Friday, May 30, 2008

My Friday Fives

Friday Fives From Christian Sisters Playground

Five Things I'm Thankful For:
1. The men and women who sacrifice so much to serve our country in the military.

2. I'm thankful for three beautiful and healthy children.

3. I'm thankful that we have food in our fridge and gas in the tanks of both cars.

4. I'm thankful for the wonderful friends I've made lately.

5. I'm thankful for the ability to work with my hands and create things that are beautiful and practicle.

one more

6. I'm thankful I have a husband that works so hard to provide for his family, and rushes to be home at the end of the day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vacation Highlights!

We started out Wed afternoon, which happened to be J Danica's 4th Birthday!!!
Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Our first pit stop was just past Fort Smith, Ar. We stopped at a little park near a city fishing pond to let the girls run and streatch thier legs. We happened to find a mommy canadian goose and her goslings and wild blackberries! It was a bit early for blackberries. But we managed to find one or two that were already ripe. The girls had fun and made a friend for the duration of our short stay.

We ventured on stopping overnight in Memphis (note: Next time get past Memphi before getting a hotel. Memphis was pretty trashy)

We traveled almost non stop Thursday and got to Buford, GA Thurs evening.

I did make one detour to a LYS in Roswell, Ga. My Denise needles kept catching my yarn at the joints so I used that as an excuse for new needles. I googled for a LYS and found After making a few wrong turns we finally found it. If you ever pass through Roswell I highly recommend it. The shop is in a quaint little part of Historic Roswell on Canton Street. It's surrounded by trees and extremely peaceful. If I wasn't so tired and ready to get to the hotel I would of stayed for the local knit night there. The lady who helped me find my new Addi's was very sweet and helpful. Each room in the house was stuffed full of yummy yarn and "must have" knitting toys. I purchased Addi Turbo Lace Circulars size 7 - 47". These would be my only "suveniour" from this trip so they were worth it.

Friday morning we went to my brother's house for breakfast, then we all loaded up and drove to Unicoi State Park near Helen, GA. Camping was the only thing on the agenda for the next 3 days for me! (Daddy J left us Friday night to continue on to Charlotte and his CrossFit Certification).

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise filtering through the trees and took the opportunity to work on a few rows of knitting before starting a busy day.

Saturday and Sunday we did a lot of sight seeing. We went tubing down the Cattahoochie river in 60 something degree water! We went shopping in Helen Ga.

The girls all got to go horse back riding at Sunburst Stables.

My brother Mark wanted to go fishing so we found a private trout pond to fish from. J Danica got a little overzelous trying to catch a fish by hand and fell into the water!

So I left him, the girls, and Zach there and took J Danica back to campsie to clean her up.

But I just had to get a picture first ;)

The girls met Woodburning Artist Pasty Gentry. To everyone who meets her she's "Ma". She gave J Danica the knick name "Prissy Mae" and set her on her lap and told the girls stories of bear and sqirrels in her back yard. She showed them how she "draws with fire" using her woodburning tools. She showed them how to draw using the letter D to make a bunny, a catapillar, and a few other things.

She was really sweet and a pure example of southern hospitality. She even took the time to hand draw us a map of the area and things to do for fun that are free!

Daddy J joined us Sunday night. He is now Level One CrossFit Certified! I'm so proud of him. He has worked so hard and really accomplished alot in such a short amount of time.

Monday we packed up and headed back to my brothers house to get pics of everyone together! No vacation is complete without a family picture!

Then we all piled in the car and headed home. We drove straight through Monday night and got home about 8:00 Tuesday morning. Fortunately the girls crashed and slept most of the way home.

It was a wonderful vacation. I loved GA. But I'm so glad to be home!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Experimental Dyeing Day 2

Yeserday's day of having fun was pretty successful. But I wasn't too happy with how the Grape turned out. I didn't have a whole day to devote to the dying proccess so today I used the microwave to speed up the process. I started out with my grape skien from yesterday and rinsed and soaked it again in the sink. I filled a large glass bowl with water and put 2 pkts Grape Kool Aid. Stirred and then put my skein in it.

