Saturday, June 29, 2013

Anniversary: Silk & Linen

Every year PK and I try to honor the traditional anniversary gifts and typically set a pretty modest budget. This year was the 12th, which is silk and linen. Some of these can be really challenging to buy for a hubby! Luckily, my hubby is an old soul and more than a little geekie (which I love). Those two things made shopping a tad easier...and there is NOTHING like Etsy for unique anniversary gifts.

I went with some linen handkerchiefs with our initials and wedding date on them. He has such a kind heart and likes to take things like this with him on work trips. For the silk side of things, I got him a tie with the Apollo 15 controls printed on it. The total space buff, he loved it! I'm sure it will be a great conversation starter in future meetings.

I was super excited because my main gift from Patrick was one of the new Signature interchangeable kits in size US 7. I managed to misplace my size 7 Signatures late last year and they have yet to resurface. Now I have that length and three others covered!!! Woohoo!

But the far more important gift from my hubby poet was this poem that he wrote about our recent visit to Clearwater. Written about our evening picnic on my 40th birthday, he printed it on silk paper. How adorable and thoughtful!!!! I plan to frame it with some photos of that evening. I love that the paper is a bright and colorful yellow. I'm thinking it will live nicely in our red/yellow living room.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June Art Class

We were traveling in May so I wasn't able to attend the monthly water color class. I missed it SO much!  Then, when I went in for the June class, I was excited to see a colorful little flower study. Throughout school and many a meeting at my old job, I would doodle little flowers. Given that we had to draw this month's artwork from scratch, those doodles finally paid off.

I stayed pretty true to the original artwork by our teacher and didn't really vary my colors, either. I was somewhat unhappy with my little bee, but the rest I thought turned out great. (As always, especially when you see it across the room!)

It is living in a pretty little white frame on the mantel with our junk fairy and my grandma spider plant. Such a happy little piece. We drew it in pencil, outlined that in ink, and painted on the color with a mostly dry brush. I found that I really liked having the strong ink outline.

(On a side note, the grandma spider plant was one I planted from a tiny cutting off of my Grandma Klunk's plant. I brought the clipping home in a plastic cup from PA a few years ago. I'm so happy that it is doing so great. With any luck, it will have babies in the next year so that I can start some more plants off those. This plant really means a lot to me because Gram lives so far away and we only get to visit once a year.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blue Ripple Afghan

Remember that blue ripple afghan I started back in April? I started it to use up odds and ends of leftover blues, creams, and browns. And, it gave me a great project to keep doing the ripple stitch. Well, the blanket got put on the back burner while we were on vacation (not exactly the best travel project) and remained in the storage closet while I concentrated on the trunk show prep. So, over the past week, I was able to return my attention to this project. Now...somewhere along the way I misplaced my polymer clay G hook. Ugh. I have pulled the house apart looking for it. I finally ordered a replacement, which means the first one should show up any day now.

Here it is tossed over the bed. It is folded in half in this photo. The colors match our bedroom so well and I've already put the blanket to good use. I used all superwash blends and washable cottons, so I was able to toss it in the washer and dryer.

I just love how it turned out!!!
Pattern: Attic24's Neat Ripple Afghan
Hook: US G
Yarn: leftovers of fingering/DK weight yarns
Used Yardage: I am going to estimate that I used 4,000 yards. 
It EASILY could be more if I go by the estimates others used when making a Ripple of this size. However, I wanted to be conservative for my ongoing Stash Yardage total.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy 12 Years!

Twelve years ago I married the kindest person I've ever known. I'm forever grateful for having him in my life.

My PK: Thank for the last 12 years of marriage, 2 years of being my "boyfriend/fiance", and 5 years of being my friend first! I can't believe 19 years have flown by so fast.

I love you more today than yesterday and I will love you even more tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dogs and Shells

Just a quick little post to share some cute dog photos from the last few months. 

As you can tell...they love sleep.

While they have been napping, I've been enjoying my little touch of the beach with the shell chime that I hung in the corner. It is so nice to knit with the windows open, the dogs napping, and the shells swaying.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pop Spots Shawl

One of my summer plans was to knit-along a Pop Spots Shawl in June. You can check out Christina's shawl on her blog. (Love the green!) I knitted mine out of Tosh Sock in color Midnight Pass and a cream Rhichard Devrieze yarn. It was a fun project and I need to get it blocked ASAP so that I can wear it. But, I couldn't wait to share it on the blog, so here it is pre-blocked.

