Monday, June 30, 2008

Little Boys

It's been a rough and tumble week for all the chirruns at Becher Haus, but Little Man Eli has taken some of the worst wipe-outs I've ever seen where training wheels are concerned. This is him, passed out a few nights ago. The elbows are healing nicely, but the ego is growing out of proportion to his wee body. He is determined to keep up at all costs... or at least at the cost of some skin.

Today the older three got their new rides as well, and when I hopped back into Biggrrrl to come in to fix a computer glitch (I just call a number and get talked through it... don't go thinking I'm gettin' muh geek on, or anything. I'm not Wonderwoman, or even That Crocker Woman), they were already riding like maniacs around the driveway.

Okay, the Sopranos and a night with Herr Becher await me. Photo-heavy post coming up on Wednesday... and hopefully a decent-looking rhubarb tart.
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

the post has left the building

Or at least it's left Blogger. I spent almost two hours... writing, editing, re-writing, cross-examining, devil's-advocating... and it's gone. Poof! Blown into the ether of the cosmos. I suppose it's best, seeing as how it was a ranty post anyway. Nothing major. Just two hours of my life I'll never get back. *sigh*

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mixing it up

There were strange forces at work today at the shop. Emma appeared out of thin air (this is our knitting Emma, not the baking 'Emma') and what did she have with her, but her hip skirts from her belly dancing class. We got Mandi to tie one on, and Eli insisted he had to try, too. (Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy, arms up, and out...)

You can plainly see that Eli is a executive transvestite monkey, and got the whole 'arms up' thing pretty quickly. He wasn't half bad at his hip shimmy, either. I swear, the whole big world seems to be out having way more fun than me. Where's my belly dancing class? My jingly hip skirt? My... is that peanut butter and dirt all over my child? (Um, yeah. His daddy dragged him in that way.) The 'live to ride' mentality that has taken over Becher Haus means that the kids are all done with breakfast and out the door before I even take off in the morning. Tomorrow will probably be hard on them, because the morning bike rides that work all the wiggles out of them won't happen. I have a default plan, though.
You can plainly see the empty shelves behind the hip-skirted "belly dancers"... today was 'floor move' day, and it didn't get all done. Dusting shelves and moving six hundred or so bolts of fabric around the store is exhausting. I think I'll have plenty to keep antsy chirruns busy until that daddy comes to get them.

The cycling boy has conquered the bike, btw. He started 'really riding' last night, and has been hard at it ever since. He makes it look like so much fun, and even when he wipes out, he doesn't fuss near as much as I know him to be capable of. He's too busy having fun to bother with whining about scrapes. I do think the Bactine helps, though... it's how seven-year-olds 'self-medicate'.

Many of you wanted to know about the gift yarn Rob gave me. It's labeled 'Sheep Shop Yarn Co.', and is of a chunky weight (3 to 3.5 sts/1") in the oh, so plainly named colorway of 'E123'. She got it at Susan's yarn sale up in Indy. Mostly because I complained so bitterly that she was knitting a fulled wool project with it, when it plainly wanted to be mittens (or a scarf) for me! What was that woman thinking? (Buying the crazy woman yarn so she'll shut up, was what she was thinking.) Thank you again, Rob... I am still fondling the yarny-goodness.

Okay, this post has run long.
Up for the "weekend"... finish the store's floor move, dissolve in exhausted puddle on said floor. Make rhubarb tarts on Sunday, re-start diet on Monday. Laugh more, sleep more, knit more.
Maybe buy a 'big girl' bike and ride with the kids.
Buy more Bactine and band-aids...
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

whole lotta yum

(she brought me cows and dolphins, too)

(sugar pigs are itty-bitty... less than half of a pinkie nail's size... and pink)
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String is my thing

It really doesn't seem to matter anymore... I've decided to stop trying to choose. Yesterday brought a fabric rep to the door, and today it was yarn. Nice yarn. Pretty fabric. All made from string. So, that's it. In the grand scheme, I'm no better than my cat... except she still chews the limbs off her luvvies.

Storms are moving through the area now, so I'm shutting down the computer. I was supposed to remember the camera today... oh, wait, I did. I'll post a yarn pic and sugar pigs. 'No-Amy' brought me some back from the Stringtown Grocery, in Kalona, Iowa. Okay, lightning bad, and too close. Type at y'all latah. C

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't look up... or down.

A few nights ago I was doing the after-hours wipe-down of the kitchen and decided to play with the camera. (It's predisposition to "overexposure" is apparent; these were taken with the kitchen lights completely off... at midnight. Also apparent is my short attention span.) Anyway, I was using it as an exercise to see what I normally refuse to acknowledge, to notice what I'm missing. Turns out what I'm missing is a whole lotta liquor. Also some greasy-dusty baskets what want a good scrubbing. The cabinet is seven foot tall, I am 5'4", and the problem is obvious. I don't drink enough. (In case you're shocked and appalled at the lack of vodka, don't fret. It's in the fridge with the Pama.)

