It is with great nail-biting nervousness that I write this post. When I do something I can never do it small and that goes for this blog as well as everything else I take on.

I have been very busy at work creating a new blog at my own address. This will be my last post at this current blog. Today I am moving all the previous posts, pictures, etc., etc. over to my new blog. I plan on keeping this here blog open for a few more days (weeks?) as I finish cleaning it all up and moving things around. All postings from this moment forward will be done at the new blog.

So, where exactly is this new blog? It can be found at here. Please keep in mind that this website is still very much a baby and I still have a lot of work to do before it is up to my satisfaction.

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog and left me just kind and encouraging comments. I look forward to seeing you at my new home.

Dreid eucalyptus leavesDreid eucalyptus leaves

 dried eucalyptus leaves

Eucalyptus is another herb I really like to have around the house, especially this time of year. It is so good for colds and stuffy noses. I am prone to sinus infections so I like to keep a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil on hand. When my nose is stuffy due to allergies or a cold I will steam my face with a few drops of the oil placed in the steaming water.

A simple salve can be made to which the oil is added and this can be rubbed on the chest to help with congestion. It is like a homemade Vicks vapor rub.  

Another thing I like to do with eucalyptus is to take some dried leaves and simmer them on the stove in some water during periods when everyone is sick. It helps to clear the air as well as make it smell good. You would not want to do this in one of your best pots though as eucalyptus is high in resin as well as it’s essential oil. I like to have a pot that is just for simmering herbs in.

One last thing about eucalyptus, it also makes an excellent dye. A little over a week ago I wanted to experiment and see what color I would get if I used dried leaves purchased from my local health food store to make a dye. The color you get from eucalyptus will depend on the type of tree, growing conditions, etc. You can achieve anything from browns to reds. Unfortunately I do not know what type of eucalyptus makes what color of dye.

 It is a very long process extracting the dye from the leaves of eucalyptus. I simmered the leaves in the dye pot for 2 hours and then let them sit over night. The next day I simmered them again for another 2 hours. Then I was ready to add my wool yarn. I used equal amounts of dried eucalyptus leaves and yarn. And I did not mordant the yarn this time as it is not necessary to do so with this dye. I simmered the yarn in the dye for 2 hours as well. Once it was done simmering I let it sit in the dye bath overnight. A very long dye process!

My end result is a shade of brown that I can’t quite explain. It has a reddish tint to it. Sort of like a rusty brown. It is nice. Although it would have been neat to see it turn out a little more red than brown.

Yarn dyed with eucalyptus

Yarn dyed with eucalyptus leaves

Warning: this post is very off topic from knitting and herbs…..

I spent the last two days going through and re-organizing my three bookshelves and a few boxes of books I have in my closet. I have been meaning to do this forever now but never get around to doing it. I finally found the time and boy am I in disbelieve. I have way too many books! I never thought that would be possible as I absolutely love books. But after today I have come to that conclusion.

 Over the last few years I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of fiction books. I hate to blame it on the library I used to live by after all it is my lack of self control that got me in this situation but my former library does have something to do with it. The library I once lived by had the nicest little used bookstore tucked into the corner of its first floor. Whenever I went to the library to check out books or take my boys to the story hour I would stroll over to the used bookstore to see what was available. It never failed that I would find at least one book I was interested in. Sometimes I would find more than one and even a few for SET. And how could I pass them up when they would be only a dollar for a hardcover in near perfect condition? Well, unfortunately I never did pass those books up and now I find myself in the situation I am now; drowning in a sea of books I have not read.

I counted them out and if I were to read one book a month it would take me 63 months to go through all the books that I have not yet read. That is crazy! I do not remember accumulating that many. The craziest thing of all is I can not seem to part with them. I actually do want to read each and every one of them. Maybe not necessarily keep all of them, but at least read them all.

Because of this, I have decided to make a vow with myself. I am going to attempt to read at least one book a month from this moment forward. As I finish a book I will pass it on to someone else unless I absolutely love it and know for certain that I will read it again. I am going to try to be disciplined with this because I feel holding on to all those books when they have not even been read is rather silly.

So, in the next few months do not be surprised to occasionally see me writing about a book or two (or more considering how many I have to read) that I am reading. I just started one of those books and it has already pulled me in. I hope to get through it before the Christmas rush is upon me.

What am I reading? It is called Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. It is too early for me to tell if it is a keeper or not.     

