Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day the whole year through.

-Irish Proverb


May your New Year be filled with love, joy, tranquility, and abundance.

Love to all my readers,


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Love: Bubbles

What guides us is children's response, their joy in learning to dance, to sing, to live together. It should be a guide to the whole world.

-Yehudi Menuhin

glitterxxveins, photobucket

More precisely, I love when William comes to me with a bottle of them and says "Bubbles!!" with all of the enthusiasm in his little body. And the squeals of delight when one pops on his nose or he manages to get one with his big toe. That he seems to be discovering them for the first time every time I blow on that wand. The way that the girls on the church nursery twirl around in delight under bubble showers.

I love the way the light reflects off of them, like little rainbows, and the miracle of little fragile balls that float to the heavens and then *pop!* at that perfect moment. How wonderful that something so simple could cause such joy!

Celebrity Comment!

I'm all geeked up! As you know, I wrote (and have written) about my joy in receiving "The Knitter's Book of Yarn" for Christmas. Well, imagine my joy when Clara Parkes left a comment on my post! I am in total yarny geekland! Thanks, Clara!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Knitter's Book of Yarn Is Mine!!!

A quick post, in which I must share with you that I got "The Knitter's Book of Yarn" by Clara Parkes for Christmas. I have been scheming up ways to buy this book, despite the initial $40 price tag because I LOVE IT (incidentally, Amazon has it for under $20 now, so buy it! You will not be disappointed. It is a book of pure knitting genius)! In fact, many moons ago, I wrote about it in this here blog, lamenting my ethical obligation to take it back to the library.

I briefly considered buying it and writing it off as a business expense (I do, after all, run a recycled yarns business).

I thought I could buy it and chalk it up to my addiction to cashmere.

The idea of buying it and hiding the receipt from my husband briefly surfaced, but this is just too duplicitous for me.

So I asked my mom for it, and, on Christmas, I got it! I have been having trouble putting it down. I want to make everything in it, and I read the same chapters again and again. I seriously think that we knitters need a 12 Step Program. But since we don't have one, I shall love my book (and dream of the day when I can afford "The Knitter's Book of Wool."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Beautiful Winter

Christmas day is over. I am sitting here eating leftover turkey and broccoli and corn casserole trying to come up with some inspiring or witty or just interesting thing to say, but frankly, I am exhausted.

Since it is finally snowing enough to leave something on the ground, I thought I'd peruse the "Winter" pictures on photobucket and share a few with you.

nocluemchugh, photobucket

It's been a while since I've made a snow angel. I don't like being wet and cold. This year, since I have a 34 month old to teach, I think I'll have to suck it up and make one!

jenn_totherescue, photobucket

We get our fair share of ice storms in Central Ohio - it's a good reason to make a fire and knit, which is what I will be tending to when I complete this post!

KimCandy2, photobucket

This reminds me of my street after a snow storm. My neighbor has a beautiful Douglas fir that droops with snow, the streets gleam, and it feels like God cleaned the world.

mezucc, photobucket

Our neighborhood, which was once barren of children, is now filled with lots of wild boys. I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of this tomorrow!

xxx_crash_xxx, photobucket

Well, I must go tend to my fire. It is looking a little whimpy and could use a few more logs. Back to the hat I'm knitting for my mother, which I'll let you know all about once I'm done. Happy Winter!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Baby Changes Everything

By Faith Hill

Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come
A baby changes everything

Not a ring
On her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything


The man she loves she's never touched
How will she keep his trust
A baby changes everything

And she cries, oh she cries

She has to leave, go far away
Heaven knows she can't stay
A baby changes everything


She can feel it's coming soon
There`s no place, there`s no room
A baby changes everything


And she cries and she cries o she cries

Shepherds all gather round
Up above a star shines down
A baby changes everything


Choir of angels say
Glory to the newborn king
A baby changes everything
Everything, everything, every day



My whole life is turned around
I was lost and now i`m found
A baby changes everything


""I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." John 11:25 - 26

Merry Christmas - May His love shine down on you today and always.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vintage Christmas

The family and I went to my mom and aunt's condo for our family Christmas celebration last night. It was a wonderful time, especially when a rollicking game of charades was started!

