Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And the theme for today is....

Sometimes we all need a soft place to rest....sometimes you just have to wrestle it to the ground before you can rest on it, but in the end, it's all good. Smokey makes a great paper weight, don't you think?
Life's short, play fetch first....
And last but not least...
Where the HELL did the snow come from?!
OK, so that's not a good theme unless you are Rip Van Winkle, but when I laid back down this morning after getting everyone out the door, it was windy but THERE WAS NO SNOW. Mind you, Sunday was over fifty degrees and so was Monday....WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? Oh well. This is Kansas. Stranger things have happened.
I would have had a picture of a really neat hat I have been working on to share with you today..REALLY I would......But after getting 5 inches into the brim that looked a bit small to begin with (but continuing on anyway with it) I decided to actually look at the sizing. I was dead on as far as gauge. My needle size was right. The brim was looking great...but something was really off. Note to self: You can do everything right on target, but if you forget to READ THE SIZE THE PATTERN IS WRITTEN FOR the knitting gods will laugh. You know the KNITTING GODS, they are first cousins to THE GAUGE GODS--whom you taunt regularly....with BAAAAAAAD results...Damn (which is a word I have been falling back on regularly this month while holding yarn and needles..). It was written for a child large/adult small. Let's just say that's NOT me (even in hat sizes) and leave it at that. Now I will seek assistance from the "play with the numbers until it fits your honkin' big head" gods.
Oh Well...which is in the same catagory of "OH HELL!" which seems to be my theme for the week...I guess January is curse word month for me....sorry. I probably should put down the pointy sticks....
Good coffee and great friends to you and yours anyway!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When it Rains...

This has been a rough week in our house as far as getting cars and animals to actually cooperate. My van has to go to the shop in the morning and cute man's van started acting up tonight. Yep. This is going to make the finances game a challenge this month! I guess this is going to be a great "opportunity" for me to practice creative budgeting.

However, I am completely stocked for yarn. I can breathe easy there (in case you were worrying about me being in a yarn poor house). Actually, I am probably stocked for yarn until the end of 2008!The same goes for fabric for quilting. I have been looking through the incredible pattern library on Ravelry--it is mind boggling! I am so glad I got my invite! If you haven't joined Ravelry, you must go and check it out. It took about a week from when I signed up until I got my invite, but the wait was worth it. I was looking for a hat pattern today using worsted weight yarn. Ravelry lets you look for just that description--and I found more than I could even imagine. Some are free and some are for sale. It is mind boggling...OK, I'll stop.

Great Movie Alert:
A friend and I went to see "P.S. I Love You"----it was REALLY good. It is definitely a chick flick and I am going to go see it again. I usually am not one to see anything twice. I won't blow it for you, but the two of the men (the lead actor and the one that is introduced later) have Irish accents that will make you melt in your seat.......Oh, and there is a completely awesome gratuitous flash of a really good looking tush. LOL. That's all I'll say about that 'cause I'm a married woman, you know...
It is a really touching movie. Bring tissues, but do go to see it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday on Tuesday

This was not a good morning.

I went downstairs to see if school had been cancelled for the boys because of ice (it hadn't) and came across our 17 year old dog who has apparently decided the carpet is a much better place to go than outside.

Not amused.

So, at 7 a.m. I am standing there shampooing the carpet with Oxy Clean (my other love). Did I mention it was 7 FREAKING O' CLOCK IN THE MORNING?! To say I like mornings is a bad joke. To say I like cleaning up after a dog at 7 FREAKING o' clock in the morning....let's just not go there.

And then, in honor of my efforts--right in front of me, mind you, SHE SQUATS AGAIN. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!


Yes, she is 17 years old and pretty darn senile, but COME ON! ARGGGGGGGG!

So that was how my morning began. Hopefully yours went much better.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Interesting Architecture

This is the building that Staci and I saw at the top of the hill in Winfield, Kansas.
It is a very solid and striking building that overlooks the highway. As it turns out, it is a mausoleum at a cemetery. The detailing is stunning.
Just look at these beautiful copper doors.
As strange as it sounds, it was very peaceful and beautiful. Staci and I walked among the headstones reading them. It occurred to me that in reality, all of these markers were once people who existed much like us.

We all have a finite amount of time on this Earth. It is up to us to make it matter and to leave this place better than when we were here.
This is a view from the front of the front of the building. Unfortunately the camera could not capture how truly beautiful it was and the fact that it is overlooking the highway which is a couple hundred feet down a hill and across a river.