I zapped it in the microwave 5 minutes at a time, for 25 minutes total I believe. I don't know if you can see the exausted water in the second pic, but you can see the yarn really took hold of the dye this time. MUCH BETTER!

The pink skeins were dyed using the crock pot method with the Pink Lemonade Kool Aid and Strawberry thrown in at the end.

The Purple is my Grape Kool Aide. First dyed using the crock pot method and then the zap it in the microwave method.

The Yellow was my experimental one using Mango Kool Aid in the sun tea jar.

How Pretty! I'm so anxious to see how these colors knit up!

Sun Tea Jar dying success!

The soaker on the left was dyed using Strawberry Kool Aide

The soaker on the right was dyed using Soaring Strawberry Lemonade Kool Aid. I messed up on the grafting of this soaker, but i'll just use it around the house so I'm not worried about it.

I'm really happy with how these two turned out and will for sure use these colors often!

So what did we do in the meantime while waiting for the dyeing process? We cleaned the house of course and packed for vacation.

The girls in chipped too. Here they are helping to scrub the bathtub. Yes they wanted to help! You would thinkg with as helpful as my daughters are I would have a spotless house, but I don't ;)

I made laundry and decluttering my mission on top of packing. I some how succeeded in thinning out my books and condensing two book shelves into one shelf.

The past two days were full and pretty tiring, and I'm working again tonight.

I look forward to having some rest while we are in Ga. And I'm so excited to see my brother again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My cauldrons were brewing today...

And they weren't brewing for the kids running around the house today... ;)

I've had 2 finished soakers waiting to be dyed and lanolized. And one skien of Lion Brand Fisherman's waiting to be dyed.

I've been procrastinating for over a week with the excuse of each thing hasn't told me what color it wanted to be. But I couldn't procrastinate anymore. The yarn waiting to be dyed was to be used to keep myself occupied knitting on our road trip to Ga. So for it to be dry by the time we leave Wed it had to be done today.

The last time I dyed yarn was about 4 years ago for soakers for my then baby Joelle. I used Kool Aid and heat set it in the oven with beautiful results. Well, today its 90 degrees outside and turning on the oven would turn our mobile home into an autoclave! So what to do?

I used sun tea jars and crock pots!

To prepare my yarn I remade the skein into several skeins using my "niddy noddy". Mine was rather large and heavy because it was actually my hubby's parallelets that I sabotaged. Next time I'm just going to splurge and buy a smaller diameter PVC.

After winding the skiens I tied them in about 8 places while on the noddy to prevent tangling in the washing and dying process.

Then I washed and soaked the yarn in a sink tub full of luke warm water and some Johnson's baby wash. I just filled the tub, dumped my soakers and yarn skeins in, swished them around a bit (not too much or it would felt) and left them.

Some time later I pulled the soakers and yarn out and rinsed in a colander using luke warm water. I then put everything into lingerie bags and stuck them in my washing machine.

I spun it on a spin only cycle to get out the excess water.

While the yarn was spinning I prepared my "dye vats".

For one soaker I used 3 packets Strawberry Kool Aid in a 2 quart sun tea jar. For the second soaker I used 4 packets "Soarin Strawberry Lemonade" Kool Aid in a 2 quart sun tea jar.
I know Kool Aid is pretty acidic, but just to help it along I put a splash of white vinegar into each jar after I filled them with water. Then I stirred to make sure the dye was even throughout and then put a soaker into each jar.

(Please ignore the half eaten bowls of oatmeal in the background. I was making my concoctions during breakfast)

I had some Mango Kool Aid I wanted to experiment with so I made a small one ounce skein and put one packet Mango in my one quart sun tea jar with the yarn and water to cover.

These are my Strawberry and Strawberry Lemonade sunning on my back steps.

For my skeins I used the crock pots.

I made one 5 oz skein for a solid soaker and one 3 oz skein and a 2 oz skein for a 2 color soaker. For my 5oz and 3 oz skeins I used 8 packets of Pink Lemonade Kool Aid in my 7 quart crock. Filled with water and a splash of vinegar and submerged my 2 skeins.

For my 2 oz skein I used 1 pkt Grape Kool Aid in my 2 quart crock. Filled with water, a splash of vinegar and submerged my small skein.

Turned both on high, covered them and left them alone.

