Archive for December, 2007

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Health Group- Year 4, week 25

I got on the treadmill this week and intended to do it several times… then Nate decided to paint his office and piled boxes of displaced office stuff on it. I’m not sure when I’ll have access again.

My health efforts are spluttering, but I’m still trying. I wanted to get a decent head start on the New Year so I wouldn’t feel like a complete loser, but loser or not, I’ll be working out in January, along with the majority of humanity.

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Working my butt off

If only it really worked that way.

So yesterday, we pretty much left the kids to their own devices and worked on the basement. Nate moved furniture around and painted in his office, I cleaned, purged, and organized my craft kitchen. I’m not done yet, but I’ve made significant progress.

From this

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to this

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and from this

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to this.

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It makes me so happy! I painted the cabinets and installed new locks to keep the little monkeys out of my dye solutions when I eventually have some. The small bookshelf in the bottom left of the last picture is going, I need to affix the cabinet panel in front of the sink, there are a few remaining things to box up or redistribute to other parts of the house, and I’m going to get more of the white shelving…. but it’s very close, and it looks great.

Depending on how you look at it, an unfortunate thing happened a day or so ago (I can’t remember exactly). Nate got an email from the art gallery we buy from saying that Greenwich Workshop is releasing a new set of Cassandra Barneys. (I was hoping for one or two for Christmas, which didn’t end up happening, but I got a lovely camera. [The black one]).

I’d seen these pieces as originals on her website and loved them, Minerva (blue) in particular, and had no idea they’d become available as limited editions.

I could die. What are they thinking, releasing something like this right after Christmas, when all the money’s been spent?

Grrrr.

And now I have this big, open wall in my own, private room I’ve just cleaned which can be seen from the family room… and I want them.

Cassandra’s art fills me to overflowing with the desire to dwell on the beautiful, and the inspiration to create it. They could totally be perfect down there, if they don’t settle in my bedroom first.

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

The wrap-up

Christmas was great, and I have a lot of pictures.

On Christmas Eve morning, we took the kids and my brother to breakfast.

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I’ve discovered that the way to keep a toddler happy in a restaurant is to give him his own drink right off.

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When that wears off, letting him walk around and flirt with other patrons works, too, but isn’t as polite.

Next, we headed off to the bookstore to see Santa.

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On his own, Clark walked right up to Santa and talked most cordially, but when I set him on his lap, well, he didn’t like that very much. I don’t think he was scared, so much as mad.

Later that night, the girls did their annual wrapping of cousin gifts,

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which I don’t particularly like to save ’til the last minute, but this year, it was the best we could do. I was so desperate for time, I had them wrap most of the uncle gifts as well.

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Then we hauled off to the in-laws for the annual nativity reading/enactment and an all around good time.

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Lastly that evening, the annual “picture-in-front-of-the-tree-in-new-pajamas”.

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I don’t have a toddler trick for this one.

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I let the two hams pose for more.

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Christmas morning was, well, Christmas morning. The novelty this year was that we managed to sleep in ’til after 8.

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I couldn’t get Clark to unwrap a gift to save my life this year. He did much better last year as a baby.

So my big knitting project for Christmas…. wasn’t that big at all. I knit three little necklace pouches for the girls MP3 players out of Koigu.

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So, with all of that out of the way, I’ve resumed knitting on my handspun, basketweave cable scarf which my brother really wants. I’m feeling horribly guilty for not being willing to give it to him. To ease my conscience, I’ve begun a similar scarf for him with some Donegal Tweed from the stash, but it’s not remotely the same.

As for the sheep… I didn’t end up making any for me, so I still have more sheep to make in the future, and I’ll tell you all generally how to do it, since a number of you have begged and pleaded :-) .

Today, I intend to clean and organize my downstairs kitchen/craft area while Nate paints his office. The girls are all plugged into their music/movies on the ipods, so it’s relatively peaceful around here, despite the house being completely trashed.

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Fun, fun, fun

Friday night we had our annual gingerbread house building night with my internet shy friend and her family.

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(The internet shyness of said friend is seriously reducing the number of “usable” photographs I have of the event).

This is our 4th or 5th year of house building. I bake the gingerbread and make the icing, they bring sinful amounts of candy. This year, my mom happened to come into town the day of the event.

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She and my brother got a house of their own to build and bicker over. Amazingly, they were both still standing and smiling at the end of the night.

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The husband half of our internet shy friend always outshines us, year after year. I’ve learned to bake him a sheet of gingerbread along with his house pieces, as he likes to add things to his house like dormers, chimneys, outbuildings…. and just like every other year, he showed us up.

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I assembled a house and then handed it over to the girls to decorate.

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Clark was there, happy to wander around to various members of the group and bum candy.

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Now, we’re eating them, and they’re good.

So, the countdown is on ’til Christmas, and we’re finding various ways to pass the time, frequently involving lightsabers.

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This morning, we’re planning to go to breakfast and find a Santa to take pictures with.

Enjoy your Christmas Eve, and very best wishes to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Sheep!!!

I’m totally bugged. Although we started the little sheep with plenty of time to go, it still came down to the last second, getting them finished for the girls’ teacher gifts at school. I finished them up last night, tied hanging strings on them and packaged them this morning before the girls left, and it is SO DARK here with the heavy clouds right now, I couldn’t get decent light for a good picture. So, you’ll have to settle for these ’til I finish more.

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and their cute little backsides…

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These are so stinking cute. I didn’t have enough time to really work out the shape and position of the ears and tail. I’ll be messing with that some more on the subsequent flock and welcome any opinions/suggestions. My favorite part of these little guys are the cloven hooves. They crack me up.

