Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Woolbearers Yarn Trip

Yesterday, I took a drive to one of the nicest yarns stores in New Jersey! I LOVE Woolbearer's. It is a nice size store not jam packed so no feelings of claustraphobia or dustitis and long forgotten shelves of garbagio! I think they have just about everything you need in yarn there. AND Myra who was there is so helpful and know the inventory AND actually listens to what you want instead of pushing the flavor of the month yarn on you or the most expensive stuff she can triple strand!

I didn't get much, just a few skeins of Boku as a replacement for the Silk Garden Noro a swap partner wanted, size 10 1/2 double pointed needles (yet another pair is missing) and a few great buttons for my Noro Vest AND the Wallaby Pattern which was a return to nostalgia for me. I just recently found Caroline's first passport. She is so cute in the picture and wearing a Wallaby I made for her!

My friend, Kaye bought yarn for three projects, I don't think Kaye needs to yarn shop for a year. She is so disiplined that she is actually waiting for finish her WIP BEFORE casting on one new thing! If I'm not driving I've been known to cast on in the car on the way home!!!

We also went to a tiny quilting shop in a quaint old barn or garage. I got the perfect material for a baby quit I need to make and picked up a Christmas throw quilt kit. Now here is my ethical quandry. When I went to use my debit card to pay I was missing it so I was concentrating on searching for my card was not paying any attention to the women who was ringing up my order. I had to pay by check. Now the last time I was there I wound up paying for patterns which were mixed up in a basket of free patterns. (My card was resting safely at Woolbearers) So when I got home I looked at my receipt and realized that the women checked me out incorrectly. The Christmas kit was marked $59.95 but the pattern for the kit was in the front and still marked $7.00 so I was charged 40% of $7 not 40% almost $60. If I had spotted it in the store I would have corrected it. Now I don't know what to do. Part of me just wants to say well these things happen, I was over chaged in a different Quilt shop recently and did not get it corrected. When I asked my Knitting Group the concensus was to leave it alone because if I called the store I might get the women checking out in trouble. Any ideas?

Friday, December 26, 2008


SO,Christmas has come and gone!!!! It's hard to believe. We had a very nice low key holiday around here. We celebrated Christmas Eve at my house. We had good food, good company and every one loved their gifts. Christmas was very relaxed. Steven got up early and went surfing, Caroline slept in and I just rested and enjoyed the quiet and peace of the house. We skipped the usual big Christmas brunch and then just went to my sister's house for dinner. I gave no handmade gifts this year, well not made by me--- I did purchase beautiful shawls made by Russian women for my grandmother and mother. Caroline got handmade open finger tip gloves from Whole Foods. They have a great little spot where they sell handmade gifts that benefit crafters usually in underdeveloped places.

Christmas Eve after dinner Steven and Caroline used the upstairs sitting room for the first time. They listened to music and played games and hung out. We just need to do the floor and a second coat of paint and the moldings and the sitting room will be done. I went to Lowes and got the rest of the flooring today. It will be really nice to have to finished up there!

The only handmade stuff I did this year was baking. I made scones, muffins, coffee cakes and tea breads and wrapped them nicely and set up reusable shopping bags stuffed with the baked goodies, Starbucks coffee, teas and a few nice cups. Breakfast to go for my Christmas Eve guests, my sisters and mother and Katie's mom.

Tonight I am going to put on my new Christmas robe and nightgown and finish knitting an alpaca scarf I started last year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So who is ready?

I've been home since Wed. I sleep, knit and get up to do a little then sleep again! Caroline has been working or out so Katie has been a huge help.
The shopping is done, the food for Christmas Eve bought and the house clean and decorated. All I have to do is survive two days at work and cook.

The only way I'm as far as I am is because I'm not doing 1/10 th of what I used to do. Not one person but me even seems to notice. No holiday knitting, way fewer gifts or even gift cards then in the past. Less decorating and less obcessing over over every single thing!

I'm working on finishing up my projects on my Ravelry list so I've been working on the MIstaken Rib Scarf and then next I'll work on finishing my circular jacket and then I'll decide about the Lady Feb sweater and the trial knitting sweater from the "famous" designer who asked us to try it out then just left us all high and dry with HER mistakes, corrected them and now will sell us the pattern!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back Home Again

It has been forever since I posted. I've been busy, then sick then busy then sick again! Right after Thanksgiving I had a sinus infection which made me want to turn my head in for a new one. Then back to work and lots of catch up but I've been knitting at night. I'm working on a sweater with a border design of roses and leaves then a lice pattern. So far I'm knitting a tube and I'll steek it for arm openings etc. I'm using some black merino cashmire I got at Sitches with the rainbow Kauni for the design. So far I LOVE it.

Last Sat. I was admitted to the hospital with a similiar ischemic colitis as last year. Since I was only sick not crazy I went to the emergency room with about six months of knitting in my tote bag, (forgot to bring clean panties) and I just got out yesterday. I did get lots of knitting done and I'll be out of work until Monday so although my Christmas prep is so far off I can't even begin to figure it out I have been knitting up a storm.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 26

My deserts are finishing baking in the oven, nothing too special this year -- just an apple pear, cranberry crumble, a tray of brownie cookie bars and the pumpkin pie ready in it's box. Today Caroline and I are going to my family dinner at my sister's house. Steven is working at Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Friday, I'll cook at my house.

I heard an interesting segments on NPR this morning. It seems that gratitude actually improves your health not just your outlook! I have lots to give thanks for this year. My children are doing well, everyone in my family is healthy and employed. I have many friends and both work and hobbies I enjoy! What more can I want! Well maybe a little less weight and some more money would be nice but on the whole I am very fortunate and blessed in my life.

So now I'll spend the rest of the morning working on my new sweater, listening to the radio and watching the parade! Have a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

working too much

Last week end at Stitches was great. We ate, knitted, went to classes, visited, shopped and in general were dazzled by wool fumes. I learned how to make Lapland Handgarments--- A fancy way of saying mittens from near the Arctic Circle. It was a very interesting folk art technique. I also learned how to knit backwards.(finally)

This week at work was very stressful. I was ready to retire and just live in my car! This weekend I'm going with my sisters to visit my uncle who is sick. Although the reason for the trip is sad it will be nice being with my sisters. I AM going to finish the everlasting gansey.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Just Another Lazy Sunday

It's hard to believe that November is here already and Thanksgiving less then 4 weeks away. Work is very busy. I have been going to so trainings and meetings that I never have time to do what I actually consider my job and next week is going to be worse! One of my uncles passed away. It is so hard to see that whole generation of my family just fading away. So Monday I am taking the day to go to his funeral. Tuesday is Election Day so the teachers work but no kids are in school. This is a big PD day for me. Then Wed and Thursday are normal days and I'm taking Friday as a personal day to go to Stitches. I was supposed to go to yet another training on Monday but I've rescheduled which is good as now maybe I can practice a little of what I have learned! I think that looking at data is important but right now NYC is going overboard with tracking and measuring. It's like the Emperor's New Clothing except many people are speaking up, they are just being ignored.

I've made friends with the endless gansey again. I had FAR TOO MANY stitches in the sleeve. I don't know why sometimes I follow directions even when they seem wrong and other times knit sweaters without directions! I've gotten the design done and a few inches and it does seem normal.

I went to a party last night and had a nice time, but with the clock changing got up very early this morning went shopping, did laundry etc but now all I want to do is take a nap, watch TV and maybe quilt or knit and so I think that today I will just do what I want!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm not talking to the gansey

Well, I really should be angry with myself not the sweater. I picked up the RIGHT amount of stitches for the sleeve. I knew it looked big but somehow I convinced my self that something was going to change so I kept on knitting until it looked like I was knitting another sweater out of the arm hole. What is this power of denial while knitting. I put a gazillion stitches and a zigzag pattern into something that was wrong from the first stitch!!!! SO it ALL needs to be RIPPEd out. I went to a meeting during my work day and my friend forgot to bring my knitting bag from school so it is resting in a cold dark school. I just hope it feels bad. I'll measure and frog probably on Friday. On Thursday after school I am supposed to go look at new floors for my almost finished upstairs bedroom.

By Friday maybe I can look at that miserable sleeve!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A carless weekend

For a little over a year I owned two old junky cars which ran OK. Then one pooped out and I let it rest for a while before I donated it to a local kid to take apart and hopefully turn into a local -go-to-school-car. Well as soon as that happened my other junky car started having troubles. I suspect they were communicating and plotting against me!

I'll hopefully get the car back on Monday, even more hopefully without a huge bill! So this weekend I'm without a car. Friday, I took the commuter bus and subway to where I was going to a workshop. I have finally completed my certification from Schools Attuned. I really wish I could tune up my car in addition to kids!

Yesterday, my friend Laurie picked me up and I went to her house to hang out and knit until my car was ready. Kathy, another knitting friend was there also and we had a very relaxing day. I worked on the seeks for my gansey and now the body and yolk are done and I'm up to the sleeves. I tried it on and the sweater is beautiful, I just wish there was a little less of me in it!

