Thursday, August 28, 2008

Updates - Red Scarf Project and House Hunt

redscarf 09 wip2First, the pretty. Last night, I passed the 2/3 mark by joining the third skein of 1824 Wool (Mission Falls). This has turned into a delightful, squishy scarf that, unlike the cashmere blends, will hopefully not pill. Squishy = good, pilly = ick. I need to take another picture in better light!

Pattern: Mistake Rib. I love these 1-row patterns. If you cast on the right number, there is no guesswork as to which row you're on. For Mistake Rib, you cast on a multiple of 4 stitches, minus 1 (I cast on 27 stitches for this scarf), and work a 2x2 ribbing, always starting with 2 knit stitches, ending with 1 purl.

Another cool 1-row pattern is the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf (obviously, handspun yarn is optional). This looks fabulous with yarn that is heathered or has multiple colors.

My So-called Scarf is a two-row pattern that results in a cool stitch.

Just a reminder: You can start mailing scarves any time, starting Saturday or thereabouts (they shouldn't arrive before the 2nd). Scarves that arrive after Oct. 31st will be sent to other worthy charities. I plan on mailing as soon as I finish washing the scarf and getting some gift cards together.

House Hunt Update
We decided to give the house another go, but this time with representation. The agent who handled the sale of my dad's house agreed to represent us, even though he doesn't usually work in that area. It would be a quick commission for him, and we do trust him. However, the listing agents flat-out refused to work with him. I guess once you go in w/o an agent, you're not allowed to add one partway in?

We got tons of advice, from him, my brother-the-CPA and his coworker-the-lawyer, and told the listing agent that they have one chance to get this right. We gave them a list of requirements for things that had to be on the offer papers AND lowered the offer. (Not a lot, just enough to make a point.) Suddenly, they're behaving professionally. We told them that if they screw this up, we're walking.

They don't know this yet, but we will not be using them as a buyer's agent for any other viewings. The other realtor is going to get us someone from his company in the area.

Read More......

Monday, August 25, 2008

WTF? House-hunting woes

Last Wednesday, we made an offer on the house we liked. Since then, I've had a bad feeling in my stomach, based purely on instinct. Not about the house, but about the agency we dealt with. As of about an hour ago, we're out of that first offer. Here's a timeline:

Friday, 15 August: We meet a rep from the listing agency to see the inside of the house (we'd already run all over the exterior). Because we had a hard time getting agents to return our emails/calls, we planned on working with this lady to look at all the houses. On those, she'd be our agent (we saw 3 others that day). On this house, however, she was a seller's agent.

Tuesday, 19 August: John sees another house with her and asks to see the inside of "our" house again to take pictures. He tells her that we'll very likely be placing an offer on Friday.

Wednesday, 20 August: Agent calls and says that they have another offer coming in that evening and suggests we place our offer prior to that. Since we're paying cash (assuming the offer is accepted), we would have a better shot. Since we don't have to have proof of the inheritance with us, and the closing of dad's house is 99.9999% sure, we go ahead.

However, one of the listings mentioned an auction and 5% premium, so we asked that they confirm or deny that little number. They couldn't, so we dropped our offer by a few thousand to make up for it. We're told during the meeting that the auction was closed and that our requests for both attorney approval and contractor inspection contingencies were no problem.

Many times during this meeting with the agent and the listing agent/agency owner, we were addressed as if we were complete buffoons. They frequently expressed amazement that we'd done some homework and asked intelligent questions. The agency owner is also a contractor and would love if we'd hire him to do the inspection (hahahahaha) and the needed repairs (rotflmao).

Monday, 25 August: Agent calls. Oh, auction is still on, so they had to submit our offer (which was to a bank, not an auction house) to the auction house, who had accepted it, conditionally. The price was okay, but we had to remove the contingencies: no attorney approval and no inspection. As if.

After some discussions with our CPA/CFA (my brother) and his attorney coworker, we have the wording to return to them with: "no." ;-) The agent kept going on about how we could lose it (we know). We had to keep pointing out discrepancies in the paperwork and her statements.

As it stands, there is no offer, and our check is being returned. Supposedly, the auction is "really" over tomorrow, and we can start again. We like the house, but don't like or trust the listing agency. We will have a buyer's agent with us next time, if there is a next time. The offer amount will NOT change, but a couple of other things will. Like the seller's name will not just be "bank" and the contingency for the inspection won't expire 30 days PRIOR* to the offer date.

*Their bait 'n switch, our bad for not catching it. There were 2 sets of documents. We reviewed the first while the second was reprinting, marked it up w/ questions, etc., but didn't compare every line between the 2 copies. The lawyer said that it's an invalid contract based solely on that, but it makes the agent either a manipulative liar or a moron.

