Monday, January 30, 2012

Pretty Snow

We haven't had much snow this winter.  I haven't even shoveled once yet.  Yesterday we got a bit more than the forecast called for but it sure was pretty:

It will all be gone in no time.  It's supposed to be 51ยบ on Wednesday.  I'm not worried about shoveling any time soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Attempt

I can't knit or sew or do much of anything else right now but I can make balls of roving!  Here's my attempt at the felted wool dryer balls in the last post.

I started with a merino blend roving:

Added a teal shade of merino roving:

And here's the ball before it went into the stocking leg, shown here with a nickel so you can tell its size:

I washed several balls at the same time.  Since the stocking leg was long I figured I might as well do a bunch.  I washed them in a hot load with the red melton wool that I bought at Haberman's last week.  Uh-oh:

Yep, that red wool was bleeding like a stuffed pig.  Somehow I managed to slow down the water in this shot:

All's well that ends well.  None of the red dye transferred to the felted balls:

For comparison, here's the teal ball with the nickel on top of it again:

All in all, this was a very simple craft project.  Knowing how much roving is in my stash, I'd say there'll be more felted dryer ball projects in my future.  You should give them a try too.  I bet they'd make great cat toys, too.  They might even make nice sachets if you add some essential oils to them and place them in your dresser drawers. marketing ideas are popping up all over the place!

Wool Dryer Balls

I found this great idea on the Totally Tutorials blog I have in my blogroll.  Now I know what to do with all that roving Tanya!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Absolutely Amazing

Please do yourself a favor.  Get a cup of tea or coffee and sit back and take in these amazing time lapsed videos.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slick Site

I found another great website courtesy of today.  It's called Bill Shrink (although I think it's been bought out by another company) and you can give it a bit of information and find better rates for television service, wireless service, gas stations, credit cards, and CDs/savings accounts.  I used the gas station option and it gave me the best prices on my route home, the fill up cost, and the extra cost for going a bit out of my way.  Very slick!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catching Up

Last Saturday I had the chance to go out and visit Holly, Mike and Baby Denver.  I stopped at Zumba to pick up their favorites and headed out there.  I took a couple of bags of assorted items -- Holly's baby books, photos, those socks from my sock drawer clean up, and other stuff.

I had a nice visit and got to feed a bottle to my grandson before he conked out.  He's getting so big -- over 17 pounds already.  Sunday he rolled over from his back to his belly.  He'll be 5 months old next Tuesday!!

That minty green blanket is the one I knit for him.  Good to see it's being used.

When Holly brought out her laptop and started to work on her grad class assignment, I knew I'd overstayed my welcome so I headed for home.

Once home I started another cleaning chore -- the living room.  Then it was the laundry room.  I'm down to the kitchen table!  Can't wait for all the cleaning to be done and then I'll just be left with the maintenance.  Phew!

The splints I'm wearing on my hands may be curing the numbness but they're causing bruising and soreness in my fingers.  Most nights they slip down my hands over my knuckles so I think I'm taking them back to the store I got them from.  Somethings not quite right.  So while my hands aren't waking me up several times due to tingling, the pain is and so is the awkwardness of wearing the splints.

Yesterday I went for my first physical therapy session for the pinched nerve in my neck.  Nothing really happened there except for a consultation so I'm hoping the next session on Friday will yield some results.

I was supposed to go to the gym tonight but when I let Maggie out, I noticed someone had broken off the bottom half of a piece of fence.  Good thing I saw it before Maggie -- she could have bolted and I would never be able to catch her.  Living near a main road can be really dangerous for pets.  I put her back in the house, dug out the hammer and nails and went to work fixing the fence.  Double Phew!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Retail Therapy

There's nothing like a little retail therapy to pick a girl's spirit up.  I've been down in the dumps, not really knitting anything at all for more than 6 weeks now.  When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!  Even better when it's online!!

I ordered something last Wednesday and it arrived on Friday.  Speedy delivery, right Mr. Rogers??
Any guesses about what's inside???  

