Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun Hurts

I was SO sick with a cold yesterday that I can’t remember the last time a cold had me down like that. And then we went sledding and I hit my tailbone so hard on a bump that it hurts like crazy when I get up from sitting. I had forgotten how thrilling it is fly down a hill at lightning speed. In spite of all that, I managed to finish my skirt and get most of the way through a top.

My skirt:



This skirt is McCall’s 5390. I love, love, love it. I might have to put it on later when I don’t have to go out in the snow anymore. Obviously, I am going to have to make a top to wear with it…

This is my top so far. I had some facing problems and got as far clipping the curves before I discovered things just weren’t right.



I’ve decided to do away with the facing and try to come up with a creative solution. I am probably going to trim away some of the fabric, stay stitch all over again and use some bias binding.

This is our cat, Mouser, out helping us sled:



She didn’t offer to actually go down the hill with us, but she was there to hang out. She also helped the kids build this snowman:



Hope everyone has a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion for 2010

I decided to do Wardrobe Refashion again. Current signups close on the 31st. It could be the answer for my desire to reduce my fabric and yarn stashes. Of course, it doesn’t explicitly say you can’t buy new fabric or yarn. That is in the gray area where it is just left up to you. I am signing up for 6 months. Wardrobe Refashion isn’t even hard for me, because I don’t buy new clothes all that often. I tend not to like what I find in the stores, so I like to make my own.

My Pledge:

I Kathy pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 / 4 / 6 months. I pledge that i shall refashion, renovate, recycle pre-loved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Signed Kathy.

And the button:

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Sewing and Knitting

My skirt has been a little more challenging than I thought. I’m still working on it today. I was hoping to have a fabulous picture of it to post today, but I won’t. The pleats were pinned, taken out, ironed, pinned, taken out, ironed, pinned, and then sewn. I hope I like the fit of the skirt, because it looks great and I’d like to make it again and again. We’ll see.

Instead of fun skirt shots, lets have vest shots:



I love this vest and I can’t even wear it yet. I’m using Patons Classic Wool for it and it just has a nice, soft feel. The thing I hate about using merino is that it can be horrible about pilling. This isn’t the merino, but soft = pilling sometimes. Hopefully this stuff won’t. I’ve only used it for felting in the past.

I found a wonderful crocheted poncho on the DROPS site the other night, but it is only in kids sizing. The largest size is for 12- 14 year olds, so I think I can size it up enough for me. I am not as good at figuring things out for crochet with my brain, so I may have to go with the experimental method. That would be where I start it and rip it out when it isn’t right.

This morning when I was sewing, I came up with the idea of not buying any yarn or fabric until February. I thought it might help me whittle the stashes down. It pertains more to the fabric than the yarn. I am really good about not buying yarn, but I have a real fabric weakness. A few years ago, I had no fabric stash to speak of. Now, I have a fabric storage problem. However, I do feel like I’ve been doing some serious damage to it since school let out for the holidays. Here are the nightgowns I made the girls for Christmas:


Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I've Been Up To

The day after my last post, I got sick and couldn’t even lay in bed and knit. I felt nauseous most of the day and just slept. It felt worse than being pregnant. That morning I had been happily playing at the sewing table, and half an hour later I went to bed. In the evening I was at least able to sit in the chair and watch tv. I didn’t feel well enough to walk across the room and get my knitting, though. The next morning I was almost myself.

Anyway, here are the Solstice gifts I got for the girls:





Aren’t they adorable? I love them for the dark, gothic look they have. They are in a plastic sleeve, so the strange stripes of color aren’t real. We are going to hang them up in their room. I bought these on Etsy from the The Black Apple. I love Emily’s creations.

I decided to go ahead with sewing a project a day while we are off from school. I’ve done pretty well with it so far. On Christmas night, I made myself a denim skirt. Today I am making myself a skirt from McCall’s 5390. I will show pictures of it tomorrow. Before Christmas, I made myself a top that didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. It is very off putting because I had really looked forward to wearing it. I think it is too short and can’t think of any way to make it look better. Right now it is set aside until I can bear trying to wear it. Maybe it isn’t really as bad as I thought it was.

Before Christmas I got the trainer for my bicycle. I rode it 20 minutes the first day and decided to jump it up to 40 minutes the next day. That was a HUGE mistake. My legs felt fine, but my backside hurt so bad that I couldn’t get on it again for days. I haven’t been on the bike since the middle of the summer. Bicycle seats are one of those things that can do you in if aren’t used to them. Now I am working up to 40 minutes from 20. And then on up to an hour.

