monarch mania

I was so excited when I came home for lunch yesterday and saw a monarch butterfly zipping around the zinnias out front. This is the first monarch I’ve seen, despite our milkweed plants growing really nicely. I went over to check out the milkweeds to see if I saw any eggs and I think that I do!

Possible monarch egg

I’m not 100% sure that this is an egg, but it looks likely! I hope it is!

just a Glimmer

Glimmer Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

This cute swing style sweater is a light, airy, fun top for Blythe. It features a colorwork pattern on the front and both sides of the back. This chart is small and is a great way to start out with colorwork. The cropped but not too short style is great for Blythe – it’s short enough to feel the swing shape but not so short as to show her midriff.

Glimmer Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

Swing over to Etsy, Ravelry, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting to pick up this pattern.

Blythe Swap: Marvelous Monsters

This last month’s Blythe Swap was so much fun! The theme was Marvelous Monsters and I participated in a three-way swap – I sent goodies to Rebecca, who sent goodies to Elizabeth, who sent goodies to me.

Here’s what I received:

Marvelous Monsters swap: what I received

So many cool things! Two dresses, a Bride of Frankenstein hood, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde potion bottles, pins and embellishments, adorbs Nessie/Scotland keychain, an assortment of bows for future sewing/crafting, two of those awesome monster finger puppets (did everyone get these at the dentist as a kid?), and a super cute monster plush.

Marvelous Monsters swap: what I received

Check out the hand-embroidered monster face on the dress Willow is wearing! I love it!! And the finger puppets (hand puppets for Blythe!) even color coordinate. I didn’t take the proper time to tie on the Bride of Frankenstein hood because I was too excited to take photos, but I love it like this anyway. Such a great package! Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

I had an equal amount of fun putting together a package for Rebecca. She has excellent taste (that is to say, quite similar to my own, haha) and likes purple and orange, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Halloween-y stuff in general.

Here’s what I sent:

Marvelous Monsters swap :what I sent

Three handmade dresses and one skirt/top set; one handknit Skully Sweater, one Monster Sweater, and one Sybil Sweater; an orange Blythe-scale crate filled with hair accoutrements; a sheet of skull stickers; and a TNBC blind-box miniature.

Marvelous Purple Monster Sweater

I knit this Sybil Sweater according to the pattern using mohair/silk yarn but then I finished it inside-out: I wove in the ends to the opposite side as usual, and sewed on the monster eyes on what would usually be the inside. It gives a more furry look since purl stitches show off the mohair-iness of the yarn more than knit stitches do. I love how it turned out! I designed the Monster Sweater just for this swap, and of course had already written the pattern for the Skully Sweater – it just happened to fit right into this theme!

Marvelous Monsters swap :what I sent

This dress is one of my favorite items I made this time. I love this fabric – it has a feathery or scaly look and I just attached some tiny google eyes for an extra monster-y feel.

All in all, this swap was super fun! Our next swap will be the Halloween Swap, so keep your eye out for sign-up at the Blythe Swap site!

calling all monsters

Monster Sweater for Blythe

It may be the thick of August (and with the humidity we’ve been having, it certainly feels thick!) but I am already thinking ahead to Halloween and the spooky breezes of fall. And what goes hand in hand with spooky breezes? Monsters, of course!

Bingeing Stranger Things certainly didn’t do anything to dissuade me, and the July Blythe Swap theme being Marvelous Monsters clinched it. However, rather than knitting slimy tentacles, I opted for a monster that is more reminiscent of a jack-o-lantern than something from Alien. Feel free to add your own slime if you’re so inclined!

Monster Sweater for Blythe

Grawr! Chomp this pattern at Ravelry, Etsy, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy

room boxing

I’ve wanted to make a room box for ages, and K awesomely volunteered to help. He made the actual box for me out of sheet insulation, using magnets to hold the pieces together.

Dry fitting flooring in foam insulation room box

He’s had this done for me for AGES but I finally made time to find some flooring. I wanted something that was thin so that the magnets will still work through it – ideally I’d like it to overlap under the wall pieces slightly so that you can’t see any edges (though I suppose I am going to put some base molding on the walls, so this probably doesn’t matter).

As you can see here, if I don’t trim these pieces on the sides, they’ll overlap the wall pieces just a hair:

Dry fitting flooring in foam insulation room box

I will of course need to trim the second piece to fit the depth of the box. I couldn’t find any flooring that came in large enough sheets to cover without using more than one piece, but this flooring appears to be able to slide in together without any noticeable gap. This room box is bigger than most I’ve seen, and definitely bigger than most dollhouse rooms, but I’d like to have plenty of space for Blythe plus furniture for taking photos. Now I need to trim the second piece of flooring and finish all of it. I like the blond wood (veneer) so I think I’ll probably just do a seal coat without staining first. Opinions?

Because I think it’s super clever, here’s a close-up of how K installed the magnets:

Dry fitting flooring in foam insulation room box

The room box pieces just snap together so nicely! Now I need to figure out if I want a window(s) and what type of wall covering I want to use. I’m thinking of using fabric as wallpaper…

garage garden progress

This weekend we finally got a little bit of a break from the heat and humidity so I was able to get out and transplant some more clearance perennials and hand-me-downs from my folks.

