Saturday, October 13, 2007

Magic Loop, EZ's almanac, and various other mundane tidbits....

Magic Loop & other fun and mundane things….

This week I’ve gotten my September EZ almanac project cast-on. I decided to try the Magic Loop method for this project since I had heard so many great comments about it from the EZ Year yahoo group. Well, I think I love it! It is so nice to only have to keep up with one set of needles and the order of knitting. The cast-on was a little confusing but once that was figured out, I was ready to knit! So my leggings for Miss O are coming along very nicely at this point.

EBay is addicting! I start watching and shopping for an item and the Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde syndrome occurs in my mind. I find what I want whether it is a new Pixar Car for my grandson, a dollhouse piece, spindle or yarn, as long as it isn’t a “buy it now”, and the bid war is on. Sometimes, I take it very personally if my item happens to be desired by someone else. How dare they bid against me? Don’t they know I NEED that item? I love selling on EBay as much as buying. It is so exciting to see folks watching and bidding on items I have to sell! Go check out all my stuff! My eBay store link is:

I’ve mentioned several times the ongoing major organization project in my house. Well, I cleaned out the laundry storage baskets and found quite a treasure! My older son used to store his shoes in very nice flannel drawstring shoebags. I found four of them in one of the storage baskets. Apparently, I had washed them a while back and then stuck them in the basket thinking Rick would retrieve them later; however he didn’t. Well, one man’s trash is now his mom’s treasure! These bags are just the perfect size for small knitting or stitching To-go projects. I can toss the plastic Ziploc bags now! My to-go projects will now look a little classier when they travel.

Well, as of Monday, I’m going back to Flylady. It is time to focus on decluttering and getting the house ready for the holidays. Our annual trip to Florida is looming in the horizon and all major cleaning, decluttering and holiday decorating must be done before we leave. I have eight weeks to get it in gear….. Time to roll! Decluttering will be my focus the next four weeks with a zone a week being worked. I also have some major work to do in my aviary. It is time to winterize but I have some re-arranging in the aviary to do so that everything is more efficient for me as well as the bird-sitter while we are in Florida. I spent about an hour this morning reviewing Fly lady’s plan of action and printing off a calendar for the next several weeks. I got my work plan on the calendar for the next few weeks so I’m hyped up to get my house, aviary and garden in order!

Today, Saturday, October 13, 2007, is my day to work in the guestroom that will be doubling as my studio and office space. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some pictures to show how organized I am in the house by Christmas.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall has begun. I know it is October but we have had such a long hot summer that the cool mornings are like a sigh of relief. The temperature is still climbing into the high 80s up to the low 90s but the mornings and the late evenings are very pleasant.

Since we married, I’ve baked in the summer and done spring cleaning in the fall. Well, this year, we didn’t “do peaches” so I’ve not had the daily bread baking or jelly making for the peachstand. I had hoped to start in august but somehow august slipped past me very quickly and quietly.
My plan was to begin on Monday; however, it was Monday. I honestly have no idea why Mondays are they way they are but if a day in the week is going to fall to pieces, it will be a Monday. If there is a problem with an order, it is going to happen on the weekend so Monday is “fix-it day.” Monday is also the day to start over on all the cleaning around the house and aviary.

My long-term goal for the house and aviary is to be organized and cleaned by the time we leave on our annual Disney trip. When I make my TUIT list (to-do list) every week, there are always at least 30 tasks on it. According to my daughter I should only be doing three a day on my work plan; however I only have seven days in my week. This means I can only get 21 tasks complete each week if I complete all three tasks every day. Every week I end up with nine tasks left over! This is 3 days worth of work every week that doesn’t get done. In two weeks, I’m a week behind again! This translates to two steps forward, one step back twice a month.
It has been like Christmas with new books and magazines arriving in the mailbox this week. Never Knit Your Man a Sweater* (*unless you’ve got the ring!), Knit Fix, and Interweave Knits Fall 2007 are here! I’ve had a ball going through the house finding a quiet spot to read through each one!

