Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mr. Honey Buys A Car

Well, it's over. We have ourselves a new vehicle. But it was not without some additional drama. You all remember me saying how Mr. Honey loves to wait and while we were looking a couple of the cars he was looking out were sold out from under us? Well, that was close to happening again but our fearless sales rep Shujuan 'Shu' Washington, fought them off and we went yesterday afternoon to look over a 2009.

This time, I learned my lesson and brought
along some knitting. It is a prayer shawl that I am not in any particular hurry to make(it's been a WIP for about two months) and I got a good deal of it done waiting for the other deal to be done.

Mr. Honey wanted to make sure I could drive this mini-van because I could not drive the last mini-van. So, I was the first to take this car out for the ride. I must say I did like it, though it did not have the same feel as the 2008 he was looking at. And I must say that since I could drive it, I realized it took away one of my pegs as a lady of leisure. Because I can drive this thing I am subject to having to drive it. I can no longer claim that I can handle that beast when he wants me to drive the van. So now instead of his having a car and my having a car, we are now a two car family. Not quite sure how I feel about that.

Now, because he can take the car and leave me the van, I have to actually keep the car clean. I cannot use it for storage of paper (or yarn), books (or yarn) music (or yarn). The trunk will have to be kept clear enough so he can get to the spare tire if he needs to.

On the other hand, when I have to haul a bunch of pieces to a craft fair, they will fit in far better comfort and space in the mini van that I can drive than it will in the back of the Toyota.

I guess I can't gripe, too much.

I must say, the experience had its fun moments. We really enjoyed working with our sales reps Shu and Blair, the credit officer ('Bingo' - we named him that.) I don't want to go through buying a car with Mr. Honey again because he morphs into someone I don't recognize but I don't have a problem saying that's where we'll go again in a few years when we have to replace my car. (Mr. Honey has informed me that my car may need replacing in a few years. I did not know this but since he says so, it must be true. I would like to hold on to my car a little longer because it is a 1999 but I've only had it for six years.) But when that time comes, we'll head down the road and back to Enterprise.

There was no haggling on the price. Mr. Honey got great financing. They were extremely patient (much more than me!) and most important, Mr. Honey was calm and pleased with his purchase. I am personally afraid to park it, but I will learn the ins and out of mini van driving and then I will be a danger on the road.

Where's the parking brake?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Meeting Phyllis A. Collman

One of the perks of running a craft sale or a knitting group is you meet a bunch of great people (you meet some not so great people, too, but you don't count that because they probably feel the same about you.)

The show last Saturday brought out the wonderful Phyllis A. Collmann. Mrs. Collmann is the author of a Pioneer Book series featuring Rose Donlin. Rose is a young woman (think Little House on the Prairie) who finds herself sold off for $50 to a man because her father cannot take care of her after the death of her mother.

Mrs. Collmann has been married for more than 50 years and decided just 8 years ago to become a writer. She is a self-published author and promotes her books both on line and at various shows. She came all the way from Iowa to promote her book and I intend to make the offer for her to come back to Chicago to our sale when we have more steady traffic. She was kind enough to give me some tips and pointers and to answer all the questions I had about being published. She also came with her husband, Conlin, and he was just like the other husbands (Mr. Hone
y included) who give over some of who he is so his woman can live her dream. He was very kind and I enjoyed them both immensely. I purchased the first of her books, Rose's Betrayal and Survival and sat down to read it.

Mrs. Collmann is a gentle writer and very descriptive. From the very beginning of the book you know Rose is going to a bad situation but we meet someone early on that we hope Rose will manage to be with. She has an easy, elegant style that is relaxing to read.

I purposely put the book down so I wouldn't read it all in one sitting. My intention was to buy the entire series, but I didn't get to Mrs. Collman in time to purchase them before she packed up (odd of me considering she was right next to me!) so I want to make sure I have the others so I don't frustrate myself with not being able to see how she will get on. I mean after betrayal and survival life has to get better, right?

Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Collmann for gracing our sale with your presence. I hope to have you back very soon. And thank you, too, for sharing your information and encouragement.
The link above will take you to Mrs. Collmann's website where you can watch her video and read about her book series.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tbe Way You Do the Things You Do

Seriously, I could take an updated photo of the pillow in progress, but it wouldn't look much different than this one. Just a little longer. Yesterday was not spent knitting much. I knew I should have taken my knitting with me, but honestly, thought we would be out of the house and back in a few hours.

Mr. Honey has decided he needs a new vehicle. I have been telling him this for some time, but there is something in the male psyche that says: 'If a female says it, then resist it.' The 'check engine' light has been coming on more than one of Tiger Woods' mistresses but he kept pouring money in it to get whatever it is that, as the mechanic says 'will finally fix it.' I believe when you have spent the amount of money repairing the car that is equal to the amount of money you paid for the car, it's time for a new one. Mr. Honey has now exceeded it and finally figured out that driving that car for 12 years is about all that either of them can stand.

So he spent the past two weeks pouring over every piece of literature he could find to determine what kind of vehicle he wanted and then where he was going to purchase it - no dealers!

He decided upon Enterprise and then took a look at the cars and picked the van he wanted and called to make an inquiry. He decided upon the car and while he was waiting for whatever it is he waits for whenever he makes a decision (did I tell you it took him overnight to propose?) they sold the van.

So, he selected another van. And while he was doing whatever it was he was doing. They sold that one.

We went out to Enterprise to look at a van. He drove it. He wanted to know if I could drive it. (I cannot drive the current van.) I got in. I loved it. We still don't have it. They could sell it out from under us and it took 3-4 hours for a non-decision to be reached.

He loves to wait. If he can wait on something he will. He didn't want to tell anyone we were engaged because, in his words, 'I'd thought we'd wait." He will actually get in the car, start the engine and then wait. He doesn't know he does it. But he will sit there before moving. Waiting is his thing.

I have long contended that someone's 'bad habit' has a good use. That person who has to have everything just right will plan a beautiful party for your parents. That someone who has to have a schedule for everything and everything on the schedule will be the one who keeps you from being scattered brained.

This habit is what I rely on the keep him faithful. Some hot to trot little hussy will come on to him and invite him to participate in some hanky panky and it will take him so long to think about it that she will forget what she wanted him to do.

In the meantime, the nice folks at Enterprise gave him their finance proposal and he is going to see if his bank can give him a better deal. Hopefully, they won't sell the car while we're doing that but I'm looking for a back up just in case.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Off I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few things: velcro for the pillows because I didn't really want to fiddle with a zipper, sequins - because the afghan I made last year used a lot of sequin and when I went looking for it the colors I wanted were seriously depleted, a thread kit - so I could have some thread on hand and some yarn because I didn't have enough of three different colored yarn to make two pillows and an afghan - especially if they were supposed to match.
I had two skeins of buttercup - I don't really see sequins on buttercup so that didn't matter. I had two skeins of aubergine. That was a possibility. I had one skein of cranberry. So off I went and I told myself what sequins they had in stock that matched cranberry or aubergine was the one I was going to get.

I would need about 900 yards for th
e afghan - that would be a 3 skeins and the pillows would take one skein each. So, I could pick up 4 of the cranberry or two of the aubergine. Cranberry won because the sequins match better and when I went looking for the velcro I saw it: the mini sequin fabric: it's a lot shinier than in the photo and I thought it would look great around the middle of the pillow and the afghan can have the big sequins and it would make quite the set.

The not so great thing is they raised the price of I Love This Yarn again. It was just under $3 a few weeks back when I wrote that the price just goes up every other month. i also said when it tops $3 I would seriously consider going back to Caron by the Pound - well, it's $3.35. I wrote them asking them not to do it so now we know what kind of pull I have.

What's up with the price increase? I know it's cheap but come on. A few weeks ago I could walk in with a crisp $10 bill and come out with the four skeins I purchased yesterday. Now I need that crisp $10 and a couple more singles beside - in just a few weeks. That's what I don't get. It's like they price people have a meeting every week and discuss how they need more revenue and someone (an obvious non-knitter) says: "Put it on the back of the knitters. They'll buy yarn no matter what."

