Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kool Fun with Koolaid

We are having a dye day and cookout at my house Saturday for the knitting group.  I dyed some samples in preparation.  Fun with koolaid is a cheap, small luxury.  This is the last day in May and I have blogged each day.  Now granted many posts have been somewhat lacking in content but way to follow through Michiele!  I think in the future I will aim for at least a weekly post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn

This is a picture of me with Rachel (with her back to you) Ryan and Emily in Rachel and Alan's kitchen.  I had just opened my Mother's Day gifts and love this bag from Ryan and Emily.  It says "KEEP CALM AND CARRY YARN".  Truly words to live by!  I have a print of this in my office and a similar bag in yellow from Christmas 2010.  Love it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Twenty-nine days down

I committed to blog daily in May on a whim. Here it is 29 days and I haven't skipped one. That is pretty good for me as follow through can be an issue. Is it super obvious that I've got nothing tonight to blog about. Good, busy day at work, a few things to do around the house tonight and that's about it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Small Luxury - Koolaid

In preparation for a dye day with my knitting group at my house next week, this weekend I dyed some samples.  I also dyed 1760 yards of Knitpicks Bare fingering weight for a sweater.  Here's an in process picture.

Here are the four skeins hanging outside to dry.

It is a reallly beautiful color.  I am hoping there isn't too much variation.  I wanted a kettle dyed look rather than all over saturated color.  Hopefully the light isn't too light and the dark not too dark.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Simple Pleasure - not so lazy Sunday

Today we went paddling on Lake Crabtree for a few hours.  It was very relaxing and a workout all the same.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Made in the Shade

A very relaxing Saturday. We ran some errands, went out to lunch and then went to the park. Reed flew kites and I knit in the shade. The weather was perfect and it was nice to relax and enjoy mother nature for awhile.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simple Pleasure A Three Day Weekend

I am so glad to have three days to be at home. I need to catch up on chores and would like to weave and make another batch of soap. I don't even care what the weather does. Last weekend was great fun but sometimes you just need downtime without any expectations or agendas.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Simple pleasures

There may be a dearth of pictures in upcoming posts as our computer is dying and we are waiting for a new hard drive to arrive. The I-Pad is convenient but does not do photos and video well. My simple pleasure for today is the humble dishcloth. I lost my sock mojo when trying the toe-up method. I also am knitting a lace project that is kicking my butt. Enter the well love spa face cloth, simple and mindless yet somehow satisfying.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Simple pleasure soap

Tonight has been very productive. After dinner I made two batches of soap. One is a kitchen soap made with all natural ingredients, coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, lemongrass,ginger and coffee. It smells so good. The second batch was a Wake Up Rosemary blend with the same oils,peppermint, lavender and rosemary. I also cast on another spa cloth. A good choice because we are going to be up to our eyeballs in soap! Add to that two hours of Law and Order and what more could a girl want?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Here's the Evidence


Unfortunately there is no video of Reed.  I was concentrating on not dying and didn't think I could manage the camera!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Got home from our weekend trip to Asheville.  We had a great time but man am I sore.  Our zipline guide said a way to go faster was to tuck up like you were doing a cannonball off of a diving board.  She said it was good for your abs and boy was she right!  I tucked for almost every zip and my long forgotten abs are screaming for attention.  Here are a couple of pics.  Action shots to follow as soon as the old folks recover!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Today has been busy. We spent about three hours zip lining and it was a blast! I would definitely do it again. I am not a fan of the swinging suspended bridges, especially with my crazy husband behind me shaking the bridge. Pictures and or video to follow tomorrow when we return home. I think I have conquered my fear of heights! After we had lunch we went and walked in downtown Asheville. I so love Asheville! Then we found a local park and flew kites for awhile.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Life in 3D

Reed and I are in Asheville for the weekend. After exploring for awhile it started to rain so we ducked into see a movie. We saw The Avengers in 3D and wow! I had never seen a 3D movie and don't know if I will see another. It was very exciting, I was on the edge of my seat most of the time. It was really jolting to have the arrows and other weapons being shot at you. I jumped once and barely avoided a direct hit from a flaming arrow. Tomorrow the zip line. We are definitely living dangerously.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Simply Pleasure and Small Luxuries

Here are some pictures from today's visit to the Carolina Fiber Fest.  It was great fun and more so because I was able to meet up with my friend Susan.  My purchases were modest but perfect!  See below for the loot and some pictures of the fun.

