May 032012
 

This week I couldn’t find the string that I use for the garden.  Sport weight cotton to the rescue!

I should have used a more interesting color.  Next year: fuchsia.

Also, I think I planted my peas too close together.

 

 

 May 3, 2012  life, yarn Tagged with:  4 Responses »
Apr 032012
 


Two days ago we were sitting on the porch, drinking beer in the shade, and swatting away bugs.  Woke up to this today and it’s still coming down.  Those brown wooden things in the bottom right of the photo are my raised vegetable beds, where my greens were just starting to pop out.

At least I have a new pair of mitts to warm my hands, especially since it’s April now and I refuse to turn my heat back on.  It’s spring, damn it!

 April 3, 2012  FO, life Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »
Mar 212012
 

Chaotic seed organization plus garden blueprint

Today the knitting has been set aside in order to play outside.   Peas are in the ground; carrots, beets, and lettuce later today.  It was so nice to turn the garden soil for the first time this spring, to see those worms wiggle, and to set some seeds into their new home.  I can hardly wait for the first spring salad to come on up!

Dirt-caked nails make me happy!

 March 21, 2012  life Tagged with: ,  4 Responses »
Dec 192011
 

 

Christmas has always been fun but having kids around makes it that much more so.  This past week my son and I made ornaments for gifts and for our tree.  I’m all about pawning off the gift giving on my kids now that they are old enough to help out (at the least the 5 year old).  I mean, people would probably think I was cheap if I tried to give these as gifts but coming from him they are little works of art!  This was a pretty fun mom/son project to work on and I’m pretty happy that it held his attention for the three day process.  As an added sentimental bonus, all the cookie cutters used here belonged to my late Grandmother.

One of the main reasons for making ornaments was that this is the first year since I left my parents’ house that I have a decorate-able tree in my house!  I feel like such a grown up!  We had about 5 ornaments so we needed more.  I really don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner, although I will miss our silver fiber-optic one that has done us well for the last 8 years.

Atticus, hour 45 in his PJs

I don’t know who in the house thought that the Sleepy Mouse needed to top the tree but I rather like it!

There won’t be as many knit good under this tree as in years past, unfortunately.  There will be some things for the kids at least, an Indiana Jones-esque whip and bag for Atticus and a felted bag for Junie.  We do things small here.  Upgrading from the 36″ tree to the 6″ one is enough “big” things for this year.

But there will be lots of Legos.  I’m secretly excited about that one!

 December 19, 2011  life, WIP Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 012011
 

I have been itching to blog something as there are heaps of things going on in my knitting world but I have been holding off until the new blog was going up.  This was to happen in September but then life happened, then it was October and a wave of sickness overcame us, then… well, it just didn’t happen.  BUT NOW here we are in December and here is, finally, wattsolak.com!  Thanks to my husband Daniel for helping out the code-inept person that I am and doing all the technical work here.

Now that we’ve changed locations I promise that the blogging will continue!

 

 December 1, 2011  life No Responses »
Apr 212011
 

I use to read more blogs than I do now. Early on in both my knitting and parenting lives, when I was still wide eyed and absorbing every bit of information like a sponge, I use to scour the internet for wisdom and guidance. I remember coming across, as we all have, the blogs of women who had it all together. Immaculate, enviable craft rooms, beautiful houses, angelic children, and both the time and patience to keep them all up.

Even though I think I’m not as materialistic as the stereotypical woman (I own mere six pairs of footwear and two purses) I wondered if I was missing something by not having the hip barn door upcycled to a craft bench or vintage glass jars to hold my supplies. Would my children be as wonderful and seemingly content if we built that Montessori style bedroom for them or took the time to walk barefoot through the woods together?

After a while I started finding myself looking at old photos of me and the family with this same kind of longing. Wait, this was it! It’s the deception of  the photos! These split second snippets that I thought were wholly representational of lives were not at all. Hell, any life is going to look amazing if you capture that right second or the right angle.

So here’s a little exercise in perception.

Remember my button post?  Here’s what my counter really looked like at the time.