Oh, I'm quite certain you'd never guess this: 

Since I really can't cut or use a rotary cutter right now, I figure this AccuQuilt Go! will fit the bill.  I've been kicking around the idea for a while now and when JoAnn Fabrics had it on sale with free shipping, I jumped.  Now of course, I'll need more dies and I'm already looking around for those.  I tried it out over the weekend and it cut squares and 1/2 squares beautifully.  I even tried it on felted wool and it worked marvelously.  Maybe now I can get going on something creative.

I start my physical therapy tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that.  My neurologist called me today to say the xrays looked fairly good.  Hmmm.  But then he asked me if I have a problem swallowing.  As a matter of fact I do, I said, why do you ask??  Seems there is some tissue around my vertebrae that he thinks I need a CT scan to check it out.  I'll do that once I'm done with my therapy.  One problem at a time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

System Mechanic Offer

If you're looking for a great application to keep your PC safe and tidy at the same time please click on the new link for System Mechanic on the right side bar.  You can purchase this marvelous software for 1/2 OFF !!  I've been using it for several years, after I gave up on McAfee and Norton.

System Mechanic is a one-stop shopping kind of application.  It cleans up your computer, keeps it safe from viruses and looks for updates to your drivers, among many other things.

Since I've been using it, I've not had a single virus attack.  If you've ever experienced a virus or Trojan you know how dreadful the experience is.

This offer is only good in the U.S. though.  I hope you'll give it a try! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


My roommate told me he was proud of me the other day.  I told him how I had called AT&T to have them explain a crazy bill.  After they adjusted for a movie package I didn't order, I mentioned that I had been upset about the bill and sought out the prices of their competitors.  I asked if they could do better on the package I had and they did!  Now I'm saving about $35 per month.  Kevin didn't think I had that gene but I proved him wrong!

Monday, January 16, 2012

CTS? Yes!

The biggest problem with going to see the doctor is you often come home with more problems than you went in with.  I saw my neurologist today and he performed the EMG test.  Let me tell you -- NOT fun.  The zapping and the probing -- owwww!  Bad enough he was doing it to my hands and arms but then he asked me if I had any neck pain.  Sure, I said.  Zapped and probed some more.

Then he pronounced his diagnosis -- moderate carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands.  Pinched nerve in my neck and possible herniated disc in both my neck and lower back.  Got the script pad out and went to town:

  1. Wrist splints to be worn at night and as much as possible during the day
  2. Multiple xrays for my neck and lumbar region
  3. One month of physical therapy -- sounds like torture from what I can make out
  4. Follow-up appointment on February 13.
Don't worry Kate I'll be able to make our weaving workshop that day!

The doctor is hoping the therapy and splints do the trick on my hands.  Otherwise he might have to go to shots or other meds.  Let's not!

In the meantime, I'm not knitting but looking around the house for other things to do.  Still have some cleaning to do but I'm leaving the heavy lifting for my roommate.

For now, I'm going to give those splints a try.  I have a feeling they'll be intrusive all night but I have to get used to them.  My body has these crazy shooting pains from where the probes were stuck under the skin.  Hope that doesn't last much longer.  My Dad was right -- it's hell getting older!

For something fun, test your reflexes here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Recently I've gotten into adding apps to my smartphone.  The Windows 7 operating system is definitely behind I-phone and Android with regard to developing apps.  I have found some great apps recently and I'm on the look out for one that tracks your workouts at the gym.  

I joined Planet Fitness the day after Christmas and just started going last Friday.  I knew I needed to go but I had to get my house de-cluttered first.  So, essentially going to the gym is my reward.  Who knew?  I went for the second time today.  Sometimes it's hard to believe how out of shape I am.  In my mind I'm not but in the mirror I most definitely am.  I can 'find' weight like nobody's sister.  Losing it - now that's another story!  But at least going to the gym I can feel like I'm making progress and the weight will start to come off.

Do you have a good app for tracking your workouts?  Let me know so I can check it out!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The latest addition to the list of visitors on the NeoCounter roll in the right hand panel???  Would you believe Mongolia -- amazing, eh?  I've now had visitors from 80 different countries.  Wow!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th?? - No Problem

Today started with a bit of snow which led to some icy roads.  No problem, just drove slower.  Got to the parking lot at work and the 'Check Engine' light went on.  Had to take a half day off work.  No problem, no meetings today at work.  Took the car over to Belle Tire and Frank reset the sensor.  No problem, nothing needed fixing.

