The Garden – Finally! And a knitted thing. And a goodie.

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We’ve been working on the garden, trying to improve it and make it easier to be a garden.  It has taken us a while but finally we have our garden in!

We used to just have an 8×8 square of dirt with a fence around it and I would have to walk in and amongst the veggies to weed and pick.  But now we have two 4×8 beds with a border around them for me to walk and a fence around the whole thing:

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It’s so great!  I can’t wait for all my veggies to grow.

Also, it’s been so cold we didn’t know if our peonies were ever going to bloom (our forsythia bush didn’t, and our flowering crabapple trees didn’t and our rhododendrons didn’t).  They looked like this for ages:

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But this week they finally bloomed!

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In knitting news, I finished my What Alice Found cowl:

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I love it!  I especially love the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Tonals yarn.  It is a dream to work with.  This will be a class on July 23 at The Spinning Room if you are local and would like to participate!

And now it’s on to working on my not-terribly-secret-but-sort-of-secret project for my college bound nephew…

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In baking news, my friend Deirdre, owner of The Spinning Room, gave me some rhubarb from her garden!  So I made this Rhubarb Snacking Cake from Smitten Kitchen:

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Excellent!  Make it.

Also, did you know that there is a magazine out there for everyone?

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“Chickens” !!

It Was Hot.

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A couple of weekends ago was Memorial Day and Musclepalooza at the track.  And I’ll tell you what: IT. WAS. HOT.

I pretty much melt when the hot weather comes, and I turn into a whiny, sweaty, kind of pain in the neck.  But this time, I really tried to rally because this event only comes twice a year, and this year we are not going to as many events as we usually do, so we have to make the ones we go to count.

So, we went and Paul got his time trials in:

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While he did that, I did my best to find a spot to sit with the ATV in the shade.  Because, it was really hot.

And I tried to knit on my What Alice Found with my fan:

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Didn’t really work, because it was too hot.

And, have I said it was hot?  It was.  So in between rounds we had to just sit still and drink beverages:

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And then, before Paul could even get his first elimination round in, at about 2:30pm, after a whole day and part of the afternoon of HOTness:

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And we all ended up in the trailer:

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“We” = Paul, me and the car.  After waiting for a while to see if it would stop, it didn’t, so the event was rained out.  And then it was nice and cool.  We’ll be back for the one in September.

In other news, the Doodlebugs’ mom had a birthday and we made her some Confetti Cookies from the Smitten Kitchen blog:

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They had so much fun and were so excited about giving them to her and wondering whether she would share the cookies with them.  So cute.  They were then extremely excited when I informed them we would have to taste-test them to make sure they were ok to give to her.  So we did that after having lunch al fresco:

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They are SO. YUMMY.  Mr. Doodlebug asked if maybe I might make them for their birthday.   Even if you don’t like sprinkles, you might like these because they get baked into the cookie and you don’t really taste them so much.  But what you do taste is a really great, tender and cakey butter cookie.  And they LOOK so festive.  And really, they are just really good. Go make some.

The Racing and The Celebrating

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It was Paul’s birthday last weekend so it was all about him.  On Saturday (his actual birthday) we went to the Buick/Olds/Pontiac Day at the race track.

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I had my usual pit crew duties, which involved writing the number on the window and lots of waiting…

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And Paul was second place in his class!  Hooray!

The next day, since the actual birthday was all racing all the time (which isn’t a bad birthday for Paul), we went and did some other celebrating by driving up to Lake George. We went for a walk near the lake:

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And then, of course, made a trip to Martha’s Dandee Crème:

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They have this great new covered area with tables and we thought that would be a great place to have our ice cream and watch all the crazypants people on the Six Flags rides.  However, even though it was a really nice day, some weirdo thought the overhead heaters were needed so we had hot air blowing on us and our ice cream started melting FAST.  We ate in the car.

In other, non-birthday news, I started this long cowl What Alice Found  with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals (which I LOVE) and got a good start on it:

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Except I keep calling it “What Alice Forgot” which is actually a great book by Liane Moriarty!  You should read it.

