Oh so lovely ripples

FINALLY finished my ripple blanket (another post about it here). Well, actually, I finished it two months ago… except for sewing in the yarn ends. Ugh, that is my least favorite part of any project and so my poor ripple blanket has sat in my project basket since June waiting for me to sew in the ends. But I forced myself to sit down tonight and sew in those darn ends. But huzzah, now the ripple is complete!

Ripple blanket completeI followed Lucy of Attic24’s ripple pattern. Very easy and with a great photo tutorial. Then I edged the blanket in white in double crochet. I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran yarn for the ripples and Berroco yarn for the edging. The Debbie Bliss yarn is really soft and I love the colors, but at $10.50 a ball in my local yarn shop, and a pretty dinky ball at that, it’s spendy yarn and I don’t think I’ll use it again. I like Berroco just a much and that’s two bucks less a ball. But anyway, had a great time with this blanket, which is lap sized (fairly narrow, but nearly as tall as me). It was quite soothing to sit on the couch at night and make colorful wooly ripples over and over. I used an H (5 mm) hook. I have also decided I won’t even attempt to sell this blanket… there’s no way I could get a fair price for it on Etsy or whatever. Guess that means I’ll have to keep it. 😉 Oh shucks.

Ripple 2With the yarn I have leftover from the project I am making a patchwork granny square throw pillow to match. It looks great already! Here’s a sneak peak:

GranniesThe granny squares have a white border and I will stitch together with the same white as well. I’m using a G (4.5 mm) hook for the grannies.

What crafty project are you working on right now?

Ripples

Started working on another baby/lap blanket. It’s already pretty much gorgeous. I’m using Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran yarn in eight different colors.

Ripples in progressIsn’t it just lovely so far? I’m using an H (5 mm) hook and Lucy from Attic 24’s ripple pattern. Is there anyone in crochetland who doesn’t just adore Attic 24? I just ogle at her photos and beautiful crochet projects. Crochet porn!

Anyway, I’m hoping to sell this blanket. Haven’t decided yet whether or not to start an Etsy page, or to just try to sell in some local stores or at local craft fairs. I’ve been chatting with a friend of mine who’s a wicked good knitter about going in together for craft fairs so we can split the cost of the booth. We think we’d be pretty successful because we’ve both got a good eye for color. But I worry about getting what I want for my work. I bought the eight skeins of yarn on sale for $7 (normally they’re $10.50). So just my cost of materials alone is $56. And I like to at least pay myself a little for my time and effort (well, actually, I’d like to pay myself so I can afford to go buy more yarn for my next project). I think I’ll ask $125-$150 for this blanket when it’s done (which is paying myself about $3 an hour, by the way), but the question remains, can I get it? I suppose if it doesn’t sell I have a lovely lap blanket for myself. I’m also trying to make a bunch of baby hats/women’s hats to sell, and perhaps some garlands and mobiles.

More ripplesIn other news, I picked up a little bag to hold my hooks, scissors, stitch markers, and tapestry needles last time I was at the yarn store. I’ve been on the hunt for something for a while to corral my hooks. I’d pinned a number of crochet hook book patterns, but I think I like this little drawstring bag better. It was made locally and I love the fabric the lady used for my home state.

MT hook bagAnd now I’ll leave you with a little glimpse of heaven:

Basket of yarn

Olive’s hat

A friend of mine who lives in Portland has an absolutely darling little girl (well, at least in photos… still haven’t met her in person yet). A few weeks ago I sent that darling little girl a cute hat I crocheted. Olive’s parents liked the hat so well they want a couple more! Here’s the first one (of two) that I’ve finished for Olive. It looks very much like an Olive hat if I do say so myself.

Olive's hat 1

Isn’t it adorable? I added the brim after some thought about how to make the hat look more complete than it did. That’s why I added the ribbon, too. And if Olive’s mom doesn’t like the ribbon she can just pull it out, easy peasy. I combined a pattern from the Interwebz, but tweaked it a little to make it bigger. Then I added the brim.

WEB 2-5-13 olive hat 2

The yarn is by Manos del Uruguay, which is a non-profit women’s fair trade cooperative in Uruguay. According to the tag, the aim of the organization is “to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women.” It’s viciously expensive, but it’s beautiful yarn. It’s 30 percent silk and 70 percent Merino extra-fine wool.

WEB 2-5-13 olive hat 3I hope Olive enjoys her colorful new hat!

