Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Excuse me while my head explodes

Phew! Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I'm not! :P

My mind has kind of stalled with the thought of all that cooking and cleaning. This year, for the first time evah, we are having real, live, grown-up people over for Thanksgiving dinner. It'll be awesome, but it's also scary. *waves* Hi, Gail! Hi, Annie! You guys know I'm a slob, right? You've seen my house and my monsters, right? You know my family's slobbish ways are not going to change, right? Right? Right?!?

*crickets chirp*

Sorry about that. The blog's supposed to be this and that and farm dreams and shop updates, not the web published version of my mental breakdown...

So, shop news. I am pleased to announce that Turtle Cove Farm yarns, soaps, and sundries are naw available at Yarny Goodness. Pam's shop is a perfect place to browse Indie fiber artists. She carries everything from yarn to project bags, and I am extremely honored to be a part of it!

I am gobsmacked at the popularity of Bronze Age. If you thought you had missed it, think again! I will do my best to keep this color in stock until everyone's feet are warmed by the shiny, bronze-y loveliness.

Who knew?

I've also been working madly on Turtle Cove Farm's submission to the Phat Fiber box. Have you heard of this yet? It's an amazing box filled to the brim with samples of yarn, roving, stitch markers, patterns... It's like a mini yarn shop in a box. What a fabulous idea!

In the meantime, my spur of the moment sale is still on at Turtle Cove Farm. Free shipping on all yarn orders, including international orders! Hurry! The sale ends this Sunday (11/30/08).

Last but not least, what's the weather like today?

Williston, ND: Clear, 45°F 16°F

CCAFS, FL: Mostly cloudy, 72°F 45°F

Hey look, Ma! Your high temp is our low temp... Heh, I think I'm getting punchy from cleaning fumes. Time for a nap!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bubba's Colorblind

First a little back-story:

We live in a very heterogeneous area. Our neighbors are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, sun worshippers, and creatures of the night. I've tried to raise the monsters to see skin color the same way they see height: some people are tall and some are short; some people are brown and some are pink. That's just the way god made 'em.

Keep in mind as you read this that the boys and I are rather fair, while Mister Man, with his outdoor hobbies and absent-minded use of sun block, tans quite dark.

We were shopping this weekend and Mister Man got separated from the rest of us. The boys and I wondered around for a while, looking at this and that, and then started quartering the store looking for their dad. Across the way, I saw a man with the same general build as my husband, but as we got closer, I realized it wasn't him.

"Well," I said to the boys, "that man is big and has a shaved head, but that's not Dad."

"No, Mom," said Bubba, rolling his eyes. "That man's white."

"What?!?" I said.

"Dad's black."

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Last Nightshot

I grew up dreaming of space, and the fact that I now live within a few miles of the shuttle launch pad fills me with glee. Friday night, my family and I watched the last night launch of the Space Shuttle.

We always watch the launches from the beach at the end of our street. When they start the engines, the sky is set on fire.

We hear a muted rumble as the shuttle slowly climbs above the rooftops.

Remembering the Challenger and Columbia disasters, everyone waits with breathless anticipation as the shuttle exits the atmosphere. When it is just a brighter star in the sky, the crowd starts cheering.

Soon the moon outshines even the shuttle's engines and everyone heads home, proud to be a small part, however vicariously, of man's exploration of the stars.

Weather Update

Williston, ND: Mostly Sunny, 40°F 23°F

CCAFS, FL: Clear, 67°F 45°F

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oooh Shiny!

Shiny squishy goodness

The latest colorway for Turtle Feet Sock Yarn: Bronze Age. I just wasn't sure about this color combination until I skeined it up. Now it's one of my favorites.


Starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST, basic shipping for all yarn at Turtle Cove Farm will be free! Yes, that includes international shipping! Check back tonight for all the details.

Weather Update

Williston, ND: Chance of Snow Showers, 36°F 18°F

CCAFS, FL: Chance of Showers, 85°F 72°F

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time Travel the Easy Way

I did a very brave thing this weekend. I took the monsters to the Ren Faire all by myself. We had so much fun!

