Friday, December 26, 2008

Gael David arrived today! 7lbs, 6oz, 18 inches long, lots of dark hair. Mom and Baby and Big Sister are all doing well. Grandma, on the other hand, is a wreck! But very happy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Crackers

Christmas Day brings poinsettias and family gatherings

This year we had CHRISTMAS CRACKERS on our dinner plates. A British tradition, Mary Beth brought them for us.From Wikipedia:

Typically these crackers contain a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper.

We each wore our crowns during dinner.Some of us enjoyed wearing the crowns,some donned them rather reluctantly.

After dinner there was good conversation.

Some of us napped, while wearing the crowns.

We laughed and had a good time while wearing the crowns.

One little guy took off the crown along with everything else!

A good time was had by all.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Everyone I meet is complaining about the weather.....It's cold, It's snowing again, I have to change my plans, I'm sick of shoveling......etc, etc.....

Hey, complaining changes nothing! Adopt a new attitude. Enjoy the winter!
Put on some mittens.
Have something hot in your favorite mug, and wear your jammies while you drink it.

Admire Mother Nature's creativity.
Change what you can, and learn to tolerate the rest.
More snow tonight!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I love meeses to pieces !

Do you remember Pixie and Dixie? It seems to me the cat chasing them would always say "I love meeses to pieces!"

I agree, unless they are live meeses in my house. When I was very young, a new Mom, we lived in an old brick house that had terrible mouse problem.... We did not want to use poison, so we trapped and trapped. By Christmas, we thought we had trapped every last one..... One night, while gazing at our freshly cut and decorated Christmas tree I glimpsed an ornament move. A MOUSE had climbed the tree, crawled out on a branch and was having a little snack of popcorn that I has so carefully strung!! More traps, and that was one mouse that did not see the new year.


This year there are new mice on the tree, and I have been having a lot of fun making them.

Wool sweaters scraps again. It's no wonder I can't throw anything out, I used the smallest bits for these mice.If you love meeses to pieces, leave a comment, just a few words is okay, I will be having a drawing on Christmas Eve to give away a Christmas mouse to hang on YOUR tree, or whatever.. They all have little loops on their backs to insert an ornament hanger. Don't give this mouse to your cat, there are tiny beads and a jingle bell that would be sure to cause indigestion. SO comment for your chance to win! ____________________

Post Script: Yes, that is a purple mouse! I like him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you two-step?

A few weeks back, Delores and Betty and I had made plans to go to a concert in nearby Hartford. In the end I did not attend because of vision issues I was having at the time. I wrote this before the concert/dance...................

The artist is Micheal Martin Murphy, a cowboy singer, and musician. He is most widely know for his single, Wildfire, popular in the 1970.s.. I own almost all of Murphy's his albums including one titled, Cowboy Christmas.
In anticipation of the concert and the upcoming holiday, I dug it out and played this morning.... One particular song inspired this post. That song is called "Two-Step Round the Christmas Tree". Also included are "Cowboy Polka" and "The Santa Claus Schottishe". I encourage you to click on the links, these are tunes guaranteed to put you in the holiday mood, or the cowboy mood, maybe both! I guess maybe I am hoping for a singing cowboy under the tree?

These songs never fail to make me smile, remembering lots of happy times that include dancing... I grew up with a predominately German heritage, lots of polka and the like kind of music. I love dancing,,,,but mostly watching.
I have two left feet and no sense of rhythm,,, My sister is a different story, she can really dance.. One of my earliest memories is of MB dancing for admiring relatives. Even as a toddler, she really had it. (I had other talents, I guess)

MB got it from our mother Merc, I loved watching her dance, she was both graceful and lively in her dancing. I was so proud of her.... the years and arthritis now have her watching others dance.

We would dance in the family room at the farm,,, with the WTKM playing polkas, two-steps and schottiches,,, Merc and MB could tell you the difference, but it was all the same to me....all happy music! My Nana would join in , even in her late 90's, she would enjoy dancing for a song or two.

