not only yardwork

At the moment it seems like there are a lot of things going on in my life besides living out my creative desires.

After our trip last summer,  I started working on my American Citizenship. After lots of paperwork, fingerprinting and interviews and waiting I was sworn in, in December. One burden off my shoulders. I was lucky that my paperwork was worked on in the Charleston office, they are pretty fast. It only took 4 months to get everything done.

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It still has not quite sunk in that I don’t have to carry around my Green Card and that I can fill out the citizen box now, that I can vote.

Then my oldest has graduated early and we are still trying to find our rhythm of our day to day lives. Hopefully the job hunting will be fruitful soon, so there will be some money in kiddos pocket before college starts.

Then I had my dry creek bed project. Finished that one. Still have to do all the mulching around that.

In the meantime I started another project. A herbal spiral.

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It is not finished, I still have to work out some kinks and “glue” some cylinders in place with quick crete, so it will be a little more sturdy. Then fill it with dirt and soil. At the end I want to put a little pond with fish in it. Trying to find a little pond mold that doesn’t break the bank is quite a challenge. It will be not big, just so I can put a little solar panel in it, that it will keep the water moving, so the fish don’t die.

Right now it is a little bit too frosty to go outside and do anything. So my neighbors will have to look at this funny unfinished thing for a while.

And there is some knitting as well.

A few weeks ago I stumbled over a cute cat knitting pattern.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cattitude-scarf

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It is a double knit pattern. I tried double knit a few years back. Quite a learning curve. Because you knit the front and the backside of this scarf at the same time. Basically it is two knitted scarfs knitted at the same time, so you don’t have to sew them together, to have two pretty sides showing.

So I ordered some yarn, had to wait about a week before it got here. And then finally started yesterday.

I practised a little bit with some other yarn to get more comfortable with the chart reading and the whole color changing during the row without showing the wrong color thread on the other side. I made a few mistakes and had to find my own technique how to work with it. Figured it out and was anxiously awaiting my yarn delivery.

It finally got here and I could start after everyone had settled in for the evening.

It took me an hour to finish 6 double rows and it measured 2 cm. Wow, this scarf will be around 147 cm. You can do the math of how many hours I will be knitting on it until it is done.

So far I really like the look. I do have to concentrate on the knitting and I can’t do that while watching TV, like I usually do. When I knit socks or so I can watch TV and knit at the same time, I don’t have to watch my hands, they know what they are doing.

But with this, I have to change the thread with every stitch and have to pay attention to the pattern in each row, to change the color. I had my brain twisted a few times before I got a hang of it.

I will take some pictures of my progress. I made a video and posted it on FB, just so you can see how double knitting works and looks. You can watch it here. (https://www.facebook.com/handmadefuzzy/videos/378700332946170/)

Lisa Hanna Fox, who created this scarf also has a beautiful kitty blanket if you want to take a look.

I am also trying to finish a pair of bright colored socks for myself and a duster jacket with some wonderful soft mohair yarn that I received as a Christmas gift.

So you see I am not idle.

I am also waiting for this winter to hurry up, so I can get back into my yard and plant. As well as getting on with my spiral.

 

 

what can I create ? Part 2

So there I was with my big pile of rocks. One by one the big rocks were carried from my pile to the creek. First placed to hold the fabric down. Over time they got moved to their final spot.

Loads of little rocks I first just poured into the creek and then spread them from there.

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This is when I ran a little bit into a problem, because I had not moved the dirt far enough away from my creek. I had to shovel again and move it, because, now the sides where to high for the creek and the fabric wouldn’t stay put. And the rocks kept sliding in.

But with a little elbow grease I managed to fix that.

Over a few weeks I got all the rocks in their place. At times I was worried I didn’t have enough. But I made it work. There are a few spots that could have a little bit more filled in, but that can either wait or it will work itself out.

 

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At this point it finally started to come together and I was getting excited. Still had plenty to do. But now it seemed to all be not such a task anymore.  The weather did hold me up for quite some time. Weeks of rain didn’t help with my wanting to move forward with my project. So when ever there was no rain and I had 30 min, I put on my shoes and gloves and went outside and started filling in my wheelbarrow to move some rocks.

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Quite a few little critters have already made themselves at home in between the  rocks and the mulch.

