Monday, January 31, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Today I cut out the wool for the applique jacket I'm sewing from scratch.  I'm using a fabulous piece of Donna Karan's coat-weight black wool -- can you say 'yummy'?!  I knew you wouldn't be excited about the color, hence no photos, but oh, if only you could feel this fine fabric.

I've determined the applique designs but now I have to pick the felted wools from my wool closet:





Nearly all of the pieces above were hand dyed by either Kris Miller, some ebay gals, or myself.  Six years ago I dyed about 20 yards of wool using natural dyes (with the help of several Chicken friends).  Here are two tubs of them:


And here's one more roll of wool that I bought at my favorite quilt shop, Mabelena's in Ortonville:

I didn't even photograph the bags of recycled wool that could find their way into this project.  It's easy to see how difficult the selection process is after you've seen all this wonderful wool, right?  I'll have to sleep on it.

Knit Circus

I think I've stopped by this website before but I didn't bookmark it, darn.  Check out this online magazine -- there's a lot of interesting info there.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Decompressing

Today was a pretty typical Sunday -- breakfast, laundry, knitting at the shop and grocery shopping.  We're expecting some heavy duty snow this week so I wanted to stock up.

Christine from Lavenderlimes.blogspot.com stopped into the knit shop to say hi to Anne, who had taught her to knit some 12+ years ago.  She snapped some photos while she was there and said she'd be blogging about the shop.

On my way home I stopped at my friend Carol's house to pick up this:

I wanted to get home super quick and examine everything up close but first I had to unload the groceries, put them away and get dinner going.  In my haste to peel the sweet potatoes I tried to peel my fingernail off too!

While the potatoes were boiling I hurried back to my bag of goodies:


And the big purchases:
Aurifil's fabulous Lana thread collections !!!

24 spools of yumminess:


Perfect for wool applique -- now I just need to get going!!  Can you smell the wool fumes Tanya??

Now just in case you think I've lost my mind, I can assure I have not.  Had I truly lost my mind I would have bought this!

I'm heading to bed with my head full of creative ideas and I can't wait to get sewing.  Good thing I'm on vacation!

P.S.  I would have finished this post hours ago if I hadn't been running back forth to watch the Housewives of Atlanta finale!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grapefruit Juice

I happen to love grapefruit juice, especially the fresh squeezed kind.  But since I take a statin medicine to reduce my cholesterol I had to give it up. I  couldn't help but leave you today with this really cute video.

Sore Eyes

Today was the funeral for the sister of my friend Sue.  It was as tough a day as expected.  When someone so young and with so much ahead of them dies it just makes it inexplicably tough.  I always cry at funerals (and weddings too, for that matter) and I was fortunate to sit with two of Sue & Mike's card playing friends at the church.  I think I threw out about 2 pounds of soggy tissues at the end of the mass.

A friend of Sue's other sister and I went back to the house to get the food ready and greet the mourners as they arrived later following the trip to the cemetery.  We had a lot of things to put out and thankfully Annette made the coffee.  She left to pick up the Chicken Shack order while I continued to work on the platters, etc., when all of a sudden guests started to arrive.

You know that feeling when you're expecting company and there's still so much to do and people start to descend on you?  Yeah, that was me.  If my contacts weren't so filthy from crying, I would have been moving around a bit faster.  Thank goodness for my readers!  The first few guests were very helpful and we were ready by the time Annette came back with the chicken.  There was a large crowd of family, friends and neighbors -- I am sure it was a comfort for the family to see and feel so much love.

The first thing I did when I got home tonight?  No, it wasn't kick off my shoes.  I headed straight to the bathroom and tossed out my contacts.  My eyes are still horribly puffy, tired, and sore but that will be gone in the morning.  The pain Jennifer's family is feeling will last much longer and the hole in their hearts will last forever.  She was loved by so many and it was my honor to help out today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thievery

Earlier this week I had to laugh when I saw a mug shot on the web for someone who had stolen knitting needles from some one's car.  I thought what a nut -- did he think he could pawn them for booze or drug money???  He looked absolutely pitiful.  But then I read a sad story.  One that I could relate to in terms of despair.  Mary Scott Huff out in Portland had a suitcase full of her hand knits stolen from the trunk of her car, which was parked in her very own driveway.