I suspect I have my fathers genes when it comes to dancing. I love it, but I really stink. My Dad does not dance,,,Some of the other men in the family are dancers, though. My sister's husband is a great dancer, he is Japanese, but he can polka like a true Wisconsinite. And my Dave is a good dancer, he grew up going to lots of wedding dances. His sister's husband was the leader of his own polka band, very popular locally, The Harold Steinbach Band. Dave has tried to teach me, at our wedding we did polka, I felt like I was flying, he spun me so fast. What a great time.

My daughter Lauren and her daughter Emili can dance, too.... Their favorites are Mexican tunes,,,, but a lot of them sound like polkas to me! Have a listen to this.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pink Monday

pink portion partially perfected
profuse pink petals prospering pink portion prevalentperfect pink palliasse protector *
*(look it up, I did.)presenting previous pink petals
pink purling
preceding pink protector


Here is something fun from Lynda's blog, these are books on the list that I have read. Having read some of the books, I question how they made the list, for example,,, The Life of Pi.........I didn't think it was that great,, and Bridget Jone's Diary...........ho hum...


1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicise those you intend to read.

3) Place ** after the books you LOVE.

4) Post your list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte**

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee**

6. The Bible

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 - J D Salinger

19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

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 - Jane 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

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - 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 - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52. Dune - Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos 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 Night-time - 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 - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’ 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 - Kazuo 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 Dumas98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl100.

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Sunday, December 14, 2008


'Tis the season to be giving, I received some lovely gifts yesterday, some tangible. and some not so.

It was a good day at the shop, everyone was in a festive mood. Nicole brought us some homemade cookies

Delores brought me a sheep that she found in Cody, Wyoming on a recent trip.

Isn't he adorable?

He is standing on a scarf that I finished yesterday,,, finishing a knitted item is a gift in itself, don'tcha think?

I spun the yarn and knit the scarf all in the same week! For me, incredible!

Members of the Mayville High School Show Choir stopped in at the shop and did some caroling, a surprise gift.

Best of all, Clay and Alyssa stopped by for a brief visit last night. Clay brought by his homemade maple syrup, I have some for sale at the shop.......(Betty and Lynda, he wants you to have yours for free,,,,)A day like yesterday is a great gift, and I hope I can stop to appreciate my friends and family for the whole year...... especially this holiday season.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa, deconstructed

If you don't want to know what is inside my Santas, don't look at this post. It is photo heavy, and many intimate details are revealed!
Here is a lot of the stuff needed to make a Santa.
Faces, armatures and boots are made in multiples. A number of years back, Dave was recuperating from surgery and he cut out hundreds of pairs of boots for the Santas. I sewed this Santas clothing before I decided to blog about it, so I have no photos of that process. I sewed a sweater, mittens, pants and a cap.

The big whitish thing to the right of the face is an armature, made from fencing wire, stuffing and strips of cloth wrapped around to make a basic humanoid shape, no hands, feet or head. (Not anatomically correct, either)

Here, I am gluing a stuffed mitten to the end of an arm. I use hot glue and burn myself more often than one might think....but if one knows how clumsy I am one might not be surprised.

Pants on, no feet yet
Boots being tied on, the fronts of the boots are stuffed,,, that's right, Santa has no feet inside his boots or hands inside his mittens!
Sweater on, no head yet.
The beginning of a head
The face is glued to the foam ball and wrapped to simulate a normal shaped head,
Then I set him aside for a few minutes while I get the beard ready.
Washed locks from an angora goat make a nice, realistic and true to scale beard.

I tease out the locks, and make a small pile, saving a nice piece of mohair for the moustache.

Special glue is used to apply the beard to the face, note he does not have a moustache or eyebrows yet.

Finished with the face, I turn my attention to the hat. Earlier, I cut and sewed a basic stocking cap from fabric, I will trim it with this lovely mink cuff,

With the lining removed, I cut the mink from the backside with a razor , maintaining the beauty of the fur. ( I also cut myself at this point) I told you I am clumsy.

Santa is ready to be put into position, and his limbs bent to shape.

Here is the finished product, ready for the sledding hill.