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Preview: Little Ranch House

Little Ranch House



About life in my little ranch house with my kids, dogs, cats, chickens and my dear hubby.



Updated: 2015-09-16T11:18:22.934-07:00

 



Happy Earth Day

2010-04-22T19:16:32.248-07:00

(image) This little strip of earth is a bit cleaner today.
(image) And two bags of plastic bits and pieces are no longer on their way to the San Francisco Bay and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Hope your earth day was a good one!



All about the lace weight

2010-04-19T15:36:39.687-07:00

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It all started with this test of my weaving skills. It is the first project on my loom that I didn't just use scrap yarn for. Unfortunately, I had almost a 3/4s of a skein on the orange lace weight weft yarn and I didn't want it to go to waste.

(image) So the leftover got tunred into this. It only took me a week to make although it was a week where I had more than average knitting time because we drove down south to Disneyland. Since I didn't have to do much of the driving it allowed for a lot of knitting time.

(image) Here is the same scarf on the blocking wires.

(image) And on to the next lace project...



Passover 2010

2010-04-04T11:36:06.424-07:00

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Last Monday our family all traveled to the South Bay to David's uncle and aunts's house to celebrate the first night of Passover.

(image) Before we officially began Lauren a Klezmer piece for us to set the mood. It was lovely to hear her play for us.

(image) Lena being the youngest sang the four question for us all.


(image) The most photographically interesting part of the evening, of course, is when everyone loads up their matzah with horseradish and takes a big bite.

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Sock, socks all around

2010-04-03T13:23:34.104-07:00

(image) I finally finished that socks that I was making for my brother's birthday. They are from Socks from the Toe Up a book that I adore, but whose socks always turn out to wide for the narrow feet in my family. I have yet to find a sock pattern that I don't have to adapt to my families feet to make them fit.
(image) The yarn is just Knit Picks kettle dyes that they discontinued. I think that people didn't like it because they didn't have that much shade variation in the yarn. I hope that they do come out with another kettle dyed sock yarn because I really do like kettle dyed and knit picks prices are great. I have found that their sock yarns do hold up to being used just like commercially knit socks.

(image) Of course, I need to cast on another pair of socks and the Koo-aid dyed socks won the day...



More on Yarn Dyeing

2010-03-21T13:11:17.228-07:00

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So here are the results of the Kool-aid dying project. I ended up with more white than I wanted and two purple fingers. It faded pretty quick, but I can't believe that I used to drink this stuff. I mean, if it is strong enough to dye yarn with..It has a tie-dye look to is that is kind of fun. I definately have some ideas on how to do it better the next time around. All in all, because I used Knitpicks Bare sock yarn the whole project was pretty cheap.
Here is the site that I got my directions from in case you are interested in dyeing with Kool-aid.



Going Slow

2010-03-17T20:59:17.926-07:00

Things have been going pretty slow on the crafting front. I have managed to finish up a few projects. I don't have photos of them all I have a couple of shots of what I have been up to.

(image) Lena got a simple pair of socks and matching knit cap for her birthday. I will post my toe up pattern on the blog soon. She is pretty happy with the set but says that she needs matching gloves...How fast does this kid think I knit.

(image) I have been wanting to play around with dyeing yarn for a while ant I finally took the plunge and tried dyeing with this stuff...

(image) I am not sure that is is good for drinking, but it sure soaks into the yarn and fingers well. I had set my spoon down and stirred in the purple with my finger. I am not sure what I was thinking with that one. The yarn should be dry tomorrow for a photo.



Monkey Party

2010-02-28T22:25:35.210-08:00

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The shortest month of the year certainly flew by in a hurry. The highlight of every, for our family, February is Bean's birthday.

This year she wanted to have a sock monkey party that, what is that I can hear you asking?

Well, as it turns out it is sitting around with a bunch of other girls stuffing and sewing sock monkeys while watching I Love Lucy on the TV. All I had to do was sew up all the socks on the sewing machine before the the party.

(image) The star of the party was the sock monkey cake that we ordered. We don't usually buy a birthday cake, so the birthday girl was very impressed by the cake.


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Yes, she is 16

2010-01-22T21:34:45.505-08:00

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Tonight we will celebrate as a family with Asparugus soup, crusty rosemary bread, salad, and root-beer float. My first-born turned 16 early this afternoon. Here she was just a few short years ago.
(image) She has grown has more teeth than she did then, but she is still the same great kid.
(image) only now she can sing....

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Twenty-eight

2010-01-16T19:48:39.268-08:00

"Mom!" my lovely teenage daughter hollers from her room.
Pausing from casting on the front to my Sidelines sweater I rely, "Twenty-eight!"
The lovely teenage daughter pauses and then hollers, "Dad!"

