Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Counting down

I'm counting down to lots of things these days.  Of course there's the Christmas count down, but I don't even want to think about that.  That counter thingy over there on the side says 24 days.  Yikes!  How can that be?  Think I could postpone Christmas by deleteing that counter?

I'm also counting down until December 26th when I'm going back to eating healthy.  My diet has been beyond horrible lately and it shows on my body.  I won't go into how much weight I've gained or how sluggish I feel.  Let's just say I'm looking forward to 12/26.  I know I could start now and probably feel a lot better about the fact that there's only 24 shopping days left, but....  it's just too hard to eat clean during the holidays.  I am, however, trying to make an effort to only eat the good, tasty junk and not to eat junk just for the sake of eating junk.   Judging by my recent binge on stale candy canes, I'm not making a lot of effort however.

Then there's the count down to the AAR Holiday Bazaar this Saturday.  It will be my first time participating in a bazaar as a seller and I'm a little nervous.  My friend Traci is participating too so I know we'll have a good time even if neither of us sells a single thing.  Of course, we'd have more fun if we sold everything, so come on out & shop with us.

I've been a bit obsessed lately with creating things to sell at the bazaar and have done no knitting for myself in ages.  Actually, I haven't knitted for me since I opened the Etsy shop.  I decided that it was time to start and saw the Hitchhiker scarf pattern mentioned on Wendy Knits and instantly fell in love.

Ok, so it doesn't look like much there, but I LOVE the pattern and the way the yarn is creating those stripes.  I'm using Patons Kroy Socks in the Clover colorway.  It's a very simple pattern which creates a loooooong, thin triangle that curves so it will easily wrap around your neck, scarf-style.  I think I'll probably make a zillion of these scarves before I'm done.  Because you know I need a red one, a green one, a blue one, a purple one, maybe a creamy white one, and of course, they'd also make great gifts for both the men & women in my life.

So, I'm signing off of here and going back to knitting.  And doing laundry, which is another thing I'm counting down.  Can anyone tell me  how one family creates so much laundry?  It's not like I have 18 kids.  We are a normal, four person family, but if you looked at our pile of dirty clothes, you'd think we had 24 kids.  Sheesh.  So, I'll go toss another load in, then I'll start knitting.  Knitting after I turn Buffy the Vampire Slayer on.  Have I mentioned that's my new passion?  How did I not know about this show?  Well, I knew it existed but I always thought it was the dumbest thing on earth.  But that was before I ever watched a single episode.  Now, I'm obsessed and it's all I want for Christmas.  Buffy DVDs.  Well, and yarn.  Buffy and yarn.  What more could a girl want?

Well, maybe a laundry maid.  Buff, yarn and a maid.  That's my Christmas list in a nutshell.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Being Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US of A and I'm counting my blessings.

First, there's my husband.  I know, I give him an awful lot of grief most of the time.  Today however, he's winning the Best Husband Ever! award.  He's doing the Thanksgiving grocery shopping.  Of course, I will have to do some serious sucking up when he gets home but serious sucking up is still way better than standing in a mile long grocery line.  And we may end up having steak, beer and ice cream for our Thanksgiving meal, but again, that's still better than me having to stand in a mile long grocery store line.

Believe it or not, I'm thankful for Walmart gym socks.  They always come with a very sticky label/band thing around them.  I always complain about the band because when you rip it off, half the sock fiber sticks to it and after I've thrown it away, the dogs always get the label thingy back out of the trash.  They leave it on the floor and I step on it, normally in the middle of the night, and then I'm left with a sticky foot.  But it gave me an idea of how to label the socks & gloves in my Etsy shop.  I created my own label bands.  Mine are not sticky however.

I'm thankful that I found four hats that I'd knit, stuffed in a drawer and promptly forgot about.

I'm thankful that my husband and I both realized that we seem to be outgrowing our clothes at the same time.  It makes it so much easier to try to eat properly when he's trying to eat properly.  And, he's buying us an early Christmas gift - a treadmill.  Running on a treadmill is unbelievably boring, but considering how out of shape I've become, it will be nice to use.  It's so much easier to get back into the habit of running when a treadmill is available.  I won't have to worry about the weather or the darkness.  I can run for 5 minutes 3 or 4 times a day if that's what it takes to build my stamina back up.  And I have to admit, I do enjoy watching the numbers click by.  And best of all, Mike will use it for walking.  We tend to get a bit competitive with our weight loss  So, if he walks, I'll make sure to run.

