One of Those Days

You know the kind I mean. Where you know you should have stayed in bed. I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon; I really like my dentist - he's a great guy. But let's face it. Getting your teeth scrapped does not rank high on the 'can't wait to do that' list.

And spaz cat, Oreo, ran into a freshly painted wall. Not a new wall, mind you. Or a small wall. You'd think she'd try to avoid something that reeks of paint. But no. I think the sage green "highlights" are very becoming. I'm sure they will become a 'must have' for all the 'hip' cats.
And Dick was very happy about having to remove black cat hair from the wet paint.

But it got better from there. I spent four hours spinning with friends in a new local fiber store. Very relaxing, very satisfying. And I discovered that one of the ladies from Knit & Nibble
(Hi, Anne!), our local knitting & crochet group, has expanded her glass making endeavors from these spinning hooks (which I love) to dichroic buttons in a variety of shapes and colors (which I also love). I'm planning to use this as a shawl closure, with a hat pin through the button shank to keep it in place. I think it will be stunning.

I've also started two new crochet projects. The first is a Lily Chin mock-Farose shawl in a gorgeous laceweight cashmere yarn from Deb at
Fearless Fibers. I love her colors and the fiber is incredibly soft. (Links to her eBay and Etsy shops are in the right column on her blog. I *highly* recommend her work.)

The second project is also a shawl. I'm making this one in an organic softball cotton that I found awhile back at Chamomile Connection. (Lynnae also has an eBay shop that I highly recommend.)
The pattern is Lacy Summer Shawl from a 2003 Crochet! magazine that Ellen gave me. The main part is simple double crochet, decreasing to point in the back. Classic. Elegant. But simple. Then you get to the edging - a beautiful, thick, satisfyingly complex lace. I can't wait to get to that part.

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Hi Ho, Hi Ho . . .

Yep, it's off to work I go. I've agreed to work with the Public Safety Initiative committee until the November election. Don't know how many hours a week it will be; the good news is that I can do a lot of the work from home. Since this is the first initiative we've all worked on, no one is really sure (yet) what is going to be needed.

My (un)official title is Computer/Data Chairperson. I'll be doing whatever needs done via computer - writing letters, setting up databases, maintaining the website (and maybe a blog). It should be interesting. I got my first tour of our office this afternoon. It's very nice - one large room for the phone bank, a small kitchen and restroom in the back, and three small offices along one wall.
I'll have one of the offices, which should cut some of the noise once the phone banks get up and running.

This will be in addition to my part-time job with the association and the on-going home remodel. Just look what fun I had this morning:
removing wallpaper. After 3 hours, I'd barely made a dent in one wall. The wallpaper stripper we're using takes off one layer of paper at a time. Then I reapply it and take off another layer. So far, I'm down 2 layers - unfortunately, it looks like they were the easy ones; the third layer is being very difficult. This is going to be a very slooooow process.

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Happy 100th Anniversary!

This is my 100th blog entry. 100 posts in 109 days. Not bad at all. When I started this in May, I wasn't sure what I would write about or that it would keep my interest. I have a long and illustrious history of starting things and then losing interest. But I enjoy blogging. And I've e-met some nice, interesting people in the past 3 months. So to everyone reading this, thanks! It's nice talking to you. (Feel free to de-lurk and leave a comment. Bloggers love knowing that someone out there is listening.)

Matt and Lisa came by for dinner tonight and brought me this:
A purple Harvey's Seatbelt Bag. It's made of actual automotive seatbelt material and is sturdy enough to last forever. It's beautiful and fun and functional - and I love it. I've admired the seatbelt purse that Lisa's mother gave her for her birthday last year. And now I have one of my own. Lisa said it was a (very) early birthday present but I'm sure she really meant it was for my 100th blogiversary. Thanks, guys!


Treasure Hunt

I'm a recovering eBay junkie and I'm especially bad when it comes to antique crochet hooks. I've been pretty good lately, but when Vickie sent me a link to this, I had to bid on it. And I won! This set is in exceptional condition. The lining on the case is intact, as are the exterior closures.

According to the seller,
this set was given to Mary Goodwin Tompson of South Berwich, Maine on Christmas, 1863. The set has five different sized hooks that can be screwed into the handle. All are very tiny (the smaller ones are about the size of a sewing needle) so they were probably used for crocheting lace.

