family life · The fine art of crafting


I can’t believe it has been a month since I’ve posted about knitting. Well, I can, because every Wednesday came by and I thought “Gee, I’d better get a picture of my work in progress,” and then before I knew it Thursday had arrived and I was off on other blogging schemes…or not blogging at all. Besides, my work hasn’t changed a whole lot until recently.

With the cooler weather we tend to start planning winter projects, Haus Meister and me. It’s 97 days until Christmas, for example, and I have about nine projects lined up to accomplish in that amount of time. If I could do a project in ten days or less I might make it. Unfortunately though, I am short on governesses and maids and so that probably won’t happen. We thrive on ambitions of these kinds, though. Ambitious projects, that is. Not so much the governesses and maids. 😉


I’m working on shaping the armholes for my frivolous little project. It’s coming together so well that I do hope (haha) to have it finished by next week. I’m making this to go with my favorite vintage nightdress for the winter, mainly because the model in the Jane Austen Knits magazine was wearing her version with a long white dress and it just seemed to click. Also, I’m not a shawl person, I don’t think. This ties on and has armholes like a robe but without the robe’s bulk so I’m liking it. I know some knitters actually wear it out of the house over a T-shirt, but I’m just not able to do that if I wanted to. 🙂

Meanwhile, recently I had “help” from my new favorite knitting buddy.


She is so good; she only played with one of the ties–leaving my yarn ball alone.

And have I mentioned that she’s 6 months old now?

Just having woken up
Just having woken up (moved from crib to the big bed for easier photo opportunity)

She takes every opportunity to “Army-crawl” or even “inchworm” her way around the room. Like Miss M before her, she already wants to be part of the action.

I’ve been doing some reading here and there, mainly rereading old favorites.  I began to read aloud Little House in the Big Woods to the kids as part of our once-a-week unit study on that series. This week we are going to read the chapter about Christmas and make clove-studded apples, or at least, that’s the plan. 😉

The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


My sister made this bunting. It's in our etsy store now--see sidebar for link End shameless pitch.
My sister made this bunting. It’s in our etsy store now–see sidebar for link 

Happy 4th of July belatedly! We spent the last two weeks hither and yon, which is one reason I haven’t blogged much in that time. As I mentioned yesterday, starting last Wednesday night we were hit with the Deluge that kept us in a soggy state until, well, even now, although we are blessed to see the sunshine more often of late. A tree fell over the fence at our Old Haus… the fence Haus Meister painstakingly installed himself…and the rains washed out our old next door neighbor’s fence so it fell across onto another part of the Old Haus fence…yes. Not pretty. And did I mention we want to put the Haus back on the market at the end of the month? Whew…

Anyway, more on the bright side with a mishmash of Pretty, happy, funny


Patriotic Sunshine at my parents’ house the weekend before the 4th (since it was far too wet for her to do this on the actual day).


Princess takes time out to smell the flowers.


Miss M “babysits” the babies. That’s her cousin “Pookabear” on the left and Posey Pie on the right.


Hi there, silly Pooka!

No, Pooka isn’t her real name. Her mommy called her that once and the kids ran with it. When they stayed with us in March the kids began calling her “Pookabear” as well.

I hope she doesn’t hold that against us when she’s 15.


Can you tell we love our Posey?


She will be four months old tomorrow. That amazes me.


She’s also holding her own in conversations and can boast two bottom teeth (!). Is that insanely early or is that just my impression?

You’d think I’d remember that but I don’t.

Not pictured: my mom, Trooper, Posey, and me…because I’m taking the picture.

 I mentioned yesterday that we went to Indiana to pick up a table. This set belonged to my grandparents. When my grandmother moved to her new apartment there was no room for it so she offered it to us. We were very happy to accept! I’d been eating standing for a while. It was nice to finally be able to seat everyone around the table and have room for my parents. We rearranged our upstairs family room to make room for it because it wouldn’t fit in our kitchen or even the official dining room (so I still get to keep the latter as a sitting room/sewing nook). Blessedly, the white carpet hasn’t suffered any worse for the table being in here.

First thing after Old Haus sells: carpet is GONE.

Real Funny? Funny Scary? It’s Real, anyway….