Never Knit Your Man a Sweater* by Judith Durant has 22 projects inside. While the coasters don’t excite me, the laptop cover, the socks, mittens, vests and sweaters just inspire me to no end! I’ve never knitted mittens or gloves so I can see a pair on my needles very soon. The argyle socks are based on a 1950 Bucilla Yarn pattern. Since I love argyle, I can really foresee knitting a pair of them. Wouldn’t it be pretty to have matching socks and sweater?

Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus has already become a resource book on my bookshelf. I love the spiral binding this book sports. I wish all my fiber books had this type of binding. The book lies very flat and the pages flip so easily. The chapters are clearly titled. Pictures in each fix are just wonderful. Lisa has used both photos and very clearly drawn diagrams for each step of the fix. She has colored the working thread and the mistake in the drawn diagrams so they are very easy to see in the black & white drawing.

This is my very first issue of Knits Fall 2007 magazine and it is just packed with eye-candy and inspiration for me! There are hats, sweaters, stockings, vests, and socks packed into this one magazine. There are gorgeous cabled patterns, articles of color work and texture. Since I’m starting to think of Christmas gifts, this issue is certainly a keeper for me. There is an Aran sweater that I can mentally see me wearing. It has a nice small cowl neck and some lovely cables that don’t go past the bustline in the front. This will be very flattering and won’t accent a thicker waist. The concentric vest is more like a sleeveless shrug that I think will be just darling on my daughter-in-law. It has been worked with larger needles so should work up fairly quickly, even though it has to be seamed at the shoulders and sides. The Cobblestone pullover has my DH’s name all over it! He will be very handsome in this style sweater in some luscious orange or bright colored wool.
I finished a couple of projects this week! I’m so pleased and I have made some major progress on a couple more. Just off my needles are the kimono baby jacket from Mason-Dixon Knitting and my felted ipod case from Knit Picks.

I need to stitch the buttonhole and button for the jacket and my ipod case needs another round of felting, I think. But I should be listening to my ipod in style by the weekend! i'll post a pic of the ipod case when i have finished it.

Miss Olivia is going to look darling in her kimono jacket and Elizabeth Zimmerman leggings. The EZ leggings are actually my September project with the Elizabeth’s Year yahoo group. As usual, I’m about a month behind. I edged the jacket in the same yarn I am going to make the EZ leggings, Swish DK Petal, from Knit Picks. I think I’ll be making at least one more ipod case since the pattern is for an ipod mini and my ipod is a nano. I need to make some size adjustments so the case will be a nice fit.

My Pi Shawl is slow but sure. I’m so glad I decided to add the lace stitching to the 288 stitch rounds as opposed to making all 24 rounds be just plain. There are definite errors in the pattern because I don’t seem to count very well, but all in all, I’m enjoying the EZ Pi shawl pattern. Knitting lace has been quite an adventure for me. As I said before I tend to be at least a month behind on my KAL with the EZ year yahoo group. The Pi Shawl was our July project. Oh, well, at least I’m knitting.

My two quilts are waiting patiently for me to get back to them. Brenton’s quilt needs a major piecing day and Sam’s quilt is almost ready for sandwiching, basting and quilting. I‘m planning to do some major quilting this weekend. My guest suite which will be doing double duty as my fiber studio is still in disarray. (This is a polite way of saying it is a wreck!) I’m planning to spend some time sorting through and cleaning out the closets this weekend so I can put things away in an organized fashion.

This weekend is also the Cotton Pickin’ Fall Craft Festival in Gay, GA. This quaint little town is only about a 15 minute drive for us. Since this is our anniversary weekend, dh and I are going to browse the booths tomorrow morning, then have a date night out at one of our favorite restaurants.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Me O My! Yarn ball winder & Yarn swift!

