Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September

I am a bad, bad blogger because I seem to have missed a post for August. And most of July. Whoops? There was no way I wasn't going to get on here and talk about my (truly) beloved Woodstock Fair that is held on Labor Day weekend and the fact that I...


WON BEST IN SHOW for knitting again. Woooooooo! 
I LOVE THAT WHEN THAT HAPPENS, I'll admit it. I only enter stuff in that I think is better than average, which means I don't enter in stuff every year, but I'm still surprised this year by my win because, man, there were SO MANY great handcrafts this year in all departments, not just the knitting one. It was a great year for the contests and I loved spending my time pouring through all the contest barns (three).

My Fruit Stripe socks also did well. :)
I have no idea what it means to have a Superintendents Award (they were new this year) but I'll take it! THE MORE RIBBONS, THE BETTER.

So very good year for my knitting. I registered the mittens when they were barely started *gulp* and quite literally didn't finish them until the night BEFORE I had to drop them off. Heh. Luckily, I'm quite familiar with mitten construction/Fair Isle colorwork so I didn't hit any road bumps along the way with anything. 

Unlike a champion animal, both of these guys will be put to work this winter and get a lot of use. (The last pair of Best in Show mittens have since gone on to put in time shoveling snow and actually getting DIRTY and quite roughed up.) No rest for the woolies come winter, no matter what they win. :)



I won't bore anyone with endless pictures of sheep, bunnies, chickens, etc. I have folders full of them but, honestly, they don't change at all from year to year. The above photo is my first attempt to try a panoramic shot with my iPhone, atop the hill where the tractors/old timey machines live. Because of the hills, you only get about 1/3 of the fair in there though. What a gloriously beautiful evening though! The weather was perfect!

I've never entered in any cross stitching but I'm thinking about it for next year because the theme for next year is 'America the Beautiful' and I do love a patriotic stitch. You have to get prior authorization to submit into the theme contest though so I'm still mulling over ideas and researching it. (If you have a favorite good sized, somewhat primitive/sampler-ish, good contrast patriotic design that comes to mind, please feel free to share.)


There has been a lot of knitting in general this summer for me. (Along with a lot of reading.)

 There's been a scarf finish, in this wonderfully nubby and WOOLY, sheepy Icelandic yarn.

 More socks, with varying success. I couldn't hate the purpley ones MORE if I tried. I've tried to use that yarn (which is expensive but will remain nameless) several times for several projects over a great number of years and it's never worked in any capacity for some reason. Doesn't work for these socks either but I didn't have the balls to just throw them out. Sigh.

 More work on squares for the Neverending Scrap Yarn Blanket. (Plus another batch in my bag that need to be blocked.)

I think I need a small break from it though before I start something else. As soon as we came home from the fair I drug out my stitching and put this to bed:

Honey Bee Hill by BBD. I only had a bit in the left corner to do so it was an easy finish. I do love my bee patterns. :)

Also, this happened this weekend:
A customer packaged returned to me. Look closely at the date though. *ahem*
Now THAT'S a first for me. WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL THIS TIME?
Think about THAT next time you are complaining about a slow package. COULD BE WORSE.
Like, a WHOLE YEAR worse! Ha!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

July post-ish.

(I never get tired of putting out the little stitchies from years past for July.)


 Hope everyone in the US had a nice holiday weekend. The weather here was dreadful for the 4th -just as expected with a hurricane/tropical storm passing by the coast. Torrential rain, hail, wind, thunderstorms, etc. Only off/on though so it could have been worse. And the power kept threatening to go out but it hung in there so I guess all the tree trimming the electric co. has done in recent years is actually helping. 

I had work to do anyway and he actually worked Friday/Saturday so I didn't mind the bad weather really. It all came together for a glorious, perfect summer Sunday so it's all good. 

Plus I had this to keep me company. What's that, you say? Oh, just my latest fugue-state, fever-dream, rabbit hole I fell into. It happens. You know, that thing you do where one thing leads to another leads to another, and you're covered in flop sweat and determination until you reach the very, very end of it? That thing.

I finished a Plum Street freebie and decided it was a good time to start putting threads away. 
I tend to pile up 'used' project floss in one zipper bag until there is enough to really make it worth it to sort it and start putting it back where it belongs (i.e. 4 cases of DMC, 3 giant rings of hand-dyes, etc) but I had a full bag now so off to be sorted they went. 