So if you’re still with me, here’s a treat for you. Well, not sure if you will think it is a treat. Myself, I find it hideously hilarious. I mean, imagine you’re driving around England on holiday and suddenly see THIS in a nearby River…


Apparently someone thought making a giant Mr. Darcy travel around England’s waterways would be a good idea.

I think it would scare small children.

But it gave me a laugh when my sister sent me the link. 😉

family life · my thoughts on the subject

Liebster Award

I received a fun comment from my friend Laura, who graciously nominated me for a “Liebster Award.” As stated on her blog,

”Liebster” is a German word meaning “sweetheart, beloved person, darling.”

Thank the person who nominated you and link your post to their blog | List 11 facts about yourself then answer the 11 questions given to you.  Create 11 more questions for your 9 nominees, all of whom have 200 or less followers.  Comment on their blogs informing them of their Liebster Award nomination.

I had to smile at this because it occurred to me that of all the blogs I read/follow, only about 5 belong to family or real friends I actually contact once in a while. Everyone else is on Facebook, and I’m not. The only thing that bothers me about that is that my news can be read by them, but I can’t read theirs unless we (gasp) actually talk to or e-mail each other.  So I can qualify for part of the award, and that’s fine with me because it’s all in good fun anyway. Thank you, Laura, for thinking of me. 🙂

So, 11 random facts about Yours Truly….

1) I’m not German. That’s right, despite my blog name, I’m not German at all that I know of. I’m about 1/4th Slovenian, 1/4th Romanian, 1/8th Swedish, and a bunch of other nationalities I guess, consequent of part of my family having been in America since 1720. My husband, however, is 3/4ths German.

2) I don’t wear a wristwatch.

3) I also don’t wear makeup, per my husband’s request. He once asked me why I tried to impress him by putting artificial products on my face, especially when he didn’t like kissing lipstick and thought (still does) that I’m beautiful without it. I couldn’t argue with that. My concession is natural lip balm. However, I haven’t decided fully about whether I’ll color my hair someday. Miraculously, I haven’t grayed yet (I thought for sure when Rascal was 2 that he’d grey me by the time I was 30).

4) I like 32 better than 22.

5) Because I’m still very much expecting, a random pregnancy fact: It bugs me if I don’t have a baby name chosen by 20 weeks. I guess having two mid-2nd-trimester births has a bit to do with that. The rest is my natural quirkiness.

6) I’m sanguine-choleric.

7) I wanted to be a nun when I was 8, but only for a few months, and only because I thought I’d be as beautiful as Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Marys, complete with flowing veil.

8) I credit St. Joseph for bringing my husband and I together, and Jane Austen for helping me realize it. Now isn’t that an interesting mix? I’ll have to post about it someday.

9) My “Austen-character quiz” says I’m Anne Elliott but all my friends who’ve taken it are Elinor Dashwoods, with one or two Elizabeth Bennets thrown in. Clearly I like to surround myself with sensible, witty friends. 😉

10) I do not like modern literature, unless you consider Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, & PG Wodehouse “modern.”

11) I only, so far, am an aunt to nieces. I have four beautiful nieces.

And now for Laura’s questions:

1. Favorite book:

Mansfield Park.

2. Favorite movie:

BBC’s North and South. I can watch it with Haus Meister who can watch it with me without cringing. Not so Pride and Prejudice, for it has Mrs. Bennet in it and she requires a beer or two to watch with equanimity. 😉

3. Finish this sentence: “What I really want to know is . . . .”

Why did my oven from 1960 work better than my oven from 1995? Deep question, I know. It just happens to be on the mind at the moment.

4. Big influence (person, event, thing, situation, etc.) on you while growing up:

The 1993 Totus Tuus conference, put on by the Apostolate for Family Consecration, spurred my family to a deeper appreciation for and a renewal of our Faith, which had a profound effect on how the path of our lives were going to go.

5. If money were no object, what kind of house would you live in?

Either the self-sustaining mini-farm we love to dream about or something like it in one of those cottages in the back of The English Home magazines. The ones that cost millions of pounds, have been around since 1600, have orchards, and established farm buildings, but look quaint and Barton-cottage-ish. 😉

6. Name a book on your shelf that you can’t get around to reading (or finishing):

Mary Barton. I bought it because it was Elizabeth Gaskell, but getting through it once seems to have been enough.

