Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vacation Week

Mary and I had decided to go shopping on Friday morning, but after looking through the newspaper ads, there wasn't anything that we just had to have except for the free Christmas ornament from World Market. So we woke up with enough time to get there so we could be one of the first 100 shoppers after they opened at 7 a.m. Surprisingly, there wasn't a huge rush at the door.

Christmas Monkey

I mean, who could pass up an opportunity to get a monkey holding a globe Christmas ornament? Apparently for some, cheap 50 inch plasma screen TVs are more appealing. Go figure. We spent the rest of the day shopping, hitting Michaels, Joann's and the mall and we bought very little. But we did have one goal: to buy the materials to make the box bags described in this tutorial. We hit the Great American Quilt company and found the perfect fabric.

IMG_0729

IMG_0733

There are a couple of things I'll do differently for the next one I make, but overall, I'm thrilled with how my first one turned out.

Aside from getting ready to host Thanksgiving dinner, I have spent my week of vacation being crafty. I finished the first of a pair of handspun socks.

IMG_0709

This was yarn that was spun for me by a swap pal earlier this year. I love how the yarn has striped, and the sock is super soft and warm. I have already made it through half of the second sock.

I've also been enjoying the sunflowers that I bought as a centerpiece for my table at Thanksgiving.

IMG_0724

The kitties have enjoyed them too. Ashford seems to enjoy their taste. To increase their longevity, they are safely locked away when I'm not at home to supervise.

IMG_0728

And finally, I've been spinning this.

IMG_0681

It's superwash merino from Crown Mountain Farms. It's eventually going to be a three-ply sock yarn.

It has been a great week. Tomorrow, it's back to reality.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving! Today Mary and Phil, Phil's parents, Joe and Monica and my neighbor Jinhee were brave enough to join me for Thanksgiving and eat the first turkey I've ever baked.

I started out by brushing the turkey with olive oil, garlic powder, basil and sage.

IMG_0714

Xena offered to keep an eye on the turkey when I had to take a shower.

IMG_0715

I declined her help and shooed her off the oven, as that is against the rules. In spite of no kitty supervision, the turkey came out great.

IMG_0717

Here is me pretending to carve the turkey. Joe took over after the photo was taken.

IMG_0718

I also made chicken and noodles. Yum!

IMG_0716

And we had a lot of other delicious food including a chocolate tart and homemade pumpkin ice cream, thanks to Mary and Phil, but didn't get photos. It was great day with friends and family.

IMG_0719

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nobody Puts Ashford in a Corner

Well, except for Ashford. We had a bit of an incident earlier this week that could have been much more traumatic for the kitty had I not been on vacation from work and home during the afternoon. I was sitting on the couch when I heard something sliding and then a thud. I knew it had to be kitty related so I went to investigate. Purl was sitting next to me and she was immediately ruled out.

The noise sounded like it came from my powder room but a quick inspection found nothing out of the ordinary so I ran upstairs. I found Xena fast asleep on a pillow in the guest bedroom, easily narrowing the noise down to Ashford. I looked in all of the rooms upstairs with no sign of the kitty. I came back downstairs where there aren't too many places for the cats to hide. I went back into the powder room, said her name and heard the saddest kitty cry I've ever heard. So I looked in the only place she could be in that room and found my poor kitty, trapped in the corner behind a shelf.

IMG_0710

I thought she would be able to jump out since I've seen Xena do it, but apparently the 12 year old cat with arthritis is a better jumper than the 18 month tortie. The crying got more pathetic, and Purl joined in to the whining, so I freed the kitty by moving the shelf. The day was saved.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Visiting Friends

I spent last weekend in Bartlesville to visit my friends. I was able to see almost everyone I wanted to see, and had some tasty meals at some of my favorite restaurants.

I had dinner with my friends Andrea and Jennifer

IMG_0701

I spent an afternoon catching up and knitting with Stacy from Tempted. I didn't get any photos of her or her amazing yarn and fiber, but I did get a photo of me meeting her two puppies. They are little bundles of energy!

IMG_0698

I also got to play with her Rio Grande spinning wheel. It is a beautiful wheel, but it is very different to spin on than my Matchless. I definitely need more practice.



And I was able to fit in some running. It happened to be the weekend of the Route 66 Marathon, and some of my friends were doing a relay. They needed someone to run the 6K (3.7 miles) leg, which was just my speed. It was a beautiful morning for a run. Our team came in just under 4 hours with a time of 3:59:23. Speedy!

IMG_0702

It was a great weekend.

Back on the home front, I'm going to start sleeping with one eye open:

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

But how could this innocent looking kitty be plotting to kill me?

IMG_0691

Well, maybe not so innocent looking...

IMG_0692

Yep, sleeping with one eye open. I can't be distracted by cute pink nose and fluffy face.

IMG_0693

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh, Happy Day


IMG_0690, originally uploaded by zimmerml.

I was looking for something that I'm pretty sure the kitties have hidden from me, and I took a yard stick to see if it had rolled under the couch. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I found 25 toy mice and at least 10 other cat toys. Pretty impressive for only having lived here for 9 months.

