Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Today was crazy baking day. We made gingerbread cookies yesterday. The kids had great fun molding them into fun shapes. Today I made snickerdoodles and no-bake cookies to take to my aunt's house tonight. I also made the pineapple fluff for lunch tomorrow at my parents' house.

The kids have been so good today! They got to open their gifts from their grandpa in New York and they've been playing nicely. Absolutely no TV, just Christmas songs on the radio. I guess six years is how long it takes to refresh a liking for Christmas music after working retail for too many years. Actually, now that I think about it, I worked retail for about 6 years and its been 6 years since I stopped. Wow! A full year for each year worked. But I have really enjoyed the Christmas songs and baking.

A tip for all those giving kids gifts that require batteries. Buy the batteries, too! Or at least give the parents a heads up as to what kind they will need. It's no fun when you happen to have the batteries for three of the gifts requiring them, but not the fourth. Even if that last kid is very sweet about it, they will be disappointed that they can't play with their toy right away like the others.

I ran out of time to make the dough for the morning's cinnamon rolls. If I had put it in the bread machine when I was done with everything else, it would be ready to roll out about the time we are going to be walking out the door. I may make them when we get home. Or I may make the kids eat oatmeal for Christmas breakfast. :D

So Merry Christmas, everyone! And to everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas, or something else, or nothing at all, I will wish you a peaceful season.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lots o' knitting

An odd thing happened to me yesterday evening. I didn't feel like knitting. The kids were getting ready for bed and after the story was read, the hubby and I were going to watch some 24 on DVD. But, I didn't feel like knitting. I thought, "OK, well, I'll stitch instead." But I only had two cross-stitch projects going and I really didn't feel like either one of them either. The hubby suggested we may need to take my temperature. He then suggested that I just watch the show, hands idle. Perish the thought! So, a new project! I started a Prairie Schooler Christmas piece, from the Christmas Traditions leaflet. It's the one with Santa and the toys.

But, prior to that, plenty of knitting has been happening here!

For your enjoyment, the kids' Christmas gifts, which they got early. Apparently I'm not so great at keeping secrets from them. I have managed to keep the hubby's socks secret so far. (Assuming he hasn't happened across my blog and read about them and just not told me. Don't tell me if that's true.)

E's Odessa hat. Blue with purple beads.

M's Odessa hat. Pink with pink beads.

Both hats were made from leftover very soft and shiny baby acrylic.

Q's dinosaur, Mr. Stegs.

And a closeup. Isn't he cheerful?

He's acrylic, too. The leftovers of some Red Heart Q had chosen himself, his favorite color. I used the first part for his Knucks.

Finally, A's legwarmers. No link for these. I made the pattern up. I just measured around her legs and did a 2x2 rib tube to fit.

She was very busy reading her hornbook while I took this picture. She has her own fashion sense, for sure. Another mom from her pre-K class last year told me she thought A would be a real trendsetter as she got older. Hee.

These are made from a leftover skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease from a shawl I knitted my grandma last spring. Stash-busting gifts! And the kids love them. The kittens love the dinosaur, too. We have to hide him so that they don't try to wrestle him and destroy him.

There's more, but I think that's enough for today! Another day, you can see A's and my socks and some more washcloth detail. Have a great day!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by bzzlarabzz.
All those washcloths I just felt like trying out this year? Christmas gifts! The kids and I made glycerin soap to go with them. Then I had to knit a felted box from Mason-Dixon Knitting to carry them in! It's still drying. Pictures of it all together to come at a later date.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Look! Pictures!

Yes, there will be pictures in this blog post. They are not the pictures I spoke of yesterday. Those ones have yet to be taken.

First, A was feeling better today. She and T both took a nap yesterday afternoon. She went to school today, which cleared the way for T and I to go the oh-so-fun tag office. We had to wait quite a while, but T was very good and we found some other kids to sit next to. Their mom was very nice and she was new to the area. She just got married last week and moved here from St. Louis, Missouri to be with her husband, who is stationed at the local Air Force base. (I know all this, but I don't know her name. lol.) So we chatted a bit while the kids sat on the floor and shared toys. Oh! A lady came in right before my turn came up and she had her knitting with her. I did too, but I wasn't able to get it out with T. Once we were done there, T and I went to Sam's to stock up on some staple items. I'm sick of running to the store for TP. So, I bought approximately a bushel of it. Then of course, there is the keg of laundry detergent and enough pasta to last us if there is a nuclear event. We could move underground and live on pasta until enough radioactive isotope half-lives have passed for us to emerge safely.

On to the pictures! Just before Thanksgiving, I framed T's parents' wedding sampler. I made a simple card to go along with it and wrote about the symbolism of the dragonfly as a creature of light.

Yes, there is a flash glare in the middle of this picture. I told you it is a creature of light! Besides, the main point is to see how nicely the frame goes with the piece. I get most of my custom frames from American Frame, including this one. I do my own lacing and framing.

They love it! They opened it on Thanksgiving, and when I handed the package to my SIL, she said, in a hushed voice, "Oh, our wedding cross stitch!" Since my older brother is the third of my siblings to get married, it's getting a little obvious what the wedding gift will be. But they're all different. In fact, one of my younger brothers said, "That's really cool, but mine is better!" LOL. That's the goal, for each one to think theirs is the best. I think I really set myself up when I stitched Teresa Wentzler's Wedding Sampler for the first one.

