Thursday, October 28, 2010


it made me rediculously happy yesterday to find this little beauty waiting in one of the nesting boxes:
 next to a store-bought egg:
my two boys. rocky in the front and clyde in the back.
so you can see the size difference between my two roos:
 rocky is an old english bantam. he will always be this small.

as the chickens grew, the coop seemed to shrink! clyde found a new home with three hens, in toledo with my friend susan. i hear they're doing very well. now the coop is perfect for rocky and his girls.
the four remaining hens are doing great. no eggs today, but i'm hoping for more happiness soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


i had the deep pleasure of going to stitches, midwest last week with a couple of great knitterly friends. i went on their website to see if my new favorite yarn, madelinetosh was hosting a booth. i sadly discovered they were not. but! webs was there with a huge lot of this gorgeous yarn. don't you just love the name? i came away with this little lovely in composition book grey. but really, i think of it more as storm clouds. it's very similar to my dear mmmalabrigo. now, what does it want to become?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

indiana state fair

we had a great time at the fair last week. we arrived early to beat the heat and the crowds. though i didn't get to see everything, i did get to spend close to an hour in the poultry barn, talk cattle with a cute cowboy and got my fill of lemon shake-ups (my favorite).

we spent the first part of our visit checking out the antique tractors and visiting all the activities in pioneer village. there was primitive woodworking for the mister and fiber arts for me. we just kept giving girl-child cotton candy and she was happy. some things never change.

the day was too short but it was about all we could stand in the indiana heat. i forget how blasted hot it gets here in august. i think it's like childbirth that way - too painful to remember.

i'm seriously thinking of entering a project in next year's fair. think this lovely would win any ribbons?
i finished my modern quilt wrap.
if you missed it on facebook or ravelry, here it is for your viewing pleasure. i don't see how i'll ever knit anything so lovely again. even though it's simple garter stitch, the colors are so striking against each other it looks quite impressive. i can't believe it's done! finally! it would be fun to enter something in the fair and i can't think of a better project. stay tuned...

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

housing chickens

ken figures these "free chickens" have cost us about $500. so at two eggs per hen per day, if they started laying tomorrow, it would take until new years for any sort of ROI (return on investment). my numbers geek husband. i don't care about any of that. i look out my window and this view makes me smile. that's what matters.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

on naming chickens

this is cleo. 
she was the first hen to get a name. with her 'eyeliner' i thought it was fitting. this photo was taken a few weeks ago, when we first got the chickens. below is cleo now, pictured with 'flo' (the other red hen). they've really grown!
we also have 'rocky', 'clyde', 'lola', 'carmela', 'bonnie', 'beth' and 'chica-kahn'. (HA!)
sadly, we lost adrianne last week. i don't know what happened except she was teeny tiny and i don't have a CLUE as to what i'm doing with these birds! but i am learning. that was a hard day. but it's all part of raising animals, i guess. and now that i know better i can do better.

i think ken was worried about us getting too attached - naming them. but in my mind, how can i not name them? they are living beings. they will eventually gift me with their eggs. how can i not?
and let me just say, if he didn't care about them too, he wouldn't be talking the time to build a perfect coop.
we're almost done! tonight is the first night they'll actually sleep inside.
today, the coop got painted. tomorrow, i'll start on the trim. you just wouldn't believe the craftsmanship that has gone in to this little coop!  it's all trimmed out in rough-hewn cedar. the window is a totally custom casement window. and both side doors have hinges, latches and screens for ventilation. that window! i think it's my favorite part. ken took four 12 x 12 panes of glass and built a perfect window. it's insulated, and the nesting boxes come out the back with hinged lids. ken says his brother is going to call these 'city chickens'. that is fine by me.

someone is pretty pleased with himself. and nine little somethings are clucking happily tonight.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

wednesday webshare

i found the most adorable patterns for dishcloths ever! kris patay, of kris knits has designed some serious cute. i bought one set and went back the next day and bought four more! i mentioned it to a friend and she said she just couldn't pay for dishcloth patterns. the next day i got a text that read, "i just spent eight dollars on dishcloth patterns!" serious cute.

with inexpensive cotton and just a few hours you can easily create a whole set of cloths to keep for yourself, or gift to someone special.

i made all of these in the last week or so, all available in her free pattern section:
picture courtesy of kris knits.

