Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boys will be boys

The boys, little big and in between playing today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy gift recipients!

Here are my SIL, neice and nephew sporting their fabulously hand-knit custom-made fingerless mitts. I am not making this up! My SIL opened hers first, my neice instantly said she wanted to borrow them and I was thrilled. All handknits should be so warmly recieved (take note all you less-than-enthusiastic recipients)

And, the next day, completely unprompted they ALL had their mitts on when we visited. Nephew slept in his I think!

shoot me

Gift from grandparents
the darling boys received airsoft guns. Their initial gun gift was defective and these were the backups. It is a great source of annoyance to my father that we allow them to shoot each other. I was raised with strict "no pointing a gun at a human, don't aim at it unless you're going to shoot and don't kill it unless you'll eat it" these guns break all those rules. My SIL hates guns. She married into the wrong family, but she's very gracious about it. For the record we didn't let the boys officially have any weapons until they were 12. They still made guns out of Legos and sticks. Back then at least they didn't shoot projectiles. Now sweet William has built untold numbers of Lego guns that shoot tiny Legos and other projectiles. He's the little builder that could.

The lights are on and nobody's home

Greetings! We're enjoying my family in Oklahoma immensley. My parents, however, do not have high speed, let alone WiFi. So we're driving around the neighborhood looking for Wifi hotspots and people who don't encrypt. There are a lot of you out there! THanks! It is because of you that we can get email, update blogs and generally communicate with the outside world! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some holiday knits...

here are some holiday knits for my niece and nephew. I will now post the photo of the gift for their mother (because she reads my blog sometimes I didn't post it until after the holidays). I have a few other things, but I foolishly either already wrapped them or already gifted them. Brilliant, I know. These are out of KnitPicks Swish on size 6 needles. Washable, soft wool. Yum!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oat Stuffing

I know I do not usually post recipes, but this one has had me stumped for months. I know I have had a great Scottish oat stuffing, but none of the recipies I saw were "it". Here is what I came up with:

3 C steel cut oats toasted with
2 T butter and
1 diced onion
until onion is tender and oats are nut brown to golden brown

mix 3 stalks diced celery, diced carrots and sliced mushrooms of your choice with oat mixture. Pour in 4-5 cups of rich savory stock (I used turkey stock this time) and 1/2 C milk (because it was left-over from breakfast)
Bake at 400 F in a 9x13 baking pan for about 30 then drop to 350. you can bake the whole thing at 350, i just like a crust and crispy edges.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving here and there

We shared a casual thanksgiving meal with the Lanhams. Connie is a great cook and Michael made the most tender and moist turkey I ever recall eating (until I made mine this year. Maybe it is a good year for turkeys ;))

Then a few days later I cooked the turkey I had purchased for our family. One thing lead to another and I somehow ended up cooking an entire meal. Renee' came and worked with Ginger on the MG. We sat down and enjoyed another great meal. We are very thankful for friends and family to share wonderful meals withl.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kendo Tournament Chapel HIll, NC

William passed his test and is now 4 Kyu. A special thanks to Rogers Gossett who anchored the group through this trip. (and paid for some of his brilliant choices with a pitcher of frozen margaritas) Everyone did well and represented the Dojo with great sportmanship. Next year Rogers doesn't get a vote in the hotel choice though! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanks Margo and Peggy!!!

Dear all,
We were incredibly blessed to spend last night with warm, wonderful and gracious Peggy and Margo. Thank you women, wow. A warm, welcoming home. Bouncy dog and cats. The first (micro) snow of the season and hours and hours of easy, casual brain storming, story sharing and (of course) knitting. We are on our way to a Kendo tournament/testing in Chapel Hill, NC. Peggy and Margo shared their experience regarding publishing their Guide to the OTA book. Priceless stuff. And I left a freshly felted pair of knitted slippers for Margo to come home to. Peggy's are on the needles right now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Welding optional

Glen Fodale, gracious man that he is, not only gifted William with the space to build a forge, but the materials as well. Here are William, Ginger and Glen creating the forge. It weights a ton. It is going to be used to first make tools for future forging.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Midsouth Eclectic Homeschoolers field trip

Thanks to Ron Brister, Director of Collections (I hope I got that right). Ron has been with the Pink Palace family of museums for a few decades and is a fount of information. The MEHS were privileged to get a behind the scenes tour of the Pink with Ron as their guide. When he retires he's interested in resuming some of the programs that the museum hasn't had the staff for, including the Junior Curator program! The Pink also owns Coon Creek which has a full camp facility and I have high hopes it will re-open for summer or seasonal camps before our own children are too old to join in.