My Soria vest is going well. Right now I am well into the band of color work at the bottom. I love color work.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Makes Me Tired

Preparing for Christmas is such a tiring thing. Staying up late to finish projects that can only be done when kids are in bed, wrapping presents, etc. ad nauseum. I felt accomplished when I finished the Manchester United scarf and got it in the mail. In fact, I felt so good about it, I started a project for me. Just like that. Here is the scarf:



And this is the beginning of Soria:



Soria is a pullover vest in the new Knitty. I don’t think I’ve ever just seen a pattern I loved and started it. Generally, I make myself finish some other huge project first. This time, I had some yarn in stash already, so I didn’t have to buy all of it. I saw the pattern on Saturday, got the yarn Sunday, and cast on for it Monday. My goal is to finish it as soon as possible. Just because I can. I’d like to finish it by Christmas, but I think that would be pushing it.

I decided to go for that making one thing every day during our vacation. So far, it has worked out pretty well. I have 2 nightgowns that only want sleeves and a tablecloth for Christmas. Tonight I want to finish the nightgowns after the kids are asleep. And maybe kick out some pillowcases. Starting tomorrow I will be able to work on my sewing projects during the day because they won’t be gifts for the kids. It will be nice to get some things sewn up.

I intend to knit a bunch of stuff from my Ravelry Queue. I put stuff on my list because I want to make it, but I don’t always look there for my next project. And many of them are small projects. There is at least 1 sweater on that list that I actually have the yarn for. For now, I want to concentrate on the small projects, though.

Last night we had a solstice celebration. I made egg rolls and some other goodies for dinner, and we had a candle we lit to burn all night until the sun came back up. I believe it will last for another 10 solstices if I never use it for anything else. I way over estimated how big the candle would need to be. I had a gift for each of the girls. Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Came Knocking...

Winter has definitely arrived here. Last week it was bitterly cold, this week we are getting snow. It is wet, heavy snow. The kids will definitely be able to build a snowman with this stuff. It’s 3 in the afternoon as I write, and it has been snowing since about 2 am. We still have tv, but the internet is not working.

My work on the scrapbooks is coming along. I figured out how to put the pages together and made the covers. And I got started cutting out the clip art I downloaded. If there is school tomorrow, I should be able to work on them. Knitter #2 is way too smart to trick or fool. She always wants to know what I am making and who it is for.

School gets out for Christmas this Friday. I am thinking about seeing how much sewing I could get done over Christmas Break. Maybe a project a day. I have fabric for a lot of small projects. Tea towels, bags, skirts, aprons. I could probably put together a little girl’s dress in a day. My fabric stash is way worse than my yarn stash and it would be nice to make the things I planned with the fabric.

This morning I got the bikes up on the porch before they got buried in snow. A good thing, because the neighbor that plows our drive might not have seen the little ones. Mine is big and red, so it wouldn’t be an issue. And I am going to be bringing mine in the house pretty soon. I ordered a trainer from Bike Nashbar after my brother mentioned getting one. When the weather got bad, he started riding his bike in his garage. I’ve never gotten the hang of riding my bike, so maybe riding it in the house will work out for me. It has huge tires and my old one had pretty small tires. Anyway, I am very excited to get the trainer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Decorating

What is it about decorating for Christmas that makes you want to harm your offspring? This morning when I was getting the tree and lights ready, I sent them to clean their room. The only spot I could see that was cleaner was about 2 feet x 2 feet. No one got a reward for cleaning. After they got done decorating their share of the tree, I forced them to put on boots, pants (they were wearing dresses), and coats. And then I shoved them out the door to play in the snow. By that point I didn’t want to see them for a good long time.

Today, I actually began to wonder if I was supposed to put up our tree today. It was, of course, trouble with the lights. I keep the tree lights with the tree. Half of them worked. I found more lights, and half of them worked. However, in some cases 2 halves make only 1 half. I plugged the 2 working strings together and they worked. I put them on the tree and then only 1 of them worked. I finally settled on 2 different sizes of colored LED lights. Good thing I caught that after christmas sale last year!

I am still not finished decorating the house, but it is nice that the tree is done. This is what I played with later:



I love making wreaths. After a little dismantling and some putting back together, I had this:



I used a couple packages of garland to fix up my wreath. I was sick and tired of seeing the wicker. The big bow is something I made a long time ago.

Now I feel in the Christmas spirit. Listening to Christmas music all morning also helped. There is now no reason to not get into my Christmas projects with gusto. Especially since Brent brought home a new color ink cartridge for the printer today. Girly scrapbooks, here I come!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

And the Work Commences...

