Friday, December 31, 2010

So long 2010

I'm closing in on 30,000 visitors to my blog.  Who knew?  Well, when I get there I'll have a super duper giveaway.  In the meantime, Kate over at Lazy Kate Creates is having a great giveaway so check her blog out.

Today I only managed to knit about 5 inches on my first sleeve for the Caddy Cardigan.  I didn't start until after dinner because my day was just too full.  I started by shopping for clothes at Macy's and while I swore I'd never buy the next size up, I caved in the name of comfort.  Looking at yourself mostly naked in the dressing room with a three way mirror is about the most humbling thing one can do.  I think we all imagine ourselves about 5 inches taller and a few many pounds slimmer.  I have to use this experience as a jumping off point to get back into shape.  For the millionth time.  Seriously.  Gotta do it.

Despite the dressing room ordeal, I was reasonably successful -- three new pair of trousers, a pair of jeans, a cute shirt/sweater combo top, and three pair of shoes.  I'd say that was successful, wouldn't you?

Hours after arriving at Macy's I finally headed to my next destination -- Kinko's -- to print off my resume.  I had put the file on a flash drive -- aren't they just the handiest things?  20 copies of my resume cost me $8 so I sure hope they are effective.  I have to wait for the outplacement firm to contact me about reviewing my resume, interviewing tips, etc., so I didn't want to make too many copies just yet.

I'm killing myself in the kitchen lately.  I'm feeling like Julia re-incarnated.  Tonight's New Year's Eve feast was stuffed Cornish game hen with whipped sweet potatoes and a white wine from Pancake Cellars called Big Day White.  Bon Appetit!

I've been going to bed way too late lately, 1:30 last night (or should I say this morning??) and I need to stop doing that!  I'm usually putzing around, reading patterns or books, but I need to finish up and get to bed at a reasonable time.  That way I can get up at a reasonable time too!  Funny how that works.....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Zipping Right Along

I finished the right front of my Caddy Cardigan tonight and cast on for the first sleeve.  I should be able to get both sleeves done tomorrow if I don't waste spend too much time shopping for interview clothes.  Yes, you read correctly.  I have my first interview next week.  Woohoo!  Maybe I'll be able to wear my new cardigan????

My friend Martha offered to help me practice interviewing and I know it would be beneficial to do so.  Maybe we can get together on Sunday.  The knit shop will be closed so that would be a great time.  It's so nice to have friends to help with difficult tasks!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Progress

I got quite a bit knit on the Caddy Cardigan today.  I finished the left front:

The photo color is still a bit wonky.  I think it might be better in the daylight and with me fiddling around with the settings on the camera.

I started the right front tonight:

I think I'll have some leftover yarn at this point.  It took a little over 1 skein for the back and about 2/3 of a skein for the left front.  I bought 8 skeins!  I think I'll have enough left over for another project.  Or two.....  Maggie thinks I should knit her a nice walking coat:

Ok, so maybe that's NOT what she's thinking.  Do you suppose she's thinking 'stay away from my rawhide bone'?  Oh, yeah.  She'll growl if you come near her.  I've been using the no bark collar and it seems to be working, even on the growling behavior -- SUCCESS!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I made more progress today on the Caddy Cardigan.  I finished the back, using the bind off tips from an old Knit Picks catalog so it's not stair-stepped (ewwwww!).  I went over to the knit shop and worked on the left front while chatting it up with the girls.  Inventory has begun since it's the end of the year (yippee) so Anne, Linda, and Charlene were working on that.

I picked up a few things at Trader Joe's including those yummy caramels with sea salt.  Heaven.  'nuff said.

I had quite a few potatoes left from the last couple of Door to Door Organics deliveries so I made some au gratin potatoes, tweaking the recipe as usual.  They were TO DIE FOR.  The whole house smells so good.  Even Maggie was begging for a taste, just a little one I'm sure.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Update

How many times during a really important conversation have your ears completely shut down on you?  Today I had my phone screening for the job at MetLife and I swear I don't remember half the things the recruiter said.  Good thing I had a notepad but still, what was her tone?  Did she say they would definitely want me for this team?  Did I go dumb and numb?  I know she said the managers were not in the office due to the holidays and she thought maybe I'd hear something from them in a few days.  Or maybe it's next week.  I dunno.

In the meantime I'm still on vacation.  That is, except for the reminder of my visit to the Ferndale Career Center today to make sure my paperwork is in order to start getting my unemployment checks.  What a sad lot of people there.  I sure hope my vacation doesn't last too long.

I went to my friend Sally's tonight to knit with her and about 20 other gals.  We all brought more food than a shelter could use.  I was busy yakking too much so I still have about 3 inches to go on the back of my Caddy Cardigan.  It's a good thing I'm alternating the balls of yarn as the new skein has some darker streaks in it.  Then again, it's the back, I'll never see it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I've been preparing for tomorrow's phone interview for a job back at my old company.  It seems a bit odd to have to go through the process but I'll do whatever it takes to get a job.  Today I've been researching common interview questions and preparing my answers.  This site has excellent questions and answers to you help you ace your interview.

