Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Knitting and Knitting and Knitting

HOPEFULLY, by Christmas Day my holiday knitting will be complete and I can add pix of some of the other items I've got OTN. In the meantime, all I've gotten completed is a batch of various washcloths which are being paired with homemade Rose & Thyme soap (with roses and thyme from my garden) for my "girl" gifts for the family holiday gift exchanges. My favorite, but by far most time consuming and brain focus required, was the Elfish Leaves Washcloth. I also like the nubby cloth a lot. The smoother texture on one side combined with the bumpy alternate side makes for a washcloth that I'll definitely knit again.

For our Garden Hoes holiday party, we had to do a garden themed gift. I made a Flower-Power Washcloth and paired it with another one of my Rose & Thyme soaps. That was my first endeavor in knitting in the round on two circulars.

Additionally, basically because I couldn't wait until it is done, I've got an "in-process" pix of My So-Called Scarf that I'm knitting for mom. This scarf SHOULD be finished but kept getting set aside while I knit on other projects.

The last of my holiday knitting includes a pair of baby converse booties for my soon-to-be nephew and a balaclava for my dad. Here's crossing my fingers that they get done in time!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Her Royal Highness' 3rd Birthday

This past Saturday friends and family joined us for a royal celebaration in honor of my DD's 3rd birthday. She wanted a princess party so that is what we did. It was a wonderful party. We served punch in my silver punch bowl (FINALLY, an excuse to use this thing!), covered chairs in pink satins and chifons (so guests could enjoy "royal" seating as well), and hung pink tulle and organza from the ceiling as a backdrop for the cake table and the birthday girl. My pride and joy, besides my DD of course, was the castle cake mom helped me make. We were up until 2am the night before trying to finish this bad boy (thanks to Mom for making sure we finished it that night so the morning of the party we'd not be rushing as much). Anyway, here are a couple pix of our little princess on her birthday...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Thanks

We spend Thanksgiving each year with my DH side of the family and this year, as always, we had a hoot of a time. With 13 adults and 5 kids running around there was much laughter and thanksgiving this year. The turkey was beautiful to gaze at and even yummier to eat. ALL the fixins were scrumptious.

Again this year, I escaped having to cook anything. I don't know who is more thankful for or those who would have had to eat what I made. Instead, I took on, for the third year, the task of setting/decorating the table. Following are a few pix of this year's Thanksgiving dinner table.

Winter Wonderland Swap '07

Apparently, my swap partner didn't have access to Santa's "naughty/nice" list as she thought I'd been very, very good as evidenced by the absolutely WONDERFUL package she put together for me.

This was my first swap as a hostess. The matching of partners was a bit daunting but overall the swap has been a huge success, which makes me very happy.

Anyway, back to my package I received. My swap partner, Jeanie, sent me the following wonderful items: two sets of beautiful stitch markers for different sized needles, some wonderful hot teas and cocoa mixes that were packed in the precious holiday tin. The teas had the cutest names like "Nutcracker Sweet", "Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride" and "Sugar Plum Spice". I'd noted on my questionnaire that one of my most favorite things about the holidays was the smell of Mom & Dad's house when we go home for Christmas. Every time I open the tin, the smell of those teas transport me there immediately. It is SO heavenly a smell. Mmmm. The creme de la creme of the package, however, was the two balls of HAND-DYED yarn! The colorway is one she named "Sea" and it is beyond scrumptious! It is a wool, alpaca, silk blend and I THINK I've decided to take my first venture into the world of knitting socks using this yarn. My swap partner sent me a whole group of patterns to select from and I'm wavering between a cloche type hat and the "Rainy Day Socks" pattern from MagKnits. Hmmm.... Decisions, decisions.

Before I ripped into the package...

The goodies my Secret Santa sent!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Gonna Be a BOY!

Got the call from my brother and sister-in-law today... they are having a baby BOY!!! I'm so excited I can barely contain myself! I've already decided what I'm going to knit for my little nephew first! Oh I can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Time, More Money....More Headaches!

