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Archive for May, 2008

I’ve been quiet.  Life has been going along, nothing out of the ordinary, but goodness in our day-to-day living.  I’ve been puttering in the garden, knitting, playing and reading with the kids, and I’m about to ramble on for a long bit since I haven’t posted in awhile.  So sit back and keep reading after the bump if you want to read about the circuitous path my mind has been taking of late.  (more…)

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Beauty in the Gardens

I finished putting out all my seedlings in the garden beds on Wednesday. Now I just have to wait for my melon seeds to sprout (I think they’ve been too cold) and then I will have everything in the beds that I wanted except for the husk cherries, which don’t seem to want to sprout, either. Maybe I’ll try them one more time… Here is a picture of the pea bed (snow and snap), since it is the most green at this point. There are also some celery in there (had to buy some because not all of mine sprouted–hmm, that seems to be a theme this year!), brussel sprouts, and chocolate peppers.

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Despite the cold and dreary weather, I also went around photographing the beauty I saw. The flowers that are blooming are just lovely. I just wish I had gotten our apple or pear trees while they were in bloom. Big rain storms on Sunday knocked the remaining blooms from their boughs. I did manage to get a shot of the last of the lilacs, but L1 didn’t think it worthy enough to upload to Flickr. 😛

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I was inspired by SouleMama’s post about loving the macro lens. We are lucky enough to have a set of macros for our camera and I decided to pull them out for those shots. *happy sigh* They will be lovely for me to gaze upon next winter when the winds are howling and the snow is blowing. For now, I can just step outside and look at them. And soon, eat a couple of them!! 🙂

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I feel like I’ve been doing just that. I’ve worn it to book club, to kids’ appointments, when visitors were here, and just plain around because I LOVE it. I finally finished this sweater near the end of April, save for its buttons. I didn’t get buttons when it was done because it was still Buy-Nothing Challenge Month for me. Right now I just have one button sewn on at the top. Unfortunately I don’t have enough of that button (purchased at the craft thrift shop in January) for the entire sweater. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find more (I need 9 buttons total, I have four). For the knitterly among the readers, here are the stats:

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Tangled Yoke Cardigan, by Euni Yang, Fall 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Elizabeth Lavold Silk Wool in Grey
Needles: US 5s, 4s
Other Stuff: The yarn, while lovely to touch and wear, was a bit annoying because it broke several times while I was working on the sweater from me simply trying to pull more yarn and once because L3 ran into it. I didn’t do the three-needle bind off for the collar because I didn’t want to purchase 40″ size 1 (or was it size 2?) needles for one stinkin’ row. I simply sewed it down instead, which worked fine, I think.

Did I mention that I love this sweater? I’m so glad that I ended up going for the gray yarn. I love having this classic piece for my wardrobe. So who knew–L2 still knits! I have actually been doing a bit of knitting behind the scenes. I hope to have several FINISHED projects to show in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I should get back to the knitting… and writing a letter of indignation to Wegmans.

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As many of you know, I LOVE our local grocery store, Wegmans. Though it isn’t just located in Rochester, NY anymore, to me it is still a local store. I love the selection of goods, the local farms produce in the appropriate seasons (complete with pictures of the family farmers, sometimes!), its child care services while grocery shopping (once your child is 3 and potty trained!!), and the fact that it doesn’t feel like I’m walking into a sterile hospital to purchase my food.  I also like that they have been rated a top place to work for both part-time and full-time employees for the past decade.

Like many retailers today, the store is selling its own grocery totes (ugly, but hey, they’re trying), has a great bottle return center in the front of the store, and no one has even blinked at our own produce bags rather than using the plastic ones.  In fact, you can read here about what they have been doing to reduce their environmental impact.  In order to take our own plastic consumption down a step further, L1 talked to someone at the deli, where we get sliced cheese, a couple of weeks ago about using containers other than their plastic zip bags.  The person with whom Mr. L spoke told him he hadn’t been asked that before, that it was a great question, and then told him that the cheese could be weighed and then given a sticker and handed to us and we could then put it in a container of our choosing.  Great news!  However, when L1 went to get our cheese today he was told differently.  Apparently several people have asked the same question since L1 did, and the question was put forth to the higher-ups.  They responded that the deli items had to be put in the plastic bags for food safety!  They said they didn’t know what was in the container before and therefore couldn’t hand over the food to us.  L1 challenged this by saying, “But we handle our produce in our own bags!”  The man was sympathetic and thought it was strange, too, but his hands were tied.

