May 31, 2012

I ♥ Thursday {no. 1}

I'm linking to...

Here's what I've been lovin' lately...

The Piano Guys

You've NEVER heard of them?!?!
*shocked expression*

Get ready for some seriously cool music...and their videos are just gorgeous.

Isn't it AMAZING what that guy can do with a cello??

This next one makes me want to bang my head against the wall while screaming "Why didn't I practice more?!"...

This one...well, it's just toooooooo cute!!

And last, but certainly not least, my personal inner Star Wars geek insists, nay demands, I share this.   I believe I've shared this one before, but you can always watch it again;)

I hope you all had a marvelous Thursday!

Me, I spent today sick in bed.
Welll...I wasn't really sick.   Just tired, worn out and generally just feeling gross.  More like a "I'm going to rest before I end up sick" type day.   I watched Our Mutual Friend (1998) and part of Bleak House (2005), both Dickens adaptations, and an episode of the original Mission: Impossible TV series.  I only emerged from my 'cave' to let the horses in and out of the pasture and to go spelunking in the kitchen for eatables and tea.
I had a marvelous day in my own way;)

Happy Trails, y'all!

belated Wallpaper Wednesday {Literary Heroes}

Well, this is more like it - a belated Wallpaper Wednesday post! ;)
In this case, my excuse is the infamous Net Nanny.
Recently, she has taken fiendish delight in blocking certain things on my Blogger, including comment moderation, post editing, and the new post option.  Despite the fact that my dad has added every url we can think of to the "do not block" list, she persists in blocking them.
My personal opinion is that Net Nanny is plotting to take over my computer, then the internet and finally...the world.  
Yes, I have been watching Doctor Who, so my opinion might be slightly influenced;)
But anyways, on to this weeks wallpapers....

Theodore "Laurie" Laurence
from Louisa May Alcott's wonderful book Little Women
portrayed here by Christian Bale

So...I guess Laurie rated three wallpapers.

He is adorable;)


Mr. Roger Hamley
from Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters
portrayed here by Anthony Howell

And one of Roger and Molly (Justine Waddell), because I love this scene.


- All wallpapers link to their full size images, and are also available on the For You page -

And I'm afraid that's all I have for this week - I became momentarily distracted creating fantastic, brilliant and magnificent Doctor Who wallpapers.  So sorry;)

Also, I'm having not a few difficulties finding screencaps and/or high-res Gilbert Blythe images, so if anyone knows where I can find some, please let me know!

I'll be wrapping up the Literary Heroes Wallpaper Series next week with...
Colonel Brandon
Edward Ferrars
and whoever else I have finished.

Have a wonderful Thursday, y'all!

May 27, 2012

Tea at the Prairie Cottage

You're never to old to dress-up and have a tea party.
I've always loved tea parties, as evidenced by the fact that most of my birthday parties involved a tea party.
doll tea parties
princess tea parties
a Miss Moon tea party

{did anyone else read the Tea Party of Miss Moon by Princess Mary Thurn-Taxis when they were little?  I don't remember much about it actually, but my mom loved the story and gave me a Miss Moon themed party when I was little.  Probably four-years-old.  My two older cousins even dressed up as some of the characters:)  But I'm heading down a rabbit trail here...}

I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful tea party at the Prairie Cottage, Rebekah's house (known as Wild Rose on my blog)

Before taking tea, we strolled about the beautiful yard...

And took many pictures...of course;)

Rebekah cut a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for our table.

I love dandelions.  I've never thought of them as weeds.  They're too beautiful and amazing.

With such beautiful green grass, a photoshoot seemed in order...

Rebekah and I - it was perfectly delightful to finally meet you, Rebekah!

And the beautiful Kellie...

always adorable

Kellie and Rebekah

Um...all I'm gonna say, is she started it.

Lovely Rebekah

Isn't her hair beautiful?!


have you ever tried to blow a dandelion while you were laughing?

it doesn't work very well

finally, success

Rebekah did it in one take...

And, after our cheeks all hurt from laughing and smiling so much, we went inside for our tea party...

This had to be the most delicious tea party I've ever been to.

