Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yarn Along

I'm joining in on this week's Yarn Along hosted by Ginny from Small Things. For this KAL we post what knitting projects we are working on as well as what books we are currently reading. Here is an over-view picture of what I've been up to... 
What I'm reading: I've pretty much given up on Twyla Tharp's 'Creative Habbit' at this point. While it has had some nuggets of wisdom for the creative hobbyist, it really is more centered around the creative professional (artists, musicians or in Ms. Tharp's case choreographers). Which is fine, but it's not been super helpful to me. She is very thorough on this topic, so it might be of interest to you:)

Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini has been entertaining. I love this type of book that takes you through the process of what a person is trying to accomplish. A few times she gets really wordy on things that a knitter probably has at least general knowledge of (even one like me that is fairly new to knitting), but this has only happened a couple of times, and other wise she is pretty funny and easy to relate to.

I'm not very far in to Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, but so far it has been really good. Probably good enough to keep me up most of the night if so much hadn't been going on lately to make me so tired;) It's a book about several people who all live in the same neighborhood, many of their families knowing each other for many years, who are all hiding secrets, some even from their own husbands. I'm thinking that some of these secrets are going to inter-connect, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
 And on to knitting. I'm still working on Alicia Plummer's MKAL 'Dockside' (the MKAL can be found on Ravelry). I was starting to catch up to the release dates, but then hit a snag a few days ago and haven't really picked it up again to find out exactly what I did. I have really enjoyed this project though and have learned several new stitches as well as finding out (because of one of those new stitches), that I've been wrapping my yarn wrong?!?!? ACK! Fixing this mistake is what lead to me getting behind because I started over and started wrapping the yarn the correct way, and not only did the dropped stitch (purposeful dropped stitch:), turn out right, but my lacework section was a lot more open too. So that got me thinking that maybe I should start a couple of my other 'in-progress' projects over too and see if it helped them as well.
So I started these Dappled Lace Cafe Curtains by Pick Knit Design Team over. This was a pretty big decision since I already had about 6 inches done on it. I am doing mine with size 5 needles using size 3 cotton crochet thread. Yeah, not super nice on the hands as it has no give to it, but I had also decided that instead of one long panel, I really wanted two panels that I could open when I want. Wrapping the yarn the correct way really opened up the lacework and made the pattern show much better, so I'm happy even though I had to start it over:) I have one other project that is mostly lacework, but it is a lot more complicated and I'm much further into it, so I'm not sure I'll start it over.

So what are you working on? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Just in Time...

for the end of Summer (or at least, the beginning of school - which to us is the end of Summer;)...
I finished my 'Signs of Summer' from Bent Creek. It only took 3 tries to get it right. I abandoned the darker fabric pretty much right away. I like how the thread colors look on the darker fabric, but I didn't think it looked very much like summer. So I tried the light colored fabric, but the thread colors kinda got lost on it. I did keep going with it though, until I got to the pelican, and decided that I really didn't like it either. So I tried the actual fabric that the chart called for?!?!? Hmm, should have just started there!! HAHAHA  I love how it turned out:)

Now that Autumn is here - at least in my mind it SHOULD be here!! The weather doesn't agree yet, and probably won't for a while. But I'm thinking it's time for some Autumn stitching. Not sure yet what I'm going to work on, if I need to dig through my stash, my WIPs, or if I need to do a little shopping. We will see.

As for the 'back-to-school' issue.. How many of you are like me and LOVE to buy school/office supplies? I just love all the cute notebooks and such out on the shelves. Unfortunately with only having one homeschool child, who is old enough to not need - or want- crayons and such (she's 17!!! This is her Senior year!!! How did that happen?!?!?), I didn't need hardly anything for her this year. :( Thankfully she also likes cute notebooks and fun pens/markers so we did get a couple things and these have got to be the cutest notebooks I have ever seen...

Look at those tabs!!! I couldn't help myself, and my daughter got one of the fox ones too. I have no use for these at all, but I 'needed' them. My daughter, Rylie, told me that she wouldn't use hers for school as that would ruin it. Ha!!

