Friday, January 28, 2011


Our little town of Astoria, Oregon is on the ballet of Budget Travel Magazine to be one of the coolest small towns in America.  So far, the votes have us coming in at number two.  A quick picture tour of our town and a little bit of history will show you why we've made it this far, then, please, feel free to pop over to Budget Travel Magazine and vote for our Astoria!

Astoria, the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, is situated at the mouth of the Columbia River.  Fort Clatsop,  just a couple of miles out of town, is where the Lewis & Clark party wintered after they spied the mighty Pacific Ocean.  The Hudson Bay Fur Company settled in, with a big trapping and trading post and Astoria has been a unique and wonderful little settlement ever since.  Built on a peninsula of steep hills and boasting beautiful victorian homes, Astoria is sometimes refered to as the little San Francisco.  We are connected to the state of Washington by the bridge you see in the photo above, spanning the Columbia River for 4.3 miles. 

A Riverwalk spans the whole length of our town, running all the way from the bridge that spans the bay to the small town of Warrenton to the Tongue Point on the other end of town.  It's a great place to excercise, walk your dog, ride a bike or just sit and enjoy the sites on one of the many benches that dot the pathway along the Columbia River.

Starting with Lewis & Clark, Astoria has boasted several famous residents, such as John Jacob Astor.  Clarke Gable actually started his acting career here in a small local theatre.  Astoria is also the home of The Goonies~

Kindergarten Cop, Short Circuit, Free Willy, The Black Stallion, The Ring Two and several other movies have been filmed here because of our beautiful countryside and sweet town.
Many of the stars of Discovery Channels The Deadliest Catch and Axe Men are local residents.  Even with all of this, we are still a small fishing and logging community.  A real town who has not gotten above itself.

Astoria has a big and super fun Sunday Market, second only to Portland's famous market.  It runs every Sunday from Mother's day through the 2nd weekend in October and is full of everything from plants, handmade blankets, baked goods, fresh seafood, produce and artwork.  Food booths and live music are always a part of the festivities.

There's so much more that I could tell you - like how our downtown is still a small town downtown with fun shops in original old buildings;  how when you walk down the street people smile and say hello;  how people take pride in their beautiful victorian and craftsman homes;  how the first daffodil that blooms in, yes, early February, brings joy to all.

Thanks so much for taking this small tour of our town and if you find it to your liking, please, pop over  and vote for the coolest small town ever.  And if you find yourself out here, in the Pacific Northwest, stop by and have a beverage on our deck.  We'll be glad to show you around!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wolf Moon

Tonight, the first full moon of the year, the Wolf Moon has risen above our town.  It's shining on the water and lighting up even the darkest of streets, sending it's magical light down to enchant us and fill us with it's mystery.

The January full moon is known as the Wolf Moon, named so by the Indian tribes who, on cold winter nights, experienced the mournful and frightening sound of wolves howling through the night on nights when the full moon lit their dark paths.

Once I heard an old legend, one that I can't quite remember all the details too, about a pack of wolves, the protectors or spirit guides of one nation of Indians, who in order to better protect their people, merged with the sky wolf and the earth wolf, becoming the moon.  The yellow of the moon shown down into the eyes of the cubs on earth, forever leaving wolves eyes tinted yellow. 

This years wolf moon is so big and so beautiful that it makes me want to join those wolves in howling my pleasure for all to hear.  I hope your skies are clear enough that you can see it as well.  A truly incredible sight.

Sugar & Spice

...and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of.

It's super exciting to have a new little girl on the way since we have so many snakes and snails and puppy dog tails around here!

I have piles of pink flannel for recieving blankets and burp clothes, pink yarn for knitting into diaper bags, booties and hats and all kinds of patterns set aside and saved to my favorites on Ravelry for homemade goodness to welcome out little Mazzy Kaye in April.  We just can't wait to cuddle our new little granddaughter! 

The pink yarn-y project you see in the picture is on it's way to being a felted diaper bag.  I've knit with two strands held together to give the bag some sturdiness.  I want it to be able to stand on it's own.  When finished and felted it will have a really cute pink elephant appliqued   in wool felt on the front. (At least it's cute in my head.  Time will tell, won't it?)  The bag only has a bit left to go before I can felt, so I'm hoping to have it done in about a week~

The little flannel tag blanket is a small baby toy with a krinkly paper sewed in place between the flannels.  Baby's like that krinkly sound and she will be able to hold onto the ribbons, suck on them, slobber all over it and just have a krinkly good time.  Yeah!

To see other yarn-y goodness, pop over to Tami's Amis for Work In Progress Wednesdays.  Join in the fun and show what your WIP's are this week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hats Hats Hats & One Lonely Scarf

Now that Christmas time has come and gone, it's finally safe to show you the projects that were knit in secret.  I have VERY nosy family members who would think nothing of stalking this blog in the hopes of glimpsing their gifts before the big day.  Quite scandolous!