I also discovered if you just wipe the dust off things, it sorta looks clean. (Squinting and dimming the lights helps, too.) I'll be starting the 'clean kitchen quest' soon. It's an annual event, which begins with me cheerfully washing the window screens and doesn't end until I either a.)develop the perfect organizational system for rubber spatulas with removable handles or b.) pass out from over-doing the adult beverages. This annual chore was way more fun the one year I got to do it with my ADD meds. I was on fire that year. Wish I'd made a chart of the baking dishes cupboard. I haven't been able to shoehorn them in nearly as well since.

Today was so much more relaxing than a 'regular' Wednesday. Robin brought me goodies (yummy yarn), Red brought cookies, Phyl is starting another hat, and I got to fondle and grope fabrics from Blank Quilting (new rep, totally nice, think I'm going to like her just swell). I'm going to go knit on the 'Clap' some more tonight. It's almost ready for ball #4 (of 5), and progress appears to have been made. I know. Crazy knitting black holes. I might have to faint from the shock of it all. Go be lazy, or sleazy, or cozy...dizzy, woozy, fuzzy... if it ends in 'zy', you have my blessing. *smooches, pooches* C

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dude, where's your cake?

Emma's Bakery totally pulled through for us, and Joe, seven today, got the "cake" he desired. (That hidden peanut butter layer is ever so tasty.)
Two down, three to go, as far as bike-shopping is concerned. We went to Bicycle Garage Indy and our salesguy was super. Too bad Joe didn't opt-in for the training wheels. We are currently running low on band-aids and Bactine spray, and he's more than a little frustrated at his lack of balance (actually, it's more of a 'not-peddling-fast-enough' problem). But, a snappy new Trek bike when you're seven is probably a lot like being handed the keys to a stick shift at age 14... if you want it bad enough, eventually you get it out of first gear.

Littlest dude got his today, too. Yeah, he pretty much made Joe eat his dust, trainers and all.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Sucked-away day

Time has become a very strange element in my life. All the week past I kept thinking Joe's birthday was Wednesday, when in actual fact, it is tomorrow. Ask me how much an ass I felt like, ordering his "cake" (Emma's Bakery chocolate peanut butter bars) by leaving a message on an answering machine? Go on. I can admit it now, though I reserve the right to delete this post at any time.

Yep. Took a big ol' stupid pill this past week, and time stopped moving at the proper speed. A busy day at the shop, and it's four in the afternoon before I even think to glance at the clock, but with the decreased foot traffic and some cantankerous children and an hour feels like an eternity. Truthfully, since Eli came along, time has felt like a mortal enemy. He just turned three two weeks ago, but I swear I've aged at least ten years since he was born. Hell, all of a sudden, just stepping into my panties (such a cute word for something so large) is a frustrating yoga exercise. One slip and I'll be breaking a hip.

Tomorrow I was supposed to go rescue a sofa, with the intent to have it recovered in the newest Amy Butler home dec fabrics (August Fields collection rocks, btw), but we have decided to go bike shopping for all the kids, and let Joe pick the restaurant for dinner. My gastric wellness is in the hands of a newly minted seven year old. I'm begging off knit-night for the first time that I can remember, and taking it down to just the third Tuesday of every month; no one has the gas to blow on extra trips anyway. Feels like failure, but is actually just a sanity-saver. And now my sleepy-time concoction has kicked in fully. Tomorrow I start stock-piling Nat Sherman "Mint Natural" cigarettes, because the FDA is pulling flavored smokes off the market. Clove smokes, too. Get 'em while you can, because the safety-nazis have decided you aren't allowed to have them. I don't even smoke, but I also reserve the right to start again at any time, so the sock yarn in the freezer will have some company. You never know when a Rizzo-moment might strike. Us bad girls have to be prepared with our upscale smokes. I'm buying a birthday cigar, too. never had one, but Diane Keaton sure looked cute with hers...

I'm off to terrorize Herr Becher with my snoring. Thank you for all the calls and encouragement about Saturday's post. And my apologies for skipping Sunday... it was a lost day, spent eating chocolate and reading all day. Really lovely and rare for me. It felt naughty and decadent, and the kids behaved beautifully, mostly because I took the lazy 'let them play games all day' approach to parenting. It's actually been two days of total mental collapse, and I really do feel better now. I'll be back tomorrow, with a few balloon pics, and Joe with a chocolate ring around his face. Latah, knittas. C

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hope floats

No words can convey my shock, my sadness, or my surprise at this day. One of my dear customers, who had decided last fall that this would be her year to take a grand prize ribbon at the fair, came into the shop today. I asked if she'd come through the flood alright and immediately I knew better. As it turns out, her ground-floor apartment was a total loss, but sadder still was the loss of her life's tokens. Family photographs and her grandmothers' quilts were ruined, as it wasn't just rain water, but backed up sewage that first invaded her home. The photo quilt she'd began as her county fair entry was gone,as were the precious wedding photos of her parents and both sets of grandparents. The memory quilt was lost to the flood.

