Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Survey for You

The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is surveying needlearts enthusiasts to gauge the interest in various needlearts.  If you take the 5 minutes or so to answer their survey you can enter their contest to win a $100 needlearts prize.  You can't enter until after you've answered the survey -- give it a go!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reading Blogs

Do you read a lot of blogs each day?  Some blogs some days?  Not many at all?  Well, thank goodness you're reading my blog!  When I first started to think about blogging I couldn't imagine that I'd be able to write as frequently as I do.  What in the world would I write about?!  Apparently, I can think of things to share with the world.

I read each of the blogs I have listed on the left, as often as the writers post.  One blog I hope you've had a chance to read, especially this month, is the C&T Publishing Blog.  They've had links to free crafts ideas every day this month, which happens to be National Craft Month.  Now, not every craft project will appeal to you -- that's what makes the world go 'round.  I saw several items that I would consider making, when time allows.  Check it out for yourself!

If you follow a blog that's not on my list, please let me know -- I'd love to check it out. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Little Advice

Today's advice -- never ask your 30 year old son for his opinion about your current craft project.  If he were my son, chances are pretty good that A) He couldn't care less and B) He's actually color blind so any advice he could give would be useless anyway.

All I wanted was a little affirmation that I'm heading in the right direction with my newest endeavor of embellishing ready-made garments.  NEVERMIND!  When I want honest, creative-based opinions I know who to ask -- my girlfriends, of course.  That's exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow night when I meet with my knit group at Panera.

So there Kevin.  I don't need your stinkin' opinion.  Go back to whatever it was I pulled you away from.  Geez.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A wet, rainy day greeted me this morning.  Chilly and wet.  Probably my least favorite type of weather.  I thought about staying home but decided to head over to Right off the Sheep to knit with the ladies.  I've only got about 8 rows to go on my Sneaky Sheep Swap project -- woohoo!  I'll be done in plenty of time for next month's meeting.

I decided to go to get carry out from a restaurant in Royal Oak that offers Eastern European food on the weekends.  The menu is full of items, some things I've heard of and others I have not.  I ordered a mix of things to get a good feel for their food.  I've had the pizza twice so far from Ernie's Pizza Cafe and it's been fabulous both times.

Tonight I had Nalichniki, Potato Zrazy, Potato Pirogues, and a Chicken Cutlet a la Fireman.  All of it was delicious but I'd have to say the Potato Zrazy was my favorite.  It's a mashed potato dough stuffed with ground beef (not a hamburger but more like roast beef ground up).  It's a dish that originated in Ukraine.  I'm not sure where the family that runs the restaurant is from -- somewhere over there to be sure, judging by their accents and speaking a foreign language.  I'll ask next time.

For dessert I ordered Keta -- a sweet pizza that is a traditional dessert in Armenia.  It was terrific.  I might get it for my stitch group when they come to my house.

I'm really trying to support small businesses like this restaurant.  They truly rely on locals to survive.  If you live in the area, give them a try.  If you're not from around here, I hope you're doing your part to support your local small businesses.

Jumping off my soapbox now and getting ready for bed.  I'll be taking the bus to and from work for a while so I've got to be out the door at 6:15 AM -- that comes around pretty early, especially on Mondays......

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ohio Adventures

When you're going on a road trip do you sleep well the night before?  Does the anticipation of a super fun day ahead leave you tossing and turning?  Me too!  I'm always up for a road trip and today was no exception.

Linda Lu, Sue, Judith, Harriet, Michelle and I headed for Bowling Green, OH, this morning for a fiber adventure.  Our first stop was the Black Swamp Spinners Guild Fiber Show.
None of us left empty handed.  On the contrary, we were all too eager to help the local economy.  It feels good to know the money is staying in the community.  The vendors were stocked up with all sorts of fibery goodness.  I bought 2# of roving to use for felting base, plus several balls of beautifully dyed balls of roving (see picture below for today's haul).

Now last year we didn't have the best of food provided at the show by the Boy Scouts -- sorry boys.  This year we chose to go into town and take our chances.  In an uncharacteristically bold move, I stopped a woman on Main Street and asked which establishment she would recommend for these out of town visitors.  We decided on her first suggestion, Easy Street Cafe, and we were super satisfied.



