Saturday, May 26, 2012

Discombobulated in a good way

Saturday is almost over and I feel like I have been running around like a crazy girl! I started out my day by sleeping almost three hours later than I do on a normal day, which is SUPER awesome. Sleep is so important and I never seem to get enough, so I love Saturday mornings with no alarm clock! But of course I feel all discombobulated as I am off my normal schedule. Still - hard to complain about being well rested!

I did my weight in and I dropped just over 2 pounds this week which makes me happy. I lost the weight I gained last week and a little more too, so WIN! I had a nice Zumba work-out after my weight in and then I took Emma outside in between storms and snapped a few pictures.

I went over to inspect our Strawberries and saw a flash of red! Yup! We have berries! Most of them are still green, but we have a few that are very red! I am going to leave them for my hubby to find. Strawberries are his crack. 

Our Peony bush is JUST about ready to pop. I suspect before next weekend we will have some really pretty blooms. The flowers are so pretty - but they have almost no odor which makes me sad. The scent of a peony is one of my favorite things. These are actually from Tom's grandma who lived here up until she died when Tom was only 1 or 2 years old. It's nice having plants that have been in the family for generations. When this gets too big for the bed I will split it and give half to Tom's mom.

Not long after I played Photographer we had another severe storm roll in  - this one has some nice sized hail along with heavy heavy rain. You can see the white chunk on our table on the deck along with the heavy rain drops making a splash. It's just been a wet wet day. Which means tomorrow when it is in the 90F/32C temps again it will be a steam bath. Yuck. We still have no air, but at least now we have the ability to open the windows in the living room. We had to take a hammer to one of the storms in order to get it out, but it is out and we can get better air circulation now. We should have done that 9 years ago when we bought this house. Yeah. Nine years of not being able to open the windows in our living room. I guess we just needed two really hot miserable weeks with barely any sleep to motivate us.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy your weather - what ever you may be having!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Pot Holder of Ill Repute

I haven't been talking a whole lot about my knitting and crochet lately, but I have been cranking along on stuff. I have been crocheting washcloths on my lunch hour, and today I finished a pot holder! Weeee!

This was really easy. I cast on (chained) 51 stitches and then worked 50 stitches in Extended Single Crochet until I could fold my fabric in half and get a square shape. When I hit that point I DID fold it in half and then did single crochet all the way around to lock the two pieces of fabric together. On the corners I did three single crochet to give a nice turn. I did this on a size I/9 - 5.50MM hook. It ended up weighting in at 71 grams on my trusty scale - which is about 129 yards of cotton yarn. Easy as pie!

And YES! I found out that the crochet stitch I have been doing rather obsessively for the last few months is called the Extended Single Crochet. So yay(!) that I can finally put a name on what I am doing!

I am still working on my KAL shawl. I am almost ready to bind off and then I can begin the edging, so that is really exciting. I can't believe this was supposed to be knit in a week! Crazy. It should have been more like a month long KAL. I went last weekend and purchased a longer needle for it and have been working on it pretty non-stop since then. (I was working with a 29" needle and upped it to a 47" and it's SOOOO Much better!)

I am trying to get some whips done before I cast on anything else new, but it's hard. I am pretty fickle and I have so much gorgeous yarn that is just BEGGING me to knit it! Argh! Must. Finish. What. I. Started.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hot and Heavy with a Flower on Top

I weighed in this morning and it wasn't very pretty. Not surprising - but not pretty. I put on 1.5 lbs this last week and actually I am pretty happy it wasn't more! I did half the work outs I normally do and I had a lot of food that is not really on my diet. (Eat more + Work out less = weight gain.) So this next week I will try and bring it around the other way. (Eat BETTER! + WORK OUT MORE! = Not feeling like a sausage in my jeans!)

This week has been a bit stressful. We had to get our hot water heater replaced which cost a pretty penny, and our central air conditioning stopped working as well. Normally if your Air is going to die May is a pretty good month for that, as our average temp is 70F (21.1C). However this week has been REALLY warm here in Minnesota and we broke the record high temp yesterday set in 1911 and ended at 93F (33.9C). Just. Miserable.

We had to have our windows open (sadly we have a lot of windows in our house that DO NOT open!) and the light of our TV at night attracted these charming fellows.

June Bugs. So very gross. I shiver every time I see one of these guys. They slam into our screens at night attracted by the light of our TV, and the cat just about poops herself with wanting to jump in the windows and swipe at these critters. Yuck. I will be happy when the go away!

I have been doing a little gardening this last week. I planted a bunch of viola in a red pot because it made me really happy. I love the red and purple combo.

