Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Mill (aka: The Place Where Dreams Come True)

I made my first trip to the Mill of the season a few weeks ago.  The ladies are so busy, it's almost comical.  I mentioned last fall that they became an Ashford dealer and holy cow, do I EVER want a spinning wheel.  Or two.  Maybe three.  But not four, 'cause I'm not greedy.

Anyway, once the spinning-wheel-induced haze cleared and I regained consciousness, I had Hazel make me the poochachos a new dog bed:

The dogs love this thing.  Django (the little white one), especially.  They curl up on it together like little cinnamon buns, side-by-side.  A-DOR-ABLE!

It's made from an old DND (military issue) moth-proof wool blanket, sewn into a pillow case and stuffed with wool fleece and tied.  She even worked in two handles so that we can hang it up on the wall when it's not in use.  How frickin cool is that?  $30 well spent, I say.  (Yeah, only $30.   Crazy.)

Also, I bought some yarn.  C'mon, you had to know that was coming, right?

I have no blessed clue what the heck I'm going to do with it, but I'll be damned if I'm letting it out of my sight.  This one's for me.  A wrap, perhaps?  Yet another cowl?  Once can never have too many, you know...

While I was there, I spotted something really hilarious.  You see, the Mill is on a farm.  They have alpacas, sheep, goats (the kids are drop-dead adorable), pigs, chickens, guinea hens, a cow and, of course, farm dogs.  The fattest, most in-your-face of these creatures is a massive golden retriever named Nash.  Nash is the kind of dog whose love of all things can not be contained in his body.  The moment you look him in the eye, he becomes your new best friend and will demonstrate that love by promptly sitting on you.

This blurry photo pretty much sums him up, I think.

Anyway, I guess they gave the Nashster a haircut, 'cause I found this:

I did tell you that they'll spin any type of fibre, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Greenhouse Effect

Sorry for the cheesy post title.  Channeling the Big Bang Theory (which I just discovered {what?  I don't own a television, remember?  I don't hear about new shows until they aren't new anymore...} and am totally IN LOVE WITH).

But really.  I did make a greenhouse this weekend.  A mini one.  Why?  Well, because we are still in the death grip of winter, apparently.  And I want to grow stuff, dammit.

So, here's what I did:

I took one of my new 4' x 4' cutie pie little raised beds/boxes...

 I got out my tools and supplies, which include:

  • a roll of 6 mil poly vapour barrier, left over from some home improvement project (those are never-ending around here, so we always have this stuff on's a curse, really)
  • 18 feet of 3/4" dia. pex piping
  • 6 clippy/clampy things (photo below)
  • utility scissors (for the vapour barrier)
  • a hacksaw (for the piping)
  • a tape measure and marker (for the piping and the vapour barrier)
  • an electric drill
  • 2 spring clamps
  •  oh, and 2 canine companions for moral support

These are the clampy things (or "attaches de poignées", if you prefer) I found at the hardware store.  They're designed to be fastened to the wall and used to hold brooms and mops, etc.  They're intended to hold 3/4" to 1-1/4" dia. objects, which is great because I had already determined that 3/4" piping would be my best bet (sturdier than 1/2", but still bendy).

I took the clampy things and screwed them onto the inside face of the frame, at each corner and in the middle of each of the sides, like so:

Using the tape measure and marker, I measured out 3 lengths of pex piping (6' each, obviously) and popped them into the clamps.

{Would you just look at my new little boxwood, all lonely and forlorn...}

I cut a big piece of poly (I think it ended up being 9' x 9', but I can't recall exactly...just drape it over the whole shebang and cut the excess and you'll be fine) and draped it over the frame.  At the far end, I gathered all the excess and stapled it into the frame (oops, forgot that in my materials list - a stapler).  On the near end, I just gathered it all and clamped it to the frame using the spring clamps.  That way, I can open 'er up and water things or peek in and see how all my lovelies (basil, bell peppers and approximately 63 different varieties of lettuce) are doing when the urge arises.

