Friday, March 30, 2012

Ooh, Baby, Baby!

I'm in love.  And I'm pretty sure it's one-sided.  Almost positive.  Wednesday and Thursday were flooring installation days.  At the end of the day yesterday it was time to rip out the disgusting carpet in our kitchen and install lovely oak-looking laminate flooring, the same that was installed in the rental kitchen and dinette.  I love it, Durwood's not convinced.  His feet get cold so easily that he's worried that it'll be colder without the carpet.  He's also in the market for some squishy floor mats for in front of the sink and stove.  That's fine with me, I'm just thrilled that we'll be able to wipe up spills instead of watching them soak in and then attract dirt.

For some reason I'm fixated on making knitted then felted bowls.  I cast on the next Color Stripe Vessel at work yesterday and last night I dug out yarns and needles and fiberfill, then cast on a nest to be felted.  I plan to knit pastel colored eggs to put in it.  I don't know what I'll do with it; maybe give it to our Easter dinner hostess, I just want to make it.  I don't know why I'm so attracted to making essentially useless items.  It's fun though.

I volunteered to make bunny cakes for dessert on Easter.  I goggled bunny cakes and found a recipe and YouTube video that looks like the one Mom used to make.  I don't plan to use a Betty Crocker box cake or tubs of pre-made frosting.  I'll make me old standby carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting, I'm thinking of using Twinkies for the little front paws.  We'll see.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Put On Z-Cowl!

I finished the cowl I made from Z-Dawg's gift of handspun last night.  I added an extra repeat of the knit rows and the ribbed rows so that I'd use every molecule of the wonderfulness of it and look how brilliantly that turned out.  I wish I could take credit for that stripe of white in the middle but that's just the way it knitted up.  I did purposly save half the red/white for the end ribbing but the stuff in the middle did it all by itself.  I wove in the ends, tonight I'll let it soak in wool wash for a bit, then pat it into shape on a nice fluffy towel.  (The remainder's about 3 yards worth.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creaky Old Lady Here

What is it with me? I'm active--I walk, I work around the house, I play fetch with Porter, I do yoga--and this week my thighs and knees and calves are in... well, they're in revolt. Parts of me hurt (like the outside of my left calf) that never hurt. I spent yesterday afternoon walking around the property picking up trash that had blown in from the neighborhood dumpsters and litterbugs. I got down on my knees to carefully pick up the broken vase and glass pebbles that someone broke against the privacy fence, and I crawled around taking flower pictures, getting down to their level and right in their faces. I had a fantabulous walk in the AM with Skully and Porter, we saw a baby muskrat (Porter wanted to adopt it or at least play with it, she was very interested in it), that should have helped, right? And it did, for a while. I was back and forth from 1508, consulting with Spanky about what needed to be done before the flooring guy came today, etc., went to Menards for replacement light fixtures and stopping for a bit of extemporaneous fabric buying on the way home, then busying around here taking down the birdie tree for the season, raking the leaves from in front of the retaining wall, going over to play a little fetch with Porter, making supper. You know, normal stuff, so why are my legs sore? I'm blaming the wind and abrupt weather changes. I've been able to predict the weather with my right knee for quite a while, maybe the rest of my lower extremities felt left out and are jumping on the bandwagon. Anyway, here are some pictures to go with this rant. (The one of Porter sprawled on DS & DIL's kitchen floor just might be my favorite granddog picture of all time.)

It's week #12 of the Maple Tree Scarf. Mardi, you'll be happy to know I saw a robin in my tree this morning, there will be a tiny flash of orange red appearing in tonight's rows.

I finally finished the third and biggest of my color stripe vessels made to date night before last. Z-Dawg untangling the tangle Porter made of the gray skein made that possible. Next I want to make something in the middle, size-wise. I think I'll start with a nice spring green.

