Monday, February 28, 2011

A River Runs Through It

Dear Mom,
My backyard has a small creek running through it and Bonnie Jo now lives on lakefront property. It would seem that Mother Nature is trying to make up for last year's drought. Let's just hope she makes her corrections and then gives us a beautiful spring and summer filled with sunny days, moderate temps and average rainfall. Is that asking for too much?

Spring cleaning here continues but has escalated to a Whole New Level.

The Plan:
Take the house one room at a time and make it "show- worthy". No, we are not moving and have no plans to do so. However our 20+ years here are starting to show and it is time to tend to the details.
My Hero and I will have Strategy Planning breakfast dates on Saturday mornings to map out that weekend's action, make our lists and then go buy the necessary supplies (if any) that are required to complete our mission.

Last weekend it was the family room. This weekend.......what was formerly known as the Guest/Yarn/Sewing room and before that a toy room and before that an office will soon become the Young Lady's bedroom.

This room swap is going to be a multi- weekend process.
I neglected to take a Before picture, so let's make do with a During, shall we?

Clearing out the yarn, knitting books, furniture, yarn, craft supplies, and purging the closet of all that stuff you hang on to but no longer need, took most of Saturday. We took a huge amount of that stuff we were hanging on to to the Good will. The ceiling has been painted. A wall color has been chosen to coordinate with the new comforters. Next weekend's tasks are pretty much defined. (But I still think My Hero should take me out to breakfast.) The entire upstairs is a crazy mishmash of bits overflow in every room. Everybody has a bed to sleep in and clean clothes, so I'll try not to let the chaos get to me. It will all be worth it in the end.

I did get in some knitting time last week and over the weekend, and last night I completed the gift for a Baby Boy that My Hero asked me to knit. I elected to skip over the baby part of that request and knit a toddler sized sweater- something that will hopefully be grown into and out of and get worn lots more than a baby sweater would have.

This is my Sibling Rivalry....Oh Brother! design. Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted yarn in Envy Heather (forest green) and Basalt Heather (grey). I had fun following my own pattern directions on this one.

Like last week, today is a day for catching up on all the laundry and house stuff that was neglected over the weekend. It is another damp, chilly, gray Monday, and it is hard to get motivated, but it isn't like I'd rather be outside playing in the new creek.


Friday, February 25, 2011


Dear Mom,
My bee hive didn't make it through the winter.  The colony is dead.

I don't know why. 
The bees had plenty of honey and a candy board to eat, so I know they did not die from starvation.
Maybe they were weak, or sick...or too cold and damp.  I feel like I should have done more to winterize the hive.  I'm disappointed.

I am attending Indiana Bee School IX tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to being surrounded by hundreds of other new and experienced beekeepers.  There will be four school sessions with several topics to choose bee health, pesticides, raising queens, gardening for bees, and even apitherapy.  I know I'll come home with renewed confidence and an eagerness to try again!

Love, Bonnie Jo

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Weekend

Dear Mom,
A picture is worth a thousand words and this next one pretty much sums up the weekend here.

The family room has been officially Spring Cleaned. The last bit required a family effort. The toy box, games and movies have all been purged of out-grown and unwanteds. The Goodwill received a healthy donation this weekend.
Unfortunately, giving all that attention to one room (and that room is looking mighty good, I must say) means that the rest of the house is looking rather seedy and I am way behind on laundry. Today is for catching up.

All work and no knitting makes Kim cranky, and without breaks My Hero and I would probably be crippled right now, so we did do more than clean, take trips to the hardware and lighting stores, spackle, paint and stain. I knit my way past the halfway point of my sweater thanks to Season 3 of The Closer. (I just love that show and enjoy every character in it! Thank you MaryLee for introducing me to Deputy Brenda Lee Johnson.)
This sweater is looking like a blob right now, but I am hopeful that it will come together the way it does in my head. It could be that elusive perfect sweater. Or a horrible waste of time and good yarn. We shall know soon. Maybe. I still have that second Polska mitten to start and last week My Hero asked if I could knit a baby gift for a March baby. Just putting all that in writing made me nervous. Gonna go brew another pot of tea and get a move on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Growing Old Gracefully . . . ?

Dear Mom,
Ha ha ha!!  I can't stop giggling!  Those pictures are super fun!  Wow!  I had a different hairstyle in every photo and I wore a LOT of bright lipstick and a LOT of bling-bling!  It looks like I even went through a Boy George phase!
I wonder if I will be giggling in another 20 years?! . . . .

I had a very fun birthday!! My most favorite friends came over to celebrate.  We ate a fabulous dinner together, drank some Naked wine (I thought that since I couldn't wear my "birthday suit", it might still be fun to drink Naked with friends-ha!) and we ate the cake I baked, which I found here.

There were lots of candles which David had to light with a blow torch!!  More giggling!  Ha!

