Thursday, August 30, 2007

Great new book

I got the best book yesterday! I'm in awe of the fantastic socks Pat is always knitting (check out her blog is you want to see some beautifully knitted socks!), and since a lot of them were created from Nancy Bush patterns, I was inspired to get one of the books she had written. Nancy Bush's Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear is not only packed with amazing patterns, it is really an interesting and entertaining read as well. She tells you all about the origins of footwear and takes you on an informative tour through the styles and evolution of stockings in many countries. The section on heel and toe types is something I'm sure I'll be getting some use from, as well as the many how-to tips. I was amazed at all the information this great book has to offer. I am dying to learn color work and want to start with either the Ukrainian Socks (pictured on the cover) or the Greek ones from this book, since both are so gorgeous that I will have to wear them shoe shopping at the mall to have a good excuse to show them off in public!

For 'Dogs on Thursday', I'd like to invite y'all to stop by and check out our cyber puppy shower! Just click on the teddy bear to enjoy the fun and see something cute!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Socks, Dogs, Etc.

Well, I've had another busy week but I am nearly caught up with all the stuff I'm trying to get finished. I had a technical difficulty on the Do Something New KAL blog, so I spent some time trying to fix that for the past few days.

I finished these Breeze socks for Amanda to earn my August 'A' over at SAM4.

I am nearly done with all the homeschool planning for this year. I just need to do a couple more little things and print some pages out, then we'll be all set to start the first week in September.

One big thing that has came up a bit unexpectedly is that my Boston Terrier, Maizy, has decided to come out of retirement to have one more litter of puppies. In July, we walked in on an accidental tie (our first unplanned mating EVER in the history of our kennel) between her and Capone, which was really shocking to me because she had just been in full heat two months previously and did not appear to be 'in' prior to the tie taking place. So statistically speaking, the chances of her being pregnant were slim, but we confirmed about 10 days ago that she is indeed 'with pups'. They should be due Sept 12. She is in excellent health so everything should be fine. Everything seems to happen for a reason, I guess, even if it was unexpected.

So for my late entry of Dogs on Thursday, here is a picture of the expectant parents. Taken a while back, that is Maizy and Capone with a homemade Agility tunnel.

When Capone figured out that he would get a treat just for running thru a tunnel, you couldn't keep him out of the thing! I would be practicing with Maizy, then Capone would run thru and wait for a cookie!

This is our last week of summer vacation before Homeschool starts back, so I'm going to try to take it easy and maybe find a few fun thing to do.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thursday Dogs 2 days late and some homeschool links

Ooops, I should have posted this pic two days ago, but better late than never!

That is Ramses the German Shepherd and Harlan the Bloodhound in our backyard. They are such good buddies, I always love watching them play! Ramses was the first Wonderland dog to earn a CGC (trained only by me up to that point, which I've always been proud of), and Harlan was the first to win at Conformation shows. You will definitely see pictures and hear more tales on these two!

I've been busy working on homeschool planning all week, so I thought I'd post a few helpful links for any other teacher moms out there. XP Math is a great site with online games, worksheets and downloadable ebooks ( I downloaded a 600 + page SAT ebook there, for free!!) OWL stands for Online Writing Lab and has a literal ton of information that can be used in English classes, from parts of speech to tips for writing a term paper. Shadow Poetry is a wonderful tool for educating people of all ages about poetry: they have a handbook of literary terms; bios and poems on over 30 of the great poets; detailed descriptions and examples of nearly all the poetry styles; and articles on any and everything you would to know on the subject of poetry. Everyone probably already has this one marked but I had to mention Wikipedia, which has quick information an every subject known to man.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holiday World

We had some fun Sunday at Holiday World theme park in Santa Clause, Indiana. Even though it was 100 degrees and humid, we all had a great time. They have some of the fastest wooden roller coasters in the country there, plus a bunch of other fun rides, and the fountain drinks are free all day long!

