Thursday, December 3, 2009

Has been awhile (again) since I posted...just can't seem to get the hang of this "posting regularly" thing :-)

Anyway....let's see....

Been doing lots of dog sitting for my 7 Jack Russels...scarily they don't stress me out so much anymore...I think I have been watching them so much lately that it just seems normal?!?! 

7 Jack Russells should never become a normal thing!!!

And then have also been doing lots of driving and teenager sitting for Izzy.  Her mom had surgery a couple of weeks ago to remove a brain aneurism so has been out of commission for a bit...and probably will be through Christmas as well.  But thank God, she is doing well and recovering quickly! 

So with all this work stuff, sadly I have not had all that much time for knitting or soap making.  I did participate in 3 swaps (HP Crafters, Reducio, and Washcloths & Soap Swap) and was even able to use one of the items I made for one of my swapees as a class in HPKCHP plus managed to finish my O.W.L. for this term as well.  The House Cup has ended for this term...and we will have a little break before the next term....hopefully I will be able to be more productive for this next term.

This is my HP Crafters Swap package that I recieved.
The first one is the entire package...the 2nd photo is a close up of all the knitted cute!!

And this is a picture of the Reducio Swap #8 package that I recieved.

The swaps are great fun...I really enjoy participating in them.  Unfortunately, this round I was just way too stress and then was sick over Thanksgiving to fully enjoy it...but turned out ok.  And my spoilees seemed to enjoy their packages that I sent all was not bad :-)

And the BESTEST NEWS is that I got a kitten for my birthday!!!!

This is Spencer (and Izzy) the Birthday Kitten!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Tribute to Fall

My tribute to fall this year, has been working on this adorable scarecrow and these pumpkins.  Both projects which I turned in as homework assignments for the HPKCHC class assignments on Ravelry.  The scarecrow was for my Herbology assignment.  The assignment was as follows:
This month’s project revolves around the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Garden Pests (and helpers). A garden does not exist in a vacuum and a good herbologist has learned how to keep unwanted visitors away from their precious gurdyroot, puffapods, and screechsnap. KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!! Your task is to create something that identifies a garden pest, demonstrates a way to prevent pests, or aid you in getting rid of said pests. Your post should contain what pest/helper you’re after, why it’s a pest/helper, and how your project relates to it. And of course - PICS!
The pumpkins were for my Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) assignment, which was as follows:
Welcome to our first class on Necromancy!

In honor of Halloween this month, let’s focus on the connection points between the worlds of the living and the dead. To complete this month’s assignment, make something that is inspired by: 1) an historical figure that is now deceased 2) an undead creature (zombie, vampire, skeleton, ghost, etc.), or 3) both (now would be the time to make that Zombie Abe Lincoln) Bonus points, as always, for house colors or making me laugh.
Note: Projects may be inspired by a deceased historical figure or undead creature. They don’t have to be actual representations of them.
And since I had such a good time putting together the research for this project I have to include it here as well :-)

sandyvern, 2nd year Hufflepuff, turning in my assignment.

My assignment is based on The Great pumpkin , who is an unseen character in the Muggle comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

The Great pumpkin is a holiday figure (comparable to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny) that seems to exist only in the imagination of Linus van Pelt. Every year, Linus sits in a pumpkin patch (apparently the same one every year, though one year he and Snoopy were caught on a privately owned pumpkin patch, and perceived by the owner’s daughter as crazy) on Halloween night waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. Invariably, the Great Pumpkin fails to appear, and a humiliated but undefeated Linus vows to wait for him again the following Halloween.

According to Linus, on Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he deems the most “sincere”. The Great Pumpkin then flies through the air to deliver toys to all the good little children in the world. Apparently, one can cause the Great Pumpkin to pass him or her by merely saying “if he comes”, as opposed to “when he comes”. This could mean that the Great Pumpkin is likely to pass by anyone who doubts his existence.

