Siding the House: Part 1

I say part 1, but it’s more like “years one, two, and three”. It’s been a long time in progress. And I have a long way to go, though I’m technically about 2/3 done. Potentially, all my creative energy (and time) outside of the shop and family things has funneled into this project.

It started in October 2015. Little did we know when we decided to side the house ourselves that we would, just two months later, opt to speed up our 5 year Little Woods plan to a 4 month period. We signed a lease and started the reno on our shop. So the siding took a back seat.

In 2015 we did tear off one side of the house, and found lots of dry rot and that kind of thing. After fixing it, I wrapped it up for the winter and did some reconstructive woodworking – which felt more like bondo-ing a car than woodworking.

2015-10-10 16.55.39

In 2016 our kind friends helped us get the siding on that side done.

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In 2017 I tore off another side and house wrapped it. As well as repaired the cracked window panes, glazed them, and replaced the window frames and reconstructed the window sill – dry rot. Oh and rotted studs had to be cut out and replaced. Let me just say. I never like seeing the inside of my house from the outside unless it’s through a window.

I also painted the porch and the other side of the house we sided in 2016. Doesn’t look too bad. Well except the gables. On this side it is in pretty okay shape so it has to wait until I’m ready to do all the gables… as in I need to figure out if I want replace or repair the siding and whether to keep it vertical or do shingles as an accent.

And here we are. Today I did a final coat of paint on the porch and painted the inner door blue. A couple weeks ago I replaced our storm door and just this week picked up the new storm windows we had made. Oh and last fall I glazed all the inner windows on the porch. What a huge difference that made with our heating bill!

A funny thing about the paint. When I painted the back of the house, the north side, it was flat. I’ve used flat paint before, but this was really chalky looking. Within a month it was super drab.  I tried to wash it, but a spray down with the hose was not doing it. I still had one more final coat of paint so the paint store guy recommended eggshell. Which now looks super shiny. Weird. But it washes off really easily. And I’m 2/3 done and it takes 4 coats to go from white to plum. Just sayin’. I’m way too far in to turn back to flat now.

I know it seems like a lot and over a long duration, 3 summers now, but I enjoy the work and I get a pretty big boost of satisfaction when I finish a certain section. Or reconstruct a window frame. Or paint a door. Or replace a whole stud by sawing into the side of the house. Who doesn’t feel badass after doing that for the first time and having it actually work out okay and not collapse the house.

 

Until next time….

promise there will be some craft talk 🙂

Kristin M Roach

 

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Pattern: Perfect Crochet Dishcloth

Thank you Cassandra for reminding me of this little gem of a pattern! I’m happy to add things to the website on a per-request basis. And your timing is excellent, I just found a box of peaches n’ creme in my studio clean out. Here the original post with a few edits for ease of reading. Originally published 12/14/2014.

Coming up on Christmas – just 10 days of crafting/baking left – I thought it was the perfect time to give you all some ideas for some last minute gifts. This weekend I’ve spent some time on a hand full of things like scarves, hats, and bootwarmers. But for this first last minute gift, I thought I would go with the one I’ve been making in mass for all my friends and fam: Crochet Dishcloths.

Crochet dishcloths make the perfect last minute gift. You (and I) can tuck it into a basket of baking or tie with a card for extended family, neighbors, co-workers. One evening of crocheting and you can easily have half a dozen or so. And they are useful! And by next year, they should be worn out enough that no one will mind getting more! Excellent! (In theory anyway, unless you have friends who cherish them like gold plated fine china in which case they are making a shrine to your crafting efforts and that’s okay too). Jump to the bottom of the post for the free crochet dishcloth pattern I love to make.

crochet-dishcloth-free-pattern-4

For the most part, I grab my favorite stitch dictionary, select a slightly textured heavy weight pattern, and have a go at it. FYI, if considering stitch dictionaries, I highly recommend Harmony Guides: Basic Crochet Stitches.

