"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Youngest's Hat...Finished

The picture still isn't the greatest.   The weather here has been pretty dreary the last couple of days so there wasn't much natural light to utilize. 
Add to that the fact that no matter what I tried, I just could NOT get that little bugger to sit still long enough to get a good picture.   So I ended up with a poorly lit picture of the back of his head.  Tadaaa!

The hat itself went along just fine until I hit the last 4".   I ended up working the wrong ribbing and had to frog the whole bottom 4.  This may not seem like such a big deal to more experienced knitters, but I STINK at frogging and it took me a good 45, anxiety filled, minutes to rip it back that mere 4".

I did it though and was happy with the final result...that is until I went to sew the sides together.   I tackled the sewing at around 2 am. after a very long day and I was downright exhausted.   The next morning I took a look at the hat.  It was a disaster.  
I had sewed it cock-eyed so that the stripes didn't match up.  The darker yarns hadn't been worked in properly and were really visible amongst the white sections and one corner was very much so rounded while the other came to a nice point.  Chock that up to a craft fail.
Soooo, I had to rip the seams and sew it all over again.  Fortunately though that didn't take very long and the finished product turned out by the end of it all.  

Now, on to more projects.

Comment issues part deux.

Ok, ok, I know that last time I said I thought I had it fixed.   WEEELLL, apparently I did not.   It was fixed on my screen, when I was logged in, but not for any visitors.   So, I've decided to bypass the problem.  When posting a comment, the comment box should now open as a popup window instead of remaining at the bottom of the page.   HOPEFULLY *keeping finers, toes, eyes crossed* this will resolve the problem.   Please continue to let me know if you experience any difficulties.  Because, as my Granny always used to say, "you can't fix it if ya don't know it's broke". 

Comment problems resolved?

I've had several of you tell me that you were having trouble posting comments.  So in an effort to fix the problem I have changed my blog layout.    Hopefully the comments issue is fixed now.  From the checks that I've done it seems to be operating properly.   Thanks to everyone who informed me of the problem.  If you are still having difficulties posting comments please let me know.  

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday tip of the day:
Make your own laundry detergent.    A super-smart lady over on another site clued me into a few recipes for homemade high efficiency laundry detergent.   I'm sure that many of you out there who have HE washers (like yours truly) have realized just how much more expensive the HE laundry detergent is compared to regular detergent.   Making your own can help to really put a dent in those costs.

Here's a copy of the messages she sent me with the recipes:

Original Recipe -

1/3 Bar Fels Naptha

1/2 C. Washing Soda

1/2 C. Borax Powder

Grate soap and put it in a Saucepan.

Add 6 C. water and heat until soap melts.

Add the washing soda and Borax then stir until dissolved.

Remove from heat.

Pour 4 C. hot water into the bucket.

Add your soap mixture and stir.

Add 1 gal. and 6 C. of water and stir.

Let the soap sit for 24 hours for it to gel.

Use 1/2 C. per load

*Super-smart lady's* FRIEND’S Modifications -

1 whole bar of Zote

1 C. Washing Soda

1 C. Borax Powder

5 gal. bucket

Grate Soap and put in a big saucepan.

Mix washing soda and Borax Powder in a bowl (dry).

Put 12 C. of hot water in with Zote until soap melts.

While soap is melting, put 8 C. of water in microwave to boil (about 3 - 4 min).

When the soap melts, add the powder mixture.

Stir until all is dissolved.

Pour soap mixture into the bucket.

Pour water from microwave in bucket and stir.

Fill up rest of bucket with hot tap water until it is full & stir some more.

Put lid on bucket and let sit for 24 hours.

Stir before use. (mixutre is like “egg drop soup”)

Use 1/2 - 1 cup

MY *super-smart lady's (Jeannie)*  Mods -

Ingredients -

1 bar Zote soap - grated

1 ½ cups Borax

1 ½ cups Washing soda

5 gallon bucket

12 cups water - tap - (no need to microwave)

8 cups water - hot (from tap)

Grate soap and put in a sauce pan.
Add 12 cups tap water & heat on medium until soap melts.
Add washing soda & borax, and stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Pour 8 cups hot water into a 5 gallon bucket.
Add soap mixture to bucket and stir.
Let soap sit for about 24 hours to gel.
This will yield a mixture that is a thicker than “egg drop soup”.
Use ½ - 1 cup per each load.
Note - You can use Zote soap, Fels Naptha, Ivory, or whatever soap you want. I like Zote, and so does my friend. I am going to try using Ivory on my next batch so I can compare.

Have fun! -

End Transmission :D

PS.  WASHING soda is not to be confused with baking soda.  

Fairy Houses

Since the weather has turned nicer the last few days, the kids have begun to head back outside for the majority of their day. One of their favorite things to do outside is build fairy houses (I found the idea off of a magazine, unfortunately I no longer remember which magazine.) They build them out of the items that they find outside or in the garden and occasionally small items that they find in the tool shed. They build the fairies their homes, decorate them with bits of found "furniture" (short, fat sticks for sofas, leaves for a bed, etc.) Then they fill them up with "fairy food" which lately has consisted of unsalted peanuts and clovers.