My plan with the mulch is to avoid grass from coming back. I put paper and cardboard underneath it. I am not happy with the mulch solution, due to it being dyed (even though it’s said to not be harmful) and not knowing where the wood came from. But that is what I have available at the moment.

Plus my plan is to fill in all this space with native shrubs and perennials. So there will be no need for mulch anymore after. And I have found that this red small shredded mulch breaks down the fastest.

I will have to go out and take some pictures of my finished creek. I had made a little video, but it doesn’t let me share it here.

At the moment I am filling in the area around the creek with mulch.  And when it is raining or I can’t go outside to work I am researching native plants for South Carolina and where I could source them. Not a easy task, lots of hours spent searching the internet. I did find a few nurseries that are specialised to native plants for the US and I might get some seeds and bare roots for perennials.

I did go to our local nursery yesterday and was lucky that the guy who is in charge of the native plant section was there and he gave me some pamphlets and some good information. I still have a little bit of time before they will get the plants in the nursery, end of February , beginning March.

In the meantime I am also planning on building a herb spiral. I still have a few seeds that I am planning to use. But first I have to find the right spot and collect the building materials.

 

I can’t wait to see all this come together.

 

 

 

concentrating on my living space outside, what can I create? Part 1

I always feel better when I am outside, when I can ground myself, preferably barefoot. Right now it is a little bit too cold to run around barefoot.

Last year, I can’t remember exactly when,  when the comments from my hubby about how he doesn’t want to cut the grass anymore, got to me. Fine, I will come up with something that will cut his mowing time down and give me the opportunity to finally create something that I like looking at and will give all those birds and little critters and insect a home. I love sitting on the step of our front door with a cup of tea in my hand and just watch all the little movements that are going on all around me, the buzzing and the fluttering. 

Our house came with gutters. Shortly after we had moved in I convinced my hubby to buy some rain barrels, so I could use that water for the garden that I was planning. One is sitting in the front and one in the back. There are two gutters that are still running freely….might have to get two more barrels?

The issue in the front is, that when it rains a lot the barrel gets full quickly and the water just shoots out of the top and then washes our sandy soil away, the same on the side of the house. So slowly over the years our front yard has been washing away. The grass are more weeds than anything else.

I had this idea of turning our front yard into this oasis. I am a little bit of a “green” person, I don’t spray any chemicals around, I line dry my clothes, I recycle, upcycle and get on the nerves of my loved ones if they let the water run too long or leave lights on when they are not in the room.

So I started. I think it was around end of October.

I went out and bought some of that spray paint (didn’t find an environmentally friendly one, sadly), to outline my ideas.

The first big project for me was to figure out how I would have this dry creek bed run. 20181023_131658.jpg Which you can see, I didn’t quite know exactly which way.  You can see, how in some areas there is just sand, nothing wants to grow there.

So I got out the shovel and started digging. Not deep, not even a whole shovel deep. It looked deeper at times, because I piled the dirt up right next to it. Which I learned during this process that it wasn’t such a good idea.

As you can see in this picture our yard has a little bit of slope, so I didn’t have to worry too much about my digging not being to precise that it wouldn’t run of properly.

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Well I tell you what. I just started this whole thing without really doing my research about material cost….shocker…

I thought well, all I needed was a shovel, a wheelbarrow, some landscaping fabric and some rocks. Time, I had enough, I wasn’t in a rush to finish this in a few days, manpower, that was me. The landscaping fabric did not break the bank. And the tools were ready available at our house.

After spray painting my front yard I dug a little, to get a feel for the whole thing.

And I really liked how it was shaping up.

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This is the rain barrel right at our front door. I thought it would be a good place to start. I had my fabric, and a few bags of those little rocks from the big box store.

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I wasn’t too happy with the end result. I didn’t like the little rocks. Plus they would totally break the bank. Did you ever realize how little you can cover with one of those bags? Crazy, you schlep those heavy bags home, after you raked over quite a bit of cash and then get this look on your face after you dumped it and see that it has covered nearly nothing.

Time to come up with a different solution….

But in the meantime I went ahead and dug my ditch.

The neighbors got nosy and asked what I was doing. Hiding dead bodies? Even the trash collectors stopped and asked me a ton of questions and told me that it was a great idea, that they could already see that it would be looking fabulous, and keep me fit.

 

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One of the most asked question was “why are you doing this?”

