Thursday, January 24, 2013

Testing RSS

I'm testing an RSS service for work. Let's hope it fixes my problem!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Reading 2012

I incorrectly assumed that once I had a baby, I would have no personal time. On the contrary, because we are home most evenings, life has slowed down considerably! He goes to bed around 8 every night and I stay up too late knitting or spinning or reading. On the weekends, we are home and I can fiddle around with my hobbies while he plays.

Blogging hasn't been a very high priority, mostly because I've been caught up in Ravelry, where I can share all of my knitting and spinning adventures. I also joined the Ravelry Book Club in January and have found some great books and participated in good discussion. My wonderful husband gave me a Kindle Fire for Mother's Day and I while I nurse or pump, I like to read. I've also been listening to lots of audio books during my commute. Here's my list for summer (and maybe spring too?):

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
11/22/1963 by Stephen King
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Little Bee by Chris Cleve (in progress)

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
UR by Stephen King
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
The Uninvited by Tim Wynn Jones
Sex, Lies and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson
Once Upon a List by Robin Gold
13 1/2 by Nevada Barr

Of these, I would say that Grossman's novels and Under the Dome were my very favorites. Each created exceptionally detailed worlds. Under the Dome was a torturous, gut wrenching story stuffed with detail. King created his own world, so many characters, but each had so much character, it was not confusing - you came to feel like a part of Chester's Mill. The Magician novels created an adult kind of magic, a grown up Narnia. The characters faced real growing up issues and didn't always make the best decisions which made the stories compelling.

13 1/2 was one of those creepy suspense thrillers that I read in two days because I just had to know how it ended.

The library's digital collection is just about my favorite thing in the world these days and I encourage anyone with an ereader to take advantage of it!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When I was younger (okay, up until around four years ago), one of my favorite things to do was choose a somewhat outrageous shade of red and apply it to my head. It all began in the 6th grade, when my girlfriends and I would use Kool Aid to color strands of our hair green or blue or pink. Sometimes, it made a mess (my old apartment's bathroom looked a bit like a crime scene after one particularly careless incident). Sometimes, it made me look a bit mad, but it was always fun, always a change. And, I love color.

Monday, I tried a new kind of dyeing. I colored some wool using Kool Aid dyes! I found a couple of nice tutorials ("How I hand-painted using Kool-Aid or food coloring dyes" and "Hand Painted - Dyed Yarns"). It was actually much easier (and less messy) than I had anticipated, although I learned a few things to do differently next time! Here are the pictures...

Ramen & bread dough?

The yarn on the left was hand spun from KnitPicks bare roving Peruvian Wool. On the right, I used Peruvian Wool Silk roving. In this photo, the fiber is bathing in some water-vinegar mixture.

The assorted "dyes"

At this point, I got a bit excited about the process and forgot to take many additional photos... but, the gist is that I soaked, then laid out the fiber and squirted on the dye and then microwaved it to set the dye. Then, I had to wait for it to cool, rinse it and hang it to dry. Here are the final results...


Cherry/Grape, Strawberry and Orange!

The yarn was fun to color. I used squirt bottles and did spaces of dark red, red and orange. As you can see, it bled together a lot, but it still varies. I could have gone for a bit more color intensity and will probably be more generous with the Kool Aid in the dye next time. I might also try it on a flatter surface than in a baking dish, in hopes that the dye wouldn't run as badly. I was pleasantly surprised though, it looked like there were a lot of white spots when I first put it in the microwave to set the color, but the dye spread and it all ended up taking on color!

Lemon/Lime, Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry/Grape

The fiber sucked in the dye like a sponge. I used more dye on it than on the yarn, and it still stayed uncolored in most spots! I think it will spin up nicely, but it wasn't what I was expecting. If I were to dye fiber again, I would probably soak it in just one color, or I would braid it and then apply the color like I see so many artists do on etsy.

I am considering buying some Jacquard dyes, but I'll probably stick with Kool Aid for now because it's so cheap (and the smell is nice!). I am pretty excited about knitting the yarn I spun and colored, spinning the roving and trying it all again!


I can't believe how long it's been since I posted over here... seven months?! How did that happen? It's not that I haven't been crafting. On the contrary, I've learned a whole new skill! But, since it's been all fibercraft, Ravelry has kind of taken the place of this blog as my brag space.

