Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spinning and Snake River Fiber Fair

My awesome, wonderful sister who was probably tired of listening to me whine about how I didn't have any fiber to spin sent me some neat roving she picked up at a fiber fair a few weeks ago:

It's 89% Coopworth/11% silk noil and I'm having a blast spinning it up! The tag says it's called "King's Ransom."

I keep stopping, pulling some off the bobbin and letting it twist back on itself to see how the "real" yarn is going to be. I'm trying not to spin all this up right now so that I can enjoy the process, but it's so hard!! I keep telling myself "just fifteen more minutes, then I'll quit" and then it's been a half-an-hour. LOL!

Time is really getting away from me! I'll be teaching at the Snake River Fiber Fair this year in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I need to start getting ready for that. I'll be teaching a three-hour class on using and making charts for knitting, as well as a three-hour class making jewelry for your knitting: abacus bracelets and stitch markers. It should be really fun! Unfortunately the other classes I'm interested in taking are on the same day, so that's a bummer. I'll be able to make the dinner on Saturday night and the spin in afterwards, though, so that's good.

For Christmas a few years ago I made my Dad a quilt with trombones on it, and my Mom entered it in a quilt show there in Idaho Falls. Turns out it got a rosette for "best use of theme!" My Mom says she took a picture but they're kinda busy enjoying Yellowstone so they haven't sent it yet. :-) Here's a picture from when they hung it up:

That's about all that's fit to post around here. I've got a sunburn from being outside all day practically yesterday (Ryan REALLY loves his new bike) so I'm kinda tired today. It's rainy today so it's a good day to stay inside and recover from yesterday.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Momentus Bike Day

Today was a very big milestone for the kids: DD took off her training wheels and DS got a "big boy" bike!

Here's DD, looking pretty happy with herself (as well she should!!). I only had to push her once, for about 5 feet, and she was off and going like she'd been doing it for years! She hasn't fallen once, amazingly! Her training wheels had gotten bent up a bit and she's been balancing for a while, but she still relied on them at times so I didn't want to take them off too soon. Now she's riding like she's never had them on at all. Amazing! She turns six in May, and she had a hard time with brother getting a bike while she didn't get anything--never mind that she'll get tons of stuff for her birthday--so I let her get the horn she's tooting in the picture below.

And here's DS, doing a great job of pedaling his new bike! He had a little bit of a hard time with the brake being part of the pedaling, but he's figuring it out pretty quickly. For the first half-hour or so I had to keep running over to him and moving his legs so that he could see why he was stopped and wasn't going to go anywhere, but by the time I made him come inside (so I could cook dinner--I'm SUCH a mean Mom) I only had to help him once or twice in 20 minutes.

I'm being really hard-nosed about making the kids wear their helmets, and I'm trying to set a good example by always wearing mine. Of course *I* didn't get on my bike today--I was too busy running after Ryan. I'm hoping that by Wednesday he'll be comfortable enough with his new bike that we (the kids and me) can bike to school and back.

And here's a picture of our cat, Fred. Ryan always points to him and says "That's MY cat, Fred!" LOL! Never mind that Fred is older than both kids, he's Ryan's cat apparently.

Fred is a BIG kitty--we ran across some of his paw prints in the mud the other day and Gillian got really mad because she thought that a dog had been running around in our back yard (which is fenced). He has HUGE paws. I'll have to see if I can get a picture of them in a way that shows just how big they are. He's a darn good cat, even if he does look somewhat demonic in all the pictures I have of him--he has light-colored eyes and he doesn't like to have them open much when I'm taking pictures. (Not like I use the flash on him outside--he must be remembering being inside and having the flash go off.) Silly cat!

Hopefully I'll have some knitting progress to report tomorrow--today I managed to get two rounds done on the Shetland Tea Shawl, which is some progress but not a lot! :-)

I've been going through some pictures and ran across this one. My wonderful hubby had gotten me roses a while back (I think these were for Mother's Day last year) and I just had to take a few pictures. I got a little creative with some framing in PhotoShop.

Miscellany and Happy Earth Day

It's been a while since I've posted, so this is going to be another long, somewhat erratic, post.

Yesterday DD lost her third tooth, which has been loose for quite a while. The tooth fairy came to her school last week and delivered little treasure chests for holding lost teeth, so DD took great delight in putting her tooth in that under her pillow. Right on schedule, the tooth fairy came to the house last night while she was sleeping and left a whole two dollars! I'm so impressed with DD--she gave one of the dollars to her brother!!!