I have done my job. Both my daughters now know better than to interrupt a knitter (me) when she is counting. Now, we just need to work on the hollering from room to room in the house, but truly this does seem secondary to me.



Waxing and waining

2010-01-10T18:12:58.990-08:00

(image) This last week left little time for crafting, but I did manage to do a little. I finished my sample piece of weaving on my new loom. It is a bit wonky, but since it it made from scraps of yarn that I had lying around I don't really care that much that is looks a little funny. It is not long enough to make a scarf out of so I think that I will cut it up at some point and sew it into something. I think that if I pair it with a nice cotton canvas I could sew it up into a very nice messenger bag. For now I think that it will just hang around the house for me to admire.

After I finished weaving it I really wanted to warp the loom again with some hemp yarn that I was given as a gift several years ago. I never wanted to knit with it because it is a bit rough, but I think that it will be perfect for weaving. I didn't get around to warping the loom because I decided that the loom really needed to be sealed in someway. The loom assembly directions that I found on-line indicated that the loom should have been sealed prior to assembly.

(image) Here it is in the state that I purchased it in. The wood is Ash I think and totally unfinished.
(image) And here is it after waxing and reasembly. I used some beeswax wood polish that I had around the house and not only did it make the wood look lovely but it smells yummy as well.

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With all that weaving a did find time to squeeze in a little knitting. I finished the scarf I started on New Years Day this week and added a few inches to my Sidelines sweater that I am making. I haven't taken any photos of the sweater yet.



This has been looming for some time now

2010-01-04T13:38:20.249-08:00

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I have wanted a big floor loom ever since I first walked in to Hill Country Weavers in Austin, Texas to buy my first knitting needle and yarn for knitting. Yes, I knew that looms came in sizes smaller than that of a small car, but I wanted a big one. After it I couldn't weave a blanket the size of a king size bed what was the point in weaving at all. No matter that I don't even own a king size bed. Since, having room for a loom that size would have meant giving up one of my children, I always refused to entertain the thought (for more than two or three minutes at a time). I mean, I love my children, but have you seen some of those looms.
Now let me assure you, both of my dear daughters remain in residence at my home, but I have a loom. I broke down and compromised and bought a smaller loom. I only took me eight years to get to this point, but when I did I moved fast. I found this loom on Craigslist and bought it on Saturday night. Warped it on Sunday and have been playing ever since.

(image) Here is my Ashford 24" Rigid Heddle loom. I have already learned so much, like how I much I want a second heddle, some more shuttles and maybe a stand for my new friend.

Lena not wanting to be left out broke out the Harrisville Easy Weaver and has been busy making a pink and brown scarf.(image) At least when she is not playing Rock Band with the family.

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Hoppin' John

2010-01-02T21:09:01.409-08:00

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I always have Hoppin' John (black eyed peas) for New Years Day dinner and always will. Growing up my Grandma, who was from Oklahoma, used to serve them as a side dish. Now in my house hold they are the main dish. Hubby and I have Californiafied them to some extent. We serve them over brown rice and top them with plain yogurt, cheddar cheese, green onion and avocado. Why is it that if you add avocado to anything it becomes a Californian?
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I also made some progress on my New Years Scarf. I decided to add a bit of Knit Picks organic cotton to the Noro yarn to ad some more white to the color mix.

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A new year...

2010-01-01T16:30:24.641-08:00

And still blogging. I have not been blogging much over the last two months. I think that my attitude toward my blog needed to change, so I took a break to decide what I really wanted my blog to be about. When I started my little blog I really just thought of it as a place to show off my finished projects, but now I want more than that. I would like to post more knitting patterns that I design on my blog and I would also to document my creative process more. What this means is along with the pictures of cats, dogs, chickens, and daughters I will be posting more pictures of works-in-progress. I have discovered that I really enjoy "watching" other people projects progress in their blogs.

Today is a gray and cold New Year's Day here in the S.F. Bay Area so getting a decent photo was a challenge that I just wasn't up to.

This afternoon I finished knitting the second strip for throw blanket. This Project it really about using up some of the yarn that I have laying around the house, but it is making me a bit nervous because several of the people on Ravelry have said that it took them a decade to finish it. I really hope that mine is done by the end of the year not the end of the decade. Here is the Ravel link for this pattern.
(image) Since it was a New Year I decided that I also should have a new knitting project.
(image) I picked this single skein of Noro Cotton up in San Luis Obispo last year. The bright greens and yellow really remind me of spring, so I thing I'll whip up a skinny scarf to wear this spring. I'll post a pattern and the results later.

