Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One of These Days...

I am actually writing this on Sunday afternoon, watching the snow drift down. Guess going out to scoop poop is cancelled for now.

And I am going through my list of websites to keep track of and look at those who have started seeds inside, preparing for planting outside soon. 


While I will miss Montana and the friends I have here and all the wonderful 'outdoors-ness' of Montana, I can't help but drool over the prospect of Zone 7 gardening again.

From my archives...

An early June harvest. 

Early May progress.

And mid-to-late May progress of tomatoes and herbs.

Early June

And early May for the cucumbers.

If only Montana was Zone 7. 

I'm going to take a nap while it's snowing!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week In Review - February 18 - 24

It's 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and the dogs let me sleep until about 4:30 this morning. I am so happy to have them back I'm really not minding the early up for 'pee and pooh'. And coffee!

But I do resent a bit of them climbing in the bed where it is nice and warm and I sit in a cool living room, with a blanket wrapped around me. Of course, give me a bit over a year and I'll probably be complaining about being too hot.

Couple of fun things this week. Texter and I decided the fold-up chairs just were not going to cut it for desk chairs. Especially since between homework, writing and streaming video, we spend a lot of time in them. So we 'invested' in a couple of nice desk chairs. Big difference. Especially when trying to knit an intricate double-knitting pattern and binge watching "Blindspot".

I also went and got a laptop with my reimbursement money. A laptop and maybe a really nice sewing machine are all I plan on replacing at this point in time. And books...as time goes by. I enjoy having my own laptop (not using one of Texter's spares) and being portable.

And we have achieved 'bird'! I brought over the bird feeder from the Temple of Fire and the bird seed which was under the carport (and therefore, unsmoked) and set it up on our little front porch hanger. The new house is surrounded by shrubs and a huge spruce about 10 feet away. Three chickadees were feeding at it yesterday morning. Sparrows are sure to follow now.

Started on a double-knit (my first) scarf for Texter and I this week. The pattern is based on the D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game and you have to roll the dice to see what pattern you use on each row. Therefore, no two scarves will be the same. With all kinds of creatures on it, the scarf appeals to use big time. Designed by Tania Richter, I now have a TON of new projects I want to knit from her designs.

Hadley is still a WIP. I have to have the body at 17.5 inches before I can split and then move over to the sleeves. And it's taking forever. Of course, if I was knitting on it rather than the Yarn Quest scarf it might make a difference.  And I have yarn for the Ann Budd socks waiting to be started. And Lady K has requested a scarf too. With a cat. In blue. And gray for Sherlock (who is being cared for by friends as we can have dogs, but no cats here). And we won't mention the KAL coming in April!

As you can tell, knitting is on my mind and in my hands. While I do have quilting projects I could be working on, there really isn't much room for the sewing machine to be out and stay out. So I have decided to stick to knitting for the next few months unless I get a whole day where I can bang out something. Of course, if I do succumb and get a new machine (as opposed to my basic Singer which survived), then my plans may change again.

Otherwise, this past week...

  • Mailed out 11 postcards for Postcrossing
  • Organized my filing and filed things sitting around
  • Finished cleaning out bags and tubs moved over and sent 3 carloads of 'over-donated' stuff to Goodwill. We had enough pillows for a small hotel!
  • Got an armchair and ottoman for the living room

In the coming week...

  • Assist in moving washer/dryer to the new house (just found out it's on tap for today!)
  • Finish up handout for Writer's Roundtable Thursday night
  • Lead Writer's Roundtable
  • Get back on 'schedule' with morning pages, planning, and vitamins

But one thing I learned at o'dark-hundred this morning and is appended to my planner for future reference...QuiltCon! And Mid-Atlantic QuiltCon!  Planning on these in 2019!

Now, into clothes, some housekeeping, fetching of washer/dryer and a trip to the grocery store.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mandala Monday

One of the things I will miss about Montana will be the sunrises and sunsets. They don't call Montana "Big Sky Country" for nothing.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week In Review - February 12 - 18


That's how life is these days! But...

We have a house!

Yep, we are in our permanent/temporary home or our temporary/permanent home for the next year while we wind up things with the Temple of Fire and Texter finishes school (with two certifications!) and we head back Southeast.

