Stuff I Made

My analog hobby is crocheting. My grandmother taught me when I was in middle school. I have dabbled in other fiber arts and always come back to crocheting. In fact, one of the projects picture below arose out of an aborted attempt to quilt. After ruining one quilting kit and hiring someone to do the next one, I decided to see if I could do something similar with thread crochet. I gave it to my mother. Other items were also gifts except for the gray scarf. It is soft and lovely muted colors so I claimed it for my own and made a pair of fingerless gloves to go along with it.

Crochet Projects

Morning Pages

I’m half way through my first cup of coffee.  I somehow volunteered to help at church this morning, and if I got my act together, I could go for the first service, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  It’s still raining, although I can see a patch of bright light out there.  It doesn’t matter if it’s nice, though.  My husband finally got around to pulling together his tax numbers so I’ll be spending the afternoon with Turbo Tax.  We’ll file for an extension but at least we’ll know how much to send with it.

After making two pairs of socks, I’m not crocheting slippers from granny squares.  Still using up old worsted weight yarn.  It took me awhile to get the gauge right.  The pattern suggested an F hook to make a 4-1/2 inch square.  I’m up to an I!  They are very cute: a combo of white, green, and brown.  I’ll make the second one today, probably, while I’m watching the second part of Sense and Sensibility.

I also need to get some exercise today.  I’ve been eating OK (although I’m not sure how the sweet potato pie and low fat frozen yogurt fits in), but I need to do the second piece.  I took a bike ride on Friday and it felt good.  We’re lucky to have the Colonial Parkway just down the road so I am rewarded by great views of the river.  I also saw a cedar waxwing hanging out in a tree along our road.  If it clears up today, I’ll try to get another ride in, but it will probably be yoga.  I’ve got a new Gaiam DVD to try out.  I liked the “Energy Balancing” routine: mostly for when you’re feeling lousy and just need to be quiet for a bit.  the other one is a more typical workout.  I ordered two yoga bricks to try out as well.

So, with taxes, crocheting and exercise, I’ve got a full day ahead.  I wouldn’t mind finishing Carl Hiassen’s Double Whammy, either.  We are rushing to the climax: the bad guy has a dog head hanging from his arm and has just kidnapped the hero’s ex-wife.  Meanwhile, the hero is trying to figure out how to beat the murder rap for which he was set up.  It’s funny, but vaguely reminiscent of Nature Girl.  And, I just got a notice from Amazon that he’s got a new one out.  There’s also one more in my basket.  I think I’ll probably devote more time to Barack Obama’s autobiography next.  It’s on the Kindle and I’ve been reading bits and pieces when I’m waiting for meetings or stuck in hotel rooms.  So much to read, so little time.

And, there’s always a flash project to work on.  I think I’ll buy a license for royalty free clip art to use.  I did some rudimentay drawings in Flash itself and they looked pretty bad. I could always run the clip art through Comic Life for a nice effect.  I’ve at least worked out the flow of decisions.

The chickens are giving the back yard a real once over.  It’s wet and the worms are coming out.  We discovered that the silver spangled hamburg was laying eggs in a tucked away spot under the pump house lean to.  Found a good dozen or so.  Not sure how old they are, so we’re going to feed them to the dogs.  They’ll eat anything!

OK, coffee is gone and it’s time for a shower.  Many blessings to all for a wonderful day!

Monday, Monday

My to-do list is short right now. Mostly errands like the bank and the post office where I’m going to mail the tea cozy to my friend. I’ve got a meeting on campus and two classes to teach. Then, things really open up. Maybe I’ll actually be able to finish Annie Dillard. The Living is good but thick with description and as slow as a rainy day in the Northwest. I remember feeling the same way about Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.

I’m learning to crochet socks. Made a pair of green tube socks, which were easy, just continuous rows of scallops. Now I’m working on “basic” socks with heels, gussets, and toes. I finished one of a pair and have started the second one. Blue and white worsted weight yarn. I’m trying to use up the yarn I already own before buying more. They will be very cheery to wear, I think.

Sort of the same philosophy I have with books. Part of the reason I’m in a hurry to get through Dillard is so I can read The Tower by Derek Wilson as well as Sharon Kay Penman’s books about Wales and England. And then all those other ones in the basket. Let’s not talk about the books on the Kindle! I’m part of the way through Obama’s autobiography there. EEK! The crocheting has really eaten into reading time. But, I loved watching Sense and Sensibility last night and am already pining for next Sunday. It was a little frustrating to watch, though, since I already know the story. Pick Braddock, pick Braddock, you want to say to her.

