Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What did you do on your summer vacation? (picture heavy post)

My DH spent his this way.

The boat's transom (the back of the boat, where the motor is attached) used to look like this.

After 2 days of horrible, hot, sticky, itchy back and knee breaking work, it looked like this.

The "facilities"

The "toys"

The plan? To fix all of these (holes in the liner of the boat)


And to fill the entire empty transom area (you are actually looking at the back of the inside of the boat)

with 2-3 layers of plywood fit snugly into place like a jigsaw puzzle. A very important jigsaw puzzle, since the motor hangs on this area of the boat. It's a heavy motor. I don't like it when the boat becomes a swimming pool, so it (the transom) has to stay on.

Once the plywood pieces are cut, the next step is to coat them with epoxy to seal them (waterproof) and attach to the rest of the boat. That will have to come after DH works the next 10 days in a row. Yup! His vacation is over and he's back to work. Now doesn't that sound like a fun vacation? 

Crooked Cupcakes

I decided that for DHs birthday, I would make an extra effort and bake from scratch. I always use mixes. The 2 times in the past that I baked from scratch, no one liked what I baked. This time, though, I was a) more experienced and b) would read and pay attention to the instructions in minute, excruciating detail. I even read my MILs old cookbook - did you know that there are correct ways and incorrect ways to measure the ingredients? I didn't. Now I do. For all the good it did me.

I assembled the ingredients ahead of time as instructed. (I never do that - I get things out, measure, add and put the ingredients away as I go). I used a pouring measuring cup for the liquids and the separate measuring cups and spoons for the solids. I measured over the sink, not over the bowl, so the extra drops/particles would not overflow into the bowl with a resulting increase of whatever in the mixture. I sifted the flour. 3 times. I mixed the ingredients in the order I was supposed to mix them. And this is what I got.

Poor Bob. He was a good sport about the whole thing but I felt terrible. It turns out that the recipe forgot to include eggs. Totally not my fault. Will I bake from scratch again? Not any time soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Socks complete!

My travel socks are finished! I was being treated to a decadent dessert (my prize for coming closest to guessing the yardage on some fiber that Karen spun last year) on Wednesday and we were just about to leave after enjoying forbidden chocolate with brownie chunks, whipped cream and hot fudge when the skies opened. Serious thunder and lightening was going on and there was a heavy deluge. We decided not to leave at that time and sat back down to wait "for a few minutes" until the rain let up. 45 minutes later I had not only finished knitting the sock but also bound off and had the ends woven in. We did finally leave, though I had to put my sweatshirt over my head and make a run for my car (which I had parked at the far end of the lot because I thought we could use the longer walk after indulging ourselves that way). 

The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug in the Tuscana colorway and the socks feel very cushiony. I knitted them on size 1 needles. I use the same size needle for almost all of my socks, but after knitting with thicker sock weight yarn (like Jitterbug or Claudia's) for a while, I will have to use 0s on my thinner sock weight yarn (like TrekKing, which I still really like) in the future. I hope they will last longer being knit tighter.

My new travel project is the Montego Bay scarf. I cast on for a while ago and then didn't let myself knit on it so that I would finish projects already in the works. It's not as easy to work on while walking etc. because of the weight of the yarn (lace) making it hard to feel the stitches on the needle. But I love the yarn and the colors and this will be a nice change from socks for me.

The sleeves of the hemp lace top are near completion. One sleeve is actually at the length I need it to be and the other is about 2 pattern repeats away (2.5 inches). This weekend I hope to join sleeves to body and knit to the end.

I may also (if I am too tired to count stitches for lace) do my last swatch for DHs sweater - both a last gauge check and a last stripe pattern check. It is stockinette and is therefore easier to work on when tired. He rarely asks for anything to be knit for him so I am very happy to be working on this sweater. Hopefully, since I have learned alot about knitting since my first sweater attempt for him, this one will look and fit better.  the body of the sweater will be white, with Nautica-inspired stripes of color across the chest. Here's one swatch, which I think he's decided against

and here's the swatch of the stripe design that I think he'll choose

The last swatch will be the same stripes and colors, but will have the wide blue stripes at the outside and the narrower stripes towards the center.

