Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sisters...

Hugs. Laughter. Good food. Coffee. Laughter. Fun. Books. Hugs. Beer. Shopping. Laughter. Gellato. Art. Wine. Gifts. Hugs. Laughter. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Comfortable silence.

And silly fleece socks...



That's what it's all about when the sisters get together.

(Side note: Yes, I did make these socks. And yes I have been dying to tell you about them blog land, but I had to keep the secret until they had been unwrapped. Aren't they cool? And warm. And they make me think of Muppet feet, or what I imagine Muppet feet look like, which makes me laugh. Kinda like time with the sisters. Happy. Just happy. Any who, I made up the pattern myself after consulting a few resources on the net. And I LOVE them. Sewing them is way fun...talk about an immediate gratification project! And since I'm a super slow sock knitter...thank goodness I can sew up a pair of these babies in about 30 minutes! Socks anyone?)


peace

Saturday, December 26, 2009

24 Hours of Holiday Fun in Photos...






























We hope your holidays have been blessed with food, fun, family, love, and laughter.


peace

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Wishes...

Last year instead of sending out holiday cards we decided to try something new...sending you our holiday greetings online through this here blog. It's economical, ecological, efficient...and honestly I share a lot more about our year than if we mailed a holiday card.

So without further ado, 2009 in review!


2009 continued to be a year about change and growth for our family. Brea, being 3, does nothing but grow! She's grown both in size and in knowledge so much this year. She can sing her ABCs, recognizes most letter and numbers by sight, and has developed quite the vocabulary. She is a ray of sunshine and brings a smile to every one's face with whom she interacts. While she enjoys accompanying me around to my various engagements during the day, she'll be the first one to tell you how much she is looking forward to starting pre-school next fall.


Lexi has matured so much through 2009 it often makes us stop and take a double take. She loves 2nd grade and even though she will tell you her favorite subject is math, it is a love of reading that often keeps her busy at home. She reads to herself. She reads to her little sister. She reads picture books. She reads chapter books. She reads! Lexi enjoys watching me craft and earlier this year talked me into teaching her how to knit. She is working away on a basic, blue (her new favorite color) garter stitch scarf and has made me promise to teach her how to sew during her winter break from school. She has very much enjoyed the camera she received for her birthday. Her current aspirations for What I want to be when I grow up: a veterinarian and wildlife photographer. Given her love for animals, her compassionate spirit, and her natural creative tendencies it all makes perfect sense to me.


The most exciting change for our family this year has been career growth for Scott. The unexpected challenges of the past 2 years have provided him with a chance to really evaluate where his professional interests lie and how best to use both his educational/experiential background and his personal strengths. At the beginning of November he moved into the position of Benefits Administrator in the Human Resources office at Titan Tire Corporation. He enjoys getting to dabble in all aspects of Human Resources (not just benefits administration) and working with the diverse employee population. A side note...in a small world kind of way...Titan Tire was formerly Armstrong Tire, the company from with Scott's Grandpa Mavin retired after many, many years of service.



As for me, well, you read the blog right? I stay busy with teaching yoga, working for the quilt shop, knitting, sewing, photo taking, and in general living a simple blessed life.

It looks as if Mother Nature is making sure we will have a white Christmas here in central Iowa. We are looking forward to spending a quite holiday weekend with family and friends celebrating good food, good fortune, and lots of love.

We wish you much love, peace, and happiness this holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year!


peace

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simplifying the Blog Life...

I'm simplifying my blogging life.

As a result I have imported some posts from Namaste & Knitting here so that they are not lost when I take down that blog. Forgive me if my reorganizing has filled your RSS reader. I'll try not to do it again.

I really like blogging, but when I sit down to write and can't decide which blog on which to post my thoughts, it's a sign of a problem. So to keep things easy and enjoyable...the main purpose of my blogging...I'm cutting back to simply TWO spaces.
  • Happy Daisy Yoga is back up and running and where I will once again be spewing about all things yoga.
  • All other thoughts, projects, photos, rants, whines, cheers, etc, will be shared here...my original place in cyber-space.


peace

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Upgrade...

My husband and I took advantage of the break in our wintry Iowa weather yesterday to drop this girls off with his Aunt so we could go Christmas shopping together. (It was like a date...only in the day...which meant neither of us were tired and cranky yet. We had a lovely time.) Our gift shopping took us a whooping 90 minutes at one store. (We really only buy gifts for our girls so shopping is usually pretty painless.) Which left us plenty of time for a nice lunch and to stop and shop for this...


