Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Finally Finished

A Special Project

Since it's no secret that I'm a knitter, instead of always procuring my own fiber, yarn sometimes finds it's way to me.  It is less often though, that I inherit an unfinished project to be done.

Such was the case with my most recent Finished Object (FO).  A few years ago as my mother-in-law was in the process of moving, she handed off to me some pretty squares that she and her husband knitted together.  They had intended to make a patchwork blanket for a new grandbaby someday. But life took things in another direction; Grandpa Riendeau passed before the blanket could be finished.  The project was set aside. 

Over the past years I have appreciated even more the scentimental value of those little squares.  What had been knit by Grandpa and Grandma would be treasured by their children and grandchildren.  So I decided to finish the blanket.  The additional squares needed for it's completion were knit by myself, my daughter, and my husband.  That qualifies this as a multi-generational project!

I have often, as I have knitted, felt connected to others who have gone before me that knitted also.  There's something about the movements of knitting that seem to have a memory bank of their own.  As I worked on this blanket I thought of my father-in-law as he might have sat working on it too.  And that would lead to other wonderful memories I had of him.  He would often sit and chat and tell me stories about his life as I knitted.  I spent many precious hours getting to know him better while I knitted along.  He was one of the first, and most ardent, :) admirers of my handwork.  It was so encouraging while I was in those begginer stages of figuring out how to do stuff. 

After I sewed the squares together - which took obnoxiously long and was tedious, I knit my favorite triangle border, the same one that is on our Magic Blankie.  It was just the 'frame' that the blanket needed.  My husband and daughter, being artistic as they are, decided on the arrangment of the blocks, based on how many I had in each color.  My daughter in particular helped me carefully weave in the hundreds of thread ends along the back. 

Finally it's finished!  Almost in time for my nephew's first birthday.  Some things are better late than never.  Happy Birthday, Caleb :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Lucky Month

Some Amazing Finds

This is my lucky month for new stuff.  New Accessories are a pretty big deal for me.  Living in a small space with lots of boys means that I pass up almost everything cute that I see, on purpose.  I love the way stuff looks in stores but absolutely CRAVE clutter-free and family-friendly spaces.  It's a bit of a battle I have with myself - "Should I buy it?"  "But where will I put it?" And then most importantly, "Does it work with my decor?" It's rare that I find those 'just right' gems.  Especially being budget-conscious. 

This has been a lucky time. 

Here are a few of my finds, plus some lovely gifts. 

I've been looking for black and white floral plates for over a year now, to replace a couple that um, fell off the wall.  (Yes, I live in a house with lots of energetic children).  I even looked around on the internet and couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  I've been patiently waiting..........

My find of the month!!!!

Black and White Plates

I'm always combing discount stores (Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning) for black and white plates, and they have been surprisingly difficult to find. 

I was able to purchase several of these at TJ Maxx for 2.99 each.

Then at another of my favorite shops, Tuesday Morning, I came across this plate. 

One of my favorite stores had these birdcages for sale in the garden department.  LOVE!

Another find:  the perfect butter dish. 

Keep Calm and Carry on and Eat More Butter!! Enough said.

My husband picked up this table runner at a local shop.  It perfectly fits my french decor.  Translation: A Garden of French Lavender. 

And from my sister, who's great at spotting something perfect for me :) 

It's the classic fork and spoon, just like my Grandparents had, but really COOL!  I love that it fits my decor, and brings a flood of good memories, all at once.

And from my very talented mother, the Paris bag. 

She has a rare gift with color and fabric, and has become very good at making these adorable purses and bags.  Could this one fit me any better?? 

In the Kitchen

Speaking of butter, I'm thrilled about my Rhubarb Custard Pie.  I finally had time to make it.  I was really inspired by this one, and decided to try it.  I'm very glad I did.

This is the easiest custard ever.  Sugar, flour, and salt, whisked together, and then eggs and milk stirred in. 

You just pour in the mixture over the rhubarb and dot the top with butter. 

You can make a pretty lattice top if you want.  Or not.  I obviously can't weave, if you look closely. 

