No friday list?

I can’t believe I forgot!  I was so determined to get in gear and get to visit Mom before the next storm, I completely forgot!  Then we had no internet until just a few minutes ago, so I could not rectify the situation.

Friday I did make it to Mom’s, even though it was snowing when I got up.  By the time I got to Rockport, it was rain, and it rained all day down there.  Mom and I hung out a bit (like while she ate breakfast.  I DID get there early!) and then went into town (Rockland) to do some errands, and go to the yarn store – Over the Rainbow.  They carry Quince and Co yarn now!  Oh boy.  they also carry Laura Nelkin kits and patterns, so I was able to do some serious damage to my yarn stash money.  Like wipe it out.

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The Lamb’s Pride is for hats, of course, the pink sock (Cascade Heritage Paint)yarn is because I miss knitting my socks, and it turns out I don’t have sufficient pink ones.  🙂

The Quince and Co Lark yarn in peacock and birds egg is, I think, for a color work cowl that I have yet to either invent or find the perfect pattern for.

Then there are two precious Laura Nelkin bracelet kits, Stereo Cuff, and a lace beaded cuff (the name of which I can’t remember). While we were oohing and aahing over the selection of her kits, Mom asked me if I would make some earrings for her to give as a gift.  Well, duh!  I will dig through my beads and see if there are some that will work, but if not, then I will find a few pennies and head to the bead store in Bangor when I am there next week for taxes. One thing (of many) that I love about Laura Nelkin’s kits is that she very clearly outlines what is needed – what size beads, how many, etc, so after you make the one you bought, it is pretty easy to come up with your own colors and designs, based on her pattern.

Anyway, after getting all that lusciousness, we had a good lunch at the Brass Compass and headed home, where we worked on a puzzle with B before I went back out into the storm.  Heading north again around Penobscot Bay, the rain turned to snow in Camden, and it was slow going after that.  I stopped at the big grocery store in Camden and did the shopping for the week, and still got home by supper time!

Today was a day for shoveling and knitting, and I did both.  Some work on the blue sweater, the orange baby sweater, and I knit one of the necklaces I strung earlier this week.  I’ll share photos of all of that tomorrow, when they tell me the sun will shine, so you can see the work.

I also spotted a new bird at the feeder, and while I didn’t get a photo, I can describe it pretty well so that you smart people can tell me what it is.  Tiny, and clearly striped, but with a red breast.  It looked a lot like the purple finch in my bird book, except that the head was not red.  Tiny like that, though.  The Pine Siskins in the book don’t seem to have any red, and so I am lost.

Tomorrow Mom and B will stop by on their way home from church (they go occasionally to Cherryfield, and sometimes we are home when they come by.  Tomorrow we made a plan to be sure we are, and we will all go out for brunch.  Other than that, I think it will be more shoveling and knitting….

Freed from the mittens, my mind whirls with ideas

Good morning!  The sun is shining, the plumber came yesterday so we are warm and I am clean.  🙂

It is an all round good day – I sold a card yesterday!!! (Thank you, Auntie P!)  I went to mail it off today, and found a bonus check from work!  Completely unexpected, I have to say. And welcome.  Some will undoubtedly go toward yarn and other crafting materials (Yes, Crimson Crow, I hear you.) I think I will divide it into thirds – 1/3 each for A and I to buy hobby stuff with, and 1/3 for a nice Valentine’s dinner or something. (Did I mention we had one of our anniversaries yesterday?  We have been together 13 years!)

I learned of a knitting retreat from One Lupine, a local yarn shop, that will be held nearby this year, but in the Orkneys, Scotland next year. Immediately I began calculating how to get enough money to go and how not to feel guilty about spending all that money on something A could care less about.  It will come to me, I hope.  I have long wanted to go there.  My mom and sister have been, and I have a painting hanging in my living room which my sister painted from her trip there.

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It seems like a good opportunity to get there, and knit as well.  We will see, I guess.  It is more than a year away.

