Thursday, August 30, 2007

News Of Nikko...

Well, the big news around our house this week is the diagnosis of our dog Nikko with Cognitive Dysfunction, which is essentially the animal form of Alzheimers. She has been progressing very rapidly, which has been very hard to watch.
She still seems to know us, but does not understand commands; occasionally forgets she is housebroken; does a lot of circling and often just has a disoriented look about her. But other than that, she is in great health and still has what I feel is a good quality of life. We are starting her on some new medicine today that may or may not help.. but I feel we owe it to her to give it a try. She has been a faithful friend for well over 12 years. Has anyone else experienced this with a dog? Like I said, it's very sad.

I have found I may need to increase my knitting time in order to help Nikko. She seems to be happiest when we are with her. Her panting is less; she circles less and seems pretty content. So sitting and knitting with her at my feet is just what the Vet ordered!!

I did finish the little teddy sweater. Found a bear around the house willing to model (and keep the sweater if I want). I have the school color yarns purchased and ready to go. I think I will start with Ryan's school colors as they are Purple and Gold, which of course are also the Vikings colors.. so I'll basically get a 2 for 1!!

With the weather turning cooler, I also am ready to start knitting and felting some more bags. Yes, I should be able to help Nikko quite a bit in the next few weeks!

We went to visit Kirstin at school yesterday and had a great time with her! Steve was able to make their dorm room wireless; get the printer hooked up and several other 'dad' jobs. We then went out to dinner and found a fun yarn shop that was new to both of us, but that Knitting Hawkeye told us about. Crazy Girl Yarn Shop. Perfect! It was closed when we got there, but we'll be back!! Kirstin was excited because it is a drop off spot for the Preemie Project.

We weren't able to eat here yet because it is not quite open.. but it is coming. That's right. One of my top 3 very favorite restaurants will be opening it's very first Iowa location and Kirstin is right by it. Yep. I'll be visiting often. (I mean, to see Kirstin of course, but if we happen to eat here as well, so be it!!)

I made an extremely fun Ebay purchase this past week. Ever since we had this cupboard built in to our kitchen, I knew this canister set was meant to be there. I have wanted it for 8 or 9 years now, but never was able to win an auction on Ebay in my price range. It FINALLY happened. And it is just as I imagined. They fit perfectly. They now house my flour; sugar; brown sugar and powdered sugar. Best of all, my poor sister in law no longer has to check my suitcases when I leave her house to make sure I haven't 'accidently' packed them!! We'll actually be staying with them tomorrow night, so I'm sure this well be good news!

Tomorrow begins a 4 day weekend for Steve. Yippee!! We'll head to the Twin Cities in the morning and spend the day with my folks and then go with them (along with my younger brothers' family) to Triple Espresso. Ok, if you have never seen Triple Espresso, you need to do so!! It is by far the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life, bar none. Saturday we will head back home, pick up the dogs and head to Galena for the rest of the weekend. I see lots of knitting time ahead....

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monkey Sock Swap THREE Questionnaire

Here are the answers to my Monkey Sock Swap THREE Questionnaire. If you are interested in taking part in this swap, they are doing sign ups through August 31st. Just go to this link for more information and to sign up!

This will be an adventure for me! I'm looking forward to it.

The basics:
Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep? I would consider myself a beginning sock knitter….

The measurements:
Shoe Size: 8
Foot circumference: 8 ¼ “
Foot length: 9 1/2 “

Yarn Preferences:
What colors do you love? Blues; browns; purples; pinks

Do you prefer solids or variegated? Variegated

Do you prefer wool, cotton or acrylic yarn? Cotton or a cotton blend; Wool or wool blends

What colors would you never wear? Bright Lime green;

What are your favorite brands of yarn? Fiesta; All Things Heather; Yarn Pirate; Cider Moon; and just about anything Sheri carries at The Loopy Ewe!

Are there any new brands you would like to try? Baby Boomerang; Interlacements; The Plucky Knitter; Woolly Boully

Cookie A. Patterns:
Which of her patterns have you already knit? I haven’t knit any of her patterns, but have admired many

Which pattern(s) would you like to knit and don’t already own? I don't own any, yet! I like all of them. The Flicker Sock Pattern looks most appealing to me.

