Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Notes

  • The Dude and I learned about proper planting care and seeded some Zinnias. I am excited to see what colors pop up and grateful he is interested.
  • My big news...I put in my 2 weeks finally. The Immediates are behind me 100%. Everyone else, not so much, but this post filled that gap. I am overjoyed at the prospect of making home my 'work'.
  • April has been filled with creativity for me so I made sure to write everything down. I have lots to share soon.
  • Spring cleaning and decluttering and the kids were surprisingly on board today. I am so proud of their ability to let go of 'stuff'.
  • Hubble placed 2nd this year in the Wing Ding. Recipe to follow.
  • I ran 2.5 miles straight yesterday and feel great.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blocking Acrylics

Wouldn't it be great if we could create everything in natural, organic fibers? Wouldn't it be great if we could afford that? Unfortunately, my addiction to yarn sometimes supersedes my greener sensibilities and I have a drawer of acrylic yarn to prove it. But I'm not mad at acrylics. Even though I have thought of quitting them cold turkey, they certainly have their place.

That place, however, is not under a hot iron. Boo on that, I say! Some pieces of the Gabba Gang need a little straightening out and they are 100% acrylic. So here's what you do:

1) With the wrong side of the piece facing you, cover with a clean, cotton towel and smooth down any noticeable bumps - no pins necessary for this. Use a white towel if you think the colors might bleed.

2) Set the steam to high and the temperature no higher than wool and start ironing the piece flat, keeping the iron moving. Use the steam release button if you have one for extra steam. Depending on the size of your piece this should take 30 seconds or less.

3) Remove towel and let piece set for a few seconds. It should now be ready to adorn your plush.

Notes: If you fry your yarn, turn the iron temperature down and make sure you have steam. If you want the blocking to last you can add a stiffener to the piece, but I like a little more fluidity. Mooches ~ OP

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wrap It Up Already

Tomorrow I will be back with some yarny goodness, but I wanted to leave you with some other blogs I have fun reading and have inspired me to look at the world differently.

5 Blogs I Look Forward to Reading
  • Down to Earth - Rhonda Jean blends minimalism, simple and green living, whole foods and strong families with warmth and balance. She is honest and true to her values.
  • A Beautiful Mess - A fellow Missouri girl and her sister making DIY happen. They are full of good ideas and I appreciate their passion for their small, but thriving business.
  • Zen Habits - I have been reading this one since 2008 and I have always felt like Leo is a good friend. Practical and achievable advice and reminders.
  • Attic 24 - Lucy does such a good job of being positive and is not afraid to gush over the things that inspire rainbow colors in yarn. I get it and appreciate her zeal.
  • Angry Chicken - Hard to describe this one, but she is good at just about everything she does without being pretentious. She can sew, cook, homeschool and make it look cool. And I believe we may have a similar sense of humor.
That's the end of those lists for awhile, but it was kind of fun, right? I liked it. Big news coming up soon too. I can't wait to share and no, I am not pregnant. Ciao. ~ OP

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hip Cats

I couldn't share so many things about myself without sharing the people who inspire, support, and love me for being me.

People I Loves, Love, Luv
  • The Immediates - Directly above, that is my team - my cheerleaders. Words cannot express my devotion to them or vice versa. Our unbeatable sense of humor helps to make sure we are all loved and contributing members in Team Pitts...or if you ask Hubble we are Team Dragon Slayers. Nerd.
  • The Catty Kitchen  - My girls. This outfit got its small beginnings after I had my baby and needed to get out of the house. It turned into an actual club when 3 of us got into some trouble with another set of ladies, and were dubbed "those catty *itches." Making the most of the superlative, we started getting together on the regular and increased the size of our DIY girls' club. Life would be very different without them...and a lot less fun.
Missouri Botanical Gardens - Sibs, Kids and Sig. Others

  •  The Extendeds - From my Mom and Dad helping us out with the kids, to being best friends with my brothers, to my in-laws and their kids making me laugh, I am blessed with some awesome kin. You guys rock.

