Saturday, April 30, 2011

Symposium and assorted goodness.

It is done!  Perhaps that needs to be said again but frankly I just don't have the energy.  I took part in the System's Symposium for Undergraduate Research today.  I put together (first time ever using power point) a lovely little poster explaining my research since last may.  44 by 48 to sum up a year's worth of work?!?!?! 

I was super stressed out and worried about making a good impression and not having my tongue tie itself into knots.  I had to stand in front of my poster and wait for an hour answering questions and talking to people as they wandered by.  Very stressful.  Most people would not view me as shy or nervous but I was.  From what to wear to how to say any of the things I know and love about what I am and have been doing.  I picked out (thrifted) 5 outfits and made the family pick (the kids chose a bright red jacket, navy skirt and autumn colored tank) my outfit.

The hardest thing was waiting in front of the poster when there was no one to talk with as people wandered around!  I feel like I did good, and it is over.  Except, I was asked to talk to a small community group on campus next week only to find out after agreeing that the group in 100 people in the theater!  So now I have to make a presentation up.  In my head I am already thinking about trying for two posters at next years symposium.

On to the assorted goodness, some pretty things that have fed my soul this week I hope you enjoy them too!
Butterfly opening eggs.
Badger finding eggs and helping her younger cousin find them.
Halfway between my house & Everywhere live The Swans.  This year they built their nest a safer distance from the road!

Beautiful aren't they.  There is a blue heron who lives right in this area too but he is stubbornly camera shy.
My garden unfurling.

Not sure what this is other than pretty.

Blue bells.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yarn Along - Rug.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things, wishing you all a creative productive day.

I finished the red shawl on the loom and stitched a button on it for Badger she wore it for Easter and Butterfly wore the pink thing, I will have to get them to model later in the week.  I am still sick every time a get to feeling better it only lasts for a day or so then wham!  So not much has been done here.  Jim took the week off and it is so nice to have more time with him. 

I am working on my rug in lime stripes sugar and cream for my Grandma's for Christmas and enjoying the project even though I have avoided seed stitch before.  As for reading I am reading Kay Hooper's Blood trilogy, reading Little House in The Big Woods for the kids and reading Tumtum & Nutmeg to Mouse at bedtime.  You would not believe how much I look forward to hearing about their adventures each night!

The rug is knit with three balls at a time and they kept getting  tangled when I would stop working for awhile, so I got the idea to put them in mason jars and they had remained untangled since and I rather like the tink-tink sound knitting on this project makes. 

Soon, I will start back on to Mouse's loom sweater, the shawl showed me that one yellow loom is about right for the back of his sweater so then to halves should be about right for the front panels of the cardigan, I could just sew the arms on straight but I think I may play around with decreasing a bit to get the shape right and this time I will take notes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

SHhhh... don't tell

my kids or guests that this cake is made with Beans.  I saw the recipe at The Accidental Huswife and just had to try it.  It looks good and smells good.  We will be eating it tomorrow when friends come to play board games, so fingers crossed.

Shrug? Sweater? Thing....

...well it is pink anyway!  It started as the back off a baby bunting for Badger.  Hahaha.  Size two needles, began two weeks before delivery.  great plan.  So it sat, long past any usefulness for my children.  When one of our friends started a knitting night I went bringing along the pink thing, but it was dull knitting row after row of stockinette while everyone else knitted (and finished) more interesting things.  So to the bottom of the yarn box it went.  I decided I wanted to finish all the projects I start.  This is a huge goal for me and someday means there will be a sailboat built in my yard.  (I have the plans and it has become a family joke!) 

Out came the pink thing.  It was not big enough to turn into a shirt with ribbons for straps, so I had to come up with something else.  I was reading Farmama when I saw it!  In one shot, unremarked on or more accurately the focus was on other things, was her little daughter wearing a fuzzy pink shrug.  It looked like a rectangle with sleeves.  Well I had a pink rectangle....  So I picked up stitches on the edge, increased, and switched to a much larger needle.  I played around with making holes and liked the little sleeve I made, so I made another. 

