Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Morning Walk

Salsa is such a great little walking partner!  Besides being extremely adorable, she's also very enthusiastic and always excited to go.  That turns out to be just the motivation I need on mornings that I'm considering the lazy alternative of not going.  She gets into the habit of it very quickly and almost expects it.  If I say the word, "walk", she bounces up and down with happiness.  Or, if she thinks I'm wearing some sort of clothing that looks like "walking" clothes or shoes, she gets excited about that too.  How could I let that precious girl down?! 

The trees surrounding our neighborhood are currently in an extreme bloom!  They must be really happy with the weather or something because I've never seen them bloom quite this much!  The ground, sidewalks, and gutters are covered in tiny yellow blossoms and pollen.  And, the trees are buzzing with bees.  Oh, and the air is very fragrant!  Luckily, it doesn't seem to bother my allergies.  Whew!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Garden Makeover

The drought in Southern California is serious and so is that monthly water bill!  So, we decided last year to give our backyard a makeover that would cut down on water usage and provide a way to grow some of our own food.  We turned the water off to the lawn (which seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for water) and removed it.  Then, we drew up a design for raised garden beds with benches around the top.  Hubby built four of them.  We stained and sealed them a dark brown to match our patio cover and to help make the wood last longer.  Hubby ran pipes to each one so we could later hook up drip lines.  We bought a LOT of pre-mixed garden soil from a local bulk supplier and moved it in several trailer loads and then lots and lots of wheelbarrow loads to the back yard to fill the beds.

Salsa did a great job of supervising...

Then came the fun part...planting.  We planted a tomato in the center of each bed and added little pyramid trellis' that hubby made.  I think they look really cute.

The benches around the sides work great to sit on and to set things down like plants, tools, seeds and even an ice cold beer!

It was fun to see the garden grow and take shape.  And, Salsa thought it was fun every time we went out to check on it and spend time in the yard. She runs around in a state of complete joy whenever we go out there.

It was so exciting every time we saw a baby squash or other food start growing!

We realized that gardening will take a lot of learning and practice as we didn't have the best of luck.  But, we did manage to grow a few things we could eat.  Radishes were one of the things we had a bit of success with...

Zucchini was our most successful crop.  In fact, at one point we had trouble keeping up with eating them as fast as they were growing.  And, they seemed to get large rather quickly.

We harvested a few tomatoes here and there through the summer and fall.  And, in the fall there were a few butternuts that we got to enjoy.  They were delicious!  The marigolds we planted to help keep some kinds of insects away did really well.  They were pretty all summer long.

I've always got herbs growing in my half wine barrels all year 'round.  They always do best during the summer though.  I love the flavors of fresh herbs!  They really bump the dishes we cook to a whole new level.

We had fun shopping at the garden center in the fall for new things to plant.  We got onions, garlic, beets, cabbage, and a couple new herbs.

Look, they're growing!  So exciting!

And, it's about time to plant some more things in our garden for spring and summer.

Oh, and the water bill?  It's a lot less since we took out all that grass!  Yay!

We still have more to do in order to finish the yard as a whole but we hope to make a lot of progress this spring.  I can't wait 'til it's done to see how it all turns out and to share pictures.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


While sorting through my photos from last year, I found picture of another fun, crafty project I did.  A whimsical cow painting.  Moo!

I've been pinning inspirational pictures into my Pinterest for painting ideas.  I found a cow similar to this that I fell in love with and I decided to give it a go.  He's a little crooked and wonky but so was the inspiration.  I think that's one of the things I like about it.  I know it's no work of art but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It makes me smile whenever I look at it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fun Little Projects from 2015

I'm still trying to get back to blogging regularly.  I've been dealing with some difficult challenges lately with my ill and aging parents that have caused me to push blogging to the side again but I realize that taking time to create posts and the wonderful interaction I have with those of you who stop by and comment can be very refreshing and help me through these tough times.  So, here goes another post...

Since I didn't blog for  most 2015, I want to try to catch up on some of the things that happened last year.  Here are some more yarny projects I did...

I made some pretty pillowcases for my daughter.  It was a fun project and the total cost of it was less than $5.  I got a pair of king size pillow cases at Ross for about $5.  I simply cut them down to standard size and stitched them up.  I crocheted trim with white crochet thread that I had in my stash.  After crocheting two strips to size, I pinned them into place, and sewed them on with my sewing machine.  I like how they turned.  The project was so fun and rewarding that I've bought more pillow case sets and plan to make more.