Read More......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Office Supply Geek's Dream Come True

Better put, a Sharpie geek's dream come true, but both myself and the birthday girl are office supply geeks as well as Sharpie geeks. Hinted at here, I have no idea where I first saw this (Personalize Your Sharpie!), but it was at least three months ago. I posted something on my gift ideas blog, but couldn't put a link anywhere else. It's been killing me! I put off ordering for financial reasons, then thought I might have waited too long. Nope! They promise shipping within 7-10 days. Whew. ETA: If the first Sharpie link doesn't work, try

Anyway... for my birthday a couple of years ago, Jdub got me Sharpies: tons of them. I wanted to return the gesture, without duplicating it.

I ordered six hot pink Sharpies with her name on one side (last name blurred here for her privacy) and paw prints on the reverse. I would really have liked to have something more creative on them, but the only quote I could think of at the time was too long (and kind of obscure). Asking her what she wanted on them would have totally given away my plan. This is classic, and reminds me the personalized pencils my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Schweitzer, got for every student in the class that Christmas. (I think it was fourth grade. He was one of the coolest teachers I ever had, and I'm pretty sure he was the one who did that.)

The price isn't too bad, considering that you can order as few as six markers (limited color selections). Totally worth it for the thrill of giving someone personalized Sharpies, especially when they are among her favorite things. (Places that offer better prices usually require the purchase of several dozen pieces.) I absolutely plan on ordering the lime green ones, just as soon as I can figure out what to put on it.

8/24/08: I wrote the above some time ago, but couldn't post it until Jdub had her present. I gave it to her yesterday since her birthday is in the middle of the week and we don't get to see each other often enough. Verdict: she loved them! They are NOT going to work with her, even though she uses Sharpies a lot there, because them being personalized won't stop people from stealing them.

Speaking of geeks, I added a button to my side bar for the Dr. Why web comic. I believe I've mentioned recently becoming a Dr. Who fan. The comic contains some spoilers for a newb like me, but not so specific that they'll ruin an episode for me. Great fun!

Read More......

The Craft Show that Wasn't

The company was good. That's the positive side of it. Oh, and I was complimented profusely on the packaging.

Hot, miserable, sticky day (and we had shade, which was a lifesaver when it started to rain!). I had too much stuff for such a small space, but it wouldn't have mattered, because hardly anyone came. Since they had also billed the event as a flea market (we didn't find that out until yesterday morning), it came as little surprise that many people barely paused as they realized we were selling new items at regular prices. (It was not a craft show!) And I got shorted on the cash side (I did sell a few things)... but since I was in charge of the settling of totals, I can't blame anyone!

We ended up closing up early, because we all felt sick (because of the heat).

Pictures are in the "craftshow" tag on my Flickr album. Some have notes.

Some items will find their way into my Etsy shop. Some will become Christmas and other gifts. Edit: actually, before they go to Etsy, I'll probably display some items here first.

Read More......

Friday, August 22, 2008

Crafty Fun Friday, 22 August 08

Short list this week, but they need to be shared before summer is over!

(printing & cutting) Summer Camp Paper Dolls (free PDF download)

(DIYing) How to make a PVC Sprinkler Toy, via mmmm, brains

(knitting) Knitted Cotton Bath Mat

(crafty) Felted Wooly Balls. The blog says they're for kids, but of course I thought, "cat toys!" Via mmmm, brains.

Read More......

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not How I'd Want to be Remembered

Have you ever done one of those writing/self-awareness excercises where you write your own obituary or eulogy? I've tried, but never gotten far -- I've never been able to think of anything to say. I doubt that Dolores Aguilar would have written something like this:

Dolores Aguilar
1929 – Aug. 7 2008

Dolores Aguilar, born in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayd, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope that she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

This was really and truly in the Times-Herald Napa/Sonoma (in print: the online version has been pulled). I heard it on the radio Tuesday, but found some online references, along with a verification of accuracy.

This has made me think of several things besides what my obit would sound like. I wonder if Dolores would have been a nicer person if she knew her family would publish an obit like that? I wonder if I should write mine now and stick it in an envelope with my will?

Deep down, I kind of love this obituary, because I appreciate the honesty. If I knew Dolores, and she was as awful as this makes her sound, a flowery obit would make me a little nauseous. Yes, gloss over the kind of small character flaws we all have (please!), and focus on the major portion. I truthfully wouldn't wish this obit on anyone, but understand that someone can be so nasty that there is just nothing nice to say.

