Friday, January 26, 2007

Spelling Bee

Miss E competed in her very first spelling bee today. After a meltdown this morning at home, she did just fine. Placed 3rd in her division, which I think is just awesome for a little one in the 1st grade who spelled mainly against 3rd graders. She, of course, was upset but after the winner came over and told her she did a great job, E perked up a bit. I must say, I was very proud of E for remembering our discussion about good sportsmanship. She was the only child I saw congratulate the winner and shake her hand. But my proudest moment was when she spelled "FROM" correctly. That word has given her fits for weeks. Not today. She rattled it off like it was her name! And spelled "WON" correctly. Hubster was sure she would miss it, I think. The word that seated her: "half". That pesky "lf" combo is one we haven't covered yet in phonics so she spelled the word "haf", like it sounds. For a kid spelling against older, assumed more advanced readers/spellers and considering she's only been reading for a few months, she is THE SUPER SPELLER around here.

And yes, Lynn...I'll try to figure out how to get a picture of her at the bee off the borrowed camcorder and into the blog so you can see more of what you and Ed are missing. Come back east!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snowy Day

When we have snow! I feel the urge to make Vermont Cheddar Bread
along with potato soup (this bowl is missing the cheese and sour cream!)

as well as some slightly burnt Magic Cookies bars, minus the coconut and nuts.
And of course, a snow day means lots of goofy around as shown by J&R. Isn't it shocking how much they look alike?

I finished another sock tonight along with weaving the ends in the last pair. I know, I need pictures but never seem to get knitting until after dark. Maybe later this evening yet, who knows?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FO Picture

PJ Pants#1, 100% cotton fabric bought on clearance, sportswear elastic bought in mega quantities, pattern drafted from an old pair of worn-out Fashion Bug pj bottoms. No, I do not have a bow leg as it appears in the picture. It's just a weird pose since my photographer wasn't as quick as I thought. And the giant pink spots are actually cute dragonflies. Still searching for a tee to wear with these.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Answers,Batteries and Cooking

I still have problems with Blogger letting me know I have comments. I do like to reply when I can so:

To A. who asked if we were still planning on a move: YES. When we find the right house. I have a very specific area in mind but see very few houses available to rent there right now. I also have a very, very specific list of things the next house will have so we may be another year or so yet. :::sob:::

To Miss Amy and Emily who both commented about KP's needles: I am still having mixed feelings about it. About KP in general. I am constantly drawn to them based solely on prices, which is what happens when you live on a fixed income. I am not happy with the fact that so many of their products are made in other countries or their customer service for the most part. My last encounter with Ms Randi did redeem customer service from KP a bit but not enough to overshadow some of the past.

To Red Sock Mama: BRING ON THE PJ PARTY!! Honestly, I had considered asking you after Christmas if you had an empty bed somewhere in that huge house of yours...I needed to be physically away from the demands of this house but after catching up with you a bit, I see it worked out for the best that I didn't ask. Please know that you, M. and the family are in my prayers.

Helen: Pics are coming IF the girls ever remember to charge the batteries for the camera! And only if you promise to not comment on my lump-plumpness! ;o)

Ren: You ornery girl, you! I owe you a thanks for the surprise you sent me through Kelli (or is it Kelly? I never remember those spellings!). Maybe one day a surprise will find its way to you.

And finally, Lynn...yes, Aunt magic is pretty powerful stuff. A certain spoiled little girl refuses to let me put B'ella away, even for a night, after all these years.

Batteries, batteries, who ate my batteries? Early last spring, after using entirely too many disposable batteries in the digital camera, I bought a small charger with the correct batteries. Someone lost one battery so we are down to only 3. Factor in a teenage girl and her boyfriend always using the camera for silly pics and well, Mama rarely gets to use the camera anymore. And wouldn't you know, I have another pair of socks finished needing their beauty shots? That's 3 pairs this month alone and yes, one pair is almost knee socks.

Am trying my hand at homemade yogurt today, thanks to Thicket Dweller's Time to Cook blog. The girls would live on yogurt alone if we could afford it so after reading what TD wrote, quizzing her a bit and gathering some courage, yogurt is now incubating in a quart jar in the oven. I'm crossing my fingers it turns out well since I shelled out over $4 for a bag of frozen blueberries last night. It sounded good, blueberry yogurt that is. And I am not a yogurt fan by any means. Hopefully homemade will convert me.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A list, a where to start?

I have this habit of making giant to-do lists. Anything from changing the tp roll to buying groceries and paying bills can be on that list. Usually everything is lumped together on a single paper: chores for the girls, errands to run, things Hubster needs to do. This morning I did something completely new. A to-do just for sewing. And oh! how it grew in just a few seconds. PJ pants for me, skirts and pj pants for E, mending, flannel shirt for Hubster, new bathroom curtains. Where to start?

