Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Making the Most of Winter's End

February days are often cold and gray. However as the northern hemisphere begins to turn ever so slowly toward Spring, the light begins to change. I mean to enjoy the last winter days. Late afternoon and again after dinner, I brew a cup of tea. A week or so ago, my son sent me a tea sampler of Harney and Sons Teas. Since then, we have been chatting about various flavors. My favorites are Egyptian Chamomile and Japanese Sencha (Green Tea.) I don't do lots of baking but something about a winter day calls for warm brownies or a homemade cookie. At least once a week, I make a pot of soup. While I tend the soup, I watch the sunset. Spectacular winter sunsets are compensation for cold days. If I could, I'd knit something the color of the sunsets. Instead I bought some green yarn.       

This Spring and Summer will bring two new babies to our family. One baby will be born to a nephew and wife and the other to a niece and husband. Currently I am knitting a toddler size Antler Cardigan. I bought this Perfection Worsted Yarn from my local yarn shop. It is an acrylic/domestic merino wool blend. Generally I don't knit with acrylic yarns but this has a nice hand and it will wash well. I finished two small sleeves and cast on the body this week. I knit the sleeves on two circular needles, a method that is easiest on my arm and shoulder. The gender of this babe will be a surprise so I chose a medium green color. I usually knit baby sweaters in a 9 months or larger size as little ones begin life at variable weights and then grow quickly. Their clothing needs to be loose enough to be comfortable with some room to wiggle. I continue working on the Christmas Quilt squares for my youngest grandson. He has certainly become a toddler that likes to move and needs plenty of room to wiggle and climb.

Enjoy the yarn on your needles, homemade soup, hot drinks, and winter sunsets. They won't last forever.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Messy Creations

Today sun is streaming in the windows as the recent heavy snowfall melts. Earlier this morning I saw a robin on my windowsill. Robins winter in Nebraska but even so the sight of that rust colored breast against a blue sky hints of Spring.

Currently I am making small books from a set of plain envelopes and cards purchased at a craft store. I adapted the You Tube Envelope Mini Album Series to make a small book. The videos provide clear detailed instructions for making a small scrapbooking album. Since these books are a container for my poems, I did less decorating. Each of my books requires four envelopes, two cards, colored card stock, cardboard or chipboard for the book covers, decorative duct tape, ribbon, and a few pieces of decorative paper. I considered recycling postcards or photography from a magazine but don't want to violate copyright on previously published material. Instead I used my photographs and a few pieces of scrapbooking paper. Fortunately, I have a table in the basement where I am able to spread out materials because making books is a messy process.
One reference (I can't find it right now) suggests planning two books of any particular method because putting together books is a learning process. Amen. I made two envelope books. Hopefully the next books will have fewer mistakes. I like these little books because I can tuck different poems into them. Last year, I made a chapbook by printing poems in landscape style and then sewing the pages and cover together. Each poem in my envelope book is printed on a single sheet. Both book types have their advantages so I will make them again.

Yesterday I took care of my sweet grandsons and I can tell you there is nothing in the world like a peanut butter hug. When the little one went down for his nap, E and I got out the art supplies. The last time I took care of them, we searched the computer to answer his question: "Why is a macaroni penguin called a macaroni penguin?" This weekend, I thought it would be fun to make a macaroni penguin but E had another idea. He cut different colors of construction paper into odd shaped pieces. Then he taped and glued them all back together. While he decorated his "project" with markers and glitter glue, I made the penguin. As ever, the process was messy but oh so fun.  His art project was much more interesting than my preconceived penguin. I should have known.