Mouse-walking

Anyone else remember the old Yellow Pages ad, “Let your fingers do the walking… it’s a snap?” 

This weekend, my mouse did the walking.  I did household chores we all have to do, I walked the dogs, I went to dinner and shopped with the Knight, but mostly, my mouse and I clicked and surfed and got inspired.  

While I was exploring trail running sites – because while I don’t run, they are still the best resource for my fitness activity of choice – I ran across the Fit Bottomed Girls.   I love their tag line – Keeping a lid on the junk in the trunk.   I think I was born with a full steamer trunk, and keeping the lid anything other than blown wide open has been a struggle.  

(Why can’t I think of a super-cute blog title like that?)

From GoingPlaces2 via Etsy

Anyway, it was love at first sight.  Somehow, whatever link I followed from whatever trail running site took me there dumped me at THIS post.   While I’ve pinned that pink version, I couldn’t resist sharing the JRT version here.  I think I’m going to have to commission one with a basset AND that JRT…  if that’s possible.

What neat things have you discovered recently?

Advertisements

Woof for Walls

I’m half-heartedly working on redecorating the living room at The Woods.  We desperately need a new rug, a new TV and its friends holder of some such (the jury is still out on what precise type of furniture “we” want), but I also want to add some fun wall art.  I think I’ve found at least one piece…

Right colors, a slightly rough-coated Jack Russell, and those of you who know me in person know I love little more than to have my bare feet in the sand or grass!

There’s no basset for sale at present, but I saw a few that reminded me of some of you…

For not-blogging-now Jess and her fur-boys.  I like those colors a lot and the quote also speaks to me.    It doesn’t take a big splash to make ripples that work their way out to touch the world.

For the PWDs…  I don’t believe those PWDs, especially Fudge, believe much in waiting, period.  That’s but one reason Sue dubbed Sis an honorary PWD!   (Be sure to scroll through all the pages, Sue.  There was a second PWD piece as well.)

And in honor of Cory and his pack… he and Chelsea are Westies, but their mom has also had a few Scotties she loved well.  Be sure to pop over to the fur-girls’ blog, where Gretchen has wished our little friend (and his mom) well!

 All images are borrowed from the Etsy shop in question.  I learned of said artist in The Blond Duck’s post today.  Like Queen Bitty, Sissy’s big ol’ nose is a little out of joint that there is no graphic representation of her breed.  I might have to custom-order something, with a positive, powerful quote, because goodness knows, that crazy DIVA has done a fabulous job of keeping the joy in my life even when a mere human would have been drowning in her own stress and sorrow.

Let me know if you order something!  I’m curious like that…

More to Crow About

November 2010 010As if TWO cowls, designed and knitted with me in mind weren’t enough, gMarie‘s package also included two more books in the Tea Shop cozy series we’re both enjoying, and another of her fine dumplin bags.

Don’t you love the chicken wire on the flip side?!   (See it in the long handle?)  I’m crazy about these bags.   You can find yours in her Etsy shop.  Her stock’s a little low right now, but she’s working on the next round!  It’s hard to launch a new shop and your designing career all at the same time, especially when there’s an annoying pay-the-mortgage job that sucks away her valuable, creative, crafting time!

November 2010 007I’m not the only one who likes these bags.  Granted, my inspectors are always on the job, but they’re especially fond of the scents they know from their fans  spoilers  friends who send goodies regularly.   I’m sure they DO smell the west coast hounds, but that just adds to the charm, right?

Now, don’t bother reading ahead if you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or if you don’t give a hoot about things Potterish.   Spoilers abound, so reader beware!

Courtesy of Amazon

This was my second reading, and I’ve never been happier to have re-read a book.  I’d promised a few folks I’d re-read it someday, because as I’ve mentioned more than once, I HATED it the first time.  I believe the words I used back then were something like “It ruined the whole series for me.” 

This time, I was prepared for all the deaths, including those of some of my favorite characters.  I still think JKR didn’t need to kill off both Lupin and Tonks, but I’ve read her defense, and war is awful like that.  It also sets little Teddy up to have his own series one day, with similarities drawn between him and his godfather, the great Harry Potter.   (I’m no longer participating in Harry Potter discussion forums, but I doubt that’s an original notion… it’s just too obvious, especially since Harry himself draws the comparison between himself as Teddy’s godfather and Sirius as his.)

