Friday, September 29, 2006

Squirrel. Nuts. Zipper.

Or squirrel, acorn, hole.

We have two big oak trees in our backyard. These trees play host to many adorable squirrels, always chasing each other up and down the tree trunks. Recently, the acorns have been dropping. If you listen, you can hear them thump the ground when they fall. Today, I have been watching the cutest squirrel behavior. One squirrel has been gathering acorns and burying them. It sniffs around with its tiny squirrel nose, all over the ground. It picks up an acorn, very quickly nibbles it and stashes it in its mouth. Then, with its teensy paws, it digs a little hole. If it doesn't like one spot, it steps over a little bit and chooses another. It digs a little hole then sticks its face in and twitches, presumably to spit the acorn in. Then it pushes all the dirt back into the hole and pats it over and over until there's no trace of any digging. So cute!

How do the squirrels find the acorns when they want to dig them back up? Do they sniff them out? Do they bury so many that they're likely to find one wherever they dig? Funny. I guess I need to do some squirrel research.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finished and finished.

No, none of the house stuff is done. Those potential buyers looked at it AGAIN yesterday. That makes three times, bringing different relatives through each time. Come on, people! The first time they looked at it, they even talked up the guy across the street, asking all kinds of questions about the neighborhood and schools, etc. We really want to sell the house for obvious reasons, but a secondary reason is that the house across the street is going on the market next month when aforementioned guy gets remarried and moves into another house. His house is smaller, but I'm pretty sure it will be cheaper, and he lives alone, so it will probably show better. Do you know how hard it is to keep the house looking sparkly with four kids and a non-neatness-oriented husband?

So, here's a couple things I did finish. These are M's socks on her feet. She loves them. I used Knitpicks Simple Stripes socks yarn for these.

And here is the baby blanket. It's so cute, I want to find a baby somewhere and just wrap them up in it. But, I suppose I'll store it away and wait until my new niece or nephew is born. My son was very kind and tried it out for me to make sure it was soft and warm and comfy. It passed the test.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Feeling Unfinished . . .

I am feeling really unfinished lately. Our house is half-packed. Our house is half-sold. Our new house is half-bought. And I have a pile of half-done jobs and projects around here. I am not one of those crafters who loves to just do lots of things and doesn't care if they are ever done. Yes, I love the process, but I love for things to be finished!

My crafting life is something that I can control. On those days when the kids have undone most of what you have done and your life seems to be succumbing to entropy, it's reassuring to do 10 stitches and know that when you wake up in the morning they will still be done.

So, I decided I have to finish something. I cannot force our buyers to finish writing their contract, already. (Come on, people!) And I cannot pack anything else without having to unpack it and use it. ("Oh, honey. I know you need your toothbrush, but I just wanted to finish packing.") And after years of hoping beyond hope, I cannot make the dirty laundry stop regenerating itself as I wash it, nor the dishes. So, I am finishing the green crocheted blanket. I finished crocheting the squares last night and sewed them together. Today I started the borders and by the time I go to bed tonight, it will be done.

I think I will give it to my brother and his almost-wife for their new baby, when it gets closer to baby time (March). I will use the yarn I bought to make them a different blanket for something else, probably a throw for our new house. I can't bear the thought of starting another something new, when I know I will be starting (and hopefully quickly finishing) a large cross-stitch piece for their wedding next month. (They've been working up to it for years, and now they decide to just do it less than a month ahead of time. :p )

I'll take a picture when it's done. Maybe in the next couple days things will start feeling more finished?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Houses, again, briefly!

We made an offer on the house we want over the weekend, contingent on our house selling. It was accepted! It's not the house I went on and on about last month. It's about the same age, but a little smaller and in much better shape, with a backyard.

Today, someone who looked at our house over the weekend is coming back for a second look. They talked to the guy across the street for 15 minutes when they looked at it before, telling him how much they liked it and asking about the neighborhood and schools. Send your best house-selling vibes! I feel like these are our buyers. (Please?)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Socktoberfest is coming!

I signed up for Socktoberfest! Knitted socks are the greatest! Here's a sample of the latest and greatest around here.

Today, I'm wearing my rpm socks. I knitted them sometime within the last month or two and I love them. They're made of knitpicks Simple Stripes sock yarn. And they match my green sweater I'm wearing today perfectly. It was finally cool enough this morning to wear socks!

I finished these Snicket Socks yesterday. They're for my oldest daughter. She thought they were a little scratchy, so she swished them in some conditioner last night. Then she was disgusted by the odor of wet sheep. I assured her that the smell would go away when they dried. She hopes they still smell like her mango conditioner when they dry. She wanted to wear them today, but they're still not dry. :p Tomorrow, I guess!

Already on the needles are some regular stockinette socks made with more simple stripes, for my second daughter. And I have Arrr-gyles ready to go for my husband. I'm sure I'll have to make some socks for the other two kids, too. The youngest daughter has requested some rpm socks, just like mine. I think I have enough yarn leftover to make some for her teeny feet. And I bet when my son sees the arrgyles, he'll want some, too. :p

My jumpstart on Socktoberfest is going well so far! And if we're moving in October, socks are good to do a few rows in between other things. ;)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WIP Wednesday

I'm sure it surprises you that I have several works-in-progress in my handwork life. I'm not nearly as WIP (or UFO) heavy as many crafters I know, but I do my part. I've discovered that if I have too many of one craft going at a time, I get annoyed that there are so many and that things don't get finished fast enough. But, I do like to keep a little variety. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are all my WsIP. (Besides, it's been ages since I took WIP pix, so you get them all at once. Shocking, I know.)