this is the first one i did as a blanket square. it ended up a little small, but with some tweaking, i think many of her patterns would be usable for blanket squares.
this is the one i did in blue for the schuyler blanket project:
they knit up in a jiffy. go on and buy yourself some cute.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

kentucky unfried chickens

ken went down to kentucky this weekend to do some work for his parents. he stopped by his brother's small farm on the way home. when he told me where he'd been and said, "i have a surprise for you." my first question was, "is is alive?" i know my husband. he's the sort that will come in the house with something cupped in his hands - toads, snakes, bunnies and once, even a baby raccoon! i was pleased to see my surprise was only a box of chickens. i'd been talking all year about wanting some laying hens. well, now i have nine. and one little banty rooster. today, we need to build a home for them.
pics to follow!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Schuyler Blanket Project

i haven't been knitting much lately. i don't know if it's just a summertime thing, or maybe grief, but i just haven't felt inspired. i've gone to my knitting group a few times in the past weeks and that has helped. but otherwise, i've just not felt creative, until yesterday. 

a few weeks ago i joined a particular knitting group on ravelry but it's ties are much closer than just an internet forum. the schuyler blanket project was founded by my friend, tammany. her daughter, the namesake of the project was born last summer. when schuyler died the same day, tammany's knitting friends put together a blanket of squares, hand-knit by them, in the hopes she would feel the comfort of their love as she wrapped the blanket around her. tammany started the schuyler blanket project to share that love with other grieving families. 

i pledged two squares on a blanket for a woman i don't even know. but i do know her pain. and i  know the magic these blankets hold. these squares, hand made with love are no great miracle but in some small way they matter.

if you have some spare time (literally, my first square knit up in just a few hours), and a willing heart, please consider knitting (or crocheting) an 8 x 8 square for this wonderfully worthwhile project. send your squares to me directly and i will see they find a home in a blanket for a mother who has experienced life's greatest loss.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

as the garden grows, so does the gardener

mr. melly has been working non-stop for weeks, in the yard and in the garden.
last year was our first gardening experience, and as the garden grew, so did this gardener. i learned the difference between pole beans and bush beans. i learned the best way to eat a tomato is like an apple, right off the vine, warmed by the sun. i grew hibiscus from seed. they made it through the winter. the mandevilla did not.

i learned wisteria do not like to be moved around. i grew a plant from seed last year and was thrilled to see it leaf this spring. i wanted to move it to the garden, but killed it trying to replant. one day i will have a blooming wisteria. but not this year.

but i do have strawberries!
they are sweet and delicious. and i learned six plants can easily turn into about ten!

i also learned some work needs to be done in the fall. it has taken ken no less than five days to get the space ready to plant. he got a rototiller and made quick work - removing the grass, turning the fall leaves and working in my compost. compost, what a miracle! i took all my kitchen scraps last year, sawdust from baby mac's crib and weeds basically, and created a beautiful, nutrient rich product to work into the soil. mother nature is one clever lady.

stay tuned for more pictures and to see how my garden grows.

Friday, May 14, 2010

hold on

many of you know my love for the work of artist kelly rae roberts.
recently, she teamed with demdaco and that union made her work incredibly affordable.

remember i got one of her art girlies? well today, i found this little gem. 
a gentle reminder to just. hold. on.

Monday, April 26, 2010

starring marilyn monroe

i've been thinking about blogging lately. so i figured maybe i'd come and post something. but what can i say? 
and what can i blog about that will push the last post down, out of sight? everything feels trivial. dumb.and then, i think of marilyn. 
she's the one on top of the dog pile. and she's justin's cat - marilyn monroe.

i've never known a cat like marylin. she acts more like a dog, really. she greets ken at the door when he gets home from work with the rest of the pack. she comes when he calls her and cries for him at the door when he goes outside. ken, the self-proclaimed cat hater is now a self-proclaimed cat lover. this cat, anyway. her antics make us laugh every day. and laughter really is good medicine.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

justin james 
september 10, 1987 - march 7, 2010 
love you, buddy. always.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

kelly rae roberts decorative art girlies

oh. my. goodness.
i am in love!

