Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The uninvited guest

Last week I had an uninvited guest in my home.

Tuesday morning I was almost done getting ready for the day and leaving my house when I noticed my son was opening and shutting a door.  A couple minutes later he goes "Mom! I just saw a rat go into the closet."

Naturally I freaked and said "WHAT?!?!?!"  I went and looked.  I saw a very *tiny* little body creep out from under the closet door and then disappear as soon as it saw me.

No, not a rat.  A mouse. So what did I do?  Well, like the big brave girl I am, I called my husband and said "V saw a mouse in the house."

My ever so patient husband, who had just left the house 5 minutes previously, turned around and came back home and walked into the house to see to me and my son walking in place because that seemed to be the only thing that kept our visitor in the closet.

My husband got one look at it and said "That's not a mouse."

And he was right.

When I got a better look at that tiny, two-inch long creature, it was pretty obvious that it wasn't a mouse.  It had a pointed nose and no cute mickey mouse ears.

We had a shrew visiting our house.

 This looks an awful lot like what was staying with us.

Tuesday I got traps and we set them out and every once in a while I'd see a little black blur here and there.  This little fellow didn't freak me out completely but I did want him/her gone.  I made my poor husband go on a while goose chase that night trying to catch it.

Wednesday, that critter was just a tease.  S/he managed to elude the traps that were set out.

But Thursday, well, s/he wasn't very clever and got caught.  My husband promptly booted it's little ass out the door and said to never come back.

I knew to expect this sort of thing once we decided to move out to the country.  It surprised me because it's still cold out.  Unfortunately the snakes aren't out of hibernation yet.  I know once they wake up the uninvited guests will be few and far in between.

Last fall when we were working on the homestead I found a snake in the driveway.  After doing a bit of research my husband thought it was a fox snake.  There are not too many fox snakes in Wisconsin because they are easily confused with a rattlesnakes. Since fox snake are mistaken for a "bad" snake, more often than not they are killed.  For no good reason and that makes me a bit sad.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bayerische sock update I

My hands felt better today so I started working the leg of the sock.

Why?  Why am I making this sock?

Oy ... Four charts with cable chart things that I'm not used to working with.

Then, I ended the first row with two extra stitches.  Oh my word. ... and I'm *trying* to keep the stitches nice and loose.

I think these socks will be my Mt. Everest.

I thought making the WendyKnits Pi shawl a couple years ago was tough.  Uh uh.

I'm gonna have to tink back this whole row ... and try it again.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crafting update

Friday night I cast on for the first Bayerische sock.  That was a whole lot of 1 x 1 ribbing.  This morning I worked the increase row before starting the leg of the sock.

Ouch!  The purl 1 increases kicked my butt.  And trying to twist and increase those tiny stitches made my hands ache.  I'll be taking a break from this until tomorrow, ... maybe. 

I haven't had the chance to do any spinning but since I had been talking about spinning recently I thought I'd post a recent picture. 

I'd say it's a heavy lace weight.  I wish I could remember what the fiber is, but I don't.  It was stuff I dyed myself for Tour de Fleece 2012. Perhaps in my notes from last year I wrote it done, but I don't feel like looking it up right now.  The fiber is soft and easy to spin with.  I do enjoy seeing the subtle changes of the blue to green and back.  It's quite calming to spin.

And introducing ... the Angry Birds. I enjoyed working each one of them, but I was glad to finish the last one.  My son is asking when I will crochet up the "King Pig"  I have no idea if I will make a second pig or just plunk a felt crown onto the pig that's already made.

Here's the yellow Angry Bird.  He was fun and quick to crochet up.  

Here is the blue Angry Bird pattern.  I  need to fix one of the eyes and re-sew the patches below the eyes.

The white Angry bird was the first one I made.  It turned out much bigger than I expected it to be.  But it was still adorable.  My son loved it.

The green pig may be my favorite.  I love that the face.

But the one that cracks me up the most.

It's this one.

The boomarang bird.   The nose absolutely cracks me up.

The nose is HUGE and I'm sure will be the subject of  many jokes down the road. 

All the patterns I used were easy to follow. That was really nice since I'm still learning how to read crochet patterns. 

I made the birds using Red Heart acrylics.  Is it just me or has Red Heart gotten softer?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bayerische KAL

I'm going to be participating in a Bayerische sock KAL over on Nimblestix .  I think it's going to test my skills as a sock knitter with all the cables and twists and turns of the pattern.

