Donezo

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After taking most of May off today anything but work, exercise, and attempt to maintain sanity, I finally have  FO to share.  I knit these mitts for one of Hub’s co-workers.  She is fantastically supportive of him and just plain fun to be around, so when she mentioned off the cuff how much she wanted some fingerless mitts, I set to work.  I didn’t have the chance to set up a great photo of them before gifting them, but here they are.  They are less even than I would like, but I think it will come with more practice on DPN’s.  I’m still a little stumped as to why the ribbing at the bottom looks funky, so if anyone has any great ideas I’d love to hear your feedback.

Hoping to get some editing done of little fancy teaparty Gracie girl had this week as well as some shots of my next project on the needles!

Pattern: Et Frais by Alicia Plummer

Yarn: Nice and Knit Fingering in Driftwood.  Read about my first time ordering this yarn here. (Note: it will not be my last order.)

Yarn Along

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Joining Ginny today for her Yarn Along.  Gracie and I have been reading Anne of Green Gables together.  I never read it as a kid, and now I know why.  There is just so much dialogue that I would not have had the patience for it when I was young.  She really seems to be enjoying listening to it, though. She sits in bed at bedtime, knitting a cowl she has decided to make for herself while I read about a chapter a night. It’s even become a motivator for getting through our nightly routine in an expeditious manner. Take too long getting ready for bed? No time for Anne.

I cast on my Et Frais mitts this week, but have since ripped them out because it seemed impossibly small. I attempted yet again to just start a project without swatching.  One of these days I’ll learned my lesson.  Now there is a gauge swatch drying on the guest bed, ready for me to count some stitches tonight and make sure that I’m not completely off the mark. So far, I’m enjoying with the Nice and Knit fingering yarn.  The color is gorgeous, and it feels soft as you knit it up.

While I was attempting get a somewhat decent shot of the knitting with not enough light I grabbed a shot of our backyard.  No kidding, this is straight out of the camera. It’s been raining FOREVER, and everything is so green I can hardly stand it. Here’s hoping it’s helping the grass seed we put down this weekend.

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Block Party

The Magrathea Shawl is finally finished, and I’m so happy with it.  I am so hopeful that it will bring tons of comfort to my mother-in-law in the coming months.

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I recently read the Yarn Harlot’s post on blocking, which came handy.  She reminded me that the blocking isn’t about pulling the fabric into the shape you want, but rather gently pushing into place.  I was much less aggressive pinning this down as I have been with some projects, and it seemed to removed the need to use blocking wires.  So far, I’m happy with the results.

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Woop! I have a garden.

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Before moving out here to the sticks, I was city dweller for almost a decade.  Mama only had a 10′ x 10′ patch of land to keep alive, and I failed miserably.  Everything was always half dead, but you hardly noticed because there was so little there.  Now we have this huge lot (for a DC suburb) and I feel like others notice when things aren’t alive.  I’ve resolved to make it look a little more pleasant this year, and we are off to a good start.  There is actually grass seed coming up, and tulips that I put in the ground all the way last fall have found their way up.  It’s a pretty amazing feeling.  Gracie and I even planted a teeny-tiny Rosemary bush along our front walk this weekend.  We thought it would fill out nicely and allow our company to be greeted with great smells as they approach our door.

My favorite tree this season is quickly becoming the Redbud.  It’s completely beautiful, perfect for climbing, and gives great shade after the leaves come in.  I will say, this neighborhood is not for the allergy-afflicted.  I think we would be miserable right now if we weren’t immune to flowering trees.

Any other tips out there for some sunny beginner plantings that I can not kill and feel good about?

Photo Challenge: On Top

DSC_5836 DSC_5835This weeks photo challenge was #ontop and when I saw Grace sitting on top of the seat the our president once snagged, inspiration struck.  This town is about power, and it’s nice to have those moments when you see that these incredibly influential people were just kids once too, put their pants on one leg at a time just like us, and occasionally enjoy some home made custard (courtesy of the Dairy Godmother in Del Ray, Virginia).

Who knows? Maybe this little gal will end us as one of them someday.

Yarn Delivery

DSC_5349I have been following this lovely blog Nice and Knit for about a year.  Two sisters posted beautiful photos of their knitted creations and their families, and I just couldn’t get enough.  I love the look of the blog, the architecture of their old homes, and the wooly goodness was decadent.  When I saw that they had started a line of hand-dyed yarns, I really wanted to support their work and give it a try.  I ordered a skein of their fingering yarn in the Driftwood colorway, and it’s great.  There’s 490 yards to each skein of superwash merino for $26.

I have to say, this thing is a pile of smooshy goodness, and I can’t wait to knit it up.  This stuff has a lovely destiny – it will be knitted up into a pair of Et Frais mitts by Alicia Plummer for a co-worker of Hub’s.  They are completely fabulous.

Photo credit Alicia Plummer

Photo credit Alicia Plummer

Can’t wait to cast on these babies and get started!

Yarn: Nice and Knit Fingering in Driftwood.  Find their website here.

Pattern: Et Frais by Alicia Plummer.  Find the pattern here, and Alicia’s site, Two Little Plumshere.

