Monday, January 26, 2015

Overrun with Owls

Dear loved ones:

Stop buying us owls.  It's not that we don't love them.  We do.  We reeeeeaaaaallllyyy do.  See?  We sleep with them every night (please note: not all owls shown.  Which is to say, there are more). 

And then, every morning, we bundle them up and carry them all to another room, where we spread them out on the couch and play with each and every one.  And then there are owls scattered everywhere all day, until the end of the day, when they must each be found (less all hell break loose and demons rain from the skies which is clearly what would happen if a single owl went missing).  

And so the cycle continues.

We appreciate the owls.  We adore them.  We cannot possibly house any more of them.

With affection,


P.S. Please don't tell Willow I sent this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making One's Own Butter

You know the devil and angel thing?  Well, on one shoulder I've got Apocalypse Nikki and on the other I've got Sensible Nikki and on my third shoulder (well, we're imagining, I might as well be a freaky three-shouldered weirdo) I've got Overboard Nikki. 

Usually they cancel each other out and I don't end up doing anything weird.  When Apocalypse Nikki fantasizes about how wonderful it would be to live without electricity, Sensible Nikki points out how much Overboard Nikki loves television.  When Overboard Nikki wants to try making a five course meal, Apocalypse Nikki says cooking for days for one meal is insane you should be learning how to farm not deep frying parsley and Sensible Nikki says a restaurant would almost be cheaper.  And so forth.

But sometimes two of the Nikkis get crazy ideas (you can guess which ones) and Sensible Nikki is left in the dust. 

Case in point:

 A friend gave us some fresh, unpasteurized milk.  I say us, but I really mean me, because my mom looked queasy and totally wouldn't touch it and I GUARANTEE that it is sitting there in her refrigerator, spoiled.  But not me!  Sensible Nikki might have been a bit leery, but Overboard Nikki and Apocalypse Nikki said "Wheeeeeeee!  Let's make butter!!!!!"

Sensible Nikki did have some influence, for we used the stand mixer instead of shaking an earthen jug.
 Squeezing out the buttermilk through a paper towel (not a cheesecloth that I wove myself, sadly).
 Adding salt that I did not harvest from the beach myself.
And voila!  Butter! 

It was delicious.  Nobody except me and Dave and Willow ate any, but it was great and tasted just like butter you can buy at a store. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We're heading off to warmer climes, and will return, as always, with many pictures to make you jealous.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

First Crochet Experience

Day 1

9:30 a.m.  I have to make three totoros for Willow's cousin Francie in three days.  I can do this.  Oooh, the amirigurumi one is so cute!  I want to make that!  I can kind of spin and kind of sew, surely I can kind of crochet!

9:45 a.m.  Okay, I don't have the exact right yarn, but if I hold this one double it'll work.

9:50 a.m. Uh.  It's kind of hard to pull two strands at a time through without getting confused.

10:15 a.m. How the heck do you know where the end of the round is???  I'm using a safety pin.

10:22 a.m. Even with the safety pin I can't really tell.

10:27 a.m. No seriously.

10:45 a.m. This sure uses up a lot of yarn.

11:10 a.m. I'm totally going to run out of yarn.  Dangit.  Also this thing is going to be HUGE.  This is just the top of the head.

11:11 a.m. Okay, new plan.  I'm going to make one totoro in three days, because that is more
realistic.  It will also be smaller.

12:09 p.m. Much better.  And much easier using only one strand of yarn!

Day 2

12:20 p.m. Uhoh.  This is taking a long time.  I might still run out of yarn--and that CANNOT HAPPEN.

2:00 p.m. OHMYGOD this is going to be the biggest totoro in all the land.

2:10 p.m. Oh duh.  This is his whole body not just his head.  WHEW.

Day 3

10:45 a.m. Crocheting uses different parts of the fingers than knitting does, and so my calluses are useless.  I'm getting a blister.  Wah.

12:00 p.m.  I still can't figure out where the end of round is, by the way.