Today we are having a birthday party for my grandmother who turned 97 on the 14th of October. She has been calling herself 97 for so long that I thought she was turning 98. She asked for gift certificates to eat out! Thats what she is getting and a bag of her favorite candies, Butterfingers. She especially likes the small ones put out at Holloween.

I don't know what it is about not having MY car in the driveway that makes me feel trapped. I have Katie's car to use if I need and usually I plot to find a time to stay in and just do inside stuff but today and yesterday, I just kept thinking about getting out but I didn't want to use Katie's car and I really didn't want to go anywhere!

Monday, October 13, 2008

October 12th

Where has this extra long weekend gone? Sat. turned out to be a very nice day. I did a workshop for a group I work with and my topic was revitalization. We had a very nice group and we worked on aspects of how to take care of our own energy. We did a few activities that worked out well. Made dream pillows, almond scrub and bath soaks. Everyone enjoyed it except one man who it seems to me has made a decision never to enjoy anything.

When I got home my friend's husband was working on the bathroom leak which was fixed without the maximum trouble. I still need a new ceiling and so far all they did to the car was reset the engine light . So I'll still have to see on that one. But I did get to spend the weekend with old friends and ALL my ironing is done.

I've been feeling overwhelmed by worry about finances and the political situation and I've made a decision that I'm going to limit my watching on CNN and news shows. I feel that they are just fanning these anxious feeling in me without really doing any thing positive. Right after 911 I did the same thing. So I'll watch the debate on Wed but I will not watch the endless picking apart of it!

I'm just about at the neckline of the gansey but I made a mistake in the pattern and had to redo three rows. My daughter got me hooked on Trueblood a vampire series on HBO. I never thought it would have interested me, parts of it really don't but somehow I messed up the THIRD repeat of the yolk pattern while I was watching it.
I hope to start the neckline decreases and shoulder part tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What a Day!!!!!!

I did not feel well this morning so I stayed home. I should have escaped from this house when I had the chance! After I was feeling a bit better, I took a shower and used the bathroom sink then I went down to the laundry room to find all the water I had used draining down the ceiling!

Then I got in my car to do an errand and the check engine light came on less then a week after I had the car inspected and worked on.

So my husband's friend came over to work on the leak and we found that it was destroying the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom and that the leak is in the wall. So now I need to replace the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, possibly open a wall in the upstairs kitchen SO I WOULD LIKE TO SCREAM!!!!!

I'm just waiting for the news about the car.

So as I see my Stitches money drainning away I think I'll do upstairs and knit! I'm nearing the neckline of my neverending gansey!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Interesting Weekend

Not too much knitting this weekend but a good one anyway. Friday I stayed at work for the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at my school. We all had a good time, lots of great home cooked foods, salsa lessons and visiting with the children's families.

Sat. I went with a friend to her friend's 50th Birthday party. I've never met the women whose party it was but she seems to have raised three great kids and looks like someone I would enjoy getting to know. the party was in a great Italian restaurant in Bayonne, NJ. I ate so much I came home a just hung out in a food coma for the rest of the night.

Today, was a very quiet day. I slept in then went to the nursing home to visit my hospice ladies. It is so interesting visiting them. At first the two older women, )I visit each separately) are very quiet but soon they open up and just talk and talk about their families, what they liked to cook, their old homes and how they both liked to crochet. One women lived near to Bayonne and the restaurant I wnet to was a favorite of hers. So here I am --- a died in the wool knitter and I visit ladies who loved to crochet. One lady sits wrapped in a crochet afghan she made herself. She has a beautiful white shawl that someone knit for her on the back of her chair but she does not like it. I think she does not see well enough to appreciate the beautiful work in it and the white just seems boring. Next week I think I'll take some knitting with me. Even if I never work on it it might be a conversation starter.

I have a day off this week so I'll be able to get together with the day time knitting group. I'm working on the pattern part of the gansey. I really should take a picture soon but I'm so lazy with the camera!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Autumn Coffee Swap

About Your Yarn Passion

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? When did you first learn?

I knit, can crochet --just hate it :).
I learned about 52 years ago!

2. Do you like using a particular type of needle or hook? (wood, metal, straight, circular) Is there something you've been wanting to try, or a particular size you always seem to be short on?

I knit on all sorts of needles. I usually switch them to suit the project I'm working on. I have just about anything I need or want.

3. What kind of projects do you enjoy making? Any types you just haven't ever gotten into as much as others?

I love sock knitting but I've been on a sweater and vest run.

4. What's on your needles\hook right now? What's your oldest UFO (unfinished object)?
Right now I have a gansey, the Lady Feb sweater, a mistaken stitch scarf and a generic sock going. Everything else is pretty much abandoned, I just may not have admitted it yet. My oldest UFO ? Who know what might turn up at some point.
5. If you were going on vacation tomorrow, what project(s) would travel with you?
I would grab my sock project and depending on how I'm going both of my current sweater projects. If I had to pack light I would go with totally socks.

6. What are your favorite types of yarns? Any you're allergic too, or just hate working with? Anything in particular you've been dying to try?
I love working with natural yarns especially wool. I hate working with yarns that feel slick or crunchy when I work with them. I have no new yarn wish list right now.

7. What sort of colors do you love in yarns? Brights? Pastels? More muted colors? Variegated? Are there any you can't stand?
I'm not a pastel person. I love greens, blues and reds. I enjoy working with the wonderful dyed yarns but I also love working with yarns in their natural colors.
Your Coffee Passion

1. Do you prefer caffeinated or not?
TO ME if isn't not caffeinated, I don't bother!

2. Whole bean or ground? For what type of pot or press?
I use whole beans. I use either an automated grind and brew pot or a french press.

3. What types of roasts do you enjoy? Are you more the light and lively or dark and robust type? I am a dark and robust coffee person. I'll drink french vanilla but flavored coffees are not my favorite.

4. How do you 'take' your coffee? Creamers? Sweetener? Other add ins? I take my coffee black and no sugar.
5. That first morning cup - is it about the taste, or the caffeine?It's both!!!!

6. Do you enjoy going out to coffee shops like Starbucks? What are some of your favorites? I go to Starbucks when ever I can and my budget groans!

7. You've just made the perfect cup of coffee - is it in a thick mug, or a thinner cup? Where would you sit to drink it? My coffee would be in a huge mug. In good weather, I want to be outside. For indoor weather my coffee follows me everywhere in the house!

8. You're enjoying that perfect cup, and have a magic cabinet in your kitchen - when you open it, magically, your favorite treats will appear to enjoy alongside the coffee - what are they? Are they sweet? Crunchy? Soft and flaky?
I LOVE cookies and anything sweet with my coffee and my huge size shows it!

All about YOU!

1. Do you have other hobbies like spinning or scrapbooking?
I am a quilter and I do redwork.

2. Do you collect anything?
I collect vintage linens especially lacy or doily like items and blue polish pottery.

3. What is your favorite part of Autumn? I love the season change, especially the color of the leaves. I enjoy apple picking and Autumn outings like Rhinbeck!

4. What sort of scents do you enjoy? Any difference in what you like for your house versus what you like for your body? I love patchouli blends, lavender and vanilla for my self. For the house I like fresh and clean-- nothing too floral and I don't like artificial food fragrances.

5. Are you allergic to anything? Iodine

6. Are you on Ravelry? What's your ID? Yes, franhaz

7. How would you spend an ideal fall afternoon/day? My ideal fall day would be outside. It could be walking around at the beach. My family has a house at the beach and the ocean and bay are great at this time of the year. I also enjoy taking a trip upstate NY to see the wonderful fall foliage and do something outside like apple or pumpkin picking.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Knitpick Needle breaks

Friday night while I was watching the debates yet another of my cables from my knitpicks set broke. This time the cable separated from the connector that joins it to the needle. I have also had the cable break while still attached to the needle, the needle tips separate from the metal part and also received several broken wooden needles still sealed in the shipping bags!

Now, I will acknowledge that watching a certain person involved in the debate makes me want to pull out my hair, so I might have been yanking my needles with a little more force then usual. I love using these Knitpick needles but so far I'm concerned about their durability! I've had mixed results with customer service. They need to find you in their customer service logs to replace the needles. They could not find records of several of my needle purchases and foolish me I didn't keep copies so they would not replace my sock needles even if I mailed them back in. Sat. morning they did find the record of my set and are sending me a replacement but I was asked "How old my set was?" so now I'm wondering if the replacements will be time limited. I have other needles that are years and years old. Occasionally I break a needle, not often. I stopped using Brittany Birch dpns because although they were willing to replace them I realized that I bent them too much the way I used them. I have used circular needles for years and NEVER had a problem except with Knitpicks. SO I guess the moral of this is that in the long run you get what you pay for.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Sat Gone!

Where has September gone? I feel like it was just August! Well not really, I do feel like I've been back to work for at least 5 months!

