Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! I hope that 2011 is better in every way for everyone.

I think I've decided on my resolutions. I'm not going to do the "lose weight" "get healthy" route because I'm already trying to do that anyway. So in 2011 I'm going to make more beads instead of not doing anything and also I'm going to take more pictures and blog more. Those should be easy enough to keep. I hope. The ones I listed the other day also apply.

This afternoon we are going to Sarah's for a little get-together. It should be fun. Elizabeth got a guitar for Christmas so Robert and I are going to help her out a little bit. She's only five, so I don't know how much we can teach her or she will retain, but it might make it easier for Sarah to listen to actual chords than to listen to the noise that Elizabeth has been making.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How awesome are these shoes? They are metallic gold, with sequins sewn onto the sides. I was lucky enough to score these from my friend Ofilia who bought them in Murano, found they did not fit and sold them in the garage sale on Lampwork, Etc. I wore them on Christmas and Christmas Eve. I love, love, love these shoes.

I've been doing a little thinking on New Year's resolutions. I'm not sure I'm going to make any, because they don't last and I always break them. I think that I would like to be thankful every day, even when I'm not having a good day, because I think it's important to recognize the good even if you're feeling bad. I also want to increase my post count on the Woof Board.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New tank for Junior

We finally got our 11-year-old goldfish a new tank. Previously he was living in a 10-gallon tank, and we decided to upgrade. I hope he'll be OK in his new, larger home. I used some of the water from his old home to "seed" the new one.  I also am using the same filter, as it harbors beneficial bacteria.

We thought we'd put him in the new pond next spring, but I'm very hesitant to do that because there's a heron in the neighborhood and I don't want to provide it with an easy meal of my oldest pet. We thought the new tank would be a nice Christmas gift to him and to ourselves.

The orange fish in the background are fake - they're on the scene we put behind the tank so you don't just see wall.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We went to visit my mother yesterday and went to Exeter for lunch. Here is my mom and Martha in front of a store with very cute clothes for children.

We went to the Loaf and Ladle, a nice little sandwich/salad/soup shop. I experimented with my camera by leaving it on the table while I took the pictures.

Martha wanted to get in on the picture, too.

Elizabeth ate nothing of her lunch. She didn't touch her sandwich and ate only a few bites of her soup. On the way home she was complaining that she was hungry. Martha and I told her that we have no sympathy for her and that maybe she should learn to eat when there's food put in front of her. Good thing we're not mothers, huh?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The bubbler in the pond has created a dome of ice over the fountain part. It's kind of cool.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yesterday a sweet little dog named Seamus passed away while undergoing an MRI. I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, but grew to know his sweet, spunky personality online. He had been being treated for disc disease like Java, which is why I think I got so drawn into his story. I felt very connected to him and his owner Colleen, because we had been through the same things. Colleen was finally able to get enough money to get Seamus the MRI he needed because crate rest and medicine were not working. He went under yesterday and did not wake up. It turned out that in addition to the bad discs in his back, he also had a brain tumor. I don't know if the tumor caused him to stop breathing, but the only blessing is that his parents did not have to make the decision of what to do after finding out the results. Rest in Peace, little Seamus.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

New Hat!

Here is a new crop of buttons. Some are experiments and others will have homes on hand-knitted garments. The red one is for Martha's coat, as I misread the directions and only gave her 5 buttons, when she needed 6. The blue ones are for my hat and cowl. They are Uroboros Alpine Blue with Silver Lake and  House of Blues frit. The square is black with ochre and red ; just an experiment. The black round one with the goldstone swirl is for my sweater coat when I finish it. The two on the front left are Kalypso, reduced and imprinted with a Jim Moore texture stamp. Fun! I had a good time experimenting.

The hat, taken without a flash and with the buttons placed.

The hat, on my head. The buttons have been sewn on. Just in time because it is coooooold out!

Friday, December 03, 2010

I heard from the lady who bought the BT tree and she loves it. She sent me this picture with the tree and her dog. I'm glad she's happy with it. I always worry. Her dog is very cute. I think his name is Vader.

I also have given up on that particular hat I was making. I was having a terrible time with it. I'm a pretty good knitter, but this one was really making me crazy. I was ripping out, knitting, ripping out, knitting. Bleah. Life is way too short, and knitting should be fun. I have ordered myself some different yarn - some of my favorite in fact - Malabrigo Merino. It's so soft and yummy. I also chose a different pattern - one that will need buttons for a decoration. I love Amy's system for making buttons. It is so easy. And fun.

I spent the morning watching TV from my childhood. I found the Poldark series on Netflix streaming, so I watched the first three episodes. Martha and I really liked that Captain Poldark, and 35 years later he's still pretty cute.

