new school year and new hobbies

Hello friends, it’s been while.

September marks the end of our first summer in Texas. I have to admit, I had a hard time with the heat. August was just miserable, and I’m not far enough along to blame it on my pregnancy. I long for the warm summer days and cool nights that August typically brings in Washington. At one point the heat never seemed to end. It cooled down considerably two weeks ago and the days are finally hitting the low 80’s mark instead of the usual low 100’s. At one point I started frantically researching real estate in Idaho to see if it would be possible to own a summer home in less extreme temperatures.

Let’s just say I’m going to need to learn to adjust to the heat.

I’ve been assured by some women at the local yarn shop that the weather does indeed become cold enough for wool sweaters, and for that I am grateful.

We started our first official year of homeschooling last week. Sam is still learning his letters/sounds and I really like the program we chose, All About Reading. We are still using the pre-reading curriculum and supplementing with Bob books. We do basic counting and number recognition for Math, along with some memorization work of a weekly poem or nursery rhyme, which he performs in front of the family every week. Twice a week we will study science. I struggled finding a science curriculum that is both engaging and age appropriate for a 5 year old. I think I found it with Intro to Science by Elemental Science. Each unit is divided into 6 weeks with a weekly experiment. There is also a list of books for supplemental reading for each unit. Sam loves the science portion but doesn’t have much interest in learning his letters. I don’t want him to resent school time, so if I think I can hold his attention for five minutes learning a letter sound, I will, but otherwise we just end up reading for a half hour, which suits both of us just fine. I’m speaking of our homeschooling experience like we’ve been doing it for years but in reality we are only in our second week, but without any major meltdowns from mama or son, I’m declaring this year a success…for now.

Because I need more hobbies, I’ve become obsessed with natural dyeing. The muted colors that come from plants are stunning and I love the idea of using common plants to create a variety of colors and shades.  I found a local sheep farm that sells the most luxurious wool and I’ve been turning my kitchen into a makeshift dye lab. I’ve had one bad session with avocado stones…instead of a light pink, they turned my yarn into a disgusting flesh color that just plain creeped me out. Otherwise, my sessions have gone remarkably well. I adore every shade of purple that logwood creates and I also found a batch of prickly pear yarns and dyed some sock yarn with them. There is little info on dying with prickly pears, other than what I could find on Ginny’s site, but with a bit of help from her I was able to create this lovely dusty rose color with different veins of pink throughout. It’s not a deep magenta like Ginny’s yarn, but I absolutely love it and plan on collecting more prickly pears before the season ends.

I’m using the logwood dyed yarn in worsted weight to knit the Antler cardigan for Eddie. I adore the cable pattern across the yoke and I plan on finishing it with yellow buttons to contrast the purple.

I’ve dyed more yarn than I need so I’ve decided to sell some on Etsy. I’m not looking to become a master yarn producer/dyer but if it helps supplement my yarn addiction hobby, then I will be happy.

It feels good to pop in and say hello. Happy Thursday, friends.

p.s. I forgot to mention that I’ve started experimenting with new scents for my homemade deodorant. I used to use only tea tree oil, but I became bored with that scent and decided to branch out. My newest batch was Lavender and Mandarin Orange. Anyone else experiment with homemade deodorant? What is your favorite recipe/scent combo?

wednesday yarn along and other things

Joining Ginny and Nicole.

This past week has been a whirlwind. I’ve been spending most of my time on the computer researching our new neighborhood and very little time knitting, which is sad, because I purchased some lovely yarn a few weekends ago and I am just itching to cast on ten different project all at once!

Initially I wanted to enroll Sam in another Montessori pre-school so that he could meet some kids his own age but every single school I contacted charged almost three times the amount we currently pay, which just isn’t feasible for us. I’d rather enroll the kids in extracurricular activities, like swimming and gymnastics. The local library hosts a lot of preschool events, and I’m hoping we can meet other families that way.

Speckled yarn seems to be all the rage right now, and I decided to use a skein of two-ply sock yarn that I purchased in Dallas this summer to knit up a pair of short socks to wear with my booties. I figure I won’t be wearing tall boots much after we move to Austin so I might as well knit up a few pairs that I’ll actually wear. I am really loving how it looks knit up; it’s a nice splash of color but it doesn’t feel as busy as I thought it would. The pattern calls for a pom pom on the heel but I feel a bit silly with pom poms on my socks so I’m going to omit that part of the pattern. Are you allowed to wear pom poms if you’re over 30?

We leave in less than two weeks. Can you believe it? Gabe will leave a few days before the rest of us so he can drive the van with a small trailer filled with the items that we didn’t want packed with the rest of our belongings. The kids, along with my mother and I will fly in early the next week. We thought about driving together but after completing a six hour road trip with our children this fall that felt like eternity, I promptly refused to embark on a three to four day road trip with any children under the age of ten. So fly we will.

What are you working on, my friends? Any new spring knits on the needles?

Happy Wednesday.

a new direction

Joining Ginny and Nicole.

A few weeks ago we put an offer in for two acres of undeveloped land just outside of Austin. The owners accepted it and we expect to close sometime in the next week or so. Everything is so different from what I’m used to, topographically speaking. The trees are shorter and bushier, and the grass is higher. The ground is dry and packed tightly with crushed limestone that glitters in the sun. It’s so different from the soft, damp grass-covered earth in Washington. The plot is in a small subdivision that consists of small acreage plots. While I can see my neighbors in front of us, (not something I am used to) the homes behind us are hidden by trees and the plot next to us is undeveloped. Austin is only twenty or thirty minutes away depending on traffic. It’s a nice compromise between homesteading and city living. We also have a bit of a view of Lake Travis, although as you can see, it’s only visible between two houses that are located in front of our property. I’m hoping we can obtain a more unobstructed view once we build a house with a second story.

It’s exciting to have an answer to at least one of the many questions we’ve been facing over the past few months, specifically “Where are we going to live?” We secured a rental ten minutes away from the property so we’ll be able to monitor the building process, whenever that begins. I have to confess I am a little apprehensive about our temporary living arrangements. The house is lovely and spacious (it has closets!) but we will be living in a subdivision with homes that are what I would call one step away from being sardine-packed against one another. We anticipate the build taking anywhere from 12-18 months so it won’t be forever, but it feels odd moving into a neighborhood where I can see my neighbors, hear my neighbors and well, not be able to escape my neighbors. It makes me sound so unsocial and ungrateful just thinking that way. I generally enjoy people and have been called a social butterfly a time or two, but I have always appreciated the escape route living in an isolated area has provided. It’s nice knowing that you don’t have to see people if you’re not in the mood. Gabe did point out that living in close proximity to other people will also make it much easer to actually meet them, which might come in handy after moving to a city where we don’t know anyone, so I think I am going to focus on that aspect of our temporary neighborhood.

Eddie asked me for a new hat a few weeks ago, so I chose some leftover Misti Alpaca Chunky yarn and knit her up a beanie with a hole for her top bun. I made up the pattern as I went along and I think it turned out pretty well. She was very eager to pose for her photos, as you can see. Someone loves her accessories as much as her mama. Sam decided to make an appearance at the end of the photo shoot and it always gets me that he hates posing for photos when I ask him to but once I start photographing someone or something else, he’s suddenly unable to stay away from the camera.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

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