Yarn dyed with acorns

The other day I finished knitting a pair of socks for my husband. I made them out of the yarn I dyed with acorns back in September. I think they turned out really nice. I love the little flecks of white. The acorns gave the yarn such a nice brown coffee with cream color which is perfect for SET because he is a major coffee addict! I’m currently working on some more dyeing experiments that I will be sure to post about here in the near future.

It got cold this afternoon! We were out and about and the rain coming down started turning to snow. It didn’t stick but sure got my two boys excited! I can not believe we are already half way through November and Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I have got to get a lot busier here on making gifts! I keep making things for people (like the above mentioned socks for example) and then giving them to the person they were made for right away. Perhaps I should be saving them for gifts…..oh well, keeps me busy I suppose.

I’m so excited! Last night I just happened to look at my emails and my invite to Ravelry arrived. I kept trying not to think about it so as to make the wait go faster and I was actually pretty surprised to see it in my inbox. Of course I immediately checked it out. And boy am I blown away! There is so much to immerse myself in! I love how it can help me get more organized with my stash, patterns, needles, etc. Plus the community aspect of it is amazing. I am very impressed. I can not wait to dive in to it all.

Not Princess A but it is her hat

I put the final touches on the hat I made for Princess A yesterday. I actually finished knitting it about a week and a half ago but I still needed to make a pom-pom for it and weave in the ends. I don’t know why but for some reason I can get lazy when it comes to weaving in the ends on a finished object. I just don’t get it. I go through all this time and effort on knitting the item up only to let it sit and wait for it’s ends to be weaved in. I do it all the time. I guess I must enjoy the process of knitting more than anything. Why else would I go to all that work only to stop when I am so close to being done with an item? It is not unusual for me to have several finished objects lined up waiting for their ends to be weaved in all the while I have begun a new pattern. Sometimes I think I like to frustrate myself!

 What drove me to finish the last little bit of her hat yesterday was the cold winds we had whipping through where we live. She needed that hat pronto. I like the final result. The pattern is from Last Minute Gifts and the yarn is Manos del Uruguay. The pom-pom is a mixture of Manos and some left over yarn that I hand dyed (the comfrey yarn).  As for who is modeling the hat, Princess A doesn’t want to leave it on long enough to get a decent picture of it.  :-)

marigolds in dye pot waiting to be made into dye

I recently posted about dyeing some yarn with pineapple sage flowers from my garden. I wasn’t all that happy with the results but it was an experiment so I wasn’t too disappointed. My next batch of yarn from the garden was going to be done with marigold flowers. I have been wanting to get to it for awhile now but it was taking foreverto gather enough flowers to dye with. Next year I plan on planting a lot more to prevent this from happening. I did another experiment with some of the marigold flowers. In my garden I have a couple of marigold plants that are the typical orange/gold marigold and a few that are a deep orange red. This picture sort of shows the difference in the two.

marigolds from garden

For the experiment, I thought I would mix the two types of flowers up instead of keeping them separate when I make the dye bath. The resulting dye was a blood red! I added the yarn that was previously mordanted with alum. Almost instantly it turned a bright yellow. I left it to simmer and was meaning to check on it every 5 minutes but I do have a 13 month old. I ended up having to attend to Princess A and unfortunately the yarn got put on the back burner, literally. The yarn ended up being in the dye about 40 minutes. Way longer than I had intended. That long soak in the simmering dye bath caused it to take on a more brownish-yellow. Still nice but maybe not what I would have gone for had I been able to keep a closer eye on it.

Once it was cool, I decided to try dip dyeing it in an iron modifier. (I will try to explain what exactly is an iron modifier for those who are interested in a future post). I added one end to the pot with the iron modifier and allowed it to simmer for about 5 minutes. This gave one end of the skein an olive green color.

finished marigold skein

All in all it was not a bad experiment. I only wish I wasn’t interrupted like I was because it would have been nice to have gotten the yarn out of the pot before it started turning more brown. I still like the results though. I did try to over-dye the pineapple sage yarn with the remaining marigold dye. Unfortunately, there was not enough dye left over to really do much but turn it just a little yellow. Now it is more a yellow fawn color! I have yet to have been able to get a decent picture of it otherwise I would post one.

This final picture is of the marigold yarn re-skeined. I love when you re-skein them and all the colors mix. That is always the fun part to me!

reskeined marigold yarn

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