Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm Going to go "Cold Sheep"!

You know that nursery rhyme, "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, have you any wool"?  Well, my answer is definitely MORE than three bags full.  My stash has grown to encompass eight plastic totes and a cedar chest full of sock yarn.  I'd hang my head in shame but I've honestly loved making each and every purchase and can't think of anything more fun than spending an afternoon browsing my LYS fondling all the skeins while deciding what to bring home to my stash.  Once home, I continue to hold it, photograph it, dream about what I'll make with it, and finally lovingly place it in my stash.  I think I'm becoming like the dragons of yore who guarded their treasure.
I admit to being a fiber snob (no acrylic in my hoard) and a stash junkie and to that end I've decided to go "cold sheep".  I've decided that for the next six months I won't purchase anything new and only knit from my stash.  Now this doesn't mean I won't accept gifts of yarn from my traveling husband or trades, I mean after all a knitter has only so much resolve, but I will not add anything new no matter how tempting a sale.  I realize six months isn't long in the grand scheme of time but to a stashaholic it will seem an eternity.

The bright side to my going "cold sheep" is that I will have time to organize my stash and plan projects for what I already have and dream of what I will buy when my six months is up.  After all, if all goes as planned I will have room for more!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Faster Than a Speeding Addi Turbo... It's Osmosis Knitter!!

My husband has become a "knitter by osmosis".  That's right, the fact that he is home he constantly surrounded by patterns, wool, pointy sticks, and a wife constantly chattering to him about her projects has yielded a "knitter by osmosis."  How do I know this?  Friday I picked him up from the airport and on the way home he mentioned that his seatmate on the plane was a woman who was "knitting", "on DPNs, "in the round", "making a sock and it was a "pretty pattern".  Tah Dah!!!  I've created a knitter or at least a husband who can talk the lingo and appreciate a good pair of hand knit socks.

 I asked him if he talked to her about his knitting wife or at least what kind of yarn she was using, but alas, he hasn't reached that stage of knitting nirvana yet.  He said he was afraid that she would want to talk knitting or patterns with him so he didn't say anything.  I'll have to work with him on that so he can truly amaze his flying companions.

 In my mind's eye I can see him first as mild mannered Rob, the weary business traveler, but then he happens to glance over and notice his seatmate has dropped a stitch a few rows back in her complicated pattern and doesn't know how to correct it!  This is a job for OSMOSIS KNITTER!  With a quick dash to the lavatory he returns resplendent in his superhero suit (with a hand knitted 100% ultra fine merino wool cape) and saves the day and the knitting project.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Hectic Friday and How I Found Purls in Omaha

 Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to be going right?  I took Friday off work to go to a couple of doctor appointments and pick up Rob's contract from his new employer which was being held at the FedEx office.   I went to one doctor in the morning and then drove to FedEx where I had to show Rob's passport and my driver's license in order to sign for the package.  I went home for lunch and a little knitting and  when it came time to leave for the second appointment, I found myself in the garage without my keys and I had already locked both doors! To add insult to injury I couldn't find my cell phone. I ran next door to my neighbor who has the spare key and he wasn't home.  I ran to the other neighbor and they weren't home either.  I admit I panicked at this point.  All I could think of was that not only was I going to be late for my appointment but I would miss my plane to Omaha where I would get to see Rob for the weekend and deliver the paperwork for him to complete so he could continue to be employed.  So what idea sprang into my fevered mind?  I would see if I could bump hard enough on the inside garage door to pop the lock.  It looks a lot easier on TV to break down a door than to actually do it.  Needless to say, all I managed to do was bruise my hip and ruin the door, which remained locked.  At this point I decided to say a prayer to St. Anthony and look for my phone again. To make a long story short, I found the phone, called my neighbor who drove back and retrieved my spare key, and went to my second appointment of the day.

Fast forward to the airport check-in at the self-service kiosk.  When I scanned my itinerary barcode, a message came up that said I could upgrade to first class for $90.00.  I felt like I had won the lottery.  My day rewound through my mind: 2 doctor appointments, 2 shots, 4 vials of blood drawn, a mammogram, the hassle at FedEx AND the fiasco of locking myself out....yep, you guessed it...I said "oh yeah, I deserve this" and I went for the upgrade. Now I'm not the traveler that Rob is and I had only flown first class once before nor do I casually spend money (unless its on yarn which doesn't count, right?) so I financially justified it by reminding myself that I had used air miles for the ticket so I really wasn't adding to the cost of the ticket.  Once in the air happily knitting I had a brilliant idea.  Airlines may have first class and business class but what they really need is knitters class.  Perhaps it was the 2 glasses of white wine that helped fuel this idea but think about it.  Nice big cushy seats with plenty of elbow room so you aren't hitting your neighbor with your arms as you knit away.  The flight attendants could even pass out free knitting patterns.  It's a thought.