I think I'm thankful for this thread meant for cross stitching.

My plan is to knit with it.  Exactly how thankful I am remains to be seen.  But the colors sure are pretty.

And of course I'm thankful for all the normal stuff.  My family, our health, my friends, their health, a roof over my head...  I tend to take those things for granted and I know I shouldn't.  I have a friend who's spending Thanksgiving in the hospital with her child.  I have another friend, actually several, who have either recently lost their home or are fighting hard to keep their home.  I may bitch and moan, but I'm actually very thankful for the life I have.

I'm also pretty thankful for my four-legged children and the unconditional love they provide.  Not to mention their entertainment factor.  Today, I've been enjoying watching Minnie guard a paper bag full of empty notebooks that I keep forgetting to take to Good Will.

She's been sitting by that bag for over 5 hours now.  When Max comes to close, she barks her, "Get away from me!" bark.   I'd like to say that she won't let me come close enough to the bag to shut the file cabinet drawer or to put the vacuum away, but....

I'd also like to say that I'm thankful for the photos on this blog.  They show me over and over again what areas of my house need to be cleaned.

But mostly, I'm thankful for my husband for doing the holiday grocery shopping.

What are you thankful for?

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Birthdays & Fat Lips

We had a pretty busy weekend.  Saturday was Sarah's birthday.  I'm still struggling to believe that my little, bitty baby girl is 15.  Struggling even more with the fact that she can apply for her learner's permit this year.  Yikes!

As is tradition, to celebrate Sarah's birthday, we went out to eat.  The Chop House if anyone cares where.  While we waited for Sarah's aunt & uncle to join us, we played with the camera.  Here's Sarah, NOT happy to be photographed.  Or is that just her typical 15 year old face?

Here's the son we are so proud of.  He's wearing his serial killer face.

I'm very glad that glare wasn't directed at me!

I'm wearing my typical, "Hey - want to look up my nose?" picture taking face:

Somehow, Mike managed to avoid being photographed and Sarah provided one last pose before we settled down to the business of ordering our food.  She's doing her Twilight impression.

Sunday, Zack had another bowling tournament and I somehow managed to sweet talk Mike into taking him.  Zack's scores weren't so good, but on a positive note, I got about 4,593 loads of laundry done and quite a bit of knitting accomplished.

I finished a hat, treasure bag, wine bottle/gift bag, a pair of fingerless mitts and started another pair of mitts which didn't make it into the photo.  I love those mitts by the way.  It's going to be very hard to list them for sale.  I bought the yarn with a shawl in mind, but the yarn is way too stretchy.  Except stretchy is the wrong word.  More like, it's too scrunchy.  The yarn contains a lot more polyester than most sock yarns and I guess that's what gives it the scrunchy quality.  Whatever, it's like a rubber band.  Which means the ribbed tube looks like it would be tight on a toothpick and yet, it easily fits over my man-sized hand and returns to it's normal shape when I take the mitt back off.

As for the hat & treasure bag, I've been getting a lot of requests for Harry Potter color themed items.  Thus, a maroon & gold hat and a green & silver treasure bag.

The photoless mitts I'm currently working on are being knit with On-line Supersocke in the Winter colorway.  I LOVE On-line yarn and this is the last skein in my stash.  The knitting store where I used to buy it closed last year and the only other local shop doesn't carry it.  I hope I can still find it on line.  I love knitting with it.  It's self striping and rather thick as sock yarns go, which means, you can knit a pair of socks in a weekend.  Well, you can if you don't pause to do laundry or fix dinner.  But even better, the yarn wears well.  I've got a zillion pair of socks made from On-line and I wear them constantly.  Not a bare spot or hole in a single pair of them.

And just when I thought I was safe....

Every year, something goes wrong with my face at Thanksgiving.  I bump my head on an open kitchen cabinet and have a huge bruise, or the rosacea goes crazy and my face glows red.  One year it was so bad my eye swelled shut.  But this year, I've been really careful about closing the cabinet doors.  I've taken my medication and my face is actually doing fairly well.  I don't have pink eye.  Things were looking up.  I might actually be able to take a decent photo at Thanksgiving.

