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Sunday, August 31, 2008


I told "G" of GAIN that I needed an upgrade of the napkin holder, something with a star, for flair. Here is what he came up with. he he

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kid crafting

Grandpa gave the boys a scroll saw two years ago for Christmas. "G" complained this weekend that since it's kept at Grandpa's house, he never gets to use it. So it came to live at our garage on Saturday while Mr. GAIN was gone and I was in between meetings.

Since we're still trying out the schedule, we've been light on school work. In an effort to keep people busy between my taxi service calls, I turned "G" to crafting his own toys. He chose to cut out a sword and a dagger from a leftover bluebird or bat house (cannot remember now) that the Great Ape Trust told me to make. The next week, I was told to not assemble or deliver it. So we had nice wood laying around.

While my business partner talked to me on the phone, "G's" little sister insisted that he also cut the scrap wood into toys for her. I made some sandpaper blocks for the two kids to use after the cutting was done. I had to call the cutting off when the scraps got too small for my comfort. Mr. GAIN came home from playing ball soon after this, and was surprised to see a saw in our garage. LOL

Since Monday, I've been trying to get the paper napkin deal at Walgreen's (500 napkins for $3). They were sold out on Sunday, but a new truck came overnight. When "G" was done with art class, he went to work on making a napkin holder for us out of K'nex. I first saw a K'nex napkin holder while at a Charlotte Mason meeting in Ankeny four years ago. Never forgot it. Since we have plenty of K'nex (I guess you can never have enough), it was no problem to donate a few for napkins.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exasperation with Schedules

We are testing out our schedules -- three dual enrollments at the local schools, driving to and from gymnastics class, and figuring out how full-time high school and athletics fit into our lifestyle, all at the same time. We'll try to work in our park day this week to see how well it fits, along with quarter- or half-time schoolishness to keep the kids from fighting due to boredom. Yes, they fight when they are bored, so enter the scroll saw and yard work. A picture will come tomorrow.


Monday, August 25, 2008


Introduced to leatherwork at Boy Scout Camp, interested since reading Back to Basics, "N" of GAIN finally did a little work at home.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


I wanted to show everyone "N" and his leatherwork, but I can't get the computer to realize that I have something in the flash drive. I need to check the rain barrel for leaks, too.

Side note: We went bowling today, because it was free, and our schedule lets us. I love weekday outings while everyone is at school.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weaving and Rain Barrel

"I" of GAIN had mentioned that she wanted to use her loom last month, then forgot to use it. I was reminded of her desire when I got an email newsletter from Berroco Knits on Rigid Heddle Weaving. So I got her set up and she wove some cloth yesterday.

I bought the loom at HEED's last Buy-Sell-Trade, brand new from a gal who just never got around to having her kids use it. My kid has used it. It is pretty easy to do once you take the time to set up. I had seen a home made loom in a kids weaving book. (I love the library, by the way.) It looked very cool, but took up a lot of space for something we would not use every day. I couldn't toss the loom in a wooden trunk like all my knitting stuff. This small loom is a good intro to weaving in my opinion, and tells me that a larger loom would probably do well in our house. Not a large standing loom, though. If our current loom is a preemie, then we might be OK with a toddler.

Weaving does not require the memorization and manual dexterity that knitting does. It does take concentration and a long attention span. And an adult if questions arise. She wanted to make a piece of fabric that was wider than her last project (a belt). Her finished product was wider, but shorter than intended -- I was gone when she ran out of yarn on the shuttle. No one knew how to help her, even though everything you need to know is in the book that came with the loom. So the work was cut about 6" shorter than planned. But the fringe (some of that leftover 6") is really nice.

I am putting a photograph of my two rain barrels here. I talk about them enough that I thought they deserved some blog time,' which is my analogous term for 'press time.' They are connected and I love it. I fixed the leak on the barrel seen on the right. I'm waiting for the next rain (maybe this weekend?) to see how it holds.

You can see the sandstone in the foreground that "N" and I moved and re-placed. Haven't decided if the stones will stay this way. "N" just started working with leather. He was introduced to the craft at camp. While I went to buy more grit for our rock tumbler at the local hobby store, I found a leatherworking kit on the next shelf down. The best part was that every item in the store was 30%. The worst part was that the business owner is retiring, so the store will be gone.

Off to work on my third entry for the 100 Species Challenge.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Number 6

I finally have something for item #6 of Mama Podkayne's meme. I have been to Europe. I was originally scheduled to visit the Soviet Union during Spring Break my junior year of high school. I have no idea why I was going. I think my grandmother wanted to live vicariously through me. Our visas were denied very close to our departure date. The consolation prize was a trip to Europe the next year.


100 Species Challenge

I may be diverting time spent posting here to my geocaching blog as I begin the 100 Species Challenge and tending to my business blog as our next event ramps up.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rain barrel, part 4

It's really not leaking much at all! So the urgency is gone. The repair still needs to be made, but not like I thought. Yay!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rain barrel, part 3

The second rain barrel's got a leaky connection and I can't fix it in a satisfactory way until it's empty. After a couple minutes tightening the pipe clamp some more, I spent ten minutes yesterday on my hands and knees searching for the teflon tape (successfully). The leak is fairly slow now, but since it is raining, more pressure will work against the leak as the barrel fills. We'll see how much is left when morning comes. And thanks, Dad, for the concrete blocks that I used to set the barrel on. They work great.

Now to place those sandstone remnants around the barrel....


Monday, August 11, 2008

I am S L O W

Yes, I am slow. My brain is still on vacation. I just watched my first Olympics of the year (four days late). I haven't registered my kid at the junior high yet to pay his art fee (over a week late). I haven't finished my dishcloths (whew! no deadline). And I never showed my headband on this blog (over a month late).

