Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Morning Musings

This weekend. .. My new mini washing machine arrived. I had been washing wool overnight in buckets. I would soak a big handful of wool in each of four buckets overnight on the porch. The next morning I would haul all the buckets into the house, carefully dump them, fill the bucket with soapy water, add the wool back in then do two rinse soaks. Jim finally got tired of the kitchen always having wool soaking. The method works but it is heavy and messy and in the way for hours. We talked about it. Truthfully I was just as frustrated as he was, hours of work each day and for a few ounces, I have a large amount to clean. This was working well but so slowly and so laboriously. He found this cute little apartment washing machine for me. It has a separate spin tub. I washed 18.65 oz the first day! The second day I decided to see if I could shorten the overnight soak. So I got 16.20 & 18.45 oz done using a five hour soak instead of overnight.

Jim left for a convention late Sunday so the weekend was spent around the house cuddling and playing games. As usual he gave a hug and kiss to a different stuffed animal to hold for the kids so the kids have a daddy kiss each night. I love how much he loves them.

Right now... The girls and I are waiting for supervision to start on the playground so they can go to school. Last night I made Paul Hollywood's ring doughnut recipe, it works great. We had it for desert and breakfast. The girls whipped some cream while I made lunches. They had theirs on the doughnut, I am having mine in my coffee. Drip thing is still working great by the way.

Plans... Cleaning the rec room. It got completely trashed in me cleaning my office and Beaver cleaning his room and moving to college. Neither of us got our stuff out of the way before I foolishly allowed the others to build a huge cardboard fort down their. Beads and fabric were used and mess breeds more mess. I want it all cleaned by Friday! I did about a third of the room last week and the fridge down there. So hopefully I can get it done, when it is i am going to allow the fort to be rebuilt with duct tape so they can keep it.

I am also planning on prepping as much fiber as possible for next weeks Spinzilla! It is my first time participating and I am excited. I signed up for Team Miekle.

I want to wrap all presents for Christmas and birthdays that I have ready and buy remaining birthday presents for Bunny and Seal.

And clean off my dresser.

If I get some time for myself... I will knit the socks.

Prayerful intentions...
The families of two people who died unexpectedly last week.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Camping with Mom

 Every year Mom and I camp out at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool. Sometimes we have classes to attend, sometimes others join us. We camp in the same spot each year for a few years now and have friends we have met there as neighbors each year. There is a pavilion right where we camp and the bathrooms - with hot showers - are just across the way. We are far from the action at this spot but that has its charm too. After we got out site set up out came the spinning for me and knitting for Mom.
Mom took these pictures to show the family how we were doing. The van was parked there to try to block the wind, it was fairly cold for September.
This is my Mom, Robin.
I got a few shots in myself. We bring a hot plate, a toaster oven and this year a electric kettle and make our meals. We both love cooking and tend to fix ridiculously complicated things for camping. This year's highlights are Mussel stew, crepes, Yorkshire pudding with three mushroom hash, and a steamed lemon pudding, and scones for tea time. The kettle was a great addition helping not just in tea and coffee making but also in clean up time. 
This little guy was also camping out at the festival. These are Shetland sheep. The darker sheep is full grown, the brown and white spotted sheep is a Jacobs and that breed in average sized for sheep. Shetland are tiny.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sheep and wool

what had to come home with me.
 Plying thread from Interlacements.
 This is Texcel wool, Mom and I are splitting a 8oz bag. She will be felting I will be spinning. Texcel is normally a meat breed, but I want to try all the things.
 One oz samplers from Hearthside Fibers Whitefaced Woodland Sheep, Shetland Sheep, Egyptian cotton, Baby Llama, Masham sheep, and  Swaledale Sheep
 Welsh Mountain Sheep, Perendale Sheep, Hemp, Rambouillet Sheep and Gotland
 This is one oz of Columbia wool from All American Mill
 5oz of Flax from the WoolGatherers
 Two 2oz braids of Nylon from Hello Purl
 A cute thing also from Hello Purl
Weld from Handspun by Stephania.
A tiny Shawl pin By Ingrid the Crafty
A Nalbining needle and a comb clamp from Mielke's
 A pair of knitting pins from Celestial Designs Fiber Art
 This cute shawl pattern
 These two old books from the Woolgatherers
And this signed copy from Jilliano Moreno.

