Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's not pretty

Every year around this time I start to look forward to Fall.  And I start to trick myself a little bit and start doing Fall things.  Like I want to wear sweaters and be cozy, light Fall scented candles, drink pumpkin spice flavored coffee...all the things.  Last week it was really chilly at night and morning so I really felt like the weather was feeling the same as me - looking forward to Fall! ha!

Actually, that's one of the things I love about where I live is that I look forward to each season.  Winter not as much because driving on ice is not my favorite.  But a nice thick snowfall when I don't have to go anywhere is actually really sweet.  The other day I found pumpkin spice coffee creamer at the store and of course bought some and I've been enjoying it all week.

I'm trying to remember if I've talked about my back yard or not?  I think I have.  Anyways.  I killed all the grass and weeds and now it is a dead zone.  I am planning to reseed in September or whenever the temps are between 60-80 degrees consistently during the day.  Before that can happen though I have a LOT of work to do out there.  As per usual I could feel myself starting to get overwhelmed and then avoid the situation.  But!  I told myself if I just do a little at a time I'll be done in no time.

Right?  So what do I do?  Start small and take little bites?  Nope.
Yesterday I thought, I'll just start with weeding and cleaning out the raised bed area.  It's small.  So I raked and filled two trash bags full of grody foxtails and debris.  And then I thought, I'll just see if the sides lift up easily.  One side sort of did which encouraged me to dig out around the edges and lift the entire frame up over the dirt and start to move it across the yard.  In the heat of the afternoon in the sun.

Luckily I did not get sunburned but it was hard!  I'd pull and push it a couple feet then have to stop and cool down.  Then get back to it, then stop, and so on.  I kept telling myself, "you can do it, you can do it."  And eventually I did.  You can see here where I started at the dirt pile and then where I ended up on the other end of the yard.  I know in this picture it doesn't look like that far, but it really is!  Oy vey.

I parked it at the bottom of the little hill there. I wanted to leave a nice open space in the rest of the yard in case Rocky and I play fetch or something, give him room to run.  Also it gets the most continuous sun here.  The shade you see here did not start until 5 pm.  

I was kind of hoping to put an apricot tree at the top of that sloped area, there is a flat spot at the top.  But, I don't know if that will work or not.  Eventually I am going to put flowers on the hill.  I'd really love to get a cottage type garden growing there and then have the rest of the yard be lawn.  

This perspective is from inside the house looking out.  George, being a curious cat, is checking out the new situation.

So, I know these pictures are super ugly and not fun to look at, but I wanted to be able to document my starting place.  Hopefully I can manage to get everything green by next year and that box full of veggies!  My goal is to grow the ingredients for my pickles.  I thought that would be really cool.  So, cucumbers, dill, garlic and jalapenos.  I would also love some tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, lemon cucumbers and who knows what else!  

In other news I have finally gotten past the heel on sock number 2 of my raspberry waffles socks!!!  Yeah!  This yarn is so fun.  I think if I can really work on it this week I can finish this sock and have it finished!  
I hope you all have a great week!  I plan to knit and keep watching the Olympics :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

slowly but surely

A couple of weeks ago now, I had an appointment with my hairdresser to get my highlights done and trim.  On a whim I sent her a text to see if we could put some pink peek-a-boo chunks in.  I don't even know what got into me!  But, I love it!  You really only see it when I've got my hair pulled back or wind blows or something.

I started a Halloweenie table runner.  So far I just have everything up on the design wall and one square done, the one in the middle.  It was kind of fun to drag out all my Halloween fabric, there's not really that much and pull together what felt right at the moment.  Joann's has some fun Jack Skellington Nightmare Before Christmas fabric.  I cut too many squares and then overshot my estimate of how many half square triangles to make so I have enough leftovers to make a pillow as well.

I keep knitting away on my Raspberry Waffle socks.  This is where I am on the second sock, almost to the heel.  I'm really loving how this yarn is knitting up.  The colors are much deeper in person.  

I really have a hankering to be knitting a little animal of some kind.  But!  I am forcing myself to finish this sock before I cast something else on.  I'm afraid if I don't make myself finish it will languish for months. Plus, I have yet to find some fuzzy yarn in the right weight....

So!  I think I've mentioned before that the plan this year for my yard was to see what grows and then next year start filling in and fixing and planting.  Yep, that was the plan.  Key word was.  What has actually started to happen is that I'm starting the fixing this year.  Rather by accident.  I mentioned the sad weedy state of my back yard to a coworker and her husband and then all of a sudden they were like we found this spray, you should try it, blah blah you can re-seed in September, blah blah.....

