Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Mini Bike, Mini Story

Being a motorcycle enthusiast (which is quite an understatement), and having had a beautiful little Honda70 when I was growing up, I have thought for a while that it might be a good idea to get a minibike and let the kids rip-roar around the yard on it. Get used to how the brakes work, how to balance on a 2-wheel motor-driven vehicle, you know.

So after some negotiation (Richard wanted a 4-wheeler, which would be safer but out of the budget by about 2 grand), we lit on a little 100cc minibike at the local Tractor Supply Company.

Just in case anyone out there thinks it wouldn't be possible to "redneck-up" a minibike even MORE than its inherency, here is a pictorial:

First one should figure out how to wrap it.

Cardboard is good.

Duct tape is always really good.

Thank you Artemas for this bit of male creativity.

Yep, that oughta do it...

Now to wrap it.

Nobody is EVER gonna guess what this is!

Hiding it 'til tomorrow...

We really DON'T have to go anywhere, where we have to take the kids with us, do we?

The kids LOVED the surprise. Veronica actually went loping around the yard in the freezing cold wind, waving her arms and yelling. Because I have such decorum, I didn't take a pic.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate Nutrition for the Holidays

You always knew this anyway, but just to make you all feel better in the run up to New Year's......

Start your day the RIGHT WAY!

Chocolate is a Vegetable:
Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. Bean = vegetable.
Sugar is derived from either sugar CANE or sugar BEETS. Both are plants, which places them in the vegetable category. Thus, sweetened chocolate is also a vegetable.

To go one step further, chocolate candy bars also contain milk, which is dairy. So candy bars are a health food.

Chocolate-covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want. If you've got melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a car with the heat on.
The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

Diet tip: Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It'll take the edge off your appetite, and you'll eat less.

If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate, is that a balanced diet? Don't they actually counteract each other?

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done.

A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Now, isn't that handy?

If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. You can't let that happen, can you?

REMEMBER: "Stressed" spelled backward is "desserts"

Send this link to four women and you will lose two pounds.
Send this to all the women you know (or ever knew), and you will lose 10 pounds.
If you ignore this post, you will gain 10 pounds immediately.
That's why I had to pass this on - I didn't want to risk it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crunch Time

I added a new hastag today to some of my posts on twitter (feel free to follow me, LOL): #imaystayupallnighttilChristmas. Yes, folks, for us knitters, quilters, crochet-ers, and crafters of paper, scissors, glue, ribbon, and button types, it is Crunch Time.

This is the time of the year we realize that we have more hours of crafting left than there are hours left in the year, let alone 6 days short of the year.

Today we had to make a little road trip to Sweetwater to deliver one of our roosters to a lady there for her mini-farm. Did I forget to take one of my diverse knitting-for-Christmas projects? You bet, I sure did. I took the passive riding-in-the-car time to pull out half a sock Diantha has knitted that was too big around, cast it back on, and knit the toe cup. But still, not what I needed to work on.

And of course, some of the gifts have to be mailed, which means finish them this week, or die of embarrassment. So I thought I would go public with my need-to-do list, sharing my potential humiliation with the world at large and provoking sympathic head-shakes from everyone out there who is in the same boat.

One of the projects I can't post, because 1) it isn't even started, 2) it's for one of my kids who is nosy and reads my blog (WHY did I teach them to read anyway??) 3) I have to get rid of said kid for a night or two or weekend sometime between now and Christmas to do it, and 4) it's really supposed to be a surprise, though keeping a secret in this family is nothing short of a miracle.

Here are the rest:
Nice warm slippers for my niece. My sister's family is in Ohio this winter, after having lived nearly 20 yrs. in FL and 2 years in TN. It's COLD in Ohio, so I am making slippers, mittens, and a matching beanie for the little niece. So far, pictured here on the left, a slipper...

The Show Me The Money Scarf. No tellin' who this one is for (on the right). It is a batt of hand dyed Merino wool I bought from Jazzturtle, that has shredded money carded into it. I spun it up into a chunky yarn and I'm doing this scarf with a braided cable and garter stitch borders. Might post the pattern later.

The needles shown are like the So Big They're Obscene needles available in Artemas' GotWood4You Shop at Etsy, but these are made from Eastern Hemlock Spruce. I am actually not knitting the entire scarf on them, just testing them for a few rows to make sure the burrs are all out of them so I can send them as a gift to a knitter friend of mine.

