Thursday, December 31, 2009

Home Away From Home

Today we are winding down our big holiday trip to Missouri.  It's been a fun trip with lots of family and friends.  We stayed in our loft condo in Kansas City that I bought five years ago.  It has been minimally furnished for the last year, so we decided to add a few pieces so that it's not so empty when we're here, or when family and friends stay.  We made a trip to Nebraska Furniture Mart on Sunday, and delivery was on Wednesday.  You couldn't ask for better luck, as everything was in stock.  Here are a few pics, albeit not the greatest ones, of our new additions:

A new entry table with a couple of lamps.  I love the circular one, as it's so "planetary" and actually puts out a nice light.  A new tray for "stuff" from Target.

New dining room table and chairs.  I really missed having something in this space, and we were able to get a floor model for less, so decided to go with this set.  I really wanted to add some color to this area, as there is no artwork anymore (all in Kohler), so the orangey-red chairs fit the bill.  I have always love my chandelier, and the way it casts a nice sparkly glow over the loft (bad camera lighting here, so you can't tell!).  

And finally, the bunk beds for what used to be my office.  This was the first set of bunk beds we saw, and the style fits the loft perfectly.  Kind of industrial and coordinates with the exposed pipes and the metal on the sofa.  We wanted more sleeping space, so the double on bottom, single on top will be great. The bedding is from Wal-Mart, and goes well with the paint in the room, which is not really visible in this picture.

Our trip is winding down, and today we will drive to Kirksville to celebrate the New Year with Jim's best friend, Derek, or "Enos" as everyone calls him.  He just moved in to a new home built with timber from his own land, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turned out.

We will say goodbye for now to our beloved KC and the next time we are here will most likely be with our new little one.   

Happy New Year to all and my you enjoy peace, love, and happiness in the coming year!

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County 
(formerly the single career girl of Jackson County!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Going Home

Today we are heading back to Missouri and we are driving.  We are looking forward to seeing family and friends in both Columbia and Kansas City.

I think the one thing that my husband looks the most forward to each year is the big Christmas Day breakfast feast.  I will try to get a photo or two, but no promises.  Biscuits and gravy, country ham & red-eye gravy, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, cinnamon rolls, various jams, jellies and butters, and the list goes on.  This is all prepared in my granny's "one-butt" kitchen, with the original appliances from 1958.  And the appliances did not include a dishwasher or garbage disposal.

Should be a fun time, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Here's to lots of food, family and fun and a safe trip in the car!

Happy Holidays to all.  No promises on posts for the next couple of weeks, but I will do my best!  

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County

Monday, December 21, 2009

The All Things Baby Day

I am almost to the end of a day that has been "all things baby."  Today was our visit to the Fetal Concerns program run through Froetdtert Hospital and Children's Hospital in Milwaukee.  Our soon to be daughter has a small birth defect that will require surgery after birth, so today was the day we transitioned our care to the specialists.

After an ultrasound (probably my 7th!),  we met with the perinatologist, who will deliver the baby.  He was a little crotchety (probably from too many late night deliveries), but nice.  Next we met with the pediatric surgeon who will perform the surgery on our little one.  We really liked him, and he seemed to think the surgery would be very routine (at least for him) and should be easily handled.  We felt good about our child in his hands and since he did his residency at Children's Mercy in Kansas City, my hometown, I felt good about his credentials.

Finally, we met with the neonatologist who will care for our baby after birth and surgery in the NICU.  We're not sure how long she will have to stay in the hospital after her surgery, as it will depend on various factors.  We are counting on at least two weeks, although it could be more or less, depending on how she does.  

During the ride, I worked on the baby blanket for her room.  This blanket has so far been an exercise in patience for me, as I have ripped out row after row trying to get my stitch counts right.  I love the pattern, but have decided that this blanket is just not going to be perfect, but it will still be pretty, and most mistakes won't be noticed by anyone but me.  My patience level has increased immensely over the years, and I am less willing to give up when something is difficult like I did when I was younger.  That being said, if I were to have had a child with a problem during my younger years, I know I wouldn't have handled it with the positivity and patience that I am handling the news now that I have some experience behind me.  Of course, a great husband, who is one of the most positive people I know also helps.  