And the garden is getting a makeover:

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Rearranging the layout and putting down mulch to walk around the beds.  Hopefully planting will happen this weekend!

What’s Wrong With This Picture

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So, after my last post, (which, I know, was a long time ago, and so this post is your update) I got right to work on my Sleeping Owl Tea Cosy and finished it!

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So cute right????  (Still needs the orange felt beak…)

However.  What’s wrong with this picture???….

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Oh. Em. Gee.  I was so excited about finishing the knitting and the duplicate stitch, that I just sewed that tea cosy right up with no consideration for the fact that it needed holes for the handle and the spout.  Jimminy crickets I was so mad!!!

Then, me being me, I thought about just leaving it:

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Yeah, that wasn’t going to work.  So, I snipped the seam and picked out the part where the handle and spout should be….

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(My spout is very short so you can’t see it.)  Looks much better and not hobbling anymore.  And will look even better with a beak.

In other news, I also finished my recently started Lotno Shawl:

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Love this one too.  I’ll be teaching it as a class at The Spinning Room in July!

I also put the pocket on my The Pocket Hat and it is done:

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It’s just so darn cute – who doesn’t need a hat with a pocket in it????  Trying to figure out how to do this and the owl cosy as classes at The Spinning Room this summer.  They  likely need more that one class session which is hard to do in the summer because lots of people take vacations etc and can’t commit to two weekends.  So, stay tuned if you are interested.

In doodlebug news, we went to see the tulips in Albany, which they have every year for the Tulip Festival:

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I enjoyed the tulips but aside from being enthralled with the statue of “Jesus taking people to heaven” (which was Mr. Doodlebug’s interpretation of the statue, which was apparently Moses, according to the nice gentleman with a very thick accent whom I could not completely understand as he told us about Moses getting to the promised land and I’m not sure what he was doing with the other people in the statue) the doodlebugs just wanted to get to the playground that was nearby.

They also had some VERY engaging things happening outside their door one day recently:

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This reminds me of the joke my dad always says about lots of workers getting paid to stand around and watch one guy work. (I  think there actually is a guy in that hole.)

The town-wide garage sale and library book sale was a couple of weeks ago and to my disappointment I only found four books.

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Last year I found twenty-four.  And that one on the bottom was an end-of-the-day-so-it-was-free “find”.  I love Martha and maybe she can convince me to have some kind of appreciation for house cleaning. HAHAHAHAHA!

And most recently, Paul and I went to the Brimfield antiques show/flea market where we frustratingly walked 17,000 steps (according to our FitBits) and found hardly anything to buy.  I got a bottle from this guy:

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Because it’s purple.

And not from this guy:

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Because they are filthy!

Ok, but what is most interesting about these purple bottles is that they started out clear! Bottles made before World War I have magnesium in them and that reacts with sunlight to turn them purple.  So cool.  I knew purple was cool.  This is yet another reason.

We saw, as we usually do, the filming of one of those find-something-at-a-flea-market-and-make-it-into-something-else shows:

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I then I got these:

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To have Paul make them into something like this:

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…for my yarn room.  Best yarn room bling ever!

(Also, I tried to tell the owner of this booth that he would get a lot of sales if he made signs that said “KNIT” or “YARN” and that he may not know it but there are A LOT of people out there who knit and crochet.  Probably at least as many as who buy his “BEER” signs.  He said that he gets lots of suggestions for signs that don’t work out. And he said, “Do you know how long those ‘LAUNDRY’ signs have been here?”  Like THAT was completely a fair comparison.)

I Wouldn’t Recommend This

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Don’t do what I did and take a picture of all your works-in-progress for your blog:

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It will make you immediately freeze up and not know what to do with yourself.  Last post, I was in a quandary about starting new projects or working on something already started.  So, I came to a happy medium and did both.

I took out my Halona shawl (the green one in the picture above) and continued work on that.  I started it April 10, 2015 and then put it down when I got to a hard part.  Mind you, this shawl is mostly garter stitch and there are exactly 3 “hard” rows in it.  It’s just that the first hard row had a million stitches in it.