 ~* menu *~
cucumber sandwiches
chicken sandwiches
scones with devonshire cream and jam
nut cups
chocolate mints
and tea

Hallo! Why all these cups? Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?
- Jack Worthing
First Act Part 1 of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

Rebekah, everything was absolutely wonderful!!
Thank you so much for inviting me:)

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

My family and I are on a short trip to Yellowstone right now, but the camp ground has WiFi, so I'll still be in touch. :)
I'll be sharing pics when I get home.
Happy Trails, y'all!

May 23, 2012

Wallpaper Wednesday {Literary Heroes}

It's been a while since I've done a Wallpaper Wednesday post, hasn't it?
I don't believe I've done one since I moved my blog here, to blogger.
Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I'm going to begin bringing them back.

To start things off...
When I shared my literary heroine wallpapers during Kellie's blog party, someone requested I create wallpapers for the heroines' hero counterparts.
 I liked that idea.
So I did.

I present for your consideration and pleasure...

Mr. Arthur Clennam 
from Charles Dicken's Little Dorrit 
excellently portrayed here by Matthew Macfadyen

Arthur rated two wallpapers, because he's wonderful.


John "Jack" Worthing & Algernon "Algy" Moncrieff
from Oscar Wilde's excellent play The Importance of Being Earnest
portrayed here by Colin Firth and Rupert Everett


Mr. John Thornton
from Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South
portrayed here by the one and only Richard Armitage

Mr. Thornton also rated two wallpapers, because he's wonderful and Richard Armitage has an amazing voice/accent.  Just sayin'...;)


Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice
portrayed here by Colin Firth in the 1995 TV miniseries


portrayed here by Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 film adaptation
{this is one of my absolute favorite wallpapers that I've designed.  ever.  period.}


Mr. George Knightley
from Jane Austen's Emma
portrayed here by Johnny Lee Miller

Mr. Knightley really rates two wallpapers, but I've only the one right now.
Maybe he'll get a second one next week...


All wallpaper images link to their full size images.
Full size images are also located on the For You page.


Next time, on Wallpaper Wednesday...

Roger Hamley
Theodore Laurence
Gilbert Blythe
Edward Ferrars
Colonel Brandon


If you have an requests/suggestions/ideas for future Wallpaper Wednesdays, let me know!
Graphic design is my one weakness;)

Happy Trails, y'all!

May 21, 2012

rosy apple blossoms


"I asked you," he said, "as a special favor, not to be too flowery. But our poetess . . ." Betsy squirmed and blushed . . . "is not only flowery. Her flowers are the wrong color. I haven't read your story, Betsy, and I don't intend to. The opening sentence is enough for me. He read aloud scornfully:

"Under a tree hung with rosy apple blossoms . . ."

"Rosy apple blossoms! Rosy apple blossoms! Who ever heard of rosy apple blossoms? Apple blossoms, my dear young lady, are not pink. They are white."

Betsy's blushes receded. She turned, in fact, a little pale.

"I think they are pink, Mr. Gaston."

"You think they are pink?" Mr. Gaston glared at her through his thick glasses. "But I know they are white."

"It's the under part of the petals," Betsy said falteringly. "They're pinkish, sort of."

"Pinkish, sort of!" Mr. Gaston mocked.

Betsy looked around a little wildly. Joe Willard was staring out the window. She brought her gaze back to Mr. Gaston stubbornly. "We had lots of apple trees when we lived up on Hill Street. I always liked to look at them in May."

"You should have examined them accurately. You would have found that they are white."

"But they aren't white." Betsy was near tears, but it was from anger.

"They must have been peach trees," Mr. Gaston said.

"They were apples. I've eaten the apples."

"Betsy," said Mr. Gaston with a maddening, condescending smile. "If you were a little younger, I'd ask you to write a hundred times, 'Apple blossoms are white.' As it is, I merely ask you to rewrite your story, and eliminate any inaccuracies."

He picked up another paper.

But the subject was not quite done with. Joe Willard turned from his study of the trees beyond the window and raised his hand.

"Yes, Joe?" Mr. Gaston said changing his tone.

"It is my opinion sir, that apple blossoms are pink."