While we were there, we saw several headstones that just had a soldier's name, a state name, and their rank. No other info such as when the men were born or died. I was telling another friend about this and she said these were soldiers that died there and all the information they had about them was what was on the headstone. Most of them were from other states if this is correct. My thoughts were that these men's families never knew what became of them after they left. That makes me a little sad. They were all from the 1800's. I said a prayer for them. Can you imagine how hard that would be?

And the Gauge God laughs....

The alternate title to today's blogs was going to be " Who ME? I don't need no stinking gauge check....." but you can see how well that worked out. When you laugh in the face of the gauge gods, prepare to eat egg.... This was a pattern off Ravelry's "mitten a month along" group that I've joined. It was supposed to fit a woman's medium hand at 5 stitches to the inch. I am a tight knitter anyway and my hand is nowhere near a medium woman's, but I figured I could bluff it.


It came out to be 6 stitches to the inch (and possibly 7 in places where I was thinking of my son and his girlfriend not getting along right now Iowa...). It looks more like a woman's small or a child's large. I will be a trooper and finish the pair anyway since this is the first pair I have ever knit and then knit the next pair on a needle size up (or even 2) with bulky weight or heavy worsted weight yarn (this is worsted Cascade--it was suggested as an alternative to the yarn in the pattern) to make it fit my hand. These will be completed then given to charity. I didn't do the color stripes like the original pattern because I decided I am going to need a little more practice carrying yarns. The orange and black is for the Oklahoma State Cowboys! Go Pokes!! I grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma --home of Oklahoma State University. Hubby did too, and his degree is from OSU. both of us graduated from the high school there and that's actually where we first met....My parents and siblings live there too.

And yes, my stitch holder is too honkin' big for this project...

I got my Ravelry invite a couple days ago. After logging in, I was simply amazed!!! Talk about seeing the light! There are communities for everything; knit alongs, patterns for any kind of project you can imagine (free and for sale) and that is just the start. It is like coming out of the cave!! I LOVE RAVELRY!!! AMAZING!! I am still figuring it out though because it looks like there are many layers and things you can do. Hopefully I will be able to figure out Flicker and get my pictures loaded of projects. There is even a spinning community on it and I'm loving it!

L-O-V-E it!!!

A friend and I did a little road trip to Arkansas City and Winfield, Kansas this weekend. It was great to get out of town. Staci and I always have a good time when we go anywhere--mainly because both of us like to take detours if we see something strange. I will show you the classic case in point in my post later tonight. We saw a really neat building high on a hill overlooking the highway and instead of just saying "Wow-that looks cool" we took the side road off the highway to investigate....you'll see later. Just a little tease to keep you coming back!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Best Laid Plans...

I am SUPPOSED to be in Tulsa (Oklahoma) Thursday for an informal workshop with Louisa Harding at Loops.

However, my car has decided that tie rods are optional and did not consult the wheel base. I could just cry. I was REALLY looking forward to going! I had a reserved spot a long time ago. Renting a car was an option, but an expensive one, so I just finished calling Loops and leaving a message that I can't be there. They have a waiting list, so hopefully they can slide someone in and it doesn't cause a problem. I was really looking forward to seeing Louisa and shopping at Loops.

On the plus side, I worked off some of that frustration (not all of it mind you) by getting more stuff organized around the house. I am hoping that the house will be organized, decorated and ready for guests by the end of February.

To ease the disappointment, I will probably go stalk (oops--I mean VISIT) Shelly at Twist and Mary at Heritage Hut on Thursday. I'll have hubby's car so I'm sticking to local haunts...We may seriously have to consider getting a new car for traveling this summer! Our current cars are great for in town and short trips, but they have well over 150,000 miles on each of them. However, the Plymouth Voyager hubby drives didn't have to have it's engine replaced until it went well over 400,000 miles. The mechanic could not believe. It isn't pretty, but it is a well built van. My newer van has had a couple issues, but not anything that was factory related so I can't complain. I would love to have a hybrid or at least one that leaves a lighter footprint on the gas situation.

On the budget side, I almost ordered one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books at Amazon.com since I have been really wanting to see what all the buzz is about (I know, I am a late bloomer). I got as far as the checkout and thought about our public library. Guess what? They have not only one, but two copies of this book. Tomorrow I am going to head over there and pick it up so I can look at it and decide if I want to play with it. I am so glad I checked there first! One more budget stretcher. I have actually been pleasantly surprised at the books our library has. I found Crazy Aunt Purl's book last week and absolutely love it! She is hilarious. And the patterns she includes in the book are great too. I actually got her magic scarf pattern from her website and have used it as my "little black dress" scarf pattern. It's easy and chic and everyone loves the way it looks. Plus it can utilize any yarn you little heart desires.

