Zumba will never be an internet star and other random things

Why hello there.  Wondering where I have been?  Me, too!

Actually, I have been knitting like a fiend.  Inventory was due at Creatively Maine yesterday, and I wanted more hats.  Always more hats!  I finished knitting the Charleston Sweater, and I was pretty happy with it, except I worry the neck opening is too big.  If it is, I know how to fix it, just pull out the crocheted edging and redo it, with fewer stitches, and see how that works.

I delivered it to A’s office Friday, haven’t heard from the Mom, I hope she remembered to stop in the office to get it!

It has been a long time since I posted, I know.  One of the things I did last weekend was drag A and her sister L to the Maine Harvest Festival.  This is like the worlds largest farmers market.  It is all things produced in Maine, mostly with things grown in Maine, but I noticed a few interlopers in the craft area. Lots of food! The past few years, it has been a crazy wild place to try to enjoy – the event is held in Bangor at the Cross Insurance Center – a huge new venue for theater, music, and sports.  The booths start in the hallway as you walk through to get to the arena.  The arena is full of vendors.  Then there is a twisted path back to a ballroom, that was also filled with vendors. Usually it is so crowded you can’t move, and truthfully, I have wormed my way in, raced to my cranberry lady and raced out because I hate crowds.

This year we tried something new, we went on Sunday morning, because in past years we have waited around the block on Saturday morning to get in.  It was a brilliant move. No line, no waiting.  We were able to visit all of the vendors, sampling many delicious foods that way, and we of course bought a few things.  One Lupine was there selling some beautiful yarns, and I got one skein to make a surprise hat as a gift. Great restraint, I think! Just one skein!

Then it was back to the knitting for me.

That is what I did all week long, and Thursday night I tagged everything, made my inventory list and sat back to think about what it was I was working on before all this craziness took hold.  🙂

Today, A and I went to Ellsworth to a church craft fair – smaller than we expected, but saw some vendors I know, so it was fun.  Then we went out to lunch, and ran into L with a friend, so stayed longer than we had expected, chatting.  A bit of Christmas shopping and a trip to the big grocery store and we got home before dark!  Woo hoo, a whole day done.

We are on vacation this week – I expect a flurry of cleaning, and some knitting in between, as we have A’s family coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  Niece B will come here for her college break, and that means cleaning her room and making her bed.  She happens to sleep in the bed I use for blocking, so it is good she wasn’t here last week! But I am trying to keep it kind of slow as we go.  Monday we have dual car appointments, so will spend some time in Bangor, but other than that, it is quiet until Thursday.

Even though I wasn’t online, I did take some photos – here you go!

First up. the baby sweater.  I went with white buttons in the end. After an hour in Joann’s running from button aisle to front window.  🙂  They had some pretty lavender buttons that looked nice and were the right size, but they were shaped like roses and I thought they would be hard for little fingers to manage.


These are some of the hats I have made this week.  Not all, but all I got photos of! The button is a local potter’s work – I love the little barnacle!  I have two more of them, one might be on a hat for me.  🙂


This is what I am working on now – another pixie hat.


A quick shot of the Harvest festival goodies…at least the ones that made it home!


Then a few of the morning shots at the bridge.. it got light when we changed the clocks, but it is already growing darker in the mornings.


This next one, if you notice – the bridge work is finally done!  I had to pull over and get out for this last shot of this morning scene.  I was a bit later than normal, it was probably 7:30 when I took this shot.  🙂  I’ll have to find another morning photo to share my November mornings with you all.

It wasn’t until I saw all of these together that I realized how gray November has been.  Come back, summer!


Here’s a special treat for you guys – A has been thinking and thinking about a project, and she finally had time and energy to build the first one.  It is a waste basket that is designed to perfectly fit empty pellet bags!  We have so many, and it drives us crazy that they don’t fit in a standard waste basket. She is going to work out her costs in materials and time, and make a few to sell – hopefully at our local pellet stove dealer, but also I might have some on Etsy.  The top lifts off to change the bag, but fits tightly enough to hold the bag in place when in use.  Isn’t she clever?  (Yes, she knows she has to plug up the screw holes, this one was to see if it worked and if I liked it.  :-))




I’ll leave you with this little treasure.  Not a great photo, but it shows why Zumba will never be an internet star.  She is completely unafraid of a cucumber.  For the record, Allie is also not afraid, but I don’t have a picture of her placidly sniffing it.


