Knitting This Week

It's Wednesday again and that means it is time for the weekly yarn along!  I'm joining with Ginny and everyone to share yarn and books.   On Sunday I worked on the Maisie sweater (for C's school) while watching the Denver Bronco game.  Let's just say that since it was not a good game for Denver fans it was not a good night to knit.  I ended up ripping back about an inch of knitting because I knitted on the purl side and purled on the knit side.  Once I fixed that mistake I cast on for the other front piece and had to rip that out as well.

This week I also worked on the blanket for my cousin.  I am almost out of baby yarn but what I have left is a lot of different shade of blues!  But I feel like I accomplished something by using up almost all of my baby stash!

Two years ago I was a part of a square swap group on Ravelry.   I never did anything with my squares, mostly because the colors didn't mix and most squares were not 12x12.  Over the last couple of months I have unraveled almost all of the squares to use the yarn in various scrap projects.  These are the last three squares to rip apart.  The periwinkle one was pretty hard unravel and out of frustration I threw it away!
On the book front I just finished reading Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner.  WOW!  In the first chapter the main character is in a car accident and she can't remember who she is.  But she had a traumatic brain injury before her accident and it takes a while for all of the pieces to fall into place.  Who is she?  Is she a murderer?  Did she lose a child?  What is her real story?  It held my attention from the get go and didn't let up until the last page.  

The Mansion

Bryan has spent the better part of his days off for the last two weeks working on what we now call "The Mansion."  That's right, The Ladies have a new home.

I convinced him in May we needed a new coop as our pre-fab coop was falling apart.  After all it was three years old and we all know pre-fab anything just doesn't last.  We used this shed coop design as our starting out point.  Bryan build all the walls and the floor when he had time over the summer.  But then as fall was getting colder we felt the urgency to get it together.

We modified the plans considerably.  Instead of a flat roof we built a pitched roof and we didn't build a nesting box that extended from the coop.  We put nesting boxes inside the coop.  We also built a food storage bin that also has the pine shavings bag in it.  That way everything is one place.

The front door is from Habitat For Humanity.  The windows, while not installed yet, I found in the trash.  They are old, but with shims will fit perfectly between the 2x4's.  I debating whether I need to get a heater/heat lamp for those days when it is below zero.  We will have an extension cord for the water dish so it would be easy enough to do heat.

The pre-fab coop didn't really have a roost so The Ladies never roosted.  Janis and Grace II roosted for a while in the big bush in the chicken run but the others never roosted even though there were places outside the coop to do so.  The first night I checked on them they were crammed two by two into the nesting boxes!  And then the lone chicken was cuddled next to two in a box.

We purchased a lot of the outside material but for everything on the inside of the coop we used recycled materials.  We saved all of our scrap pieces of wood and I even dug through the scrap pile at the construction site up the street.

I do plan on hanging some plants on the front of the coop like the one in the original design.  I'm thinking herbs in one and pretty flowers in another.  I'm not sure if we'll put shutters on it or not.  The next nice warm day we'll get the windows in.  I also think we need to insulate the roof  so that the heat that is in there doesn't escape completely.

And of course we'll get more chickens next spring.  Which is exactly what Bryan was afraid of!

Random Thoughts on Thursday

* Raking the leaves in the front yard quick before it snows.  And of course we have the obligatory leaf pile for jumping.  Quite fun if I do say so myself! 

* Open enrollment for school begins in January.  Our neighborhood elementary school is the lowest performing elementary school in our district.  Miss C will NOT go to school there.  We have toured two schools so far and we are touring another one today.  Luckily there are some excellent schools within a couple of miles of our house.

* In some magazine I was reading at work, I read a little blurb about the Serial Podcast.  It sounded very interesting so I downloaded the first episode and listened to it yesterday.  It's a true story of a high school senior who is missing and then found murdered.  Her ex-boyfriend is arrested, tried and convicted.  He maintains his innocence and there are some that believe him.  The host of the show, Sarah Koenig, starts researching to get some answers.

Happy Thursday Friends!

