last weekend in review

I think I have lots of last Friday’s list left for this weekend… but some things got done, and some fun was had.

I did get my eyes checked and ordered new lenses for my glasses. I also ordered a single vision pair, with the reading prescription – a new necessity for me. I have always been able to read without my glasses, but one eye is getting bad enough that it has become impossible. And with progressive lenses, it is tough to read lying down. So, special bedtime reading glasses. I feel sort of old…

I did a little work on the pool prep, I am thinking I may not finish it. Ever. I may rethink my process and just buy sand to put down. Hate to do that, we have so much sandy gravel here, everywhere we look.

I did get the shrub planted, and a few small plants, but still no potatoes. I might not get a big harvest this year if I don’t get cracking.

No cards made yet, but I don’t need those until Saturday, so I have time, right?

I did manage to finish altering and putting together the new cart from IKEA. It is a light turquoise color. It wasn’t bad, but there was too much of it, so I sprayed the framework a teal color, in a satin finish. It tones down all the high gloss brightness. The cart had to be thoroughly inspected of course, and now resides beside the sofa with all manner of knitting things in its three levels. Coffee table now actually has room for a dish or a glass or a laptop, simply amazing.

ikea cart

ikea cart cat scan 2

ikea cart cat scan 1

Sunday, Mom and I took step-brother J to Monhegan for the day. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a good time. Except for the part of the hike where the easy path merged with the difficult path. That was a short rough patch, but Mom and I survived it, although we were then hot and sweaty and maybe a little cranky. 🙂 Ice cream and a rest fixed that, and we enjoyed the sunshine on the island that for me has usually provided plenty of rain. It was tough to get up the next day for work, but I wasn’t as sore as I had expected – I just wanted more days off!

monhegan june 2014

Last thing to update you on is sock knitting – pair number 15 is cruising along. This is the yarn I won in the Socks With Sarah giveaway in May – “under the mistletoe” is the name of the color. It is bright and cheery, and is knitting up very differently than I expected! I think I will use the Hermione sock stitch pattern on the leg to break up the stripes a bit. I love the colors, these socks are going to make some winter days more cheerful, without a doubt.

sws #15 yarn

sws #15

That’s about it – done a bit of scarf knitting and square crocheting, but not much progress to show on that front.

See you Friday with a rainy day list!

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. 🙂

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.

Weekend Update

bird feeder and squirrel
The view from the couch – not that I spent a lot of time on the couch this weekend – yea! When I cleaned out the bird feeder the other day, I dumped the old seed out on the railing, thinking the mourning doves would like that. Don’t know if they do or not, but this fellow joined the chickadees. He spent some time trying to break into the suet and the feeder (unsuccessfully), but finally went with the low hanging fruit.
meanwhile, Zumba
Meanwhile, Zumba kept a close watch on him. Not sure what she would have done if I let her out, but I suspect he would have survived.

… Yesterday was planned to be a typical Saturday with some chores, some crafts, some Olympics. But a call in the morning from our dear friend B (aka Crimson Crow) changed that, and we met her for a late breakfast at the Riverside Cafe in Ellsworth, then she came over for a visit, to see what’s new here and play some games. It is always good to see her. And as she follows this blog, she and A were teasing me about it, and why I think anyone cares what I do each day. I am not sure why you all do, but I am glad you do! But as promised, B, you are featured here again. And you didn’t even have to rescue me from a dead snake.

Knitting progress –

The light still wasn’t great Friday, but it was on my list, so I took some photos. Zumba helped, as you can see. Here is the vest in progress, and the completed pair 3 of Socks with Sarah. Pair number 4 is in progress, but I frogged what I did last week, and redid it in a smaller size. The yarn, Cascade Heritage, was a lot looser than the Tosh Sock. I am quite happy with the new size now, and have made good progress, just turned the first sock heel. Only 48 stitches in a row – they fly!

lopi vest

sws #3 complete with Zumba

Today I spent some time up in the craft room with Allie and blue paint while A vacuumed (we all have our chores, hee hee hee). I am playing with a tray I want to do in a mosaic tile/sea glass. I keep changing my mind about it, so mostly I just keep painting it. 🙂

I also am thinking about a few more of the collage pieces like I did this summer with niece C. I like how mine came out, and I wonder if they would make nice gifts? I need a housewarming gift for my brother this spring, and so am toying with what that would look like. Also, spring birthday season is nearly upon us, so I need to make a pile of birthday cards.