On the knitting front, here's one last picture of the orange yarn before it becomes socks. It's not a perfect dye job, but it's interesting and pretty good, especially for a first attempt. I'm hoping to knit the the socks secretly and give them to hubby for his birthday December 28th. But, we saw how well that worked out with the kids . . .

Finally, here are my son Q's pirate socks. He wanted pirate socks like Daddy's, but I wasn't willing to scale down the whole Arrrgyle thing for his much smaller feet. I figured he would like stripes with the skull and crossbones duplicate stitched on. And he does.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My five-year-old daughter A has the crud. So, she's home from school. And I have my one-year-old nephew, T. And I realized a little belatedly over the weekend that my vehicle registration was supposed to be renewed in November. Would you want to take two little kids to the tag office to wait in line? I didn't think so.

And A is being clingy. She doesn't like it when T wants to sit on my lap. Good grief.

I've been spacy lately. I don't know what my deal is. I don't feel like doing anything and then I just space the stuff I was supposed to do. Well, not all of it. Just the car registration. I do get most of it done. But I'll space off in the middle of a conversation. Ugh. I think I'm just tired and stressed. (So what else is new?)

I have been knitting. I knitted something for each of the kids for Christmas. I managed to let each of them catch me. Sheesh! So, they have their gifts early. LOL. E and M have Odessa hats in their favorite colors. Q has a stuffed Stegosaurus. A has legwarmers. Nope, no pictures. Yet.

I ordered Christmas online. The idea of going out and shopping was just too much. I got organized and spent a couple hours on the computer, and voila! Christmas will be delivered to my door. I only shop for the kids, and not a lot for them. They don't need a ton of stuff. I've been dealing with stuff all year! I don't go nuts buying things for teachers and bus drivers and mail carriers and, and, and . . . I may go to the local whole foods place and buy some cute handmade glycerin soaps and tie them up with some of these piles of knitted washcloths around here for my siblings and parents. I'll just take them all in a basket and they can choose their favorite. The whole foods market shouldn't be crazy for Christmas, should it? Maybe I could get some anti-spaciness vitamins while I'm there. lol.

Mostly, wanted to let you know I'm still out there! Life is challenging, but I'm just powering through.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day!

My alarm went off this morning at the usual time. I have it set to radio. The woman on the radio was reading the school closings and to my surprise, she listed our district and most of the surrounding ones! We have no snow. We are supposedly getting snow today. It's just icy and cold and windy like it was yesterday. Yesterday we had thundersleet. It was thundering and the sleet was coming down as tiny ice balls. And none of them melted, so there are still these tiny little balls of ice everywhere. On Monday, it was so nice out that my one-year-old nephew (who I watch during the day) and I went for a walk without jackets. Today, snow day.

Now I have to wait to find out if my girls still have choir practice and if my oldest's play is still going to go on this evening for opening night. Meanwhile, we will have hot cocoa and bake cookies.

Edited: It's snowing now! It started a few minutes ago as flurries and it's starting to get a little bigger. We have snow after all! We'll see how much. :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

In order to fool you . . .

Your Life is 78% Perfect

Your life is pretty darn perfect. You don't have much to complain about.
Of course, your life is occasionally less than perfect. But you're usually too happy to notice.

Yes, that's me in that picture. ROFL. Because my life is so perfect. And I'm not a blog copout. ;)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mmmm, smells like oranges.

I started with several packages of kool-aid-like drink mix (but cheaper), and a 100 gram hank of KnitPicks Bare sock yarn (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon).

I mixed up water and the mix in a glass bowl. In another bowl, I soaked the yarn.

After a quick squeeze, the yarn takes the plunge.

Into the microwave for a little heat set.

Is it a match?

Looks pretty good!

We have orange sock yarn! It's not perfectly even, but it is a close match, and it's pretty. And you can't get much cheaper dye! The drink mix was 8/$1, and I used 5 packets in the end (3 outrageous orange and 2 cherry charger.) And I didn't goof it up, so that means I have a spare hank to do whatever I please. I declare it a success!

When I was done dyeing, my kitchen had an interesting smell. Mostly fruity orange, but a little of the cherry, a tad of the sheepy wet wool scent, plus the fragrance of eucalyptus wool wash.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Middle, huh?

Spotted on Margaret's blog.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Well, they don't list Kansas there, but I don't think you can get more "middle" than that!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Death of a Sock

I was knitting a sock, as often happens.

I wasn't sure if I liked the way this sock was turning out. I gave it a chance, even turning the heel and trying it on before deciding it was not the sock for this yarn, or for me.

Now the yarn will be reborn as another sock.

The new sock is now about 4 inches long and looking very happy. (Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From Michele, and Cherie, and Traci, and Sharon . . .

Explain what ended your last relationship?

Me. I gave him the heave-ho when he proved himself to be totally selfish and irresponsible. The tricky part was that we had a child together, but even in the 11 years since, he has not grown up. She only sees him through his parents, who see her as much as they like.

When was the last time you shaved?

Armpits, this morning. Legs, I really don’t know. I’m not wearing dresses or shorts in the winter.

What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?

Lying back down for a second after getting one kid off to school, and waiting for the other three to be ready.

What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

Driving home from picking up my oldest at play rehearsal.

Are you any good at math?

Yes, very good. I took Calc 2 in college for fun, but decided not to go any further. I don’t know that I can recall any of that now. But I am good at math.

Your prom night?

