Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's been awhile

Finally, a bit of time to just breathe.

Christmas has come and gone. The socks were all finished in time for gifting and everyone, even SIL, seemed extremely pleased.

My DD2 is in the midst of her first pair of socks. In the new year she would like to knit mittens. For a look at a huge amount of beautiful hand knit latvian mittens go to

She has pictures and a link to the NATO site where there are over 500 mittens archived.
DD2 will not be making mittens so intricate, but these are inspiring.

I am in an ATC swap. An Alphabet swap, my letter is "I". I have brain stormed with the family over
"I" words that have interesting images that I can use to create cards. I need to make at least 13, but I'll probably make extra. The image I am concentrating on is this years Christmas stamp of Mary and Jesus.
I want to make a mini Icon ala the Russian icons only updated. I'm having trouble finding enough canceled stamps. You'd think they would be plentiful. I might have to resort to internet images instead.

In case you haven't heard of ATC's they are Artist Trading Cards. The cards are the size of baseball cards
2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches and must be traded not sold. A good explanation of these little bits of Art can be found at

or do a google search.
There are a lot of groups online that you can join to trade cards. They have themed swaps. I have participated off and on for over a year. I'm picky about what swaps I join and time is an issue. Of course
sometimes I have something like writers block, I can't seem to do anything creative except knit.

To look at some interesting ATC's go look at a few blogs:

and something similar

I hope everyone had a wonderful "Winter Celebration of choice"
Our choice is Christmas and it was a good day.
This week is for relaxing and recharging the creative juices.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've been knitting up a storm lately.Mostly socks. Three pair in three weeks. Not bad. Not up to Yarn Harlots challenge of a sock a day, but respectable for knitting while waiting in car pool line and while Mariah dances.

I've also finished the Kid Silk Haze scarf for the Louisville Ballet silent auction that is to take place during the Gala on December 2nd. I'm pretty proud of that.

I've also been commissioned by another mom to make wristlets for her 2 daughters. She saw me wearing mine and asked and I said yes. I haven't given her a price yet.

Today there is no school but there is ballet class. Mariah is missing a shoe. Hopefully it will be found at the ballet center, if not I'll have to buy new. Thank goodness it isn't a pointe shoe that is missing!

Tomorrow will be different. Usually Thanksgiving is at Mom's house. She makes the Turkey and potatoes and rolls and I make the dressing/stuffing in the crock pot, the green bean casserole and what ever else she asks me to make. This year it is surprisingly at my brother and SIL's house. What will we do without the leftovers?I'm still making the stuffing and the greenbeans, I just have to transport it 40 minutes away to Indiana, instead of 2 blocks.

This will also be the first year in the last 20 that DH isn't making his cranberry salad from his mom's recipe. That is kind of sad.

Tonight I'm making a bean soup recipe from the Rachel Ray magazine. I made it a few weeks ago and it is really tasty. She calls it White bean, sausage and kale stew. The kids won't eat it but DH thinks it is fantastic.Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Think I'll listen to a book and knit.
Keep me busy and away from food!

p.s. Found Mariah's shoe, in the mens dressing room in an open locker. Very strange.
She also got to do African dancing instead of modern today. Lots of fun, live music, drums!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I teach, I'm a teacher.
I don't teach grade school or middle school or highschool or even college.
But I teach.
It seems I teach at every opportunity. I just can't help myself I pass information along.
At ballet, in the bookstore, at the grocery.

I teach 3 year olds. They are usually such fun. The potty training is getting to me this year though.
One of the other teachers is calling me "pee pee head". That's enough about that. Yuck.

The last few weeks I have been teaching knitting.
Okay so the women I've been teaching techniques to already know the basic stitches.
They are ready to learn to do more than furry scarves and felted bags.
The last few weeks have been very SOCK oriented.

Try teaching someone how to turn a heel when their primary language is not English.
It is difficult at the best of times. Plus her pattern really sucked. So I found her a pattern that
explained the magic of turning the heel in a way that almost anyone could understand.

I met with a few other teachers from the preschool on Monday of this week. Boy the strokes were
wonderful. They think I am super intelligent. I fixed many mistakes. Picked up stitches and explained how to read your knitting. They want to do this a few Monday evenings a month so they can pick my brain.