Other pertinent information:

Would you be willing to have an international Monkey Pal or do you prefer one in the US?
Of course! International is great!

Do you have any allergies? None that I know of!

Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals? It would be exposed to animals… 2 lovely Labs! But neither of them smoke! (And neither do we!)

Are you on Ravelry yet? If you don’t mind having new friends, what is your Ravelry name? Yes! My Ravelry name is Jarlady

Monday, August 27, 2007

How Do You Cope?

Well, I made it through the weekend! I did, however, have to resort to several of my coping skills. Thought I would share a few of them that came in handy the past few days.

1. An Organizing Project. Yep. When I have a lot to think about and need to keep myself busy, I take on a project. Often times I get it started and then want to quit.. but that is another story. This weekend I went through and photographed and organized my yarn stash into these neat bins I found at Walmart. I still have to make the labels for the fronts, but it's nice to have it all easily accessible. (Fortunately, I have enough of these types of projects to keep me busy the WHOLE year if need be!)

2. Chocolate. It really helps! It was Friday night when Steve realized that we had no chocolate in the house and it was obvious that I needed some. (He knows the symptoms!) He made a late night run to Walmart to snag these. (Yes, the packages are's Monday after all!)

3. Comfort Food. I did quite a bit of cooking of my favorite foods this weekend. Foods that comfort the soul. For me it's Curry over rice; cornbread rolls, cheesecake, more cornbread rolls.

4. Shopping. I purchased two new skeins of Fiesta Boomerang. I think I may FROG my first Chevron scarf and start again with this. Yes, the acquisition of knitting items is as much a therapy for me as the actual knitting!

5. Knitting. Knitting helps, but I needed a project that it didn't matter if I was a bit distracted on, so I decided to start another little teddy sweater out of some leftover sock yarn. It's almost done and I am realizing I don't have a teddy bear that fits it. Oh darn. Must go shopping. (Do you think people will look at me funny if I'm trying the sweater on the bear in the store??)

6. Drinking. My drinks of choice being Diet Pepsi and a Grande Iced Sugar-Free Vanilla Non-Fat Light Whip Latte. (The one you see pictured here is a Venti. What can I say. I was trying to cope!)

7. Scripture.
My number one coping skill for all of life, however, is found in the Word. This weekend I had this verse hanging on the fridge where I could see it often.
Acts 20:32
"Now I'm turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what he wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends." The Message

So, there you have it. How I made it through the weekend. Now I'll just grab a handful of kissables and a diet pepsi and make it through today. One day at a time. I can do that!! Leave me a message and let me know how YOU cope! I'd love to know! :-)

Until Next Time.....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Time's They Are A Changing....

Well, it has happened. I knew someday it would. Even on the day over 22 years ago when I became a mom for the first time, I knew that someday I would have to let them go. I told myself I needed to hold them close.. but not too tight, or the letting go would be too hard. Well, I think I may have been holding on a little too tight!! I need a few days (or weeks) to process these changing times. I really am excited for all of the kids. This is what you raise them to do. To go out on their own. Yes, to leave you. And, yes, I've known it from the beginning. Still doesn't make it any easier. Just saying.

Even Sumo is sad. Since his earliest memory 11 years ago he's been watching over the kids. Greeting them enthusiastically every day when they got home, whether from school or work or a friend's house (or even just walking down the driveway to get the mail!!). He's played fetch with them. He's been available 24/7 for loving on.

HE didn't know that the kids would someday leave. Leave and not take him. Yes, he's very sad.

I do try and cheer him up by reminding him he still has the excitement of watching me knit to look forward to everyday. It doesn't seem to help.

I know somehow we will get through this. Parents and dogs have been letting kids go for centuries. Right?

In knitting news, I did get the sweater set finished for the Cubs For Kids Charity project.
Being an avid Vikings fan, Sumo was very willing to put on his game hat and model with Bear. This was such a fun, easy set to make. I really need a set in each of the kids' school colors. And of course a bear to go with each. That might be a fun project....