my very favorite artist, author and possibilitarian, kelly rae roberts has really done it this time. i've been following her creative journey for over a year and she just keeps wowing me.
i was lucky enough to get one of her art girlies when they went on sale this week. i called it my own valentines day gift. :)
mine is the love girl, (pictured in the back, right), and she is precious. i squealed when i opened the package (addressed to the lovely melly crocker :)) and even got a little teary. she is perfection. so unique, so original. and so affordable!

one day i will have an original of hers. but until then, i'm going to gobble up every bit i can of her wonderful pieces by demdaco. check your local gift shops. everyone needs a little of the joy this amazing woman is spreading around.

photo belongs to kelly rae. click to go right to her blog/online shop. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

cage the elephant

i started her weeks ago. she sat patiently in my knitting bag. surviving dog attacks, she was waiting for me to pick her up again. she probably wanted me to knit her some legs so she could run from that pesky dottie!
but here she is! posing for her closeup. ready to make girl-child smile. i'm calling her valentine.

isn't my trunk fine?

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third time's a charm

finally finished my cousin's hat. now that the average temperature in california is well into the 40's...
ah well. she'll love it because she loves me.
thanks again, jared for a fantastic pattern!
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

so much more than just a blog share

you might have noticed my new badge over on the sidebar. about loving with my whole heart?

i've been spending some time with dr. brené brown. well, her blog anyway. and i love what this woman has to say! she's got some great articles on treating each other with basic respect and dignity, facebooking our fears (so good!) and living without shame and fear. she writes about living in authenticity.

what is authenticity you might ask?
brené offers this:

both of these badges are available as downloads to print from her blog, ordinary courage.
"mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy and gratitude into our lives."

now i don't know about you, but i'm all for inviting more joy into my life.
"cultivating the courage to be imperfect." i. love. this.

today i will live and love with my whole heart, will you?

Monday, February 1, 2010

and then i fainted

i gasped aloud when i pulled these from the wash yesterday. they are among my favorite socks, second only to the purple stripe socks i knit myself. i wear them all. the. time. and now it shows. :(
this is why hand-knit socks are such a labor of love. they wear out. the more you love them the faster they go. i'm so sad. i think they can be fixed. when red rhonda gifted them to me, she also gave me a teeny hank of the yarn. just for this purpose, i'm thinking.
can anyone help?
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

i was watching oprah today. something about me hates the way that sounds. but sometimes, i like her. today she's good.

she's talking about food (surprise! i know!).
it seems eating healthy is all the rage. not low fat. not low carb. just healthy. one of her guests had his 'rules for food', like eating meat that has eaten well itself, and eating food that dies (plants and animals). my favorite, was something about eating only food a third grader could spell. can i choose the third grader? my new friend, has a rocking third grader. i bet that kid can spell some weird shit. :)

i think i like this new diet. think about everything you can eat by those rules. the experts promise my skin will look great, i'll have tons of energy and evidently i'll be pooping. but seriously, who doesn't love to poo? that's healthy, right? i digress...

food. tastes good right? it's supposed to. think about all the food that tastes good that's good for you. go ahead, i'll wait. there's more than you think. i had an orange today i got from whole foods. even before oprah was talking about it, i was there buying food. and i looked at that orange when i cut it open. i love pretty food. and that orange was juicy and bright. i was already smiling. and when i took that first bite i thought, "mmm this is good!" i can't remember when a bologna sandwich last caused that reaction. though i will admit it is an occasional guilty pleasure. on wonder bread with american cheese and iceberg lettuce? don't judge.
wait. does pizza die? pizza does die. (whew!) what about brownies? can a third grader spell brownies?
some of that stuff is good. but you know, my orange was good too.

another rule was it's ok to eat fast food if you make it at home. love french fries? how often would you go to the trouble if you followed these rules? i don't know about you, but i would not make french fries from scratch every day. how bad for you could they be, eating a reasonable portion once every other week? how many of us eat fast food fries several times a week? a burger and fries, one of my favorite meals. think of how different a meal it would be if you made it at home. how often would you go to the trouble? and think how different it would be, with grass-fed beef, good, whole-grain bread and locally grown vegetables? all completely sustainable, supporting local farmers. i could be down with that.