(image) On the non-knitting side or life. Here is the new love of my life, my electric kettle. Hubby got it for me as a gift and I just love it. The water for tea heats up so fast and it never gets too hot. It also works great for Hubby french press coffee. And in case you might think that this is just a one-trick-counter-hog. I have also used it for blanching and quick soaking dry beans. Just heat the water and pour over the beans and did I mention it is very energy efficient.



Hanukkah 2009

2009-12-17T14:07:42.071-08:00

(image) We have been busy celebrating Hanukkah in between all the other everyday goings on. Here our candles from last night. As you can see we only have two more nights to go. I was holding off posting pictures of all the things that I made and not that almost all the gifts have been given I have no excuse to not show you all those things.



Sale yarn and gratuitous chick photos

2009-11-07T15:30:11.086-08:00

I picked up this yarn the other day when I made a run to the South Bay yarn shops. Yarn shops in my area have been closing right an left, leaving me without a local yarn shop. I was looking for yarn to make the newsgirl cap for Lena and happened upon this yarn on sale.
(image) I don't usually by blue yarn (especially blue yarn with flecks of pink and gray) and honestly I know why this yarn was 35% off. In the skein it really doesn't look that great, but I'd like to think that I saw past the outer skein into it's inner beauty. Maybe I was just blinded my the sale price, it had happended before. I put down my money and left the store with three skeins of this merino and silk blueness(image) Wound into a ball it is looking more promising.
(image) And knit up it looks even better. Lucky for me, I have someone in my life who loves the color blue and will be quite happy to take it off my hands when it it done. And that should be soon since I am already into the second skein of yarn. I'll show you it when it is done.

Okay, how is the time for all the chicken-phobic to look away.







Here is one of the new additions to our flock.
(image) Isn't she cute. It was sure hard to get a good picture of her all by myself hopefully tomorrow one of the kids can help me chick rangle so that I can get some good shots of all of them outside in the daylight.

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Newsgirl

2009-11-06T08:50:03.351-08:00

(image) Ever since Lena had seen a picture of this hat she wanted one. It is from the book Stitch and Bitch Nation. Here she is showing off the finished product. It really was one of those quick knit projects. Two evenings of knitting and I was done. No time to get tired of the pattern. The best part is that she totally loves it.
(image) I knit it out of 1.5 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes. Which is such a lovely yarn for showing off stitch definition.

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And one more picture to show off the real Lena. That's my girl!



Halloween wrap-up

2009-11-05T18:53:52.947-08:00

Our Halloween was a busy one this year. A good kind of busy, but busy is still busy.This year Lena designed her own costume. She wanted to be a bird, which some how required getting glue and green feathers everywhere. Oh, did I mention the green glitter.Actually, costume turned out really well. She was pleased with it so that is all that really matters. She has already started talking about what she wants to be next year.Lena also participated in our friends Haunted House. Every year Lisa and her husband turn a whole room of their house to make a haunted house. Lena loves to act in it. This year she was a guard to the dungeon. Here she is with all her fellow ghouls and goblins.I didn't act in the house, but I did get to be in charge to food. Unfortunately I was so busy making that I only got one photo. Here are the eyeballs in process. They are really doughnut holes covered in white chocolate. I forgot to take a picture of them when they were all done.Oh, and I even managed to do a little yarn stash busting. Here is the Halloween felted bowl I gave to our lovely host Lisa. [...]



Okay, stash this means war

2009-10-24T10:41:45.219-07:00

Okay, most knitters have a love/hate relationships with their yarn stash. I, however, am not one of those knitters. I really don't like my stash very much. I find having all that yarn around worries me a bit. I guess I just feel pressured to use it up. Don't get me wrong I like having yarn with a purpose around. I have this lovely skein of almost black lace weight yarn that makes me happy every time I see it. I dont' have time to knit it up right now, but I know that I will get around to it sometime in the future. No, the kind of yarn that drives me crazy it the skeins or half skeins that are leftover when you finish a project.

So, with that in mind I am now trying to get rid of as many of those little orphan yarns as I can. I am going to either knit them or drop them off at the local senior center by April of 2010.*

*I reserve the right to keep a few of these orphans around, but only if I really, really love them or if I think that one of my girls will knit with them.

In that spirit I made an iPod cozy the other day. I only had a tiny bit of this yarn left and it was too pretty to throw out. Now I can toss the iPod in my bag and it will be safe. This is a great way to use up bit of sock yarn.

