Category Archives: autumn

Summer Slump, Part 2

Over a month ago I discussed the summer slump in my crafty projects. Not much has changed since then, but I’ve finished two more throw pillows for my sister, and have worked my way through most of that stash of cotton yarn.

(I’ve made seven more since this photo, and as you can tell from the dishcloth on the left, I’m at the point where I’m running out of one ball of yarn and finishing with another. Adding a multi-tone yarn to a coordinating solid helps you avoid having a “right” and “wrong” since to the dishcloth.)

I’ve also crocheted so many more hexagons for a summer bedspread that I have that pattern committed to memory, too. I think I have roughly 60 hexagons completed, which probably won’t even form one quarter of the future bedspread.

I really love the way the latest two throw pillows turned out, too. I especially love the texture on the larger pillow. 

My plan for now is to use up all of the yarn as quickly as possible (leaving any small remnants to piece all of those hexagons together whenever I have enough for a whole bedspread), and knock out a few more pillows for my sister.

Once the cotton yarn has been used up, I have a new knitting project I can’t wait to get started on, but I want to wait until there aren’t any more 85-90-degree days in the forecast. It’s a larger project, so I  had to get a longer set of size 11 circular knitting needles. Luckily, those were on sale when I bought the yarn.

It’s no secret that the new project is another baby blanket for my cousin and her husband, who are expecting their second child in early 2019. And don’t read anything into the color of the yarn. It’s not blue, it’s actually a vivid turquoise-y aqua. I chose that color because I saw a lot of aqua and turquoise on my cousin’s Pinterest page.

With the Autumnal Equinox just a few weeks away, it’s good to know I’ll have a challenging new project to work on when knitting season kicks in. It will involve a bit of intarsia, which means changing colors without stranding the yarn. It results in a cleaner reverse side, but you have to watch how you twist the yarn so you don’t create gaping holes.

I’ll probably post an update or two on the baby blanket as it progresses, but I don’t want to show the exact pattern. That will be the surprise for my cousin and her husband. Instead of “What’s Paula knitting?” they’ll have to wonder, “What will the baby blanket Paula’s working on look like when it’s done?”

After all, a knitter can’t reveal all of her secrets.

What types of creative projects do you look forward to when seasons change? Or do you refuse to let hot or cold temperatures stop you from your hobbies?

 

Extreme Pumpkin Obsession

In honor of the season, I thought it would be nice to revisit a popular post from 2012:

 

My brother gets a little crazy every autumn. Brice is always buying pumpkins in October, and he carves them all, or as many as time allows. Gourds aren’t even safe from him at this time of year.

As of Monday he said the current count was 26. That was nine pumpkin-shopping days before Halloween, so he may have even more by now. (I think he’s regretting not following through on his idea of planting a pumpkin patch this summer.)

It all started way back when little Bricie won a ribbon in a pumpkin carving contest. Not that lots of actual carving was involved – his creativity caught the judges’ attention.

Every Halloween season, Brice & I wind up talking about pumpkins. When I carve jack-o-lanterns, I only do one or two. I carve slowly, but add special touches like freckles (by plunging a metal skewer through the shell) or scars (by scraping skin and a little flesh off the pumpkin). Brice? He uses power tools.

Use extreme care when using power tools – especially on round objects.

Brice’s carving isn’t completed yet for this Halloween, so let’s take a tour of their yard from a Halloween past. (The great photos are by my sister-in-law, Jeanne.)

Hmm, doesn’t that white jack-o-lantern way back there appear to be eating something? Let’s take a closer look….

This last one looks a bit Seussian, don’t you think?

All right. It’s time to admit my role in my brother’s autumnal obsession. A couple years ago I gave him two Extreme Pumpkin Carving books by Tom Nardone.

Hey, Bri, it seems Nardone has an annual pumpkin carving contest. Enter it, and maybe you’ll repeat your childhood success with another win!

What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? How many pumpkins do you plan to carve this year?

The Upside of Cold

We saw our first snowflakes of the season this morning. That’s early for us. There was no accumulation, but my dog is still very excited to know snowy doggie walks are on the horizon. I love snow and snowy doggie walks, too, just not before the beautiful autumn leaves fall.

What I don’t love is facing another season of heating bills. I turned the boiler on this morning and warmth is beginning to rise from the radiators. There’s something very comforting about the smell of hot radiators on a cold day.

Ah, radiators. They’re definitely an upside of cold weather. If you’ve never had the good fortune of living in a home with radiant heat, you probably don’t know the comfort of putting on toasty warm socks, mittens, or pajamas fresh off a hot radiator.

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If you’re a baker, radiators are also a great place to let a bowl of bread dough rise.

That’s right. Baking is a great activity on a chilly day. Even non-bakers can enjoy freshly-baked treats thanks to slice-and-bake cookies, frozen pies, or a tube of ready-to-bake rolls.

Another upside of cold weather? Homemade soup. I was thinking about making pumpkin chili today, but I don’t think I have any canned or frozen pumpkin. (Well, I have a fresh pie pumpkin in the dining room, but I won’t be cooking that up until after Thanksgiving.) Maybe I’ll make black bean soup. Then again, yesterday I overheard someone mention homemade potato soup, so I may need to find a good recipe for that. Whatever I decide to make, it will be warm and comforting — precisely what you need on a chilly day.

Of course, the best part of a cold day may simply be putting on your favorite sweater or snuggling under cozy afghan and watching an old movie.

What are your favorite upsides to chilly weather?

 

A Different Kind of Turkey Day

A few minutes ago, while working at my desk, out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a stray dog or very large cat. It was a wild turkey. One of a pair, actually.
I watched as they explored the backyard, and cringed when they were spotted by a feral cat. The cat was in full-on hunting mode, too. I expected feathers and fur to fly, but the turkeys knew they were being stalked and turned to face the cat. For a while they were locked in an intense stare down, but one of the turkeys broke it by taunting the cat. The cat pretended to back off, even turned its head away, before moving towards the turkeys. The turkey nearest the cat jumped about 10 feet in the air, wings extended and feathers ruffled. The cat backed off and let the turkeys hop up the steps leading from the backyard up to the driveway. The cat trailed them, peeking around the corner of the garage before hiding in the shrubs. The turkeys strutted around a bit more before the cat chased them to the front yard. That’s when I took this photo:
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By then, the cat was watching them from the porch. Crisis was averted when the cat headed down the hill and the turkeys hopped their way up the hill.

Early Signs of Autumn

The leaves have yet to change, but if you look closely you’re sure to find a few early signs of autumn. Halloween candy is already on store shelves, and pumpkin flavored foods and beverages are hitting the market (last night I saw an ad for pumpkin flavored yogurt). But around here there are three clear signs of autumn: me wearing socks, Doggie Lily curling up on the sofa after a summer spent on the floor, and at least one new knitting project.

Check. Check. Check.

No one wants to see my store bought socks, but here’s evidence of the other two signs:

Doggie Lily caught napping this very morning.

Doggie Lily caught napping this very morning. During the summer she prefers cooler floors to creature comforts.

The A, B, C and D colors of yarn lined up for my current color work knitting project.

The A, B, C and D colors of yarn lined up for my current color work knitting project.

If you’re curious about what’s on the needles, it’s a Color Theory Cowl I’m making for my sister’s birthday. (Don’t worry – she’s already seen it and even requested a matching headband.)

What are some sure signs of fall at your home?

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