Random musings, kind of related
In the cemetery where my folks and paternal grandparents (and great grandparents) are buried, not far from the family plot, there is a shrine to a woman named Peg (probably Margaret; I don't remember). It's a large stone, with a line drawing of her face lasered into it. The entire area is surrounded by statuary, vases, etc. Funny thing? My dad, as we witnessed a "drive by" visit* to her grave, revealed that she was a hateful woman whose children were barely speaking to her at the end of her life. Now that she's gone, they've elevated her to sainthood.

At the end of the row from the family plot and across the aisle is an unmarked grave. The gentleman who rests there has been gone ten years or more, but his children can't agree on who will pay for the stone, so there isn't one. According to the sexton (also via my dad), he was actually a nice guy who happened to raise greedy kids. Whenever a storm blows the displays around, the sexton moves one to that grave.

*Frequently done there, if the site is close to one of the "roads."

Read More......

Nearing the Finish Line

Yet more craft show updates. I think I'm going to feel rather silly come Saturday morning when I have all this cute stuff and fun displays and sell nothing. People should not be surprised when they get these items as Christmas gifts; I selected projects that people in my life could use/would enjoy with just this possibility in mind.

Craft Show Tees
Tees for Jdub and I to wear on Saturday. I really wanted an aqua shirt, but couldn't find one in time. On a whim, I made up a few extra appliqués. I love this fabric!

heat packs emptyAlmost-ready hot/cold packs. I sewed the outer bags last week, and got up early this morning to sew up the inner bags and fill them with barley. My to-do list is now very short. (woot!) I have to buy 1 pound of barley to finish the last inner bag for the hot/cold packs, sew up the top seam for the last 3, and stuff all 9 packs (I did 3 sizes, and 3 packs in each size), then haul everything to the car (some things are already there).

I don't remember if I shared the fact that I had a dream last week in which I got to the fair, and found a prime parking spot, only to realize that I'd left all my crafts at home.

After this, I probably won't have pictures until after the show, when I share what the table and displays looked like.

Read More......

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm sure there will be many more of these "opportunities" in the near future, but for now, I would love some help with the following:

Moving Announcements
I have several barely-formed ideas floating around. A couple of searches brought me lots of ones I could buy, but of course I want to make ours. Suggestions, links, etc. would be welcomed!

Displaying a Dulcimer
My mom had an old dulcimer in a box, which I brought home from my dad's house this weekend. I think it belonged to her father or grandfather? I thought it would be nice to hang it up somewhere instead of keeping it in a VCR box in the basement (VCRs were pretty huge when she packed it up). I was thinking of having a shadow box made, because I doubt the ready-made ones are deep enough. Thoughts?

Rocking Chair Seat
When my brother was born, my dad got my mom a rocking chair. He doesn't want it, but I couldn't bear to let it go out of the family, so it's in my garage at the moment. Problem is, the seat is starting to split at a couple of the joins. Is this fixable, or do I only let children and petite women sit in it?

Different Kind of Planter
I brought home 2 pairs of my dad's turnout boots (heavy rubber boots that firefighters wear). I'm keeping 1 pair for myself for running around outside when it's raining (too big, but fine for slogging to the garage, etc.), and plan on using the other pair to make planters: one for me and one for dad's grave. (My brother took the "formal" leather boots, since they're actually his shoe size.) I need to figure out what kind of plants to put in it for the grave.

Read More......

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Happening?

Saturday, August 23: Craft Show @ Holly Library 9:30 - ?

September 1: Start mailing Red Scarves to OFA. You have until mid-October

: Viva Pinata 2

Saturday, September 13: Knitterpalooza 2008. Now that I know this event is in Royal Oak, I hope to make it. Dependence: the house situation.

October 15: Deadline for Red Scarves' arrival at OFA

October 31:
Halloween. My favorite holiday.

Read More......

Showoff: Ad in Interweave Knits

nby ad interweave fall08
This ad is on page (I think) 93 of the fall issue of Interweave Knits, and it's my design (the ad, not the hat). I'm glad it was in this issue, as it's my last one before my subscription runs out!

There wasn't a lot of flexibility, considering all the info. I was asked to include, but I like how it turned out. The reduced creative freedom didn't bother me one lick: I get a lot of flexibility in the online ads, and when things need to be included, they need to be included. I do all of NBY's ads on Ravelry and - I think - Knitty. I do occasional work for some other yarn stores in the US and Canada, but NBY is my mainstay. I get paid in yarn, which, you know, rocks.

If I wasn't getting paid in yarn, I'd totally order from Cheryl. She packages everything up so nicely and ships things out really quickly. I would very much like to visit (perhaps during her beach retreat in October), but I don't travel much and will be moving soon, so no Oregon Coast for me.

(Image size reduced to fit page.)

Read More......

