autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

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  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

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  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

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the next phase

I am fully committed to my porch project, and making a lot of progress. Even though I have a lot more that I want to do, it’s now my favorite spot to hang out. I can eat out there, sit and knit, read, or even take a nap.

I finished two pillows and have a couple more pillow forms waiting for covers. I played with batik again, and again, it was a lot of fun. This time I went bright with pink and orange dye. I originally added the orange to the pink dye bath when I was finished with it, hoping for more of a coral color. Obviously, I should have added less orange for that to happen. I’m fine with the bright tangerine, though.

pillowsI just used a paint brush and beeswax on drop cloth fabric, like last time, but I think if I do this again, I’ll invest in this special tool to see if it gives me a little more control. I just keep calling this sort of imperfect outcome ‘organic,’ to legitimize all the gloppiness of it.

I love the texture of the drop cloth for these pillows, which will be outdoors much of the time. The cushion covers are simply two squares of the dyed fabric with an invisible zipper in the bottom seam, so they’ll be easy to remove and wash.

pink pillow

I know, I need to paint my rocking chair. It’s an old, cheap one from Wal-Mart that Mr. Heylucy surprised me with one day, years and years ago, so I can’t complain. Painting it is on the to-do list, but it’s at the bottom for now.

Completely unrelated to all this, I made a little rosemary wreath after work the other day, just for fun. I have two giant rosemary bushes in serious need of pruning, so I cut enough sprigs for this project. And you can’t even tell, the bushes are still spilling over the walkway. I could probably make a couple dozen wreaths from those monsters.

rosemary wreath

Here’s a quick how-to, in case you want to make one yourself (it’s super easy and fun!): cut lots and lots of rosemary sprigs. Strip the leaves from the bottom few inches, and bunch three or so together and wrap with floral wire (I have a paddle of very thin, green wire, so it’s easy to wrap). Don’t cut your wire. Gather together another bunch, again striping the leaves from the bottom, and overlap the first bunch, wrapping the two bunches together and continuing down the stems of the second bunch. Keep repeating with new bunches until you have a string of rosemary long enough to shape into a circle. Wrap the last bunch to the first bunch. If you have a lot of wire showing, you can just add more sprigs here and there with short bits of wire to cover it up. And that’s it! Hang up your wreath and admire your handiwork, and marvel that it just took a few minutes to make. If it’s a bit wonky, just call it ‘organic.’

And going back to the porch, here’s a gratuitous picture of Pulley, who likes hanging out there as well.

pulley on the porch

 

 

 

 

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pretty things

No ugly things today, only pretty. The bathroom is nearly ready for it’s big debut. I need to find just the right mirror to hang over my little dresser, and a small hamper or basket for dirty clothes. I may also add a shelf, and I do need to finish caulking the baseboards. Oh, and I’d love to find some small, simple artwork. I think I may head to one of my favorite antique shops this weekend for the mirror and whatever other goodies I can find.  Decorating is really never ending, isn’t it? But it’s actually a wonderful space, just as it is right now. I think I’ve had a least one, if not two bubble baths every weekend for the past month. Here’s a pretty bit:
Dresser
I think I may paint this little dresser. I’m just not sure what color yet. I love love love what Victoria did with hers. I could do the same color as my tray, which is really similar to that succulent green she used. I’ll just be thinking about that for awhile, it’s not going to be done anytime soon, I have too many other things to do. Like embroider pillowcases (click for a bigger view):
Bluebirds3
I think I’ll be doing a lot more of these. For those who were asking last time I posted about this little project, I washed it, and I don’t see any of the markings at all, they seemed to have come out quite nicely.
Bluebirds2
The transfer was dark grey, and you could definitely still see it through the pale pink flowers before washing, but not now! Two thumbs up for Patternbee! Floresita has a great site for free vintage embroidery patterns, including these little birds (thanks to the commentors for that info!), as well, but you have to print them out and trace them onto your fabric. I’m too impatient to do that for something this detailed, so I really like the iron-on versions, but I may print up some simpler designs and try it out.

And lastly, I’m doing a little selfish knitting:
Hanami1
I actually have no time for this at all, I have some Christmas gifts to work on, but still, I’m sneaking a few minutes here and there to work a couple of rows. This is the Hanami Stole, from Pink Lemon Twist. I love the beaded cast-on, even though it takes ages longer than any regular cast on. The yarn is from yarnchef, who I cannot recommend highly enough. This colorway is called flourite, and it’s really beautiful. Katy even included the prettiest little stitch marker that matches the yarn. Sadly, my camera didn’t want to take any good macros this morning, so you’ll just have to believe me. It puts my green plastic Clover markers to shame. 

This is my first real lace project, not including the embossed leaves socks or the Misty Garden scarf I’ve made. Those were just small potatoes compared to this. It’s taken me awhile to figure it out, and there may have been a little spat when I was trying to carefully keep count of my stitches, and somebody, who shall remain nameless, walked into the room and started talking to me. The nerve! He completely threw me off and I gave up and started over. I had to unpicked a few rows again a little later (I only had myself to blame that time), and there’s still a little mistake, but I can live with it. Now that I’m a few rows in, I’m getting how the lace pattern works, and there shouldn’t be anymore problems. I hope not, because this stuff is not fun to un-knit!

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luxury

The bathroom is nearly complete. I’m sure everyone around me will be pleased when it’s over, so they don’t have to hear any more about it. This week I managed to install the light fixture, which replaces a Home Depot $6 fixture put there by the previous owners. If you’re wondering how good a $6 fixture could possibly look, I would have to answer, "not very good." I had a before picture on my camera, but I guess the fixture was so bad that the camera decided the memory card should be re-formatted so no one would have to see it. The new one, from Schoolhouse Electric, is much, much better.
Bathlight
I can’t recommend them enough. They were great to do business with, and I love that they let you pick out the fixture and then pick the shade. That way you end up with a really custom, one-of-a-kind light. I thought the prices were really reasonable too, considering the care that goes into all their products. I think they have an interesting story.

Our bathroom isn’t a super fancy master suite spa sort of thing, but it feels so luxurious now. I may still look for a shower door, but I hung a tension rod and curtain, and it’s actually working out okay. There’s so much room now when I shower. Before, there was alway a shower curtain touching something or other, an elbow or a shoulder, but now I can practically put my arms all the way out before I hit a wall or curtain. And no more doing the limbo to wash my hair. The shower head is way, way above my head. Then, of course, there is the hot, bubbly baths I’ve been taking! Heaven!

I’ve still got baseboards to install, a couple towel bars to hang, and paint to touch-up, but when it’s done you better believe I’ll be showing the whole thing off right here!

Another little luxury item I’m working on:
Bluebirds
Embroidered 100% Linen pillowcases. I think these little bluebirds are so sweet. These little iron-on transfers are from Patternbee, another business I highly recommend. This pattern is from the Dream Home set.

Some other luxuries for which I am currently grateful: my trusty iPod that holds all my music, so I can take it with me everywhere; fresh eggs whenever I want them; really good cheese.

What are some of your favorite little luxuries?

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