The handle appears to be Murano glass (could be agate, but looks more like glass). According to Nancy Nehring: "An upper class woman in the last half of the nineteenth century displayed her status in several ways. One way was to engage in fine needlework. If she chose crochet, this meant working intricate lace patterns in fine threads. Most of the crochet hooks from this time period had fine steel hooks.

A second way to display one's wealth was to have expensive needlework tools to use (and to show off) when one went visiting. Examples are: brass ormolu set with aquamarines possibly Indian, porcupine quill mounted in silver possibly Indian, brass with reversible steel hook that could be stored in body when not in use, glass paperweight with brass wire decoration possibly Murano glass from Italy, agate handle with brass mount. 1860-1880."

At last week's Ventura ArtWalk, we found this:
It's a blown glass paint brush. How great is that?!? With Dick's interest in home remodeling and stained glass work, this was a 'must have' for us. It is fun, whimsical and beautiful, all at the same time.

The artist is Teal Rowe of Ojai. At the show, she had these hanging on a tree, like Christmas ornaments. (If you visit her website, be sure to look at the wearable glass pieces in her gallery.) We have one of her vases that we picked up during a tour of her studio last year. She plans to have another one in November; we'll definitely be there.


Another Baby FO!

I still have to weave in all the ends, but these booties are basically done. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. They are just like big people socks (with gussets and turned heels and shaped toes) - just much, much smaller. They go with the camo slouch hat I finished earlier this week. I still have 2 skeins of this yarn left; I'm trying to decide whether to make a baby poncho or a sweater to go with this set. I'm thinking poncho - it just says 'Daddy's Little Hunter' to me more than a sweater.
But I remember why I gave up crocheting doilies - holding this thin sock yarn is causing my hands to cramp badly. For my next project, I'm planning to work on an afghan or something - anything - that uses *thick* yarn.

(Tech Details: "E" crochet hook. Yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, 80% superwash wool/20% nylon, in color #708-Camouflage. Hat and booties are both "Precious In White" from American School of Needlework's "Special Delivery" book. I really like this book; the patterns are well written and easy to follow. And cute.)

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I'm In Love

with this fiber. I bought it from a vendor during Sheep to Shawl at the Ventura County Fair. All the other spinners turned it down but I thought it was beautiful. I love browns - and this one is brown Romedale wool with slubs of Tussah silk. So far, it's been a pleasure to spin. I love the tweedy look of the single. I have over 11 ounces of fiber to spin; I'm already dreaming of what I'll make with the finished yarn.

I've enabled another spinner. Vickie spun years ago but didn't enjoy it. After raising the sheep, shearing, washing, and hand carding the wool, she was sick of it before she even got around to spinning on a wheel made by a friend's husband - which, from her description, may not have been the best spinning tool. She's been resistant to trying again, but I have been R.E.L.E.N.T.L.E.S.S. At the Fabulous Fiber Fest last Friday, I talked her into buying a beautiful Cascade spindle. And some wool roving. And gifted her with silk
hankies. And today she did this: And loved it! Her yarn is still in the 'designer' stage, but she is such a perfectionist and so talented, I expect she'll be spinning cobwebs by next week. Hooray! A new spinner in the family!

On the way home from Vickie's, I mentioned to Dick that I have 14 spindles now. His reaction? That I need to buy 16 more so I'll have one for every day of the month. Then I'd have a "complete set". Is he a great guy or what?

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Old T-Shirts Never Die . . .

. . they just turn into paint rags. This was one of my all-time favorite shirts. We bought it on our very first trip to Colorado when Gary was . . . . about this age. (Gary now.)The shirt was definitely showing its age; the area around the 'Boulder' logo getting exceptionally drafty, too much so for even wearing around the house. But it went in service to the greater good. Today the new closet went from this: to this: The first coat is done and the second coat will go on tomorrow morning. At least the current heat wave is good for something - the paint dried very, very quickly.

Dick and I both love this color. It's a warm sagey green; very pretty, very restful. Not the oh-my-god-what-was-I-thinking mint green that is on the walls of the staircase. The sitting room will be the same color as the closet, with the bedroom a darker green on the bottom and red (!) wallpaper on the upper half of the walls. More pictures as we progress.