Which one? I went to a prom for each year of high school. Freshman and sophomore years I found a senior to take me, then junior and senior years I took my boyfriend at the time. Sophomore and Junior years were the most fun!

Do you have any famous ancestors?

Not really, that I know of. My mom’s Grandpa Gorges was the moonshine king of Sedgwick County during prohibition and went to prison for it.

Have you had to take a loan out for school?
Yes, I did. I had a full scholarship, but transferred schools and lost it. (Dumbo!)

Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?

Don’t do myspace.

Last thing received in the mail?

Cable bill, junk mail, Wolferman’s catalog.

How many different beverages have you had today?

Diet Coke. And water.

Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?

Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?

I think Kansas was my first concert. But Pink Floyd was the coolest. And no, I’m not that old. This was in the early to mid 90s.

Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?

What was the most painful dental procedure you have had?
Nothing much. I had some teeth pulled as a kid.

What is out your back door?
The patio. :p With wood patio furniture.

Any plans for Friday night?
Kids don’t have school Friday, so we’re going to my parents’ house early to help mom with some stuff and goof around. Then Friday evening is our usual Friday dinner there.

Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
I dunno. lol.

Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?

Have you ever been to a planetarium?

Do you re-use towels after you shower?

Some things you are excited about?
My knitting. lol. Trying not to be excited about the lady who keeps calling our realtor with questions.

What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?
I don’t really like Jell-O. Maybe cherry?

Describe your keychain(s)
A smooth, about 4” long carved piece of wood, with other woods inlaid.

Where do you keep your change?
In a change purse in my purse.

Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?

Closed. The cats bug me if they come in at night.

Did you read this far? Consider yourself tagged.
Tag! If you wanna . . .

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Better pictures, better day.

I'm seriously not so whiney in real life. The typing just tends to invite a little more self-disclosure, for some reason. Thanks for all your good thoughts, everyone!

Here are some mildly better pictures. I think the first one actually managed to capture some of the depth of this yarn. It's Reynolds Odyssey, the same yarn I used for my fetching wristwarmers. It is so pretty in person! So many different colors that come together but are still understated. Lovely.

This is the cable bobble headband that is in the current (Winter 2006) Interweave Knits magazine. It was fun and fast to knit, and now I can keep my ears warm without completely messing up my hair. Speaking of my hair, I'm letting it go back to its natural color. I've done red for a long time, but it requires a lot of upkeep, and I'm tired of it. I'm making peace with the white hairs which have been multiplying steadily since the first one appeared when I was 20.

And here I am wearing my headband. Yes, I managed to cut off my chin. What do you expect when I'm taking my own picture with no timer? LOL.

I had a job interview this morning. I forgot how comfy my work pants are. They're not as stiff as my jeans. The interview went very well, I think. Now I wait to hear from HR. Part-time could be really fun. I like to stay busy, and I like to have fun money! This will accomplish that without making the rest of my life too insane (I hope.) Plus, I can get a slightly discounted zoo membership through work, and have more fun with the kids. And I can get discounted movie tickets to a certain theater and have fun with my husband. Or my friends. I rarely get to get out with friends, except for KIP.

They're showing our house this evening. :p They called yesterday and I figured it couldn't hurt, since we haven't taken it off the market yet. Wouldn't it be weird if these people wanted to buy it when we just signed the paperwork to let that other one go? HA!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bad pictures!

My digital camera stinks. It's no good. It takes terrible pictures. I used to have a fairly good one, but my husband dropped it one too many times a year ago. Now we have this cruddy one which actually belongs to his mom, but she probably got it for free and we've been borrowing it indefinitely since she really doesn't know how to use it anyway.

It takes terrible pictures, see?

But, it was free, so we won't look a gift camera in the mouth. Or something like that. But, you'll just have to imagine how lovely and perfect my stitching is, because you can really only see the faintest impression of what it is. The first three are Twisted Threads monthly ginghams, again. The September one stayed up until the end of October. When I was sick on halloween, I finally stitched the October one and finished it that day. Hey, October wasn't over! I displayed it for one day while I stitched the November one. Now it's up, and I'm caught up until December. These really only take a couple hours to stitch, and they're so cute!

I took some pictures of myself wearing the knitted headband, and I looked terrible. I knew I didn't look super-great, being sick and all, but the camera made me look even more pasty and washed-out than I would have. So, you'll have to wait for new, prettier pictures of that.

I have an interview tomorrow morning with a manager at a branch of the bank I worked for. (I worked in one of the main offices before.) It's for a part-time mornings position. Fun money, here I come! (Hopefully.) I quit working there in May, so it would behoove them to re-hire me. They already have all my information. They would basically just have to re-activate me in the new position, and give me the position-specific training. I've already been indoctrinated. LOL. It's a good company. I just couldn't swing full-time. Childcare costs over the summer would have eaten up more than my income, and I would have gone over the edge. But with a part-time morning position, I can work while the kids are in school and still have time to get house stuff done and workout in the afternoon. Days that the kids aren't in school, my husband can work after I'm home and work late. That includes the summer.

The house we had a contingency offer on just got another offer they're willing to take. So, we're letting it go. If we wanted to keep it, we'd have to round up additional loans to cover the gap between buying that and selling this, and we're just not willing to go into extra debt. We're taking our house off the market until spring and I feel remarkably good about it. We'll reassess in February.