My weekend improved once we landed in Omaha.  After completing the paperwork and FedExing it we visited a stamp show, an arts festival where I bought some hand thrown pottery, and the String of Purls, one of Omaha's LYS.  Rob had already visited this shop about a month ago and had bought me a couple of skeins of Claudia Hand Painted sock yarn.  The store is medium sized with its large inventory of yarn displayed along the walls by color and weight.  They had several yarns that aren't available in my area and I purchased a ball of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball which I had definitely never seen.  If you find yourself in Omaha, I encourage you to stop by String of Purls and see what they have to offer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bassets and Knitting...Part 2

What do you get when you decide to leave a 2 year old basset roaming free in house for 10 1/2 hours?  A yarn snarl to beat all yarn snarls!

Leonard, my 2 year old basset, is a "houdini hound".  He has managed to break out of his kennel cage numerous times and in the process bending the cage door wires.  I've been leaving him alone while running errands and he has been very good so today I decided to let him roam the house while I was at work (what was I thinking!).  I closed the bedroom doors to restrict his access and thought my knitting was safe as I took my project bag to work with me.

Apparently I didn't learn my previous lesson about bassets and knitting because after praising him for being such a good boy while I was at work, I went into the office and found a HUGE YARN SNARL.  Words can't begin to describe opening the French door (this should have been my first clue as I had shut both doors before I left) and seeing mounds of creamy angora merino wool in snarly clumps strewn across the carpet.  Yes, that's right angora merino wool!  My favorite LYS had had a sale to end all sales and I had purchased 18 skeins of Sublime Angora Merino at a huge savings.  This gorgeous yarn had been sitting in a heavy duty plastic bag with a knotted drawstring beside my desk chair for a couple of weeks and Leonard had completely ignored it.  Not today.  Today he decided to find out just how soft and luscious it was.  Perhaps after watching me knitting night after night he decided to surprise me by teaching himself to knit so we could swap patterns.  Who knows what crossed his mind but the end result was an art project reminiscent of Christo draping fabric all through Central Park, in other words a mess!

The good news is that Leonard didn't unwind and snarl all 18 skeins.  Instead he selected 11 skeins to snarl  and he left the remaining 7 skeins out of the bag but untouched.  How much is is 11 skeins of yarn?  It's 1,430 yards or approximately 4/5 of a mile.  It took me 3 hours to separate and wind my precious yarn.  I have misshapen balls of varying sizes but I only had to throw a teeny tiny amount away.

My penance for leaving him loose where he could get into my yarn will be weaving in the enormous amount of   ends I will have when I complete my project using all these misshapen rewound balls.  His penance?  Staying in the kennel during the day with only fond memories of his one day of freedom.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Portsmouth and Old Hickory - Two Not So Local Yarn Shops

My husband travels for business all over the country and has stopped in many a knitting store to pick up a skein of sock yarn for me as that is usually all he has room for in his luggage. Before he leaves , I always consult Ravelry and my Fiber Mania handbook to find out if there are any LYS near where he will be staying just on the off chance he might be able to spare a moment to search for another skein or two.  Recently,he returned from a  trip that had him traveling between Portsmouth, NH and Nashville, TN and the wonderful husband that he is, he managed to find time to visit shops in both cities. Rob has said he really doesn't mind stopping in as long as I have an idea of what I want.  (I guess he gets overwhelmed by fiber overload and finding himself in an environment usually consisting of women with pointy sticks.)  This time I had him searching for Dream in Color-Smooshy which got rave reviews on Ravelry and I hadn’t seen it here in Texas, unfortunately both stores did not have it in stock.  The first store he visited was The Yarn Basket in Portsmouth, NH.  The Yarn Basket has been in business for 27 years and recently moved to their new location on Deer Street and is chock full of bins filled with bright multi-hued skeins. He walked in and the helpful ladies seeing his befuddled and dazed face immediately offered assistance.  After learning that the yarn I desired was not in stock he put me on his speaker phone and let me talk to the ladies.  After numerous discussions of what fiber, color and weight I was looking for we decided on Regia Hand Dye Effect in lovely tones of brown and gray. This will make a nice pair for Rob and help to spur him on to future yarn searches.

