Off the needles

Last weekend I finished up a project, long-term one, another Estonian lace scarf, and I made a knit/beaded necklace and earrings I have been wanting to try for a long time.  I paid a lot of money for the pattern/kit for the jewelry.  I think I could have figured out the pattern from the picture, but I feel strongly that I should pay the creator of such things (as I want to be paid when I finally get around to publishing something.) Anyway…

They were easy and fast to make, and I think they came out nicely – now that I have paid for the pattern, I will definitely be making more of these going forward – after all, I have lots of lace weight scraps!  And it turns out I have lots of beads as well – from other craft projects and because I can’t resist pretty, shiny things for craft projects. Would it be over the top to create necklaces and earrings to match all the Estonian lace projects I am giving away this Christmas? I think maybe….

This is what the lace looks like fresh off the needles.

Finished another birthday card this weekend as well, and I have two more to make for November birthdays. I’ll try to get photos of those before I mail them!

Right now my knitting project is pretty low-key – worsted weight yarn, a hat of course.  I am making the second one using this “pattern” in my head, if it works out as well as the last one did, I will write it up, because it is a stash buster – lets me use different weights of yarn and still get an end product  that looks great and is warm.  I MIGHT be able to modify it for that pony tail hat I keep thinking about and not making.

I do plan to go upstairs soon and see what I have in the stash for larger projects – I feel like I need more bright wool socks.  Been looking at blogs of amazing knitters, and some of them have wonderful socks.  It’s been a few months since I did my sock binge for the nieces and nephew last winter. Might be time. I also have one more lace scarf in my future, a woman at work who loves my knitting and is good to me deserves a wonderful present. But we will see what i have that excites me when I get into that amazingly organized closet.  🙂

VACATION!

A whole week off from work! Well, of the paid variety, anyway. 🙂 While I do check email once a day, I do not have to go into the office. It is a much-needed break, let me tell you! It actually is more like ten days off, as I also took last Thursday off, and I don’t work on Fridays…

So what have I been up to? Well, last week, nieces B and C and their Mom came up for a flying trip – B had college orientation Thursday. So they arrived Weds. eve, we had supper together, then I took B and L up to the school,and C and I spent the day together. Of course, that included a meeting for work, but then we got some good shopping in at Grasshopper (www.grasshoppershopofellsworth.com) and Rooster Brother (www.roosterbrother.com). We also took in the really cool art at the Courthouse Gallery (www.courthousegallery.com) before heading back up to meet up with B and L and go for some ice cream at Gifford’s(http://giffordsicecream.com). On the whole a great day! B loved orientation, and they bought lots of t-shirts and some text books at the bookstore so she is good to go. They went off to see their dad Thurs eve, then left for home early Friday morning. I am guessing we will have a lot of trips like this over the next 5 years, and I am looking forward to them, and to having B a wee bit closer than CT.

Friday I spent doing laundry, and chopping vegetables for the DEAN donor appreciation dinner, which was Friday evening. Attendance was low, but it was a good event – in a church basement, so relatively cool, until we started running the dishwasher – then ugh! Too steamy.

Saturday, A and her sister S and I went off to see Mom and B, and B’s visiting son J. J and Mom fixed us the most amazing brunch – wow! Eggs Benedict, home-made blueberry muffins – using the good wild Maine blueberries, and fresh fruit, with strawberries from the garden. It was yummy and looked beautiful. After visiting with them, we went shopping at Pen Ventures in Rockport – it is a small paper craft store, with some different things than the big box stores carry. S and I each got some fun things, although very different. I got a few copic markers to try them, and some fancy metallic powders to use with embossing paste. S got some bargain cards and pens.

Sunday it was ridiculously hot and steamy (and it has been ever since!) but I did some more of my pool excavation project – I am determined to have that ground ready and the pool filling before this vacation is over. It seems to be never-ending, this rock extraction. In the afternoon, A’s sister L came over for a short visit – she is off to visit S Korea for a few weeks, with her sons, so we had a few things for her to take to D and A in NY on her way.

Monday – first real day of vacation – woo hoo! I worked on the pool in short bursts, too hot to do much at once. In between, I processed strawberries that A had gotten and de-hulled. They are for jam, but it is too hot to make it now, so we are prepping the berries and freezing them until it cools off, or we run out of jam. It was so stinking hot, I have to say, I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch under the fans, knitting. Finished a silk/mohair beaded scarf that took longer than I expected, but is really pretty, I am glad I took the time to add the beads. I had intended to go to the lake for a swim in the afternoon, but of course, around 3, when I decided to head over, thunderstorms rolled in, so, more time on the couch.