With our bellies full we were ready to head off to our next destination but got side tracked when I stepped into this shop for directions to a yarn store ~~



I spotted this gem ~~


and went back outside to tell the ladies they 'needed' to step inside, too.

Art-a-Site is a gallery and studio run by retired art teacher Becky Laabs.  It's a consignment shop of sorts, offering all kinds of beautiful handmade items from across the Midwest.  She has the classroom in the rear of the store ~~


and the items for sale in the front half ~~


Of course I was drawn to the felted bags created by Pamela A. MacGregor of Tarvey Cottage Studio.  She also created the evening clutch that drew me into the store in the first place.

Linda Lu loved this unique teapot ~~


Isn't it crazy???  It also had matching teacups.  So resourceful!

Several of us purchased items -- more money into the local economy, keeping artists afloat.

While waiting to leave the town I spotted this building across the street.  I thought it was a bit odd to have the fire escape on the front of the building.  Maybe it's just me.


Anyhow, we piled back into our cars and drove to Perrysburg, up I-75 from Bowling Green.  We headed straight for Yarn Cravin, which had been vending at the fiber show too.  We all lessened their inventory as well, and they had a nice sale going.  Too bad the store was filled with women sitting and standing around, shooting the s#*t, which made it difficult for the six of us to move around the various rooms of this house-turned-store.


By now we were quite parched and in need of a beverage so we headed for downtown Perrysburg, a quaint town, and spotted My Daily Grind, where each of us found a beverage to suit us.  I ordered an Iced Chai while my friends all ordered hot beverages, all created by the charming barista.

 

She snapped a shot of the group before we headed back to Michigan ~~



And when I stepped out of the coffee shop I was instructed to go back in and 'check out' the bathroom.  Well, this loo is definitely one of the oddest ones I've ever seen ~~

Yes, there was a step up to the toilet, taking you to new heights in relieving yourself!

We headed back home and I do have to admit to dozing off a bit in the car.  The sun was shining brightly and I just couldn't help myself.  I was glad I didn't have to drive.

So here is the sum of my efforts today~~


It was an ideal way to spend a Saturday.  I can't wait to start using all that roving.  What should I make first?

I started writing this post around 8 PM, stopping from 8:30 to 9:30 to observe the hour of darkness, where people around the world were to turn off electric appliances and be in the dark.  I lit candles ahead of time and shut off my computer.  With a Coleman lantern to light the living room, I sewed two of the buttons I bought today on some Button Hats, and then organized tons of buttons into my new containers from IKEA.  Surprisingly it didn't bother me at all to have the lights off.  I felt kind of like a pioneer woman, except I bet a pioneer woman would have just gone to bed.  That sounds like a great idea to me.

Hope you had a wonderful day doing something that brought you joy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Card Sharks

My friend Sue invited me to be a substitute in her Euchre club.  I don't play very often, actually it's more like once every 10 years, but I said 'sure' and I'm glad I did.  There were a total of 6 couples tonight, including my 'partner' Jim, whom I'd never met.  Most of the players were not really good.  Even though I don't get the chance to play often I'm still a pretty careful player and pretty good at counting cards.  Not good enough to make a living at it but I do enjoy the challenge.

Tomorrow Sue and I will be joining others from the Black Sheep Knitting Guild at 8 AM and we will carpool down to Bowling Green, OH, for the Black Swamp Spinners Guild Fiber Show.  There will be 40 vendors there and I know several so it will be a fun time.  A girl can never have too much fiber.

I tried a new felting process tonight before I headed over to Sue's for cards.  I'll post more about the process and pictures tomorrow.

Hope you have some fun things planned to make it a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I wouldn't actually say I took the night off from crafting, just from knitting and sewing.  I spent the evening scouring my felt making books, looking for inspiration for a new project.  I've been wanting to embellish ready-made garments for a while now and today I picked up a nice wool coat from the Salvation Army store in Royal Oak.  It was half price since Winter is officially over.  Never mind that it will go down to the 20s tonight -- brrrrr.

I originally headed to the Salvation Army in search of more Pendleton wool shirts like the one I used in yesterday's pillow.  I didn't find any that I liked but I did spot a lot of coats that could be potential 'art clothes'.  I've admired a couple of friends' coats and wanted to take a stab, pun intended, at needle felting a design on a plain coat.  The problem is I have so many different design ideas floating around in my head that I'm having trouble focusing on one particular concept.  I'm sure something will come to me.