So we thought we'd done everything right when we were preparing to paint the exterior of our home (see earlier posts as to reason we decided to paint). We looked at a million color cards and selected the "finalists". We spent the money and bought a quart of the finalists to put up so we could determine the "winner". The "winner" actually ended up being one that was between the "Rattan Palm" and "Sweet Annie" colors that are visable in the pix posted earlier. It was a slate green color. What we didn't pay attention to was that the slate green color was an interior paint so when we went to get the exterior paint in this color the store ended up having to do a "custom" mix of it. Whatever... didn't think it would be a HUGE deal. Boy, were we wrong. Got home and painted the front of the house. It was evening when we finished and it finally dried and, to be honest, ANYTHING was better than the white. HOWEVER, the next day, when we could really see it..... tears came to my eyes as it was the WRONG color. In fact, it wasn't anywhere near ANY of the colors we'd selected as our finalists. It was a blue spruce! (Not that there is anything wrong with that color but it wasn't what we wanted!) Unfortunately, due to the HUGE headache and multiple screw-ups the day it was purchased, we failed to triple check the swatch to the paint and being custom, it wasn't returnable. URG.

Forget custom colors! We opted to get the color that matched it most closely in a "standard" color and after MUCH searching found it! Our home was going to be "Homestead Resort Olive". It was lighter than the "Rattan Palm" but still retained some of that slate coloring which was EXACTLY what we wanted and it was less yellow than "Sweet Annie" and a little darker. We were so very excited to have found the right color!

This morning, after we'd painted part of the front again with the new "correct" (or so we thought) color yesterday evening....did I mention that in my excitement the other evening before realizing the initial color was WAY wrong, I'd already pulled all the tape off the front of the house so I could begin taping for trim so I had to RE-TAPE everything again for the "right" color??....we were a bit shocked to learn that the paint didn't dry as dark as it should have. It looks like we have "Sweet Annie" on the house instead of the "Homestead Resort Olive". It is SO much better than the blue spruce color but is significantly more "yellow" than what we'd selected. What will we do? Go back to the paint store and demand they fix THEIR cost this time since it wasn't a custom mix color or will we just go with it as we are SO SICK of this whole experience?

I guess you'll have to tune back soon to find out as even I don't know how this story will end.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Going & Blowing

"Going and blowing" was just a nice way of saying that I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off the past few weeks working on my various projects. I'm very proud to note that I actually finished one! I know... I know... people who know me are in complete shock!

A friend had given us his daughter's old furniture which she'd outgrown. It includes a headboard, small bookcase and a bookcase with toy box attached. I started in on the headboard. I wanted to refinish it to more closely match my old dresser that I have in the kids' room. The first pix of of the headboard is after my first coat of stain on the main body, or rather what was SUPPOSEDLY a staining shortcut...NOT. We bought the stain and poly together. This is not a good thing for me cause, as you can see in the first photo, I had a WEE bit of an issue with the running. Of course, working on it at night didn't help my ability to see the runs in the first place. Had to sand them out and give it another the daylight this time. You can see, in the first pix the original color of the pieces there on the roof as it I didn't work on it until last.

The finished headboard... Okay, so I've completed 2 projects. The quilt on my daughter's bed is one that my great-grandmother made for me when I was young. I had to make some repairs to the backing and give it a MAJOR washing as it suffered some damage and was embedded with a TON dirt after being in the tornado that hit our home years ago. My last visit to the folk's home had me helping to clean out the storage building where I found this quilt (and one for my brother) in a bag up in the rafters still waiting for repair. It cleaned up exceptionally well and is now being put to use again and that makes me very, very happy.

As for other projects in, that list is never-ending but I've got some that are further along today than they were a week ago.

