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Friday, March 29, 2013

Do the bunny hop!

Don't bunnies make you smile? I mean, how cute are they? These two are safely out of Kate's reach and I'm enjoying the way they make me think that Spring is almost here!

This little one sits on our windowsill. I think she's holding a gingerbread boy, so, I'm not sure if she qualifies as an Easter Bunny, you can decide.
These bunnies dance down the middle of our dining room table, but, sometimes, they become a doorstop. They're happy to dance anywhere at all!
I bet you didn't know that bunnies are a musical bunch. This gathering are actually painted in the center of a child's bowl. I love the audience, there is even a duck in attendance and mice, too. Doesn't it make you just smile to see the festivities?

From the Royal Doulton Bunnykins series, the illustration is painted on a small child's plate. This is the only item in the series that I own, but, Paulette has quite a few and the mugs and plates are all very sweet.

Mrs. Bunny is actually a delicate china teapot. Not that I would make tea and use her in such a way. She stays out as part of a growing teapot collection as well as standing in as a Easter bunny.

 This is the newest bunny in the house. I hand painted her when Kelsey and I were at the Painted Earth a few weeks ago. I had the best time deciding which color of pink to use on her ears and nose, and her speckled body was a nifty mix in the paint. If you live near a pottery studio, I highly recommend the experience-it makes you feel like an artist even when you aren't one at all!
Ok, by now you are thinking that bunnies do multiply! If you're counting, these are bunnies eight and nine. But let me assure you, this is only a small sample of the bunnies in the house right now.  My penchant for bunnies began in 2001. You could ask Terri how it started, but I know she won't tell you. So, you can make up your own stories as to why I have so many bunnies.
My little princess bunny is sitting on my china shelf in the kitchen. Alley Cat often sits beside her and plays with her shiny dress. So far, they are on friendly terms and I shutter to think what might happen if she accidentally gets knocked off the shelf. Kate is very anxious to take a bite! I hope the Easter Bunny brings you yummy treats and sparkly things and perhaps a bunny of your own. Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Sitting home all day, nursing low back pain, I wandered around the house, looking for a place to get comfortable. Here are the results of my wanderings. The sampler above is in our kitchen. I bought it at a house sale a few years ago and thought it best expressed our Brooks B&B philosophy. You can ask our friends, Martin and Tanya, if this is how we operate. My mom could vouch for this as well.

 I bought this piece at a Swedish gift shop in Illinois a few years ago. My friend, Lennart, tranlated it for me as follows:   So wonderful the sun shines
                                so pleasing and good
                                her greeting she sends
                                which comes out in gold

Having visted Sweden twice so far, I can tell you that the sun doesn't shine very often and I think this stitcher was trying to channel some rays her way. This piece is in my dressing room. The piece below is in our entrance hallway. I bought it at an estate sale. You know, I am shocked at what relatives will put up for sale. Who could give something as special as this up? Obviously, someone went to a lot of work to stitch this piece and I bet she was hoping that it would be passed down as an heirloom.

Speaking of heirlooms, my Grandmother made the piece above, which I had framed a few years ago. When my mom visits, she looks at this and sings the words, so, perhaps they are lyrics to a song?

I suppose this is more a piece of embroidery than an actual sampler. I have this near some of my yarn and sheep collection. I bought this at an antique mall along with some children's artwork of sheep.

Above is another beautiful piece of needlepoint purchased at yet another estate sale. Paulette and I often discuss what will happen to the collections we own. We're pretty sure our families won't want anything and our things will someday be in an estate sale. too. This is pretty disturbing topic given that we each own hundreds of "things" and  it inevitably  leads to a discussion about if we should "downsize" now, move to smaller quarters, and just keep a very small amount of things. We usually end the discussion by deciding we'll think about it later and we head to the next estate sale anyway. Sometimes we purchase handiwork just to honor the person who made it, scolding the person's relations in our heads!

I don't think I should tell you the amount of things we have bought at estate sales, on eBay, auctions, tag sales, antique malls, and from each other's garage sales! One time, Paulette purchased something at GoodWill that I had donated earlier! Now we always check with each other before heading to a donation center. Another time I asked Ron to take a mirror down while I tried a different one. Days later, I decided I wanted the first mirror back in place and asked Ron to put it back up. It's gone, he said. Where, I asked. To GoodWill he said. I called Paulette in a panic and we raced to the shop. Sure enough, there it was. I bought it back for $7.00 and it is still hanging in our bathroom to this day!

