Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hello, December!

    We made it to December and you can still dig a hole in the garden...no snow and the ground is not frozen, yet.  In fact, it's raining today.  Kind of gray and cold.  The temperature is above freezing but not by much.  Just heard that some of the schools around Cooperstown had a delay opening this morning due to icy road conditions. 
   Jeff is still spending a couple a days a week cutting up pallets but he's stopped collecting them for now.  We've got enough piled up around here for now.  In fact, as soon as we stack what he has cut, we'll be off with the utility trailer to get a couple of cattle panels to build another woodshed.  Jeff figures we have enough pallets to fill half of a shed and the rest will be for the face cord of hard wood that we're planning to get from the wood stove store.  Hopefully, that will get us thru the winter...with the oil heat at night,  of course.                 
Small Gingerbread Men (w/Santa Hats behind them)
The Black Sheep is on the back!
   In the meantime, I've slowed up on knitting. I sold 9 hats and 4 sweaters in November opposed to 17 hats and 8 sweaters in October.  The Santa hats are popular now and I put 4 more in the shop yesterday along with another Black Sheep hoodie but that may be the last one for the season.  I'm scheduled to work only once more this season...on Sunday...and Steve, my 'runner', works once after that so those are the only 2 opportunities I'll
have to restock.  That's not so bad, either, because I
haven't started knitting Christmas presents yet.  In fact, I got the email notice this morning that my yarn order was shipped at 4:32 am today.  How long do you think it will it take it to get here from Massachusetts?  Oh, yeah, the giant Gingerbread man  sold on Sunday, too, so I put in the 2 small Gingerbread men yesterday. That's definitely all that I'll do of them for this year!! 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving yesterday!  My cousin, Ed, and Jeff's sister, Sherry, joined us for dinner... which turned out better than I ever expected!  The pork roast had a nice tasty crust on it but was tender and juicy...actually fork tender. So good!  (A Ronco rotisserie is a wonderful tool to have on your kitchen counter.)  Oven roasted butternut squash...from our garden, green beans and baked potatoes with gravy filled our plates.  I did a loaf of Italian bread in the bread machine and it was still warm at dinner time.  (I use regular flour...but shift it twice...instead of bread flour.) Dessert was pumpkin pie.  A simple menu but tasty.  I just piled the dirty dishes in the sink and hoped the Thanksgiving elves would visit but no such luck and they're still sitting there...uck.  Oh, well, I've changed the water twice...once more and I'll actually break down and wash dishes!  Jeff sent Ed home with a goodie bag of leftovers last night and still had enough for his late night snack.  I think there's enough for lunch but not for another supper.  Oh, well there is a small roast in the freezer....  Maybe we'll try a beef roast for Christmas.
   I sent in my order for sock yarn Tuesday.  I was comparing prices from my favorite catalogue with an online site and found that the online site was having an early Black Friday sale!  The yarn was half price...so I couldn't resist!!  Got enough for 4 pairs of socks (3 are Christmas gifts, 1 for me).  I have used the online site before (Webs) so I'm aware of it's quality and I can always order the other yarn from the catalogue later.  Judy had gotten me some sock yarn on sale at JoAnn's a couple of weeks ago using her coupons.  The 2 skeins of yarn she picked up cost less than the regular price for one!  I didn't have any choice about color...and since Jeff doesn't really care...I started a pair of socks with that yarn for him.  (It's not a Christmas present, just new socks.)  Then Wednesday afternoon Judy called from the shop to let me know that she had just sold my Black sheep hoodies(see blog entry for Nov 11 for photo.)!  I had cleaned the TV room that morning putting away yarn, etc so I had to dig out yarn and start another  hoodie.  Now I have a sock growing on short circular US 2's in a Deborah Norville Serenity washable wool sock yarn called Chili and a size 1 raglan-from-the-neck-down hoodie in a Red Heart acrylic called honeydew on US 5 & 7's with a Henley neck and a back zipper.  The sweater should be finished before Monday when I work in the shop again.  Hope I can get a couple of Santa and Ms Santa hats(see Nov 23 for photos) done by then, too.  I am surprised they sold!  I guess Jeff's new socks will have to wait until Monday.  
   The online knitting group (KnitTalk@yahoo.com) I belong to asked all its members to post what they were thankful for this year.  Here's what I posted:
  • I am thankful for the man in my life...he makes     it interesting and difficult but never boring.
  • I am thankful for the dog in our life... it would be dull without her.
  • I am thankful for our friends and family... without them it would be lonely, no one to play 'remember when' with.
  • I am thankful for this little house in this little woods...it may be old and ramble shack but it keeps out the weather and keeps in the warmth.
  • I am thankful for knowing how to knit...it keeps me busy.
  • I am thankful for the shop and it's customers...even when I get tired of making another baby sweater.  I meet so many nice people there!
  • I am thankful that I took early retirement...going out 3 years early was worth it!
  • I am thankful that I am a cancer survivor although radiation weakened my malformed heart valve resulting in valve replacement surgery and the rest of my life on warfarin.
  • I am thankful. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Deck The Halls!