I also got a Paula Simmons book on wool as a cottage industry. Most of this will be used in pursuit of my COE. Mom and I camp for the whole time and really enjoyed ourselves.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Crafting on Pink Avenue

Linking up with the ladies of Crafting On hosted at Frontier Dreams.

It has been a while since I took the time to blog, I always forget how much time everything takes. There was going to be more to that sentence, but I thing it is actually perfectly accurate right like that. The kids are starting to settle back into a routine, it is a new one but it is a routine, and so will I.

I have two knitting projects going right now, both are Christmas presents. I set a goal of at least one handmade gift for everyone this year. I wrote my list in January, I wish I had started crafting them then too! I have four done so far, but lots of big time intensive things on the list yet and I want to build time into the schedule for helping the kids make their gifts too.

The Avenue socks by Expat Knitter Designs:
I just am getting started but the bonus to this new routine is two hours knitting time at the girls violin group lessons on Monday nights and an hour at private lessons on Thursday.

The Dragon Mittens which I am using but heavily modifying a pattern for (by Tanis Lavallee) , my husband is checking my math so I only have the swatch to show.

The cream is 100% wool and will be the dragon on the backs of the mittens, the green 50/50 Wool/alpaca.

Thought I would add my just finished socks, too.
These are Expat knitter's Grand Central socks, modified with no pattern on the top of the foot and adding a 2by2 rib at the ankle.

All of these yarns are stash yarns, the plan with some of the presents is to work from what I have, so far so good, I have had to buy matching yarn to finish things but so far no new unrelated yarn purchases for present making. I have in the past bought more intending to make things that did not get made for presents.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Some Mondays are more Monday than others

We had a long lovely weekend, with a dear friend getting married and a friend party for Badger's birthday. The party was cat themed and everyone had fun. The wedding was extra special because of the obvious joy of the couple and getting to see far away friends.
All that fun, however, means everyone was just a bit slower this morning getting moving back into routine. Mouse gets dropped off at 7 and the girls go with ready for their drop off at 7:30. The schools aren't that far apart, so we play on the playground or read in the car. They don't actually go into the building until almost 8, so when the weather is bad I am thankful I can stay and let them be in the car. When the weather is super bad or it is raining they can go inside, but I like being able to stay with them.
This morning was already a bit rough, as a said, and we were sitting listening to the songs Bunny is learning on violin, when the radio killed. The weekend before my battery was drained, light left on, at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, so I had the kids go on to school and hoped to get home quickly.  Nope.
I immediately realized that was not happening and managed to get parked again.
Jim came out to save me. My serpentine belt has apparently been shredding. I had mentioned I thought I heard a flapping noise last week he told me to see what wrong, I said i could open the hood but wouldn't know anything thereafter. So when he opened it this morning he said even you would know this was wrong. I don't think that helped either of us, but I wished I had looked!
He had a meeting so we left the car there and picked up a new belt on the way home.
Now to housecleaning, the basement is a complete disaster and I hope to get it done this week, while still having time for everything else. I always seem to think I have more time than I really do.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Crafting on - dress, socks, and control

 I am working on two projects related to this card. The first is I want to improve the consistency of my spinning for the purposes of earning my COE, and I want to keep a record of my spinning. I read that other spinners keep track by using cards or tags and keep small samples of their yarns both as singles and after the ply. If you can think of anything else I could add let me know. The second project here is a joint effort sweater for my children's godfather. I will do the spinning and another friend will be knitting him a cabled sweater. We got to talking about spinning and knitting and what kind of yarn is best for Aran style sweaters and now I a spinning samples. Then she will knit samples and we will decide which to work with. The samples will be:
2-ply, oiled, spun z plyed s
3-ply, oiled, spun z plyed s
2-ply, oiled, spun s plyed z
3-ply, oiled, spun s plyed z
and her favorite of above un-oiled.   I am researching old methods of spinning, hence the oiled wool, I have spun the first sample and am undecided about my opinion of the oiling of the fleece before carding.

This photo is a twofer as well, in the foreground is my knitting - socks as a Christmas present. The pattern is Grand Central for the NY collection by the Knitting Expat. I hate the colorway and am thinking of overdyeing it, however, someone said she liked it. So there is that.