I spotted a Right Brain/Left Brain quiz while I was surfing the web.  As you can see in the right sidebar, I'm exactly evenly divided.  I always knew this, though.  I can be just as content analyzing problems and coming up with solutions as I am creating something crafty.  This test confirms it.  You can take the quiz by clicking on the link in the box and see which side of your brain is dominant.  If you take the quiz leave me a comment and let me know your test result.

In the mean time I'm going back to knitting my Caddy Sweater.  I got another 5" done while I was at the knit shop today and I'd like to make more progress on the arm hole shaping before I turn in for the night.  I want to get a good night's sleep so I'm as sharp as I can be tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sweater Progress

I made some pretty good progress on my Rios Cardigan.  I cast on and finished the 1x2 rib edge before I left for Christmas at my Mom's and picked it back up tonight when I got home.  I've knit 7 inches so far on the back and the gauge looks fine.  Sorry for the wonky color on this photo I took with my phone:

Here's a more true picture of the color:

I should be able to finish the back tomorrow although I haven't read too far ahead on the instructions.  I think I'll do that tonight.  Most people who know me know I don't read at all.  Except when it comes to my crafts.  My Mom gave me a Borders gift card today and it's already burning a hole in my pocket......

Merry Christmas One and All

My Christmas wish for everyone is that there is peace and joy in your hearts.  I wish that all the worries of ordinary days are banished on this special day and you are able to visit with family, friends and neighbors.  And get along.  Oh, did I say that out loud?

I was up at 5 am to put my first ham in the oven.  It was a tad early but I couldn't sleep, worried I'd over-sleep and not get both hams done in time to head over to my Mom's.  I have plenty of meat ready for our group of 25 and it will be a packed apartment.  I always look forward to the holidays but am quite content when I return home to my quiet little abode, where I can knit peacefully while watching mindless TV or listen to the radio.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 24, 2010


In case you haven't looked lately, way down at the bottom of my blog is a running tally of the yards of yarn I've knit for 2010.  My target for the year was 20,000 yards, which I thought was lofty goal.  I'm happy to say I've surpassed the goal and there are still 7 days left in 2010.  I bet I'll easily knit a few hundred yards by then.

I was invited to my friend Sue's house for Christmas Eve snacks and drinks.  I cooked up some 'franks in a blanket' from Costco to take with me and while they were okay, I definitely prefer doing them from scratch using the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls instead.

I can finally show you the gifts I made for Sue (had to wait until tonight for the pics) -- a cabled hat with matching neck warmer and an Espresso Bracelet, all in her favorite shade of green from Malabrigo:

I also gave her a nice wood shawl pin because she wears so many shawls and a new needle/gauge checker accessory.  

I didn't get a chance to photograph it yet but Sue gave me a great Blessing Basket Project Market Bag.  It will be super for hauling around knitting projects that are too big for the basket she gave me last year for Christmas.  I also got a bottle of my favorite hand cream from Aveda -- a must have item in this cold weather.

It's getting late and I need to get to bed.  In the morning I have to bake two hams before heading over to Mom's for the family Christmas meal for 25 people!  I bought Maggie a bag of organic dog treats so she won't feel left out!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  Peace and goodwill to you all!

Adorable Christmas Trees from Recycled Wool Sweaters

I found this super cute project on Craft Gossip today: Adorable Christmas Trees from Recycled Wool Sweaters. Could definitely be on my list of things to make.... next year....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I had no idea...

...there was even a group like this chicken rescue group in the UK.  Check out their website.  I originally found them through the Knitty blog where they talked about the sweaters people were knitting for these poor chicks.  They look so adorable and sad at the same time.  

Digital Christmas Story

This video is so clever and nearly 5 over 7 8 million people have viewed it so far.  Let me know your favorite part.  I think mine is the Google map from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  Or maybe the Facebook postings.  But then there's the three kings shopping on Amazon.  I just love it all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I made myself some soup today.  Not Campbell's, instead I made a pot of soup from scratch.  I used the fennel bulb from last week's Door to Door Organics box, and carrots and an onion from this week's box.  I followed this recipe, mostly, but I doubled the wine and cream (surprise!).  I roasted the carrots, fennel bulb, and onion in the oven using EVOO, sea salt, and sugar:

Then I used my immersion stick and blended up the veggies with chicken stock (didn't have the vegetable stock the recipe called for), added butter, wine and cream.  It was delicious!


I've been wondering how much money I raised for the Salvation Army in my two bell ringing stints last weekend.  You're curious too, right? :*)

I got an email back today saying my Friday kettle total was $163.59 and my Saturday kettle total was $335.89. Just short of $500 total for two shifts!!  I know that I can't afford to personally donate that kind of money to the organization so it works out well for me to help raise much needed funds by being a bell ringer.

Door to Door Organics

Here's yesterday's Door to Door Organics box:

Lots of yummy freshness!  I might make the spaghetti squash for lunch today.

If you're looking for some mindless fun during this hectic time, click on this website and enter your birthdate.  You will discover all sorts of interesting things about yourself.  I was born on a Thursday in the Chinese Year of the Ox (hmmm?!) and there are 77 days until my big 5-0 birthday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Super Cute Video

My good friend Harriet sent me this video and if you're in a foul mood it will cure it!

Plans, shmans

You know how you think you've got a plan and then it all goes kerplooey?  My expectation today was that I would rise out of bed at 8 AM, go the the computer at 9 AM and post for a position at my former employer, MetLife.  I knew a posting for four positions would be going up today so I had my resume ready to go, I only needed to see the posting and then apply.