Me oh my! I love my new yarn swift and ball winder! After reading for several days a discussion on Elizabeth’s year yahoo group about swifts and ball winders, I did some investigating on these strange contraptions. First remember, that I am a self-taught knitter so my first reaction was “swift? What are they talking about?” So I did the All American farm girl thing and googled it. Wow! What neat tools!
Well, I immediately got back on to the group and asked where and what brand everyone seemed to be using. I then went to eBay and did some searching. I also then went to one of my distributors. Lo and behold, they carry both a nice ball winder and a wooden yarn swift. I promptly ordered one of each, never mind that I didn’t’ make the minimum and had to pay my own shipping. Neat new tools! Who could ask for more?
Well, they arrived on Friday afternoon while I was out. My fingers have been itching to get into that box. I knew what long box from UPS contained! After finally finishing breakfast, making bird rounds, and feeding babies, getting Steve on the road this morning, showered, and dressed, I opened my big box!. Well, the ball winder had assembly instruction and directions for use included but the yarn swift had nothing. Thank goodness, yarn swifts are not difficult to figure out. It took me about 5 minutes to read the ball winder instructions and get the two tools setup on my kitchen table. It took about 5 minutes to make two working yarn balls from 2 of my 5 -50 gram hanks of Heathered lace weight yarn hanks. Who knew that these two simple but odd looking tools could make my creative time so much easier?!? I’m in love with these two tools!
Both tools setup very quickly and easily. The ball winder is plastic with a metal yarn guide. While I’m not crazy about the plastic parts, the whole mechanism moves quickly and easily.
The yarn swift is wooden with wooden “screws” that hold the clamp on the table and the actual “umbrella” part up. The umbrella is very easily adjusted to fit the hank nicely.
I’ve decided to try to give a review for new books and “toys” in this blog. I’d like to give my camera some more out of the bag time too, so more photos of WIPs will be forthcoming. I’m also waiting anxiously for my new Bluetooth module that will give me “voice” for my computer. I’m also thinking the Queen of Hysteria might enjoy podcasting for fiber crafters out there.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Knitting & design dilemma

I’ve accepted the EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman) Almanac challenge. The gauntlet was thrown down by Kelley Petkun of KnitPicks. I’ve searched and found EZ’s book, got it ordered. I’ve shopped online for my yarn… found it. It is KnitPicks’ Shadow in the campfire color. I really do love the color and the yarn; however, after getting it in my hands, I just can’t visualize this autumn leaf burnt orange in a large Pi shawl. I put out a whine post on the yahoo group about my color choice and got several responses with pictures of my yarn as a Pi shawl. They were beautiful so I will stop my whining and get busy casting on the shawl. (I’ve frogged it completely twice already.)

Lately, all my projects have been learning experiences in that each one has taught me a new technique. My Pi shawl, taken from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac, is teaching me to work with lace-weight yarn. I thought it might teach me to use DPNs but I’m going to work it with circular needles so the DPN lesson will wait for a future project. My ipod case will teach me a toe up knitting technique and felting. Miss Olivia’s kimono jacket is teaching me to shape while knitting a sweater. Steve’s scarf has taught me not to use multiple colors and knit cables in the same project. My ribbon scarf has taught me continental knitting method. My dad’s socks have taught me how to correct several dropped stitches.

I know this is a lot of projects going at once but I have gone several months with no projects in the works. In fact, currently, I have one christening gown (actually, it is not but the pattern is a christening gown), 2 quilts, and a set of burp cloths in addition to the various knitting projects. I love having projects going to keep my hands busy.

A double life ~ Birds & Fiber!

A double life ~ Birds & Fiber!

I lead a double life. I’ve floated between two very different worlds for years. I’ve been in love with fiber for over 30 years and birds for over 16 years. If you look back to my childhood, I’ve been dabbling in both my whole life.
I’ve been looking around at other blogs and podcasts. They all seem to be specialized in one particular area. Since I don’t separate the two of them in my daily life, I’m not sure how to separate them in my blog which is basically reflection of my daily life. While I love my hodge-podge blog here on Stayin’ Stitched!, I am considering making two more serious blogs about the two areas in my life – aviculture and fiber.
I would like the aviculture blog to consist of educational tips, articles, and various adventures in our aviary. More pictures of birds and current topics being discussed on the various exotic forums.
As far as my fiber life, I love designing, teaching, and constructing one-of-a-kind pieces. I miss the creativeness in my life when other areas take over. I’ve quilted for 30+ years now and can’t imagine ever not having a quilt in progress; however, knitting, beading, crochet, and hand-dyeing also provide endless fascination for me.
In both blogs, I foresee book reviews, possible interviews and photos. I started doing some research on podcasting as well, but in the meantime, I think I would like to work on the format for my avicultural and fiber blogs. Eventually, they might develop into podcasts.
So if you are a reader of mine and more specialized posts would be of interest to you, please, leave me a comment with your thoughts and suggestions.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Project weekend update for Friday!!!