Today, my son came home from a work trip. He is working as a generator tech and went out of state to do a series of jobs. This was the first time he worked alone and because of excessive rain , and equipment decisions made by other people he had some VERY stressful times and I had a few when there were terrible winds and rain where he was working and I could not get in touch with him. So today I went to the airport to pick him up and spend a little time with him. It was so good to see him. I cannot imagine how people have their children go off to war and manage not to go insane with worry! While we were waiting for his bag, two older women were near us. Steven must have heard them say something, because he reached out and just picked up their huge bag with one hand off the baggage carousel and settled it on floor for them. They were so surprised and grateful and I just felt so good about my son to see him do something kind so naturally. It really felt nice to be his mother then!

I'm up to the underarm gusset part of my gansey so soon I'll be doing some more interesting knitting. Now, I'm finished with the Sat. chores and dinner so I'm going to knit and try to stay up to watch at least a little TV!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Greetings from the Shore

Yesterday, my grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, nephew and I went to see a movie filmed in the town where we have spent all our summers and where my mother and grandmother now live year round. The plot of the movie barely existed and the ending was sweet, pat and totally unrealistic BUT what a trip to see Lavallette on the big screen. All the little cliches of summer love at the beach were trotted out and it was totally fun to remember each one. My grandmother in her late 90's is getting increasingly frail and it is harder and herder for her to get around so I don't know how many more outings like this we will have.

Today, I started visiting hospice patients in a local nursing home. Up to now I visited people at home and they were younger and more alert. Sitting with these older people today made me so grateful that so far my grandmother has been able to stay at home and that my husband was able to spend his last time in our house. The nursing home is clean, nicely decorated and seems to be staffed with lovely people but....

I have knit 12 and a half inches on my gansey and now is when I can mess up. In my boredom with just going around I can start the sleeve gusset and interesting yolk part to early. I am going to measure my favorite sweater and FORCE myself to knit the body long enough. I need some behind coverage with this sweater! So now that I've already done the cleaning and cooking I have planned, I'm going to put comfortable clothes on and quilt and knit the afternoon away.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sept 20

Just a lazy Sat so far. Go up, had lots of coffee, went for a pedicure now I'm going out for an early dinner / late lunch then most of the women in my family are going to see a movie, "Greeting from the Shore" which mentions the little town where we have our beach house. After this I plan to come home and continue the relaxing theme by knitting on my acres of boring gansey sweater body knitting until I fall asleep.

Not bad after a week of 12 hour plus days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to Work Again!

This Summer I was doing well with blogging frequently then I went to California to visit my sister and her family and I had a really wonderful time BUT I got back to NJ the night before I had to go back to work. I usually go back to work a week before I have to be there SO work has been very hectic but really OK.

I'm working on a gansey and right now I'm in the acres of plain stitch body so it is a bit boring. I can't get myself going to finish the Lady Feb sweater or to do the hour of finishing on the pinwheel sweater or the twenty other little jobs I need to do. Work is interfering with my life!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Touring Around

Yesterday, I spent with my sister basically in Livermore the town where they live. We went into the downtown area which is being renovated or gentrified into a cute little area with shops and outside dinning along a central mall with fountains etc. Very nice. We went to a quilt shop which I had found in a quilting travel book I bought to share with Laurie. I got Fall/Halloween material to make a wall handing and table runner for my sister's family and material to make a quilt for myself to remind me of this trip.

We ate at a Mexican restaurant in the outside eating area then went on a tour of the Wente Winery, the oldest family owner winery in the US. Very interesting then a quick visit to Trader Joe (I think Whole Foods is much nicer) then back home to just hang out and relax. I spent some time at the pool then when my brother-in-law came home we went out for dinner. We ate at a local Italian restaurant. I had Choppino (sp) which is supposed to be a local speciality and wine from the winery we visited earlier in the day.

My nephew picked up Caroline from her hotel but I was passed out by the time she got here. Today we are going into San Francisco to sight see and visit Alcatraz. Sunday, is Muir woods and I'm not sure what else, Monday we will go down to Santa Cruz , Tuesday my sister and I will take BART to San Francisco by ourselves to have a last look around then I'm on my way back Wed.

It has been so nice to just spend quiet time with all of them especially my youngest nephew. He was born in Australia and has never lived in NJ so I know him the least.

I've been knitting on my ravelery sock but I hate the way the cables are coming so I'm going to do the second one with a different design. My feeling is that the Olympians don't make the same mistake twice if they can help it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

California is Beautiful

Now that I'm here they may not be able to get rid of me. It is so beautiful here! When we got out of the white stretch limo which took us home from the airport(I felt like I should have been in a prom dress!) the first sensation I had was the beautiful fragrance of lavender. There is a huge bush right at the entrance to my sister's house.

The house is absolutely beautiful, the yard and pool with fresh rosemary and tons of lavender growing around it wonderful. So far we have been visiting, I went to see my nephew's school and participate in his back to school day. We have driven around a bit and all I want to do is look out the windows like a little kid.

Some of the surroundings are exactly the same as back home in NJ. Safeway, their grocery store could have been my A&P at home. A few different brands but almost the same. The trees and scenery are so beautiful. My sister lives in a area where the homes are spaced in between vineyards. There are olive trees, rosemary, mega rose bushes and all sorts of flowering trees, shrubs and bushes all around. They have not had rain so the surrounding hills are a golden color not green but it certainly is a beautiful place to live.

I had no problem bringing my knitting on the plane. One of the crew members saw me knitting and sent another crew member to me for a impromptu toe up sock on two circ needles lesson. I finished the socks that were on my needles and started my Ravelympic sock project but I'm pretty sure that I will not get it finished and right now all I can say is "Whatever!"

If I can figure out how to post pictures from my cell phone I will. I'll see Caroline tonight. It's weird to think that Caroline and I are in California and we'll be seeing the Pacific on Sat and Steven is working at a job and surfing in Montauk!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting Excited

Very early Thursday morning I'll be flying off for the first real vacation involving a plane, real luggage and plans for touristish places that I have taken in years! I'm going to my sister's(not the one whose home I'm visiting) at 4:00AM to fly to California at 7:AM. I've been to California years ago with Caroline on a Cheer leading trip. This is my first time in San Fransisco.

The animals and house are being house sat and my friend's wonderful husband will continue working in my house so I are fortunate that the animals are being taken care of without any real trouble on my part. I'm pretty much packed, ALL my clothing is ironed (do they give out Olympic Medals for that?)AND the house is clean and my back to school workshops are planned out! I just have to complete the list to TO DOs for Katie, then run out to the store for last minute pet stuff, visit my hospice lady, have dinner with my son, go to the post office and I'm good to go!

I think I'll sit and knit! The picture is my sister and younger brother at Susan's third birthday. My mother is in the background picking something up. This was taken in my family's "finished basement" before it got turned into bedrooms for our family of 6 kids plus any other relatives who either needed or wanted a place to live!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Days at the Beach

Yesterday, I went back to Lavalette to spend the day with ALL my sisters. Since Susan moved to California we have not been able to get together ALL four of us very often. We had a delightful day, nothing special, just hanging out at the beach, ordering in food and talking nonstop for hours. Time went so fast that although I had planned to get home by 9 or so I didn't get in until 11:30!

I miss my kids, my son is working nonstop and I hardly ever see him and Caroline is in California for a week of training. She really is growing up! The picture are of Caroline when she was about 10 or so and the two boys are my nephews Jake and Luke who are now around ten playing in the backyard in Lavallette when they were little. Now Caroline is an "adult" and off working and these two are the youngest of the family.
I finished the body of my Lady Feb sweater and now I need to get serious about what knitting to bring with me to CA. and especially for the plane trip. I don't fear anything about this trip except having my knitting needles taken from me and being stuck forever without anything to do and talking some one's ear off when they really was to sleep or relax because I can't use my normal sedative of knitting!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Learning New Things

I got a new cell phone on Sat. The last time I got a new cell phone was not a good time in my life so I never really learned how to use it and felt like a jerk being so clunky with it.

For a number of reasons it was time for a new phone so I now own a phone that lets me get e mail, directions, sent messages, has a little key board and I'm told will even respond to my voice commands (unlike the people and pets who live in my house). I am determined to figure out how to use ALL the features of this thing before I decide that I only use whatever! So yesterday I took Caroline to the airport and I used the navigator to get there and back. I've been driving to this airport for 20 years and it took me home a slightly more complicated way BUT really shorter and easier!