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The Monkey who started it all

2009-10-23T23:22:46.058-07:00

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Carmen Banana is finally done. Well, except she needs some clothes now. I am pretty happy with how she turned out and so is her new owner Lena.



Flowers, flowers, everywhere

2009-10-21T15:55:40.215-07:00

Twice recently I have been given flowers. I have to say that it delights me every time.
(image) The first was this mini-orchid from my daughter. Lena walked down to the grocery store and purchased this orchid and balloon that said "Thanks." She just wanted to thank me for all I do. I am sometimes shocked at what a thoughtful kid she is.

(image) Then I found this lovely pot of flowers on my front porch. I was so surprised and couldn't imagine who had left them. I turns out they were a thank you gift from my lovely friend Hilary for the quilt I gave her.

(image) I also decided to press the blossoms that were falling off another orchid that I have. Even in death they were too pretty to compost. So, I got out the kids flower press to press them and I'll let you know how they turn out.

(image) In the flower press I found these lovelies from who know when.
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Going a little bananas

2009-10-16T18:48:32.275-07:00

I all started with this. As soon as Lena saw what I was working on she insisted it was exactingly what she had always needed.It soon progressed to this.Here is how she looked just a little bit ago. She now has her ears but I will haven't finished the tail. You can now tell that is is a sock monkey. When I saw this knit from KnitPicks I knew that had to knit it even thought I didn't know what I would do with it.Seeing Carmen progress Lena decided that she wanted to make a sock monkey as a birthday gift for her friend. So, to the internet I went to find the proper sock to make a monkey out of.We sewed him together yesterday evening. Much faster than knitting one!This afternoon he got his heart.His super hip vest that Lena made a designed her self.Lena decided that he also needed a jaunty little scarf to complete the ensemble. Actually, she wanted to add pants, but I told her. "Don't be silly sock monkeys don't wear pants." I may have just wanted to be done with the project;)I have a feeling that this blog is not done with monkeys yet![...]



Fresh from the pumpkin patch

2009-10-14T21:45:18.210-07:00

I needed a quick little Halloween gift for someone and I thought of this project that I had done in the past with a group of kids. It really is a nice simple hand sewing project for both kids and adults.I started with a 7in diameter circle of orange felt (this felt is a wool blend so it is a bit easier to work with than). Stitch all the way around the circle with a strong thread and using a gathering stitch (just up and down).Tug on both ends of the thread to gather the stitches, but don't tie it off yet.Fill with some type of grain. I used buckwheat, but rice would also work well. Just use what ever you have. I filled mine about halfway but use less or more depending on your taste.Add a small bit if some type of stuffing and tighten and tie off the threads.The Pumpkin top is made my cutting a 2in or so circle out green felt with pinking shears. I then add a loop of felt through a slit in the middle of the circle. This own was hot glued because I pre-made a bunch of tops to do with a group of kids and in that case hot gluing was the most quickest way to do it. If you are just making one it would be easy enough to just hand stitch it and not heat up the glue gun.The last step is to whip-stitch the top to the pumpkin bottom and enjoy.[...]



Check out this giveaway

2009-10-09T16:56:52.241-07:00

In my blog travels today I ran across this wonderful yarn giveaway. You should really check it out.



Getting the hubby ready for Fall

2009-10-08T19:36:52.134-07:00

(image) I finally finished my take on the Cambridge Jacket by Ann Budd it only took a year and a half to do. I had read from other people that the sleeves on this sweater were too wide. When everyone is having the same problem with a pattern you should assume that you will have the same problems. I started out with the best of intentions and reduced the arm stitches right from the start. Oh, well I still had to re-knit those sleeves and armhole shaping at least three time. This sweater spent more time in time-out than another sweater that I have ever knit.
(image) This is the hubby modeling the sweater for me and when I complained about his modeling job this is what I got.
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Ummm, thanks honey that is very nice (the sound of me rolling my eyes)


(image) Oh, and the lucky man also got a new pair of toe-up socks. He isn't any better at modeling socks than he is at modeling sweaters. Oh, well.



Deepening Skies Cowl

2009-10-06T20:50:48.648-07:00

(image) I picked up this yarn (I think that is called Terra, but I can't find it on-line) intending to make a scarf out of it for my sister-in-law Lauren for her birthday. After much swatching and not a little swearing I decided to cal it quits and stop trying to make this loosely spun yarn do what is didn't want to do. The only problem is that at his point I was almost out of time and needed to make something, and did not have time for do-overs. So I used my Calming Waves pattern and whipped up a cowl for her birthday. I think is turned out well, but I don't think that I would buy this yarn again. I just really don't like working with thick and thin yarn.
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