It's not the best picture, but it shows the empty space and the tooth in her hand. :-)

Of knitting content, I'm still working away on my Shetland Tea Shawl and I started some socks with the yarn I bought in Idaho Falls. The Hanging Garden Stole and the Rose of England are kind of on the back burner--I'm actually down to three active projects, which is kind of amazing. The third project is the German doily, which I work on when I'm sitting with DD as she's going to sleep. Both the Shetland Tea Shawl and the German doily are in the stage where they don't look like more than a messy bunch of loops, so I didn't take any pictures.

The socks are very difficult to get an accurate picture of, color-wise. This is about the best I could do the other evening:

They're just generic socks, with a slip-stitch heel that's offset on every other right-side row (sl 1, k1 on row 1, k1, sl 1 on row 3). The yarn is Wildfoote Handpaints and I really like it. They're tighter than my last pair with this yarn, which is definitely a good thing.

My wonderful, talented husband is almost finished with the bathroom! Here it is with the crown molding, but before we put in the shower door last night:

And here's the shower door!

It's just luxurious in there now! It's really hard to photograph since it's a fairly small room. Right now DH is painting the woodwork, including the doors, which will be so nice. The people who painted in this house must have been on crack, they did such a poor job (no, I don't really think they were on crack, but they may have not had enough ventilation as they were working ). They did things like painting over tape and those little felt things that you put on door jambs to stop them from slamming. !!!!

On the catching-up front, on Easter Sunday we went to one of the wonderful parks here in Tulsa.

Here's a little left-over evidence of Easter at the park:

Beautiful, even if it was at the end of the blooming.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More bathroom details (remodeling, that is!)

My husband is so talented!

Here's what he did this evening (please ignore the red dust from the tile on the shower and the bolts/nuts for the toilet):

He put in the new trim, including this awesome corner!!! I just LOVE how it looks. I talked him into putting that rounded corner in when he added the little wall, and I think he's been ready to strangle me over it a few times now. But just look at how awesome it looks!! Unfortunately it'll be hidden by the toilet most of the time, as you'll see in the next picture.

#1 is the new corner;
#2 (both of them) points to he quarter-round trim that he added, including a beautifully-mitered corner;
#3 is the new grout that makes the whole bathroom look a million times cleaner, and it's an epoxy grout so it should resist stains.

All of the trim is a plastic material and it's SO cool! DH says it works better than wood (as in it's easier to work with), plus it's plastic so it'll be better in a bathroom.

We're pretty excited! Now we just have to repaint the trim, doors, and cabinets and we'll be almost done. The prep work for painting is going to be a real job since the people who painted everything before us didn't do any prep, including not taking off the foam tape for hanging hooks and not removing the little bumper things that make the doors close more quietly. I swear, sometimes I'd like to hunt people down and tell them that if they ever paint anything again, I'll personally strangle them. [I wouldn't really, but I enjoy thinking about it as I'm scraping/sanding off their sloppiness.]

We bought a shower door yesterday and hopefully we'll install that Wednesday evening after DH gets home from work. It has clear doors, which we weren't thrilled about, but it had the handle style and framless-ness that we wanted, so I'm going to use some privacy tint film and make them frosted. That'll probably happen tomorrow, then we'll install it Wednesday.

I can't believe what a tremendous difference the trim makes in the bathroom! I'm so proud of my hubby.

And just for the heck of it, here's how things looked when we started this whole project:

[Except they'd also painted the light fixture burgandy—I used a "hammered silver" spray paint and repainted it.]

[DH and my Dad had ripped out the old tile that had been leaking for years, but you can get the idea....]


Another thing I got done today was replacing the light fixture in the hallway. I had a good helper, my 3-year-old, and I'm thrilled with it.

Old light fixture:
New light fixture:

Nice, huh?

And YES, Mel, I'm definitely ready to celebrate after finishing Greg's sweater!! :-)

Greg's sweater finished, bathroom remodel continues

It's been a VERY busy weekend!

Saturday I got Greg's sweater finished at long last! Of course it was just in time for absolutely beautiful weather, so he's not wearing it at the moment. It's 73° F outside right now, at 10:45 in the morning.

He won't be very happy with this picture, but I think it's very nice of the sweater. Ha! I offered to show the picture without his head but he didn't think that was funny. I've seen a lot of sweater-models (usually husbands) without heads in pictures but he doesn't look at the same pictures I do. :-)

It took me about eight months, I think--I bought the yarn in September, and it was supposed to be finished for Christmas. Obviously I missed that deadline. I did have the entire body done, and about 5" of the sleeves, and I gave it to him in pieces at Christmas. I finished the sleeves in a leisurely manner only to discover that the sleeves were huge. Really, seriously, Renaissance-puffy huge. My gauge had changed rather drastically and somehow I refused to face reality hadn't noticed. So I ripped back to my pre-Christmas length and re-did them.