In the meantime, I'm off to get more ideas from my books, including my applique quilt books because they often have designs that can cross over to other crafts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whiz Bang Idea

Today at work I was thinking about ways to clean up my various fiber spaces at home.  I have things stored in my coat closet, my bedroom, my craft room, and my laundry room.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do.  Then it hit me, like a bolt straight out of the sky.  Well, it wasn't quite that earth shattering but it did get me thinking and as I left the office I put everyone who was still there on notice -- I was going to go home and create.

And I did.

Close up of the pocket -- great place to hold your remote or cell phone ~~

It's actually a pillow made from a felted Pendleton wool shirt with a 16" down pillow form inside.  Ok, so I haven't actually reduced the clutter in my laundry room a lot.  And part of me wants to keep the remaining sleeves.  Afterall, they could be used for another project.  Oh, I hear you Joyce -- throw the scraps out!  I might just do that.  Tomorrow.  After I sleep on it.  The idea, not the pillow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Cavities!

I'm sure that's not exciting to most adults but I've been struggling for years with my teeth.  Teeth are something most people take for granted but not me.  I was actually diagnosed with GERD several years ago by my dentist because he noticed the erosion of the enamel on my teeth.  My mouth is full of crowns and I need two more.  But today was a great day -- no cavities.  I've been using a high power rinse at night that coats my teeth so it must be doing the trick.

Tonight was my Chicken group meeting at Diane's house.  Unfortunately I left my camera on the chair in my living room so no pictures for this post.  Mary showed her snowman wallhanging and her recently finished cabled wool sweater -- toasty warm!  Various books and magazines were passed around for all to peruse while we munched on yummy snacks.  Deb was busy hand-quilting a long-term project.  Joyce and Diane did hand piecing while Carol and I knitted away.  Kathy viewed the magazines, pointing out which quilts would be nice for a President's quilt next year.  Pat worked on homework from her office.  :(

I worked on my Sneaky Sheep Swap project which is morphing as I knit it into something different than I originally intended.  That's what happens when you're limited to 3 skeins and can get no more anyway.

We planned our riding and meal arrangements for our visit to see our friend Jackie in April.  She lives on Torch Lake and in April, anything can happen.  We'll most likely see some kind of snow, so packing can be tricky.  Everyone gets a turn at a meal and I'll be working on Sunday dinner with Diane.  She has a soup recipe she'd like to prepare so I'll try to think of something to go with it.

I love getting away to Torch Lake -- it's so pretty and quiet up there and Jackie has a fabulous home to host us in.  I need to get away......soon!  I haven't gone anywhere since October -- I've definitely got cabin fever.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The First Step

I believe it's been said that the first step to recovery is admitting that you need help.  Well, I need help.  Tonight I went into my utility room where my quilt fabric is stored with the best of intentions.  I intended to sort through containers of fabric and create a give away pile.  Couldn't do it.  I kept thinking over and over again how I bought these three fabrics to coordinate with that focus fabric, how these four fabrics were to be used for that quilt pattern, or how this collection of fabric strips would be great for whipping up that quilt.

In the end I made no decisions other than to return the fabrics to their rightful containers and make a hasty retreat from that room.

Now I did find a quilt pattern that's made for my friend Joyce, who of course, does not have enough ideas of her own and needs help from me - NOT.  But I think she'll like it and make if for a special little lady in her life.  Not that she needs them but I'll bring some of the fabrics that were neatly stored purposely beside the pattern.

It's going to take a vice grip to remedy my fabric situation.  I think if I just take everything out of the containers, make project piles and a list to prioritize them, that it should be a whole lot easier to rid myself of the excess.  The piles could be:  Have to Make It, Likely to Make It, and Not Even if I Live to 90.  Right?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chickens Create

There were no questions about eggs and chickens today -- it was obvious the Chickens came first!  My friend Kathy invited all available Chickens over today to celebrate National Quilting Day.  Nevermind that is was officially yesterday.  We make up our own rules.  So I picked up Carol and drove to Kathy's house, where we met up with Deb, Joyce, and later Pat, who needed a lot of prodding to come over.
 ** WARNING -- LOTS OF PICTURES TODAY!! **

We were busy, busy, busy, working on various projects.  I suggested to Kathy that some day we should all bring our own projects and have a round robin where we each get to work on whatever the other Chickens brought.  There could be mayhem in the coop!

