Sunday, November 30, 2014

November!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Almost missed my picture post for November!! *scramble*scramble*scramble* 
Getting in just under the wire. :)

(This post was a real labor of love, too, because I hit something on my keyboard in the middle of it that split all the paragraphs and symbols into gobbledy-gook and, well, it took some doing to figure out how I had screwed THAT up. Turns out ctrl-alt-something will change the formatting of your keyboard to.......something that does not benefit an English only speaker. Ha!)


 Hope everyone in the US had a nice Thanksgiving.  I cooked a lot......and ate a lot. So two thumbs up for the holiday from me! (Also: watched some movies I've been meaning to get to, like Catching Fire, that I never make time for.) 

video
 (Much better Youtube link)

The husband was  a little more pro-active than me, as he participated in a bike run through the woods in the morning, put on by the local bike shop. (Which is also a fledgling beer company. Beer and bikes! That's aweso.......wait, what? I'm not sure they thought that one out. lol)

I will admit I was still sleeping when he got back from the run. 6am on a holiday? NOT ON YOUR LIFE. lol) 

 No crazy Black Friday shopping for either of us. Not my scene, I have to say.
Went to a not-at-all-local show up in Mass. instead and got some handmade gifts for others and a couple for myself, like Mr. Sheep here. Not sure where I am going to put him yet but I couldn't pass him up!

  
 It's been an insanely busy month because beads, beads, beads, and more beads. Every day a new pile of beads made, packed up and shipped out. Thankfully, December is a little easier because that month has more to do with personal sales (gifts, etc.) than designers loading up for their holiday shows. Just keeping my head down and plugging away at it, trying not to think TOO much about where/when I'm going to knit up some gifts for Christmas. Heh.

All the pretty 'leafs' are gone for the year now. :*(
I enjoyed snapping pics of the nice ones in my travels. I love when they look like they are on fire.


'Stitches East' socks............put to bed. 
Trekking XXL striping yarn. Fruit Stripe Gum pattern.....again. 

It's so much fun I make have to make a dozen socks in this pattern before I'm tired of it. (Pair #3 is already completed, but not photoed yet, and pair #4 is in the very, very, very early stages of being completed.)


Tomorrow is a very exciting day because...
...I finally get to start my David's Tea advent calendar!


You have to get these the SECOND they come out if you want to grab one so I've been staring at this big box for a whole month now, trying to wait until December 1st. Soooo hard! I love advent calendars in general but one that gives you a little tin of special tea every day? Ho, ho, ho!  *fans self*

I got the winter collection at the same time to keep me busy or otherwise I never would have made it. Never. Ha! :)

(Not an actual Grumpy Cat. Sweetest, Gentlest Thing Ever Cat.)

Meisha is still doing ok, so that is a good thing. Her levels are worse every time we test for them (grr!) but she still doesn't have any major symptoms

 I got her a new doctor, someone who can devote a little more time/energy to a rare case. Did another whole round of various tests and there is still no cause to be found for her hypercalcemia. (It's certainly not for lack of trying, that's for sure.) The testing was great overall though because her kidneys and joints showed no calcification yet, which is AWESOME. She's the healthiest terminally ill animal you've ever seen! SO FRUSTRATING! @$!@$!@#$
*ahem*
I gets angry sometimes. Just saying.
Someone pass me a holiday cookie to distract me. 

See? I feel better already. Eating your feelings WORKS, guys. 
IT WORKS. Never forget that. Heh.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October II

Picture post! Lots of eye candy! 
Before it gets too late and I end up having wasted my time taking all these photos. :)

Hartford Convention Center

Oooo, Stitches East 2014 show was fun. Last year I didn't see much that excited me but this year I wanted EVERYTHING.  A whole convention center of everything you want. It's so sweet and so cruel.

Did indeed start some knitting up before we left for the show. Can't go to a fiber festival without some fiber involved.

(Yarn is Trekking XXL, pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum.)

I don't think I did too badly with my purchases considering I wanted everything. Right?

A couple skeins of rainbow striping yarn from White Birch Fiber Arts.
Navy/blue australian merino from Windy Valley Muskox Co.
Regia. (Great for socks. Wears like IRON.)
And a sparkly turquoise yarn from The Periwinkle Sheep.