I hesitate to think what would happen if some wackadoodle vagabond were to break into my minivan in the fall when it's loaded up with show inventory and supplies.  Oh the tears I would shed.

You can read about Mary's woes and how she's managing to move on here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Uh-Oh

I'm in trouble.  Temptation has come over me.  I'm being teased by this.  Sounds a lot like a certain shop we used to frequent, only better.  Oh Lordy.  Someone needs to hold me back!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just in case....

.....you were wondering what an Infinity Scarf is I figured I should tell you and show you my progress.  Infinity Scarves are all the rage right now.  Trust me on this.  It's a really long scarf knit in the round so you can wrap it around your neck a couple of times.  It works.  Have faith here.

I chose a skein of Fiesta Yarns' Ballet yarn :

I cast on 200 stitches on size 10 circular needles (had to use my Denise needles because I couldn't find a long enough Addi Turbo, grrrr).  This is as far as I've gotten so far:

You cast on the 200 stitches, knit 4 rounds, purl 4 rounds and keep repeating until it's wide enough for your liking, then bind off loosely.  Yes, I did photograph my progress from the wrong side -- oops!  It's the four rounds of purling that's slowing me down but I should have it finished by the end of next week.  I need to finish that Imagine Sweater first.

M.I.A.

Yesterday was so busy I didn't remember to blog until my head hit the pillow at 11:30 PM!!  Obviously I did not get out of bed and fire up the computer.

Today I hit the ground running.  I was actually out of bed at - gasp - 7:15 AM!  What in the world would make a girl on vacation rise from bed so early?  Only one thing -- a hair appointment.  I was in desperate need of hitting the barber shop and thank goodness Kyle could get me in today.  Freshly dyed and snipped I headed over to a quilting friend's house to offer some much needed computer software training.  Remember, momma didn't raise no dummy.  I'm trading my Word, Excel, and Internet expertise for long-arm quilting services.  Yes, sirree Bob.  I'm going to have Jo finish a quilt top I made aaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago.  It's a win-win for both of us.

I got home in time to do another outplacement webinar today -- Interviewing.  I was able to knit one repeat of the increase pattern on the Imagine Sweater sleeve.  But then, I have to tell you while partaking in the webinar -- I fell asleep.  Nodded off. Dozed.  I'll deny it vigorously if you ever breathe a word of it.  I guess that's what happens when I get up so early........

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sad Day

I've been writing today's post in my head over the past several days.  Last night my best friend's sister passed away.  She was only 53.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you thought 50 was OLD?  Well, I did, and it's not so old anymore.  In fact it's very YOUNG.  Jennifer suffered a heart attack last week and did not survive.  So many times we hear of people who have heart attacks, my father included, who with the help of modern medicine heal and go on to live for years and years.  When young people like Jennifer don't survive, we shake our heads, shed our tears, and question why her.

I think that part of the problem is that we, as women, don't really recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and many times we're busy taking care of everyone else but ourselves.

When I told Kevin about Jennifer, he said 'That's it.  You're going to start exercising'.  I'm sure there's love in those fightin' words.  For once, he's quite right.  I think we all know what we should be doing to live longer and better.  Doing it is another thing.

I hope you'll join me in lifting Jennifer's family up in prayer as they face the difficult days ahead.  And please make a conscious effort to improve your own health, any way you can.  More people than you realize will miss you when you're gone.  Let's live to ripe old ages together, ok?  Do I have to send Kevin after you??

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Check Another One Off

Do you ever find that performing the most mundane tasks give you the most satisfaction?  In my latest cleaning frenzy I cleaned out the refrigerator.  Yes, even the coils underneath, something that's been nagging at me for months.  Year before last a repairman came to fix my dryer and sold me the long handled bristle brush to get the lint out of the dryer AND clean the coils under the fridge.  Did I keep up on it?  Uh, no.  But I made up for it today.  Another item off my list of things to clean.

