Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"More Christmas Morning...."

I have a few photos of some of the gifts that were given.....

Don did EXTREMELY well in choosing a few "fiber related" books for me. :)

Sean with one pair of his hand knit socks. He still wasn't "quite" awake yet. :)

Don with the "Pakul" hat that I knitted for him.

Sean checking on the Christmas ham. Notice he is wearing his new socks. :)

Table set and ready for our guests.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Christmas Morning......"

How bad is it that I have to wake up Sean on Christmas morning in order to open presents? :) He IS a night owl now, but I do remember when he was young, Cindy and I would be awakened by all 3 kids, all of whom had been awake for quite awhile (I'm pretty sure Sean was the 1st one to wake up and went and got the others), but hesitated waking us, until they couldn't stand it any longer. :) Is THIS a picture, or what? LOL

In the beginning, there were the stockings to check out......after we could keep Sean awake, that is......

Don went and got a treat (pigs ear) for Copper, putting it in my stocking for her to take it out. Notice the TV screen? That was our roaring fire for opening presents. :)

Hope springs eternal for Copper. When she hears paper crinkling/crunching, or packages being unwrapped, she "hopes" it's food. :)

This little stocking stuffer of Don's became quite the hit of the day, as you will see in a later post. In case you are having a hard time reading the label, it is called "Let'er Rip". The "goo" inside, makes "noises" when fingers are stuck in.......I'll let your imagination take that information and, rip.

Monday, December 29, 2008


These are a few more photos from the Christmas Eve photo folder. :)

I looked online to find a recumbent Christmas ornament for Don, but not one search produced anything. So......I took it upon myself to "make" a recumbent ornament. It isn't very professional, nor good craftsmanship, but it is the THOUGHT that counts, correct? :)

The Aero Garden adds some nice "green tones" to our winter world. This planting is of herbs......

Our Winter Wonderland.......

Almost chest height snow for Copper in the backyard.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Christmas Eve Morning....."

Bridget, Tracie, and Evie, came over Christmas Eve morning, bringing us gifts (a bottle of Apple Brandy, cookies and a Christmas photo card). We have such good neighbors! :) I had knitted Evie a little sweater ornament which she opened when here, and did quite well in hiding her disappointment in finding it not being something "really good". ;) She was ready to open more of the packages that were under the tree, and when I told her they were for people who lived here, she immediately, with not one second of hesitation, said she lived here! LOL

Sean, Evie, Bridget, and Tracie. Sean and Evie became quite good friends in a VERY short time.....and you will soon see why.

Bridget and Tracie are VERY good neighbors as I said before. They brought their nail clippers over with them and trimmed Copper's nails. Copper was handsomely rewarded for her cooperation with a big pigs ear treat. :)

Evie trying on the hat Sean was wearing. Nope, not having a good time at all.......

And the fun continued with her walking up his torso and performing a somersault. (NUMEROUS TIMES!!!)

The agony of preparing to was quite the process.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Merry Christmas!"

Merry Christmas from us to you!!!

Don and I are up and waiting for Sean to wake up so that we can "get on" with opening our gifts in our stockings and under the tree. :) Who'd ever of thought that I would have to wait for one of my children to wake up to start the mornings festivities? :)

We had a wonderful time at Laura and Gary's last night (Rob' sister and brother in law). We were invited to join them and a couple of her brothers, John and Todd, for the evening. Laura had baked lasagna for dinner and after dinner, we all watched a movie. A very nice, low key Christmas Eve, with a nice group.

Our friends from Iowa, Jim and George, who were to join us today for dinner, decided not to drive to Madison, as is their tradition, because of the horrible weather that has been leading up to Christmas Day, so it will only be Don, Sean, and me, along with Penny and Sheila, for Christmas dinner today. It will be a very nice day, too, and I've been looking forward to it for some time. The bonus was hearing that Sean made plans to visit us, so we had one of my children with us. Patrick, and my new daughter in law, Julie, are in Michigan's "thumb", staying with her parents, with numerous family gatherings planned. He called this morning to wish us a Merry Christmas, waking us up, as we were still in bed since we'd stayed up past our "normal" hour of bedtime. :)

It has been a strange morning for me.......I have been a little "emotional" this morning for some unknown reason.........I hope I can get it "under control" soon. LOL

Again.....we wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Luggage Update......"

It arrived at our house around 10:40 PM last night. We were all in bed, as Don does have to work today, so imagine my surprise when Copper barked and the door bell rings at that time of night. Thank goodness it did, and happily I can tell you that Sean was able to re-schedule his interview at the Madison Club from yesterday, to today. Yes, there is a Santa Claus! ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Sean is Visiting!"

My youngest son, Sean, is visiting us this week, staying through Christmas and flying back Friday, to Traverse City, MI, where he now lives. He flew in yesterday....a truly long ordeal, that ended with him arriving here, at the house, close to 1 AM this morning.

