Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Ice Storm" Comes to Town! was cold and snowy last night! The winds howled and I worried about the bar-b-que rolling away, or the hot tub cover blowing off. Both of these have happened before so it is not wasted concern.

Day broke and we have a beautiful new layer of snow! I love these days. The fire is warm inside, clove spiced coffee is brewing, the kids are out shoveling the snow, and I get to see what the storm left behind.

Do you see it? Look closer....there on the Lilac bush....

Ahhh, the new Lorna's Laces Limited Edition sock yarn!! It is a Jimmy Beans Wool exclusive called Ice Storm and I have to tell you I swiped up two hanks fast before it melted away. I also have become addicted to the Lion and Lamb and that silk wool blend will be stunning with beads in this colorway. I ordered two of those, they should be in the shop today. Stay tuned for pictures....I can hardly wait myself!!

Now, what to knit? What to knit? I think I will try Jeanne's amazing new sock pattern....AGAIN! I love the pattern but honestly I think that nothing will look prettier with these colors...unless I went with something lacy. As I said, what to knit? Ideas?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I call it my "shrine to tack" but I mean better...

If it is plastic and lights up...I say let me have it! Having said that, I honestly only have my nativity and my snow globe with Snoopy. I fantasize of a yard full of silly plastic reindeer, or the singing Christmas carolers, or my giant pine tree all lit up with lights...but that as I said, is a fantasy.

In the mean time I do dearly love my outdoor nativity. For some people putting up the tree caps the holiday cheer. For others it is finishing all the shopping. For me it is when I can look outside and see baby Jesus being held close....and my kneeling Santa looking on. I have added Wise Men from eBay, and a Sheppard Boy from Wally World. I found my ox and lamb someplace else, and it all just sort of comes together and makes me really happy.

We have set it up in various places in our yard over the years. Each time it goes up, I say "Oh! That is my favorite place!" Sort of like each stage my children got to in their growing up years I thought was my "favorite". Sitting, crawling, walking....gulp!...driving!! (No, I actually don't like that one)

I do like where it is this year because I can see it from the couch. In the evening I can look out, past the tree wrapped with gifts, and see the real Reason for the Season. I can see the snow falling in our current blast of a cold winter storm and see Mary holding her precious boy, like I held my precious boys. I see it and I remember, even if it is my "shrine to tack" as I lovingly call it. I remember God came down in the most humble way to begin showing Himself to His creation relationally. There was so much love in that beginning, and so much more love the ending of the story.

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's a "Three-fer"

We all finished and are proudly sporting our hats. Three very different color combinations, but all gorgeous! The kits are available at Jimmy Beans Wool
and not only in hats...there are sock kits, sweaters and vests.

Allie was able to spend time with Kathryn Alexander at her studio and home earlier this year. We tease her about knowing everyone, but it really is not a joke. She wrote about it in her blog:

Kathryn's home is her studio. It is as rich in color as any place I've ever been. Warm and inviting - cut pile rugs of many styles covering hardwood floors. Her work covers her walls, saddles, harnesses and bridles accent the rooms. Baskets of yarn are artfully arranged beside sofas that blend in only because they also carry dozens of colors. How inspiring! Creativity abounds, fer shur. The only black/white/gray I observed was a Peter Collingwood rug. Oh, my.... Friend's work also adorn the walls, and I noticed a silk weaving that could only have come from Sara Lamb. I ran to the car to grab my camera - only to find I'd left it behind at Gus's house. How sad is that?? A lovely lunch and glass of wine, stories about Habu, exchanges of ideas to help Gus along with his fledging fiber business. A visit to the barn and much-needed closeness with horses. The most tidy barn I've ever been in, and Kathryn emailed a few days later to tell me she was vacuuming the spider webs from the rafters. Now THAT is one devoted horse-woman!

I can dream that someday I will meet her, but until then I can brag that "I know Allie"!!


I seriously love this pattern! I have finished another one for my niece in time for her next visit. I know she will love it, but my sister in law has a thing for pink on her niece picked blue. I will try and spin it as a Hawaiian blue and hopefully that will work. They did have a family trip there earlier this year so that may have inspired the color choice.

