Friday list on a RAINY DAY

Yippeeeeeee it is raining!

While I had hopes for more melt over the last few days, I did hear dripping all night, and the piles are getting lower (and looking dirtier in the process) so I know it is happening.

Today I am home – no taxes anywhere –

The bug man is coming this morning – quarterly visit to keep us spider free, so I need to get dressed and going earlier than I would otherwise, but that is good.

I will tidy up a bit as mom is coming tomorrow.  She might like to sit down and put a cup of coffee on an actual cleared surface.  🙂

Laundry and the PO of course, as I do each week.

I need to start making my thank you notes for the tax volunteers – not sure what I will make for them this year, but it is time to come up with something.

I want to finish the little orange sweater – the sleeves should be dry, so can be attached, and I can start the crocheted edging and see what buttons I have that will work. I found some really cute ones on Etsy, but am holding off because I likely have plenty upstairs that will work.  🙂

I made the earrings for Mom (well, that she ordered, she won’t wear them) and while they aren’t my favorite colors, they came out well. Only thing is, they came out backwards on the earring wire!  I’ll open it today and flip them around, then get photos and share.

I had extra beads and yarn, so I cast on a necklace which will match the earrings, although Mom doesn’t want it, maybe someone else will some day.  I dug through my beads and findings while I had them out last night – I need to get some gold-colored fasteners for bracelets, it seems!  I have lots of gold silk and only one kind of fastener.  That’s why I selected the necklace I did – I have the right fastener for it.  Sadly, a trip to Bangor and the bead store might be in order – she is having a sale this month…. wish I had known this yesterday when I was in town, but oh well.  I might slip up there today. With a list and cash only.  that should keep me in control.  🙂

There is a puzzle on the dining room table that might suck me in as well. 🙂

It’s a puttering day! My favorite kind.

Thursday at the BPL

Today is not one of my normal tax days, but I was called to help out at the Bangor Public Library today, so I got my act together, (thankfully) packed up the knitting, and headed to the big city, where we actually have to PAY TO PARK!

The server went down as I was finishing up my first client, they will give us an update at 1.  Hopefully, it will be to say they are back online.

So, I sit with my knitting and gaze at the periodical covers, wondering why they don’t have any knitting magazines.  I read the craft and bead ones, there is a crochet one I will look at this afternoon if the system doesn’t come up.  This is a lovely reading room, I never got to enjoy it before.

They asked me to come up the next three Wednesdays to help out, I said I would.  I hope this doesn’t happen each time. I could sit at home and knit and look at magazines.

And park for free.

Bracelet update

I finished blocking the beaded lace cuff, and have the photos to show for it!  A link to my project page is here.

Here it is laid out –

beaded cuff 4

And here are a couple of shots of it on my wrist.  It is a bit big, stretched during blocking.  I think I can block it again and make it a bit smaller.

beaded cuff 5

Here’s a shot of the clasp – buttons made with beads.  they feel a bit tenuous to me, come undone quite easily, so I likely will replace them with larger beads or buttons, and next time I make this, I will use a traditional clasp or larger buttons. the pattern calls for two, I made three to cover the whole width of the cuff, but if I use larger buttons, I will go back to two as called for.

beaded cuff 3

On the whole, I am quite happy with this pattern, as I usually am with Laura Nelkin’s things. the applied beaded I-cord around all edges is fussy to do (especially with silk on size 1 needles), but it is the perfect finishing touch to this project.  I’ll be making more of these.

FIRST WEEKEND OF SPRING

Which you might not be able to tell by the howling wind and snow, but you can certainly tell by the number of basketball games we have watched!

So I have been knitting a lot, too.  I knit a baby sweater this week, while still moving forward on other projects.  This was an experiment – a Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman,  I was thinking of doing an adult sized one with sock scraps, over years, actually, as I am almost out of sock scraps, and don’t really need socks right now… but the instructions and blogs and Ravelry and clerk in the yarn store all said to make a baby one first, so  I did.  I have a surprisingly large quantity of some cotton, so I made it out of that, and think it would be just the thing for a babe fresh from bath or swimming – the cotton fabric is very soft and drapes nicely.  With cotton and garter stitch, this will stretch and grow with the baby.  I just need to locate the right buttons and it will be complete.  Then I guess it will go on Etsy as I know no babies.  🙂  And the adult version in sock yarn may never happen.  I realize that such a beast would require an inordinate number of stitcheds per row.  Not sure if I want to face that!  But I know how, and that it will work.  Pretty amazing that you knit it all in one piece, fold, and stitch shoulder seams to get a sweater!

