Friday, August 26, 2011

Bugs and Allergies

We had a cicada decide to live on our Kitchen window for a weekend not long ago. Every time I would go to do dishes it would be staring at me. Yuck. They freak me out! And we hear them around here a lot but they rarely hang out in a spot where you can really study them. This one was apparently weird and wanted to hang out in a very visible spot. Do birds even eat these? They are so big I just can't imagine.
My allergies are killing me. Garg.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making my first notepad

I recently saw a tutorial on Pinterest for making your own note pads. I went to Dick Blick and picked up the Padding Compound that is used on the edge (fancy glue) and a piece of chipboard and got to work.
First I found these free down loadable graphics on the wonderful blog: and printed off about 20 sheets of them. I then cut them in half on my cheap little paper cutter.
Next step - I took a utility knife , the chipboard, a sheet of the paper for measuring and a ruler from my quilting era and headed to the basement. I thought cutting this out on the concrete floor on the basement would be clever. I should have thrown an old box on the floor to cut on. The razor didn't want to cut clean because of the hard surface under it, I wore the corner off my blade and there are now large "scratches" on the floor in the basement from my awesome cutting. Next time - box goes under the chipboard. (BTW - I got the Chipboard at Dick Blick as well. Big old sheet was under $1.00)
After I got my chipboard cut I placed the papers on top of it and tamped them together until I had them lined up nicely. I then took some clips and attached one at the bottom to keep the papers still and then one on either side of the edge I will be gluing. I also put note cards on either side of the top to keep any glue spills off my paper and chipboard backer. Sadly I should have used white paper - not pink - as residue of the pink remained after all was said and done. (Another tip for next time...)
I then started smearing the glue on the edge of the pad. I thought the clips would work well enough to hold the paper tight - but once the glue was placed on the edge it started to ripple from the moisture. I think next time I will use two rulers to form a vice across the top in hopes that it will hold the edge tighter and I will get a neater edge.
This picture is kind of upside down - but I think you can see the glue better on this shot. The glue dried pretty clear. I let it sit over night and removed the pink note cards and clamps the next morning.
There is a little bit of pink note card stuck to the glue edge and the edge was a little rough. I was able to just pull off the ugly bits. If I were really anal I could probably take after it with a knife and really get a nice edge - but this was just a "first try" and just for me, so I wasn't worried about it. I think if it were a gift I might do that though.
I am very pleased with my first try. I love nesting dolls and I am finding excuses to make "lists" so I can use it. I am thinking I will attack my old stationary next and see what level of cool I can achieve with turning them into note pads.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Emma Outside?

Miss Emma has really been enjoying the cooler weather. She gets longer play time outside when it's not as hot out - so she is just loving laying in the long grass and rolling around.
Last week Miss Minnie (Tom's mom's dog) came over to play for a few hours. She had a really good time playing chase and running around the yard like a wild woman. Minnie and Emma are pretty close in size - but Minnie is only a year old so she is full of puppy power. Emma was one tired puppy when Minnie went home. Minnie is a Jindo and she is black with hints of brown. I will have to get pictures of them together nest time Minnie comes to play. She is a pretty pretty dog but she is definitely not what we are used to with Emma. Minnie is more Dog and Emma is more person. Emma is so timid and thoughtful - where as Minnie just does whatever and is in everything and all over the place. It's a good reminder of what a "real dog" is like since Emma's behavior is rather unusual compared to most dogs. (Made me appreciated Miss Em all the more. WE ARE SO LUCKY WITH HER!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hats, Hats, and More Hats

