I'll be back.

Hello old and new friends. My blog has been inactive but I am still around. I loom-knit, weave and have picked up the sticks to needle knit, too! My patterns page links to Ravelry and I will answer questions about those. Maybe someday I will be back to write more. We will see where life takes me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden goods and bads

I could say a few bad apples have grown in my garden this season. But when I say "apples" I mean my veggie plants. It's time to take off my gardener gloves and show you more than just pretty pictures this time. But first, a happy story ...

Candy Corn!!

A few years ago, I read about the candy corn vines in our local newspaper. I absolutely loved them. They boast a punch of color and furry flowers — not to mention that candy corn is one of my favorite fall sweets. But I was too late to the greenhouse that year to pick up my own and for years afterward, I could not find them ...

Candy Corn!!

... Until this year! I was scoping out the clearance flowers at Stein and there they were. Tons of them! I wanted to buy a cart-full but I restrained myself with two. They are labeled as annuals so I wasn't going to get much more out of them this year. Sometimes growers can get them to come back so my fingers are crossed. I'm trying one outside and one inside — the out is winning so far.

Candy Corn!!

So from here on out, let's keep it honest and show you a pretty for every pathetic. The following is why I call myself an amateur gardener.

The white hydrangeas turned peachy pink in August.

No onions this year
My onions never got bigger. I thought I did better with spacing them apart this year, too.

The bees are indulging in the the front-yard sedum.

Cucumber woes
My cucumber plants are a bit stunted. A few of them have been "growing" since July.

New toad lily bloomin
The exotic toad lilies are still popping and the two other varieties are about to do the same.

Sweet Pepper blight
Blight is hitting my peppers hard. I don't think we're getting a second sweet pimiento one.

Turtlehead chelone
What I thought looked like weeds throughout the summer finally bloomed! The turtlehead chelone is producing tons of pretty pink flowers per stem.

Hodge-podge pot
At least the oregano is happy in the crate. The spinach never looked awesome enough to pick. Now some mystery chives and a strangler marigold are poking out.

Sweet 100 cherry tomato
Good tomato.

Crazy tomatoes
Bad tomatoes. Well, the Early Girls in the sad hanging container are. Just below it, the Sugar Shack cherry tomatoes from last year somehow planted themselves into the rocks and RUG. The sprawling plant doesn't look pretty but it's certainly producing.

Let's get back to the all good. More specifically, check out this delicious strawberry in my first set of greeting cards. You can buy a 6-pack now in my Etsy shop. And a new set is coming soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stitched 2010

I didn't need more yarn. That's well-represented by my haul from a shop-closing sale and well, my flickr set of my stash. But I was happy for a weekend away with friends and fiber.

Postcard from Stitches

An annual expo for all things yarn-related, Stitches Midwest was a step above last year. We stayed an extra day and knitted many hours in the fancy hotel lobby. A knitting-board afghan and glow-in-the-dark wrist cuffs were my happy poison. 

Knitting in the lobby

We walked a few laps in the market Friday and discovered a few treasures. I tried to focus on accessories instead of yarn but I was foiled by a few gems. After a day of driving and shopping, we happily relaxed at pajama party hosted by amazing "somebunnyslove" Kimberly. 

Stitches Pajama Party

I was surprised to win the prize for craziest pajamas with my sock monkey'd apparel. My last-minute slippers even matched but they kept falling off. I didn't measure my negative ease too well with the Pretty Peds pattern by Bethany Dailey (PDF). But a simple strap will keep them on for future footing. 

Our Saturday market trek was more laid back. I needle-felted another pin and added to my roving fiber stash. Now I have to actually needle-felt more at home. With all these pretty colors, I have no excuse!

Needle-felted pin on yarn tote

During one of our breaks, Julie Romanowski of Knitters Magazine chatted us up about the show. We told her how we loved the market but haven't tried the rather-pricey classes yet. Then I filled her in how loom-knitting has leaped forward in the past several years. I may have name-dropped a few of my favorite loom makers and authors. I don't know if it will go anywhere. But it would be pretty awesome to see loom-knitting represented at future Stitches. Hey, I would even be willing to teach one of the market sessions if I were a big name.

Saturday was topped by a surprise that I can't talk about yet but it cemented smiles on our faces for the rest of the trip. On Sunday, we knit some more (of course) and then loaded our loot. Without further adieu, here's my take (kinda clockwise):

Stitches loot
Speaking of Flying Fingers, we checked out their ride on our way out.

