lovely invite

3 01 2012

The 2012 Year of Lovely Things site has been updated and the sign-up form is ready to go. Woot!

Want to play? It is super simple.

1 : Make a list of 52 fun activities or accomplishments (small things that you can sprinkle into your week or that embellish your larger plans/goals). Each one should be doable within a day or a week.

2 : Complete the 2012 sign-up form on Google docs. You will be added to the Participants list within 1-2 days after I receive your form. I’ll also send you a graphic if you’d like to use it for a blog, etc.

3 : Go and enjoy your year, and post updates as you progress through you list.

And as I’ve said before, there’s no pressure if they don’t happen, but how nice if they do. It’s just my way to deliberately add a little more joy into everyday life.


lovely things 2012

2 01 2012

My new year’s list of lovely things:

watch a thunderstorm | visit a garden | take a picnic to the Outer Banks | visit a historic place | go fishing with the boys | go camping in the mountains | pick berries | visit a local farm | play at the beach | go to a festival

re-upholster a chair | try zumba | learn about a local environmental group

pretzels | Aimee’s okra pickles | Nutella pastries | bread with Bebe | taco night for Mr. P | biscotti | a pitcher of sun tea | comfort soup | cookies w/Bebe | kiddo-friendly sushi rolls

invite friends to meet for bowling | have a backyard movie night | invite friends over for a champagne brunch | have a garden party | have friends over for make-your-own pizza

support public library | call a friend who lives far away | volunteer | donate clothes/toys | join a community Earth Day project | support local food bank | send a care package

make summer pants for Bebe | stencil a floor rug | write three poems | embroider something | add crocheted trim to a pair of pillowcases | finish sweater for Mr. P | make a bottle of Soulemama’s ‘bug-away’ | make a couple of baby gifts | make a Harvest Notebook for our new garden | do a project with autumn leaves

watch a foreign movie | dance with Mr. P | get flowers | buy some pretty yarn | watch the sunrise | get a french manicure | plant a fruit tree

farewell 2011

1 01 2012

You were a funny kind of year – exhausting in so very many ways, yet sprinkled with some wonderful grace notes – and I am relieved to see the end of you.

An interesting year lies ahead. We can expect regular blog posts again. We’ve lots to share & to celebrate. Tomorrow we’ll check-in briefly – we’re still traveling home across 8 states.

Right now I have a hotel bed to crash into, a tired three-year old who’s eager for his good-night story, and a new list to finish for another Year of Lovely Things.

For my Lovely friends from previous years, sorry for the holiday delays, sign-ups will go live Jan 2.

Wishing you all joy and well-being in the new year. See you again in 2012.

never-never land – and socks

24 06 2011

Exciting and lovely: I am starting my first sock.

duckies - wip1

Tomorrow we’ll review our adventures from the past couple weeks – eek!! sorry – but first I will gush a little about my Newest Thing. Knitting socks. As I’ve written and bemoaned often, DPNs are not my friend (that’s ‘double-pointed needles’ for any non-knitting readers). Since you have to use DPNs to knit socks, ergo I’d never make socks. And now I eat my adamant words. Again.

I know you’re laughing at me, girls. I wave my tiny needles at you. And my bursting-out-of-containers yarn stash. And the binders stuffed with knitting patterns that I recently reorganized in a fit of craft geekery/insomnia the other night.

So I am starting to make my first sock. It’s fast & exciting, and I may fall very hard for sock knitting. I found a lovely pattern by Samantha Hayes that calls for a sport weight yarn, which knits up speedily due to the larger stitch size – a bonus since I recently finished an Endless Project involving some gorgeous yet takes-forever-to-make-progress fingering weight yarn. Many of the other project reviews on Ravelry mentioned how fast and easy this pattern is, and so far I completely agree. Even with additional length added to the top ribbing & more lace repeats, I finished the leg section in just a day. Zoom! Love that.

duckies - wip2

We’ll see how I feel later today after working through turning the heel and making gussets. Gussets on anything are like craft kryptonite for me. Or if this were a romance novel, gussets would be the Villain or Obstacle that makes Happily For Now/Ever After seem completely unattainable.

