Friday RoundUp

Friday Catch Up With Added Amaryllis-Watch Bonus

It's Friday, and there are a few loose ends I need to tie up.  Let's roll.


The weather.  Ugh.  So tedious.  First, there's snow.  Then there's polar vortex.  Then a freakish warm up.  With lots of wind.  And rain.  Which melts all the snow and then . . . freezes.

So there's that.

Next up?


I wore my hat - With Pom - the other day.  Just out running errands, getting gas, that kind of thing.  The pom-pom drove me nuts.  I could feel it back there, bobbing around.  It had to go.  (Yeah, it was a nice color combination, but it really bugged me.)  I like the hat much better Without Pom.

In other news, Linda from Grand Rapids was the lucky winner of my extra copy of Making magazine.  I finally got it shipped off to her yesterday.  (I'm notorious for preparing a package for mailing, and then driving it around in my car for days before I actually get to the post office.) 


Ugh.  Winter with no snow is just . . . bleak.

Good thing I have amaryllis (in various stages) to help me through these dark days.

My grocery-store-rescue amaryllis is on the last legs of it's second set of blooms.  I'll spare you that view (because we're way past the exit at this point), and share this one instead.


This one is pretty cool.  It's called Tres Chic (from White Flower Farm).  (Now that it's blooming, I can identify it.)  The blooms are much smaller than typical amaryllis -- but look closely at the center of the photo.  There are going to be SIX blooms on this stalk, rather than the typical four.  I can't wait to see all six blooms at once.  Or. . .  let's just say I HOPE I get to see all six blooms at once.  This one is making me a bit nervous -- because the bulb is actually rotting.  (Yeah.  It's pretty gross.)  This is a risk of planting the bulb in stones with water.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed . . . that the blooming happens before the bulb gives out.

This next one, though, is looking good.  The bulb is healthy and the first bud should be popping open any day now. 


This one?  Almost in the same state.  Maybe next week?


Remember the bulb I thought was going to be a fail?  Well.  Turns out it's just v-e-r-y s-l-o-w.


The bud finally emerged, but it's really taking it's sweet time making progress.  That's just fine with me, though.  Because it means I'll have blooms all the way into February!

And . . . that's a wrap!

Have a great weekend.




Best Picture nominees?

FullSizeRender 52


Still hoping to catch some of the nominees in other major categories before the Academy Awards on February 28, but the pressure is off.  (My personal quest to see All The Movies only includes the Best Picture nominees.)

Do you have a favorite this year???


(The photo is a page from my Bullet Journal.)

Random Stuff on a Friday

My blog posts this week have been rather . . . meager.  (It's a busy time of year, and I'm pretty much winging it in every corner of my life at the moment, truth be told.)  I've collected a whole-lotta-random this week, though, so I thought I'd share it all with you today.

Here goes some RANDOM on a Friday:


Tom was visiting Mumbai last week.  When he's there, he always has a driver to get him where he needs to be (and if you've ever seen traffic move in Mumbai, you'd totally understand why a driver is a necessity).  This time, Tom took a photo for me -- of this sign in his car:


(Right.  Doesn't everyone need a . . . hammer. . . in their car????) (Such luxury!)


I got a little going-away gift from the folks in my office today.  It looks like some sort of . . . handbag.  Or maybe a piccolo case.  Round.  Hard-sided.  LOTS more sparkly than the photo shows.


Any guesses????


Yep.  It's a wine-bottle-purse!  It holds one bottle of wine AND a corkscrew.  Perfectly.


Earlier this fall, I ordered my sister and I a special Venice advent calendar.


It's been great fun to open the various windows -- because it's a perfect reminder of our trip last September.  It's so cool to open a window . . . 


and say, "HEY! I saw that!!!"




It's time to sign up for One Little Word 2015 . . .


If you've been thinking about joining the One Little Word adventure, I just want to let you know that sign-ups are open for 2015.  Just click here to learn more about the year-long project -- and take advantage of a temporary class fee discount.  


And that's a wrap. . .

Happy Friday!



Just Like Me in Five Easy Steps

Last week, I was waiting for my manicure appointment, and my "nail gal" was running late.  The receptionist at the salon brought me a cup of tea . . . and the latest issue of Glamour magazine.


Now, I don't know about you all, but I haven't looked at a Glamour magazine since my early 20s.

Let me assure you:  Nothing has changed!  (I haven't missed a thing.)

There was a time, long, long ago, when I couldn't WAIT for the newsest issue of Glamour magazine to arrive.  Back in high school and college, I would pour over the trends . . . and the fashion dos-and-don'ts . . . and the hair and  beauty tips.

Get Christie Brinkley's sun-kissed cheeks in 3 easy steps!

Get Cheryl Tiegs' bright eyes in 8 easy steps!

Follow Cybil Shepherd's exercise routine for that natural glow - in 5 easy steps!

I always tried it.  Because . . . maybe THAT was the trick to being beautiful and getting a boyfriend!  (Yes.  I totally bought in to that social construct when I was a teen.)  In the end, I was always disappointed.  Because, no matter how faithfully I followed the steps, I still looked Just Like Me.  (Ultimately, I became Just Fine with looking Just Like Me.  And I got a boyfriend, too!)

