Archive - February 2013

Springtime in the Rockies Cowl
Forty Days, Forty Projects
Follow me!
I Have Issues
A New Era
Alligators, revisited
Not Quite
Lent is Coming!
There and Back

Springtime in the Rockies Cowl

This is the project that had me searching high and low for a particular skein of yarn and in the process realizing I have major stash issues. Yarn stash, people, yarn.

I bought this yarn about 6 or 7 years ago and starting making a scarf. But I didn’t like the way it was turning out, so I frogged the whole thing and put the yarn away. I really liked the yarn so I wanted the perfect project. For some reason I thought I only had one skein and there aren’t a whole lot of things you can do with 175 yards of sock yarn.

So I searched and searched for the perfect pattern and then I found it! Eureka! It’s the Dayflower Cowl for sock weight yarn. And here was the best part – the way the pattern is written, you can make it longer or shorter or taller, however you want. So my plan was to make into a sort of long, skinny infinity scarf.

And off to find the yarn. When it finally emerged from the depths of The Stash (yarn!!), turns out I actually had 2 skeins. Yay, me!

Now, before I show you my cowl, I have to admit that I made a mistake. I knit fairly loosely, so I always, no matter what, go down a needle size. Even when gauge doesn’t matter, I just go down a size. I should have used a US7, but my 7s are in another project and my 8s are my favorite needle. My 8s are a very nice, slippery Inox circular. And thinking gauge doesn’t matter, I jumped at the chance to use them.

So I ran out of yarn. Yeah, oops. And this being lace, there was no way I was tinking back 4 rows of over 200 stitches, making sure to catch every yarn over and K3tog. I found leftover sock yarn that matched one of colors in the cowl. I finished off the last row and a half, plus the binding.



So here she is, I call her Springtime in the Rockies, because the colors remind me all the flowers in bloom once Spring finally makes an appearance. The yarn that started this all is Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino, in color way P207. The pattern, Dayflower, is free and is both written and charted. (It is the 5th pattern down on that link.) It comes in 3 lengths. I doubled the smallest length and did 4 pattern repeats. Finished size is just under 29 inches long and 8 inches high.

Forty Days, Forty Projects

You’ve probably heard of the popular 40 Bags in 40 Days project. The point is to collect 40 bags of junk, clutter and unneeded things in your house and get rid of them, all in a 40 day time span. I see it pop up around Lent, being 40 days long and all. But trying to fill one bag full of stuff a day? That’s a huge effort and I’ve got way to much on my plate right now to have that kind of time.

Then my friend Sandy at Falling Like Rain shared something she found on Pinterest. Forty Days of Organization is the plan but this time it is 40 projects around your house to help you be better organized. Now *that* I can do!

I brainstormed my list, mentally going through each room of my house. I only came up with 20 things at first, but I’ve added to it since then. Everything on my list is something I can finish in an hour or less.


I didn’t really get going on my list until Presidents Day. Other commitments kept us from going anywhere that day, so I used the day off to knock out several projects.

I’ve got to tell you, I love me some lists!  I like getting all those thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I really like crossing things off because that means that Things are Getting Done.  I’m looking forward to arriving at Easter with 40 organizing projects crossed off my list!

I Have Issues

I set about photographing and cataloging my yarn stash. It is clear I have issues. If it is limited edition, hard to get or unique, I need to have it. Obviously, I’m compensating for something that is lacking in my life. Feel free to browse my blog archives and analyze me and let me know! In the meantime, let’s take a look at just my sock yarn, shall we…

Oooo, pretty! What do we have here? I have numbered each hank, cake or ball and under each picture is a list of each one.


1. Mystery yarn. I have no idea what this is, weight, color, brand or anything. Sigh…
2. Knit Picks Imagination, Unicorn
3. Fleece Artist Merino, Seafoam
4. Fleece Artist Merino, Wildflower
5. Neighborhood Studio Sock, Randle Circle
6. Left-overs from completed socks
7. Abbi Grasso self-striping sock yarn, Watermelon
8. Abbi Grasso self-striping sock yarn, Kiwi fruit
9. Knit Picks Imagination, Munchkin
10. Knit Picks Stroll, Royalty Tonal
11. Knit Picks Stroll, Deep Waters Tonal
12. Knit Picks Imagination, Mermaid Lagoon (2)
Why yes, at this point I do have enough for my own personal sock of the month club!
13. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Feb ’10 Limited Edition, Love Potion (2)
14. Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb, Love Potion (4)
15. Knit Picks Stroll, Blue Violet Tonal
16. Knit Picks Stroll, Blue Yonder Tonal
17. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Butterbeer
18. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Pumpkin
19. Knit Picks Imagination, Damsel (2)
20. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, self striping green(2)
21. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, self striping pink (2)
22. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Autumn Leaves(2)
23. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, June ’08 Limited Edition, Blueberry Snowcone (2)


