I miss my Craft Happenings posts. Last year, I was doing them every week for a while, and that seemed to be too much because most of my projects continued from week to week. This year, I had decided to just focus on finished projects, but it feels like there are projects that fall through the cracks, and other in-progress works that I want to capture. I’m thinking about piloting a twice a month happs posting, with this as my first post in that pilot. Please let me know what you think…
On the Needles
As usual, I have been knitting A LOT. In addition to some secret stuff, I’ve been working on updating some older patterns. Right now, I’m doing a rework of Tumbleweed, with an update on the sizing and I’m hoping to have this done by the end of the week. Earlier this year, I updated Camas Lily and Oleander. I’ve got some other older patterns that are in all kinds of formats and I’m hoping to give them a consistent layout and style.
Once Tumbleweed is finished, I’m struggling with the decision of what to work on next. I have a mental queue consisting of one million ideas.
On the Sewing Table
My current sewing project is a spring trench coat using Vogue 8884 and some upholstery fabric from the bottom of my stash, and a blue polyester fabric as the lining (also from the stash). I’ve been on a dedicated mission to whittle down my fabric stash this year and part of that is identifying fabrics that I haven’t had a clue what to do with, and matching them to a pattern. I suppose this effort of making clothing from upholstery fabric is reminiscent of Maria making clothing out of curtains from The Sound of Music, but I honestly don’t know what else to do with this fabric. I am also considering whether or not I should add an underlining to this coat, just to give it some added warmth.
On the Bookshelf
I’m about halfway through the book Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson and I’m really enjoying it. Since I discontinued my happs posts, I haven’t mentioned the books I’ve read, so I might do a quick book report of what I’ve read since I last updated on that, as I’ve read some good stuff! In a tiny nutshell, Mistborn is a sci-fi/fantasy book centered around a dystopian world wherein a Lord Ruler held an uprising 1000 years ago and installed himself as dictator, and now there is a group of rebels working to overthrow the empire. I am finding it to be both interesting and exciting. It is definitely an epic saga sort of tale, but doesn’t get too bogged down in extremely lengthy dialogue (like some of the sci-fi/fantasy books I’ve read recently) and has a good dose of exciting action and adventure. There is also a strong female character who is portrayed as an extremely awesome and capable heroine (I assume that is her featured on the book cover image, and the Lord Ruler being thwarted by her awesome capability).
Here Kitty, Kitty!
Just like me, Kiko gained a bunch of weight this winter because she didn’t balance her love of eating with exercise. I’ve been trying to put her on a diet, but it’s not been going well, in part because I don’t have much willpower against her cuteness when she wants more food… This past week, I’ve been trying hard to be a stickler for meal times, rather than just munching all day, and we seem to be doing a little better. You cannot tell this by the photo, but she has quite the low-hanging belly.
Here Chick, Chick!
Chickens are all well. Penelope has started molting and she has a bunch of bald spots. Since she is the smallest of the bunch, I’m relieved that she’s losing her feathers now that the weather is warming up, rather than during the depth of winter (when Florence was molting). Florence and Josephine are back to laying regularly again, so we are getting 2-4 eggs every day (the two RIRs are missing a few days here and there). Photo above shows the two RIRs, Penelope and Madeline, and one of the BRs, Florence, with Josephine in the nest box getting her egg laying on. We have been getting a lot of rain lately and there are worms everywhere – so the chickens are having a blast.
Josh’s Home & Garden DIY Projects
Josh has continued to be a busy bee this winter and spring with his projects. Right now, he is constructing a stylish garden fence using our old windows. This is going to replace the temporary garden fence he installed last year using plastic poultry fencing, and we’re hoping it will greatly augment the aesthetic appeal of the backyard (both by hiding our neighbors’ unsightly fences, as well as being itself very stylish). The fence is going to have sort of a tiered cascade of our old windows, and either horizontal wood slats or trellis material. We’re ultimately hoping to plant some grape vines that will grow up this fence.
After the ordeal of trying to run 10 miles at a hard pace this weekend, I’ve developed a weekly training strategy for the next couple weeks.
- One Long Run (10+ miles) at a Slow Pace (13 min miles)
- Two Medium Runs (6ish miles) at Average Pace (11 min miles)
- Two Short Power Runs (3ish miles) at a Fast Pace (9 min miles)
- Two Recovery Days focusing on strength training (core, legs, arms) and yoga
In a few weeks, I’m hoping to be able to shift my pace, so that a slow pace will be 12 min miles, medium pace 10 min. miles, and fast pace 8 min. miles. All of my running is over hills these days, no flats. I am also practicing my downhill running form, having done some research about what that is supposed to be – - since I started improving my downhill running form, I’m able to run downhill faster and with less knee and ankle discomfort.
My hydration system is working out really well. I don’t bring water with me if I do a short run (30 minutes) but anything longer than that I prefer to have water with electrolytes along for the run. I also bought a new pair of sneakers, since my old ones were about 6 years old and didn’t have much cush. My new sneaks are Hoka Kailua Trail runners and they have so much cush and shock absorption. I spent almost an hour trying on running shoes and just couldn’t get over how comfortable these are (but I was a little hesitant about them because I felt the extra large sole looked silly). The day that I bought them, I went and did a hard 10 mile run and felt more comfortable with the run than I’ve ever felt. The success of that run convinced me that I made a good sneaker purchase.
In the Garden
Spring has sprung. November and December were dry and cold, February and March have been wet and warm. Here is a roundup of perennials that I installed last year… some have made it, others are dead-dead.
My Celeste Fig tree is doing well, with a few figs! This variety is hardy down to 10F, but our winters can get much colder than that so I’m going to keep this tree in a container and bring it inside for the winter. I brought it up from the basement a few weeks ago and it’s been thriving in our early spring outdoor weather.
Ozark Beauty strawberries are doing very well. I have two well established plants from last year, and the new ones that I planted last month are showing a lot of new growth.
Rhubarb is coming up! The one in the foreground I planted last year, so I should be able to harvest a few stalks this year (it is advised to not harvest rhubarb the first year). The two other crowns I planted a few weeks ago and are growing really well.
This is a Hollywood plum tree with lots of growth buds.
And the Satsuma plum tree. We planted both of these trees in the fall and I am delighted that they made it through our particularly freezing winter.
I didn’t plant this, but I vigorously pruned it last year. The Lilac bush is really coming alive. It didn’t bloom last year, I suspect because it was very overgrown AND because of a late hard frost and an early heat wave that killed blossoms everywhere.
I planted two dwarf Gala apple trees (that I got for $10 on clearance) and they both are showing signs of emerging leaves. I’m impressed these trees have made it, since I planted them late and they had to survive the sudden heat wave in June.
Impossible to see, but the Currant bush has lots of growth buds. I am so impressed with this Currant bush. I just sort of threw it in the ground and it thrived all last year without any issues. It’s also a very pretty bush.
Sadly, only one of three blueberry bushes seems to still be alive. I’ve been worried that two have been dead for a while, and have read that blueberry bushes are pretty temperamental. My hypothesis is that I accidentally poisoned them by lowering the pH of the soil too much too quickly. If this survives, it will need a pollinator to produce a decent number of berries, but I’m not sure if I should just give up on trying to grow blueberries.
For my seedlings that are getting on in size, I set up a shelving unit on our front porch so that they can all soak up some natural sunlight and acclimate to the outdoors. Pictured on the bottom are my smaller brassicas (I have larger ones planted already), three big trays of strawberries, lots of onions and leeks, as well as tubs of perennial flowers. Inside, I’ve got tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers under grow lights.
Anyway, this is what has been happening here lately.