Monday, June 29, 2015

Falling Behind!

Hello Friends! I thought I'd better throw this speedy post out there before I fall any further behind in this space! My Dottie Angel frock is actually almost done! I should be putting the finishing touches on it this morning.

I head kitty-corner across the street to my friend, Kim's, house where she - expert sewer - has everything waiting on her great great grandmother's dining room table and we work.

We sip our coffee or tea, munch on sourdough toast I brought with jam from her son-in-law's farm stand, or snack on bowls of summer fruit to sustain us in our arduous task! :) She is fostering a Boston terrier/chihuahua mix named Chino that her own chihuahua, Bambi, tolerates. They click around on the floor underneath us, watching us as we work. And - here's the funniest thing - she has a little finch that flies freely in the house. He... (she?)... collects all of our thread. We just let our trimmings float to the floor and little birdie is there thanking us moments later. He picks up the thread and is off. He has quite the collection of nesting material in a basket in the bathroom!

I am falling behind here, though, because I have had such a surge of creative...output. I guess you could call it that. It's like everything was dammed up while I was in school and now it is a bit of a raging river.

I keep getting new ideas for projects! Every time a new idea comes, I feel a bit desperate, because I know that the new school year is just around the corner. So I am trying to go for it and do as much as I can.

I changed the fabric on our dining room chairs. This pattern was stained. It looked better in our Florida home, but the new, floral pattern works so nicely in our northern cottage.

This photo doesn't show the color very well, but I just don't have time to color correct at the moment (have to get to sewing soon!).

This is one of the last photos of our Luna. I didn't say anything here... we have been so bowled over by the loss of 3 pets in 9 weeks. This is another reason I have not been here. I don't like to bring too many sad tales to this place. It's not that I don't wish to tell the truth. Frankly, it's that I don't like having to relive it in the telling.

But there she is, in one of her favorite spots - any of the chairs under the table. She loved to be tucked in under her little "cave." And whichever chair she was on during meals, she would just sit up next to the person trying to sit in the chair and check out whatever it was we were eating. She never got on the table or messed with the food, she was always just curious. I do miss her.

It's our first year of a bountiful strawberry harvest and that has been keeping me busy as well. I don't know how the rest of the summer weather will fare, but June has been about as perfect as it could be this year! The rains have arrived every few days with flawless timing. I think I've watered the garden twice all season so far other than little bits when I put in a new row of radishes or something like that. The lawns throughout he neighborhoods are green, green, green! Often by this time of year, you can tell those who aren't watering their grass (we're included) by the patchy nature of the yellow vs. green lawns. But this year, so far, we all match!

Eve enjoyed some strawberry shortcake while hanging outside with her bunny, Maple.

Then the lush green, shady spot was just too much and everyone joined in. You can see Maia's kitty, Tessa, just to the left of Maia's head. She's camouflaged, but she is always in on the action as you can tell from the various photos (strawberries, above, and checking out Maple in her cage when we first brought her out, below).

I'm off! I have more crafty ideas for the week ahead, so I'd best get to them! Hopefully I'll have some time to check in here on Wednesday to share some of the goings-on. I hope you are enjoying your summer too and keeping cozy if you're in the southern hemisphere. We like it cozy here. Yes, we're all about the cozy. Have a terrific day! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Magic Cake and a Blue Thread

Craving color, I've added a third project to my summer knitting. I made myself knit to a certain part of my navy blue (Taking) Forever Birthday Sweater and then I purchased Paula Emons-Fuessle's Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. It's a simple pattern that uses up your yarn leftovers. I've known about it for some time, but it wasn't until I saw Susan B. Anderson wearing hers on her video podcast and found it so cute, that I thought I'd give it a try.

It was fun selecting and weighing out which yarns I wanted to use and then balling everything up into one, big, colorful ball (though I like that a caked yarn will sit flat while you knit, I find that they tangle often enough that I'm back to winding balls instead). Now, however, I'm not sure how much I'm going to like the results. It is quite addicting getting from one color to another and I don't exactly remember just how the color order goes. I suppose I could have written it down, but I am enjoying the element of surprise. I am hoping I will like it when it is finished. Right now, I'm kind of meh with the colors. I hope there will be a more uniform, overall effect in the end.