As for the rest of the "all things baby" day, when we arrived home from the doctor's visit, a nice UPS package was waiting for me with the bedding for the baby room!  That's the little baby comforter that the yarn is sitting on - doesn't it match perfectly?  

Here's to all things baby,

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's in Your Stocking?

I was thinking about stockings today during a last minute run to Target.  It's been quite a few years since I've had a stocking, and now the only stocking we have is for our dog, Paddy.  His stocking is filled with a new tug toy, a deer antler, a beef jerky stick that is longer than he is, and some other doggie snacks.  

I started thinking about how different families fill stockings in such different ways.  My cousins always had oranges and nuts and sometime candy in their stockings, while ours were filled with practical gifts that we would need anyway, like razors, socks, eye makeup remover, maybe some hairspray (big hair WAS the 80s).  I always thought it was fun to see what my mom had come up with.  

When my brother had kids, the stockings became about them, and ours phased out.  I think there is an age limit on stockings in our family - maybe it's 21.  Both of my nieces are over that age now, so I bet there is no more stocking for them, but NEXT year we will have a little one in the family, and I can only imagine what her stocking will be filled with--baby socks, mittens, a stocking cap, maybe some pacifiers.    

Next year, Paddy won't be the only one in the family with a stocking.  Maybe mama will even make some for the entire family and start some new traditions!

So, what do you put in your stockings?  I'd really love to hear.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Simple Gifts

For many years, my Granny supplied our family with "the best" scrubbers you'll ever have.  She took time to buy the tulle net - the scratchy kind, not the kind for making tu-tus - then spread it out on the floor, carefully folded it, pinned it to the carpet so it wouldn't move, and cut it into 3 inch strips that were about 6-8 yards long.  Not an easy feat even at my age, but you must know that Granny is 91!  

When my mother told her I was learning to crochet, the first thing she said was "she can make the scrubbers!"  So, the last time my parents visited, my mom brought "the pattern" and we bought the netting, did the cutting, and had many laughs imagining Granny doing this herself while the net slipped around.  It's not an easy material to work with!

I worked the pattern, and don't you know that it looked nothing like Granny's!!   We called her to discuss.  She assured me that the pattern was correct, then at the end of the conversation, she said, "It's just 14 double crochets, or until you run out of net, then slip stitch and work in the ends...."

Light bulb moment - even though she had the pattern, she made up her own!  Now, it all made sense to me, although it always made sense to her.  

The above photo is my "pile" of scrubbers that I will be handing out to family this Christmas, and I'm sure every Christmas until I can no longer cut the net.

Here's how to do it - again, use your best judgement and play is by ear, like Granny!:

Buy 8 yards of scratchy tulle net, cut into 3 inch strips lengthwise (folding the material really helps here)

I use a size N plastic hook - plastic just seems to work better with the tulle

Ch 3 or 4, join into ring w/ slip stitch
Work as many Double Crochets as you can into this space (it's usually between 14-18 for me)
Slip stitch to finish and weave in end.

There.  It's that easy, and I'm sure variations have been passed down for generations.  

Happy scrubbing!

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baby Blanket for the Little Girl

I have decided to work on a baby project next.  This will be a crocheted baby blanket with stripes and popcorn stitches.  A sample of the popcorn stitch is shown on top of the yarn.  This will be my first attempt at something larger, so I will be counting lots of stitches! I have decided the baby's room will be brown and kind of a seafoam blue/green, so I thought this yarn would be nice.  Once again, it's from Magpie's Cottage in Sheboygan Falls.   The seafoam colored yarn has some variation in it, so should provide some nice interest in the piece.