Maybe it was time and distance, or maybe it was simply a matter of knowing what to expect, but this time, I enjoyed every single page of this massive book.  I’m glad she made Dumbledore “human” so to speak.  I loved seeing Molly Weasley, the warrior queen in the final battle.   I’m still no fan of Snape, but we all understand him a lot better at then end of this book.  Like most of the characters, his entire being is a sum of the choices he made, and that’s a theme I really appreciate.  We all have choices, and what we do with them defines us and our lives.

Despite adoring that Harry and Ginny named their second son Albus Severus Potter, I could have done without that epilogue, “19 Years Later.”  I would rather have seen what Narcissa Black Malfoy and Draco did after the battle.  I wanted to see them make GOOD choices.  I would have rather seen “Cissy” leave Lucius and Malfoy Manor to move in with Draco and whomever he married, or maybe she could have bought a place on the same street as her OTHER sister, Andromeda and helped raise her orphaned great-nephew.  (Why yes, I do realize I just basically said I wanted Cissy to pull up stake and buy an unassuming house in a Muggle community!)

Did Bellatrix kill her own niece (Tonks) and that niece’s husband (Lupin)?  I’d like to know, and I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute.  I don’t think Narcissa or Draco had that blood lust in them.  I wanted to see one or both of them redeemed.  Sure, sure, you can argue that without Narcissa’s Harry-faced lie, Voldemort might have won and the book would have had a rotten, no-good, awful ending, but I wanted more.  That was still a whispered secret, and while I’m sure any surviving Death Eaters suspect Narcissa betrayed their cause, I wanted MORE. 

How ’bout you?  Share your thoughts on the series and the end with me.  Are you going to the movie this weekend?  I probably won’t.  I stand a chance of dragging the Knight along if I don’t ask him to go on an opening weekend.

Marketed

(logo property of the JLC)

Mistletoe Market was fabulous again this year.   Best of all, I had time to chat with a few vendors and friends.  I’m so glad Ann could join me, and I hope schedules will be different next year and more of my local pals can meet me at the Market too! 

Yes, I’m already anticipating next year’s event, in part because some of the vendors are as well!  You know you’re doing something right when vendors are talking about coming back next year before the event is over.  

I actually did a little Christmas shopping Saturday, but only Ann will notice what I left out, and I’m sure she won’t tell you if I flash your gift…

November 2010 012

Some are obvious.  We both bought personalized ornaments at the very first booth we visited.  I confess…  Auntie Ann found these and basically demanded them for the fur-princesses.   The year is on the back of each crown.

November 2010 011Next, I scored another ornament that long-time readers might think is for Sissy too.  Not really…  I’ve always liked starfish, but this is just a painted, ceramic version.  It’s from the Chesapeake Bay Christmas Company.  I actually snagged a few gifts too. 

Sorry I don’t have names and/or links for all the shops.  It’s very simple; if they made it easy for me to find their name/website after I got home, you get them.  If not… 

November 2010 014Such is the case for whomever sold me the Evan & Earth candle.  I have DRY skin.  DRY.   Ann and I shared a look of trepidation when the woman asked to spoon some warm, melty soy candle wax onto our hands, insisting it was a moisturizer.   I love soy – soybeans are a big crop in these parts, so I always feel I’m supporting local agriculture when I buy/use soy products – and I’m pretty sure I “squeed” out loud when the warm, rich, fragrant wax hit the back of my hand.   It was lovely, and I need to figure out where the candle shall live at home so that it is safe and handy for daily treatments!

November 2010 018

His ‘n hers bags of candy.  He loves cashews and white chocolate, and I love dark chocolate and almonds.  Win-win!  Red Rocker Candy is a great little local business that I’m going to have to support more often.  While I like cashews, I don’t like white chocolate much at all, so imagine my surprise when I truly enjoyed the sample of BOTH candies! 