I didn't get any knitting done on my Imagine Sweater today but I did start an Infinity scarf while I was at Right off the Sheep today.  I'm using a fabulous yarn from Fiesta Yarns called Ballet.  It's a totally new fiber blend for me -- 50% Tencel/50% Alpaca.  It's a bit splitty and temperamental but I love the feel of it.  I cast on 200 stitches using a size 10 circular.  Anne and Linda were busy re-arranging the inventory, moving yarns from the front of the store to the back, etc.  Linda alerted me to a yarn going into the sale bin that was a must have for me.  Another new to me fiber blend  from Plymouth Earth, Hillside Linen, is 80% Alpaca/20% Linen and it's going to make a fabulous cardigan.  I want to cast on so badly, but alas, I must finish TWO things before I can start on one new item.  Darn rule I just made up for myself.  Mutter, mutter, mutter.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Steady Progress

I've been writing about my Imagine Sweater and I think it's high time I actually revealed some progress photos.  I am very nearly done with the front (the back was finished last year, or was it the year before????):


Here's a closer shot of the peace symbol, which will no doubt benefit from a good blocking:

I'm using Blue Sky Alpacas 100% organic cotton.  It's knitting up nicely but I'm a bit concerned it will be a 'heavy' sweater.  I will have to be careful when I wash it so it doesn't stretch all out of shape.

I expect to finish the front tomorrow and start on a sleeve, too.  I'm eager to finish things lately.  That's a good thing, isn't it?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Win some, lose some

Ugh.  Had a nice little post and it evaporated on me with the stroke of one wrong key.

Anyhow.  Synopsis.

  1. Had a phone interview for a position for which I was completely under-qualified.  That felt good.
  2. Got a call from another agency for a possible position with AAA for a job I am most likely qualified for.
  3. Took another webinar that was quite the waste of time -- creating a marketing document that you are supposed to just hand out to people in social situations.  Yeah, right.
  4. Organized all my job search papers so that I have at least some outside chance of putting my hands on them when I need to.
  5. Did not leave the house on this frigid day.
  6. Managed to knit another 1.5" on the Imagine Sweater.
So, how was your Friday?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 2 of Outplacement....

.....and again, no time for knitting.  It's killing me!

Today I spoke with my recruiter who grilled me about how to handle the phone interview tomorrow.  I've printed out a bunch of things and need to read, and re-read them some more.

The DBM outplacement firm personal consultant who's been assigned to me called and grilled me about what the recruiter grilled me about.  The consultant said the recruiter told me all the right things to say and ask on tomorrow's phone interview, so I feel like I've gotten good advice.  It's always good to get a second opinion.  I'm curious to see what the consultant thinks of my resume.  There's always room for improvement.  

I've signed up for 11 webinars over the next week or so, so I'm not expecting to get much knitting done.  Ugh.  I suppose getting a job and getting off 'vacation' is a better thing to be doing right now.  I'm off to bed early tonight since my webinar is at 9:30 AM tomorrow.  Geez, I'm barely out of bed and dressed by then lately.  That's what being on vacation too long will do to you!

I've signed Tracey and Eddie up for the 1/2 off coupon for Door to Door Organics for January -- still one spot for another Michigander..........

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Outplacement

Today I did not knit a stitch.  I spent most of the day working on getting a job.  As part of my separation package I've received the services of an outplacement firm.  Their job is to give me enough assistance to get back on my working feet again.  My vacation feet are getting way too comfortable.  I would love to be on vacation for a while longer but you know what they say about a rolling stone.  I think there may be some moss growing already around here.

This morning I sat through a 90 minute webinar about their services.  There is so much information and help on their site I was getting giddy trying to take it all in.  If you think that sounds pathetic you're either happily employed or happily unemployed.  First things first, though.  Tomorrow I've got a phone call with my recruiter to prepare for the phone interview I have on Friday.  I've got some reading to do to prepare for this company and I need to practice all those difficult questions they like to ask you.  Things like 'tell me about a time when you had a co-worker you had a hard time working with' or the ever popular 'tell me your two strengths and two weaknesses'.  I have some answers ironed out already but doesn't it get to sound scripted when you've practiced ahead of time?  Which reminds me of an old television ad for the Detroit Zoo.

I'm off to practice my lines...........

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Door to Door Organics

Today was delivery day for Door to Door Organics.  So far no one has taken me up on my offer for a 1/2 off coupon.  I know there are more people in the Detroit area that would love to get a box like this every other week:



Can't wait to cook up those veggies tomorrow night and I'd better snag a Pink Lady apple before my roommate eats them all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fresh Produce Anyone??

