Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Today was a pretty busy day. I went to Twist to fondle the yarn---oopsie-I MEAN HELP OUT..at least I hope I am helping.

I love being able to play with all the new yarns.

We are trying to watch our spending since the FREAKING high cost of gas is taking a big bite out of the ol' budget. So I am going to try to only buy yarn for projects that I am casting on and working immediately. At this point I have a shop model for The Beadery, a couple socks and a shop model for Twist in various stages of progression..oh, an a completely wonderful sweater out of Rowan Plaid that has been sitting on the needles for too long...so I definitely have a little bit of work in front of me. I am even trying to wait to buy more sock yarn until I have all of the Twist sock of the month and The Beadery's second Saturday socks done....However, I am not even going to pretend I will not falter from time to time. If we get any electric colored sock yarn in, I'm sunk...or any new Baby Alpaca Twist...arggg!!

I went to my pottery class at 2:00 today. Now that I have been working on centering a little more and seem to have conquered that--or at least have made peace with the centering gods--I am really starting to enjoy it. I got 5 pretty good sized bowls thrown today. One of them I was particularly proud of. After setting it on my shelf to dry a bit, I reached for something to the side of it and whacked it. DAMN! I will go to the studio tomorrow to see if I can repair the damage. Eventually I would like to progress to the point where I can churn out a pretty uniform set of bowls for our house and for gifts. I also love hand thrown mugs--big "coffee addict" style--so this is another thing I will work at. I'll try to remember to snap pictures tomorrow when I go for damage control.

My questions for the day are:

1. How much is gas in your area?
It is 3.50 a gallon here in Wichita.

2. Does the high cost of gas affect your lifestyle? If so, what are you doing to offset the high price of gas and keep your budget afloat?
Here at Casa Crazy Life, I am trying to curb my Internet buying clicky finger...especially when it comes to books and other little things. I am cooking more from scratch and staying home more when possible. No more driving around aimlessly. I am trying to get everything I need for food prep at one place or bundling trips.

I would seriously consider taking a bus wherever I needed to go, however the bus does not come to our little town. I can't park and ride since there would be no place to park securely (Grocery store parking is for grocery store customers etc...). Wichita mass transit sucks at this point. It stops running too early, has very limited reach and does not run on Sundays. So as a result, most people who would consider the bus, are not able to do so. So I drive. When I was in Atlanta, I was pretty impressed with the train and bus system. It doesn't run to some of the suburbs, but it does have a pretty comprehensive route. We need that here. I would definitely take the bus to and from Twist on days I'm downtown helping--if that were an option.

This said, I was thinking about how this "recession" we are supposedly in is nothing the U.S. hasn't done before. Anyone remember the gas crisis of the 70's? Humor me if you are too young... The budget crunches now are pretty much the same as we were feeling then. It all runs in cycles. Let's face it, bell bottoms and hip huggers recently came back in, so why should the budget be immune to cycles. Recession, high gas prices are forgivable. HIP HUGGERS AND BELL BOTTOMS ARE NOT.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Final Friday post

On the last Friday of each month, several businesses and galleries exhibit art and have little things going on. I usually miss it each month for one reason or another, but tonight I went to Twist to sit and knit with Cindy for a while. It was a lot of fun. I got to talk to quite a few people interested in knitting and then had a wonderful conversation with a couple - the wife wants to learn to spin. I pulled out my wheel that I keep at the shop and spun for a little while talking with them. I haven't spun in a couple weeks, so it was extremely relaxing.

I also got to work a little on a shop sock for Twist in Noro sock yarn. I do have to say that when you first touch this yarn it is scratchy and icky feeling--like the Noro Kureyon. However, give it at least an inch of knitting and it will win you over. We are going to wash the shop sock in Eucalaan wash to show everyone the difference after it is washed. I've noticed that knitters either really love or really hate Noro. However, their colorways completely rock! And the yarns do soften with time...Really, they do!

