Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year End Housekeeping

Time to take stock of 2011: what is still undone and what I will try to accomplish in 2012.

Must be done before the end of this year: Register my car in Massachusetts, transfer my drivers' license to Mass and register to vote in Massachusetts.

Unfinished business from 2010:
-Clothing for Mr. Foster (unfinished Xmas gift, should be finished ASAP)
-Silk shawl, cabled socks, experimental lace shawl which will now become Gansey Stole.

Unfinished business from 2011:
-Finish painting the trim in the bedroom.
-Make Blinds for the bathroom.
-Consider painting the nightstands
-Purchase another shelving unit for the basement and unpack the crystal and china.
-Get the bicycles settled in the basement so there is a place in the shed for the lawnmower.

New Business for 2012
-Get workouts into my routine.
-Locate and purchase cold weather cycling gear.
-Get cycling into my routine.
-Locate and purchase kayaks.
-Paint the workbench and arrange for improved lighting.
-Sand and seal kitchen cabinets.
-Get the guy out for the septic.
-Plan front yard island shrub bed and shrub border. Island bed will be priority installation.
-Design and plant first phase of cutting garden behind/around shed. This will need to be largely started from seed for monetary considerations, but I can supplement from House of Dobberteen and a few grown plants. This project can get started right away & enlarged as feasible.

-Thrift, scavenge and/or create items for a picture wall in the living room.

This resembles resolutions without actually being resolutions.

I'll be in Oklahoma City January 15-19, Brighton CO 19-22. I'll be mainly visiting family, but I'd love to meet for coffee or a meal. I had a crisis with my phone what lost half of my address book, so if you haven't heard from me lately but wanted to let me know or call me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Already Have the Best Gifts

My friend Janet shared a lovely little film with me, and I'm going to do the same. These are things that are right in front of us but because of the nature of our sight we never see them:

For all of my friends, blog buddies, and family I wish a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, and Yule, and hope everyone has a splendid and productive New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Snow Day

All my  Christmas packages went in the mail yesterday (Priority Mail, Ouch!), so I can amuse myself now without worrying that I'm taking time out from gift projects with deadlines.

Mom sent me a Christmas check, which I cashed and made a beeline for Barnes & Noble. I had been longing for a reckless book feast and the time has come! Shana offered to come with me, but I went alone this time so I could lollygag around reading snatches of the finalists and having a peek at books I've seen online but were not candidates for this trip. Somehow  no one really enjoys watching me pick through books for hours at a time! I made a beeline for the decorating, gardening, and crafts section, then basically pulled up a stool and looked over anything that had any appeal at all. It was lovely to dip into lots of books and decide which will be stacked up next to my reading chair. The winners:

The view from my kitchen door today
100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet, by Leslie Stanfield
The Knitter's Book of Socks, by the wonderful Clara Parkes
The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques that Save You Money, by Richard Freudenberger
The Embroiderer's Handbook , by Margie Bauer
Interweave Knits Accessories 2011
And the December 19 & 26 issue of New Yorker

I browsed ferociously in the sections devoted to chicken husbandry, gardening in New England, and home decor, but stuck to crafts books for my purchases. The used book store around the corner, Isaiah Thomas Bookstore, carries lots of gardening books with a regional focus, so I think I'll go there first for those. For home decor I like to look on line and at magazines. For my knitting and craft books I really love the pleasure of a pristine new book with beautiful pictures, and I do indulge in new books because I keep them forever unless I pass them on to another knitter. I rounded out my shopping extravaganza with  pair of fleece pajama pants and a packet of shortbread cookies to go with my books.

I stopped at Trader Joe's while I was nearby to see if they had some tahini. They do carry tahini sauce, which suited my needs - the most recent batch of hummus was a little bland and really needed tahini and lemon. Trader Joe's also had KETTLE CORN COOKIES. The. Best Cookies. Ever. They are absolutely delicious and I did not even try to resist. I can't get out pf Joe's without some delicious snack.

On the needles right now - plain socks in Virginia Tech colors and a pair of Cookie A's Monkey socks in a turquoise and black from Plymouth Yarns Happy Feet. I don't know why, but something about the Monkey sock pattern makes it seem to go much faster than plain socks. It's just so much fun to see it growing like crazy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Porcupine Love

I seem to be doomed to forever live where there are no porcupines. I have a long standing unsatisifed wish to see one in the wild. Although their range does not extend to Cape Cod they apparently live in northern Massachusetts and elsewhere in northern New England, so i'm thinking a camping trip up north should be planned for next summer. In the meantime video will have to suffice:

We have a live Christmas tree this year (incompletely decorated). After much negotiation we purchased a baby Norfolk Island Pine. Although they can reach to 200 ft in their natural habitat, I think ours will stay a little smaller! I had to buy some ornaments for it - everything we have for a "real" tree is scaled too big for this tiny tree. Combined with a swag on the door, a poinsettia and lighted snowmen  in the front yard we about as festive as I've been for several years.  The weather reports are trending cooler - this is one place where a White Christmas is a distinct possibility.

