Wednesday, April 26, 2006

still here...

Too much to do, too little time. Getting things ready to go the the 8th Annual Ohio/Kentuckiana Soapkmaker's Gathering - will have pictures when I get back. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have some time to post before I leave on Friday...

Monday, April 17, 2006


The title says it all...

Rambo had to go to the vet today. :-( He peed blood yesterday morning (Easter Sunday, of course!), so I had to wait to take him until this morning. He has cystitis, which means crystals are forming in his urine. Luckily, he wasn't blocked, so they didn't have to do surgery, but they gave him some medicine and some VERY expensive food and sent him home. A 4 pound bag of this food costs $10.00!!! That's fine for him for right now, but I have 4 other cats to feed - I buy cat food 20 pounds at a time. While I'm more than happy to pay a few extra dollars for Purina One urinary tract health food, the stuff that the vet sent home will be a one-time thing. I checked the labels between the two bags, and the ash/magnesium content are nearly identical (high ash and magnesium can cause this in cats - we had a cat about 15 years ago that went through the same thing...except he had to have the surgery). Why on earth would I pay $40-$50 for 20 pounds of cat food?

I know that some people may think this is terrible, but my animals will *not* eat better than my kids do!

On the knitting front, I've recovered Inishmore from the WIP pile:
I know it's hard to see, because the yarn is extremely dark. I finally have the pattern memorized, though, and as long as I have good light, I'm plugging right along.

I tried Wendy's short row heel on my toe-up sock, and I really like the way it turned out! I don't think I like this 2 circ thing, though. I'm getting ladders no matter what I do, and I don't get ladders when I use 5 dpns.

And I made this today:

It may look ugly, but I guarantee it will look better when I unmold it. I made a small 3-lb batch of my mechanic's soap - I used coffee for the water, wild boar tallow, coffee grounds, cornmeal and peppermint essential oil. In fact, for you soapmakers out there, here's my recipe:
Kim's Mechanic's Soap

6 oz palm oil
6 oz almond oil
2 oz avocado oil
2 oz castor oil (added at trace)
8 oz coconut oil
6 oz olive oil
2 oz shea butter
16 oz tallow (I prefer tallow for the mechanic's soap, but you can sub any other oils if you object to tallow- just be sure to run your new oils through the lye calulator...)
12-18 oz water or black coffee (I used 14 oz)
6.6 oz lye
1 oz coffee FO
1 oz peppermint EO (you can use 2 oz peppermint instead if you like)
1/2 cup used coffee grounds
1/2 cup cornmeal
(I also added a pinch of silk to the lye water)

If you're a soapmaker, you know what to do from here! I CPOPed this batch, so as soon as I unmold it tomorrow, it's safe to use. It'll be completely hardened within a week. I really like this recipe - a friend of our uses it exclusively when he's working on cars...and it's great for getting fish/onion smells off of your hands, too. :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


This was the scene in my front yard about 2 hours ago. The sky got really dark, we had a torrential downpour for about 20 minutes, and then the hail started. They started small and got progressively bigger. No, these weren't the mythical baseball-sized hail, or even golf-ball sized, but these were definitely big enough:

It was coming down so fast and hard (have you ever seen sideways hail? I hadn't either...) that I thought we were going to have some broken windows. Ten minutes later, the sun was starting to come out. Definitely weird.
You can see how concerned Gracie was about the whole ordeal
(sorry about the fuzzy picture) She doesn't get worked up during storms, which is a good thing - I wouldn't want a 70 pound nervous wreck on my hands!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

signs of spring

The daffodils are just starting to bloom The giant pussy willow is in full bloom each of these are the size of my thumb! The plant itself isn't very big, but I'd say the plant definitely "took!" We're trying to find swamp-type plants to put into the soggy spot where our sump pump drains - any suggestions for NE Ohio hardy plants are welcome

Sheets are on the line My clothesline gets a lot of use in the summer!

Just for Nancy - pictures of the room in full "OH MY GOD WHAT A MESS" mode. We removed a bookcase that was falling apart and a metal shelving unit; everything is everywhere right now.

We have piled everything on the only pieces of furniture left - the computer desk and one small bookcase. Please note the wallpaper; we discovered that it was actually scotch-taped to the walls in some places and glued to the wall in others. We're going to have to get the steamer out to get some of this off. The hideous blue paint under the wallpaper will soon be eggshell white (because we still have half a bucket left after painting the living room).

This room is only 10 x 10, and there is a closet and 2 other doors that lead to the rest of the house. Wall and floor space is rather limited...but I can't wait until it's done!

Kelson came home from school sick a couple of days ago. When I got home from school, this is what I found:

He'd been napping there for almost an hour.

The excitement is overwhelming

Nothing exciting happening here - we've been gutting the middle room to try to make it into a place for me to knit and spin without distraction. After my typical day at work, I need at least a few minutes of quiet!

Secret Pal 7 seems to have been a dud for me all around. My giftee isn't answering emails, even though her box was delivered a week ago, and she hasn't updated her blog in almost a month. UPDATE: Susan was out of town, so she didn't actually receive her box until this past weekend. My email has been acting up, and I never received the email from her telling me that she was out of town. Her blog is - go check it out!!!

My own secret pal has sent a couple of emails from her regular account, so I know who she is - and she hasn't updated her blog in almost a month, either. The books that I picked out with the Amazon GC from 2 months ago are supposed to be delivered this week. Since then, though, I haven't heard much from her. I sent an email to her on the 6th to see if everything was okay, and she said that my final package would be mailed out soon. Since the deadline was the 31st, here's hoping! I had so much fun with SP6 - I had as much fun picking out stuff for Julie as she had receiving the boxes, I think! I signed up for SP8, but now I'm trying to decided if I want to just let this one go by.

We have a short week at school this week - Spring Break starts on Friday! Hooray!!! The juvenile delinquents are historically pretty squirrelly during the week before a big break, so here's hoping they all decide to take an extended vacation!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Presents and a shawl

The UPS man brought these yesterday - they are early anniversary (which isn't until June 9th!) presents from my Mom and Dad. :-) The teapot is getting put to good use - I'm fighting some kind of a flu-type bug right now, and I've been drinking pot after pot of tea. If I'm feeling better tomorrow, I'm going to try out the mandolin - I have a whole bag of potatoes that need to be made into potato chips. Right now, I don't trust myself with anything sharp!

Since I haven't moved off of the chair for most of the day (Theraflu is a wonderful thing; I just wish its effects lasted until the next dosage time), I decided to finish off my mystery shawl. It came off of the needles early this afternoon, and it looked like this:
Basically, a pile of purple dental floss. Blocking is a wonderful thing, it is draped on my couch (Gracie included for scale - my couch is 90" long))
I had Kelson and his friend Richard hold it up on the wall so you could see the actual pattern: Of course, the first words out of my ever-so-supportive husband's mouth were "what good is that?"

I used 3-1/2 skeins of Icelandic Laceweight from Schoolhouse Press. I have a whole bag of 10, so I can still make something else with the leftovers. I love this yarn - you can't see it, but it has just the faintest tinges of blue and pink running through it. It's really nice to knit with, too.

I turned the heel on my sock and I'm almost done with the decreases for the gusset. I don't know if I like this heel or not - I'll have to see how it feels when I wear it.