Starting my first ripple blanket

I am so excited about this. I decided to take some time to make something for myself, thinking that if I started on a blanket big enough to cover a bed now, I’d have it done by the time it gets cold again.

As with any crochet project, the first row is brutal (and a lot of counting to make the ripples), but after that it gets much easier and you can kind of work on it while you’re watching TV at the end of the day.

I’m realizing, too, that in the beginning this looks like a scarf. Hmmm. I’m creating more work for myself.

I don’t mind, though.

Loving: blue vases

I found these at an estate sale last week.

They were sitting in a box on the ground, and I scooped them up before anyone else could notice. The grand total of everything I bought that day, which included two boxes of taper candles, some milk glass items and a clock, was $7. Score.

Sadie says …

“I’m not coming out until the loud booms go away.”

Last weekend when it stormed I kept finding her squished up in various corners of the house. She doesn’t get shaky and panicked like Reggie, just resigned to stay out of harms way until the storm passes.

Don’t mess with my nest

The other day I noticed this mama bird building a nest at the back of our house. We kicked them out of the underside of the roof last year, so I guess this was the next best thing. Hope to see some little birdies in there soon.

Leslie Hall!

Last week I got to meet one of my crafty idols, Leslie Hall. If you don’t know who she is, the best way I can explain her is to say that whenever we’re having a bad day or feeling down at work, we just look up one of her videos, and it always makes us smile. Or, more likely, go into hysterics. Leslie, who incidentally is from 30 miles down the road in Ames, raps about zombies and gem sweaters, always wears gold spandex, and travels around in an RV-turned-sweater museum that she would now like to use for gay weddings. I LOVE her. Can’t get enough of her crazy Web videos.

So last Thursday when she came to a local music venue me and some of my co-workers joined a bunch of other gem-sweater-clad concertgoers for an awesome show. There were tiger costumes. There was a giant sign that said “Shazam”. There was ample-sized booty shaking. And then afterwards, we accosted her and got this photo.

My coworker, Jess, who is also from Ames, is the one practically groping her. I think we had Leslie convinced to come in, craft with us, and do a cover photo shoot. Now that would be awesome.

For your viewing pleasure, I’m including her video for “Craft Talk.” Go ahead, smile!

Update

I have about fifty million things to blog about and lots of photos to share with you, but unfortunately my photo server has been down all day. Maybe if I blog about it, it will come back up?

It has been storming all day, which might be a factor. The dogs have been huddled up against me or Mike most of the day. I thought they were supposed to be the protectors.

He’s making jambalaya for dinner, and I’m making rhubarb crisp for dessert (no strawberries this time). I saw the reddest of red rhubarb stalks at the grocery store and thought I just had to go there. So. much. butter.

Craft Saturday went well, more for the interaction with other crafters than the sales in my case. Me and the vendor next to me both agreed we were probably not projecting a good vibe since we were both stressed and moody when it first started. Shortly before, I was frantically trying to find a post office where I could mail a package and never did. Plus my head filled up with snot, and the neverending cold was starting to get to me.

Anyway, I think when you have a modest sale day it’s helpful to put things in perspective. Some items sell different days, different venues, different times of year. And some things just don’t sell. I’m probably going to stop making some items that in all my efforts have never sold. And I’m going to keep selling the things that do sell, and hopefully experiment with carrying some more vintage items that I find at garage and estate sales. I am finding out just how much I love the treasure hunt. And crochet! I was very inspired by another vendor to keep at that because even though it is crazy time consuming, I do love it.

I’m currently working on a ripple blanket. I’m calling it the retro stripe ripple because it’s got the sort of ’70s colorway that my crochet stripe blanket had. I looked on Etsy and I couldn’t find anything quite like it.

So, I apologize if you are trying to read my blog and no photos are showing up. I promise it will be resolved soon, and I’ll have more updates for you. Until then, I’ll be baking, crocheting, and trying to enjoy the last of this rainy weekend before I go back to the grind.

Craft Saturday!

