Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mt Bruce Station show

I've been a bit whipped since the Mt Bruce Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend.  The weather was lousy on Saturday, rainy and chilly all stinking day.  I was dry but chilled and managed to sell fairly well.  I snapped some pictures on Sunday, which was much nicer -- sunny and warmer.  This year was different because I had my friend Tanya with me, who was selling her own sewn bags and beaded stitch markers.  It's really nice to have someone with you -- the show can be pretty long when you're by yourself.

Yvonne and Peter have a fabulous 1920's era home on several acres and each fall they decorate the heck out of the whole place.  This was my 7th year vending at this show and while the weather was iffy and my sales were down 42% compared to last year, I still enjoyed the show.


Notice the giant spider on the roof?  Down below was the beekeeper.  Thank goodness for the cold day Saturday -- it kept the bees in check.

Kids were able to explore the haystacks and angora bunnies ~~

We indulged in our usual Apple Cake -- the absolute best in the world.

My lunch both days was a yummy Foccacia made with ground lamb, heirloom tomatoes, basil, onions, and cheese.  Deeee--lish!

There were plenty of animals for folks to see, up close and personal.  Some of the sheep were sheared while they watched.  The Jacob and Romney were both seen wooly and bald ~~

And the alpaca were adorable, as usual ~~

 My booth was set up pretty much as it was for the Keego Harbor show and we seemed to get compliments  on our booth.  Several friends came by and a few hardy souls from the Black Sheep Knitting Guild tried to knit in public -- but it was so darned miserable they had to concede.



I managed to sell 14 hats, 5 felted purses (including some old inventory) and a pair of fingerless mittens.  While sales were not so great at least I don't have to knit my fingers to the bone to build up inventory for the Charlevoix show, which is next week!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Show is Over

Today was the second day of the Mt Bruce Sheep & Wool Festival and I'm glad to say it's over.  The show was reasonably successful but not quite as fruitful as years past.  I spent the evening getting organized and winding hanks of wool into skeins so I can make up what was sold before the Charlevoix Apple Festival, which is only two weeks away. 

I took quite a few pictures but I'm too pooped to post them tonight.  Something to look forward to seeing tomorrow.....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tomorrow's the Show

I have been woefully absent from my blog this week.  Spending all my free time knitting up more hats and getting things ready for the show.  Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be wet and nasty so I went out to the farm tonight to set up my tent.  A few other vendors had set up too but some of the tents don't look like they'll be able to withstand a tough storm.  We'll see in the morning!  It pays to have a good tent.

Sure hope the weather clears up and plenty of shoppers show up.  If not, I'll just be knitting and needle felting the day away......

Monday, September 21, 2009

New to Me

When I was young my mother didn't really stray much when it came to cooking.  We had basic food but it was good.  Nothing fancy and most everything we had was a tried and true recipe.  Sometimes I get on kicks where I dig out a cookbook (I've got plenty of those) and try something new.  It could be using ingredients I've had in restaurants but never used at home or it could be something totally new to me.

Tonight I made pork chops, steamed carrots and steamed purple cauliflower.  Yes, it was purple.  I bought it Saturday at the Farmers Market, along with the carrots. 

When it was in the saucepan the water turned really dark and when I drained it I thought "wonder if this could be used to dye wool?"  The taste was a bit different than white cauliflower and it was good.  The farmer said it has more nutrients than the white version.  I'll have to fact check that one.

I've had a wicked sinus attack that started yesterday around 8 pm and while it subsided for a bit today, it's back.  I'll going to find something in the medicine cabinet and call it a day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Too Busy to Blog??

I have been a knitting fool.  I passed up a yarn store shop hop yesterday to knit for my upcoming shows.  I know, you feel horribly sorry for me.  Missed my friends, a chance to visit shops I've not been to, buying new yarn.  There are several people out there (you know who you are!) who would say I don't need any more yarn  and while you may be faintly correct you would be completely missing the point.  It is my American duty to assist in our economic recovery, by any means necessary.

So instead, I made another trip to my local farmers market.

The Royal Oak Farmers Market has been in existence for decades and while it has struggled at times I can't imagine it being more successful than it is right now.

Farmers come from several counties to supply us with fresh produce, meat, cheese, baked goods and more.  I stopped at my meat vendor to pick up beef to make a pot roast.  I bought a chuck roast and more ground beef.