 The second stop on his trip was Nashville, TN and he discovered Knit Happy on his own!  He earned extra brownie points for calling and asking me if I wanted him to look for a yarn shop (silly question, of course the answer will always be a resounding "YES")  Knit Happy is located in Old Hickory which is a section of metropolitan Nashville in an unassuming strip mall.  He called me from the parking lot and asked what he should be looking for and I told him just to go in and ask the lady where her sock yarn was.  The store although small had plenty of yarn but alas no Dream in Color.  Rob again put me on speaker and the helpful lady asked the usual questions and started to tell me what she had on hand.  The phone reception wasn't the greatest so I quickly agreed to Cascade Heritage Paint in a luscious yummy shade of blues and purples that reminds me of blueberries.  This will definitely be a pretty pair of socks for me as Rob has assured me that he doesn't want a pair of blueberry colored socks. All in all I scored some beautiful yarn for my bounteous stash.  I would definitely recommend both of these stores for traveling husbands as well as traveling knitters.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bassets and Knitting...or...How I learned to Put Away My Knitting

My birthday present this year was this adorable basset, Leonard, who we adopted from the North Texas Basset Hound Rescue Society.  He is a very young 2 years old and a joy to have. We are not new to the joys of basset bliss as we have had 5 other droopy drooling wonders during our marriage but the last time was 6 years ago and I was not ... (gasp)... a knitter. Yes, it is hard to believe but at one time I was not the passionate knitter that I am today.

Here is my story and the lesson I learned.  I had grown bleary-eyed knitting the black cabled seminarian for my son and had put it aside in favor of knitting something for myself.  I decided on the lovely Summer Treat Cardi and  would make it with Jaeger Roma yarn in my stash.  Thus, I could virtuously justify my starting a new project as I would be destashing!

I cast on and then I heard the washer stop so I placed the skein and the needle on my chair while I went to put the washing in the dryer.  When I came back  I discovered that Leonard had unwound the skein throughout the living room so I renamed my project  “Leonard’s” Summer Treat Cardi in his honor as it was obvious that he approved of the yarn (angora blend).  Fast forward two weeks and the cardi is coming along nicely when disaster struck.  You would have thought I had learned my lesson but I didn't.  Having knitted past my bedtime the night before, I had stopped and instead of placing my precious cardi in my knitting bag, I left it on the coffee table.

A little background is necessary before continuing my saga.  To say Leonard does not like getting bathed or dried with the dryer does not even begin to describe how he reacts to the sound of a hair dryer but the groomer had suggested we work with him at home.  So.....I was drying my hair and kept shutting off and talking to him while he sat in the doorway of our bedroom and whimpered.  I swear only a few minutes had passed when I looked up and he was gone.  In the space of a few minutes he had got the cardi off the table and managed to chew my addi turbo needle into 4 pieces and snarl up the project. I came out to find the cardi hanging out of both sides of his mouth and the stitch counter on the floor chewed into unrecognizable plastic pieces. I really couldn’t blame him as I was the one that left it out instead of putting it away in my knitting bag. I frogged about 5 inches and cut off all the slobbery bits and  managed to get it back onto another needle. I finished Leonard's Summer-Treat Cardi and learned a valuable lesson about putting away your knitting if you have bassets in the house!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Ralph, 1989-2010
June 26th, 2010 was a very sad and difficult day for me.    As I write these words I find my throat tightening and tears running down my face.  Ralph came into my life 21 years ago and I will remember him forever.  Our journey together began in Freeman, SD on the dusty gravel parking lot of Ralph's Feed Store.  The feed store was 20 miles away from our little 4 1/2 acre homestead and I needed duck feed.  Who knew as I drove my farm truck down the country road that soon a small gray and white kitten was going to become the newest member of our family.  I pulled into the lot and as I went in to do business, I heard a loud meow and a bundle of fur ran across the lot and clawed his way up my shoulder.  As I carefully pried his little needle-like claws out of my tender flesh, Ralph, the owner, came out and asked what I needed.  He brought out the 50 lb sack of feed, tossed it into the back of the pickup and said I could have the kitten as it was a stray. Now, I dearly wanted to say "yes" but I knew my husband did not care for cats so I reluctantly said "no", placed him back on the ground and drove away.  I made it about halfway home before I told my children I couldn't leave the pretty kitty and turned around.  I drove back into the lot and got out but did not see the kitten.  As I resigned myself to just going home, again I heard a loud meow and suddenly he was back on my shoulder. Ralph came out again and assured me I could have him so off we went to begin our life together.  The kitten turned out to be male and since he adopted me at Ralph's Feed Store, I named him Ralph.  My husband, at this point of the story, swears up and down that after we left, the owner placed another kitten on the lot outside!

