Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

 Well, it's time to put Christmas back in the boxes. This year I'm hoping to eliminate a couple of boxes. I already am one less. Some of the things I have belonged to my parents and my sisters are taking them so they will have a bit of Christmas with Mom and Dad.

I have a new mouse and I don't have the hang of it yet. Blogger no longer supports Firefox and I'm trying to use Safari. It sucks because between the browser and new mouse they do stuff I don't know how to fix yet. Next blog will be through Netscape. I can't get this thing to quit centering the type.

Anyway, that's my new handbag that D bought me for Christmas. For those who are fans it is a Dooney and Bourke handbag. On the small side. I find that I don't need to take my checkbook with me much anymore and since I wear my glasses most of the time these days a smaller bag is very nice. But I have several larger bags too. It's very nice to have a selection and I am very lucky to own several Dooneys and one Coach. I have a very generous family.

I also scored a Kindle Fire. I love the thing already but since I already posted photos of it I won't post more.

 And that crafty husband of mine saw one of these abacus bracelets on line and made me a couple of them. I love, love, love them! So now I know why he spent hours in the garage after work.

One of my photos mysteriously disappeared. so you will have to settle for just the one of the yarn bowl. This is a project D and I are both working on. I've been wanting one but am unwilling to spend $30 on the thing. At least until I know I will use it. You put your ball of yarn it it and thread the yarn through the slot or hole, whichever it has, and you can put your bowl on the sofa or floor and your ball of yarn will just roll around inside the ball and not all over your dog and car hair covered floor.

D got the design cut on the one side of the bowl but when he went to do the other side as I asked him to, the brittle plastic broke. But I can still use this and see if I like it until I get over to Target to score another bowl. the bowl is less than $2 so I don't feel bad about experimenting on it. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a wooden bowl. I think it would work nicely and be easier to cut a slot of some sort in.

So, how was your Christmas?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

No Pictures Today

Shannon isn't the only one having trouble with Blogger. I have 't been able to modify or change my template since I put it up and couldn't figure it out. It turns out that Blogger no longer supports Firefox, the browser I normally use. So I used another browser and everything went just fine.

Until this morning. For some reason none of my browsers would open. Except Safari. So here I am blogging on a browser I normally only use on my phone.

Today is the foggiest day we've had in years. I can't see the cars going by on the street even with their lights on. Crazy, but true. If it were dark I probably wouldn't venture out at all. But I need to go to the drug store today and I'm pretty used to the fog. As a matter of fact I actually like it if it doesn't last for weeks at a time. It softens everything and makes you feel all warm and cozy if you are in the house.

I hope everyone is just about ready for THE DAY. Christmas. I don't get all this howling and yowling about religious symbols at this time of year. No one cares if I wear a cross necklace anytime of year. I can put anything I want on a t-shirt and my rights are protected. Religious or not the lights are pretty. The season is supposed to be about love and giving. You'd think that would include giving a little extra understanding of other peoples beliefs, no matter what we are. I'll give you the point of religious decoration in a publicly funded building or property. That's not such a big deal to me.

I have to admit that I don't know the meaning of all the Christmas symbols we use. I'm sure that many have strayed from their original meaning. I am not a traditionally religious person. Some may find my beliefs strange and there are some that are sure I am going to hell. But please enjoy your holiday season in whatever way you see fit and be generous enough to let others do the same.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Season of Miracles!

I have a few plants scattered around my house. Most are doing well. Occasionally an orchid will actually bloom. Very Occasionally. But my African violets never bloom again. They are blooming when I buy them. They stay lovely plants. I feed and water as directed. But they never bloom again.

The same goes for my zygo cactus. It will get buds then the buds just fall off before it blooms again. I baby the things but to no avail. Well, I think I finally figured out what I'm doing wrong because now they are all blooming! Yes, a true miracle. And it's happening to me.

Two out of four of my African violets are blooming. One doesn't even have buds and the other was a sodden sad little thing that is now looking much better. The zygo cactus still has it buds and one is starting to open. Not a single one has fallen on the counter top.

It looks like I've been over caring for the things. I have been pretty busy and have been ignoring the house plants so much that they dry out pretty good between watering's. I give a good soak a sink with warm water (just the smaller plants and orchids) when I notice how dry they are. I just stick 'em in the morning and a couple hours later swap them out for other dry ones. Then I leave them on a towel on the counter top to finish draining. When they all have been suitably soaked I put them all back in their places. Then I forget about it until the next time it crosses my mind to check them or something wilts.

