Saturday, December 29, 2007

Helmet Hat

Last month, after all the Thanksgiving festivities, I sat down and knit this hat for Malcolm. It only took me two days which I'm pretty proud of because sometimes these things stay on the needles for a long time. It was getting cold out and the little guy needed something so that was very motivating. It also helped that I already had the yarn (from the stash) and the pattern (from one of the Interweave Knits magazines - I don't know where it is now so I couldn't tell you the issue). The idea of this "helmet hat" is that the ear flaps cup the ears without the need of ties under the chin. I must have made it a little too big because it tends to slide around on the little guy's head. This week I plan to add some ties and that should help.
By the way Gymboree sells some awesome bubbles. My friend Sarah let me in on that piece of magic.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I made two more dents in the fabric stash and out came these two Christmas presents for my Amy Jane and my Vera Jane.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Stocking Update

Merry Christmas.

Stockings were hung with care. But not as was originally envisioned. Months after Malcolm was born I started knitting him a Christmas Stocking. I was doing a random stripe pattern with his name and Christmas trees. I worked on it all the way down to the toe and stopped. Here's the problem, there were parts of the stocking that I liked, but overall it just wasn't turning out like I wanted. The random stripeiness was getting a little too crazy, even for me, and the yarn that was carried over for the lettering was pulled too tight. I don't know how else to explain, but it just wasn't feeling good. I think that as I went along, adding more colors and textures and trees - I was secretly yearning for something simpler in design. So I made the move to put it away - unfinished - waiting to be unraveled and knit into something else. A little sad when it was almost done, but it is never a good sign when you are working on something and you keep having to convince yourself that you are liking the outcome. My pottery teacher once said - "Sometimes you have to scarp it, take it off the wheel, and back to the wedging board." At this point, when it comes to knitting I think that there are other things I'd rather sink my needles into - like witches britches.
So, I made a little peace with my fabric stash, and in one afternoon stockings for the family became a reality. Unfortunately they don't have orange clearance - I should have checked before I cut out all the fabric. But, a favorite candy bar slips in nicely. Santa left me a Twix, Dave an Almond Joy, and Malcolm some "jingle bells" (Hershey Kisses).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

So I see my Aunt Paula has been adding beautiful things to her shop. Her pottery is truly amazing. Check it out.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Book Club Reads

One of my favorite things about being human is the energy of sharing ideas. Today ideas are alive in my brain. Thursday night, we did it, a friend of mine (also a Sarah) started Respite: a Book Club. We had our first meeting where we each invited a few people we knew. It was a great turn out - we had 15 people. We ate good food, wore "hello my name is ____" tags, and talked about books! Everyone shared books that they loved or books that they would be interested in reading. We came up with a huge list - so varied and full of life. We only planed out the next 8 months, until we break for summer, but we probably could have planed out the next three years. It was so exciting. We lined up hostesses and book leaders and now instead of it being "Sarah and Sarah's idea of a book club" it is now everyone's book club. The book first up is Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. This is one on my list that I have wanted to read for a long time but have yet to - it's a long list. There is a book sale at the library today, wouldn't that be great if they had a copy for sale? If not, I'll be in the right place to check one out.

Lucky me, this is in addition to the Relief Society Book Club with the women from church. This month we are reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. I'm having a great time with this one. This part had me laughing out loud. The background - Bill Bryson is getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail and he has been reading a book on bear attacks. "Up to that moment it had not occurred to me that bears might prowl in parties. What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die, of course. Literally sh-- myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at children's parties - I daresay it would give a merry toot - and bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag."

This leads me to one thing I truly miss in New York - Book Group. Each time I would go I came back home feeling new, fresh, inspired. Some of the best women ever are there reading and sharing.

So here's my challenge to myself. Two books a month. We'll see how it goes. Some may have to be book on tape to past the time in the car or folding laundry.