This weekend will also be help Bob with his work on the boat. He is ripping out the transom (the back piece where the motor attaches)and re-build it. I will help as much as I can since Bob is saving a lot of money by doing this himself, and it's a messy, hot, miserable job.

Have a great weekend and remember to hug someone you love.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I don't kill everything I try to grow

This is my vegetable garden. Closest to the fence you see my green bean plants, and out from there are the cucumber plants. Both have been pretty prolific so far this year. The green pepper plant looks good and has baby peppers on it.

Out further (from where I was standing to take the photo) I have blueberry and tomato plants. 1 of 3 blueberry plants looks like it is doing well, and one of the tomato plants is doing well, the other two not so much. I may have overdone the fertilizer that I used when I planted and DHs theory is that the plants are doing not as well the further down the line in the direction the rain runs (and therefore being over-fertilized or burned)

I stayed pretty simple with the ornamentals this year - sweet potato vines in the baskets:

and petunias

I did plant a few other things but these were posing prettily so they were photographed. LOL

Here is one sleeve of my hemp lace top - the other looks the same but shorter. giggle

I didn't take any photos of the body of the sweater because you can't really see the lace when it is laying flat - you need something under it to show it off properly and I don't want to risk loosing stitches right now just to take a photo. Finishing the sleeve and attaching everything together so the remainder of the sweater can be knitted is my main goal, and I have just 8 days to go. gulp.

Monday, July 21, 2008

summer vacations

All over blog world, people are taking summer vacation from blogging. I am not going to go that far, but I have stopped making excuses for gaps between posts. ; )

One sleeve for the lace hemp top is back to where it was when I discovered our (mine and the layout person/tech editor of that pattern) error and I have ripped back the second sleeve and have knit a couple of inches on that. Soon I will be ready to complete the last few inches of sleeve in the sound and attach them to the body of the sweater. Yippee!

The hemp top and my sock are where my knitting efforts have gone due to the deadline to get the lace top complete for entry into the fair. I did make a few swatches for DH's cotton sweater yesterday. I had a bad headache that did not allow me to count lace stitches. Stockinette and a few color changes was just the thing. I managed 2 rows on the Northern Star shawl before the symbols overwhelmed me (because of the headache, not because they are difficult). I wanted to spin but the headache was less intense outside (in the humidity) and since the temps were in the 90s, it was way too hot for wool to be wrapped around my wrist. : (

Saturday was Bobs birthday. He was off but the boat is sitting in our yard sans motor for some major repairs, so no boating for the birthday boy. Instead, he puttered out there, setting up a canopy to provide shade, sun curtains for the morning hours and protection from rain (we haven't had much rain for the last week or so but now that he needs things to be dry, we will get some every day, according to the weather maps), and removing hardware. Being Bob, all of the items he removed are labeled clearly and sitting in our kitchen, waiting for the time to be re-attached. I then took him to Lone Star Steakhouse for a very yummy and decidedly not heart-healthy meal. I will tell you about my attempts to bake his cake from scratch (instead of a mix) at another time. Suffice it to say that I had dessert out and he didn't have any. grimace.

Sunday was a return to work for Bob and walking and cleaning and (I thought) spinning for me. That didn't go as planned, either, but my car got vacuumed. big grin.

The monitor visit that was scheduled for this week isn't happening (the person who scheduled it left the company and didn't tell anyone about it), but I have just about all of the work done, so when it does happen in August, probably, there won't be any prep. ; )

Tonight is my late night at work, walking when I get home, then shower, 1 pattern repeat on the sleeve and bed. Maybe tomorrow I can get in some of that spinning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beautiful things growing - but not in my yard

More evidence of Mom's green thumb:

This is the waterfall that my brothers just finished re-building. they did a good job, I think.

The fruitful koi:

I am off to spin on my wheel.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I am knitting, I promise....

You just can't tell. I have frogged almost as much as I have knitted lately. ; (

While I was at Mom's over the weekend, I frogged (yet again) the cotton/linen wool in the woods tank top I have been trying to make. I just can't get the thing going so that it will fit and look right. I think I am on the right track now, but I thought that before.....

