Friday, December 31, 2010


Today I am trying to get myself all ready to start the new year fresh. Yesterday I put away Christmas...took down the tree, put away all ornaments, decorations and lights. This morning I have begun with housework and hope to spend my afternoon finishing some long set aside crafts. I will not bore you with the housework as it probably just the same as yours (boring and hateful and never done for more than a minute). However I will share with you some of the things I have been Finishing.
First was a pair of blankets that I made and gifted to my husband's Aunt and Uncle for Christmas. I did not have the presence of mind to photograph them but they were of polar fleece and they were the cut and tie the fringe kind. Both of them were the same paisley pattern but one was white on black and the other was black on white. They both seemed happy with them.

Next was the light box I started months ago in order to get more professional looking photo's for the items I list in my Etsy shop.
I finished a stuffed dog that was made out of a pair of socks:
Thanks Alexis! you bring me a pair of socks you like the look of and I'll make you one of your own! (think dollar store...that is where I got this pair).

I am currently trying to finish up Abby's hippo,
her pair of mittens (one down, one to go)
and a pair of socks for me...started over a year ago...
I also started and finished a project a couple of days ago...I have been in desperate need of knitting needle organization. I used to have them in a bag that I would have to dump out to get to the set I needed. I have been meaning to do this for some time and when I found myself browsing on etsy for one to buy I thought, 'This is ridiculous, I can make one myself out of my stash and not spend a penny.' And so I did. All materials were scraps from my stash, including the batting and the ribbon. The part that took the longest was making the binding.
I am not sure what else I will be able to manage today but if I get more done, I'll be sure to post it!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Just a fly by post of a couple of ornaments I made for Christmas:
I realized that I posted these to FB but neglected to put them on my blog, so here they are. Now I am off to dig us out from under the used wrapping paper...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another test...lets see if the pics come through
This is a test of my mobile blogging...we shall see if it works.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Busy Little Mommy

I haven't been posting because I am trying to get caught up...I hate the way Christmas hits you in the face like a ton of bricks three seconds after you take your last bite of pumpkin pie. The commercial outfits don't help either since I have begun noticing Christmas decorations alongside the Halloween shit.
Anyway It took 3 days to get my house back to square one after hosting the big dinner, which was wonderful by the way. Brian did most of the cooking and I did most of the cleaning. This year he made a cranberry sauce from scratch using a bottle of our homemade cranberry wine, it was VERY good, as was everything else.
Since then I have been trying to wrap my head around all of the crafting I need to finish before Christmas...The more I think about it the longer my list gets and the more the panic sets in. Last year I told myself I was going to start in January and do a little all year long...yeah well, notsomuch. So maybe I'll try again this coming year, but for now it's the Christmas Crafter's Crunch Time no pics yet but I am working on lots of stuff and I can't really tell you about them yet either since they are gifts and I think at least one of the recipients reads my blog.
So, I am off to go warp the loom and hope to hell sample #2 turns out like I want cuz #1 was awful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day

Yesterday we got dumped on ... a bit in the morning - enough to get outside after breakfast, run around in the backyard and make a snow man. This is Abby's first real experience with snow, and probably the first one Jake will remember. They both ate snow, made snow angels, and of course make the snow man with Mommy. I had fun and wasn't too terribly cold since it was just above freezing while we were outside.
By the time naps were over the snow man had warmed up enough to tip over. But shortly after that it started snowing again and hadn't stopped when we went to bed around 11 last night.

This is what our backyard looks like today:
You can see that there is about 6 inches of snow on the table and just beyond that you can see the snow man 'corpse.'