For my birthday, back in February, my favorite sister ever gave me a spinning wheel! At first, I was intimidated. Sure, the name "Babe" doesn't inspire fear, but it's mechanical, you have to take things like tension and speed into consideration, and you have to do things with BOTH feet and BOTH hands at the same time! For someone with my considerable lack of coordination, this can be a little scary. After several trial sessions, which deteriorated into cussing fits, I finally had a long talk with myself, sat myself down and worked through a batch of fiber. And you know what? It turned out just fine! Even kind of lovely, in its own way.

My first yarn!

Even though it feels like I've spun a lot since then, I've actually only tried a few more times, but I see improvement with every try.


Note: #3 is featured in the next post.



The funny thing is, I've made this yarn but have yet to knit anything with it! The last two skeins were from borrowed fiber, so they go back to my friend in the knitting club. Also, I've made such small amounts, it can be tough to pick a project that will fit. I am learning to spin thinner yarn though, which makes it go farther and I'm also really excited to be able to order undyed yarn (cheap!) from knitpicks. The wheels are turning, and I have plans for larger quantities (woot! bad spinning joke!) so that I can eventually start a larger project, knit from yarn that I've spun and dyed!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The biggest craft project of my life

So, I didn't take much time to blog this summer. I guess that's pretty typical for summertime. Usually, my knitting takes a backseat. It's too hot. There's no good TV to watch while I work. It's nice outside and we keep busy.

This summer was a different story. There was a LOT of crafting going on. Not just by me either. I had lots of help and lots of support, and together we made lots of lovely accents and necessities for my wedding! I should have taken the time to showcase them here, but I was just a little preoccupied. So please allow me to indulge now!

First off, the invites:

From the outside....

... the front...

and inside.

My momma, grandma, aunt and Shannon worked their fingers to the bone to make these beeeeautiful!

Here are the favors. We picked Skittles, which may have surprised folks, but the colors matched well and... Skittles are yummy.

These M&M favors, complements of my sister-in-law allowed our guests to eat our heads!!


I made jewelery for the bridesmaids. Of course, I forgot to take real pictures... but this is the gist:

We refurbished some old stone columns that Nick had wanted to throw away and used them as our alter, topped with big boston ferns.


My awesome cousin designed, printed and folded lots of programs:




My aunt and mom did my flowers.



Cake by CakeDot

My mom decorated these flip flops for everyone


And finally, these are the table numbers. Each table had coordinates and a location, highlighted on the card.


All together now!

Scrap scarf

It's been a week of clean up and throw out. We got our new bedroom set on Tuesday, and in preparation, decided to get rid of some of the crap in the spare room. Nick cleaned up his Lego and finally threw out his PEZ collection. I de-stashed. I had noticed that my yarn collection was growing out of the two designated boxes, it was time. I finally got rid of all of the nasty acrylic stuff, the tiny odds and ends and the half dozen half finished doilies. It was both sad and refreshing. One of the results of the process was the decision and execution of this little lovely.

(I am referring to the scarf, not the cat)

He is thrilled, I promise.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My panacea

Nick is out of town again. It's my least favorite part about his new job. I am reluctantly getting used to it, and try to enjoy having the house to myself. The first night is always the hardest. The house feels ominous, the cats are usually restless because something is amiss, and I stay up way past my bed time in a feeble attempt to trick myself into falling asleep quickly.

When he is gone, I try to pack my schedule, spending time with my folks or my girl friends. This time though, I wasn't feeling so hot at the start of the week. Monday night, I went to the Mystery Sock class at Temptations because I was afraid if I called off sick, I'd be blacklisted from their in-demand classes. Tuesday, I curled up on the couch, caught up on all of the crappy TV shows Nick doesn't like and felt sorry for my sickly self.

Last night though, I snapped out of it. I realized I only had two more evenings to take advantage of having the house (and the kitchen) to myself. You see, in addition to keeping busy when I'm home alone, I also take the opportunity to eat the foods that he thinks are gross. Last night, it was Drunken Alaskan Crab Legs, steamed broccoli (in our new rice steamer!) and focaccia. So yummy! And tonight, as I typed this, I scarfed down a big bowl of this awesome delight. Neither really made up for having only Simon to snuggle with at night, but it does help just a little.