I spent part of the day at the library looking at a stitch pattern book. I ended up checking out the Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 1 (knit and purl)...I have a stitch dictionary here at the house, but I have been a little disappointed with it. I may end up getting a copy of the Vogue series. The main reason I am on the great hunt is that I am trying to find a stitch pattern that will compliment the Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb yarn that I am working up for the Newton Beadery. I had started one in a cable and lace pattern, but I didn't think it showed off the glimmer of this yarn enough. It is gorgeous!!

I plan to hang around the house for the larger part of this weekend and chill. What are your plans? What is your idea of "the perfect weekend"?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

A couple weeks ago, Shelly (owner of Twist) wanted to learn to spin so we sat down and I showed her a little of what I know. She is a NATURAL spinner!! After a couple minutes, she was off and running like she'd been spinning for years! This picture has been hanging out in my camera so I figured I'd better share. JUST LOOK AT THE DETERMINATION ON HER FACE....but then, I MAY have been behind the camera heckling and trying to get her to vogue for the camera, so that may be the look of someone contemplating if there was a hammer within throwing distance...

Hubby is at an engineering conference in Washington D.C until tomorrow. A convention full of engineers--doesn't that sound like unbridled wildness and mayhem? I bet there is nothing in that building that has not been measured or analyzed...I will SOOOO not launch into any discussion on that.

It has felt weird not having him here. On Tuesday night, I suddenly realized I would have to get up and take the boys to school...Crap! Usually hubby does that on his way to work since I am not a morning person (and that is an understated understatement!!). I was so afraid I was going to oversleep that I set the alarm on my cell phone and two other alarms. Had I been able to focus my eyes and the camera that early, I would have shared the really nasty glares the cats gave me as each alarm went off..Cute man is back late tomorrow night--I will be glad.

I have stayed pretty close to home except when I went to The Newton Beadery to help Julie at the shop yesterday. We were having REALLY bad weather and I got a good scare driving back to Wichita in the pounding rain...YIKES. Luckily Newton is only 20 miles from the Wichita city limits....On Tuesdays and Thursday I help out at Twist. On Wednesdays I help out at The Beadery. Actually I HOPE I'm helping...I really feel blessed that I am able to be around both shops!! I will post pictures of all the new stuff at both shops next week. Julie and Shelly are pretty cooperative so there is no competition. I'm so glad since I LOVE both shops! Like I said, I am SO blessed to be able to be at both stores! Julie is going to be selling spinning wheels pretty soon, so spinners in our area will have a great place to look at wheels. Both shops will be carrying fiber for spinning. GOOD STUFF!!!

I am working on a shop model for a shawl that will be at The Beadery soon. You know how completely addicted I am to Lorna's Laces--this is in their Lion and Lamb 50% wool/50% silk yarn. I am absolutely drooling over the glimmer in this yarn and the unbelievable beauty of it! I am looking for a stitch pattern that will highlight this feature. It is worsted (but not much heavier, if at all) weight, so whatever stitch pattern I chose should work up quickly. I had started a cable and lace stitch pattern, but frogged it since I don't think it captured the colorway...I'll post when I get it done and let you know when you can see it in Newton. It will be a shop model so I'll also get a pattern written up for it.

And below is my good/evil snack of the day. What is the best drink to wash down a big honkin' fork full of chocolate hazelnut spread? Well DIET RITE COLA OF COURSE! lol....I didn't have time to properly focus the picture because the camera couldn't keep up with the speed of the fork as it sailed towards my mouth!! YUM!!Trust me, it is good stuff.......Good thing I'm watching what I eat, huh? And for those of you proper people who are disturbed by the fact I used a fork for the jar, I must say in my defense that the garden trowel wouldn't fit in the jar.

Neither would the shovel.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Froggin the day away....

Remember the lace I was whining about? Admit it, you remember "the lace whining" because it made you want to drive all the way to my house to smack me....

Well, I frogged it.

But hold on!

I frogged it today so I can add a carry along yarn of Rowan kid silk haze, which I totally think looks like a dream. Since my original lace yarn was a red--a little more on the blue red than the yellow red side of the spectrum- I was looking for something that would coordinate, but contrast. I found the most wonderful color. It is decadent, sexy and a little slinky...Then I realized. CRAP! I am using the same colors of the RED HAT SOCIETY LADIES...So every time I wear this scarf, everyone will assume I am a Red Hatter...and I am not even at the age they'll let me join yet. I must say though, their colors totally rock, AND I am going to wear the shawl anyway. I'll just have to make sure I behave scandalously so everyone will wonder...RIGHT, LIKE THEY DON'T WONDER ABOUT ME ALREADY!

So I now have two balls of yarn waiting to be wound together at the shop tomorrow. I think it will be easier to work with the yarns already combined. I intend to go up a needle size or two also. One it is done, I am going to add a seed bead border and fringe. It's all about the bling, baby!
No pictures of the yarn combo (sounds like there should be an order of fries included..) so I thought I'd distract you with more flower pictures from Botanica....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Little Off...

Another picture of the flowers at Botanica.

The boys were out of school on Friday, so today feels like Sunday...I'm having problems remembering the correct day! Since the boys have Monday off too, it is really going to make my week feel odd. Oh well. I do like having them at home. They had friends spend the night last night, so we had 4 teenage boys running amuck in my house. Luckily they are all good kids, so it was more amusing than anything.

Jeremy and I went to pottery this afternoon. I really like working on the wheel.

I have 9 pots in various stages on my shelf right now. So far I am doing mainly cylinders, with an occasional rounded pot. I am trying to get more control over the clay which will enable me to bring up larger and taller pots. I want to throw a series of ceramic tumblers or large tall mugs. I think we might start having dinners for our regular dinner group at our house starting in the late summer/early fall and I'd love to make special mugs for each of these events. Usually our dinner group goes to a different restaurant in Wichita every two weeks. I think it would be fun to have an informal potluck in our backyard at least once a month. I have a gazillion cookbooks in our home library, and I need to justify their existence by actually COOKING out of them.

At some point tomorrow I will start my tomato seeds and some watermelon seeds. I want to have a good sized veggie and herb garden this season. I have been thinking of ways to stretch the food budget this season and a home garden will definitely help. I also like the idea that I can grow my food without chemicals. Have you ever considered how many chemical are entering your body through food? I never considered it much in the past, but I have been doing some "green reading" and it is a little scary. I don't think it is practical for my house to go completely green in one swoop, but I am altering my buying and some of my daily habits gradually. Thankfully organic fruits are coming down in price. I loved shopping at Wild Oats in Tulsa when we had our girls weekend. There is a really nice natural foods grocery store on the east side of Wichita called Green Acres, but I'm not always over on that side of town. When I visited Atlanta last year, my friend took me to Whole Foods. We have two little stores here in Wichita called Whole Foods, but they are not part of the chain. If you have an opportunity to visit the chain Whole Food store, you will be absolutely amazed! There is one in Overland Park, Kansas (near Kansas City) that I will be visiting when I go to KC this summer. YEAH!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The weather here in Kansas can't seem to decide what to do. We were supposed to have a killing frost on Sunday night, luckily we did not. So Monday, when I went to the Compeer Volunteer lunch at Botanica with my friend and fellow volunteer, Sue, I had to take a gaggle of pictures to share with you. The weather was gorgeous, the food was good and the companionship was awesome!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

BUSY weekend!!

But a great one!

Saturday I took a magic loop class at the Beadery in Newton----it was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!If you are within driving distance of the Beadery, I highly recommend you take a class there. If you aren't able to make it to their scheduled classes, Candice will do one on one knitting classes. I've also taken beading classes from the owner, Julie and I love them!! Beads and knitting--what more can you ask for? I will post a picture of my socks tomorrow. I bought some knitter's crack (aka Lorna's Lace's) for the class, but I frogged it a couple times and decided to use some magic stripes (Lion Brand) for this first pair so I don't fray the heck out of the LL. I will do the next pair in the Lorna's once I get the technique down. I can tell I am going to LOVE magic loop. I had the booklet for quite some time and at the time I got it, it did not make much sense. After Candice's class, I got a grip on it...L-0-V-E!!!