Voila!! It was tasty, but I'm not sure the custard set up because it was a bit watery.  I'd better check back through the recipe hints and see if I can do it better next time.  I think I was a little loose with the milk and the butter.  :)

The pie was the end of our lovely Father's Day dinner.  Simple salad, homeade vinagrette, grilled shrimp, and rice pilaf. 

Happy Father's Day

Would like to quickly say how lucky the kids and I are to have such a great Daddy in our home!  He is definitely the fun one, and very adored by all of us.  We are very blessed!  I love you so much, Eric.

Capturing a Moment

My little girl just turned two.  Yep, it's that whole growing up thing, it really stinks sometimes.  I have always wished I had a 'pause' button, where I could stop my busy schedule and savor those precious moments with my little ones just a bit longer.... 

My lavender looks the same every year.  I can count on it.  But my baby, she sure is changing fast. 

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!!

Coming Up:  More aprons, I got a new couch (REALLY!), I'm knitting a couple of heirlooms, and more remodeling. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Knitting Disasters, Pretty Flowers

Knitting Fail

My knitting fail for the week would be the little girl shrug I've been working on.  If you're a knitter, you will ask if I checked my gauge, which of course I did not.  And I should know better.  It might fit my little girl in about 4 years - not sure until I actually finish it.  But I will anyway.

So that you understand, here's a photo for scale.  The pink shrug is one that fits my little girl right now.  The blue is my ummm recent work-in-progress.

I've had LOTS and LOTS of knitting projects go awry. 

First it was the infamous Red Lace Shawl. 

It should have looked like this one....

This one was knit by a fellow raveler, see it here:

Isn't it amazing?

I don't have a picture of mine, because about halfway through I ripped it.  It was intricate lace, the first project of that scope that I ever attempted, and after hours and hours of work I dropped a stitch.

OK, usually dropped stitches are no big deal. In lace knitting, maybe not so easy.  It's already full of holes.  And finding which one was from my dropped stitch, vs which ones were intentional, not so easy.  At that point in my experience I couldn't figure out how to pickup and fix that stitch.  So I ripped.  It actually took me a good solid couple of hours to rip the thing apart!  Argggg. 

When my husband came home, he was quite perplexed that I was in tears over the whole affair.  And he said, " But don't you think it was a good learning experience?"  But I didn't want to 'learn' anything.  I wanted my shawl.

My father-in-law was living with us at the time.  When I explained the situation to HIM, he said, "Wow, I just think it's amazing that you could even do that at all in the first place.  I mean, WHO's able to do that?"  Right answer!  I felt a bit better.

Then there was the Purple Cable Knit sweater that was about 5 sizes too large.  I ripped that one. 

A plethora of newborn hats that never fit the babies they were intended for....

The slippers I made for myself, and then accidentally felted one. My daughter saw one come out of the wash (just her size then, at 5) and before I could lament over how it ended up in the wash, she said "OH MOM, you made me some slippers!"  I sure did, honey, sure did. 

Sometimes I can hope that no one will see the mistakes.  And then there are things that should never be knit in the first place.  Like Men's neckties.  Or other things......

Thanks Beth, for that delightful gem of a link.  :) It was great for a laugh.
It could be worse, definitely worse.  Yes, just because you CAN make something, doesn't mean you should. 

The Successes

On a more positive note I DID manage to get some baby knitting done over the past several weeks.  Thank goodness for my tried and tested, small projects! 

And ALWAYS a bonus:  to get to see a great photo of one of those adorable babies wearing my hats!!  Thanks so much Kelly for the pic.

Isn't she adorable??

My Flowers

And, even if I failed at my project - my garden flowers have been exceptionally beautiful this year.  That makes me really happy, and makes up for a lot :) I've had lots of nice arrangements for my house. 

Very Fragrant Antique Rose - La Ville de Bruxelles - Only blooms once a year!

This Rose grows like CRAZY at my house!  It is called 'The Impressionist'.  It has the most intense color.  It was a find at Heirloom Roses - one of their own. 

Apron Corner

Today's Apron:   A lovely red, adorable apron.  It features polka-dots, vintage rick rack, and a layer of organza that poofs! 

The pocket was so unique - I've never seen one like this on an apron anywhere. 

Capturing a Moment

This was, of course, right after I made a batch of cookies.  It was a not-so-subtle hint, that made my day.