The fabric is for the dress I am making for my interpretation work down at Garfield Farm Museum. I am hoping to get it done by May 21st, but am toying with the idea of hand stitching it, mostly. I have it cut and basted, which I did by machine. I think I will try to hand stitch it but do the gathers by machine.

This is the pattern packet front.

Joining in with the Crafting On today, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Musings - May Eighth

The house is quiet, the washing machine is going. Jim is working in his office, Beaver is waiting for a ride to his field trip. The others are at school. I made bread yesterday and crunched on it in the car while I dropped the girls off. I finally have a cup of coffee, in my mug for my mother-in-law. The mug reminds me of something that I might be served in at the Green Dragon Inn. "it comes in PINTS?"  I am sitting here trying to organize my day.

Over the weekend...
 Jim came home from his business trip on Friday and we spent the evening with old friends. Our hostess made these yummy plantain chips and now I want more. We get together roughly every two weeks to play pathfinder and we had a good time. Most of the weekend was taken up with cuddling, we cuddled Jim because he was home, we cuddled Bunny because she wasn't feeling well (better now) and we cuddled Badger because she didn't want to be left out and her sister was getting all the cuddles. Mouse had homework, he is struggling with the workload required by placing him in classes at his readiness level - three grade ahead in Math - it is not the work itself, just the change from low to no homework to work every night. He has been reading a ton, but not recording it for his teachers, this weekend was a lot of digging out books at his reading level and convincing him to pick one, write it down and start reading it. Once he picked, he sat down and read hundred pages - he is starting the Dragonriders of Pern series - with out problem and enjoyed the book. I re-arranged part of one bookshelf with books I think he will be interested in.

Tonight is the girl's violin concert! I have some video work to do for the video I an putting out this week and some for the next one. I am making a new dress for my interpretation work at Garfield Farm Museum. I am working on increasing consistency and record keeping in my spinning for my COE work and trying new techinques. This week oiling wool. I would really like to finish my sweater this week, but it would take a miracle. I would like to get to the gym.

Spare Time...
work on sweater and watch videos, thankfully I can do both at once!

Prayerful intentions...
I will be praying for my dad, who was much healthier before he retired. I will be praying for my friend's dad, who is in hospital while they figure out what is wrong with him. I will be praying for another friend's step-dad, who's grief is destroying him as a man.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Food Glorious Food

 Above is a beef and mushroom soup with Parmesan cheese grated on top. It was amazingly yummy, I made enough to save for two more days lunch but over the course of the day ate all of it. I have no clue why it was so good as I didn't do anything strange, brown the meat and onions, add broth and water, bay, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for awhile. It was tasty.

To the right is what my husband calls 'your rice weirdness' it is based on a Japanese dish a friend made for me. Hers had dashi and a bunch of Japanese specific ingredients. I  make this a bit differently. I prefer to use leftover rice, but you can start with uncooked it just takes longer. I cook the rice in chicken stock and water. I cook it in a lot of liquid and cook it to death. I mean the liquid is mostly gone and the rice has broken down and thickened the soup, think porridge. Then I beat an egg and dumb it in, not stirring the soup while you do it. That seems strange but it works, it further thickens the soup and adds protein, but you don't necessarily end up with bits of cooked egg. Just dump it in and wait a moment then stir. Take it off the heat and add sliced green onion and cilantro, stir them in and serve, top each bowl with peanuts. The first time I made this for my dad -he is a bit picky- he saw what I was doing and said "I thought you said you were making soup not gruel." I laughed and handed him a small bowlful, and said in the tone he used on me as a kid "just try it, if you don't like it you can have something else to eat." That got him. Before I had finished serving Mom and me, he was asking for a full bowl.

I have been making lots of bread lately. Banana bread, which I make in huge batches from the last forgotten bananas that I tuck into the freezer until I have a stupid amount of, then thaw and make loaf after loaf thinking we can't possible eat this much, I better freeze some, only to have it gone before I can. My kids have no interest in either soup above but can inhale a loaf of banana bread in an eye blink. Ordinary homemade bread, pita bread, Homemade hard rolls to go with the bbq pork Jim made this week.

