Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St. Gianna Molla

Today is the feast day of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, one of my favorite saints. She lived in very recent times, dying in 1962, was a wife, mother and doctor - a true 'working mom' by today's definition. She is a fantastic example of devotion to God and the family, eventually giving her life so that her fourth child could live.

Check out the website to learn more. I especially like this page that gives a timeline of her life and subsequent canonization. Be sure to click on the links in the left column for more details on things that interest you. (More specifically, Mom, click on the "Medical Circumstances of Death".)

Friday, April 23, 2010


Big I experienced his first Boy Scout Camporee last weekend. I just now downloaded the pics. Big I had a blast rambling everywhere and seeing everything.

Here are a few shots of our afternoon and evening out with the scouts.

Hanging out with Daddy. (Check out Craig's spiffy new glasses with the transitions lenses. Coastal Contacts worked great.)

Setting up camp.

Testing out the new chair.

First time fishing.

A real live one with Grandpa.

Crazy hair in the rain.

One thing I didn't get pics of is Craig and I as judges for the dutch oven cooking competition. It was difficult with all those yummy dishes. Big I helped too and clamored for 'bites' if we were taking too long in between tastings.

We were all set-up to camp but then it began to rain pretty steadily during campfire. Craig's dad, a wise and experienced scouter, pointed out that it just wasn't a good night to camp. Especially since we only had our (very awesome, but still small) 2-man backpacking tent for the three of us. (To avoid such a problem in the future this has now been ordered thanks for a nice REI coupon. We are eagerly awaiting it's delivery.) So, disappointed, we packed it up in the rain and headed home.

Big I zonked out almost immediately and slept until after 8 the next morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bunny Pics

Trying to take pictures of a rabbit is pretty tough. Just when Ollie's stopped 'just so' and I press my finger on the button, he moves again. So I have a lot of pictures of his back end or of his ear in the way or just too blurry and such. Add in the fact that Big I loves to cuddle up to him (which is totally adorable) and I now have two moving targets. But tonight I managed to get a few passable shots...sans toddler.

There's something new growing in the pot!

He also discovered that Big I's sandbox is fun to play in.

Hanging out on the porch is good fun!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mmm, beer....


I've made this Beer Bread recipe twice now. The first time with 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and a Shiner Bock. The second, pictured here, with 1/2 cup Asiago cheese (I knew putting that stuff in the freezer would pay off!) and a Sierra Nevada Stout.

Both very, very good. And it makes the house smell bread-y and beer-y at the same time. Yum.

I've also added some new recipes to the side bar. Check them out...the giant bunny wants you to!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Results are in!

Far fewer entrants this time, so your chances were good. Without further ado, the winner of the Himalaya Tote is....


She was lucky to have a last-minute entry. I'll shuttle this off to you just as soon as I get a chance. Hope it works for ya!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Undercover Project

A few months ago, my sister's co-worker's daughter (follow that?) started a great non-profit project to benefit a local Virginia children's hospital. The hospital had pitiful old blankets for the kids, so this fine lady decided to collect 600 blankets for each child to keep. (The hospital sees about that many kids a year.) Melissa, my sister, contacted me the other day to let me know that they're still working on the project but support seems to be waning. No waning!

Here's some recent info she sent me:

I am working with a friend and her daughter on behalf of the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents ( in Staunton to collect new blankets for the children in this hospital. The hospital is a state hospital that has been hit hard by the state budget cuts, and they cannot afford to replace basic supplies like blankets. They are in danger of closing in the next few years. It is a psychiatric hospital for children. Many of them come to the hospital with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The blankets are a basic need for the hospital and also a security item for the child who gets to take the blanket with them when they leave.

My friend and her daughter have named their project, "Undercover" - you get the imagery. They have delivered several hundred blankets since the fall, but momentum is waning and we are now going to civic organizations and corporations asking for donations.

Your blog is a great resource for crafty people.
[Ha! You mean all 4 of the people who read it?] I thought maybe since you have an audience who have the talent to quilt, perhaps you could share this information with them.

There are requirements for the blankets:

All the children sleep in a twin size bed so the blanket can be no smaller than 50x60" and up to a twin size blanket at most. Fleece blankets, quilts, comforters, and specialty weighted blankets are all welcome.

If there are any questions, they could email for further information.

No need to make a blankie if you're not crafty, just find a good deal at the store. But if you want to make one (or more) here's an easy, fun method below. (This 'pattern' also came from Melissa, by the way. She and her kids made Big I one for his first birthday. He loves it.)

