I knit the sky!

March 18th, 2013 by knitnzu

Old news by now, since I finished knitting a little over a month ago…. but I knit the star chart of the northern hemisphere! It was a knit-along over at Ravelry, and it was a ton of fun… the planning with everybody, the gab about what yarn, what colors, what beads, edgings, helping each other with problems, and input from the designer!

The pattern is Celestarium, by Audrey Nicklin. My version even made it onto the Twist Collective newsletter!

star chart shawl 028 star chart shawl 029

star chart shawl 032 star chart shawl 034

I wear it to work about once a week. I’m impressed at how wearable it is, given that it is a circle. And how warm it is. Project details over on my ravelry page.

First day of spring coming up… so that means snow melt contest!

I’m still puzzled about why I can’t access the blog from my laptop. I’m on the old pc and no problems. I took my laptop to work, no problems. Maybe it’s a security setting in the router? (laptop access wirelessly, pc is old and is wired). I so loathe this keyboard, sitting in this spot, etc… I need to get it all working again from the laptop!

I turned 52 today.

My biological father died when he was 52. I am apparently much like him (and also much not like him, thanks to my parents). But the unreasonable part of my brain wonders if I’ll live through the year. I know it’s unreasonable, but it’s a big year for me. Celebrate life and all that. Thus the napalm hair, a few weeks faded in the pics above and now faded even a bit more (and with growing in roots).

I think I figured it out…

March 17th, 2013 by knitnzu

Why I can never get onto my blog from home… Firefox automatically adds the www to the url, and I’m having trouble getting it NOT to.

Real blog post coming soon! I finished knitting the sky! I’m about to steek a sweater!

ETA-or maybe not. It might be my service provider. I brought my laptop to work and can get on here just fine, but it’s hit and miss at home.

So it’s snowing…

February 9th, 2013 by knitnzu

And I can still get into my blog, so here are some pictures.

The big part of the storm came overnight, and it’s still going on. High winds, drifting snow, a lot of snow (especially for Maine). I think we have between 17 and 20 inches in our yard. Records are being broken all over southern Maine with 29-33 inches and still snowing). Not sure about here.

The view out the kitchen window this morning,
snow 9 feb 2013 010

and the view the other way… (Gravy in front, Zuzu in back)
snow 9 feb 2013 008

The inside of the door to the outside, and cracking it open to get out,
snow 9 feb 2013 012 snow 9 feb 2013 013

We had to shovel out to go get the boyo, who had spent the night at a friend’s,
snow 9 feb 2013 019

No problems driving around in the old Subaru. DH says I want a Subaru. I think we will fix this one (it needs a head gasket and new timing belt), and probably get another at some point.

Coming back from gathering up the offspring, and coming down Sand Hill, we wondered what was going on. It was soon apparent that somebody tried going up the hill and couldn’t make it, so they had to back down the hill. A truck was sitting next to the car, waiting for it to back down the hill, and there was a line of trucks with plows waiting at the bottom.
snow 9 feb 2013 025
(SUV in that line decided that it wasn’t going to make it up either and is turning around here)

snow 9 feb 2013 026 snow 9 feb 2013 028

State Street, between the rotary and the turn up Winthrop,
snow 9 feb 2013 034 snow 9 feb 2013 042

Crazed driver and non-plussed sprog,
snow 9 feb 2013 043 snow 9 feb 2013 044

Turning onto our road!
snow 9 feb 2013 045 snow 9 feb 2013 046

And almost at our house, there it is on the left (in the right photo),
snow 9 feb 2013 049 snow 9 feb 2013 050

That snowdrift out the back kitchen window?
snow 9 feb 2013 053 snow 9 feb 2013 062 snow 9 feb 2013 073
(for reference, he’s about 6 feet tall)

It is nearly impossible to shovel with the dogs around, especially Zuzu. She wants to catch the snow as it flies off the shovel. So she’ll put her face right at the shovel. She frequently gets bopped in the chin, but she doesn’t care. And then Gravy starts barking, because she wants in on the fun too. Here’s Zuzu waiting for the next shovelful. She was eventually enticed to go play ball and we finished clearing off the steps.
snow 9 feb 2013 076 snow 9 feb 2013 077

I’m in! I’m in!

February 8th, 2013 by knitnzu

I have been unable to access my blog from home for weeks… so there’s a lot to catch up on.

Some highlights.

napalm!

hair (1)

It’s faded quite a bit since I did it two weeks ago (date of the photo). But it’s still pretty entertaining.

spa!

spa 051

More photos in the flickr set.

knitting the sky

I’m about 3/4 of the way around the edging on my star chart shawl, Celestarium. Here it is before I started the garter stitch edging,
shawl 064

Other knitting… I interrupted the edging to make a quick pair of fingerless piano mitts for somebody who is moving to Wisconsin, and then I forgot to take a photo!

it’s snowing!

ayup.