7. Favorite quote:

This month? “The appropriate response to relativism is faith, where you are no longer the center of the universe, you are no longer the one who decides what’s true, but you commit yourself in faith to God’s truth.”  – ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT

Non-serious? From Bertie Wooster regarding Roderick Spode, “You can’t be a successful Dictator and design women’s underclothing. One or the other. Not both.” Actually, there’s a million P.G. Wodehouse tidbits I could put there. Next time I make a reading binge of his novels I’ll jot them down.

8. Something you could do over differently if you could:

Oh, about every stupid thing I’ve done real or imagined from age 13-21.

9. Something you would never do differently:

The best thing I ever did was marry my husband. I’d never change that.

10. Blog you’ve recently started following:

Laura’s, actually. See link above.

11. Blog you’ve been following the longest:

Elizabeth Foss’ In the Heart of my Home. Link in sidebar.


Here’s the part where I should nominate people (Sarah, Jill, Joannie, Cathy? You all come to mind…) and think of about 11 questions to ask you. However, my kids are all waking up and the day is going to begin with a vengeance soon. And it took me much longer to answer questions than I thought it would…. So shall I spare you? But at least you know I thought of you! 😉

my thoughts on the subject · The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} & Yarn Along, again


 Well, it’s been a crazy week. Starting on Sunday evening with a stomach bug that went through four of the family, then a false alarm yesterday morning that made me think we might see something of Posy Pea sooner rather than later. Today there’s no pre-labor symptoms, no stomach bug, no appointments, no outings–just staying home and catching up a bit. It is quite a relief. And tomorrow after school begins another weekend…one in which Haus Meister has to do the taxes, so I’ll have to curb my nesting instincts at least regarding stuff I’d like for him to do/hang/fix/paint, etc. ;)-

I try to help out that way. 🙂

So, here we go.


My Valentine roses.


I usually keep flowers on the windowsill of my kitchen. They are usually safe there (or if not, I move them into my bedroom).


I’m making strides on the Cap Sleeve Spring Shirt! My goal now that I’m basically doing stockinette stitch for the duration is to finish it up this weekend. Princess is eager to wear it, and after yesterday I want to be sure I have Posy’s gift ready for her arrival (and going by past history, I’ve had my false alarm so now I’m going to sit tight until Week 41, but all the same, I want to get working on it!).

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Reads this past week include part of Square Foot Gardeninghalf of Pride and Prejudice and all of Milestones by then Cardinal Ratzinger. Whenever I read a biography or autobiography of this Pope, I’m awed at how close knit his family ties are, and how I wish that we will have that here in our Haus. The last chapter of the book I found especially poignant–and pertinent–in light of current news. You totally see his relationship with God there, and it is amazing.


Someone set up her own watercolor station. She paints morning, noon, and night. I’ve been calling Princess my little Beatrix Potter.


Did you see the stamps I posted about yesterday? My neighbors must have thought me mad if they heard me squealing for joy when I received the advertisement in the mail yesterday. Click on the image to see the First Day cover that is going to be available to non-UK addresses for a very limited time (read: order NOW). Mine will be in my Easter basket. 🙂 I amused myself by correctly guessing the scene of every picture. “Capital, capital!”



This is why my flowers are only usually safe in the kitchen.


We* had to replace a hinge on the door of our oven. Of course no one in town carried the part, so we were oven-less until last night.


Ai-yi-yi. I think I’d rather be without a dishwasher or even the microwave. I’ve been without both before. But that oven, you know… kind of useful.

*Wait a minute–why did I say “We”? It was Haus Meister, of course, who fixed the hinge. I am utterly inept at that sort of thing. That, and taxes. 😉

The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

{pretty, happy, funny, real} meets Yarn Along, version 2.1



First I should mention that I did intend to link up to Yarn Along yesterday, but never quite got around to getting the picture taken of the current work in progress. Then there was also the thought that filling my blog post for the day with pink princessy pictures was probably not the best way to begin Lent. 😉 So here it is today. My reading for the week was Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. However, this time around I am not closing the book only to start it right over again, because I want to crack open one of my Benedict XVI biographies. I’m thinking it will be Milestones

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My project in progress is the Girl’s Cap Sleeve Spring Shirt that I originally found on Elizabeth Foss’ website when she knitted her first one probably a couple of years ago now. I queued the project then, later deleted it to make room for others, and re-queued it in 2011, making it one of the longest queued projects I had. Clearly it was time to start. Besides, as I was finishing up the squares for Knitters for Newtown, Princess kept asking when she would get her pink sweater with the pink yarn she had chosen. Clearly it was time for that as well. Posy Pea’s Emma will have to wait another week (though I’m running low on time!).