I took plenty of pictures with my new camera and while I was able to get them onto my computer I still need to figure out the editing features.  So these are definitely 'raw' photos.



Kathy surprised me by showing 2 finished quilt tops using the blocks I had cut and sewn last year from her jungle birds fabric.  The technique involved laying four carefully cut layers of fabric on the cutting board and cutting them in such a way that when you turned each square 90ยบ and sewed them together you'd get a block like this ~~


Kathy did a fabulous job selecting the sashing and cornerstone fabrics -- I love how it turned out!  She didn't just randomly place the fabrics.  Oh, no, she had a carefully drawn out system ~~


One of the projects that Kathy showed us involved tiny 16 patch blocks using Reproduction fabrics.
Don't believe it's a tiny center block??
Joyce placed this bobbin from her Featherweight Bernina beside the block for comparison!

Kathy has been super busy -- here's another WIP ~~
Kathy still has some work to do on this one.  Carol, Joyce and Deb were ready to lend their advice.
I think this is a project from one of Gwen Marston's Kaffe Fassett's books.  Thanks Joyce

Joyce was working on a super clever quilt that looks like wool but uses flannels ~~

Doesn't it look just like wool???


Carol sewed down the binding on this year's Mystery Quilt Day quilt ~~


Deb worked on blocks based on a quilt that Becky had shown at the GLHQ guild meeting in February -- so darn clever!  She used her hand-dyed fabrics for a beautiful effect ~~

Deb also showed this fabulous quilt top, also using her wonderful hand-dyed fabrics ~~

Aren't her fabrics delightful!!

Kathy worked on her project from last week's Dianne Hire workshop ~~

Here are the pieces so far, albeit upside-down ~~

Pat showed us the prototype for the veil she's sewing -- no pics, don't want to risk any bad luck for the bride to be.

Now I know what you're thinking -- all this productivity documented with photos -- what the heck did Suzanne work on all day??!!

Well, everyone who knows me knows that I'm not particularly prolific when it comes to sewing.  Every now and then even I get disgusted with my lack of productivity.  Today I pulled out a charity quilt top that I've had in my possession for what appears to be more than 3 years.  Get ready to beat me up -- I didn't even have to sew it -- it came to me as a kit from someone else in the guild.  Okay, okay.  Not for too much longer.  I pressed the top and backing (one particularly dense sort of muslin) and layered it up with a dreadful polyester batting, pin basted it on Kathy's countertop (so much better than crawling around on the floor), and tied it using a gold wool yarn ~~

Now I need to trim the edges (seems the top was a bit more generous than the backing) and sew on the binding.  It will feel so good to turn it in to the Charity committee next month.  One big item to cross off my list of things to get done and out of my house.  Thanks to Kathy for hosting the day.

And finally, here's the Teal Knit Hat I finished yesterday while knitting at Joan's ~~
It's made to fit a large woman's head or even a man's head.  I don't often make them this size but I always get requests for them so I better crank out more.

I've got a busy week ahead with both dentist and doctor visits planned.  I also have my monthly meeting with my manager where we'll be discussing my development plan for the year.  Woohoo.  Not sure where this year will take me......

Go Green!  Go White!  Go Spartans!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kind Offers

Today I was invited to knitting and dinner at the home of my knitting friend, Joan.  Don't you just love out of the blue invitations?  She made a delicious beef stroganoff dinner with a great salad, fresh asparagus and I picked up a olive oil/rosemary baguette to go with it.  Joan also invited our mutual friend Chris and together with Joan's husband Carl, we all enjoyed our hearty meal.  Joan was shocked when I turned down her offer for a glass of wine (remember I gave up alcohol for Lent, remind me not do that again).

Joan showed Chris and me some new fiber projects she's been working on.  One project used Tyvek that you melt with a hot iron.  You'd have to see it to believe it.  She's doing some marvelous dyeing and Shibori work with some scarves that she wove herself.  Absolutely beautiful results!

I finished working on the Teal Knit Hat that I just added to the completed list on the left.  I cast on for another hat using a skein of Zitron Fundus -- isn't that the oddest name for a yarn????  Unfortunately, while the ball band says you can use knitting needles from size 8 to size 10, I went down to a size 7 and it was still too loose.  So I frogged it and came home.  Tomorrow I'll cast on again, probably using a size 6 instead.

