Thursday, April 5, 2012

A new apron for me!

A new apron this week - a "clothespin" apron, so named because of it's entire front being essentially one big pocket to carry them in.  Or instead of clothespins - for instance - legos.  Or cheerios... or metal screws and guitar picks... lone socks, children's underwear, lollipop wrappers, bits of string, oddly shaped discarded crayon ends, basically any of the miscellaneous what-nots I find laying on the ground while I'm cleaning up.   It is an extremely useful pocket, it turns out!

I followed this free pattern over at the Seasoned Homemaker.  I love free patterns!  And the fabric is called "Chick Chick" by Nancy Mims for Robert Kaufman.   I'm not sure it gets much better than polka dots AND chickens at the same time.

And now - I'll be enjoying the weekend at home, cooking a ham dinner, hiding eggs, making some Easter lollipops with my new candy molds, reading, knitting, walking, and playing with the boys...  It's going to be a great weekend I think!  Enjoy yours...  See you Monday!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post: Creative Friday

My sister Corinne is here with a guest post this morning!


From Pallet... to Pretty!

Hello Green Mittens readers! 
I’m writing to you from the heart of Amish Country Pennsylvania, where I live with my newlywed (not Amish) husband in our newly bought (old) house.  After the purchase of said house, my husband and I quickly found ourselves with a new hobby- fixing up used furniture.  (aka: not spending money on new furniture!)
We’ve been schnauzing around the used furniture stores for about a year now, trying to find the cheapest items with the most promise.  (My husband just informed me that schnauzing is not a real word, but I assured him, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, it most definitely is.  Definition: to “snout” or to browse around a store with the intention of finding the best bargains)
Our most recent project, however, was not one of these thrifty finds.  It was even better because it was free!  It’s our new headboard, which we fashioned from a couple of old pallets, some plywood, and a wee bit of leftover paint. 
I shouldn’t say that it was completely free.  First, as you'll notice in the pictures, I rely heavily on the handiwork of my handsome husband, and the materials that he has available to him at work (ie: pallets and plywood).  And second, I bought the reading lamps at IKEA for $14.99 a piece.  I couldn’t resist the thought of pulling on a little string right above my head when I was ready to go to sleep.  Ultimate laziness, but so worth it!
Here are some pictures of the process from pallet to pretty:

And here’s something I actually did find while schnauzing around the used furniture store!  I covered the seat cushion with the best fabric ever… a lovely mélange of pink and purple hearts, ribbons, and of course- skulls!  

Thanks to my sister for inviting me here for a visit to Green Mittens world.  Happy schnauzing everyone!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On Bananas...

He wants to eat them right after I buy them.
When they are still green.
I tell him - "No - not ready"
He shouts in protest.
I say "Fine - eat it - you'll see..."

He eats a bite,
spits it out on the table and walks away.
I purse my lips, and breathe.
I pick up the banana and begin cutting slices of it onto my cereal.


The next day...
He asks for a banana.
I say "OK" - and I give him one.
"It's mushy"
"What do you mean it's mushy?  It's perfect!  Eat it!"
"Nope, mushy"

He spits it out on the table and walks away.
I growl,
I mumble something to myself about crazy children and perfect bananas,
and I eat the leftovers...


10 minutes later....

He enters the room and asks for a banana.
My eyes widen in disbelief.
I say "No way! No sir!
I just gave you a banana and you spit it out."
He pleads for a banana.
 "Please mama!  Please!"

I close my eyes, a silent prayer to the universe for patience.
I open my eyes.

I hand him a banana.

It has a small, brown spot.
He immediately rejects it.
I tell him "Give me the banana
and I will cut off the brown part"

He is skeptical but he hands it over.
I cut off the offending brown-ness.
I inspect the remainder of the banana thoroughly
for anymore brown spots.
I hand it back to him.
He looks it over, and walks off with it,
apparently satisfied.


A few minutes later...
I go outside to check on him.
He is playing on the swingset.
I look down.

a completely untouched banana lying in the grass beside
the swing...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Z is for Zigzag... another Hat...

