Have Ewe Any Wool?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year!

This year, I’m doing things differently.  Here are my plans for the year.

  • Write down what I am thankful for....every day!    
  • Continue being mindful in all areas - what I do, what I spend, and what I eat.
  • Live every day to the fullest and enjoy the little surprises each new day brings.
  • Focus on my accomplishments. rather than dwell on my failures.
  • Seek balance...do something special for someone else, as well as for myself.

Looking forward to a 
Very Happy and Positive New Year!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year!

Out with the old.....in with the new!  Time to focus on positive changes for the New Year!

This year, I’m striving to focus on mindfulness.....
  • Mindful Eating
    • Eat when hungry...not ‘just because’
    • Minimize snacking between meals and after dinner
    • Try not to eat after 8 pm whenever possible
    • Drink some water then reassess when I ‘think’ I need a snack
  • Mindful Lifestyle
    • Try to get plenty of rest...even when tempted to stay up late
    • Take time to stretch to start the day
    • Work in some yoga every day....even if it’s just 10 minutes
    • Try to maintain 10,000 steps per day
    • When feeling overwhelmed, close my eyes and meditate for 2 minutes
  • Mindful Behavior
    • Don’t procrastinate...just do it!
    • Leave the kitchen clean...every night
    • Sort mail...every day
    • Only work on or have out one project out at a time
    • Tackle at least one odious task each day
    • Reserve some daily ‘me time’

Just for DH, I’ve made a big pot of black-eyed peas for good luck in the New Year,   I’m not a huge fan of black-eyed peas, but he’s a southern boy and its traditional to eat them on New Years.  I’ve also made him a nice cherry pie. 

I ‘ve found that if I add enough veggies, herbs and spices, they are much better tasing.  I soaked the peas overnight, then added some sautéed onions, red pepper, celery, and garlic.   I added some bay leaves, dried parsley, and ground coriander seeds for some additional flavoring.   The main flavor bonus I added this year was a very meaty smoked ham hock from Lothar’s....our local butcher.  The hock had lots of delicious smoked meat to further flavor the peas.

Of course, since I love spicy, I had to add some cayenne pepper to my bowl....and top it with fried jalapeños.  Mmm....nice hearty way to start the new year!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Another One Bites the Dust.....Good-bye 2018!

Another year has come and gone...

Time to put negative influences behind....and never look back!

Time to look to the future...full of positive thoughts!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Valiant Warrior Quilting

Once again, I participated in the Valiant Warriors Quilting event sponsored by Joshua's Hands.   It's a fabulous event - all the materials and the sewing machines are supplied.   You just needed to show up willing to help - no matter what your skill level or talents, there was something for everyone to do.  As you can see, there was an awesome variety of pre-cut fabrics to use for strip quilts. 

There were plenty of sewing machines in the front room, as well as in some of the interior rooms.   There were several machines on the other side of the room as well.   Many of the more experienced quilters either brought their own machines or would take the quilts home to work on them there.  

This time, I worked on the modified strip quilt.  Instead of a straight strip quilt, it has sections that are horizontal as well as vertical.   The first one I did a couple of years ago only had the horizontal stripes.  The way this pattern alternates directions makes a simple quilt top really look elegant..  I love how this new pattern is laid out.

It was a lot of fun.   I learned so much from  the experienced quilters - they are soooo incredibly patient!   I had only ever hand-pieced a quilt before working on my first machine sewn quilt top the first time I participated in the Valiant Warriors Quilting event a couple of years ago.  The experienced quilters were giving me tips on how to sew it together the best way to minimize the time it takes as well as to produce the least waste of the material and thread.

I am so happy to be be able to do something for our service men and women that have been wounded while serving our country.  These quilts are sent to the hospitals caring for the valiant warriors.  Here's a picture of some of the many quilts that were finished during the 10 day event - August 4 - 13

I eventually plan to learn some of the other processes - including prepping it with the batting and backing, stitching it together, and ultimately, learning how to use the long-arm machine to quilt it! There should be plenty of opportunities to do this as the Station Stitchers (another Joshua's Hands charitable activity) are quilting year round.   PLUS....in January 2018, there will be another Valiant Warriors Quilting event.  So many opportunities!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tour de Fleece - Weeks 1 and 2 (July 1-14)

I got off to a really good start with the Tour de Fleece.  I spent a couple of days playing with my drop spindle before I got down to my more major spinning projects - spinning my two braids of Merino in the "Pansy" colorway and about 1 1/2 lbs of "purple encased" Coopworth wool.  (The purple is "gently" encasing the natural colored Coopworth.) I started with the Merino...

