Winter Survival Kit

It was a lovely, lovely surprise when we got home from Denver yesterday and found the package from my Swag Swap partner! Yaaay! So fun! My generous partner provided survival items for Lailah and me! Just look at the goodies! Two items are not in the picture, which I'll explain in a bit.

  First of all, I know I'll survive with the darling project bag she sent. The Boxer bag is just precious! Love it! I am sharing the pretzel treats with my DH so everyone in the house is enjoying goodies from my swap partner. I thank her so much! You can see how cute the Boxer puppies calendar is--so sweet. She also sent a cute metal button that says "Keep calm & Hug a Boxer" which I stuck on the cork board in the kitchen. In addition to the set of raw hide chews, Lailah received this:

See it there? The red thing, yes, that's it. Guess who loves it and carries it all through the house and outdoors? If you guessed me, you're wrong! ;)  It is a clever toy for an adult dog--a goofy looking dog cover that has an empty water bottle in it. You know that loud crinkling sound the plastic bottle makes when you squeeze it? Like when you're in a meeting and the bottle loudly crunches and you try to slide under the table? Yep, that sound. Add a squeaker to that and there it is! Lailah thinks it's great! I love watching her play with it.

Sincere thanks  to my swap partner on Ravelry Swag Swap.

Oh.....have you heard about the Super Bowl?? Here's what you need to say

GOoooooo Broncos!!!

(Full diclosure: two of my former students are affiliated with the Bronco organization--one is a scout, the other is a player.  WOOT-WOOT!)


Reading Flowers and Yarning Country Fresh

Now that I have finished a couple of front burner projects, I have been able to get back to work on this throw for our home. I first posted about it here.

We don't absolutely need another throw. The others I've made for us are well-used after so many years  decades so, I want a couple of fresh, new throws to toss around willy-nilly. Yes, I do have another started but not touched for months!
I first posted about this Country Fresh Blanket here where I've listed my stash yarn for this project along with a link to the pattern.

My current read is here.     What are you reading and yarning?     


Reading Jackie

Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in BooksReading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Heavily researched account of books edited by Jackie Onassis with accompanying anecdotes and a heavy dose of pseudo-psychology. This book is speculative and maybe a touch gossipy?

View all my reviews


The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers 
"For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake. The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Carolina and Indian jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused."     
---From The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Would you continue reading this book?


Another Prayer Shawl

I finished another prayer shawl for our church ministry through the Care Committee. This is a simple pattern called "Anna's Shawl". I did change the stitch work a bit to speed the process. The pattern is written in single crochet for the main part. I went from single to half double to double for the black part. I used Bucilla Melody, an old yarn, which is a mohair blend. My project page is here.

 It is one of my least favorite shawls, I think because of the yarn and the colors. A neighbor gave me this yarn a couple of years ago. Someone had given it to her sister long ago. Sounds like it was passed from person to person over the years, so I decided it most certainly needed some hooky love. I hope it will bless someone in need of prayers and comfort.


The Kitchen House

The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This highly disturbing book is eminently readable. The lives of people on a Southern plantation in the late 18th century is not the sort of book I typically read. However, the force of the writing and the power of the story are so overwhelming that I was immediately entranced and completely absorbed in the events. Wow.

View all my reviews

Book Beginnings

 From Reading Jackie by William Kuhn:
"Miss Porter's School is a college prep school for girls arranged in a dozen historic houses on either side of a two-lane highway running through Farmington, a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. Most of the girls are boarders, but a few are day students from the neighborhood."
 "Much of her work at Viking had been with Bryan Holme and Studio Books division, which specialized in large-format illustrated books. Jackie was friends with the ballet critic Francis Mason when he was also the assistant director of the Morgan Library."

What are you reading?


Yarning and Reading

My newest book and project are pleasing
and interesting. The book is Reading Jackie by William Kuhn, which reviews personal reading by Jackie Kennedy Onassis as well as the 100 books that she edited. The author attempts to gain insight to Mrs. Onassis through these books.

