Saturday, March 29, 2008

For Everything There is a Season......

Every season when the ground wakes up I find myself day dreaming of planting. Usually I can plant cold weather seeds the last week of March. This year I was not able to even get to the garden due to all of the snowfall. As the picture shows the snow is almost totally gone. Hooray!

I have all of my different lettuce and spinach seeds ready to go. These seeds are great for producing fresh salad greens. Arugula is great for adding zest and nuttiness to your salad. It is ready to harvest in about 30 days. Mesclun mix is so pretty and adds great texture. Spinach is so beneficial to your health. Lastly the lettuce mix has a great range of leaf color. When you harvest your salad it will be better than any salad in any high end restaurant. And you grew it yourself! I am hoping to get my lettuce in the ground on Wednesday.

I have a love for heirloom seeds. This year I have already started my tomato plants indoors. I am planting several varieties. San Marzano is an Italian paste tomato. Costoluto Genovese is a Italian slicer. Big Rainbow is huge and pretty. Mortgage Lifter is a large pink beefsteak tomato. Husky gold is a low acid tomato. And lastly red and yellow pear tomatoes. Sounds pretty good right? I thought I would show you how I start my seeds. It's really easy.

I use Jiffy peat pellets to start my seeds indoors. You can buy them at almost any discount store. I found these at Walmart. Peat pellets are inexpensive and cut down on extra planting steps.

All you have to do is put the pellets you need in a tray and fill it about a quarter of the way with water. The water soaks into the pellet and tada you have a peat pot.

You add two seeds to each peat pot and cover the tray with plastic wrap. I put my tray in a warm spot and wait for germination. This year I just let my tray sit on the kitchen counter. It only took 5 days and look what I have. Tomato seedlings!

I uncover the tray. At this point I will weed out the weaker seedling so I only have one seedling per pot. Then I put the trays on a shelf with a fluorescent light. Starting you own seeds indoors is super easy. It also is cost effective. Not to mention you can grow unique and different plants. This method works great for vegetables and flowers too. Give it a try. If I can do it anyone can!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We Have a Winner!

First I want to say a huge thank you to all of you fiber junkies out in blog world. Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and leave a comment. I never could've imagined all of the interest a little contest could stir up. By Tuesday evening I had 335 entries. Wow! I enjoyed the whole process. Now on to the news your waiting for. Drum roll please..........

The winner of the Celebrate Spring contest is:

Knitting Major! You scored two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo merino wool and spring surprises too! Jennifer, your e-mail did not come through so please contact me. My e-mail is at the top of the page.

I couldn't pick just one winner. I also ran the numbers again and let the generator choose two runner up's.

First runner up is: Jenny Girl.

Second runner up is: Grace Yaskovic. Grace, please contact me. Your e-mail is not linked to your blog.

I will have a special spring surprise packages for you both.

Because of all of the fantastic fun I had I will be hosting another contest soon! Have a wonderful day and Happy Spring!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Contest Update

All of the entries are in and recorded. My next step is to enter all of your names to the random number generator. I did notice that quite a few entries had no e-mail address linked to their account. Some of those same entries do not have a blog. That being said you will need to check in tomorrow to see who the winner is. I expect to have my winner tomorrow morning. I have had such great and interesting comments. I enjoyed each and every one! I wish I was independently wealthy so I could award a Malabrigo prize to everyone! Good luck to all!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Time?

Spring seems to be play an early April Fools trick on us. We had a beautiful first day of spring. The snow was gone. The robins were singing. Canadian geese were flying overhead. Every person I saw seemed happy and thrilled that spring finally arrived! People had a smile on their face and a bounce in their step!

Unfortunately for us we got hammered with a foot of snow the very next day! I know the winter wonderland pictures are getting old but I just want you all to share in my pain! It has been a long, cold and snowy winter here in Northern Illinois. On the positive side I can still use hand knitted items to keep warm. How about another neck warmer? Come on take a look.....

I am really enjoying knitting cables. The process is still captivating me. This pattern is called Cherry Garcia And I used Malabrigo chunky in Stonechat colorway. This is a great one skein project. I just made it with only 6" to spare. I finished it this evening. Here is a close up of the fabric:

Pretty gorgeous color right? I want to thank you all for participating on my Happy Spring contest. If you have not entered please scroll down and join in the fun!
Happy Easter to you and God Bless you on this very special day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Celebrate Spring Contest!

In honor of the first day of spring I thought a contest would be fun. As you can see the lucky winner will receive two skeins of yummy Mmmalabrigo worsted weight yarn. The colorway is called velvet grapes. It truly is beautiful yarn. Each skein has about 216 yards. That's not all you will receive. The winner will also find some fun spring surprises in their package too!

So here are the rules. You can only enter one time. If you mention my contest on your blog with a link you will receive an extra 3 entries! If one of your friends enters because of your input you will get one extra entry. And lastly, just for fun, make sure to mention in your post one of your favorite flowers. One of my favorite flowers are lilacs. The purples and blues and pinks are so striking. The smell is divine. Heaven must smell like lilacs.

The contest ends on Tuesday March 25, 2008 at 7:00p.m. central time. When you leave your comment make sure and click the e-mail box so I can contact you. If you don't have your e-mail linked to your profile it won't work. You can also send me a message when you click on the little envelope next to the comment count. My e-mail is at the top of the page. I am so excited about this contest. I can't wait to read your comments and check out your blog! Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mmmm Malabrigo

Malabrigo yarn....I just adore this beautiful fiber. The colors are amazing. The touch and feel is like...heaven. If I could, I would wrap myself in each and every skein I own. Oops did I actually type that aloud? Come on, I know that I'm not the only yarn lover out there! I am in good company. Right? I found a great online source for one of my favorite yarns. Twist, yarns of intrigue(just got to love that name) has a full color spectrum of Malabrigo yarn. Cathy, the owner was so helpful. This first platter of yummy Malabrigo is called emerald blue. Come a little closer to see the flow of colors.