Mr. Gaston was silent, stunned.

"Pinkish, rather." Joe continued. "I think Betsy's word 'pinkish' is excellent. They're colored just enough to make the effect rosy."

The silence in the room had width, height, depth, mass, and substance.

From Betsy in Spite of Herself  by Maud Hart Lovelace

As you can see in the photo, Betsy and Joe are quite right - apple blossoms are pinkish.
And they smell simply divine!!

If you've never read the Betsy~Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, you should.
Really, you should.
They're simply delightful.

May 19, 2012

Adventures in Wool Washing

Rather than letting all of that lovely freshly sheared wool just sit around, I decided to jump right in and wash some.   Besides, my fingers are just itching to be spinning again!

I decided to start with Sweet Pea's fleece and, after sweeping the driveway clean, spread it out.  As I said in my previous post, I skirted all of the fleeces right after shearing.  However, I took this opportunity to pick out the sections that had the least amount of vegetable mater (hay, straw, small twigs, burrs, etc.) mixed in.

The kitty thought I'd spread this wonderful, fluffy stuff out for his benefit...

Okay, nuff of the cute, cute kitty...
Not that I dislike the cute, cute kitty, but despite his utter cuteness, this post is not about him.
 It's about washing wool.
To continue...

Sweet Pea is a Romney/Suffolk crossbred.

vegetable matter - hay

The Romney is a long-wool breed which originated in England.  They are also suitable for meat, which makes them quite versatile.   Sweet Pea's other half, Suffolk, is another breed which originated in England.  It is the most common breed in the United States - they're the classic black faced, white fleeced sheep - and is a meat breed.  They have more edible meat and less fat than most other breeds.
So, for my purposes, a Romney/Suffolk cross is excellent - good fleece and good meat.

I separated the fleece into two piles...

clean (above) and dirty (below)

And by clean, I mean less dirty than the dirty;)

The dirty I put back in the bag (not sure what I'm going to do with it yet).
The clean I shook out thoroughly (to get all of the hay out that I could), and brought inside.

I did some research online, and found these instructions for using your washing machine to wash wool.
This, sounded interesting.
And much, much easier than doing it in the sink by hand.
Might as well give this a go, eh?

Filling the washing machine with hot water...

Make sure to turn the machine off after it has filled.
{As it says in the instructions I've linked to, it's extremely important that you don't let the machine agitate the wool.  This will cause the wool to felt.   You also do not want the water to pour in on top of the wool.  This could also cause felting.}

After filling with water, I added detergent and, per the instructions, allowed the machine to agitate a bit to dissolve the detergent.

Next, I put the wool in...

I put it in tips down, so the dirty tips would be totally submerged, and used a plastic kitchen utensil to push the wool underwater.  I found the broom to be too unwieldy and long, and the spoon I used worked better.

After letting it soak for about 2 hours, I turned to the spin setting and let the water drain...

I then pushed the wool away from the side the water pours in and refilled the machine, using warm water this time instead of hot for the rinse...

Then I let it drain and spin again.
I repeated the rinse twice, until the water was clear.

And then I let it spin once more before taking it downstairs to dry by the fireplace...

I use a window screen and two (doll sized;) chairs for drying the wool.
The screen ensures that air is reaching the wool from both sides, so I don't have to flip it.

The spin cycle on the machine cuts off about half of the drying time, which is awesome.

Yes, there is still some hay and stuff mixed in with the wool.  This will be picked out when I card the wool.
There are also still some dirty tips on the wool.  I'm assuming they're stained.

I'm seriously considering putting coats on my sheep this year, at least during the winter, to cut down on dirt and vegetable matter in my fleeces.

And there you have washing wool using a washing machine!
Would I do it this way again?  Absolutely!
It was very easy, didn't hurt the wool, didn't hurt the machine, and I was able to wash more wool at a time this way.   I definitely recommend this method for washing wool.

The next step, will be carding the wool.

Happy Trails, y'all!

For those of you who aren't interested in sheep and wool, and I do have some other posts in the works...
Literary Hero Wallpaper
Movie Reviews
Outfit Posts
and a few more ideas.
So, there is hope;)