Sunday, March 25, 2007

In Sickness and In Health

More than halfway to the goal. Yaaaaaay! In less than half the time allotted. Yaaay Yaaaay!
I may want to add another 10 pounds to the goal but we'll see when I get around the beginning of June.

Today didn't go as planned.
The Plan
1. sleep in a little
2. get the kids breakfast
3. review my Sunday school lesson
4. get the kids dressed for church
5. dress myself
6. go to church
7. Lou leaves for Toronto
8. Hot dogs for dinner
9. Early to bed

The actual day
1. sleep in a little
2. talk to Lou about why he's in the bathroom so much
3. be alarmed about the fact that there hasn't been pee since yesterday
4. make arrangements for the kids
5. dress kids
6. drive kids to friends'
7. meet Lou at the hospital
8. sit at hospital for 3 hours
9. try to talk you out of Toronto tomorrow
10. Walmart for prescriptions
11. pick up kids at church
12. dinner
13. pay bills
14. early to bed

Lou has a bladder infection. All should be well in a couple of days. I still think he should stay home and I still know he won't listen.
When he's back from Canada then he will leave on Thursday with the kids to Pennsylvania for the Phillies home opener. It's become somewhat of a tradition but this will be Ryan's first time.
I will be staying behind with the shop since the following week we are off to St Louis for the Frozen Four. Michigan was eliminated last night. They blew two 2 point leads in that game. Michigan State will be there, however.

Tomorrow is also our first 12th anniversary. June 3rd is our second 12th anniversary. Maybe I should explain.

I am a religious girl. Because of this, there was a lot of time of me saying "no". Three years or so if you'd like to know. We were engaged and planning a big wedding at my mom's bed and breakfast with the big tent and the guests and the huge cake - all for June 3rd, 1995. Lou was going to be in California for a business trip in March of 1995 and so I flew out and met him for the weekend since I had lived there and knew people I wanted to visit. Again I found myself in a position to say "no". He said, "Then let's get married." So off we went to Las Vegas. Drove up and down the strip a couple of time and chose this place. It was cute. And a fun thing to do.

It was Sunday. The courthouse is open on Sunday in Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, it is open 24 hours from Friday to Monday. I think it cost a little more than $100. for the marriage license at the time. There's a little counter where you fill out a half sheet of paper with a golf pencil. Then you take it to one of the people at the typewriters (probably computers now) where they type up your license.

We took the wedding chapel limo from the chapel to the courthouse and back. In the same limo with us there was a drunk lady and her man. She just couldn't believe they were doing it. I couldn't either. It was morning and she was already plastered.

After the little ceremony - Elvis free - we went out for a romantic lunch at Arby's and then drove back to Los Angeles as fast as we could since we had a dinner appointment with some friends.

We didn't tell a soul. For years. My parents just found out last year. His parents - still don't know. It's been great fun and I have not regretted that day for one minute.
Not much celebrating this year - due to illness - but I have been reliving that wonderful day in my head for the whole weekend.

As for spinning and knitting. Not much to show.

I'm working on my first skein for the HGA Handspinning COE. It's on a drop spindle. I chose Blue Faced Leicester top. I am spinning it my usual thin way. I think I'm doing a pretty good job but it's been 3 weeks and I have only finished about 0.65 ounces. I need a one ounce skein. Well, I may actually have more done than that because I got a lot done at the hospital today.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I am Emma Thompson

I'm supposed to be entering receipts into Quickbooks but instead I'm cruising my favorite blogs.

I found this over at Smariek Knits
I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I took the quiz because I knew that my oldest daughter (Hi Brittney) would be interested in the outcome. No doubt she'll have something to say about it. She's supposed to be studying right now. Finals are less than a month away. Out there in Utah.

For those of you who don't know, she is an English major currently in her Junior year.

