Monday, October 24, 2011

Colorful Carbondale

We went to Carbondale, Colorado a few weekends ago. It was absolutely beautiful, both the landscape and the weather. We had such a relaxing time. L caught 5 fish and he was so thrilled, he caught more than Grandpa. And K and I went to the park a couple of times and enjoyed seeing the geese and playing. And knitting, I did lots of knitting. Below is the Roaring Fork River, which was just full of wonderful color.

I came back and got busy - doing laundry! And a few more things. I made my first home made salsa, with my own tomatoes. And I canned it! It is very good, although not very spicy. Next time I would add spicier peppers, less green pepper and more spice. But it is tasty. And I actually, really, really canned it. And I told the Husband, we'll be eating alot of more salsa than we normally eat. And it will be all mine! Yummy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fair Time!

Last year I entered some knitting and spinning in the El Paso County Fair. It is only $5 to enter up to 10 things, so I figured why not? And last year I won a few ribbons, second and third place. This year though - tada - I won first place in spinning with this entry of handspun merino, a soft and beautiful thick/thin yarn - FIRST PLACE - whoo hoo! That comes with prize money - FOUR WHOLE DOLLARS! More importantly, bragging rights of being the best spinner in El Paso County. And while I do know more talented, experienced and just plain better spinners, they didn't enter, so that makes me the best spinner for the whole next year.

And I won second place in the Miscellaneous category for my knitted wristers. I handspun the alpaca and knit these up and they are so pretty and soft and fuzzy. I really like them, they will soon be up for sale in my Etsy shop. Even though I like them a lot, I do have some all ready.

And lastly, a dishcloth. Yes, I did enter a dishcloth in household. Why not? I saw a winning dishcloth last year and thought, hey, who would have thought it? And look at that, 3rd place (and 2 whole dollars) for that dishcloth which I entered as almost an afterthought. The judge did say my edges were a little tight, and I agree, but I didn't do perfect, since I was going to wipe counters with it. It isn't even a "design" dishcloth, just a regular old dishcloth.

Not only did I win in my knitting and spinning. But L won second place in the junior cookie category with his Snickerdoodles - sorry, no pics of the yummy Snickerdoodles as they were consumed over a month ago - giggle. And the Husband won second place for his Irish shortbread cookies (known in most families as Scottish shortbread, but the Husband is a proud Irish guy).

So, overall I have to say we did pretty well at the fair and had a wonderful time. And again I encourage folks to enter their local fair with whatever their talent may be. It is such a kick! And as time goes on, less and less people enter and participate in fairs and so forth, and we really need to preserve this type of entertainment for our children and their children. The fair is such great fun.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harvest Time at the Home

Harvest Time! Also known as How I Got My Kids to Love Different Veggies!

We did a garden this year, and for once it has really turned out well. This day we got 2 squash, some green beans and a cherry pepper. Our tomato plants started very slowly, now they finally have beautiful, large tomatoes but we are waiting for them to turn red. K loves the fresh green beans, squash and peppers. Although, I have to say, K is all ready my healthiest eating, easiest to feed, loves fruit and veggies child, but she loves these things from the garden even more.

The green peppers are doing the best. One plant has given us 7 green peppers. Wonderful, they are so good when they are fresh from the garden.
L is very proud of our pumpkin. Yes, it is a pumpkin. Yes, really, it is starting to turn orange. I don't know if it will be our Halloween pumpkin, it may be done too early. But hey, we grew a pumpkin.

And one recent night we made a dinner where 50% of it was grown in our own garden. Squash, green pepper, red pepper, sweet basil and green beans sauteed with some soy sauce and on rice, only the rice, garlic and soy sauce weren't mine. And I have discovered lots of ways to prepare squash, since we got 5 squash in about 5 days - lol! Yep, I am pretty proud of our garden. And so is L. And most important, even L is eating his veggies!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For the First Time In a Long Time

For the first time in a very long time, I am alone in my house. No kids. I have not been here by myself since K was born over 4 years ago. The children are at vacation bible school this week, and quite honestly, it is very nice and extremely quiet - although the washing machine and several fans are whirrling away. Here is what I've been up to:

Above is a pair of handspun Alpaca fingerless gloves, very soft and pretty.

Below is some spun beautiful merino

And a beautiful 3ply merino in some gorgeous colors.

And another beautiful 3 ply, this one is targhee, I love these colors too.