This is a skein of Wolle's Creation Color Changing Cotton in the Aqua Mint colorway and an adorable sock project bag with socks on it by Bobbinworks.  I love, love, love them!

Reed saw this awesome basket and bought it for me!  Squee!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Soap Opera Continues

Tuesday night we made a batch of cold process lemon poppy seed soap.  We used a 3 inch PVC pipe for the mold.  The soap cured in the mold for 48 hours and tonight we released it and cut it into bars. 

The lemon poppy seed soap is now curing for it's mandatory 4 - 6 weeks.  I am thrilled, we made 26 bars of really pretty good smelling soap!  Small luxury for today - success.  Now just to wait the several weeks and then we will test it for lather and soapyness!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Simple Pleasures in the garden

Tonight I got home from work and had a wonderful dinner on the deck, watching the birds at the feeders.  After dinner I re-potted my herbs.  Such a pleasant end to the day.  Here are some pictures from the backyard.

Our Christmas 2011 Amaryllis, planted and blooming.

A very fat Brown headed cowbird - Weight Watchers anyone?

The Lilies bloom every year at this time and we have more each year.

My Hydrangeas or as we say "Hi Stranga"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Small Luxury or Necessity

I thought I could live with bare toes this summer but I was mistaken.  Discovered a pedicure is not only a small luxury but kinda sorta a necessity!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nighty Night

Blah! It is Monday and I am pooped! Had a very productive day at work and knit for about an hour tonight on Deep Peace. Okay this is a sorry post but I am in bed and just remembered the blog. Good night!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Knitting ADHD

I do not know what is happening to my knitting mojo. It is not gone just terribly off course. I keep thinking of projects I want to knit and then change my mind. I was not pleased with the linen Santorini and it seems silly to knit a garment right now. Do I knit the size large which will fit me now or the size medium for where I want to be in the future?

I am going to try a couple of things:

1. Finish Deep Peace
2. Work through Victorian Lace Today
3. Avoid planning or knitting garments until I resolve size issue
4. Knit everyday no matter what
5. Continue to refrain from buying yarn (exception is Carolina Fiber Fest, one modest purchase only)
6. Sit at loom and weave at least 3 times per week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Swatching 101

It was more important then usual for me to knit a gauge swatch for this project because I have never knit with Linen before.  This is Louet Euroflax Wet Spun Linen in the Terracotta colorway. 

When I swatch I am sometimes guilty of knitting an itsy bitsy square and calling that a swatch.  Unfortunately that kind of slacker attitude defeats the purpose.  When I do it correctly I do a swatch of at least 4 inches with a couple of garter stitches beginning and ending each row.  I also knit at least 2 to 3 rows of garter at the beginning and ending of the swatch to help it lay flat. 

This is my swatch after washing by hand with Soak and laying out to  dry.  The 8 knots in the tail of yarn denote that this swatch was knitted on size 8 needles.

This is the swatch after blocking and washing.  When dry it was 18 stitches and 23 rows in 4 inches just like the pattern gauge.

Tonight I started the project and will have to look at the first five rows again tomorrow before I knit anymore.  It looks awfully irregular to me!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Swatching for greatness!

I am swatching for this summer sweater.  This is some linen from stash and the pattern is one I have wanted to knit for a long time.  The new Knitscene has a wonderful article on swatching and I am going to follow every step.  I usually do a swatch and wash and block it before starting the project.  This time I am going to do before and after blocking measurements and pay close attention to row gauge.  Tomorrow more pics of swatching, measuring and blocking.  Exciting stuff huh?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Try, Fail, Try Again, Fail Better

Okay, the first batch of cold process soap was a huge FAIL.  The soap never hardened.  I think my scale may not have been accurate and not enough lye was used.  This weekend will try again!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Warning Picture Heavy Post

Following is a step by step pictorial of our first batch of cold process soap.  A note of clarification - all the containers, spoons, mixing blade etc... are dedicated to non-food pursuits (dying yarn and now making soap).

Step 1 - Measuring the oils and water.  We used a food scale to measure the ingredients in grams.  The powdered lye is in the baggie.

Step 2 - Pouring the lye into the water.  We did this outside because of fumes and used gloves.

Step 3 - Stirring the water and lye mix.  It heats up considerably.

Step 4 - Adding the water and lye solution to the melted oils.

Step 5 - Stirring the water, lye and oil mixture.