We're the smokers of the craft world. Just keep raising the price of the addiction. Pretty soon a skein will be the same as a pack of cigarettes.

Then the government will get involved. Just wait until Congress gets a load of this!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4953 - and Counting

And the stash bust continues..get this after the sale on Saturday, the wonderful Melissa (listen tomorrow for a great big YIPEE coming from the Midwest. It will be the wonderful Melissa getting her first real paycheck in months!!) The wonderful Melissa and the fabulous April decided we should head over to Chix with Stix because they were having a great big sale moving out the winter yarns to bring in the summer yarns. So we headed over and there were signs for 10 - 20% off on almost every yarn in the store. And I bought...


I'll wait until you get up off the floor.
I bought nothing. Not a skein. Not a half skein. Nothing. I walked out the store and hadn't purchased a thing. Not that there weren't some good deals - there were. But I didn't purchase anything for two reasons.

One - I don't really need the yarn. I mentioned that in the store to Miss April. I said to her while passing behind her, "We don't really need
any yarn." The store owner heard me and she said, "Don't need yarn? That's like saying your don't need ice cream."

Point well taken. (But I don't need ice cream, either.)

I am trying to bust the stash and while I am fairly certain I don't actually have 4953 balls of yarn left - I am certain I have a great deal of it and I can see how it adds up because an acrylic ball of yarn with hundreds of yards can take a long time to become something else. For instance, a ball of red I Love This Yarn starts out as an
almost full skein and took two days to become this: It's a cute pillow. I have entered a pillow phase. Don't ask why, I have an explanation, but just too tired to share. Suffice it to say, I will go through some balls of yarn and some sequins, beads and other cool stuff and there will be some matching afghans to go with them. It's a major stash bust. Wait, did I just explain?

I am off to go upstairs and look in one of the stash bins to find enough yarn to work the next pillow. The plan I have is to use some embellishment in the pillow then create an afghan or baby blanket to match. That's the plan. We'll see how that goes.

Oh, the second reason why I didn't buy anything. Cuz I know some of that good stuff will wind up in their clearance rack and that's 40% off - Ka-Ching!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Lesson Plan

So things were a little better at this Saturday's sale than the one before. We did get a little bit more traffic but I think that's all I can say: a little bit more.

Here's the feedback I got:
It's very well organized and very nicely spaced out. It's not too crowded and there was the opportunity to network with the other vendors. That's all very good and I am glad to know that part of the plan worked out but then it hit me. I did create a process to make a well organized event. I really haven't created the plan to get people to the event.

Don't get me wrong. I put the item in the newspapers and hung up signs (which the village came and took down) but I left a lot of promotion up to the individual vendors giving them a PR packet. That's all fine - but I need to do something more and different. And I am going to spend some time doing some research and looking at the funds available. I am willing to put some money towards making this event successful because of the new nature of the craft show.

It used to be a craft sale was a rare thing but now they are legitimate ways for people to earn money. I support the handmade movement - being a part of it helps - but by and far the crafters are women and I want to support women doing it for themselves (even when helped by hubbies which I am.)

I want this to work because I think the idea is sound and because I think the cause is right. We're moving the sale outdoors between May and September weather permitting and I am going to do my best to promote the heck out of it. The first thing is to follow some tried and true principles - what goes around comes around; do unto others, etc. So, I will have to go to events where I can find people and hand out cards and flyers. I will have to review my marketing books I used when I was a publicist - look at the tips there and revise them for a craft sale.

Mostly, I need to plan the work and work the plan. I do not want to let these folks down.

On a completely different track, I delivered my sermon yesterday and ran the service. It went well which is a good thing because I have to do it again in May and June. I wasn't even nervous, I figure that's because I'm more nervous when I have to sing and since this wasn't singing - it was a lot easier to manage.

It has gotten me to thinking if I want to go further down this path - but I have to tell you; this is something I would have to sit down and think about. It's not like the plate ain't already full and I ain't getting any younger. It's something to think and pray about - and something to make sure I listen to the answer when I hear it.