I was the stunning assistant for Emrys Fleet, the Rat Catcher, and received a handful of rat poo for my troubles. The monsters thought it was hilarious! I wish we had pictures.

We saw Johnny Phoenix again (that's eight years in a row!). We even bought some Johnny Phoenix hot sauce. I've promised myself that next year I will get a picture with him. I'm a shy fangirl :P

The monsters had a blast trying to kill each other in the fencing arena. They are both such hams! Even the lovely woman running things was almost in tears from laughter.

En guard!

All in all it was a fabulous day. I had so much fun with the monsters! I can't wait 'til next year.

Weather update:

Williston, ND: Partly Sunny, 34°F 18°F

CCAFS, FL: Clear, 74°F 63°F

That's a 40 degree difference!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weather Update

I have stories from the Ren Faire this weekend, but since dinner's almost ready, I'll have to tell you later. In the meantime:

Weather for Williston, ND: Mostly Sunny, 31°F | 16°F

Weather for CCAFS, FL: Clear, 74°F | 54°F

I know you're fascinated :P

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weather Update

Williston, ND: Mostly Sunny, 34°F | 14°F

CAFS, FL: Mostly Sunny, 77°F | 61°F

Brrr... Think we'll adjust?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Day + 2

Whew - I meant to post this yesterday, but I needed an extra day to recover! This election season has been exhausting! Did you vote? virtual high five Our democratic process only works when we are a part of it.

As a quiet aside and a sigh of relief: Yay! My boss was reelected; I'll still have a job in January :^)

I have lots of news about the shop. The Knitting Salve is now available in four new fragrances, Orange Spice, Summer Berries, Wake Up! and White Tea and Ginger. I've also started making a fragrance-free version called Liberated. My fingers have never been happier.

I've been testing a new line of acid dyes that have been formulated without the use of hazardous metals. The colors are stunning and as colorfast and lightfast as traditional dyes. Check out the new Turtle Feet Rainbow Collection and let me know what you think.

Rainbow Feet

In knitting news, I've found a new love. I just can't get enough of fingerless gloves!

Armwarmers of Awesomeness (My own pattern)

More Manly Mitts (roughly based on Ken)

Nereid Gloves

Porphyria (Rav link)

One last thing, as both a prod to post more often, and as a reminder that, Baby, it's cold up there, I am going to start posting the highs and lows for both Williston, ND, and Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. These are the weather stations closest to where we want to be and where we are right now.

Weather for Williston, ND: Snow, 31°F 20°F

Weather for CCAFS, FL: Mostly Sunny, 76°F 56°F

Baby, it's cooold up there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is this, a petting zoo?

Luckily, Tropical Storm Fay gave us nothing worse than cabin fever here at the House at Two Palms. We had four days trapped inside with a six year old and a five year old… It’s a wonder we survived.

More Fay photos here

During our house arrest, we watched movies and played board games – Blokus is a lifesaver! We also spent a lot of time reading; at one point I was reading excerpts from a book on pasture-raised chickens to the monsters. That was when I realized that we had all gone insane.

See, it started with sheep and goats. We want sheep for wool and goats for milk, and both for meat. But, if we have sheep and goats, we have to be prepared to fight parasites. We want to minimize the routine use of medications, so we will need something to help keep the parasite load down. That led us to chickens.

Chickens are perfect for the job; they can graze behind the ruminants, scratching up bugs and fighting the parasite cycle. Plus hens lay eggs, bringing us closer to self-sufficiency!

But chickens need to be protected from predators. Now we’re learning about “chicken tractors” and guard animals. We’re thinking of adding a few guinea fowl to the flock as watch animals; they may be one of the ugliest birds on a farm, but they sound an alert against intruders, and they eat a ton of bugs.

Are you keeping count? When you add the rabbits, cats, and dog that we already have, that makes seven different types of animals. It won’t be a farm; it’ll be a zoo!

