Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shoveling Snow

The sun may have been shining yesterday when I posted about going home last night and shoveling snow, but it sure as hell wasn't shining when I got home. And my God did it get a lot colder when the sun disappeared. Most of the snow that I had to move was the light fluffy stuff, however the crap deposited at the end of the driveway from the snow plows was all a frozen mess. Luckily they had fully plowed the streets, so I parked along the curb when I got home. I had the snow shovel in the car with me, so I got out and immediately started shoveling. Then I had to slog through the snow to the shed, dig it out and get my regular metal shovel. It was definitely hard work and I didn't get it 100% done, but I got it cleared enough to get the car in the drive. I had to stop, because my fingers had gone numb and they were really starting to hurt badly. I don't know how long it takes for frostbite to set in, but didn't want to risk it.

When I got inside, I made myself a hot cup of tea in one of my favorite "no spill" Starbucks Mugs. I don't think I drank all of it, but I mainly wanted to hold it to warm up my fingers. I sat on the sofa under 2 fleece blankets holding that mug until I felt warm again. Of course as soon as that happened, I promptly fell asleep! I'm trying not to take naps when I get home, because then I can't sleep when it's time for bed.

There was absolutely nothing to watch on TV last night. I take that back, I watched House, then there was nothing. So I popped in a DVD to watch. I borrowed "Pride and Prejudice" from a my friend Carly starring Colin Firth from A&E (1995). I had never seen any version of this movie nor read any of Jane Austins books. When I was in High School, I had to read "Tale of Two Cities", "Oliver Twist", multiple Shakespeare plays, and "Wuthering Heights". I'm sure there were others, but I can't think of the titles just now. Anyway, I wasn't sure I would like it. I watched the first 2.5 hour DVD last week and finished the second 2.5 hour DVD last night. The first 2 hours of the 5 was pretty boring, but I really liked the rest of it. The mother, Mrs. Bennet, was a major Twit though. I just wanted to tell her to shut the hell up when she went into her hysterics. And I wanted to just slap the youngest sister Lydia when she kept harping on how she was the youngest and had married first and therefore was better than all her older sisters who couldn't seem to catch a husband.

Well, if I don't get back to tell you, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. I'm going to be spending the day with my parents.

Monday, December 22, 2008

To Ski or Not to Ski?

That was the question yesterday and the answer was "Hell NO!"

On Saturday I went to my friend McKelle's house. She was having a Christmas Party and needed a little help finishing up the cooking. Since the party didn't start until 6pm and it was kind of nice out, I brought along my cross-country ski's thinking if I had time, I would take a trip around the fields behind her house. Well, we didn't have enough time, because she was expecting 45+ people and so needed to make some extra goodies. And boy were there lots of goodies. One of my favorites was the Brown Sugar Candy that she made from Eric's Grandmothers recipe. YUM! And the BBQ Meatballs.

Since we were so busy on Saturday, I told myself that I would wait and ski on Sunday. Then I woke up on Sunday and looked outside. Yeesh! The wind was blowing so hard and it was soo cold I decided it wouldn't be an enjoyable thing. So the skis are still in the car.

My Mom called while I was at McKelles and wanted to know if anyone wanted any bananas for making banana bread. She came home from visiting our friend Luci in Kalamazoo with 40 LBS of bananas. Yes, I said FOURTY! On Sunday she made 8 (yes EIGHT) batches of banana bread and then gave the rest of the bananas to a couple neighbors.

The weather was just as bad this morning too. I looked out the window to see if the roads had been plowed. It looked like they had been. Wrong! I got stuck trying to get out of the drive way; half in the street half in the drive way. If I could have gotten the car back into the drive way I would have called to say I was staying home, but I couldn't get back in either. Finally, after alternating digging, putting kitty litter behind the wheels and going forward a bit then back, I had to admit defeat and go ask help from Elijah, my neighbor. He brought over a dirt digging shovel, since my snow shovel wasn't getting through the icy stuff under the wheels. One little dig and a shove and I was free. The drive to work down 933 was a piece of cake after that. Of course I have to go home tonight and finish shoveling out the drive way. But the snow has stopped (for now) and I think the sun is shining too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Much needed Haircut

Am heading out early today to get a much needed hair cut. I got it cut real short a couple of months ago. Now there are uncontrollable pieces that want to stick out every which way.

Haven't been very wordy lately, because I was having a really bad headache. It started on Dec 7th and I just couldn't shake it. I tried every frigging headache drug imaginable; ibuprofen, Tylenol, alieve, fiorcet (migraine med), Excedrin and sinus head meds). Nothing worked. Finally broke down and went to the Dr. on Tuesday. He ended up doing a Chiropractic adjustment on my and OMG if feels so good to be headache free. I didn't realize until it was gone how if was affecting my thinking and my mood.

Gotta run!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ah Hah!!!

If you'll remember, last week I was bummed, because I had 2 knitting projects going and was having a problem with both of them. The 'Ah Hah' is in regards to my Cul-de-Sac Vest. I was having a stitch count problem, where things were not adding up and it was throwing me into a tizzy. To recap just a bit:

"After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D, it said I should have 142 stitches. Then beg. increasing 2 stitches every 6th row, 6 times for under the armpits. After doing that increase, according to the pattern I should have 138 stitches. Which is obviously doesn't add up, so I chose to ignore that part and just knit on."

I emailed a couple Ravelry members who have knitted the Cul-de-Sac Vest. The thought that kept popping into my head was: "why am I having such a hard time figuring this out when at least 60 other Ravlery members have made or are making this vest and they don't seem to be having the same problem." I could not figure out what I was missing.

"Spinsterrowe" (a.k.a. Lisa) emailed me back on Dec 4th, and although I read her email, there was obviously an electrical short somewhere between my brain and the lightbulb that hovers over everyone's head. (You know you have one too right?). She sent me another email today, checking up on my progress, and I replied back, that no I hadn't really figured it out but that I had just decided to frog back the armhole decreases and re-do them. I told her I had even tried to count the stitches in a row below the armhole decreases to determine exactly where my mistake was, but hadn't had any sucess with that either (because I counted 138 and new that must be wrong). I admitted that I had also switched the L/R cable charts and so had ended up with an "S" on either armhole in one spot instead of the cable. So for aesthetic reasons, I was just going to frog back and my stitch count would just have to be what it was. After sending this response back to her, I decided re-read her earlier email to see if I could maybe glean some more info from it, which I thought highly doubtful. To my immense surprise, I read the following sentence:

"when you join the back pieces, there are 16 extra stitches for the cables that have been decreased out of the picture before you get to the underarm. 142-16 (cable stitches) =126, 126+12 (increases) =138."

OMG!!! I can only imagine what this woman was thinking of my intelligence level when she read my "no, still haven't figured it out" email, and here she had answered my question in her email on the 4th. I admit I'm blond, but I don't usually act it!

Everytime I re-read the pattern I was interpreting it to say "After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D you should have 148 stitches" when in actuality I was joining the 2 bottom flaps in the middle of the charts and then decreasing as I finished charts C&D.

Again, OMG how dumb am I. No wonder none of the other 60+ knitters were having problems with this pattern as there wasn't a problem in the first place.

I must now admit that I have actually messed up my armhole decreases, because I have 1 decrease row left to do and I should then have 88 stitches but will have 96. So I know I missed a couple of decreases along the way and still need to frog to fix that. But I at least know that what it is that I was missing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Have Pictures!!!

I'll start with the oldest first.

I took some photos of the new sewing room after things have been sorta moved in. Now remember I said 'sorta'. There is still some sorting and re-arranging that will need to be done. There is trim that still needs to be put up, yada yada yada.

Here is where I sit and sew.

Here is the fabric STASH. Jeez, didn't know I had that much fabric. If you look closely at the bottom right, you can just barely see an orange tote hiding behind the closet door. That too is full of fabric that needs to be sorted into the rest.

And here is the majority of my yarn stash. I have a couple of bins upstairs with acrylic yarn in them. I have some shelves to build in the closet to the left of the fabric rack above. I wish I had bought another of these pink rolly bins, because they are already getting kind of full. The oak table above the bins will be my cutting table, however I didn't want you guys to see the top of it as I've been using it to sort stuff and it looks a mess.

I finished and blocked my Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki M. It turned out so nicely. The color is called Grape Jelly and I used 2 skeins of Knit Picks Lace yarn held together.

