A Little Off My Game

You know how you have plans? You go on vacation, and you’ll come back and hit the ground running? No one will ever know you’ve been gone.

And then you do come home, and you’re exhausted, and you have laundry, and all the household catch up stuff, and tons of photos, and you don’t even know where to begin.

Do I want to do the monthly recap? Well, there aren’t any updates because I’ve been traveling the world. Should I talk about our trip? I haven’t even talked about our trip to Europe this summer. Maybe I should just go grocery shopping and put the blog on hold for another day or two.

And then tragedies strike, and I wonder what kind of world we live in. And I hunker down in my home and nest. That’s kind of where I’ve been for the last week or so.

If you haven’t guessed, me and the MR played hookey with my dad for the last half of September. Papa Willy has always wanted to go to Australia, and we were able to go with him for a two-week tour of the highlights. It was amazing: museums, opera house, jail, penguins, hiking, gardens, snorkeling, did I say penguins? We had a good time.


I will try to gather my thoughts, and pictures, and guidebook info and pass a little of it on to you.

For now, we’re going to focus on more mundane things like our neglected garden and dirty shoes.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a few things to harvest when we returned. Apparently, things keep growing even when you’re not looking.


Only two apples remained on the tree rather than the dozen I was expecting. At least the critters didn’t eat our few clusters of grapes this year. In the past, the fruit have seemed really sour, but a little neglect and a little more time on the vine resulted in much sweeter grapes. We’ve continued to pick tomatoes for the last week, they’re not pretty but still quite tasty.

And now for dirty shoes. One of our stops in Australia was at Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock). We enjoyed sunset and nibbles the first night. Then the following day it was sunrise and a leisurely 7 mile hike around this giant monolith.

Were we hot? Yes. What’s that on your head? That would be a fly net; I just got too tired of swatting them away.

Anyways, you may be asking yourself what all this has to do with dirty shoes. I’m getting there; I’m getting there. Look at all that red rock. It doesn’t just stay on the ground. After that long trek, me and the MR brought plenty of it home with us. Papa Willy missed the bus (maybe it was the 5:30 start time) and opted out of the hike.

I really like my cute, little adidas. So what to do with stained suede tennies? I’ve had a couple clerks looking for an add-on sales who helped me out. When I bought my tennies, I bought some Instant Cleaner by SOFSOLE to keep those soles white. Earlier I’d puchased suede booties and the ABEO Cleaning Kit, which is simply something like a giant eraser and a stiff brush. Both came through with flying colors.

Are they perfect? No. Are they much better than where I started? They sure are. I’m not walking around with bright orange feet, so I’m fairly pleased.

I’m also quite happy to be back with you guys.

Wishing you a peaceful fall in the midst of fires and storms and troubled souls.

Cocoa was super happy to see us home and couldn’t figure out what was so interesting with the harvest basket.



Giving Back

Me and the MR have been traveling a bit. Earlier this month we moved Baby Girl into her townhouse down at school. We’re lucky that she’s only half a days drive from home but with 10 hours round trip, it still makes for a lot of driving.

Since the MR prefers to be behind the wheel, I try to make sure I have a project or two for our days on the road.This last trip to Oregon, I brought along purple yarn for baby hats.

Recently I’d heard about a program educating new parents about the fragile nature of infants. Click For Babies seeks to reduce shaken baby syndrome through awareness.

I love my girls, and I also know how hard it can be to deal with a crying baby when you’re sleep-deprived and haven’t had a minute to yourself in what seems like forever.

I made a hat, a sweater, and a blanket for the MR’s friend at work, and it gave me a great idea. The hat was super-simple to put together. I could take all the bits and pieces of purple yarn from home on our drive and still chit-chat with the MR over endless miles without missing a stitch.

By the time we got home (a short 606 miles back and forth), I had quite a collection going.

I do believe a few flowers are in order to spruce these up a bit. Then I need to figure out where to send them.

I’m finding ways to decrease my stash of yarn and maybe make the world a better place. Wish me luck.

What’s your favorite charity project (knitting or not)?

Taking It Up a Notch

For years my craft organization has been hit-and-miss. I’d buy some shoes and notice that the box looked pretty cute and put it to use.

While that works fairly well, it’s not a perfect system. Boxes come in all different sizes; nothing matches; it can end up quite a jumble.

But the other day, I was doing a little “window shopping” on Joss & Main—dangerous, I know—and came across some lovely storage options. Artsy with a hit of color; I was smitten.

Maybe I’ll organize yarn in boxes in baskets. There are so many options.

I did hijack one for the French doors by the master bedroom. Sometimes Cocoa can’t be bothered to use the stairs and squeezes under the rails. This is her first stop, and it can take a bit of persuading to get her to the other doors.

