Sunday, December 30, 2007


Well, I'm making progress on the basement sewing room. I revieved a $30 gift card from Lowe's for Christmas from my Mom & Dad. I went yesterday and bought the primer and another sanding sponge. I had 2 cans of blue Dutch Boy paint that I bought to paint the store room, which didn't get used because I used a pre-wallpapered drywall for that. So anyway, as you may remember from an earlier blog entry, I have decided to paint the sewing room purple. I bought the blue paint at Menards, so I took it to Menards to see if they could change the color. And they could. And they didn't charge me which was even better. This morning before I came to work I worked on sanding the drywall joints. I got the 2 longest walls done, which makes me about 1/3 of the way done. Since my plans for New Years day fell through (everyone has the flu) I'm planning on working on the rest of the walls. I will have to apply a little more drywall mud to a few problem areas, but there are not a whole lot of those. Should be ready to start priming soon.

On the knitting front, I mentioned last week that I want to make the Denmark Gefjon jacket by Elsebeth Lavold. While, waiting for my turn at Elisabeths copy of the Knitter's Winter 1998 magazine, I found a copy on Ebay and bought it for $8.50 (plus S&H). It arrived on Saturday. I have been thumbing through it and reading over the pattern. I have to do some practice cabling before I start. And of course I have to buy the yarn too. I can't decide whether I want to use 100% wool or 100% superwash wool. After a bad experience with felting a vest I made, I am leaning towards the superwash. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Weight Loss Milestone!

Just wanted to share with everyone my exciting news from this weekend. Please bear in mind that this information is PRE-Christmas. I didn't dare weigh myself this morning, even though I think I did pretty well yesterday.


I weighed myself bright and early Monday morning and I lost 5 lbs. last week. That brings me to a new grand total of 22 lbs. lost. I am just so excited about crossing that 20 lb barrier. Also, on Saturday, I was visiting with my friend Teresa and we were discussing some of the different exercises that I have learned from both Jim Karas and Heather at Pinnacle Gym. Ones we hated versus the ones we liked. I told her how I had been unable to do the side plank exercise. She was unfamiliar with that one, so I got down on the floor to demonstrate it to her and OH MY GOD! I could do it!! When I first started working out with the Cardio-Free Diet, I could barely lift my butt off the floor for this exercise and had to struggle to do it from my knees, because there was no way in hell I could do it from my ankles. I was blown away that I could now do this exercise!

I cannot believe how much I have benefited from all the strength training. I never got this much success when I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill or elliptical or stairmaster or stationary bike. I whole heartedly recommend this book and exercise program to anyone who is thinking they need to loose weight or to just strengthen their muscles. Personally I think calling it a diet is a misnomer, because to me it is not just a diet it is a lifestyle change. It has taught me better ways of eating, and yes I still occasionally have something "bad" to eat, but I don't beat myself up about it (at least not too badly ;o) ), I just do some extra exercises and eat better the next meal. I find that I think more about what I am going to eat now than I used to. I just don't go running through the drive thru or have a cake snack to tide me over. And when dining out, I really look through the menu and ask myself 'what would be better for me, the grilled salmon or chicken versus the fried chicken or pasta or whatever?'

So anyway, I just wanted to share this with everyone and to let everyone who has been cheering me on know that I really appreciate you comments of encouragement.

Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

I spent the night at my parents house on Christmas Eve. They actually still had snow on the ground, so it really felt like Christmas. We didn't have a big Christmas, but based on the amount of food Mom made you would have thought that about 20 people were expected. My Aunt Margaret and cousins Emily and Becky came over and then my cousin Kylee and her 3 children came over just before we sat down to eat. Oh but the food was good! We had ham and turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, corn, 2 kinds of gravy, cranberry sauce, veggie tray, salami/cream cheese roll-ups, sliced cheeses, 2 kinds of salsa & chips, rolls, and several cheese dips. That doesn't even take into account all the Christmas goodies my mom made: fudge, peanut brittle, cookies. She made my favorite cookie too, which I haven't had in years. My great Aunt Ella used to make me Potato Chip Cookies every year for Christmas. I finally found a recipe for them, but I had just never gotten around to making them. Oh man were they good.

So anyway, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

An uneventful week, sort of.

Well, this has been a pretty uneventful week. Although I did finish 2 of my knitted gifts. I have to get those wrapped and boxed tonight, so I can mail them out tomorrow. If they don't get where they are going by Christmas, I guess that's OK. I'm still working on the 3rd gift. Hopefully, since I work on Sunday, I will have at least 1 whole day to sit and knit on it and get them done. I do have a back-up gift sitting by in case I don't get it done, but I am planning on getting it done!!!

Once of the ladies in my knitting group (Jessica) is working on a Celtic/Aran sweater and I find I have been bitten by the celtic bug. I have yet to try my hand at knitted cables, but I just love the look of them. I have done 3 quilted wallhangings with appliquéd celtic designs on them. So I have been looking and browsing and I think I have finally found the one I want to do. It is the Denmark Gefjon jacket by Elsebeth Lavold. It was published in the Winter 1998 issue of Knitters. Elisabeth brought the magazine to Bella Vita last night for Carol, who was looking for the A-line Aran Sweater. I took one look and fell in love with the jacket. I will have to shorten it, as I'm not too sure the long jacket style would look good on my pudgy body. Elizabeth and Chris assure me that once I have my gage swatch done, I should be able to figure out how many stitches to leave off the cast on. You know, in the quilters world there is the handbook called "Taking the math out of quilting", well I think someone should do one of those for knitters.

B100 Fit Club Update: Well the B100 fit club has officially ended, but I still have 2 bootcamp sessions left. My totals so far are: 18.4 lbs lost and 19.25 inches lost. All the weight training is making me feel stronger and hey, I've shrunk 19 inches! I love it. I still have quite a ways to go, but I don't seem to be struggling as hard as I always did before. I plan to join Pinnacle Gym, because they are going to be starting up the bootcamp workouts again after the new year. Today I am actually wearing a pair of jeans that I tossed aside this summer because I couldn't get them on. And I really mean "on", not just couldn't get them fastened. YEAH ME!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland!

Snow, Snow and more Snow! That's what we got last night. According to the news broadcast, I got 7.5 inches of snow. Glad I don't live in Buchannan though, because they got 10 inches!! It took me 45 minutes to shovel the driveway this morning. And another 15 minutes to clear off the car and reshovel the area around the car where the snow from the car fell. Note to self: next time clear off the car first so you don't have to shovel twice!

I made sure I wouldn't get too chilled by dressing in layers. But why is it that immediately after you get all the layers on you realize you have to use the bathroom?? So you have to unpeel and then re-peel. By the time I was ready to go outside, I had already worked up a good sweat.

Just for the heck of it, I'm going to do a little math and figure out approximately how much snow I shoveled this morning. The driveway was 9 bootlengths wide and 46 bootlengths long. Yes I walked toe to heel the whole length/width to figure this out. I had to chuckle when I thought about what the neighbors probably thought when they saw me with my arms out for balance looking like I was trying to walk on a tight rope. So, my boots are about 11 inches long from toe to heel. That makes the shoveled portion of the driveway 99 inches by 506 inches ( 8.25 feet by 42.16 feet). And if the snow was 7.5 inches deep (.625 feet), that means I shoveled 375,705 cubic inches of snow (217.3875 cubic feet). Well, I know I shoveled more, because the snow plow had buried the end of the driveway and I had to clear off the porch, around the car (twice), and a path to the mailbox for the postal carrier. All in all, I am pretty confident I got my exercise this morning! About 7000 calories worth right??

I actually remembered to take pictures this morning, but forgot that I have no way to upload them right now, because I took my computer to work to have one of the techs upgrade it; to Windows 2000.

Hope you are enjoying whatever weather you are experiencing in your part of the world. I love the snow and Christmas never feels right without the snow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beat the Winter Blahs Swap

I have decided to sign up for another swap. I had so much fun with the monkey swap, that I am planning to join the Hot Cocoa Swap. Sign-up starts on December 16th. The Hot Cocoa blog was nice enough to supply instructions on how to add a linked button to my blog page, so there it is over on the right. I tried it out to make sure that the link works. I can't wait. This sounds really fun. And honestly who doesn't love a good cup of hot chocolate on a cold winters day??

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Multiple Updates

I know, I have been neglecting my blog lately. It seems that at first there will be nothing new to say, then I have too much to say so nothing gets said at all.

I have been working on Christmas knitting. I have 1 item done, 1 a little over 1/2 done, and I just started the 3rd today. I'm not going to be posting too many details of those until they are sent out. I had to set aside my Cascading Leaves Shawl until I have the Christmas knitting finished. It's getting down to crunch time and I really need to kick it in gear. I have some Christmas sewing to do also, but those items are going to be "belated" gifts. I will be working on them during the Christmas break.