November 2010 016

Last, but hardly least is a friend’s new business.  You’d never guess that Eure Notes is a new enterprise!  Those are but a few of the note card packs I brought home.  I know I’m not too biased, because Ann snagged a few cards, and while we were gabbing with my talented friend, more customers made purchases too.  She has a great eye for specialty papers and the embellishments are just perfect.  I know who to call – or go sit with! – next time I want to make cards but feel uninspired.

Do you have friends – or etsy vendors or other small crafter-type businesses – who inspire you?

Floatin’ Along

Welcome to my entry in the Bark ‘n Knit WIP Parade.

A group shot was out of the question, so grab a cuppa’, a snack, and settle into a VERY comfortable chair…

But wait!  Every parade needs some pagent queens, right?

IMG00018-20101015-0840.jpg

Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy, more commonly known as Sissy, is riding on the well-used chair of the late Pop.  She is wearing a glow in the dark ruff, accented with orange bells.  She is sponsored by the Woodridge Hound Club.

IMG00012-20101015-0838.jpg

Next up is the Haddon Wood’s Junior Miss Princess Gretchen Greer.   L’il Miss GG is a foot entry (and thus, she sulks).  She sports a very seasonal gown with a glitzy jack o’ lantern.  She is sponsored by the Hogwarts Crup Alumni Society.

Both princesses’s attire was donated by their doting Gramma MJ.  (And yes, the girls are at work today, and they’d like you to read their very important post today too.)

We now return you to the parade in progress.

First up are my spinning works in progress, just because there are fewer of them and they are easier to cover.

DSCN1347

April 2008

This definitely holds the title of oldest WIP.  It’s an unknown fiber that came free with the first spindle I purchased.   There’s a tiny bit on that spindle, and even more on my Kundert.  I’ll be practicing with this until I feel like a slightly competent spindler.  (Is that a word?  It should be.  Spinners who can master wheel and spindle are special.)

DSC01804Next up is the first pound of wool I bought.  It’s of an unknown, coarse, krinkled crimp stuff that LOVES to be a tightly twisted laceweight single.  I spun about a 1/3 of it on my Bellus and another 1/3 or so on my Aura, and it is what I’m spinning on now.  I want to finish it this month, as I started it immediately after a friend lost her battle with breast cancer.  I think I’m going to navajo ply it and then it’s definitely going to be Grace’s Comforting Embrace, the shawl she had just finished designing when my friend died.  Grace kindly donated the proceeds from the sale of this pattern for a time to cancer research. 

October 2010 003

Last in the spinning WIP division is the silk merino the Knight gave me for my birthday.  It’s all spun up, waiting for me to find the right commercial yarn to ply it with.  It’s roughly a fingering weight single, and I have visions of it being knitted into a lovely stole or cresent for dressier wear.  Any and all suggestions would be appreciated, both in terms of a plying yarn and a pattern.   I think I want either black or pewter…

Now, to the knitting projects on the needles.  I am happy to say there are no crochet WIPs.  For whatever reason – maybe because crochet is sooo quick? – I tend to finish what I start in crochet in a short order.

October 2010 005First up is the Tea Party Cardi, which I hope to finish this month too, but I need to get knitting.  I have the back done, but only a couple of inches of one front panel.  That’s a close-up of the broken rib pattern that dominates the sweater.  It’s a very fast knit, but I haven’t had much time to knit at home, and it’s a bit too bulky to take it with me as a travel knit.   I’ve had it on the needles 2.5 weeks, so a more realistic completion date might be mid-November.  I’ll need three buttons for the front.  Any suggestions?

DSC01318My most recent cast-on is a mystery sock a bunch of us are doing together in the Stash Sock group on Ravelry.   Since it is a mystery knit along, I’m not sharing photos, but that’s the yarn.  The goal is to finish by year’s end.  I’m really enjoying knitting with the Shi Bui yarn, even if the color is “peony”.  I’m pretending the color is merlot or some other lush, red wine that makes me think of fall.  I’m doing these socks magic loop, one per circular needle, but I’m knitting each clue on each sock before I move on.  I’ve finished clue #1 on one sock, but not the second.  And I believe clue #3 is being released today, so I’m falling behind, right on schedule.