I joined a Thrummed Mitten KAL on Ravelry. There are several of us doing them in my South Bend Knitwork Group. Our start date was Dec. 1. I picked out a blue Pattons Classic Merino wool, but couldn't decide if I wanted to use redish roving or white roving. A coworker suggested I alternate them. So I did and here is what #1 looked like.

I wasn't real happy with the mitten. Mainly, because I've never done anything thrummed before and discovered that I made my beginning thrums too fat. I thinned them down on each consecutive row, but then thought how hard it would be to match mitten #2 to #1. And to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with the red, white and blue effect of the alternating rovings. Great colors, but they just weren't doing anything for me. So I ripped #1 back to the row just before I added the roving and started over. I ditched the red roving and thinned out my white ones. Here is what it looks like now, I like this version much better. And I think I'll actually be able to move my hand when the mittens are done. :o)

PS From what I've seen, the thrums are supposed to form those cute little V's, but my first attempt was too fat to form them. They just looked like big polka-dots.

I started making a pair of fingerless mitts for one of my friends for Christmas. #1 is all done and I am just starting the thumb shaping for #2

I tried out a new pattern this weekend for a sock knitting bag by Lazy Girl Designs. (Technically, I think it is meant to be a purse, but let's be real it's too small for a purse. At least for me!) It's cute, but cotton just doesn't drape well. I want to re-design the bottom, so it not so curvy. Of course, you cannot tell that by the picture you are about to see as it is sitting down, but trust me.

I told you I had pictures, but did you really believe me? I think not. Wait, I'm not done yet either. I have one more.

TADA!!! I put up my Christmas Tree for the first time in about 4 years. I know it looks a bit pitiful, but I discovered that I don't have (or at least can't find after much digging) any ornament hooks for my ornaments. I'll pick some up this week and hang some stuff this weekend. Also, I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see that the tree was still standing. As many times as I had to chase Java and Jasmine away last night while I tried stringing those red beads around, I thought for sure that it would have been lying on it's side in pieces this morning.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mini Retreat Happiness

Well today is another day and I'm in a better mood. TGIF!

I decided to let my 2 knitting projects cogitate for a bit and started something new last night. It is a pair of the fingerless mitts. (A Little Twist Wristwarmers) They are a Christmas present for my friend Clara who has been hinting about wanting a pair. They are knitting up really fast. I started while watching CSI last night, worked on them at lunch today and have the first one almost 1/2 done. They are a blue denim color. Want to make a pair for myself too.

Tonight, I have to head home and do a little straightening to the house. My friend Kathy is coming over tomorrow and we are going to have a mini-Quilt Retreat at my house in my NEW sewing room. Yeah!! I am planning on setting up the crockpot. We will have Cranberry Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, and corn. I might even make a Peach Dump Cake for dessert. I've been wanting to make one, just didn't want to end up eating the whole thing by myself. I even have vanilla ice cream if we want it ale mode.

I have a few little projects that I would like to sew up for Christmas presents and I would like to get my Mexican Tiles Top finished. All the blocks are done, I just have to assemble it. It is twin sized, so it shouldn't take too long.

Well, you all have a nice weekend. I plan to.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Bummed!

For several reasons.

First: Now that I have the Cascading Leaves Shawl done (pictures forthcoming), I decided to cast on for my Celtic Vest. I made one of these last year and accidentally felted it. I bought some really cool yarn on our Chicago Yarn Crawl at Lorna's Laces. It started out really nice, but then the yarn started pooling. The Celtic Vest Pattern is designed to be knit using 2 balls at one time tp avoid pooling. Like I said, it started out looking really nice, I even made sure to start my balls of yarn in different parts of the color repeats. Maybe they were still too close. Anyway, when I noticed the pooling, I thought maybe I had done something wrong because partway through I had decided to try a little continental knitting. Will get into that more later. So I ripped back to before the pooling and re-knitted the area. Started pooling again at the same spot. I have set it aside until I figure out if I want to use different yarn, or rip it and restart with the yarns repeats even further apart. Still thinking on that. Any ideas??

Secondly: I picked back up my Cul-de-Sac Vest last night by Elsebeth Lavold. I was having problems with the decreasing for the armholes, and set it aside until I had the heart to trying figuring it out. I got the pattern from a 2003 Knitter’s magazine and am now wondering if there is errata out there somewhere or if the pattern has been reprinted in another magazine/book at some other point. I found what I think is an error when working on the back. After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D, it said I should have 142 stitches. Then beg. increasing 2 stitches every 6th row, 6 times for under the armpits. After doing that increase, according to the pattern I should have 138 stitches. Which is obviously doesn't add up, so I chose to ignore that part and just knit on. However, I am now on the arm hole decreases and my numbers don’t match the next set either, so now I’m not sure if i have done something wrong or if the pattern is again wrong. Not sure if I should rip back to the before the armholes or just plug ahead and again ignore the numbers. I did determine that the armhole decrease numbers are based on the 138 stitches. When I do the math based on the 142 stitches, I figured I should have 154 stitches after the increases and 104 after the armhole decreases. I have one more set of decreases to make and my stitch count now is 98. So something definitely wrong. I have contacted 2 people on Ravelry who have finished the vest to ask for their opinions/help and I tried contacting Elsebeth Lavold to find out about the errata. But I'm pretty sure regardless of what they say, I still have to rip back.

Third: On the way home last night from knit I stopped at Taco Bell for a snack, because I had skipped dinner. I went through the drive thru and was getting my money out to pay, because I was next in line to pay, when the pick-up in front of me backed up and hit the front of my car. Luckily the only damage done was to my bumper. Her Reece trailer hitch holder broke a hole in the center of the plastic bumper. Since we weren't in the street, the police won't do a report, so I had to contact her insurance company directly. I'm not mad that she did it, just mad that I just had that stupid thing fixed from when I rearended someone a month or 2 ago. GRRRRR.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WooHoo! 4-day Weekend.

Yeah!! We have a 4-day weekend this week. Although I do have to work on Sunday, but still can't wait to get out of here (as in work).

Tomorrow of course is Thanksgiving and I can't wait for the food. YUM! Of course I'm on pop patrol again this year. Am starting to wonder if my family thinks I can't cook or something. I know my Mom has eaten food prepared by me before, but makes you wonder. And I always make the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Granted, they are usually already boiled and ready for me to mash when I get there. And really how hard are home-made mashed potatoes. You mash the potatoes and add a little milk and A LITTLE butter. Not a whole stick like some family members insist I add. Sneakily, there are some years when I don't add the butter, and no one ever notices. They all drown them in Gravy anyway. Not me though. I like corn on my mashed potatoes. And not that snotty looking cream corn either. Yuck! My Aunt Margaret, won 2 turkeys last week. So there will be plenty of that to go around.

Not sure what I'm doing on Black Friday. Other than not going to Kohls at frigging 4AM!! Can you believe they are opening that early. Oh and the McDonalds across the street from the Kohls on the south end of town is advertising that they are opening at 3AM, in case you want to stop there before hitting Kohls. Gaahh! I do have to make a trip to Lane Bryant and Hallmark, but it doesn't have to be super early.

On Saturday afternoon, I'm going to be meeting with a few old high school friends to discuss the idea of a 20 year reunion. Yes, I said 20! This is a first get together to throw ideas around. Maybe discuss sending postcards to see if anyone is interested in attending before we go to the trouble of planning the whole thing. The Decatur Raiders Class of 1989 only had a whopping 44 members, so it doesn't have to be a big bash. Personally, I'd be happy with a Pig roast/picnic like my brothers class of 1986 had.

Although we had something like that at the 5th reunion and there were quite a few complaints from the hoighty toighty people. They thought we should have had a fancy sit-down dinner with dancing (like a prom almost). McKelle, Debby, and I had planned that one, because no one else would help. I was so disgusted with the complaints, that I said I would not be planning the next one. And look, it's been 15 years since the last one. I told McKelle when she mentioned the 20 year, that I'd help, but only if the other class officer's stepped up this time. Guess I should have mentioned that only McKelle had been a class officer (Treasurer). Debby and I were just volunteers. So this weekend, 2 other class officers (Julie & Sherry) are going to be coming, plus McKelle, myself, Carol, and maybe Debby.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tag, I'm it.

I've been tagged by Liz, and now must tell everyone 7 random things about myself. Jeez, this may be hard.

