Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baby Mobile Reveal

Post edit: see the bottom for updated pictures!

This is my major crochet project that I've been working on the last couple weeks. I gave Trish a sneak peek of the frog on fb, but I didn't want to give anything else away. Hopefully I can get my hands on some more pictures of it in the nursery so we can see the tiny guys in their natural habitat.

When Sean and Trish told me they were pregnant I asked Trisha to think about something they would like me to make them. Both of our families are very crafty and talented at sewing and crocheting. I was glad to make her a blanket or a little hat, but I didn't want to make the baby's 15th or 16th blanket or hat and booty set.
(Sidebar: I'm glad I asked because her mom and sil made her adorable blankets. They both covered both possibilities [1 pink and 1 blue each] and they were amazing! I told Trisha that this sets up the expectation of them trying for the other gender next. I took pics with my mom's camera, but I haven't seen those yet.)

So, I've told my other two pregnant friends (there are only two for now, we'll see how long that lasts) the same thing, to think about what they would like me to make. It takes away some of the surprise, but I don't mind. I still surprised Trish with a diaper cover and a baby washcloth.
Anyways, I had an idea for little animals and embroidery hoops, but it took me a while to visualize exactly what I was doing.

I found some inspiration here which I loved, but this was a little bulkier than I wanted. I wanted them to be floating in thin air more. And I wanted a smaller hanging apparatus, hence the embroidery hoops.

This one gave me even more inspiration. This lady is so creative and she responded to a question I had for her. I asked her about mounting the mobile. I don't think that I did it the same way, but it was nice to have another point of view. She said that she wanted to make the mobile no less interesting from the position of the baby, hence the circles. I was having the same issue when thinking about my mobile, so I really appreciated her ideas. I didn't want it to look as much like planets (I think the gray in her nursery gave me that impression too), not that there's anything wrong with planets, and I don't think hers is supposed to either. It was just a thought that popped into my head that I couldn't get out. (Nate and I love that nursery, though. Did you see the subliminal baby message posters? Love them!! And I loved that dark gray color as well!! [We are not having a baby.])

Anywho, I feel like it is totally my creation, with a little inspirational help from other sources. Nate helped me hang it. And by helped me, I mean he made it happen. He found me in the living room all tangled up in fishing line and nearly in tears. I went for a walk around the neighborhood and when I came back the hoops were hanging together and he was ready to show me how to put the animals and balls on! Isn't he great?!

He taught me how to tie some indestructible knots with fancy invisible fishing line that holds up to 8 lbs!!

I also strung a pompom at the joining point of all the line to hide it. I love pompoms. I want them everywhere. Pompom mobile anyone?

It was a big hit with Trisha's little nephew, the official baby-tester. If S and T's loves balls as much as him (very good chance), then the baby will love it!
(That little guy totally stole my heart. I told Nate, "That's the kind of baby that makes you want to have babies." Nate said, "Aren't they all?" And I said, "No, not really" (lots do, but many don't, you know?). I should add that all the young'uns at the shower were very, very precious and fall into that category.)

So that's it! The animals are waving at the baby, the monkey is upside down, because that's how monkeys roll. The frog is not waving at the baby, because, I don't know, it just didn't seem right.
Like I say, I hope I can add some pictures from the nursery, when they will be in their natural habitat, delighting the baby, matching the decor.

**The following animals are not kid friendly due to pipe-cleaner skeletons: frog, monkey, elephant. The lamb, hippo, and balls may eventually be cut down and used as toys at parents' discretion.**

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'll huff and I'll puff...

I shouldn't kid. But the wind really huffed and puffed out here. I'm sure that's not news to any of you because I've already spoken with most of you who will read this.
Last week I was at my parents' and I have a lot of crafty pics to show you, but that will have to wait.
Back to the storm.
Today, I drove in to town to get some candles and batteries. Last night when we lost power we were pathetically unprepared. I guess we weren't that unprepared, but I had to stay in the bathroom with the cat and a honeysuckle candle for about 25 minutes. Honeysuckle is a bit too sweet for a teeny room and me. So I got some unscented candles today. I took some pictures of the destruction as I drove past the Ranch. Pictures don't really express the feelings I felt when I saw what I saw.

We got settled in the bathroom once for the first tornado warning. After the first round we lost power, so we were settling in for the night when Nate got called into the ranch because they had some damage. He called while he was helping a police officer clear wood off the road to tell me to get back in the bathroom. So I did, with the candle, the cat, some entertainment, and the cello.