We have a group of gals that get together once a month to work on a project in one another's yard. We call ourselves "Garden Hoes". Our first project was to create a flowerbed around Rose's mailbox. To make things even MORE interesting, I was nominated to paint Rose's mailbox to make for a complete makeover. Well, that was weekend before last and I'm STILL not done with the mailbox. I'm close...just have to do the flowers on the second side. I've made the numbers thicker so they are easier to see. Have learned that I can NOT paint flowers. HA HA... Anyway, here is the mailbox (one side anyway).

Got a little more work done on my little bit of "Eden". Pictures will probably come along before too long to show the progress there. I want to get a bit more in the ground first.

Frogged a sweater so I could recycle the wool for a sweater I'm wanting to knit for my son. Got the yarn measured and balled up so that was a nice task to complete. NOW I just have to redesign this one sweater to fit my needs/wants and get knitting on though I don't have enough I'm knitting already.

Lastly, at least I think, we dug up one of the flowerbeds next to the house, lined it with bricks and moved the outdoor bar over and just made it a much nicer looking area. ALSO, by the bricks being there, my dogs will no longer be digging up that area. Slowly but surely, we are getting the house looking a little nicer...on the outside at least. Also started filling nail holes and prepping house for painting, which I'm hoping to get done within the month.

Whew! It was a fun and busy weekend. At least I finally have some FOs (finished objects)!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Baby It's Cold Outside

Okay, so there are many places much cooler today than Austin, but considering just yesterday I was wearing flipflops, shorts and a tee and sweating, 55 degrees today is burrrrrrr-nilly. I'm more looking toward the remainder of the week's 70-something weather.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Little Eden

Wow, I'm back and it hasn't been a month or more. I just couldn't wait to share some pix of recent projects (outside, anyway). These first two pix are of my little "Eden" I'd referenced in the previous post. Unfortunately, the pix here show a couple of the panels down as we had to remove them to back the Jeep in to tow out the tectonic plate which you can see in the middle of the bed. Ended up having to break it into four pieces before we could get them pulled. I kept waiting for someone from the other side of the world to pop up out of the hole we created and say, "HELLO!". It was a huge rock. Anyway, the panels are back up and I'm now working on laying down cloth, spreading mulch and getting my plants in the ground. I'm so very happy with my little plot of garden space. No dogs to dig up and eat my plants. No little fingers to pluck the first blooms off anything that flowers.... Of course, it has much to go before it is as beautiful as it is in my head, but it will get there.

Okay, so in one of the previous photos you can catch a glimpse of the candy cane house. Here is our sample swatches of the colors we are looking at painting the house instead. I can barely wait to get the thing painted. Oh, in case you were wondering, the "winning" main color is one that is right between the two you see in the pix. We also redid the lower flowerbed. Dug up all the plants, leveled and lay down landscape cloth and coverd with pea gravel. I TOTALLY love the end result. Of course, keeping little ones from moving all that gravel will be a challenge but...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From Candy Cane to "Normal"

So when we bought our "handy-man" house a year ago I noted that one of the first things (okay I admit, my list of 1st things to do was QUITE long....STILL IS) I wanted was to paint the house to a "normal" color scheme. The thing looks like a candy cane. White house with bright red trim. If I lived at the North Pole, I could see me being the envy of all my neighbors BUT here in Central Texas it stands out horribly and I have hated the color combo since day one.

That said, we FINALLY chose our new paint colors for the house. Selecting the trim was much easier than choosing the main color. We ended up slapping a quart of a couple different shades on the house and living with it for a week before deciding, just today, that we are doing the third color option (which is between the two "extremes" we'd tested. I'm sooo excited, I want to go home and begin prepping the house for painting immediately. Unfortunately, we've got a busy week and busier weekend ahead of us so I must continue to be patient.

Since I can't jump right on painting tonight (hubby has to go get the paint first), I'm going to work more on my BEAUTIFUL garden that my dad helped my DH build for me. Well, they built a nice big fence around what WILL be my little plot of garden. Between the kiddos and the dogs....let's just say my home was not a place plants looked forward to residing. There have been more casulties than successes to date but now I've got an area just for my plants that I'm working on putting together.