Yarn bus!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, Canada

A couple weeks ago we took a trip south* to Canada. First, we were tourists for a day at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls
The American and Horseshoe falls, stitched together

Niagara Falls
After the Maid of the Mist boat ride to the falls. We got very wet.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls illumination

For the next few days of our trip, I tried out a little new and old.

Crazy caesar salad
New food ... a caesar salad with tempeh bits, edamame, sun-dried tomato, jicama, red pepper, napa cabbage and pine nuts. Our friend, Debs, took us to this great restaurant, Fresh on Spadina in downtown Toronto.

Lettuce Knit
Old habits ... Checking out a yarn shop called Lettuce Knit in Toronto.

My favorite husband ever bought this delicious yarn candy for me. Hand Maiden Fine Yarn is hand-dyed in Canada. The skein is made of silk, superwash merino wool and seacell. Someday, it will be a luxurious lacey shawl or scarf.

Hand Maiden fine yarn

For the weekend, we crashed at our friend Errol's house, the place of awesome musics and Fluffytron the bunny. Mr. Plate got to collaborate with some of this friends and I got to witness the magic. Go check out the live collab (done in one hour!) "Right on Time" and more by The Cow Exchange in the 50/90 challenge.

Another crafty connection to this trip might be the reason why it took an hour or two to cross the border on our way home. A couple days before we left a woman was busted with 3,000 buttons laced with cocaine. The "fashion designer" was trying to get into the country at the Toronto airport. Good thing we bought yarn, not buttons!

Crossing the border

Alas, we were welcomed back to the U.S. of A. After eight hours of driving, we boarded the Lake Michigan car ferry and sailed to Wisconsin.

SS Badger car ferry 

* And yes, Niagara Falls and Toronto are technically south of Green Bay, Wis.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Remembering Mr. Mitzy

My best bunny friend Mr. Mitzy hopped his way across the rainbow bridge on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. A sudden illness took his life after only 1 year and 7 months. He was a wonderful Rex rabbit who kept me company while working from home.

Handsome bunny

His ashes will be buried in an herb urn. This year I'm planting it with a purple sage and some licorice vine that reminds me of his fur. Next year, I'll plant his favorite munchies. A stone bunny statue that resembles Mitzy as a baby will stand nearby.

A planter in Mitzy's memory

I adopted a 3-month-old Mitzy from the Bay Area Humane Society in March 2010. I thought I was getting a girly bunny but the vet said "It's a boy!" So the "Mr." was added to his name.

Mitzy on a leash!

The furry tumbleweeds got larger and larger as he grew up fast. He loved to play with all sorts of toys. His tunnel and rope carrot were favorites as a babe. He moved on to demolishing baskets. At 6 months old, he became king of his own castle.

King Mitzy

With that photo, he won a Cottontail Cottage in a Bunspace photo contest. A celebrity was born. When he wanted attention or more food, he rattled his cage. When I placed his litterbox in the "wrong" corner, he head-butted it to its proper location. And if I wanted to brush him, I had better be rubbing his nose, too.

Metal bars are not stronger than me

But those were small requests for what he gave back. When I was sad, he would let me hold him for snuggles. He would flop down next to me for rubbas after running his bunny marathon in the room. He would try new veggies, which is more than I can say of myself at times. He even endured a Santa hat for the Christmas postcard.

Merry Mitzmas

He grew to be 8 fluffy pounds. He shared his cage with his stuffed pal, Einstein, who he treated like a real rabbit. 

Grooming his pal

He was a good bunny to the end. I wish I could have saved him from whatever hurt him. He didn't deserve such a short life. He will always be my Mitzy and no bunny can replace him.

A video of his first year (Larger version)

Monday, August 2, 2010

They're coming ...

Dino hat is back
The dino hats are rawring back onto my knitting loom and will be for sale soon. The critters are fresh from their recent win at Vanna's Choice yarn contest. They bit off a 3rd place in hats and won a $100 Michaels gift card for their creator. That will of course go to more yarn for more dino hats. But first, I'm using some soft Dark Horse Fantasy acrylic for the newest dinos — Jade and Eggplant.

Dino hat is back

This contest just made my day. I was shocked and honored to be among such talent. And it felt incredible to see a loom-knit winner in the bunch, mine or not!

These youth-size dinos will be in my Etsy shop this fall but if you want to make them yourself, I'm making it easier for you to do so. I've typed up the pattern and saved it as a handy-dandy PDF.