Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Long?

One or two of the kids and I walk our local big-box emporium almost every day. If one walks all the aisles, it is about 2.5 miles, so it is decent exercise if we walk briskly and don't gawk, and it is indoors in a relatively safe environment and best of all, climate-controlled.

On Sunday morning last, we noticed something strange as we walked the beer aisle. Apparently someone (employee on break?) had put their beverage and potential lunch down for a minute (dare we to assume to go help a customer? Certainly not!) and left it.

Monday it was still there. Tuesday, someone had wanted to buy whatever beer it was in front of, so they moved it. Wednesday, there. Thursday, someone STOCKED the beer case and moved it (didn't REmove it). Friday, still there. Today, not only still there, but now it has been joined by someone else's beverage too.

We decided to keep an eye on how long the items stay in the beer case. Taking bets, anyone?

Last evening we went to Des' house.

When we got there, Des had just gotten home from grocery shopping. Before she left, Hannah had been entertaining herself by playing in the plastics cupboard. In true intelligent-child form, she figured out she could avoid having to stand, crouch, or sit on the floor, if she would only drag her portable high chair seat over by the cupboard. So she did. What a delightful child!

While I was making supper there (Baked French Toast casserole and sausage patties), grandbaby Hannah held off her hunger by eating blue M&Ms. Apparently she only likes the blue ones.

Ok, on to some other kinda weird stuff. We took some pics of Redneck Cars today at the same big-box store. Please tell me these guys don't think their cars are hot. The orange one is for sale ($3800 and I can get you the phone # if you want it). Green wheels, whew.

I had hoped to be at the bottom of the sleeves tonight on the toddler sweater I am knitting, but no dice. It's only been a week, and I really haven't spent that much time on it. So, tomorrow is another day.

I spent most of the day today looking for a skein of yarn I had unraveled from a sweater. Made up the dye I wanted to use and couldn't find it anywhere. Des informs me that I brought it to her house and left it. What? Oh well that's better than the last thing I left at her house (don't ask).

One last pic of the night. It has nothing to do with anything, other than this bike is STILL not on the road (dead battery, and the headlight is being persnickety, can't get the clips in), and I miss it terribly. I love this bike. Looking at it, you can see why... it is one beautiful piece of machinery. Soon, I hope! Before the weather turns (though I have been known to ride at 30 degrees, LOL).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great Mail Day and Stuff

First, some Stuff. I have to put up another pic of the weirdo cat, D.O.G. Note his leg is wrapped in computer peripherals. He doesn't care.

Another non-mail item.

Diantha carded up a batt of hand dyed, soft as a feather Corriedale that we processed from raw fleece, a tiny bit of nylon, and brown mill-end wool, and spun it together.

She called the resulting yarn of 110 grams/146 yards, Bella Swan, and we are going to list it in the morning in her Etsy shop.

I have made pretty good progress on the Mossy Jacket I am knitting for DD#1's friend's baby Kyrie. Here you see, I have the jacket body done, the bottom seed-stitch border and the button placket done, and I am casting on the neck/left side border.

Today is day 6 of the project, with not a lot of time spent on it (mostly riding places in the car). WHY in the world I stuck to pattern in knitting seed st in the border I will never know. It looks good, but I hate seed stitch. Story about why, sometime else.


Kyrie has a brother a year older, about the age of my baby Beverly. He never really got a "baby" gift from me either. So I want to knit him some slippers and a beanie, but nothing too warm because they live in FL. So I hand-dyed about 1/3 of another skein of this green Cottontots, to a warm woodsy brown. I am going to use the green for the cuffs of slippers and the brown for stripes in a beanie.

Quite manly really.

Tonight we made mini-hamburgers, because I got a good deal on a whole bag of little whole-wheat rolls. We had fresh-sliced tomatoes from the garden (and other veggies) with them. I also made an antipasto with garden tomatoes, sweet red pepper, and basil (also black olives, onion, aged grated cheese, garlic, and olive oil). It was delicious!

Now for the Good Mail Day. I just LOVE to get interesting things in the mail!

Beverly came down with a fever last night. She was quite wakeful all night, which didn't help my killer headache at all. Today she alternately slept and wanted to be held. She got 2 new books in the mail, which she LOVED and then fell asleep.

