Monday, January 31, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Okay, I am a simple girl and am happy with simple things.  But some of the things I love are a little strange - so try not to laugh out loud or roll your eyes at my Guilty Pleasures.
1. Kim, Kourtney and Khloe
Who else but the Kardashians?  I watch their reality shows and love them.  I really can't explain it...

2. If it is Sunday
It's Meet the Press?  Yes, I do watch the show (see Guilty Pleasure #3), but that is a different Sunday guilty pleasure. 

Somewhere along the way, hubby and I started having doughnuts for breakfast on Sunday.  Really...who eats that stuff anymore?  Okay, we do.  He goes out in the morning before I am awake, and when I get up, there is fresh coffee and an assortment of sweet, delicious wonders.   I suggested we cut back and not have them EVERY week, so there weren't any doughnuts yesterday when I woke up.  But I thought about them - and missed them.

3. Political talk shows
Every day I record two political talk shows, and hope I have some spare time to watch a little - Morning Joe and Rachel Maddow show.   Hubby isn't crazy about either show, so I sneak them in when he isn't around.   If I don't watch Rachel Maddow at night, I dowload the audio podcast on my Ipod  in the morning, and listen to it when I do my morning walk.  

4. Gambling - Florida style
They have these cute little gambling places in Florida, which side-step their state gambling laws in a few strange ways.  These "arcades" are located in little strip malls and contain about 100 slot machines.  The unique thing is that the machines don't take money or pay out in money.  You load money onto a gaming card, and then use that for "credits" on the machine.  You take the credits that you win and then turn them in for gift cards to WalMart, the grocery store, etc.   You can gamble as little as a dime at at time..  At my favorite arcade,  twice a week they will match your $10 with another $10.  My goal is to gamble the free $10 match and not spend my original $10 - and hopefully turn their match into profit.   We usually stay long enough to play 100 games - and hope we leave a few dollars ahead.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simple Pleasures

My Simple Pleasures

1. Not waking up to an alarm -
I am not sure I will ever take for granted the joy of waking up in a slow, quiet way. This morning I laid in bed listening to the waves, saw the sun peeking through the blinds - oh my gosh - this is so much better than jumping out of bed at 5:45 am, like I did for over 20 years.

2. Three cups of coffee-
Not coffee sipped while doing my hair or putting on makeup, or in a travel mug in the car - but real coffee in my "World's Best Maga" mug, sitting on the sofa, reading the paper and looking out over the gulf. (my grandson Mason has been calling me Maga for several years, not really sure how he came up with that name, but I love it).

3. Time to knit-
Quality time with a challenging knitting project, getting lost in detailed color work or a lace chart. It is my form of meditation.

4. Sunset -
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Off the Needles - and my WIP

I still have a few projects going (who doesn't??), but here is another finished item!

It looks kinda boring, but it is really nice and soft - made out of Jill Eaton's Cotton Tail. 

The hat is for my mother-in-law, who has been battling cancer for 6 years.  Whenever I see her, she has her make up done and is wearing a cute little wig - but last time I saw her, she was struggling, and said she would like to try a chemo cap.   She lives in Florida too, so cotton is just the fiber for her.   We will be seeing her next week, so here is the finished product.   Hope she will let me snap a pic with her wearing it!  I knit in lots of love and prayers - I hope it keeps her safe and warm for years to come.

Take a look at the project that WON'T be off the needles anytime soon. 

This is the Massai Shawl kit by Cristal Seyfarth.   You can purchase this kit from Ruhamas - go take a look at the amazing kits you can choose from.

It looks so overwhelming when you get the kit, but once you get started, there is a wonderful rhythm and a totally zen thing going on.   I do need good light and a some quiet time for this project, but I am loving it.  

It is a triangle shawl knit in the round, with a steek. See the steek??

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  It is cool and wet in Florida - time for me to put on a sweatshirt and maybe pick up the Massai shawl and get busy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spiral Snuggler pattern - a new look!