1. Abbi Grasso, Ribbon Candy
2. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Feb ’12 Limited Edition, New Beginnings
and that concludes the 2nd year of my sock of the month club
3. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Wildflowers
4. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Nargles
5. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Un-Birthday
6. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Shaved Ice
7. Sunshine Yarns Sock, Over The Rainbow
8. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Child’s Play


All of these are Knit Picks Felici
1. Minty
2. Sugared Violets
3. Peachy
4. Rainbow

I think all future Knit Picks catalogs need to go straight into the trash, don’t you?

A New Era

We went to Disnyland last year as our big vacation. Boo was 13 and Pumpkin Girl was 11, so we did something a little different. We let them go off on their own. We had rules they needed to follow, including not leaving the park and checking in either physically or by phone. We gave them gift cards to use as spending money, but if they wanted us to pay for food, they needed to link up with us for meals.

For several months beforehand, they studied a Disneyland guidebook and made their plans. They had some sort of scheme for riding all their favorite rides and when the day came, off they went!

Now, you have to know that the two of them get along very well. They also behave well in public and have thus far proven to be trustworthy and reliable. They also understood that no matter what, they were to stay together. Even if they got angry, they both needed to come find us together. As it turned out, they had a grand ol’ time.

And they came back with funny stories.

They rode the Jungle Cruise with a mom who was very concerned about them. When the ride was over, she held back her husband so Boo and Pumpkin could get off the boat first. Her husband asked her, “So,why are we waiting for them?” And she replied, “well, I just don’t know where their parents are!” Boo and Pumpkin Girl, to their credit, were polite to her.

For the record, Disney’s own policy is that you must be 7 years old to ride alone and to escort someone younger, you must be 14.

Another time they were walking along wearing these hats:

Who should come walking up behind them, but the Mad Hatter and Alice. The Mad Hatter said to them, “Congratulations”. And turning to Alice he says, “They got married, you know!” Which of course, set Boo off, sputtering indignantly, just like Donald Duck.

Meanwhile, Phil and I enjoyed spending time with just Bip and Pipqueak, riding the slower rides and taking a more leisurely pace. We don’t often spend time with just our younger boys and we enjoyed it very much.

This was Pipsqueak’s first visit to Disneyland.  He wasn’t quite sure what to think of the whole thing.

We were happy to give the older two kids a chance to spread their wings, make their own decisions and act like young adults. They appreciated the opportunity, too.  It’s a whole new era in Disneyland adventures!


I have a confession to make. I have a yarn stash. I knew I was buying yarn faster than I can knit it, but I didn’t realize just how much I have. Lets just say it is somewhere between an extra skein and ready to open a yarn store.

Before we moved here (going on 4 years ago!), my yarn was neatly stored in two bins in the living room/office. And in a bag in the guest room. And a little in the master bedroom. It never looked like all that much, because I could never see it all at once. It helped me stay in denial.

Then we moved and I got a nice little craft room. I put all my yarn into a plastic chest of drawers thing. Except what couldn’t fit. That’s in a basket, but it’s all crafting yarn, the cheap stuff for scout projects. There’s some in a cabinet in the master bedroom, but that’s for an ongoing project. And a bunch in a bag in my closet. The kitchen cotton is in a box in my room, too. And …yeah. It’s a bit much.

It multiplies like bunnies, yarn does. Especially sock yarn.

I figured this all out a couple of days ago when I finally, after years of searching, found the perfect pattern for some yarn I bought rather impulsively. I went to go get the yarn and I couldn’t find it! I could picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Not in the plastic drawers, not in the basket or the cabinet or box or bags. I found it with a bunch more yarn I didn’t even know about (bunnies, I tell you!!).

So I’ve put myself on a yarn diet. No more yarn. Knit with what I have, get rid of what I will never use, and not a single purchase for one full year.


Stay tuned. Pictures of my glorious stash are forthcoming.

Alligators, revisited

Five years ago I made Bip an alligator scarf.

Time went by and it got caught in his jacket zipper too many times and it developed a hole.  I sat down to mend it only to discover that it was now much too small for Bip.  So once again, what is a mother to do for her alligator-loving boy?  Yep, make him another alligator scarf, this time in the grown up size.