I can't wait to spend my next 44 years with way more giggling, baking, enjoying friends and living with much love and joy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Dear Wendy,
Happy Birthday!
I know you will celebrate in Style!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February's socks are finished!

Dear Mom,
Last night, while watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and hoping that I would see a breed of dog who looked like that was not a Great Dane.....I finished February's socks. And the only Patsy look alike was the Great Dane. Thankfully, Patsy is pint sized compared to that guy.

The socks are wrapped and ready to be gifted. Generic sort of man sized socks, with a 4 x 2 rib around the leg. Trekking sock yarn that is probably vintage by now. I have no idea how long it has been in my stash.

I keep detouring myself from the sweater I am working on- a design of my own that has been simmering for awhile. For some reason the knitting on this has been slow going. Maybe because I sense that no matter how fast I work on it,  the weather will be warm when I finish. Or maybe I am afraid that it will still be sweater weather when I finish. I don't know. But I do want to see if the sweater in my brain lives up to the real deal, and the only way I'll know that is to get the knitting done.

Several days of melting ice and snow means that I can see some patches of lawn and parts of our driveway. The jet stream is bringing in warm air from the gulf and all that adds up to a desire to start Spring Cleaning. Completely overwhelming if I think about all of it, so I've decided to really break it down- a little at a time is better than nothing at all and even if it is 20 minutes here and there I will eventually get the job(s) done.

Patsy has gotten quite a bit of attention on the blog lately, so I am going to close with a picture of the Best in Show at this house.

Bumper Joseph

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Mom,

Happy Valentine's Day


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Confession

Dear Mom,
Way back in JUNE, Michele and I had a little exchange. We traded a pair of handknit socks and an appliqued quilt block.
That quilt block has waited so long to be finished. I was feeling guilty. Because it was so beautiful, I was afraid that I would ruin it. It has taken me this long to work up the courage.
Thursday evening I took a deep breath and turned Michele's applique into a very special pillow.
Michele had very thoughtfully sent along fabric for the backing. I just needed to sew in a zipper, stitch up the other three sides, and insert the pillow form. As with most things, it was the thinking about it that was the hard part. The actual doing it was a breeze. As I said, my fear of ruining it had paralyzed me. But this gift wasn't meant to be folded away and taken out occasionally to be admired. It deserved to be seen and shared and to remind me of the kind, special person who made it for me. It now sits where you see it in that photo- in my knitting nest. Thank you, Michele!

February's socks are ahead of schedule. This is even a man-sized pair!

I've pretty much only knit on these this past week. It would seem that my nasty too-much-winter dispostion has affected my knitting. None of my knitting in progress was appealing, and I mostly knit these socks by default. I couldn't even work up the enthusiasm to start a new project. But now that one sock is done and the second sock started, and the weather forecast is promising mid 30's today, 40's tomorrow and maybe even into the 50's (!!!!!) next week, I feel a glimmer of hope. And I made a second pair of Duffers last night! I'll share them here once they've been felted and finished.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The life of a quilt

Dear Mom,
With a shiny new engagement ring on my finger and the ink still drying on my License to Practice Dental Hygiene in the State of Indiana, I did what all graduates/brides-to-be did in 1982. (NOT). I took a quilting class. At the end of the 4 week class I had a set of placemats- an Ohio Star, a Drunkards Path, an applique and I can't remember what the 4th one was. My goal after the class ended, in fact, the whole reason for taking the class, was to make a queen sized quilt for our bed. For some reason making this quilt was as important to me as picking out china. Go Figure. Good thing ours was a long engagement.  And why I thought I could jump from a 4 week quilt class with 4 placemats under my thimble to a QUEEN sized quilt I have no idea, but it never occurred to me to do it any differently. (There is probably something very psychologically revealing in this, but as Popeye would say- I am what I am.)

Need I say it? The quilt was finished in plenty of time.

The entire thing was hand quilted.

I've never quilted again.

The quilt, probably days after moving in. I want to laugh at the stark white walls of our apartment. And that I decorated (?!) the headboard with a framed picture, candlesticks and a dried flower arrangement. 
And as much as I loved this quilt then and the colors I chose, they are not what I would choose if I were to do it all again today.

Five years later, we were still using the quilt, and letting our dog sleep on it.

I see that my romantic notions of decorating the headboard have been replaced by a book and telephone.And that we still have stark white-ish walls and no artwork.

That quilt lived hard, was the best for napping under, was faded by the sun and wearing out in so many places it was overwhelming to me to think of repairing it. Plus my hand quilting stitches were never that good to begin with and there were sections that looked as if they had never been quilted at all. Eventually the quilt was folded up and stored away in an "I'll just fix that some other day" spot.