Tuesday was a lot like Monday, except that I did a few errands and made a point of getting to the lake for lunch and a swim. Had an interesting episode at Subway. The young clerk rang my sandwich in at 25 cents higher than the price on the sign. Now 25 cents isn’t much, except that I only had enough cash on me to pay the price on the sign. We had a really ridiculous conversation that included such things as “you will have to take it up with Subway” and an offer to let me have the sandwich for about a dollar less than it cost. I could not seem to get through to her that I wanted to pay for the sandwich, but I wanted to pay the actual price on the menu. Her parting shot to me was that she would give it to me for this price “this time”. I truly almost lost it. Pardon me, but you will give it to me at that price every time, as long as that is the price you advertise! Sure wish there had been a manager there with some customer service skills. I am not sure that she was not the manager…
Wednesday, the 4th – too hot and humid for life! However, we managed to get through it. I started painting the walls in A’s office – remember the last vacation, in April when I spent a week painting the trim? Well, I haven’t touched it since, and she has been very patient, but wants her office back. So I started on the walls, with a lot of help from the curious kittens. It was so muggy that even just running the tape along the top of the baseboard made me perspire. But I got about half the walls done, with their first coat. Today I will do the ceiling (thankfully the same color) and the other two walls. And I will start to work out the logistics of painting the trim around the skylight over the stairs. Note to self: if we ever build another house, put the skylight in the ceiling NEXT to the stairs, not over them. We also did the big grocery shopping for the week, and had our own little cookout – pineapple burgers on the grill. Then we sat in the living room under those fabulous ceiling fans.

Today is more painting, a trip to the dump, more digging, maybe a trip to the lake, although it seems to be a rainy cloudy day. And of course, knitting. I have already knit a hat for the pile, and last night, I picked scraps from the stash for another one – it will be crazy stripes. I have lots of little bits that I want to use up.

Other things I have gotten done this week: Hung sheets to replace the curtains that we took down when we got the kittens. Learned it was a good choice to remove the curtains, the kits LOVE the sheets moving in the breeze, they tumble around them for hours. I also put up my new clothes line – between the two decks, with reels, so I can load it from either deck. This is much more useful than the retractable line that ran across the big deck. So I have done lots of laundry and hung things out to dry. As long as I pay close attention to the clouds, it works well. We have had lots of “pop-up” showers this week, so I have raced the rain a few times. I also got the old metal grille off the fancy floor vent unit that I have moved around for three years now, since Mom moved and I grabbed it out of the barn. I scrubbed off a lot of the paint and rust, and sprayed the rustoleum primer on it, which gave me an idea for a new craft project. The negative space left on the plywood I sprayed it on is so cool that I am going to prep a canvas, then when I spray the final coat on the grille, I will do it on the canvas and make two pieces of art at once. I also dug out that lace shawl that hangs over my head – only one half of a pattern repeat to go before I have to figure out the edge pattern… Maybe I will finish the center rectangle this week too – wouldn’t that be amazing??? Maybe I will take some photos of all of these projects to show you all the stuff I have gotten done this week, too. There is just no way to tell. But if I don’t get off the computer and moving, then nothing will get done.

finished!

A gave me a gift certificate to the bead store in Brewer for Christmas, and I had fun shopping for beads to make a necklace  and earrings.  But then I didn’t ever find time to make it.  But yesterday (instead of napping), I dug out my beading things and made them.  And, I think I have enough beads to make a bracelet to match as well, although my patience ran out.  Hard to bead with a cat on my lap!

I also started my third pair of fingerless mitts yesterday – I am having fun modifying the pattern C shared with me.  The first pair was for Amy, the second was for me, but a woman at work really liked them, so I gave them to her.  Now I am making a pair that I think will be for me.  We will see! (C –  I knit them flat instead of round, and knit two at once, knitting from each end of the ball.  Then, I seam them, leaving a hole for the thumb – that way they are the same length, and I am not fighting the small round thing and all the double-pointed needles.)

C shared the minimalist knitter blog with me some time ago, and I have been following Robyn’s knitting adventures.  One thing she has inspired me to do is REDUCE the stash.  Scary.  So I have sorted out all the yarn, put it in clear totes so I can see what I have, and one of those totes is for bits and pieces and leftovers that I won’t use for me.  Then I made a commitment to myself, that I will knit one thing from the scrap bin for everything I knit from the other bins.  And the scrap bin things are for charity. I was knitting for the Nest Maine project, and I probably will (another blog from C) but the first batch of things I gave to the coats project at work, as they are all out of hats and scarves and need to begin stockpiling for next winter.  Which I don’t even want to think about!  By making these mitts for me, I am sort of cheating, although I did give away the last pair, does that count as charity knitting?  Not sure.  I’ll make two hats from the bin when I finish these.  Those hats come out funny, as I make them stripes with variety of yarns in crazy colors.  So if you see folks on the streets of Maine next winter in wild hand knit hats, blame me.

Lots accomplished over the last couple of days – A and I did ALL the errands this morning so that we don’t have to go out again this weekend, my favorite kind of weekend!  Then we came home and moved the 14 sheets of plywood EBS delivered to the front yard yesterday.  I wore my pedometer for that effort – 3000 plus steps to haul it all around the house and into the cellar – more than a mile!  That’s for A’s creative project – building us a captain’s bed.  She will start cutting the wood tomorrow, maybe.  First, of course, there are a few projects to do in prep.  She wants to build two small tables the same height as the table saw to support the wood as she cuts it.  I am all in favor of that, otherwise, I have to stand there for hours while she cuts.  Kinda boring.  But I am looking forward to the bed being done, so whatever it takes, I will do.

We are also designing our headboard – it will be a work of art! Solid, so we can lean against it, with drawers that pull out of the side instead of bedside tables – so we can slide the clutter away during the day.  And we hope to be able to mount our reading lights right to the headboard, with outlets behind.  Very complicated sounding, I know, but I think it will work… and when all is said and done, it will be very self-contained and clutter free.

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