Saturday, May 31, 2008

I sewed!

Alright, here it is. I made a newborn sized diaper. I used a free pattern and all the supplies were in my craft closet. So, it's basically a free diaper. It has some issues (too thick for one, and the elastic is probably 20 years old) but it was just a tester to see if I could even do it. I have it pinned closed as I had no velcro to use. I'd love to buy a snap press, but that sort of defeats the purpose of being thrifty in making diapers.

Mary's newborn sized diapers fit her for about 6 weeks. We had a pretty small rotation of diapers and I'd like to have a larger one this time. I hope to get about 8-10 more newborn sized ones done, and then I might move on to bigger sizes. Or maybe I'll wait until the baby is born.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Would you like cookies with that?

After you finish your hamburger, you should have some cookies and tea. Two of the cookies are for Mary, and 4 of them are being shipped off in the mail this afternoon. These cookies are my last yarn project for a while. I am going to drag out the sewing machine and try to make some diapers for the baby. I am not the world's best at sewing, so who knows if anything will actually come of trying.

We are also working on an old hutch that Mom gave me. It has a beautiful natural finish on it, but the shelves are so warped that the hutch can't be used anymore. I want my vintage Fiesta in it, but every time we walked by the hutch everything banged and rattled so much I took it all out. So the hutch is in the garage. John's going to put new shelves in it and work on the doors and drawers. Currently they are all so out of square that they don't shut right. Then we are going to paint it white so that the Fiesta will show up better. I'd like to add lighting, but the lights I want are a bit expensive so that will have to wait. I hope to get started with sanding it tonight.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Anyone hungry?

If you are hungry, I could make you a cheeseburger with tomato, red onion, and lettuce. But, it would take about 3 days to make it. So I hope you don't mind waiting:).

I made this one for Mary. She LOVES it. I gave it to her piece by piece as I finished them. Yesterday she took the cheese, tomatoes and lettuce to the store with us and we "ate" them as we shopped. Then we lost a tomato. I've already made a replacement. Thank goodness for scrap yarn!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've probably lost my mind

I got a package in the mail yesterday which was either the best $15 I've ever spent in my life, or the dumbest. Right now, I am going to say it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. I got a Baltic Amber necklace. It's supposed to help with headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome among other things. The website I bought it from states this:

"Baltic amber is a natural pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-oxidant. It is beneficial to the immune system, and helps combat infection and skin conditions. Amber has been used in Europe as a natural and traditional remedy and curative for many ailments for centuries. Long ago it was considered one of the leading ‘medicines’ of its time. "

I've had dull headaches on and off the entire time I've been pregnant (had them last time too) and crocheting hurts my wrists so much these days. I have never been diagnosed with carpal tunnel, but from what I have read it's a similar pain. I avoid medications while I am pregnant (and nursing), so the last time I had a Tylenol was February 2005. I got pregnant with Mary that May, and have been pregnant, nursing, or pregnant AND nursing for just over 3 years now. Even though the general consensus is that some drugs are safe while pregnant/nursing, I'd rather go without them. (But I won't dare give up my coffee!) So, I figured this necklace might help my headaches. I had a mild one yesterday and within 2 hours of putting the necklace on my headache was gone! They usually don't go away until I've slept and wake up the next morning (and sometimes they are still there). I feel great this morning. I slept with the necklace on. For maximum benefits, one needs to wear it all the time except in the shower. So, I'm leaving mine on. I'll post an update on my headaches and wrist pain. I have a huge crochet project going right now, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I shouldn't knit while watching Lost

