Monday, February 29, 2016

Silver Linings

 I jumped out of bed at 6:30 am on Friday to clear a path through the house for the cable guy. I moved mountains of material. I piled stuff all over the house. I dusted miles of wires that live behind the TV. I was a cleaning machine. Then......he didn't show. Nope. Somehow The Mister didn't finish the confirmation part of his phone call to Comcast so nothing actually got scheduled from their end. Darn.

 The good news is that all that open space cleared out a path to the loom and since the warp was finished, I could get started on my Easter towels. Even more good news, I did NOT run out of pink. Whew.

After all my cleaning I had just enough energy left to rough sley the thing on the raddle. I know I've said it before but I am going to say it again. I love using the counting threads. It took a very tedious task and trimmed it down to minutes. Minutes.

The cable guy came out on Sunday to fix whatever was going on with the On Demand thing after The Mister spent another hour or so dealing with them trying to fix the signals over the phone. I hate the whole cable thing but we have to have it here in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, I watch more Netflix than anything anymore.
Any cable/dish horror stories to share?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Soap: Testing, Testing....

 I haven't forgotten about the giveaway going on over at Ravelry. I've been working hard at getting the cured soap in giveaway condition. Out of the mold, it looks a little raggedy so about a week before it's cure date each bar starts getting some individual attention.

 An old potato peeler trims off uneven edges. After peeling, it gets a good wipe down with a damp cloth to bring out the colors and shine.

 Those peelings are not wasted. I use them to test the soap.

 First I put a piece in my mouth. Yes, you read that right. If it doesn't "zap" you, the soap is ready for use. I've yet to be zapped so I must be doing something right. Then I give my hands a wash and if that feels right, I use it on my ever so sensitive face. I used to use a lot of fancy chemicals to test but they didn't really tell you much. You have to use a soap to know how it acts and I use it all before I give anything away.

 The cleaned and tested soaps now go back on their racks to dry another few days before wrapping. They will now have a hard outer coat to protect them during storage. It takes a couple of uses for their true nature to be revealed. Have patience. It's worth it.

 I will have a bunch ready for wrapping this week. I'm happy lots of you signed up for the giveaway over on Ravelry. I am itching to make some summer scents but I can't until these are off the racks. I hear hibiscus is THE scent for summer 2016. I've also got some yuzu I am dying to try. I keep walking past the bottle of fragrance oil and taking a sniff. It's good stuff.

 Around here unloved soap ends up on the kitchen sink for those million times a day I need a hand washing. Just because I made it doesn't mean I end up loving it. There's a lot of scents and formulas that just don't do it for me. They do their job but they are just not luxury tub material. I'm looking at you Love Spell.

 I always look forward to sitting down and coming up with colors and patterns that make a good wrap for each fragrance.

This coffee soap is to die for. Unlike Love Spell which was made from fancy schmancy ingredients, this stuff was right out of the kitchen cabinets. It's heaven. Sometimes simple is best.

I've also got an assembly line of lotion bars in progress to stuff in each package and....

....some extra wonderful glycerin facial soap. I call this the Kitchen Sink soap as in it has everything but: aloe, olive oil, coconut milk, colloidal oatmeal, kaolin clay, activated charcoal and honey...yum.
It's not too late to sign up over at Ravelry. I sure have plenty to giveaway and all this isn't even the big spring batches that will be cured at the end of the month (!). I need an intervention.
Got an obsession?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Fine Mess

 I wasn't kidding yesterday when I said the place was a mess.

 Between the production construction and all my other millions of hobbies I've reached the point of no return-space wise. This is only one room. I have three in this condition plus the combined living room and dining room that looks like a storage bin for a Mardi Gras parade at the moment. The Mister is not amused.

 My sewing table is a goner. I couldn't figure out where I put anything if I tried. It's easier just to go out and buy what I need and that's what I've been doing. That's bad.

 Every corner is filled with piles of randomness. I can't even get through the room to switch on the light anymore.

Shame on me. What really keeps me from diving in and sorting it all out is that I have no idea where to put it all. My shelves are full.
How do you organize your crafty things?

Friday, February 26, 2016

FO Friday

 I suppose it's not really an FO. It still has to be knit into something but I'll take anything I can get these days. I am deep in the black hole of knitting.

 This lovely skein is at least finished the spinning part of it's journey.

 Halfway through the plying I realized I had never checked to see if it was balanced. I knew I was pedaling like a maniac on the Ladybug from the sheer joy of it so I feared it was going to have a lot of energy.

 It wasn't too bad. I've certainly made worse. Much worse.

 After a good long soak it calmed down.

Today it's nice and fluffy and begging to be knit into a pretty little something but it will have to wait until things get under control around here. I've got so many projects going at the moment you can't even walk through the living room-and the cable guy is coming at 8 am to fix my broken On Demand. That's going to be embarrassing.
Do you have something you are itching to cast on?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

In a Pinch

 Elns gifted me these point protectors and I love them. I love them so much I wanted more but when I went to Webs to order them they were out of stock.

