Getting caught up

I am about to dump all sorts of things on you guys – road trips, shopping results, family events,a little DIY, and of course, knitting. Sorry to have been gone so long, but I will get you caught up with what I have been up to!

First off – the beaded lights project. I wish I had a before photo for you – but let me describe, instead. The original string of lights had the square frames, wrapped with clear beads strung on a wire. I collected a variety of strings of colored glass beads, divided them evenly by the number of lights I had (10) and strung them on beading wire. I attached that to the frame, and then just wrapped between the rows of clear beads. It took about three hours to complete, but I think they are a lot prettier now, and more fun. I hope to hang them on the screened porch, but I might put them in the dining room where the door to the porch is, so I can see them inside and out.

beaded lights 1

beaded lights 2

Next up – travel! Niece C the younger graduated from high school in CT last Friday evening. Mom and I drove down, went to the celebration, stayed over night and hit IKEA before we drove all the way home again. It was a long two days, but worth it in so many ways.

Graduations mean presents and cards – and being a procrastinator, I did not take photos until just before I left,so I had to use a flash to get them. Sorry about that, it means a little glare…

graduation envelope


graduation earrings

I am so proud of this girl – she works really hard at school, and it has paid off, she won three achievement awards, in Business Marketing, Chemistry and Pre-calculus. Plus, she is just NICE. πŸ™‚ I am not too prejudiced.

C's graduation

I love this photo of her with her mom, and not just because she is opening the card I made her. Although, looking at it, it is a better photo of the card than I took at home that morning!

C and L graduation

On to IKEA. I went with the intention of getting 6 dining room chairs and whatever else caught my fancy, within reason. But they opened later than I had hoped (10) and Mom and I had a long drive ahead of us, so we literally RACED through the store. Got the chairs – I’ll have photos of them another time – and got the lights and candles and things I wanted but did not get to dig around the marketplace as I had hoped to. I was able to pick up a few things for my neighbor’s birthday in August, and I got a rolling cart to hold knitting things which now take over the coffee table. I don’t like the color, but I will spray paint it and make it unique.

ikea haul

It turns out people are not the only living creatures who like a good trip to IKEA…

ikea cats 3

ikea cats 2

ikea cats 1

And then A attacked the boxes and created this cat heaven. They never use it in front of us, but in the night we hear them, and each morning, the boxes are in disarray. I hope it is not a permanent installation in the living room, but you just never know around here.

ikea cats 4

ikea cats 5

So. I didn’t knit much last weekend, as you can imagine! A road trip is usually good knitting time, but A didn’t come with us, so I did the driving. However, some progress was made on the green and purple socks, and the dropped stitch scarf. I kept up my Socks with Sarah commitment, even though Friday and Saturday I think the “knitting some every day” was literally less than a row. I am on the home stretch with this pair now, just have a couple of inches left on the second sock to do.

sws #14 Tosh Lichen 2

sws #14 Tosh Lichen 1

The scarf is made with some yarn I dyed using black cherry Kool-Aid and the crock pot. I really experimented with different small bowls with different amounts of the same dye, to get a variegated yarn, and I am pleased with how it came out.

black cherry alpaca variegated

dropped stitch scarf 2

dropped stitch scarf 1

So, that’s it – my week or so in review. Now, I have to go tackle some of the other things on that Friday list of mine. And of course, I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on. Let me just go grab a cup of coffee.

Friday list at the end of June

It’s a crazy list today – not sure how I will get it all done, or if I will. But I’ll get the important parts done, and the rest will live on in a Saturday or Sunday list.

I have an eye doctor’s appointment at 2:30, so I know any detailed vision work has to get done before they put those darned drops in my eyes!