I got a simply GORGEOUS hand-dyed sock yarn from SimplyTwisted on Etsy. If you have never seen her shop, and you knit or crochet, you should go there and buy something!

Now, I wonder what obligatory Christmas-knitting project I can neglect so that I can make my selfish-self a pair of socks out of this? LOL

Last mail call, something also for me, just lil' ol' me. I got a holster for my gun! I really wanted an inner-waistband (IWB), left-hand draw (LH) but they were out of them. This one was actually $5 cheaper anyway, and it is good, high-quality heavy leather. The weapon pictured in it is our Lorcin .380, since I am temporarily without my Sccy CPX-1 (no, I actually don't sleep with it).

Pistol-packin' Mama, Lay That Pistol Down. (For those of you too young, this was a song that was popular about the time my own mom was little, ROFLOL) Or, put it on the back of your pants. Anyway, on a scale of 1 being disgusted to 10 being orgasmic, I am at about 8 (very, very pleased) with it.

Last pic. We were walking our local big-box store this morning when we came across this Falling-prices fail. Out of curiosity, I bought a yellow onion to see what it would ring at (plus I needed an onion, LOL) and sure enough, it was the higher price. We thank them for being so dang helpful!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Creating Again

Earlier today we were supposed to take Artemas for his driver's test in Clinton, where DD#1 lives, over 30 miles away. Traffic was terrible and we almost ran out of gas. We were late, and they wouldn't let him take the test. If he waits, renews his permit in Oct., and takes the test in January when he turns 18, he can get a non-restricted full license. So, whatever.

We went on to Des house for some fun in the sun. She colored Diantha's stripes to incredibly bright neon pink. Artemas had to have some stripes too.

The little kids ran around picking up sticks and walnuts in the yard, and laid on a quilt on the grass. I knitted & lay in the sun a while... Veronica made me some foil "sun shades."

So here are lotsa pics of the fun. Enjoy!

This is the walnut harvest. About a 1/2 bushel. Husking them will have to wait for another day! I have a hard time eating walnuts, because they burn my tongue. I like pecans better. But I would like to make some natural dye from the hulls!

Here we have some more hair-do Rocket Science going on

Jeremiah and his little Aunt B couldn't squeeze their eyes shut tight enough to keep today's sun out, though it wasn't scroching hot for a change...

Des got haircolor in her mouth, and it was Blek.

But a Lunch of Champions of soda and a homemade muffin, that was much better.

Artemas ended up with stripes. Fortunately, guys' hair is short, so in a month he can shave it off.

Or, not.

I've been going through a slow slump, in my shops, in my creativity, and just in my energy in general. Accordingly, my sales have suffered over the summer, which they always do when I get down to about 30 or less items (though I hear from just about everyone, that sales have been bad all over this summer).

So today I finally got some new items listed in my shop. I used my Hall of Horrors banner from last year, because it is still so cool... and the avatar of me dressed as Alice Cooper last year at Halloween. I just LOVE Alice, both as a performer and as a fellow Christian.

The first one is Frankenstein's Suit, a handcut, hand dyed yarn from a recycled 100% cotton T shirt. Wow, I just love this one.

There is also Halloween-er, a self-striping, hand dyed 80% wool bulky yarn in orange and black. Too cool!

I relisted and renamed a couple existing yarns.

And I put up a new listing for my So Big They're Obscene handmade double-pointed knitting needles from recycled pear wood.

Feels good to be creating again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't Leave Home For Long or Random Weirdness Happens

A lotta pics tonight, of random weirdness that has happened to me lately when I wasn't looking.

Our cat D.O.G (pronounced Dee-OH'-ghee) finds some strange places to sleep. The other morning I opened the cereal cupboard to put away a container oldest DS had left out when he left for work 2 hours earlier. -->

Sat. night I went with DS#2 to pick a friend of his up from work. Said friend needed to go by his house to get clothes, so he could more comfortably spend the night on our sofa playing x-box. He asked if I minded if he would do a load of laundry at my house. I got home to find the girl next door spending the night too. Apparently I am running a Youth Hostel.

During the hour I was gone, aliens, or oldest daughter Desiree, got hold of Diantha's hair. ( <-- )

And Tony's. ( --> ) And shortly after we got back, Artemas' too (no pic available, thank God).

Tony's hair is very soft, and ended up looking like a fuzzy yellow baby duck.