Or was it? We'd scanned in the photos to Picasa and there they still were, on the computer. She had tears in her eyes this morning when she realized that she still had access to those old family photographs. True, it'll be quite some time before she'll be settled into a new apartment (a hot commodity, with all that's been condemned), and she's currently without sewing machine, but the emotion in her voice was strong and her eyes glittered beneath the tears... the memory quilt will come to be, and it has some new memories tagging along. As I gathered up her purchase into a bag, she flashed such a beaming smile at me. The normalcy of picking out fat quarters and rebuilding her stash made her feel good, like anything was possible, that her world will return to a pattern she recognizes. Today I was privileged to offer her a listening ear, and some encouragement. Today, hope looked like a bag of cloth, a spool of thread, and a smile.
Perhaps all that we can ever really have is hope.

Running away

"Don't be upset, there's no cause for alarm" were my mother's opening words to this evening's phone call. She went on to tell me about the spectacle of Gran sneaking out of the house while Cousin Rachael was on guard-duty. It seems my Crazy Aunt had attempted to go to the grocery store without taking the world's biggest toddler in tow, and the saga ended with poor Rach having to call 911 to report Gran missing. Just moments later the Small Town Iowa Police would be fielding another emergency call from some people reporting a crazy, eighty-five year old toddler in their yard. For a woman who seemingly has no memory of her spouse of forty-plus years, her three daughters, her service as a WAVE in WWII, her madcap adventures with her beauty-school best pal following the war, she sure planned one hell of an escape. Just the fact that she waited until Crazy Aunt was off doing the shopping has to count for something. The pod people left behind a mean duplicate. Gran's shell is becoming a giant pain in the ass, though wildly entertaining for all the neighbors.

Today started off weird/bad. Since the flooding happened, the whole town is edgy and weary of the mess, the work, and the confusion. Affected government offices are squeezed into odd places; one office is housed on the top floor of the county museum, another in a bank. The business of life is on hold while entire communities try to rebuild basic necessities like hospitals. I cry every morning as I drive into town, arriving tear-streaked and hiding behind my 'rehab-shades'. This has to be PTSD, which, true to form, I am unable to take medication for. Plotting my own escape hasn't helped either, and today, in a moment of absolute clarity, I had to accept the fact that there is no "out". I can be tracked down anywhere, as I cannot live without my plastic 'money', and vehicle safety standards being what they are, I cannot even be assured of a quick and dirty death. Damnable airbags. So, I, and other small business owners like myself will continue to soldier on. You'll know us when you see us. If the morgue-humor isn't a give-away, the darting eyes and various nervous tics should tip you off.

I'm going to med-up and hit the rack now. Tomorrow Today is a sock class, and I'm hoping to have helpers coming in, except I forgot to call them (dammit, I knew I was forgetting something), so I'll be the idiot blubbing in the corner when it gets too overwhelming. This will all blow over in time, but it'd be so much easier if my telepathy would kick in. Ugh. Latah, knittas.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Does this stitch marker make my yarn look fat?

Susan has started her 'Modern Quilt Wrap', and, well, you know a stitch marker is required. What better way for a cafe owner/baker/candlestick maker to keep her place?

(these bolts are just here to asssist someone in the decision-making process... it isn't much, but it's most of what I have in aqua blues/browns.)

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Outside my door

A big, gawping hole... closer to the door this time.

The many layers of Franklin... a trial to be endured...

because of this lil' bit o' cuteness. Longer hair and he's all 'Sawyer'-esque. Thimbleanna, you are so missing out on some fun over here.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just another day

They've finally arrived... the Amy Butler solids for the 'Midwest Modern' fabric collection. I've only wanted these for, oh, about forever, so this was pretty thrilling to see on the UPS dude's trolley. Rob and Mandi unpacked everything and got it all priced and put up. This photo is from the end of the day, after someone decided to put solids with their printed counterparts. I lurves those girls. Always thinking ahead.

Here's more cuteness. Liesl allowed me to 'cop a feel' of her patterns and I'm in the process of making a shop model. I tried to pawn the job off on StuntStitcher, but that woman is going to be busy making some crazy cute skirts soon, so it's best if I struggle through a real sewing project on my own. Not that these are a struggle... they are so well written and easy to follow, I'm pretty sure I won't even shed blood or be tempted to slam my own head in a car door...

which is how I've felt most of the past two weeks, with the floods, the local misery, and the bubbling street. The flood waters really had no where to go, so after they trashed cars, buildings, and three area hospitals, they (the mass of molecules as a whole) decided to seep upward out of the asphalt. Comforting, no?

