Tuesday, October 15

Halloween is coming~

I have the biggest apology to make to anyone who has ever dressed up their pet. I looked at them and went "Cute, but that's totally weird. Let the animal have some dignity for heaven's sake. I'd never do something like that."

But you know what? As I was shopping for groceries today I lost my sanity, and what was left of my dignity and I'll have to eat those prideful words.

You see, they had a pumpkin costume. For a pet. In Silver's size.

  I was unable to resist.

Look at him!

Go ahead. Judge me now. I don't even care because he is ADORABLE.  Halloween is coming guys, and I've got the cutest pumpkin ever.

Sunday, October 13

Flying K Farms!!!! I love you!

I was going to describe how I was dressed, what I was doing and what Silver was doing the moment I found out I won the drawing from Flying K Farms. But I decided that that wouldn't be interesting to y'all. Although if you really WERE interested in what Silver was doing I can oblige you. (Hint:  Statement: He was cleaning his ears... the cutest thing he does!)

Anyway, I logged onto the facebook and noticed that a friend (the same friend who encouraged me to like Flying K Farm) commented my name. Turns out she was commenting on the status saying I won. Pretty certain that with this, I've used up all my "winning things" karma, but I'm okay with that because I'm getting an Alpaca batt. I'll update when it comes in the mail.

Thursday, October 10

Making a pinterest camera light box... the sarcasm way.

I aspire to take good pictures. So while I read through pages of technical jargon describing how my camera works (psh! 'Aperture' 'ISO number' 'focus', Made up terms all of them!) I decided to make something that I saw on pinterest.

I didn't actually pin it, and I'm not about to go digging through hundreds of pins just to find it again. The credit for the idea goes to some talented, creative, frugal person who takes good pictures and sets them up on THEIR blog. Argh! Crafty amazing people who are peppy, light-hearted, perfect and amazing. Anyway, the idea is simple enough, take a box, tissue paper, poster board and tape and make a light box.

I spent a total of $2.10 on tissue paper and poster paper. I didn't want to look for white tissue paper in the house and I got fancy and sprung for white AND black poster board, still pretty cheap. I had scissors, tape and a box. If you wanted to get those at the dollar store too, the total would only end up being $5.25. (Geez, it's getting at that weird time of day where my eyes can't focus right and the word 'dollar' looks really strange. I checked it on google; it is suppose to be spelled that way but wow.... weird looking word.)

Here my version of the cheapo light box!
Important Note: Ignore all statements regarding good lighting and do project in the middle of the night. 

  1. Find box (The tutorial had said something about a square box, but eh...)
  2. Rip off the flaps on top. Or assiduously cut them off. Your call.
  3. Cut windows into 3 sides. (You can be an overachiever with a non-square box and cut ALL the sides.)
  4. Mentally/ Actually curse when you cut through side supports. NOTE: This step can be omitted depending on your box-cutting skills.
  5. Tape up cut sides and pretend you don't care. NOTE: This step can be omitted if you skipped step 4.
  6. Measure and cut/rip tissue paper to fill in windows.
  7. Remember that you are an aspiring photographer and grab your camera before continuing to step 8.
  8. Measure and cut/rip tissue paper to fit remaining sides. Remember to look thrilled when significant other/dog/cat/etc takes picture of you doing project.
    See? Looking thrilled.
  9. Tape in sides. And because you don't have 4 hands and significant other/dog/cat/ etc left, you can't take a picture of that.
  10. Cut poster board to size. You don't want to mold it to the shape of the box. It has to fit on the top corner and curve toward the base all fancy like. Forget to take picture.
  11. Cram in poster board. Also forget to take picture.
  12. Wonder why you are even trying to take pictures.
  13. Admire finished project.
  14. Take picture of something in finished object. Quick! Find random thing on the table.
Success! You now FEEL one step closer to being a good photographer. It doesn't make you one; by no means, but it's important to feel like you've accomplished SOMETHING. 

There are HOW many days to Halloween?

