Monday, January 20, 2014

Odds and ends

Monday is being rather unkind so far. The LB woke up with a fever of nearly 104 degrees, with complaints of a sore throat. He doesn't have school on Mondays anyway, but he would definitely have stayed home if he did. The GB's school is closed for Martin Luther King Day, so they're both here all day. I think she may be symptomatic soon too, based on the slightly woozy look in her eyes. It's a loll-and-watch-TV kind of day. We're in the family room watching PBS. They clamored to watch Dinosaur Train, to my dismay. Give me Sesame Street or even Thomas the Tank Engine any day, but I give Dinosaur Train a big thumbs-down.

I'm still bouncing back after some dental work I had on Friday. Avert your eyes if you're sensitive to discussions of dental work. I am in the process of getting my first crown. The tooth had an old silver filling which had cracked and was "leaking" underneath, causing new decay. Gross, huh? My dentist showed me a picture of the decay, which she took with a little wand-style camera after she pulled the old silver filling out. There wasn't much tooth left to begin with, but what remained looked like a pebble. Then she took more away to remove the new decay and I hardly had any tooth at all. Oh, the endless drilling. She took impressions for my shiny new crown and sent me on my way with a weird rubbery temporary molar glued in (and some Fixodent to glue in back in if it falls out). I have to go back for the crown next week. I'm not happy about this turn of events. I take very good care of my teeth and now I'm going to have a porcelain molar. Stupid silver filling. My mouth was swollen all weekend, making it difficult to drink from a cup, and I can't stop "chomping" on this fake rubber molar. It's on top and I keep wanting to drive my lower canine tooth into it. It's maddening, and uncomfortable. To be more precise, It's like having a wad of days-old, chewed Bazooka jammed into a tender place in my upper jaw.

The Bear and I have been watching the new season of Downton Abbey and we're just not feeling it anymore. This season is crazy! If you aren't caught up, don't read this paragraph. What the heck happened to Tom? Did Edna drug him? And in that era, would he really have spilled his guts to a woman about this debacle, as he did with Mrs. Hughes? And how can Bates possibly believe that Anna merely fell and hit her head? Although, he did seem to be questioning things toward the end of last night's episode. I have a lot of opinions, as you can see. So let's talk about other things I've been up to lately...

I'm getting started on a new crochet project. This is going to be a gift for my in-laws, who moved to a new house here in Albuquerque before they went back to New Zealand in November (they divide their time between NZ and here). I'm making them a throw for their living room, using the Vintage Crocheted Throw pattern from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, which I came across on Ravelry. I love the look of it; it's another variation on the ripple, but I like the pointiness of the design. It's an easy one too, though I haven't actually done much yet. I've just got a few rows so far. This is the yarn I'm using. All of it is Caron Simply Soft, which is one of my preferred acrylic yarns. My in-laws have a very earthy color scheme in their home, so I went with soft tones. In the bottom row, there is Persimmon, Off-White and Light Country Peach. The upper row contains Light Sage and Bone. I like these colors, though I have toyed with adding a very light blue. I probably won't do it, though; sometimes I can't stop adding new colors once I start and I'd prefer to keep this color scheme simple.

I've been working on the wall above our family room couch, trying to come up with a pleasing arrangement around our family portraits. I made two embroidery-hoop frames with fabrics - a blue mosaic-type design with orange and green, which I shared in my recent hoop tutorial, and a simple pale gray with white polka dots. There is a glare on all the glass in this photo, and all the frames are crooked, but I've also added some framed art postcards from my collection. I'll probably add a few more things over time. I really like the big Scrabble tile decoration, which I found at Hobby Lobby (it was half-price the day I bought it!). It just so happens that there are four of us and that's how many points an H is worth in Scrabble.

My current reading material is a bit light and fluffy. I really want to sink into a big, delicious novel such as The Goldfinch, which everyone is reading at the moment. But the library has about ninety zillion holds on its copies. I've been enjoying these books, though. Under One Roof: Lessons I Learned from a Tough Old Woman in a Little Old House is a true story. The author is a construction foreman involved with a shopping mall-development project; he was in charge of notifying homeowners that their houses will be razed to make room for the shopping mall. Then he met Edith, who refused to yield to the developers' demands. It's both a sad story and a happy one. I'm also reading Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary, which is a graphic novel. I think it's aimed at young adult readers, but it's adorable and very engaging. Tina is an Indian-American teenager who is learning about Sartre and existentialism in school. She has to keep a diary on the subject for a school project. The book is very funny, full of wry observations about her life. It's sort of like Daria meets Catcher in the Rye.

