Friday, October 30, 2009

Whipped like a potato....

Sometimes you just have a stinkin' rotten day.  Today was that day.

Even though you try to veer away from it, sadness rules the day.  One by one, co-workers were called in to hear the fateful news -- 'you've been excessed'.  While I don't claim to know the actual words that were spoken, the basis of the conversation was the same.  To say that I am shocked by the choices that were made is an understatement.  Although I am relieved I was not chosen, it merely means this is a stay of execution.   I am so sorry for those who have been advised their services are no longer needed.  Crushed.  Families that were counting on income, benefits, security.

All day long the floor was somber.  This is just too dreadful for words.  One poor co-worker has two young children, one with Autism, and a wife who is an interpreter for the deaf.  Another recently lost her father and is in the middle of a divorce.  Can I paint a worse picture?

Monday ----- what will happen on Monday?  Those who were excessed were allowed to go home early Friday.  One person was very angry.  How angry?  I guess we'll find out Monday.  One person was so graceful about the situation -- I pray that all will be filled with her peace.  She is an example to all.

You can't see them, but tears are streaming down my cheeks.  This is just such a sad time.  One door closes and another opens, right?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bonus Post

I'm back.  I promised pictures days ago of the fabulous yarn I bought at the Fiber Expo.  These four skeins are from Coopworth sheep in a worsted weight.  They are so soft and I can't wait to knit them up into hats or fingerless mittens.  They were all dyed and spun by Hidden Valley Yarn in Valders, WI, by Paul and Carol Wagner, both wonderful people who truly love what they do.

First up is a lovely blue-green mixture (Sue's favorite!) ~~

Next I present a beautiful Fall color blend ~~


I had to pick up at least one skein in natural.  I really wanted sweater quantity but without a specific project in mind I held off.  Carol said I could get in touch with her anytime to order more.


And lastly a brown skein that was over-dyed with orange for just a hint of glimmer ~~

They're all so beautiful I don't know which one to knit with first!  As soon as I decide I'll post the pictures.

Halloween Favorites

Since I'm having a lousy week at work I thought I would focus on something much more fun and enjoyable!

Here are my Top 10 Halloween treats:
  1. Kraft Caramels
  2. Good & Plenty
  3. Slo-Pokes
  4. Chuckles
  5. Cracker Jack
  6. Pixie Stix
  7. Sweet Tarts
  8. Wax Lips
  9. Milk Duds
  10. Malted Milk Balls
Now....what are YOUR favorites??

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quick Post

I'm off to bed early tonight because I need the extra sleep.  I'll be heading into the office tomorrow at 6:30 am.  I'll need the extra time to prepare my year end review, which is due to my manager on Tuesday.  This is always a task we dread in the office, moaning and groaning about it for days.

This week will be especially bad because we're anticipating the announcement on Friday of the staffing cuts.  We all work so well together that it will be sad to hear who will be excessed.  Eventually I expect our whole staff to be gone.  I've been through this sort of transition before and it's always devastating watching coworkers, one by one, get let go.

But, I do want to end on a funny note.  Remember my washer being on the fritz?  Well, it's still not repaired so I had to go to the laundry mat to get my things washed.  I picked up a quick dinner at Burger King, put my things in the washers at the laundry mat, and went back out to the car to eat my dinner and listen to 60 Minutes on the radio.  I washed the tote bag I made yesterday at the Fiber Expo and it came out nicely.  The funny part comes from drying my things.  I mistook an elderly man's cracked hamper for a waste can and placed the excess fiber from the bag inside of the 'can'.  I wasn't alone, as I observed him removing empty candy boxes, used dryer sheets, and other garbage, with a look of disgust on his face.  I had wondered why someone would put perfectly good hangers in the 'can'.  Guess I know now!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jam Packed Saturday

Today I went to the Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor and took two workshops on wet felting.  It has been ages since I've taken any kind of class (online classes at work to learn fruitless skills notwithstanding) and I've been eager to finally attempt wet felting.  I have scads of books on the subject but I've always thought I needed a hands-on lesson first.  Today was the perfect opportunity.

