Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Dear Mom,
 I can now cross "Meet Diana Gabaldon" (author of our beloved Outlander book series, creator of Jamie Fraser) off my bucket list!
My friend, ConniecallmeSassenach and I drove on Monday morning from her Michigan cottage up to Traverse City, where we met up with my good sister-in-law, Cheryl and her neighbor, Sheila. We had lunch, window shopped, freshened up, and were in line at the Opera House in downtown TC by 6pm for the Event. The Opera House is beautiful. We had a very pleasant evening talking with the fellow Outlander fans around us, watching a trailer for the TV series, and listening to Diana talk. Some of her talk/ answers to questions was stuff we'd heard before, but we did hear some new tidbits and got to listen while she read from the new book. The way Diana read the passage made us interpret it slightly differently than we'd read it - with more humor. I would say that was the most magical part of the evening for me- listening to her read. She patiently and very graciously answered audience questions- questions I am sure she has answered 100s of times. I was too shy/ not brave enough/ too starstruck to ask anything, even though I had a mental list of questions prepared.

We then waited in line to have our books signed and got our pictures taken with her. And as much as Connie and I would have liked to gush all over her and tell her about how excited we were when we read the part where Jamie knits, or say something that would stamp us as the Best Outlander Fans She Has Ever Met and have her say she wants us to wait 'til she is done with the book signing so she can come and hang out with us and talk over a glass of wine and get our email addresses and become our new Best Friend, we really didn't have a chance in the book signing line to do more than have our picture taken. I did manage to squeak out a "Thank you for sharing your Gift with us" before moving along and letting the next person in line have their turn. It was all run very smoothly and efficiently, which is good, because the parking garage closed at midnight and we were very near the end of the line. She has literally had to have signed 10s of 1000s of books and while she was very kind, I doubt that she would want to do anything to make it take any longer than it did and out of respect for her, we didn't want to do that to her either.
We made the drive back yesterday, getting home a bit after 4pm. I almost immediately took a restorative nap, with Olive, making everything right with the world again - If you can discount the pile of dishes in the sink and the thick coating of dog hair on the floor. It is clear that my family needs tutorials in "How to Efficiently Load, Run, and Unload The Dishwasher" and "The Vacuum Cleaner and Why We Use It". It is also clear that I Am Needed Here. (even if sometimes they probably don't think so and would never admit it.) Today, and for the next few days, I'll be catching up on what didn't get done while I was on my whirlwind adventure. But definitely worth it. Definitely.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Special Thank You

Dear Mom,
I got a package in yesterday's mail with a special Thank You from Elaine for the Suri Silk and mitten kit I sent to her. I honestly did not expect to be thanked- my thanks was in finding good homes for the yarn. But the kind note and generous gifts that Elaine sent in thanks are worthy of a blog post.
She hinted at sending something special for Olive, and in the package was a bright red polka dot scarf- perfect for a shiny black dog!
What was completely unexpected, and absolutely touched me to my core, was these hand knits!
A couple pairs of boot toppers and a head warmer! In my experience, it is a rare thing for a knitter to receive hand knit gifts. I feel honored and very special. I told Elaine that I am not in any hurry for winter weather to get here, but when it does (because we know it will) I will be sporting these at first opportunity. Thank you Elaine!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Paper, Scissors, a Shot Glass and a Hole Punch

Dear Mom,

After 23 years of love and use and sunshine and abuse, our kitchen cabinets are in desperate need of freshening up. These also being the years of paying for college tuition, new cabinets are not an option. Plus, I reallyreallyreally like my tiled countertops and I've been told that they cannot be saved if/when we replace the cabinets. Soooo, My Hero and I have been sanding (him), staining (me) and polyurethane-ing (me).  We are working in small manageable sections which means we can get each bite digested every weekend, but it also means a regularly disheveled kitchen and cleaning up sawdust over and over and over again. And not having things in their place makes me a little edgy. Keeping my eye on the prize. It'll be worth it in the end. And, I have to say, the refreshed cabinets look better than I even imagined would be possible. That helps. A lot.
The first weekend we tackled the worst appearing cabinets on the island. They were very faded by the sunshine. And last weekend we started working our way around the upper cabinets. While waiting for the last coat of polyurethane to dry I put my mind to considering shelf lining paper. I'd used that self sticking liner and did not want to use that again. I wanted something prettier than plain and googled "lace edged shelf paper" or something like that and in my fall down the internet rabbit hole, found a site that had a quote from one of the Little House books and instructions for cutting pretty shelf paper. (I guess Ma Ingalls had Mary and Laura making pretty shelf paper in one of the books. Frankly, they had me at Little House.) Such was my inspiration that I cannot find that website to share it with you. I pretty much immediately stopped googling and gathered my supplies.
I used scissors, brown craft paper (you could use newspaper or white butcher paper or whatever you think would be nice for lining shelves), a hole punch (I am pretty sure Mary and Laura did not have a hole punch.) and a shot glass. (I know for certain that Ma Ingalls would not allow a shot glass in her house, so Mary and Laura did not use one of these either.) I used the shot glass to draw a round edge. You could make pointy edges. Mary and Laura probably made pointy edges.
I folded the craft paper in half and half and half, again and again and again, until it was about 2 inches wide and then started cutting and hole punching the end- like making snow flakes or paper dolls.
So when it was unfolded, I had a lacy looking edge. I did not want to drive myself crazy by trying to make them all the same. It was more fun to try different things for each one. Also, I don't have one of those fancy crafty scrap-bookin' shaped punch things, but if I did, I would have tried using it.
I then trimmed the depth and width of the paper to fit my shelves.
Here is a photo with the paper on the shelves, and the shelves loaded, but before the cabinet doors went back on:
And here is a photo with the doors on the cabinets:
We have a ways to go before we are finished, but so far so good!