   The shop is decorated for Christmas and the
The front door of the shop
outside looks beautiful!  Around 4pm the spotlight goes on and sign really lights up!  Judy, Sharon and Abby outdid themselves!  Judy also
The side of the whop
did a wreath with all natural embellishments for the Adorn-a-door silent auction to raise funds for the art association but for some reason I can't download that photo today!

   OK, I did finished the Gingerbread Giant...man...and decided it's definitely a stuffed toy, not a tree ornament.  Disappointing.  So I tried
The Gingerbread Giant w/Santa & Ms. Santa Hats

it again...this time with a size 1 needle and sock yarn.  Came out much, much smaller and looks cute.  But a real bitch when I drop a stitch!!  I'd like to make a couple that size for the shop but I don't know if my hands will allow it...especially when there's wood to stack.  Hey, I even raised a blister on the back of the ring finger of my right hand...and it just hangs there not doing anything...as the base of the needle rubs it as it passes by!  Not to mention how many times I drew blood from the tip of my left index finger! Knitting can be very physical. 
   The only thing of mine that sold this weekend has been a Santa hat.  Oh, well.  They're easy to make.  Hope more than that sells this week!  I need to send in my yarn order so I can start knitting Christmas presents!  Saturday is 'Shop Local Saturday', and Friday and Saturday are traditional good sales days for the shop. 
   Got to clean house a little this week before Thanksgiving.  Good thing no one looks too closely!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

And Another Load of Wood

   Jeff picked up another load of pallets yesterday and told the guys at the hardware store that that would be it for awhile.  There are always a few pallets left over from each load that don't get cut apart coz the trailer gets full of cut wood before all the pallets get cut up.  Eventually we have a pile of pallets waiting to be cut apart...like now.   Jeff wants to get all the pallets we have cut up and stacked... before they're covered with snow....before he picks up any more.  We've decided we're going to have to put up another woodshed, and probably get a face cord of hard wood, too, after the first of December.  If we get really inspired, we could even clean off the porch and take all the junk to the dump...oh, the politically correct term, to the recycling center...in north Utica and stack some wood inside.  Now, that would be nice.
   I finally finished the four size 6mo raglan-from-the-neck-down cardigans with plain roll brim hats with
top knots coordinated with them (but priced separately) to take to the shop Sunday.  Each sweater has 1 motif in a lower front corner.  There's a duck, baseball, black and white sheep.   I even got the Pretty in

Pink size 1 hoodie finished
Pretty in Pink Hoodie
and the sewed
the back zipper in last
night.  Then about 9 pm last night I started
looking for something to knit when I remembered I had bookmarked a
pattern at Craftsy.com
that I saw on Facebook.
It's a gingerbread man.  My mom had directions for one that we made for years but I can't find it.  This one looks pretty close so I thought I'd try it.  But it's working up 3x as big!  More of a toy than an ornament.  I still have got to get the arms and the head done and stuff it and then I'll decide if I like it.  It's done with worsted on US4's so it's not too difficult. (Calls for 4 dp's but I'm using 2 short circulars.) 
   There are hunters in the woods around us.  Fanny won't go out even with a human escort.  The gun shots even make me a little nervous!  Hope they know what they are doing.   Haven't seen any turkey or deer since hunting season opened.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Still Stacking Wood