And so I found myself planning how to start a new lawn from scratch.  Any real grass has been long dead and overtaken by foxtails.  Foxtails are no fun and frankly they are rude to animals.  It looks like grass at first, so I was fooled.  But, then the ends turned into foxtails, which pop off and get stuck everywhere!  ugggg. 

The new plan is that I have killed everything green in the back yard.  Don't feel bad though because all that was left were foxtails and spindly spiky dandelions.  I am then going to somehow remove all the dead stuff, rake out the dirt, fertilize and re-seed, cover with either a mulch or compost and then hopefully have grass growing.  

In the meantime!  My Mom brought me a red hot poker plant when she came to visit and I needed to plant it.  I have a couple of flower beds right up against the house in the back.  One is full of weeds, the other was full of rocks.  Nice, huh?  LOL I picked the one I thought would be easier - the rocks - and raked them out.  I bought another couple poker plants and it looks really nice!  

After church today I popped over to Joann's fabric, looking for fuzzy yarn to knit an animal.  I found a few contenders but nothing perfect.  On my way out I stopped to check the magazines. Look what I found!  Eeeek!  I can't figure out how to turn the picture, sorry.  But!  Bunny slippers!  That are not felted!!!!!  oh, it is ON!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I totally meant to post this weekend but ran out of time!  I actually got a lot done on Sunday, much needed house chores.  Saturday night I started weeding - wild night at my house!  My strategy was to have the sprinkler soak a section of yard, move the sprinkler and weed the soaked spot.  For the most part the weeds just came right out that way.

My internal alarm clock has been going off super early lately - like 3 or 4 am.  Yuck.  But, I can sometimes fall back to sleep a little bit.  Sunday morning I was up at like 5:30am.  I decided to take advantage of the coolness of the morning and start weeding.  I set the sprinkler in the back yard and weeded the front flower beds.  Then, I'd go in the back, move the sprinkler and weed back there.  I kept hopscotching back and forth until about 10:30am and I got it alllllll weeded!  Here's Rocky looking over my dead weeds.  This was really only about 1/3 of it, I had three giant trash bags full besides what's on the ground here!  While the yard was still damp I sprinkled 'weed and feed' over it in the hopes of bringing some of the grass back to life.
I have to say that my back and legs were SO sore Sunday and the next few days!  OMG.  Like so sore.  My next yard challenge is going to be pulling the foxtails out of my raised bed, and cleaning rocks out of the flower beds in the back.  Next month I am going to see if I can re-seed the grass.  The weed and feed container said I need to wait 30 days to re-seed.

Saturday morning I made it to farmer's market.  I was looking for cucumbers.  Last year I totally spaced it until the end of the Summer and by that time pickings were few.  I got there about mid morning and there were still lots of cukes!  I bought a few pounds, fresh garlic, jalapenos and dill.  Super fresh, beautiful, fragrant produce!  Perfect for pickles.

Sunday afternoon I set about making some spicy garlic dill pickles.  I know I've said before that canning is so much easier in my new kitchen, but seriously it is SO nice!  I've got lots of counter areas which made it cool to have "stations".  I also love my dishwasher!  I washed the jars while I was cleaning up the cucumbers and cutting the jalapenos and peeling the garlic.  The water started to boil right about when the dishwasher cycle ended which was perfect for processing.  The jars need to be warm so that when you add the jars to the boiling water it's not a shock - there's a chance a jar could break if it's put in cold.  I've never had that happen but it's better to be safe.

It never ceases to impress me how pretty pickles are.  My kitchen smelled so delicious!

After finishing the pickles I wanted to get some sewing done.  I went into the sewing room and who did I find in the closet snuggled with fabric?  George!  How cozy is she?

I decided to make some fabric baskets.  I've been thinking it would be cool to have some to hold random stuff.  I used the measurements from the 1 hour basket tutorial on Craftsy.  I didn't follow the tutorial, just got the measurements from it.  After making this one I wish I had actually read the directions.  Not sure what I was thinking but I left an opening for turning along the top edge instead of the lining!  It would have made my life easier to do it that way - now I'll remember for next time.

