Sunday, May 25, 2008


For those of you unfamiliar with the term "amigurumi", it's basically a Japanese art of crocheting/knitting animals and figures from yarn. For those of you familiar with my overstuffed yarn closet, you understand why I would migrate toward something as cute and irresistable amigurumi. I started the craze a couple months ago after seeing a crocheted penguin on "google images" while searching for penguin memorabelia. I just had to get the pattern! Once I had the pattern and quickly made the little guy (Paco the penguin--short stalky one), I was hooked (no pun intended)!!! Below we have Monique the monkey, Pierre, Penelope, Paco, PeeWee, Carter the caterpillar and the nameless turtle!
I started the fuzzy penguin weeks ago but had to take a break to work on a couple blanket gifts. I made myself only work on blankets and leave the amigurumi alone while I finished up my chores! You see, the amigurumi is highly addictive and I easily found myself spending ridiculous amounts of time working on these little creatures! I would crochet late into the night or get up early before work to put the finishing touches on this or that! I even dreamt about it!!! So, for several weeks there was only a fuzzy penguin head! A head and no more! On our vacation to Hilton Head, Julia (2 yrs old) found the penguin head intriguing and pulled it around by a long strand of yarn! It was then I realized the poor penguin had to get finished!
So here he is: Pez the Penguin (name inspired by Broc's crazed collection of Pez candy dispensers)! He is super fuzzy and soft! Sierra, our brown and black tabby cat, likes to drag Pez around the house and hide him in the corner of the closet like one of her babies! But don't be fooled, he's much bigger than any baby Sierra ever had!!
Dahlia the duck is the newest member to our amigurumi family!
What animal should I make next? I have a great Dodo bird pattern! Or should I try multicolored penguins? Do I stick with the bird theme or branch out to mammals?! I guess we'll see!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May Flowers

I had a strange epiphany the other day while walking down the hall at work. Ten steps ahead of me, a hospital volunteer carried a large bouquet of flowers, leaving in her wake a captivating fragrance of freshly cut flowers. Being indoors, especially in a hospital where the odors aren't generally pleasant, the smell caught me off guard and I took time to "smell" the proverbial roses. Flowers always bring a smile to my face, but this time the sight--and smell--warmed my heart with a smile, too, as a strange thought crossed my mind. If you've heard the song by Natalie Grant, "In Better Hands Now", then you'll know the line at near the end where she sings "it's like the breath of Jesus is right here in this room." Call me crazy, but nearly the second I smelled those flowers, I thought that perhaps it was the breath of Jesus filling up that hallway. . .that perhaps when God created the flowers, He gave them the sweetest fragrance of all--the aroma of the very breath of Jesus. It's probably a long shot, but since then I don't smell a flower or anything florally sweet without being reminded that His presence and breath are surrounding me all the time, right here in this room!!

I've always enjoyed working in the garden or any activity that lets me be outside! We had a huge garden growing up--both vegetables and flowers--and I've always enjoyed the pride and accomplishment that working in the garden brings the heart. In Tulsa, my yard was shady and small, overgrown with more trees than any suburban lot should boast. I tried my hands at a few impaciens and hostas. But, it wasn't until I got married and started working in the yard here with Chris that I really started to blossom into the gardening type!! Yes, I am now lumped into a certain stereotype of people who spend the majority of their time at home in the garden!

Chris and I planted the clematises the first fall we were married. He put up the trelices along the back and sides of the fence and we put in our baby clematis vines. Last spring we cut them back as we read was important the first year. They had only a few blossoms, though I rejoiced over every single one. But this year, we returned from our vacation to see a crazy clematis blossom party happening in our own backyard.
Though we've planted a gazillion bulbs and other such plants, the irises were already in the garden. (That's the best kind of flowers, the kind you don't have to plant but still can enjoy)