So it's been a round of packing up stuff from the temp lodgings and moving it over.

And real beds! Even if they are on the floor (and my box springs are in the storage shed behind the Temple of Fire!)

INTERNET! Real internet, not pirated from someone's unprotected/unpassworded account and interrupted every time a train goes through town.

So next on the list is a couch. A real couch! We found one that is soooooo comfy. And will hopefully find a home with us next week. Question is I probably just need to go ahead and rent a truck for the day and get the box springs, the couch and the washer/dryer to the house. But a couch to sit and knit on.

Knitting is a must these days. One, it doesn't take up much room (if you count only the project you are working on and not the stash). Two, it's easy to put up when you are not working on it as opposed to sewing on a quilt. And three, I discovered a great designer of patterns which are to die for!

Epic Knits designs items which appeal to the geek in me (ok, the whole family). I have even become a Patreon sponsor for her. But her latest is a DND (Dungeons and Dragons) scarf where you basically create your own design based on the roll of a dice.  I need to have Texter sit down with me and help me figure stuff out and then pick my two colors and start knitting. Not only will it be a fun project, but a chance to try out double-knitting (so you see a reverse design on the other side). And it will be great to binge watch on my comfy couch and knit away!

Also with the new house comes the ability to get up at 4:30 a.m. and have some quiet time. And coffee.

But the REALLY BIG THING this week?


Well, actually they are both far from puppies, but we have Amani and Noel back in our possession. Sherlock, unfortunately, isn't welcome by the landlord, so is still being cared for by a friend.  But the puppies are back. Not only are we glad to have the 'mutts' around with their big, whacking tails, but they are so happy to be able to sprawl on beds again.

Otherwise this week...

  • Finished the increases on my Hadley Sweater 
  • Wrote two posts
  • Finished 3 books
  • Walked 101% of my goal! 70,536 steps! Huzzah for moving!
  • Created scene cards for Bite Me
  • Everything out of the temp house except for a big pile of 'to donate' and some trash bags
  • Everything up in the new house except for Kayden and my shared room

This coming week...

  • Make it to the divide and starting knitting sleeves on my Hadley Sweater
  • Hopefully, knitting on my new couch
  • Enjoy a day off because of President's Day 
  • Trip to Missoula (hopefully) to get computers cleaned
  • Finish 'organizing' the bedroom
  • Work on Chapter 1 of Bite Me
  • Start recording information for the Justiss line of my family (unknown to me until I was a teen)
  • Staff meeting at work
  • Complete handout for the Writer's Roundtable in two weeks
  • Catch up on letter writing

Well, now onto more coffee and emptying out some bins.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mandala Monday - February 13, 2017

This has been the first time in a while I have been pleased with my creation. Building off my picture I  worked on this weekend, I love the colors in this mandala. My "Earth".

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week In Review - February 5 - 11

As I sat here this morning and watched another beautiful Montana sunrise slowly unfold over the mountains in the distance, I was disgruntled with myself for feeling....well, a bit unsettled. Or rootless. Or not 'centered'.

I hate the feeling, especially when it lingers and lingers. And then I have to go back and tell myself I am entitled to feel this way...

As long as I don't wallow in it and expect everyone to 'poor, pity me'.


Second cup of coffee started, the sun has painted the sky with a wash of purple and orange. The Sleeping Giant is still slumbering with a blanket of white around his knees. There is a naked three year old in my bed watching 'booka' and eating a ham sandwich for breakfast. (don't ask) 

And as I look back over my week, I realize, once again, just how blessed I truly am.

So pulling up my big-girl panties (literally and figuratively), I will recount my week.

Photography by Maureen Shaughnessy
Artwork by ME!

I was able to be creative yesterday at the WONDERFUL 1 + 1 = 1 Gallery. Owner, Maureen Shaughnessy, along with her super talented husband, Tim, run a fantastic place to just 'chill'. Not only that, but Maureen is constantly encouraging art from everyone. So while Lady K was up the street at a birthday party, I hung out and created. What fun to go home with paint on my hands, because as everyone knows, you haven't really painted until you have it on your fingers.

The only problem with this bout of creativity is I want to go out and get my own paints and gesso and 'stuff'. And I can't. Or rather shouldn't. Thinking minimal! Thinking big move in 15 months!

