Friday, August 31, 2007


Hi Cindy!

Love the mittens although from here they just look too hot. As you may have seen we've broken our record for days over 110. Wednesday was 29 days and yesterday was 30 but at least there's maybe some relief in sight. By the end of next week we may have rain and the upper 90's. Sounds like a nice change.
Did you hear about the Mrs. American contestant that got bit by a rattlesnake? It was in Tucson at the Loew's Ventana Resort. They had her on the morning news this a.m. and she actually seemed pretty articulate. She's from Tenessee and she said that Mrs Iowa pulled the snake's fang out of her foot and Mrs Wisconsin called 911. She ended up in intensive care for part of a day and the poison had reached her ankle by the time the anti-venom took effect.
As I commented after your post the other day, we got our carpet put in on Tuesday. It looks great and we will probably have the other rooms not covered by insurance done here in the next year or so. (I'll try to edit this tonight with a picture but haven't taken one yet.) The rest of the house is still pretty much thrashed from moving everything out of the two rooms. The only thing that is mostly back in place is the china cabinet although the doors are still off it. We actually culled out quite a few glasses and now we need to look at books before they go back on the shelf and maybe movies.
In all the turmoil Ihaven't gotten much knitting done. I've knit a few rounds on the purse but that's while commuting with DH. I'm hoping we'll get the house set back up on Saturday and then have some time the rest of the weekend to be creative. Yay for long weekends! Maybe DH's brother will come down for a cookout. He hasn't seen the new fence yet.
On Wednesday DH had a second interview for one of the positions he's applied for and now he's waiting for an offer. He has another interview this coming Tuesday for a different postion that's a little closer to what he does. One of the women that he works with is also interviewing for that position and he thinks she stands a better chance. She also needs to get out of their agency pretty badly. She is 5 months pregnant and her doctor has told her to quit because the stress is too much. The problem is that she's the one carrying the insurance and she can't get other without getting a different position.
DH also got a recruiting call the other day for another position with that same agency so he knows that his time is limited in the current position. It will be nice when he finally gets out of there into a new agency, which ever one he goes to.
Guess I'll close this up. Have fun this weekend at the wool festival, I expect a full, detailed report with pictures.
Stay dry! A

I love mittens!

Hi Alene! Here are the mitten samples for my fall class; they are done in bulky wool on 2 needles.

Wow, last day of August. For September, I plan to finish the quilt, spin some silk (tee hee, oh yeah, wasn't that how this all got started . . .), start some painting around the house, complain in writing about my faulty toaster oven, sell some old pattern books and magazines on ebay, lose 4 stinking pounds, and think about making friends with my sewing machine (yup, I peaked back in Family, Fashion and Foods). Hmm, looks like my enthusiasm is once again greater than time available ;) Cindy

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WIPs, part 2

Hi Alene! Here are some more of my works in progress. First, a cream-colored sample cabled mitten; next to it of some orange tweed for a "plain" mitten and my top-down sweater in progress.

We continue to be very wet here. I hear this is the wettest month ever recorded in my fair city, over a foot of rain and more predicted! Gardening catch-up and school are the big topics here. Need to get back to the quilt next week once school starts. Here are some non-knitting WIPs
(DS and I tried out salt dough "clay"):

Yum, tomato sauce. Your house looks great. Inspires me to got some painting going too! Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Busy Beaver

Hi Cindy!

We had our turn to be wet yesterday morning. I got up early to take DH to his zen retreat because he didn't want to leave the truck there. A woman from the group had her car broken into during the week. We left the house shortly after 5 am. There was lightening nearby and it was quite windy. We had a few drops on the way there and more on my way home. Within a few minutes of getting home the sky opened up. We had quite a bit of lightening and a lot of rain. It's hard to see in the picture but our street flooded out a few feet. I left around 6:30 to volunteer for the co-op and it was still pouring and it was pretty hard to see on the freeway. I wore my rain coat but ended up taking it off because I was getting wetter from sweating than from the rain even though it was still coming down in buckets. Fortunately the storm pushed its way through in just a couple of hours and by 9 am it was pretty much done. It was cloudy and humid for the rest of the day but no more rain.

The plan for the rest of the day was to paint one wall in the front room. We haven't done much interior painting since being in the house and it is definitely time. And they're going to come in the next few weeks to put in the new carpeting so it'd be nice to have it done before then. When the last owners painted the front room they must have run out of paint because the only did 3 walls in an almond color. It looks okay but you can see in places where they didn't finish touch up all the way to the ceiling. The fourth wall they left a dingy white.