Michelle bought me a box of lilies for my birthday in January--what a cold, drab time to think about flowers! So, I tell myself every evening when I go walk through my now blooming garden and see the lilies pop up one by one, "Happy Birthday to ME!!" Now that's a birthday gift that just keeps on giving ! Thanks Michelle!!! The problem is that I get so attached to every little bloom that I can hardly let them go when it's their natural time to fade . . . so I take pictures and blog the poor flowers to death!! Just don't expect me to start naming them . . . I ran out of creative names after naming all 302 kittens our sweet Sugar bore when we were kids. And you wonder why I'm a labor & delivery nurse! Did I really have any choice? I grew up as a feline midwife, destined for placentas, umbilical cords and babies!!! (yea yea yea, I don't see any connection here to the beautiful flower below, just be thankful I didn't name it!!)
In place of the overrun, gigantuan morning glory vines that nearly enveloped the entire fence and minibarn, I decided this year to try my hand at tomatoes. If I have 22% of my Dad's green thumb, we'll be okay. Since flower and fruit (yes, tomatoes are fruit, not vegetables) are completely different, I'm a little nervous about the outcome. My hopes would be boxes and boxes of plump, juicy tomatoes, the kind that win blue ribbons at county fairs . . . but I'll settle for a few tasty tomatoes every now and then. Though, I am quite disappointed to find out that it takes somewhere around 65 days from blossom to bite(ripe tomato)! Perhaps the cherry tomatoes will take less since they're smaller?!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hilton Head Island, SC

Last week Chris and I revisited Hilton Head Island, SC and joined our friends the Moulders in a beachside condo. The weather was warm, sunny and perfect for our lazy beach days, our long bike rides and island exploring.
Saturday night we all drove down to SeaPines Plantation for a yummy dinner at The Crazy Crab. Just outside the restaurant, we enjoyed the enormous trees that add so much character to the island.

Mark, Merci and their daughter, Julia (and baby Moulder in the oven)

Monday morning we all took off on our rental bikes for an island adventure! In an effort to avoid the wind, we switched several times between riding on the bike trails and the beach. Chris and I were lucky enough to have a tailwind for our 10 mile beach ride back to the condo at the end of the day. On our honeymoon, we weren't so lucky and had a strong headwind that nearly killed us!
Chris and I snuck into SeaPines Plantation via the beach and explored the various bike trails. We revisited The Wreck of the Salty Dog, a harborside restaurant with delicious food and beautiful scenery. While exploring SeaPines, we rode by many golf courses--of course--and happened upon this sun worshipping alligator! I jumped off my bike to get the closest picture possible . . .
It was only AFTER I snapped the picture that I realized I was only 5 feet from another alligator on MY side of the pond. I've never been so close to a live, non-caged-in alligator in all my life.
But, since I was so close, I had to get a proof and made Chris come take my picture with the big ol' reptile. Another pic to add to my collection of "Kathryn and animal" photos.
After approximately 28 miles of biking and 6 hours later, Chris and I returned to our condo for an evening of beach strolling. Here is the beachview from our condo!

On our walk, we found dozens of shells--still alive and inhabited. We had fun collecting the shells and later . . . cleaning the shells!!

And of course, I picked up everything that I could get my hands on! Here is a squirmy little sandcrab!
Okay, so I didn't pick up everything! The jellyfish really freaked me out!!

On our last night in Hilton Head, we had to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat crablegs at Nick's Restuarant! Mark, Merci, Chris and I joined up with Mark's sister Christy and her husband Steve! Five of the six of us ordered the crablegs and we kept our waitress hopping!
Christy was by far the most experienced when it came to crackin' the crabs, but I think I learned pretty quickly. I was only 1 plate behind the other four when the night ended!
We each got 5 refills (me, only four) . . . but the waitress claims that the record is 13 refills (each refill being about 1 # of crablegs). Regardless of our wimpy intake in comparison to the record holder, we all left quite full; our crab cravings satisfied for quite a while!

All in all we had a wonderful vacation! Our affection for Hilton Head Island continues to grow as we make more memories there! But who doesn't love the BEACH!!!!!