Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week 7 - Project 20/20 concluded...maybe?

Is this an improvement?

I'm not convinced. Any of you gardener people out there (hello Mary and Cindy!) please comment with suggestions for ground cover - or ANYTHING to improve this spot.

It's very possible that I'm not patient enough be a gardener. I like to work by butt off and get things done. Like knitting, for knit 20 rows and you have 20 rows done. If it doesn't look good, you rip back and do it again and it's done, again (right, Mette?). With gardening, you work your butt off, and your arms and your back, and your hands and your finger nails and ... you have, well, a patch of dirt with 6 lonely lavender plants.

Speaking of getting things done...

Yep, the Das Needles group project blanket done. Whilst aesthetically it's, well, you can judge for yourself, as a completed piece I find it to be a beautiful reflection of the woman who contributed to it. I hope its owner will like it.

Lastly, guess what this is?!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

HI friends...I have a new post ready to go but am getting an error message. As soon as it's sorted, we'll be back and running......

Week 7 - Project 20/20

Having really awesome parents, they instilled in me from birth the notion that I "can do anything I want to". On the aggregate, this attitude has served me well. It just happens to not be true. In my parents' defense, they probably didn't imagine all those years ago while I was growing up that one of my "want to's" would include building a grill from stones. As it turns out, I CAN'T do that.

Project 20/20 Week 6 Finished product:

It doesn't look like much because, well, it isn't. Here's the bird's eye view:

Seems like it would be really easy, doesn't it? You just collect a bunch of rocks like these:

And you fit them together, puzzle-like, into a form that both holds wood and supports the grill screen. No problem.


It's not that easy. Puzzle pieces are meant to fit together. Stones, not really. Not to mention that my buck-o-five body had a tough time carrying the big stones needed to make the thing stable.

Oh well. I got it done and next year's will, I'm sure, be better ('specially if I take Earle-in-Denver's recommendation and go to the Self and BUY one). And, we did successfully cook meat over fire in this collection of stones on Sunday for some friends...

On the knitting front, last week's wonky-but-sincere blanket is....not done yet. It's MOSTLY done but not done enough for a photo.

This week I've picked a small project. Remember the stray grape vine? That grape vine grows from a small terrace of land that needs some attention. I attended to only half of it whilst creating the trellis for the grape vine. Having brilliantly done so leaves a patch of dirt just outside out bedroom window which has the dual benefit of being freakin' ugly to look at from the bed AND allowing all that dirt to blow right in the window on the bed.

So, this week's project is to clean up that little area:

For knitting I will be finishing the wonky-but-sincere blanket and maybe making a pair of socks.

Just in case anyone cares, my orto now has beans!

And our house might soon have city water:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ridin' the pine

So I'm sitting here working on the wonky-but-sincere blanket listening to a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers minor league baseball game on AM radio when I hear this sentence:

"I bet you still got splinters from ridin' the pine in t-ball".

I don't know why it struck me tonight since it's part of an advert that comes on about 10000000 times during any given Timber Rattlers' game, but it did. What language IS that?!

Of course I fully understand that the frozen pizza making sponsor of Timber Rattlers' baseball was razzing his colleague/brother about his lack of skills in the game of baseball being such that, as a child, he didn't get to participate in the baseball games played by the league for kids 8 year olds and younger. But think for a minute how much other background information one needs to have in order for that sentence to have any meaning what so ever.

I have a lot of international friends who speak English fluently, FLUENTLY, who would have absolutely no clue what that pizza guy was trying to say. In fact my British friends wouldn't get it.

Kinda makes me wonder how many times in the past 8 years someone has dissed me with the Italian version of a ridin'-the-pine insult and I didn't even know it.

On a related but tangential one of my non-mother-tongue-english speaking friends asked me the definition of the word "corny". I said "cheesy". That cleared everything up.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Needs a new BBQ

David will be back on Friday. David likes to grill. We have no grill.

Project 20/20 week 6 house project -- Build a grill.


After first day:

Probably about 40 of those stones will be needed to make a nice sized BBQ. I'd better pick up the pace. There would have been more in place already but when I picked up the second one in the lot across the street, I found this underneath...

That put me off the task a bit. Hopefully the severe case of the creepy crawlies I have contracted will have subsided by tomorrow so I can get back to it.