Guys... I counted. There are only 20 more days until Halloween... Behold the face of my dawning horror.
I need to make lists of lists at this point. And Pray to tender mercies that shipping is on my side.

Working on Socks...

Ugh. So I'm still working on that shawl. I'm not sure I want to post pictures of it because it just depresses me that it's not done yet. With knitting there is usually a sense of relieved accomplishment as you do another row and get ever closer to the end. I'm not even halfway through the edging on the shawl and because of this I'm ignoring it which means it doesn't get done. Cruel cycle! Where is the army of knitting gnomes who work on my projects in my sleep? (And where are their cousins, the cleaning gnomes?)

Now socks? Socks are beautiful. Still a bit of a pain, but they progress so quickly.

See the progress? It's like it's knitting itself and I'm more than halfway done! (Shh... these were suppose to be done before Mei-Mei's birthday, but being winter socks they don't need to be done before winter comes... right?) I really enjoy the braid. Eventually I'll make the same socks for myself in purple.
To the right, you see that crazy ball of fun? I don't even know why the chartreuse and turquoise blue make me so happy. I got the Zauberball at my favorite yarn store, The Needle Lady. Alpha and I went camping for our anniversary (5 years represented by 5 days... and we didn't kill each other!) We stopped in Charlottesville on our way home. It was good. I call these my Appalachian socks partly because they reminded me of the view and partly to commemorate wonderful trip. Hopefully these will be done before the next anniversary. I have over half a year left... it shouldn't be hard.

P.S. I know I need to work on the shawl. I love the fiber. I love the design. I love it all except how long it takes to do the edging. I don't have enough down time at my job/church to work on it consistently. YAY! I love kids. Love them, love them, lovethem, luvdem.  

Why can't I have four hands? Then I could use two to exclusive work on knitting. Missed opportunity by evolution and/or God in my opinion.

Monday, October 7

Bunny Lovin'- to the pet I never knew I needed

 So everyone, this is Silver. He is full of sassy spunk and doesn't take anything from anyone. (Not even cuddles.) He's an independent bunny who don't need no man.

 Here he is being mysterious and handsome, looking off into the distance. You can also see his bada** tattoo in his ear. Why yes, he did a couple of shows. That changes a rabbit.
 In all seriousness. (Which is almost impossible looking at that cute mug. This is his 'you may touch my ears and head' expression.) Silver is an adopted rabbit. Momar, Mei-Mei and myself went to the Maryland Alpaca festival (coming up soon in November!) and in a case of extremely poor planning on our part, walked into the rabbit show that was taking place in one of the barns. Talking to a couple of the breeders we found this amazing lady who was trying to find homes for some of her bunnies because she was getting married. It was impossible to say no (Silver is a rex, which means he is SUPER soft.) and we came home with a new family member. He has been ruling the house ever since.

Saturday, October 5

Hai, hai guis....

Guess what?

I got a camera. While I can't take a picture of the camera because I am not a high-tech whiz person like most of the internet, I can say that pictures of things will be forthcoming. THINGS! PICTURES OF THEM! This is giant, big and wonderful.

My first 'photo shoot' (and I feel like a weird hipster for saying that) was of my rabbit. It pleases me muchly. Given the poses he was making, it pleases him muchly too to be admired and loved without the touching. Spoilsport.

In other news, halloween is coming and costumes are happening. Working on them now and I will report my progress in a post dedicated to that purpose.

Friday, September 13

Pottery 101 to Pottery 101

My first 10 weeks of Pottery 1 are complete. (I missed the last class because I was so sick I couldn't sit up. I expended all my energy that day to take a shower. It was sad.)

I am really happy with how I've grown and developed and I absolutely love pottery. I already asked Alpha if I can spend more funds on taking it again and he was down with it. He was surprised because he thought I wanted to take a stained glass class next. Don't make suggestions on how to spend money, sweetie. I already know how to do that!

Pottery has inspired another aspect of a business. I'll be more confident once the pieces I threw are fired and glazed. Don't expect pictures... well, ya'll know not to expect picture by now.

