Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I'm Reading // Drawn to Nature

Spring has definitely sprung here in the valley. We've had a decent amount of rain (and one big ol' blizzard) in addition to a few spectacular thunderstorms. I love the way the world smells after it rains, even the dairy cow smell gets washed away, and the earth seems brighter, the grass greener, the sky bluer, the clouds whiter and fluffier.

I've been reading Clare Leslie Walker's Drawn to Nature, while working on a crochet chevron throw. This book isn't so much about reading as it is about devouring her images while snacking on words. She challenges her readers to look around. See the sky. See the ground. Hear the birds. Notice nature wherever you are. So I have been. Though it's been rather easy to do since we live so close to the canyon and experience monthly sightings of deer and daily sightings of pheasants. I've been looking more closely at the other birds. We get sparrows and starlings, ducks and wild turkeys, and a lovely woodpecker waking us up in the wee hours of the morn.

Over the weekend, we visited the grave of the Swedish ancestor. While at the cemetery, we witnessed several magpies ganging up on what I can only presume was a small hawk or falcon of some kind who had caught another bird and was attempting to feast but to no avail. We also drove up Scout Mountain to have a campfire roast and saw the biggest bumble bee I have ever seen in real life and heard chirping crickets among the staccato sound of someone somewhere target shooting.

We are lucky that "nature" is right in our backyard or only a ten minute drive away. We experience the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets over mountain ranges in both the east and the west. Golden hour is by far my favorite time of day. Time stops and everything is magical for those minutes of the setting sun.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cozy Cottage Blanket // crochet

If you are remotely interested in crochet, Lucy's site at Attic 24 is perfection.

Everything Lucy does is spectacular and oh so colorful; this Cozy blanket is no exception. Lucy hosted a Crochet Along or CAL that began in October of 2014. In several posts, Lucy shared the progress of other participants and when I saw someone's use of the Cottage color pack (purchased through Wool Warehouse as part of the Attic24 packages) I just knew I had to try this color combo.

Well, the CAL is now looonnnngg over and Lucy has shared her "Ta-Dah" with this blanket, so I'm a bit behind (but that's not groundbreaking news). I received my pack just after Thanksgiving and worked slowly and steadily. Taking time felt good. I wasn't in a rush since this was purely for my own enjoyment. There is serenity in simple stitching. And I took full advantage.

The colors in this pack are completely reminiscent of a country cottage. They come in a meshy bag to store all fifteen skeins. It has been a lifesaver when surrounded by all the other piles of projects I have; at least this project has the appearance of being organized. I followed the Cottage Ripple color pattern that came with the pack, with a few variations once I decided what colors to use for the border (raspberry, plum, and pale rose). The pattern is simple and only requires the knowledge of a double crochet stitch (US terms, treble in UK).

This twin size creation is the largest blanket I've made to date, which makes my husband really happy because he can actually use this one whereas all the others have been much too small.

I absolutely love the border. Spiky yet subtle. And it's rosy, which is a total plus and very fitting. Even before I had completed the project the girls were fighting over who got to use it. To avoid sibling squabbling, I put it in the living room so that all who want to use it can. It looks so cheerful laying on the couch where little hands can grab and all can cuddle.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Swans and Swallows: A Remix and a Giveaway {Closed}

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I am so wonderfully pleased to announce the paperback edition of my husband's book

Back in November, Husband and his brother self-published a book through Amazon. It was originally only formatted for ebook so if you have a kindle that copy is still available (for super-super cheap). For all you others who, like me, want to hold the book in your hands, flip through the pages, write in the margins, and dog ear particular passages, their book is now available for purchase in paperback! 

I am so, SO proud of all the work they have done on this book. 

A couple of book-keeping things (see what I did there??) -- The subscript "a comedy" has been removed, because, well, it isn't really a comedy. It is satire. And it is hilarious (truly laugh out loud funny... at some parts). But it is quite serious too. Gregory is a likable guy, with a bit of a problem. He's a total narcissist (and addicted to sensation, among other things), and his antics are, though slightly exaggerated, pretty realistic which at times are both hilarious and heart-breaking. It's a great read, and before I get accused of being biased, my opinions are solely my own and my husband would still love me even if I didn't like it, but luckily that's not the case, because it really is a wonderful book. 

For a chance to win this awesome book leave a comment below and for double the chance to win find me on Instagram (@rosieliljenquist) and leave a comment. The giveaway will close Sunday at 11:59 pm MST and the winner chosen and notified on Monday. Take Luck!

Update: The winner has been chosen and notified. Thank you sincerely to those who participated! 

{ Linked to Ginny's Yarn Along. }

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lily of the Valley // embroidery

Have you ever completed a project and felt totally and completely deflated? It's remarkably similar to the just-finished-a-book phase where you can't start another book because that would be almost cheating because you're still living in the book world and couldn't possibly move yet.

That's the exact feeling I experienced when I finished this project (although to be totally honest I'm not entirely finished, not yet). I had high hopes for hanging this embroidery on the wall so that I could cross an item off my bucket list.