I also picked up a "Pansy Bowl" which was on special for a great deal. It fit perfectly in our planter and I was thrilled with the ease of just dropping a plant in and not having to scrounge dirt and arrange a bunch of plants I paid too much for. Sometimes instant is thrilling! (Especially when it's cheaper than what I would have ended up planting!)

I got a set of these planters from my brother (who made them from siding and cedar! Clever!) and we place them at the front of our deck every year. They see a lot of heat/sun, so this year I tried a simple geranium surrounded by verbena. Hopefully they will survive and (dare I hope?) thrive in the hot summer sun.

And lastly I thought I would show off the cute little green berries that are popping out of our strawberry patch now. So cute! It won't be long until we have awesome strawberries to nibble on! Hooray!

Alright - Off to get my workout in before the temperature gets too much higher. I have been sweating for hours already - so I am trying to think how good a cool shower will feel when I get done with my workout! :) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shepard's Harvest Festival, Part 3 - The Haul

And for my final installment, I thought I would show my gluttony off and post a couple photo's of the fabulousness that I brought back home with me.

I try really hard at these festivals to buy things that I cannot purchase at my Local Yarn Shops. This is actually a little hard to do as my local yarn shops are really really good! The Twin Cities is blessed with MANY wonderful shops and several of them had booths set up at the yarn festival. I love StevenBe "The Glitter Knitter" and his shops The Yarn Garage in Rosemount and Steven Be in Minneapolis, but his booth is ALWAYS swamped and I actually just try to do a quick drive by and then stay away. It reminds me of a beehive where all kinds of people are flying in and doing that intricate dance that bee's do when they fly into the hive and tell the other drones where the sweet sweet nectar can be found. His booth is like his stores - just filled with things that stop you in your tracks and make you reach out and touch things. I struggled this year to just zip by. Got caught on some Three Irish Girls yarn next to a DayBreak Shawl (I think this is actually the shawl that was on display!) but I untangled myself and kept going. Then I had to walk by again (these things happen) and my eyes fell on this bag below.

I grabbed it and slowly made it to the register and purchased my bag. Love it! I found out they are part of a line of Zombie totes and accessories put out by the blogger and pod caster Tina Henry. Will have to get more Zombie goodness in the future!

And below is all my wonderful haul laid out on my table when I got home. You will notice to the right there is a large pile of Brown Sheep yarn. I got this at over half off the price I normally pay and this is one of those yarns that I use A LOT. I mean all the time. So I kind of HAD to buy two large bags full and blew a large chunk of my pool of saved funds right then and there. I felt a little sad that I was bringing home a big pile of yarn that I can get easily and that I have used so much - but the savings I got it for made me happy again.

The lower left hand corner has a bunch of random alpaca that I kind of just had to have. The kind that you touch and end up opening your wallet and throwing money at random people in the hopes that the alpaca will then follow you home. Lovely Lovely stuff from alpaca owners.  There are also a few bold colored skeins up front that came from Happy Hands Yarn. I love this yarn dyer! She is just such a sweet sweet woman and her hubby is great too. We talked to them last year and I got to talk to her briefly this year. I am ALWAYS drawn to her colors and both years at the festival I have come home with a pile of her yarn. She also dyed the yarn for Lila & Claudine's Shop Hop in 2011 and it was the best yarn in the bunch! Just wonderful yarn and I will look for her booth every year.

I bought a few canned items from a person who had a booth in the barn. Sauerkraut and Strawberry-Rhubarb Jelly.  The sauerkraut is already half gone and I wish I would have bought a LOT more. It's something I will be watching for at other festivals. YUM! And in the above photo you will kind of see on the Zombie bag a spoon rest in the shape of a sheep! Yup! Brickyard Pottery & Glass had a booth and I had to have one of the sheep spoon rests. I was a little annoyed that the back was rough and she pretty much told me I could take it home and sand it and it would be fine. It would have really messed up any sort of counter top or wood table. Lucky for me I have a plastic cutting board on my counter under my coffee maker that it can rest on without hurting anything and I use it everyday now! WIN!

One of the yarns I fell in love with and ended up buying A LOT of was the yarn from Sun Valley Fibers. They have a Ravelry Group and they have an on-line store as well. The orange and black yarn (called Oriole!) and the next 5 skeins (stopping at the one marked CORAL) are all from them. They were one of the few boothes that took credit cards and I kind of went bonkers. The yarn was just so yummy I couldn't stop myself! (No - I don't knit socks and YES it is all sock yarn!) I do however have a lot of shawl patterns in my que on Ravelry so ... yeah. I should be good now hu. The multi colored red/orange yarn 7 skeins up is a yarn I went back to three times. It is called "Girl On Fire" by JL Yarnworks. I kept asking myself if I really loved the yarn or if I was just hooked on the name? Turns out it was both. Home it came! And way up at the tippy top are a gray and a yellow skein of corn yarn from Corny Goodness. If you haven't heard of corn yarn here is their "about page" where they talk about how wonderful this yarn is. (anti-bacterial, anti-odor..... all kinds of cool properties to this yarn!) They had a baby blanket made from this yarn there and I was quite taken with it - and may make one out of this fiber some time in the future.