Last week I knit a hat for myself that was claimed by my son before I could even finish weaving in the ends.

So I decided to knit another one.  For myself.

The "Z is for Zigzag" Hat.

Pattern below for your knitting enjoyment...

Yarn  = 1 main color (MC) and 2 contrasting colors (CC1, and CC2) of sport weight yarn.
Needle = 3.5 mm circular needle of preferred length (mine is 40" - I knit in the round using Magic Loop)
Gauge =  27 stitches and 32 rows = 4" square in zigzag pattern.
Size = me (adult, med/large)


SSK = slip, slip, knit slipped stitches together

K2tog = knit 2 together

M1 = make one stitch

SK2P = slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over

K3tog = knit 3 together

ZigZag Pattern (multiple of 12 stitches)

Round 1:   K1, M1, K3, SSK, K2tog, K3, M1, K1 (repeat across round)
Round 2:  Knit all stitches


Using Main Color, cast on 120 stitches, (or other multiple of 12 stitches to achieve your desired fit).

Join for working in the round, and work for 1 inch in 1x1 ribbing.

Body of Hat:

Switch to Contrast Color #1, and work Rounds 1 and 2 in Zig Zag Pattern.

Continue in Zig Zag Pattern for 6.5" (or desired length) changing colors as you go as follows:
                  work 4 rows CC#1
                  work 2 rows MC
                  work 4 rows CC#2
                  work 2 rows MC

Begin Decreases for Crown: (Ideally - Start your decreases with the first row after a switch to a Contrast Color)

1st decrease

Round 1 = *K1, M1, K2, SK2P, K3tog, K2, M1, K1*,  repeat between * * across round. (100 Stitches)
Round 2 = Knit all stitches
Round 3 = *K1, M1, K2, SSK, K2tog, K2, M1, K1*, repeat between * * across round.
Round 4 = Knit all stitches

2nd decrease

Round 1 = *K1, M1, K1, SK2P, K3tog, K1, M1, K1*, repeat between * * across round. (80 stitches)
Round 2 = knit all stitches
Round 3 = *K1, M1, K1, SSK, K2tog, K1, M1, K1*, repeat between * * across round.
Round 4 = knit all stitches

3rd decrease

Round 1 = *K1, M1, SK2P, K3tog, M1, K1*, repeat between * * across round (60 stitches)
Round 2 = Knit all stitches
Round 3 = *K1, M1, SSK, K2tog, M1, K1*, repeat between * * across round
Round 4 = Knit all stitches

Final decrease rounds

Round 1 = *K1, SSK, K2tog, K1*, repeat between * * across round (40 stitches)
Round 2 =  knit all stitches
Round 3 = *SSK, K2tog*, repeat across round (20 stitches)
Round 4 = knit all stitches
Round 5 = K2tog across round.  (10 stitches remain)

Break yarn and pull end through remaining 10 stitches.

Weave in ends.

Hide hat from your children (if applicable).

If you end up making this hat, or if you find any errors in the pattern, or have any questions, please let me know!


Reading: This week I finished my book club book for the month, which was Child 44.  Very good, but not at all the "feel good" book of the year!  Depressing.  So now I'm reading something "fun" - Catching Fire.

I'm sure to finish that quickly, so I'm looking for suggestions for my next read.  Something happy would be great, as my last 3 or 4 reads have been real downers...

Posted along with Ginny at Small Things.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maple Monday...

This was our first year collecting sap (Thank you Andy!!)...  

it started here...

and it ended here... (many many hours later)

I am so pleased by such a simple thing as breakfast... Mike's home made bread, dipped in the eggs from our chickens, fried up and topped with our own maple syrup.

Ahhh... This is what it's all about.

Thank you sweet trees!

Friday, March 9, 2012

this moment

A special moment I want to pause and remember... posted along with other moments over at Soulemama

Thursday, March 8, 2012

in the sewing room

I thought today was a good day for a sewing update.

First off, the quilt is finally finished.