Sunday, September 8

Farm Five- Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival 2013

I get to hang out with some other siblings every now and then. It's something that I've been trying to do to be a better/ more social person and to keep up a connection to people who share partial DNA. It helps that they are awesome people. Hyperactive, but awesome.

(For instance, first time... I was WAY more nervous about the encounter. They were completely cool and eager to see me. Thank goodness that my crazy self-consciousness comes from the Chinese side of my family and missed them by two oceans and a continent. That would have been a really awkward Chik-Fil-A dinner if they were all as socially handicapped as me.)

Anyway, last month we wanted to meet up. My area was too far, they had activities and they were signed up to go to a harvest festival in Charlottesville.

"Charlottesville?" Nothing gets my heart palpitating more than the opportunity to go to Charlottesville's outdoor mall and peer awkwardly through 'The Needle Lady' windows. "Alpha and I love it there. What is this harvest festival you speak of?"

Monticello's Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. (Try saying it 10 times fast... I dare ya.)

So we go, meet up, wander away from each other, meet up again, wander... listen to bluegrass music and wonder where the heck the 'South Terrace' is because it isn't listed on the map. We then realize 'South Terrace' meant 'Back Porch', and felt like the stupid tourist-y people we were. Anyway, you don't care about that! You care about the Farm 5, my top 5 picks of that festival...

Admittedly, it was all pretty cool. If I had walked in with more cash, I would have still walked out with zero monies.

Honorable Mention: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

They were the stars of the event. No question about it. Harvest festival goes hand and hand with seeds and gardening. Since my most successful garden was located in a windowsill, I don't think I'm qualified to talk too much on this subject. From their tasting tent I learned that I don't actually like tomatoes. I want to like them and that is a VERY different thing. Now onto the COOL stuff.

5. Monticello Festival Chocolate

Monticello only sells this chocolate at hosted festivals. They demonstrate how cacao is processed and how the Founding Fathers and the Continental Army drank hot chocolate. Frothy little samples were dark, rich, bitter and amazing, definitely not your everyday Swiss Miss. Hit up a festival sometime and pick it up. Maybe you'll see me. Walk away slowly if you do...

4. Caromont Cheese

Alpha and I have a problem. We are definitely food people. This causes problems when there are a million food vendors and only a tiny stomach to contain all the deliciousness. The Bloomsbury was such a good sample of cheese that it walked away with us, despite the warm walk to the parking lot and long ride home.

3. LFN Textiles

My family has a dish towel... fetish. I think that's the word best used to describe the way we handle dish towels. Dishes much be very clean, pre-dried with something we don't love as much and possibly, just maybe, we need to wear archival gloves to handle said dish towel. Let's just say walking into this booth was not the most brilliant idea if we want to keep money. Momar took the hit for me and walked out with a set of dish towels that had Jeffersonian sayings on them.

2. Java Bags

My families feelings about dish towels are pretty much my feelings about bags. I saw these beautiful bags (made from painted coffee sack bags) and nearly cried when my cash came up short. news for Alpha (and my wallet) she accepts custom orders.

1. Oakencroft Farm Grape Juice

Given my liberal use of the words "amazing, awesome, etc" I don't think there are words to describe my excitement over this stuff. It's a vineyard making a high class grape juice. As a teetotaler, I've always felt like the one drinking koolaid in a sippy cup at the kid's table when it came to fancy parties. (Or eating paste in the corner.) Now I feel I can enter the conversation in a limited way! YAY! This was far and away my favorite, but that might come from the natural feelings of inferiority bred by koolaid.

Friday, July 19

On the geek-

So Alpha and I tend to see kid movies in theatres. Kid movies are awesome; they don't have cursing, extreme violence, nudity. The best thing is we can generally agree to see a kids movie together while our taste in other movies doesn't mesh well enough to spend a bucketful of cash for two tickets and occasionally popcorn.

