Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Party

My company's Christmas party was an awesome night. It was held on the first floor of the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh. It was decorated in red and gold and shimmered in candlelight. A beautiful setting among some of Pittsburgh's best memorabilia. The food was spectacular and in the middle of the buffet table was a beautiful decorated 5 foot Christmas tree.

Just like last year we had lobster tails and steak. This is where the above picture comes in. Last year Jim (above) ate quit a few tails. On Monday he was presented with a $75 invoice for eating more than one lobster tail. It was a joke a co-worker plotted and he fell for it all! So this year we had to poke fun at Jim. Donna, Shelly and me plotted a nice surprise for Jim at the party. He was presented with a few lobster mementos by our President. We all had a ton of fun and Jim was a great sport.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Two Year Sweater

This sweater should have never taken me two years to make, but I kept ripping it out and starting over. Not only did I keep ripping it out I then would put it away to work on other projects. So it was my then called my go-to project. Finally this year I was committed to finish it. This is only my second adult sweater I made. When I saw the pattern in a book I new the yarn I had at home would be a perfect fit.

The stitches on the body are moss stitch and basket weave with a mistake rib on the sleeves. The yarn was made by Morningstar mini mill in Ohio. It is 70% alpaca and 20% merino/hemp. It is so soft and a beautiful taupe color. I'm not sure I will ever wear it since it will be so warm. I was thinking about entering it in some fiber arts competitions at alpaca shows.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Met one of my favorite bloggers

I spent my Saturday in Wooster Ohio at a seminar called Paca to Product. The keynote speaker was Susan Gibbs who happens to be one of my favorite bloggers and Twitterers. I have been following her for probably a year. I enjoy reading about her daily antics on the farm and about the quirkiness and personalities of all the animals that happen to find their way onto the farm.

Susan had the courage to leave her high paying job at CBS in New York to become a shepherdess to her flock of sheep. You can read her story on her website What really is special is that she can make a living doing it. I was so excited to meet Susan and to get a picture with her. The time flew by quickly listening to her stories.

These two little acorns were hand felted and offered for sale at the seminar. They were for a fund raiser for the local arboretum that lost a lot of trees during bad weather this summer. The top of the acorn is the cap of a burl oak acorn and the heart shape is a pin. Might have to try making these little guys with the tops of my acorns. You can't believe how many fall in my yard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My New Hat Project

This is my new hat pattern for Highland Alpaca. It is 100% hand dyed alpaca from their line of yarn. I am thinking of naming it Phoebe's pill box hat.

Blue Ribbon Winner

This is Lady Guenevere my blue ribbon winner. I can't find a recent pic of her, so I guess I am a bad Mom. :-( This weekend Lady G. is on her way to another show in Maryland. I am hoping she is the first Alpaca that I sell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Projects

These are my two new projects I just finished. If I must say so I think they are beautiful. They are both made for Highland Alpaca and the patterns are free with the purchase of their yarn.

The knitted shawl is called Willow's Shawl and is made from their bulky dyed yarn. Take a look at the edging. That is crab stitch, which is a crochet stitch, that is done from the left to right side. It creates a twist that reminds you of a rope.

This crocheted scarf I made for myself a couple years ago and I love wearing it. The stitch looks like ladder rungs and tied to those rungs are pieces of specialty yarn. In my mind it creates this funky hip look. I always get a lot of compliments when I wear it. Since the scarf is made with 100% alpaca you can also felt is to add a different look.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yarn Ball is Almost Here

This is Amelia, Rebecca's baby. They both are part of my knitting and crochet group. I made the Santa hat for the yarn ball. In fact there will be 4 available for a donation towards either Rwanda Knits or our local VA hospital.

The Yarn Ball will be on Saturday October 9th. Jump over to our website for more details.

Introducing Toby!

Another boy for me, that's a total of 5 boys. UGH! I keep thinking pink, but I keep getting blue. He is a real cutie and is only a week old in these pics. He is running around with all his friends and enjoying life. He has a lot of friends to play with there were 9 born within a two week period. I have one more due at the end of this month. Keep thinking pink for me!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Introducing my new baby girl Willow. She is jet black and so friendly. I finally had another girl! I am giddy. In this business you want to have girls. They are the producers for the future. In these pictures she is about a week old. She weighted 16.4 lbs at birth. She is loving life on the farm and has found her best friends to play with and run through the pastures. What a joy to see their love of life.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July