Once I got a few rows done on that, I started The Pocket Hat (magenta project above) because it was so darn cute and who doesn’t need a pocket on their hat???? That cruised along nicely – just the pocket left to do and hopefully I will offer this as a class this summer.

Then I started the Lotno shawl (light pink project above) because it looked fairly easy and something that I could take in the car pretty easily (along with my socks). Also a potential summer class.

Now, all those other ones in the first picture????  I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of needing to work on all of them immediately and at the same time.  I started them all because I loved them and then they got pushed aside for all the other things I love.

And here is what happens when you just keep starting all the things and don’t finish any of the things:

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I’m still using my dishcloth-turned-teapot-cozy because I haven’t finished the Sleeping Owl Tea Cosy yet.  Want to know why?  Because the knitting part is done. Now it is sewing up and sewing on the duplicate stitches and that takes some attention and thought and apparently I don’t have any of that right now.

In the meantime, it was a little rainy this week, so the Doodlebugs and I did some crafting.  Many, many pages of watercolor painting (using brushes, fingers and q-tips) which I forgot to take a picture of and then we did some glue, tissue paper, crayon and sticker stuff:

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And in other news, I made a turkey:

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We got this free at Easter because we spent too much at Shop-Rite.  I am mostly showing it to you to tell you that this 14-pound turkey takes 4 hours to roast in a regular oven, but I figured out how to use our convection roast setting on our oven (with the temperature probe) and it took exactly one hour and 45 minutes.  Crazypants.  You put the turkey in the oven without preheating it (more crazypants) and then the oven shuts off when the probe senses it has reached the pre-set temperature.   I completely doubted that it was really done and had to double-check with the other thermometer.  And a 14-pound turkey for two people equals one turkey dinner, 8 turkey sandwiches and 8 servings of turkey tetrazzini, in case you were wondering.

Happy Weekending to you.  I’m off to prepare for my Langfield Hat and Diane Shawl classes this weekend.  Then I am going to look at all my projects again and figure out what to do next. (the tea cosy….)

Catching Up

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Things are yet again busy around here, and I haven’t posted for almost two weeks, so here is your catch-up post….

Last weekend, we had a great ending class to the Fish Lips Kiss Heel and by the end of class, everyone had a heel!

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The next day, Paul and I went to the annual spring meeting of the Buick Club. (It really has another, official name, which Paul very patiently explained to me recently, but I already forgot.  But it’s understandable because there was some sort of name change at some point and all the t-shirts say one thing, but the official name is another thing, so I just call it the Buick Club.)  I worked on my sock while we were there:

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And we made our annual post-meeting trip to Red Rooster:

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Then at home I finished my sock and now there is a pair!

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The one on the left is the second one, which had not been blocked yet.  It looks as if the colors in the right sock bled a little when I blocked it because the color is definitely different.  And they look like they aren’t the same size, but the one on the left will grow a little when it block it.  I hope.  To be honest, I forgot to write down the number of stitches I increased to in the toe of the first sock and when I did the second one, the first sock was on display in the shop so I couldn’t count them.  So hopefully I measured correctly on my template, and knitted with the same gauge.  And for you eagle eyes, yes I will weave in those ends someday.

In other knitting news…. I started the Sleeping Owl Tea Cozy:

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I am making a modification to this.  The pattern calls for flat two-color knitting which means two ends to weave in for every row with white stitches.  See how many rows there are (that is on the front and the back)?  Since I absolutely dislike weaving in ends, especially a lot of them, I decided to use this as an opportunity to practice and then teach duplicate stitches.  This means putting in those white stitches after it’s knitted, on top of the gray stitches, and you can use one continuous strand of yarn.  Stay tuned.  Hopefully my modification works.  And hopefully it will be a good class to teach!

I also started my not-so-super-secret knitting project for the someone I know going to college this fall.  I don’t know if he reads this, so it might not be a secret.  But, for those of you in-the-know, please don’t tell just in case:

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This is the #07 Striped Blanket from KnitSimple magazine.  It is currently on hold though because I need to add gray next and that is on order.

