Friday, July 31, 2009

Water water everywhere!

It poured today so I stayed in. The weather has been lovely otherwise. I love Boston. It feels like home to me. It represents everything that I love about the northeast. I will take some photos tomorrow. Yesterday I went to Providence RI. I love that city too and in reality, I can see us retiring there as it is so much more affordable than Boston and less than an hour away. Rhode Island, known as the Ocean State, is beautiful in the summer. There is water everywhere and there are hydrangeas all over the place! I'm partial to blue flowers so seeing hedges of hydrangeas makes me very happy. Providence is easy to get around and in most places you can just pull up to the curb and park for free--unlike Boston where you will pay $8 per hour in a lot. Even more surprising were some of the housing prices in the East Side which is near Brown Univ which is a lovely neighborhood. First I saw this house:
This one is out of my price range. It is going for a little over a million dollars. Compared to the DC market, that's not bad given that this house has 10 bedrooms and 6 baths. It is huge and gorgeous!
The next two are well within our price range. If I could afford to retire, I'd work on talking DH into the first house which is being sold as a short sale at $349K. That's less than our house is worth and this one has 9 bedrooms and 5 baths. It is divided up into 3 three bedroom units with the one on the first floor having central air. I figure you could live on the first floor and rent out the other two.
The third house is also in the $300,000's. It has a unit on the first floor with 2 bedrooms and then the 2nd and 3rd floors make up a townhome unit with 4 bedrooms. Again--you would live in one and rent the other.
I think purchasing a multifamily unit will be the way to go! We'll see how we feel when the time comes.

I have spent most of my time here buried in microfilm. After a while, your eyes go nuts with this! I'm always amazed that there is still more to discover about my ever expanding family tree! Being in Boston means that there is a lot of walking involved. Fortunately my foot is a lot better though I've had to stick to ugly shoes for the time being.

I would not be seen in public in those shoes at home! I'm hoping to be in my heels when school starts as I have 4 pretty sun dresses to make and ugly shoes just won't do!

I visited two yarn shops. The first, Windsor Button, is in downtown Boston a block away from the Commons. It's been there since 1936 and has every type of button imaginable. They have started carrying yarn and have a nice selection. In fact they have the best section of Malabrigo that I've seen in one place. I bought two very large and fancy mother of pearl buttons by Lantern Moon and 2 skeins of silky Malabrigo in a beautiful teal. The color is lighter than in the photo. I think the yarn will be a scarf. I also got a gift for my secret pal which cannot be divulged here!

The other shop I visited was in Providence. It is called Fresh Purls and it is an absolutely lovely little shop. They have an incredible selection of nonwool yarns and I got to see and feel some yarns that I'd seen online and wondered about. I bought a skein of Malabrigo worsted to make myself a Struan hat. I had been looking for the right color and this color will go with my Shalimar fingering yarn that I'm using to make my Entagled Stitches gloves.

The colors look gray in the photo but they are a lovely medium spring green! I'm itching to start those gloves but I will have to swatch. The pattern is only for a size large and the gauge is 30 st. to 4 in. on size 2.5 mm needles. I figured that I need to get a gauge of 36 st. to 4 inches so I will swatch on a 2.0 mm needle to see how it goes.

My other project before I left home was to put together a package for my Cuppa Tea swap pal. We did a tea towel swap. I love linen tea towels so I decided to make a vintage style one using the colors of her kitchen. I bought Irish linen and made a scalloped hem on the bottom and a hanging loop on the top. I used a vintage embroidery design from the 1940's and hand embroidered it using her colors. It turned out quite well! I may have to make some of these for myself as I love them!

I have to go work on my homework!

Kitty Cam: Harley looks so regal when the other kitties aren't around!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

On the road again--almost!

Beantown tomorrow! I'll be leaving around 3:00 pm. DH thinks I'm nuts. He is one of those who wants to get up and leave around 7 am when traveling. Not me! I like to sleep in, make sure everything in the house is settled then leave without rushing! Plus, I've found that 3 pm is perfect because I can go the 420 miles without hitting any rush hour traffic! There's a lot to be said for that! I'll pack in the morning. As long as my laundry is done and I've done the grocery shopping then packing is easy. I stay in a suite so I bring food and such.

Anyway, I thought I'd catch you up on what's been going on. I've finished a few things and gotten some nice swap gifts. I finally finished my Musica Gloves. I had done the left one then put it aside. I finally finished the right one!

I'm really tickled with these! They will be great for school! I also started a new set of mitts. A secret pal had given me the yarn and the pattern. I'm almost finished with the first one. This pair of mitts has half fingers and I am up to that point. Once I finish it, I will begin another pair of gloves.

I also finished a silly little skirt. I pretty much kept to the pattern, but I added lining and topstitched little triangles on each pleat. I have another skirt and 4 summer dresses to make when I get back.

My secret pal sent me a gift certificate from Elann. I was so tickled because I had been eyeballing some yarn there. It was still there when I got the gift certificate. Nine balls of Tahki Sky organic cotton!

I also got my swap package from the Cuppa Tea Ravalry Group:
First my partner crochet a red tea towel and a tea towel that looks like a dress!

Next I got a box and a tin of tea, a felted bag kit, 2 balls of Patons Bamboo/Silk, handmade soap and a project bag card.

It's been a good week! I'll catch up on other stuff another time!

Kitty Cam: Samantha has had a hematoma on her little ear. We had scheduled surgery for it but the vet said the outcome would probably be the same if we let it heal on its own. Her ear was all puffed up, poor baby!

