blue Ridge Mountains in GA with our best friends and their twins.  I have a number of photos to show you as proof positive that I have so much to be grateful for.  I’m grateful for a husband who is a better partner than I deserve and who is the father that the girls need; for my beautiful girls who find everything exciting and fresh; for my dearest friend who lets me be crazy while all the time gently nudging me toward a saner place;  for two amazing 15 year olds who are excellent role models and friends to my girls;  for my hubby’s best friend who is always there; and last, but not least, my snuggly bed, two cuddly cats and a cup of Earl Grey with my favorite cookies before bed.  

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PS>>>>> Check out more ABC Posts at the Accidental Knitter  http://accidental-knitter.blogspot.com/2011/06/h-is-for-hairband.html


F is for “Firsts”

It seems as if one experiences an endless parade of “firsts” when becoming a parent.  There are first steps, first words, first smiles.  Then life happens and we forget the everyday firsts we experience with our children.  I was looking through my recent photos for inspiration and found numerous pictures of our girls.  I realized that those everyday pictures are even more precious than I thought.  There are pictures of Grey and Mycah’s first ever May Fair at their amazing school.  There’s a picture of Grey’s first crocheted hat and her first knitted doll (with crocheted clothing), both done at aforementioned amazing school.  Our picnic with Zoe at the park (ok, I admit, not the first of the season and certainly not the last…but give a girl some poetic license, k) And lastly, there is a photo of my first time sitting knee to knee with my friend Camille embroidering names on the apron for Mycah’s teacher.


D is for Done!….almost

I am almost finished with the apron.  I have embroidered all the names.  All I have left is to embroider “Morning Glory” on the waist band and the Linden School’s symbol on the upper left of the apron body.  I have to say, i have been slogging through this last portion an d stealing time to do other things.  I have knit a pair of newborn booties http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stay-on-baby-booties-5 from a Churchmouse design for the yarn store I work in and I cast on a pair of clog socks  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/turkish-bed-socks for myself (also a Churchmouse design).

Here’s a picture of my husband modeling the apron…he’s a little silly at times.

 


C is for Crafting Our Lives

Craft is both a noun and a verb.  The noun craft means, among other things, a skill or ability, especially in handwork.  The verb craft means, among other things, to make or fashion with skill.
In college while working on my BFA, majoring in metalsmithing and minoring in sculpture, I had a tenuous and stressful relationship with the notion of “craft.”  In the academic context, “craft” was second tier due to the utilitarian implications of a craft, such as jewelry making, ceramics, fabric arts, etc.  It seemed the only way to legitimize that kind of handwork was to turn it on its head.  Even then, irony reigned supreme when dealing with “crafts.”  On the other hand, my sculpture professor railed about the lack of craftsmanship in some of my peers work.  Craft has forever been a word loaded with meaning for me.
Today, I have allowed myself a little more freedom and take a little more comfort in using the word craft.  I think I prefer craft as a verb and the definition of “to make something with skill.”  Arguably, not everything I do is with the skill of an expert, some may say none of what I do is expert.
Here are some of the thins I have been crafting this week.  not all of them were perfect, but they were done with love and a sincere commitment to doing the best I could at the time.
This is a wall organizer I hacked for my husband.  Henry looses his keys, his wallet and his phone on a daily basis.  I decided that he needed a place to charge his phone, stash his wallet, camera and keys that could live at the front door.  I knew I wanted it to hang on the wall so it was not more clutter on the table.  So, I found these Real Simple wall pouches.  I really liked them other than the bland canvas.  I jazzed them up a bit with some Anna Marie Horner fabric   http://store.annamariahorner.com/  .  (Nashvillan, by the way)  The little pocket is for his cell phone and enables him to plug it in for charging and hang it!  He really likes it and i am really happy I have crafted up some piece for me and him…now I don’t have to nag and he doesn’t have to stomp around looking for his phone!
These are lotion bars I crafted with my friend Aziza.  We are trying to get a little cottage business started.  we are currently focusing on finding the best organic ingredients, perfecting our methods and packaging these little jewels.  They are beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter.  They smell so good and have no fragrance at all.  Our little lotion bars are more than just lotion bars, they are the product of a couple of women crafting a friendship.
This little picture is terribly hard to see, I know.  But, trust me, it is one of my most favorite things I am currently crafting at the moment.  This is an apron for one of Mycah’s teachers.  Another mom, my friend Camille, is making one just like it for the other teacher in the class.  Mycah is in a mixed age kindergarten.  They are 4, 5 and 6 year olds.  We had them write their own names on a piece of paper and then laid them out in a pleasing composition and transferred them tot he aprons.  We are now embroidering each child’s name.  Each little name I embroider causes me to think of that little person.  The handwriting even looks like each child.  Mycah’s teachers are amazing women and I hope that the little imprint each child left on this apron will remind them of the love those children feel for them.  Camille adapted this idea from Amanda Soule’s book, the Creative Family.  http://www.soulemama.com/  Amanda embroidered her children’s drawings onto linen for simple, beautiful bookmarks.  I thought this was a great adaptation that Camille thought up and cannot wait to finish it so the teachers can enjoy them.
The last set of pictures is from my most important and ongoing project…my family.  Henry and I spend a good deal of time crafting our lives and those of our girls’.  Growing a family is a craft, a skill on is not born with and one that no one tells you how to do.  This was Saturday night a tour first neighborhood movie in the park night.  We walked the 2ish blocks to the park dragging our trusty and dilapidated red wagon filled with a blanket, bug spray, glow sticks and snacks.  The movie of the night was The Goonies.  It was an amazing night, one well worth the effort, just like any fine craft!
Whoops…forgot my little ironic song……….. http://youtu.be/hbjOEnxTF8c