Don't worry, I quickly noticed the lit candle by the shaving cream and moved it.

I discovered during the storm that Kitty is probably a pretty good barometer for potential danger. First he was hidden behind the toilet. I gave him some treats and he came out. But he sat right on my feet, pretty tense.
This picture was taken without the camera flash using only the candle and the light of my head-lamp. So that I would remember always that I sat in the bathroom (I'm on a chair, not the throne) and crocheted by light of the head-lamp with the cat.
After a while, Kitty relaxed. I stayed put until Nate got home, but I'm guessing that by the time of this picture I could have come out of the bathroom.
So anyways, today I drove around. Nate told me to drive over to the ranch. I didn't feel right driving into it because everyone was hard at work. But I drove past the entrance.
These guys were just fine.
These are all from closer to the ranch.
These last three don't really do it justice. I don't know how to explain it other than to say that a bunch of trees were sideways instead of upright. So like I say, it is hard to describe it right.
Happy Easter everyone. We spent it driving, but yesterday and today I couldn't stop thinking about this verse:
I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Musical Offering.

I missed musical Monday!
But I really wanted to share some music with you because I've been up to my elbows in it, in a good way. I was going to post something I've been practicing, but I came across this and decided to share it.
I think it is truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced. Maybe it's a little cheesy, but in some ways I think it does everything that music should do. The instrumentation is gorgeous, it's repetitive enough that you aren't jarred, it's not too long, it's a movement from a larger work that (for me) overshadows the rest of it.
This is Nimrod, from the Enigma Variations by Elgar. I played it in high school, and I played it in college. I think it is lovely and I hope you like it.
Something I just noticed: in the final frame where the camera is on Barenboim you can see the principal violist. He was a teacher at the summer music fest. I went to in college. He was completely brilliant and full of hilarious maxims like my high school teacher was. That was a fun surprise for me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend gardening...and stuff

This weekend we included the goat cheese as a major player in the menu. What I mean by that is we slathered it on the Turkey Burgers we made Friday. I put sage, basil, and green onions in the burgers, and Nate added the goat cheese at the end of the grilling process.
We had the burgers with "oven friend" french fries with rosemary. I attempted homemade hamburger buns with the whole wheat bread dough I had (they were mostly a success). In that picture is the homemade ketchup from the in-laws, yum.

We did more work on the garden this weekend. Nate went in to town and picked up some straw. This is a picture of his car with 3, err, things of straw. Bales, they are bales of straw. I have not been in his car since then, and don't plan on it until a serious cleaning happens.

We put the straw in between each row and around the beds. It will serve as mulch and the newspaper we put under it will compost. So, yay! for less weeding.
I had a pretty good rash on my arm after handling the straw, so it turns out I'm still kind of a wuss. I was joking with Nate about how different my life would have been before access to antihistamines and albuterol. For example, I would never have survived the 7 miles in the 90 degree heat yesterday. I would not have made it in pioneer times. Oh well, I came right in, took some claritin, and washed my arms real good.

The problem with posting pictures of the gardening we do is that it is always out of date when I post it. It never fails that I take a picture, wait a few days, then post it on the blog thinking about how I should just go take another picture and use it. This one of the beet bed is from yesterday, so it should be pretty current. I think you can see the growth coming in rows in this one (ahem, Sarah) pretty good. They beets are coming in nicely, and the carrots too.
Other than the straw I did lots of transplanting and we started a few more seeds. I put some things in containers that I'll share with you later and we started cucumbers, more basil, squash, and some flowers. We are gearing up for a storm tonight (that is supposed to be strongest north and west of LR, come right on in!) so we brought all the planters into the screened in porch right beside the house and shut the cold frame. Otherwise we are excited for more rain.

But for right now it looks like this outside.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thoughts for today

1. We went on our bike ride last night and it was great! This is the third time we have done this particular ride and the first time and I didn't nearly collapse and vomit after the hill at the halfway point. I also didn't have to stop and walk at all. Yay!! I think the peanut butter I ate before the ride helped. And the promise of a cherry-limeade helped me do it without walking. Here's my favorite part of the ride though.
Here's the set-up:
Nate always rides behind me unless he needs to pass me on a hill, which happens on most hills, but I think he's trying not too. He tells me when cars are coming and is able to see when I fall or have a problem. He also gives me pointers. There is no telling from pointer to pointer whether it will be well received by the recipient. A more regular flow of oxygen to my brain will surely help with my attitude.
I am woefully out of shape.
Nate's riding behind me and I hear: Babe, you are really toning up already!
Me: (gasp, wheeze, struggling for air) What?!
Nate: Yeah, I can tell already!
Isn't he sweet? I'm still skeptical, I think he was just trying to make me feel better. He maintains that the calves are the first to go.