From there I wandered around until I found some carrots and onions I liked.  You just can't beat this place for fresh food.  Here is the onion farmer's stall ~~

And if you're in need of cut flowers you can't go wrong here ~~


One vendor had crafted this super plant stand out of grapevines ~~

I also bought a half peck of Honey Crisp apples -- my current favorite.  I could eat several a day -- guess I won't be needing a doctor, right?  That farmer was also selling beautiful boxes of mixed fruits that I just couldn't pass up ~~

I've already had several of those plums and they were delicious.  I love when someone else does the picking for me and has such a lovely variety of fruit!  Couldn't go wrong for $7.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning ~~

I spent the balance of the day knitting up a storm.  I made four more hats yesterday and today I took the pot roast to my Mom's for lunch and used her washing machine to felt 14 hats and one purse.  Thank goodness it was nice enough today to put everything outside to start drying.  That wet wool smell always  results in a complaint from Kevin.

I'll be knitting more this week but it will only be non-felted items.  I have several purses that also need finishing work.  I'm hoping to take some time off of work to get caught up but my work load may not allow it.  We'll see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Tip

I finished knitting two more hats today.  Phew!  I'm just rolling along.  I thought of something to help me out and it just might help you too!  While sitting in my cafeteria at work today I had an epiphany.  If I leave a cast on tail that is as long as the section to be knitted before decreasing starts, then I don't have to keep reaching for my tape measure.  So for this hat pattern I needed to knit 9" before I began decreasing so I left a 9" long tail.  I'll use this tip for lots of knitting projects -- felted purses and sweaters to start.  No, it's not rocket science, just a simple tip to make knitting easier.

ETA:  Pictures might help explain what I was trying to convey.  Sometimes I think I'm writing a procedure perfectly clear but then review it and say 'what the heck?'  So here are a few pictures to help everyone along.  P.S. Thanks Kim T. for the kind feedback -- nice to hear you'll be using this in the future!

Here's the tail that was trimmed to 9" ~~

And here is the tale of the tape ~~

Finally, the hat showing 9" long, just before the decreasing began ~~

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wearing Out

I've been knitting like mad trying to build up my show inventory.  My sister Denise is always after me: "you need more inventory!"  Since Friday I've knit 9 hats and I'm working on my 10th.  Tonight at Panera, though, I think I was sitting uncomfortably (tables are too darn close together) and now I've got a sharp pain between my shoulder blades so I'm off to find my little Homedic massager.  My hands are a bit sore too so I'll pop an ibuprofin and head to bed.  This happens almost every September....................

Monday, September 14, 2009

Times Have Changed

Today while a batch job was running at work, I decided to keep busy by Windexing my desk.  There was a sticky spot that initiated this task.  You know how you start cleaning one little thing and then you just keep going and going.  Often I move on and forget why I originally started cleaning, at least that's how it goes at home.
Once I was done cleaning my desk, telephone and calculator, etc, I spotted my nameplate.  I slipped the name part out from the metal holder and placed it on my desk.  I spritzed it with Windex and could not believe my eyes.  A brownish-yellowish residue appeared.  I realized I hadn't cleaned it since the days back in the '80s in the old office when smoking was allowed at work!  It took a couple of cleanings to get it all nice again.  I never smoked but several people around me did, especially one gal - Dee - who would light up and then leave it in her ashtray forever, puffing away occasionally.  They tried the smokeless ashtrays for a while but they never worked.
It was a glorious day when they finally rolled out the non-smoking sign all those years ago.  Most people would be stunned if someone lit up in the office today.  It's hard to believe it was ever the norm. Times have changed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Ewe-nique Reveal

With only a few weeks to plan and execute a 1000 square foot expansion, Ewe-nique Knits in Royal Oak held a fall sale this weekend to share their new layout with customers and friends.  Marilyn and her daughter Amy salvaged this shop 4 years ago from the brink of closure.  The previous owner had grown weary and was truthfully not a good shop owner.  Everything changed when Marilyn and Amy put their love and interest of fiber arts into the tiny shop in the old church building at the corner of 6th and Lafayette.
The old shop owner did not keep up with current trends and ran customers off with her abrupt demeanor.  These new owners are the antithesis.  They've expanded the shop by incorporating spinning, something no one else in the area does.  To that end, they needed more space for their spinning circles and this is where they'll meet from now on ~~
Plenty of seating with lots of space to spin.  The faux fireplace and barnyard scenes were done by Marilyn's talented brother.
20 years ago the same brother gave Marilyn this fabulous chair, long before she dreamed of owning a shop ~~

This new space was formerly occupied by the Oakland County Democratic Committee.  Not sure where they went...
Here's part of the new space with Ann Marie ready to show off the newest stock ~~

I went to the shop on Friday after work but forgot my camera - darn - so I knew I'd have to come back today -- double darn.  Yesterday I met up with my friend Joyce and her daughters Colleen (with baby Samantha) and Erin. We all did our best to help the economy.
Today I returned, with camera, and met up with Eddie and Tracy.  I picked up some more Lamb's Pride Bulky to make more felted cloche hats.  Everyone who made a purchase received the new 'green' cotton totebags designed by my friend Kate (so darn talented!).  There were plenty of totes flying out the door this weekend.
Here's Eddie making his purchase with the aid of co-owner Amy and her uncle, the talented painter.