All knit, just needs end woven in and folding.

surprise unfolded

Folded and sewn, front.  I am thinking some flower shaped buttons, maybe…

surprise folded front

The stripes on the back are quite different, which I find intriguing.  Can’t you just see it in a  million stripes of sock yarn??

surprise folded back

I also got some photos recently of the stereo cuff, finished.  I think you can see the beads sparkling in the sunshine – and you can’t feel the cold, so you can pretend it is spring, right?  🙂

It grows to the full width from a narrower band, which you can see a hint of in the first photo.  I tried to lay it out on the floor to get a picture of the whole, but my inspectors decided that wasn’t a good idea.

stereo cuff done 3

stereo cuff done 5

stereo cuff done 7

They were there within seconds of me putting the bracelet on the floor.  Not sure what the attraction was, but there was no getting a clear shot.

Besides knitting and basketball, we had a nice visit today with A’s sisters and niece and her family.  Niece T has a birthday tomorrow – 45! –  (the generations in A’s family are skewed as A was a “pleasant surprise”) so we brought over a cake and some presents and had a fun visit.  All are ready for this weather to break,  The kids are eager to go outside, and to not go to school until July.  The parents are eager to have fresh air and gardens growing.  Aren’t we all?  Anyway – the cake was an adventure – A’s old family recipe for a custard-whipped cream frosting which I find a challenge, but as it is A’s and T’s favorite, I make it once a year for A’s birthday.  This time I told A it was her turn to make it.  It seems she has never made it!  So we did – it took two tries to get a decent angel food cake, and two tries to get the frosting right, but I think it was delicious.  And I have a month before it is my turn to make it for her.  Good practice.  🙂

More taxes tomorrow, and a grant to wrap up this week.  But good news – they just posted my job!  So things are slowly changing. A thinks I should apply for it, but I am not sure if that is the right thing for me to do.  It is true that what they have posted is my ideal job description.  But not sure I trust them to leave it like that or pay a decent wage.  Still, it is worth a phone call.  I suppose.:-)

SPRING!

Thank God.

Of course, it is still close to zero at night, and we have snow coming this weekend, but what the heck, let’s celebrate with an American rite of spring – income tax!

That’s right, that’s what I will be doing all day, this time up in Bangor.  So no time for fun lists today.  I’ll carry the knitting and hope for a break to work on it.

And I’ll try to do something fun or interesting this weekend to make up or it.

In the pink

When I was a little kid, in the grades, I never, ever wore green, but most especially never, ever on March 17th.  My mother came from a family with a strong Scots/English heritage, and she always put an orange ribbon in my hair for school this day.  I didn’t really understand it all then, but I knew one thing –  I was the only kid in the class who wasn’t Irish and proud of it on March 17th.

Here’s the funny part.  My Dad does have some Irish in his background – along with French, German, and Scots. But my mother was having none of that.  She pointed out that the Scots far outweighed the Irish in her children.  🙂

Then, when I was a teen, my dad married an Irish-American woman who was rightly proud of her family’s heritage.  Suddenly, there was no talk of me owning anything orange on March 17th! I had better get some green hair ribbons. For many years, I wore green AND orange hair ribbons on St Paddy’s Day.

Truthfully?  I don’t look good in green OR orange. So, just to keep the peace and me looking my best, today I am wearing pink. I think pink looks nice with green and orange.  But not both at once.

Tuesday at home

Somehow in my mind I thought when I “just” am doing taxes for work I would have tons of free time and ambition.

Turns out, not so much of either. Our region lost several seasoned volunteers this year, and while we picked up some great new ones, new ones are not in a position to replace seasoned ones.  It takes time to learn all the tricks of tax prep.  So, I have been helping out at different sites around the map, and that has meant not so many free days.

I have endless big project lists, but what I really want to do is sit on the couch and knit, and I have done a lot of that.