I have often wondered what size I should crochet my dishcloth. Sure I could go measure the current ones in my kitchen, but when making them from yarn, there are other considerations. Like how wide should it be if I want to get two out of one ball of peaches n’ creme with no leftovers and have it be a square shape?

It took a few evenings of crocheting, but I finally had the answer to my query. Right drape, right size, right stitch pattern, right amount of yarn leftover (umm, zero!). I liked the drape and texture of this simple half double crochet and slip stitch “scrunch stitch” pattern. I used a size H hook (tried a G, D, and I).

crochet-dishcloth-free-pattern-3

There were four sizes that came out of all this. First I started out with a foundation chain of 27 (#4), then 21 (#1), then 25 (#3), then 23 (#2). Of course the last one I tried, 23, was the magic number that allowed me to make two of the same size out of one ball of peaches ‘n’ creme yarn with no leftovers left.

Free Yarn Maximized Dishcloth Pattern


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Notes: If you want to make your own of any of the sizes I played around with, here’s the pattern for it all written up. Make a foundation chain of 23 (bolded), if you want to get two out of 1 ball of yarn.

Sizes: 1(2,3,4) = small (medium, large, x-large) 

Material: 1 ball – Peaches ‘n’ Creme Yarn – 100% Cotton Yarn. Worsted Weight. 120yds/109m. 2.5oz/70.9gm

Tools: Size H (5mm) crochet hook

Gauge:  10sc = 4 inches

Abbreviations

  • st – stitch
  • ch – chain
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sc – single crochet
  • hdc – half double crochet

Directions

Chain 21(23,25,27), turn.

Row 1: Sl st in 2nd ch from hook, *hdc in next stitch, sl st in next stitch*, repeat * * to end, turn; if done correctly, you should end with the slip stitch.

Row 2: Ch2 (counts as 1st hdc), sl st in next st (should be top of hdc in previous row),  hdc in next stitch (top of sl st in previous row, repeat * * to end, turn.

Work as row 2 until you have a square. Cut yarn and pull through last loop. Weave in all ends to finish.

Have fun crocheting up a storm!

Until next time!
Kristin

Studio clean out

It always gets worse before it gets better.

I’ve been listening to this book called Decluttering at the Speed of Life and have been… well decluttering. Big time.

Talking 3 pickup truck loads to the goodwill from the kitchen, master bedroom, spare bedroom, and living room.

It’s not been a very creative period but I feel like it’s a big step towards making space for creativity.

The author warns against jumping into the hard areas and instead advocates the easy stuff. Like the kitchen. And even more basic, start with the easy stuff like trash and things that belong elsewhere — like out of your kitchen or out of your life even.

After doing this for about 3 months now — and I still have a long way to go with the above locales in my home — today I took my first dip into my studio.

I was down here painting about a month ago and it didn’t seem that bad. But I think even since then my clutter vision has changed. And I added one more thing. A tilt drawing table — something I’ve always wanted and it was free and it’s sturdy and I couldn’t say no. But now I’m faced with how to make it fit. And. Well. I can’t.

Something has to go.

Here is where all my decluttering comes into play. So back to step one. The easy stuff. Trash. Then things that don’t belong.

And maybe not the first step, but a needed step, removing fixtures that don’t need to be in here.

It’s just too much stuff. Not even the little clutter tucked all over the place. It’s the furniture. To keep, to move to another room, to donate.

Maybe I’ll just go back to the easy stuff and start with taking out the trash and doing my dishes.

Until next time,

Kristin M Roach

Knit Pattern: Thrummed Lady Moss Mittens

This is one of my favorite winter patterns and I still wear them every cold weather season. I’ve also made them larger for Jason which he refers to as his ridiculously warm mittens. It was first published November 11, 2007

I usually start the summer to fall to winter layering with fingerless glove, a light scarf, and a jacket or thick sweater. Then it goes to a hat, thicker scarf, full gloves, and a medium coat. Now I’m moving into the winter coat, thick wool hat, long warm scarf, and thick mittens. There is only one issue. Late last winter/early spring I lost my mittens! What am I to do?

ladymossmitten-main

Well how about whip up some new ones with some stash yarn. I’m feeling particularly cold this year and wanted some extra warmth. My friend had just told me about this technique called thrumming. Perfect! Lets give that a shot too. I must say I really enjoy them, they are super warm and really cute to boot! The neat thing is that as you wear the mittens, the roving will felt and it will make a super warm, somewhat water proof mitten. Hooray! Perfect for anybody in the winter.