Here is the wall before painting. You can kind of see the two different colors between the white wall (left) and the almond wall (right). The front door is a dingy white with the insets painted another off-white color. The closet door is the same dingy white as the wall and the baseboards.

Here is a picture of the first wall complete. It took two coats to cover the wall completely. I liked the color so much that I decided to extend it along the other wall too. Unfortunately it is all door and window so I couldn't use the paint stick with the regular size roller. I had to use a small roller and a brush. The hardest part was going back and forth between the step stool and the ground. In the end I really liked how it looked but was a little worried that DH wouldn't like the color. I'd picked it out without him.

Here is a picture of the finished wall with the pictures hung back up. It really looks good and Teddy matches perfectly. DH really liked the color too. (yay!) I still need to paint the base boards and the trim around the doors so not every thing has been moved back. I also have a few spots on the popcorn ceiling that got caught with the edge of the roller so I have to touch those up too. It has inspired me to move on to the hallway and laundry room next. And all the doors need painting too. Here is the color card that I chose from. The one on the walls is called "Rich Caramel", the third from the bottom. I think we may use one of the lighter colors for the other areas we need to paint.

The other thing that I painted that isn't showing up here is the vent cover over the AC outlet. I took it down to paint and found the inside covered with mold. Really gross! I soaked it in bleach water and scrubbed it good before hitting it with white spray paint. It (as well as all the others in the house) was an icky dull gray metal. Now this one is bright white and looks good. When I pointed it out to DH he thought I'd bought a new one.

Today I spent about 2 hours attacking the palm tree while DH changed the oil on my car. All the rain yesterday soaked into all the areas where we'd cut the old palm fronds last year. I was able to pull down the old date fronds and then use a hoe to pull the other little pieces down. The pieces ended up filling 4 garbage bags and the fronds took 5 trips to the alley. We still don't have all the dirt moved from the fence so it was "fun" off-roading the wheel barrow through the dirt. I was really stiff in the arms and hips from yesterday. I bet tomorrow it will be more so in the arms and shoulders from attacking a tree with a hoe.

Time to finish and start HP#3. More knitting content next time, A

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Upcoming Classes

Hi Cindy!

This week I signed up for two classes in November over at Fiber Factory. The first is Intermediate Spinning. It is Tuesday nights in November and is pretty much just a continuation of the classes I took this summer. It is probably going to be a lot of the same that we covered in the second class. I'm just looking at it for additional time on a wheel. We're planning on getting one after Kelly gets a different job. Hopefully that won't be in the too distant future.

The second one I signed up for is Solar Dying. It is on the third Saturday in November. After your escapade a few weeks ago I thought I'd give it a shot. I just need to pick out some plain fiber or yarn to dye. Both classes are taught by the same instructor that I had this summer.

I tell you all this because I went over there tonight to pay for the classes. While there I couldn't resist picking up a few things. I'm sure you recognize the magazine as one from last fall. I needed a set of #3 needles for my reduction on the Bellatrix socks. And the yarn was on sale for 20% off plus they gave me the 15% class discount. It is Karaoke by Southwest Traders. It is going to become a hat for DH and maybe something else too. If it were a colder climate he'd get a scarf out of it but I can't fathom what he'd use a scarf for here. It is 50% Soysilk and 50% wool so it will felt nicely.

DH is doing a retreat this weekend so I am thinking about painting one of the walls in the front room. We are going to get the carpet replaced soon so I want to get it painted first. Look forward to pictures of it this weekend.

It sounds like it is blowing out so I'm going to finish this and go check. They are still saying we'll get rain from the remnants of Dean sometime this weekend. That would be nice since it's been so stinking hot again. Stay Dry! A

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WIPs, part 1

Hi Alene, great looking Works-In-Progress you've got there. And no, we haven't dried out yet. Still raining nearly daily and when it's not, it looks like it could any minute. Weird. At least we were spared the flooding west of here. And I know what you mean about the cat coming to the camera. In my case, it's usually a kid !

Here's one of my WIPs (two, I guess, if you count DD ;) . It's the quilt I am making for our 10th anniversary this fall. It'll be done by October although it is stalled now cuz it is big and warm in its mostly assembled state. Knitting WIPs soon. Cindy

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

UFO's- Progress?