So I started this little soaker on Sunday afternoon. I was making great progress. John and I decided to watch Lost Sunday night. There I was, watching and knitting. I thought I had enough of the rise done to start the legs. I knew I needed 36 stitches for the front and 38 for the back. So, I counted out 36 stitches and started the BACK!! argh! I noticed 2 rows later and ripped that part out. Then I got going again, was going to count 38 stitches from the stitch marker (beginning of the row), but the stitch marker was laying on the arm of the couch !&!^!^%!. Okay, guessed where the marker was supposed to be, counted correctly and got going. Got the back and front both done.....but the entire rise was way too short. So, I ripped the front and back all out. Then I looked at the pattern. Oh! I was supposed to knit in the round for 4 inches before starting the legs, not 3.5 inches. Knitted the extra 1/2 inch in the round, did the front and back right (that makes the leg holes), grafted the seam, did the cuffs and was done! woohoo! It still turned out smaller than expected (I have no idea why) but hopefully it will fit the baby for a week or two (then I'm selling the dang thing!).

And no, it's not a boy. I just like the color blue.

Busy weekend

We've been spending so much time outside working in our yard. The lady who lived here before us had a.........carefree approach to landscaping. When we moved in, there was a maple tree growing out of a crack in the driveway. John's Dad said she had the attitude that if the maple seed fell there and a tree grew, then it was meant to be (we cut it down the week we moved in). A lot of the trees are dead, dying or need heavy pruning. The entire woods and treeline is covered in invasive honeysuckle which chokes out all native woodland plants. We are slowly cutting/pulling it out. The yard itself is about 3 acres and the woods are another 2 acres.

When we bought the house, there were some issues with some trees planted too close to the house which were causing erosion issues. They are all gone, but now our house looks so naked. So we are slowly working on landscaping around the house itself. The deck of the house is on the south side, and the sun is brutal. So on Saturday we planted a new red oak tree on the south west corner of the house. And in 20 years, it might actually provide some shade:).

That isn't the best picture because the tree is green and everything else is too. Plus there's another small tree to the back and just to the left of it that takes away from the oak. Anyway, it's a nice sized tree and we are really happy with it. If I were to guess, I'd say it is 10 feet tall.

Next, John planted 3 hydrangea bushes for me. They are on the west side of the house which is the back of the house. There was absolutely nothing there before. We still need to mulch and kill the grass, etc.

On that corner of the house (left side of the pic), Mom gave me 6 nice sized ornamental grass clumps. They aren't really that tall yet, but will look really good soon. Well, as soon as we kill all the grass around them and mulch it. Right now they are just sort of planted out in the yard, and we can't mow behind them anymore, so the actual grass is about 2 feet tall. We'll get to that this summer sometime though. It will just be all mulch behind them once we get it the way we want it.

I also got my planter boxes near the garage filled with annuals Sunday and they are going to be so pretty once they grow a bit. John mowed the entire yard which took 4 hours on the riding mower. We pulled some invasive garlic mustard which is taking over parts of the yard. I worked in my hosta garden a bit, and we dug up some daffodils that were old and hadn't bloomed this year. I am going to replant them (space them out a bit, they were completely compacted) and fertilize. Hopefully they will do something next year.

Okay, one last picture. These just bloomed this week, but the rain and wind have pretty much already done them in. There are several poppies planted in a little garden near the driveway.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shorties for baby

Well, at least one good thing comes out of my back pain. I sit and knit all day:). Poor Mary though, I feel awful leaving her in front of the TV and not being able to play with her. But I feel better today! We did all kinds of things this morning. Watercolors, "glue" (constuction paper and shapes, etc), made some muffins, and spent the morning in good moods. It's sunny today, so we'll be getting out later to play and get some fresh air.

I have both of the yarns below knit up. Now I am out of yarn. I just dyed some blue up this morning, but it won't be dry until Sunday at least. I need to dye up another batch, but it will have several colors and take a while to do.

Here they are. They aren't the exact same size/shape since I don't know what shape this baby will be. I'd call them both newborn sized. They have a lot of stretch and the yarn is super soft. I am hoping they will last for 6 weeks or so before the baby is too big for them. Then it will be time for longies.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New baby stuff

First of all, if this sweet baby inside of me doesn't get off my sciatic nerve soon, he/she is going to get a serious talking to as soon as he/she is born!! I suffered for the first 4 months, then felt great for a month, and now I am in miserable pain again. I've slept sitting up on the couch for the last 2 nights. Only 106 days to go!