See the remnants I bought yesterday? I lovelovelove the chicken line drawing one, the velour upholstery one, the scorpion one, and the ginkgo one. I'm kind of meh about the yellow cabbage rose one but it will find its way into a project, I have faith.

The most exciting, well, maybe not the most exciting (I'm pretty pumped about all the new flooring at 1508) but a pretty exciting arrival was a box containing 3-1# bags of quilt fabric scraps. It's mostly strips which is exactly what I need to make the March quilt blocks (that may not get made in March but I'm going to bear down on Friday and Sunday to see if I can do it). I couldn't resist them, they're only $1.50/bag from If they don't have any in stock they'll email you when they do. That's what I did and it worked great. Squee!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stuff I Made & Stuff To Be Made

I made lotion. I did! I love my homemade lotion, it smells nice, I can control what's in it, and feels great. I ordered some bigger bottles and new citrus essential oils last week so I had to try them out. I thought you might like to see the process so here's a little photo montage of my lotion making. Here's my lab (it doubles as the laundry area). I keep all the Pyrex cups, measuring spoons, even the microwave exclusively for lotion making.

I substitute aloe juice for half of the water. It's great for your skin. And
I use olive, almond, or sunflower oil.

The dry-ish ingredients--waxes,
emulsifiers, glycerin--are added next. Then it's into the microwave for heating to near boiling.

A stick blender (used only for this) blends it all together and also blends in the germicide.

Usually I mix in the fragrance when I add the Germall, but this time I put the essential oil into the bottle since I made such a small amount of each fragrance. As the lotion cools it needs to be shaken so that it remains in solution.

Then I make cool labels on Print Shop, stick them on, and put tape over it so the ink doesn't run. Just like real lotion! It feels so good, on my skin and that I made it myself.

I went to the Evergreen Quilt show with Cookie, Z-Dawg, and Cookie's mom, 4Bs (Big Bad Biker Bitch--she's a very nice lady, but Big Bad Biker Nice Lady just doesn't have the same ring) and I was very proud, I am very proud that I brought three of my $25 home. It cost five bucks to get in, then I got a cool bag pattern, four fat quarters for only $5, and a half-pound of scraps of fabri
c for two bucks. Two bucks! And I picked out mostly batiks. I'm happy to say that of the 3 shops/booths I bought from, two of them are in Green Bay. Now I just need to find time to sew up all this stuff--because I need to do the March quilt blocks yet and I want to make more flannel & linen duvets, and...and...and. I want to knit too. Gah! I hope someone's working on my idea to have another weekday not for work but for crafting. Maybe two?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Floors **edited due to brain drain**

Calmness has descended upon me. The duct sucking guy came, made a hellacious amount of noise, and left. Durwood cleaned the vent covers and I screwed them back into place. We pigged out on Coney Dogs (sloppy joe with hot dogs on buns) for lunch, then Durwood had to go off to have a chest x-ray to make sure his infection is on the run. I carried the 15 boxes of laminate flooring from the back of Durwood's van into the rental garage so that it's ready for the installer on Tuesday and takes all that weight off the van's springs. Here's a picture of the carpet and flooring we picked out. The laminate is for the kitchens and the rental dinette, the slate tile is for the bathroom and entry, the dark brown carpet's for the master, the lighter is for the 2nd bedroom ** No, No, No--the dark brown's for the living room and the light & shaggy's for the bedrooms**, and we've got a remnant for the hall that's a sculptured tan berber. All the rooms in the rental side will be the Ivory Mist on the card on the right, eggshell for the bedrooms and living room and semi-gloss for the hall, bath, and bedroom. I think it'll look nice once it's done, which should be the end of next week. Whew.

For some very frustrating reason, McAfee has decided that my Hotmail account is haunted or something so it won't open. It did earlier today, but not now. Pissing me off? You bet. That's it for today. Didn't write last night, it was too late and I wanted to go to sleep holding hands with the old guy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring! The Real Thing!

