Thursday, February 28, 2008

"More Photos from ND......."

It is a good thing that Maniphone and Jonathan have been supplying me with photos. :)

As I have mentioned before, Jonathan, in my opinion, is a master woodworker. I had included this photo of the hutch he was working on, in an earlier blog entry, and now have a photo of the finished piece. The man is talented, eh? :)

Perfect fit....... :)
I look forward to his next project.......

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Maniphone and Jonathan took the boys to the Boulder, CO, area, for a vacation. Here is some of the scenery that they saw while hiking .......

Jonathan had his share of the load, PLUS hiking. :)

Maniphone and Simon taking a break from the "outdoor" activities.

"Ok Dad, why are we stopping again?" "Where is the cheese? I'm hungry!" :)

More of the mountains......

Obviously, all photos are courtesy of Maniphone and Jonathan. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Another Mixture of Topics......"

I had never used a "temple" while weaving. With this last piece on the loom (the table runner), I was having difficulty with the sides of the cloth drawing in. I'm not sure if it was the thinness of the warp threads or what, but I was going so very slowly, trying to keep the cloth from becoming too narrow and damaging the warp threads. I had heard of temples, so thought I would give one a try. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! Not only did it keep the cloth stretched to the correct width, but allowed me to weave faster than I have ever woven before! My temple is of metal, but more commonly found, are wooden ones. Unfortunately, the fiber shop here in Madison, didn't have a temple this small, and I had to drive to the shop outside of East Bristol to get it. I'm VERY happy that I did. :)

Zack has been enjoying the company and conversation of "Squawky McCaw". At least he is one bird that I don't have to worry about leaving "droppings" behind....... :)

I knitted Charlie a pair of "wrist warmers". They are an easy knit, so after using Charlie as a "test subject".....I knitted Becky (Sean's girlfriend), and Julie (Patrick's girlfriend), each a pair also....using their favorite colors, green for Becky and blue for Julie. They went in the mail yesterday. I am also completing a pair for Lisetta (in black), my co-worker prior to retirement. Hers will be mailed today.

A couple of photos post ice and snow storm......

Monday, February 25, 2008

"A Mixture ........."

I finished a couple of knitting projects.....both for myself, too! :) Below is the sweater I knitted for myself, using Cascade 220, Black and Northern. I am very happy with it.

AND.....for those days when I use the snowblower.....a hat helmet (Tree Frog Alpaca), to wear under the wide brimmed winter "Tilley", that I have conveniently taken from Don. The look of it, reminds me of "chain mail" from medieval times......

This a a close up of one of our first cherry tomatoes.......many more have been seen since this was taken. You can see more blossoms in the background...... According to what the instructions say, we can expect to have ripe tomatoes around the 10th of March. Things are looking good to meet that deadline. :)

A couple of photos of Zack. He has been very content, as of late....partially, I think because of my having been in the front room weaving quite a bit, so he has been able to get "out and about" on his big cage and play stand.

"Shower Time!" Zack has a large bowl in his cage and when he decides to take a bath, we try to bring in the bottle sprayer so that he can have a shower as well. We'll open his door to his play area and he will climb quickly out to spread his wings in order to wet every little bit of his body. :) Many of you have never seen all of the colors he has on the under sides of his wings.......He is not at his most attractive when he is all wet.....but then, are any of us? :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Snow and Ice...."

Here are a few photos that Don took when out on Sunday.......

A view from outside our back fence. I'm in the sun room, knitting and comfortable, not knowing that other crazy people were out along with Don. :)

Someday soon it will be growing something besides icicles.......

The pole where we saw all the BRIGHT LIGHT!

And out front....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"An Impromptu Gathering....."

Last Sunday was a memorable day for the neighborhood. Not only did we have rain, ice, and snow all day long, but we had a SPECTACULAR ELECTRICAL BLAST behind our house.....actually, it was behind Bridgett's house, but we were able to see it clearly from our sun room. We missed the visual of the first one, but the noise of that one got us to the windows in time to see the other 2.......THEY WERE FANTASTIC!!!! Brilliant white blue light, combined with a very loud ZAP!
Don called MG&E (along with others, we later found out), who quickly came and fixed the problem.

Don (fondly called "The Mayor" of our block of Gregory St.), naturally had to go out with his camera to document this "event". :) He was not the only one as you can see from these photos.......

Michael and Anna, Julie and Eric (from Michael and Anna's block), also were out to see "the sights"...... That is Michael and Anna's house in the background.

Eric, Julie, Anna (I think Michael was smart enough to go inside by this time), Bridgett, our neighbor, and Perry, another neighbor from our block.

Keyena, another chicken owner, also from Michael and Anna's block.

I stayed inside knitting, not realizing that neighbors were gathering and missed the whole social event. :( More photos of the snowy day in tomorrows blog entry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Zack's New RV Cage......"

Zack has been somewhat "LOUD" at times when we've had friends come in the front door, and at other times when we're all in the sun room and he is on his play stand. Don suggested we get a portable cage so that when we have people over, we could have him play in his new cage in the front bedroom. (Naturally, since we ordered the new cage, he has been MUCH quieter....) :) We call his new cage the "RV"....his recreational vehicle since it is on wheels. :)

Here he is on top of his "home base".......

Home base with the top open.....he does love to climb around on it.

His new cage was shipped flat, so I had to assemble it. Thank goodness it was easy....although, not one word was written for was all visual drawings.

Step by step......

Here it is in its final glory. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Threadin the Warp...."