At 6:15 this morning I woke up, like I often do, to go to the bathroom and take my morning pills.  I stopped by my craft room and sat down at my computer.  I went to the career postings on the MetLife website and my eyes bugged out of my head.  The posting that wasn't supposed to be on the website until 9 AM was already there!  Yikes!  I hurriedly hit the 'apply' button, posted my resume, and attached a cover letter.  Now I just have to sit back and wait.  I sent my first text message to my former manager to let her know I'd applied.

Now you really need to keep your fingers crossed! 

My windshield wipers went bonkers on my Montana yesterday and were stuck in the up position.  Today I went to the Belle Tire store where Holly and Kevin's friend works and got the wipers repaired and a new battery installed.  I knew the battery was on it's last cell but the thing actually died while the mechanics were testing out the wipers.  Good timing for me.  Usually the battery dies in the driveway or some other inopportune time.  Maybe my luck is changing......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fingers Crossed

Please keep your fingers crossed that at 9 AM tomorrow I do not have a computer malfunction.  More details tomorrow.....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chickens and Their Aprons

Today was our annual Chicken Christmas Brunch and it was a fabulous day.  I was in charge of meat so I brought bacon and homemade breakfast sausage patties.  I got the recipe from Judy Laquidara's blog and they were very tasty.

We started the day with the apron exchange.  Deb, Kathy, Joyce, Diane, Sue, Mary, Jackie and I participated in the swap by selecting one another's names and making an apron to that person's liking.  Pat and Carol did not participate so they got to pass out the aprons to the appropriate recipients.

Here's Mary, wearing her chicken apron from Kathy:

And here's Diane wearing her apron while admiring her new hot pad and a dark chocolate bar from Joyce:

Notice the lovely 'pearl' necklace?  We all had a chance to wear this charming item.

And here's a nice shot of all of us:
See me sitting in the front row wearing my fabulous Counting Sheep apron, with Chef Suzanne on it?  Diane had my name and she also made me a matching pillowcase, which is going on my pillow tonight!

Joyce's daughter Erin stopped by with baby Henry James.  Grandmas Joyce and Carol were in their glory.  Henry made his way around the group and it was fellow Grandma Deb who seemed to have the best success holding him.

Missing from our group today were Jackie (up north) and Judy (down in Florida) -- sorry they missed out on all the fun and great food.  Diane had to leave early to see her sister perform at the Fox Theatre in Detroit but the rest of us sat around and gabbed until 5:30 PM!  I'm sure Joyce's husband, kids, and dogs thought we'd never leave!


I thought I was cold yesterday during my bell ringing stint for the Salvation Army.  Check out these people who were raising funds for the Special Olympics in Alaska.  I especially like the guys with the Viking hats.


When do two dimes cost you $27?  When you're ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and a woman drops two dimes and you squat down to pick them up to put them in the kettle and break the zipper in your coat.  Not a pleasant experience any time but especially when you're out in the public and it's 16ºF and the wind is blowing and it's snowing.  Ugh.  I managed to hold my gaiter in front of me to block the unsightly disaster.  I must have looked homeless!  I saw one of my former co-workers while I was ringing.  It's always nice to see someone I know while standing out there -- makes the time go by faster.

I dropped my coat off at Express Alterations and can pick up the coat on Friday.  She has to replace the zipper since I broke the stop completely off -- I saw the stop glistening on the sidewalk near the kettle stand at the store.  Cost for replacing the zipper -- $27.  Ugh.

Friday, December 17, 2010

On Vacation

I've decided that I'm not out of work.  I'm on vacation.  I can get up whenever I want, just like when I'm on vacation.  I can putz around, just like when I'm on vacation.  Eat when I want, nap if I want, knit when I want.  I can do nothing if that's what I want to do.

Today I started out wanting to make the apron I need to sew for the Chicken gift exchange on Sunday.  Cutting it close??? Au contraire mon ami!  I'm waaaay ahead for me!  Things were thrown out of whack by a customer who had bought one of my signature coats at the Birmingham Winter Markt.  She originally gave me a check to hold until Christmas, at which time I was to deposit the check and then deliver the coat.  She couldn't wait and I met her today with the coat and she paid me cash.  So I decided to run a few errands -- stopped at Penzey's to get some spices I need to make my breakfast sausage for Sunday, got my car washed for the first time, stopped at the Salvation Army to get my kettle and bell for tonight.

I returned home and started working on the apron.  I can't show you pictures until Sunday because some of the Chickens read my blog.  It's coming along nicely, though.  I had to stop sewing to go do the bell ringing at Holiday Market.  It was darn nippy but I know I'm doing a good thing and people are generous if you just give them an opportunity to give.  I'm always saddened at the sight of vacant kettle stands because no one volunteered to ring.  It's unbelievably easy to do and so rewarding.  Where else do people thank you for merely standing and ringing a bell for two hours?  Please think about volunteering some time.  You can sign up on line and even check later to see how much your kettle netted.  I'll let you know how much I got today when I find out.  I'm also ringing tomorrow from 11am -1pm at Holiday Market in Royal Oak so if you're in the area I'd love to have you stop by.