Next problem I put it on Butterfly and it looked weird from the front - a sweater that stopped in the armpit!  It worked the first time so... I picked up more stitches and knit away, then did mostly the same thing on the other side.  But it ended up stretching the back panel and made fans of the front.  The upside is it is super soft and she LOVES it.  The downside, it is falling off her. 

Next plan.  Buttons!  Buttons on the shoulders to hold the fans up and closed and buttons holding a pleat in the back (which might make this last even longer, fingers crossed.)  This also led to a button shopping trip, where we found the buttons to be half price!  And picked up some clearance buttons for two sweaters my Grandma made me (wearing one now) that have been missing buttons forever!

The pink roses where Butterfly's pick.

The Great Math Error!

Otherwise known as 'Julia is making a quilt.'  Every time I start a large quilting project, I miscalculate something.  Once, it was a fabric shortage that after I redesigned the quilt, bought and cut new material, I discovered was not a shortage.  Or the wedding quilt fiasco of 2009, where I designed a quilted for my cousin Abbey's wedding, only to end up with enough fabric cut and sewn in stripes for 5 full sized quilts and well I let you know when I stop using the scraps for baby doll quilts (to say nothing of the extra fabric!) 

Well I have done it again.  Only this time I figured it out much earlier than normal (this may end up being a bad thing to say as there could be more, only time will tell.) I thought I could sew a square of two a week and have a log cabin quilt done for my cousin Carol's wedding in July.   Um... yeah in order to have it done in time I would have to sew a square a day!  Not a big deal really I usually crank on quilts under a deadline and get them done in the nick of time.  This was my anti-procrastination plan.  Sigh.

I have made these two and Jim pronounced the really good.  Normally he tells me I should have left a fabric out or that it clashes completely, so this was high praise!  My plan however, called for doing lots of colors, but only one per square and then arranging them like a rainbow outward from the center.  Jim then found out I was "making the best work you've ever done clash anyway..."

Which caused me to dig through my fabric stash and sort any piece big enough to cut a 1.5 inch strip from in to color piles.  Fun looking through it but mostly I trashed my workspace highlighting the need to re-organize.  Sigh.

Then I showed the squares to Mom and Dad.  Dad pronouncing them to be good work and Mom stating she agreed with Jim!  My husband is not in the hospital but he did grab his chest in jest when I told him. 

This all prompted a fabric shopping trip for more green!  

I hope your misadventures bring you luck! -Julia

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yarn along - looms and rugs.

Joining Ginny at Small Things. The market bag is complete, and I am switching gears for awhile.

I bought knitting looms for the kids and figured I would try them myself before trying to teach the kids.  I sat down and started on the smallest size with fuzzy gray yarn figuring I could have a baby gift to tuck away while I was at it.  It was fun! after an hour my dad - who's living room I was sitting in - asked wasn't that supposed to be for the kids?  When I got home Jim asked what I was making and when I told him he said because I thought that looked like a sweater sleeve.  I looked.  It did.  So sure in my belief that the internet could tell me how to make the rest of the sweater I loomed the length of a Mouse sleeve.  Then I found out that the internet fails sometimes.  So know I am looming a panel to test to eventually make a Mouse sweater to go with that poor lonely sleeve.  The red yarn is leftover bottom of my slash stuff that I want to use all up before buying more.  I think it will end up being a shawl for Badger, as she has been eying it and demanding to try it on.  The green is Sugar and Cream in lime stripes an will be a rug for my Grandma for Christmas.

I am reading Be Buried in the Rain by Barbara Michaels, which is an old favorite and brought into my life my favorite poet, Edna St. Vincent Milay.  The other book is Seams to Me, 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing which is a friendly little book I have just started by Anna Maria Horner.   Mouse and I have been readin Tumtum & Nutmeg Adventures Beyond Rose cottage that was recommended by someone here.  we are reading a chapter a night and I find myself wondering how those mice are doing all through out the day.