Alphabet Lost and Found

For better or worse, I have decided to join the The ABC’s with the Accidental Knitter. http://accidental-knitter.blogspot.com/2011/05/learn-your-abc-new-meme.html  This is a once a week posting theme based on the ABC’s.  We will post a topic beginning with the week’s letter of the alphabet every Monday.  I have been looking for a way to get back into to posting and I am hoping this is just arbitrary enough to suit me.  We were supposed to start last week with A.  Obviously, it didn’t happen.  So, I will post A tonight and hopefully put up B tomorrow.  I have a ridiculous backlog of photos, projects, stories, etc.  I just felt compelled to link the Might Be Giants song Alphabet Lost and Found because it is so cute and it starts with A.

Here’s a cut picture of Allison’s two littlest and my two making some no bake cookies.  Henry and I took Allison’s oldest and ours to the used bookstore today and Mycah bought a couple of cookbooks.  She immediately began pouring over them and located a simple recipe that we could make with many hands!


Second update, Knitted farmyard

Today was craftapalooza at our house…..so named because I had five extra girls and one mom at my house to make valentines.  Yes, you heard me right, I had a total of 7 girls 5-9 and another mom and Henry at my house today.  The picture to the left and the picture below show my dining room table covered in the various and sundry items used in making the valentines.  The girls all go to a school where they are to make the valentines…no store bought crap for this crew.  So, I felt like we would take the opportunity to get a jump on the Valentine making since I had to keep two of the girls today anyway.  The girls had a blast.  Besides the Valentine making, the girls helped make pompoms for the knitted farmyard as evidenced later in the post.  They had more fun making them for themselves, but I did get a few out of them for the farm.  They also had lunch, hid in the back bedroom and whispered, ran around like nut cases and had various little girl dramas all day.  All in all, it was a lot of fun.

This is the photo of our dinner.  I made homemade French Onion soup and used my homemade bread for the toast layer.  Mycah had two bowls, so did Henry.  Grey had a bowl and a half.  It was a big, big hit.  Henry was a little suspect of the idea of French Onion soup.  He likes it, but everywhere we have the soup it is way too salty.  I knew his objection because I have the same one, so Mycah and I both tasted the soup BEFORE adding salt and then added a little at a time until it was perfect.  Henry had bought me these little crocks the other day when I mentioned for the second time that I sure would like to have them.  The girls loved having their own crock with a lid and everything.  I used the Mark Bittman recipe out of How to Cook Everything.   Lori turned me on to him a few months back and I bought his book.  It is great.  The recipes are really good and he discusses substitutions for seasonality, explains lots of things I had not know and give lots of variations for most of the recipes. i also bought How to Cook Everything Vegetarian based on my happiness with the other book and it is a winner too.

