Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time for another long update!

I figured I'd better try to squeeze in an update before the end of February!

I started a post on President's Day, but didn't get it finished, the the last two weeks have flown by!

DH surprised me on the Saturday before Valentine's Day by bringing me flowers at work - after 21 Valentine's Days together, he's still romantic :) Pink roses are my favorite, and I love the mix of other flowers. And they smell wonderful!





Ellie loved them too! LOL



I made Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner- if I'd have been thinking, I'd have taken a pic. It's SOOOO good!!




This year, I decided to make a goal of not starting anything new until I finished 3 WIPs (or UFO's). My exceptions are exchanges and the ornie RR I'm in, which I'm going to attempt to keep up with.

In January, I finished three project (although to be fair, there wasn't a lot left to do on them, but hey, a finish is a finish!).







My first finish of the year was Christmas Drawers by Shepherd's Bush. (Sorry for the wonky pic!) Another fun stitch!







Then I finished up Thoughtful Heart, also by Shepherd's Bush - I only had one hour's worth of stitching to do on that! I think I put it down to start on the autumn exchange piece and just didn't pick it back up again.














And then I FINALLY finished up my Snapperville by Bent Creek- I think I started this one over two years ago. I still have to attach the snaps, but since they're not stitched on, I'm considering it a finish. :)



So, the new start I got to have was Tournicotton's Mon Bo Sapin, which we did as a SAL in my FIT group. I finished up the stitching on it on Valentine's Day, and I'm considering buttons and beads now. I wanted to find some vintage buttons - I only had three in my stash, and I think they might be too big. I've been to all three of the local antique shops and haven't found anything. And the prices on ebay were higher than I wanted to pay. Yesterday I finally broke down and bought buttons at JoAnn's, so now I just have to play with what I have.





Our FIT group is also doing a monthly ornie RR. My goal is to keep up with these each month (at least the stitching!)

January's ornie was from Nancy. She picked Celtic Christmas by an unknown designer.





Jennifer's choice for February was Holiday Wreath by JBW Designs.




On the knitting front, I'm working my way through the projects in the Fearless Knitting Workbook by Jennifer E. Seiffert. I got the book for Christmas and I'm confident it will really improve my knitting. KellyJune and I have started a group on Ravelry for anyone who's interested in working through this together. We're doing one exercise every two weeks. I've gotten the first two done (they still need to be blocked), and even though I almost skipped these two because I thought I knew enough about them, I'm really glad I didn't. I'm very much looking forward to the Cables and Lace chapters because I haven't tried either of these techniques yet. It's a great book!

And I'm also learning how to SPIN! This is something I've wanted to learn for a long time. The class runs for eight Mondays and I've gone to three sessions so far. In the first class we learned about different wools and how to wash, card and comb them. I went home with 6 different wools, some of which was unwashed. It was a fun process to wash the fleece, and I enjoyed the combing and carding.


I didn't think to take any before pics, but here's a pic of the wool I combed (and yes, Ellie, pretty much tries to get in EVERY picture I take! She also really loves the smell of sheepy goodness!)


During the second class we started to spin on a drop spindle. We were taught to start with the "park and draft" method, which meant we spun the spindle, parked it between our knees and then drafted the wool it to let the twist go up it. I was able to get some pretty consistent and thin results this way, but it's slow. The last class I tried to do suspended spinning and got much bulkier and inconsistent results.

In the picture, the first week's spinning in on the left. Tomorrow night we're going to learn to ply our two different color singles (I need to finish the cream one before class). Then next week, we get to start on a WHEEL!



I also entered the annual Chocolate Festival for the first time this year. It was on February 6th and all the proceeds went to the local Planned Parenthood chapter. I made two healthy options - Dark Chocolate Nut Granola and Whole-Grain Cranberry-Orange Scones with Dark Chocolate . My granola won second place in the potpourri category which moved my auction item into the live auction where it brought $150. I was tickled pink! Next year, I think I'll skip the whole grains and stick with something decadent! LOL



Here are the tasting samples I made.








