Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crochet flower

My mom and I both have birthdays in the month of February. Could be one of the only two bright spots in the month, since I don't believe February has much else to offer. : )

For my mom's birthday, I made her a crocheted flower. This was actually one of the first things I ever crocheted by using a pattern....up until then, I did blankets and scarves that you could make using one stitch only. If you are at all familiar with crochet patterns, you know that they read like a foreign language. I tore mine off a free offering at Michael's.

As you can see, I have had it for a long time and used it a lot. : )

I chose the same yarn that I used to make her a scarf for she could match if she wanted.

This pattern does require you to do many stitches in one stitch.....which can be a little unsettling if you've never done much of that.

After you make your second row, you will be ready to start making the "petals" of the flower.
Which reminds me of my three year-old daughter, who likes to eat Fruity "Petals" for breakfast.

You can see here that the second row produces big holes for your numerous stitches for said petals.

In each of the holes, you do six double crochets with a single in between.

Once you have finished, you can use a big needle (mine is specially made for yarn) to sew it together.

You will coil your flower around until you like the shape and size, then sew up and down and through it to secure the layers of the yarn.

I added a pin back for pinning to a coat or shirt. I sometimes add a hair clip, too.

And here is the finished flower!

I did use this pattern to make a flower for my daughter's Christmas stocking. Depending on the size of your yarn, you can make really big or really small flowers.

The other really nice thing about this pattern? There is no gauge. For you un-crocheters, that means you don't have to make sure your stitches are a certain you do if you are making, say, a sweater or something to wear in a certain size.

If you would like the pattern, please let me know by commenting or send me an e-mail and I will be happy to share.

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings
Sunday Roundup at A Rosie Sweet Home

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love these looks

I don't have a subscription to Vogue...I read it occasionally when I visit my sister-in-law, who works heavy-duty in retail.

Vogue tends to be a little intense for me, but I do think the photos are so artful. These pictures of Taylor Swift in the last issue caught my eye.

I like Taylor Swift well enough....she seems to be a younger celebrity who has her head on a bit straighter than many of her contemporaries. At least from what I can tell by reading magazine articles about her, right?

While I think her style is well and good, I've never seen her looking so glamorous!!! I am in LOVE with the dress over pants in the next pic. With the bag and boots.

Looking good, Taylor!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Signs of spring

Well, I can definitely tell you that there are signs of spring outside the window. My bulbs are up about two inches.

I don't know about you, but I'm kinda waiting for the hammer to fall on us as far as winter storms go. So, we'll see about that.

But today marks one of my perennially favorite signs of spring....

Yes, that's right. Spring training is upon us. Pitchers and catchers reported today! In case you didn't know, I am from Ohio....the Cincinnati area. Around these parts, the Reds' opening day is a holiday. Cincinnati is home to the first professional baseball team. 

So, no matter what is happening out my window, I know the end is near.

The boys of summer (....and summer) are coming. 


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oh, baby...

I got a special delivery last weekend.

I've recently reevaluated my magazine subscription and let a few go. I had several and decided to take a break from a few of them to see if I missed them that much. So far, not so much.

In their void, I added a new one. Fine Gardening

I'm so excited! I had a credit from a return I made from the holidays....and I ordered this. And I got two of them at once.

I'm so looking forward to curling up on the couch and reading these. : )

Yes, I am SO a gardening nerd.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fashion No. 1....up and down

Recently, I've been reading blog posts and seeing link parties related to fashion. You know....What I Wore.....Worst Dressed. All that jazz.

I thought I'd share a few recent outfits. A dressed-down and a dressed-up.

Here is a look I sported on Super Bowl night. You will see from my outfit that we surely didn't host any company that evening. Husband and I had a hot date with a take 'n' bake pizza and Miller High Life.

I like to imagine this look as "low-key luxe." Luxe, you say? Well, my pants are comfy sweats/yoga pants in a khaki color. My top is a thin, brown sweater that I think elevates the comfy pants a bit. I wore it over a cami and I can't be positive that I was wearing a real bra that night....and no makeup. A step up from down and out sweats, though. I tried not to totally slum out by wearing a necklace! I'm tryin' a bit.

Kudos to my six year-old, who took the picture. : )

Here's a look for school.