Future coop location?

I've also taken a huge technological step. I've been using our Nook e-reader. The Bear bought it months ago when we had some gift cards we needed to use. He really likes it, but I've been hesitant - worried, even. Like many people, I love holding a book, turning the pages, breathing in the book-smell, trying to decipher notes left by previous readers - all of those book-life things you can't get with an e-reader. Do you know that scene in Back to the Future, when Marty McFly crashes into the 50's farm family's barn, and they're terrified because he looks like the alien in the son's comic book? Well, the e-reader was my HazMat suit-wearing, Van Halen-listening guy in a plutonium-powered DeLorean -  I was afraid of the future. Then a few weeks ago, we began to seriously discuss a topic we'd mused on for years: chicken-keeping. We'd like to get a pair of hens, maybe this spring. I wanted to read as much as possible first, of course, and the library's best resources are mostly electronic. So I steeled myself and borrowed three of them. I really disliked it at first, but I'm adjusting. I really want chickens. We have a good space for a small coop near the apple tree. If you've got any chicken tips, lay them on me, please.

So there you go - hooks, books, Nooks and chooks. A big hello and welcome to new readers and followers! I'm so glad you're here. And thank you so much to all who comment and offer insights and support. I'm very flattered by your comments on my apple tree post - me, writing a book! Wow, that would be wonderful. Kind of a lifelong fondest wish, really, and part of why I blog. I love having a space to write. A few have commented on my new blog header, and I appreciate your kind words. My talented husband made it for me. I'd wanted to lighten up that space on my blog for a long time; the photos headers just seemed weighty to me. The graphics are from a set of vector art we purchased online very inexpensively and he made the header in Inkscape (he added the tiny pink heart himself, at my request). I had the new header waiting in the wings, feeling shy about making the change, but I had a surge of boldness this weekend and I'm glad.


  1. I really like your colours for the throw Jennifer. I think your in-laws will really like that. It should fit well with their earth tone theme. How lucky they are top split there time between you and New Zealand!

  2. Hope your little one is better soon, and i love the colour yarns your using for the throw x

  3. Pretty color yarn for your new project. I'm looking forward to watching your progress. Hope your little ones get to feeling better soon. Heather

  4. Love the wall of family photos and your new header, Jennifer, very cozy and cute! Hope your little ones are feeling better soon and your new crown continues without any complications! Have a lovely week!


  5. I love your new blog header! I've given my daughter Rebekah the assignment of sprucing up mine. It must be the season for facelifts!

    Sorry to hear LB woke up sick. I used to hate it when my kids had fevers. It definitely sounds like a slow and easy day is in order. As for your dental nightmare, oh my. I go all weak in the spine just walking into a dentist's office. I'm a total coward.

    We have had chickens, and I would love to raise them again, but it isn't allowed where we live (one of the few downsides of our new location). We loved having the chickens that lay coloured eggs, so you might want to do a bit of research on them.

    I hope the rest of your day improves!

  6. I like the books you are reading, I might just be tempted to read both of them. Your new header is nice, crisp and clean and inviting. I would love to have chickens but we are not allowed them where we live. I would choose chickens that lay white eggs because I like to paint Easter eggs and it is nicer to have white ones for this. Not a great reason I know. I hope your wee boy is getting better soon, he has a high temperature (I had to convert the Fahrenheit to Celsius first). Keeping my fingers crossed for his quick recovery. Cx

  7. The header's lovely, just right for your blog. Sorry about the dental stuff, it sounds excruciating, I do hope it's all sorted soon. I had a boy off of school today too, the middle one. We played Monopoly for the entire morning. Much better than my usual Monday morning, which is all about the housework. I'll be interested to see how you get on with chickens. It's something I'd really love to do, and the biggest boy would too, but we need to find the space and the money first. One day though, it's on our list! You have some really lovely photos on your wall. The one of all of you together is beautiful. I hope your little people are better soon, and that you have a good week. CJ xx

  8. I hope the sickness leaves you all alone!
    I've had one of those rubbery temp teeth and it is annoying - focus on the key word "temporary!"
    Pretty colors for the throw you will make for your in-laws. They will love it!

  9. Oh, poor little thing, hope LB is feeling better soon. Dentists are not my favourite people to visit. I just had a check up last week and got the thumbs up so I'm happy for another 6 months.
    Your blanket will be lovely, I had a look at the pattern on Ravelry. Not sure I would be able to do it but I know you can, your crocheting is lovely. Have a great week Jennifer.