Isn't it amazing the different ways a life can go? We are all truly blessed to be given a shot at these things!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

I have the attention span of a baby gnat. I can get myself bored in record time. It's amazing that I am still knitting after all these years. Trust me, no one is more surprised by that than me. Every once in a while something gets a hold of me and I stay with it until the very end. I think it's because I can be so easily distracted that something catching and keeping my eye is a cool thing.

And so it is with the stash bust.

It's not just the granny square
afghan that's making the skeins disappear - though I must admit skeins are beginning to drop - I am using my ninth skein. But I am also doing some other things that using them up. Take a look: I'm doing a ribbed afghan. I love ribbing. I have no idea why but I do. So making a strip afghan using ribbing is fun for me. I may not feel that way when trying to crochet the strips together but living in the moment with it is quite nice.
I am also making wagon wheel granny squares and knit squares using different stitches. Can you tell I reentered the afghan stage?

What I love about these projects is the controlled chaos. With the white granny square afghan, there's an order. it only has five colors, there are only four colors per square and then the white final border on all of them. There are only so many combinations that can be made and while I am not bored there are no surprises. But with the ribbed afghan any color can pop up and be used - and I have lots of colors. The rule is that there are no rules except twelve rows of one color followed by 36 rows of another.

And the squares can be of any color because they aren't necessarily being used in the same afghan. Nothing boring there!

I still have a ton of stuff to do before tomorrow's sale. The weather forecast is still good so I am really hoping for a great turn out. We have some really exciting talent coming and I am looking forward to seeing it all in one place. I know what a lucky girl I am to be able to pull them all together. I so much want them to succeed.

I hope you have a great weekend and since the rules of life apply to everyday, I plan to be back tomorrow - and Sunday I'll tell you how the sermon went!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Driving the Rolls

The Craft Cafe is this Saturday and the weather forecast (which this month I've been tracking) is that we will be somewhat cool -though higher than the norm-and sunny! The fabulous Melissa - who has started her new job - and I will be out this afternoon putting up signs and the resourceful Elizabeth has found some colorful flags that we will find a use for on Saturday to draw in the masses. So, if this Saturday, we do not draw better, then I will have something else to stress over as I try to make a go of this new venture. But that's not what I want to tell you about.

I have a Rolls Royce.
OK< - not really, but I do have a new size 10 40" Addi Turbo circular needle. Since yarn is definitely something I don't need to buy (and by the way, two more skeins have bitten the dust since yesterday - flies, i tell you, they're dropping like flies) I thought I would treat myself to a set of the Roll s Royce of knitting needles. Besides, they were less than $20 and I didn't think that was too much.

Lorna at Chix With Stix told me they wee the new and improved version of the Turbo needles. The cord was smoother and better designed. I mentioned to her that I heard these needles were the standard and made knitting go faster and that was something I surely needed to be able to do so I was expecting to take these home and create my afghan in 20 minutes and she said 'twelve.'


So they are now in my house. In the package. Sitting downstairs next to the laptop.
I don't know what I want to do with them. Being they are so long they are really only good for the afghan or two sock knitting and y'all know I ain't doing no sock. I'm thinking since I am still in stash busting modes, that this might be a good time to start an intarsia type afghan of my own making. Or i can do a solid color - which would also bust the stash and try a new stitch pattern.

Or I could just swallow the craving for instant gratification and just wait until the universe does its thing and tells me what to make next like it always does.

I just want to take this baby out for a spin!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Then There Were 4954

Progress is being made on the current WIP granny square afghan. I must admit to cracking myself up. When I took the photos of said project and had to name them for the file, somehow I came up with the name White Granny so when I have to pull it from the file, it could look like I'm talking about a specific branch from the family tree. For the record, I don't have a white granny though I certainly wouldn't have had anything against one - especially if she baked.

I don't know if you remember me talking about the 'rules of life.' In case you don't and you need to go back, I talk about them here.
One of the rules I try and follow is to spend an hour in silence and quiet with just my knitting or crocheting. Not having music or the t and v, husband or dog to distract you really lets you know what's on your mind.