And speaking of Lady K, a bit of an upset this week for her at daycare with a little boy in her class who has some 'issues'. Final results, Lady K was 'promoted' early into the Moose room. She has been wanting to go to the Moose room for ages and some of the kids she knew from the Bear room (where she was) had moved up when they were 4 and she knows one of the teachers really well. So, we went from Bear to Moose and hopefully an end to her issues with this child.

Otherwise this week...

  • The windshield on my new/old car was replaced
  • Walk through a potential rental and filled out and turned in application
  • On track with my ICWM letter writing (cheated a bit as I had a ton of thank you notes to get out)
  • 72% of steps walked (still over 50%, so while not jumping up and down, am ok with it)
  • Finished 1 book and received 3 books to review
  • Wrote 3 posts
  • Compiled a ton of notes for my Writer's Roundtable in March on creating characters

This week...

  • Appointment this morning for ALL of us to go see the potential rental (fingers crossed)
  • If all goes well, move into new house, getting internet set up and dogs out of kennel and hopefully, a more 'settled' feeling
  • Work on Bite Me, getting 2500 words solidified
  • Work on handout for the Writer's Roundtable
  • Valentine's Day Party at daycare on Tuesday
  • Write more letters!
  • Knock out more on the Hadley sweater (hopefully get to the parting of the sleeves!)
  • Finish up a couple of books


Need to concentrate on taking my vitamins (more for mental than physical) and to think of the 'what I do have' rather than 'what I can't do/can't have'. In other words...

Pull out the big girl panties (of which I have a lot of) and put them on. There is nothing worse than too small of a pair of panties and having them slip down all the time!

Friday, February 10, 2017

100 Day Challenge Check-In

We have discovered an interesting phenomenon...

The inside of the house, since there is no longer any heat or electricity, is about 10 degrees (or more) colder than outside! Which makes going into the house to 'rescue' things a quick in and out dash. Especially since the temperatures have been below zero for the past couple of weeks.


So I have managed to come home with about 90% of what is salvageable upstairs. There is a bit in the basement (like a huge roll of batting) which I know is just fine, having missed the smoke and the water.  

As you can see, things exposed to the smoke were a trifle 'black'. 

Luckily, most of the items were in bins or bags. So the next time your family complains about the expense of putting your fabric and yarn in bins, this is why!

So my three goals:

  1. Get back into the house and pull out what fabrics and fibers I can.
  2. Check them and see what can be salvaged and throw away what can't be (too smokey).
  3. Reevaluate my 'stash' of fibers and fabrics to see exactly where I stand.

I am happy to say that the majority of my fabrics and projects made it through ok. There are a couple of backing pieces which could use a wash, but other than that we are good to go. Even some of my rulers made it just fine. Threads...not so much. Now I just need a place to sew!

The fox faces are the start of the Elizabeth Hartman saga I am on. Fox quilt for Texter, Cats for Savvy and then, the complete Forest Fancy for all of us! My Judy Neimeyer's all all safe in the basement in their bins.

I also found Lady K's Owl Quilt fabrics and pattern all in their little bin, nice and tidy and ready to work on. My Joy Quilt was the same way.

Yarns are another matter. My Knit and Swirl Sweater is probably going to be ok. I have the extra yarn in the freezer (suggested by the knitting shop). My problem is I have lost the copy of the pattern so I am not sure exactly where I am. I have the book and the book is fine.  I'm about halfway through. I may just throw in the towel and unravel and start again.

My other 'good' yarns are also in the freezer. Along with the ice cream. One must have priorities.

However, my Lion Brand yarns and most importantly, the Dr. Who scarf I probably won't try to save.

So actually, what I thought was going to be a more daunting task, turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. My next task is going in after my books!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Mandala Monday

As I mentioned yesterday, we are moving back to North Carolina in a year. It was an easy decision to come to when I woke up the next day and it was snowing and below zero. And we still had to go to work and school. Unlike in the South, when the entire state would close down so the one man with a snow shovel could take care of it.

Winter is nature's way of saying 
'up yours'.

- Robert Bryne


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Week in Review - January 29 - February 4

Whew! What a week it has been!

Last Sunday was fairly mild (relative term for Montana in the winter) and Lady K and I walked down to the fairgrounds and fed the ducks and geese. Pleasant afternoon while Texter was on a conference call about the upcoming Nagucon planning.