1. I played Varsity Softball in 9th grade. I was an outfielder. I was only a mediocre player, and since I didn't like the coach, I didn't play the next year.

2. I'll take good black licorice over chocolate ANY day.

3. Here's a good one. You know the Lawn Darts games that were outlawed during the 70's as being too dangerous? I was stabbed in the hand by one when I was 3 or 4. My brother and his friends were playing the game in the backyard. I wasn't allowed to play as I was too small, so I was sitting on the sidelines on top of the well housing. I can remember seeing one of the darts being thrown into the air, watching it fly up and over and then down, right into my hand between the thumb and the first finger. I still have a scar from it. I don't remember crying, just thinking huh? as I pulled it out. I probably did, but like I said, I don't remember doing that.

4. I am an ardent fan of Ansel Adams. His Black & White Photos are awesome! I've done some of my own and would dearly love to install a dark room in the basement.

5. I have worn glasses since I was 3 years old. My mom used to get really frustrated because I wouldn't clean the lenses of my glasses. I have a vague memory of my Mom taking my glasses off to clean them and thinking that the light was way too bright when she gave them back. That should tell you how dirty they were and that she had a ligit reason for yelling. However finally, to get her off my back, I started licking the lenses and then using my shirt to clean them. Boy did that drive her crazy! Of course my Dad wouldn't let her punish me for it, because she'd been yelling at me to learn to clean the glasses, and now that I was, it would give me mixed signals to yell at for cleaning them. I only occasionally do it anymore and that is usually only when I'm around her and she is annoying me or if they need cleaning and I'm somewhere where there is no sink.

Gotta go to lunch, so I'll finish this up when I get back. If I can think of anything else.....

6. I don't like the scent of Lavender. (Most especially when someone shoves a bar of lavender soap under my nose to verify that I intensely dislike the scent. :-P ) My favorite flower scent is Hyacinth. To me that scent represents spring.

7. I know how to make home-made Tamale's. My Mom and I usually make a batch every Christmas.

Tag Michelle M., Kary, & Vicki

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Christmas Part of the Season

I forgot to blog about my first Christmas Party of the season. Last weekend, I and several other knitting friends converged on Carly's house for food, fun, knitting and cheesy Christmas movies. I was very impressed that she had even put up her Christmas Tree for the occasion.

We had Potatoe Soup, Chips/Dip, Vegies, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (YUM!! and I want the recipe Faith), Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (YUM also!!) and Pop with the biggest bag of ice I've ever seen. We were supposed to have more cookies, but Liz thought they were (a) sitting in the driveway at her house, or (b) scattered all over the road in front of her house being devoured by the neighbors dogs.

We also had an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. From left to right: Me, Carly, Faith, Liz, Mary with Aubrey in the front. Not pictured was Rachel who had to leave early to finish homework. Aubrey won the prize with her lovely black sweater.

OK, I don't consider mine ugly (the blue with snowman), but I didn't have an 'ugly' one, and I still wanted to participate. My friend Kirsten asked "who would purposely buy an ugly sweater." To which I replied "Ugly is in the eyes of the person not wearing it." Because all of the other sweaters were purchased at Goodwill, so you know someone had originally bought them thinking they looked great. Personally, I didn't think Carly's was too bad, but you'd only want to wear it on Christmas day and then put it away for the next year. Or 5.

Gingerbread (a.k.a Graham Cracker) Houses were also made. I didn't participate in this as I was busily knitting a complicated row on my Cascading Leaves Shawl. However, I did watch and occasionally snitch candy. They all turned out very lovely, however there was a slight seismic occurance and several houses were completely distroyed. At last report, only 2 of the 5 survived the earthquake.

PS Thanks to Carly and Aubrey for the lovely pictures which I snooched off Facebook. I forgot my camera and the camera phone's batteries died enroute to the party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Color Swap Package

It sure felt like Christmas yesterday when I got home last night. Not only was there about 4 inches of snow lying on the ground with more coming down, but my swap package was tucked in between the screen door and the front door. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get in the house and open it. The funniest thing about it was I had come from the Post Office where I had shipped my Color Swap Package off to my secret friend.

My lovely purple package came from Xtiand in the United Kingdom. There was a beautiful purple Stolen Moments Wrap made from Sirdar, some great Wild Fire Fibres Sock yarn, Purple buttons, stitch markers, note pad and mechanical pencil (I love Mech. Pencils), Rose scented bath soak, a Simply Knitting Magazine and Simply Knitting Sock Calendar. They both have some great patterns. And lest I forget some great Loose leaf Earl Grey Tea and Yummy black licorice.


And here is the wrap. Isn’t it great?

Stitch markers and Buttons


I should mention, that I have been wanting to try the loose leaf tea for quite some time. I even bought a small tea pot with a removable mesh basket made specifically for loose leaf tea. And Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors. I immediately made myself a pot of tea last night. Normally I only drink 1 cup, but last night I drank the whole pot. It was so good. PS: The mug was from Sarah when I participated in the Hot Cocoa Swap last year.


I would have dug into the licorice also last night, however after sitting outside all day it was hard as a rock. But I’ve already opened it this morning and tried it. YUM!!

One of my friends mentioned last week that with as much work/thought I was putting into my package and she sure hoped I got a good package in return. At that point, I was having so much fun, that I wasn't even thinking about what I would be getting. But you know, I couldn't have asked for a better package. It was perfect.

I love swaps! If you've never tried one you should. Thanks again Xtiand!

Friday, November 14, 2008

When it Rains, it Freaking Pours

It's that how the saying goes?

Well I sure feel like the Peanuts character that walks around under the black cloud this week.

First a dear friend passed away and I attended the viewing and funeral. I hate to say it, but I'm glad it is all over with. It was just so emotionally and physically draining.

Then yesterday I dropped the car off at the shop, because the front end was bouncing and squeaking when I drove over bumps. I figured I just needed new shocks. Well my car has struts, so there are no shocks. So the tech tells me, but if it is the struts they should be covered under warranty, because I just got them replaced not too long ago. Got the call at 4pm that they haven't figured out what exactly is wrong yet,but they were pretty sure it wasn't the struts maybe an axle. They need to keep it overnight and do more investigating on Friday. I just knew something would go wrong as soon as I paid that damn thing off.

Wait, wait, it gets better!

When I got home last night, I noticed the house was a little cool. So I go check the digital thermostat, because it's not programmed to warm up until 5:15 and I wasn't sure what time it was. Well, it was 5:30 and I could hear the furnace cycling, but no blower coming on. I went down to the basement, took off the front panel of the furnace and look at the blinking LED light. The damn things not supposed to blink. You have to count the blinks to see what the error code is, then look up the code. Some airflow thingy was either not opening or not closing, can't remember now. I checked the filter and the air intake opening on the outside of the house. It was blocked by leaves, so I moved that all away and went back into to turn the furnace off and back on. At first it acted like it was going to work, then that stupid blinking started up again. So I called the service people and they will be out on Friday sometime after 5pm.

If it's true that things happen in 3's, then I am DONE. Nothing else can happen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicago Yarn Crawl

Like I mentioned yesterday, a group of my knitting friends and myself took a road trip over to Chicago on Saturday for a tour of the Lorna's Laces Factory. We got a tour/history lesson on the business, a dyeing demo and then a shopping spree. ;o)

What truly amazed me was that Beth Casey bought the business from Lorna Miser (the original creator of Lorna's Laces) without knowing anything about dyeing yarn or even any experience in dyeing yarn. I would have been petrified to try that.

Here's a picture of Beth, as she demonstates how they set up for and do the dyeing of the yarn. Her 'recipes' for each dyelot are tacked to the wall above the sink.

I could be wrong, because a few times my attention lapsed as I drooled at the yarn hanging all around, but I believe she said each dyelot consisted of 10lbs of yarn, which was equal to only 40 skeins. So if you decide to buy Lorna's Lace yarn, buy extra of that dyelot, because there is no telling where in the world the rest of the dyelot went. She said they have no clear way of tracking particular dyelots. (Thank God for Ravelry and Rav. Members who are willing to trade/sell excess yarn!)

Anyway, once the dye is applied to the yarn, it is put into steamers and cooked for 45 minutes. Each dyelot usually takes up 2 steamers at a time.

Once it is done cooking, it is put into a regular (cheapy) washing machine, where it goes through two spin/rinse cycles. It is NOT adgitated, just rinsed and spun to get the excess dye and soap out of it. Then it is hung on PVC pipes to dry. Not sure which 'recipe' she used for this demonstration batch, but it sure looks like the Tuscany Shepherd Sport yarn that I bought.