My mom and aunt have long been antique and flea market shoppers. And treasures from their childhoods are displayed throughout their house.

Welcome in!

Here Comes Santa Clause!

Christmas Sparkle

Choirs Sing

Santa and Mary

Tiny Old Elf

Have a Wonderful Holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Delectable Danish Wedding Cookies

Do you remember those delectable Danish Wedding Cookies that Pillsbury (I think) used to make? They came in a pink bag and my mom used to buy a bag of them for me every time I got really sick. They quit making them and I have been mourning their loss every since.

THEN . . . I looked up the recipe on Recipezaar, and lo and behold KittyKitty, one of the great recipezaar contributors, posted "I Love Danish Wedding Cookies" and my life became a little more complete.

The only thing that I did differently with the recipe was that I toasted the pecans. I will even admit that a few of them got burnt, but I used them anyway, and they tasted AMAZING! Oh, and I always add about 3 times the amount of vanilla. I love the vanilla.


This is my little antique nut chopper that I found when I was a kid at an antique store. I always use it instead of my food processor because it works so much better and it's just so darn cute.


The dough is then shaped into balls (that are supposed to be littler than these; as usual, I ended up with less than 1/3 of the cookies that I was supposed to get from the batch). Do you see the pastry tool in the background? That was my great grandmother's. When I got it after my grandparents died, I really wasn't sure what it was. But I use it all the time now - it helps me make pie crusts that are to die for! I think it's all those years of German pastry love that have infused into it.


The cookies are then cooled a little and then rolled in powdered sugar. I love that if the cookies are a little too hot, the powdered sugar melts all over the cookies and my fingers (Yum!). Adds that extra little bit of sugary amazingness.

So now I can delight in Danish Wedding Cookies again. I also made a tiny batch of chocolate chip and a bigger batch of peanut butter cookies. I'd also like to make some thumb print cookies and we have some gingerbread mix, too. We'll see if I can get to all of this. I might be in sugar shock from the Danish Wedding cookies, so I'm not making any promises!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Three Wise Men


After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:"

"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"


Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."


After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

(Matthew 2:1-12 - NIV)

An Ode to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

If you have read the Ravelry blog, The Yarn Harlot, or any foodie blog in existence, you most likely have heard of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, the most magnificent ice cream EVER created. Jeni's was founded in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer with the goal of creating artisinal ice creams that were high on flavor (goal met) and low on super-sweetness (again, perfection achieved). The ice creams are made with "fresh ingredients found in the Ohio countryside as well as responsibly-raised exotics from around the world"; all of the sauces, pralines, and additional toppings are created in Jeni's kitchen in Columbus, OH.


I was skeptical at first. I could not get my mind wrapped around Salty Caramel and Thai Chili (peanut butter and coconut with just the right am out of spice to remind one of Thai peanut sauce)ice cream. Then I tasted it. And the Gods sang and the angels descended from heaven. Truly, as an ice cream aficionado, I have never experienced pure nirvana as that first bite of Jeni's.


This is a Black and Tan sundae (this is not related, but they make stout ice cream; it's a favorite). Salty Caramel Ice cream, salted almonds, hot fudge, caramel, and fresh whipped cream with a waffle cone wedge (home made that day, of course). I think manna from heaven possibly tasted like this sundae.


The Dublin location is a study in white and blond wood. The light fixtures are reclaimed milk bottles.

Floats are made with Dry Brand sodas, in flavors like Lavender, Juniper Berry, and Kumquat. I've been a bit of a chicken about these sodas, being a Coke Zero maniac, but they make nice pictures, like here:


And here (along with part of the sundae menu):


Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and visit Jeni's on your next trip to the Columbus area. You can find locations here. If you can't even imagine visiting Columbus (why you wouldn't want to is beyond me; High Street alone is worth the trip), then you can order pints from Jeni's website or Dean and Deluca (if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!).