Today I am meeting with one of those women to teach her how to knit a Worsted Weight boot sock.
She is so excited. She has doubts about her ability to knit a sock, let alone a pair before Christmas.
She wants to surprise her husband with socks though so I will do my best to help her. It also helps that she
teaches right across the hall from me and I'll be able to boost her confidence on a regular basis.

I have to tell you that a hand knit sock is special. They are warm and wonderful. They have no seams to bother your toes. A hand knit pair of socks knit just for you is a gift of love. After all that work, you give the sock to someone and they Walk on them and Wear Them Out. IF you give a special pair of socks like this to someone you must really love them, or they must be paying you dearly.

I usually make socks out of fine sock yarn on size 1 or maybe 2 needles. Knitting a Worsted Weight pair is FAST. Almost instant gratification. I also make both socks at the same time. Yes it takes twice as many needles, but when you are done, you are done.

By the way, one of the best descriptions I have read for turning a heel is in Yarn Harlot's book "Knitting Rules!"
If you don't know of the Yarn Harlot her real name is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and she has a blog. and has written 3 books with another on the way. She is a riot. If you have a lot of time, read her blog from the beginning, you'll be rolling.

In case you are interested in knitting socks there are many many free patterns on the web.
Here are a few:

Most of these are patterns for worsted weight yarn. They knit up quick.

I'm off to knit on my Wildfoote yarn socks, on size 1 needles, they are not quick, but they are beautiful and will wear like iron.


Friday, October 13, 2006

The Lunchbox/Bento Obsession

Okay, I'm a nut. Maybe I'm just a foodie. I love to look at pictures of food and all these creative people getting up at the crack of dawn to make beautiful healthy food for their children is really very inspiring.

Run your fingers over to and go to the archives and start reading.
I can't wait for her cook book to come out and I'm not even Vegan. What I find unique about Jennifershmoo's site is that her young son rates his lunch. Jennifer lets us know what he ate and what he liked. I like that. I like that such a young child will try so many different kinds of food too! My hat is off to Jennifershmoo!

I teach 3 yr olds. I always repack whatever they don't eat so their mom's will know if they like their lunch or not. Some mom's would rather I just dumped the leftovers, but I feel responsible for letting them know if their kid is eating or not.

Personally I wish there were more information out there about food and behavior.

My oldest is now 18, but she is still allergic to peanuts and soy products. When she was small if she ate peas she would become a whiney mess within 10 minutes. I have taught kids who after lunch are dazed, they walk around as if they are in a fog, they don't listen and sometimes have mood swings. Were they just tired or did they have a reaction to what they ate for lunch? I'd like to know.

Back to the web, I'm busy searching for a pumpkin cookie/granola bar/protein bar that doesn't have peanut or soy in it. I'd like the oldest to be able to eat it too.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Grief and a yardsale

On one of the lists that I am on we have been talking about grief.
We are a fiber group but we don't discourage off topic discussions.

When my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer I thought I'd grieved over the 11 months mom helped him live with that horrible cancer.
I was strong for my mom.
I had a wonderful dream where my dad came to say goodbye to me and he told me he was okay.
Several months later at the funeral for another family member, one I was not very close too, I broke down. I finally really cried. I didn't have to be strong. I didn't have to be angry.

My dad died over 8 years ago.
My mom had a yard sale this weekend.

How does this relate?
Well, she opened the closet downstairs where she had stored a lot of his clothing.
She was surprised.
She thought she had given most of his clothing away.
(His cowboy boots to a bookfair display and some of his suits to Seminary students. Other shoes to DAV.)

Today, she sold some of dads clothing at the yard sale and it was okay.

It was strange to look upon his cowboy hat sitting in the sun with a price tag on it and feel okay.
The sun was bright.
The air crisp.
The hat brought warm feelings and memories of Dad and DD1 both in their cowboy hats.
Dad with a grin on his face.

The hat didn't sell.
We put it back inside the house, mom will hang on to it a bit longer, and that's okay.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Sleep and the lack there of

Sleep, it is precious.
I'm not worth a lot with out sleep.
When I was young it was different, the lack of sleep put creativity on overdrive for me.
Then I had children and most of my creativity dribbled out my ears.