Once the demo was concluded and all questions answered, Beth turned us loose to do some serious shopping. She had 3 tables of Mill Ends for sale. The one pictured below held Shepherd sock yarn and sport weight yarn. There was also one for Shepherd Worsted/Bulky weigh yarn. The 3rd table held her a good selection of her Organic Green Line yarn.

Doesn't that look so tempting?!?! Well, we had no problem shoveling a great deal of this yarn into our plastic bags. I myself bought 11 skeins of yarn (6 worsted, 3 sport and 2 sock). I've posted it to Ravelry, but didn't think to take a photo of it all together.

By the time we were done at Lorna's, we were all very hungry. To save shopping time, we packed lunches and ate them in our cars. It was too cold to sit outside at a park. Then we cruised south on Damen St. to Knitting Workshop and Soutache (a button shop). I was still riding on the high of discount yarn, and didn't purchase any more yarn at Knitting Workshop, although I was tempted to buy some of the new Harry Potter sock yarn. I bought 2 wooden rings at Soutache in order to make the Dumpling Bag from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits magazine. I looked for a shawl pin, however the few they had I felt were too large for me. After Soutache, we headed for downtown and Loopy Yarns. I finally found a skein of lime green sock yarn (TOFUtsies) and 3 skeins of Pastimes lace yarn, which was on clearance for 60% off. Can you say YEAH!!! I was very proud of myself. I decided to leave the credit and debit cards at home and only use cash. I came home with $8.00 to spare. Of course once we were back in South Bend I went out to eat with a few of the girls and had to use the debit card for dinner, but that doesn't really count, because I wasn't in Chicago anymore. :o)

I was so exhausted when I got home. I sat on the sofa to be mobbed by the Cats and promptly fell asleep after only about 10 minutes of petting.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The boiler must have shut down over the weekend again, because when I got to work this morning it was only 62 degrees in the front office. I knew there was a reason I decided to bring my fleece jacket to work even though I work a sweatshirt. Grandma always said "dress in layers. You can always take it off if yo'reu hot, but if you don't have it you can't put it on if your too cold." I'm sitting at my desk in layers, plus I have a hot cup of tea and the space heater going under my desk. I'm fine until I have to leave my desk. I currently need to walk out to shipping, but I don't want too because I'll get cold again. :o(

PS: I had a great time in Chicago on Saturday. 17 knitting friends and myself, took a trip to visit the Lornas Laces Factory. I'll fill you in a little later.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bad News - Good News

I always feel it is better to get the bad news over first, then concentrate on the good.

On Saturday, I had a lazy day at home where I indulged in a knitting marathon. I was trying to finish my Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki M. so that I could wear it this weekend. Anyway, I thought I would pace myself and take a few breaks to clean the living room and get some food. I'm not a fast lace knitter, so I only got about 18 rows down; that's 1 1/2 repeats. Anyway, I ended up majorly irritating my elbow. I've had problems with Tennis/Golfers Elbow before. When it flairs up, the only thing I can do is set the knitting aside. For a couple of weeks (3 is recommended). Darn it!! Just when I'm on a roll. I only have about 2 repeats left on the shawl and it will be finished. Double Dog Darn it!!

I've been wearing my elbow brace, but it still hurts. The worst part is that it is in my right arm and I'm right handed. Do you know how hard it is to NOT use you're right arm? I got frustrated this morning, because I was having a hard time just coming my hair with my left hand. My left hand is just too stupid to figure some things out. Last night, since there was nothing on TV and I couldn't knit, I decided to go to the sewing room and do a little sewing on my Mexican Tiles quilt. The sewing was fine, but trying to cut fabric or iron the blocks just hurt. But I did get the last of my blocks done. Now I can start assembling the quilt.

Now for the good News!!

I paid off my car today!

And I'm going on a "Yarn Crawl" this weekend to Chicago! We are going to be touring Lorna's Laces Yarns with demo in dying and access to their store. Then we will be hitting approximately 3 other knitting shops around the area. Not sure of the names yet, but I think one is Knit1 and maybe Knitting Workshop. It should be a fabulous time. There are going to about 18 of us carpooling over. It's supposed to be a little on the cold side, but I think it will be great fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Retreat Project Pictures

Here are the photos of my Mexican Stars wallhanging that I did at quilt retreat #2.

The next picture shows a closeup of the 3-D effect.

All the white-ish triangles are squares folded in half. So when you fold the diagonal area back, it is on bias and shapes into a curve very easily. Not sure yet if I will sew them my machine or hand. Leaning towards hand, but still haven't made up my mind.

It Freaking Snowed Last Night!!

Can you believe it?!? I got between 1/2" to 1" of snow last night at my house.
And it was the wet sticky stuff too.
Our controller went home for lunch yesterday and said that in a 4 mile drive he drove through sleet, hail, rain and sunshine.

And the oddest part is that by the end of the week, it is supposed to be back up in the mid 60's.

Added Photos:

These are a little old. I took them when we were putting up the drop ceiling in the basement. Just forgot to post them. This is my brother Ray. Mom was helping too and I took a photo of her, but I must have forgot to save it. I was using the camera on my phone.
I have almost everything moved to the sewing room, just not organized. It's still pretty messy. But I'll try to take photos this weekend to show off.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing Catch-up

I can't believe I've been so quiet. Things have been happening, I just haven't felt very wordy this last month.

With my mom's help, I got everything moved downstairs to the new sewing room. God I have too much stuff! Especially fabric! I always "knew" I had a lot, but it wasn't all in one place like it is in the basement. So now I can SEE how much there is. I have decided that for any new projects I start, I need to start using at least 80-90% of the fabric from my stash. It would be much better if I could do 100%, but sometimes you just need a little something that either you don't have or you don't have enough of. I still have a lot of organizing to do, but I actually did some sewing. Luckily I didn't have to cut anything, because the cutting table is piled high with stuff that has to be sorted. But it's a start.

I went to 2 quilting retreats this month. The first was at the Tecumseh YMCA Camp in Brookston, IN. (North of Lafayette) It started on Thursday and finished on Sunday. I checked out a new quilt store in Rossville, called Rossville Quilts. In November they will be having their first anniversary. It was a very nice shop. I was impressed with the wide variety of fabric that she stocked. Most shops you go into, lean towards one type of fabric usually based on the owners preference; whether it's brights or it's thimbleberry/civil war type prints. This shop had a nice variety of both. It was really great because everyone was able to find something that they liked.

I worked on 2 quilts while I was at Tecumseh. Didn't get either of them done, but I made progress on both. The first was my Lillibet's Garden quilt. I was working on the machine appliqued flowers in the center of the quilt. I decided to make it smaller, because it's a king sized quilt and I only need a queen. That means I get to leave off the outer boarder strips with it's many flowers and vines. Yeah! less applique to do. I got all the flowers sewn (12) and I got the flowers and vines appliqued on one section of the center areas, before I got tired of it and switched to my other project.

The other project was a "guild" project. There were at least 8 if not more of us there doing the same quilt. And none of them even looked remotely alike. It is called Mexican Tiles and was designed by Kay the QuiltDiva. Mine of course is kind of on the bright side; go figure. The main fabric is yellow with pink flowers. The center of the flower is kind of turquoise and there are some green leaves in the background. So my supporting fabrics are turquoise, bright pink, light pink, lime green, dark lime green, bright yellow and white for the background. Sorry no pictures yet. It is made up of basically 4 blocks. There is 1 star in the center, surounded by Snail Tails blocks, 80 flying geese and then a 4-patch in a 4-patch block. I got the center star and the 4-patches done while at Tecumseh and finished up the Snail Tail's blocks at my second retreat. I have about 20 flying geese which need the second wing and then I am done with all the little piecing and can start laying it out to piece the whole thing.

I had thought to give it to my BFF McKelle for her daughter Brenna, but Brenna's grandma beat me to the punch. So it will either go into the "top box" or I will finish it for my retreat quilt since it is only a twin size and I don't have any twin beds at my house.