I was looking over my 2011 projects on Ravelry and realized how much I like hats. There are a few reasons for this. I have a terrible habit of buying one or two skeins of yarn rather than 10 which limits what you can make. I don't have the sock bug (yet) so that is not an option. And I love how portable a hat is. A simple rolled Brim hat is my go to when I want a really simple project to knit knit knit on at a family event or if I have a long car ride. So I hunted on Ravelry this Spring and found the pattern Countrywool Rolled Brim Hat by Claudia Krisniski. It's a free pattern and its easy and just perfect for what I needed.
The hat above was knit in Adriafil Knitcol: . It's a wonderful self striping yarn which gives you that wonderful Nordic look with no color work skill needed. You just knit knit knit and the pattern appears - love it.
The second and the third hat are both knit from Brown Sheep Worsted.
I knit a good length in the starting color to give the roll a single color. Then I just alternated colors every two rounds. I was able to carry the yarns along the back on these so I had very little finish work. (YAY!) I suspect I will get a lot of wear out of these this winter.
And the final one which is actually the first one I made with this pattern was knit from Dream in Color Classy yarn which I really enjoyed working with. I can see why people would love this for socks. It's just a pleasure in the hand as you knit it. The pattern used just over half the skein.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Izzi has been doing pretty good. I took her in for her annual shots this spring and she has lost a little weight - which is good. She needs to be thin for her joints. Her first knee surgery a year ago was successful and she does not seem to be in pain. She runs around like a crazy girl at times - it's good to see her being a cat. :) We expect she will need the second knee surgery someday, but hopefully if she drops weight it will be further away. She is on Cosequin for joints. I actually started taking joint medicine at the same time. I figure if the vet thinks it will help the cat then I should take it too. I have had knee problems since I was a teenager. (and yes - I need to drop weight too - Am working on it!)
We found these little cat balls at Petco and the cat just LOVES them! Bonus is that Emma (our pup) will chew on them but doesn't actually destroy them. So it works out really well. We will throw the balls and the cat will run at them and try and catch them and tackle them. It's awesome and it's good exercise for her. We loved them so much we got a pack for Tom's mom's cat too. I recommend them balls: and I have only found this style at Petco. (I checked Petsmart AND Chuck & Don's and Wal Mart and Target..... and this is the only place I have found them.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

For the Birds

I had a little garden bed on the side of the cucumber hut that housed rhubarb and chives. Since Tom is sugar-free and I am on a perpetual diet - it didn't seem to make sense to have a pile o' rhubarb hanging out in the yard. And as for the chives? We never really ate them. I think once in like four years we cut some and put them on shrimp we grilled the piss out of. But mostly they just got huge, flowered, fell over and then I would trim them. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
So I yanked them all out and started over. Ran to Linder's and after much research found a bunch of dog-friendly plants that attracted birds, butterflies and Hummingbirds.
Bam! I have awesome garden! I think I did all the planting at the start of June. (We had a really long cold spring this year.) A few weeks later we got a swing arm and a Hummingbird feeder and put that up. We used a length of fishing line to hang the feeder to help keep some of the bugs/ants out of the feeder. (This last week when I changed it there were a shit-ton of big black ants in it. Yuck. BUT the Hummingbirds have found my feeder and I am really enjoying watching them flit in and out of my garden. They feed at the feeder and then jump onto the rungs of the cucumber hut and have a rest. My next Hummingbird feeder will be this one but with posts for the Hummers to rest on while they feed. Otherwise this feeder has been great. I am following the 1 part sugar to 4 parts water recipe that came with the feeder. My system is pretty smooth. I take my glass 6 cup (or is it 8 cups?) measuring glass and fill two cups of HOT water. Then I take a half cup of plain white sugar and stir it in. Then I nuke it for about 1 minute and stir until it dissolves. (It does not have to boil.) Then I fill the feeder. It's just the right amount - doesn't fill it to the top - but I clean it out about every week to two weeks so it never gets empty.
The birds and butterflies have been happy as can be here too. The birds love the bath and hang out all over the cucumber hut. We have seen lots of Butterfly, bee and moth activity as well. I am really happy I changed this bed out.