PJ pants for me seemed like a logical choice since I have one pair of elastic waist pants for winter. Pants with a waistband really irritate that incision that needed packed unless I leave them undone. Completely undone around the house which is rude even at home. So making pj pants turned out to be an all day gig. I'd saved and carefully ripped the seams out of my favorite yet unfixable pjs (Fashion Bug thrifted!) to make my own pattern. Tracing a plus size pattern takes time, space, planning and patience but I managed to trace the remaining pants parts and get a pair cut out of some cotton print picked up at JA on sale on top of clearance prices. We're talking, maybe a whole $2 in the pair including elastic now. My kind of price! Only took me twice to get them together correctly. Those blasted brain farts are dangerous, let me tell you. Had to rip out both inseams sewn with French seams. (Lynn, that means like the inside of Em's jumpers!) Only my small seam rippers are MIA so I had to use the Goliath sized thing that always either stabs me in the index finger or pokes a hole in the fabric. Thankfully, neither happened today. Only thing left now is to finish the hem and find a white tee to make a matching shirt. I haven't had matching pjs in years...I'm so excited because I have enough fabric in the stash to make 2 more pairs of pants! A couple of thrifted or clearanced shirts and presto! Mama looks stylish while she snores. Pictures when the shirt appears.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Customer Service

Remember that defective KP needle? The replacement arrived today and guess what! It was defective as well. I could not believe it, a burr in the middle of the needle. Being a fiery redhead, nothing would do but a phone call this time. Best to deal with it person to person instead of person to computer. A very pleasant sounding woman named Randi (yes, with an "i", I verified that) answered and was prompt about addressing my problem. She offered to send me yet another replacement needle via priority mail (last time was slow first class). When I stated that I could care less about the priority shipping but really wanted someone to physically pull the needle from the packaging, run it through their fingers and check the damn thing first, she said "Let me check and make sure we can do that before I make a promise". She checked and said the warehouse WOULD check the needle. Then she also said that she would give me a $5.00 credit on my account because they aren't having many complaints about this particular needle. I'm betting most folks are like me, you get what you pay for and since these needles are the cheapest price out there, many just toss them in the trash when they turn to shit, as my dad likes to say. I am still not convinced I would invest in the entire collection of classic circs or buy the interchangeable set. Their customer service evokes mixed feelings in me. Some times it has been awesome, like today, and other times, well, less than stellar sums it up nicely.

In other news:
I have an internal stitch working it's (or is it its?) way to the outside. ICK!

I had a small visit with my former boss lady last night. So nice to be loved and missed after all this time. I love how she always finds time to chat with my girls, get caught up on their doings a bit and how she keeps me in the loop despite the fact that I left the work force years ago. I think she holds out hope I'll return and kick some butt again someday.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brain Farts While Sewing

This morning while folding the laundry, I came across a torn sheet. So with sheet in tow, I made my way to the sewing machine, changed the needle back to something suited for a woven instead of heavy denim and mended away. Then I noticed the tag said "Extra Deep Twin". Um, dude,no twin beds here anymore. How it escaped the twin sheet purge when we obtained free queen sets for the girls, I will never know. That was months ago at least.

Brain Farts: They happen to everyone. Not everyone owns up to them though, especially when they could have prevented one by checking the tag first.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Gearing Up for Fun

If you are a knitter and you haven't seen this latest knit-drive at Kate's, run and check it out. That is after you extract yourself from the rock you've been hiding under.

I mention this knit-drive because as you know, it hits close to home for the Duck family. SIL is still battling, rather mightly and quite bravely I add, ovarian cancer and has complained that the wig she was given is either too small or itchy. Hubster wasn't clear on which. And her wool hat I knit her is sometimes too warm thanks to the unseasonable temps we've seen the past few weeks. So before I knit any fun fur hats for the kids who want them, SIL is going to receive a few in various wild colors. She gets a kick out of standing out these days and I want to help. Her laughter a few weeks ago was music to our ears when she and BIL ventured the few blocks for a visit. She came in the door wearing her punk-rock purple-ish hat just grinning to beat the band, declaring that she always wanted to have purple hair. Let's see how she feels about blue and hot pink hair then!

I think I am almost back to normal. It will take me a while longer to get over being tired but all in all, things are moving along. I'm cooking again, thanks to some inspiration from Thicket Dweller and her talk of food. Nothing as great as what she's been whipping up but we're getting there. The house is cleaner, thanks in part to the girls. Knitting is moving along and I've actually mended several things and am working on altering some thrifted jeans for E. She has long legs and a little skinny seat so most of her jeans need elastic added. Why are there never any kids' belts at the thrift store? Good thing I bought that huge bolt of sportswear elastic last fall...literal pennies a pair!