So.  Anyway.  There I sat last week.  30 years later.  Waiting.  With my tea and a Glamour magazine.  Turning pages.  Snorting to myself about what a worthless magazine it (still) is.  Laughing at myself for even flipping through the pages.

And then I saw it:  Copy Olivia Wilde's Sexy Smoky Eye in 5 easy steps!  

(Seriously.  Click here.)

I couldn't look away!  Out of a deeply-ingrained curiosity about how-the-beautiful-do-it I checked out the sexy, smoky eye.  And then, well ... you know, I had to try it!  

The very next morning, I assembled my "tools". . .


and launched the 5 easy steps to achieve Olivia's eye!


I had a grand time . . . outlining and blending and shadowing and highlighting.

But after Step 5, you know what?



(Just Like Me.)

Despite the detailed instructions and illustrated how-tos, Olivia Wilde's sexy, smoky eye (I guess she only has ONE) are the exclusive property of Olivia Wilde . . . and her genetics . . . and her make-up artist.  The sexy, smoky eye will remain elusive for regular people.

And I'm Just Fine with that!

Happy Friday!


Fun for a Friday

When I was walking through the vendor booths last month at the Chicago Garden Show, something a bit . . . unusual. . . caught my eye.


Water Marbles.  $4 a package.  I decided to try one.

You add some of the tiny marbles to a vase


filled with distilled water


and then you wait.


Over the course of a day, those little marbles absorb every drop of the water in the vase


and you end up with a vase full of water marbles!


Supposedly, you can place cut flowers or a bamboo plant in the vase filled with water marbles . . . and never have to water it.  The water from the marbles is apparently enough to keep the the flowers or plants adequately hydrated.  Evenutally, the water desorbs (it's a real term; I checked with the resident chemist) and the marbles return to their original tiny size.

And you can use them again and again.


Haven't actually tried putting flowers in the marbles yet, but I will.

For now, I just think they're kind of fun.  They look pretty, just sitting there in the vase.  And they're really fun to hold -- surprisinly hydrated and slightly slimy in a Ooooooo-Coooooool! kind of way.

You can order some for yourself . . .at this really cheesy website.  (This is the company that was selling them at the Chicago Garden Show; I found the website in the instruction materials packed with my Water Marbles.)  They are also available in larger quantities (with a more scientific explanation of what happens) here.


It is Friday

It is Friday.  Capping a busy week.  Heading into a busy weekend.  Leading to an even-busier next week.  More snow.  Muffler repair (Tom's).  And a party to throw.

This is when I turn to . . .


Join me.


The Storm

Now through the white orchard my little dog
     romps, breaking the new snow
     with wild feet.

Running here running there, excited,
     hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
     in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
     the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better

--- Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two


Ahhhhh.  I feel better already.

Enjoy the weekend . . . whatever it may hold.


Monday Miscellany*

It's one of those Very Busy Weeks -- especially through Wednesday.  If I can get through these next couple of days, it'll be smooth sailing right through the end of the year.  (I think.)  So today, here's a little . . . this and that!

First.  The door story.


When we moved into our house (eight years ago now!), our realtor gave us a beautiful brass door knocker, engraved with our name.  (That's it, in the photo above.)  There was already a brass door knocker on the door, however.  It was a bit tarnished, but functional.  And we just never got around to replacing it with our nice, new one.  Until this summer.  We had our house - including the doors - painted.  Since all the hardware was off, we decided to (finally) install our new door knocker. 

To make this long story short:  Lost original hardware.  Couldn't find replacement hardware.  Old knocker hardware different from new knocker hardware.  Tom substituted as best he could.    Outside knocker looks great; inside hardware glaringly ugly (and doesn't line up quite properly).  My solution: cover inside hardware.  (Lazy but effective.)

Second.  Is this A Thing where you live?


Yes.  Someone has put antlers on their car for the holidays.  This must be A Thing here in my area.  Because I've seen several cars with antlers.  Have you?  Is this just a weird Southwest Michigan Thing?  Or is it some national trend I've missed? 

Third.  Here's a little fun for a busy December day!




*Kind of like a Friday Round-Up . . . on Monday!

Friday Round Up: A Blast of Color

The last few days have been A Sign Of What's To Come:  grey skies, blustery winds, rain.  The leaves are past their prime.  The gardens have stopped their blooming.  The bleak months are on their way.

Time to add some color!

A couple of weeks ago, Margene showed us her new Keens.  Bright, colorful, happy feet! 

I have the same shoes. . . only mine are in a different color scheme.


It's such fun to look down at your feet and smile at the riot of pattern!

Personally, I'm a fool for navy and white ticking stripe.  That's what sold me on these shoes!


Even on a gloomy, dark day . . . you can get a blast of color from your feet.


In mid-September, Target launched its Missoni for Target line.  Cool Missoni stuff . . . at Target prices.  I didn't get there in time.  By the time I arrived (the day after The Launch), nothing was left.  So.  Imagine my surprise when I stopped by Target last week for some essentials. . .


and found this. . .


