Saturday, October 28, 2017

pattern: Tree Delivery, a hot water bottle wrap

Of the many ways that learning to knit has changed my life, one of the most obvious is through physical warmth.  (I was surprised what a difference a real wool hat made over the cheap imitations I'd been wearing.)  And then, there was the hot water bottle cozy.  After seeing them on Ravelry through the years, I bought the first hot water bottle as a gift for a friend who is always cold.  I thought, maybe I need one, too.  I knit hers a snugly cocoon before giving it, but I never got around to knitting one for mine.  Until now!  


This basic little invention has warmed my bed, my chair, my feet, while I read, knit, sleep; in the car on a cold, early drive, and in a hotel room when my roommate likes the A/C cranked!  I use it when I'm sick, and every now and then, I surrender it to a sick little boy, who humbly asks if he can borrow it "just for one night."  I fold up a woolen blanket and place it under my desk, and throw the hot water bottle on top for hours of warmth while I type, edit, and so on.  On winter days home alone, it's my constant companion.  

It's about time that I knitted a wrap for my favorite foot warmer, a little softer for my feet to rest on than the rubber or plastic of the bottle.  And may I say, much prettier, too!!  Whether traveling to strange lands, or movie night on the couch with people who don't understand why you're always cold, there's something so comforting about having your own little armful of warmth.  And another reason to break out the needles and yarn?  Bonus!  

If you would like to knit this pattern, you can find it on Ravelry - free for a limited time.  More details below:

Pattern link on RavelryTree Delivery
One Size (easily modified, though, and with plenty of stretch)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns' Longwood Sport in 4 Red & 46 Cream
Needles: US4 - 16" or magic loop on 40"

I'm working on a green and white one, next!  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

butterflies abound

Several Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies have stopped in our garden on their migration path this year.  Isn't it magical?!










Friday, September 8, 2017

Photography

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed. 
Ansel Adams


Ah, light.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

late-August delights

A beetle on a recent photo shoot.



I didn't think the eclipse would be a big deal, and it was my first "normal" day home, alone, in months, so I made no plans.  As the moment arrived, I did go outside and spend time enjoying the changing shadows -I  had no glasses or other viewing equipment.  What a regular/expected thing, and yet so glorious and unique and bonding.  I wish I had made the effort to share this experience with someone I love, but I'm glad I didn't miss it.  Celestial events like this always remind me of the short story, All Summer in a Day.  Heartbreaking.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

morning tea, now it is political


Early morning tea...  

I recently read a discussion on Flickr about whether and how to capture steam (from food) and that it is often faked with smoke.  Not my first shot of a hot, fresh cup of tea; I'm thinking tea stays steamy longer than bread.  I enjoy all my senses getting involved:  the smell of the blend in the tin, watching the color disburse in the water, the sound of the sugar granules breaking the surface, the warmth of the cup, and of course, the taste.  Having tea is one of my favorite morning rituals.  


I recently realized that my favorite variety of tea has begun an affiliation that, to put it simply, I find appalling.  And out of character - or so I would have thought.  I am heartbroken to lose this little, daily moment of savoring what is good, what is simple, what is home.  And I wonder, what should I do about it?  Does this company really mean that they've joined up with the anger and hate?  Or did they feel pressured?  Extorted?  Or am I overthinking it all?  I am reminded of an article I read this month on the silent majority.  I will probably write a letter to the tea company; not an angry, accusing letter, just the opinion of one loyal customer.  I wonder if it will matter.

On the look-out for a new tea company to invest my mornings with, I contacted a small tea company that I followed on Instagram; they're a bit more local, and I asked a few questions.  I got a response wondering about my questions, but when I explained my plight, I did not hear back.  Salt in the wound!  Or maybe I'm overthinking it again.  I am not giving up, though.  My mother-in-law introduced me to Constant Comment, which is also delightful and will do in a pinch; and Celestial Seasonings is local, but I like loose tea.  
If you have a favorite tea, company, blend, I would love recommendations!?   

In the meantime, perhaps I will track down some tea from the Brown Palace Hotel, where I spent a lovely afternoon last winter, with a friend. 



Friday, August 11, 2017

local history: Estes Park and the Stanleys

Estes Park has long been a favorite day-out excursion with friends and family, and although it can seem very touristy, there are lots of fun things to do.  Currently, my aunt (Aunt Banana) and uncle live there, and we spent the night at their house to have a little extra time to explore (and because we like hanging out with them!)   

We had never been to the famous Stanley Hotel, although it is a grand presence above the lake as we enter town from the east.  It is said to be haunted.  We walked up from our parking spot on the main strip to get a closer look at this lovely example of Georgian architecture.  Luckily, we encountered no ghosts.  



What a gorgeous staircase; we learned later that the four different balusters on each step were designed to represent the four seasons.  

What we didn't realize when we planned this trip was that the town of Estes Park is celebrating its 100th year this summer!  Aunt Banana called to ask if we would be interested in touring the home of F.O. Stanley - not the hotel, but his actual home.  This was definitely a unique opportunity, as the home is a private residence and not often open to the public.  In the last hundred years, in spite of the property belonging to two families after the Stanleys, there are a surprising number of original details still in the house, including floor plan, woodwork, front stair case, wall paper, bathroom fixtures, and some light fixtures (although they were originally gas.)  Other items that have been replaced still maintain period charm.  The staircase in the Stanley home was the precursor to the one in the hotel.  Unfortunately, the tour started in a side door and finished at another, and we never got a good glimpse of the front of the house, up close.  However, we did learn that the home and hotel exteriors were originally a mustard yellow!  


 original wallpaper, staircase, and light switches


original fixtures in the bathroom, including sink and tub

When we returned from the tour into town, we ran into none other than Mr. and Mrs. F.O. Stanley!  He commented to me about these crazy cars from the future.  I thought that was funny.  
It was fun to step back in time and learn a bit about what the Stanleys contributed to our state and society, from the hotel to the Stanley Steamer, photographic advancements, and his love of hand-crafting violins.  

Besides the Stanleys, we had a quick trip through Rocky Mountain National Park, where we saw some beautiful waterfalls, and lots of creatures.  It was a great day for the tour, and I may have found time for some sweater knitting.  



And of course we walked through town, and bought some taffy.