Last weekend I went to the Frog Pond Fiber Arts group's Christmas Party. It was such a blast. There were so many people there and so much yummy food. I brought knitting along with me, but didn't do any of it, because there was so much chatting going on, I couldn't tear myself away from the conversations long enough to remember where I was. Thank you Elizabeth for opening your home and letting us all in. I hope we didn't make too big of a mess and it wasn't too much trouble to re-re-arrange the furniture. Oh and the Chicken Tortilla soup was scrumptious. We had both a door prize (knitting related items) and a White Elephant gift exchange. The white elephant item did not have to be a knitting related item, although the one I received was. Here is what I got. I did not have either of these books. And Aubrey showed me this really cool cabled hat in the SNB Nation book. PS I also got a true "White Elephant" gift. I got an outdated Exel 97 computer book. I mentioned it to one of the 'computer' geeks at work and he said he still runs Excel 97 at home, so guess who getting that!!! I had a really nice Stanley Thermos in my hot little hands, but it got stolen. :o(

On Tuesday night, I went to a Christmas party with my former quilt group (BTW this is party #3 this week). The Tuesday Night Crazy Quilters meet in Hartford, MI, but the ladies travel from all over; Niles, South Haven, Bangor, Coloma, St. Joe, Dowagiac, Hartford, Decatur. I joined that group in 1990 at the ripe old age of 18. I have grown up with these women and love them all. I never really realize how much I miss them until I we all get together. Because of the distance, I just don't get to see them as often as I would like. I do go to their quilt retreats ever year though. I think I have only every missed 1 since they started having them. Originally it was just a fall thing, then we added a spring one and now they have added a winter one too. (Can't wait for January!) They are always so much fun and so productive. Since I learned to knit, I think I get more sewing at retreat then I do the rest of the year. A big Thank You to Teresa who hosted the party. And Nancy really needs to give me the Pomegranate/cranberry salsa recipe. Oh man was that good!!

B100 Fit Club Update: I keep missing the radio broadcast that announces the team loss totals, so I'm not too sure where the Dazzling Divas stand. I will see if anyone knows tonight at the bootcamp. I lost 1.8 lbs last week, which brings my total loss to 17.8 lbs. If I loose approx. 6 more lbs, I will have hit my 10% goal. Then I will set my next goal for another 10%. I learned in weight watchers once that you'll feel better setting the smaller goals and that each one will be a milestone once you hit it. It's better than saying I need to lose like 90 lbs total and seeing what a huge difference there is between 90 and 17.8. Also, last week I donated blood. When you do that, the blood bank tell you your total Cholesterol. It is of course a non-fasting test, and I think that is supposed to mean that it would normally be higher than a fasting one. Someone please correct me if that is wrong. In October when I had a fasting cholesterol test done, my total was 157 and the results from the non-fasting test was 136. SOOOO, I pretty sure that means my Cholesterol has come down as a result of this diet. I can't wait until January when I go back to have the blood work re-checked. I want to know what has happened to my Triglycerides!

Tonight is Christmas Party #4 of 5. I am going to bootcamp beforehand though. And I am brining a salad to eat for dinner, since I know I will be hungry after the workout and I don't want to pig out on all the goodies that I know will be there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bad Aunt! Bad Aunt!

I totally forgot to let everyone know that I finally got Landon's Toddler quilt done AND got it delivered. Here he is with his quilt, which he really liked. We had to spend several minutes going over the meaning of all the different street signs and identifying the different types of vehicles.

And of course Brenna could not be left out. She brought out her toddler quilt which I made when she was 1. Lovely rubber duckies and bubbles. Poor Landon's was a tad bit late. I overshot his 1st birthday by approx 1.5 years.

While trying to take a picture of the both of them together, I accidentally pressed the button and got a picture of Landon's feet, but Brenna thought the photo would be much nicer if all of our feet were in the shot. Their Mom was across the room, so sadly, her feet did not get included. I couldn't believe they were running around barefoot. My tootsies were chilled, so I wasn't removing my socks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I woke up to 6 inches of snow this morning. I just love snow. At least when it first falls. Once it starts getting grungy from all the snowplow dirt, then I want it to go away. But the sun was shining this morning and it was the light fluffy snow. The picture above is actually my car parked across the street at work. It would have been a bigger impact if I had taken the photo at home where the car was still covered with snow.

B100 Fit Club Update: I am a bit behind on the statistics for the Dazzling Divas. At last count we had lost a total of about 83 lbs. There are 8 members on the team. I must have missed it this morning in between the school delay/closing announcements. I had mad cravings this weekend and ended up gaining .4 lbs (damn that new digital scale). That makes a total of 15.6 lbs lost. I also did my bi-weekly measurements, and the news is that I have lost a total of 17 5/8 inches. 10 1/8 inches of that amount was lost from my midriff, waist, and hips. I have slacked off on counting my calories and actually writing down what I eat so that I can track everything better. So, I have decided I must get back into the habit of that. Wish me luck this next week, because starting tomorrow, I have 5 (yes I said FIVE) Christmas parties to go to. There will be 2 catered and 3 potluck style dinners. Tomorrow is my company party and we will be going to Reggios Italian Restaurant. Very YUMMY. I will be going to exercise class before the party starts though. I figure I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Knittng Progress

Just wanted to show everyone my progress on the Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki from Simple Knits. I just finished my 6th repeat last night. There are 11 repeats (counting the set-up at the beginning) in all. I've gotten to the point where after doing the first repeat of each row, I have it memorized. I do have to glance back at the chart when I get to the beginning, middle and end sections of each row though. The biggest problem I have been having is that I tend to forget YO's or occasionally add them where they don't belong when I get distracted. But I have gotten really good at recognizing where I made the mistake and fixing it by dropping back a stitch, adding the YO and then re-purling the 2 stitches. Was worried about doing this the first couple times because I was afraid I would royally mess it up. But since I keep forgetting YO's, I have gotten quite good at it. The first time Vicki showed by how to fix an extra YO by just dropping it and the correspond Purl to it, I was terrified to do it. I was sure that it would result in a huge hole. But she showed me that by tugging on the other stitches adjacent to it, I could 'absorb' the extra yarn and the hole magically disapears.

This has been a really nice pattern to knit. I really like the fact that there is no edging to add on. Once you block it, it forms it's own edge. The biggest reason I set my first mystery shawl aside was the edgings. It was just too complicated and I could never seem to get it memorized. I have decided to block it 'as is' and just end up with a neck or shoulder shawl, depending on how much it "grows" after the blocking process.

I know Vicki has been busily working on her next lace project, which is going to be a stole. She showed me a peek of it last week at our meeting. Looks interesting. I have not made a stole yet. I tried the Print of the Wave Stole by Eunny Jang, but the yarn I was using was too thin, and I messed up soo bad that I frogged it and set it aside. I decided that maybe that stole was a little too advanced for my first lace project.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Holiday Review

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day. My family got together at my Aunt Margaret's house for some really yummy food. I was in charge of bringing the Pop. Yup, can you believe how easy I got off. Didn't have to prepare any dishes. Although I did bring along some cauliflower, broccoli and celery to add to the veggie tray. This was done purely out of self preservation though. Because if I have those to munch on, I figured I would be motivated to leave the cheesy dips and crackers alone. I did try the 2 dips my mom brought along (cheddar and olive) but since neither of them were my favorite Baked Chipped Beef Dip, I was able to stop. Now if it had been the Chipped Beef Dip, oh man would I have had a hard time resisting that!

We were all very happy and proud of how much Aunt Margaret was able to eat. I know that is not something you normally hear someone say around the holidays. But Aunt Margaret has spent the last year recuperating from throat cancer. She is cancer-free (Thank God), however since she has had a feeding tube in for over a year, her esophagus had shrunk. She has had several throat stretching procedures over the last month or 2 and was able to eat a little bit of several different items. This is the first year that we had totally whipped mashed potatoes, because she couldn't handle the lumps. But she was nice enough to save some out for me before they were too whipped. I wouldn't have cared as long as she was able to enjoy them.

I stayed late and played several games with my cousins, Emily, Becky and Erica. We started out with a dice game called Left, Right, Center. It's fun, but it would have been a lot funner if we had been playing for nickels. But since none of us had any change, we just played for chips. The dorky part of it was that we only had enough chips for 2 rounds then we had to re-divvy up the chips. After that got a bit boring, we decided to play UNO. I had forgotten how much fun that game is. It was such a hoot. And I won.!! By 1 point, but I still won. :o) Did I forget to mention that my cousins are all between the ages of 10 and 14?