This years knitted gifts consisted of mostly hats with one lonely scarf thrown in.

Fish Madness: 

Now tell me - who couldn't use a lucky fish hat??  Picture one in pink and green's for the little girl on your knitting list.  Super cute.  Grab the pattern here on and whip up a few for your little (or big!) ones.  Totally easy to knit.  You'll love 'em!
Here's a fish hat in action - worn by Noah -

Time for a Butterfly Beret!

And in action - worn by Shilo-

This picture cracks me up.  Obviously something surprising was going on~
Now, this pattern gave me a couple of fits.  If you decide to follow the link above for the pattern and knit it, know that there is a bit of errata at the end and you really need to pay attention when you start decreasing to finish the hat.  As the pattern is written, you would end up with one butterfly sitting right on top of the last one instead of staggered.  Just pay attention and adjust your butterfly's accordingly and you shouldn't have any problems.   I used a light-weight merino wool yarn and it the hat turned out just right. 

Jacob's Jaunty Cap-

Knit with a soft alpaca wool, this one turned out pretty nice.  Because the yarn was so soft, I thought the hat needed a little something to give it some heartiness so I lined the brim with a nice brown fleece lining.  Just what it needed!
You can find this pattern on Ravelry where it's called the Salute hat and the pattern costs $6.00, which I think is worth the cost. 
A nice warm wool hat needs a nice warm wool scarf, don't you think? 

I held a strand of the same yarn that I used in the hat and also a pumpkin-colored wool together to knit this simple scarf.  I love how the colors of the two yarns blended, made me hungry so I called it Gingerbread.
For this scarf,  just cast on 26 stitches using size 9 needles.
Knit in a 2x2 rib until scarf is the length you want. 
Easy Peasy!

Well, the title of this post says "One Lonely Scarf", but I totally forgot that during my Christmas knitting I got carried away and made one for myself.    That's okay, who else was going to make me a new scarf if not me???

My friend Denise gave me this beautiful variegated yarn for my birthday and I thought it was perfect for a new scarf.  This pattern can be found on Ravelry also and is called 2 Weeknights with Warrick.  Apparently the pattern is named that because you should be able to complete your scarf in just two evenings of knitting while watching tv.  Took me a couple days longer than that, so I called mine Autumn Waves.  I love the fun waving pattern in this one.

Last but not least is Puppy Paws Beret ~

I love this hat!  I actually knit it after Christmas and it's for me too!  Wasn't meant to be but that's how it turned out.  I knit it as a test knit for a designer on Ravelry and the pattern is actually called a baby hat.  Did not at all turn out sized for a baby, but instead fits me.  It was going to be for our new granddaughter who we are waiting for, but I'll just have to make Mazzy something else.  (The other test knitters had the same problem with their hats turning out adult sized instead.  The designer will be fixing her pattern before releasing it.)
In action -

Right now, I have a very pink yarn on my needles that will soon be a felted diaper bag for that new grandbaby.  Lots of other pink crafting going on that has nothing to do with yarn also.  That's another post.

What's on your needles or coming out of your craft room these days?

Pop over to Tami Amis for more FO Fridays~

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Gustav, the Big Red Dog

Back in October, we brought home a new little puppy whom I introduced to you here.  He was born at my sisters house, the runt of the litter but in not to long of time caught up with his four brothers.  By the time, at 9 weeks old, that we brought him home, he was the same size as the others and had a big personality to match.  I haven't done a very good job of taking pictures of his growth, but we weigh him once a week to see how fast he is growing.  Every single time it makes us giggle to see how much he's gained every week, which is an average of 4 pounds.  Gus is a Great Pyrennees mix and is showing all the signs of being the size of a Great Pyrennees.  He was born September 1st, so is getting close to 4-1/2 months old.  As of last night, he weighed 48-1/2 pounds.  Holy cow!  Full of personality and as naughty as a little boy, we are having a wonderful time with him.  Potty training is proving to be not so fun, but I have faith that he will get it. 
Here are the few pictures that we have of Gus - so you can see him grow.  One of these days, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, Gus may just stand up and walk away with the house on top of him.  Could happen...

I hope you had lots of fun romping and playing with our Gus-Gus. 
He loves to have visitors~

Birthday Winner

Karen of Sew Much 2 Love  (spelled that wrong, I think.  Should be Luv - not love) is the winner of my Mom's Birthday giveaway!

The Little White Hen coffee cup cozy and a box of cinnamon apple tea will be flying to California.  Appropriate since my Mom was born in California, moved to Oregon when she was 4, then back to California the year I graduated from high school.  She would like that her birthday chicken will be hanging out in one of her favorite states!
Mom - Janice Sharon Simmons
Age 6
1st grade
September 1950

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Birthday Wishes from the Little White Hen

"Who will help me make the coffee?", said the Little White Hen.  Fortunately, the Little White Hen had many nice blogger friends who she knew would jump right up to help her make the coffee, unlike her sister, the Little Red Hen's friends who would not help her plant the grain and would not help her water the grain and would not help her harvest the grain or bake the bread. 

