Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Glitter, Weiners and One Little Gargoyle

This is our glittery tree in Cumberland, all fake and sparkly. It's sorta cartoony but I really love it. I already took down all the Christmas stuff in Barnesville so I wouldn't have to do it when we return. But it's nice to be greeted by the glam of this beauty.

and not so glittery... My husband, Houston, grew up in Cumberland and ate at Curtis' for years. It's a classic little dive in downtown Cumberland, serving Coney Island dogs loaded with a heap of onions and heartburn inducing chili. I don't do the dogs, but their shakes and fries are worth the fat.

The waitress comes to your booth, takes your order, then yells at the 'cooks' behind the counter, "SIX DOGS, FULL WORKS!" About two minutes later, she reappears with the six dogs and at least six more on paper plates balanced all the way up her left arm. In the old days, the weiners were called 'sweats' cuz the person who brought the dogs had large, hairy, sweaty arms. Yum, doesn't that sound tasty?!

Walking back home (burning 1/2 fry's worth of calories, even with all the hills) we passed one of my favorite houses in Cumberland, this gorgeous Gothic.

(can you find the gargoyle above?) Here's to a whole new year to fulfill your dreams, reach for a star and do one more thing to make this world a better place. Happy 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Spirit

I'm just sitting here by the blazing fire, our Christmas tree brightly lit, cookies baking in the oven, with a hint of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen, listening to dorky, smarmy Christmas music. I'm alone for the moment and relishing it but am also looking forward to having all by boys home, about 2 hours from now. I am so into the holiday spirit this year. I'm singing along to the songs (as much as I can sing, mostly humming off key) and I've caught myself dancing through the rooms. It would be perfect if it was snowing. We have more guests coming tonight so have to make beds, make lasagna and salad, bake a few pies and finish the cookies. But for the time being, I'll be in this Christmas moment.

Our tree is hung with mostly vintage ornaments that I've collected over the years. My mom sent me boxes of them awhile back that she picked up at a yard sale. Score! I LOVE these delicate glass globes. My childhood Christmas tree was also festooned with these ornaments.

This is my kid's favorite ornament. It's a farm scene (we think it's our farm) with "Merry Christmas" stomped in the snow and a small airplane circling overhead pulling a banner that reads "Spirit of St. Nick" and a little boy (Forrest, or is it Garrett or Aramin?!) waving. I always hung it on the tree just below eye level so the smallest boy could see it, mesmerized by the plane circling around and around. Now it's above just 5' high so I can see it, since they are all nearly 6' tall.

Here's wishing you a warm, golden, glittery, sugary holiday. I hope you are surrounded by family and friends and hold warm memories from year's past. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kitty porn

Our wood stove is burning constantly now and the cats hardly leave the couch that is right next to the stove. Ozzie loves to lay like this, totally relaxed. It's difficult to convince them that they are outdoor cats when it's 12 degrees outside!

I'm feeling kinda sorry for the chickens out there in this cold. How do their legs stay warm with no feathers or hair on them? I could knit them REALLY skinny leg warmers. Meanwhile, Ozzie is keeping this section of the couch warm.

Enough with the paparazzi! Whoa, are his eyes really that green?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

On this shortest day of the year, I'm posting some pics from the last few weeks that reflect the holiday season. My two favorite days of the year are the summer and winter solstices. We are all so attuned to light, whether we know it or not. December 21 marks the changing of light and the first day of winter, when the days will begin again to get longer. For some reason I relish these extra few minutes of light every day. June 21st is my all time favorite day of the year because it's the longest day and the beginning of summer. Above is a window display in Frederick, when some friends and I went to First Saturday. I thought it was a perfect display of wintery wonder.

This is looking out the back window of my studio during our holiday tour. The first 2 weeks of December are devoted to the tour. It was nice to see so many of you during the weekends.

