Sunny days are here again

You know you live in the Northwest when, on those fleetingly rare winter days when the clouds part and the sun shines, your initial response isn’t, “Oh hey, it’s finally sunny. I can stop being depressed now!”, but rather, “Why is it so bright in here? What is THAT?” Funny how quickly this Colorado-born and raised girl, who like all folks from her native state, craved sunshine (Colorado gets about 300 days of sunshine a year) has turned into a dyed-in-the-wool Montanan, who blinks in surprise on sunny winter days. Funny cloud-locked responses aside, I am more than happy to welcome the sun today. It’s just lovely to sit in the warm, bright patch next to the glass sliding door and crochet. And ignore the work I’m supposed to be doing. And crochet.

J blanket halfway

I’m working on a blanket for the Peanut. I showed a picture of it a few days ago in my “Yarn Therapy” post. The blanket is about halfway done after a week’s worth of work. I’m using a herringbone crochet stitch with a pattern of my own devising. You can find a great tutorial here for the stitch. It’s a very easy stitch, and right now I’m totally OK with mindless finger movements so I can concentrate on other things. It’s also a very tight, dense stitch, which I like for the warmth factor.

WEB 1-27-13 herringbone half double crochet

I’m using Berroco yarn, from the Vintage line. It’s nice yarn, soft and easy to work with. Though acrylic yarn is cheaper, I don’t like the way it feels sliding across my fingers as I crochet. Is that weird? There needs to be some wool in yarn for it to be, I don’t know, real.

We’re all finally recovering from the depths of illness over the past week. After three different doctors appointments spread out over the week and a chest x-ray, the doc finally diagnosed the Peanut with bronchitis. Which doesn’t surprise me in the least. I get bronchitis myself nearly every year. A round of antibiotics and every-four-hours treatments with a nebulizer, Peanut has rebounded and is finally back to being my smiley guy. A smiley guy who doesn’t mind sharing my husband’s lap with our cat, Pele.

Lap sharing

 

Had to get out of the sick house this weekend and found myself at my favorite local antique/consignment store. It is truly fabulous in there. And being friends with the owner and therefore getting discounts always helps. I was on the hunt for some chairs for the brewery. We ordered new barstools, but we have one low table and wanted some eclectic chairs. I searched high and low at the local thrift stores and was frankly disgusted to find that the thrift stores all wanted about $35 a chair for rickety sticks that would likely collapse if you looked at them wrong. So I ponied up another $20 bucks a chair and got some solid, nice chairs. They don’t match, but we wanted something “found” and eclectic anyway to go with the rustic theme in the brewery. So, three chairs down and one to go.

And of course, since that antique store is my very favorite, I couldn’t get out the door without picking up some personal things. (Did I mention that I only allow myself in that antique store about twice a year for that very reason?) I found a darling and sturdy teal blue child’s chair for the Peanut. It’s still big, obviously, but I look forward to him growing into it and enjoying his own little chair. It will go great with a little activity table in a year or two. Oh, and here’s the blanket I’m working on again draped over the chair.

Blanket and blue chair

 

Also found the flannel shirt my husband is wearing in the picture above. It’s a vintage Pendleton shirt, made in the U.S.! Sadly a lot of Pendleton’s stuff has been moved to manufacturing overseas. But this shirt, for a lot cheaper than a new one made in China, looked like it would fit so I snapped it up. And Big Country likes it a lot. My final purchases were a crochet doily and crochet table runner. I couldn’t believe how cheaply she was selling them (sssshh don’t tell her that!). The doily was $3 and the table runner $8. I could work on a table runner like that for WEEKS. And I sure as hell wouldn’t charge a measly 8 bucks for it!

Crochet runner

Isn’t it great? Fits perfectly on “Peanut’s shelf.” (This bookshelf, which is ancient and fabulous, used to be full of books and whatnot, but Peanut would always get into it and make a giant mess. So we cleared it out and put some toys in it for him. Someday it’ll have books in it again.)

So, despite a really stuffy nose, a cough, and a rough night’s sleep last night, I’m feeling a lot more at peace with things than I was last week. I guess sometimes you just have to let things do. Drink some coffee. Crochet. Read a book. And speaking of books… I’m reading a really special one right now that isn’t even published yet! I’ll share it in my next post.

 

Adventure

I made this up in Adobe Illustrator a few days ago (yes, I do random graphic design for fun). The fonts are not mine. They are free fonts (Fertigo Pro Regular and Clipper Script), but I cannot take credit for their awesomeness. The photo is, however, mine.