The Difference Between The Great pumpkin and Santa Claus
According to Linus, when writing to the Great Pumpkin , you don’t ask him to bring you anything specific: you wait for whatever he brings you. In this way, Linus states a difference between the Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus (children writing to Santa include in their letters lists of exactly what they want). Also, Linus states that Santa gives away toys because it’s his job and it’s expected of him, whereas the Great Pumpkin gives away toys because he feels he is fulfilling a moral obligation.

My research facts comes from Wikipedia, but my original inspiration was from my childhood memories of watching the animated special of It’s the Great Pumpkin , Charlie Brown every year during the Halloween season (way before you could buy copies of it on video or dvd to watch whenever you wanted)

Beautiful Fall!

I have been meaning to add a post mentioning how beautiful it has been this fall!  I keep finding myself saying "oh, how pretty!" while driving around during the day.  I can't imagine living in an area where the leaves don't change in the fall.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  All seasons have there moments when things are so pretty...but for me I think fall is the best.  And this year in particular, I think the colors have been great.  I spend lots of time driving around...whethter it is going to different houses to take care of animals or driving around my friend's daughter, who I usually take to school and pick her up, as well as take her to the barn.  So I spend lots of time in the car.  And I am sure Isobel is tired of hearing me say, "oh, how pretty!"  Even on rainy days (which we have had plenty of) the colors are so vibrant....lots of reds, yellows and oranges...and even pink!  Yesterday, while driving to the barn, on a couple of the little back roads that we go on, there were these bushes (have no idea what they are) but about 4 or 5' high and quite a lot of them (at least on one particular road) that I couldn't help notice the pinkness of both sides of the pretty! :-) 

I love to drive on little roads where the tree branches over hang the road so that it feels like you are driving in a tunnel of color....always makes me smile.  And to be fair, I enjoy it just as much in the spring time...after a long winter of bare tree branches, when the leaves start coming out and filling is a tunnel of green-ness and shade.  And then there are the trees that are in the process of turning...where some of the leaves are still green and some are turning yellow and some orange...such pretty blending of the colors.  You can't help but think that God is such a wonderful artist with all these colors around :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

As usual, it has been awhile since I last posted.  That doesn't necessarily mean I have nothing to post about...just means I have no discipline and can't seem to get myself to post :-)

Anyway...let's see...I have been busy dog sitting...I think I mentioned last post that I was dog sitting for a customer/friend who has 7 Jack Russells.  And that actually took a good portion of my time this month...I think I dog sat for her just under 2 weeks (YIKES!!!) and even sat for them again just yesterday.  Thankfully it was just for the day.  Sadly, I have spent so much time with them that I almost think it isn't that crazy anymore (ALMOST).  They are all very cute...and all have very distinct personalities...and are just all very funny most of the time.  Course, then there is the obnoxious barking at the door everytime they want to go out and I am quickly reminded of the insanity!

I have also been knitting (of course)...been working on a baby sweater for a friend of mine that just had her second baby boy.  And got it in my head to make a scarecrow for one of the HP classes on Ravelry....which I have finally put together yesterday.  He isn't quite done, I have few finishing touches to add...but he is really cute!!  Also made a couple of pumpkins that I will probably use for a class as well.  I would probably get more accomplished if I didn't have so many projects going at once...but I get easily distracted and can't help starting another project before I finish others.

Ok....well....headed to the park for a walk....enjoying the fall weather....will finish later....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009's been awhile....

Let's see...what have I been up to...

Another month of classes has finished at HPKCHC and I ended up turning in more projects than I thought I would at the beginning of the semester.

This kitten washcloth I turned in for my Herbology assignment. 

For knitters and crocheters: Your yarn must be 50% or more from plant origin, ie. bamboo, cotton, hemp, corn. Post must contain brand and fiber content, picture of finished object, and a description of what it was like to work with and how it affects the project. Points awarded based on complexity of project, wit, originality, and evilness. (Trying to bring the evilness into Herbology. Not as easy as it seems, folks, short of having everyone knit with Devil’s Snare…)

This was also part of my package to my swapee in a "Handmade Washcloth and Soap Swap" as well.