I am posting a photo of a headband that I made the last week of June, done over a couple of late nights in WI. I think you can find the pattern here. Look for "knit head wrap." Comments on the head band: It is WIDE. Because my hair isn't thick or full, but stick straight and fine, I would make the connecting piece in the back (under my hair) narrower. The width nicely holds my bangs without showing their ends. I like the circles. I like using leftover yarn. I think it looks crocheted.

I am also showing the 'bricks' dishcloths (pattern here). I did some testing: I edged one side of one cloth in garter stitch. A crocheted edge was suggested. But I wanted to match the border of the pattern. And I can't seem to follow directions well. (However, before I knew Mr. GAIN really well, I was a strict rule-follower.) It seems to stabilize the edge in a tolerable way, so I will continue in my slow pace to trim all of the edges of my dishcloths in garter stitch.

Do you like the banding? I think the color changes are kind of J. Crew. Would that make my kitchen preppy? The color combo on the white cloth are partly suggested by my oldest and my niece, and partly my desire to be original (I think this began in 4th grade).

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden Work

We spent a good share of last week in Lake Delavan, WI at a local resort for a family reunion. I had someone lined up to pick tomatoes and eggplants while we were gone. After a week of neglect, I did some garden maintenance this evening.

First off was the rain barrel. Today was pleasant, not steamy hot. ("Send me back to Wisconsin!" was a thought I had right after we got home.) This evening, I attached the second rain barrel. I think I made three trips to the hardware store last month to get supplies. I used them all tonight, which means that I did not overbuy. Yay for me on that! My set-up looks nice. This will help when we want to do things like wash the car.

Before we left on our trip, we washed our car, the Yankee School Bus, named by "N" of GAIN right after we got it. He was 3 1/2 years old at the time. We traditionally wash the car before a trip. With only collected rainwater, we used about 25 gallons. 3 for sudsy washing water, and the rest hauled in a trash can for rinse water. I have to mention that the kids and I always neglect the roof of the van. I also have to mention that I love to see my kids work. Three of the kids decided to wash their bikes after the van was clean, but I already wrote about that. They used what was leftover from washing the van.

The garden uses at least 6 gallons each day -- 2 for the eggplants, 2 for the edamame, and 2 for the tomatoes. I don't have our third EarthBox set up for anything, otherwise it would take an additional 2 gallons daily. Weekly total water consumption for the garden comes to 36 gallons. Our barrels hold a little less than 55 gallons apiece. (36 + 25 = 61 gallons; 61 > 55) I figure that with two rain barrels, I can wash the van once a week when the barrels are full and water the perennials if I feel like it, on top of watering the garden. I guess I am saying that I have water to spare and I like that.

The next thing I did was have "N" and "I" dig up the onions. They found a couple 'twins,' or onions that looked like they shared roots (which they did). Our yellow onions are currently drying in a Little Tykes wheel barrow. They are small, so I am sure they will not last long. There more to dig, but they are also small.

The last thing I did was a time-consuming chore -- tying the tomato branches up to supports. They have grown by leaps and bounds and outgrew the old support system. "I" and I re-tied a lot of the branches and re-directed them where we could to allow for good air flow. The tomatoes that fell on the ground while we did this are in the picture above. We have three Amish Paste Roma tomato plants and one Sungold cherry tomato plant.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ball band

ok, here is the thought i had while driving back from the nearby yarn shop here (needles and pins in richmond, wi) --

maybe the 'bricks' that we are seeing also look like the paper bands on the new balls of yarn. from rather far away. if you were a giant, maybe it would work.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Off the Sticks

A five and half hour car ride deserves a good knit project, something to keep you awake. My answer was the Little Arrowheads dishcloth. I do not have a link right now since I'm not home, but I believe the pattern is at a website dedicated to knitted dishcloth patterns. I could not see the arrowheads for the life of me in the van, but the kids said that they could see arrowheads from the back. I see them, but they really remind me of tree branches.

I also started another dishcloth on the road. Before I talk about it, I want to share why I am making more dishcloths. You probably know me and my goal of seven dishcloths. One for each day of the week. You probably did not know that we always wash the car before we go on a long trip. Unless it is to a dusty campground. Or a muddy one. So 1/2 of GAIN is washing the car with me. We are using about twenty gallons total from the rain barrel, and about done, when the other 1/2 of GAIN comes out to the garage and decides that they should all wash their bicycles. With whatever is left in the drawer. That would be my first two knitted dishcloths, gifted to me at my wedding shower. When they finished, the dishcloths were stained with grease and black tire marks. Of course, I cannot replace those ones with duplicates. I decided to upgrade. I think the Little Arrowheads cloth will make and hold suds really well.

The second dishcloth I have is in a pattern called Ball Band. We have renamed it Bricks since all of GAIN and I cannot figure out its name. "Band" is pretty obvious, but "Ball?" I did not need very much Color A at all to make this. I hope this means that all those little scraps of yarn will be headed for good use in the future via "Bricks." Everyone like the way it looks, too. The sides are not even, and if I had consistently moved the Colors A and B up rows when not in use, I think the sides would still be uneven. Crocheted edges are suggested in the pattern. I haven't decided if I want to leave the dishcloth with tilt-a-whirl edges. I finished this dishcloth yesterday, and have a third started, also in "Bricks." I have high hopes for this dishcloth holding more water than the lacy ones.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Meme from Mama Podkayne

6. Well, I had it earlier today, but of course, by the time I sit down to type seven hours later, I have forgotten.