I left the house early today and made my hour long drive over to Ann Arbor. The drive-thru line at Tim Horton's was too long so I wasn't able to pick up a bagel to eat on the drive.  Luckily the UofM football game didn't kickoff until 3:30 so traffic was fine.  Along the way on I-94 you pass under these peculiar blue structures -- I don't really get the point of them.

I arrived 40 minutes early due to good traffic.  Does this signage strike you as odd?

I knit a few rows on a scarf while I waited to go in and managed to snap a few pictures of the alpaca in attendance.


My first class was a wet felted vessel.  The class was taught by Janette Borke and it was so enjoyable.  I chose a fabulous ball of roving in fall colors.  The class had only 4 students so it was easy to get extra attention and have all of your questions answered.  Now I feel like I can start using all of these great balls of roving and the batts I've been collecting......................  Here's my end result ~~

The class ran long so there was only enough time to run to the restroom (housed in another outbuilding) and make it back for my next class.  I took Suzanne Pufpaff's wet felted tote bag workshop in the afternoon because I wanted to try a slightly different method and take the class she had taught at the last BSKG retreat that I had to miss.

While I was satisfied with my end result it was a lot of work compared to the vessel class so I would have to say I prefer the methods taught in Janette's class.  The tote bag workshop was a lot messier and much more strenuous.  I didn't even get to take any pictures during that class.  Hopefully soon I'll have enough time to post the pictures from the vessel class.

After the tote bag class I made a bee line for the food trailer and got a hot cider and fresh donut.  Yummy!  I was soooo hungry having missed both breakfast and lunch.  Next I was off to see the vendors.  I chatted with a few gals I knew and learned sales and attendance were both great.  So good to hear.  I shopped a bit, helping the economy whenever I can, and will take some pictures of those items tomorrow.  Stay tuned -- I found some beautiful things.

Here are a couple more pictures of the super cute alpaca.  If they weren't so stinky, I could make them a pet!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It seems like I can't catch a break lately.  Last night my washing machine decided to take a dump on me.  The drum, after making quite a noise, is now listing like the Titanic.  Egad.  The repairman was here earlier today and I can honestly say I have NO idea how much it will cost me.  Kevin said Maggie was barking so much that he doesn't know how much the bill will be.

In any event, I went to Macy's tonight to find some new blue jeans.   I think I've finally figured out that it's my seat belt in my car that's always wearing a hole in my jeans.  After trying on 12 pair of jeans (yes, I really DID try on a dozen pair) I finally settled on one pair and bought two of them.  I had the clerk remove the labels so I could taken them to the laundry mat to be washed.

Right now I'm ready for bed.  I had a challenging day at work (due primarily to a co-worker who only thinks she knows what's going on) and a lot of work getting my export file ready to go for tomorrow. 

I'm nodding off at the keyboard so I guess that's a sign.................

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bob Seger

I'm a bit young for Bob Seger's hey day but my sisters listened to his music and I liked several of his songs.  Last week while driving to work I heard about a book that was coming out with loads of photos of his early days.  There was a book signing taking place at Memphis Smoke, here in Royal Oak, and the author and photographer would be there to autograph copies of the book. 

After chatting online with my friend Kathy, a die hard fan, I decided to go to the signing and pick up a copy of the book for her.  Kevin agreed to meet me there for dinner.  I stood in line for a few minutes for the signing, right behind some ardent fans.....

First up was the photographer who really did take some fabulous shots.  Sorry Kathy, I browsed through the entire book.

Next was the author who penned the book ....

Oh boy.  I arrived about 15 minutes early for the signing and wound up waiting for a table for nearly 90 minutes.  By the time my little pager went off I had long since given up and Kevin and I had eaten dinner at the bar.  There was a great cover band playing Bob Seger songs, though the lead man didn't sound anything at all like Bob.