These last two photos show the progress on the knitted farmyard.  Henry made the little hay bales for the field of hay. I love them.  I have pinned down the additional fabric for the hay and the grass. The blank spot will be the only latch hooked area as latch hooking doesn’t agree with me.  The pompoms are little bushes.  They are not sewn down yet.  That will be one of my last things.  I have made one chicken and am still working of the dad.  The knitting part of the knitting farmyard should be the easiest for me, but it has turned out to be the slowest and most fiddley.  It’s well on its way to being completed, so I will soldier on.

Have a great, crafty evening and love to my family across the pond, in the burbs, on the ridge and in the hills of GA!


Knitted (sort of) Farmyard

In August our girls started a new school.  The school is a small private Waldorf school.  (for those interested in learning a little more, here is a Wikipedia reference  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education )  There is a lot more to Waldorf education than a Wiki reference, but you get the picture.  Anyway, it is a very small school, only one class per grade in grades 1-8 and two mixed age classes of pre-school and kindergarteners.  The school does a lot of community outreach in order to keep things going as the tuition alone would not float the school.  There are two big fundraisers every year.  The first is the Elves Fair in November and the second is the Gala in the spring.  Part of the Gala is an auction……….I’m sure you can see where this is going……

I have decided to make a knitted farmyard inspired by Wernhard Hannelore.  Her book is here on Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1844482170/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0855325763&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0SERHA50EK428SZ5JS6D

I say inspired because since I really got to looking at the book, I thought that the author had lost her mind.  The entire play mat is made on a base of latch hook rug canvas.  It is hooked and embroidered into the rug.  I had Henry draw out the portions I thought I’d like to have and then we sat down to watch a movie with the girls while I started the embroidery on the pond.  I worked for an hour and then Henry worked for the second hour with very little to show for the time invested.  I was getting vey discouraged when henry said….how about cutting up some Goodwill sweaters.  EUREKA!  I went to Goodwill yesterday and scored some great fabric that had no business being worn in the style in which they were made….so no great fashion has been harmed in the making of this object.  I have started piecing together the different sweater fabrics.  I will still have to latch hook bushes and maybe a field, but most of this will be a lot less labor intensive than I first planned.  The part that will be challenging is getting enough various little animals and people made.  I have several friends at school who have volunteered to knit something and one friend had volunteered to needle felt some animals for the farmyard.  I think the mixture of fiber crafts will make this project even more interesting than I originally thought.  I hope that it brings in some money for the school as well.  I plan to keep you updated for the next month on it’s progress…it should be interesting.

 

 

 

 


Waiting for the leaves to turn

I am waiting for the changes.  Some I wait for impatiently, some I dread, some have to happen, some can’t.  Changes are part of life.  The only end to change in one’s life is the end of one’s life.  I know this, but it doesn’t make some changes any easier.

We’ve spent all summer working on the new house…talk about a change!  The house is incredible and I cannot wait to move in, but I have to wait another week I think.  There are still a handful of things that need to happen and I don’t want to rush in where we are living in an uncomfortable situation.  It’s funny,  I am dying to move in, but I am nervous and worried at the same time.

My sisters are all having major changes happening in their lives.  I am standing on the sidelines waiting to see who needs to be picked up.  My stomach turns and churns watching and waiting for the last shoe to drop in all of these situations.  I know that at least two of the sisters will come out stronger on the other end, but I can’t stand to see them hurt, but the other sis…I’m not so sure about.

My girls have changed schools.  We put them in the local Waldorf school after three years of public school for the oldest and one for the youngest.  This was a very hard change to make.  We fell in love with  the school more than a year ago and have been planning this change for that long, but we still had tears from the oldest for the first couple of days.  It’s funny, she knows that this is where they belong, but she is still homesick for the other school.  They have both started to settle in and seem to really be blossoming.  They are wonderful girls (yes, I am biased, but this is true).  They are creative, curious, polite, full of wonder, adventurous, willing to try, and  good hearted….all of these things seem to help them fall right in with the other children and I look at their classmates and am amazed to find such confident, grounded little beings.  This has been a great change even with the challenges.