Last chore up there was to start the clearing/cleaning/organizing. I made a tiny bit of progress today – got the last of the Christmas card rubble cleaned up. 🙂 I know it will be slow progress, because it is overwhelming, and I don’t have systems in place for everything, which is why it looks like it does. I need to really see what is there and create the organizational systems to deal with it. But as I clean, I get distracted, because I find things I want to work on.

Friday list

Today is a good mix of things, I think. Mom is coming over this afternoon for an overnight. We don’t live horribly far apart (a little over an hour) but it seems like we have not seen each other in a long time. Our monthly knitting gatherings with my sister have not happened in a long time. So, I asked her if she would, and she said yes and we picked a Friday, and it is finally here!

She is just getting over a nasty cold (but wants to come anyway) so we will sit and knit and visit this afternoon, and then tomorrow we will head up to Bangor to Bangor City Forest for a walk (unless it is pouring) and maybe some shopping and lunch, we haven’t decided on that yet. She wants to be heading home in time for supper Saturday, which works out well, I think, so A feels like she gets some of her weekend in a normal way.

It has been a crazy week with moving out for a few days, and I have SO MUCH work to do at work, it scares me that I might not meet all my deadlines. So I will probably work on Sunday. Bleh.

But back to Friday list –

A trip to town for the post office and groceries is in order.
Have to clean the guest bathroom up so it is appealing!

Need flowers for Mom’s room – thankfully, we haven’t had a frost so I have lots of cosmos to choose from, as well as a few other random wild flowers around.

Clear off the dining room table. Embarrassing to admit, but if we are going to actually sit and eat there, we should be able to see the top, right?

Rearrange the furniture so that it is not so TV-centric for a few days. 🙂

Find the recipe I saw in Better Homes and Gardens magazine recently for pork chops with maple syrup and apples… Mmm. Mom is trying a new eating regime – no grain! but she said she can eat this. A won’t eat pork chops, so I am glad to have someone to cook it for.

I already changed out the lightbulbs in the fixture over the table – I got a couple of LED bulbs at Lowe’s last time we went – on sale – and they are dimmable, which I LOVE. I should have gotten three of course, as I didn’t know how I would like them, or that they would be heavier than regular bulbs. So the light lists a bit, but next time I go there, I will get several more (hoping they are still on sale) because I LOVE them! They are so much brighter than what was there, and they dim nicely when we don’t want bright. Like them much better than CF bulbs, and as much as incandescents. So I will work at swapping them all out going forward. Slowly, as bulbs burn out and need replacing. I love that they use almost no electricity, and last 20 years. Our CFs that we put in when we moved here 5 years ago are starting to burn out, so the new technology timing is perfect. Now if I find they make them for the lights in the ceiling fans, I will climb that 12 foot step-ladder to replace those dim things gladly.

That’s it – off to do some chores so we can sit and knit all afternoon!

Back in the saddle

Well, I am back at work, putting in crazy hours to make up for the time off. Isn’t that always the way?

Monday, A and I drove to CT to deliver C back to her mom – it was a decent enough drive, although I sure do hate giving her back. We (at least I, and I think, she) had a really nice week, in spite of all the interruptions to our time together. On the way home, we stopped at Rockler in South Portland, and A got a few router bits she has been wanting to try. I think she will be back at work in the basement, after taking the summer off. This can only be good news if you are a book that has been in a box for more than 7 years…

Tuesday I leaped back into the fire – all day meeting in Machias, listening to DR Donna Beegle speak on generational poverty, its characteristics, how to combat it, how to communicate with people who are living it. She is an unbelievably good speaker, very eloquent at relaying her own life experiences in a way that is useful, not self serving. If you EVER get a chance to attend one of her sessions, grab at it. But going to Machias after spending all day Monday in a car was rough on me. Being in a meeting was great for the hat bag though – I made two and a half hats! Working with worsted weight sure is a nice change after the lace weight purple thing. 🙂

That reminds me – C and I dyed some yarn before she left. I didn’t get the blue and white socks done in time for us to dye the leftovers, but I found a skein of wool that we died using tropical punch. It came out quite pretty, I think. I’ll make something warm and cheerful with it, and post it.

