Monday, January 28, 2013


My man, the love of my life, is a handy, handy man!  A jack of all trades.  This has saved us a boatload of money through the years and continues to do so.  This weekend, he was headed to the nearest home improvement store for some wood with which to work on an ongoing household project of his.  He waffled back and forth about the cost and then inquired as to my opinion on the expense.  Here was my line of thinking:  he needs to be busy or becomes a bit, ahem, "dicky", (shall we say?); we were anticipating a freezing rain storm which would leave us housebound; two days in a house with no project to complete for a a restless man; and

during the freezing rain event
 I had just spent a little money ordering some angora yarn (contented sigh).  So I told him that I felt he absolutely should run to town and pick up the wood.  Besides, I said, I just spent a bit of money on my hobby, of course he should spend some on his.  He turned to me, smiled a great big smile, and said "My hobby benefits the house."  
(Insert pregnant pause here)  
(Perhaps a few more seconds of a pause).  
Don't take this wrong, please!  It was a joke and he is very supportive of my yarn acquisition and consumption.  There has been nary a word about the expense of my knitting ways.  
Shortly before this particular conversation, we were discussing what to do with the young one's room when he vacates the premises.  (It will be a few years yet, but parents can look forward to that, right?)  He was thinking an office space, which is a fine idea.  I mentioned that since he is handy (and has an awesome set of tools!) that perhaps he could fashion me a built-in for my yarn.  There issued forth from this man a heavy sigh, followed by "so this will be a craft room then?".  There was an even greater sigh on my part, after which I informed him "I KNIT.  I DO NOT DO CRAFTS.  BIG DIFFERENCE."  So, that's settled then!
Seriously, though, please don't think he is crabby or intolerant of my love of the yarn arts.  He is not at all.  
Look what he brought me the following morning from his convenience store run:
It's a doughnut!
 Sitting on my cake stand.  With a little plastic frog.
Tomorrow I will post what I accomplished this weekend whilst hobbying on my hobby which doesn't benefit the house.  Hee hee.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


 There are several blogs running a series called 52 weeks of happiness, wherein once a week they post about the moments of the week that have swelled their hearts and created gladness within.  I love this idea!  I love stopping to take note of grand and ordinary moments that make our lives joyful, peaceful and worth it all.  But I know myself.  I know that I will start this wonderful series and miss days and add stress to my life by making this blog, my outlet, my creative space, an assignment or chore.  I do not wish that upon myself!  So, having said that, I do vow to stop and observe those times in my life that make my heart sing.  This week was full of those moments.  Some grand, some not so grand, but great each and every one of them.

 Daddy's 70th birthday was this week.  I helped him celebrate twice!  The second time was a surprise, and I was the surprise.  Having traveled to see him last weekend, he was not expecting me on his actual birthday of Tuesday.  Immediately following work, I hopped into my Dart and darted his way.  Once in town, I picked up my brother and showed up on his doorstep.  He was completely surprised and tickled and thrilled.  He proclaimed it the best birthday ever! 
 Spending time with my parents always fills my heart with joy.  I gave up the splendor of Arizona for the closeness of my family and I don't regret it one minute.  I do miss Arizona, but do not wish to return and leave my family again.  So worth it to be here near them!

Whether we're chilling out watching t.v. and eating snacks, or traveling to Europe or hopping on a cruise, I love, love, love my time with them.  It doesn't have to be a grand adventure, to be grand.
My Hipstamatic has pleased me greatly (more so than it probably should?) this week.  Much experimenting has taken place and I will inundate this blog with those pics here soon, I feel!
Knitting has been a joy this week.  Several people have been the recipients of my hand-knits.  Each has been pleased.  That pleases the knitter!  Greatly! 