Our time together during the tropical storm reinforced the fact that we are all invested in this crazy farm scheme. Even the kids are caught up in the idea: asking questions, learning about the different animals and their care, sketching plans for pole barns and chicken tractors, and just dreaming with us. Seeing the kids excited and involved in our plans is absolutely priceless.

Since no storm can last forever, this week we finally went back to work and school. I am the proud mom of a kindergartner and a first grader. sniff They grow so fast!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

Get ready to bookmark this post. You definitely want to try this at home!

In defiance of the simmering August heat, I wanted that fall classic, Butternut Squash Soup, for dinner. I made up the recipe on the fly, and it was amazing. It is not for the faint of heart – or anyone on a heart-healthy diet – but it is sooo delicious that I have to share.

Eryn’s Amazing Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash
2 medium red potatoes, sliced
16 ounces chicken stock/broth
1 pint heavy cream
4 Tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic (roughly 2-3 cloves)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place in a microwave safe dish with one inch of water and microwave on high for approximately fifteen minutes (until flesh is barely tender).

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion, cooking until translucent. Add garlic and sliced potatoes. Sauté until the potatoes are golden brown and the garlic and onion are very fragrant. Add the chicken stock/broth (I used a low sodium name-brand carton), nutmeg, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are done.

Carefully (those squash are hot!) scrape squash pulp from the skin and add to the soup. Add the heavy cream and puree until smooth (I used my trusty blender, but an immersion blender would work great). Serve hot with fresh baked biscuits.

I haven’t measured serving sizes or total yield, but I can say this served my family of four until we were stuffed full, and we have a bit leftover. The soup has a delicate flavor and was very filling. It won’t make it into my weekly menu – if it did, eventually I would no longer be able to fit out the door! – but it is being added to my “seasonal favorites” menu.

Mmmm, yummy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Is summer over yet?

Whoo-hoo! Man, I think I should have just taken July off completely.

Wait, you did take July off…

Oops, I guess I meant officially. Wow, what a month.

My 13-year-old twin stepsons were in town for their annual visit, so the House at (at least) Two Palms was filled with laughter, teen angst, a bit of drama, and a lot of fun. We look forward to their visit every year, but it can feel a bit like a five-week hurricane season – exciting, breath taking, and ultimately unpredictable.

I’ve also been working on Turtle Cove Farm, my new on-line store for knitting with soap. It will be a virtual farm for the next few years, but in 2010 Turtle Cove Farm will be our reality, a small-scale sheep farm on the plains of North Dakota.

Well, that seems sudden…

Mister Man and I had a long talk, and realized that for years we have both had the same dream of a simpler life up North. We were both a little embarrassed to admit it, each thinking that the other loved Florida too much to ever move away. And I do love it here, but I want to give the monsters the kind of childhood I had: a childhood filled with the serenity of wide-open spaces, the slow pace of nature, and a family so big you can never remember whether someone is a first- or second- cousin and you introduce yourself by listing your genealogy.

If you get a chance, wander around the new store and look around. It’s still a work in progress, so if you see something that could use improvement, I’d love to know.

In the meantime, if I get that far-away look in my eye, this is what I'll be thinking of:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thank you for your patience; have some cake

Guess what - I'm a year older. Can you tell?

I think Ravelry has changed birthdays in the knitting world forever. Yesterday I celebrated the day of my birth (thanks, Mom!) and I was inundated with well wishes from both friends and random people who saw my little cake icon. It was quite lovely!

I love the fact that this year my birthday coincided with knit night. That meant double the cake:

One was from the kids, and was choked down with a smile. The other was waiting for me at knit night, and came back home with me. Can you figure out which one's which?

Enough about me... Drum roll, please: it's finally in the shop!

Turtle Cove
- your place for the finest handmade soaps, handpainted yarns, and now knitting salve.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Can't Believe I Forgot a Title!

I have so much to blog about that I’m not even sure where to begin… Today it will be a little knitting. I finished the Striped Hoody from Knit Simple Magazine (Ravelry link), Flower Power, and Magic Slippers for my new baby niece. I was under a deadline, so I didn’t keep the best of notes.

