Tuesday, April 29, 2008


EZ Baby Surpise Jacket

Sugar n Cream

Size 7 needles


I went camping last weekend with my church at Mineral Wells State Park.

It's a beautiful park and M had SO much fun. It's funny the things you do to give your kids new experiences. I've not camped out and really roughed it since I was a kid - and even then, we didn't really rough it. My folks had a number of motor homes while growing up. So roughing it just isn't something we did a whole lot of.

We had initially got a primitive shelter, but the cost of the shelter for two nights was the same as the cost for a new tent from Costco. So, we bought a tent. We didn't buy air mattresses, and I wish we had. The first night was awful - J & I didn't get any sleep at all. M slept hard. Good thing that Mineral Wells was close in town. We ran over to Walmart and bought two twin air mattresses so we could at least make it through the night.

As luck would have it, we caught wind of the possibility of rain. Well, I'm not going to break down a tent in mud, so after discussing it with J, we chickened out and broke down our campsite just before dinner. M was terribly disappointed, but she understood. Anyway, she had a big day. Started with hiking, then swimming, then fishing, and finally canoeing. She also made a candle (dig a hole, pour in wax and put in a wick). She was filthy when the day was done. Head to toe.

While eating dinner around the fire (yummy fajitas), someone had turned on a weather radio and we listened to the Mineral Wells weather. 100% rain - which was fine. Most folks were going to brave the rain. When it announced temperatures in the upper 40's with winds 10 t0 15 mph. . . well, that sealed the deal. The camping was essentially called off - we were the first ones out since we were already packed up.

Next trip is in October.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Future Chicken Coop

I took some photo's of the green house so I can dream a little.

View looking towards the house. The gray looking trees will need to be removed as they're dead.

Here's the entrance into the green house. We'll keep it as is. The glass that you see the most of will be replaced with chicken wire.

Here's the inside.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Our neighbors gave us a HUGE rope a couple of years ago and we just never did get around to hanging it up. M is getting literally out growing another swing we did put up. The same neighbors who donated the rope were gracious enough to come over and help J hang it.

M is thrilled and the kids had a great time swinging on it all afternoon. Looks like fun, hmm?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Libraries once again

For some insane reason, I stopped going to my local libraries. I know the reason why: we got caught up with Paperback Swap. I love the book swap site and J is really great about tracking down books. But it DOES cost money - you ship the book on your dime.

I was over at my local library and struck up a conversation with one of the librarians. He mentioned that our library no longer charges for inter library loans - you would have to pay shipping, which is exactly what we're doing with book swap, but we get to own the book. But then I mentioned that I didn't want to use the service because I'd feel guilty about making the library spend money on me - money they could use to enhance their collection. The librarian said to NOT feel that way. They have a certain amount of money budgeted just for inter-library loans and they were able to get the budget money because the library has SUCH a small foot print - this way we'd be able to get anything we want and the library wouldn't have to house the book.

Well, that's a win-win in my book. I think the other half of the equation is that it allows the librarian to show that they need more space. I know the city is kicking the idea around regarding building a larger library. I'd rather have a larger library than a $28 million jail.

So, I'm off to start filling out my wish list. Ravelry has this really dangerous link at the bottom of most pages that have books: Find this at your local library - It's linked to WorldCat.org. Check it out. It's just about the coolest thing ever!

Oh, and if you are a knitter and live in Plano, you HAVE to go to your local library. It seems like they have all the latest stuff. Must have a knitter on staff! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Got an idea

My neighbor raises satin angora rabbits - they're the cutest things and SO soft.

She used to have a chicken coop when she lived in Virginia and had been kicking the idea around to start up another one here.

I've always wanted to try to raise some type of farm animal. Don't know why, just have. Still do.

So, the other day I had C & R come over to look over an old shed that's sitting unused to see if it'd be viable. They looked over at the unused greenhouse and said with some modifications, it'd be better.

We have a lot of work to do to get the greenhouse ready, but I'm shooting for getting a shipment of 25 chicks from McMurray Hatchery by fall.

I've also been experimenting with making homemade bread. Still haven't found a good recipe on making that really great store bought type of fluffy bread, but I'm making premium breads for about a $1.50 a loaf (compared to $6 to $10 at a bakery). A great recipe can be found at Welcome To My Brain blog - Whole wheat bread for complete morons.

I also broke out my old pasta machine and made some fettuccine wheat noodles. I got the noodles ready to the point where all M had to do was crank the handle and out came the noodles. That was about enough noodle making a six year old could handle. The noodles were FAB by the way. I'll try to post the recipe later.

Why the interest in doing stuff from scratch and cheaper than you can buy at the grocery? Well, my inner chicken little is just squawking away. I know things aren't terrible right this minute, but I just feel like the economy's long term outlook isn't good. We're trying to save money as much as we can now. Just this week I've talked to three former co-workers who have recently been laid off. They have great experience and can't get a job.

[rant on]

Which brings me to McCain's stupid idea of repealing the gas tax over the summer. On the face of it, I initially thought, what a great idea! Yeah, that would work! BUT hold on, the whole reason why we have a gas tax is to pay for infrastructure. You know, that stuff we need to keep in repair if we want to keep on using it? I remember in the recent past hearing of a bridge falling down and the elected officials jumped up and down and said we need to fix our infrastructure. Well, the gas tax is how we finance it.

But then again, we could just stop the war and use the money that we're spending in a week to fix our infrastructure problem, but you know, we gotta make Bush's cronies richer and kill more Iraqi's and American soldiers for - insert this week's reason why we're in Iraq here.

