Saturday, November 10, 2012

Painted Ponies

 I can't believe we are already fast approaching the holiday season. Our church's holly fair is next Saturday. I pulled out some odds and ends of yarn that I have in my stash and whipped up some cute candy cane ponies (Candy Cane Pony Pattern from Hollinger's Fiber Farm ) to sell at the fair. This years herd of ponies are of the pastel/painted variety. Not at all realistic looking color wise, but I do think they resemble the "my little ponies" of yester-year!
They were fun to make. They are all a little different. No two are alike. I made a dozen ponies with Brach's Candy Canes made with real peppermint oil, plus 4 were made with candy cane pens that I bought last year after Christmas.
Check out my ponies:



They are super easy and fun to make. Great use for odds and ends of yarn.  Click here find out more about my candy cane ponies.

happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where's hakucho?

First off, I want to apologize for disappearing from my blog. In case you are curious I'm fine. I just needed a break I guess. It's hard to believe that my last post was way back in May. Long before summer and now summer is gone. How did I miss posting during the summer?

There has been a few things going on. My mother-in-law was quite sick around the time of my last post. At the time I couldn't talk about it as it was a very upsetting ordeal. She was sick for about 9 weeks, passing away a few days before her 79th birthday. Same age as my mom. She found out she had colon cancer and then 9 weeks later she died. It was devastating. She's at peace now and we all hope happy, but it is VERY sad to lose her and we miss her greatly.

I do have some news about me! I found a job :) A part-time job. I've been a full-time stay at home mom for 13 years, but with the costs of college with one son ( a junior) there now and the prospects of my high school senior attending college next year I needed to find a job. The thought of two in college at the same time is downright scary!  Luckily I found a job using my skills as a medical technologist though it's not in my specialty...microbiology. I'm starting up a lab, doing drug testing for a physician in town (yes, a five minute commute). Part-time for now, but as he adds tests, my hours will increase. Need I say more that I am very happy and excited about my new job. I am very blessed for it's not so easy finding a job with a BIG gap in your work history.

That pretty much explains my absence, plus I've been busy with other things and we spent quite a bit of time at the cape this year. I'm still looking after my 95 year old dad who was hospitalized twice since May. Everything is good right now, but I am keeping my fingers crossed! I've been doing a lot of walking, listening to my audiobooks. I found out that I love reading books on an e-reader. I've taken advantage of trying a few out, borrowing them from our library. So far I've try a Nook Touch, Kindle, and a Kindle Keyboard. I love the Kindle and I'm patiently waiting to see a Paperwhite in the stores. I think I'm going to put an e-reader on my Christmas list this year. I wish our library had the tablets to try out as well. The lower priced tablets look like a good deal especially the Google Nexus 7 Tablet . How does one ever decide which to get? I love the e-ink e-readers...but would I like a tablet just as well? We'll see. Any advice would be appreciated :) Maybe I'd keep up with my blog reading easier with a tablet?

In the meantime I've been knitting. Not quite as much as usual, but I have been knitting. I'm somewhat behind in taking photos of the things I've finished. Would have taken some photos today, but its dreary and dark. I'm still working on that multicolor blanket:

that I started a while ago. This photo was taken in August, but honestly other than a few more rows, there hasn't been much progress.
I crocheted a few cell phone slings:
I did finish a baby blanket and started a throw for my niece who loved her baby's blanket so much that she wished for one for herself. That's my current project.

I need to start making more baby prayer blankets for my church (Can you believe they ran out of them?) and I am planning on knitting a large, possibly queen sized blanket for my nephew and his bride-to-be for their wedding in July. Really have to get started on that one...that will be a big endeavor, but a labor of love! Stay tuned ...I'll try to take some more photos soon. happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An unusual braid

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. I certainly did. We had a nice lunch out with my son and daughter-in-law. We had delicious pizza and calzones at Arizona Pizza. Look at the surprise they brought me.
A Money Tree Plant. Take a look at the trunk. It's braided. Never knew you could braid a trunk.
Isn't that the coolest thing ever? It's supposed to bring good luck.Hope so....I need some!!  They were ever so thoughtful to bring me such a nice gift.