Hi Cindy,

Hope you have dried out from the weekend. We have heated back up. The record today is 110 and we stand a good chance of breaking that. They are predicting a chance of rain for the weekend though; possibly the moisture from Dean will push far enough west to get caught up in our wind flows.

Margaret has been perusing my UFO's and she's concerned that I have too many WIP's to accomplish much anytime soon. I think she's trying to use occulmency to figure out what I was thinking when I started all of these or maybe she's trying to use her mind power to just get me to leave more knitting around so that she can "help".

You may have noticed the new sock project that appeared on my list last week. One website I love to poke around on when I'm bored is Knitting Pattern Central. They have tons of free patterns that are lurking out there on the web.

About 2 weeks ago I found the Bellatrix pattern linked from there. It was one of three Harry Potter themed sock patterns featured last month over at Socktopia. The others are Fawkes and Nagini. I've saved all three and will probably try them in the future. I've just started the cuff on Bellatrix. I always have to modify the upper part of the legs since mine are so big so I added an extra repeat on the first needle. Hopefully that will be enough. I am using the same yarn that I made MIL's birthday socks from. I had a lot left and bought another ball in case I want to make them longer. Oh, and I'm re-reading the series too. I found my book mark from the last time I read the whole series. It was the campground layout for the place we stayed in Moab on the way back to our wedding party four years ago. I'm about a third of the way through Chamber of Secrets.

Here are DH's socks. A couple of inches of progress since the last time I posted them. The endless stockinette is taking forever. I've had DH try them on but I have an inch or two more before I start the increases. He really likes the yarn though so he'll be happy with them. He wants to use them as zen socks so I need to have them done by the time Roshi comes for the 3 day. That will probably be at the end of November--three months. He's hoping to get measured for robes soon so he can have them by that time too.

Here is another new project I started last week. I'm planning that it will be a purse out of these two ribbon yarns. They are both Trendsetter Calliope that I got at Tuesday Morning last year. I thought to make a scarf out of them but nothing I tried was making me happy so I decided on a purse instead. I have one ball each of two different colorways so I mixing them, two rows at a time. It is simple mindless knitting that is great for in the car while commuting.

Looking at all these pictures you might think I have to pose Margi with the yarn. Wrong, she loves the camera and comes running whenever I get it out. I took one picture of the Bellatrix set-up and then there she was, ready to ham it up. The combination of yarn and camera really draws her attention.

Take care, stay dry and finish that ark (felted I presume?) Later, A

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I should be knitting me an ark . . .

It has been raining so much here this month, yikes! I plan some posts on my WIPs soon and want to get back to the silk spinning. I simply can't believe it's only ~2 weeks until school! Do I sound like a broken record yet?

DS came by and says to tell you he loves you and wants to visit. Well said! Cindy

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Hi Cindy,

A zafu is a cushion used in meditation. In the picture it is the round one in the center. The large square one is a zabuton. I bought DH the zafu for our anniversary here but the zabuton he bought here as part of a starter package. He actually has two zafus This one is filled with kapok, a cotton-like fiber that is actually hydrofillic, and the other is filled with buckwheat hulls. The plan is to fill the new one with kapok if we can find a source for it that isn't too expensive.

Here is the initial stages of sewing together the new one. I used 2 felted sweaters, one in brown-gray-blue stripes and the other with black and gray blocks of color. It is a little hard to distinguish the two colors in this picture but the striped portion is the side and the blocks of color are the top and bottom. I used the width of the sweater as the main body of the side but then had a slit covered on the inside and outside by a 8 inch wide piece cut from the sleeves. I'll probably end up stitching the internal one down on one side so it doesn't pook out as much.

Here is the finished piece stuffed temporarily with recycled fiber fill from an old pillow. I ended up hand sewing it all together because I wasn't sure if my old Kenmore would go through all the layers. While most of it was only 2 layers thick, it was 4 layers over the slit with a little section of 5 layers in the very middle. I have one small (1/2 inch) section of the 4 layers where I missed the outermost layer. I'll have to tack that down when I finish it up. Right now it is a bit tall but it will squish down when it is filled and sat upon. I'm pretty happy with it at this stage although I may press the seams out before we do the final filling. and I may add some kind of internal tie under the carry strap on the side. It gets the stamp of approval from the spinnin' kitten but she hasn't attacked it like I thought she would.

Take care, A

ps: Think good thoughts tomorrow (Thursday) as DH has an interview.