What's on your reading list?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Knitting Circle

(I started this post awhile back, but here it is now 10/8/07...a month later.)
Another reason to LOVE the library - it has a knitting circle that meets twice a month. I went for the 1st time on Thursday and it was lovely. I had been looking forward to going for a few weeks but when it came to the actual night I could feel myself start to get a little funny about going. It was that uneasy "I'm new. I don't know anybody. I want this to be great and what if it's not." nonsense. These feelings could not be entertained. So I put on some cute shoes, put a special scarf in my hair (you know the one Annie) and walked over. I came a little late - the room was full of happy knitters. Where to sit? One jolly lady called out "Come over here, I want to share a seat with you." There weren't any open chairs in the room and for a split second I wondered, does she actually want to sit on the same chair?, that would make for some awkward knitting. No. We brought in some more chairs from the neighboring conference room. All settled then. I looked over at her yarn. "That looks like the same yarn I'm using!" Soft, nubby, cotton. She pulled out her tag "Mission Falls I knew I wanted you to sit by me when you came in." I was tickled and so was she.

It's sad because I haven't made my way back to the Knitting Circle since. The last two times things have come up. Sad and sad. But I'll be back. In the mean time I've continued my work on this bag. I can not recall how many times I have had to start over on this. So many times it makes me blush, but I've finally got the hang of it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Our little library.

Last night I stayed up late setting up our books. We have lived in this house for three months, but I know this is home when the books find their place. It has taken a while for this to happen since we had to replace the glass shelves in the cabinets with wood that would be better suited for book stacking.

It makes me smile how they end up - my Shel Silverstein next to my Shakespeare.

bath basket

So, a lot of the BIGGER projects have yet to see completion, but here is a little something that is finished - and that makes me happy.

Basket. Yard Sale. 25 cents.

I got busy with the spray paint while Malcolm napped. I like how it allows the toys to dry out between baths. Malcolm likes to take the toys out of the basket and "hide" them in the laundry hamper. He is very busy. He looks at me like, "Hey Mom, I have serious work to do here."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

library love: Knit 2 Together

Let me start off by saying, I love the library. Well, I love books and the library lets me take them home for free if I promise to take good care and return. Can do. I love that our library is a short walk from our house. Malcolm and I are regulars. They have a fish tank that he loves. I learned quickly to 1st pick out the book or magazine that I want to flip through and then take M to the fish and kids books. Here's one that I picked up and it makes me want to pick up my knitting needles.

Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark
These are the projects I book marked.

"Witches Britches" - I can't resist.

hoodie - sizes for the whole family!

house slippers - I love the possibilities.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

carrot cake

I made my 1st carrot cake for Dave's birthday. We shared some left overs with our neighbor which lead to the creation of my 2nd carrot cake - for my neighbor's birthday party. It was much easier the 2nd time around. The thing that made the biggest difference was I was able to do most of it while my little helper was taking a nap.

I love this color. Making carrot cake is probably better for you than making chocolate chip cookies. You snack on carrots instead of chocolate chips and it is a mini workout to grate the carrots by hand.

I used the recipe from "The RED & WHITE" (Better Homes & Garden) but I added some shakes of nutmeg and splashes of vanilla. Yum. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, I think this can make a most excellent "breakfast cake".

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What do you like to do?

Moving to a new place, meeting new people, I get the question "so, what do you like to do?" That is a hard question for me to answer. I like to do a lot of things. I like to ice skate, but it has probably been over 2 years since that has happened. I like to play the guitar, but I can't say that I have picked it up lately. So for me the answer to that question lies in the present. So here goes. This is what I'm up to and what I like, in no particular order:
- Malcolm
- playing with paint chips
- rock stacking
- puddle splashing
- reading - just finished the Potter, loved it!
- outings to the library
- trips to the zoo
- down time with Dave
- strolls to the grocery store
- getting organized, well trying...
- rearranging the furniture
- turning up the music and dancing (most of the time Malcolm gracefully joins in)
- refinishing furniture (any guesses what this is?)

"So, what do you like to do?"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Use What You Have Decorating

Use What You Have Decorating by Lauri Ward
I checked this book out from the library and it is really helping me get a sense of what to do with the rooms in this house. It is worth a look if you feel stuck, at a loss, or confused about your space. The book helps to train your eye to see the problems in a room and know how to easily fix them. Putting to use what I already own helps the budget too.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

rock stacks

M woke up from his nap in a mood. We went outside. I did a little rock art. M had fun knocking them down. It was quite relaxing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


To get ready for this special day, Malcolm and I planted Dave's papyrus plant shoots. Malcolm thought it was terribly funny to "pat-pat" the dirt.

