31 March 2011

That's All?

Y'all know how I've been trying to work through this nasty lull in my Faux Circle Sweater, right?  So I work on it in the school pick up line and in the evenings when I have time.  I also just sat down and knit for two hours straight!  I figured that I had made some serious headway since the last time I measured it so I reached for my tape measure... I pulled the tape... I was utterly disappointed when I read the number.

I did set my goal at 3" for today and I managed to do 4"... but that still only puts me at 15.5" and nowhere near the 20" mark I had secretly hoped to obtain.  Oh well.  I will get there.  I'm just not there yet.  No sense getting bummed over it.  I've just joined on my 5th skein and I am beginning to think that I will have to have an alternative yarn to complete the cuffs and cowl portion of this project.  That's okay - I half figured I would need to that anyway but now I need to decide what direction I am going to take this sweater.

By placing a solid color on the cuffs and cowl, it makes the arms and back more of a statement.  This will be either a subtle complimentary color or a bold statement choice.  I am not sure which direction I want to take as of yet.  There are so many subtle shades in this piece... jewel tones and muted hues - or just simple black.

Oh well, no time to pish posh over it now - supper must be started and it's pasta night so the crew is hungry!  The weather is nasty and I'm not far from bed tonight.  Idol results show and then sleepy time for me, I think.  In between, a little more knitting.

Hopefully, Once Again... Soon. ~ 2KCBWDAY4

Our distributor sent us this photo
of heroes enjoying our wares.
Hats4Heroes.org.  That is the name of my charity.  It is on hiatus right now due to the economy but we ran strong for several years... and I have faith that one day, we will run strong again.

I have told you about my love for knitting hats earlier this week so it seemed like a natural progression that I would donate all of them through a charity.  December of 2008 is when I started to work.  I found military guidelines and a distributor so I set to work.  I created a cause on Facebook and just began knitting with the hopes that others would join in - and boy did they.  We were even featured in an article for the online crafting magazine, KnitchMagazine.com - that was so exciting for us!

We grew to over 600 members and we were averaging almost 300 hats a month.  I then worked to get permission to send to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to show our wounded heroes how much we cared.  After almost a year of red tape and paperwork, I was given the go ahead!  We expanded our work to included afghans and amputee covers.

One day's worth of donations
Unfortunately, our darkest day came on August 1st of 2010.  We had a garage full of items to ship and $0.16 in our shipping account.  Our personal savings had been depleted and we had no other choice but to put operations on hold until our economy begins to turn around.  It took us several months to slowly ship out the overstock but all items have been sent to our military.  While the hiatus has weighed heavy on my heart, the hope of starting up again is always there.

We were just a group of everyday men and women who simply wanted to show our boys and girls in the Armed Forces how much we appreciate all that they do for us on a daily basis.  I know that we will be able to show that appreciation again... hopefully, one day soon.


30 March 2011

Missing Child Alert - Stark County, Ohio *UPDATED*

My friend Megan Egger's daughter, Anastasia, has run away. If you are in the Stark County, Ohio area and see a teenage girl, blond hair, pink carhartt jacket, pink knit cap, black polka boots, please contact 330-680-4436, or the Stark County Sherriff.

She's been missing since around 1 p.m. this afternoon. Her photo is above. Her glasses are now black with pink accents but this is a pretty recent shot. She does look younger in her photos than in real life.

This is not a hoax, this is my friends daughter and we are all worried sick.  Please help us bring her home!

*UPDATE* 3/31/11 ~
Regarding Anastasia Eggers - someone picked her up and dropped her off at a BP last night in Louisville, Ohio. If you are in the Louisville area and see a 14-year-old girl with blond hair, wearing black leggings, a green sweater dress, black polka dot rain boots, dark pink Carhart jacket, pink knit cap and black glasses with pink accents - please call 330-680-4436 or the Stark County Sheriff.

What? Me? Organized? ~ 2KCBWDAY3

As you may have noticed, I chose to participate in the second annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  It has been an interesting project and I have really enjoyed it - but today, I seem to have jumped the gun.  You see, in order to participate in this event, you must write about the topic given and use the search code (you may have noticed them in the titles - today's was 2KCBWDAY3) so that others may find your spin on the topic.  Sounds really cool, right... yeah, I thought so too which is why I opted in but here's the rub - I covered today's topic earlier this month!

Today's prompt reads:
Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches.
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry."

Click to enlarge
Yeah, covered the stash question here and the knitting bag question here but then it hit me - my knitting needle case!  I haven't written about that and it is something to make note of to be sure!  So let me show you my most prized knitting possession - my knitting needle roll.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has had (and still does to this day) the coolest knitting needle holder in the free world.  It is a beautiful shade of retro green and when you unroll it, you can hear angels sing as the lights from Heaven pour down on it's contents.  There is a place for everything in this little beauty.  Circulars, dpns, long and short alike - even some bits and bobs.  My mother's knitting needle roll is a treasure to her because her father made it.  I will do my best to get some photos of it this summer when we head out to Texas for a visit - it deserves it's own post, trust me... but I digress.  Let's get back to my knitting needle roll, as it is a treasure to me simply because my mother made it.

Click to enlarge
She obviously knew of my love towards her knitting accessory (it even smelled like Poppaw's downstairs basement with it's different colored steps) and made me one with her own special twist.  Mine is unique and made specifically for me but every time I pull it out, I smile and think of her.