There was a rumor that Bob *might* be making an appearance but after 2 1/2 Bass Ales, I was ready to call it a night.  I'm not one to stay out too late, especially on a work night. I'm looking forward to getting Kathy's book to her -- I know she'll enjoy it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The past few days I've been lazing around.  No posts, not much knitting, not much of anything at all.  I think all of the show preparations had worn me out.  Knitting non-stop for days on end can take its toll on you.  It's not like I've stopped knitting.  Oh no.  It's more like the sweatshop knitting mentality had subsided.  Trust me, it's a good thing.

The last couple of weeks I've been buying up yarn for my business like mad.  The yarn shop at Beaumont Hospital is closing and they had so much yarn that I could use I couldn't pass up the bargains.  Thanks Tanya for enabling me!  Today I sorted the purchases (yes, that was plural) and I just love all of it.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the wool fumes.  Color, texture, and the endless possibilities for its end results really gets my juices going.  Sad but true.  There are times when the design thoughts run rampant and I can't wait to pick up some needles and create.  If only I could support myself with my craft!

I still need to organize all of the leftover yarn from the Republic hats I've been knitting.  The skeins had 128 yards for the most part and I only used about 100 yards so I've got plenty of scraps left over -- perhaps a felted bag is in the future for these bits?

Yesterday I went to the RO Farmers Market to pick up a few things to take out to Holly & Mike's new house.  Yes, they closed on it Wednesday and moved in this weekend.  I picked up some yellow mums, pumpkins, and gourds to decorate their house.  I also found this fabulous mud mat:


It's constructed by formerly homeless people using tires that were abandoned around the city of Detroit.  The workers, part of the Cass Community Organization, cut the tires into strips and then wove them into these great mats.  What a win-win situation.  You can't go wrong helping people help themselves, not to mention the clean up of a city that gets dumped on with used tires.

I must admit that I was pretty reluctant about Holly & Mike's choice of a homestead.  After all, I saw the  pictures on the website and it looked basically like a ranch house built on top of a giant pole barn.  The concept was tough for me to grasp.  They have 9 acres, a pond and plenty of deer around the property.  I saw the poop -- I can verify this.

But their house is an amazing find -- a bargain basement price due to foreclosure and the house turned out to be more than I expected.  I'm delighted for them since it seems to fit them to a 'T'.

You can see how big the barn/garage is by the photo below.  There are two stalls behind the wall near the  SUV, where horses used to live.  I think it could be a fine spot for sheep.

The side entrance to the house is at the top of this deck.  Notice the lovely mums and pumpkins?

 Here's the view from the top of the deck ~~

Once inside the living room is quite large with a gas fireplace in the corner.


The kitchen is roomy with plenty of cabinets and countertop space -- I'm so jealous!

They were going shopping for appliances, among other things, today.

There is an entrance from the garage that leads up to the main floor.  The bathroom is the first room you see.  It it quite roomy and includes space for a washer and dryer, as well as a Jacuzzi, which the son of their friends initiated last night (you can say he made a  big splash) ~~

I think my friend Jackie has the same wallpaper border in her pine bathroom up north.

There are three bedrooms and they'll be using the 'horse' room as their master bedroom.  Apparently a little lady named Paige slept in that room and must have had the horses that were formerly in the barn.  The jamb side of the bedroom door had a height mark with her name and date on it.


The man who built the horse used excellent materials, including the Anderson windows, which really make the house warm and quiet.

Here's the view from the deck, looking south.  Not sure what that sandy area is for -- horseshoes or volleyball maybe?

Kevin and I helped Holly & Mike move four vehicle's worth of items from the apartment to the house.  Phew!

Here are the happy newleyweds/homeowners ~~

Kevin and Holly on the deck, with the pond beyond them.