Still knitting....just plugging along and hoping SOME day I'll have a FO to share. In the meantime, my KH Secret Theme Swap partner over in the UK FINALLY was able to rescue her package from the hostage situation it has been in as a result of the postal workers going on strike there. URG. The theme of her package I put together was "Dragons" and included one pattern of my own design. Yipppeeee! Of course, I'm knitting that thing as much as I can to make sure I don't run across any glaring screwups in my writing of the pattern.

Here's a pix of the stitchmarkers I'd made for Stacey Jean. The backdrop is a skinny scarf I knit up for her and along side the stitchmarkers is a pewter baby dragon (unfortunately who is laying down in the pix). I think (I hope) she liked it as much as I enjoyed putting the package together for her. I'll admit I almost gave up a few times and/or opted for a different theme but am pleased with the overall package and the pattern I designed for her.

As if that swap weren't exciting enough, I'm hosting a Winter Wonderland Swap on KH as well. We have about 55 of us signed up thus far and it is looking to be another fun and, hopefully, successful swap. Yarn, pattern, stitchmarkers and something hot to drink... Sounds like a winner to me!

Gotta run... projects projects projects!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow! It has been a while since my last post but it hasn't been because I'm lazy. To the contrary. I've been going like mad! My BIGGEST project since my last entry has been working on a surprise package for a knitting swap where, naive lil' ol' me decided that since I couldn't find the exact pattern for what I'd thought up in my head, I needed to tackle designing my own knitting pattern. HOLY COW, Batman! It has been a nightmare, but fun. I've learned more about knitting probably in the past month while working on this design than I'd picked up in the several months since I'd begun knitting. I'm hoping to post a pix soon, at least of my progress on this item I've concocted.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few pix of some of what I've been up to lately.

In my Sewing FO list, I've noted that I finished granddad's BBQ apron. I'm still sifting through pix looking for a full apron shot, but, in the meantime, here is a shot of the applique that I did for his apron. This was a gift from the grandkids to my dad for his retirement. "Grillin' Granddad" is what his apron says. The apron was a heavy dark denim, with red bandana trim. It also included, in addition to the personalized applique, an adjustable neckband, extra-long ties, pockets and a towel holder. I think he really likes it!

The decor for the retirement party (he worked for the highway department for the state of Texas) was thought up by Mom and my Aunt. They went all out and we had fun, not only setting up the centerpieces and other decor for the party, but hearing everyone ooh and ahhh about them. Here are a few of the tables. Every table had a different centerpiece.

In addition to designing my own knitting pattern I've also been making a few stitch markers for myself and to share with others. Here are a few of my first ones I've made. Both of these sets are being sent to others as part of a swap. I can't wait to see what others have made for me!

Speaking of knitting.... (knitting and gardening seem to take up what little spare time I have these days, just FYI) I received my's Secret Theme Swap Fall 2007 package the other day! SamSam from our group put together a GLORIOUS package for me and I can't wait to dive in and use some of these skeins of yarn and make some new stitchmarkers with the beads as well as enjoy the rest of the goodies she so very thoughtfully sent. The theme for my package she sent was, you guessed it, "Gardening"! Perfect!!!

On the gardening front, my purple bean hyacinth finally began blooming. This is my first time with this particular plant and I ADORE it! Here's what it looks like, in case you don't know...

Well, in addition to all that, the kiddos have kept things hopping CONTINUOUSLY! There is NEVER a dull moment with those two around. Also, this past weekend, I attended a plant swap and got gobs of beautiful new plants to work with. I'm SO very excited. We are also working on building a fence around our pond as the dogs destroyed the small fence and then, once inside, completely destroyed the pond, all my pond plants and everything I had planted around the pond. Amazingly, I've yet to kill the dogs for that stunt. Even more amazing is that our goldfish (Nemo, Bubba, Gandolf, Frodo and Ted) are STILL alive! Once we get this nice TALL fence built around the pond area, that will be MY space for all the gardening I want to do and will be free of worry on whether the kids or dogs will destroy my efforts. I'm very anxious to finish that.

