Sunday, August 31, 2008

Garden Update 2

I cannot believe how prolific this basil has been! I'm planning on making batches of pesto with it, and then freezing it, so that it will last us through this winter. I read somewhere that if you pull off the flowering heads of the basil, that it will keep growing new leaves longer, so that's what I've been doing, and it has worked like a dream!
My parsley is finally coming up all of the sudden too. It's been slow to grow until recently, but now I've got a ton of that as well.
I also got the first cucumber out of my garden a few days ago. When they were growing, I started thinking to myself "hmmmm those cucumbers sure look strange, and pale, and wrinkly...." Turns out I didn't read my seed packets closely enough, and I got Armenian cucumbers, not regular ones. They stay wrinkly and light, but they are also super crunchy and almost completely seedless! The perfect cucumber in my book! Look how prettily they slice as well! They look like cute little flowers. I've been making sandwiches with them for the last few days. Just cheese, cucumbers, hummus, and red onions with a little honey-dijon dressing. Yum. There are three more baby cucumbers still on the vine, and I'm sure a few more will come in before it gets too cold out.
Also, there is some kind of bug that is eating my pretty little zinnias! I've been having to pick them the day after they open up because if they are open for a few days these little green bugs start to destroy them. I'm really not up for using any pesticides though, so I guess that's the price I'll have to pay. I did find this little pretty poking itself up from the wildflower patch the other day though.
I'm still waiting on the tomatoes. I'm getting way too anxious for them to ripen. I'm one of those people who can eat a warm fresh tomato just like an apple. No salt or anything. Yum.
I also strung some basil in the kitchen to dry out. It made the kitchen smell really good!
The green beans are also flowering again, so we'll get a second round of those in a week or so as well. My homely little garden has been such a good learning experience for this year. I'm already planning next summer's garden. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

...and it was all yellow...

We are starting to re-decorate our apartment , and I've been having a lot of fun with revamping some of the things I already have. It is fun just to see what a little paint can do to things you are not really attached to. I've really been loving yellow lately. So I've been trying to incorporate it throughout our apartment. I had painted this mirror (which was originally gold and chipped all over) green with silver highlights (it was still ugly). But now it is a cheery ochre yellow and resides in our bedroom. I really love it now!

You can see the former color being painted over in this picture - I don't know what I was thinking when I originally painted it - eew.We also found out that we are allowed to paint the walls in our apartment. We are doing 'crisp wheat' (which is fairly yellow) in the kitchen, and a medium gray color in the living room. Hopefully I'll have the kitchen done by tonight. Here is the one finished wall before and after:

It is amazing how much a layer of paint can make a place feel a lot more like a home.

I also forgot to show some of the little treasures I got while in Galena. First off, there is a wonderful yarn store there called FiberWild. I got these pretties there, they are recycled cotton, and I think I'm going to make a sleeveless top out of them. It is nice and soft cotton.
Also, look what the hubby got me for our anniversary! He know I love rings, and he did some researching on my Wists and my Etsy Favorites, and found this wonderful ring from Elizabeth Scott Designs on Etsy. I love love love it! I especially love the rounded band, it is really comfortable. It is also very well made. I'm sure this will be a staple for a long time. :) Well, I'm off to finish painting, wish me luck!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bold and Bulky Mini Cardi from Fitted Knits

I finally got good pics of this while we were on our trip to Galena. It was made from an acrylic and cotton (50/50) blend recycled yarn that I took apart from a sweater. It is such a good basic wardrobe piece. I think I may knit another one soon, and make the sleeves and the body full length.

The buttons came from a different sweater that I got at the thrift store to take apart, they are just plain shell buttons. The necklace I'm wearing is from Vintaj on Etsy, I got it about a year ago, and I love it. It is also a staple of my wardrobe. I think I only made a few little modifications to the pattern. I did the decreases a little differently, and I didn't do the flare sleeves.
Fitted Knits is full of great patterns, and I can't wait to start another. Stefanie Japel is an awesome designer, and I can't wait to see her next book Glam Knits.

