Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Things About Winter

February is almost over, but I know that winter will hang around for several more weeks. I have never been a big fan of the cold, but this winter seems to have been especially hard on me, not just physically, but mentally as well. Cold dreary days have really gotten me down.
I have been longing for spring in the worst way, for sunshine and warmth, sandals and flowers and leaves, reading on the patio, morning runs, (conveniently fogetting about the layer of yellow pollen that will soon cover everything).
However, I know that this kind of anticipation will only make me bitter about the current conditions. Winter is what I have and what I will have for a few more weeks. So, I am focusing on what I like about winter. For example:
1) Hot chocolate: I like mine strong and rich. I got a cup from McDonald's yesterday (I am embarassed to admit that I ate there, but it was a low blood sugar situation), and it was actually quite good, with an underlying coffee taste to it (whether intentional or not, I liked it).
2) Curling up with a blanket and book: preferably in front of a roaring fire, but I'll just have to pretend. My favorite reading blanket is a beige throw, lined in a fur-like fleece, very soft and warm. My current read is definitely a winter curl-up: The Alienist by Caleb Carr, a historical mystery.
3) Sweaters, scarves, corduroys, and boots: each fall, I look forward to breaking out winter clothes, but by late February, they have lost their lustre. However, these are my favorite clothes. I am still on the look-out for the perfect cashmere sweater, but right now I make do with lambswool and cotton.
4) Soup: I have fallen in love with homemade soup. The current favorite is broccoli cream, but other contenders are tomato and potato cauliflower. I made minestrone for the first and last time. It was good, but involved too much work and literal bloodshed when I cut my finger.
5) Snowfall: living in NC, snow is always exciting, even when it is ruining your plans. The local news devotes round-the-clock coverage to the accumulating inches, school kids go insane, the entire county turns out en-masse at the grocery store. I love watching the snow coming down and then walking around in the transformed world once it has covered everything. The big snow in January (see picture above) created a heavy silence in our neighborhood that was beautiful.
6) Winter Olympics: This has been the first year that I have actually really watched the Olympics (winter or summer) and I have been fascinated. Every event has been intriguing from down-hill skiing to bobsledding to figure skating. I have never watched sports in my life, but this has been very interesting, and I also like the sense of unity as the whole country (and a lot of the world) watches and experiences it together.
These are a few of the things that I will try to keep in mind as I am faced with the prospect of several more frozen days. Do you have any good things to add to the list?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Baby Things

I feel like I have been hibernating for the month of February, at least in the blogosphere. In real life, I have not been able to hunker down and wait for the return of spring (it's coming soon, right?) Instead, I have been working and reading (for the diss, more than for fun) and crocheting! With the new nephew arriving in June, I have gotten a few items done.

The first is this afghan, which is bigger than pictured. The pattern is from a Vanna White book, and incredibly easy. The only complaint I have is that after about seven rounds, it started warping and pulling in a dozen different directions. Even after blocking it, it still isn't perfectly straight, but I think it will do.

I am also very happy with these booties. They are the essence of cute. The pattern was a free project sheet picked up at Michaels, with a few aesthetic alterations. They look like small loafers, and baby will be able to wear them at 3-6 months. My only complaint about this project is the stitching up the back. I did it in the blue yarn and so it looks a bit sloppy, but maybe that's just home-made charm, right?

I have a few more baby related projects planned, but I am currently indulging in some selfish crochet in the form of a cropped tweed cardigan in a beautiful jade green color. The combination of an off-guage pattern and a tricky yarn has caused me to frog and start over at least six times with much mental cursing, but I am determined to see it through.

If you are a fellow crocheter/knitter, be sure to check out and consider friending me there (Stephanie728). Happy stitching.