26 August 2014

Keep Calm Craft On ~ 26 Aug 2014

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On.

>Picture a picture here - yet again I'm having internet problems (thank you, Verizon) so I'll add the photo when I can!<

I finished up the Baby Amanda Hat fairly quickly and picked back up on the grey scarf I had on the knitting board.  I started on it while we were in Texas, to be a donation for our knitting guild's project of sending warm winter gear up to a reservation in a cold northern state.  Unfortunately the guild disbanded, and I didn't finish the scarf before I left anyway.  My folks are working with a local business owner to collect winter coats and accessories for a "Warm County" effort - the business owner is working with customers and other businesses to collect new and gently used winter items to give to people in their county who are in need of such items this year.  He hopes to have a whole storeroom full of supplies by fall so people can get ready in time, especially those with kids in school who need something warm for the bus stop.  (Perfect timing, since I just read the other day that Farmers Almanac is predicting another rough winter!)

I'm almost done with this skein and I think I have another in my yarn bin, so I'm trying to decide whether to keep this as is and bind off soon, making it a wide but shorter neckwarmer (which would work well - it's doubleknit so it's still pretty cozy, and the grey plus the width would be nice looking and super easy for a man to throw under a coat without having to tie anything, wrap it up, etc) OR to go ahead and add the other skein and make it very long and wrappable (which would also make it long enough to tie if a person wanted, or make it almost a shawl for a child).  If I don't add in the second skein, I can do a long, narrow scarf on the smaller knitting board or on regular straight needles.  Pondering, pondering...

24 August 2014

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments: 25 Aug 14

Joining Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker to share some frugal accomplishments today.  Stop on by and see her.  Be sure to read the comments on the post too; they are always as exciting to me as the initial post!

This week I:
  • Ordered the clothes drying rack I'd been researching.  After hearing back from Real Goods about their shipping rate, I decided to go with this rack (not an affiliate link).  Even with the FedEx shipping, it came in at a lower price than the other rack I was considering and gives me several more linear feet of drying space.  I decided to invest in a copy of their Solar Living Source Book, which was on sale for $5 (a savings of $34.95!), while I was paying for shipping anyway. [Edit: It's already arrived! My Monday laundry time is going to be AWESOME!!!]
  • Restocked our vitamins and the children's toothpaste.  I used Ebates to shop at Vitamin Shoppe; that got me a 1% rebate in addition to the free shipping for purchases over $25, a 10% off everything coupon I received via email, and rewards "points" that will add up to a gift card at the end of the year.
  • Finally got our old home warranty cancelled.  Despite the fact that we closed on the sale of our home in April, they have continued to bill our card.  I finally got someone who is (supposedly) going to cancel the contract.  I say "supposedly" because even after I explained four times that we no longer own the house and the buyer has their own warranty contract, the woman continued to ask if I was *sure* I wanted to cancel my warranty contract. ;)
  • Made homemade ricotta and used items in the pantry to make lasagna for lunch Wednesday.  My folks are dog sitting for us that day, so it will give them a nice lunch before they head back out and we'll have leftovers for Manly for lunches.
  • Started a baby hat for a friend using yarn left from another project.  It's a wonderful yarn - lovely to work with and super cozy to wear - so I'm glad to have enough to make a second project and know that her baby will be snug and warm when their winter hits.
  • Organized batteries in a new tote (passed on by my mom in her own reorganizing/purging process) so I can better see what we have and what we need to pick up.
  • Passed on information about job training in a field that lacks sufficient people to Bookly, who is looking for ways to pay for college.  [If you know someone strong enough to handle livestock, calm enough to do it well, and not afraid of hard work, have them look into shearing.  My fiber teacher mentioned that her shearer makes a very fair wage because few people these days have his skill set AND treat animals and people well.  She said research regional shearing classes online to get started.]  Not a savings for myself at this point, but it may help my oldest earn some cash and who knows - maybe she'll give me a family discount if I ever have sheep.  LOL
  • Used the small drying rack to hang half a load of clothes, cutting the time/electric usage for the larger items that had to go in the dryer.
  • Purchased the Kindle version of a text I need for a free college course I'm taking in September, saving $5 off the print copy.  It is about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the bulk of the required reading is from the Little House series, which I already own.  There are two recommended reading titles that I am skipping for now.
  • Used rain water caught last week to water plants.  I was able to water all four blueberry bushes, my tomato & herb container (which has two water bottles to fill), the celery, the ginger, the licorice, and the two gooseberry bushes with what we caught!
  • Used seed heads on the calendula and arnica to reseed within the pots.
  • Used cloth/reusable feminine items as necessary.
  • Experimented with using an open window in the bathroom during showers instead of running the electric exhaust fan.  On breezy days it does a much better job anyway!  On more still days, it does about the same as the fan can do.  Since I shower in the morning, not at night, I already left the electric light off and just use daylight.  (Once I take my glasses off I can't see well anyway, so low light makes no difference to me.  LOL)
  • Found a piece of fabric in Nana's sewing items that I think is long enough to make a "draught dodger" for one of the doors for winter.  She also had a large amount of thread I can use to sew it up.  I have wheat berries in the pantry and will deadhead the lavender I purchased last weekend here and there as well.
  • Fixed the patio screen door and reinstalled it.  (The dog ran into it and knocked it off the door, then Manly tried to reinstall it and popped the wheels out; he's much stronger than the screen frame, apparently. Haha!  I thought we'd have to call maintenance and buy a new screen frame, but I got them to pop back in and put the door in sans the Strong Guy.)
  • Kept using passive solar (blinds and window openings) to cool the house.  Focused on pulling in the cooler air at night - as of this writing, we didn't have to use fans to pull the air in last night and it's actually downright CHILLY in the house this morning!  That means I'm also using an extra blanket to stay warm so my husband can stay cool in the air without having a fan on for his side of the bedroom.
  • Made homemade refrigerator pickles from cucumbers from our garden.  A very exciting first for me.  :) (That link will also show you some of our garden harvest for the week.)
  • Spotted a canning seminar scheduled at the base library - free admission!  Signed up Chatty and myself.