I should also say that I have the most amazing sister in law, and she in no way would be rude. My standing joke with her is that I could give her gag gift of the rubber doggie poo and she would make it seem like the most amazing rubber doggie poo
she ever got and she loves it! She really is gracious in receiving, but she just has these amazing little girls who truly are precious little princesses.

Princess number one got a brown Drive Thru in the spring. It was actually meant for a nephew but I was told it would never fit his chubby little she got it by default because she begged me.

Princess number two will be receiving a blue Drive Thru....what are the odds? I say that blue and brown both go nicely with pink!

The Good with the Bad

So, late last year we bought a bigger car for the family. With all the driving of highschool kids, and my own kids being HUGE, it was time to bump up. Now I will say that I am probably in the minority, but I actually liked my minivan. It was the first "new" car I had ever driven and it was darn good to me. I really didn't want to sell it but then we really couldn't keep it either. The only problem was that every time I got serious about selling it, someone needed it. A friend taking her daughter off to college, another family whose car was in the shop, more seatbelts needed for a youth group just kept coming. The van came close to being a ministry all it's own.

I have listed it off and on with Craigs List, and got a few emails, but still no sale. I kept wondering what to do. I refused to pay money to sell a car and so this was really the only thing I persued.

Now that we are pretty certain my son's car will be officially totaled, it is suddenly clear why we still have the van. Not the coolest car for him to drive, but paid for none the less and it is reliable. So, wouldn't you know that we have a real offer on it from a posting I made the day of the accident! Go figure!

My son passes his Eagle Scout board, but on the way has his first vehicle accident. A week later he turns 18, and on his birthday we get the bad news that they won't fix it.... but will total it. The day we decide to keep the van, we get the offer to buy it.

Life sure has it's ups and downs, eh?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

One more hat!

But this one is a good one! Not just ANY hat I gotta tell ya! If you click on the pictures they get bigger and you can see how much fun this pattern full of color really was. I am dying to start the entrelac socks now!

The morning after

Finally! It came in the night and we woke up lucky to have power, though no satellite. Oh well, Tivo is good for backup television if desperate. No one was watching it, however, until the snow was all dug away from decks, driveways, walkways and cars. There was also the insurance company to call, and wrecked vehicles to sort out.

A days spent knitting while waiting for the phone to ring. Wha
t a nice diversion from all the chaos in my brain. I finished up my Kathryn Alexander hat! Yeah! It is way more cute than even I imagined. It was fun, the yarn divine and the result pure colorful whimsy. Hurry up with the blocking already! Dry hat, is in front of the wood stove and I keep checking. Like the watched pot that will not boil, the hovered over hat will not dry....or something like that.

The phone rings: We may pay a fortune for insurance but I have to say that it is nice in a crisis. They called back and not only is the deductible less than I thought, it covers a rental car.

Deciding what UFO to tackle next or should I start my Noro sweater? I am just thinking that maybe simply winding up a ball of the Transitions will make me feel better. Then there is that darn sock for Jeanne. It would feel so good to hand that over someday. How is it that you can honestly love a yarn and a pattern but still can't manage to finish a darn sock for crying out loud?

The phone rings: They are determining the accident to be "no fault"!!! Yeah!! This means my son's rates won't go up. They are looking into a suspected blow out of his tire, causing the accident, and might even waive the deductible. My last worry is that somehow the truck is not totaled. It does not take much damage to exceed the value of a car. So I will keep staring at the phone....

...and I will go pinch my hat some more, and look for my swift and winder!!

"Hold on, it's going to be a bumpy night...."

"Where are you?"
"Just leaving Club"

"Are you in the car?"
"Yeah, I just have to drop off a few kids and I will be heading home"
"Can someone else take them home? You need to come back right now"
"No, I'm committed. What's the matter? It's not snowing that badly yet".......

"Josh has been in an accident"

The words you never want to hear as a mom. It is late at night, I am on the other side of a mountain summit, it is the beginning of our first major snow storm, and my son is a million miles away as far as I'm concerned. A thousand q
uestions are flooding my mind but there are no immediate answers. I know that he is not hurt but does that mean he is in some sort of shock and not feeling it?