This is the work of three men, a jack-hammer, an additional man with a back hoe, and a steel plate. Some would call it a patch, others perhaps would call it a band-aid, but in the burg of Franklin, Indiana, this is called a repair.

The Embarq repairman never showed up for the DSL fix, btw, and I compensated by stalking one of the upstairs Embarq guys as he was ready to leave the jobsite Tuesday evening. He rocks, and came in and fixed the problem with a new modem, though I had to do some more debugging-yuck this morning... my apologies to all who had to witness my crying fit(s) today and if it weren't for the kindness of muh knittas, I'd have given up long ago. I'm off to spend a night of Clap-knitting with Herr Becher now. See y'all tomorrow.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If you are Conni...

please e-mail me or phone the shop at your earliest convenience. Urgent in nature. If you are anyone else, go play. It's knit-night... more posting to follow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the non-post

Tomorrow is E-day, when the local Embarq office sends out the guy in the ill-fitting work jumper to test lines and, if he's smart enough to haul along the proper equipment, replace the modem. So, imagine my surprise when today, as I pulled into the parking lot, not one but two Embarq trucks are hogging themselves some spaces (because only asses leave the swing-out doors wide open in a small lot). True to form, and because I do not run the world, they were there to fix the upstairs phones, etc., but nothing on the first floor. Duh. Do you suppose anyone filling out the work orders will even notice that they dispatched trucks to the same location two days in a row? Arrgh... and it's not even 'talk like a pirate' day... arrrrgh.

I'm going to take a nap and then knit more on the Clapotis. Ball three is starting to look a wee bit smaller. There is a light at the end of this knitting black hole, after all. Now, braggart that I am, I will be given a smack-down by the knitting fates, but I'm too tired to care. It's a day of ennui. Reading sounds nice, but the book is too heavy to hold. Knitting will be great, when my hands don't feel like clubs. Thank heavens for the bed. Type at you later. I'll put a pic up for your scrutiny tomorrow... another patchwork idea has hatched. But now, you go be crafty. *smooches, pooches* C

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cow Toss

Here we are. Father's Day, 2008. What to get the man who already has five devil-spawn? First, I decided a song book would be good. 'Boris' tinkers a bit on his Taylor guitar, and I'd hoped to have him cranking out the theme song from "Weeds". 'Cuz I can sing that one... not well, but I know all the words. Turns out, Malvina Reynolds has been dead since 1978, and her songbooks are long out of print, but the cool cats at GuitarWorks in Greenwood found her 'Little Boxes' song in another book. Swell. Then it was on to the next business, that of feeding the herd.

A quick trip through Taco Bell, where the scar-faced man with the prison tattoos always flirts with me (he likes Biggrrrl, and would probably carjack me if he could fit through the drive-thru window), and we were set to chow down in the parking lot of Best Buy. This is where the music lives, and is the hell torment that must be endured to procure music to fascinate our Father's Day celebrant. We walked, like a family of taco-stuffed ducklings, into the depths of the box store, and were awarded with not only four CDs for Daddy, but two Wii games as well.

Last stop for the day's crazy train was SuperTarget. Normally, I don't get to go to Target, with having to keep hours at Clementine's, but today was special. I got distracted in the sniff-the-candles aisle, the examine-this-cheap-but-cute stationery aisle, and was just getting to the ponder-fifty-kinds-of-toothpaste aisle, when Joe, who had complained of wanting to go home, and then of having a stomach ache (yet he declined a trip to the restroom...thrice) blew beefy taco bits all over the floor in front of the pharmacy (former home of the 'family toilet'). It was all I could do not to bust out laughing. Or crying. Maybe a little of both, I think. It took four attempts to get paper towels out of the pharmacy dude, plus I had to beg them to open the door to the former 'family toilet' to wash the mess off everyone's Crocs (God Bless Crocs. Can I get an Amen?), and when, finally, someone came with the stinky sawdust/barf absorber, we'd been ten minutes into getting it cleaned up ourselves. Those dudes are sloths... sleeping sloths.

I'm just hoping it's a stomach bug and not food poisoning, because if I have to endure this with four more kids (and myself) today, I will be a singularly unhappy, and slightly green about the gills, momma. Herr Becher is busily trying to rustle up dinner. I don't have the heart to tell him I'm just not that into it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gnashing of teeth

I have just had the privilege of frittering away several minutes of my life on hold with the Borg that is Franklin's local phone company, Embarq. Now, aside from the sheer corniness of the new-fangled spelling (all aboard for 'whole-word' learning... you too can look like an idiot), the amount of time spent on hold (16 minutes), and the grating, tinny music they subjected me to, it was the utter lack of assistance I received when I finally got to "Tim" that has my blood pressure up.

I calmly explained what had happened when the lightning struck yesterday, and told him exactly what "computer" had told me... that the Internet connection was disabled due to a "socket failure". I asked if he thought a technician could come and check the wiring, and have a back-up modem ready to install, if that was what had fried.