Being Neighborly

Our neighbors were expecting there first child this spring so I spent some time knitting a blanket and then a little hat to go with it for there Babe. They did not want to know the sex of the child until it was born - so I went with a generic Bee Theme to the items thinking a girl or boy could rock those out. The pattern for the baby blanket was in the Plymouth Pamphlet 636 - The Encore 8 hour baby blanket....revisited. It's an "8 hour" Pattern but I am pokey - so it took me about 24 hours knitting time. (Probably longer as I clocked myself through a pattern repeat and multiplied it out - and there is no way I kept that speed throughout the whole thing.) The pattern is not available except in the pamphlet - but here is a link to the page on Ravelry for more details on it:
I knit the hat out of the leftover yarn. There was a LOT of ends to weave in as I cut the yarn at every color change rather than carry it up. I used 40-45 yards of each color. It's REALLY hard to take good pictures of baby hats without a cute model. I should pick up a doll at the dollar store some time to use as a baby mannequin. Anywho - I used Susan B. Anderson's pattern for the hat from Itty-Bitty Hats. (Simple Baby Cap 1) I have used this pattern several times and it's well written and very easy to follow. I really like that book. Here is a link to the page on Ravelry for that hat - although again - the pattern is not available except in the book.
The baby ended up being a girl. I made the blanket and the hat in larger sizes in the hopes that this fall/winter they will get used. I was pretty pleased with myself for thinking far enough ahead to realize a baby born in May would not be wearing hats much and that I should not make cute newborn sizes. (Go me!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Scrappy Draft Blocker

I finally finished my draft blocker for the front door. I started this back in June with left over yarn from my afghan I was knitting on the tread mill. I just added scraps in no order and when the scraps started getting thin I went on the scraps from my next afghan. All yarn is Brown Sheep Bulky and I used about Four skeins worth by the time I finished. I ran it through the washer on Hot twice and then the dryer once. Then I filled it with feline pine cat litter (around 15 pounds worth!) and seamed up the end with a yarn that was close in color. It's pretty perfect.
The pattern can be found in it's original form. I made mine larger so I could knit it on circular needles and avoid a seam up the back.
I really like it! I got to use a bunch of scrap yarn and it might help keep the heat costs down a fraction - and our house a tiny bit warmer.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

D.I.Why? Lollipop Tree

I made a couple of Lollipop tree's last month and they were a hit! I had found a photo of it on and then followed the link through to this site where the directions were. I went the hard road and primed and spray painted the pots. Let them dry. Then used Styrofoam glue to glue the foam balls to the pots. I also decorated with giant star stickers (only $1.00 a sheet at Michael's were I got all the supplies) and then loaded with Dum Dum suckers. (I got about 175 suckers on each tree.) I took one to a family picnic (giant hit) and the other I took to work for the break room. Fun and pretty easy. I think it would have saved a lot of time if I had used a pre-painted pot, but I had the spray paint & the Tera cotta pots were so cheap compared to the painted ones.
Also - I had the thought that gluing the balls to the pots makes the pots worthless after the suckers are gone - but I was worried the weight of the suckers would tip it over - so I just glued it on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ahhhh Grasshopper

Hot lazy day. I came back from running errands this morning and found a Grasshopper waiting for me at the door. Just hanging out on the railing. I ran in and grabbed my camera - and realized I really am terrible with my macro/micro settings on cameras. Once upon a time I didn't suck. Now I take 15 pictures and only two do not turn out green and blurry. Sad sad sad.
My week of vacation is nearly at an end. More sad. :( It's gone WAY to fast. Spent 10 hours yesterday making drapes for my kitchen. They look good - but I need tie backs for them. Spent about an hour this morning at Hancock fabrics trying to figure out something that did not involve too much sewing. My machine needs to be cleaned and oiled - so I would just as soon not use it again until I can get that done. I ended up buying some inch wide red Velvet ribbon. Am not in love with it and think I will end up on my sewing machine again in the near future.
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