As you sit there your mind tends to go whatever it thinks you need to deal with. This morning I was thinking about the church and the work that was needed. I thought about how knitting has connected me and disconnected me from people, places and things I probably needed to connected to and disconnected from.

I am now a knitter and crocheter. I cannot turn my nose up at crocheters (not that I ever did!) I thought about the differences in the crafts and how those who love crochet and don't understand knitting and those that knit and don't understand crochet are both right about what they think and ain't I a lucky son of a bum to have finally fallen in to the other camp and found a place.

I tell ya. You think a lot when you're quiet and you place quiet around you. After I complete this post, I will have completed my rules of life for today. I would have read a Bible passage (out of a Bible study version), I would have had my quiet hour of needle work and I would have written this post. The rules are supposed to set you up for the day and keep you focused. I do feel grounded and there's no doubt I have accomplished something today with all three - so the theory works - which I guess makes it not a theory.

There's much to do - but much has already been done. Balance. That's the thing.
Make it a great day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

I'm loving it today. There was a great rainstorm last night. I love rainstorms. I love thunderstorms. I don't like it when they knock out the power and the one last night did not, leaving me to love it. I love it because when you open the windows the day after a rainstorm, everything smells so fresh.

You know what else is nice? Selling something on your sadly neglected Etsy shop. It is especially fun when you sell something you don't think will sell. Something like this:
Yep, the granny square afghan was picked from the pile. I was thinking I needed to put it in a special container until the craft show and then I would display it and possibly sell it. Now, I have to put it in a special container so I can ship it off to Ohio or Iowa or was it Wisconsin? Actually, it was Missouri - Kansas City, Missouri.

You know what's even nicer than that? When one of your buds gets a job! The fabulous Melissa has been looking for work for the longest time. She was doing two part time jobs but she wasn't in her field and she was thisclose to being miserable when she hooked a job she wanted and they met her salary demands! YEAH! The bad news is we won't be able to hang cuz she's gonna be one of those working stiffs. All that means is that we are going to have to do our special knit dates because the j.o.b. is the important thing! Congrats Melissa and I hope you are employed long and enjoyably!

As far as my own job, things are looking up for the April 17th show! We have some folks signed up and I have a few (and I mean a few) more spots open and I am going to send out an invite to some artisans I met Saturday afternoon. I will also be checking out another craft show this weekend in Chicago and this time I will arm myself with info on The Craft Cafe.

The only bummer is the Cubs got it handed to them on opening day in Atlanta. But there's 159 or so more to play.

The other good news is that there is yet another skein that has bitten the dust as well: I have used a skein of I Love This Yarn in Aubergine. That means 2 down and 4956 to go and there is another one on the horizon that might not make it through the night. well, that may be pushing it. So far, it's been a part of about a dozen granny squares and 12 rows of the ribbed afghan and it's just now beginning to falter. I'm about to make a pair of booties to help the cause along. I am determined to get that stash down! Y'all pray for me cuz next month is our anniversary and my new anniversary present is a trip to Hobby Lobby - but I may change that to a trip to Chix With Stix to get a couple of pair of Turbo Addy circulars to see if I like them.

My cup runneth over.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The (Stash) Terminator

I have once again decided to get on track and make a sincere effort at busting the stash. Despite the recent purchases that add to the stash, I have now decided to be mature and stick to what I said I wanted to do. So, I had this great idea. (Can you tell this is already in trouble?) Since I am working on this ribbed afghan that has a 32 row and 12 row pattern that I would take a skein of yarn and work a 32 or 12 row pattern with the skein (keeping in the pattern, of course.) and then I would take the remaining yarn and start making this crochet wagon wheel granny square that I saw on Knit and Crochet Today. It looked like a pretty big square on the t and v and that would certainly take up some yarn. Besides, it looked really pretty and it would add to my crochet square library (which until now I didn't even know I was building) and it seemed like fun.