Yesterday, my mom and I went to my grandma's house and did some work. Grandma had a stroke in August, and she went from the hospital to the rehab hospital, and from there to assisted living. She has her own little apartment, and social opportunities. She's much less alone than she was in her big old victorian house. But her memory is very bad and she can't really speak. Speech therapy is helping, but it's slow. She likes her seasonal decorations, so mom and I went to the old house and pulled out about 10 boxes of halloween and thanksgiving to go through. Mom's taking the stuff grandma might want to her apartment and going through it with her. We got a lot done! Grandma is going to have to be ruthless in deciding what to keep. Her old house was about 3000+ square feet, I would guess and her apartment is about 750 (again, I would guess.) I expect this to be ongoing work, but I'm so glad to be able to help. The hardest part is that grandma doesn't necessarily remember that she doesn't get to move back to her old house, so she gets upset when she sees us moving her stuff into her apartment like she's staying there for good. But she's good about making decisions on what stays and what goes. And when we mention the old house, she is vehement that she doesn't want to go there. It's hard.

Oh, and on a happier note, I ordered some of the KnitPicks bare sockyarn. I guess I'm going to try dyeing it, although I've never had any interest. LOL. I ordered extra in case I goof it up. Maybe I could ask my SIL for tips. She's a professional dyer.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Orange sock yarn?

As feared, my husband has requested a second pair of handknit socks. He sheepishly asked the other night if it would be difficult to knit a plain orange pair of socks and then put an "01" on the ankle somehow. I told him the hardest part would be finding solid orange sock yarn. Any suggestions? The yarn shop here is pitiful. It needs to be General Lee orange. Yes, my husband wants Dukes of Hazzard socks. (Hee hee heeeeee. Yeeeeee-haw!)

I have finished some cross-stitch things, which I took pictures of, but have not moved from the camera to the computer. I have finished a couple of knit things, but haven't taken pictures. That's in addition to the stuff I never even told you I finished and didn't take pictures. :p I have three sweaters (mine) to show you and a headband thingy. (It keeps your ears warm. The pattern is from the Winter Interweave Knits which arrived this week.) I may inundate you with pictures if we ever really get healthy around here.

I ordered frames for two cross-stitch pieces, and they should be here Tuesday, according to the UPS tracking thing. I'll frame those and forget to show you those, too. ;)

So, orange sock yarn, preferably 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

10 random things

I picked up Karen's random things generic tag. So sad. lol.

1. We're feeling better today. A has still been napping, but the other two kids who are home are much better.

2. I want my shoes! I packed up my winter shoes and I only found one of the two boxes. My favorite pair are in the other box.

3. I like to bake.

4. I don't like to cook.

5. I may be getting a part-time job. My full-time job made me crazy, but I really miss my paycheck.

6. I applied for three jobs the other day. One was with my former employer. They called this morning to check availability.

7. There are two main reasons I want my paycheck back: yarn money and takeout food money, guilt-free.

8. I love being a SAHM and wouldn't even think about getting a part-time job if my husband made more money.

9. I've been married 10 years and I sometimes wonder how that happened.

10. I love my husband, even when I feel like our life isn't what I expected. That must be how.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

We're celebrating halloween with a stomach virus here. E had it over the weekend, but went back to school today. I hear my nephew had it over the weekend, too. A came down with it last night, and I started feeling a little queasy around midnight. Now Q is home from school, too, after tossing his cookies there. I had to call dh to leave work and go get him since I was here feeling yucky and I had a sleeping sickie. Oh! And just now the phone rang and E is feeling sick again. Gotta figure out how to get here home. Wonder how long before M has it.

So, I hope your halloween is much more pleasant! I'm glad we went to Halloween in the Park over the weekend, because it looks like Trick or Treating may be out this year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I finished this cross stitch piece last night. It's called Resurrection, designed by Cross Stitch Art. I stitched it for my brother and his wife. I designed and added the letters and date. Now to frame it! This is the first time I've missed the deadline on a wedding piece, but they *did* announce they were finally getting married and then do it in about 3 weeks time. They should have it by their one month anniversary. I stitched on this so much before the wedding that I poked a hole in the side of my middle finger from pushing the needle. So. after the wedding, I took a little break to heal and finished it.

Here's a new picture of the Arrrgyle socks, on my husband's feet. See? There really are two. Socks. And feet.

And, because they're always a crowd-pleaser, another kitten picture. They're posing with M's new book. The boy (black and white) is definitely a Bandit, even though that started out as a joke name. We have to shut him in the basement while we eat. Even the good ol' spray bottle doesn't deter him. He loves the water. Olive is less demanding, very sweet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I'm such a whiner. Thanks to all my commenters on yesterday's post. Reading them all through makes me feel a little less whiney. And seeing all those people I know from such different places all in one place makes me feel like I can throw a great big party on here and have the greatest guests!

Do other people have the same problems I do with the word verification things? I mean, they're not actually words, just random letters. And they distort them so badly sometimes that I can't figure out what they're supposed to be. I've had to try three times before to get it to go through. (Thanks, J. Denae. Heh.) But sometimes they're really funny. They almost spell something really odd, but not quite. Or if you try to say them out loud it sounds obscene.

The spell check just asked if I want to replace "whiney" with "whinny". Neigh!

I'm going to go work out now. Maybe that will make me a little less whiney.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Totally random stuff.

This is a totally random post. I don't even have any pictures for you. Unless I decide to add in some totally random pictures.