Diantha is striped. Seems like the plan is that when we go to Des' house tomorrow, she is going to put hot pink color on Diantha's stripes.

Hannah is shocked at the whole proceedings.


While we were out walking the other day, I came across some pic-worthy fails.

The first one was in the bakery case. These chocolate-dipped pastries look like a pair of... well, of... oh bollocks, never mind.

Then there was this spectacular product-name fail. The package is clearly printed in English, and was available in a major chain American grocery store. Exactly WHAT does this soup taste like? (Let me guess... chicken!)

Ok, this isn't exactly a fail, more like just something really weird.

This is a municipally-owned vehicle in our town. It's not a cab. I never saw a chartreuse, something, before.

Here is a yarn bomb, yarnbomb, knit tag, among other names, that we did back in June. It fit at the time. Looks like the people who work in this place have tried, and tried, and tried, to yank it off. No one thought to use a pair of scissors or a box cutter.

The sun has faded it somewhat over the summer, but the fact that it is hanging in there is a testament to the staying power of acrylic. If nobody cuts this thing off, it will probably still be there when Jesus comes back.

Speaking of knitting, I took a notion the other day to actually knit a long-overdue baby gift. The "baby" is 14 months old, so the time is just about ripe. Anyway I cast on the Mossy Jacket that can be found at F.Pea on Friday and I really am almost done with the jacket body.

I am doing it in Bernat Cottontots yarn with Filatura Di Crosa Mama in pale lime for the trim, because the baby lives in FL. I am not crazy about cotton yarn, and the Cottontots shrank a little lengthwise in the washing of the swatch, so I will have to knit an extra inch or so. But the cloth is pretty, and the mom can throw it in the washing machine. Always a plus!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Progress is Good, or, Saving One's Marriage

My dh (take that d to mean whatever you want, LOL) had two days off together this week, Mon. & Tues. For nearly a year now, I have had a new faucet to put on the deep-dish stainless steel kitchen sink: one of those tall ones with the high neck so you can put BIG pots of water under it to fill them. At the time we bought it, we had just also bought travertine tiles to do the kitchen countertops. So I said, "Let's just wait until we have to have the sink out to do the countertop, and put the new faucet in then."

Not that I am big on waiting for something like this, but I KNOW my husband, and I know that if he takes the faucet off, he will tear up the washers or squeeze a water line too hard with the pliers, and next thing you know, the sink will be down 3 days. So I figured a disabled kitchen ONCE is bettter than TWICE.

In the ensuing months, Artemas (DS#2) and I have tiled the kitchen island and the countertop to the left of the stove. We still don't have the edging tiles put around them, but progress is progress. Anyway with two days in a row off, I said to dh Monday morning, "Let's tile that last countertop!" So I got to got to work first thing with a breaker-bar and hammer, taking tiles off the backsplash. Yee-haw! When I was done, he un-set the sink and took it outside. Which took him until early afternoon.

I started laying out tiles, marking them to be cut. Artemas took tiles out to the porch, set up the tile saw, filled the bottom with water, and prepared to cut. Keep in mind that he and I have already done TWO other countertops in this kitchen. But NOW the Army Corps of Engineers is here to rescue us and has suggestions of his own about WHERE the tile saw should be set up (on a barrel over under our last remaining tree). So, I get to be the mediator in a worthless argument.

Tiles cut, marked as to where they go, dh decides he and Artemas will set them. It is dinner time, with no sink. Off I go to Taco Bell with the debit card while they discuss the best way to float tile mastic.

By bedtime we have made a little progress. Tile mastic is supposed to dry 24 hours.

Tuesday evening we can grout! The grout needs to harden about 2 hours before it can be repeated. Because the tiles are nearly zero-grout-line, the grout has to be forced WAY down in the cracks and done several times. So the tiles get ONE coat of grout.

Wednesday we can grout again. Twice. The grout should dry 24 hours before it can be sealed. We are gone in the evening to visit DD#1 so we all make dinner at her house.

Thursday we can seal the grout and travertine! Yay!! By early afternoon (when dh gets home from work), the sealant is done (all 3 coats) and dry and the sink can be set. DD#1 is still needing help at her house, so I say, can I take the 2 oldest kids (one to help and one to watch the babies) and go there? Dh says sure! He and the younger 3 kids at home that evening go to Burger King. I get home at 10PM to find the sink NOT SET. Turns out the counter is now too thick for the clips that held the sink in. In fact it is now too thick for ANY sink clip out there. AND there is ONE little place where the stone tile is sticking out about a micron too far for the lip under the sink to fit down in the hole.