Then it seemed only natural to put away the 'newish stash' that was also around. Where it was quickly apparent that I shouldn't ever ever in a million years of evers be doing free patterns because I have enough PAID patterns to last me a few lifetimes.

After I stopped feeling a little ill from the OMGSOMUCHSTUFF feelings, I immediately started doing a (PAID FOR) pattern I had kitted up (SOME TIME A LONG TIME AGO) and....riiiiiight off the bat I ran into the issue that I was missing a stinking floss color. Well, that's not right. Why would I purchase all of the other colors but not this one? I must have misplaced it. 

So I started searching for it. The search didn't last all that long as I don't generally have a lot of projects in progress hanging around. (In fact, I only had 3 projects in progress and one of those probably doesn't count because I had already 'robbed' it of all it's floss ages ago and the linen has just two teeny, tiny candy corns completed. Things that can be ripped within 5 minutes like they never happened don't count as a work in progress, right?) But that didn't make sense. WHERE WOULD THAT ONE STINKING COLOR BE? 

So I dug in places it wouldn't be, just to be extra-specially certain it wasn't there. This searching took longer because it was nonsensical searching. Maybe it's under the sugar container! Could the bookcase have eaten it?!? Would looking downstairs behind the wood stove be totally crazy or just mostly crazy?!?!? 

(Nonsensical searching is the worst kind of searching because all possibilities exist at the same time and, therefore, must be searched or you are always going to have DOUBTS. Also, time is a circle. *twitch*)

And then I thought........maybe it's in my floss boxes but not in the right place. I have all my hand-dyes separated by company AND in alphabetical order.....but alphabetizing things, as we know, can be a teensy bit fuzzy whenever humans are involved. AHA! PROGRESS! There were some Weeks Dye Works in with Crescent Colours and oh ho ho, I'm on to something now. It is hiding in plain sight! To sort that out I would have to consult the Master List. 

Wait? Do you have a Master List? MS Word documents listing all of your floss by company that you can consult so you can easily determine what you have on hand? Well, I do. And the more I checked that the more it was apparent how TOTALLY FREAKING JACKED my data entry skills have been the last few years. The mistakes. They were plentiful. So I had to start ticking things off one by one, through hundreds of floss colors, and redoing the alphabetizing for each company and rearranging floss bags and.........

Here's where things get a little crazy. 

I used to use Bag It bags for my hand-dyes but they stopped making them at some point, so I ran out and started having to use Floss-Away bags instead. 

 

This would not be an issue but Bag Its hang from the bottom when hanging on a ring and Floss-Away bags hang from the top and this has always really, super duper bothered me because they ALL have to go ONE WAY or the OTHER. Mixing them is just...........it's wrong. I was just COVERED in the wrongness of it as I was flipping through my rings, trying to correct my Master List. So..........


250+ Floss-Away bags later ( that I, mysteriously, just HAPPENED to have on hand) I changed over every single Bag It bag to a fresh/shiny/new Floss-Away bag. While consulting the Master List, of course, so everything is just perfect now. Perfect, I say! BUT BOY HOWDY DID IT TAKE A LONG TIME TO GET THERE. Three days and multiple, multiple hours. (And honestly? Most of my Crescent colors were already on Floss-Away bags. These piles are just from Weeks and Sampler threads. FLOSS HOARDER. *ahem*)

I never did find that stupid, hated, fever-inducing Endive floss color either. I have to concede, at this point, that I never had it and, also, that I am ridiculous. Whoops! My bad. (It's on order.) Oh well. The weather was really bad and my stuff is, like, HYPER organized now so I guess it's all good. :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

No more kittens.

Because these....


...have turned into these...




..now that they are 1 year old this month. :)

Kinda crazy how fast time goes by! I suppose I should stop calling them 'the kittens' now, eh? I'm going to start calling them 'the twins' instead. They aren't technically twins but they WERE the only 2 babes in that litter and they still do EVERYTHING together so it works for me.

(See? I can do happy cat posts, too!)

 Thanks so much for the comments about Meisha, btw. She's a trooper, that one, taking the injections and pills in stride. Makes me feel we aren't doing the wrong thing by 'forcing' treatment on her. So long as she is happy, we will keep at it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

An update of sorts.

I haven't much felt like updating this spring (obviously, since it's been so long), for reasons I'll save until the end of this to delay the depressing part, but things aren't all bad.