After the Beadery, I went to Stitch and Bitch at Twist. Two yarn shops in one day---it's a good thing!!

Today I helped a friend's father watch three little relatives. We actually went to see the movie "Nim's Island". I really thought it was a good movie for kids. Jodie Foster is always an excellent actress, but then there was Gerald Butler. Holy Smokes! That is one pretty member of the male species!! He was in P.S. I Love You---that's the first time I had seen him in anything...very pretty smile...

Tomorrow (Monday) I have a volunteer lunch at Botanica for Compeer. Compeer (click on the link for more info) is a program that provides a friendship match for consumers of the Mental Health Association of Kansas. I have volunteered with this program for 7 or so years now. One of their caseworkers gave a talk about their program to my abnormal psychology class in college and I signed on as a volunteer. Basically it is a program that matches a volunteer with consumers who have similar interests who have a mental illness. This program is really a wonderful thing. I can honestly say I have gotten a lot from this volunteering program! I love it! If you have a little time to volunteer, I would highly suggest this program.

Next weekend I am going to try to stick close to home and actually get some knitting projects completed. Shelly (Twist) ordered some new books and Cabin Fever patterns for me, so I am gearing up for some serious knitting! I love Cabin Fever patterns. I also love the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns, so I may have to eventually add some of those to my pattern collection. AFTER I get some more of my UFO's finished and my yarn stash in line...Let's see, so far I have a sweater on needles from the Northampton Wools book, 2 pairs of socks, a baby sweater, and a lace wrap. That should keep me busy for most of the month of May and June. Ideally I'd like to make some Christmas gifts in the summer. I always try to do that, but haven't had much luck with that in the past.

What are your UFO's? Do you try to knit Christmas gifts? When do you start on them?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knitting rubber stamps!!!

I was lurking in Marigold's blog--oh, I mean reading her blog, of course :-) and she made reference to these...you just have to see them! KNITTING RUBBER STAMPS! Too cute. What was that I said about the budget?

I think I just heard something...maybe it's the sound of my credit card...Listen.....Can you hear the sounds of my budget crashing?

A Few of My Favorite Things....

It's 1 a.m and I am having problems drifting off to sleep, so I thought I'd blog a bit....I haven't made too much progress on the lace wrap as you can see in the picture. I am seriously considering frogging it and combining it with a little thicker yarn so the wrap gets finished before I am go blind from having to maneuver around the tiny stitches..... Next to the yarn, there is my favorite mug which is holding my current favorite drink: chai tea. I found some of the chai tea concentrate at Green Acres Natural food store here in Wichita and when combined with milk, it is DIVINE! There is a particular brand of milk that I buy that makes it extra special. This milk comes in glass bottles from a Kansas Dairy, Twig Dairy, and is the best milk I've tasted EVER! They don't use steroids or any other medications on the cattle, so you aren't bulking up on toxins, but what makes it special is there is usually a thin layer if cream in the bottles of whole milk and sometimes the 2%. The only store in Wichita that carries it is ( some of ) the Dillion's grocery stores--unfortunately none close to me so I have to get a couple bottles each time I am at a Dillon's that carries it. The store at 21st and Maize had this brand in cappuccino---I could not even describe how good it was!!!! I recently discovered that that store also has the chai concentrate I usually buy elsewhere. This makes me REALLY happy--I'll be able to satisfy my "addiction" in one stop!!