Ralph had chosen me and he was my cat.  All his love went to me and it was only in his later years that he did more than tolerate my husband and sons.  I will always remember how Ralph loved to let me hold him in my arms and purring loudly he let me rock him like a baby.  Ralph's health began failing 2 years ago.  He was very arthritic and walked stiff legged like a little old man with a walker, developed cataracts, and kidney disease but he still wanted to be held and rocked.  I rocked him for the last time just before our vet came in and then gently stroked him while she injected the euthanasia solution.  He went so quickly and peacefully that  I wasn't ready.

Tomorrow it will be a month and I still miss him and know that I will always miss him.  Rest in peace faithful friend; you will never know how very happy I am that you chose me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Knitting is for Men Too!

Last night my husband tried his hand at knitting and the skies did not darken, the earth did not shake, nor did a loud voice come from the heavens intoning "Men Shall Not Knit." It all came about when my husband, the stamp collector, reminded me that I had promised to make him a felted pad to lay his damp watermark revealed stamps upon until they were dry. I had made this rash promise in my new knitter zeal and had actually cast on his project but as I had quickly bypassed straight stockinette scarves in favor of socks and sweaters I had scornfully tossed it aside. I was knitting on my lace scarf when he reminded me of this promise and as I was on a rather tricky part I remarked that "he could learn to knit and make it himself". This comment was met with injured silence whereupon I told him that plenty of men knit and this project was very easy. He was not convinced but when I reminded him that I shared his hobby (stamp collecting) he agreed to give it a try.

Knowing I only had one shot at this, I quickly laid down my lace scarf and rooted through my project baskets until I found the discarded project. Apparently at one time or the other I must have needed the needles because it was laying in the bottom of the basket without needles. Luckily the yarn was a worsted weight corriedale natural wool and the loops were still there waiting for the needle even after 2 years! I slid them onto size 10 bamboo Clovers and began the novel experience of teaching my husband to knit.

Having crocheted for many years, when I learned to knit I naturally held the yarn in my left hand so I knit Continental style. I knit a few stitches to show him how to hold the yarn and needles and handed it over. While he was able to hold the needles and understood the process, he had a little difficulty with the actual process so I showed him the English or throwing style. This method is tricky for me as I don't knit this way but he tried it. After 4 stitches my husband conceded defeat and decided that he didn't like knitting. While this may seem like a futile effort, in fact I am very proud of my husband. He took the time to actually try to learn and has a greater understanding and appreciation for my knitting efforts. He earned brownie points in the "wonderful husband" category and while I didn't promise to quickly knit his pad, I did promise to work a few rows every night before I continue on my fun projects.

You might have noticed the pictures I chose for this post. The first, "The Manly Art of Knitting", is an actual 64 page booklet published in 1972. I have fond memories of the Marlborough Man commercials that appeared on TV when I was a child. While I didn't smoke then or now, I had a secret crush on the cowboy. How wonderful it would have been to see him knitting instead of smoking! The second photo is Cary Grant learning to knit and is a scene from the movie Mr. Lucky. In my opinion there isn't a more suave manly man than Cary Grant unless it was the image of my husband with knitting needles.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Afternoon with Alpacas

As my husband travels on business a lot, we have got into the habit of trying to find something fun to do on Saturdays leaving our Sundays free for church and relaxation. Yesterday while reading the paper a large ad for the annual TXOLAN show caught my eye and I told my husband I wanted to go to an alpaca show on Saturday afternoon. As we had gone to a fiber expo in Ann Arbor which he hadn't found too tiresome and he loved his hand knit alpaca sweater, he agreed.

The show wasn't anything like the fiber expo. At the expo, there were just a few alpacas and plenty of fiber vendors with lovely luscious skeins of all types of fiber to fondle and buy. At the alpaca show, there were rows after rows of alpacas to look at and just a a handful of skeins for sale on the tables of the breeder pens. Yes, sadly only a handful! I counted them and there were only 23 skeins for sale in the entire building and not enough of any one weight or color to make me do a happy dance and rejoice in my good fortune. There is definitely something to be said about the instant gratification of buying the yarn and immediately casting on versus buying the actual alpaca, shearing, processing the fleece, carding, spinning, and finally knitting the intended project.