Too lazy to even clean up my dirty dishes.  And speaking of dishes,

Here was my kitchen yesterday.  At about 4pm.  Those are breakfast crumbs and droppings.  At 4pm.  Because I wanted to sit around and knit instead.

Oh, and the cardigan photo on the button post?  Here’s the real scene.

This table is 90% dedicated to the boy’s toys, so whenever I want to use it I just shove his stuff in the window.  And that’s not nice defused light coming in the window, it’s hazy since I hadn’t washed the outside of the window since we moved into this house in January of 2010 [note: it has since been cleaned, but only because someone else did it for me.]

And today, here is my living room.

Yes, that’s my four year old, standing a foot and a half from the television.  Yes, to the left of the chair is a toothbrush and half a pancake that I didn’t pick up when we ran out of the house in a hurry this morning.  Sometimes mess and tv have to be the sacrifices for some craft time sanity around here.  I use to feel bad about that.  But now, whatever.  I’ve become so conscious of how I try my best to hide these things in photos, as we all do, as if future generations will remember me falsely as a clean person.  *Snicker*

But what a cute old little house, you say?  Yes, it is cute.  And old.

It sometimes strikes me as a sweet old place, full of history and charm.  But most days it’s more sad geriatric to which the previous owner did some quick fixes that seem akin to putting this old gal in a nursing home.  Just hang out over there for a bit longer, will ya?  For example:

No, this isn’t to look at the cute cupboard or the messy carpet.  It’s to show you the reason we can’t have nice hardwood floors here.  See those shims under the shelf?  They’re compensating for the inch and a half difference between the floor level between the back and front of the shelf.  My whole poor living room sags.  And creeks.

Look again at my kitchen.  Those cupboards are vinyl coated.  Just like the floor.  The previous owners were obsessed with vinyl, plastic, anything synthetic.  So much original wood in this old house has been replaced by things that look nice but are horribly cheap.  It makes me nuts.

None of my old doors latch right.  My vinyl windows track crooked.  In the living room, when the summer morning sun hits just right, there is a strange pee smell that we cannot find the exact location of.

But it all looks great in photos, doesn’t it?

 April 21, 2011  life Tagged with: , ,  6 Responses »
Apr 112011
 

This weekend some friends and I went to check out the Firefly Handmade market at the Makerie workshop in Boulder.  Although money kept us from attending the actual Makerie event, the market was a fun public addition to the weekend’s activities.  Just look at all the great vendors that were there!

It was great to be immersed in all the craftiness and if nothing else it was a much needed kick in the ass to get me back on track for my own art and craft endeavors.  I bought a woodcut print from Wonderbound Press and felt a little sheepish over the fact that I’ve been telling myself for over a decade that I need to learn how to do this.  I’ve done lots of linoleum cutting in the past but never on actual wood.  This is going back on the top of my list of to-learns.

When I got home yesterday I had a new set of eyes.  I’ve become stuck in a craft rut.  So in the last day I have come up with a list of Spring Crafting Resolutions, if you will.

#1: More respect for my craft room.

I adore this room.  This is the one place in the house that is all mine. Often times it’s the only room in the house whose door remains closed.  Because of this  the room usually houses a number of things that I’m trying to keep away from small hands (hence the box of weeded out toys and the boxes in the lower left).  When it starts to get junky I’m less likely to try to keep it nice in there.  I mean, really, there is no reason that the dye pot and the dye pot lid aren’t together.  Or why the doors and drawers of the lovely yarn cupboard never stay closed.  Enough with the excuses.  I need to make this my room again.  And it needs to be clean and comfortable enough to hang out in.  And I need a chair.

#2: No more using yarn that I don’t like.

I’m so much less likely to finish projects that use yarn that I’m not crazy about. I don’t need to knit exclusively in Malabrigo or anything, but my cheap side needs to be muzzled a little bit more.  And kitchen cotton doesn’t need a permanent place in my stash.

And while we’re on the subject…

#3: Who needs to knit dishcloths?

I’m committing myself to knitting things out of love, not always necessity.  Yes, knit dishrags are awesome and last you forever but my knitting time is precious and I need to use it more wisely.  If it’s not the kind of project that I’d take to knit night and say, “Look how freaking awesome this is!!” I don’t think I need to knit it.     