Lady Moss Mittens Knitting Pattern


Ingredients
75 grams worsted merino wool MC
50 grams worsted merino wool CC
25g merino wool roving
Size 3.5mm dpn (US 4); Set of 5
3 place markers

Notes about the yarn choice: I used yarn that was my first shot at natural dyeing with lettuce. It didn’t turn out so hot, but with the green roving in there, it perks right up. I would say that Cascade 220 would be similar in weight and texture.

Gauge 22sts x 30 rows = 4” x 4” in stockinette stitch

ladymossmitten-chartAbbreviations
CO = cast on
CC = contrasting color
St(s) = stitch(es)
rnd = round
MC = main color
K = knit
P = purl
Kfb = knit through the front and then the back of the same stitch (increase stitch)
Pm = place marker
M1 = make 1 st
Ssk = slip, slip, knit (Decrease stitch)
K2tog = knit 2 sts together (Decrease stitch)
BO = bind off

ladymossmitten-sub2Thrumming When knitting in the roving, just use a thin teased out piece about the length of your pinky. When you get to the stitch that is done with the roving, place your main color yarn over the needle as if to knit, then loop the roving over the needle next to the MC yarn, knit the stitch. On the next row knit the roving and the MC yarn together as if one stitch. If you work them separately you will make an increase.

 

Directions
CO 36 sts with CC and arrange evenly on 4 needles; 9 sts on each needle.
Join in the round and work 1 x 1 rib (K1, P1) for 3 inches.
Change to MC and start working the chart.
Rnd 1: (k1, kfb, k to last 2 sts on needle, kfb, k1); K1, kfb, k2, kfb, k2, kfb, k1; repeat ( ) 2 more times; 45 sts on needles.
Start of Thumb Gusset
Note: Work chart, but skip over the gusset stitches and continue chart after the second place marker.
Rnd 2: Knit 22sts, place marker, m1, k1, m1, place marker, knit to end.
Rnd 3: Knit all (as in knit all stitches in round three).
Rnd 4: Knit 22sts, slip marker, m1, knit to pm, m1, slip marker, knit to end.
Rnd 5: Knit all.
Repeat Rounds 4 and 5 five more times – 14 rounds worked.
Knit all for three rounds.
Repeat Round 4.
Knit all one round.
Knit to marker, remove marker and place gusset (stitches between the two markers) on to scrap yarn, remove second marker, knit to end.
Knit all until piece measures to just above the little finger.
End on row 1 or 4 of the chart. The remainder of the mitten is worked with just the main color.

Decrease Round
Rnd 1: K1, ssk, knit to the last three stitch on needle two, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, knit to the last three stitches of needle four, k2tog, k1.
Rnd 2: K all.
Repeat Rnds 1 & 2 two more times.
Repeat Rnd 1 until 20 sts remain.
Arrange sts evenly on 2 needles and use the kitchner st to BO all sts.

Thumb
Pick up sts on scrap yarn and arrange evenly on 3 needles.
Rnd 1: K to end of needle 3, pick up and k one st at gap between needle 3 and 3.
Rnds 2-6: K all.
Rnd 7: (K1, k2tog, k to end of needle) repeat to end.
Rnd 8: K all.
Repeat rnds 7 & 8 two more times.
Cut yarn and thread through sts on needles, tighten up the hole and weave in all ends.
Repeat all steps for the second mitten.

 

 

Instapot Short Ribs in a Pinch

This is a story of how I am definitely not a professional cook and got myself into a bind.