And that is what I've been up to fiberwise....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


My oldest son, C, graduated from college this past week. And we are so proud of him. I could go on and on about how wonderful we think he is, but I won't. Ok, maybe just a little. It is such an amazing time when you realize he is out there in his own apartment, own job, own life, even moreso than when he was in college. He has been pretty independent for awhile, but now it is all official. Time really does fly .... just yesterday he was a little person on the swingset and now he is a great big person with all sorts of responsibilities and it is a little sad that we can't just shrink our children back to being children just for a moment or a day.

When C was little we lived downtown next to a park. We went and played their every single day, even cold days. And I would like just one more of those days with him. I am so lucky to still have little people to play with, but ..... you never have enough time (which is why my house is the way it is, so I can play). As a parent, you must take advantage of every moment you have with your child. Soon they won't hold your hand to cross the street, or want you to go on the slide with them, they will go off to play with others, won't ask you what to wear that day, won't want you to make breakfast cause they are having Mountain Dew for breakfast, so do it all while you can. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

And congratulations to C and to all of those people who accomplished something amazing and wonderful this year.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Knit to Quit

I have quit smoking. Again. A horrible habit that I started so many years ago...... and now I am breaking that habit. I have quit many times, but this time I feel different. I don't feel like I am missing something. So I think this is THE TIME. And maybe if I get brave enough to write it, I'll keep the quit going. At first, I didn't want to tell anyone, cause I might fail again, but now it has been a month and I am feeling pretty confident. And I am doing it by myself. The Husband is still smoking. I think that is the hardest part, that I could go get a cigarette from him anytime but don't - actually I have to avoid him at times.

I am knitting to quit. It is working. Well, that and nicorette gum, medication and cleaning house. Really, I have been cleaning out the basement. And the kid's closets. The kitchen cabinets. Drawers. Not deep cleaning, just getting rid of stuff. Let's face it, my house will never be that clean. Even if I hired a housekeeper once a week, I still wouldn't eat off my floor - lol! But I am slowly becoming less cluttered.

And to reward myself, I started the TKGA's (Knitting Guild of America) Master Knitter program. That is right, I am keeping with my yarn diet and not buying yarn with my extra cig money. Instead I signed up for this program and am excited to do it. Basically they give you instructions and questions, and you send in your knit samples and answers and they either pass you or give you suggestions and you resubmit. And you can take as long as you like.

So that is what is up with me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today we celebrate my father's birthday. It is a big special birthday this year, although he won't let us make a fuss or anything.

My father is wonderful! I really don't have the words to tell you how enormously special he is. He always read to me, every single night (when he wasn't working out of town). I remember reading the Little House series with him. And now my own son is reading that series. And I am enjoying it myself again. He played sports with us at a time not all father's believed girls should even play sports. I can still remember playing tennis with him against another father/daughter pair. And he was not too soft nor too mean nor too demanding, although I am sure I thought so many times. He is very wise and helpful, there are not enough words to tell you how many times he has helped me.
And he is an awesome grandpa. My children have had many adventures with him. From skiing to camping to fishing to Disneyworld - they are lucky children. They are lucky to live near him and get to spend a weekend with him once in a while. He has unending patience with them.
A father and grandfather are special positions in the world. Not everyone should be one, not everyone is a good one, I am so happy I got one of the best fathers ever.
Happy Birthday Dad. Love You. Thanks for not ever giving up on me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Little Hiatus

So that was the month of February, huh? It went really, really fast. So fast, I pretty much missed it. But now we are well into March. And we have a very special birthday coming up this look for more on Wednesday.

K had her big 4th birthday back in that short month.
Isn't that precious? That doll came from Grandma B and came with a dress for K and a matching one for the doll. Must get that pic too. Many of K's cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents came for the big party. She is so lucky to have so many loving relatives. Grandma P even made the cake.

Knitting wise I have knocked off several pairs of fingerless gloves for some women at the husband's work. They love them.

And I tried sprinkle dyeing, and it turned out ok, I should have used more colors so it was brighter. But I like these results for a more muted coloring, with some green and pink highlights but next time I will not be quite as worried. I haven't done anything with it yet, it is just a 2ply, worsted and I like looking at it so far.

Life is good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hey Big Business - Quit Ripping Me Off

I'm on a rant today. And I've got two things that have been irritating me for awhile so your stuck hearing about them.