Considering I've been sewing on a very basic machine I bought for $140 at a small chain discount store 15 years ago, this is a major upgrade. I feel as if I have just won the lottery! (OK, that might feel a wee bit different.) My new machine has needle down stop, 40 stitch options (my old one had 2...straight and zig-zag), and I splurged and bought the extension table because I'm gonna learn how to free motion quilt if it kills me! To be honest, I spent a little more than I had intended spending, but at the same time feel like spending that extra $100 now is going to help make sure I won't be wishing in a year or two for an upgrade...something I'm pretty sure would have happened with the other more basic model I was considering purchasing. The ladies at Cornerstone Quilts (sort of a sister shop to GFW) were so wonderful in helping me weigh my options and my husband was so patient as I sat and gave each model in consideration a few test spins. AND as part of my purchase I get to go to an all day class where I will get to learn the ins and outs of using and caring for my machine. FUN! I've never taken a sewing class before!!!

When we got home the girls insisted I show them how my new machine works. I let them choose some bright thread and stitches that they wanted to see and we tinkered away. I think we could have spent all night with them at my side as we tried out different stitches and techniques.


I'm looking forward to tackling the quilting of my two finished tops in the coming weeks. Not to mention all the packages of fabric I have from a "block of the month" club a friend and I joined a few years back. To date I think we have each managed to complete one month's worth of blocks. I'm thinking committing to making a block a week starting at the turn of the year might be a good way to both learn about my new machine AND turn all those packages into something a little more useful. (Not to mention counting down the weeks until spring!)


~namaste~

Friday, December 11, 2009

Simple or Simply Boring?

Last night, as I sat snuggled in bed knitting next to Scott who was snuggled in bed reading...at TEN TILL NINE. I turned to Scott and commented sarcastically:

"I think this right here puts us right at the top of the most exciting 30-somethings EVER list."

We laughed about how hard it is fighting off the paparazzi each morning as they wait to capture what trend setting thing we will do next.

And then we went back to quietly knitting and reading.

I love that our life is simple. After all, isn't that why we decided to settle in small town Iowa to raise our family?

Maybe it's just the time of year. The cold temps. The snowy days. The shortened hours of sunlight. Or the reading of other people's Facebook statuses and Twitter updates and blog posts centered around this holiday gatherings and plans. I'm sure it's a bit about missing MY extended family (especially my Mom) and my dear friends far away with whom I wish I could toast a glass of holiday wine in the coming weeks. Maybe it's the fact that the couple of couples with whom we as a couple enjoy socializing, live 45 miles away which means gatherings through the winter are much less likely thanks to mid-western weather. (Seriously, what is it about us that makes finding couples with whom we BOTH get along so hard? It seems silly to have the "his friends", "her friends" lists around who the "other" feels somewhat uncomfortable after almost 15 years of marriage.)

Whatever it is, I find myself a little sad today about the lack of engagements on our social calendar. At the same time I am thankful that we don't have to try to "fit it all in" since I already feel a bit overwhelmed about the few "extra" things that need to be accomplished in the next 14 days. It's an evil play of opposites...wanting to be more social while possessing a personality that tends to prefer a more quiet, introverted life.

An evil play of opposites...one I think I will go ponder while quietly knitting.


peace

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day Project...

My quilt top is done! What a lovely snow day project. I've had this design rolling around in my head for about 3 weeks and "Iowadeathstorm09" (as it has been labeled on Twitter) provided me a reason not to leave the house today (actually it took away the ABILITY to leave the house today), which meant plenty of time to sew. I present to you...

"Lost in the Twilight"


It measures about 55" x 75" unfinished. The blocks are 12 inches finished and were pieced from batiks. The whole cloth section is a Robert Kaufman print from the Fusions Collection.

The title, based on my color scheme more so than the design, might need some explaining. At the risk of having a bunch of eyes rolled at me, here goes.

Often when I fall in love with a book (or series of books) it's as much for the images they help paint in my mind as much as the story. Angsty teenage love-lust and vampire lore aside, I was totally engrossed when I read the Twilight Series books because of the imagery. The rich, dark wooded forest. The shades of amber to dark brown of Edward's eyes against the creamy lightness of his skin. The warm red of "life giving" blood. What better way to bring those images to life than with a quilt under which I can snuggle to read! Can you imagine how much fun it would be to design all my future quilts on imagery created by reading a book? Hmm...

The design was actually inspired by all of the great contemporary quilts I've seen splashing around these days. Between Flickr; my favorite quilt blog, Crazy Mom Quilts; a new book I picked up at the shop a few weeks ago, Cozy Modern Quilts; AND working at the shop surrounded by so many contemporary fabrics, how can I NOT be inspired to sew more?!

Contemporary quilt designs very often lean towards simple. Which in my world translates to doable. Between big blocks and large areas of whole cloth, they allow for a little bit of tradition to mix with more modern design. And it doesn't mean having to cut a gazillion little pieces just so you can turn around and sew them back together again. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE old quilts with lots of little pieces. But at this point in my life, I'm just not patient enough MYSELF to actually put together a quilt like that. Which for years has meant I haven't been quilting at all. Which is just sad and wrong.