I’ll try to be better about keeping in touch now that the knitting pressure is off for a bit.





















flying by kind of post

Just wanted to say that last night  I sat down on the sofa in front of a gentle fire and the even ing news with supper and knitting.  I had only one row to do on the sweater back – the cast off row, which I did post-haste.  Sweater pieces are now finished!  I’ll block them and assemble this weekend, then do the crochet edging.

I then decided to look at the hat to match.  The mom wants “one of those pointy cute hats” so I may not make the pretty one that goes with the sweater.  I decided to cast on an alternative in some other yarn to learn the pattern, when the lights went out.

That’s right.  The universe was so astounded that I met my sweater deadline a day early that it shut down the lights.

A very strange thing

On my way to work today, I had the radio on NPR as I usually do for the commute.  Today they did a story about Donald Trump.

Now, political leanings aside, the Donald has ALWAYS driven me nuts, his loud bombastic delivery style is hard for me to take.  While I tried to watch the Apprentice because it actually had some interesting examples of good business skills I could use in my program, it was never a really good fit for me.

And political leanings NOT aside, oh my goodness, I disagree with just about everything he says, how he says it, and what he says he will do.

And that hair – !

So, you can imagine my surprise when the story today was one I could completely relate to.  It turns out that the Donald was sent to military school as a boy to learn to toe the line.  Not just any military school, but one with which my family has a long and proud history.  The man actually went to New York Military Academy (NYMA) located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY.

My grandfather went there in the 1920’s, probably for a similar reason – his father passed away when he was twelve, his mother was left with two strong-minded, very active boys.  I think she had a hard time coping, and so my grandfather attended the school for a couple of years.  She passed away in his senior year, and he did not finish at that time.

But he always held the school dear in his heart, and gave back to it in many ways.  Many years later, they awarded him an honorary degree. He proudly displayed that diploma on the wall in his study.

When he had his own son and they butted heads about how a boy should behave, he sent my uncle to NYMA. Now, I am not sure I would have done that to a boy in the 5th grade, but those were different times.  For 7 years, my uncle attended the school, and loved it, thrived, as Trump did, in the structured environment, although, I suspect in a very different way and for different reasons.  My uncle was not competitive like Trump. He was a very gentle man who marched to his own drummer.

When I was in high school in the 70’s, my grandparents took me with them to attend a reunion at NYMA.  We stayed at the Thayer Hotel in nearby West Point, and the whole experience was eye-opening for me. I met “old” men who remembered my grandfather as fun-loving boy, told me stories of his courting of my grandmother that I had not heard before. I saw amazing buildings and parades, lots of drilling and marching.

I completely understood the attraction of such an education to my grandfather, and felt closer to him, seeing more of the person he was for perhaps the first time. I have very fond memories of that weekend. It doesn’t matter that I think there are too many soldiers in the world, or too many guns, I get that this school teaches respect for the weaponry, respect for the institution of the military, and that in doing so, it gives boys (and now, girls)  structure and hopefully helps to keep them from making mistakes that could dog them their whole lives.  I get why it works.

Now I learn that Trump shared some of those experiences.  Somehow, it makes him more of a person, less of a hot air balloon character.

Still can’t stand the guy, but he seems more human.

But now I really don’t get the whole hair thing. 🙂

How’s the knitting going?

I am making real progress on the commissioned sweater – finished the sleeves Friday evening, and cast on the back – last piece!  I did the border before bed, and got up Saturday morning with a plan.  I need to do 65 repeats of the pattern, and it seemed reasonable to expect that I could do 20 Saturday, 20 Sunday, and then 25 during the week.

This part of the pattern is really quite simple – p2 k2 on one row, and work back all in K (well, the pattern calls for working back in purl, but I actually go faster in K, so I am doing this sweater a little bit backwards.  As long as you start on the proper side, it works fine.  I did, and it does.) I knit a bit before breakfast and took this photo.  4 repeats done!


A had lots of errands to run, and knew I wanted to knit, so I tagged along for the ride, and she did all the work.  Ten repeats done!  That is when I figured out that not once, but TWICE I lost count, and it was rows back and I had to rip right back to where this photo was taken.  By the time I did that, picked up all the stitches again, made up the lost time, I was not a happy person.  I could see my plan of 20 repeats not happening.  I knew I wasn’t staying up all night.  But I persevered and kept at it, readjusting my goals, knowing I could knit all day Sunday, and if I really worked at it, count to two without losing track.  🙂

This morning I got up and remembered that I had thawed 5 pounds of cranberries to make cranberry for the holidays.  Some things you can do ahead, some you can’t.  Making cranberry is one that you can.  (Cleaning the bathroom is one you can’t, by the way.  It will NOT stay clean.)