  • Nick Normal - And then there's this guy. Hungarian. Mustachioed. Normal. His ideas and energy are as boundless as the red hairs growing off his top lip (the mustache is much longer now I believe). He's a New York/St. Louis hybrid and I can't wait to see him again.
I could gush, gush, gush, all day long about these folks and there are many more to include. I have some super talented aunts and cousins, hip and interesting uncles, and the different friends who pop in and out for some good times. I told you I am a social butterfly. Peace.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday's Favorites

Happy Friday! Our weekend is already filled to the brim with social activities. Rock-n-roll show for the grown-ups and my Catty Kitchen birthday to start. It's been a good birthday week.

5 of My Very Favorite Things
  • Gingham/Seersucker - I love the innocence and summery feel of a pretty gingham or seersucker fabric. I should probably make a dress or tablecloth or picnic blanket or napkins or skirt...(light bulb!) I could crochet some! I am sure that's been done. I wonder what it would look like?
  • Shoes - There was a time when I had over 80 pairs. I am currently under 20, but it doesn't take much to irritate that itch. Now, I shoot for quality over quantity.
  • Honeybees - These guys are just the neatest and most beautiful creatures. I love seeing them in my garden and worry for their future. Someday, I hope to have my own hives.
  • Coffee - I am late to the coffee drinking game. Prior to meeting my husband, I never touched the stuff. For me, coffee became more of an experience than a warm wake-up call, although after having a baby, it is the fuel that drives you. I love the smell. I love the warm mug snuggled up between my cold hands. I love the flavor (black). I love that it beckons you to slow down and enjoy it while taking in the morning. Served best on a rainy day with a good book.
  • Tulips - What a sweet, simple gesture of a flower. I couldn't ask more of a tulip. It is the high point of Spring for me when the tulips are in bloom.
What are you up to this weekend? I need to check on my sprouts at the Farm and update TCK's blog. They are a little behind currently. ~ OP

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Active Activities

I had a difficult time yesterday not getting work done around the house, on my birthday, and trying to do other things I want to do instead. Do you have trouble not "working" when you are off? At one point, I was so overwhelmed, I went outside and worked in my plant beds. Perfect mix of work and play...salve for the soul. Most other things I love to do are not such a harmonious mix, but certainly a welcome reprieve from the daily grind.

5 Things I Love to Do
  • Crocheting - I like knitting too, and other stringy things, but crocheting is so soothing to me and much easier to fix if you mess up. I try to get hooky every day, if possible.
  • Reading - I try to read at least one book a month and usually do. It is definitely something I wish I made more time for because I love it so much. Although, sometimes it keeps me up way past bedtime.
  • Being outside - It doesn't matter if I am running, gardening, farming, walking, sitting, playing with the kids, swimming, or eating dinner, I love almost everything about being outside. Except mosquitoes. They're pretty awful.
  • Photography - This is something I haven't put a lot of time into recently, but I love looking at photographs as much as I love to take them and learn more about the skill.
  • Spending time with the people I love - This seems like a no-brainer, but being the social butterfly that I am, I will ignore chores, go to bed late, and adjust schedules to spend time with special people because they are just that...very special to me and more important than any thing that needs to "get done" around the house. The chores will always be there, but my sweet family and friends may not and I don't take them for granted.
Obviously, not an exhaustive list, as I love to do many things and I love learning new things so much that I often bite off more than I can chew to be able to do it all. With each passing year, I am learning to balance better.  See you tomorrow. ~ OP

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

31 Solar Revolutions


I should have called this 31 Revelations and then listed a bunch of things I think you should think, but I bet that would be even more boring than me talking about myself for a solid week. Instead, I will tell you 5 things I love about myself, which is a far more difficult exercise, however, it is my birthday and I like a challenge.