'Tis the season for blooming miracles

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Posting in No Sensible Order

Okay, D said we needed a new building in the village under the tree. So I had this 20% coupon for Kohl's and $15 in Kohl's Bucks. But when I went there I was just browsing. I didn't have any idea they had any these small buildings. Well, they do. And they were 50% off. I used my coupon and my Kohl's Bucks and this stable cost me $13. And that's rounding the number up.

And the pictures are out of order but I've been tackling the boxes that have been in my closet for years. All the shoes in boxes are gone. I've emptied a couple clothes boxes. Last week I realized I only have three pairs of jeans that fit okay so I went back to the boxes. Sure enough I found tons of jeans. Some were out of style and will be donated. I'm sure someone out there still wears Mom Jeans. And some just weren't as flattering as they could be. But some were nice and some were old friends from a thinner day. But now I have plenty of jeans now! And I found all these cute jackets in the box too. Okay I opened two boxes. Now there is just one pair of jeans in the box, size 10. I need not say more except that they might be there a while yet. There are only two boxes left in the bottom of the closet. I hope to get it down to just one box of stuff that I only use rarely or can't bear to part with.

So the village is under the tree. Darryl set it up how he wanted. That is the Harley Dealership you see there. He put the Service store waaay behind the tree. And for some reason he has the black smith right next to this Harley place. I suggested next year that we have a city section and a country section. We will have to see if that idea sticks anywhere in his mind. He put some building on foam blocks around the base of the tree. It's looks great! But it didn't occur to us that the huge light and motor in the base of the fiber optic tree might overheat. Well it did. And it's not working. And we have another one. But we'd have to tear the entire village apart to replace it. So the star on top lights and the village lights but the tree is in a sort of more natural state without lights. It doesn't make it less pretty.

And one last photo. This is that very same pretty bush I posted earlier. Only now it looks like what it is: tumbleweed. Quick transition.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leftover Sock Yarn

Okay, so I have all this yarn leftover from making socks. I needed a cover for my Kindle Fire. So I used some leftover sock yarn and made one. It's pretty much a knitted envelope. I just happened to have three buttons with lions on them. TA DA! I never expected it to come out this nice.

Yesterday we went to Staples to look around and see if they had any Fire accessories. Nope. But I looked at cases to put my Kindle in (in case the knitted one didn't work out, it wasn't quite finished when we went). WOW! Sticker shock! I was figuring twenty bucks or so for some simple plastic case. They start at $30 and go up! And they weren't leather or fancy or anything. Just a simple plastic and cardboard book cover thingy! Not neoprene, not fancy designs on the cover, just plain in a choice of solid colors. So when I got home I finished up my knitted case and it exceeded my expectations. I figured it would do until I found something I really liked. Well, this is slimmer, provides a bit of padding, washable, and I can make another pretty easily. It fits nicely in my handbag with very little bulk. And I used it to wipe off the fingerprints on the screen.

But the next time I might use two yarns together and bigger needles. I would be able to make one faster and it would provide a bit more padding. I could make them to match my handbags. Okay, that's going a little far.

I like it. Now, if you will excuse me I have to go get my arm set in a cast. I think I just broke it patting myself on the back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Plant Identification Time

So. I see these kinda cool round bushes shrubs here in the spring and summer. They intrigued me for several years. They are so round. I wondered why they weren't use for natural landscaping. No pruning required, low water, etc.

And they have these tiny blooms all over them and they bloom all summer. It was the stickers all over the plant that gave them away. And that round thing. So I asked D what he thought. He looked at me like I was crazy because I didn't know what they were and I know everything.

They are tumbleweeds. Seriously. They will dry up, break off at the ground, and roll in the wind probably spreading their seeds everywhere. I'm here to tell you they can (but might not) scratch the heck out of your car if you hit one. I've had the misfortune to hit two. If you are on Interstate 5, rolling down the freeway at a good clip, you don't swerve for a light weight plant like this. If they are dry, like the first one I hit, they sort of explode and you just keep going. If they are wet, like when it's raining or foggy, they are flexible and usually stick to your car. Then you have to pull over and hope you have some gloves to disengage the thing from your front bumper and undercarriage. It'll pull right off but it's covered with thorns. They don't come off and stick to you. They are tough and will scratch you pretty darn good while disengage it from your car.

They are a pain on the roads so I guess planting them would be out of the question. But they aren't harmful enough to your car to swerve and cause an accident. You might get a few minor scratches but with some of the clear coat they use now you probably won't even get that.