Miss Cutie Patootie

The Details

I had nine months to knit a baby sweater. You’d think I would have had three or four done before the baby was born! Alas, every time I cast something on, I hated it. I either didn’t love the pattern or I didn’t love the yarn.

Finally, when I was down to the wire, I found the Striped Hoody and Classic Elite Summer Set. Summer Set is a cotton alpaca blend with a hint of polyester and lyocel; it isn’t superwash, but otherwise it’s perfect for baby projects: lightweight and warm, with fabulous colors.

It has a pom-pom!

One note of caution with the Striped Hoody pattern: Read the gauge of the pattern very carefully. I assumed it was gauge for a 4 x 4 square… It calls for a 4 x 5 rectangle. That’s a big difference! Luckily, Little Miss is skinny.

I couldn’t find the right zipper for the Hoody, so I improvised a closure with i-cord. It’s cute, but not very practical.

Check out my picot hems!

If you hate seaming, this is not the sweater for you! It has sides seams, shoulder seams, sleeve seams, hood seams, and hems! I was thoroughly sick of seaming by the end. The patterns calls for binding off the edges, then folding back and seaming to get the picot edge. I didn't like how it looked with bound off edges, so I tacked down the live stitches. Much better.

The Hat

A cute little girl needs a silly hat, and my mom practically demanded that I make Flower Power for her first granddaughter.

Cute Overload

This is such a cute pattern! I only knit one strand, so my gauge was waaaay off. I cast on as if for a super-large and went from there.

The Booties

The fashionable baby is dressed from head-to-toe in hand knits, so of course I had to knit some booties. I fell in love with Magic Slippers when Jesh blogged about them; they are quick, easy, and use up all that left over yarn. I knit these with two strands held together on size sixes.

Baby Booties are sooo sweet
Coming Soon

Well, I think this is enough for this morning. I have shop updates, stories from our trip to North Dakota, and even more information on Sears Houses to tell you about, but time is running away from me and I have much to do…

Until later!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Aten’t Ded

Oh, my dearest loverlies, once again I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. We’ve had four weeks of madness at the (New) House at Two Palms… I hardly know where to begin.

First of all, we did get moved to the new house. A huge thank you goes to annieroo, her husband, and GailinCCB. We couldn’t have done it without your help! The move was exhausting and the less said, the better, although it does chap my ass that our old landlord spent many ten hour days fixing all the things he should have taken care of when we lived there.

The new house is faboo; cluttered, but faboo. We will probably get unpacked just in time to move to this:

What is this, you ask? Well, part of the reason the move was so rushed was that we had plane tickets to go meet a new bundle of sweetness.

Little Miss No Name is as sweet as pie, and it was reassuring to find that I have no desire to have another one of my own. These monsters are enough.

While we were in North Dakota, Dad took us out to look at a few acres of pasture perfect for a few sheep, and this gorgeous Sears Roebuck kit house.

Did you know Sears sold houses? I am still gobsmacked at the idea of ordering your house from a catalog. The house is a mess and it needs tons of work, but it is gorgeous. You just can’t find details like this in modern houses.

So now MrMan and I are imagining that house on this land

With a few sheep, some lilac bushes, and a windmill or two, it would be heaven.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Bubba-ism

Bubba spent the day at work with me today. As we were driving back to the office after lunch, he said, "You know what I believe?"

"What, honey?"

"I believe someday we'll be twins."

"You mean when you're a grownup you and I will be just like twins?" I asked, hoping for an insight into his mind.

"No, after we die, and we wait for a really long time, we'll come back as twins."

Say it with me: Awwwwwwwww!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So You Want to Own a Rabbit

Since I began posting about my baby bunnies, I have received many questions about Satin Angoras and rabbits in general. I’m going to try to answer some of them here. Remember, I am not an expert!

Rabbits make fabulous pets. I had absolutely no idea how wonderful they are until I got obsessed with Angoras and had to have my own. Rabbits are most active during the mornings and the evenings, making them a perfect pet for the average nine-to-fiver. Rabbits are quiet, but full of personality; they can even be litter boxed trained.