My second quilt retreat was at Camp Fredenswald. It is a menonite camp up near Cassopolis, MI. My Tuesday night quilt group has been going there for at least 10 years now. It is a really nice camp. The beds are extremely hard though. I saw another quilter bringing a 'eggcrate' looking mattress pad, which I am determined to bring next time. As mentioned above, I worked on my Mexican Tiles quilt, but I also worked on a Mexican Stars wallhanging. Carol of Carol's Quilt Cottage was conducting a class on the 3-Dimensional techniques that Annette Ornelas using on her quilts. There were 4 of us doing the Mexican Stars pattern and 1 doing the Victorian Tablerunner and 1 doing the Tulip Bells Tablerunner. We all got the projects pieced, but only 1 of person got the 3 dimensional applique done. And it wasn't me either.

I finally figured out what to do with my toe-up socks that I started when I was camping this summer in Ludington. I have both feet done, but I just couldn't find a cuff pattern that I liked. I tried 4 different ones, including a mock cable that I had been wanting to try, but nothing looked good. I decided last week to just to a simple K3,P1 ribbing. And I love it! I think the variation of the color was just masking all the patterns. The ribbing is so simple, yet it looks great. I had about 1 1/2 inches done on one cuff, when I switched it over to a circular needs so I could try it on. I wanted footie type socks. But it still isn't long enough. I figure it needs to be at least 3 inches if not 4 inches long. When I switched it to the circular needs, I had to switch sock #2 to the straights, because it had been 'waiting' on the circular. So instead of switching #1 back to the straights I just went ahead and started knitting on sock #2. I have about 1 inch done. When it gets done, I'll go back and finish #1.

And last but not least, I decided I needed a change. So I got my hair cut and colored last night. I am no longer blond. I am now a brunette with carmel highlights. I really like it. I stopped by Liz's place on my way home to get a second opinion. She liked it too. It is SHORT too.

This was taken last night when I got home.And this is my 1st attempt at copying what the stylist did. OK, she was better, but I still love it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Things

I wanted to let everyone know that my brother, mother and I installed the drop ceiling in the sewing room on Saturday. Yeah! Pictures will be forthcoming.

I got up at 7ish and remembered that I needed to put the drywall 'repair patch' above the closet door before we could start on the ceiling. So I started working at 7:30 am. Yawn! I got the closet taken care of, then started on the baseboard trim. I didn't get it completely finished, as the door trim will go down to the floor and the baseboard trim will butt up against it. Since I don't have the trim either picked out or bought yet, I wasn't sure it how wide it would be, so I didn't get it quite finished. I can still start moving things down, as long as I don't set things near those spots.

Then I started cleaning up so that we wouldn't be tripping over things. I even moved 'stuff' from in front of the mattress that is for the spare bedroom. The plan was to move the kitchen table downstairs (it will become my cutting table) and [temporarily] put the mattress set in the kitchen. That way once the spare bedroom is cleared out, I can move the mattress set in there by myself to set up the bed. I do have another smaller kitchen table that I bought from my late Aunts estate. It currently resides in my parents garage, but I will need to get it soon, so they can park in there when the snow comes.

Anyway, after 1 false start and a trip to Lowes, the ceiling went up pretty quickly. Although trying to get back home from Lowes was a bit of the challenge. This weekend was the Apple Festival. We left just as the parade was starting and so got out OK, but trying to get back was a bit of a nightmare.

By the time we got done and my brother left, it was 8:30. God was I so tired! 13 hours of work!!! And my bum ankle was killing me. I actually had to break out the crutches and the big pain pill in order to get to sleep. Although I don't really think it lessened the pain, it just knocked me out. I was hobbling around most of Sunday at work. But I made sure to wear my ankle brace (applied bengay) and took tylenol every 4 hours. By Monday it was better. I still get a twinge every now in then, but it's manageable now.

I had planned to go to knit night tonight, but I'm going away this weekend and need to start packing. I also thought I could get a head start on carrying some stuff down to the basement. Not too many trips though, because I want to be able to enjoy walking around this weekend. Although since it is a quilt retreat, I will be sitting at the sewing machine for most of it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Know....

You know it time to put away the sandals and start wearing socks when you have shove your fleece lined jacket under the desk and wrap it around your feet.

PS: Things have been happening, I just haven't been feeling very wordy lately. I'll catch you all up later.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So Close I Can Almost Taste It.

Last weekend turned out to be a 'comedy of errors' type of weekend as I started working on my basement. Took a half day's vacation on Friday. I planned to go to Lowe's with my list of must haves, then go right home and get lots of work done.

Closet light fixture & bulbs
2 1 x12 x12 boards cut down of course to fit in the Taurus
Door stop trim
Threshold trim

As I was getting ready to leave, I thought I would check my voice mail 1 last time to see if there was anything really really urgent. Instead I got a message from my boss regarding an issue we had been discussing whereupon he told me to just "Chill, Bill". He and I have worked together for 13 years and we joke around, so I know that is what he meant to do, but it just hit me the wrong way at the wrong time. I called him back (because he was on vacation too), got his voice mail and left a scathing reply back that said something to the effect that "I'm probably taking your comment the wrong way, but I didn't appreciate it' and ended with "If you want me to be a bitch, I can be a bitch." Several miles down the road, he calls back, refrains from mentioning my bitch comment and we calmly discuss the original issue and get it cleared up.

So anyway, that kind of put a damper on my plans for the day. I did go to Lowes and get my supplies, however when I got home, I decided I just wasn't in the mood to tink around in the basement. I should have, because you remember my previous post "There Just Nothing like a Good Mad!" I probably would have finished the whole basement singlehandedly. But I decided to put everything off until Saturday.

Saturday morning dawned rainy and dreary. Perfect time to be in the basement getting things done, right? First projects was to get the bi-fold closet doors hung. The instructions were a bit sketchy, so I had to make several trips to the storage room, which has an identical set of doors. Finally all the hardware was up and the corresponding hardware was installed on the doors. I lift up the left door, carry over to the closet opening, set it down so I can get a better grip as lift it into position. I look up to seek exactly where I should move it, but instead notice the HUGE gap between the top of the door and the installed track. I mean HUGE. The closet door frame was 3.75 inches too tall. Hmmm, what's the saying about measuring twice before covering everything with drywall. OK, maybe that is not exactly how the saying goes, but it sure fits. Since time is limited (I have a family reunion at 3pm) I set the closet door aside and figured I'd think about how to fix it a little later after I have calmed down.

Now on to the door frame. Before you ask, it is a pre-hung door/frame, so yes it fits perfectly. :oP It was a freebie door, and it was missing the trim along the inside of the door which stops the door from going all the way through. Appropriately named 'door stop' trim, which I had bought at Lowes. I also needed to install a threshold trim across the bottom of the door, so you didn't trip on the vinyl flooring. I worked on the threshold first. Got it cut (has to be a tight fit) and stained then set it aside to dry. And it fit perfectly too. OK on to the trim. Got the 2 side pieces cut first. Figured I would install them, then measure for the top piece. Went into the storage room to get the pack of finishing nails that I didn't have on the Lowes list because I have some already. I open the pack and wouldn't you just know it. There was only 1 fricking nail left!!!

At this point, I just gave up for the day.

However on Monday night when I got out of work, I stopped at Walmarts for batteries and picked up my nails. When I got home, it was kind of late (I had stopped at a couple other places too), but I decided to go ahead and work on the basement anyway. I not only got the door stop trim installed, I got the frame painted too. I also got the first 2x4 installed for the "new" closet door frame.

Then last night, I worked on cutting the window sill boards (remember the 1x12x12 boards from Lowes?). I didn't nail them in yet, because the are a bit wider than the actual sill. I marked them and brought them into work today. Our maintenance guy was able to cut them down for me. But here is a photo of what they will look like when installed.

The window sill will be approximately 11 inches deep. The area to the right is the main cutoff for water coming into the house. Once the ceiling goes up, I will measure and install a door to cover it up.

I decided to tackle the closet one more time. I figured if it proved to be too much of a hassle, I would just wait for my Dad to get here on Saturday. But, I not only finished up the closet door frame, I got the doors hung too. Woohoo! Woohoo! (FYI, the top area will be covered by a wide piece of trim and you'll never know it's even there.)

I'm planning on staining the window sill wood tonight along with some more trim. I thought I had it all stained, but only the top 5 pieces were done. Dad is coming on Saturday to help me re-install the heating duct that we had to move when we put up the walls. We might start on the trim too, but I can work on that throughout the week. And next weekend my brother is coming to install the drop ceiling.

So see, I am SOOO close to having the sewing room D-O-N-E!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Getting closer!