I did get a couple more inches done on my Sneaky Sheep Swap project.  I'm sweating though -- not sure I have enough yarn and the store has no more in that shade.  Thinking on my feet now......

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vascular Screening Day

Today was another fantastic weather day -- super sunshine-y and high temps in the low 70s. Can't ask for more, except more days just like this one.

I headed over to Beaumont Hospital this morning for my Vascular Screening and was out of there lickety split fast. In only a half hour I had my carotids, abdomen and legs scanned with the ultrasound, followed by my EKG, blood pressure (definitely on the high side for me at 138/77), high body fat (not sharing that number today), and finally had a couple of vials of blood drawn to check for cholesterol and blood sugar. I hadn't had anything to eat since 9 PM last night so both of the blood tests should yield valid results.

Speaking of results, I should get a report in about a week or two and I'll share that with you when I do.

The technician seemed to spend a LOT of time on my left carotid artery so I'm not sure if that means anything or not. At least they didn't call for a gurney to have me admitted!

It's been about 3 years since I last had my cholesterol checked and I'd be willing to bet it's a tad high. Ok, it might be a lot high. I do love my cheese.....

I've been knitting on my Sneaky Sheep exchange item that is due by next month's BSKG meeting.  It will be a 'home' item as opposed to something you wear.  No hints on what it is or whose name I drew but here's a progress picture that doesn't give away too much ~~



I'll be working on it this weekend as well as attempting to get my taxes done.  Less than 4 weeks left to go!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I've been meaning to get my life insurance, etc., papers organized and today I came across this link at work:  MetLife Funeral Planning Guide.  (The button is on the right hand side:  'Funeral Planning')  At first I thought it was pretty morose, but after reading through it I think it's just what I need to get organized and have important information in one spot, just in case.  A couple of weeks ago I realized I hadn't updated all of my various life insurance policies with Holly's new last name and she was married last June! It was just something I hadn't thought about and while I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have any trouble getting her share, I wanted to reduce any potential complications.

The planning guide has a lot of useful information and is definitely worth the time it will take to fill in the blanks.  I'm not expecting to keel over anytime soon but you never know.  It's good to have everything spelled out.

I'm thinking that I'll put my yarn and fabric under the 'Property --Collections' category........

Cute You Tube Video

Today the Knitter's Review email had a super cute You Tube video that I thought I'd share with you today in case you don't get Clara's emails.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day

Today was a marvelously sunny, warm day for March the 17th in Michigan.  I donned a bright green cotton sweater in honor of St Patrick's Day.  I didn't want to get pinched!  I always have green on, though, because I have green eyes.  It was always my cop out if I forgot to wear green when I was in school.

I had an enjoyable dinner at the Black Finn Restaurant in Royal Oak.  It was really crowded on the bar side but not so on the restaurant side.  Plus, I didn't have to wear a silly hat or pile on the beads to eat this ~~ 

I only managed to eat half of my meal and I had iced tea with it, no beer or anything fun.  After roaming around Barnes & Noble for a bit, I stopped at McDonald's to get a vanilla cone -- it hit the spot!

Tonight I got all of the treasurer's paperwork done for the quilt guild board meeting tomorrow night.  There's a wayward check floating around somewhere that should have been in my possession last month but I still don't have it.  Sending the president of the guild in search of it.

While I was playing around in Excel I decided to finally make a list of my passwords for different websites.  I had oodles of scrap papers all over my desk but had never taken the time to organize them, until tonight.  So glad to finally have them all in one spot.  I don't know about you, but it seems like I've left a trail all over the internet.

If you're up for another contest, hop over to Kate Spain's blog where you can enter to win a fabulous bundle of Verna fabrics.  Now, my Mom's name is Verna so I'm definitely partial to that fabric.

If you use Google Chrome for your web browser could you do me a favor please?  When I open my blog using Chrome, most of my pictures and some of my gadgets do not show -- are you finding this as well?  Right now I'm using IE 8 and everything looks fine so I'm not sure what my problem is.