What I did on my summer vacation

Hi Alene, here's some of our local wildlife on my garden buddha statue.

Well, summer isn't over yet but it is zooming along in a very surprising way. Lately I've been: trying to catch up in the weed patch (it's been raining a LOT after 2 months with almost none), doing laundry, working on the quilt and sweater here & there, thinking a lot about spinning, cooking, getting the kids up earlier in prep for school, assorted chores, taking both kids to swimming lessons, going to work, reading HP (I'm on 4 now), trying to persuade DD not to change clothes so many times in one day, potty training, and doing more laundry.

Didn't get much of a chance to blog on our WA vacation but we had a good time. Most of it was visiting relatives and doing a few tourist things (Seattle Aquarium, Cheese Days festival). I love visiting Washington and seeing the mountains and Puget Sound even if only from a distance.

More soon and crafty, Cindy

Monday, August 13, 2007

When good pets go bad

Hi Cindy,

As promised the other day, here are a few photos of the indignities we put our cats through. Fortunately they didn't live up to the title of the post although I'm sure they would have obliged if they were a little bigger.

We found this lion hat the other day while shopping at Target. It was just too cute not to subject the resident felines to. As you can see Teddy was pretty p.o.'d about it. He says he's too old to be treated this way.

Margi was also pretty peeved about the situation.

Abigail wouldn't even hold still long enough to get the hat near her. She is definitely wilder than the other two and is fully armed to lash out. Ted and Margi are defenseless on the front side. After the hat came off the cats had to express their displeasure by tossing it around and then laying on it. DH also had to put it on me (didn't fit, go figure) but that picture is hidden forever.

My friend from work, LD, has an iguana that she's had for about 13 years. She got while Que she was in college and he was a small thing. She even moved him here when she got transferred out to AZ while working in consulting. One of the bedrooms in her house is dedicated to Que and was even designed to be easy to clean. After 13 years he's grown to over 3 feet in length. She used to take him along when she did field work (he'd stay in the motel bathroom) but now she does GIS modelling so she doesn't have to travel any more for work.

Early Saturday morning she was cleaning his room before her new boyfriend came over and she decided to give Que a bath too. While she was bathing him in the bath tub he fouled the water and she released the drain to clean it out. She put a towel over his head and while she was reaching to turn the shower on he lunged and clamped on to her left hand. This is the first serious bite she's ever had from him. She promptly put him back in his room and tried to clean up her hand. She ended up calling 911 and going to the emergency room to have it taken care of. She had to assure the paramedics that he was secured before they would even enter her house.

Que got two of her fingers; on the center one he went through all the layers of skin and even chipped the bone. On her thumb it just broke the skin. LD is glad that he got the thumb too, otherwise she's afraid he would have bitten off the finger totally. The ER wouldn't stitch her fingers up until she's done with the massive vial of antibiotics they gave her. I guess they want to be able to observe animal bites to make sure that they don't become infected. She got a referral to a hand surgeon. When I saw her this morning she had a splint on the middle finger and her whole left hand wrapped in bandage. It's a good thing that a lot of the work she does is using the mouse and minimal typing. The picture is not Que but he is about that size and color. DH asked if she's ready to get rid of him since he hurt her so badly. I doubt that she will since she's had him for so long unless she can find a herpetological group that will take him.

This is a good lesson, never startle a lizard that's big enough to get it's mouth around one of your fingers, you may loose it.

Take Care, A

Next blog topic: zafu construction

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Too much to write about

Hi Cindy!

Today has been a busy day and I've got too much to write about so I'll probably babble on for quite a while.

I'm going to start with a FO. After about 5 weeks knitting on the second sock I finally finished kitchnering the toe this afternoon. The bottom one is the first one I finished back before the 4th and it has been lonely ever since. It hung out in my sock drawer but I think the pairs taunted it since it was a single. Now it is happily united with its match. As you can see they aren't exactly identical. The color on the leg of the first one is more vibrant than the rest of the yarn. I still have a ball about an inch and a half in diameter left, maybe booties for L's baby.

The "Bill the Lizard" roving duo I bought from the Lime and Violet store arrived on the door step today. It is awesome and I can't wait to start on it. The fiber fiend had to check it out right away. She was asleep under the couch cover when I took the first picture of it. It didn't take long for her to wake up and check it out, i.e. try to eat it. She is nothing if not predictable. It seemed to pass her taste test. She was pretty bummed when I took it away to hide it in the fiber safe (closet).