Today is technically a free day, although I do have a remote site review with the IRS on the phone today. That’s where they call and run through a  list of questions to make sure we are following the rules.  It’s in place of the old random site visits where they came to see if we were doing everything right.  But since 1.) they have no travel money and 2.) the nearest IRS person is over 2 hours away, we haven’t seen them in a few years.  I guess they think that remote reviews are better than none.  I am not too sure they are effective, unless someone doesn’t know what they are supposed to be doing? Anyway, I have already had one of these this year for one of my sites, so I am not too worried about this one. More of an annoyance than anything else, on what should be a free day!

This morning I am washing the comforter cover – a not unusual thing, but it is for an unusual reason.  This morning, I got up early with A, and while she showered, I went and got a cup of coffee, then climbed back into bed.  I have a huge pile of pillows right now, because I have a cold, and it is easier to sleep propped up.  So, I snuggled into my pillows with coffee in hand, and the pillows started wriggling under me. Coffee, of course spilled as I sat up, quite startled.  Not, though, as startled as Zumba was to first get squished in her soft hidey hole, and then, as she bolted from it, to have coffee dumped on her.  Luckily I use a lot of cream, so it wasn’t hot. It was not the quiet relaxing start to the day either of us anticipated!

Other things I will do today include heading to the PO to mail off an Etsy order!  Woot hoot!  (Thanks very much, WoodGranny, I know who you are, and appreciate the sale.)

Also the library, as I have more than a few books, some of which I fear are overdue… not reading as much as I thought I would this month.  And maybe 8 books was a bit over zealous…

And a quick grocery trip for odds and ends.

Then home, where I hope to make a few cards for Etsy.  I sold both of the ones I made last week – and so want to put a few more up to take their place.

Block my most recently finished bracelet, and take photos of both bracelets for you to see.  One came out really fine, if I do say so myself, the other I will have to see after it is blocked.  I don’t feel like I did a perfect job on the trim.  But I know now how I will do it next time – a bit differently than the pattern says, because it was hard to keep track of what I was doing. If you ever do attached beaded I cord on size 1 needles with slippery silk, let me know, I will tell you my tip. 🙂

It is likely that I will work on the sleeves to the baby sweater which are moving along nicely, the blue linen stitch scarf – which, although feeling endless, does show some modest results from my forcing myself to work on it some each day (thank you Knitting Sarah for teaching this to me!) and I might knit up the earrings that are the reason I went to the bead store last week.  They don’t take too long to do.

Please notice that no where on this plan do you see things like

clean the house

paint the guest room

paint the laundry and mud room

make curtains for laundry and mudroom

paint the loft

build porch swing

clean and rearrange the living room

Those are the sort of things I thought I would be doing this winter, but they will just have to wait until spring. The real spring.  Not the meteorological one that started weeks ago, nor the astrological one that starts this week, but the real one that starts when the snow is gone, the mud is drying out, and things are growing.  You know, the one that comes in July. (I know I said I wouldn’t talk about the weather, but really!  It just keeps snowing! There are warm days in between, which is fabulous, but I wish it would STOP.)

Oh, a PS for you birders.  This newbie identified a new bird at the feeder this week – the white-breasted nuthatch.  As I have not seen him before, I have to assume that we are getting new birds around now – almost like it is spring?

Another casualty of the bad winter, or my trip to the bead shop

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to head up to the bead shop in Bangor after I finished taxes.

I did, and got there at 4:45 to see a big sign on the door about “new hours” as a result of “survey results”. The shop is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Sunday, never before ten, never after four.  Clearly they did not survey working people for these new hours, but OK.  So this morning when we got up I convinced A that she needed to drive me to Bangor. It involved letting her go to Lowe’s for some wooden flooring things she wants, and Millers for some long underwear, and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  All stops I could live with, as I have knitting.  🙂

We went to DD first, that way she could relax in the car while I ran into the bead store to choose 2 tubes of beads.  I needed 16 size 6 beads and 100 size 8 beads that coordinate with each other and look good with the harvest/antique gold silk Mom chose for these earrings.  I thought it would take a few minutes to find some that looked good with the silk, and each other, AND were available in both sizes.  Essentially a quick trip, in and out.