Photo by D. Pitts

5 Things That Make Me Awesome
  • My wit - It is no secret that I love to joke around about 90% of the time. If I joke around with you, the chances are that I like you...not always though (mostly with customers - they never get it)
  • My honesty - Sometimes tactful, sometimes blatant, I will almost always tell you what I think, if asked. The only time I won't is when the other person isn't really listening anyway. Then I tell them everything they want to hear and shake my head when they leave.
  • My craftiness - I love learning new skills and using my hands to make things. It is my therapy.
  • My short, stubby toes - What can I say? The little guys are pretty cute and not at all gangly.
  • My parenting skills - There is always room for improvement here and I am proud that I am committed to learning everyday from my kids and using that knowledge to help them grow.
Feel free to tell me what you love about me too, ya know, because it's my birthday and all. What girl doesn't want to hear something nice on her birthday? ~ OP

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Foods I Love

Alright, who knows what is my favorite food of all time? Anyone? Me neither. Not sure I will ever be able to answer that question, especially since I started trying new foods after I met Hubble. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I will try most things these days.

5 Foods I Will Never Turn Down

  • Olives - Green, purple, or black, I can't get enough of those briny, buttery morsels.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies - I know this might seem like a cop out, but there is something so wonderful about the "gold standard" of cookies especially when it's slightly warm and homemade.
  • Strawberries - Partially because I love THIS book, partially because they are beautiful and partially because they are delicious and remind me of summer.
  • Pizza - I wish I didn't love it because I can eat my weight in this comfort food. I only get the veggie options these days and we often make them from scratch at home, so I can feel less guilty when I swallow the pie whole. Sinful!
  • Hubble's Rainbow Stir Fry - RECIPE HERE. Now this one is almost as good as pizza, in my book, and eons better for you. I know I could eat this everyday were it available. I mean just look at those veggies up there!
Thai and Mexican food are also staples for me and I definitely favor savory foods over the sweets. Now, it's time for a snack. Any good recipes to share? ~ XO-OP

Monday, April 16, 2012

Birthday Week and Books I Love

I am turning 31 this week and thought it might be a good time to share some insight on the things and people that inspire me and have woven threads into my tapestry. Lucky you...a whole week dedicated to me.

5 Books that I Love

  • Charlotte's Web - Classic child's story, read to me when I was 8 by a teacher I adored. I still have the copy she gave me.
  • Shamanic Way of the Bee - This tantalizing mix of fact and fantasy is how I got hooked on the honeybee.
  • Lord of the Rings - This trilogy rocked my world by allowing me into its very detailed and imaginable world. It's so hard to describe my love for these books.
  • The Awakening Land (image above) - This trilogy rocked my world and is where my middle name comes from. The writing is incredible and I really think this set should be required reading in high school as it gives a realistic guess about early European settlers and their lives.
  • Possesing the Secret of Joy - The number 5 spot could have gone to so many titles, but I chose this one because I reflect back on it so often. A good reminder of how we are our own victims and can overcome our demons. FYI - this is not a self-help book, but a story of one culture's tradition of circumcising females.

My book list could really go on and on. These books and many others have taken up rooms in my head and heart and left me forever changed. I mean, isn't that the job of good writing? What books have changed you? Ciao. ~ OP

Friday, April 13, 2012

At the Hops Scarf - A Free Spring Pattern

Taken at the Hops Garden at Chateau LaBeaume

I love this serious...ha! However, it does a great job showing off this super simple, breezy scarf pattern made from one ball of Vanna's Glamour yarn. It's the perfect yarn to transition from Winter to Spring.

You will need:

1 ball of Vanna's Glamour yarn (Yarn weight is 2 if you want to substitute)
Size M crochet hook
Yarn needle

I made this in three different sizes to adjust for length on the short torso people, but otherwise the pattern repeats to the end of the ball. Depending on your width, start by cutting enough strands for the fringe before you start so you don't have to guess how much you will need at the end of the ball. I doubled the strands using a lark's head knot, in every other stitch with square knots at the end of each strand.


Ch 16 (18, 21), turn
Start in second chain from hook and sc across - 15 stitches (17, 20), ch 1, turn
Repeat to the end of the ball. Fasten off. Weave in ends. Attach fringe.