See, like most mom's I have a sense of hearing that is extreme!
When my children were babies, I could hear them turn over and sigh in their sleep from 2 rooms away.
Even now the slightest sound has me out of bed.
I've lost count of the number of times that the phone has rang in the middle of the night and I wake to find myself down the hall and around the corner answering it before I am even awake.
This extreme sense of hearing was great when DD1 was in her sneak out of the house phase.
I could hear her window open or the back door close over the white noise of the fan in the hall and the air cleaner next to the bed.

I wake when I hear DD2's door open so she can go across the hall to the bathroom. IF she listens to a book as she is falling asleep, then I listen to the same book.

All of this is just the build up to the lack of the most precious commodity in my world...Sleep.

DD1 now works at UPS and comes in at odd hours in the early morning 5 or so days a week.
I wake as the key enters the door. Heck sometimes I wake as the car pulls up to the house.
I almost always get up to say hi and this does not endear me to her.
She almost always stays up for at least an hour or 2 because she is too keyed up to go to sleep right away.
(mountain dew is the real reason) I can hear the TV even if it is almost silent and my door is closed and the white noise is on. I can hear her type on the computer in the kitchen, go to the bathroom or let the dog out the back door. Can no one other than I shut a door silently?

Last night she got in at 2 and finally went to bed at around 4. Every time I started to doze off, my extreme ears caught a noise and I was wide awake again. At 4 the dog came in my room, even he was disgusted.
I pet his fuzzy head and then he lay down and groaned before he went to sleep. I finally dozed off sometime after 4:30 and the alarm rang at 5:45. Don't ask if I accomplished much today.

It is almost 10 pm and DD1 is visiting a friend and I'm ready for bed.
Keep your fingers crossed and wave pointy objects so that when she gets home (and it better be early)
that she goes right to bed and I can sleep most of the night.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Do you Bento?

A few weeks ago I was blog hopping and ended up on a blog that had a positive review of an Americanized verson of the Japanese Bento box. It is called a Laptop lunch box. This is a very cool site with nutrition information and expensive but very cool lunchboxes. The company was started by a few mom's who found that the average school age child throws away over 50 pounds of paper and plastic and left over food every year. The boxes and containers are lead free.

I then googled "Japanese lunchbox", "Bento", and "Obento" I've been sifting through the sites. I am finding it highly entertaining. Perhaps I am easily entertained. There is a whole culture of Bento and it isn't just in Japan. The cartoons we import from Japan have brought bento to the world.

It is said that when your family member opens their bento/lunchbox they will feel the love from the mother who packed/made the food. So mothers try very hard to make the food look and taste wonderful. (is it just me or do we think this way about the stuff we knit for our family too?) Sometimes they seem to compete. It is a status thing for their kids.

On Ebay you can find cute Bento boxes, little bottles for condiments and little molds for rice. In Japan there are monthly magazines devoted to making Bento for your kids, calendars with pictures of bento boxes packed with tasty food.

There are blogs devoted to fans of Bento. One Japanese American mom takes a picture of her kids boxes after she cooks and fills them every morning. How do you use your camera phone?

Here are some of my favorite sites to check out.
Learn about the culture and pack a virtual box at:

This girl has explained things really well, has great links and
pictures of her bento box collection. Please check out her links.

I am now trying to get DD2, who is still in school, to get interested in Bento. Why? Because it seems healthier than most american options for a boxed lunch. I have always utilized leftovers for DH and I, but the kids never seemed to want to deal with leftovers. Leftovers aren't cool.
I think we can do better than a PB&J sandwich, bag of chips, and fruit rollup. Not that my kids ever took that combination to school. (preschool/MDO started yesterday and lots of my 3 yr olds had just that lunch in their lunchbox.) Sometimes DD2 will go years with the same lunch, day after day after day. She is toying with the idea of being a vegitarian though and perhaps this bento idea will get her to eat a varity of healthy foods.

Also, we run around so much with Ballet 5 days a week it seems impossible to feed her right sometimes. A lunchbox full of interesting food to eat on the way home from ballet might be just the ticket. I wonder how she'd feel about chopsticks?