In home news, Haus Meister treated us to a new look for our bedroom this weekend! The long-awaited blue paint had been chosen, and here’s the results.






Gone are Sunshine’s Sharpie scrollwork illustrations! We also replaced the patchwork quilt with this white coverlet that had been in our linen closet. The wedding picture on the side table is now hung on the wall above my dresser but I have not taken a picture of it yet. We’re still putting things back here and there.


Haus Meister has had a good bit of time on the weekends (when I don’t have him painting or rearranging foyers) to work on his boat project. He also has some eager helpers. 🙂

They’re posing a bit in this one–Rascal wouldn’t have been in there without ear protection. 😉





She stuck in her thumb, and pulled out a plum…. We forgot about my Christmas pudding, and finally got around to steaming it. However, we didn’t soak it in brandy or make brandy butter. We did manage to whip up some cream. I’m pleased with the way it turned out before toddler fingers; having a proper pudding basin makes all the difference in shape.



Did you watch the Ash Wednesday Mass from Rome yesterday? It was the last public televised Mass of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. Of course, my viewing is usually sporadic–I get snatches of it here and there, because the kiddos just aren’t at the point where they can sit through a 2-hour Papal Mass. 😉 However, we were all there at the end when the Basilica erupted in applause to honor this man.

RASCAL: Why are they clapping?

ME: (choking up) They’re thanking him. They’re saying good-bye.

The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along–Knits for Others

I am pleased to announce that The Roaring Meg is finished at last!

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Both my big girlies love this. They’ve worn it inside and outside, to church and at home. It is cushy, comfy, and will probably pill like the dickens, but at least it is loved!

In light of the news from Britain these days, I found my favorite History of England, and found it quite enjoyable. Jane Austen seems to abuse Richard III in one paragraph and exonerate him in the next, which isn’t too far removed from the current news stories. Was he good? Was he evil? It all reminds me of an episode of the 1955 Robin Hood series (Episode: Trial by Battle) wherein the Sheriff of Nottingham (ah, the best ever Sheriff in my opinion) tells Marian “I don’t claim to be any better than the times we live in–but I’m no worse!”  Was that supposed to be a consolation?


On the needles right now is a blanket square for Knitters for Newtown. I read about this endeavor and signed up over Ravelry to donate at least one square to the memorial blanket effort. I hope to knit more than one, but we’ll see what I can accomplish before the March 31st deadline.

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The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real} meets Yarn-Along!

Two for one today, dear readers!



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I am so close to finishing the Roaring Meg sweater. That is the second sleeve on the needles, and after this is the button placket. I finished Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. It was a good read. He had an interesting quote in there about Tolerance.

Tolerance is proclaimed as the greatest secular virtue. And yet, those who espouse tolerance are completely intolerant of all things Catholic and Christian, as well as any common code of moral conduct.

   Ever notice in the media how tolerance is used to force an agenda’s hand? For instance, look at what’s going on with the Boy Scouts right now. If they cave in, I will lose all respect for them. Any institution that founded itself on honor, decency, and helping young men reach responsible maturity isn’t showing a moral backbone at all if it bows under due to money, political pressure, or fear of being called “bigot.” It’s like they’re saying, “Boys, we want you to grow up to be trustworthy, respectful, and honest. Keep your word at all times…unless someone threatens to remove your funding. Then go spineless.”

But going back to the Yarn Along now.

I also read through Jane Austen’s Letters. She’s just as delightful in her correspondence as she is in her novels. Half of the book is notes and references, so I use two bookmarks–one to remind me what letter I’m reading and one to figure out who or what she is talking about at this or that time. I’m currently reading Northanger Abbey. I love that one–so many good lines.