As for knitting (which, by the way, is NOT something that sounds at all appealing when one has the creepy crawlies) I'm working on another blanket. This one is rather special, however. Christine from Das Needles (our little international knitting group) has recently lost her mom. When we first heard that she had been taken ill, Mette, Natalie and I decided that maybe Christine would like something warm to wrap around her in the hard times that would follow this inevitable loss. We each made 12 squares - knitted, crocheted, in any fashion or color of yarn which will be assembled into the wonkiest but most heart-felt blanket imaginable. So this week for my project 20/20 knitting I have the honor of sewing the pieces together...right after I finish making my 12 squares. (note: if you are reading this and you are a friend of Christine's, please don't tell her. It's meant to be a surprise. If you are reading this and you are Christine, well, pretend you didn't read that last paragraph, ok?)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yeah, ok. Lesson learned. Actually several lessons were learned today:

1. I can't build a trellis in one day, at least not one that looks as good as the one in my head.

2. I need a motozappa.

3. Sticking a 6 foot tall piece of cane in rock-hard ground deep enough so it is stable is very difficult, one might even say impossible.

4. Don't photograph beautiful socks on a dirty dog rag towel.

5. Don't make good "before" pictures....not if you want the "after" pictures to look good.



6. Make sure you've turned the water heater on BEFORE starting to build a trellis in rock-hard ground without a motozappa because a HOT bath is obligatory immediately upon completion.

And, yeah yeah yeah,

7. Don't put off a big project to the last day, not if you want to finish it properly.

Having said all that, it is still fun to look out the bedroom window on some stray grapevines climbing

Thursday, May 13, 2010


So I'm standing at the front door, looking out the window and taking to David on the phone. The dogs are romping around in the rain on the patio. One of the old guys with land up above drives by and the dogs, as they do with all cars, begin to bark and chase their tails and go momentarily insane. Just as the guy goes by the house I notice him cross himself. You know forehead, heart, shoulder, shoulder - father, son and the holy spirit...that kind of thing. The only time I've ever seen people do that is when they pass a cemetery or if a hearse drives by.

Lynn (the dog-paranoid non Catholic) says: Oh no! The old guy in the white Panda just drove by and crossed himself when the dogs started barking. I wonder if he knows something we don't know about our dogs!

David (the relaxed, former Catholic) says: Lynn, there is a Madonna shrine across from the house.


As you may have guessed, this little vignette comes to you in place of the photos of my new grapevine trellis...which I haven't started yet. No problem! I still have another day ...

forehead, heart, shoulder, shoulder.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Week 4 of the 20/20 project is going to have to bleed into week 5. What a drag to have to admit to you all that I didn't get my homework done this week. Drag. Here's my list of excuses:

1. The dog ate my orto.

2. There was a strike so all trains to my orto were cancelled.

3. I was bedridden with that 72 hour malaria bug that was going around.

4. I sprained my belly-button which made bending extremely painful.

5. There was a volcano in Iceland.

6. I accidentally flushed my hoe down the toilet.

7. I over slept Sunday night and woke up on Friday.

8. My nail polish was wet.

9. Granny smack.

Truth is, it wasn't my fault. Coming off my enthusiasm for having the orto tilled last week(thanks Earle-in-Denver, a motozappa is a roto-tiller), first thing Monday morning I was elbow deep in the dirt. I worked all morning making perfect little rows for my tomatoes and peppers, leaving little walkways between. Beautiful. See...

And then the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped. It rained for the next five days (good) and it was cold, very very cold (bad).

All I could do was sit on the couch with my smack and hope that what I (prematurely) planted will survive.

My excuse for not finishing that is ... I'm in Italy. I ran out of yarn at midnight on Friday and there are no 24-hour yarn shops in this country.

Well, let's not dwell on the past. Week 5's project is to construct an arch of sorts to support this stray grape vine behind the house (and finish the orto, of course).

I haven't a clue how I'm going to do this, by the way. But how cool will that be?! Look! It even has grapes already.

Knitting projects will include plugging away at the blanket I started last week (assuming I can get more yarn) and some of these socks. I love them and they will look so cute tromping through the orto.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Head pictures

Ya know, when you have a picture of a project in your mind before you do it, well, sometimes they turn out just as beautifully as you had imagined...

Giardino 2010...

And then sometimes when you do something you're imagining in your head, it comes out WAY BETTER than you imagined....

And then, well, there're always the projects that don't turn out quite as beautifully as your head picture...

Damn bell curve. Oh well, new week new projects!

Week 4 house project is the ORTO!!! That big beautiful brown pool of earth needs some veggies. It also needs a watering system and some sort of protection from wild boar (and wild dogs).

Week 4 knitting project is ... granny smack. I couldn't stay away too long.