Veterans Day Thunder

Aunt Kimmie came to town! A dear friend (she's know us since college, eek!) came to town and while we didn't exactly wine and dine her, we did enjoy having her around and including her in our daily crazy lives. We haven't seen each other for almost 14 years and she laughed and said we hadn't changed at all (while she was listening to us bicker :)) We took her out to Veteran's Day Thunder, a local bike ride fundraiser. Aunt Bev was there and though freshly unemployed, she was in good spirits (it's called shock).
top photo l-r, Ginger, Max, Kimmi, Diane, William
bottom photo Aunt Bev and Max

Thanks again Denise! Another Brown Sheep Sweater FINISHED!

You might recall that I had other plans for this yarn, but I had not consulted the yarns when I made my plans. After sitting and making friends, the yarn conspired against my gauge swatch for Tubey. No amount of fiddling with needles would yield gauge. I pondered and pondered. Drew and scribbled and the yarn spoke. Here is the very simple, knit just-to-fit-my-40-year-old-body sweater. Knit from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in the most luscious cocoa imaginable and some super deeply discounted Bingo (Lana Grossa). I used the Handy book of sweater patterns and unvinted this baseball inspired slouchy sweater (or as slouchy as I care go to). I made the sleeves a tad too short and decided to pick the CO out and pick up and knit the opposite direction. Nothing I'm eager to do again, but it solved the problem. I'm hoping that blocking fixes the rolling of the bottom edge, but if it doesn't I'll pick up and knit a few more rows of ribbing. This is the perfect Memphis winter wear-with-jeans-around-the-house-while-homeschooling-the-urchins sweater.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fuzzy Feet Slippers from Knitty.com

When the eldest "stole" my pair and the youngest "stole" his, I had to CO for another pair! These were intented for me, but had minds of their own. After the initial felting they were a bit too long, but way too big, after the 2nd felting they were actually too small. I wore them all day trying to coax them into submission, but finally gave up that evening. I tossed them in the washer for another quick spin and presented them to my darling bride. They fit her perfectly. I enjoy these quick knit slippers. The problem this time was my memory. I forgot if I knit the others on size 10 or 11 (pattern calls for 10.5, but I do not own that). These were knit with size 11, obviously NOT what I used previously! I have since made a pair on size 10 that felted perfectly and are on my feet. There are more of these on my "To Knit List" Peggy and Margo are getting the next pair when I see them in a few weeks. Renee' and Shelly are getting the next pairs as house-warming gifts. Their new house has hardwood floors, wool slippers are a must. And it appears youngest son will also get another pair as the ones he "stole" from his brother were accidentally washed and now fit his best friend. Perhaps these should be called Fuzzy Traveling Feet?

Monday, October 16, 2006

We made it in 2 newspapers and for 2 different events!

From the St-Louis Dispatch: http://tinyurl.com/ym9zjr
"'We will teach you'

"Whatever you can bring is valued," said Diane Thornton of Memphis, Tenn., who brings along her 11- and 14-year-old sons to Ozark Trail-building events. "Even if you're young or out of shape, their motto is we will teach you."

That wasn't the case in her home state. Thornton said that when she took her sons to a weeklong trail build in Tennessee, they were eventually asked to leave. She said her son felt humiliated, and "I didn't want him to feel left out again."

Her son, William, who turns 12 this month, said, "I like doing stuff with my hands. It's fun. I see new people's faces. They admire me for what I'm doing for the environment."

and if you check out October 16, 2006 Memphis Commercial Appeal apparently William and I are in the photo of the cast iron being poured at the National Ornamental Metal Museum. The photo is not on the web, or I haven't been able to get it to come up. Max, to his credit, volunteered Sunday afternoon and helped break down and stack chairs and tables.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Left-handed knitting (The Left Out Knitter)