The kittens are very excited to be reunited with their toys. I'm sure that they'll all end up back under the couch in no time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Knitting, Spinning and Politics

This is far from being a political blog. I try to stick with topics that are non-controversial, but since the election is only 9 days away, I'm going to start this post by straying from my normal yarn and kitty fodder and blog about my chance to see Barack Obama in downtown Denver this afternoon. (Don't worry - there's plenty of yarn and kitty activity to talk about in this post too!)

Mary, Phil and I and a few of our friends met downtown way too early for a Sunday morning to start our for breakfast. We thought we'd grab and bite and then be one of the first in line to see Obama speak...apparently many other Obama supporters had the same idea. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day. We walked and walked and walked to find the end of the line to get into the park where he was speaking. Here's the view from the end of the line.

IMG_0658

And when the line finally started moving, here's what we saw when we turned the corner.

IMG_0659

And when we finally got to the park, here's what we saw. This is the view toward the Federal building. Obama spoke on the steps.

IMG_0660

And at the other end of the park is the State Capitol.

IMG_0662

They estimated that 100,000 people came out to see Barack speak. The crowd was all the way to the steps of the Capitol. We found a good place to stand across this street toward the front.

We had a great view of the snipers. They looked very serious.

IMG_0661

And we had a not so great view of Barack. But at least we had a slight view (see the blue arrow). At least we could hear every word he said clearly. I'm so glad I went.

Barack

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I have been busy spinning and knitting.

This is superwash merino dyed by Stacy. This is my favorite yarn I've spun to date.

IMG_0645

And this is my first attempt at spinning a soft squishy single yarn. It's a bit overtwisted in places, but I'm happy with it.

IMG_0638

It jumped on the needles almost as soon as it dried from setting the twist. It became the Turn a Square hat (Ravelry link).

IMG_0657

I am almost hoping for colder weather so I can wear it. But I think I can be patient and wait a while longer to get a lot of use out of it.

While all of this knitting and spinning has been going on, rest assured I have had close supervision.

IMG_0649

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fluffy Kittens!

I'm afraid I might have driven away some of my readers with the tarantula photo in the last post so I will start with one of the most photogenic kittens in the world.

IMG_0617

I promise that there aren't any more giant spider photos planned for this blog for the foreseeable future.

It has started to fee like winter here so I've been taking advantage of the cold and getting a lot of spinning done. We worked on 3-ply in my spinning class at Shuttles, so I've been having fun practicing that skill.

This is superwash merino from Funky Carolina

IMG_0612

And this is BFL from Spindlefrog - a gift from my swap pal Holly.

IMG_0631

Today I started working on another 3-ply yarn using some superwash merino that Stacy from Tempted Yarns dyed for me in the Fiesta colorway. I can't wait to ply this.

IMG_0618

IMG_0624

I'm starting to amass quite the handspun collection. I'm considering opening an Etsy shop so some of it might get knitted in my lifetime.

The weatherman is predicting snow tonight. Ugh! October is way to early for snow!

I'll end this post on a positive note with more photos of the most photogenic kitten in the world. These are the many faces of Purl.

IMG_0544

IMG_0547

IMG_0546

IMG_0543

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tarantulas!

This weekend Mary and Phil, and I took the Tribeca on it's first road trip. I needed a break after the very successful IABC Southern Region Conference. We picked Taos because it happened to be the weekend of the Taos Wool Festival.

The drive down was spectacular because the Aspens were at their peak and the mountains were bright yellow. So beautiful.

We stayed with Mary and Phil's friends James and Becca. They have designed and built a house in a community that is completely off the grid just outside of Taos. It's called an Earthship and it's built using recyclable materials. It's a beautiful home. Here's James and Phil standing on the dome of the house.

IMG_0581

The back wall of the house is entirely made of tires packed with sand. Absolutely backbreaking work! This is an Earthship in progress.

IMG_0576

Some use aluminum cans and bottles

IMG_0580

This is the view from James and Becca's front lawn. Not bad, huh?

IMG_0573

I didn't get any photos of the inside of the house, but Mary and Phil have photos from a previous trip on their blog.

Because we were on a mesa, we saw a lot of tarantulas. They're harmless as long as you don't bother them.

IMG_0578

It was a great experience to stay there and Becca and James were great hosts. Such a unique community.

IMG_0589

We all went to the Wool Festival. So much wooly goodness!

IMG_0587

I brought home some lovely fiber to knit and spin including some cashmere and merino/angora. Fun. But the best thing I got at the Wool Festival was from the Buffalo Gold booth. They had a bin full of matted buffalo fiber that was free to a good cat home. I want them to know that they have made Purl a very happy kitty. I had forgotten about it last night when I got home, but fortunately Purl doesn't mind digging through my suitcase and she found her new toy. It's not the cutest toy, but she loves it.



It was my first trip to Taos, but it definitely won't be my last!

I also received a wonderful swap package from Holly in New York last week. She spun this yarn for me:

IMG_0566

And sent me lots of other goodies:
IMG_0558

It was a fun swap to participate in. She loves bright colors like I do, so it was fun to pick out the fiber to spin for her. This was the fiber -

IMG_0491

And apparently I didn't get a photo of the finished yarn. Let's just say it was a bit more retina burning than I expected it to be. Usually, the fiber color softens as it is spun. This was so saturated with color, it got brighter. I loved it, but I was nervous about what Holly would think of it. She received it this weekend and already has wound it in a ball and is ready to cast on for a pair of socks you can see from space. :)