Yarn Along

Wow, it's Wednesday again and that means it is time for the weekly yarn along.  I'm joining with Ginny and everyone to share our yarn projects and the books we've been reading.  This week I've been working on the Dr. Who scarf and my Sylvi sweater.  But I've also been working on my fingerless mitts from the kit I got in Japan.  One of the easiest translations I had with this kit was the needle size.  A Japanese 10 equals to a 8mm or size 11 needle.  I wish I had taken a picture of the first attempt.  Size 11 needles made the ribbed part of the mitt go past my elbow!  I moved down to a size 9 needle and it's going much better.  
 I finished Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah.  I thought it just okay.  There are other books by her that I have like better.  I had this book, The Sister Season on my shelf so picked it up after Distant Shores.  I didn't like it.  One of the superficial reasons that I didn't like it was the cover.
 Had I not just read How I Came To Sparkle Again (which I loved), I never would have noticed the recycled cover art.  On the cover of The Sister Season the girl in the red plaid coat is carrying a Christmas package and on the other book she is carrying an envelope.  Nevertheless it is the same picture.  It just really irked me to no end.

I am almost finished listening to the second Maggie Hope book, Princess Elizabeth's Spy.   I wasn't able to renew it through the library, so now I'm on the wait list.  Hopefully my wait isn't too long.  I was so close to the end.

Happy Yarn Along Wednesday!

A Yarn Dying Experiment

About a month ago I went to a crafting afternoon to the friend of a friends house.  She is like the uber crafty mom.  She showed us how to dye yarn with kool-aid.  And so for the last month I have wanted to experiment.  

I pretty much followed what she said to do and while what turned out was not what I had envisioned, I love the tie-dyed effect the yarn has.  

Dye Your Yarn has some great formulas to follow for some pretty cool colors.  I used ice blue lemon aid, black cherry, strawberry, and lemon aid.  I tried to follow the chart from the website, but came up with some other interesting colors.  I found the black cherry kool aid to be the strongest (and perhaps a bit overpowering) color so I am glad there is still some white showing.

I had envisioned a blue, green and yellow yarn but when I couldn't find any lemon lime kool aid, my plan changed.  And Corrine voiced her opinion when she wanted "pink" kool aid.  I am going to use this funky, tie-dyed yarn to make a vest for Corrine.

Sweet Peas

When we cleaned out the laundry room last summer I found a bag of seeds.  The majority of them were sweet pea seeds.  Sweet Peas are one of my favorite flowers.  (I have a lot of favorites).  Their scent is just that.  Sweet.   And look at those colors.  Aren't those beautiful?  Now is the time to plant sweet peas.  They like the colder temperatures and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.  

So my little helper and I set out to get these seeds ready.  I cut open the packages and my assistant poured them into a plastic cup.  Sweet peas have a hard coating and for better germination should be soaked over night.  We had a couple of varieties of seeds- long climbing plants and a container variety.  The climbing ones were all different colors and we mixed those in the glass to soak.  
We will plant these seeds of Friday.  Fingers crossed they actually come up.  Did I mention the seed is old?  Most of the packages were from 2005 and ten or so were from 2006.   I planted cucumbers last year from 2005 seed and some of them came up.  It will be interesting to see what the germination rate is on almost ten year old seed!  I bet some seeds sprout and we'll have beautiful flowers on our fence.

Debt and Life Insurance

One of the topics in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is about insurance.  Specifically life insurance.  Dave has some pretty strong feelings on life insurance and since he is the professional and I have heavily in debt, I'll follow what he says.  Dave says get term life insurance for ten times your annual salary and not a cash value plan.  A term plan is for just that, a term.  A cash value plan is an insurance plan and a savings plan all wrapped into one.  However the returns on a cash value insurance plan are horrible.

After the lesson I went home and checked out my life insurance policy.  Yep, sure enough I had a small universal life policy.  Upon further checking I had actually lost several hundred dollars over the years.  I immediately cancelled the policy (which by the way Dave says don't do until you have another policy in place).  I just couldn't stand the thought of losing more money.

Dave recommends a company in Nashville (where he is headquartered) to shop for insurance.  The company Zander Insurance will look for quotes for all kinds of insurance...life, auto, health, disability, etc.  I got on line and got a quote for a term life insurance policy and the original quote was $350 a year.  Not a bad amount.  I filled out the application and they sent a nurse to do the medical exam.  Six weeks later I got the news that due to my type 1 diabetes my insurance rate would instead be $1900 a year (that did include a $50 child policy).  WHAT?!?

OK.  So they didn't outright deny my application for life insurance.  But they certainly made it impossible to afford.  It was a very frustrating setback.  We are only on baby step one- saving a $1000 baby emergency fund.  There is no way at this point in time to spend $1900 a year for life insurance.
And I'm sure as I get older it will only get more expensive.