This hat was dual purpose.  It was originally for a knit-a-long (KAL) for the Harry Potter Crafters group on Ravlery   It is 'The Practical Animal Crackers Hat' pattern, which is based on Ron Weasley’s hat from the Animal Cracker scene in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, knit to be more practical for winter wear.  With my choice of colors.  But as luck would have it the assignment for Potion was:

Pepperup Potion - Cures the common cold. You can identify someone who has recently taken this potion by the distinctive steam coming out of their ears for several hours after drinking it. But demand has been heavier than usual this year, and supplies of Pepperup Potion are short. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knit, crochet, or sew something to keep somebody warm.

And since I will be wearing this in an attempt to stay warm this winter while walking fit as my Potions class assignment as well :-)

Let's not forget about these adorable reducio socks, which I used as my Defenese Against the Dark Arts (DADA) assignment....which was "What I Fought on my Summer Holidays"

There was also turning in 33% of my Arithmancy O.W.L. project.  Which I will have to post later as the finished objects will be part of my Yule gifts to friends and family.  So...overall was another productive month at HPKCHC.  I will update later about this month's assignments...and post pics of my great Reducio Swap package....

And of course, it hasn't been all knitting, all the time...there has been lots of pet sitting...the 7 Jack Russells tend to take up much of my time (which I actually need to go and check on as we speak/type)...and to outing to The Big E (always great fun!)...but alas...I hear the russells calling.....


Friday, September 25, 2009

I am so bad at this blogging thang.... has been days since I have posted something new....course I did mention at the beginning of this little adventure that I sucked at keeping a journal :-) 

I have actually been that is my good excuse...
I have been dog sitting for an old friend/customer (from when I worked at Sound View Stables)....and they have 7 Jack Russells?!?!?  Who has 7 Russells???  They are all very cute...just so loud and naughty!!!  (I keep meaning to get a picture of them...maybe I will get one later on today...)

Anyway...with them my days have been starting at 5:15 a.m....and then finishing when I go to bed at about 10 p.m.  And spending most of the day just being exhausted!  But I have managed to do some knitting and reading. 

I just finished (like 5 minutes ago) reading "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audry Niffenegger.  Really good read.  I have wanted to see the movie...yet I always doubt that the movie will be as good as the book. 

I also just finished making some little items for my Reducio Sock Swap partner...the deadline for mailing packages is I mailed mine yesterday (nothing like waiting for the last minute)

My swap partner is a I made a Reducio Sock in her house well as a mini house sweater.  They both came out adorable I must say :-)  And just added some chocolate (cause what gift is complete without chocolate??) and candy corn (cause it seemed appropriate for the season) and some soap samples (a good free advertising ploy)...and wrapped all of this up in red and yellow tissue paper to complete the Gryffindor theme.

And just because I was having so much fun making the little socks...I ended up making one in each of the 4 house colors.  Of course now that I included the Gryffindor one in my swap package I need to make another one so that I can have a complete set :-)  I also ended up using these for my Defense Against the Dark Arts assignment in the HPKCHP (on Ravelry).  The assignment was:

"What I Fought On My Summer Holidays” - It’s September! The month for the traditional back-to-school essay about what you did on your summer holidays. Explain and show an example of which spell you practiced, creepy creature you fought, or scary Death Eater plot you unraveled over the summer holidays. Extra points for house colors, making the prof laugh, or being especially awesome.

So on my holidays I spent time perfecting my Reducio (description: makes an enlarged object smaller. Counter-charm to Engorgio) spellwork, which can be rather fiddly and annoying to work with because it is so small.

And because I was feeling a little guilty for spending so much time on making things that are really not that useful...ya know cause I don't have any midgets or leprachauns in need of socks and sweaters...I thought I would try them on my dragon Harry Potter....

This would be Harry sporting the Hufflepuff and Gryffindor socks and looking rather pleased with himself....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back from vacation...and had to make soap :-)

I was going through soapmaking withdrawals so today I was thinking about making soap all day....