Gotta run. Much more to do.... Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gardening Frustrations

So we are dog-sitting a friend's pup. I had JUST got the stray we recently took in to stop digging/eating all my gardening efforts when we took in this friend's dog. Upon arriving home yesterday, the "new" pup had completely DESTROYED a few of my "prized" plants. URG!

Additionally, it has been so oppressively HOT the past few days that I've been unable to do anything in the garden. I desperately need to get my fall garden completed and get my new plants in the ground but it will all have to wait...a little longer.

I'll probably be canning some more pickled chipotles this weekend as the jalepenos continue to produce well (even though pretty much everything else has bit the big one).

Knitting projects continue SLOW-LY! Sewing projects even more slowly....but they are eventually getting done.

I'll try to post some pix of recent progress here in next few days. Keep cool!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

When You Can't Find It... Design It

So I wanted to knit up a dishcloth with a "design". My DH being a HUGE University of Texas Longhorn fan, I decided that I would knit a longhorn onto the dishcloth. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a knitting pattern for the longhorn that suited my needs so.... I graphed one up! I'm excited about giving this a go and will post a pix of the finished dishcloth when I "get er done".

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Try, Try Again

I have to start over on the wrap jacket I'm making. I had about an inch done and had to “frog” it last night. I'm hoping to start over today. What is “frogging” you ask? Well, what sound does a frog make? “”. LOL... New knitting term I learned and considering how much I will be using it.... I just find it funny. Maybe I'm tired. Anyway, I screwed up on the stitching beyond repair (somehow missed counted several and didn’t catch till too late...I'm sure trying to cast on and count while the kids were running amok didn't help.) so I had to rip the entire one inch (which I realize doesn’t SOUND like much but it was to me) out and try, try again.

Here's hoping I get my cast on number correct this time and that the continental stitch method enables me to move a little faster through the project....again, we'll see.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Let's Dig In & Get Started!

Wow...I'm blogging. That is too weird. Never thought I would get around to starting a blog. Of course, as with most of my "projects" the trick will be to keep it up.

That said, I welcome you if you are reading this. Mainly created this as a means of sharing my adventures, through "trowel and error", in gardening, knitting, sewing, canning, remodeling and whatever other projects happen to fall on my "to-do" list. Also spattered in here will undoubtedly be comments and pix of my better half and the kiddos.

Enjoy reading/viewing and commenting. Thanks for stopping by and taking some "thyme" out of your busy day to visit me!

I've been quite busy the past few months with project after project...or perhaps it would be most appropriate to say, "Starting" project after project. Every time I mention another "idea", my DH shakes his head, usually because he knows that inevitably he'll be pulled in to help with it as I have a tendency to get in a WEE bit over my head/skills level. Thank goodness he loves me so.

Our first garden yielded a decent crop this year...

so much so that we had to take up canning. The following pix was our first batch of canning (taken a few weeks ago). Since then we've canned several quarts of salsa, some more pickles and more pickled chipotles (YUM!)

In addition to veggie/herb gardening, I've been quite busy with regular gardening as well. My newest gardening hobby is plant propagation of ones I find that I love. My most successful, or rather the one I'm most thrilled about thus far is my Bat-face cuphea. Fell in love with this little plant the moment I saw it and since I live in the city with the largest urban bat colony in North America...well, it seemed appropriate. Perennial in Zone 8.

Lastly, just because I thought it was pretty, a pix of one of my red cannas that bloomed. Nothing fancy, just a Canna, plain and simple.

Well, that is all for now. Must run. I'll try to post some of my knitting adventures later. Cheers!