I don't know how long ago I decided that using the quilt for another purpose was better than not using it at all, and I will probably spend time in Quilt Purgatory for this, but I cut the quilt apart and made some placemats. Another cut and I made an ironing board cover.

Which brings me to yesterday.

When I purchased my spinning wheel, Daphne Joy, one of the main reasons I chose her was her ability to fold up and travel easily. Ashford makes carrying cases especially for the Ashford Joy wheels, but I would rather spend the $110+ on roving. Still, I felt like Daphne was sort of exposed when I carried her outside without benefit of a cover.

On one of my blog wandering days- don't we all have those?- I stumbled across the Two Kates Bag. I measured Daphne and dug through some fabric scraps, found more quilt parts and voila!~ a Two Kates Bag big enough for Daphne.

Rather than sew the handles together as the pattern instructs, I left them separated and added snaps so I could close the bag inside Daphne's built in handle.

By the way- next time you need a blog wandering day- take a look at Needled- the blog where I found the Two Kates Bag. Kate Davies is an inspiration.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Somebody. Make. It. STOP.

Dear Mom,

I am officially over winter now. Grumpy hibernating bear? That's me.
Everybody might just want to stay away from me until the ice and snow melts and we can see grass. Even pavement or dirt would be welcome.
When the snow plow gets stuck in front of the house.... you know it is time.

Maybe today's belated birthday lunch with a couple of neighbors will snap me out of it, except I am thinking I would like to wear a cute skirt but it won't go with my SNOW BOOTS and I would be endangering my limbs by wearing cute boots to walk outside right now. Knitting is my fragile tether to sanity and if I broke an arm and couldn't knit......oh.....Taking deep breaths to clear that nightmare out of my head.

I did prettify my duffer slippers.

I also made a little progress on February's socks.

Last weekend I did more spinning than knitting. I made more yarn like the yarn I showed you in my last post, so there isn't much point in showing it to you again. Same stuff, just more. Just like the snow.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3

Dear Mom,
We are on our third day of No School thanks to the winter storm. My Hero did go in to work today and the sun is out. Mostly we are managing just fine, but I think I may try to bust outta here this afternoon before I get weird (er).

Being stuck at home is very easy for me. Maybe too easy. I feel my inner recluse gaining power.
Like I said. I better try getting out.

I just don't know if my car will make it back up the driveway when I get home. My neighbor and I have discussed this. She is going for it. We picture a cluster of wrecked cars that have slid back down their respective driveways into the cul-de-sac after being abandoned  by the desperate housewives who left them at the point they could no longer advance. I think I'll wait and see how she does. Or if My Hero can get his car in the garage tonight. See? I am already making excuses with myself to stay home.

Yesterday, I made some pretty yarn.

And last night I finished the first Polska mitten.
Here is a look at the thumb side of the mitten.
See how cleverly Spillyjane matched the thumb to the mitten?
And here is the underside of the thumb.
This is definitely fiddly pay attention knitting, and they are more of a special rather than practical sort of mitten. Not the sort of thing you should try to knit in a hurry. I figure I might be good for one mitten a month, and if I can do that I'll have all the Spillyjane mittens in my queue finished.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surviving the Storm

Dear Mom,
So far, so good. We've never lost power and we've all been home safe and sound throughout the worst of this winter storm. Everything is covered in a thick layer of ice topped with a dusting of snow. Bitter cold temps and high wind are in our forecast this afternoon, so we aren't out of the woods yet.

The thick ice in the street made the hockey players in the family happy, though.
Sooo, the Groundhog predicts an early spring. We are going to need spring temps to get rid of all that ice. Except I think the Groundhog just said that to help us cling to hope and our sanity. It has been a long winter and we deserve an early spring.

I finished another of my scrap yarn linen stitch scarves in the orthodontist's office on Monday. This is a little bit of vintage leftover yarn from an Alice Starmore sweater, a bit left from a Hanne Falkenberg kit and some sock yarn. It thrills me to use up leftover little bits and turn them into something pretty.

I've started the February socks. And can I just say that it was fun sorting through the brown lunch sacks for the one I marked "Feb" and then opening it to find this month's sock yarn? Silly little game to play, but it made me excited about starting this next pair of socks. When there is enough progress to photograph I'll share them here.

After reading about these slippers on Betz White's blog, I stopped everything and made myself a pair. 19 rows. Approximately 1 hour's worth of knitting per foot. Probably a little longer, because heaven knows I'm gonna get interrupted by a teen or a dog. I was able to successfully felt them in my front loader and they've been on my feet ever since. The project page for these on ravelry is full of some very lovely duffers with embroidery and buttons. I have/had every intention of doing that to mine, but that would mean I had to remove them from my feet first. Great stash buster- I can see getting addicted to knitting duffers and prettifying them.
I used some Lopi yarn for the soles and Cascade 220, doubled, for the top.
Time to heat up a bit of soup for lunch. Keep warm.