Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Random February Photos

 It is late winter.  February's weather is all over the place.  There's snow.  It comes and goes.



But we can still get out and walk the paved trails.


Then the snow starts melting.




Sometimes there is even blue sky!


The birds know spring is on its way.





And the early spring flowers are popping up.

Our first crocus!


These daffodils were trapped under a bag of mulch all winter.  They are so tenacious!  I moved the bag and found them already searching for the spring sunshine.


And of course, there are always barns.


Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Means...Fave Fives

Can it really be near the end of the second month of 2024 already?  Cliches can be boring but the one about "time flies" seems to be simply true.  I have had to stop and take deep breaths this week, to stop and calm down, to stop and hit the restart button.  Right now, I am stopping to relax and reflect on the good things that occurred this past week here at Willow's Cottage, and I am writing about them as my Friday Fave Fives.  The link will take you to Susanne's blog where you can read more FFFs and join it you want.

1.  It seems that during certain seasons people, me included, obsess about the weather.  Like me. This week.  I am thankful for snow, rain, and sunshine.  Rain and snow mean that we are unlikely to have drought conditions.  Sunshine means a relief from the darkness of clouds (and Vitamin D).

2.  Exercise is important for our health.  I am thankful that we can visit the local Y and exercise there.  We worked out two days this week.  And our granddaughter was with us and work out, too.

3.  Usually, we do not just visit a restaurant for a meal out.  This past week, we had dinner in restaurants TWICE.  We visited a local Thai restaurant with a couple and just had a great time chatting.

4.  Then on Saturday evening, we met up with a family who lives in Kentucky.  Why would we do that?  The husband/father was a missionary kid in Papua and attended the same international MK boarding school that three of my children did.  He was a few years older but remembers them. (It was a quite small school)  We had spent time with them a couple of years ago at a reunion, and this is the first time we've been able to meet up with them even though we live only one and a half hours away.  It was a wonderful and joyful two hours we spent with them.  I have to add that their two children were a delight, too.

5.  Can I just give a thankful shout out to coffee?  That caffeine boost has really helped my schedule this week!



Friday, February 16, 2024

A Coffee Shop Week of Faves

 I am late posting my Friday Fave Fives today.  But I have a good excuse.  Our internet is out.  So I am sitting in a coffee shop sipping some hot chocolate and using their internet access.  Anyway, here are my five blessings from this week.  Follow the link above to join us in being thankful.

1.  I am thankful for a technologically brilliant husband.  The Professor (yes, he used to teach computer science classes at a university) has been working all day on a solution.  Trust me, if he can't fix it easily, it's not an easy fix.  I appreciate his ability to work on all technical issues.

2.  This week we have had weird weather ranging from sunny and rainy, warm and freezing, and right now it is snowing.  What makes me thankful about that?  a warm home, snow proof boots, cozy gloves and hats.

3.  Tuesday we drove an extra half hour more than usual to visit a new coffee shop with our friends T and S.  The bakery goodies were yummy.  And afterwards, we went over to the Wagnalls Library (yes, the Wagnalls of Funk and Wagnalls dictionary and encyclopedia).  The library building is amazing!  I can't access my photos right now, so here is a link to the Wagnalls Library.

4.  One afternoon, The Professor and I met at a much closer coffee place with both daughters.  It is not usual for them both to have the same afternoon off work.  We had so much fun chatting with them and pondering some hard questions.

5.  Remember our new 'great grandson'?  We were able to meet him this week!  Oh he is so adorable!  And snuggly.  And calm.  The whole time we were there, he never opened his eyes; he just slept in our arms.  I wish I could share photos of him (I'll have to ask permission).  But trust me, he is the cutest baby born in Ohio so far this year!

Bonus:  Because I didn't have internet at home, I 'met' on zoom with my dear dear friends, The Art Girls, in the closest coffee shop to our house so I could join them in discussing the first chapter of the book we are reading 'together' during Lent this year.  If you care, the book is Rembrandt Is In The Wind.

Bonus2:  Did you notice all the coffee shop references?  Yes, I am thankful for local coffee shops!

Friday, February 09, 2024

February is for Fave Fives

Happy Friday!  This week has been busier than I expected (that's ok, though) and so it is late afternoon here at Willow's Cottage.  But I still have time to get my Friday Fave Fives written and shared.  Susanne is always so faithful to have our link set up to share our five things we chose from our week.  Here's THE LINK. 

1.  I am so thankful for the sunny warm weather we have had this week.  I'm talking no jackets, no caps, no gloves kind of weather. Sunshine all week and today's temperature in the 60s!  Yes, I know that the cold weather will return, but the respite has been very appreciated by all who live around here.  

2.  The warm weather has allowed me to be outside in the garden doing a few mid winter chores.  I was able to prune the raspberry bushed and check on a couple of other perennial plants.

3.  Saturday was a moderate day, a coat and gloves kind of day.  But it was just right for taking a good hike.  The Professor and I drove Warrior Boy (Younger Daughter Mia's son) to Hocking Hills State Park, and we hiked two different trails and shared lunch around an outdoor fireplace with a group of boys and dads from our local Trail Life troop.  Twelve guys and me.  It was great fun, especially as we had not visited Hocking Hills before.

Eleanor always loves hiking, too, especially since she gets to stay in my pocket!



Our Warrior Boy had so much fun.


Note the small size of the people compared to the waterfall.  Yes, it really was that high.  Ash Cave.

4.  Tall Boy's birthday was this week!  Sixteen!  Six feet three inches tall!  Where did that little boy go??  I am thankful for him!