Dad had one kneewarmer left from his mother, who knit these for her youngest son, the outdoorsman and hunter many many years ago.  I took note of gauge and size and tried my best to duplicate.  I'm pretty sure dad was pleased with his new matching set.  I chose forest green to go with the original.  It was that or blue from my stash and I was afraid the blue might resemble too closely the colors of da Bears.  We are Packer backers in this family!  Specifications:  54 stitches, size 5 needles, knit in 1x1 ribbing to 6 1/2 inches then cast off.

This moment just made me giggle and as we all know, laughter is the best medicine!

Friday, January 18, 2013

FO Friday: Ingenue

 Finally!  It took nearly a year to get this beauty off of this needles, but it finally is.  Ingenue by Wendy Bernard from Custom Knits.  It has been cast off, ends woven in, blocked and in wearing rotation.  Wore it to work already and received several compliments on it.  I love the neck and the folded down seamed collar.  Followed this pattern to the letter. 
These pictures were taken after returning home from a full work day.  A work day during which it was worn.  That explains the wrinkled elbows.  The sweater lays nicely and has a good fit.  I made the medium (37 1/4) on size 8 needles using Cascade 220 in a nice grape purple.  Yarn bands nowhere to be found a year later, so my apologies on not having the dye lot or color group on this yarn.  This yarn was the first on my swift last Christmas!  The pattern was very clear and easy to follow.  I would definitely make another knit by Wendy Bernard!  My only complaint is that my neckline was not as wide as is in the original pattern, but I actually do appreciate that my neckline will be warmer for me here in Northern Illinois. 
 I also made the Brain Waves Beanie hat sometime in early winter.  As I look so goofy in hats, I thought I'd have Heimo model this one.  Those three pictures are three different pictures, taken in not-so-rapid succession.  Once I put the hat on him, he completely froze!  It was like he was paralyzed.  Brain waves indeed!
 Neither boy is very fond of it, but it has been worn.  Always good to have a supply of hats in the closet!  It brings a knitter (and crocheter) great joy to see someone leave the house in a hand knit versus a "Fox" or "Mobil 1" or "DC" or whatever designer watch caps are being mass-produced out there!  There's nothing like wool and loving stitching to keep one's head warm!

It may have paralyzed Heimo, but Boots is always good for a lay-about on it!  Not a good picture of the pattern, which I think is great fun (though the boys did not).  I guess "fun pattern" is not a priority among male wearers of hats.  Who knew?
I have a few other finished objects which will be displayed on another FO Friday post.  Might as well save them if it's going to take me a year to get a sweater off the needles, eh?  I am finishing up some stealth knitting, which will be available for viewing soon.  In revisiting old and ongoing knitting resolutions, I have a sweater that has been languishing, and I do mean languishing, for years!  I resolve to get that off of the needles.  It is Sitcom Chic by Bonne Marie Burns.  
Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hip to be Square!

So, what have I been up to?  I spent nearly an entire day this weekend reading this blog.  After which I embarked upon making my own yogurt.  Quite easy; quite tasty.  
I heated the milk to 180degrees, quick cooled to 110degrees, stirred in some active cultures (through purchased yogurt).

 I set this atop a heating pad, which was placed upon a towel upon a baking sheet.

I then covered this jar with a towel, ensuring that no draft would breach the bedding.
 After eight voila!  Yogurt.  It's a bit runnier than purchased canister yogurt, but oh, so tasty.  Today for lunch I mixed in some strawberry ice cream topping and it was like eating dessert for breakfast.  (probably calorie-wise too!).  I have mixed granola and fruit in as well.  It is plain yogurt, but without the TANG of store-bought.

Another development in my after-work time-killing activities was the download of the Hipstamatic iPhone app.  What absolute fun I have had with this app. What follows is a photo essay of how to burn the night hours playing with the Hipstamatic app!  
Here is the yogurt posed artfully (hee) atop a cake stand.

 In this picture, the boy is readying himself for an evening ice-skating.  (please note this is the garage, I DO NOT hang Mobil 1 oil banners in my home).

Man insulates face in preparation of extreme ice-skating temperatures.  

