Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Old Stuff

the sign is hung

So that other weekend when we went to the flea market? I got this big old board thing for a dollar and forgot to mention it with the other goodies.

wants to be a sign

It is four separate pieces of wood attached at the sides with these cool metal strips and I thought it would make an awesome vintage looking sign. (See exciting sketch above)

cool metal edge

I cleaned and sanded it and rubbed on a base coat of antique white paint with a damp towel.

base coat

Then I sort of dry-brushed on some titanium white. You can't tell in these pictures, but it gave it the effect of having been painted with exterior paints and then exposed to the elements for a while. Trust me on this one... ;)

I love letters

Then I hand-lettered some Amish farm stand roadside sign type words and gave it a quick sanding and it was done!

almost done!

I made this specifically with the bedroom in mind, and I love the way it looks above the bed.

Before I had a chance to hang it yesterday, it made a special cameo appearance in the next picture:

baby sweater progress

The baby sweater! I might actually get it done in time for my friend's shower! The back is almost done now and the sides are going to go a lot faster. I can't wait to see what this thing looks like all put together. :)

But the crowning achievement for the week was the latest trash-picking score.

I was heading home from the grocery store Saturday afternoon and saw a Purple Martin house on the curb. I wanted to stop, but there were people walking their dogs and I didn't feel like explaining myself, so I drove on. I though about it for hours and wished I had stopped anyway and figured it would probably be gone by then, so I tried to put it out of my mind.

Long story short, I realized I had forgotten a few important things at the store so I went back around 9:00 at night and on my way home, the birdhouse was still there. I pulled over and stuffed it in the back of the car and was happily driving away when I thought of something very important. I had just stuck an object in my enclosed vehicle that very well might have been full of angry, stinging insects. I was only a few blocks from home, but it felt like miles. And I swore I could hear buzzing noises...

Anyway, I got it into the back yard and the next morning when I took the rotted roof off, I did discover some wasp/hornet/whatever nests, but they were old and empty. I got lucky.

birdhouse

This thing is BIG. It has eight houses on the front, eight on the back and two up in the roof section. I did a little research into attracting and keeping Purple Martins and not only does my yard not fit the criteria (at least 40 ft between the bird house and any trees or structures), but frankly it is too much work. You're supposed to check every single nest daily to make sure other birds aren't roosting there and all sorts of other stuff. I definitely don't have what it takes.

But I am going to clean it up and make a new roof for it and put it out for any other birdies who want to live in it. Ethan is super excited to have a big bird house for any kinds of birds and so am I.

It is still full of nests, so I have some intense cleaning to do. :)

nest

And one last thing. Today I put in some seeds for a late season harvest (I hope). We'll see if the weather cooperates, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

trying for a late season crop...

We have onions, lettuce mix, "Little Brown Cat Beans", kale, beets and baby carrots. All organic and all from my Grow Indie blogger paycheck. :D

Well, it got late and I have knitting to do, so I'll finally end this. See you soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mostly knitting, actually...

It has been a long, long, hot summer. Spring started out kind of late after a long, long, cold winter. I love spring. All the plants coming up, grass getting green, and of course the milder temperatures. The first time I can leave the windows open all day in spring is one of my favorite days of the year. There is nothing quite like the smell of your house as you lay down to sleep after a whole day of airing out after a long winter.

But something happened. It got hot. Really hot. And it stayed hot. And humid. And there was no rain. I watched all the plants I had just put in shrivel and die. There'd be a small break in the heat and they'd push a little new growth only to bake again as soon as the next heat wave hit. Now everything that survived is stunted and tiny. The leaves, flowers, everything. I hate hot summers.

But recently, whether it was the promise of this current break in the heat, or the realization that August was almost halfway over and that this stuff couldn't last forever, I started knitting more. I have several projects going on right now, all in various stages of completion and I find myself wanting to do little else but play with yarn.

I have this shawl that is only a little farther along than when we took this picture, which is a shame as I had hoped to wear it this fall.

shawl progress

There's the poncho that may go on forever, which is a shame as I had hoped to wear it this winter. But even with the air conditioner on, it is way too hot to have a pile of wool in my lap.

poncho closeup

I have one and a quarter fingerless mitts. Not exactly useful.

mitt top

At least one hand is warm...

I have this sweater that I started an embarrassingly long time ago and forgot about. It got stuffed in a knitting bag and crammed in a box for so long it is actually wrinkled.

neglected sweater

So what do I do? I start a new project. And this one has to be done in time for a friend's baby shower at the end of September. Right.

new project

To my credit though, I have several more inches done now...