I had boring jury duty again this morning. Whoop-te-doo . . . not! I still didn't get picked but got to watch for an enthralling hour and fifteen minutes as people were selected and questioned. There was a happy stampede for the courtroom door when the rest of us got dismissed.

On the knitting front, I should be done with Amanda's Breeze socks by this weekend and I've just started a really cool Oblique scarf set. And my list of things-I-want-to-knit grows by the hour!

I'm also still busy as a cat covering up poop, and will most likely be that way for the next two weeks. I'm in the middle of homeschool lesson plans, making knitting needle cases for the Etsy shop, filling out my Flagon and Trencher genealogical society application, and trying to get some 'spring cleaning' done, as well as every other thing I usually do around here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday Dogs and my first felted project

For this week's 'Dogs on Thursday', I have picture here are Pixi & Gracie (l to r). They were born and raised here at Wonderland Kennels and recently turned three. Aren't they cutie pies? Gracie likes the Conformation Ring and is also really good at Obedience, while Pixi is an absolute Agility nut who surprised everyone with how quickly she picked up all the obstacles, especially the weave poles. But all their talent hasn't gone to their heads, as they spend most of their time lounging around the house and playing with the kids.

Above is my favorite picture I ever personally took of the dogs. Here are the girls with their litter mates; Gracie is to the left of the basket and Miss Pixi Poo is the one chewing on the ivy!

I think my first felted project turned out pretty well, and it was so much fun to pull it out of the washer and find that the purse had shrank down to a mere 6 and half inches tall! {I will confess here, that, before I had actually tried this felting stuff, that I had thought the whole process was sort of a waste of time. I used to wonder why folks didn't just knit things the size they wanted in the first place instead of wasting all that extra yarn.} Well, I have now seen the light! People felt because it is fun! And because you end up with a sturdier finished project.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Booga Bag and some Chicks

My August project for the Do Something New KAL is going to be this Booga Bag I'm working on, since this will be the first thing I've ever felted - unless you count the navy blue wool sweater I got for Xmas when I was like 12 that got ran thru the washer and dryer, but no, let's not count that. This morning, I finished the nearly endless I-cord, which lacked a mere 6 inches being 6 feet long. I am supposing that is long enough and that is where my Pumpkin yarn ran out. Right now, laid flat the bag measures about 12-1/2 inches across and about the same in height, from where the sides connect to the bottom. I can't wait to see how much smaller it gets when felted, and how the stripes will look! I plan to stick it in the washer this afternoon and I'll post pics after it is done.

Here is a picture of the two little chicks that hatched last week. The mama hen that actually sat on these eggs is probably not the one that laid them, since she is a Silky and both chicks look to be pure Barred Rock. Most hens have a habit of laying in communal nests, so that's really not surprising. We'll have to wait til the chicks are grown to see. We moved them from the hen house to this chicken tractor [small, portable coop] so the others wouldn't bother them. Aren't they cute!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Busy Week

Boy, have I had a busy week - one of those that had me rushing off in a million directions at once, wondering why I couldn't get everything finished. Luckily, I sort of jot down some of the stuff I do and such in my planner, so looking back at the past seven days, I at least feel like I accomplished something.

I'm trying to work on redecorating and trying to focus on one room at a time, starting with the sitting room. On Monday I stripped and refinished the bay and bow windows. Since I had to sand them down with a power sander, I still have a layer of dust over all the furniture. While I had the stain out, I retouched all the bar stools in the kitchen, then I stained the trunk that acts as a coffee table in the sitting room and also houses my kids' homeschooling stuff. Later in the week, I stitched up 4 throw pillows to go on the couch and love seat in the sitting room; I stuffed 3-1/2 of them, then ran out of polyfil. Now they are decorating my dining table until I can finish stuffing the last one. Plus I have two prints I ordered and the frames I shopped all over town to find, also stacked up in the dining room until I can get to them. Oh yeah, and I have two trays to paint and decoupage, one for the sitting room and one of the patio.