There are many resources on the net for those interested in rabbits. I started with the House Rabbit Society, the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club. If you want to have a rabbit in your life, I strongly urge you to visit those sites. Each is full of information about rabbit care, feeding, housing, and health.

Each of these sites is also full of worst-case scenario horror stories. I was terrified that I would injure, kill, or maim my rabbits before I even got them home. Rabbits are very susceptible to some odd things, but they are also very resilient and, overall, easy to care for.

The Rabbits

First, you need to decide what type of rabbit you want. Do you want a particular breed? Is size or color important? Will you be showing your rabbit or just enjoying his quiet company? If breed doesn’t matter, reach out to your local shelters for a rescue rabbit. He may need extra patience and love, but it will be worth it.

I wanted Angora rabbits for their wool, so I looked for a breeder. I found the lovely Kim at Woolie Creations through the NARBA’s website. She helped me pick out Jasper and Nutmeg, and gave me pointers for their care. If you buy a rabbit through a breeder, make sure you feel comfortable asking questions. If the breeder makes you feel awkward asking for help, find a different breeder!


Rabbits can be litter boxed trained, but should never have free run of the house. They have a distressing habit of chewing power cords, carpets, walls, and floorboards. If you want a house rabbit, I would recommend setting aside one room, or one area of the house, that is completely rabbit proof – the House Rabbit Society has many guidelines for rabbit-proofing your house.

I started with Cubes and Coroplast housing for my rabbits. I was able to build each rabbit a very large cage that included jumping shelves for much less than similar cages would cost in a pet store. I’ve recently upgraded to stacking cages from Bass Equipment that are roomy, easy to clean, and have a smaller footprint than the old cages. The most important thing to remember is rabbits need more room than the typical pet store tells you.


There are a lot of rabbit food brands out there, and it can be very confusing trying to pick the best one. I use LM Animal Farms Classic Blend because I can get it easily at the local pet store, it has a nice mix of roughage and protein, and my rabbits like it. Whatever you pick, remember that rabbit tummies do not like change. When you first get your rabbit, ask for a three-day supply of the rabbit’s food. If you switch brands, do so slowly by adding a little bit of the new food to the old over a few days.

Young rabbits should be able to eat as much as they want, when they want. As adults, feed your rabbit a set amount at the same time every day. Each brand of feed is a little different; start with their guidelines and adjust as necessary. To check the weight of my rabbit, I run my hand along her back to feel the spine; if the spine or hips feel boney, she’s too skinny; if I can’t feel the spine at all, my rabbit is too fat.

Rabbits also need high quality timothy hay. This is especially important for wooly rabbits – I’ll go into that in more detail next time. I buy my hay at the pet store, but many buy small bales from local farmers. The hay needs to be kept dry; moldy hay is toxic and can kill your rabbit.

Don’t forget the water! If a rabbit doesn’t have clean water, he won’t eat, and he could die of dehydration. It doesn’t matter if you have a crock of water in the cage or a water bottle mounted on the side, as long as your rabbit has fresh water every day. I use water bottles because my rabbits would play in their water crocks and make huge messes! I’ve found that Lixit makes sturdy water bottles that don’t drip.


My rabbits are spoiled; they get treats almost every day. Their favorite treats are parsley, carrots, oats, whole grain crackers, sunflower seeds, apples, and raisins. Rabbits do not eat lettuce! Before giving your rabbit treats, check the House Rabbit Society’s lists of good and bad treats. Like anything in life, there can be too much of a good thing! Small amounts are best, especially if it’s something new.

Next Time – Special Care for Angora Rabbits

Since this post has become so long, I will save my advice for Angora owners for next time. If you stuck with me this long – thanks for humoring me! Here’s a funny picture for your prize.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why'd you have to go and let it dye?

As I’m sure you can imagine, much has been going on at the House at Two Palms. I have been sorting our stuff into Trash, Junk, Rummage Sale, OMG What Was I Thinking, and Keep. So far the OMG pile is winning…

I have been terribly remiss in posting pictures of the bunny babies.

