crafty things · crochet

June Temperature blanket

June Temperature blanket

Yep, I just finished June.

That’s how far behind I am. But I’ve done more on the blanket this week than I probably have in the last month because our evening are nice and cool, so having a heavy blanket in my lap at night is nice now instead of torture. So I expect progress to pick back up again.

Don’t know if I will ever go as fast as I did in the beginning, because back then it was small enough for me to bring along wherever I went so I could work more often. Although for right now, my youngest is in an art class for about an hour and a half once a week, and even though I have enough time to go home, I’ve instead been staying in the car with my crochet and an audiobook, and it’s so relaxing I think I’ll keep that routine up at least through the end of their class. I can get several rows done at least on those nights.

In general, I am maybe wishing I’d reversed the use of pink and brown. It’s turning out not to have all that much brown in it and I envisioned more, and the pick is getting a bit much. Looking over the July and August numbers, I think June might be the last we see of green for awhile.

As June marks the halfway point, I decided to measure again. It looks like I’m right around 40 inches, which predicts a finished length of 80. That matches with my prediction back in March, so it’s good to see I’m staying consistent. That’s not counting any border I end up adding, but I think this will end up being a great size for our bed.

And since I’ve only been sharing a month at a time, here at the halfway point seems like a good time to let you see the changes over the whole so far:

Temperature blanket halfway point.
garden · Uncategorized

My Backyard Wildlife Camera

Our nighttime visitor, the rat

For my birthday last July, I got a wildlife trail camera. I wanted to see what critters were eating my pumpkins at night, and maybe try to get some cute bird pictures by putting it into a bird feeder or something. Even though I’ve had it awhile, I’ve only recently started playing with it.

The first visitor I caught on camera was maybe a little disappointing, but probably shouldn’t be surprising considering I live in an urban area (our tiny patio backs up to a shopping center, not wilderness after all). It’s a rat. I had thought maybe it would be an opossum, since we spotted one once out there, but no. I don’t know if this is what was eating my pumpkins last year, or my tomato recently, but it’s a suspect for sure.

I don’t think we will have a serious rat problem, because the next night, I tried out the video setting and it caught a different nocturnal visitor: (Note, WordPress won’t let me upload the video without paying them more money, so this is just a still from the video.)

a kitty visitor

I think it’s probably safe to say this is the most likely suspect regarding the destruction of my catnip plant last year. But I’ll always forgive the cute floof. (And I was able to save the plant, so there’s that.)

I was disappointed in the lack of bird visitors, or at least those the camera was catching. Then yesterday I got this photo:

Guess that bird! (Maybe pigeon?)

Not a great view, but at least verifies what we already knew – that birds do visit the yard. Maybe a pigeon? Hard to figure out size from this view. The beak looks not quite right for a pigeon. So I think my next experiment will be to put some seed out on the table and try to attract some birdy visitors.

For anyone interested, this a Wosports Trail Camera. Not too expensive and so far, easy to use. The settings are to take 1 photo when motion is detected, take a burst of 3 photos, or take a video and you can set the length of time.

cats

Cat Update (with bonus guinea pig)

Meeko and Panther hold hands
Panther sleeps in the towels
Pumba is extra cute today

Haven’t given a cat update in awhile because all is well and normal, and noting noteworthy has happened. Still. I believe the internet cannot have too many cute cat pictures, and I have been remiss in adding mine.

Plus I took this photo of Pumba a few days ago and it’s just adorable. You’re welcome.

garden

I have grown Eggplants!

I have grown Eggplants!

It might be difficult to see them all in the photo, but there are 4 baby eggplants growing here. I was so excited when I saw them (I only saw 3 at first), I told my husband, “I have 3 baby eggplants growing on my eggplant plant!”

He said I made his brain throw an error code.

So naturally, when I found there were really 4, I had to tell him, “I was wrong about the 3 eggplants on my eggplant plant, there are really 4 baby eggplants on my eggplant plant.”

Since I’m still growing a good amount of nice tomatoes, I’m thinking of making Ratatouille when these are ready. I tried eggplant parmesan once and it didn’t turn out, so I’m nervous to try that again.

books · crafty things · writing

4th Doctor Scarf Done, and it went to SiliCon 2021

Doctor Who, 4th Doctor scarf made by Kara

I’m not sure I remember exactly when I started working on this scarf, but it was at least 3 to 4 years ago. I taught myself to knit specifically so I could make this scarf. I used the pattern labeled as ‘original’ from http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/s12.html , although I just used the yarn that I could easily find that seemed close-ish to the right colors. I can’t share what exactly I used because most of the labels are long gone and I just don’t know. I know it was nothing fancy: Red Heart, Lion Brand, and that sort of thing.

The scarf and I went to SiliCon with Adam Savage this past weekend. Despite the fact that my ‘costume’ if it could be called that consisted only of the scarf, and the hat, I got lots of nice complements. Got lots of head nods and waves from the other versions of The Doctor when we came across one another. In retrospect, I maybe should have asked for some photos with them, but I was so happy to be out having nerdy fun with masks and without crowds. They severely limited attendance. I read somewhere it is usually 30,000, but was 5,000 this year. For example, here I stand outside a main hall, and just look at all those people nowhere near me. It was great.