Thanks Mama - because of you, I will always be organized... and because of you, I was able to stay in the game... I love you.


29 March 2011

We've Come A Long Way, Baby ~ 2KCBWDAY2

A look back over the past year of my knitting life - and I think that holds true.  I may not have traveled as far as some but for me, I'm pretty pleased with my distance.

A year ago, I was just mindlessly knitting hats.  It was a comfort zone.  I could do it and it turned out alright.  I kept a tally last year and I honestly knit close to 200 hats!  The challenges comes in because I live in Florida... we have very little need for hats.  Don't get me wrong, I knit other things as well - baby outfits and slippers but my 'go to' project was always a hat.

I decided that I was going to challenge myself.  I was going to make something that took a bit of time.  I wasn't going to over complicate the stitch-work but I was going to make it something I couldn't just whip through.  I had hats down to roughly 7 hours so I figured if it took me a week, that would be a good testament to my 'sticktoitativeness'... and yes, I deem that a real word... lol.  You see, I had attempted a larger project before - blankets and sweaters - but they ended up in a UFO wasteland and eventually frogged.  I wasn't going to let that happen again.  I was going to finish this project and I knew what the project was going to be - a pashmina.

My mama is always stating how her shoulders are cold.  She's a crafty sort of woman so she'll be doing her projects in the living room and then exclaim, "Oooo, my shoulders are so cold" which was quickly followed by me being told to put on a sweater.  So the first thing that came to mind was knitting my mama a pashmina - and it had to have pockets.  I had made up my mind and went in search of some yarn.  I found a gorgeous blend from Sensations, aptly named Fiesta in their Rainbow collection.  The pattern was a simple garter stitch and it basically looked like a super wide scarf - and I was able to incorporate some pockets.  Now my mother was going to have a beautiful wrap to wear when she worked on her knitting/cross stitch/quilting and the pockets to hold all her bits and bobs.  All I had to do was create it.

I figured out my measurements and cast on my yarn.  I was knitting up a storm - fiber flying left and right.  It was a sight to be seen... and then, it happened.  I got to the halfway mark and I felt that familiar feeling creeping in - boredom.  I had reached the maximum level of monotony that I could take.  How was I ever going to graduate past simple hats if I couldn't handle the lull that inevitably comes during a large project?  I wanted to make larger items.  I wanted to stretch my capabilities but I wouldn't trust myself to tackle such things unless I was able to work this pashmina.  I put down my needles and stared at my work.  I had gone just over halfway in two days of zealous knitting.  Perhaps what I needed to do was stop grinding and find the joy in the stitches.  Yes, that was exactly what I needed to do!  What is that old saying, half the fun is getting there or something along those line.  I was going to learn to have fun getting there.

After supper was cleaned up that night, I sat back down on the sofa with my knitting and began to enjoy the relaxing quality of the repetitive motion and the rhythmic quality of the metallic needles clicking... I was learning how to decompress through knitting.  Oh wow, the therapeutic implications of this discovery was astronomical, to say the least.  Knitting for peace of mind instead of racing to get things done - the simple joy of creating instead of scrambling to the finish... oh I had turned a corner indeed.

My pashmina was finished by the end of the week and I was pleased.  My stitches had been uniform for years, tension under control and all that, but there was something about the second half of that pashmina that was different.  Not necessarily better but there was a marked difference - at least to me.  After admiring my work and flaunting it to Pokey and the kids, I put it away in the stash of Christmas presents that I had slowly been creating.  I may have had to wait a good many months before my mama would receive it but I was utterly proud of my creation, nonetheless.

Once I conquered my issue with larger projects, I decided that I would write a list of things that I wanted to create and give myself a justifiable timeline in which to complete them.  I am pleased to announce that only one of the three items that year became a UFO and it has been moved to my list of items to complete this year.  Also on this year's list are techniques that I wish to learn and I have limited myself to four.  I have not yet nailed down exactly what I want to learn but I will soon.  I've been doing some research and I've got a few ideas brewing.

Mama's Pashmina is on the left
It wasn't until seven years ago that I became an avid knitter.  I started small - making scarves and slippers - and progressed to making bags, dishrags and hats... and then I plateaued for several years.  Fear kept me from moving forward in my knitting projects.  Thanks to one fateful day and my stubborn streak, it's safe to say that we've come a long way, baby.


28 March 2011

Please Don't Caress the Cashmere - 2KCBWDAY1

I am a tactile knitter.  I must feel the yarn before I can commit to using it.  It doesn't matter how beautiful the colorway or perfectly it might work, if it doesn't feel good then I won't use it.

I once went to a boutique yarn store that was my version of heaven on earth - almost.  Everything was just so luxurious, from the buttery leather chairs that no one was sitting in to the rows of glorious yarn that no one was touching.  I was hunting for some cashmere to make a little wrap out of - just a touch of luxury to brighten up any day.  I knew that this piece was going to be an investment and I believed myself ready for the challenge.  I was fairly young so I had to save up in order to even think of walking into the store.  Once I had though, I wondered why.

