Thursday, October 20, 2011

Phone calls

I didn't want to receive.  My aunt called last night, she could not get a hold of my parents.  The hospice my Grandma is in called and told them to come - they live in Colorado Springs,CO &  Grandma is in Cheyenne, WY - Grandma's condition had worsened.  They had just left on Sunday.  Grandma is so much worse and so we are waiting for the next call, too late to fly out for another goodbye, we wait to fly out for the final one.  I finally got a hold of my parents to find the reason the were unreachable is they were stuck in ER determining if the hospital was going to keep Mom again.  My Mom's health has been like this since I was 12, it is awful, but you learn to accept awful as normal.  Dad decided not to tell my mother as the Doctor decided to keep her at least overnight, what would be the point? Her doctor knows what is going on and is hoping to release her today.  I called my sister and told her about both.

Nothing has changed this morning, so I am cleaning house and folding laundry, packing my bags, and tucking my projects away or finishing them quickly.  Hoping to make parent teacher conferences tonight. Wishing it wasn't like this. 

Grandma was always they healthiest and strongest of all of us.  She told Mom a month or so ago, that she always hoped to go by getting really sick so she knew it was coming but having enough time to say goodbye to everyone.  Really she has gotten, that wish, in July they told us it would be days... I just want more, I always would have. We lived with her for a while when my father was in the Navy and in a lot of ways she raised my sister and me, hopefully I can be half the woman she is. 

I have decided to take the rug I was working on for her before she got sick and bind it off there and send it with her.  I am too superstitious to bind it off before she is gone, and could not work on it again without her and even if I did what would I do with it.  

The picture is the grave site of the professor Indiana Jones is supposed to be based on.  I don't seem to have Grandma's picture on my computer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the kitchen...

 Thai chillies from the farmer's market ready to be dried, two trays plus a few more in the fridge for fresh use.  So pretty.
Candied lemon peel a bonus from the preserved lemons I am making, the ones in the bowl were meant to be chopped up to toss in hoska and other such breads in a few months, but is mostly being eaten instead. 

Yarn along - the start of Beaver's gloves

Having a great love of knitting and reading what could be better than a yarn along with wonderful artisans from all over the world. Nothing.  So head on over to Small Things and check out what Ginny and everyone are working on.

 There they are the much awaited double pointed needles from my local yarn shop - Beading Heart Studios - just when I was about to give up and find any needles from anywhere, they arrived.  I am hoping I will be able to get the fingerless gloves Beaver wants for this birthday (Nov. 1st) done in time but he has been warned it may only be one on-time.  I have never done gloves or worked on dpn for any length of time, a few rows here and there but knitting while holding a porcupine is something I have avoided.  I took these pictures last night then knit for an hour on the gloves - less than an inch - and 3 while gaming, talking and eating on the scarf (below) so it is almost done.

I am reading The Natural Knitter, it is interesting with some information on fibers, history, farming mixed in among the patterns.  I finished American Terrior this week and read Green Knitting which was very interesting with about 6 patterns I wanted to make in it.  When I have time....

 Quickie knit scarf for my cousin's nearly 3 year old daughter for Christmas.  Left over yarn from Cowl below.  This is on 17's and mostly done this morning.
Cowl for Jim's cousin for Christmas, she is 13 and I plan on making one for each of her sisters (different colors) and tucking a matching nail polish in the package.  This was done on the loom and finished in like 4 hours total, it still needs some blocking and tail tucking. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Plans for the day/week.

Wrap the presents I got for Beaver's birthday (November 1st) and start the stuffed horse I am making him.  If the dpn's I ordered don't come in soon for his gloves I will have to buy some elsewhere. 

buy a zipper for Mouse's sweater and piece it together.

Wash comforter and hang on the line.

Prep model for mother v. son competition and paint it for Oct 29th.

Clean house and fold laundry.

Make bread.

Finish nightgown for Badger - made one for Butterfly yesterday.

Finalize crafting plans for Christmas presents and work fingers off.  I really want to make almost all gifts for everyone this year, partially it is money saving thing, but only partially. 

Clean front porch and build wool cabinet. 

Spin, spin, spin... This counts toward Christmas crafting as I am planning on given several knitters in family homespun and dyed yarn. (Total excuse) and get wheel working without child labor (doubt this will happen.)