Flamin' Phoenix Betsy Bootees are a quickie that I've had to throw in the mix, because my 2yo informed me a couple days ago that her feet were cold, because her slippers are now too tight. So I should knit her some new ones. This is just acrylic Red Fart but it's toddler-loud. I did an eye-of-partridge heel just for fun. As of right now I am doing the Kitchener Stitch toe on the first one.

The same yarn is going into a hat like this (on the right) for Des' best friend Bethany's daughter Lily, who needs a beanie with a HUGE pom-pom. So that is also on the list, even though I haven't cast it on yet. Fortunately toddler beanies are fast, even if the toddler has a big head.

Last on the Christmas Knitting list is this sorry start on a fur-bordered, cabled beanie for Bethany's other daughter Summer. She is 9 so naturally she likes purple and pink. I hope she will like her nice warm beanie too.

~:0) ~:0) ~:0) ~:0)

In the midst of all this I am working on a selfish project. I got two beautiful skeins of Aussi Wool worsted yarn through a swap from Mystery Swappers Group at Ravelry. I saw this Circular Shrug and wanted to make one. Last week I found the greatest, real suede, purple Ho boots ever, and knew I needed to wear them to dh's company Christmas party. (Go on, tell me how wonderful they are!)

So 2 days before the party, I started the Circular Shrug. Yes, 2 days. Only I decided that instead of knitting ribbing, body, ribbing, and seaming the ribbing, I would take another knitter's modification advice and do a provisional cast-on, knit the body, joint the working stitches and the live provisional stitches, and knit the 5" of ribbing for the shawl collar, in the round. And THEN I decided to knit the body in a lace, of my own devising.

Sad to say I only got about 2/3 of the back done. About half-way through the back, the morning of the party, I had to join the 2nd ball of yarn on and realized I wouldn't have enough yarn to do the ribbing at all. And sadly, the company website doesn't list this yarn anymore. So what I did really was lose 2 days of intense knitting on my must-do-s for 2 days of ribbing on an I-can't-do. The partner I had in the Mystery swap says that yarn is still available where she lives and she will kindly rescue me and send me another skein. So I will have a beautiful purple shrug, just not now.

Now back to my regularly-scheduled knitfest. #imaystayupallnighttilChristmas

Monday, December 7, 2009

Misc. Stuff From Being Behind in Blogging

Last year I spun up some misc. wool in red and green, plied it with red fun fur, spun in some plastic candies, and laid it aside wondering what to do with it.

This year, Des wanted us to card some green and red merino for her with some white angelina nylon sparkle. She spun it up into a self-striping yarn and hated it.

She gave it to me, Diantha and I knitted it up into this wild and funny scarf, listed it in my HeartFeltFun Boutique, and it sold in 3 days.

Funny how life works sometimes.

Des knitted these Eliza Doolittle type gloves out of the same sock yarn she had hand dyed and knit my piebald (now blue and purple) socks. Then she overdyed them and came up with this lovely maroon shade. Very pretty.

We've been pretty busy, trying to fill orders for Christmas. Artemas got featured on Springtree Road's blog with his knitting needles and sold 6 sets of them last week. You should go to her Etsy shop and check out her handspun yarns. Gorgeous!

Richard's soaps are selling almost as fast as we can make replacement batches. His shop has some nice, small gift sets in it, so stop by and see him sometime! Handmade soaps make great tips for teachers, hairdressers, or anyone who has served you exceptionally during the year. Great stocking stuffers too!
We did Thanksgiving early, because my parents were down from Ohio the weekend before. So I cooked a meal fit for a king, including the best from-scratch gravy you ever tasted, and homemade pies. No, folks, I do not buy pie crusts. My kids say store-bought crusts are an abomination. Are these beautiful or what?

For actual Thanksgiving day, we went up to Greeneville, TN to be with our SIL Tony's dad's family. We all had a great time, ate, did some shooting out in the field (very cold & windy though), and had a safe trip up and back. They are terrific folks to be "related" to.

A couple days later, we went up to Des' house. The ham she baked for Thanksgiving had disappeared up in Greeneville like Houdini, so she made a turkey, just to have leftovers.

We helped her wreck it in true large-family style.

And I cut my hand doing the dishes. No alcohol was involved in this incident, despite the Pure White Trash shirt that looks like a Pabst Blue Ribbon label.