I made two at the same time with different facings.  This top one is a super stiff facing.  Not exactly my favorite.  The facing had a "memory" and kept some of the curl from being on the cardboard bolt.  I'm not a fan.  Plus turning it inside out was a super pain.  boo

This second one I used a soft fleecy facing that I use for my project bags.  I was pleasantly surprised that it held up like a basket.  I was afraid it would fold in on itself but it stands up nicely.  Currently I don't have anything in this pink floral one but I'm sure I'll fill it up with something soon!

I plan on making some shorter versions to put on my rolling cart to hold a few things like scissors and such.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

putting the craft room together

I am so, so close to being completely finished with the craft room!!!  I did take a "before" picture that is hairy scary!  Usually when I tell people I have a lot of stuff and that it's all over the place I can tell they don't really know what I mean, or think I'm exaggerating.  The mess I had was not an exaggeration, lol!
As you can see, I had stuff everywhere!  I had boxes brimming with stuff, stacks of stuff to organize.  I just took it one box at a time, and pretty soon you could start to see more of the floor.

Last weekend I also realized that I still had not put the light switch cover back on from when I painted.  In every room of the house the switches are different colors.  Like my bedroom has all white switches, the spare oom has cream colored switches.  The sewing room has cream colored covers and it was kind of old looking.  I thought about covering it with fabric, but instead did scrapbook paper and mod podge.  It turned out super cute!  And, if I get tired of it, I can re-do it.

This view is looking in from the doorway.

Here is the view standing by the window looking straight back.  You can see that I have a double closet with huge floor to ceiling doors.  I decided to use the door space like another wall.  Not sure if you can really tell but I did paint the corkboard a violet color, one of my favorites.  I plan to put mini quilts around in the open space.

This view is standing over by the bookcase looking towards the door.  I put my design wall on that wall.  My super fancy design wall is two table cloths that have the fuzzy backing.  I bought these on clearance for a total of $5!

I have my sewing table right in the middle of the room.  That way there is room to walk around the table to cut, and also table space for quilting.

This view is standing at the closet looking towards the window.  On the left is my yarn stash.  On the right bookcase are my scrapbooks, notions, and patterns.

I'm including this picture for my Mom in case she reads this post.  This was her dolly growing up I believe?  Well, I put it through the wash last weekend and she came through really well!  I need to get more wool yarn for her hair, that was the one thing that sort of frayed.  Isn't she cute though???

I finally got a lily bloom!!!!  I am so loving these lilies in the front flower bed.  These will definitely be staying.

It's such a relief to have the craft room put together.  I am finally feeling like I can sew in there.  I have a million ideas.  While Mom was visiting she remarked that there are bits of my creativity in every room.  It was so nice of her to notice because that really has been my goal.  I've wanted to fill my home with things I've made, that make me happy and others feel comfortable and welcome.  It has been soothing for me.

I've tried not to talk about losing my husband as much here lately.  But, this year being an election year....and all the horrid things going on in the world right now....make me miss him more.  He was my safety zone.  My person to talk politics with that would not get angry or defensive, or misunderstand me.  I don't always know how to say what I mean.  And lately the daily headlines hurt my heart - every one of them.  Knowing that another family is now knowing the heart wrenching loss that I have and in the public eye, with people commenting on either end when really their hearts are's too much sometimes.  I pray for peace, love, understanding for everyone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

a visit from Mom

There is a point in life that I have been blessed to get to.  That point is enjoying your Mother's company.  I think we can all get there at different speeds, different time frames, but once we do it is so sweet.  I have appreciated my Mom's company, her presence, for a long time.  We drive each other batty-mad-crazy sometimes but she is also one of my best friends.  Why do I mention this now?  This past weekend, Mom came to visit.

I was pretty excited for her to get here.  This would be the first time she has seen my new home!!!  So, of course, I had preparations to make.  I had not put up curtains yet in the spare room where she would be sleeping so that was first on the list.  I had the above pictured fabric in my stash for I'd say 15 years.  10 at the bare minimum.  And the funny thing is that Mom gave it to me!  I think she still has some?  

I had been saving it to make one of those quilts that you can fold up into a pillow.  The faux quilt squares seemed just perfect for that.  But, I never got around to it.  And then I wasn't sure that's what I wanted to do with it.  Last week when I was considering what I wanted that room to look like, I remembered this fabric!  and it is perfect!  Privacy achieved but also lets in lots of light.

Friday morning I was just toodling around, waiting to go meet her and bring her to my house.  I finally finished these purple striped socks.  Which, by the way, turns out that I put the heel in too soon so they are too low and a bit tight on the inseam.  Boo!  I could rip them back....but I think I'll see if any friends with smaller feet might like them.

