Sunday, September 27, 2015

The longest lasting crochet project I've ever done (but now it's finished!)

I am a slow crocheter.  I will admit that.  I also run out of time to work on crochet projects because of pesky things like work and family obligations (just kidding!).  It usually takes me quite a bit of time to finish crochet projects, especially afghans.  But the crocheted afghan I have just finished takes the cake.



It is the Americana Afghan, and the pattern can be found here.  I bookmarked the pattern on June 25, 2014, in the midst of World Cup fever.  I was feeling patriotic due to the USA soccer team's victories and it was summer vacation, so I started making the afghan.  Besides, the yarn colors are gorgeous (it is made with Heartland yarn in Acadia, Olympic, and Redwood),  and I wanted to make something impressive.  Little did I know it would take me as long as it has.

The length of this project is not caused at all by a bad pattern; the pattern is great and pretty straight forward.  I made quite a few mistakes in the beginning and ended up having to start again from scratch just a few months ago.  The main problem I had at the beginning was that I was not vigilant in counting my rows.  The pattern says to make each square around 12 inches, which I did, but I realized what I thought was 12 inches after one square was not exactly the same as another square.  So instead, when I restarted the afghan from scratch, I decided to make each square 60 rows tall. Each square was supposed to end up being identical to one another in width and length.

Of course, that isn't always the case, as you can see by comparing each square.  That meant when I went to put them all together, I had a hard time lining up the seams.  I had to take the seams out a few times because they were too wonky, but I finally made peace with the quirky nature of imperfection.




If you make things by hand yourself, you might think like I do and see all the mistakes you've made and where you could have done a better job.  But I hope that when people see my afghan, they will see all the hard work that I put into it and find any irregularities charming.  :)

I will say the stars were a blast to make, although weaving in the ends was a bit of a pain.


I still have to sew in the loose ends that I've hidden behind the afghan in the photos.  That will take about an hour.  But I have my lovely Netflix to keep me company, particularly the kiwi show The Almighty Johnsons.  I have fallen in love with New Zealand accents and each of the Johnson brothers.  Check it out at the Almighty Johnsons website.





I had Storm and Ozzie keep me company as well this morning.








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PEACE.

                                           LOVE.

                                                                                   AMERICANA.




and a bonus:

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PEACE.

                                           LOVE.

                                                                                     DEAN O'GORMAN.




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Ta.











Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Labor Day

It is the end of Labor Day Monday here in the U.S., a well-deserved day off work and one last chance to enjoy summer.



It rained this morning, which made my heart sing.  It has been hot and dry here for days and even though we experienced nothing like the drought they've experienced in the western states, our plants desperately needed a nice, tall drink.  Our rain gauge shows two inches, but I don't know what the official count was.  That is two inches of lovely nourishment my poor recent lavender transplants surely enjoyed.

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I tried a new recipe today, one I found on Pinterest.  They are taco pizza rolls from the Old El Paso website.   Here is what the original looks like:


And here is what mine looked like:



Not quite the same, but not entirely too bad.  I should have used thin pizza crust because the thick stuff was a bit too doughy, and this is coming from a girl who LOVES bread.

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On the positive side, I cut my new soaps today.  Frankincense & Myrrh smells like a gift made for a god (ha ha, get it?).  And Orange Clove & Cinnamon smells like fall, which is right around the corner.  Seriously, they smell great and they will be available on my Etsy site on October 5, 2015.







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And the last thing on my agenda today was to work on what is perhaps the longest-lasting crocheted afghan project ever undertaken, my Americana afghan.  When (If) I finally finish it, I will write an entire blog entry about it, but here is a sneak peek.  I would say I am now 90% finished.  That could be wishful thinking, but I am definitely more finished with it now than I ever have been.





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Oh, and the best news of the day is that season 2 of Poldark has begun shooting in Cornwall, England!  I imagine I won't get to see the broadcast until next summer at the earliest.  But I won't think about that.  Here is my beloved (LOL) Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.  Oh la la!  I wish he were holding a scythe!  ;)


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Thank you yet again for reading.  You're a star!

PEACE


                                                 LOVE


                                                                                         POLDARK!  POLDARK!  POLDARK!




Sunday, September 6, 2015

Last weekend of "summer": Lavender, roses, sunflowers, new soaps, and more

The kids and I have been back to school for a month now, but Labor Day weekend is the traditional "end of summer" here in the States.  It's been a lovely Labor Day Sunday.  It was made even better knowing I have tomorrow off, which is indescribably wonderful.  Chris had to work today (no fun), so this is how I spent my day:

I watered the Phenomenal lavender because it was looking pretty weak a couple of days ago.  We haven't had rain in a very long time and the temperatures have been in the 90's all week long.  We recently transplanted a whole bunch of lavender from our vegetable garden to the lavender field, something we should have done earlier or later, but the transplants needed watering all week.  There is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and I am hoping beyond all hope that it will indeed rain and give my plants the water they need.

Here is what the field looks like now:


We will have to see how everything performs over the winter.  I have read somewhere that the Farmer's Almanac predicts a colder than normal winter, which is not ideal for lavender.  We will see...

More pics from the garden today:








We have six knockout rose bushes growing behind our white picket fence in the front yard.  They looked quite pretty this morning.



When I came back inside, I decided to make soap.  I made two types, Frankincense and Myrrh and Orange Clove & Cinnamon.  It smells positively delightful in our home.





Check back in a couple of days after the soaps are ready to be cut to see what they look like.  They will be available for purchase in our Etsy shop around October 6.  I may decide to sell my soaps and crocheted goods at a local craft show this fall.  We have a few scheduling conflicts this month, so I'm not sure when that will be, but I will let you know.

Thanks as always for reading.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend.  If you're not American, cheerio and have a brilliant week.   ;)

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PEACE

                                                  LOVE

                                                                                                HANDMADE SOAPS




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