At some point this afternoon, I began to wonder if I was making the best use of my crafting time. I spent about 3 hours searching out and copying free clip art for the scrapbooks I want to make for the girls. I think I did well. We will see if it is enough to fill up 2 little books.

Here is the Manchester United Scarf I am making for my niece:



I have decided I have spent enough time playing the perfectionist game and will leave the black stripe the way it is. Future black stripes will have only 2 rows so I can avoid the yucky mix I have in the edging.

Last night I cut out the elf doll pattern:



And this morning, after much looking, I found the nightgown pattern. It says you need 2 1/8 yards of fabric. As I recall, the night gowns were really long, so it will be easy enough to shorten them about 6 inches. The ones I already made are floor length on the girls.

And look who we got a letter from!



It is SO exciting to get an actual letter from Santa. Way cool!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

I was going to get a picture of the scarf to post, but I didn’t think of it when I got home. It’s occurred to me that I need to get on it if I want to get stuff made for Christmas. This afternoon I was reading Angry Chicken and she mentioned she’s been making gifts. For someone who prides herself on making lots of gifts, I am not doing so hot this year. I intend to get to work on that as soon as I get done with this post. And tomorrow. I can get some stuff ready tonight at least.

We had a double whammy of bad news today. None of our fixes for the hot tub have worked. It is the pump. Fortunately, pumps can be repaired. Our other bad news was on my husband’s unemployment. It has been cut and we now have to live on less than $1000 a month. I am glad the house is paid for. I am pretty sure we can live on that, but if not, there are things we can cut back. Somehow, Christmas always seems better when I feel like we are desperately poor. Making cool stuff for the kids gives me a feeling of triumph. A bit like I’m sticking it to The Man.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ripped It

Today we made a little shopping foray, so I took my scarf project along with me. I ended up ripping it all back to the end of the garter stitch so I could do a garter stitch edge. Less thinking required at each end that way. I wanted it to be some mindless knitting, afterall.

I’ll have to get some pictures and get it up on Ravelry. My internet connection has been my excuse for not getting stuff like that done over the past 6 months, so now I must do better.

I also bought some felt and flannel today for a doll project. Last night I found the coolest dolls at Wee Wonderfuls. I may make both of them elves. In my house, there is no making just 1 of anything. Hopefully, I can get them done for Christmas. I think I need to get things done extra early this year because school gets out a week before Christmas. I’m not knitting the girls anything. I’d like to make them pajamas/nightgowns, but I need to locate the pattern again. Then I will have to see if I have enough fabric to make them. I don’t really want to buy more fabric. It might be fun to piece some stuff together to make them.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I Love My High Speed...

I can’t express to you how exhausted I am. And I have basically done nothing today. There is a cold wind that has been howling outside for most of the day. I felt sorry for the guy from Wildblue that came to put in our satellite today. But I am loving my high speed internet. I went wild this afternoon, reading blogs that I haven’t read in months. My feet are icy cold, though.

We must be starting a new round of sickness in our house because Knitter #3 went to bed at her own request at about 5:30 tonight after crying and saying her tummy hurt. She asked me if she could go to bed. Poor baby. And my husband has a sore throat. He probably has the bug that stole my voice earlier in the week.

We do have the needed parts for our hot tub if we can just put them in. Well, we hope they are the needed parts. There is always the possibility the pump is bad. I really hope that isn’t the problem because it is supposed to get REALLY cold this week and I am worried the heat lamp will burn out on us. If we get the problem fixed, I guess we will find out how long it takes the tub to heat up in cold weather. I expect it would take 2 or 3 days this time of year.

Perhaps a night like this would be a good time to start reading a book with a lot of snow and ice in it. I checked out Smilla’s Sense of Snow from the library a few days ago. I have the movie, so now I will see if there are any similarities or if they changed any important facts. Sometimes novels made into movies bear little resemblance to the novel. What I really dislike is when they change a few important points. Like when The Firm was made into a movie. In the movie, the main character cares about being a lawyer. In the novel, he just cares about making of lot of money so his family will never do without again. To me, that ruined the movie. That and casting Tom Cruise in it, heh heh.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Cold

I can’t believe it is already December. The year is almost gone again. Maybe I will make some resolutions for the next year. I like making them because they give me something to work towards and I enjoy that.

Monday, I got the scarf I am making started. I am pretty sure that person has never seen this blog, so I am not worried about talking about it here. I am wondering if I should rip back a bit on it and change the edge. Right now I am slipping the stitches, but it is starting to look like it might roll more than I would like. If I rip it back, I am going to use moss stitch for the sides.