Easy Fleecy Blankie
  1. Go to local craft store
  2. Find fleece fabric section. It is probably very large and very colorful. Bonus if there's a sale going on.
  3. Pick whatever fleece fabric looks fun/pretty/soothing/wild-and-crazy to you. Be careful, fleece is easy to get addicted to.
  4. Take fabric to counter and ask for two yards. (Normally one yard is a great size, but for this project, two yards will be more useful for older kids.) Repeat as necessary for all the fleece prints you just can't live without.
  5. Once home, unfold the fabric completely and find the edge of the fabric with a selvage. It will be obvious that it is not part of the pattern. Usually it's a white strip. Use a nice sharp pair of scissors or rotary cutter and cut it off. The other long edge of the fabric will have some holes and a funny rolled edge. Cut it off as straight as you can manage as well.
  6. Locate the short edges of the fabric. Take your scissors and begin at one corner to cut 2-3' long fringe about 1 inch wide all the way across the short edge of the fabric. Use a large pair of scissors that cut all the way to the tip and that will give you a good length. I use the pad of my thumb as a rough measurement of width. If you're a true perfectionist you may have to pull out a ruler, but really, no one will notice that they don't all match perfectly. You can choose to fringe all sides if you wish.
  7. Tie each individual fringe piece in an over-hand knot and snug up to the main body of the blanket. Spouses and children are particularly helpful for this part.
  8. Admire!
I had a great time making a bunch of fleece blankets for the Undercover Project already and I think I'll make some more. If you're local to me, feel free to drop some of your blankets off and I'll be happy to ship them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A thing completed

Just finished up the Himalya Tote by Jill Vosburg last night.

I love this pattern. The first one I made from sari silk in a mini version. I loved that one too. My sister got it; I hope she uses it. This version is a big size (14" wide x 17" tall x 5" deep) and made from Paton's SWS (wool and soy silk) I felted it ever so slightly for a little extra durability. The colors worked up so nicely with the mitered corners.

The really exciting part is the lining. I used a cotton batik and was oh-so-careful (sewing is still not my strong point). There are four pockets, the largest of which has a velcro closure.

I double-stitched the pockets as well for added durability. I gave it a test-drive at the store this morning and it worked great. Below you can see what I brought. From top right going clock-wise:

Big pocket with dirty-dipe bag, small first-aid kit, toddler clothes change and other miscellany. Side pocket with water bottle and umbrella. Next pocket with wallet, sunglasses, shopping list and coupon folder. Small pocket with keys and cell phone. In the middle, I put a cloth diaper and my sock knitting project. I still had a ton of room left.

The only thing I didn't do was give it a top closure. Quite honestly, I just couldn't find the magnet closures I bought a while back. I don't typically use them so I didn't think it a big deal.

Why am I telling you all of these details? It's up for grabs. I like this one so much and have so much of this yarn that I'll make myself another and you can have this one.

I can't think of a good way to make y'all earn this one, so if you want it, just leave a comment saying so. I'll pick the winner on Monday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New clothes shopping

Hand me downs are the best. Part of the fun is that you never know what you're going to get. Take, for example, this last box from our friends. In it, the now infamous linen suit:

Also shown in "Take On Me" video version:

(Our new camera has such neat settings.And darn it if I don't still like that music video.)

Then there's the stuntman shirt from last year that still gets a laugh this year - especially when paired with the over-sized orange shorts:

And this one just defies all description except that it made Craig really, really want to go to Hawaii (like, even more so than usual):

Big I insisted on those shoes and hat to go with it, by the way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BIG bunny

Meet Olaf. (Named for Olaf "Olie the Goalie" Kolzig.)

He's a super sweet Flemish Giant. We're smitten.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Couldn't you just die from the cuteness? A linen suit for Easter (with a Hawaiian shirt to boot).

That's his very first Peep too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Remember that lovely neighborhood hawk that got the baby bunny a while back?

Look what I found today. Neat!

It's still in good shape too. The jaw and vertebrae are still attached. If I was still at work that would get added to our interpretation collection.

As an aside, when you find animal bones of any sort in the woods or fields, leave them there. The little critters gnaw on them for the minerals. Many times if you look closely you can see the teeth marks.


Look what our new camera does automatically! One end of our wee yard to the other. Also neat!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back in business

Our new camera came today. Big I and I tested it out.

First he wanted to give a shout out via his wardrobe to his west coast aunties that he had so much fun with this past weekend. Can you read his new (to him) shirt? You might have to click.

We have a few things blooming:

the salvias (pardon the grass, we haven't had a chance to mow yet),

the bluebonnets,

and even the tomatoes.

The shade garden is looking very green and oh so relaxing when I walk over there. I added some Lenten Roses and a Coralberry this year.

And our new rainbarrel which works extremely well.

And best of all, the little elfish creature that hangs around here can help me water.


Bonus pics I found on the SD card from a couple of months ago judging by the hair and chapped cheeks: