Friday, December 26, 2008
Through the power of friendship and a knitting buddy, I found a computer repairman that was Good. Now-I just have to figure out how to personalize the computer again to my pictures, and my own wallpaper. It seems so foreign to me right now.
I just want to say, I'll do a proper post tomorrow. Right now I have to figure out what got saved and what didn't. Wish me luck!
Friday, December 19, 2008
As promised-here are the pics of the shawl I finished. Isn't it pretty?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Anyway, I FINISHED the shawl. Pics to come when it dries. I actually washed it before blocking. I have two little kitties that love to get in my lap when I am knitting big things. I blocked it out last night. I decided to not put pins or wires in. It is garter stitch, and I just wanted it to look flat and pretty. There was no need to stretch the lace panel at the bottom. I like it. It will be warm and toasty.
I am doing what I said I would never do. A friend begged me to knit her husband a pair of socks. She is paying for it, of course, and I got her email this morning with all the measurements. They live in another state, and this will be a first time to knit socks without the owner there to try on, etc. She also asked me to knit a pair for her mom, who is 96 years old. I think the newest pair I just finished will fit Olga just fine. They are too snug for my fat foot, and they haven't been worn yet. Her mom is always cold, and wears flannel shirts over everything.
So I sat down immediately this a.m. and cast on for another pair of socks. Not only did I say I am not knitting another pair of socks for a while, but I also said a long time ago, I am no longer in business to sell. Well......
I finished the black alpaca that I started at the Alpaca Show, and now I am spinning some Jacob fleece. I actually sent this fleece off to a mill to be processed into roving. It is yummy and so easy to spin. I love the sheen in it. It is a natural heathery color of beige, brown, and grey. I love it. I also know the animal that shared the fleece, and that makes it special.
Tonight is the Wild Foods Party at CJ and AE's house. It is the final get-together of my "family" here. There is a Slip and Slide at the Leflars house on New Year's Eve. But sometimes it doesn't happen. And sometimes they are out of town. So this is the official last get-together.
So I am going to take a nap this afternoon, and I will eat a little something late for lunch. The eating doesn't happen until 7 or 7:30 ish. And that is way past my normal evening meal time. At about 9 or so the shows start. It is traditional that folks bring a slide show to show what they did during the year. And there are sometimes old shows thrown in. This all started in the old days when it was real slides. Now it is all electronic. There seem to be more glitches with computers, etc. So it seems to go slower. Finally people wind down and either go home or find a place to sleep for the night.
On Sunday we always do an eagle walk. There are so many eagles in this area this time of year. After the walk we have a HUGE breakfast. Then folks start going home. It is a real relaxing type of family get-together.
I always say I am never going to do anything for Christmas. As I do every year, I suddenly get high-behind and start doing little things. I made AE's mom and CJ's mom each a neck warmer. I have made hair scrunchies for a friend's granddaughters. And I have made a coupla other little gifts. That is why I took so long to finish the shawl. I am already thinking of a next project involving some handspun Alpaca yarn. It will be later after I finish the cap with strand colorwork. That is not going well. I have already frogged a lot of it. I can't seem to get the rhythm going to this. I also have to read the pattern out loud as I knit. Weird!
So-back to socks!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Anyway, when one goes to this area of the mountains, you can go the tourist road north through Harrison. Or you can go the scenic mountain roads south. I choose the mountain roads mostly. I always have to watch out for the things I have always looked for- logging trucks, deer, and slow moving vehicles. And the roads are very winding and steep.
Anyway, as one moves into Boxley Valley I always look for the old mill pond, and there are the three swans that have been re-introduced into the area. They have survived not only the local hunters, but the 4-legged predators, too. I always gauge the state of the beavers when I look over the mill pond area. If the beavers have been busy, the whole swampy area is flooded. It is a wonderful sight to see.
Of course, from this point on, one has to keep an eye out for elk. Yes, elk! They were re-introduced several years ago, and they are doing exceptionally well. I have to scan the far edges of the fields near the cane breaks, and unfortunately, I only got to see one. They are becoming part of the tourist thing now. Elk-watching! They even have places set up near the ranger stations that tell all about the elk. Weird, huh?
Anyway, I ticked off places in my head as I got closer to Jaspar. There should be an old house-place here, there is the old barn I remember, and there should be a little cemetery here. I love the colors this time of year too. The far mountains look blue and smoky, and the the greys, browns, and greens are all shades. The sycamores have their off-white bark. The lichens and moss on the rocks is gorgeous!
My friend CF is a potter. She sells her things at a gallery in Branson, MO. So that is what we did yesterday-a fast trip to Branson. I have never been to Branson. I have only seen the plethora of advertising for all the shows and entertainment stuff. This has kept me from going there. But CF wanted me to see some things she had found.
After delivering her stuff, we went to a public parking deck. We walked over to the pedestrian mall near the river. It is a nice place downtown, and it is AWAY from all the touristy show stuff. Anyway, we walked all the way up one side, down the other, and then ate lunch in a wonderful restaurant. Then we walked the other direction for a while to digest our food. By this time, we were ready to go home. We are both old hermits that prefer our quiet, secluded lives.
Within a few minutes we were out in the country again and heading home. After visiting a little bit, I headed back my same route. I noticed that it was cloudier and it got dark quick. But I was home really early-around 6 p.m.
Last night a few thunderstorms passed through. It is cloudy, foggy, and windy. Last night the weatherman said something about snow, but it is in the 50's now! So I don't know about the cold front heading our way!
No pics-sorry. I never can get a winter mountain picture to look as good on print as it does to my eyes. The elk was a LONG ways away, and the swans were not conducive to picture-taking.
It was just refreshing for me to take a day away and to just drive to some place I love. The mountains are gorgeous any season, but I love the wintertime.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Then last week another warning- Maintenace required. Hmmm! So I looked in the book, and sure enough, my car was telling me it was time to change the oil! Now isn't that something?!? My car knows when to change the oil.
So dutifully, I made an appointment for this morning to take care of these little issues. I struggled with what knitting to take, and should I take a book, just in case. And true to what he told me, it took 45 mins to complete. They even washed my car. Which is nice since it is now raining!
How did cars get so smart? I remember my father always checked the tire pressure when we left on a trip. My grandmother always told the man at the service station to check the tires. That, of course, was during the days of Full-Service gas stations. And I have checked my tire pressure when I go on a road trip. But I've never obsessed over it. So now I have to figure out what to do when the little symbol pops up.
I am in a knitting slump. I want to finish some little Christmas stuff. But I am slowly finishing the lace band edging for the shawl. I can't decide if it is procrastination reflecting the end of a project, or just that I am tired of it. I am studying lots of Fair Isle books, and reading techniques, and trying to get an idea of what I want to do there. That hasn't finished fermenting yet in the brain. I am not in the mood to knit socks. I guess I am tired of socks right now. That's so odd since I always have socks on the needle.
I think I am heading towards my winter-time slump. I have been keeping myself busy trying not to head that way. But I think it is coming. I am already antsy about yard work. And I have been planning yard stuff in my head at night when I can't sleep. I think I can plant some spinach by next month if the weather holds out. It is really dark and dreary right now. It seems to be about 5 p.m. and it isn't even 2 p.m.!
Talk later. Gotta go catch a cat with a bird in its mouth.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Be aware that this will probably be the last time I am excited about winter. I don't like the darkness, I don't like the windy cold, and I don't like the mucky that comes after the snow. Or ice-I hate ice.
Enough of that. Have a few alpaca pics from the alpaca show this past weekend. I love alpacas. It was so neat to stand there and listen to the humming. I went early on Friday to just watch them unloading them and putting them in their stalls. But the spinning guild provided spinners both days, and I went both days.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Have a good Thanksgiving!
This is the holiday I always set aside as my special day of gratitude. I don't like to mingle with crowds of people, and I don't like to stuff myself with rich food. As a hermit and a curmudgeon, I prefer to be alone. As a practise, I began to do prayers of gratitude years ago.
Of course, I do say prayers of gratitude every day. What makes this day special? I guess it is the change in the season. It is the time of year there is lots of gluttony, ego, and selfishness going around. I just decided this was a day to try to balance the world a little bit. In my own little corner.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melodie Beattie
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is Uni after the first fitting. I have to try on this cover and fit it on me. It has to be skin tight. When I put the cover back on Uni, it was two inches two big in the bust and hips. The waist was just right. So again back to the sewing machine, and now I have a Uniquely You that is my size.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
There is nothing to say. Once you've seen them, you will see what I mean!
I had surprise visitors yesterday. I was watching t.v., knitting, and thinking about putting supper in the oven. And here comes my friend CF, her daughter and two grandsons. Both the boys took naps, and we caught up on news. Both the boys were not "feeling well", and I hate to admit that as soon as they left I wiped things down with Clorox wipes. And I took the pillowcases and blanket and put in the laundry room.
But it was nice to see them all again. They live in a town that is about 3 hours from here, and B. wanted to go to an art gallery opening to see if she could get a show there. She has always done this funky, surrealistic type of painting. She can do conventional stuff, but doesn't like it. She would rather not sell something than compromise her way of doing it. Obviously she needs support from her husband and mother to do this. But don't get me started on this.
I ordered a Uniquely You dress form. I got an email that it was shipped on Thursday. I have already named her Uni. I haven't got a clue how this is going to affect my psyche to see "myself" in 3-D. I am really a little bit nervous about it. I think this will help me make better fitting sweaters and things. And I can see how things drape easier than trying to put it on me and peering in the mirror backwards.
We have had the most pleasant Fall weather this week. It has been in the high 50's-maybe touching low 60's briefly in the heat of the day-and cooler in the 30's at night. It has been very windy and the leaves are blowing off the trees. I got my new Roman shades that have insulation on them for the North windows. So I am ready for the cold. No, I lied. I am not ready for it to come. But when it does, I am prepared.
My neighbors' son brought a load of fill to put on the west side of the driveway to fill in where everything is settled. Now the whole family is getting involved. I must be their "project". He told me that he was doing some work around the yard, and had dug out a lot of "fill", and he would just bring it over and take care of the low spots for me. So when I got home Thursday night, there was the first load put in. I just shake my head and sigh. I guess colder weather will keep them at home. But I guess I have to get tough next Spring and Summer.
I guess I will go and watch Fons and Porter on t.v. I am cutting out quilt pieces right now for a simple, easy quilt. So maybe this will inspire me to keep on working on that.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Some things to be grateful for today-
warmer weather, lots of sun, a quiet deck, birds chirping all around, hawks looking for a snack overhead, and geese flying by.
I have been sitting on my deck spinning, and enjoying the sunshine. Somehow it is important to sit in the sun while I can. One winter my husband told me I was a lizard at heart. He could always find me in a spot somewhere outside in the sunshine and away from the wind. The winters seem so long.
CJ and I were discussing this last weekend. I have a little trick that as soon as Solstice arrives, I tell myself every day that the days are longer now. But about late February and into March, this doesn't work. It is when winter is breaking, and the transition is occurring. I just want to be outside digging in the dirt. But it is too early for most gardens here.
So today is a sunshine day. Sit outside on the deck, soak up as much as I can, and enjoy the day for what it is. And be grateful that it is a sunshine day.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Another successful family reunion at Mirkwood! Next year we start over again. The last get-together will be at CJ's and AE's house in December. That will be it for 2008!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Spin it into a little bit of yarn!
Then knit it into a shawlette!
I call it Moon Shadows. When I first starting spinning it, I looked up at a pastel drawing on the wall. I like the drawing because it is in the shadows, and the frame I bought extended the feeling of the shadows. As I stared at the drawing, I admitted to myself that shadows are really interesting features in an art piece. A few nights later I was driving home late and noticed the shadows from the moon. Remember I used to live really out in the boonies. Then when I was spinning the yarn, I thought, "This is like moon shadows." I thought of the differences in sun shadows and moon shadows. So this is what I focused on while I was spinning it.
I chose the shawlette because I really don't need another big shawl. I found this Sivia Harding design called "Victorian Shoulderette." It is really lovely and light and soft. It just covers the shoulders and drapes about bicep level on the arm. It fastens in the front with a pin.
Oh! That's the other thing I thought of while spinning it. I have a silver pin that is oval, has a tree in silhouette, and a moon out of mother of pearl peeking from behind the limbs. I knew it was perfect for the shawlette after I started thinking of moon shadows.
So that's how crazy my creativity is. I love this because it worked out just as I was thinking, and it is the perfect little something to put over one's shoulders to keep a draft off the neck.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Today I am off to see some black walnut. I have a friend that I call a Scrounger. He finds things. He asked me if I wanted some daffodils. So we spend a half a day at this sight that had been bought by developers. The older houses had been torn down, and the new construction had not been built. We dug and dug and dug. He calls me when he finds stuff. So yesterday he asked me if I wanted some black walnut to carve. I am supposed to meet him this afternoon to see what's there before they remove the tree.
Yesterday was a play day. I went over to CJ's house, and we worked a little bit in her studio. Then I cooked a frozen pizza while she went to get her mom. So after eating our pizza, another friend stopped by and we knit, carded wool, and just visited. It was a nice early Fall day and we sat outside. It wasn't too hot since the clouds hug around mostly.
Have a good week.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
So no lifting the thing to drain the pot. It's like a giant crockpot. So I am initiating it! A dye pot that will hold 8 ozs of wool easily. None of this fussy cooking 2 ozs in a regular dye pot. The only catch-I have to stand on a ladder to see the controls. I have already set the temp and it got there in about 15-20 mins. So while the dye pot is cooking, I turned it off for a while.
Yes-sir-ree-bob! It's marigolds!! I know I am not the only person in the world who puts flowers in the deep freeze until there is enough for a dye pot. But it has been a long time since I have actually made a dye pot from scratch. And I forgot that the smell of boiling flowers is really pungent. Thank goodness it is not a stinky dye pot. I have made a few of those.
This is too exciting! I can't hardly wait. I will report back the results. I always set my standards low on natural dye pots, since I am not a chemist and never-ever measure accurately.
I never can duplicate the darn things. I did measure the amount of water to put into the big pot. And I will measure the amount of alum/cream of tartar to use for mordant. But from there it is a guess. I could not tell you the amount of flowers I am cooking. I know I will use 8 ozs of wool as my test run. That's it! There are a few correopsis in this mess, but 90 percent is marigold.
So stay tuned! It is surely getting exciting around here!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
My new screened-in porch is completed!! Isn't it beautiful? It will be a wonderful place to sit and relax when I get some nice porch furniture. A new outdoor knitting room or spinning room.
The last of the cross-ties went in yesterday. My neighbor helped move all the left-over dirt from the front to the back with his tractor. So the new dirt spot in the front is where I will plant a tree. I am about done with this yard stuff for the season. SH and I are going to the City of Fayetteville compost/mulch place and get a truck-load today. I need to get some manure from my friend with the horse farm. That should do it. Now the little planties need to survive through the winter. Then it starts all over again next year.
I leave you with this music video from Mason-Dixon. Whodathunkit? Not only do they write, but they sorta kinda sing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUOgqefnt_I
Monday, September 29, 2008
Anyway-I am totally exhausted today, and I declared this a rest day. Despite that, I am doing laundry, dishes, etc.
I finally sorta kinda finished the front flower bed. I haven't got all the cross ties in place yet. My neighbor finally got the part for his tractor and tootled over here to load up a big portion of the topsoil pile and place it into the flower bed proximity. He and his wife went away in their HUGE RV for a week, and that gave me plenty of time to rototill the piles of dirt and rake them into an assemblage of level. I finally decided to wheelbarrow several loads of dirt into the middle to pile it up higher. I them planted all my flowers I bought. Now it looks silly with this little batch of flowers in the center of this HUGE flower bed. But in a coupla years this will all be a memory. And it will look gorgeous.
HandHeld Knitting-my LYS- has moved a block and a half into a real store front. Yes, everyone complains because the little cottage was like a home for knitters everywhere. But this looks more sophisticated and upscale. It has a better traffic flow-hopefully-better lighting, and the whole shop is in one room. Better for the cashier/storekeeper. There is a small loft that is planned for a classroom. Several of us helped out last week with the move and arranging of yarn into bins. It should be a good thing once the newness wears off.
Our knitting night has changed with the move. We will now be meeting on Thursday evenings. Other stores will be open, and it should bring in traffic as well.
My friend from California came for the weekend. She has been at her cabin in Oklahoma, and she needed a break from her repairs. So we got the dump site mostly cleaned out in the back. When I began digging around, I found where the previous owners dumped all their trash. After we finished, we went into Fayetteville to the recycling center with 4 garbage bags full of beer and whiskey bottles. The rest of the recycled stuff can be picked up with my service. There were three garbage bags full of trash. There are bulk items that will have to wait until the end of October for pick up by my service. And I have a pile of metal and wires that I will have to call another service for that pick up. Of course, there will be plenty more to clean up once the leaf off is completed. But the majority of it is gone.
I could not believe that today I bought gas for $3.17. There is a gas war going on. I really didn't need any gas, but I topped off my tank while I could get the deal.