High summer garden

Sorry for the complete lack of posts the past few weeks, people. It’s summertime in Montana which means we’ve had some visitors! And I think those visitors would rather I hang out with them than update my blog. Apologies, blog friends. So, to make up for my neglect, I’m going to post quite a few times this week! I’ll update you from the backlog of the past few weeks.

First up: a little garden update. While I write this, the sky is darkening and there’s a dislocated thump of thunder in the distance. We are so excited for rain, and we hope it does actually rain instead of passing tantalizingly overhead. It’s been very warm here, in the 90s, which is not normal, folks. Aaaah, global weirding. Anyway, it’s finally cooling down, back into the 70s. And I think my poor plants will appreciate the reprieve from the heat. They’ve been rather limp the past week, despite their daily dousing.

These photos are from three days ago, but things haven’t changed much in the garden since then. Things are continuing to ripen well. We’ve pulled three nicely sized zucchinis out and we’re having a bumper crop of green beans. Here’s our Thai peppers reddening into ripeness.

I am excited for the heat they will add to our cooking this fall and winter. A good way to remember the warmth of summer.

My pumpkins are oranging nicely on the vine. Yes, oranging. I did just make that word up, but I think it works well.

Remember the pumpkin photo from July 31?

Here’s the same pumpkin three weeks later:

 

These aren’t the only pumpkins I’ve got growing. I’ve got another that’s still quite green that’s double the size of the other two.

We’re looking forward to pumpkin pies, cookies, and muffins. And pumpkin mush for our son!

The sunflowers are much taller these days. The tallest is about seven feet tall. Here’s yours truly again for scale. Seems like every few days we have a couple more lovely sunflower blooms out there. I planted two varieties of sunflowers: the standard yellow sort and one called Mexican Torch. I adore the Mexican Torch variety. Here’s a bloom:

Definitely saving the seeds from this flower. Isn’t the color just amazing?

The bees like the sunflowers too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unusual bouquets

I like roses as much as the next girl. Lilies, too. And sunflowers. Sunflowers were the main flower in my wedding bouquet. But the traditional flowers you can buy at the florist aren’t the only flowers you can use for beautiful bouquets. I’ve been enjoying some more wild-looking, nontraditional blooms lately. Before we turned the buckwheat under, I picked some of the stems for their lovely white flowers. I’ve added some stems from my flowering dill and cilantro plants, too.

Isn’t this bouquet lovely? And it smells great, too! Like dill and cilantro. Can’t decide if I want some pickles or some Mexican food when I take a whiff of it.

 

Dill is part of the Umbelliferae family. This name describes the way the flower grow. Their umbrella-like blooms are called umbels. Carrots are also part of this family.

Isn’t it pretty on the windowsill? And hey, there’s our first two tomatoes! Those two are about to be lunch!

 

 

To every season, turn, turn, turn

We’re having a gorgeous autumn in Montana. These photos are from nearby Butte. Shawn and I went on a picnic last weekend to a small state park on the Jefferson River. We had a lovely time and enjoyed driving through canyons bursting with color.

Here’s the river, winding its way through the canyon, the railroad tracks at its side.

We’re supposed to have a rough, cold La Nina winter full of snow. I hope autumn decides to stick around a long, long time. It’s just so beautiful! Just about everyone I know claims autumn as their favorite season, and I’m no different. The way the air smells — full of calm, crisp air and burning leaves — and the scads of baked goods involving pumpkin are my favorite parts. Oh! And it’s soup season again. I love soup.

Shawn and I had such a lovely weekend. Living apart is very difficult, especially after living together for nine months. I’m dreading the separation that comes after we get married. We don’t even get a honeymoon until next year, which positively stinks in my book. One thing can be said of our separation: we cherish each other and we don’t take each other for granted! Our picnic was such fun. We also went to a neat specialty foods store near his apartment that is beyond amazing. The wine selection alone is enough to make your had spin. I couldn’t resist and picked up two soup mixes, two bottles of wine, a jar of jam, some natural cleaning solution and some cheese. All will be mightily enjoyed in the weeks to come.

It’s starting to sink in…

… that I’m getting married in exactly 36 days.

Dropped off my wedding invitations yesterday at InstyPrints in Kalispell. After looking at countless wedding invitation websites and continually being dumbfounded by the prices (I realize that in purchasing the invitations, one is purchasing someone’s design, which they put a lot of effort into, but my little budget just can’t handle that!), I decided to design my own. Part of my job is designing newspapers, after all. Surely I can handle designing invitations.

Here’s the result (which I love!). It’s going to be printed on recycled paper, too:

(The brown border is part of my WordPress skin… it’s not there on the printed version.)

Hmm… maybe I should start designing wedding invitations. Thoughts?