I need to:
Make two wedding cards and a get well card
Weed and feed the tomatoes
Weed whack around the raised beds
Plant the mountain laurel and the potatoes. Really, this week I will do it.
Work on pool excavation, it is going to become crucial soon, I think.
Take niece B’s coat to the dry cleaner so it is ready before she returns to Maine in August. (Once I take it there, then I have to remember to pick it up again. πŸ™‚
Finish spray painting one of my IKEA finds
Post photos and last week update. Bet you all wonder where I was and what I was up to, right?
Knit a sock… or at least a few rows of one.

I think that will keep me pretty darned busy today. I’d like to go to Stonington to the farmer’s market, but I don’t see how I can do that and get this work all done… maybe in July I will get there.

Friday list with a Thursday spin

I know it isn’t Friday, but today will be WAY more fun that Friday.  So will Saturday.  So you get a full three day list.  πŸ™‚

Today is, of course, a work day.  But I am in Waterville at a meeting, then going to Bangor to pick up the rental car for the weekend – more on why later – and then –

out to dinner and to the new Cross Center to see Cirque de Soleil!  I have never seen them, and am quite excited about it.  This is what A wanted for her birthday in April, how nice that I bought myself a ticket for her birthday as well. πŸ™‚ Her sister L is coming along too, as her (August) birthday present.  We will have a great time!

Friday morning, I will hop in that BIG rental car, go pick up Mom, then drive 400 miles to Connecticut to see niece C graduate from high school.  She finishes up along line of nieces and nephew graduations that we have traveled to – next one is little niece E, who is 7.  πŸ™‚ A has a great-niece who will graduate next year, but she is close by, and we are likely only going to the party piece of things.  But for young C, we are invited to the actual event, which is an honor as there are limited tickets.  It will be hot, and hopefully not raining, so we can be outside.  I will bring a hat and umbrella for shade, and hope it doesn’t go on for hours. I will be knitting on my socks, too.  Never too hot for socks!

Saturday Mom and I will awake in our comfortable hotel and maybe go for a swim before heading off to IKEA in New Haven – the reason for the big rental car!!!  My aim is to get dining room chairs – 6, if I can fit them in the car.  I might have to unpack them to do it, but I think I can.  I am very excited, because A and I rarely agree on things like chairs – how they look, how they feel, and these we did. And they are affordable.  Cheap, even.  And of course, I might find room in the car for a few other things as well.  πŸ™‚

Then it’s time to hit the road, so we will get home sometime Saturday evening.  It will be along crazy couple of days, but it will be fun, and I will get to have quality time with Mom, see two nieces, get new furniture, what could be better?



Quick weekend update

I did most of the Friday list, except I never really got to the yard work, unfortunately. Yes, I took some photos of things, but I am too lazy tonight to get them off the camera and post them. They aren’t going anywhere, so you will see them eventually.

However, the craft room got lots of attention this weekend – loads of trash carted out, and lots of flat surfaces cleaned – but not all.

Crimson Crow, dear friend that she is, gave up a whole Saturday to keep me on track and focussed. I went through deep piles of papers and STUFF that was on the counter and the tables. We did not get into cabinets and drawers, but we made really good progress on the clutter that piles up on things. To the point that we were able to fold and put away two 6 foot tables.

Here’s what I learned:

I have to deal with paper when it comes in. If I leave it on the kitchen table for “later” A will eventually get fed up and put it on the counter in the craft room, where I will be able to ignore it for a long time. Eventually, the room will be so full I will only have a small area to work in. I say this because I just spent the day sorting through papers that have been up there for nearly 5 years. Yikes. I knew I hated filing, but I didn’t realize how much.

I also have too many magazines. I have some ideas on how to deal with that, but Crimson Crow says I need to cancel some subscriptions. Not sure I agree with her yet, but I know she is usually right…

I did start to go through some fabric bins, and as a result, I have a large pile for GoodWill, and I do believe I have some give away here. When I get everything sorted and laundered, I’ll get some photos of it and see who wants it!

We did not touch yarn or paper, and the room is far from clean, but I feel like we made super progress. In a few weeks when I have a free weekend, I will go send more time up there, as there are still two lengths of counter and a desk that have a little clutter – not like what we got through this weekend, but not ship-shape, either.