Well, don't you know he had to 'run a diagnostic' first to tell me exactly what I told him, then asked me if I couldn't just go to "the Embarq store" (wherever the hell that is) and swap out the modem myself.
Oh, sure, cupcake. That's precisely why I pay the super-expensive BUSINESS phone rates on my bill, bought the back-up line insurance, and wasted twenty-three minutes of my life this morning with your horse-ass...
They're coming to fix it on Tuesday. "Tim" couldn't say for sure if the repair man would be equipped with a replacement modem or not. I almost can't take the anticipation.

eta: the Boris has again posted. This proves two things. 1.) He does sometimes pay attention when I tell him a humorous anecdote, and 2.) Drunk-dialing is always funny, though it can become someone's blog post title.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is there any other kind?

Rhubarb custard pie. With apologies to both Melly and Gaylen, who were both tortured with my food-p0rn talk earlier this evening. Here's the basic recipe. Alter it at your own peril:
basic flour/lard/kosher salt (oh, the irony)/water pie crust (I measure none of it, instead throw about a cup of lard in the mixer bowl, add in about 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour, and several Tbsp ice water, and start mixing. It'll become granular; you may have to give it as much as half a cup of water, but you want it to still be in little bits, not smooth. Once you can squeeze it and make it stay together, you're done. Throw it in the fridge for later.)
Okay, the good stuff: three cups (round UP) cut rhubarb, mixed in a bowl with 1 1/2 cups sugar, three Tbsp flour, big pinch of the kosher salt, grated nutmeg (about ten passes on the grater), and a smidge of Saigon cinnamon (that's the hot, perfumey stuff). Toss it all together well, and then add in the wet gunk of 2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp milk.

These are the ingredients for one pie. Obviously there is a need for more pie here at Becher Haus, so I do it double. And yes, the eggs have to be brown here. Not at your house, but I recommend them highly. Aesthetics are everything.
Anyhow, you mix all the wet gunk in with the rhubarby, sugary goodness, and put in into your pie dish, which you've remembered to line with that bangin' lard crust you made. You have to smooth out the taller bits of rhubarb, and make sure the custard-goo is fairly even, then you dot the top with 1 Tbsp butter, cut into eensy little bits.

Pop it into a 375 oven (or just on the floor of the roasting oven, for anyone saddled with a propane-sucking AGA like me) and in about an hour, you get this...
the best custard pie. Ever.

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Dog on Thursday

I got home from running errands yesterday to find the recent flood had deposited more than just silt at Becher Haus. This young lady had firmly planted her furry behind on the back porch. I've already commented to Gaylen that her "Dogs on Thursday" posts have gone too far. In the meantime, 'Dot' would like to say hello.

She would also like to go for a ride in the Jeep...

just as soon as she finds a work-around for her lack of opposable thumbs.

If you are local and have any idea where this lass belongs, please e-mail me. If you don't have any clue, but would like a hound to hold down your back porch, again, e-mail me. We live in doggy-dumpsville, and I'm sure she was just released to the wilds when the flood hit on Saturday. Today we again find ourselves hit with too much water. Lightning took out my DSL connection at the shop this morning, and we had to find a creative route out of town. Happily, Biggrrrl found herself at the mall, so make-up and books were had.
I'm off to feed the pooches, the chirruns, and the washing machine before the next wave of storms take the power out. Be well. C
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The week in review

Jefferson Street, through my windshield, just after I dropped the kids off at the shop. An hour or so later and this crush of rain water would lift the prosecutor's office off it's foundation, and all roads to downtown would be barricaded. The cars that floated away seemed to gravitate to the baseball diamond (including, but not limited to, a fire chief's truck, a squad car, several Hondas, and a moped).

A little dude turned three. This is after our bathroom adventure. The cake I ordered was chocolate, the cake I picked up was... well, not. It was cute and edible, and lasted less than a day, but I'll definitely be more specific about flavors for the next five cakes. All chocolate. Yes, just five more cake-eating celebrations between now and mid-August. Obviously, my lack of a waist isn't going to be cured anytime soon.

Melly took this photo yesterday of the sock re-do. I actually spent most of the day shoveling in plates full of her home made fried rice. It was fantastic, and I'm not a bit ashamed to say I'd do it again. I sure do like that crafty girl. Her blog is busy being weird now, but keep an eye peeled for blogging action from her soon...
Time for me to haul everyone out of the shop. 'Socks for Scaredy-Cats' begins on Saturday. You comin'? C
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photo post at long last

Possibly the most wonderful yarn I have ever had the pleasure to run my fingers through is Yarn Love's "Elizabeth Bennet". To offset the mill's mistake about the skein weight, the women who are Yarn Love made me some solids, for a little 'top, heel, toe' contrast, increasing the yardage to accommodate actual big-people feet. Merino, bamboo, and silk... it knits up so beautifully, I didn't even get too upset at having to restart after Eli yanked out the needles on the festival sock. This colorway is 'Valentine'...

