Friday, June 25, 2010

Drifty hat and mitten(s)

Mandy @MyZigZagStitch, designer of the amazing End of May hat and mittens (my version here) put out the call for test knitters for her upcoming ebook, The Red Collection.  The book comes out later this fall and is filled with such adorable patterns for hats, mittens, and handwarmers.

Test knit? Yes, please! I picked out the Drifty set to knit and got to work.
Drifty Pattern
(I recently discovered Knitcast and was able to listen to quite a few podcast episodes while knitting these up).
Drifty Pattern

I still need to knit mitten #2 and embroider the cardinals on each piece, so finished and modeled shots are forthcoming...
Drifty Pattern
The stranded colorwork in these makes me want to get to the yoke of my Icelandic sweater already! Just one more sleeve to go before I can begin.

I saw this version from another test knitter, and I love the deep blue she used for the sky.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Binky Patrol

A few weeks ago, my local Modern Quilt Guild branch, the Brighton Modern Quilters, had a charity sewing day to make some baby quilts for Binky Patrol (found via the book, Quilting for Peace).

I went on super sonic mode and pieced, basted and quilted both of these quilts during our afternoon together.
Binky Patrol baby quilts

Binky Patrol baby quilts
This one was made with scraps from my hedgehog quilt and backed with pink faux bois from Joel Dewberry

Binky Patrol baby quilts
Binky Patrol baby quilts
and this one was made with a charm square set from Joann and some Amy Butler mod dots. (Did I forget to mention that we visited the world headquarters of Joann in Ohio while we were visiting Scott and Melissa over Memorial Day weekend? Did I also forget to mention that Scott works in the warehouse? I think I did. The store was amazing, btw!)
Here are the details:
5"x5" charm squares
8 squares by 8 squares
64 total squares for each quilt
36" x 36"
4 width of fabric 2.5" strips of binding fabric
38" x width of fabric for the backing
This particular "design" is so easy to duplicate with any scraps you have in your stash (or pre-purchased charm pack + extra solids).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

hits and misses

I started my second weaving project last weekend. I was so excited to use this Noro Sakura yarn for the warp. Sakura is so pretty in the skein. Some parts of it are wound tightly and look just like friendship bracelets and other parts look like bi-color handspun.

I meticulously wound it on my warping pegs (extra long for good measure).
Weaving project #2
I got Jon to help me wind the warp on my loom - evenly and with cardstock, too.

Weaving project #2
And then I started weaving. My selvedge edges are much better this time around thanks to Angela's tip to use 2 threads on each end of the warp instead of one.

Weaving project #2
After a few cranks of the warping peg, a few warp lengths started coming
unraveled. While the scarf looks okay in this photo, it's much worse up close. Let's just say that Noro is not strong enough for warping and double knots or scotch tape will not fix broken length of warp!  I should have given up when I first saw that scraggly threads coming through the rigid heddle, but I kept going.

After a few days of staring at this project, I've decided to rip it out and save the weft yarn (my precious Plucky MCN Sport!) for another project.  Fortunately, I got the Sakura on super sale at my LYS, so I'm only out about $5 and a few hours of crafting time.

I will happily mail the unused Sakura off to anyone who wants to use it for a craft project of some sort (there's about 70, 3 yard pieces of this stuff). Just leave a note in the comments and I'll mail it off.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden 2010: Week 5

We are slowly getting to that time of the summer where all of our hard work in the garden is paying off.
2010 Garden: Week 5
(I decided to weed the garden again on Sunday and now it's blog presentable once again).

Exhibit 1: Radishes!
Yay for Radishes!!!

Exhibit 2: French Breakfast Radishes!
Yay for Radishes!!!
You haven't lived until you've tasted radishes fresh from the garden. They are nothing like bland, store-bought radishes. They're super crispy and extra spicy and so delicious. I like to eat them like potato chips.

Our plants are starting to properly trellis...
2010 Garden: Week 5
pole beans (may need to bring out taller trellis poles for these)

2010 Garden: Week 5
cucumbers (on an upside-down tomato cage secured at the top with twine)

2010 Garden: Week 5
butternut squash

2010 Garden: Week 5
Zucchini (I'm afraid that we planted the non-trailing zucchini and squash varieties, so perhaps the right side of the squash trellis won't be used this summer).

All of the plants that we started by seed are popping up, too. We did
lose some leeks and green onions, but for the most part, everything is
doing well.
2010 Garden: Week 5
beets, parsnips, turnips, onions, carrots and purple carrots

2010 Garden: Week 5
The swiss chard, kale and okra are coming along nicely as well (I accidentally weeded 2 swiss chard plants that I need to replace soon). I've never eaten okra before...I'm accepting any great suggestions for okra dishes if you care to share!

