Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Mini Vay-Cay

What a crazy crazy busy week and a half...
But before I get to that....apparently this is the only way Phoebe will sleep in her bed now:
We were cleaning up something in the living room, so her bed ended up on top of Mandy's.  She's so weird.

So, remember these?:
We got them at  Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth, Maine!  Paul and I went for a mini vacation since he had to go to Bangor for work.

On our way up to Bar Harbor, we stopped in Freeport at LLBean and to have lunch.  Then we walked around town and found the yummy "Wicked Whoopies".  This is our attempt at making a two pound whoopie pie look bite sized:

We stayed at the Bar Harbor Inn in for the first night and since it was semi-off-season, we got a room with this view:
The weather wasn't the best, but it was still very pretty.    In Bar Harbor we went to a great little restaurant called Route 66:
 There was so much memorabilia to look at, we almost forgot to eat:

Then it was on to Bangor.  While Paul was working, I went mall-walking, shopping, and to Starbuck's for vanilla bean cremes.  Then I went back to the hotel to knit, work on Sudoku puzzles, and watch HGTV.  It was nice and relaxing!

After we got home it was on to wood floor shopping:
...which will get installed (31 boxes!!) after the replacement of the window-from-hell:
A very old window (1970) with LOTS and LOTS of drafty areas.  I can't wait until it's gone! (in a month...)

In Gardening News:
Look at my tomato plants!!!!
Our little crabapple trees are in bloom:
 And these asparagus-looking things popped up in front:
....but we didn't plant asparagus.  They might be the dahlia's.  Not sure.

In Book News:
I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.   It was "okay".  It got more exciting for a while, then not so much.  But I finished it.   For some reason that makes me feel better.  As I've said before, I hate leaving books unfinished.  It feels like I'm giving up.  So, again..... waste my life reading books I'm not enjoying  vs. finishing a boring/bad/un-enjoyable book for the sake of finishing.  To be continued the next time I pick up a boring book.

Want to know what's NOT boring? Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3).   I just started it.   It's very exciting (as expected) --- more when I finish it.

In Knitting News:
Here is my blocked Clapotis:
I love how it turned out.  It's nice and soft and drapey.  A perfect accessory scarf.

Now it's back to working on my Umaro blanket, Skew socks, and Cranberry Capelet. Progress pics to come.

Ooh and how could I forget?.....  My newest gadget: (Paul the non-gadgeteer (his newest term) is rolling his eyes):
A Roku (Roku 2 XD Streaming Player 1080p -- click there to get it on Amazon), for streaming movies and tv shows from the internet.  Paul the non-gadgeteer (his newest term) is rolling his eyes.  It's my solution to having below basic cable! (as long as I get the FREE movies and tv shows....)   LOVE. IT.  (I've been watching The Jersey Shore from the beginning.   I know.  Guilty pleasure.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meantime stuff

I've been a little busy the past few days, so a "real" post will be coming at the end of the week.   In the meantime, some miscellaneous stuff....

The sand cherry in bloom:

And, very exciting news.... my tomato seeds have sprouted (!!!!) but i don't have a picture right now because I forgot to take one.  They are currently under a grow light Paul's portable shop light (for working under the hood of the car).

The cat sleeping in the dog bed, next to her empty cat bed, while the dog sleeps on the floor:
*sigh* I can't figure out how to get Mandy to stick up for her spot.

I finished my Escargot hat: still needs to be blocked (which it's doing right now - I used Lamb's Pride Worsted and boy does it STINK - like sheep - when it's wet!) and sewn (which I won't do until I demonstrate it in the class this weekend).

I also finished my Clapotis which I can't show you because it isn't blocked and it just looks like a rolled up blob right now.  Hopefully a picture later this week.

Also later this week, I'll tell you where we got these:

Monday, April 16, 2012

A close one

I went to Connecticut to keep my mom and her broken leg company for a little while this weekend.  We went to my sister's to have lunch with her and my three nephews, and it was so nice to see them all.  While we were there, we got to talking and Evan, my youngest nephew (age 9) got bored so he went outside.  I saw him in the back yard picking dandelions.  Then he disappeared for a while and came back in the house with not only dandelions, but also tulips and daffodils and hyacinths from my sister's front walkway.  The look on my sister's face was so funny - very conflicted!  She thought it was so sweet that Evan had picked flowers for her, and gave him lots of hugs and kisses for it.  But she was also slightly aghast that her flowers from the front walk might be gone.  After a surreptitious glance outside we saw that there were still some flowers left and no major holes in the pretty flower landscape. I knew that even it there were, she wouldn't really care, because he is so sweet!

In Gardening News:
Brandywine tomato seeds are planted!

I know - BORING!  Just some dirt - you have to imagine the seeds that are underneath.  I'm really hoping they actually grow.