Nope!  Last night, I dished myself a bowl of ice cream and licked the ice cream scoop.  I could feel the scoop reach out & grab my lip and my unconscious response was to yank the scoop away from my mouth.  Now,  half my lip is laying in the kitchen sink stuck to the scoop.  The remainder of my lip looks like I've stuck a water mellon under it.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's talk Homeschooling Opportunities

Stick with me here, okay?  I know I'm long winded but there's the opportunity to win a very cool gift for you and your children.  And the cool gift isn't even the exciting part!  So, keep reading.  Please.

OMG! OMG! OMG!  I am SO excited.  I should probably apologize for all the capitalization, the OMG's and the fact that I'm starting to talk like a Valley Girl, but I won't.  I'm too excited!

As you may or may not know, in addition to knitting, I am a homeschooling momma.  Also, as you may or may not know, history bores me to tears.  Mainly, it bores me because I never learned to appreciate it.  Why, you ask?  Because my teachers were boring.  Even though I grew up in the heart of Virginia, dead center of a HUGE amount of American history, with a father who was at one time the president of the state archeology society and a Civil War general for a relative, all I ever learned was to recite names, dates & places.  And those names, dates & places were all promptly forgotten by the time I'd laid my pencil down after taking the test.  About all I ever remembered from my history classes was that Washington was our first president and the American Revolution came before the Civil War.  All those other names & dates went in one ear and straight out the other.

And then came Kate.  Kate is a wonderful friend and pretend twin sister.  We have so much in common it's eerie, and yet, just like sisters, we have our differences.  Kate loves history.  Loves it!  So much so that she majored in it in college.  She does Civil War re-enacting with her husband.  (They are yankees.  Another difference between us!)  She reads historical books.  For fun!  Kate is also a wonderfully incredible storyteller.

Kate is so into history that she runs a genealogy business and in the course of that business, she produces a radio talk show.  Being the #1 BFF that I am, I listen in.  And amazingly, I always enjoy the talks.  I always start out listening as an excuse to sit and knit for 30 minutes, but a few minutes into the show, I find myself sitting, hands still, knitting forgotten in my lap while I listen to Kate tell the story of the day.   She turns something as mundane as how to perform a genealogy search into a fascinating story.  In Kate's last radio talk show, she told the story of her Great times 3 or 4 Grandfather who'd fought at the Fredericksburg & Cold Harbor battles during the Civil War.  They were a couple of the bloodiest battles fought.  I've taken the tours but my lack of interest didn't help me retain much.  But Kate's telling of the story had me in tears.  Literally!  But in a good way, or at least in as good of a way as there can be when you are crying over the massive number of people killed in a day.  Her story had me thinking of not only her relative, but of my own who were there.  It made me think of my father who survived day 2 at Normandy and also The Bulge.  The sights they must have seen.  Ugh.  Makes me twitch to think about it.  And then it got me to thinking about my fear of 7-11's.  I was in one once when it was robbed.  The sales clerk was shot & killed.  That was close to 30 years ago and yet, to this day, I break out into a cold sweat if I'm forced to go into a 7-11.  I hate all small convenience stores like that.  Because of that one act of violence, all convenience stores terrify me.  If I had that kind of emotional scaring from one solitary act of violence, what must it have been like for the soldiers of every war ever fought?

Anyway....  And I really am getting to my point of why I'm so excited.

After hearing Kate's story that day, I proceeded to discuss it with my kids and my husband.  At length.  The story had made such an impression on me.  It made me think of things no other teacher had ever discussed.  It made me realize what the tour guide had meant when she said the "blood ran down the hill like rain water."  It made me curious about my family members' reactions and it made me curious to know if I had other family members that I'm not aware of in those, or any other for that matter, battles.  And an idea popped into my head.

Kate should teach me history!  She should do a radio talk show just for me so that I could learn and appreciate history.

Yeah!  That's an awesome idea!  Kate should do this!  I mean, she has nothing else to spend her time doing, right?  Yeah!  Kate could teach me history.  Heck, she could teach everyone!  Even my kids would enjoy her history lessons.  Yeah!  Kate can teach us all.  She can be our homeschool history program.  Yeah!

I shot Kate an email and a few short days later, I received the following back from her.  I am So excited!!  SO, SO EXCITED!  Like, OMG!  Kate's really going to teach us all history!!  OMG!!  Ok, make sure you read to the end - Kate is offering a chance to win some very cool giveaways simply for completing her survey.