Jeni's Festive Holiday Cheer

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Super Yummy Yarn

I've been working hard here at Howard Knits recycling beautiful yarns.


This supersoft, wonderfully colorful yarn reminds me of party streamers. It's a cotton, acrylic blend that would make a great hat or mittens and hold its shape well because of the addition of the acrylic. 435 yards available for $9.00.


The most absolutely luscious yarn that I have ever had the pleasure to recycle, this beautiful silk / viscose / alpaca / cashmere blend will leave your fingers happy. 310 yards of this sport / DK weight yarn available for $17.50.


Buttery soft merino wool / angora / cashmere blend that would make the coziest, yummiest hat or mittens. 220 yards of worsted weight yarn for $10.00.


I LOVE this yarn! It is the perfect inky blue tweed acrylic / wool / angora blend. It's fuzzy, chunky, perfect for a great scarf or, well, anything! 425 yards for $9.00

I also have laceweight cotton, virgin irish wool, super soft red angora, and many others, and multiple skeins of most. I love this yarn, and I'm sure that you will, too!


Took some time to decorate tha mantle today. It's really starting to look like Christmas here!

7 Random Christmas Bits

The Cattle Are Lowing

We were singing Christmas carols tonight and I wondered, "what exactly does it mean that the cattle are lowing?" The answer was a bit of a let-down. They are mooing. Just mooing, like cows do. I guess the line "The cattle are mooing, the poor baby wakes," didn't make the final cut.

mrjohnno_bucket, photobucket

And What's with Figgy Pudding?

It sounds pretty darn good to me. Sort of a carrot cake (with figs instead of carrots) mixed with custard, it contains figs, apples, dates, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. And suet. Can't forget that. It is steamed in a pudding mold for four hours (which is probably why more people don't make it (that, and the suet)).

The Patron Saint of Christmas

I went to Catholic school for a few years, and I have a fascination with saints. According to American Catholic, there really isn't a saint for this day; instead, we should remember the shepherds to which the angel of the Lord appeared. Then there's Saint Nicholas, who's day is really December 6th, and who earned his reputation in part by throwing bags of gold into the houses of young women who were too poor for a dowry. On one occassion, to keep from being found out, he threw the money down the chimney. So there you go.


Christmas Cards

The average household mails out 27 Christmas cards annually. I used to send out over 60. Now, I don't send any. Stamps go up every other day! More than three billion Christmas cards are sent out annually. This courtesy of How Stuff Works.

Christmas Colors

So red and green are the colors associated with Christmas, but why? There are two explainations. One is that during Christmas in the days of yore, Miracle Plays were all the rage. And to have a proper one, you needed a Paradise Tree, which was a symbol of the Tree of Knowledge. It was constructed with a pine tree festooned with apples (and Eucharist wafers eventually).

Jenson6, photobucket

The second story is that the green symbolizes the hope brought to mankind with the birth of Christ, often pictured as a pine tree. The red is the blood of Christ as a result of his sacrifice for mankind.

Gift Ideas, but not Really

A search for Christmas gift ideas on Yahoo will yield you 223,000,000 results. That's a lot of Christmas gifts.

Bangs of Expectation

The original Christmas crackers were manufactured in Tom Smith's factory in Norwich, England and were called "Bangs of Expectation." They were also known as Cosaques because the sound they made was reminiscent of the crack made by the Cossack's whips during the Franco-Prussian War. Saltpeter produces the bang, and if too much is used, your Christmas cracker can burst into flames!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Angel Appears to The Shepherds


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

(Luke 2:8-13 - NIV)

Monday Musings

Well, I have a sleepy baby on my lap, so I don't have mush time to write. I'll just tell you the highlights:

Kendall fell and hurt her knee during Synchronized skating practice. She'll have to miss her singles competition this weekend. She is bummed.

Have a great deal of new yarn to post. Spent some time today with a silk cashmere blend. YUM-MY!

