I’ve Moved!!

Sep 16

I’ve moved my blog for the third time since starting it in 2005. You can now find me here. 

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From Makers for Makers: 2015 Gift Idea List

Dec 08

We don't (yet) have ice or snow, but doesn't it make you feel more festive to see a picture like this?

We don’t (yet) have ice or snow, but doesn’t it make you feel more festive to see a picture like this?

I’ve gathered together a few of my favorite makers to share our 2015 Holiday Gift Idea lists with you. All week long we’ll post cool indie-made items, can’t-do-without tools, and favorite diy projects.

  1. Whether you make one to give or offer a crafty loved one a kit, Alicia Paulson’s softie kits are darling. Her instructions are clear as can be, and while I can’t spill any beans about what’s happening re: softies at my house, take my advice and order a kit for yourself, too.
  2. For watercolorists, Greenleaf and Blueberry hand makes my favorite paints. She’ll help you customize a kit, or you can order the paints and make your own in an old tin.
  3. If your favorite artist prefers drawing, TSandN’s crow quill pens are beautiful. Christine responded quickly to loads of questions when I ordered mine, and I enjoy drawing with it.
  4. Book lovers, journal keepers, or magpies who need to keep stacks of paper in order will love the monogrammed burlap bookends from Next Door to Heaven. Mine are currently holding most-referenced books of the semester upright.
  5. There are a lot of terrific project bags on the market, but my favorites are Stitched by Jessalu’s box and bucket bags. The quality is excellent, and Jessalu, an avid knitter and spinner, understands a stitcher’s needs. You’re bound to find a bag in a fabric that will suit every friend!
  6. Need a charming bijoux? Sara from Et Voila! Design crafts her jewelry from vintage pieces she finds in French brocantes and American flea markets. I always get compliments whenever I wear one of her pieces!
  7. No time to knit, but you want to give a cushy handmade scarf? My former student and dog lover extraordinaire Chelsea sells scarves and hats to raise funds for no-kill shelters at Scarves for Paws.
  8. Anything from Alabama Chanin makes a welcome gift, but I think this Starter Sewing Kit is a great project for a new #chaninista.
  9. Another make-it-yourself-or-give-it-as-a-kit,-but-make-sure-you-order-one-for-yourself gift idea (phew! What a mouthful), totally stolen from Jani: a limited edition Starcroft Tide Pool, which longs to be a pair of Through the Loops’s Kanagwa Mittens and a Trig hat by Mary Lou Egan.
  10. And if you have Starcroft yarn in hand, you’ll love Gale’s Nash Island postcards, too!
  11. These HodgePodge Farm crochet mug cozies, especially with the Cuppow lid, make an adorable, environmentally-friendly gift for your loved ones who are always on the go with their morning (afternoon, all-day) coffee.
  12. When you want a little something to add to a gift set, Amy sells notebooks–perfectly sized for a handbag, project bag, any bag–that feature her awesome original art.

Be sure to check out these lists all week long:

Wednesday: Mary Lou Egan

Thursday: Cal Patch

Friday: Gale Zucker

And don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite gifts-for-makers ideas!

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Jan 06



We’ve had Oskar for a little over two months, and I am smitten. When Maddie died so suddenly, I thought “I will never give my heart to a dog again.” How foolish I was! It did not take long after meeting him to know Oskar is a special little (truly, he’s little!) husky. He’s almost always a gentleman. He’s a little aloof, which is common for this breed, but in the last few weeks, he’s been expressing a lot more connection to me and Neal.

The rescue group from which we adopted him brought him to CT from GA, where he had been found chained outside to a cinder block, terribly undernourished. At six months old, he weighed only 19 pounds. When his darling foster mom brought him to our home to see if he would fit in with Tilly and Coco, the poor guy didn’t even know how to climb the stairs onto the porch. When he saw the bowl of fresh water we keep out for the dogs, he drank like he might never have another chance.

We brought him to our vet’s the first week, and he showed me the striation on Oskar’s nails, evidence of poor nutrition followed by good nutrition. He also has a bump on his gum that indicates some intense chewing (the chain, maybe?). There were some worm issues (I’ll spare you wormy poop photos…but we have them!), easily amended.

Oskar gained weight, reaching skijoring weight (35 lbs) two weeks ago. I would love to train him for skijor, but I’m not sure I’m a good enough skier. Maybe Neal will take it on. He’s confident with the other two dogs, and he’s starting to be protective over Coco. Neal built an amazing fence around our back yard, and Oskar can really stretch his legs now. Siberian huskies are notorious for running and heading off on their own to hunt. The fence will give him loads of freedom and give us some peace of mind.