Can't wait to see you, Brat.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Moving right along on the weight loss front. Many days I feel like I'm running out of steam. I've invested so much energy in this everyday. Wake up, think about food for the day. Although, most days I plan the whole day in the morning and place everything in little containers for all meals and snacks except dinner. Dinner is planned in advance but I just figure it out in the morning. I need to continue thinking about it though because non-thinking is what got me here in the first place and I've been assured that it won;t be this hard or intense forever. I am in week 11 and have 13 weeks of weightloss left if I continue at the current rate of dropping pounds.
Cute baby picture for no other reason than this is a cute baby.
Here are some pictures of the room we are working on.
The walls are patched and painted.
We used Ralph Lauren Suede paint.
It is quite pricey but camouflages the uneven walls in a very nice way.
This paint is not washable so I wouldn't recommend it for kids rooms or bathrooms but I love the effect.
Furniture is now being slowly moved into the room and I'm rearranging in my head. I think this is going to be a lovely little escape room for me and Lou
As for the Forest Path progress - NIL.
I followed Faina's advice and took it off the needles.
Here is one of the blocks, unblocked.
Here is the Lily block - blocked. Blech. This yarn is really stretchy but when blocked all of the elasticity disappears. This is definitley not merino. Cashmere / Angora is more likely.
Point is, I am either changing yarns or going down a million needle sizes. I think, changing yarns. Back to the drawing board.
I did finish something this week though.
This is a scarf for the hunny. Made from Louet Gems Merino fingering weight. I wove it on the 8 shaft Baby Wolf. After I got through some fits and starts in the beginning it wove up very nicely and easily.
Thank you so much for all of your input about materials for classes. It really helped and I think I probably will institute a discount for class member on the day of the classes.
Another thing I'm working on is a Sheep Breed Study series. It will be a once monthly class where we will work with 2 different breeds belonging to an individual class of fiber such as fine wools, long wools, down breeds, etc. Each class of wool would be 3 months long and you could sign up for all of the classes or only the 3 months you're interested in. It should take about a year just to get through the fleeces of the breeds I currently have in the shop.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Raving and then Ranting

Buying Freeze Alert. I was checking out Tia and she told me about Ailsa at Knitabulous. They, and possibly others are going to go 3 months without buying anything new - with a couple of exceptions. This sounds like a great idea to me. Beyond the environmental effects there could be great budgetary effects as well. I should be able to few a couple of higher payments on the sucker cards and get them down.

This all begins April 1st and runs through June 30
Here are MY rules:
Fiber (yarn, roving, etc) is included in the deal - for my own personal use. If I'm doing a shop model it's different, but the shop is buying the materials anyway.
If it can be bought from the supermarket I can have it (normal supermarkets, not the right side of Meijer or Walmart).
Basic children's clothing is ok.
A single service-type purchase (eg: haircut) is allowed.
For every 10 pounds lost (total of 32, 42 and 52) I can buy one outfit.
Second hand from thrift stores is ok but no ebay.

Yesterday, Edith left the shop.

Here she is with Tamara - her new best friend.

