Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I've thrifted

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." (Dr. Seuss) 

You'd think from my lack of posts about thrifting that I never hit the thrift stores anymore. Though I did slow down while we were still in the condo and things were getting, ahem, "crowded," now that I have a basement and craft room I'm free to buy a few treasures again (though still trying to have some restraint. Our house isn't that big!)

I do find a little time to occasionally shop the thifts; I just don't have time to write about my finds! So rather than feel guilty that I don't document my purchases right after I buy them, I'm instead going to do some occasional posts about "Things I've Thrifted" in the past months that never made it onto the blog.

That said, I bought these three Pyrex bowls just last week at the Salvation Army. While running an errand to the grocery store, I braved the SA with both kids in tow. I don't think I've ever been there in the morning before, and they were just putting things out--which is why I think I scored these. They were dirty (still need a little better cleaning as you can see from these photos!) but is a gorgeous set of three "Cinderella" bowls in the cool aqua color. 

As you can tell from this ebay listing, my set is missing the largest teal bowl. A set of all four goes for about $60. I paid $12 for all three, which is no super-bargain, but not bad. I can't decide if I want to risk using these in the kitchen (breakage a very real possibility) or save them for display in our "new" kitchen (kitchen redo on hold for now unfortunately) or in the craft room.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy update

Our friends for whom I made the "Cutest. Dress. Ever" (post below) got their referral the day after I posted this! YEA!!!!! And it's an 18-month-old girl who should fit into this dress perfectly. They hope to travel by fall. I will keep praying till that little girl is home with them. So excited for them (and for Sophie, who will have a little friend only two weeks older than she is!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cutest. Dress. Ever.

"The secret of patience... to do something else in the meantime." (Anon.) 

This is a very special dress--for a very special little girl. Our friends are in the process of adopting from Nepal, and about a year into it, the process has not been smooth. The mother-to-be just got back from a visit to Nepal, where she stayed in a few ashrams and unfortunately contracted Typhoid. She's all better now, and back to waiting for news of a referral.

The dress is the Soli pattern (ravelry link here). I knit the Size 4 with Patons Grace on Size 7 needles, so it wouldn't get too dense and heavy. I love the pink/brown combo and the seed stitch top (make that: I love the look of seed stitch; I hate knitting it.) The skirt is a ton of stockinette. 
The flowers were my own design element. I used this easy flower pattern from "For the Love of Yarn," an online knitting 'zine that is no longer published but still up. 

I learned to do something new with this project: CROCHET! The pattern calls for single crocheting around the armholes and neckline, which I was going to skip, until I read a Ravelry comment that warned not to, otherwise the neckline will stretch horribly. So I followed an online video, and did it! I don't think I"ll be taking up crochet anytime soon, though. I have a hard time with the tension.

Now, back to praying that our friends get a referral soon--and that it's a girl! (I started this back in December for her shower; they've since changed their paperwork to say they're open to either gender.)

This has to be one of the cutest things I've ever knit. I know another little girl one would so adorable on. And I have some yarn left...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Berry berry good

"So tell the earth to shake / With marching feet / Of messengers of peace / Proclaim my law of love / To every nation / Every race." (Thomas Merton, from his poem, "Earthquake")

I am having so much fun harvesting and preserving from our garden. My favorite so far has been our raspberry bushes. The kids love to pick a few for breakfast in the morning. Luckily, I have discovered a gold mine of raspberry bushes that have grown into a nearby alley--and the owner does not pick them at all! Almost every day I pick about a pint!

I made some three-berry freezer jam with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, using agave instead of sugar (having learned from fellow bloggers about Pomona's Universal Pectin). It's definitely not sweet. I think I'd use more than 2/3 cup of agave next time.

Here's my little helper! This week I harvested enough raspberries to make some raspberry jam in jars. Speaking of food in jars, I've been getting lots of tips from this blog.

Also on deck: another batch of watermelon pickles. And tonight we picked our first ripe tomato--a cherry one, which Sophie promptly popped in her mouth, then spit out!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gardening as grace

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." (May Sarton)

Here are some garden "before" and "afters"--or really "before" and "durings." This is the herb garden. On the top is when it was first planted; in the middle is from a few weeks ago; and the bottom one is most recent. I had to add a fence to keep the kids out (Sophie pulled the basil in the corner.) I added another basil, a dill and a cilantro plant (visible in third photo). I've never had much luck with cilantro--it has always burned and gone to seed, but that was in pots, so we'll see. Everything seems to be growing really well.

We have 10 tomato plants, a variety of cherry, plum and regular. The top photo is the ones planted against the garage, with some strawberries in between them. (We had a few berries, but bunnies or squirrels ate them before we ever could.)

Here are the three heirloom plants, again from a few weeks ago. I added those cages a bit late, but just in time. Now they are about 4 feet tall and over the tops of the cages. However, to be honest, there aren't a ton of blooms and no fruit yet. But they are huge. It's amazing to see something grow so fast.

These three plants on the right are also quite a bit taller now. I see a few cherry and plum tomatoes on them. (That's a strawberry to the left.)

And these are a mixture of tomatoes I planted in another bed, just to compare which area does better. These are rather small; and I haven't even put cages around them. But there are quite a few plum and cherry tomatoes on them. It's a constant struggle to make sure Sam doesn't pick them!

I'll have some updated photos soon, hopefully showing some early harvests!