Sunday, July 31, 2011

spider sense

I've always considered August spider season. As soon as we enter August, there are spiders everywhere.  Everywhere. Here are a couple of my recent spider visitors. Look out!

Showed up on my shower curtain. 

Made her home in my doorjamb.  

Popped up in the sink overflow at Mom's. 

Yup, the spiders are out in force.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sick and listening to The Judds

I'm sick. I've been sick all week.  I've missed an entire work week.  To be fair, I did go into work for a whole 2 hours this morning before calling it quits.  My voice is almost gone, and I still have a nasty dry cough.  I keep thinking about The Little Mermaid.  Not that I constantly compare myself to Ariel or anything, but remember when she trades her voice and mermaid flipper for legs?  Yeah, me too.

I watched more movies and slept more this week than I have in ages.  The Redbox needs to get some new material already.  Nobody wants to watch The Game anymore.  The last two days I was able to actually sit-up in bed and do a little bit of knitting while I watched movies.

The wet dolphin sweater is coming along nicely.  I finished up a couple of other projects that were just sitting around.

I call this project, "It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and present."  It will always be the scarf I knit when I went back to Minnesota for my grandmother's funeral.  Some people might find that macabre, but I find it really comforting.

I also finished a cabled-cowl that I started in early spring.  It'll be ready come fall/winter.

Cabled-cowl closeup. 

I also finished my Icelandic couch blanket...but that will be for another post.  It's that monumental!

Baby just me and you, rockin' with the rhythm of the rain...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's only a paper ring.

While I was in Tacoma, I found my copy of The Buck Book. It's a book of origami patterns for dollar bills. I bought it when I was 13 or so, and it came with a dollar bill. Instant rebate!

The Buck Book is something I've been thinking about for a of those weird recollections that pops up out of nowhere while I'm reading work emails. Hey, what ever happened to that book about folding dollar bills? That thought has been popping up a lot lately, along with the equally bizarre, Hey, remember watching Demolition Man? 

Yeah, randomly firing neurons, I sure do. Sigh. 

Anyway, my favorite project in The Buck Book is the dollar bill ring. It only takes 5 minutes! Sadly, I spent my last dollar bills at Target (cat brush, nail polish remover, tonic water, and Reese's Pieces)! So, I improvised with some vintage wrapping paper. 

Instructions? Sure!  

1. Cut your paper to dollar bill size, roughly 6" x 2.5" for a size 7 ring. 

2. Fold the bottom edge up about 1/4 of an inch. 

2. Fold the paper in half, leaving a tiny lip at the bottom edge. 

Like so:

3. Fold in half again, keeping things even this time. 

You end up with this. 

4.  Fold the right side under, 1/4 of an inch or so.

5. On the left side, fold yourself a right angle. 

6. Fold the vertical part once, to the right. 

7. Make a crescent fold along the top and bottom edges and crease well. 

8. Flip your paper over and hold it like this. 

9. Wrap the left side around your index finger to make the ring loop. You'll end up with the left edge under your thumb. 

10. Fold the vertical piece down over the front.

11. Fold the left flap across the front of the ring. 

12. Remember that little end fold you made in step 4? Tuck that under the flap you just made.
Hard to show in pictures, but you'll know it when you see it. You'll end up with this:

13. The flap on the bottom of the ring will get tucked into a little vertical flap on the back.
Turn the ring over and you'll see it. Slide the flap right on in there. 

That's it! You did an awesome job!

* Tutorial is adapted from Anne Akers Johnson's instructions in The Buck Book.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

nest and hive

I made a quick trip to Tacoma this weekend and while I was there, I helped Mom take down a yellow jacket hive from the roof of the hay shed. Here's how I spent my Sunday morning...

There it is, in all its giant splendor. 

Little did I know the yellow jackets were still hanging out in there while I was taking pictures. Uh-oh. 

Mom wielded the manure fork and I caught the hive with a shovel. Teamwork!

This lovely nest was right below the hive. No surprise, that it's abandoned.

I wandered around the pasture while Mom messed with the horses. 

We ate her first two tomatoes!

And Mom and I went to an estate sale where the guy had made these storage drawers out of a bunch of old oil cans. 

The pictures are a little blurry, but I was super-impressed by this guy's craftiness. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh, baby!

Shower, that is. For Rose's baby shower, I got together with my boss, Lori, to make some decorations. Lori is just about the craftiest person I know, and she has the ability to turn the smallest kernel of an idea into something perfectly wonderful. See? 

Lori made these tissue paper table decorations. Impressive! They came home with me. 

Lori also has some major sewing skills, which, if you've been paying attention, you know I lack. Big time. The two major decorative pieces were a mobile over the gift table and a garland on the wall behind. We took our inspiration from vintage baby cards and this was the result... 

The mobile is made from a large wooden embroidery hoop and color copies of vintage baby cards--some are matted on colored tagboard and some have vintage fabric on the back. I had a small collection of vintage baby cards, but you can find bunches online. The cool thing about the mobile is that Rose can use it over the baby's crib.

The garland also serves a dual purpose: cute decoration and a vehicle for well-wishes. The guests were invited to write advice or congrats on the backs of the cards, which were attached with tiny clothespins. Lori sewed the cards onto the tagboard and then we cut around the outside with paper edgers. I added ribbons to some of the cards to give them something extra. 

The decorations were a big hit, quite cute, and easy to put together. All reasons to give it a go!

Monday, July 25, 2011

baby cardy

My friend, Rose, is going to have her first baby (a boy!) at the end of August. I wanted to make a little knitted gift, but didn't have a ton of time. Luckily, I found a project that was super-sweet and knitted up really fast. Dream come true, right? 

This yarn is a dream come true! Catherine helped me pick it out. She swears by baby alpaca. 
I would pet a baby alpaca right now. So very soft.

I felted a toadstool rattle to go along with the sweater. 

Little fungus stem and underbelly.

All nestled together.

The back, arms, and sides are all knit together, and the rib stitch collar is knit by picking up stitches along the edge. Then you just seam together the edges and you're good to go. Easy-peasy! The pattern is free on Ravelry. You can also find it here. The pattern doesn't give you any guidance about what stitches to use for the seams, but I decided the mattress stitch was the way to go for the sides (Knitting Help has a great tutorial on mattress stitch) and a horizontal seam was the way to go for finishing the sleeves (find an OK tutorial here).  If you do it right, the seams will be invisible from the outside.

Still need a little more help? Knitsimple also has tons of info on all types of seaming. Highly recommend. Happy knitting!

Wrapped up and ready to go!

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