They have grown so big!

They are so curious and full of energy that it is really hard to get good pictures. I have many shots of bunnies hopping away :^) For my local readers, the bunnies are finally ready to go to new homes; if you’re interested, let me know.

My biggest news is the debut of Turtle Cove Yarns at my etsy shop. Playing with colors in my soaps naturally led to playing with colors in yarn. I’ve come up with a few colorways that I think you will love.

Today’s post brought to you by the color Black Cherry

Click on the shop link to see more; I’ll list more colors the next time I can steal five minutes on the computer myself.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank heaven...

It’s the Seven Random Things Meme! Holly tagged me forever ago; it’s about time I tackled it…

The rules:

Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Let them know they are tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.

Let the Randomness Begin!

1 – I have extremely blue eyes and purple hair, and only one is from a box.

2 – I met my husband in the Army when I issued him an M16 rifle.

3 – I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about the strangest things. Are eye sockets considered orifices? Do NASCAR drivers ever zone out and lose count of their laps? If people grew gills, would they be on the neck or on the ribs?

4 – I am agoraphobic. I’m not shy per se; however, any new situation with other people can cause huge panic attacks. I avoid shopping… Well, really I avoid shopping all the time, but I especially avoid it from November to January. I hate going to the beach or a park on crowded days, and I will not go to a concert at a large venue, no matter who is playing.

5 – I love shoes! The crazier the better. My favorite shoe vendor caters to cross-dressers and strippers.

6 – I grew up in North Dakota, and am ready to go back. I love Florida, but the craziness our legislators come out with every year make it harder and harder to live here. I want to have a small, sustainable farm off the grid where my kids can run free and we can raise sheep and organic vegetables.

7 – I have never seen the movie Titanic, and I never plan to.

Tag you’re it!

1 – ‘Lista
2 – Duncks
3 – buttercup
4 – kemtee
5 – Heather
6 – Robin
7 – Knit-a-Saur

Any of you feel like playing?

Monday, April 28, 2008

PVC Yarn Swift and Niddy Noddy

Look what I made this weekend!

What the heck is that?

Okay, actually Mister Man* did the work - but I take full credit as designer, engineer, and general de-bugger. This is a PVC yarn swift with a PVC niddy-noddy behind it. Each one was delightfully simple to make.

The niddy-noddy is an 18-inch length of ½ inch PVC topped with two T-bars set perpendicular to each other. The T’s are made with two 6-inch lengths of ½ inch PVC with end caps. This took fifteen minutes to make and cost less than $5.

Why do you take pictures in the dark?

The swift is four 12-inch pieces of ½ inch PVC connected in the center to a four-way cross connector. Each arm has an end cap and an adjustable upright “peg”. The pegs are ¾ inch PVC mounted on ¾ inch T-connectors that slide along the arms. Each T has a cup hook screwed into the bottom; to adjust the peg, I simply loosen the hook, slide the peg into position, and re-tighten the hook.

Check out Bubba's homework - he's a budding Einstein!

The whole assembly is mounted on scrap wood with a 4-inch carriage bolt. Wing nuts and 2-inch washers support the swift assembly and ensure it spins freely.

Washers make it spin!

With all the cutting, cursing, re-designing, and trips to the hardware store to pick up things I forgot, the swift took an hour to make. Total cost was less than $10.

I used both of these immediately after completion and love them. I can’t believe it took me so long to make them!

If you want to make this swift and niddy-noddy for yourself, here’s a handy-dandy parts list.

8 ft – ½-inch PVC pipe (I only used 7.5 ft, but I wanted a little extra just in case)
2 ft – ¾-inch PVC pipe
2 – ½-inch T-connectors
1 – ½-inch four-way cross connector
8 – ½-inch end caps
4 – ¾-inch T-connectors
4 – ¾-inch end caps
4 – cup hooks
1 – 4-inch carriage bolt (or similar)
2 – 2-inch washers sized to fit your carriage bolt
2 – wing nuts sized to fit your carriage bolt
scrap wood for the base

We used a hacksaw to cut the PVC – but really any saw will work. Since the end caps protect the yarn from snags, it doesn’t matter if the cuts are perfectly smooth. Mister Man drilled the center of the cross connector and the scrap wood base with a ¼-inch bit, and the small holes for the hooks with a 1/8-inch bit.