I strung the beads for four necklaces, which I hope to work on this weekend. Three are to give away, one is to sell.  The three (black, blue, and purple) are for a coworker and her two daughters.  I had to load printer drivers and do security updates on 5 tax computers yesterday, so while I waited to click “Next” I strung beads.  All set now.

jan 29

I also mapped out a scarf I want to make from some linen in the “Nancy” stash.  I kept it because I have always wanted to try knitting with linen but never had a project in mind.  I have had this in my stash for a long time now, and the other day, a project came to me.  Not sure how it will work, but I want to knit a fairly narrow (24 stitches?) linen stitch scarf with a beaded Greek key design along the two short edges.  I have no idea if this will work or not, but I wound one of the skeins into a ball this morning, and found some beads that will work, so I can cast that on soon.  But before that happens…

I am swatching some Baby Ull for this pattern, Charleston Baby sweater and hat set which was a generous gift to me from the designer, Maryanne Holm, better known to me as Slipped Stitches.  I loved this little set the moment I saw it (and still want to figure out how to make it in my size!) but didn’t know who it would be for, and didn’t have any Tosh Light to make it in.  The other day I was up in the craft room digging through the yarn stash, and came across two skeins of Baby Ull in a dark reddish-orange.  Immediately, I thought of this pattern, I think it will work, but I am being a good girl and swatching to be sure.  Who it is for is still unknown – it might go in the “future present” pile, or it might get sent off to one of the charities I knit for, but I MUST make it.  🙂

Meanwhile, I keep knitting on the blue sleeves, they are officially 8 inches long (un-blocked) so I AM getting there. I do have to figure out, at some point, how long I really want them.  They are quite open at the cuff, so I think I will make them a tad shorter than longer, so I don’t get hung up in them when I wear the sweater.

I told you my mind was whirling!

What else I am up to today:

Shoveling.  Lots still to do to get cleaned up in preparation for another foot of snow coming tomorrow and Saturday.

Sort out tax stuff, pack my boxes in preparation for Monday’s first day.

Clean something.  Almost anything would do at this point.  We have tracked in so much muck this week.

Fill the bird feeders. the little guys are quite hungry in this cold weather.

Start reading. I got three books from the library today – one is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline which is our next book group selection (for March 2.  Can you believe how ahead I am?) The other two are Still Alice  by Lisa Genova and Lila by Marilynne Robinson.  Of course, I should first finish the one I am reading now, The Gods of Guilt, by Michael Connelly.

I am not sure I have time to work next week. 🙂

The next day

It turns out my forecast was pretty accurate, although the wind *might* have been more fierce than I expected.  We got about 14-16 inches of snow, I would guess, although there is no place to really measure it accurately, that is what the towns around us report.  It is still snowing lightly, but the storm is pulling away, and we should see sun this afternoon.  Yeah!

In spite of my shoveling the vent out periodically all day Tuesday, it still clogged and so we have no hot water or radiant heat until the plumber comes over.  I called early, they will call me back when they get a feel for the schedule.  Since we have electricity, we have our pellet stove and of course, the wood stove in the cellar, so the house is quite warm.  However, that means that I have to stay close to home to keep fire going and pellets in the hopper.  And today is the day I was to head over to Mom’s for a visit.  I am bummed. Not to mention the lack of hot water for washing people and dishes and laundry… also a bummer.

I did, however finish the mittens last night, and I wore them out to shovel this morning – so much warmer than my acrylic gloves!  I used Elizabeth’s Zimmerman’s thumb trick, and really like it.  Obviously, I went with a solid thumb, and struggled with keeping the alternating stitch pattern while increasing for the thumb gusset.  I have some ideas how to deal with that the next time, like make the thumb gusset solid, and the thumb. Or do the increases together in the center of the gusset so the pattern isn’t interrupted.  But that won’t be for a while, these were far more work than I expected when I blithely cast them on.  🙂

mittens jan 28

Here’s another shot of something with progress to show – at last!  The blue sweater body, all blocked and drying out, waiting for me to finish knitting the sleeves, which are about 3 or 4 inches long at the moment.

blue sweater jan 28

Aside from waiting for the plumber to call back, today I plan to work on the blue sleeves, maybe cast on a beaded silk necklace for the daughter of a friend, shovel off the decks (more snow on the way, and the next storm is said to be a heavier, wetter snow.  That means we have to clean now while we can!) and I should probably clean up the mudroom, which looks like a wet mitten and boot tornado hit it. A is back at work today, so I can work at my own pace.  🙂

Snow Day!

