Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Twist & Shout

Just a quick update that I finished the Twist and Shout dress for Maegwin.  It was in the Interweave Knits Summer 2012 issue and a really quick knit.  I used some Blue Sky multi cotton that Mom got at a yarn store closing sale and never got around to knitting.  It is so sunny and fun and Maegwin loves it.  She tried it out on the trampoline and it was a fun photo shoot.

IMG_3910 IMG_3902 IMG_3901

We also had a visit for several days by a hawk.  As you can hear in the video above, we have tons of cicadas this year.  He was rooting around in the potato patch after we harvested so I'm wondering if he is eating cicadas?  You can see the tree to the right which we lost this year to Emerald Ash Borer beetles.  We have another equally old one that will probably die by next year.  So sad to see trees around here dying to this invasive bug.  :(


We got about one large bucket's worth of potatoes this year-not as good as we were hoping for but honestly better than expected given how much the plants were ravaged by the groundhog.  Maegwin had a great time finding them and putting them into the bucket.  This morning she was lovingly cradling them in her nightgown.

potato harvest 2012
In other news I'm currently in a fight with the insurance company about them charging me beyond my out of pocket max for my sinus surgery. Things are pretty tight while we have to pay on a bill that we don't know whether or not we will ultimately owe. We've been making our grocery bill be under $100 each week and it struck me that you all might want to know what kinds of tasty stuff you can make for such low cost. We're still having lots of yummy food but always packing lunches and I have oatmeal for breakfast each morning. Last week we had:

I took pesto-potato fritatta for lunch all week. Yummy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

I realized it has been a while since I've done a knitting post and it's high time I share what's been going on!  For those only here to see the kid, I'll throw you a bone later.

First up in the finishing department-my Lyric Tree Hoodie!  I bought this pattern back in 2008, lost it in the move, refound it a month ago whilst cleaning upstairs to paint Maegwin's room, and decided to knit it up.  I used Berocco Sundae in a nice silvery/black color.  This one is knit with about 2" of negative ease and please note the photos are pre-blocking.  I expect it will grow a wee bit after a nice soak.  If not, it fits fine.

IMG_3881 This pattern is not for the faint of heart. Not so much because it is difficult in any way but because it isn't that easy to follow. The designer even admits in her Ravelry page on it that she didn't know a lot about writing patterns back then and while she promised a re-write, it hasn't been forthcoming. I wrote up what notes I could on my project page here in case any of you out there has a hankering to knit your own. I sort of love it though and it has restored my faith in my ability to knit sweaters for myself. I have to say after my last sweater, I wasn't feeling too great. My poor little Pioneer sweater barely got one wearing before being felted in the washer. It was too short anyway and now sits in a felted heap in our basement. Prior to that I knit a Tangled Yoke Cardigan which just never fit right and should have had some negative ease not to mention be knit out of wool instead of alpaca and tencel that draped like nobody's business. This segues nicely into one of my endings. I ripped out the aforementioned cardigan and went from this: ready to frog To this: IMG_3851 with nary a tear shed. Honestly I'm glad to have it back in yarn form where it can become something I truly love instead of something that lays wadded up in the depths of my closet thinking about what it's done. I also wove in all the ends on my Swedish Fish Socks and I love them as well! These are my first color work socks and I'm super proud of how they turned out. They fit great, yarn is great, and my floats are all reasonably tensioned. IMG_3871 I'm still finishing up Maegwin's Twist and Shout Dress so maybe pics of that to follow later this weekend. I now just have to knit straight until I get to the length I want for her. Then I have my eye on casting on a pair of True Love socks in some very pretty pinky peach yarn. I also in true me style busted out a ball of this: Argosy yarn to maybe make a Gemini sweater. I love that it can be worn two ways and I think it would be pretty in this yarn that has yet to find a pattern to love. I have a skein of Tosh Sock in Tart staring me down from my printer tray also. So much to knit, so little actual knitting time. Not to mention that Christmas isn't getting any further away... 

We had a play date last weekend with my friend Mary, her husband, and daughter, Emma. First we went to the story time at the big main library and then to a kids' jazz concert in the park. It kept looking like rain but managed to hold off until we got home. They ran in circles for a while.
 Then they played under the tarp that was under the picnic blanket. IMG_3855 She had so much fun that she sacked out once we were home and slept until the next day. Crazy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Where does the time go?