If you make either or both of these, have fun, and let me know. I'd love to see it!

*It has been brought to my attention that "The Hairy One" might be insulting to someone worried about male-pattern baldness. As I never want to offend the love of my life, from now on I will call him "Mister Man." :P

Friday, April 25, 2008

Isn’t this a knitting blog?

Yes, yes it is. And in these hectic times, knitting has kept me sane – or at least partially so.

I was knitting very faithfully on the Manly Cable sweater for my husband. This is a top-down, raglan style sweater I designed just for him – Look, Ma, I did math!

The black Manos del Uruguay hides the intricate cables; click on a picture to see the cable-y goodness. Yum. I even put cables across the shoulders and inside the arms! I rock.

I was monogamous to this sweater until cables became too complicated for mindless knitting. I needed mindless, stress reducing knitting! I cast on the DROPS jacket with collar and lace pattern (100-12) in some of my hand spun. Oh, it was a beautiful thing, but I had nowhere near enough yarn. What’s a girl to do? Rip it and re-cast with alpaca and merino!

I call this my Super Soft Cardigan. It’s two strands of Berroco Ultra Alpaca with one strand of Dark Horse Yarns Rhapsody. It is smooshably soft.

Of course, I was chomping at the bit to knit with my handspun, so I started a little capelet.

Once again knitting from my brain (and ignoring any bats in the belfry) I did some math and cast on for a collar and a wide button band. I am increasing like mad, and hope to end up with a little capelet with three quarter sleeves. Can a cape have sleeves?

As always, I have many projects languishing in the craft room. They are not UFO’s yet! I’m still working on them – really! Some day I will post pictures of the finished objects and the world will stop laughing. Some wonderful day…

Shameless Self Promotion

If you have a chance, click over to Turtle Cove Soaps for my Spring Fling promotion. For a limited time, every order of soap will include a free face scrubbie handmade by Kreations from 100% cotton.

These scrubbies are cute little powerhouses for scrubbing away dirt and grime; they’re machine washable, and they only get better with time. They are a perfect match for my handmade soaps.

Bunnies, Kids, or Cats?

It's two out of three*!

Help! I am not a bunny mommy!

*And darlin', two outta three ain't bad....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Picture Proof

As promised, here is picture proof of my scary office.

This long shot doesn't quite convey the horror, but it does show off my cool new bag!

Doesn't this look like a door propped on filing cabinets?

Here is my sad attempt to spruce things up.

Check out the rat trap under my desk. It's loverly.

Since I can't close a post on that depressing note, here's a picture of a baby bunny exploring.

The dog food proved quite interesting, but not worth eating.

One Move Down, One to Go

Whew! I have officially moved into my new position. I've gone from Executive Assistant to The Man to Legal Assistant within the organization. I'm still a glorified secretary, but it's a great career move. This position has so much potential for growth, both within the organization and out in the real world. I have to repeat that to myself often because I've moved from the White House to the ghetto.

I've gone from mahogany furniture and plush carpet so thick it could twist ankles to a cubicle turned (not so) private office with a desk apparently made from doors propped on top of metal filing cabinets. I brought my camera in today to take picture proof - but forgot the driver. I will upload pictures tonight; you have to see it to believe it.

The difference in stress levels is amazing. Not once this week have I woken up in the middle of the night, convinced I've screwed up the calendar or forgotten a message. During my commute, I no longer obsess over the impossibility of completing eighty hours worth of work in the forty hour work week. It is fabulous.