Knitting This Week

It's Wednesday again and that means it is time for the weekly yarn along.  I'm joining with Ginny and everyone to share yarn and book.  It was a rather slow week in the yarn department.  I am almost finished with the left front of the purple Maisie sweater.  Then I only have a right front and a color and some trim to finish.  I think I can do that by January when it is due!

Right now I am focusing on the basketweave crochet blanket that I am making for my cousin.  She had a sweet baby girl almost two weeks ago and I'm still frantically trying to finish.  My goal is to have it done by Thanksgiving because I'll be in Minneapolis that weekend for work and I plan on inviting myself over to meet the baby.  

I just downloaded A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont.  I just started it so no word yet.  I just finished reading Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup.  I just did her 31 days of living well and spending ZERO! I hope I'm on a roll with organizing my life.  I'm currently listening to Gathering Prey by John Sanford.  It is a Lucas Davenport book and it is a bit on the bloody and violent side.  I've read or listening to all of the Lucas Davenport books so I'm used to it, but this book is a tad scary as well.

Happy Yarn Along Wednesday!

Random Thoughts on Thursday

*  Miss C as Rapunzel!  Oma made the costume again this year.  Miss C and Papa made the braid.  My mom used to make all of our Halloween costumes when my brother and I were little.  She made a few costumes for my niece and nephew when they were little and then swore she was never going to sew another costume again.  Ever.  So much for that.  As soon as she heard that Miss C wanted to be a princess mom got out her sewing machine and got to work.

Unfortunately at the Halloween party we went to the kids got their hands on some Sharpies.  Miss C has black marks on the front of her dress.  I googled how to remove it and a few of the lighter marks did come out, but for the most part there are a lot of 4+ inch black lines on the front.  I don't want to ruin her dress but I"m thinking the best thing is that my mom sew a patch of the same fabric on the front to cover it up.

*  The witch is my cousin.  Olde Town Arvada does a trick or treat street and all the merchants and business owners hand out candy.  She dresses up every year and scares the kids!  Last year a little girl asked her if that was her real nose.  When my cousin replied of course it was, the little girl responded that if she was ok with her god given nose then who was anyone else to complain about it!  Funny.  Miss C asked how she flew on her broom because it was so small (it was a mini broom).

*  Monday it was warm enough here in Denver that I wore shorts all day!  The temperatures dropped yesterday and it is supposed to snow today.  It will also be gone by tonight.  But the nice temps made me think I had much longer to clean up the yard than I really had.  What was I thinking?  It is November!

*  I've been playing a lot more on Instagram.  Are we friends?  Find me.  I'm flyingjen.

Happy Thursday my friends!

31 Days of Spending Zero- Wrap Up

So.  Our 31 days of spending zero wasn't exactly an epic fail, but we didn't save any extra money.  One thing I learned is to be more intentional with my money.  Like a lot of American's we live paycheck to paycheck.  I pay bills and necessities first and then save a little bit of money for gas and food for the next two weeks.

I had to ask myself several times while shopping if I really "needed" an item.  More often than not it was no.  I did need new tires and an alignment during October so we bought those.  The yarn I bought at Goodwill last week, not so much.  The money for my Rhinebeck trip was set aside in April and I actually came home with money!

I am thinking of driving for both Uber and Lyft in my off time.  Yes I probably make more money at my real job, but it also takes time away from my family.  And I do have to drive 30 minutes each way to work.   So if I work at extra 4 hours, it will take 6-7 hours out of my day.  So my thought is to drive during the day when C is in school to make a little extra cash to pay bills.  That way I don't have to decide which bill is more important to pay.

I didn't finish all of the daily assignments.  Some of them were organization and cleaning days and I can do that on my own.  I did clean out my closet and C's closet and dropped off a ton of stuff to Goodwill and the consignment store.

I also have done a much better job of meal planning and making meals with what we have on hand.  I organized and cleaned out the pantry.  It's much easier to meal plan with an idea of what there is to work with.  Who knew?! I'm still looking for great crockpot meals or casserole/hot dish type of dinners that I can pull out of the freezer and bake.

I would totally do a spending freeze again.  Would I do 31 days or just two weeks?  Not sure, but it was a good jumpstart to doing a budget.  (I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record on doing a budget, but I swear we will start one day).


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