And I finally cut into my row of precious basil...
2010 Garden: Week 5
...and turned it into fresh pesto for this delicious pizza we grilled:

grilled pizza
topped with pesto, pine nuts, tomatoes, red onions, broccoli, mushrooms and roasted garlic. (Next time we'll make sure that the bottom doesn't char! oops!)

As you can probably tell, it's been a great week in the garden! The garden and I are back on good terms after last week's depressing post. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

this and that

I won this embroidery pattern giveaway from Rosamaria earlier this year (I'm too embarrassed to go back and see how long it's been!). She and her sister started up this darling etsy store, Mi hermana y yo, that sells bags, pillows and embroidery patterns. I got to pick my favorite embroidery pattern and I went with the Frida Kahlo pattern (of course, as I'm a big Frida/Mexico fan). The embroidery pattern came with three designs, and so far I've stitched up the first design in the set.
Frida Kahlo
I patterned my Frida after this photograph and my favorite part of this design is all of the flowers in her hair and, of course, the unibrow. I think I stitched her nose around 8 times before stopping the madness and calling it good. I'm planning on turning this piece into a tote bag to house one of my crafting WIPs, so stay tuned!

It's been quite a while since I've done any embroidery, but I think it's such a fun warm weather hobby. I still want to do some more embroidery this summer and I even have a few Sublime Stitching patterns ironed on to some tea towels and in my crafting queue already (I'm thinking the Sexy Librarian pattern is definitely appropriate now considering my new degree). Plus, I still want to stitch up this adorable buffalo pattern.

first woven scarf
I finished up my first woven scarf on Saturday night. I'm glad to have my practice scarf out of the way as the sloppy selvedge edges and uneven tension are bothering me a bit. At least now I know what I need to improve on for the next project, right?
first woven scarf
(All of the details for this project are in my ravelry project page if you're interested).

Garden 2010: Week 4

2010 Garden: Week 4
Not much to report this week. We planted marigolds and ignored the weeds. For this week, I want to tie some of the squash branches to the trellis, weed and plant more radishes and mesclun.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pantry Upgrade (or Why we no longer face avalanches when opening our cupboards)

We have a pretty small kitchen in our house and right now a kitchen remodel is neither in the budget nor wise in this economy. Our cupboards were packed to the gills and we had trouble finding things or even remembering what we had in our cupboards. We'd been wracking our brains to come up with a new way to add storage to our kitchen and when I saw this post by Amber, it finally dawned on me that we could add a hutch at IKEA to this one nook in our kitchen for extra storage. Before our pantry upgrade the nook had a tiny bookshelf for our cookbooks, our pan rack and the kitties' food dishes.

Kitchen Before
After looking online at IKEA, I wasn't able to find to a hutch that we liked, so we settled on getting this Billy bookshelf. Then when we got to IKEA, we found this Hemnes bookshelf with doors and decided to go with this option instead. The Hemnes shelf was more expensive, but it's made with real wood and is versatile enough to be used in another room in our house should we ever decide to remodel the kitchen or move to a house with better kitchen storage.

Pantry After
Ahh...much better! Ever since finishing up this project, we've spent a wee bit too much time staring at this cabinet and smiling. :)

We culled our cookbook collection a bit to fit on the shelves (we both have a fondness for collecting new cookbooks) and the cookbooks here are books that we use frequently. As you can see, our main cooking interests are smoothies, canning, bread, japanese food, vegan/vegetarian food, and baking.
we love cookbooks
For dry pantry storage jars we used:

1. Burken lidded canisters in the large and medium size for dried beans, nuts, fruit, grains, seaweed, pasta, and sweeteners.
gallon sized jars for larger quantities
2. Anchor Hocking 1-Gallon Glass storage jars for white and wheat flour, rice, dry cat food and oatmeal


Pint and Quart Ball Jars for smaller quantities
3. Pint and Quart Mason Jars for everything else that was too small to put into the Burken jars.

I typed printed the contents of each of the jars on paper, trimmed the tags to size and attached the tags to the jars with clear tape to label each jar. We can easily peel off a label and make a new label if we ever have to switch around the contents of the jars.
Full Cabinet
Now that we have freed up so much space in our cupboards, it's so much
easier to keep everything organized and within reach. It's exciting to
cook again because we actually have an excuse to open up the new cabinet
and pull out a jar of food to use. We definitely should have done this
sooner!