I know you all worried about Bear heading off to college cold after I sent the sweater set away. But not to worry. Kirstin quickly found a skein of yarn and whipped him up a sweater set of his own. She even made ear holes in his hat for him!! Lucky Bear!

(OK, can you tell Sumo is a little needy right now....needing a little extra attention? Having to be in ALL the photos? Good thing he's so cute!!)

And here you see Bear and Flip Flop (Kirstin's dog) settled into dorm life on the top of her loft. Sumo and I are both counting on them to watch over her. I'll let you know how they do!!

Until Next Time....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sweater For Bear...

Yes, I have cast on yet another new project! (Leaving many unfinished projects in its' wake!) But this one is for such a good cause and has a deadline of August 31, so it became a priority. As part of the Football - A - Long KAL that I am a member of, they issued a Pre-Season Charity Challenge. It was to make a sweater for a stuffed bear as part of the Cubs For Kids project in your favorite football teams colors. I was a little nervous as I've never made a sweater, but I printed off the pattern; rummaged through my stash for some Purple and Yellow Sugar & Cream yarn and cast on. And it is so cute!! (This is Kirstin's bear modeling. He now wants one of his own and has the yarn picked out and everything!!) If you click on the picture to enlarge, you will notice the adorable Loopy, Brother Black Bart and Sister Louise stitch markers I'm using. They make me smile! I'll also make a hat and scarf to complete this set. This will be hard to part with, I know that already!

I have made a little more progress on my Vikings sock. Only a few more inches and I'll be able to cast off and begin sock #2. I really want to be wearing these come regular season football!!

We have been a little busy with packing up Kirstin's things as she gets ready to leave for college. Here is just one of several piles. I must confess that I'm still in a state of denial that she is really leaving. (But tripping over the piles does tend to remind me!)

Aaron is settled in to his apartment and Ryan has moved back home. Both Aaron and Ryan started classes yesterday. Hard to believe summer is over! We drove down Sunday to see Aaron and spent the day at the Iowa State Fair. Did you know that the Iowa State Fair is listed on the top 100 things you should do before you die?? Not quite sure why.... In my state of mental confusion, I forgot to take my camera! But we had a great time. Got to see a mullet contest; the world's largest boar; 2 movie stars (Maura Tierney from ER and Ron Livingston from Office Space and Band of Brothers.) And of course fill up on junk food. (Still paying for that!!)

Well, short post today. Too much to do, too little time.

Until Next Time....

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Get her invite to Ravelry? Yes, I did!! After an over 2 month wait, I received the invitation to join Ravelry, which is an online community of knitters and crocheters. It is a way to see what everyone else is knitting, stashing (mostly stashing it seems!!) and to share patterns, tips and ideas. And so much more. I can tell already that I will have to be careful to not spend every waking minute on it.... (If you are on Ravelry, look me up. My username is Jarlady!!)

Cast on another M&M Cloth? No, I didn't. I resisted. (Only because I became obsessed with...)

Cast on a Chevron Scarf? Well, yes I did. After playing with several different yarn combinations, I settled on a combination of Socks That Rock in the Minestone colorway and Fiesta Boomerang in the Mochachino colorway. It is an interesting pattern. I think it will take a while to finish, but will be a fun project to have to pick up for a change of pace.

Get to watch the Vikings win 37-20 over the New York Jets last night?
Yes, again! And, I worked on my ATH Punzel socks during the game and then slipped the project into my new Vikings Sock bag that came in the mail Friday.

Spend most of the night trying to calm an anxious dog?
Bingo! We had storms go through most of the night and this causes extreme anxiety in Nikko. (Which also leads to anxiety induced diarrhea if you must know!! And yes, the carpet cleaners are now on speed dial!)

Anyways, after the last round of storms I took her to the vet who prescribed some anti-anxiety medicine. The pharmacist who filled the order said it was the first time she'd written 'as needed for storms'. I wish I could say that it helped. But all it did was make her a little unsteady on her feet. Bummer.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I have to tell you that reading blogs can be hazardous to your checkbook and is often responsible for completely blowing a perfectly good budget!! What do I mean?? Well, how many times have I been reading someone's blog and think "Oh, I really need that yarn!" or "Oh, I can't live without that bag!" even "I HAVE to knit that next...." Sigh. It has happened multiple times this week alone. The first episode happened while reading Sheri's blog and seeing her beautiful Chevron Scarf found in this book. Of course I had to buy the book and probably will have to buy more yarn to make the scarf. (Unless I can find two skeins that will work in my stash.....)