I met Mom under this flag in a teeny little California town.  It was a beautiful day and I was so SO relieved that Mom made it safely!  Oy!
I didn't get any pictures while she was here - we were just doing stuff!  no time for pictures!  It was a lovely visit.  The weather was perfect.  Funny thing about that - for us here is was hot, like 75-80 degrees.  But she came up from Chico which is like 100 degrees during the day in the Summer so she was chilly a lot of the time!  ha!  

So my neighborhood has an annual yard sale where tons of houses in the subdivision have a sale, maybe 40 sales?  We didn't get around to all of them but we did have fun and found some goodies at the ones we did get to.  I scored two wooden chairs!  I needed one for my sewing room and one for the desk in the spare oom.  Then, we got back to my house and threw together some stuff quickly that we wanted to get rid of.  It was great.

I grilled kabobs that afternoon and then we indulged in ice cream from DQ.  It was like the perfect Summer evening.

I had such a good time showing my house to Mom, and she really loved it.  One thing she commented on was that my house is cozier than it appears in pictures.  I do love a cozy home so that was nice to hear :)

I took Monday off work, and I'm glad I did.  I was the biggest lazy bones in the world!  I did cast on a new pair of socks but other than that was super lazy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

home, nesting and socks

Last weekend I was in Bend with friends for a ladies retail therapy weekend.  I may have gone a little bit overboard at Hobby Lobby, but that's easy to do there!  I want to do a gallery wall in the dining room and I found a bunch of sayings and scriptures and cute stuff!  Once I get everything up on the walls I'll share pictures.

I finished up these socks this week. I'm really pleased with them!  You can't see the sparkle, but the green yarn has silver stellina in it, which made it fun to knit!  These need to have ends woven in but then they will go in the drawer for cooler weather.  
Rocky was extra lovey when I got back from Bend, he was very snuggly.  One thing that really stood out was that on the way home, I was really looking forward to being *home*.  This house really feels like home for me which is such a great feeling.  

One of the fun things about my new house is finding out what is growing where.  I decided that this first year I will just observe.  I've been learning a lot!  This week the rose bushes in the front bloomed and they are beautiful.  So vibrant and lots of blooms.  I have a lily plant in the front that I think is right about to bloom, can't wait!  I love lilies.  So far, the roses, lilies and rhubarb will stay.  I really want to put in shrubs.  I've seen a couple houses in the neighborhood that have nice small delicate looking shrubs and I think I'd like some like those.

So this week after I finished my green and pink socks, I found I had no projects I wanted to work on.  I have one pair of socks on the needles but I didn't feel like working on them, more on that later.  I do have a cross stitch project but didn't feel like that was it either.   

Suddenly I decided I needed to make a pom pom garland for my mantle!!!  Yes!  I super love how it turned out.  I found that wooden whale up in Bend and had just set it there, and once the garland was on it just looked right.

I have to share this lamp shade that I bought.  A coworker had an estate sale this weekend and had a couple beautiful stained glass lamps.  I technically did not need another lamp, but I saw this dragonfly one and had to have it!  She gave me an amazing deal on it.  I swapped out the shade I already had on this lamp and I really like the way it looks.

This is the pair of socks that I was avoiding working on the other night.  See, the thing is, I had them on magic loop two at a time.  I had already finished past the heels even!  But I've come to realize I just don't like magic loop.  I've also realized that I accomplished what I set out to do which was learn how to knit two socks at a time but I don't have to keep it up if it's not a pleasure. 
You can see a progress keeper, that is how far I've gotten since Friday!  Also, I had been using size 0 hiya hiya sharps, but did not have that size in DPNs.  Well, no, technically I do but the ones I have are too long for my liking.  This set of Knit Pro Zings is the next smallest size I have.  I had ordered them awhile ago and when I got them they were a disappointment.  First, I bought the wrong size.  Then the color was not what had been pictured.  Further, they seemed to have too much drag.  There was like a powdery coating or something and I just did not like them.  So, I set them aside.

But!  Guess what?  I thought I'd give them another chance since I didn't have too far to go to finish these socks.  And the powdery coating has come off the more I knit with them.  And now I really like them!  The funny thing is that my gauge is the same as when I was using the zeros.  So there you go.  