First, crocheting. I started this baby blanket as something simple to work on using mostly my right arm, when my left arm was hurting from too much home improvement. (Ok, the volume of knitting may have had something to do with it, too. But I'm blaming the home improvement.) It has no baby in mind, but I'm sure someone will pop one out who would love it. ;)

It needs three more columns of squares and the borders and it will be done. Since no baby is waiting on it, I just work on it when it sounds fun. If a baby becomes imminent, I could finish it in a couple evenings.

Next up is a combo knit and crochet piece. The center square is knitted; crocheted granny squares form the border. This is a mini version of a baby blanket I made for my cousin's daughter last year. She loves it so much, they requested a little one for her to snuggle with when the big one is too bulky, and for her to use with her baby dolls as she grows.

Those granny squares need another round, but my oldest daughter "borrowed" the yarn a while back and now she can't find it. I'm going to have to tear her room apart. I seriously hope it isn't packed. The other half of the squares start with the missing color in the middle, so this whole blanket is currently stalled.

Now for the knitting! I'm making a sweater for my husband. It's a zip-up cardigan from the summer 2006 Interweave Knits. I'm using Main Line yarn from knitpicks in Blueberry.

That's the back. Boring, eh? It will look great on him, but it's not so interesting to knit. Good for when I don't want to concentrate, though. I'm nearing the shaping for the armhole, so no worries. lol.

Here's a sock I started yesterday. My oldest daughter and I were both sick. Sitting around sick requires knitting, of course, but I didn't want to work on the boring sweater. With some great sock patterns in both the latest MagKnits and the latest Knitty, I decided it was time to make her a new pair of socks since she outgrew her other pair, and I stole them. She better not outgrow these too fast or think they're itchy, because they'll be too long for me. (I do know how to rip back a toe and re-knit, but I digress . . . ) She chose this yarn by Lane Cervinia from the stash and the Snicket pattern from Magknits. I'm ready to knit the heel.

I love the way the yarn is flashing.

Last, but not least, cross-stitch. My poor stitching has been so neglected since the knitting started en force a year ago. But I still squeeze it in here and there. I still love it, but the knitting is so much more portable most of the time, and so practical.

Joy is my oldest bit of unfinished stash. I actually bought this little kit when we lived in our apartment. We've lived in our house for 6 years. I just started stitching it sometime this year, though. Only a simple border left, then I can frame it before Christmas. It's a standard size, so it won't join the 20 odd-sized finished pieces in my buffet. Heh.

Angel of the Sea is designed by Marilyn-Leavitt Imblum. I've only finished the inset on her skirt. There's a lot more to go. The most interesting thing about this picture is the hand-dyed fabric I'm using. I bought it ages ago from a company that no longer exists, but isn't it pretty?

I stitch in-hand (no hoops or frames) and then roll up my pieces when I'm not working on them, so they tend to get wrinkled. It always comes out when I wash and press the finished piece. So, deal with the lines. lol.

Finally, Altengamme by Wiehenburg Samplers. This is a huge medallion sampler. I'm using Needle Necessities overdyed floss and DMC, one over two on 40 ct linen. The medallion at the bottom left of this picture is right in the center of the whole sampler.

This concludes our tour of Lara's WsIP. Please remain seated and keep all hands in the vehicle until it reaches a full and complete stop. Thank you, and please come again!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Air show

We took the family to the air show at the local Air Force base yesterday. The Thunderbirds did a show, and it was absolutely amazing. The way they fly is spectacular. Such precision! So artful! My husband took a lot of pictures. None of them can even get close to portraying how truly awesome it was.

See? Oh, you don't see them there? OK.

How's this?

Yes, I'm pretty sure that's one of them.

Oh, wait, here they are. Well, almost. They're fast, you know.

Here's a couple of good ones. While in formation, they do turns and spins. They did several passes with one jet coming from each side over the runway, then spinning to avoid each other as they passed. They'd do a pass with one jet right side up and the other upside down.

Now, I know the Thunderbirds are a special group, but I believe the men and women of our military are truly amazing, in their skills, their dedication, and their heart. Let's remember them as we remember the heroes of today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tough, are ye?

My pirate name is:

Iron Mary Read

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Even through many pirates have a reputation for not being the brightest souls on earth, you defy the sterotypes. You've got taste and education. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Oh, and keep those swords, I mean, fingers crossed. Another showing tomorrow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Houses, houses, houses.

I'm trying to look at houses on my realtor's website. None of the pictures will show up. Pictures are showing up on other sites, so I'm pretty sure it's a problem on his end. Ugh, it's annoying! doesn't have all the pictures that his site does. I want to look at houses sunday, and how will I know which listings we want to look at if we can't preview them online?

This whole house selling/buying/moving thing is such a pain-in-the-ass. We thought about scrapping it for now since the school issues have been resolved for this year, but that's really not going to work. First, we'd have to unpack half the stuff we packed because, while it's a little pinch to live without it for a short time, it gets much pinchier in the longterm. Second, our kids are so crammed in their bedrooms right now. My 11 year old daughter tries to change her clothes in her closet right now. Her closet with no light. My 9 year old daughter is sharing a room with her 6 year old brother. And girls are already getting "mature" by the time they're 9. My 5 year old daughter says she doesn't have a room. She just sleeps in her bed in E's room. They really need more space and privacy. We're on this road, we're going to keep going!

We haven't heard anything from those people who looked at our house for so long (a second time) a week ago. Hmph.