Then I received an email from Swissknits saying she thought of me when she saw this bag on Etsy. So I had to have it. And it will be here in time for the Vikings game Friday night. And since I'll be working on my Vikings colored socks, it will be perfect!!

The socks are coming along nicely. They aren't exclusively Vikings colors.. but close enough!!
(Knit with All Things Heather Punzel colorway using the Waffle Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks book)

The going has been a bit slow due to the fact that I am addicted to M&M's. Dishcloths that is. (Well, real M&M's as well if you must know!!)

Two more dishcloths have been knit since my last post. I think I need a blue one, and then maybe I'll take a break. They really do make me smile.

Not sure if I ever posted a picture of my completed Peppermint Mocha sock, but here it is in it's completed goodness. (I used the Twin Rib pattern from the Sensational Knitted Sock book) It feels so wonderful on my foot. Must knit #2. (Get thee behind me Chevron Scarf!!)

On the home front, Ryan is back to his happy bubbly self with the return from Africa of his beautiful fiancee. 3 days after her return she begun her student teaching, so we haven't been able to see her much! Hopefully soon. Ryan, however, has been able to spend this week at her folk's with her so they've had the evenings to register; make wedding plans and just enjoy being together.

(She brought back wonderful gifts for us which you can see in this picture, and which I will write more about in a future post!)

We spent the last couple of days in Minneapolis at the 25th Anniversary celebration of our dear friends. This is a picture taken at it of 2 of my dearest girlfriends in the world. (The one in the middle was the one celebrating her 25th. We have been friends since I was 4 years old!!) The 6 of us and our families are referred to as the 'Triple R Gang' because all of our last names begin with R. We have shared life together and I love them deeply. To be have such good friends is one of life's richest blessings!!

Until Next Time...

P.S. Sumo would like you to know that he has made a special guest appearance on another blog!! He was very honored. You can check it out here!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


At 8:00 this morning I did the 'drawings' for the winner of the 'SK' prize and the 'NSK' prize. (In celebration of my one-year Blogiversary!) It was done quite scientifically although I won't go into the details. I LOVED having all of the comments and visiting many new blogs. I still haven't gotten to all of them, but am trying.

So, the SK winner of the Skinny Duets yarn in the Tide Pool colorway is VEE. Now for all of you who didn't win the skein here, hurry over to Sheri's website because she just put some up during her latest Sneak Up!!

The NSK winner of a bag of M&M's from the Heartland (candy coated soy beans...yum!) and a M&M dishloth in her choice of colors is non other than my very own mom!! (Which is only fitting as she is my #1 blog reader bar none!)

I finished my second dishcloth and just am in love with this pattern. And did you know that I will also be microwaving these M&M's?? You can read about it here, but if you microwave your damp dishcloths for about 30 seconds it sterilizes them and gets rid of the yucky smells.

I went out and snatched up some more yarn to make a whole drawerful. Won't these be fun??

As I mentioned at the end of my post last time we have had some fun with grapes. I found the HUGEST black grapes at the grocery store the other day. Now I love to stick them in my checks and make funny faces. Here I am showing off the socks that Kirstin started during our trip to St. Louis. (You cannot visit the Loopy room and NOT want to knit socks!!)

Kirstin tries to have some of the same 'quirks' that I do.. but isn't always successful! Those grapes just kept popping out!!

Well, some success... but she should probably stick to her own quirks!!

We are off to MPLS today to bring my niece home and to go to the 25th Anniversary celebration of one of my best friends. (I was Maid of Honor.) Hard to believe it's been 25 years. Should be lots of knitting time in the car. Now, should I knit my socks or another dishcloth or 2?? Decisions, decisions....

Until Next Time....

Sunday, August 12, 2007


M&M's of the non-chocolate variety!

