Horti Honey's Blog of Yarn, Plants, and Life

Sarah Humke examines life through fiber tinted glasses….

Elaboration November 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — hortihoney @ 11:24 am
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So, to elaborate on the last post a bit…

I got a job.  It doesn’t pay well and the 3 days a week that I work take a day (at least) to recover from.  I’m on my feet all day in (cue evil music here) dress shoes.  I don’t mind being on my feet a lot.  My last job had me walking all over concrete all day but it’s the dress shoes part that kills me.  I don’t know how (or why) people actually choose to wear them.  Anyway, the people who I am working with are infallibly nice and kind, it’s just sort of a tough job for someone like me to do.  Since it is only until January, I’ll stick it out and hope that my feet toughen up a little bit!

The dog that we found we are calling Malcolm (those of you who are Firefly/Serenity fans will know what I was watching before I found him!).  He’s very pretty but he is a lot of work.  He needs a run a couple of times a day or he gets really bored and antsy.  I have gotten together with a neighbor and we are going to walk together a couple of times a day as she has a lovely Golden Retriever that loves to play.  Mal keeps trying to play with Weezy and Meara but he’s just too big and is continuously stepping on them by accident.  I think that it will be good for him to get to rough-house with someone closer to his own size.

 

Mr Malcolm after a good run.

 

 

The weather here has been trying for the past couple of weeks.  It ranges from raining to blowing rain to gusting rain or just gusting.  You can imagine how much fun that has been to take the dogs out into.  At least it gives me some interesting clouds to look at!

My Yarn Therapy group is starting to take off in fits and starts.  I have actually had other people attending it!  I’m very pleased with the ladies that I have had attend so far.  We always get comments from folks that are having dinner in the pub as well.  I’m hoping that more will come as soon as the word gets out some more!

 

Great (Cat) Balls of Fire!!! November 2, 2009

A couple of nights ago the hubby and I were setting up for an invigorating game of scrabble (I know, we are the most boring couple on the planet!!) and we had lit a few candles on the dinning room table.  Now, I’m not sure what Jiji thought that I was doing up there, but food (her usual motivator to do anything that requires, you know, moving [Jiji is our personal incarnation of Jaba the Hut {but without the hot, ill-fitting metal bikini clad Carrie Fisher on the end of a chain}]) wasn’t part of the package.  So, she hops up on the table to nose around and, well, not to put to fine of a point on it, sets herself on fire.  Now, something that I learned from watching the fire woosh up her side is that cat fur does not have the same flame retardant/resistant properties as wool!!! She wasn’t hurt at all, just had a bunch of her hairs singed which caused her to clean herself for hours after we brushed the cat fur charcoal off of her so that she wouldn’t ingest it.  Ahhhh, the smell of burning cat fur right before bed….

Tomorrow night is Yarn Therapy here in lovely Ivinghoe Aston.  I know I haven’t mentioned it too much of late but it seems that everyone decided to join a knitting group while I was traipsing around the US and Canada.  So, to that end I will be in the pub two nights in a row as tonight is Quiz Night!  Woo hoo!  On the first Monday of each month we have these down at the Village Swan.  Neither Tech Support nor I are any good at them usually, sort of a cultural relevancy issue mostly.  What I mean is that people who are famous here are quite often not the same famous people as in the US.  That, and we didn’t really learn Prime Ministers in the US:-)  Anyway, it’s a fun night for us as we usually learn a great deal about recent the history of our village from one of our team mates as well as it being a really good time to pump people for information about, well, stuff around here as most everyone in the village without small children tend to attend.

I also want to give a great big shout out to my friend Terri Pike who got a huge mention on Cast-On today!!  Go check out her very cool website with tutorials on how to felt.  Just remember Terri, we were on Cast-On first 😉

I am sending to the pond once again, the gray sock.  Not only does it not fit my feet but while traveling home from the US an entire needle slid out dropping all of the stitches which, pretty bad on it’s own, was then compounded by the motion of the baggage being moved around and such making all of the dropped stitches run like wussies back down the foot of the sock until they came to the heel.  This sock is not only being frog-ponded but it will have the added pleasure of being put into the time-out corner as well!  Since that left me sans a sock to knit on, I got out the Krafty Koala sock yarn that I got at Woolfest this spring.  It’s called Tui Sock and is a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend in the colorway “Undergrowth”.  To say that I nearly had a yarngasam just balling it (get your mind out of the gutter!) would be an understatement.  This stuff is so soft and smooshy I really would love to knit a pillowcase out of it.  The color is a dark green with just hints of blue-ish in it.  I will post a picture when I find a time that I can stop fondling it.  Until then, I have some yarn to molest 🙂