P.S. That bright green binder on the bottom shelf is my organized recipe binder seen here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

little [yellow] corvette

My dad has faithfully supported our family over the years by working long, hard hours to provide us all with great family vacations, braces, musical instruments, tuition, and many other luxuries.
IMG_0058
He was finally able to reward himself for all of his diligent savings and money management by purchasing a Corvette on Monday (It's only been his dream car for the last 50 years!)

He's probably wishing that he hadn't taught me how to drive a stick shift when I was 16 because there's no excuse for me not to drive it now!   

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bee Beautiful patchwork quilt

fabric for January
Thanks to the crafty women in the Bee Beautiful Virtual Quilting Bee, I received 20 scrappy log cabin blocks to make up this quilt.

bee beautiful blocks so far
I sent everyone in the group a pile of my scraps (isn't it crazy how a single piece of fabric can bring back so many memories?) and a pink center square and each of the group members made me two scrappy log cabin blocks for my quilt.

Bee Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt
The colors and patterns are wild and crazy, and while I could have added sashing between to tone things down, I decided to sew each block directly together for a true patchwork look. This quilt is a birthday present for a hippie and color loving person and I know that she'll love the craziness of it.

Bee Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt
I added five blocks of my own to make it a square quilt. The final size is about 55" x 55" and each block was originally 12" before seaming.

Bee Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt
I used a brown sheet for the back, pink thread for the stippling and a lime green print from the stash. I quilted this myself on my Janome.

Bee Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt
Now I'm just catching a few more peeks at this before I have to wrap it up and give it away.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garden 2010: Week 3

2010 Garden: Week 3
The bad news: I am starting to regret that I publicly stated on this blog that my goal this year is to keep up with the weeding in the veggie garden! Weeds are popping up left and right and it seems like 2 new weeds grow for every one that I pull.

First two beans!
The good news: We have beans! The bush bean plant has two full-sized beans. Now, what can I make with 2 beans?

Radishes
Lots of the seedlings are popping up. The radishes seem to be doing best so far, but there are little glimpses of onions, carrots, and turnips popping up.

stunted lettuce
I waited too long to plant the lettuce seeds, so they are still tiny tiny and this heat is not helping at all. Even though I missed the boat on an early spring lettuce planting, I definitely want to start another batch of lettuce seeds at the end of August.

Mesclun
The row of mesclun I planted is coming along nicely, though. The seed pack says to plant 5 feet of seeds every week to ensure a full summer of mesclun. I just planted row number two today, so we might stick to the one row every 3 weeks plan and see how that work.

I'm going to plant a few more rows of turnips and radishes this week (between the struggling lettuce plants) to get some more use out of the extra soil space.
what kind of bugs are eating this plant?
Some of our plants are getting eaten up and these tiny holes are appearing on the mustard greens and turnip greens. Rosamaria posted a great natural remedy for bugs that Jon is going to set up this weekend to hopefully give the bugs something else to eat. One tip that I read was to add all soil amendments in the late fall and rototil the garden in the fall to break up bug larvae and reduce the bug population over the winter. Since we didn't know to do this last fall, our garden has bugs everywhere this year. We will definitely be preparing our garden better this fall.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend in Ohio

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Ohio visiting our friends, Scott and Melissa, and their brood of cute pets. It's always nice to find friends who enjoy (read: are a little too into) their pets as much as we enjoy our little kitties!
Chey(anne)
IMG_2689
IMG_2691
On Saturday we gathered up our bikes and rode along the Towpath trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Here's where I would like to apologize to the great State of Ohio for thinking of it only as one of two highways to drive through to get to a more interesting state! Ohio is really cool! The scenery is beautiful, the houses are cute and there is tons of stuff to see and do. I will never take it for granted again!

IMG_2421
  Jon & Scott searching for the bullfrog
We spotted this bullfrog after hearing loud sounds coming from this old lock system situated along the trail.

Bullfrog

After our bike ride, we drove over to Brandywine Falls to check out the gorgeous waterfall.
Brandywine Falls
Jon bought a new dSLR that shoots video a few months ago (as part of his unofficial yearly video camera trade in). It's been fun seeing all of the pictures he takes and seeing his perspective on things, but now we've both been taking inordinate amounts of pictures of each other taking pictures.
IMG_2459
one of many on each of our respective cameras
 IMG_2712
We shot this picture just before we headed back to Michigan on Monday. Thanks, Scott and Melissa, for a fabulous weekend!