And on the same subject of budget, I love the Internet! I have two skeins of Brown Sheep Company's Wildfoote sock yarn and wanted a pattern that specifically used that yarn. Brown Sheep has a pattern specifically for it on their website. It features a diagonal rib, so this will be a perfect pattern for me after I finish the sock I'm working on. My goal this month is to knit 2 pairs of socks. I may have to knock that down to one pair and then set a higher goal for February.

I am contemplating taking a hand quilting class in February at one of our local quilt shops. I had put my quilt stuff in the guest bedroom and haven't had a chance to really get anything done, but I am going to make myself do at least one quilt related piece at least once a week. I took a hand applique class this summer and really enjoyed it. At one time I knew how to hand quilt, but it has been so long that I need to take a refresher. Hand quilting and hand applique are a lot like knitting and spinning--they are relaxing and you can easily lose track of time. They are great stress relievers.

Well, I probably ought to get thing ready for tomorrow. Hubby has to leave the house before 7:00 a.m which means I am dropping the kids off at school. I don't do mornings, remember? And it is supposed to snow. I'm going to be really pushing it to be human!

Well, have a great night and try to stay warm wherever you are.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Projects

Ok--I have to fess up. The Kool Aid dyed sock has been frogged. I've taken on a new love...I got about 7" into the Kool Aid dyed sock and realized I had ladders running up the sides. That is the first time I've done that so at first I thought I could just ignore it and continue on. I couldn't. I frogged it and then decided I wanted something a bit spicier. So, not being one who lacks for sock yarn, I pulled the Jitterbug out of the closet. I had been holding off on using it because it was just soooo fun to look at and hold. (I will know who has read this post by the wary stare I will now receive from you). I LOVE the Jitterbug! It is so wonderful to work with and the color is incredible!!!

My newest project is to strip and refinish this wheel given to me by Dawn. She was in the process of painting it green but decided she didn't have the space for one more wheel, so graciously gave it to me. I am going to strip it down to the wood and just stain and seal it. Dawn did say she was having problems keeping it running so if Hubby can't work his magic, it will at least be a pretty decorative piece.
I am trying to behave this year and pay special attention to our finances and actually building some kind of savings. We, like many Americans, are a little behind when it comes to having funds for an emergency. Why? A little spending here and there...and here...and there. With me no longer working I thought the budget would take a big hit, but I have been please to find that we are actually running a little ahead of where we normally are. Why? I am making myself write down everything I really think we have to have and then make myself look to see if we have anything in the house that could work instead. Case in point: Our entryway needed a table. I had looked at several tall tables that could work, but was not feeling the love for parting with $100+ that all of them cost. That's a lot of sock yarn we're talking about ( a girl has to have her priorities you know) ! After looking around the house, I remembered we have a sewing machine table (sans the machine) that would work perfectly. It does. I have a mirror to put above it and things to put on it--I might have to spring for an small area rug--but you can be I will be scanning the sales. I am trying to make more meals at home and actually use up leftovers. I am horrid about not using meat and stuff in the fridge that could make perfectly good meals. So I end up tossing them in the long run--money down the drain. On days we have leftovers, I add a great dessert or some homemade cookies to add a little splash....We have saved quite a
bit of money since I have quit by simply not eating out as much as we did when both of us were coming home from work and too tired to cook.
Now if I can just stay off Amazon.com!

What do you do to extend the budget?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday Morning, Coffee and Yarn. GOOD STUFF!

I actually made it to Saturday knitting again this week. And here's the proof for those of you who know me and are saying "Rhonda up before noon?! NO WAY!" I was up, but I can tell you I had a hard time communicating. Just ask the ladies who were there! I will name everyone and link to their blogs later.

And the thought for the day: Find a friend and give them a big hug! (Disclaimer: It helps if you actually know or have introduced yourself to the person you intend to hug. "Stranger hugs" tend to catch people off guard, and you might just discover by accident who screams for police when alarmed...)

Great friends and good coffee to you and yours!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

See, Humans are good for something!

Cocoa forgets from time to time that she is no longer a lap puppy--since at least 50 pounds ago...

And this is Speckles trying to act like it REALLY wasn't her making the tree ornaments bang together. Yes, it is January 10th and we still have our tree up. Hubby nixed my idea of keeping it up and just changing the ornaments. I guess a leprechaun tree would be kind of creepy...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tough life......

The life of the dogs in our house is constant drudgery. Can you imagine having to lay around all day and watch someone spin?! Hard work, I tell ya! Just look, Buddy is so exhausted from supervising the wildness that it was all he could do to drag his aching, overworked body to the patio window to soak up that good ol' sunlight. Did I mention this is pretty much what he does everyday? Supervising the humans around here is just plain hard.....
Meanwhile, the human played. Lookie, Lookie--I made cookies! Yum!
And for those of you nutritionally minded folks, I even managed to sneak some fiber into my diet!