And finally, there were these:

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These were the Cocktails for Two knit-a-long socks that I started over two years ago (January 31, 2014).  They were hard.  At the hard parts I would put them down for a while to give my brain a rest.  Then, when I picked them back up, it would take me 10 years to figure out where I was and how the heck to do it.  So, I would put them down again.  At some point, I went to try them on and realized I had totally picked the wrong size to knit and they were too small.  So, I put them down again.  I would look at them every so often and wonder if I should rip them out and start the size that would fit me.  Because they really are cool looking.  And I really love the yarn, Madelinetosh sock.  Then I would decide to think about it later because the thought of doing all that really hard work again was daunting and not very appealing.  Well, the other day I thought about it again….

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…. and I thought that there was no way I was going to knit that pattern again and I love the yarn so much so I will just make another, easier pair of socks with it.  Someday.

And now I am in a what-can-I-start-next-because-I-want-to-start-all-the-things-but-maybe-I-should-finish-some-things-first kind of mood.  So I haven’t knitted anything for two days.  Who can relate?

A Yarn Emergency

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You can put this on this list of “Crazy Things Knitters Do That No One Else But Other Knitters (and Paul) Understand”….

Paul and I were out early on Sunday morning, running errands and having breakfast at Panera.  As we were eating, we were discussing what we were going to do with the day ahead of us, both assuming we’d be going home to do house-y or garage-y things.  Then Paul said what he really wanted to do was get an ice cream at Martha’s in Lake George.  I jumped at the suggestion, especially because I will do practically anything to get out of vacuuming. (I had been putting it off for an obscene amount of time.  Just be glad you didn’t come over.)

However, there was one problem.  I had left the house without any knitting.  This constituted a true yarn emergency because who wants to ride in the car for a whole hour (each way) and not be able to do any knitting?  I couldn’t stand the thought.  I actually would truly rather buy new yarn and new needles (of which I have many, many, many, many, kinds at home already) than go for that trip without it.  And we happened to be right near a store that sells yarn and needles.  It was not my tried and true local yarn shop (The Spinning Room!), and didn’t have my favoritest of yarns, but that was ok.  It really was an emergency.  Seriously.  Did I mention how I would not have been able to stand the ride without knitting?  And let me tell you this:  Paul did not even blink at the idea/suggestion.  He knows.  He sort of just sighed and said, “Let’s go then.”

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And we were off!  I happily started a new pair of socks with my new surprisingly-nice-to-knit-with yarn by Deborah Norville (who happens to also be the new host of Knit and Crochet Now on PBS, a show I like).

We stopped at Martha’s Dandee Crème first:

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Not only did we get a great ice cream cone, but I got the best t-shirt ever.  Except Paul said that I should add “and Knit” on the bottom of it.  We decided it would be best to drive right by the tempting outlet stores and then we went for a nice, long walk along the lake and in the town of Lake George.  Nice and quiet with no tourists!

What a great day, and look how much I got done on a sock!….

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(Love those striping purples!)

And today I vacuumed AND mopped the floors.  See what a little down time (and knitting time) does to the cleaning mojo?

P.S. Paul mentioned that this is the third time this season we have gotten ice cream and my seasonal tally is not on the blog yet.  I took it down, thinking that we wouldn’t have as much ice cream this year since we are trying to eat healthier (ha!), and now I can’t remember how to re-put it up.  I’ll work on that since apparently I was a tiny bit wrong in my thinking.

Should We Talk About the Weather?

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Let’s just talk about the crappy weather one last time and not talk about it again until there is something nice and pretty and beautiful and spring-like to talk about.

There was a little snow here on Saturday…

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Which actually was a tiny bit pretty.  It looked pretty against the maple tree buds, which I then felt a little sorry for.  I hope they are ok.

Then this happened on Sunday and Monday:

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You may have noticed the snow plow Jeep in the top picture.  It sits there still.  The motor froze because it was so cold and because it was sitting outside because it was not supposed to snow anymore.  So Paul had to trudge to the shed and find a shovel instead.

And all this snow made it much more difficult for me to work on my 10,000 steps in the doodlebugs backyard:

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While they made snow angels:

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Let’s hope that’s it.  Seriously, spring.  Let’s go.