For now, I'm warmed up, had some supper, and now I'm sipping on a glass of Cab.  Too tired to sew but I might knit for a bit.  I'm on vacation, you know.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pooped Out

I must really be tired because I'm falling asleep searching for cowl patterns on Ravelry.  I'm thinking about knitting up a quick snood to wear when I go bell ringing for the Salvation Army tomorrow and Saturday.  I need something that will keep me warm but not look like a gangster!  For now, I'm taking out my contacts and going to bed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do you do.... get yourself out of a funk?  Today, as expected on my last day of work, I've cried my eyes out.  They burn and they're swollen and of course, I have no eye drops.  I was able to extract my contact lenses without too much difficulty tonight.  I had a bowl of the pea soup I made on Sunday, a glass of Moscato d'Asti, took two decongestant tablets and I'm calling it a night.  I think I'll put a cool compress on my eyes, might even cut up the cuke in the fridge.  I'll try anything to get the swelling down.

I know I didn't lose my life today but I did lose my livelihood.  And my identity.  I knew I worked for MetLife.  I knew every morning I had some place to go to where I could contribute and make a difference.  I knew every couple of weeks or so I'd be compensated for my efforts and twice a year someone would pat me on the back and tell me I'm doing a great job. But that's over for now.  Now I'm just one of millions of unemployed people.  Such a downer.

Maybe it would be different if I'd been fired, then I would have poor performance to blame it on.  I was a  dependable, go-to employee with a solid set of skills.  I shared what I knew willingly and pitched in when I saw help was needed.  Does that sound like the sort of employee you'd expect to keep or dump?  I sure feel abandoned.

I didn't even knit today.

But tomorrow's another day.....................

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This headache of a smartphone is a drag.  I spent another 2 hours on the phone trying to fix the email server issue.  Don't you think some guru at AT&T should be able to figure out why I can connect to my GMAIL account but not my AT&T account???   Ugggghhhh.  Since I have the AT&T email on my resume I really need to resolve this.  You never know, people could be trying to reach me.  Well, maybe someday.  For the record, my roommate is NOT good at relaying messages from phone calls so I need to get this straightened out quickly.

Tomorrow is my final day at MetLife.  I'm already dealing with goodbyes and I have to say, not very well.  I've got a pretty new box of tissues on my desk and I'll be wearing the waterproof mascara for sure.  26 years is a long time to be anywhere and I've spent a lot of time building friendships while making a decent living for myself, supporting my kids and getting them through college.  I'll be searching for my big girl pants in the morning but I doubt I'll be able to find them.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just For Fun

No crankiness today.  Nothing about the smartphone that isn't.  Or the dreadful weather we're having.  Or the job that soon won't be.  I found something purely fun on today.  Click here and seen if you can't have some fun creating a snowflake that's all your own.  Maybe you can find the one I  made tonight.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I'm counting down the days left at work.  3 more to go.  I'm making plans for my time off.  I'm going to straighten up a lot of paperwork around the house and get organized, preparing for taxes.  I picked up the behavior modification collar for Maggie and will get working on that, too.  There are always a lot of things to do at year end.  Maybe I should see the next few weeks as a gift, a chance to get ahead for a change and start the new year off on better footing.  Yeah, right.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Busier than busy!

And I thought yesterday was busy!  I started today with a couple of loads of laundry and took off like a rocket from there.  Dropped yarn off to the Ravelry gal, deposited the GLHQ receipts, picked up Maggie's dog food and a new gizmo to help curb her barking, drove to Guildcrafters to pick out the fabric for our apron exchange on the 19th, ran into the Clawson yarn shop for an extra skein to finish a felted hat, shopped at Costco again, picking up the Christmas ham this time, got a quick lunch at Wendy's, looked at smartphones at Best Buy and Verizon, before heading back to Costco to get the phone I saw yesterday.  Phew.  Then I was off to find some accessories -- nothing at Target or Office Max so it was back to Best Buy.  Can you believe I left the house at 9:45 AM and didn't return until 5:45 PM???  Me neither!!  That's like a full day at the office, only there I don't have to deal with traffic and jammed parking lots and people who are not feelin' the love of the season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Busy, Busy

Do you ever have days where you can't figure out just how you managed to cram so much into a short time?  After work I stopped at O'Reilly's Auto Parts to get some new windshield wipers.  My back window wiper was shredding so I couldn't get it to clean the window properly.  The store had a BOGO special on Bosch blades so I snatched them up and had the employee install them for me.  He also checked out the battery and confirmed it needs to be replaced.  It will be a PITA job because the battery is housed under a bunch of other parts.  Sounds like a job for Belle Tire again.

From there I headed over to Costco to get some Prilosec.  I stopped at the cell phone kiosk and talked to Lauren about a smart phone.  I can't sync my ancient Palm up on my new desktop so since I'm losing my work computer, which does sync up, next week, I've got to come up with another option.  I think I've settled on one phone, researched it a bunch tonight, and might get it tomorrow.

While I didn't come home with a cell phone tonight I did manage to score some tasty wine, a Cornish hen, new bed for Maggie, milk, and some frozen franks in a blanket (not sure why they're not called pigs in a blanket, but whatever).  I was going to buy a shredder but I decided this will be Kevin's turn to buy one.  He's already destroyed the first two that I bought.  I'm not springing for another one.