Speaking of changes, there are some I need to make (or I should say, Henry and I need to make).  On the health from the two of us are woefully unprepared to get older.  We need to clean up our diets and start exercising.  And I need to find a way to learn to let go of stress or at least not react so strongly to it.  The summer’s stress has caused me a hard summer and at least one minor exacerbation.  I need to get healthy physically, mentally and  emotionally to lull my MonSter back to sleep.  Once we finally get moved, the changes will be coming on that front.

Now I know most of you bother with my blog more for pictures and knitting than for the dribble above, so ask me how I meet all of these changes…  Well, I continue to knit.  As Elizabeth Zimmerman says, “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”  I have not exactly produced a ton, but I have managed to continue to knit a little here and there throughout all of this junk and have a few things to show for the effort.  I made a baby jacket for a friend fo a friend and I knitted a big headed monkey for Mycah’s birthday.  I also started a vest for me for winter.  The only downside to the vest is that I have to borrow it back from the shop as Carolyn gave me the yarn to knit it for the shop sample!


Snow Day Three….Bread

Just a quickie…made bread this morning.  One loaf for the yarn store gals and one for my family while I am working at the store.  The house smells so good and Henry and the girls are excited.  They love my bread, but I have been on a bread making hiatus since before Christmas!


Second Great Snow Day!

I am entirely too tired to write some long descriptive post.  So, you will have to deal with photos only.  I am starting a shawl with some local alpaca because I get to go with Lori to the Alpaca convention here.  She has several students who have placed well in their fashion design contest and I get to be her date for the tea!  Oh, forgot to mention….it is at the farm where I bought the alpaca I am making the shawl with.  It is a blend of 5 of their black alpacas.


Snow Days

Yes, folks…we have had a couple of real snow days.  By real, I mean we got about 5 inches of snow.  Now, I know for those friends of mine still in Iowa and now in MN, 5 inches is laughable……but in TN, 5 inches of snow makes the city stop, grown men and women turn into children and causes the grocery stores to run out of milk, bread AND toilet paper!

On Thursday evening, our school system called off school for Friday.  I got up Friday morning to find the streets barely damp.  We were very disappointed, but not surprised as this is par for the course in Nashville.  At 9am it started snowing in a manner that seemed promising.  It was not bad and I had to go to my Nanny’s because she had an ice maker line fail and I (being the busy body, ex-claims adjuster I am) had to make sure things were going as they should.  I wound up spending about 2 and a half hours there calling insurance companies, condo association, er services, etc.  By the time I was ready to leave, we had about an inch and a half.  No problem, I learned a lot about snow in Iowa.  While this is true, I failed to take into account that not everyone in Nashville went to Iowa with me.  I got on Briley Parkway only to find it at a stand still because there were 4 accidents all within 1 mile of each other!

I finally made it home and spent the rest of the day watching the snow accumulate, doing science experiments with the girls, cooking and seeming up a baby sweater while the girls painted a bird house next to me in their craft/toy room.  It was so cozy and lovely.  We had a great time.

We did not go sledding yesterday as I really wanted the snow to get to the point that it was deep enough to sled nicely.  So, this morning we got up ready for some serious sledding.  I planned to drive down to the park a mile from the house, but could not get the car out of the drive because I closed the gate last night and the gate must be dug out before we can open it.  So, we sledded our street, then the green at Waverly-Belmont and then at the park.  Henry and I pulled the girls most of the way there and back.  We did not have sleds because we lost them in the Iowa flood, so I bought inner tubes.  They worked pretty good after getting out technique down.  On the way back home we stopped at the Frothy Monkeys for hot chocolate and a late lunch.  It was a great time.  Now we are in, warm and fed.  I plan to do some knitting and bake some bread.  The girls are enjoying taking it easy after playing so hard and Henry is playing WOW.

I LOVE snow days!

Here’s some pics of our two snow days.


