New & Humble Beginnings

As a wife, a mother and a hobbiest

July 21, 2006

We have water now -
does it look like everything is going smoothly to you?

It's only week one.
((YIKES)) !!!

It will all be worth it. It will all be worth it. It will all be worth it. It will all...........

July 19, 2006

Constuction -
Yep its official, we're in constuction - the pictures speak for themselves.

We were without water for about 7 hours - the water pipe was broken at 7:45am. What a way to start your day, eh?

It will all be worth it in the end. I'm already looking forward to the end.

July 17, 2006

Felting Fun -

Saturday I took another class at my LYS, Anacapa Fine Yarns. The class was called, Introduction to Felting . The class combined with those who knit and those who crochet. We all brought in a 4"x4" swatch that we had prepared as homework before class. At the beginning of the class we all had a chance to felt our little swatches. It was amazing to watch the transformation of all the different fibers from their original sizes to its much smaller felted piece. The shrinkage in class was about 25% consistently. Which I thought would be a handy little tidbit of information; and would be very helpful when it came to designing my bag.

The class pattern was for a very small drawstring bag. I knew before taking the class I'd wanted to revise the pattern; since I wouldn't have any use for a bag that small. So I doubled the increasing rows and ended up with, what was appearing to be a nice large rounded bottom tote. With my calculated 25% shrinkage - it would be perfect. Well................ instead of felting it by hand or controlling the shrinkage by using the washing machine, I decided I'd rather be able to throw my bag in the washer whenever I wanted. I knew my shrinkage would be greater - but how much, I wasn't sure. The width ended up about 50% smaller and the height about 25% changing the shape of the bag quite a bit, but I'm very happy with the end result. The pinkish section on top was crocheted with a Q hook so there are large gaps allowing me to open the top nice and wide and see the bottom of my bag, as well as lace a felted drawstring cord through it for easy closure. I used a felted crochet rose instead of a button and the inside back of the drawstring hooks over the rose to "latch" the top closed.

I have been so hesitant to use my handspun yarn, but I decided this was the perfect opportunity to use a small amount. So the light gold is my handspun alpaca, that I just finished plying with a metallic binder. The pumpkin colored stripe is an alpaca single that I crochet together with some S. Charles Ritratto. The pattern actually calls for the S. Charles Ritratto to be combined with your yarn choice. Since that is one of the yarns I use as a binder when I ply thick alpaca singles - it was a perfect choice, and blended most excellently.


I'm very pleased with my first felted project and can't wait to do more.
Let the Summer Games Begin -

Construction Zone
So begins the 830 Sq Ft addition to the house. Although we bought our house in 1994 we didn't seem to be crammed for space until about 2 years ago. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden we don't have room to turn around. Adding on to our existing house makes much more sense then moving so............ here we go.

The new master bedroom will be part of the addition along with a new and larger master bath. We'll be turning one of my son's rooms into a theatre room and he'll move into the existing master bedroom. I'll have my
kitchen extend into a new dinning area and small livingroom and we're adding a half bath across from the theater room. Still no studio for me, until one of the kids moves out. BUT, I do get some much needed closet space to store my supplies and stash - Thank goodness!!

Since the addition will be added to the front of the house, our first step was to remove all the landscaping.

*Front planter area was completely overgrown [thinking we'd already be in the middle of construction by now] we let the gardener go over 6 months ago.

**Note - click on photo's for larger images.

It was not without incident. All the plant material came out just fine. However, Eric the laborer, probably had nightmares of spiders crawling all over him for several nights afterward. Transplanting my beloved Crape Myrtle (a Mother's Day gift in 2000, from my kids -with a little help from their "Grandpa-Nuts") wasn't quite as smooth a process as one would have hoped.

The nursery was sold out of the correct size boxes,
so my landscape guy found an old (and very rotted) one in the back lot. Well as luck would have it - - half way across the yard the box bottom broke apart and it was down hill from then on. There was no other choice a new box was needed ASAP. The tree's roots were now exposed to air and the clock was ticking.

About a half hour later they returned with a new box and wouldn't you know it .......... the exact same thing happened. These boxes just aren't made to have the trees lifted without the use of a fork-lift or something supporting the bottom.

Mike, the landscape guy, nailed some 2x4's to the bottom and sides, then, with the help of my two youngest sons they were able to carry the tree to it's new "temporary" location while construction is underway.