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Flower Quiz

Sorry, no crochet or spinning got done today (although I may have a little time for spinning after I finish the crime stats.) So no pictures of finished objects. Maybe tomorrow, but more likely on Wednesday after Vickie and I work on our projects while Dick visits with his parents.

But today we did order the wallpaper for our bedroom and bought the paint for the closet, sitting room & bedroom. Gee, guess what I get to do tomorrow? Did you guess . . . . . painting?? Dick did the prep work today; tomorrow he'll do the cutting in and I'll do the rolling. He's planning to build the closet cabinets while we wait for the wallpaper to be delivered in about 15 days. Hopefully, I'll have pictures of the progress soon.

I'll leave you with a fun quiz. If you take it, be sure to leave a comment with the kind of flower you are.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

(I was hoping I'd be an Orchid until I read this description:
Demand is a word that was invented for you. You are an artist and you need to be treated like the queen you know you are. You come first and so you should because you have some fantastic talents.)

Don't forget to check out Addy's blog.

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Spinning My Wheels

In more ways than one. On the fiber front, I finished spinning the Ocean Breeze roving from Woven-Spun. I love how the colors blend in the plyed yarn - and I *love* that it's almost perfectly balanced. Don't know how many yards are in this skein - my yarn counter is buried somewhere in the 'I-can't-wait-for-my-closet-to-be-finished' mess on my studio floor. This is the smaller of the two skeins I have in this colorway; I'll figure the total yardage when the yarn tells me what it wants to be.

On the computer front, I'm having problems with my network. We had a fiber optics line installed during the remodel and it has been great (and fast!) - until the past four or five days. Now I can occasionally get online with a very weak signal. I tried for literally hours last night to get into Blogger; I finally gave up and went to bed.

And we're back. Don't tell me Big-Brother Bill isn't watching everything we do online. While I was typing the last paragraph, my network came back on line, at full strength. Is that weird or what? Guess that's good news for you though - you don't have to listen to the rest of my computer woes rant.

If (if!) the network stays online, I should have a finished object to post tonight. Part one is done but I want to have all the pieces finished before I take a picture.


Trading Places

This is how I spent my Friday night. Working in my favorite scrapbook store during the 6 to midnight crop. Marie thought it was pretty funny that she was the one doing the scrapbooking and I was the one minding the store.

I've been scrapping at the Villa almost since it opened two years ago. When Debra decided she'd like an occasional Friday night with her family, four of her more dedicated (read: scrap fanatic) customers volunteered to help out. We each take one Friday night a month and serve as hostess - helping customers, running the register, keeping the chocolate and caffeine well stocked, and generally having fun. Since Marie's day job #2 is working at the Villa, she usually scraps on the nights I work to keep me company. (And to keep me out of trouble. She *loves* telling me what to do and answering customer's questions. She's definitely the expert in this arena.)

Although she's never been interested in scrapping before, working at Scrapbookers Villa seems to have changed her mind. Marie's very artistic, with a great eye for color and form. And I did raise her to have a thorough knowledge of scrapping basics. She's a natural. I'm so proud.

P.S. Vickie and I went to the "Fabulous Fiber Fest" in Santa Monica during the day on Friday. Very disappointing. If you are into quilting or beading, it was probably a good show. But if you are interested in fiber of any sort - spinning, weaving, crochet, knitting, or anything else - there wasn't much of interest. And there were noticeably fewer vendors this year than last year. Vickie found a must-have book on silk fusion and we each bought a spindle and roving so I could teach her to spin, but there was nothing else I felt I 'had to have'. And you know me - I *love* adding to my spinning and yarn stashes. With parking at $8 and an entry fee of $6 (plus $2.50 for a small soda - no profit there for the Auditorium), I'm not sure I'll be going back next year.

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Back To The Grind

Marie starts back to school on Monday so she decided to take some time off this past week. Working two jobs - three if you count the students she tutors - and going to college full-time leaves very little time for sleep or a social life.

First up was a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Marie and Jen were planning to go for their joint birthdays back in June, but Marie (egged on by Jen & others) 'overindulged' the night before, in celebration of her 21st birthday. Something about an amusement park with a queasy stomach and pounding headache just didn't appeal to her. Fortunately, their tickets didn't have an expiration date so they were able to use them this time.