 Today I repotted my Meyer Lemon seedlings. I picked the strongest of the lot to repot. Threw the rest away. I think I have too many, but we'll see how many survive the transplant. I know I can't keep them all. We'll see how they do and go from there.With great anticipation I'm looking forward to seeing them mature.
 I've been working on my multicolored blanket. I'm making do with the circular needle that I've been using. I should buy a longer one, but it's not that bad. I can handle it. Just have to do a little pushing and pulling here and there.
Picking and choosing the next set of color combos, keeps me interested. This pattern is a simple one, which is one of my own designs.

Until next time.....happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Earmuffs for my Earphones

I have a pair of earphones that I use a lot. My RCA earphones. They are several years old now.
The foam covers on the speakers have started to fall apart. I could buy a new set, but they still work. Guess what I did to remedy the situation?......I crocheted covers!

I've done a little knitting on the baby blanket I started a while back.
It's coming along slowly. I haven't been working on it very much. I really wish I had used a larger needle. It's also bothering me that the bottom is flipping up. I'm hoping that when I thread a ribbon through the eyelets it will take care of the flaw. Maybe I'll have to block it. I don't usually block my baby blankets.
I probably need my head examined as I started knitting what I hope will become a huge blanket for our queen sized bed. We needed a new blanket to replace our old vellux one that is starting to wear thin in places. I figured I have so much yarn stashed away that I could easily make a large multicolored blanket. Why buy a blanket, when I can make one. I have all the time in the world....this summer and fall. I just hope I don't get sick of it. It's being knitted in one piece, which is a very big undertaking. The thought of assembling squares into a blanket doesn't thrill me, but fitting all the stitches needed (369) on my 36" long needle is not an easy feat.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who celebrate. Hope you have a lovely day.

Happy Knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Better late than never!

This post is long overdue. I wouldn't blame you if you have given up on me with my neglectful behavior. Mostly I just have not felt like blogging - -  reading or writing. I find myself in a funk so to speak. This funk I'm ashamed to tell you has also included my knitting. There have been many a night that I couldn't even pick up my knitting needles. Not good, not me. I'm never not knitting. I love to knit.

Almost a month ago I manage to finish a bag that I was knitting.
It took forever to knit. I was really sick of it by the time I finished it. I like how it came out, but I made a big "boo boo" in the placement of the handles. I guess I didn't think it through enough before I started. It works, it's usable, but the handles are wrong, so wrong. I thought for about 3 minutes about ripping out the handle before talking myself out of it. I know I should, but I just can't psych myself into doing it. It's only a bag, shopping bag after all. If and when I ever make another one, I'll do the handles the right way. We'll just have to see how much I like using the bag. I think it will be a good one. The knitted cotton fabric is nice and dense, and not stretchy, so I think it will work out well. Time will tell.

I haven't even been doing much in the way of baking since Easter. Yesterday I made a Swedish Coffee Ring. I've had a package of almond paste in my cupboard too long. It has been staring at me so long that I finally decided to put it out of it's misery. You see, there was a slight problem with it. I had it so long that it had hardened. The package never opened - hardened. When I say hardened I mean it turned to know hard as a brick, hard!  The stuff is expensive so I didn't want to throw it out. I hate to waste food. I did some research and found that almond paste rarely goes bad. The sugar content keeps it from going rancid. I found out that you can grate it. I grated it. All I ended up with was dust and it was going to take forever. I tasted it, thankfully it wasn't  rancid. I didn't put it in my food processor for fear of breaking it. It was that hard. Back to the computer for more research. (What did we ever do without google?) This time I tried microwaving it wrapped in a damp paper towel. I tried 30 sec. and found it was softening. Put it back in for another 30 sec. and voila worked. If I was smart this would have been the time to have pulled out my food processor to break it up, instead I used my hands and now I have two burned thumbs with blisters...stupid me! To make the filling I melted the butter and cooked the almond paste in the butter with the brown sugar to soften it more. Then I cooled it before using the filling. It worked out great and we had a delicious coffee cake. Believe it or's all gone. Every last crumb!!100_0223
I learned my lesson well and will not buy almond paste unless I know I'll be using it right away. I might even try making my own almond paste. Doesn't look like it's a hard thing to do....