I started the day though working...driving Isobel to school (Iz is not my own child but when someone asks we tell them that I am her 'barn mom' because I usually pick her up from school and take her to riding lessons) and then doing some pet sitting jobs that I had scheduled for today. But I was done with all that by about 10:00 a.m. so I had the rest of the day to do all the stuff that was waiting for me to do while I was away on vacation.

Most of the rest of the day ended up with finishing packaging up soap samples for the sampler program that I was asked to participate in last month.  I was able to finish packing them up and shipped them out today as well. 

These are the finished sampler packages.  My samples will be included in the October they suggested that you could have a "Halloween" theme for your samples if you wanted.  I didn't find out about this program in time to make halloween type soaps...but I was able to find some halloween treat bags that worked well for packaging most of them.  Some are in clear bags just because I think they look nicer...and because I hadn't found the halloween bags until today.  Each sample bag contains a sample sized soap (about 2 -2.5 oz bars), a business card and a promotional postcard for free shipping on orders that are placed from this particular program.

I also finally packaged up and shipped out my swap package for a "Soap and Washcloth" swap that I signed up for on Ravely.  I had finished knitting my washcloth ages ago...and shopped for little other gifts to add to my project before I went on I thought I would just bring it all along with me on vacation and finally get it mailed while I was away.  Course as I was packaging it all up and getting it ready to go to the post office...I realized I forgot to bring the SOAP...kind of one of the major parts of the whole thing!!!  DUH!!!  So it ended up going out today...
After all that was done.....I MADE SOAP :-)
For about 3 hours this afternoon I made 3 batches of soap.  (After packaging up all my samples I had room on my curing shelf for more soap).  I made 2 batches of pumpkin spice soap seeing how it feels like fall lately.  One batch put in small silicone pumpkin/jackolantern/leaf molds...they look festive.  And the other batch I did as a regular log mold that I will be able to slice up probably tomorrow.
The little molds did not gel...and the log mold and the top smaller log mold seem to be gelling...they are also the 2nd batch and I soaped a little warmer. 
Then I ended my soap making day with a big batch of my all time favorite, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap.
Overall...was a very productive day :-)
I think now I am going to either make dinner (not feeling motivated to actually do that...might end up being a cereal dinner night)...or work on either my Potions assignment for the HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup a group on Ravelry that I belong to...and that is lots of fun!!) or work on my O.W.L. project assignment also for the HPKCHC.  I will post pic of those projects another time...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back from Vacation...

Back today from my little vacation.  Went to Wildwood, NJ for a couple of days...and sadly it rained pretty much everyday :-(  Which kind of sucked but tried to make the best of it.  Did manage to get in some shopping (mostly window shopping) and reading time and did a lot of eating...something that isn't affected by the rain! 

Missed my dog!  Picked him up from the kennel today as soon as we got back...he is exhausted!  I don't think he slept much or ate much while he was in the kennel...he is looking a little pathetic.  But he seems happy to be home...and I am definitely happy to be with him again.

This is the picture the kennel took of Brandon while he was staying there and sent this in an email to me to let me know he was doing well...

Having a blast at Best Friends Norwalk...wish you were here!

I'd love to tell you all about it, but since I can't talk my Best Friends agreed to send this photo along to you instead.
See you soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It has been awhile since I lasted posted...

Let's see...I have been busy doing a lot of pet sitting this past week.  People are trying to get in those last little get aways before school starts and everyone gets back to a more normal routine.  And I have managed to enjoy some of these beautiful fall like days we have had this past week.  I seem to especially notice this while walking some of my client's dogs on the back roads of New Caanan, CT.  There isn't too much traffic going by and you can just listen to the birds singing and the sounds of squirrels and other little animals busily working on storing up for winter.  And of course I enjoy the antics of the dogs I am walking as well.  Particularly a little black Pug named Benny.  He enjoys rolling in lush patches of green grass so if I am not paying attention sometimes I don't notice he has stopped walking to have a good roll til I start dragging him...which always makes me laugh cause he seems to think this is an added extra benefit of rolling.