Isn't it gorgeous? I just love the amazing colors from Madelinetosh and it worked perfectly with this lovely pattern. It made me think of fluffy clouds against a blue sky and the ocean. It will be great with a white summer eyelet dress. I used a size 6 needle and made the small shawl (didn't buy enough yardage for the large). Next up is my sweater KAL for July...I couldn't wait and started a few weeks early in the hopes of completing it by the end of July along with some design work. It is out of the worsted weight of the Midnight Pass yarn color. I never want to put it down!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Knitwits Trunk Show and Class Visit

This past Saturday I was blessed and thrilled to be welcomed to Knitwits Yarn Shop in Crescent Falls, KY. They have been hosting a trunk show of my designs and I was asked to participate in their Knit University program and teach my crocheted sunflower design. It was so much fun being surrounded by yarn and knitters/crocheters all day! They are all so nice and I definitely walked away with some new friends and loads of ideas.

I was SUPER bad about taking any photos to share. These were ones that Patrick snapped before heading off to patiently wait for the day at Starbucks. Here are a few shots of the class advertisement and the little pram where my designs have been on display.

If you live in the Cincy/Covington/Crescent Falls area this is a shop that you simply must check out. They are very welcoming to all levels of knitters and crocheters. They carry a nice variety of yarns, the staff is kind and knowledgable, and the store itself is adorable.

I was more than a little nervous, but I was quickly put at ease as we all started chatting about the yarn and what everybody was making. At their Knit U program we all had fun deciding which level of knitter we were, based on the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules book. (I think there should be a level 5 of giving up all other things to knit for a living...that's where I reside!) It was fun to field questions and share in the give and take that always happens when more than one knitter finds themselves in a room.

As is often the case, I was asked to demonstrate my knitting style. I hold my yarn a bit differently than most knitters...which I credit to learning to crochet first. The sunflower crochet class involved many laughs and some discussions about various patterns and all the afghans we love to make. I can't wait to travel back to the shop in July to teach a Continental Knitting class. So happy to have been invited back!

Of course, I had to pick up some yarn! This is Berroco's Remix yarn. I have some designer plans in the works! I came away with loads of ideas for things people would like to have. I need to sit down with a calendar and plot them all out. It's always so refreshing to get bursts of energy from the excitement you find in a knit shop.

And we added a few other things onto the trip...a visit to Sci-Fi World for a Carcassonne expansion. It's Batman! And then off to a Reds game on Flag Day.

I'm so thankful to all the Knitwits who welcomed me to their yarnie home for the day. Thanks for letting me be part of your world!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gardening 2013

Gardners we are not, but we try each year. We love flowers and plants and yummy fresh food. So, we try and keep some decent landscaping going on in the yard and some veggies and fruits in the garden. Having conquered the removal of the front porch bushes and planting loads of hostas, that area is doing relatively well. There is one spot that grows a nasty smelling weed each year. I am determined to beat it in 2013. Armed with weed killer, gloves, and two replacement hostas for the one the weed killed.

Vile weed...

Loads of hostas and a bright flip flop sign...

Instead of the normal hanging ferns, I decided to go with these boxes full of dahlias. We shall see how they do with the morning sun and then shade the rest of the day. I just love the shape of these flowers.

Out back, our yard is AMAZING compared to when we bought this house. We had ZERO trees and absolutely no landscaping back there at all. Heck, we hardly had any grass. We actually have some shade in the back yard now. Last year, I decided to stop trying to grow flowers around the maple tree. Every year I would plant them and every year they would burn right up. Having fallen in love with succulents in spring 2012, I put lots of chicks & hens in around the tree. Only one tiny section didn't survive. The rest are flourishing! So, I put in three replacement plants in the one section. I love that these plants come back every year and fuller and fuller. 100% what I wanted for this bed (i.e. 0% effort)!