 I really needed a pair, like now. I was knitting two gray socks at a time and I was sick of pulling one pair out of the bag they share and spending my precious knitting time putting the stitches back on the needles.  I went rummaging around in the sewing room and came up with an idea using felt and elastic.

Ta dah. As soon as I can wade into the sewing room far enough to reach a machine again I'll be knocking off a few more of these. I had to sew them by hand and they are pretty wonky but I'm not complaining because they work just fine.
What knitting accessory can YOU not live without?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Heart Will Go On and On and On....

 Valentine's Day is long gone but my house is still a sea of reds and pink hearts.

As I mentioned before, our third place finish-out of six amazing teams, did not sit well with our coach aka Daughter.

We brainstormed ways of getting even more candy into the number. We were looking for an even bigger wow factor than an awesome 10 foot gingerbread house. Hmm....

We decided to recruit three little munchkins who will now be Sweetheart conversation hearts that pop out of their boxes during the finale with help from our Sugar Plum Fairies. The last thing the judges will see is something cute. We hope.

Or course that meant making the heart costumes and the boxes they pop out of. Ouf. What a job and I'm still not completely happy with the results. It's one thing to make up your own designs and another trying to copy an iconic one-in sloppy cardboard and felt.

I should say that the boxes are not quite done. After spending hours trying to cut the letters out of felt freehand, I ended up ordering felt letters from Amazon. I hope they work because this particular job was no fun at all.

 I should also confess that I still have yet to put away any of my own Valentine's decorations. I think I'm going to wait until March and then change it all out to green.
Any signs of Valentine's still hovering chez vous?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Plying Time

 I've been plying but it hasn't been what I really need to be plying. I am still spinning the singles for this year's MDSW shawl. That clock is really ticking. It's been such slow going that I'm thinking this may be the last year I do this. I've been performing this little ritual for years so I really don't need anymore shawls. I need to start recycling the ones I already have. That by the way, is my broken Golding spindle that I managed to glue back together very nicely. It works perfectly again. I wish I could glue myself back so easily. I still am in a world of hurt from my recent tumble.

What I have been plying is the fiber from Wandering Cat Studios which was a lovely gift from Valerie.

This is what it started out as way back in September. It was a perfect early autumn spin but it was doomed to sit out the holidays when the wheels get packed away.

 Now it's looking like this. Pretty.

 It took me a while to get my plying mojo back. It's been a while.
I can't wait to swatch it and see what it wants to be.
Any ideas? Do you know any good patterns that play nice with handspun?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jelly Beans

 First let me say that I have enjoyed immensely all the klutz tales you have shared with me in the comments over the past few days. I feel much better now about my own run of bad luck. It pales in comparison with what some of you have done to yourselves.
So now that I can move my arms above my head again, I'm back to work on the warping board. I couldn't make up my mind what colors I wanted for my Easter towels so of course, I used them all. I've got the warm colors going one way and I'll have the cool colors going the other.

I've already used a lot of pink and now I may have to figure out how to work in a slightly different pink if I run out.  Hmmm....I hope it doesn't end up involving winding stuff off. I hate when that happens.

Here are the cool colors that are going to be the weft along with some white. This may all be a big mistake but it's worth the risk since I'm only wasting one towel's worth of cotton. I'm hoping to get something that looks like a bowl of jelly beans but I'm thinking it might just end up looking like unicorn barf instead.
Which jelly bean color do you always eat first? It's always pink for me.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thinking Spring

 It may have been blustery and cold outside last week but inside it smelled like spring. Right before my ugly tumble, I was on a soap making binge.

 Meet Spring Rain. Have I told you how much I love my new wood soap mold? Well I do. I really, really do. The soap just pops right out with nice clean edges. The only problem is that is makes twice as much soap as my small molds and as I've mentioned, I already have way too much soap.

This is the two latest batches in my small molds taking their turn under the warming dome. Brrrr....they barely made it past 100 degrees while saponifying in this giant icebox of a house during the last visit of that blankety blank polar vortex. We are having a gorgeous weekend so happily it's a distant memory and I hope it stays that way.

 Mmmm....Pink Honeysuckle with buttermilk.

Mmmmm.....True Lilac with aloe butter.
What smells like spring to you?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

More Klutzing

 First it was slamming my thumb in the car door. That was a six month ordeal I would rather forget.

Then I drop a pot of boiling water on my foot a week before a big skating competition.

I haven't said anything because I felt like such a big idiot but on Monday I fell down the stairs. I had been out shoveling the back deck in my Crocs. When I came back in, I tried to get down the front steps and out the front door without much success. I went slip sliding down on the icy bottoms of my Crocs and did a belly flop on the landing.

 I almost went through the glass door head first. The Mister was on the other side of it and I got an earful for scaring him to death. At first I thought I was okay but the next day and for the rest of the week I could hardly move. Every inch of me felt like I had taken a good beating.

I still feel pretty awful but I've got too much to do to feel sorry for myself any longer. The third place finish for one of our teams last week put a bee in Daughter's bonnet to make some changes which always makes lots of work for me. The next competition is in two weeks. Yippee.....and pass the Tylenol. I the only klutz out there? When was the last time you did yourself some major bodily harm?