Hope your projects are going well and your books are satisfying! - Julia

Weekend wonders and the plague.

I got a lot accomplished this weekend and found a huge math error in my sewing plans!  Sunday we went to the fairy princess tea party 3rd birthday party for dear friends and the children all behaved like storybook children, no fussing or anything to mar the day. It was amazing. 

Then Monday the plague struck.  Sick kids and sick mommie!  So today while contemplating toast and my tummy, I begin the cleaning house and finding everything that needed to get done earlier in the week, so it can be done.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sewing with the kids

Sadly it is windy and rainy here.  So we made our own fun.  With help and anti-help at various points the kids and I made three stuffed animals and trimmed three fleece throws for the fairy tea party birthday party we are attending on Sunday.  They are super excited to dress up as fairies (even Beaver as he get to be an evil - but not scary - fairy.)

On the helping side the kids each choose the fabrics and did some or all of the stuffing and handed me pieces and eyes.  Mouse is learning to use the sewing machine so his help was more hands on!  I look forward to the day when we are all crafting together.  In that light I have declared that each child has to make each of their siblings a handmade Christmas present, to be done and wrapped by Thanksgiving.  Mouse is excited, Butterfly and Beaver looked worried, her at the idea of doing it herself, him at what he would get from them.  Badger asked if we could have a tree.

 Did I mention we almost finished?  Just have to hand stitch some heads.  One door-mouse by Mouse, One Zebra by Butterfly, and One Pink Elephant by Badger.  The Patterns come from a book older than me with it's pages jammed back in.  It is wonderful.  If you see a copy grab it!

On the not helping side - it snowed filling in my sewing room two nights in a row and they took the scraps and made a 'fort.'   I will be saving their scraps in a little box under the table for next time as the girls where very determined to get more scraps. 

The fort.....

Hope you had a messy fun filled day! - Julia

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along Two

Waves at everyone knitting or crocheting and reading along with Ginny at Small Things.
Market bag for Craft it Forward & The Oto By William Whitman
Finished Bag!
I finished Badger's Market bag and am mostly done with the Craft it forward market bag!  I am still busily working on the paper for class on the Oto, so that is all the reading I have done this week.  I did finish Mistress of the Art of Death from Last week and loved it, very detailed, rich and interesting.

Badger showing how it works.
Hope your projects are going well can't wait to see them! - Julia

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lab day and deadlines.

Watch Fob, Silver Ring, Gear, 1929 Dime & 1909 Penny.

Just a quick post today as I am over my head in toit's today.  Ever noticed how everything always seems to be due on the same day?!  Any way I am working on a poster presentation for a Symposium at the University and spent all my lab time yesterday trying to take good clear shots of the some of the more interesting items found at the Tavern Site.  Much harder than I expected and I am mostly unhappy so more picture on Wednesday. 

Shell, glass, bone, brass and copper buttons, ladies' pin & engraved shell.

Slate Fragments and slate pencils.

Kaolin pipe fragments.

Clay & glass marbles and a doll's foot.


Whole bottle and small vial bottle.

Glass buttons, stem glass base, old olive glass, perfume stopper, blue glass reading "drug"

Shells and percussion caps.

My dad was a professional photographer when I was little, I asked him for some advice and help, and suddenly I was a little girl with him doing lighting checks in the kitchen while I ate oatmeal.  I love when my life brings me full circle.  That the advice was mostly technical and a bit over my head  added to the feeling.  Dad was always one to explain random things that came up completely and as if we where grown-ups, which explains why I understood great circle routes of navigation before I could identify all the countries in Europe!

So come Wednesday armed with more cameras and my Dad's voice in my head I shall tackle this again until then I have to get to work on the words part! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend wonders.