I look fairly chipper for 7:15am, don't I? This was taken last week before I came down with...bronchitis. I am wearing a tunic sweater from H&M over black pants and boots. I wear this pink scarf a goes well with blacks/greys and also browns. The belt is new....I bought it on clearance at Kohls' for about $4!

There you have it, a few of the ups and downs of fashion in my life. Take 1.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What a man

My husband had a nice surprise for me last night. Since I have to spend my evening tonight at school for one of our last pep band gigs (nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like HS basketball), he picked up fixin's for dinner and cooked me a nice dinner. I arrived home to cheese fondue....then after the kids were in bed, we dined on steaks, twice-baked potatoes and broccoli. Finished up with some Graeter's ice cream. It was so nice to have someone cook for me!!

Then, last weekend, I had quite a nice surprise from my husband and son.....

Yes, those would be....REAL.....conversation hearts.

I decided to make a scientific comparison.

I think the Sweethearts are a bit darker in color. And quite offensive in taste. Lest they look harmless.

I have a routine for enjoying my hearts. I eat all of one color at a time. In my opinion, the best flavors/colors are, in reverse order:

5. Orange and green, either or. These are my least favorite.
4. Pink
3. White
2. Purple
1. Yellow

I didn't used to like pink or white...they have grown on me.

Be still, my heart.

Yes, Necco conversation hearts. Only you.

And you, my dear husband! 

Happy V Day, all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snapshot--Sunday night


V Day is coming, yo. We got cookies in the house.

This is where Play-Doh goes to die.....

Have a good week.....:)

What winter?

As much as I can't wait for the winter months to end, we sure have not had much of that in the last few months.

We have had three inches of measurable snowfall so far this season. Last February, we had twenty inches in the month alone. I miss this.....

What's worse is that we have had rain, rain, rain....more rain.....and, oh yeah, RAIN. Last year we set a record for the total rainfall in a year--over 70 inches. So, it's been milder with lots of rain. Our backyard is a perpetual muddy sponge. My husband is about to lose his mind, wiping the dog's paws each time she comes in.

Apparently, the jet stream is parked up around the U.S./Canadian border. Would you like to come down this way, please? If the ground would freeze a bit, we wouldn't have to wipe paws, you know.

Now, I don't like how long the winter months seem, but at least usually we have some snow, of which I love the look. Snow means snow days and like any teacher out there, I appreciate a few snow days here and there. We have had

Being the garden freak that I am, I'm a little concerned about how my bulbs are popping up a bit. I'm sure Mother Nature will get it right in the end, but usually the bulb-popping gives me a bit of a thrill in March. (I'm easily thrilled.) There is a red maple that I check out while I am on bus duty, watching the students get off or get on the bus--now, that's a thrill--and it is setting buds. It usually does not look like that until mid-March.

So. There you have it. We shall see, won't we? In the meantime, I sure would like a good Winter Storm Warning to be issued......

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Hello, winter landscape. I'm getting to be a bit tired of trees with no leaves....dark, grey days.....lifeless looking grass.

If you're a gardener, then you probably appreciate plants that offer some winter interest. One of the most common is sedum, mainly the upright varieties, like 'Autumn Joy.' I have some of this in my yard. Here is a pic and you might recall having seen this around....

Another popular winter interest plant is ornamental grass. Many people leave the seedheads on the plant for the winter, since they are pretty. Here are some in my yard.

This one is called maidengrass...probably one of the most common that you would see here in the Midwest. I like this plant a lot throughout the growing season. This particular plant is a bit was moved from a not-so-desirable spot in the yard, where it got sun only in the morning. The backside of the plant got no sun. The builders put it there. God knows why they put things where they do.

Maidengrass becomes the bane of my existence this time of year. As you go through the winter, it tends to "weep" its blades and they blow all over the yard. Seeing as it is cold outside, I don't much like to go outside and pick them up. Ugh.

This is a variegated variety of maidengrass that is planted to hide our electrical boxes. I did not pick this one out--our empty nest neighbors bought it and my husband and I did the manual labor of planting. The plumes on this one are a bit sparse, but this plant looks great in the summer.

This last one is my is a type of switchgrass, I believe (again, I did not pick it out or pay for it, but my back did). It is green with a reddish tinge in the summer, but the seedheads are really pretty.