It is so pretty out there!  Of course, I say that from safe and warm on my couch, fire between me and the outdoors.  🙂

I did go out around 10, and will again in a  few minutes – we have to make sure to keep the vent for the hot water clear or we have no heat.  That would be bad.

Going out there this morning made me wish I had finished my warm mittens, so I am working on them today.  I hope to get them done this afternoon.

I also worked on some valentines, which I put up for sale over at Etsy.

As recommended by you lovely readers, I explored the forums and got feedback on my listings.  Titles are longer now, tags more closely match, and things come up in a search, if you know what to search for!  Now, to make them come up when you DON’T know what to search for. That is my next challenge.  The last link I posted didn’t work well, apparently, so please, try this one, and feel free to look and comment if you like.  Or shop!  🙂 http://www.etsy.com/shop/SalpalCrafts

Here’s my favorite card from this batch:

medallion valentine (square) for blog

I made a similar one to give to A.  That is one trouble I can foresee – making things to sell and still making fresh things for family…Do I just make tons, put them up for sale, give what doesn’t sell?  Or make duplicates?  Or make completely different ones?  I suspect I will do all of these at some point. But for now, it is immaterial as nothing has sold.  🙂  I’ll use them for family if they are still here in a week or so.

Now, out to shovel, then back to knit mittens.

(By the way, I finished the body of the blue sweater, it is up drying out, neatly blocked.  Sleeves are cast on and slowly but surely growing.  I hope to wear it this winter.  🙂 )

Birders, please advise!

I have been able to feed the birds now that we only have indoor cats.  And so I have been slowly learning about what birds we have.  But I need help now that they all have their winter plumage.  I know these aren’t the best photos, as they are through a screen, but can you tell me:

Are these goldfinches, pine siskins, purple finches, or something else entirely? They look like the cross bills in my bird book, except that I can’t see if they have crossed bills.  Sort of important, I know.

birds in january

birds in january1

birds in january2

I did not get a picture, but did see a pair of little woodpeckers – downy, I believe, at the suet the other day.  They are so cute!  Haven’t seen their big brothers pileated in a  while, I wonder if they are still around?

huge flocks of mourning doves and chickadees also rule the yard.  While I miss Frankie and Tigger, I am glad that Allie and Zumba are indoors girls so we can feed the birds and see them up close!

Monday between the storms

It seems Mother Nature has suddenly remembered that it is, in fact winter.  Our snow storm Saturday started on time, and gave us 5-6 inches of pretty fluffy snow.  Not bad.  We got our Saturday chores done early, then hunkered down and enjoyed the pretty stuff.  Sunday we cleaned off the car, went off to Brewer to do a few errands, then came home, and learned of the Nor’Easter headed our way.  In true hysterical meteorologist fashion we have heard the following for a forecast:  Blizzard conditions for three days, winds in the 50 mph range, power outages, and accumulations?  Anywhere from 7 inches to 2 feet, depending on where you are. (Duh, of course it depends on where you are!  If you are in Florida, you won’t get any snow.  Jeesh)

Forgive me if I find it difficult to buy into their wild stories.

I expect we will get quite a storm, and that it will start tonight sometime and be over and gone by Wednesday morning, and that we will have about a foot of snow. I can predict this because I have a degree in Finance. (As useful as any when it comes to the weather.)

They get so darned excited that it goes to their heads, I think, and they predict wild and crazy things, then they back off of them, then afterwards, no matter what happens, they can say they predicted it.

Oh, and lest we decide to let that snow hang about uncleared for any length of time, Thursday night into Friday, we are getting more, as yet unspecified amounts, except that it will be “plowable.”  Another few inches at least.

