Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remember when...

My dishwasher died? We lived without one for over a year. We broke down a few weeks ago and bought one. The last few weeks have been torture waiting for it to get delivered and installed. Why did I do or not do dishes by hand for over a year w/o out too much complaint?

So here is our wonderful new dishwasher.

The Bosch

The Bosch

Yet, I wonder if it's really worth the cost. I truly doubt it will help me keep up with the dishes. Unless somehow this dishwasher comes with magical properties so the dishes literally jump into the washer when dirty and out when clean. Now, that would be a dishwasher!

If you are curious we bought the SHE4AM1 model from Sears on sale for about $500 dollars. We've used it twice and it's cleaning the dishes pretty dang well. The only draw back I can see is the use of controls. I think this is the same quality in materials as the higher end Bosch but to save money that skimp on the electronics. So there's lots of button pushing manipulations to make some things happen. So for me there will be a learning curve to figure out how to use the dang thing. The wash cycle is long. I believe that normal for many new dishwashers. It's quieter than our old dishwasher but not quite as quiet as I expected.

The fine print:
The photos in the blog post have been cropped to hide this blogger's messy kitchen.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I have yet to turn on the heat. I know a but crazy.  I try to wait as long as possible to save money and do my part to reduce greenhouse gases.  We keep the heat pretty low all winter long too so the longer we wait the warmer 65 deg F feels.  I'm also inspired by the Yarn Harlot who has Furnace Wars each year with her family. 

But dang I'm cold. It's currently 58 deg F in the house. I'm wearing a hat, scarf, sweater, fingerless mitts and warm wooly slippers. If I was moving around and doing some housework, ha!, I might be warmer but I'm not. Now my nose feels cold and the key board is sucking the heat out of my fingers. 

It's less than 60 deg F in the house.  Why does it seem so cold? If this were spring we would have the windows open and enjoying a lovely day.  It may be warmer outside. Let me go check. Our out door thermometer reads 50 deg F and the newspaper says it's 41 deg F. So no it is warmer in the house. I think I'l go make tea.  I'm going to hold out a bit longer, atleast until halloween. I can do it. I can but I need some long underwear.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Library Reading Programs

Oh how, I do not like them. I don't really care for them because I don't think kids need rewards to read and sometimes these programs backfire. Kids will read to get the reward then after that they don't read for the rest of the summer. That's what happened the first year we did the summer reading program. However,the next year we did it, it did not seem to make a difference either way.

Jade is in her room right now with a load of books to read for the winter reading program so she can get a silly prize. Well, I think the prizes are silly like erasers, stickers etc. Maybe she won't reach the goal of 10 books or maybe she will. She's doing it on her own. I'm not making her do it. We talked a bit about the programs and why I don't like them. She came up with the idea that she can set her own goals and maybe her own reward for reading.

The cool thing is she is excited to read and to challenge herself. So that's not a bad thing. I told her if she really wants some fun pencils or note pads then please let's go the dollar store. I don't see them helping my son love reading more. He's enjoying books because we've found some stories he likes me to read to him.

The not so cool thing about the summer reading programs is if the kids do them then they get coupons. Often the are coupons are to fast food restaurants that I need to buy a meal as well. Sometimes this doesn't fit into the family budget or I don't want to eat there. So I make no promises to help them use the coupons. If I don't want to eat there too we don't go. I'm just sayin' I'd much rather eat at Rudy's pizza in town than Cici's Pizza. Depending on the coupon offerings I'm willing to busget and plan for all kinds of cool things to do for the summer so we don't need the rewards anyway. I tell them read because you want to not because you will get something.

PS I wrote this but never published it sometime last year. I liked it so I decided to post it after all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rainbow Sherbet Coin Purses

Rainbow Sherbet Coin Purses

Rainbow Sherbet Coin Purses

Rainbow Sherbet Coin Purses

Rainbow Sherbet Coin Purses

Rainbow Sherbet Handspun Handyed Yarn
4.0 mm hook
1/2 inch buttons

Are you a spinner or do you have some aran/heavy worsted yarn in your stash? Then checkout the free pattern here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a random meme

My Name is Samantha

Childhood Ambition - I really don't remember one. Now that seems really sad!

