Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope your day was filled with friends, family, laughter and love.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Last week after the snow, I came home and found this in our backyard. Every big snowfall, you can bet there will be a new snow angel. It seems to be something that Coleen just loves to do.

Last Sunday we went and got our tree. We don't go far, just to our backyard! There's a group of pines planted by our fence that were planted too close together - so we are harvesting a few to give the others more room. We spent the evening decorating the tree and listening to Christmas carols.

It was so nice to have the tree up! Coleen was home Tuesday and so I spent the day getting Christmas packages ready. The tree lit up, the crinkle of paper, Christmas music in the background and outside it was snowing. Just the sort of thing to put you in the Christmas mood.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Hobbies

Last winter we became a little stir crazy in the long Wisconsin winter- so how do you combat that?

Find some way to get outdoors! We are all learning to cross country ski. We have enough snow now to do some practicing and went out in the woods for a couple of hours. It will be quite fun once we get the hang of it! Both Coleen and I have never been on skis before so there is a bit of a learning curve, but even after only a couple of times out, we are feeling much more confident - at least on the groomed trails.

I'm looking forward to more snow!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pay It Forward

Gwen over at after the dress seems to be good at finding fun games all over blogland.

I managed to be one of the first three to post for Pay It Forward. I love the idea of giving crafty things to cyber-friends so here is your opportunity to in the next year receive something from me. The first three commenters on this post will get a handmade gift. The only catch is that you have to make the same offer to three people on your own blog - that way you pay it forward.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

William's Shirt is finished

I finished William's shirt before Thanksgiving and he was able to wear it to the festivities.

We had a delightful visit and lots of delicious food. Will post soon about the trip.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving prep

William and I spent a large part of Sunday preparing food to take with us to Thanksgiving dinner at William's sister's house in Iowa.

We love to contribute some of our favorite goodies-

The challah will actually become breakfast Thanksgiving morning.

The cranberry sauce has a secret ingredient this year and is delicious!

And the best part of the prep was that William wanted to perfect his cherry pie recipe and had to make one for us to test.

We went this summer and picked sour cherries in Gays Mills, Wisconsin. We have enough frozen for 8-10 pies! Yum!

Here's everything at the end of the day. The cornbread is for stuffing and the squash is for pie.

It's going to be really busy from here on out. We will leave Wednesday night with our car packed to the gills.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bookworm Meme

I was tagged by Gwen at after the dress The rules are simple - open the closest book to me (not my favorite or most intellectual) to page 56 and write out the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that. Then, pass this along to five blogging friends.

Since our computer is in the library, I am close to lots of books so I just had Coleen pick one. She pulled out Concepts of Modern Art edited by Tony Richardson.

Here in the Demoiselles, we have, albeit in a tentative and clumsy fashion, a new approach to the problem of representing three-dimensional volumes on a two-dimensional surface. It is in this that the painting's supreme originality lies. In the heads of the three figures in the left-hand half of the composition, Picasso's intentions are stated in a crude, schematic way: the heads of the two central figures are seen full-face and yet have profile noses, while the head seen in profile has a full-face eye. But in the squatting figure to the right, the most important part of the painting, and the last to be painted, this sort of optical synthesis is more imaginatively applied to the whole figure to produce one of the most revolutionary and compelling images in all art.

And since every art history professor I had in school would tell you that it is really hard to study art without seeing it, here is the image referred to above:

Since, I am not really sure who reads my blog except for my family and Gwen, if you want to participate please do so. Please leave a comment on this post though so I can come and look at your bookshelf.

William's Weaving

Just a couple of pictures of the dish towels William made.

They are really nice. Not only pretty, but soft and very absorbent.

These were finished at the beginning of the month. He is in the process of deciding on his next project.

And now finally, the coat

So, here's Coleen ready for winter. William knit her the tam and the scarf is my family's tartan, which really ties the green coat and red hat together.


and back:

I am quite pleased with it. I had lots of fun with the needle felting on the belt and the pocket welts. I am also pleased with the buttons I found. They have interest without overpowering the other details. - I didn't think about it, but on the back belt the buttons and needle felting are quite close together and a lot of the buttons I looked at clashed with the felting. Thankfully one of the ladies at the quilt shop saw these (I had passed right over them after trying the same design in red and not liking it).

I re-sewed the lining and it looks much better. The sides do not pull up any more.