I have a confession to make. DH and I have gotten really bad at eating veggies. Since we work so close to each other we eat lunch together almost every day. And that means eating out at one of the restaurants around us. Because we tend to eat large lunches we typically don't have regular sit-down dinners at home in the evening, just snack on something when we get home. One of the first thing lost in that was the fruits and veggies.

Two weeks ago there was an article in the local paper about a food co-op that started up last fall. It isn't a big co-op like we used to have with Gentle Strength but instead is a food buying collective. It runs on a two week cycle with pickup every other Saturday. It is about half fruits and half veggies. Every month or so they have other things you can order; for next time it was teas and spices. It is a week by week thing, you don't have to commit to a long contract like some of the other veggie co-ops around. M&B belong to one that does organics but they're locked into every week for several months. This one is not organics, they buy from a regular fruit and veggie supplier for the local grocery stores. I signed up for this week's distribution without telling DH. I knew he wouldn't be too keen on it if I talked about it ahead of time. I knew that at least for myself I needed to add some fresh veggies.

DH debated going with me this morning to pick it up but I think he's glad he did. He was impressed with the haul and is even thinking about volunteering next time to help divide up the items beforehand. We took our cooler chest and it was packed. You got two round laundry baskets of stuff, one of veggies and one of fruits. We will be hard pressed to eat everything by the time the next one rolls around. We ended up with a bunch of spinach, two heads of romaine, two heads of cauliflower, a cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and snow peas. For the fruits we got a cantaloupe, peaches, plums, apples, strawberries, pears and grapes. As a "luxury" item they included two lychee. I've had them canned before but a fresh one is sublime. I'm saving the other one for another day. On our way home we stopped at the hispanic market and got cilantro, jalapenos and a couple of habenero peppers to make pico de gallo. It is pretty spicy but very yummy. We've also already had stir-fry with some of the items and I've eaten a couple of pieces of fruit. We are definitely happy about it and will do it again. DH plans on taking any extras to the zendo if they want it and he's also planning that one Saturday when we do it we'll then head up to his folks to share it with them. He told them about it this afternoon and his mom was very interested.

Guess I've run on long enough. I've got a couple of other things to babble about but I'll leave that till tomorrow. Hint: think how we might have traumatized our felines this week.

Take care, A

Friday, August 10, 2007


What a pretty post for my bday! Gorgeous fish. A big thanks for my birthday package. The silk roving is amazing!! The books will be fun too after I finish the HP pile metaphorically on my bedside table (I'm up to Prisoner of Azkaban now). I also really liked your clever homemade swatch card!

I haven't heard any podcasts yet; likely that'll be when the kids are a bit older. I did enjoy an Interweave Press interview with Stephanie P-McP. about spinning. Is your second spinning class over? What sorts of things did you learn? Cindy

p.s. I added 2 blogs to our list: one with loads of spinning info and a great knitting one (highly recommended by Ms H, Fearless Yarn Leader at work).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Cindy!

Just a short note to wish you the happiest of days.

Just in case you missed it, here's what Wikipedia has to say about your day.

Your package got mailed out yesterday afternoon. Only the item in the bag is for your birthday, the two books were coming your way anyways and just hitched a ride. You should get the box tomorrow (it's the same box you sent this way in June--recycling is fun). (The fish are from the Japanese Gardens in downtown Phoenix, about 2 miles from where I work.)

Once again Happy Birthday!

My smoky kitchen

Hi Alene! About 10-15 years ago, I decided I didn't want to become a weather curmudgeon as is easy to do in this climate. I've always loved fall but had gotten to complaining about spring (too mucky) and summer (too humid). I'd started noticing other people complaining a lot and thinking they were never happy about the weather. Gradually I saw some of that in myself and decided it was silly: no place was perfect and what a waste of my energy being unhappy about it. Once I looked for the good in each season, I was richly rewarded. I still find weather fascinating and love to talk about it but now I love the rhythm and events of the seasons even more. No wonder I embraced CSA and gardening and food preserving so much. When I saw the articles on solar dyeing in Knitty antd Spin-Off, I thought 'what a great way to celebrate the long northern days.'