Last month Sue, Harriet and Katy received 1/2 off coupons for Door to Door Organics.  You know them, the fabulous organic produce delivery company.  Here's your chance to get the same coupon.  You need to live in their Michigan delivery areas, so check that on their website.  If you do, leave me a comment and the first three people to leave comments on this post will get a coupon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finito!

As promised, here's my Caddy Cardigan:


I had to unknit the buttonhole band because we decided it needed 6 buttons instead of the 5 we originally planned when I was at the shop yesterday.  Not a problem.  Linda unknit it for me since she felt bad about it, I finished knitting it and sewed on the most perfect buttons.  Black with alabaster stars -- fabulous, eh?

Now I'm going to do some finishing work -- re-knit a felted hat, finish the Imagine Sweater and even tackle the Thai Vest!  I know it's about time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Done, Done, Diddley Done

Well, almost.  I finished my Caddy Cardigan today but need to buy buttons tomorrow and sew them on so I'm not showing the finished sweater until then.

I had a fabulous day after the horrifically stressful one I had yesterday.  I met my friends Kirstie, Laura and Debbie at the Downtown Cafe in Rochester for brunch.  The food was delicious and the company even better!  It was so nice to get together with the ladies.  I've known them so long and I miss not seeing them everyday at work.

I stopped by Skeins on Main while I was in town and picked up a blocking board so I'll be ready the next time I need to block a knitted item.  I also picked up some baby knitting supplies but I haven't decided whether I want to share those items on my blog since my daughter does occasionally read the blog.  Some things should be a surprise, right?

From there I headed over to Right off the Sheep to knit with the ladies for a while.  I'll be back there again tomorrow to get my buttons.  Now I need to pick another project.  Maybe I'll just finish something I've already started???

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beyond Tasmanian

Have you ever been so mad you literally thought you were going to have a stroke?  Today the veins in my neck were bulging.  Why? you ask.  Because my integrity was challenged.  On my way out the door to the knit shop and the bank I stopped to see what had come in the day's mail.

Big mistake.  Big.

I received two documents.  One was the pay stub for my severance check.  Since I had seen the automatic deposit into my checking account first thing this morning (blood pressure starting to simmer), I already knew that it had been tomahawked at 35%.  Yes, I lost 35% of my severance to taxes.  OUCH.

The second document came from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.  In a nut shell, they said I had lied about being terminated for lack of work.

They were threatening me with fines and penalties because they said my former employer told them I had quit.  This is where the steam really started to escape.  Quit?  Not on your life.  I would have gladly stayed if there had been a position for me.

I flew around the house gathering my arsenal for my rebuttal.  I do have my faults but you can bet your very last dime that I'm honest.  I dialed up my old HR department and you can believe me when I say they fully understood why I was upset.  They were faxing over 'corrected' information to the UIA office contact that they had on file.  I filled out the UIA interrogation form explaining in no uncertain terms that I did NOT quit and sent the letter we'd been given from our management explaining the terminations.  OMG.  WTF.  

I knew I had to act quickly as the UIA only gave me 10 days to respond and the holiday on Monday will only slow things down.  You can bet that I'll be calling my old HR department again on Tuesday to be positively certain they did what they said they'd do.

When I left the house for the knit shop my veins were still popping.  I dropped off the rebuttal inside the post office so I'd be assured it would go out in today's mail.  Man, I need this stress like a hole in the head.

Thank goodness for Anne and Linda at the knit shop.  Within 5 minutes of arriving I was already feeling better.  I'm sure my BP was down to 150/80 by then.  They made everything alright.  They complimented me on the Caddy Cardigan and both helped me pick up the stitches for the neck edge.  Now I can get that done and do the button bands tomorrow so that I can have it completed in three weeks.  Phew.

I'm going to go grab another beer and relax.  Maybe.

Giveaway Winner #2

Let's try this again.  I never heard back from scoobie2 so the new winner of the Marr Haven wool from last week's giveaway is Kimberly R.  I sent her an email so hopefully this wonderful skein of yarn will be on its way soon to its new home!


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Seaming My Caddy Cardigan

Yesterday I hinted that there'd be lots of pictures coming today.  Well, here they are.  I got my cardigan seamed together yesterday using the mattress stitch (see the link in yesterday's post).  This worked wonderfully.  I stood at my washing machine for about 3+ hours since it was the right height for me to work on.  Wednesday night I made a mad dash to JoAnn's to buy one of these:
It's a fabulous folding Ott Lite that runs on 3 AAA batteries.  It's a must have item -- on sale right now for $9.99!  I used it to shine directly on the pieces as I sewed them together.