We were very disgruntled, to say the least.  The man at the deli did tell L1 that in the future he would put all of our order in one bag for us and put all the stickers on one bag.  An improvement, to be sure, but not the one for which we were hoping.  Now we have to decide what to do instead.  Boycott our cheese?  Write a letter?  Both?  *sigh*  It’s not like we can get cheese not in plastic elsewhere.  I suppose I’ll have to add local cheese to my local eggs search, now.

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For those interested, I just listed several bulk food bags in the shop. I’ll be listing more over the next few days as I have more, but am trying to increase the traffic to my shop. I have loved using them for my own shopping. I get a little thrill when I open a drawer in the fridge to find my produce nestled in their cotton bags or when I’ve poured out some more coconut from a bag when making granola (how crunchy is that?!?) 🙂 I love that I can find joy in simple things like my produce bags.

Speaking of joy, while Millie was breaking my heart, my babes were making it swell. They were on their best behavior at gala event last night and were looking mighty spiffy, too, if I do say so myself. Check them out!
Retirement Party Mosaic
Unfortunately, we didn’t have our good camera with us, so the pictures aren’t their normal quality. But, hey, I’m in a picture! 🙂

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Millie

Meet Millie. She is a dress form from my grandparents’ attic (which is a treasure trove, I tell you!). I have been dreaming of having Millie as my own for months now. On Monday I finally brought her home, and she has been on my porch airing out. Yesterday I finally started to try to fix her so she would work for me. Alas, she is not going to work for me. Her bust is, ahem, just a tad bit larger than mine. Try about two inches too big at her smallest size!! I was so disappointed. (Kim, do you want her?!?)

Thank goodness I had some sewing success in the morning yesterday. I made L4 a new pair of pants for spring/summer/fall and some PJ bottoms for myself (thanks for the sheet, Kerry!!). I am in love with L4’s new pants, though I wasn’t so excited about the fabric when she picked it out. And paired with her birthday sweater that I was already loving, I just wanted to photograph her all day long. But instead we played and worked in the yard and gardens, which was better because I got to see her in action. (She is very accident-prone lately. But that’s what you get when you refuse to nap or have quiet time!)
Chicken Pants Mosaic

I didn’t get a picture of L3’s cropped locks, yet. I’ll wait until this afternoon when he’s all dressed up for his Grandma’s retirement party. And hopefully L4 will be sporting a new dress for that, too. If I can get it done today and still go to yoga, get the dog some exercise and get myself cleaned up for said party, too.

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Last week I was completely bummed when I had my first loaf of bread that truly failed. I used the bread machine to mix it, but I put the ingredients into the pan in the wrong order. I should have just mixed it by hand, or been a little more patient and thought it through. At any rate, the bread that I was making for grilled cheese ended up looking like this:

Failed Bread

Because it failed, I had to scramble for something else to make for dinner. We have homemade pizza every week in our house. It, like dessert, is a weakness for our palates. But, yum! L4 seems more partial to white-pizza of late, and I prefer it myself, so it has become the norm (white = olive oil & garlic rather than tomato sauce). I was so happy with how the pizza looked and turned out that I took pictures of it after the dismal bread results.

Raw Pizza

Cooked Pizza

What is your best success or worse failure in the kitchen? I think L4’s birthday cake has been one of my favorite successes of late. And the failures? Well, there’s nothing like making something for dinner that is odious when you have company over! (I seem to remember a nasty pea soup I tried to make while living in NH….) There is something immensely satisfying in making something with my hands to nourish (to some degree, cake maybe not so much…) myself and those I love. Though I’m not a big fan of the mess, I do find that baking and cooking have become another form of creating for me.

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