I want one of these...Do you think hubby would believe it was a "sheepdog"?

I probably shouldn't be left alone during the day, I know....

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Things to do today!

I have actually made a pretty good dent in the box population in our master bedroom. However it does escape me how boxes clearly marked "Laundry room" ended up in our bedroom....I'm sure that would explain how boxes clearly marked "Mom's Room" ended up in the farthest corner buried in the garage...ARGGGGGGG!

I am getting ready to run upstairs to actually make the dough for Hershey Kiss cookies. I will get the dough made and actually have the boys scoop and bake the dough when they get home. This will be a good thing for us to do together. I was thinking about how quickly they have grown and realized there really is not a lot of time before they are in high school and will have busy lives of their own, so I'd better grab all the time with them I can--while it is still OK to hang out with parents! I was also ruminating on the fact that I am exactly the same age as my parents were when I was the boys age and thought "Holy Smokes! That's OLD!" Made me laugh...every time the boys tease me about my grey hair, all I can say is "I've worked darn hard to get to this age, I've earned every strand--it's staying!"

Ideally I will go to the public library sometime today, but that may get put aside until tomorrow. I try to bundle all my trips so I am not wasting gas. I will make the loop to my old office for lunch with a coworker, the yarn store and the downtown library tomorrow. In an effort to keep me on track and focused I have a daily list of things that need to be done around the house. Tomorrow is supposed to be laundry day, so I will get it done tonight instead so I am at least keeping on track. I tend to get sidetracked, so having a list helps keep me focused and on track.

So what are you doing today?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Power failure

Apparently there was an energy crisis at my house that totally wiped out the power sources of 4 dogs and a teenager today.
Mark came in the front door and sat down on the landing to talk to Sugar. That's as far as he got!
I looked over and he was out like a light and both dogs were asleep next to him...Sugar woke up when I tried to take the picture--figures....but it was really cute!
From the top of the landing it almost looked like a scene from my college days....but we won't go there....However my sick sense of humor almost pushed me to draw a chalk line around him to see what he would say when he woke up. These poor kids...

Good Morning!

This morning I glanced out the kitchen window and the sunrise took my breath away. It was a gorgeous swirling, layered confection of pinks, oranges, purples and blues. I sat there drinking my coffee and contemplating how much I love this house! I am very thankful that we had the opportunity to buy it and the owner accepted our bid (there was another couple we recently met that said they tried to put an offer on it too). We really have been blessed. We spent a larger part of Sunday cleaning the family room so now I am going to be looking for furniture. When we moved from the small house, I realized what seemed like an overflow of furniture in the little house, looks like nothing in the new house. ARGGG.
And this is another part of what I accomplished the weekend. See how wonderfully the wheel spins! I can get yarn as fine as thread or as thick as I desired. What you are seeing right now is destined to be plied with a thicker colored yarn. I will pull out my roving and dyes and decide on colors as the mood strikes me. I am also considering the possibility of plying with another thin for some sock yarn....I love being able to spin! Hubby did his magic and fixed my Ashford Traditional this weekend also. I had ordered the repair kit and got it Friday. Thankfully my cute man can just look at something and know what to do (but the instruction in the Ashford kit are pretty clear also). My Ashford is a double drive and he was discussing the mechanics of it with me...it amused me. He gets really into that stuff--I just want it to work when I sit down to use it..I'm really lucky to have him!
She is still not finished , and will remain that way for the cold months since I discovered you have to be outside to vanish or apply tung oil---good thing I read the instructions...I know, DUH!

I haven't named her yet, she'll get that at her coronation (when she is finished and sealed) . I'm considering Greta, but am open to suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment on what you think she should be named... On the bobbin is the mystery roving I got from Wool2Dye4. Sheila has narrowed it down to being Shetland, and it absolutely spins like a dream! I am soooooo glad I ordered it! And in the larger quantity (7 lbs....should keep me busy, do you think?!)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


With suggestions from the seller, hubby got out his handy dandy Dremel tool and sanded down the mouth of the wheel where the flyer/bobbin assembly rests. IT WORKED !!!! The drag on the orifice assembly against the opening was preventing it from turning. After a bit of smoothing and sanding the hole down to open it up a little more, the flyer turned and took up the lead yarn perfectly!

I am soooooo excited! It spins perfectly!!! I am going to get some tung oil to seal and finish the wheel and am going to spins myself silly this week!!