I'm quite happy that *my* hawks are back this year and in the nest above my bedroom window that they built last year. This picture is a couple weeks old now (probably from my deck around Memorial Day weekend) but you can see momma up there doing her thing. Exciting!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Last year we didn't get chicks. (The parents had a big fight with a pack of crows one afternoon while still brooding and then they never came back to the nest after that.) I was obsessed with watching them come and go at such close quarters and took it quite badly when it came to an end so quickly. So this year I've tried not to get too attached. *ahem* 

My patience has been rewarded though because this year we have two chicks! At first you could only see the occasional fuzzy wing flapping up but, as of a week or so ago, they are now regularly waddling around the edges of the nest and staring down at the house, trying to make sense of things. 


The leaves have filled in on the trees now (FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!) so picture taking is difficult but they look a lot like this picture from the internet. (I can still see them from different parts of the deck.) A little less fuzzy each day and a few more feathers and awareness. Should be no time at until they are starting to fly around.  I will truly miss them when they are gone but there is always the chance the parents will be back next year. FINGERS CROSSED. (Fact: There is no point at which I would be bored, blase, or not over the moon at hawks nesting in my yard. Ever. It's cool to infinity.)

(Also a fact: the husband and I are too dumb to figure out what kind of hawks these are. We thought sharp shinned last year but they are MUCH too big in size for that I've now decided. They are like full sized turkeys roosting in a tree. So possibly red-shouldered hawks? WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR US??????????)

The husband continues on with his weaving. We are AWASH in scarves here. What the bloody hell am I supposed to do with it all? They just keep coming and coming. (He's finished TWO more since this picture as well.) I should set up an Etsy shop for him but I'm exhausted at the thought of it and can't quite manage it yet. (It's not as easy as all that as I have no choice but it roll it into my own online business, which changes everything I currently do for resale taxes, property taxes, income taxes, etc. UGH. They do NOT make things easy for people who WANT to do the right re: small businesses. /end rant)

What the scarf god gives, he also takes away.

 I finally came to terms that my Vail scarf is unwearable in it's current form. The yarn is too light and airy to be a scarf. It has no structure and a scarf that lies like a dead thing is a useless scarf to me, considering how cold the winters are here. After two years of using it not even ONCE, I bit the bullet and...

...unraveled it. Bye bye hours and hours of knitting. Painful, but no less painful then it's useless scarf-like state. /shrug. That's the thing about knitting with natural-based yarns - you can generally just unravel them and start over again. (If you have the balls to do it, that is. :)) Oh, it looks like a bunch of crazy hair doll there but a long soak in the sink and hanging to dry on a plastic hanger for a few days....

..and it's right back to being normal and ready for something else. I'm not quite clear what the something else is at the moment but I am glad not to have that beautiful LOOKING (but useless) scarf making me feel bad any longer.


As far as the badness.....well. My sweet, gentle, baby Meisha is dying. That sounds overly dramatic written out but I honestly don't know how to pretty it up. 

There has been a lot of testing over the last few months, with both good and bad results. A bit of confusion. (The vet has never actually had a case of idiopathic hypercalcemia in his practice so we're figuring things out about how to proceed together.) Her soft tissue is being mineralized as calcium builds up throughout her body. There is no cure but there are things that can help some cats. We're doing injections of B12 at home for a few months to see what happens with that. So far, I am not optimistic but there are many months and many more injections in The Currrent Treatment Plan. There is no way of knowing how long she has. (Months? A year?) Her kidneys could give out and give us no options or they could hang in there and leave it to us to decide when the pain is too much, or the anorexia is too much, etc. She seems on this side of 'ok' and more thin than 'sickly' for the moment but things are changing from week to week. This week we are adding in an ulcer medicine, for reasons I don't want to get into because it's depressing. It's all depressing (I AM depressed...or my soul is depressed) but what can you do? You do a bit of face down crying, get over it, get on with things, and get used to the new normal. (The new normal sucks though. Just to be clear. I want my old normal back. Sigh)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This and That. Ends with Cuteness.


As tired as I am of the cold weather and winter (which is still here, regardless of it being a lot sunnier overall than last month at this time), I do love that I can still really enjoy a hot cup of tea for the moment, inside and out, as I use it to warm my hands up as well as my insides. I'm most definitely not a 'hot drink' drinker once the weather turns and ice tea isn't quite the same so time is running out for this little pleasure. :)

I took inventory of my loose/bag teas in January (written down on paper no less!) and, well, that was sobering. *ahem* I swore I was going to stop buying any for a long while............and OF COURSE  I didn't stick to that, but I really have been a more judicious in my purchases since then. Except I've recently fallen down a bit on that though as I've discovered the new-to-me Harney & Sons tea line. Oh my! Such nice teas! And they come in these brilliant little tins that I have no idea what to do with but, gosh, they are pretty. These are my three latest (all fairly 'fruity' ones) but my favorite so far is the Hot Cinnamon Spice which tastes like a robust black tea with a Hot Tamale candy melted in it. If you like that kind of biting cinnamon taste, it's dead on.