I am so confused. It's March and the first day of Spring. True. That much I'm totally sure of. It was 83 degrees today. See? That's the part that's confusing. We went right from non-Winter to late Spring in no time. I'm old, I need gradual changes. This abrupt stuff is, well, it's abrupt. I keep having to dress in the basement because all my clothes are too warm for the weather. I just toured the yard and I took pictures of all the happy Spring things I found out there.

The forsythia's in bloom. I love those happy yellow flowers with no leaves to confuse things.

The hyacinths and daffodils are out in force and they smell like heaven.

I dug up a shovel-full of these from my SIL's mom's yard a coon's age ago and this little bit of them survives. I keep hoping they'll spread and fill under the lilac bush with their happy Spring blueness.

I must have planted these tiny white flower bulbs. I have no clue what they ar
e, but they sure are dainty and pretty, aren't they?

The primroses are blooming. I love their velvety richness.

Chives are up and once again I
was late cutting them down so I've got last year's dried ones mixed in. Ah well, they're green and they'll add a fresh touch to Durwood's cooking for many months to come. I can pick out the dead stuff.

And here's my favorite lawn ornament no matter the season. Look at the bruise on his right forearm. Porter was really happy to see him yesterday.

Speaking of Porter, she investigated my knitting bag. Didn't eat or chew through anything, she just turned a tidy ball of gray wool into a tangle. I'll be enlisting Durwood's help tonight after supper and a trip to Menards for lami
nate flooring. The painter's working now, painting starts tomorrow. Next week the flooring will get installed. Tomorrow night the electrician will replace a few things and check that everything is safe. That means that I can call a cleaning lady/service to come week after next to have her work her magic in the kitchen and bath, and we'll be ready for tenants. Things are getting done. Durwood's the ramrod and he's doing a great job.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Now That Spring's On The Way...

... I'm nearly done with Z-Cowl. I can't wait to finish it and put it in a sink of wool wash for a little soak, then pat it dry on a nice, fluffy towel, and then put it on. I know it's going to look smashing on me. You think so too, I can tell.

This morning on my way over to put a few lightbulbs into 1508 I saw this cheerful little bouquet had appeared overnight.

It was a welcome sight since this is the tip of the iceberg of what Durwood saw when he went in yesterday. *sigh* He had the locks changed yesterday. He's got the plumber and painter on the job. I need to call our electrician to set up a visit. We picked out laminate, wood-looking flooring for the kitchen, entries, and bath, and carpeting for the hall, bedrooms, and living room last, now we contact an installer to get that ball rolling. We were going to try to save it in two of the rooms but we've realized that the new carpet will make the old look even older. *double sigh* It's not the end of the world, at least there are no holes in the walls and they didn't take the light fixtures. We will survive and even triumph. I have a good feeling.

Monday, March 12, 2012


You have to see what I'm making with Z-Dawg's handspun.

It's Z-Cowl!

I found the pattern on Ravelry yesterday, cast on, and it's zooming along. I've saved some of the red and white (hopefully half) for the other end of the cowl. I totally love how it's knitting up. I've never made or worn a cowl so I'm knitting like the wind to get it down before real Spring sets in and it's too warm to wear it.

The next, larger Color Stripe Vessel is growing too. I'm looking forward to having them to put small doodads into on my yarn shelf or the coffee table.

And it's raining. That's a good thing because I saw that the rhubarb is poking its tiny pink noses out of the ground, rain will be good for it. True Spring must be on the way if the rhubard's growing. Pies are on the way!

I finished the Pinboard to hang in my studio. I had three small bags of wooden buttons that I placed and re-placed on the ribbon intersections until I was satisfied, then I hot glued them in place, burning 3 of my fingers on just one button. I am grace and dexterity personified. I like the way it turned out and can see it'll be a great place to post ideas and instructions. Plus it makes the space look good. More studio-y and less basement-y.