This sweater is an almost-exact copy of the fleece pullovers he wears, so it's a bit oversized for a sweater. I think (hope) it'll be all right though. The yarn is Lion Brand® Wool Ease® so it's machine washable and dryable.

Here is my wonderful husband again, replacing some broken tiles in our bathroom. When he's cut them to fit the shower enclosure in, he couldn't get into the corners to cut the tiles so they broke. He's so awesome--he replaced the two broken tiles, plus the tiles that had been very shoddily installed (whoever had installed them had cut them too narrow, so just doubled up the baseboard to make it wide enough to cover it) and it looked really bad. Not any more!!

We made trips to Lowe's (Saturday and then Sunday, minus the kids) and Home Depot (Sunday again minus the kids) and bought got a new shower door that we'll hopefully install one evening this week. We also got some epoxy grout that is fabulous. W re-grouted all of the tiles and they look so much better! It was about three times the cost of regular grout but it's supposed to be a far superior product. We'll see, but so far it's great.

Last night we repainted the blue and we were able to get away with not having to repaint the walls, just the spots that needed more coverage. We were thrilled!

We also picked up a light fixture to replace this one:

Which has always seemed really low-budget compared to the rest of the fixtures. Of course it didn't match the other lights (and still won't) but that's all right. It'll be nicer than what's there, and it'll have two bulbs instead of one. That's another thing that will hopefully get done this evening or Wednesday evening. This will be the third light-fixture we'll have replaced in this house, and they've all been major improvements. What, you don't believe me? Once we get the new light in, I'll post some before and after pics of all of the lights we've replaced. Won't that be fun? ;-)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Socks, doilies, and miscellany

I keep meaning to update but just haven't gotten to it! First we were gone to Idaho for my Grandpa's funeral (and I came down with strep throat while there), then we got home and when I'd recovered, we got the news that Greg's Grandmother had passed away. He's now in Utah for the funeral, and will be back in about 40 more hours. We sure miss him when he's not here!

Of knitting content, first, here's the doily I'm working on:

It's from a German magazine, Lea, and I'm proud of myself for being to stumble along with a minimum of translation. That's one of the great things about charts!

Next, these are two hats I made for Caps for A Cure. I worked on both of them while we were in Idaho, and I really like the one on the right. The one on the left is just a plain stockinette hat, but I put some purl ridges on the one on the right. The yarn for both is Caron Simply Soft, which is great for chemo caps.

And here's the yarn I picked up while we were in Idaho:

It's Wildfoote Handpaints, and the two skeins I got are going to be socks. What's on the needles in this picture has been ripped out as it was way too big even for my huge feet. I'm working two at once using the magic loop method, which I love.

I haven't been doing any spinning because I'm out of fiber for the moment. I played with some Ramboillet I got from Lowder Colors Farms, a place near Tulsa. I actually still do have a little left, but I'm hoarding it for when I simply MUST spin. Does anyone else have those moments, when you want to do one thing and nothing else will do? They don't hit me that often, but when they do I tend to be restless until I satisfy them.

Our weather this weekend was absolutely fabulous, as you can see here:

The kids weren't even slightly cold. They had SUCH a good time. Our weather station said 87 degrees F.

The weather right this minute is 42 degrees F, but according to the Weather Channel.com it feels like 35 degrees. COLD!!! The weather around here sure is interesting.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spammers suck

Thanks to someone hijacking my domain email (piecefulstitches.com) a while ago, many of my emails are ending up in people's spam folders. Hotmail and Yahoo both automatically put my emails in the junk mail folders. Ironic, since my site is hosted through Yahoo.

This wasn't a big deal when I wasn't using that email address as much, but it's so frustrating to pay for a domain name and have my emails end up in spam folders now that I am using it more.

I'm all for jailing people who send out spam, especially those crooks who STEAL other people's legitimate addresses or domain names and send out their trash. Please, please, don't buy anything through spam emails or click on their links. I've seen television specials with spammers saying that as long as people will click on their links and therefor give them their money, they'll continue stealing email addresses to do it. Why can't these thieves pay for a domain name like everyone else, instead of causing so much frustration to those of us who are honestly trying to make a living?

Sorry, end of rant. Just check your spam folders if you're missing email from me.