 At a display near the door you can find all kinds of essentials:  knitting needle cases, tape measurers, hand crafted crochet hooks, and the cute Lantern Moon ball holders on the top left.  I may just need one of these.
 Sorry for the sideways picture -- just lean your head way over toward your right shoulder! 
 And here is Marilyn, the happy (and probably exhausted!) shop owner ~~
Well we worked up an appetite shopping and taking pictures, so Eddie, Tracy and I headed over to Cafe Muse on Washington for lunch.  None of us had been there before but I'd heard great things about them including their Grilled Cheese sandwich making it onto the Oprah Winfrey show.  We all ordered something different:  Tracy a salad, Eddie the grilled cheese sandwich, and I chose the French Toast stuffed with Mascarpone cheese, topped with pears.  We were all super satisfied and the staff was so nice.  We'll all be back soon to try some of the other offerings that sounded equally great.
Today was a really beautiful day weatherwise.  The temperature was in the lower 70s, the wind was blowing mildly and the sun shone radiantly all day.  It's cooling off nicely so it will be another great night for sleeping.  It was a perfect day for me!  Shopping, eating, knitting (finished 3 hats), and now I'm ready for bed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Control

What is it in life that you have no control over?  You know, no matter how you try you simply can't resist.  It doesn't matter that you already have a zillion of ____ you just can't help yourself!

Here are 10 things that I have no control over:
  1. Limoncello (several people could join me)
  2. Fabulous hand crafted buttons
  3. New knitting or felting books
  4. Wonderfully fragrant hand lotion
  5. Burt's Bees Lip Balm (I must have at least 6 tubes floating around)
  6. Wool -- fabric, yarn, roving (did I have to even mention this one???)
  7. Craft gadgets I've yet to even use -- Knit Klips, fancy quilting marking pencils, wet felting bamboo mats
  8. Self Help books (not that I don't need the help, I do, but I just don't take the time to read) -- I should be thin, rich, in charge of my dog, have an organized house, and get along better with my son
  9. Note cards -- I've got all sorts of cards but you know what?  I hardly write to people anymore!
  10. Super Cool New Pens (see #9)
What about you??? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Andrea's Virtual Shower

I wasn't quite sure what to expect at Andrea's Virtual Shower tonight.  I polled several co-workers -- since it started at 6:30 pm should I eat first, eat a little, skip dinner?  I wound up eating dinner, which was an unusual fiasco.  Kevin had bought two pizzas from Hungry Howie's last night and you know what?  When I got home at 5 pm he was downing the last of them -- and even had the nerve to snicker at me.  So I headed out of the house in search of MY own dinner and nearly got creamed by a car turning onto my street much too quickly.  Mood was quickly souring here.

Here's the mother to be -- live from Northern Ireland ~~

The shower was interesting as all sorts of women began to gather.  There were several quilting friends there including Aileen ~~

and Lee ~~

and Kathy ~~~

Missed getting a picture of Mary (-sorry Mary) and the others who had gathered to shower Andrea with gifts and love.  Dinner was not served (good guess Lisa) but there were appetizers and plenty of desserts, plus wine!

There was an abundance of fabulous gifts ~~

One of my favorites was a beautifully knit Aran sweater ~~

Here are the close ups of the pattern ~~

It was positively lovely!  Even the buttons were chosen carefully ~~

The same woman knit this beautiful blanket, too ~~

Here's the only shot I got of Diane's quilt for her grandbaby.  Unfortunately the lighting in that room was pretty poor and I'm not smart enough to take better pictures...

Here's a side view of baby Tristan ~~

There were several moments when Andrea looked VERY uncomfortable.  Like ready to pop uncomfortable.  Her intent is to have a water birth but she's ok with an Epidural if things don't work out.  Always good to have Plan B.

This is what grandma to be looks like when she realizes her baby has an 'outtie'.

And I'll leave you with a few shots of the yummy desserts, prepared by Holiday Market in Royal Oak.

And here was my selection (ok, it was my second visit to the table -- I knew Aileen would tell on me!)