Had a wonderful time giving Will a bath, trying to teach him "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (he harmonized in his gobbledy talk beautifully), and reading "Blogging for Bliss" at the same time.


Had a mini breakdown over my total inability to design a web page for my husband's business (dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a web designer!).

Was thrilled to see that I have new readers = must be doing something right.

And now going to take an insanely hot bath while reading Vogue magazine.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Migraine Raving

I am not feeling great (I've been down with a migraine all day and I'm suffering from pre-migraine panic as I am out of Imitrex and cannot get anymore until the 23rd - bah). I also don't really even know what I am going to write about. But I've found that when I'm in my migraine induced fuzziness, great things can emerge, so I'm gonna write something.


Whenever I got a headache around my grandfather, he used to tell the same story. "Whenever anyone in my family got a headache, the solution was cut and dry. Coca-cola. You know, the original kind. Always made the headache go away. That and an aspirin." My grandfather never got over the reformulation of cocaine free Coca-cola. I'm not really sure what that says. Okay. Enough of that.

That's all I got. Need to go find some caffeine (it is the pause that refreshes) and lay down again. Enjoy your reformulated Coca-Cola day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Angel appears to Mary


In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings to you who are higly favored! The Lord is with you."


Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and shall give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be call the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end."


"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."


"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.


Friday, December 11, 2009

The Smithsonian Picture


My mom and I refer to this picture as the Smithsonian picture. It reminds us both of those pictures of familial bliss that you would see in a museum about the 1950's. The story goes that my grandfather had a friend who occasionally took pictures for Life magazine. My grandparents wanted a family photo. This treasure was born.

Pictured (from left to right) are my aunt Crystal, my mom Cheryl, my uncle Howard, my aunt Chelsea (as always wearing the perfect 1950's ensemble), my grandpa Howard (in his Clark Kent phase), my aunt Carol, and my Grandma Rosie. My grandpa's organ, which he played endlessly, also features prominently. My grandpa's music was the soundtrack of our family's life.

My aunt Carol is the keeper of the organ now. Being the only piano player in the family, I have the piano. I actually downgraded from a Baldwin to his custom made Amish piano so that I could have it standing in my living room. Will gets a lot of use out of it; it seems he had my grandfather's ear and can play without the aid of sheet music. I'm a lifelong pianist and can play Beethoven, Chopin, Poulenc, and a little jazz, but to me, none of it sounds as sweet as my grandfather with his shaky fingers playing "Fascination."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

7 Things I Love

Over on Bloom, there was a wonderful post about the 7 things that the author loves. It was such a wonderful post that I wanted to do one myself. I am then supposed to tag 7 people and ask them to write the same post.

If you are reading, consider yourself tagged.



Especially ones that you don't expect, like these beautiful ones along the highway. In gorgeous swags of color that go on for miles. As a gardener, I've tried and tried to make my garden look natural, but I think God has the upper hand as a designer.



Innocence and laughter and giggles over silly things that adults just don't understand. Delighted discovery of those things that are old hat to us old-folk. Seeing the world with new, unjaded eyes. Glee. Boundless energy. Huge hearts full of love.

Baby Feet


I don't know why, but I love little baby toes. This little piggy moments with Will are sublime. And even as he nears three, I still love eating those feeties. I figure someday when he is 16 and has huge stinky feet I'll wonder what I was doing, but for now, I love those little toes.



If I had lived in Puritan Salem, I'm pretty sure I would have been crushed by rocks or burned at the stake, because I am just a cat magnet. I love them and feel a kinship with them. How could you not love this guy, my puffy, snuggly Linus with freckles on his nose? Or kitty purrs and arched backs waiting to be scratched? Yep, they'd think I was a witch.

Country Churches


There's just something serene about them. Even old, abandoned churches. My heart leaps every time I come across one I haven't seen before.



Nothing warms my heart more than the precocious little nuthatch jumping down the side of a tree looking for his next meal.



Apple, pumpkin, peanut butter, pecan, raspberry, peach; I love pie!
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