Well, I certainly hope my back is better by Saturday. Paulette says there is a nice estate sale we should check out......

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The first day of Spring brings flowers to mind. The snowdrops in my garden are bravely enduring the cold.  We've had some snow flurries already today, so, perhaps the flowers are well named!
 The flowers below were in bloom everywhere in Laguna Beach, California last week.They were beautiful to see and the hot colors were well placed for the weather. The cooler tones of the Snowdrops fit their environment here in  northern Ohio.
Kate and Alley Cat investigated the flowers that were just delivered as a gift from Mom. Daisies, daffodils, roses and baby's breath are probably all from South America via the florist shop.  Spring in Ohio is really a figment of imagination. However, I did get a call a few days ago from Jim, owner of the Gardenport, to discuss plans for preparing our home garden for the summer ahead and I've seen Paulette poring over a seed catalog in anticipation of expanding their garden this summer.

The Old Farmer's Almanac, first published in 1792, states that the first day of spring arrived at 7:02 am today, March 20th, "when the days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west."In the 2013 edition, they predict the Lower Lakes to "have snowy weather in early March, that April and May will be warmer and drier than normal, with an especially warm first half of April." Since their predictions last year were 88% correct, I'll plan for the warmer spring weather.
I am going to  try to imitate the arrangement above, from the Cleveland Botanical Garden. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, a muddy back yard is the current vista, and twelve muddy paws bringing some of the springtime into the kitchen!  From Sweden to Key West and from Maine to California, I hope you all have perfect spring weather, too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knitter's delight

 As I waited for my knitting student to arrive at Great Lakes Fiber ( last Sunday afternoon, I stepped into the shed attached to the studio. There was fiber on the hoof, so to speak, staring back at me.
 Amy designed her studio with the express plan of having a window for viewing her herd of alpacas and llamas, or rather, to allow them to have a view of her at work!

I explained to Regina that she would have the best environment ever for learning to knit. It turns out that she is a natural knitter and a pure delight to teach. I predict she'll be making sweaters and other items in short order. We covered the knit and purl stitch, casting on and binding off, increases, decreases, and ribbing all within her first lesson!

The time just flew by and I was surprised that we'd been sitting on the couch for almost 3 hours of nonstop knitting.

It was dinnertime for Amy's charges, so, it seems only right to let her get on with it in deference to better fiber later.
 I am happy to note that this Saturday I'll be spinning at the Follett House Museum's Quilt Social and Fiber Arts Day from 1-3:30, conducting lesson 2 on Sunday at Great Lakes Fibers, and spending Tuesday evening with my knitting circle friends, Paulette, Kathleen, Sue, and Cindy and the next evening will be spent with the Knit 1, Library Too  knitters. What a super week!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Kelsey, my niece, and I are the only two lefties in the family. This means we can sit next to each other on the same side of the table and not not be concerned about who gets the left corner.

It also means we are VERY artistic and creative spirits. A few days ago we hung out together at The Painted Earth, a pottery shop in Temecula, Ca.,  that provides paints, brushes, and a variety of clay materials for embellishment.

Kelsey knew her way around the shop and helped set up our projects:  a duck for her and bunny for me and a surprise present for Paulette that we painted together.
We promised the family we would only be gone an hour.

 We emerged two and a half hours later, but, I can't blame that on being left handed. I can blame it on the fact that we really had a great time together, painting, admiring the artistic choices we were making, and looking at what others were working on at adjoining tables.

Kelsey planned dinner in honor of my arrival from Ohio and we dashed back to get that underway.
Kelsey selected the recipe from the vegan recipe app on her iPhone. It was an Asian salad with whole wheat noodles. Yum. My brother, David, assisted as sous chef.

The next day we headed to L.A. to purchase a camera at Samy's for my brother and Kelsey suggested we head into Barnes and Noble Booksellers later. Be still my heart. She paints, she cooks, and she reads! What a proud and thrilled aunt am I!
Peter Yarrow was just leaving the store as we arrived. Kelsey sprinted to the exit and asked him to sign a copy of Puff the Magic Dragon that she wanted to give to her teacher. Her first famous author, she announced with delight, that she had actually talked to in person. I'm hoping that there might be a writer in the making in the family....that would give us another cool thing to enjoy together!