Where I’m at

You can find my guest post, Balance,  at the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild blog today. I know most of my readers aren’t in Minneapolis, but I think that no matter where you’re at it’s a great blog to follow. Lots of great tips and tricks!

 

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Have you been thinking of your crafting year in review? Usually I take a look back at the year, and then ahead at my goals for 2013. I do have some things for the future in mind, but funny, I don’t feel as if I have much to say about what I did/made in 2012. This year was an odd one and my mind was often elsewhere.  So perhaps I’ll think on it a few days. In the meantime, I’m going to finish up my Christmas knitting, as my brother was this year’s winner of “Who will get a gift still on the needles?”

 

And I will wish you all al Happy New Year today, as I know the next few days will be a busy one! See you in 2013!!

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Right now I am….

Enjoying…

  • The 10 inches of snow we received in Minneapolis this weekend.
  • Watching my neighbors get their snow legs back .(People! Little taps folks. Never rev your tires as you will most   certainly get stuck and need to recruit people to push you out.)
  • The four people I saw biking in the city this morning, including the Skeptic and Spinner. My man obviously enjoys a challenge.
  • My parents, who officially reached full retired parent status today by calling me to give me the road report in Burnsville. They crack me up and I am lucky to have them. 🙂

 

 

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Decorating and celebrating….

  • Our free range Christmas tree, which looks a cross between A Charlie Brown tree and something you might see in a hundred year old Christmas scene. This tree has soul and I love it!
  • We are using The Truth is in The Tinsel for Advent this year and we really enjoy the simplicity and ease of the projects.
  • We are also trying a Jesse Tree this year. I love the ornaments and the message that come with this PDF.
  • By the time I am on my third kid I should know better than to leave a four year old alone with glitter.

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Knitting….

  • Christmas gifts that I wish I could share with you
  • Too many Christmas gifts. Not sure I will make it this year!
  • Baby girl items because I have a brand new beautiful niece who is one week old today!

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Puffing Along

I am Yarning Along again today. I miss seeing what knitters are doing on their blogs, there just isn’t as much these days, so I always enjoy Wednesdays.

So it’s December. Am I gift knitting? Yes, but barely. I have yarn wound and patterns picked out and what I am realizing is a busy knitting schedule for the next few weeks. But I am distracted by two things.

First of all, the Hexipuff. I can’t stop making them. It’s like having a bag of BBQ potato chips next to me, I just can’t stay away.  And I am listening to A Game Of Thrones while I knit them. I dont’ need to follow the pattern anymore so I can just knit and listen.

I don’t believe I will do an entire quilt, but I think I will be making chair cushions out of them instead. And perhaps a pillow or two. Only trouble is I thought I would be using up stash, but much of my sock yarn just doesn’t look great together, or else I started getting sick of it. So I ended up buying  a bunch of mini skeins and begging for scraps in my knitting group. So far so good though, I have a decent variety now and can easily do a few chair cushions.

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My other distraction is way better than a pile of hexipuffs. I have a niece! A beautiful, 6lb teeny-tiny niece (compliments of my younger brother and his amazing wife 🙂  This family has been heavy on the boys genes…..not only do we have our three boys but I have four more nephews on the Skeptic’s side of the family and one sweet older niece, so it is good to have a little more girl balance in this family. Plus, my brother  lives a mere five minutes from our house, so it is exciting for the boys to have a cousin right in town.  So I have lots of girly knitting  and sewing to show you, but I need to put on a few more buttons and weave in some loose ends.

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Piles…..

Slowly, very slowly, I am working through piles of stuff.

Yarn…

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Fabric…

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Quilts….

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And for those of you who always feel that every blogger has a clean house, the pile on my buffet….Image

 

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Autumn

The return of autumn means the return to blogging, not that I ever think to announce an official break.  Summer is fun, but tough, and heat makes my family a cranky mess. By the time August rolls ’round we’re all ready for school to begin, but I also I head back to the classroom 20 hours a week. It’s not until the air turns crisp and we have a few weeks of school under our belts that I feel a bit normal, a bit more able to focus on anything for more than ten minutes, able to breathe….

We welcomed Autumn on the North Shore. Image(That would be the arrowhead on the western shores of Lake Superior, for you non Minnesotans…) We camped at Gooseberry Falls and in our typical fashion, arrived in the dark and in the rain. As usual, we plowed on through and awoke to the most beautiful site…Lake Superior in all her glory. I’m not just saying this because it’s local to me, but Lake Superior is pure and absolute magic. Everyone should see it. The other Great Lakes are gorgeous. I adore the ocean. But there is something about this lake….maybe it’s the cold, or the fact that it is so beautiful and so dangerous at the same time. Maybe it’s the rocks rather than sandy beaches. Every time I am there, I feel like there is nothing amiss in my world. 

ImageImageImageImageImageAnd for all my sewing/knitting/dyeing/baking/build-your-own-boat (yes, boat!) readers who need an even better excuse to visit this place: North House Folk School

 

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Yarn Along

I always enjoy the weekly Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny of Small Things, but I never seem to get my act together in time to put one up. Today I finally remembered!

Not that my knitting is that exciting, more on the practical side. However, I’ve been dragging it around to the beach, swim lessons, the kiddie pool, and baseball practice. That means it needs to be able to take a little sand and chlorine, and yes dirt. And despite their practical nature, I’m really in love with this stack of dishcloths I’ve piled up the last few weeks.

