Monday, May 25, 2009

Debt free--my plan

Did some surfin' in the wee hours this morning--look what I found:

The most beautiful bathrobe in the whole world--look at the blue one, I am drooling over that! That print looks incredible made up into a homely old bathrobe....makes me want to get out my sewing machine and get to work!

The fabric pattern I found out is called Ava Rose by Tanya Whelan, and I guess it's carried by a lot of quilt shops, maybe even chain fabric stores.

At the one on-line shop I checked, it was out of stock...

I'd love to find some of that and make a new bathrobe! And pillowcases, and duvet covers and matching jammies, and those pink slippers from yesterday's post....So foo foo and cute!

OTOH, I have been reading Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace." Everything he says about going into debt makes so much sense. I am cracking down on my 'gotta have it now' mentality when it comes to books, knitting, fabrics, or anything that puts me into debt farther. So no more credit card purchases, I am putting the kabosh on that. I do well for a season, then fall back into old habits of using the cards.

I am being very vocal and open about this, because that will help me stick to my plan when the urge to purchase threatens to overtake me. Dave Ramsey will help, too!
I love that he gives a Christian perspective on this.

In light of this decision of mine, here is one of the cutest craft ideas I've ever seen, a jewelry project I would be delighted to wear: a bracelet made of cut-up credit cards!!! How cool is that, not to mention symbolic?! I can see all sorts of fun versions coming out of my conquering credit card a victory charm bracelet that gets added to with each pay-off; you could even make cute stitch markers!

So, it's time to re-institute shopping in my basement. There are always gonna be new patterns I want to try, new yarns that look yummy, new books I want to read. But I'm content with what I have, and very thankful.

Change of subject: yesterday I finally planted the few annuals I do each spring:

I can't believe how happy it makes the place look (though it still needs mulching), and my new hanging basket of ivy geraniums just caps it off!

My gardening season has officially begun! Now I just have to get to my overgrown patio: violets have taken over the cracks in the flagstone and become an ecosystem all their own. Between that and the ostrich ferns, my patio is turning into a temperate jungle!

I'm happy the snow-in-summer is blooming right now, in spite of our strangely cool spring :) This photo was taken today, in a drizzly rain...

We are lucky we had two sunny days in a row that were in the 70s and 80s. Today, being cool and gloomy, was all about comfort food. Here's my hot lunch:

Hot noodles with peanut sauce, green onions, cucumber and avocado and sprinkled with chopped peanuts--cheap and easy! Followed by home-made chocolate pudding hot off the stove. Yeah, baby! DH fixed mac & cheese for himself--more comfort food.

Later tonight I'm gonna make hummus, and taboulleh, in the (probably vain) assumption that warm weather eating will be back this week. It's getting difficult to plan meals with this swinging weather pattern we seem stuck in, I never know until that day whether it's gonna be warm-weather food or comfort food for the cold...

Aside from Dave Ramsey's book, I'm also reading "The Botany of Desire" which is a group of garden essays from Michael Pollan. Fascinating studies in anthropology and culture's influence on horticulture, and the philosophy behind gardening. I am thoroughly enjoying this book! It's really unlike anything I've read before--do you know how nice it is to read something fresh and original?!

Here is a free purse pattern to sew, isn't it cute?! I have seen a number of versions sewn up on different blogs, and they are always sweet! I'd love to make that in a great floral, something which my fabric stash (relegated to the basement since the onset of knitting fever 3 years ago) likely has...I'll have to check.

Freshly inspired by this blog, too. She tells of the fully thrifted bed she has put together--gotta love that!

Free and cheap--that's my new catch-phrase. I want bargains, no more free-spending. I need to get the debt under control and live more simply. That's what it's all about. (Many of you already know all this--if so, just ignore this, I am just reinforcing myself here from Simple September!)

One last comment: remember I posted about BPA-producing water bottles, and that I wanted to get some of the stainless steel water bottles that are available? Well, I promptly moved on, and never purchased the water bottles. Until now:

My local Walgreens had these on sale at 3 for $10!!! Score! Undeniably, the lids are still plastic, but it's a huge step up from fully plastic containers that leach chemicals into your body! So excited to be making this healthful change....

Happy Memorial Day, peeps!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Things to See

And things to do...I am on a roll, trying to clean up my desktop of all the great links I've found in the past month or two. So here we go:

Some links for slippers:
dorm boots
old time slippers with paillettes (like Nana used to make)
Pink slippers such cuteness on this post!