My newest orchid - the mini phal is doing great.
It's in FULL bloom and it's gorgeous. I just love it. My other new one this year, the dendrobium is also in full bloom. It's doing well, too. Absolutely love orchids. I love how they bloom such a long time. They are well worth their cost. Miss Pink is getting another new leaf. She seems happy, even though she's not flowering yet.

I made a lemon meringue pie for our Easter dinner this year. I had 3 Meyer lemons left over from the pie I had made earlier. I was quite surprised to find over 30 seeds in those 3 little lemons. I decided to plant the seeds and see if I could grow my own Meyer lemon tree. It took just about 4 weeks for the spouting to begin. Now I have a bunch of little seedlings to watch. Here you can see the biggest of the bunch.
 I'll have to transplant it soon into it's very own pot. How cool is that? I did a little research and found it takes about 8 years for it to produce lemons. Won't it be fun watching it grow?

Now that I've got you up to speed with what I've been up to, now it's my turn to get caught up with my blog reading. I really think that's my problem. I  need the inspiration that comes from reading knitting blogs. Can't make any promises, but I hope to be visiting you soon.

happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look at all those buds!

I ♥ orchids. I'm addicted. I know I need help, but I just can't stop looking at them. I'm always looking at them. Well, now I have another one to look at....I added another orchid (middle one in photo)from Trader Joe's to my collection today
I just couldn't resist buying it when I saw all the buds it had.100_0190
They are way too numerous to count. Just look all all the buds.
The plant is on the short side, not too tall. I like the shorter ones. How could I not buy it? 100_0189
This one is a phalaenopsis or moth orchid.
It's the same kind that I got last year. Remember Miss Shirley Pink? This one has smaller flowers, but there are a ton of buds. Oh, what fun it will be to watch the buds open. Miss Pink is still growing but there are no signs of buds.
There must be a secret  to getting them to blossom again. I know one of them is patience. At least now I have new flowers to keep me occupied while I patiently wait :)

Not too much new to report on, knitting wise.I did finish my scarf with the doo dads.

You can wear it a couple of ways.

It's a fun little scarf to wear and knit. I really like it!
I'm working on a new project. A tote bag. It's a really slow knit. Forgot to take a photo of what's been done so far. Not exciting. It can wait until next time.

happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Can't keep myself....

....from posting another photo of my new Dendrobium "Burana" Pink orchid. Five of the flowers are completely open and the sixth one is just starting to open.
So far so good. It really makes me happy.  There is nothing quite like having a blooming orchid in the house. The flowers last so long. If I had a pot of daffodils or tulips they would be dead by now. Instead my lovely plant is still bringing me joy with it's perfect flowers.

Knitting wise -- I finished my popsicle scarf. I was going to make it longer, but got so sick of it,  I decided to cut it short. It's long enough. I can wear it a couple of ways:

I'm not at all thrilled with the way this knit up. The pattern stitch should be much more prominent, but decided not to rip it out. It's ok, but not what I envisioned.

Since I had another skein left I decided to try a new and different looking scarf pattern that caught my eye. It's mostly garter stitch with some knitted drops on one side that are quite intriguing looking. It's been a fun knit so far and quite easy to do. The pattern is Shizuku in case you might want to try it for yourself.
My next project was one of great necessity. I desperately needed an easy take along project. Thought I'd do without one for a while, but I found I really needed to have a project in my knitting bag that can be dropped and picked up at a moment's notice. This pattern fits the bill. It's a baby blanket of a "no name" variety found in Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Summer on Blossom Street (Leisure Arts # 4729) . I like the pattern very much. I don't think I've seen anything like it in my travels in the blogosphere. It's a very enjoyable knit so far.