But they are pretty before they dry up. It's a shame they don't stay put.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farewell to an Old Friend (not anything that breathes)

My post has nothing to do with this horse running at me. I just ran across the photo and thought it was cool. It's Darryl's horse, Sarah, and she won't run over me. I promise. Not only will I not let her she just has more sense than that.

Nope. We said farewell to our 2002 Prius yesterday. Yes, it happened. After all these years she finally became more expensive to repair than her worth. The story goes like this:

D was headed to work early one morning last week. Not long after he left the phone rang. (I really, really hate those phone rings in the dark. They seldom bode well). It seems the Prius quit twice on him and would I go warm up the Fiesta while he limped home to switch cars. So he drove the Fiesta until yesterday. Yesterday was his day off and the Toyota dealer was open.

So he wakes me up at 5:30 on his day off (hey, that's sleeping in for an hour for him) and off we went to be one of the first in line for service at Modesto Toyota. I drove the Fiesta so we could leave the Prius and come home until they called to tell us what the problem was. I didn't see why we had to get up so early but did what my husband asked me to do.

The fatal call came. The Prius needs a $1695 catalytic converter AND a $3724 inverter. So before we picked up the car we discussed what we needed to do. The car has just under 317,000 miles on it. Trade in value in that shape is around $1800 if you can clear the fault logger so the dealer doesn't know there's stuff wrong. Can you sell a car with that many miles that needs that much work? Do you pour almost three times the value in the car into it and hope it will run another 100,000 miles?

Trading it in on a new car is out of the question. I hate car payments and have one already. I refuse to take on another. D wants to dump the money in the car. I want to dump the car asap because if it would be hard to sell now, how hard will it be to sell with even more miles on it? It would be junk and what if we can get a couple bucks out of it now.

So I went on line to Carmax to see if they buy cars if you don't buy one of theirs. They do. I did research and hoped we could get $$1500 for the car. D thought more. I laughed. They figure to sell it again so, of course, they would give us less than trade in for it. I figured anything was a plus. So I called and made an appointment.

We went back to Modesto and picked up the Prius from Modesto Toyota. They cleared the fault logger so there was no big ! on the screen in the car indicating a problem. We drove it directly from the Toyota dealer down the block to Carmax. They looked it over, drove it, and their experts appraised it. They offered us $1200 for the car. We took it. They were delighted to have it. They love to get used Prius in there. They marveled at the mileage and the good shape of the body and interior. Normal dings nothing extreme. It is the highest mileage Prius they have ever seen.

So we did the paperwork, with me jabbing D every time he started on one of his long winded stories. I wanted out of there before they drove the car very far, like to the parking lot behind the building, and the fault logger blazed an error on the screen in the dashboard. We finished up the paperwork and got out of there as quickly as possible without running. They give you a bank draft. We headed straight to the bank and deposited the money. Whew!

D is a little emotional about the loss of his beloved Prius and is complaining about the seats in the Fiesta and how it hesitates if you punch it. He's a little calmer today. But he was a pain in the _ _ _ last night. He said how we bought the Fiesta for me (he seems to forget we bought the Prius for me too) and he shouldn't take over my car for commuting. Today he's feeling better about the whole thing. It helped that we discussed all the cool stuff the Fiesta's Sync system does that I have never figured out. Besides making and answering phone calls by talking to it. So now he has a research project figuring out how the car will read his text messages to him and send them. How it will play his favorite tunes or play lists by artist, song, album, genre, or whatever he chooses. I think it does some other stuff too but never figured it all out. I'll leave it to the tech dude to figure out.

The fact of the matter is Darryl doesn't do change very well. He is finally used to my need to rearrange furniture and update my environment. But if he had his way he'd never change anything.
He's much better than he used to be but sometimes it takes a few days for him to digest a new situation.

So now I'm back to driving the truck for now. We are going to buy a very, very inexpensive used car for me to drive around here that will be better on gas and save mileage on the truck. I found a nice used Mustang but it was sold. I also found a nice Miata that gets fabulous gas mileage. D had nothing nice to say about anything I found. But today he sent me a text about the Miata. I think the Mustang is sold since I can't get in touch with the owner. Only 58,000 miles on it too. But we have plenty of time to find something. I have no idea what it will be. I know the right vehicle for the right price is out there or will be soon. I have patience and time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Things

I snapped this photo (can you still say snapped if you are using a digital camera?) early one morning. Yes, it's a sunrise. Storm clouds brewing but the sun will make it's spectacular entrance despite the coming storm. Well, coming sprinkles. It turned out not to be much of a storm. The rain gods have serious PR around here. The weather people act like we have never seen it before. Interrupting your television program to tell you it's raining. Like you can't see it. And if you are already on the road there is nothing you can do about it and you aren't watching television anyway. And if you have to go to work or home you have to go anyway you don't just wait for rain to stop. So I figure that the rain gods have an excellent public relations firm getting the word out there for them. Because, after all, it rains every winter. Even in drought years, although not much.