But before I started that, I decided I needed to make a loom. It was one of those things, you know? The kids were napping, the internet connection was so bad I couldn't get anything done online and I had already done the dishes. So I took an 18 x 18 canvas, cut the canvas off and hammered a bunch of nails into it, as evenly spaced as I could get them without measuring. I ended up with 86 nails in that puppy.

so I built a loom...

I wanted to practice with something cheap, so I used some of the Wool Ease super bulky yarn I seem to have an endless supply of. (What? It was a REALLY good sale last year!)

yarny

I ended up with quite the pukey retro color scheme...

retro colors

And got it off the loom and it shrank down to a nice, tight-enough-for-a-blanket fabric.

a square!

I'm thinking of making a bunch of squares (in less offensive colors perhaps) and seaming them all together to make a throw. Or they'd be a good size for pillows. I dunno...

So that's my knitting tangent.

I would like to briefly enter back into reality and share a few gardening pictures.

First off, I harvested my first "Reliant" red seedless grapes.

my first grapes

It popped out this little bunch right after I planted it and that's all I got this year. With the way they took off (and the "King of the North") I am hoping for a big load next year!

Also, I washed and froze a bunch of tomatoes, mostly from the Grow Indie garden.

washing tomatoes

And I pulled everything but the herbs out of my own garden to get ready for a fall planting.

These little guys were not mature, but I was getting impatient.

purple carrots!

They were delicious. :)

Gonna do some lettuce and maybe some more carrots. Who knows? I have a lot to choose from. When I started blogging for Grow Indie, I received this amazing pile of seeds!

seeds!!!

There are so many different things in there!

Oh and I had another garden surprise! I certainly wasn't expecting anything this late in the season, but I ended up with some periwinkle coming up in the front and back beds and this:

amaryllis

When it first started coming up, there were two stalks, side by side, with a weird, tight cluster of buds at the tops. No foliage. I was kind of freaked out. When the buds started to open, I was like, "Oh! Amaryllis?" But I thought bulb plants all bloomed early in the year. This link set me straight. Who knew?

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Time to make lunch and get some of those seeds planted. Oh, and maybe some knitting?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flea Market Trip! And a few other things.

kutztown flea market

Yesterday I had the day to myself and decided we (meaning me and my camera and therefore all of you) should go to a flea market. Come see!

sky

plants

clarinet

cash register

The guy said the cash register was manufactured in 1903 as the first dual manual and electric cash register (I'm assuming in the US at least, not sure about anywhere else).

He also said it is so heavy, it takes three strong men to lift it.

Notice the unusual dimensions of the bill slots and oversized coin trays. The locking box in the corner is a gold coin drop box.

big money!

lanterns

The lantern on the far right came home with me for $5.00 and can be seen below in glorious color:

lantern

lantern detail

I loved this clock, but the glass was super scuffed.

clock

sewing machine

bowls!

They were only asking $2.00 for six of these little etched glasses, so now they are mine.

etched glass set

art box

This artist's box came home with me. Inside the lid, some previous owner hand wrote John Masefield's poem, "Sea Fever" and it's fun to me to imagine the story behind that.

SUGAR

I just loved how the label-maker label was so authoritative. Nobody better even think about putting something other than sugar in there.

brazilian corned beef

And Brazilian Corned Beef? Really? I don't know why this delights me so much...

And this, oh this:

camera!

It is mine now. Oh yes. For five dollars. Didn't get to test it yet as the only store that sells medium format film rolls is not open on weekends :(

Can't find ANY info online about this particular camera, so if anybody has any input, feel free to let me know! :) The only thing I determined is that I will have to use modified 120 film in it, so that will take a little trial and error, but I am pretty excited!

so blue!

rolling pins

And this is what I ended up with (for under forty bucks):

loot!

All in all, a pretty good haul.

Before heading home, I stopped by the Grow Indie Test Garden, but the picking had been done so I chatted with my friend Emily for a bit and took a picture of her box o' goodies (which she graciously shared with me)

grow indie test garden

And speaking of tomatoes (bear with me, it'll make sense in a minute), when I got home I actually got to sit and relax with a little knitting. I am working on these fingerless mitts again:

mitts and yarn

I started them back in December, lost them for a while, found them and finished one the other day, but wasn't thrilled with it. So I started fresh and I am much happier this time around. The yarn is "Spicy Salsa" (see? I told you it had to do with tomatoes!) expertly hand-dyed by one of my Ravelry friends, and it is doing some really awesome color things. Like self-striping and fading from color to color in what seems like it will be a spiral up the length of the mitts as it goes around. I'm not sure if I can explain that the way I wanted to... Check out the three sections as they are on the needles now, maybe it'll make more sense:

mitts side three

mitts side one

mitts side two

And on a final gardening note, I turned the compost pile the other evening and it looks gooooood. :)

compost!

Alright. Hope you had fun at the flea market with me. Thanks for coming. :)