My husband loves his Arrrrgyle socks. They have barely left his feet since I finished them. He has taken them off for washing and barely let them dry. He did wear regular white sport socks when he was wearing shorts the other day. He has posted about them on his favorite message boards. He has had people ask him what I would charge to make them a pair. I told him at least $100. They were a lot of work.

I fear I may end up having to knit him more socks. I didn't realize I was so selfish with my sock-knitting. I have made the kids socks. I have made my sister socks. I have made my nephew socks. But now that I have made my husband socks and he has shown such affection for them, I suddenly sweat at the idea of having to give up some of the sock-knitting I do for myself. What is going to happen when I finish his sweater? What kind of looney knitter fears that her husband may love her knitting too much?

I almost started crying while watching Deal or No Deal last night. I don't even watch it regularly, but my oldest *really* wanted to watch and I was just folding the laundry anyway. A man chose his first case because the girl holding it was a cancer survivor and his dad died from cancer and he's going to give 10% of his winnings to a cancer charity. My friend Kim is battling breast cancer. She is an inspiration. I'm not a cryer, but that really hit home with me. I love you, Kim. Keep up the fight.

Speaking of the laundry, it is taking over the house. I do a lot of laundry. I have four kids. It happens. When we put our house on the market, after getting rid of roughly half of what we own, we packed up half of what was left. Some of that stuff was winter clothes and winter bedding. It's cold out, now. Guess who had to dig through the stuff in storage and find those things? Guess who still can't find her favorite winter shoes? So, bringing out the winter stuff and packing up the summer stuff makes an even more massive amount of laundry. I'm so sick of laundry.

We got feedback on the latest showing on our house. They said it was cluttered. WTF?! See aforementioned packing and purging. Half of our furniture is in storage. We don't even have enough seats in our living room for the whole family to be in there at once, unless kids sit on parents or on the floor. We had Q's family birthday party here a week ago and we didn't have enough plates for everyone because I packed them up. There are still six people living in this little house. That requires a certain amount of stuff. We have less than that out. Hey *(@&%@$ potential buyers! All this stuff goes with us when we leave. Try paying attention to the house itself! The house I repainted in more neutral colors and the carpets I have shampooed 8 trillion times and the new roof and the 3 bedrooms and two baths for the cheap price. This is not a high-end house. It is not a high-end price. We would move out first and then show it, but fnancially, that is just not possible. I know it's just the opinion of one viewer, but it's really annoying and disheartening.

Our realtor spoke to the realtor of those people who were really really interested. What did the other realtor say? "They're really flaky. Sorry." Nice, huh?

So, if our house does not sell in time for our contingency contract on the other house to go through, we're pulling it off the market until spring. I just can't take it. We're in the midst of the winter slowdown, and I just can't handle this stress for the few lookers we'll get in that time. We'll put it back on the market in February. I don't want to do that, but I think it's the best option. We have to get a solid offer within the next three weeks for the other contract to go through.

And finally, kittens are cute, but kittens make me crazy. :p

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Disturbing developments

Disturbing developments at our house. Look at this.

Kittens. In the house. KITTENS IN THE HOUSE!

My husband is a big softy. These are the latest in a long line of kittens produced by irresponsible neighbors. You mention spaying and neutering and what do they say? "Oh, we're not spending money on that". Then don't get the freaking cats!!!!

It has not yet been determined what we are doing with these kittens. I think they are probably moving with us. (If that ever happens. Urg.) One of our cats ran away about 6 months ago and she has been very missed. These kittens have very different, but great, personalities. And the other indoor cat seems to be OK with them. Not snuggle up with them OK, but no hissing when they enter the room. She's not really one to snuggle up with anyone but my hubby.

The black and white one is a boy and his been dubbed Bandit. The grey one is a girl and is known as Smokey. Yes, Smokey and the Bandit. It's horrifying. I'm calling them Smitty and Olive. And yes, if they are staying with us, they will be neutered and spayed.

Here's another disturbing development.

The back of an arrrgyle sock. Scary, huh?

But the other one turned out OK, and weaving in the ends wasn't too painful.

These are my first intarsia, first argyle, first socks ever knit for my husband. It's good I wanted to try them out, because if I was knitting them purely because he liked them, it could have been bad. They're not perfect, but they're pretty cool, I think!

It was my son Q's seventh birthday last week. Here are some things that are important to a boy turning seven.

I knit the fingerless gloves with some icky acrylic he chose long ago at the craft store. He loves them because they're his favorite color. He calls them his racing gloves.

And here are A's wristwarmers I knit for her when she was home with me last week. The ribbing pulls in when she takes them off and they look too tiny to fit on a human. She looks so cute wearing them!

She says I should make some for the kittens.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flashing that Sock Stash

I have a helper at home this week. A is my kindergartener. She had school Monday, but the rest of this week, they have kindergarten assessments, so she's here with me, except for the 40 minutes we went to the school this morning for her assessment. She loves the ways of the yarn, so yesterday afternoon, we decided to do a little stash-diving. That's mostly "leftover" acrylic stash. Most of the stuff I really love is better organized in the cubbies. A said she was going to choose some of the yarn to be her own. She chose all the little bitty balls of leftovers. She also talked me into knitting her some pink wristwarmers. They were done by this morning, and she wore them to her assessment. She said they helped her think better. LOL.

She spent some time drawing after we were done stash-diving, but she was a little cool, so of course she had to wear a lace shawl! That's my birch, knit with Rowan kidsilk haze.