2. I (think I) am having my first cello lesson since June of 2005, today! I found out I was having it today, yesterday! I could be more prepared! Boy am I nervous!

3. Nate spent the evening last night realigning my wheels and adjusting my gear shifts on the bike, with whom I always argue (the gear shifts, not Nate, I'm too out of breath to argue with Nate). Isn't that nice? I can't wait to try it! My back brake was rubbing up agin my wheel last night and I got jipped of some serious coasting that should have been coming my way.

4. There will be lots of work outside and gardening this weekend!! I will weed the herb garden (this consists of pulling up the mint that continues to pop up everywhere) and the beet bed.
This is a carrot. It looks like grass. I must not pull it out. The carrots are not planted in rows. I will not be weeding the carrot bed because I can't tell what's what. (Incidentally, I should know that anything that looks like grass is surely not grass. The only vegetation we have in our yard is either the weeds that make up the lawn or the veggies/herbs/sparse flowers we have planted. Problem solved.)

This is a beet (rather, a few beets).

They are planted in rows (if you click on the picture I think you will see the row). They are red. Therefore, I will be weeding the beet bed.

5. I just found a recipe for homemade butter. A blog I read just posted it. Oh dear.

6. What are you doing?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Musical Monday

This is a bit more lighthearted than last week's Musical Monday. Well, last week's started a discussion of canned eel, so maybe it wasn't as serious as I thought.
If you grew up in my "tribe"* of Christianity, chances are you have heard this song before. BUT you may not have heard this version by Christian artist Keith Green. As I have paid more attention, I see his name pretty often in some of the post-1960 songs we sing in church.
You may think that as the resident musicologist in my family that I'm the only one who finds obscure but interesting musical relics, but this find is from my brother. Turns out A Capella arranged a lot of Green's songs for their group.
I thought it was delightful when I was little, and I think it is delightful now, you may think it's silly, and that's ok too, maybe it is.
I especially like the way Green does the "Woo-hoo-hoo" section at the end with the guitar.
Fair warning, I did not watch the photo montage in this, I only listed to the song to make sure it was the right one.

Shout out to my cousin and her son for reminding me to look this up after witnessing their love of the Maccabeats.

*I read something from Mike Cope (or maybe Patrick Mead), and he referred to different Christian traditions as tribes. I liked it, I'm using it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kidding around for the weekend

For those of you who have been somewhat disturbed by my move into the domestic realm, this post might be difficult for you.

If you are even more disturbed by the fact that I am a rural housewife at the moment, then you should definitely just skip this post altogether.

Nate came home on Friday with this:
It is about 3/4 of a gallon of goat's milk.
A former volunteer of Nate's keeps goats now and they had a batch of milk ready. So we bought some. We made goat cheese with it yesterday evening. They make goat cheese all the time at the ranch so Nate was somewhat familiar process, at least familiar enough with it to know that we could handle it. It was pretty simple.
I took some process pics.

We started with the milk:

You need an instant read thermometer:

We heated the milk over medium heat to 180 degrees, stirring the whole time:
for those of you not in the biz, this is called pasteurization :)

After it heats to the prescribed temperature, we take it off the heat, and add the juice of two lemons:

After stirring it for 90 seconds, we added some salt, dissolved it, and let it sit for a few minutes:

We layered four sheets of cheese cloth in a colander over a bowl and ladled the curds and whey into the colander.

Kitty, do you want the leftover whey?
Not interested? Ok, moving on.

We put it in the fridge over night and it looked like this.
I scooped it out of the cheese cloth this afternoon and put it into a bowl.
We got 2 cups of cheese out of the deal. I don't know if this is a normal yield for the amount of milk we had, but it seems like plenty of goat cheese.
(I can't remember exactly which method we used for this, but we looked at these websites. Here, here, here, and here.)
People say to let it age for a bit, just a day or two. When we go to use it I think we will mix in some more seasonings and herbs.
I'll let you know how we eat this, but I'm thinking on salads with beets for me, and something else for Nate (he doesn't like beets, sad for him not for me).

Some things I learned:
Miss Muffet must have had quite a stomach, I've seen curds and whey now, and blech.
Cheesecloth catches more than you think it will.
I thought the kitty would like the whey, I was wrong.