Project weekend so far!

Friday was a very busy day after Steve and Brenton left. The cutting table got a very good cleaning and then moved into the sitting room. Pretty uneventful but this task was on my list to do. The organizing and arranging of my knitting needles and crochet hooks came next. I know this doesn’t seem like it should be a priority but the yarn bag had some yarn peeping out of the top that was just perfect to use in the bottom of the vase I had chosen to use. Besides, I had brought up the knitting needles and they kept falling off the ironing board. I was barefooted and decided if the needles and hooks were safely tucked in the vase w/ yarn in the bottom there was less opportunity of putting a DPN in the bottom of my foot! I just love the way my needles look in their crystal vase lined with a “cheap” ball of yarn! My crochet hooks are now arranged in a favorite flowerpot, yarn in the bottom. This clay flower pot has been painted white with little birdhouses going around the bottom. Now it is growing inspiration for my future projects!

I got the bed and the dresser moved. The dresser was so heavy I had to remove the drawers from it to get it moved across the room! Then I tackled the bed. Wicker chair has been moved out of the bed room. Oh, my, what treasure under the bed! I found 3 storage bins of fat quarters under the bed! This alone has my fingers starting to itch and my mental design wall working!

After fondling the fabric for a short while, drinking some ice tea, I sorted through the first two piles of books. Yes, 2-foot stacks of books. I’m an avid book person. I love them and don’t feel that anyone can ever have too many. Most of these books are inventory from the quilt shop so I’m going to list them on eBay after I decide which ones NEED to go into my personal library. After refilling the ice tea glass, I settled down with my laptop to start getting the sell books listed into eBay’s Turbo Lister software so I can get them on eBay this week.

Some of my sewing supplies are now in their new home but most of the fabric stash is still waiting on my in the plastic drawer bins in the garage. I know my sweet hubby will be so glad I purchased some bookshelves for the new fabric closet! The freshly washed fabric stash that is in the guestroom is now piled in the crib waiting to be pressed and folded.

Now for the evening, I’m heading downstairs to the recliner to work on a couple of my knitting projects while I watch a movie!

The movie I watched tonight was The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith. I really enjoyed it so much! Will is able to portray a very realistic father in this film while adding his own touch of humor throughout the film. My daughter warned me to have the box of tissues while watching. While I didn’t shed enough tears to grab the tissues, my heart strings were tugged throughout the 2 hours. Maybe knitting while I watched saved my tissues for another time. I worked on my new ipod with lanyard and a kimono jacket during the evening. What a great way to end my big work day!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Project weekend!

Steve and Brenton went to PromiseKeepers this weekend! This is a great time for them as father & son but I am getting the weekend to myself! Although I still have regular aviary care and bird clients coming in this weekend, I feel like I have the weekend off!

So this weekend, I’m planning on tackling a project I’ve wanted to work on for a while. Finally, I’m working on my guestroom/sewing space! I know I won’t get it all done this weekend but I’m hoping to get a good start anyway. Our guestroom is actually two rooms; one is a “T” shaped room and the other is a small sitting room in front of the “t” shaped room. We have to go through the sitting room to get to the actual bedroom. I have already got my embroidery machine and my sewing machine setup in the sitting room but I would like to move my cutting table in there and move some of the existing furniture out.

Here’s my TUIT list for the weekend:
· Move bed & dresser
· Sort/toss sewing supplies & fabrics
· Clean cutting table
· Move cutting table to sitting room
· Move wicker chair out of room
· Make display arrangements for knitting needles & crochet hooks
· Sort through books to keep and to sell on eBay

In addition to all this work, I plan to do some major stitching! I have 5 knitting projects in progress, 2 quilts, and a Christening gown for my newest granddaughter. I feel movie watching coming on! Look out on Demand movies ~ here I come!