This week has been total craziness AND I lost my voice for two days. The best news all week has been the internet guy is going to come on Saturday and there isn’t currently any nasty weather scheduled to mess it up. Our dial up connection continues to be a joke and I am not going to even attempt to post any more pictures until we have a better connection.

The weather has suddenly turned seasonal on us and it is freaking cold out. It wasn’t until the past couple years that I started to hate the cold so much. And I need a warm coat to wear out and about. I have a coat, but it doesn’t come clean when I wash it. Any bit of dirt that gets on it is there to stay. I haven’t seen any I like so far. Coats look ugly as sin this year. It is supposed to be 13 degrees here next Tuesday morning, and I am NOT looking forward to it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday

This morning I took part in a little Cyber Monday shopping. I have never had so much trouble doing anything online. For some reason, I couldn’t keep an internet connection. One time I was connected for less than 2 minutes. I was relieved when I finally got my purchase made. Hopefully, this afternoon will be better. I really hope that we are able to get our high speed set up next week.

Last night I thought I’d wake up with no voice this morning. I slept very little most of the night. There is nothing like waking up every half hour to cough. Naturally, I was sleeping sound when the alarm went off. At least Knitter #3 let me have a 20 minute nap after lunch.

I had hoped that I would be able to finish my new bag over the weekend, but it was not to be. It is a messenger bag with some nice sized pockets for stuff. Like yarn or ballet clothes. Maybe by the end of the week when Knitter #2’s ballet performance happens. They are being little soldiers from The Nutcracker. It would be very nice if I only had to carry one bag into the Festival of Trees where they are performing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Still Knit

I need to start a Christmas project really soon or the recipient will not get it in time. We have to send the holiday box to Seattle fairly soon and I haven’t even begun my niece’s gift. I guess I should get on it. The girls are going to be getting these cool scrap books that were inspired by something in preschool. All of a sudden this year, everyone is making fancy pages for the preschool pal books. Each class has a preschool pal (stuffed animal) and a spiral notebook where their parents write what they did during the week with their pal. I love the heavy pages this year and was inspired to make them some cool books. I just need to find cool pictures for the pages now. I will probably leave some empty pages for them to decorate themselves.

I’ve been working on a sweater for Knitter #2 for a month and a half now. It is coming along nicely:



There is ribbing along the pocket edges that I will need to do before I sew it up. I am halfway through it now. This will be only my second hooded sweater. When I was pregnant with Knitter #2, I made myself a Elsebeth Lavold sweater that had a hood. Hooded sweaters attract me for some reason.

Anyone out there still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? I am tired of them, so we’re having pizza tonight. There is nothing better than homemade pizza. Like Chinese food, I no longer care to buy the stuff. I like what we make here at home so much better. Eating out just doesn’t measure up anymore. I’ve been making my own pizza for at least 15 years, so I’ve had plenty of time to perfect it. MMMMMM pizza…..

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cowgirls

Here are the promised shots of the bag I picked up at the craft show:



I love the pin up cowgirls. All of the clipping to create the fringe on this bag is why I would never make something like this. I love all of the pockets. It also has 4 pockets on the inside. And it is huge and will hold a ton of stuff. That is always a bonus.

This is an apron I made several months ago when I was off ignoring the internet:






I love it because it will stay on even without the back being tied. It is nice when it is snugly tied in place, but I may make one without ties in the future. I love aprons that are functional. This one has nice, deep pockets. I don’t find aprons without the top half very useful. When I was a kid, I noticed that I really didn’t get flour on my apron, but it was all over my top. I love the aprons that seem to have been the uniform of women in the 1800’s and very early 1900’s.

Today we worked on our hot tub. And then we got online and ordered a new board for it, anyway. A new board is expensive, but we haven’t used ours for around 2 years. I am tired of trying to find someone to fix the board. I just want my hot tub back. It miraculously doesn’t seem to have developed any leaks. However, I will only believe it is really all good when it has been working for 7 straight days. Now we have a heat lamp in it so it will hopefully not freeze up.

I love having this extra long weekend. No getting up and getting people ready for school. I can play with my sewing machine all day if I feel like it. Bliss…

Friday, November 27, 2009

An Etsy Christmas

How time gets away from you when you aren’t blogging. Not posting for 2 months seems like I’ve been ignoring the internet, and I have. We have dial-up and it is interminably slow. We were supposed to get high speed almost 2 weeks ago, but it snowed in Colorado where our installer lives. We are now scheduled to get it on the 7th of December. Pearl Harbor Day. I will not hold my breath. I will not be shocked if I never get the equipment installed. Just thinking about it makes me mad because I have a huge, unsightly cardboard box of crap sitting in my living room waiting to go on my roof. We can’t get regular high speed internet here, so we have to get it by satellite. It is also the only way we can have tv, here.

