Friday, 26 October 2012

Little Things

All three midterms done! One quiz this afternoon, and one Monday, but the crunch for school is over, and I can focus on getting stuff done for Garden Club, and for the OVWSG Ex and Sale, only a week away...

I'm very glad the crunch is over. I can remember important things, like what to study and when to show up, and getting assignments done - but apparently food is not on the 'important' list. There have been a couple things this week where something really obvious has slipped my mind. Yesterday it was lunch. Had a snack at school around 10:30, figuring with lab scheduled 11-2, the best thing was to have lunch after I got home. Well, I finished the lab, went to the library to print some stuff, came home, had tea, and worked until 8, had supper - and couldn't figure out why I was so hungry, until I realized that I hadn't eaten since my 10:30 snack.

But better yet was Wednesday. I made my tea that morning, as usual, but all the milk curdled when I put it in. Puzzling, since the milk was fine the night before, but certainly not a drinkable cup of tea. So I muttered, dumped the milk and the ruined tea down the sink, found a packet of green tea, and made a cup with the still-hot water left in the kettle. Took one sip - and it was awful! Since the tea had been around for a while, in sealed packets, I thought it had gone bad somehow, and I felt terrible that I'd given a cup to my mother for her trip home on Sunday. One of the guys at school is big into tea, and he said green tea can go off. Anyway, I gave the tea up as a bad job, threw out the remaining green teabags, bought a cup at school, and picked up fresh milk after class. I was so anticipating a proper cup of tea by then. Poured the milk in - and it curdled again!

It was at this point that I realized that the night before, I had set the kettle to descale, and had completely forgotten about it overnight. What was responsible for the milk curdling and the horrible green tea was the fact that I had actually been using vinegar water to make my tea. Three cups of tea ruined, and half a carton of milk and a box of green tea dumped, which were probably perfectly fine, because I forgot about the little fact of the descaling... Some days I wonder why they let me out without a keeper.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Rhinebeck 2012 Rundown

OK, so because I need a break from studying, you get the Rhinebeck rundown and loot viewing today. I was a good girl and studied in the car and at the hotel in the evenings, and I think the schedule's under control...
All the leaves have been falling here, so I was thinking we might miss seeing the fall color on the way down. There was plenty left, though. This is part of the Adirondacks on the way there, before those clouds came down and started raining.

It poured for hours, and when we got to Red Hook, we had to grab umbrellas and scamper to get into the antique shops without getting soaked. I found some National Geographic magazines from the 1920's, so those came home with me.

The rain let up for the evening, and we got checked in at the Delamater. See the arrow? That's our room. Right on the main drag in Rhinebeck, super nice, plenty of space, comfy beds, walking distance to the Festival. There was a kitchenette and a sitting room for the guests, too. Only downside was that the breakfast was mediocre. And no, you can't have it - we booked on the way out for next year!

The weather for Saturday was bright and sunny - in fact, too hot for most people to show off handknit sweaters by the time we got to the fairgrounds. It was a little disappointing to find that my expected supplier for indigo and thiox wasn't there. That was the main thing on my shopping list. Not that I had any problem finding things to buy. I picked up some gorgeous merino/silk roving in red and purple jewel-tones, undyed sock yarn in an alpaca blend, a huge skein of burgundy merino/silk laceweight, some books and magazines, and some lavender hand lotion.

We found a bit of time Sunday to say hi to the sheep and goats,

checked out the sheep-to-shawl teams,

and looked at entries for the Make it with Wool competition.

But that was it - Sunday noon we had to get going, to get home at a decent hour. But there is one more pretty to show you. Johanne got her yarn and rovings back from the mill last week, and I got a couple bags of the cria roving to spin for her. Colors like chocolate and dulce de leche, with a light streak in each. Super soft, and I can't wait to see how it spins and knits up.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

See You Later, I'm Off

I'm thinking it's entirely possible that this will be my last blog post for the next week. Things are about to get crazy.