This store is a locally owned shop, very unique , which is, of course, why I like it.  First thing you do when you arrive is give treats to the 4 dogs who won’t let you in unless you do.  Very friendly, but under foot.  Then, I headed right over to the seed bead wall.  While I was scoping things out, the (somewhat excessively) chatty shop owner told me that they soon will be closing the physical shop.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

It has been a horribly slow winter, she only had 2 people shopping yesterday.  She will try to stay open until June, then will “take it on the road” and just do “shows” whatever the heck that means.  I am so bummed, because the quality of her things is miles above what is available in the big box stores.  Her seed beads are uniform in size and color, and there are NEVER any sharp edges or plugged holes. Naturally, I asked her for the brand name so I can find them after she is gone (and she shared!  Miyuki), but there is nothing like shopping in person, seeing what things really look like.

It also turns out she was offering a 20% discount on purchases this month.

I think you know what happened.

beth's earrings

What I came for:  called “forest mix”, the beads have a touch of gold glimmer in greens with a few that are bluer or oranger in nature.  They look great with the gold silk. I looked at rustier beads, thinking a soft matte finish might be nice, but she didn’t have both sizes, so I went with the green.

peach beads

Restocking some old favorites – the soft peach shimmer is hard (for me) to photograph, but trust me, they look really wonderful on cream silk, like these earrings. I was glad she had these on hand, she is often out of one or the other.

black and gold beads

Matte black and clear with gold lining – two that I use a lot when making the Rippled necklace in all sorts of colors.

Last – an unplanned purchase – sort of.  I have had this yarn in my stash for a while, but it slowly is moving up – it will be some sort of beaded lace shawl thing.

silky alpaca

I haven’t figured out the pattern, so had not worried about beads.  But then I saw these, and  I think the shimmer of pale lavender and gold. will work. What do you think? I just hope I have enough beads for whatever I finally decide, because there is no guarantee I will be able to get more. But I am clever, I can mix them with a coordinating color.  If I can find one.

blush beads

No local bead store. This is very sad. I know I don’t buy enough to keep anyone in business. but I do 95% of my bead purchases at locally owned shops. I am sure she wishes it was 95% of a larger number.  I can only do what I can.

Now, my nearest shop is in Augusta, which is more than an hour away. I guess I will check out the online sources, but I will really miss being able to see everything and put colors together and try different things that I never would think of if I didn’t see them in person.

Another Friday the 13th?

Friday this week is another tax day.  I am helping out in a site I don’t usually work at, in Hampden.  I expect it will be all day, BUT on the off-chance I get out early, I will bring the list of materials I need at the bead store in Bangor.  🙂

That’s right, need.  Mom ordered some earrings,  I have the silk but not the right beads.  So, I just need to pick up a couple of tubes. ROTFL.  It’s true, it really is and I will try to restrain myself from getting anything not on that list.

If I don’t get them tomorrow, I will do so on Saturday – another tax day in the Bangor area, that is supposed to get done earlier. Of course, it may be “snow/mixed precip”-ing by then, but I hope not.

Not a very exciting Friday list, I know, but it is tax season after all.  It will all be over soon.

A light bulb went off…

I have an unexpected day at home today so am fiddling about, knitting, painting, printing, gluing. I finished knitting a quick project, a Stereo Cuff by Laura Nelkin, and made another birthday card that I can’t show you yet.  And I made a thank you note for the Ravelry angel who sent me the yarn – her gift arrived (thanks for all of your ideas, by the way – you got me thinking until I came up with the final thing), and so I want to get card and gift sent off to her. I have no idea if she reads this blog, so I can’t show you either of those yet, either.

stereo cuff 3 11a

BUT…

While I was messing about, it occurred to me that I could combine the knitting and the card making. No, I won’t knit cards, exactly… but since I am working harder to photograph my knitting, I think I can make cards that feature photos of my knits. The first one is this one – featuring the Estonian lace I recently finished.  Such a simple idea – I made a few sets and put them up on Etsy, we will see how they do.  And I will try even HARDER to get good photos of my knitting. Who knows, maybe this is how I make my fortune. 🙂  And what an excuse to keep knitting with a variety of yarns and patterns?

knit cards

I also took some new photos of existing hats – I finally invested 6 bucks and got a Styrofoam head.  It is a little small, but will work for most of my hats, and so I can upgrade my listings.

Now, to go sit and knit and watch TV.  I think I have been productive enough for one day off.  🙂