Carmen, thanks for giving me the cyber-elbow. I enjoyed the daily posts, too. I will try not to neglect my blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I did it! I posted every day in November. I'm happy that December is on the way. We finished decorating the house and I'm looking forward to diving into my advent calendar. This one has chocolate and a little verse behind each door.

If you're looking for an on-line advent calendar, there's a nice selection at this blog post. There are spiritual ones, one geared towards children and lots more. I've bookmarked my favorite to check each day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Here's the start of my new hat. I kind of like it. The yarn is soft and pretty; not really my colors, but it matches my coat. I bought the coat on the internet and I love everything about it except the color. The website showed a vibrant blue and when it came it was powder blue; not my favorite. It's very close to the color at the very inner edge of the rim of the hat, when it promised to be more like the second to last color in the hat. I almost sent it back, but the other color choices were even duller. Plus, I loved everything else about the coat, especially the warmth.

I sent off the Boston Terrier Christmas tree this afternoon. The ending price was $107.50! I'm happy that it made that much for the Bostons in need.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I've been skimping on the photos the last few days. Now that things have settled back down to normal, I can post pictures again. Today I began decorating for the season. It's fun and makes the house look festive. To me, the season is all about "light" and  humans' craving for the sunshine to return. I love to put candles in the windows and shine lights on the wreaths decorating my house.

This morning, the pond was frozen over for the first time, except for the little area where the bubbler is. Its job is to keep the water from freezing solid so it's good to see that it's working. I've been enjoying watching the birds on our new feeders. It really doesn't take them long to find them.

I haven't finished my Einstein Coat yet. I have one more sleeve and the collar to go. I am going to break my own rules and start another project before I've finished my previous one, because I really need a new hat for winter. I have a new coat and my old hat will not match, so I bought some pretty matching yarn and I have a pattern picked out so I'm going to start that today. After I finish, I'll finish the EC. I promise.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yesterday we went to see Tangled, a very sweet, funny movie. Plus it was in 3D, which is very fun too. It's a cartoon, and I think they lend themselves particularly well to 3D.

Today, we bought some wreaths for our doors, two new birdfeeders and some seed. I'm hoping the bears are asleep by now and we'll take the feeders down by April when the bears wake up. We still have to decorate by placing candles in the windows, but I think I might save that for tomorrow. We'll see.

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's quarter of four in the afternoon and I'm still in my PJ's. I'm going to get dressed now, honest. Yesterday was a lot of work, but everything came out tasting delicious.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things are pretty calm here. The stuffing is made, the dessert is baking and the turkey is going into the oven at 11:00. I have so much to be thankful for that a list would just be boring. I try to remind myself that I'm very fortunate and I try to be grateful. So Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My auction is up to $76.00! I'm very excited.

I think we're pretty well prepared for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to this. It's always fun and very festive.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here are your buttons. Hope you like 'em. I still need to glue on the backs, but other than that they're done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am typing this entry on my new iPad. It's pretty cool!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I usually do not make my bed. It doesn't bother me that I'm downstairs now and upstairs my bed is in disarray.It seems silly to do something you're just going to undo later tonight and then have to redo tomorrow. Why? What is the point?

But, I recently purchased a new down comforter and bedspread, so yesterday, we did make the bed. So I think that I will make the bed later this morning, because it looks nice and it's good to get into a bed where the sheets aren't all pulled over one way and the blankets are pulled the opposite way. I guess that is the point.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bobby loves to lie by the fire in his bed. He looks so cozy. He is such a Boston Terrier. It only took a few days to see the extreme similarities between him and Java. I love this dog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The yard people came yesterday and did our leaves. The grass looks like a beautiful green carpet. Not that I love a lawn, because I don't, but I do like the new shoots of the new grass just uncovered.

Sunday is my birthday and I asked for an iPad. I hope the birthday fairy comes through.

I have officially given up on that particular cookie recipe. I think I will have more success in a buttery shortbread kind of recipe. I'm going to keep looking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Somewhere in there, there is a pond. All the leaves fell off the trees last night and when I say all, I mean only some. There are actually more leaves on the trees still, waiting to come down.

In a mouse hunt update, we have caught 11 now.

And I mixed up Mamanette (from Belgium) and Papa (from Holland). My mother let me know last night. I might try making the cookies once more today. Hopefully this time they will come out right.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is tonight's dinner in the crock-pot. It's lamb curry and it smells divine. The recipe called for cubed lamb meat, and the grocery store didn't have any, so I used ground lamb and made it into meatballs. This is just one of the things I did today.

Another thing I did today was make a button for Martha's Einstein coat. She finished yesterday so I have got to get cracking on those buttons. I only have one tool so I bought 4 more to be able to make them in one day instead of it taking 5 days. I also made some more beads for the little tree, this time in Christmas colors.