It's easy to tell I have lived in a warmer climate for a long time - I just made my reservations for a trip to Oklahoma and Colorado in January. Whenever I book for the summer I know when not to arrive to avoid landing in a thunderstorm, but apparently I am not considering winter storms at all. I'm crossing my fingers that all will go smoothly.

I'm sure Roxy hopes that the extremely boring quality of her pictures will keep me from bothering her, but not so!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Still Cranking Them Out

I've been plugging right along with the knitting. This week I pulled a big skein of handspun wool from my stash for a quick and casual scarf and hat. It's getting cool here and I was eager to have something woolly, and new to wear for beach walks. This was yarn I purchased at Taylor Bray Farm at last spring's open house. Because the yarn itself has a lot of texture and color changes that I wanted to emphasize I went with a very simple mistake rib, and made a hat loosely based on the London Beanie (very loosely, mostly I just used the stitch count!) and added a teeny little pom pom to use up the last atom of the yarn. I'll know I'm making the absolute most of my increased available knitting time when I clear out the little stash of unfinished projects and either complete them or unravel them to prepare the yarn for a more congenial project.

Whenever I walk up to my beautiful Roxanne with the camera she looks put upon and pulls her ears in. I promise she does not always look so unhappy in real life. She still has her fluffy coat and friendly disposition but  it's pretty easy to see that she is getting old - her eyesight is not great anymore, and sometimes I startle her because she no longer hears me coming.  If I'm lucky I'll have her a good while longer, but it's a reminder of how short the life of a dog is compared to ours.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Living in Hat Town

I've been fiddling around with hats this week. I've made a hat according to a pattern (notice I do not say exactly!) and one that's pretty much improvised.

I made Beamish from BamBeanies pretty much as written, except for using only one color. It came out pretty cute. I must point out that the "hat model" has a pointy bun on the back of her head, which makes the shape of the hat decidedly odd.  I used Cascade 220 superwash, which is very nice to work with except that this skein had a lot of damaged sections that caused me to need to work in more ends than I should have. Otherwise a super easy hat with a lot of sizes listed.

I used Calorimetry from Knitty as a springboard for my Not Quite Calorimetry headband. I made it smaller, and added a flower and leaves for a girly touch. I used odds and ends of yarn for this one, out of the loads of partial skeins still lurking in my reduced and edited stash. Although I purged a lot from the stash getting ready for my big move I did keep the partial skeins of workhorse yarns I knew would be enough for small projects. I cannot explain away the deficiencies in this hat model. Sorry.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December Finished Objects (no, really)

I'm in my usual December knitting frenzy, testing my speed and commitment against the last possible shipping dates for gifts to arrive on time. As usual I started  thinking and planning months ago but piddled around until the deadlines started approaching. I didn't feel like doing serious holiday knitting until we moved into our home in September. I'd love to be able to offer a good excuse for this, but I can't think of one.

So far I have made up three pair of socks (I want to keep one but it's not looking good), a cowl, a scarf, two hats (one mine) and a baby afghan. Not great. I have most of a scarf for myself finished, half of a hat (actually it's a complete Calorimetry but I want to put a flower on it). I still have hopes of completing a few more hats and since they won't all need to be shipped I have enough time, I think. I really do have plenty of time to knit, but I get distracted by the Internet (ooooh, shiny!).

Two of my finished objects are both basic and black, so not photogenic. I finished reknitting Wurm in a size that should fit, but I need someone to take a picture of me in it because it doesn't look like much empty and does not fit the dog. The dreaded bathroom pictures look BAD - it seemed fine before I washed it but it might still be way too big and I'm not sure what to do about it short of felting the thing.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Cape Codders' Beach Time

This is when the locals go to the beach - before the snow flies and after the tourists and Summer People leave for the season. There are some public parks and recreation areas which are truly closed after the summer (I guess WE are not the public they mean to serve) but the public beaches are not only open but they are free and you can bring your dog. In summer to park there you must have a purchased sticker for your local beach, and for other beaches there is a fee. Generally if you walk in you don't have to pay, and after 3:00 pm it's free. You can't bring your dog from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Therefore locals are to be seen on the beach after 3:00 or off season. It's nicer then anyway, because the water is never very warm here so I don't swim anyway, and the summer crowds are no fun.

Roxy and I went out to the Mashpee Town Beach and the South Cape State Park for a walk today, taking advantage of a sunny day. It's still unseasonably warm, although it felt quite cool and breezy today. I needed a coat and wished I had brought gloves.  The cold breeze did nothing to mar the beauty of the beach and we had a great time. Roxy gets bored hanging around the house all day, and no matter how many times I suggest she take up a hobby she never does. We had the beach mostly to ourselves, except for one man and a couple with a dog. We did see a group walking on the trail, but they were going in the opposite direction and we didn't even hear them after they passed.

I got a cold this week and some kind of eye infection, so I set my knitting aside for a day. This may prove to be a fatal mistake for my Christmas preparations, but it can't be helped. I guess I should have settled right down to work this afternoon instead of roaming around the marsh, but I couldn't resist. The really cold weather will be here too soon, and although I will probably still stop by the beach often it's not likely I'll spend much time there.