I have done well with the lace hemp top. I have 12 inches knitted on each sleeve. I have come to a point where I need the Knit Doctor's input - there is something in the pattern that I don't understand - but as soon as that is straightened out I will get back to it. I am so close I can taste it. I plan to get this top finished in time for the county fair at the end of July. This project is both a joy to knit and will be a very wearable item. It is something that will be wearable all year - with a turtle neck under it in the winter and a cami in the warmer weather.

ETA since I wrote this post, I met with the Knit Doctor and found that most of the arms had to be amputated. I have learned to scan instructions for the words "at the same time" but this one didn't say that. Regardless of my feelings on how they laid the pattern out, I did not understand what they meant to say and I will have a garment that looks good, that I am proud to wear, so back to the frog pond I went. I have a few inches to go on one sleeve and then I have to rip the second one and re-knit most of it.

My travel sock is up to the ankle and heading towards the leg. I have started (again. I think this is the 4th try) to make my own version of the Northern Star scarf from Arctic Lace . I am making a stole version and so have added an extra repeat of the edge pattern on each side. I am using the Jojoland yarn that I originally purchased to make the swirl shawl. I like it in this shawl much better. I haven't done any spinning except a little drop spindling over the weekend and I am feeling withdrawal symptoms. Maybe Friday.

This is the pond in my mother's yard. Bob and I dug that pond (by hand except for a roto tiller) many years ago when our backs were a lot healthier. The pond is gorgeous - Mom has a very green thumb and especially now that she devotes all of her time to gardening, it is thriving. She keeps Koi and they are fruitful and have been multiplying. Apparently many people try unsuccessfully to breed their koi. Not my Mom. She doesn't try at all and there are many more fish there than she put in the pond a few years ago! My brothers just rebuilt her waterfall and she is always moving plants around... some how my garden never looks as ...graceful...peaceful..lush... I am not sure which word I am looking for... as hers. Oh, well.

I have more examples of her creativeness in the garden and her green thumb. It is really disappointing that I did not inherit much of this trait from her.

Well, I am off to try some spinning and knitting. I started this post several days ago, got busy and had internet connectivity issues and have just gotten back to it, so it is now Friday evening. Have a great weekend. Maybe I can get some pictures tomorrow of the knitting that I am sure you don't believe I am doing. If I don't have a major ripping session again tonight.

Friday, July 11, 2008

There is no place better to watch the sun set than on the water

What a wonderful finish to the week! It was so peaceful and beautiful on the water. We had just the right amount of breeze to keep cool. We almost didn't go out today. I am leaving in the morning for NY to visit Mom and I also didn't feel well for most of the day but I am glad that we went. Quality time for sure.

We played around fishing for a while. This was not serious fishing, this was Linda playing catching little fish and letting them go again. This is (I think) a yellow perch. The worm I caught him with was almost as big as he was. LOL.

Not sure what kind this is, but DH's fingers can give you an idea of how little he was. I caught about a dozen fish tonight but I think that all of them together would not make a meal. Don't worry, they all made it safely back in the water to be caught another time.

Work has been very busy lately. I have had several monitor visits and I always have queries to resolve after they leave. I am finally getting caught up, though, on the back log that originated when my MIL was so ill and my in-laws lived with us for a while. 

Karen and I have been sweating - or should I say glistening - through our 4.5 mile walks. It has been torture, I'll tell you. I HATE sweating, and by the time we are halfway, it is dripping in our eyes. Blegh! But we are averaging 1 hour and 3-6 minutes for our 4.5 mile walk - I think that's pretty good.

I have been knitting a lot. I finished Cables and Os a few weeks ago and I've been working on several different projects since then. Unfortunately I have been frogging a lot, too, so I don't have much progress to show for it. I do think that I will be able to finish the hemp top in the next couple of weeks. I am hoping to enter it in the county fair, along with Cables and Os and a shawl or two, a pair of socks, a pair of fingerless gloves and whatever else I can find to put in there.

Well. I am off to finish packing for my trip to NY. I hope to spoil Mom a little this weekend. She has been working hard and I want her to know that she's special. Have a great weekend and maybe I'll have another FO to show you next week.