As you know, I LOVE my M&M's. Love 'em! So when I went over to Karen's blog and saw this dishcloth on her post WITH a link to the pattern, I knew I had to do it. Right away. I pulled down my stash of Sugar & Cream cotton and found this bright green and cast on! It knit up quickly and I already have another one on the needles. I really think I need a drawer full of these in all sorts of bright colors!

My second Cider Moon sock took a trip to the Frog Pond this weekend, which was quite a sad moment. (For you non-knitters, to Frog something means to Rip-it, Rip-it, Rip-it!) Somehow when I moved the sock from dpn's to the 2-circular needles I went down a needle size or two. Needless to say, as much as I tried to convince myself that it would be ok, I knew what I had to do. Now the yarn has to get back in queue for it's turn on the needles!

In the meantime, I cast on some All Things Heather that came home with me from St. Louis. I was drawn to this skein because it reminded me of the Minnesota Vikings, which is my team. I LOVE football, so I am pretty sure I need some purple/gold socks for the upcoming season.

I was also pretty excited to read about a KAL just for us knitters who also love football!! Check it out here.

My niece from Minnesota came to visit for a few days, and walked in wearing this shirt!

Yep. About sums it up!

We've been enjoying some yummy Strawberry Smoothies lately, and I thought I would share the recipe.

Strawberry Smoothie

1/2 cup Country Time Lemonade mix
3/4 cup water
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 cups ice

Put all in blender and mix until nice and smooth. We use fresh strawberries, but you can use frozen strawberries. Decrease the amount of ice you use, unless you thaw the strawberries first. (We freeze strawberries now so we can enjoy these in the middle of winter. Always nice to have a taste of summer when it is below zero outside!!)

Tomorrow I help take Aaron back to school. Seems like I was just picking him up! Where does the summer go??

Next week I'll be taking Kirstin. Everybody is leaving me!!

Good thing Sumo has promised never to leave me!!

Good dog, Sumo. Good dog!

Until Next Time..

when I will share photos entitled 'Fun With Grapes'. You won't want to miss them!! (Right, Kirstin?)

Friday, August 10, 2007


WOW! Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog and wished me a Happy Blogiversary. It certainly set a new record for number of comments received!! And it is so fun to read them all! I've also enjoyed visiting many of the blogs of those who left comments. Hope to get to all of them eventually..... There are still a few days to enter my contest for the Skinny Duet yarn! Scroll down to my last post for more details, or you can check it out here.

We are back home after a wonderful time with our friends!! As fun as it was to fondle all that yarn in the Loopy Room, the best part was just being with a dear friend! (And her family...)

Now I am home trying to decide where to stash my new stash. Here is what ended up coming home with me. Ought to keep me busy for a few weeks.....

I decided it was time to group all of my sock yarn together. I put it into a 3-tier shelf unit I have in the family room and it fit perfectly!

THEN I realized I hadn't added my new stash yet. Oops. It's in the basket in the front of the tier until I can perhaps order a bigger size!

We did get some knitting in when I was in St. Louis. Here is the progress I'm making on my Peppermint Mocha sock. I have decided that I am a 2-circular knitter. Once I got the feel of how to hold the yarn and switch needles etc.. I MUCH prefer it over dpn's.

In other news, a friend once told me that a mother is only as happy as her saddest child. I certainly have found this to be true over the years. However, if the saying was a mother is as happy as her happiest child, then today I would be (and am!) ecstatic!! Because today is the day that Ryan's fiance returns from her 7 week missions trip to Africa. In fact, he is on his way with her family right now to pick her up at the airport. I cannot wait to see her and to hear all about her trip!! And it will be SO GOOD to see the two of them together again. Ryan just looked like 1/2 of himself while she was gone!!

Lots to do today around the house. I hope to start photographing my stash and projects in anticipation of my Ravelry invite which should come within the week!!

And, of course, I must spend a little time loving on Sumo who waited expectantly each day for us to come home. He's a happy camper now!!

Until Next Time...

P.S. I'm working on a Blog Button. The first prototype is on the left. May change a bit, but I'm liking it so far. A real team effort this past week!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Yes, today is the day. My One-Year Blogiversary! I can vividly remember my first post! It was fun to have a place to journal about my new found love...knitting! I didn't tell friends or family for awhile that I had a blog. I guess I was afraid they would think I was quirky!! (Which is a well-established fact now.. so I don't have to worry about that!) I can say that a year after that first post, I am so glad that I joined the knitting/blogging world! I have met so many neat new friends and have found a great way to keep my mom and dad up to date on our life!!