Yes, this store had every top brand you could image.  It had the most decadent fibers known to any knitter.  It was, as I said, almost heaven.  The reason there is a qualifier on that statement is because of one simple thing - proximity.  You see, I found the cashmere and I reached into the bin, pulled out the most gorgeous shade of eggshell I had ever seen and then I gently rubbed it across my cheek.  I fondled the weight and played with the edge along my fingers when I was approached by the sweetest looking woman who wore just a bit of time on her face.  I was expecting a gentle "Have you found what you were looking for" type of question but instead I was met with a very curt "Please don't caress the cashmere" and a lengthy dissertation regarding skin oils and how it ruins the fibers.  After handing me a pair of odd feeling gloves, she turned on her heel and walked away - I think I heard her click them together after the abrupt about-face but I will never be sure.  In utter shock and embarrassment, I replaced the $40 skein of cashmere and pretended to meander through the rest of the bins - leaving empty handed.

I was mortified.  All I wanted was to make myself something sinfully soft.  Bound, bit and determined to do just that - I headed to my local big box craft store.  I ran my hand over every single skein, several times.  I would stop and rub the contenders across my cheek in hopes of finding something suitable to replace what I had found earlier.  While absentmindedly strolling and trolling through the fibers, and replaying the events of earlier, I found myself enjoying a rather bulky version of the same softness I had found at the boutique store.  It was garish in color but only because my mind was stuck on eggshell for elegance.  "Berry Burst" was the colorway and it was just delicious!  Deep ruby reds running into soft petal pinks and back again.  Had I found a cashmere here, in this retail chain - nope, it was actually 100% acrylic!

My mind was spinning.  There was no way I was able to find something that made me feel just as glorious and spoiled for only $4 a skein.  It just wasn't humanly possible.  In order to be luscious and slightly guilty in the pleasure category, it had to also be worth the same amount as the GNP of a third world nation... didn't it?  So I did what any other knitter would do - I grabbed up all that I needed for my pattern, plus one, and headed to the check out.  You would have thought I won the lottery with the size of the smile on my face.  I was going to make something luxurious and instead of it consuming the entire $200 I had planned on for this project (I told you I saved up for it!), my receipt read $20.

On that day I learned a good many things ~ Shop around for something that feels like what you envision.  Just because a woman is older, doesn't mean she is necessarily sweeter.  Saving $180 makes for a great day... oh, and don't caress the cashmere.


27 March 2011

Sunday Snaps

We celebrated Peanut turning 18!

I created two more shutterbugs

Pokey brought me home some lovely flowers

We almost lost Fishy Fish but Pokey nursed him back to health

26 March 2011

Oh My Goodness

Hobbit & Peanut on Peanut's birthday
Things have been crazy since Thursday!  Peanut turned 18 and we had a little celebration on Thursday night for her.  Then on Friday, we went to Steak n' Shake per her request and wandering through Target (pronounced 'tar-jhey' of course), again per her request.  Since her little friend couldn't spend the night due to band duties, we obliged.

Today, we have been running since the sun came up.  Did not do a lot of actual shopping but the girls wanted to go into every flipping store up and down the highway.  Now that it's all said and done, I'm am worn slap out... I don't remember getting old and feeble but old and feeble I surely feel.

I'm experimenting for tonight's supper - and have a sinking feeling that we will be hitting up some take-away burgers if the smell is any indication of the outcome.  I'm surprised that it isn't smelling fabulous since I got the recipe from one of most favorite culinary icons - Paula Deen.  I decided to try something new for supper - Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts.  I was reading my Paula Deen magazine (something Pokey picks up for me since he knows I won't spend that kind of money on a magazine myself but definitely won't squawk if it shows up in here.. lol... I told you he was good)... anywho, she did it with Cornish Hens.  They only equal a pound or so of meat so I'm going to attempt it on my boring old chicken boobies!!

In case you were curious, the recipe* is -

2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Line sheet with foil, place breasts in skin side up. Mix ingredients and brush half over the chicken. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining mixture and return to oven for 10 more minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 and juices run clear when poked with a fork.

*recipe courtesy of Cooking with Paula Deen-Jan/Feb 2011  pg. 41

24 March 2011


As you may have read yesterday, I was falsely accused of stealing someone else's photograph and passing it off as my own.  I have no need to do that - as I can shoot anything as long as I have patience and passion.

This collage of moon images was shot this morning after dropping Peanut off at school - Vindication complete.  Please, click on the collage to view larger so you can see the magnificent detail of the moon this morning.
Click to view larger
Oh yes, and in case you are curious, here are my camera settings for reference:
Camera:Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
Exposure:0.0025 sec  (1/400)
ISO Speed:200
Focal Length:92.79 mm

23 March 2011

Beyond Reproach

Super Moon from 19 March 2011
This is the moon.

This is my shot that I took with my camera, standing in my backyard on the 19th night of March in the year 2011.

I used a Canon Powershot SX10IS.  The settings were: Exp 1/1250s, F stop 5.7, ISO 400 and Focal Point of 100 mm.  It was taken on 19 March 2011 at 10:47 p.m EST and uploaded to my computer on 19 March 2011 at 11:42 p.m. EST.

This is the moon and this is my shot ~ no post processing necessary sans a tighter crop.

I have been accused of stealing this shot by a so-called "professional" photographer simply because their thousands of dollars worth of equipment was not able to produce the same results.  I have been accused of copyright infringement on this shot because the so-called "professional" photographer could not get a shot as clear, bright or close and therefore can not believe that I could create such a capture, being a mere enthusiastic hobbyist.

My honor and integrity were called into question by a person who has none.  My character and ethics were sullied by a person who knows not the definition of those words.  This person's actions and accusations were beyond reproach.  My response to her is simply this ~

Talent does not lie within the artist's tools, but within the artist themselves.