Other than that, my socks and birthday sweater are slow, but steady. The construction of my birthday sweater is one I have never knit before, and right now, honestly, I can't totally see where it's going. But, I am just trusting the pattern and am moving forward. I don't know what I will do if I mess this up again. But let's not go there just now!

In other needle news, I have finished my cross stitch and have it hung in my new, little craft space. I love the way it turned out and love how it looks in the room! In fact, my new little space has quickly become a favorite spot for me.

I found this valance of mine when I was looking through linens that I was deciding over whether or not to purge. I bought and used this in our eat-in space in our kitchen when we lived in Florida. I've always loved this cheery fabric combination, but it definitely demands a particular decor. The rest of my house is more muted in shades (other than my happy, yellow bedroom) and I didn't know if I would ever use this again. But now, as things have developed in this space, I think it fits quite brilliantly.

Finally, I am trying to finish up Anne Tyler's, A Spool of Blue Thread. I've only had two weeks to read this one and it's due tomorrow on the 18th. I am awfully close to finishing; I'm sure I'll get it done.

I am enjoying the story and am interested to see how it will end. Right now it feels like somewhat of an ordinary story, meaning a rather gentle moving plot and pace. It actually reminds me a good deal of the television series, Parenthood: stories of a family. I have never read Anne Tyler's work before, despite the fact that she is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I find her to be extremely observant and her characters are very vivid, very real. There is an exploration of aging parents and the relationships they have with their kids and the ways they feel about getting older. I wonder if this is new insight that Tyler has gained over the years; the observations are intimate and real. Right now, I would recommend this to those who enjoy family stories. I will have to wait until I'm finished to decide if I would recommend it to others.

That's what's going on in my crafty life these days. I'm linking up with Ginny again so that I can see what everyone else has been up to too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Knits, New, True Knitter

Our library lets you check out materials for three weeks at a time, and you can renew materials twice. This is why I had better finally finish Susan Maushart's, The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale, because I will have had nine weeks to read it! True, I began reading it amidst others I was reading for school, but those are gone now and I should be able to focus!

I do like the book, which is why I'm trying to stick with it. It is another "year in the life" book - or in this case, "six-months-in-the-life." The trouble for me, I think, is that Maushart will share her experiences, but then she also brings in a lot of research and philosophical thoughts on the nature of her family's experiment. Sometimes she will even take the reader backwards, chronologically, to pre-experiment time to discuss a topic there. It's relevant, but I do find myself getting frustrated, feeling a, "Let's get on with it!" attitude. Perhaps this is why it was something I kept putting down while I had other reading material. Her statistics and other information bog down the speed of my reading and when I had real deadlines with other material, I didn't have time to ruminate. I guess I didn't expect that from this book when I picked it up. Now I know, however. I will give it one more shot and try to be monogamous with it, because though she writes with a humorous voice, for me, I feel like this book demands my whole attention. With other books around I found myself skimming the more philosophical parts, but I didn't really want to because she does bring up some interesting points on this very relevant topic. Hopefully, I won't feel the need to skim anymore and will get to the end more properly!

I am delighted with all of my knitting (and my little cross stitch project)! But I don't really have anything interesting to show you all just yet. I'm still working on my Rivercat sock and still working on the endless stockinette in navy blue for my sweater. The cross stitch really helps because I can see so much more progress with it.

Eve, however, has some instant-gratification knitting to share. She loved the Shroom hat that I made and wanted one for herself. She whipped this one up in two days. In true knitterly fashion, she had to stop herself at 2 a.m. and resign herself to finishing in the morning.

Didn't she do an amazing job?! This is her first completed project she is really, really proud of: no mistakes, even tension, good fit! She has confidence to complete a shawl now. She is excited to do it and is saving up money to find just the perfect gradient yarn. The pattern she wants to try is pretty complex, but with patience, I know she can do it!

Linking up with Ginny again today for Yarn Along. Looking forward to seeing what you all are knitting and reading in your part of the world!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Imagining June 2015::A Month Map

Oh, this is going to be fun!

Summer break is here, though it's still very much spring in these parts: kind of cool and lots of rain! May was a wet one this year; we'll have to see what June brings.