For the past couple of years, when my Mom's birthday rolls around, I have had a birthday giveaway to honor her memory.  Mom was a giver and I know that she would love that someone is getting a gift because of her birthday.  This year the giveaway is the Little White Hen coffee cup cozy that you see here, along with a box of some fun tea.  The Little White Hen promises to keep your fingers safe from hot cups and promises to keep you some cheerful company as you are enjoying your hot drink. 

All you have to do is leave a comment here.  That's it.  No jumping through hoops or telling others about this giveaway, (unless you want to of course.  I'd love to see you jump safely through a burning ring of fire! Exciting stuff!)  So leave a comment, you don't even have to tell me a good chicken story, just a quick howdy gets your name in the coffee pot. 
My Mom  - Janice Sharon Simmons Sannar - age 15 - Elgin, Oregon

Mom's birthday was January 9th, which is this coming Sunday, so sometime in the late afternoon or evening on Sunday, and I will pick a winner and the Little White Hen will fly away to your house.  (Chickens don't fly very well, so please keep an eye out for her!)
My sister, Stacey, is going to have a giveaway for Mom's Birthday as well, but she said that it may be a bit late.  Keep on eye on her blog, Stacey's Treasures, so that you don't miss out!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Turn the Page...Tuesday

For this month's Turn the Page...Tuesday, I have choosen "The Christmas Jars" by Jason F. Wright.  For a couple of days during December I was home sick with the flu.  I had participated in an apron swap and my package of goodies arrived on my first sick day.  This wonderful little book was inside and since I had just turned the last page in "Sanctuary" by Nora Roberts when our Mail Lady was at the door, I immediately begin reading it.  The darn flu had me doing nothing but reading or sleeping, so I finished this 122 page book the next afternoon and just wanted to read it again.  So good - it's one that I want to give to my daughters and my sisters.  Reading "The Christmas Jars" will have you starting a whole new family Christmas tradition of your own, or at least wanting too.

It's the story of Hope Jensen, a girl who was left in a diner as a baby along with a sweet note begging the person who finds her to take care of her and love her as their own.  Hope's biological Mama was in an abusive relationship with Hope's father that she couldn't see a way out of and knew that it was only a matter of time before he would be hitting that sweet baby as well.  Giving her away was the only way she knew to protect her little girl.

Hope has grown up now, raised by a single mother who loved her dearly, and is an up and coming newspaper reporter.  One Christmas Eve, after coming home to a break-in in her apartment, Hope is left a jar of Christmas coins.  Not knowing who left her this much needed gift, Hope starts researching other such gifts in the hope of finding the story behind the Christmas Jars.  Hope does find the story behind the jars.  What she does with that knowledge will leave you holding your breath until the end. 

A delightful and very inspirational read.  I think you'll love it~

For my Classics from my shelf resolution, I read "The Cricket on the Hearth" by Charles Dickens.  It was good and charming, though not wonderful, but I'm glad I finally read it. 

Today, my reading is taking me to Aspen, Colorado to spend time in the kitchen of Chef Elena Alverado in "The Lost Recipe For Happiness".   Delightful~
Where is your reading taking you??

Don't forget to pop over to Some of a Kind for more Turn the Page...Tuesday reads.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Blessed New Year

The turning of a page from 2010 to the new 2011 is a time for reflection on the old year and a welcoming of the new.  Are there things in our lives we would like to change, things we would like to do better, things we want to banish completely?  Of course there are. I don't make New Year's Resolutions, as I feel that I'm setting myself up for failure.  Most resolution's pass away in an average of two weeks.  Instead, I've set myself some goals, but even those I plan on keeping close to the cuff.  They are mine - or mine and Riff's - and I will show you the results of them as the year passes.  Many have to do with projects around our home and the ability to FOCUS on one project at a time.  This spills over into my craft room as well.

We know that 2011 will be brining some blessings to our lives:

1) A new granddaughter will be born in April to Brittany and Chris~ Mazzy Kaye, we can't wait to meet you!

2) Brittany and Chris' little family will be complete with a little boy, Noah, and a little girl, Mazzy, so they will be getting married in August. (Sometimes we do things a little backwards in our family, but that's okay! LOL)

3) Our oldest son, Sam, will be coming home in September from his third and hopefully final tour in Iraq. Please keep him and the safety of the troups he is with on your prayer list.

With six kids and four and a half-grandkids, we know that 2011 will bring more blessings to our world that we are yet unaware of.  We so look forward to the dawning of this new year.

May you all have a blessed and prosperous 2011!