Christmas and New Years

Christmas was easy this year.  Easy is good….especially since Henry and I were not up to speed.  David, Lori and the twins came up the Thursday night before Christmas for the Solstice Party that Lori always hosts.  Since they are living in GA now, Doc and Cathy are kind enough to open their home for the party so that the tradition can be kept alive.  I miss all of the Murfreesboro folk and especially our supper clubs that we carried on for several years.  The Solstice party lets us relive those times at least once a year.  Anyway, we had the party on the Saturday evening before Christmas.  All was well and everyone had a great time.

Then, DUN_DUN_DA_DUNNNNNNN.  Disaster struck Monday.  I had to work at the yarn store and went in feeling ok.  But, Henry woke up feeling not so well.  At some point that day David started feeling bad.  Lori started downhill and I called Henry to bring me my headache medicine because I thought I was getting a migraine due to my upset tummy and headache.  He came in to drop off the medicine and looked awful.  I called right before I went home at 6:30 only to find out it had started.  David and Henry were throwing up and sick, sick, sick.  Lori was so nauseated she could not stand and I think she had a fever.  I ran to Walgreens for 7-up, ginger-ale and chicken soup.  I made it long enough to get everything set up for the sick house and then I was down (or up sick) all night.  Three of the four girls remained well and Mycah, the one who got sick, got a very mild case.  Needless to say, by Thursday evening, Henry and I were a bit better, but not really excited about Christmas.  Henry’s tummy recovered much better than mine and he was able to eat on Christmas…..I was still picking the day after Christmas.

Thank goodness most everything was done before the illness struck and our family had made a joint decision to focus on spending time with one another rather than going over the top with things.  It worked out wonderfully.  The girls opened presents and played Christmas morning.  Then we went to the Ladd Christmas (dad’s) at my cousin’s new house.  They were great hosts and we had a good time.  me and Henry made gingerbread houses with  the little kids while the adults played White Elephant.  Then, best of all, was the day after Christmas.  We went to Mom’s.  She had decided to do Christmas the day after so that we could all be there and not be rushed.  We would up staying most of the day.  We ate, knitted, chatted and the kids played.  Of course, there were presents.  Mycah’s favorite toy this year happened to be from Meme.  She got a full child sized drum set.  She has had the best time jamming on the drums.

After we all got better and all Christmas activities were over, Henry, the girls and I went to GA to spend New Years with David, Lori and the twins.  There was a full moon on New Years Eve, so Henry went scouting for the local fairy cows.  He successfully found them and was able to convince them to give him enough Fairy Milk for all four girls.  They have now had fairy milk at the farm in Christiana, Meme’s, our Iowa City apartment, our new house and now, GA.  It’s a good thing Poppa knows how to talk to the local fairies and he must have developed a good reputation with them, so that all seem pretty willing to help him out with an emergency fairy milk run.

On New Year’s Day, the big girls introduced the little ones to the rip stick, snappers and confetti poppers.  Fun was had by all.

My favorite moment of the whole couple of weeks was the one where Mycah crawled into my arms for an afternoon nap.  She is in perpetual motion at all times, so the slow down was wlecome adn so, so sweet.

Whew…..glad I got that off my chest!!!!!


Agde..the Mediterranian a’la Christophe

Here is yet another (and much belated) installment on the France trip.  Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to copy the photos from Flickr to my desktop so that I can then put them in my blog.  There is a back story here.  I lost my camera the second day I was in France.  We went mushrooming at the ass-crack of sawn in the mountains.  I was trudging around the woods with my camera in my pocket and it fell out!  I did not know until we got back to the car and there was no way to back track when we had been zigzagging across the side of a forested hill looking for mushrooms and not paying attention to any particular landmarks (like the thousands of pines that all look alike).  So, I used Becca’s camera and downloaded them to Flickr every night.  This was not really an issue until today.  I had to replace my computer because it is on its last leg.  I decided to go over to the dark side and we bought a MAC.  Now, I have to say I am in love….but there is no “right-click” which means I can’t steal my own photos back from Flickr.  AGHHHHH.