Morning Muse

My husband is heading out to do some volunteer work for a local agency that builds and repairs houses. So, we’re up early. It’s not even 8 AM and the dogs have been walked, chickens have been fed, and there’s a fresh pot of coffee brewing. I have a few things on my list of to dos but nothing pressing and a full week at home next week. So, it’s the weekend and the question is what do I WANT to do?

  • Play some music: I’m playing in a recorder trio so I have music to practice. Plus, I have other solo stuff. There’s always the piano as well.
  • Read some: I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and picked up Annie Dillard’s The Living last night. Got through a few pages before it was time to go to sleep so would love to continue with that today. It’s set in northern Washington, and I’m reliving our visit to that still somewhat wild country.
  • Crochet: I’m currently making octagonal granny squares with some leftover red cotton yarn. Inspired by all the great craft sites out there, I took a picture of my two tea cozies (see below). The blue one is for a friend and includes a pad for the bottom. My next crochet project is to try making socks. I got a great book at the Michael’s near my hotel and have some variegated brown cotton yarn. The Sound of Music is on tonight, and I am looking forward to settling in and crocheting.
  • Work on my England map. My parents and I are going to England in October. They love to travel and are already in the midst of planning. After they called last night, I created a new Google map and started marking some of the places I want to visit including Stonehenge, Glastonbury, and Bath. The lake country is pretty far north, but nothing in England is very far away so we may be able to do it. I also want to go to Wales.

crocheted tea cozies

I was a good weight watcher yesterday and even saved up enough points for a glass of wine. I made this pasta from 101 Cookbooks using fresh spinach from the greenhouse. I also added ground chicken and did not bake it. Paired with big salads, this was a healthy, yummy dinner. And there are plenty of leftovers for lunch. I think tonight are baked tilapia fillets and Easter dinner will be pork loin and pineapple stuffing.

Good Friday

Yes, it refers to the holiday but it also refers to the fact that after four days away from home, I’m back at my desk watching the birds and the squirrels as I decide what I need to do today.

I finished my crocheted tea cozy and small mat for a friend’s birthday.  I looked for a teapot for her but couldn’t find one I liked so may just get a box of tea to send along with the cozy.  I also spent time last night surfing crochet and craft sites.

I am hoping that crocheting in the evening will help me fight the battle of the bulge.  Last night, I really wanted to snack on something even though I knew I didn’t have any points left and I wasn’t really hungry.  I just wanted to crunch pretzels or crackers. But I crocheted and then cam back and worked on the computer.  I’ve been eating so well the past week that I don’t want to blow it now that I’m home.  I’ve already eaten cereal this morning and am getting ready to open my WW points tracker and plan the rest of the day.

The workshops went well.  I only have a few things on my to do list, especially since I have the whole weekend ahead as well.  I’m enjoying the free time since once I get started on my dissertation research, there won’t be much of that left.  Oh!  The best news…I’m going to get to teach my first online course starting next week.  Very exciting!

I did skip Maundy Thursday last night.  Wasn’t sure I would get home in time and my church was having a supper that required rsvp.  So, I stayed home, cooked scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes for us, then Bob went to a meeting.  I think tonight will be whole wheat spaghetti.  I told Bob I would make pineapple stuffing for Easter along with a slice of ham.

Spring is Coming

It’s still cold here, but my in-laws in Erie who were snowed in, I am looking at a back yard suddenly filled with robins.  The sun is rising; in fact, I can almost see it moving upward in the sky as the painfully bright light pours through the still naked tress in my neighbor’s woods.  But I can see a red bud from here and the flowering cherries and quinces are in full bloom elsewhere in  town.  The daffodils, or to use the more southern term, jonquils are probably at their peak with patches everywhere, either cultivated or naturalized.  I always feel like I miss this moment in time when Spring beats back Winter not with a full-on assault but rather by moving into the cracks and crannies.  We changed the clocks this weekend so it stayed light until nearly 7:30 last night.  We’ll start eating later as we spend more time gardening in the late afternoon, early evening.  Eventually, we’ll enter summer mode when we get up early to go outside then escape the heat in the afternoon only to emerge at dusk.   The winter mode is the opposite, inside until it warms up enough to work outside.

