Sunday, April 18, 2010

walking the cats

My husband and I don't have kids yet. Or dogs. But we do have cats. They are indoor cats, and sometimes they just need to get out into the fresh air. Our old apartment had a balcony that they were allowed to visit, but our new apartment does not. Hence, the walking.

We've discovered that the perfect human to cat ratio for walks is definitely 1:1.

These pictures are from a few weeks ago, when my brave husband decided the kitties needed some air.

He took them one at a time, of course.

I'm not sure how my husband managed to walk the cats and take pictures at the same time, but I'm sure it was epic.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sidewalk Chalk

My nephew is an amazing kid. One of the things he likes to do outside is draw with chalk.

Gia accurately describes him as "more of a Pollock" since he prefers to make abstract lines. He'll make a few lines, stand back and admire his work, and then add a few more. It's really cute to watch.

While we were decorating the walkway the other day he decided to work on tracing around his feet.

I love to watch him create.

I just can't get enough of that kid.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visiting Virginia

I spent last week in Virginia visiting my family for spring break. I had an amazing time packed with so much wonderful.

There was the early morning train ride up to the National Zoo.

There was the birthday cake to celebrate my brother, my cousin and myself (all of our birthdays are very close together).

There were new family members to meet (although I somehow managed to not get any pictures of Mike, and only a few of Gia).

And an adorable almost-three-year-old nephew to play with.

Hearing him say "Aunt B" just melts my heart.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Eggs

For the past few years I have experimented with using natural dyes for spring eggs. Here's a picture from 2007:

And this is from 2008:

I'm not sure what happened in 2009... This year, due to time constraints and simple forgetfulness, I decided to try using food color to dye my eggs. Strangely I went straight from Paas to natural dyes, without ever experimenting with food color. The process is almost identical to using the little tablets, and less like the long soaking that natural dyes require.

A little food coloring, a splash of vinegar, some hot water and you have dye ready for eggs. It takes about 5 minutes to get a strong color.

I used the short glasses that my husband etched with cute baby dinosaurs. You can almost see their shapes in the picture.

I decided to try making a swirl/marble effect using olive oil. They turned out somewhat how I expected, and somewhat not.

Even with the strange-looking swirl eggs, I think this year's experiment was a success.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Tea Leaves

One look at Amanda Soule's Tea Leaves sweater and I knew that I was going to make one for myself. I just knew it.

I had tried to make a sweater before, but I decided to stop for a couple of reasons. First, I was using very inferior acrylic yarn that I did not like at all. The color was flat and the texture was ugh. Second, since I didn't like the yarn, and the pattern was very plain (just a simple v-neck pullover), I couldn't imagine myself enjoying wearing it. So I decided to stop investing any time or effort on the project and hold out on making a sweater until I found a pattern I really liked, and yarn that I would enjoy knitting with and later on wearing.

So as soon as I saw Amanda's sweater, I clicked on over to MadelineTosh's website and bought the pattern.

Then I had to find the perfect yarn, which I did, at Bad Woman Yarn in Wallingford. After checking out every single yarn they had for sale, I decided on a wool/silk blend made by Plymouth Yarns called Mushishi.

Now, I was determined to make this sweater the right way. I started by making a gauge square, first on the recommended #7 needles, and then on some #9s. Because, who am I kidding? I know I knit rather snugly, and the recommended needle size is always too small for me. Once I figured out that I'd need #9 32" circulars, I headed over to Etsy and found some (also some #8 32" circulars). They arrived a couple days after I ordered them. When I got home, I immediately opened the package, briefly inspected my new needles, and then immediately began knitting my tea leaves.

I was in heaven.

I am still in heaven. The yarn is just dreamy to knit with. It's my first expensive yarn (and yes, this will be the most expensive sweater I own, but it'll be worth it). And by expensive, I mean high-quality, bought-in-an-actual-yarn-shop yarn. Dreamy.