July 4th, I really got down to spinning on my wheel and became a spinning fool!   I had two braids of this gorgeous Merino in a Pansy colorway.   My favorite pansies are the purple ones with the bright yellow eye in the middle.   Just looking at this colorway makes me smile.   It's such a happy color....and truly makes me think of pansies..

 I spun the first braid during the first week of Tour de Fleece.   I treated each braid differently - I'm thinking that if I make a scarf or shawl with the singles I create plied together, the long color pattern will repeat about every 1/4 length of the finished yarn.   Then in each of those fourths, there will be about 5 shorter repeats of the colors.  Of course, that's only if I split each just right.

I split it into about 16-20 strips down the entire length of the braid.  I found it very easy to spin nice and thin, and the spinning itself went rather fast.  I couldn't wait to start on the second braid.

Week 2, I spun the second braid.  I decided to split that braid into 4 strips that ran the entire length of the braid - much thicker strips than the ones I created from the first braid.   The thicker strips weren't quite as easy to spin as I had to be conscious of the amount of fiber I fed in, else it would be too thick.  The previous braid was soooo easy to spin by comparison! 

I was a bit surprised when I was done spinning - it looked like the two singles were wildly different on the bobbin.   Both braids weighed the same, and I believed that my spinning was just as thin....or at least close.  However, as you can see, the two bobbins are clearly different in size. 

Of course, I wrote off the HUGE difference in the two bobbins as being almost 100% caused by the yarn that was on the bobbin when I started.   I had quite a bit of orange singles on the bobbin that I didn't wind off before starting to spin.   I assumed (and you all know you should NEVER assume.....) that was the reason that my second bobbin looked so "empty" - it had been spun on an empty bobbin, so there was no previous yarn to "plump up" the results.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Staying Cool on a Very Hot Day

July has started out quite hot and miserable.   What better way to "keep cool" than doing a yarn crawl.  My friend Lisa and I headed off to hit a couple of yarn shops - Needles in a Haymarket  (Haymarket, VA) and Hunt Country Yarns (The Plains, VA) , a cupcake and sandwich shop - Cupcake Heaven and Cafe (Haymarket, VA),  and a coffee roaster - Weird Brothers Coffee (Herndon, Va).  It was an awesome day!  

At Needles in the Haymarket, I found the most awesome project bag - in purple (of course!).   I purchased it with the birthday $$ my mom had sent me.  I also found a really cool coffee mug - perfect for me!
Of course, to keep our energy up, we dined on sandwiches and a cupcake at Cupcake Heaven.   While there, I opened some birthday gifts from Lisa - two fabulous knitting books - "Classic Knit Shawls" and "Knitting Short Rows".   At Hunt Country Yarns, my big purchase was some Kauni EX yarn to craft the beautiful "Autumn Leaves Shawl" by Anna Stoklosa - made with knitted leaves.  This yarn morphs from greens through oranges and maroons...just like the leaves in the fall, so it's the perfect choice!

On the way home, we stopped at Weird Brothers Coffee in Herndon where I enjoyed a delicious cappuccino and purchased some whole bean coffee.  It was sooooo much better than Starbucks!   And....it's veteran owned.   I got to meet both the owner and his daughter - very nice people.  I'm a big supporter of eating and shopping locally.   All in all, it was a perfect day...in spite of the horrendous heat and the pop-up thunderstorm!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year one and all!   

This is the year of 'reductions'  - long overdue - and definitely necessary!

  1. Lose Weight...yeah, I know, I say that every year...one of these years I'll succeed!
  2. Financial obligations - reduce debt spend more carefully.
  3. Work down my yarn and fiber stash...use it, give it away...and definitely reduce purchases!
  4. Reduce clutter - ideally, I'd like to eliminate it, but since I'm a realist...and I know myself so well, I know that's probably not possible...so I'll settle for a reduction.
  5. Reduce my expectations - realize that my happiness comes from within and I should not expect others to share the same values, outlook, or priorities. 

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!