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Poll in the Sidebar: Favorite Monkee

For some strange reason, the local station pre-empted the network (ABC) and showed old TV shows. Oh, it's Dream Cruise this weekend. Whatever. I caught the tail end of an episode of the Monkees and figured I'd ask who your favorite was. The poll is in the sidebar -- click there, then feel free to comment here.

Mine is Mickey.

Read More......

Fail: The House We're NOT Getting

John has wanted to see this house for months. He's watched the price drop and the description get more desperate; he also thought it was marvelously quirky (from the tiny bit you could see on the listings). We drove past it on our way to see the house we DO like, and I agreed that we should tour it when we met with an agent. When he set up our appointment on Friday, he asked that this be included, and the agent was able to make it happen. (It was the only house that was occupied.)

Words can't accurately describe, and pictures can't show you how truly bizarre this property was. I couldn't take pictures of how disorienting and claustrophobic the second floor was, or how scared we all were on the stairs.

Aside: Last Friday I went to an Uppercase Living* party at Jdub's. A few of us got to to talking about buying/selling houses and the subject of setting/staging the house came up. Someone said they'd heard (on a TV show) that emptying the house and removing all of your personality was essential (paraphrasing). I said that we'd done that with my dad's house and the real estate agent told us that we needed to move furniture back in so people could visualize better.

Well, this house taught me that there must be a happy medium. I understand that the owners are still living there, but even if the stairs hadn't been dodgy, and the roof hadn't been sagging, and the second floor hadn't been claustrophobic, there was just no way I could envision this as our home, largely because of the decor. When a wall is a boring white, maybe you can imagine it as a stony gray/green. But when it's a vibrant royal blue or a shocking sunshine yellow, it's much harder.

I didn't photograph the pole barn in the back. I'd been excited about the second floor (ooh, studio), but the entire thing was rough -- crushed asphalt on the ground (downstairs), and no finishing upstairs. The entire thing, top-to-bottom was full of stuff (think Sanford and Son).

house we're not getting: mosaicGoing left to right, row by row:

  1. What's not in this pic: the moat/pond that's under that deck approaching the door. and all the bizarre statuary.

    What you can't see in any picture: how uneven the deck/ramp is.

    What you can see: the roof sagging, ever so slightly. It appears that the entire house was built out of salvaged materials.
  2. The back of the house. Pretty good indicator of what was to come. (We went straight out to the back to check it out.)

    What you can't see: the deck made with too-thin wood and too-widely-spaced supports.
  3. Quirky little details all over the place. Lots of strings of fake flowers. These may be attached to a string of lights (I don't remember).
  4. Always look up. I totally missed this little detail, but John caught it. The ceiling of the hallway leading to the bathroom was white pegboard, with translucent pushpins, a la Lite-Brite. (For fun, here's an online version.)
  5. More of the hallway
  6. What you can't see: the wood stairs are only ½" thick (there's a closet underneath) and are not uniformly shaped.

    What you can't feel: the linoleum-over-carpet squishiness, the disorientation of the oddly-shaped stairs.
  7. The hanging object to the right (on the cherub's left) is a string of reflective dart "feathers."
  8. Took this for Heather. There were odd collections of things all over the house, but this and the big burro on the stair-wall were my favorites.

*The party was lovely! (Jdub was, as always, the hostess with the mostess.) I found several items I'd like for our new home - after we move; however, word of advice to home party sales people: don't distance (there's a better word, but I'm blanking) your customers by announcing that you would never use a particular line of your own products! In this case, it was the Halloween-themed items. I'd immediately honed in on several that I wanted, or I thought would make cute gifts, and the sales rep announced that she didn't celebrate Halloween, and that she'd never use any of these because she'd offend everyone that entered her home. Better to say nothing at all, sweetie. Talk all you want about your favorites, but keep your trap shut about the things you don't approve of. (Unless you don't mind not selling any.)

Read More......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tiny Knitting Update

I was showing pictures of the houses to my niece and nephew, just on the camera preview screen, and had to flip past the scarf I knit for K. The first one she spotted was the picture where I rolled the scarf into a circle. "Oh, what's that?!" I told her it was a scarf and kept clicking the back button. She spotted an image of the whole thing. "Oh! I would like that! I hope that's for me!"


I've also finished a scarf for SIL C's mom, and have cast on for one for her dad. Both are simple: three different colors of Wool Ease, held together on big needles (15-17).

Craft Show Funny
The other night I dreamed that I went to the craft show and got a primo parking spot, right up front. And left all my crafts at home. Just like when I was in school and would dream about them moving my exam to the other side of campus and me not being able to find it. Good times. (I miss restful sleep. I almost don't remember what it feels like.)

Read More......

What a Week!