Baktus (to knit of one skein sock yarn)

preemie hat and booties--these are really cute
Drops cabled butterfly sweater
jessica tromp butterfly chart

gorgeous daisy lace bedspread to crochet
a great resource for repro Weldon's Crochet patterns from the 1800s! These are awesome

crocheting the hyperbolic plane

Fun blogs:
Ingrid-in-Sweden spinning, knitting, and freeform crochet projects
lots of knitting eye-candy at Karin's blog
the potholder swap blog!! Cool ideas
I like this because it tells how to make your own faux bois!
Life in a railway car! such a cool decorating blog!
Another knit blog...

peanut sesame noodles--yum, cheap and easy!
homemade pita bread--wow
Lauren's gardening and food blog
a bento blog

Wow, that's a lot of links! Sure to keep you surfing for a bit =)
Happy crafting/crocheting/knitting/spinning/sewing!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stuck on K

It's been some time, and I'm "busting at the seams" with cool links to share. I am still alphablogging, but currently stuck on K...

So, I thought I'd share some of the best links I've found recently:

One food link--these crispy black bean tacos inspired me to have a go at my own version, which was so simple and so hearty and so good I can't even tell you. Rustic food at its finest.

Something I spent 20 minutes making: a hyperbolic tawashi!

I took it to work for dishwashing I need to make a couple in pretty colors for my own kitchen! This yarn looks like doodee in the photo :(

Here's a cute tawashi flower to crochet! It would be fun to have a pile of these for washing dishes with (I bet they'd be nice made in double-stranded dishcloth cotton), or to add to a bag.....

I really want to point people to the Horst Schulz African Adventure pattern, found here. There is a group on ravelry devoted to this amazing composition of color and scraps!!! This is truly one of the most stunning knit designs I've ever seen! In addition, Phazelia (on Ravelry) has made a bag out of these segments, and Phazelia's pattern is here. So beautiful! Sorry, but I don't have a pic to post, you have to go there to see this amazing creation...but I'm going to start on it soon!

Here is a cute granny square bag to crochet, it looks really cute worked up in the right colors!

Wanna see some more amazing color knitting? This is the coolest blog--it's in some scandinavian language (sorry, I can't tell which) but the photos more than make up for that. Her patchwork garments are gorgeous!

Here's a cute felted bag--I really like the look of the flower, and think I'll knit up a few to stick on my ugly-as-all-getout orange tweed bag I made of Cascade...maybe I can salvage it if I bury it in flowers.....

I like this pattern for mosaic garter stitch--I think it would make a nice washcloth pattern.

Another nice market bag--I might try to make one of these this holiday weekend. I'm looking at 3 looming days of TIME TO MYSELF!!!! No work, but lots of housework to catch up on, dog-grooming, shopping a bit, and FIBER STUFF and cookouts, lying in the sun, reading...

Here is a really cute shrug, made with the same pattern as the sweet pea shawl--and she calls it the Maui Shrug! I love this one

Free amigurumi patterns--I love this heart, it almost looks like a cartoon! It would be fun to make a big fat pillow with this pattern and my size U crochet hook!

This is a great gift idea, or stash-buster...a knit "soap sweater"!!! Good idea =)

Anyone looking for free vintage crochet patterns should look here: crochet treasuresLooks like a good resource if you don't have a pile of vintage mags of your own....

And finally, a crochet fan-lace that would make a lovely curtain, and it's free. I love how this lace looks....

Wish I had some other pics, but at least we can document some fun links, right?! Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Losing the lake house

I just spent the past weekend with my family, dismantling my grandfather's estate. Too surreal. It feels wrong somehow to paw through someone else's life this way. My poor mom and aunt, having to do all this...they have been working for a month now. Full time.

Two dumpsters later, two attics and a boathouse later, there is still so much stuff to be dealt with, it's incredible! I cannot stress HOW. MUCH. STUFF:

OMG my grandparents were definitely the product of their times (the depression). In their defense, I suppose it's easy to fill up a house you've lived in for 90 years, without a "move" to make you ditch the ballast...

The moral of the story? DON'T LEAVE IT ALL FOR YOUR KIDS TO DEAL WITH! Let go of things for their sake, before you have a boathouse full of cast-off lumber, metal pipe-fittings, receipts, bottle caps, stamps, craft supplies, garden implements, doors, windows, cast off furniture, and decades of squirrel nests and dung that are gonna cause grief to your loved-ones. (There wasn't even a boat in the boathouse!)

While it was fun to see the antiques buried away,

many of them are to be sold. But overall there is a sadness permeating everything--the lake house has been the seat of my family for 89 years. And it is now for sale. I'm too sad for words, as are my brothers. (Of course, it's not the same without nana and goompa, but I think we all thought it would go on forever.)

And so, the grief continues, as all grief does. It's an ongoing process, I know.