His day started with an early "scheduled" flight out of Traverse City, MI. That did not happen. He said the weather was clear but they were delayed due to weather. That was the beginning of "the trip from Hell". Not having flown out on time, of course, set his whole flight itinerary off, and he was not able to make his connecting flight to Madison, from Minneapolis, when he finally arrived in Minnesota. After scheduling flights to Madison, and then having them canceled, he was finally able to schedule 2 flights.....1 to Milwaukee, with a later flight here to Madison. The flight from Milwaukee was also delayed, but he finally got in to Madison close to midnight. Unfortunately, his luggage did not, so we hope that it will arrive on one of this morning flights from Milwaukee.

Sean just graduated from culinary school and is now a full fledged chef! He has an interview with the chef at The Madison Club this morning. He only has the clothes he arrived in, so he will have to call and explain the situation. I do have some clothes he can borrow, but nothing in the pant line, unless he wanted to go in "sagging". :)

We are grateful that he arrived safe and sound and are looking forward to his visit, which I am sure will go by too quickly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Wool and Fur...."

After being "chastised" in an email this morning, by my wonderful cousin, Jill, who lives in Grand Rapids, MI, for not getting my entry written early enough this AM, I figured I'd better write it ASAP! :)

The reason for the delay was because Don did not go to work today, so we did not get up quite as early. He has not felt good since his flu shot earlier in the week. Last year he was sick afterwards and swore he would not get one this year, but he relented after reading so many articles about how important it is. So, he may be paying for the "little buggers", yet again, with not feeling well.

Below, is my sorting of what needed to be wrapped for here, or wrapped/packaged to be sent in the US mail. Not a huge amount of things knitted this year due to my wanting to learn to spin my own yarn, then knit. The process takes a "little" longer this way. ;)

I'd mentioned and shown you a photo of Don's new "Trapper" hat, but you have not seen what he looks like when he walks out the door for his walk to work. Multiple layers, under both "top" and "bottom". :)

A close up of how little the area that is left open for his eyes to see/show.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"An Early "Tis the Season" with Rosa and Becky...."

Tuesday, I picked up Rosa from school again. We'd planned on getting together last Tuesday, but when that horrible ice/snow storm was predicted, we canceled, and re-scheduled for this week, also planning on having Becky and Rosa stay to eat with us as well. Don and I "had plans".......

Our "plans" included a few "Tis the Season" gifts for the 2 of them. :)

The first one we had Rosa open was one of the little miniature sweater ornaments for their tree.

Then....the big guns! :) We got Rosa an art kit that had colored pencils, markers, water colors, and other drawing supplies, all organized in one "easy to carry" container.

We couldn't be rude and leave Becky out, so she also got a little "something" for her taste buds. :)

We're discussing the art kits contents. Next time Rosa comes over, we'll be doing some watercolor painting.

Don trying to "break" the seal around the art kit contents. That seal was meant to last and never be broken!!!

Of course, the story of getting Don to humor me and try on the "trapper" hat came up, so Rosa did a little modeling, too. :)

We had a very nice evening with Becky and Rosa, and look forward to many more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"A Reason to look forward to the New Year!"

I had a doctors appointment with an Orthopedic specialist this morning. As expected and dreaded, my knees are both shot. So I am scheduled to have my right knee replaced on Friday, January 9, 2009. I'm very happy that I was able to schedule it so quickly. The Dr. said I should be driving 2 weeks after surgery and should be eligible for the left knee to be replaced 2 1/2 months later. My expectation is probably to have the 2nd one done ASAP, so that I will be able to begin biking when the Spring weather begins. There is only 1 thing that I dread, and that will be the pain after the meds wear off. I am such a big baby when it comes to pain, but know it will all be worth it when I no longer limp and hobble around. :) OH! And there is another possibility that when the new knee is put in, and aligned correctly (since my "real" one has changed shape after all these years), that I perhaps will have fewer back problems, too! I can only hope! Wouldn't THAT bring another silver lining to this decision? ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Shake Rag Alley........"

Don and I drove down to Mineral Point, WI (, last Saturday night, to attend the performance of "The Christmas Carol", which was being performed at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts ( What was unusual about this performance, was that it was being done as a one "man" play......the actor, Coleman. We'd attended a Edgar Allen Poe reading of the "Raven" a few years ago, that was directed by Coleman, so we'd heard of him prior to this performance. He was EXCELLENT! He "became" 26 different characters throughout the play, each with his/her own voice and facial expressions. We had a wonderful time....well.....mostly. The performance was opened by a person playing a mandolin, who, shall we say, was not the most talented, but tolerable. Perhaps it would have been more easily tolerated, to have not played as long and started the play a little sooner. You can imagine our thoughts when we saw him stride up the aisle after the intermission to begin yet again! Aside from the mandolin playing, we had a wonderful evening. As part of our "ticket package", we had dinner at Cafe 4, which too, was very enjoyable. All in all, our night out was well enjoyed!