It is interesting to look back at my first patterns to see how much they have changed.  The whole world of pattern sales has changed too. There is a huge increase in the number of indie designers who now have a variety of ways to sell their product.  It isn't just wholesale or magazines - many designers sell on-line from their own website, or Ravelry,, Twist Collective, Etsy, etc.

I think the "look" of patterns has evolved too.  Remember when they included an actual photo stuck on the paper?   Again, technology has made so many improvements possible, with digital photography, document design and printing at home - all bringing a better quality product to the knitter! 

I know that yarn shop owners have mixed feelings about the "other ways" knitters are finding their patterns, but my hope is that the knitter is still heading to their local yarn shop to touch, feel and purchase their yarn, even if the pattern isn't from the shop.   Nothing can replace looking at the colors and feeling the textures of a wide assortment of yarn in person. 

I gave my patterns a major "new look" last year, using larger photos and a new layout.  This year brings a new logo, and in many cases, new photos too.   The patterns are some of our best sellers, but it is fun to get some new pictures taken, with a "more artsy" look.    I have been blessed with  friends who have kindly done some photos for me, but now we have a new photographer giving us a whole new style.

Many of you have knit from Kelly Jensen's designs for KalamazooKnits - she is most noted for the Deck the Balls patterns and Felted Flip-Flops. Kelly also designs patterns for her store, Your Local Yarn Shop, in Battle Creek, MI under the name KellyJ Knits.    Now you get to see some of her husband Mike's photography - he has taken some new photos for the Spiral Snuggler. 

Here are the original pattern photos:

The kid's spiral snuggler (above) is modeled by my grandson - it will be hard to part with this photo, but... take a look at this new one!

Could it be any more precious?  What do you think?  Like the new photo? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainy days and Mondays

That would describe today. But it didn't get me down - I got busy cleaning up the second bedroom.

We have moved in a desk and I am using it for my office. It should work out great until the company starts coming! Last winter we had 40 nights of guests (but who is counting??) so I will need to come up with Plan B too.

Patterns are filed, papers sorted, yarn hidden in the closet, so I am all set to go. I spent a few hours starting the long process of revising my patterns with the new logo. I filled some orders and I am feeling a little more "caught up".

Dinner is done, sun has set - can I sit down and knit now??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are you watching football? Me? I'm doing web design...

A major football game is on tonight, Oldest Son is a huge Packer fan, so I know what he is doing right now.  Hubby is watching it too and I am getting my geek on.  

For some crazy reason, I started doing the KalamazooKnits website myself, and although I know just enough to be dangerous, I am still doing it on my own.  It is probably time for me step up my game in this area and get some professional help...but...I just finished giving it a facelift, so it is probably ok for now??  

I have used the website as a display of the patterns I sell, for shops to look at and decide what to order.  In looking at some other indie designer sites, I have noticed that many also do retail sales on the same site - and I am not sure if I should follow along or not.  I do sell my patterns on-line in my Etsy store and on Ravelry, but I have been getting frequent emails from knitters on my website wondering how to buy the patterns.    I hate to be disloyal to the many wonderful knitting shops that sell my patterns, but this seems to be the direction knitting patterns sales are going - some of both.   What is a girl to do?

So go take a look at my updated website and let me know what you think.  I love hearing from you, so feel free to comment on the blog or email me from my website.

I can't do a blog post without a picture of some knitting.  Below is my oldest grand daughter Anna's favorite doll.  I knit her an outfit for Christmas and here she is modeling the gifts.  

It brings back memories for me of my Barbie doll and all of the outfits that my Mom sewed and my neighbor Pat, knit for Barbie.  Luckily for me, Pat taught me to knit (and crochet, embroider, sew, make potholders and on and on), so I think of her often when I reflect on how much I love to knit and the great gift she gave me.

Okay, time to settle down with a cup of tea, my knitting, and see how the Packers are doing!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off the needles

I am busy wrapping up some knitting projects and thought I would do a little Show & Tell.

First, take a look at my finished pair of socks. I used KalamazooKnits pattern Easy Socks on Circular Needles and  Octopus Garden, from A Good Yarn in Sarasota, their Purl Diver Collection.  It is a lovely yarn and I really enjoyed knitting these socks.

