Saturday, April 21, 2007

Woohoo, more projects!

Well now that I have a grand baby on the way, it's time to think about starting new knitting projects. I found this adorable sweater on Knitty, called Baby Norgi. I have cast on and done a couple of rows on size 0 needles (call them toothpicks!) and I'm doing it with the background in cloud grey out of Louet Fingering Superwash Merino Yarn. The pattern will be in Teal and Aqua. I can't believe how small this is! It'll be a good take along project for the airplane.
And no kid should be without a Viking Chicken hat! I got some cotton yarn the other night to start this one on, though I'm going to have to check gauge carefully as I couldn't find the yarn that was supposed to be used in the pattern. Isn't this cute? I had long wanted to make it but the pattern was only in size 6 months. Now I have someone to make it for! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The tiniest member of the family

These are actual pictures of the newest, tiniest member of the family, sent to me by daughter Jennifer. Jenn broke the exciting news that she and husband Michael are expecting to meet this little one in Mid-November. Of course, it's more exciting for me than Jenn because I don't have to be nauseous! I'm caught between feeling like I'm too young to be a grandmother (I always tell the kids I'm 29) and feeling unabashed excitement! I'm already planning all kinds of knit and sewn things the first Grandbaby for Mark and me.
This newest family member will also be the very first Great Grandbaby for Nanny and Poppa, Mark's mom and dad. Of course, not that I need an excuse to visit, but since Jenn and Michael will be in Hawaii after June, even more incentive to come visit! Congratulations, Jennifer and Michael!!!

Wings, Beer, Flames, and frowns

We went out in the torrential rain to the only Buffalo Wild Wings within an hour of us (one of only 2 in the state) to watch the NHL playoff game between the Detriot Red Wings and the Calgary Flames. For those of you not lucky enough to have one close by they are a huge sportsbar that serves all kinds of pub food, burgers, buffalo wings with about 20 sauces, salads, sandwiches, lots of beers on tap, you name it. They also have somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 TV's and big screens to watch sports on, and there's always something to watch! Needless to say, I was rooting for the Flames who didn't do much in this game. Of course, Mark was his Redwing Self...rubbing it in. Still we had fun and my belly is full of beer and food, and the Flames will Kick Detroit's butts when they play in the Saddledome this week.

Today's Tickle

I was so tickled by these hooks that I bought quite a few the first time I saw them. I gave some to my friend Lorraine for her boys, and some to daughter Jennifer, and ended up only having one left! This is what we call the "Dog Butt hook" hanging in the bathroom.
Yesterday we had a fun day of retail therapy as I bought two very cute pair of wedge sandals for the hopefully upcoming spring and summer and some socks, and we managed to get back to Ikea so I could buy some more hooks. I nearly fell over when they rang up as "Hook, Dog Ass" which the clerk said was supposed to be "Assorted" but got cut off. I bought a bunch to hang my Civil War hats on in my sewing room wall.
Speaking of sewing, I finished this dress in the past week. It has gathered panels in the sleeves, and I've been calling it my "dogwood" dress, though the blossoms are likely some other plant. I really loved the contrast between the teal blue and the red flowers and mauve blossoms, but it didn't photograph well. Today I'll put on my corset and all the other things so I can try it on and do the last minute adjustments.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jamestown Glass House

After leaving the Maritime Museum on Saturday, we made a quick trip to Yorktown. We'd been there before, and we were mainly stoping to get Jon a "Explorer Edition National Parks Passport" like the big ones that Mark and I have. Since Yorktown was out of them, we went on down to Jamestown which is a beautiful drive along the tidal lands. The first picture here is the Jamestown Glasshouse which is a reproduction of the original one that sat nearby on the park. The Jamestown center didn't have Jon's passport but the Glasshouse did, so that's the first stamp that he has for his new passport...though he still has the old small one.
We spent some time watching the glass blowers work on beautiful fluted small pitchers, a two person job! I really enjoy watching them, and I usually end up buying an example of whatever the artists were making on that day. Saturday was no exception, though I also did purchase a large glass that I thought was especially beautiful. It has rings of decorative glass added to the bottom, and the base is quite a few pieces all melted together. I really appreciate the artistry that these people put into their work, they are following examples of pieces of this era that are documented which makes it all that much better!
These are the two pieces that I purchased on Saturday. Notice that they are green, which is the natural color of glass, in order to make it clear or any other color, other substances must be added. After the glasshouse closed, we made our way back to Ft. Eustis and dropped Jon off. We'd gotten a closeby hotel.
We started Sunday morning with a drive to the Richmond Battlefield National Park which consists of many sites. The closest sites to where Jon is stationed are the Gaines Mill Battle site, and the Cold Harbor site which also has a visitor's center. Jon and I got a couple of books there (Jon got a book about the life of a Confederate Artillerist) and had an enjoyable time talking to the ranger. We then went exploring the battlefield which was part of the 7 days war in 1862, as well as was a pivitol site in 1864 when Grant's and Lee's troops dug in for battles there. This site is only about 9 miles from the Capitol in Richmond. The trenches are very apparent on both Union and Confederate lines. We also drove the path of some of the other battles, I had gotten a book on Virginia battles which had a lot of insight into the participants as well as the strategies, and we talked about it all while we were touring.
We then got some Korean and Japaneese food for lunch and dropped Jon off so we could begin the long ride home. I'm so glad we got to go, I've been missing Jon a lot, and there's always the added bonus to have a kid that is as interested in history as I am.