So, here is the link for those of you who are really curious.   http://www.flickr.com/photos/slippingthroughmyfingers/page12/

Agde is the largest resort town in the south of France and a destination for French wanting to escape the cities and frolic on the beach.  It is beautiful.  The beaches are very rocky….even the sand is black from the pulverized rocks and shells.  The contrast of the black against the heartbreakingly beautiful blue of the sea and the sky is stunning.  Of course, it was pretty cool when we were there, about 60 and not many were swimming, but many were walking the beaches.  Remi and Alex got a bit wet, but even they decided it was too cool for much of a dip.   The town is full of stores on a boardwalk kind of area.  Many of the stores were closed for the season, but there was still plenty to be had, should we have had the need for questionable beachwear or some moonwalk stilts!   The boardwalk area is right on the sea.  The docks are on one side of the walk and the shops and building on the other.  I found a boat named “diane” at the dock and I asked Becca if the name Dianne was popular in France.  She snickered and asked if I really wanted to know.  Of course, I did….she said that men name their best hunting dogs “Diane” after the goddess of the hunt.  Christophe said she was correct and he even owned a dog named Diane at one point and she was an excellent hunting dog.  Oh well, at least they reserve my name for the BEST dogs!  There are pictures in Flickr of my boat.

One of the most interesting things I saw in Agde was the monument hill to the Americans who fell fighting for France’s freedom in WWII.  It was a beautiful hill and looked out to the clear sea.  I took many photos of it, both detail and overall, but I know I was unable to capture the full effect….but I am certain there is no way I can write about the place.  It was moving and eerie and odd to find something dedicated to Americans in France.  Common myth is that the French don’t care for Americans and never have and never will.  I think things are a lot more complicated than that and this monument is tangible evidence that in some way, our country has made a positive impression on the French.

Christophe and Becca both told me many different times how great the area is that they live in and I think I have to agree.  In a weeks’ time Christophe took us to the beach, to the farm, to the mountains and to the city all within an hour from their house.  Christophe said the region of Caux was the best for him and I think it is the best for the kids and Becca as well.  There is so much to do and see, the people are kind and generous and the air feels squeaky clean.  It was amazing.  Browse through my pictures….I think you’ll agree.


France, part 1

I am planning on posting about France in several parts as I do not have the ability to sit here linking photos and blathering on for hours at a time.   I get bored and frustrated when a post gets to long.  (Oh, on  side note…I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be typing on an English language keyboard.)

Caux is a little town in the south of France.  It’s population is about 2500 according to Wikipedia (I’m pretty sure that’s close).  The village used to be a fort as you can see in one of the photos.  French cities are so different from American cities.  The town centers are packed together buildings with winding stairs leading to open courtyards, crooked halls leading to a front door or nowhere and buildings that belie the interior lives.  The buildings are so closed that it looks as if no one lives in the town until someone appears from nowhere or a window may be open two floors above the street.  I really don’t know how to describe it.  It was so beautiful.  I have to say tha it was a little creepy in that with everything always closed and the streets so twisty and little enclaves so hidden, that I felt someone could jump out at any time!  Of course, i wouldn’t happen…it was just eerie and I was out of my comfort zone.

The center of town loosens into free-standing structures as you move out-of-town toward Becca’s house.  The houses are fairly close, much like the area where I live.  The have small lots that they use to maximum advantage.  Most yards had at least a couple of fig, nut or olive trees; many had swimming pools; and many herb or vegetable gardens.  All houses also have shoulder-high walls around them.  The architecture is very Mediterranean as they are just 30 minutes from the Mediterranean Sea.  The houses are stuccoed with clay tile roofs in washed out colors that are usually of a warm tone.  The place is so safe that the kids can walk the 5 minutes into town together…without needing an adult.

I have to say the overall impression I got of the town was that of a fairy tale. It was so quite, relaxed, peaceful.  I really liked it and would recommend the area to anyone.


A Little Catching Up…Again

Sorry about the utter lack of content of late.  All summer has been spent visiting our dear friends in GA or them visiting us.  We also went to the beach with them…so we have been burning up the road.

The girls started school about two weeks ago.  I would like to say that I have been lounging in my satin robe eating bon-bons hand fed to me by Henry.  Alas, I cannot.  I have been volunteering at the library a good t, taking yoga a couple times per week, going crazy with Mycah’s chef birthday party and being a bit under the weather.  Oh, well…I don’t like sitting on my ass anyway….it just gets wider when you do that!