She will end up with a "cauliflower ear" which means that her ear will be bent and a bit crinkled. She still looks sweet with her little bent ear as you can see as she nestles in her new box!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catching up . . .

I've been bad. I need to stay current here and I have no excuse seeing as I am off for the summer! I've got some swap projects to do. I'm participating in a Puck This swap (hockey fans) and a Tea Towel Swap with two Ravelry groups. I received my package in the Puck This Swap:

Some gorgeous lampworked beads in Washington Capitals colors and some goodies from Wisconsin--coffee, popcorn, jam and chutney! Good stuff!

I also started the Botanica Medallion Cardigan. I really need to finish my Musica Gloves but I couldn't stand it! I have the medallion done:

I'm please with it. It measures about 15 inches in diameter and it is blocked. I've started the outer band:

I've actually done twice as much as the photo shows. I'm intrigued with the design. The designer chose stitch patterns with different gauges so that the band actually curves and will form a circle around the medallion.

Other stuff that's been going on--I need to do some sewing. I have to finish a skirt I'm working on and then I'm doing another. Here are the patterns I'm using:

I'll post photos of the finished skirts when I can model them with decent shoes!
I made a new wreath for the front door. We decorate our house with Patriotic bunting and we have our flag out. I thought I would do a seasonal wreath for the front door:

Tomorrow I get my foot checked! It seems to be healing well. I've cut way back on taking the Advil which is a good sign. I'm still wearing the velcro shoe thingie when I go out. I am painfully reminded that my foot isn't all together healed when I step on a tree root or some other irregular spot of ground! I will also steam up some fresh veggies tomorrow. A few weeks ago, I ate lunch at Bonaparte's and they served a salad which was a bed of Romaine with lightly steamed green beans, zucchini spears, carrots, and beets plus tomato wedges and pitted Kalamata olives. It was topped with a delicious lemon vinaigrette. Here is my version of it:

The recipe I used for the lemon vinaigrette can be found here. The only change I made was to add 2 tsp. of sugar instead of 1/2 tsp. and I didn't use pepper. It is really good stuff!

I've finally gotten all my planters done! I'll leave you with some photos of some of them:

Kitty Cam: Two couch potatoes--Harley and Mikey!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

SP14 Questionnaire

Here is my Secret Pal 14 Questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like?
My absolute favorite yarn is merino wool and silk blend yarn. I love natural fibers--preferably animal fibers. I do like cotton if it is soft or a blend. Cotton and microfiber is nice. I tend to use sport or heavier weights and seem to use DK and worsted the most. I do not care for acrylic or novelty yarn.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a shaker box for my Addi circs and straight needles. My double points are stored in wine boxes. My KnitPicks options are in the binder that they came in.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting since I was 9 years old when my mother taught me. I'm over 50 so you can do the math! ;-)

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I have an Amazon wish list. You can find the link on the sidebar of my blog.

5. What’s your favorite scent?
I like subtle spicy scents like apple cinnamon or vanilla and my favorite is lemon or other citrus.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I don't care for really sweet stuff. I do love dark chocolate --particularly with nuts, fruit or coffee in it!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I love to sew and design clothes. I also do metalwork and make jewelry. I enjoy gardening as well. I do not spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I have eclectic taste in music. I like pretty much everything--classic rock, alternative, punk, ska, showtunes, folk, country, hip hop, jazz, rhythm and blues etc. The only thing I don't care for is rap or really screamy stuff!

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
I like earthy colors like orange, rust, brown, gold, tan, olive green, forest green. I love turquoise, teal, dark purple and bright red as well. For summer, I like lighter versions of those colors. I do not ever wear pink, gray, navy, maroon or white--I just don't like those colors for me--but will use them for gifts for other people.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am an empty nester with 2 kids in their 20's. I have 4 cats (hence the Crazy Cat Lady moniker) and a turtle!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, gloves, fingerless gloves--occasionally I wear mittens and hats. I don't wear ponchos, but I do like wraps and shawls.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
My favorite thing to knit is top down sweaters. I also like to knit hats, gloves and scarves.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am knitting the Botanica Medallion Cardigan, Sylvi, Breakfast at Cafe du Monde Gloves, and I'm finishing up the Musica Fingerless Gloves.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Absolutely! Doesn't everyone?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I like circular needles. I like the slick metal ones like Addi Turbos or Knit Picks Options. I also like short double pointed needles. When using straights, I prefer shorter ones in slick wood like ebony or Knit Picks Harmony.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I own both!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
More than a couple of years. Plus I have a couple of sweaters that I've never seamed together.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?
Christmas is the winter holiday I observe and it is also my favorite!

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I have a number of collections. I like cat, Scotty dog and music related items. I collect vintage or handmade buttons, vintage sewing notions and vintage Patriotic memorabilia. I also collect vintage crocheted pot holders--particularly the ones that look like little dresses. I have those hanging on my kitchen wall!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I am dying to try some of the exotic fibers like yak. I would also like to try some bamboo blends. I do not subscribe to any knitting magazines. I let my IK subscription lapse.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
Hairpin lace. I've seen some lovely patterns by Stitch Diva in that technique which I would like to try at some point.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I do not knit socks though I have some nice sock yarn in my stash. Perhaps one day I'll give it a try. I wear a size 7 1/2 shoe.

23. When is your birthday?
April 8

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?
I am on Ravelry and I'm known as kozykitty.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

By the rude bridge that arched the flood.
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

And that's what started it all! I've been watching "The Revolution" series on the History Channel. This makes me long for my trip to Boston!

I'll catch everyone up on my latest exploits later. Until then, enjoy your holiday!