Stars Hollow

That's where I am going to spend the day.  I'm going visit my best girlfriends and catch up on lost time.  We'll stroll around town, share some coffee and stories and perhaps even a tear or two.  I love spending the day there.  It has such a calming effect - nothing beats a day of knitting with friends.

I am hoping to make some major progress on my sweater today.  This part is my major hangup with larger projects... you reach that repetitive point and it just gets to be a tad boring.  It's 'nose to the grindstone' now and just muster through to the other side... only 33" left to go... it's a cake walk.  As a motivator, I'll post "before" and "after" shots of my day's work... yeah, that's the ticket!  So here is the "before"...
Starting point - 11" completed
and I will update this with the "after" before I go to bed tonight.  I hope I make some decent headway - I think if I can get to 23", I'll be tickled... because that marks the beginning of the downhill slide!

I hope y'all have a Stars Hollow day today too.

22 March 2011


Clean house, calm heart
Man oh man - today has been just crazy busy and it's not even noon!  I had this bright idea that with everyone out of the house that I would be able to get it spotless again AND have time to enjoy it... the only wrench in the works was that I wasn't totally motivated to do it this morning.

Pokey woke me up as usual, with kisses and coffee at 6:30 this morning.  I am in no way, shape or form a morning person.  People in my family draw straws to see who 'has' to wake me up... rather evil of them but there is good cause - I'm grumpy when I wake up.  I know this and I try not to be but until I've had that first swig or two of coffee, I am hating life.  So anywho, I kiss him goodbye and toddle my happy hiney off to get a shower.  I'm dried and dressed and on to my second cup of coffee by 7 a.m.  Here is where the speed bump in my plan happened... I sat down.

Yep, that's right.  I sat down.  Right here actually.  I was just going to check my Facebook, email and pop over to my mommy forum for those thirty minutes before I had to wake up Hobbit.  That was the plan.  I fooled myself into thinking that I had some self restraint... silly me.  I wake Hobbit up on time but then I toddle back here and plop my hiney down until she has completed her morning routine and we head off to school.  Upon returning home, instead of hopping to it, I plopped back down again.  Right here, again.  To get back on my Facebook and forums, again.

So I did what any other normal human being would do - I made myself a deal.  I told myself that if I got off my duff and deep cleaned the living room, dining room and entryway that I could do the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen tomorrow.  That sounded fair, right?  I thought so... so I pre-cleaned the living room and then deep cleaned it... then I got sidetracked and sat back down here.  I welshed on my own deal... to myself.  How pathetic is that?!?

I couldn't believe that I would do such a thing.  I mean, if I can't hold true to my word to myself, how can I honestly think I can do so for another person?  It was just sad.  Now that my guilt was firmly in place, I got up and got to work.  I deep cleaned the dining room and the entryway.  I mopped all the tile (entryway, dining room and kitchen areas).  I flipped the laundry.  I deep cleaned our bedroom... and then I just HAD to stop.  Not because I wanted to but because the dust had aggravated my asthma so bad, I had to use my inhaler which requires me to stop for a few minutes and catch my breath... hence my writing now.

Peace and quiet
Once this post is done, I'm going to deep clean Hobbit's room and then vacuum her room, the living room, the playroom and our bedroom.  Then, the downstairs will be done.  Peanut and Hobbit will be cleaning the upstairs playroom because it looks like the toy box and closet threw up all over the room - it's just cruel to make me deal with that when I didn't even get to partake in the fun of messing it up.  So with that all completed, I will be able to enjoy my nice clean house for a grand total of  20 minutes before I have to leave to get Peanut from school.  Oh well, at least I know it will still be clean when I get home - all bets are off after that since the kids will be home too.

What a whirlwind of a morning I caused myself - all because of this seat right here.  I think I might have ground myself for procrastination.

21 March 2011


Have you ever met Itchalina?  No?  Oh my, well that is something we're going to have to remedy, isn't it.  Readers, I am pleased to introduce you to Itchalina... Itchalina, these are our readers (cute little lot, aren't they!).

Itchalina came to live in our home one winter's night.  She is a dear friend of my youngest daughter, Hobbit.  You see, Hobbit had developed an allergic reaction to some medication she was issued.  Her entire body was one big hive.  I wish I were exaggerating, but I am not.  From the top of her head all the way to soles of her feet, one super huge hive... and she itched!

Most people would suggest giving her Benadryl for it and I would normally be one of them - but Hobbit is allergic to it so we usually just have to tough it out.  It's difficult for me, a grown woman, to tough it when I break out in hives so imagine being a tiny 5-year-old and attempting to do it.  Enter - Itchalina!

She was sitting in our local pharmacy, waiting for me to arrive.  I told her how beautiful she was and she explained what her purpose in life was - to take away Hobbit's itchies!  She had heard about how horrible Hobbit felt and how she was being such a good girl with toughing it out but Itchalina was coming to lend a hand, as it were.  Wherever Hobbit had an itch, she could scratch Itchalina and feel better!!  Oh I was in tears over how selfless this little bug was being... and I did what any other mother would do it - cuddle her all the way to the check out, hoping that she would bring some relief to her little baby girl.

Hobbit loves her Itchalina and Itchalina loves her Hobbit.  A match made in heaven.

It's A...

School Night!

I'm not tickled or anything... seriously, I'm not.