Hope you had a great St Patrick's Day doing whatever it is that makes you smile!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giveaway Project

One of my blogiversary giveaways went to Amy and she kindly sent me a picture of the gift bags she made from one of the batik fabrics ~~

Aren't they fabulous??!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Quickie

Can't write for too long, I need to get to bed.  I was up late last night (past midnight) playing with my new toy computer, so I'm a bit sleep deprived.

Today I pulled a 'Suzy Smart' as my mother would say.  I tried to load my HP Photosmart printer that I've had for about 4 years and found out it was not compatible with Windows 7.  Not a big surprise.  So I started searching for a new printer online -- Costco, Best Buy, Target.  Then it hit me -- don't go running off and buying a new printer -- check the compatibility at the Windows website.  BINGO -- I found the new driver I needed, downloaded it and voila -- I have my old printer installed.  Yippee!  Saved myself about $150!!

I felt like I was on a roll so I decided to install my Logitech webcam -- same story -- the installation CD came up not compatible with Windows 7.  Now 'Momma didn't raise no dummy' and sure enough I found the updated installation information on the Logitech website.  Back in business with my webcam.  Woohoo.

Now all of my wires are carefully tucked behind my desk and I can work on putting other things back in their proper place tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Super Sunday

Today I tackled the task of buying a new computer.  I've been thinking about it for a while, in preparation of receiving my bonus at work.  I really didn't want a laptop -- I just like working on a desktop better and I know you can usually get a lot more memory on a desktop.

I searched a bit online, Dell, Best Buy, among others, and decided I needed to visit the stores in person.  I started at Costco today, just to rule it out, and as expected, they did not have what I needed.  It seems like they're pushing laptops a whole lot more.  Next I went to Best Buy.  I really liked the idea of the all-in-one models but they didn't have much memory for the price.  After looking over their regular desktops I committed their features and prices (not really!) to memory and headed over to Micro Center, where I found the same PC for about the same money but the salespeople all sounded like scammers.  So back to Best Buy I went and found the same sales guy I had worked with earlier.

I ended up with an HP desktop with 6 GB of RAM and 1 TB hard drive -- ginormous.  For comparison my old computer had 512 MB of RAM and 2 GB hard drive.  Kind of like going from a Yugo to a Ferrari.  The monitor is an HP 20" LCD version that seems huge.  It fills up the space on my desk for a monitor.  I was worried it wouldn't fit so that's great.

I'm always nervous about switching over to a new PC.  I got a 4 GB flash drive to use to copy over the important files I had on the old PC.  I'll try to load them tomorrow, along with other software like my printer and web camera.  I don't want to do too much too fast and mess it up.  It's so nice to start with a clean slate.

I did manage to get some time in for knitting today with the ladies at Right off the Sheep.  I worked on my Sneaky Sheep project and got 2" done.  No hints yet, but I will say it takes a bit of concentrating to get it right.

I hope you had a great weekend wherever you are.  The weather was pretty glum around here but I think things will perk up tomorrow.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gypped

I always feel gypped in the Spring when it's time to turn my clocks ahead one hour due to the switch to daylight savings time.  I do it early so I can get in the mindset of the new time.  So that means it's already nearly 11 PM to me and time for me to think about getting ready for bed.  I learned a few years ago from having gone to a sleep study, that I need 7 hours of sleep each night.  My internal clock knows this, too, and often times I wake up on my own at that point and can't fall back to sleep.

I had such a busy day today that I won't have any trouble at all falling asleep.  While waiting for my friend Tanya to pick me up to go see the Yarn Harlot, I finished knitting another Button Hat.  We made our way down to the Detroit Public Library, where we off-loaded our merchandise and since we were the first ones there, we picked a great table for our display.
It got really busy, really fast and soon the hall where we were was filled with knitters from all over.  It was amazing.  One gal came from Iowa, another from New York, and load of knitters from all over Michigan.  At one point I looked up and there was Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot herself, shopping at the different vendors' booths.  What didn't sell was packed up briskly at 12:50 so everyone could get down to the auditorium to hear Stephanie's lecture.

The whole outing was organized by a member of the Black Sheep Knitting Guild, Kelley, who is also a librarian at the Detroit Public Library Main Branch.  She worked diligently to pull the whole thing off ~~
saving our group a couple of the front rows (to the chagrin of many other attendees) and was so tickled to introduce Stephanie ~~
who was gracious and glad to be in Detroit on a gray, rainy, glum day.  She let us know that she had discovered through her dinner on Friday at the nearby Traffic Jam Restaurant, that Americans can actually make good beer.  Being a Canadian she had previously held the view that the only good beer was a Canadian beer.  Nice to show her we can get it right.