Knitting-themed B-day Cake
First, a picture I meant to put up earlier in the week. My SIL C. made this cake for me and presented it to me at the family dinner last Sunday. (It was yummy too!) Here's what they got me: a Nightmare Before Christmas candy dish. John got me Dr. Who series one (the new series) and we watched it together. Yeah, already done and ready for series two. There were several other lovely gifts, from John and from friends, that I'm still enjoying.

Why I've not been around
This has been a, shall we say, interesting week. Too much drama on a Ravelry group that I moderate. It made my heart a little sick, my stomach a little queasy and kept me from thinking about reading blogs or writing entries here. The situation appears to have resolved, at least on our end (I hope). I moderate eight groups on Ravelry and not one, in the year I've been a member, has ever had this kind of activity. (There's plenty of drama, just not in my groups.) A few months ago, I became a mod for the group in question, and it's been so low-key that I frequently forget to check it. Then, I took a couple of weeks off Ravelry and when I returned, all hell had broken loose. My poor co-mod had to manage it all alone. The week that I was involved was the nastiest period, as far as I can tell, and I wanted to quit on day two. Yikes! To give you an idea: there is a system for people to flag problematic or objectionable posts (they show up in a tab for the moderators). It's been up for a couple of months, I think. Every single flag (20 or so) in my tab right now are for the one group, for a two-week period.

On the flip side, as the trouble was caused by only 2-4 people, the remaining couple dozen involved just rocked my world. Fabulous people, and I'm glad to know them, even if it's virtually.

I think it's safe to announce that we sold my dad's house. It's passed inspection, been appraised for the amount the buyer needed, and he's been introducing himself to the neighbors. We close next Friday. This means we had to - finally - completely empty the basement and the garage, and today was the day. It was quite an emotional day. I found the family albums that I was afraid had been lost somehow (if I'd only asked SIL C, I would have alleviated that concern). I lost it when I was putting a coat into a bag to donate and felt something in a pocket, which turned out to be two pairs of reading glasses in two different pockets.

See, my dad was forever losing his glasses, so he finally gave up getting prescriptions and buying them by the handful at the Dollar store. They were everywhere. We buried him with several pair (his friends added lottery tickets and other inside joke items). Finding those just made something snap inside. (I kept the glasses.)

Because we were out of time and - to be honest - space, we had agreed to pack up what we wanted and give away everything that was left (with the exception of a couple items). A couple of friends dropped by and took what they wanted, then we put out a sign for a couple of hours. The hardest part was not just taking everything. But there is just no way. We still wanted some things to go to good homes, and we were lucky in some ways. A little girl my niece's age, who adored my dad (he dated her great aunt), came by and wanted something to remember him by. She took the ceramic fire hydrant that's been in his front yard for years, that none of us really wanted but couldn't bear to throw away. A totally random guy came and asked for some of the years-of-service plaques for his town's historical museum. (They have a firefighter's month every year and lack relevant exhibits.) The buyer of the house wanted my antique bed frame and the newish mattress.

One guy came almost immediately after the sign went out and stayed for two hours, going through everything and talking to himself the entire time. Still, what he took, we didn't have to take to a donation center. Plus, he found a box of books I'd meant to pack up in our car, including my mom's high school year books. All that remains is the rocking chair my dad got for my mom when my brother was born (John's getting that during the week).

House Hunting
Finally selling the house means that John and I can actually house hunt. We tried it last summer/fall, but it was too nerve-wracking to find a house we liked but know we couldn't do anything about it.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on a little road trip and looked at the outsides of some houses, one of which I liked very much. It had less land than I wanted (just shy of an acre, I wanted at least 2 or 3), but I have not been able to get it out of my mind since. John called the agent yesterday to arrange a tour for tomorrow. Good thing she was available last night, because I don't think either of us will be able to walk tomorrow!

We saw four houses. One was entertaining but badly built and kind of scary (I have pictures, which I'll post on Flickr soon). One was listed as being 10 years old, but there is no way this is true. One was a complete dung heap. The one I've not been able to get out of my mind is the one we're going to bid on. It needs some work, but big parts of it were already renovated. It looks like someone ran out of money in the middle. Of a wall. Seriously! There is one wall that is 2/3 - 3/4 painted, and they just quit in the middle. It has a first floor laundry room and a HUGE back porch -- the two things at the top of my list. We're trying not to get our hopes up, and this is all I'll say about it until we know the status. (If they accept our bid, the house has to be inspected, and we have no idea what that will bring.)

