Here it is January 2 already.  It feels like a day out of time, if that makes any sense.

We spent our week playing at our various hobbies and eating and sleeping and I could feel my battery recharging.  Today, I am finishing up some laundry, plan to do some spinning and work on mitten number 2.  There are potatos and eggs on the stove for potato salad and a crockpot of baked beans cooling on the counter.  I put them in late yesterday morning and let them slowcook all night.  I woke up wondering what smelled so good (which always happens).  We'll have them for dinner with the potato salad and a very small ham.

Pk is outside in the garage finishing up a swift for me.  It's a table top  model made of cedar.  It smells good and the grain is just beautiful.  I'm not sure how much longer he'll last out there since it's actually cold today.  We've had such moderate weather that it's difficult to remember that it's winter.

We went to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (movie made from John Le Carre novel) on Wednesday.  It was sloooooowwwwww.  I think a dialogue box in the beginning reminding people what life was like in the late 70's with the cold war going on might have helped somewhat.  There wasn't much action, it's a talking spy movie.  Peter Kevin liked it but admitted it would have made a better television show and really didn't need to be a large screen movie.

Friday we went to Winterthur.  It's one of the Du Pont family holdings in Delaware that have been turned into a museum/cultural center.  Another one is Longwood Gardens.  This family seems to have owned most of Delaware at one point and their name is on lots of things in our part of the country.  They were big into philanthropy. 

But, Winterthur.  (for some reason, loading photos is a long process this morning so I'll do the best I can).  We got up Friday morning and first headed for the post office to mail some sunglasses to DrK (she ordered them and they don't ship internationally) and to send some needles back to signature needle arts.  Pk gave me some more dpns and I wanted to exchange sizes.

Then we had some breakfast at a local diner.  It was ok but I am a huge fan of pancakes and theirs were only fair.  After that, we hit the road south.  An hour later we were turning into the drive way.

This is very hilly land and despite it's being the end of December, very green. 

We went into the visitor's center and bought our tickets and were just in time to take the open air shuttle/tour ride up to the main house.  The grounds are huge (close to 1,000 acres) and are split up into different "gardens".  My favorite was the Fairy Garden filled with small houses made of stone and rushes.  They are nestled in the trees and you can just get a glimpse of them, just like I'd imagine real fairy houses would be.

They have some gorgeous, old magnolias and there's a whole slope called the March garden since it's planted with spring blooming bulbs and comes alive in March.  It must be something to see but I think it would be very crowded.  Even on this cold winter day, the place was humming with visitors.

We were most interested in the museum and so didn't get in line for tickets for the house tour.  Maybe another time.  They were having a display of furniture and textiles.  DISCLAIMER:  There were many signs saying No Photography.  I'm not sure why non-flash photos weren't allowed but since there were guides aplenty to back it up, I had to be very surreptitious.  I only took pictures where there weren't obvious signs. 

Amy told me to look for the Plimouth Jacket and I found it in the place of honor at the beginning of the textile section.  It is one of the most amazing pieces of needlework I have ever seen.  I wanted to touch it in the worst way.  The sequins were hand made, each and every one of them.  (first they had to make the hand tools to make them!)  There's a video nearby which documents the process.  3,700 hours of work.  It's a gorgeous piece and there are no words to do it justice.  The link shows a few more photos.  I was able to snap one before I felt guilty but how could I not share this beauty?

Pk was in awe of the furniture and we got a kick out of this "tool box".  It was huge. 

I was fascinated by this flax wheel with a distaff filled with raw flax.  It looked like it would make for some raw fingers and the bobbins were tiny.

We wandered through the displays but after a few hours it becomes overwhelming and I stop noticing things.  My brain becomes overloaded.  We headed out and walked through the museum store and decided against 20 dollar jars of local honey and other rather expensive doodads.  Winterthur was once a fully self sufficient working farm.  It would be even more interesting (to me) if it still were. 

We headed home and went to Kate's house for her first lasagna.  It was delicious.  She got a chance to show off her Christmas tree and her decorated apartment.  Lots of lights and sparkle-a kid after my own heart.

Saturday was grocery shopping and then a trip to my brother's house for NY's eve.  We watched a very very old Dick Clark count down the last seconds of 2011.  I'm not sure how we'll see in the new year without him. 

Yesterday we got up and went to the bookstore so I could get a new notebook for the new year (polka dots since they didn't have any monsters) and while we were sitting there, I started to experience some intestinal distress.  After 4 bathroom trips in less than an hour, I decided I probably wouldn't be safe for an hour long ride to Emily's house.  We called and cancelled and came home.  I slept for 2 hours so I think it was a bug and not something I ate. 

Today is a quiet day.  I have laundry to fold but I have some new audiobooks to listen to.  I just finished Patricia Cornwell's new one and James Patterson's new Alex Cross book.  I'll put away the computer and put on the headphones and let them entertain me as I go throught what's left of the last vacation day.  I have to check the gym bag and add a pair of sweat pants since the last time we went it was warm weather and there are cropped pants in there. 

Tomorrow we start back to our healthier routine with the gym 3 times a week and less goodies in the house.  I'm going to package up the cookies and put them in the freezer.  I made fewer so it won't take too long.  I bought vegetables and fruit at the store and we'll be eating smaller portions.  I'm also taking the fish oil capsules the doctor prescribed (and boy do they taste yucky if you don't take them with food!).  Nothing drastic, just small steady movements in the direction of better health.

And we are now firmly ensconced in the new year.  The decorations will stay up until next weekend and then I will reclaim my house.  So, Happy New Year to all of you.  I hope this year is a good one bringing joy and hope and love into your lives along with something soft to knit and someone to knit it for.  This year, I'm going to make myself a sweater and I have to make at least 11 pair of socks for Elanor so I'll be busy.  But it's a good busyness.

Mark Twain never seemed to be at a loss for words and so here's a few of his that seem appropriate for the beginning of a new year:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain


Roxie said…
Love your holiday. Thanks for sharing. I think you really, really needed the break.

The Plimoth jacket is awe inspiring. Can you imagine being the woman to wear that? She must have shone like the moon on a clear night. Imagine the hours and hours of human lives that went into that bit of glory. And wouldn't you feel proud to see her wear it if you had put a hand to the construction?

May your new year be slow and gentle, and may contentment continue to dwell in your house.
Kaye said…
I only had a 3 day weekend, but coming off a 4 day week it was nice!

That's a gorgeous jacket--makes you wonder what modern garments will eventually end up in museums, doesn't it?

And yes, I think it was a bug--Mooch had some intestinal distress bug on Friday and Saturday. Be thankful you don't wear training!
amy said…
I've never seen the jacket in person, just heard about it. My sister and my niece both had a hand in creating it, too. It sounds like you've had a good respite. I'm not so ready to face the school day schedule again but at least it's a shorter week.

Happy 2012!
KnitTech said…
Happy New Year.

That jacket is lovely.
Rose Red said…
I would want to touch that jacket too, it's probably lucky it is in a case or behind a rope (couldn't quite tell) otherwise it would be worn away!

Happy new year to you, good luck with the sock project! I am a bit over socks at the moment, but hopefully my sock mojo will return this year.
Sheepish Annie said…
Happy New Year! It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday season. Love that Plimoth jacket. Thanks so much for sharing the photo!
Anonymous said…
mark twain was a very wise and beautiful writer. i hope the year ahead brings many explorations, dreams and discoveries xx

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