I did finish he socks on the way home from CT, so I dyed the remaining yarn Monday. Kind of like one of the old ads – I was able to dye yarn while at a meeting two hours away! Love the crock pot method.

Anyhow… I thought I would use purple and green, and that it would cover the white, and blend with the blue. So first, I filled the crock with enough purple to go about halfway up the cake. My plan was then to flip it, fill it half way with green, and see what happened. Well, what happened was that the yarn, when wet, collapsed, so I had more purple than I thought. I went ahead and flipped it and did the green anyway, but where I thought I would have a break between purple and green, I didn’t, so I have a bit of brown on the yarn, unintended. 🙂 And the blue is pretty much gone, except a few places. BUT I like the green, and will do green and blue and yellow again someday, just leave out the purple! Not sure what I will make with it, as it now matches nothing I own, so the fingerless mitts I had in mind aren’t worth the effort. Maybe a scarf for the bag of give-aways….

So now I have cast on a new thing, which I can’t talk about because if it comes out well, it will be the prize for the 100 followers giveaway. I’ll know soon how it is coming along. It is a pleasure making it, I have to say, the pattern flies along, but looks complicated. 🙂 Don’t worry, I will post photos after I ship it out.

So – as one of A’s co-workers likes to say, “today is my Friday” meaning the last day of my work week. Glad to have gotten through it, it has been a long week. Friday list will come along soon, don’t get too excited. 🙂

What I have been up to…

We have been BUSY!

It absolutely poured for the whole picnic yesterday – luckily we had a pavilion to hang out under, we played silly games and a group of us played some card games. C made friends with the only other person her age there, R, the daughter of one of my favorite coworkers. The picnic broke up after lunch, and I took the girls “on the town” to TJ Maxx, Family Dollar and Reny’s where we wrapped up the last of C’s school shopping (book bag and flip-flops) and R started hers. The girls are getting the same book bag so they can be all matchy matchy in different states. R had to go to work, so we swung by her house, got her uniform, said hi again to her sister, mom, and aunt, and then took her to work, where we all got ice cream. Still pouring rain, so C and I came home. No mini-golf.

Today we worked on finishing up birthday cards for tomorrow, our collage art projects, we dyed some yarn using tropical punch KoolAid, and I did the CAL rows. C and A also made jam (three batches) for C to bring home with her, and I made popovers for us. Twice, as I burned the first batch. Also made mac and cheese for tomorrow, and by that time, I was getting cranky. I think the burned popovers put me over the edge. I am TIRED!

Tomorrow we fix up the green salad, put the last of the packages to gether, load the car and get out of here by 10. C wants to play a game of cards before we go, so I have to get up early. That means I should go to bed right now.

I’m going, I’m going.

I’ll post the CAL info in the next day or two…

Second sock is coming along between things – foot and heel are done, there only remains the leg to finish before it goes in the dye pot.

What we do here in Maine in the summer

Or, how I spent my summer vacation.

This is not about knitting, or crocheting, or sewing, or any other fiber arts.

No, it’s about license plates.

Yep. tags, I think some people call them.

In Maine, we are blessed to have beautiful seashore, wilderness, lakes, mountains, a couple of fun cities, really good food, artists galore, boating, fishing, hiking, hunting. You name it, we’ve got it.

And, 9 months of the year, we have it to ourselves.

Then the sun comes out (sometimes everywhere else but here) and the world flocks to visit us. After all, Maine is Vacationland!

Traffic becomes a nightmare by our standards. There is only one thing to do – play the license plate game. So, every Memorial Day (last Monday in may) we start keeping track of the plates we spot. Our goal is to see all 50 US states plus Washington DC before Labor Day. We have never failed yet.

This year, we had 49 states and DC by the 4th of July!!! Unheard of. All we needed was… are you ready for this? No, not Alaska. Not Hawaii… we needed Arkansas. Yep. It’s a tough one to spot as it closely resembles Massachusetts, and we have a dearth of those! So we kept looking and looking and watching the other tough ones sail by – North Dakota… Montana…. Idaho already counted…but no Arkansas!

Finally, last week in Ellsworth, I spotted it while I sat at the light waiting my turn to turn left. Aaround the corner came a nice little Subaru wagon with kayaks on top and the great state of Arkansas plate leading the way.

Hurrah, complete!