This is one of my favorite holidays. Not only do we get to celebrate our country and our freedom. It is filled with sparkly fireworks and the flag flying on our houses. There seems to be an extra skip in my step on this holiday. This is truly summer for me. I am going to celebrate with Jim's (my hubby) family. We are going to have a cook-out. Happy 4th everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

North Park Lake

I have lived in Pittsburgh since I was 5 years old. My Dad worked for Heinz and was transferred here from Chicago. Soon after moving here my Dad found North Park. He loved the park! He was a big hiker and loved climbing the hills throughout the woods. I have a lot of memories of my Dad and I walking many miles through those woods. We would find all kind of things, include grave sites. He handed down the love affair to me. Not a week goes by that I am not at the park. Mostly now with my dogs. I have walked many miles throughout those woods with my dogs and we too have found many things along the way, including new grave sites.

The park has a man-made lake that is going through a much needed re-vitalization. The lake really wasn't much of a lake in the last 10 years. It has filled up with silt and you could basically walk across it. It is now being dredged and will be a lake again. They are just in the beginning stages and should finish next year. There is so much dirt to remove! It will be interesting seeing their progress. So below are some pics of the very beginning stages.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today was a perfect day in the Burgh. There were puffy clouds in they sky along with plenty of sunshine. So today was pool day for the girls. The labs love their pool! All they do is dig and splash, but they think it's the best. If you throw a ball in the water they are in heaven.

Elly May getting cooled off. No balls on this trip to the pool.

Phoebe playing with her ball. Black dogs are so hard to get a good picture. I should have used my flash.
Foxie was the life guard today. Not sure if she would have saved either one!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yesterday I joined in a a world wide celebration called World Wide Knit in Public Day. Yes, that's right we came out of the closet for one day! Diane from my group, Three Rivers Crochet, planned the event for Pittsburgh. We met under the tent at Scheneley Park. That was my first time under the tent. What a nice place to meet! We had about 25 people, mostly from our group, but we had some newbies. Including a summer Pitt student who is studying Russian Culture. We have such a diverse group from doctors, students, teachers, fiber artists, retirees, researchers and a bank employee (me!). Plus we all walked away with a door prize. Below are some pics from yesterday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Knit and Crochet Festival

Wow, the festival is over. It's like Thanksgiving dinner so much goes into the planning and poof it's over. I worked at Highland Alpaca's booth this weekend at the festival. We put a lot of planning into the yarn we made, colors, natural and hand dyed. Patterns to offer and what to bring to sell other than yarn plus what specials to have that weekend. I met so many people that passed through our booth. So many creative woman and men who loved to knit and/or crochet. I loved hearing the stories of what they made out of the yarn they bought last year. I'm trying to collect pictures for the next newsletter. Alpaca socks and yarn were the most popular. Once you put on a pair of Alpaca socks you don't want to take them off. In fact between Jim and I we have about 15 pair.

Above is part of the booth. These pictures really got a lot of attention. How can you resist such a fuzzy, fun looking animal.

Robyn Chachula, who is an international crochet designer was kind enough to sign a few of her books for us. The black sweater is from her book and was made by Diane Halpern. In fact if you can see the red sweater on the front cover it is the same sweater.

Above are some of the luscious yarns we had at the booth. These are the natural colors.

These are some of the patterns we offered free with the purchase of yarn. They got a lot of attention and questions.

We got a lot of questions about coming up for a visit. The answer is yes, you can visit the farm and meet the Alpaca. They have over 100 now on the farm. It's an experience you will never forget.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here are some pics of the "snow event" we had in Pittsburgh this weekend. It was really hard dealing with 22+ inches of snow that I didn't expect. The 6 pm news on Friday said we were only going to get 4-8 inches. So I went to be around 9:30 and woke up on Saturday to snowageddon. How do you move a driveway full of snow on a driveway that is around 50 feet long? It took us 6 hours, but somehow we did it. Our snowblower just couldn't move that amount of snow. So it was a combination of shoveling and using the snowblower. Guess what I am going to buy this year? A freaking snowblower that is more powerful.

