First things first, have you noticed it’s snowing here at LPE? Boy do I love me some snow. On the blog that is. Ok in real life too. Just minus the biting cold. I’m not ready. It’s sooooo cold! Boo.

Ok, the annual whining about the winter weather is complete. On to the real purpose of this post.

Hip Hip Hoooooooraaaaay! The co-knitted blanket is finally complete.

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My first project in the One Project a Week create-a-thon is done. I know. It’s been like twelve weeks. Ok ok. Fifteen weeks. And I should have fifteen different projects to show for my toils. But no, it’s just the one. But I’m glad to have finished. Thanks to Lesa/Mummy for tag-teaming this lovely beast of a blanket. And thanks also to the easy-to-follow pattern in More Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (Mount Holyoke ’89!!) and and the beautiful and inspirational work and guidance shown on her Purl Bee blog. Mum, I hope that one day soon you and I can make a pilgrimage to Purl Soho to reward ourselves for our efforts. :-)

So what’s next, you ask?

We’ll, I’m also here to announce that I won’t be selecting another project out of the jar until January. Given that it’s now the holiday season and I have lots of creative and crafty projects on my to-do list in preparation for Christmas gifting, I’m gifting myself a break with the idea that starting back up on the One Project a Week project would make a great New Years Resolution!

This is a good plan, methinks. Ok. Good. Good good good.

Full disclosure # 1 — It has been three weeks since my last post. This is no big hidden secret. You can check the date stamp on my prior post and see that yes, in fact, three weeks have passed since my first post on doing One Project a Week. Ha Ha!, you laugh. She couldn’t even make it through week one! Ha ha!

Well…

Full disclosure # 2 — I have been working on the same project I pulled from the Jar on Week 1. I know, I have already broken a rule. Rule No. 4 states:

‘If project isn’t finished by Sunday evening, put the To-Do back into the jar so you can work on it again another week.’

Well, you see, Project 1 is this flipping co-knitted blanket. It is beautiful, really, and I only say flipping because I feel like we’ve been knitting on it for a year. And I only feel that way because we almost have? My mum and I have been kneedling away on this thing since… last November? Yes. It was last November. We bought the wool from Windsor Button (RIP, boo-hoo, no more Windsor Button) during Thanksgiving 2012. Now remember too that we live about 10-flyover states away from each other, and have had to mail (or fly) this dang thing back and forth to get it done. So really, it’s not that bad, right? And it is a huge 5×5 foot blanket. Knitted. With multiple and complicated color and stitch direction changes. Did I tell you it’s knitted?

Well, it is.

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And it is lovely.

It is a gift, and the recipient needs this blanket before the cold months begin, so I MUST finish it. It’s not quite done and probably needs a few more weeks of work. Goal is two weeks.

So for now, I’m foregoing the rules and will finish this blanket by knit and by purl (well, really only by knit since the whole thing is knit stitch) and will pull a new to-do from the jar whence this dang blanket is complete.

In other news, I have been a fairly productive baker these last three weeks. I made these, for instance:

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To be honest, I have baked scones every weekend. Having been spoiled with readily available quality scones on our vacation, I have had the urge to bake them. A lot. I’ve tried three different recipes, and today’s were the worst. The scone in the pic above was try #1 and they were quite good.

I also made this Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe with Bird’s Custard ice cream (a recipe of my own design). ‘Where’s the pic!?’ you say. ‘Show me this STP!’ Hoh! Aren’t you demanding?

I promise I did make it. I cut up and made a crazy mound of sticky dates, and used cream and molasses to make the toffee sauce. I did make this delectable pudding. And though I have no photographic evidence, I do have witnesses—Annie, Mark, and Shehz all partook in the STP.

And it was good.

See, I’ve been productive, even though I have spent all of my creative time baking and knitting on this one project. I feel accomplished! I feel happy! And I feel… full.

And ok, NO. I have not completed One Project a Week. But I have completed one scone a week. OK OK! I’ve completed 4 scones a week, if you must count… OK 5!!!

Cheeky.

It’s been so long since I’ve posted that I almost feel like I’m starting a new blog. I thought about it actually, because of what I’m about to introduce to you, but starting a new blog is messy and too much work, so here we go.

One Project a Week.

This idea isn’t new. It’s not even new to me, come to think of it. Shoot. (See An ultimatum; Read: Total Fail). But oh well and anyhoo…

My college friend Anne and her partner Jessica and their sweet little summer blog of old, Jar of Fun, were the inspiration here. They sat down together in the hot hot heat of a Texas summer and wrote down all sorts of stuff to do. From big things like going camping, to small things like coloring in coloring books, they had a great list of fun things to do to beat the heat and fill out the long days of summer. Then they cut up the list and put the individual To-Dos in a jar. (I’m pretty sure it was almost) every day that summer they chose one item out of the jar and did it. And then they blogged about it. What fun! I enjoyed reading about all of their daily big and small adventures, and filed away in my mind the ‘daily jar of fun’ idea, hoping someday I’d return to do it myself.