Now, to the point of this post. Sock yarn stash! As a part of the socktoberfest festivities, I'm sharing my sock yarn stash. Counting it up, it looks like only 10 1/2 pairs of woman-sized socks! I've done pretty well on keeping it under control. I do have two pairs of socks on the needles right now, in addition to this. Most of this is yarn I bought "just because". I know I will use it, but I don't have any particular pattern in mind. The green was bought to make some leaf-motif socks. The two skeins of sockotta (bottom right) were bought on vacation this summer because it was a good deal, and it was pretty, and they don't have it at my LYS. (OK, they don't have much of anything at my LYS.)

The little balls and deflated skeins over to the left are leftovers. There's enough of that autumn-colored knitpicks yarn to make A the rpm socks she wants, "just like yours, mommy."

So, pretty standard, kinda boring sock yarn. LOL. I don't have any of the fancy stuff. I've never seen it in person. I did join a monthly sock club so I can try new and different stuff. I'm only on month two, but it's been fun so far! I knitted the first pair and wear them, and I'm currently knitting the second pair. When I get that new stuff, I want to try it out right away! And I always have to have a small project to carry around for all those "waiting" times.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mason-Dixon madness continues!

I don't know if I'll ever get tired of knitting things from this book (Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne). I wouldn't be surprised if I eventually knit almost every pattern in there. I don't know what it is, but they are just so satisfying and fun!

These are the latest. Baby bib o' Love, with added ruffle, and Baby Genius burp cloth. No. I don't know anyone personally who is having a baby girl right now, but someone is getting a cute gift when they do! The ruffle pattern is "Lace Bells" from Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein.

I was knitting the burp rag as something midless to carry around with me, and I wasn't paying attention and made it WAY too long! So I ended up ripping almost half of it to make it a normal length. Then I had enough pink left over (from a 100 gram ball of Lily Elite Cotton) to make the bib. Just barely. I actually made the straps a teensy bit short, but they still fit around the neck of my nine year old daughter comfortably, so I'm thinking a baby will be fine. (She thought it was a tank-top front and was holding it up to see if it would fit her. LOL.) That ruffle sure did suck up a lot of yarn, but it was worth it, I think!

I have some blue and the leftover white in this yarn to make a boy set sometime, too. I really like this yarn, and I'm hoping to find it somewhere local.

I went to KIP (knitting in public) last night, and had fun as always! I took my two oldest daughters this time, and they had so much fun, it's going to be difficult to make them stay home most of the time. But mom needs her "me-time"!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Found this quiz on my friend Michele's knitting blog. :) Pretty accurate, but I don't think I'm as flaky as this sounds.

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are interchangeable.Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it's amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!

Take this quiz!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Socktoberfest Questionnaire

Lolly posted a socktoberfest questionnaire, so I'm answering it here. I hope you enjoy my sock history.

When did you start making socks?
One year ago, September 2005.

Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I was visiting a friend halfway across the country, and we saw that the Yarn Harlotwas going to be visiting a yarn shop near her while I was there. Of course, we had to go! And if we were seeing the Yarn Harlot and her traveling sock, we needed a sock of our own. My friend, Christina, does not knit, and I was a novice, but I dug out the sock yarn and needles I had brought with me (see, it was going to happen anyway . . .) and cast on a sock that afternoon. I worked the cuff before we went, but I was not pleased. The ribbing was too loose and floppy. But, we used it for pictures, and I told Stephanie that I was unhappy with it. She told me to go down a needle size and try a 2x2 ribbing rather than the 1x1 my pattern called for. I ripped it after my vacation was done and re-did it, much better! I basically taught myself with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy, a free pattern from the ballband of Lion Brand Magic Stripes sock yarn, and a little help from the Yarn Harlot.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
They were those Magic Stripes socks. They've held up great. They fit me well, and so far, they haven't gotten worn out at all. I wear them quite a bit in the winter.

What would you have done differently?
I don't think I would have done anything differently. Getting a little tip from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a great way to knit your first pair of socks. :)

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I loved my Trekking XXL I bought, not having a clue, that evening when we saw the Yarn Harlot. So Pretty! I haven't bought any of the really fancy sock yarns. I've used lots of utilitarian yarns, and they've worked great. Right now, I'm using some jaggerspun 3-ply that's very splitty. I started these socks on wooden needles in order to be able to take them into the courthouse for jury duty. But, now that that's done, I'm switching back to metal!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I'm a very good crocheter. I've crocheted for over 10 years. But I've never crocheted socks. I don't think the fabric has enough stretch. I prefer to knit them on DPNs. I'm not fond of two circulars or magic loop. I love shiny, slippery, pointy metal needles. The Susan Bates silvalume ones are my favorites.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I prefer a flap heel , generally. I like the way it snugs up to my heel, and picking up stitches is fun. But I actually do short and flap heels about evenly. Short row heels require less thinking for me, so I kind of default to that when I'm just whipping up a generic sock.

How many pairs have you made?
About 16? I believe I've made 9 pairs for other people and about 7 for myself.

Yay for Socktoberfest!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fetching Fetching

That's one of those words that starts looking funny if you read it too many times. Fetching fetching fetching fetching fetching fetching fetching. See? A little too close to retching. But I only have two fetchings to show you. (No retching.)

