Monthly Archives: January 2009

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Blue …

… is the color cast by the shadows at dusk yesterday when I took this picture of all of our new snow.  Isn’t it pretty?  I love the snow.  Too bad Mr. Spikey Haired Snowman didn’t stick around…there could have been a Spikey Haired girlfriend in it for him.  (My yummy new snow needs an awesome Melly to adorn it with snow angels!)


Blue is also the color of blueberries.  Or so they say.  I personally think they should be called purpleberries, ’cause they don’t look very blue to me.  But whatever.  Diana is hosting a food challenge where each week they cook foods made from the 11 best foods you aren’t eating.  This week’s challenge is blueberries, so I thought I’d play along.  I haven’t always been a fan of blueberries, but after I found out a few years ago that they are a superfood, I found a new appreciation for them.


Oh, and just to get sidetracked here, while I was taking blueberry pictures, I decided I needed a plate with some blue on it to make my little blueberries look a little more…blue.  It reminded me of a story I’ve been meaning to tell you about these plates.  I realize a lot of people don’t like blue, but do you like my pretty plates?  (The answer is yes, LOL.)


When MeMum and her sister were young and starting their families, my grandmother said to them, “If one of you will name a daughter after my mother, that baby will inherit my pretty blue china.”  My aunt had a little girl first, but she passed on the offer (perhaps because her name is Ann, which might be confusing?) and being the next-born granddaughter, my great-grandmother’s name became mine.   But, the sad thing is, when I was a little girl, my grandmother died in a house fire and most of the china was destroyed in the fire.  For many years, I only had a few place settings of that blue china, but one day, MeMum found Replacements.

The whole point of telling you this story is to tell you about Replacements.  Do you know about Replacements?  They are a fantastic company located in North Carolina and they specialize in replacing lost dinnerware (china, sterling, silver, etc.)  Over the years, MeMum has given me Christmas presents of replacement pieces of the blue china.  She found Replacements before we even knew what the internet was, and she used to place her orders over the phone.  They have incredible, helpful customer service.   The internet has made their service so cool — now you can search for your dinnerware pattern and see if they have any of it in stock.  And, the really cool thing is that once they know what patterns you’re interested in, they generate lists of what they have available and mail them to you.  They’ve grown into an incredible service — their website says they have over 13 million pieces in their inventory and they even ship outside of the US.  They have a huge showroom too … one of these days I hope to visit.  (Note:  Replacements is NOT like going to the thrift shop.  It’s a service for hard-to-find items and they aren’t cheap!)

So.  File that little tidbit into your little tidbit file.  That could be the most valuable thing I’ll ever tell you.  Someday, if not already, you’re going to need Replacements.  Now, back to the blueberries…


Oddly enough, Diana mentioned my VERY favorite blueberry recipe in her posting with blueberry recipe ideas. It’s Ina Garten’s Blueberry Crumb Cake.  I’m pretty sure the healthy blueberries cancel out all the butter and sugar, so if you’re dieting, don’t worry.  I LOVE this recipe, and you already know how much I love Ina.  As much as I love Sawyer, when they tell me I can only take one person to that desert island, he’s getting dumped and I’m taking Ina.


Because, look what she’s done for my patisserie dome. Ina’s little blueberry crumb cake completes my patisserie dome.  Have a great weekend — and for a complete one, make this blueberry crumb cake!



Did you all have a good weekend? I was very happy to come home from my trip and just lie around most of the weekend, not doing much. I did manage to finish up and block the scarf I was working on when the quilty peeps and I escaped last weekend.

Bine Scarf

It’s a late birthday present for my youngest niece (these January birthdays kill me after the rush of Christmas!) She received a new brown coat for Christmas, so I decided to make her a quick scarf to go with it.

Bine Scarf

The yarn is Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) and I was really impressed that as I added each new ball, the same pattern continued. It even ended up in the same striping pattern that was at the beginning of the scarf. I’ve never had such good luck with self striping yarns before.