After we finished with the last house, we stopped for supper at a charming little steak and seafood restaurant in Waltz, MI. (I've never heard of it either.) I took it as a sign when I read on the menu that it's supposed to be haunted. How cool is that? (I don't want to upset anyone, but I don't actually believe in ghosts. However, I love Halloween, and ghost stories and cemeteries, and a haunted restaurant is entirely my cup of tea.) Bonus: at the table next to us? One of the waitresses, on her night off, bringing her mother and some friends for dinner, raving about the food.

There. I think that brings us up-to-date. I don't kid myself as to quantity of readers, but I like to think that the few of you who do read are interested in all this stuff.

Read More......

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

It's been a long time since I was tagged for a meme.

Stacie tagged me for this one. Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

So, six random things...
  1. I learned how to slow dance from a priest.*
  2. In my 30s.**
  3. I still have my tonsils.***
  4. My favorite ice cream is DQ soft serve vanilla.
  5. I almost got expelled from college for being a communist.****
  6. I did get suspended from first or second grade for fighting - off school grounds, trying to stop a bully from beating up a girl in one of the remedial classes. *****
I tag: jennifred, jdub, fullfaun, gwensmom, tvini & lilfish. Don't feel like you HAVE to do it, but it could be fun!

**Told you I was a late bloomer.
***Never been in the hospital.
****I'm not.
*****My dad was so proud. As usual, the threat came the day before: "I'm going to get you, tomorrow after school." I usually walked to and from school with this girl and asked my dad what to do. He said something like "the right thing." So, I did. The bully's coat was torn in the process and that's what the suspension was over. Her parents wanted my dad to buy her a new coat. Dad said he wasn't paying for a new coat for a bully, and that they could suspend me for doing their job if they wanted. I was back in class the same day.

Read More......

Saturday, August 9, 2008

IH Contest Results

Rosettes Set 2There was a slight delay in the drawing, because I was out & about celebrating my birthday. I'd like to publicly thank the dear friends who called me yesterday, and gwensmom for the birthday wishes via the blog.

There are three prizes for the contest, so I drew three names. The first place winner can select her prize, then the second place winner can choose between the remaining prizes.

First Place: tvini
Second Place: Beth W.
Third Place: Kat

So, tvini: let me know which prize you want. Then, I'll get in touch with Beth. I'll need mailing addresses, of course!

In this case, everybody wins, in a way. The ladies at Interim House most certainly do. I do, because I love spreading the word about such a neat program. Whether or not a prize was won, each person who shared with IH wins, too.

Thanks, everyone!

Read More......

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crafty Fun Friday, 8 August 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

This picture is from my 8th birthday (1973), and I was thrilled with a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (I cannot believe they are still available! (I want one!)). I don't think it lasted long, as I don't remember using it much, but I was pretty happy with it. I'm amazed by how much my niece resembles me.

Because it's my birthday, this means that I'll be doing the drawings for the Interim House contest winners around noon. Thanks to everyone who participated!

I recently started updating the Gift Ideas Journal. It's where I share cool finds and work out the occasional themed gift. I put gifts for the grown-ups on my list behind a cut so they can't accidentally see them.

(cooking) Fun Goldfish Lollies

(knitting) Free download for some cute mittens. They ask that if you use the pattern, you also knit a pair for your favorite charity.

(crafting) A couple of fun Photo projects from a Kodak employee (ljc): Photo Drink Umbrellas and Photo Bookmark.

(giving) How to make a Diaper Cake.

(crafting) Doll Suitcase, out of 2 jewelry box lids.

(crafting) Another crayon roll. This one is made of felt, and requires less sewing and turning than the last one I linked to.

(knitting) Sunflower Dishcloth

(knitting/kid-crafting) Great beginning knitting, excellent for car rides: Finger Knitting, via Crafty Crow

Read More......

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monster Tees

Yet more craft show pics. I put off doing things for a couple weeks, so now I need to get a little bit done every day. I have one more t-shirt left (another orange), but am not sure I'm going to finish it. I did smalls and mediums, and the green shirt is a kids' XL. I'm reasonably sure I also did one large. The only thing left for these is to sew in a label and print up care tags.

Four "Swamp Thing, Jr." Shirts:
monster tees swampthing

Two "Cthulhu, Jr." Shirts:
monster tees cthulhu

And one onesie:
monster onesie

I have an orange onesie from the dollar store set as my applique demo. I faked a stain in Photoshop and will print that out to display with the "after" onesie.

Read More......

Book Shipment and Contest Reminder

Just a reminder: the IH contest ends tomorrow at noon Detroit time. If I've received an email, preferably with a picture, by that time, you'll be entered.