My Dad, brother and I installed the vinyl flooring in the basement on Saturday.

I thought we would just take measurements, transfer those to the back of the vinyl and then cut it out. No, that is not how my dad does it. First we had to use rolls of paper to make a "template" of the room, including the closet walls and doorway. Then we took that outside and laid it out upside down of course on the back of the vinyl that was laying in the yard. Then we taped it down and used magic markers to trace around it. Then we cut it. It was an interesting experience, however the backs of my thighs hurt so much from bending over and crouching down. Thankfully my Dad had a pair of those rubber knee protectors, otherwise those would have ached too.

Now I just have to let it "relax" for a couple of days (less if it were warmer) but with the chill weather that we have been having the last couple of days, I have to wait longer. Then I can put up the baseboard and trim. Planning on starting that this Friday night/Saturday morning.

On Saturday, I am going to a Ravelry meet up at my LYS "The Red Purl." Wasn't sure that I was going to be able to go, because my mom announced that we are having a family reunion/picnic at her house that day. But I found out that it doesn't start until 3pm. That gives me plenty of time to visit at The Red Purl.

BTW, I got my car back. I looks so nice and, I don't know if I'm imagining it or not, but it feels like it drives better too. They even vacuumed it! Which it really really needed, because the last time I mowed lawn, I didn't realize I left the windows down on the car and ended up blowing grass clippings in to it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


So here are a couple of pictures of the quilts that I picked up from Barb on Monday. They have both been finished for several years, but I just didn't have the money to get them quilted. Barb had a great Quilt 1 and get the second quilted for 1/2 off sale going.

I don't remember the name of this first quilt, it was in a Christmas quilt book/magazine, but I of course found some great green/purple batik to use instead. I do remember that all the other fabrics came from the same line and were on the clearance rack at JoAnns.

And here is a close up of the back side. It really shows off the quilting that Barb did. She has a computerized long-arm quilting machine, and I like how she was able to manipulate 1 design to fill so many different areas.

And this is my Stack-n-Whack. Although it is the only one that I have done, I had a great time doing it and I have bought other fabrics to use on another S-n-W.

And here is a close-up of the back side showing the different quilting motifs used.

I have the binding sewed onto the Purple Star Quilt. I actually finished that at about 6:55am this morning. Woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I still have to do the hand work part, but I can work on that on Sunday when I'm at work.

PS - Car Update - I talked to the owner of John's Body Shop last night and was informed that I may be getting my car back either today or Friday. He was painting it last night and then had to finish putting the light assembly back in. Can't believe I will be getting it back so soon. He just started on it on Tuesday. Wow!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I know I did.

First though, let me catch you up on the latest news regarding my car. I actually heard from the field adjustor on Friday afternoon, that she had looked at my car, worked up an estimate (approx. $2200), wrote the check and left it in the car. I was not happy to hear that she had left the check in my unlocked car. She said since the car was unlocked and the key was under the mat, she assumed it was a 'safe' neighborhood. Duh, you can't drive the car! So there was really no risk in leaving it unlocked. But regardless of what neighborhood I lived in, I still wasn't comfortable with the fact that she left a $1700 check in my unlocked car. DAMN! I did find out later, that the check did arrive intact at the body shop. He is going to be working on the repairs this week. Hoping to get the car back next week. Will keep you updated.

On Saturday, my Mom's longtime friend Eli and her Mother (Mama C) were in town from TX & GA. We got together at her daughter Luci's house for a bit. They were planning on having a get together/B-day party on Sunday for Luci, however I had to work. Mama C was so funny. She came for a 2 week visit and only brought 2 suits of cloths. She told me she never packs a lot when so goes to Eli's house because Eli always gives her cloths. Sounds like a Catch-22 situation to me. She doesn't take a lot of cloths because Eli give her some, but Eli only gives her some because she does take enough. :o) She is so sweet and she tells some really funny stories about her youth and her family. It's always fun to visit with her.

On Sunday before I went to work, I cut out and started sewing a new purse for myself. I finished Sunday night when I got home at 10:30. I have made several sewn purses for myself over the years, but invariably I end up not liking them after I get them done. This one I like. It hangs from your shoulder across your chest to the opposite hip. I've already determined where I want to tweak the pattern when I make another one. The first thing will be to use matching zippers. You can just see the pale blue one peaking out between the black and the pretty fabric.

On Monday, I went fabric shopping with my friend Patsy. We went down to see the "new" Calico Point quilt store. It is run by a Menonite lady and it used to be in her basement, but they built a separate building and it re-opened in July. More room = More fabric. Yeah! It's the small things that just make you so happy. Anyway I needed some more fabric for my Fall Quilt Guild Retreat Project. I am making a Mexican Tiles Pattern by the Quilt Diva (Kay). I had most of my fabrics, but I needed a some turquoise blue and a light pink and maybe a white-on-white fabric. I decided if I didn't find a W-on-W, it was no big deal, as I could use a couple different ones from my stash to make up the difference. I was trying to be frugal. That basically was the only thing I was looking for. HOWEVER, that is not exactly what I found. I found the pink, but neither of the other 2 fabrics. Then I walked by the clearance and found the pretty purple flower fabric with a black background. Then I found 2 pale-ish purples to go with it. Then I found this Gorgeous red and tan Poppy fabric with a black background and a coordinating red/black print. I just loved it!

But before you think I totally lost it and broke the bank buying all this fabric, I should tell you that Calico Point has really (and I mean really!) good prices on quality brand fabric. You quilters out there will recognize a few of the lines she carries: Hoffman, Northcott, Lakehouse, Michael Miller, Timeless Treasures, etc. Most quilt stores sell their fabrics for $8 to $10 per yard. Calico Point sells theirs for $4 to $6 per yard. It's almost a crime not to buy at those prices, especially if it is something you absolutely can't live without! Am I right? You know I am.

Then, just because we were in the neighborhood, we stopped at JoAnn's to see what they had in their Labor Day Sale. I found my turquoise and W-on-W fabric, plus a coffee fabric that I didn't have.

We also stopped by Barb's house to pick up a couple of quilts that I had dropped off in July to be quilted. Barb had a summer sale going on. Quilt 1 and get 1 quilted at half off. I haven't taken pictures of them yet, but I will. I'm hoping to go home tonight and get the binding started. My Hartford quilt group is having a quilt show on Sept 20th and I want to hang them in the show.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fender Bender

What a nice cap to an already crappy day.

-Bad day at work (End of month Rush)
-Family tragedy for a friend
-Fender Bender on the way home from Knit Group.

I failed to notice the car in front of me had stopped or was stopping to do a left turn. By the time I noticed, it was too late to avoid hitting, but I was able to swerve so that it wasn't a full-on rear end collision. I clipped her bumper as I swerved to the left. Luckily no one was in the on-coming lane. No one was hurt, no airbags deployed, but the front right side of my car got pretty squashed. Although I was surprised to note that the head light still worked after being busted out. Since my car was making a funny noise I pulled over on a cross street. At first I thought the other car had just left, but she returned shortly. She went up the hill and turned around. She thought I was driving off when I turned onto the other road. I called 911; first time and hopefully the last I ever have to do that. The cops came. I know someone was either smiling on me or took pity on me at least after my bad day, because I did not get a ticket. Was sure I would, because I knew it was my fault. I didn't come right out and say the words "officer it was my fault" but I was very upfront about admitting that I failed to notice she was turning. I was able to drive the car home.

I found out later, after meeting my dad in the auto mechanics parking lot, that funny noise was because something was rubbing on the drive belt. The body shop owner advised me this morning not to drive it any further than I already had. The insurance towing service will be picking it up tomorrow to take it to the body shop. The owner said he could work on it next week.

And to top it off, I had to finish washing the dishes that my Mom started at 11:30pm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yummy New Dish

I got one of those emails from Borders, that said "take our survey and we'll give you a 30% off coupon." So I took their 4 question survey. Then I went to Borders last night and bought myself a new Thai cookbook. It is called "That Everything Thai Cookbook" by Jennifer Kotylo. I have been looking for a good cookbook with some curry recipes in it. I was also looking for a Coconut Chicken Soup recipe. This book had both.