Here's what Kate has to say:

Homeschool History Curriculum Survey for Parents of High 

School Students (and the Students) 

Are you a homeschooling parent of high school aged students?  Are you looking for a high 
quality history curriculum that is interesting?  It’s almost here! 

Heritage and Family, a family history company that focuses on the story of your family’s history,  
is nearing completion of its fantastic high school appropriate history curriculum History for 
Schools:   The Story of History.  The Story of History focuses on the story aspect inherent in all 
good history, making each lesson engaging to your teenager (and you!) while maintaining the 
highest standards of accuracy. 

But Heritage and Family needs your help before they launch their new history curriculum.  To 
make certain that the curriculum offered meets the needs of both parents and students, Heritage 
and Family has created two surveys polling you for your thoughts on what an ideal history 
curriculum should contain, and what it should NOT contain! 

Then ask your teens to take the student survey  

As an added incentive, Heritage and Family is offering every survey participant the opportunity 
to enter a free drawing.  Parents, you might win a “Narrative History” (think “the complete story 
of one ancestor of your choosing”) – a $150 value.  And students who complete the student 
survey are eligible to win their choice of $25 iTunes Gift Card, or a $25 Starbucks Gift Card. 

But hurry!  This survey will not be open forever.  Heritage and Family would like to get their 
new high school history curriculum to you in time for the start of the second half of the school 

For more information, contact Kate Eakman at 

And when Kate finishes teaching us history, maybe she'll teach me some English so I can stop sounding like a Valley Girl.

OMG! OMG! OMG!  I'm so excited.  I'm actually excited to learn history!!  I can't even explain how excited I am to be excited about history!  I SO wish my dad was still around to see me like this.  It always killed him that just the mention of the word "history" made my eyes roll up into my head.  

But the thing is, if Kate's 30 minute genealogy talk gets me this excited about learning a subject I've always dreaded, I can only imagine how excited and motivated to learn I will be after hearing her tell an actual history story.  And that's what she's going to do.  She's going to tell stories.  She's not going to provide some boring text book or worse yet, a fill in the blank workbook.  She's going to tell stories.  True and accurate stories, but stories none the less.  And I can not wait!  

And once again, if I'm this excited about this opportunity, imagine what it can do for your kids and their education.  

And no, Kate is not paying me for this endorsement.  I'm just so excited to be excited about learning history that I willingly typed all this!  Woo-hoo!!  I'm SO excited!

And now that darned Pointer Sisters song is running through my head...

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it...

Ok, stop singing that song and go take the survey.  Have each of your kids take the survey.  Ask all your homeschooling friends and family to take the survey.  The larger the response, the better the final program will be.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Doh!  I failed the challenge to blog every day for 30 days.

So, where have I been the last three days?  Friday was spent bowling.  Saturday was spent bowling, running errands and watching my son get completely lost in a new video game.  He was so caught up in the game, he didn't even want to talk about bowling!

Yesterday was a great day spent window shopping with friends in down town Fredericksburg.  We had a lot of fun.  We saw a half-pound Reese Cup, Santa, a few walking Christmas trees and quite a few well behaved dogs.  I'm not sure why there were so many dogs out shopping with their owners, but they were.  I'm also not sure why there was so much Christmas hoop-la going on two weeks before Thanksgiving, but it was.  I did buy a Christmas gift, and no, it wasn't the Reese Cup.  Might have to go back for that though. And I did not buy the yarn I wanted.  I was rather impressed with my self control.  Although, if I go back for the Reese Cup, I might have to rethink the yarn.   We ended the day with a very late lunch at Spirits, a restaurant that's reportedly haunted.  We didn't see any ghosts, but we had some excellent food and conversation.

And today, guess where I'm going today.  You got it!  Bowling.  But there is knitting group tonight.  And actually, now that I think about it, today is also homeschool craft group.  It will be our first meeting.  At the bowling alley!  The idea is for the group to be like a knit & chat, except it's for homeschoolers & their families and everyone can work on what ever craft they feel like.  It should be interesting.  We've got everyone from three year olds to adults coming.

