Saturday, December 30

Mateo socks are done

Our little family trip to PA gave me the time I needed to cast on, and finish, the second sock of the pair. They're done. and you know what? I like sock knitting. they go pretty fast, even on tiny needles. it doesn't take a lot of room and I will definitely wear my finished project. these are going to look great in my beat up red Dansko clogs. and as soon as I pick up some more sock yarn i'll start another pair.

Yarn: Giddy Feet sock yarn from Cinnamon Stitches
Needles: Size 2
Pattern: can't remember where I got it from now. but it's a simple slip stitch pattern.

Next on the needles is a little hat for a friends 1 year old baby. He finally outgrew the hat that I knit when he was just born. Then there are a couple of little girl babies on the way and I think that I'll knit some baby boleros from the One Skein book out of the Blue Sky organic cotton that I have kicking around. They're due in April, so it'll be a perfect layer for those still chilly times.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 23

Thursday, December 21

christmas meme

From here and here. I've been reading everyone's responses and thought it be a good blog post. I've been meaning to post pictures of our muddy christmas tree hunt, but just can't get excited about a mud christmas.
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? hot chocolate. but not the Swiss Miss stuff, it would have to be good, quality cocoa.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? definitely wrap. recycled wrappings are best though.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? all white this year. though there aren't any hard and fast rules.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.

5. When do you put your decorations up? about a week before the weekend before christmas. we don't have a lot of decorations, or a lot of room to decorate so it's best to wait.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? cookies probably.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? waking up early on christmas morning and going downstairs to put on Christmas music (we had quite a collection of Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums) in an attempt to rouse my mother and brother.

8 . When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? can't recall, but i stayed up to listen one night when my dad was still living with us, and that must have been 6 years old. and i think i figured it out around then.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? sometimes. although now with K. I think we'll stop that until he doesn't believe in Santa anymore.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? a mish-mash of ornaments. lots of homemade.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? love it. where is it? we're waiting. VT is supposed to have snow at this time of year.

12. Can you ice skate? sure can.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? the boombox cassette player that I got in jr. high probably.

14. What's your favorite thing about the holidays? lights and decorations.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? cookies probably.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? watching Christmas Vacation on thanksgiving night. and getting the tree.

17. What tops your tree? Usually nothing. this year we made the Moravian Star work.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? giving. i wish i had more time to do it right.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? i can't pick just one.

20. Candy canes yuck or yum? yum. in moderation.

21. What's number one on your Christmas list this year? hah. really, all i want this year is for the bike biz to be a success.

Sunday, December 10

After much stress, anxiety, preparation, angst and late nights - my first craft show is done. le fin. over with. it was a really long day. the fair was on the second floor of the city hall in Montpelier which has only one tiny, and very slow elevator. so up and down the stairs i went with my heavy boxes for set-up and take down. below you can see my humble table. traffic was good and i did a fair amount of business. People were interested in the soaps, Mojito was the hands down favorite, Lavender & Chocolate was another favorite and the Morning Inspiration. I sold out of all the Grapefruit & Eucalyptus Shower Gel - it smelled really good.

After running a business strictly on the internet for three years, it was very different to get up in front of people and have to verbally tell them about the products and what makes them special. and then to have to watch them as they inhaled each soap and touched everything on the table. kind of eerie. quickly i figured out that my value proposition, at least for soaps, is that my flavor combinations are a bit different. Sure, everyone does handmade soap and who cares about essential oils, but nobody makes a Mojito flavored soap. Figuring that out really helped me come out of my shell a bit.
I brought one of my soakers to hopefully catch the eye of any other cloth diaper using mamas who might need wool care. it was a great conversation piece, everyone loved it as it's a beautiful cover from Curly Purly in hand dyed BFL wool. Due to freaky timing, it's never been worn, so it's still in mint condition and very attractive. I sold a little bit of baby care, a bunch of Wonder Lanolin to expecting mamas - but mostly soap.
Here you see the 'may-i-take-your-money-please' apron that i made last week. I used the tutorial posted at Creative Little Daisy . Which was super easy to follow. My patchwork is a bit more simple and i made it almost 2" shorter in length - but it's a great tutorial and I'm stoked to have the apron to wear for crafting, or maybe, possibly, more craft shows in the future.

my current WIP is a pair fo socks. this gorgeous colored yarn is Giddy Feet Sock Yarn from Cinnamon Stitches. The colorway is called Mateo, which is my God Son's name, so how could I pass it up. it's slow going so far. tiny needles do not make for a project which flies by.

Sunday, December 3

cable socks and soap stories

Two cabled footies from One Skein

As I said when I posted about the first one, these were my first cables and my first sock-like things. The second went really fast. Two days I think. One for the cuff and heel and the second marathon session finished the inseam and toes and so forth. I'm thinking about doing a pair for my mom for christmas in some sort of superwash wool. I have some in the stash, not in any good colors. But not like my mom would really know that the colors weren't that good...
So what is this mess? It's a mid-stage of handmade liquid soap. Not too many soap makers bother with liquid soap. Unlike making bar soap, which is sort of a 'fix-it-and-forget-it' operation, liquid soap requires several steps and none of which are particularly fast.

First you have to source the Potassium Hydroxide, normal soap is made with Sodium Hydroxide (lye) but to get a liquid you need a different form of lye. Once you've finally found that, you make soap like normal but instead of pouring into molds you cook and stir for an hour until you have the crazy paste as seen above.

Instructions that you find will tell you all sorts of things about what you see during this process. I can tell you that it never happened exactly like the instructions, and can be completely different each time you make it. One time I through out a batch that I thought had been botched, but later I discovered that I just hadn't kept up with the stiring long enough.

After you have paste, you make liquid by adding water. This part takes forever until you get it all liquified and smooth. Usually 2-3 days. This is why most folks don't bother. But really, it's so much nicer than detergents.
Here's a quick peak at the paperwhites. Coming right along.

And my other soap story? This week I found a dead mouse in the middle of the basement floor. No biggie. We live in the country, we have mice. We have a cat to catch the mice and sometimes we have to pick them up. The odd things was that this fellow didn't look like he'd had much of a struggle, and the cat wasn't strutting around proud. But I didn't think much of it.

Until today when I was packing some soap orders. I moved aside two bars of the Tea Tree & Sweet Orange Soap that I had used for photos - and there were teeth marks all along the edge! The stupid mouse had eaten the soap. And died! So I guess the lesson is, buy my Tea Tree & Sweet Orange soap if you're tired of baiting a mouse with cheese...