And here's the auction item. I decided to put both of my entries together in one breakfast basket. Hum, looks good - I think I need to make some again! LOL

I also got to JUDGE - which was too much fun, although I have to admit I had a bit of a belly ache after tasting over 20 chocolate items. I immediately went in search of a salad! :)


And now on to the really momentous news - I turned 40 last Saturday - UGH!

I had a fantastic time on my birthday though, so that helped outweigh the age thing. We started last Friday by taking a vacation day and going to see an afternoon movie (The Wolfman - DH says he owes me another movie - LOL) and then a late lunch at The Elements, which is my favorite "fancy" restaurant in town, then to Boarders for a new spinning book, The Intentional Spinner, which is a beautiful book! On Saturday we went to a few antique shops (looking for buttons) and a yarn shop then back to The Elements for dinner, then to JoAnn's (for more yarn). On Sunday Dad and SM took us both to dinner (DH's birthday is 5 days after mine) and they gave us each some money with a print-out of what to spend it on - LOL - they didn't get things ordered in time. So, I have the wonderful Harmony Options Circular Needle set on its way from Knit Picks! I can't wait.

In my FIT group, Cheryl had me for the birthday exchange this year, so I had a nice big box of goodies to open on my birthday after dinner.



She spoiled me rotten!! Just look at all these goodies.She sent some silky bright red slippers (nice for padding around the kitchen in), a big
bag of dark chocolate from King Arthur Baking company (I'll have to find the perfect recipe for this!), a cute jester bag ( I love the bells) full of goodies - some little candles in seashells, a vintage valentine hankie, some heart measuring spoons, a little notebook with pen (will be handy for my purse), two packs of hot cocoa, some honey sticks and a cute pack of pocket tissues with birthday cakes on them (which didn't make it into the pic). She also sent a chart from my wish list - Three Friends by The Drawn
Thread.

And my favorite thing in the box - a Silktini! ROFLOL There was a beautiful cranberry glass FILLED with Vicki Clayton silk - 20 skeins!! It was SUCH a clever way to package that. When I first saw the stem of the glass I thought it would be filled with candy or something, so I was SO surprised to see all that yummy silk. The colors are beautiful. Cheryl said that she thought the glass would make a lovely pin cushion, so I'll have to think about that - right now it's still holding silks! :)





Jodi sent me goodies too!! She sent two Halloween charts that I wanted (Halloween Hornbook Sampler from Plum Street Samplers and The Curse of the Raven from Carriage House Samplings), some card making supplies (a beautiful pack of paper and cutouts and some letter buttons) and the book I've been dying to read from one of our favorite series.

Pretty good birthday haul, huh?

42 comments:

Katrina said...

Happy belated birthday Rachel!!! Sounds like you had a great birthday weekend. Love all the finishes and pictures too :-).

Casa Pearl said...

Great update Rachel. It's soo cool to see your spinning. I can't wait for the next Mercy book to come out.....

JOLENE said...

Sounds like turning 40's not that bad after all. Look at all those wonderful gifts and that yummy-tini!!! I am so jealous! That is way too fun. I just found your blog through Lorraine's. I am a northern Utah resident also. I am signing up as a follower so I can definitely come back and visit. Smiles!

Debs said...

I want to come and live at your house. So many wonderful things happen, and all those kitties. Glad you had a great birthday and loved your update. Guess its time I do one too.
hugs
debs

Loraine said...

Oh my goodness! I don't know how I missed your post, but I'm so sorry! Happy belated (really belated) birthday! Wonderful gifts from friends. I was thinking it would be fun to do a birthday exchange in our group. We should talk about it!
I love all of your wonderful finishes! So exciting! We don't have show and tell enough!
I see Jolene has visited you. She is the one I've been telling you about. I would love to invite her to come and join us.
Congrats on your snapperville finish. I haven't even started mine, so you are doing great! It looks wonderful.
See you in a few weeks!

Leigh said...

I always love reading your updates!! You get so much done!! Miss you!!

LODY said...

You were busy as a bee Rachel! And am sooooooooo guilty for missing your birthday... please accept my apology. But still belated happy birthday!

I enjoyed reading your update as always. Lots of yummy and lovely goodies. Cheryl and Jodi pampered you really well... and congrats on your fabulous stitching accomplishments.

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