Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Knitting for Babies

Is so fun! 

Tiny knit items are so sweet.

But when put on babies the cuteness factor takes an exponential leap.

Of course we think this little model is absolutely adorable with or without a hat. 

As a matter of fact, we do believe he is The Cutest Baby Ever.

Top Knot Baby Hat

Worsted weight yarn (½ skein for most sizes)
#6 or #7 double point needles, or needle to obtain gauge of 5.5 stitches/inch
Row marker
Wool needle

  1. Cast on 77 stitches
  2. Knit for 4 (newborn)  to 5 (for bigger sizes) inches, begin decreases as follows
  3. K9, K2tog (7 times), then
  4. K8, K2tog (7 times), then
  5. K7, K2tog (7 times) and so on until 7 stitches remain.
  6. Knit these 7 stitches around until needed length for tying top knot is reached.
  7. Cut yarn leaving tail of several inches, use tail to pull remaining stitches together, weave in end of yarn.
  8. Tie knot.

For larger or smaller hats increase or decrease the number of cast-on stitches in multiples of 7 (63, 70, 77, 84, etc.) Then when you get to the first decrease row add or subtract 1 stitch to the first number on line 3 for each 7 stitches.

63 stitches cast on starts decrease with K7, K2tog (This is a tiny newborn size.)
70 stitches cast on starts decrease with K8, K2tog
77 stitches cast on starts decrease with K9, K2tog
84 stitches cast on starts decrease with K10, K2tog

Friday, November 6, 2015


Due to a series of alternating fortunate and unfortunate events, it was discovered that NDL has been operating for the last two decades under a serious misconception.

It was a shock to learn that the height we thought we were had changed by minus two inches since 1995. We have always felt that our problem was being too short for our weight and had come to grips with that. Yes, when the inseam that matches the waist size of your off-the-rack pants is dragging a few inches on the ground you can pretend that cuffing is in style whether it is or not, and there is always the chunky sole to help out, but finding out that the extra pant length was due the loss of two inches of spine was a bit of a shock. 

Just after the realization that that is why we can barely see over the steering wheel anymore without pulling up to our full dwarfish height, or reach the top kitchen shelf without standing on tiptoes and using a wooden spoon to fish down the object we need came the Most Horrible Thought of All - different height equals different BMI category! Egads! We had just managed to settle into the "normal" range. This terrible setback meant we would now need to deal with the same amount of bulk on an shorter skeleton.

After months of being in denial we finally looked to see just how bad it was. Bad! But then our rationalization defense kicked in and we posed the question - 
"Do we need to use our new height for these calculations even if it is not at all our fault that we shrunk?".

We are nothing if not expert at finding the answer we want to hear. So, after sifting through many internet answers that didn't suit us we found the link we were looking for and a new hero.

To paraphrase our hero, Dr. Hirsch - It's not our fault we got shorter. The fat mass hasn't changed (although there may be a bit more of a spare tire effect on a shorter torso) and fat  makes estrogen which helps prevent bone loss so maybe we won't get quite as short as we would if we were dangerously thin. He did refer to us as "the poor soul" so we know he feels our pain. He even said we should try to keep our fat. Whoo hoo!

Sadly, we also found in our internet search that Dr. Jules Hirsch died this summer. You can read about his life here. His colleagues said that he had a deep sympathy for patients who struggled with the lifelong effort of maintaining a healthy weight. Thank you Dr. Hirsch.

Gotta go re-hem some slacks and eat a celery stick now.

Image from The Graphics Fairy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wash Day

Here's the thing.

Our modern lifestyle used to be more modern. When NDL started on Groundhog's Day in 2010, few in our acquaintance were on Facebook, and Pinterest was an infant enterprise. When we surfed the web and shared a find it typically hadn't already been seen by millions. Now we feel that NDL, for the purpose of spreading the wonders of the internet has has become redundant. Obsolete. Peripheral. Irrelevant. 

Phrases such as 'fold the tent", "turn the page", "end of an era", "move on", "reinvent" - all whirl around as we think, "what are we doing here?". 

We don't usually indulge in naval gazing in this forum, but feel like the evolution of daily posts in 2010 to weekly in 2015, and now only the rare post as 2016 approaches deserves a word for those faithful few who still look at this space.

Many of the blogs we used to enjoy and repost from have completely gone away. Some slowly. Some abruptly. 
Times change. Lives change. Facebook pages are easier.