When we painted the house, I moved in some antique furniture that used to belong to my grandmother. Probably my favorite is this desk that belonged to my great-grandmother:

>
I am sitting at it right now typing this post. I have loved it since I was a little girl.

I should post a picture of a bag I picked up at our local craft show last weekend. It is very nice and, as expected, Brent said “you could’ve made that”. But it is the sort of item that I wouldn’t make because of the fiddliness of it. When I post a picture tomorrow (hopefully not next year, heh heh), you will see why I say fiddly. Anyway, I decided at the craft show, that I should try to do as many hand made gifts this year as I can. Not to mean made by me necessarily. I’ve been down THAT road to perdition. I did an all handmade Christmas one year about 10 years ago. I found a few gifts on Etsy today. Sometimes I think about reopening my shop, but I have found that if I do a lot of thinking about it, I wear myself out stressing over little stuff. Rather than making stuff to sell, I freak out about composing an intro to my shop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

And She Returns to Blogging...

No one freak out. About 5 weeks ago when I last posted, I said something about finishing a sweater by that weekend. Ha. I finished it 2 days ago, though. And on Thursday night during ballet, I started my new sweater project.

I have more exciting tales for now. A few days after my last post, my husband said something to me about giving the house a good cleaning. So, I said something to him about we should paint the living room and kitchen since we’ve been talking about it for 2 years. So. Now my kitchen is a beautiful yellow and our living room is wonderful green. I should have bucked up when we built the house and picked the colors then, but I was sick of picking stuff and said just paint it all white. And then they made me pick a shade of white…

The week after the marathon of cleaning, painting, and moving furniture, I started working. I am now a paid assistant teacher at Knitter #3’s preschool. I actually get paid to play. My boss is such a sucker! Ok, I do actually have to do stuff besides play with play dough for 2.5 hours, but it is a fun job. And class is free for the little knitter.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My New Best Friend



This is my new best friend. I’ve wanted the Fanny Farmer Cookbook for a very long time. I have the original version, The 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. It is very interesting and contains my cornbread recipe. I would like to try a lot of the cookies that are in it, but I never seem to get around to them. Last night I used it to bake some squash.

I have issues with plastic. I hate it. When Brent and I got together, I eliminated all of his plastic plates and glasses. Now, with small children, we have plastic cups again. In the dishwasher, they get knocked around and turned right side up and end up full of nasty stuff and need to washed again. A while back I was at a friend’s house and noticed that she lets her kids, who are around the same age as mine, drink out of glass. So I decided to try out trusting my kids with something breakable. It has been working out well. I have decided the plastic stuff is going. I am also thinking about replacing our plastic storage containers with glass. We have some glass storage containers with plastic lids that we got as a wedding gift and they are pretty good. I’m probably not going to get rid of the plastic containers, but when I need more, I will get glass instead. I think plastic is a huge problem for society. It is TOO disposable. When I think ‘plastic bowl’, I also think ‘junk’. And then the health issues… I don’t want to even think what chemicals might already be a part of my future grandchildren thanks to plastic.

Do you feel better? I do.

Check out the backpack:




I was amazed with how cool it is. I changed the straps. They were just sewn in, but I made the straps adjustable for growing kids. Initially, I was worried that the backpack wouldn’t be big enough. When I cut the pattern out, I checked back/front piece against Knitter #2’s old backpack and was pleased that it was the same size. Now for the purple one…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Backpacks...

This is what I have been working with today:



At this point, most of it looks much different than it did this morning. And boy was I needing a break from it. I think I have most of the touchy stuff done. I am almost done putting the pockets on. It seems like putting the body together should be easy peasy. However, I will not hold my breath. Or count my eggs.



I’ve finished my sweater front and am now working on the first sleeve. I’m thinking it is entirely possible I will have this thing finished by the time the weekend is over. Fast knits are fun. Generally, I gravitate towards more complicated things, though. Like cables or color work. Once again, I let my subscription to IK lapse and missed getting the summer issue. I picked it up at the store yesterday and was amazed to find so many things that I really think I would wear. That’s always what happens when you let a subscription go.

Is everyone having a lot of strange weather this summer? I know the Northeast is, but how about other parts of the country? We are supposed to hit 100 on Thursday and last weekend, we had sweater weather. One thing about all the freaky cold weather we’ve been having is that it is easy on the air conditioning. And it makes you want to knit a lot.