Also a lobster hat kit. BECAUSE why not? (This was the hubby's pick.)


Those rainbow striping yarns are like a Lisa Frank/unicorn/glitter bomb happy making thing. Rainbow. Stripes. 
I regretted only getting two colorways........so I *may* purchased have another two the week after the show from her Etsy shop. Maybe. Nobody saw. (Feel free to judge.)

The hubby did his own purchasing: a big ole hank and a cone of alpaca for weaving. 
Soooooo soft. *pets*




There were A LOT of weaving samples up at the show. I dutifully took pictures of all the rigid heddle ones I want him to make for me. *ahem*

Snaps from the top of the cliffs down the road from my house. Is there any better season than fall? I THINK NOT.


That is all for now. Super super super busy with bead orders this month. Tis the season and all. :)
Ta!


Friday, October 10, 2014

October.

 Yay! An update! I keep meaning to do this and meaning to do this but it never seems to happen. Grrr! I lost a bit of time there in September due to a vacation week and - even more importantly - a BRAND NEW COMPUTER. I am no longer computing like it's 2006, people! 

My old computer actually wasn't in terrible shape, aside from being nervous of a hardware meltdown happening at any time because, you know, that stuff wasn't built to last forever and 7-8 years is asking a bit much of it. *ahem* The bigger issue was that more and more things weren't working with Windows Vista now that it's no longer supported so, rather than upgrade an old computer, we just got a new one! (A Windows 7 machine though because, MAN!, have I heard horrible no good things about Windows 8.) I was dreading moving everything over but apparently things have changed a LOT since I last bought one of these dang machines and it was actually pretty easy. *blink*

ANYWAY. I'm in a good mood today (mostly) because tomorrow is the Stitches East show and I looooooooooooooooooovveeeeeeeeeeeee the Stitches East show. And now it's here and I'm excited, even though I haven't been knitting much lately. I did so much knitting over the summer that I decided to take a break from it for a little while and get more stitching done. 

Turns out when you work on stitching a little bit each day (or most days) you actually FINISH THINGS UP. I know, right? It's miraculous.

These finishes here are the L*K Song of Spring kit , the rabbity 'small' that comes with that and the 2nd part of the BBD Honeybee Hill. (I haven't had occasion to use that sparkly green linen before and I quite like it here with Mr. Rabbit. )

I finished another piece as well but that may/may not be a gift so I don't want to post it and I have a big Plum Street piece 'in progress' that I am plugging along on. I can't go to the SE show without something on the needles though so stitching progress might be halted for a bit while I get my sock knitting on. :)

Relatedly, that new iPhone x-stitch app making the rounds is quite brilliant. An online/device accessible detailed accounting of everything in your stash?  YOU KNOW I had to snap that up immediately because I *LOVE* a good spreadsheeting, organizing, finger snapping, alphabetizing project. 

I went through pretty much everything I have pattern wise, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap and.......


Honestly, it's not AS BAD as I thought it was going to be! Of the 315 patterns I own, about 75-80 have already been stitched. Now, that is still more than I can probably REALISTICALLY finish in the years I have left to me (or have left in my eyesight/hand dexterity). And it doesn't take into account that I own 14 years of the JCS ornament issues which, well, have a lot of stuff in them. But. It's STILL not as bad as I thought. I would have guessed I had no less than 500 patterns to get to, so, yay? Buy more? ;)

(Also not counted: the patterns I have given away over the years. I gave away a GIANT stack of used Shepherd's Bush/misc. patterns at some point, a fact I am a little bitter about, to be honest, because REASONS. Things did not turn out well on that one. *sigh*)

After the patterns were done, I did my hand dyed threads but not my DMC. (Because I own ALL OF IT so I don't need a stinking list for that. ) All of the info is in that mysterious Cloud thingy now  and I can open it up on my phone or Mini so I have NO EXCUSES not to keep up on it. The app is really great and I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone with Apple devices and a wish to have an easily searchable database of their stash.

OH well. I probably had a million other things to say but this will do for now, right? :)

BTW - those little guys at the top are the new Mummy beads I posted on Etsy/my site this week. Cuties! :)

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)