Did a little knitting, a little crocheting this weekend, not much, but I did keep up with the Socks with Sarah commitment – a row or two only, but still worked on socks! And did a few more sock scrap squares.

One thing I did do, and which I will share photos of when I stop being so lazy, is a beaded light project.

I bought a string of lights (ten lights) that had wire cages wrapped with clear beads on each light. I intended to make a hanging light by wrapping these lights around a wire ring, and also adding colored beads to the cages. Well, that project has had all its parts ready for a few months, and been sitting on a counter in the craft room. Today I decided to just do it already!

I did not like how it came out wrapped on the wire ring, so I gave up on that idea after fussing with the wires and lights and rings. But I still wanted the colored beads on the cages. I started to take the clear beads off, but then got a simpler idea – I just cut lengths of beading wire long enough to follow the existing wrap, strung my beads on it, then wrapped it along side the clear beads. Helped with spacing, and added shimmer. I really like how they came out in the end! Now, I have to figure out if they are for the porch after all or for the living room… but I will hang them up this week, because they are just too pretty to store away. πŸ™‚

Bet you are dying to see my camera now – not just socks today!

PS I also made a present and a card for my graduating niece, I’ll take photos of those before wrapping, but can’t show you until she gets them.

PPS A’s sisters came over Saturday and brought with them many cakes and cupcakes in various sizes made from my favorite recipe – Mom’s mocha cake and frosting. Yum. I love when a birthday lasts for a week!

That really is all – off to bed so I can start the new week refreshed and rested.

Friday list on Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th – woo hoo! And there is a full moon, I hear. But of course, it will be raining, so we won’t get the pretty evening. Unless the weather forecast is wrong, but THAT never happens. πŸ™‚

So what I am up to this fine day:

Grocery store
Yard work (yes in the rain – not so much worry about sun!) – pool digging and planting a shrub that has been waiting for the porch to get done, as well as planting the potatoes in their bag
Clean the porch
Clear off the tables in the loft and sort some of the craft room stuff onto them in prep for the big cleaning on Saturday! Can’t wait!
There also is a graduation present to make for niece C, and a card for her as well… not sure how I will do that – might wait until Sunday, actually for the card.
and then there is sock knitting… and photos for you of the things on which I am working. There are a few! I finished the business casual socks in Ginger, and have started a new pair, number 14 – ! which will have a plain foot but a fancy leg, worked over my favorite 60 stitches. The yarn is called Lichen, and is shades of green and purple. Tosh sock, of course. πŸ™‚ The ginger socks came out well, the pattern went really fast doing it one at a time, and I think they will be so cozy and warm AND stylish this winter.

All of this should keep me busy until 4:30 when A gets home from work. πŸ™‚

what I was up to last week (includes an unsolicited store review)


I actually did most of the Friday list on Friday, can you believe it?  Of course, I didn’t make it a tough list. πŸ™‚

Saturday is when things got fun, though.  A, L and I went off early to Freeport, and as planned, A dropped me and L off at Casco Bay Fibers, around 10:30. Although this isn’t local to me (a couple of hours away), it is a wonderful LYS.  L and I headed in, and A went off to Portland.

Casco Bay Fibers is located in a large, well-lit space, and was staffed by the owner.  She was just the right amount of interested and chatty and helpful without being in our faces or sullen that we interrupted her day. Although she stocks lots of beads and some fabric, it is primarily a yarn store, and it is a super one, at that!  lots of really nice quality, gorgeous stuff, including, I was happy to see, Madeline Tosh (yes, I managed to get a skein of sock yarn!) In addition to the stuff I wish I could afford to make into sweaters, she had some very nice quality acrylic blends, and some lower priced Turkish made wool.  Also, Cascade in many varieties.  I wound up with some dark blue slightly tweedy (with deep blue-green accents) for that sweater I really do need.  How can it be that I don’t own a navy cardigan?)