Okay, I'm a bad liar.  I love my kids to no end, I really do, but I love my daily routines too and I haven't been able to do them for 10 days!  That is a long time to be off kilter with your norm.  Plus, we are now entering what has been deemed "The Final Stretch" so things are going to get uber hectic around here and it's nice to know that I have some semblance of normalcy in my life... even if it is simply laundry or basic housework.

Peanut's birthday is this Thursday and that is the kick off to The Final Stretch.  After her birthday, it's Hobbit's turn just 3 weeks later.  Then we've got graduation a mere 4 weeks after that which is closely followed the next day by Pokey's birthday.  It all wraps up with Hobbit's last of day of school two days later - and the next morning the girls are off to Texas with my folks.

I'm exhausted just typing it all out.  I have also been working like the devil to get as many photos in as possible so that I can create something spectacular for the girls during this upcoming time apart while Peanut is away at college.  I know they are going to miss one another terribly so I'm creating something special that I hope will help ease the transition for them.  I'm about finished except for the aforementioned celebrations.

So yes, I am excited that it's a school night... but I'm also anxious about this Final Stretch... so laundry and housework are basically my saving graces at the moment.

20 March 2011

Sunday Snaps

Ramsay in his little nest by his favorite sun spot.
"Super Moon" taken at midnight

I found Spring in my backyard today

Peanut & Hobbit enjoying the first day of Spring

Ramsay just relaxing on a lazy day

19 March 2011

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Man, these past few days have been arduous to say the least!  Let's see, we've had surgery, attitude adjustments and general ickiness... I wonder if that whole "Calgon, take me away" plea really works?

Ramsay had his surgery on Thursday.  I was a wreck all day... worried and weepy are two really good adjectives to describe me.  He made it through fine and has one more dose of medicine left.  I wish he would actually be a bit more calm so he doesn't hurt himself but the flip side of that would be me worrying that he isn't acting like normal so he really can't win, can he.

Hobbit has been in rare form for the past 48 hours or so.  Apparently her ability to listen has been lost at some point during this vacation.  I am not sure where it is but I sure hope she finds it soon - for both our sakes.

It's almost time for supper.  I didn't know what to do with the chicken so I have two pans in - one is lemon basil and the other is celery mustard.  I don't even care if the kids eat it... it sounded good to me.  I'm guessing mash and perhaps a broccoli/cauliflower/carrot medley deal thingy.

15 March 2011

It's All In The Bag

Click to view details
A group of friends were chatting and showing off their knitting bags.  One uses an old bowling bag that I thought was cute and suited her funkiness... then I looked over at my current project bag.  Did my project bag reflect me?

I have a lot of bags that I use for my knitting.  Totes, designer creations, homemade beauties and everything in between.  I pick my bag to best suit my project, not my mood.  If I'm working on something big, I just use my JoAnn recycle bag - seen here with my current Faux Circle Sweater tucked neatly inside.  It isn't the most beautiful bag in the universe, though I do think it's cute.  It holds everything I need it to hold at the moment and isn't that all I need?

Click to view details
I sat for a moment, staring at my bag, when I suddenly remembered my one true love of knitting bags.  A bag I found umpteen billion years ago and fell in love with, mainly because it did the one thing I was searching for - convert into a backpack for travel!  Now, I do use this bag when I travel but whats to say that I can't use it every day?  And if I must only confine myself to using it for travel, don't I travel back and forth on my Mom's Taxi service daily route?  I think that qualifies - plus, with it's great closing flap, it will keep Ramsay out of trouble!

So now, I'm off to switch my knitting bags.  Raspberry knitting backpack, oh how I've missed you!  Just look at all the lovely features of this bag - it has a sturdy front closure that you could probably use in a mountain climbing emergency.  It has a zippered thin pocket in the lid flap.  When you open it up, the front little bungee hinged pocket has a ton of needle loops and opens wide so you can see exactly what is inside.  It can hold the long 15" straight needles too, no worries there.  Little things like cable needles, stitch markers, tape measures and tapestry needles can all go in there too - or in one of the three side pockets or in the aforementioned top flap zipper pocket.
Please click to see this larger - it's well worth it!

These side pockets are fabulous.  One looks like your standard cell phone flap, the mesh one can easily hold a water bottle and the other even has a pop out ear for headphones to weave through, should you desire to rock while you work.  The headphone pocket has a zipper to it and it's large enough to hold a CD walkman (yeah, I'm talking old school bag here).  Now the main compartment is to die for - it's HUGE!  The top has a pull string closure to keep your stuff dry should you get caught out in the weather.  It also has about 8" of waterproof material that goes above the height of the sturdy constructed backpack... but that isn't the best part.  Oh no, the best part is the straps.  It can be a backpack, my personal favorite, or it can be an over the shoulder bag or an messenger bag or simply carry it with the top handle.  The versitality of the bag is every woman's dream come true... well, at least this woman's.

There you have it - a loving tribute to my favorite accessory, my knitting bag.

13 March 2011

A Different View

This was written by Pokey on our kin website for the game we play (LotRo) and I thought it needed to be shared with more than just a handful of friends.. it needed to shared with a handful more... who will hopefully share with their own handful.  

Perhaps in doing so, this message will reach those who need to hear it and those who might not know they need to hear it.  By simply sharing our experiences, we can all learn and grow in this crazy thing we call life.