October 2010 004I have another sock on the needles, the awesome Cotty pattern in a custom hand-dyed colorway by Ann.  This is my easy, breezy travel knit, and there’s no deadline, although the colorway says muted Christmas to me, and Ann did give me the yarn for Christmas 2008.  She calls the colorway Spring Ahead/Fall Back, and I can see that too…

As an aside, because this post won’t be too long already, I do need to tell you how much I love the ChiaoGoo Stainless circ.   I wasn’t at all sure about that bend in the metal tip near the cable join, but it makes the join a non-issue.  And the stainless wrapped in rugged plastic is a GREAT cable too.  I need more circular needles like I need another hole in my head, but…  Of course, you might guess that they’re available at Dog House Yarns & More.

DSC02061

Those are the three projects I’m actively working on.  Next up is the shop sample scarf for Dog House in a laceweight cashmere.  The pattern is one Plymouth released for their Eco Cashmere, and it’s a nice pattern, but I cast on for this in April, right before my knitting mojo went on a summer sabbatical.  I haven’t been able to get back into it, but I need to, because it’s a heavenly little cashmere… just ask Gretchen.  I’d like to finish this before I go up on Halloween to teach a magic loop class at the shop, but something has to give…  I can’t finish everything NOW!

DSC00804The other lingering WIP I worked on over the summer was MooSon.  I’m ashamed to admit I cast on in April, 2009.  It’s a great pattern and an even better Gypsy Knits custom-dyed yarn.   It was supposed to be a birthday gift that year, so I’m still hoping it’ll be a Christmas gift this year.  If not… well, there’s always said birthday 2011…  Christmas 2011…  You get the point.  Can the intended recipient guess this is for her?

DSC00375Even older is the gift made from another Gypsy Knits custom dye job.   Ravelry says I cast on in February, 2009.  Anita found it and figured out it was for her when she was doing some graphics work for me.  The mystery is though… neither of us have a clue when she’ll get it!  Sadly, despite this photo, it is almost done.  I think I have a bit of one sleeve to finish and then all of the second sleeve and the trim.  You’ll understand if I don’t remind her of the pattern or tell her when I hope to have it finished, right?!  😉

Do parades have an intermission?  Maybe this one should.  Get up, stretch, head to the bar for a latte or something else to wet your whistle…

DSC01415Actually, we just have one more hibernating project.  Sadly, I’m going to have to frog it and start over (it’s a good thing – I need a smaller size!), but I think it’s next up on the sweater agenda.   I cast on for Whisper in December 2009 (look!  less than a year ago!) almost immediately after Jessi sent me some of her laceweight to try.  I haven’t broken it to GG – Gretchen Greer – that her second favorite yarn is no more, but I’m not beyond a shameless plea for any remaining laceweight in her former shop inventory to head my way!  For Gretchen’s sake, right?!  It is a FINE merino, in every sense of the word.  And if ever you need help deciding how soft and premium your yarn might be, Gretchen works for cashmere, new frocks, carrots and bananas.

My float would be bigger/longer, but I did frog two projects two weekends ago.  Just don’t go look at my queue, okay?

Loot!

September 2010 027This is post three of a 4-part series on my weekend, mostly about the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.   Please come back tomorrow for details on what I consider the find of the festival, Gretchen’s little pink, boiled wool coat.  It really is worthy of a post of its own, whether you adore wee doggies and their clothes or just admire FINE handcrafted goods.

Before we launch into that, let me mention that Nichole has  another great give-away on her blog.  It sounds like a great book, so if you haven’t entered already, tell her I sent you, okay? 

Now, for the rest of the story.

Before we look at the loot, let’s talk about the people.  Kathy has FAR better photos (read: we repositioned so the wind was blowing into our faces rather than across ’em), so if you want to see her and her friends and family, pop over to her post about Saturday.   It was great to see her, her dear hubby, meet her parents, etc.  I love when formerly bloggy friends become “real” and I think given that I “farm” (Farmville on Facebook) with Kathy’s mom and chat now and again with Shelly, that makes us as real as it gets!