I just noticed that one of my tags is "dying," not "dyeing." I'm fixing it right now! I promise I'm not Danielle ;^)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Some Whine, Some Books, and Some Bunnies

I have been trying to avoid turning this blog into a whine-fest, but I am tired. Sick and tired of everything. A lot of changes are happening here, and I should be excited, but mostly I’m just tired. I don’t know if I’m overwhelmed at too many changes at once, or if I’ve just been overwhelmed for so long that nothing breaks through.

Next week I’m transferring to a new position in the agency. It’s a legal secretary type position that has the potential to turn into full-blown paralegal status (where they pay for school!). I’ve been spending the last month wrapping up all my projects, streamlining my files, and trying to train my replacement, who’s been trying to wrap up all her projects. I think I will be excited again at the end of next week, after the move.

And speaking of moves, in the next few months, we will be moving the House at Two Palms lock, stock, and barrel across the street into a new house. The new house, while still a rental, is cheaper, closer to the beach, and has a back yard that the monsters can play in. It’s fabulous the way it’s all worked out, but, sheesh, moving! And we have a lot of stuff to move… It’ll be rummage sale and freecycle time!

And last, but not least, I just dumped an ungodly amount of cash into plane tickets back to North Dakota. I’m dragging the monsters back home to see the family and meet their new cousin (due May 29th). I can’t wait to take a real vacation, but OMG! I could have used that money as a down payment on a house in God’s Armpit, ND!

Okay, okay, enough whining. Heather tagged me with a book meme; here goes!

1. What book are you currently reading?

Magic Bites, by Ilona Andrews – I love dark urban fantasy, but the genre can be very hit or miss. This one is definitely a hit. I just ordered the sequel and pulled this one off the shelf to re-read while I wait. It has a nice urban noire feel to it, with a tough, sarcastic heroine who is still likable. I’ve walked away from many books that have made their women protagonists full-blown bitches; I want to be able to like the heroine. This book has many interesting twists on the genre: magic is taking over tech, with the world hanging in the balance, and vampires are mindless undead controlled by Masters of the Dead. Enter Kate Daniels, a mercenary investigating the death of her guardian and trying to prevent a war between the Pack (shapeshifters) and the People (necromancers). The book isn’t amazing, but it’s interesting and quite a good read.

2. When you think of a good story, what are the first 3 books that come to mind?

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card - This was a life-changing book for me the first time I read it at the grand old age of twelve. I’ve carried the lessons I learned from this book my entire life, especially those on empathy and what it means to be human or alien. I have probably read this book hundreds of times, and each time it brings something new to my life.

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley – When I think of epic I think of this book. Robin McKinley is a masterful author, and this book is a prime example.

Anything by Patricia A. McKillip, although if forced to narrow it down I’d have to say The Cygnet and the Firebird. Patricia McKillip’s prose is magic, each sentence crafted like a Faberge egg.

Looking back on these I’ve noticed that the common theme is the misfit. Hmmm, does that say anything about me?

3. Which 3 books would you recommend for summer 2008 beach reading?

Since I live (almost) on the beach, all my reading is beach reading, so I’m going to steal this as three more books I wish everyone would read.

Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen – absolutely fabulous take on the Apocalypse. Makes me laugh out loud every time.

The Shape-Changer’s Wife, by Sharon Shinn – this is her first novel, and really my favorite. It’s an enchanting story with twists and turns and a bittersweet ending.

Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin – a beautiful, lyrical story about good and evil, love and loss, and life and death. It can be a tough read, but it is so worth it.

4. Any knitting books you would care to share?

The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters: A Knit-to-Fit Workshop, by Lynne Vogel – I am using this book to knit a cabled raglan sweater for my husband that I’ve designed myself. Following the Twisted Sisters guidelines, I mapped out the sweater and the stitch pattern, did the simple math, and now I am halfway through a sweater that is turning out perfectly.

5. What is next on your reading list?

6. Tag three other knitters for this meme:

I would love to see what everyone’s reading. If you find yourself inspired by this post, consider yourself tagged!

Last but not least – baby bunnies! Here they are on their one month birthday.

And for comparison, here's Mom on the same stool (her wool's still growing back in, so she's looking a little rough):