Monday, November 28, 2011

Heading for Home Stretch

Did you have a busy weekend?  Me too!  I spent most of Saturday with my friend Kate, trying our best to help out the small businesses in our area.  We bought tons of weaving yarn at Forma Fiber Arts in Whitmore Lake, then headed over to the metropolis of Dixboro to the Antique Store/Button Lady.  Starved, we walked next door and had a great grilled cheese sandwich and bowl of soup at the Moonwinks Cafe and treated ourselves to Zingerman's version of King  Dons -- yummy!

Next up was the village of Northville where we hit the Center Street Knits (picked up a cute pattern for a cardigan) and Dancing Eye Gallery (found a great ceramic button).  Both are super shops and the gallery was especially bustling.

On our way home Kate was kind enough to stop at Cantoro Italian Market in Livonia so I could get my fix of Italian goodies.  Pasta, cheese, fresh bread, good wine, and a cannolo for my dessert -- deliziosa!

I spent Sunday knitting hats to be felted -- it rained and rained all day so it was easy to stay inside!  Now my hands are numb but there's still more knitting to do.  Sweat shop work is never done!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Day Post

Well, the day went really well yesterday.  Denver made it to his first Thanksgiving and was wonderful, despite cutting 3 teeth!

Both versions of the Tarte au Sucre turned out fabulous.  I think I'm definitely going to be making them again and again, but not for a while -- they're very sweet and rich!!  I can see why those crazy Canucks love them so much. :*)  I can just imagine my Dad's ancestors indulging in them at the holidays. Oddly enough I don't remember having it as a child.  I do remember Tourtiere (meat pie), soupe aux pois (yellow pea soup), and potato dressing, but not the sugar pie.  Amazing how I managed to live this long without sugar pie.

I jammed the day full of fun activities.  No crazy shopping at 4 am for me.  I was sleeping soundly while other bargain hunters were 'chilling' outside, waiting for a chance at the 'steals' that awaited them in the stores.

I started off by taking Maggie to the Blue Cross Veterinary clinic down the road from me.  She needed to be out of the house for a few hours so it was the perfect time for her to get some vaccinations and a new hair-do.  

She needed to be out of the house because I got my heating ducts cleaned for the first time in 50 years.  Those vacuums make a lot of noise and she would have gone crazy.  I saw this cute guy hanging out in my front yard while I waited for the Sani-Clean Air Duct Cleaning guys to arrive this morning:

They sucked out all sorts of stuff from my ductwork and dryer vent and sanitized, too:
The guys from Sani-Clean noticed a gas leak in the furnace so it was a good thing I'd already scheduled a furnace check up, too.  Rich from Hanson Heating & Cooling came by this afternoon and fixed the furnace in no time.

I'll sleep better knowing the air will be cleaner and I no longer have a gas leak -- yikes!  Maggie returned from the groomer, none the worse for wear.

I was afraid she might get a bad report since she does not care at all for being clipped but they didn't say to not bring her back again so I'm taking that as a positive sign - phew!

Tomorrow I'm heading out to Forma in Whitmore Lake to peruse their stock of weaving yarn.  Hold me back!!  I'll try to be good.  Well, maybe.

P.S.  Happy Birthday Tanya !!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I bought an apple pie at Achatz Pies yesterday and spotted their pie crust dough in their cooler.  Hmmm, I thought, bet that would work for my Tarte au Sucre, a French-Canadian staple at holiday time.  I didn't have a family recipe so I searched the Internet.  Such a variety of ingredients and techniques!  I settled on two recipes that both required heating the filling before baking.  We'll see which version tastes better!  I tried making one a few years ago and it just didn't set up properly so it was very sloppy.  It should be about the consistency of pecan pie filling.  Looking forward to giving it a try.  I'm hoping to make it a tradition at our family gatherings -- trying to keep my Dad's heritage alive.

The pies are cooling and I just need to get myself ready to go now.  I'm heading over to my nephew's home for a  great meal and fellowship.  Holly, Mike and Denver will be there early as they make their rounds to four different homes!  Something tells me they'll have a different plan for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fewer than 1000 yards to go!

If you've ever ventured down to the bottom of my blog, you've seen my yarn usage tracker.  

As I finish a project I add my yards used to it.  This year I set a goal of 20,000 yards and I've used over 19,000 as of today.  It takes around 400 yards to knit each felted hat so it doesn't take me long to rack up the yardage.  I'll top the 20,000 yard mark for sure before the end of this week.  Next year I think I'll up the goal -- maybe 25,000 yards???