Adventure

 

The quote is my husband’s. Although his version also includes: “… and if it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong.” I taped a print out (though I plan to frame it) by the door. Huzzah for free art!

We all need a little more adventure in our lives, don’t you think?

Full of cares

Writing this post today I’m full of worry. Figured doing some writing would be therapeutic.

First and foremost care today is that my son has the flu. As in influenza. Which makes me a very sad mama. I hate seeing my little boy looking listless. I hate listening to his coughing. My husband and I were up multiple times last night with the Peanut, taking his temperature (about 101˚F), keeping him propped up so he could breathe better, and rocking rocking rocking in the dark. As my mom told me after the Peanut was born, “you’ll never be free from worry again,” and boy, was she right. A trip to the doctor today yielded what I already knew. We’re to give the Peanut lots of fluids, feed him if he’s hungry but don’t force food, keep a humidifier going in his bedroom, let him scoot around in just a diaper to keep cool, alternate infant Advil and Tylenol, and make sure he gets lots of sleep. I nipped out to the store after his appointment and stocked up on ingredients for a couple different soups. Planning to make lots of soup tonight in case the husband and I get sick, too, so we don’t have to cook. I know the Peanut will be better in a few days, but I can’t help being troubled when my baby is sick.

Second care is what’s happening in the legislature in my state. Montana has extremely antiquated liquor laws. And it would seem this legislature has declared open season against the breweries. The Montana Tavern Association (representing the bars) is hell bent on ruining the brewing industry in this state because god forbid a different alcohol industry is successful. And since the MTA is so powerful, they have many legislators in their pocket. Truly terrifying. Basically the MTA wants to limit the amount of beer breweries can sell in their taprooms far less than what they must distribute (in other words… sell to the bars at vastly reduced prices). The brewery my husband and I are opening is a business model based on 100 percent taproom sales. Everything we’ve done so far is in accordance with state laws. I don’t know what we’ll do if the legislature makes the boneheaded move to limit this booming industry. I don’t why on god’s green earth the legislature would want to limit an industry that employs more than 400 people, with profits of more than $50 million and more than $1.5 million in state taxes. Stupid, shortsighted. And so worrying. We’re terrified our business is going to be ruined before we even get open. If you read this blog and you live in Montana, I’d appreciate a call to your legislators to tell them to limit the brewing industry is madness. I’m in the process of drafting a letter to my legislators, and I really hope it has some effect. What seriously dampened my spirits last week was learning that the speaker of the house is a tavern owner. Makes things feel a bit hopeless. We’ve been trying to rally our social media following, though. The more people who call their legislators, the better.

There are other cares, too, that I won’t share here. But any thoughts/prayers/good vibes are appreciated.

Time to get back to working while I can while the Peanut naps.

Baby hats

I’m at the time of life when the majority of my friends are getting married and having families. Not all of them, but quite a few! So all these babies calls for baby hats! I’ve found I can churn out baby hats in just a few hours. And they’re fun! (The patterns are here and here.) Not much else to say on the topic, so I’ll let the photo do the talking.

Little baby hats

 

The pink one went to Georgia and the blue one went to Oregon. Well traveled hats!

Crochet key keeper

Found a nifty little tutorial about how to make crochet baskets. So I made one, with a few tweaks. Mine’s shorter than the tutorial, but I didn’t need a tall basket to begin. I wanted to make a basket to set on the shelf we have by the front door. It’s so people can put their keys and phones in the little basket while they’re visiting so they don’t get lost. OK, so most people actually just put their keys and phone in their pockets or purse but you know what? I made the basket anyway. And it’s pretty awesome.

Crochet basket 1

I find it deeply amusing that despite my photography skillz I can’t get the color of the yarn to come out on camera as it truly looks in real life. The red yarn in this picture looks really red. Like fire engine red. It’s not! More of a muted deeper red. Ah, well. So it goes. The yarn I used is made in the good ol’ U.S. of A. (and do you know how hard it can be to find U.S.-made yarn?) in Mitchell, Nebraska, which is 9 miles from where my grandparents live. The yarn is Brown Sheep Co., Inc.’s Lambs Pride Superwash Bulky. The colors I used are Red Wing and Grey Heather. It’s a very nice, thick yarn. Not super soft, but not scratchy either. Made a nice tight weave for the basket! (So tight that with this particular yarn my hands were beginning to ache when I wrapped this project up!)

