Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All In The Family

Where I apparently have a talent for spinning (which seems to be my only fiber arts talent) my Aunt Linda is gifted with all other aspects. She crochets beautifully although she admitted that she doesn't care for knitting. That's ok, I will pick up the slack there although I'm not very good at it. She has weaved beautiful blankets and she has made some of the most amazing quilts.

The woman sews sensationally!

I...well, I do own a sewing machine which is buried deep under piles of scrapbooking supplies, yarn stash and all other goodies in the guest room. Hers is readily available and I love that because she has made Sister Bear some of the prettiest dresses in the last few years.

The first two pics are the most recent dresses which Sister Bear thinks are AWESOME! "Look Mom, she made the sleeves poofy, isn't that cool!" and "Mom, Aunt Linda knew what she was doing with this one because she made me pockets!" So Aunt Linda got the thumbs up from The Spectacular Sister Bear.

Me and my Aunt Linda in L.A. back in my college days.

NOTE: I've been letting Sister Bear dress herself since preschool. She loves the funky tights and isn't afraid to mix and match patterns. She will tell you why her outfits works too and she knows how to work it with just a pinch of attitude and a cup for of adorable this little girl is going to Rock the World!

A few more dresses Aunt Linda made Sister Bear this year and last.

So, where did my Aunt get all her sewing savy? I believe it goes back to Grandma. That woman worked wonders on the machine. She loved to crochet and even when she was getting close to the end she was still making crafts. I have the last crochet project she started. It was the blanket she was making for Sister Bear because she was Grandma's first Great-Grandchild. Grandma passed away when I was 7 months pregnant so she never did get to see Emily which would have made her world because Grandma lived for her grandchildren.

Grandma Anderson

When I see Sister Bear wearing her beautiful dresses made by my aunt, I can't help but remember all the beautiful dresses she made for me and my sister. Not only did she make dresses for me and my sister but she made dresses for our dolls. Does anyone out there remember the Kimberly Doll made in the mid-80's? Well, I still have mine and the complete wardrobe Grandma made for her plus I now have all the outfits she made for my sister since Denise's doll's head got torn off in a fit of brattiness one day long ago. Sister Bear likes getting to play with Kimberly sometimes because she is a bit smaller than her American Dolls so it's like "they have a little sister" Awwwww....I know, I told ya, she's adorable!

So I am officially thanking you, Aunt Linda, for your beautiful handiwork! Sister Bear loves them and I love them to. I love that you took the time and love to make these for your Great-Niece and that everytime she wears them I think fondly of Grandma. I will not give these dresses away because I wish now that my mother had kept at least one of the outfits Grandma had made me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Herd That Matters Most

It's been an interesting and stressful week here on the farm. Monday's unexpected passing of our beloved dog, Tucker, has left an empty spot here in the house and to add more stress, I've been upset because I'm going to be in Flint for the MIAF (Michigan Alpaca Fest) instead of home with my son celebrating his 7th birthday.

I know Flint is only two hours away but the Saturday and Sunday are going to be long show days and Hubby is going to be home taking care of the farm and getting prep ready for the Alpaca Wonder Weekend, which is next week.

There's more guilt because it's been all alpaca all the time lately and I don't my kids to think that Mom likes the pacas more and I know that they have been wanting to do some activities that we haven't done because of all the prep it's taking to get through these two events so I promise you now, Brother Bear and Sister Bear, after the madness of the Alpaca Weekend and MIAF are over Mom will return to normal and we will do something extra special that doesn't involve alpaca. I promise! I pinky swear, Sister Bear.

Since I'm not going to be home this weekend, we ended up celebrating Brother Bear's birthday on Wednesday. My dad and sister along with my twin nieces came over for a Transformer/Star Wars/Bionicle Birthday Party. Of course, Brother Bear thinks he is still getting more gifts on his "real" birthday. Yikes! I can't win.

We had a great evening and the kids played great together and my dad had a blast watching his four young grandchildren play together. Those are really the moments to treasure.

For a Fiber Arts Update: I am still cranking away at spinning up samples of all my roving for the Alpaca Wonder Weekend along with knitting the alpaca scarf out of my spinning for a door prize. My darling Sister Bear is the Fiber Artist of the Week in the family though. Look at her use that drop spindle. She is having so much fun spinning. Of course now she wants to learn to knit so she can make something out of her yarn. I'm so proud of her.