Put the garden to bed.

I better stop planning now and get to work.

One happy thought for the day - the last afghan my grandma sent us hanging on the line yesterday. 

A new day.

Friday: Butterfly got to see her grandparents and get her birthday presents from them.  They had been sick (and still were not feeling great) so they missed her party.  She had a wonderful time, normally when she goes some where the division of kids means she is either with mouse (middle two) or with Badger (girls together) well as Nathaniel goes to dinner with his dad on Friday evening she got to go with him and it was different and odd for her.  I also took the car, better mileage, which she very rarely rides in so that was fun for her too.  Grandpa surprised her with an ice cream cake.

Saturday: We went to the farmer's market, despite the cold wind it was a good day!  Huge beets from a very pregnant woman, tiny thai peppers, cayennes, shallots (I am plant half the bag and hoping)  pie pumpkins, soap (that is helping with my skin) kettle corn, cookies, coffee and cocoa.  We saw neat clockwork looking spiders, goat cheese in 2# block that I want but can't go through enough so I am hoping to find someone to go in with me, the river looked so wild and fast alongside the market.  Definitely have to go one more time before they close for the season.  

Then a friend and her soon to be husband stopped by and we ended up chatting about garden and plans.  They are getting married in May and the florist wants $20 a bunch for lily of the valley!  They are going to come up and pick my yard instead, hopefully the maiden's veil bushes will be in bloom in time so they can snag some of that too.  We ended up finding hidden treasures in the kids garden.  Mouse had beans hanging that we have collected for seed, Badger had tiny carrots, and Butterfly had a few cherry tomatoes.  They only could stay an hour or so but it was nice.

Then Beaver and I hopped in the car and drove to the Military Miniature Society of Illinois Show where his team competed, as adults.  The oldest is 17!  All of them did well.  Beaver's piece got a letter of merit in the general class showing he needs to work to compete but that he has the talent and is competing at the right level.  I think he was a little disappointed, I was proud.  He did get very inspired, and ended up talking to one vendor who gave him two flats to try painting.  They are revolutionary war soldiers and he will have to learn about the proper uniforms and how to paint a flat.  The team went out to dinner at a nice restaurant after.  The leader wants the kids to experience different things and grow not just as a painter but as a person.  I had the best mussels I have ever eaten, Beaver had a Caesar salad.

Sunday: We got up in time for church, have not been in a while, but since Butterfly had asked if Church was in season, I figured we ought to go.  Changes!  Beaver's class in Sunday school is gone in favor of a multiple parish youth group that meets at a different time, so he is going to help out in the younger kids class.  Butterfly is old enough to start.  She was very nervous at first, but Beaver sat with her and soon her friend showed up and she felt better about it and had a great time.  The adult class was very interesting, no plan due to the death of a long time parishioner, so the priest just opened up discussion with ask me anything and let the discussion move from there.  We ended up talking about the differences between the Western churches and the Eastern churches.  I did not realize that with regard to a lot of things Episcopal church beliefs are closer to the Eastern church than the Catholic. 

Then we raced home, quickly cleaned up and ate. My friend from the day before came over with her mother, future mother in law and another friend came.  We covered cardboard hat boxes with fabric.  They will be her centerpieces.  She baked scones and brought jam and tea and we had a bit of a tea party after we got the boxes done.  I was thinking the whole time if she leaves the scraps I am making her a table runner.  Her mom, dumped a handful or so into the garbage, when the left I rescued them.  The kids saw me, and I told them I what I wanted to do.  They raced out of the room, each bringing back a few scraps they had liberated during the day.  They offered up their treasures for the woman they view as aunt, I see her as family too, and immediately asked to help. Soon I will be helping to make her dress, my dress and the dresses of each of my daughters.  I need to make outfits for the boys too.  The wedding has a steam punk theme, so Victorian dress clothes.  

Then I fell into bed!!!


I spent a long time writing a musing post yesterday, then accidentally navigated away instead of posting it.  ugh.  I was so irritated and discouraged I just walked away and got to working on the house. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yarn along

Butterfly in her sweater.  Tiny Bunny buttons totally make it.
Mouse's sweater, it looks small - it fits but does not meet in the front - I am going to knit a border about 3 inches on either side in the front but not in the neck at all, then add the request zipper.  I will be making more of these with a few changes.  More on that later.  My sister may think using a loom is cheating I think I made a sweater in three days.