It had one curry recipe (Red Curry Beef) that I had all the ingredients for except peanuts. So I since I had to go to the store anyway, I bought my peanuts and went home to cook the curry dish. I made a few mods to the recipe as I was making it. I added more coconut milk, so it wasn't 'dry' like the recipe said it was going to be. I didn't want to waste a half a can of coconut milk. Then I added more peppers (green bell, red bell and a sweet banana pepper), some minced fresh garlic and fresh button mushrooms. As it was cooking, I tasted it a few times. At first, I was worried I wouldn't like the recipe, because it was tasting pretty flat. But once I added the fish sauce and sugar it got better. When it was done and I put it over rice, it was yummy! I almost added hot peppers, but thought "no, I'll wait to see." I can always added some thai hot pepper sauce to it that I have in the fridge. I'm glad I didn't, because it had a slow burn to it. You know, it doesn't appear very hot until you start eating more and more. Then the heat starts building.

It turned out very good. Can't wait to try another recipe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Anniversary!

Happy 1st Anniversary to my Blog.

Here's a look back at my first entry. Boy was it a long one too.

Also, last week I had my Spinning Wheel class at the Michigan Fiber Fest. in Allegan, MI. It was soo interesting to see all the different wheels. There were 11 or 12 attendees. And although there were several common types of wheels, no 2 wheels were the same. There were 3 Ashford Traditionals and they were all set up slightly different. Fran, from OH, was sitting next to me with a very old traditional. Probably one of the first styles. Her scotch tension was different from mine. The other Traditional was set to not even use the scotch tension. The spinning head was reversed so that the drive wheel was running both the bobbin and the spinning head. It was just so interesting to see how all the wheels were so different. There was even a Flax wheel present. The bobbins and spinning head were so tinny, yet the wheel was so huge. The owner (a woman originally from New Zealand) said it had been made by a Dutch furniture company for basically show. It was never supposed to be a working wheel. Just a decoration. However, it does work for lace only. I really learned a lot about my wheel also. The instructor, Amy Tyler, was really great.

I went back up on Saturday with my friend Carly to see all the Vendors. Because of all the class cancelations, because attendance was so low, I was worried that there wouldn't be as many vendors as last year. There were a few less, but not so that you really noticed. I had a few things on my list that I wanted to get (smaller wooden/bamboo cable needles, nitty noddy, lime-ish sock yarn). I got found the cable needles right away. I shopped around for the nitty noddy to get the best price. Of course as soon as I bought it (on our second go thru) I found it in another booth for less. Story of my life. I bought a green and purple sock yarn. Not really lime-ish, but I didn't see any other ones that had lime in them that I liked better. It is Socks that Rock yarn by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It is a mill end, but so was the one Carly bought. But we didn't see a problem with hers when wound it in a ball. The only thing bad thing about it is that it doesn't have a color name. The owner said it was a "rare gem" because the dyer was fiddling around with new color schemes. Oh, well "rare gem" it is. I also got a new shrug pattern. It is basically a stole with cuffs on the end. I really like the idea of it. Sure wish I could have tried there sample on, but it was too high on the wall. It is called Illuminated Oriels by Zuzana Woods. I would have loved to buy the yarn to go with the pattern, however is was about $150 per hank. You only used 1 hank and had leftovers, but still, that's a little out of my price range. The most exciting find that I bought was a ball of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton Yarn. I had bought 3 skeins last year for the Monkey Sock swap. I only used 2, so I just needed 1 more to be able to do another pair of socks. I had been looking for that colorway (Picnic), I even had friends looking when they went to knitting stores. I had already decided that I would probably use the lone skein that I had for hand warmers or maybe baby socks. But Yeah! now I have options. It's not the same dyelot, the new one is slightly lighter the the original one. But once they are on my feet no one is going to know the difference.

At last year's fiber fest the lunch line was so long (I think we waited for at least 45 minutes for our food after we paid for it), that I recommended we see everything then leave and eat on our way home. Carly was up for that, so we stopped at The Grill House on M40, just south of town. I had always seen it, but never stopped. It is an old farm house style building (whether it was converted or just built that way I don't know) that sits up on a hill. We sat outside under an umbrella. There was a great breeze blowing. If you want to eat inside, you do have the option of cooking your own meat on their grills, but we figured let them do the work :o) I had a Shaved Prime Rib Melt - served on ciabatta bread with bistro sauce, cheeses and au jus. I was a little worried about the bistro sauce that was going to be on it. But oh man was it good. Carly had the Combo Platter - chicken strips and cod with tarter sauce, lemon and choice of dipping sauce. She said it was great too!

On the way home, we also stopped at St. Julian's Winery in Paw Paw Michigan for a little wine tasting. I bought a bottle of their Catawba, which is a sweet blush wine. I don't know about Carly, but I opened my bottle last night to have a glass with my dinner. Not sure if it was appropriate for burgers, but it was good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Drama

Families can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Essential Background Information: My Aunt Margaret (on my Mom's side) is slowly and I mean slowly recovering from throat cancer. She had had both Kemo and Radiation treatments. Last year around Thanksgiving, they finally took out her feeding tube. Well, they had to put it back in about 2 weeks ago. She had been having trouble swallowing and coughing too much after she would eat or drink. Turns out the flapper valve (don't know the technical term) that closes off your lungs when you eat/drink had hardened a bit, so it was not closing off and food/liquid was getting into her lungs. So she ended up with pneumonia and the Dr's determined that she needed to have the feeding tube put back in and to restrict her eating by mouth again. Before the cancer, she weighed around 200 lbs. Then she dropped to 100 lbs. She had gained back about 20 lbs, but this last bought of pneumonia dropped her back down to 102 lbs.

Margaret has 3 children. The oldest daughter is out of the picture. She became an alcoholic and Aunt Margaret ended up raising her 3 kids. The oldest grandchild has since moved out and lives on her own, but the other 2 are 14 & 12 and still live with Margaret. They have been very good about taking over most of the home chores. The middle, a son, went to college got a great job in OH, married some snooty rich girl and decided he didn't want to associate with the rest of his white trash family. He neither invited his mother to the wedding nor did he even tell her when he had a kid(s). She found out second hand when one of his friends asked why she wasn't at the wedding. The youngest daughter has been a godsend in helping her mother through this. She and my Mother have been taking turns driving Margaret back and forth to her Dr appts., getting her groceries, her medicine, etc. And trying to sooth the worry of the 2 granddaughters who still live with her. I know it has been very tough on Tracy having to shoulder the worry of caring for her ill mother and to see how she went from being so robust to so frail that you're afraid to give her a hug for fear of hurting her.

Now comes the Drama: Aunt Margaret's oldest granddaughter, Sarah, has a son who is about 16-18 months old. He is such a cutey. The only problem is that, Sarah has been leaving Ethin with Aunt Margaret too much. He is a very active little boy who weighs at least 25 lbs. He's always on the move and into things and Margaret is just not healthy or strong enough to be taking care of him. On Friday, Tracy called her Mom, didn't get an answer, so drove over. Margaret had fallen down the outside steps while carrying Ethin. Luckily no one was hurt, but they could have both been seriously injured. There are about 4-5 steps and the porch is about 3-4 feet off the ground. Tracy called my Mom/Dad, who rushed over to help. They were all upset because Margaret had had Ethin all week. And they all had words about how Sarah shouldn't be using Margaret as a free babysitter, so that she can do her own thing; partying, going to the bar, etc. So, Tracy packed up Ethin and took him back to his Mom. Which made Margaret upset, because she loves taking care of Ethin. I think it makes her feel useful. Well, the proverbial shit hit the fan after that. Sarah called Tracy and left a very nasty/threatening message on her answering machine stating that Tracy wasn't allowed to come see Margaret anymore and that she should keep her nose out of other peoples business and that the next time Sarah saw her, she was going to beat the shit out of her. Can you say "evidence"? She also called my father to cuss him out. However my Dad wouldn't stand for it and said if she wanted to cuss him out she could come do it in person and hung up on her. Tracy has a few police officer friends, so she called one. He came over, taped the answering machine message and said he would talk to Sarah. He goes out to Sarah's and tells her she can't threaten people. Sarah tries saying she never threatened Tracy. The officer asks her nicely if she would like to hear the recording. No, she 'suddenly' remembered what was said. Then, she starts yelling about Tracy never doing anything for Aunt Margaret and that the next time she saw her, she was going to beat the crap out of her. The officer (I'm sure is shaking his head at her stupidity) says that's threat #2 and if she tries it, that's jail time.