Surprise weekend visit!

It was a cold and snowy winter morning this past Saturday when we decided to get up early and pay a surprise spur of the moment visit to Jonathan down in Virginia. He'd had two procedures on the same day on Tuesday and I knew he was feeling horrible and hadn't been to training school for a few days.
Besides, I was having "mom" withdrawals after not getting to see him in a couple of months. I was pleased to have spent time with Jennifer a couple of weeks before, but I wanted to see my boy and see how he was holding up. We called him from the car on our way down to Ft. Eustis to see what he was going to be doing, and were glad that he had no plans. When we got there and picked him up at the PX, we left the day's activities up to him, and he wanted to Revisit the Maritime Museum where the USS Monitor and CSS Merrimack (renamed CSS Virginia) artifacts are housed.
Jon had been there with a buddy from his unit on the opening day of the Monitor exhibit but didn't have much time to spend looking over everything. We spent many hours in the museum learning about the first ironclad ships and the conservation efforts for the turret and other items that NOAA had been able to retreive from the North Carolin Coast where the Monitor sunk in 1862.
There were many other exhibits at the museum, including the pirate exhibit where Jon mugged for Mom's camera. We really had a lot of fun and spent a lot of time in the museum.
Here's a quick picture of Mark on the deck of the full scale reproduction of the Monitor that was on the grounds right next to the museum. As the artifacts are conserved and able to be displayed, they are mounted in the corresponding point to the replica ship in the museum. The propeller is already preserved, and it's on a mount in the museum across from the replica one outside on the scale model.
Here's one of the two Cannons that were in the turret of the Monitor. All the Monitor items must spend quite a bit of time in a bath of ionic solution with electrical charges running through it in order to leach out the harmful decaying ions. You can clearly visualize the cannon in the bath even though we had to take the picture through the window of the enclosure.
This one is a bit more difficult to see, but this is the actual turret in which the cannons, the mechanisms, and the remains of 2 sailors were preserved for all these years. The turret ended up being upside down under the ship and the coal from the coal bunker poured into the turret, ending up preserving everything inside. The turret turned and was the first of it's kind.
This is me, you can see how crummy the weather was, it went from snow and wet and windy to sun for a few minutes and then right back to overcast and snow again. That's our visit to the Maritime museum, more about our day and weekend in another post.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

For Chuckie

My dear old friend Chuck called me today to see if I was ok. He knew how strange it was for me not to have called him to gloat about the 2 National Championships, especially as he want to Florida State, Florida's rival school. So here it is...gloating....It's great to be a Florida Gator! Love ya, Chuckles...

A task completed.

I finished the dress this morning after lots of work on the skirt. I will admit that I like the bodice more with the skirt attached. I think the skirt might also be a little bit too long but I'll deal with that some other time. I'm happy to have this one finished, I have a "mud dress" started that I'm going to finish, then work on another period correct one with a different bodice construction. I can't wait to wear this one!

Making Progress

I've also been spending time working on this bodice. (The skirt is about half pleated at the moment). I have the sleeves finished now, I used grosgrain ribbon on these Pagota sleeves as well as the sleeve jockeys or caps. I took them to work to do the handwork and got them finished up and into the bodice this morning. Hopefully I'll get the skirt done sometime next week.

Manassas etc.

Jenn was here in Maryland visiting for a few days after taking care of some business left over from her time in Virginia. Hubby and I took her to her flight at Dulles and then hit the road to go explore a bit.
We went to Fairfax and saw the old courthouse and ate lunch there. They're doing tremendous work to the courthouse complex there and everything was pretty much fenced in . Then we hit the road again to go to Manassas. We got our stamps at the National Park Visitor Center like the "Parkies" we are, and got outside on the beautiful day to walk and explore the battlefield. These are some pictures from the battlefield.
The stone house is very famous from the 2nd battle of Manassas, and sits on a very busy intersection now. I had to crop out all the traffic going by on the roads. It's still a beautiful house.
This is the famous statue of Stonewall Jackson with the artillery line behind the monument. We viewed the electric map inside the visitor's center which outlined the 1st Manassas/Bull Run battle and the Union and Confederate lines during the battle.
After leaving Manassas, we drove the "back way" home through Leesburg and stopped at a wonderful quilting store in Frederick that has lots of Civil War era patterns and fabrics...I got a couple of dress sized pieces of period correct cotton. Then off we went to Gettysburg for dinner at Appalacian Brewing Company. We wandered the battlefield there after dinner and I really thought this Pensylvanian monument was beautiful. It's all done in Marble and bronze. Everytime we go there, I think I see a monument I didn't really notice before.