Being that the quilt is considered "lap quilt" sized also adds a plus in the doable category. I mean, who doesn't need a few quilts around the house just the right size for snuggling on the couch with a cup of java and a good read...or while knitting.

The only problem...

In the past 6 months I have now finished TWO (the other being this one) quilt TOPS. Both which need quilting before they can be functional. The quilting part...not so much my favorite step in the process. The good news is I have ideas for how I want to quilt both of them...now I just have to DO IT!

We got word that local schools will be closed again tomorrow and I will simply have to wait to see if I can make it out to teach the classes for which I am scheduled. To bad I don't have batting and enough fabric for backing on hand...or who knows what could happen if I'm "stuck" at home for another full day.


~namaste~

Snowed In...

Iowa winter weather has arrived. Yesterday before the snow totally kept us home bound I ran to the grocery store and made a stop at the quilt shop for fabric for the lap quilt that has been designing in my head for the last 3 weeks. Yesterday I got 3 of the the 6 large blocks I'll need for the quilt finished...


Today I hope to get the top finished. Yea for snow!


~namaste~

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything...

I have so much I want to share today...

First, a couple of words of thanks.

I was amazed (and deeply honored once the shock wore off) to learn that Roseanne over at it's all yoga, baby included one of my posts here in her review of her top 15 yoga blog posts of 2009. Roseanne, if Canada wasn't so far to travel, I'd run over and give you a big hug of thanks. I have a feeling the two of use could find a lot to chat about over a cup of coffee. (It might take several before we run out of things to talk about.) The other thing I love about reviews such as Roseanne's...it's a good way to learn about other blogs out there in the expanse of the WWW that I might enjoy reading. (Does Google Reader have a subscription limit?)

Secondly, thanks for everyone who has offered up words of support and encouragement after my last post. I don't have much in the way of an update on how things are going, but my thoughts have been busy processing it all in the quietness of my mind. For many reasons I think that's where I'm going to keep things tucked away for a bit.

And finally, due to the lack of knitted posts lately one might assume there is not much knitting going on around here. On the contrary...MUCH knitting has been going on, but photographing of said knitting has not. And let's face it, sharing knitting in word's just isn't as fun as sharing knitting in pictures. So for now I thought I'd share this lovely high quality web cam photo of my new button tab hat.


I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but awaking to our first "real" snow this morning has given me reason to add it to my "leaving the house" attire. The pattern is a free design I found on Ravelry by ilikelemons (it's also available on her blog). The yarn is a natural tweed by Araucania Yarns that I splurged on (at $17 a hank it was a definitely a splurge for me) because once I picked it up...I simply couldn't put it down! With a fiber content of 30% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 15% Silk, and 10% of those little Donegal flecks...it's as soft as a baby bunny. A new born kitten. A duckling...well, you get the picture. It's SOFT.

While the pattern is super simple I had a few bumps in the road to finishing this. First I mis-read the pattern and got nervous I wasn't going to have enough yardage to finish. (Because you know being "splurge yarn" meant I only bought one hank.) So I ripped back a bit to start my decreases early. After finishing all the way to the crown but BEFORE I cut the yarn I decided I should make sure it fit...and it was too short. So I ripped back to the row before the start of the decreases and re-knit what I had ripped out the first time before once again finishing the crown. I learned several things making this hat...including the fact that "hairy" yarn isn't as easy to work with in the reverse direction and one should not wear black when knitting with a "hairy" white yarn. Even with the bumps in the road, I'm quitepleased with my new winter accessory.

In case you were wondering, my worry about running out of yarn...



~namaste~

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That's Me...

Lexi got a bracelet making kit yesterday at the holiday party Scott's new company puts on for kids/grandkids of employees. This morning she gifted me this...


A title I'm happy to hold.


peace

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thankful...


Lexi made a Thanksgiving card at school last week. Inside she wrote this message to us:

Dear Mom, Dad, & Brea, I am thankful for you guys. I'm thankful for the the food you give me and for the house I have. Thank you for all your help with my life. Love Lexi

My heart swelled with pride as I read those words. Still I have a hard time reading them without tears coming to my eyes. As someone who finds the holiday season filled with so many complicated and often conflicting emotions, I find peace in the fact that she gets "it". That even with the excitement of gift wishes and lists for stuff, she knows in her heart what matters.

Love.

Family.

A nurturing home.

Sometimes I look at her in wonder at the amazing person she is all too quickly growing up to be. She (and her equally amazing little sister) makes being a Mom an awfully easy, endlessly rewarding post in life.

For that I am thankful.


peace