And the State, in it’s everloving wisdom, uses leaf-blowers to move the snow around on the sidewalks,
snow 8 feb 2013 (5)

And either the state or the city uses not one, but two plows to clear the path along the river… the path in the woods that doesn’t go anywhere.
snow 8 feb 2013 (21) snow 8 feb 2013 (22)

This makes me wonder. And this also makes me wonder… the state has decided to invest in plastic trash cans. So we can all have identical rectangular cans. Because something was wrong with the old round metal ones. Or maybe they’re going to make a lot of money on them in scrap. Honestly, why?
new cans (2)
I miss my round can. It was a subtle subconscious signal for “put trash here”, while the blue rectangular plastic can means “put recyclable paper here”. Now I have to pause and think… where does the paper go? Where does the trash go? These two things are the same size and shape. One is just blue and doesn’t have a plastic bag liner.

I did see some pretty things on my walk…

Bark blowing in the wind,
snow 8 feb 2013 (11)

redbreast!
snow 8 feb 2013 (28)

and I love looking at bark and branch architecture,
snow 8 feb 2013 (24) snow 8 feb 2013 (13)
snow 8 feb 2013 (26) snow 8 feb 2013 (30)
(white ash bark, black cherry bark that somebody’s been nibbling through, white ash branches, sumac clones)

and even though it’s rather stark, there’s beauty along the river, and in the old Stone Building,
snow 8 feb 2013 (17) snow 8 feb 2013 (34)

Well, we’ve just had the “appetizer” part of the storm… the real deal should happen tonight. Stay warm, stay dry!

And if I’m absent, it is in part that I can’t get on the damned blog server.

making tallow for face cream!

January 6th, 2013 by knitnzu

I have dry skin. I have always had dry skin.

When I was 17, my friend Ana and I went to the makeup counter at Jordan Marsh to find out about moisturizers and such. The clerk was gushing over Ana’s skin… “ooooh, you have such lovely skin, such peaches and cream complexion“. True enough, but the snarky part of me was thinking “huh, she’s got a forehead covered in acne“. (Ana still seems to have very lovely skin…)

And then the clerk got to me.

Oh. My God. You are sucking up everything I put on you.

Needless to say, I’ve used old lady moisturizer on my face for decades.

I’ve been making my own body lotion for a few years now. It’s great stuff, and cheap to make. Only three ingredients-though I often add a bit of beeswax and also some essential oils. It isn’t the best thing on my face though.

When I was in Spain, I picked up some Argan oil, and it has been great… except now that it’s winter, I need a bit more. The regular face cream I have isn’t working for me anymore. With the dysosmia, it just stinks (smokey, heavy, wet, a bit fishy), and I have to immediately wash it off.

Yesterday, a friend was talking about making face cream… from tallow! And so we went to Bisson & Sons in Topsham to get suet to make tallow (they raise grass-fed beef).

tallow making (1) tallow making (2)

Basically, you get all the fleshy parts off, chop the suet into bits, and then heat it over a low heat for some time to get the tallow out of it. I chopped it up with a knife (some people use a food processor), and put it into the crock pot for about 6 hours. Zuzu was very interested in this…
tallow making (3)

tallow making (4) tallow making (5)

I cooked up the meaty bits for the dogs… they licked their bowls for a long time after finishing the kibble…

I forgot to get a photo of how it looked when it was done in the crockpot, but here’s what I ended up with…
tallow making (7)

The open jar is a little cloudy as it was squeezed from the cracklings. I may cook with it.

And in the morning, it was all hardened up,
tallow making (8)

I basically used this method, though I chopped the suet more finely. Here’s another link about how to do this. Both of these links talk about using suet for cooking. I suppose I could have saved the cracklings, but I didn’t this time around.

For tallow face cream, the general proportions are 10 parts tallow to one part oil (I used olive oil). You can add some essential oils if you want.

Now before you go ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, read this and this (though this latter link is regarding home made lard). Basically, unless you are making your own lotions and creams or using a vegan product, you are probably already slathering industrial waste from a rendering plant that renders hormone laden meat… and that would be the waste that wasn’t good enough for hot dogs, or that pink slime everybody was talking about a few months back.

The tallow face cream I made does feel really good, and yes, it does have a faintly meaty smell… even with the essential oils. After one use last night, I didn’t have the instant improvement experience that mommypotamus did, but I’ll give it a while and let you know later.