Garage-surrounding garden

I started by clearing out the last section of this area next to the garage, which was full of crab grass and other weeds (speaking of, the Lamb’s Quarters has been ridiculous this year! It must love the heat). I yanked those out and put in some Coreopsis, Speedwell, Guara, Pachysandra, Lamium, and Vinca. I’m really just trying to get the area covered right now so that it will help keep weeds out. The gnats were THE WORST so I only stayed out as long as I needed to. There’s still some Wisteria popping up in this area but I didn’t take the time to do a good removal job – I just yanked what I could get. Maybe when it’s less horrible outside I can do a better job – I’m sure I will when, eventually, I am moving plants around.

The area this section continues into is looking pretty decent, actually:

Garage-surrounding garden

Aside from the big sprawl of crab grass I need to yank out of the Alyssum, this area is looking pretty okay:

Garage-surrounding garden

And the Alyssum and Hostas on the other side of the garage are looking pretty darn good considering I seeded and transplanted them all this season:

Garage-surrounding garden

Some Candytuft flowers are beginning to poke through the Alyssum in this area:

Dollar store Candytuft seeds coming through

And the Dill I seeded nearer the side of the garage is sprouting! Not sure I’ll get much usable this year, but next year hopefully it will come back:

Dill sprouting

Other areas of the yard are coming along, though due to heat and weeds things are definitely not looking as good as I wish they were. Please try to ignore the horrible crabgrass sprawling everywhere around everything!

The Moonflowers are starting to grow up my improvised triangular trellis:

Moonflower starting to climb

The Morning Glories and Zinnias around the birdbath are coming up:

Bird bath with morning glories and zinnias

I know that Morning Glories will want to be taller than this, but frankly I’m fine with just the foliage at this point.

The shrub rose out front has been reblooming again!

Shrub rose reblooming

I just love how unstoppable this thing is.

Despite being set upon by Japanese Beetles, the Zinnias along the front walkway are blooming pretty nicely!

Front walkway with zinnias and others

At least on the east side of the walkway. The west side must not have gotten as many seeds:

Front walkway with zinnias and others

I am so looking forward to cooler temperatures as we get into fall. I would love to spend a lot more time out in the garden than I’ve been able to – I just can’t take the heat!

mad for Madge

Time is always a precious resource, and sometimes you want to knit a project without having to sacrifice a lot of it. This is a perfect project for those occasions!

Madge Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

Made with worsted weight yarn, this sweater gives the look of the really chunky knits that have been so trendy lately on a scale that works for Blythe. The pattern includes both short and long sleeves, and is designed reverse cardigan style (and so could be worn reversed for a cardigan look).

Madge Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

Check it out on Ravelry, Etsy, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy.

cellar stair

When we were working on the undernook project last weekend, we had to remove one slat of wood on the kitty-corner area to get the paneling off. That whole area is a future project, but for now we just removed the one slat we needed to. We found a treasure underneath!

Aladdin kit home cellar stair note

Our home, being a kit home, was built from pieces shipped to the homeowner via train, and you can see here that this piece was labeled #3794 Cellar Stair. How cool! I also love the flourish of this cursive writing. Such a neat little thing to find!

undernook update

Last weekend we tackled a project we’ve been talking about for ages. It didn’t take very long and it’s so nice to have it done with!

In the basement, adjacent to the laundry area, is the undernook – the little square-ish room underneath the kitchen nook. Someone had paneled this little area off and installed a door at some point in history, but we don’t really need it to be separate and would in fact prefer it to be open to the laundry area.

new house

The pallets on the floor of the laundry room went away ages ago, but we haven’t done much with the area otherwise. Until last weekend!

Undernook

Ta-da! Now it’s all open and one source of allergens is gone (the wood was damaged at the floor level where it had flooded at some point – nothing like dry rot and other assorted molds/whathaveyou to make me feel gross). As you can see we also have an air system in here which is probably better in a more open area. We now need to clean the walls in here – I’d like to paint them so we have a clean, tidy surface before we put up shelving – as they are pretty gross. Some areas have efflorescence that has been there since before we bought the house, and other areas are water stained or dusty or grimy. Time to do some cleaning! If anyone has done this type of project before, all advice and opinions are welcome!

clearance, Clarence

I’ve been trying to fill in the garden beds around the garage and house now that we have the walkways done. Because I don’t have a huge amount of plants yet, it’s a constant battle with weeds (crab grass!! *shakes fist*). Recently I got a huge number of plants on clearance, though, which helped me fill in a big area by the garage.

Garage side garden

I do have a few little things sprouting here that I planted from seed, so they’re still very small and not taking up as much space as they eventually will.

Garage side garden

Since the plants I bought were on clearance, my options were somewhat limited, but I did find a bunch of things that I like, including yarrow, black-eyed Susans, speedwell, butterfly bush, shasta daisies, salvia, and more. These things will mostly want to spread out and take up more space, which is FINE. If I end up needing to thin things out and have stuff to transplant elsewhere, that would be ideal!