I am slowly getting stuff organized in my sewing and storage room. I bought these nice Rubbermaid drawer units at Walmart. They are deep drawers, and they hold a lot of stuff. I am emptying my Rubbermaid containers that are stacked up. I am trying to put one type of thing in each drawer, labeling the drawer, and that will keep things handier than the system I had. I like them a lot. They are not pretty or wood or anything, but they are highly functional. I am thinking about getting a door at Lowe's or Home Depot and put on top of two of them to make a big cutting table. It's a plan; we will see.
Hopefully this will publish. I don't know what to do about the other ones. I guess they are lost in the black hole of blogland.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It reminds me that in a sociology class we were discussing values of a culture and mores, etc., etc. Boring stuff. It was interesting that the instructor said that our values are set at age ten from the adults and society we live in, and from age ten to around age 16 we develop our own values from experimenting with our place in that society. The only thing that changes this whole parameter is a catastrophic event. Like assassination, like war, like Hurricane Katrina, or a tsunami that wipes out everything. Or famine, or invasion of one's country, or anything along that line. So my generation was effected by 3 assassinations of world leaders and a really bad war that was killing my generation off. And two social icons were killed.
Now I am not trying to say that my generation was special. My mother's generation was effected by the Depression during their young years, and by a World War that was killing off their generation. My grandparents had their own struggles.
I don't know where I am going with these thoughts. But I do know that today is September 11. I do know where I was on September 11, 2001. I do know that I think it is a very tragic event in our history. And a monumental one at that. But I am not as effected by that as someone who is of the generation surrounding that event.
But go back to the original thought. When we think about Iraq or Afghanistan, think about the effects of our invasion on the mores and societal impact that we created for the children and young people of those countries. It will show up within the next 20-30 years.
And think of any other society we do not understand-or even pretend to understand. What impact will you have on the people in that society? What impact will we have on the children that were snatched from the compound of that religious sect in Texas at gunpoint? We will see in another 20 years. What effect did we have on the poor little Cuban boy that was snatched out of a closet in Miami at gunpoint?
I guess we will find out in a few more years.
Meanwhile, I leave you with a picture of Noodles birdwatching out his kitty door. I understand this more than I understand what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
My neighbor asks, "Have you been to that nursery down the road?" "No", I said, "I thought it was a wholesale nursery." "Oh, no, they sell retail too. And their prices are much better than W.....'s. ( Another popular nursery) H and I bought our big holly bushes there for only $60 apiece."
On the way home the other day I stopped at the nursery down the road. OMG! They had everything and then some that I wanted. It was like a candy store. So off to home I hurry to measure the space and write down some flowers I would like to have.
So now I have to clear out the grass. I tried the old hoe method that they showed on Ask This Old House. Didn't work. The grass is too tough and thick. So I got out the trusty pick and chop, chop, chop, chop, I had a space about a yard across. This is not going to work either. Takes too long and is too hard to do. So out comes the old rototiller. RRRRRRgh! Works some, but the grass bound up the tiller. Sigh! This is going to be a tough job! Only because I bought some stupid flowers.
This spot is 24 feet on one side, and 31 feet on the long side. It is 9 feet across the short end.
So along comes H, my next door neighbor with his tractor. We worked until after dark and the ground is naked. Except along the edges that I will have do by hand. He wants to disc it up to loosen everything up. Then we can move the topsoil over and Voila! a flower bed. So the next morning-yesterday- he comes over with the tractor to finish up our mess. He had piled up the piles of stuff at the edge of my ravine. It is covered with honeysuckle, wild morning glories, and kudzu. So it is deceptive where the edge is. So he pushed it to where I had mowed, and wanted to look at it in the daylight and mark the edge.
In the conversation, he said he would go ahead and work up that spot in the back where I wanted to make a garden. So off he toodles out to the back yard to work on the bald spot where the pool had been. Weeds have begun growing there, but I figured I could work that up easily.
We have to pause here to discuss my logic. My Daddy always said I have the damnedest logic he had ever heard. Well, when the pool was removed before I bought the place, my logic says, "Oh, a bald place. It could be a garden." Meaning, I wouldn't have to work hard to dig up grass. Well, I have never had an above-ground pool. So little did I know that they had put in red-clay fill and packed it down to make a hard base. And there were lots of rocks for drainage. I kinda got a feel for that when I dug up my little spots to put in the plants I transplanted from my old place.
So long story short, I bought some plants, and suddenly I have two beds to work on-one front and one back. Sigh! How does one get into these messes?