It started to snow just before the game got over. I was amazed at how bad the visibility was. It took me about 15-20 minutes more to drive home. And when I got up the next morning to go shopping with my Mom, I was amazed to see that we had gotten 6 inches of snow overnight. 6 Inches! For a first snowfall of the year, that is quite a lot. And what is even funnier, is that my Mom, who lives 30 minutes northeast of me only got a dusting and the same goes for South Bend, which is 30 minutes southeast of me. I meant to take pictures, because it was so beautiful with the sunlight sparkling and the trees all heavy with snow. But of course I didn't.

B100 Fit Club Update: Color me amazed! I actually lost weight over the thanksgiving holiday weekend. I lost 3 lbs for a new total of 16 lbs lost. Last week I calculated my inches lost and it was 12 3/8 inches. I can really tell the difference in my clothes too. On Saturday, I tried on the XL Diva T-Shirt that Deb (the team captain) gave me and it fit great. Of course I haven't washed it yet, but it wasn't tight at all. And yesterday I wore an older scrub shirt to work that I had stopped wearing because it was too small. It was loose!! Yeah Me!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

4 Weeks on the Program

B100 Fit Club Update: I have now been on "The Cardio-Free Diet" by Jim Karas for 4 weeks. Today was my official weigh in day. I can hardly believe the results. I have lost a total of 13 lbs and 12 3/8 inches. I am so excited about this diet. The best thing is that it doesn't feel like a diet. I eat just as much if as before, if not a little more when you count I get 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. And I have been making healthier choices in regards to my food; More veggies, leaner meats, no fried foods, etc. And exercising with either weights or the resistance bands 3 times a week. I'm loving this! I especially love not getting on the treadmill or elliptical machine or stairmaster.

Speaking of food, has anyone tried those new Steamer Bags by Glad or Ziploc? I tried the Glad ones this weekend when I was at work. They work fabulously! I used 2 bags and made Cajun Salmon in one and Lemon Pepper Asparagus in the other. And my meal only took about 10 minutes to make, including prep time. I actually cooked 2 pieces of salmon and enough asparagus that I have leftovers for lunch today. I would really recommend giving those suckers a try.

On the Knitting front: Since I worked both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, I did a little updating on my Ravelry page. I put in all of my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I put in a bunch more yarn (mostly sock and lace), I just have to add pictures of those which I haven't gotten around to taking yet. Also, I started the Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki Mikulak. I am working a double strand of Knit Picks Shadow lace yarn in Grape Jelly. I have 2 repeats finished. When she said that it was a fast knit, she wasn't exaggerating. It is going along really well. I also got some more knitted on my Raspberry Truffle Felted Bag. The pattern is Tote Around by Janet Scanlon from I have one of the I-cord bind-off rounds done and only have the handle and 1 or 2 more I-cord bind-off rounds to go. Thinking I'd like to get that done this weekend. Maybe, depending on how much I knit on the shawl and the socks and the scarves I have do to for Christmas presents and the UFO scarves I found that I started 2 years ago and forgot about.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Frog Pond

Tonight, the Frog Pond Fiber Arts group will be celebrating its first birthday. We are getting together for cake and ice cream. I have already planned ahead for my diet. I brought some fresh fruit and will have it over a small scoop of the ice cream. Personally, I am hoping they bring chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, because that will be easier for me to resist. I'm just not crazy about chocolate cakes or cupcakes; chocolate candy bars yes! cake not so much.

B100 Fit Club Update: Last week on Thursday I announced that I had lost an additional 3 lbs which brought my total to 13. I gained 3 lbs back over the weekend from hell. But I am glad to report I have now lost those 3 lbs again. Technically, I should be able to count that as 6 lbs lost I think; since I lost it twice. This weeks team losses are:

Dazzling Divas (8 members) = 15 lbs for a total of 55 lbs lost over 3 weeks
Chunky Monkeys (11 members) = Total loss of 136 lbs over 3 weeks

I'm trying to find out if B100 will be posting all the group totals to their web-site for viewing. If so, I will put up the link.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It was a HELL of a weekend.

So sorry to have to report the death of my cousin Katina Samples in a car accident on Thursday, November 8th.

I got the call from my Mom on Thursday just before lunch. My mom told me she would be driving down to be with Corrina (her sister and the mother of Tina). Its a 3 hour drive and I didn't want her driving by herself when she was so upset, so I got out of work early, went home to pack and after a 3 hour drive, we arrived in Woodland, IL. The family was very torn up to begin with as it appeared that she was thrown from the car as it rolled and that her boyfriend had left her lying on the side of the road. His coat and wallet were found in the car. It was later determined that they had a fight and she left the bar alone. She was upset, crying and had been drinking. The police believe she was speeding on a dirt road and lost control of the car. She slid off the road and was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over 4 1/2 times. The worst part of this is knowing that she left the bar between midnight and 1 am, but the accident site wasn't discovered until between 5 and 6 am. So she laid there on the side of the road all night long. The coroner assured us that she did not feel any pain, but we can't be sure if she died instantly. We just thank God that she did not have her sons, Hunter-9 and Levi-7 with her and that no one else was injured as a result.

My heart and my prayers go out to the rest of the family today as they have the funeral. Unfortunately, I had to be back to work today, so my Mom and I couldn't be there with them. Although to be perfectly honest and heartfelt after going through her house this weekend trying to get together photos for the funeral, both my Mom and I decided we would rather remember her as she was in the photos and in our memories than to have our last memory be of her lying in her casket.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bella Vita Night

I had a real good time at Bella Vita last night. It is fun hanging out with the knitting gals. Since I missed last week to go to the Chavez Family Weaving thing at ND, I didn't realize how much I would miss it.

B100 Fit Club Update: (Forgot to put this up on Monday) Last weeks weight loss was 2 lbs, which brought me down to a total of 10 and my team the Dazzling Divas is down 40 lbs. My update for today, is that I jumped on the scale this morning and I am down another 3 lbs. That makes a total of 13 lbs. Yeah!! Now all I have to say is "God give me strength to get through the weekend". My brother and I are taking our parents out for their 40th anniversary on Saturday night. Restaurant food is my downfall. The portion sizes are just too big. One of my coworkers gave me this great tip yesterday (She has lost over 30 lbs on Weight Watchers). When you order your dinner, ask for a take-out container to be brought with your dinner. Before you even start eating set a portion aside. If it isn't on your plate, your less likely to keep eating until its all gone and there's nothing left to take home.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Quick Trip to Indy

We had a bit of a problem yesterday at work. Our OH salesman's demo system was not working, so he wanted another one overnighted to the customer. Normally we wouldn't have a problem with that, but since the customer was in Canada, I knew the unit would more than likely get caught up in Customs and not reach the customer in time for the salesman's meeting. So I took a quick (ha ha) to Indianapolis yesterday to hand off the new demo system and bring back the non-working one. From here, it is a 2.5 hour drive. We met up in Carmel and Dave bought me dinner for my trouble. I had grilled salmon and steamed veggies. It was very good. Then I had to drive 2.5 hours back. It wasn't so bad. I had a book on CD that I was listening too. However, it would have been much better if I had had time to stop at Stitches and Scones yarn shop in Westfield, but they closed at 5pm. I had to meet Dave between 4:30 and 5. So I didn't make it back by there until 5:30. Darn it!!

I had a real good weekend. It was very busy. On Saturday, I got together with a bunch of other friends at Nancy's house and she showed us how to card wool. Boy is that hard work. Well, I guess not hard, since I only did a couple, but if I had had to do the whole basketfull that she had, I think that would have been a lot of work. Nancy had washed 3 fleeces in September. She also showed a couple of the ladies how to use a drop spindle and also how to use her spinning wheel. Robin has decided that spinning is not for her. She rather just knit. I finished plying the last of my Targhee wool that I got from the Chocolate Princess. I have about 150 yards of yarn. I still have to set the twist. I hope to be able to make a anorexic scarf out of it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Weaving Demo at the Notre Dame.

On Tuesday, October 30, 2007, I attended a weaving demonstration. Here is the info:

Federico Chavez, Eric Chavez Santiago and Elsa Sanchez Dias, Zapotec weavers from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico will offer a free loom-weaving and wool-dyeing demonstration and exhibition of available textiles created by the artists.
The Chavez Family Weavers handcraft carpets using methods developed by their ancestors. They use natural products from the land around them to weave traditional Zapotec patterns with wool from locally-raised animals and all-natural dyes — mesquite, cempazuchil (marigold), añil (indigo), and cochineal(insect), the source for brilliant shades of red. Zapotec designs have great cultural, social, and historical significance for the people living in the Valley of Oaxaca. The Chavez family, weaves ancient designs such as Diamonds, copies of the carvings found at the nearby Mitla ruins, the Undulating Eye, the Tree of Life and many more.