DSC_0665

Beth, me, Anita, Aimee, Magan, Beth's DD

That’s the Blue Mountain crew, minus the young man who was such a good sport about the whole day.  All of the adults are members of the Blue Mountain group on Ravelry.  Blue Mountain Handcrafts is Beth’s enterprise.  You can find her on Etsy or on her website.   I’m still admiring her husband’s fiber tools.   They’re pretty enough to make me think I’d like to blend some of my own fiber… maybe…

Beth, Anita, Aimee and Magan are all members of the FIX co-op I mentioned yesterday.  Here’s a link to Magan‘s shop, which has some pretty roving and cute earrings!

I don’t have a photo of dear Dianne of Creatively Dyed, but I’ll get one this weekend when we do dinner.  She has the best smile in the world, a reflection of her incredible heart!  Doesn’t hurt any that she also has a rather unique approach to dyeing that I can’t resist either.

September 2010 011

That’s the merino/silk/cashmere roving I couldn’t leave behind.  I mean, I know I’ll see her again in just a couple of days, but Gretchen wouldn’t have forgiven me if I’d left this up for grabs.  (And yes, for those of you who don’t really know Gretchen, the wee one does have a passion for cashmere and fine merino!)  And talk about names, since you know I love my yarns and rovings to have real names, not numbers…   Goat!!  That’s also one of Sissy’s nicknames, so this was truly destined to come home with me.

September 2010 012

This is a milk fiber and something blend.  Sorry…  it intrigued me enough to have to come home, but I failed to photograph the tag, so…  I don’t recall the name either, but Dianne wisely names all of her goodies, so rest assured, it has one.  (Cow, maybe?  Bovine?)

I also snagged two of her yarns, but they’re gifts and I want them to be surprises, so… tough luck to the rest of you.

September 2010 015

That’s a button I snagged in the Foothills Spinners & Weavers Guild booth.  I don’t know that it’s practical, but I’ll use it eventually because it’s too cute not to be called to action!

September 2010 016

This bow came from their booth too, for Sis.  She didn’t mind having it clipped on her collar at all.

September 2010 018

I couldn’t get the photo I wanted of Sis and the bow, but she’s just so photogenic…  sight hunting with her new accessory. 

Now you’ve seen it all, save the details on Gretchie’s coat.  Friday, I have a finished object report for you too.  Be sitting down when you read this – and Friday’s post – because I finished a pair of socks!

Follow Me to Etsy!

Now, where were we?  Oh yeah.  I was going to share more of my weekend with you. 

September 2010 010

Anita came bearing gifts.  She made that lovely batt just for me.  No, I don’t have a clue what’s in there, but there’s a bit of sparkle, lots of soft, and it reminds me of a calm sea day at the beach.

September 2010 009She also gave each of us a pretty button.  I’m hoping they’ll become regular features in her Etsy shop, but time isn’t on our side.  Anita has a job that requires long hours in the tourist season (which is all but year ’round) and leaves her too tired to craft when she gets home.   Maybe if enough of you admire this button and beg for more…

September 2010 007

Anita also gave me this rich silk hankie from Zoo Creations.   Zoo Creations is Aimee’s (in the pink handknit sweater in the group shot I shared yesterday) Etsy shop.  I am blessed to know SO many talented women!

September 2010 008Here.  You need to see the whole of this hankie.  Talk about semi-solid color, no?!  I’ve not spun silk yet, except in a blended roving and/or batt.  Hankies intimidate me a bit, but there are tutorials out there, so I’m going to give it a try.  Anyone have any great purls  pearls of wisdom to share? 

September 2010 014Aimee also handed out pigtails of her delightful Who Peed in the Pool roving.  (Link is to the more vivid version “Who ELSE…” currently in her shop.)  Several commercial yarn and fiber companies should take note; we appreciate a snappy name for our colors!

Both Anita and Aimee are part of a new, hot and happening FIX – Fiber Indie eXperience Co-op.   (Ravelry link)  It’s a cooperative of talented fiber industry crafters supporting each other in business, and they’re having a great prize incentive through October 9th.  Check it out!

Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up with a few more photos and details about the weekend.