As she does at every lecture she gives, she took a picture of her current sock project with the crowd in the background.  I got a picture of her taking a picture ~~
When she was done speaking those who had books to sign lined up in the auditorium to wait their turn ~~
There had been about 400 people in attendance for the lecture and I bet about 100 of them lined up with their books.  One of our guild members, Jodi, made her way to the table with her daughter ~~
Stephanie was gracious about signing everyone's books

and talking to each person as they stopped and even got up to have her picture taken with her fans.

From there we packed up our things and headed over to the Traffic Jam to join a group from the BSKG.  After an enjoyable meal, we stopped at the Avalon Bakery so Tanya could get a loaf of their yummy bread and some date bars, and then we were off to City Knits, to try and find a way to use the coupons they had given everyone at the Yarn Harlot lecture.

Their store ~~
is located inside the Fisher Building, which was designed by Alfred Kahn back in the 1920's and is home to the Fisher Theatre, where many of the premier plays and entertainment acts take place.  It is a fabulous example of art deco design and I snapped a picture of one of the beautiful light fixtures ~~
Amazingly enough, we didn't find anything at City Knits that needed to come home with us and we headed toward home, stopping at Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak to pick up some fabric for Tanya to use in her soon-to-be remodeled basement.

When I got home I felt whipped.  Could be the rainy day.  Could be the anticipation of losing an hour's sleep tonight.  All I know is that when I sat down here to read my email I nearly fell asleep sitting up.

I am pleased with the pictures my camera took today but have discovered that I can't edit them with my existing software.  So tomorrow I'll have to decide whether to get the new computer and software.  My current system is at it's capacity and I'm often running into virtual memory problems, even though I clean out my cache and history daily.  This PC is 5 years old and it just might be time.

Now it's nearly 10 PM so that is really 11 PM with the time switch so I'm off to bed shortly.  I hope you had an enjoyable Saturday, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Immersed

...in the manual for my new CAMERA!  Yes, indeedy, I decided on a new camera.  I've had my current Olympus digital camera for nearly 4 years and since it's only a 6 megapixel version I decided to use part of today's bonus from work to buy a new toy must-have item.  I chose a Nikon Coolpix S8000 for a number of reasons but mostly because I wanted the most megapixels and optical zoom I could afford.  I know that Nikon has a great reputation and this one has 14 megapixels and 10X optical zoom plus the vibration reduction feature I wrote about Wednesday.

I went to Best Buy first to get an idea what I'd be paying if I bought it locally.  Then I went to the Woodward Camera shop in Birmingham and asked for that model.  Pete was very helpful and went in the back room to pull out the lone camera -- it was my destiny.  While their price was a bit more than Best Buy, I got the camera case included, and a lot more knowledge and advice from Pete than the guys at the big box store.  Plus I will be signing up for a four week workshop they run called 'Beyond the Basics', which I look forward to taking.

So far, I have to say I LOVE the camera.  I still need to load the software to my computer, which could be getting replaced as well, so I may hold off on that.  I just sat in my chair in the living room and snapped things at various distances.  Everything is crystal clear and sharp as can be.  I can't wait to use it tomorrow when I go to see the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, speak at the Detroit Main Public Library at 1 PM.  

Several people will be setting up tables there at 11 AM to sell knitting related things, including my friend Tanya, and I'll be giving her a hand.  I'll try not to cough on everyone.  Still battling the wheezy chest thing.  Getting tired of that but too excited about my new camera to let it get me down!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Tonight was our quilt guild meeting and I forgot to take my camera.  Bummer.  I had put the battery in the charger and that's where it remained.  As the treasurer of the guild I was busy collecting money and writing checks, phew!

Our speaker tonight was Dianne Hire and she was eclectic and delightful.  Her program was on Oxymorons: Absurdly Logical Quilts and was a slide show that included many of the quilts that were made for a special exhibit at Paducah.  Each of the quilts had an oxymoron theme like 'Clearly Ambiguous' and 'Linear Curve'.  She had wonderful stories about each quilt and shared the sketching and design steps for each one.  Again, wish I had my camera, as Dianne brought some of her beautiful pieces to show.