Here's an update on the Dutch Butter Cookie continuing saga. I made them twice yesterday. The first time I halved the butter to 1 1/2 cups and it was still too much. So I made them again using 3/4 cup of butter and I thought it was still a little much. I'm thinking of trying again with 1/2 cup butter. I also want to reduce the temperature and the cooking time, as all three batches came out brown and I don't remember Mamanette's cookies being brown; they were yellow with brown chewy edges. I don't feel like making them again today so maybe tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I made the cookies and the recipe is wrong. It called for three cups of butter (6 sticks). That was way too much. The cookies came out of the oven with a half-inch of liquid butter floating on the top. This photo is after I refrigerated it to get it to congeal. I'm thinking that I should halve the butter and only add 3 sticks, not 3 cups, because I think that this is the right recipe, as the cookie part that I dug out of the liquid butter had the consistency I remember.  So I will try again, this time with less butter.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I've been thinking about Mamanette recently. She was a woman who was like a second grandmother to me. (I say second, because my father's mother died when I was three, so I only had one grandmother for most of my childhood). Mamanette's real name was Jeannette and she and her husband, Papa, cleaned my father's and grandfather's office. Mamanette would also come to our house every Thursday and help my mom. Sometimes Mamanette and Papa would take us for the weekend while my parents went to the bar convention or other similar weekend function.

Mamanette was born in 1902 in Holland and came to this country pretty early. I don't know her whole story, but she met Papa, who was from Belgium, married him and their son Junior was born here. Mamanette was an exceedingly strict person. Her house was immaculate and she had the neatest, most beautiful handwriting. When we went to her house, she would not let us touch the walls, as they were made of tile and would show any little fingerprint. I remember the sound of a chime clock and that she had a Steiff bear that she would only occasionally let us play with. I bet that thing is worth a fortune today.

She made us eat runny scrambled eggs and she would mash carrots in with potatoes, but she also turned us on to "papercook" with cream cheese. I don't even know what papercook is, but I think it was some kind of date nut bread. To this day I love sweet breads with cream cheese on it.

I googled her the other day and found out she died in 2001. She had moved to California to live with her daughter in law as her son had predeceased her. We lost touch with her after my wedding in 1988.

I also remember she used to make the most decadent butter cookies. They were made of mostly butter and they were so bad for you but were so so so good. I want to find the recipe. I've been googling Dutch butter cookies and looking at the recipes and this one is the closest, I think. I'm baking them now. I'll let you know how they are.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Today we brought Java out for a walk in the stroller, and then let her walk home. It's really helping the muscles in her legs build back up.

Today Mrs. Gaimari came home from the rehabilitation facility where she was staying after having a knee replacement. She's happy to be home finally.

Tonight is a knitting circle with Christine Lavin and then a concert with Christine Lavin and Don White. I'm looking forward to both events.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This is a picture of the Christmas tree I'm going to auction off in a week or so. The proceeds will go to Friends of Homeless Animals, who I do volunteer work for. This picture shows all the ornaments I made, so I think I need to make a few more - maybe in red and green - to fill it out as the back of the tree is bare. I bought myself another tree so maybe I'll make one for me, too.

The past few mornings, our favorite little place for breakfast has been closed for repairs, so we have been trying new and different places. Today we stopped at the grain store and bought some farm eggs. I'm petrified of finding a chicken inside. I hope they do it right and candle them. I think if that happened to me, I'd be off eggs for life. At least someone else would have to do the cracking.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yesterday I swear I saw a bald eagle. It was flying over the corn field in Hollis, not too far from the Nashua river. I think it's fitting as today is Veteran's day and the eagle of course is a symbol of this country. Many people on Facebook are thanking veterans for their service and I join them. I think of my Grandfather who fought in WWII and my uncle who served in the army in the early 60's.

Java is continuing to get better. No signs of a relapse. She drops down to the next lower dose of prenisone on Saturday and I cannot wait. Perhaps she won't be so thirsty or so wont to pee in the house.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

These are the beads I made for the ornament swap on the Boston Terrier board I go to. The person I'm swapping with has a Boston named Rosco. The head ornament is a hollow bead, which I hadn't made in a long time. The other bead has the new style of pictoral bead I learned from Caitlin Hyde's class at the Gathering this summer. I hope she likes them.

It was fun getting into the studio yesterday. I even cleaned all the beads in my bead bucket, washed mandrels and dipped them too. The only beads I have still to clean are the ones from yesterday.

I also knitted 4 rows. And did a bunch of reading.

All in all, a good day!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I have a bunch of beads to clean, so today I'm going to do that. I did get into the studio to make some prototype buttons for Martha's sweater and a couple of beads for my Boston Terrier Christmas tree. I also made another ornament for an online ornament swap I'm involved in. Now I have the afternoon to knit or read after I clean beads. It's a grey day, but it's pretty warm considering the date.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I like to have a picture on my blog every day, but today's picture is a bit disjointed. It was taken on a beautiful day, which today is not.It's another cold, icky, rainy fall day. It even snowed last night in some places. I'm not sure what to do today. I'm thinking of starting on the bead room in earnest, but it's hard to get motivated.