I just heard this afternoon we are going to have a winter storm warning again Tues into Weds. Are you kidding? I will have 10 feet walls up and down the driveway. It will be Spring before the snow is all gone.
The doggies made a tunnel under some bushes on the side of the house. Pheobe had to bring her ball out to play.
Phoebe was making pathways out back. She was really tired Saturday night from plowing through the snow. I always say a tired puppy is a good puppy.
This is part of my backyard. It is really pretty. I wonder how long it will take to melt and when will that be?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My New Car


Finally, we made our decision and got a new mini-van. After 9 years driving our other van the body gave up. Rust spots kept appearing along the bottom. It was a good van, didn't give us any problems, so I am hoping this van will be the same. It seems Kia has a good reputation and it sure has a lot of safety features. If I ever get in an accident little marshmellows (air bags) appear all over. Not that I ever want to find out. So now begins an long relationship with my new van. Should I name her? Mmmmmm.....
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finishing a Project

It feels so good to finish a project. It is the conclusion of many hours of work and sometimes frustration. I am at the end of my current project which happens to be a baby hat. Last year I made this hat for a girlfriend’s baby and it has become my signature hat.
She fondly named it the dreadlock hat. The name has stuck and that is what I now call it.

I am weaving in the ends of yarn pulling it all into shape. I get to hide all the holes from changing the colors of yarn. After a little blocking this is what it looks like. Not bad!

I would like to make an adult hat for me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Did you know handmade is hip? I guess I’m hip now. I don't think I've ever been hip in my life. Well, there was the orange shag carpet and the bell bottom pants I was quit proud of in the 70's. At 50 I’m hip and cool. After all these years I'm hip since I have the crafty gene. Right now my craft of choice it knitting and crocheting. I’m average, by no means a master at either.

I show my friends what I've made they always respond with "you should make them to sell". At Christmas I showed my Husband’s niece a picture of a baby hat I made and in 1\2 hour she had plans for my hats to be made in china and distribution set up. UGH!

I have never been a repetitive person. I have enough repetition at work. I really don't see the fun in making the same hat 50 times and I can’t create a pattern for people in China to make to save my life. Just not interested!

I enjoy my crafty gene and I do like to see a smile when I give someone a gift. It’s a one of a kind gift.

This is a picture of my latest project.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Steel Phantom

Look at this little pee pot. His name is Steel Phantom. How can you resist this little face. He is trying to eat hay, but isn't really good at it yet. He is my last little baby and is about 5 months old now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pray for Haiti

I am sitting in my comfortable home with all the amenities of life I need. I don’t want for much in life. I have my toys, my dogs, my job and my friends. I try to keep life simple. But tonight I am watching TV about the earthquake in Haiti. I am watching people who had a hard life to begin with and to see their devastation and desperation brings me to my knees. I pray, but I don’t feel that is enough.

I watch the newscasters reporting and I don’t know how they do it. How can you not want to bring the children home? How do you walk away from a thirsty, hungry person and then eat dinner? Do they offer help to some? How do you not need counseling afterwards to deal with what you just experienced? These are my questions, along with so much more.

I am so blessed to live in this country. I am so blessed to be able to have a job. I am so blessed to have healthcare and be healthy. I am so blessed to have the basic needs in life met and not be hungry. I sit on my couch and feel so small in this world with such great needs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Nightly Ritual

Most of us have nightly rituals, mine involve my dogs. Each night we have little things we do and then it's time to snuggle. Foxie LOVES to snuggle. I light the fireplace when I get home and it warms up pretty fast. She loves to lay by the fireplace and get warm. She is around 12 years old, but still acts like a puppy. If I don't sit on the couch right away, she comes over and nudges me. That's her sign to get on the couch and pet me now. Shortly she falls asleep and begins to snore. A dogs life!

Lady G

I haven't showed you a pic of one of my Alpaca in a while. This is my first girl and the princess. She is so freaking cute and so soft. She is at Highland Alpaca and I call their farm the Alpaca Spa. An Alpaca couldn't live a better life on a farm. All of you need to visit an Alpaca farm and spend some time with these gentle creatures. Did you know they hum to communicate with each other. It is such a gentle sound. I am in love with these animals and love spending time with them. Hopefully, some time in my life I will have a small farm of my own.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I am not the type of person who makes New Years resolutions anymore. I never kept them and I just got disappointed. So every year I reminisce about the past year and look forward to the new. I love having, what I call, a re-set button at the beginning of each year. It kinda makes things fresh and clean.

I have a lot of plans this year that mostly revolve around Alpaca. Whether is the animal or the fiber. I am going to enjoy this down time at the beginning of the year, before Spring. Once Spring arrives that brings a whole new beginning with gardening and being able to enjoy the patio again.

I can't believe how much my life has changed since leaving Parker/Hunter. It's now been over 3 years. Although the emotion of loosing all those friends still stings. Things change and life moves on. I wonder where I will be next year and what exciting things I will be reminiscing about?