This little tray is the inspiration for the color palette for her room, as well as the theme.  It says, "Follow your dreams, for as you dream, you shall become."  I hope she will always keep dreaming.

'Til next time,

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dog in the Snow

I guess it's a good thing that Paddy loves the snow since we live in Wisconsin.  I stand on the porch in my slippers and throw the ball.  He retrieves and runs around with so much joy, squeaking the ball like he's ringing in the New Year!  Finally, I retreat from the cold.

He stares at me through the storm door with a snowy nose, as if to say, "Please, just throw it a few more times!"  Mama is cold and she needs a snack.

Candy cane Joe-Joe's hit the spot with a cup of Chai Latte.  Mmmmm.  Maybe winter isn't so bad after all?

Have a happy Tuesday!

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County

Monday, December 14, 2009

True Blue Winter

I finally finished the winter set I've been crocheting!  I love the yarn - Malabrigo Kettle Dyed Pure Merino Wool in Indigo - and the variegation it gives.  Also, I think this is a color that is great on anyone!  The yarn and buttons (Celtic Hearts) are from Magpie's Cottage in Sheboygan Falls, WI.  Kim has been a great help to me as I'm learning to crochet.  Now, what to make next?  Suggestions?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Days:

I have been struggling with the shorter days, but a friend posted on Facebook this morning that in only 12 days and the days will start getting longer again!  Yee-haw!  Good thing I have switched to CFL bulbs in most lamps, as they seem to be on almost all day during the winter!

We had snow yesterday, but not as much as they predicted.  I enjoyed seeing the beautiful cardinals in the snow covered trees, and wish now that I would have bundled up to try to photograph.  I'm sure we will have many more snow days, so I can take advantage of the beauty then!  Winter days are great for working on projects, though.  I am crocheting a great neck wrap that will match the hat and fingerless gloves I just finished.  I finished a baby bib and hope to start on some sewing projects.  Last winter I didn't have as much to do, so was bored trying to adjust to not working, but this winter will be a whole different story!

Soup seems to be my favored go-to dish at this time of year.  I made a great potato soup the other night that was a big hit.  Of course, I used no recipe, so who knows if it will turn out the same the next time!  Kind of like my chili.  I love to cook and find comfort in chopping all the ingredients and doing the prep work.  Funny how things have changed.  It used to be that I wanted to get things done as quickly as possible, but now, whether it's sewing, crocheting or cooking, I take my time - rip out when necessary and start over.

I can't believe it's been a year since my retirement.  We are using the last of my frequent flier miles to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in February - FIRST CLASS, I might add!  I will be 7 1/2 months pregnant, so will probably need the extra room!  I'm looking forward to it and the sunshine and fresh food.

I am reading the book Blogging for Bliss right now, and hope to get some hints on how to make my blog better and more robust.  I am so new at this, that I am lucky I can make a post!

Always Evolving,

The Real Housewife of Sheboygan County (or Shevegas, as the locals call it!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Re-vamping the blog?

I haven't blogged in quite some time, and lots has changed. I have spent the past year getting married, volunteering at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center as a docent, completing the Master Gardening program and volunteering with that, having a big wedding blowout over the 4th of July, vacationing in Wales/Scotland, getting pregnant, and now am learning to sew & crochet. Also getting ready to have our first child at the geriatric age of 42!

So, am thinking about a re-vamp for the blog and getting serious about this, as a way to showcase projects I'm making and my trials and tribulations as a new mom-to-be and new crafter.

I have a new Janome sewing machine that has been fun to work with and have been making some crochet hook and knitting needle cases that I might sell through our local yarn shop. Won't make a new career for me, but will keep me in yarn for my crochet projects. Once you start working with nice yarn, you really don't want to go back to the stuff from the big box stores.

Also, I forgot to mention, that we got a puppy last February and he will be a year old tomorrow. Yes, it's been quite the year and for 2010 I think I will have LOTS to say and show.

All for now.
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