Oh, when the men are away, the woman of the house will play!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

cleaning, podcasts and wet floors!

Good grief! Have I mentioned that I’m not sleeping through the night? Mind you, I sleep very soundly when I sleep but the first part of the night, I just can’t go to sleep unless I’m trying to watch one of my favorite TV shows or reading in the recliner. After I finally go to sleep, I sleep hard until about 2:30 am, then I’m wide awake again! Nope, no hot flashes or anything like that. Usually I’m a little chilly ‘cause my dear hubby steals the sheet! After a little midnight stroll to the bathroom for a drink of water, I can slip right back into dreamland, except I don’t dream. Then I’ll sleep until about 5:30, only to repeat the process… stroll, drink of water, and back to dreamland, where I still don’t dream. I finally gave up and got up to begin the day.

Today was to be a cleaning day…. Well, it was a cleaning day, actually more than I bargained for. I plugged in my trusty ipod with newly downloaded podcasts so I could listen while I clean. I love my ipod and I love podcasts even more! I digress….

I began with the nursery cages. They tend to get more than a little grungy because the weaning babies tend to have food fights with their soft weaning food. At least the cages look like that is what happened in them. Remember the movie Animal House? Now you get the picture.

I pulled perches out of the cages, sprayed them with Clorox solution, and started running the hot soapy water in the sink to soak them. (Remember I’m listening to my ipod.) Then I started pulling the cage liner paper out of the trays and scraping the dried food and poop off the liners. Somehow, my birds always miss the liner paper but hit the side of the cage tray. After pulling papers and scraping 8 cage trays, I gathered them up to take them to the sink for a good scrubbing. My kitchen floor was covered in water! I had gotten so engrossed with the podcast, I left the sink faucet on and forgotten it! there was now water standing all over my kitchen!

I was not planning to do any mopping but hey, the floor was wet! Now it is sparkling clean. I can cross that job off my TUIT list and grab a few extra minutes for stitchin’ on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Favorite shop & my stitching projects

I found out this week that one of my favorite quilt/yarn shops is closing its doors. What a sad day! It seems that the owner is retiring but didn’t want to sell the shop so she is selling out and closing the doors! What a great loss! This shop is a favorite place to visit when I visit my parents. My mom has even picked up yarn for me during sales and kept it for me until I got to her house, then of course, I would NEED to go back to the shop for some unknown supplies.

This week, I’ve gone from not having anything on my knitting needles to having two projects on the needles and 4 new books and yarn for projects ordered! What a fun week! I can hardly wait for all this to arrive at my door. I’ll have 6 projects on the needles by next week!

My dear hubby and dear 2nd son are going on a father/son trip next weekend. I’m trying to get caught up on all aviary and housework so I can do the basic bird care and knit, quilt, and embroider the whole weekend! I’m having a stitching retreat all by myself! I may even set up the embroidery machine and sewing machine in the den so I can watch movies while I stitch until I can’t see straight. At which time, I will go to bed only to get up and stitch again the next day! I’ll stock up on plenty of frozen dinners so there will be no cooking either! Can you tell I’m excited? I thought about inviting a friend or two down for this stitch-in but truthfully, I think the time alone will be wonderful! Sorry, girls…..

This week, I’ve been working on my continental style knitting skills. I’ve been trying to work the socks for my dad in this manner. I still feel that I’m slower than molasses on a very cold January morning but I’m starting to feel less awkward with the process. My left hand seems to be doing most of the work and so it gets rather tired. Thankfully, I have a 2nd project on the needles –the sweater sampler by Jacqueline Fee. This sampler is, from her book, The Sweater Workshop, is supposed to teach all the elements of making a sweater but can’t be worn when it is complete. Since it doesn’t take as much yarn as a real sweater, I’m hoping to learn a lot with very little expense. I bought Wal-mart yarn for this exercise and will use some scrap yarn for the contrasting color that is called for later in the pattern. I’m knitting this English style so my hands get a little rest after the sock continental knitting session.