The blues look like the sky. Maybe even the ocean. This yarn sparkles with warmth and freshness. Mmmmmm. You know, I think this is my favorite colorway so far.

I couldn't wait to wind it into a playful ball. My DD couldn't resist my new yarn. She asked me to knit her a Tudora. I, of course, jumped at the chance. It's almost finished. I just need to find the perfect button. It has to be one of my great grandmothers vintage buttons.
P.s. I did buy more yarn. I'll share it with you tomorrow after my quilting play date with my best friend. Stay tuned for some surprises tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Amanda Hat

This is my Amanda hat. I used the left over skein of Malabrigo from Tudora. This is is pretty quick knit even for me. I finished it in a few days. It's part of the Malabrigo madness KAL. I know what you are thinking. Spring is in only 8 days away. Why am I still making hats and neck warmers? Believe it or not it still can get quite chilly here. Not to mention these projects are fast and fun to do!

This is a close up of the stitch pattern. Pretty cool right?

Unfortunelly I am not a hat person. Don't get me wrong I love hats! I just don't seem to ever look good in them. Maybe my face has the wrong shape? I don't know what the reason, I just can't wear hats. That's why I'm so thrilled about this pattern.

This is probably one of the best pictures of me with a hat on ever! Wow , I am amazed. I wore my hat to the gym to (get killed) work out with Jamie. Then came home and did all of my outside chores wearing my sassy hat. As I'm sitting here typing I still have on my little cutie! Don't you want to make one?
Now, what can I start on next?

Sunday, March 9, 2008


This is my first project with cables! It is a pattern called Tudora that is in the winter issue of Knitty. I found this pattern on Ravelry. The yarn I used is Malabrigo merino wool. The color is a deep variegated burgundy. I only used half of the skein. This is a great pattern for all of those left over skeins of yarn you don't know what to do with. I belong to a forum on Ravelry for Malabrigo Junkies. For the month of March there are all kinds of KAL's for Malabrigo Junkies! I have to say that I am addited to this beautiful yarn.

I have not blocked it yet. Isn't it so pretty! What do you think? O.K. I just wanted to give you a quick update. Now on to the next project. It's a hat. I'll show it to you later. Now we're off to the home and flower show. I hope you all have a great week end!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Signs of Spring

I finished another neck warmer last night. The yarn is a shiny and soft recycled cashmere. The yarn has a real natural sheen to it. Not to mention the pure feel of the fiber. I don't know if any other yarn could feel as good as this one. Aah, cashmere. Don't you just love it? I wish my stash was full of the soft yarn. I would love to be dressed only in cashmere. Maybe I could get a cashmere goat? No, I need a whole herd of goats. Maybe quit my job and raise cashmere goats. We have plenty of room to raise them. DH will have to put up more fences. Whoops, I was just doing a little dreaming there. We did have goats for a few years. I even milked one for a whole summer until she kicked me in the face! Our goats also loved the taste of wood. They ate about half of the south side of the barn. Goats are cute but destructive creatures. Sorry, no more goats for us!

I took this picture of myself just before going to the gym. Oh yeah, I'm back on workout road! So far 3 workouts with my daughters friend who is a trainer. Wow, I almost feel like I'm not going to make it through the sessions. The gym has a defibrillator on site. I did check! I do know that she is not going to kill me but it feels like maybe....No, I'm so glad I'm back on the healthy wagon.

The weather is changing just a bit. We have had a few warm days. Also lots of sunshine. The snow has been melting like crazy. I actually have streams flowing through the snow.

As the snow melts it has no where to go. The ground is still frozen so the water collects in low areas. Factor in the cold nights and we have ice all over. Actually we have several skating rings! I love to ice skate. I have not skated in years. Anyone want to go ice skating with me?

Look what I found in one of the perennial beds. That's right, spring bulbs trying to pop through the hard soil. How beautiful to see the cute green shoots. I know we have more cold and snow on the way. It's nice to know that spring has almost sprung!

Another sure sign of spring are Peeps! I adore Peeps! I especially like them when they get a touch stale. I open the box a tiny bit and let the air do it's job. Then all the sugar that coats each tiny peep. Yum! I only like the yellow ones. I can taste whatever chemical they add for color in the purple and pink and blue ones. I know, I'm still not eating any sugar or white flour. No Peeps for me! At least I could look at them and take a picture to remind me how much willpower I have.
Am I the only adult on the planet who loves Peeps? Come on, share your story with me!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Milk Chocolate Around My Neck

This is some silky and soft lace weight cashmere wound worsted weight. It is recycled from a sweater. The color looks just like milk chocolate. I bought this yarn from a very nice lady on ebay last year. I kind of wasn't sure what I would do with it. After finishing my little cotton kerchief I thought this yarn would make a nice neck-warmer too. Since I'm still doing no sugar or flour it's nice to have some milk chocolate to work with! LOL!

When I got home yesterday I was greeted by this lovely sunset. I ran into the house to grab my camera. I was hoping the pictures would capture the beauty of the outdoors. This is my perennial flower bed.

Right now the snow drifts are about 3 feet deep.

The sun dial is handmade by my husbands Uncle many years ago. It is make up of old broken china and colorful bottles. It needs a little restoration. I just adore it! Some day I will make one of my own.

This is the view from my front door. I just couldn't resist sharing some of my outdoors with you today.