Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Busy Day

I spent most of the day at Twist helping "man" the store for Shelly, the owner. Since I had never run the register before, I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO thankful that Jen was there to open/close the shop and take the bigger piece of that pie. I probably need to make sure I get more experience on the register so I'm not so afraid of messing up. I wasn't feeling too well today so I am hoping I wasn't driving Jen nuts with my sniffling. It was one of those things where I was achy, sniffling and just feeling yucky. And guess what---I renewed my complete distaste for the taste of NyQuil....Some things just CAN'T be made less offensive. Kinda like ex-husbands. However, it was made easier by the fact that I was surrounded by a whole store full of luscious yarn...The new cotton blends are just incredible!

Yesterday I went to the studio (The Secret Gallery) to throw some pots on the wheel. I had not thrown pottery in quite some time prior to signing up for classes last month. Right now I am playing with throwing cylinders. I have 8 cylinders in the kiln right now with various glazes on them, so I should have a ton of potential vases as my garden blooms. I am taking my time with this phase so I can build up my control and ability to center increasingly larger amounts of clay. I was warned that most people get bored with throwing cylinders after a couple weeks, but so far I have stayed really interested in the process and getting a little more skill under my belt. Eventually I want to throw some tall and wide cylinders to hold my knitting needles attractively. I'll post pictures of the new batch, but remember I am a novice at the glazing part. It'll be interesting to see if any of them turned out. Luckily Jill can coach me if they don't turn out well. She did show me some really neat things that can be fashioned from the cylinder shape with just a little collaring and manipulating the form. I can't wait to make some of these'll just have to wait to see. A teaser for now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The buildings have eyes.....

Ever have one of those days when you just felt like someone was watching you---If you are walking by the Sedgwick County Historical Museum and don't see a soul around, look up. These fine fellows are spying on you!

Cool, huh? But somebody needs to give the guy in the first picture a Kleenex....Oh, well, it's not like he can wipe it on his ARMS......

A little sightseeing

Over Spring Break, one of the kids had a scavenger hunt assignment where we had to locate several examples of Greek influence on architecture. I misunderstood and thought they all had to be from buildings here in Wichita. It turns out that he could have found example from the Internet, but pictures of the Wichita building actually counted as more points than just examples from the Internet. We actually had a lot of fun looking at the buildings and discovered that Wichita has some REALLY interesting details on a lot of their buildings. Here are just a few examples. Above is the frieze on the clock tower in the Delano traffic round about. As you can see, it appears that vandals decided to leave their mark on it, but thankfully had enough "respect" for the art itself to leave it alone.
This is the mosaic tile entrance to Twist Yarn store. Very pretty.
This is an example of a cornice and pediment from the Old station beside the Cox communication building.
More pretty details from a downtown building.
I love the detailing on these massive columns from the Cox communication building. This building used to be a railway station if I remember right.

I have several more pictures of the beautiful details on some of the Wichita buildings. I enjoyed looking at the art so much that I am going to highlight some more of it in the upcoming months. While we were looking for the different assigned details, we kept finding other buildings that we thought were soooooo pretty. Funny, I had seen some of the building and thought "Pretty", but hadn't really looked at the detailing until this assignment. Isn't it amazing how we can be in the middle of beauty and not notice?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

When the going gets tough, the tough slide under the kids bed for a nap...Buddie was firmly wedged under there. Notice the "you don't see me, I'm invisible" look on his face? That would almost work if he didn't snore so loud he makes the bed shake!

We went to Stillwater for Easter to spend time with my side of the family. It has been a REALLY long time (shamefully long, I hate to say) since the boys and their cousins had a chance to get together. I have decided we have to make more of an effort to make sure they see each other at least once a month. They really had a good time.

Above are my nieces Amber (in yellow stripes), Heather (in pink stripes) and their cousin Sadie.
We are missing one boy in the above picture but it was a challenge to get them to even stand still for this long without breaking into a wrestling fest!

There was a little Easter egg hunt and as you can tell, Aurelius has figured out the basket game. He is my great nephew and cute as a button!