Friday dh doesn't have to be at work until 2 pm. When he got up at 9, I said, "Is there anything you need to set the sink, that you need to run up to the home store to get?" and he said, "No." He hangs out all morning. He starts getting ready for work. I said, "You don't have the sink hooked up." He says, "Well I need a grinding wheel for the dremel to use on either the stone or the stainless lip under the sink. I will look for one when I get to work." WHAT?! You are leaving me with a house full of kids, 4 days of dirty cups (we had been using paper plates because of course if the water is unhooked from the sink, it is unhooked from the dishwasher), no way to make dinner for the 5th night in a row, and NO SINK?!? Until 11 PM?!?

I went and got the grinding wheel and asked the plumbing dept. head how to hook down the sink (glue down w/silicone). Artemas shaved a piece off the sink and set it in place and glued it down.

This morning Richard had to be at work at 10 AM but by golly he was up at the crack of dawn, hooking up the plumbing to the sink. It probably saved his marriage. Yes folks, the Rosses, who started dating 28 years ago this month (only feels like 30 sometimes), are still together. And we STILL have to do the mosaic-tile edgings, but it looks pretty good so far.

In other news, we put a BUNCH of new handspun yarns and some carded batts up in Diantha's Fluff4ewe shop... stop by and see! Also added a couple new soaps to dh's Rossoaps shop at Etsy too!

A couple weeks ago, I purchased 2 skeins of lovely handspun Merino wool in a colorway called Cellar Door, from OnTheRound at Etsy, and I have knitted a mobius shoulder wrap. Diantha helped with some of the knitting, and we bound it off today. Here it is! It hasn't been blocked yet, so it will look better. It is wonderfully soft!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baby Behind the Lens

My 2yo baby Beverly (whom we affectionately call "Betsy") (seen here upside down) LOVES to take pictures. She fancies herself some kind of photographer, though most of the time she has one of her little bitty fingers in front of the camera lens.

Sometimes, though, she manages to get her grip correct, and takes pictures, which I call "B's Eye View" pics.

Tonight I am going to share some of her latest.

Today we were carding some fiber batts for Diantha's Fluff4ewe shop at Etsy. When we were done, I saw B up in a chair with the camera and wondered what she was doing. She said, "Carder!," and by golly she was right.

She took an interesting picture of her own delightful face. Pretty eyes, Betsy!

My DD#1's husband's friend Mark has a birthday tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Mark! [waving]), and we are all supposed to converge on DD#1's house for some more new-home-improvement and chili lunch. Mark is supposed to be there.

I didn't know what to get Mark, but I do know he has been known to enjoy a nice, refreshing beverage. So I got the idea today to make him a felted beverage cozy out of the sleeve of a recycled sweater. I needed a bottle for trimming the cozy to make sure it would fit.

One doesn't need to look long for a model bottle, even along the side of the road if necessary. So I am not completely sure whose bottle this was, but it wasn't MINE. Really.

A quick wash and it makes a perfect form for drying a hand dyed cozy. Some dye, drying time, and a few buttons later, and we have a man-cozy suitable for the most discriminating guy. (I took this one. Sorry B, no credit here!)

Last thing B did before playing in the toilet just before going to bed tonight, was to take a pic of Mom crouching down to help someone get her finger (once again) off the lens.

Good night, B!

And sweet dreams of taking wonderful pictures!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back... How Do I Fit It All In?

Finally back to blogging. I's been an interesting couple weeks. We have spent most days going to dd#1's apartment, a 45 min. drive away. We packed, cleaned out, scrubbed, and filled a storage unit. Then they had nearly a week wait while their mortgage agent got the closing date wrong.

A week ago today they finally closed. We started going up to their house again, coming home at 11PM or midnight. We peeled old wallpaper and painted (most main-floor rooms needed 2 coats; the bath and kitchen needed 3 coats).

We painted trim in the kids' rooms and a mural in Jeremiah's room. He said it had to have a road, a car, and four buildings, one of which must be a gas station! I made 2 of the buildings be an actual pic of the house & storage building... and one is a train station! He was THRILLED!