Let's start with my vacuum. I bought a vacuum about a year ago when the old one, the one that was my grandmother's and probably could have withstood a nuclear war, gave up. Now I know I should have just had the old one repaired. Shoulda, coulda, wish I woulda ... But I bought a new one. Nothing special, just a regular dirtdevil featherlite from Target, sale price $45. Note the price - pretty good deal.

Here are my issues. The first one is that the featherlite is anything but... it claims to weigh 11 pounds. That may be true, but they aren't 11 pounds of easy to maneuver, pliable, throw it on your hip material. It is 11 pounds of hulking, giant pieces of hard, unmovable plastic. And it is so heavy on the stairs. But this isn't my biggest issue with my lovely vacuum. My big issue is the price of the filter I am required to buy. That lovely little filter is ..... wait for it ..... 27 bucks. Yep, the filter is half the price of the vacuum. That filter is to be replaced every year. The bags my old vacuum took were like 5 bucks for 3. Thanks dirtdevil, you got me. You and me, stuck together. Sure, filters last longer, but not when your husband throws it away the one and only time he runs the vacuum and then you realize it a week later when you go to vacuum and it is running funny and naturally the trash guys picked up yesterday and ... hence you are now out $27 bucks. LOL - that is what some dirtdevil guy is doing right now, cause I am going to be stuck buying his filter once a year (although I am sure he would recommend more often) for a long, long time.

Now my other irritant. Laundry detergent. Hey, have you ever actually read the directions on the side of your detergent? Of course not. You have been doing laundry for as long as there has been dirt, you don't even remember when you started doing laundry, it just has always been there, always will be, there won't be one day you won't have laundry in your basket or your machine (unless you are nudists, in which case, this probably doesn't effect you as much). Anyway, that little plastic measuring device and/or the lid you use for a measuring device have little lines on them. And guess what, the highest line is not for a large load of wash - NO - it is for an extra large, sometimes extra, extra large load, like something at the laundromat that when you were in college you stuffed all your clothes into and gave it all the quarters you had and came back later to some semi-clean clothes.

I never filled up the laundry measurer to the top, but for crying out loud, it basically needs to be half full for a regular load of laundry. Hey Tide, I don't need bubbles following me down the street during a rainstorm. This has been bothering me ever since I taught C how to do his laundry and actually looked at the directions.

Why can't these companies just do honest business? Just include the laundry dispenser for regular loads - if I do a giant load, I'll use it twice. And the filter thing - that is just wrong. It can't be more than $2 worth of material and .50 worth of Chinese labor on this thing and I am being generous, so someone is making $25 dollars or so on my filter and yours.......

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day?

Well, it isn't really a snow day - there is no accumulated snow here. But it is a cold day - no school due to severe cold. I know, I know, I also walked to school in blizzards uphill both ways. What can I say? I even stopped the neighbor girl from walking up to school, no one really expects to stay home just cause it is really, really cold. Although a big smile came over neighbor girl's face.....

So I have lots to little stuff to catch up on. Yesterday I finished Mom's Cardigan (the Mom in that being me, not my mom, sorry Mom!) . I just had buttons to put on, and I don't know why I hadn't done it. It wasn't difficult. The sweater is made of Rowan Magpie Tweed wool, which I bought 2 summers ago at Judy Ditmore's moving sale. So, that kept with my yarn diet, although I started it way before the yarn diet. And I wore the sweater yesterday afternoon, cause it was so warm and cozy.

I have my fingerless gloves on as well in this next picture, cause it was chilly and I was knitting. My little shadow, K, is of course with me.

I plied some yarn I spun from my latest fiber purchase at Distaff Day. Let's remember that purchasing spinning fiber is not the same as purchasing yarn, although the results do end up the same. More yarn. But handspun yarn is special, it has the love of me in it. Whereas millspun yarn only has the love of machines, until it is knit, then of course, it will have the love of the knitter in each stitch. That is what you get when you handknit articles - love in each and every stitch.

There we are winding up the new spun yarn on my niddy-noddy off my jumbo bobbin, which really is jumbo. Sometimes, I think they come up with words that are just meant to sound silly - niddy-noddy? Really? No one could come up with a better name? How about skein winder? I mean, we have a ball winder to wind up yarn into balls? Wouldn't the next logical step be a skein winder to wind up yarn into skeins? No, instead we call it a niddy-noddy. Let's face it, if I told you I am going home to use my niddy-noddy, you would think I am going to do something that is not proper for a knitting blog. Niddy-noddy, indeed.