Kara in her completed 4th Doctor Who scarf.

We attended both days but I only wore the scarf on Sat because, even indoor with air conditioning, this scarf is heavy and HOT.

Other weekend highlights, was getting signed books from Andy Weir and David Gerrold. I also went to the writer panel with was fun and interesting. I saw so many other cool books in Artist Alley and it was painful not to buy something from each, but we have a very pricey car repair we are trying to navigate at the moment. I have notes and will get to them one day. We collectively did cave in a buy a cute game though. It’s called Gosh Darn Bubbles . We played it at length back in the hotel, and much fun was had. All the cards are fun, but ‘Slappa da Bass’ was the family favorite because it was fun to say.

garden

The Frist Successful Avocado Sprout

Successful Avocado Sprout (please ignore the dead plant in the window behind it)

For probably more than 6 months I had an avocado seed that had sort-of-kind-of sprouted sitting in this window. The stem part of the sprout had withered and even gone a little white, like maybe with mold? But the root just kept growing and getting more branches, so I thought it might still make a comeback. I finally gave up on it though, and cleaned everything out to try again with a new avocado pit.

One thing I think I did wrong with all the previous pits was let them sit around awhile first. I don’t know where I got the idea I needed to do that? Maybe I read they should be washed and dried, so I let them sit out. I thin I also read that you need to peel that dark brown skin off, and that was way easier to do if it was dried out a little so the skin popped away from the meat inside somewhat.

But that was all hooey, I think now. I looked up the process again, and this new article said that freshness is very important to success. So my next pit, I gave a brief rinse to, didn’t even gat all the avocado off of it, and put it in my little floaty avocado sprouting boat (I like it better than the toothpick method because I would always break the toothpicks and nothing ever grew for me. That seed sprouted within days. It had a good stem of a few inches ling and two tiny leaves when we left for a 4 day road trip. When we came home, it looked like this. I was floored. I have it propped up against the vase in the photo because it was too tall and heavy and kept falling over.

I had to look up what to do next because I never made it this far before. I found several recipes that agreed with each other about the right types of soil to combine to move it into a pot. I took the lazy route and just bought a packed soil that said it was for avocados and the ingredients matched the recipes I’d found. My proud sprout is now in soil outside just below this kitchen window where it can get a little more sun but still be fairly sheltered. And I have a new seed in the boat.

Here’s hoping everything keeps on growing!

P.S. I read a bunch of avocado growing articles and didn’t save them all, but this is a good intro one, and has many other helpful links: https://californiaavocado.com/how-to/how-to-grow-your-own-avocado-tree/

writing

Writing Update

I don’t have anything new to report, but I think including regular writing updates here keeps me on track, or at least makes me think about things on the regular. I just haven’t been writing much. We had a little road trip to the beach, where I expected to get some relaxation and writing time, but we invited too many people along and scheduled too many outings, or I just didn’t put the effort in (I was supposed to be relaxing!) and I didn’t write a word. It was nice to stare at the ocean awhile though.

I did work on my novel last night, and that felt good. I felt like I was wandering a bit with it though, so I need to review my notes since I haven’t stayed in good close connection with it.

The day job writing is staying on schedule, so I guess that’s going well for me, but, as always, I feel like I’m still not doing enough anyway.

I got a short story rejection and was a good litter submitter, and got it sent back out to another market the next day. It is so tempting to just scroll down the list to the token markets but I’m trying to keep the faith and sending it to all the dream markets before moving on to lower paying opportunities. Having more than one story out on submission does help my emotional stress on this front, as does having a story acceptance waiting to come out later in the year. (I will definitely be sharing that here once it goes live.)

I keep thinking I need to look at some of my older stuff to possibly revise and send out. I’m finding that I hate almost everything I finish, but that when I stumble onto it later, I think, “This isn’t so bad.” I might just be one of those writers who needs to let things set awhile before finial revisions. But thinking I need to do this, and finding the time to do it are not the same thing.

garden

As the Garden Continues to Grow

Baby Cantaloupe

While the garden started out rough, and many seeds never came up, and many small seedlings didn’t thrive, now that what’s left is well established, things seem to be goin well. I am very excited about these cantaloupe. I’ve tried watermelons in the past, but have never had much luck. Maybe they don’t do well in containers; maybe I just don’t have the skill to grow them. Either way I usually ended up with one or two comically tiny golf ball sized melons and that was that. I thought cantaloupe are smaller, maybe they would do better, and so far so good. These are a little bigger than my hand and have continued to grow since I took the photo a few days ago.

I also cut down the larges of the mammoth sunflowers. I thought birds were eating the seeds, which I was fine with, but then I figured out they were just falling out, and I didn’t want them going to waste. My research instructed me to lay the head out a couple days to let the seeds dry. Tomorrow we will attempt to roast them. I suspect at least a couple of the other flowers will need to come down soon as well.

First harvested Mammoth Sunflower. Many outer seeds have fallen out.
crafty things · crochet

May Temperature Blanket

So I finished May a few days ago, which puts me about a month behind. Hit the light brown level that last day of May, and I think, probably these last few days here in July. So hot. I expect next month will be more pinks and browns and little greens. I’m really happy so far with the way the colors are looking together. Probably not for everyone, but I picked this pallet for me.