    The weather today was sunny and pleasant so we spent about 2 hours this afternoon stacking wood.  Either Jeff is putting less on the trailer each time (I doubt it) or we're stacking faster!  There's just enough space in the woodshed for 1 1/2 rows then we'll have to decided if we're going to put up another woodshed next to this one.  And I actually cooked dinner today (Angie's Italian Fried Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans) which tasted pretty good if I say so myself...after working outside!  I just put together a Cherry Dump Cake and the smells from the oven are pretty good, too!
   I've been doing some size 6 months raglan-from-the-neck-down cardigans with a single intarsia design in the lower front corner for the shop.  They knit up fairly quickly and so far this weekend I've finished a white sheep on a honeydew green sweater and a yellow duck on a delft blue sweater. When I came in from stacking wood...and before I started dinner...I cast on for a pink sweater that will have a black sheep on the front. I'd like to do a baseball on a blue sweater, too, but I'll have to buy a skein of yarn first.  It's a change from working on the hoodies... even if they've only been size 1's... and since they work up so quick, these little sweaters are easier on my hands!  I'm not scheduled to work in Cooperstown until next Sunday so I might have time to do some hats, too. As part of a 'Shop Local' campaign, the shop will be donating part of our sales for the week before and after Thanksgiving to the food pantry.
   The on-line knitting group I belong to (KnitTalk on Yahoo) held it's annual 'Aftober' recently.  All members are encouraged to finish projects and talk about them.  Those who do receive a well-decorated envelope and a mystery 'prize of no great value'.  At the end of the month the prize is identified.  This year it was a Kumihimo loom (google it!). I'm looking forward to coming up with a project to use mine with.  Thank you, again, Afton and your helpers.    
   Our autumn visitors seem to have decided to move on.  Haven't heard them since we put D-con in the attic way and on the cellar stairs.  I have heard them a couple of times in the water closet in my room but it sounds like they were moving the D-con dispenser around to get into it easier.  Hate to do that to Mickey M's relatives, but.... 
   One of my Christmas cacti decided it was time to bloom.  This one blooms between Halloween and Thanksgiving and the other one between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   I was surprised  when I moved some furniture in the parlor yesterday to dust to find this one in bloom!  I guess it does pay to clean...once in awhile. (photos will be posted tomorrow.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Time For Something New

That's my Black Sheep Hoodie
   It's been decided that it's time...and we've got the money...to put together a new brochure for the shop.  It's been about 10 years since the last one was assembled and things have changed a lot.  Here are a few of the photos that are in the running for inclusion on the brochure.  Now these were taken with a point-and-shoot digital camera!  WOW!!  The actual photos for the brochure were then taken with a digital SLR.          
The ladies who put together these scenes spent about 6 hours in the shop yesterday picking things out and taking the photos. Thanks Sharon, Deb B and Judy for doing a great job!  And these wonderful photos represent roughly half of what we've got in the shop! 
   The shop is Cooper Country at 2 Doubleday Court in Cooperstown, NY.  We're open 10am-5pm every day...except Thanksgiving...thru Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Busy, Busy!

    Boy, did my sweater display look empty yesterday...and the hat rack, too!  I brought two hoodies and 5 hats with me but they didn't take up much space.  Good thing Judy suggested keeping the 2 pumpkin hats on display until Thanksgiving or the display would really have looked poor!  I've got a 'Pretty in Pink' (pink with white trim) hoodie...with a cable around the hood and 2 down the front...on the needles ready for sleeves.  Before I headed for Cooperstown I stopped at Walmart and got a skein of honeydew...a nice pale green... yarn for another hoodie with cables.  I've got some baby yarn around here someplace so maybe I'll do a couple of newborn sweater sets just to fill up the space, too.  And, Judy picked up some sock yarn for me on sale at JoAnn's on Sunday.  Jeff's socks are wearing out and I haven't ordered my yarn for Christmas gifts yet so it will come in handy. 
What's left of the teapot collection
   I'm not scheduled to work in the shop again until the Sunday before Thanksgiving so I think I have enough time to knit...and stack wood...and maybe even clean house a little. I've been boxing up and putting away a lot of my teapots as I clean the shelves ever since the type-drawer shelf in the kitchen fell off the wall this summer.  The Christmas teapots...and most of the holiday knickknacks...have taken over since they don't get put away.  There was just getting to be too much stuff with everything else.
   This morning Jeff and I stacked wood and we got the trailer emptied!  He didn't think we'd get it all done but we did! 
The shed's almost full!
When we were finished he went to town to check the parking lot but the hardware store didn't have enough pallets stacked up to make it worthwhile to hitch up the trailer and go get a load. (YEA!!) He's got a lot of pallets taken apart ready to be cut and stacked so there's enough to keep him busy...hey, do I hear the saw??  Oh, no!!!

   We've been waiting for the man from Harbor Point to come over this afternoon and clean our furnace and he just got here.  (Jeff insists we do it every year  and it's kind of late in the season to be doing it in November!)  Fanny barked threaten-ly and then hid under the kitchen table.  (Oh, thank goodness for tablecloths that hang over and create hidey holes!)