Here she is in front of the fireplace and also modeling some new threads.
Tamara is a semi - new spinner but as you can see the potential is great. She is also a reenactor so Edith will be a great help in that area too.
I'm very happy for the both of them. In case you are wondering, Edith is an Ashford Traditional double drive with a double treadle upgrade. This girl can spin anything from bulky all the way down to lace weight cashmere. I should know. I've been keeping her in tip top condition in preparation for the right spinner to come along. I predict this will be a long and happy relationship. Especially since Tamara also got the bulky flyer. Now there's nothing she can't do.
Now I have a couple of things to gripe about. First. I got a letter in the mail today from the State of Michigan. Some background information may be helpful. About a month ago I go a speeding ticket. I was going 41 in a 25 zone. Yup, that's me, Speed Racer. In addition, when I got my new insurance card I never put it in my car. I had the expired ones (3 of them) but nothing current.
I went to the Brighton courthouse and paid the fines and showed that I did indeed have insurance coverage. Over 200 dollars in fines thankyouverymuch.
So, to the letter. I got a letter today. I owe a driver responsibility fee to the State of Michigan for not driving with proof of insurance in the car. Yup. Guess how much it is.
What!!!!! I paid the fine. Evidently there's a newish law (2003) that the state can fine you for the same stuff you've already paid for. I'm pissed. Yes, I was speeding. Yes, I didn't have the @#$%%^&* insurance card. I paid the fine within 4 days and showed my insurance card.
This state is ridiculous. Isn't that like going to state prison for a couple of years and then going to federal prison for the same thing. Just cause the fed wants to get its punishment in too?
Anyway, what can I do? I'll pay it. I'll be damned sure I have my card with me from now on.
Funny thing is, that same day i was driving on the freeway 10 miles under the speed limit and thinking to myself how I better speed up a little so people behind me weren't getting mad.
Next is not so much a gripe as a questioning complaint.
I'm not even really sure about whether I'm doing the right thing talking about this because I know that there are a few people who come to my shop who also read this little blog. Lately though I'm feeling a little crabby.
I've been a lesson taking girl all my adult life. I love taking classes. In all of the shops I've taken classes in I have purchased the materials for said classes from the shop in which I'm learning. This goes for quilting, knitting, cross stitch, painting... While I was taking spinning classes at the very same shop i own right now I purchased spinning fibers which were used during the lessons from Betty. Now don;t get me wrong. I picked up fibers at other places. Alegan, Spinner's Flock and on traveling vacations. I just tried not to bring them into her store.
Other people don't seem to be as concerned about this.
Yes, fiber suppliers abound. Ebay, Etsy, local growers. But, I have an abundant supply and I've been doing my best to have a fantastic variety of colors, fiber types, even down to having more than 20 types of fleeces available.
And here come the students with their wheels ( not bought from me) and their wool (not bought from me) and when I advise a book or type of fiber they go off and find it from another place.
What do I do? That $15 isn't really going to help me stay in business unless I get class sizes of over 10 in a group. But then how can I give the attention to my students that they deserve? Do I raise the class prices? Do I make a policy of no outside fiber allowed?
I don't want to be immodest but I am a good teacher. The Ebay and Etsy paople aren't going to help you with your spinning technique and helping you to improve but I can only do that if I can maintain my rent, phone, insurance and all of the things that everybody loves to see when they come in.
Anybody, please help me with what to do. Maybe I should just ignore it an hope that things will change or that I'll keep those people as customers. You guys shop so what can I do?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's Been A Day

I have plenty to talk about today. First, I weighed in today and please notice that I have crossed the 20 pound threshold!!!!! Hard work. But I am about 2 sizes smaller than I was 2 months ago! Yay!

So, on to the next subject. There's been some room shifting going on in this house. It's pre 1860 house and has had a few additions and so most things don't flow in a way that you would expect. When you walk into my bedroom there is a hallway to the left and you go down that little hallway to get to the laundry room. Right off of that hallway is a tiny room that I originally used as my sewing/craft room before I found out that I was pregnant with Maggie. Then I turned it into a nursery.
While I was pregnant with Ryan we moved Maggie to the bedroom at the top of the stairs and put Ryan in there - not that either of them did any sleeping at all in their own beds before they hit 3 years old.
So now that Chelsea isn't home anymore an Brittney is in College (and I made her room into my sewing/craft room) we moved Maggie to Chelsea's old room and Ryan is in Maggie's previous room.
So the tiny room is going to be a nice little room for just Lou and me. I definitely had to get rid of the baby wallpaper. I've ordered furniture and it is on its way. My plan was to strip the wallpaper today and paint tomorrow.

Did I mention we have an old house? Why do I ever think that things will go smoothly?

The large white part of the wall is where I've stripped wallpaper. The darker part of the wall is where the outside of the wall is coming off and the plaster is crumbling.

Here's a closeup of one of the crumbly parts.

Another closeup.

So I narrowed it down to 2 choices after talking to my mother - the old house master.
I could get some plaster and plaster this large place until it is even with the rest of the wall...or...get the thinnest drywall, stop stripping and just cover the whole room with drywall and be done with it.

I discussed it with Lou when he got home from Texas this afternoon. He got a little excited over the drywall option, saying that then we could move the outlets to normal spots. Whaaaa? No, no, no, I didn't mean to take the whole room down to the lathe. Of course he thinks we should do it "right". I think it needs to be something I can handle when he's out of town next week. I just got an email that the chair I ordered is on its way so that means everything needs to move faster. Plaster it is!

Next up. Look at this kid. Isn't he cute. I was just stepping out of the shower this afternoon, in preparation for my honey coming home, and I hear Maggie yelling for me and Ryan is crying as loud as possible. I called him to me and asked what was wrong. "I have a reraser in my nose." He says through the loud crying.
I immediately searched my brain data bank for what to do in just such a situation.
"Ryan, lay down and stop crying."
So I pressed his unclogged nostril closed and blew hard into his mouth. Out flew the eraser and everything was happy again. Except he told me that wasn't fun. Ryan has promised, by the way, to never stick anything in his nose again.
Do you believe it? Me either.