We are having a cold spell in Florida, so it gave me an excuse to wear them!

When we were home for the holidays, I noticed that Youngest Son was wearing his Winter Socks all of the time - and that they were developing a hole in the bottom.  Several times I asked for them, so I could darn the hole, but never managed to do it.

Naturally, I had to replace them - and here they are.   KalamazooKnits pattern - Winter Socks, using Dream in Color Classy.    No fancy colors here - he likes his knitwear a little more subtle!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Knitting from the Water's Edge

So this is my new place - the place where I hope to do lots of knitting - and to design some new patterns. 

Living by the water seems to suit me, even though my sign is Scorpio (you would think the dessert would be more my style).  I feel so spiritual, creative and full of energy.    

I have several new pattern ideas, but I think the one with the beach theme might win out.   Although I know my northern friends are in winter right now, so maybe it should be a winter hat?

New Year, New Logo

How do you like my new logo? I am so excited for the new look, can't wait to implement it on my website, patterns, Ravelry, Etsy - oh my, I have a lot to get done, don't I?

The logo was created by Jill Zielinski, aka, Knitterella. Check out her blog, and all of the other great design work she has done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Florida Sweet Florida

I am just getting unpacked from my seasonal relocation.   We left snowy Michigan for the warmer climate of Florida.

In the past few years, we have changed how we migrate.  I no longer have the luxury of a car to stuff full of yarn and patterns.  We fly now, so it makes it more of a challenge.  Take at look at my suitcase - I hope this will satisfy my needs. I hate being parted from my stash. Luckily, they sell yarn in Florida too, so I guess I will be building TWO stashes.  That seems wrong, doesn't it?

The flight down was uneventful except for two glitches:

- I forgot about that darn rule about liquids in the carry-on bags. 
Hubby had bought a large jar of Saunder's Butterscotch Caramel ice cream topping for me to take, it is a Michigan favorite that we can't get in Florida.   It comes in a glass jar and I didn't dare put it in the checked luggage, so into the carry-on it went.   

During the security check, they rescanned my carry-on and then started to go through it by hand.  I was sure they found a stray pair of scissors or maybe didn't like the looks of my knitting needles - but alas - it was my yummy topping.   I tried to insist it wasn't liquid, but to no avail.  I told the security guy to take it home, but he said he couldn't do that either.  What a waste.

- Once we were in flight, I decided to listen to my iPhone.  Right now I am listening to the book "Hunger Games", and am really enjoying it.  My sister gave me an adorable pair of jewel encrusted ear buds, so I was anxious to give them a try.  I pulled them out of my Vera tote and the spongy end popped off the ear bud and bounced behind me.  I couldn't see it on the floor, so decided to wait and  find it once we landed.  

After a few of the rows behind us got off, I darted back and found it on the floor!  Hooray - I felt victorious.  Hubby said he would put it in his pants pocket for safekeeping.  (Can you guess where this is headed??)
We got to our condo, unpacked, etc and a couple of times I asked him to get the earbud tip, so we wouldn't wash it by mistake, but we got busy and forgot.   Today he went to look for it, looking through the pants, now in the dirty clothes basket.   Not a surprise - he couldn't find it. 

I look forward to my time in Florida for lots of reasons - but often it triggers a creative burst.  I have more time to sit in the sun and think...I am hoping for some great ideas to come my way...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

CraftSanity - It works for me!

I have a new "favorite thing".  Have you seen this publication?

It is the dream of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, a fabulous writer/podcaster and all-around crafter.  I am a faithful follower of her podcast, where she has shared her goal of developing a craft magazine.

She can now check that box off her bucket list!  The first issue is hot off the press, and I LOVE it.

Take a look at her blog,  or go directly to Etsy and buy this magazine.    

It is loaded with great features, nice articles and best of all - a variety of craft projects.  I made the knitted head band and gave it to my niece for Christmas.  She loves it, and I enjoyed knitting it.

Can't wait to see what Jennifer comes up with in the next issue!