I started by washing the pieces of the cardigan in the kitchen sink and then partially dried them in the dryer.  They were HUGE when I washed them so I was worried but the returned to their original sizes -- thank goodness!

I don't exactly have blocking boards (yet!) but I made do with the June Taylor mat and my ironing board.




Once the pieces were dry I began to stitch them together.  Here's the finished shoulder seam:
It's not the sweetest seam ever because the front is in pattern and the back is stockinette.  I can live with it.

I used these handy-dandy hair clips (couldn't find my fancy ones that are actually for putting sweaters together) to line up my sleeves with the body:

They really worked well and made the process much easier.

Here's the finished sleeve to body seam:
Pretty sweet, eh?  Now I'm ready to pick up and knit the neck edge and button bands.  After that I need some buttons and I can wear this cardigan!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just About Done

Using the mattress stitch I finished putting my Caddy Cardigan pieces together.  I took several pictures and have a lot to show you.  Just not tonight!  Tonight was the GLHQ meeting so I've run out of time to post an adequate tale of the sweater assembly.  I'll post about it tomorrow, promise.

FINAL CALL FOR SCOOBIE2 -- If I don't hear from you by Noon tomorrow, I'll have to choose a different winner for last week's giveaway!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Special Cardigan

I spotted this link today on the Knitty blog.  I bet when you put on a cardigan you don't really give much thought to the town which gave its name to this garment.  As I do the finishing work on my Caddy Cardigan today I'll be thinking of the townspeople coming together to work  on creating that commemorative knitted masterpiece.  The detail is incredible!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meeting Cancelled

Tonight was supposed to be our Black Sheep Knitting Guild meeting but it was cancelled due to the snowy weather.  I was looking forward to it, too, because we were going to find out what our Sneaky Sheep exchange item is supposed to be, plus my friend Harriet was going to demo crochet edges.  Darn.  Maybe next month.  In the meantime I spent the day knitting the rest of my second sleeve for the Caddy Cardigan.  Now I need to block the pieces, sew them together and then knit the button bands and neck edge.  If all goes well, it will be done by the weekend -- 3 weeks start to finish.  It would have been done sooner if I hadn't done so much cleaning around the house, piecing a quilt block, and been looking for a job.  Geez!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lost Day

Do you ever have days where you just can't figure out what happened to the time?  Big plans go awry because one task turns into a day long activity?

I needed to certify my unemployment today and I had thought it meant I had to give them a list of 6 companies that I had sent resumes off to.  Wrong.  Wasted lots of time searching and searching websites for something that would be a good fit.  I did apply to one new agency but that still left me one short.  After a quick conversation with my friend Sue, I abandoned that notion and moved on.  I fired a question off to the unemployment office to help clarify the whole issue.  We'll see how long it takes for them to respond.

I dropped the yarn from last Friday's giveaway off at the Post Office for 'Gracey is not my name' but I'm still waiting to hear from 'scoobie2' -- where are you?????

From there I went to the Salvation Army to look for an old, heavy iron that does not have steam vents.  No luck.  It's one of the things that Anita Grossman Solomon recommends for her piecing.

While I didn't sew today I did manage to get some work done on my Caddy Cardigan sleeve but due to some reverse knitting required when I lost my place, I only managed to get 1 measly inch done tonight at Panera's.  Undaunted, I will finish that darn sleeve tomorrow -- mark my words!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Clean Up

I woke up this morning thinking that I'd finally remembered where a computer disk was that Kevin needed to run the PC he'd acquired from me.  That memory changed my whole day.  I began to clean my bedroom.  I made a lot of headway -- we're talking about piles of stuff now relocated into a more appropriate place.  I think a lot more can go into the trash -- that will have to come tomorrow.  I'm almost 'there' when it comes to trashing things, but just need a little more time.  I struggle to throw things out when I know they can be re-purposed.  I know I'm not alone there.

I didn't find the disk but I did find the D-Link to get the wireless connection going so at least now he can hook up to the Internet.  Life is good again.