On the quilt frame, I have two quilts one in the piecing stage; the other is ready for sandwiching. One of these is for Steve’s nephew and the other one is for Brenton, our 2nd son, who graduated this year. I will be working diligently on it to try to finish it before he leaves for college in august. Hopefully both of these quilts will be new patterns for Prim-tiks by the first of the year.

Since I had set 5 new patterns this year as my design goal I really need to get busy and make every project I do count! In other words, I need to bust a move!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Today is just a small collection of musings so forgive me that I’m not on just one particular topic. Actually, when I started this blog, it was my intention to cover all aspects of life for me in Thomaston, including topics on aviculture, fiber art, kids, grandkids, and just plain daily life in each post. Most of the time, my posts have only touched on one topic each time. So today, I’m rambling on....

The birds seem to be quite happy with our current setup. The little bird aviary is almost arranged so that when I make the feed and nestbox rounds that I’m going in a circle. This seems to make my round more time efficient. At the very least, my rounds seem to go more smoothly. The large birds are still spread out all over the place so I tend to have to walk our 3 acres twice a day to care for them. Of course, this has me moving and walking twice a day in addition to my daily exercise regime. Guess that isn’t such a bad thing. I’m not entirely pleased to have my nursery divided between my laundry room (neonate babies) and my breakfast room for weaning babies. Oh, and I have a large cage for larger weaning babies in the den. This keeps me pretty busy with daily housework to keep the health department from condemning us. This brings me to my organization projects.

First of all, I’ve been working on the organization of my home, the aviary, and setting up a special place for my creative space. I think life does go in a complete circle. When we moved into this house, my studio/office was where the little bird aviary is now, completely away from the house. I spent a very cold winter and a very hot summer the first year down there, so I moved my office/studio to our guestroom upstairs. At that point, the studio building became a storage area for retail merchandise. Once the grandchildren started coming, we moved me back to the studio/office building so the guestroom could house visiting family members. We added a woodstove to heat the building and a window a/c, so the retail merchandise and a small classroom area occupied the main floor and my creative space was setup in the attic. After struggling for over 2 years, my dear husband and I decided to close the retail side of my quilting/fiber art business and expand the aviary. So we sold off most of the merchandise and packed up the rest so my studio/office building could house our little birds. My sewing equipment then went back to the guest room and my office/desk has moved from the breakfast room to the den in the last year. I guess you could say I occupy a large percentage of the place but still have no space that is uniquely my own. My sewing space has to stay fairly put together and straight since our guestroom must be ready for kids and grandkids to visit at any time.
I’ve been trying for four years to get us unpacked and organized so life could just flow along. Yes, four years. During those four years, I’ve tried flylady, David Allen, and various other systems. None of them seem to work just right for me. It seems I am right-brained as well as left-handed. So my idea of being organized is not a type-A person's at all. I want everything that I use daily out where I can see it. I do keep a calendar as well as my day runner is my absolute brain. But my dear hubby and I are both packrats! That is the part that just drives me nuts. If I could get through the clutter of things, aka junk, I think I would breathe easier. Steve is not the only stacker in this house but the stacks of stuff never seem to bother him. I can take it for just a certain amount of time and then my little read-headed stack blows. So I’ve sorting/tossing and driving Steve insane right now. He never knows where his boots are going to be -- the bedroom closet is my goal. Steve has taken to going through the trash bin before he takes it down to the road for weekly pickup --- I might have put something valuable, like the dog, in there.

The stitching side of my life has been sorely neglected lately. While I finally have both my embroidery machine and my sewing machine setup, the basic fabric, threads, and embellishment stashes are still stacked all over the guest room. Not only does this make it a little difficult to design or have the basic S.E.X. session, I can only hope I have no overnight guests anytime soon.

About 6 pm, it all stopped and we both had the antsy pants. We took a very long walk around the duck pond across the road. I had our supper simmering in the crock-pot so it was a very nice, unhurried walk.