Finished stitching the last of the three stockings in this L*K pattern book and finished them off with a bit of flossing cording which, I have to say, I really have no love for stitching on. It takes so much time if you want to do it neatly and hide your stitches. So.....much.....time......

My favorite of the three is the 'Noel' one. I like the holly border/beads at the top. Second fave though is the sampler one.

My finishing, as always, is fraught with one mishap or other - as you can see I, uhhhhhh, sewed one inside out on the back. Whoops? I had some thoughts as to patiently ripping it out and redoing it..........and then those thoughts vanished into the wind because I plain ole don't care enough about it. lol

Until flowers and pretty things start popping up outside, I'm going to have to fill in the color gaps in my life with brightly colored yarn, I think. It's only fair, right? The one in the back (Poste Yarn from Simply Socks Co.) might be a tad too neon even for me. (There is no such thing, of course, but I'm trying to picture that as socks and it makes me laugh EVERY TIME.)

Well, there. I broke the streak of posting only once a month. *bows* I'll finish this off with a couple new pictures of the 'kittens' because they haven't been around the blog in a long while. 

 (You can't comb out the curlies. You can but they are right there again an hour later. It's like the worst magic trick ever.) 

(Livvy and her 'chinny chin' aka goat's beard.)

Kittens. Ha! At almost nine months, they aren't kittens but definitely not adults either. What they are is HUGE. And PUFFY. With fur. Oh_so_much_fur! Does that LOOK like a belly that is combed out every other day? ARGH. The bald spots are from where I've had to cut knots out. You just blink a few times a knot forms on these guys. I really hope their fur 'settles down' and gets less sticky as they get older otherwise they are going to be SHAVED BALD for the summer! lol

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

*waves*

 Oh, dear. Just not into this blogging 'thing' lately, I'm afraid. :(

Can't say it's for any particular reason either, other than general 'winter has gone on MUCH MUCH TOO LONG now' malaise that is probably affecting almost all of us in the northern hemisphere. Busy with work, yes, as always, but things are moving along as normal otherwise. 

Figured I should get in here before TOO much time goes by and I forget how to do it all together. Plus, I had a stack of  this hanging around that I'd like to put away:

Blogging or no blogging, I still pile finished things up to be photographed. It's like they aren't TRULY done unless their existence has been logged online in some fashion. That's a little sad, I think. I mean we DID 'exist' in our pre-online lives, didn't we? (And you can just shush if you are reading this and too young to have ever had a chance at a pre-online life, ok? We do not like young whippersnappers poking at our older selves. lol) 

Thanks to some tv-binge-watching (both seasons of House of Cards in EIGHT days! Eight!) I've actually been plugging right along on a bunch of things. Most of the individual photos I went for came out cringe-inducing awful though. Grrrrr. I only managed to take a decent picture of my newest pillow finishes:

Sadly, I did not put these 'together' in time for the holiday this year but I did finish STITCHING them in time. That has to count for.............something? I could only dig up two other appropriate smalls for this holiday so I figured it well past time I did a few more. The heart pattern is from a designer I saw on Etsy and the other two are freebies from The Primitive Hare. Used random scraps of linen and bits and bobs of lace and what not that I could scrounge out of my craft closet. 

I'll have to retake the photos of Most Hated Socks Ever and my L*K stockings. :)

I'm going to end this with another clover pic. A day late, of course, but I have a sweet spot for this holiday. For one, it's ridiculously easy to celebrate (wear green!) and comes with really tasty food and, two, I just plain ole like the color green. We need more fun, color-based holidays! :)

Friday, February 07, 2014

New Beads!

In keeping with the 'usual' (being late for everything in my hobbies), they aren't particularly in season. I just go with the flow and make what I like, seasons be damned. :)

Personally, I'm looking at a ton of snow out there so I'm game for some snowman. (I have a snow kitty-man on my deck right now. An inspired bit of snow fun by the hubby from the other day. lol)

http://www.moonrakerbeads.com/catalog.php?category=24
The snowman are sold separately from the spotted spacers so you can make your own sets up as needed.

http://www.moonrakerbeads.com/catalog.php?category=24
A Valentine's set, of sorts. I have a Christmas colored set like this that people seem to like a lot so I did a similar one in pinks. Because if there is one thing I know it's how much people love pink. Pink, pink, and more pink! (It *is* a fun color. Always happy!)