With that I'm signing off. I have some alpaca to load up for show. If you're in Flint on Saturday or Sunday, check out the Perini Arena for the MIAF. Say hello when you stop by the Wonder Farm Stall. You can't miss me...or not avoid hearing me either :-)

As for this final picture, well...apparently...I've got nothing except to say that every picture I took had that smile. Who knows, he's a boy that's turning seven. Enough said!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Miniature Schnauzer Extrodinaire

Zomerhoff's Ducky Tucker
Our little Boom Boom
Rest in Peace

Shorty after I married my husband we decided we wanted a dog. We debated over breeds and both agreed on Miniature Schnauzers then we carefully researched to find a reputable breeder. We found one not far from home in Richland, Michigan where we were to meet our best little friend along with his litter mates before he had ever been sheared.

We picked the Roly Poly Boy of the bunch because he was too darn cute and cuddly then we had to wait for him to get a wee bit older before she would release him to us. We had already decided we liked the name Tucker but the breeder said that all her schnauzers had litter letters and we would need to incorporate the letter D into his first letter of his name.

We went through the dictionary trying to find the right word and we settled on Ducky which means A Special Loved One and he was loved immensely.

So he became Zomerhoff's Ducky Tucker

We didn't have children yet so we spoiled Tucker. I mean, this little dog was spoiled. He failed Doggy School and we could never get him officially trained except to come when he heard food. He was a portly dog who stayed at 21lbs for most of his life.

He was our Boom Boom. We called him Boom Boom because even as a puppy he would fart then run across the room chasing his butt in circles scared of the sound but intrigued by the smell. So quite often we would call for Tucker Tucker Boom Boom Who Stinks Up The Room Room and yes, he would come to that.

When we finally had our first child, he would guard her like she was his own. He would sleep next to her whenever he could but at night his place was between my husband and me in our bed. He would nestle right between the pillows. For eleven years he has been a joy to have in our family.

He comforted us when we were sad, and gave us plenty to laugh at. He would warm us up on a cold night. He liked to sit on your feet. I guess that was his way of saying he approved. He loved cashews and popcorn. He would let you pour your heart out and never interrupted. He was super soft and such a beautiful gray. He was beautiful. He would give tiny Tucker kisses. Not the slobbery ones most dogs give but tiny little licks on your arms or forehead. He loved to go bye bye and new that Renee was his groomer. If we said, "Want to see Renee?" his ears would perk up. It was fun to see him excited and the little stub of a tail wiggle. He was an important part of our family...

Early on, we dressed Tucker up and if you were lucky to know us pre-kids you most likely received a birthday or holiday card with his picture on it. Here are a few of the delightful poses we tortured Tucker with:

Jolly Ol' St. Tucker Man

Have Balloons, Now where's the party?

Sporty Winter Tucker aka Mr. Stylish

Trivia Tucker

Our Lil' Pumpkin

I'll miss you Tuckerman. You were the best little doggy. Rest in peace.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn, Everywhere you go...

I live in Michigan and it's beginning to look a lot like Autumn! The trees are starting to turn, the swimming pool is closed and EEK! the temperature is 44 degrees when you wake up in the morning but hits the 70's during the day.

So, how am I handling the weather change? Well, this is my favorite time of the year. Better than Spring, better than Summer and Winter, we won't even touch that topic. I am in full gear trying to get the farm ready for my Alpaca Wonder Weekend on October 3 and also finishing getting organized for the MIAF (Michigan Alpaca Fest) in Flint next weekend, September 26-27.

I am also trying to spin up at least one skein of each of the colors I had processed into roving from my herd. Being someone who never over-extends herself (bahahaha, evil laugh) I am also starting to knit some of MY YARN that I SPUN from MY HERD. I get tingles all over just saying that. The sense of pride and accomplishment is all over my smile because I didn't simply go out and buy a skein of yarn, I made that skein of gorgeous suri yarn that is being turned into a beautiful scarf that I am hoping to complete before the Alpaca Wonder Weekend so I can use it as a door prize.

I figured I would take you through the journey to make this scarf.

First I started by purchasing this beautiful Suri Female, Sugar Breeze, who has a gorgeous Medium Brown coat. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her in the barn at Wind Walker Ranch. Her brown is so rich and almost reddish, I think some call it a Mahogany. She is beautiful.

Next we sheared my gorgeous girl then I had to skirt her fleece. Skirting is when you get all the VM (veggie matter) out and also try to sort by like lengths so you have a more consistant roving.

The roving was made out of 70% Suri (Sugar Breeze) and 30% dyed Merino Top.

Next I used my Ashford Elizabeth and I spun this delicious roving into a gorgeous skein. This is my very first Alpaca Yarn that I spun on my wheel so it's a bit chunky and inconsistant but totally beautiful.