If I were homeschooling I'd probably do a whole exploration of bento as a cultural lesson. In fact I might just recommend it to some of my friends who homeschool! They may just be busier than I am.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's in your Attic?

Last weekend my DH and I spent a significant amount of time crawling around in my mother's attic. We brought down boxes that had been stored in the attic since 1971. We found junk, trash, and assorted treasures. The garbage collectors took a lot away Monday morning. Some is going to a yard sale and a few things will be carefully washed and hopefully preserved.

Things like my mother's wedding dress and several formals from her college days.
Linens from my grandmother's house,
And the spinning wheel that used to sit in front of the fireplace when I was a child. I can remember dreaming about using that wheel. When we brought the pieces down from the attic, yes pieces, it didn't look like much.

I brought it home after finding the drive wheel in a closet and set about cleaning it with lemon oil. It cleans up very nicely. After getting the rust off the wheel even turns freely with just a bit of wobble. It is missing the footman and flyer, but those are replaceble. It has a name on the hub: Alfred Andresen and Co. Misseapolis Minn.
Evidently this was a mail order company. I've sent an inquirey to the Spinning Wheel Sleuth as their last issue has an article with pictures about this company.

More about the wheel as I learn more about it.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Me and my Bosworth Book Charkha

I know I was going to talk about bento next, but I had a very pleasant experience and I just have to tell of my lastest adventure with my little Bosworth book charkha

As I've said before, my DD2 takes ballet 5 days a week and with the price of gas I usually take her and stay at the studio doing something fiberish. Lately I have been spinning cotton on my book Charkha.

Last night I was spinning away when this elderly gentleman from India saw me and did a double take, his look was incredulous. He immediately sat down for a chat.

We spoke of Gandhi and spinning as meditation and protest. We spoke of the feel of hand spun hand woven or knit cloth in comparison to factory made cloth. We talked of the Love that is put into making something for someone. He asked me Why I spin. I told him about how relaxing I find it and how I feel productive at the same time. I told him I find it meditative.

I told him that there are at least 3 others in the Louisville area that spin cotton on a charkha just like mine. I pointed out the number stamped into my charkha (364) and told him that there were many more people spinning cotton on charkhas in the USA and elsewhere.

He told me about his wife who was watching their grandchild dance and brought her over to meet me. He told me how gifted I am to have my own mother just a few blocks away, that it was a blessing for my children to be so close to her. He said that he and his wife will be returning to India next Saturday.

His wife told me about the bazaars in India and the artists and crafts people. She told me of her carpal tunnel and how she can no longer knit, but she is doing yoga exercises everyday in the hope that her wrists will improve.
I showed her the shawl I am knitting and she stroked it and admired the fine yarn and the beautiful colors and pattern.

Then they sat back and watched as several children came to see what I was doing and I explained and a few even helped by turning the wheel while I drafted the fiber and the children were so "into" what we were doing. The Indian couple just sat and smiled.

It was truly a wonderful evening and I know that even as I am telling every one about my adventure, that next week when they get back to their home, I will be a topic of conversation. Me and my book Charkha.

If you would like to see what my charkha looks like to to
and take a look. It is a beautifully crafted machine.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Relaxing weekend

Yes, I realize it is already Thursday.
Last weekend was wonderful. The cabin really nice!
The food Wonderful. The company perfect.
I spun, I knit, I drank, I talked, I ate, then I slept.

I miss it already.
This week the ballet run started. That means I pick up DD2 and we run home and change
clothes and then I take her to ballet. She has ballet almost every day this year.
Today there is an audition for the group of dancers who go to SERBA every year.
DD2 has made the decision that she isn't going to try out for this group or for Nutcracker this year because, She wants to be able to have time to do her homework and go to some Chorus
events. Good for her!

Next post I may talk about the difficulty I have in making time for the evening meal because of the dance schedule.

I'll try not to bore everyone with a screaming session about my 18 yr old.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Fiber Weekend

For the last several years there is a group of us who get together and do a "Center of the Fiber Universe" party. Annie, the original COTFU, has moved to Las Vegas. I have to tell you that one of the better ideas she has had in the past is to have several of us get together on Odd Numbered Tuesdays at the coffee shop in Barnes and Noble. We sit and knit or spin and talk and if anyone passing by wants to join us, we let them. Her second greatest idea was the COTFU yearly party. It has been held in TN and different places in KY. Sometimes we have had people from St. Louis, Ohio, several from Indiana and Kentucky. This year it will be small, just the regular Odd Tuesday group minus a few.