So without further ado, here is Pokey's post ~

I'm not a morning person at all, I never really have been. I woke up this morning more than a little annoyed because I had been waking up every 10 to 15 minutes looking at the clock due to the time change.

I finally dragged myself out of bed around 6:30 to get ready for work and start my day, grabbed a cup of coffee, showered, got dressed and packed my lunch. After I was ready to go I took the dogs out and brought Ramsay to my wife who was still in bed (probably just as annoyed as me since I know I woke her several times while trying to decide if the time on the clock was correct or not.) I kissed her and said for her to have a good day and left for work.

Other than the time change it was a very typical Sunday morning for me, I got in my car turned on the heat since it was a little cool and cracked my window to keep fresh air coming in. It was still dark out with a lighter haze to the east in the predawn light as I pulled out of my driveway. I turned up the radio and started off towards work, just another typical Sunday morning.

As I drove out of the neighborhood and a short distance up the highway that takes me to the main road to work I saw a man standing in the median of the road selling newspapers, he's always there so it wasn't a surprise. I was still some distance away from where he was standing when an entire list of all the things I detested about him came to me in a rush of thoughts and emotions.

I have been driving the same route every Sunday morning since we moved to this house and every Sunday this same man is always at the intersection hawking his papers. Generally the paper hawkers do not bother me, I know that they are people who are most likely down on their luck and I applaud the fact that they are at least working doing something rather than sitting there with a sign reading "Disabled Vet anything helps, God Bless."

This one man however has irked me to no end since the first time I saw him. He's an older man very difficult to guess his age with long mostly grey hair, he wears beat up tennis shoes, ratty looking jeans usually a long sleeve undershirt and his yellow "ONLY $1" shirt that all of the paper hawkers wear which also bears the name of the paper he works for. In general he looks like a typical street beggar.

The first time I recall seeing him I had pulled up to the light with my window down, he walked directly up to my car and very loudly exclaimed "Good Morning!" His voice itself grated on me, it was deep and sounded like he spent too many years smoking. In all the years that I have lived and worked in the area and driven on a Sunday morning I have never had one of the paper hawkers approach my car in that way or speak directly to me, it felt very aggressive even though he didn't say anything other than "good morning." It almost felt as if he had somehow come into my personal space even though he was still standing outside the car and never once made a move to put his paper through my window nor even ask me to purchase one from him, it was a simple "good morning." Somehow though those two simple words and his simple presence sparked something inside of me that made me absolutely detest this man.

Every Sunday since that first encounter, I have tried various ways to avoid him short of changing my route to work, which would cause me to have to leave earlier. Every Sunday he approaches my car and bellows "Good Morning!" It doesn't matter if my window is up, it doesn't matter if I am in the furthest lane that I can be from him. He seems to go out of his way to yell those two words to me and every time I cringe and refuse to even look in his direction or even acknowledge that he is there.

Two weeks ago I was driving to work and pulled up to the intersection and he wasn't there, someone else was. I was extremely relieved and thought to myself "maybe he no longer works there" and was happy at the prospect that I would no longer have to see him.

Last week I pulled up thinking to myself that all would be well, there would be no one there to holler at me and I could continue on my route unmolested, I couldn't have been more wrong. There he was holding his paper at the intersection. I changed lanes to be as far away from him as I could, he stepped out into the road and held his paper nearly in front of my windshield as I pulled past him to the line. Once again I heard his "Good Morning" and glancing to the left saw that he was standing right next to my car. I grunted a "morning" back to him with a scowl on my face and then he asked a completely ludicrous question which I took as a threat, "I suppose you wouldn't want to be a hood ornament would you?" The light turned green and I drove off extremely upset. How could this beggar be that audacious. Was this a joke? Or did this man harbor the same animosity towards me as I had towards him? I was absolutely livid by the time I arrived at work. I attempted to find out how to contact the newspaper he works for and all I could find was information on how to report news to them. Nothing on how to contact HR or anything. When I went on break I relayed my story to my wife and she went online and found the number to the local distribution center where he most likely works out of. She tried to call and found that they were not open on Sunday and vowed to call back on Monday. Monday came and went and both my wife and I forgot all about calling.

This morning as I was leaving my house and had turned up the radio because a song I really enjoy had come on. I was listening to it and singing along happy as a lark as I drove my normal route. The song had just ended as I was pulling up to the intersection and I was in good spirits. I pulled into the left lane closest to the median without even thinking about the news paper hawker who had become my Sunday morning nemesis. There he was dressed as normal but also wearing a ratty looking over shirt unbuttoned so that his "Only $1.00" shirt could still be seen. After I came to a stop he hollered "Good Morning!" and I replied "Good Morning!" with just as much enthusiasm as he had, he then said "Try and stay warm roll your window up and turn on the heat." I replied "I can't or my windows fog up." He replied back (still carrying the same tone of exuberance as he used when saying "good morning") "At least have a cup of hot coffee!" I held my coffee mug up and smiled replying "Right here." The light turned green and I was just about ready to hit the accelerator when he called out "Thank you for smiling this morning."

My entire Sunday morning life had just been turned upside down as I realized that this man whom I hated for some completely unknown reason has simply been doing every thing he could in those few brief moments every Sunday morning to get me to smile. I had to do some immediate soul searching over this one and decided that it was time to pray for the wrong that I had done this man in my heart over the past year or so. God answered my prayer immediately by lifting my anger and I felt compelled to share this story even though it shows those who read it that I have a complete and total towards another human being for absolutely no reason at all.