And here is the mug I purchased at the festival. When I went to put this in my backpack I accidentally elbowed another woman in the boob! Color me embarrassed! She made a joke about me getting the other one too and that maybe they would grow a little bit bigger. Hee hee! At least she wasn't upset!

The festival was just wonderful and I had such a good time. I am already looking forward to next years festival!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shepard's Harvest Festival, Part 2

For my Part 2 post on the Shepard's Harvest Sheep & Wool Festival I thought I would share some animal pictures from the festival. But not quite yurt. First - A photo of a YURT!

I decided not to wonder in (Lots of people and a little warm out) but I did admire the yurt and the awesome Spinning Wheel. Even more intriguing to me was the the loom in the shape of a giant triangle. This is a Shawl Loom and the lady working it said she can get a giant shawl in just an hour or two! Amazing! I found a link to Triangle Shawl Looms here if you want more info. I find it fascinating! (Can you imagine the stash busting possibilities??!)

In one of the main buildings they had several tables set up with different breeds of Bunnies on the tables and nice cards that told you what breed the bunny was and what it produces for fiber, etc. They were all just so squishy and wonderful! Just wanted to go give them all a big squeeze!

A Trio of pretty Alpaca. They are so cute! They really curled up together a lot and would spend a lot of time moving away from the hands reaching out to touch. They are such sweet critters! In the background you can see some shawls hanging and some art work on display. Everywhere you looked here there was something else to draw your attention. It was fantastic!

It seemed there were a lot more llama in the barn when I went through than alpaca. These guys seemed to pose for me as I snapped my photo. They have such pretty eyes and expressive ears!

I borrowed my hubbies camera for the day and his camera makes a shutter noise when you snap a picture. This guys/girls (not sure of the sex) ears would come up AFTER each shot. Like they were wondering what that sound was. It was funny. Around my 4th picture the lady standing next to me started to laugh.

You got to love how proud this one looks even though some of it's lovely locks have been shorn. Behind him you can see the thin neck and cute head of it's neighbor who got shorn up to the head. I think they are so endearing when they are shaved and have these long scrawny necks. Just pen after pen of cute and funny.

And lastly for this post, a shot of the human animals walking around the pens. This is half of the barn - meaning there was another aisle just like this on the other side of the barn. There were a few critters I did not get to take pictures of as I couldn't get very close. The baby lambs had a big crowd around them of course!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Shepard's Harvest Festival post were I will show off my haul!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shepard's Harvest Festival 2012, Post 1

It was Mother's Day this past weekend which means it was also the annual Shepard's Harvest Wool and Sheep Festival in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. (YAY!) This year I went all by my lonesome since my hubby had an event of his own to attend. And this year the weather was amazing and the place was just A ZOO! I am happy it's so popular - but boy was it exhausting!

Instead of having a mile long post, I thought I would share a few pictures over several days. The web site has a wonderful description of what the festival is all about, so I will quote them here:

"Shepherd’s Harvest Festival is an opportunity for rural and urban people to meet and share information about sheep and sheep products and other fiber-producing animals. The Festival was started in order to provide a venue where wool producers, wool consumers and wool artisans could come together and share the excitement of working with sheep and their fantastic product – wool. Gradually, the Festival has grown to include other fiber animals such as angora rabbits, alpacas, and goats. The Festival strives to be a family oriented event that is not only fun but educational. Numerous classes are offered in the fiber arts — geared for all levels of experience — from the beginner to the expert. Each year, we offer some classes in the less well known fiber arts so students can expand their crafts expertise Many vendors of fiber and fiber animal related products show their wares at the Festival through a juried selection of vendors of unique products. If it’s fiber related, you probably will find a vendor with just what you have been looking for.
To add to the fun of the Festival, there is live entertainment each day. Demonstrations are ongoing for sheep shearing, herding dogs, spinning and knitting. Activities are planned to spark the interest of youngsters. Judging, showing and selling of fiber from sheep, angora rabbits and alpacas give you the opportunity to view some of the finest fleeces in the Upper Midwest and to compare your skills at selecting fleece with highly regarded fleece judges. There are many activities at the Festival. Feel free to peruse the activities listed in the right hand column of events at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival. Then come and join in the fun at this year’s Festival! Thank you to the entire fiber community for making this event such a success!!"