The kids really want to go out and play in the snow again but they don't understand that it's too cold...currently our thermometer reads 16 F so it will have to warm up a little before they can go out...unfortunately it's not supposed to get much warmer throughout the day (or tomorrow for that matter).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Little Things

Last night the wind was blustering and blowing and causing the power to flicker. I personally love windy days with swirling leaves out the long as I am warm. I thought, gee it might be fun if we lost power for just a little while. Sure enough the power blinked out around 10ish or so. The kids were already in bed so no fuss on that end of things and Brian and I lit a few candles and played a game of Cribbage and headed to bed. The alarm thing wasn't a problem since, like almost everyone else in a developed country, we have cell phones (though we have no actual coverage at our home and have to use our WiFi in order to make calls). However I did start to miss a few of the little things, like heat, and the ability to cook food. I am certain that when our stove needs replacing we will be upgrading to a gas stove and that will no longer be an issue but heating a house so large will be a different story, especially since I have no clue how to make my gas fireplace work without flipping the switch on the wall. I am sure there is a way and maybe this will be motivation to figure it out.
Anyway it got me thinking about how much of a pain in the ass it would be to go on with modern daily life without power. If we were thinking long term here there are several things: forget the tv and computers that is just extra but the basics such as heat and cooking would require a gas stove and a wood burning fireplace (or at least any easy way to light my gas one). The refrigerator would work too keep things cool for only so long, however I guess I could buy blocks of ice to keep in there. I would have to get out my old, non portable phone. The fish tank would have to go. Dishes would be done by hand and hot water would be a major challenge. I do have a gas BBQ that I could use for cooking and heating water (though the process would be slow as any sane person knows this can't be used indoors). Washing our clothes would be a much more challenging process as well, but could be achieved.
Anyway you get the picture its all 1800's and stuff but really it makes sense why people had to work so hard from sun up to sun down just to get the 'little things' taken care of.
Our power popped back on around 8 this morning and I was very happy to feel the heat conveniently blowing out of the floor vents and was able to plug the computer back in and re-connect. I think I'll do a little more to be prepared for future outages that may last longer than a few hours.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A good idea. I think I'll steal it.

I am an avid Yarn Harlot reader and back at the beginning of the year she got her stuff together and made her own sock club. The idea is that she has tons of sock yarns and lots of sock patterns in mind to go with the yarn, so she tossed the yarn and the pattern in a zip top bag and put them all on a shelf to grab at random once per month so at the end of the year she has a lighter stash and 12 pairs of socks. You can read about it here.
Janel over at Spindlicity thought this was a good idea and has decided to do it with unspun fiber - her link is here.
I thought Stephanie's (Yarn Harlot) idea was a great one and liked that Janel was doing it with fiber so I have decided to get on board with the idea, however for now I am sticking to projects already begun so that I can clear up some space in my craft room. I have all of my projects in their own baggies already with a wide range of sizes (some are in sandwich bags, some are in comforter bags) and styles (spinning, knitting, quilting, etc.) to choose from. I have many more than 12 but plan on making at least 2 or 3 of them into Christmas gifts for this year.
If I finish all of my already started projects I will clear at least 3 cubic feet of space (this is a lot considering it's in a closet, and is made up of stuff that can be compacted pretty well). is to a year (+ 2 months) of FINISHING things.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious here to inform you that: There is, in fact, a lot of urine involved in the rearing of children.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fly By

Here is a quick pic of the sweater with the buttons went off in the mail today to it's tiny intended wearer.Loved knitting it...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Backyard Visitors, Crafty Things, Halloween

We have had several backyard visitors lately, only one of which I have managed to get a photo of. The guy I captured on camera is here:
A cute little common tree frog that I rescued from the children and placed on the branch of one of our backyard trees. The others have been birds. A couple of small ones and then there is the great bluebird that comes by. It's color is so vibrant and I just wish I could get a photo of it but every time I try to sneak up to get my camera it flies away. I am nearly ready to just sit with camera in hand but it only comes by about once a week.
As for the crafty things, there have been several. First I combed up some fiber I bought while at the Puyallup fair for the Sheep to Shawl...I ended up with these rolags in addition to the combed fiber:I decided to spin one up and I LOVE the color progression...however the way it looks in the hank:is so much better than when knit...
that I think I'll spin it more randomly, rather than in color order, or at least make much shorter color changes because the blocks of color remind me of 1970's appliances, but the yarn itself reminds me of fall. I'll try that and we'll see what I come up with.