After studying this article in Knitty, I decided to use up some of my leftover tie-dye on the Wensleydale I recently finished spinning. Since I got a late start that day, I figured a teapot of hot water was needed to get the dyepot going. So I put on the teakettle and headed downstairs to wind the yarn off my wheel and collect my other supplies (old canning kettle, dye, etc.). By the time I came back up with DS on my heels my kitchen was filled with smoke! I had turned on the wrong burner. Then there was several frantic and comic minutes while I took the very hot smoking dirty frying pan outside, we were serenaded by both smoke alarms, and the kids kept saying things like "it's hard to see across the living room" and I kept saying "there isn't any smoke downstairs, can't you play down there for a while??" I turned off the AC, opened windows, turned on every fan we have, and pretended it wasn't 95 degrees out. The irony that I would have been saving electricity by using solar heat if I hadn't tried to heat up the water an the stove and ended up running all sorts of fans and later needing the AC to run like crazy to catch up? Nope, not lost on me although it almost made me snicker as I was running around throwing windows open and apologizing to Farli for the chaos.

Eventually I got microwaved hot water in the pot in the sun, yarn & vinegar in and dye put on. The pic above shows that stage. It came out a pretty blue and purple but it must not have heated enough because the dye washed off a little as I started rinsing it the next day. So I put it on the stove top and overdyed it purple (still from the tie-dye leftovers).

I decided that I am definitely going to try solar dyeing again but with a homemade reflector (cardboard & foil) and maybe around the summer solstice when I have the longest hours of daylight.

I bet with your sunshine you could do it almost any time of year! Cindy

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Hi Cindy,

Hope you had a good weekend. Our camping trip had mixed success. We only went for one night but it was great to get out of town to the cool green for a while. I wasn't really as grumpy as the picture makes me look. DH had just gotten out the camera and I asked him not to take my picture but he ignored my request. At least you can see how green it is up there. In the background is M. He did all my training when I started at ADWR last year. His wife B is a PhD student in Ecology at ASU. She is studying bats and their role in nature. She brought along a bat detector and had it sitting out while we sat around the campfire. There was one bat that kept circling, snacking on all the bugs drawn by the light.

In addition to us, there were A and his daughter, S and her kids and K with her husband, son and sister. Oh, and there were 4 dogs too. In fact DH and I were the only ones without a dog. M&B's dog Kiera is pretty sweet and S's Sprocket is a nice little dog. A's Madison was okay but K's Callie was big and loud. There was also a problem with keeping the dogs from getting into territorial disputes. Nothing serious but it was annoying. One of the conflicts actually knocked little T (K's DS) down as they rolled into him.

The other annoyance was the music. Typically when we camp out we don't take any boombox along. It's nice to just have the quiet of the woods. A kept his truck doors open all evening with the iPod blaring out. For a while it was okay, a nice mix of music. But after a while K's DH had to start mucking about with the music choices and hit the country. DH and I have minimal tolerance for country music and I got the impression that B did too. Soon the four of us were headed off to our tents. S had already headed off with her kids. The other four adults stayed up for another 2 hours talking and playing music. I'm not sure how the kids slept with all the noise but their tents were farther away.

DH and I are starting to feel a little age and didn't sleep very well, even after the music was off and the fire out. Our thin backpack mattresses didn't do much to cushion the ground even though it was wet and soft. We are talking about getting a foam mattress that we can just store in the truck and take camping when ever. Or have available whenever we need extra sleeping space for guests.

We had already decided to head home on Saturday so that we could get stuff done. When we got up we were both so tired that we slowly packed up and the left out around 10 am. M&B left about the same time as B flew out Sunday for a conference. S and her kids stayed long enough to go on a hike but were headed back to town that evening. The rest stayed through Sunday.

The area where we camped was okay but very peopleated. We had to go much farther in than A had planned. Everyone else had trailers and ATV's. DH called it a Redneck Wonderland after the Midnight Oil release. I guess the country music and the dogs fit right in.

Okay, enough about camping. I splurged Sunday night and bought a bit of painted roving from the Lime and Violet store. The color that I bought was called "Bill the Lizard", painted in green and purple. I didn't snag the picture of it from the site and they only had one available so the picture disappeared after I purchased it. It shipped out yesterday afternoon so I should have it by the end of the week. Look forward to pictures when it comes.

Do you ever listen to podcasts? You can save them on your hard drive even if you don't have an mp3 player. My favorite two are Cast-On by Brenda Dayne and Lime and Violet. Brenda is a transplant from Portland to Wales (yes, the country, not the town where our HS was). She recently started her fifth series of shows. Each series has a theme which she maps out and discusses. One was on the muses, especially how they relate to knitting. Another was on knitting and places. Her voice is very soothing and she has a variety of guest read other peoples (or their own) essays related to the topic. She usually runs 40-50 minutes in length. I've been listening to her for over a year and a half.