I did put a pair of green wool socks on my needles yesterday while DH & I watched numerous movies. It was a perfect day for staying home, popping popcorn, movies, and knitting. It, slowly and gently, rained most of the day. I finally figured out how to get 2 socks on 2 circular needles! Woohoo! When the first sock is finished, both of them will be finished! No more 2nd sock syndrome for me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July -- red, white, and blue! i guess it would be unAmerican not to love red, white, and blue together. there is just something exciting and comforting about those colors together. i know, exciting and comforting at the same time is like saying hearing rock 'n' roll will put a baby to sleep. But to see those colors flying in our flag just is comforting while the sense of pride in being an American is exciting! no matter what political party you belong too, no matter what religion, what ethnic culture you embrace, there is a kinship for our fellow American brothers and sisters everytime the Red, white, & blue is flying over head.

I've been so busy this summer. this is my summer of getting everything sorted, tossed, and organized. i know I've been talking about getting organized since i began this blog, but I'm truly starting to see some progress being made. I've condensed my daily tuit list down to three "tasks" besides the normal daily routine. it is inspiring to see my list completely crossed off by the end of each day. while I'm busy every day the stress of a 10 task tuit list, in addition to aviary, home, and office daily stuff, has lifted! I'm not baking for the peach stand this summer and can't believe what a relief it is not to have 12 loaves of bread to make every day! Steve brought in 5 baskets of peaches Sunday evening just for us to eat and freeze. i think I'll bake a peach cobbler today. what a pleasure it is to have the freedom to choose how to spend our summer in this great country of ours!

have a great day!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eclectus baby hatching today!

well, today promises to be very exciting here in the nursery for us. our long awaited first Eclectus baby is in the process of hatching right now. this baby is from our pair that we bought as babies, raised and petted on them for 4 years. We set them up and then started the watch and wait period. Poppie, our hen, got busy almost immediately laying two clear eggs. Solomon got the protective and feeding her part right but not the vital fertilizing at that point. after two more clear egg clutches, we finally got one fertile egg. Poppie incubated it but we had a terrible cold snap and we lost the baby. to make a long story short, we have been through 12 months of her laying, candling eggs, experimenting and figuring out what was going to give us babies and not just eggs.

this time, i pulled the first egg and put it under a cockatiel pair that was laying and i knew would incubate any egg. since tiels only take 19-21 days to hatch their babies, i knew i would have to move this egg in the 10 days of incubation. that made the egg 20 days old. i only had 10 days of incubating and turning the egg until hatch day.

Yesterday was the calendar day. i watched the egg all day after placing it in a small container lined with paper towels and soft tissue for the coming baby. Steve and i checked the egg about 11 pm last night before bed. there were a couple of small pip marks on the egg but no real holes.

6:30 am: since Steve has to be up early for Bible study @ 6:45 am, Thursday mornings, he checked on baby ekkie before i did. he came upstairs to wake me since he only saw a very small pip hole. i got up to go check on things, pulling out my incubation and hatching book as i went to the incubator. Candling the egg revealed a very active and busy chick inside. when i whistled the baby answered me so no worries at this point. Egg was securely back in incubator to continue his/her work. i took a short video of the beginning of the process and think i will continue to film throughout the morning. I'll post the video on my website later.

8:30 am: baby is really pipping now. he has worked about 3/4 around the large end of the shell and is starting to push it open a bit. he is still chirping when we talk or whistle. Steve is home from Bible study and taking a peek. Tears are in both our eyes! the miracle of birth! i pray that this small miracle never dims in its awesomeness when my 1000th egg hatches! I've hatched several babies in the incubator prior to this one and we have had numerous parent hatched babies; however, this baby is our baby from two of our babies! it's very special to us!

10:30 am: Baby has made a larger crack and is pushing steadily at the large end of the shell to open it. i believe he might be out of the shell by noon.

Monday, April 09, 2007

why do i do what i do?

A couple of days ago, my little grandson got in trouble. He burst into tears and cried, "No body understands my case!" I know exactly what he means! I’m still trying to make my mom understand why I am the way I am. Someone told me once that since I was a Pisces, I was a free spirit. If I believed that certain phases of the moon could really make each of us have a certain personality, then I might just use that every time one of my actions came out of left field. My mom says I have a restless spirit. I really am not restless, but I am a free spirit. Mark Twain might have been writing about me when he wrote:

“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.”