A full month after The Launch, there was a lonely rack of Missoni merchandise.  Not on clearance.  But there all the same!


I bought a blouse (that is surprisingly well-made, although the buttons are really cheap-looking and need to be replaced) and this cute little knit bag.


There is nothing like Missoni to bring in a blast of color!


And then, there is this. . .


a cute little baby set I finished up as a gift for a former co-worker who is having her first baby (a girl) next month.







A perfect blast of color for a gloomy day.  (Ravelry details here.)


Enjoy the weekend!  Add some color ... whatever you're doing.



Friday Round Up: Turkey-and-Cranberry Edition

Time for a little Friday Round Up! 

I don't know about you, but it's starting to look like Thanksgiving is coming around my house!

Thanksgiving 011

I'm gearing up to prepare all my favorite Thanksgiving foods.  Tom has ordered the turkey.  Erin (with  boyfriend in tow) makes her way home tomorrow; Brian not until later in the week.  I love Thanksgiving!  Food, family, friends. . . and not so much of the pressure and expectation that comes with Christmas.


Have you seen this little video clip yet?  So clever!  I know it's been making the blog-rounds, but I'm going to stick it in here today anyway. . . just in case you've missed it!



I've been knitting.  Quite a lot, actually.  But.  As you can see. . . no photos.  No details.  I have completed ChicKnits' Mondo Cable Vest, and I really love it.  Problem is. . . it's so dark so early now, that I haven't been able to have Tom help me with a photo-shoot.  Maybe this weekend.

I've also been doing some gift knitting, and can't share here on the blog quite yet.  If you're on Ravelry, you can check out one of my recent gift knits here.  (The recipient is not a Raveler.)


I read yesterday that Norma is teaching Mr. Jefferies to "pee and poop on command."  I'm here to tell Norma. . . It Can Be Done!  Jenny pees on command!  I taught her when she was a puppy, and it's the best "trick" she knows!  It is really great - when you're in a hurry and you need your pup to Go. NOW.  And Jenny does!  (She doesn't poop on demand, though.)



Have a great weekend!

Friday Round Up: Weekend Edition

I'll just start off today's post with this little guy I found in my garden today. . .


He's working so hard, despite the season!

Me, too.  Working hard, that is.  I'm adjusting pretty well to working full time.  It helps that I enjoy my job and like the people I work with.  I'm still finding time to do most of the things I like to do . . . knitting, reading, cooking, walking Jenny, blogging.  I'm having a hard time, though, finding a way to fit my workouts into my life!  I used to swim a couple of times a week, take a dance class, and do pilates -- all in the mornings.  I tried to swim earlier in the morning.  Ugh.  It's just so hard to drag yourself to a pool. . . with all of your gear and clothes. . . at 6:00 am.  I'm having a problem getting motivated for that!  And I tried the treadmill and eliptical routines.  Ugh.  I'm having a problem with the boredom factor, even WITH my iPod.  I'm going to try Zumba next week -- it meets in the evenings.  It might be a good substitute for my dance class.  I'll figure this out, eventually!  (Just going to have to cut down on the Ben & Jerry's in the meantime. . .)

I'm also re-thinking the way I blog.  I usually try to . . . say something. . . each day of the work week.  I think I'm just going to go into a more free-flowing routine.  Maybe my Friday Round Ups will become. . . Weekend Round Ups.  Maybe Ten on Tuesday will be . . . Ten on SOME Tuesdays.  I'm not so sure what will happen.  But I don't want to give up the blog.  (I also don't want to be trapped by the blog!)

I just finished reading Nicole Krauss' new book, Great House.


Oh, man.  It's another five-star book!  I adored her last book, History of Love.  This one is just as good -- although I don't think it's quite as moving.  While I had to stop reading - frequently - just to gasp, or think, or re-read - I didn't cry (or even feel like it).  The book is about loss, and loneliness, memories and family connections, dealing with being . . . left.  (In hindsight, it may not have been a good choice for me to read just now -- when Erin has decided to move even farther away after she graduates in May; when I've had enough time away from him to discover I actually DO miss having Brian around; when Tom is away in Mumbai.  Just sayin'.)  Anyway.  It's an excellent book. 

I've been doing some knitting. . .


It's Bonne Marie Burns' Mondo Cable Vest.  I'm making it in honor of my fav Project Runway designer, Mondo!  (That's really not true; it's been in my queue for a long time.  But I am in the Mondo-corner for this week's PR season finale!)  The knitting is easy and quite relaxing.

I'm ready to be inspired. . .


My favorite issue of the year arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  I plan to sit down with a cup of tea and. . .well, drool. . . later this afternoon.

And check this out. . .


Last week when I was dropping Brian back on campus (after his fall break), I stopped in at one of my favorite Holland downtown shops, The Bridge.  This is such a cool store -- it's a 100% Fair Trade shop, featuring jewelry, scarves, baskets, art objects, and unique handmade gifts from over 35 developing countries.  I love the interesting things they carry.  I visit often -- and this time, I came home with this wonderful necklace and earrings.  Fun!  (If you're ever in Holland, be sure to drop in!)

Have a great weekend!