Maybe they change weather people often enough that the ones on the screen this year have never seen rain before. I'm certain it will rain this year. I'm certain I will drive in it. I will check my tires and wipers and make comments to my husband until I make him change his wiper blades. For some reason the price of wiper blades seems very high to him but an iPhone is a affordable. Go figure.

And this, my fellow spinners, is heavenly, lovely, the absolutely softest alpaca I have ever touched. It is a fleece I bought a year ago and I sent it out to have it processed and it's silvery and lovely and there are almost three pounds of it. I haven't started spinning it yet. I'm just in the touching stages now.

And this month the other fleece I sent out will be back. It's brown. A very reddish brown. It has the same micron rating as the gray one so should be just as soft.

The seller of these fleeces rated them gold, silver, bronze, etc. according to the quality. These were rated silver. Much cheaper than the gold fleeces but I could barely tell the difference so we splurged and got two silver ones. I got them at Stitches West.

I'm sure if someone wanted to come down in February and visit and go to Stitches West with Shannon and I they would find something as lovely as this. Stitches just gets bigger every year. Last year I missed the yarn bowls. I will be on the lookout for them this year.

By the way, the Lantern Moon yarn box I bought works well as two yarn bowls. That thing is seriously cool. I have plenty of yarn. It's all about the gadgets right now for me. Unless someone has a fabulous sale, maybe a full bag sale, on worsted weight yarn in a silk blend.

I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Scared Night for Me and a Treat

So D gets up on Halloween morning and suggests we go for a bike ride. It's just about the end of the riding season for us and the weather was spectacular! So, naturally, we wind up at By Hand Yarn in Sonora. It's our favorite yarn shop. And just happens to be a beautiful bike ride away with a good place to stop for lunch/dinner on our way home. I stuck to my guns and didn't buy any yarn.

But I did buy a little Treat. This is a thingy you put your ball of yarn in so it doesn't roll around on the floor or couch or wherever your yarn is wont to roll around. It's made by a company named Lantern Moon and they help people in villages in Vietnam support themselves by making really fabulous products. I recommend you look them up on line and read about them. Their products are top notch and often clever.

Do you see how nice the two parts of this box are? The fabric is beautiful and I love the way it buttons together. There's also a strap handle, like the one on the top of the box, on the bottom. It will hold a good sized ball of yarn easily. And with class. I love it.

And now for the Scared Night part of my story. Vinnie, one our little doxies, has been escaping from the yard lately so I go outside with them and keep an eye on him. Anytime he has escaped he comes right back when I call him or chases me down and hangs out with me. He just wants to be next to me.

A couple nights ago the two little dogs were outside, I was with them, when the phone rang. I ran inside to get it, found it was just a computer call, and ran right back outside. I couldn't have been gone more that 90 seconds tops. When I got back outside Vinnie was gone. I called and called him. I walked every inch of the property four or five times. No dog. D got home and drove up and down streets and along every field. We looked for him for hours. We didn't have any luck. I went to bed in tears. I left the doors slightly open and screens on the storm doors open. We left every outside light we have on. Hoping he would find his way back. When D got up to go to work at 4 a.m. he heard a small cry outside. It was Vinnie. He was very glad to be home. We don't have any idea where he was but are darn glad he didn't get hit by a car or snatched by a coyote.

The next day he was fitted for the smaller electric fence collar and now wears it until he's sure that if he gets close to that fence it will bite him. So now neither he or Charlotte will go near the fence. The only way to get Charlotte out of the yard is to touch her collar. Then she knows the fence won't bite her. I'm hoping that will work for Vinnie too. So far so good. Ringo is in heaven. When he wants to keep away from the other dogs he just walks or sits next to the fence. They won't go near him.

As an added bonus Vinnie can't tell if he's wearing the fence collar or the no bark collar so when he has the fence collar on he doesn't bark. Some people think these training collars are cruel. But I think they help to keep your dog safe. I use a different one for Charlotte when she's out of the yard and now she won't go more than four feet away unless I give her permission.