Poor hubby has had to go out in this freezing weather, no cold days off for him. He wore his wool socks today even though he works indoors, it really is that cold. I also have my wool socks on. Love them. So far we have had stew and chili during this cold spell, it makes the house nice and warm and cozy, which brings a big smile over the husband's face...

Ahhhh, I guess that is enough random ramblings and showing off for today. Happy Cold Day to you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am on a diet. Not a food diet, ick, I don't like those. And I don't care that the Wii Fit says I am overweight, next time I am going to tell it my clothes weigh 10 pounds - then I won't be overweight!

No, I am on a yarn diet. I am absolutely not buying anymore yarn! I have too much. I went through it this past week and said, OMG why haven't I used that? Some beautiful skeins of yarn. Forgotten beautiful yarn, just waiting to be knit up. Some not so beautiful - which mostly ended up in a box for ARC which is where they came from in the first place. If the end of the world as we know it happened tomorrow - my yarn and I would end up in high demand when no one could buy socks from China at Walmart anymore. People would be trading me whole cows for some awesome wool socks.

I would actually say how many different types of yarn I have and how many yards...but my mom reads this and she might have a heart attack, so we'll just keep it between at a lot. She will think that "a lot" means three or four skeins and those of you who stash yarn will know that "a lot" means three or four bins.

So how long will I keep up my "no yarn buying" diet? I thought about setting a time limit. Like until June, when the wool festivals start up. But I am not sure that even then will be enough of a reduction. And then what? Buy more yarn to replace the yarn I finally used? No, that won't work. I have become quite discerning in my yarn purchases over the last year - only the good stuff, which is why some original stuff from the thrift store is going back. Yep, I have become a yarn snob. I like the pretty colors, the softness, the ease of knitting with the good stuff.

So my goal is to not buy any yarn until the end of the year. So far, so good, I have not bought any yarn. The last yarn I bought was for Christmas and I had K give it to me. I can do it. I can go all the way to Christmas. Just the other day, I was in the parking lot at the yarn store (for another reason) but did I go just look? NO. Did I go fondle yarn? NO. Did I buy just some sock yarn cause it is 20% off and gorgeous? NO. I didn't even go in. Pretty good, huh?

But, I do have a gift certificate to a yarn store that I won. Are we sure it counts as "buying" when it is a gift certificate? But I may not even buy yarn, maybe I'll buy needles or stitch markers or something else. But not yarn. Definitely not yarn. I might walk in there mumbling "not yarn, diet, not yarn" and keeping my eyes down so they think I am crazy, but no buying yarn!

Let's not talk about the spinning fiber!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Friday - Grandma Ruth

Today for Family Friday we are starring a wonderful woman, Grandma Ruth, who caught 2 armed robbers. Amazing! This is just one story about this remarkable woman. L came across the news article recently and thought it would be a good one to share.

From the Rocky Mountain News, the headline on page 5 reads "Keen Eye and Courage Nab 2 Who Admit Act" - and they are talking about Grandma Ruth. Grandma Ruth was in her dress shop on the phone when 2 robbers walked in, and one pulled a pistol on her. She screamed and they ran out. At the time, she told the police she would never forget the man who pulled a gun on her.

About a week later she boarded the trolley and sat down across the aisle from - yep, you guessed it - two very unlucky and dangerous criminals. John Arnold and Harold Williams were the men who tried to rob Grandma's dress shop, Adrian Fem Shoppe. The men got off the trolley, Grandma then asked the driver to stop. She started to follow the men, thought better of it, and went to the police station. Patrolman Frank Parisi went looking for these criminals and finally saw them about 15 minutes later. Not only had they attempted to rob the dress shop, they had stolen $32.80 robbing another woman, burglarized several rooms where they were staying, including one where they got the gun. Not to mention they were both about 4 months out of prison.

I met Grandma Ruth and she was incredible. Captain Flor described her as a "truly remarkable woman. I've seen men shake like a leaf but she was just as cool as possible in pointing them out, and telling Arnold: 'You're the man'!" After that, the confessions apparently started flowing.

Grandma Ruth - great woman, who caught (and scared off) 2 dangerous criminals in 1952!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Distaff Day

I had the best time at Distaff Day on Saturday, put on by the Front Range Fiber Artists. For those who don't know, Distaff Day is when women went back to the work of knitting and spinning and carding and combing after Christmas. Men, naturally, did not start back to work until the following day...what can I say? Of course, survival meant that they were all still "working", they just weren't doing certain things.