My mom says it is her curse that I took after my father's side of the family with my love of animals and raising them. My daddy instilled a certain attitude in me that even though I was a "girl" I could do anything I wanted to do -- that includes raising animals, shoveling out a bird barn, carrying 40 lb bags of feed, and still worrying about if my makeup is fresh enough to go to town. I'm not quite refined but hey, I'm not unrefined either! I love wine, no beer please. I love art work but neon signs do nothing for me unless they are Disney World! I would love to travel Europe but again, Disney World is almost as exciting to me as traipsing through the castles of Austria. I'm a blue jean kind of gal but enjoy dressing up sometimes in dresses with pumps. My husband actually holds the door for me no matter what I have on. So what makes one refined or unrefined? I can't imagine being dressed to the nines all day everyday would give me the same feeling that it does now when we are going somewhere special. I love the anticipation of the hot shower, putting my makeup on just so, dressing in something feminine and even a little sexy. Work days are just that... work days. As such, jeans, tees or sweaters, boots or crocs are so much more practical in the aviary than pumps.

I do what I do for my career because it feels right to me. It's casual, rewarding and creative. I can wear jeans and boots at our aviary even when customers come to call because technically, I’m a farmer.

It’s so rewarding to raise those little dinosaur babies into big, beautiful, healthy, well-adjusted pets to give someone a life-time of pleasure. How many people can make that claim? When I raise a bird for someone to take home, I’ve raised them a life-long companion. Most birds will live 15 to 80 years, depending on the species.

It’s so creative. I get to write about my experiences, educational articles for new bird breeders; I get to show my birds in competition, and I am photographer extraordinaire (not quite, but don’t tell the birds). I also lay awake at night dreaming up a new design for nestboxes, cages, and toys. Poor hubby has a very long honey-do list.
Ah, well, forgive the rambling today... I was musing and got a little lost in the thought....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is in the air! The UPS man just brought my new rosebushes! What? I have a column due? It can’t be due yet; I just sent you one. That was four weeks ago? Hmmmm… but the weather is gorgeous outside! My daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths are blooming; this box of roses just came today. The temperature is supposed to be 74 with the sun shining! Isn’t there someway for me to just work outside today then tomorrow when it is supposed to rain, I can write the column? The printer is waiting on my column? I’m holding the whole press?
Have you ever heard parrots sing in the spring? Actually, it really isn’t singing like a canary, but they yell at the top of their lungs rejoicing on a beautiful sunshiny day like today. I love to sit in the Adirondack chair by the pond and watch them play with the new toys I got them last month at the bird fair. Oh, you don’t want an article about the birds playing? This column is for a quilting magazine, not a bird magazine. Ok…..
Spring is in the air! I know I already said it, but I’m hoping all of you north of the Mason-Dixon Line will start believing me. General Lee (our southern groundhog) didn’t see his shadow so I know spring is in the air! General Lee is never wrong!
What does General Lee have to do with quilting you ask? Well, his coat is a luscious brown. Have you noticed that brown and pink are back in vogue this year? In fact, brown with any other hot color is definitely the in thing this year!
Just as the seasons come back around so does vogueness. The first documented time for brown and pink in quilts and fabrics is the 1870s. Brown didn’t just fade away for over 100 years. It resurfaced again with rusty tones in around 1885.
Patchwork, appliqué, redwork, crazy quilting, wholecloth quilts all tend to make their appearances in a new exciting form every 15 or 20 years. My ears just perk up when someone starts asking how a designer ever came up with this new technique, then they kind of drop when the designer starts describing how she did it. Usually, the technique is not new at all, but a revised or updated version of a very old technique or pattern.
Various tools from our husbands’ workshops or even our kitchens have also inspired various quilt tool manufacturers as well. Just think if the local pizzeria hadn’t used that pizza cutter in front of a quilter, we might never have had rotary cutters!
If the local architect’s wife hadn’t been a quilter, we might not have ever had acrylic rulers to use with our rotary cutters. Architects have some of the neatest measuring and drafting tools imaginable! What is old becomes new again!
What? You still want that quilting column? Well, now that I have daydreamed the afternoon away with suppositions about what will be in vogue next year, I better get to writing!