Easter

DSC_5837 DSC_5845 DSC_5853 DSC_5855 DSC_5878 DSC_5882 DSC_5887 DSC_5890 DSC_5889We celebrated a lovely Easter weekend with Hub’s family, and I think I needed to go back to work to recover from the fun.  Gracie girl did some fancy egg dying and even laid out some carrots for the Easter Bunny.  She was so surprised to see them nibbled on the morning.  We went for a nice spring walk after hunting for eggs, and then started baking some fun Peep-inspired cupcakes for dessert.  I love photographing the mess that comes with baking.  The colors are always so vibrant, and getting the graphics of the packaging on ingredients makes the image so interesting.  Grace set a beautiful table for us, even with the piles of stuff from the kitchen in the corner.

Little progress has been made in the kitchen as we wait for our contractor to finish up a job and come knock ours out.  In the meantime, we just walk across sticky floors and try to keep the rest of the house together so we don’t feel like we are living in total chaos.  This will come to an end soon, right?

 

Spray Paint it the Best Thing Ever

After my family, of course.  Thanks to spray paint, I turned this corner of our room…

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… into this.

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Much better, for a total cost of $7.99.  To bang out this little update, I started by laying out a bunch of things we already had out on the floor.

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The painting on the top left is something I picked up from a sidewalk artist in Key West.  Hubs and I ran a relay race there a few months after we started dating, and had the most amazing trip.  The sign is a replica of one that hangs at our favorite restaurant in Key West, and I put our race bib in the frame on the top right.  I had a postcard from our honeymoon in Puerto Rico, and snagged an unused frame from another place in the house, along with the big black one in the middle. I didn’t have a photo for this one, and I really wasn’t digging the heavy black frames. But, I figured I’d get them on the wall and see.

I traced the frames onto brown shipping paper, measuring to make sure they were level across the top, and all the margins were just about an inch.  I then measured where the nail holes need to be for each frame, and then taped the whole thing up to the wall, making sure the center frame was in the middle of the wall, and the top edge was level.

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I hammered the nails in the right spot, and then peeled the paper away and hung the photos and art.

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Still hated the black, and couldn’t find anything to fill the big frame, so I hopped on Walgreen’s website and with the coupon BIGSMALL, I snagged an 8×10 print from our wedding for a cool $2.  I swung by Michael’s and got some Krylon Semi Gloss spray paint in white, and then sprayed both black frames.  This was my first time using spray paint, and there were some blunders.  First, that little nozzle is not stopper.  If you pull it out, paint will drip everywhere.  Leave it in, and turn it in the direction you are painting.  Yeesh.  It took two coats to completely cover the black, but they dried quickly, and turned out pretty neat.

Although the finish isn’t perfect, I’m happy with the results, and especially happy with the price tag.

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Any spray paint/picture hanging tips out there for next time?  I’m definitely trying this again!

Yarn Along: Magrathea

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It’s a little ironic that I have chosen to dive into the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this week.  As I read this epic story of overcoming impossible odds against evil, I am knitting something warm and soft for my mother-in-law.  She and her husband have been battling brain cancer since he was diagnosed over two years ago.   From the moment I met them, I was overwhelmed by their love, their positive attitude, and their generosity towards others.  Hubs and I had only been dating for a few months, and I remember thinking that a man that was raised by these people has had an amazing model of what a loving marriage could be.

They have spent the last few years traveling together and soaking up as much fun as possible.  As they continue their fight, there will be many hours spent in waiting rooms and doctors offices.  Those places are always so darn cold.  Even as the weather gets warm, they might get chilly, so I want to make sure they have wooly things with them.  And who doesn’t need a little cashmere every once in awhile? Hoping to wrap this one up this week so it will be ready for their next trip to see the angels at Duke Medical Center who have championed their fight. I hope it helps them on their quest and that they find a little magic soon, too.

Virginia is for… History Nerds

DSC_5683 DSC_5685 DSC_5691 DSC_5692 DSC_5715 DSC_5722 DSC_5727 DSC_5731 DSC_5733 DSC_5739 DSC_5741 DSC_5755 DSC_5757 DSC_5791Our little Gracie is a history buff.  She is the kid that gets SUPER excited when she hears about a field trip to a history museum.  When it’s her day to choose something for the family to do together, she will pick a tour of a historic home.  When we asked her what she would like to do for a weekend getaway, she immediately requested visiting Jamestown.  She studied Pocahontas in 2nd grade, and has wanted to see it ever since.  We explored both the Jamestown Settlement, where replicas of the fort and the ships the carried the colonists have been built. They have also created a replica of a Powhatan village for us to explore and a beautiful museum.  We did a guided tour and then went back and did more roaming on our own.  Grace even picked up a deer hoof and used it to help clean the fur off a deer hide that will be worn by guides. I couldn’t believe she picked that thing up, because there was no way I was going near it.

After exploring, we had a picnic in the outdoor eating area, and then headed over to the Historic Jamestown Settlement operated by the National Parks Service.  This was Hubs’ favorite part of the day.  Getting to walk around the perimeter of the original fort was pretty cool.  The archeological sites are amazing, and seeing what historians have been able to excavate from the site is incredible.  The foundations of some of the original buildings are still there, and cross mark the burial sites of some of the original settlers.  To think that we were in the place where the first Europeans stepped foot in the New World was pretty amazing, and pretty sobering to think about how their arrival must have appeared to the people who where already here.

Grace’s favorite part of the day was visiting the original glass house and the demonstrations.  We watched the craftsman create onion-shaped wine bottles, and even brought one home as a souvenir.  We finished the day walking along the James River and dipping our feet in the chilly water.  All-in-all it was a perfect day. Beautiful weather, fun exploring, and all done on a budget.