I will have just to settle for the time being with the life insurance that I have through work.  The company has a policy in place in case I die in a fiery plane crash.  My family will receive a payment equal to my annual salary.  I also took out a supplemental policy through our benefits program.  That will have to suffice for now.   This getting our debt thing is difficult and I know there will be lots of setback along the way.  I just need to learn to take it in stride.


Spring is close.  Oh so close.  Everywhere I look there are signs of spring.  Rhubarb is peeking through the dirt.  Tulips are springing up.  And the strawberries are coming up through their protective mulch.  Even the weeds are sprouting EVERYWHERE!

We started digging in the garden today.  Corrine and I.  She looked for her worm family.  Mama turned some wet compacted clay soil.  It amazes me that after so many years of amendment and compost there is still so much clay.  She was excited to plant some seeds.  I had to disappoint her and tell her we weren't quite ready.

But we're getting close!

Yarn Along

I'm not quite sure how it's possible a week has passed... it's Wednesday and that means it's time for the weekly yarn along.  I'm joining with Ginny and everyone to share yarn and books.  I picked up my Sylvi again.  According to ravelry, I started this sweater February 24, 2013.  I just finished the first sleeve and have started the second sleeve.  I'm about four inches from the start of the decreasing for the shoulder.  I have thought about starting a  sweater vest for Corrine, but made myself shelve that idea and work on something for mama.  The Dr. Who scarf is also coming along quite nicely.  Only ten feet to go! 
 I've also made the determination to read books only on my to read bookshelf at home.  That means no browsing at the library.  Distant Shores has been on my shelf for about six months, so I felt it was time. My friend who gives me all of her paperback books when she is done with them usually leaves me little notes about the book.  One of the books I had picked up before this one said she used a box of tissues.  I put it back on the shelf.  I'm not ready for that.
I've also downloaded the second Maggie Hope book, Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal.  I didn't notice the pair of little headphones when I downloaded the book from the library.  Apparently the audio version is the only one available.  I've been listening to the book while working in the kitchen.

Happy Yarn Along Wednesday!

Yarn Along

It's Wednesday again and that means it is time for the weekly yarn along!  I'm joining with everyone to share yarn and reading!  Bryan bought this cool fingerless mitt kit for me while we were in Japan.  Silly me, it's all in Japanese!  For the most part, thanks to google, I have an idea of what I'm doing.  Luckily it is a charted and looks easy enough to figure out.  There are a couple of cable stitches that I'm not sure about.  From the chart it is two 4 stitch sections, but I have exhausted myself trying to find a chart that tells me about these stitches.  What I've done was to look at the sweater pattern that I'm am also currently working on.  The whole back of the sweater is charted, so I've looked for a symbol that is close to what I need and I'm going to wing it!  There are some very helpful website on how to translate Japanese knitting symbols.  

 Last night I finished How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren.  I loved this book.  It is totally a chick lit book and I wasn't sure when my friend gave it to me to read.  It takes place in a fictitious Colorado ski town, which I think is loosely based on either Telluride or Crested Butte.  The lives of two childhood friends and one ten year old girl are brought together under circumstances that lead them to help each other heal and grow as people.  It's funny.  It's heartbreaking.  And it partially resembles my life in my early 20's when I lived and breathed skiing (in Crested Butte)!  I'm fairly certain that some of my roommates would have lived in "The Kennel."
I am also reading Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood on the Kindle app on my ipad.  Since Bryan goes to bed so much earlier than I do on his work days, I can read on the Kindle app since the screen can be changed to black.  That way the light doesn't keep him awake.  I downloaded the second Maggie Hope book, Princess Elizabeth's Spy only to realize that I borrowed the audio book and there is no ebook.  Now I just have to find some time to listen to it!

Happy Yarn Along Wednesday.

A Craft Swap- Part 3

Last week my neighbor came knocking on the front door with a package.  It was my package of craft swap goodies.  It had been delivered to their house by mistake and it was the first time both of us were home at the same time to make the hand off.  

Corrine and I were gifted these lovely hand sewn goodies.  Corrine got the crayon roll in a cute princess castle fabric.  I received scented sachets and this very nice drawstring bag.  The bag will hold my traveling knit projects perfectly.  In fact I love it so much, if I could sew, I'd make ten of them in various sizes.  
Thank you to the very sweet Jesse at http://atinyhouse.blogspot.com/ for taking the time to create a beautiful gift for me and for Corrine.

The 52 Project- February

The 52 Project- a portrait a week for a year.   Here are the pictures for February.
 5/52- Corrine skiing at Mary Jane.  She could be the next Olympic skiing star!  
 6/52- Daddy bath duty!
 7/52- helping daddy wax his skis
8/52- rockin' the piggies


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