I just can't figure what goes through peoples minds some times. Or should I say what doesn't.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Baby Got an Overhaul

When I was in Indianapolis last weekend, I bought a Ashford Maintenance Kit for my spinning wheel. So I gave my wheel it's overhaul last night as I was watching the some of the Olympics.

I wiped it down, tightened some loose screws, replaced the hooks on the spin head, and installed the new tension springs. Then I gave her a whirl. I had some 'play fiber' that I got from Sarah at knit night, so I used that while trying to adjust the tension. Finding the right tension took less time than I thought it would.

Once that was done, I still felt like I was forgetting a step, but I wasn't sure. So I picked up the assembly pamphlet I downloaded from the Ashford web-site to look through it. It is a funny booklet, because there are no words! It is all pictures with little smiley or frowny faces to let you know the correct way or wrong way to do something. I turned to look at a page and it hit me. OIL!! I forgot to oil it. I did, then gave her a couple for test whirls. She is running so smoothly. "She" still doesn't have a name. I either haven't heard or thought of one that fits, or she just may not need one. I haven't decided yet. Any ideas?

I just can't wait for my class tomorrow at the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quilt Pictures

I forgot to post about this last week. It was a free pattern from Moda Fabrics called something like Winder Wonderland Table runner. I made the table runner at a quilt retreat in @#%$. :o) I cut out the placemats, but never got them done. So I was digging around trying to find something to work on instead of the applique for the Lillebets Garden quilt and found them. So I decided to get them finished. Now all I have to do is get them quilted. !sigh!

Here's half of the table runner. It's pretty long.

Here is one of the placemats.

And here is the fabric I will be using to make the binding. It's the same fabric that is used for the teeny tiny border (red-looking) on the table runner.

It's really too bad that I won't be going to my quilt guild meeting this month, because I have a whole shitload of stuff to show and tell. I almost never have anything to show. Oh well, I'll just cart it all along next month.

Indianapolis & the Fiber Festival

I went to Indianapolis last weekend to visit with my friend Teresa. She's just got married this last May.

Had a good time. Stopped at Stitches & Scones on the way down. Got some light purple sock yarn on the clearance rack. Saw some lime/orange sock yarn, that I just loved. I've been looking for a lime-ish sock yarn. However it was not superwash, so I determined that I did not want it. I have a little problem with unintentionally felting items that aren't supposed to be. So I thought better safe than sorry. Besides, I am planning on going to the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival this coming weekend in Allegan, MI. I'm sure someone will have lime sock yarn. Hoping to get some friends together to carpool. Gas has come down a little, but it's still 1.25 hr drive.

I also bought a maintenance kit for my Traditional Ashford spinning wheel. I've been wanting that, because it has the replacement tension springs. My wheel is one of the earlier models and did not have the tension springs. I looked through the package and was disappointed to see that it only had 1 spring it in. However, I thought I might be able to find a similar spring at the hardware store. But luckily when I dumped everything out and was looking at it all, I found that it did indeed have 2 springs. I need to get those changed out before Thursday, because I am taking a 'Mechanics of Spinning' class at the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival. It is being taught by Amy Tyler.

Since the class runs from 9am-noon, I took the whole day off. My mom is going with me and we are going to be stopping at the Perrigo Discount Drug Store afterwards. Perrigo is a Pharmacutical company in Allegan. They package the generic drugs for whichever company buys them (CVS, perrys, OSCO, Valu-Time, Walgreens, etc) and they sell their overruns at their store. Some times you can get great deals and other times, the deals are only so-so. I've gotten Naproxym Sodium (aka Alieve) there for $1/bottle and Pepto for 25 cents a bottle. I've already gotten lists from friends that want stuff. They just have to be aware that if there are limits on what you can buy and it's something that is on my list. Then I get mine bought first before I get theirs.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No catchy title today

I've actually being getting some things done. I've just not been very chatty about it.

I've been on a sewing kick the last couple of weeks. Only doing knitting during one of the various knitting meeting that I attend.

I was working on my BOM Lillebet's Garden quilt. Thinking maybe I should make an effort to get this thing done, so I won't feel too guilty about working on something else. :o) I had all the blocks pieced. I finished the sashing blocks and got all the 'sections' assembled. To make doing the appliqué easier, you are supposed to assemble the quilt in sections, appliqué each section, then assemble the final quilt. No, I didn't take pictures yet. Not sure when I will either. I don't know if it was operator error or maybe an error in the pattern, but my blocks came out 15.5 inches square (approx.) but the sashing strips were only 15 inches long (approx). This made assembling each section, a bit of a pain. Stretch here, stretch there. I'm worried that it will have too many ripples. But then again, there is the old saying "it will quilt out".

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whereupon I try to kill myself

No, I am not suicidal. I did not intentionally try to kill myself. Intentional being the key word here. I did not "try" to kill myself, it happened through sheer coincidence (A.K.A STUPIDITY!!).

In my defense, it has been many years since I took a high school science class.

On Saturday, I decided to do some spring cleaning. I like to think of it as getting a head start on this coming spring instead of being very late for this last spring. Anyway, as I said, it has been a long time (20+ yrs) since I learned anything about the consequences of mixing cleaning chemicals. Yes, I know your not supposed to mix bleach and ammonia. Duh? Who doesn't know that one. However, no one ever mentioned that you shouldn't mix bleach and toilet bowl cleaner. I mean, there are toilet bowl cleaners that you can buy that have bleach added to them. It says so right on their labels. It just so happens that I didn't have that particular one. So I just didn't think it through when I decided the toilet needed to be just a little bit cleaner and dumped in the bleach. Of course what do I do when the toilet starts hissing and bubbling? The logical answer would have been to flush the toilet RIGHT AWAY!! Yes, that would have been the logical answer, but I'm blond. My immediate response to the coughing fit was to run from the bathroom and find the little white breathing mask that was sitting on the kitchen table (which was not much help at all). Not thinking that in between the time that I leave the bathroom, run to the kitchen, and run back to the bathroom that even MORE fumes have been generated. Once back, I immediately flushed the toilet. Luckily the window in the bathroom was open and the little fan was going. I also had to bring in the big fan. Once that was all set up, I vacated the house. Luckily the cats were smart enough to stay clear of the bathroom. Jasmine had retreated after dueling with the fire-breathing vacuum and Java ran for the basement like a coward as soon as my hand touched the vacuum handle.

Boy, but let me tell you. I don't think my toilet has ever been as clean as it is now. At least not since it was brand new. Next time though I will get the cleaner where the bleach has already been added to it by PROFESSIONALS.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I got some things done!

A.K.A Show & Tell

On July 4th, I dropped my Summer Breeze quilt off to get it machine at Phyllis Sponsellers house. I got it back last Friday. I am very happy with it. I decided I wanted to make a summer quilt out of it. What that means is that instead of using cotton batting (for warmth) I just used a white piece of muslin. This makes it thinner, and required Phyllis to play around with the tension on her long arm quilting machine. Although since it is a queen sized quilt, I thought that using the fabric instead of the batting would cut down on the weight of the quilt too, but it really didn't. It will have scalloped edges (which I have already marked) and it will be bound using the same "blueberry" colored fabric as the skinny border. I got the binding made last night and I want to start sewing it down tomorrow night. I need to get it finished because it will be in the Bangor, MI quilt show on September 20th.

Here are a few pictures.

This is a photo of the back of my quilt. When I was learning to quilt, I was taught to put just plain white or light color on the back of the quilt. A lot of quilters in my quilt guild use the scraps left from the front of the quilt to piece the backing of the quilt. So I thought I would give it a try. I've come to the conclusion that it's just not something I like. It's pretty, but to me I still see it as an awful waste of good fabric. Fabric that could be used to make other projects.

Here is a close up photo, so that you can see the heart design that Phyllis used to quilt my quilt.

A couple of months ago, I was cruising around on Ravelry and came across the blog of Sarah. She is a quilter and knitter. She had made her own "swift" based on another blog by Anne of Crafty Diversions. When I saw the plans for it, I thought "I can do that!" So I bought all my supplies, went down to the basement, marked all my cuts. When I went to drag out the compound miter saw that my dad had lent me, I discovered that he had taken it back. So, not wanting to let the project sit, I took it to work and asked our maintenance guru (Dennis) to help me out. He cut everything and drilled all the holes for me. I took it home, sanded it and put it together on Saturday.

Here it is:

I've already tried it out and it works great.