And yes: I just admitted to reading romance novels. It’s been another Newest Thing this year – and a soothing fix while so many other dreams & plans have been turned bass ackwards and thrown out the window.

We’ll see how things develop. More updates tomorrow.

craft nemesis defeated

17 03 2011

How often does a nemesis arrive in the mail?

a package from Versailles

Especially from France – Versailles, even, which for no good reason I associate with visions of lace and cupcakes and tiny cups of espresso sipped from under green umbrellas at a street cafe. But yes, here it is:

balthazar - nemesis placket closeup

The Placket. My nemesis of 3 dimensional puzzle piecing. Source of Wailing Cursing Failure in several of my other sewing and knitting projects. DEFEATED. Booyah!!

balthazar tunic

And the pattern was entirely in French, which makes me wonder if I should just translate my other Epic Craft Disasters into a foreign languages and see if they sort themselves out that way, too…

balthazar - trying it on

Bebe has a new shirt, Mama has a new skill. That’s a good end of the day. (Definitely enough to balance out the 12 hours of whirling craziness that was the rest of the day – huge splodge of butternut soup on the carpet; orange soup stains on the wall and various bits of furniture; small tide of milk sweeping across the dining room table while Bebe cheerfully peered up into his empty cup and shook a couple more drops out; and several other incidents that made me crave a vat of brownies and a vacation. On a beach. Far away.)

Craft: sewing
Pattern: Balthazar by Citronille

For more sewing fun, check out this week’s Sewing Bee.

air + space

4 03 2011

We try to go out on a big adventure each week – preferably not expensive or complicated, just something that requires a little extra travel and a lot of potential fun.

air and space museum - main hanger

Our big adventure for this week was a trip to the National Air & Space Museum – Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. Huge hit with Bebe. Huge. Picture the small person trotting along the aisles shouting “oh! airplane!” repeatedly and crowing with delight. Two hours of completely thrilled and active toddler = great museum experience. He made the docents laugh and they joked he was probably going to be a pilot someday.

And then there was the rip-roaring tantrum when it was time to leave. Eesh.

Bebe has an awfully loud voice, and the museum is basically series of open, connected hangers, so you can imagine the shrieking echoes he produced. Moments of public mortification seem to be an intrinsic part of parenthood. Maybe that’s just me – and maybe everyone else has kids who don’t shriek like mine does. Oy!

I was so looking forward to sharing some of the great things we saw at the museum. Unfortunately I turned off the camera flash, which – combined with chasing Bebe – means that my pictures all came out blurry. Boo. But blurry or not, this was totally cool:

air and space museum - enterprise

How often does someone get to stand next to a space shuttle? So cool!

Definitely a trip worth repeating soon (minus the tantrum).

growth : building winter

20 02 2011

The spring equinox is still four weeks away, but I am already dreaming of flowers and warmer days:

wee embroidery

(Building Winter is a weekly meme for mid-winter: This week, what bits of your life have you relied on, slogged through, and cherished? Moving through the cold, short hours between late dawn and early sunset, we rely on the small cornerstones of our daily / weekly / seasonal routine; slog through the dull, irritating, or careening detours; and cherish the created moments that – through our own effort or others’ – reconnect us with our selves or our community.)

This past week was focused on growth: encouraging (and struggling through) the stirrings of new life, interests, skills, and willpower.

This week…

I’ve relied on:

kind and thoughtful friends who share gifts of food and news; coffee; more coffee; donuts (or muffin) and coffee. And chocolate.

I’ve slogged through:

Bebe enacting strike and yawping protest at bedtimes and naptimes; twisted, twinging, wobbly knee pain; errands that should be simple (like grocery shopping) yet were fraught with stress (Bebe shrieking like it is the Terrible & Most Horrible End of the Universe while I’m trying to seat him in a shopping cart). Oy!

I’ve cherished:

vintage shopping fun with a new friend;

a golden run of warm and sunny days for frolicking outside – no coats, sometimes no sweaters, and one day: sandals and short pants!!

windy day at ferry farm

a Skype-powered Sip & Knit with my bestest girls – plotting our Maryland Sheep & Wool 2011 shenigans;

combining my new-and-wonky crochet skills with my older-and-prettier embroidery skills to make wee little brooches.

wee blooms wip wee bloom brooches

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