[rant off]

Seriously. I'm worried.

2008 Book list

Trying to see if I can read 50 books in a year.

  1. Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler
  2. Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Prest
  3. The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin
  4. March Violets by Philip Kerr
  5. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin
  6. Patternmaster by Octavia Butler
  7. To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
  8. Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
  9. Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
  10. The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry
  11. The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip Jose Farmer
  12. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  13. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
  14. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  15. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
  16. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
  17. Field of Dishonor by David Weber
  18. Flag in Exile by David Weber
  19. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  20. Ghost Dancer by John Case
  21. Murder Artist by John Case
  22. Kushiel's Mercy by Jacquiline Carey
  23. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sara Vowell
  24. Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock
  25. Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile (read half)
  26. What Happened by Scott McClellan (read half)
  27. Honor Among Enemies by David Weber
  28. The Wordy Shipmates by Sara Vowell
  29. In Enemy Hands by David Weber
  30. Echoes of Honor by David Weber
  31. Ashes of Victory by David Weber

(I'm not going to make it this year - Will do it next year!)

It's been quiet

I've been quiet on the blogging front mainly because I've been so busy. I had a project that just wouldn't die - who is currently lying quietly in the corner with my PE stamp on it just waiting to be built! Yay me!

So my creative side hasn't really been fed as of late. Plus I'm on a yarn diet right now (stupid economy).

I took apart an old wool project that was sitting around never to be finished and am now knitting it into a Lucy bag. I've got the main bag part done, now all there is to do are the handles - and of course I've run out of the wool. So I have to dig through the stash to see what will match that's felt-able.

I've also been working on an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. I had made a spreadsheet for my mom a while back. Well, it had errors and I found it was a little confusing as well so I added the even row counts - which serves as a great way to check yourself. I think I don't like knitting this bugger - mainly because you end up counting and counting and counting. It can get a little frustrating. I'm using ordinary Sugar 'n Cream for this. Yes, it's stash yarn.

On the CSM front. I've been really struggling to get my ribbing mojo back. I think some knob or setting was disturbed and I just can't get the thing to work. So I went ahead and did some hung hem socks just so I can get that great knit gratification.

Every Saturday I go to WW, then to Starbucks, and then to Curves. It's great fun because I do it with a good friend. Occasionally MA and I will knit stuff for folks - one of the Barista's had a baby, etc. One of the Barista's is always interested in our knitting and keeps up with us personally. So MA bought a ball of yarn at the Fiber Fest ($9.50 for a pair - it's a steal if you ask me) and I knitted up a size 9 woman's sock:

Yarn: Schoeler + Stahl Foritissima Colori Disco Socka Color
Size: Women's 9
30 row hung hem
40 row leg
63 row foot

I cheated on my yarn diet, but it was a budgeted cheat. I had $20 to spend at the Fiber Fest and I stayed within my budget. I couldn't pass up $9.50 for a pair of socks So here's my socks (which I'm wearing as I write this up - how's that for knit gratification!)

Yarn: Schoeler + Stahl Foritissima Colori Disco Socka Color
Size: Women's 10.5
15 row
15 row hung hem
75 row leg
67 row foot

(FWIW, 75 rows is too long for a sock. I should have made the leg shorter)

Then there are the socks that I committed to do for my mom. She bought a BUNCH of Knit Picks Pallet a while back and the deal was that she'd buy four balls in each color - she'd get a pair and I can have the other to gift/use whatever. I felt kind of bad the other day as I realized that I hadn't knitted sock one for her, so I dug everything out and made a bag of yarn for just mom's socks. I also wanted to incorporate the woolly nylon thread in her socks as Palette is 100% wool and will wear fairly quickly. Here are two that are just for her:

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette Clematis Heather & Woolly Nylon (purple)
Size: Women's 8
30 row hung hem
56 row leg
56 row foot

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette Purple & Woolly Nylon (purple)
Size: Women's 8
20 row hung hem
45 row leg
56 row foot

I think that in the future I'm going to just match the rows of the leg to the rows knitted for the foot. Seems to be a good ratio.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another Nice Thing Happened

A couple of months ago I went to a local high school to talk about being a civil engineer. I don't have a teenager (yet) and totally forgot how sullen they can be. I felt like I was talking to a wall of uninterested boys.

Guess you never know when they're paying attention. I just got a letter from the teacher who's room I was speaking in with another letter attached. It was from a kid who decided that he was going to try to become a civil engineer.

This school is where the local school district parks all their problem kids. My friend who asked for my help in the first place, says there are occasional police arrests in the halls. It's a tough school.

I just am stunned and terribly flattered. I'd like to see if I can help find him a job with a city as an intern. I have my fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nice thing happened today

I was dropping my daughter off at school and was pulled into one of the teachers rooms. I had stopped in a while ago to ask her if she liked blues and purples. The idea being that I could use some Plymouth Outback wool for a Lucy bag for her. It was a bit of a mess when I had asked because she was being observed by a consultant and was really distracted when I asked. She even was sweet to email me later to explain why she was so short with me. In her email, she mentioned that she uses the dishcloth my mom made her and gave to her last year.

This morning she showed me the dishcloth - it was so well used.

I think that can be the best compliment anyone who makes handmade items can get. It was used but was still going strong.

So, now the teacher isn't going to get the Lucy bag (which I will now re-gift to myself as I LOVE the way it's looking). I've decided to knit her a number of pretty matching yellow dishcloths. This time, however, I'll try to set the color by giving it a vinegar bath prior to gifting them.