 

The Graduation and Maryland Sheep and Wool Post May 11, 2009

So, I have been a very bad blogger!  Are you gonna spank me now?  Huh?  Didn’t think so.  I know that I’ve been bad but I actually have a pretty decent reason for it.  I was in the US for the past week+ and I didn’t have a whole lot of internet connection nor time to connect.  And, for the past few days I’ve been catching up on important things like sleep, laundry and all of my page-a-day calenders.  Oh, and puppy cuddling.  Lots and lots of puppy cuddling!

I'm a total lover despite my tough exterior!

I'm a total lover despite my tough exterior!

 

We even cuddle with each other at times.

We even cuddle with each other at times.

It is now all very official.  I am now an alumna of the University of Florida.  I graduated on Friday with 600+ other Ag students.  It honestly felt sort of silly.  The hat, the tassels (I had multiple since I graduated cum laude) the dressing up.  But I’m glad that I did it as it put a very serious period at the end of that sentance of my life.  

 

Out at the MREC in full regalia in the plant ID hell courtyard

Out at the MREC in full regalia in the plant ID hell courtyard

 

Out in front of the Big Sign

Out in front of the Big Sign

 

There were bagpipes.

There were bagpipes.

 

A baby gator on the Jumbotron of course.

A baby gator on the Jumbotron of course.

 

Largest class to graduate ever!

Largest class to graduate ever!

 

Me on the Jumbotron

Me on the Jumbotron

Can you tell I'm pleased?

Can you tell I'm pleased?

 

Cesar and Pam brought me flowers and drove all the way up for my graduation!

Cesar and Pam brought me flowers and drove all the way up for my graduation!

 

Diane, my advisor and friend and I.

Diane, my advisor and friend and I.

 

 

The Commencement Booklet

The Commencement Booklet

 

Proof that I was supposed to be there!

Proof that I was supposed to be there!

Prior to graduation there was my Thursday night hookers meet-up!  It was great being back with the gang again.  We got loud and we more than shut the place down.  I missed these guys even more than I knew.

 

Look at that rowdy bunch!

Look at that rowdy bunch!

 

Jessi came all the way from Sarasota for the hooking and parties!

Jessi came all the way from Sarasota for the hooking and parties!

 

David's got big, um, cameras....

David's got big, um, cameras....

After my graduation party (lots and lots of fun at my favorite restaurant with lots of my favorite people there)

(I don’t have any pictures of this just yet, still working on it)

I caught a few hours of sleep and then I caught a Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  Now, I probably shouldn’t compare the two sheep and wool festivals that I’ve been to of late, but I’m going to.  Maryland Sheep and Wool is always purporting to be bigger than Rhinebeck.  I personally, didn’t see it.  It seemed to be about as big as Rhinebeck and slightly more disorganized.  It was nice that it was free, but I would prefer to pay a little bit than to constantly have t-shirts shoved down my throat.  The fleeces and the food were both a great deal more expensive at the Maryland Sheep and Wool.  The sheep fleeces were going for around the same prices as the lower quality alpaca blankets were at Rhinebeck.  I’m glad that I wasn’t looking for either at Maryland.  Both festivals aren’t particullary organized when it comes to getting their shit together on the internet.  There is really no excuse for stuff going up on the web about a month prior to the festival.  Even if you have to change it later, put it up now to give people an idea to start planning around!  I thought that the facilites overall were better at Rhinebeck.  The one very big thing that Maryland has going for it was just how easy it was to get there.  I have to admit, being off a major interstate is nice.  All in all, I’m glad that I went but I won’t be all that strung out about missing it next year.  And my advise to anyone thinking of doing one of these two sheep and wool festivals is to go to Rhinebeck if you possibly can.  It is a bit of a pain to get to, but it’s so very worth it.