The ladies also attended the rodeo on the last day of the Ventura County Fair.
From her description, it would almost have been worth braving the last-day crowds and the horrendous traffic jam to see the show. Very colorful, very entertaining. Starting Monday, Marie will be back to the grind. She's taking classes 4 nights a week plus one on-line class, with lab, for a total of 18 units. And planning to maintain her "A" average. Not my idea of a fun time. Good luck, Marie! Don't forget to get some sleep occasionally.


The Great Kitty Hunters

The girls have discovered a new pastime, one that fascinates all three of them equally. For the past few weeks, a small brown bird has been sitting in the tree outside my studio, heckling the cats through the screened window. She prances from branch to branch for an hour or so at a time, jeering at which ever cat is keeping watch. And she's always in the area closest to the window. (No nest; I checked.)She is so loud that today Dick heard her from the front of the house and came to see what was going on. The cats take turns, almost in shifts, 'stalking' her. They lay by the window, tail swishing, ready to pounce. AJ even talks to the bird, chittering as if to say 'here, little birdie; come a little closer, little birdie." (I'm not crazy - I have witnesses! It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.)
I'm sure they see themselves as the Great Kitty Hunter. Heaven knows what would happen if they actually had a chance at that bird. Knowing these three, my money's on the bird.

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Less and Less Retired Every Day

For a retired person, I sure seem to spend a lot of time at my former place of employment. I went in today for what I thought would be a 2 hour job. Six and a half hours later, I finally got out of there. I like the work and really enjoy seeing the people I used to work with. But the longer I'm retired, the more deeply I've gotten into 'what I want to do, when I want to do it' mode. I miss the time I'd normally spend working on my own projects.

And it's going to get worse. I agreed to work on the public safety initiative starting next week. Now that the city council has earmarked it for the November ballot, city employees and city resources can't be used on the initiative. I'll be doing a lot of behind-the-scenes jobs, setting up databases and other, as yet to be determined computer work. Should be interesting - and time consuming.

The officer's association will pay me for some of the hours I work. But I'm sure I'll also end up 'volunteering' a significant amount of time. Once I start working on something, it's really hard for me to stop. I want to see it through to the end (and make sure it's done my way. But it's not because I have control issues. And I'm not compulsive either. No, really. It's just that my way is right.) (Ok, you can stop laughing now.)

The next two months should be interesting. And working more hours - especially after the raise I received tonight - means more money for Oreo's vet bills and for enhancing the fiber stash. Woohoo! See, there is a bright side.

Oreo with her feeding tube; July 2005.

A healthier Oreo, May 2006.

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I Went To The Animal Fair

Last Fair post, I promise. Today was the only day participants could pick up their entries. I thought it would be a zoo, but when I arrived just after 2 there was no line, no waiting, nothing. At least 3/4 of the items in the Home Arts building were already gone.
It took about 45 minutes to gather the entries for the four of us (me, Sharon and two other Guild members), count the 33 ribbons we had coming, and collect our checks. Each first place earned $4, a second was $2 and a third brought $1.

Don't the ribbons look nice on the studio fireplace? And my earlier ribbon count was wrong; I received 12 ribbons for the 13 items I entered. Not bad at all!

At least AJ was impressed.


Gary's Home

The Gare Bear made it home safely. He had a great time during his week in Colorado - he talked about it almost non-stop on our way home from the airport - and he'll miss Rachel and John. But he missed his buds while he was gone, even though they kept in constant contact with the magic of IM and text messaging. Gary was home about 2 hours before the teen invasion began. And 2 hours after that, they all left for another friend's house. I bet we don't see much of him this next week.

But one thing today really startled me. He opened the front door to one of his friends, and greeted him with a handshake. When did that start? My baby is growing up.

p.s. I started a blog about Addison. I'll be the main contributor for now, but eventually Rachel (and John?) will add photos and info. Be sure to check it out.


Saturday Sky - Here and There

Saturday Sky in California. Same old, same old.

Saturday Sky in Colorado. Much more dramatic, much more interesting. On his last day of vacation, Gary, John and Rachel went fishing on Horsetooth Resevoir. I love the clouds in the background. Living in So. California, I miss clouds and storms and lightening. The drama of changing weather. Don't miss the humidity though.

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