Last of all, this is my crochet project:



It is a project I mentioned months ago that I am doing to use up all my copious amounts of old white acrylic yarn. I am making 2 butterfly afghans, one for each kid. I might even have enough pink and purple to make the butterfly squares. I am sort of hoping to have them done for Christmas, but we’ll see. I am only 6 squares in to a 70 square, 36 butterfly project. Maybe Easter or next Christmas…

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Love Knitting Again

I don’t know if it’s the cool weather, the big needles, or the new books. Knitting hasn’t excited me this much in a long time. There are all kinds of things that I would like to knit and I am even thinking about my 2 sweaters that are still in the design process right now. I’d like to start one of them this fall if I have the time and get some other projects out of the way.

This is the back of my DROPS 100-3 sweater:



You might be able to see the color changes. It isn’t the best picture for that, though. I am halfway up the front right now. I am a few centimeters from dividing the front to work each side.

I’ve been doing some other things this week, too:




These are not from my garden. The grasshoppers have done most of our garden in this year. I haven’t seen grasshoppers this bad in many years. I’ve been picking up produce at the stands in town. The only thing we have left is the tomatoes, pumpkins and Brussels sprouts. And I haven’t been out there in days, so I could be wrong about that. The garden hasn’t had as much attention this year with all the stress I’ve had. My stress levels are improving. There is nothing like your husband’s unemployment and a death in the family to throw you into a tailspin. I really am starting to feel like I’m getting my balance back.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Won!

I got 2 blue ribbons, 1 red, and 1 white at the fair:







This one won a special award as well as a blue ribbon:



The girls did very well, too:




I am quite proud of them and their art work. I’ve never made a dime off any artwork I’ve done. They’ve both made their first dollar on their artwork. I guess they can officially say they are artists. But not starving artists until they leave home.

We are now gearing up for the school year. School starts officially next Friday for Knitter #2. First grade. Her very first time going to school every day. I started last week working us back into a regular schedule because getting her ready for school last year was such a nightmare. I am also trying to savor the fact that it is still summer. I love summer, but I also love shopping for school supplies. I always have. Preschool doesn’t start until September 1.

Knitter #2 reminded me this afternoon that I had promised to make new dresses for them for school. I already have to get their backpacks made, so it seems like I have some sewing ahead of me this week and next.

Before I do any sewing, though, there is this:

This is most of the yarn that I have recently bought. Part of it has already been knit up into the back and about 1/3 of the front of my new sweater project. I am considering giving myself a challenge to see if I can knit it all before the end of September. A challenge like that always gets me excited to knit. It would almost be cheating because several of the projects are knit on pretty large needles. My current sweater is on size 15’s.
Anyone who really knows me and my knitting knows the challenge is on. My only problem is that part of the yarn that WEBS sent was the wrong yarn. I need to call them and fix the problem before I forget about it. I think I might be able to use the wrong yarn for a sweater I’ve been drooling over for a while…

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Return of the Knitting Mojo

Boy, does our pool get nasty. The past few weeks I hadn’t checked the chlorine like I should, so yesterday it looked like a mosquito infested algae pit. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but you get the idea. Last night I doctored the pool, this morning I stirred the cauldron. I did a bit of skimming last night and thought I had most of the dead grasshoppers out. Until I attached the pool vacuum this morning and stirred up the stuff in the bottom. It seemed this morning like the more I skimmed, the more there was to skim.

Here is my new knitting project:



I am loving the fast knitting of the size 15 needles. This sweater is DROPS 100-3. I have been in love with it since I first laid eyes on it a couple years ago. I am using Elann yarn for it. It is their Pure Alpaca Fina and Super Kydd. Between the alpaca and the mohair, I can’t quit stopping and petting the sweater.

This is my BYOB:



I’ve been working on it forever. I enjoy it, but I am getting tired of knitting cotton. Right now, I am also working on a cotton Patchwork Tortoise. The other day, I ordered yarn for Knitter#2’s new fall sweater. It, too, is cotton. It is a blend, so it will be more pleasant to work with.

To keep my knitting mojo up, I am planning small projects for this fall. I have yarn for a vest ordered and have been eyeing some of the smaller fall and winter projects from DROPS. I may call the yarn shop and ask them which of the DROPS yarns they stock, because they don’t stock them all. I felt some of the yarns one time and they were absolute heaven.

Today I am starting my new plan to get us organized and uncluttered. I found a book at the library that gives you a project for each week. And you start small. This week I will be organizing my mind.