(The photos of this are captive on my phone.  As soon as tech support [aka the wizard] releases them from their small phone sized box I will post them)

I also hung out at Yarn Therapy night on Tuesday night with Terri and Co.  I think that I surprised her a little bit by being there:-)  It was good to get to hang out in the lovely Infusion Tea once again and get some tasty food and drink and see everybody there.  I was bad and didn’t take any photos of that night since I was having so much fun!

I got lots of presents that are seriously cool.  I’m not going to put pictures in here of them as it takes a while to upload things.  Lets just say that these made a serious dent in my suitcase space!

And I also did a fair amount of shopping while I was there.  The Micheals, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby and Sip and Knit were all calling loudly while I was home.  “Sarah!  Sarah!  We have lots of new clearance/sale items/new stuff to check out!  Come visit as soon as possible!”  Then there was the Target and Barnes and Noble voices that were more like the families with bull horns at graduation.  Barnes and Noble was especially bad since I had gotten several gift cards as graduation gifts.

Now I am home and starting on a new adventure.  Catch the next post to find out what it is…..

 

Fully Caffeinated April 28, 2009

I am fully caffeinated for the first time in about 2 months.  Yesterday, I went out and filled big blue (my trusty 52 ounce insulated mug) up with flourecent yellow Mountain Dew goodness and ice and drank deeply.  It was oh so good.  I think that I finally understand serious drug addiction.  So, I was slurping on this as I went, well, shopping and errand running.  First I went here,  then I spent a great deal of time just breathing in the crafty fumes here.   A lot of time and a fair amount of money here, and I finished with meandering around here.  I then went back to the house and worked on a few things and then went over to Cesar and Pam’s house for dinner and to meet the newest member of their family.  His name is Sydney and he is a greyhound that they just adopted a few weeks ago.  He’s such a doll that I totally forgot to take a picture of him even though I had my camera right beside me the entire night.  

Today has been more errand running.  In fact, I think that a LOT of what I am going to be doing here until my graduation is just that, running errands.  Today I took Willma the cat to the vet for her health certificate.  I then went to Mt. Dora to finalize the plans for the graduation party.  Then I just was sort of all over Orlando getting this and checking that out.  Nothing all that exciting to tell you the truth, though it is the first time I’ve actually been hot without walking at least a mile in a while, so that was sort of exciting.  Currently I’m sitting in Infusion Tea waiting for Yarn Therapy night to start.  There is no internet at the house so it was easier for me to come here to do the blog than it was to, well, do it anywhere else.

It’s good to be, but sort of confusing at the same time.  I keep turning on the windshield wipers rather than the turn signal as they are on different sides on the different sides of the Atlantic.  I’m home, but I’m not.  Only Willma is in the house to greet me and she’s sort of manic from 2 months of infrequent visitors.  I am probably going to get some crap for this, but I think that I prefer the weather in the UK to that of Florida.  Yes, you read that right, I like the weather in England better than here in Florida.  It’s just so oppressively hot here.  It makes it difficult to do anything outside besides shuttling from your car to the building and back.  

I promise that I will take some pictures for y’all tonight and tomorrow.  Oh, and hopefully have something more interesting to say than “I went shopping”.

 

Soggy Boggy April 16, 2009

It is a rainy afternoon here in the not so lovely (currently) English countryside.  Actually, I don’t know if rain is exactly what I would call what it is doing outside currently.  It’s very misty and really closer to a drizzle than a full-on proper rain.  Let’s just put it this way, the dogs look at me as though I’ve gone daft when I ask them if they would like to go out.  They know what that sound on the conservatory roof means, they aren’t stupid!

So I thought that today would be a perfect day to sort out the attic.  We threw a bunch of random stuff that we had given-up hope of finding a home for up there before we had our guests this weekend and it was rather a mess.  We also had both lightbulbs burn out at the same time and a bunch of internet problems which meant that we were up there a fair amount, in the dark.  So, while I was at Homebase yesterday, I picked-up a couple of el-cheapo energy saving bulbs and put them up there.  Anyway, we had also decided to put the iPod player that Chris had picked-up cheaply while living here before I came up there as well for me to listen to when I go up to commune with my stash.  Thus, on this soggy, boggy day, I sorted the attic.  I know, my life is just riveting.  