Aren’t they gorgeous?  I wish I could dye yarn this color…


Five pounds of berries is two full batches and a half batch.  This is what it looks like when it is all done a couple of hours later.  Still loving the color, still wishing I could recreate it.

By the way, before you go all “You are so clever to be able to do this” let me just say if you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce.  Seriously  Boil water with berries and sugar, boil water to heat set jars. Clean up sticky drips, wash pans, all  done.

Then it was time to sit and knit.  But there was my weekend to do list on the table next to my knitting, and it reminded me that I needed to work on my displays for the pop-up shop.  So, I headed down to A’s shop and made a rough stand for a styrofoam head, and then had to paint it, of course.  I think it came out pretty well, don’t you?  Could NOT be easier! 1 square of wood, one scrap stick, one screw, paint.  🙂



Voila – a floating head, which will look lovely with a cap and necklace or scarf. 🙂

Then it was time to mess about with the hat stand A made me last fall.  I wanted to put large foam balls on top of the posts to hold the hats in some kind of shape, but… those balls in the biggest size were too small, and FOUR dollars apiece!  Jeesh!  These flat disks were only two dollars, and I only needed half as many.  So, I cut them in half, bored a hole in the bottom, wrapped them in plastic wrap to keep the bits off the hats, and look!  Another hat stand!.


So – how’s that knitting going?

Well, here it is – 16 pattern repeats done. I’d better get working on it, I seem to have 24 more to go to get back on schedule…



But it is time to go think about supper, isn’t it?

I’ll get it done, but this week won’t be pretty.  🙂

Longest Sunday

While I wish we would stop messing with clocks, this is my favorite weekend of the year – Sunday is so nice and long!    Yesterday was a fun day – I got up and going pretty early, and got the grocery shopping done while A did the laundry.  Niece B arrived just after lunch, and we visited and played games while she did her laundry.  She left right after supper, as there was lots of fun stuff going on for Halloween at the university.

A and I waited patiently, but got only three neighbor children, and their beautiful Mom, all dressed as superheroes.  That leaves us with lots of chocolate.  So sad.

I did some knitting on the sweater.  To you, I am sure it looks the same, but these are the sleeves.  The last time you saw it, I was working on the two fronts.  Progress is being made!


Today I had a lot of chores to do that I didn’t do yesterday, and one of them was a major experiment.  I’ll know in the spring if it worked.

It starts with this:


the pallets that bio bricks and pellets arrive on.  We had 6 of them that I asked A to save for me.  I had a vision of using them to protect the shrubs around the house from the snow falling from the roof.  I thought it would be pretty easy to make legs with 2x4s and put them over the shrubs, like this:


And that was pretty easy.  I did a couple like that for the smaller shrubs.  The forsythia is near the driveway, it really needs protecting from plow and shovel, so I made it a bit steeper.


It got less easy in the front, where the shrubs are taller, and I needed to attach 4 legs .


In the end, I got them all to work, but it isn’t pretty or easy.  🙂  Let’s hope they keep the snow from breaking the bushes this winter. If this works, I will perfect it next year.  The good thing is I used scrap wood and recycled the pallets, and they will be easy to take apart in the spring   I am sure of that.  🙂

When I finished that, I put the winter chemicals in the pool, and then, hold your breath – climbed in and scooped leaves.  It was COLD.  Thankfully, it is only shin deep, but still, it was a shock!  Luckily, the scoop broke before I got hypothermia, and I got out.

I did all of this, thinking the day was nearly gone, and when I got inside, it was 11:30.  Now that is a good Sunday.  Afternoon, couch time with the knitting needles.  🙂

Meanwhile, I am still taking lots of morning photos for Colour Cottage – here are the October ones.  Most of them are at the same bridge where I wait each morning – I swear they are nearly finished, yet they are there every morning.  Only a couple were taken while driving – but as you can see, traffic isn’t a problem, and I was really careful.






I can never resist frost on the blueberry barrens.  It’s so beautiful, like glitter frosting.


Doesn’t it look like they are nearly finished?  Paving, lines, all complete.  Jersey barriers gone, but still the light is there, they work away.


I go to work at the same time every day, but look at this last photo during a stormy day this week – like night.


Tomorrow, the sun will be up when I get there, since we rolled the clocks back last night.  So the November photos will look like the September ones for a bit.

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