This week started Rylie's Senior year and man is it going to be a busy one. I keep thinking that she will choose less activities to join, but she just keeps adding them. She'll be able to drive on her own soon (a late bloomer in that area), so that will help a bit. She will continue volunteering at the zoo 1 morning a week, she dropped her work schedule down to 2 morning a week (she works with puppies!!!), she has 1 class with the homeschool coop that meets 1 morning a week and she will continue being the head 'teacher' at MOPs 2 mornings a month. She also added joining the homeschool swim team, which won't be as demanding as a regular swim team, thankfully, but will still require a bit of time. She is a evening/night owl, so most of her schoolwork gets done then (the things I help her with happen in the afternoon/evening, then she does independent work at night), so hopefully this schedule will work out okay. It'll just be super busy, but lots of memories to build this year, so that is good:) 

Well, off to look for an Autumn project that will hopefully help the weather to decide that it should be Autumn too:) 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

On Gardens and Chickens

I'm pretty sure if you've read my blog for any time, you know I live in the country. I didn't grow up in the country, though my family did have about an acre of yard with a swimming pool - an above ground up until the year I moved out and then they put in the in-ground my dad promised me (my dad owns a pool company). This left plenty of yard for a pretty large garden. Gardening was my only connection to 'farming' beyond seeing fields apon fields of crops - I grew up just outside of Wichita, but we are in Kansas, so you can't really escape that:)

When I met my hubby at the ripe 'old' age of 14, he introduced me to the world of farming. His family no longer farmed the land they owned- having rented it out to a neighbor, but still lived on it and I was able to watch the day-to-day life of farming. My father-in-law loved to garden and some years his garden reached around a half acre in size, though it was often much smaller than that. He grew things that he and my mother-in-law would never eat, but loved growing anyway and giving his produce away to family and friends.

When we moved from town out to the country on 10 acres, we put in a decent sized garden and have grown okra, green beans, tomatoes (of course!!), peppers, watermelon, and even our own pumpkins (edible). I love having a big garden, but umm, remember how I said I didn't grow up in the country. Well, I didn't grow up to love the hot, humid, bug infested summer months either. So while I'm all excited in April/May to get the seeds and plants in the ground, I usually have given up on it all around Mid July/August- yes about the time to harvest, but also weed!! So after several years of fighting the heat and bugs and long hours that it takes to keep up with a large garden (also around the time I found out I have R.A. so crawling around on the ground can be painful sometimes), we decided to scale back the garden a whole lot...
A picture from last year.
We put in 2 of these raised beds instead. One bed for tomatoes and the other for bell and hot peppers. We always had his dad to rely on to grow the rest of what we would need anyway. We had briefly discussed putting in a bigger garden this year after losing his dad this spring, but there just wasn't time. I think growing a bigger garden in the future would be a good/healing thing for my husband though.

This morning, since it wasn't too hot yet, I decided to go out to our itty-bitty garden and take some pictures.

These are tomato horn worms - or that is what we call them anyway. They can get pretty big and they are kind of aggressive if you try to pull them off the plants, so I usually just break off the stem they are on and carry them over to my girls...
The girls like getting treats from the garden. They do get to free range in the afternoon/evening, but I make sure they have laid their eggs before letting them out (lesson learned the hard way!!).
Small harvest from today. Yummy veggies and light green eggs (the girls are Americanas).

Hope you are having a wonderful day!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Yarn Along

Ginny over at Small Things started a Yarn Along, probably at the beginning of this year, but since I wasn't blogging, reading blogs, or knitting for that matter at the beginning of this year, I missed out on this. I've decided that I'd like to join in a bit here and there now. Ginny hosts this knitting and reading Yarn Along each week with the opportunity to link up and then follow along with what others are knitting and reading too!! How fun!!

SO here is my contribution for the week...

First, my knitting... I'm currently knitting on a Mystery Shawl called Dockside from Alicia Plummer. The Plum Dandi Ravelry group is doing this as a MKAL and I am a bit behind, but I'm really enjoying this knit. I'm using Ultra Alpaca from Berroco which is an alpaca/Peruvian wool blend in colorway 6214 which I would say is a sand color. I usually have several knitting projects going at one time - and goodness knows I have several others started, but this is the only one I'm actively working on right now.
And now my reading... I got the recommendation for the book 'Counting by 7's' by Holly Goldberg Sloan from Steph at Woolthyme. Her blog is where I found this Yarn Along as well:) When I went to look for the book I found it in the children's section at my library and almost didn't pick it up because of that, but I'm glad that I didn't put it back. The story does revolve around the life of a 12 year old, but it was a really good, thought provoking book and I'm glad I read it. The biggest problem that I had with it, which is a problem I have with any book that I really like and get drawn into, is that I started it in an evening and then stayed up until 1:30 am to finish it. I have in the past forbidden myself from reading fiction books because of this problem, but I think I'm just going to have to deal with it, because I really like to read. :0)

The next book is Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini and I just started it yesterday. It's not fiction, but rather the thoughts of the author as she sets about knitting the mother of all sweaters. So far, it's been really entertaining. Not one to keep me up all night, thankfully, but one I'll probably have finished by the end of this weekend.