This year Cindy has secured us a cabin in the woods. Well, it is a rustic dublex. We get half.
It is 3 stories, has a game room and a grill and 2 bedrooms and 2 futon sofas for sleeping.
We all bring food. Hopefully Anita is bringing Carrot Cake. I'm bringing margaritas and enough food to feed us all probably. My main dish will have corn cut from the cob, halved grape tomatos, red onion, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. Makes my mouth water to think about it.

I'm trying to get everything I might possibly need packed today. I don't know what the chair situation is, wonder if I should toss a few of the plastic outdoor chairs that Annie and I bought for the original party, in the back of the car?

On another tasty note I made granola bars from Alton Brown's site on food network. I of course changed a few things, used what I had on hand and they turned out to be like a nut & oat brittle.
Yummy. The kids both like them, which is amazing as they never agree about anything!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

slogging along

I'm on my 5th repeat of clue 4 of the mystery shawl. I am slogging along. I was going to do 6 or 8 repeats of this clue because the shawl looks fairly small. Lace is like that, blocking is magic.
I don't know if I can stand to do any more repeats of this clue, I'm getting tired of this project.
I hate it when that happens. When I finally finish and block this beast I'll try to post a picture.

For once DD1 woke up early and so both the girls are awake and it is fairly early in the day. I may have to separate them by room. DD1 can slay DD2 with a word and a look. I really dislike puperty and all that comes with it. Can you say moody and insecure. The noise polution in this house is nuts when they are both awake, music from one end and a movie from the other. I think I'll listen to a book, the earbuds will block the other noise.

Gas was $3.09 yesterday evening, we heard a rumor it was to go to $3.55 today. That is crazy high. Flame me now, but they should fix the Alaskan pipeline, it would help. I lived in Alaska for 3 years. Every person in Alaska benifits moneywise from the oil. As for the wildlife: the pipeline is heated so the area around the pipeline always has grass and food. There are more moose and other wild critters now than before the pipeline.

School starts next week for DD2. I'm not ready. The gas prices alone make it difficult. It is 17 miles one way to take her to school. My husband takes her to school on his way to work, but I have to pick her up and then take her to ballet after school.

About 3 times a year I seriously think of homeschooling. DD2 goes to an Arts middle school in downtown Louisville. Last year went really well, great grades, AP classes, drama and chorus. After school there was dance classes with the Louisville ballet. We only had a few problems with girls picking on her. Girls are so mean at this age. Luckily, DD is mostly oblivious and doesn't play mind games. Unfortunately she only has a few friends. Everyone lives so far from everyone else that it is hard to see anyone except at school. So different from neighborhood schools. If we homeschooled we'd use less gas, have more time for fun stuff, but the friend issue would still be there. We might argue more as well.

Any solutions?


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lazy day

My oldest child works for UPS. That means she works nights. It also means that we try to do somewhat quiet activities while she is sleeping through the day.

I have been knitting on the mysteryshawl4. I am on the 4th repeat of the 4th clue. I should have used a larger needle, this shawl is small! I'll have to do at least 2 more repeats of this clue before I start the edging clue.

DH is napping at the moment. He'll probably cut the grass later today. The heat wave has broken, it is in the 80's today. Yea. The dog is happy too.

My youngest is making envelopes. I have 2 sets of templates for this activity. I buy calenders at the $1. store for the kids to make envelopes out of, today's calender is puppies. Way too cute for me to use, perfect for a 12 yr old.

My bloodwork results came in normal except for zinc. So I'll take a vitamin with zinc and see if that stops the hair loss. I'd really rather not be bald.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

headaches, hair loss and friendship

I haven't had a migraine in months. Yesterday, between stress and PMS I had a doozy. I still have a bit of a headache on the left side of my head around my eye.