I'm always amazed when I go to write a new post in what I think is a "reasonable timeframe" only to find that whoosh another month somehow went by.  How does that happen exactly?  July has been chock full of trips to the zoo and outdoors things in spite of record-breaking heat.  We tried to become morning/evening people when it got really bad but we also made sure Maegwin got some outdoors time as much as possible. Our neighbor whose house burnt down gifted us their trampoline and Maegwin is completely obsessed with it. She will just run in circles around it and makes up little games to play.  It's great to see and lets us get a bit of gardening done.

This year saw the return of the groundhog and his destructive maw.  He even ate our potatoes this year which he has not done in previous ones.  I chalk it up to the crazy drought and the fact that our garden is super inviting.  We also had attempted broccoli and brussels sprouts every other year which happen to be a groundhog's favorite foods if you were not aware.  We managed to get a few harvests of peas and some spinach before the hot weather and otherwise have only had an occasional tomato and cucumber here and there.  We lost a whole batch of tomatoes to blossom end rot during the worst heat but I think we're on the right track now.  We have a few bell peppers that are nearly ripe and several butternut squash ripening nicely.  Our black and green beans were eaten nearly to nubs by the hog so we're calling them a loss.  Luckily we had really scaled back this year anyway.  Our new plan is to clear out the bracken around the fence as fall comes and figure out where the fence is failing and then hopefully we can sneak in some celery, onions, cabbage, and maybe some lettuce before winter.  I had an idea to use our old doors & windows that are downstairs (the ones that were originally in the house) to build some cold frames.  Josh said he'll start working on those once the weather is a bit cooler for being outside.  We've also been noodling over getting a few chickens.  Some of our neighbors have them and today I saw this coop that I think might work really nicely.  I don't think we would need more than two for our egg consumption and it would be a great way for Maegwin to learn about where some of our food comes from.  Plus we get free fertilizer and while we are in the garden they could scratch and peck around.  Obviously a big investment of time and money so still in the planning stages there but maybe next year.

Alright, I know what you are all thinking.  Blah blah blah show us the kid already!  I've done a few home crafty projects for her recently.  We made some more play dough.  Not sure what I did wrong with this batch but it was a little more dry.  Maybe too much salt.

IMG_3818 She used the little silicone cupcake forms I have to make some dough cupcakes and cookie cutters to make different shapes. We made a whole stack of stars one day. Fun and nearly free-sign me up!

We also took all of her broken crayons and made some new ones.  Josh broke them up and Maegwin arranged them in pleasing color combinations in a silicone bunny pan I had got from Target last Easter.  My intention was to at some point try to make my own bunny Peeps but I have not attempted this yet.  I love making marshmallows though so they can't be hard.  Anyway, they turned out pretty well I think.

She plays with them all the time. We have to pretend to eat them as she says they are cupcakes or candies. She also colors with them but I'm not complaining. Way better than the bunch of nubs that she couldn't do anything with. If you should want to make some new crayons yourselves, just break them into small pieces, put them in a 225 degree oven until they are melted then take them out and let them cool. We popped ours in the freezer because two-year-olds aren't known for their patience.

On a recent trip to the zoo my mom tagged along and Maegwin had a great day hanging out with Grammy.  She showed her the turtles in the reptile house.
And had a close encounter with one of the orangutans who decided to set up her bed right next to us. IMG_3810 We also got to feed the lorikeets. They are only open a short time each day so that was fun. IMG_3807 IMG_3806 This particular one came and drank the entire cup of nectar. One of the other guys in there had three on him at once! IMG_3798 Maegwin loved this monster outside the orangutans area. She was pretending it was biting her. She still giggles everytime she sees this photo. It's biting me Of course we had to visit the stinkflower which is one of Maegwin's favorite things. IMG_3815 On the knitting front I'm working on a hoodie for me, a sun dress for Maegwin, and then I'd like to finish up a couple more pair of socks for me. I know fall is coming soon so I need to stock up! I'm also in the beginning stages of Christmas knitting planning so if you have requests, now is the time...