I have also been doing a bit of sewing. First up was remaking some costumes for Alexis. She bought a couple from a lady on Craigslist and was sorely dissapointed...they were overalls for Super Mario Brother's but they were basically felt that was handsewn, which is fine, it just wasn't done well at all. here are a couple of shots of the originals:
Basically you have jagged edges, the button holes are just slits in the fabric, the buttons are the wrong color for the characters and the legs were simply hacked off at the bottom, they were not even cut to the same length on each leg and the straps were of variable widths.Here is what I ended up with after about 3.5 hours of my time:Buttons of the proper color, EVERY edge finished, legs the same length and hey look at that a hem:After finishing for Alexis I did some mending on the costume we bought for Abigail because she was a tad small for it but now the wings fit and the dress stays on her are my cutie pies in their costumes:Jacob orignally wanted him and Abby to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat, but chnaged his mind about a week before Halloween to be Buzz Lightyear, so Abby got to pick out a costume. She didn't care what it was as long as she got to wear those wings. We decided she was a fairy princess.

And last but not least I whipped out a sweater in a couple of days...I have been dying to make a project out of the new book I got while up on Orcas with the kids and I dug into my stash and found enough of the yarn from Jake's sweater left over to make an infant size for Mason. It only took a couple of days (real time it only took a few hours - around 5 or 6) and it was a ton of fun to kit...I may try to adapt it into an adult size it was so fun and easy.and it's cuter with the buttons on, but I took the picture before I had bought the buttons...oh well I'll have to try to remember to post a pic later.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Deathwish of Children

A long time ago (about 4 years come January) Brian and I learned quickly that babies and small children don't have much of a self preservation drive. I mean they eat and sleep but that's about it. They don't get that if they roll over to far on the bed they will rather quickly meet the floor, or that standing on the back of the couch is not the BEST idea they could have today.
Our son, Jacob has always learned fairly quickly that when we tell him not to do something ("don't touch that - it's hot, it will burn you, that will hurt") he stops, thinks and listens - if he doesn't listen, he only makes the mistake once.
Abigail on the other hand has been actively trying to kill herself from pretty much the beginning. Not only does she not listen, sometimes she must get hurt two or more times before she figures out she can't 'beat it.' She was 10 months old when I had to bolt the bookshelves to the walls too keep them from tipping over when she tried to climb them. There was the stairs incident here back when Abby was only 8 months old. I am amazed that the only real injury she has sustained at this point is a burn on her fingers and that was the babysitters fault.
So today we are at the playground and they have a climbing apparatus (at the playground? go figure!) some bigger kids were stepping up (there are about 3 levels - one is about 8 inches off the ground, one is about 2.5 feet and the other is about 3ft up) and jumping down. Abby got bored with the first level in no time flat and then immediately climbed to the top (I am not sure how she got up there all on her own but she did) and said 'jump!' I was standing next to her and had my hands out to which she immediately brush away saying 'no help me!' She looked down, thought for about 1/2 a second and then said 'JUMP!' again. I grabbed her by the arm at the last second because she was gonna jump without my help but it was too high. She was mad I helped her but she only tried jumping from the second level after that. Also refusing help. After she landed, fell back onto her ass and realized that may have been a little much she went back to picking up all the beauty bark and making piles on the play structure.
That girl is fearless. Jacob wouldn't even jump off the second step. He is a bit more timid than his sister in many ways and I don't know if he has more fear, or more sense (I think a bit of both). He has always been a bit less impulsive than her.
I am going to have to make sure Abby NEVER gets the 'garbage bag for a parachute off the roof' idea or I am going to have one helluva hospital bill. On the other hand maybe her chutzpa will get her far in life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back in Action!

After much frustration I finally asked my questions on the forums at blogger and got an answer. A rather simple on actually: switch back to the 'Old' editor. I did that and it works! I would love to know what was wrong with the new editor (I am sure it is on my end) but whatever....this works.
I was working on some fibery things and my little helper popped up to the counter to 'watch' me as I was working. In addition to the hackle I was using, my combs and flick carder were on the counter and she decided that she wanted to play with them. Actually I believe she kept saying 'help mommy' as she 'carded' some wool. Maybe I have a future fiber lover here. She does seem to like anything I am working with - she'll rub it and say 'soft, pretty'
Quite some time ago (like before we moved -so more than a year) I started this bear. I had her all cut out and all of the pieces together, I just had to assemble and stuff. I give you "Spooky" For sale in my Etsy shop.
I also made another pumpkin...Alexis this is the one I started the day you and the boys were here:
I kinda like his evil little grin, don't you?
And last but not least this is some spinning I have been doing. Brian brought me all home some wool one evening and I love the color. It's funny because I probably wouldn't have gone for this color but I am really enjoying it. Brian said I should make something for myself so I have decided on a sweater. What you see here is about 1/3 of what I will eventually need to spin. I have 4 bobbins spun up and 5 more to go.