I like to cut those and put them around the inside of the house during the winter. As for the dead stalks, they have to be cut back for the new growth to come in. Another month or so and we'll be doing just that.

Means spring is not too far off.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Posting over at The Blog Tap

What is up, people?

I'll tell you what's up....I have a sore throat and a cold, so I've been a little pathetic lately. I had been super happy that we have not had too much sickness/germs around the house and I guess my karma turned. It's not completely awful.....just bad enough that you feel like shiz, but not bad enough to have to stay home from work. Bah. 

And by the end of the day, I sound a lot more froggy. Is that a word? Maybe the Mr. will think it is sexy.

My spirits were lifted, though, once I saw my guest posting over at The Blog Tap. You can check it out here. Just a little something on how I try to cook something good for you every now and then.

And if you haven't checked out the Tap, you should! It's a community to get to know other really cool bloggers. All of the peeps I have come to know there are all super-nice, friendly, welcoming and funny. : ) A can't-go-wrong combo.

I should take heart....we're supposed to get a bit of snow tonight and around these parts, that's all it takes for a school delay, much less a snow day. Maybe a morning of sleeping in a bit would be just what the dr. ordered for me and my stupid cold. Here's hoping. ; )

I must be getting old

I think I might be moving into a new phase of my life. 

You should probably know I'm a bit of a heels aficianado. Now, you would not know it from my styling on the weekends (read: sweats), but at work, I like to dress up and look professional. Other teachers at my school comment that when they hear clicking heels, they know it's me. I suspect the others who dress more casually--one in particular wears overalls (?)--think I may be overdoing it a bit.

That's how I roll.

I have started wearing comfy shoes on the way to work. Mostly on days when I have to drop off two children on my way, which makes for a lot of walking before you even arrive at work. Usually, I am carrying one of said children who weighs almost 35 lbs. Now, while I know many of you are thinking, "If she's that big, she can walk....." I carry her because she gets dropped off at the sitter's house in her PJs. No shoes. Sometimes wrapped in her blankie in lieu of a coat. It's simpler this way.

This brings to mind the picture of the woman, wearing her suit and wearing her comfy athletic shoes to brave the streets of the big city. See below.

The above photo led me to make a new blog discovery..... I may need to's pretty entertaining.

There are many references to this phenomena in the movies. The first to come to mind is Working Woman, which starred Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford.

I really love this movie. It's from the 80s and if you haven't seen it, you should! You can go wrong with a young Harrison Ford (or an older one, took, for that matter). Very entertaining and a good story. The girls who work in the office sport the comfy athletic shoe on their journeys to work.

Miranda, from Sex and the City, was encouraged by her husband, Steve, to wear sneaker to walk from the subway to their house after they moved to Brooklyn. To which she replied, "You can take me out of Manhattan, but you can't take me out of my heels."

And, lastly (though this one does not reference a working woman), in Legally Blonde, Elle is walking home from being dumped by her scummy boyfriend and he gives her a ride, after convincing her that she'll ruin her heels by walking all the way home in them. She grudgingly agrees and gets in the car.

So. My comfy shoes?

In black. Or brown. Replaced by black or brown flips in warmer weather. Once arrived at school, fancy shoes are put on. Here's hoping I don't forget to stick said fancy shoes in 
my bag. : )

While you'll never catch me wearing my running shoes with my fancy-schmancy school clothes, I don't look nearly as put together wearing these, you know? Either I've changed....or evolved.

I guess when I was younger, I could take the pain. Or didn't care. What do you do in the name of comfort vs. fashion?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Sunday and other

So, here it is....Super Bowl Sunday. The end of pro football for this year, all the way from last August. Will you be watching?

Truth be told, I like to watch just for the ads. I think I got hooked on this when I was a kid and the Bud Bowl became such a big ad during the game for several years.

For not being their target audience, I sure was hooked. Maybe it worked out for them anyhow, since I've been known to enjoy a few cold ones.

Plus, it is a good excuse to enjoy yourself a bit. So, I picked up a take 'n' bake pizza at Costco yesterday ($3 off) and my man went out last night to pick up some Miller High Life. We classy like that. It is the Champagne of Beers, you know. It makes me wish that the Super Bowl was on a I could enjoy my High Lifes (Lives?) and not worry so much about waking up to teach the youth of America the next morning.