A couple other things too but I won't bore people. Well, except for this:

I lied a tiny bit when I said last month that I had packed up all my 'extra' beads and was starting over again for the new year with empty bead bowls. I meant to say all the extra beads that weren't the spacers and small beads that I like to hoard make in great quantities. Oh, THOSE. *ahem*

I've had to graduate from my bead bowl to this 'bead tin'. A whole tin! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I haven't weighed it but it wouldn't shock me if it were around 2lbs.  It's a glorious, happy, massive pile of little beads that are MINE, MINE, MINE.

What can I say? I like spacers. They are a good way to use up all the glass rod shorts on my work table. A good portion of them go out in my shipped packages as little freebies but I make them upwards of six at a time on one mandrel (!!) so I always make more than I actually use. I should probably start scouting out a bigger container now. It's just never enough. Heh. :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hmm.

Well, I guess I'm not going to update here any more than I did last year (roughly twice a month....in a good month) if *THIS* month has been an indicator. Ha! 

Though it has to be said: Winter is not my favorite time of the year. It certainly is pretty with the snow and all but, man, is it gloomy, gloomy, gloomy at times. Last year I didn't feel it so much but this year is not as good. I have some potted hyacinth bulbs popping up now in my living room and I don't know if it makes it better or worse. It makes the contrast between deep winter and spring so much worse somehow. lol (I'll take it though. I have them in pink and purple and I do love the flash of bright color.)

One thing I would like to do this year is read more. I started off SO GOOD last year with that but it dropped off in the summer...because of life....CANDY CRUSH obsession (ugh ugh ugh)........definitely didn't finish on a high note in regards to reading. I have SO MANY books downloaded or on the shelf here. It's not all about the numbers, of course, but there's no doubt it's better time spent than ANOTHER HOUR of Candy Crush gaming (UGH!!!!!!!!!!). 

The first book I read this year was The Hobbit. A re-read after I realized I could NOT remember how it ended *and* couldn't tell how much was new and what was original in the 2nd movie that we saw over break. (Otherwise known as, I have officially read too many books (thousands) and am starting to forget even the ones I've read more than once. Getting older is not being kind to my memory. *sigh*)

Interesting fact: I still have the Tolkien gift set that was gifted to me when I was 12-ish. AND it's in pretty good shape. (That would be 30 years ago. *ahem*) The husband had his OWN set of Tolkien books when I met him at age 19 and I've always read HIS copies instead of mine. Because I'm evil like that. Ha! (His are really rough now.) I think we need to upgrade to digital copies though because the pages are seriously yellowed and dry. I'll still keep these forever though. They certainly aren't for everybody (I actually hated them when I first got them - not much in there for a pre-teen girl, you know?) but I know I will still enjoy reading them again every so often.

First finished knit of 2014............sort of. I did MOST of it in 2013. Actually, I think the only bit I did in 2014 was the bind off and blocking. Heh. 


It's just a simple drop stitch scarf. (Truly. SERIOUSLY simple.) Why work so hard when the yarn is this pretty, right? I'm content to let the yarn do the heavy lifting here. (It's a Mini Mochi yarn. The tags are long gone but I THINK it's called 'Autumn Rainbow'?)  It's single ply and slubby so I'm slightly worried about the yarn breaking if any of the yarnovers 'catch' on something I'm wearing (like a zipper, etc.) but I'll think of something if/when disaster strikes.


Also finished another Flora McSample stocking. Just one left to stitch up on these guys! (In progress.) Fingers crossed I manage to turn these into actual stockings before next Christmas. I really like these and will be sad if they get stuffed into the drawer for too long. :(

The 'kittens' turned 7 months old earlier this month. 

Well, maybe not so much kitten-y any more. Almost full grown with their adult coats coming in like gangbusters, is more like it. I really need to get a picture of them jumping around in the snow. I still let them out on the deck for a few minutes when it's sunny out and they both LOVE snow. Eating it, digging in it, etc. They are like big, fluffy snow bunnies out there. :)

Not so much loved: the thorough combing they have to get when the snow melts and they dry off. They HATES that part. (Bitey little creatures, they are! A handful of treats afterwards soothes all though.)