It was so nice to get back to Oklahoma, even if for a day. I am going to Tulsa next weekend for a girls weekend, so I will have to check out the yarn stores there. Cute hubby drove to Stillwater today so I had time to work on a baby sweater that I am trying out. We recently got lucky enough to have a new Wichita transplant find the yarn shop (Twist) after moving from Mississippi and over the course of 4 days, she knit the most amazing baby sweater from Baby Twist alpaca yarn! 4 days!!!! Holy ever lovin' smokes! She told me how much to cast on and gave me the basic instructions so I can test the pattern out. She is making up instructions for us in the shop since it is sure to get lots of requests! It is knit in the round, which I have never done, so once I get the required length on the body and both arms, she will show me the next step. This girl is an amazing knitter!! I'll post pictures of what I have done so far in the morning. I have been going into Twist on Tuesdays and Thusdays (and whenever else I'm needed) to help out with stocking, pricing and anything else Shelly needs. It lets me play with yarn and I can honestly say I've learned a LOT. For example, did you know that if you are not paying attention while winding a ball of yarn on the ball winder, you can launch it off the winder and a pretty good distance? Yep, ask me how I know that one.

The kids go back to school tomorrow. It has actually been really nice to have them at home. We didn't do to much for Spring break, but sometimes that is nice.

Tomorrow I am going to plant some rose bushes that I bought at Big Lots for $2.50! I bought several of them at that price. Most of them are climbing roses that I am going to plant along our back fences. It has been so warm and beautiful lately that I am getting really excited about getting gardens in order and planted.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


They were having the KAWS fiber gathering at CityArts today and unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a schedule conflict (I was having my jewelry class). However I did get to see a couple of the vendors. The Yarn Barn (Lawrence, Kansas) was there with a couple wheel you could try out. One was a ladybug...OMG!!! I am completely in love with this little portable jewel! I can REALLY see adding one of these to my other wheels so I can have one that transports easily. It treadle like it was floating on air! If their other models treadle like that, I'm in BIG ($$$) trouble...

I did pick up some really neat dyed roving while there. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

After chainmaille class at CityArts, I went over to Twist to hang out and help a little. Shelly, the owner, has a wheel and is in the process of learning to spin. I taught her some of the basics and she caught on immediately. You should see her spin! She's a natural!!I've got a couple pictures of her spinning but I'll wait until I ask her if it OK to post them on my blog--I completely forgot to ask! I am seriously considering taking the spinning class offered at The Beadery this month in Newton. I love taking classes from as many instructors as possible. You learn something new each time. Never quit learning!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Look what came in the mail today! KUMQUATS! They are approximately quarter to half dollar sized and I got 10 pounds of them to make jams and chutney. We may lose about a third of them to just plain munching. They are sooo good! You slice them in half to get the seeds out, then pop them in your mouth skin and all. Actually it is REALLY important to eat the skin too since the kumquat is really shockingly tart, then you get the really sweet flavor of the skin to soften it. I can tell you, they are addictive straight out of the box!!!
I will get all my canning supplies together tomorrow and spend Friday making jams. I might even have to order another box of these if the jams turn out well. The season ends April 15th, so I do have a little time. Ten pounds of kumquats sounds like a lot, but you use a lot of fruit when you are canning since the fruit tends to cook down....Holy smokes these little things are good. The link to the kumquat growers association is in one of my last posts....I'll post it again later...
It was such a beautiful day today! I went to Twist and took my spinning wheel so Shelly could have a try. She is a natural spinner! She is also starting to carry some roving from a Mulvane, Kansas sheep person. It really felt nice! If Shelly starts selling chocolate, it'll be a one stop addiction shop!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm legal!

I went to the tag office today to get my car inspected and get the new tag. It was actually not crowded and things went really fast. Both the inspecting officer and the clerk at the tag office itself were really nice. I was able to get the tag for the whole year instead of having to come back in April, so that was a relief. Actually they gave me the option of just getting the tag until the end of the month or doing it for the whole year. Just going ahead and doing the whole year seemed easier.

Am I the only one having problems adjusting to the lost hour of daylight savings? The change has really messed with my moods and my ability to keep my schedule straight! Usually time changes don't affect me, but this time I am acting like a ditz and just not pulling it together.

It is looking like it will be quite a beautiful day today--I may have to pull a chair outside to knit before I have to leave for my pottery class.

Monday, March 10, 2008

And a Happy Monday to you...

We got a new car today, but since it is dark outside, I'll wait to post pictures until tomorrow.

It is actually a used car, but new to us. It's a cute little red 2001 Dodge Neon. We were looking for something a little easier on gas since the car hubby has been driving sucks gas down like I suck down coffee in the morning: fast..and in great quantities. I drove to Enid to pick the car up, got all the way back to Kansas and realized they had forgotten to put the 30 day tag on. DAMN. The tag on the car had expired in January. So now I have to get up in the morning and go to the insurance agent to get a copy of the insurance for this car, then drive downtown to sit and get a tag. Hopefully I don't get stopped--they are really strict in my little town about things like that. I have my bill of sale, so that will show that I haven't been just driving around for the heck of it on an expired tag, but I am one of those people who are REALLY paranoid about breaking any laws.
And no, I do not speed. I am too paranoid about that too. The law of averages is just not stacked in my favor, so why push it?