The field across the road with the ewes is getting actually pretty thin of sheep.  The day that the ewe has the lambs the farmer comes and moves them to another pasture.  This daily ritual is actually pretty fun to watch as the farmer will pick-up the ewe and put her in the back of his pick-up/landrover.  As you can imagine, the sheep isn’t too keen on being picked up so some pretty hilarious struggles ensue.  The best, however, is the lambs.  For only being but a few hours old, they can be quite wily and quick.  It’s fun to see just how good of a struggle some of these wee little things really put up.  I’m sure that the farmer wouldn’t appreciate me cackling away in my 2nd story window at him trying to catch the little buggers, but since he probably doesn’t read this then I’m not going to sweat it too much.

I am nearly to the point in my commissioned blanket that I cannot go any further without the gold yarn.  I await the postman every day but he just keeps shoving bills and junk mail through the slot.  That is actually one of the things that I have been amazed at since getting here.  The amounts of junk mail and the level of sales calls.  It’s been so long since we had a landline telephone that I had completely forgotten just how many damn telemarketers really can call!

Cast on, a podcast made by an American that is living in Wales, has become my newest obsession.  Terri from Yarn Therapy mentioned it to me, ok, more like told me that I should really give it a listen.  So I have been and she’s right, it is a really great listen even if it is about knitting and not it’s fairer cousin.  Check it out for yourself.  It’s available for free at iTunes.

Today I also made a very grown-up decision.  I am not going to go to Wonderwool Wales even though I really, really want to.  Did you know that Wales has the highest density of sheep of any country in the world?  Neither did I until quiz night at the pub!  Anyway, Wonderwool Wales is the weekend that I am traveling home to Florida to graduate from college (not collage).  I could go on the 25th of April as I fly on the 26th but that just seems, well, fraught with possible serious calamities.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a plan that involves me driving, more than likely, alone all the way to Wales and back the night before an international flight?  So, Wonderwool is now on the list of things to do in 2010.  Sigh.  Oh well, can’t bitch too much given that I will be going to Maryland Sheep and Wool!  (I know, I know, I suck.  Love you too!)

Yesterday was a pretty major shopping expedition to Leighton Buzzard.  I got there ok (which is noteworthy as I feel that Leighton Buzzard is a suck of roadsigns and unnecessary traffic circles) and did the big Tesco and Homebase and then I decided to check out the Aldi.  Normally it is closed when I am there but since it was the middle of the day I was good to go.  I hadn’t been in this store before, and the stores that I had grown-up with in Iowa only really had frozen or canned items,  so it came as a huge surprise that it had stuff!  Stuff like clothes and plants and cut flowers and toys and well, you could feel this coming couldn’t you?  Yarn.  Yes, the Aldi had YARN in it.  Just plain acrylic, but it was good quality (think Vanna’s Choice) and cheap.  3 pounds for 5 balls.  500 grams of yarny goodness.  Of course, I had to buy it!  We need to encourage more grocery stores to carry yarn don’t you think?  It is part of our quest for world domination….

 

Yarn! Aldi! Who would've thought?

Yarn! Aldi! Who would've thought?

 

See, even CHEAP!!  I think I love Aldi now.....

See, even CHEAP!! I think I love Aldi now.....

 

 

Another random factoid for you today.  The Union Jack is made up of the crosses of the patron saints of England, Ireland and Scotland but not Wales.  Interesting no?

 

Inspiration April 1, 2009

I am starting to think that a change is something that I have been needing for a little while.  Since I’ve moved here, I’ve gone quite out of my normal comfort zone, sometimes several times in one day.  For instance, I started a fiber group this past week.  Sure, no one showed-up to the first meeting other than me but I had the balls to announce who I was and why I was there to an entire pub’s worth of folks and then sit there and crochet alone for an hour and a half.  This is surely not me.  Every time I get into a car I do things that are almost unthinkable in the states.  Things like blindly pull-out into the wrong side of a very narrow two-lane road that my side has been fully taken-up by cars parked there.  If you don’t do this here you will never get anywhere yet it is so completely not in my nature to do this sort of thing.  I go faster on much narrower and curvier roads than I would even consider in the US.  