I had also started my Hadley sweater a tad early, but knew, if we found another place this month, I wouldn't get all my days in February in to knit.

After an afternoon/evening of watching the last 3 episodes of "The Last Kingdom", it has doubled in size and I'm almost ready to start on the sleeves. A lot of that depends on whether I decide to get out of my pajamas today and go to a friend's house to watch the Super Bowl or not. Feeling really lazy right now.

Couple of "Biggies" this week - 

  • Replaced my old car with a new/old or old/new car. My trusty Subaru station wagon was almost at 200,000 miles and, well, as it happens to the best of us, was starting to acquire more issues than I was willing to pay for. So picked out and picked up at 2004 Nissan Quest. Yep, I'm in a minivan which will come in handy in 2018 for...

Yes, we are moving. It will be five years we have been in Montana when we move, but heading back south. For many, many reasons, the pros far outweighed the cons. Mainly, the cost of rebuilding the house will be far more expensive than what the kids want to assume. So they are planning on selling the lot and letting someone else build what they want or do a smaller rebuild and sell it. Texter will be through with her degree in May, 2018. So the coming 15 months will give us a chance to wind things up here and head back to North Carolina. Not Raleigh, but Charlotte.

So the next year will find me really getting in all the sights of Montana and the Pacific Northwest I want to get in before we head south-east.

Which means - the girls will be getting their drivers licenses! Well, Savvy is a real 'maybe' because of her anxiety about driving, but Texter is gun-ho at this point in time. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of learning to drive. Of course, we have to wait until some of the snow melts!


  • Finished 2 books
  • Watched the movie, "Hidden Figures" - Fantastic movie! A must watch.
  • Went through my fabric and yarn I pulled from the house and made some lists
  • Lead a writer's roundtable at the library 
  • Made up my writer's notebook for my WIP
  • Walked 82% of my steps
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Ordered Miscon tickets (for our last Miscon...sigh)
  • Attend First Friday downtown (which I will miss) and received a wonderful gift
  • Finished up my thank you notes (head hanging in shame over my tardiness)
So for the coming week, I hope to:

  • Write up a 'new' WIP list for my yarn and fabric 

  • Update my book list on Goodreads with the books as I pull them from the house (those that can be saved) and as I buy replacements.

This is going to be the hard part. We are going super minimal the next year so we don't have a lot to move. A bit of Goodwill replacement furniture and then redonate or sell when we move. Which means I need to NOT buy a lot of books (I'm not going to say no books) or fabric or yarn. The plan is Texter will be getting a minivan/SUV in the coming months and we will get a couple of UHauls to load our stuff in for the move back and we won't have to come back and drive a truck back.

  • Get my journal and spirit journal up-to-date. Have stuff printed out I want to go in both of them, just need to do it.
  • Work on getting the first couple of chapters of Bite Me spruced up for submission in March to Miscon.
  • Start work on the next writer's roundtable - creating characters
  • Monthly goals update post

So for now, more coffee and work on folding clothes before I start knitting again!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Hadley Sweater and Cheating

Ok, so I 'cheated' a bit and started a tad early!

But with my life lately, start early or it might not get started at all.

I love Mason-Dixon Knitting and have for years. Somewhere in a storage unit in North Carolina is a copy of their first book from which I did make several of the patterns. Besides, being a good Southern gal, how could I not love something called "Mason-Dixon" especially when it involves fibers!

But starting on the first of February, they are running "Bang out a Hadley Sweater". A simple, knit-from-the-bottom-up fair isle sweater. And as I had some yarn I just purchased for another project I wasn't feeling the love for, I decided why not.

I am not using a great yarn, just something which is 'OK' - Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal. The four colors I'll need for the Fair Isle portion will also be some Lion Brand yarn. Not the greatest in the world, but it will work.

Luckily, I did start early as I haven't had a chance to touch it since the month started. But this weekend should see a huge leap in progress as I have a couple of movie watching sessions scheduled. And it's fairly mindless knitting for the most part (so far).

I actually need to get the needles and other yarns all together in one bag. Nothing like having things in 10 different places.

So on with Hadley! Let's see if I have a finished sweater on the 28th of February