So in the spirit of learning how to use the phone I took pictures of two new dishcloths that I am sending out in a swap. This might not be the best picture but I'm proud of learning the process!!! One dishcloth used a stitch which was new to me. Here it is, knit a few rows then repeat this ( yarn over, knit 2, pull yarn over across two knit stitches) repeat across row. Do a few rows of plain stitches and then repeat. This is called the Indian Corn Stitch and is part of the Meg Swanson Gansy KAL I'll be starting in Sept. The other dishcloth is an outline of the state of NJ with NJ next to it. The theme of the swap is states so it did a map dishcloth and a dishcloth to represent my favorite summer NJ grown foods, corn, tomato, and blueberries. Corny but how profound can a dish cloth get?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Butterfly Vest

I LOVE this vest. It was fun to knit, just enough novelty to keep me paying attention but easy enough to be portable.The combination of short rows allow this to be knit in one piece, the only finishing was weaving the 10 stitch neck tab together and a three needle bind off for the shoulders. I considered doing a different bindoff so that the vest would be reversible then I decided that I wanted the stability of that bind off across the shoulders.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Day of This & That

Today was one of those vacation days that just slip away. I had a manicure scheduled at 9:30. As usual I woke up early, I can only sleep late on work day and I saw that Macys was having a one day sale. They advertized luggage for sale and I saw a really pretty bracelet on the Early Bird Sale that looked perfect for Caroline. So After my manicure I hopped over to Macys, I have not been in a mall department store in probably a few years and got Caroline a really nice garment bag for her business trip and a beautiful bracelet as a late birthday gift. While I was applying for a Macy Credit card the sales women noticed that my drivers liscense was expired. I did a little shopping, reconfirmed that I hate big stores and malls and then went for a pedicure. This was the most relaxing pedicure I have ever had. The skinny young women who took care of me massaged a lump of unrefined shea butter the size of an egg into my legs and feet. I could have stayed there all day. When she did the hot stones I was ready to just go to sleep.

After this luxury I ate a quick lunch in the car and went home to find my id and then went over to Motor Vehicle which is now conveniently located very close to home and got a new liscnese and registration.

Katie has a terrible case of poisen ivy and she wound up in the emergency room to get IV meds so it is just the two of us home tonight. Caroline is out with her two cousins for a girls night out down at the beach.

The up side to all of this is that I got to knit in between each thing so I am now about 10 rows away from the shoulder shaping on the butterfly vest. I'll post a pictur asap!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14th

It's hard to believe that two years have passed since Bob passed. Sometimes it seems like yesterday and other times like a lifetime away.

I took my mother to NYC for a medical test today and then we ate at IHOP near my house. Bob wanted to eat at IHOP when he came home because when he was going to the Nursing home for subacute care he looked out the window of the ambulance saw IHOP and wanted some pancakes. We would talk about it every now and then but he was too sick and never did get there. Caroline and I have gone there on his birthday and a few other times. We are not cemetery people but this does seem like a good way to remember him.

I drove my Mom back down to the beach and instead of going to the beach I fell asleep on the couch in the house for hours! In the evening I joined Caroline at Chili's with her friend who is just about ready to have a baby and re celebrated Caroline's birthday.

I did get lots of knitting done on the butterfly vest and I LOVE it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Where is the Summer going?

Wow, I'll be back to school in a few weeks. The way I spend money when I'll home it will be a

I've been watching the Olympics and enjoying them and cheating with knitting on my EZ Butterfly Jacket (vest) instead of the Ravelympic socks.

My friend's husband is back and doing more work upstairs. He is scraping wall paper from the high part of the stair well and Spackle THEN he is going to Sheetrock the walls and ceiling of Caroline's old room and put a door to the top floor. The top floor is really going to look nice.

Friday, I went to a staff party that my principal gave at her summer home in the Hampton's. We all went in her pool and had a very nice time. It rained on and off towards the end of the day and as we were getting on the road to go back home there was a double rainbow over the road. It felt like we drive right threw it. I hope this is a good sign for a our new school year. We have lost LOTS of money in our school budget for a number of reasons and this new year will be challenging!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yarn and Fabric diet

I was attending Weight Watchers for a long time, before that South Beach etc. some kind of food program as far back as I can remember. This summer I have just eaten and so far no weight gain OR loss. What I have gained is so much extra fabric that I am stunned!!!

I've been spending tons of time shifting, cleaning out, reorganizing and now that MOST not all of my fabric and yarns are in two locations I totally realize that I need to go on a yarn and fabric diet. I do make lots of quilts and knit almost nonstop BUT I can't use up this stuff in years and years.

I've tried to get so careful about recycling and not wasting and here I have so many beautiful yarns and fabrics just hoarded away. I frogged a few projects, reclaimed needles -- I had my favorite needles stuck in a lace project that was two years old. I had no business doing lace then, it was full of mistakes and just plain ugly and too messed up to save, so why was it holding those needles hostage?

I'm going to give away most of my counted cross stitch stuff, I never really liked it much and have not done it in years. I'm sorting out piles of yarns that can go into school, yarns to save to swap and yarns to donate. I'm starting working on that with the fabric also.

I went yesterday to my not so local but a nice drive away quilt shop to use my birthday discount. We stopped at a place I've never noticed before because my friend wanted a bottle of water. It turns out that this place was a great German specialty shop. They had a butcher/deli area, a small restaurant space and then an imported foods section. So we stayed for lunch, got a few treats then went fabric shopping. I almost did not enjoy the shopping because I felt guilty about continuing to accumulate more stuff.

I am going to go on a yarn and fabric diet for a while until I reduce my amount of stuff stored away. I will allow myself to get some fabric or yarn when I am in California just to remember the trip and some small fun buying at Stitches and Rhinbeck BUT I am swearing off Internet impulse shopping for a long time. I'm not going to be crazy about this. I will still need to buy backing or batting or thread for the quilts but I really want to see what I have and work with that before I buy more. AND this time sock yarn counts.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Very Nice Birthday

Yesterday turned out to be a very nice birthday. After my morning and lunch activities, I can home and just decided to relax. So I sat around and knit on the Butterfly Vest from EZ. I was thinking of making that my Ralelimpic Project but I could not wait. I had a bunch of false starts Monday night but now it is going along very nicely in an interesting Noro color combination. Caroline and had had take out Sushi. It will be a birthday dinner for both of us. Her birthday is on Sunday and she will be camping near Howe Caverns.

After dinner I went to B&N for my regular knitting night. It was even nicer then usual. I got flowers from one friend, yarn, wooden needles and a great new knitting bag from another. I gave out bags of soap goodies from my huge sort out to everyone and got almost one skein of Noro knit. Came home and watched House on the DRV. Who could ask for more?

Tonight is dinner at my sister's house for Caroline and my birthday.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Day of Contrasts

Today is my birthday. I had a very relaxing day planned. A ride down to the shore and lunch out with friends, then back home, a quick meal with Caroline then out to my knitting night. Wed. I will go to my sisters for a birthday dinner with the rest of the family who are around.

I found out yesterday that a friend of mine, who was on hospice passed peacefully and his funeral was scheduled for today. He was also a friend of the people I had planned on being with so we all went to a funeral instead of a relaxing lunch out. The service was beautiful. The Rabbi who lead the service remembered this man beautifully as a husband, father, son, brother, artist, businessman and friend. He was a wealthy man who was a friend to many famous artists but I remember him as a man filled with curiosity, compassionate but realistic.

Every year, a group I am a member of runs a full day workshop. One year I did a "Pampering Session". I had gathered a series of easy homemade "pampering product ingredients" and instructions and we made homemade sugar scrubs, bath teas and I can't remember what else. The theme of the session was that you can't take care of others if you don't care for yourself. He was the only man there. We has such a good time teasing him and he did all the projects and used some himself and shared the rest with his wife and daughter.

After the service, I did go out to lunch with several friends instead of going back to the family's home. As I was sitting at lunch I realized that these were some of the same friends who two years ago were sitting with me while Bob was on hospice, bring me food and keeping me company. One of the women lost her 37 year old son unexpectedly shortly after Bob passed. I don't know what I would do without such good friends and family.

Monday, August 04, 2008

August 4th

Today I woke up with mostly every part of me sore and aching. Sunday was another day of sorting and tossing. I did make shopping bags of goodies to give away. Neither room is picture ready yet but both are cleared out enough that I can really sort and organize.

I got two new patterns in the mail today, Wool Gathering with a Gansey Pattern and Schoolhouse press butterfly vest . I may change my ravelympics goal to the vest.

I took Marly aka the DevilCat in to be declawed today. His actual procedure is done on Tuesday but they kept him to avoid having him eat or have another fit about getting into the carrier. I think I'll like him much more when he is not scratching my new furniture!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Still Cleaning Out

For two years I have sporadically been on a mission to declutter this house. Bob and I were BOTH terrible pack rats. During times of stress or sloth, we carefully stored away bags and boxes of junk and foolishness. When Bob came home for hospice, we needed to clear out half of the family room for him to have a spot for his bed etc. MORE clutter and junk carefully or just crammed into shopping bags and boxes hidden. THEN we converted the unfinished attic like storage space on the top floor into a sitting room for Caroline. Stuff was exposed, unbelievable amounts of stuff came to light, some we dumped, some in true hereditary manner, I just found new spots to recram. NOW I really am getting serious. Caroline decluttered my old "sewing room" a room when I never really sewed, just stored massive amounts of craft stuff. Yesterday, I dejunkified Caroline's old bedroom. I can actually see carpet (very ugly carpet actually) there and today I am going to tackle the downstairs guest room which is the biggest suck of junk in this house. When I gave up doing craft fairs, ALL that stuff and lots of other junk that lost a home in the other clean ups we have been doing migrated to this room. Does all this stuff sneak around in the night OR am I supposed to believe that I actually shoved all that stuff in there?