Meanwhile, I'm off to knit a few rows of the Harry Potter hat before we leave for the bowling alley.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Decisions, decisions

I call myself a runner, except I haven't run a single mile this month.  I didn't run a single mile last month.  In September, my mileage was in the single digits.  I'm not a runner.  I'm a poser!  Aack.

Yesterday, I went for a walk with my daughter.  It about killed me!  I could barely haul my butt up hills I used to run with no trouble.  Good grief.  I need to get back to exercising.  Regularly.  Regularly meaning at least every other day, not every other month.

And my diet.  Good grief.  My diet lately has consisted mostly of coffee and candy corn.  It's no wonder my jeans hurt.

I have to get back to leading a healthier lifestyle.  So, today I decided to go for another walk.  I think it was snowing.  Ok, I know it wasn't - it's in the low 50's.  Too warm for snow.  But it sure felt like snow.  And tonight, after dinner, I'll finish the candy corn and be done with it.  I know, I know.  If I was a better person, I'd throw it away.  But I'm not.  Besides, I can't waste it - all those starving children in Africa and what have you....

Ok, on to knitting.  That is, if you can get past this horrible photo.

What an awesome example of bad lighting.   The red is actually a much deeper red.  Sort of holly berry red.  Actually, I think it is named Hollyberry.  And the purple, well, in real life, the purple is actually a pretty purple, not that glaring, Walmart purple.  The problem I'm having is that I can't decide which to use next.  I plan to knit a small scarf/shawl type of thing and I just can't decide.  I want to use the red because Christmas is coming.  I want to use the purple because it's pretty and because it's sock weight instead of lace weight.  The purple will knit up faster.  But the red is pretty too.  Decisions, decisions.  I hate decisions.  Which would you pick?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Laughing With, not At

I’ve talked before about how much I’ve enjoyed my Etsy  experience.  Today, I’m going to tell a funny Etsy story.  I really hope I don’t offend anyone, but the fact that I’m worrying about it probably means that I will.  I’m sorry.  I remember back when I was 11 or 12, I went to Ithaca, New York to visit a friend who lived there.  I remember how embarrassed I was when all her friends would say, “say something” to me then crack up laughing when I did.  Remember, I’m from Virginia.  My southern accent was hilarious to them.  Luckily, I couldn’t understand 90% of what they said so I have no idea how badly they were poking fun of me and my accent.  That story reminds me a little bit of the story I’m about to tell.  Except, I’m not telling it in meanness.  I promise I’m not.  As my father used to say, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you.
I highly admire the folks on Etsy that are from foreign, non-English speaking countries and yet are communicating in English.  I took two years of French in school and the only two words I learned were one I can't use in front of my children and bonjour.   Thus, I think anyone trying to run a business in a foreign language deserves high, high praise.  But having said that, I love to read the descriptions of items that foreigners have written.  Sometimes the spellings are wrong, because after all, the American way is the right way.  Right?  (Said with sarcasm.)  Sometimes the adjectives come after the nouns.  Sometimes even the English speaking British word things in a manner that sounds odd to my American ears.  And then sometimes, you just gotta stop and wonder what the heck the people are talking about.  Take, for example, these washing instructions:  “You can wash dry.”  What?  I can wash dry?  I read it and reread it and reread it once again.  And suddenly it dawned on me.  You could dry clean the item.  I giggled for hours.
And that dear friends, just goes to show you how desperate I’ve become for daily blog fodder.  Exactly how many days are left in this month?

As penance for poking fun of those struggling with American grammar, I decided to offer a discount to anyone that can find an error in any of my own descriptions.  Unfortunately, I'm sure there are a few.  Click  here  to find out what I'm offering.  The details are at the bottom of my profile.

On the knitting front, I finished the cabled hat that I'd started yesterday.  Photos will follow soon, but first, I have to find my camera charger.    In the mean time, I'll leave you with this, just because I think it's pretty.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Did you?

It was a pretty exciting time at the polls today.  There were three local people running for office that I simply refused to vote for.  For the first time in 32 years of voting, I wrote someone in.  Three someone's actually.  I didn't care if I was technically wasting my vote, I was not voting for the incumbents.

As for knitting news, I'd planned to finish the purple yoga socks today, but you know how my plans usually go.  I had an idea for a hat design this morning and worked on that instead.  I'm sure there'll be photos in the next couple of days.