I have also spent time this week when I am not walking dogs or driving to different client's homes, putting together some sample packages of my soaps that I am doing for a promotional site that asked me to participate in their "Out of the Box Sampler" program.  They help promote small business by sending out boxes with samples from different small business.  I decided it couldn't hurt to give it a shot.  I agreed to send some samples for October's boxes and maybe I will sign up to send some more for November and December.  It would definitely be a good time of year to participate with the holidays coming up.  Plus it gives me an excuse to make more soap!

These are a couple of the ones I made up today.

I also rebatched some soap that seized up on me a couple of weeks ago...was supposed to be a banana scented soap....that turned into a mess!  This is the first attempt...pretty ugly!!  Let see what happens with the rebatch.

Thankfully I had set aside a portion of this batch because originally I was going to layer it sort of like a "banana cream pie" look...which never happened cause of the seize that happened to the first part of the plan (pic above)...but I was able to scent these star mold soaps with some banana fragrance oil and they came out heavenly!  They are currently sitting on the counter in my kitchen curing and so whenever I am cooking or in the kitchen I usually spend some time just smelling them :-)  YUMMY!!  And to be fair...the little flowers (blueberry) and beehive soaps (oats & honey) are equally yummy!

I also spent some time filling an order for buttercream flavored lip balms for someone in my church who ordered a bunch of them....unfortunately, I have already given them to her so I don't have any pictures to share.  But they turned out great as well.

I will posted pictures of the rebatch when I unmold it and slice it...keep your fingers crossed that it turned out well...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A new semester at HPKCHC....

Been a quiet weekend.  Haven't done much of anything really :-)  I had a bunch of pet sitting customers cancel their plans for going away this weekend because of the weather (it has rained here most of Friday and Saturday) so just spent the weekend catching up on some stuff that I had to do and just hanging out.

September 1st starts the new semester for the HP Knitting/Crocheting House Cup on Ravely.  I will be a second year Hufflepuff :-)  Last semester (semester=year in our little House Cup world) I made so many things.  Trying to finish class assignments and also doing an O.W.L. project kept me knitting happily for 3 months!!  I probably finished more knitting projects during the semester than I have in my entire knitting career.  And yes, some of the projects were just small things...but still 'playing the game' gave me the motivation to try new things and learn new things.

Here are some pics of the things I made last semester

My first pair of socks ever! 
My Hermione Cable and Bobble Hat (first hat ever too!)
A small token of Hufflepuff-ness...a chapstick holder

My Hufflepuff wristies....
Modeled by Harry....ssshhhh he thinks the 'H' stands for Harry...not Hufflepuff :-)
And so many more are a few other pic of things (and there are still more) but these are the more fun ones...

  • Fawkes socks

  • Baby mandrake

  • Illusion washcloth...I spared you more pictures but illusion knitting is very cool...if you look at it straight on it just looks like a white and blue wash cloth...but if you look at it on an angle you see the heart :-)

  • Hermione Cable and Eyelet hat

  • The Teddy Bear with footie pjs was my Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. project - the assignment was to produce a patronus.  This bear was given to a friend who was due to have a baby so would be protecting the new baby.

And there was the shawl that was in hibernation for months that I finally finished and another hat, few other washcloths and 3 other bears (way too many people in my life having babies at the same time!!).  But it was so much fun!  I can't wait to see what our professors have lined up for homework assignments.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I spent this morning running around doing some errands...and just getting used to driving my new car..without holding my breath in fear of cracking it up :-) 
This afternoon I cut up some of the loafs of soap that I made on Tuesday...Blueberry Crunch and Oats & Honey.
This is the Blueberry Crunch soap that I made on Tuesday.  It smells sooo yummy!  The whole house smells like blueberries!
This is the Oats & Honey soap I also made on Tuesday.  This is the second batch of this that I have made in the last month or is so good!  There is no added scent to it...but the natural "oats & honey" scent is so is a sort of nutty scent!  I love it! 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My New Car!!!

After 2 hours at the Nissan dealership, signing away my life...and the life of my first born child...I now have a brand new car! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Should have quit while all was well...

I had made two batches of soap earlier today...and I think they look like they are coming along great.