And Holly beside a giant maple tree.

Mike took Kevin and me through the wooded area and I did my best not to A. injure myself, B.get too far behind. I did get whacked in the face by a wild rose branch.  It's amazing how your body flinches and keeps your eyeball from getting scratched .  Mike's mother provided a delicious lunch for everyone and Holly and I enjoyed the apple cider I had bought at the farmers market.

One of the biggest problems for me, beside the distance (55 miles and 70 minutes away) is that cell phones do not work in that area.  I think they'll be getting a land line really soon.

I look forward to seeing their house again soon, with all the furniture in place and them all settled.

I know it's been a long post so I'll write more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It's always nice to get away for a few days but equally nice to be home.  That is, better tonight now that my furnace has been repaired.  The last time I had work done I was certain I was ripped off so I put out a request to my friends on Ravelry for a suggestion for a furnace repairman.  Two people recommended Rich Hanson here in Royal Oak and I went with him.  I called him yesterday morning and he came by the house in the afternoon, after Kevin got home from work.  He didn't have the needed part so he came back today.  I needed a new gas valve dohicky, to the tune of $380 and now the house is toasty warm.  Beats the heck out of 63ยบ in the house this morning.

I have so much cleaning and organizing to do in the house.  On Monday my 25 year anniversary gift from Met Life arrived -- I chose a Cuisinart 14 piece set of cookware.  Joy - o - joy!  I can hand down my Revere cookware that I got from my Mom and have been using for decades to Kevin, for his 'hope' chest.  Now I just have to figure out how to fit it all into my measly cabinets. Hmmmm.

The Charlevoix show was a resounding success.  I sold 36 hats, 10 felted bags, and 5 pair of fingerless mittens.  Now I need to knit up a bunch of hats for a home show in December that I'm doing with friends Tanya and Linda.  The weather in Charlevoix was so typical for this time of year.  The highs were in the mid to upper 40s, we had winds gusting to 45 mph, rain, sleet, and snow.  And that was all in about a 3 hour period on Saturday.  The winds were so strong they snapped the extension poles for my tent awning right off.  Now I need to contact Light Dome in FL to order replacements.  Many vendors around me were not selling well at all and I felt badly that I was.  Not bad enough to change things, mind you, but sorry for them nonetheless. 

Well, that will have to do for now.  I had one crown prepped today so I'm in need of a couple of Motrins and a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Off to Charlevoix Tomorrow

With too much yet to do I decided to head for Charlevoix tomorrow morning.  I was able to knit one more hat, sew buttons on 4 hats, and sew the pocket, closure and button on a purse.  This late in the day my eyes really give out on me and it gets tough to focus.  I need some new contact lenses and hopefully I'll have a good enough show that I can schedule an appointment with my ophthalmologist soon.  Right after I finish getting two new crowns on my teeth.  Ugh.

The shopping bag saga continues.  I spoke again to Fed Ex and they told me to file a claim with the shipper.  I called Nashville Wraps who had to confirm my story with Fed Ex and then they sent out another shipment to me, one that requires a signature.  I asked to have the package delivered to Charlevoix so I can actually USE the bags this year and it will cost me an extra $5 since they had to change the destination with Fed Ex.  Is it me or do you think that charge should be waived since it wasn't my fault the shipment was processed without my knowledge and the original order was dropped at the wrong location????

I won't be posting again until Monday at the earliest so I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I'm off to find my woolies to wear at the show and get some much needed shut eye.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not Quite Ready

I'm heading up to Charlevoix either after work tomorrow or first thing Thursday morning.  I got so behind helping Kevin finally get a truck (can I get an 'AMEN') that final preparations for the show have gone by the wayside.  I got 8 hats felted tonight once we were done picking up the pickup truck but I still have plenty of finishing work to do plus pull all my cold weather clothes out of their hiding places.  It's looking doubtful that I'll be able to leave tomorrow and that's probably alright.  I can get my finishing work done if I get home from work early enough, then pack my clothes, choose my projects to knit on for the weekend and get a good night's sleep.