5.  Recently, we joined the Y gym.  This week, we worked out twice there.  I am thankful for the opportunity and that it is very near our home.  Now we can use the treadmill or recumbent bikes when the weather is just too miserable for  us to be outside.

I hope your week has been filled with blessings, too.  Sometimes we have to look deeper than other weeks, but there are always things we can find to be thankful.

Friday, February 02, 2024

Groundhog Fave Fives

 Welcome to Willow's Cottage on this auspicious day when animals predict when spring is coming.  Eleanor Elizabeth is in agreement with all the groundhogs that Spring will arrive sooner rather than later.  Hopefully...

And now it is Friday, February 2nd, still winter.  But the sun is actually shining!  Since it's Friday, it is time for Friday Fave Fives with Susanne and a whole bunch of other people who list five things (and sometimes more) that have blessed them this week.  Here are mine.

1.  A new family member has been added!   Little M was born last Sunday evening.  He is the son of a young man we have known for more than twenty years and who became our 'grandson' just because we love his family so much.  (they're the ones who followed us here to Ohio two years ago)  We haven't met M yet but have seen a couple of photos.

2.  We met a friend and her mother for lunch on Monday.  This friend is very special to us because of her involvement in missions work in Uganda.   She managed the Ugandan Lambs for years and introduced us to Daniel and Mark who we have sponsored for a long time.  She even brought a gift to us from Mark.  (If you have read this blog for a while, you may remember our heartbreak when Daniel passed away three years ago.)  Uganda is dear to our hearts.  Now our friend is living in Hanoi and again working to help the lives of children and young adults.  It was a blessed time.  In my opinion, it is a good thing that she has family living in Ohio, so she visits them every year, and we can see her, too.

3.  That gift from Mark.  A wood carving to hang on our wall!

4.  The weather has moderated a bit and we have been able to take two walks this week.  Yesterday, while we waited for Tall Boy at his piano lesson, we just walked around that neighborhood.  It's the best way to learn your town AND get some exercise at the same time.

5.  I've been planning a rather industrious knitting project.  I have had a big bag of handspun and hand dyed wool sitting in my studio closet for a long time.  The biggest issue was that there wasn't enough of any basic color to use for a vest or sweater.  So I decided to pull out my spinning wheel and spin up some undyed wool.  First I had to finish spinning some lovely grey alpaca from Peru.  Yesterday, I finished it. 

Now I am on to working on the wool.  I am pleased that I finally pulled out the wheel and am actually getting some spinning done.  These are the dyed colors.  I chose a basic beige/grey wool which I think will work well with all these bright colors.




I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to use my hands to create such beauty.


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Lizzie Vest, A Fair Isle Pattern

 I finished the fair isle vest!  And I wore it on Saturday.

Here are the details about my 'practice' vest.

Pattern:  Lizzie Vest from the blog (now inactive) Yellow Pink and Sparkly.  You can click on the link and find the Lizzie Vest pattern on the side bar.

Needles:  The pattern calls for size 3 and 5 needles; however, I adapted to using size 7 and 5 because the yarn I used called for those sizes and because I also adapted the size to fit.

Yarn:  Caron x Pantone.  Bamboo.  Five colors.  I purchased the yarn as a set with navy being the main color.  Unfortunately, it looks like Caron is no longer making this yarn.

Full disclosure:  I used the pattern as a guide for knitting the fair isle patterning; it is not exactly the same.  Mostly, this is because I did not have enough of the three colors pink, white and plum to follow it row by row.  But even so, I love how it turned out.


The edging is Knit 1 Purl 1 ribbing.


The fair isle patterns were fun to knit!



Friday, January 26, 2024

A Month into Winter Fave Fives

 Welcome to Willow's Cottage this grey and misty day.  This week we have moved from this (never above freezing temps for a week):

to this: quite warm but very foggy.


That's ok. That's life in Ohio, evidently.  Don't like the weather?  Wait a few minutes.

Why do I begin my Friday Fave Fives talking about less than ideal weather?  Well, we are supposed to be joyful in all things, thankful for everything.  For me, that seems so very easy because I am not living in a dangerous place in the world. I have food. I have shelter. I have water. I am safe. I never take these blessings for granted.  It seems like I have just written all my faves for the week right here.  But wait!  There's more!  (the link above takes you to Susanne's blog where she hosts our FFFs)

1.  I am thankful for a cleaning lady.  She helps me once a month with chores that my hands don't like me to do.  What a blessing she is!  She has been out on maternity leave, so I am especially happy she is back.

2.  I am thankful for friends.  One very important factor in living a longer life is having companionship.  As we often do, we met our friends T and S for coffee one morning this week.  Three hours!

3.  More friendships.  We drove north to meet other friends between their new home (they moved 'home' from Oregon where we knew them) to have lunch with them  We took Mia with us because she had the day off from work and because she knew Laura from the time she was in middle school.  It was a great reunion and catch up.  We look forward to many more lunches with them.  Even Eleanor Elizabeth Bunny enjoyed the lunch--lots of lettuce and carrots for her!

4.  I am thankful to live near my daughters.  One evening the two 'girls' popped over to talk with us about summer plans.  I love living a five minute drive from them both.

5.  Mia also helped me with something that has been nagging at me for a long time.  I own the rights to a website, willowscottage.com.  For a long time, it has sat there just doing nothing, no photos, no information.  This week, Mia showed me how to make the first steps in setting it all up.  The only thing there so far is a link to this blog... try it.  www.willowscottage.com

I hope you have found many many blessings in your week, too.

PS:  I am almost finished with the vest I showed you last week!  Come back later today or tomorrow and get the details.