In my soapy loving mood...I said why not go for batch 3 today...

BAD IDEA!!! I should know not to soap late at night...

Made the same exact recipe as I did earlier (that came out great)...and all was going well until I added my FO (Banana from Sweetcakes)...I now know what "seizing" is....aaarrrggghhh!!!

I am going to go to bed...and see if this turns into soap during the night....maybe it will have been a soapy nightmare.....

Today was a soaping day...

Today started off going to the barn with Iz...which is always fun and always good for my horsey fix. Then this afternoon I decided to make a couple of batches of soap.  I am participating in a 'sample box' program next month for the first time...hoping it might create some more outside that was one reason for soaping today.  The other reason just to try out some different things.

Last month I had made an unscented Honey & Oats batch, which has become my favorite soap for the last month.  I love its natural, nutty scent!!  So yummy!!!  Anyway...seeing how I have used pretty much the entire batch myself (I have given a few away for some gifts that I sent to people), I figured I would try and make another batch.  This one I did a little differently...mostly since the first batch ended up volcanoing out of the mold...this time I tried 'rtcp' (room temperature cold process)...hoping to avoid the whole volcanoing affect.  Seems to have come out ok so far...

The second batch I also did 'rtcp' as well.  This one is a Blueberry Crunch batch...the picture is actual "Blueberry Crunch" desert...which looks yummy!!  (This is why I soap...cause what I really want to do is bake...but then I am the only one who eats it!)  It was the first batch that I have used titanium dioxide and some micas (colorants).  I just had some sampler packs from Brambleberry so just used a little bit of it isn't like 'blueberry blue'...more of just a hint of blue.  And it is probably more layered than again will have to wait and see til I unmold them and cut them.  I did really like the consistency of this batch though...was almost whipped like...was able to do more of a textured top...course then I decided to sprinkle the top with oatmeal (that would be the crunch part)...but it was very swirly-textured-y.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Relaxing day....

Today has been a relaxing day. I have had the entire day off. Which is good...and bad. I have recently been very busy with lots of pet sitting jobs...the end of summer rush for people to get in those last vacations before the summer is over and kids go back to school and everyone gets back into a regualr I am enjoying having a quiet day of just doing what I need to do and not having to worry about everyone else's animals. But on the other hand...I have just had to buy a new car (R.I.P my little Jeep Wrangler!) so I have the fear of "looming car payments" hanging over my head shouldn't be so happy about a day off. Course since I don't even have the new car yet...I guess I will just enjoy a slow day while I can. (Can't wait to get my brand new Nissan Rogue!!!)

I have spent most of the morning putting together a little package for a swap that I took part of back in June. The swap was from the Harry Potter Crafters group on was supposed to be done in June (which my original swap package was) but there was one woman from the group who's package seems to have gotten lost in the Canadian Postal Service so the group moderator has decided to try and put together another "angel" package for this person since no one seems to know WHEN or IF her original package will ever arrive. So yesterday I got a message asking if I would like to help out with this...which I jumped on since I had nothing else going on (and no car to go anywhere).
And this adorable owl was part of my package...being part of the Harry Potter Crafters...this would be Pigwidgeon: the wee tiny owl ...which if you are a Harry Potter fan, you would know Pigwidgeon (also known as "Pig") is Ron Weasley's pet owl. I also included a Golden Snitch washcloth, 3 bars of Ghirdelli chocolate bars and some of my handmade soaps. You can check out my website at to see more of my soaps.
All and all my day has been kind of with a blog, I have yet one other thing to keep me glued to my computer... own what?? today I decided to actually create a blog. I have no idea why....

I do like the idea of keeping a 'journal'...just not very good at maybe this will be the way...

This is about as far as I usually get...a nice blank journal book...and some fun pens...and if I am really lucky I actually fill out a few pages. Although, I have started this journey many times...whenever I come across the 'old journals' if I have written in them...the entries have scarily been very similiar...even though years have gone by in between. Seems to just prove that my life is very boring :-)
Well, let's hope that this is different...