 Man is getting a bit annoyed being asked to stop and pose.  He was a good sport throughout, but I decided to seek out other subjects. (He's cute when he's annoyed, eh?)

Sleeping cats make very good photographic subjects.  My boys snuggle (very familiar pose).

Boots wonders why the camera if there are no woolen knits upon which to lie.
 Furball is our (former) feral who occupies the garage and patio and refuses to come inside.  In fact she'll only stay in garage if side door is open.   She usually is not a good picture taking subject as she's always on the move, but apparently she appreciates the artsy nature of Hipstamatic.

Heimo up close and personal.  

Heimo has tired of the picture taking and has fallen asleep upon his mama.

And this is what awaits me after burning through the waking hours with my new Hipstamatic.  (No they are not paying me to endorse them)

There has been knitting but pictures will need to wait.  Some of the knitting is stealth knitting, some slated for FO Fridays and some will require their own post.  Please note that all previous New Year's Resolutions will apply for this and future years unless otherwise notified.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finished Objects: Disco Doesn't Suck (and neither do ripples)

 Ta-Dah!  The Disco Blanket!  
This pattern is from Lucy of Attic24; it is the Granny Stripe.  I debuted this blanket on my previous segue post.  It began as an effort to learn this crochet.  What followed became a way to use up stash yarn.  What became is an explosion of color!  I tried, dear reader, I tried to stick to my resolve on only using stash yarn, but every so often (every few rows or so), a color that would combine beautifully, fabulously with the one just laid down would pop into my head.  That color would not leave.  I knew that color was available somewhere.  It all started because the color I knew I wanted was wool and this was to be an all acrylic, washable all-season blanket.  Looking at that wool skein in my hand that was the perfect color, and knowing that I would no longer have a very practical, machine washable blanket drove me to it!  I could see it in that wool, that perfect color, but wrong fiber skein. 

Well, once you've caved and made a trip to the store and opened your wallet to the possibilities of color, further trips are absolutely justified.  I mean at that point it is no longer a completely stash driven blanket, right?  And I really didn't have my heart set on a "stash+one" blanket, so what the heck...when the mood/color struck, I was more than willing to make the drive again.  I did put a border around it of several rows of granny stripe, followed by a lovely scalloped edging. 
 So here's the story you've been waiting for:  The man and I made a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to see my favorite uncle and aunt and pick up a 1937 Chevy Sedan.  This was to be a quick trip.  Neither of us wanted to take time from work.  The mission of the trip was simple, to pick up a truck and spend a very little bit of time with my aunt and uncle.  We enjoyed a very carefree drive up, splitting the trip with a night in a hotel.  Upon our arrival the following morning, we had coffee and conversation with my relatives and then the menfolk set out to corral the Chevy.  That left my aunt and I some lovely womenfolk time to play catch-up and take a stroll to Mummu's.  The men didn't return.  We discussed dinner plans.  The men didn't return.  Rather than worry, we assumed that the menfolk were discussing the finery of machinery, as we had discussed the finery of woolen knits.  Still the men didn't return.  When the finally returned, they informed us of a problem.  The truck we had borrowed to haul this Chevy back with had broken down. 
You already know that my man is handy and he is also especially handy with vehicles.  He spent many many hours on the cold ground outside in the November cold of the Upper Peninsula.  He was under-dressed.  He was now chilled to the bone.  We returned to the room and he took a hot shower, but still could not get the chill from his body.  At that point I took over and wrapped The Disco Blanket around him.  The same blanket he would roll his eyes at whenever I laid it out for inspection.  He made small fun-making comments of it.  
And then, enveloped in the warmth that is a hand-knit, albeit acrylic yarn blanket, the chill left him.  He forgot the sections of 70s colored yarn, he forgot the projective yarn vomit of color.  He was warm.
Who said disco sucks?
 The previous winter I had tried my hand at the Neat Ripple Blanket by Lucy of Attic24.  I needed to produce a blanket for grandbaby boy two and loved the ripple pattern.  On the first blanket I had used one skein of yarn (actually multiple skeins, but all the same color).  I wanted to make a true, random color placement ripple this time. 
 This is the result.  This beautiful little grandbaby boy loves blankets and now has a hand-knit blanket of his own.  He cuddles in it with his Jacob-Kitty.
 Thinking maybe I should post of picture of just the blanket as that little guy is so gosh-darn cute, it's hard to look away from his loveliness and check out the actual knit object.