Aack!  My son just announced he'll be voting in 1.5 years.  Boy, I feel old!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight Savings Woes

Wow.  The end of Daylight Savings is seriously messing with me.  Yesterday, because it was Sunday and I could sleep in, I woke up at 6:00 a.m.  Except it was now 5:00 a.m.  Well, that wasn't too bad.  I was able to drink the entire pot of coffee without having to share a single drop, (yes, I'm stingy when it comes to coffee) and I listened to my Kindle while I knit on the purple yoga sock.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

The Daylight Savings problems started around 10:00 a.m.  I was ready for lunch.  By noon, I was ready for supper.  Around 4:30 p.m., I started thinking about how, since I had an extra hour, I still had plenty of time to go for a walk.  Except by 4:35, it was starting to get dark.  Drat!  I had that extra hour thing wrong, didn't I?  By 6:00 p.m., I was eating my second supper of the day and by 7:15, I was asleep on the couch.  Between 10:00 and 10:30 p.m., I woke up, as in Woke Up!  Like, as in, being ready for a new day.  I got a few loads of laundry done, washed the dinner dishes that were still sitting on the counter because apparently, I'm the only one in the house who knows how to open the dishwasher, then I plopped myself back in front of the TV & played Solitaire on the Kindle until the battery gave out.

This morning, I was wide awake at 5:30 once again.  It's now 8:39 a.m. and I've finished my morning routine.  The routine that I don't normally finish until 11:00 or 12:00.  So now what do I do with myself?  I'm certainly not going to spend this found free time doing the backlog of housework that's been on my to-do list for longer than I care to admit to.  Guess all I can do is knit.  Poor me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yoga Socks

Finally!  I finally finished the Lorna's Lace yoga socks in the Icehouse colorway.  They were started, well, I don't know how long ago.  Before I started this blog.  They've been on the UFO list since day one.  Why, I have no idea.  They were originally going to be regular socks but I got lazy & didn't feel like looking up the number of stitches needed to turn the heel.  I can never remember how many stitches I'm supposed to purl back after doing the first knitted decrease.  Anyway....  I got lazy and decided to avoid the heel altogether, thus, yoga socks.

Wow.  I can not believe how much trouble I'm having typing "yoga."  It keeps showing up on the screen as "youga."  Definitely says something about muscle memory.

So...  I finished the Icehouse yoga socks and started another pair using Paton's Kroy Socks FX in the Camelot colorway.  Camelot apparently means purple.

Both of pair are knit with a simple ribbed pattern.  Can't wait to knit a few more with cables &/or a bit of lace.  And since today is Daylight Savings day here in the USA, or more appropriately, the end of Daylight Savings, I was given an extra hour in my day.  Perhaps I'll get these finished tonight & start another pair tomorrow.  What are you doing with your extra hour?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yum! Butter

I should probably apologize in advance for this post.  I can think of nothing, absolutely nothing, worth rambling on about, but, it's Day 5 of this 30 day adventure and I'm not quitting.  Yet.

There isn't a whole lot going on in my knitting life at the moment.  I spent yesterday frantically knitting mini Christmas stockings, then last night, I decided that my time would be better spent knitting more time consuming items.  I decided I'd be better off knowing that I had plenty of larger items ready for the holiday bazar.  I can always spend the last few days leading up to the bazar frantically knitting mini stockings.  But it would be silly to wait until the last minute to try to create the big stuff.

So, I pulled out about 40 different balls of yarn & almost as many needles.  I cast on about 38 different projects, then promptly frogged them all.  Apparently I wasn't feeling inspired & the yarn wasn't cooperating.  I finally gave in, ate a giant bowl of ice cream & went to bed.  This morning, I decided to make the second the yoga sock to match the one that's been hanging out in the UFO pile.   Huge progress was made while I chatted with the other moms at the bowling alley.

Speaking of bowling, it was a pretty good day for the youth league.  Zack's scores weren't anything to write home about, but they weren't shamefully bad either.  But his team mates....  One scored his first 700 series and another bowled his highest score to date.  Looks like those long, painful (for me) Friday night practices are working well.

Okay, lucky for you, I'm cutting this short.  The Darling Daughter is in the room watching Paula Deen cook something on TV.  I have no idea what she's cooking, but Paula's voice is making me hungry.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mini Advent Stockings

Aack!  50 days to Christmas!  I could have done without seeing that tidbit of information this morning.

