Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lots of Changes

It has been awhile again since I last blogged, and a lot of changes have been going on around here. My older son is now out of diapers and in his first year of preschool (which will give me some time, perhaps, to keep up on this blog a little better), and my younger son has only nine more weeks of baking left before we get to welcome him into the world, just in time for the holidays.

The knitting and sewing (knitting more than sewing) have been stepped up a couple of paces, since that's pretty much all I have the energy to do these days. A load of laundry, maybe a load of dishes (though DH has been doing those for me more and more the last few weeks), and driving back and forth to preschool, and I'm pretty much spent for the day.

So lots of crafty projects have been happening around here. After finishing a few baby gifts for friends, I got started on the knitting that I want to do for my own up-and-coming little one. He now has a pointy gnomey hat, with no-scratch mitts and pointy-toed socks to match. The socks and mitts are patterns that I made up on the fly, so I plan to eventually get their patterns up here to share if anyone is interested.

On top of that, I'm almost finished with a hooded baby jacket (Snug, by Hinke - if you're not a Ravelry member, I apologize, but I can't find an external link for the pattern. I'll have a picture of mine up here when I finish it). I've started a hooded jacket for my older son as well, using the Steggie pattern by Julia Farwell-Clay as a base (without the dinosaur spikes), but the look of this sweater as my end goal. The pattern for it is in Finnish, and as I don't speak Finnish, I have to experiment. Cross your fingers that it works out!

I've also been promising DH some handknit gloves for 2 years, so I'm finally going to get cracking on those. It is seriously hard to find men's glove patterns that aren't boring stockinette, but also aren't so intricate as to insult his manhood. We have finally agreed on a simple cable pattern - two columns of plain twists up the back of the hand. Again, I'm going to end up modifying or combining patterns to make them.

Of course, I want to make something for myself too, and I'm eyeing this shrug that I think I might already have the yarn for (Ravelry-only link again. Sorry.) , as well as a cardigan I saw in Knit Simple magazine. It's the dark gray asymmetrical cardigan 3 pictures down on the very left. I'm thinking easy access to breast feeding with this one. ;)

That's a long list of knitting for me. Do you think I can get it all done? We shall see!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Let the Gardening Begin!



First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful Mommies out there! I hope you had a nice day off, or a day to get some stuff done if that's what you prefer. That is actually what I have been enjoying this weekend. I'm finally feeling better these last two days after a slightly sicky first trimester. The second trimester started yesterday, and like magic, the morning sickness seems to have turned itself off! (I hope I haven't jinxed it!)

So, it was nice to actually be up and active and productive this weekend, since it seems like I've spent most of the last couple of months on the couch. Relaxing was the last thing I wanted to do this Mother's Day.

Also, this has been the first nice weekend in quite a while, so naturally, gardening was the "chore" of choice. I put "chore" in quotes, because, is it really a chore if you enjoy doing it?

Yesterday, I transplanted my tomatoes into their permanent pots. DH, of course, had to pour all of the dirt into the pots for me since the bags are a bit heavy for a pregnant gal with an easily messed up back. But I did the actual transplanting of the tomatoes. I also sowed basil seeds in a circle around each plant.



We also found some packs of tulip bulbs that we bought last fall and then never had the chance to plant. We had completely forgotten about them, and they all had green shoots. There were a couple of ugly shrubs in the front that we've been wanting to get rid of, so DH dug those out, and I planted the very overdue bulbs in their place.


Today, we made the trek out to Flower World in Maltby. If you're in the area, and you've never been to Flower World, Go There! They are HUGE, and they grow all of their own plants. We went there specifically for a hanging Fuschia for the front(Flower World has tons, and I have never seen them as healthy as they are there).