This weekend will be a 'catch up' weekend.  Since I had the winter market last weekend I'm behind in household chores.  In addition I have banking to do for the quilt guild and a delivery of some yarn that a local gal purchased from my Ravelry stash.  The weather will turn nasty late tomorrow and if the weather pattern holds out, we might get 2-4 inches of snow.  Good thing I have new wiper blades on the Montana!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three New Members

This month's winners of the Door to Door Organics 1/2 off your first box offer are Sue Chase, Harriet Atlas, and Katy Race (I know you have a new married name but I'm still stuck on Race!).  You all should be able to order a box to be delivered in the next week or two.  Enjoy!  I can offer more discounts to new people next month -- stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Customer is Always Right

Today a customer who bought two felted bowls from me last Saturday called to say I had the 'M', as in University of Michigan 'M', upside down on his hat.  I might have agreed with him except for the fact that what he had actually purchased was a felted bowl, and the needle felted 'M' was most certainly applied correctly.  His retort was that he purchased hats, not bowls, since my able assistant Tanya had told him so.  Well, as usual, I had made a bee-line to the bathroom and missed the whole episode.  In true customer service fashion, I will pick up the hat tomorrow and turn the 'M' around for him.

This was just one of my obstacles today.  First thing after I got to work a long time co-worker stopped by desk, nearly panicked thinking he would miss my last day there.  Before long I dissolved into tears, he apologized, and we chatted while I wiped away the tears.  'What are you going to do?' he asked.  That's all it took for me to start  crying, yet again.  And my tears continued long after he left my desk.  I've known this guy for nearly 20 years so yes, it will be hard to say goodbye.  Part of me wants to just slink out of there and part of me wants to be sure to say goodbye to everyone I've had the pleasure of working with over the past 26 years.  That is such a long time, isn't it?  My contacts were so mucked up with tears that I could barely see the rest of the day.  Only 5 days left, it will get harder each day.  Today I showed one of my co-workers how to do one of my jobs.  That was fun.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Door to Door Organics

Today's shipment contained a fennel bulb, which I've never used before, and some pomegranates, which I haven't had in decades!  Not sure what I'm doing with either just yet.  Here's what came today:

You might have noticed the package in the last picture.  I ordered something extra this week -- treats for Maggie for Christmas.  I'm stashing the package of organic peanut butter carob dog treats until then.  Door to Door Organics offers several items that aren't produce that you can add to your shipment.  Remember, there's no shipping cost here so it's even better.

Yesterday's post included an offer for 50% off your first shipment if you're one of three selected readers.  That means that if you order a 'small' box like me, which includes items like the pictures above, it would only cost you $16!!  Even if you decide not to continue, and why wouldn't you continue, you're getting a great one-time offer.

So if you're interested and you didn't leave a comment on yesterday's post, head back over there and leave a comment with your email address.  I'll chose this month's winners tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sharing the Love

I love receiving the fresh produce each week from Door to Door Organics.  I love it so much I'd like to share it with 3 lucky readers of my blog.  Now I'm not offering to pay for your first box but I'm offering to pass along a 50% off coupon to 3 readers who reside in their delivery areas.

How do you know if you live in their delivery area?  Simple.  Click on this link and type in your zip code.  If you discover that you live within the Door to Door Organics delivery area, leave me a comment on today's post, with your email address.  If more than three people respond before 9 PM EST on Wednesday, December 8th, I'll select the winners using the random number generator.

I know you'll love their produce as much as I do.  It's organic, duh, and locally produced when possible.  Obviously, bananas don't come from Michigan, but you get the idea!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Where do I sign up?

Today was the last day of the first annual (I hope!) Birmingham Winter Markt.  I would have to say it was a resounding success.  There were only a couple of snafus that I noticed -- electricity for some tents was limited to their lights, nothing extra for heaters, and the food at the German food tent went over so well they sold out Friday and Sunday.  There were over 10,000 visitors to the show.

Sales were as brisk as the weather.  This was better than all of my earlier 2010 shows combined.  I am very happy and it truly couldn't have come at a better time.

Here's my booth set up on Friday.  I moved things around on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the changing weather and traffic patterns.

Notice the heater next to my chair, which has the heated throw on it???  Can you say cozy??!!

I had plenty of visitors over the show but I have to say a special 'thanks' to Kate for coming today and sitting with me for hours and then helping me dismantle all of my gear and load it into the car.  It sure helped me get out of there a lot faster than if I were on my own.  Even Kevin made an appearance today.  He's never been to one of my shows before, and I've done around 30 in the past eight years.

I have a lot of pictures to share with you from this weekend's festival.  The ice scupture shots were taken after the crowds left on Saturday.

Sorry for the blurry night-time shots. I know I made the right decision to do the Birmingham show over the Northville one.  Remember when I visited the show in Northville last month?  Not hard to see the difference in traffic flow at about the same time of night, both on a Saturday, too.

Here's one of my many satisfied customers:

Now, steady yourself for the next shot, don't want to scare you.  Kate snapped this picture of me giving Santa my wish list (a new job) and Santa trying to let me down gently.
I know, I know.  I take horrible pictures.  Much better behind the camera.