In Internet Land, June brings Daisy Yellow's, "Index Card a Day (ICAD)" challenge. This will be my first year participating and I am excited! As I mentioned in this post, knitting has been planned, dyeing has been planned, fermenting food has been planned, but creating a little piece of art on an index card a day was not planned! I'm sure there are many of you for whom doing just that was planned as this is the fourth year of ICAD. But, somehow it has escaped my attention in the past. Perhaps because last summer I was taking a class. This year, I say, why not? The "create" button seems to have been pressed and I'm just going to ride this train as far as it will take me.

And why not add stitching to the mix too?

I haven't done a cross stitch in ages. Molly at "A Homespun House" shared this set of patterns she had been working on and I just loved the whole set! It's by Wee Wonderfuls and is an inexpensive little download. As I mentioned in this post, I have plenty of embroidery thread that I inherited from my grandmother, so I've only had to purchase the pattern and the fabric. So fun and instantly gratifying with all the colors to play with! The picture forms so quickly on these small projects. I'm planning to hang it in my little craft space when I am done with it. I think I'll find spots for the other patterns around my kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen, I also bought these amazing, little embroidery patterns from the same shop: Kitchen Gnomes!!! I LOVE gnomes. Gosh, put a pointy hat on anything and I just adore it!

Before I get ahead of myself though, let's see how I did in May.

  • As much as possible, choose to bike or walk over using the car (my car-free week may have to happen in June; I already have commitments that will take me beyond public transit this month)
  • Purchase a bus pass
  • Finish final projects for school and OFF for the summer - yay!
  • Finish our home school year! ~ Only two remain... 
  • Sabbatical from Facebook
  • Visit the MN Landscape Arboretum for a picnic under the flowering crab apple trees!
  • Clean out the van - Oops. Missed this one. Gee, and it seemed so fun too; how could I have overlooked it? ;)
  • Celebrate and enjoy Mother's Day
  • Date Night - Too much garden and other springtime spending for this one, though we have taken some nice walks together.
  • Continue cooking from my cookbooks
  • Participate in home school co-op book sale
  • Write at least one letter - Nope. Missed this too. I'm adding it to June!
  • Prepare list for and attend the annual Friends Plant Sale!
  • LOTS of gardening!
    • Plant pansies in the front bed for springtime cheer; replace with summer annuals later
    • Extend flower bed around vegetable garden
    • Plant annuals around base of front bird feeder and along yard edges where grass is not growing
    • Plant veggies
    • Fill flower baskets on deck

Well yes! Things have been quite busy and productive; thank you for asking!

Now that much of the gardens are in order, I can just work on keeping up with the weeds and move on to other plans for June:

  • Participate in ICAD
  • Get at least 6 inches knit on my sweater, so that I can buy this pattern that will use up a lot of my yarn leftovers (I have to force some restraint on myself, so I don't get carried away! It's just that my sweater is straight stockinette in navy blue and I need something with COLOR)
  • Finish my wee cross stitch
  • Begin work on embroidery
  • Clean the van (whoopee! See what happens when you didn't get it done last month?)
  • Host a friend of the girls for a week
  • Attend grad parties
  • Frugal date night (saving our pennies for vacation!)
  • Improve upon sour dough bread (the first loaves were reminiscent of my first whole wheat bread attempts years ago: very nice door stops)
  • Learn to make kombucha (now or in July?)
  • Make some dollhouse food and furniture with niece
  • Continue: biking, yoga, running, studying Spanish, cooking from my cookbooks
  • Also continue: spring cleaning/purging/giving things away, blogging, and searching for a new church home
  • Read a book - this will slow down with all the crafting, but I think I can manage at least one
  • Write a letter
  • Don't forget to RELAX
AND that's a wrap! This should definitely keep things interesting. I always take June off from thinking at all about homeschooling plans for next year. It's my mental break; I'll tackle that in July.

I'm feeling really good about all of this as we head into "official" summer. What are your summer plans? If you're in the southern hemisphere, you must be thinking of lots of indoor activities to get you through the winter. Wherever you are, welcome to June and all that it brings. Don't forget to enjoy this life God gave you ~ have a blessed month!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...