The good news is the rhododendron and the bleeding heart did not freeze that night I was worried that they would!:

I just love the bleeding hearts -- one of those totally-amazing-how-did-nature-do-that kind of plants.

And our peonies are starting right in front of our dying daffodils:
Peonies are my absolute favorite - I carried them in my wedding (which was hard because our wedding was in May and peonies are not in season yet, so they had to order them from somewhere else and then make them bloom!)

In Knitting News:
It was a close one:
Actually, it was worse than close.  As I was binding off one of the sleeves of my short-sleeve cardi, I ran out of yarn.  See the stitches on the left needle?  And that little piece of yarn?  Totally not enough yarn to bind off the rest of those stitches.  So, I did what I probably wasn't supposed to do because I'm terribly impatient --- I joined a new piece of yarn there, in the middle of the bind off, and finished binding off.  Probably a  more patient and fastidious knitter would undo the whole bind off to start over so the weaving-in wouldn't look weird.  But, mine didn't look weird. I don't have a close up picture of that so you'll have to take my word for it!

Speaking of weaving in ends.... look at all these ends!!!:
It's really aggravating when you need 10 skeins of yarn for a short sleeve cardi because the yardage is only 82 yards per ball.  Why can't they make the skeins bigger?  82 yards of worsted weight yarn is not a whole lot to make a one-skein project anyway.  Except a dishcloth.

I powered through, wove in all the ends, blocked it, AND PUT THE BUTTON ON!  Can you believe I actually put the button on right away?  I can't.
I. Love. It.  It's comfy and since it is cotton will be nice to wear on summer evenings or in air conditioned places.  I wore it to the shop while I taught my class on Saturday and got lots of compliments.  And now it is all ready to be a sample at the shop to advertise the class I will teach to knit it!

I also cast on a new project (yes, without working on one of my other works-in-progress --- that truly is next) for a summer class, the Clapotis:
It is a very pretty drop stitch scarf (the pattern is actually for a shawl but I'm making one of the modifications to a smaller size).  It will be much easier to see once it is blocked.  I'm using Cascade Heritage Silk Paints fingering weight yarn which is very nice to work with (mmmmmm.......soft).

Oops, and I forgot that i DID cast on yet another new project, but it's a secret project that I can't show until later.... don't you hate that suspense?

In Book News:
I still plugging away at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It's now holding my attention since it's gotten a little more exciting but it's not calling to me during the times I can't read it.  I'm not trying to decide if I should knit or read.  I'm knitting and when my hands get tired from knitting, then I'm reading it.  This will probably be the totality of my review of this book -- except to tell you when I'm done and I can finally get to the third Hunger Games book.

How about a quote of the day?:
"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory." - George S. Patton

Monday, April 9, 2012

Haulin' (Gr)ass

Outside projects began in earnest this past weekend.  Here's the thing.... I don't really like yard work.  It's hard.  And BORING.  Paul likes yard work.  He would rather do that for exercise than go for a walk (I'd rather go for a walk). As you know, I'm very excited to have a garden this year.  I was not very excited to build the garden.  It's hard. And boring. But begin to build we did.

We started out figuring out where we wanted our 8' X 8' bed and starting to dig up the grass.

After about 10 minutes, this is how far we got:
Paul's section is on the left, mine is on the right.  It was HARD. (and boring)

When it got to this point:
...I decided I needed another job.  So, my job became loading the pieces of grass into the wheelbarrow and bringing them around the shed to lay on the ground and fill in the empty spots that were there from when we built the shed:
(Mandy was my shadow all day.)  This job was MUCH better.  While still boring, I at least felt like I was getting something accomplished.  Not like that digging up the grass stuff.  Hauling grass was much better.

Needless to say, the project moved along from there....

Paul's band-aid/masking tape fix for the blister he got digging up the grass:
(I didn't get any blisters.)
We rewarded ourselves with a drive up to Lake George, stopping at Giffy's BBQ, and then Tractor Supply to buy these cool gardening clogs and gloves:
I  know!  Cute right?  I think these complete my gardening tool kit.

Once in Lake George it was a trip to Martha's Dandee Creme:

 And a pretty sunset on the way home:

The next day was finishing up by putting up the fencing:
Wah-la!  A garden bed, ready to plant all my veggie goodies in.  Next step is planting the seeds INSIDE to get them started.

Then it was Easter. We went to Paul's mom's house for candy dinner.  Also, Mrs. C. makes these "dolls" every year which are like a dense bread-y cake-y Italian-y yummy thing with frosting:
Paul jokingly told her he wanted his in the shape of a car this year.  So she tried it:
(sideways, sorry) Pretty cool!