I’ve taken him hiking almost every day. Most days we go for about an hour. When I have to get to work early, we hike only about 30-45 minutes, and when the conditions are excellent, we hike for two hours. He and I have both built strength. Hikes that used tire me are now a breeze. It is a joy to watch Oskar develop from a malnourished, weak pup into a strong young dog.

Most exciting to me is how “teachable” (Sara’s word [and her picture above]) Oskar is. He came to us knowing how to sit on command, and I taught him to shake hands and give a high five easily. Since I have a big dream for him, I started dog training in December. I want to bring Oskar into nursing homes to give joy to elders who need some unconditional love from a handsome, soft pup. We have had a ball at school. In fact, the highlight of my week is Saturday morning when we have class. We are a studious pair; we do our homework every day. While he can have some puppy ya-yas, Oskar is also eager to please and likes to focus on working with me.

I guess I could make this post very short by simply writing. Oskar: a gentleman and a scholar who has won my heart.

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Ten on Tuesday: Holiday Tradition Edition

Dec 17


You’re right. Visiting the Christmas tree at Notre Dame in Paris is not really a tradition, but this picture makes me happy every year! This week, Carole wanted to hear about traditions, and while I don’t have ethnic ones, there are a few traditions I love:

1. Bake cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Almost every year since 2004, my pal Cheryl treks from upstate to NY to the woods of CT for epic cookie baking. I anticipate it so much!

2. See a show. We alternate between A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker.

3. Open one gift on Christmas Eve. This goes back to my childhood. It helps ease the anticipation.

4. Wait until Christmas night to exchange gifts. Neal and I wait until we’re alone in the house before exchanging our gifts to each other. It’s a quiet, sweet way to close out a festive day.

5. Listen to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite as the first holiday music of the season.

6. Hand write Christmas cards. I get so much pleasure from writing out cards.

7. Give my four godchildren an ornament. Some years I make them, some years I buy them. When they finally decorate their own Christmas trees, I know they will be filled with childhood memories.

8. Put out the Christmas boot. We didn’t have stockings at my house when I was a kid; we had Christmas boots made by my Gram. I love setting mine on the mantle!

9. Give the dogs a gift. I’m telling you, Maddie (RIP) knew what Christmas was, and she loved getting her little gift each year. I’m convinced she anticipated it with joy! I’ll let you know what Oskar thinks of the holiday.

10. Kiss under the mistletoe as much as possible!

What are your Christmas traditions? Do they include hand made gifts? If so, you might want to read about my newest project offering, The Organized Elf!

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Mar 01

Thank you so much for playing along with my month-long comment contest.  I really enjoyed reading your responses to my questions.  Your responses often made me consider new ideas or familiar ideas in new ways, and that rocks my world!


The winner with the most comments is….


What does she win, beyond my gratitude for sticking with me all month (wait, you all have that!)?  I will weave her a scarf in colors that we agree upon.  Won't that be fun?!  

Christina is moderating the March Madness group on Ravelry, so if you're into knitting and finishing small projects this month, be sure to hop on over there and join us!

Did you purchase one of Scout's Olympic Medals?  We're having a March Medals KAL on the Scout's Swag board on Ravelry…everyone will knit whatever s/he likes, and we'll all be knitting with the same yarn.

What do you think.  Should I make socks (no purl Monkeys) or a shawl (Traveling Woman) with my skein?

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Random. Totally Random. 25/28

Feb 25

A look inside my feeble little brain.

Melanie is totally to blame for my addiction to chocolate bite-sized rice cakes dipped in peanut butter.

Karen replied to my Twitter request for topics with many subjects.  One I considered was Pet Peeves, but I'm not feeling snarky tonight.  I'll save that for later.  The other was the epic battle: Rain vs. Snow.  Which sucks more?

In my world, the rain sucks more.  I kind of liked rain until I lived in New Mexico.  Rain scared the living creepy crawlies out of me there, and I'm not easily scared (well, except by scary movie trailers.  They scare me).  The landscape is not really amenable to rain, and I drove through roads that were way more flooded than I'm used to on many occasions.  I have since hated rain.  My yard is a lake, but not deep enough to warrant getting out my kayak.

I don't get days off for rain (my sister in TN says her kids do, though!). I get days off with snow. I love, love, love days off.  

I also love the "How Quickly you Gonna Get Up" song in the Nike ad.

Pam (no blog) from my SnB group tweeted that I should write about what would go on the ark that is clearly in order in this rain.  I guess I'd just try to fit my house in the ark.

I don't have much else.  I'm going to watch the women skate.  I liked watching the Canadian women's hockey team get their gold medals.  That was touching.  


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