Step 6 - and stirring, and stirring

Step 7 - and stirring (note the color change)

Step 8 - pouring the liquid soap into the molds

Step 9 - molded and curing

The soap has now cured for 24 hours but is still somewhat soft.  We are going to give it another 24 hours and see if it gets hard.  It is Green Tea and Cucumber soap but I am not taking Reed's suggestion to name it "Cucumber Farts."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bubble, Bubble Toil and Trouble

Tonight I am making my first batch of cold process soap.  This is a green tea and cucumber stress relieving formula.  All natural.  Stress?  I ain't got no stinking stress.  Pictures to follow tomorrow night!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I am the boss of my knitting!

My simple pleasure today is that this was a Monday and I have nothing to complain about.  Work went well and I had an epiphany!  I am the boss of my knitting.  Just because I started something doesn't mean I have to finish it.

Example #1

I hate knitting toe up socks.  Yes I can do it and mastering Judy's Magic Cast On felt good but knitting this has killed my sock mojo!  Yes, sock number one is 90% done but the idea of knitting the second one makes me want to poke my eyes out with double pointed needles.

Example #2

Forget knitting with 100% hemp.  It is scratchy and no fun.

Knitting is supposed to be fun for me.  My family is not banking on fancy socks and hemp spa cloths to survive the frozen tundra.  Both of these are headed to the frog pond.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The biggest pleasure of all

Today we celebrated Mother's Day a week early so we could accomodate all our varied schedules.  We had a wonderful lunch at Rachel and Alan's house.  Emiily and Ryan came as did Alan's mom and sister.  The clouds parted, the sun shone and we ate outside in the garden.  The meal was delicious, grilled chicken, barbaecued chicken, grilled salmon, grilled veggies, potatoes and a delicious salad.  It was all wonderful!  there is nothing like having a chef for a son-in-law.  Emily made banana pudding and it was yummy!

My children know me well so the gifts were right on target.  Beyond the great food, the gifts and a day of leisure, the time spent with Rachel and Ryan and their dear spouses was a delight.  Not sure there is any greater pleasure than seeing your children turn into amazing adults!  I couldn't be prouder of them or love them more!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Today was a combination of simple pleasures and small luxuries.  The simple pleasures, working in the yard this morning, seeing an indigo bunting at the feeder and an afternoon rain to quench the parched yard.  Small luxury was lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! 

Today we went in search of the lye for making soap and found it at Lowe's in the plumbing department.  The staff at Lowe's was pretty curious about the lye as he said the only uses he knew of were cleaning drains and destroying bodies.  I assured him I had no nefarious plans.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Small Luxury #1

I have always wanted to make soap.  With a 50% coupon I bought a small soap making kit at AC Moore for $9.00.  Tonight I made my first batch of Apricot Vanilla Exfoliating bars.  Such fun, it was a melt and pour soap base but a good intro to the process.  Aren't they beautiful?  Tomorrow I am going to go in search of lye for my first cold process soap.  A small luxury  but oh so worth it!  Off to lather up!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Simple Pleasure - knit one purl one

It is hard to over estimate the role of knitting in my life,  It brings me pleasure, calm, challenge, defeat, victory, patience, peace, friends and endless opportunities to engage myself in projects that can push me to my limit.  I don't know anything else that can excite me and ground me at the same time.  I would hope everyone has some passionate interest that drives them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The definition of FUN is BEAGLE!

You have heard of football, baseball, basketball and even foosball but have you ever heard of beagle ball?  Another simple pleasure playing ball with Penny, my super beagle!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Simple Pleasure - First Installment


As I have mentioned, dear hubbo (DH) 's job was eliminated last month.  We are on a new path and it requires limiting our discretionary spending.  The theme for May is SMALL LUXURIES and SIMPLE PLEASURES.  I will post a Simple Pleasure (things that are free but bring joy) or a Simple Luxury (things that cost a little but make me happy) for each day.  I realize this sounds corny but I am seeing my day to day activities through new eyes as I try to limit expenditures and focus not on not what is lost but can be found on this path.

For example, my ritual of random lunch hour shopping needed to go as did my every Friday ritual of going to Barnes and Noble for books and magazines (yikes, at $40.00 dollars or so a pop) to celebrate the end of the work week.

Simple Pleasure #1 - evenings in the backyard with DH, listening to the birds sing and enjoying quiet moments together.