At Distaff Day, they had several demonstrations on weaving and spinning and dyeing - it was so inspirational! I just wanted to come home and start throwing dye on everything and spin up some more wool and knit up a storm. Note: I am resisting weaving, really I am, even though I have an inkle loom and weaving looks really cool, and some of the stuff they make is amazing, but resisting. I saw Navajo plying in person, and definitely want to try that again. The last time I tried Navajo plying, I ended up with a horrid knotted mess. I met a woman whose husband built her an electric spinning wheel. I saw every different type of wheel you can imagine, from well, electric spinning wheels to antique sleeping beauty wheels to fancy, expensive wheels.

And they had tables set up with different products for sale - mostly fiber. All different kinds of fiber at good prices, so I bought about four ounces of alpaca from a local breeder, a pound of undyed cormo (that is a sheep type), a pound of undyed mixed wool (golly, that was such a good price, such a good price! Really, such a good price I am using the word golly), a 4 oz. braid of superwash merino wool dyed beautifully for the cheapest price I have ever paid for a 4 oz braid, and another 4 ozs of mixed wool in natural colors which I may or may not dye,

I was very careful in my purchases, seeking out the best price and think I did very well. There were actual fleeces there that you could comb and card and make your own batts if you purchased them - that is truly the best price, but I don't have the equipment nor do I have the time. Someone even had adorable angora bunnies for sale - yes, angora bunny fur is spun, it is wonderfully soft and warm. No, I did not purchase an angora bunny. Yes, I did go temporarily insane and consider it, fortunately I realized I did not really want to brush and pluck bunny fur. I have enough trouble keeping up with the cat brushing. Seriously, look at that coat on her! And of course her face is in a bowl - she really can't have enough food and this was her morning drink of milk.

They had demonstrations on combing and carding. Ooooh, so cool. Several different types of carders and combs - even a nice electric carder was brought in for people to try out. It is so great that people want to share their tools and experiences. Next year, I'll take my camera so I can share the day with you.

Can you tell I found Distaff Day exciting?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Right After This

That seems to be my mantra lately, "I'll get to knitting/spinning right after ... moving the laundry, doing the dishes, letting the dog out, work with L, help K, make the bed, do the checkbook, let the dog in, feed the cat/dog/guinea pig/bird/or any of the other zoo pets we have. It just seems crazy. All day, in just a few minutes I will get to it, and instead, all of the sudden the whole day is gone, the Husband will be home soon, it is time for dinner and ... bam, bedtime and I never got to sit down and knit undisturbed and uninterrupted.

Last time I sat to knit, K and L must have called to me, "needed" me, wanted me, spilled something, and wanted to eat and drink, every single 3 minutes. I didn't even get a row done, before they were calling out again.

And worse, we moved furniture around so I could have a more spacious corner for spinning and a cozy corner for knitting - ha, barely used yet!

Well, I am still here. And L is working on some interesting genealogy things, so Friday should have a fascinating post. And maybe today I'll get a few minutes of uninterrupted time, maybe even finish a whole row!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finally Family Friday Again

Wow, the holidays and events of winter have really taken my time away lately. I feel like I am always behind - probably because I am. We had such a peaceful vacation over Christmas, I feel very refreshed now and ready to tackle the new year with a positive energy. Plus my horoscope promises me a good year and as you know those are real accurate.

I am excited that my son L has decided to join me in my love of genealogy. He got a Family Album for Christmas and has been excitedly filling that out. It is neat to share with someone so enthusiastic. And what was more exciting and fulfilling was hearing him tell his friend about Great Uncle Paul - one of the family's many World War II heroes. Wow, someone who listens and remembers, that is good. And I think that is why people do genealogy, so those family members won't be forgotten. Hopefully.

I have been spinning again too. For Christmas, except before Christmas, I got a jumbo bobbin so I could ply a larger skein of yarn. Look at how huge it is, compared to the normal bobbin.

Pretty amazing, huh?

And I finished a scarf which my oldest child, C, wanted for Christmas. It is not the one I had started, instead C had a new coat and wanted a different type of scarf. So he got this scarf known (not very originally) as cable with a twist.

And that is what I am up to. L is looking forward to contributing to Family Friday next week. And the weather is about to get all wonky, and I am happiest inside with the kids and the knitting. So everything is good.