Photo from www.eunnyjang.com

The original "pattern" is over on Eunny Jang's website. There is a recreated pattern in a  toe up version, here on the KnittingSwede's old website. 

I don't have any metal US Size 0 DPNs but my DH found me a set online and ordered them for me.  I do have a set of wooden DPNs but I can't see myself using wooden one's long term. I can be a tight knitter so I think they probably snap while I was working on these socks.

I dug through the stash and pulled out a skein of sock yarn that I got last summer from the Forbidden Woolery "Hansel and Gretel" yarn club.

Colorway: "Into the Woods"
Yarn: Wrath base, 80% SW Blue-Faced Leicester; 20% bamboo
100 grams/435 yards.

It's super squish and soft.  I can't wait to ball it up and start working with it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam

At 1:06 p.m. Central time we saw the white smoke.

Eight years ago when Pope Benedict XVI was elected I was on maternity leave with my son.  In all honesty, the whole thing is a blur and I don't remember much.  I remember more, sitting with my son next to me in a recliner and watching JPII's funeral.

Now, eight years later and with much more understanding of the Catholic Church I was SO excited to follow this all the way from B16 announcing his retirement to the announcement of the new pope.

Life in my household has come almost to a standstill while I have the news on the tv.  I'm following twitter and updating my work's FB page.  For a while I even made my son stop what he was doing and watch the white smoke.  I know right now he doesn't fully understand what's going on but I know when he's older he will appreciate seeing this.

Now, I'm waiting the appearance of the new pope. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ice cream

I recently found my ice cream maker.  I bought it about 9 years ago when I was on the Atkins plan.  Unfortunately it hasn't seen much use since then.  Mostly because you had to let the canister freeze for at least 24 hours and I couldn't keep it in the freezer always because my freezer was usually full to the brim.

Spinning round and round making yummy goodness.

This weekend I stuck the canister in our new chest freezer and yesterday I did a quick search for recipes.

I tried this one because it intrigued me.  I would have never thought to use sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk.  Mostly I was looking for a recipe that I could use whole milk only because I didn't want to dish out the bucks for cream. Well ... for what I paid for the condensed and evaporated milk, I could have just bought the heavy cream.  Oh well. Live and learn.

I don't have any pretty pictures of the finished product because the ice cream came out churned but it was pretty soft.  So I scooped out enough for my hubby and son to try and I put the rest in the freezer with my fingers crossed that it will firm up enough, but not too much.

My machine is  a deni giavanni ice cream maker.  I'm not sure if they even make it anymore.  I tried doing a search for it and nothing significant came up.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The birds have landed

Things have been a bit quiet around the homestead because I've been crocheting Angry Bird characters.

Several weeks ago my son was invited to an Angry Bird themed birthday party and came home with a few crocheted birds.  I told him that I could make him those and he got quite excited and told me to start looking up patterns.

I did and went out and bought some acryllic yarns to make the birds.

My son has turned into quite the little task master when it comes to me making these birds.

"Mom, why aren't you crocheting?"

"Mom, crochet"

"Mom, are you almost done yet?"

"Mom, print out the pattern for the blue angry bird"

This weekend he even went into the craft room, picked out the next bird for me to work on and gathered all the yarn I'd need, the pattern, notions and packed them into the new fancy dishpan tote that I bought recently to keep my WIP contained, and brought it out to me in the living room and said "Here mom, you crochet the blue bird now"

This made me laugh.  He was SO eager for me to start the next one, but he overlooked the most important thing, the crochet hook!

My son took this picture yesterday.  So far I've made the big white bird, the pig and the little yellow bird.  The red and black birds are from the birthday party.  Notice the  books on planets?  That is his other current obesession.

Yes, I am almost done with the blue bird, but I need to get some felt for below the eyes.

I got the patterns for the white bird and green pig from adorable-amigurumi.blogspot.com. 

The designer did a wonderful job of writing out the patterns.  I still consider myself to be a crochet newbie and I was able to follow these patterns easily.  What was really nice is that she put a stitch count at the end of each row so I always knew if I was on track or not.

The yellow bird pattern came from silvernx2.blogspot.com. Her pattern was written out in a way that you needed to be more intuitive. But it was a good pattern as well. My son said that the yellow one is his favorite.

Thank you for stopping by!