  • to cut down the mowing time for hubby
  • out of environmental reasons
  • to give insects and birds a save place to find cover and food

After about 2 weeks of digging, not nonstop, because we had quite a bit of rain this fall, I was ready to get the landscaping fabric down.

During this time I also had the time to shop around for rocks. How do I figure out how much rocks do I need, what kind did I want. All the same size? How much does a rock cost?

It was interesting what kind of information you get, when you call or visit those places that sell rocks by the pallets, or tons. Can’t I just go to the river and get some rocks there? How long would this take to collect them and bring them home?

I found a place that was willing to mix different sizes of rocks together to make it look more natural.

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So this is what I was working with. You can see how the rainwater was  running down this creek, we had a downpour the day before.

This was my first try with the landscaping fabric.

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I ripped it out after that and redid the whole section. I overlapped the fabric a bit more and made sure the overlapping would all have the same direction all the way down the creek. It looked neater after that. Not that it would make any difference. It is not holding back water, it is just there to prevent the grass and weeds to come through too quickly.

And then the same day I had a delivery of 3 tons of rocks.

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It doesn’t look like much, does it. I saw the pile and though…. Oh boy, this is never going to be enough.

 

 

pretty creative week

Since I have left a note here about 2 weeks ago, so much has happened.  We had been just in the midst of finalizing our new roof for the house, everything came to a screeching halt due to Florence. The School decided to close on Tuesday for the remainder of the week, the appointment I had in Charleston got canceled and the roof company thought it might be better to wait until the storm is over to put a new roof on our house, which I totally agree with.

So now after Florence has swept through, we just had a little mess in our yard, nothing major though, luckily, our daily lives are back to a normal flow. Dentist visits, music classes etc.

I did manage to finish the bunny wreath before the storm. And I think it turned out rather sweet.

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During the storm I tried to work on the yin and yang socks, but I didn’t get very far. Guess my kiddo has to wait a little longer.

I did finish two wreath covers. One in black and one in bright colors. 41741853_10156415970246830_3831612690665570304_o

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I also decided to try myself  at some painting. I have not done any painting in years, well besides the family tree wall painting on my hallway wall. At first I just dabbled around with some ideas. And then I came up with this. Quite colorful.

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My friends birthday is coming up, well it is at the beginning of December, but she always wants hand knitted socks for her birthday and Christmas, so I better get going with her socks, they don’t knit up too quickly and google just told me that Christmas will be here in 97 days….. I have to ship them  before a certain date so they will get there on time, better hurry.  My friend is a very colorful person and her favorite color is orange, so that is what she will get. 42137728_10156427602626830_1801051611674443776_n

The funny thing is she has the same shoe size as I do so it is easy to knit. But her hubby and daughter wear the same size socks as well, so her stack always diminishes and she finds socks have immigrated to other drawers.

And yes I have started to work on some mice as well, at least one mouse is half done, and plenty of mice ears. 42199243_10156427617381830_6525709353184395264_n

 

Well that will be it for today. I hope I can show you some progress on my new mice wreath really soon.

 

It is time…..

for me to come back and share.

I know, it has been a year. The last 12 months have been quite a whirlwind. So much going on and nothing going on. It was much to learn the last year. In that time frame I totally lost my mojo for anything creative.  I did a few custom orders here and there. I did a lot of sewing for myself and my kiddos. It was a time to reflect and do some soul searching. Found a few new friends on the way, reconnected with some that I thought I had lost.

And I also spent some time planning our Summer trip to Germany. The last time we went home was in 2011, so quite some time ago. We had figured out places to stay, places we wanted to see and explore.

We had a great time and it was fun to see all the people and re-/ visit all the places.

I just looked back on my FB page to see what kind of projects I had going on around this time last year. Guess I was knitting a whole bunch of socks. Which I will pick up in a day or two again, because my friend in Germany always just wants socks for her birthday and for Christmas. So I make socks for her and stock up our own socks for the winter time. sock

I also made some gloves, a custom order. gloves

My daughter had asked me to make a guardian angel for one of her teachers, because she had a bad week. So I did.

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This sock for my oldest still needs a partner, it’s half way done. Guess it will be finished before it gets cold here in South Carolina.

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I got a request for another cute little cook mouse, that I finished and sent off on its way.