The kids are going to be going to bed an half an hour earlier this week, too. School starts in about 2 weeks, I think. Preschool starts in September. I’ve been trying to get myself ready for the school year. I am not doing workouts on the days that I will be at preschool, to save myself the stress of changing my schedule and losing momentum. I don’t actually know when school starts because I haven’t had a letter from the school yet. Hopefully it comes soon…

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Long, Long Summer

What a long, long summer. Mostly I’ve been enjoying it, but I have gotten tired of not being home that much. In my blog absence I had family in town to visit. They came on Father’s Day and are leaving today. I have managed to get a lot of knitting and sewing done while they were here, though. I think it is time to regain my life.

We did a very big, nice thing recently. We paid off our house! All I can say is, thanks Dad. Last weekend, my brothers and I went through lots of boxes at the storage. We found treasures and things none of us had seen in years. My brother took boxes to the storage without even knowing what was in them. We found a box with 3 of Dad’s old caps in them, so we split them up for the three granddaughters. My niece is 13, so she picked the hat she wanted. We found a little notepad my mom had written on when she was sick. I’ve tried to forget a lot of that. She was completely out of it between the cancer and the medicine. I wish we hadn’t found it, because that night all I could think of was my poor father trying to cope with it all.

Happier things now. I took my entries to the fair yesterday. I took Accordion, my felted hat, the striped Noro scarf I made last winter, and the 4th of July dresses I made for the girls. I entered one of them as play clothes because I forgot you can only enter 1 thing in any given category. Today we are going back to the fair to watch the goat show. I am hoping to see some miniature La Manchas. We need to find a nice little buck to send our girls to visit later on in the year. I’d like to find a registered buck for them that isn’t a long drive away. Every time I start thinking how big the Goaty Girls have gotten, I think about how tiny they actually are. Belle comes up to my knee and Zoe is a couple inches shorter. And nearly every morning when I open the barn door out into their pen, Belle hits the door with all four feet higher than my head. I never stand in front of that door. And I warned Brent not to either.

And how about our turkeys… They are so small. I hope we have one to eat this fall. The biggest one is about the size of our pullets we got this spring. I never dreamed it would take me 3 months to get our turkeys. Any way, here’s a couple of them this morning:



I was hoping to have 2 hens and a tom to keep. Right now, I am not entirely sure what I have. I am pretty sure that the one with the bad leg is a hen and that the biggest one is a tom. And I don’t really want to keep an animal with a bad leg.

Here are some pictures I took 2 weeks ago:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stars

Our pool is all put together and running now. We even got in it this afternoon. Best of all, I managed to master climbing onto the inflatable lounge we bought.

I am going to be SO happy when we get our little turkeys out of the house. All the cheeping and poultry odors are going drive me crazy. The cheeping could be worse. They could be guineas.

In gardening news: I will be harvesting peas very soon. Our first big harvest from the garden this year. I love the watering all being automatic. Things are growing so well. The place where I have noticed the most dramatic change is in our hanging baskets on the porches. Oh my goodness are they ever lush looking. They look fantastic. I have never had baskets that look that good.

Yesterday, I did my shopping. We got Daddy a new tv and he loves it. I was not going to try to hide it from him until Sunday. It was too big. When we got home, Knitter #2 asked me how we were going to hide it from him. I am pretty sure that she was looking forward to wrapping it. She loves presents even if they are for other people. Getting them and wrapping them for other people is almost as fun as getting her own to unwrap. She wanted me to make him lots of clothes for Father’s Day. I don’t think she believes that he doesn’t like new clothes as much as she does…

And speaking of new clothes:



These are the fabrics I picked out for our 4th of July dresses. I am using the same pattern for the girls’ dresses. They are nearly the same size. I am going really fancy for my dress. Just because I never go the fancy route for myself. My dress has boning, a lining, and ruffle inside for some body. I think it is going to be fabulous. It better be fabulous.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Father's Day Presents

I think that for the 4th of July this year, I will make us girls some dresses. Hopefully I can find some cool looking red, white, and blue fabrics. I don’t really want us to all look the same, so 2 or 3 different fabrics would be nice.

Father’s Day is also coming, so I have find some good presents for Brent. I promised him more pajama bottoms, so I need to sew them up this week. Men can be hard to buy for. For several years he’s been asking for a bigger, better tv. It didn’t help when the one we had quit on Thanksgiving. He got an old motel tv from a work buddy, and it works great. But you have to turn the sound down and change it to channel 3 every time you turn the thing on. Or I could find something I want/like and buy it for him. I have a good father’s day tale for you all. A few years ago, I bought him an ice cream maker because he was going on all the time about all the fun he and the girls could have making ice cream if only we had one. And how many times has he made ice cream? Yep, big fat 0 times. I have made some fabulous ice cream, though.