What are you cooking?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spin the Bin Challenge

I used to talk about wool and spinning on Wednesday so this is perfect for today. I found out about the spin the bin challenge and am participating! The challenge is on the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spinning group on Ravelry. Basically you are supposed to comb through your fiber stash and select a bin full of fiber to spin within the year. The rules state each entry - you need 12 - must be at minimum 2 oz and you can split a larger amount across multiple entries. You have to post a picture of your bin with all the fiber present to enter and you can't take anything out of the bin once you start (ie change your mind) without replacing it with two entries. Your pictures have to be clear enough so they can tell you spun the yarn from the fiber, so most everyone posted a bin shot and then the fiber all spreaded out so you could see it easily and you also have to list what the fiber is, who dyed it, and the quantity. Then you add pictures of the finished yarn.

Here are my bin fibers:

The top row:
1-2) Camel & Wool blend. I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it.8.6oz.
3) Southdown. I bought as a whole raw fleece in 2015. 9oz.
The middle row:
4-5) Royal blue dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 8.20oz.
6) Cotton. I bought in 2015 from a guild member’s stash in a grab bag, no idea how long she owned it. 3.75oz.
7) Teal blueish dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 5.55oz.
The bottom row:
8-9) Afghan hound, given to me by dog’s owner in 2012. 11.1oz.
10) Brown sheep wool, dyed by me in 2014. Blending with a bombyx silk and merino blend I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it. 2.7 oz of the first & 2.8oz of the latter for 5.5oz total.
11) Yak! bought in 2015, 2oz.
12) Cotswold, given to me as a raw fleece in 2013. 5.7oz.

I am not looking forward to the cotton - it is terrible cotton, but I figured this was the only way I was likely to spin it - it came in a grab bag and luckily the rest of the fiber was a nice alpaca. I am also not looking forward to the Afghan hound, as it is very smelly, if anyone has a suggestion on cleaning tips I would greatly appreciate it. I am excited about the yak and the Lincolns.
The brown sheep blending with merino/bombyx silk is to be the ply strand to more of the brown sheep that I have waiting and will be where I start. I originally had 8oz of green roving that I split into thirds (horizontally) then I spun the first two halves on separate bobbins and this spin will hopefully make two bobbins to ply against them.

I should probably get to work! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Crafting on -1- Sweater Complete & Socks Cruising

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for my first ever Crafting On. I am a bit sad the yarn along is over, but I am looking forward to making new friends and finding new inspiration at Crafting On.

 First I took this last week for the yarn along, then reading that Ginny was done, did not post about it so here goes. It is finally done. I love how it turned out! This is Mouse's favorite sweater now and he wore it to school on Friday and Monday. It is Elizabeth Zimmerman's Percentage system with six Pikachu heads done in Intarsia in the round with insanity. He gave me a kiss for each row. I actually did each head twice as I pulled in too much the first time trying to do it a stranded colorwork.

 My socks are coming along great! The pattern is Mina Philip's Vanilla sock recipe. The yarn is 75% Correidale and 25% Nylon. My spinning guild did this dyeing project last fall, one of the ladies has a knitting machine so she whipped up two stranded knitting blanks for everyone and we got together and dyed them. The above shot represents the colors better, but I wanted to show that I have the heels done.

This is what is on my spinning wheel right now. Brown Sheep wool that I dyed with acid based dyes. I have two bobbins done and ready for me to make the single to ply it with. I also finished a new podcast video, link here.

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on! ~Julia

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday Musings - April the third

 I have been sick for all of March. Many different sicknesses, which thankfully hit me much harder than my family. I am finding that getting back to normal is very slow going, I am struggling against napping and not eating much before I am full to the point of feeling ill. I had lots of plans on what I was going to get done today. I have wasted the day, I fell asleep taking a bath. No worries it is a small tub, but now I am stiff and got nothing done.

The girls had a sleepover birthday party on Saturday. Beaver has joined the La Crosse team and had another game this Saturday. It was their fifth game this week and their first lost in nine. I felt bad that they lost the first game I managed to attend. He really loves this game. His girlfriend was there wearing his jersey. She is very sweet. Mouse took advantage of the siblings being gone to play some long board games with Jim (Agricola & Caverna.) Jim and I cuddled and talked all Saturday night, it was a nice date night.

I need to warp my loom and weave some charity scarves for my weaving guild. The yarn is donated to the group - they give lessons for seniors and they have all this yarn the students can use, but most prefer to bring in their own, so the cupboards where quite full and they are expecting another donation. So we picked some yarn out and are making 4-5 scarves each that will be given to an organization that helps the homeless. It lets all of us help out and lets those of us would are less experienced weavers get in more practice. I have chosen two shades of hunter green and a brown.