I really learned alot making this coat and now want to tackle them for William and me. I know there are things that I can improve the next time around and look forward to the challenge.

Thursday, November 20, 2008



not only with Coleen's coat, but William's shirt too!

Just have to get pictures taken now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coleen's coat...almost

I said I was almost done with Coleen's coat. That all I needed to do was add buttons.
Well, I went to La Crosse on Friday and found buttons I really liked at the local quilt store A Stitch in Time. I realized however when I had Coleen try on the coat to make sure the button placement was right that the hem was unacceptably wonky

So I ripped the lining hem out and realized I either cut it too short or misunderstood the directions and sewed it in wrong because the coat hangs perfectly if I just scoot the lining up about an inch. I had bagged the coat and sewed this in by machine originally, but I am just going to resew it by hand.

This picture, with the really bad shadow shows that the lining came all the way down to the bottom edge of the coat - in fact if you were really looking the lining showed (just barely)- so I am glad that I ended up ripping it out anyhow.

After I ripped it out and pinned it where it hung naturally when she was wearing it, it looked more like this:

Hopefully there will be pics tomorrow with it done and ready to wear!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cat Nap

Thomas is the most patient cat. We tucked him in for the evening and he stayed tucked! This is an hour after we had thrown the blanket over him. He wasn't going to let anything disturb his cat nap.

Friday, November 14, 2008


* This picture is from August a couple of years ago. I did not bring my camera this trip, but wanted to include something scenic from Minneapolis. The spoon is in the sculpture garden next to the Walker Art Museum.

We went to Minneapolis last Friday so that I could attend the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo at the Convention Center. It was my first time attending one of these shows and I enjoyed myself. I took three classes and had plenty of time to wander around the vendors booths and find some fun stuff to bring home with me.

I was looking especially for buttons for Coleen's coat because it is finished and I did not buy enough of the buttons that she had originally chosen. Unfortunately I did not find anything suitable, but that didn't keep me from finding other things.

I bought three pieces of fabric. The green and the brown are bamboo/silk blends and the robin's egg blue is a bamboo/silk/wool blend. After dissection our best guess is the brown is the wool, the white bamboo and the blue silk. It is lovelier in person and definitely more blue than this picture conveys. The green and the brown will be shirts for William and I. The blue I am thinking of a jacket and skirt combination for me.

I also couldn't resist this Indonesian sarong. It is actually brown over-dyed with navy blue. It will probably become a blouse or a skirt, but I haven't quite decided yet.

These books are references from two of the classes I took. The classes are really more like one-hour seminars. Both of these classes had lots of good information. Cynthia Guffey warned us ahead of time, that in order to fit all of the information in she talked so fast you would not be able to take notes. Boy was she right! But really quite a delightful speaker. I can see why her class was packed. The book here does outline exactly what she said in class without the charm.

Lorraine Henry talked at a pace you could follow, but did not get through everything she wanted to cover. I got the book from her class because I liked the measuring tapes. One has 0 in the middle, so you can measure back and front(or right and left) at the same time. The other can attach to the first one to help with measuring inseams. Very clever.

The third class was with Lyla Messinger and was more like a trunk show. She showed us several different techniques for edge finishes in knits and showed us how she used them on garments she had made. Of the three, it was my least favorite, but when discussing it afterwards with William, I decided it is also the one that I will use the most. She had some good pointers on working with knits and since knits are quick and easy, these tips will get their fair share of use. I will probably order some notions from her in a couple of months.

While I was there, Coleen and William went to the Walker Art Museum and Magers&Quinn, our favorite bookstore. William also went searching for weaving supplies. We did finally go to the Weaver's Guild on Saturday. They are closed on Saturday, but had a class in session and were very kind and let us look around and make a purchase. William found a really great book on woven Shibori and also bought some cotton to play around with.

We made a quick run to IKEA and REI to do some shopping and then made our way back home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Well, by the lack of posts you might think I have nothing to say, but the opposite is true! I have so much to write about that I don't know where to begin.

I will take a deep breath and start posting about projects and last weekend in Minneapolis tomorrow.

Right now, I'm just posting a pretty picture.

These are dogwood blossoms- one of the things I miss about living in California.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Coleen chose to be a hobbit this year for Halloween, so we pulled out all of our Ottobre magazines and came up with this ensemble:

The vest is from 1/2008- pattern 36.
The shirt is from 3/2005- pattern 36.
The pants are from 4/2005- pattern 16.