23 August 2014

Eat Local Challenge, Week 3

Pierogies from Costco, Walla Walla sweet onions from the CSA & tomatoes from our garden
Joining Wendy for the Eat Local Challenge - other than our CSA deliveries, not a lot to speak of that can't be said more easily with pictures.  So enjoy the view here, then head over to say hi to the Browns and see what they've been up to this week!
Garden harvest #1: pickling cukes, eggplant, tomatoes, gooseberries, peas & green beans

Garden harvest #2: eggplant, pickling cukes & green beans
My very first batch of homemade refrigerator pickles - three quarts worth.  WOOT!

20 August 2014

Yarn Along ~ 20 Aug 2014

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along and Tami for WIP Wednesdays today. I'm now about halfway through the Baby Amanda Hat I cast on earlier this week.  I'm excited to say I'm wearing my completed Basic Socks as it's a bit chilly this morning. Woohoo!

I've just begun reading Gene Logsdon's Holy Sh-t: Managing Manure to Save Mankind.  It's interesting, certainly, but I've tried to cover things in the picture in case you have young ones who walk up and look at pictures over your shoulder when you read blogs like I do.  (*ahem*  Yes, child looking over MY shoulder, I'm referring to YOU.)  I hope that helps a bit.

He's giggling now.  Not sure if that's because you all now know he was peeking at Mom's computer or because of the title of the book.  ;)

Have a great day, folks.  We have LEGO Club today and I'll be taking my knitting bag along.  I got several rounds done on sock #2 at the last meeting; maybe I can get the hat to the decreases!

19 August 2014

Keep Calm Craft On ~ 19 Aug 2014

Joining Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On today and I've got a lot to share this week!  The tan scarf is from my dyeing class on Saturday.  It is a half yard of silk, pot-dyed with arbutus (Pacific madrona) bark I collected during our foraging walk to the farmers market.  The lavender is a big bundle I bought at the market; we were supposed to be asking farmers if they had detritus they'd like to get rid of, that we could dye with - but I already knew I just wanted to use the bark, so I just wandered the market with a new friend from class and we shopped for our lunch and other things. ;)

In the back right you can see my pair of socks.  Yes, yes, yes, Basic Sock #2 is finished and I officially have a complete pair.  Woohoo!

I cast on another Baby Amanda Hat for a friend's little one.  I meant to do it during our move, but I ended up driving more than we'd planned, so all my knitting got put on hold.  Thankfully they live in Alaska, where she can make good use of a cozy hat earlier than many places, so this will still be fine when fall hits soon.  This is such a fast knit that I hope to have it finished up and mailed out by the end of the week.

The wooden "stick" next to the lavender jar is a sauerkraut pounder.  It is hand-turned by a local artisan and I purchased it at the urban farm and garden shop when I went in to pick up half gallon jars for making kraut.  I really enjoyed the class I took there two weekends back and I'm looking forward to our first jars of homemade sauerkraut!  I have two recipes to try as soon as I can get the supplies from the CSA.