Bine Scarf

I didn’t have a pattern — I just wanted a simple rib-type pattern. I cast on 35 stitches on size 8 needles and repeated two rows (Row 1: Knit, Row 2: Knit 1, Purl 1) until it was as long as I wanted. I ended up using 3 balls of yarn.

Bine Scarf

Mr. Spikey Haired Snowman conned me out of it for a little bit, but it kept him so warm that he wasn’t wearing it for long.  And see his little snowman eyes?  When it was all over, I placed them on the bumper of my car.  Then I drove to MeMum’s.  Then I drove to MyDadLovesMeBestSister’s.  And finally to Barnes and Noble for a little magazine ogling.  And when I came out of B&N, there sat those eyes still on my bumper.  Pretty funny.

Bine Scarf

So.  New week.  New Project.  I hope it’s as good for you!


P.S.  You must go check out the fabulous 100th post giveaway going on over at Bitty Bits and Pieces.  And tell her I sent you LOL!

A Few Wallets

I’ve been trying so hard to catch up on all your blogs this week, but I suffered a setback with the season premiere of LOST last night.  I’m sorry, but, as much as I love you, I love Sawyer more.  I was thrilled to see that the writers finally came to their senses and provided some excellent Shirtless Sawyer Scenes.  I might have drooled on the remote control, just a little.  Ok, a Lot.  If you’re fairly new to this blog, you’ve missed my affair with Sawyer.  It all started when I saw this.  (WARNING:  Fabric Fondling.  Clicking on that picture will make you fall for Sawyer, but you should know that he’s MINE.  I declared it long ago.  Even Hot Monica acquiesced way back when, for fear of an Ugly Sawyer Throw Down.)

Ahem.  Just a moment while I straighten my skirt and re-gain my composure.

There.  As I mentioned in my last post, I had a belated birthday with SweetiePie last Sunday.  She requested a new wallet for her birthday and since my wallet had a few holes in it, I decided to make a new one for me too.


SweetiePie picked her fabrics and I thought hers turned out pretty cute.  She loves monograms too, so I put her monogram on the front and an embroidered star on the back — ’cause (cornball alert!) she’s a star for taking such good care of TheFirstChild while he’s in school.  I put buttons on the back of my wallet.


The pattern is called “A Safe Place” by My Favorite things.  I love all the little pockets on the inside, but I made one big change.  The pattern calls for a velcro strap across the top and that would never work for me, as I’m the kind of person who crams receipts and papers into my wallet.  So, I put zippers around the edges.   It’s a huge pain to get that zipper sewn in there (because the wallet won’t lie flat on one end), but it’s very worth it to me.


Below is the inside of SweetiePie’s wallet.  I like how her fabrics coordinated.


My old wallet lasted about three years.  The edges (where the zipper ribbon is below) along the binding fray and wear out.  I suppose I could have tried to replace the binding on the old wallet, but it was faded and besides, I was ready for a fabric change.  I love my posh fabric.  I’m thinking maybe I should hoard some of it.


I like having a bigger wallet for everyday, but for special occasions, I like a smaller wallet, so I grab the one that Lucy made me. Which also works, ’cause I don’t want to wear Lucy’s wallet out.


Now I have three years to rest until he next wallet. Yipee! Have a good weekend everyone!


Real Life Took Over

Thanks to those of you who let me know that my last post was all goofy.  It seemed to be a problem for those of you who use Internet Explorer for a browser and I wasn’t around to fix it until Sunday night, ’cause real life took over and I was busy running around.

On Friday and Saturday, the Quilty Peeps (minus 1 — we missed you Gurney!) and I headed south (in hopes of warmth) to visit Cami and the girls at Clementines.  We had a fab, relaxing afternoon knitting at the shop and ordered Chinese take-out for dinner.  Then, the girls decided they’d try to kill us by taking us on a “pub crawl.”  Apparently I’m getting too old for that behavior, ’cause I’m still tired!  And because I’m an idjit and forgot my camera, I’m borrowing Cami’s pics.  Here, we’re posing (Wilson style, of course) in front of Clementine’s in approximately 10 degree F weather.