So, this fine Monday, A is home (previously scheduled) and we will clear off the paths and decks in preparation for more snow.  I’ll fill water jugs, charge cell phones, etc. We already have candles and flashlights out for the season, and so are in pretty good shape for a few days of storminess. I roasted a chicken yesterday, so we have leftovers ready to be warmed up. Life is good for the moment.

Of course, Tuesday, A is scheduled to go to Brownville, but I suspect that won’t happen. She may have a mini-vacation this week!

Wednesday, I am scheduled to spend the day with Mom, but that may be only half a day, or get rescheduled as well.  We will see. That would be a shame, as we had a hard time finding this day, when we were both free.  Taxes start next week, so my weeks become instantly full.

Thanks, Mother Nature!  Get it out of your system now, please, and then go back to sleep.

Saturday update

Well, for those of you who are curious, I did get dressed yesterday.  Eventually.  🙂

I also made several valentines, and took photos to load in the Etsy shop.  That’s when I discovered that something is REALLY wrong with our computer.  As in it crashes and reboots constantly.  I got it open in safe mode, but not long enough to figure out what is wrong.  Then I dug out the tax laptops and booted them up.  They can’t find the wireless connection.  But I was able to crop the photos, and put them on the flash drive. The computer is off and sitting in time out until I can convince the IT guy at work that he wants to tackle it for me.

When A got home I used her computer to load them up to the shop (feel free to check them out at SalpalCrafts on Etsy) and she reminded me that with a LAN cable, I can get the work laptops online.  Duh.  How quickly we forget.  So all that frustration (which I lightly glossed over, above) was for naught.  I am back on-line and feeling good.

I also did a lot of knitting, CHECK IT OUT!

jan 23

That is right, I am on the second mitten!!!!  I am saving the thumb for when I can do two of them together, but at last that darned mitten fits and is finished.  I worked the first couple of inches of mitten number 2 before I decided to work on the blue sweater.  I am feeling the urge to finish something (anything?) and so pushed on that.  I am almost done with the body, then I can start the sleeves.

I answered lots of telephone calls.  Is it just me, or are there lots of scammers calling these days?  I had an opportunity (with credit card info, of course) to: go on a free vacation; get my computer fixed (now, that was tempting); solve my credit issues (which I was unaware I had).  I hung up on them all, but each call interrupted my peaceful day and was quite annoying.

I did check my traps, and found I had caught a fat mouse.  I hope it was one that lives in the walls here.  They are so cute, I wish they lived elsewhere so I didn’t have to kill them.

It was a quiet ordinary day, just what I needed, although I could have done without the computer issues.

Today we are expecting big snow, if the weather people can be trusted.  Our Saturday night/Sunday storm has shifted back, and is a Saturday storm only.  Naturally, A and I decided that meant we should get up and get chores done fast!  We went to the dump and the grocery store and out for breakfast.  Now she is downstairs making obstacle courses for the cats (or possibly putting up some siding on the wall so she can put up some shelves) and I am doing the “chore” of checking Etsy and my blogs and essentially playing.  I’ll go do laundry in a bit, I promise.

So.  About Etsy – I need help publicizing the shop, and getting my listings so they pop up.  Anyone have good tips on this?  When I post to Facebook that I have put things up, my hits do go up, but as yet, no one has purchased, which does not surprise me. The people who are my family and friends are used to getting all of this for free.  I’ll work on educating them if you will all help me figure out how to reach others.  How do I do it?  Is it worth paying Etsy for those ads I see?  What tricks are out there?

The snow has started, and Zumba wants me to let her out on the deck, so I need to go where I can see her while she is out there.  The limitations of the cord, alas.

Indecisive Friday list

Today I had a choice to make.  Stay home and do my usual Friday things or hit the road with A.  She has to go to Jackman for work, and I have never been there. I like going places I have never been.