Santa was quite the dapper dresser.  He said Mrs. Claus is an excellent knitter:

And he had some snazzy boots on:

I've put away every that needs to be put away tonight, washed a load of clothes, had a yummy dinner from Zumba and I think I'm ready for bed.  It's been a busy weekend.  Hope you got to do something fun this weekend.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Much Better than Much Better

Does that make any sense at all?  Well today was much better than yesterday and yesterday was much better than Thursday!  The Birmingham Winter Markt has been the best show of the season for me and I have to say -- it's about time!  Today's sales were twice what yesterday's were so I'm sailing along in the black.  Tomorrow's hours are 12-4 PM so I don't expect a duplicate of today's action, but wouldn't that be sweet?!  I'll have pictures to post from the event tomorrow.  

Tonight I'm going to look for some heavy duty night cream -- I've got a pretty good case of wind burn on my cheeks.  The winds were gusting out of the North for a bit today and apparently I was not adequately protected.

And speaking of cheeks, I bought some gingerbread scones from The Cheeky Monkey and I'll have them for breakfast tomorrow morning.  It's always nice to have something to look forward to in the morning, right?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Much Better Today

Today was a fabulous day at the Winter Markt in Birmingham.  If you live in the area, you HAVE to come tomorrow or Sunday.  I could not believe how crowded it was.  Sales were great.  They ran out of food at the German food tent.  I don't think I've ever been somewhere where so many people were speaking German.  Amazing ice sculptures, SANTA!!!!, and more.

No, I was not cold despite the high temp of only 31º F.  My two best friends of the day -- my Presto Dish Heater and the electric throw, both from Costco.  Gotta love that store.  I also wore my new pair of Smart Wool socks and my Patagonia long underwear bottoms.  Never needed my down jacket all day.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.  I'm heading to bed for now -- can't keep my eyes open!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Hat and a Felted Clutch

That's all I sold tonight at the Friends of Different Learners Holiday Boutique Bazaar.

Thank goodness I took my mitts to work on.  Not much of a crowd there and hardly any interest in coming all the way down to the end of the hall to see what I had for sale.  Oh well.  At least I saw a few people I knew and I invited them to come to this weekend's show.  I sure do hope the crowds are better there.

I stopped by the park tonight to see where my tent will be and it's in a good spot.  Now if people will just show up and buy, buy, buy!

I'm off to finish the last half of the last mitt so that I have all four pair done for my customer to take home tomorrow.  Phew!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Shows Coming Up!!

I think I'm out of sorts tonight.  Too much to do and I'm just not used to having shows this late in the year.  Do you ever feel like things are piling up around you as you get close to the holidays??

Neighbors can be so helpful, can't they?  You need a cup of sugar -- bam, they've got it.  My next door neighbors are great and tonight when I went over there to borrow something they looked a little perplexed but obliged.  It was an unusual request.  I begged to use their washing machine!  I needed to felt 4 hats I had knit up or I wouldn't be able to sell them this weekend!  Thank goodness they have an old-fashioned Maytag and after two cycles, my hats were done!  Phew!!  I sat there and knit on a fingerless mitt while I waited -- never an idle moment for me (with the exception of last night's barber shop visit).

I know I promised pictures of the mitts but there's no time for that tonight.  I only stopped knitting for a moment so I could write this post.

For those of you in the Detroit area, here are the details of my next two shows:

12/2 6-9 PM 
Friends of Different Learners
Birmingham Covington School -- 1525 Covington Rd. Bloomfield, MI  48301.  The school is located at Quarton and Covington Roads.  There will be about 35 vendors and a silent auction to help benefit their programs.

12/3  3-8 PM
12/4 11 AM-8 PM
12/5 12-4 PM
Birmingham Winter Markt
Shain Park, Downtown Birmingham
Loads of activities for all ages -- here's the schedule.

It will be plenty chilly for the Winter Markt so bundle up and join me there!  Or if you don't want to linger around the park, come to the first show on Thursday evening!  Either way I hope to see some friendly faces.  You might even find some holiday gifts or something to treat yourself!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Down, Three to Go

I finished one pair of men's fingerless mitts today and have three more to finish before Friday afternoon.  I also have one felted hat to finish knitting and then I need to felt it along with the four other hats, before Friday afternoon.  Beside that I have a couple of designs floating around in my head for my signature wool coats, also need to get finished before Friday afternoon.  Good thing I've taken some time off work to get prepared!  I'll have some pictures to post tomorrow of the mitts and anything else I'm able to finish!

Tonight I had a hair appointment and normally I knit while I'm being worked on.  Unfortunately I left one of my double point needles in the car by accident so I had to just relax instead.  Imagine that!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jason Lends a Hand

Tonight at Panera I was working on a fingerless mitt for a man. Problem -- men's hands are bigger than mine. No frame of reference available. Wait -- Jason, the employee who makes our food, is a man. He can help, right? Sure enough I explained my predicament and he kindly obliged by sticking his hand into my nearly completed fingerless mitt. Harriet jumped at the chance to capture the moment.

The concensus was I needed to knit a few more rounds before finishing it off with the ribbing. More pictures tomorrow. One down, 7 more mitts to knit by Friday afternoon. No problem.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Back

Once again, it's so nice to get away for a few days but good to be back home.  I've washed my clothes from my trip to Charlevoix, including my PJs which should be coming out of the toasty dryer in just a few minutes.  Don't you just love putting on clean, warm night clothes just before you jump into bed?!