Stopped at Costco and picked up some Breathe Right strips that will hopefully help me sleep a bit better.  Went for the first time over to Planet Fitness for a workout.  Busy, but not too busy.  Worked out for about an hour and came home.  I think I'll go back tomorrow.  I need to work out every day to try and reverse the damage I've done.  Ugh.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CTS -- Maybe?

I've got an appointment on Monday with a neurologist to have an EMG done on both hands.  My P.A. seems pretty certain it's CTS.  I'm hoping they'll just prescribe some braces to wear at night for a while until the pain goes away.  In the meantime, nothing crafty for me for a while.

My customer who ordered the Lemon Yellow Shoulder Bag last month called tonight to say his sister loved it and wants a THIRD bag from me!  Obviously, I can't wait for my hands to heal so I can crank out another bag for him to send to her in England.

About the rug hooking.  While I did love doing it, truthfully I haven't really touched it since I took that dreaded chicken rug workshop in Ohio.  I have two rugs to finish the edges on still.  My interests are still in wool, but more applique and sewing instead.  Don't worry -- all that hand-dyed wool fabric I've done won't go to waste.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No More Hooking

Remember how I wrote the other day that my hands have been bothering me and I haven't been able to knit?  I've come to another realization.  I'm going to have to give up rug hooking.  I've enjoyed making primitive rugs but because of the way I pull the wool strips up from underneath the rug pattern, I just don't see that being easy for me to do, ever again.

I have a lot of rug hooking supplies to part with:  Puritan Frame & hand-crafted stand, a Buttler frame, Townsend wool cutter with several blades/carrying case/custom designed box for cutting, several patterns, and several patterns with the hand-dyed wool already picked out.  I don't know how to sell all of this.  If you can think of a way, preferably not Ebay, I would appreciate hearing from you.  I'd rather not ship due to the size and weight of most everything.

I started primitive rug hooking over 12 years ago.  I loved picking out a pattern, mostly Kris Miller's Spruce Ridge Studios adaptations, and just the right hand-dyed wool.  Cutting the wool into lovely piles of 8-cut strips and smelling the wool fumes!  I enjoyed the hook-ins and workshops and learning from others when I organized a small group that met for a while at the coffee shop.

But I have to let go of that hobby.  My thumbs ache just thinking about hooking........

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting Closer

Another weekend gone, spent cleaning up my Craft Cave.  Ugh.  It's not done but pretty darn close.  I have a few more things to go through, organizing projects so they're easy to pick up once the time is right.  I took over three bags of yarn and two storage containers to my friend Tanya.  Nice to see them go to a good home -- whatever she can't use will go to her school to be used in the classroom.

Remember how bad my room looked last week?

And here is the new and improved version:

Notice the little 4 cube Expedit?  I bought it to replace the nearby cart, which will hopefully go to Holly very soon.  The only problem is now my black chair is a bit too big for the space -- I keep backing into the OTT Light.  I'll probably swap out that chair with one that is a little smaller in our storage unit.

Cleaning the room should make me happy, right?  Nope.  Instead I just look at the various skeins of yarn and think about the projects they were intended for that I can't knit up until my hands stop going numb.  Very frustrating.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cleaning Up....Still!

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.....someday.  Right now I'm compelled to clean, clean, and clean some more.  This weekend I'm working on my craft cave.  All sorts of yarn is making a quick exit from the room.  A lot of the yarn is going to the guild for the free table and a good hunk is going to Holly for her crafting projects at school.  Things will look much better tomorrow once everything finds a new home.

It's amazing how many bags and baskets are turning up.  Don't....Need....Any....More.  I also don't need any more yarn.  Right now I can't knit for more than a few minutes before my hands go numb so I can't even get much done right now.  I started a new felted hat while I was getting my hair cut today and only managed to knit about 2" before the tingling became too much.  Probably time to make an appointment with my doctor.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I'm definitely spotting a trend here.  It seems like I get on kicks and if one is good, more must be better.  Take hand creams:

And storage containers:
I've already filled up TWO other sets of these with projects!