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 I found this in my photo stream. The tag came from an Etsy store purchase and I just had to keep it.


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The farm playset is getting some mileage lately.

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Apparently we are harvesting candy.

And strawberries were on sale this week!

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They went fast!


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In my last post I brought up my favorite “Hey Girl” meme (what are those things about and how did they start? I’m seriously out of it here). Here’s another one.

Ah, North and South. Gotta watch it again soon.


I’ve been working on homemade Greek yogurt lately, courtesy of Grocery Shrink Plus. My first batch was a success, my second slightly less so (though I still got some plain yogurt out of the deal). This was due to the fact that I left the bowl straining the liquid out in too tempting a reach while I ran downstairs to deliver a lunch to Haus Meister, who was working in his shop (brewing the next to last batch of beer before Lent).

And then someone decided to give my kitchen a yogurt moisturizing bath.

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So of course I had to take a picture of it.

For the record, she was NOT the one who later in the day decided to toss my iPhone into some water.

I did find a cheaper replacement. It is now permanently in my pocket.

my thoughts on the subject

Jane Austen, P&P, a rant, and a waterlogged iPhone

I found out today through my cousin, to whom I intend to go whenever I need to know anything since lately I’m getting all my good ideas/pictures/etc. from her, that it is the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice!

This picture didn't come from my cousin, but from my friend Laura. I am shamelessly borrowing it.
This picture didn’t come from my cousin, but from my friend Laura. I am shamelessly borrowing it.

Capital! Capital!

Now why didn’t I know that already?

Sheesh. I am losing my geeky English major touch.

Ah well, here’s to 200 years of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett. May you delight us 200 years more!

We defy Downton Abbey to captivate 200 years later...
We defy Downton Abbey to captivate 200 years later…

I think I shall brew a pot of tea to celebrate while I enjoy some nightly knitting and …. Mansfield Park?

"Psst... Did you know that my authoress intentionally didn't create me to be witty and vivacious?"
“Psst… Did you know that my authoress intentionally didn’t create me to be witty and vivacious?”

My dvd player is still down. I can’t tune into my new “restored edition” P &P but I can stream the 1983 Mansfield Park on Netflix. I’m in the middle of it anyway. Say what you like about over-acting, under-acting, Aunt Norris, and the hideous costumes those poor men had to wear (Henry Crawford’s off-white top hat?! Mr Yates?!?!?!) but honestly, they got Fanny Price right. And if you don’t get Fanny right, you don’t have Mansfield Park. I hereby declare it. That’s why I only watch the 1980s version. I tried the one made in the ’90s but had to turn it off, and I didn’t even bother with the latest version. See my reason above.

I’m picky, but then, my movie time is precious slim right now and I’d rather watch something I know I am going to like.

Hopping off the soapbox now.

Ok, so as I wrote that I recalled the dvd player on the mac is down because one child who should have known better put two dvds into it and now it has gone kaput. Meanwhile, only this afternoon I found that my iPhone had been accidentally submerged, and not by me. Don’t try to call me for a few days. Ugh. I would take this opportunity to wean myself from that addicting piece of technology, except that it happens to be the house phone as well. This is going to be interesting. It’s almost enough to make me go Luddite, but that would be hard being married, as I am, to a mechanical engineer. Who likes technology. Right.

I think I’ll just go get that tea.


The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along–continuing the “Roaring Meg.”

Well, so much for posting just after the big birthday weekend! Suffice to say it was fun and relaxing. We enjoyed having my parents stay with us for two full days. After the weekend passed we moved back into routine, our outside time being the exception. It has been raining ever since Saturday! So how better to while away the rainy downtime than some knitting and reading?


Here we have Sunshine’s “Roaring Meg” in potential. I intend to make it long-sleeved; it is currently shown on a dress with three-quarter sleeves. I am very much enjoying this project and pleased that it seems to be coming along nicely.


Meanwhile relatives and my husband conspired to gift me on my birthday with more yarn to accomplish about three to five more projects. We’ll see how fast I go. 😉 I will need to clear some space in my yarn cupboard–it is quite full by now.

In reading I continue to go through Rediscover Catholicism day by day. I also picked up my well-worn copy of Emma. I think this is still one of my favorite Austen works.

Duty calls, so stay dry out there and take care !