Years ago, I wrote a list of things to do and one of the items is make something to hang on the wall, photography doesn't count. I had originally intended for this project to fulfill that goal. Alas, it seems not to be so. It doesn't look quite right in a frame and seems oddly small.

So although I have finished the embroidery project part, I am still deciding how to display it. I have a few choices: I could make a mini quilt to hang on the wall, which would fulfill the bucket list item. I could make a pillow, which seems more desirable given our utter lack of pillows for the couch, but more expensive as I would have to buy a pillow insert. I already have fabric and batting so the mini quilt seems more likely, but I can't be sure until I'm suddenly overcome with the urge to actually finish.

Yes, the blue water soluble pen is visible in this photo but I assure you it's gone now
Once I've completed whatever this embroidery is destined to be, you can be sure I'll share it. I'm actually quite intrigued as to what it will become. A lot of my projects are like this - just about completed but not quite. It must be related to the finish-book-syndrome, but instead it's finished project disorder. I love starting new projects, but tend to loose steam. It might be due to a slight edge of perfectionism about my person. I want all these projects to turn out exactly how I imagine them and if they're not quite up to snuff I'm completely dissatisfied with them (it has a lot to do with comparison too, which is completely unfair, to both/all parties). It's a character flaw to be sure. One that I hope to get the best of so that I can actually use this work. Because it really is quite lovely. Or so I am inclined to think.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Treading water

I have a serious case of the funks.

I am working on a blanket and am so ridiculously close to finishing but somehow keep mismanaging time to actually get it completed. For my birthday, I got a pattern that I am so excited to try, plus numerous modifications are playing around in my brain. I'm working on an embroidery piece that isn't turning out quite how I imagined. The 50 States quilt is being made with snail-like progress but at least all the current patterns are traced and ready for needle and thread. I want to give knitting a go because I have found at least two patterns that I must try but am terrified because two needles seems much more daunting than one hook. All this in addition to the normal - husband, kids, homeschooling, work, cooking, sleep - and the abnormal - the last few weeks have been a mental mind suck. So many metaphorical bombs were dropped that in refuge copious amounts of ice cream were consumed (Ben and Jerry's "Everything But The..." did a great job consoling). I've been a bit slow to recover from the carnage of said bombs.

Alas, time moves forward and my list of things to-do keeps growing much too quickly and all the plans of posts that I want to publish (you should see my drafts page) get pushed to the back-burner every single time, because I actually need the time to finish and photograph all the aforementioned projects. Soon. Soon my act will be gotten together and consistent posts will be published. Soon I will progress in all my crafting endeavors. Soon I will discover a time turner. Soon. Until then.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback // Travel // Iceland

It seems like lately everyone is traveling to Iceland. It could be that I have a skewed sampling since my sources are travel blogs and a colleague who is in fact Icelandic. It makes sense that if you love to travel you would travel to Iceland. And it makes even more sense that if you were Icelandic you would travel to your Icelandic home, but I feel like everywhere I turn more and more people are vacationing there. And I don't blame them.

Iceland was the most spectacular vacation EVER! Again my bias may be showing since it was the last vacation we took (almost three years ago!!!) and I would love to travel abroad again, but four kids under 8 make big travels more difficult. For now, I remain satisfied with our local/regional excursions and I really can't complain.

Iceland is surreally beautiful. Words (and photos) cannot do the island justice. We went in late July and the lighting was perfect the entire time, even at three in the morning. We spent three days, used Reykjavik as our base, and rented a car to tour the surrounding area including the Golden Circle which included the major waterfalls Skogafoss and Gullfoss, and Thingvellir where the Icelandic parliament was held. We also took a whale and puffin watching excursion. We were total tourists. I hope someday we can return and do a full island tour and visit places off the beaten path.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Crimson Trail

The canyon boasts extensive and varying landscapes as we discovered in our attempt to hike the Crimson trail. The trail starts as a nature walk along the river, filled with cat tails, hyper-green moss, wooded forests, floating ducks, and birdsong. After about a mile or so, the trail does a 180 at a steep incline, weaving above the tree-line and into the rocky limestone mountain. The path itself changes from standard dirt to loose rocks; the views are nothing short of beautiful, though thighs will be burning.

On this particular day, I had Baby Boy strapped to my front and a pack laden with food, water, and hot chocolate on my back. Not the best idea. I felt off-balance and unsure of my footing so we turned back before completing the trail. Although after a closer look at the guide, I can honestly say that I have no idea where we were. There are so many paths that converge and diverge that it is highly possible we were on an entirely different trail.

The girls did wonderfully. They climbed the whole way with little assistance and very minimal complaints and Little Man traveled in his pack pointing out all the things he found interesting. The weather turned cold as we returned to the car so we lunched from within the confines of our van. It proceeded to snow upon arrival home. It's been the strangest winter I have ever experienced. We've had mild summer temperatures in the morning and snow in the afternoon. I suppose I am glad that I get the best of both worlds: a wonderful hike in the morning and soup and snuggles in the evening.