I need to finish a video I have been working on and make another. I have neglected my business and household equally. In working on the next video, I have fiber prep and spinning to do.

If I get some time for myself...
I will work on my socks and sweater.

I am grateful for...
Cuddles, giant piles of stuffed animals covering me when I woke up from a nap, my girls getting to be older in that they can be sent to clean up their room and do it without too much fussing, and Yorkshire puddings.

Prayerful intentions...
This week I am praying for health and healing in the lives of several babies and young children, and in thanksgiving for a friend's pregnancy.

Join me in musing by linking your post in the comments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yarn along 5 - Sweaters are scary

I have been focusing on this sweater and it is really coming along. The title of this post is two-fold, one I have been focusing on this one as the color-work in the other sweater is scary and I don't want to screw it up and rip it out again, and two the armhole row of this sweater was terrifying! It made no sense. I eventually, knit a sample and went for it. It worked but I will think long and hard about knitting from a pattern by this designer again. It works and it is lovely, buut the pattern is confusing and now help ore clarification is available and while looking I found lots of people got stuck exactly where I did. I have four balls left and more to go, so I am hoping the yarn holds out! Until I tried it on I was thinking if necessary I could skip the sleeves but I think it needs them, so fingers crossed. After all the stress of the armhole rows and all the double twisted rib, getting to stockinette for a while is great. Photos by the girls.

I am still reading Aiden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning. I also have broken with not reading fiction and am re-reading the Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts.

I finished my second video, this one shows me dyeing, preparing, spinning and ply wool into yarn.

Joining Ginny and the other Creative Ladies of the Yarn Along! ~ Julia

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Morning Musings- 13 Feb

My dishes are half-done and my house is half clean. I am on my second cup of coffee. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I have to do today and this week. Best roll up my sleeves but I have multiple to do lists and not enough time.

Mouse has been sick so I ended up staying home with him on Friday while Jim and the girls went to our friend's for game. They came home in high spirits and Mouse slept through the night. I got some knitting and mystery watching done - and skipped the dishes!  Saturday Jim and the kids played board games and did some work on the school work Mouse missed being sick. I got together with friends from college and had a nice time, we do this event once a year. It started as a birthday party as a lot of the people had spring birthdays within the club, and has evolved into a get together. Very small turn out this year due to adulting and sickness, but those of us who did come had fun. The family is invited but it never works out that we all go. Sunday we got some chores done around the house and I got more knitting in, this sweater looks like a sweater now!

I have a show on the weekend and it always seems like there is a ton to do for that, especially as it has been a few months. Things always seem to wander. Time to track them down. I need to make new table clothes, in order to do that I need to actually clean up my studio, rather than shake my head and run out of the room! I want to organize it to be more work space and less storage.
I need to finish and up load a few new videos.
I have spinning guild this Friday.
The house needs to get all the way cleaned - my parents are staying the weekend.
I also want to finish cleaning the cellar.
We have 4H tonight, the kids are making Valentine's day cards for a local nursing home, so I have to get all that stuff together.
I need to update my budget sheet for Jim - we have a weekly budget meeting - and did not do that this weekend. We are trying this to curb my random spending - I am much less likely to buy junk if I know I will be telling him at the end of the week - and he needs a better picture of what we need to spend money on to help us plan and save. I think it is working we are not fighting about money anymore and I think having a spreadsheet of what we are actually spending money on (ex $19 on present, $3 on wrapping, and $1 on candy is likely more useful for planning next year than $23 target) One side effect is I have started my Christmas planning already.
And likely a thousand things I haven't thought of.

If I get some time to myself...
I will go to the gym, this has been sliding lately with other responsibilities getting in the way, but I need to make time to strengthen myself.

I am grateful for...
computers, paper, old friends, new ones, and coffee oh and Hedge-Kittens (we saw a set of pictures of a orange tabby cat who adopted hedgehog babies -CUTE- and everything has been Hedge-Kittens since. Badger loves cats and Bunny loves anything cute.)

Prayerful intentions...
I Pray for civility and understanding for the people and leaders of this nation. In that order, if they can't understand their opposition's view point they can at least be civil and polite to each other.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Yarn along 4 - Socks! a bit late.