Tomorrow is our bonus day at work.  Each year I make a list of all of the ways I could spend it.  Odd, I never think of all the ways I could save it.  I'm good for the local economy.  As in past years, a new hot water heater is on my list, as is a new camera, computer, cement porch, various items from IKEA, vet visit for Maggie, etc.  Now there's no way I can get everything done so I'll have to prioritize and do the most with what I get.

What do you do with the extra money you come into?  Do you save or spend???

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the winner is.....


...button #1 of course.  You already knew that.  Me too!  I've been waiting for the perfect project for that button. I really love the Briar Rose buttons but the cost can make them too pricey to use on the items I make and sell.  Took a quick break from writing this post to sew the winning button on the hat ~
It looks perfect!  Even if I take fuzzy pictures.  I'm thinking about getting a new camera -- one that accommodates shaky photographers.

So now you're all wondering -- who is the winner of the skein of Cascade 220 Superwash Yarn?????  Using the random number generator --- the winner is lucky #13 -- EJ.  
EJ -- you'll have to send me your mailing address so I can get your yarn to you.  Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who put their 2¢ in on this project.  Now I'm off to finish the next hat.

P.S.  I'm feeling better -- still on my meds and hacking away though.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still Ailing

A huge thank you to everyone for your birthday and get well wishes.  While my birthday has been pretty subdued, I am feeling slightly better and should be able to go to work tomorrow.  I did manage to knit up the rest of the Anny Blatt Berger wool into a Mini Me hat.  I will have to miss the Black Sheep Knitting Guild meeting tonight, boo-hoo.  Never fear though, my good friend Sue will be taking my place as the raffle prize coordinator tonight and there are plenty of great prizes thanks to Linda Lu and Laurie, so far.

It's pretty clear from the comments on yesterday's post that button #1 is a winner.  Now I'll have to wait until 8 PM EST tomorrow to draw a winner for this:

It's a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash Wool -- 220 yards of yummy-ness, ready for you to knit into a hat, or scarf, or cowl, or mitts, or.......

I've got the re-scheduled birthday dinner with Mom, Holly, and Kevin tomorrow night so I'll be posting the winner's name around 8:30 PM EST.  Good luck!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bleh!

What could I possibly have to complain about on a beautiful day like today?  Maybe I could start where I left off yesterday:  wheezing, coughing, dripping.  I called the doctor's office first chance I had and got a morning appointment.  Bronchitis was the diagnosis although I half thought it could have been pneumonia, the way my chest was rattling.  Never without my knitting, I worked on this hat while I waited an hour for the physician's assistant.
I used some Anny Blatt 'Berger' wool that I rescued from the sale bin at Right off the Sheep.  It feels great to use up yarn from my stash.  It took about 100 yards on size 6 needles, but remember that I knit loosely.  Your results may vary.

Armed with several prescriptions, I headed over to Costco where I discovered that my old prescription plan had expired and since I hadn't been sick in TWO years, this vital information had slipped my mind.  I paid cash for my prescriptions, came home, straightened out the coverage issue and returned to Costco to get my refund.  And this is my 'medicine stash':
And I still need another inhaler.  After pay day.

I did take advantage of the sunny day to take some photos of my latest projects.

The Possum Scarf:

And the Glitz Scarf that I think is destined for a charity auction in Bay Harbor later this year:

The Mint Green Rose Hill Hat I finished a week or so ago:

And finally, the Navy Button Hat with is missing something fairly obvious:
Yes!  It's missing the button.  That's where you come in.  I can't decide which button to use.  It gets sewn on the left side of the hat, where the band overlaps (the right side in this picture).  Here are the choices (so far):

#1 Briar Rose Ceramic


 #2 Briar Rose Ceramic


#3 Mystery Ceramic


#4 Raku


#5 Raku


#6 Patty Kelly Ceramic

Please help me out by choosing the button you think will look best on my hat and leave a comment.  Here's an incentive........on Wednesday, 3/10, at 8 PM EST, I will see which button has the most votes and select one person who voted for it to receive some lovely yarn.  I haven't decided just which yarn it will be but it will be enough to make a hat of your own!  Tomorrow's my birthday and provided I'm not confined to my bed -- I'll choose the yarn then and post a picture to entice you!