The "Simple Lace Shawl" from the Lion Brand web site is the new knitting project. The center section is knitted first. Then stitches are picked up on each side for the right and left panels. Since I haven't yet made this construction, I decided it would be fun to try even if I don't relish picking up stitches. We'll see how that goes!
What are you stitching and knitting?


Dish Cloth Mystery KAL


Do you enjoy mystery? Intrigue? The vast unknown? Well then, the mystery dishcloth KAL is for you! Get a few lines of the pattern each day and have a new square in no time! I save some to use as afghan squares.
                                         Details are at the bottom of this post.

 Partridge in a Pear Tree
(He's looking over his back. See his little beak?)
Are you interested in mystery Kals or CALs?


If Kennedy Lived -- First Paragraph
I've just begun reading speculative fiction by Jeff Greenfield, If Kennedy Lived. The author developed his story based on what would be plausible given existing facts. It opens with this:
'It's raining, Mr. President.'
'I'm up,' he said to his valet, George Thomas, through the door of the master bedroom of Suite 850, and walked to the window. His hosts had borrowed priceless paintings from local museums--a Monet, a Picasso, a Van Gogh--but eyes were drawn to the gloomy weather, and to a large crowd gathered below: a fitting blend of bad and good news for this trip.

 Are you curious about speculative fiction?


The Lake of Dreams

The Lake of DreamsThe Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of those I-finished-it-because-I-started-it books. It was interesting enough, yet I tired of the repeated and quite elaborate descriptions of places, things,and people. It was very appealling initially, but the volume of unecessary words grew and billowed and became completely out of proportion for this reader. The story lines are clever and appealing, so if you don't mind repetition and like a decent story, this may be the book for you.

View all my reviews

My 2013 reading wap-up on Goodreads says that I read 63 books this year, which is fewer than the 65 books in 2012. 2014? One book. ;) I don't set reading goals, just enjoy reading. However, it is interesting to review the year to see what I've read. Oh, the book with most pages in 2013 --and one that I relished--is The Queen Mother:The Official Biography by William Shawcross at 1,120 pages.

Do you set reading goals and join challenges?


Chemo Hat and a Good Book

 The chemo cap that I mentioned here is finished and ready to send off to our nephew's wife. I hope that this little cap will bless her with comfort and love.


This is a great pattern, which means that it is both pretty and quick! Grab your size 8 needles and some worsted weight--I used "I Love This Yarn"--and get the free pattern at Head Huggers.

The Crochet Boulevard
Here are a couple of funky owls for her little ones when Mommy gets her pretty hat. These were from my brief owl period when I was making hats and toys. If I ever remember where I found the pattern for these, I will add it later!!
My book beginning quote is from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Opening line:
When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through travel brochures that were beside his bed.
Sooo, that could go in several directions, couldn't it? Is he going on a trip and doesn't want her to know? Will they be traveling together? Did one or both recently return from a journey? Not exactly compelling, is it? Of course, I must read on! There's not too much to glean at this point other than they must have spent the night together.
And, from page 56:
Rupert's voice broke in. "Look, we're only telling you now because we both care about you. We didn't want you to hear it from someone else. But, you know, life goes on. You must know that. It's been two years, after all."

Would you continue reading?


First Book of 2014

Sheila at Book Journey invites us to share our first book of 2014. It's interesting to visit her blog and see the books and people starting 2014 together! My first book is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I'm curious to see where my first book will lead!

And my first knitting project of the new year is a chemo hat for our nephew's young wife. She has stage 3 breast cancer. Sad news that is being met with a positive attitude and courage. Their children are one and three years old. They are in their early 30's---so young to have to face such a challenge. This simple pattern yields such a pretty hat. You can see a completed hat here that I had made for a friend quite a while ago. You can get the free pattern at

Join Ginny at Small Things to see more projects and books.