We have never cared greatly how many views the posts at NDL receive. Although there were times when we were glad for a comment or two just to know that we weren't talking to ourselves. This week the views from Russia are twice that from the U.S.. Interesting don't you think, comrade robot?

In searching for something to share with you today we found this image at the Graphics Fairy. It shows one of our favorite activities. 

Check out those bluebirds of happiness. We see them all the time when hanging wash. 
Well, not really. But we do see robins, orioles, and bald eagles, and they make us just as happy.

Hanging out the wash gives us a sense of peace.  It allows us to enjoy the beauty of the day, observe nature, and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. We have time to think of the people who wear the clothes and use the linens we are rhythmically pinning to the line. It connects us to traditions of the past and makes us feel like we are more gently using our natural resources. 

And there is nothing better than the smell of line-dried laundry.You get it when you hug your husband and press your nose into his shoulder, or when you climb into the sheets at night, or dry yourself off with a rough, wind-dried towel. 

So, if it's just the same to you, rather than disappearing completely from the blogisphere we're reverting to the pace and rhythm that feels right for us. Until we are ready, if ever, to pin our tastes and show our face online we will keep a presence here for musings, finds, and projects to be hung on our NDL line as they occasionally, naturally occur.

Hope you will still peek over the real or virtual back fence from time to time and say "hi".

Saturday, September 26, 2015


We have been blessed with a bonus, beautiful,  post-last day of summer weekend.

Whoo hoo!

Anybody who crossed their fingers and planned a wedding, picnic, ballgame, or last fishing or camping trips for this weekend got really lucky. The rest of us are the beneficiaries of their optimism and cramped pointer and middle digits too. Get out there and play.

We're going Fall Festing. In shorts!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Gift of Plums

Became a beautiful clafouti,

and two batches of sparkling red jelly.

And gave us another opportunity to play with the jam labelelizer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We Heart Butterflies

We found this little guy having a siesta after a heart-healthy, milkweed munch.

Good call little larva. There is still plenty of exhausting eating and metamorphosing ahead.

Our alley monarch watch gives us reason for optimism. Many more were spotted this year than last.

Overall forecasts for the monarch population are not so rosy, but maybe, with a little help from their friends, they will get by.

Let's do it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Northern Arts

The Blue Moon Art Tour is coming up this weekend.

Our favorites.

Horse hair pottery by Reg Behrends.

Oils and pastels by Sara Qualey.

It's free. It's fun.

Cable 4 Fun 4 sure.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Froggy Kong Jr.

Sometimes heard, but seldom seen around here this very serious looking little gray tree frog 
was recently spotted hanging out on our newly acquired Kong Jr. Green Halo coleus.

Perhaps he/she has been waiting for us to provide a suitably camouflaging and photogenic plant for his lounging pleasure.

What a nice addition to the alley wildlife. 

It is possible he/she may be the little guy who hitched a ride in the next door neighbors' car trunk from a nearby lake to the West Hill a few weeks ago? 
Perhaps she/he has now had enough of city life and is patiently watching from this perfect vantage point for an opportunity to hop into another open trunk and be homeward bound.

Fun Frog Fact: 

The gray tree frog freezes in the winter! It produces large amounts of glycerol. The glycerol is changed to glucose, and then it is circulated through the frog's cells. The glucose acts like a kind of antifreeze and prevents ice crystals from forming in the frog's cells. If ice crystals formed in the cells, they would rip the cells apart and kill the frog. The rest of the water and blood in the frog's body then freezes, and its heartbeat and breathing stop! When the temperature warms up, the tree frog "thaws out" and returns to the trees! - nhptv

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Blow Out the Candles

And then douse them. And then douse them again. And maybe one more time.

Fire danger is high today.... on Smokey's birthday cake. 71 years old. Last year he had a big do.

We were there. There was cake.

And we are 100% sure that Smokey's only wish when he blew out the candles was that we all remember....

Only YOU can prevent wildfires.

Grab the kids and have some fun learning how at Smokey's Outpost.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vintage Lake Life

A few of our favorite things from the curated cabin tchotchke collection.

Never can have too many souvenirs of your own state. Big fish!

 From the mushroom decade. 1970s! Hull dripware fungus S or P needs S or P mate.

Frankoma made for the Oklahoma Golden Jubilee 1957. 
Who doesn't need a drink from a Cup O' Kindness every now and then?