Here is a preview. Apparently I didn't take a pic of the finished product!

When they took the living room carpet up on Sunday, there were about 20 years worth of pet pee, grime, mold spots, and a burned area that looked suspiciously like a cat under a Christmas tree. So I spent part of Sunday (after finishing the mural) and part of Monday this week scrubbing the hardwoods on my hands and knees. Hard work, plus I hairline-fractured my right wrist in my one and only motorcycle mishap 5 years ago, so that has been quite a strain. Anyway the floors are passable until they can light-sand and buff them.

Monday Tony and Artemas painted the ceiling twice (someone had painted it Charcoal, for some reason) and moved in the biggest pieces of furniture. Des and I arranged them, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned about half the other boxes out of the storage unit, put up curtains and art. The house is starting to look like home.

You can only imagine what effect all this has had on me own home life. Whew. Hard to keep up, really.

But! I did manage to finish a mini-quilt for a swap I was in. Being as I am a couple days late mailing it, I made a pillow cover that will fit a 14" pillowform to match. I hope the recipient will like it. Kaleidoscope is visually one of my favorite patterns, though difficult to execute accurately. These blocks are 4" finished, so the quilt top is 22" high by 26" wide. I called it Afrikaleidoscope.

And, Diantha and I managed to wash some wonderful raw Corriedale wool that we can add to batts to put in her shop. Here is a picture of the crimp on this fiber before washing. Note how fine it is and that the staple is 5" long! After washing, the wool is so white and fluffy, it is like a cloud. Simply gorgeous.

So Friday I bought a new weapon. I didn't go intending to purchase one, but my dh had seen a couple the day before at Coal Creek Armory, where we took our CCW class and where we go to use the firing range. So, being game, I went to look. I have had a Bersa Thunder UC9 on order since early Feb. which hasn't come yet. Apparently our non-2nd-amendment-controlling government is not allowing them in the country from where they are manufactured in Argentina. As you can see, it is a fine firearm.

But what they had at the armory was a Sccy (formerly Skyy) CPX-1 9mm. The weapon plus an extra, 10-round magazine was less than $200 so we bought it. And I absolutely love it! I took it into the range just for a minute to shoot one clip and I just LOVE the way it feels in the hands. It has an ambidextrous operation, slide locks open when the magazine is empty, manual safety plus a double-action trigger pull of 9 pounds, which is heavier than my dh's Keltec (at 8#), which is the entire safety on that firearm.

So today we went to the range to blow off some steam and some ammo. (All shots shown were from 21ft except those I shot from 45 feet.) Richard did well. On the left, the grayed-out shots are from his Kel-tec, the white from my Sccy, first time he ever fired it. He said, "There is something wrong with this weapon... it is too accurate!" LoL!

This target of mine (on the right) has an interesting story. The brown shots were from 45ft., farther away than one should ever have to shoot for self-defense unless being fired upon. Most courts would say that if one is that far away, the threat of death isn't imminent and one should find another way out. Still nice to know, that any of these "brown" shots would land within the body, even at that distance. And note one of the shots went clean through the hole in the target that was used to hang it on the peg in the store! LOL! Total accident.

Oh here is another story about that target. See the ONE white shot way down at the bottom? I was shooting the small cluster in the upper right (1 oclock) in the 9 ring when a piece of brass ejected and, even though my tank top didn't have a very low neck, went RIGHT in my cleavage and burnt me! I clutched at my shirt to isolate the hot cartridge so it wouldn't burn me more, and completely forgot to lay down the weapon. For a second there I was jumping around with a loaded gun in my hand, trying to retrieve that shell! Thank GOD I didn't have my finger in the trigger guard, but I think I scared a couple people there for a minute. LOL. Anyway after that I musta been good and mad at it, cause that's when I got all the center-cluster shots.

One more. I don't like Richard's Kel-tec. The vertical grip grooves dig my thumb web and the gun, weighing nothing, kicks too much to suit me. But just to be a good sport, I shot a 6-round clip from it, the brown circles on this target. Where is the 6th shot, you say? It went through the tape holding the target to the backstop. Then just to be a brat and show I could do better, I did 2 mags worth of ammo (loading only 9 rounds each) from my Sccy.

I hope I never do have to use my weapon in self-defense. But if I do, watch out world.