We have a packed weekend but it felt like we had a lot of time rather than being rushed.  Beaver had a school dance, he even had a date.  He bought her ticket anyway but I don't think he had as nice of a time as he expected.  Often the reality of an event is much less than our expectations and I think my baby (I know 12 is not a baby) just learned that. 
Chicken Salad with dried cranberries and peanuts
Saturday, We had friends over for Crafting.  My husband practices his craft - cooking, while the rest of us sit at the table and work on what ever projects we have going.  The kids all run around and we have a great time.  Sarah has decided she hates all the yarn she own so she is de-cluttering by knitting it all up and then sewing the patches together for a blanket.  While I think the end product will be cheerful, she was having a hard-time with it and told me this morning she decided to follow my advice and stitch up the sides of the piece she was working on to make a purse for her daughter.  Finishing projects and working on things you like make so much difference.  Bridget spent most of the time untangling a skein of beautiful cotton and started several projects.  She normally is the one who finishes the most projects in an afternoon.  Allison finished her cross stitch baby wall hanging - so someone who knows her should have a baby as the project is beautiful.  She started another one.  I finished my market bag for Badger and worked on the one for my Craft it Forward project. (pictures on Wednesday.)

We decided to go for a family walk on Sunday.  I know better, I really do.  My husband can walk and walk and walk.  Seriously, forever.  Badger's two year old legs gave up on the way to the park but perked up for playing there.  I ended up carrying her most of the way there and the whole way back.  Jim half dragged Mouse and Butterfly for a good chunk of the way home and ended up carrying Butterfly a while.  Badger fell asleep in my arms on the way home!  It was beautiful, a perfect day, a lovely park my kids and all the others there happy, smiling, and giggling. Next, we are deciding where we are going before we leave!  Not a bad life plan...

Hope your weekend was full of joy. - Julia

Friday, April 8, 2011

My adventure.

I loaded up the Mouse and got him to kindergarten this morning then Team Girl went on an adventure!  To Wisconsin Spin In.  I could not take a class there (girls and wheel not working so well) but figured I could buy some fiber, look, touch and dream.  I was a little worried too taking the girls with but we talked about not touching or running.  The first couple of people did not seem pleased to have the littles, but the yarn and roving were so beautiful!

Then we were greeted by two wonderful alpaca farmers, who were loom knitting hats.  They invited us into their small stall and told us to touch everything!  These men where awesome.  I explained I wanted to look at everything before buying anything, and off we went.  The next stall had a woman spinning out front wearing an apron made out of blue bandannas, she greeted the girls first and we chatted about my wheel.  They repair wheels but their store is about a 2-3 drive from here!  She was supper nice.  We wandered around, and Butterfly, who wants to be a musician, was fascinated with the man playing music and surprised her momma in knowing that he was playing a banjo.   I really have to figure out some music lessons for her.

After we had look around we went back to the lady with the cool apron and asked if tell would be able to take a look at my wheel here.  The convention is through tomorrow  too, so I was hopeful.  When she found out it was in the car she told me to grab it and watched the girls while I went so I wasn't trying to push a stroller with one hand carry the wheel with the other.  Her husband come out and laughed at my drive band!  Then looked further,  the orifice is not in-line with the hooks, putting tension on the flyer - causing my draft problem and the drive wheel was spinning a bit on the axle.  He has to take those pieces home with him and will mail them back to me.  He figured it would only be like $15-20 and he is sending me a proper drive band as well.

We also went back to the alpaca farmers and are now the proud, excited owners a 21oz of unwashed alpaca fleece, from a soft light brown gal named Reba who lives about an hour and a half from us.  

Camel it is a darker brown than is showing up.

We met a nice lady selling Camel that was picked by women and children in Afghanistan, hand de-haired by them and sold often as their only means of support.  1 oz was eight dollars most of which goes back to the people who actually collected the fiber.  We got an oz, no clue what we will do with it, but it is really soft and I feel good about the purchase.  Badger insisted on carrying the little bag. 