Tasman and Casey are working dogs during the tour. They greet the customers and guide them to the door. This was my attempt to get them to pose for a cute photo. Trying to get two golden retrievers to pose, especially one who has the attention span of a gnat, is really hard. Here they are, not listening and not understanding that I want them to just sit and look adorable.

See any dogs? Nope, that's because they are over to the right wrestling, not sitting quietly by the nice winter display. Grrr!

OK. Here's the best we could do. They do look pretty stylish in their red bandanas though.

Ann and I went over to our friend, Judy's cabin last week. She had fallen the day before and hurt her feet badly. We took her to the urgent care center to have x-rays to see if one foot was broken. Thank goodness it wasn't. She insisted on taking us to lunch in Shepardstown. We chose a Mid-Eastern type place in an historic building with a charming storefront. There was red drapey material on the ceiling, imitating a tent, wonderful mid-Eastern music playing and was quite cozey. We had a great lunch, got Judy settled at a small table in the front with a pot of steamy hot tea and her foot up. Ann and I then walked up and down main street, hopping into stores that caught our attention with their cheery window displays. It even started snowing, adding to the holiday charm. We rescued Judy, drove back to her log cabin, turned on the Christmas lights, started a fire, made some tea and sat a spell, taking in all the holiday spirit of happiness with friends. Above is Judy's tree, alight in the eve.

and this is the same tree and I quickly walked by it.

She had a tiny tree, surrounded by her antique art supplies.

This is blurry but I love her inside window that used to be an outside window last year.

Cheyenne sitting by the tree, enjoying the lights.

For over 20 years, our group of friends out here have had a progressive dinner party that we call 'Eat & Run'. We all start out for nibbles at one house, split up to 3 different houses for a sit down dinner, then come together again for dessert and gift exchange at another's home. It's a holiday tradition and this year 32 people showed up. Above is my dinner table.

Julie showed up with these awesome shoes. She kicks butt!

And this is Tina's charming holiday display in her kitchen. I love this time of year as we take time to enjoy each other's company, reminisce on Christmases past, and look forward to more light and a new year ahead. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nearly Ready

For the last few weeks I've been making 'stuff' for our holiday studio tour. The studio is filled with plenty of yarn, jewelry, dyed felt, ornaments, felt paintings, pin cushions and more. We had a successful tour last weekend, thanks to all my wonderful customers. It's always nice to see familiar faces, and some new ones too. Above are just one set of the many stitch markers I made. I'll be putting these up for sale on my etsy site soon.

I've always liked this poster design.

These are the series of 'Lambscapes' I've been doing. I use my hand dyed roving from my sheep, using it as 'paint' to create these abstract landscapes.

I started with white fluffy roving, roughly formed it into a ball and poked it with the felting needle. Then I wrapped the white ball with dyed roving, poked some more then wet felted them.

And, voila, they turned into pin cushions!

Sara had to earn her Thanksgiving dinner. Whenever she comes out, she models my latest knitting projects. I finally finished this pullover knit with Peace Fleece wool yarn. It has just the right amount of cabling on the bottom, the neckline and the cuffs. It's just enough because that's about all the time I can spend doing cables.

A bowl full of newly made fused glass brooches.

A little purple shrug (Rolled Collar Shrug) out of my Loopy, free pattern on line.

Another free pattern, this shawl knit out out of my Sock Hop yarn. I wanted to do something other than socks and this shawl was done on size 9 needles, not size 1's (yikes!) for the socks.

Whenever I don't know what to knit, I pull some yarn out of my stash and start knitting these neck warmers. With a ruffle on the end, they're very flirty.

This one is a bit different. It's both a neck warmer and wrist cuffs.

All these handwarmers are from These are the Voodoo pattern. I call them the "Two Drama" warmers. I can do a pair watching CSI and ER.

My Slubby blanket kept me warm while knitting it and now, when it's not on the fence or hanging from a tree, it's on my couch, wrapped around me as I knit hand warmers.