This is their most recent fairy house.  It's just a broken pot, tree bark for a roof and a door, and an old tuna can swimming pool. 
They used all sorts of thing to decorate the inside from rocks and twigs to old hallowed out walnut shells.

And this is Chandler drinking from the fairy pool. :)

They love to come outside the next day to check to see if the "fairies" have eaten their food and possibly rearranged the furniture.  In the case of this house, they had and they had even knocked the door clean off the side of the house.  They also left tracks in the mud that looked suspiciously like squirrel tracks. lol.

And in recent puppy news:
They have finally hit the 8 week mark have gotten all their shots and their wormings and should be ready for their new homes by next week at the latest.

And since nobody can resist cute puppies, here's some more pictures for everyone.

One of the coolest knitting related video's I've ever seen.

This is an animation made using over 700 real intarsia knit pieces.   Crazy awesome.  

"May the good Lord take a liking to you...but not too soon."

Happy St. Patrick's Day (or at least what's left of it) everyone!

I have to admit that for the majority of my life I really had no idea why we celebrated St. Patrick's day at all.  I didn't know who St. Patrick was or what he did.   I just liked wearing green and playfully pinching those who refused to comply to the day's dress code.   So today, I took it upon myself to look up the history of the holiday.

If you are as lost as I was as to the meaning of St. Patrick's day and would like to learn more about it, you can find a story about it here.  It's a pretty interesting read.

Youngest's Hat

Knitting seems to take me forever.   I'm still working on Youngest's hat, the one that I started about 4 weeks ago.    This is the second attempt I've made at using different colors in a project, the first was in Middle's hat.  

I'm hoping to get finished with Youngest's hat by the end of the week.   Even though it's almost spring (thank you God!), we still get some pretty chilly evenings up in my neck of the woods so he should be able to wear it for several more weeks to come.   
The stripes in the image came out looking a little more black then they actually are.   In reality the are more of a chocolate brown.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a better picture later on.

Speaking of Spring, we've finally gotten some of our seeds planted.  I didn't get a picture yet but we've planted our carrots, charantais melons, radishes, greens, the early season tomatoes, and some squash.    We have a short growing season up in the frozen north so I can't get them in the ground yet, but hopefully in about 2 weeks I'll be able to get them into the garden without having to worry about a late frost.  

Another nice thing about Spring is that we get to come out of hybernation mode and start back into our more productive routine.   Spring is one of the busiest times of year for my family but it's also one of our favorite times of year.   Can't wait.     

Crochet preemie hat

This is another preemie hat I just recently finished for the local Children's Hospital.   The pattern is very easy, it only calls for single crochets and chain stitches.  So it's well suited for beginners.   I found the hat pattern here.

The swirly topper I found here.
But the hat could be finished with a tassle or pompoms or nothing at all. 

Thrifty Thursday (err, on Friday)

I remember one summer when my grandmother had decided to have her house painted.  She ended up spending about $1000 (back in the mid 1990's) to have the outside and inside of her very small, 800sf. home painted by professionals.  
We had a neighborhood painting company come by our house last year and estimated our single story home at $3000.   

So here's my Thrifty Thursday tip for this week.  DIY (do it yourself) and save hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Here's my list of common things that you can do yourself with nothing but your own two hands, a few tools, and in some cases a trip to the local library.  

1.  Paint your own house.    Yes it does take some time, but probably not as much as you may think, especially if you get a little help from your friends.   We were able to paint our entire living room, foyer, hall and dining area for around $150.  We painted the outside of the house, the enclosed porch and the bedrooms for about the same.   Ending with a total bill of about $300.   Compare that to $3000 and that's a savings of $2700.   Easily worth the two weekends (in which we took our sweet time mind you) of painting. 
2. Install your own faucets.   This usually doesn't require anything but a few tools, some plumbers putty and the instructions that came with the faucet.  If your faucet didn't come with instruction you can easily find how to install a variety of different faucets online or in plumbing books at the library. 
3. Install your own ceramic tile backsplash.   Depending on the type of tile you choose you may need a wet tile saw.   Otherwise, all you'll need is some tile grout, the tiles themselves, a free evening, spacers, a notched trowel, and, depending on your tile choice, maybe a sealer (in most cases a sealer isn't necessary but check with the knowledgable folks at your local homestore. 
4. Fix your own toilet.   Here's a common one.   Your toilet is running (better catch it ...ah, nevermind, that jokes just tired) and it won't stop.   You reach for your phone book, better call the plumber....stop yourself there.   This is one of the easiest fixes in my opinion.   You simply need to replace a faulty flapper or ball assembly (those little do hickeys in the back of the toilet, one looks like a giant ball, the other looks like a plug attached to a chain).    Worst case scenario you'll need to clean some mineral deposits out of your toilet tank itself.  In which case you can use some vinegar, boiling water and baking soda and poof!  Done.  
5.  Fix your own banging pipes.  This one seems more ominous to home owners than it frequently is.   There SHOULD be anchor straps on your pipes every 8 feet or so, 6-8ft for horizontal pipes, and 8-10ft for vertical pipes.   If your pipes are banging, its usually because the are loose and all you then need to do is add a few more anchor straps.  Cushion the pipes from the anchor with a little bit of rubber blanket.

There you have it guys.  Your thrifty tips for this week.