Doggone dogs are as bad as kids for making us worry>

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drop Spindles

One of my readers, my sister actually, asked what a drop spindle is and what it does. Well, here you go. A drop spindle is a small tool that you use to spin yarn. It makes yarn just like a spinning wheel only you power it with a twist of your fingers instead of treadling with your feet. And you have to manually roll the yarn you spin onto the shaft of the drop spindle. There is a picture of a woman using her drop spindle above this text. In the right photo she's setting the spindle to spinning and in the left she is drafting the fiber and letting the twist climb into it.

Lots of places in the world a simple drop spindle is used to make yarn. And many of those spinners can out spin a woman with a spinning wheel today. All your clothes, unless you wear leather, is made of some kind of yarn. Your jeans, your dresses, everything. Some are woven and some are knitted. But all is made from some kind of yarn. If it's really tiny they call it thread but it's still spun and it's still yarn. Until the spinning wheel was invented in 500 - 1000 AD all yarn was spun with a drop spindle. Until very modern times most still was. Spinning wheels were and are expensive. Most people couldn't afford one. So you had to spin all materials that were to be woven or knitted with a drop spindle. You probably would begin learning about the age of three to five. Yes, I'm serious.

This is taking making yarn to the very, very basic core of the process. The reason I wanted to learn to do this is that it is portable. These are most of my drop spindles. The wooden one on it's side is the one I used to spin the orange/yellow fiber. Most of the ones in the glass are small and can be used to spin light, fine, fibers. I'm going to try some silk. It's strong and easy to spin. It's so strong you don't really have to spin it to knit with it. You could just pull it out to the thickness you want and just knit it. But I'm going to give the small drop spindles a try. Especially since I made the three on the right. I really should see if they work.

In the meantime, I finished knitting my sweater but it needs seam seaming before I show it off. I'll get to that one of these days. Maybe tonight. Who knows?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Getting There

Last year at the end of the year I made it my goal to finish all the projects I had started. Not just the projects I started in that year but all my unfinished projects. Well, I finished some knitting projects and some sewing projects and some crocheting projects. I did finish all the projects I started in that year. But I have two needlework projects I have never finished. One is crewel embroidery and one is cross stitch. I'm not sure if I will finish either of those this year but I will finish all the projects that I started this year. I have this sweater and a pair of socks for myself that I started in the spring.

I did a yarn substitution on the sweater and came up short for the dark teal and the light rust colors. I used this particular yarn because I knew it was always available. What I didn't realize is that not all the colors are always available. So I ordered the blue and it's being shipped as I type this but the rust, which makes a band all the way around the front/back/front, I'm not so sure I have enough and they don't have that color right now. So I'm on the list to be notified when the yarn stock goes up. I got a notification they were getting more in but when I looked not in the rust color. So I'll finish the other front, sew up seams, sew in ends, and see if I can be patient enough for the rust to come in or use up what I have, and since the sweater is striped use another color with the rust on the band. Sigh, and yes, I did order one ball more than I figured I needed.

The socks: I have figured out where I left off in the pattern but remembered the instructions for one of the stitches used is funky. I did figure it out but now I have to figure it out all over again. So I need a couple of hours with some quiet and nothing to do so I can unravel the sock pattern mystery. When I get started I won't stop working on them until they are done because I don't want to figure it out again. I'm at the increases for the heel gusset on the first sock so I have a long way to go.

And on the home front I got a reminder that your kids can scare the devil out of you even when they are grown. I got a call from Shannon 's husband, Will, that she is in the hospital in Oklahoma City where she is going to school for her job. She passed out in class and threw up so they called 911 and hauled her off. She is fine. It looks like a case of food poisoning. I'm glad she's okay but this ol' gal got a good scare there for a minute.

And I just found out it's Friday not Thursday so have stuff to do I thought I would be doing tomorrow but must be done today. I think there's a warp in the space time continuum.

What a day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I have a clothes line. I've used one for years. But when we got Charlotte she pulled all the clothes off of the clothes line. So now I have a new umbrella style clothes line out of her reach. I didn't realize that there were advantages and disadvantages to different types of clothes lines.

I had just a single rope tied from the house to the gazebo. This worked well until the willow tree overgrew it and Charlotte got tall. The advantages were that there was a single row of clothes so they dried really fast and it was easy to hang stuff up. The disadvantages were that it would sag in the middle with heavy stuff so you had to be careful how you loaded it up and it would hold just one load of clothes. And you had to move your container of clothes pins and laundry basket with you as you hung up the clothes.