Day 4

This is taking FOREVER.  I should have started this weeks ago.  I thought this was a one-day project, tops.  Time to wrap it up.

Day 5

Progress!  I have made an egg with eyes.


Day 6

It looks kinda freaky.  I'm just sayin'.

Day 7         Now it looks like a freaky bunny.  Maybe the tail and legs will help.

Day 8                Only sort of.                                                                                           

Well.  I am now SUPER COMFORTABLE with single crochet.  I have MASTERED single crochet, having made a nine-inch-tall totoro/freaky bunny.   Although I never really figured out how to tell where the round ended.

And here he is with his knit totoro family (you can see why I wanted to switch to crochet this time around.  They look a little worse for wear.  The cat really likes them, you see).


Oh well.  Merry Christmas, Francie!

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Lendrum-Spun!

It's BFL, and I feel I have done it a disservice.  There are a lot of those overspun, twisted things, and it's super thick/thin.  I had problems drafting evenly (obviously) and keeping my tension so that it pulled at the right speed, so that it wasn't getting overspun.

That said, I'm not too sad.  It was my first one, and it is still knitable, and while I don't love the twisty things, the thick/thin is kind of fun, even if I would prefer it if it was something intentional and controlled.  I ended up with 206 yards at 9 wpi.

My second one went so much better.  This is 4 oz of merino/tencel from The Sheep Shed, in "Winter."  I found it fairly difficult to draft, so I ended up pre-drafting the fiber out into a fan shape and then drafting from there.  I was still overspinning again if I wasn't careful, but I managed to keep that from happening nearly so often.  The fibers were quite strong, given the tencel, so I wanted it to have a fairly loose twist.

I ended up with 199 yards at 13 wpi.  It's a little thick/thin, unsurprisingly, but not nearly so much as the BFL, and so while according to my charts it's a sport weight, I'll probably end up using a US 6 or 7 needle, because it is so aerated, and I want to preserve that.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A. M. Rush

7:30  I wake up.  I have slept late, and it is a luxury, but it means that I have to do all the things in half an hour, because Willow needs to be out the door at 8:00.  Despite this, I go leisurely about my morning, making my coffee, admiring Willow's breakfast, watching Dave take his daily pictures of the kids to put on facebook (a strange pastime, but there you are).

7:45  It occurs to me that perhaps things should move along a little faster.  I request that Willow come with me to get dressed.

7:50  Willow finally comes with me to get dressed.

7:55  Willow is finally dressed.  This is a lengthy process involving much negotiation, and we finally settle on a purple dress with star pants.

7:56  I get dressed.  Well, I change my pajama pants for jeans, figuring my coat will hide my pajama top while I take her to school.

8:00  We get on shoes.  I holler to Dave for various emergency items, like quarters for Willow so she can buy things at the school farmer's market, all the while negotiating with Willow over which jacket, scarf, hat, and mittens she will wear today.  We don't have quarters readily available, so Dave has to dismantle Willow's piggy bank in order to get them.

8:05  We leave.  We walk partway up the block to the school before Willow says matter-of-factly, "Today is Everybody Wear Pink day.  Pink is for No Bullying."  I look down at her purple dress, aghast.  "Yes, it is pink day.  But you're not wearing pink.  It's the one day of your life you're not wearing pink."

8:06  We rush back in the door.  We holler at Dave to find pink clothes, stat.  We tear off Willow's carefully chosen hat, mittens, scarf and purple dress.  Dave comes back with a pink shirt and pink pants.  Willow refuses to wear anything that doesn't involve a dress or a skirt.  I send Dave back upstairs for a pink skirt.  There are clothes everywhere.  We get Willow dressed in the pink shirt with pink skirt and start to put her hat and mittens back on.  The scarf is refused because it isn't pink.

8:08  It occurs to me that RockNoodle wasn't wearing pink.  I send Dave back upstairs to find something pink of RockNoodle's, and I can bring it to her at school.  Dave is a bit winded by this point.

8:09  We run to school. 

8:10  I resolve to get up earlier tomorrow.