I started this flouncy scarf on Sunday evening and it took maybe four hours total.  It will be a Christmas present for my sister.  She knits so it had to be something weird and has MS, so she is not comfortable with anything heavy on her neck, very light weight.  I am not certain I liked the yarn but hopefully she will like the scarf.

Cowl for husband young cousin for Christmas.  It is actually grape in color. 

I am reading American Terrior still and can't recommend it enough.  The chapter where he compares modern wine to a pole dance, is amazing.  I did start back in on fiction too and am reading the Sign of Seven trilogy by Nora Roberts, again.  I really like the characters, just a nice good versus evil story.  Still fighting a cold that seems to have settled permanently in my lungs and every time I take the kids outside to enjoy the Indian summer we are having I break out in hives.   Starting to wonder it I am allergic to the sun.  So I am trying to keep my hands too busy to scratch. 

I am knitting with the inspirational ladies of the yarn along, check out what everyone is working on and reading at Small Things.

In my Kitchen

 Apple Walnut Conserve, I made 13 1/4 pint jars and one 1/2 pint jar.  It has raisins in it too.  Licking the spoon was very yummy.
 I was canning again on Monday this is the total of everything I did.  I really feel Like I accomplished a lot.

 Preserved lemons, I made two jars - ten lemons worth - one with spices and one that is just lemons and salt.  They take 30 days to cure so we shall see how they turn out.

Ginger Apple preserves.  I used some of the candied ginger and syrup I made earlier to make these.  They smell divine.

hair cut!

Me out in the driveway right after my haircut.  Really like it.  Even more I like the super easy method for styling she showed me.  Basically the same run gel through it and it curls up thing but you clip it up in the chunky curly sections and let it dry - she used a machine but I can totally see taking an extra few minutes to clip it and let it dry while doing my normal day stuff and have my hair look nice at a party or dinner later. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Musings...

Joining Nadja at Patch O Dirt Farm for Monday Musings.

Right Now... It is nearly 10am.  The boys are at school, the husband is at work (he works from home now so really he is at the far side of the house - I really like that)  the girls are watching a princess movie surrounded with leftover balloons grandma brought for Butterfly's birthday party.  Still on my first cup of coffee, but all the party dishes are done - or in machine now - and I have what I think are the last of the tomatoes from the garden roasting in the oven.

This weekend... We did a lot of house cleaning to prep for the party.  The kids rooms are clean! Even post party the house feels great.  Beaver was is a rare helpful mood on Saturday and cleaned the ceiling fans and dusted.  Then a few friends came over for board games, their daughter played with our kids and everyone had a nice time. Late in the evening another friend came with her gentleman caller (her joke not mine), things seem serious between them.  I am happy she is happy, but some little bell goes off in the back of my head every time I see him.  There is nothing wrong with him that I can name.  He seems nice and appears to care for her.  I want to believe it is just that she has been on her own so long - most of the ten years I've known her - that my brain thinks it is weird her her to be with someone.  She is a wonderful caring person and deserves so much happiness. 

Sunday was Butterfly's birthday.  She loved everything. her pink cake, the balloons, her friends and family, the present made and bought.  She is such a delight and it is weird to think my girl is five!

Some Plans for this week...  I am doing some canning today, preserved lemons, apple walnut conserve, spiced apples, and ginger apple preserves.  Tomorrow we have a play date, hopefully we will be able to be outside! It is the last meet of Beaver's cross country season.  I am also hoping to get to a knitting group event that evening.  Wednesday is Beaver's cross county banquet and I am going to dig up the horseradish and make horseradish sauce to go with the ham my husband is making.  Thursday our gaming group comes over for dinner.  Friday I think we will be celebrating Butterfly's birthday with my parents as they both had a bad cold this weekend and could not come to the party.  Saturday Resee will be coming over and we will be mod-podgying her wedding centerpieces.

If I find some time for myself, I would like to... I would like to get very organized about my Christmas present planning, as I want to make almost everything we are giving I need to get down to business.  Still hoping to find time to make myself a skirt for my birthday.  I have four or five different materials I bought to make myself a skirt.  So maybe this week...

