Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Embrace Winter

First day of snow here in Waukee, IA.  A strong wind and no sun adds to the grayness of the day.  Iowa winters can last about 5 months with varying degrees of grayness, amounts of snow, ice and overall blah.  Although I always say I want to move somewhere warm, our families and roots are here.  Also, we don't really travel much either.  So instead of dropping into a funk and curling up in a chair for the next 4 to 5 months, I am going to find ways to "embrace winter" this year.

My inspiration comes from reading about Sweden and the Scandinavian countries.  Their winters are long, bleak and cold but that does not stop the hardy Swedes from going outside and getting fresh air.  Also, much like in Iowa, the warm seasons are colorful and beautiful and offer a multitude of activities.

My list for ways to "embrace winter" project include:

1. Going ice skating at an outdoor skating rink.

2. Taking a cross country ski lesson through the Parks and Rec.

3. Planning a family outing a Sleepy Hollow park-lots of snowboarding etc.

4. Knitting or crocheting some fun hats and scarves that are warm and fun.

5. Finding cheerful sweaters to wear.

6. Making a pot of soup weekly.

7. NOT using the weather as an excuse to avoid going to the gym and/or water exercise class.

8. Baking my own bread-that will help warm up house.

9. Finding a pretty winter scene to hang up in my living room ( I always like warm scenes for my    wallpapers etc.

10. Knitting my doggies a sweater.

11. Planning a trip to an indoor water park (maybe over spring break, which is usually cold here.

12. Weekly craft days for example, scrapbook with kids, etc.

13. Lighting candles to create light in our living spaces.

14. Not participating in negative conversations (i.e. whining ) about the temperature/snow/ice.

15.  Enjoying the fireplace in my own home.
                                     Photo from: lauraslifeinsweden.blogspot.com

   Do you have any plans to embrace winter this year?


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!


Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!  As a mom, the picture above appealed to me because of the old fashioned mood, a mom with multiple kids ( I have four), the mom has a book ( another of my favorites)  and the pastoral park scene.  Story time and cuddling is one of our favorite times at home.  Although most of my kids are older than these pictured, to this day we all share a love of books and reading.  I hope years from now, my kids look back and remember the cozy times we spent reading books together,

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Good "Bad" Movie...Giant

While channel surfing the other night, I ran across one of my favorite "good bad" movies on TCM. Giant, with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson is a three hour epic that illustrates the changing culture in Texas as oil became "liquid gold" and people who were ranchers became oil tycoons.  It also demonstrates the culture clash between Mexican immigrant workers and the ranchers.  Although I suspect this film is filled with stereotypes of the immigrant workers as well as the "good ol' boy" ranchers, it does provide a good illustration of prejudice. When Jordan Benedict III marries a Hispanic lady and gives birth to Jordan Benedict IV, the patriarch, is forced to meet his own inherent attitudes and beliefs. Also, there is a lot of "ye haws!" going on throughout the movie, which I doubt is an expression Texans regularly use.
    (Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor) and Jett (James Dean) in "Giant", 1956)

The beautiful Elizabeth Taylor is Leslie Benedict, the strong willed  wife of Bick (Jordan II).  Her more liberated ideas and open mindedness sometimes clash with her husband's more traditional way of "how things have always been".  The clothing is very ranch stylish--Leslie wears suede skirts and button up blouses that look comfortable and realistic for working on the dusty ranch.While watching the movie on high definition television, the texture of the costumes as well as the colors created a mood for each scene.

Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson) & Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor) in "Giant".

Still, for a fun retro movie night, Giant is a visually appealing, fun choice.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Snowstorm in May??!!

Like much of the rest of the Midwest, and Northern United States, this morning here in Iowa, we all woke up to a spring snowstorm.  Which is interesting since on Tuesday, it was sunny and 80 degrees here. My little man Reid and I spent a fun afternoon at the park.  Try to explain to a little guy why one day we were able to wear shorts and the next we need to get out heavy coats.  This morning Reid woke up, looked out the window and started to cry, "I don't like snow anymore!" Me either.
This is a lovely picture taken at the Iowa Arboretum during an Iowa spring.  In contrast, here is a photo of my own white Crabapple tree during the spring snowstorm. The flowers had just started to bud and bloom a day or two ago.  Oh well, by this weekend, the snow will be gone and it may be 80 degrees again!