And this one here is 'Tuscany'. Gorgeous. I have about twenty colorways made into these skeined trios. As always, e-mail or phone me if you need a fix.

Here is the Amy Butler 'Midwest Modern' quilt, somewhat rumpled, but thanks to a local stitcher, ready to be sent off for machine quilting. She had it done in time for the ill-fated fiber-fest, and kits are available. Now I just have to figure out a decent way to display it from the shop's twelve foot ceiling. A ladder will have to be acquired, as will a person unafraid to climb said ladder, 'cuz this lil' fat girl isn't.

This dress is the 'Vintage Vogue' circa 1952 day dress made by Jill. Click and prepare to pee yourself at her structural engineering. This dress has built-in boobs and I feel like I should have my shoulders back, balancing a book on my head, every time I so much as glance in it's direction. It is like channeling Audrey Hepburn right into the store. I am so blessed to meet all these talented, wonderful people. The fact that they offer to make samples is just so much icing on the cake. Or maybe it's gravy. It's time to go home... before my low blood sugar sacks me onto the floor. Latah, crafty chicas. C

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Skeins and bolts

This is just a quickie-post to update everyone who has called, e-mailed, or commented about the well-being of Clementine's. The shop is in great condition, as the building sits on a hill (however slight) and no water damage is detectable. I spent 'knit-night' rebuilding wire grid shelves and trying to make sense of the post-festival yarn containment system. Tomorrow's post will have photos in it. Tonight I have a pressing telly-date with Herr Becher (season 3 "Weeds"), and oldest child is doing a 'forever download' of some game that will probably make my computer crap itself... can a Mac be far behind? Type at you latah, knittas. C

Monday, June 9, 2008


I know it seems like I'm avoiding the whole 'photo posting' thing right now, but if you could please tell my children to stop being asses, I'd be a lot further along in the game right now. Today is Eli's third birthday, and the plan was to get everyone bathed, dressed, and out the door, go into the shop to see if Mandi had pulled her own hair out yet whilst "reorganizing" the yarn area, then we'd all walk over to the toy shop and let Eli choose a birthday gift. After that, we'd get some helium balloons, then pick up his cake from Emma's Bakery, head home, and eat our way into glycemic shock. A perfect day, by my reckoning.

Alas, what actually happened was this: As I sat with my second mug of decaf (the morning had gotten off to an early start with a backache that drove me from my bed), Lillian came downstairs wailing that the upstairs toilet was running over. As I tore up the stairs, I shouted for Madeleine to grab the bleach and rubber gloves, Lilly was to get towels, and the boys were to tell me if it started leaking through to the dining room. I stompered the toilet, mopped up poop-swill, bleached and scrubbed the toilet, floor, and surrounding walls, and after gathering up all the cleaning apparatus, came down the stairs to find...
a steady stream of water leaking from out of the woodwork onto Eli's chair, soaking the rug, and pooling into the kitchen.
So much for the plans of mere mortals. I screamed at my heedless children about their excessive wadding of toilet tissue, their lack of respect for having their own damn bathroom (which I would have given an eye for as a kid), and about the general disarray of the upstairs, which I've decided is no longer tolerable, even if I do refuse to haul myself upstairs to look at it. We will be ripping out our downstairs bathroom soon, due to a faulty bit of tile work that has created a much larger problem with the sub flooring, and the upstairs has to be better. I'm not letting the little shits force me into a heart attack over their bad bathroom habits. That's my morning in a big, bloggy nutshell. I'm off to check the dripping woodwork and start another bleach load of towels. Have a better day than me, please.

p.s. A beautiful deer just walked right past our front windows, across the driveway, and into the blackberry brambles that separate our front yard from the neighbors. It would seem the 'no-mow' treatment has additional benefits, besides the bounty of bunnies in the yard, the foxes out back, and the wild turkey who walked right up to our back porch last week. Ah, wilderness.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Progress and pincushions

I think sleeping until almost eight a.m. was good for this ol' girl. I don't feel like crying anymore (but that could have just been the beer and Xanax working their magic), and by the light of day, things seem more normal. Of course, I didn't spend my night in a church gymnasium on a cot.

Plans for later today include (after a quick phone to police see what back roads are open) possibly trying to get back to the shop, to unload the yarn from the bowels of the Jeep. Stuck at home in the meantime, as Herr Becher had to take Bigrrrl to work. A fifteen passenger van is starting to look better and better, as I keep finding myself in situations where I need maximum transport volume, plus seating for five kids.