And here's the back view:

I really like this shirt. It is made from the scraps from a linen/cotton blend from that I had bought to make the renaissance dresses for my brother's wedding.

The shirt is a classic and Coleen has already requested more. We both especially love the French cuffs and the open collar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Karate Kid

Coleen tested for her green belt in Kyuki-do, a Korean martial art that primarily incorporates elements of Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and Judo. It is the branch of martial arts that our local studio teaches. The following comes from Coleen's manual The Art of Kyuki-do :

"Like many other martial arts, Kyuki-Do incorporates a ranking system that utilizes colored belts. The color of a student's belt symbolizes his or her progression in the art; students start at white belt, and as they become more and more proficient, they promote to higher ranks. Kyuki-do has twelve colored belt ranks before black belt."

To get a new belt means to learn a new form which is a new series of moves that you have to memorize and get proficient in.

Green is the fifth level in this hierarchy. I stayed and watched Coleen during her test and was very impressed with how far she has come along and how high she can kick!

She did quite well on her test. Here she is being presented with her new belt. The old belts go on a special rack that William made for her, so she can see her progress.

This is her main instructor, Mr. Nordie. Doesn't she look pleased as punch with herself?

William and I are very proud of our karate kid!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Especially for Dad

My dad is in Virginia for the next week and called me to ask how to get to my page, so I thought I would send him an extra special hello.

Love you Dad! Have a great trip. We had snow again today...brr!

The picture of Coleen jumping is a few weeks ago when the leaves had just started falling. She spent a good hour outside trying to rake up enough of a pile of leaves to jump in. She did enjoy it!

These pictures are from our last trip to Perrot. It was a gorgeous fall day a couple of weekends ago.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Perrot State Park

We went on a hike in Perrot State Park on Saturday. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

We hiked up along Perrot Ridge Trail. This is the view from the top. The body of water is the Mississippi River. We live about 10 minutes from here.

Here's looking off the other way towards some farmland. The trees are just beginning to turn. We had a couple of frosts last week, but nothing severe.

Coleen caught this leaf as it fell from the trees way above our heads. Boy did she feel smug!

These caterpillars were our companions on the trail. We ran across at least twenty of them moving along the trail. Where are they all going?

Thursday, October 2, 2008


William finished this scarf this week. We bought the fleece at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival last month. He dyed the turquoise. The gray is the natural color of the fleece and then he spun the yarn. Nice, yes?

Meanwhile, I worked on another shirt. This one is turning out quite nicely. I changed the shape of the collar slightly and am much happier with it. I did not try to match the pattern anywhere except the pocket as I used every scrap of fabric just to cut out the shirt. The next shirt, which is already cut out, is a more open plaid and I am trying to match it. Now, I just have to remember to mark all of my pieces right side and wrong side. If you could look closely at the pocket you would notice the twill goes the opposite direction of the rest of the shirt. I looked through my scraps thinking surely there was one large enough for a new pocket, but no... I will have to be happy with this one.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It can be fall now...

Mom sent some green chile from New Mexico.

Doesn't it look delicious? When William got home we pulled out the grill and started roasting it. The smell of roasting chiles just screams out fall to me. In Albuquerque, where I grew up, every grocery store has a chile roaster out in front of the store and the smell permeates the air just as summer is finally over and the days are getting cooler.

When we moved away from Albuquerque, we had to figure out how to roast it ourselves. I think the first year, we did it over the gas burner of our stove. This works great if you only have a few chiles, but can be rather tedious if you have more than a pound or so. We usually get between 10 and 20 pounds, so we had to come up with something better. Hence the grill. A batch of charcoal will do about 5 pounds of chile.

When you roast it, you want the skins to get nicely burnt, but don't want to cook the chiles.

We then put it in foil packets. The chiles will steam in there until they are cool. At this point they are really easy to peel. Since this is our year's supply, we freeze them on sheet trays at this point and then put them into bags. Since they were on the trays first, they don't become an indistinguishable mass, but retain some individuality and you can then pull out as many as you want. Run them under hot water and the skins come right off.

I made tortillas and a salsa cruda with the last tomato in the garden, fresh garlic and the chiles. What a difference fresh ingredients make to humble bean burritos!