We always pat down departing company and check their suitcases for this little gem that is the envy of many who have stayed in the vacation kitsch guestroom. 

Depending on the week or day you could score your own online without resorting to the old five-finger discount..

Ah yes, the grease canister. We have the entire set, but the coffee one is the most used and practical favorite followed by the grease pot as favorite in the curiosity factor category. 

Don't tell, but it is a very good place to hide things. No one suspects M and Ms to be in it and they are too afraid of finding old bacon fat to look.

Last, the vintage dish towel. Soft, absorbent, colorful, corny. Can't get enough of them. Products featured here: Frisco, Suz, 67 Sauce, and several with iconic label images or design, all cleverly avoiding copyright infringement. Perhaps the nascence of the knock-off phenomenon? 

One of these days we will actually move into this century with our decor, but the order of business at the cabin is lolling around, and even if change is going to happen, considering the pace of  lake life, don't be holding your breath unless it is because you are doing a cannonball off the dock.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grandma, What Nice Mittens You Have On

This scene seen at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin 
reminded us of the one who freezes snowballs in January to throw with her Southern grandsons in July.

"The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball." 
- Doug Larson

Once she helped us collect Zamboni shavings from behind the hockey arena for a fellow summer birthday child who didn't understand why he couldn't have a snowball fight as an activity for his June party. 

Yup, she's been in the business of making kids' dreams come true for four decades, and counting.

Here's hoping she has a chance to relax and enjoy her special day, which promises to be a beautiful Wisconsin one,

 but with the grand energy level currently at an all-time high she may just have to hold on for the ride for now and collapse later.

Ready. Aim. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Little Cabins in the Woods

Our earthy period left a lot of scraps.

Perfect for a woodsy version of "Surburbs" by Cluck Cluck Sew.

See how the cabins creep out to the edge of a birch woods?

Perfect for a lake retreat bed.

Expertly machine quilted by the talented J. Bauer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sewn in Stone

Santa Maria in Trastevere is very fancy inside.You can look it up.

We found the patterns in these fragments from past versions of the church as beautiful as the gilded interior walls of the current edifice.

We see quilts. Do you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And We're Eating...

Tusky Tuscan meats.

Here are the girls who make it all happen.

Homemade pasta with Pecorino and wild leek.

Followed by this delicious plateful. 

And sheep's milk ricotta for dessert.

This little piggy is one of the "wild" boars at the agrotourism farm.

Oh, and yes we were drinking too.

Beautiful Brunello. You know that is a true Brunello by it's orange tone.

A wonderful tasting session at Cordella ended with grappa

No one but the driver remained awake for the ride back to Rome.

That is the sign of a good day in Tuscany.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lucky in Lunch

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. 

Well, really on the way to tour the Appian Way by bike.

We stumbled upon the Mercato de Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo and a spontaneous, fresh-from-the-farm lunch opportunity.

Chard, fennel, sausage, fava, bread, and wine in a Dixie cup.

With room left for pistachio gelato.

Possibly the most wonderful meal served on disposable dishes ever! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Roamin' Foodie

Start with your morning coffee.

Drink it standing up as the locals do.

It really wouldn't be worth your while to find a place to sit down to enjoy your approximately 1/2 ounce frothy jolt.

So when in as Kissinger did and do as the Romans do.

It costs more if you sit at an outdoor table and expect service anyway.

Take some chocolate covered espresso beans to keep you going as you proceed on the Roman Foodie Fresh Market Lunch Tour. 

Next stop, the meat market for a generous sampling of delicious meats and wine. 
Only 10:30 in the morning? No problem. 

The meat artist.

On to Campo dei Fiori market. Colorful! And the truffle sampling divine.

Sadly, the price and anticipated customs and immigration hassle were prohibitive.

On to the bakery.

Pizza by the pound. Kilo rather. The red one, sauce only, is often taken as a mid-morning snack.

 Not necessary today as our tasting marathon continued, but perhaps normally a welcome treat as Italian breakfast usually consists of only coffee and cornetti. 
But of course we had some anyway. 

That brought us to true lunch. 

Antipasti course of lentils, mozzarella, fennel salad, and bread.

Followed by pasta in two classic styles. The yellow one is carbonara.

We got to meet the nonna who did the cooking. 

And then....

it was gelato time!

Strawberry and Celery Basil. 

The perfect ending to a perfect roamin' Roman food extravaganza.