  10. I love your photo wall Jennifer and the giant scrabble square is really cool x

  11. I'm sorry about the sick children, dental work and general ickies. But the yarny goodness sounds great and I love your new header. I would love to have chickens too, but my usually good-natured, let me try anything Hubby gave me a resounding NO! to chickens. Oh well.

  12. Love your photo wall. Hope your little ones are on the mend soon. Fab blog header too, just my cuppa tea. xo

  13. Love the yarn colors! What lucky ducks your in-laws are to be on the receiving end of your craftiness (and to be international time-splitters)! I'm so glad to see you are a fan of the library! I love the CABQ library system... I really think it's one of the better ones I have used. Hope the LB gets to feeling better soon!

  14. I adore your new header, Jennifer!!! And I love this catch up post. Poor you with teeth and poorly children. Not a great combo.....How exciting to be finally getting chickens. I love Beryl and Jean. They are very naughty. But I don't regret getting them.

    Leanne xx

  15. Sorry you have sickness in the house. Hope it stops with LB and he is better soon! I love your photo wall.
    As for Downton - I'm frustrated too. I want Anna to tell Bates what really happened. At least the Tom thing seems to be worked out and that little coniver is gone!

  16. Ok, a bit of a list, but so much to say!
    1. Sorry that LB has the ickies, I hope that he is much better very soon.
    2. I like your new header very pretty, and I like the simplicity of it.
    3. Like the colours of the blanket for your in laws, they look very nice together. I look forward to seeing it finished.
    4. Sorry about your tooth, I hate anything dental, so you have my full sympathy. I hope that it is all sorted out very soon.
    5. Hope that you have a good week! xx

  17. Oh Lord, lots going on at your house. Sorry the little ones are sick or about to be. So, so sorry your mouth is causing you all sorts of trouble. I am a fanatic about my teeth, but I have a crack in one of them we are watching so I know I have a bit of your experience in my future. I would love to have chickens, but it is a no go where I live. And I agree with you about Downton, I think it has lost some of its luster with me. I vary between books and my ipad, it is the best of both worlds.

    Take good care of yourself so you do not get sick too.

  18. Gosh a great post. Sorry about the illness and the whole crown issue is horrible as I've had to face the same this year too-most depressing. Agree re: Downton and love your wall arrangement and colour selection for the blanket. I initially tried a Kobo but it was horrible, so grey and dark that hit went back almost by return. A change of phone got me onto the kindle app and I'm liking this as a portable option but real books still do it for me.

    There is a lovely blog from a lady who keeps hens I've been following her exploits and realised hens probably not for me right now but it is lovely to keep up with what they are up to.

  19. So sorry to read that you are all having to go through so. Much just now. Dentist work is not good. It is obviously a bit of an epidemic situation in Blogland just now as a part of my tooth fell out this week too!
    Love the new header. We had chooks for so many years but Brer Fox broke our hearts.

  20. I'm sorry the LB is unwell - I hope he bounces back and that you don't all catch it! Dental work - eugh. You have my sympathy. I hate going to the dentist. Downton Abbey - yes, Bates annoys me. I fail to see what lovely Anna sees in him, he's so emotionally stunted. I'll be jealous if you get chickens - I'd love them but we don't have the space. What nice post today, so chatty and full of good things. x

    1. Forgot to say - I love the new header! It's delightful. The little tea kettle and cups are so lovely, such nice colours. They remind me a bit of the winterwoods sampler. It's all very you. x

  21. Phew....I am exhausted! What a great post!
    I have had crown work...and I am a severe dentist hater! Good luck with that...the hardest part is over!
    Hope the kiddies are ok..lots of buggies going around :o(
    The afghan looks scrumptious...I need to get a project for Florida...
    Chickens!!!! AWESOME! I follow a great gal in California who has chickens...Kris...her blog is Simplify, in my sidebar...if you are interested...
    Ok...that is enough from me...except...your header is so dainty and clean...makes me want to clean house over at mine!
    Enjoy your week....
    Linda :o)

  22. I hate the dentist, but I do go and I do look after my teeth, just had a terrible dentist while growing up.
    Hope you are all well or at least feeling much better. Also love your new header. Lovely family wall and the colours for the blanket look lovely ☺☺

  23. I love the update! I am sorry LB is not feeling well, and I hope no one else gets it. I really hate going to the dentist for dental work. I had an old silver filling that cracked and had to be removed and replaced with a crown five years ago - no fun. I also had a lot of swelling (due to an infection) and me dentist gave me an antibiotic which really helped. I think it would be awesome to have your own chickens! It would be so wonderful for your children. And I love the photo gallery wall above your couch. Take care!