Tomorrow night I leave town for Rhinebeck. Packing of done. I still need to make sure I print a map, pack the appropriate knitting needle/yarn combinations, the last-minute toiletries, and school study materials, and get some American money out of the bank. But the restaurant reservations are made, at least.

And why am I bringing school stuff to a wool festival? Because I have 3 midterms and a quiz next week. Yup. Plus an English assignment due Monday - a business letter in reply to a call for companies interested in re-landscaping a fictitious City Hall. (We talked the prof out of a quiz the same day), and some research to do for Garden Club. This is why I will be disappearing. I expect I will be spending most of the time in the car and in the hotel room this weekend with a book open. I even (unusually for me) checked the hotel website to see if there was any indication of WiFi available. Found nothing, so I will have to likely do without internet - but the laptop's coming anyway. A sad state for me to be in!

Eh, bien, off to the shower and bed for me. It's been heavier labour at school this week, planting shrubs Tuesday, and digging and hauling dirt and gravel today, and I have a few sore muscles. The walkway is progressing nicely; all the digging is done except for removing the top layer of dirt/stonedust at the center, and we've started putting down gravel base at the sides. I will be very happy when all this preliminary stuff is done and we can start doing the fun stuff - re-laying brick patterns!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Winter Prep

Even though we're barely a month into autumn, officially, I feel like it's getting rather close to winter this week. (So do the squirrels, apparently. Lots of activity there.) There was frost predicted for Thursday night, so in our Thursday lab at school, we ripped out most of the annuals and put them in the compost. It's much pleasanter and easier to take out green plants than slimy, post-frost remains. Our section is near the front door, so there were a lot of annuals - snapdragons, nicotiana, red salvia, zinnias, and ptilotus (which were new to me, also known as joeys, and look sort of like tapered lavender bottlebrushes with succulent leaves like a sedum.) Kind of felt bad taking things out, since they still looked nice, but we salvaged several bouquets' worth, one of which is brightening the coffee/tea corner at school. Apparently we have some vases at school for uses like this. I think I might try doing a bit more flower-arranging there next summer.

I picked my remaining beets and emptied the veg garden at home that afternoon. I guess it was just in time, since there were actually flurries around on Friday. Not a lot, and nothing stuck, but there was something in the air that was falling a lot slower than rain... Got the beets and some random radishes pickled yesterday and made a huge pot of stew with the veg I brought home from school the other week.

I finished the diagonal striped mitts I was working on Thursday, and they look very Christmassy, so right in theme with the colder weather.

I really like the way the idea came out, and I definitely want to do a whole pattern range with it.

And now...less than a week until Rhinebeck! I've signed up to play Bingo again, have to make dinner reservations tonight for Friday and Saturday, and do a little studying, since I get my quiz two days early, so I can leave town Thursday night. Tomorrow I'm at the Ottawa Knitting Guild vendors' night, with a load of pretties to sell, all packed up and ready to go.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Studio Opening

Well, Johanne's opening for the studio and store at her L'Ourse Qui Danse ranch went wonderfully. It looked a bit like rain, but ended up being great weather - very important for anyone wanting to go say hi to the alpacas!

I hadn't seen the studio since before they started fixing it up, so I remembered it as a cement-floored, ladder-to-the-loft, cobwebby outbuilding. I got updates on the progress of the renovations, but still, you never know quite what to expect until you see the results. Let me show you the new look!

You drive up or walk up, and see the front of the studio.

Then you get to the honey brick doorstep, and open the door. The main floor is divided into two parts, with the store area right in front of you as you walk in. Racks and antique cupboards hold alpaca yarn and products from the ranch.

As you walk in to see the things at the back, the space opens out on your left into another room with stairs against the back wall. This is the workshop/social sort of space - cozy, furnished with chairs, a table if needed, and the makings of tea on the antique stove at the corner, and two windows, one looking out onto an alpaca pasture. I spent the day spinning in the corner by the window, where you see my wheel.

Up the stairs there are more alpaca things on the wall and on the landing, then you enter the studio space, with looms and equipment.