This first photo is a view from the entrance of one of the buildings. These buildings are just HUGE and they were packed full of vendor's and music and demonstrations. It was just wonderful. I believe this was an area where you could go up and try different types of wheels. I am not a spinner, so I just admire all the doodads and doohickeys I see at the festival. There were so many ways to play with fiber being shown - it was mind blowing!

Here we have the same building but I aimed my camera down the other aisle. All the buildings had vendors down both sides of the buildings and then a row in the middle as well. I believe there were Four Primary buildings that were as full/busy as this and then other buildings with animals, classes, competitions, etc....

This was the food vendor area and they had sheep sheering here and a yurt set up and all kinds of cool stuff. I took this picture early on in the day - maybe 30 minutes after the gates opened. An hour later it was hard to walk around here there were so many people everywhere! The lines for the food were insane. I had promised myself this year I would get the Fried Walleye chunks with homemade tarter sauce - but alas. It twas not to be! I just couldn't bare waiting in the long long line on something that would blow my diet all to hell. I did get me some cheese curds though!  (DOH! So worth it though!)

I want to say these ladies were with a guild - but I can't remember now. You think you will remember all these details after you get home - but boy does it all dissolve into a colorful blur pretty quick! At any rate, these gals had several wheels set up and were spinning fiber. I know the lady in the red sweater was next to me in a line were I bought a whole bunch of stuff, and she said she was going to hit the booth owner up for donations - so I know they were with some non-profit type guild type thingy. (Oh boy - great memory Jen!)

And here we have Elmo the sheep. I didn't understand this when I read about it in the notes, but we could bring handmade decorations to "decorate" Elmo. I would have loved to have brought something for him to wear!

And here is one more view into a different building. I was standing in the doorway looking down - and you can make out the other entry way way down on the other end. I think I can safely say there wasn't much that was not sold here! It was just amazing. I spent about 4 hours here and I was just pooped when I left. But I also had a trunk loaded with goodies! Stay tuned and I will share my Stash Enhancement Photos in the very near future!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How does your Garden Grow?

Part of the joy of having a mild winter and a warm spring is that all of our garden's have gone insane much earlier than normal. My Growth Hardiness Zone is in the 4 range here in Minnesota. The rule of thumb for us is that you don't stick a plant in the ground until after Mother's Day - which is the second Sunday in May here in the USA.

 It's still getting cold at night here, but that doesn't seem to stop the perennials from thriving. Which is wonderful! I love looking at my gardens and seeing what is coming up and what made it through the winter. The downside is that I am anxious to get in some annuals and my veggies. I spent a good chunk of time yesterday at some garden centers. They are scrambling to get stuff in. I ended up coming home with 10 bags of cedar mulch for my gardens. Got 7 bags down and the lawn mowed before it rained - which just made everything all that more lush looking.

My Lupine is very happy this year and there are lots of babies shooting up all over the place. I suspect I will be having to transplant some lupine out of this bed in the next year or two as they take off.

I have been slowly scattering my ornaments as well. We can't keep them out over winter or they will shatter, so ever spring I get to put the whimsy back in my gardens. And since the plants grow (and occasionally die) every year things are never the same year to year.

I struggle with hitting the right balance in my beds. This bed is a bit more shrub and fall blooming - so I should really plant some bulbs in here or something to get some Spring blooms. Although in the fall this bed looks really great. Balance is tough.

Our Strawberries are looking pretty good this year and we already have lots of blossoms. There are more bald spots in the bed this year that last year - but I suspect the lack of snow is partly to blame. If we don't get enough snow the plants seem to freeze out a bit. I have some plants in my new butterfly garden that I don't know if they made it. One has come back strong - but two others are barely there. I sort of can't tell if the plants have come back or if I am looking at weeds. Time will tell.

In Health News, I am still going strong with my new healthy life style. I am doing my Zumba 2 for my Wii 4 days a week for 45-60 minutes a shot. Still love it! Am still amazed that I can be dripping with sweat and smiling. It feels good to feel strong! I am still struggling with water consumption. I have no problem drinking a lot of water when I exercise, but on a normal day I struggle a bit more. I know it's important - so I am working on it. I have been taking my vitamins more consistently. I have to take them with food and it pretty much has to be my lunch meal. The vitamins really upset my stomach and breakfast is too light (and too coffee rich) to take vitamins with, and I suspect my taking them with dinner been a factor with my insomnia. So I am trying to remember to take them with lunch every day.

I tell myself every week I will track my points on Weight Watchers, and never make it through a week. I am still trying to drop weight and I know being accountable for what I put in my body will make a difference in my weight results at the end of the week, and yet I fizzle off a couple of days in. So that needs some work. I have shown a small weight loss the last two weeks, so that is moving in the right direction.

OK - This is getting kind of long, so I think I will sign off.  Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...