Cami Peeps

L to R, that’s Melly, Robin, Moi and Cami – Noemi is our photographer.  (Btw, Cami, thanks for calling me a blond.  Gray-haired women everywhere love you!)  After the freezing pose, the ladies took us to “The Willard”.  We had a great time, and in true Cami Peep fashion, we learned several new things, including a new verb that can’t be put in print, because, well, this is a family blog LOL.  Here’s a pic of the Quilty Peeps and I considering our menu.

Quilty Peeps

L to R this time is Junie, Jewels and Moi.  After The Willard, we ended up at a karaoke bar where we suffered mightily at the hands of LOTS of bad singing.  Except, of course for Melly.  They should have muffled everyone else and let Melly sing all night — that woman can sing!  You’d be very proud of Cami and I too — we sat in those “pubs” and whipped out our knitting.  We looked kind of funny and the other girls wimped out but it was really fun.  Thank You, Thank You Cami Peeps — we had a wonderful time and we’re already looking forward to the next visit — AND the new pub crawl rules!  Oh, and Jewels will be planning something to top flashing all of us!

The rest of my weekend was a blur.  Got home on Saturday night and went to Last Chance Harvey (Loved It! – Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson — what’s not to love?) with TheManoftheHouse.  Then on Sunday, I traveled to see TheFirstChild and SweetiePie for a belated SweetiePie birthday (gift coming soon).  Then back home and off to NJ yesterday with a quick trip into NYC for dinner with SweetiePie’s best friend.  I was so tired by the time I got to my hotel room last night, I couldn’t even turn my computer on.  So, hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up with some blog reading this week.

In other news, here’s the result of my annual Amazon Christmas gift card:

Crafty Books

Not sure I’ll ever make anything from Home Sewn, but it’s a pretty book.  And Cookie Craft is very cool — I REALLY want to make cookies like the ones in the book.

And finally, whether you’re beside yourself with Joy in the knowledge that our new president will lead us into a new and brighter future, or you’re wondering how the American people could be duped by a guy who promised change and is now appointing a bunch of Washington re-treads, you have to ask yourself … How CA-UUUTE is this picture?


During the inaguration, I noticed Malia Obama taking pictures of the enormous crowd with her camera. Apparently she’s been documenting the inaugural week.  Can you imagine how very exciting it must be to be 10 years old, have your own little point-and-shoot camera, and be able to take up-close-and-personal pictures of your Dad on the biggest day of his political career?   So, so Cool!



Holy Toledo!  Is it ever cold here.  If you’re not in the middle part of the US, you’re probably tired of hearing about our COLD weather.  My car said it was -15 degrees F tonight when I was on my way home from my book group.  I even took a quilt in to work today so that I could bring it out to my car at the end of the day to buffer me from the cold car seats.  (My butt-warmer thingy is broken — poor me.)  I’m sure Karen is thinking what a wimp I am — her temps have been WAY lower than ours.

Speaking of Karen….looky what arrived in the mail today.

Farmhouse Patterns

I ordered that cute little snowman and book from Farmhouse Woolens.  I couldn’t help it, my hand slipped.  It’s too cold to do anything outside, so a little internet shopping accidentally happened.  I had another accident too.


Aren’t they pretty?  I ordered these Darla fabrics from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.  They’re so soft and yummy, I can’t wait to do something with them.  And before you ask…no, I do not know what I’m doing with them.  I told you it was an accident and I couldn’t help myself.  Randi kept showing such pretty pictures of projects she’s made with these fabrics and she just wore me down.  I told her she’s like my kids.  They just keep showing me something they want until I finally give in just to get them to shut up!  Not that I want Randi to shut up — Keep showing your beautiful Darla creations Randi — I love the inspiration.

Anyway, both ladies have impeccable (and FAST) service and it was very exciting to find these packages in the mail tonight.  It made things all warm and happy in the house.  Thanks for your great service ladies!