I did some online research, and discovered that since I am not a winter outdoorsy person, I should probably stay home and do my usual stuff.  Jackman looks lovely, but there is nothing that would take more than an hour to do.  And while I am content to sit and knit, it seems a bit foolish to drive 4 hours to sit and knit in the car and then drive 4 hours home.  I will go to Jackman another time, when it isn’t so cold and A doesn’t have to work.   There is a town up the road in Quebec, but I was not in a  mood to muddle through the french to see if it had fun things to do.  I’ll ask some family who are familiar with the area the next time A has to go there.  🙂 Maybe in the autumn.

So.  I am home today, and plan to do NOT much!  I want to make some cards for the Etsy shop, and I have to make the family valentines – once taxes start in Feb I will not feel like doing it, I have learned from experience.

And I will knit.  I should be able to finish mitten number 1 at last (truthfully, it is mitten number 4, I think,but the first one to not get ripped out.  Yet.)

And I think I have some cotton baby yarn up in the craft room, I will see about maybe making a baby sweater or booties, also for Etsy.  But maybe not.

And I will get dressed.  Maybe. Maybe soon.  Maybe when I hear A’s car come up the driveway. Maybe not.

I think I will just let the day unfold.  With coffee. In pajamas.  It’s Friday.

Adjusting

My days feel kind of aimless this week.  Clearly, I am not yet used to not working or thinking about work or working to not think about work.  But I am trying!

Yesterday I did do a tiny bit of work, in prep for today and tomorrow when I actually do have to work.  But I also ripped out the red mittens which were coming out giant sized, reworked the chart and started again; spent some time in the craft room thinking about valentines, but making little headway on them; went to the Post Office, the grocery store, the library, and I voted in our little special election (wind turbines or no?  That is the endless question on which we vote regularly.)

Our library is teeny weeny, although the building is lovely, the contents are often lacking.  But this was a good trip – the book I need for March book club (The Orphan Train) is out but they reserved it for me, and the lone copy of the Opinionated Knitter was in!  It now is on my coffee table.  I read all the interesting bits last night, and will go back and absorb more of it this week. I just adore Elizabeth Zimmerman.  She is so blunt and forthright and reminds me very much of my Gram.  And what a brilliant knitter – she takes things right down to the simplest form, then builds them up again.  Amazing. Imagine knitting while traveling on the back of a motor cycle?  Now THAT is knitting in the wild.

Yesterday I did not clean anything.  I think doing errands earned me a break.  🙂  Monday I cleaned the bookcase in the bedroom.  It took a long time, and I didn’t even stop and read!   I emptied it completely, dusted everything, reorganized and shelved all the books there and on the nightstand and in a stack beside the bed (on my side, naturally) and thought it looked quite nice.

A didn’t notice. When she asked what I did and I told her, she laughed, and we talked about how differently we “clean”.  I hate cleaning.  She hates clutter.  So her cleaning is to clear up the clutter by moving it out of sight.  I clean by ripping things apart and reorganizing them, cleaning every bit before it goes back.  What does this mean in our house?  We often have piles tucked away and nothing is in its place but the house looks picked up. The bathrooms are usually clean because I DO clean those regularly. A couple of times a year I go crazy because of all the piles tucked away, rip them out and do what I can to clean and organize.  I do too much of it at once, then am tired and sick of cleaning, and so the cycle begins.

I am using this time of less work to try to break that cycle and do a bit of my deep cleaning each day.  I hope that if I can get the house clean and organized gradually, it won’t be such a  major chore to keep it that way. And I hope by doing one thing a day, I won’t hate it and feel overwhelmed, but rather like I am accomplishing something.  We will see.  🙂

Today is different – I have to go into the office around 10 to work with a volunteer printing mailing labels – show her how the system works, etc.  then I am meeting with her and another tax volunteer to answer their questions as they get ready to take the test.  Those are the only reasons I am going to the office, BUT…my boss has already asked me if I would help him update a monthly report spreadsheet, and I said I would.  What else will I wind up doing while there? Time will tell.  I think it will be easier to not work there when I don’t show my face.  🙂

Anyway, I hope to be home by 2, and spend some time in the craft room this afternoon.  A is traveling up to Aroostook County today, so she will be late getting home.  That means I have time to mess with paper and paints. 🙂