I wanted it to replace the Jasmine that I hung there last year and subsequently killed. Fuschias are expensive, so I absolutely must keep this one alive. Because of this, I asked at the information desk if I should repot it, or leave it in the plastic pot that it's in (I repotted the Jasmine, and I think it drained too much, and that's what killed it). I was told that, no, I should definitely not repot it. Oddly, the kind lady at the info desk seemed to have some kind of freaky intuition, because she then felt the need to tell us that we also should definitely not place it in a location with strong afternoon sun. It's a good thing that she thought to tell us that, because, funnily enough, that is exactly where we were planning on putting it.

We were then told that for such a location, we would do much better with an Ivy Geranium. Awesome! So we got an Ivy Geranium. But guess what? I've always coveted those beautiful dark pink and purple Fuschias, so we still got one. The Geranium was placed in the front...



...and we bought another hanging bracket and hung the Fuschia in the back where it is much shadier...




...which is even better, because now I can look out my back window and see it whenever I want!

After Flower World, we had a nice lunch (well, except for the fact that the youngin' was over tired and done with sitting down) at a nearby Irish Pub, which was oddly empty for Mother's Day. Of course, most people go to brunchy places for such an occassion, so that could be why.

Then we came home, and did some more work in the garden. The Munchkin helped me plant Arugula and Mesclune in some rectangular planters - his first foray into gardening. He was a little overzealous with the seeds, but that's OK. They will be easy to thin out.

I still have butternut squash, spinach, baby carrots, and brussels sprouts to plant, but those are going to have to wait. All in all though, it has been a productive weekend, and I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day.

(Oh yes, and DH would probably like it if I mentioned that he made me some very delicious sourdough waffles for breakfast this morning, after getting up with the munchkin and letting me sleep in. Oh, and he did the dishes too. And he did the kiddo's bath and bedtime even though it was my turn. He says I must put in here somewhere how awesome he is. Yes, Honey, you are awesome. ;) No really, you are!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Re-use Tip #2

Do you like to garden? Does your family go through a lot of those individual-serving flavored yogurts? Don't throw them out! You can reuse them as seed pots! Not only will you be doing something good for the environment, but you will save money as well!

First, thoroughly clean the containers - don't just rinse them out. My dishwasher has an optional sterilize setting, so I just clip the containers into place on the top rack and wash them in there. Haven't had one melt yet!

Next, poke several holes in the bottom of your now clean yogurt containers - more on the corner than the bottom actually, so that setting them down on a tray won't block the holes. I found that a corncob holder worked well for this. I poked eight holes in each container using the sharper, shorter prong to start each hole and the longer, thicker prong to widen them. You want to use something food-safe to poke your holes with if you are starting seeds for edibles. Also, if you are using something thicker, you won't need to poke as many holes. Use your best judgment.



Once you've poked the holes, fill the containers up with seed starter mix, moisten it, and insert your seeds! Easy-peasy!



Tip: As you moisten the soil in each container, look for water seeping out the bottom. If you don't see any right away (it should happen pretty quickly), but your soil is really wet, you will need to enlarge the holes or poke some more higher up on the edge as they may be blocked by the surface of whatever you are using as a tray. You want your soil to stay moist, yes, but you don't want to waterlog it - your seeds will mildew.)

You don't have to stick with single-serving yogurt containers. Use larger containers for transferring sprouts that have grown too large for their seed pots but aren't yet ready to go in the ground. In addition to large yogurt tubs, there are cottage cheese tubs, margarine tubs, sour cream tubs, and on and on and on.

Don't eat any of these things? I'll bet you know someone else who does. Ask your friends and neighbors. I'm sure you will find someone who would be more than happy to save some aside for you. I did (although it turned out that I had enough on my own after all. Sorry about that, guys. Thanks anyway!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Morning's Worth of Random Thoughts

1) I have found that I do not like the magic loop knitting method. I really don't like it. Really really.

2) Folding clothes with a "helpful" toddler should be an Olympic sport

3) I think it's official. Spring is here in the Pacific Northwest, very early. I've been waiting for the frost to come back, and it hasn't, and now we're past halfway through February and I think it definitely won't now. My allergies think so to. But you know what? I can take the allergies if it means nice weather and flowers and blossoming trees. Yes, that's right. I saw two pink trees yesterday. Should I plant some lettuce and arugula seeds for an early harvest do you think? Or would that jinx it?