#4: Part with the infinite hibernating UFOs

Oh sad, red pinwheel blanket that I started when I was pregnant with my now four year old.  You are never, ever going to be finished.  Green sweater made from another sweater’s recycled yarn, your half finished self needs to be frogged.  And that baggy purple Hourglass Sweater that’s two sizes two big?  I have something grand in store for you once you leave this tomb of UFOs.

#5: Not every known newborn baby needs extensive handknits

I know so many moms.  And my circle of friends from high school seem to all be finally having babies.  I know about 8 pregnant women at the moment.  I need to vow to not feel the need to making every one of them an entire layette.  Today I boxed up two baby hats to send to Seattle to a friend who had her baby in November.  I’ve been dragging my feet because I have this nagging side that I need to add something more.  No more.  It’s not going to kill me to buy something for a baby.

Whew.

I’m ready, bring on the spring crafting!

 

 April 11, 2011  inspiration, life Tagged with: , , , , ,  4 Responses »
Apr 042011
 

The last real family vacation we had was nearly two years ago. This combined with the fact that my husband’s job has pretty generous annual allotted time off means that my husband has lots of days off without anywhere to go. As a result we have taken a liking to the random four day weekend. And not any of these memorial day/labor day/presidents day messes where everyone in the country has a day off too and it’s a madhouse to try to do anything. These only-us days off rock. Family breakfasts out on weekdays without battling the usual Saturday crowd. Parks that are more empty. Shopping trips without the weekend hordes. Sometimes I don’t miss the “real” vacation when these long weekends can recharge me easily without having to deal with the chaos of travel, packing, and the unknown (which is no fun with a creature-of-habit four year old).

So here is it Monday, but for us it’s really Second Sunday. Ahh. The four day weekend really does a lot for the morale too, making you feel like a superhero of accomplishment with four days to fill. This weekend I:

(over)dyed some yarn,

started on the new garden beds (okay, this was mostly the husband but I orchestrated it),

took the niece’s Flat Stanley on a nice outing in his new sweater,

finished writing a new pattern,

opened an Etsy shop (as you can see, not too exciting yet. Yet!),

took a trip to the kid’s museum (Actually, this was husband too. I stayed home with the baby),

and made the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever baked. Hey, Elizabeth, they work at elevation too!

The best accomplishment of the weekend I can’t show you yet since it’s for a design contest that I’m oh so excited about. Sometime after May, though, you’ll see it in all it’s glory. Tonight I think there’s just enough time to squeeze another family trip to the park, a good dinner and some more cookies into this weekend. I’ll take that over a busy vacation.

 April 4, 2011  knitting, life Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »

MIA

Mar 242011
 

One of the downfalls to having children is that they actually have to share a house with you. And as much as you try to make it still look and feel like adults live there, inevitably the kids take over. Things get rearranged oddly and you find the strangest things in even stranger places. Things that you thought were indestructible get broken. Your nice sofa will occasionally have snot on it.

Last week while I was on the laptop (the main house computer) the baby pulled at it, trying to see what I was looking at, and the screen went blank. Then it wouldn’t turn back on. D’oh.

So now I have a whole digital camera full of photos and no computer to dump them onto and no way to share them. I have quite a few things that I’d like to share here but it’s rather pointless without the visuals to go with it. Since I think blog posts without photos are oh so boring I won’t tempt you with descriptions of things just to fill space here. I’ll save them for next week when the laptop will either return from the repair shop or when there is a brand new computer in this house.

Check back soon for news of a new hat pattern, some WIPs and some thoughts on summer knitting.

For now I’ll leave you with one accessible photo I have: the baby (in knit pants) playing in some nice spring weather!

 March 24, 2011  life Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Feb 032011
 

The instant gratification of granny squares and hot coffee in my favorite mug,

temperatures  finally in the double digits for the first time in over two days,

and two children both mostly happily playing.  I don’t know what else I could ask out of today!

Okay, maybe a little color work too.

 

 February 3, 2011  knitting, life 2 Responses »