The kicker is that the month our car tags are due is April (Car tags are done by the letter of your last name and assigned a month accordingly. Ours happens to be April). I will not be able to get April's tag until March is the 11th tomorrow. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I will only be able to get a tag that expires in 15 days--then I will have to do the whole damn thing over again in April. ARGGGGGG! But then I guess I have to be there in April for the tag on the other vehicles, so WHATEVER...I'm just being cranky. It would have been so much easier to have had the 30 day tag...I didn't even think to look, so a smack to me too I guess.

One bright spot of the day is that I did get to hang out with my friend Lisa and eat at my favorite local restaurant, Next Door. They have a mushroom cheeseburger that will bring tears to your eyes! Forget chain restaurants, this local place is sooo much better than anything else in town. I go there every time I'm in Enid. Next Door has been around since my first visit to Enid with my boyfriend "at the time". Even funnier story is that I met Lisa accidentally because it turns out that BOTH of us were dating this guy at the same time. Since I was from another city, he figured we would never find out about each other. Guess what? We did. And we had a mutual friend that got a dialog going between us and we found out we had a lot more in common than the boyfriend. The boyfriend didn't work out, but we have been friends since 1983 because of him. Actually the boyfriend made a much better friend than boyfriend, so even that worked out in a way...Isn't it funny how things turn out? Lisa's family runs a couple auto related businesses there in Enid and Lisa can do just about anything auto related. Me? Not so much. Actually I didn't know how to put gas in a car until Lisa taught me. Lisa is also the one who taught me how to drive a standard. That alone is an endeavor worthy of sainthood. I know her dad, step-dad and brother just shake their head and wonder exactly what my purpose is--I can't change the oil in a car, bleed brakes, change out a fuel pump or anything like that.....But I adore them all. They have come to my rescue for more than one car related emergency. Enid is close to my heart, I wish I had the time to get back there more often.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Can you?

Hated the pattern, but I am completely in love with the Lorna's Laces yarn..I will definitely be going to The Beadery in Newton for more....It should be called knitter's crack...One skein and you are totally hooked and searching for ways to get more......The colorways are so pretty and the yarn works up really well (with the right pattern...say no more...). Unfortunately I have to miss the sock of the month class (it is a toe up sock)tomorrow, which makes me sad, but Candice will do one on one classes, so I'll be going in for some therapy--I mean a class---to learn this technique. Is that not GORGEOUS or what!!!!
Above is the beginning of the March sock at Twist (Peak Experience by Fiber Trends). I think I'm going to like this pattern a lot. It has a stitch I haven't used before, so I will be learning something new, but I don't think it will be anything that I can't handle. I'm using one of the Zircus colorways by Opal. I've never played with Opal yarn before but it seems really nice. My friend Cindy is probably really tired of the colorway though. Let me tell you a little story....

Not having a ball winder (YET!), I figured I could just improvise and use a size 13 needle and use it like a nostper....whatever that Scandinavian center pull ball making stick thingy I start unwinding the skein around the needle..And winding...and winding....400+ yards doesn't seem like a very big wad of string--UNTIL YOU ARE WINDING IT AROUND A SIZE 13 NEEDLE WITH NO END IN SIGHT...

To make a looooooooooong story short, learn from me. It doesn't turn out good...When Cindy came over to sit and knit, she got to hold that @#$* needle so I could finish winding it onto the needle only to turn around and roll it into a ball--all 400+ ....If I could have picked up my camera and got a picture of Cindy's face without having to give serious consideration as to how to hold a camera and deflect a size 13 knitting needle that is being hurled towards my personal space, I would have captured the look on Cindy's face....priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard--which is exactly what I will be using to get me a %$@* ball winder this week!!!

What's a post without a gratuitous cute animal picture. AWWWWWWW...