Today's immediate plan of action is rearranging the pins in the felted pincushions I bought yesterday. One was to be a gift, except I can't decide which is prettier, so I've been moving the 'sample pins' from one side to the other, making them model (they don't get the whole "pout, turn, pose" thing... but it's early and I haven't had my pseudo-coffee yet). I now also see the folly in using my personal skeiner at the shop, because I want it and it isn't here. Ugh. I haven't heard from Mandi or Rob yet to know if they're okay, but it's still before nine in the morning and calling them now would just be mean, if they got any sleep at all. Pictures later, though I didn't take any good ones at the festival... I'd been charging the battery and decided Saturday would be better (thinking more people, more activity, more more) and then all we had was the flood. Shit. I will show you the loot, and do a link list so you can go see for yourself some of the coolness that was around, for tomorrow's post (meaning, I have to find the camera in all the mess of my shopping bags). Until then, stay dry and out of trouble, k? C
p.s. Spellcheck refuses to believe 'skeiner' is a word and this pisses me off greatly. Muggles.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Oops about the blogging absence. Friday was hectic, exciting, and exhausting, and it was so much fun to see all the Ravelers out in force for the fiber festival... then today happened. It had stormed all night, which isn't uncommon for spring in Indiana, but the drive in was treacherous. After 'white-knuckling' it to town, over swiftly moving water in a torrential downpour (God bless the man who invented Suburbans) and getting the kids settled in with Robin's granddaughter at the shop, the county was declared a flood/disaster/evacuation zone. Did they not know there were fiber junkies from a great many states in town for the event? Did they not care?

I couldn't get back to the kids at the shop, because the area around the court house was being emptied. Robin was upset, with a migraine, no less, and so Herr Becher was called to come rescue the chirruns. It took him over four hours to navigate what should have been a forty minute operation. Franklin is a mess, day two of the festival was a bomb, everyone spent the day shivering in wet clothes with no way to leave, and a general pall was cast over the event when the building's floor began to seep and puddle water. The nice lady in the booth next to mine had over eight hundred bucks worth of goods damaged. The day was spent hovering, worrying, waiting. When I was finally able to work my way out of town, it involved driving so far in the opposite direction, I had to lie to myself and pretend I was driving to the mall so I wouldn't have a panic attack. I made it home, and we're all fine, but the extent of the damage I saw in Franklin was sickening. Cars completely submerged, houses flooded up to the first floor window sills, people being rescued in bass boats by good ol' boys. You can always count on a redneck to be prepared. They're the ones with the cold beer stowed in the truck. The hospital was able to move the E.R. up a floor, but the streets leading to the hospital were closed. I have no idea what condition to expect the shop to be in when I can get back. Not yet sure when that will be, as we're being asked in this county to please stay home, so as not to interfere with rescue efforts. Bridges and dams are crumbling, and the main storm sewer burst it's guts in town. I think tomorrow will be spent just fondling my yarn and roving (yes, I'm a spinner again...well, soon, anyway) and counting all the ways I am so very lucky have such great friends.

Calm thoughts for RedRhonda, who's (posh, finished) basement took a beating today (six-ish inches of water), and for Melly, who braved driving rain and huge puddles, both of whom came today to take in the gorgeous fiber-y goodness, even though we had to slog through shin-deep water to go see Diane's booth. (And I scored her MB5 and MI sock yarns.) I'd been a bit sad about missing TNNA, but the people I've met the past two days more than made up for it all. Now, I am exhausted, still worried that Mandi might not have made it back home, and wiped from the Xanax (it was a multi-dose day) and the ice cold beer I slammed in minutes upon arriving home. Tomorrow will be better, but I hear it may rain on Monday... *groan*. C

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Slave Driver

I'm pretty sure Kelly won't be too eager to pop into the shop anytime soon. She's probably home now, exhausted and aching, from getting enlisted to do grunt work as the fiber festival presses near. She may have inadvertently let slip she used to assemble quilt kits. In a normal conversation, on a regular day, it would not have fazed me the least... today, I practically thrust a rotary cutter at her. She helped to choose fabrics for some Amy Butler purse kits, and became acquainted with the price sticker gun. Oh, and she ran to the bakery... and brought some back. Thank you, Miss K. You might just rock.

I just checked... it starts in less than fourteen hours. I still have kits to assemble, fleece packs to label and price, and sometime in those hours, I have to get all the yarn, etc. to the fairgrounds and set up prettily. No prob. I've factored in the five hours of Zzzzzs I need, some time for minimal-cuteness-hygiene, and transit into town and to/from the shop to fair grounds. Allowing for getting stuck at traffic lights all the way across town (adds ten minutes), I think I can even squeak a trip over to Burger King for breakfast, because I think Mandi and I will be a couple of hungry (and possibly cranky) booth keepers if I don't.