Lime and Violet broadcast from the Omaha area. They have been podcasting for just over a year. They are more chatty and don't produce in a set series, just put out a podcast every week or two. Whereas Brenda is more informative Lime and Violet are more like a very informal stitch and bitch that goes on for an hour or more. That's not to say that they don't have specific things they talk about. They have regular segments on what's on their needles, knitting news and yarn porn. They also talk about yarn shops and suppliers and other fiber related things. One of their very early episodes last year was a trip to Estes Park Wool Market. A major theme of their entire podcast is how hard it is to look at all the beautiful yarn and fibers available and not have a credit card go into convulsions.

Guess I'd better close this and get to work. I also have to go to the post office today. I still haven't mailed out your birthday present even though I've had it ready to go for a couple of weeks. Well, hopefully it will only be a day or so late. Later, A

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ah, August!

I'm ridiculously happy that the Fall Rowan magazine is here! This is my 2nd year in their club and I don't think I can love any knitting magazine more. Ahh . . .

Feeling a day late and a dollar short again, and looking forward to sharing my recent yarn dyeing experiment! Cindy

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Finds and Plans

Hi Cindy!

Well, we didn't get a storm last night although parts of north Scottsdale really got hit. One condo complex had part of their underground garage flood. And we're not talking Fords or Chevies, we're talking Mercedes and Acuras. And the developer is not taking responsibility. Also near there a new housing development was flooded out due to regrading on an adjoining development. There were 8 swift water rescues in that area last night.

We've also missed out on rain so far tonight. There was a large storm over South Mountain about 2 hours ago but it never hit, it just kind of dissipated. Maybe later.

Last night I promised to tell you about some of my recent finds. About 2 weeks ago we went down to Changing Hands Bookstore. It is a nice mix of new and used books. They used to be on Mill Ave when it was still funky like State Street but it's gone corporate. This one in south Tempe has been there for a number of years and there is a Wildflower Bread Company right next door so you can get coffee and read. I found this. I think it was new, it wasn't marked like a used book. I've been slowly reading it but I'm only partway through the first chapter talking about color theory. It looks great and I can't wait to get farther into it.

Remember how we used to go to the book exchange when we were in high school. We have an even bigger and better one here in town. Bookman's is located in Mesa and they have other ones in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson. They have tons of used books plus magazines, videos, records, tapes, cd's computer stuff, sheet music... The list goes on quite a ways. We've been taking books in there for years. We also got rid of DH's gameboy and games there. I'm usually able to get some fairly new novels there and DH scours the vinyl for old folk records. We went there on Sunday after lunch at Dragon Fly.

I'm pretty full up on books right now so I wasn't really looking for any novels. And their craft books are always picked over. In fact I don't think they had anything knitting or fiber related. Their craft magazines are usually just tons of quilting and cross-stitch ones (old ones at that). This week, however, I found a treasure trove. On closer inspection the three FiberArts had only been there since Friday and the American Craft only a month. I picked the most interesting looking ones. I would have grabbed a couple of more except I didn't know how much credit we were going to have and DH was getting 2 books and 3 albums. Part of me wants to go back and see if any more are still there.

My friend L that is expecting ended up in the ER the other day. She has this thing when she's pregnant that the taste of her own saliva makes her ill. She's been having a rough time of it and wasn't able to eat or drink for a few days, hence the trip to the ER. She has a due date of March 19 although she hasn't had her ultrasound yet so that could change.

It's nice to know though that I should have 7 months or so to knit stuff. Here is the first thing I have planned. The pictures are hard to see but it's a bunny hat and bunny booties. Instead of alpaca like called for in the pattern I chose a bamboo yarn by Coates and Clarke. Fiber Factory had it on sale and it is pretty soft. I used another bamboo yarn last year for booties for the twins and a hat for GMIL.

I'd best close this and head to bed. I don't know if I'll write again for the next few days. We are hoping to go camping with a few people from work up near Happy Jack. Here is one link to the area and here is another. I'll have to finish getting stuff ready tomorrow night because we're going to head out directly after work on Friday. We will probably get pretty wet up there, that area has been getting quite a few storms lately. I'll take pictures and report on it next week. Hopefully I'll be able to find a rock to sit on and knit or spin.

Take Care, A