Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Weekend Part II...Plants

In Indiana when the spring weather hits, Lowe's becomes a nightmare! PK was continuing to install our new deck and needed more materials, so I ventured into a level of hell. Ugh. After grabbing a few other things, I decided to ditch my plan to look for plants there. Nope. Not. Gonna. Do. It! So, I ran a few more errands, headed home to make lunch and set out our meal plan for the week, and then went to our small family-owned nursery down the road. SOOOOOOOOooooooo much better. It was pleasant and calm. When I get plants I get really really stressed and overwhelmed. So, this time I went in with a plan:

* Gather items for fairy garden
* Gather pots and plants for shade (for the front porch)
* Gather plants for sun (for the back porch)

This worked out much better than get what you need in one pass through the aisles. Because I was alone, I didn't feel so bad for backtracking over and over. And, the staff there is so helpful.

I can't believe I actually selected all of these flowers and put them together into a display. It looks adorable on the deck between our Adirondack chairs. I'll be covering it every evening until our nights warm up a bit. They make me smile. Thank goodness winter is GONE!

Okay...these bushes are not new. But, despite our harsh winter, they doubled in size in the last nine months. We refer to them as Carol and Sam because I planted them when I hosted my friend Carol's bridal shower. Just like the couple, these guys are going strong!

I over bought on the succulents for the fairy garden, so I popped these into an extra pot.

And I just couldn't resist this plant. They were tagged as Lemon Slice. That's sounds about right to me! The little pot it is in was painted for me by nephew J. An extra special centerpiece for the kitchen table.

I couldn't leave out the front porch in my planting frenzy so I put in pretty pansies. These tend to do so well on our porch. A few years ago, they were still thriving until late June/mid-July.

After all this work (plus more vegetable planting and weeding the tulip beds), I was SORE. Good thing I am planning a week full of knitting, crocheting, and designing. I need the rest and recovery!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Weekend Part I...A Fairy Garden and Bobbin Lace

This past weekend was FULL of activity. On Saturday we ventured to Lafayette to visit with my hubby's parents. It was a little birthday celebration for them and we spent the day chatting away. My MIL and I have a lot in common in our love and appreciation of crafts. It's always fun for me to show her what I've been crocheting and knitting. Although we were celebrating their birthdays, they surprised me with some items for me to build a fairy garden. On Sunday, I ventured out to get outside plants and found a great pot, rocks, and plants to put together the garden!

Love the sparkle!

This little snail is my favorite. He is just adorable and I found mini succulents that fit perfectly in the garden.

I found this little watering jug when I was selecting the rocks. Too cute!

The little pathway to the arch...

The arch is decorated with some faux plant sprigs that add a nice purple color.

A photo to give perspective and Kiki was very curious!

Another little guy in the back.

I love the shape of this pot and the little garden turned out so great. It fits right in with my plant addiction. If you had told me ten years ago that I would enjoy plants so much and that I can KEEP them alive, I would have laughed at you. 

During this visit, she also introduced me to a craft I'd never heard of before...bobbin lace. Have you guys seen this lost art? I snapped some photos of her books, bobbins, pillow, and a practice piece.

The front of these two books do a good job of showing how your bobbins look while you work and some of the beautiful results you can achieve.

My FIL is a master at building anything and everything and he made her pillow for bobbin lace. You pin your pattern to the spinning portion and move the pins about that are attached the bobbins filled with linen. After looking it over for a bit, we decided a good comparison was braiding. 

It left me wondering how many times I've seen pieces I thought were tatting and they were actually bobbin lace. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Enjoying Spring Days

Patrick has been working on putting in a deck and the top boards are are slowly being fitted and screwed down. After he got about a quarter of the boards in, I couldn't wait any longer to sit down and crochet! The day was beautiful. Our once just dirt backyard is now full of green grass, trees, and flowers. We put every single thing in ourselves over the past 12.5 years. I discovered that the deck makes a great back drop for demonstration photos, too. Bonus!

This is one of my new designs in progress. Isn't it pretty? I started the project in the morning and made it through about 75% of it by the end of the night. I do love how fast crochet is! I know my blog posts as of late haven't included a huge amount of project sharing. For that, I apologize, but most of what I'm working on hasn't yet been released. So, when things go live, there will be a flurry of posts to share about projects.

Kiki enjoying the day. She is even more anxious for all the boards to be solid. Poor thing keeps getting scared when they shift a bit! Ironically, Riley can't see or hear and has adjusted just fine.

All of my flowers in the back and the front are in bloom. The front ones came up later than my friend's flowers, so I'm happy that they were just slow to start. I finally remembered to take photos of these spring beds so that in the fall I can see where I need to fill in gaps. Now if I can just remember to look at the photos in the fall...

Kiki with her hair blowing in the wind. Enjoy it now, little one, because you get a haircut next week! (Love her little tongue.)

Handsome Riley...we are already searching for an outside dog bed for him to use on the deck. Old man likes his comfort.

Friday, April 25, 2014

What's in the Knitting Bag?

Woohoo! Last doctor appointment until July was yesterday. What does a knitter do to celebrate? Hit up a yarn shop, of course. I had a few things in mind and managed to fill up my knitting bag. So excited to get started on these projects.