Not even all geeky-esque movies will have us tromp out to theatres. For instance, while we did go see 'Iron man 3' and 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' (ohmygoodnesssoamazingweevensawittwiceandpaidforourfriendstoseeitwithusbecauseitisjustthatamazing) we just weren't that enthused to see 'Man of Steel' or 'Pacific Rim.' And looking over the movies coming out soon the only movie I can say with any certainty that we'll pay full price to see in theatres is 'Ender's Game' which is followed by 'Thor: The Dark World.'


We saw Monsters University and Despicable Me 2. Despicable Me 2 is a fun romp and quite funny; it's a definite home-run to take kids to. Monsters University was surprising. I was expecting a lot more hilarity and instead I got a dose of unconventional realism that made me want to share this movie.

If you don't want anything to be spoiled, I'd suggest you stop reading. Not that I'm going to bust out major plot points, but pointing out the overarching moral question bugs some people too.

Monster University addresses the "Hard Work vs. Talent" question. The message the movie presents is "Just because you work hard doesn't mean you'll be accepted or succeed. On the other hand, just because you're talented doesn't mean you'll get anywhere either." Those concepts are difficult to accept, but in order to move on to the things that make us shine, we need to choke down the hard truths.

Wednesday, July 17

Dreams and things...

You know, my goal is to one day own a small sheep farm in Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. Small farm, not small sheep. I'd sell or spin the fiber my animals would produce and just generally be a happy, well-adjusted person.

You know, thinking about it I think the biggest goal there is to be a happy, well-adjusted person, but I digress.

I've been thinking about starting a business to help me reach that goal for a while. Thinking and actually applying myself are two different things and I am told part of that difference is writing out a list of goals to achieve what you want to do. So...

As you can see, I'm beginning. One of the first items on this (besides 'starting this year 2013') is to take pictures.

We'll see how I do. Ya'll know my relationship with a camera is spotty at best.

Monday, July 15

Hello, Romania!

Along the lines of Wait... WHAT?, I do believe my heart restlessly palpitates contemplating the fact that I made a new friend.

It may be awkward, or even uncouth, but Romania. I love you.
I don't pretend to understand our new relationship, but I am ready to fall in love with you if you will have my blackened, uncouth, lazy heart.

I promise, someday we will be together. For now, keep visiting me through the faint glow of your screen and I will try to remember more of your history than the small gothic tidbits I have gleaned from fiction, hollywood and pure geekery.

Friday, July 12

Wow... summer gets busy!

Everyone is in and out over the summer! Mei-Mei went to germany for 2 weeks; momar and dad went to MormonMecca (read: Utah) for a cousin's wedding. Dad stayed out there for about a month. With all the trips of the family, it's pretty amazing that no one has gone crazy yet. The house has suffered abominably. Really. I am quite embarrassed and delighted that I have never, ever decided to post pictures of what it looks like here. In the interest of full disclosure... I haven't clean the basement in *coughcough* way too freaking long.

I went on a camping trip with Alpha. It was to commemorate our 5th year anniversary. We decided to further test our devotion to one another by eking out 5 days in beautiful not-quite wilderness. No one was hurt or maimed on the trip and I am very happy to congratulate myself on 5 years marriage. It's a wonderful accomplishment for someone who was never certain that maintaining a healthy relationship was even possible.

I went with every intention of working on knitting or spinning or even, you know, being productive, but sadly the allure of sleeping to all hours and cooking over a fire was too much to handle.

We did stop at The Needle Lady where I bought more yarn that I have no time to work with. Such is the way of things though.

Saturday, June 1

So, here's the plan....

So these are Moira Engel's Subway Boot Socks. (The image is hers too, by the way. Also, she has a super cool name.)

Imagine these babies in green and you have Mei-Mei's socks this year. We were perusing Ravelry earlier this year in preparation for her Great Giving of Socks (her birthday) and she was vaguely interested in some designs until she saw these and whispered "It has pockets."

That is generally a good sign.

I have bought the yarn (that was harder for Mei-Mei since she had to pick between a variety of marvelous colors) and will commence on the suckers soon. I have a good track record with her socks. I was only a month behind last year.

