Friday, September 30, 2011

Time for a Change

I mentioned a change with KalamazooKnits in an earlier post and I can finally tell you all about it!

After months of internal debate, I have decided that I'm not willing to devote the amount of time needed to run the business.

Kelly Jensen, a wonderful knitter and creative designer (she designed Felted Flip-flops, Deck the Balls ornaments, and many other popular KalamazooKnits patterns) is taking over the reigns of the business. She also has her own pattern line, KellyJ Knits, and is co-owner of Your Local Yarn Shop in Battle Creek, MI. She has non-stop energy and is the perfect person to own KalamazooKnits.

For the time being, I will continue to post my blog under KalamazooKnits, so no change here for now. I will still write about KK patterns and all things knitting! My love and devotion to knitting will continue- and maybe now I will have even more time to knit?

I have changed my Ravelry name to DianePearl, so you can find me there too.

Honestly, I know this is the best thing for me, but I had a few tears in my eyes as I signed off from my web site and the Etsy store for the last time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Favorite Things

Just because life is crazy, doesn't mean you can't enjoy some simple pleasures.

My new favorite things

1. Light Specs by Foster Grant
(If you are under the age of 45, you can ignore this one)
I got these bad boys at Walgreens, they were a BOGO, so I have one pair for reading in bed and another for my knitting bag.

They are reading glasses by day. Okay, not that stylish, but they come in all the usual strengths, and in black or tortoise frames.

But flip little switches on the inside of the frame, and you won't ever struggle with not having enough light to knit by.

TanMan loves them because I use them to read in bed. I love them best for sitting in the "oh so comfy" center of the sectional sofa, that doesn't have good lighting.

You want these!

2. The Kindle got better
I'm not talking about the new Kindle Fire, but a new way to use the original kindle. I've been reading from the Kindle for several years and love it. The negative feature has been you can't loan or borrow books.

Borrowing books just got easier, because you can now check out digital books from the library and read it on your Kindle.

I do it all on-line, using my library card number and the software Overdrive. You log into the digital service that your library is associated with, using your library card # (check your library's website for details). You browse the digital books available for the Kindle using Overdrive, make your selections and getting on the wait list. When you get the email telling you the book is available for checkout, you check it out on line, that takes you to your Kindle account for downloading. Hook up your Kindle to the computer and voila, the book is on your Kindle.

For me the only negative is that the checkout period is 14 days. After that, it is removed from the Kindle. Finish it, or get on the list to check it out again.

3. Vera Bradley
I am not a "girlie girl", but something happened to me when I started working at a pharmacy that sells Vera Bradley. I started buying some bags and fell in love.

I was out running errands the other day when I looked over at the passenger seat. This looks a bit over the top, doesn't it? Kind of like Vera threw up all over the seat.

4. Tropical critters
I've seen lots of pictures of snails, but I guess that I have never seen one in person. Honestly, this isn't one of my favorite things...

5. Taygete
I have taken a break from my hexipuffs, to try to finish one of my wip's.
I'm working on Chart C, so I am in the final stretch.

I am using Schaeffer's Anne from my stash, and I don't think that I have enough contrast between the two yarns. It's a nice pattern, but I think my poor yarn choice takes way from it. Time to get it done and see if I like it better once it is blocked.

6. Chex Mix Muddy Buddies
The bag is too small!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New craziness

Okay, I am back to the place where I can relax the most, but so far, it is still crazy. It's all related to "new" - new stuff, new places, new directions. It's all good too, but making me crazy.

First - new Refrigerator
Remember the fiasco when we returned to Florida to discover a broken fridge, permeating our place with the smell of rotted squid? We had to toss the contents, which included our normal pantry items.

Fast forward to this week, we have a lovely new fridge, but it is empty. As is the pantry. So we have spent several shopping trips trying to find the "perfect" storage containers for flour, spices, on and on. We have lots more to do.

Second - new laptop
In a moment of brilliance, I decided to get a second laptop, so I can have one in Michigan and one in Florida. Honestly, I am tired of hauling a computer between places. I copied all of our important files to Amazon's Cloud, so I can access them from both places. So here I am, a gal who spends hours a day on-line, with a brand spankin' new laptop- with a new version of Windows and Office to get familiar with, and a naked laptop. I need to set up everything - printer, all my websites, passwords, on and on. Shoot me.

Third - new iPad2
Now this was just stupid. I decided to get the new iPad, so TanMan can have my old one. OMG - I spent hours getting iTunes software loaded (remember the naked laptop?), then getting the first iPad synced up, then trying to get those same apps on the new iPad with all of the associated files. The worst part of my panic??? I am on level 19 of The Smurfs, and couldn't imagine starting over!!