The leveling of the yard is coming along. Every time I go to town I come home with more stuff for the pool. Today it was chemicals, an air pump for the top ring, and an extra filter. The kids want to buy every pool toy they see and a few non-pool toys. They think every toy on the aisle with the water toys is for the pool.

The coolest thing happened at the pool today. A little boy who lives a few miles away comes up to me and asks “What are you making?” I reply “A bag.” And then he asks “What kind of bag?” I found that very amusing. I told him it was for shopping so I could put my groceries in it. He was then satisfied and went and told his parents all about it. They own the sheep farm just down the road.

A bit of sad news. I had to tell the kids they can’t collect eggs anymore. I found several smashed eggs yesterday. Now I have to go back to collecting them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Something I Finished!

Last week, I got the most wonderful idea for breakfast:



Last night I whipped up the dough and put these together before I went to bed to be ready to bake first thing this morning. I have never settled on a dough for making cinnamon rolls. Sometimes I just make bread dough and add a bunch of sugar. For these, I used a dough recipe from my mom’s old Fleischmann’s yeast booklet. It uses eggs which is a plus around our house these days.

This morning I became quite guilt ridden about all the fabric I have laying around. A few days ago, I got this fabric in the mail from Cia’s Palette:



The green floral prints are for a skirt for me. All the rest of it is intended for the kids. Anyway, I felt pretty ashamed of myself with all this fabric that I can no longer hide from myself. First, I finished my new red top:



I love this thing. It was inspired by a top I saw online. I used Simplicity 3887 and altered it to suit my taste. I have used the pattern before to make a top that I like. However, this red top is my new favorite article of clothing. I tried it on after having to strip down to fit a dress, and have worn it all day. It is very comfy and looks great on me. The dress I was fitting was one I had some glitches with last month. It has very fun construction (no side seams) and I can’t wait to get it finished and wear it. When I get the dress done, I intend to sew up some curtains for the living room before starting a new project. I have had the fabric for the curtains for 3 or 4 years, it seems like I just need to do it.

This sewing and embroidery are about the only things I have been able to do the past few days. Every once in a while I over use my right hand doing something and inflame my thumb joint. It then hurts like you know what to pick up things and sometimes I can’t even knit. Tonight it seems to have recovered, but I am not going to push it. I hate having to ask Brent to open canned goods for me. I feel like such a wimp.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Bloom!

Well, in case anyone has been wondering what is going on around here:



The peonies are blooming for the first time ever. I planted them a couple years ago. I love peonies.

Swimming has been going much better since Tuesday. Now I have a way to bribe the kid, too. We bought this:



And Brent has been busy doing this:



We haven’t got a flat spot on our property, so we have to make one for the pool. And I have to get busy learning how to take care of the pool with the chemicals.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Crying Kids, Gardening, and Projects

We are going to the pool every day for the next 2 weeks for swimming lessons. There is nothing quite like being the only parent with a kid crying and refusing to get in the pool. Even when their classmate pleads with them. Knitter #3 loved swimming yesterday and wasn’t getting in the pool on a bet today. I had to go back in and talk with her but she still wouldn’t get in. I finally told her that I was going to sit down and she would have to stay. Eventually the pleadings of little Lexie and an instructor finally got her in the water. Lexie is a little darling who has been in preschool with both of the little knitters. Knitter #2 takes to everything and #3 is finicky about everything. #3 is one of those kids that manipulates their parents into holding their hand for every little thing until they are 13. I felt kind of bad just walking away from a crying kid today, but I felt like I had to or she will never develop any independence. She’s the youngest and she knows it.

I can tell that our gardening season is well under way because I am having problems getting everything watered. Most of the garden is doing fabulously. Some of my ¼ inch soaker hose isn’t doing the job, though. I think I read once that you can’t run it over a certain length. I don’t know what that was or if I might have dreamed it, though. I was very happy to see this morning that my pumpkins are sprouting up and growing. I love growing pumpkins. Tomatoes may be delicious, but pumpkins are just downright fun.

The other day, we went to the mountains and I got this out to work on :



And then I started this one:



And to prove I am still a knitter:



This is the shell edge for the patchwork tortoise. I am doing it according to the pattern this time just to prove to myself that I can be a blind follower if I need to be.

AND. I have a semi-languishing crochet project. It is a super adorable butterfly afghan that I am making for the girls. I am actually planning to make 2. One of them prefers pink and the other purple. This is a project to use up a lot of old white acrylic that has been laying around for years. I am pretty sure that every bit of it is older than the kids. I am going to try to do it all from stash, but I might have to buy some yarn for the butterfly bits. We’ll see.