Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photo Hogs

It is irritating to have a wonderful photo opportunity ruined by a photo hog. You know, that family member or student that jumps into the picture just when you are snapping it. The end result shows the photo hog thumbing his nose or wiggling his fingers with his thumbs in his ears.  It totally destroys any photo but the perpetrator thinks he is hilarious.

This happened to me today. I saw these hardworking little hens with 16 chicks and thought that it would be a great picture:
And then....
"Silly little fawn, didn't know any better!"
 Even Mother Nature has it's pranksters.
Thanks little Momma!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"To learn with joy!"

This morning students will be entering the building with anticipation and perhaps a little reluctance. I really can't remember my first day of school. I don't remember if I was scared, or even if there was any great "a-ha" moment when I began to read.
 I do remember that I took a bus to school. My cousin Bob and I had to walk a long way after the bus dropped us off - a mile or so. One day he talked me into taking a "short cut" through a wooded swampy area. When I got home I had very muddy feet and an angry Mom. Dad had been driving up and down the road looking for me because he was going to take me with him when he got his haircut and they had no idea where we were.
I do remember that I had a silver and green lunchbox with a thermos and Mom made me baloney sandwiches and Campbell's Alphabet Soup everyday. One day she fixed something else and I was upset!
I do remember being able to go to the office to buy a big fat red or blue crayon for three cents each.
I do remember in the classroom there was a very cool puzzle that I loved. It was wooden, with bright colored shapes that could be put together in many beautiful patterns. I loved it so much that the teacher (whose name I can't recall) told me I had to share. I was embarrassed to have to be talked to that way and I never played with the puzzle again.
I do remember that we moved across the Puget Sound in the beginning of May and so I only had one month of school with Mrs Mayors, a teacher that I adored.
I do remember my mom telling me many years later that she had written my Great Aunt Kit telling her she didn't know how she was going to get school clothes together for me. My aunt sent a box of fabric and this is when Mom began her annual August sewing sessions.
I do remember that the dress I was wearing for my first grade school picture was pink with keystone cops running around.
We often impact a child's life without even knowing, positively or negatively.  
I hope that I can be a Mrs. Mayors to my students this year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Finished, just in the nick of time!

It was important that the school year begin with a "clean slate" - not half a dozen knitting projects hanging over my head in various stages of completeness. So I've spent the last few days working on needle felting, casting off, knitting ribbing onto a crew neck, sewing seams, and blocking. The final item was completed this afternoon:
Pattern: Aran Knits for the Family, Patons
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted
Colorway: Ecru
Needle size: 5, 7

(Disclaimer: Socks do not fall under the "clear slate" rule. There is a pair on the needles in my bag. Although I don't love the knitting of socks, I do love the wearing of a hand knit pair - and since I'm the only one in the family that knits them, I will always have a pair on the needles!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I made a list, now I'm checking it twice.

Sadly, my vacation is drawing to a close. Tomorrow it's back to reading, writing, and arithmetic. In June I made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish during my break:

My Summer To Do List...
Sit on the deck sipping hot coffee, watching the sunrise. (Yes!)
Go to a great concert. (Yes! John Mellencamp)
Find the best "Pick Of The Summer" book - EVER. (Not sure the EVER thing worked out but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo turned out to be the pick of the summer)
Get the computer room closet cleaned out. (A BIG yes!)
Go skinny dipping. (Hmmmmm...)
Sew wool Teddy Bears for all my kiddos. (Maybe next year)
Spend some great quality time with my kiddos. (Yes)
Visit Yellowstone Park. (No)
Knit a Pi Shawl in honor of Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday. (8-9-10) (Yes)
Spend a long weekend on Flathead Lake. (Yes)
Turn my blog into a hardbound book. (I vow, before Labor Day)
Plan the perfect day for Hubby, from morning to night. (I think so, not sure how he feels about it.)
Go to a drive-in-movie. (I forgot about this "to do" item - No)
Sit on the deck sipping margaritas, watching the sunset. (Yes, not the amount intended but it was a cool and rainy summer)

Not on the list but a task I'm very proud of - I tossed 15 years of accumulated junk out of the house and feel so much better! 
 A summer to be proud of!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Winter preparedness

This week I've been busy at school preparing for the next year, painting, cleaning, decorating the room in Griz, and getting lessons created. But I've also been working in the evenings trying to complete some knit projects that were rapidly turning into monsters hanging over my head....

I made Christmas mittens for the teachers early in the spring, felted them with The Pirate's hat in July, but couldn't call them complete until they had some needle felting on the back. Today is the day I had slated for the needle felting which turned out to be the first 100 degree day that we've had all summer. No big deal, needle felting can to done anywhere, anytime, in any temperature - but where, do you capture the completed mittens in all their glory?
Felted Mittens by Nancy Lindberg
Yarn: Galway Wool
Colorway: Gray, neps
Needle size: 7

Now, on to the PI Shawl. I was composing, in my head, a scathing blog about how EZ had finally done me wrong. The shawl was scratchy and a total waste of time, money, and effort. I threw it into the bathtub, added a little conditioner and let it sit there all night. In the morning I drained the tub, and forgot about the shawl until afternoon. As I pulled it out, I noticed the scratchiness had almost disappeared and the entire shawl had taken on a new personality! Okay EZ, you're still number one in my book!
I added YO's K2tog every 12 rows except when doing the increases and then it was just YO's. The lace bit at the end is the gull stitch and finally a thick band of bind off that EZ recommended.