I go to my regular doctor today to talk about the lump and the fact that I have been losing a significant amount of hair on a daily basis. I didn't say anything last visit because I was a bit preoccupied with the lump.
My hair is fine, but usually fairly thick. Not so anymore. The last month I've lost a lot of hair.
It's scary.

Today is also an Odd Tuesday. A few years ago my friend Annie decided that our group of knitters and spinners should meet on Odd Numbered Tuesday's at the local Barnes and Noble coffee shop to eat cheesecake, drink fine coffee and spin or knit. If we attract a few people over to the pursuit of fiber, that would be great. Since then Annie has moved to Las Vegas, and there are still 3 or 4 of us that meet almost every odd numbered Tuesday. We miss Annie though.

At least 2 of us will show up this evening to sit in the cool and talk and knit. Sometimes we even bring our kids. Anita comes from South East Indiana. She drives 1 1/2 hours to be with us and Cindy drives about an hour from her house.

It is a reminder that friendships take work. You have to nurture each other and plan for ways to get together in this busy modern world. In these days of email, blogs and cell phones it is easy to communicate, but not so easy to feel close to family and friends.
Make time.
Phone someone you haven't seen in a while and invite them to lunch or meet at a coffee shop to catch up and just be together.

This summer instead of not hearing from the women I work with we have had 3 get togethers.
One woman is from Iran, she had us over for food and had her friends help and we all got to know more about her and her home country and customs. Another is from Greece and we learned all about greek food and looked at modern greek publications. Then there was the baby shower for one of the ladies. Good food, good fun and we all got to see each other and talk to each other, something we don't get to do while teaching 3 and 4 year old children.

Tomorrow I will go to lunch with 2 other women I work with and then on to a yarn shop because we all knit and want to see each other more.

Friendship, like any relationship takes work. Call someone you haven't seen in awhile and let them know you were thinking about them.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Gotta bump

Lucky for me they are saying it is a cyst and nothing to really worry about. Had a mammo and an ultrasound today. I also signed a petition after I opened my mouth about the gown/robe ...rough bit of cloth with sleeves and no ties that I was asked to put on before walking up and down the halls of Baptist East. I went to B.E. because they could get me in faster than the swank Jewish Hospital East that I went to last year. Now I know Why they were able to get me in for the smash in less than a week. The upside: The people were nice at B.E. and the girl in ultrasound wants to learn to knit socks.

At Jewish last year it was wonderful, a great first experience. People to show you where to go and nice Soft terry cloth little short robes. The whole atmosphere screamed "don't worry, let us take care of you."

Now I get to wait for results to go to my regular doctor and there should be discussion of getting rid of the bump.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


The twisted looping labyrinths of my mind and life.

I became interested in labyrinths several years ago. I read about them. I learned how to draw a seven circuit labyrinth. I used different artist materials to create labyrinths. I walked labyrinths when I could find them. I used chalk on my patio to make a labyrinth my children and I could walk at home. It was fun, it was mathmatical, it was introspective and mindful.

I find fiber pursuits fun, introspective and mindful too. I spin wool, cotton, and silk into yarn. I knit and even weave sometimes. I especially find spinning it is zen like, meditative.

A labyrinth is a mirror of life, with all it's twists and turns. Luckily in a labyrinth there are no dead ends, life sometimes hauls you to a blank wall where you have to back up and start over.
Knitting a lace pattern is like that for me, lose your concentration and you have to tink back or the pattern doesn't work.

Lately I have been knitting a mystery lace shawl. I signed up for a group paid a few dollars and downloaded the pattern every Friday for 5 weeks. I of course didn't finish each installment in a weeks time. In fact it has been over 2 months and I'm still in the middle of pattern section 4. The yarn is a wonderful hand dyed lace weight in blue, teal, gray and black. My friend Anita commented that I probably should have used a larger needle as my shawl still looks fairly small, even with over 500 stitches and lots of lace work. Well yes, perhaps I should have taken into account that life would request stress relief by pulling my stitches tight. I'm not starting over, I'll just do a few more repeats of section 4. Blocking will pull it out into a bigger size than one would think possible as well.

Lets hope that starting a blog will not be as stress inducing as my life lately. If it is I'll just delete because I don't know if I can stand much more troubling excitement. I'll not give a run down, I'm sure it will pop up later.