These are the fetching wristwarmers from the summer 2006 issue of Knitty. The dark pair I made for myself shortly after the issue came out, from Reynolds Odyssey. The cables show up much better in person, and the yarn has so much depth. These took one skein and I have one more of the same. Any grand ideas for it? The purple pair was made from leftovers of KnitPicks merino style. I made a sweater (recently finished, but not yet shared with you) for myself from it. These wristwarmers were a gift for my sister's birthday a couple weeks ago. I knew she would love them, but I was surprised by how excited she was about them. This is really a great pattern. It doesn't take long, and the cables aren't too complicated, but they look (and feel) so nice! I like how the cables around the wrist give it a little tighter fit right there.

Totally unrelated non-knitting content:

I had jury duty this week. Like most other people, I was not looking forward to it, and would have gotten out of it if I could. But, there I was yesterday morning. My number was called in the second group of prospective jurors, and from the pool of 28, I was one of the chosen 12. Only three of us were women.

The trial commenced after lunch and continued until 4:30, when we were dismissed until this morning. Of course, you can't discuss the case with anyone or form any solid opinions until you deliberate. Then, when it's all done you can blab all you want.

This morning, we were all there on time, with our juror badges on (which let everyone in the courthouse not to discuss anything related to any trial where we could hear it). We sat in the jury room, very carefully not talking about it, until our jury instructions were ready. Then we went back out and heard the instructions and closing statements. Then it was time to go back into our little room and deliberate.

It didn't take us long to come to a verdict, but we did carefully consider all the evidence. It was a fairly cut and dried case, and we all hope that the 5-6 years the defendant will likely get at sentencing will be enough to help him make the decision to turn his life around. We didn't know what the sentence would possibly be while we were deliberating (and we couldn't consider it, even if we had). The judge told us later when he came back to talk to us. We also didn't know that this young man who is now barely 19 and has been in jail for the 5 months since the crime was committed already had an assault conviction on his adult record, as well as at least 3 juvenile felonies in another state.

It all makes me wish that a young man wouldn't build this kind of record. That he wouldn't be homeless, with no one to come to his trial, at 19. I just really, really hope that the system can help him and he can overcome his past, and his past bad choices, to emerge better on the other side. In any case, I'm glad he won't be back on the streets for a while.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Squirrel. Nuts. Zipper.

Or squirrel, acorn, hole.

We have two big oak trees in our backyard. These trees play host to many adorable squirrels, always chasing each other up and down the tree trunks. Recently, the acorns have been dropping. If you listen, you can hear them thump the ground when they fall. Today, I have been watching the cutest squirrel behavior. One squirrel has been gathering acorns and burying them. It sniffs around with its tiny squirrel nose, all over the ground. It picks up an acorn, very quickly nibbles it and stashes it in its mouth. Then, with its teensy paws, it digs a little hole. If it doesn't like one spot, it steps over a little bit and chooses another. It digs a little hole then sticks its face in and twitches, presumably to spit the acorn in. Then it pushes all the dirt back into the hole and pats it over and over until there's no trace of any digging. So cute!

How do the squirrels find the acorns when they want to dig them back up? Do they sniff them out? Do they bury so many that they're likely to find one wherever they dig? Funny. I guess I need to do some squirrel research.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finished and finished.

No, none of the house stuff is done. Those potential buyers looked at it AGAIN yesterday. That makes three times, bringing different relatives through each time. Come on, people! The first time they looked at it, they even talked up the guy across the street, asking all kinds of questions about the neighborhood and schools, etc. We really want to sell the house for obvious reasons, but a secondary reason is that the house across the street is going on the market next month when aforementioned guy gets remarried and moves into another house. His house is smaller, but I'm pretty sure it will be cheaper, and he lives alone, so it will probably show better. Do you know how hard it is to keep the house looking sparkly with four kids and a non-neatness-oriented husband?

So, here's a couple things I did finish. These are M's socks on her feet. She loves them. I used Knitpicks Simple Stripes socks yarn for these.

And here is the baby blanket. It's so cute, I want to find a baby somewhere and just wrap them up in it. But, I suppose I'll store it away and wait until my new niece or nephew is born. My son was very kind and tried it out for me to make sure it was soft and warm and comfy. It passed the test.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Feeling Unfinished . . .

I am feeling really unfinished lately. Our house is half-packed. Our house is half-sold. Our new house is half-bought. And I have a pile of half-done jobs and projects around here. I am not one of those crafters who loves to just do lots of things and doesn't care if they are ever done. Yes, I love the process, but I love for things to be finished!

My crafting life is something that I can control. On those days when the kids have undone most of what you have done and your life seems to be succumbing to entropy, it's reassuring to do 10 stitches and know that when you wake up in the morning they will still be done.

So, I decided I have to finish something. I cannot force our buyers to finish writing their contract, already. (Come on, people!) And I cannot pack anything else without having to unpack it and use it. ("Oh, honey. I know you need your toothbrush, but I just wanted to finish packing.") And after years of hoping beyond hope, I cannot make the dirty laundry stop regenerating itself as I wash it, nor the dishes. So, I am finishing the green crocheted blanket. I finished crocheting the squares last night and sewed them together. Today I started the borders and by the time I go to bed tonight, it will be done.

I think I will give it to my brother and his almost-wife for their new baby, when it gets closer to baby time (March). I will use the yarn I bought to make them a different blanket for something else, probably a throw for our new house. I can't bear the thought of starting another something new, when I know I will be starting (and hopefully quickly finishing) a large cross-stitch piece for their wedding next month. (They've been working up to it for years, and now they decide to just do it less than a month ahead of time. :p )

I'll take a picture when it's done. Maybe in the next couple days things will start feeling more finished?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Houses, again, briefly!

