Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Great Unveiling

Who is that? Oh, it's a little green alligator I made for my brother, Elsworth. It was part of his Christmas present. He has a future goal of having a Christmas tree entirely decorated with homemade ornaments, so I thought this could easily be an ornament, or it could just be a decoration any time of the year. The pattern is from a fantastic book called Irresistible Gifts To Knit. The best part of the alligator is the scaly texture on its back. So realistic. Well, as realistic as you can get with yarn...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care

Last spring, I started on what might have been my biggest knitting undertaking yet: making stockings for my whole family. And here they are! Left to right: Mom, David, Amanda, Elsworth, Hanna, Karl, and Lia. I swear they are not as misshapen in real life as they look in this picture... 

I decided to make stockings because my grandma passed away last May, and when each of us were born, she made a stocking for us.  They are very beautiful with hand-sewn sequins, beads, and lettering, but they are falling apart.  The ones I made aren't meant to replace Grandma's, of course; we treasure the ones she made!  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Want to see something cute?

Seriously.  Could he be any more adorable?  That's my sweetie, about 30 years ago.  

Marathon Training Update

Guess how many miles I ran today.  Just guess.  Okay, okay, I'll tell you: 
Now, I know what you're thinking:  How do you run twelve miles in below-zero December in Wisconsin?  Well, if you are me, you go to the gym and slog it out on the treadmill.  Not the most fun, but my new best friends help me through it.  Want to meet them?  Here they are: 

Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear

Niecey from Clean House

I'm pretty slow, so for me, twelve miles equals about an hour and twenty-odd minutes.  That's a lot of cable.  I feel like I'm becoming an expert on how to de-clutter a house, and on how to choose clothing that flatters any figure.  Plus, today I learned how to make a pear tart.  Speaking of pears, we have this fruit CSA share that I totally love.  The only thing is, we get a lot of fruit from it, and it comes every two weeks, so we're not really that good at using it all up by the time we get the next box.  And on top of that, we just got a winter vegetable delivery.  So basically right now we are rolling in produce.  Our fridge is insanely full, considering that only two people live here.  But don't worry; we're taking action.  Today I made an apple pie to take to my friend Lindsay's parents' house (she's visiting from San Diego for Christmas), and at this very moment I've got squash curry simmering and mixed root vegetables roasting.  Mmmm.  Karl is napping.  I hope he's hungry when he wakes up!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's the holiday season!

Here are Laura and Kristen, showing off my Eskimo mittens! We went to the Capitol Holiday Pageant last week-- so fun! You can see the top of the holiday tree in the background (we were on the second level).  

Just in time to beat the below-zero temps of the last few days, we did the Jingle Bell Run/Walk on Saturday.  It starts and finishes at Vilas Zoo, so we got a peek at the animals too! The polar bears have never looked so happy! 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Secret Santa Finale

This is what my Secret Santa is getting for the final gift. It's a stained glass panel of a turtle. Last year, Karl and I took a stained glass class together. This panel was a team effort between the two of us. Oh, and the reason it is a turtle is because that is our school mascot.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

There you have it! With another peek at the BSC in the background... it's a little drum ornament, but it's also secretly a box. The top comes off, and inside are little chocolates.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Eleven Pipers Piping

Okay, so this one is kind of weak... it's make of pipe cleaners. Pipers piping... pipe cleaners... My original intention (inspired by my friend Kate who is very crafty) was to make a tree ornament with pipe cleaners that was in the shape of someone playing a pipe. But nope, my SS is just getting this candy cane.

Ten Lords A-Leaping

If you're a Lord and you're Leaping all over the place, of course you will need a Burt's Bees foot care kit, right?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nine Ladies Dancing

Who could resist dancing to the Jackson Five's Christmas album? Not my Secret Santa!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Eight Maids A-Milking

Due to a special request by Lia, I'm posting the Eight Maids A-Milking gift a little early... Isn't that the cutest Milk Duds container? When did they start making such adorable packaging?

Seven Swans A-Swimming

Small wrench in the plans: My Secret Santa wasn't at work yesterday, so the Six Geese A-Laying egg carton is still in her mailbox! I don't want to overload her! Hmm... what to do??? Here is a picture of the Seven Swans A-Swimming gift:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Six Geese A-Laying

Here's what my Secret Santa is getting today... filled with gold-wrapped chocolate coins! Below is a look at the inside of the carton, plus a little bonus peek at a prized posession in my office. The BSC loves Secret Santas too!

Five Golden Rings

Hee hee hee...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Secret Surprise for My Husband

Every time we make pancakes or waffles, Karl says, "Do we have any maple syrup?" And we never do. But over the weekend I secretly bought some real maple syrup and stashed it in the pantry, right by Karl's beloved Krusteaz mix. So next time he goes to make pancakes, he'll find it! I love surprises!

Four Calling Birds

This is my favorite of the twelve gifts my Secret Santa is getting... it's a package of notecards with birds on them. Get it? Calling birds?

What I Love

Snow falling softly outside... and seeing it out our front window, where the stained glass piece Karl made for our wedding is hanging.

Our pantry... this is my favorite shelf, with the strawberry jam Karl and I made this summer, plus one jar of raspberry, waiting to be made into some special Christmas cookies for my mom!

All of the laundry washed and put away...

All of the dishes washed and put away...