As you may or may not know, my friend Sheri is the one who originally taught me how to knit and encouraged me to start a blog. How fun it is to spend my Blogiversary with her in her Loopy Yarn Shop. It is wonderful to fondle and admire all of this yarn! (And thanks, Monica, for the great idea of drooling on yarn and then 'having' to purchase it afterwards!!! That technique is working great!!) My stash pile of what I 'need' is growing... and we are still here for a couple of days!! (I have to buy lots, because after this trip my hubby may forbid future Loopy visits!!!)(And yes, that is me holding my stash so far..)

It hasn't just been all play down here! I've gotten to help with the pulling and packing of orders! (More chances to fondle yarn....) Here are a few of the boxes that went out to happy knitters today!

We are pretty much caught up today, and after a short errand, we plan to sit down and do some serious knitting! (As much as I would LOVE to experience a 'Sneak Up'.. I feel it is my job to take my Loopy friend out on the town and give her a break!!! That's what friends do!!)

I have chosen a skein of yarn to give away as part of my Blogiversary celebration. It is Skinny Duets in the Tide Pool colorway. (Part of next week's sneak up, I think!) Now, I know that not all of you are sock knitters... so when you leave a comment, put a SK for Sock Knitter or NSK for Non Sock knitter after your name. I will have a drawing for both. (The prize for the NSK will be a surprise!) The comment doesn't need to be anything special. No revealing of secret quirks. (You can if you want, tho!!) Just a 'Hi' will be great!

To celebrate my Blogiversary, I have done a bit of a facelift to my blog, which you may or may not have noticed. For quite some time I have wanted to make it easier to view the recipes that I post and so I have created another blog dedicated to my Tried And True recipes. (You can also get there by clicking on any of the recipes listed to the left.) I plan on getting more of my favorites on there soon.

Well, time to knit. Since Sumo is back at home, Sheri's cat Zoe agreed to do a guest appearance on my blog.

Thanks Zoe!

(Hmmmm, now I think I need a cat.....)

Until Next Time....

P.S. I will be drawing for the prizes on Tuesday August 14th at 8:00 A.M. Iowa Time! You have until then to leave a comment and let me know... SK or NSK!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Well, before I tell you, let me just say 'THANK YOU' to all of you for your fun comments and for sharing your quirks with me. I am glad that I had decided ahead of time to just draw a name at random. I would have hated to try and rate whose quirk was 'quirkiest'!!

To decide the winner, I first printed out all of the names from the posts and gave it to Sumo for pre-drawing inspection.

Now, due to his lack of opposable thumbs, Sumo had to call in a human to help him actually draw the winner. Aaron volunteered. After mixing up the names for what seemed like an awful long time, he drew the name... Danielle! I have to say, I LOVED her quirk. She has to set her alarm clock so the 2 numbers after the colon equal the first number. 6:24; 5:14; 7:52 et... (I did notice she posted at 6:28..which must have been difficult!!) Anyways, I will be getting the prize box in the mail tomorrow.

Life is returning to a somewhat normal level with my completion of the 7th Harry Potter Book. Yep. I finished! GREAT BOOK. Hard to believe it is over. Now back to my knitting....

I will also be heading to St. Louis tomorrow to visit my good friend Sheri and the gang at the Loopy Ewe. So, I will be there on Tuesday, which is my 'official' 1-Year Blogiversary. I will be snatching up a fun skein of yarn and having another mini-drawing to celebrate that milestone. Do stay tuned!!

Until then, I leave you with another of my many quirks. And that is I HATE to have my picture taken. I would MUCH rather be behind the camera than in front of it. Sooo... I often am the one who 'ruins' the family photo during those Christmas Card Shoots with my face making. I can't help it. It just happens. (I am just very lucky that I am the one that actually chooses and sends out the cards!!)

Until Next Time...

P.S. Don't forget to celebrate your quirks!!