I actually didn't blog yesterday because of the storms and power outage. Dinner was by candlelight, the house was quite close and the storms were fast and just dumped water in huge sheets. Trees snapped, a few twisters were reported, and some of the roads to 'home' flooded out, but aside from suffering a temporary lack of air-conditioning, we were spared any damage. And you were spared a quippy post about how wonderfully prepared I thought I was for this festival. I will have a decent photo-post tomorrow... got to charge up the camera battery. Good thing you reminded me. Latah, knittas. C

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No cigar

Tornadoes swept through the surrounding area this evening, but Mandi, Kim, and Clementine were all set up, snug as bugs, in the shop. I finally got over to Emma's Bakery before closing and scored some fantastic cakes and two huge lemon poppyseed muffins. So, the food angle was covered. Then we had a debate over where would be the best spot to be in the event of a building collapse... Mandi won with "in the bathroom, under the stairs". (Yes, there is a cupboard under the stairs, in the"loo". Very creepy at night when I'm there alone.) Anyhow, her family called her to come home. Apparently if there's to be a tornado, she's obligated to be out driving in it. A new sock was started, by her, in Lotus Yarns "Buddha"(I can't remember the though.) New knitter Kim has decided she's all in and after she finishes her hat (probably tomorrow, at the rate she cruises) she's starting a sock too! I'm all squealy. Sorry. Very exciting though.

The other thing we did for fun, besides eating super-yummmm peanut butter cake (omfg) and chocolate bars with chocolate and peanut butter icing (omfgX2) was gigglesnort at No-Amy because she was being tormented at a house with no air conditioning, during these terrific storms with oppressive heat and humidity... and she didn't take her knitting. Yep, it sucked to be her. I hope there was beer. We missed her.

Anyhow, I'm going to go wash my feet (really, that is not code for bum) in the 'new' bidet. Then it's off to bed, because the festival is just days away now, and I'll be doing a run-through tomorrow, which already is making me exhausted. Latah, knittas. C

Monday, June 2, 2008

This and that

Okay, I've been trying to get out of my house all day, but with the plumbing nightmare going on here at Becher Haus, I decided I'd sit and hold 'Clapotis' for awhile. This is it, sort of splayed out, though I've only done ten "ladders" so far. It's a long, steep road to climb, but on the upside... I'm on ball #3 now. (woo-hoo)

Here is the mess of a bidet, having it's guts overhauled. That ugly chrome stalk sticking up out of it is the new diverter. The old one was a lovely porcelain lever handle, very 'Victorian' looking and which exactly matched the bidet's faucet handles, the lav handles, and the pull lever flusher on the toilet. Now, thanks to the craptasticness that is American Standard plumbing fixtures/faucets, we have a mismatched mess on our hands. And at six-hundred and some dollars for the re-do, I'm just an unhappy girl. In the end (no pun intended) though, what matters is a clean backside and hopefully that will be restored to Becher Haus very soon. (It has been over four hours... this surgery is going kind of long...)
The new parts are Moen, and I'm told that, as American Standard no longer makes the replacement parts for my seven year old piece of crap, this new one is all that can be found to fit, unless I wanted to spend even more cash on another American Standard faucet set. Hmmmm, let's see... the upstairs bathroom has already been completely overhauled (toilet guts, lav faucets, shower diverter... all American Standard, all crap), the downstairs has had it's share of difficulties (photo below is just the latest tribulation)... again, all American Standard. I'd say, if you're building or remodeling, you know who to avoid, now don't you. Unless this looks like a fun way to kill a day and several hundred dollars:

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A moment of silence

Melly, the hacker, has inadverdently killed her own blog. Let's all think kind and encouraging thoughts for and about her, so the delay between the black hole where her blog used to be and getting her back to blogging will be as short as humanly possible. 'Cuz let's face it... a blogosphere without That Crocker Woman in it is no fun at all. Even if she has the skilz to pirate my blog. It's scary. I kinda like it. And those dogs are what came up when I typed in 'fierce'... and the cat's head is missing from the first pic (her name is Camilla, too). The mosaic maker is fun... I may try it again. Though how I managed to get Ann Coulter when I typed in Rush Limbaugh as my celeb crush, I do not know. The photo is great, though... perhaps I have a crush on her, too... which just goes to prove, knitters don't fit into neat little boxes. How dull that would be. C

eta: She's back!

helpin' a blogger out

the game
Originally uploaded by clementinesdrygoods

lurve, melly (the hacker)

The Game

I was so inspired by Suse's post, I had to play the game for myself. Want to see what I "look like" in twelve photos? Go here. I'd tried to post it over here, but, as usual, the 'blog this' button wasn't responding on flickr. Naturally.

If you want to see the "rules of engagement", pop over here. I've just finished wiping down the kitchen and fondling the last of the frozen rhubarb (you have to admit, it looks pretty tasty in my mosaic, no?), so little man Eli needs to be swooped up and hauled off to bed. Herr Becher has to be up for work in less than five hours, but the kitchen is (sorta) tidy and the coffee pot is on standby. Maybe later today I can get the flickr thing to work. I think it turned out pretty swell. Take a crack at it... I'll come look. C