I need to recuperate, though I only helped out physically for one sad weekend. I have strep throat, too, with that perfect timing that only illness can make. Looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend.

p.s. I started a shrug last week on my giant needles that I will show you once I get back to it....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big Bag

I had the best Mother's Day. I started by putting together a bunch of yarns from my stash:

and using my size U crochet hook (that's 25mm) I chained 14 with all 8 strands of yarn. (only 7 are pictured here)

WIP, and next pic is what I had after 2 hours:

Aim's Big Crochet Chimera Bag

Here's my "pattern" --hope it's legible:

chain 14, dc into 3rd chain from hook and in each chain across. Repeat for 2-3 rows, then dc into the first 5 st of the row, chain 3, skip 2 dc and dc into the third dc and across (5 dc after the chain gap). Turn and dc in each dc, skip the first chain, dc in each of the next 2 chains and then in each dc across. You just made the handle. Turn and dc in all 12 stitches across.

Repeat this last row for the length you want the bag to be, from front around bottom and up the back of the bag. Then do as before to make the other handle: dc in first 5 dc, chain three and skip next 2 dc, then dc in the next 5 dc across. Turn and dc across all 12 stitches.

Now to make the side panels. For each: chain 4 from top corner, slip stitch to matching corner of other side (this bridge will attach the top edges), then sc down side of panel twice, turn and dc in each of the 4 chains across the bridge, then 2 sc into the other panel’s side, turn and dc in 4 chains across the bridge. Repeat this back and forth until you can dc in one chain, then slip stitch to bottom “panel”. Repeat this dc and slip stitch combo to seal the side panel to the bottom panel; sc into last side panel stitch and bind off. Repeat this paragraph for other side panel.

There you have it. You could call it the Mother's Day Bag, but because I ended up adding in every freaking blue yarn under the sun regardless of content (I ran out of the homespun indigo-dyed BFL, and the recycled nylon/ramie/silk/wool mix I started with) I am calling it the Chimera. It is truly a monster =)

So I had a productive day....then, DS gave me some chocolate. Yeah, baby!

And later, DH & I went to see the movie "Star Trek" and it was spectacular! I want to go see it again. It was that good. It's nearly my most fav movie of all time!!! ("Babe" still wins top honors--I love that pig!)

Here's a sneak peek at what is now on the hook:

Have a great week guys! Stash knit-down continues here....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book View Monday

Here's a peek at my newest get:

I just got this book free last night at knitting. (LYS has punch card for purchases, and you get a $25 gift certificate after X-amount of purchases.) Yay for gift certificates!

I am a big fan of Paula Levy designs. She makes the coolest counterpane patterns, and nature-inspired patterns (like the famous Fish Blanket!) There is one of her 1995 patterns reprinted in this book:

Tulips in the Sand counterpane pattern. Isn't that a cutie cabled tulip?! I could see this block knit up into blankies, jackets, scarves in a smaller gauge...Love it.

Then, there is this cool looking star blankie--I know, I know, there are a lot of free star blankie patterns available online, but I like the look of this....

The picture is knit up in Moda Dea Sassy Stripes...I think you can get that yarn at Hobby Lobby--it's probably acrylic. So pretty, though!

And this cute round pillow cover I'd like to make in white:

There are a lot of patterns for blankets and pillows in this book, and it is very inspiring to leaf through.

I also got some marked down yarn--2 balls of various things. It's a minimal acquisition, considering how much yarn I just cranked through with my two bigstitch rugs! So I'm feeling kinda happy right now. Fully sated on fiber, yep!

May you also have a great fiber week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Granny, how do I love thee?

Aim's patio awaiting spring clean-up; the violets are happy to dress it up!

I'm continuing my infatuation with the granny square. I was surfing around flickr at the granny along pool, and saw some amazing things. Two of them are from Cottage45, a cute blog, that gives instructions for them. Her creations are so cute, I feel I need to point everyone in that general direction!

First, I really love her English Cottage granny blanket. So lovely, and I like how the brown border looks like basketweave--like a lovely basket of blooms! I'm so starved for flowers by early spring....

And she gives directions for a Granny hexagon. Looks like Grandma's Flower Garden quilts from the 1930's...

There are some amazingly colorful grannies here at Attic24 (you have to scroll way down to see the post). I love her color choices--she used some Rowan DK Handknit Cotton and that yarn must come in some super yummy colors b/c I love her beautiful cushions and blankies....Like sherbet! Some other variation on the overflowing granny flowers decor seen here at Rosehip. Cute!

And a cool idea: on the new Bagsmith Crochet book cover is pictured a rug made with a central giant-sized granny square.

What a great idea!

Now, for my newest favorite granny pattern, it's free!! Isn't that the cutest motif ever? Kinda star/southwestern/flower looking. I think I'm gonna try that block with my size U crochet hook, what a great rug one of those blocks would be, huh?! There is a person on Ravelry, WarpSpeedLinda, who has made tons of blankies with this pattern, you should check out her page....