Trixie Belden BooksTrixie Belden Book #4...and More!
In a previous post, I stated that I was seeking book #4 (The Mysterious Visitor) in the Trixie Belden series to give to my niece. As far as I can tell, #4 is the only one of the recent re-releases that is out of print; the cheapest one I could find on Amazon was $18. Well, I got lucky on eBay (not easy to do lately, it seems): eight books for $21 (plus shipping). John got them from the post office today,* and I'm so happy! They were packed carefully, wrapped in plastic bags, with recycled foam pieces wedged in to keep everything comfy. (The seller even shipped before I'd paid, AND included a bonus book (shown on top of the stack)!)

I'm going to insert these into my collection and pass my paperbacks onto niece K: book 4 now, and the rest for Christmas. We just need to find book #5 to get her through the first 12. (I found book #6 and sent it to her at camp this summer as a surprise.**) Book 2 (The Red Trailer Mystery) is a duplicate, so I may sell or give away the extra (paperback).

*Our mail carrier has issues. We were home all day Saturday, and she didn't even try to deliver the box. She just stuck a slip in our mailbox. This happens a lot. If it's bigger than a magazine, she won't deliver it.

**I remember being at camp, seeing other kids get mail and being so jealous! (It was only a week.) K was at a similar camp for a week this summer. She was allowed to get email (the staff printed out messages and distributed them), so I sent an email and a fat envelope. She was so excited! While John and I were in Ann Arbor that weekend, I found a necklace with her name on it, so I included that. Her name isn't very uncommon, but it's not found on every rack of personalized goodies, so I generally buy whatever I find. She's getting closer to that age where she'll suddenly be too old for all that kiddy stuff (11?). I think my brother was a little surprised to hear me sound so positive about my camp experience: I told him it was the best "religious institution" experience I'd ever had, and as long as it wasn't like that awful Jesus Camp documentary, I was rooting for her to go and have lots of fun. (She did. Big time.)

Read More......

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Craft Show Stuff - Displays

Applique Display 1
Something I finished up this evening. I had originally planned to take out the glass and put in foam core board and mug hooks, but got the (I hope) bright idea to use small suction cups (with patterned paper behind the glass). I looked all over Joann Fabrics this afternoon and they only had one package of (large) suction cups, so I gave up and bought mug hooks. I stopped at the dollar store to get foam core board. They had no foam core board, but sitting at the register was a bag of small suction cups with hooks.


  • Collage frame: $3 (on clearance -- got the brown one pictured below for $2 (I'm pretty sure on the prices))
  • Martha Stewart gift wrap: ~13¢ (on clearance for $1; I used 1/8 of package (2 sheets))
  • Suction cups: ~10¢ (large package for $1)
  • "Plate" stand - about $5

Ornament StandHere is another frame that I may also use. I'm not sure what else I have that will hang like the appliques. Maybe the cupcake flags?

I have my buddy Tina to thank for this. She suggested that I find ways to vary the height of my offerings at the show, and told me that she'd rigged up something with corkboard and mug hooks. I'm just way lazier. When the show is over, I can slip the gift wrap to the back and use the frames as, oh, frames. (The white one just needs a tiny touch-up, paint-wise.)

In front of it is an ornament hanger I got to help display the skein ornaments. It's very convenient to have a year 'round Christmas store within driving distance!

Read More......

Perpetual Birthday Calendar

It's probably a terrible thing that my own birthday prompts me to check my birthday calendar to see if I've missed anyone. In my defense, August is the month with the most birthdays, and I have mixed up peoples' special days more than once. I know my birthday is first in the chain, so I started checking near the 8th to make sure I'm on track. I pulled out my calendar today, only to discover that I missed a July birthday (hi, Rebecca). Sigh. I'm also usually prompted to start asking people for their birthdays around this time. But in case it looks like a card- or gift-grab, I'm refraining from doing that until at least the 9th.

The good thing that came out of this is that I was reminded how much I love the very simple (typed) perpetual birthday calendar I made for myself (even if I don't refer to it enough), and it inspired me to make up one to share. Print this PDF and fill in the special occasions you want to remember, and then stick it on the fridge or somewhere you'll actually look at it.

Right-click on the following link and save to your computer: Perpetual Birthday Calendar PDF. Hopefully, all of the fonts were embedded correctly and you will not see any gibberish. (Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art.)

Here's an idea of what one looks like in use. I only filled in a few dates (didn't finish August). There are just a few lines per month; I've come close to filling August - on my old typed one - but haven't needed all the lines for the other months.

Read More......

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I just ordered a personalized item for a friend's upcoming birthday and had her maiden name put on it. She's been married for something like 6 or 7 years, but I still slip and call her by her last name all the time (how we used to refer to each other a lot). Luckily, the confirmation email included a phone number for making corrections, and I spoke with a very nice young man who promised to call back as soon as he verified that the change had been made. (Jdub, you know this is for you. It is not pale pink (your answer to my vague query yesterday), because they don't offer that. I did get a darker pink, though.)