One Year!

We celebrated our one year anniversary a few days ago with a trip to Galena IL. We went on our honeymoon there last year, and we went back to the same place this year.
Don't we look happy?
We stayed at the Farmer's Guest House, which is a bed and breakfast right on the edge of downtown Galena. It was a very relaxing stay, and we made full use of the hot tub and the wonderful breakfasts that they serve. Jess and Kathy, the owners, were excellent hosts, and I'm sure we are going to be back there soon.
Here was the little cabin where we stayed, it is right behind the main building.

Nate and I had to go on the alpine slide while we were there, it was like a mini-bobsled down a ski hill, and then we got to ride the ski-lift back up. What a handsome guy, eh?
There was also wine, which was great. We toured the Galena Cellars and then did a wine tasting afterwords. My favorite was the raspberry wine. The guide gave us a piece of dark chocolate to chew on, then when it melted she told us to take a sip of the wine. Yum.
Don't I look like I know what I'm doing? Hah....
We also ate a lot of good food. Here we are outside of Vinnie Vinucchi's. We ate a lot on the trip -- good thing we walked a lot too!
Although it has been a crazy and busy year ( moving, starting grad school, changing jobs, cats, ect....) it has been a great to spend it with my great hubby. Happy anniversary Nate!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Finished and New Projects

We've been busy around here, but somehow I've managed to squeeze in some quality knitting time.
Nate's cousin had a baby this last week, so I decided to make up a little baby sweater for him. It is very loosely based on the baby sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but I did it top down, used my recycled cotton yarn, and I heavily modified the button band as well.

I've also started a new scarf, I'll post more details on it when I'm finished with it. I've been volunteering at the Red Cross this summer, and I'm trying to get certification as a disaster responder, so I've been taking a bunch of courses in my spare time, and this scarf has been a great asset to have to stay awake during the sometimes long classes. :)
I've also been working on my packaging for my etsy items. I've designed some new yarn tags, and also made new necklace packages. Let me know what you think of them!

I'm going to be putting a lot more cotton yarns up in my shop soon, so keep your eye out for them! I've been spinning singles of the recycled cotton yarn (it comes apart really stringy from the sweaters, think multiple strands of thin cotton with no twist) and then plying it back upon itself to make nice, easy to use plied cotton yarn. I really like working with it. I used to use only wool for most of my projects, but I have no idea why. Even merino sometimes bothers my super sensitive skin, so I've finally bit the 'elitist fiber snob' bullet and now use a ton of 50/50 cotton and acrylic blends. And you know what, I'm still alive, and still enjoying knitting! I know!
In other news, the hubby and I are going to Galena in a few days for our anniversary, and it should be very relaxing. They even have a super yarn store, what more could I ask for?

Garden Update

My garden is starting to take off! We have been enjoying some of the benefits around here.

My favorite things are the flowers, these are some of the wildflowers that have been popping up:
The Thai Basil is huge! I've been using it on everything. It is really good on toasted sourdough with hummus, tomatoes and cheese. Yum. There is also a regular basil plant coming up along with the thai basil, which is fine with me.

Zinnias, quite possibly my favorite flower. They are easy to grow, they grow fast, and they keep growing new flowers when they are cut! Here are a couple of them right before they open up:

Oh, and tomatoes! I was determined to grow tomatoes, but I was starting to get scared that they weren't going to grow to maturity before it started to cool off. I started these from seed, and about half of the plants are coming along just fine. Some of the plants are still only about 5 inches tall though (this one is about 2 feet tall now), and I'm not really sure why there is such a gap between the plants. It is strange.
All in all, the only thing that has been scrapped is the spinach, we got it in too late and it shot straight up without producing very many leaves. I got 2 measly salads out of all 8 plants. Oh well. We have gotten a lot of green beans though, they are really tasty too. I think it is pretty amazing considering I haven't used any pesticides or commercial fertilizers at all.
Can you tell I love my homely garden patch?