Then I will ply them as a 3ply and then knit me a sweater. I think I may have enough leftover for one of two things I want to do, either make a sweater for Abby to match (it's iffy on whether or not I'll have enough for this) or throw some on the loom and weave a scarf.
There are a couple more things in the works but that is what I have 'really going' right now. I must go and get ready to prepare for my presentation this evening...oh, did I forget to mention this?
Sooo while I was at the sheep to shawl I was talking to a guild member and something came up that I had my spinning notebook handy to use as a refrece. The guild member really liked the spinning notebook and long story short I am presenting a short 'workshop' (really just a talk) on how to keep a spinning notebook. I am a bit nervous as I have never really done any 'public' speaking (not since reading a paper outloud in college a decade ago). I have done one 'dry run' and think it's ok. Now I need to finish my props and get any supplies together that I might need.
And so on that note, off I go.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A slight pause

I have stuff to post but Blogger is freaking out on me again and won't let me upload pics. I am fairly sure I am doing it right since I am doing it the same way I have been all along - pushing the 'add photo' button. Don't know how even I could go wrong with that. So a brief pause until Blogger gets straightened out or I may just do what everyone else on the planet is doing and move my blog to another spot (like wordpress or something). I'll make sure it's not me first though.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Scraptacular Pet Monsters and A Few Felty Things

This morning my kids were running around screaming about monsters. Jacob was playing fun (a la Monster's Inc.) and Abby took him a little to seriously and spent a solid five minutes attached to my knee being afraid of the 'cary monter' that apparently lives in my closet. Sooooo I decided to make her a pet monster of her very own to keep the 'bad monsters' away. I grabbed a scrap of fabric, folded in half and free formed a shape right on the sewing machine. Then I realized I had to sew the face on and should have done that BEFORE sewing up the body. So I ripped the stitches on 3 of the sides, folded it up and added a face, button eyes and a homespun embroidered mouth. I sewed it back up most of the way, stuffed it and hand sewed the final bit. I give you Abigail's Pet Monster:

Well if Abby had one, Jake had to have one too. So after letting him pick the colors and deciding which button for the eyes (no, mommy I want ONE eye) I put him down for his nap and drafted this guy right on the fabric. I finished sewing him closed just as Jake was waking up:

Abby's monster is about 8 inches tall and Jake's is about 10 inches tall. They were fun and pretty fast too.

Yesterday Brian told me he was thinking about making a tomato basil risotto for dinner some night and it sounded so darned good that we decided to do it tonight. He just pulls this stuff out of his head and has a good idea of what flavors will go well together (yes I know tomato basil is a no brainer, but putting it in risotto was brilliant). He made us a great risotto on the fly with some shallots sweated in olive oil and butter, rice and chicken stock. At the end of the process he added some tomato paste, fresh basil and some peas for brightness and wow! It was the best risotto I have had in a really really long time. He even loves me so much he 'over cooked' it for me (I don't like any al dente in my noodles or rice).

So in the last few weeks I have gotten out my felting kit and started to play around a bit. I went online and found a fantastic felting site and love the technique. If you were ever interested in 3 dimensional needle felting go check out Before I found the site I turned out a bowl that I later added a butterfly to:
And then a girl using pipe cleaners a armatures. I did not like the pipe cleaner method and won't use it again. It seemed like a lot of extra work for no real benefit.