Hey mom, I keep meaning to ask you… did you make this up yourself? or was it a pattern back in the day?

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Monday, December 17th, 2007

“Christmastime is here…

…happiness and cheer.
If only we
could only see
such spirit through the year.”

I’m heading out with the boy soon to go Christmas shopping with my Mother-in-law. It should be a good time, but Clark is a little under the weather, and he’s going to miss his nap, so I’m a little worried.

Over the weekend, I finished up a small skein of 3-ply attempted sock weight yarn with my red batts.

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I’m amazed it’s still red. A ton of color came off on my fingers while I spun it, and when I washed it, the water was completely red, and the rinse was completely red, and I kept rinsing it ’til it came clean. And the yarn is still red!

It’s not as soft as I was hoping for. The batts are incredibly soft, but the corriedale roving was pretty felted, and the yarn has that same, stick-to-itself quality that the roving had before carding. I bought the roving a year ago and at the time, I didn’t know what to look for. I know better now, but it’s still not a waste. The colors are lovely, and I’m confident I’ll be able to do good things with it.

So, I was originally thinking socks, but I only have 200 yards from three batts. I could spin some more 3 ply for regular socks, or I could make ankle socks (which I do need for some of my shoes), or I was thinking about making a lacy cap with it like Hayden’s. Hers is yummy, and I want it.

What to do, what to do… and there’s the rest of it, still. I have a total of 2 pounds of the roving and silk to card and spin in red, lime green and teal. A few pairs of socks and a scarf? Something like that. It was only after I spun the 3 ply that I looked at my Koigu and realized it’s only 2 ply.

Abby was sick-ish this weekend, so she stayed home from various activities and played on my spinning wheel.

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She didn’t like the romney roving I let them use over the summer, so I gave her some Merino top and made sure she knew it would be more difficult. She’s doing really well.

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There are so many other things I’d like to talk about, but they’re Christmas gift related, and I can’t.

Off to shop.

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Health Group- Year 4, week 24

Good morning! This week was the opposite of last week. I did my exercise, and ate an entire sweet shop’s worth of cookies. But I’m trying.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

More Christmas concerts

Last night, we went to the school for the 1st grade holiday concert

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and the 3rd grade holiday concert.

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The 3rd graders sang “Children Go Where I Send Thee”. I’d never heard the song before, and I have to say that it completely ROCKED! We were so impressed, that we came home and spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a good version to download off iTunes. Nate bought the Natalie Merchant version, and I bought the Peter, Paul, and Mary version. While mine was better than Nate’s, :-) , neither of them could touch the performance we’d just heard in the cafeteria. The music teacher had changed some words around, and added a “HALLELUJAH!”, after #7. It was magnificent, and I’m totally bugged that I’ll never hear it again for the rest of my long life.

Seriously, I’m thinking about sending out feelers to see if any parent in the school happens to have a portable recording studio that they’d be willing to haul to the school, and have the 3rd graders sing it again and record it, just for me.

A collage of pictures that don’t relate to each other follow. First, our now decorated tree…

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Clark’s favorite activity that has me tripping and grumpy in the kitchen…

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my anniversary roses that have opened and are even more lovely…

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and finally, the horrific scene that I found behind my sewing machine on the dining table this morning, remeniscent of, but still not as cool as the gingerbread incident of 2005…

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but with sheep! (I am sacrificing humor here, and attempting to phrase things delicately in light of the truly sad occurrences of violence in the news recently, in which there is nothing funny, whatsoever).

This week is insanely busy, and then next week, the kids are out of school for the year! I made the fool’s promise that the older two could paint their bedroom over Christmas break back when I was painting the basement months ago…

I’m going to have to bribe them to get out of it, because I’m not remotely up for it.

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Happy 14 years!!!

Today is Nate’s and my 14 year wedding anniversary. I’m so excited to see the years tick by and add up. It’s very rewarding. I wanted to post a wedding picture, but I don’t have easy access to a scanner anymore, and we weren’t taking digital pictures 14 years ago.

in my day, we didn’t have no fancy-schmancy di-gi-tal cameras

So you get a pretty picture of the roses Nate brought me this morning instead.

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I love you, babe. More than I can even say.

I’ve been playing with my anniversary present and making batts. I finished the red portion of the roving I’ve been blending,

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(that’s most of them) and I’ve started on the green.

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The picture doesn’t accurately capture the color at all. It’s a bright, lime-type green, and it’s gorgeous. The third color is teal, and the three look fantastic together. I didn’t have enough teal silk to get a matched blend, so I had to divide up the green silk between the green and teal wool, and add some yellow silk to the green wool to maintain a 25% silk to wool ratio. It’s very, very pretty, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I still only had to card the fibers three times to get a very well blended batt.

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I’ve spun one red batt so far, and it’s nice. There are only a few little nups, and I think that’s because the dyed roving is a bit felted. Nate is fascinated by the carder, and plays with it a lot. It cracks me up. He says he doesn’t want to card fiber though, he just turns the drum and pokes around in the needles.

On Saturday, Abby sang with the 5th and 6th graders in a holiday concert.

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I couldn’t get a decent picture to save my life, but I tried.

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Abby’s in the middle, wearing glasses and a purple Hayden Hat. It was literally freezing outside, and I took great satisfaction in bundling everyone up in hats, scarves, gloves, legwarmers, and sweaters, most of which I’d knit myself. We were all plenty warm.

Nate and I are dropping off the boy this afternoon and going to lunch. I can’t wait.

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Health Group- Year 4, week 23

I did pretty good this week, though I didn’t do my weights and core strengthening like I’d hoped. But I ate well. Lots of vegetables. Lots of water. Minimal sugar.

My skin is better already.

How was your week?