Friday, May 24

Did I ever introduce myself?

Archirat... you can find me many places, but I don't visit all those places anymore.

But, I tell you this because if you wanted to... if you were interested, you could find me on Ravelry. (Also imgur...)

Wednesday, May 22

Wait... WHAT?

I go over my stats randomly. I like to see who reads my blog from where because it makes me feel exotic like:

"Oh, I haven't been to Russia, but my blog's been accidentally opened in a browser window there."


"England? Yeah, I'm cool there. 2 people have hopped onto my blog page from there once upon a time. Maybe they even stayed."

Where was I when I got over a hundred hits last month? Really? I didn't even start updating again until this month. It makes me feel like I missed something terribly important.

Like the Doctor Who season finale.... Oh crap!

I have to do things now...

Monday, May 20

Bucket List for the Crazy Crafter- part deux

Oh, about a year and a half ago I posted this post. I didn't detail my bucket list (I should really do that sometime soon), but ya'll got the general idea. I really, desperately wanted to do a ceramics class. I never got to in college (one of my main regrets actually.)

Well guess who just signed up for Pottery I classes through my county! Well, if you guessed Momar, you would be correct, but misguided as to who the important person of the blog is. Yeah, Momar and I will start a pottery class together this summer. It will be awesome!

Friday, May 17

What have I been doing lately?

Well, I'll let you in on a secret. Last year I bought some fiber. It remained stashed until just before the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival because well, I was busy. The reason my fiber was pulled out of the stash and put to use was manifold and complex.

1) I got a new job and had to convince the little 4-year-old that I was cool. 'Cause you know, Spinning is super cool.

2) I've spent forever on the lace edging of the shawl and want to scream when I go near it. That would result in odd looks and kids ushered hurriedly away. Not a good thing when I am a nanny. So it lies in the bottom of my bag and I hope that some knitting gremlins will finish it someday.

3) I needed to justify the purchase of MORE fiber by using some of the fiber I already have. Alpha is always watching... Not really, but since I am in charge of the budget, it's so much easier to explain to myself that I am already using stuff, so I deserve MORE!

And all of these reasons coalesced into 560 yards of 2-ply yarn. Now I need to find a project for it.


Since I got some yarn, I figured my limited readership would be interested to know that yarn.com is having a sale on yarn...

Cascade 220, normally $8-12 is being sold for $5.59.

It saves a couple of dollars, and that can add up pretty quickly.

Get it now, it ends May 31st. (P.S. It ships quickly too!)

I have a problem...

She says after opening a package from yarn.com (cascade 220 Heathers, worsted weight, colorways 'shire' and 'heather') and realizing that she committed to buying a loom this weekend.

"Maybe it's a little more than a problem."

She thinks as she pulls out the books she checked out of the library. "Learn to Spin" by Anne Fields and "Weaving made Easy" by Liz Gipson. (She hasn't really checked out any other literature besides spinning and knitting books in the last... oh, MONTH.)

"It might be classified as an obsession."

She muses as she twists her drop spindle clockwise, spinning a length of Miss Babs "Vixen". (It was supposed to be red and orange... where is the PINK coming from!)

"And you know... I'm okay with that..."

Wednesday, May 15

Fiber 5 of Maryland Sheep and Wool 2013

Maryland Sheep and Wool festival... if you don't go in with a plan you can lose a lot of money. A lot. My plan is to write what I want to buy and then assiduously ask for cards of all the places I would like to buy from. If I can get to a pen, I write what specific thing I loved from the booth so I can remember it amidst the freak-ton lot of amazing that is all over the festival.

Today I will present the FIBER FIVE! My top picks of holy-goodness wooly happiness.

5) The Spanish Peacock

Coming in at #5, the Spanish Peacock. I remember their beautiful wooden spindles secondhand to their books on Naalbinding. If they had some of the awesome (or disgusting, I've heard it both ways) antler needles... I would have remembered them a little better. As it is, I'll save money next year to buy a book from them.