Well, Someday is today. Because last week, whilst on vacation (I was feeling inspired I guess, and clear of mind), I vowed to Mark that I would do more projects when we got back. I would do more art. More sewing. More baking. More painting. I’ve been horribly bad about flexing my creative muscles this past year (not to mention flexing my other muscles too… must do more running/hiking/biking… filing that away too. Hrm…) I have many many many many many unfinished projects that I’ve told myself I’d get done, you know, someday. And I figured why not merge Jar of Fun with Get Shit Done and do One Project a Week.

I’ve just finished writing down as many items of unfinished business I can think of from the started projects in my office, and a few new things too, since I have things sketched out in my brain that I haven’t even begun in real life.

Here they are:

jar

The rules are:

  1. Pick one To-Do out of the jar every Sunday evening
  2. Work on project during the forthcoming week; make as much progress as possible
  3. Chart progress on L.P.E.
  4. If project isn’t finished by Sunday evening, put the To-Do back into the jar so you can work on it again another week
  5. If project IS finished, smile and shout ‘HOORAY!’
  6. Shake jar and pick a new To-Do
  7. Feel Happy (hopefully) and perpetually inspired
  8. Repeat

Sound good?

Alright, followers. Time to make bets on how long it takes for me to fail. NO! Wait. No. Just kidding.

I will not fail!

OK. Here we go.

First pick is….

Mom and Anna’s co-knitted blanket.

See you in a few days!

Lots of stuff has gone on since my last post. Heck, two seasons have come and gone. Fall was short and winter has been a bummer. Looking forward to spring arriving ASAP.

Until next time, here’s a video I made of my fish. Cute, aren’t they? Just got their tank cleaned.

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Check out today’s harvest! Sooooo many cherry tomatoes and two little tester carrots. Plus a giant eggplant?! Awesome!

I wanted to get everything picked that was ready before the great Hurricane Irene comes in this weekend. With projected 70-125 mph winds coming in, I’m worried we’ll lose our garden. I would be so sad if this happened, but I’m going to try and cover everything with a tarp and just see what happens. I suppose that’s all we can do!

You say Tomayto and I say Tomahto, let’s just say we have a whole lot of both.

Our lovely little garden we put in this May, which started out like this:

with tiny little seedling plants we purchased from Russo’s in Watertown (excellent plant selection and the best quality produce and value anywhere. Period.) and a few seeds.

I am amazed at how, with some water and nurturing and bucket-fulls of patience, we now have a fully grown and fruitfully producing garden. Here’s an aerial view:

And an inside view:

We have tomatoes of various kinds, eggplants, squash, and cucumbers, as well as lettuce, carrots, green peppers, yellow peppers, cubaneles, and hot peppers. All of this with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (and basil, chives, and lavender) means we’ve been eating very, very well this summer.

We’ve come a long way from our pot garden adventures. Pot gardening was fun but we were limited by the pot size and the plants just couldn’t get that big before getting root bound, which meant the fruit harvest was minimal.

Now we have tomato plants that are growing every-which-way. We have one plant that created six separate different vines that each needed their own stake. Some of the plants are as tall as me:

We are especially grateful to our wonderful neighbors/landlords who allowed us to dig out some nasty vine-y roses and overgrown weeds on the side of the house and lay out a thoughtful garden plot that has surpassed our expectations for growth and produce.

We are also very proud to boast that this garden is nearly all organically grown. I say nearly because we’re not sure if the seedlings we purchased were organically wrought. But all of the soil, compost additives, and fertilizers were organic mixtures (Coast of Maine, mostly, and we highly recommend). Maybe next year we can shoot for 100% by keeping some of our seeds or purchasing organic seedlings and seeds.

The tomatoes, I must say, are the best I’ve ever eaten. We grew some that are as big around as a softball, and some tiny little cherries. We have an heirloom plant that produces pink tomatoes that when cut up look like watermelon and taste perfectly tomato-y. We eat them in salads and sandwiches, or just halve them up with salt and pepper and bite into them like an apple.

I’ll leave you with photos of a few of our harvests.

Jealous? Don’t be. Come on over. We have plenty to share.

This is just a place holder post for a longer, newsy and mile by mile account of our Tour de Lakes and London Adventure. Suffice it to say, we did make it back safely, pretty much no worse for the wear and with hundreds of happy memories and twice as many pictures. I’m still combing through most of both and will write more soon. But until I do, here is one snapshot of a particularly happy memory:

Here we are, resting our feet after a semi-grueling (but not excruciatingly harrowing) day three ride over only two fells. Am I being a bit cryptic? Yes indeed—you’ll have to check back later for the detailed travel log, which will be coming very, very soon. And by soon I mean this weekend, after I’ve upgraded my system software, downloaded and compiled all photos from Mummy and my cameras, and written a clear and concise account of one of the very best adventures I’ve ever had.