And cookies in the oven while I have some time to work on reading for the Newbery committee. Here is a picture of our living room wall, which is totally taken over by books. I know Karl loves it, but I'm sure he'll be okay when February comes and we can give all of these books away!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three French Hens

This might be the lamest one... but whatever. French hens, French Vanilla Cafe. Are those commercials for French Vanilla Cafe still on? You know, with those ladies talking about Jean-Luc?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Turtledoves

Today my Secret Santa is getting a package of very delicious chocolate turtles from Gail Ambrosius and a Dove bar. I'm embarassed to admit that I came very close to eating the Dove bar several times yesterday... I better get it in my SS's mailbox ASAP!

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's in the bag?

It's Secret Santa time again! And I LOVE Secret Santas. If I could be a full-time professional Secret Santa, I would. But I can't, so I'll have to settle for our two-week secret gift exchange at work. Actually, it's a little over two weeks, so today I brought this bag full of goodies for my Secret Santa.

Today, I attached a tag that says, "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree" to a lovely organic pear that I got through our fruit CSA share. And it's waiting for my SS in her mailbox! Yay! I wonder what she'll get tomorrow???

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jog it out!

I just want to share about my newest undertaking... training for a marathon! I'm using the 16-week program in this book:
It totally rules. I'm halfway through Week Three right now. My long run this week is 7 miles. Usually I like to listen to This American Life or Car Talk on my ipod while I'm running. Just can't get enough NPR!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just for fun

Married! Wisconsin-style.

This is what happens when you are a librarian

Yep, when you're a librarian, you have lots of librarian friends sprinkled in libraries all over the place. So if you order a book through interlibrary loan, and it comes from a library where one of your friends works, you might be lucky and find a little note inside, just for you! But that is only if you have a really sweet and thoughtful librarian friend who takes the time to write notes. Like TK, for example. Who, by the way, is recently engaged!!! Congratulations!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's official!

I know you're not supposed to include personal information like your address and things like that on your blog, but I'm going to go ahead and roll the dice because I want you to see this:

Okay, so it's a little hard to see, but it's the envelope my new social security card (with my married name!) came in. I love Karl so much, and I love being his wife! And now it's even more official. To celebrate, I made this apple pie:

Mom's birthday!

My mom turned 60 in September! My siblings and I planned a special surprise party for her at Bunky's, her favorite restaurant, with her 22 closest friends. Elsworth even flew in from DC for the festivities! It was very fun to see my mom so happy and surprised. Here she is at her home the next day, opening gifts from the family. Note the leaf crown, made by Elsworth. He makes her one every year. There are no materials in the crown except leaves. Amazing, huh? My mom claims that she saves every crown, and that she's got at least 15 of them stashed around the house from past birthdays. I have to say I'm a little skeptical... leaves just don't last that long.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Following up...

I posted earlier about two of my favorite wedding memories. Here are photos of those memories actually happening in real life on the big day! Above: I handed each flower girl a sunflower as she walked down the aisle. Below: Amanda, Caitrin, and I show off our flowers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Turkey Trot!

This weekend, my knitting friend Angie and I trotted our way through 5 miles of beautiful cross-country trails to finish the Turkey Trot! It was so fun, and we had gorgeous weather. And our shirts have supercool robo-turkeys on them. Yay for the Turkey Trot!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wedding Favorites

Karl and I were so lucky to have a wonderful wedding with lots of friends and family here to celebrate with us. In the months and days leading to the big day, we had lots to do! Some of the preparations were more fun than others... Here are two of my favorite memories of preparing for our wedding:

My two dear friends, Caitrin and Amanda, were attendants (bridesmaids/maids of honor/whatever). On the morning of the wedding, the three of us went to the Farmer's Market downtown and bought several bouquets of beautiful flowers. We brought them back to my house and made all three of our bouquets for the ceremony. They turned out beautifully, and it was so much fun to do together!

At the Farmer's Market, Caitrin, Amanda and I also bought a bunch of gorgeous sunflowers. These were for the flower girls-- all seven of them! Originally, we weren't going to have any flower girls, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we had to have flower girls. I was never personally a flower girl, though I always wanted to be one! What job could possibly be more glamorous? Ultimately, I didn't want to deprive any girl attending our wedding of what could possibly be her only chance ever to be flower girl, so I invited all of them to do it! We ended up with seven gorgeous girls, each carrying a sunflower. They did a great job! As a token of thanks, I gave each girl a gift bag. Putting these together was probably my number one favorite part of wedding preparations. Each bag contained a flowery picture frame, a pink Lip Smackers lip gloss, a bottle of sparkly nail polish, a Tinkerbell pen, a small package of Teddy Grahams, and a package of Hershey Kisses. To top it off, I spelled out each girl's name with fun alphabet stickers on the gift tags. There's no way the girls enjoyed opening the bags as much as I enjoyed putting them together!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My husband is the best ever!

Karl is totally the sweetest husband in the world. Last Friday we went camping at Devil's Lake. While I was still in my sleeping bag in the morning, Karl got up and made Swedish pancakes (from scratch!) over the fire.

After going for a hike, we stopped at the apple orchard and then headed to my mom's house in Prairie du Sac. She had made a beautiful lunch to celebrate Karl's birthday (which was September 23rd). I'm not sure this picture does it justice... the chicken was cooked with big sprigs of rosemary from her garden. So gourmet.

I took advantage of my mom's huge kitchen by making pumpkin cookies (with my friend Andi's tried and true recipe). Karl and I drove back to Madison just in time to go to the Badger game... yay! The team didn't do very well, but the band and the cheerleaders were fantastic.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our One Week-a-Versary

We celebrated the one-week-of-marriage milestone at Kate and Jeremy's annual Oktoberfest! We camped out and visited our favorite local hot spot, Dot's Tavern. Karl always looks forward to playing bumper pool at Dot's.