*p.s. we were stuck in the U.P. for two additional days, waiting for parts to come in.
to view the finished objects of others, click here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

This is the Segue

 My return to the blog world.  It has been very nearly a year.  No excuses other than life has a way of getting in the way of our simple pursuits.  Life.  This past year has been an enjoyable one.  We spent the year engaged and we continue to be fully and madly in love.  We continue to be engaged and wrap up this engagement in early summer.  Plans are ongoing...

So a quick recap of 2012 will include a few photos.  I have not been behind the camera much this year.  My iPhone has captured most of my pictures.  It is time for a new camera, but until the time comes that we acquire a new one, iphone and old camera will have to do for continued visuals on this blog.  I have finished objects to report and announce, but will save that for perhaps a finished object Friday post.

2012 I learned to crochet.  I started my crochet venture following the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of attic24.  After much trial and error and stash purple/blue/green variegated yarn, I produced a little blankie for grandbaby boy one, seen cuddling with grandpa and new ripple:
 I followed the Neat Ripple with a stashbusting Granny Stripe, also by attic24 Lucy (she writes fabulous tutorials!).  I had all intents and purpose of using stash only yarn to create this beauty, but colors would pop into my head as being the next perfect color and I'll admit I ran to my local store for those colors as the muses called.  I am madly in love with my granny stripe, which has been named "The Disco Blanket" by my man.  There are a few sections of 70s colors, which, while obnoxious, lend a charming granny character to the granny stripe.  (Those of us who had grannies who produced knit and crochet goods in the 70s know of what I write).  Boots is enjoying the Disco Blanket.  My man was not initially fond of the The Disco Blanket, likening it to yarn vomit, but has since been enveloped in its warmth and has changed his appreciation for The Disco.  The whole story will be forthcoming.
 Mid-Spring saw lots of work on our patio.  We live next to railroad tracks and the view from my patio table was not my favorite.  My very handy and talented man made me a visual block in the form of a wall that I had designed in my head.  He followed that construction with new steps under the sliding glass door (not pictured), bricked paths at both ends of the patio (also not pictured), and the leveling out and re-grassing of the patio area.  Notice how low the ground is on the patio.  No longer my friends!  Please note that this picture is very early spring and my patio had not yet been adorned with furniture cushions or green and flowering plants in pots.

 There was an Easter trip to meet the kids halfway and spend time with them.

There was a summer trip to spend additional time with the kids.  We had a grand time with them, but we always do.  Daughter-in-law and I enjoyed a day free of men and boys when we went shopping.  That is becoming our specialty together!

I am the proud owner of a new car!  The 2012 Dodge Dart, to be exact.  Made locally.  This is the first new car I have ever bought.  Didn't like the idea of debt, but was convinced I amnow old enough and liquid enough to do this.  I am very pleased that I did!
Another car acquisition was the 1937 Chevy Sedan pictured below. We made the trek to the Upper Peninsula to pick it up.  Snafus ensued.  Disco Blanket and the man bonded.  More on that later. 

While spending time with my aunt and uncle, I trekked to Mummu's house.  Mummu is gone now, but her love of knitting and crochet lives on. 
And of course, the holidays have come and gone and I have no pictures to commemorate them.  I'm sure someone took pictures...

Thanks for tolerating the update.  More knit and crochet projecting details will be blogged about soon.  Wanted to catch up, so that I can segue into knit blogging once again.