Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm FINALLY showing up this week

Good morning everyone!  Finally coming up for air and adding a much belated post to my blog.  With starting my new job in May my life became a lot busier.  I have accomplished a lot over 2010.

1) reached my goal weight (and passed it) in July: 155 pounds!
2) Got down to a size 8 pant
3) Fit into a vintage dress from the 50's
4) Managed to keep Nehemiah alive and thriving since his diabetes diagnosis
5) Started a new job working for the state as a Project Specialist
6) Got back on health insurance and got caught up on my female checks, including my first mamogram, and got my teeth cleaned
7) Taught new people how to knit
8) Cut my hair short for the first time in several years
Tim is still looking for work and struggling to stay positive in the slow job market.  I hope that 2011 turns things around for him.

Beginning weight: 194, November 2009

Final weight: 155, May 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

2 weeks early

The growing season is about two weeks early in comparison to last year.  Not surprising considering the insane temps that we had at the end of March.  I took a serious leave of my senses and planted my vegetable garden on the 27th.  In my defense it was in the 70's that day.

I just planted seeds: mesclin, arugula, spinache, beets, peas, onions and cucumbers.  I recognize that planting cucumbers is way early, but if they don't germinate I'll just plant them again in a few weeks, no big deal.  This year I did not need to remove 4 cubic yards of waste and weeds from the bed before I could plant anything.  I simply turned in a half bag of peat moss, raked it level and hoed the rows.  Easy!  There is the ocassional weed sticking up here and there and they are getting dosed with Round Up. 

I put up a nylon trellis screen to help train up the peas and cucumbers.  Hopefully that will work better than the strings I used last year.  I also changed around the layout of the garden so I'm hoping the crops that needed more sun will get it this year. I think I did pretty well using the plat for the first time last year and the changes were minor and easy to do to, hopefully, make this year more successful.  I'll be planting my tomato plants and zucchini after Memorial weekend.  I'll see how my tree trimming will aid the plants to get more sun.

My daffodils in the east garden are already blooming and I plan to bring a nice bunch for Sunday lunch at my parent's.  My plans for the new native garden is mostly done.  I just need to price out the materials and submit everything.  I have until May 1st.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garden Plans

For those who have seen our lot, we have a LOT of grass.  There are a number of lovely trees, bushes, and landscaping around the house, but there is a huge bare spot on the South side of the property. 

Our first summer/ fall in the house I started planning some additions to the landscape.  I specifically wanted to focus on native plants and possibly include a rain garden.  Today I attended a free workshop on adding a native garden run by Blue Thumb.   I'm unsure if the space I am envisioning for my planting space will work for a rain garden, but it will be a lovely native garden, with a focus on plants that attract butterflys.  That should be a special treat for Timmy.  For $25 they will help create a design with me and I can apply for a grant to receive $250, which will hopefully cover the cost of the majority of the project.

I'm planning to get my plants from the Friends School Plant Sale.  They have a lovely Butterfly garden package with 4 each of 12 plants for pretty cheap.  I've picked out a couple more varieties to add in and a couple new bushes for the south side of the house, to replace a couple that died from the hot summer before we moved in. 

My design consultation is the 31st and I have a lot to do to get my plan ready.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wool socks

Just in time for the temps to heat up, oh well.

After a dry spell of knitting I finally got my mojo back and have managed to knit 5 pairs of socks since the beginning of the year.  If I was trying to knit one pair each month, I'd be set until June.

The first pair of socks were for Tim. A nice navy dress sock that he can wear with his navy pants.

Yarn: Knit Picks Essentials in Navy
Pattern: Cable Rib Sock by Erica Alexander

The next two pairs are for me and I used the two skeins that I bought at last year's Shepherd's Harvest.

Yarn: Blackberry Ridge, Color: Blackberry
Pattern: Diagonal Cross Rib by Ann Budd

Yarn: Blackberry Ridge, color: Crocus
Pattern: Waving lace socks by Evelyn A. Clark

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Uptown Boot Socks

Finished another pair of socks, this time for me.

I got the yarn from one of the gals in the my knitting group when we did a swap and it came without ball bands.  I'm pretty sure it's wool, but other than that I got nothing.  I love the texture from the pattern, Uptown Boot Socks from Jennifer Appleby.  I finished the kitchnered toe and quickly cast on another pair, Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks by Ann Budd.  I'm using a skein of sock yarn I bought at Shepherd's Harvest and it looks great.  I'm going to throw caution to the wind and knit another pattern at the same time using the second skein.  Waving lace socks, by Evelyn Clark.  I'm managing to finish a pair in less than 2 weeks so I should have both pairs done before Shepherd's Harvest 2010.  I have some sewing to complete and that will cut into my knitting time.

I'm really getting anxious for the growing season.  I have a lot of my seeds purchased and the warmer temperatures and rain have done a number on the snow drifts.  Sunday I'm prunning the apple trees since the weather should be sunny.  The kitties always enjoy the sun and fight over space in the sunbeams.

 They managed to sit touching each other for an extraordinary length of time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic knitting

I cast on the stockings when the flame was lit and my goal was to have them complete before the flame was extinguished.  I finished the cotton stockings on Thursday, so I'm a bit early for the torch.