Finally I found a pattern I liked, The Staggard Rib Scarf. A free pattern than is easy to knit, I LOVE IT! I saw a friend knitting this pattern on a similar textured yarn and thought it would be perfect for this skein because it is a bit chunkier. So far, so good. It's a simple pattern. 9 rows of instruction then it repeats and it's all knit and purl so I shouldn't mess it up.

An awesome friend, Holly, suggested that I use a Meijer wine carrier to cart my project around in and that works phenominally plus it was an excuse to buy more wine. By the way, you should check out some of the amazing Michigan Vineyards right here in Southern Michigan, they have delicious wines that won't break your budget. You will even have enough money left over to drink your wine and buy some of my yarn.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feel the Wonder

This last week I haven't spent much time on my laptop. Eek!

I have been busy knitting on my Kidney Kozie...still! I think I need to take a break from it. It is causing great sadness in my knitting love plus the deadline to turn it in for the Kidney Smackdown is past so...I will take a small break then finish it so that the dialysis unit can have it for their collection.

I have also been busy spinning my Wonder Roving. My goal is to have a skein spun out of each of my alpaca before the ALPACA WONDER WEEKEND on October 3 so that people can see what can be created from the roving plus hopefully sell some of my yarn too. Yikes! I have A LOT of roving sitting here that needs a good home.

EVERYONE needs to FEEL THE WONDER of ALPACA. Honestly, it is like...heaven.

So here are the three skeins that have been completed this last week. I don't have them listed on my ETSY STORE but the roving they came from is so, if you are interested please request a custom order.

I'm calling this yarn KABOOM BOOM! This is a two ply yarn spun on my Ashford Elizabeth. It's 70% Suri Alpaca from our Wonder Boy, Kaboom and 30% dyed Merino Top.

This Yarn is called PEDRO SMOOTHER THAN SILK. It's a two ply yarn spun on my Ashford Elizabeth. Pedro is a Light Fawn Suri on our farm whose Accoyo heritage shines through in his density and fineness.
This yarn is 70% Suri Alpaca, 20% Merino Top, 10% Silk

This yarn was fun to spin. I ordered some beautiful purple bamboo from Silver Sun Alpaca and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it so I spun the 2oz, which was delicious! I decided to ply it with black roving from my Wonder Boy, Taz. I predict that this yarn would make a fresh and fun scarf but I am such a scarf lover and a novice knitter that my scope of possibilities is still narrow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I-94 Zombies Beware!

It's that time again! Adopt-a-Highway cleanup time. Honestly, if I ever...I MEAN EVER see any friend of mine try to throw something out of the vehicle window I will hunt you down with a shovel and feed you to the zombies before I slay the zombie.

Do you hear me?


The garbage on the side of the road is so disgusting. There is a reason fast food restaurants and rest stops were created: RESTROOMS! Really, Ewwwwww! Do you know how many pop containers we find with urine in them. Yeah, I know, GROSS!

The road isn't as bad as it was last time but we were out there in July so the garbage hasn't had a chance to accumulate too much but we still need help.

We finished just over a mile today and have more to go.

Check our ravelry site if you are interested in helping or email me.

Better yet, DON'T LITTER!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School 2009

My children carefully picked out their First Day of School outfits and even brushed their teeth without being told yet they still didn't want to put on their happy faces for my traditional photo.

Here's to a great 2009-2010 school year!

Labor of Love

So how did you spend your Labor Day?

I spent a good chunk of mine in tears.

First, I am frustrated because I am a slow knitter and had so many chores to do this weekend that I didn't get my Kidney Kozie done for the Zombie Prom Date Knitters Charity Knit Along where we donate shawls (called Kidney Kozies) to a local dialysis unit. I made progress but not enough to complete the kozie. I am so bummed about this. I will continue to knit it and just turn it in late but...I really wanted to complete it on time.

I did manage to clear out all the rocks in the one pasture after Hubby disced and tilled it up so he was able to reseed it. Soon the boys will have another 1 1/2 acres of pasture to graze in that is growing good orchard grazing grass. Now we need rain to help it grow. I know, I said a dirty word but rain+sunshine=plant growth. Note to weeds: YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GROW!

I cleaned my adorable son's bedroom. I have decided that all six year old boy's rooms must have a DO NOT ENTER or ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK sign. My goodness, I don't want to know what his room will be like in a few years if this is the disaster I am finding now. On a good note, I found many lego pieces that have been missing for month. Curse those tiny parts.

