Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Week, Gone?

We've had beautiful weather here, and the bugs aren't out in force yet. That means I've been outside. I usually walk a lot this time of year, but since I've discovered letterboxing, it gives me even more incentive to be outside.

I have to admit becoming obsessed with some of the clues, particularly the ones written in code. You have to have an *inner Nancy Drew* to spend time on this, I think. It's very satisfying to decode something, then go to the actual physical location and find what you're looking for.

Yesterday I went on a hike/letterbox search in a nearby National Park. It was a gorgeous day and the trail went alongside a large creek hidden away in the middle of town. When you begin, you can still hear traffic roaring by, but things get calmer as you hike deeper inside. It's a nice easy trail, and then this:

There's a whole section that's roped off. The letterbox clues say that the trail continues over the rocks, so of course I continue. If I had been just hiking, I would have turned around. I think this letterboxing thing makes you so determined to find the prize, that some of your common sense and judgment goes to the wayside. And of course, that hilarious image of the guy busting his butt (an official sign, mind you) should give a person pause.

Needless to say, I survived (I'm here!) and even had to return the same way, meaning I had to cover that section twice. I didn't take any photos, I was a little stressed out at the time, but let me just tell you it was wet dripping rocks hanging over a big (polluted and sewage-reeking) stream. Just when you crossed a section and thought you were finished, there was another rock face to cross. . . Whew. . .

But I was proud to survive it.

Here's a a side view of an old dam. This creek is home to an old Civil War era textile mill that was burned to the ground by W. T. Sherman. I'm going back over to the mill side today with a friend to show her around and look for another letterbox.

This tree has a bizarre canker that looks just like a kiwi fruit.

I think the weather's going to be a little rainy this weekend, which is good, because I haven't practiced any drawing all week. I've got a pair of socks going, but they're not very exciting. I ordered yarn to make a crocheted afghan, which is will be the next big project. I want to sew too. (Scattered much??)


Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Fun

Easter snuck up on me this year.

We dyed some eggs.

Had an egg hunt.

Made a bunny cake.

Whew, I think that was enough.

I went out and bought This Book at Hobby Lobby:

The kids and I made Peep Smores, but the kids wouldn't eat them. . . They really puffed up in the microwave though. Make sure to check out The Peep Show II at the Washington Post, click on Gallery to see the photos.

In crafty news, I don't have much to show this week. I'm taking a beginning drawing class, so I've been working on that. I'm trying to do an hour's worth or a drawing a day, but I haven't gone much beyond basic forms. We haven't moved on to shading or shadows, so they don't look very good, really unfinished. I guess I could try it on my own, I don't think the teacher cares.

I have to say though, that the class is large (12) and I was shocked that many of the students are art professionals, who have left the field and are returning. I feel like the lone newbie in a room full of ringers. Must stop comparing myself to others. . .

So far most of my drawings are of sewing notions. Maybe I'll post a few when I deem them *finished*. . .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Crocheted Shamrocks

We had scary storms nearby on Friday and Saturday, but nothing close to where I am. We had to evacuate a birthday party we attended Saturday due to a tornado warning, but it was a false alarm.

I made a couple of these Lacy Clovers in my spare time. The first one is with a double stranded crochet thread (Gemini Double Crochet by Coats and Clark) and I think it could have used a bigger hook. (Ignore my dirty ironing board cover, ick.)

This one is some leftover Aunt Lydia's size 10. I tied a ribbon to it to make a bookmark.

Sunday was gorgeous, and ds and I did some letterboxing. Here he is retrieving a box from above a huge waterfall. I wish I had taken more photos so you could get an idea of how high above the falls he was, yikes!

I am amazed at how many great places there are nearby for hiking, which I would not have discovered if not for this hobby. There are some very *wild* places right in the middle of our city. The ones near the waterfall are National Park Service trails -- I had no idea they existed, it's just a big green spot on the map.

I was just reading an article in our local paper about how many people in the area claim Irish ancestry. My mother is an amateur genealogist, so I had her print off a family tree for ds when I visited her last weekend. (Ds is at the age where family history comes up in school projects.) We have one male ancestor born in Ireland in 1753, another born 1700, Ulster, Ireland, his wife, born in Ulster, Ireland. There are about 3 born in County Antrim, Ireland in the early 1700s too. I can't calculate the percentage, but maybe mom's computer program could. I think all of my Irish ancestors came over long before the potato famine, that was mid-1800s, right? Most of them came to South Carolina. Was it a penal colony back then?? Ha. . .


Friday, March 14, 2008

Amigurumi in the Garden

These were really fun to make. The Pattern was very well written. I planned to give them to a friend(who loves garden gnomes)'s dd for her birthday, but ds wants to keep them. I don't know what I'll do.

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and an F crochet hook. There are some parts where my gauge seems really loose (the body of the dragonfly). You can see some large bits of polyfil coming through in places, particularly where I'm decreasing. I guess this goes with the territory, but maybe I need to try to search out some more tips, or a smaller hook.