Shelly Lampshire was in on Saturday for her class.
Sorry for the poor picture but here are two of my favorite pieces. Those are needle felted, people! The bear is on ebay as we speak. I think they are 16 inches tall.

Here is the class. There were 9 students and everybody was almost finished with their piece before they went home. It really was a great day and I'm trying to figure out when I can schedule her again.

And finally, Polworth.

Dirty locks and clean.

Look at that crimp. It's a pleasure to spin and I wouldn't be surprised if this particular fleece were very close in fineness to merino.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Just got back from the lace knitters group. I think I am going to rip out my forest path stole. Well, maybe not rip right away. Since I was having a little issue about extra stitches and couldn't get myself to get going on it again I took it with me to show Faina. She said that she would recommend a smaller needle size and also that I block a swatch and see how the yarn is going to work in the end. I didn't block my initial swatch and I don't have it anymore. So, that said, I may just put my blocks on holders and block them right on the border as they are and see what happens to the yarn.

It was a busy day at the shop. Weaving, spinning, knitting and shopping. One of the Schacht wheels went away. It's always a little sad for me when they leave. I've spun on them all and I feel attached to them. They all have strengths and I use them for those strengths when I need a sample. It is important for me to spin on them regularly to keep them in good working order so when someone comes in to try them out there isn 't a lot of creaking and clicking from lack of use and oil. I was getting very attached to that DT Schacht Matchless. But soon I'll be able to bring in my favorite baby - Schacht Reeves 24 inch Saxony. Named Baby.

Also on the way are Kromski Prelude and Kromski Polonaise. I've spun on the darling Prelude several times but this will be my first acquaintance with Polonaise. It has a 24 inch wheel and looks like a Norwegian style wheel to me. They should be arriving on Wednesday and then we all become very close friends as I assemble them.

How can I get attached to 15 spinning wheels you ask? I have no clue.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Almost to 20 pounds! 20 pounds is going to sound so much more substantial. It's definitely a motivator to keep going.
Today I was checking out Hesira who told me to go check out Susan. So I did. O always do what she tells me whether she knows it or not. Anyway, Susan was talking about the Dove Real Beauty campaign. I watched the little video and was quite surprised. I mean, I knew that they used touch up software to get rid of pimples and cellulite but I had no idea that they actually change the shape of someones body for advertising. It's ... appalling? rude? ridiculous? I don't have an appropriate word to describe my feelings.
Honestly, this is beauty to me. Me and my darlin'.
My face is a little thinner now but I still feel the same happiness with him as I did at Thanksgiving or the one before that, or the one before that...
The weight loss that is happening around here is for my health. Of course I feel cuter in my clothes but my current goal weight is 150. Not skinny by any means. I have a huge amount of Diabetes in my family on my mother's side and I'm very nervous about it. I was diabetic with both of the little kids pregnancies so I definitely have to get this eating under control.
In other news, I have no new pictures for you because even though I have been snapping pictures right and left - even of Maggie's birthday party - I neglected to put the memory card back into the camera a week ago.
I got the new Lace Addis in the shop. I haven't knit anything with them yet but the cables are very flexible, the joins are soooo smooth and the points are fab. In addition, I love that they have a gold color to them. So far I only have the 24 inch length because I didn't want to get all invested if I didn't like them but I'll definitely be ordering more. I also have the Naturas for those who don't prefer metal. They are also nice but the smallest they come is a US2.
I've begun work on the Handweavers Guild of America Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning. There will be evaluations this year and the next time will be in 2009. I came up with a working schedule that I think is achievable and it will take me until April of 2009 to complete all of the work. At that point, I can reevaluate the early work and redo what is necessary. I'm a little nervous about it and the rules of packaging and presentation alone can be quite overwhelming. No matter what happens this work can only make me a better spinning teacher because it will cause me to stop and break things down into parts and learn how to communicate the things I know.
Tomorrow is my needlefelting workshop with Shelly Lampshire. I am quite excited!!
Better get to bed so I can be well rested and cheerful.