I do like the thick border at the end, however, it ate yarn like nobody's business and I ran out of unspun yarn. Because I didn't like the afghan at this point - I went into my stash and pulled out a brown wool that only matched because the wrappers both said brown on them. I've never done that before and probably never will again. It can't be seen in the photo and you never will see the color difference even when visiting the house. I vow I will stage the afghan everyday for as long as I have it, gracefully draped over the chair arm, ready for a chilled body to warm. A body that won't care that there is a yard of mismatched border - someone that is grateful for a light, really warm, piece of history to thaw out under.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I must keep kitties happy!

The last few days have been spent slipcovering a footstool for the Tella Tubby. I love my kitties and not only do they think they need to be in our bed at night, but I need to have them there to keep my feet warm. The Tella Tubby, just a little over weight, needs assistance if she is going to end up in our high brass bed. The old footstool worked fine with a beige duvet cover that had been on the bed but I've been busy this summer cleaning and updating each room and the footstool just didn't match the new striped blue, brown and gold bedspread.
I've never slipcovered anything but I did watch my mom cover many things. Today, as I stitched each stitch I would remember Mom working on her projects and visualize how she would have done the cording, corners, and tucks. It brought a smile to my face realizing how much I had learned by watching and asking an occasional question!

I always love opening up the desk holding Mom's old sewing machine. The first time I did after she died, I heard her tell me, "Pull the bar out before you drop the desk top." It was so clear that I jumped and looked over my shoulder!
It had been her Aunt Kit's, a 1950's model.
The finished project:
This was a fun project and I would like to find a simple chair to work on next!

I also finished Sadie Lou Who's sweater today:
Wonderful Wallaby
Cascade Yarn, ecru - 4 skeins
Paton's accent yarn, rosewood - 1 skein

Now, on to the needle felting of mittens!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Concert 2010

It has been a trial to get to a concert this year. It was on my summer wish list of things to do. We were going to a concert the day of the tornado (it was canceled, naturally - so to speak). We had bought Simon and Garfunkel tickets for July, but Simon (or was it Garfunkel?) had a sore throat and canceled. Then it was announced that John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan would be in town on August 11th. I bought the 98 and 99th ticket! I've been looking forward to this ever since.

The weather has been "iffy", we haven't had one 100 degree day all summer, it's been clouding up and raining in the afternoons, in fact we're two and a half inches above average. Yesterday the forecast was sunny with thunderstorms just when the outdoor concert was to take place. Hmmm, the high 80's and then a storm, how to dress? I decided to go with my new concert duds, a stellar halter top and jeans - no rain gear! It worked! Only a drop or two of rain fell.

John Mellencamp's concert was near perfect - the only thing missing was Jack and Diane!
Bob Dylan was definitely a must see, just because he's such a legend. I'm glad to say that I was there but I'm not his number one fan....

Good times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday Elizabeth Zimmerman!

Today is Elizabeth Zimmerman's 100th birthday! For anyone that doesn't know who Elizabeth was, she is well known in knitting circles. She said she never invented anything having to do with knitting but felt that she just reworked tried and true techniques in knitting and called it "uninventing".

8-9-10 was a great date for her birthday, she was a whiz at numbers and worked out a percentage method for knitting any sweater. She also created a sweater that is a crazy knit. The Baby Surprise Sweater is knit flat and must be folded like origami to form the sweater sleeves and body!
I LOVE knitting the Tomten sweater and the kiddos have looked so cute in them - with or without hoods, buttons of zippers! From doll size to kid size these are great little sweaters!
I just recently tried a pair of knit pants from a pattern EZ had in the Knitting Almanac. They were easy and will keep the little guy who wears them very warm!
Elizabeth's February Baby Sweater has been modified into a ladies sweater.
This is one of my favorite sweaters and I always get a compliment or two when I wear it!

I had planned on having the Pi shawl finished for EZ’s birthday but the grandkiddos have been here for three weeks and I just can’t knit with the Unspun Icelandic Yarn while they are here cuddling- it keeps breaking every few yarns, it’s so-o-o-o fragile!
I am the boss of my knitting and loving it.
Elizabeth, I hope you are happily knitting wherever you are!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"And More Fun!"

I'm told that The Tiger asked a million times while driving to "Hannah Montana" if we were going to go to "The Chico." After having him with us for just a few days, if The Tiger's folks said he asked a million times, it was AT LEAST that many times! (yak, yak, yak!)
 The kiddos had an outstanding time! On the way home The Tiger asked if we could move to "The Chico" so they could swim everyday of every visit! - Cool idea!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to school sweaters for the kiddos.

I've been working on sweaters for the kiddos to wear back to school this fall. I don't have their Christmas sweaters done but the spirit moved me this way!
Tiger's and Sadie Lou Who's sweaters:
Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby
Main Color Yarn: Cascade 220, Ecru
Stripe: Paton Yarn, Forest and Rosewood
Amount: 4 skeins main color, 1 skein stripe color
Needles: 8 US, 6 US

Grandpa goes shopping....

Hubby loves shopping at two places: the internet and Costco. Today he receive a nine pound piece of dinosaur poo in the mail - not a Costco sale!
The Tiger wasn't sure he wanted to touch it, thinking it would be soft and squishy. Later he asked, "How did Dinosaurs poo rocks?"

Tiger biffed it today but saved the ice cream cone!

"When You Are Having Fun!"

The Purl Gurl and her family arrived and it has been so nice to have ALL the family home again! The California Dreamin' Gal was looking out for her Momma and got the ball rolling for the family photos.YEA!
 The kiddos spent all one day planning a "carnival", we had a catapult toss, bike races, frisbee toss, lemonade stand, bow and arrow stand, and foot races! WOW!
 And they're off.....
And California Boy wins!