We visited Critchlow's Alligator Sanctuary down in Athens where we visited on Monday with our friends, the Sackrider family. The kids got to feed alligators of all sizes, hold some little ones and learned alot about reptiles.

Somehow the conversation turned to alpaca. Hmmmm, go figure!

Finally, my tears came from my beautiful suri grey girl, Morning Mist. I have been trying to halter train her all summer and it's been very hard. She is a stubborn girl. Well, the MIAF show is coming up in less than 20 days and she still won't follow on the lead. It's been awful. I called my dearn friends and mentors, Don and Cheri Parks from Wind Walker Ranch, who I am buying her from to ask for help. Don is the Alpaca Whisperer. Really, the man has a charm on alpaca that is magically. Well, Morning Mist and I made a trip up to their farm yesterday and she is going to Halter Training Camp with Don. He is going to work with her for a few days and figure out her issues so I can go up and he can "train me" on how to "train her". I was ready to give up this weekend. If I can't train an alpaca how to walk on a lead how on earth am I supposed to run a successful farm? I have already trained a couple of boys with little or no issues so why not her? Why my beautiful gray girl that I loved so much that I had to buy her to make her part of my foundation herd? I really was in tears. Standing in the inner pasture crying because she kept cushing and wouldn't walk with me after a month of working with her...more than a month actually.

So that was my Labor Day weekend.

Sweat, tears, laughter, friends, alligators, pacas...and not a lot of knitting.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Iraqi Bundles of Love

As you've read, I am having issues with my Kidney Kozie getting done by it's deadline but....I have another charitable action that I can achieve without totally causing stress to my knitting skills.

Have you heard of Iraqi Bundles of Love? No? That's ok, I hadn't either until this morning when my pal, knitwithsnot, brought it to my attention.

Ok, here are the details!

Visit these blogs to get complete information.

Iraqi Bundles of Love

Bec Knits


Honestly, this is one of the easiest fiber arts charity acts you can do. Better yet, we are working with OUR soldiers to help SPREAD GOODWILL through the WORLD via FIBER ARTS!

You know, make the world a better place one stitch at a time.

So get up away from your puter and go look at your stash. You know you have yarns, knitting needles...ok, crochet needles too (blah, blah, blah, I tried crochet and crochet denied me. Go figure that one out), and other sewing and fiber arts supplies that are just sitting there with no purpose.

Maybe if the world was occupied knitting then we wouldn't have time for war?

Now, wouldn't that be nice?

It's a Princess World

Well, the deadline to turn in the finished Kidney Kozie (shawl) that will be donated to a local dialysis unit is here. As you can see, I am only halfway done. It's not even long enough for an eight year old.

I had my model stand next to the reason why it's not finished. Lizzy! It's all her fault. Since the day I met her she has called to me, "Spin, Spin, Spin my pretty princess." Yes, she called me a princess and if you don't like it then tough! Don't you know, Every Girl Is A Princess! (Now guess that book/movie)

So it's all Lizzy's fault that I haven't finished my Kidney Kozie. KnitWithSnot did say that I can turn it in as soon as I get it done and I will! I love how my "basketcase" is coming along but I am sick of that shade of purple. If I never see that shade of purple ever again I will be one happy...princess.

So here are two of the reasons I haven't been working at my Kidney Kozie like I should.

Yarn spun on Lizzy out of Sugar Breeze Mojove rovings (70%suri/30%dyed merino top)

Yarn spun on Lizzy out of Sugar Breeze Mojave and Haze Sage (70%suri/30%dyed merino top)

Then there is the ultimate reason why: Sprite's SpinSanity of Wonder born Sunday, August 30, 2009.

So I have been in the pasture enjoying my newest addition to the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm. SpinSanity of Wonder, is the first huacaya cria born on the farm. Actually he is the first huacaya, first cria, and first male born on our farm.

In this picture he is only four days old running with Sunshine of Wonder, our Rose Grey Suri Multi who is now three months old. Look at the difference in their size.

Speaking of size. I am going to do my best to work all weekend on my Kidney Kozie. I'm halfway there. A good 6-12 hours (I'm a slow knitter) it will be done. I will sit out in the pasture amongst my beautiful cria and knit until I can't knit anymore. I will ignore Lizzy's taunts of pleasure. My goodness, I'm a princess but I'm not Sleeping Beauty. I'm the WonderWhyGal, not Briar Rose or the gorgeous Briar Rose Fibers.

Of course, the Alpaca Farm Girl did say earlier this week that Farming is like a Disney Movie.

So, enjoy your Labor Day weekend. You know what I'll be doing.