You can block it if you want to, but I did not.

Super easy with big results. My scarf is extra long so I can do all kinds of different knots with it. The shorter versions hit about midway down the torso if doubled and have more width. The single crochet stitches on the big hook is what gives it the lighter texture making it perfect for a Spring stroll or work accessory. Enjoy!

Link to Chateau LaBeaume...where the Hops grow.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Loose Ends

I am feeling the creative mojo recently and that's pretty cool right? Probably because April is my birthday month and the cosmos and spirits and junkies yarnies dance around a fire and deem it so because it seems to happen every Spring. Then 5 a.m. rolls around on a work day and I have to try and not think about colorful strings and things until I get home. I am pretty sure, at any moment, a coworker could look in my head and see me taking a ride on a rainbow yarn slide. I might have to build one of those.

Those ends up there are being woven in as we speak and I am working on the free pattern, but that will probably be for May. April's free pattern will be up tomorrow. It's my birthday present to you. XO ~ OP

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cold Turkey

I quit Facebook today. Not sure if it deleted my blog page...

I didn't even spend very much time there, but if I was spending huge portions of my day in FB-land, the end result would be the same. I will continue to post on the 8th child page or start a new one if need be, but only as a tool for the blog and future aspirations.

Those ideals start here for me. No login required.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to Work

A much needed yarn-break has now come to a close. My cowl, up there, will be finished on Sundays from here on out. It's the perfect shade of green and littered with sequins! It's just the right amount of glam for my simple style. Ciao ~ Op

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Couldn't Help It

I picked up 4 more Hosta varieties today and I was only heading out for dirt. Luckily, I am cultivating a Hosta specimen garden where our old pup wore a hole. ~OP

Friday, April 6, 2012

Notes for the Week

  • The girl has been falling apart every time I leave her side this week - more than usual, so we are trying to fit in extra snuggle moments when we can.
  • My Columbine and Poppy seeds have not germinated yet. I hope it's not too cold for them.
  • Crochet cowl for ME is coming along nicely. Pics soon.
  • Gearing up for some intense project finishing - Totoro, 2 baby rattles, Nyan cat scarf, and Gabba. Poor Gabba.
  • I started journaling (again) this week, using a method much like the bullet points here, and it is going better than it ever has in the past.
  • This was the third week of the Couch-to-5K program. Next week we move to the streets!
I hope your week went well. Tonight I am visiting the Grand Opening of the St. Louis Scarlett Garnet Store! Hooray!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Did I Tell You?

Not sure if I mentioned this, but we are building an organic vegetable garden! Not at home either, but with my friends at Chateau Labeaume. The idea is to make gardening a little easier and more lucrative by working the same soil together. We are calling it the Friendship Farm and you should stop by and hang out sometime. XO

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pink and Potbellied

All finished! Remember when I frogged these the first time? I then overcompensated for their tight fit and gave them a slight bulge in the base of the hand. However, they still fit well and much better than the first time. I figure the extra room will be good for shoving the ends of a sleeve in there or layering over gloves. They are in the mail, although I suspect with the 90 degree weather, Miss Love won't be wearing them for much longer this year. PATTERN HERE. Mooches.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coasters for LJ

My dad loves the opportunity to "appear" on my blog and he has been begging me for a coaster set since Christmas. By his birthday, I obliged. Like all of my other sets, each coaster is coordinated, but unique. Also, he is a St. Patty's Day baby and my mom's favorite color is green so these should fit into their home quite nicely.

I have a few other commissions to wrap up and then I am taking a break to work on some ideas that are swirling around. It's been awhile since the swirling has happened, so I am trying to take heed before it gets flushed away. Later~OP

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bullet Points and Inspiration

Virginia Bluebells

Probably because my birthday is in April I swoon for Springtime. 


However, my birthday is usually not the best part of Spring. 


Even though temps are already climbing towards 90 degrees, it feels so good to be outside in the sunshine and around my garden beds. 

Bleeding Heart
Renewed life = renewed motivation.