Aside from the decorating which may never get finished, I had stupid jury duty on Wednesday. Thank goodness I didn't get picked for the Grand Jury, but I'm call for the next 6 months! Now I think being on an actual jury could be kind of fun, but we live in a teeny little town that is so much like Andy Griffith's Mayberry that it's spooky. Webster County has been mentioned on the Paul Harvey radio show as being one of the few counties in this country that has never convicted anyone of murder . . . nobody has ever really been convicted of much of anything here, which makes it a pretty safe place to live in though not very interesting if one is serving on a jury.

A particular in-law got on my very last nerve but if I got into that, this post would never end. If there are no nosy, intrusive lunatics in your spouse's family, consider yourself oh, so lucky!!!

Friday was fun! We took the kids to Build-a-Bear, out to eat at Turoni's, and shopping at few of our favorite stores. We picked up Book 5 in the Harry Potter series, since I'm trying to read all the books in order before cracking the new one, which my son is reading; so now I'm on chapter 6 of the Order of the Phoenix. I also picked up 'Charmed Stitches' !! Loving it!!

Yesterday was Saturday, so I went treasure hunting at yard sales with Barry and Tyler. I was looking for something in particular to make into end tables, but I had no luck. We found nothing of interest at all. It was nearly hundred degrees and all we seemed to see was old clothes and shoes and broken crap, which Tyler and I made up a funny little song about to aggravate Barry! That part was fun!

My grandpa grows great tomatoes in his garden, so I've got 7 quarts going in the canner as I'm bloggin' right now.

Aside from all the stuff I mentioned, I still need to get some more things done for the Etsy shop, finish up two genealogy applications to a couple of Societies I'm in the process of joining, and start lesson planning for our Homeschool which starts next month. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Okay, I'm calm now. One fun thing I've been working on is the new knit-along I'm hosting, the 'Do Something New KAL'! I've already had a bunch of really nice people join up from all over the place and I'm really excited! I've been working on my first project, which I'll post about tomorrow.

I've also been meaning to get a picture of the two baby chicks our silky hen hatched last week.

Well, I gotta go get the jars out of the canner, 'cuz my buzzer is going off. Did I mention I would really, really, really, really like to have a maid, a vegetarian chef, and a personal assistant!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dogs on Thursday, GSD girls

This week I wanted to showcase my German Shepherd girls. This picture was taken a few years ago but I just love it. It took it on our front porch shortly after we moved here; the girls had been playing in the yard and were apparently ready to cool off in the house. That is LaRoux on the porch, her sister Schatzie on the left by the lilies, and LaRoux's daughter Molly with her butt pointed at the camera.

By now, you probably know our kennel is named Wonderland Kennels, and that my user name derived from that, but where, you ask, is Alice? Can't have Wonderland without an Alice, you say. You'd have to look at their registered names to find her, but one is "Wonderland's Alice LaRoux". (Sometimes the spelling of her name confuses people and they try to pronounce it with the 'x' sound, but it is simply "la roo", like in kangaroo.)

My husband and I used to take Schatzie and LaRoux to Obedience classes in Evansville shortly after we got them, Barry partnered with Schatzie and me with LaRoux. They are both quick learners! This is what happened that always miffed Barry. Every time we would work on the recall command in class - where the dog would be on one side of the room and the owner would call it from the other side and the dog is supposed to run to the person calling her- Schatzie would look happy and trot halfway to Barry when he'd call her . . . then pause and come running over to me! Every time, even if I had my back turned and tried to hide! Of course I ate it up and everybody else thought it was funny! What really got him was that any time I'd call her, she'd come straight to me, even if he was trying to lure her the other way! The fact that she minds me so well is great, since one time we were in the park and walking those two; Barry and Schatzie were way ahead of LaRoux and I on the trail because we had stopped to talk to someone. Schatzie's new training collar slipped off!! Barry freaked and was chasing her, which she thought was a game so she was running around having a ball. As soon as they came into view, I called her and she came straight to me, thank goodness.

Our Molly was born right here in Wonderland and we are so proud of her. She was the easiest dog we have ever leash trained, as she never pulls. She likes being shown and loves obedience training.