The last book is The Creative Habit - Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. I'm not sure about this one yet, depite having had this book out from the library for over 4 weeks now. I'm only just a bit into it, and although there have been some good incites on growing your creativity and such, I'm thinking it's geared more towards those who rely on their creativity for their professional life. Like if you create ballets (which Ms Tharp does) or are a professional artist, musician, etc. The very first part of the book did seem to relate to the lay person as well, but more and more it's is detaching from that. I will keep plugging along for now and see if I can gleam more out of it before giving up.

Now I'm going to go and check out what books/knitting everyone else is working on and see if I can get myself in trouble 'needing' a new book or knitting project!! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Finish and a New Start

and another new start, and possibly another??? Oh, and a WIP as well:)

And this post is just about stitching, you should see how many yarn creations I have going as well!!

During most of the early part of this year, my creative mojo was just non-existent. Especially with stitching. I think I only picked up stitching a time or two in the first 4 months or so of the year. I have, however remedied that a bit since then.

I started out working on....
This is 'She Feeds Them Well' from The Scarlett House and I'm stitching this one for my mother-in-law. She LOVES birds (and flowers) and I think the verse on this is just perfect for her. If you can't make out the verse, it says..."They come to feast, And she feeds them well, Who loves it more, It's hard to tell.'  I've already showed it to her as it is stitched on 40ct, and some of that is over 1. I did not want to put the work into this if it wasn't something she was interested in:)

I worked mostly on this for about a month, just long enough to make it look like the birds are carrying the poor woman's head off;) Maybe I can just leave it like this and call it a Halloween chart? Not sure m-i-l would like it so much then, ha!!

Then I decided to join in on an exchange with a stitching group I'm in. I haven't participated in one for a while, so it was a lot of fun. Here is what I stitched...
This is Signs of Summer from Bent Creek. It was a fun, quick project and it turned out so cute, so I decided that I wanted to stitch another one for myself. Plus I really like the Autumn and Winter charts as well (not so much the Spring one though) so I might go ahead and stitch the whole series of them. But here is my problem...
I stitched the exchange project on a random piece of fabric (or possibly what the chart called for even, but I don't remember), so I just picked out another random piece of fabric (the darker one) and started stitching. And while I like how the colors are popping on it, it doesn't look very summer-y. So I put that away and found a lighter color of fabric and started stitching, but the colors are already getting lost. Today I pulled out all the fabric in my stash that I thought would be close and the one I like best is actually what the chart calls for (WHY DID I NOT LOOK AT THAT FIRST?!?!?). Next step, to decide how much I really like this chart, and if I will live with one of the two that I started or start again.. I'll let you know how that goes:)

Time to get off here and tackle the dishes, and the laundry, and, and, and... Or, I might just knit a little first;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's been a while

A long while, and now it's time to get back to blogging and reading blogs, and all things bloggy!!

We've had quiet a year and it's taken some time to wind down and get things all back in order. First, my hubby has just been able to slow down on overtime for the past couple of months, he'd been on overtime since last July. He and his family got his parents moved off the farm, the farm that his dad had grown up on and he and his brother as well, and into a really lovely house in town last November (took 3 months and an auction all while on overtime). In December hubby was hopeful that things would settle down, both at home and with work, and decided it was time to figure out new transportation for both of us, so he bought me a car....

And I loved it!! We found it for a good deal, but it needed a new engine, which he thought he'd have time to do.

Then his dad, who had been fighting a battle with cancer got sicker. He was in and out of the Dr.'s and hospital for a couple months, then entered the hospital to stay in February. He was transported to a couple different hospitals to find the right solution, but lost his battle while in Hospice in March. His wife and sons where able to be with him when he peacefully left this world for the next.

This is still so hard. He was such a huge part of our lives, a father to me since I was 14, and so, so close to the grandkids.

So the car got put off, until my car could go no further. And with Hubby trying to help with his mom, trying to recover himself and still on overtime, I ended up with a brand new car!! Hubby also bought a used car for himself as his old car was about done for too. And now the blue RAV is done as well, which is really perfect because our dd is 17 and is finally just about ready to start driving too.

Hubby is starting to get some home-time now, but still spends several evenings a week over at his mom's house. She is doing well, and we are so thankful that his dad worked so hard to make sure she was all settled and taken care of before he went.

I have lots and lots of stitchy, crafty, yarny things to show you as well as little critters and gardening things. Will be back in a couple of days to show some of that off:)