This needs to be rather short because today is Homeschool Creative Writing Group day with the kiddos, which means I should be getting in the shower instead of typing this while drinking one more cup of coffee.  But hey - I need the coffee.  I need to be highly caffeinated before I go into that room with a group of very creative teens.  They weren't always so creative, at least a few of them weren't.  A few of them used to sit slumped in their chairs, arms crossed, and glare at me when I'd give them the topic of the day.  Today, a few of them still roll their eyes at the topics, which is okay.  They aren't always cool topics.  But the fun, exciting thing is, even those kids who used to hate being there, now write some seriously cool & creative stories based on the not so cool topics.  I love my writing group kids and frankly, I'm slightly jealous of their abilities.

But this is supposed to be about knitting.

I sort of took a break from knitting for a while yesterday.  The UFO guilt was getting to me so instead of knitting, I decided to try my hand at beaded stitch marker making.

I am LOVING making the stitch markers.  I just hope I can sell a few of them at the up coming holiday bazar because even I don't need 100 beaded stitch markers.  And judging from how many beads I have left, 100 is a low estimate.  And I won't even mention how I'm planning to sneak to the craft store to buy more beads.  Apparently, I've discovered a new obsession.

After dinner, I went back to knitting miniature Christmas stockings.

I love knitting these little guys.  They are relatively quick and a great way to use up those tiny bits of left over sock yarn.  Granted, they don't look much like Christmas stockings.  They look more like mini socks, but since they make fantastic Advent calendar stockings, who cares if they look like socks instead of stockings.  Besides, 24 red stockings lined up would be boring.  Not to mention how mind numbing it would be to knit 24 red mini stockings.   Anyway, I like to make them in groups of 24 and hang them from garland or on the Christmas tree.  I tuck candy, coins, or little love notes into them.

Ok, I don't really tuck love notes into the Advent socks.  I'm just not that gushy.  But it's a good idea for someone who is.  I also rarely tuck coins inside.  I'm more of a candy girl.  But coins are nice, they just aren't chocolate.  Well, I guess some coins are.  Hmmm......

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Chocolate Hangover

It seems that I have found my chocolate threshold.  Hubby took Number One Son to bowling last night, The Daughter was busy munching on what ever she'd scrounged up in the pantry and in a not so brilliant move, I decided to have Hershey Kisses and Marzipan flavored coffee for dinner.  I don't, as a rule, drink flavored coffee but occasionally I indulge and a non-coffee-drinking friend had been given the bag of coffee and she'd passed it on to me the day before.

I know!  I have a non-coffee drinking friend!  Can you believe it?

Anyway....  I drank flavored coffee, which turned out to be excellent even though its Use By date was May of 2010.  I also ate almost an entire bag of Hershey Kisses.  To my credit, it was a normal size bag, not the giant, economy, Halloween size bag, but still. It was a lot of Hershey Kisses.  I got down to where there were only five or six let and felt like I might die.  I tried to finish them off.  I knew if I didn't, I'd start eating them again the next day or the day after that and end up wanting more.  But I couldn't do it.  I literally couldn't eat another Kiss.

Meanwhile, while Zack bowled, Mike did the BJ's shopping.  My Lord!  He must have bought one of everything in the store.  He brought it all home & stacked it on the dining room table, which apparently has stronger legs than I'd ever have believed possible.  This morning, I put it all away.  And when I was pouring the chocolate chips out of their giant floppy bag & into my Tupperware Chocolate Chip Keeper, I spilled a few.  And rather than eating them, I picked them up and through them away.  And that's how I know I've reached my chocolate threshold.

As for the knitting, I haven't been working on anything exciting lately.  I have several projects that only have a little bit of knitting left, or they need to be sewed up & of course there are a few second sock issues lurking in the basket.  My Good Girl self wants to finish those items before I start something else.  Unfortunately, I'm rarely my Good Girl self and those items continue to sit.  But the guilt prevents me from starting something new.  It's a horrible knitting Catch 22.  So, I knit a few Treasure Bags yesterday.

Ok, not a great photo, but cut me some slack.  I'm still suffering the chocolate hangover and I haven't had a full cup of coffee yet.