SO the driveway is again lined up with garbage bags and we have 5 huge garbage bags of stuff to be donated to Goodwill. I can't imaging the amount of stuff that will come out of this room.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Some finished stuff

Here is the quilt I made for Caroline's friend, the yoyo puppy and yankee fleece blanket are for my niece, Laura's son Joey, the two sweaters are for me!

I need a better camera!

I finished the quilt I'm making for Caroline's friend last night and I tried to take a picture this morning BUT the batteries are dead again. For some reason this camera is EATING batteries. I just got some new rechargeable ones and I'll see if that makes a difference. I've given away the last few baby sweaters and quilts without having pictures of them. I also want to take a picture of the yoyo puppy I made for my niece and the Yankee fleece! If I won the lottery I'd get a great easy camera and one of those room size quilting machines--and buy my mother's beach house yada yada!

I went to see Mama Mia last night, what a fun movie. No big sad message just beautiful scenery and lots of singing and dancing. I needed some cheering up yesterday. I met the new hospice patient who I'll be visiting, a sweet older women and when I was going in I met the chaplain who visited with us when Bob was on hospice. It was good to talk to him but it brought back memories. It is hard to believe that it will be two years in two weeks!

I'm off to visit a quilt shop with a friend while she is dropping her daughter off for visit with her aunt. Hopefully the camera is working when I get back! AND work keeps going on the Lady Feb Sweater

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Joined Ravelympics

I wasn't going to do it but I gave in and joined (with a very minimum twisting of my knitting arm) Teamjersey and I will do a sock during the Summer Olympics. We had fun with our team a few years ago during the Winter Olympics. I'm going to do a sock with my new STR club yarn.

I am just about finished with a new quilt for Caroline's friend. Just a bit more quilting then the binding and the label. I'll get it finished probably Friday because I am going to see Mama Mia tonight.

My friend's husband power washed my house yesterday and we had dinner together, vegetable lasagna and a really nice upside down peach cake. I'll miss this when I go back to work!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good News for Me!

Yesterday I got an email from my sister in California that she and her husband have gotten a ticket using their points for me to fly to California to visit with them at the end of August. I am so excited. Caroline will be out there at the same time for her job so we'll be all together for a while.

I had been hoping to squeeze out some money for a ticket for myself but there have been too many other expenses this summer. My sister has lived n Australia, Chicago, CT and now California. With my job, expenses and Bob being sick I only got to go to CT. Any suggestions on what to see in San Francisco?
I spent a few hours gathering up all my knitting books from the little hidy spots in my house and listed them all in Ravelry. Now I have them organized in a few bookcases in the family room. I have about 60+ books and some that are not possible to list AND that is not counting the Quilting books. I started to feel guilty about having so many then I just decided that lots of people have many cookbooks and they have not cooked everything from each book and they don't say well I will not buy a new book until I've cooked more from the ones they have! And I have used many of these books. Just organizing them brings back so many memories of things I've knit and would like to knit again. I should just feel lucky! not crazy!

Monday, July 28, 2008


I usually do not tink, (knit backwards --- pull out what I've just knit) BUT for whatever reason the Lady February Sweater is doing that to me! It is a simple pattern, seven stitches repeat over 4 rows two of which are purl! I normally can read my knitting and know when I've made a done something wrong quickly BUT with this pattern I just keep loosing the pattern adding or misplacing stitches!

I knit at a hot air balloon festival yesterday and when I got home I unknit everything I had done. Then when I looked at it again this AM I think I have more tinking to do! I may just go back to the sock for a while.

The balloon festival was nice, there was too much wind so they did not actually fly the balloons just cold inflated then and let everyone see them hooked up to the ground. Actually they are very beautiful but almost everyone had some type of commercial advertisement. Hopefully I'll get there next year and really see them go up.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

getting lots of kniting done

This was a good knitting week for me. I went to my regular Tuesday group and then had some of the women over to knit Thursday and yesterday I took a vacation day from my vacation and spent most of the day relaxing and knitting. I got my new STR club selection and I REALLY want to knit up this yarn. I can't cast n yet because I already have two socks on the needles, one is a really nice German yarn that Debbie gave me and the other is my last STR club yarn which I lost for a month. I was in my WW bag so that shows how serious I am about WW this summer. I might break my own rule but I'm not sure yet!

I did try to take a nap in the hammock I got myself for Father's Day. We have been in this house for years and I have a nice shady yard with beautiful trees and I always wanted a hammock and I finally got one. So yesterday I stretched out in it to look at the new sock patterns from STR and I drifted off the sleep. I woke up to the noise of my pattern blowing away and I grabbed for it. Well, you can't make sudden moves in a hammock so I got dumped out and I swear the dog was laughing! So I went back into the AC house and knitted and napped. I have the Lady February sweater done to the armhole divide. This sweater seems to be eating yarn much faster then the pattern indicates so I'm glad that I ordered more on Ebay.

Well, I have another baby quilt to make so I'm off to quilt then knit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Post # 201

I finally reached over two hundred posts! Not easy to do when I constantly forget or put off posting!

I had a knitting night at my house last night. I knit with a great group of women in B&N every Tuesday night and last night some of them came over to sit on my new furniture and knit. I think it was a very pleasant night--- the only problem is that I made a no bake ricotta blueberry cheesecake and everyone also brought in great snacks and one friend even brought in some wine AND I got left with TOO many good things to eat. I need to delay WW by at least another week!

This week has been busy, we got a new attic fan on Sunday and the upstairs floor is really cooling off and I finally painted the redone closet in the living room. NOW I just need to get after Lowe's to get the last pieces I need for the cabinets, finish the power washing of the house and then all that is left from the summer plan is CLEANING OUT of stuff. I don't know how I became such a pack rat. I surely never intended to save the amount of junk I did and so now I have to clear out my husband's saved stuff also. I am committed to getting rid of junk so that my kids don't have to go through piles of stuff, really boxes and bags of crap after I die. I'm not including yarn or fabric in this THAT they can just deal with when I go! Really --- I hope I still have good knitting friends who can pick my stash clean when that time comes!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kitchen update

We have gotten lots of progress done on the kitchen. The cabinet is mostly installed, I need to wait for Lowes to get in the finishing kit and Joey still has some stuff to do then I can finish painting and start to move whatever into the cabinets. I'm planning on using one of them and my laundry room to store what is left of the soap business. My next big project is to dismantle the upstairs kitchen which used to be known as the soap kitchen and now is just the junk kitchen BUT I need to catch up financially and take a rest first!

BTW, I finished the red Mr Green Jeans sweater. It is just waiting for buttons and blocking and edging. Pictures to follow!

livingroom update

I've had a little over a week to enjoy my new furniture and I'm loving it. These pictures are a little strange in showing the fabric. The three pieces are covered with a textures fabric, green with some brown. I'm going back to get a small chest to go right near the door. Yes, under the lamp on the floor. I'm making a quilt to throw over the couch, the fabric roll is on the coffee table. Caroline and I have been sitting in the living room and it is not even Christmas!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Taking the Day Off

I'm on my way to the beach. The last few days have been very hectic. I'm just about finished painting the kitchen cabinets, the new counters and base cabinets should be done on Monday. I got my new living room furniture AND I love it. It is so nice to walk in the living room and not see mismatched and old stuff with throws concealing tons of old whatevers!

Gizmo is continuing to bring drama into the house! He was at the groomer on Thursday and she found a huge abscess on the glands near his backside. So we had an emergency visit to the vet and now the poor guy is on meds and hot compresses but is really doing better. Actually he is happy with all the extra treats going his way to hide the pills!

Today I am going to the beach with friends. I plan to swim, work on my sweater sleeve, get some sun, eat and just rest before the next round of day labor around here!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moving Right Along

Yesterday I had lots of excitement with my dog. I was working on painting the cabinets and he has a history of being a pest around paint so I put him outside in the backyard. After a while he ran into the paint area and I though "Didn't I just put him out?" So I scooped him up again and put him out. When I went to check on him a while later he was gone. The gate was open and Gizmo was not to be found. Now. I'm in panic mode. I'm running around calling his name and one of my neighbors tells me that he found him out and tossed him back into the house! Didn't I feel like a fool to say I popped him back into the yard!