WEB crochet basket 2

And here’s my keys demonstrating the purpose of the basket. I realize now that this also looks like a Maranda Lee advertisement, which it isn’t, but hey, if you’re looking for nifty Montana-made purses, diaper bags, and accessories, you could check out Maranda Lee’s stuff too. She’s got some pretty cute things!

If you’re looking for more crochet patterns and projects, might I suggest you browse over my crochet Pinterest board? Good ideas there, I promise!

Lake hikes

As I think many other folks will agree, when you’re chasing a little kid around all day, trying to get meals on the table, squeezing in a shower somewhere, and oh, yeah, starting a small business, exercise and enjoyment of the beautiful countryside that abounds without can take a back burner. Silliness, I tell you! Silliness!

So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to do yoga. And I’ve been doing that (it feels great!). But I also want to take care of my body more than I have the past few years. It’s not only about weight loss. It’s about being physically active and cultivating a lifestyle that is a model for my children (I should say child, because no, I’m not pregnant, I’m just thinking in future tense). I want my kiddos to grow up being active. We live in an amazing place with scads of recreational opportunities, and it’s foolish to just sit at home when we could be out there in that beauty getting skinny.

So yesterday I went on a short loop snow hike (took the snowshoes but didn’t need them in the end) near the reservoir. And it was awesome. Though I’m still sore as I write this.

Starting at the beginning, I drove up to the trailhead, and when I came to the parking lot, which had about 6-8 inches of snow covering it, I thought to myself: “Self, you probably shouldn’t try to park in there. You’re going to bury the 2-wheel drive Honda Civic lacking snow tires.” So what did I do? Tried to get into the parking lot anyway! So like I thought, I did bury the front tires and that was that. Got about three feet into the driveway to the parking lot. So my friend, who was just behind me with her dogs and baby in her four-wheel-drive, snow-tire fitted car that actually makes sense in this climate/area, tried to get my car rocking so we could push it out, but no dice.

But why ruin a perfectly good hike worrying about the car? It was mostly off the road. So we flipped the flashers on and loaded up the babies and did our hike. Have I ever mentioned that 30 pounds of baby/backpack combined is sorta heavy? Well it is. My shoulders and my hips ache. But that means I did something, right? Yoga will sort out residual aches anyway.

It was a very pleasant hike through the trees around the lake. The weather was fabulous, warm actually, and we both quickly worked up a sweat and started stripping off scarves and gloves. The Peanut babbled away in the backpack and was quite content, even though I had to crawl under several downed trees with him in the backpack. All part of the adventure as I told him!

View from lion lake hike

When we were nearly back to the cars we called a local mechanic to come tug the car out. Which he did for free because he’s a nice guy.

A great little morning adventure!

Lion lake hikers

Holiday centerpiece

OK, so I’m not really into “tablescaping” or fancy place settings when guests are coming over for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I think they look great, but I just don’t have the servingware, the candlesticks (well, I do have four… but they need polishing badly so I’m embarrassed of them currently!), the foufy fouf pumpkin-shaped soup tureens or feather Christmas trees or turtledove salt-and-pepper shakers. (Yes, foufy fouf is the technical term.) I’d like to do more nice table setting for dinners but I usually am more focused on getting the meal ready down to the last second than planning how my table is going to look. And since last time I checked my guests would rather eat food than place mats, I’ll stick with cooking good food.

However! We had some friends over for New Year’s Eve (old people with kids style! which means, eat dinner at 5:30 p.m., everyone goes home at 8 p.m., we’re cleaned up and in bed at 10 p.m.) and I did manage to throw together a last-minute center piece.

It’s a little fruity, with some rustic Montana flair, but I liked it. In my own fruity foufy fouf way.

Center piece 1

I put together the center piece with some things I already had around the house. I used a mule deer antler shed, some pine cones, a red and white snowflake bowl, a ribbon, and some glittery ornament balls.

Center piece 2

 

No nice tablecloth or anything. Just my dinged, scratched, stained, and glass ring-riddled tabletop. Someday I’ll refinish the table or we’ll get a new one. But in the meantime, despite it’s “well loved” appearance, it’s a good table and it was free. And you know what? No one said a word about the table or the center piece (OK, it was a bit weird… but I could totally see something like that popping up in the Pottery Barn catalogue, amirite?), but they liked the food!