I have started a book. In my small withering mind, the book is about left-handed knitting. There are two distinct combinations of left-handed knit and purl stitches that result in a flat knitted fabric. There are any number of combinations that do not, stitches are re-oriented and twisted stitches result. In a burst of productivity, I have documented every possible way of knitting left-handed! I mean knitting from right needle to left needle. I even wrote Yarn Harlot (maybe I should send her chocolate again) about her agent. I have absolutely no idea how to get this idea and rough draft to a publishing house. I am now thinking the mind-set will be negative. After all, lefties have been left out of knitting for ages, why would the resurgence of knitting change that? Despite the plethora of knitting books, shows and DVDs there is not one single publication dealing with left-handed knitting. Even those that do give it a mention show only the basic stitches and expect left-handed knitters to use mirrors or PhotoShop to flip more complicated stitch instructions. If it were that easy, why in the world would there be a million dollar publishing industry for right handed knitting? Wouldn't a simple comment be enough? Lefties need printed knitting material too. Not separate patterns.
The biggest myth in the knitting world is that knitting is 2 handed so lefties can do it the "right way". That's wrong, knitting is 2 handed, but some brains can't wrap themselves around manipulating the yarn with the right hand. The second biggest knitting myth is lefty knitters have to reverse patterns. If righties sat down over an adult beverage and contemplated this comment it might, just might dawn on them that their very own cardigan patterns say "right front: repeat as for left front reversing shaping" ::GASP:: You mean they don't have to have it written out exactly opposite? That they can grasp the difference between a right leaning decrease and a left leaning decrease? How CAN that be? Listen knitting siblings, lefties can do it to. And while it may seem like an incredible praise to say to a right to left knitter "it's amazing you can do that" it only shows your bias. Knitting right to left is as easy for their brain as knitting left to right is for yours. It is not rocket science, but a comforting and creative passion that they refuse to be "left" out of.
I hope to have a short article accepted on this topic by a major knitting publication and it is still my dream to find a publisher that recognizes the market for a left-handed knitting book. If righties have to have specific pictures for their increases and decreases, why not lefties? My ideal book will show both methods of creating flat knitting right (needle) to left (needle) and their corresponding increases and decreases. It would be wonderful if a very small DVD accompanied it for the basic stitches. Until some agent sees the merit. This remains just another dream of a Left-out Knitter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Naval Live Oaks Resource Day

Pensacola Unschoolers held Resource day at the Gulf Breeze Naval Live Oaks visitor center. We watched a few short movies, had a picnic lunch and a short nature hike. The yellow garden spiders were in abundance as were butterflies who refused to have their pictures taken and several 5 lined skinks.
Since there are some more movies we didn't see, I will probably do this again next Fall

Blogspot Beta problem SOLVED

If you are trying to load my blog using Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, you will get a script error. to solve this problem you will need to either view my blog using Firefox (another browser) or develop the patience of Job and disable the scripts when the IE box pops up. Sorry! I am, however, thrilled to see that all my hard work is still here. Welcome back to my blog!

Friday, September 29, 2006

KnitPicks Shipping RANT!

I have just had the WORST experience with my darling KnitPicks. If it were the first time I ordered from them, I would never order again and Elann would have all my business. As some of you know, I had a circular needle crisis several weeks ago. Those socks are still on the needles. The new circular needle that I sweet-talked Ginger into letting me purchase is lost in never never land. The order was placed September 14, 2006 and shipping supposedly via USPS September 15th. Here I sit, on this beautiful island with cool Fall weather and crystal clear Gulf of Mexico, but sans said circular needle. :::sigh::: What went wrong? Apparently the planets aligned to thwart this knitting project, or maybe it's the future one they're fiddling with, I don't know. The tracking information available via the KnitPicks order status page is NOT actual USPS tracking information. It has not been updated daily and my package (containing 2 circulars and 2 skeins of Donagal sock yarn) spent 5 days in Ohio waiting to ship out and 2 days in Orlando then disappeared for 4 days before being posted (one day late) that it was in Gulf Breeze. The problem? Gulf Breeze does not have it! And the tracking information I was once given by a KnitPicks Customer Service agent is not actual tracking. That agent said I had to wait an additional THREE days for the 14 day guarantee. A knitter, without functioning sock needles. I need a cocktail and it's only 9:40 am!
The local, kind, patient postal mistress (remember, it's a small island) has literally scoured the mail man's bag and has not located my package for 2 days. Now KnitPicks Customer Service, in their wisdom (another agent) says they will replace it. One of them said something about free, but I didn't hear that word from this one! I told her my time constraints and delivery problems and this time she says they'll ship via UPS. Good old UPS. They deliver to my door. Now if they will get here I can work on those socks. Until then, I'm finishing up the I-cord edging on the cardigan and will be forced to CO for the sleeves of the Tahki Leaf sweater, won't I?
Micki, if you're reading this, you MUST tell me if I won a ribbon at the Midsouth Fair. It will ease my knitting angst :)
UPDATE: KnitPicks screwed up AGAIN. They sent it to the replacement order to the WRONG ADDRESS!!! Yes, I'm shouting, hell, I'm cussing! supposedly this will be cleared up by October 5th, 2006. They are shipping a replacement for the replacement. This time 2nd day air. ::sigh:: What have I done to get this kind of lousy service? I am a faithful addict and proselytize of their most excellent fibers. I suppose an email from Kelly isn't going to happen :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rays in the Gulf of Mexico

It is my firm belief that these are stingrays of the eagle ray family. They may possibly be butterfly rays. They travel in groups and have a 24-32" wingspan. They stay close to the shore and feed. They are dark on top and light underneath. They do have long tails. Their shape is unlike a manta ray in that they appear to be 2 right trianges attached to a long body and their head is forward. I love watching them. Today they came by several times as did the dolphins and once I saw an entire school of medium sized fish fly out of the ocean!

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