Now it's a waiting game, to see if it lives or dies. I was only given a 50-50 chance for survival, but I had to try to save it. There is far too much sentimental value with that tree, and I just plain love it. It brings me so much joy throughout the year.

Even though So California doesn't experience too much change in the seasons, my tree does. It changes with all the seasons and is gorgeous in each one.

The crew was out today surveying the lot and the heavy construction will begin on Wednesday. Ahhhhh ~ finally.

July 10, 2006

Nibble & Knit-
It always cracks my family up when I tell them I'm going to "Nibble & Knit". I don't know why, but they can never seem to get the name correct. It has been called; "Knit a Nibble", "Nibble-a-lot", "Snack n' Sew", "Nibble & Kibble", you name it.

Once a month I go to a quaint small town coffee house, called Stir Crazy, (I don't even want to know how many ways my family could slaughter the name of this place), where I meet up with anywhere between 6 and 14 other fiber fanatics. It is one of my simple pleasures to see and hear about the projects everyone is currently working on, or to get advice on how to resolve a problem with a project, or to share a pattern, or just mingle with people who understand and share a passion for fiber and the fiber arts.

We usually sit inside where the smell of fresh brewed coffee lingers in the air and the clinking of spoons can be heard stirring ones brew. However with the recent heat of summer, we have moved to the outdoor patio where we sit under a canopy of trees that shade us and we can even catch an occasional breeze. It is just lovely and so relaxing.

Cary, the organizer and founder of our group, passes out numbered tickets to all. One of which will be randomly drawn toward the end of the evening, enabling one lucky attendee to go home with a small gift. The gift is supposed to be provided by the previous month’s winner. It is just a lovely, lovely, relaxing, educational and fun evening.

It’s no wonder it has almost doubled in size, just in the short time since I started attending, in October, last year.

The group is diversified in their craft, some are knitters, some crochet, some are published designers and some have a small business - selling their goods to local boutiques, and several spin their own yarn.

Nibble and Knit is open to all who want to come. Beginners are not only welcomed but encouraged and nurtured. No wonder I love it so.

It is always a treat to go, and I look forward to my monthly meetings with my Nibble and Knit pals.

July 08, 2006

Summer Spinning Challenge-
I can't believe how much I've accomplished since I joined the Summer Spinning Challenge group. I wrote down my summer goals and posted them. It helps to put a time limit on the goals you want to accomplish (aka - dreams with a deadline).

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The gold yarn is alpaca. I spun the singles for this yarn in the first weeks of learning to spin. It has been sitting on the bobbins all this time, because I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
After becoming better at spinning I realize the alpaca was too thick and not quite what I wanted. After taking a class with Stephenie Gaustad, I learned about binding for just these type singles. The search was on for a thread that I wanted to use as a binder. When I finally found this metallic with gold, purple and a variety of other complimentary colors I was sure it would be perfect. I'm very pleased with the results. I guess I won't have to throw out my thick alpaca singles after all. :D

I also bought a kid mohair fleece in March; a beautiful goat with the loveliest 3 inch ringlets. I processed that fiber from the washing of the fiber to the dying, picking, carding, blending with silk, spinning and plying. I'm very pleased with the final result. I plan to make Christmas stockings from the yarn- I'm hoping my first start to finish project will be an heirloom in my family for many generations to come.

My pegs are getting filled nicely.
I guess I'm going to have to actually use some of my handspun yarn for projects. I've been enjoying them just hanging there for me to admire. I just love how they look and feel.

July 05, 2006

Good Feet, Bad Feet, Good Feet-
In hopes that this might help someone else with a similar problem ~

I can't believe the problems I've been having with my feet lately. I started walking everyday, twice a day, for 20-30 minutes each walk. It wasn't long before my toes started to go numb. I assumed it had something to do with my back problems so I ignored it.

I needed to walk in an effort to increase my metabolism in order to lose 12 lbs for my gastric bypass surgery. I need to lose a lot of weight, as it is causing new health problems and aggravating old ones. Within 9 months of my back injury in August 1996, I gained 90lbs, and haven't been able to get it off. I have tried every exercise regime; aqua aerobics, weight lifting, elliptical machine, I hired a personal trainer, etc.... I changed how and what I ate; I did Weight Watches for a year and a half, I prayed Atkins would do the trick, then The Beet Diet, after that the South Beach Diet, you name it. The most I lost was 24 pounds and I always gained it beck plus a couple extra pounds.