Fondest memory - A special Christmas with my mom and sister when we baked lots of yummy cookies and made a special meal to eat together. When I would travel with my Dad we would sing to Helen Reddy and the Carpenters in the car to pass the time.

Soundtrack --- I'm really enjoying the soundtrack for Juno and I even bought the CD. If you have not seen the movie I highly recommend it!

Wildest dream --- Travel the world with no worres about money. The the kids would get along the whole time and my husband would always know when I was feeling overwhelmed and make sure we found chocolate or some wine.

Proudest moment --- When I managed to get all the things together to travel and live in Europe for 4 months in college.

Biggest challenge---- Balancing my needs and the kids needs.

Alarm clock --- what's that?

Perfect day --- A perfect day for me would be spent in solitude with plenty of good food to eat and my fiber.

First job --- Lifeguard

Indulgence(s)--- coffee, chocolate, cheese, wine, and yarn

Last purchase --- Coffee at La Prima Taza

Favorite movie --- Juno, Pirates of the Caribbeans, Holiday Inn, Like Water for Chocolate, Totoro - Sorry I can't pick a favorite - Howl's Moving Castle... I can keep going but I will stop now.

Inspiration --- my children, all things art, fiber, Ravelry

My life is --- just beginning or that's my ideal outlook

My blog is --- a way to share about my life and my creative stuff

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teal Twist Mitts

Remember my Teal with a Twist Handspun? I spent some time this weekend using it to hook up some fingerless mitts. I tried using a shell stitch which I thought would work great but I was so wrong as you can see:

Teal Twist Mitts take one

You just can't see any stitch definition and as you all know I'm all about the stitches. Shell stitches I think looks best in solid colors.

Java Jammie

But sometimes look good in yarns that have long colorway like this:
Java Jammie

As it turns out this project more about the yarn. So I went back to the basics just plain old half double crochet (hdc) and came up with these:

Teal Twist Mitts

Teal Twist Mitts

Did I telly how soft these are? They are very soft. I'm going to love them this winter to keep my hands warm around the house. Heck, I love them now. I took notes so you too can make them if you wish. Check back later for the pattern.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I love wikipedia!

If you haven not heard of Wikipedia you should it's the best homeschooling tool on the market and not only that it's free! It can answer questions about Star Trek episodes to impromptu questions from your son.

***warning possible spew alert***

"Mom, it's like I have two balls in my scrotum. What's that all about it?" So what do we do? We look it up on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gift Giving

Does anyone think that gift giving has gotten out of hand? It seems when I read on some forums that there are people who feel upset when a gift of theirs is given away and especially if it was handmade. I guess if I made something and someone gave it away I would wonder did I make something that they would really like? Was it colors they like? Yes, I might be hurt. I hope I could let it go and do something else for them next year.

I guess what's coming up for me with this issue is, how much stuff does one person need? This one person doesn't need the stuff honestly even more yarn. I don't need candle sticks. I don't really need any more blankets or sheets. We like our minimalist approach.

So what do you do if you get things that just aren't you? I'm 40 plus years old. If I had kept everything people have gifted me in my lifetime I would need at least one if not two storage units. Between my husband I we have all we need. We don't need much more. What we do want is so specif to our interests that I just don't expect others to help me with them. But if you want to I can send you my wish list! (Just kidding, seriously.) Even with my wish list I have been checking things off the list but that's another post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Novelty Yarn - Tried It

I just don't like it. It's hard to crochet with and only a little easier to knit with. Worse of all for me it doesn't show off the stitches. I like stitches, I'm all about the stitches. I love small delicate stitches. I'm in love with crocheted doilies. I'm kind of sick that way.

I have lots of novelty yarn left and I'm about to give it away. But what if I regret it? I did make this lapghan that I do like. It's very soft and my daughter like it as you can see.


Now I wouldn't recommend someone on purpose go out and buy all this yarn even if it's on sale which is how I came in to my novelty yarn and make this lapghan. I'd just say no and suggest you run away , run away fast, unless you really, really like it that is, then I say go for it.

Recently I grabbed a hook and my bin of Novelty yarn.

More YARN!

I tried to make another lapghan. But I could not find the love of the yarn. It just was not there. So it's in grocery bags waiting to head to the thrift store. Really, it's going. Gone!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The things kids say.....