Earlier this week I was blessed to have a rare knit night out. I love these little nights when Christina and I sit and download all that has been going in our worlds and in the world of knitting and crochet. Well, Christina filled me in on Crackerjack by Earthchick. Crackerjack is a conceptual project that is based on the results of sports games. Given Patrick's love of Rays baseball, it sounded like a great idea. I purchased four different colors. The first blue will be used to represent home wins, white for home losses, deep blue for away wins, and grey for away losses. I plan to toss in a special stitch for any grand slams. If it doesn't look manly enough as a cowl, I might end up leaving it as a double-sided scarf. Given that there are 162 regular season games, I wanted a yarn I would love to work with all season long. That meant some MadTosh!!! I found a worsted weight instead of sock, but that is fine because I will just adjust the stitch count and use a larger needle for a softer fabric.

Next up is this little pile. The Berroco Sox will be crocheted into a design from Brownie Knits that will be released in the next month. (For a sneak peak, click here. I'm in love with my new little Eva Neckerchief.) The Berroco Vintage will become a new knitting design that has been in my head for a bit now. Time for it to blossom into life! I expect it to release sometime this summer so that you could knit it up for fall/winter 2014.

I've been working a lot on designs as of late, but sometimes you just need some mindless knitting. During those times, I have been knitting up items for my Etsy shop. This little guy will be a Grady Sack for some lucky little man. I just love this colorway (Tree Fort) and the yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Hand-painted. Isn't it a fun number?!?

I have a lot to accomplish over the next two weeks for Brownie Knits, but I really enjoy these times when the business flows. It felt great to take myself to lunch, come home energized with ideas, and see all my front flowers looking vibrant.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bunny Fun

This past weekend we spent Saturday hanging around the house, working on the deck, and doing a little watercolor painting. We ended the day with a date night at a Korean restaurant. It was AMAZING. We long ago fell in love with Korean dishes and it was something I missed terribly when I couldn't eat anything but chicken. It was so yummy and I think a seafood and vegetable pancake might be a new food addiction! We woke up early Sunday and drove to my brother's house for a little Easter day. Nephew R was too cute searching for the eggs that the bunny left. He was very intent on finding the eggs and was thrilled with the contents. I also got to meet the newest family puppy member. Isn't she adorable? I'm not feeling all that great this week, so I'll let the photos entertain you for now. (The good news is that spring is here. The bad news is that spring is here with pollen.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Is Starting to Spring!

Our magnolia bush is starting to bloom and they are so pretty! I had to get a bunch of photos taken for some design releases and for some made items I will be posting to Etsy. I opted to take a lot of them in front of this bush because it was such a pretty backdrop. While I was working on new designs, Kennedy was posing around the yard and enjoying the pretty day.

"I need a haircut!"

Meanwhile, Riley is still in winter hibernation.

Patrick has been busy turning this sad little patio slab into a deck. Because our door is so low to the ground, he doesn't have to go up in height, which makes the do-it-yourself deck much easier. The bottom is about 75% in and the poor pups keep jumping over them to get out in the yard. Not so easy when you are mostly blind, like Riley. But, they will love it when it is done and they can curl up on it under the umbrella. Oh, I can't wait for it to be all done! I plan to sit out there and work and read all summer!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Millie Infinity Scarf: A New Pattern from Brownie Knits!

A few weeks back I blogged about my obsession with infinity and silk scarves. Well, of course, that meant I needed some knitted ones for spring! Over the last few months, while I dreamed of spring, I have been working up a new pattern and today it is now available for purchase! Please meet Millie...

I had to get Kiki in on some of the photos...

...she wasn't into it! Check out that look in her eye.

The pattern is available for $2.99 in Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy.

Millie is a lightweight infinity scarf for spring and summer or for a warmer winter climate. Wear it with a jacket or as an accessory to your outfit. Millie is reversible and can be worn in a variety of styles, including around the neck (singled or doubled) or looped. Knitting a Millie Infinity Scarf is such fun because you can select a painted, variegated, or solid sock yarn, and because it is knit on larger-than normal needles for sock weight, the scarf works up quickly. The pattern is an easy one to remember and you fall into a knitting rhythm as you work in the round.

Level: Intermediate
50 inch circumference unblocked
60 inch circumference blocked

400 yards (366 meters) of sock weight yarn
Painted sample knit out of Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in color Octopus’ Garden (430 yards/394 meters; 80% merino, 20% nylon); this colorway is sold exclusively at A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida 

Solid sample knit out of Yarn Love Juliet in color Sugared Grapefruit (420 yards/384 meters; 80%
merino, 20% nylon)

Other good yarn options: Knit Picks Hawthorne and Shibui Knits Sock

US 5 (3.75mm) 32-inch circular
or size needed to get gauge

Row counter (optional)
Stitch marker
Tape measure
Tapestry needle
Yarn scale or food scale (useful, but not required)

5 sts / 8 rounds over Spiral stitch in pattern = 1 inch

Not a knitter but want a Millie? Send us a convo in Etsy and we can custom-make one for you! 

Want a warmer winter version? Check out the Brownie Knits Tressie Cowl pattern!