I am a bit late! I finished my socks! and got through the decrease row on Mouse's sweater, So I will have pictures that are more interesting than endless stockinette in blue next week. I am pausing the book Bloody Old Britain as I have read about two pages since last week. Hoping that leaving it on the nightstand will prompt slow progress but a book about a breakthrough in the way archaeology was conducted through aerial photography should have more photography and less flowery turns of phrase. I am re-reading or perhaps reading as a novel instead of a reference book, Aiden Amos' Handbook Of Handspinning, working towards my COE.

I did this too.  (

I started a podcast on crafty- fiber-y goodness where I talk about what I am working on and challenge myself to stretch, there will be more working videos & tutorials in the future. 

Joining in on the yarn along a bit late week! ~ Julia

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yarn Along 3 - Heels!

Yes ladies I have turned the heel. German Short Row with a small heel flap. I have one weird stitch on the first on I did the first row, I thought it looked wrong and tried to back up, quickly consulted the pattern video and decided it was alright. Backing up however had screwed it up a bit. I am really excited with how these are turning out and can't wait to cast on the next pair!

I have made progress on Mouse's sweater but four inches of plain stockinette are remarkably uninteresting. I have also made small amounts of progress on my sweater but my focus was on the other two projects.

I also haven't made much progress reading. A few more chapters with the girls in Anne of Green Gables, this is not my copy and the person who - I am sure typed in not the correct word but it works - it was not very careful, the book is bound prettily by there are lots of words missing or changed from my edition. I have also made slow progress in Treasure Island since I am reading it at the gym and with my husband out of town their have been less opportunities to spend time there.

My other book- Bloody Old Britain by Kitty Hauser is kind of dull. I had not heard of the man that it is effectively a biography of, before picking up the book. It seemed like more of a discussion of the history of Aerial Photography in British Archaeology, which it is kind of. She crafts beautiful sentences. However, she is trying to describe pictures and could have used more photographs in this book about photography. It is interesting but not compellingly so, or gripping. She tells the story of the archaeologist/photographer and discusses his work without focusing fully on either. I am not enjoying this book, and it doesn't help that as Jim is off on business again this week I am knitting until very late, then still unable to sleep, picking up this book.

Joining Ginny at Small Things with the Yarn Along today.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Stalled Monday Morning Musing

Jim normally does the cooking so I don't usually plan the menu but here is our week:
Sunday: Baked Pasta
Monday: Breaded pork chops and baked potatoes
Tuesday: Homemade chicken strips and macaroni & Cheese
Wednesday: Pasta Carbonara
Thursday: Ham and Cheese Calazones
Friday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Everything will have a salad with it.

 waiting for the kids to eat and shower to go to my mom's to help build a shelf. Drinking a cup of coffee.

I am feeling a bit stalled at the moment, the limitations of everyone schedules and the time constraints of the things I want to work one are not lining up. I got very little done with weekend but that was ok, Jim was home for slightly longer than 24 hours. We cuddled him and played lots of board games. He will be home late on Friday.

If I get some time for myself...
I will go to the gym. I wish I was organized enough to have this scheduled in.

I am grateful for...
My husbands company flying him home for basically one day when it would have been cheaper for them to just make him stay. They are really family focused - for a corporation - and I appreciate it.

Prayerful intentions...
I Pray for civility and understanding for the people and leaders of this nation. In that order, if they can't understand their opposition's view point they can at least be civil and polite to each other.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn along - socks and sweaters #2

Joining Ginny at Small Things and the other creative ladies in the Yarn Along! I am really looking forward to seeing what is in everyone's work baskets!

 It is knitting before reading here! The Pikachu sweater is coming along. I want another 2-3 inches before I do the decrease and begin the color-work. I am thinking I should have made it a little looser on him and plan to add a few inches around to the girls' sweaters when it is their turns. My husband and daughter designed Bunny's next sweater during dinner the other day. It will feature a large bunny playing a violin (my daughters both play) in the center body of the sweater and have a circle of carrots decorating the yoke. Thankfully, my husband is actually interested in this, so as soon as I decide on yarn and can give him the gauge he is going to design the bunny/violin section's chart. Also this weird thing happened Monday night, I ran out of the ball of yarn I was using on this sweater, no worries I have four more, but they were all down in my studio and I was tired, so I switched to my socks.
 My socks are coming along, I am about where I want the heel to start. So Monday night after I switched to this project I am knitting along and that's it I am out of the yarn. I am knitting up stash yarn and started this with only one ball. I went to Joann's and managed to get a ball of the same yarn but it is a bit brighter on the ball, I knit five more rows and can't really tell. I am doing the heels and toes in a grey.
My husband is away this week for business and I never sleep well when he is gone. Which is why when I ran out of yarn on Monday for both of the above projects I did not go to bed like a sane woman, I pulled out my very sleeping Milk fiber sweater, this is the Gyre pattern and is for me. After awhile I realized two things 1) twisted rib is easier continental 2) I was going to run out of my ball of yarn soon. I have never had that happen where three projects all needed joining on the same day. I took it as a sign and went to bed!