I really enjoy making those bags though.  They are quick and simple and "needing" beads gives me an excellent excuse to go craft shopping.  I've never done any beading before so the bags have opened up a whole new area of the craft store to me.  There are some seriously cool beads out there!  And that's at the local big name craft stores.  I can only imagine what I'd find at a store that specializes in beads.  I'm purposely avoiding Google.

And chocolate.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mannequin Models

Mannequin, who still needs a name, had her first modeling session yesterday.

Mannequin would like you all to know that she's normally a bit thinner.  She was dressed in layers.  Her "skin" had a few smudges on it and I need to buy a Tide pen to take care of them.  To cover up the smudges, I'd put a white shirt on her.  Except the shirt wasn't long enough.  And being lazy, rather than taking that shirt off before I put on a longer one, I simply added the second shirt on top of the first.  On top of those two layers, I added a black dress because the colors in this shawl showed up better over black than white.  But never the less, we had a successful modeling experience.  With the exception of the fact that I now have an entire load of laundry to wash.

The rest of yesterday was spent finishing up several knitted projects.  Nothing overly special, just a hat, a few Treasure Bags and a couple of felted boxes.  I still have the felting to do, but otherwise, they are done. I also taught myself to knit with beads.  Quite a simple thing, actually, and I'm kicking myself for not learning earlier.   The rest of the day was spent doing laundry.  A much needed task, I might add.

Today, I get to wash out my refrigerator.  Woop-de-do!  Pretty exciting day, huh!  And of course I'll knit some more.  Probably mittens.  Or maybe yoga socks.  Something I can sell at the upcoming holiday bazar.  I'm a little freaked over this bazar.  I'm really worried that I won't have enough items to sell.  So, on that note, I'm going to sign off and go get busy knitting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Larry Potter

And so starts day one of my promise to myself to write daily for 30 days.

Wow.  There were a lot of days in that sentence.

On with the show....

I'm pretty excited.  I bought a mannequin off Craigslist yesterday.  I'm pretty excited for two reasons.  First, I've been dying to have a mannequin to use for Jeannie Gray Knits and secondly, I had a successful Craigslist experience and wasn't kidnapped or robbed.  This was the first time I've bought anything off Craigslist.  Previous experience has been solely related to looking for a job, and that experience has been horrible.  Out of 40 or 50 job applications/resume submissions I've made, only two were legitimate businesses looking to hire.  The rest were scammers that continue to call at all hours of the day & night or send me 100+ spam emails on a daily basis.

Needless to say, I was a little leery of going to some stranger's house.  But the seller had sounded very nice on the phone,  (don't all serial killers sound nice on the phone??) my husband had the address of where I was going and knew when I was going.  If he didn't hear back from me within 30 minutes, he was to call 911.  On top of that, my kids sat in the car with the address of where we were written down so they could easily read it to the cops and their cell phones were fully charged.  They had instructions to call 911 if I didn't stick my head back out the door within 10 minutes.

As it turned out, Seller Chick must have been just as leery of me as I was of her.  She had the mannequin in her car and we looked at it out in her driveway, in full view of her neighbors.  Neighbors that didn't seem to be home, but still.   And, since neither of us turned out to be a serial killer,

Ta da....

Meet Larry Potter, serial killer mannequin.  Ok, I'm not sure which is scarier.  A mannequin with a balloon Harry Potter head and movable arms, or the amount of stuff & junk piled up and visible in the photo.  Sheesh.

The photo of the mannequin by itself was too blurry to use and I'm too lazy to retake it.  As soon as I set the mannequin on the table, the kids jumped all over it and started having fun playing with it.  The result, Larry Potter.

The mannequin won't remain Larry Potter though.  I don't want to scare my Jeannie Gray Knits customers with my family's twisted sense of humor.  Plus, most of the time, Mannequin will be a girl.  Flat chested albeit, but a girl.  Mannequin needs a name.  Zack wants me to name it Frankenfurter since it will be a cross dresser.  Sarah votes for Pat.  My friend Kate, over at Heritage and Family,  has recommended Jezebel.   I was considering Mrs. Bates because Mannequin will most likely live in front of a dormer window, but Mrs. Bates might actually be worse than Larry Potter.  I also considered Carrie since that's the seller chick's name, but Carrie undeniably brings to mind fire and bad prom dates.  Neither of which would make for a good advertising ploy.  Got any good suggestions?  Mannequin needs a name!