  24. I do hope your feeling better after the dentist, I had work done on a tooth the had just split in half. Love the look of your wall and the colours for the new blanket.

  25. So sorry to hear your kids are sick. That high of a temperature and a sore throat could be strep. You might have to end up taking him to the dr. Downton Abby...I don't watch it, but I have friends who do and they've been "complaining" about it on FB lately, too. The Goldfinch book...I just finished it. Are you on Goodreads? I wrote a review of it on there (started out really good, went downhill). Had to really struggle to finish reading all (almost) 800 pages of it. One good thing about living in a little town with a tiny library is that there's rarely a waiting list for the newest books! Ohh, your crown...I hate dental work. I'm a huge dental wimp. I have very sensitive teeth and gums (they're receding), plus have a big problem with tartar build-up even though I brush at least 2x/day and floss 1-2x/day, too. So a lot of times when I go in just for a cleaning, they actually have to use a special drill-like tool just to get the tartar off during cleaning. The normal scraping tool just doesn't do it. I've also had 4 crowns and now need 1 or 2 more (I lose track, lol...try to put those things out of my mind). I've been procrastinating for over a year over these newest ones. Hate all the drilling and the feeling of the Novocaine wearing off. One more thing - back to your tree. Are you familiar with That Tree by Mark Hirsch? That's what your tree reminded me of -

  26. Hooks, books, Nooks, and chooks, indeed :) I am just catching up on your last few posts, Jennifer, and found that I had missed out on the birth of your cute hedgehogs! I'm so glad they have been lovingly incorporated into your family. The new afghan colors are lovely. Why do you not like Dinosaur Train? My oldest granddaughters were enamored with it last year :) Wishing you all well and involved in happy pursuits. xx

  27. Love your pictures and the blanket is going to be gorgeous... You inlaws are lucky !

  28. You have chosen gorgeous colours for the blanket, looking forward to seeing that finished. Very envious of you getting chickens, I love them, but we have a very small garden. Hope you and the bears are feeling better soon. Julie x

  29. That's another two books added to my Amazon wish-list :D I like that afghan/blanket pattern and the colours you've chosen are going to work beautifully in it. I hope your littl'uns recover soon - fortunately, children often bounce back very quickly from ailments.

  30. Before I start, I love your new header!! It really looks great. So much to cover in the post. I loathe the dentist, so really feel for you and I am sorry to hear that you have a poorly child in the house, I hope that he gets better soon. I love the colours you have chosen for the blanket and I am sure they will love it. I am also, well actually I am nearly finished with my photo wall. It has been a project long in the making, but with my January bees in my bonnet I have finally gotten there. You have done a fabulous job with yours and it feels so satisfying to get these little things done, doesn't it?! You made me laugh about your e-reader as I think I was much the same as you. I got one over a year ago now as I was spending time in bed really struggling with holding up a book and at first it was more than alien to me as I love the feel and smell of books and it just didn't feel right. I love it now, but I still can only manage using it every other book as I still get the urge to pick up a real book, so now I alternate between my kindle and a real book and that works for me. I too want chickens, but for now it will have to wait as it is always a problem when we go away (which of course we are always doing!!, well maybe not!). Hope you have more joy than me. My hubby is a little put off by the fact that we might get rats, the jury is still out on this one. xoxo

  31. It is hard work getting dental crowns, but great once they are in. I have had six or seven done over about 30 years; I never know how many because they feel completely real and natural. Love the new header and the little heart is the perfect touch. The blend of wools for the rug is very pretty too. Good luck with the chickens - I grew up with them so am happy to just have a few ceramic ones about the place now. Great post, Jennifer!

  32. Hello there!! Good to finally find some time to catch up with your blog. You are v welcome to your surprise parcel - such a joy to give and I've appreciated your regular visits to my bit of blogland and your encouraging comments!! Keep with Downton - it does warm up a bit later in the season although I do agree that early part did feel very different in vibe!! J9 x

  33. You really have a lot in this one post Jennifer! Hope everyone is getting healthier at this point. I hate dental work and know all about those crowns, unfortunately. Once you get the permanent crown, you'll feel like you have your old mouth back. Yup, those silver fillings can break down and decay set in, sigh.

    Our friends got some chickens and love having them. I know you do need a safe place for them to roost at night, or they'll be attacked by critters like coyotes and raccoons. They get the best little eggs and we trade things so we get to share their eggs. Good luck with that! Look at "Mary Jane's Farm" magazine if you can find it online. I think it was them who had a good article on keeping chickens.