So what did we do? We started again Saturday. And we got 34 of the 51 out of the way! Still do need Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, and of course, Arkansas. I wonder when that little Subaru will be heading out of town again?

Do we play this game with the Canadian Provinces? No, I am afraid not. We thought about it once, as we see lots of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec plates, but we realized that while we occasionally see British Columbia and a rare Manitoba, we have NEVER seen Saskatchewan or Newfoundland or Labrador, and why set ourselves up to fail? We do pay attention to our close neighbors to the north, and maybe would start the game up if we saw, say two of those in one summer, but for now we stick to our domestic product. And we do give a shout out to those military families who take their time getting rid of their Hawaii plates when they get transferred stateside. We appreciate you making it easier on us! 🙂

last free weekend for a long time to come

This weekend I did not have to work (much) and so got to do some fun things. Next weekend I have to work – the fifth annual Maine Farmers Market Convention at Point Lookout, in Northport Maine. It will be fun, but work. Then tax season begins, with lots of Fridays to work, and the occasional Saturday as well. So this weekend is a treasure.

What did I do with my treasure? Well, Friday was a knitting day in Portland, with mom and sister C. Cousin A was able to come up from Massachusetts, so it was extra special. We had a nice afternoon of knitting, eating, and chatting. We waited until C picked E up from school, so we could visit with her. That was fun, she was pretty wound up but basically well-behaved. She showed us the castle she has – her dad the architect made it out of a big cardboard box, and it is really cool, with windows and skylights, that she fits through, so she can stand up in her castle. It was very cute.

Anyway, it was a good afternoon. On the way there, Mom and I stopped in Bath at Halcyon Yarn, and that was wonderful, of course. I had a gift certificate, and my yarn stash money. So I was able to get enough Lamb’s Pride Bulky to make a sweater I saw in Vogue Knitting last month, and some yarn for socks, and some Addi turbo needles – one for the sweater and a set of lace turbo needles for all the Estonian lace I can’t stop making… I’ll let you know how I like them. They are nice and slippery, that is for sure.

I managed to spend almost every cent I had, but did NOT go over budget. I think I got home with 15 cents. Not bad. 🙂

Saturday we had to go to Bangor to get the car serviced, so that was an opportunity to use the gift card to JoAnn. (they FINALLY sent me a new one after my online ordering fiasco. I will be sticking to the store only from now on.) A went with me, which is usually not good, but this time, it was. We managed to find some fabric she likes to make her curtains for her office – I am glad she was there, I never in a million years would have chosen what she did! It was on sale, so we got that. I’ll get the liner and thread, etc some other time, she had no more patience for that store. I also got a bunch of Spectrum Noir pens – I have been wanting Copics, but they are impossible to find in Bangor, and they are what JoAnn messed up with so royally in my online order, so I thought I would try these. They sure are cheaper than the others, plus I had lots of coupons for 50% off items. We managed to spend about $50 cash in that trip, but it wasn’t ALL for me. 🙂 And if I don’t like the markers, at least it wasn’t a huge amount of money.

We also stopped at the jewelers’ to see if they could fix my slow watch. It isn’t the battery, so they of course can fix it, but it is $20 just to see what’s wrong. Grrr. I am pretty sure it will be cheaper to buy a new watch, and I hate that, as it seems so wasteful. But we will see, maybe they can clean it and all will be well.

Then the big grocery store. Not a good plan on a Saturday mid-day, but we survived it and stuck pretty close to our list. Once we got home, there were lots of chores to do, even though we had totally cleaned the house THursday night, we still had beds to make in preparation for a visit from our DEAN’S LIST college freshman, returning for her second semester at Husson University. Also, I made her some cookies to take up with her. A did chores up in her closet renovation project, and then we chilled in front of the TV – lots of shows to clean out of the DVR – good winter evening activity.

Sunday was so WARM! I went off to the Farmers Market in Ellsworth, at the Woodlawn, and watched the sledding on the hill for a while. We had a work family event – sledding on the hill, but no one came. That is the second such event, with the same results, discouraging. I did see a friend of mine there, and so chatted with him for a while. Got the ingredients for a good beef stew at the market, then came home. I worked on figuring out the Vogue sweater pattern, and A baked lasagna for supper. L and B arrived around 6:30 – long drive up from CT, so we didn’t have a long visit – supper and a bit of chat before bed. The end of the weekend – so fast! But I feel rested and relaxed and like I had a break. Ready for the week ahead? No quite sure, time will tell. It is a cold one, and a busy one, we will see how I do.