I hope that some of you reading this will not think less of me as I have learned a valuable lesson today. My hope in writing this is that perhaps others might learn from my mistake and perhaps take a moment to review their feelings towards those whom we feel some form of animosity.

11 March 2011


well, I don't know... he doesn't have a name yet.  I've had America's "Horse with No Name" stuck in my head ever since he came home.  I'm not allowed to name him because he isn't mine.  Pokey keeps telling me to give him a name by suggesting it to Hobbit but that's kind of like cheating.

So here is the new fish... I wonder if he's met the horse yet?

2:45 p.m. EST

That is when Spring Break officially begins.  The girls will be out of school until the 22nd and we've got absolutely nothing planned!  It is going to be a lazy time for all - and we are all looking forward to it.

Movie marathons, photo shoots, craft days, possible swimming time, park adventures, baking bonanzas and general silliness is the order of the week.  No classes.  No schedules.  No homework.  Just fun - that is the only requirement for the next 9 days.

I think we're going to be set - at least if you look at my grocery list you would think so... bagel bites, ice cream, cereal, popcorn, candy, soda, pretzels... sometimes a Staycation just blows the doors off of any vacation you can dream up.. and that is our goal!!

10 March 2011

How Exciting!!

Anyone recognize these?
Ester Bitran Hand Dyes in Andes 43 colorway
More to come...

Do you think my luck will hold out for this...
Malabrigo in Whales Road
I sure hope so!

Classic Cache

Some of my friends were talking about their yarn stash and shared some photos.  A very dear woman whom I simply adore has a nifty floor to ceiling cupboard that is very neatly organized but also closed off from view.  It's no wonder that we are friends because I have the same set up here, albeit more modest.

I have always been taught to respect your treasure-trove of yarn.  Keep it clean and free from harm.  To see some of the ways that others keep their stash, all tangled and thrown on the floors of miscellaneous closets, just broke my heart.  There was no respect for their craft - for their art.  By keeping their tools in such a manner, I can't help but wonder what their projects look like - do they pick up dropped stitches and fix mis-stitched pattern work or do they just leave the messes and move on... I would tend to think the later.

Now I bet you're sitting there wondering what my stash looks like - well, wonder no more because I will share with you.  My stash is simple.  It's understated and it's far from ostentatious. 

My yarn lives in Hobbit's baby dresser, a little three drawer cupboard that sits in the playroom.  I have organized it in such a way so that I can not over purchase and I must use before I replenish. 
As you can see, all of my full skeins are in the top drawer - and my top drawer is full.  This means that I can not purchase any more yarn until I work through what I have up there.  In that drawer awaits a hat & scarf set for Peanut, a shawl for Peanut, a sweater vest for Pokey and even a possible pair of socks should I ever get that brave.  I also have "emergency skeins" for last minute presents that I can whip up in a day, like a hat, but they are mostly masculine colors since they are leftover from when hats4heroes was running.

I have been contemplating winding up the partial skeins so they can go in the Bits & Bobs drawer and use the second drawer for more full skeins but that would defeat my purpose of limitations.  Bits & Bobs is less than half the initial skein left while a partial is half or more... so as you can see, that would be illogical.

I guess I better cracking on some projects if I want to make room for new yummy yarns!

09 March 2011

Please, Oh Please, Oh Pretty Please...

I wanna go - I really do.  I've never wanted to do something so much in my entire life.  I must figure out a way to go... I will figure out a way.

Just sayin...

08 March 2011

Oooooo... I Love A Challenge!

Official rules - click here
So I was catching up with Andi and noticed that she is going to participate in something I had never heard of but instantly fell in love with - Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011!

Look out people - in two weeks time, it is going to be action packed and fiber filled!  Too exciting for words!!

Topics will include things like yarn appreciation, skills development, a day in life, aspirations and innovations.  These things should get our creative juices flowing and needles flying.

I hope you are as excited as I am - and I'm over the moon!

Mexicali Chicken

Mexicali Chicken
Today, as you may have seen, is going to be hectic and I don't like days like that.  I need to make sure I've at least got one thing under control - supper.

I had already gotten chicken breasts out to thaw but was at a loss as to what I was going to do with them.  I put a request up in my Facebook status for my friends to please share some of the favorite chicken recipes so I could make something new.  I got so many wonderful replies and that got my creative juices flowing again - thanks again girls, y'all are so fabulous!

Here's what we've got simmering on the counter at the moment - Mexicali Chicken.  The ingredients are:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
16 ozs chicken stock
1 can of corn, drained
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 tbsp chives
Rice - appropriate amount for those eating.

Pour the stock in the crock pot and whisk in the taco seasoning.  Add the ground mustard and chives, whisk until well blended.  Add celery seed by grinding it through your palms.  Place chicken breasts in crock pot and then the corn.  Cover and cook for 7 hours on low heat.  Be sure to check internal temperature to make sure you reach 180 F.  Once the chicken is done, pull it out and shred it with a fork.  Thicken up the sauce until desired consistency, return chicken and serve over rice.  Corn bread or tortilla chips would be a nice addition to the meal.

I'll let you know how it turns out but so far, it's looking good and smelling even better!