Since we will be cloth diapering this new baby, I am currently working on his/her wool "stash." So far I've made 2 soakers, one pair of longies (which I now worry aren't long enough), and one pair of shorties. I've been dyeing up some of the yarn myself too. It's fun. I am trying really hard to make everything gender neutral since this baby will be a surprise.

Here's a yarn I dyed up a couple weeks ago.

It was supposed to be green, blue, yellow and MEDIUM purple, but the purple came out really dark. Oops. Oh well, the joy of dyeing.

I did this one last week.
It's actually several colors. That isn't the best picture. It's orange, 2 blues, 2 greens and yellow. I am knitting it up into some shorties right now. I started today and hope to finish Friday. Maybe sooner if I really get going on them.

I have some ideas for a few more colorways, but I need to pull the undyed yarn off the skein and weigh it first, etc so I haven't gotten to it. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An evening walk

Every night after dinner, I walk the day's kitchen scraps out to the compost bin. This is the view of the yard walking back towards the composter.

Here's the composter. John made it out of blocks that the previous homeowner left here. Nothing fancy, but it works. The right half is for compost, and the left side is for burning stuff (sticks, limbs, etc, etc). On top you can see my stainless steel bucket for collecting kitchen scraps. The compost side has a lid (sheet of plywood with huge holes drilled into it so rain can get in), but it's off right now. The only reason we have a lid is because we have raccoons in our yard. But they seem to leave the compost alone so we haven't bothered putting it back.

Tossing in tonight's scraps. I put in fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds (and filters), cat hair, human hair sometimes, wool yarn, and the occasional paper towel or tissue. We also put in items from the yard like grass clippings and leaves, etc as needed. I think it's looking pretty good this spring. I think we started this pile last July.

After I do the composting, I walk out and check on my hosta garden. This area was just part of the yard last summer when we moved in. We removed the sod, and John tilled up the area. Some of the plants are from my old Evansville garden, and some are from my Mom. I think they all look really good this spring, considering most of them sat in pots most of the summer and it was really, really dry here last fall. I have before pictures, but the odds of me finding time to upload them are pretty slim these days:).

See that dead tree directly behind St. Francis? John noticed on Saturday that a bird had made her nest there. So I took a picture of her last night.

There's a lot more of our property/yard to see, but it was chilly last night and Mary and I were about to head off to a La Leche League meeting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Plastic bags

One of my goals for the year is to stop using plastic grocery bags. So far I have 2 reusable bags and am waiting on them to :"pay" for themselves. Each time I go to Meijer or Marsh, I get a 5 cent per bag credit. I paid 99 cents for one bag and got the other one free. So far, I have received 55 cents in credits. Once that's down to zero, I'll buy another bag. I think I have another free one coming in the mail too.

Each year in America, 14,000,000,000 plastic shopping bags are used. Of those, only 1% are recycled. It takes 12,000,000 barrels of oil to produce these bags. Some studies indicate that it could take a plastic bag 500 years to break down in a landfill, though that number has also been disputed. There are a lot more statistics about plastic bags that you can find on the Internet if you really want to learn more.

So, for now, I still do use a few plastic bags each time I go to the store. I recycle them or reuse them though. After I get enough reusable bags, I'll quit using plastic ones for good. And I'll feel a lot better about myself:).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

my new blog

Thanks to my friend Karen, I've decided to start a blog. I am not sure what it will really be about. Life in the country, my attempt at a green and natural life, gardening, our 3 acre yard, our fixer upper house, my wonderful daughter, the second half of this pregnancy and the upcoming birth of our second child, my journey through attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, my love of knitting and dyeing yarn, and whatever else comes to mind.