Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Threads that bind (and all that good stuff)

Today at work I was chatting with one of the gals in the work building. Turns out she's been doing some knitting.  More recently, she went through the yarn she inherited from her mom and she's got a decent-sized stash.

When she was going through UFOs she remembered one thing in particular and went looking for it. She found it, and also found some handspun yarn that had been made by her aunt (I believe) and it was made back in the 1970s. 

Here it is 2015 and she is now using that handspun to make socks for her sister.  How cool is that?  I can't think of too many crafty things that can span across time and generations like that. I'm so excited for her and I hope she brings the finished object in so I can see the socks.

I mentioned to a few friends today how I decided to order a few piano lesson books for my son.  He got a keyboard from his aunt and uncle.  I may have mentioned this already. Anywho, he's been slowly learning to play songs *but* he doesn't have any proper books to learn from.  Last night he decided he wanted music from the Forrest Gump soundtrack.  Specifically, this one.


We have found music but it may be a bit above him.  He's slowly figuring out the first few lines of the song, however. But that's mostly from listening and picking out the notes. I don't know how he does it but he can.

I also told my friends how my son was getting frustrated because he's been waiting quite a while for the second level of recorder karate from the school.  Something's going on with the supplier, I think.  No one in the school has it.

He comes home with this today.  It's a preview because the books, or whatever the kids are getting, isn't ready yet.


He's already working on the Wedding March and he might have it memorized already. He was thrilled to see that Jingle Bells is included.  He already knows it and can play it on both the recorder and keyboard.

After work I drove over to Duluth to do a pick up at Acme Tools.  Since I was over that way I decided to head up to Hobby Lobby and get myself some new tatting thread.

This is the thread I have been practicing with.  Found out today it is #3 crochet thread.  Wow. I thought it was #10.  I don't know where I got that number from. 


This color is "water lily" and is #10 thread. What a difference between the two. I got to use a finer needle when I practiced with it tonite.


I'm feeling a wee bit proud of myself. I made this butterfly tonite. From a pattern.


It's a bit wonky and I have no idea what to do with it, but I did it.  I figured out a written pattern.

I spent time on my lunch hour looking up tatting patterns.  The majority of what I found called for tatting shuttles and/or beading.  I'm still not ready for shuttles.  I'm pretty sure the patterns are interchangeable. I haven't learned how to place beads yet.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekend doings

Weather was somewhat decent this weekend. It's almost a shame we didn't have any pressing outside projects that needed to be done. 

Almost.

*Ahem.*

I took advantage of the slightly warmer temps and did some chicken chores out in the chicken shack.  Shoveled out under the roosts, add more pine shavings to the floor, etc. I did this all while being shadowed by CeeVee.  She hangs out right next to me when I'm in there.  She wants to be near humans but not actually handled are anything. 

When any of us go out to the chicken shack the chickens always come running because they have certain expectations of the humans having food. 

I went out there with a bowl full of cooked vegetables and dumped it out on their tray.  Then I set the bowl up on the nesting boxes and started my work.  

I noticed Miss. Greedy-Gut, the Wynadotte, had jumped to the top of the nesting boxes and had her head in the bowl. 


When it was determined that the bowl no longer had food in it, she decided to hop into the half-bale of pine shavings I had stored up there.  She scratched around it for a bit and then hopped out. 


When we hauled feed in to fill up the buckets a few of the ladies came running over.  I suppose they expected we were filling up the chicken scratch bucket.  


The ladies hung around a bit because they were so sure we were going to give them scratch.


This is one of our homegrown roos.  He is so pretty.  The bird in the back with the reddish neck is also a homegrown roo. He's got Americauna genes.  He's pretty in his own way as well.


Miss Elvis is broody, *again.*


In the nesting box next to her Grandma's baby has taken up residence.  She's broody too.  She's not quite as crabby as Elvis.

And in other news ...


Seeds are for sale at the local Menard*s.

