Sunday, April 17, 2016
We've had three gray days in a row and I'm quite enjoying it. There's a slow-moving storm over the southwest and south-central parts of the US, which has given us days of interesting weather. We've had rain, snow, sleet, thunder, lightning, wind and fog. It's like a whole year's worth of weather in one storm. It has also been unseasonably cool, which I'm enjoying too. Before long, it will be hot and undoubtedly very dry again, like it was all through February and March. We still have that long dry stretch of late spring and early summer to get through before the monsoon gets fired up in July. I love the monsoon, as I've said many times before. To me, it's a reward after hot, dry, kinda boring May and June. This current storm feels like a mini monsoon - hunkering, stay-at-home weather.
Aside from the storm, the week was mostly uneventful. Work, school, homeschool, running around for activities. I've been dealing with an outbreak of eczema on my hands. The swelling has been so bad I can't wear my rings. It's uncomfortable and embarrassing. I bought an eczema cream and have been using it with gloves, which seems to be helping. It's amazing how much something like this can bother you, though. I feel like all I thought about was my hands over the past few days; even in my sleep, I was scratching them bloody. TMI? This is real-life blogging, baby.
When my hands were feeling up to it, I sorted embroidery flosses for my next cross-stitch project (I'm taking a few liberties with the color chart to use up some flosses I already have. The design is a whimsical pirate ship; if you can't play a bit fast and loose with a design like that, then I don't know what). I did some crocheting too. I hadn't crocheted at all since finishing Hensfoot in mid-March. I really missed crocheting. I was starting to get a little twitchy without it, actually. It made me realize how very important crochet has become in my life over the past several years, as a hobby and pastime, yes, but also as a way to relieve stress and to focus energy.
I'm going back to basics now, working on a couple of different granny-square patterns. One of them is Squaring the Big Circle, from the blog Signed with an Owl. I've shared a couple of them on Instagram (do you follow me there? I'm thistlebear, if you're interested); they're big, about 8 inches across, and I'm thinking about making a pillow or a bag with some. I had considered using them for my next blanket, a big one for our bed, but I think I want something a little more intricate, more mosaic-like for that. I'm in the mood for a long-term project - at the moment, anyway.
To that end, I've also been making a pattern called Paeonia, from Filcolana, a Danish yarn company. I found the pattern on Ravelry and was instantly drawn to it. It's a little like the Ice Cream Flowers blanket I made for the GB in 2014, but the flower is different and the square around it is more solid. Instead of white, I will use gray. You know me, all about the gray. My other colors are mostly fairly soft - lots of greeny-blues and pinky-reds, with mustard, tomato and pistachio for a bit of acidity. In honor of the wild-weather weekend on which I started making these squares, I'm thinking about calling this blanket Stormflowers.
Yesterday, the Bear and I did our usual Saturday ships-in-the-night thing where we each take a child to the university for music lessons, one in the morning and one after lunch, and we each do errands and household tasks in between. We barely see each other until about four in the afternoon. He said he'd be doing some cooking. By the time I walked in, he'd made barbecue sauce and prepared ribs for the smoker (he's cooking them today for our dinner), as well as red chile sauce and Dutch oven breads! (He uses this recipe from Mother Earth News). He had even, ahem, washed the kitchen floor. What a homecoming.
I made a delicious recipe during the week, Blueberry Cheesecake Bars from Betty Crocker. It's the April recipe on my Betty Crocker calendar. There's a recipe for each month, along with tear-out versions of each recipe to keep when you're done with the calendar. I usually make about half the recipes in any given year. For this one, I couldn't find blueberry spreadable fruit so I used blackberry and substituted mixed frozen berries for blueberries, not a bad thing at all. I probably won't make them again very soon; the ingredients were expensive and they were difficult to serve. Very tasty, though, and simple to make. The cheesecake layer was my favorite part.
I'm trying to come up with costume ideas for the LB. His class is performing an end-of-year musical play about the 13 American colonies. He has two parts to play, a British soldier (aka "Redcoat"), and Leif Erikson, the Viking explorer. I'm at a loss. I'm thinking about trying to get a red jacket, even a cardigan, from the thrift store and having him wear a belt with it. I think the teacher has tri-cornered hats (I know she has Viking-style hats). For Leif, I'm thinking about making a poncho kind of thing from brown cloth, belted, to look like the tunic he wore. There may also be a cloak? I'm not sure. I actually used to sew theatrical costumes as a job when I was younger, but I worked for a real, live costume designer. I wasn't coming up with the designs myself, just sewing them on demand. Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them. For reference, he's ten years old, about four-ten and eighty pounds.
Have a good week, my friends. I'm off to check on the laundry and think about what to have for lunch, then I'm going to sit down and play with yarn for a little while. I'm in that exciting stage where it all seems possible and I can't imagine being all set with a never-ending blanket project. Long may it last.