It's my second completed quilt top, and the first quilt that I quilted by myself on my machine.  I am pretty amazed that I ended up with a pattern of fairly "straight-ish" lines.  This time I used the machine to sew on the binding too, instead of sewing the binding on by hand (I'm not as happy with the end result, but time constraints made it necessary.)  The backing is a flowered sheet I used to have on my bed as a kid... I can't believe how nice the sheet is given how old it is... my mother takes good care of her sheets!   She was nice enough to let me make off with a bunch of old sheets from her linen closet during our last visit.  The rest of them I have stowed away for future projects... And the fabric for the quilt front was a gift...
I think the birthday boy is pretty happy with it.  and I'm pretty happy to check that off of my to-do list finally. Some things stay on that list for a very long time!!

And now, of course, it's time to fill the list back up again.

Here are some things catching my eye tonight...

I LOVE this bag by Betz White:  To see the pattern details here...

and for that matter, I LOVE her new fabric line: Stitch.  If I was going to buy fabric, I would be buying some from her new line... it is lovely!  But I'm not buying fabric (I have to keep repeating that line to myself) so I'll be using something from my stash for this project...

Unless I do buy the fabric, and if I do, then, I'll be using something from Stitch :)


And also, there is this cuteness...
which you can buy here if you want to make one too...

and lastly, 

I am imagining a skirt or maybe just a new apron in this fun fabric:

Notice how the center of the circles is chickens standing on eggs?!  I love that!!

And then, the last thing I wanted to do was show you my new benches in the craft room.

Previously they were electronics work benches, now being utilized as a cutting and sewing table.
And there is a shelf running along the bottom of each for storing stuff.  

So now I have room to sew and cut, which is essential.  Still not sure where the ironing board is going to go now.  I'm thinking I'll hang it on the wall somewhere, but since I need it frequently it would probably be better to just have it somewhere accessible where it can stay all the time... 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a Hoot, a Hat...

I have always wished to spot an owl around here... but so far, I've had no luck.  So I guess I've started collecting some of my own in the meantime.
First there was this guy...

And then I started knitting this...

That one belongs to the designer Kate Davies, isn't it lovely?  (I hope I'm not doing something bad by using her photo here... I fear I am... Please click on her photo and be directed to her great blog Needled for pattern  info)

Now - here's mine...

 Some day... some day it will be done.  That day will not be anytime soon if I continue knitting it at the completely-disinterested-rate of abut 3 - 4 rows a month...   I don't know - knitting a sweater is something of a commitment that I guess I just can't put my whole heart into right now.

So in the interests of having an owl-craving "instantly" gratified... I made this instead.

It took one day.

That is so much faster.  I can handle that kind of commitment right now :)

One day.  And one happy boy who claimed it before it was even off of the needles, and proudly wore it immediately thereafter...   You know how I love it when they wear my wool!  Very gratifying!

Of course, I made it for myself, because that's what I do... and I'm hoping to wear it every now and then, but the weather's so mild right now having one hat for two people has not been much of a problem.

I will tell you though that I was happy when I tried it on because it is the first hat in the last 10 or so I've made that have fit me perfectly... not too big, not too small.  And it's a lovely soft alpaca, that just feels so nice and squishy... and a dark grey that makes my eyes look dark gray when I wear it...

So he better watch out... because now that I'm thinking it over, I sort of want that hat back.

What am I saying???  It only took me a day... I guess I could just make another one!!

                                                            ***  Reading ***

This week I'm reading Child 44 along with my book club.  I'm half-way through, and really enjoying it... My friend, who finished the book over the weekend, says she was not expecting the turn it took at the end, so now I'm really excited to crawl into bed and read again tonight... When I'm done, I'll be starting book 2 of the Hunger Games...

And to my surprise, the first edition of Taproot magazine came unexpectedly to my mailbox this week - so I've been reading that in bits and pieces, and getting excited about planning this year's garden adventure.  Maybe this year my tomatoes will finally do well and the skunk won't kill all of my pumpkins... each year I get a little bit better at this gardening thing.

What are you reading?

                                          *** Posted along with Ginny at Small Things ***
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