Yesterday, it never did warm up enough so my husband took a long winter afternoon nap and I finished up some work, then crocheted and watched Better Off Dead with John Cusack.   I don’t watch a lot of movie; I finally gave up even the cheapest Netflix account, but I do like Cusack.  This was the perfect movie for a Sunday afternoon and I finished a tea cozy for myself then started one for my friend who has a birthday in April and is a big tea fan.  I’ll see if I can find a cute teapot for her, too.

I’m in this odd sort of netherworld right now.  My advisor has the final draft of my proposal so I’m waiting.  I’m doing a two-day digital storytelling workshop three times over the next two weeks.  It is planned so now I just have to get there and give it.  I have some work to do for a client that I’ll at least start on today but then am planning to deal with in the hotel room over the next two weeks (SIX nights in a hotel).  Since my folks came to visit, I’m not going to make the trek home for Easter.  I’d only have about 24 hours there, and that includes sleeping.  So, we’re going to stay home.  Aaah…I’m looking forward to it already.  Mostly, I’m trying to enjoy the more relaxing schedule for a little while.  Once my research begins, that will be the end of that.

My husband’s alarm just went off so it must be 8 AM.  He has errands this morning and I’m going to get organized for travelling before I run my own errands and teach my class this afternoon.  I’m enjoying some Trader Joe’s Bay Blend coffee.  I didn’t grind the beans enough yesterday so it was a little weak.  This morning, I made a fresh pot before heading out for a walk with the doggies and took an extra second to grind.  Yum…not bitter, but strong and pungent.  A good start to the day…blessings to all!

National Crochet Month

Took another quick cleaning break…I just need to organize the pile beside my chair in the living room.  I was using a Christmas tree basket but I think it’s time to move into spring so I found some stackable boxes with teapots.  Maybe I can use them as holding bins.  I’m sure there’s some organizational guru out there who could tell me exactly how to handle this but I like figuring out a system on my own.

I went looking for a crochet pattern for chair pads.  I have wooden country looking kitchen chairs that I refinished some time ago.  I painted the legs and left the tops natural wood.  They could use another coat of paint and I had chair pads but seem to have lost one of the set of four.  It occurred to me that crocheting pads would be pretty easy.  I’m working on a tea cozy right now.  I’m making it in a neutral cotton just to see how it works out and then I’m going to make one  for a friend.  I discovered that March is National Crochet Month.

I have been crocheting up a storm for myself and mostly for charity.  So, now I’ll crochet happy knowing that I’m joining lots of other people.  I find crocheting to be the perfect relaxing pass time.  I tune into FoodTV or something on PBS and just let the pattern unfold.  So, Have a Happy National Crochet Month!

I was in the midst of writing when I got the call from our weekend visitors.  Stuck on 95 so we’ll meet tomorrow morning.  I’m going grocery shopping then.  But first a visit to the store website to enter my grocery list.  Then it organizes everything by aisle.  What a great use of the web!

Getting a PhD

Later this afternoon, Bob and I are going to drive over to the school district that I will be using for my dissertation research.  I have the approval of the administration but need to do a short presentation for the school board.  Then, tomorrow is my defense.  Wow!  After four years, I am very much in the home stretch.  I figure by April I will be collecting data and should be finished with the whole thing by October.  I’m using Halloween as my unofficial defense date.  After all, I am witchyrichy and I’m defending on Leap Day.  I’ve been saying that I’m doing the holiday PhD.

Trudi, the smaller Rhode Island Red, manages to get out of the hen pen every morning.  I almost saw her do it this morning; one minute she was on one side of the gate and then I looked up and she was running free.  She’s also the one who managed to get over the fence and into the newly tilled garden.  Guess there’s always one who wants to be free.  Bob said Tina Turner managed to get out of the back yard twice while I was away.  She got returned by the neighbors.  He thought she was still out when I got home Tuesday night but when I called into the darkness of the back yard, she emerged from the leaves under the azalea bushes.

Bob rearranged the bird feeders so he can see them from his chair.  That puts the big sunflower seed feeder just a foot or two away from my window.  I’ve been getting great views of chickadess, titmice and the mockingbird who likes the peanut butter suet that Bob made.  I need to wash the window so I can grab video.  The yellow throated sparrows have returned in force.  We saw a pine warbler for a day or two and there’s been a yellow-rumped warbler flitting around for at least a week.

I puttered around yesterday.  Talked to a few people on the phone, put away some of the stuff from the conference, did laundry, and hand-washed the baby clothes I’ve made for my charity crafters.   I have a nice pile of hats, booties, a preemie blanket and two kimonos.  I’m planning to ship them tomorrow.