I remember that right before I left for the night I felt a nudge to pray for him. He was heading out shortly after me to go to his Eagle Scout Board of Review. I turned around and hugged him. I wished him all the good stuff and encouragement that a mom can offer, and I prayed for him. That was the calm that got me through. I had an amazing peace because I knew God had been invited into the evening. He was a part of it all and I just needed to drive safely and stay calm.

It all ended well. Josh was unhurt and left his broken car in a ditch. Someone drove by and saw him, then took him to his Board of Review meeting. They offered to re-schedule but I was told by one of the board members that my son "Cowboyed Up" and said "No, I am here to do this thing". So in a night of crazy adventure he passed his Eagle Scout board for our troop and his last hurdle is the board with the area council.

On my way home I went to see the could have been so much worse. I am so grateful that this is the worst of it so far, but boy howdie, does having teens make your heart ache!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel

Well, this just makes me so sad for some reason. I grew up watching this man any and every chance I got. Back when television was one channel and there was little I was allowed to see, my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch his stunts when they aired. It was always a huge event for me. I remember that I was given tickets to see his Snake River Canyon jump from my mom as a surprise gift. I could not have been more excited! I was going to see my hero!! You can't imagine my confusion when it turned out to be tickets to the local events center and it was closed circuit television. I thought it was real. This was as close to "live television" as we had back then, and it was on a big screen. That event, no matter how it ended, was still amazing. Later, when I was about 14, I got to go to see where this took place and was even more impressed if that was possible.

That was what I loved about him. No matter how it ended he always tried again. I loved his tenacity...and his caped costume. To a girl who swayed "tom boy" (and did some pretty hairy stuff on a purple banana seat bicycle beating every boy in the neighborhood!) he was quite something.....made me swoon a little too! May he rest in peace and out of aches and pains!!

"It's my Birthday and I'll knit if I want to, knit what I want to..."

Who sang that song? It's an oldie I know, but it was humming in my head as I cast on for my Kathryn Alexander hat. Another project that I have no business starting because I have promised myself "No New Projects!!" until something else gets finished....primarily Jeanne's sock. But it was my birthday! I got to do what I wanted right?

I know all you moms out there must be like me. Most things pass by with hardly a notice. I am very low key about things like this. Birthdays, Mot
her's Day (blech!), Valentines, not so much into it I gotta say. In fact my sister and I have a promise (and a gift of freedom) to each other that we won't go nuts with holidays and such. If we see something that the other one would love, we just go for it. No waiting and stuffing it into the back of a closet to be held for some "occasion"...where I inevitably forget it's there anyway...blah, blah, blah. I will just add that this does not apply to the kids. Of course they don't miss out, but the adults in our family sort of have this arrangement.

So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up to this!

Knowing that I would head to the bathroom first thing, my honey bunny had a beautiful vase of flowers and card waiting for me. He had left for work but still surprised me with this before he went away.

Then I came out into the living room and found that my kids, a.k.a. "birthday elves", had done THIS:

I was laughing so hard as they told of their middle of the night adventure, trying to be quiet, problems with tape, and hoping I didn't wake up with my chronic insomnia episodes and discover them. Balloons covered the floor everywhere you looked and the dogs didn't know what to make of it all. My daughter told me how her room had been stuffed with them the day before and she hoped I wo
uld not come in and discover it all.

I was treated to a wonderful breakfast made by my kids and the funniest cards you could ever read. I received emails and phone calls all day long and I have to say it was the best birthday I have had in ages.... Getting old felt really special this time around!

I can't leave out the Jimmy Beans group. Allie came in with the gorgeous flowers that could not have been more perfect for my vase. Can you see the red barn house on the vase? How did she know that the Lily is my favorite flower? She is Allie, and she knows everything...that's how!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Team Jimmy Beans Rocks!

So, I just have to say what an amazing bunch we all are. I not only get to work in a
little shop that is a bit of heaven on earth, but we all like each other to boot! We have the greatest bosses, and the whole thing is too much fun. It is funny because we are just a little yarn shop with the greatest dreams. We have amazing customers in store and online. We all work very hard to fill orders, serve our customers and help each other. We really are a "TEAM" in the best way, but I like to think we are friends too...