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We spent a lot of time the last 12 months on Archery events. Our youngest had picked it up in School and enjoyed the new to her sports. I didn’t take my sock knitting needles with me too often during those events. But of course I had to make a archery mouse, which is now living in my kiddos room. archery

Then a few months ago there was this cute little bear, that was requested for a cut little boy.

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I enjoyed making this bear, it was something new, bigger than my mice.

Then close to the end of the school year, I had made this little mouse for my kiddos Violin teacher.violinIt is still hanging in her office in school, I saw it last week when we went in for open house. Put a smile on my face.

And then there was this guy. He gave me a run for my money. I don’t know how many times I tried to get that triceratops right, I still have a few of the misshaped bodies laying around in the house. The final wreath has moss added to it, but I don’t think I have a picture of that. dino

And then there is this mouse, a giant compared to my little ones I usually make. Still cute.

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And right now I am working on this guy. I still want to add some carrots and some flowers to the wreath. So far I got 3 carrots done, might make a few more and have not decided  on which flowers I want to make or what colors to use. bunny

 

So I guess, I was still creating quite a bit. It just didn’t feel like it for some reason.

I already have a few plans for some mouse family wreaths, that where requested while being in Germany. Those will all be gifts, can’t wait to get them started and pour my love into them.

First I have to sort through all our trip photos and get the special ones on the wall. Get back into the School rhythm and order all the supplies I need for my next projects.

I am happy to be back and wanting to share my progress with you guys, I did kind of miss the writing.

 

 

 

 

I had a little surprise ….

….for a Lady that has been in our life nearly every day, ever since we have moved to South Carolina.

She comes when it’s pouring, blowing or scorching heat. She brings our mail and sometimes some heavy packages.

She is such a sweet Lady. Usually around Christmas time I leave her a small something in the mailbox. Either a card, or some candy or gingerbread from Germany.

This year I had something else in mind.

So I contacted my wonderful creative miniature clay artist and asked if she could make me a little something for a mouse.  She was all in and started working on some mail.

This is what I had in my mail a little bit later. Funny, now that I think of it, my mail lady was delivering her mail for her mail mouse.

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I still had a styrofoam heart wreath, so I covered that with some red knit and went on  to knit a little mouse.

I did a search online to see how the mail gets carried around in the US. So I found a picture of a mail carrier bag and did my best to make a replica of it for my little grey fellow.

And this is the end result. po

Ok, that  was a go.

Now on to attach the mouse to the wreath and figure out where and how to attach the bag to the mouse. postman

I tried a few different places, but was most happy with this one. And then came the fun part.

Spreading all the mail over the wreath.

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Well, as I said in the beginning, it was going to be a Christmas present. But it is really difficult for me to hold on to something that I specially made for a person.  I just want to give it to them right then.

I held on to it for a few days, but today she parked her mail car in our driveway. I knew she was coming out with a package, so I walked towards her took our mail and a few packages and asked her to wait. So I ran back inside and gave her the wreath.

“oh thank you, you just made my day! This is so cute”  “Thank you” I said and “Merry Christmas, but I just couldn’t wait”

That made my day and satisfied this little crafters soul.

it would help to know my Physics….

So the last thing you saw was this

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I think by now it’s safe to say that this will be a wreath with two trees, some sky and grass.

I then made a hammock, that I attached to the tree trunks. And went on to making the mouse and the accessories. I had to wait for the feedback from my kiddo on the teachers eyes. I like making my mice personal.

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The hammock looked pretty comfy to me. I am one to spend a lot of time in my own hammock, enjoying the sounds of nature, soaking up the sun or reading a good book. Or sometimes just taking a nap.

What I didn’t take in account that the mouse would not have the same weight distribution as I did.

After I had finished up the mouse I sewed it to the hammock and picked the wreath up on it’s hanger.

Guess what???

Yes, the mouse did a flip and was hanging belly down!!! Sorry, I have no picture of that. I was just too frustrated with myself. Why didn’t it dawn on me, that the lightweight hammock would not hold the “heavy” mouse.

I had to ponder on that for a little and tried a few options.

I finally managed to find one that wouldn’t look too funny and awkward.

This morning I printed out some book covers and cut out little book pages and sewed the books together. I then glued them to the wreath.Hammock5

Attached my little tag and wrapped it up. Sat the kiddo down to write a little note for the teacher as soon we got back from School.

I hope the teacher gets to enjoy her Summer Break with some good books in a hammock.

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