After the blanket is complete you have the option of threading a ribbon through the eyelets. Might be a nice touch for a girly blanket. This one is blue, so I doubt I'll be finishing it with a ribbon. Maybe another time....

happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More Pink

I have more pink to show you! The pink blanket is finished. Lately I've been a one project kind of girl. Usually I have two knitting projects to work on. One for home and one to take along. The blanket fulfilled both categories, which means it's an easy pattern.
I'm very please with how it turned out, but I must say the photo's color is not so great. Very washed out. The close up of the pattern is more true to life.

Another easy pattern is this Popsicle scarf that I've been working on. It's my second one. I made a rust one Christmas 2010 for my daughter-in-law. This time I chose a pink yarn that is suitable for spring and maybe even summer. More pink with threads of many colors. I'm not sure I like this pattern for this (Red Heart Hula) yarn, but I'm continuing on and will see how it looks once finished. I'm not sure if it will block as it is an all acrylic yam , but feels more silky like a microfiber. I really doubt it will block, but we'll see.  
 I'm in love...with my new orchid. Here's a photo when the second bud opened.
It brings me such joy when each and every bud opens. Love, love, love it!
Here's a photo of bud number three opening. Don't you just love it? 
Stlll have a bunch more buds to watch and savor.

I've been spring cleaning and de-cluttering. It's amazing how much better I feel when my house tries to be clean and tidy. Wish I could be in this mood 365 days a year. This phenomenon doesn't happen to me often, so I need to take full advantage of it. I must have spring fever ;)

Look what I found. I just had to show you.  My spool knitter. An ancient, vintage, German, special  spool knitter from my childhood.Can you imagine I still have the original box and instructions in Deutsch of course? What I love about this particular one is that the pegs or nails are bent so as to not catch the yarn as you pull the yarn loops over themselves. Pretty cool. I have several spool knitters, but I have to admit this is the most unusual one.

Well, I guess that's about it for now. It's been a busy day today with being up at 5 am and some traveling, listening (to my book and jazz band music) and knitting, so now it's time to wind down and rest up. Daylight savings time starts tomorrow and I do so hate to lose that precious hour of time.

Happy Spring and happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My new baby

I brought home a new addition to our family today. A new baby to learn how to take care of. No, it's isn't a small person or animal. It's my new orchid:
I was supposed to pick out an orchid for my Valentine as my wonderful husband was not comfortable to do it on his own. At the time I didn't find one that I wanted, so I figured I'd wait. I kept looking, but still didn't find the right one. You can see why my husband was afraid to pick one out....I'm too darn picky!! Well, today I stopped at Trader Joe's and was pleasantly surprised when I found this orchid. It's a dendrobium orchid. This is my second orchid. The first one I had was a phalaenopsis. You probably remember Miss Pink. I managed not to kill Miss Pink and she bloomed a long time for me, giving me so much pleasure for a very long time. I do love orchids so much. Hope I have good luck with this one and  I don't kill it, at least not right away. Maybe my blogging friend, Dee, an orchid lover, will give me some tips. Check out the new orchid she got recently. She bought it in a store in Florida that caters just to orchids. There are no such stores around here in Massachusetts.

I picked this one because of the deep purple rose color even though there is only one bloom on the plant. There are lots of buds though.Ten buds. I love buds. I love watching them and waiting for them to open. Oh, my I do hope they all open.  It's not very big which is good.
Some of the big showy orchids are huge and top heavy. I like the smaller ones. I'm crossing my fingers and hope I can keep this beauty alive. Looking forward to watching the buds open.  How did I do, Dee?

Still working on my Holding Hands Baby blanket. Other than the orchid, not much is new :) happy knitting :)

 Copyright ©2006-2012 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.