One trip to GA was exceptionally productive for me and I do have a couple of pictures to prove it……of course, I had to steal them from Wendy’s website.  (more on that later)  I’m sure everyone who reads this blog knows that I have some talented friends.  One of whom, is he Fashion Instructor at a private university in GA.  She is responsible for directing my husband’s purchase of my new pride and joy…the Bernina.  She decided that I needed some intensive sewing lessons; as in 4 days of non-stop, 10 hour a day sewing.  I had a really good start from working with Tracy and from the little knowledge needed to do the finish work on my knitting.  So, we worked and worked.  I learned how to make box pleats, how to finish seam allowances, how to make buttonholes and to put in invisible zippers.  I also learned the fine art of pressing and interfacing.  Anyway…I came away with a shirt for myself, a dress for each girl and a skirt for each girl.  AND…they actually look like something I would pay for…in a store!  Here’s a pic of the dresses and my top.

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Now I am just going to add a bunch of photos…some of from the first day of school and some are from Mycah’s Birthday Party.  She had a chef’s birthday…that explains the aprons.  The kids made a mess and had a blast.  Also, the photo from the last post with the yarn and such in it is from a swap I received from a  great gal in VA.  I was trying to get the picture from here to Ravelry asap since it is bad form not to acknowledge receiving a swap as soon as you get it.  Plus, I got a great swap, so I really, really wanted to make sure my partner knew I was appreciative.  So, I threw it up on the blog hoping it would help me get it on Rav….it didn’t work.  I had to link to my blog.  But, at least it is in the blogosphere, somewhere.

One more thing, check out the photos Wendy took of the girls.  They are on her website.  She is starting up her photography business and I have to say…if you are in Middle TN, you’d be foolish not to use her!!!!!     http://takingsnapshots.squarespace.com/


Long Time, No See

I haven’t posted in a while.  I’m not sire why other than being so consumed with not having Henry here.  I miss him so much, he girls miss him so much and I feel very disconnected.  We went six weeks without seeing him.  It was hell.  Of course on the good note, Becca and her kids came for a visit and Chance and Emmy stayed with us for a few weeks. I think that is what got me so down.  Henry was gone and then I as so busy with family that it was ok…..but then they all left….at the same time.  While it’s nice to get back to a regular schedule, I really felt pretty deflated.

We visited Henry on May 2 to help him prepare for is MFA show.  Now, I have always felt like my husband was a pretty amazing artist, but I have to say…this show was so, so great that I was pretty awe-struck of him.  He has really worked his ass off for three years and it was great to see it all come together.  I was terribly worried when he lost so much work in the flood, but he really got crazy busy and it didn’t seem like anything was missing.  I couldn’t imagine another piece.  He took the show down yesterday and today and packed his trailer.  He will drive home tomorrow and probably get here late Monday afternoon.  It’d be great if he made it home for dinner, but I’m not sure that will happen.  It doesn’t matter…he will be home.  I think I found a studio for him here.  It’s just a couple of blocks away.  He could walk.  The lady is supposed to call me back tomorrow. Cross your fingers!!!

I’m leaving you with a bunch of misc photos, all related to above.  They have titles, so you can figure it out.

erin and the girls may 2009miss aimeehenry and the girls may 2009 iowa citygrey and her doll on the planemycah on the planeme and erin may 2009grey and mycah with fav sculpture iowa citymycah and her alphabet cards


Biscuts and Noro

Another post on the same day…no sleep equals time to do extra things.  Anyway, I was feeling a little less than inspired this evening when super time rolled around, so we had breakfast.  Grey has been asking for breakfast for dinner for weeks.  It’s one of those things that is kind of fun and definitely out of the norm for the girls.  I decided that we needed biscuits if we were going to have breakfast.  Mycah helped me make biscuits a couple of weeks ago, so she was ken on getting to do it again and Grey wanted t since she didn’t get to help last time.  They both have their own aprons for cooking and a different one for crafting.  Grey used her cooking apron, but Mycah used her craft apron because it is short enough for her to keep from tripping!  Anyway, they each cut in  a stick of butter (yes, the recipe calls for two sticks of butter).  I patted out the dough and they used my mother-in-laws biscuit cutters to make a ton of various sized biscuit.  We really had a good time. 