I was really surprised how quick the yarn in the crock pots exhausted the dye. It only took a few hours. I wasn't happy with how light they were so I added 2 pkts Strawberry to the 7 qt crock and 1 pkt Grape to the 2 qt crock. Another hour or so and that was exhausted again.
The crocks were turned off to cool.

About 12:30 I checked on the sun jars and they didn't even feel warm yet. I moved them to set on my air conditioner because it was sunnier there. I expect as the afternoon got warmer the dying process will speed up.

After my crocks cooled a bit I dug around in my yarn a bit and noticed some of the larger skein of yarn didn't dye evenly so I turned the crock back on and added another pkt of Strawberry Lemonade.

The sun tea jars took a while to finish dyeing. In fact, I got called into work so I left them outside and had my hubby bring them in after dark so I'm not sure when they were done or how long it officially took.

When I got home from work I filled my sink tub with fresh water and soaked each skein and soaker to make sure there was no bleeding. Then I put them back into the lingere bags and spun them again in the washer. And hung them over the shower curtain rod to dry over night.

This is what greated my hubby when he went to take a shower in the morning. I wonder if he has as much appreciation for dyeing that I do :)

I'm not too thrilled with how the grape turned out, so I'm going to try the zap dye method in the microwave to re-dye it tomorrow. But I think the Strawberry soaker turned out lovely and I'm pleased with the Pink Lemonade skeins. The larger one still looks a little tye dyeish to me, but it will do. I'm anxious to see what they look like knitted up!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Whew... why am I so tired again???

I have no clue why I'm so tired.... ;) It's not like I do anything all day. I'm just like you and we all sit around eating bon bon's right????

Monday I woke up to two mountains in my kitchen. Mount O' Dishes and Mount O' Laundry. (The weekend was busy with soccer games, graduation parties, church, etc... ) I fought off the urge to freak out and start spazzing from stress, but stopped and prayed that God would help me, that I would stay focused on the tasks that need done, and He would lead me to accomplish what He had for me that day.

So I tackled the dishes between feeding Jada, bathing Joelle, and my normal routine.
Now tackling the dishes wasn't as simple as just tackling them. We ran out of dishwasher detergent, and my loving hubby had filled the dishwasher and used hand dishwashing soap, resulting in a dishwasher full of suds and not really clean dishes. So everything in the dishwasher had to be emptied and washed again. I didn't have counter space to hand wash the dishes and dry them on the counter. So I washed them by hand, and put them in the dishwasher for a rinse and dry cycle.
Somehow by 8 I was done with the dishes. I felt so accomplished!
Just as I put the last dish of my second load in the dishwasher my friend pulled in the driveway to drop off her two boys so she could go to her OB dr appointment.
So now I still have one mountain of laundry and two extra children.
Her boys are generally really good and sweet. So I brought out blocks and trains into the living room and worked on excavating my kitchen table from under the mountain.
My phone then rings... another friend calling. She's feeling really puny, needs to go to the walk in clinic, can I watch her two boys for her? She sounds really really bad so I tell her to drop them by.
10 minutes later I have a not so tall mountain of laundry, and 4 extra children. Two girls and 4 active boys, all under 4! Oh My!
That many children together in such a small living room and with the few toys eventually led to squabbles. I didn't feel like trying to referee between all of them while trying to finish off my laundry. So I had the kids clean up and we went outside to enjoy the beautiful day!
I wanted to really wear them out for a good nap, so we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Me pushing Jada in the stroller. Joelle pushing her little doll stroller. And each of the boys pushing one of the various push toys we had. We were sure noisy, and must of made an interesting parade!
We walked for a good half hour. I enjoyed the warm sunshine. The kids enjoyed seeing the birds and asking lots of questions about whatever they saw!
We were almost done with our last lap around the block when Jinny pulls in. She loaded her 2 boys into her van, and was really excited about how well her pregnancy is going, so we chatted for a while and the other kids ran around kicking a ball.
After she left, I brought all the kids inside, washed them up, and made lunch. We had a picnic on the living room floor (I hadn't found my kitchen table yet). After lunch they all easily went down for a nap.
I too took a nap. To heck with laundry. It waited for me till Tuesday.