Luckily for me I found him. A boy from around the block saw Gizmo, thought he knew whose dog he was and put him in some one else's house! So while I was searching for him, Gizmo was playing with another Shih Tzu in an air conditioned house! Gizmo was Bob's dog. He was so worried about that dog when he was passing on. The one promise he asked me for was to take care of the dog! Now any of you who know me know that I am not a dog person. I always feel so guilty when something, anything happens with this dog. In spite of myself I am very attached to him. The couch we just just threw out was the couch Bob spent so many years on sick. I could not get rid of it for a long time. It is just over two years ago that he went into the hospital and his two year anniversary is on August 14th. Caroline and I have made so many changes to the house, I think he would be shocked at some of them but deep down I think he would be happy at how well Caroline, Steven and I are doing! And even the dog is doing OK. He gets groomed today so he will look nice and neat by mid morning.

I have the frame of the cabinets primed and half of the doors primed. The man at Lowe's tinted the primer the same color as the paint so I really think the cabinets will look good. I'll probably get the new cabinet and counters cone Sunday or Monday so pictures will follow by early next week!

AND my new furniture is coming between 11 and 2!!!!!!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 7th

I've been very busy but a good type of busy. So far since I've been off from work,
* I've caught up on all sorts of household stuff,
* power washed most of my house using my own power of a scrub brush and a bucket of cleaner ( I did get a power washer from my sister to finish! -- Just could not get Caroline up on a ladder for the third level),
* made a really nice baby quilt with prairie points,
* did a yo yo stuffed puppy for my niece's new baby
* made a quick knotted fleece Yankee blanket for the same baby
* bought new living room furniture
* carried out the old couch (with the help of Caroline & Katie)
* switched the old living room furniture to the family room and the family room stuff to Caroline's sitting room
* started refinishing the kitchen cabinets
* ordered two new cabinets for the kitchen
* made machine embroidered heart pillow for me
* went to the quilt shop to get another lifetime supply of fabric
* celebrated Natalie's college graduation

My daughter is threatening to send me back to work so that she can get some rest! I made a list of stuff I wanted to do before I go back to work in September and I am making progress!

Today I am going out for lunch with friends and the most energetic thing I have planned is knitting on my sock and folding laundry!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

School's out for Summer!!!!!!!

Thursday was the last day for students a teachers in NYC. As much as I love the kids and my work I am SO glad to be out for the summer. I have not blogged in the longest time because --- well no real reason--- I just didn't! I read blogs every day and I always mean to blog then I get tired and something else calls me away.

I've been doing lots of quilting and some knitting but really more paperwork from school and yard work and cleaning etc. I spent part of the weekend at the beach with my family and celebrated getting out of another school year of Friday by getting a manicure and a green tea pedicure! What a luxury!

I taught myself how to do a new heel from Wendy Knits and have been playing around with making hexagons from Jelly roll strips. As a math teacher this really interests me. I think I've learned more about angles from quilting and molding then any class!

Well I'm off to do some dinner stuff then I am going to knit and hopefully finish one sleeve of Mr Green Jeans in red start the last sleeve!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25th

WOW, two weeks since I blogged! When I first started this blog I thought I would blog every day or at least every few days. Then I thought well every week, NOW unless I'm in a swap which requires it I could go a month or more. Why is this? I read other people's blogs just about every day. They aren't doing stuff for the most part that is so wildly different from me. They work, commute, garden, knit, deal with family stuff but these people I've decided are writers. They can take the same every day things we all go through and make it seem interesting. OR they are photographers who can take delightful pictures of the world around them that just sucks your eyes right in. So me I'm a teacher, reader, knitter, quilter. I can explain well, and break learning task down to make them easier to master, and I read so my mind is full of ideas, and my knitting and quilting is (IMHO) very good but without pictures how do you communicate it? SO for me all the things I good at don't make for a particularly interesting blog!

Having said all that I've been busy for the past two weeks, work is busy and very interesting. I'm taking a class to learn the Mel Levine , All Kinds of Minds Program. Even though I am nearing retirement I still love to learn new ways to do my job better.

Work on sheet rocking Caroline's upstairs sitting room continues -- so dust still continues! I've rearranged part of my kitchen and really like the change AND I weeded and mulched my flowerbeds. Some years I don't get to do this until school is out and then they never really look like they should.

I've still plodding along on Mr Green Jeans in red -- just about finished with the body so all I have left is the sleeves and button bands. I'm hand sewing the bindings on three baby quilts. One is for the grandchild of my friend who passes away in January. She had asked me to make a quilt for her a few years ago and I got it mostly finished then my husband got sick and with hospice and whatever I put it aside. I don't know who it was originally meant for but it does seem like a blessing that it can go to this grandchild. The other two are for a friend I work with. She had twins in NOVEMBER and is still waiting for her quilts. There is really no excuse so I do owe her something else as a "I'm so sorry!".

Well this has gotten so long that even I am loosing interest!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all those mothers and children who are celebrating! I just finished my part of Mother's Day at my house. For the last few years, I've been doing a Mother's Day Brunch at my house. I make tons of muffins and scones, homemade waffles with real whip cream and fresh strawberries, tons of bacon and sausages and mimosas. This year the weather cooperated and we ate outside using the new table, chairs and umbrella my kids gave me for Mother's Day. I sent everyone home with bags of muffins and scones, the dog ate the few leftover bits of bacon and sausage and it's 5:20 and I already have the tablecloths and napkins in the dishwasher! My daughter and I may go out for Japanese food later or we may just stay in! Steven is working in Florida for a few weeks and he called very early to beat his sister in saying Happy Mother's Day!

I gave my sisters and mother and grandmother "a green bag of goodies" They each got a reusable shopping tote filled with handmade soaps, a knitted facecloth, some "ShamWows" gotta watch late night infomercials to know what that is ! I received a beautiful pitcher of polish pottery and some lovely flowers.

My friend's husband is rebuilding a closet for us in my living room. He already fixed my backyard gate, two broken drawers in my kitchen and re nailed a piece of siding that was flapping. His next project is going to be sheet rocking what used to be a storage spot as a hanging out room for Caroline. If he wasn't my friend's husband I'd marry him!!!!!

And now I'm going to go upstairs and put my feet up and knit on my Mr. Green Jeans sweater.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What a week!

This week was one of those weeks where anything that can go wrong went wrong. I had Monday off as a comp day but I spent the day doing errands, chores and getting set up for a medical test that I had to complete on Tuesday.

Tuesday, I left my house a few minutes late because I just could not get out of bed, then got gas, went to the bank, picked up coffee all because I was leaving early to finish up this test and so NO carpool. So I was about TEN minutes later then normal and I was one of the first cars to get stuck on a bridge behind an accident which closed the bridge for THREE AND ONE HALF HOURS!!!!!! Because of where I was I could not exit. SO I knit and knit (thank God for my pocketbook sock) and then squirmed and squirmed because of a nice venti coffee!!!! So I got to work HOURS late did some work to set up a yet another standardized test and turned around to come BACK to NJ to take my medical test.

Wednesday was a normal day but wild because of a meeting we were having on Thursday morning at 7:15. The day ended nicely with dinner with my daughter. Who knew sushi could be so relaxing!

Thursday, as soon as my carpool partner got in the car she started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. We went into work and after my meeting she was doing much worse and Wound up taking her back to NJ and spending the entire Day shuttling her around before finally taking her home AND in my rush to leave I FORGOT MY KNITTING at work!!! Fortunately, her MD had a delay in seeing her and we went to my house where she rested and I grabbed an emergency dishcloth to work on!

The rest of the week was alternately boring, or frustrating (new company doing a cable installation----NO COMMUNICATION---between the people who set things up and the installers!!! BUT enough on my whining I did get a quilt finished for a friend at work even though I missed the shower because of ALL the time the installer took!

NEXT week has to be better! although with all the work I have piled up I'm not sure how that can happen!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Fling Yarn & Coffee Swap

Let’s pretend for a minute we all live in the home of our dreams, have land, and don’t have to work so time is unlimited! It’s Spring planting season! What would you grow? A little veggie garden? A bed of bright spring blooms? Or is your thumb so far from green that the only thing you’d be planting is your tushy into a nice chair on the porch to get some knitting or crocheting done in the nice breeze?

Well, I would like to think that I would plant huge beds of flowers. One of my goals when we moved into the house was to always have flowers available for cutting BUT in reality I am a very lazy gardener. I slap in beds of annuals and enjoy the perenials that struggle back each year. I really prefer to plan my bottom at the beach or Starbucks and knit and talk!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lots of Quilting done

I've had a relaxing week off from work, a day at the spa, a day yarn and fabric shopping but in between I've been sewing away. I've completed another shower giftfor a friend future daughter-in-law, a tote bag for my swap partner, finally found the quilt tops for another teacher's twins AND finished the quilt top for another teachers new baby. Now I have miles of binding to sew on SO I am going to sit on the couch and watch the DVR stuff I have saved and just sew.