I also found some beads to make another ribband necklace, so this store was a GREAT find!

It took us just over an hour there, and truthfully, I could have stayed longer, but I was conscious of L wanting to go clothes shopping, and I know A has no patience for that, so we needed to get a head start!

For those of yo who have never been to (or heard of) Freeport, it is a small town that converted itself into an outlet shopping mecca.  It has the flagship LL BEan complex, and all the buildings in town have been converted to stores of one variety or another.  I like that they did not allow much in the way of new building, so Main Street looks like a bustling New England town, but it is all facade.

We went to the Gap, Banana Republic, Clark’s, Bass, before we got tired and hit Starbucks for a cooling drink while we waited for A to returns.  Once she did, we went on to Old Navy, Van Heusen, and Talbot’s before lunch.  L found a nice silk shirt along the way, and some great shorts at Talbot’s – much more selection there than in the Bangor store, so she was thrilled.  Not sure she found anything to wear to the wedding, but she will. I fell in love with many things, but had blown my cash on yarn, go figure!

We had lunch at the Broad Arrow Tavern, located at the Harraseeket Inn.  It was a splurge, but as this was MY birthday excursion, I chose it over the chain restaurants and lobster roll places in the center of town. I like to frequent the Harraseeket because it is SO environmentally friendly – much of the food is locally source,d the pool is a salt water system, they have electric car charging stations, and much more green stuff that goes on behind the scenes.  Anyway, we had a  nice lunch on the terrace (I sat in the shade of the umbrella, trying to be good.)


Then we wandered out of town in the car, and found a pet store that carries grain and chicken free cat food, so we got several flavors and varieties (good news, all cats are happy to eat it).  We also found the local chocolate shop and managed to get a few treats there.

By then we were all hot and sick of shopping, so A drove us home the long way, with a stop in Randolph at Deb’s for homemade ice cream – yum!


I don’t get it

Dear WordPress:

Can you tell me why sometimes you let me post comments and sometimes you don’t?Β  I have figured out this much – If I go to type a comment and you don’t know who I am, I am sunk.Β  Even though I click the little W, and you then twirl and whirl, and come up with my name, the comment can’t be posted.Β  I have tried refreshing, starting over, even rebooting.Β  It won’t work.

I am sad, as many of the blogs I follow have comment-worthy posts, but I can’t say a word, I can only silently like.Β  Now you are keeping me from entering the giveaway at lattes and llamas and that is just cruel.

Please stop.


Friday list and Saturday plans

Wait? What, it’s Friday? You mean today? Right now?

What am I going to be doing today?

Well, we can start with a trip to the vet in an hour, with three cats.

Yes. All 3. At once. In crates. In the car. What was I thinking whan I made THIS plan?

After that, it will likely be cleaning up my cat scratches and trying to make peace with the three of them.

Then, as it is raining, probably I will go work in the craft room. Crimson Crow is coming over next week to help me “clean sweep” it and organize it and reduce stashes. I am not sure what will have to go, but it might involve some tough love. It would be nice if we could actually walk into the room, or there was one flat, cleaned off surface on which to work.

Laundry, of course, and the PO. A went to the grocery store last night, so that is not critical.

I also want to do some yarn dying – I did a small tester on Monday while I was home sick, I like how it came out, so I will do the rest of that yarn the same way – it can be simmering in the crock pot while I do other things, right? I used black cherry Kool-Aid and a tiny dab of blue food coloring and got a really pretty burgundy color. The yarn is a fine alpaca that I inherited from Cousin Nancy, in a light creamy/slightly beige colorway. I cake dyed the sample, but might do this one a bit differently. We will see. The good thing is that if I don’t like how the shadings come out on the first try, I can always wind it up and dye the whole thing the dark color.

If it stops raining, I will go out and do some digging on the pool area, I need to work on that every day. Even if it is just a shovel full.