***Update ~ it was delicious!  I poured my Mexicali Chicken over my rice and the mixed it all together.  I also mixed in some ranch dressing because I love the cool flavor with the spicy.  It was a definite hit at this house.***

Days Like Today

I don't care much for uncertainty.  It drives me buggers.  I made a dentist for Peanut and Hobbit 6 months ago and it is today... but today has now been filled with uncertainty so I'm not the happiest of campers.

Peanut being Peanut.. drawing
You see, Peanut gives her presentation on her Senior Project today.  Initially it was set for 4 p.m. but that is the same time as her dental appointment.  The teacher stated that they had cancellations and would be able to move her but failed to give her an exact time.

I don't do well with that kind of thing.  I need to know.  I have other things that need coordination like picking up Hobbit from school and such.  I don't "wing it" and I never have.  If you can't commit to a plan then simply commit to keeping quiet.

So now my day is all disheveled because I don't know if I am to leave to go and get Peanut at normal time, if I should go and get Hobbit first and come home, or if I should head straight to Peanut's school after getting Hobbit and if so then how long will we have to wait.  It's all just frustrating to me.

More people should listen to Ray Kroc ~ "Plan your work and work your plan".  Words to live by.

07 March 2011


It's defined as an occupation upon which one chooses to make their livelihood.  There is no mention of abilities or outcomes, just the simple statement that a person decided that they wanted to do something, charge a fee and earn a living.

I am quickly learning that there are many in the photographic arts community who, whilst deeming themselves as professionals, don't act the part one bit.  Elitist mindsets and attitudes run amok and bullying is not only common but cheered.  The feelings of insecurity given off by these actions is so thick it permeates through the community with such a foul stench that you want to toss your cookies.  These so called professionals even created a site on the internet specifically to insult other photographers work.

Art is subjective.  One person may love a shot that another may not.  There is no right or wrong way to view art.  Photography is an art form, plain and simple.  What I find to be beautiful, you may not and visa versa.  You know what though, that's okay.  These differences are what gives us such a wide breadth of fabulously creative imagery.

These people that are being ridiculed are simply making a living.  Those who are passing judgement on the others works are simply being elitist snobs.  Not one ounce of creative criticism is to be found in their comments.  It's simply bullying at it's most basic level.  It doesn't make them look smarter.  It doesn't make them appear more creative.  It simply shows their level of insecurity and false sense of entitlement.  If I were to make a disparaging comment about those things which I do not care for, would that make me better than those whom I've insulted - not at all.  Would it serve any useful purpose for me to bully another simply because I might not have the same vision in regards to a something as trivial as a picture - absolutely not.

Why is it that when someone shows a desire to do something, others feel the need to tear them down?  Does my photography in Florida somehow impact your photography in New York?  It all comes down to one of two things - those who insult others work are either so ego centric that they believe everyone is doing things in this crazy world just to have an impact on their life or they are just that insecure about their own abilities.

If someone wants to call themselves a professional, fine, but that someone should also act like one as well.

06 March 2011

All Gone

Welp, all four of the fair fish have gone belly up.  No clue why and no real remorse around here.  We did warn the girls that we would be lucky if they made it through the week.  It's rough, the life of a carnie - especially if you are a fish.

Here's the kicker, Pokey told Hobbit that if the fish did die, he would take her to get a more hearty type of fish - a beta.  Guess what they'll be doing later on this week.  I'm not anti-fish, I'm just not real keen on them.  They just sit there.  Taking up space.  Making a mess and living in it.  Yeah, not a big fan.

Oh well, it's Pokey's undertaking, not mine... and should this next one die, I believe the tank will get put up while the rest of the occupants of the house are at work or school.  It's just flushing money down the toilet every time... pardon the pun.

05 March 2011

Why Is It...

if the house is a little dusty, it doesn't bother my allergies too terribly bad but as soon as I dust to remove it all, my allergies go bonkers?

This should be one place in life where irony doesn't play a part... don't you agree?

Tea and Tears

WiP ~ Scary Sweater
I meant to tell y'all yesterday but I got sidetracked and forgot.  While I was waiting in the car line at Hobbit's school, I made some serious progress on my Scary Sweater.  I am really starting to enjoy how it is coming out, even though the whole lack of actual measurements irks me to no end.

Anyway, the bell rang which is my cue to put the knitting up and get ready for departure.  As I leaned over to put my pattern binder in my bag, the bottom of my expensive yarn dipped itself into my tea glass!!  When I realized it, I just started to cry.  I opened the glove box and began using the napkins I hoard in there for emergencies.  I squeezed it out in 10 napkins!  I was in such a mood for the rest of the afternoon.  Thank goodness Pokey understands the importance and significance of what happened or else I am pretty sure there would have been an even bigger cloud of doom and gloom.  He knew all I needed was an "oh baby, I'm so sorry", coupled with a hug since there was really nothing he could do to fix it.  Sympathy and understanding during this crisis was all that was in order - and y'all know, it was truly a crisis.

Looking at it today, you can't see a discoloration in the yarn but I can feel a texture difference.  Since I squeezed it as soon as it happened, I believe that helped out a great deal.  Just like blotting a carpet after you spill tea or coffee on it.  Just because it is known to stain, blotting it will absorb the liquid and give you a better shot of not having a stain when you're done.  I am not really sure what else I can do at this point since it is still on my needles.  I obviously don't want it to be ruined but I can't really wash it properly right now.  I know I'll figure something out now that I have a clearer mind about it but so far, I'm drawing a blank.

The Knitting Gods are telling me to never spend so much ever again - got the message guys, loud and clear!
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