When I was at the cousin reunion in Washington my cousin had a clothes line that had a t shaped brace at either end with rows of clothes lines between. But the lines were spaced pretty far apart. So it was almost like having a single line with the advantage of more space so you could hang up more than one load of laundry at a time.

Now, with the umbrella type I can stand in one place and just twirl the clothes line. Easy. Also it will hold at least three loads of laundry at a time if you fill it. But the lines are pretty close together. And the ones near the pole are very short. You can only hang socks and undies on them. So I usually don't do more than two loads at a time and use every other line so the clothes aren't so crowded.

I think what you chose is simply personal preference and how much space you have for your line. But I think hanging clothes outside have so many advantages over the dryer.

1. You don't need any fabric softener to make your clothes smell wonderful. I feel cheated when I have to dry sheets and my pajamas in the dryer. Even Darryl's shirts smell good when he doesn't.

2. They will dry faster than the dryer in the summer. Light stuff will dry almost so fast I can take the first stuff off the line by the time I hang up the last of the load.

3. You save energy.

4. You can use less chemicals in your laundry. I am careful about bleach use because it kills the good stuff in the septic tank. So I can use less bleach because the sun does the job. And on breezy days I don't need fabric softener because the wind does a pretty good job. Better for stuff that touches my skin and the environment.

5. Less ironing. Yes, the wind does a fine job of removing wrinkles and if I don't get the clothes off the line when they are dry they don't wrinkle again as they would if I left them in the dryer.

So if you don't have a clothes line I recommend you get one. Even if you can only use it on your days off you will find it a little bit habit forming.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crocheting Going On

So I have this crocheted basket with cotton yarn in it. I love these baskets and had planned to made a few more. I don't like knitting with cotton yarn but don't mind crocheting with it at all. Most of the yarn is blue or greens. But there were a few partial balls of bright yarn so I picked up a crochet hook and started using them up. I opted for a bowl shape because I could use the yarn without planning ahead too much and worrying about running out of any one color. And I made the little bowl in the photo above. I stuck an African Violet in it so you can tell the size.

Well, I felt compelled to stop at some point and had a small amount of the orange and purple left over. So I made this tiny bowl. It sits next to me and I use it for tossing in small knitting things as I go. Such as bits of yarn that are snipped off after weaving in ends. Or maybe stitch holders, stitch markers, or stitch counters. It's a very handy tiny bow. and I love it.

So I was helping my friend and neighbor with the annual West Side Women in Action do that happens every year. They were short handed so I pitched in where I could and manned Linda's booth for her so she could schmooze and make sure all went smoothly.

They have a raffle and there are tons of raffle prizes every year. Enough for every person there to win one or two. They are a generous lot with generous friends. The proceeds from the raffle benefit the WSWIA scholarship fund. So I bought my 15 tickets. As did almost everyone there. I won six prizes. Including lunch for two at Mountain Mike's Pizza and a $25 gift card for Staples. I was also running the gifts to the winners. Then we were asked to pull a ticket and hand the ticket and prize to the announcer then run the prize to the winner. I felt so guilty winning so much that when I pulled the tickets I looked at the number to make sure it wasn't one of mine. There were three of us running the prizes so I won one prize because another runner pulled my ticket. There was a table of ladies with businesses in Patterson and they were meditating and thinking positives thoughts about winning. Every single one at that table won at least one prize. There were 10 at the table. I think since most of the day I was manning a booth right behind their table I was getting the Patterson good vibe over flow.

And for my sister who wanted to know what a drop spindle is and what it does I will do a post about that just for you later in the week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Drop Spindle Spinning

So I took my drop spindle with me to Canada. I had already started using it at home but was determined to do a little spinning with it every day, even while on a trip. Which is kinda the point of learning to use the thing in the first place. It's very portable. And not as slow as you might think.

So I finished spinning this fiber in Canada which is interesting because I bought the fiber in Canada last year. In Kamloops as matter of fact. So there is something symmetrical about the whole thing. In any case I was not too sure about my ability to ply these singles on my drop spindle for a couple of reasons. First is I'm not so sure about how even it is and how well I'd do if the singles broke. The second is because I'm not that good at plying yet anyway so I don't want to confuse myself with learning another technique when I don't feel I've mastered the basics yet.

So I brought it home and plied it on my wheel. The result is 314 yards of a sock weight yarn. I believe I began with 4 ozs of fiber. So when I finished it put it on a small table next to the last yarn I finished spinning and was still admiring but has a pattern with it and a goal in mind when I noticed that they go together pretty well.

I don't have any idea why blogger is doing this but I don't know how to fix it. I might have to start all over as I've had nothing but trouble with this template.