My sewing room is still a disaster zone.  It's really bothering me but I also feel like way overwhelmed by it.  I have too much stuff.  But, it's stuff that I may use and hate to give away because then what if that day comes for that project and I have to repurchase.  The struggle is real.  But I need to get it sorted out quick because my creative energy is getting that pent up feeling and it needs an outlet.  Knitting doesn't do it, it's more just relaxing for me.  I need to sew and quilt and MAKE!  I need to just buckle down and do a little at a time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

long weekend projects

Today is the last day of my long weekend.  It was Memorial day this weekend but I took today off as well to take George into the vet to get her kitty boosters.  I had made the appointment a couple weeks ago, and made the appointment around a lunchtime.  I still have the mindset sometimes that I only live a mile from work and can just run home, the vet and home again on a lunchtime.  My new house is about 20 minutes from the vet's office so a lunchtime would not work!  I have to say I am SO proud of George!  I was wondering how she would do and she didn't try to bite, scratch or anything at all!  Awwww turns out she's sweet after all.

So!  Long weekend!  I had mentioned that I wanted to put shelves in the closets of my sewing room and I thought this weekend would be the perfect time to do it.  I almost chickened out a few times.  So, advice.  I've heard it said before "measure twice, cut once" and that is very true!  I did not measure twice and therefore ended up with too small of shelving pieces.  Boo!
Also good advice: know what setting your drill is on.  There is a button on mine that has forward and backward.  The first screw I attempted I had it on backward so it just kept flipping the screw out instead of screwing it in.  So frustrating!  Until I noticed I had pushed in the backward button.  Doh!

After that it went fairly smoothly.  One piece of wood for the side brackets split down the middle when I screwed it, so I think it must have been a defective piece of wood, or I hit it just right to split it.  I did buy cheap plywood.  Which is strong, but uggggggly!  Initially I thought painting might do the trick but it was so rough and knotty that it wouldn't have looked nice.  Next thought: fabric!  

I covered the shelves after securing them to the side brackets and used my staple gun to adhere the fabric.  It's not perfect, but looks nice and won't snag my stash.  Yesterday I worked on unpacking boxes of fabric and putting them in color order on the shelves.  I have a TON and I do mean a ton of little scraps.  Like two tubs worth.  I didn't have the energy to figure out what to do with those so unfortunately the sewing room is still looking like a disaster zone. Uggg.

I did sort out some fabrics that I don't want and put them in a box.  Stuff that is too thin to quilt with or I just don't really like.  One good thing is that the subdivision I moved to has an annual yard sale, like almost every house has a yard sale and the whole town knows about it.  So, it's free advertising and gets lots of traffic.  I am thinking I can put up a table or two of stuff.  Plus Mom will be visiting that weekend so I let her know in case she wants to pack anything up here.  It will be interesting, for sure!

 This weekend being Memorial day weekend, I knew I wanted to go visit Scott at the cemetery.  Part of his cremains are buried at the National Cemetery in Eagle Point, which is roughly an hour drive from me.  I discovered the first year that they put up little flags on all the headstones.  It is stunning.  It's beautiful, it's sobering.  Also what I discovered that first year is that it is a busy day!  So, I drove over Sunday night when it would be the quietest.  It's been 3 years and I still feel so much better after I go and talk to him. He was my best friend, my confidant.  I used to chatter on about everything to him.  And God bless him, he was such a good listener!  I really miss that.

This is right inside the entrance.

Yesterday I decided to tackle a project that I've kind of been avoiding.  I had a stack of socks that needed either end woven in or holes fixed.  I discovered the hard way that you should not machine wash hand knit socks with other regular laundry items!!!!  Just don't do it.  I have 3 pairs that I had washed all at the same time and something must have caught at each one and ripped a hole in all of them.  I think maybe one sock made it out unscathed...

But, I had never darned socks before.  I found a tutorial online and started to it.  I think, um, it must be an acquired talent?  Yikes!  Mine turned out super rough!  But, I guess the main point is to fix the holes and I definitely did that.  Thankfully I still had leftover bits of all the yarns I used.  The only one that I didn't have the color was the top left sock.  You can see in the beige area the bright pink patch.  Meh.  No one but me is going to notice.

The rest of the afternoon I am just going to chill out and knit or cross stitch!  About cross stitch.  It's funny, I noticed that I really have been wanting to stitch but I'm almost done with my second rhubarb sock - oh yeah, that's what I've started calling my newest pair of socks! - but anyway, I have been very strict with myself that I must finish those before working on anything else.  Why?  I don't even know!  But, I am going to reward myself for mowing the lawn before taking George to the vet with some stitching :)  

I hope you all have a great day, week, and do something that brings you joy!