Reading-wise, I have been fitting my reading in around things and not finishing much.

I did finish Libations of the Eighteenth Century last night. I enjoyed it and will likely try some of the brewing and punch recipes, I might try some of the coffee replacement ones while camping. I do wish the author had looked into the herbs he suggested a bit more thoroughly, in other aspects he mentions things used or methods used that are not considered safe practice anymore, he points that  out but give the historic mention for information. I dislike that pennyroyal and comfrey are listed as flavoring for beer and tea without warnings. The first is traditionally used as an abortificant and the second is strongly linked to cancer and not considered same for ingestion anymore.

I am finding Bloody Old Britain to be slow.

I started reading Treasure Island - never have before - as my treadmill book, I read 70 pages the first day but haven't managed the treadmill since!

Bunny and I are re-reading Anne of Green Cables as a bedtime book. We read through to the third book before but didn't finish and Bunny wanted to restart for continuing on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How does your garden grow... Yes I Know it is January

With mung beans and radish seeds... and seed catalogs all in row...

Okay, the meter is terrible, but the seeds are sprouting and the catalogs are mounting up. It is cold and rainy out but my mind is on garden plans and greening things.

I want to simplify the plan in the garden so I am still thinking about my direction there, but to bring a bit of fresh in the house, I am doing up some sprouts in the kitchen. We use opaque recycled plastic containers one inside another with a bunch of holes punched into the inner one for drainage. I am rinsing them about every three hours or so. Yes, even when I get up in the middle of the night.

The green is the mung beans and tiny reddish ones are the radish. The holes are a bit too big on the radish contain so I have a circle of paper toweling down in there.

Friday, January 6, 2017

some changes

What is my hair attacking?
As I am trying to bring my juggling into focus I am making some changes. One thing I am trying to do is plan more. Not plan more things into my day! but simply to plan. One way I am doing this is not to plan to get up earlier in the morning - I won't, I have a terrible time falling asleep but an amazing ability to stay asleep - but to plan that I will be running late by the time I drag myself out of bed. Realizing this about myself, I am now trying to do the dishes the night before and have the kids' lunch boxes out on the counter with apples and milk monies in them, so that I can just make sandwiches (and a pasta salad for Bunny ***) and some jello.

Then when I get home from drop off, I can put away last night's dishes and do the kids' breakfast ones while my breakfast is cooking. I never like to eat first thing.

While eating breakfast, I am doing my computer work, writing blogs, designing layouts, soon editing videos(more on that later) Then I am free to create or go to the gym.

I am trying to exercise more, my parents bought me a membership to the gym that is on my drive home from the girls' school. My initial thought was to go right after drop off and I tried that but I want to use the machines and the pool. in that order. I am done with drop off at 8 and the gym has a swimming pool based class - that I could join but don't really want too- at between 8:30-9:30 depending on the day. I just can't seem to get the timing right to use the floor and the pool and not have to wait or spend three hours or race through the floor and get irritated with the class for getting into the pool early. I want to do this to feel better and that includes mentally, I don't need the stress. So home to write first, exercise later.

Another thing I am trying to do is make my house prettier and easier to use, ORGANIZE ALL THE
THINGS! And while I want that done, I don't want to do it that way. I am instead doing a small something each day, hoping to end up in the same place.
Tuesday, I boxed up some glassware that we want to keep but don't use often, to make room for the wonderful new mugs my MIL made -she is an amazing potter and I will be selling some of her work, so excited! - for our Christmas presents. Mine looks exactly like what I picture them serving ale in at Tolkien's Green Dragon.