Yesterday I solved my "not enough yarn" dilemma by going with Martha to the yarn store and picking up one more skein. I probably will not need it but I feel more secure now that I have it. Martha definitely ran out of yarn; she had to buy two more skeins.

And the time change is still kicking my butt. I was up again today at 4:00 am, because I'm used to waking at 5:00. Plus last night I fell asleep during my 9:00 show, because it was really 10:00, and I missed it. :(

I do wish it were a nicer day, because we've been walking Java a couple times per day to try to build up her leg muscles, which are wasting away because of the prednisone. We started walking her on the leash about a week ago and I can really see a difference, so it's working. The only problem is that she will not walk away from the house. She will put on the brakes and just stand there and because of her neck and back problems, pulling her is out of the question. She will walk towards the house, though, so what we do is we either carry her out to the street or put her in the stroller and walk her out to the street and let her walk back. I fear that I'm getting a reputation as the crazy lady who dresses her dog up like a baby in diapers and a onesie who takes the dog out for rides in a stroller. But there's a reason for all of those things. Believe me, I didn't have kids for a reason and have no desire to be diapering or strollering anything at my age, nevermind my dog. :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Mouse Hunt

We've been having a mouse problem. We realized it this past summer when Robert was cleaning the garage and found a mother mouse and her babies nesting in a blanket in the closet on the shelf. Being the kind-hearted soul that he is, he left her there. Fast forward a month or so to when I go into my glove compartment and find a nest of fluff (no mice or any mouse signs) sitting on my owner's manual. We now realize that this has got to end. So we clean the garage. Mommy mouse is still in the closet, so we relocate her and the nest to the woods and we think we have it solved.

Since the weather has gotten colder, though, we have been hearing scratching sounds in the walls. Eew. We've always had a mouse or two every year as we live in the woods, but now we are hearing them! So we called an exterminator, who sealed up all the holes where mice can come in and set traps in the places we've seen evidence of mice: the attic, the garage and the cellar. So far we have caught 10 mice; most of them in one trap in the electrical closet in the cellar. The traps are mounted vertically on the wall. If I ever see a mouse climbing down a wall I think I'd freak. 

We do have a cat, but almost every time he's caught a mouse, he brings it into our bed, still alive, to play with. This usually happens about 3 am. Thanks, Gary.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Tonight we have to set the clocks back one hour. This is a pain. It disturbs my sleeping pattern and throws my schedule off. The dogs don't get it so making them do everything an hour later is going to throw them off, too. There is good and bad with this, I guess. I do like that we get an extra hour but I don't like the 4:30 pm sunset. I won't miss waking up in the dark, that's for sure. I think the sun didn't come up today until 7:20 am. That's insane. When it's dark, I want to stay in bed.  It was very difficult to get out of bed this morning.  Tomorrow it'll be 6:20ish when the sun comes up, so that's good. I also don't like having to manually change all the clocks in the house. I especially don't like weeks later finding the one clock I forgot to change and having it throw me off for a second.

The good news is that I'm finished with the body of my knitting project. All I have left to do are the sleeves and the collar. Oh and make the buttons. I have three skeins of yarn left. I'm hoping it's enough. I always worry that I won't have enough yarn. Always. I'm pretty sure I will have enough, but a little part of me says "what if you don't?" It gets me every time.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Yesterday I finished putting together the storage shelves in the bead room. Robert put the outside frames together for me on Saturday and I finished them up by putting in the shelves. I really like this system. It was expensive but worth every penny.

I haven't put any beading stuff away yet. I think I'm afraid to tackle that table but it's going to have to happen some day. What I did do was put away my knitting things in the taller cabinet on the right. I have a drawer for each type of needle and the larger drawers will hold my skeins of yarn for different projects I want to do. Looking at my stash of yarn, it looks like I have 5 or 6 projects in the works. The green yarn is for a shawl I've made before and want to make again in the pretty green color and the black and white yarn is for a pair of Boston Terrier mittens I want to make.

This drawer has my double pointed needles. The great thing is that doing just this gets all the knitting stuff out of the living room, where I had been keeping it. It'll be good to have one place to put my crafting things.

My straight needles:

The yarn in their drawers:

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It's a gross, cold, rainy, gray day. I'm going to knit and work on my bead room storage shelves.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

At least the commercials are over and the signs will come down. This was perhaps the meanest-spirited most bitter election campaign I've seen. There were not only ad wars, but there were sign wars. The opposition would put their sign on either side of the candidate's sign in order to block it. And it wasn't a pro-opposition sign that was placed, it would be an anti-candidate sign. I've never seen that before. And it was both parties that did that, not just one. I'm just glad it's over.