Last Saturday, Don helped with setting up my next loom project, by winding the warp onto the warp beam, while I kept it tight and fed it to him a little at a time. When it comes off of the warping frame (a wooden frame with pegs sticking out of it and used to measure out the length of the warp), the warp is "chained" to keep it untangled. When winding the warp onto the warp beam, it has to be unchained, smoothed out, and held tightly, feeding it slowly so the tension remains tight as it is wound onto the warp beam.

In the photo below, we're in the process of winding it onto the warp beam. The warp threads have been tied together every so often, to help with keeping them untangled, and I am untying some of those threads, so that I can get the warp ready to be wound onto the warp beam.

In this project, a runner for our dining table, there are 18 warp threads per inch. The warp spreader, or raddle, is used to separate each inch of warp. What you see in the foreground of the photo, is my "homemade raddle, using a strip of wooden molding and small finish nails. It isn't pretty, but it is functional. :)

After the warp is wound onto the warp beam, it then has to be threaded through the heddles. In my case, I have 4 harnesses (the wooden/metal frames that go up and down holding the threaded warp), and the thread pattern for this runner is 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4, etc.

I am using a sley hook to help with the threading of the heddles. It has hooks on both ends, a smaller one to help with the threading of the heddles, and the other, larger end, to use while threading the warp through the reed, or beater (not shown). See how evenly the warp has been wound onto the warp beam? We started out using wooden lattice strips and small, flat wood molding, then switched to large sheets of heavy paper. These things are used to separate each "layer" of warp as it is wound onto the warp beam. They keep the warp flat and not bunched up and lumpy, which would create uneven tension along the warp.

To the left of my hand, you can see some of the threaded heddles.

I think this is the "finest" sized warp that I have even used. As mentioned earlier, there are 18 warp threads per inch and the runner is 14" wide. This means that I had to thread 262 warp threads individually. :) Yes, it is a "little" time consuming. :)

I was able to get everything threaded and tied up by Sunday, and began weaving the runner. I picked this weft (the yarn that is woven back and forth through the warp), to match the seat upholstery of our new dining chairs. Here is what it looks like with the chair seat underneath it. I think the camera flash brought out more rust color in the chair seat that it looks like in natural light.

Monday, February 18, 2008


The tomato plants are growing quickly now.....even the little yellow one that had a very slow start. I've had to raise the lights 2 times already and will have to do so again today. That will only leave me one more slot to move it again, so that is when I will have to begin pruning the plants.

There have been blossoms now for about a week. I have hand pollinated each flower, which was easy enough to do when there were only a few, but now that more are blooming, it is hard to remember which ones I have already done. :) The directions say just to "shake the plant" so I guess it is time to follow those instructions and hope for the best.

The African Violets that our friend George gave me when he and Jim moved from Madison to Iowa, are blooming beautifully now, too. They have to be re-potted, but that won't happen until later in the spring when I can do that out in the greenhouse.

A close up of the blossoms......

Friday, February 15, 2008

No Photos Today....."

We went with friends, Penny and Sheila, to Papa Phil's Ristorante Italiano, on Monroe Street last night. We didn't have reservations, but took the chance that we'd be able to get a table, even though it was Valentines Day. We lucked out and were seated right away. We had a wonderful dinner and a wonderful time. For those of you who have not been there, I would heartily recommend it. I hope that you all had as an enjoyable Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"And Today, Photos from the "Other" Direction......"

Jonathan, as you may remember, is, in my opinion, a "Master Woodworker". He sent me this photo of the cabinet he is crafting for their dining room. It will soon be finished and I will post a photo of it in it's completed form.......when I receive it, that is. :)

As those of you who also had or currently have small children, you remember/know that when there is "free time", you're busy much of that time, with the kids. Luckily, Simon and Henry, are both outdoor kids, as are their parents....... :) (Cold weather doesn't seem to be a just dress for the climate) :)

And no problem with Henry being mobile either.....glad to see the sled is still getting some use. :)

This isn't the best photo of Simon, but it was the best one that showed the size of his guitar.....his looks seems to say, "What have I gotten myself into......?"

There doesn't seem to be any problem with the guitar now though.......

Thank you to Maniphone and Jonathan for the photos!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Photos from Grand Rapids, MI..."

I have family (from both parents) , that live either in or around Grand Rapids, MI. I received these photos from my cousin, Jill (Mom's side), who lives there with her husband , Joe. Grand Rapids also gets hit with "lake effect" snow quite often.....something that was a part of all my winters until I moved to Madison, WI, where snowfalls are "regular". :)

These photos are taken from around their house. By seeing these, you'd never know that they live in the city.......well, perhaps somewhat on the edge, but having been there, they DO live in a neighborhood. :)

It is hard to believe sometimes, that such serene scenery also means that the snow has caused so many other problems with driving, shoveling, etc. :)

Thank you Jill, for sending me the photos. I know, I know.....I'm your favorite! :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

"A Variety ....."

Don took this photo of our lamp post out front. The gently falling snow had created this dome shape. When the light turned on and threw off some heat (it automatically comes on and stays on all night), it created this delicate "shell".

The faux headboard did not work. When on the loom, I had somehow measured wrong and I wove it for another 4", so it was too long to be a headboard. We would have had to move the bed, and there isn't room to do that (as you will see in the next photo). We called Rob and asked him to come over to help (we needed another set of hands in order to be able to get back and look before decisions of how high, etc, were made). My, but I am "thinning" on top...... too bad I'm not thinning as fast "sideways"....... :(

Here is the "wall hanging" in it's final spot......

I knitted this little cap and mitten set for Brian and Kim's "soon-to-be-born baby". They live in the next block next to Michael and Anna, and their baby is due on the 16th.

Don's IT department sent him these flowers after his eye surgery. It is a beautiful bouquet, but when the sunlight hits it, it is even more spectacular.