School is finally back on track somewhat as well. R loves OHVA but J and E, no way. J's main beef is the staff. Some of the replies she has received from high school instructors are unbelievable. 2 teachers we like and 2 we don't. E's beef is that she wants to learn on her own, what she wants when she wants. Which works for her because she is a curious kid. However, OHVA has been good for her as far as phonics and handwriting go so I'm sticking the year out. Whether we do OHVA again next year is still up for debate. I expect a conversation or two with an e-friend (hi, Denice!) will help me find the light again.

So that's it in a nutshell. Bring on the fun fur, I'm feeling a little muppet-fever coming on!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Story of the Santa Flag

If I do not blog about this now, I will forget the story come Christmas '07 and it's just too special to lose.
Early Dec '06, E was having her turn on the weekly call to Gram Duck. E asked Gram how many days until Christmas which resulted in my yelling in the background "DO NOT TELL HER! DO NOT ANSWER THAT!" Well, E being the youngest, the miracle baby, means she is denied very little. Gram shot off how many days it was until Christmas without realizing first she had just sentenced me to xx days of "XX days until Christmas" every flippin' day. I told E that she and Gram both earned black marks in Santa's book. Not. The. Right. Thing. To. Say. Tears and sobs until Gram, who was now faster on her feet, told E that a grandma's magic is stronger than a mama's and she could make things right with Santa. Smiles abound but E still hadn't completely forgotten about the black marks. A few days later, Gram let me know that E was getting an early gift in the mail: a Santa flag with special instructions and a promise that this flag was covered with Grammy magic, it would help Santa find E's house and let him know she had been a very good girl all year long. It worked. A little too well maybe since now E taunts me with "Gram's magic is stronger than yours." but that is a small price to pay for the pleasure of watching the magic of a grandmother's love and the trust of a child at work.


2007's 1st FOs!

Vital Stats:
2s2c using Knitpicks classic circs, US 1 (Crappiest needles on the market!)
Regia? knit at 7.5spi
For: E, possibly. She initally told me these colors were hideous so I intended them for the parish sock drive next fall but she has since said she likes them. Time will tell.
Pattern: My own 56 st/2x2 rib, short row heel thanks to QK. I carried the ribbing down the heel to the turn point because I wanted to see if E likes that better.
Stripes do not match colorwise but they do line up. Like I care?
Started in 2005, finished one sock and forgot about it. Ended up frogging said sock after completion of second sock this week. Yup, an entire pair in what, 4 days or less?

Vital Stats:
Lichen Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
US1 circs, done one sock at time
Changes to pattern: short row heel. rib carried down heel to turn
Fleece Artist yarn (Merino sock?)
7.5 spi?
Finished on New Year's Day!! (had started before appendix struck)
I like the yarn but not enough to seek it out on my own. I can't explain it. I love the pattern and will, at some point, knit another pair for myself, possibly from some solid Lorna's Laces. I could actually see this pattern as one of the ultimate gifting sock patterns.
One of my goals for 2007 is to use up the sock yarn stash before obtaining more. ALL of it. I'm pretty sure I have enough to knit 5 adult pairs, then there is the leftover stash which should yield about 5 or 6 pairs of children's socks easily. I may amend this goal to allow the purchase of single skeins of black, tan, blue, etc to use with the leftover balls. SINGLE Skeins.
So with the completion of 2 pairs, my knitting socks goal remaining for the year is 25 pairs. I have it on good authority that I am ahead of at least one person in the sock race by 1.5 pairs. While I am enjoying this lead, I know it won't last long. That's why I have 2 more pairs on the needles: one pair on US2 addi turbos with Lorna's Laces and the other with leftover knitpicks simple stripes on their crap-tastic circs.
Those knitpicks classic circs are pure junk. I've emailed them asking for replacements and have yet to hear back from them. No surprise since their customer service department seems to have a love/hate relationship with the public. One of my US1 needles is flaking chunks of silver/nickle and scratching my fingers with every stitch while the other came out of the package with a nick the cord undetectable until a project was CO (Lynn, that's cast on). To say I am disappointed is an understatement but I should have known: we get what we pay for. So it's time to save up for more addi turbos.
ETA: Email from Knitpicks today came with the promise of a replacement needle being mailed out already. Nice of them to do so but the time to reply was simply unacceptable to me. It is one thing to put off an email to a friend so you have time to share everything but from a business? Not so great. So I will use the new needle but continue to save for more addi turbos in a variety of sizes.

Labels: , ,