Wednesday, July 23, 2014

for the love of string

My mom loves to tell this story about 5-year-old me. The day after Christmas, we went to the mall to handle some returns. I had received all these exciting toys as gifts, and mom said I could bring one along to keep me entertained. I chose... drumroll... a piece of string. Not one of my flashy new toys, just a piece of string.

She does leave out some critical (in my opinion) details. First, the string had a knot in one end. Second, it was my imaginary pet snake, with a knot for a head. Obviously.

My interest in string has matured a bit since then. Now it's "yarn," not just "string". Also, my creations are a little more useful than string snakes. My latest project is the Purl Bee Sweatshirt Sweater knit in Cascade 220 Superwash, colorway West Point Blue Heather. Knitting this sweater took twice as long (literally) as it should have. I knit the entire pattern once, decided it was too big, selected a smaller size of knitting needles, and re-knit the entire sweater. I'm quite pleased with the second attempt. I think Dan is also happy with the second attempt... because he was dreading the wailing and gnashing of teeth if this hadn't fit.

cozy birdhouse | purl bee sweatshirt sweater

cozy birdhouse | purl bee sweatshirt sweater

My timing was less than ideal, finishing a 100% wool sweater in the middle of July. I'm looking forward to some cooler Autumn evenings for a chance to wear it!

Project details on my Ravelry page.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

birds i know

Dan's parents hosted a lovely rehearsal dinner for us before our wedding in 2012. The venue had a stunning view of the city skyline enhanced by a spectacular lightning storm! The weather even politely waited to rain until I was inside, so it wouldn't ruin my hair (so thoughtful).

After the dinner, my in-laws presented us a little collection of sentimental and silly gifts, including one that particularly appealed to my love of birds: Dan's handmade elementary school project booklet entitled "Birds I Know" (c. 1991). This handsome construction paper volume is bound with archival quality yarn and provides an in-depth look at the extensive varieties of bird species in North America. I've decided to document this literary treasure in its entirety here.

cozy birdhouse | birds i know

There you have it: "Birds I Know." All five of them. Did I mention it's a first-edition AND it's signed by the author (on every page)?

In honor of "Birds I Know," here's are some birds I know (Northern Cardinal, Red-Bellied Woodpecker) photographed in my own backyard!

cozy birdhouse | cardinal

cozy birdhouse | woodpecker

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

at the beach

Sometimes I want a busy vacation like our Disney World trip... the kind where I have a daily itinerary and where I keep my mind off work by giving it too many other activities to think about. Sometimes I just need a lazy vacation... the kind where I get to both start and finish a book (or two!) and where I keep my mind off work by daydreaming about my future craft projects. Visiting my in-laws at their beach house over the holiday weekend was a perfect "lazy vacation."

We spent the days reading on the beach and the evenings playing games and chatting on the front porch. I read The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), which was a mystery/crime/thriller, my favorite type of beach-reading!

cozy birdhouse | me at the beach house

cozy birdhouse | dan at the beach house

cozy birdhouse | in-laws at the beach house

My sister in-law's dog Pepper split her lounging time between sunny spots on the porch and the cool tile floor inside. She protected us from scary noises on Independence Day, howling her deep "barooo!" at every firecracker.

cozy birdhouse | pepper the puppy

Hurricane Arthur passed by the morning of the 4th. The rain was heavy, but I slept in (another plus of the lazy vacation) and missed it. Unfortunately the fireworks in Atlantic City were postponed to Sunday due to the weather, even though it ended up being the prettiest evening of the whole trip. The sky was clear, but the hurricane definitely kicked up some bigger waves!

cozy birdhouse | view of atlantic city from the beach

cozy birdhouse | waves on the jersey shore after hurricane arthur

The shore birds were out in force collecting washed up goodies in the shallow pools left by the storm. We even spotted a Great Blue Heron (in its natural habitat atop a convenience store).

cozy birdhouse | a great blue heron in its natural habitat, on top of a convenience store

I believe this is a Laughing Gull. It apparently did not find anything funny about this situation, because I detected no signs of laughter. Maybe it's feeling a bit humorless because it has slimy beach gunk on its foot.

cozy birdhouse | a laughing gull. that's just the name, not any comment on its personality

I think these are both juvenile Black-Backed Gulls. I'm not sure which type, Lesser or Greater Black-Backed Gull. I'm going to say they are Greater, because I don't want to hurt their feelings.

cozy birdhouse | juvenile black-backed gull

cozy birdhouse | juvenile black-backed gull, with a piercing gaze!

Overall, it was a fun and relaxing weekend. I even survived my first hurricane! Thanks for a great vacation, family!

cozy birdhouse | sunset over the bay near atlantic city

Friday, July 4, 2014

airplanes and bicycles

Happy Independence Day!

We had some all-American fun this weekend at the Dayton Air Show. What's more American than eating a hamburger, drinking a beer, and watching the Blue Angels?

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014

This replica Wright B Flyer was a crowd favorite since we were just miles away from the Birthplace of Aviation. This aircraft flies at just 45 mph. I think it's pretty impressive that it can get off the ground going that slow.

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014, wright b flyer

Patty Wagstaff performed some amazing stunts in this little plane.

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014, patty wagstaff

Then we had a fun surprise! Dan actually knew this Coast Guard pilot from high school!

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014, coast guard helicopter

Here is the Aeroshell Formation Aerobatic Team. Cool name, cooler airplanes.

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014, aeroshell formation aerobatic team

The show concluded with a performance by the Blue Angels. Always fun to see! Unless, I guess you were not at an air show. Then, getting buzzed by these guys would be pretty terrifying.

cozy birdhouse | dayton air show 2014, blue angels

After the air show we went to a friend's house to watch this bike race. The day was long and tiring but I still felt pretty lazy after watching these guys race for 90 minutes!

cozy birdhouse | cycling race

cozy birdhouse | cycling race