I didn't make it back to my sewing machine today but I did get more thread, needles, and pins relocated to their proper places. I got reacquainted with some old applique projects stored in pizza kit boxes.  I hope to sew tomorrow after I take care of my unemployment stuff.  I need to post the three places I applied to last week.  Woohoo.  I hope to hear back from somebody this week.  Anybody.

I got in a few hours of knitting with the gals at the shop this afternoon.  I started the last sleeve for my Caddy Cardigan and managed to get 9" knit amongst the conversation and chocolates!  I should be able to finish it this week and get the button bands done, too.  Can't wait to wear it.  I need to get some hats knit up to felt so I can have them ready for the guild meeting next month.  Good thing I'm on vacation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Creative Day

I started the day out with a trip to Brighton to the Thrums and Chums rug hooking group.  I didn't take any thing to hook but I did take my knitting (Chickens -- see, it's not just you).  Actually my reason for going was to deliver a Blessing Basket to my friend Kris, who had asked me to pick one up when I next saw them in the yarn shop.  I saw many ladies I haven't seen in a while and one gal in particular who is quite ill.  So glad I went.  I managed to finish knitting the first sleeve for my Caddy Cardigan while I was there, even though I had forgotten my READERS!!!!!! Ack.

I resisted the urge to stop at a number of knit shops on the way home, determined to get to work on a quilting project instead.  Last night I pulled some fabric I bought y-e-a-r-s ago that was originally going to be a quilted vest.  It languished in my stash instead.  I wanted to try out the techniques in Anita Grossman Solomon's book, Rotary Cutting Revolution, that I showed you on Thursday.

I used two different fabrics for the Arrowhead block, a musical instrument fabric and a solid black.  Next time I do this, I'll be sure to take more pictures of the process but here's the block before I squared it up:

Any of my Chicken friends will tell you that I'm the slowest piecer in the world (Diane-- I know you think you are but I swear it's me!) and it's mostly because I can't stand to be off.  I always have my seam ripper nearby but I have to say, today everything went well.  I only had to use it once when my quarter inch seam wandered at the end of a seam.

You can see (sorry for the glare) that my center looks spot on:


Here are some shots of the back of the block.  Notice that I pressed the seams open?  That's new for me.



Here's the block once I squared it to 9":

I bet Sally's going to like this quilt!

Well, that's it for today.  Tomorrow I will be back at my sewing station:

I've got 7 more blocks to make -- maybe it will turn into a table runner, we'll see.

P.S. -- To my two giveaway winners from yesterday -- EMAIL ME PLEASE!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Winners Chosen!

Thanks to all who left comments on the latest giveaway.  Random.org  has spoken.  If the winners will send me an email (spjonescreations@gmail.com) with their mailing address I will get their prizes out to them this weekend.  Whichever winner emails me back first gets first choice of the two skeins!  And the winners of my current giveaway are:
scoobie2:
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and Gracey is not my name:

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P.S.  Even though the screenshots show Max:  100, I had used 21, not sure why it copied this way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Speedy Deliveries

Did you ever watch Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood?  I loved that show.  Do you remember Mr. McFeely -- the speedy delivery guy?  Well I got a couple of great deliveries this week (besides the grandma in the making news from Holly).

First up, my bi-weekly Door to Door Organics box arrived on Tuesday afternoon:



So far, I've polished off the spinach, beets, several bananas and one of the mini peppers.  I ended up with three mangoes -- what to do??? -- and I'm not sure what to do with the Kabocha squash -- ideas, anyone?  The grapefruit smells divine and I'm running out to the market tomorrow for some fresh mozzarella and basil  to go with the Roma tomatoes - yummo!

Today the postman made Maggie nuts as he delivered a box from Amazon to the front door.  These were inside:

More specifically, here are the book titles and authors.  You might recognize that I selected books that were written by authors whose blogs I follow, namely Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara and Oh, Fransson!, which is written by Elizabeth Hartman.  I've been admiring the work they both do on their blogs for a while and darnnit, it was time to buy their books!


The third author, Anita Grossman Solomon, is someone I caught on Simply Quilts years ago and my jaw dropped when I saw her super-simple cutting techniques.  As long as I was surfing around Amazon anyway I decided it was time to spring for her book.  I was actually READING it tonight -- that will shock all who know me because they know I NEVER read.