When you have a dirty dog, a towel to wipe her off is so helpful.

Keeping dirt off the floors and looking chic—sounds like a win-win to me.

Any organizing tips you’d like to share?

Planning Ahead

If you’re a regular, you’ll know I have a thing for daffodils.

When me and the MR bought our first home, it was fall. The next spring we watched bulbs sprout and waited for blooms with eager anticipation.

Here too, we moved in during the dead of winter. The yard was overgrown and desolate. We had problems with the heat, problems with the well, problems with pests… Let’s just say problems and leave it at that.

Maybe that’s why when a bevy of golden blooms sprung up next to the deck I was was so happy. They gave me hope that this crazy place could really be home.

We’ve added a few bulbs here and there the last few years, but I wanted to step up our game.

So last week when I was picking up a few things at Costco and saw these, I knew they were going home with me.

Looks like I have some planting to do. It’ll be well worth it next spring.

Any fall plantings at your house?

It Feels Like Fall

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning colors, and the nights are cool; it feels like fall.

Labor Day usually marks the beginning of the school year for kids around here. While back to school isn’t quite the same with the last one in college, I do enjoy all those sales the weekend boasts. With the internet, I don’t even have leave home to get some great deals.

To mark the change of seasons, I picked up this lovely pillow.

Tree Pillow

Me and the MR do love our trees. I saw some beautiful wreaths at HomeGoods last week. At $60 a piece, I may have to wait for another sale. That’s the beauty of life; it doesn’t all have to happen in a day.

Are you adding a little of the season to your home? 

The Right Fit

Sometimes, you buy something, you have a plan, and it’s going to be amazing; till it’s not.

A few years ago, I was up in Bellingham on the Local Yarn Shop tour and was totally drawn to this sock yarn with beautiful torquoise, and brown, and carmel, and cream. I was going to make the best socks ever. Then as I was paying for my yarn, the man behind the counter proudly showed me his socks and told me this is how the yarn was going to knit up. Hopefully, I kept a smile on my face and didn’t look totally crest-fallen. His socks looked brown. I wanted cream, and carmel, and pops of color. How could it all go so wrong?

Perhaps that’s why the yarn sat in my stash for two, three, four years? I didn’t want to ruin the illusion. Then I heard people talk about the Sockhead Hat. This might be the answer to my problem. I could make a hat, and it would look totally different than that nice man’s socks. So I got to knitting.

While me and Baby Girl did have fun at Molbak’s last Christmas, my hat was still quite brown, and I’m not really the sloppy hat kind of person.

So what could I do? Stick to my plan and make socks? or go another way? I decided this yarn would be great for the Hexagon Sweater. So I forged on and made a motif. The color runs of yarn were just too short. All of the motifs would look totally the same. I needed to think some more.

That’s when my brand-new, amazing crochet stitch dictionary arrived with oodles of inspiration. OK, that could be a bit of an oversell, but Sarah Hazell has put together 200 stitch patterns that go from the ordinary to holy cow! (It’s available on Amazon in case you were wondering.)

Maybe I just needed to make something that would pool the yarn more, so that’s just what I did. I made a simple rectangular scarf using the Crosshatch stitch pattern (#169 if you’re counting), and finally have the effect I was looking for. By adding two buttons and matching buttonholes, my scarf works as a poncho/shawl/cowl/scarf. Four for the price of one—not bad.

I know I look crazy, but this is as good as it gets running back and forth, setting the timer, and taking pictures of myself. You get the idea of how the scarf works. Next time I’m going to put the MR to work.

And now for a side by side of the two applications. One skein was knit the other was crocheted, and yes this is the exact same yarn. I think knitting using the entrelac technique could create a similar effect as the crocheted project. (This is Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Bourbon.)

So you may be wondering why in the world I’m going into all this—especially if you don’t knit or crochet. Don’t worry. This isn’t about yarn; it’s about having a vision and making it happen. Maybe your first attempt doesn’t work out; rethink, replan, retry. You’ve got this; I have faith in you and a new scarf.

Happy creating.






Loving My Local Farmers

Me and Baby Girl stopped for groceries on the way home from church, but instead of buying everything at our local market, I saved a few things on my list for the farmstand in the valley.

While they had run out of a few things over the weekend, I did grab a bag of fresh green beans. Somehow, I managed to buy seeds for bush beans instead of pole, and we’ve been feeling the shortage.

While we were there, BG noticed the field of flowers next to the stand. So I gladly forked out $5, so we could pick a beautiful bouquet.

I do love fresh flowers and helping my local farmers.

In our valley, we are lucky to have lots of farms and two farmers markets.

Does every farmstand seem to call your name?