So I attempted and finally succeeded at making the wagon wheel granny square. The directions on the show
are different than the directions written on the site. One because they never give you row by row on the show - they are always running out of time. I never understood why don't just stick with one thing for the whole time to make sure we really get it. Do they think we are going to have that short of an attention span? It is far more irritating when they rush their guest through something or half explain it and say the rest of the pattern can be found on the website. If I wanted to go the website, that's where I'd be. Oh well. That's another post.

What I ended up doing was printing out the pattern and watching the show at the same time and then really taking a close look at the photograph in order to figure out what they were saying. In the end, the first attempt is a little skewed but I like it and I've already made another one in another color because I am trying to bust a second skein.

I may be on to something. The skein is considerably smaller but there is enough there to taunt me into thinking I've really gained nothing. Of course, I didn't start off with a new skein or I would have a great deal of it left. The natural fiber yarn has something to say. It is housed in it's own place and I can hear it snicker at me that the acrylic yarn has many, many yards to it, making it rather common and because it is common, it will take a great deal of work to get rid of it. While the natural fiber skeins are smaller but oh so much more intense. If I used the natural fiber, I would be done with it by now. I am not sure the natural fiber understands that the case for itself is also the case against itself.

The solution could be to knit one more thing. I am thinking this might be a good time to make baby hats and booties. A simple baby hat with a simple pair of booties. I'm thinking baby stuff because baby stuff is always needed and they would be easy to knit up and make and have ready for the next sale in a couple of weeks.

I need to know when I have officially busted a skein. Is it when there is not enough there to make anything else? Or does it all have to disappear? I tend to think it's when there's not enough to do except use it to seam something or make a pom-pom. Which means I'm down one skein of buttercup or whatever color it is.

One down. 4957 to go - including the naturals.
Victory is imminent.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Two Days of Spring

When I was in my Certified Lay Speaker class, there was talk about the 'Rules of Life.' The Rules of Life are those things that we each decide we need to do in order to live the life we want to live. They are the base and core actions we do in order to keep us grounded and focused on what we are here to do.

The Rules of Life have haunted me ever since that class. What are the things I want to d
o every day, or most days, that will have me centered and grounded so I can withstand the storms and tempests that will come to blow me off course?

One of my rules was to have at the beginning of my day an hour where I knit or crochet in silence. No music. No T and V. No talking. Just me and my needles and hooks. I've been doing that for the last few days and I have to say it is a powerful moment. My mind has gone to focus on so many topics and I have found some clarity about some things and then there are just moments where t
here is nothing but the project and I've noticed my breaths are deeper and more cleansing.

For the past two days, I've taken my quiet hour outside in the sunshine with Duke. He's bee
n bugging us pretty early in the morning to go outside. He loves this kind of weather. He also loves the snow so we just figure he loves being outside. He goes out and he just lies in the sun and every once in a while he will move into a shady spot and when he's rested and cooled, he will move back into the sun. I have been sitting in the Adirondack chair my B-I-L made us for Christmas a few years back and I've been working on my bag project. I started the project a few days ago and I'm not sure I'm making great progress. It could be because I am using size six needles with a worsted weight yarn and that doesn't make for quick knitting - but I am making a bag so the fabric needs to be tight even though I plan on lining the bag. It is about half done so I should probably measure it to see how much more I have to go. I have decided to go off pattern (quelle surprise!) and create something that is more my own. It is much brighter yellow than the photo shows, I believe the color is buttercup or something like that and it is quite yellow. The black edge is the top of the bag and there will be another black band at the other end because that will be the other top. I haven't decided yet whether to line it with yellow or black or even white and I am leaning towards making it match and there will be a pocket of the front and then the last thing to decide is whether it will be a drawstring or shoulder bag. It's nice to have options!

I was at the old church last night for a rehearsal for a Good Friday service. All the Methodist churches in the area combine choirs and do a service. I hated being there. Just hated it. I was surprised at the feeling. I loved seeing some of my choir mates and felt as if I was missed, but I hated being in that building. That building I used to love coming to. It has changed for me. I hated that it didn't feel the same. Moving on is a part of life. It is a part of the this Easter season. I understand the need for change. I understand how it is essential and will happen whether or not we wish it. I get it.

But I don't have to like it.


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