Hope your adventures bring you joy and excitement! - Julia

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sewing bee

I wanted to sit a spell and sew with the ladies at The Sewing Bee so here are a few things on my sewing table.

 This is going to be a snap bag to keep my knitting safe inside my purse and book bag.  Just as soon as I find where the broken tape measure I have been cutting up for spring steel is.  The lighter fabric is leftover from making handkerchiefs and the floral fabric came as part of a gift set of fat quarters from Jo-Ann's that Santa brought me one year in a cute cream tin, most of them have been used up but I still have a few pieces left. 

This is my forever project.  For our wedding, instead of having a guess book we had people sign squares of fabric.  I then decided to embroider over the names and then make a quilt.  I decided to stitch a nine patch then do the embroidery one square at a time, only doing the work by hand. My father made me a 10 foot long quilting frame that I want this to be the first project I make on it. So this project has been going on for 6+ years now and I hope to have it done by our 10th anniversary!  For that to happen I'd need to work on it more often.  

My cousin is getting married this summer I plan to make her a log cabin quilt.  I hope to get a square a week done minimum so you will be seeing that progress as well.  I am doing it in lap quilting style so the squares will be assembled and quilted at the same time then put together.  
What are you working on and planning? - Julia

Wooly wednesdays - yes I know it's Thursday.

From the back.
I am only just starting out learning to spin.  I bought my wheel second hand a few weeks ago.  Then hit the library for books.  I am having trouble, but there is a class being offered next month, so I will blunder on until then.  The wheel was handmade by a man looking to make some extra money. He took apart his wife's wheel and built this one.  The lady I bought it from never used it, her husband bought it for her as a gift thinking that as she did crafts and needle work she would like it.  He passed on four years ago and she is parting with things now to move to a smaller home.  She was happy to sell it but looked so sad and lonely when we left. I'd like to make her something with yarn that I've spun. 

The drive band keeps slipping off and I am having trouble getting the yarn to draft. I am also wondering it the wool I am using is not a great place to start.  I did do some work on a drop spindle my father made using the same wool so that may just be in my head.

I am spinning with the ladies at spinspiration for Wooly Wednesday. Here is what I have done so far, not much but it is a start at doing what I have been dreaming of doing for a long time now.

What are you dreaming and doing? - Julia

The end of things... or not.

Yesterday was a lab day!  Some days I can't wait to go in by that was not the case.  I was almost finished cataloging and had started making itemized lists from the catalog sheets this week only to discover that the other student who had been helping me had made a lot of mistakes.  It really was not totally her fault as she was way over her head and we had realized she was struggling but not how badly, she basically left off most of the information that was supposed to be collected.  I am hoping she wrote it on the item tags but that is for next week.  Having realized that instead of being almost done with this phase, I would have to go back and correct so much I was a bit depressed and frankly angry, as I had pointed out mistakes earlier on.  There were other things she could have done in the lab that would have been helpful and while not as interesting I expect she would have done well at them.  I was a bit cranky yesterday. 

4 and 1/2 shell 2-holed buttons, all from the same level! 

Then, I got in the lab and started to work. The mystery on the items took over and I found myself calm and studying the artifacts.  I managed to finish the LAST TWO acquisition numbers one with 740 items and the other with 475.  Happy dance! Happy dance! this phase is complete (we shall ignore that repair work that starts on Monday.)

The other thing that is almost all gone, the three types of jam Beaver and I made this fall.  Only three little jars where waiting on the shelf in the cellar for me this more.  This one is Mulberry - Blueberry, the mulberries where picked but the boys and they are like little pieces of candy in the jam.   We are having homemade calzones for dinner, the dough is rising on the counter and the whole world seems yummie.

The girls and I are off to the library to get some books recommended by the wonderful ladies in the Yarn Along.

Hope you have something yummie to eat today! - Julia