Carrot cake, yummm. Happy Birthday Dave!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

yard sale finds

Check out these charming chairs I bought at a yard sale Saturday. They are metal and I am in love. Such character. The woman selling them thinks they are from the 30's or 40's (?). They just need some fresh paint and new rubber feet. I can see great things for these chairs. The problem with "seeing potential" in cast off furniture means I get a lot of projects lined up for myself.

Such as this.

(Sorry the picture is turned, I don't know why it does this, or how to fix it.)
Painted white, it will be my yarn shelf. I've already taken off the door, and I'm not sure it is going to make its way back on again. We'll see.
And I can't forget about the fabulous solid wood desk in the garage, waiting so patently for some attention.
I need to get ORGANIZED so that I can use my energies, and Malcolm's nap times, for these projects. I bought another journal that I can dedicate to the house and yard. I have started to fill it. Each space gets its own page - kitchen, 1/2 bath, entry, etc. and then I list all that I would like to have happen. It is amazing to me how fast these lists form. It feels good to get them on paper rather than continually rattling around in my brain.
Today I played with Malcolm, took a nap, bought groceries, cleaned a toilet, and cut back some of the plants in the front yard that are plotting to take over the world. "Living the dream, living the dream."

Friday, July 6, 2007

My Studio - setting up

It was a happy 4th.

Pancakes, picnic, and fireworks!

But in addition to all that, while Malcolm napped, I took the chance to work on "my studio". Before the move, I started journal dreaming about what my ideal workspace would be.

Now that dream is coming to life. This is so exciting to me.

I don't know how to move with out at least one room as the "catch all". That's what the spare room turned into. It was getting pretty scary. But since we moved here I knew that this was going to be my space.

The other half of the room, not pictured, still needs some attention, but I am tickled about how things are unfolding here. I moved up the yellow table from the basement laundry as a temporary working surface until I refinish the "find" (from the Isoms move) in the garage.

I love this corner. Isn't it the most beautiful place to type? It is where I am now and I will tell you that I love the light of the window coming in over my shoulder. I think this will be the place for a bulletin board. On the floor is my beloved "star box" from Annie made from the skilled hands of her husband, Spencer. Only good things are allowed to go in that box. The little table was free from some other friends moving. Sweet. So while I am enjoying this place of peace...

Let's not think about the mess in the hall.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New Journal

Isn't it pretty? I think that journals should make you want to write in them. I was seven years with my last journal (pictured underneath the new one). But I am happy to say that it has been filled. It's time to start in this new beauty. I wonder what its pages will hold. There is something special about pen to paper. I can see mood in my handwriting, layering meaning to the words I write. There is always room for a doodle. The scratched-out and misspelled words are both annoying and endearing. I love the smell of paper and the feeling of pages flipping by my thumb.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Happy Birthday, my little Malcolm.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


This parade was such a colorful and creative welcome to our new home in Cleveland. It was a great escape from the un-packing and a feast for the imagination. It is put together annually by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Parade the Circle, it makes you consider taking a stilts class.

So a lot has happened since I last blogged.

Dave graduated!

We moved.

(the bare bones of our NY place)

(home delivered in a truck)

Already up to making messes as you can see.
Love to New York, Hello Ohio!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

baby shower picnic

My dear friend and neighbor, Jocelyn, is getting ready to have a baby. I am so excited for her. It is so fun to see how she and Nick are getting ready for their little "bean". Sad for me though, we will have made our move to Ohio by the time the baby is born. This breaks my heart. So instead of crying about it, we had a little baby shower for her. Since my apartment is WAY too small and starting to fill with moving boxes, I planned "picnic style" by the playground near our apartments, crossing my fingers and toes for beautiful weather. My wish was granted, sunshine and a little breeze graced the party.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

comments are welcome

So I didn't realize this, but I wasn't allowing comments on this blog. Oops. Thanks Annie for setting me straight. So now if you come by to visit me here in blog land, the lines of communication are now open. Smile.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Joseph Alleman Fine Art

Since my brother Joseph Alleman recently won the "High Winds Medal" from the American Watercolor Society here in New York for this painting, "The Nest", I thought it would be a good time to highlight a few of my favorites that I wouldn't mind paying the big bucks to have on my wall some day.


Seasons Peak.

Figure Study.
All images are taken from his website where you can take some time and enjoy them for yourself. Because of this award we were lucky to have Joe and his family stay with us for a few days. They just left on Sunday and I miss them already. Congratulations Joe!