This program is sponsored by the University of Notre Dame Institute of Latino Studies and the Snite Museum of Art.

I got there just before 5:30. I was actually there early enough to get a seat. They had more people attend than they were expecting I think, because there were twice as many people as seats. It was very interesting the Eric Chavez, the son, gave a slide show presentation with history on the state, town, customs/celebrations of Oaxaca, Mexico (pronounced Wha-hock-a). Then he explained spinning, dying and weaving and his personal journey into natural dies. The name of his village, Teotitlan del Valle, literally translates to Village of Weavers. Just about everyone in his village is either a weaver or does something to contribute to the process. He explained that there were too many villagers (past and present) that were showing up with some kind of cancer. It was finally linked the fumes from the huge vats of synthetic dyes that are necessary for the villages livelyhood. So he went around trying to find out more about natural dyes, even though it is not as economical. Most villagers knew nothing and when he went to one of the ones who did, they refused to teach him, because it was like a specialty for their family and passed down generation to generation. So he decided to experiment on his own. So he showed slides of the different plants and or insects used to create the different color groups. He even offered a thank you to the family who wouldn't help him, because by going out on his own, he was able to come of with over 90 different variation on red alone. This other family was only producing their "traditional" colors. He has carefully been documenting all his different recipes for the different colors. He said his village was now having the problem that the current new generation of teenagers are not wanting to learn the weaving process. He himself, almost got out of it several years ago, before he started experimenting with the dyes and got introduced to going to various colleges to lecture and/or teach workshops on his techniques. He has a 14 year old brother who was balking at learning to weave. Eric explained that when his father taught him, the first design he was expected to do a traditional rug, which was extremely intricate and very hard. So he understood what his brother was going through. He decided to teach his brother himself. And started him out with more simpler, non-traditional designs. His brother has really started to enjoy what he does. In fact on Eric's last trip to the US, his brother sent 2 rugs along to sell. When they sold, he wanted Eric to buy him a red IPod. Eric says it funny to see his brother at his loom, weaving while listening to his IPod. Eric hopes to someday start up a school for weaving, where he can teach others the weaving process. The Chavez family had brought along some of their rugs and blankets to sell. Although they were beautiful and I would have loved to have one, the least expensive one I saw was $160 for a small throw rug. And they went up from there. Still out of my price range. Several of my quilting and weaving friends attended too. It was a very interesting program. I did take photos, but as usual, I haven't downloaded them yet. Will do that soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jan Got her Socks!

Yeah, I just got word from my Monkey Swap Pal that she did get her package. Only she was away visiting her daughter when it was delivered. I am so relieved. I was paranoid that the PO had just dropped it on her doorstep and some unknown knitting junky had driven by and snatched it. Here is the link Jan's post. Now that I know she has everything OK, I will post my own pictures of the items. She loved the socks, which makes me real happy. This was my first swap and I had such a good time putting it all together. When I first started the swap, no matter where I looked, I could only find stuffed Monkeys. Everyone else was finding stuff all over the place, but not me. But I did find enough stuff and was able to through in a few extras. And I'm glad she like the stethoscope cover I made out of Monkey Fabric that I found at Erica's. I was worried after I sent it because someone mentioned that some offices weren't allowing their nurses to wear them because after one use they weren't sterile anymore. But she said she's using it and that she like it. I just got this great glow this morning, knowing that she was happy with her stuff.

B100 Fit Club Update:

Today was Weigh-In Wednesday, where B100 announced all of the teams weight loss results. I really didn’t hear all of the non-DJ teams results, although I did catch that 1 team lost 30 pounds. I think it was a Goshen team. The results for the DJ teams are as follows:

Super Jock Jamie & the Couch Potatoes = Lost 25 lbs.
Deb Miles & the Dazzling Divas = Lost 30 lbs. (This is my team)
Cody & the Chunky Monkeys = Lost 58 lbs.

I am so amazed at everyone!! Great job to all of us.

I “fell off the wagon” last night. Well, not totally. I went to a function at ND about weaving. They said they would have snacks and drinks. Was hoping for a veggie tray, but all they had were chips/salsa and cheese tortillas halves. Well, I had about 10 chips with salsa and 1 small cheese tortilla half and a bottle of water. Then for dinner, I stopped at Martins Deli and got a salad with garlic wine vinegar dressing. The only thing was that I really didn’t have any protein except the little bit of cheese that was in the tortilla. So this morning, I was starving by the time I had breakfast.

Monday, October 29, 2007

1st Week Weigh-In

B100 Fit Club Update: I have completed my first week on "The Cardio Free Diet" by Jim Karas. Really, the diet is not hard to follow at all it just involves counting calories, which I have never done before. I just keep a log of everything I eat and since I love playing around with spreadsheets I made up a spreadsheet to track everything and automatically add everything up. I also added a tab that has my exercises on it and one to track my weight and one to track inches lost. Did I mention I love to play around with spreadsheets!! :o)

I have tried a couple of the recipes from the book that I would not normally have tried. They were both really good; the Grilled Salmon and the Creamy Eggs with Spinach and Tomato. I was a bit leery about the Creamy Eggs, because in my mind I have never added creamy, eggs, and spinach together. But I took a chance and they were good. Next time though I won't cook the tomatoes in it. I like them raw and just layered over the top better.

I emailed my results to Deb, the Dazzling Divas team leader, this morning. I have lost 8 lbs in the first week of my diet. I am so excited!!!

UFO Updates: I got half of the binding done on Landon's Toddler Quilt. I just couldn't watch the "Transformers" movie and sew at the same time. I thought I was supposed to see McKelle this Friday, but nope it's not until next Friday. So I have one week reprieve . I will finish it next Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Monkeys Revealed!!

I stopped by the PO last night on my way home to get my package. I was so worried that I wouldn't make it before they closed. There was a car accident and 4 lanes of traffic had to be detoured a couple of blocks out of the way. I pulled into the parking lot at 5pm and thought for sure I'd have to come back tomorrow. I raced inside and guess what, their open until 6pm! So I rushed for nothing. When I got up to the counter, I couldn't find my orange slip. I thought for sure I had put it in my purse, so I wouldn't lose it. Had a bit of a panic attack, thinking I wouldn't be able to get my package, but luckily they accepted my drivers license and handed me the package. Was a bit worried, they would try asking me who the package was from for further verification. Because unlike myself, my secret pal was VERY good at keeping her identity a secret.

I found I had some help trying to get the box open. Java decided since I set the box on HIS perch, it must be worth investigating.

And here are all the lovely items that I received from Kary in Oklahoma. My new Sock Monkey is perfect. The colors will match my sewing room (once it's done). I also received a Sock Monkey Calendar, notebook and stitch markers. A monkey tape measure and some lovely denim blue Koigu sock yarn with 2 Cookie A. patterns; Mona and Thelonious. I think I'll use the Koigu on the Mona Socks.

And lest I not forget, here is a closeup of my Monkey Socks. Kary, I absolutely love the colors!! They just scream ME. The socks are made from JitterBug, 100% Merino Wool sock yarn. The color is Summer Berries. YUM! They fit great too. I wore them to work today.

Kary, thanks so much for my package. All of it was great.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another UFO Bites the Dust

I have been wanting to start on my Temple Guardians quilt, but I thought before I start another appliqué project, maybe I should finish the one I have started now. I mean it was only 7 flower petals and 4 flower centers away from being done. So here it is! I finished it up last night before I went to bed.
I made this to hang in the kitchen. I am planning to paint the kitchen a pale yellow and decorate in blue and white. I actually have the paint, just haven't got the actual painting done yet.

B100 Fit Club Update: Doing great on the new meal plan and diet. I made Grilled Salmon for the first time in my life last night. I've never really liked fish, because I don't like the smell of raw fish. It's just to Fishy, if that makes sense. I do like Talapia, very mild and almost no smell. Anyway, my salmon turned out wonderful; so moist and flakey. I grilled 8 min. skin side down and then 5 on the other side. I had grilled asparagus with it and it was yummy!! Also, I weighed myself this morning and I have lost 4 lbs. Tomorrow night I will be going to Pinnacle Gym to work out with Deb Miles, our group captain. Maybe someone there can show me what I am doing wrong with the Standing Hamstring Curl. This is done with a rubber exercise tube around your ankles. But every time I try it, the tub just slides up my leg.

Monkey Sock Swap Update: When I got home last night, I found a little orange card in my mailbox letting me know that the PO has a package for me. I am so excited!! My only regret was that the PO was already closed, so I couldn't go get it right then. I can't wait to head home tonight. Will post photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Celtic Wallhanging

Here is a photo of the Celtic Wallhanging that I got finished at retreat. The colors are of course more vibrant in real life. I think it turned out great.