The Chilterns are so lovely that I want to learn how to take better photographs.  I know that even with a good camera, I cannot do the landscape here anything close to justice.  On my (almost) daily walks with the dogs I keep seeing things that make me think, “man, I wish that I could show everybody how cool or beautiful that is!”.  I want to take a class on photography.  I’m sure that y’all would thank me for this too:-)

I also find myself inspired in my crochet.  For some reason the peacefulness here is very conducive to reading patterns.  That being said, I’m still not following them all from start to stop, but I do seem to understand them better.  I’ve also been inspired to branch out a little in my crochet.  The other day I was looking out the window when the group of daffodils across the road caught my eye.  I decided then and there to make one.  So, here it is…

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Not bad for a first try I think.  I was running up and down the stairs to the yarn attic trying to match the yellows and the whites by holding them up to the window and comparing to the daffs outside.  I restrained myself from actually going outside as I thought that crazy American woman holding yarn up to daffodils at the side of the road might just edge me over the line from eccentric to full-on woo-woo.

(The pattern is from Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson)

Tomorrow, it looks as though I’ll be taking a day trip to Bath, one of my favorite towns anywhere.  The last time that I was there they had a great exhibit at the art museum that featured quite a few Kaffe Fassett originals.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few pictures and stories to tell!

As for now, I am off for our first vet’s visit!  Wish me luck driving 3 cats and 2 dogs there!

 

Nesting March 31, 2009

So, I finally have my “studio”, as we are calling it as it sure as heck isn’t an office, put together.  Of course my room is always a work in progress but here is what it looks like for the moment.

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As you can see, Meara and Weezy are being lovely models for me by sitting like little ladies in the two chairs in the room.  I didn’t even have to bribe them or anything to do that.

 

Meara is such a show-off!

Meara is such a show-off!

 

One of my favorite aspects of the room is the view, which is quite fun.  I purposely turned my spinning wheel away from the view of the sheep as they were too distracting.

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All of my crafty books are in here as well as a good chunk of my horticulture books.  Some of them got delegated to the attic as there were just too many of them and a lot of them don’t really apply to the UK.  I mean really, I don’t really need a Trees of North America quite at hand as I used to now do I?

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The lighting in this room is excellent.  It is a diffused Northern light from the window and there are six quite good halogens in the ceiling.  Most of my yarn is in the attic as well since there just wasn’t enough space in the room to deal with all of the containers as well.  I have made sort of a little room up there with even a little chandlier and lots of pretty throw rugs.  

 

My attic yarn room...

My attic yarn room...

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You can see that I have started decorating the ceiling/walls of the attic with yarny sorts of things...

You can see that I have started decorating the ceiling/walls of the attic with yarny sorts of things...

 

I am missing home even as I begin to realize that our house in Florida was really not a good fit for the two of us.  It was ok for me alone, but as soon as there was the two of us living there is started to become quite crowded.  This house is a much better fit for us in many ways,  First off, it is larger with a more usable attic space.  I wish that there was a bit more to the yard as I am itching to plant things but having the conservatory is really nice.  We are looking at getting a little shed to put out in the courtyard in order to store our bikes in that will make the conservatory a little easier to use.  But I like that the “greenhouse” space is so very attached to the living area of the house.  The kitchen, except for it’s odd little washer/dryer combo (no, it doesn’t really work at all) and it’s British sized fridge is a much better space for the hubby to create his gourmet masterpieces in than our old place.  I am glad that it is going to be loved by a singleton once again.  But I still miss home.  I miss the bear tree behind the house and the bank of windows in the front room with their cool Northern light.  I miss the owls hooting and screeching in the dusk and the cardinals flitting about the azalea bushes in the front.  I know that I will get over missing these things, eventually.  I don’t think that I will get over missing my friends, however.  Or the ease at which things can get done in the US.  

Today we went to the bank and finally got me put on the checking account as well as opened a savings account.  The water bill came on Saturday and it was what we were waiting for in order to have me on an account at the bank.  It is amazing to me that that was all that it took to get me on when all the other very official papers that we had on Friday weren’t enough.  

I have started a new Yarn Therapy group here.  I am hoping that someone will actually show up for it, otherwise I will be crocheting away in a pub by myself for an evening.  I have posted flyers in Tring and should probably go to Ivinghoe and Leighton Buzzard and post some there as well.  I need to get over to Leighton Buzzard anyway as there is a vet there that is supposed to be pretty good.  So, if you are in the Ivinghoe Aston area on Tuesday nights stop in at the Village Swan and look for the woman crocheting and say hi!