I am grateful for... my sister in law.  She gave me a great inexpensive idea on building a apple press.  My five year old butterfly!

Some prayer intentions for the week...  I want to pray to let go of my anger at my parents, it serves no purpose and only gets it the way.  I will be praying for my grandma, sister, a friend's mother, a friend getting a job she would love and be wonderful at, a friend's health improving and maybe a baby, a friend's foster situation.

Something that makes me smile... one of Butterfly's birthday presents was a box of costumes from grandma and some more costumes from her aunt.  All the kids (my four, my sister in law's two, and friend's daughter) all wearing a different costume dancing around the room.  That would be a miner, a knight, a solider, a doctor, a cowgirl, a hula dancer, and a fireman.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


That is the plan today, house cleaning.  I need to get the house picked up so we can have people over for games tonight and Butterfly's birthday party tomorrow.  I also need to sew the buttons on that sweater, wrap her presents, make her cake and do my homework. 

I took the sweater for Mouse off the loom last night and sewed the sleeves on.  It is cute, I need to knit up a front border to finish it and sew in a zipper.  I'll post more later hope you weekend is wonderful.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some things that followed me home.

 The mincemeat I made last week, did not really follow me home as most of it has always lived here, but it sure looks yummy.  I am hiding in it the cellar today to keep myself from eating it for a few months.
 Secondary fermentation on the apple cider I pressed with the help of some little girl feet. No the feet did not touch the apple bits.  I should tuck this away too, but it is mostly an experiment and is neat to watch bubbling away - sort of a kitchen pet.
 Okay this did follow me home, or maybe a better way of putting it would be jumping into my hands and would not go back to the shelf.  I am thinking a cowl.  This is Universal Yarns Bamboo Bloom Handpaints in Koi Pond.  I really like that it lists bamboo but acknowledges that it is bamboo rayon 48%, blended with wool 44% and acrylic 8%.  Sort of truth in labeling.  We shall see how it knits...
 Same company this yarn is for Beaver's fingerless gloves (birthday project due Nov 1) and is one of the things I went into the store for.  My local yarn store, Beading Heart Studio, is actually a bead store that expanded into yarn.  The whole store is supper tiny, but she really gives good service - she was teaching her son (about 10 I'd guess) how to help customers and ring orders when I was in there, and has put a lot of thought into what products she has there.  I like that she has beaded knitting project kits as it is a logical tie in.  She showed me the cowl she made out of the Bamboo yarn I bought and warned me that if she was going to do it again she would not have purled.  I agreed with her. 
I started this after dinner.  I have nine inches so far on Mouse's sweater.  I will have a few things to work out to make it work but I really like it.  His eyes lit up when he saw it this morning.  I think the stitch the loom forms looks a bit like a cable stitch.  I am now planing on taking a whack at my Christmas list by looming up a few cowls for people on my list. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yarn along - it's done! - almost...

 Yarn-ing along with Ginny & if you love to read and knit you should head on over and check out all the interesting projects and books.

I finished, well mostly.  I have to buy and sew on 9 buttons, then I am finished with Butterfly's sweater.  She is over the moon.  It will fit for a long while as it is a 6 and she is a 4-5, but should be great over another shirt.  Remember the gray loom project, I have brought it back out for the week.  It will be mouse's birthday sweater, but Beaver's birthday is first.  I bought the yarn for that and another very pretty it just had to come home with me yarn at my local yarn shop last night.  She did not have the size 4 dpn I needed for his fingerless gloves, but should get them in by Friday, so I am waiting on starting that until the weekend.  Until then I have to figure out what I am doing with the gray for Mouse.  I know I don't have enough of the gray I used for the sleeves so he picked out the other yarn, I am not sure how I will put them together.  Especially with the sleeves being solid gray.  I am think about stripes.  Horizontal stripes make more sense as I can space them out a lot and use the gray sparingly to make certain I have enough, but I like the idea of vertical ones better. Opinions?

I am reading American Terrior and loving it!  It talks in detail about local specialty product across (mostly) North America, a chapter on each.  Maple syrup, honey, oysters, potatoes, foraging, apples, it talks about how the location and attention to detail impact each food item.  Very interesting.  I must confess I am looking at the trees I pass now wishing I had one sugar maple at least to try making maple syrup.