B100 Fit Club Update: I got up a 6am this morning to do my exercises. Those who don't know me will probably think "Big Deal" about that. But see I am not a morning person. I usually don't get up until 7am and leave by 7:35am. I also made the breakfast they listed for day #1, the Sunrise Omelet. Man, is that a lot of food. It had 4 egg whites and 3 cups of veggies (tomato, broccoli, and gr. pepper). That's more food than I normally eat. I had to struggle to eat it all and I have to admit I tossed out about 1/2 cup. Tomorrow, I'm going for the cereal/fruit or yogurt/fruit. Same amount of calories, but I know I won't struggle with those since that is what I normally eat for breakfast. Eggs for breakfast, unless it is the weekend, just usually don't interest me.

Monkey Swap Update: To top of a really good day yesterday, when I got home there was a little orange card from the Post Office in my mailbox telling me the PO had a box for me. I have to go pick it up today. I am so excited!! Can't wait to head home tonight. Will post pictures tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Retreat Follow-up & B100 Fit Club News

I was away at quilt retreat this weekend. It was great fun. I got completed almost everything that I had planned. YES the binding is on Landon's quilt. I have to hand sew it down, but actually putting the binding on by machine is the tough part. I will work on the hand sewing this week and finish it up on Sunday at work. I also finished my Celtic Wall hanging. It turned out beautifully and I got lots of compliments. I finished 2 of the buck-a-block blocks, but the other 3 are all partially sewed. I just have 3 seams on each one and they will be done. I probably would have got them done if I hadn't taken a couple hours off on Saturday to go to the B100 Fit Club, but it's no big deal.

What is th B100 Fit Club, you ask? It was sponsored by B100, our local country music station. They brought in Jim Karas, author of The Cardio-Free Diet. The plan was that he would give us a bit of a lecture and a "light" workout to explain the some of the strength training exercises from his book. Which I thought would be very helpful to know, because I'm a visual person and I learn better by being shown something than having to read it and do it on my own. I loved the whole experience! He's a great speaker and I felt so motivated and pumped to get started. But that was not a "light" workout. As least for me it wasn't. I was really feeling it in my arms/shoulders and back yesterday. I felt great and invigorated afterwards, but it was tough. Also, the 3 morning DJ's from B100 (Deb, Cody, and Super Jock Jamie) chose members of the audience to be a part of their own personal teams for the 12 week Fit Club event. Then the rest were split up by region and/or offices if a group of people all came from one office. I was one of the members chosen to be on Deb Miles team. There are 9 of us: Sharon, Barb, Ann, Kim, Kim T., Tamara, Kathy, Sandy. Sorry, I can't remember the final members name. Deb announced on the radio this morning that the name of our team is going to be The Dazzling Divas. At least we aren't Chunky Monkey's. Bit is not the names that are important, it the commitment and effort we are all putting forth. Jim Karas had left a comment on my blog earlier last week, and I was so blown away by that. I thought it was wonderful that he would do that. I got to meet him and have my picture taken with him. I will post it later as it is not downloaded yet. I don't know about anyone else, but I had a really great time and I wanted to thank B100 and it's staff for setting this all up. It is just what I needed right now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Quilt Retreat is Finally Here!!!!

Yeah, I am so siked. Quilt retreat starts tonight. I got everything packed and loaded in the car last night. I decided to take mostly UFO projects to work on. I have been knitting so much this last summer/fall that I have barely done any sewing at all. And there are things that have been hiding in the sewing room way too long. Here is a breakdown of what I'm taking:

1. Landon's Toddler Blanket - All it needs is the binding.
2. Pillow Shams for the new couch and chair (which are now 2 years old)
2. Buck-a-block Block of the Months (5 months behind)
3. Tea cup wallhanging. (have 6 flower petals to hand sew and 4 flower centers - that's ALL)

I did bring 1 new project to start working on. That is my Temple Guardians Block of the Month pattern that I got as a gift from my friend Patsy. The BOM is from and each BOM comes with a chapter of a story about a small Siamese Cat that wants to become a temple guardian. I'll read each chapter as I work on each block. I love siamese cats. My very best friend of 16 years was Charlie. Of course Charlie never really new she was a cat or at least she wasn't going to admit to it. She loved bananas and anything with mint in it. Especially York peppermint patties. No matter how quietly I tried to open the package (so I wouldn't have to share of course), she would hear and come running; even if she was upstairs. And Bengay cream was like cocaine to her. If I put Bengay on my ankle, I had to not only wrap it with an ace bandage, but put a blanket over it too. She would then proceed to sit on me (so I couldn't get away) and try to lick a hole through the blanket to try to get a fix. If I did try to get away, she would follow me around the house and try to lick me every time I stopped. Anyway, I got the last of the fabric picked out yesterday with the help of my friend Kathy. It is all washed and ready for me to start working on it. And Patsy did the freezer paper templates for me while she has been recovering from her hip replacement surgery. Thanks Patsy!

Only I can't start on it, no matter how much I want too, until I have finished Landon's Toddler quilt.

I am on the Saturday night meal crew and it is my responsibility to provide the salad. Unless someone changed something, we will be having spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and a dessert. Yeah, we NEVER go hungry at retreat. Although there have been a couple of close calls, like the burnt meatball soup, Corrine has no sense of smell and didn't realize it was scorched. But we all ate a bowl, just so we wouldn't hurt her feelings and we have never let her forget that one. :o)

I'm taking Dad's (I almost said mine) digital camera, so I'll post photos on Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monkey Socks are on there way!!

I shipped out my Monkey Goodies yesterday to my pal. I really hope she enjoys them. I had a great time putting it all together. Of course the note I had planned to included got left out of the box, so she'll get that separately, but hey I was so excited to actually seal the box that I just plum forgot. Here is a sneak teaser of the stuff.

Seriously people, did you really think I'd show you everything before she gets it? Of course not!

Pufpaff Fiber Mill Photos

Here are the photos from the Pufpaff Fiber Mill. The sheep are for sale at I think $200 each, but if you want the whole flock, she'll make you a deal.

On the way out to see the livestock, we walked past the garden. I don't know why HUGE pumpkins are so fascinating, but they are.

And here is the carding machine process. In the first picture, Suzanne (the owner/operator) is feeding cleaned merino fleece into the carding machine. She weighed it first and I think she said she had 12 oz. Then you see the see the "combed" fibers coming off the central drum and being twisted into one long strand. The last photo is of the light fluffy beautiful merino roving being collected into a bag. Vicki bought it and I think she paid for 8 oz. It was soo soft.

And this last photo is of the hand felted project that I completed. I forgot to get photos of the Jessica's, Elizbeth's and the one Vicki brought home.

We all had a really good time. Everyone was talking about trying to do another tour at a fiber mill down near Indianapolis and I think that would be fun too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I finally get the pictures downloaded when I say I'm going to download them and then blogger pukes when I try to download them. I'll get them up as soon as blogger starts cooperating. Promise.

Well, here are some other updates that I forgot to mention.

Blood Test Results - I went to the Doctor to get my results from the bloodwork they drew on 10/4. Here they are:

Cholesterol = 157 (total)
HDL = 41.0
LDL = 45.6
Triglycerides = 352 YIKES!!! Should be below 250
Glucose = 76
Calcium = 8.3 (lower limit = 8.5, so I have to start taking a calcium supp. since I already either drink milk each day or have a yogurt.)

I went mainly to get my iron tested, because I had been having problems donating blood.
Hematocrit = 37.5% (too low to donate, but above the 35% lower limit so the Dr.'s not worried)

My white blood count was high too, so the Dr. re-ran the CBC blood test. I should have those result this week.

Even before I had this bloodwork done, I knew I had to go on a "diet". I have been listening to B100, a country music radio station, and they are having Jim Karas come in this weekend to give a lecture on his book, Cardio-Free Diet. You concentrate on strength training and building muscles. I had already planned to attend and it's a good thing too. Got to get the weight under control AND work on those triglycerides. They say the best way to lower the triglycerides is to cut back on sugar and carbs (I love sweets and I love bread). Also, I have decided to go ahead and take the iron supplement each day along with the multi-vitamin and the extra calcium. I have been doing this for the last week and I don't know if it's just a mind thing or not, but I seem to be feeling better. Low iron makes you tired all the time, because red blood cells carry the oxygen around. Therefore low iron means not enough oxygen. I havent' been feeling so extremely tired by the time I go home and I haven't knapped on the sofa before dinner once this week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Catching Up

Sorry I haven't posted much. I've been slacking off, but I've been pretty busy and just hadn't gotten around to the computer.