i watched anthony bourdain last night. love me some on demand cable! he was in Brittany, France. i was all but calling the travel agent. it. was. lovely.
there was a painter quoted as saying, we can't paint here because in brittany everything looks different from one moment to the next. it was breathtaking. tony called the color in brittany a "cinematographer's wet dream". the hills are lush and green, dotted with with buildings each one painted a different, bright color. all set against the sea that isn't blue, isn't green, isn't grey. it's some magical word that means all of these colors, yet none of them. (and if i wasn't over 40 i'd remember the dang word.) watch the episode. it's fantastic. but the food! one guy said, "the butter is great here!" and i said to ken, that's because you know they're getting it from a farmer whose own wife probably churns the butter! talk about sustainability.

it dawned on me today - i have something pretty close to this just up the road:
Trader's Point Creamery. do you think if i say Trader's Point Creamery often enough, some flag will go up in their office and i'll get a free chocolate milk? i would type nothing but Trader's Point Creamery for the next paragraph and a half if i thought that was true. it's like dessert. but seriously, they have an amazing farmers market all year. now, granted, those fresh, garden tomatoes of summer are probably hard to come buy but i bet there are some great winter squash. and real butter and grass-fed beef. fresh, local eggs. good food. look for their stuff in a store where you live. word is getting around. it's no brittany, but there are green hills, barns on the hill and good things going on there. plus it's right up the road. where the hell is brittany, anyway?

i was going to say, how do i explain this to mr. meat and potatoes? but think of all the amazing meals we'd have following those few simple rules? meat? check! potatoes? check. but also eggs and cheese. fresh fruits and vegetables. grains and beans. can a third grader spell vegetables? ken probably isn't going to be happy about that one. but there is pizza! and even ice-cream. honestly, it's pretty much the food we're eating now, only better.
ken would say i've been watching too much Food TV.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

procrastinate much?

do you all remember when i said i'd finished the quilt top i was making for justin? well...i wasn't completely honest. it wasn't an intentional lie. after all that cutting and sewing back together and cutting again only to sew it back together again, the top felt done at that point. but today! today it's done for real. not only is the top done:
but i also finished the back:
now to decide if i want the strip going horizontal or vertical. it's a square quilt does it really matter? somehow, yes. it does.
and now for a confession: i don't have a CLUE what to do next. i've decided to quilt it myself. is that a bad idea? i've already called my quilty friend trista twice today. perhaps the next step should wait till tomorrow when she won't think me a pest when i call again.
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greek pizza

those of you who really know me, know i'm a recipe girl. i'm a good cook because i take time to seek out good recipes. but last night, i made my own pizza and it was A. MAZ. ING.
i started with the crust recipe i love from my food processor cookbook. it couldn't be more simple: yeast, water, flour, oil and salt. i rolled it out and it just sort of came to me: what if i used garlic hummus rather than the traditional red sauce? then i remembered the beautiful kalamata olives from my trip to trader joe's last week. chopped those up. looked in the fridge and found some spinach and red onions and then some cheese to top it off. chicken would have been really good but i went vegetarian and it was perfect! i started thinking about things i love with hummus and pita - cucumbers are my favorite. i diced up fresh cucumbers and tossed them in a vinaigrette with more red onion and some grape tomatoes. fresh cracked pepper finished it off:
i can't even tell you how exciting this was for me. i just don't cook this way. and i realized why: i shop from a menu generated list. now, it's a loose menu but still. when i plan a trip to the grocery store, i write down dinner ideas and make a list of the ingredients i need for those meals. and i rarely stray from that list. not so last week! i spent an hour in trader joe's and just grabbed a few things that looked good to me (olives, hummus and spinach for example) and look at the end result - a tasty, ORIGINAL recipe made by me.
i'm so proud.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

i am captivated

i got ken this amaryllis for giftmas never thinking i'd enjoy it so much. i actually thought he would take it to his office. i'm so glad he didn't. i'm so glad i'm not missing this:
mid-west winters are long and dreary. it's an absolute miracle to have this kind of beauty growing and changing every day. it's like hope blooming right on our table - hope of springtime and flowers.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

and a dog! on thursday!

sadie girl. this picture makes me fall in love with her all over again.

i always fall off the wagon when it comes to regular things i'm supposed to post. i can't get it together enough to post dogs every thursday. because it's not just dogs on thursday. it's dogs on thursdays, tuesdays with dorrie, barefoot contessa on every third friday (or something like that) and it's all just. too. much.

but isn't it fun when i do remember?
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winter wonderland

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