Happy spring crafting!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday's Feat

Can you see the squirrel?

Dude, I made another rug. I started it in the morning before going to work, I worked on it for 10 minutes on my lunch hour, and then I took it to knitting Friday night and finished it in 2-1/2 hours.

We are going to be remodeling our bathroom, painting it a muted tan/taupe palette instead of the cottage blue it has been. And I had all these giant skeins of brown ombre dishcloth cottons I had purchased on sale at Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's. They were just sitting there on the shelf, begging to be used somehow. I love dishcloth cotton, but the prospect of knitting up ten million washcloths with all this yarn is somewhat daunting!

So I decided to put 8 skeins of them together with my new size U crochet hook, and voila! Instant cotton squishy thick bathroom rug! It only used up about 1/3 of each skein, so I have plenty left for matching washcloths! Wheeeeee.

Here's my "pattern":


with 8 strands worsted weight cotton, chain 25. Turn and sc into the second chain from hook, *sc across. Ch1, turn.*
Repeat the starred section for as many rows as you like. Mine was 24 rows long. Finished size is 22" x 25-1/2" pre-wash (it'll shrink when I wash and dry it in the hottest settings)

I got so many nice comments on it at knitting last night =) Makes me feel like I actually DID something. I feel so stuck-in-a-rut on all my other WIPs!!!

So if you're looking for a quick satisfying stashbusting kinda project, this one's good! Happy hooking ;D


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunny Sunday

See the hidden birdie legs?!

Here's a neat video for making Indian bread (rotis):

Isn't that cool? She makes it look so easy, I feel like I could just whip up some of those after watching her! I've made chapatis before but over a flame, and they were really floury. I like how these puff up so easily. I love Indian food, yummy! I was directed to this video via the Jugalbandi blog, one of my favs. I like Bee's sharp humor. And, it's vegetarian! Yum.

I'm not a strict vegetarian. But I love blogs that teach me better ways of eating.

How about a pattern to use the bigstitch needles?

Aim's Rug:

I decided yesterday to wing it, and started pulling out stash and throwing it all together for a rug. In about 4 hours (which includes picking out the yarns, doing a test-run for several rows that I ended up frogging, and restarting with the correct number of stitches) I had a nice cushy rug for my bathroom. It measures about 38x 25 inches, give or take an inch in either direction for stretchiness! Cuz I'm not blocking this sucka...

Cast on 24 stitches.
Slipping the first stitch of each round, K across in garter stitch, until the length desired. I used anywhere from 4-6 strands of yarn at any given time, adding in and taking out whenever the urge struck.

Mostly I wanted to use up my "Landscapes" acrylic/wool that I frogged my Martha poncho from. I used up 6 balls of that yarn, and also added in skeins of other acrylics. Here's the list of yarn I used:
  1. 6 balls Lion Brand Landscapes in "Pastel Meadow" colorway

  2. 1 skein of Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick Prints in "Rainbow Denim Print"

  3. 2 skeins (2.5 oz each) of Red Heart Super Saver Multicolor in "Candy" colorway

  4. 1/2 skein Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in "Pink Camo Ombre"

  5. 1/2 skein Caron SS in "Baby Brights Ombre", and some "Soft Pink", "Off White", and "Lt Country Peach"

  6. some Lion Brand Suede in Black

And some pics of all the different yarns used

They don't look like they'd go together, do they?! I'm really happy with the outcome.

I LOVE THESE NEEDLES!!!! You have to adjust how you knit with them, (in addition, I bought the 28" needles so they'd be long enough for blankets and such, but you have to sit in the middle of the sofa so the ends of the needles have a place to rest!) Hey, once you get it, you knit things up so fast it's incredible!!! I feel great, I just used up a bunch of stash, probably a total of about 11 skeins. Wahoooooooo! In 4 hours. Yeah!

I'd like to see other people's versions of this, I'm constantly searching on Ravelry for more inspsiration. I just joined the Big Stitch Knitting group, and hope to be inspired there! (And, for Mother's day I just ordered the size U crochet hook and the size 50 DPNs from Bagsmith, along with their books. Can't wait!) They are having a sale for Ravelry members with a %15 off by May 11--you should go check it out (coupon number is listed in the Big Stitch Knitting Group page).

I'm such an enabler....

Knit on, you happy peeps!

P.S. this is edited to add two things:
1) I used size 50 needles for the rug.
2) The recipe for the Rotis is 1 c flour, 1 pinch salt, 1/2 c water; then later a trace of the oil as she shows in the video...I just made these and they were yummy!!! And fairly easy, too.