The kit (pattern and yarn included) is here: Morehouse Farm Alligator Scarf

The pattern alone (emailed as a PDF) is here: Morehouse Farm Critter Knits (it is the 3rd one listed)

Not Quite

This is my husband, Phil (and Pipsqueak).

He works for the federal government. He may even know where the Ark of the Covenant is hidden.

One day we had ordered Chinese food and he was picking it up, rather than have it delivered.  As he was leaving the restaurant with our order, a lady was walking in the door.  She said to him, “Good luck with the deliveries.”

Yeah.  Not quite.

Nevertheless, Happy Chinese New Year!

Lent is Coming!

Good grief, Lent starts on February 13th this year! Get OUT!

Ok, I’m done freaking out.

Two of toughest things in life are that both Girl Scout cookies and Shamrock Shakes are only available during Lent.  Fortunately, at least one McDonald’s in town already has Shamrock Shakes, so we can gobble some up this week.  And GS cookies are freezable.  Just sayin’.

In a completely unrelated event, I was searching for lap books to do with Bip in school and I found a website selling lap books for the Catholic faith.  I just finished printing out the pieces of the Lent book so we can get started on it right away.  A few of the projects should be completed before Ash Wednesday to get the most out of them.  What? Oh yes, a link.  Here you go: Catholic Faith Folders.  I prefer to buy these kind of things and just print them out instead of trying to find all the same information for free and making it fit and look pretty and all that.

And since I’m going on and on about Lent, Jennifer over at Family in Feast and Feria has printable Stations of the Cross. She has lots of different options for printing, including cards to punch holes in and put on a ring and booklets in both small sizes and full page.  Each option comes in color or in black and white.  I like them because the text is simple for children without being babyish and the pictures are real artwork, not cartoons.  I’m not fond of the kids Stations books that our church uses.

There and Back

We left last week for my grandfather’s funeral.

The flight there was completely uneventful.  Pipsqueak was asleep before we even made it over the Rocky Mountains and didn’t wake up until we landed.  I won the seating lottery when I volunteered to sit next to him and Bip wanted to sit on the other side of me, leaving Philip to sit next to Sir Talks Alot.  Ha!

The funeral was a good one.  My mom asked me and Philip to do the readings and I chose to go first because I know better than to go after Phil.  Seriously, the guy has a deep, rich voice and he reads with great feeling.  I am an accomplished public speaker as well, but I’ve got nothing on Phil.  Voluntarily being the speaker after Phil is one of the classic blunders.

Now, normally I am fine with this.  My reading was one we used at Rebecca’s funeral and ends with “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries him close to his heart.”  I was pretty confident I could make it through, in spite  of the association.  What I hadn’t counted on was the first song also being from Rebecca’s funeral and one that is very hard for us to get through on a normal day without at least tearing up .  And THEN  my mom delivered a very moving eulogy right before my reading.  I was shaky and choked up, but I took a deep breath and took my time.  All those years of public speaking and teaching and teaching people how to teach really paid off. I got all the way to the end, the “He gathers the lambs” part before my voice got shaky.  But I was OK.  No shame in showing emotion.

Phil, of course, was rock steady and he had people (including the priest) asking if he is a lector a home.  Grrr!

Boo was an altar server for the funeral.  He did a great job.  I was proud of him, as always.  Pumpkin Girl and Bip took up the gifts with the other great-grandson who is not mine.  Everyone got to participate, except Pipsqueak, who looked cute and then fell asleep.

After mass we went to the cemetery.  We saw a Navy guy saluting and finally realized that my grandfather was getting a military burial.  Taps, the folded flag presented to my grandmother, the whole bit.  It was wonderful to see him honored like that.

Then it was time to leave.  I hated that part with Rebecca.  Just turning around and walking away.  It is so…final.

The reception afterwards was at a seafood restaurant right on the harbor.  The food was great but seeing all my relatives was even better.  We had a DVD slide show of my grandfather which was so much fun.  His sisters brought a CD player and  played the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

I learned that my grandfather was the oldest of 8 children (I only remember his 3 sisters).  He returned to the Catholic Church after going on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with my grandmother.  He really just went along to protect her.  He met Lou Holtz (coach of Notre Dame) on that trip (he was making the same pilgrimage) and demanded an explanation of his coaching decisions in the big game against USC!

Just so you know, he only has three grandchildren. 😉

We had a hard time leaving my grandparents house, we always do.  We feel loved and safe there.  But we did need to come home.

And now we are back.

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