My son loves to tell jokes. He wants to be able to tell his own jokes but often fails. Sometimes he can manage a great play on words. He manage such a feet when we were camping last weekend.

He went down a few camp sites and introduced himself and was invited to check out their horses. He came running back a bit later to have some breakfast and was telling us about the horses and how he got to pet them or as he said "I got to pet them, the horses, not the people because that would be weird."

I've been giggling about it ever since but maybe I'm easily amused.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sheep Sheering at Pinwheel Farm

About a month back Jade and I went to the Pinwheel Farm Sheep Shearing. So I have some pics to share:

Freckles the Llama
Meet Freckles the farm Llama.

The sheep which do have names too but I don't know them all.

Shearing the sheep


I got some black lambswool that will hopefully spin up a nice pretty brown.

Here's some I've washed. I've carded most of that. I have about 2/3 more of the fleece left to wash, card and about all of that to spin. The fun just keeps giving with this fiber.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Teal with a Twist

I got this roving from a friend of mine who didn't realize she had bought superwash wool to felt with. Her poor luck was my good luck.

Green and Purple Roving


However my luck ran out when washing the yarn to set the twist. I did not have it tied together to prevent tangling so I had to untangle it. Then I did the same thing again when drying it so I had to untangle it again! So let my mistake be a lesson to you. Make sure you tie up your skein in several places so that doesn't happen to you. I still love how it turned out.

Teal with a Twist

I ended with about 200yards 2ply worsted weight yarn that is only a little unbalanced. I like the colors of this and thought at first it would be a crocheted hat. Now my plan is fingerless mitts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Java Jammies

Java Jammies keep coffee warm but not your hands! I've had some great comments on the one I've made when I use them in public. One of the cashiers at our healthfood store thinks they are great and says I should sell them there. I don't know about that but maybe someday. If I don't count on gettting rich I could be a bit of mad money at least.

Take at look at my Java Jammie Gallery:

It's an Owl
It's an owl. Since we all know drinking coffee can keep you up all night. I used Plymouth Boku from Infinity Shawl.

Java Jammie
Shell stitch and Plymouth Boku lefotvers.

Java Jammie
More Plymouth Boku and what's called a griddle stitch: dc in sc and sc into the dc. (US terms)

Java Jammie
Alpaca leftovers from my Spiral Shawl.

Coffee Cozy
This was made from red heart scarps and one I get the most comment on when I use it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I made this for my husband for his birthday this year. It's pretty fun. He actually doesn't play the video game that this comes from. It was sufficient geeky enough that he liked it. I want one for myself in purple. It can hold my hooks and needles


Leftover TLC Essentials and Red Heart from the stash and and 28 ceramic magnets.
Katamari is a free pattern you can find online

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rainbow Sherbet

Sorry not the yummy treat but a fiber treat instead. I card blended some leftover kool-aid dyed roving and spun it up on my Schacht Drop Spindle:


The pink post it notes are for scale and are the mini ones. The color of this photo is not quite right. The yarn it's not as orangy as this photo.

Wound up in a center pull ball.
Rainbow Sherbet

Rainbow Sherbet

I tried to ply it on the drop spindle but gave up and did it on my wheel. Plying from well spun singles from a center pull ball is a pain in the patooty!

This last photo is a bit blurry but gives a better idea of the color.
Rainbow Sherbet

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Knits for the Boy Kid

Hooded Sweater Shirt

The boy modeling his sweater
The boy and the sweater are a work in progress.

Basic notes:
I wasn’t getting gauge so I knitted to add more stitches for the back. I was getting 5st/inch and didn’t want to go up to a size 10 needle to see if that would make a difference. So I first thought 62 sts for the back sts would be fine but needed to add more increase rows to get the raglan long enough for some arm/sleeve room. So I ended with 70 sts.

Hoodie for the Boy Kid

US 7 for the ribbing and US 9 needles for the sweater
Lion Brand Wool Ease in Denim Twist I used 4.5 skeins.
Children's Hooded Tunic #232 by Diane Soucy

Hoodie for the Boy Kid

Skull Cuffs - The Bead Goes On by Renee Ladd from Stitch and Bitch Nation.