For 2 years my doctor kept telling me to research the bypass surgery and consider it. My research was very positive and I made the decision to move forward and prepare for it. I was sent to UCLA Medical Center for classes to become educated on the surgery and to increase my understanding of what would take place after surgery and learn how to help myself succeed afterward. I was following the recommendations and jumping through all the hoops required by the insurance company. It was the walking that seemed to be doing the trick to get the 12 lbs of weight I needed to get off before surgery. I had one more pound to go to, then WHAM-O!! My feet couldn't take one more walk. Not only were my toes numb, but every step was excruciatingly painful. Even after being in bed all night I'd get up in the morning and as soon as my feet hit the floor.......PAIN, and a lot of it. It was difficult just to walk to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.

This went on and on, long after I had stopped the walks. I have now gained the 11 pounds I lost back, plus about 6 extra.

I bought every kind of shoe I could think of to try to get relief. I tried..............Trendy shoes,

athletic shoes,

cushion insoles for my already comfy UGG slipper shoes,

spongy thong shoes,

microwavable bean bag bootie shoes (for around the house and in bed). I had tried everything – I thought.

Then my sister asked me if I had ever heard of Good Feet Store.

Two days later….. I have arch support inserts,which I can wear in my sandals, slippers, athletic, dress shoes, you name it. They are wafer-thin and AMAZING!!

When I was trying on the different varieties at the store they felt much like I was walking on a golf ball. It was annoying after a half hour or so. But I needed to break into them slowly (which is highly recommended).

My feet went from this;

Christmas 2005

To this; July 2, 2006.

They are finally back to normal as of yesterday, July 4th. Woo-hoo!!

It took some getting used to, but I really did have immediate relief. My feet are back to normal size and shape and I won’t go anywhere without my Good Feet insoles from now on.

July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July~

  • Fireworks show

  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

    July 02, 2006

    Dylan's Birthday & it was a Dog Day Afternoon-
    It was a rather uneventful day as far as birthday celebrations go. Dylan opted to have his birthday dinner at the Crab House for their "all-you-can-eat" shrimp. Chuck took the boys last Thursday, while I was out spinning. Dylan opened his presents late, the night before his birthday (because Chuck and I are light-weights). All he could think to ask for, for his birthday this year was for me to forgive his loan on the Archos Gmini he bought about 3 months ago. He had already saved $75 toward paying it off (which is slightly more than half the cost on ebay).
    I had already purchased the DVD's of the Simpson's seasons six and seven

    for my avid little Simpson's fan, so I forgave half his loan, which means it is now paid off.

    The biggest surprise this year was his #1 requested birthday present
    .........a book - yes, that's what I said, "book ". I'm not a bettin' woman, but I'd have bet, I'd NEVER see the day my son asked for a book as his main birthday gift (that's why I'm not a bettin' woman, I ALWAYS loose) anyway...... the book's name is, The Alphabet of Manliness, by Maddox.
    I wasn't too sure it was a book I was thrilled about him having, but after reading a few small sections I determined it was harmless "humor" and I use the word humor cautiously. He was thrilled and it was the highlight of his evening. I really can't complain too much about a book that gets him to read during the summer. At the end of the day he told me it was a great birthday, so I guess we didn't do too badly.

    Although I wonder if the little dogs we had over the house had something to do with him having as much fun as he had on this day.

    My neighbor, Sheryl, had to leave town, so I am dog sitting for about 4 days. With my 3 dogs and her 2; I have had 5 - count them 5 - dogs in my house this weekend. What a blast!! Seriously, I love it! My husband - not so thrilled. Although a dog lover - not so much with the small dogs.

    Sheryl has two of the most adorable Shih Tzu's, named, Bella and Rosie.
    Rosie's little face could just melt your heart.

    Bella is like the Chuck Norris of dogs. Nothing and I mean NOTHING is going to get in that dog's way. They are hysterical.

    My husband and I have completely different feelings for dogs smaller than a German Sheppard or Lab. I love lap dogs (not fond of their yippy-yip bark), but I'm flexable if they'll be sweet and cuddly. I could sit and crochet with the little darling sitting right there in my lap. Rosie likes to climb to the back of the chair I'm sitting in and lay just behind my head. She is so adorable. Bella cracks me up;
    I think her tongue is too long for her mouth. You never see her without her tongue sticking out.

    Sheryl can travel anytime she wants – I’m happy to get my fill of these little darlings. :D