It was a fairly quiet weekend otherwise. I did some knitting and spinning. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around tatting.  I've been watching videos here and there.  So far I'm finding more videos for shuttle tatting than needle tatting. A video series was recommended to me but the gal is Italian and there are 40-some videos in her how-to series.  Needle tatting is already feeling familiar and comfortable to me.  Shuttle tatting is looking intimidating now.  What I need to do is work through a pattern on my own.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A crappy thing happened on the way to work

It was a bit of a rough morning at the homestead. My son told me earlier in the week that he had been picked to participate in the school's spelling bee.  He said he didn't want to participate but got picked because of a "fluke." If I understand correctly, four students from each class were chosen to advance to this level of the spelling bee. 

Anywho, he *really* didn't want to do it. There was a little gnashing of teeth and maybe a few tears, mixed with a whole lot of "I don't wanna."

I promised him I'd pick him up something special today.  He was appeased slightly. 

Off I went to work.  I was cruising along on the highway when I saw something brown-reddish out of the corner of my right eye.  I glanced over just in time to see a bird the size of a chicken fly into the passenger window of my car. 

Not cool!

Never in my driving career has a bird decided to fly into my car like that. Ugh.

When I got to work I inspected the impact area. To my relief there was no damage.

And then I shifted myself and looked at my side mirror.  Oh-em-gee! The whole outer shell of my mirror is gone.


 When I took a second look at the mirror when I was in my car I realized the whole thing has shifted some how.  I haven't tried to adjust the mirror yet and I can't see if the defrost works. 

Grrrr.

I spent most of the day fretting over the potential cost of  having to replace the mirror. Because, the more I thought about this, I figured I would most likely have to replace the whole thing.

Fortunately my guy has good google-fu when it comes to finding deals.  He was able to find a replacement part for much less than I thought it would be. There is a youtube video where someone explains how to replace the mirror. Fingers crossed for me please.

Work was fairly quiet. I made myself go out at lunch time and the sun was out.  The temps were over 30 degrees F and the snow was a bit melty.  If I didn't know better I would have sworn it was spring time.

The special goody I got my son?  A brownie box mix. He was a happy camper when I pulled the brownies out of the oven.  I had only a small nibble.


 My son told me tonite that he didn't make it all the way through the spelling bee.  He got flubbed up on the word "truffle." I'm proud of him.

A few days ago I started my shawl. I'm four repeats into a 10 repeat pattern.


I've tried doing a little bit more tatting but I haven't been successful with anything yet. The pieces haven't turned out right or something weird happened while I was pulling the thread through the stitches. 

I'm feeling very TGIF-y for tomorrow.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New hobby (I told you, I collect them)

I'm not doing so great with the writing this month.  I'm still trying to get back into routine and it hasn't been easy after having so much time off of work and school. It's a weak excuse but it is the truth.

Last Wednesday we had our first no school day due to the cold temperatures. Thankfully the day was my work-at-home day. It made for an interesting time.  I'm so thankful my son knows how to entertain himself.

I'm finally on a week where I don't have to worry about getting stuff ready for the following publishing Monday.  Gives me a chance to catch up on a few things and have grand delusions of long range plans.

Some knitting has been accomplished.


My stripey socks are almost done. All that is needed are the afterthought heels.  I'm going to let these marinate for a bit before I wrap them up.

I think the next thing I pop on the needles will be a shawl. Not a complicated one.  Something made from LionBrand homespun yarn.  I *heart* that yarn for big comfy shawls.

This week I decided to try my hand at tatting.  Yes, you read that right. Even though I told myself "oh no, I won't get into tatting," I did.  A few months ago I purchased the necessary tools. A few shuttles and a set of tatting needles.  Someone suggested to me that I try needle tatting first. 

I scoured the interwebs and got a pretty good idea on how to do the stitching.  It's the joining of the chains and circles which has me a bit frustrated. A few websites were suggested to me, as well.

Last night I found this youtube video.  I liked how clear and even paced the video was. But I wanted to *make* something.

I settled on following the tutorial by TotusMel over on Instructables. I couldn't quite follow the instructions and the video went too fast and had no sound.  I did find out that she loaded the same video with audio and I followed it while I made the project. 

After a few false starts I got something.


Woo hoo!  I think it's pretty great for a first project. 

Yesterday I stopped at the store and picked myself up a little case for carrying around any tatting projects I might be working on.


Many years ago I got a gift from a friend in a cool gift box.  I've been holding onto the box.  The tatting tools I'm not using will go in it. 


I haven't read any more of Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery) because I got Cat Trick (A Magical Cats Mystery) from the library. I got Scrap-N-Craft mystery for my kindle from the library.  I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to books.