For those who know, and those who don't, we went to Sonoma recently. This was Jimmys way of spoiling us rotten yet again. Besides all the other ways that she takes care of us, this was an over the top experience that I will remember for ages.We began by piling into a van and pulling out our knitting! We were chauffured the whole time and that in itself is a treat. Stops along the way were bead stores, lunch in the square and puttering around downtown Sonoma, including another *gasp!* yarn shop. What can we say? We love to knit and we love yarn so we dove in!

Then off to Santa Rosa where we stayed in a lovely place. The view was beautiful, the beds were cozy (down blankets and feather beds!!) and the company divine. We spent the first part of the evening chatting around an open fire sipping Pinot Noir. More surprises were in store because we were taken off to a nice dinner in downtown Santa Rosa....and shocking! Out came the knitting!!

I am sure we were a sight to see, but fortunately they gave us a somewhat private area in the restaurant. After the delicious meal we went back to our hotel and slept like babies!

The next day the fun just continued. We all had a leisurely morning and ate breakfast as we felt lead. We all ended up gathering at the patio area again for a beautiful time of chatting and knitting...duh!

Off in the van again to more wine tasting and enjoying the most beautiful scenery. I
used to live in this area and so it was a lot of fun to see places again and also noticed how much things have changed. Lots of wonderful memories....hopefully I didn't bore everyone with my stories!

We toured the wine caves at one winery, looked at art in another, and gift ideas in ALL of them. The last stop was at the "sparkling wine" vineyard for a delicious plate of cheeses and fruit, toasting each other and the Zanders for a wonderful weekend!

Thanks again, it was awesome!!!

Lost in Revelry, I mean Ravelry :-)

Wow! In a word that is it!

I found this site ages ago but you have no idea how cool it is until you actually get "in there". I was confused by the whole invite thing and just scrapped it. Then it kept popping up in conversation so I tried again, and again, .....and again after signing up that is. I think they made that "Antsy" button just for me!

So here is where I say I was overwhelmed. I did not know where to begin so I just sort of looked. Then the reality of logging all that stuff. Taking and loading pictures. Admitting to yourself just how much yarn you have aquired and just how many unfinished things you have going all over the place. I like to joke that the reason I work in a yarn shop is to support my "habit" and that I am not a hardship to my family. I like to joke that I don't make any money. It is no joke. If I want to save any money I need to quit my job. I wonder if I can afford to work.

Just joking!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The amazing nieces!

Guess who came for the weekend? The girls from Honey Bunny's side...and was it ever a great time. They are so different from each other (and from raising little boys) that I just crack up constantly.

Here is a sweet story. Yesterday I was making pancakes and the older of the two said "My mom doesn't make pancakes very often. She mostly makes those kind you put in the toaster, but when she does she makes faces in her pancakes". I looked at mine and thought "Uh-oh" I asked her if her mommy made them with chocolate chips and she said "Nope!". I explained that I never quite mastered that whole faces in the pancake thing and that mine always turn out more like monsters in the pancakes but I would still do my best for her. A few minutes later she is taking a bite and gets really quiet, she whispers "Auntie, these taste like love".

Does it get any better?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Adventures in Kayaking!

We all know there are things besides knitting (*gasp!!*) and one of them is new to me. Kayaking! It never looked that interesting to me but I caught the bug this summer after borrowing some from the folks.

Wow! The first time out was a make-it-or-break-it experience. Honey Bunny and I went to Monterey and gave it a whirl. Not only was it cold, windy and rainy that day but I wasn't feeling well....translated: not so nice to be around.

Still, we had a blast and the only complaint I heard from him is that I took off like a bullet and I could hear him calling to me through the storm "Hey, I thought we were doing this together!" (That is me in the lead, once he caught up!)
In my defense I was terrified. We had spent the day before learning all about what lurked under the water at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I was scared of looking like food to something if I sat still too long. Not to mention that the weather was not cooperative and the ocean swells were growing larger. I just wanted to get 'er done! Know what I mean?

Yes, I am Wild About Otters! They are the cutest stinkin' creatures I have eve
r seen!!

We have moved past that to the point of buying a double kayak a.k.a "Divorce Kayak" to those in the know. Our first day out on it together we found out why it is called that, but persevered and had a great time.

I humbly present our "home travels".....LakeTahoe, Stampede, Donner Lake and Truckee River.....

And so many of the pictures look the same....Life IS Good!