Below, we have "Coleman" in costume.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Miniature Knitted Ornaments..."

These are this years knitted ornaments that I make for the kids and hostess gifts (if there is a need for one). I found this pattern for miniature sweaters actually more than a year ago, but didn't use it last year. I had found another pattern that I wanted to do instead. :) was time to bring it forth and knit! ;)

A photo of that "Little Old Hanger Maker" :) (the dome continues to get shinier and more sparse each year....sigh)

Don calls this photo "Father Christmas". I am finishing up the last knitted present that had to be completed before wrapping them all and putting them in the mail. The plan is to have everything wrapped and packed today, so that I can post the packages tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"A Photo from North Dakota....."

If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that Jonathan, one of our former neighbors, who now lives in North Dakota, in my opinion, is a Master Craftsman when it comes to working with wood. He sent this photo of his latest pieces that he'd crafted for Maniphone's parents. These 3 tables will, or I should now say "have", become their Buddhist Alter in their home. They are beautiful and certainly works of art.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Modeling Hats...."

This is yesterday's dyed yarn all knit up into a Cossack, of course, saw that right away? I also washed/felted it the same night that I finished knitting it. So far, I have washed the hat 5-6 times, and also put it in the will not felt down as far as it should!!!!!! It has felted, but not even close to what it should......... I plan on trying some more, so time will tell. I will be measuring it before I put it in the washer/dryer again, though, to make sure it does "something", otherwise I will have to think of some other use for it. A tea pot cozy for example? UGH! Frustration!!!!

While on errands together last Saturday, we went into Fontana Sport Specialties, on State Street, where Don proceeded to look for a number of clothing articles to replace the ones he now wears when he walks to and from work. I saw this hat and suggested he try it on. It took a few more times suggesting it, until he gave in and humored me, and tried it on. I LOVED it on him!!! He hesitantly went to look in a mirror and finally agreed with me that it did "have a look". ;) He is now the proud (AND warm!!!) owner of this new "Trapper's Hat".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Spun and Dyed....."

I took this photo while I was at spinning with Jacqui at Dumgoyne Farm. The off white roving seemed "slightly" felted as I spun it, so I "thought" it would be a perfect wool for knitting a piece to be felted. More on the felting part later.........

This shows the 3 finished, 2 ply skeins, ready to be dyed.

I dyed all of the skeins, "Citrus". I do think I used a little too much dye. The color was a bit brighter orange than expected, rather than the paler orange that I remembered from the dyed sample at the yarn shop.

All 3 skeins are layered in the crock pot, each with a dusting of Garnet dye, on the left, and Jade, on the right. Once again, I probably used too much of dye, especially of the Garnet. I think if I'd used less, the Citrus would have shown through more on the finished yarn.

As it turned out, I think the orange of the Citrus, "tempered" the deeper red of the Garnet. All 3 colors remained, but much less of the Citrus and Jade than I'd planned on. Once again, I lucked out with dyeing and am pleased with the end results. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Learning to Card......."

This is my bag of washed Icelandic Sheep fleece. Don always says that it looks like human hair......I guess that it really does. The block clamped to the table is called a "teaser". It is used to tease open locks of fleece.

"The Carding Operation....." :)

A number of finished batts........

Barb came over that night, so I set the carder up again so that she could try her hand at carding.

I'm teasing locks which Barb then fed into the drum carder.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Don surprised me with a HUGE piece of "fiber equipment" last week. He bought me a Strauch "Finest" Drum Carder!!!! He took me TOTALLY by surprise!! He'd seen me looking at carders online and decided to buy me one, "just because he could"......that was the reason I got from him. He also said that he felt not having one was holding me back from really exploring fiber. Whatever his reasons, I am VERY happy to have this wonderful carder.

I included this photo just because of the lights on the tree. ;)

Coincidentally, I "just happened" to have washed a fleece last month, in readiness to begin some hand carding, using Copper's dog brush. It is an Icelandic Sheep fleece (Molly's is the ewes name) that I bought from Joan, in Maine, who owns Applesauce Hill Icelandic's. I did not wait until the next day to try out the carder. It was immediately set up on the kitchen table to try some carding (I also knew what I would be doing the next day, so why not have everything in readiness, eh?). :)

The fleece is fed (with fibers opened up/fluffed) along the feed hopper into the "in feed" drum, where it is then transferred onto the large drum. This process aligns the fibers all in one direction, so when spinning "from the batt", the fibers are more easily drafted to attain the size yarn (single) that is wanted.

When the large drum is full, the batt is removed, split, and carded once again. So far, I have only carded the Icelandic fleece, but if I wanted to blend the Icelandic with another fiber, I would card the types together a couple of times, until they were blended to my satisfaction. There will be plenty of opportunity for "experimentation". :)

This batt was split and sent through the carder once again. Each batt is carded "at least" twice, sometimes more, depending on what a person is carding.

More to follow......