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Friday, 31 December 2010

Tomatoes and Yarn

It's December, and my tomato plants are still growing. How? The magic of Southern California, I guess.



They're out of season, and suffering from the cold and the rainstorms we've been having recently, but they're still there and nothing has exploded. The larger of the above split a little after the onslaught of water, so I picked it this morning.



It's pretty big. I swear these are supposed to be beefsteaks, but they don't look like beefsteaks at all. Beefsteaks are supposed to be wide and plump right?

In other news: local yarn store! I finally visited with my sister in law on Tuesday (the first day of opening after Christmas), and it's possibly the nicest yarn store you could wish for. The main pro for me was the wide variety of priced yarns - $6.50 to $40+ options, wool/acrylic blends to bamboo and silks, so it didn't feel like I was priced out of being a customer there. I've paid more for yarns from the major chain craft stores. But I also liked the quality of customer service, the friendliness and knowledgeability of the women working there (offering help, but not pushy!), and the way the store is laid out. Everything is easy to find, clean, nice smelling and lovely. And they have sales, coupons and A DISCOUNT BIN. It is yarn heaven.

I ended up buying nothing but Berocco yarn (when I expected to pick up something more expensive). This is Berocco Vintage (the top is chunky, the bottom is worsted weight):



Then I found this in the discount bin, which is great because I'd been eyeing this online a few weeks ago:



I'll probably be back in the next few months, once I've burned down more of my stash (this is going better than expected). I want some Noro. Which will be a suitable reward now I've finally, finally learned to knit.



Yes, those are chopsticks. I'll be ordering a set of bamboo needles from brilliant knitting of etsy next week methinks. Ghetto solutions only last a certain amount of time.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Thrifted: Silver Metal Clock




I'm still aiming to get a flippy retro clock for the office, but for now: this is more than good enough. I'm not a massive font nerd, but the numbers on this are just glorious.

Cost: $5 from Goodwill. You can get a lot for $5 in this land.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Quick Links

This week I have mostly been obsessed with The Brick House. I read through the first twenty pages and then just went right to the first post and started working backwards instead, following the progression of her ideas (some to completion). I don't share her overall precise aesthetic (I'm going for super cosy, she's going for awesome style),  but I love pretty much everything that she's doing - the thrifting, the furniture, the realistic spending habits. She even had a pink bathroom (part of ours, which does not look nearly as clean now).

Ergo, via The Brick House:
  • Wikipedia: Xeriscaping - " refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift."
  • The Long Beach Antique Market - close enough to drive there for a day. Whether or not I can find and transport the end tables and credenza/longish storage table or cabinet I want for the house, that's another story.
  • Refinishing Hardwood floors - we have original hardwood floors throughout the house, with the possible exception of the bathrooms, the kitchen and the laundry area. Three rooms have horrible beige carpets with unfinished floors, as do the closets. I'm thinking that even if we can't do the rooms ourselves, we could at least try the closets? I don't know, it might be too ambitious.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Baker Creek Seed Catalog



Via the Gardening subReddit*, I requested a Bakers Creek seed catalog a few days ago to help us plan the garden next year. It came yesterday morning, and I have to admit, I wasn't expecting a huge glossy magazine that would needed to be folded in half to fit in my mailbox. And it was completely free!

A look at some of the inside pages:









As you can see above: they even give you recipes! Such great inspiration while the planting season is months away. My plan is to sit down later and have a jolly good read through of all the options and hope that the seeds I'd like to use (which are heirloom and non-GMO) don't sell out before I can order some.

*something I've been following for the last 6 months, great for fast, accurate and practical vegetable growing info

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Pantry Bag

One of my long term projects is to take our pantry and turn it into something organised and lovely, with beautiful containers, empty floorspace and clear sight of everything. This may be an endless task - it's in constant use, and the floor clutters quicker than an American Apparel sample sale.

The first step seems to be to abolish the storage of root vegetables from plastic bags into string bags with a little bit of colour:



The pattern is free from Knitomatic  and is very simple - literally just chaining in various lengths and joining the chains to the middle of the previous row's chains. Great if you want to work on making your starting chains consistent. I think I'll be making some more! The plan is to use the small amount of wallspace inside the pantry to hang the bags vertically - when that will happen? Who knows.

Yarn used: Lily Sugar and Cream Confectionary (cotton). I bought this from someone on Ravelry, and have no idea where to actually buy it offline. It could very well be discontinued.