This little side bed was all accidental. A tree started growing there, so we marked it off to allow it to sprout. I planted some red flowers and silver frosted plant years ago when we hosted a bridal shower in the back yard. Some made it and others didn't. Now that bed gets lots of shade so I decided to plant actual flowers there this year. It also stays really hot in the summer, though, so I went with begonias in two shades. It looks like an actual flower bed! I do want to get rid of all those bricks though!

Of course, I couldn't pass up gerber daisies as I love them so much. They are living on the back patio table.

A pretty flower on the back porch and my succulent tower is doing super well. It loves the back area and I've never had to do anything more than put the plants in the pot! My kind of plant.

Over the years, our deal has sort of become that I do the gardening in the decorative areas and Patrick manages the vegetable/fruit garden. So, while I was planting pretty things, he was planting our food. This year we went with watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, and carrots. I did take over one row for sunflowers as an experiment. In years past we always grew tomatoes and peppers, but I am no longer allowed to eat those.

We are trying out this screen thing this year. In theory, the cucumbers, watermelon, and cantaloupe should vine up it. The vegetables that need more shade were planted under the screen.

When I stop and look around the back and think that we put in the grass, trees, plants, and flowers I can't believe it. Even with our limited abilities, we have been able to contribute a little to the earth. Of course, we get way more back by being able to enjoy sitting outside in the lush green.

Farmer Patrick...sadly, he had to take out our tree that didn't survive the drought and winter.

We also got around to putting together these chairs that we bought two years ago. Well, PK put them together and I painted them green. One before and one after shown here. We got them on clearance for $10 each! A little spray paint and oh so cute! Can't wait to sip some icy drinks in them this summer.

View of the front...see Riley looking out the door?

Kiki checking out the mulch...they so love to walk through anything dirt related.

Our reward after a long day of work...complete with a shell hot pad that we got on vacation.

We had to chop down the rose bush because the tree was shading it too much. The poor thing was having to grow really high to reach the sun. At least we get to enjoy these inside for the week. All in all, it is really nice to have most of the yard work complete. On a side note, we sprayed to keep the rabbits out of our yard after a Friday spent saving these little guys from our dogs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Plans

My SIL had a framed list of things for her and the kids to do this summer. She always was busy putting together a basket of summer goodies. On the flight home, I started thinking about doing this for our little family, too. So, here is what I came up with for our 2013 Summer of Fun:

1. Play board and card games. We play lots of Sequence and Farkel. After playing Carcassonne in Florida, we got it for our home. I also grabbed this Italian Scopa card pack. (The dogs were sure it was for them.) We have already broken these new games open and are HOOKED! We have great fun yelling Scopa in a fake Italian accent!

2. Put together a puzzle.

3. Complete my Big Book of Puzzles, read lots of books, and watch some Netflix/DVDs I have on the list. (I'm in the middle of Justified and Smallville at the moment.)

4. Knit a Pop Spots shawl and a sweater as part of a knit-along with a friend.

5. Go to the area "beach" on the man-made lake. Maybe even rent a boat?

6. Go to the area pool.

7. Have lunch at Goose the Market.

8. Visit with family in southern IN.

9. Visit friends in Cincy.

10. Put together the adirondack chairs and sit and drink margaritas. (Already part there on this one...chairs together and paint in process. Just waiting on the good part to happen!)

11. Go to a Reds game.

12. Go to conferences for our passions...a knit/crochet one for me in July and a sci-fi one for PK in August.

13. Rock out at the Bruno Mars concert.

14. Host a BBQ.

15. Go to the movies to see all those super hero flicks Patrick so loves.

What is on your summer list of fun? (Of course, as adults I have a list of "work" to do, too. I much prefer the Fun list!)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

So This is 40!

Celebrating on my 40th with a picnic on the beach at sunset. It was a wonderful day spent on the white sand and in the water. Perfect for our last day during this visit.

That morning on the beach, we saw this couple set up their chairs on the beach. They were so so loving to each other. You could just see how much they cared for one another. We heard them rolling dice and thought they were probably playing Yahtzee. We both commented that we really hoped that would be us in another 40 years. As we walked up to the water, we both had to contain ourselves as they were playing Farkel, which we play all the time. They seemed to have a wonderful time and they made us smile.

Some other photos from our picnic sunset...