grey-and-mycah-making-biscuts

Me and the girls spent this past weekend with my mother.  While I was there I started and finished a cablomintry out of about 1/2 of Noro.  I wore it today and the girls were kind enough to take a picture of it.  I also made one for Emmy out of red cashmere and a loose spun silk.  I had actually made that one for me also, but Emmy loved it so much that I had to give it to her.  She looked so pretty.  I did make a second one for me, but it is still in need of ties and weaving in the ends. 

noro-cabliomitrynoro-band-2


January has been a big month

On top of January being the beginning  of the New Year with all the promises a new year holds, we have also had a number of big events here.  I took photos of most and will paste them at the bottom of the post. 

First, the narrative.  The first set of photos show Grey and Mycah on New Year’s Day.  They are each holding a penny that was in their black-eyed peas.  Every year for as long as I can remember I have had black-eyed peas for god luck on New Year’s Day. The peas bring good fortune in general, but whoever finds the penny gets an extra dose of goodness during the year.  Grey and Mycah both found a penny this year.  I hope their year is full of all of the promise, hope, love and luck that Henry and I wish for them. 

The next picture is from Henry’s birthday.  We celebrated at Kobe’s.  Kobe’s is a hibachi place.  The chefs cook on a huge grill in front of you and put on a show.  The food is good…a little over-priced…but you go for the show.  Henry and I both went as children (not together) and have great memories of it.  It’s one of those places that kids just love and adults get to eat something that is not chicken nuggets.  The girls loved it. 

The next photos are from Grey’s birthday party.  We invited her class to our house for a crafting extravaganza and cake.  The kids got their own craft aprons, made a door hanger, and painted a picture frame.  It was crazy, but fun and I will be recovering until next year when her birthday happens again.

Last, but not least, fairy milk.  Henry fetched the fairy milk from the fairies who keep fairy cows.  He only can do this on the full moon.  Since it was the first full moon of the new year and both Henry and Grey had a birthday, the fairies also gave the girls each a special little necklace.  Don’t you wish your husband had a direct line to the fairies?!  And the fairy connection is only one of the reasons I love him.


Family from afar

I have been meaning to write about our visit for a week now and have not had the opportunity.  This morning I woke at 6am and everyone else is sleeping.  Thank goodness.  

Anyway, I was blessed to have my sister, Becca, visit while we were moving.  The blessing was many-fold.  She helped us move in, she cleaned, she battled the kids and she spent time with me.  I miss her so much. She’s in France (where she should be) with her husband and two children.  I know she battles the “wanting to be two places” monster all of the time.  She has been there for 10 years.  But I think she is really starting to feel at home in France and I am so happy for her. 

Woooo…I have digressed from my purpose in writing this post.  Anyway, she and her two children, Remi and Alexandra, spent two weeks in the states.  Then she went back and the kids stayed with family for two more weeks.  I only got them for about 4 or 5 days of the two weeks, but I had to share.  They are the sweetest things.  Grey and Mycah think both of them hung the moon.  It was crazy here with 4 kids, but a good crazy.  They all swam in the kiddy pool out back, ran up and down the stairs, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner on the porch and had a generally good time.  This is the most time they have ever been able to stay in the States and I think they got a better feel for the similarities and differences in the two countries.  Remi is especially keen on explaining how things vary between the two countries. 

Henry had to go to Iowa while they were here.  One of the evenings after dinner I asked if they wanted to go for a walk.  Alex and Remi almost jumped out of their skins. Apparently they walk a lot in France.  So, we got our shoes on and I took all four kids for a little walk.  We walked the two blocks to the district and then walked in the district for a bit.  Remi carried Mycah much of the way.  He is not 10 yet but has to be almost 5 feet tall and about 80 pounds.  He is so strong!  Alex picked out her favorite house on the walk.  It was the day-glo turquoise one!  She said it was her favorite color.  (It is…all of her new clothes are that color!)  Anyway, we had the best time walking and talking.  

I don’t want them to grow up yet, but I can’t wait to see what they become.  I know it will be amazing.  I leave you with a couple of pictures that I managed to snap.  They were very hard to get pictures of as they were in perpetual motion most of the time.