I also put pictures of my finished sweaters up on Ravelery. I'm franhaz there!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yarn Crawl

Yesterday, five of us from our Tuesday night knitting group got together and went on a yarn/fabric crawl to New Hope, Lamberville and Doylestown. We got together at 8:30 coffee in hand and set off. Linda set up the trip so I don't remember the names of any of the stores but really one was nicer then the other and each store was staffed by friendly people. We had a nice lunch, walked around New Hope and Lamberville and wished we had left more time to wander Doylestown. So now I have about another few years of projects ready to go on top of all the other stuff I already have at home! We are planning another one for the early summer to Princeton. We did make an error in trusting online quilt and yarn shop finders. About half of the places we wanted to go to were closed down!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thanks to my Spring Fling SwapPartner

Today I got a surprise in the mail, stitch markers. Beautiful red stitch markers. I just love them! Thanks !

I'm in three swaps right now and I think I am confusing my partners for each swap just as I've been confusing the hostess for the swaps. This is not the first time I've been in a few swaps at the same time but it is the first time I keep messing up!!!!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Great Red Box Weekend!!!!

This week end I received two great swap boxes. One of the boxes was a Red Yarn Swap from I received delightful red lace weight yarn AND matching red stitch markers. This is such a pefect red for me. Thank you so much!

I also received a box from Favorite Color Swap 3 (well just guess my color). This box was just jam packed with red goodness. Beautiful red yarn to make Mr Greenjeans,(a really sharpe cable sweater) and a back up pattern, two red journals and a matching organizer, a very cute red tiny tote bag just perfect for a pair of socks, a book of one skein patterns, a selection of WW treats, red! stitch markers, a cute little tin box and a handmade magnet flower, tiny sock blockers, and red patchouli soap just as I am running out of my own!----just enough to make my day. THANK you so much.

Now I'm fighting with myself not to start the melon stitch scarf/shawl in Victorian Lace (not sure of the title and too lazy to go upstairs and check!) or Mr Greenjeans in red. I have too much on the needles already so I'll try to knit the pinwheel steadily then relapse!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sleeping and Knitting

I'm taking a few days off from work because I finally went to see the doctor about my "allergies" and found out that I have a sinus infection and bronchitis! I've been feeling crummy for a while but just didn't want to deal with it. I'm also having some testing done on my thyroid which my expalin some of my tiredness. Or at least I hope it does. BUT anyway after all the dr stuff this morning all I've been doing today is sleeping and knitting dish cloths. They are small enough to handle and who cares if I drift off to sleep in the middle of one. The pinwheel sweater is just too big and bulky to work on in bed. I'm in a dishcloth swap and if I get enough done I'm going to give then to my mother, grandmother and sisters as part of my Mother's Day gifts to them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Coffee Memories

I don't remember when I actually started drinking coffee. One of my earliest memories is of walking with my grandfather to an Italian Bakery/Coffee shop. He always had black coffee with lots of sugar and anisette in it. He would dip the tip of a spoon and give me a taste. As much as I liked it I was more interested in the Italian ices, the old fashioned creamy kinds with fruits and nuts in them and soft not hard. I also love the cookies I had there.

My mother is a tea drinker so only my father drank coffee when I was young in our house. In the morning he drank American coffee but after around 11:00 AM or so there was only Italian demitasse coffee in the small cups with a sliver of lemon and lots of sugar or liquor added! We also had two types of coffee pots-- the perc type for the morning and the Italian flip one for later.

More Hospital Knitting

I have trained myself in the last few years that when I need to run to the emergency room or a doctor's visit I NEVER go without my knitting. This weekend we had a small scare with my grandmother. She looked like she was having a stoke but it turned out to be probably Bell's Palsy. She is pretty miserable and can't use most of one side of her face but is certainly is better off then if she had a stroke! This required two visits to the hospital with her this weekend and I did get lots of knitting in. I finished two dishcloths for a swap I'm in and finished one sleeve of my pinwheel sweater with about 3 or 4 inches to go on the other sleeve then back to the hundreds of stitches long body!

This Sunday we were stuck in between two women who were very particular about the types of pain medications they wished to receive. It was interesting---- both were on their cell phones having loud conversations using words my 96 years old grandmother rarely hears and were only writhing in pain when either a nurse or someone else was around! At one point my grandmother thought it was me talking that way! Knitting helps keep you sane in situations like that!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Current Knitting

For the Spring Fling Yarn and Coffee Swap the question is asking if we switch from winter to spring knitting. I don't think that I do really make a switch because I rarely knit something really geared for spring or summer. When I'm knitting at the beach I will not take a huge afgan but I don't knit those anyway!When I want something warm to snuggle under I make a quilt. For a few years I was on a sock jag and socks are perfectly portable and seasonless. Now I'm back to knitting sweaters. Maybe I need to think of some lighter tops!

Signs of Spring

I'm in New Jersey and Spring is certainly popping up here. I have a few clumps of daffodils up in the garden and a whatever other spring bulb got planted out there and continue to struggle up every year in spite of being neglected. My peony plants have lots of shoots, there are green leaves pushing their way up and the flowering tree buds are just ready to open. Now everything has been just like this is years past and a freaky round of snow or freezing weather nipped it all BUT I'm hoping we have had a end to all that for this year!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April 5th

Another busy week and weekend finished. Friday I took some comp time and left work at 12:30 and met up with some knitting friends for lunch and a few hours of knitting. It felt like such a luxury!!!!! Went home took a nap and knit on the pinwheel sweater.
Sat. flew by with getting my nails done, borrowing a beautiful shawl to wear to a wedding and going to the wedding of a teacher I work with. Beautufyl bride, and a great wedding.
Today, slept until 9 then started the grocery, errand, cleaning cycle and I've done as much as I'm going to do today SO I think I'll go upstairs, put my feet up and nap and knit. Such an exciting life!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter on this early cold Easter. The last time Easter was this early was 93 or so years ago. This only person I know who was around then was my grandmother and even she was a child!

This will be a quiet day for me. My son is still in Florida working. Caroline and I were supposed to go upstate to spend the day with my family at my sister's house. I've had a little bit of the colitis I had in the fall so I've been staying close to home these last few days. I really want to get into work this week so I think rest and fluids at home is better then travel and holiday foods!

The silver lining is that I get to work on my pinwheel sweater for another chunk of time. I put the edge on a holding yarn and started working on the 1st sleeve. I tried it on and I think I'm going to like it. I would love to have it done for that sweater period that leads into summer. A few years ago it was my goal to have a pair of hand knit socks for every day I wanted to wear socks. I do and it's great. Now my goal is to have a handmade sweater or shawl for each time I want to wear one.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Day Off

This whole week I've been working extra hours at a test scoring project so I've been working from 7 to 9 plus commuting so there has been no time for knitting but today I am off from work and so I slept late, sorted through mail, I'm doing laundry, went out to lunch with my daughter, took a nap and now I am going to settle in with a few netflick movies and just knit the afternoon away! My replacement knitpick needles came in so I'm good to go!

Spring Fling Yarn & Coffee


1. What is your preference? Whole beans or ground?
I only use whole beans when I have a choice!

2. What kind of coffees do you enjoy? A rich, bold roast; a light, fresh one, or something in between? Leaded or non?
I love my coffee the stronger and darker the better! No Decaf for me!

3. If you were headed out right now to buy some coffee for the house, what would you be picking up?
My usual everyday coffee is A&P whole beans.
4. Do you drink for caffeine, pleasure, or both?
I drink coffee for caffeine and pleasure!
5. Do you enjoy flavored coffees? How about add-ins or flavored creamers?
Some flavored coffee are OK with me but not too sweet or exotic. I drink my coffee plain.

6. A large, lovely mug or a small, dainty cup?
I drink from a huge mug.

7. Describe your perfect cup - not JUST the coffee, but how you'd enjoy it!
I love my coffee strong and dark in a large cup with a cube of ice popped in it. I love to take my coffee out to the garden or to the beach.

8. You're sitting down to enjoy a nice cup in the local coffee shop, knitting bag in hand, iPod all tuned up - or maybe you're there with a few friends for knit night! What treat do you pick up to enjoy with your coffee? A sweet, rich brownie, or something more healthy? How about a salty treat? What goes best with that great cup and company?

I would love to eat the richest, sweetest pastery going but I'm trying to keep on Weight Watchers so I usually eat fruit or a vitalicious muffin.


1. Do you knit or crochet?
I knit, I can crochet but I hate to actually do it.

2. What are your favorite types of yarns to work with?
I love to work with natural fibers, wools, alpacas, silks cottons. I love Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Malabgigeo Yarns etc!

3. What do you have on the needles (or hook!) right now?
Right now, I working on a pinwheel sweater using a Tahki Windsow tweed yarn.

4. What are your favorite colors in yarns? What about those that you'd never find in your stash?
I love rich reds, blues and greens. I also love interesting neutrals but really don't like yellow or orange or any neon colors.

5. What sort of needles or hooks do you enjoy using? Any you just detest?
I usually match my needle to my project and switch between adi, knitpicks both in metal and harmony wood and bryspun which actually are my favorite. I just love that sprongy little point.