Oh good, it stopped. Anyway, I noticed that these two look pretty nice together. I have forgotten how much is in the darker hank there but since I haven't wound it into a ball yet it's easy to find out simply by counting the loops. Each loop around my niddy noddy is two yards. So I count the loops, multiply by two and I know about how many yards I have.

So now I'm thinking I might have to do some color work socks or something. But then there will be enough left over for another pair of color work socks. What the heck am I going to do now? And there is that new sock book I bought in Canada with all that cool color work in it. Hmmm.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Still Here

On my recent trip to Canada I took several projects with me. A sock project that I had put down and now have to figure out where I left off and what was hinky about the instructions. I figured out where I left off but didn't have the patience to figure out the instruction thing again.

Spinning with my drop spindle. I had put the roving into small bits to spin small amounts at a time and it was my goal to spin three of these bits a day. I did that and managed to use all I had left of the roving.

The sleeves for a sweater that I'm knitting for myself. The sweater has stripes and I didn't bring enough yarn so I had to stop when I reached the point of needing that color again.

Kelly gave me some yarn she didn't like and of course being a yarn pig I took it. But I'm not enamored of the of the colors. But I did cast on a plain sock, because I had nothing to knit on the plane, and finished the socks quickly. I decided to chuck the finished socks into a dye pot of Kool-Aid because I could do inside and didn't need any special equipment. I used two packages of red thinking that it usually comes out pretty light and I wanted to be sure it covered the muddy colors in the socks.

As you can see there is nothing muddy about the color red they are now. I do wish I had only used one package of Kool-Aid. Maybe the rest of the stripes would have shown up. But it is what it is and I now have a nice pair of bright red socks. And they smell good.

This is the back of a Christmas present I have been working on for a while. I'll take a picture of the whole thing but can't post it until after Christmas. All the materials for the project were purchased at the same time. But after it was finished I can see two different shades of gray in it. I hope the person who gets it doesn't mind because it is my first lace project and it is made of handspun alpaca. Spun by Darryl. It's lovely yarn. All of the fleece came off the same animal so I can't figure out the color thing.

And I took this photo in Kamloops when we were headed to dinner to celebrate Q's birthday. This is the brightest rainbow I have ever seen. It almost looked like you could touch it. And when we parked the end of it was right over a local bank branch. That must be where the gold is stored.

Monday, September 5, 2011

And There's More...

Everyone that knows that I have lots of Oz stuff told me I had to take a picture of this sign that was on the portable toilet that Chris rented. I just can't figure out why?

It seems Darryl took more picture with his phone than I did with my camera. Sunset in Chris's back yard.

I'm sorry this photo didn't come out more clear. It has signs pointing to I-5 south and I-5 north and they are the same ramp. They split eventually, of course, but you can't tell that when you make the turn for the freeway. They need to add a third sign that says "trust me on this one".

This is a very bad picture I took when we stopped at a rest area. This is our light travel mode. One small suitcase for two people for 5 days. All our bike clothing layers are in the two saddle bags. You can see the one I use is open and there is a light layer and my purse in there on top.

And here are the three Harley's that showed up at Chris's place for the festivities. It must run in the family.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1,847 Miles

That's how far we rode, round trip, to spend a day with my cousins. Yes, one evening, one day, one morning. It was the first Johnson cousin reunion and the California girls were going. Darryl and I went by motorcycle. Colleen, Ray, and Paul went by car. Sue and Patricia went by airplane. We all got there, we all stayed a very short time, and went home.

In the photo above are 15 of 19 first cousins. One uncle/father and aunt/mother, lots of in-laws, and more cousins that would be first cousin's kids. My sister Andi didn't make it. Her husband was ill. My cousin, Steve, didn't make it as he had just returned from a vacation and was tired from the driving. My cousin, Debbie, didn't make it because she had a previous engagement. And no one seems to know where my cousin, Lance, is.

It looks like this could be a regular event. The frequency has yet to be determined. I believe the location will change from event to event. We all had a great time and are looking forward to the next one.

Again, I don't have the pictures in the right order. This is the view of Puget Sound from my cousin Chris's house. It's a lovely snug house built in the 20's. I just loved it. Chris and her sister Claudia did most of the work. And a fine job it was too.

Here is the house as viewed from the Puget Sound side. Flowers, trees, and a killer view. It was lovely.

Chris was kind enough to put us up. Here is our humble abode. There is a nice plump air mattress inside and we were comfy and cozy. The weather was perfect.