I forgot to photograph the pottery buttons I got at Artigras on Saturday. The biggest one is a bit smaller than a jelly jar lid. I think they'll be just perfect on knitted shawls or felted purses, don't you?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Smells Like Spring

Durwood just left for the grocery store so I flung open the patio door to let the air in. Ahhhh, heavenly. The temp's around 50 and the sun's blazing out of a blue sky with a few puffy clouds way up high for atmosphere. It's windy too so the wind chime is making lovely music.

Skully, Cookie & I went to Artigras this morning. We strolled around all the booths. I found way too many pretty things to buy. First thing I swapped my broken baking stone for a not-broken one.

Right across the
aisle was my favorite potter. (Wasn't that lucky?) I got 3 bread & butter size plates and 3 mise en place bowls. They'd be good for sauces or dipping too but I like to use my French when I can.

I found these earrings and couldn't leave them behind. A wicker basket makes a nice display place, doesn't it?

But the piece de resistance was this little pendant with its warm and fuzzy sentiment engraved on it. Who could resist?

I've been knitting too, really I have. See? I'v
e knitted 2 Striped Vessels and I have another on the needles, a bigger one. They'll all be felted once I have enough of them done. (Don't ask how many there are in an "enough," I don't know.)

My Maple Tree Scarf has completed its 10th week and is looking mighty fine. I love the colors in it, but can't wait until the first pale greens of Spring pop out.

Cookie asked what the tree looks like in Fall and I couldn't describe it, so I told her I'd put a picture on the blog. Here ya go, Cookie.

At the knitting guild meeting on Thursday night my friend Z-Dawg gave me something. It's a skein of yarn that she spun herself. Now, she's only been spinning on a wheel for a few weeks and she seems to be a natural. I can not imagine being able to produce yarn like this so quickly or be willing to give it away so soon. I'd still be sitting in a pile of it, rocking it in my arms, and crooning, "my precious" to it night and day. Thanks, Z-Dawg, I'm headed right over to Ravelry to see what I can make with it.

In other crafting news, I got a cork board, a spool of ribbon, and some muslin at Hobby Lobby the other day, and put together a pin board yesterday afternoon. I still need to hot glue so
me buttons over the staples where the ribbons cross, but I'm likiing it. Maybe I'll get it hung up tomorrow, or even later today, once I find and glue the buttons.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Uh, crocuses. I stepped out the front door and a monumental change had occurred in the front yard overnight. Three little tufts of narrow green leaves are now sporting tiny golden yellow flower buds. Yay! My faith in the universe is renewed.

I finallyfinallyfinally finished the Brangelina charity hat I have been battling for the last month. I'll put it in the donations box at the Knitting Guild meeting tomorrow night and never look at it again.

In the spirit of spring and emerging flowers and new beginnings, I became enraptured by one of the Free Daily Knitting patterns last week, so last night I dug out some yarn and cast on the first of a sew of Color Stripe Vessels. Do not ask me why these teeny tiny felted bowls have so captured my interest because I don't know. I just know that I'm making them and I'm already working on figuring out how to make them bigger so I can make graduated sizes.

With the success of the Flannel & Linen Duvet I made over the weekend I suspect that I am now entering a lap-duvet-making jag. JoAnn has flannel for $1.99/yard and 30% off linen blends so I went nuts. No, I really went nuts. Good thing there's mad money in my wallet. I need to make "Pay It Forward" gifts for a few people and was thinking of these, but it might be hard to give them away. The thought does occur to me that I probably don't need 4 or 5 more lap duvets. It's not like I need to match my wheelchair or house dresses in the nursing home. But then again I haven't checked out the flannels and linens on offer at Hobby Lobby...

I made great progress on the Monster Pouch swap item last night. It's killing me not showing it to you but I can't take the chance that my swap partner will sneak over and peek, so you (and I) will just have to wait. It won't be long now.

I'm posting this on the work computer and it puts too much space in between paragraphs and pictures. Arrrgh.