Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Gardening

Life updates, a new hobby, and knitting

I was just reading this NY Times article about blogging and it made me revisit my thoughts on blogging here, more specifically about how personal to get. I rarely talk much about my personal life here and if you don't know me in real life, you don't know a whole lot about me other than I'm a knitter.

Recently I decided that I've fallen in love with gardening, much the way I did with knitting a few years ago. Since then, I've also decided to change up my blog here a bit to include this new love of mine. In doing this, it made me consider how personal to be in this her blog space. This article made me think even more on the subject – how personal should it really get? I also read a thread on Ravelry where some folks discussed how personal they get on their blogs. It's as varied as knitters are. Some post all, some post only knitting, and it seems many post somewhere in-between the two extremes. I've decided that with the other changes to the blog and somewhat because of the new changes I've made to the blog, I'm going to get a bit more personal. Sometimes stories can't be shared unless you get a little personal and in my view, that's what blogging is all about: sharing. We're all here sharing what we know, our own stories and our experiences. It's constantly interesting to me how the internet brings you closer to people you may never have known otherwise.

Ahem. Anyhow. Now that I've got that little bit out there, I'll be moving on to talk about the thing that has me spending hours of my time online lately, researching and learning: gardening. I'll start with a story that will give you an idea of when the gardening bug bit me a little and where I am now (not just with gardening, but life in general!).

A few years ago, I had a small garden. I was living with the now ex-boyfriend who knew more about gardening than I did and he did a lot of the work. We did start from seed, but then there was a terrible accident where the whole seed planter crashed to the ground and only a few plants were rescued. Though I'm not that experience with seed growing, it did get my feet wet and I know a little about what to expect. I did learn some things from him, but for the most part I just liked having a garden and eating all the fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that grew there. I also enjoyed having fresh basil and thyme at the ready. Since then, though, I've longed to grow veggies and herbs again.

Last February I moved back "home" to Florence, Kentucky. I got a job in Cincinnati and lived with my family until the ex-boyfriend and I moved into a house in Florence last April. His son joined us in August. Things were the same as they'd always been. I was stressed out a lot. I know a lot of it had to do with my job and working a hectic schedule and having to meet deadlines all the time (not something I was that accustomed to any longer), but there were plenty of other things that stressed me out, too. On a whim, I applied for a job and to my shock, I got it.  I started working at the new job in December. During this time, I re-evaluated my life and decided there were some changes that needed to be made. I decided that being with him wasn't where I wanted to be in life and it was time for me to move on. So, I broke up with him.  We tried to live together for a while, but that didn't work out so well, and I ended up moving out at the beginning January of this year, back to live with my family for a while so that he could sort out what he wanted to do – stay in the house or not (turns out he decided to stay in the house). 

In January, I met a wonderful guy – Matt. We started dating and things really took off.  Since I was living with my family and he lived a bit far away, we would spend a lot of time together on the weekends.  Then, in April of this year, I moved in with Crafty Mands for a while, but rising gas prices and the extra long commute plus the other driving I had to do wasn't working out for me financially. After some talking with Matt, in May we made the decision that I would move in with him. A big step, yes, but one we were definitely ready for. We've been living together for a bit over a month now and things are going really well.

All of this leads me back to gardening! I had wanted to plant a garden when I was living at the house with the ex last year, but he'd told me the ground wasn't anywhere near ready to be planted in and that it "just wasn't going to work this year." He also said the ground needed work before anything could be planted and he thought that the soil wouldn't grow anything (I'm not entirely sure why). This year I really wanted to have a garden, but things were a bit out of sorts for a while. I had been eyeing the balcony for a while when I decided I could grow some veggies, herbs and maybe some other plant life. After some encouraging from Matt, this year I'm teaching myself how to garden from containers. I've been reading loads of books, looking up things online, and spending a fair amount of time on MyFolia (you can find my page here).

In my container garden I have:

Veggies:
– patio tomatoes
– super bush tomatoes
– bush crop cucumbers
– Hungarian hot peppers
– red bell peppers
– yellow bell peppers

Herbs:
– lemon balm
– mint
– lavender
– rosemary
– cilantro
– thyme
– sage
– basil

I also have a hanging container with impatiens. I figured I'd start simple with flowers since I don't know much about them yet. I'm hoping I can learn more about different plants and add to what I'm growing eventually.

I've been checking out book after book from the library, soaking up all the information I could get on gardening, especially that on veggies and herbs. One that I really enjoyed was Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces by Patricia Lanza. I really liked the idea of layering the containers to help them grow better, so I've done all my containers in lasagna layers.

Click here to see my garden photos page. (There were just so many pictures I wanted to share!)

Everything seems to be doing pretty well right now and growing so fast!  I did discover some bugs on the patio tomatoes and I'm trying to figure out how best to get rid of them before it fruits.

~~~~~

I have been knitting lately, too. In fact I finished a whole hat in about three days that I declared a loser because the pattern was totally lost in the self-striping of the yarn. I thought about it for three days before frogging it completely. I didn't even bother to take a picture of it. It wasn't pretty, folks – just take my word for it! Since then, I've started a sock working it from the top-down. Took me a while to figure out a pattern, but I finally decided on a cable and stitch pattern combination that worked. We'll see how it turns out and if I like it, I may write it up (that is, of course, if something like what I've got going hasn't been done before!). I'm also working on a new version of the hat I frogged. Same pattern just different yarn that I think will work much better with the pattern.

HPIM0329

My Grandma came in on Saturday and I was able to give her the shawl on Monday.  She really loves it!  My mom says she's been wearing it ever since I gave it to her and she even wore it to the Krohn Conservatory yesterday.  I'm so glad she likes it!  (I'll do another post with all the FO details.)

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Author:

I’m a thirty-something who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Crafting, for me, started young - I can’t even recall a time I wasn’t crafty in some way. My first foray into yarn was doing plastic canvas embroidery and making Barbie doll furniture. Not long after that I learned to crochet from a book my grandmother gave me after asking to learn what she was doing (she crochets, afghans mostly these days). After that, I took up counted cross stitch and then came sewing when I took two fashion design classes in high school. My mom had a sewing machine from my great grandmother and I taught myself to sew from patterns on it. I still use this same sewing machine today! I started knitting in 2004 when a co-worker was pregnant with her first child and I wanted to make something for her. I bought a “learn to knit kit” from Lion Brand for a baby hat and booties set. I did make the baby hat and booties (with very few problems) and ended up gifting them to the co-worker. I wanted to make a blanket, but I wasn’t quite able to get that done in time since it took a lot longer then I’d imagined! It wasn’t until the end of 2004/early 2005 that knitting really took a hold of me. Now I love knitting and almost always have a project with me, even if it’s just something small when I’m out and about. I like a wide range of projects depending on my mood. Sometimes I like a good challenge knit and other times I enjoy a lot of stockinette or garter stitch. I love Ravelry for keeping track of my projects and for finding new things to knit - I feel like I’m always spending time on there! It’s also a great place for getting to know other knitters, crocheters, and various fiber enthusiasts. In the fall of 2008, I purchased a spinning wheel from someone on Craigslist. It’s a Babe Fiber Starter, single treadle wheel and after a bit of trouble getting used to it, I’ve managed to spin up some fiber. In January of 2012, I found someone local that was selling their Lendrum DT and it came to live with me! The Babe now lives with Jen (aka piddleloop) and she’s learning to spin. I’m still trying to find time to spin along with knitting, crocheting (occasionally), and whatever else is going on, but I work it in here and there. I’m sure there’s something I might have left out here, so if there’s anything else you want to know about me, just ask :o)

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