4) My 2.5 year old announced today that he loves socks. That's my boy.

5) I have 2 eggs left in a carton with tomorrow's date on it, and 2 bananas that are turning brown. I think I'll make my healthy banana bread recipe. But that only calls for one egg. What to do with the other one? Boil it, I guess.

6) I might see if the young man will take a nap today. He's acting like he needs it. He needed one yesterday and the day before too. Sounds like a good thing, but it's not, because then he's up too late at bedtime. But if he is practically falling asleep at lunch, what else can I do? Maybe he's growing.

7) Through careful observation, I have come to the conclusion that small toys breed like rabbits. I am certain of this, because although we do not buy toys very often, they seem to take over more and more of the living room floor each day at a steady, rapid rate.

8) Also, small toys are not allowed to stay on a shelf or in a container for more than 2.67 seconds before they must be dumped and scattered around again. I'm not sure what the reason is behind this, but as a salute to Terry Pratchett, it probably has something to do with "quantum."

9) I stayed up way too late last night watching Olympic snow boarding and figure skating. Might need to make another pot of coffee...

10) Owen is thrashing around in his room instead of going to sleep. Maybe no nap today after all. And that's okay, though it does make for a long afternoon.

So that's my morning. How was yours?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whoops!

I didn't intend to abandon the blog for 3 months, really I didn't. You see, I've been working on a novel. Any time that I've been writing, I've been writing on that, not this. It's going well. I have a good six chapters. At least, I think that's good. It's good for me, anyway.

However, I'm going through a little slump - thus the fact that I'm now writing on the blog instead of working on the book. That, and my darling son has been dropping his naps. Nap time is when I find I am the most creative and have the easiest time writing. No nap = no writing. I try to write in the evenings sometimes after the kiddo has gone to bed, but my brain is too tired by that time to come up with more than maybe a short paragraph or two, and even that is a struggle. So, I'm taking a little break. Sometimes it's just better not to force it.

But I have to keep writing. So, here I am, back again in blog world. And it's great, because I don't have to concentrate as much on this. I have my laptop up on the kitchen island, out of my son's reach, and when he's well occupied playing by himself, I can dash out a sentence or two, or upload some pictures, and then leave in the middle of it to go play some more or read a Dr. Suess book or change a diaper. I can't do that with my book. I need quiet and full concentration. Maybe that will change as the young man gets a little older and/or enters preschool in the Fall.

Okay, so anyway, in the evenings, when I can't write well, I can, indeed, knit well. In that respect, I've been quite busy:


Cirque Socks using Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Rock Candy- one down, one to go. These have been on a break for a little bit.



Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's (The Yarn Harlot's) Pretty Thing using Schulana Mosco in green. I'm sorry, but as far as I know, the pattern is only available for purchase on Ravelry, although if you dig around on her website, there may be another link. I know there are pictures, at least.


Owl Hat 1 by Noreen Hunter-Talbot, using Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers in Mystic Purple 2450 - made for a friend for her birthday per her own request after seeing:


Owl Hat 2, same pattern, same yarn - made for my niece, originally intended as a Christmas present, but it's still here, ready to be mailed out today or tomorrow.


Flame Hat by Tuulia Salmela, using various yarns from my stash - made for one of my nephews


Nottingham Hat using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids and Heathers in Grey Heather 151 and Sage 173 - made for another nephew, brother of the previous nephew, both brothers of the recipient of Owl Hat 2. This is the third Nottingham hat that I've made. I LOVE this pattern.

I also have another project that I can't put up here yet, because it's a gift for someone who follows this blog. ;) (I'm sorry I haven't gotten it to you yet. I'm trying to get to the post office, I swear!)

Last, but not least, I am currently working on the Gathered Pullover by Interweave. I've modified it a bit, but that's another post. For now, I just wanted to provide an update and to let people know that I am, indeed, still alive.