I had a super time visiting with my sisters and their families.  My great-nieces seemed to really enjoy watching me  knit the giant hats that will be felted, tomorrow hopefully.  I explained how they are knit and then showed them a finished version.  Even my BIL Mike couldn't believe how the giant hats become the felted beauties!  I got 2 1/2 hats done up there in between all the cooking, eating, dish washing and game playing.

Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday:

I stopped at Holly & Mike's on my way home from Charlevoix today and picked up some of my craft show gear.  I loaded almost everything into the Montana tonight.  I have just a few last minute things to put in there for the first show Thursday night, and then there's the big 3 day show this weekend.  If you're in the area, let me know, and I'll give you directions to either show.  I love to see friendly faces (hint, hint).

Have you noticed my yarn ticker at the bottom of my blog???  Well, I'm getting pretty darn close to my goal of knitting 20,000 yards of yarn for the years!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Produce Delivery

Yesterday I received my Door to Door Organics delivery, one day early for the holiday.

As usual there were some things I've never bought before -- Rainbow Chard, Champagne Mango, and Rio Star Grapefruit.  I'm going to use the chard to make this super delicious White Bean Stew again.  

I'll be taking a lot of this up to my sister Denise's for the Thanksgiving weekend.  I'm really looking forward to getting away.  This will be the first long road trip for the Montana.  Today I took the back seats out, by myself thank you, and they weren't too heavy.  No, my roommate was no where to be found to help me out.

My good friend Mary is coming over to take care of Maggie while Kevin and I are gone.  Bless her heart!  I took Maggie over to Pet Supplies Plus last Saturday to get her caught up on her shots.  It was the most trouble-free visit ever to a vet.  She got all of her shots for $45!  Bargain of the day, for sure.  The vet checked her teeth and heart and instead of growling like I expected, Maggie was quivering the whole time!  Guess she is full of surprises -- she better behave for Mary!

I'll be offline for a few days and should be checking back in on Sunday.  I'm taking plenty of knitting with me so I can get some more of those felted hats knit up.  With two shows coming up next week I will be super busy getting all the last minute things together.  Let's pray for moderate weather next week, okay?

I hope everyone in the U.S. has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another one has left....

Today was another 'last day' at work.  My co-worker Beth has left the building.  She's the last to go before I leave.  My team is down to 3 now.  It feels like the layers of an onion being peeled away.

I had shared some job search tips with Beth and hopefully we'll both be able to find something soon.  I know she wants to take some time off but I don't think I can afford to do that.  Bills will still keep coming in and someone has to pay them.  

I've sent my resume off in a few different directions so far.  Casting a wide net might work.  We'll see.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Knitting Fool

I have a deadline of 12/2 for my next show to get as many felted hats and fingerless mittens done as humanly possible.  I finished two more felted hats today so I have three that need to be felted.  

For comparison I placed one of my knitted hats on top of the soon-to-be felted hats:
Pretty crazy, right?

I used my squirrel cage tonight while I watched re-runs of the Housewives of Atlanta, and wound 13 hanks of yarn into pull balls.  Now I've got all I need to crank out some more hats and get started on the fingerless mitts.  It's going to be a busy week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wise Decision

Sometimes I make choices I end up regretting but today I'm very glad I made one decision -- not to be a vendor at the Northville Christmas Market.  

Since I'm doing the Winter Markt in Birmingham in two weeks I wanted to check the Northville show out at night and see how the vendors set up their booths, traffic flow, and vendor opinions.  First off I headed to Rebecca's Restaurant where I enjoyed a bowl of cream of mushroom soup, sweet potato fries, and a hot chocolate.  Fabulous as always.
Then I headed toward the show.  Gee whiz.  It was dead there.

I wandered in and out of the tents and talked to a couple of the vendors.  One guy told me he and the guy next to him didn't have one sale on Friday and traffic was only so-so today.  I sure hope the Birmingham show goes better than that.  I only saw a couple of booths that looked to be making sales tonight:

I saw one wood worker who made furniture that Holly & Mike might be interested in so I nabbed his business card.  There seemed to be a lot of empty spaces between vendors so I wonder if there were some no-shows.  I only saw one booth with hand knit hats and those were for babies:

So had I vended I would have had merchandise unlike anyone else's.  But I know I would have been miserable sitting there in the cold if there were no customers.  I truly hope for a better outcome in two weeks.

There was so little to see tonight that I managed to eat, shop, and take pictures all in an hour.

The brightest thing going was the moon:

One other interesting thing I spotted was this sign in the window at Genitti's Theatre:
Too bad I didn't know about this sooner.  Our knitting guild could have cranked out some blankets for them.

Love Your Shop Giveaway

If you knit like I do, you'll have no trouble at all qualifying for this offer from Classic Elite Yarns.  Check out their website for more details.  Everyone wins with this deal!  Check here for a shop in your area that carries Classic Elite yarn and books.  Call ahead to make sure the list is accurate.  I know in my area one of the shops closed years ago.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why do I blog?

