Too hot for gardening….

Red savina habanero pepper

Today, the majority of the gardening work has been put on hold, because of the heat. It’s 100 F today. I’m used to the heat, after all I sit in a dry sauna that’s stays at least 180 F, I stay in there for about an hour. I make sure I stay hydrated.

Even so, I decided to do work inside today.

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be outside and applying the homemade organic insect repellent to another part of the gardening. Hot peppers are back in the mix, but this time I’ve added habanero peppers. Red savina habanero peppers are some of the hottest peppers that you can find, ¬†I believe it’s only nudged out from top ranking by the naga viper chili which was cross bred with three of the hottest peppers.

I use habanero peppers in a variety of dishes including homemade smoothies, and freshly made fruit and vegetable juices, and yes the type I mainly use is red savina. Whenever I work with hot peppers, I make sure I wash my hands after using them, since touching my skin after being in contact with the peppers can cause an unpleasant burning sensation. When I’m working with a lot of habanero’s, for example… when I’m making one of my homemade hot sauces, I always wear a mask to cover my nose, since I don’t want to breathe the fumes. ūüôā

I’ve been eating hot peppers raw since I was five years old. My dad would eat them, and since I did a lot of things my father did, I started eating them too.

Currently I have my latest natural insect repellent simmering on the stove, and tomorrow morning, I’ll be adding the mixture into a spray bottle, and making some insects extremely unhappy… since the brew will prevent them from munching on the plants.

And while habanero peppers are hot, and not loved by insects, they have some excellent health benefits too; Such as being high in vitamin C (350% more than an orange). It’s also a great source of vitamin A. They’re also a great source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. Habanero peppers can help clear mucous, and it also contains B9 (folic acid). Several years ago, I’d read some studies that said they’re helpful in preventing heart attacks. ¬†So this tiny little pepper is loaded with health benefits. If you can take the heat…

Knitted ribbed beanie hat; complete but it’s missing something

It didn’t take long to finish knitting the ribbed beanie hat. I only had about five rows to do after all, and it was all decrease rows.

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Afterwards I washed the hat, but I think it’s missing something. I most likely will add some type of crocheted embellishment to this knitted hat.

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I like the style, but the next time I make it I’ll be adding my own twist to this pattern test.¬†

I won’t be pattern testing anything for a while, instead the next few months I’ll be devoting my time to some of the crocheted and knitted projects that are on my to handcrafted list. Before you know it, Christmas will be here. I have no intentions of making several hand-crafted items at the last minute. All my hand-crafted gifts should be complete by October 2012.

End is near; knitted ribbed beanie hat

The knitted ribbed beanie hat is almost complete, I should have it finished in about an hour.

I added green lifelines to this knitted beanie hat, and once the knitted hat is completed, I’ll be yanking them out.

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And since it’s pouring down rain outside, it looks as though my daughter and I might be inside today… if it doesn’t stop raining. Personally I hope it stops raining. We both love being outdoors, and I’d love to cut the grass later today.

Free day = work day

Is it odd that many of my “free days” actually turn into a workday? Around 6:00 am I was outside weeding our flower gardens, I then moved into the fruit and vegetable garden, and picked two large cabbage heads. I’ll be cutting them up and putting them in the freezer. Afterwards I tilled part of the garden where I’ll be planting vegetables that will be harvested in late July/August.

At 11:00 am I dropped off my daughter at her best friends house. I finished steam cleaning the carpets. I really should clean out Angel the guinea pig cage. Also, Mr. Bentley (our Shih Tzu) needs a bath.

I’m hoping that I get a chance to work on the knitted beanie hat this evening. Last night, at my daughters bedtime, I crocheted a beanie hat with a brim for one of her create a Monster High dolls. She loves the hat, I’ll have to post pictures.¬†She just got the doll yesterday, for doing a continually awesome job with her music lessons. My daughter rarely get rewards for good behavior, that’s expected after all. But I do continually praise her for the things she does. We all need to hear positive things about out abilities, and sometimes I do reward her.

Today’s exercise was all outdoors. Although I didn’t go to the gym, I received an excellent workout with the yard work around the house. And I was loving that, as far as I can remember I’ve always been physically active, and so its a habit. If I don’t exercise I don’t feel great. Staying physically active means I can eat whatever I want, without becoming overweight. But of course… I don’t eat whatever I want. I do however, eat delicious foods that just happen to be healthy.

Those that know me well, know I hate sitting on my butt all day, so even when my clients work has me chained to my !7″ MacBook Pro, I take regular breaks to stretch, or do exercises while seated. I did the same when I worked in corporate setting.

While today wasn’t “free” in the sense that I didn’t do nothing, it was free in that I wasn’t focused on clients, and I accomplished exactly what I wanted.¬†

Lyrics: Louis Armstrong; Whistle While You Work

Whistle while you work

Put on that grin and start right in
To whistle loud and long
Just hum a merry tune

Just do your best and take a rest
And sing yourself a song

When there’s too much to do
Don’t let it bother you
Forget your troubles try to be
Just like the cheerful chickadee
And whistle while you work

Come on get smart and tune up and start
To whistle while you work

Yes when there’s too much to do
Don’t let it bother you
Forget your troubles try to be
Just like that cheerful chickadee
Whistle while you work
Come on get smart tune up and start
To whistle while you work

Hooks and Needles; downtime projects

So… I’m coming to the end of my latest pattern test, and I’ve told myself not to volunteer for anything else until August..

Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

In my defense some of the crocheted and knitted patterns that I’ve tested (over the past seven months) have been added to my Christmas list, a few¬†were given to my daughter and her classmates, and some of the items I pattern tested were donated to a few local charities where I’m actively involved.

Items like the¬†crocheted bookworm bookmarks, weren’t from a pattern tests, but were inspired by watching a crochet designers bookmarks, and thinking back to the bookmarks I received as a child. So no pattern test with those, just made them based on my childhood memories. The bookworms were made for my daughter and her third grade class, the majority of them love to read I might add, how cool is that? At her age, I was reading at high school level, my daughter is doing the same.

So… for my Christmas list, it means since some of the pattern tested items were made as gifts, that’s one less item for me to make. Yeah!

At the speed I’m going, I should be finished my handcrafted items before October is over. I still need to make holiday cards for the upcoming holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas… but those are a lot easier to make, thanks to my Cuttlebug, awesome collection of stamps (traditional and digital), and a super creative mommy and daughter duo (my daughter and I).

When I need a break from some of my larger projects, like the knitted Coraline sweater I’ll be making for my daughter, or the knitted Guernsey sweater I’ll be knitting for my father, I’ll be adding washcloths/dishcloths to the mix. Both are the perfect size to try out new design ideas, and the result is I have a product that I can use, or gift to someone else.

Downtime projects; crocheted and knitted dishcloths and washcloths

I’ve always adored hand crocheted and knitted dishcloths/washcloths over the typical store bought variety. I found them to be a lot thicker, and more absorbant. My hand-crocheted and knitted washcloths also do a great job of gently exfoliating the skin. My dishcloths are excellent in cleaning utensils where common kitchen scrubbers are a No-No. They’re made from 100% cotton after all.

Before I use them, or send them or gift them to others… I always toss them in the wash a few times, to get rid of the residue that the store bought yarn is treated with during processing. Those who receive them as gifts, have always clamored for more, and raved about how much they like them more than the store bought variety.

How long does it take to make crocheted or knitted washcloths/dishcloths?

The knitting variety usually takes between one to six hours to create depending on the complexity, yarn, and needles used.  Crochet (usually)takes a lot less. My preference is the knitted variety. Mainly because I find them to be more stretchy, which I adore. But, I love the crocheted ones also, and have made several of those when trying out new stitches/design ideas.

While I’m not sure when I’ll be posting a washcloth/dishcloth giveaway, eventually I’ll do one here at Celebrate Life. It most likely will be towards Autumn, by that time my soapmaking days (for the year at least) will be over, and I can include that in my giveaway.

Hanging with nature; early morning gardening….

Gardening and early mornings seem to go together… you know? it’s usually much cooler, which means I can complete a lot of work; weeding, bug removal, harvesting, without getting hot.

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Around 5:00 am this morning, you could find me in our garden applying a homemade remedy to the plants. ¬†It’s organic, and the insects, and some animals, don’t like it at all! Which works out perfectly for us! How fun would it be to be fighting with insects or groundhogs for fruits and vegetables? Beans were picked, weeds and insects were removed, and I did a bit of digging too. It’s a great workout.

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The above photo shows a portion of a garden row. What you’re looking at is pole beans (left), and broccoli (right).

On the other side of broccoli is one of our cabbage rows. I’ll have to take pictures since they’re huge.¬†I was in the garden for about two hours, and now I’m back inside. The garden is about an acre.

I have a free day, since my client‚Äôs work is complete. I tossed the clothing into the washing machine, before I headed out to the garden this morning, and the only thing left to do is fold our clothes. Later on I’ll work on the knitted beanie hat, perhaps I’ll finish it today.

My daughter is still sleeping.


Knitted amigurumi

The first amigurumi’s I made were crocheted earlier this year, but it wasn’t the first time I’d heard about them.

I’d discovered them through an amazing knitter who makes exquisite amigurumi dolls. She’s the most talented amigurumi doll artists I’ve seen thus far.¬† In fact, the moment my daughter saw the dolls she asked me if I could make some for her.

Initially I was planning on doing that, but the more I thought about it… ¬†I¬†¬†realized that perhaps I my first amigurumi items should be crocheted. After all, I accomplished a lot of ¬†my “handcrafted yarn firsts” with knitting; sweaters, socks, pillows, glove, and hats. Which make sense, I have been knitting for thirty-three years but since I learned only to crochet in December 2011, there weren’t to many items that I hadn’t knitted.

Because of this, I decided crochet would get the first crack at amigurumis…

And so began my love of amigurumi, although it’s only been seven months since I started crocheting, I’ve easily made over forty amigurumi items, some were given to my daughter, while others were handed out to her classmates and the rest were donated to various local charities. It feels great.

While I know I could easily go to the store and purchase the item, which would reduce my time with the item. I enjoy the time I spend with each item, since I look at it as a “labor of love” since I’m taking time out of my busy schedule to make something for someone else.

Next week, I most likely will start working on a few amigurumi dolls while my daughter and I area away for the holidays. Of course she’ll be my tester, I’ll give her the first few knitted dolls, once I’m comfortable knitting amigurumis, I’ll start adding those to my list of items to gift to others. Soon, I’ll be making another¬†crocheted, or perhaps knitted, Coraline. My daughter’s best friend saw hers, and I know she wants one for herself. And while she’s much to polite to come out and ask, she did make a point of telling me how awesome it was.

I just returned from a board meeting, but I’m sure sometime this evening, after my daughter is sleeping, I’ll flip though some of the knitted amigurumi doll patterns that I’d located earlier today,¬†and I’ll most likely will work on the knitted beanie hat, before I go to bed.