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do you act on whims or are you always well-planned out?  Saturday morning I went to Champane's to pick up some Warsteiner beer that was on sale for my brother-in-law Mike.  While I was there I spotted some great deals on wine for him too.  Then there was a giant chocolate turkey pinata filled with toffees that I knew my sister Denise needed for her Thanksgiving table.  A little hard to see, but you get the point:

Before I knew it I had returned home, packed a small bag, and by 11:30 am I was on the road to Charlevoix (525 miles round trip!) to deliver the goods.  I'm not usually so willy-nilly but I just felt like a road trip was in order.  I had a super weekend with them and after a quick dinner (filet mignon -- yummo!) I left for home yesterday about 6 pm.  It was nice to get away and see them since we won't be together for Thanksgiving this year.

I managed to finish knitting one felted hat and would have done more if I'd been able to grab more yarn before I left the house.  Now I'm working on another hat -- the sweat shop is officially open!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jump Start

I had originally planned to attend the Plymouth Potters' Guild show tomorrow but since I was part way there today at work, I decided to head out tonight instead.  I'm glad I did.  My goal was to peruse some new buttons an artist was supposed to have ready for me but none of the colors were right.  I did find a pin from a different artist that might do the trick.  I'll know more once I finish felting the lemon drop purse.

As long as I was on that side of town, I decided to hit IKEA too.  Believe it or not I didn't buy a single thing.  Unless you count dinner, which was the kid's meal version of their Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes.  Yummy!

Tomorrow I need to run a few errands, including getting my minivan washed, and then I HAVE to get going on knitting some hats to felt in time for my last show of the year in two weeks.  My hands are aching at the thought of all that knitting but I really do need to have felted hats available.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching Up

I feel like George Jetson with Astro on the treadmill  lately.  Not sure if I'm coming or going or even able to keep up!  I've finished knitting the sunny yellow purse for my English customer.  I just need to knit a pocket, sew the strap on, and get it felted.  Hopefully I'll be able to attend the potter's market in Plymouth this weekend and find a great button.

Tonight is the quilt guild's board meeting and with all my business travel of late, I'm really out of sorts.  Laundry is behind, sewing is behind, knitting is WAY behind.  Not sure how I'll ever be ready for the Winter Markt in just over two weeks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Key to Happiness

Well it might not be the key to everyone's happiness but at least it's working for me.  What is 'IT'?  None other than Estroven.  Never mind aspirin -- Estroven is the wonder drug for me.  Since I started taking it about 2 weeks ago my night sweats have all but evaporated!  Instead of waking up 5 or more times each night, I'm down to only once, sometimes not at all.  After being sleep deprived for the last 6 months I'm now getting the rest I desperately need.

P.S.  Happy Birthday Mary !!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Weekend

I hit the jackpot at the estate sale yesterday.  I got all of this for $20:
Wool, wool, and more wool!

A bassinet size piece of cream wool (with a price tag on it still of $21.95) and a nearly 2 yard cut of genuine Harris Tweed, direct from Scotland!

 2 1/2 yard cut of cute kitty flannel (charity project ??)

 Magazines, a book and a couple of patterns

 EIGHT assorted rulers !!!

And finally, a Tailor Clapper and two bags of down to use in a vest I need to make someday very soon.

I was the first shopper to arrive and I quickly made my way around, squirreling away the treasures as I spotted them.  Several ladies arrived after me and I wanted to make sure I got the 'good' stuff!

I had a wonderful visit with Holly and 10 week old Baby Denver.  He's changing daily and I miss not seeing him as much as I'd like.

Today I went to Costco to pick up copies of the pictures I took yesterday.  I ended up bringing home far more than that:  slippers, gloves, cutting boards, gummy vitamins, spinach salad.  Yikes, that place is dangerous!

I've been knitting a bit on the felted purse I've been commissioned to make for a woman in England.  Next weekend I'm going to a potters market and hope to find the signature button it requires.  Until then, I'll be knitting up some felted hats that I desperately need for my show in December.  Never a quiet moment for me....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Estate Sale Anyone????

My trip to New Jersey was more adventure than I ever want to experience again.  Fog delays kept us from landing at our intended airport, La Guardia, and instead we sat on the tarmac at JFK for TWO HOURS.  Ugh.  Yesterday's return trip was nearly as bad.  My 4:45 flight didn't take off for Detroit until 8:30.  I pulled into my driveway at 11:15 pm. -- more than ready for bed!

Had to take this photo and post it here today:
Pay no attention to my apparently dusty monitor....