In Knitting News:
I've been cranking along on my top down cardi: (forgive me for not typing in the very long name of it...)
(argh! why sideways again??)
I'm just about done with one sleeve, then have the other sleeve and about two inches left of the body.  I stopped doing the body and worked on the sleeves to make sure I'd have enough yarn.  The pattern says to knit the body to 12" but to stop on a row 18 or row 36 of the lace chart.  Well, if my calculations are correct, my 12" will lie somewhere in the middle, so I might need extra yarn to get to my row 18 or 36.   So, I decided to make sure the sleeves got done in case I needed to fudge things on ending the body.  I only have 10 skeins, which is what the pattern called for, and it was the only 10 skeins at The Spinning Room.  Since getting more would likely mean another dye lot --- I'm going to try to make it with my 10 skeins.  Stay tuned..... I hate it when it comes down to the wire like this!

In Book News:
I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [Print] and surprisingly (or not if you've read my other posts where several people have told me that it gets better if I just give it a chance) the pace has picked up a little.  Paul is home with the Nook that has the 3rd Hunger Games book on it, but I'm giving this a little more time before I give up and read that!

Oh my gosh!  How can I forget to tell you about this???:
The Beekman Boys posted this picture on their Facebook page yesterday stating that the baby goats were out in front of their Mercantile for Easter.  They are wearing the sweaters I knit for them!  Yay!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Talk about an interesting and busy weekend!  It started out of Friday, as I went to help a certain someone (my mom!) with this:
Blech.... a broken leg.  That pesky last step on a dimly lit stairway!  I went to the grocery store for her, got her a napsack and cooked dinner for her.  She is on the mend, although it's very understandably difficult and annoying to get around with that clunker.

As I got up early Saturday morning to get back to Altamont to teach two knitting classes, I was confronted with this:
More blech.  Luckily it didn't last long and the trip back was uneventful.  Finished up teaching the 2-socks-on-1-circular-needle class (only had 3 for the second class since 2 people decided they really didn't like the technique!  Ah, the casualties of knitting classes...) and the Baby Kimono class (very cute almost-finished projects from the participants!).

Sunday, Paul and I headed out to Massachusetts to visit our friends Pam and Tyler.  Tyler reads the blog faithfully and then tells Pam about it.  (Hi Tyler!  Say hi to Pam for me!)  Tyler is a talented carpenter and not a knitter, but gleans information from the blog anyway.  I was shocked when he told me he really related to my post about second sock syndrome.  What?  Really? When he has a task that involves many repetitions of the same thing (such as putting the moulding/casing on windows), he feels the same way as a knitter who has finished just one sock and feels the doom and gloom of needing to do a whole other sock in order to have a finished product and to wear them.  So when he read the part of my blog that had the solution to second sock syndrome (getting two sets of double points and working a little on one sock, then a little on the other, in order to have a complete pair done at the same time), he had a revelation and changed his whole process for doing the windows!  And it's much better now!  HOW GREAT IS THAT?  I have influence, people!

In Knitting News:
I finished the Summer Flies shawl:
This picture shows it unblocked.  I think it will grow a little and the ruffle will flatten out a little when I block it.  It does need to grow in order to comfortable fit around my shoulders.  I showed it to some friends at the shop and they convinced me that a class would be a good idea.  I think it will have to be a few short (1 hour) sessions, which is why I was originally waffling on the class idea.  I wasn't sure if people would want to have just an hour class on 3 consecutive weeks.  But, there seemed to be some interest, so we'll try it out!

Remember how I was supposed to be working on a work-in-progress (the Umaro blanket, specifically) before I started that Summer Flies shawl and how I didn't?  Well, I did it again.  But I have a good the same excuse.  It's for a class.....

I started the Cascade Luna - Top Down Summer Lace Cardigan Shrug, (I'm feeling like Cascade really needs to work on more inventive names for their patterns) a really cute short sleeved cardi knit with cotton yarn.  Perfect for spring/summer! Click on that link to see a picture of the finished product.  Here is my started version, made with Cascade Luna:

Hopefully I can get it knit this week so we can schedule a class for early-mid-late (that's specific huh?) May.

In Gardening News:
My Beekman 1802 newsletter told me that I can plant my tomato and pepper seeds indoors the second week of April!  Yay!  Can't wait.  All I need is some seed starting soil and I'm all set.  Also, Paul and I went to Home Depot on the weekend (see, I told you it was a busy weekend....oh and the trip to HD ended with ice cream...) to price up garden bed supplies and it looks like we can do it for about $200.  Not too bad for a start-up garden.

In Book News:
I finished reading Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel by Beth Hoffman, and enjoyed it.  It was a nice story of a 12 year old girl coming to terms with her mother's mental illness while going to live in Savannah with a great aunt.  Definitely not the exciting, suspenseful and mysterious books I've been reading lately, but it was a nice change from that.

Now, I'm trying for the final time to pick up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Just giving it one last chance since so many have said that it really does get better once Lisbeth's character becomes more prominent (later in the book).  Not sure why I'm trying again.  Probably because I'm afraid I'm missing something good.