That’s it. Not too exhausting this week! I need time to knit, of course. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow is exciting! We are headed south and west, to the land of conspicuous consumption (Freeport) where A will drop me at the yarn/bead/fabric store I spotted there a few weeks ago. She will continue on to South Portland to her version of a yarn store – Rockler – for wood crafting supplies, and router bits and the like. That will give me at least two hours in the store. Mmmmm. A review will surely follow in the next few days. Then, she will pick me up, and we will explore the shops of Freeport. I don’t really want to go to LL Bean – not because I don’t love it, but because it is so HUGE that if I go there, it takes up all my energy and I don’t feel like shopping any more, and so I have NEVER GO IN ANY OTHER STORES IN FREEPORT. This trip, I mean to see what else is in town. This COULD get expensive, I suppose. Unless everything is for skinny young fashionistas who only wear black and beige. Then I will rush to LL Bean and look at tents and jeans and Adirondack chairs.

Sister-in-law L will be with us, she is searching for that perfect “mother of two grooms at a picnic wedding” outfit to wear to the big shindig in July. I am not sure if she will haunt Freeport while I yarn shop, or visit with her sister on the trip to South Portland. But I hope we find her something in that right blend of “casual day but an important event” I think she is still in a happy state of shock that both boys got married in such a short time frame.

Well, time to go cram cats into crates… wish me luck!

Monday Morning rambling

The scratchy throat became a cold… chest cold, not too much of a head cold, which I guess is good as I can breathe. Never the less, I stayed home today, so that I can recover and not share it with all my coworkers.

Laid low all weekend, and so not much yard work got done, although plenty of knitting and crocheting happened – as well as a plant hanger for the porch.

That was fun, as I haven’t made one in years. No fancy knots, just twine and slip knots, with some really cheap bright beads at the bottom. I’ll make a couple more for out there – hanging the plants is the only way I can think of to have them out there and not have the cats destroy them. A will hate it, for some reason, she doesn’t like plants… something about a mess.

The pool, however, is weeks away if I don’t figure out a way to get moving on it. I marked out the new circle, it is a lot bigger than the old one. Why I thought going from 14 feet to 20 feet would not be bad is beyond me.

The chipmunks are back and getting fat… I tried a tin pan baffle, it worked on the critters, but scared the birds. So I filled it with food and set it on the ground. I hope to keep them happy low down and out of the bird feeder while I work on the problem. I wonder how many I have? I am thinking of relocating them using my hav-a-hart trap… but I know it might be a hopeless case. I remember doing that with red squirrels when I lived in Cherryfield. I must have relocated a dozen… or one, 12 times. But I can’t let Tigger out again unless I want her to be an outdoor cat, which I don’t. She was wound up all day after that, and I don’t want her to go mad living with us. So do I just give up and let the birds fend for themselves against the chipmunks? the birds are so much prettier, and they sing so sweetly… but the chippies are cute, too.

I was excited to read on my blog roll this morning that I won a skein of yarn in the Socks With Sarah May Challenge contest. I can’t wait to see it, it is a pretty, bright skein, and you know I need more sock yarn!

So, continuing to lay low, I just have one thing on my list today – craft room visit to make a birthday card for one of my beautiful nieces, also my god-daughter. Her birthday is today, and she is getting to be some wicked old! If I haven’t lost track, she is 24 today. but maybe she is 25? I had better go check the book, or not reference age on the card. Don’t want her finding out just how forgetful I am. While I am up there, I might spend a few minutes doing as Crimson Crow requests – sorting the stuff into “like” piles, ahead of our scheduled Clean Sweep day on the 14th. Sadly, there isn’t much room for piles – because there are piles everywhere!

Then, after a nap, I think I will water the flowers on the deck. That should about do it for today.

(PS – I have noticed, on reading through a million and three blog posts this morning, that many of the bloggers I follow have had nasty colds lately. Could it be a computer virus? πŸ™‚ )

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