I’m so excited for tomorrow, when I’ll be selling my goodies at the next Craft Saturday.

I hear it’s supposed to rain, but I hope that doesn’t discourage anyone from coming out because there’s going to be some seriously good stuff there. These things are always bad for profits when you’re going table to table wanting to buy other people’s wares.

I promised some more photos of what I’d be selling, so here you go. Please do come out if you get a chance and support our local craft community.

I have some great recycled wax candles in various sizes.

New are citronella candles, scented with essential oil.

Also new are chalkboard flowerpots.

And cotton crocheted dish scrubbers. I’ve used these in my own kitchen and they are great for scrubbing dirty pots. All are made with yarn remnants from my ridiculous collection.

I’ll also have magnets in two styles:

Covered buttons

and stacked vintage buttons.

And more thumbtacks, in various different fabrics. These are mixed vintage fabrics.

See you there!

Quick veggie curry

I don’t know that this resembles the traditional curries of Indian cooking in any way, but it’s quick and tasty in a pinch. In fact I sort of threw it all together one night when all I had in the house was a few potatoes, some onions and a bag of frozen veggies. My first attempts at a veggie curry used tomatoes and came out very bland. I think this is better because it uses butter and enough curry powder to make a very aromatic dish.

Quick Veggie Curry

4 small potatoes, cut into 1-inch slices
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 bag of mixed frozen vegetables
2 T. butter
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. half and half

Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the potatoes and onions and saute for a few minutes. Cover the pan to help the potatoes steam.

Toss in your veggies and mix everything together.

Season with a good amount of salt and pepper, then add the curry powder and stir.

Let the veggies cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are nice and soft. You’ll probably have to taste one to make sure you have the right flavor and texture. You can always add more spices, or more oil if it gets too dry.

Pour the half and half into the mixture and let it thicken for a couple of minutes before you remove the pan from the heat.

Serve over rice or just plain.

Clearing the clutter from my desk

A long time ago I decided that all the little doo dads in my office were getting cluttered so I needed some little containers for paperclips, thumb tacks, rubber bands, etc. I found some tins with clear lids at a paper store for about 50 cents apiece and bought 10 or so, then filled them up and tossed them in a basket on my desk. Which meant that every time I wanted a stamp or an address label I had to go rifling through the basket to find the right tin. Not much of a solution.

So, finally, during one of our many, many trips to Home Depot (see previous post) I picked up a 12-inch square sheet of stainless steel on which my little tins could stick. I knew I had some magnet sheets with adhesive backing that I could cut to size, making my tins like the little spice jars on my fridge.

The only problem was that the stainless steel sheets you get at a hardware store have really sharp edges. So I dropped a few more bucks on a metal file and filed down the edges. So it only took several years, but I finally de-cluttered my desktop and I think my little stainless steel wall-o-goodies is pretty darn cute.

Garden beginnings

Over the weekend while I struggled mightily to figure out how to cut old glass bottles and remake them into some sort of glass votive, Mike got started on our garden. (By the way, that task is much more difficult than I ever thought it would be.) We’ve had various incarnations of a fence around a square of dirt in the backyard, and it usually works fine at keeping out the bunnies, chipmunks, and other critters who will otherwise nibble our plants to the roots.

But this year, Mike went all out and built us a respectable garden fence. This started a few months ago when we trekked to Home Depot and picked out wood boards and I whined about having to be there. Then he stained them to seal out the water. After they dried we went back to Home Depot in search of staple gun staples and I whined some more about having to be there. What is it about that place that instantly turns me into a 5-year-old?

Finally he got to staple on the chicken wire, arrange the fence around the dirt, and stake it to the ground. Doesn’t it look great?

He also decided to pitch our old compost bin, which was a great idea (basically a plastic tube on a bar that you could turn to mix the compost), but it just never quite functioned properly. Instead he built this two-part cinder block wall (one side for older material, one side for new). After we went to Home Depot. Again.

If you would like to build your own compost area, Mike has built an online model that you can copy.

Soon we’ll have actual plants!