Sunday, July 29, 2012

Short(er) rows

This summer, I'm laboring at love...with love.

Love: stranded colorwork vest that is challenging me in oh-so-many ways...but as the rows, er, rounds get shorter it gets more fun, and that is the joy of a hem-up knit.  I'm jonesing to knit with big needles on a quick project (maybe that's why THIS jumped out at me from the new Interweave Knits?) but it's also been completely absorbing to be creating a garment on size 2s and the dang thing BETTER FIT ME OR ELSE.  It definitely warrants its own post.

Love has also been taking care of my body. Summer is always a time of rejuvenation and after a year of feeling good, finishing (nearly) the Whole 30, which I highly recommend for snapping oneself out of unproductive eating habits, I have been running more and biking more and feeling more *me* for the first time in a long time.  It helps that I have come to some realizations about my body and myself--probably fodder for another post--that are continually surprising that it took me to age 36 to figure out.

Love has been completing some house projects that needed to be done, and thinking about what we want our home to look, feel, and be like for us and our guests. I'm not a big decorator/DIY person but I do enjoy small, achievable projects.  Maybe that's another post.

Love has also been indulging in lots of reading and quiet time, which I share with my kids now.  They've both turned into crazy bookworms, devouring their books of choice and reading and reading and reading and READING until I have to go (like I remember my mom doing with me) and say, "Are you still with us?"  I'm rereading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (also known as the Game of Thrones series after its first book and the HBO series).  I'm also listening to the latest Stephen King, 11/22/63, on audiobook.  I haven't read a King book for a long time--I think he lost me at about The Langoliers--but I have heard good things about this one, and I love his nonfiction (who else misses his Entertainment Weekly column?), so I'm giving old Uncle Stevie another chance.  Perhaps I can weigh in on my thoughts about the series or the King book in another post.

It's funny...the Knittingverse is full of meetups and fairs and Ravellenics and Tours de Fleece and I am in the least joiny mood I've ever been.  Just enjoying me and my needles and my little nest.  Again...probably another post for another time.

This is my new year, my refresh, reset, reboot time.  So many beginnings, so many strands, so many skeins...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
E. B. White

I have to admit that I love doing laundry.  It's one of the only chores that allows you to watch TV at the same time.  It's also that little bit of order from chaos that we all need around the house.

We've been repainting our downstairs, which includes the family room, the laundry room, and, behind a little pocket door, a half bath.  The floor is a dark green tile--somewhere between avocado and forest--and the walls had been painted a greeny white.  Like most paint colors chosen by the previous owners of our house, the intent was to match some other element in the room, and the result was slightly off and kind of, well, ugly.  Greeny-white is NOT a good color in a room that has no natural light.  It sort of reflected itself onto your skin when you were in there and made you look like you had cholera or typhus or some horrid 19th century wasting disease.

On the pocket door was painted a Mondriany geometric pattern in burgundy and green.  Again, not the SAME green as the tile, but ALMOST.  It was so poorly executed that the paint had bled under what had been the taped off portions, making every line uneven and amateurish, and the pencilled-on guidelines HAD NOT BEEN ERASED.

Listen, I get the whirl of excitement that happens when you see something on HGTV and want to imitate it in your home RIGHT NOW.  But why not erase the pencil lines?

And, more to the point, six years later, why hadn't *I* erased the pencil lines?  Instead I just pushed the pocket door into its, er, pocket and tried to pretend it wasn't there.

Now, though, there was a lot of satisfaction in primering over that and painting it a smooth, warm color of creamy white.  (Malted Milk by Behr from Lowe's, in case you were wondering.)  We've got plans for shelving and/or cabinets, and I want a little drying rack for my handknit socks, and some bins for sorting lights and darks, and (can't you tell?) I'm just giddy with excitement for a little laundry oasis to be ready.

What's your favorite household chore, and why?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fruit alchemy

Fifteen pounds of local, we-picked-'em raspberries became fifteen jars of jam today.

We also set aside a good number of berries to freeze for the dark days of winter, plus a big pot of "ice cream topping"--as my husband called it--that I would just have soon have called "dinner, eaten standing at the stove."

Before we went on vacation last week, we had picked another 15 pounds of local strawberries and made no-sugar jam following the recipe that comes in the box of Pomona's Pectin.

I got this book as a belated birthday present and it was well worth the wait...I basically read it cover to cover (stopping to salivate) on our drive home from eastern Washington.  I am sad there aren't more low-sugar or no-sugar recipes--I see us using it to make a few boutique jars to give as gifts, but using our more utilitarian jams for every day.  This is the book equivalent of playing dressup with fruit.

I was thinking as I walked the rows this morning, picking the luscious giant raspberries--my county produces some insanely high percentage of the raspberries in the U.S.--how lucky we are to be able to drive a mere fifteen minutes to pick fifteen pounds that will become fifteen jars.

Have you gotten into preserving or jam-making or pickling or anything else?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012



My sister made this for me.

Isn't it cool?