I'm also excited that Downton Abbey is new again tonight. Could it be airing against the Super Bowl because:
a) Brits don't care about the Super Bowl, they have their own football?
b) People who watch public television don't care about the Super Bowl?

I'm not really sure, but I don't care. If you are a Downton watcher, you must check out this blog.....  Unbelievable episode recaps. Today's post about Downton's stars is freaking funny.

Besides that, not much else going on. I have a little craft project I have to do--not nearly as enjoyable as ones you choose to do. Perhaps I'll share a pic of the finished product. It has to do with a costume. Intrigued????

Oh, and last night, we were cleaning house--because that's how we rock Sat. night around here--and my husband had cranked up the 80s channel on cable for our cleaning enjoyment. "Talk Dirty to Me" came on, so immediately, all of us rushed to the kitchen to sing along and dance. Complete with brooms posing as guitars. I really love Poison. My favorite tunes for working out. I think Bret Michaels is kind of hot, too.

Here's hoping that my son doesn't go off to school and tell his teacher he loves the song "Talk Dirty to Me." Or "Don't Need Nothin' But a Good Time."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Post-hols porch pots

Don't know about you, but I love the pots on my front step. They perk up the front door a lot and someday, I'd like to invest in some much nicer ones than my plastic faux-terra cotta pots.

I also like to have something in them each season. Our old house had a really nice, big front porch...we had a porch swing, two rockers, a wicker coffee table and an outdoor rug. About the only thing I miss about that house is the porch. I'd spend a bit of money to put annuals in the porch pots for the summer. So, the only thing I like about my two front step pots here at our house now is that it's not too much time or money to fill them up....and thus, I can change them out easily without too much time and money.

It won't be long before the pansies show up at the garden center, which always means things are looking up. But for now....I've got some winter-y arrangements.

After the holidays, I was left with this.

I kept the cabbage and the fake greenery....also beefed up the pinecones. But something was missing...something with some height. Sometimes I use cable ties to attach greens to sticks and have them sticking up. But due to my lack of a budget for fresh greens for the holidays, I was short on those. 

So, I decided to look around the yard and find something I could use. Inspiration struck with the bane of my existence.....those pieces of big grass that were blowing around the yard.

I decided to use some for my pots. I gathered them up.

Anyone got a good caption for my freaky shadow?

Be careful when handling these grass blades. They can cut you.

This scratch plagued me for days. I should have worn long sleeves and gloves.

I used a stick and a cable tie for each one. I love cable ties. They are so useful for many things. Plus, I have some neon ones.

After I gathered them and folded them in half, I bound them with the cable tie to the stick.

Here are two....I ended up making another smaller one for the small pot.

Stuck them in each pot.....

Not bad....and free!

At this point, the cabbages are looking like.....well, old cabbages. So, it's a good thing that it's only 4-6 weeks until I'll pull out those tired cabbages and plant some cold-hardy plants.

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good read: On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

As I've mentioned, my sister, my mom and I all pass books around between the three of us. I love getting a new read from one of them...and typically they come with a review as well. : )

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I think one of the only detentions I received in school was because I was reading a novel during class. Yes, I was a nerd. Am still a nerd.

The latest is called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It is written by Jamie Ford. Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of an older first-generation Chinese man who looks back on his childhood during World War II.

Henry, the main character, lives in Seattle and the novel starts out when an old hotel that is being renovated opens its basement. It is full of treasures of Japanese-Americans who stored their belongings there before being taken to interment camps. As the book progresses, it tells the story of Henry as an older man and also Henry as a boy. Key to the plot is the relationship Henry has with a young school friend, whose family is of Japanese descent.

I really enjoy historical fiction....I enjoy learning about the time period, as well as enjoying the story of the characters. Although I'm familiar with World War II, I didn't know much about how the war affected residents on the West Coast. Since Henry's family is Chinese, he experiences the war on the outside, being of a different ethnic group, but being relatively "fortunate" (as his family feels) to not be Japanese.

Plus, this book has a few MAJOR bombshell revelations at the end. I was so surprised!!!

Check it won't be sorry. : )