Iowa must look like one of the grayest places on earth by these pictures, but believe it or not there is green grass under that snow! 
This weekend my husband and I will be attending a Kentucky Derby themed party so tomorrow's mission will be to find/create interesting hats.  I will be on a quest to find, create, or buy a hat in honor of the "Running for the Roses" with a vintage flair.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Quest for Cabbage

The latest adventure in my quest to get my family to eat more cabbage continues. On this gorgeous spring day, I decided to make Chinese Cabbage Salad.  There are hundreds of recipes for this easy dish and there are lots of possibilities to improvise, such as adding chicken or sliced almonds.  Since we are a nut free household, due to my son's peanut allergy, I selected a recipe from Allrecipes that was peanut free.

To save time, I used bagged shredded cabbage with carrots already in the mix.  I like quick and easy.
I already had rice vinegar, olive oil, and sugar on hand.  The biggest cash outlay was buying the sesame seeds, sesame oil and Ramen noodle packet.   The ingredients are easily mixed together in a bowl. The "hardest" part was browning the sesame seeds in a little olive oil. The browned sesame seeds add a rich nutty flavor to the salad.  The raw Ramen noodles add additional crunch.

Unfortunately this recipe did not score well with the rest of the family--no one would even try it. Still, this is a great, easy, quick salad that would work well for potlucks. If you are interested in this recipe I found it at allrecipes.com under Chinese cabbage salad.

Since it is a beautiful spring day, I took a picture out on the patio.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rain, rain go away....maybe I'll just sew today

 Another gray, rainy day here in the Midwest.  My little guy and I were hoping to work in the yard today, but no luck.  Instead, I pulled out Reid's over sized Thomas the Train tent and set it up in the living room (much to my husband's chagrin).  Then I decided to focus on sewing.  
It had been quite awhile since I had my trusty Kenmore sewing machine out of the closet.  I pulled out my 1940's sew-a-long project that I did not have time to work on sooner and got started.  First thing first, I needed to prepare a bobbin, which isn't a big deal but I always like to have my machine's owner's manual handy to check tension suggestions and for trouble-shooting.  For some reason, I could not find it. I looked and looked through all my craft stashes with no luck.  That took about an hour in between occupying my son who was excited about my machine. 

Finally, in desperation I checked the internet and luckily I could find a reprint of the manual on the website, Manuals On-line.  A lot has changed since I last had my sewing machine out for a project.   So with machine threaded and ready to go, I realized I had pinned my pattern onto the "right" side of the fabric. By the time the pattern was repinned and cut out, it was time to make supper for everyone.  Still progress made--and it was nice to reconnect with an "old" friend, my trusty Kenmore.   Here are pictures of the day. They may be a little dark, since there was NO SUN anywhere and my kitchen faces the north, which does not help.

Have a happy, crafting day! 

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Homework, the winter that won't end and upcoming fun

March has not been a productive month on the blogging front for me.  Although I have been able to read and keep up with my favorite blogs, not much attention has been given to Yarndoll.  Hopefully in the next month that will change. Here in Iowa, the trees will hopefully be sprouting leaves after "the winter that just won't end" and I will be expanding my blog posts.

Vintage style has been on my mind in my free time and progress on a pretty comfortable stylish wardrobe is coming along.  Hopefully, in the next week I will be able to post some of my latest vintage inspired finds. 

For the past few weeks I have been focusing on my graduate capstone project. Much of the work is done on it and time will be freed up for sewing, knitting, crocheting and reading books for fun.  In honor of my final "book and paper class" here is a 1942 photo from my undergraduate alma mater, Iowa State University, back when it was known as a "college."  Interestingly, I found the photo which I though was great, then discovered it a picture of Iowa State students. Perfect!
Photo by Jack Delano, retrieved from "A History in Photos" blogspot.