Weather people are assuring us that temperatures will hit the 30s F by the weekend. Right now it's cold and windy.

Our little Elvis is going broody again. She's starting to guard the fake egg with a vengeance. 

I didn't realize until today that we have four roos.  It sort of slapped me in the face when I saw them this afternoon.

Hens are doing all right.  We are getting 10-12 eggs a day. We've developed a taste for hard-boiled eggs on our salads.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to normal

Yesterday was our last day of vacation. We pretty much hung out at home and didn't do much of anything except watch TV. I discovered Star Gate is on Amazon Prime. Yeah, we are going through the whole series again. I forgot how much I enjoyed the show. 

I did do some spinning yesterday.  Oh, it was glorious. I had two bobbins ready for doing a two-ply. Took less than half an hour to ply. It was just what I needed to satisfy the spinning itch.

Today was my first day back at work and "normal." After almost two straight weeks of not having to do much of anything it was a bit hard to get back into routine. The day was fairly quiet, thankfully.

My commute was boring because I don't currently have an audiobook to listen too.  Boo!

Knitting has been going on. I'm almost done with my first sock.  It needs an afterthought heel and it will be complete.  Decent progress has been made on the second one.


I've started a new book on my kindle. It's Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery #1)   At first I wasn't sure I would like it but now I'm intrigued to see where the story goes.

The cold is still here. With the windchill factor it felt -25 to -45 degrees F, at times. The sun was out for a bit.  By the end of the work day the sky was grey.

The chickens are doing all right however.  I can tell they are getting a bit of cabin fever. Many of them look out the door when I open it.  No one dares to try and run out now.  They can feel the cold.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bringing in the new year

No big hoopla's to bring in the new year. My son was determined to stay up til midnight.  I said I'd try to stay up with him. I made him a pan of brownies, my guy a pumpkin pie, and granola for myself.  Those were our goodies.

My son watched YouTube videos while I read on my kindle. I finished reading "Murder Spins a Tale." I'd start the second one but it looks like my library consortium doesn't have it.

We saw the new year in and promptly went to bed. I slept in til 8:30. I hate sleeping in that late.

The last couple days have been quiet around the homestead.  Yesterday we got a wee bit of snow.


Another cold front is on its way to my area so I'm not surprised to see snow. I'm also not ready for another cold snap. We've been lucky so far this year. Last year is still fresh on my mind.

I've been a good girl and started filling the bird feeder again.  I was getting tired of the squirrels raiding it at emptying it in one day.  The other day I found one suet cake and put it out. The Blue Jays have found the seed; the chickadees and woodpeckers have found the cake.


Yesterday I noticed a squirrel had figured out it could run up the corner of the Chicken Shack of Love and crawl under the roof. That will be rectified asap. I have visions of the little bugger chewing up the wires.  Not cool. Not sure how the roof will be plugged but it will. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kicking up dust

As I had figured, my son was NOT happy to have to clear out and clean his room.  He "helped" as best he could, all things considered.

I didn't go through his dresser though. It's a battle for another day. 

I pulled out all the stuff in his desk and closet and made him go through stuff. Took a few hours but his room is so much better and a lot less dusty.

On the bright side, my son forgot about the board games so they were *brand new* to him. Awesome. We played a round of Battleship and I won. 

After lunch my son and I took down the Christmas tree and he helped me move the desk back out into the living room. I'm feeling happy to have my living room almost back to normal.  The tree box is still out but not for long.

The sun shone all day but it was still too cold to spend much time outside. Temps were in the negatives this a.m. and will be overnight. I worry a bit about the chickens but I know they will be okay in the Chicken Shack of Love. We've got one winter under our belts and have a better idea of what the birds can tolerate. 

This evening I did a bit more knitting on my sock.  We ordered a season of Storage Wars that we haven't seen before and we hung around the woodstove.


Speaking of the woodstove, last weekend my DH created a heat shield for our wood stove.


Not only is it a heat shield, it is art. 


 We've had a lot of compliments on it so far. Yup, it's definitely a keeper.


I'm loving it.

My son is asking if we can do a "project" tomorrow. Otherwise known as: Can you please make cookies or brownies?

I told him "We'll see."