Fourth- new places
TanMan and I leave next Monday for a vacation to Cambodia and Vietnam. I am excited about the trip, but didnt realize I needed to get Visas for both countries. Because I started the process with less than 45 days before the trip, we had extra fees. Seriously, $500 in fees.

We also need a few new vaccines to visit these countries. Again I delayed in getting the Typhoid vaccines for us, ($110 not covered by insurance, really, would you rather I get typhoid?) so now we won't have the full amount of time to build our immunity. Some pharmacist I am, right?

Fifth- New Directions
Things are changing with my beloved business, KalamazooKnits. I am not quite ready to announce the change, but suffice it to say, it is making me a little crazy too!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Still Summer in Florida

We arrived in Florida yesterday and it feels good to be here. I had been driving myself crazy packing for Florida and our upcoming vacation - so at least now that is behind me.

See that large suitcase? It was all my stuff- yarn and fabric. Luckily TanMan has been with me for so long, he doesn't give it a second thought.

The flight down was great, I listened to an audio book and was in hexi-puff heaven. Check out the cute little tote that Youngest Son bought me at Starbucks (where he works). It was perfect for all my in flight needs.

By the time the day was done, this was my hexi-pile for the day. On the Beekeeper quilt Knit along Ravelry group, everyone talks about the number of puffs they have done. I may be strange, but I haven't had the urge to count them yet. I have decided to ignore the math involved in this project, otherwise It might be too overwhelming.

Wow, what a great response to my mini skein sale of the holiday yarn. I have sold the bulk of it, so the Free Shipping deal is done. I have also been selling Koigu mini skeins, so if you are a Koigu fan like me, these might be just what you need for your Beekeepers Quilt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here we go again

The air has started getting cooler in Michigan, bushels of apples are at the farm stand, and the local paper just had an article about the pumpkin crop this it must be fall. That means it is time for TanMan and me to fly south for the winter!

We are going a little earlier this year, because we want to get "settled" in Florida before we go on vacation. I know that sounds strange, because Florida is like vacation too, but we are headed overseas in early October.
This means that I am packing for two trips at once. More on that in my next post.

This past weekend we celebrated Masons's fifth birthday - he looks like the gift, doesn't he? He has been a gift to my life, for sure!

We had our neighbors over for cake, and this is what it looks like when adults try to assemble a birthday gift!

Both sons were here for the night, along with Mason, so my world felt complete. We were looking through old photos, and look what I found.
See what a great helper my grandson has been since he was 3?
He was helping me wind yarn for my ornament kits at our old place in Kalamazoo, and learning to use scissors!

Enough nostalgia! What about the knitting?? I have shocked myself, but I have been totally obsessed with hexi-puff knitting. Who would have thought it?? I have dug out my Koigu stash - and have even posted some mini-skeins on Etsy.

I usually don't leave my other knitting for so long, but this has been the perfect project to knit during chaos, in the car and even when I worked a few day in the pharmacy. I think I will keep knitting hexi-puffs until we get to Florida on Friday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hexi puff Mania

I can't seem to stop making these little pillows of yarn love..
So far, I've only used Koigu for my puffs and they are quite lovely!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Storage Wars

A year ago we began the process of downsizing our Michigan homes - putting our Kalamazoo home on the market for sale and moving permanently to our Lake MI condo - which we had used as a weekend and vacation home for the past 12 years. The process involved renting a rather large storage unit, and moving lots and lots of stuff into it.

Fast forward a year later - we sold the Kalamazoo place, moved both boys into their own (very nicely furnished with our surplus furniture) apartments.and moved our MI home to South Haven. The storage unit wasn't quite as full, but it was a mess.

Today we tackled our storage unit and downsized that too. Lots of items were taken to our favorite consignment shop and lots of stuff thrown out (two huge old TVs - no one wants those anymore!) - and we moved the remaining items to a new unit, half the original size. It feels great to continue the downsizing process - I think we are at a holding point for now. Lots of plastic tubs full of boys books, Pokemon cards, transformers and Lego's will ultimately find their way to the kids, but they don't have the space yet. I still have a few containers of things from my mom, and I cant bring myself to go through those yet either!

And then there was KalamazooKnits items found in storage. I found a few items that I no longer sell wholesale and thought I would make them available to you at my Etsy store.

Holiday Christmas yarn - 30 yd skeins of Studio June fingering weight yarn, dyed in lovely Christmas colors.

I have listed them as two 30 yd skeins (total 60 yd), for a below cost price of $2.00, including shipping. These were originally included in the Deck the Balls ornament kits.

Sock blocker key ring - White laminate, embossed with KalamazooKnits.

These make great little gifts, especially when wearing a cute mini-sock.

Each key ring costs $2.00 each, including shipping.

