Saturday, February 25, 2012


We had a more than a taste of Spring yesterday, spending a good portion of the day walking through Longwood Gardens. If that is not enough to lift our spirits and propel us until Spring officially arrives, I am not certain what else could.  Orchids, hydrangeas, forsythia, pansies, lilies, and much more were abloom.

We even saw a bonsai tree whose "training begun in 1909."

We watched the pure wonder and joy of a child...

and celebrated my big brother's birthday.

Flowers always make people better, 
happier, and more helpful; they are 
sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.  
         --Luther Burbank

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soft and Warm

It is nearing the tail end of winter, but the mildness of the weather belies the date on the calendar.  Relatively little snow has fallen this winter; in fact, our school district has yet to log one snow day, indeed a rarity for Central Pennsylvania.

The weather doesn't merit a soft, warm, cowl, but I made one anyway.  Eager to try this new book and this sale yarn, I knit a pattern that uses some twists and textures to add interest to the making and the wearing.  It feels good around my neck, sits lightly on my shoulders, and has enough drape that it feels good wearing it, even on a 45+ degree February day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Banner

I finally made one of these, for Alexander's birthday...which is today.  It is so hard to believe that he is already seven years old.  Happy Birthday A!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The magic of Facebook

One unexpected delight of Facebook for me is reconnecting with my past, especially students from my past.  The snapshots and tidbits gleaned from our Facebook "friends" allow and invite us to reconnect and stay connected to people peppering the timeline of our life.  While I acknowledge that Facebook can be a time suck, I am pleased to be tied by this thread to the lives of people I care about, people like Christina.

Christina is a childhood friend of my daughter, and because of that she spent time with our family throughout many significant milestones.  Since we lived and I taught in a small town, I had the joy of teaching not only my daughter but almost all her friends. That is how Christina became not only one of my daughter's dearest friends but one of my beloved students as well.

Now she is grown up, married, and ready to give birth to her own daughter; I know all this because of Facebook. Today is Zola's baby shower in Brooklyn.  I cannot be there, but I sent this book I love and this hat I made to welcome little Zola and begin her library. Blessings, Christina, blessings...It is a joy to participate in this event, even if it is in a virtual universe.

Friday, February 3, 2012

From Sweater to Shawl

My great grandmother Edna Zeigler Bame was a woman who recyled and repurposed long before we named what was for her generation a common practice.  She cut up used woolens to hook and braid rugs and arranged buttons on velvet to make pictures.  Disposable waste is a relatively new commodity, a product of twentieth century “progress.” 

A younger, socially responsible generation is leading the charge to save our planet by  advocating responsible stewardship of our natural resources and reduction of the “stuff” we accumulate.  I seek to live with this in mind.

Certainly one of the benefits of retirement is time to trod more deliberately and carefully.  A couple of weeks ago during a drop-in visit to our local thrift store, I found two sweaters for a dollar a piece, two sweaters worth of wool that could, with some imagination, be repurposed for another life and possibly be saved from a landfill. 

Thanks to the Internet and easy access to tutorials like this, I learned how to harvest yarn from a sweater.  I washed the sweater (some places suggest washing the yarn after you unravel the sweater, but I opted for the easier method of prewashing the sweater) and separated its parts by opening it up, seam-by-seam.

And then I simply unraveled it, winding it into balls as I went.

 Look at all this yarn!  For one dollar!

Using my recycled yarn coupled with two skeins of hand-painted sock yarn I had in my stash,  I made a prayer shawl for our church’s upcoming medical mission trip to Nicaragua;   this simple triangular prayer shawl of 100% natural fiber is thrifty, green , and socially responsible all at the same time.