Today I worked with the dispatcher at Fed Ex to try to determine where my package of shopping bags actually ended up.  At first they said the driver insisted he dropped the package at my house and then they changed their story to say he left it on the next street over.  Well, I already heard that tale last week, so obviously I'm not making any progress whatsoever.  It won't be the end of the world if I don't get the shopping bags in time for the Charlevoix show but really, it was the point of ordering the bags in the first place.  Who knows?  Maybe they'll turn up tomorrow.  I sure do hope so.  If not, I'll have to file a claim with Nashville Wraps and try to get my order all over again.  What a fiasco!

In the meantime, I'm pulling out all sorts of wonderful buttons to use on the Republic hats that I'm continuing to knit up.  I got an order off of my website for a pair of fingerless mittens -- whooohoo!  I have one felted hat that was ordered at the Mt Bruce show, so I'll have plenty to keep me busy for quite a while.  As if that was ever in doubt.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Tonight I was originally going to my friend Sue's house to visit with her (recuperating from her broken leg) and get my final felting done.  I have eight hats waiting to be felted but NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  Kevin decided he had to go look at at pickup truck that became available for him to buy.

We headed out of the house, Kevin on his cell phone, when suddenly our plans were derailed.  The seller was late and we couldn't see the truck.  We waited to hear back and it was decided he would go out tomorrow and look at the truck.  It needs ball joints, tires, and has a leak somewhere or other.  The price is good so he'll probably go with it.

I started another Republic hat while I was waiting, seething, and decided maybe it was time to call it an early evening and actually go to bed before midnight for a change.

Do you ever find that you're burning the candle at both ends and getting painfully close to a melt down?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Caps for Sale

I've been concentrating on making hats for my shows because they seem to be what's selling.  Could have a lot to do with the economy and people cutting backing back on their spending.  It's pretty easy to justify spending $25 on a new wool hat, especially if they're snazzy.

Here are some of the hats I've been whipping up.  Some sold as fast as I could put them on the display.  Too funny.

This one was made using Berroco Peruvia Quick -- it was fabulously soft and sold right away.

For this hat I used Cascade 128 Tweed and a nice wood button -- it also sold last weekend.

 Same as the last one but in grey and it, too, sold last weekend.

There are a lot of stylish people walking around town this weekend with their dapper hats on!  It's been cold and wet this week.

I made one more hat in Cascade 128 in a solid green and it sold as quickly as I finished knitting it at the show so no picture of that one.

Here are a couple that I did not sell....yet.  Both are Cascade 128 Tweed ~~

Did you notice the button on this last one???

I have to say it's a pretty darn good choice.  One vintage flat white button with a colorful fimo clay button layered on top!

I've knit up 3 more hats so far this week, slow for me, but I'll crank them out this weekend.  At least I'll be working on the kind that need to be felted.  Running out of time, as usual.

I'm thinking about laminating my hangtags.  It seems like they're always getting damaged in transit or from the dew that occurs with outdoor shows.  I'm heading over to Kinko's tomorrow where a square foot sheet should cost me $3 and I figure I can get about 12 cards done per sheet.  I'll see if that will work for me.

Yesterday I found out my shipment of shopping bags from Nashville Wraps was delivered to my house at 11:28 AM on Wednesday.  I arrived home from work at 12:30 PM that day for my dentist appointment and there were no packages on my porch as the Fed Ex website indicated.  I spoke to their customer service and they put a tracer on my shipment.  Today I called them back and found out the delivery man had left my boxes at a house on the next street over from mine.  Looks like I might get my packages on Monday, which is a good thing since I need them for my show in Charlevoix next weekend. I've never had anything like this happen before with a shipment.  Pretty strange.

Well, I'm off to knit more hats.......