I used the 2 weeks of the olympics to keep me on track and get them done.  Once I see the recipient I can hand them over.  I think they look quite nice, but I will have to wait to see how well they fit.

Monday, February 22, 2010


When we moved in last Fall I jokingly asked my parents if they were going to get us a house warming gift.  They asked me what we would want, I said "a dishwasher or a freezer".  The desire for each was pretty neck and neck until I finally had enough of hand washing and found a dishwasher that was a reasonable price at Sears.  Sunday a friend of ours came over to help install it.

We determined that the dishwasher it replaced was original to the house, and boy did it show.  We ended up running new water supply lines and waste lines, which made the whole thing take a lot longer.  We only ended up taking 2 trips to Menards so we did pretty good.  I think it looks great in it's new home and the color is a good match to the cabinets. 

I'm running the first load now and I just LOVE it! 

Yogurt Sucess!

My first home made yogurt!  It has a different texture than the store bought, but it tastes great and I know what is in it!

I used this site to make this batch, but my first attempt was a giant FAIL.  I ended up with milk that faintly smelled like yogurt and not what the recipe promised.  In reading through other sites I discovered that if the author of the first site had simply added a couple of key items, first time yogurt makers would have an easier time.

The first key item is that the milk is being heated to 185 degrees F.  Considering the fact that many crock pots are different and create different temps, including the initial temp is a good idea.  After you reach 185 degrees F you want to unplug your crock pot and let it sit, covered, until you reach a temp of 110 degrees F, you will add your culture at this temp.  Once your culture is added you whisk the contents thoroughly and bundle up the whole thing to let it sit for 8 hours, or overnight. The initial instructions tell you to let your crock pot sit for 3 hours unplugged, assuming that all crock pots will cool at the same rate.  I think mine cooled far quicker and my milk was too cold when I added the culture so nothing happened. 

To not waste my first attempt I placed my initial batch back in my crock pot, placed my meat themometer in it, attached the themometer to my timer to beep when it reached 110 degrees, placed the lid back on and set it to heat up.  Once it reached 110 degress I unplugged it, whisked the milk vigorously (since the culture was already in it), took the insert out of the base, wrapped it in 2 blankets and stuffed the contents in the microwave to sit overnight.  That worked great!  I had lovely yogurt the next morning and I now know what I should be doing so the next time will go a lot better.  I did drain a lot of the whey out using a colander and some paper towels and Timmy and I had fresh yogurt with fruit for breakfast.  Yum!

I used whole milk at I bought at Target, pasturized and homogenized is fine but not ultra-pasturized.  I should get Chris' contact for her raw milk cause that would make lovely yogurt.  I think when I am ready to make this recipe again I will pick up a half gallon of milk from the Co-op and I can just use the yogurt that I made to create more yogurt, just like one would with sour dough.  No idea if I am saving any money yet, but it sure is a fun project.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kitties up walking around

I think we are over the crisis with Nehemiah.  He is adapting to the insulin but he was having issues with getting enough food.  After trying to get him to eat each day for over a week (including the addition of an appetite stimulant) he was eating only half of what he should and loosing weight.  Not good!

I called the vet and suggested he get back on Sub Q fluids and Potassium.  The vet saw him Wednesday and discovered that he was dehydrated and his Potassium was lower than it was when we took him in less than a month ago.  Great....

Funny enough when he got some fluids and potassium he started eating and was back to his relatively normal self.  Gee.  We also added oral Potassium suppliments, 1 pill a day.  He might be on that for the rest of his life, but it has made all the difference in the world and it's a cheap solution. 

Sounds like he is helping himself to some of Lenny's kibble.  Yep, he has certainly turned himself around in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Knitting for friends

I knitted this hat for my friend's baby, Maren.

It's giant, but that will mean that she can wear it for a long time, which is good. 

Her mom has a frog "thing" so this was a great choice.

I made the Gator Mittens for my friend Kendra.  She shared a story with me about losing her much beloved alegator mittens as a child.  Naturally I needed to replace them.  I think she likes them. ;^)

Sewing for friends

When I haven't been keeping Nehemiah alive and working out I've been sewing.

I sewed this gown for my friend Sigrid who will step up as Queen in April. My good friend Tom fought for her and will be King at that time as well. She wanted to wear 14th c. clothing to match him and I got together with her after Christmas to get measurements and shop for fabric.

The black gown is made out of a luscious linen that is just flowy and perfect for layering and wearing during the summer when they will be attending wars.

The gown is fitted and laced up the front and the sleeves are closed with cloth buttons. I'm really pleased with how well it fits and Sigrid, while getting used to how fitted it is, likes it.

To go over the gown I constructed a houpeland out of a cotton brocade that was donated by my friend Eleanor.  The fabric is really elegant and reads well across the room.  I had to piece the ever living crap to get enough fabric to make it look right.  I'm really pleased with it.

Currently I'm altering a gold linen gown to make it fitted and laced up the front instead of the back.  It took me an afternoon to do the bulk of the sewing and I have the lacing cord and lacing holes left. 

I delivered a black and white herringbone overgown at Flesh Wound, which I don't have pictures of yet.  Maybe I can convince her to model it at Bardic Madness.