In the meantime, Paul and I tried to celebrate one of our favorite spring things, the opening of Jumpin’ Jacks Drive-In:

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In the cold and the rain.  But it was yummy, so it was worth it. (That’s my pistachio soft serve on the left.  YUM.  I love pistachio.)

In knitting news, I had several classes last weekend, including the TWF(Three Way Fun) Cowl class, where they all got a good start on these fun, quick cowls:

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And we had the first session of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel class, where everyone got to feel slightly uncomfortable while someone else traced their bare or sock-clad foot:

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But it was a necessary first step to make these socks that will fit their feet perfectly!  Stay tuned for their progress after the second class….

And I started this cute Milo vest on Sunday:

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….and finished it on Monday.  Full disclosure, it’s the newborn size so it’s really tiny and took less than 137 yards, which is one ball of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals yarn, which I love, Love, LOVE!!!

Ok.  Do you think that cabbage patch doll picture is a little creepy to model a human sweater?  I kinda do, but they really are about the size of a newborn, so…..  So here is a normal picture:

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So adorable.  Fun, easy pattern.  This will be a class at The Spinning Room in May!

That’s it.  That’s all the snow talk for this year.  But there will be tons more knitting talk.  I’m still working on my cotton cardi.  Just giving my hands a rest.  And I’ve got a must-knit-by-September project for someone-who-won’t-be-named-but-is-going-to-a really-excellent-college-so-excellent-in-fact-that-it-is-an-ivy-league-college-in-the-fall that needs to be started.

This is What I Get

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To the park with the doodlebugs on a beautiful but crisp spring day!

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Lots of running around and rolling down hills.

Come home and see this in my reflection in the microwave:

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Why didn’t they tell me???  This is what I get for hanging out with 4-year-olds.

(Nevermind, “Why didn’t I weave in the end?”  I’ll tell you why: Because it was supposed to be on the inside and no one was supposed to see it.  There is another one tucked into the folded up brim.)

Okay, and by the way, isn’t that a great hat??  I love it.

They redeemed themselves by helping me make a pie and some cookies for their grandma:

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And they were nice enough to give us some yummy treats:IMG_6935

I guess they are ok after all.  And I will educate them about weaving in ends and looking out for their Auntie Liz wearing her hats inside out.

Oh, and this happened near us:

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Hooray for saving an old barn!

The Time. It Flies. Things Happen.

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Things are crazy again and time is flying by, but things have happened so I want to tell you about them, but it will have to be in a list with pictures…….

1) I taught the third full class of the Wheaten wrap and everyone got a good start!

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2) I took a drop spindle spinning class at The Spinning Room.

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It was great and I learned a lot!

3) Wait, let’s back up a minute….. I TOOK A CLASS!  I didn’t TEACH a class.  I TOOK a class.  I don’t get to do that very often.  It was great.

4) I finished Paul’s vest!

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Almost.  If you look closely, at the top of the zipper, you will see some yarn ends sticking out.  Those are the ends of where I cut up the front of the vest.  I just need to hand sew grosgrain ribbon along each side of the zipper to hide those ends and give it a nice, finished look.  (I say” just” as if it were something small, minor, taking little time….)  But it looks great and it fits him great and he likes it!

5) A sign of spring!
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6) Another sign of spring!

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Ok, so you can’t really see it in this picture – which is a pretty picture of the sunset – but there is a BLUEBIRD in that little maple tree in our front yard!  A BLUEBIRD!  I was so happy to see it.  I just think they are such a pretty bird with pretty blue feathers and a white/rosy tummy.  We had many in our yard when we lived in Vermont and I hadn’t seen any since we’ve lived here (8 years).  Although, Paul says he’s seen one before….

7) And another sign of spring!

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Buds on the lilac bush at the doodlebugs house.

7) And another!

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Mmmmmm.

8) And lastly, I started a spring/summer short sleeved sweater.  It’s not the one I thought I’d do.

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It’s off to a good start – I love, Love, LOVE top down sweaters.  No seaming!