We made an offer on the house we want over the weekend, contingent on our house selling. It was accepted! It's not the house I went on and on about last month. It's about the same age, but a little smaller and in much better shape, with a backyard.

Today, someone who looked at our house over the weekend is coming back for a second look. They talked to the guy across the street for 15 minutes when they looked at it before, telling him how much they liked it and asking about the neighborhood and schools. Send your best house-selling vibes! I feel like these are our buyers. (Please?)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Socktoberfest is coming!

I signed up for Socktoberfest! Knitted socks are the greatest! Here's a sample of the latest and greatest around here.

Today, I'm wearing my rpm socks. I knitted them sometime within the last month or two and I love them. They're made of knitpicks Simple Stripes sock yarn. And they match my green sweater I'm wearing today perfectly. It was finally cool enough this morning to wear socks!

I finished these Snicket Socks yesterday. They're for my oldest daughter. She thought they were a little scratchy, so she swished them in some conditioner last night. Then she was disgusted by the odor of wet sheep. I assured her that the smell would go away when they dried. She hopes they still smell like her mango conditioner when they dry. She wanted to wear them today, but they're still not dry. :p Tomorrow, I guess!

Already on the needles are some regular stockinette socks made with more simple stripes, for my second daughter. And I have Arrr-gyles ready to go for my husband. I'm sure I'll have to make some socks for the other two kids, too. The youngest daughter has requested some rpm socks, just like mine. I think I have enough yarn leftover to make some for her teeny feet. And I bet when my son sees the arrgyles, he'll want some, too. :p

My jumpstart on Socktoberfest is going well so far! And if we're moving in October, socks are good to do a few rows in between other things. ;)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WIP Wednesday

I'm sure it surprises you that I have several works-in-progress in my handwork life. I'm not nearly as WIP (or UFO) heavy as many crafters I know, but I do my part. I've discovered that if I have too many of one craft going at a time, I get annoyed that there are so many and that things don't get finished fast enough. But, I do like to keep a little variety. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are all my WsIP. (Besides, it's been ages since I took WIP pix, so you get them all at once. Shocking, I know.)

First, crocheting. I started this baby blanket as something simple to work on using mostly my right arm, when my left arm was hurting from too much home improvement. (Ok, the volume of knitting may have had something to do with it, too. But I'm blaming the home improvement.) It has no baby in mind, but I'm sure someone will pop one out who would love it. ;)

It needs three more columns of squares and the borders and it will be done. Since no baby is waiting on it, I just work on it when it sounds fun. If a baby becomes imminent, I could finish it in a couple evenings.

Next up is a combo knit and crochet piece. The center square is knitted; crocheted granny squares form the border. This is a mini version of a baby blanket I made for my cousin's daughter last year. She loves it so much, they requested a little one for her to snuggle with when the big one is too bulky, and for her to use with her baby dolls as she grows.

Those granny squares need another round, but my oldest daughter "borrowed" the yarn a while back and now she can't find it. I'm going to have to tear her room apart. I seriously hope it isn't packed. The other half of the squares start with the missing color in the middle, so this whole blanket is currently stalled.

Now for the knitting! I'm making a sweater for my husband. It's a zip-up cardigan from the summer 2006 Interweave Knits. I'm using Main Line yarn from knitpicks in Blueberry.

That's the back. Boring, eh? It will look great on him, but it's not so interesting to knit. Good for when I don't want to concentrate, though. I'm nearing the shaping for the armhole, so no worries. lol.

Here's a sock I started yesterday. My oldest daughter and I were both sick. Sitting around sick requires knitting, of course, but I didn't want to work on the boring sweater. With some great sock patterns in both the latest MagKnits and the latest Knitty, I decided it was time to make her a new pair of socks since she outgrew her other pair, and I stole them. She better not outgrow these too fast or think they're itchy, because they'll be too long for me. (I do know how to rip back a toe and re-knit, but I digress . . . ) She chose this yarn by Lane Cervinia from the stash and the Snicket pattern from Magknits. I'm ready to knit the heel.

I love the way the yarn is flashing.

Last, but not least, cross-stitch. My poor stitching has been so neglected since the knitting started en force a year ago. But I still squeeze it in here and there. I still love it, but the knitting is so much more portable most of the time, and so practical.

Joy is my oldest bit of unfinished stash. I actually bought this little kit when we lived in our apartment. We've lived in our house for 6 years. I just started stitching it sometime this year, though. Only a simple border left, then I can frame it before Christmas. It's a standard size, so it won't join the 20 odd-sized finished pieces in my buffet. Heh.

Angel of the Sea is designed by Marilyn-Leavitt Imblum. I've only finished the inset on her skirt. There's a lot more to go. The most interesting thing about this picture is the hand-dyed fabric I'm using. I bought it ages ago from a company that no longer exists, but isn't it pretty?

I stitch in-hand (no hoops or frames) and then roll up my pieces when I'm not working on them, so they tend to get wrinkled. It always comes out when I wash and press the finished piece. So, deal with the lines. lol.

Finally, Altengamme by Wiehenburg Samplers. This is a huge medallion sampler. I'm using Needle Necessities overdyed floss and DMC, one over two on 40 ct linen. The medallion at the bottom left of this picture is right in the center of the whole sampler.

This concludes our tour of Lara's WsIP. Please remain seated and keep all hands in the vehicle until it reaches a full and complete stop. Thank you, and please come again!