Tomorrow morning I'm heading out early to attend an estate sale.  If you live in the Detroit area and need love fiber-y things you might want to consider a drive in the country too.  For those of you who've attended the Mt. Bruce show, it's not that much further and you're sure to find some bargains.  Here's the skinny on the sale from Lisa Burmann's website:

I've been helping a friend of mine put together an estate sale for her friend that passed last April.   Mary was an avid quilter who also raised sheep - hence she was a weaver and spinner as well.  Words can't describe how much fabric this woman had!  We grouped it into colors and are selling it very cheaply.  Her husband just wants it out of there and to go to a good home!  All proceeds will be split between their church and Seven Ponds Nature Center. 
 Some of the prices will be:   Magazines  5/$1.00         Books  $1 each 
 There is batting (a lot!), half done quilt tops, half-sewn jackets, patterns, notions, etc.   Did I mention wool????  There's a boatload of fiber and yarn there as well as knitting and other wool related books and magazines.
  Here's the pertinent info: 
 The home of Dr. and Mrs. Duncan
 2601  South Blacks Corners Rd.
 Imlay City, MI  48444 
 (approx 1 mile south of I-69 and 2 miles west of VanDyke)
  10am to 4pm 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Door to Door Organics

Yesterday I had a few new-to-me produce items in my box from Door to Door Organics.

Does anyone have any advice on what to do with any of these items:

  1. Persimmons
  2. Ambrosia Apples
  3. Mini Roma Tomatoes

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Saga Continues...

Well yesterday my Mom had no luck with the Comcast technician.  He told her she had a DHCP server problem and needed to take her CPU in to Best Buy for the Geek Squad to fix.  Remember she's 85 years old -- not exactly equipped to haul a heavy CPU out of the apartment, into her car and into the store.

Instead of all that hooey, I went to Best Buy at 8 pm last night, picked out a new computer, drove out to her apartment and got to work setting it up.  I made good progress except for the modem issue again, and trying to hook up her existing printer, which was too old to use with the Windows 7 operating system.  Plus, a new printer was included in her package so I just installed it instead.

Needless to say we were both up late, as I didn't leave until 11:15 pm.  I know she goes to bed around 9 pm, unless there's a hockey or baseball game on TV.  She was delighted to have her internet working once again -- 16 messages were in her inbox!  She'll have plenty to do today.  My roommate is hopefully heading over there to pick up the old pieces and either get the CPU repaired or discard it all at the recycler.

I'm pooped.  I have to be in bed by 8 pm today so I can get up at 3 am tomorrow for my flight.  I sure do hope I can get to sleep fast and not toss & turn, thinking about how I NEED to get to sleep.  Fingers crossed....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Today I received a phone from my Mom, sounding pitiful and in need of help.  Not the usual stuff -- this time she could not access the Internet!  Imagine being 85 years old and not being able to go online!!  I told her to start with Comcast and see if they could provide the help.  Well, I'm sure she didn't express herself quite as well as you and I would, so she ended up speaking with someone she couldn't understand, who gave up on her.

I headed out there after finishing my chores and knitting up the second mitten for my friend at work.  When I got to the apartment, I sat down to dinner courtesy of Boston Market, and tried to ascertain what led up to her access problems.  I found out she does not have any virus protection -- going to rectify that, and might have opened an spam email by mistake.  I scolded her on both accounts and then headed to her desktop.  I tried several things before figuring out it was probably an issue with Comcast.  

I was in the middle of unplugging and re-plugging several wires when my Mom got disconnected from a phone call from my sister Carol.  Sorry 'bout that.  I'm sure she thought my Mom hung up on her.  Anyhow, I called Comcast, let them ping the router after resetting and it was determined that a service call was required. They'll be there tomorrow morning and hopefully my Mom will be back online by the afternoon.  Back to her emails, back to her Lexulous games with my sister Denise, and back to reading all about what's going on in the world.  And I told her to ask them to load their free virus protection so we won't have to worry about that again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cabled Mitten

Here's a completed mitten for my friend Lori B.  Her son's marching band in competing tomorrow at the State Championship -- wishing them good luck!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irresistable !!

No one could resist someone so precious, right?  Denver is already 2 months old and weighed 12 pounds 9 ounces at his check up on Monday.  He got his first shots and like all new mothers, Holly cried when Denver cried.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Need a Lift?

You're gonna enjoy this.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Knitting

I finished knitting an earflap hat for my friend Tanya over the weekend.  She wrote the pattern and had asked members of our knitting guild to knit up samples.  I think she's got about 10+ hats so far!  Next up on my list of must-knit items is a pair of mittens for my co-worker Lori B.  She's travelling to NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, where her son's marching band will perform.  Lori asked for a pair of mittens that would keep her hands warm and show their school colors.  Here's the start of the mitten:
I haven't knit anything with a cable in it in quite some time.  I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca for the black cuff and Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool for the yellow mitt, knitting with size 4 double point needles.  I hope to have them finished by the end of the week.  Next up is the lemon yellow felted bag I have been commissioned to make for a repeat customer.  He's giving the bag to his sister in England for her birthday in December.  Time to get crankin'!!!