Following the tutorial at I made a couple of pumpkins...these guys are about 2.5 inches tall:

So yeah, the needle felting has been fun and I think I'll try a few other things...maybe some more pumpkins since they are in season right now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crafty Quicky

I have been getting a big of crafting done lately. Not a ton and there is still a lot that is 'in the works' but here is what I have finished in the last little while:
A skein of yarn. I made this from a Hanks in the Hood batt I bought at Paradise Fibers when I ordered a new drive band for my spinning wheel ages ago. They call it Grasshopper and I think it's an appropriate name given the colors.

I also made a pillow for my niece to match the ones I made for her sisters last summer...can you guess what her name is?

Finally I was at the craft store and saw that they carry small bags of random/reclaimed buttons and so I bought a bag...this is what I came up with using 6 of them:
I have several more ideas of things I would like to make as well as some projects that are currently in the works and I'll post those as I finish them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Time Trial

Sooooo back to the crafting....
I had so much fun with Jacob's place mat I decided to do one for Abby too. Again I used scraps I had, rather than going out and buying more yarn (see profile pic....). This one has a very different look than Jacob's even though it's essentially the same. The reason it's different is because of the variegation in one of the warp yarns I used.
I thought it would be interesting to time each step of the process to see how long it took me, find out where my 'time sucks' were, and have relevant information should I choose to start selling my weaving.
So here is Abby's place mat:

It took me just under 4 hours from when I began measuring the warp until I had finished cutting the fringe. I think my time will go down as I get more practice with the loom and the dressing process (putting the warp threads on). Also If I were to warp say 4 mats at a time my time would not increase to 16 hours, it would actually go down on the time per mat since the dressing of the loom is the longest process and I would only have to do it once.
I would have to increase the measuring time by a very slight amount and I would have the same 'finishing' time for each one but overall I would save time by doing them all at once.

For now I have saved my threading from Abby's mat and I am tying new threads onto the ends of the old and will beam them through so I don't have to re-thread the reed and heddles. I think it will be less time to do it this way rather than re-threading the whole shebang.

In other news I have housekeepers now. I know it seems silly and self indulgent since I am a stay at home mom but how else am I going to get my weaving done? I snuck a pic of them at work the other day:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dead to me

After getting the results on the van I was not pleased. It needed 550 bucks (before taxes, etc) to fix the current problem and another 480 for the bumper issue (long story - not my fault but it never got fixed). Plus there was the whole 1100 for a/c. Even if we just put in the 550 it was really more than we wanted to for that stupid piece of crap van. So we decided to cut our losses and go ahead and see what was available to buy with what we could get on a trade for the van. It took some serious juggling (the dealer actually came and picked me and the kids up at the house some 15 miles from the dealership) but we were able to leave in a new car. Well, new to us anyway. We now have a car payment again (haven't had one of those in several years) but I think we'll manage with some belt tightening.
So the van is dead to me. I was darned near ready to leave it on the side of the road for the buzzards but was happy to find out that it was worth something after all. And now, I feel secure in knowing that if I ever have a problem with the new vehicle, I at least have roadside assistance via the warranty we purchased with it.
So I give you our new Suzuki Grand Vitara:
We went from a van with 7 seats to this that has 5 (3 can squeeze into the backseat) and less 'cargo space' since I can't fold down the 3rd row anymore as there is no 3rd row, but I think it will suit our family just fine. We tested the space in the back today with a monthly grocery shop and was able to squeeze it all in there with no crushed bread or broken eggs and I rarely ever do that much shopping in one trip so we should be all good to go. The picture doesn't show the color well, it's a bluish silvery grey. I think I'll call her Sally.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Remember, Remember the 11th, September.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Money Pit