So that's it.  I can take everything down and store it over the summer or winter, when I don't need it and whip it all back up when frost threatens.  Pretty nifty, eh?

PS: While I was transplanting all the goodies, I found two incubating Junebugs in the new dirt.... shudder shudder shudder...  I may or may not have screeched out loud when their little hooky legs got caught on my gardening gloves and wouldn't let go.  You'll just never know.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Wardrobe

It looks as though mother nature may have finally gotten the memo that it's spring (allegedly).

No, those temperatures are not fantastic, but you may have noticed the big yellow spiky circly thing in the middle of those icons, yes?  We haven't seen that sparkly doodad in quite a while.  I'll take the 10C as a trade for some vitamin D.

As a result of this monumental turn of events, my mind started turning to spring wardrobes and oh-crap-what-am-I-going-to-wear-this-summer?  I lost a fair bit of weight last summer/fall (15 lbs, actually) and then gained a bit of it back (that's ok, I knew that would happen when I started to recover from my malady).  The result of this seesawing is that I have no idea what fits and what doesn't.  Plus, I am due for some new clothes.  Some of my summer wardrobe is over 7 years old.  Don't get me wrong - I take really good care of my clothing, so it sure doesn't look that old.  But, I'm getting tired of it, you know?

So.  I went fabric shopping.  I spent an OBSCENE amount of money.  Money we don't really have.  Money that I'm trying REALLY HARD to feel guilty about spending, but to no avail.

 Some beautiful poplin in several (this was not all of it) colours, for pants and capris:

Some really gorgeous rayon/cotton knit in a shimmery taupe colour:

I have plans for this knit (the black one on the right):

Image courtesy of Burda

I also got completely blindsided by this fabric:

I know, right?  I just about fell to my knees before it in the store.  They had to pry the bolt out of my hands to cut the length I needed.  It's a beautiful crisp (almost crinkly) batiste and the background colour is the softest lilacy rose colour.  You almost can't tell.  Gah, I'm so in love.

{Don't worry, I bought lots of discount cotton fabric to make a muslin of this dress before I cut into the batiste.  I've learned that lesson well over the years.}

The gorgeous stuff is going to become this (if I have anything to say about it, anyway):

Both images courtesy of Burda

There is just something about the long version, isn't there?  I don't have enough fabric for that one, but mine will definitely be longer than the first version.  I don't do "above the knee".  No way, Jose.  No can do.  Me and my "athletic" legs are staying firmly under wraps.
Other than that, I bought some very serviceable cotton for the hubbie (shorts) and some new needles and thread (boring but necessary).  Plus, I renewed my membership to the special club (woot, an automatic 20% off every fabric purchase, yeeeeehaw).  If you're getting into sewing your own clothing and your local store has a rewards program, I strongly recommend that you look into it.  It has been very beneficial for me.

I'll touch base again when I've got some of it finished - show and tell time!

Have a great holiday weekend, if you're in Canada!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Testing, testing

Oooh, boy.  I will be so happy if this works.

*Fingers crossed*

Oh. My. Gawd.

Kyla, you are the most amazing girl EVAR! (Well, if someone sends me a crate full of free yarn, THEY will be promoted to the best ever, but until then, you've got the title, sweetie!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ahem...not much to see here

...just some green stuff growing in brand new raised beds

...and some buds (finally!)

...and some chopped/stacked wood

...sadly, not much progress on any knitting.  Or sewing.  Or cooking.  Or building.  Just chugging along and trying to get as much work done as possible.

And hey!  An electrician is coming on Saturday morning to put in some new lighting and fix the clusterf**k that is our second floor electrical.  Yay!  We'll actually have a functioning light in the bathroom!  Imagine that...

And then, on Saturday afternoon or maybe Sunday - I haven't decided yet - I'm going to the mill to quench my thirst for yarn and also to see if the ladies will help me with my quilt.  Squeeee!