Friday, February 26, 2010

Cross-country skis

So, getting back in the swing of things... This winter our area has gotten more snow than it has since the 1890's. This is all old news by now, but I thought I'd share a couple of photos of one of the activities we enjoyed during the snow.

We've had our cross-country skis for a few years, but only managed to use them a couple of times at the farm since our town is pretty good about plowing the roads. All that changed during this series of snows. The top photo shows my set-up with the baby. We are on our street during the initial snowfall-- this was before things got really bad and deep. Skiing on the street was pretty easy; the roads are relatively flat and I think the falling snow was distracting Baby H enough that he wasn't doing too much wiggling. A nice leisurely ski with Brian and only a few minor hiccups (like the house where they got a little snowblower-happy).
Fast-forward a week. With the same set-up, I took Baby H out into the "wilds" of Loudoun County, skiing with my friends Karen and Helen at a farm near Karen's house. This was probably more fun, but definitely much harder. First off, there were hills. When I would settle into chair pose to navigate down a slight incline, the baby would throw himself forward (see below--this was during one of our re-mounting adventures) or to the side, asserting his independence, and it was really hard to stay balanced. I think we fell three or four times. It was hard to get back up because without the skis, my legs sunk through the snow, sometimes up to the hip where snow had drifted. But Helen and Karen were troupers and pulled me out of more than one drift. The baby was a sport too, really, and only cried once. I think he was just taking it all in.

All in all, I'm really glad we got out there despite our limitations (small child, less-than-usually-coordinated mama). And it makes a great story to tell Henry someday about the Great Snow of 2010.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Palm Beach in winter

My grandparents are snowbirds. After Christmas each year they drive down to a small town in Florida near West Palm Beach to spend a few months out of the cold. One year, maybe the year after we were married, my husband and I went down to visit them in their golf course community. We took golf lessons, went out to eat, shopped. It was warm, but everything looked windswept and crispy, dry. Being Florida, the decor in many of the restaurants and shops included aquamarine blues and a fair amount of magenta. This quilt reminds me of the memory of that trip. Does that make sense?
In truth, this quilt was born out of panic. After my son was born, I didn't have time to craft at all. In those first few months, I was worried that I would never again be able to devote time to quilting and the other handwork hobbies that I love. So I panicked, and bought a few Amy Butler Midwest Modern II charm packs. I'd never bought charm packs before, but I needed a quick fix, and these hourglass blocks fit the bill. I added in some Heather Bailey prints along with a couple of other things from my stash, and made several blocks each nap time. Until I couldn't make any more.

There are 169 blocks in this quilt. It measures about 47.5" square. I have seven or eight leftover blocks, but I couldn't even make enough more to finish out another row of 13. I was burned out on hourglasses. I wish it was a little bit bigger, but it's a decent sofa lap quilt for the basement.
I love the backing fabric, a cotton/linen blend birdseed print (that made the quilting a little bit tricky). I think it's perfect for this quilt. This quilt was actually finished several months ago, and has been serving couch duty since then. The quilt may have proved that I can find time for crafting with an under-one-year-old, but there certainly doesn't seem to be all that much time for blogging, too!

Three hundred sixty-three

So, in an effort to learn to use my camera better, to make documenting our lives more a part of living, I've begun project 365. Only I began a couple of days late, so for me it will be 363. I'm too chicken to open my whole set up to a broader audience yet, but I'll share a few images here from time to time. Taking photos everyday really does help me appreciate the beauty in our routines, in our little house. The growing set of candid snapshots of some of the tiny pieces that make up our days is really making me happy, too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas stockings

The first (ahem) several years that we were married, I kept promising my husband that I would get around to making us some Christmas stockings. Some new stockings to hang in our new family home. I even started a couple of stockings with Hillary Lang's elf stitchettes, but although the stitchettes are dang cute, they didn't feel substantial enough, special enough to anchor the family stockings that I wanted to make. When the baby came, the pull to make the stockings got much stronger. Here is what I finally decided on, knit and lined in time for Christmas.
These are just what I imagined. Soft and substantial and huge. Homey and cozy. I love them-- they're probably some of the best things I've ever knit. Just before Christmas, my mom talked me into buying more yarn in other colors, enough to make more stockings for any other little ones who might (we hope, we hope) come along.

Pattern: Falling Snow Stocking by Jennifer Hoel, a free pattern on Ravelry
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky (has to be my very favorite chunky/bulky yarn-- so so soft)
Needles: U.S. 9 dpns
Lining: Very nice cotton interlock that my mom gave me, sewn in by machine

PS: Here's a photo of our baby-friendly Christmas tree in action. I didn't want to set up a full tree and then put a gate around it, and we didn't want to be constantly pulling the baby away from tree and ornaments, or worrying about the whole thing toppling down on his head as he tried to pull up on it. So, tiny tree on a table it was (is, actually; it's the 12th day of Christmas, so the whole thing's still set up). H loves to lie underneath and stare up at the lights, wiggling and pumping his little legs. Sweet boy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. -- Frederick Buechner, from Now and Then (Oh how I love Frederick Buechner!)

Happy New Year. The photos are from a trip to the farm just before Christmas. I love them. It is still very cold here, and the remnants of this storm still cover our lawn. The wind is bitter. But the expanses of white feel very apt for the fresh start that is the new year. Clean and uncluttered. Ready for more moments of fathomless mystery.