Monday, October 27, 2014

holy dove

painting and collage by my son

of "pidge" 

the white pigeon he rescued and keeps.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

how 'bout them apples?

exactly 14 apples from our day at the orchard left...

exactly enough for this tried-and-true apple pie recipe...

so far, so good - smells heavenly!
the crust was being troublesome, but after a few tries and chilling it over night, it turned out okay.
oh! how could this have happened? i was standing right near the oven the whole time.
edges burnt, and inside it was a watery mess.
does it look like the pie is screaming? throwing up? going to the dentist?
well, it should be doing at least one of those things.

i couldn't let all those apples go to waste, so the apples got fished out 
& the good parts of the crust got broken up and mixed in.
i don't know what to call this... apple crumble? diane's unintentional apple surprise delight?
anyway, with a splash of almond milk, it was delicious.
the only problem is there is way too much of it.
also, i'm left with mounds of unused dough (i had to make a second batch 
for the top crust when the first batch just wouldn't roll out).
i tried turning some of it into cookies. they'd be good for checkers,
or anything you may need hard, doughy, disk-shaped objects for,
except cookies. 

today (if i can face the kitchen again) i may try turning the rest of it into crackers. 
if you see nothing more on the subject, 
feel free to assume they were third in the list of baking fails.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

making progress

after unraveling all of this, it wasn't so easy to begin again, 
so i tried some color motivation, and it helped.

re- producing exactly what it was before felt too mechanical, 
so to make it feel new, each color group will have its own department, 
separated by a ripple of cream. 
...progress as of last night
...looking forward to each new block of color oughta keep me going.

lots more progress and growth in my indoor garden of three, too!
here was my sweet purple shamrock in her old pinching shoes, remember?

look at all her brand new growth! shoots and flowers galore. 
it makes me sad to think how cramped and depleted her roots must've been 
before new soil, a bigger pad, and the yummy doggie treat plant sticks.

this one is looking mighty healthy and lush, too.

they're doing so well, do i dare dream of bringing home 
some little brother and sister plants for them?
yes! i dare dream!

here are four that are being considered for adoption:
maidenhair fern, prayer plant, snake plant, and peace plant

i feel that, based on their names, they should be able to live harmoniously, together
and with their elder siblings, as long as there's enough room on the windowsill.
if there's anything more to it than that and a little water and shade,
i'll have to make quite a bit more progress in the horticultural knowledge department.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

crocheted mitts how-to

diagnosis: pattern-writing-loser shame

here (just after i prattle on for a bit) is a "pattern" i wrote up a while ago. 

pattern writing is not something i know much anything about...
moreover, i am bad bad just plain bad at it.

but this one is so easy, & so many people have asked how to make these mitts,
that i figure, even if it's written imperfectly,
you will come to your own more "correct" conclusions in the making of them,
and/or make many happy accidents discoveries uniquely your own.

for instance, maybe you'd like yours frill- or stripe- or thumb-tube-free...
or with longer or shorter cuffs.
once you get going, you'll easily see how any of those variations and more 
can magically happen right in your own clever hands.

so here it is ~ feel free to flagrantly disregard choices of yarns* & colors,
because "flagrant disregard" is one of the things that makes life worth living.

*though it seems something springy and woolish would be best
for keeping their shape and your human mitts toasty. 

several people have expressed concern 
about their ability to do these "right," and even to do them at all.

you mustn't regard fretful mind curmudgeons while making these here mitts
(or anything else, for that matter). 
(unless you're making the cure for cancer or something.) 
(in that case you must regard, at the very least, your fool head off.)
& i doubt you want mitts that come out all tight and serious after 
having been clenched and worried over to within an inch of their lives -
or ones that never even get done at all, because you imagine something terrible
 might happen, owing to your shameful utter lack of inborn automatic expertise.
as if people are born knowing how to make perfect garments every day.
people who aren't you.

no, silly, you were born with something far better:
the chance to love experiments and make messes and get strained squash in your hair.
so relax, and don't worry 'bout nuthin'!
the worst that could possibly happen is you'd get irretrievably tangled up in yarn
and have to grow old lost inside a massive knot forever and ever.
even on the rare chance of that happening, would it really be so horrible?
no! for one thing, no more laundry!
so let's get started.