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The book, if you can see it on my Nook, is The Sign of Four, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve always been a Masterpiece Mystery fan, and the latest Sherlock Holmes series has been fabulous. So I decided to dive in and read the actual stories and downloaded the entire works of Conan Doyle, all 1755 pages of them! I’m not sure I’ll read them all at once, I have a few other books in mind as well. But they make an very entertaining summer read!

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My Friend Goo!!*

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We are in the middle of a goop obsession here. If you have kids, I’m sure they brought a blob of this stuff home with a recipe from science at some point in their lives.

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Basically, you make a 50/50 mix of glue (good glue does make a difference, we us Elmer’s) and water. We use about a 1 Tbls. of each. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir well. Then, mix a cup of water with 1 t. of Borax. Add one tsp. of the borax/water mixture into the glue/water mixture at a time and watch it turn into a fun slimy glob! You may need to add a few tsp. of the water/borax mixture to get it to firm up enough. Stir fast!

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The more you play with it, the firmer it will become. The boys will play with it for hours. Their favorite trick is to see how far they can let it hang down from the top staircase. It’s gotten amazingly long.

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My only warnings with this stuff:

1. Make a different color for each kid. If they are like mine, they will try to add their brother’s goo to theirs when he is not looking!

2. This stuff is an enemy of fabric. (I’ve thrown out a pair of underwear after they decided to sit on it to flattern it out). If it does get stuck on fabric, scrub it out with a brush, don’t throw it in the washer. If it goes through the washer and dryer you’ll end of with a permanent hard glob.

3. No matter how much they beg, always wait until you have had at least one cup of coffee before you agree to make some. I’ve been talked into doing this at 6:30 in the morning before and always regret it. Plus my coffee gets cold.

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On the fiber front, are you ready for this? SPINNING!!

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I have been sucked in by the Tour de Fleece bug again, and decided to finally try spinning up mohair locks. What I’ve decided so far is I really hate mohair locks. This yarn is a MESS and I’m hoping that by plying it with silk thread it might be passable.

 

Any tricks? I tried spinning it along with some plain merino top, but it is not looking like the cute curly mohair that I that I was looking for.

*If you are Sonic Youth fan, you can thank me for planting that song in your head all day!!

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Whip Up guest post….

Hello readers! If you didn’t get a chance already, catch me over at Whip Up this weekend. Kathreen has a lovely series on creativity going right now,  and I was lucky enough to be invited to participate. It’s been a very inspiring month, so check it out!

I’d also like to say a big welcome to any new friends stopping by! Nice to have you as a guest!

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A little something…..

I have finally come up with a summer calendar that actually works for us! (Pics of that to some soon….). Thursday I have designated as “project day.” While we will  be doing lots of “projects” this summer, I wanted to set aside some time each week to try something that might take up the entire afternoon. So yesterday we tackled our first project! Using Issue Seven of Alphabet Glue as inspiration, we made mini books and pouches to go with them.

To make the books, we cut paper to three inch squares using an exacto knife and my cutting mat. The boys made covers for each book, and then we sewed them together on the sewing machine. (I use a regular size 90 needle for that, then keep it separate marked “paper” for use again.) Once the binding is sewn on, we cuts strips of duct tape from the super cool duct tape sheets we found at JoAnns last week. Place the tape over the sewn binding and suddenly you have some very official looking little books!*

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(Yes, the title of this book is indeed “Dead Knight.” Can’t wait to see the story of that one!)

Next, we hit the sewing machine. I wanted to keep this very simple, so we basically sewed together two rectangles, added a velcro closure inside and sewed on some twill tape for a handle. We marked their names on the handles in permanent marker as to not mix up.

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Next, it was writing time! Knittykid says we should make a hundred books. Math Boy outright refused to join us, saying he absolutely hated making books and preferred to stay up in his room reading what is apparently a hilarious kids’ series called Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie. I’m trying to find projects everyone loves, but with a 3, 6, and 9 year old that’s just not always gonna happen. Next week we need to find something goopy and scientific, I think!

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What big kids’ project have you done lately?

*Loving the shots of my very ugly dining room table? The downside is, it’s butt ugly. The upside is that the boys can do whatever they want on it, and I could care less if it gets covered in glitter and glue. Hmmm….that might actually be an improvement!

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Summer’s here….

And we’re off! What a start to the summer. We’ve already crammed in a night of camping, a lot of gardening, and I’m starting to uncover the floors in all the boys’ bedrooms. (Seriously, the floors were just GONE and a piles of toys and laundry in their place). We always have this rough transition when I’m still teaching and The Skeptic has a massive amount of very large shows to put together. So May turns into “trash the house and eat junk” month and then I spend June getting us back to normal.

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So what’s happening? We had a great Father’s Day in which I reminded myself that I can’t do everything, gave up on making a gift and took the boys to Target to buy a belt. We did use very fun form “All About My Dad” from All for the Boys to fill out, and the boys also used some old artwork to wrap the belt. The funniest  was that they decided Dad is 6 feet, 21 inches tall. And The Skeptic is really only 5’8″.
The rest of his gift was a day to work on and FINISH a project. He designed and built two trellises for our hops vines. They still need to be put in the ground, which is why this one looks way to tall yet, but you get the idea.
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We also have early morning art projects….(much to my chagrin, as helping with this at 6:30 was not my favorite way to wake up)

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Lastly, today’s excitement is a rain garden installation! We received a grant from Metro Blooms, which mean the plants and installation are FREE. Love free plants and the folks who plant them. This is the current site, plants to be put in later today.

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