I've got baskets and baskets and bags and bags -- I'm over-run with ways to store things and no place to put them all.  Might be offering up a few at the Black Sheep sale this Spring.  Something's gotta give around here!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Salvation Army Update

On Christmas Eve I was a bell ringer for the Red Kettle Drive.  I spent four hours at the Market Fresh store in Beverly Hills (Michigan, not California!) and there were so many nice people.  I was stationed in front of the entrance to a Starbucks and one older gentleman asked what I'd like in my coffee.  When I said I don't drink coffee, he said how 'bout a hot chocolate?  I gladly took him up on his kind offer!  A woman asked me later on if I'd like something to drink but I had to pass since I couldn't exactly stop and use the restroom if I drank anything else!

The four hours went rather quickly as more and more people dropped money into the kettle.  One man deposited two checks!  Today I found out that I collected $508.79 !!!!  Sadly, no one else came to ring after me -- who knows how much more money could have been donated that day.

Next year I'll definitely be ringing at that store -- lots of generous people make the time zip by and it's so worthwhile!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sock Drawer Results

The actual 'before' count in my sock drawer was 126 pair!  The 'after' count is........44 pair of socks!!!!

I gave 58 pair to the Salvation Army, 13 pair to my daughter Holly, threw 8 pair in the garbage, gave 3 pair to my knitting friends, and kept the balance.  Hard to believe -- so glad to be done with this task!


Oh good Lord!  I'm finally done with the clean up project in my bedroom!!  Who knew it would take me this long?  Certainly not me!  I thought I'd be done days ago and moved on to some fun sewing or knitting projects.  But it had to be done and here are the after shots:

Close up of the new Expedit I bought late yesterday and put together this morning:
I've discovered the key to getting out of IKEA sooner rather than later, is to get there within 15 minutes of closing.  That way you have no time to dawdle and have no choice but to zoom through the store!

Yes, I've made great headway.  I've got lots to do now in my craft cave:
Tomorrow is another day, right Scarlett???

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Almost Done

I have spent the last week working on my bedroom.  I know it's hard to believe but you have to trust me here.  I haven't just been working on my room.  You know how it find something that belongs somewhere else, then you start working on that room, and before you know it -- bam!  The day is over.

Now I know I said I'd be brave and show you the before picture of my bedroom.  Believe me when I say I'm ashamed to admit it but sometimes it takes shame to straighten you out and knowing that I'd be accountable to you, I had to persevere.

Go ahead -- all of you gasp collectively now:

Stunning, isn't it?  Now most of the things on the bed came from the stacks on the floor, as I was sorting through all of the debris stuff.  I have a few more things to go through and then I'll take the after shot and post it here tomorrow.

One of my goals was to pare down all of the clothes in my drawers.  I took bags and bags of things over to the Salvation Army yesterday and it felt so good!  Then I took a bag of Yarn Market News magazines, two books, and two very, very old UFO knitting projects over to my friend Tanya.  The books were a bribe to get her to take on the two projects  :*)

Today I tackled the last of my drawers -- the dreaded sock drawer.  Scary sight:
I added a poll on the right so you can guess how many socks were in the drawer when I started.  I'll give you the after picture and actual count tomorrow!

I know you're shaking your head, wondering how in the world I could ever get to this point.  Simple.  I'm busy and I know how to close my bedroom door.  I just don't take the time I should to keep up on things, especially during my mad dash to knit up inventory for my Fall shows.  Stray bits of skeins of yarn dot my room, leftovers from hats, hats, and more hats knit up for shows.  This has been building up for years and years.  Not wanting to deal with it didn't make it go away, much as I would have liked.  Like a lot of the hoarders you see on TV, I have a hard time tossing things out.  I have sentimental attachments to so much of what I have.  I remember when I got it, who I got it from, why I got it.  I also have a tough time disposing of packages and containers that can be re-purposed in my mind.  Sending things to the dump when I can find a new use for them doesn't make sense in my head.  Logically, there's no reason to hang on to things but there's skewed logic in my thought  process.

I'm eager to finish this clean up and I'm already sleeping much more peacefully in my de-cluttered room.  I hope to never have to do this again but time will tell.