It's a super cozy, homey space, and I think a lot of the people who came felt that also. Granted, quite a few people knew either one of the ranch team or other visitors, but it really seemed more like a party than a store opening. There were snacks and drinks, and people chatted and admired, and signed up for classes - and I don't think anyone just came, toured, and left. I swear most of them stayed for at least 2 hours.

The only drawback to the day was my cold. 7 or 8 hours of talking - or croaking -  to people (mostly in French) and spinning proved to be tiring, and by the time the guests were cleared out and we all had a chat about the day, I was definitely not up for my cousin's reception. Mom and I went home and had tea and supper, and I tried knitting a bit, but I was falling asleep. So, rather amusingly, the parents got dressed up and went out to party, and I said goodnight, have fun, and rolled into bed at 9. It proved a good call - I was able to garden all day Sunday!

Friday, 5 October 2012

See Amanda Run

See Amanda. See Amanda run. See Amanda drying yarn and blocking pillow cover pieces.

Only to discover the pillow top is on the small side. Hmm.
See Amanda run around stacking interlock pieces Wednesday, attending the inaugural garden club meeting at school, learning to drive a riding mower Thursday, and then dashing off to Deb's to make measurements and pictures for an assignment (on interviewing clients and getting the needed information, presented as a theoretical garden/landscaping renovation.)

Also, see Amanda succumbing to the lure of Chapters and purchasing both the new Knitting Traditions and Knits Holiday magazines from Interweave.
See Amanda catching the nasty cold going around at school. See Amanda navigating the Friday Safety lecture and quiz with the help of Tylenol and ginger tea. See Amanda looking ahead to Saturday demoing spinning all day with the prospect of a wedding reception that evening to go to...

Yeah, that was my week. Hope everyone else's was good. Tomorrow's demo is back home, at the official store/studio opening for Johanne's alpaca ranch, L'Ourse Qui Danse, in Godmanchester, Quebec. She wants me there to spin, and show off some of the natural dye colors, since the idea is that I may be teaching workshops on those topics at her store/studio. Just hope Jo doesn't mind me coughing and blowing my nose, and croaking. But unless I feel a heck of a lot better tomorrow, I'm going to try to avoid the reception. Very thankful (appropriately) this is a holiday weekend, and I have two days after tomorrow where I hopefully don't have to go anywhere, and someone else can cook and let the cat in and out, while I rest and do homework, and try to catch up on knitting...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Piling Up

I have no idea how some people manage to keep homes or workspaces relatively tidy. I suspect they have either less stuff or more space than I do. Last week I did a bunch of cleaning and tidying - and this week, apart from the decrease in feline dust-bunnies in the corners, it looks worse than before. My excuse right now is an influx of things.

The last few days, there has been dyeing going on. OKG Vendors' Night coming up in 2 weeks, and I've been filling in a few gaps in the stock. That means there's a drying rack in the bedroom, partly hung with skeins of yarn (the other half is devoted to the wool socks I washed the other day.) The last of the skeins just came out of the dyepot,  so I will at least be able to tidy the pots away soon. Will post pics when I get some taken.

And then there's the school stuff. I lugged an extra few pounds home today. Not only did our textbooks finally come in, but the garden harvest, having been duly weighed, measured, and analyzed, was put out for us to take home what we wanted. So I came home with carrots and parsnips and beets and celery and eggplants, in addition to 3 new textbooks (softcover, thankfully.) Counter space and table space all quite occupied now!

I'm not anticipating much tidying going on in the next few weeks, either. Thanksgiving, then Vendors' Night, then Rhinebeck (I get to go! My profs for the Friday classes are willing to let me make up those days elsewhere!), then the OVWSG Ex and Sale beginning of November. And fitted in there are assorted assignments, quizzes and midterms...ah, well, I'm sure it'll all get done somehow!

Tomorrow - must remember to bring camera to school - we're planting trees. Big ones. Apparently world tree day was last week. This should be fun.