The only really big thing that has happened over this last week is that I and several friends visited the Pufpaff Fiber Mill in Nashville, MI. Didn't know Michigan had a Nashville, but low and behold there it was. It was a long drive, but is was fun. We all got to see the sheep, llamas and alpaca. Really, for the life of me, I couldn't tell the difference between an alpaca or llama. They both looked alike. The owner walked us through all the steps of processing raw wool. We saw where she washed and/or dyed it if needed. The drying room was next. It looked a little like barracks with netted hammocks hanging from PVC piping. The wet wool was snuggled in the hammocks. It looked kind of yucky at this point. Then we got to see the carding machine. That was really neat. I took pictures, but of course haven't gotten them downloaded yet. Hopefully tonight. We also learned how to hand felt a small project. There is a fine line between using just enough soapy water and too much soapy water. I, of course, used too much. And squeezed too much too obviously because I had oodles and oodles of suds going. Neither Jess or Elizabeth L. were getting that many suds. It was fun, but I don't know if it will be me. Which may be a relief, as that is one less craft bug that I wasn't bit by. The owner also showed us her patterns and explained how to knit or crochet straight from roving instead of spinning and then knitting. She had this lovely afghan on her sofa that was soooo soft. I bought some roving to attempt a pair of felted clogs knitted from roving. Will see how that goes.

Monkey Update: I have the socks done and everyone done except 1 sewing related item that I was supposed to have gotten done this last weekend. It will get done this weekend as I am going to a Quilt Retreat this weekend and all of those supplies will be going with me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Plied My First Yarn!!

I learned how to Ply my spinning last night. Over this last spring and summer, I have been learning to use a drop spindle. Vicki from Simple Knits showed me. It is quite addictive, but I had set my spinning aside to do the Monkey Swap. At the Fiber Frolic on Saturday, I asked Liz Mathews how to ply using a drop spindle. She told me to use a ball winder to wind the spun wool. Then ply the ball together from the outside string and the inside string. So I tried that on Sunday. Big disaster! I kept getting tangled up since the outside string would come out longer than the inside. My first thought was that if it was this difficult to ply with a spindle, I would either not ply or try to work out a deal with one of the spinners who has a wheel. But first I did a search on the web and found this Website by Carol Cassidy-Fayer. It was very interesting. I had looked at this one before when I was first learning to spin. Anyway, I followed her suggestion about putting 2 balls of spun yarn in coffee cups and threading the end through the handle and up to the spindle. I had to have Vicki help me finesse my technique a bit, but it worked out great. In this photo, you can just barely see the 2 coffee mugs in the upper left corner.

And here is some of my finished product. I have a 2 more balls to spin. If my calculations are right, I have 84 yards in the first hank. Definitely not enough for a pair of socks, but I might get a anorexic scarf out of it.

Can't wait to get the rest of it done. Then I have to set the twist. I will post finished photos when I get them, I was just so excited I had to post these now. Oh by the way, this was 100% Targhee dyed by Liz Mathews, The Chocolate Princess.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Monkey Socks are Done!!

Monkey Sock number 2 is done. I finished it while at lunch today. I have to graft the toe closed tonight and I have a few things to make, so I should have them ready to ship by next Monday. Yeah! This has been a lot of fun. Hopefully the next one doesn't start until after the holidays because I need to do some Christmas knitting. I will take pictures before I ship, I promise.


I got my invite to Ravelry on Saturday. I didn't actually get signed in until Sunday though. What was funny about it was that I was at our Fiber Frolic meeting and a bunch of us were discussing who was on and when the others would be getting our invites. I have been playing with it a little and it is really neat so far. I found 4 of my Frog Pond friends on line and 1 found me (I didn't even know she was there).

Oh The Fiber Frolic was a blast. I took a few pictures and will upload them tonight. If I counted right, there was about 16 of us. 17 if you counted the Susan's 'soon to be born' grandchild. :o) Susan's new house was very lovely and I can't wait until next year to see the pond/fountains that her son is working on for her. They sound great. We have LOTS of yummy food; Turkey Sloppy Joes, Thumbprint Cookies, Veggies Tray, Apple Crisp, Applesauce Jello, Apple Cider, Chips/Salsa, Bruchetta/Dip, Pepper Cream Cheese Dip with Wheat Thins, Brownies, Lemon Squares, Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I'm sure there's some items that I am forgetting, but they were all very tastey. And I nibbled all day!

I always get a nice glow when I bring something and someone asks for the recipe. I brought the Applesauce Jello. It is so easy to make and it tastes so refreshing. Here is the recipe for everyone else too.

1 large box of Raspberry Jello (or 2 small)
2 cups boiling water
1 23-25 oz jar of Applesauce (I prefer the no-sugar added one)

Disolve the jello in the boiling water. Add the Jello to the applesauce. Mix and refrigerate overnight. Notes: If I add the applesauce to the jello, I tend to splash alot. It takes longer to set-up with the applesauce in it.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Good Thoughts

After I posted the Doctor's visit information, I decided that all sounded too negative. So here are some brighter things to think about.

1. Went to Bella Vita and visited with a bunch of knitting friends last night. Aubrey, Elizabeth, Natsuran, Kristine, Jessica, Mary, Susan, Sarah and Sarah's Mom. We had a good time and I got some more of my Monkey Sock done.

2. This Saturday is the Frog Pond bi-monthly get together. We get to see Susan's new house and visit. There will be lots of spinning, knitting, visiting, and eating going on.

3. Next week I have the 12th off as a vacation day and I don't have to work on the basement!! Several of my Frog Pond friends and I will be traveling to Allegan, MI to visit Pufpaff's Fiber Mill. Liz, Jessica, Vicki, Chris, and Me.

4. Quilt Retreat is coming up on Oct. 19-21. I get to visit will all of the Tuesday Night Crazy Quilters from around Hartford, MI. I am taking Landon's toddler quilt with me and IT MUST BE COMPLETED. No more slacking! The weather is getting cool at night and he will need it on his bed.

So there, good thoughts and a very busy month.

Doctors Visits - Yuck

I don't know anyone who likes Doctors Visits. I went today to get my blood work checked out. Hadn't had it done since late 2005 I think. I have been having a problem with low iron since 2005. That's why I had the blood work done in 2005. Every time I went to donate blood, I would be turned away because my iron was low; between 35% to 37%. It has to be at least 38% to donate. When I look back over my donation card, on the times when I was able to donate, my iron was only 38% or 39%. Well in 2005, the Dr's office said "yeah it's low, but it's within range". This year, the last time I was able to donate was in April. During July I got the "too Low" rejection again. So they give you a list of food that is known to raise your iron level and also suggested I take an iron supplement. Still didn't work though. I went in 3 times and the highest I could get it was 37%. Last night I thought I would give it another try. Well they didn't even get around to checking my iron, because they said my blood pressure was 135 over 104; Too High. So I went to the Doctor today to have them check my blood pressure and do blood work to see where I stand. Last year my Doctor moved into a NEW facility. Boy is it nice! There are multiple TV's in the waiting room; one on the cartoon network and one on TBS and one on the news. They even had TV's in the examining rooms! I guess that's so if you are engrossed in watching TV, you won't notice how long it takes the Dr. to get to you. Although honestly I only had to wait 15-20 minutes, which I didn't think was too hellicious. I can remember waiting twice that long at his old office. Anyway, my blood pressure is fine; 135 over 74. I had mentioned that I thought the cuff the blood bank was using was too small and the nurse said that can give you a "bad" reading. Next time I should ask them them put it on my forearm. I have to wait until next week for the results to come back. In the mean time I was given a B12 shot (in the butt) to help with the iron, my flu shot and a tetanus shot since I hadn't had one since 1997.

This was my 2nd Doctor's visit this week. I had to go to the Eye Doctor on Monday. I had a flair up of Optic Neuritis. The short explanation for that is the Optic Nerve swells and causes flashing lights in your eye. I started getting this in 1996 or 97. They come and go. The only problem is that even though I have a diagnosis, it is one of those things that happen that the medical world does not know the cause of. Therefore they don't know how to cure it. The first couple of years that I had it, I went back to the Dr. every time it came back. However, that got expensive as I would need to have either a steroid treatment or another MRI only to be told "No Change". After that I just toughed it out. It was always just at the top of my peripheral vision on my left eye. It never was much of a problem. I was one of the 7.8% of people who didn't experience pain with it. Yeah me! But this time I had not just one flashing light, but three. Two on the edge and one almost in the center of my left eye. They are there all the time, just flickering and annoying the hell out of me. Then on Sunday I had the added bonus of getting a larger, brighter white flash that comes and goes. Still no pain though, which is wonderful. Well with all the added spots, I decided a trip to the Doctor would probably be a good thing. Diagnosis: "No Change". No bleeding and no new scars inside the eye, retina looks fine. Call back if things get worse or if it doesn't go away in a month. Then I might have to have another MRI or steroid treatment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Let's Play Weekend Catch-up

This weekend was a good one. I got lots accomplished. More than I thought I would.