  • @ 1/2 skein each of (what i used was) soft dk wool (color 1) and dk-weight mohair (color 2) in contrasting colors - or about one whole skein of whatever you like.
  • size US F hook (or whichever size hook matches your choice of yarn) 
  • needle for sewing up and weaving in ends
  • devil-may-care attitude

guage: darned if i know ~ i used the try-on-as-you-go method with good results, so that's how i wrote the directions. 
for the cuffs:
chain 15 with dk wool, turn ~sc into 2nd ch from hook, and sc each st down the row, ch 1, turn
~ sc tbl only into each st, ch 1, turn ~ repeat from ~ to ~ for about 20 - 22 rows, or until it fits your wrist snugly, but not tightly. (try it on as you go by stretching it and holding the edges together with your other hand, to make it to fit your own wrist size.)
note: going through the back loops creates the “ribbed” effect.
sew ends of cuff together with a strand of dk wool threaded into your needle, by stitching beneath one whole ch st on one edge, and tbl on the other edge (this makes the seam somewhat invisible and maintains the ribbed appearance.)
start base of mitt:
still with dk wool, sc in each “stitch” on one end of the cuff for about 32 - 35 stitches around. fewer stitches for a snugger fit, more for looser. (you may have to try it out a few times to get the fit you want.)
sc in each stitch around, sl st into first st, ch 1, sc in each stitch around, sl st into first st of previous round, sl st, join new color, ch 1, sc in each st around (note: don’t cut off the first color, twist it with the second color so that it is carried up and ready to pick up when you change colors in the next round.) (also, the ch 1 at the start of the round allows you to skip one stitch - it’s the small-looking first stitch of the previous row.)
the stripe sequence i used was: 2 rounds of dk wool (dark grey), 1 round of mohair (ice blue).
continue on in this way until mitt reaches the base of your thumb, remembering to twist each stitch at the beginning of the row, so that you can easily change colors and not leave ends or loopy yarns on the inside. end with one dk wool row.
for the left hand thumb opening: (this will be the “second round” of dk wool or color 1 if using two colors in stripe pattern as i did) chain 7, sk 6, join into 7th sc and continue around the mitt, “bypassing” the thumbhole formed by the chain and the skipped stitches (they will be “outside” of the “hand” part of the mitt that you will continue to work upwards. (you’ll work the thumbhole into a little thumb tube afterwards).
for the right hand thumb opening: (this will be the “second round” of dk wool or color 1, if using 2 colors in stripe pattern) sc in each ch until there are 7 stitches left on the round, chain 7, sk 6 and join in last stitch.
continue sc’ing around the “hand” part of the mitt, bypassing the thumb opening, and changing colors in pattern, until the mitt reaches as high up your hand as you’d like it. end with a second row of dk wool.
thumb tubes:
starting at the inside corners, sc in each opening (here I “caught up” the chains to sort of incorporate them into the thumbhole, instead of sc’ing into each chain) - for about 12 stitches around (you can try it on and work it to fit your thumb - add increases or decreases as needed). continue sc-ing around until it reaches to the top of your knuckle, or wherever you’d like. sl st in first stitch of previous round, fasten off.
frilly edgings:
with mohair (color 2), at top and bottom edges of each mitt, ~sc, ch 1, sl st into same stitch, sl st into next st ~ repeat from ~ to ~ around, sl st into first sc of the round, fasten off.
weave in ends, slip your hands in, & be happy & proud ~ you always knew you could do it! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

when i'm an old woman i shall wear a red hat

we've been busily getting ready for my mother's 90th birthday party tomorrow.
there's been cooking up a storm, cleaning like there's no tomorrow, arrangements galore, 
and juggling a zillion other details in the midst of the usual everyday challenges.

right in the middle of everything, the idea came to me to make her a very special party hat.

a red-mad hat worthy of her venerable age.

i feel indescribably happy and lucky that my mom is still with us.

her turning 90 is filling my heart with so much love and gratitude for her.

i can't wait to see her in her red and purple hat
festooned with a real hawk feather i found outside.
i think it will be stunning against her head of beautiful snow white and silver curls.

and if she doesn't want to wear it at all,
that's okay.
she can have anything she wants.