Also new to the blog - I have added the mini-sock pattern as a free download. You can use these little cuties as ornaments or to decorate a package. You can also hop on over to Etsy if you want to pick up a few sock blocker key rings to go with the socks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I have finally recovered from the Labor Day weekend. Honestly, I love having the kids here and hanging out with friends, but when Tuesday rolled around, I was wiped out.

Spent a great day Wednesday with my knitting group and a stop at YLYS in Battle Creek. The Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue is out, so I had to buy it.

It got me in the mood to plan my gift knitting. I hope to dig into the stash for some of these gifts - and I need to plan ahead so I bring the yarn to Florida.
This year I gave my sister a list of possible knitted accessories to choose from - for her, my bro-in-law and niece and nephew.

The weather was finally cool enough so I could wear my Masai Shawl. I LOVE it. People stopped me at Panera to tell me how pretty is is. Now I am so glad I bought another kit. Can't wait to start it this winter in Florida.

I am working 9 hours today at the pharmacy. Debbie, the expert pharmacy tech is celebrating her birthday, so I brought cake. That will make the day better, but not sure it will make the 9 hours go any faster. This will be my last day of work at this pharmacy for the summer.

So how is my knitting coming? I have been working on the Featherlight Cardigan, and it is a slog. I have about 8" done and a long way to go.

Yesterday I compared my Taygete with Susan's, I was concerned that using Schaeffer's Andrea (which is between lace and fingering wt) was making it much smaller, but it is pretty much the same as one done in full sized fingering wt yarn. I picked it for my morning knitting just to take a break from Featherlight. I like it, but should have probably picked yarns with a greater contrast. Oh well.

Thought I would add a couple of new elements to the blog. I know a lot of knitters love to read, so I'm going to share what I am reading. Feel free to share in the comments what you are reading!

On My Nightstand
Oldest son is loving this series of books and he has nagged me to try them. Now I am hooked on The Game of Thrones. I am having trouble keeping all of the characters straight, but I look forward to reading a few chapters every night. Not to sound like a brat, but he gave me his paperback version, and I wish it was on my Kindle. I am resisting the urge to by the Kindle version, because that is crazy, isn't it?

Also want to add a few family photos from the holiday weekend. Take a look at two of the grandkids - aren't they adorable cousins?

Okay, I guess I better get off my stool and get busy with the prescriptions!

PS. Most of the blog was written BEFORE I started work and no patient was kept waiting while I wrote this? I promise!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day weekend already??

How did this happen? It seems like yesterday we were getting ready for a long summer on Lk Michigan.

I am always sad on Labor Day weekend. It used to make me sad because it meant I was headed back to school - and it felt like so much pressure to succeed. Then it was pressure to get the boys ready for school and to balance work and all of their activities. Now I am sad to see the end of a great summer, knowing that I will be leaving soon for Florida. It hard to leave the kids and grand kids behind.

This is an important weekend at our condo association, we have our annual meeting with all of the owners, and every year usually brings some kind of controversy. TanMan is president of the association board, so he gets tied up in meetings and getting ready to lead the meeting. Other than needing more money to maintain our beautiful property, I think it should be a good meeting.

Oldest son and grandson Mason got here Wed night for a long weekend, so we are having fun with them.
They went out on our friend's boat on Thursday, while I worked at the pharmacy!  Here is Mason swimming in lake MI about 5 miles off shore. 

Today I dusted off my mom's canning equipment and made some spiced peach jam "old school". I usually make freezer jam, but the peach doesn't thicken up right, so I decided to go back to the hot water bath method. I got 7 jars done and they all sealed!!

Also got busy using up the remaining blueberries in TanMan's favorite coffee cake recipe.

To top off the weekend, TanMan is making his famous chocolate covered cheesecake. This we will share with our neighbors for a special treat. No picture of that yet - he still needs to pour the chocolate ganache over the top.

But what about knitting, you ask?? Since it is Labor Day, I will give you a quick summary of my knitting labors. I have three WIPs:

- Featherweight Cardigan using KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud. This might take forever to knit, since it is a cardigan in lace weight yarn. Really, think about it. Isn't that crazy?

- Spring Fling socks in Three Irish Girls, Gill's Night Out (custom color way for A Good Yarn Sarasota).

- Taygete in Schaefer Anne, two colors from my stash.

I think that is enough to keep me busy for a while, but I have been thinking about another project. Have you seen the Bee Keepers Quilt? It is done using leftover sock yarn, knit into little hexagon pouches, that are stuffed. Then they are joined at the corners, isn't it adorable? I might buy the pattern, and just read it - and not knit it. Think that will work?
I hope you all have a great holiday weekend - and that you find time to do a "labor of love".