Huzzah!! Today my mom Lesa and I set off on our great cycling tour of the Lake District in England. We are thrilled and excited, anticipating a few big hills, hearty pub meals, cozy B&Bs, and bucolic views. Mom’s looking forward to trying an English breakfast, and I’m looking forward to buying Mom a Guinness!

We’ll be taking off soon from Logan airport for a quick hop across the pond to London, then it’s a three-or-so hour train ride up to Penrith where we’ll bus it over to Keswick. Our flight leaves here at 18:40 but we won’t arrive in Keswick until about 17:00 GMT (12:00 EST) tomorrow. We’re in for a long day but we’re chuffed. That’s “stoked” or “thrilled” to all you Yankees — I’ve been trying to teach Mummy some British words, like “cheers” for “thank you” and “quid” for “dollars”. She doesn’t much like when I say “bollocks” or “wanker” but I’m hoping by the end of our trip she’ll bust out with loud “buggar”.

Check back in with us as we cycle our way around the north west Lake District’s fells, dales and becks.

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But until then, Tally Ho! See you in the Lakes!!

xx

Huh?

Yeah, you got me. I have no idea what a “petite lap elephant” is either, but considering this is the #1 search term that links to the blog, such a thing exists. The other question of WHY a person wants or needs a petite lap elephant is also beyond me. Who the heck knows.

I am intrigued, though, and would love to hear your ideas. And since we haven’t had a giveaway in such a long while, I think it might be fun and prudent to have one RIGHT NOW. Well, ok—this isn’t your regular giveaway. Perhaps giveaway is a misnomer. I suppose it’s more of a give-and-get.

Because, you see, I want to hear from you. So I will award TWO Le Petit Éléphant soaps to the reader(s) who can, in my opinion, best (“best” to be defined as “the cutest, funniest, and most creative”) elucidate the elusive “petite lap elephant”. No standard definition will do, however. I challenge you to dig deep, think hard, and be creative. Write a haiku. Draw a picture (mail it to us here). Or pen a tall tale or a lengthy narrative. We’ll name the winner(s) in a future post, and send said winner(s) some Le Petit Éléphant happiness.

So tell us: What IS a Petite Lap Elephant?

Today, I think, was the true start of summer. For starters it was the most glorious day. Full sun and a slight breeze, blue skies. It was warm and not too humid. We Bostonians and Cantabrigians have made it through the annual epic commencement season (Harvard exercises were Wednesday and Thursday) and so the city and Harvard Square, abuzz for the past few weeks with pomp and circumstance, are now saying “¡adios!” to the student crowds and welcoming, well, sort of, the throngs of tourists.

Walking through The Square today were crowds of people—mostly tourists but some lingering students and families—girls in sun dresses, boys in shorts, a snaking line outside the froyo spot, every Starbucks order “iced”, and generally a sense of freedom and excitement. Freedom from books and classes and excitement for what lay ahead. I couldn’t help but hum “Schoooooool’s. Out. For. The summer!” Too bad we’ll work through summer. But even at the office today we didn’t get mail, which, for a finance office, means a small moment of peace and quiet.

Tonight we spent some time tending the garden, pulling a few weeds, aerating the strawberries and planting a few more peppers. Then Mark lit up the grill and made us our first summer feast: burgers, brats, potatoes, and salad. Sooooo yummy.

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And since it was such a nice evening, we brought our food and cold drinks out front to the stoop. With plates on our knees we dined al fresco

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Our entertainment was, as on every night, a little league baseball game. Tonight we cheered on the Rockies v. Red Sox. Mark provided color commentary and I root-root-rooted for the big hits. There was some impressive pitching and fielding, and nice hits sent batters around the bases.

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At one point the game was interrupted by a baby running through the outfield, but security (his mom) intervened and the game went on. The cricketers waited in the outfield with their bats and wickets for the game to end and, and when it had finished and the baseballers cleared the field, they set up the pitch for a late match before the sun dipped below the hills and the twilight turned too dark. There are no lights on this field (and that is probably a good thing).

We love our little community here in Coolidge Square, Watertown. So much going on—people out and about, families of all shapes and sizes and nationalities. Dogs of every kind. Guys of every age and background playing pickup games of B-Ball. A little park with swings, Armenian markets, a diner, and a local pizzeria/fishfry/soft serve joint, all visible or a stone’s throw from our stoop. The view from where we sit—our cheap seats—is pretty great. Can’t wait for more nights like this. I’ll never want summer to end.

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