I'm DYING to post all about this cool thing, but am waiting until it arrives and I present it. Then I'll share.

Read More......


signs printed
I worked up these signs ages ago, but finally got around to printing them. (I have to reprint the cupcake flags one, b/c they have five flags (six wouldn't fit).) Please ignore the terrible lighting! I also made up a few for Jen's items, and a couple signs for things I'm not sure I'll get done in time.

I picked up a baby onesie at the dollar store yesterday. I'm going to fake a stain via Photoshop, then add a little apple appliqué.

hot cold pack directionsI think I'm going to reprint these as well, and make the caution verbiage even stronger. Otherwise, I think they're really cute.

redscarf3aug08_froggedI cast on for my red scarf project scarf over the weekend, but have since frogged it. The stitch pattern was easy (1 row 1x1 rib, 1 row knit), but it was curling too much for my taste. I'm trying something else now... will post pics and updates later.

Read More......

Monday, August 4, 2008

Craft Show Prep Progress

Recent Craft Show Projects
On Sunday, I hunkered down with my ironing board, iron, stack of fabric and thermoweb, and put the applique backing on a wide variety of fabric. Then, watched Tremors 4 with John and cut out circles and a few other shapes. Otherwise, I was all about the packaging. (I still need to make some labels to stick on the bag toppers.)

  1. The cupcake flags did not turn out as nicely as I'd like (bad choice of glue), so I'm dropping the price a bit. But, I have to say, I love how the packaging turned out!
  2. I liked the idea of using my button ties with the ornament packaging, but am hopeful that I'll be too busy to do it. Instead, I made up these tag sets in advance, with a button and some of my baker's twine.
  3. Speaking of baker's twine... I packaged up the spools. I also have larger dispensers.
  4. Appliqués for girls (each has a pear and apple; the rest are varied)
  5. Appliqués for boys (each has a robot and skull-n-crossbones; the rest are varied)
Still much to do, but I'm not feeling so overwhelmed now.

Read More......

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I finally finished reading Dracula. Wow, that took a long time! I put it aside for a couple of months, because I kept hearing Keanu Reeves (the first, oh, third of the book is all Jonathon Harker, and Reeves played Harker in the 1992 film). I picked it up again last week, and forced myself to continue; once I hit the parts where other characters' voices were heard, it became an enjoyable read. Now to settle on a new classic: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Frankenstein?

I also finished the brightly colored Bazic scarf (seven colors in 2x2 rib) for niece K. About 1/3 of the ends need to be woven in, and of course it needs to be washed and blocked (K is allergic to many things, including cats, and YOU try knitting something without a cat trying to nap on top of it!).

striped ribby scarf 4 k 2aug08 rolledThese may not seem like great feats, but it's been a rough couple of days! I had a killer migraine yesterday, and have been having some girly trouble as well (both much improved). I used to have migraines all.the.time, but I hardly get them now that I'm not working at GM and have quit drinking diet pop. I do, however, still have to maintain some level of caffeine intake, usually in the form of unsweetened ice tea. I didn't drink anything with caffeine yesterday, because I thought I was dehydrated and focused on ingesting copious amounts of water. Oops.

In addition to finishing the above, I got several items prepped for the craft show that's coming up (23 August). I'll show pics tomorrow. I feel really accomplished right now!

Today would have been my mom's 63rd birthday. It's our 11th without her -- she passed away Thanksgiving 11 years ago. Happy Birthday, Mom.

Read More......

Friday, August 1, 2008

Crafty Fun Friday, 1 August 2008

towel origami bookIn addition to this book, I spotted another one on the subject at the bookstore recently. There are probably free tutorials for this kind of thing online, too. Wouldn't it be a fun surprise for a house guest?

(sewing)Wild Flower Pincushion (pop-up alert)

(sewing) For Heather: iPod Nano Pouch (new style)

(cooking) Only kind of cooking. Mini caramel apples, via mmmm, brains.

(sewing) Scrappy Bookmarks

(crafting) Not Martha has updated her Surprise Ball tute. I've made these in the past, and they are a lot of fun -- to make and to receive (or so it appears)! I had a rough time finding flat fold crepe paper, but finally located some at a teacher supply store.

(crafting) Am I the only one that didn't know Etsy had a How-to feature? I found a tute for an Urban Hammock and LED Firefly Baby Booties in no time at all. (I would probably make the LED Firefly project into something for an older kid who wouldn't eat the electronics.) There is much more; I need to investigate.

(cooking) Just blending of ingredients and shaking/rolling: Ice Cream in a Bag/ or Coffee Can

One more week for the IH Contest! (See Sidebar)

Read More......