Ok, if you’re not a book person, you can be excused!  For the rest of you, I’m sure you’ve seen this 100 books meme.  I’ve been wanting to do it, so I thought I’d give it a try.  And just for the record, I think this is a really goofy list.  I have no idea where it came from, but it’s missing many excellent books (for example, Beloved by Toni Morrison and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (two in my top 10), not to mention many classics.  Plus, there are a LOT of questionable books IMHO, like The DaVinci Code and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  Ok books… but in the top 100???

So, here’s the deal:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (I’m using an asterisk, ’cause wordpress doesn’t have an auto-underline tool and it’s too late to be manually entering the .html code.

And I’m throwing in **, for books that I want to read:

1. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen (can you believe it? For Shame!) **
2. The Lord of the Rings — JRR Tolkein
3. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte **
4. Harry Potter Series — JK Rowling **
5. To Kill a Mocking Bird — Harper Lee
6. The Bible (This seems odd to be on this list — you don’t read the Bible like a novel, you read and study it.)
7. Wuthering Heights — Emily Bronte *
8. Nineteen Eighty Four — George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations — Charles Dickens **
11. Little Women — Louisa M. Alcott *
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy *
13. Catch 22 — Joseph Heller **
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare **
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier *
16. The Hobbit — JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong — Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye — JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch — George Eliot **
21. Gone With the Wind — Margaret Mitchel
22. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald *
23. Bleak House — Charles Dickens **
24. War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy **
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited — Evelyn Waugh **
27. Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoyevsky **
28. Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows — Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy **
32. David Copperfield — Charles Dickens **
33. Chronicles of Narnia — CS Lewis
34. Emma — Jan Austen **
35. Persuasion — Jane Austen **
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe — CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini **
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh — AA Milne *
41. Animal Farm — George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code — Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez (aka One Hundred Years of Hell)
44. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving *
45. The Woman in White — Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables — LM Montgomery
47. Far From the Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy **
48. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies — Wiliam Golding **
50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi — Yan Martel
52. Dune — Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Biggons
54. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen (clearly, I have an Austen hole — it must be fixed!) **
55. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind — Carlow Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities — Charles Dickens **
58. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime — Mark Haddon **
60. Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men — John Steinbeck **
62. Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History — Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas
66. On the Road — Jack Kerouac **
67. Jude the Obscure — Tomas Hardy **
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary — Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children — Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick — Herman Melville **
71. Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens
72. Dracula — Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes from a Small Island — Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses — James Joyce **
76. The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath **
77. Swallows and Amazons — Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal — Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair — William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession — AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas — David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple — Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day — Kazui Ishiguro **
85. Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web — EB White
88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven — Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection — Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory — Iain Banks
94. Watership Down — Richard Adams **
95. A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers — Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet — William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables — Victor Hugo

I know I’ve seen other versions of this meme around.  If I were to re-do this one, here are a few from the Modern Libraries Top 100 Lists that I would add (if I haven’t read them, I want to):

1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — James Joyce
2. Atlas Shrugged — Ayn Rand *
3. To The Lighthouse — Virginia Woolf
4. An American Tragedy — Theodore Dreiser
5. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter — Carson McCullers
6. Slaughterhouse Five — Kurt Vonnegut
7. Invisible Man — Ralph Ellison
8. Tender is the Night — F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. As I Lay Dying — William Faulkner
10. The Sun Also Rises — Ernest Hemingway
11. The Age of Innocence — Edith Warton
12. Death Comes for the Archbishop –Willa Cather
13. A Farewell to Arms — Ernest Hemingway
14. Angle of Repose — Wallace Stegner *
15. Sophie’s Choice –William Styron
16. My Antonia — Willa Cather
17. Farenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
18. Beloved – Toni Morrison *

Personally, I think they should have made the list from our book group list (which will be updated soon) — it’s lots more fun haha.  As you can see, I have a LOT more reading to do (and that includes a TON of blogs that I’m behind on).   Have a good weekend everybody!


Oh!  and p.s. — I’m SO excited that so many of you have signed up for the signature block swap — go look at Connie’s sidebar to see who signed up!