I took Friday off from work to work on the basement again. My Dad, Homer (my friends Dad) and I got the first layer of drywall mud on the walls. It's looking good. I just have some sanding to do before we can put up the next layer. Once Homer left, Dad and I went to work diagnosing the Lawn mower. We discovered that is was NOT a problem with starter, but instead a problem with the ignition switch. Yeah it was a $13 repair.

Of course then I had to actually mow the lawn. My Dad had brought over his self-propelled mulching mower for me to use in case we couldn't get mine fixed right away. Since the grass was so long and I knew my lawn would look like a fresh mown hayfield if I used my mower, I decided to give the mulching mower a shot. NEVER again will I complain about my riding lawn mower. I always thought since I lived in town and my yard wasn't that big, even though it is bigger than most of the yards surrounding me, that I didn't need a riding lawn mower. I even mentioned this spring to my Dad about selling the rider and getting a self-propelled. Well, like I said I will NEVER complain about the rider again. Let's compare the facts:

Rider = 45 minutes cutting time while sitting on my butt with a 42 in cutting area
Self-propelled = 2 hours cutting time, walking behind that damn thing with a 21 cutting area

You do the math!! The reason I have the rider, is because I have a bum ankle from a auto accident. I thought the self-propelled would be good exercise. And honestly it probably would be, but my ankle hurt so bad that night all I did was sit on the couch with the foot propped on a pillow covered by an ice pack. The next time Dad comes over, he is welcome to take that #@!$#@ mower home with him.

On Saturday, I went with to The Potawatomi Zoo with my BF McKelle and her kids Brenna-5 and Landon-2. Yeah I know more walking, but since we walked slowly in deference to Landon, it wasn't so bad. At least that's why I'm claiming we walked slow. :o) Visiting the zoo is much funner when you have kids with you than when McKelle and I went by ourselves (pre-kid years). We saw the animals, fed the ducks, ate lots of popcorn (which I don't normally like, but tasted Oh so good) and even rode the little train around. It was a good day.

I took my Mom and Dad out to eat on Saturday night to Papa Vinos. I had a coupon for a free appetizer that was due to expire on Sunday and we Love their Calimari. And on Sunday, even though I worked, I got lots of knitting done on Monkey Sock #2. I have 1 more decrease row for the gusset and I am hoping to get it done this weekend. Also, I am waiting for my Cookie A pattern to arrive.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

1 Down, 1 To Go

I finished my first Monkey Sock last night. It turned out great. I am knitting it out of Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace. I had not used this yarn before and wanted to try it. I love the feel of it. It is heavier/thicker than I imagined, but that just means toasty feet. :o) The only thing I didn't like about it was that it doesn't have a real tight twist and tends to split alot, which made the SSK a real pain, but it is beautiful. I'm not going to give a finished picture yet, not until I get both done. I have sock #2 started. AND I have all my Monkey goodies bought.

I still have to buy the sock yarn and Cookie A pattern though. I was trying to wait for the new LYS, The Red Purl to open up, and buy from them. I just called and she is open starting today. She will actually be open until 9pm tonight, so I'm planning to stop on my way home. Can't wait to check out what she has in stock. Curious, Curious, Curious.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lawn Mower Blues

Well, when I went home last night I decided that I absolutely must, no more procrastinating, mow my lawn . I probably haven't mowed it in a month. I know what your thinking: Slacker. And you would be right. Mowing the law is my least favorite household chore. Well 2nd, because I hate weedeating more. It is the one thing that I miss about renting an apartment. I didn't have to do yard work then, but I do like the privacy now. Anyway, long story short, the lawnmower would not start. So I hooked it up to the battery charger and let it set for 1/2 hour. That's usually all it takes, but even after a full hour it would not start. So I get on the phone to my handy dandy Dad and tell him with the added comment that it won't even turn over. Dad thinks the started has gone bad. Actually his words were "You probably burnt the starter when you connected the battery backwards." Yes I admit it, I hooked up the battery backwards. I didn't even think about it. I just pulled the old one out and set the new one in with the logo facing forward just like the one I took out. Well, because it was manufactured by a different vendor, the posts were on the wrong sides. I tried to start it several times that way and that's when Dad thinks I damaged the starter, because it hasn't acted right since. Well, all I can say is that I'm pretty sure that was a blond day so there!!

When Dad comes over on Friday to show me how to mud drywall, we will look at the mower. Hopefully we can get a new part. Although from looking at that thing I don't know how easy it will be to get the old starter off. Why would they put the starter on the bottom!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I've Picked Out Colors!

Ok, the mudding isn't done yet, but it never hurts to be prepared right? I've had this idea for a while that I wanted to paint the sewing room Purple. Yes, I said purple. I love the color, so I might as well be happy in my sewing room.

So I stopped at Lowes last night to look at trim and paint chips. And I found 3 shades of purple and 1 of green that I want to use. Then I went on line to see if I could find the colors so I could post to by Blog for everyone to see. I wanted to share my joy. And they had this really neat interactive paint program. You select a room from several pictures (I think you might be able to upload one too , but don't quote me on that). Then you choose your colors and they will change on the walls/trim/curtain/bedspread. It was too cool!! So the wall color I chose was Lovely Lilac, with a cream trim called Lunar Tide (in the picture below, it shows up on the bedspread). Then I can add accents (currents, wall hangings, etc.) in the other colors, which are Thistle (Med Dark Purple), Sumptuous Purple (the curtains in the picture below), Lunar Glow (light green table in the picture below) and Iced Violet (pale purple).

In my current sewing room, I have an Armoire/TV Hutch that I think I want to try painting. It is a pressed wood piece, but I found on the internet where if you ruff sand and use a bonding primer, it will paint up just fine. I'm thinking of the either Thistle or Sumptuous Purple for that.

I'm so excited and really can't wait to get started. I put in a call to my Friends Dad to see if he would be available to help with the mudding next Friday, but I haven't heard back yet. It's only been about an hour since I left the message, so I'm not worried yet. :o) I am going to go to a surplus place near my parents house tomorrow to see about trim and Linoleum. Menards has it on sale this week, and I will stop by there tonight to see what they have. Lowe's didn't have ANY linoleum that I like. It was all brown, bricky looking or looked like a rock floor. I would love to carpet the whole room, but with it being the basement and hearing horror stories from others about pipes breaking and all that jazz, I think I want to go with linoleum and throw rugs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Saga of the Asymmetrical Shrug - Possible Solutions

Well, I talked to the Bella Vita Gals last night about my Evening Star Shrug. I found out something interesting that I didn't know. The right sleeve of the was knit flat, then you seam it up to form the arm tube. With the left sleeve however you pick up stitches and knit in the round. Elizabeth told me last night that most peoples tension is different when they knit in the round than when they knit flat. That does explain why the right side seems more loose and airy. They suggestion was thrown out that since it is an Asymmetrical Shrug that I leave the sleeves the way they are an no one would know the difference. It IS supposed to be asymmetrical right?? But after talking to everyone last night, I think I will just take out the Bindoff (CAREFULLY) and add some more rows until the two match in length.

Although I really like the explanation given by my Secret Monkey Pal: "...My secret theory is that someone breaks into my house in the night, while I'm sleeping, and knits a few extra rows on whatever I'm knitting. Sometimes he takes a couple of rows out, just to mess with my head. I didn't realize he had a regular route, somehow I thought it was just me." I guess you can't call him a knitting fairy or elf, because they are supposed to help you finish stuff like knit your socks, block the shawl, cobble the shoes, fold the laundry, or even mud the drywall. But since this obviously didn't happen, I must have been visited by Stripe the Gremlin.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Saga of the Asymetrical Shrug - Continued

Back in August, I was explaining about the Evening Star shrug that I am making. Well, I finished the knitting on Sunday when I was at work. I was very careful to make sure I had the same number of rows on each sleeve. But they are still not the same length!?!?!? The left one is MUCH shorter. What do I do? The shrug is made out of Acrylic, so I don't know if there is anything I can do. I guess maybe the first sleeve stretched while I was knitting. I don't know. It is looser too, so I must have started knitting tighter when I started knitting it again in August. I just don't know what to do. I think this is why I like knitting socks so much. I am terrible at sewing clothes too! Do you think if I wash it, it will spring back to where it should be? It's probably at least 4-5 inches too short. I thought about taking out the bindoff and adding a couple more inches, but what happens then if that side stretches. It could potentially end up at my knees. Is there anyway to shorten the first sleeve without ripping our the whole sweater? I cast on at the cuff of the right sleeve.