The fourth author, Chad Alice Hagen, does amazing wet felting projects and I just had to get her book.

So now, if I ever sound bored, you can tell me 'no excuses' since these 5 books should keep me busy for ages!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Giveaway Time !!

Alrighty, now that the news of my pending grandmotherhood has subsided a wee bit, I've put one more phone interview behind me, and the laundry is caught up, it's time for a GIVEAWAY!

To be entered to win either of today's items here are the easy-peasy rules:

1.  Leave a comment letting me know whether you're a new reader or an old-timer.
2.  Leave a comment letting me know you've posted a link on your blog to my giveaway.

That's it.  Leave your comment(s) on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, January 7th.  I'll use the random number generator to select TWO WINNERS!  What will you win?  Read on......


I'm offering up a Michigan made yarn giveaway.  First up is a skein of Marr Haven Merino/Rambouillet Wool in a fabulous shade of perky blue and white.

You can use it to make this great pair of fingerless mitts -- or any other hat, mittens, etc., that calls for 200 yards of worsted weight yarn.

The second giveaway item is the yummy skein of Stonehedge Fiber Mill's 'Almost Handspun' Wool/Alpaca in a natural shade:

You could use this oh-so-soft yarn to make this hat.

Either way, you've got a great yarn that supports the local economy and boy, don't we need it!  Three interviews down, one more to go this week....so far!

ETA -- 1/7, OVER NOW, SORRY!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog.......

for

 a

 very

important

announcement.



I will become a grandmother this September!!!

More details tomorrow plus a giveaway in recognition of attaining 30,000 hits on the blog.

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Preparations

I have two appointments tomorrow with job placement firms and spent much of the day preparing for the meetings.  I've had to tweak my resume to more closely match a position available at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which seems to be one of the area companies with multiple openings.  I'm telling you -- this looking for a job thing IS a full time job.

More tomorrow...............

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New and Wondrous Things

You are about to witness something that heretofore has never been seen in the history of the world.  Something so shocking, so stupendous, that only someone with a vivid imagination could ever have envisioned such a thing prior to today. Under the complete direction of my more-than-capable roommate, who orchestrated this unfathomable feat, I bring you......

Yes.  I, Suzanne Jones, now have a place of my own to sew!  No longer relegated to the poor kitchen table I can plant myself in the laundry room and sew all I want and not be in the way.  Let the sewing begin!  I must be psychic because I ordered several new quilting books from Amazon last night.  Can't wait for them to arrive.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year ! ! !

Long but worth it, I promise.  I received this last year and while I did try to follow many of the tips, I have many areas I need to improve upon.

Print it and tape it to your fridge or have it on your nightstand so you (and others) can read it from time to time!

TIPS FOR AN EXCEPTIONAL, SUPERB, & POWERFUL LIFE! 
(1) Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant. 
(2) Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.
(3) Buy a Tivo (DVR), tape your late night shows and get more sleep. 
(4) When you wake up in the morning, complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to ________ today.' 
(5) Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. 
(6) Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did last year. 
(7) Always pray and make time to exercise. 
(8) Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6. 
(9) Dream more while you are awake. 
(10) Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants. 
(11) Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts. 
(12) Try to make at least three people smile each day. 
(13) Clear the clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life. 
(14) Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment. 
(15) Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class . . .. but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime. 
(16) Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. 
(17) Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away. 
(18) Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 
(19) Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. When you hate you're letting others control your life. They have forgotten the incident and are enjoying life! 
(20) Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 

(21) You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
(22) Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
(23) Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 
(24) Ladies - Go on and burn those 'special' scented candles, use the 600 thread count sheets, the good china and wear your fancy lingerie now. Stop waiting for a special occasion. Every day is special. 
(25) No one is in charge of your happiness except you. 
(26) Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
(27) Forgive everyone for everything. 
(28) What other people think of you is none of your business. 
(29) Time heals almost everything. Give time, time! 
(30) However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 
(31) Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch with them. 
(32) Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 
(33) Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. God provides, remember?! 
(34) The best is yet to come . . . . in Heaven. 
(35) No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 
(36) Do the right thing! 
(37) Call your family often. 
(38) Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: 
-'I am thankful for _________________.' 
-Today I accomplished ________________. 
(39) Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed. 
(40) Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride. 

LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH. LIFE'S A GIFT ... UNWRAP IT!


Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2011.