You know how you know you should do something and you think of it, sideline it, and then think of it, and sideline it…. and think of it and sideline it. You get the idea. That’s what I did. I knew I needed to start thawing the ribs two days ago. I just kept forgetting whenever I was actually in a place (ie Home) when I could get them out of the deep freeze. You see, I’m supposed to be taking delish short ribs to a friends house tonight as the entree for our shared meal. Pressure is on. Pun totally intended.

So this morning I’m thinking how in the world am I going to get this done and maybe that rotiseree chicken from HyVee isn’t such a bad option after all. Then I remember, hey, pressure cooker. Those are supposed to speed thing up and breakdown tough meat right? After looking around on the wonderful internet, I found this recipe for How to Make Instant Pot Short Ribs. Unlike Mila who has countless recipes and experiences with using a pressure cooker, I’m a total newbie. I make rice. I tried to use it as a slow cooker and pretty much just made a pot of really good tasting mush. Unfortunately Jason and Lucy are not fans of mush.

First step in my mad dash for short ribs – thawing in the microwave – yikes. I hate having to do that. But well, I’m in a pinch and this is what it’s come to.

Second step. Salt and pepper. Then I seared it in batches.

Check. So far so good.

Go a little choppy with onions, garlic, some carrots (lucy loves carrots). Saute those in the seared fat drippings in the instapot.

Deglaze. Of course I didn’t have 3 cups of good wine. I had 2 cups of crap red wine (I’m a fan of a good $2 bottle of merlot, but wow, this stuff was bad to the point I couldn’t finish a glass even). And some veg broth with some beef better than bouillon in the mix.Making a pile, I sort of coated all the beef in the wine/broth/onion mixture, sprinkled in some Bouquet Garni (excepting the bay leaf chunks because I don’t have a culinary sachet), Rosemary, and Parsley. Wondered at the sanity of what I was attempting and how full the pot was (“Is this going to explode? hmmm…. I’ll find out soon enough I guess”).

And now I wait…

….

..

It worked! what a reliefI took all the solid stuff out and put the pot in the fridge to make it easier to skim the fat off the top. Then I reduced it down by about half or as much as time allowed before we headed over to our friend’s house.Voila.

Served over rice with the carrots on the side it was delicious. All together it took about 2 1/2 hours, a much shorter timeline than my usual 14 hours of cooking for short ribs.

Craft Leftovers Homecoming

THANKS~2
This is me at our tea shop, Little Woods, enjoying a nitro tea during Book Club. 

More than a decade ago… whoa. I started a blog called Craft Leftovers to fill a need in my life. I needed some outside accountability in busting my stash. I had my own pile of yarn and fabric as well as all the craft supplies I inherited from my grandma. Over the next several years my hobby blog grew into a full blown career as a pattern writer. It culminated in 2011 when I wrote a book for one of my favorite publishers – Storey Publishing – called Mend it Better!

Life is full of twists and turns and within a year of writing Mend it Better, I was hired as a curator at an Art Center and gave birth to our daughter Lucy. It set me on the path that lead to retiring from the art center and opening a tea shop with my husband! Whoa again.

I had always intended to write more blog posts about crafting, diy projects, cooking, and herbalism. I even took pictures and wrote the posts that just never quite made it to the internet.  But right when I was ready to push that “publish” button… we got hacked. In a huge way! Literally corrupted all my data. I became pretty demoralized and the work involved to get it back off the ground was daunting and more than I could face while getting the shop off the ground and taking care of a toddler. So I put it off… until now. While we might be able to restore some of the archive eventually, I’ve decided to breath new life into Craft Leftovers and start anew.

I’m facing down that original spark that inspired my first blog post ten years ago. I need some accountability. But this time, it’s not just using up my stash. It’s doing something creative every week for me, for my daughter, and our home using what’s on hand.

Just typing this up has me fired up to craft, clean, and play with some fabric with Lucy – she’s been asking for some sewing lessons again!

Until next time!
Kristin M Roach