The website, while a little dated in design, has nice pictures and is very easy to navigate. Sadly, they do not do custom orders anymore (My dream of antler needles wanes in this light. Curses!)

4) Fiber Optic Yarns

Everyone probably knows about this. If you don't, well... you will soon enough. These yarn and fiber sellers sell absolutely beautiful gradient dyed rovings. Their merino/silk gradients are in bright vibrant colors that are to die for. I have no idea what I would use the yarn for, but I would love to get a box of their rovings and go at it forever. I would never recover. They have a new colorway, Chocolate to Aqua.Hmmmm.....

3) Kate's Cauldron

Okay, technically, this should have been the fiber find of November when I went to the Alpaca festival. Oh well. Better late than never. Kate's Cauldron has some wonderful handmade spindles with the twist top or a t-notch.  Also, they are very affordable. I am a HUGE fan of her short shaft t-notch spindles. I already had one and had to buy another. My current count is 3. That count didn't include the one I stole back from my sister since she doesn't appreciate it enough. I will probably buy a new one each show I go to from now on because these spindles (and the lady who makes them) ROCK!

2) Golding

Have you ever seen something that just makes you weep with jealousy? (I have several times, usually at the festival.) These spindles made me die a little inside. I guarantee one of these has gone on my Christmas list. (It's not too early!) Beautiful craftsmanship, fun designs, ingenious groove in the shaft for easier grip.... the only what I could be any happier is if one of them came with a t-notch design. Sadly, not the case. Either way... I strayed to that booth several times, dragged my friends, family and everyone else into the booth and just basked in the glory of it all.

1) Solitude Wool

Now, the #1 fiber find had to grow on me. I admit I didn't run into the booth oohing and awing over the goods like I did with other booths. (Fiber Optics and Golding, I'ma looking at YOU!) In fact, I skipped over the booth the first time and only looked into it as my friend and I were looking for fiber for her. They had bags of wool from particular species that didn't look matted or nasty. She was drawn to the brown Targhee wool. I was drawn in by the fact that they HAD Targhee. The YARN was separated by breed, not just the roving. On top of this all, the wool is harvested from local sheep... (I kind of want to be these people.)

The wool is beautifully prepared, by the way. Very good for a beginner or me... or more advanced.

Anyway.... These were my fiber finds this year. I only bought one spindle (from Kate's Cauldron), but I asked for cards and I will dream away until my budget recovers from the awful things I did to it.

Tuesday, May 14

Something wicked this way comes...

When it gets here... I will take pictures and AMAZE you all. I am very enthralled and I wait the passing week with breathless anticipation.

Monday, May 13

There has not been much sheepery, or geekery....

and I can't quite bring myself to apologize...

There was scads of  sheepery at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2013. Scads and Scads. I pet and Oxford for about 30 minutes over the course of the day and when you think about how much shopping there was to be done, that's a pretty significant commitment to petting a sheep.

Yarn bowl,knitting needles, spindle, felt balls, food, cheese...


Saw Iron Man 3 for Alpha's birthday. I was really excited during the previews. Catching Fire, Thor 2, Wolverine.... yeah. There was geeking in the seating. Then there was quite a lot of geeking during the movie. I mean, it's Iron Man.

I remember seeing the first Iron Man movie with Alpha when we went to college. We were engaged and  it was the last week of the semester (looks up.. yeah May 3rd). We sat in the theatre and had an absolutely marvelous time. (Robert Downey Jr. was is and always will be perfect for the role.) I thought that maybe my future husband could give my father a run for his money when it came to comic books. Having been married for almost 5 years... I know that that is true now. I mean we showed up to a college lecture about Iron Man (given by Marymount last year; the college presentations were awkward and undergraduate, but the guest lecturer on Marvel and Iron Man was amazing.)

Wow... 5 years of Iron Man. 5 years of amazing Marvel movies... that's really strange to think about right now.

Anyway, once I get my hands on a picture-taker I will enlighten you all on what I've been doing lately instead of knitting on the shawl like I should.