I should probably step away from the computer. I just ordered 10 pounds of kumquats to make jams and jellies...yes--10 POUNDS....I certainly better find a darn good canning recipe between now and the time they arrive! Actually I was just going to order 5 pounds, but for only a little more, I got the full 1/4 bushel...It's a good thing I LOVE to make jams and jellies. I had better get all my canning supplies ready so I can spend an entire day getting these puppies processed. Can you guess what everyone is going to get as part of their Easter goodies (except anyone allergic to citrus of course --- you can breathe easy Cindy. We love you so no kumquats for you....I'm definitely not going to knock off someone who puts up with all my "quirks").

Oh well! Good coffee and great friends to you and yours!

Monday, March 03, 2008


When the lightning strike of wisdom hits me, sometimes the flash blinds me....

The heel is turned...It took me a while to actually work through the instructions that said:

row 1: sl1 k17 sts, ssk, k1 turn
row 2: sl1, p5sts, p2tog, p1 turn

row 3: sl1, k6 sts, ssk, k1 turn

row 4: sl1, p7sts, p2tog, p1 turn
Continue in this manner until all stitches are consumed...

In my literal thinking, I was trying to do rows 1 through 4 over and over again (in this manner)...guess what? That was not even close...for those of you laughing your heads off, please remember some of us are literalistic...after frogging twice, I think my guardian angel finally had enough, because suddenly a blinding flash hit....after row 4, you :

sl 1, k8, ssk, k1 turn
sl 1, p9, p2tog, p1 turn
sl1, k10, ssl, k1 turn....and so on UNTIL ALL STITCHES ARE CONSUMED..



This is a painting I am in the process of working on. The saying states "The love we give away is the only love we keep"--as you can see, it is only halfway done, but I wanted to share with you...

I realized it has been a while since I posted. Not that I have been idle, mind you, I just never seem to have the gumption to go and retrieve my camera and download the pictures of my endeavors when I am actually sitting at the THAT lazy or what...So you are getting a madcap windup of some of my projects. Below is a closeup of a portion of the painting I am working on. It is far from being finished though.
This weekend a friend and I went to CityArts for our chainmaille jewelry class. It is supposed to start at 10:30 a.m. By 10:20 the doors to the class were not opened and we were the only ones there, so Sue went down to have them open the door. Guess what? The teacher had the flu and we were the only ones whose phone # they could not find. Could they not have CALLED the instructor--he has all our phone numbers. I know he has mine, I gave it to him so his girlfriend could call me --I am teaching her how to knit. ARGGGG. At any rate, Sue and I went to Twist instead where I picked up some goodies. They had marked some Swallow casein needles down 40% and there was a magazine I had been eyeing also marked down 40%. Yep, SNAG!!! I had been at Twist yesterday to pick up my sock yarn for the February sock of the month (hell yes I'm 30 days expected less?)...Since the pattern and yarn for the March sock was announced Saturday, I picked up both the pattern and yarn. I am completely in love with the Opal Zircus yarn I picked up! Being a little OCD--even though Shelly said I should be able to get a pair from 1 ball, I got two. Half of the reason was I was afraid of running out and also since I had already slobbered on the two balls of the particular colorway I was grasping in my hands, I figured I should take it home. Maybe Shelly should have a sign that says "YOU SLOBBER ON IT, YOU BUY IT"...... I'd probably just have to give myself to her as an indentured servant if she does that though...
Above is a bad picture of a good haul.....and below is the sweater from the Northampton Knits book that I am working on in Rowan Plaid. I love this pattern and the yarn!!!
I am also working on a sock in Lorna's lace Shepherd Sport (Mixed Berries colorway), which I love--their sock pattern, not so much. I am at the heel turning and it says to do the first four rows, then repeat these until there are no stitches. I need to see if there is an errata for this pattern. After you do the first four rows (I'm doing the largest size), you go back to row 1. I finish knitting 17 stitches then there is enough to ssk but that is the end of the row--no room to k1 then turn....maybe it's just me...I have a sock pattern for the beginner sock in sport weight from Knitting Pure and Simple--I LOVE their patterns and I may have to follow it to get the heel turned.....
Other than that, I have been baking up a storm. I made English muffin bread this afternoon from a recipe in my Better Homes and Garden cookbook--and it turned out beautifully. I like to make the boys home style "Egg McMuffins" in the morning, but I hate the cost of store bought English muffins. I found this recipe and thought "why not"...It is soooooo easy and very foolproof! I have the recipe and pictures posted on my other blog, Animalhaus. I am going to start posting cooking and other stuff over there since I set up the second blog for that reason and then promptly ignored it...This blog will remain knitting, art and general craftiness (and animal antics of course..) but the other will have cooking and food related stuff.....I'll have the English muffin recipe posted by this afternoon over there...