I found this, I love this, why have I not already used it?
Wednesday, I sorted through all my yarn, I now have it in four categories - partial, weaving, handspun, and stash. Then I inventoried the stash in excel. I plan to track my usage. I found several things I have forgot about and ordered a second ball of two sock yarns so I would have enough to make socks.

Thursday, I spent about a half hour, ok it was the length of one episode of The History of Byzantium Podcast, cleaning and rearranging my studio. It is not done. It is a start. But with having done both of those things I could easily make Bunny a "powdered wig" out of a partial yarn that I knew exactly where it was. Had I not done either days' pretty-ing project I would have done it but it would have been hugely stressful. 

(*** in case I forgot to mention it I am changing Butterfly's nickname to Bunny, she is actually a bit afraid of butterflies, and it struck me as silly to nickname her something she doesn't like. Bunnies are one of her favorite animals and she dressed as one for Halloween.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Yarn along - socks #1

Inspired by listening to podcasts over break I cast on socks on Friday the 30th. Like most of us, I am hoping to use up some stash this year, the yarn for these socks is in keeping with that goal. The downside is that I don't exactly know what the yarn is. I believe it is Paton Kroy. I also think this is a full skein. But I am not sure. If someone recognizes it let me know! These are for me and I know I won't have enough yarn, later today I am going to go find a coordinating yarn. I love socks.

I am hoping to read more than 200 books this year, my Goodreads 2017 challenge is made. I also want to leave my favorite fiction style on the shelves. My husband made a comment about idealized views and I wonder if reading romance novels and books involving other topics but including people who are falling in love is perhaps harmful. I don't believe or want all roses and sunshine, but I know that I am susceptible to desiring what others think I should want in place or in addition to what actually makes me happy. So for awhile at least I will be reading more non-fiction and classic fiction. As to the challenge, I have two done already.

This year I will be reading Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. I will only read the month's chapter at a time, and am not currently committing to knitting along with her, but I might.

I am also reading Bloody Old Britain - OGS Crawford and the Archaeology of Modern Life by Kitty Hauser. This is slow to get into but I am enjoying the insight it seems to offer on current thought. "What seems to look backwards in time might in fact be attempting to mould the future."(Hauser, 12.)

My sister got me Libations of the Eighteenth Century by David Allen Woolsey, I am not too far in yet but am very excited to read and perhaps try some of these recipes.

In other knitting news I knit in and then ripped out all eight Pikachu faces in my Mouse's Christmas sweater. Six colors is too many for me to work in strands and pulled in too tight, I could no longer get the sweater on him. SAD doesn't cover it. so out came 30 rows. I think I will 1) set them a bit higher in the sweater - not around the shoulders 2) have a few less as that will put them after the decrease 3) set the faces into the body intarisa style but do stranded colorwork within each face to put in the cheeks, eyes, and tongue.

 This should have been sitting inches lower on him. Every row I did he would hug me. Now he is sad and doesn't want to talk about his sweater. I need another day or two away from it before diving back in.

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things for the Yarn Along.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New year - old thoughts

A few years ago I decided that instead of making a resolutions list, I would come up with a thematic word for my intentions for the new year. I rededicate myself to that idea.

I would like to work on being a HAVEN for my life.

My mind and body a haven for me. I have set a goal of reading 200 books - and I would like few of them to be pulp fiction. I would like to put into practice more of my ideals of how we should live our lives and less living practically. By which I mean faster and easier not actual practicality. I would like to make my body healthier and stronger. To camp and hike more.

I would like for my company to be a haven for my family and my friends, that they can take comfort and rest in my love. For them to know that I am always there for them, but I also mean that I want to make my life such that dropping everything for a friend in need does not put my family into a tailspin that I must scramble to keep ahead of. I want to focus on showing love to my family and my friends.

I want my house to keep my home a Haven for all who enter, but especially for my family. I want them to feel special and comfortable in a house that is ready for use not one that needs frantic tending before we can let anyone in.

I want to use my resources more responsibly, to focus on our family's goal and dreams rather than on ease for the moment. I don't want this to be a strict diet destined for failure, but rather a change in outlook.

I want to grow as a business owner and writer and to make certain that the choices I make in those spheres of my life enhance the rest of my life.

I would like to do all the things. Make to family cookbook, finish the projects, use what I have, write more, cook more, be more present. Fingers crossed.