Any ideas will be much appreciated. I forgot to bring it with me today or I would be taking it to Bella Vita tonight to see what the other knit gals think. I will at least bring it up tonight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Basement Revealed

Here's a peek at what I have planned for my basement. I was looking for some old files and found this. I put this together 2+ years ago when my brother and I were getting ready to put up the walls. The storage room is pretty much done and I am currently working on the sewing room now. The future half bath will be out there while. The other side with remain open. I will just finish/insulate the outer walls and put up a ceiling. Then it can be used as a "family room" or whatever

Oodles & Oodles of Pictures

As promised in several earlier posts, I have pictures to show. The first ones are of the toddler quilts I gave to Lucas and Ethan (My BF Debby's sons). Lucas was very excited about his quilt and ran through it yelling 'MINE'. His is made from a very colorful fish fabric with neon yellows and greens. Ethan's was made with a fabric that had all kinds of animals in pairs, like Noahs Arc, but there was no Noah and No Arc. Just animals 2 by 2.

Also, here is a picture of Summer, Lucas, Ethan and Angelica at my Mom's on Labor Day. It was kind of cute, because this tree and swing are out in the middle of my parents 3 acre backyard and all the kids just migrated out there.

And here are my two housemates. The needy and very talkative Java on my bed cuddling with my fleece blanket that I had to drag out of the closet to combat those 38 degree nights that we have been having lately.

And here is shy scaridy cat Jasmine, quietly sitting on the sofa. At the first noise, she will be transformed into a bullet and disappear into the bedroom.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Drywall is up!!!!!!

Well, just to let everyone know, the Drywall is up. It went up with a bit of a fight, but after several days battle, my Dad and I prevailed!!. I forgot how hard it is to put up drywall. When we drywalled the storage room, I had found some pre-wallpapered Drywall and we put it up with a glue type caulking and tack nailed it in. It's the kind they use in Mobile homes and doublewides. But for the storage room, it was just fine. I did try to get some more to use for the sewing room because I didn't want to deal with the taping and mudding, but the surplus place I had previously purchased from, decided to get out of the surplus business and go into the auction business. So if I wanted to buy a whole "lot" of it, I could. But since I only need about 18 sheets and not a "lot" of 50, I decided for the more traditional style drywall.

We got 2.5 walls done on Thursday, with some grouching from my Dad that the walls my brother and I put up weren't square. For example: One end of the room is 11.5 feet wide and the other end is 12 feet wide :o) But since the room is 15 feet long, it isn't noticable. In my defense, when my Brother came to put up the walls, I had my square all ready. But he said we didn't need a square and when I started to ask to many questions about how to do this and why we do that I was told "I'm here to put up walls, not answer your questions. Questions take too much time, so let's get to work." Since he had worked construction for quite a few years in the modular home industry I figured he knew what he was doing and shut up. {{Big Brothers always get the blame}} There was really only one thing that had to be fixed before we could put up some drywall and that was the wall that contained the cutout for the closet doors; the 2 sides of the closet an inch off, so that the doors would not have hung square. Dad fixed that on Friday, while I through up some more insulation. By Friday night, we only had 1.5 pieces to go up plus a smaller filler piece. After Dad left, I swept up and while I was standing there I thought "Hey, I can put up the smaller piece by myself". So I did and went on to put up the half piece too. When Dad got there on Saturday, he was really surprised and happy too. By this time we were both really really tired of Drywall.

If anyone out there is going to be doing a lot of drywalling, I suggest you invest in a Drywall Screw Gun. The screws come in pre-loaded strips of about 20, which are inserted into the gun. It automatically advances to the next screw when you are done. AND it a preset depth for countersinking the screw into the drywall without going through it. It was GREAT!! I don't think we would have gotten as much done without it. Here is a link for the screw gun, so you can see what I'm talking about. It is not the exact one my Dad has but you get the picture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Working Vacation

I will have the next 2 days off from work. But I will still be working. In fact, I will be doing more work the next 2-3 days than I do most weeks. That's because my Dad and I will be putting up drywall in the basement. YEAH!!! I have been waiting for a long time to get this done. When I bought my house (6.5 years ago), it had an unfinished basement.

About 2 years ago my brother and I sectioned off half of the basement with walls to create 2 rooms; one for storage and one for my sewing room(14ft x 11ft). Then my Dad, his friend Ray and I drywalled the storage room last year. Things aren't completed in there, but I got the closet organizer done and the store room is pretty full. Still need to finish the trim and a drop ceiling, but I'm waiting on the ceiling to do it all at one time. Then there was a delay getting the drywall purchased for the sewing room. I have had to do this a little at a time as money and my Dad's health has allowed. So for the next 3 days, I will be working on Drywall. I don't look forward to the mudding and sanding, but the father of one of my friends is going to come and help with that. He was a professional Drywall Finisher, before he had an accident and lost one leg. He gets around very well on his new prosthetic and offered to help if we needed. And since I know NOTHING about drywall except hanging, I took him up on his offer.

I will take more photos this weekend to let everyone know how things are going.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monkey Swap Progress

So here is the progress on my first sock. I have a total of 3 repeats completed. It is moving along very well. The label is a bit blurry, but I am using Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace it is a mix of Cotton, Bamboo, and Elastic Nylon. It feels real nice. The color scheme, which is Picnic (pink, purple, lime and really light orange), is a bit more vibrant than what you see in the picture. I really like the way this is turning out and will have to get some more of this to make myself a pair. I can't wait to get them done, so I can send them off to my Monkey Pal. I already have one of her gifts and have plans for several more. You know how it is when your looking for 'just' the right thing. Still looking, but I have ideas.

PS: I took the picture using the Polaroid Digital camera that my friend Vicki from Simply Knits gave me. The battery door is broke, so she bought a new one and I got this one for the economical price of 1 heart-shaped quilted wallhanging. Anyway, it's great to use for taking pictures of my WIP or UFO's to put on the blog because I just have to plug it into the wall socket and I can take photos. I tried Duct Tape to keep the door shut, but it stretches and so didn't work. Now I am trying reinforced packaging tape. At work, they call it glass tape. It has the strings into, so it has to be cut instead of torn. So far it is holding and not stretching. Will see how it goes. Thank you Vicki!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Monkey Pal's

Yippee! I not only got my Monkey Pal, I have been contacted by my Monkey Pal. When I first signed up, I wasn't quite sure how this worked. I thought I would be paired up with someone and we would make each other a pair of socks. After swapping emails with the person I am making the Monkey socks for, I now know that it doesn't. I make socks for someone, and she makes socks for someone else and someone else makes socks for me. Kind of a neat concept. That way, I get to meet 2 new people.

Now that I know what pal likes, I can go home and search my stash. If I don't find just the thing, I will start browsing the web. Can't wait to get started!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Labor Day Cookout

The cookout at my Mom's on Labor Day was lots of fun. It was hot and muggy, but we still had fun. Once you got out into the yard under the shade trees and away from the house, which was blocking the breeze, it was fine. But the real reason I had more fun at this party than at others was because of the number of kids. We had 10 kids under the age of 10, with at least 7 of them being under the age of 5. They were so much fun. My BF Debby was there with her DH and 5 kids (Zach, Kiersten, Stephanie, Lucas & Ethan). My cousin Michelle was there with her 2 kids (Angelica and Summer) , my cousin Kylee was there with her 3 kids (Mike, Mikayla, and Harley), and Luci was there with her DH and 2 kids (Alex and Celestina). It was so cute, Lucas (3) and Angelica (4) who had never met before were walking around holding hands. Angelica kept saying "he's my friend". It was adorable.

I hadn't realized how long it was since I had seen Debby and the kids, until I realized that I needed to bring their 2006 Christmas presents to the party with me. I know: Bad Sandy, Bad Sandy. So I guess I can also admit that I just gave the boys their baby quilts that I made them. My normal deadline is to have their quilts to them by their 1st birthday. So I was 2 years overdue for Lucas, but only 1 year for Ethan. Ethan wasn't too impressed with his, he's only 2 and was more interested in the Hotwheels I got him for Christmas. But Lucas really liked his quilt. Now he doesn't have to sleep under Steph's baby quilt which is pink and white. Just so you know, I make all the baby quilts oversized, so they can be used for much longer.

I took pictures with the camera I borrowed from my Dad, but I didn't think to get the downloading software, so I will have to post the pictures later.

PS: I still have 1 baby quilt at home to be delivered. I have the binding cut, just not sewed on. It is for Landon, my other BF's (McKelle) son.