While I didn't make the mug that holds my chai, I did throw the two containers in the background. I really like the blue green one and plan on doing quite a few more in that color. I threw 9 more pots this week on the wheel, so I'll definitely have more of this color on some of those. The brown one turned out pretty also. I'll definitely do more in that color too. I am using most of the containers I've thrown so far as knitting needle holders. I photographed these in incandescent lighting, so please excuse the yellow cast. I'll get some more pictures later in sunlight...

My goal this week is to walk into Twist and abstain from whipping out my checkbook! I bought the top down book from Cabin Fever (I LOVE this company!!!) and Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I've never played with an EZ pattern so I figured I'd try. This book has a lot of stories in it so I found it entertaining. I REALLY need to quit buying books and yarn--at least until I get my three UFO's finished!! You can laugh now at the ridiculous nature of that last statement and the possibility that :

(A:) I am going to quit buying yarn and books until (B:) I finish all my UFO's.

.....Optimism...foolhardy optimism....and when I wake up, I shall remember none of this....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Full of HOT AIR

Friday evening I was on my way to our dinner group and this caught my attention...Hot Air Balloons in the field behind the bus barn here in Haysville. The one in the picture above was preparing to take off as I passed, so even though I was running late, I HAD to turn around and watch. The one below was having problems, so I didn't see him take off in the 20 minutes I sat mesmerized....They were so gorgeous!!

As I waited, this balloon circled the field and came right over top of me and my camera---And suddenly I got the notion that I want to ride in a hot air balloon. Did I ever mention I am afraid of heights? And fire? So I have no idea where the urge to "rise several hundred feet in the ground while standing in a gondola attached by ropes and standing next to an engine that is shooting hot air/FIRE into a fabric container" came from. I'm still in awe of these. I actually got the name of the guy in this balloon from a lady in the group, so I am going to be giving him a call. I THINK....

And what is a post without a cute animal picture?

Speckles takes full advantage of the warming properties of the patio windows. Don't let the sweet and innocent look fool you. Although she has been declawed, she can chomp down on you so fast you won't even know what hit (bit) you!

We've had awfully weird weather around here this month. So far this season it has hailed twice. The last hail storm left half dollar sized hail pummeling the cars. I have hail dings on my new car--DARN IT. I am pretty darn motivated to get the garage cleaned out this summer!!

Cute man and I spent part of Sunday planting rose bushes all over the back yard. I am going to buy 5 more tomorrow for the front yard. I found them at Big Lots (the store) for $2.50!! At that price, I may pick up 10....Most of the ones we planted Sunday were climbing roses. The ones I plant out front will be bush roses. Our contractor should be starting on our back deck soon, so I don't want to plant too much near that area yet. Once they are done, I am going to go nuts with my gardens! We still have to find a pear tree for Mark. Jeremy planted a cherry tree last year when we moved in.

I guess I'd better sign off, it is storming again..like I said, we are having really strange weather this season....

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Updates galore

No pictures from my girls weekend in Tulsa--one of us forgot to change the batteries in the camera and didn't discover this until they were going to take a picture....yep, that'd be forgetful ol' me..........It was nice to hang out with Chris and Lisa though. We really need to do that more often. I love going back to Tulsa, it really is a pretty city.

On the knitting side, I got a wild hair this afternoon while at the yarn shop and for some odd reason got the notion that I must knit myself a rectangular shawl. Out of really tiny lace weight yarn....WHAT IN THE HEL* WAS I THINKING?! I cast on multiples of nine for what seemed to be an hour--then lost count and had to start over. The animals learned several new word combinations today, none of which can be said within a mile radius of any church!! I am determined to stick this out but I can tell already I am going to be on this one for quite a while. Next time I try lace, I will look for something thicker than this yarn --it is thinner than some of the threads I sew with! I'm glad the pattern I picked from my stitch dictionary is not too complicated. I can see this is going to be a project that I do when there is really good lighting and I am the only one home! However, it will be gorgeous when I do get it done--it is a beautiful shade of red. I'll post pictures soon--once I get enough completed that will actually photograph....Don't wait up for me ya'll.....