Quiet Sunday

Friday night was game night – late night (for me!) I got home around 10:30.  A left around 7:30, so she had a normal night.  It is fun to play games with the people at her job, I think, but she has a short attention span for it.  So I go, and she stays for a while.  Luckily, because of the logistics of playing after work, we have two vehicles there. but we played two games that were quick, and that she liked – one was Zombie Dice, and I can’t recall the name of the other one.

Saturday I was exhausted – not sure why, I wasn’t out that late!  But it felt almost like I was coming down with something.  Time will tell.  I did a little work on my reports Saturday – very frustrating, because none of the files would open, so I had to run to the office to load them from the server onto a thumb drive.  Came back, they opened just fine, no thumb drive needed.  Ugh.

We went to Brewer to have “lupper” with A’s sisters at Kosta’s – it was yummy, and I will be having leftovers for supper tonight. Then we went to Lowe’s – made ourselves walk every aisle, as we had not really exercised in a few days.  It is a n expensive way to exercise, as there are many many things we want from there.  L went with us – she had never been inside a Lowe’s before – only in the garden center.  We could not believe it, as it has been a huge part of our lives for 4-5 years now! She was amazed at all they had, but probably won’t go there often, as she rents from a landlord who takes pretty good care of her place. I got some craft supplies (which others might think of as building supplies) and some Christmas decorations – yes they are out already! and some magazines.  We also got a birthday present for little niece E who will be 6 next week.  And a bunch of other stuff. A got some router bits to use on the last of the trim on the bed.  She said she “needed” them.  As I often “need” things like yarn, I could not argue.

Today we are still low energy – but we had to get ready for a visit from Sandy – brought in the lighter porch furniture, put the trash barrel up on the porch, that kind of thing.  We don’t expect a big hit, but it seems the forecast calls for three days of heavy rain and high wind.  So, we will make sure nothing we own can go blowing around, and hope that the trees stay put. We are high enough that flooding from the astronomically high tides and rain should not bother us – although, if it is really bad and timed right (wrong?), we will have to stay home, as the road has a low place near the marsh/river.  Now that would be sad, given how much I have to get done next week.

Book group has already postponed our meeting. I will be glad to not have to drive in the storm after dark, although I like going to the group.  I wonder if we will move our annual meeting?

So.  Did a chore (or two) and wrote a blog post, so I now I get to go watch a show and do some knitting.  Life is good. As long as we do the opposite of Scarlett O’Hara – don’t even think about tomorrow – at Tara or anywhere else.  Just focus on today, a pretty warm autumn Sunday.

Friday afternoon

It is a blustery day, clear but chilly in the wind.  A good day for “do a chore, read a chapter”  or watch a show.  The kittens enjoy the part where I sit still for a while.  Allie is once again supervising the chores. So, she is exhausted again.

I think I have everything done that needs to be done for the visit – beds are made, bathroom is clean, towels are out.  Meat for crock pot stew is thawed,  I will chop the veggies tomorrow night. Shopping is done, table is cleared and even has a cloth and a center piece of gourds and pumpkins.  It is sort of amazing.  Also, about 50 loads of laundry are washed, dried, folded and put away.  AND I am sitting with a rerun of Numb3rs on and a kitten by my shoulders…Zumba, who is loving the fact that the sheets are off the furniture.  Allie is in her basket – she is very happy that the blankets in it are fresh from the dryer – sounds really wonderful, doesn’t it? Pellet stove (all clean!) will go on a few minutes (next ad, maybe?) so then it will be really warm and cozy here for people, too.

I also knit a few pattern repeats on my latest lace scarf – I’m halfway through it.  I think I will need more yarn though.  the safest thing would be to call the store and have them ship it, but what fun is that?  Maybe I will swing through Rockland on Sunday and see if they are open, and pick up a skein… or two.  🙂

I finished felting the hat – it came out fine for a kid – lots warmer than it was when I started, but smaller than I thought it would be. Nice and soft, though.  I think I will continue working on this to perfect it – just knit giant hats, then boil them for a while, put them in an ice bath, then through the washer and dryer, and voila!  thick warm felt. A new thing to master. There is alway something.

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