Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Show-off blog

I just wanted to show off this adorable apple baby hat that I made for a friend who just had her SEVENTH -- first girl. The pattern is a freebie and can be found here. Kate says it totally has the "awwh" factor.

Kate missed Gallery Night (her school's talent show) for the first time in six years because she has a terrible cold. She had prepared to sing (and play guitar) a ballad in Gallic. Unfortunately, the only way she could participate was through a display of her artwork. Although I am totally unbiased as her mother ... ahem ... I really thought this self-portrait was amazing.

Ally -- who does not have a cold -- sang "On My Own" from Les Miserables and did a wonderful job with it. She said this afternoon that being on stage doesn't scare her at all -- it's real life that makes her nervous.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meet me at the Fair

Lynne and I had a great time at the Fiber Event in Greencastle, IN last weekend. We drove up on Friday morning and I had a class in needle felting that afternoon. I made a hat from alpaca fiber and everyone at the festival loved it (everyone at home called it a pimp hat and laughed at it! This is why I leave home ...).

After my class, we shopped until they shut down the place at 7 p.m. Then we had dinner at a little hole in the wall place and checked in at the America's Best Value motel. The name says it all. It provided clean lodging -- that's all. But for $50/night, I didn't feel cheated.

On Saturday, we watched some 4-H kids and their mentors shearing sheep. This picture shows a sheep standing out in the crowd after being shorn. They look pretty silly sitting up on their bottoms and having their winter coats taken off. These are Suffolk, so they aren't really good wool sheep, but they're the same type Ally and I raised in 4-H. One sheep apparently got fed up with the whole thing and decided to take his new look and make a run for it.

Lynne and I shopped all morning. Here we see Lynne looking cold while she examines the goodies. It was both chilly and rainy, but that didn't stop us. (Although I did feel compelled to buy a snuggly black alpaca ruana.)

In the afternoon, I had a class in spinning angora. We were given samples of four types of angora fur to spin and compare: giant, french, english and satin. The instructor also gave a demonstration of how to harvest fur from a very matted English angora that she gave away at the end of the class. I was really tempted to put my name in the hat, but I knew Jeff would be unhappy with that decision. In the end, he went to a lady who was expecting to receive five other angoras from her sister and had plenty of room on her farm for him. When Carol got done shearing the poor bunny, there wasn't much left for the lucky winner to take home!

Here is the only extant picture of an actual "Pushme-Pullyou." And I got another cute shot of this alpaca giving a kiss to a passerby. Did I mention that I LOVE alpacas?

Another highlight was the guy who was signing and selling his book: "Cast On, Bet's Off." OMG. Talk about swarmy ... He was striking up conversations with anyone who came near his booth and regaling them with the plot of his book. Apparently, it involves a crime-solving married couple who own a yarn shop -- just like he and his wife do -- and he kept insisting that it was "steamy." The murder was done with a pair of Addi Turbos. I took pity on him and bought a copy and he signed it for me.
At bedtime, when I read the first page to Lynne, we absolutely fell off the bed with laughter. His description of the hero husband was exactly like himself -- only better. What Narcissistic garbage! When I read the back cover, all was revealed. He formerly wrote for the "Power Rangers." Now there's a show known for it's top notch dialogue. We decided the only reason the guy was signing the things was to prevent us from returning it to him (or giving it to anyone else!).

On the positive side, we saw a lot of great booths and lots of wonderful yarn and fiber. Two stores in particular stood out in my mind: The Trading Post and Maple Creek Farm (which is pictured above). I can't put my finger on what made these stores different -- they just seemed to have yarn and fiber that made me go "Ah" and want to roll around in it. Of course, Weaver's Loft had a gorgeous display of Barb's hand-dyed yarn too. What eye candy!

I ended up buying two small niddy-noddys, and several small amounts of luxury fibers like Suri Alpaca, Camel/Silk, and SW Merino/Sea Cell. All in all, I didn't break the bank. One look at my fiber stash and you know that I don't need ANY more fiber. At all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday was my birthday and it's been a good weekend. I drove down to Lexington on Friday and spent the day with Mom and Dad. I got to be an only child all day and got presents and even a birthday cake. Mom and I went to Talbots and I used their birthday gift, a certificate to Talbots, to buy some gorgeous burgundy silk slacks and a white blouse.

On Saturday, I slept late and generally just did whatever I wanted to. Kate and I went to brunch and then got the ingredients for the cake she made me. She had me pick out the recipe, so I picked this: Blackberry-Raspberry Truffle Cake. It took her all day to make, but it was fabulous ... and HUGE. Jeff took us all to the Metropolitan club for a lovely dinner. When we got home, Kate continued working on the cake. As it was nearing midnight, she decided to leave off the pecans (no one was really that keen on them anyway), but it was gorgeous.

Kate thought she was being funny ... ha ... ha ... and in lieu of the correct number of candles, she just arranged the candles in an infinity symbol. Anyway, I got a lot of great presents and generally felt very fussed over. Birthdays just don't come often enough.

It seems like some years everyone completely forgets about my birthday and I get my feelings all hurt. Then some years, like this year, everyone remembers and I have a wonderful time. It was really sort of funny. Mom and Dad got me a cake. And Jeff also got a back-up cake, just in case Kate's didn't work out. So we've got cake coming out of our ears! You'll notice, however, that we're having no trouble scarfing it down.

Today after church I tried my hand at making paper. I had made the pulp last week, but only got around to trying to make the paper today. Everything worked just like it was supposed to, but I was disappointed in the results. The paper I ended up with seemed just like a piece of colored paper toweling. It had the feel of those molded cardboard cup holders you get with fast food. I was hoping to write my birthday thank you notes on it, but I'm not sure I want to. I may have to learn more about papermaking and find out what I'm doing wrong.