6. Are there any particular notions you absolute do NOT need? Some of us swap a lot - are you sure that you have enough tape measures to last your lifetime? Enough stitch markers to mark every stitch of a 10 foot wide afghan?

I have enough measuring tapes, and kitchner tip card for several lifetimes. I never use needle end protectors or stitch counters so I have pleanty of those. I would love some pretty beaded stitch markers.

7. You walk into the yarn shop and have exactly and only enough money to purchase 2 skeins of yarn in their 2 for 20 special they have going..The choices are a soft, thick cotton/viscose blend in your favorite colors, slightly variegated..a beautiful sock yarn that's just squishy and sproingy in your hands.. a soft, worsted weight wool like malabrigo.. and a lovely bamboo blend with colors to just die for. Which do you walk out the door with?

Now this is hard, because you have named two yarns that I love squishy sprongy sock yarn like Socks That Rock and Malabrogio. I would probably sell my shoes or something to get both!


1. We're starting sign-ups on the first day of Spring - is it already truly Spring-like where you are?

I'm in NJ so we are getting peeks of spring but it still is pretty cold and we are still waiting for Spring.

2. What's your favorite spring flower? Do you have one?
I love liliacs, I have a few bushes and while they are late in the season when my liliacs bloom and scent the air I REALLY know winter is over!3. What do you most look forward to about springtime?
I work in a school, as a staff developer so for me when it is spring I know that summer is not too far away.

4. They've predicted a gorgeous day tomorrow - Sunny and about 65 with a nice breeze - how do you spend your day?

I might take a walk along the beach or work in my garden.
5. The day after, it's going to be cooler and pouring down rain - does that impact your mood? How do you spend that day? what helps cheer you up?

I am influenced by rain and dark weather. I'd probably spend the day indoors drinking coffee and knitting and napping!
Odds n Ends

1. Do you collect anything BESIDES yarn and needles?
I collect quilting fabrics especially charm packs and batik and depression prints. I also love polish pottery mugs.

2. Are you allergic to anything?
3. Do you have pets?
Three cats and a dog who really thinks he is the King of the House
4. Is this your first swap, or are you an old pro? What are the last 2 swaps you participated in?

I have participated in many swaps in knitting/yarns and soaps/handmade lotions etc. I've slowed down in the past year. The last three swaps for me are A World of Tea 2, A Dish Cloth Swap (a first for me) and a Favorite Color swap (Red)5. List 3 of your favorite blogs - craft related or not - and tell us why you love them.
I use up lots of time poking around blogs. I think my favorites are:
The Yarn Harlot
Mode Knit/Knitting Heretic

I've met briefly all three of the ladies who write these blogs and I enjoy reading about their knitting and families lives. But I drop in and out of reading many other ones.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quiet Day

Today has been a weird day for me. I drove my daughter to the airport at 3:45 at night or morning and was home by 5:45AM the time I am usually meet my carpool friend for work! I jumped back into bed but all day all I want to do is sleep. I've been working on my pinwheel sweater, I hope I like it, this is a totally new sweater type for me. There is a little more of me around especially in the middle then I like!

Both of my kids are in Miami, Fla right now. My son is on a job working there and my daughter is visiting him. I will be working this week from 7:15 to 8:00 plus my usual commute so I don't expect to get anymore knitting done after I finish up today's session. Yesterday the tip of my new Harmony Knitpick #9 popped off. I pushed in back in and called them and they are sending a replacement. I received a broken needle with my last order and now my set is having problems. I really like the Harmony needles but if they are going to be like the Brittney Birch and always broken maybe I NEED to return to metal!

Oh well, back to napping!

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

1. What are your top three favorite colors? Red, Blue, Green

2. What crafts do you really enjoy? I LOVE to knit, quilt and do red work.
3. What products do you really covet? I really would like some more stitch markers.
4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things? I enjoy reading, working my garden,I love the beach.
5. Is there anything you collect? I collect Polish pottery, blue Wedgwood, quilting fabric, and old fabric items like doily, pillowcases, napkins etc.
6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol? I am a Leo and I was born in 1951.
7.What are your favorite…

scents/smells? I love patchouli, lavender, and spicy complex scents. I'm not a food scent person except for vanilla.strong>…

types of music and/or bands? I like classical music, Dylan and Simon and Garfinkle etc.

authors?em> I read just about anything except Romance novels. I especially like mysteries, and try to read most of the books on the NYT best seller's list.

animals?em> I have three cats and one dog. I'm a cat person the dog was my husband's best friend before he passed away. That little dog and I are still working out our relationship. He thinks he is king of the house. I have trouble agreeing to this!

places to shop?em> I'm not a shopper in malls or department stores. I do love poking around in antique shops, flea markets. AND I LOVE going to yarn &quilt shops. My knitting group has been getting together every few months and taking a road trip to a new yarn shop. I do most of my yarn shopping either at Knitting Festivals or Conventions or online.

season?em> I am a summer person. My family has a beach house at the Jersey shore and I could spend my entire life sitting in the sun, reading, knitting, swimming and hanging out with my family and friends.>…

<strong>em>yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies?em>
I usually try to knit with natural fibers and really love knitting with wool the most. I have tons of lace and sock yarns and would like more worset weight interesting yarns. I collect quilting charm packs and jelly rolls.

candies or goodies?em> I am back on weight watchers so any treats that I have need to be calorie friendly. I do enjoy interesting natural teas, and coffees.

Do you have any wish lists?em> <strong>Peace on Earth, an end to World Hunger, Universal Education I don't have any online wish lists.

9. Are you allergic to anything?

10. Do you have any pets? What are they?
I have one cat but I live with three cats and a dog.

11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy. Also, if you have a Ravelry ID, please include it here.
I would really enjoy receiving something which is different and local to your area. I'm flexible and enjoy receiving surprises. My Ravelry ID is Franhaz.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Two Yarn Shops and a Class in ONE Day

Right now, I'm having hugely busy time at work. I've been working a series of long stressful days and finding very little time to knit. Friday, I got home from work at 10:30 PM and either had to go back and work at school on Sat or get up as usual at 5:00 to get some work done and e mailed in before 9:30 because on Sat.night I had a class planned at Anglefire Studio with Annie Modissete (SP?). The class was not until the evening BUT I had a broken nail and I was not taking a knitting class missing a nail nor am I going through the round of meetings scheduled for next week with a broken nail. After all not one person will notice all the weight I am gaining back if my nails look good. (Well at least I hope!)

Well, I'm just going on and on and going off my topic but in my mail there was a postcard that yet another LYS is closing up! Another owner going off to knit from stash and enjoy her family. SO now our only really local knitting shop is a store I really prefer to avoid BUT there was a big sale starting SAT. and my knitting friends who are really on the ball had already arranged for us to meet early shop there, then eat out and go on the our class. The sale was great, the dinner lovely and the class a treat! AND I hit the sale basket at the shop class and now it is official I need to live to at least 106 because I have enough yarn to knit for another 50 YEARS.

Today, I spend most of the day working again, calming my principal down about our Quality Review and baking a cheese cake for my friend's birthday. TWO more days of craziness at work then a breather for two days before I start a three week project where I will be working 7 days a week, 12 hour days during the week PLUS commuting and a shorter day on the weekend. When I'm finished I'll have lots of extra money to buy enough yarn to knit for the next 100 years.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

How Far Is Spring?

I should have been born in a warmer climate. I know NJ is not as cold as many other places but I just hate winter. It's not just the cold I hate, what I really hate is getting up at 4:45 for work, traveling a good part of the way is the dark and then returning home in the dark. I'm luckier then many people with my schedule because my desk is right near a window and most of the classrooms I work in do have natural light BUT this dark commute makes me feel like a mole!
There is a new earlier retirement plan that is becoming available to teachers in NYC and when I was wondering if I wanted to do it, two things came to mind---no more commuting in the dark and unlimited knitting time. The disadvantages are -- I really love my job and I like being able to afford to do just about anything I want knitting wise. SO it seems that early retirement might give me the time but not the money!!! Oh well, I think March is a month made for complaining!!!!

I still need to get the zipper for my sweater and I need to make peace with the sleeve of the sweater I am test knitting ( it is very close to becoming a vest!). I'm working on a mistaken rib scarf in a great alpaca I was given for Christmas by a teacher at my school and I'm trying to decide which sweater in my mental line up is jumping on my needles next!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I've just done something that I excited about. I signed up for a class with Annie Modesitt. It is on March 8th and is about knitting with color. I've done the techniques she is teaching but I'm never satisfied by my knitting with different colors. Other people's work always looks neater, more even etc. SO maybe I'll learn how to improve my technique!

I finished my Central Park Hoodie, now I need to go buy a separating zipper for it. I was going o put buttons on but this jacket like sweater is just asking for a zipper. I did it in Malibregio yarn in dusty olive and I JUsT LOVE IT ALREADY. Now I need to start back on the sweater I'm testing the pattern for. I am considering just doing the button band and calling it a vest if I can't get the sleeves to cooperate!