The side of our tent was against this shop. I mean, really. The gate is that little square thing left of the window. It goes out to the carport. Could it be any more picturesque?

Two of my cousins showed up on their bikes too. Both Harleys. I will have to check my phone to see if I have a picture of all three bikes.

I'm so shocked Patricia and Kelly haven't posted pictures on their blogs. I'll just bet they both have better ones than I do. I was too busy visiting. I just realized there are a couple people missing out of my group photo. I may have to search for another and post it.

Hey! I finally posted something!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Love This Stuff

I don't know if the underline is going to show or not. Blogger is giving me fits today. So a short post it will be.

The above photo is some fiber I bought in Modesto at the Urban Sheep. I just love it and started spinning it for the Spinning in the Winery thing. So every few minutes I have had lately I would sit down and spin this stuff.

And I wound up with singles that look like this. I was determined to spin sock yarn. But wasn't sure how much yardage I'd get out of 4 oz of fiber.

Here is the finished product and after I set the twist it bloomed a little but it will be socks for sure. I have a little over 350 yards and that will make a pair of socks for me. I have a pattern in mind and will find it later today.

Stupid Blogger!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Apricots and Seven

Well, it's apricot season in Patterson. The tasty fruit is getting ripe. I realized I post pics of all kinds of trees, mostly in bloom, but not much for the apricot.

Patterson claims to be the "Apricot Capital of the World". At one time it may have been. Most of the varieties of apricots grown now were developed right here in the Patterson area. But so many apricots are imported now that most of the apricot orchards have been pulled out and nut trees put in. But I did see a fairly young apricot orchard recently and a peach or nectarine orchard that's very young also. So now many of the apricots that are left are organically grown because that is the only way they can compete with the import market. Such is the way of commerce. All I know is enough people around here still have a couple trees so I can get 'em fresh if I beg.

We have turned the boy cats outside and they are doing well. We thought we had all the feral cats pretty much gone. Until this morning. We caught number seven. Man! Those cats are mean! So the traps are set again and we will see if any more turn up. They seem to all related if you look at the coloring of them. No we are not catching the same ones over and over. I assure you that they have been relocated far from people, where the hunting is good, but they could wind up being prey. Good luck to them. I hope they get lots of ground squirrels. Which is what we bought the traps for in the first place.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chapter Two in the Great Cat Saga

Patches is pissed. Very pissed. She will not let the other cats use her dishes or her favorite scratcher thingy. She sits next to her scratcher thingy and guards it. All gathered up in a tight stance like she it going to leap out at any moment. I had to put more dishes in for the other cats to eat and drink from. The above photo is the first time she has been on the bed since the other two cats have been inside. And that was just for a minute. Alfalfa looks at her like "so what!". I'm just darned glad she lets them use the litter box. Which I must change today because with three cats it doesn't last a month like with just one small cat.

This is Barley. He's getting fat being inside. We let him out for a day but found there were still feral cats around and brought him back in. Let's just a simple "kitty, kitty" and he ran back inside. It would be nice if they were all just in and out when they like. It's much simpler that way. But I fear that Patches has no street smarts and would get hit by a car. So inside she will stay.

I'm not sure when Barley puts that eye liner on but he has it on every morning when I get up. he does a pretty nice job of it. It's purrfect every day!

The bedroom door is open and the cats are free to roam the house but they purrrfer to lounge around on my bed all day. And then sleep on the bed all night. Patches is the only one that will come into the living room.

I may have to change her name to princess. I'm telling you, she could give a Diva lessons! She will sit on the floor and give me this look with her eyes half closed and her ears kinda flattened on her head that is certainly telling me where to go. Last night she finally got up on the bed and slept on top of me for a while. If she deemed that too close to those boy cats she slept between me and the edge of the bed. She doesn't even want to look at them.

We caught five feral cats so far. They have been relocated down by the river where the hunting is good and the people are scarce. We think there is one more kitten. They aren't little cute kittens. They are about 3/4 grown and mean as hell. I'm sure we are being kinder than a lot of people would be.

What to do about feral cats is the big question. I'm not in favor of just shooting them. Animal control doesn't have the budget to deal with them. Ideally, I think they should be captured, tested for disease, neutered, then turned back out into the wild to live out their days with no off spring. But I can't afford that and neither can the county. I can't bear the thought of shooting them either. And neither can my tough guy husband. It's certainly a problem. My animals are neutered and that's about the best I can do.

Wait until you hear about Charlotte and Alfalfa. I'll try to get the photos a bit clearer before I post them.