    Have lots of reading to catch on myself, and long wait lists at my library too. Haven't wanted to do electronic reading, I spend enough time on the laptop, but probably will break down eventually. Don't we all? :) Pam

  34. Hi Jennifer,

    Sorry to hear that your LB is not very well, i hope he's feeling better soon, and you have my sympathy on the dental pain, it's the worst. I love the colours and pattern you've chosen for you parent in law's throw, I'm sure they will adore it, i was lucky enough to stumble on Churchmouse while on honeymoon in 2012, it's such a magical yarn store!

    Cate, x

    p.s. love the new banner!

  35. Wow, What a busy post- so much to read and take in- I love it! Love the new blog header too, I wouldn't even know where to start to change mine- but your arty design is lovely. Sorry your LB is unwell, I hope he feels better soon.I love the new yarn colours too- and your wall arrangement is great. The scrabble tile is fab! I feel your pain about the dentist- all my silver fillings are that old my dentist calls them "Geriatrics", unfortunately they are all getting past their shelf life and are now beginning to crack- more pain- more expense!
    It may take a while with tour e book reader- but I now like having the option of having a real book or ebook- There's a time and place for both:)

  36. I hope the kids are better soon! Nothing worse than a little one with a puts on me on edge! And I just finished my dental work for a crown and I could not agree more...the darn thing drove me nuts and still does! I'm wondering if I will ever get used to it at this point! And I'm not feeling Downton this season either...way too intense which was not why I started watching the show. Crazy! And I love love love the new look of your blog friend!!! So pretty! A happy week to you! Nicole xoxo

  37. Wow -- it sounds like you've been really busy! "hooks, books, Nooks and chooks" -- too funny! Sorry about your tooth but look at the bright side (don't you hate it when people say that?) -- you didn't have to have a root canal! Also, I enjoyed your knitting post. I wish I could knit in the continental style -- I think it's much faster. It's interesting to see the way the yarn goes around your needle that way -- it's the opposite direction than if you throw your yarn. I wonder if it will make any difference when you get to more complicated stitches like SSK or k2tog??? Inquiring minds want to know LOL.

  38. I do hope LB is feeling better. Fevers like that can make anyone feel miserable so I do hope the recovery is fast. Enjoy your Nook. Love my Kindle. Had chickens clucking around as a kid but they were kinda crazy, free roam chickens that just came to eat and make a lot of noise. The chicks were absolutely adorable tho. Take care!

  39. Love your new header and its colors.I'm so jealous with these wonderful crafts you make so easily... I'm not good with all this but I love so much your blankets and all your creations Jennifer!
    Dentists are awful!

  40. I had to skip ahead through your post ... no dentist talk thank you (I had drilling in my jaw last year & don't care to revisit that!) ... can't read Downton bc I'll wait till it comes out in DVD and buy the whole season in December. So ... nice yarn for the throw ... I think I would've tossed the white for the blue, but these are all nice and cozy together. If you want chicken info, go to Life at Cobble Hill Farm blog (it's on my sidebar) and check out her post on chicken coops. Staci seems to have all the poop on the coop ;) A wonderful blog to follow too! I still won't give up books. I watched a recent video on Knitsofacto about the printed word, and it made me put off buying a kindle even further (the video was shot in Toronto, which was kinda cool too). I like your little photo grouping Jennifer ... the hoops add a really nice touch! Wendy x

  41. Jennifer, I hope your LB is feeling much better now. -Oh I just hate seeing my little one sick. I just want to take all the pain away. And as far as dental work, I hope you have a speedy recovery. I had to get more than one crown before, and it was not fun at all. I'm just not a big fan of visiting my dentist! :(

  42. Hi Jennifer.. somehow this post went flying by when I wasn't looking. I hope LB is better now and also hope that GB didn't get it! We all got sick from something Hayden brought home from school.. Dayle is the last to get it and he's worried that he'll be coughing when they do his knee replacement surgery next Tues. Poor guy. I'm excited that you are going to get chickens.. you will love it! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  43. Hi Jennifer,

    Sorry your LB is not feeling well and hope he is feeling better now.
    It is such an awful procedure having a crown - I needed one of those.
    I am like you with Downton Abbey - I have stopped watching it.
    Chickens are lovely and fresh eggs in your pantry is great - we always had chickens at home when I was growing up. Thank you for your visit and kind words you left.
    Happy day

  44. Sorry to hear about your dental work and LB's fever. i hope you're both feeling much better. My Nook is coming into its own after my recent surgery, since I can't get to the library to borrow real books, but can so easily download something light and entertaining to read as I convalesce.


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