Have I ever mentioned that my van is a money sucking death trap? Well, OK it may not be a death trap (yet) but it eats money like Americans eat potatoes. Stupid thing broke down on me again on Wednesday (of course I had somewhere to be as is usually the case when I am in the damn piece of crap van. The misbehavior was rather familiar and I got to thinking it was the exact same problem it was having about this time last year. Andrew convinced me to call the dealer and find out if it was still under warranty - it was exactly one year ago TO THE DAY that they did the work. The service tech was kind enough to open the ticket for me that night, even though I couldn't get it in until the next day - thus keeping it within the warranty period. If the problem is the same they will cover the cost of fixing it but if not I pay  $100 diagnostic plus whatever other fix it might need. We decided to have a dealer take a look at it to see what they will give us for it on a trade in....still waiting to hear back from both the dealer and the mechanic. Part of me (ooh goody something new!) hopes that it is bad enough we have to trade it in. The other (sensible) part of me doesn't want to deal with a big problem or trying to add a car payment into the already thin budget. I suspect I am just going to sit here and wait for the phone to ring and burn cross that bridge when I get to it. I need to do some research on when the best time to buy a car is (I am thinking it is close to the new year) and hope we can hold out until whenever that is. There is also the possibility that the economy is bad enough that the dealer will be needing a sale badly enough to really work it. Again, new car may not even be in the picture for now but I am trying to have all of my options laid out before I get to them.
I think I'll go warp the loom...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Starting Smaller

A while back I started to weave some green and white place mats. I had it all figured out and got so excited about it I measured out enough warp to make 12 of them. Well, it did not work out so well and it sat and sat on my loom. I ignored the loom every time I looked at it, or got dejected all over again...I mean it was a ton of work to get that thing all strung up and I didn't want to cut the mess off and loose all of that work. Meanwhile the loom just sits, not working at all. I got re inspired after participating in the San Juan County Fair Sheep to Shawl and so I cut the warp off of the loom, rolled it up and sent it to shame itself in a closet until I can figure out what to do with it.
All of that being done I decided to start smaller and just go for ONE place mat to see if I could get it to work. I had a bit of cotton from when I was making Jacob's belt with the tablet weaving and decided to use that. Here is the process that I used to get a couple of balls of leftover cotton to look like this:
First and foremost, I did what I failed to do in my last project and that was determine what the 'sett' should be. I used the WPI method...wrap around 1inch and count the number of threads. Divide by 2 and that is generally what the sett should be for a plain weave.
I think my number came out to be 10. Because I was doing a Twill, rather than a plain weave, I rounded up to 12. So my sett was determined to be 12 dents per inch.
I had originally planned to have a solid dark blue background and a weft of the light blue. After I started to measure the warp I counted, rewound the dark blue back onto the cone and determined that it would have to be a 3 colored place mat if I was not going to go buy more yarn (not really an option according to the bank account at the time). So I collected the materials and started again.
Then I wound the warp. It didn't take too long and since I was just doing 12 ends at a time it was really easy to keep track of how many ends I had and it made it easy to stop and tend to the children when I needed too.
Then I cut it off of the warping board....
Then the tedious work begins...sleying the reed. Every single one of the 156 threads has to be threaded through the reed. It took some time but eventually I got here:
Then all of those individual threads have to go through a heddle, in a certain pattern. For me it took about 3 hours to thread the ends through the 4 heddles in pattern.
After it is all threaded I had to tie the warp to the back apron and then roll it up (not really since this warp was so short) and tie it to the front apron, adjust the tension, fix a couple of heddle threading mistakes and then tie up the harnesses, again in a certain pattern. This would have been a lot easier if I had not had to get out the pliers and pry apart some of the hooks so I could get the cord in, I also had to make a couple of new cords since there were a limited amount on the loom.
Then I could get to the business of actually weaving. Sort of. First I put in the header and then I got to weave a couple of inches before hemstitching the beginning of the weaving.

Then I got to weave away until it got too close to the reed. Then you roll it onto the front beam and keep weaving until you get to your desired length (I added about 1/2 inch to account for any drawing in after the tension was taken off of the warp threads). Add the final hem stitch ...
Remove from loom and set on a table edge with something heavy, like a couple of books so that you can carefully pick out the header yarn...
Then let the recipient of the place mat check it out (he rubbed it and said it was soft and pretty) He said "is it for Daddy?" I said "no" he asked "is it for you?" I said "no" and with an excited raised pitch he asked "is it for me?" and I said "yes!" and he said "oh goody goody!"
Then I gied off the fringe in over hand knots. I did this in groups of 4 threads. This of course has to be done on both fringed ends, and then up to the cutting mat to even out the edges...
And finally, forbid the intended recipient from touching it so you can take a 'good' picture.