I crocheted this cute little owl as part of a gift for my daughter for Easter.  It was a quick project that used bits of cotton yarn leftovers from my stash.  Yay!  I'm always happy to make something from supplies I have.  I've been in a major de-stashing phase this past year and every little bit makes me happy.  I did need to buy buttons for this project though as I didn't have any white ones in the right size.  Amazing since I have a pretty big stash of buttons!  My daughter loved the little owl.

I knitted up a towel using the "Basket Rib Hand Towel" pattern that I found on Ravelry.  I used "Pink Camo" Sugar 'n Cream yarn as my daughter loves pink and camo.  She found a great use for the towel.  She places it under her dish drainer that doesn't have a tray.  It works great!  It catches the water but dries quickly because of all the texture in the towel.  I had originally made one for me to use for drying hand washed dishes.  I used one 95 yard ball of yarn for this one.

I loved how my daughter was using her towel and my dish drainer was so old and not in the best shape.  So, I bought myself a nice one at Ikea that doesn't have a tray and made a towel for mine.  I love it!  I made this one a bit bigger to fit my large dish drainer.  I used almost three full skeins of Hobby Lobby Crafter's Secret Cotton...about 350 yards or so.  I love the colors in this yarn!

The towel must be fun to make because I soon found myself making another one!

Of course, there were a few wash/dish cloths made along the way.  I love making and using these.  And, they're a great excuse to use Sugar 'n Cream in it's many pretty colors!

One of my knit friends loves purple and I have some pretty, light purple, cotton, carpet warp in my stash.  So, I made her a tiny little bunting for her birthday...


 And, when she had our stitch group over for a lovely waffle breakfast, I made her a little hostess gift with the same yarn...a lacy candle holder.  I got inspiration on Ravelry and Pinterest, found an empty jar, and crocheted a little cover.  I put a little tea candle inside.

When I posted the light purple candle holder on my Instagram, another friend saw it and fell in love.  So, I made a white one for her for Christmas.  And, yup...more de-stashing!  Yay!  And, I love how it turned out!  She did too.

My camera stopped working well over a year ago and I ended up taking just about all of my pictures this past year with my cell phone.  That's one of the reasons I stopped blogging too.  The quality just isn't that great in comparison and the only way I've found to upload and save and use them is troublesome.  I've been searching through the mess of camera photos, trying to find things I'd like to blog about and catch up on, grouping them, and creating posts.  Luckily and very happily, hubby bought me a new, fancy, dancy camera for my birthday about a week ago.  So, better quality pictures will soon be on the blog.  In the meantime, thanks for putting up with these not-so-clear photos.

Have magnificent Monday everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!  :-D

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Chunky, Crochet Throws

This feels a bit odd to be creating a blog post!  It's been so long since I did that!  I was a bit burned out on blogging and stopped posting early last year.  Then, life got crazy busy with going back to work for a while, my daughter graduating from college (with two bachelor degrees...I'm so proud of her!), moving my daughter to another state for grad school, and lots and lots of busy-ness!  I'm attempting a come back.  It's a little hard to decide where to start.  So, I'll start with a post about some fun projects I did this last year...

I found a pattern on Ravelry that I just couldn't get out of my mind.  It looked like a lot of fun to make.  It also looked quick....which was part of the fun!  The pattern is the "5 1/2 Hour Throw" and you can find it free on Ravelry.  It requires three strands of yarn and a size "Q" crochet hook.

I thought it would look nice with three different kinds of yarn...a yarn that has some variation of color and some airy softness/fuzziness (I used about four skeins of Homespun), a solid with a bit of sheen (I used just over two skeins of Simply Soft), and a solid that has more of a mat finish (I used about two skeins of Red Heart Super Saver Solids).  I used about 750 yards of each kind of yarn. 

I made this one for my daughter.  I love how it turned out and it looks great with her green chair and all the other colors she uses to decorate her apartment.  Best of all....she loves it! The colors are beautiful in person!

I made this one for our house and was able to de-stash by using some leftover yarn from a blanket I finished knitting last year.   

These chunky throws are warm and cozy despite all the holes and they're super soft and cozy!  Just ask Penelope....she thinks I made this one just for her!  She lays on it a lot.

This pattern is so fun, easy, and quick that it's a bit addicting.  I made a third one for a wedding gift.  I was told the couple likes blue.  I had a hard time finding a blue I liked as Homespun doesn't seem to have a big selection of blues.  Some looked like 80's/90's "country blue".  I didn't think that would be a good idea. I ended up with this combination.  It turned out pretty and I think they like it.

The chunky hook and three strands of yarn make for a quick project.  Each throw took a week or less to make.

I would love to make another chunky throw but I have so many blankets right now and I'm not sure I know anyone who needs one.  But, if I find a reason to make another one, I'm sure there won't be much hesitation!  ;-)