With all the gazillion people out there blogging I used to wonder why in the world would I blog too.  Mostly, I've found, that blogging is cathartic.  Whatever is going on in my little corner of the world comes spewing out in the form of this blog.  I'd like to think that people are interested in what's going on in my life and can even relate to the events I disclose.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you don't.  I suppose if you don't you quickly move on to the next blog.

I think many people can relate to what goes on in my life because, well, it's probably going on in your life too.  People get sick.  People die.  People lose jobs.  Kids get married.  You knit.  You quilt.  You sew.  You might just admire crafters and wish you were one of us.  As much as I'd like to think that I'm unique, I trust that I am not.  I might just have a knack for putting it all in writing.  You could do it too but I suppose it's easier to just read my blog and nod occasionally in agreement and say 'I can relate to that'.  That's perfectly okay.

Today we had an off site luncheon at work.  The food was good but there was an odd air about us.  Some in the group have moved on to the new project team.  One person had already had their last day but joined us.  The rest of us, I suspect, just felt out of sorts, knowing our jobs were winding down and our days together were numbered. It's not getting any easier for me.  Only 15 work days left.  Jeez.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I've heard it said before and it's true -- looking for a job IS a job.  Maybe we don't use newspapers anymore but surfing the internet is exhausting.  I'm ready to hand my fate over to a head hunter.  There might be some benefit to posting my resume on sites like, too, since they deal specifically in tech jobs.  So far I've seen a few posts that look promising but I think it's kind of like gathering up your courage and taking the plunge.

I got my package at work yesterday and it was a hard swallow to open it and read through the separation packet and try to absorb what's ahead for me.

Life in Royal Oak has been a bit scary lately.  Last weekend there was a robbery-police chase-shooting only two streets over from me.  The other night 10 different businesses were broken into and robbed including the Chinese restaurant right near my house.  It really has me spooked and that's not easy to do.  I'm not used to crime like that.  I hope the police can put an end to it very soon.

I'll be glad when I can find a new job and start to put all the pieces of my life back together again.  In the mean time, I'm still selling yarn on and building an emergency fund.  Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good Night!

I am so ready for bed!  So much happened today with work, TV repairman, dentist, cleaning and baking for stitch group at my house -- phew!  And I just spent 20 minutes screaming at the computer while working on edits to my resume.  More tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stitch Group Tomorrow

Whoa -- it's almost midnight!  I've been putzing around the house after a night of knitting at Panera's with Harriet and Tanya.  Got the nitty gritty on last weekend's knitting shop hop.  Saw some pretty nice giveaway items.  I had too much to do around here to go.  Tears....

I'm hosting the November stitch group meeting for my Chicken friends tomorrow and I'm taking a half day off work to get ready.  Tomorrow morning we're having a catered breakfast and then later a chair massage.  I wouldn't leave before that.  The Vizio repair guy is supposed to show up between 1 and 5 pm.  I have a dentist appointment at 2:30 -- let's see how all that works out.

I'll be baking something up for the ladies.  I have it narrowed down to two items.  I'll sleep on it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Now that I've created my resume I need to find some place to send it to!  I have a couple of leads from friends so as soon as it's proofed I will get going on that.  Even my nephew Andrew is helping with that task.  I know that lots of people are looking out for me and there's a lot of comfort in that.  I'm fairly confident that something will come my way.  How soon, I don't know.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is Happiness?

Oh, I can tell you but I'd rather show you:

What the heck is that? you ask yourself.  Oh, my dear friend.  It's the scrumptious, cozy, toasty warm item that's going to save me from freezing when I do the Winter Markt show in Birmingham next month.  Outdoors.  In the park.  In a tent.  It's the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw and it's only $24 at Costco with the latest coupon.  Can you say 'heaven'???  My little 'ol body is going to be good and comfortable, waiting for customers to peruse my goods.  It will come in handy while I'm sitting at my computer this winter by the chilly window.  Or on the couch when I'm knitting up a storm.  Or resting my weary bones in my nippy bedroom.  Dialing down you know.

As if that weren't enough to make me happy, I bought a new phone system so that I don't have to leap over debris in the craft room to answer a call.

To top everything off, I believe I have a relevant resume created.  Now I need a couple of people to proof-read it and then I can start sending it off.

I will sleep so well tonight..........

Thursday's GLHQ Meeting

The meeting on Thursday was super and the speaker, Kathy Delaney, was delightful.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and showed us some great slides of her quilts.  With all the changes lately to travel costs, it's just getting too cost prohibitive to bring a whole quilt trunk show on the flight.

I took some pictures of the quilts we saw on her Powerpoint presentation:

I know the photos don't really do the quilts justice but it's the best I could do that night!

She did have a couple of quilts with her but unfortunately I only got a good shot of this one:

There were several great quilts shown by guild members during Show N Tell.

The first three shots include quilts made from men's shirts purchased at a thrift store:

 This sweet baby quilt is going to a little gal who will be born with a hole in her heart and a cleft palate.  So many challenges already for a tiny baby.  If you're so inclinded, please send some prayers and positive thoughts her way.

 Can the bird quilt above and reproduction fabric quilt below be any more different??

I LOVE this one -- the pink sashing really sets the blocks off nicely.

This is what you make with a whole lotta half square triangles!  Her husband always wanted a sailboat!

Our guild is filled to the rafters with talented quilters and it's always so much fun to see what everyone's up to.