Skull Cuffs

Wildfoote Black Sock yarn, some beads and size 2.0mm needles. I made a pair for his birthday. I knitted them up and kept them on the needles so I could add more rows if needed since the pattern was designed for an adult wrist. Some day I'll get a pic of him wearing them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autumn Romance Pullover

I started this last September and got quite a bit finished then got stuck on how to shape it as the directions in the magazine were not clear. Then I got help from the designer and made some tweaks myself so I finally finished it this spring.

Autumn Romance Pullover

Autumn Romance Pullover by Annette Petavy in Interweave Crochet Fall 2007
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy about 6 skeins of it almost 1000 yards or so. I bought 8 but I have almost 2 full skeins left over and some small balls too. I really like this yarn and will use it again.
Hook: H/5.0mm

I didn’t do the shoulder shaping like it was written. I just didn’t like how it looked and my shoulder’s don’t slope that much. I did just two rows of shaping and made it go more gradual.

I wish I had crocheted the sleeves a little shorter but I don’t mind the length. I think I did gradual increase every 4th row or something like that until I got the the patterns requirements then I worked even.

I slipped stitched the sides, shoulders and sleeves for more stability. I wish I had done it a bit loosely but it doesn’t look bad. I did the back stitch for the shoulders and that turned out well and I will use this method more often sewing together crocheted sweaters.

The edging called for 4 dcs and I did 3 dc as I didn’t want an over ruffled look.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yippee! It's Shawl Season

It's finally cooling down so I can wear my shawls. There are a few some of you have not seen in my blogging absence.

Eva Shawl
Eva Shawl

A free pattern online here, made with lace with yarn from knit picks, in my favorite colors.

Eva Shawl

It's very light weight and nice if it's just a bit cool outside and great even in the summer when you go in to the store that is cooler than it is outside.

Eva Shawl

This picture I just had to share because I like it so much. Danielle is such a sweet kitty.

My Flower Basket Shawl and first knitted lace shawl.

Flower Basket Shawl
(if you click through to flickr and look at the larger photos you can get some great detail on the pattern)

Flower Basket Shawl

Flower Basket Lace Shawl and Scarf by Evelyn A. Clark
Size 5.0mm needles and about 1000 yards of Naturnspun Sport in Mallard

Flower Basket Shawl

Finally my Infinity Shawl:
Infinity Wrap

Infinity Wrap designed by Kristin Omdahl
Interweave Crochet Winter 2007
Plymouth Boku and and I / 5.5mm hook

Infinity Wrap

That's all for now. You all stay warm now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Emerald City Hat

How cool is this. My first knit hat from my very own two ply hand spun with some colorwork no less.


I like and it will keep me warm this winter for sure.

I cast on 80 sts with the size 7 needles then did 1 inch or so of k2p2 rib. Then switched to size 9 needles. I still have some yarn left but likely not enough for another hat unless I spin more yarn about the same weight.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

V Stitch for Me Stitch Hat




Made from left overs from the froggy blanket for my nieces little one.

I used an US I hook (5.5 mm) and Red Heart Soft lavender, dk purple and teal.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Handspun by me!

My first 2 ply yarn! Before dyeing:

first 2 ply yarn
Spun from Merino wool roving on my Ashford Traveller. I didn’t keep good notes on my Z twist singles. Singles spun at 6:1 ratio. I didn't change the ratio for the plying as I didn't know that many do that. The yarn as a whole is a heavy worsted and in some places bulky with 8-9 wraps per inch. I’m not sure if I plied right or not. I found it hard to get the yarn to take up. I let the twist build up in the singles then fed it. So I guess there was some take up but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. I kept repeating that checking everyone once and while to see if the yarn was balanced. I tried to check to see how many revolutions I needed to get the twist I wanted in the ply. It was somewhere between 3-4.

After the dye bath:
Emerald City and Purple Craze

So I'm calling this yarn Emerald and Purple City.

Dyeing Method crock pot with 3+ oz of Jacquard acid dye stuff 1/2 yellow and 1/2 blue also included was a skein of Paton's SWS which you can see below.

Hand Dyed SWS Patons

It's interesting how this took up the dye. It has more of a heathery look to it. It dyed pretty evenly too considering I kept it in the skein then turned it into a hank to dry.