I wanted to make the ladybug and the monarch butterfly, but I didn't have the right colors of yarn. I must say the little daisy looks delightful. I think she's my favorite.

I messed up the mushroom because my top and bottom pieces had differing numbers of stitches, so I fixed that by adding another increase round to the bottom. I think this made it more cup-shaped rather than flat. Next time I'll pay more attention.

I'm making a dent in my scraps, yay!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shamrock Potholder

I just joined a new group at Ravelry called Theme Pattern Seekers where I found a link to this Shamrock Potholder pattern. I am always looking for small seasonal projects like this, so it's great to have a place to search. I spend hours googling for free patterns, what a great timesaver. If you haven't joined Ravelry, really, you should, it's an amazing resource. I just joined a soapmaking group over there too. . .


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Green Sweater

It's finished and I love it. This is the Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down V Neck T Shirt for Women #993. Size 46. Modifications: Made long sleeves by decreasing twice on each side of the marker every 6 rows (21 times). Instead of ribbing, made a crochet shell edging on the neckline and sleeves.

Instead of ribbing at the hem, I did a row of Knit 2 together, yarn over all the way across. After you knit that row, you knit 6 rows of plain knitting for the hem.

Then I sewed each live stitch to a stitch on the back to fold up the hem.

Originally, I wanted to use the crochet shell edge on the hem but it kept rolling up, so my mom suggested this hem. It looks so pretty and feminine, I love it. After making something as boring as this, I wanted to try some new and interesting finishing techniques.

Also, I made the sweater a bit longer than I want it because my gauge swatch shrunk lengthwise in the dryer. I lengthened the body by 2 inches and the sleeves by 1.5 inches, so I hope it works out. I used 7 balls of Lime Lion Brand CottonEase and size 7 needles.

We went to my parents' for the weekend and had an early birthday party for my dad. We also did a little letterboxing, although it was cold, and it seems like our luck was really bad. We searched for 6 boxes and only found 2.

We saw some cute llamas (or alpacas?) around the corner from the house I grew up in.

Batty by the fire, yesterday afternoon. I think he missed me this weekend.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Out of Sorts

The knitting is done on this interminable sweater. I think I'll do a crocheted shell edging on it. I like the natural roll on the sleeves, but I don't need that kind of curling on the hem edge, rubbing against my chair every time I sit down, ugh. . .

I think I might play with this next:

My friend's daughter (my friend who likes garden gnomes) is having a birthday party next weekend, so I might make some of these for her. Maybe the daughter will like them too -- she's turning 5.

This weekend I'm supposed to go visit my parents and a friend who lost her dad last month. Naturally, I had the whole trip planned around letterboxing. There are 4 (4!!!) boxes hidden in interstate rest stops and various places on the way up there and it's only a 100 mile drive. . . However, it's raining like crazy today, but tomorrow is supposed to be windy with snow flurries, so I can't decide whether to drive up tonight or tomorrow. . . The traffic will be a rush-hour nightmare if I go tonight. Just can't decide, but I need to call my mom and let her know.

The other problem is I ordered this book for my Dad's birthday next week, and it's not here yet from amazon -- they're usually quicker than that.

I am so bad about ordering things online and then expecting them to arrive instantly. I ordered some rain boots and a pair of all weather sneakers from LLBean this week and now I'm mad because it's raining today and they're not here yet. So impatient. . .

I think I posted that I planted a letterbox in a nearby park a couple of weeks ago (the box with the cheerleading megaphone stamp). We had a severe windstorm come through a week later, and the park was closed while they removed all the downed trees. Yesterday I went to check on it and it's still there and all the landmarks are in place, so it's good to go. I hope some letterboxer finds it this weekend.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Spring Already?

It was so warm here this weekend, around 70 degrees F, I think. I started my seedlings.

Dh bought an old Corvette this weekend (midlife crisis car? Yes, I think) and I had to drive him to a neighboring suburb to pick it up. Ds and I spent the day afterward hunting letterboxes in a bunch of parks in that part of town. It was so beautiful and sunny and most of the parks had playgrounds. It was a really nice day.

Friday I went to Hancocks and got some fabric to make the dress from the Spring Burda Plus. I never wear dresses, but I do have a wedding to go to in May, so I'm going to try it out. I hope to have enough leftover to make a top, which I need more than a dress.

Progress continues slowly on this boring sweater. (Movies I have been watching to pass the time: Becoming Jane, Jane Austen Bookclub (don't bother, ick), Darjeeling Limited (Awesome!), La Vie En Rose, 3:10 to Yuma (Man I love that gay cowboy!), Elizabeth The Golden Age. Next up is Paris, Je T'aime.) I only have a sleeve and a half to go and I'm planning a crocheted edge on the neckline and the bottom, but won't decide about the sleeves until I get closer to the end.

It was a busy weekend even though I don't have much to show for it. . .


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