Now, don't get me wrong and think I didn't have a wonderful time. I love animals (especially the fiber variety) and these alpacas were some of the gentlest and cutest I had ever seen. I kept going from pen to pen, up one row and down another; ooohing and aahhing, clicking my camera, and letting them snuff my hand. My husband quickly tired of my "oh look at this one" and retreated many times outside with a quick "be back in a minute" or "I'll catch you in the next row"; however, he did make an effort to scout for yarn and showed off his sweater to one of the breeders. I love that he loves his sweater!

I learned more about alpacas than I had ever known before. There were huacaya and suri alpacas in various shades of cream, brown, gray, and black. The huacayas were soft and silky and looked fluffy. The suris were the breed with the fleece that looked liked they were wearing dreadlocks. I think I like the fluffy huacayas better but perhaps that's because they were the ones that let me pet their foreheads and feel how wonderful their fleece feels while it's still being worn by its owner.

What else did I learn? That alpacas don't need a lot of land. Hmmmm. I wonder if my neighbors would notice one in my backyard? Perhaps I could tell them it was a rare South American dog!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knitting While the Snow Falls

A record snowfall has hit the DFW metroplex resulting in 12.5 inches of sticky white stuff and virtually shutting down the town.

The winter weather started on Tuesday morning when the temperature had dropped overnight after a day of rain resulting in black ice on the roads and overpasses. I tried to make it in to work but they closed the highway ramp and as I had already slipped and slid through two intersections, I just turned around and stayed home for the day. I took this opportunity to KNIT!!! I did not continue knitting on my son's sweater nor on the lace scarf retirement gift, instead I declared it to be a "Knit for Debbie Day". I read project notes and made my list of modifications and cast on the Shalom cardigan. I finished up the yoke before toddling off to bed. Wednesday was a work day but that evening I finished a few rows before bed.

Thursday morning, when the alarm went off, my husband (who was already up) told me he didn't think I would be able to make it in as it had been snowing heavily since 3:00am. After waiting until daylight to see if the roads improved and listening to the forecast of continued heavy snow throughout the day, I made the decision to take a vacation day and stay home and KNIT. (Now, I don't like to think myself a snow weanie; after all I do come from South Dakota, but I have lived in Texas long enough to know Texans can't drive when the roads are slick with rain much less when the roads are slick with scarcely seen snow.) I made good progress all day on my cardigan and finished the evening with 12 rows left to knit and the snow still was falling.

Today, Friday, the snow had stopped but it was again a day to stay home and knit and I was able to finish my cardigan. Other knitters had said this was a quick knit and it was. Not only was a record set for snowfall, but I set a personal speed knitting record of my own.

What's next? Time to get back to knitting on my son's sweater and watching the snow slowly melt. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60's next week so there won't be any more snow/knitting days for awhile.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Journey in Finding Yarn Across the Pond

My son, when he saw the Balmoral sweater I had made for his Dad, was so impressed that he immediately batted his hazel eyes and said how much he would enjoy a hand knitted sweater. Of course I said "yes"! Then he dropped the the idle words "of course it will have to be all black so I can wear it at the seminary". What?? I've never made anything black as I tend to choose bright vibrant colors that make me happy while knitting. Oh well, I naively thought, how different could knitting black be?

I had some lovely charcoal prime alpaca in my stash that would have knitted up nicely, except for the shedding factor, so we decided on extra fine merino in solid black. One of my LYS was having a sale and was offering a 40% discount on a special day only for ravelery group members ... AND they had the exact yarn we had decided on ... AND they had 22 skeins on hand. What do they say about the best laid plans? I went online about 30 minutes after they had opened and GASP someone had already bought 10 skeins leaving a measly 12 which definitely wasn't enough for an adult size sweater. I did a ravelry and google search and ended up calling Canada as well as most of the upper East Coast yarn shops that carried Sublime extra fine merino. I managed to locate 16 skeins in Massachusetts and placed my order.

Fast forward to casting on. The first pattern we chose was Geoffroy by Norah Gaughan and while he liked it, it wasn't THE SWEATER. I turned him loose with my patterns (selectively chosen of course) and he decided on Ben by Norah Gaughan as he likes cables. I enjoy knitting my sweaters in the round so first I had to modify the cable pattern so it would work and then I had to actually do a gauge swatch to check needle size (something I'm always reluctant to do) as this was a slightly thinner yarn that required but I thought I had enough yarn to make it work. I cast on, placed my markers for the sides, joined in the round and began the Cabled Seminarian by knitting 3 inches of 2x2 ribbing.

Fast forward to the next day where I am sitting close to tears as my eyes cross trying to distinguish between k's and p's on black. The cable pattern is a 13 stitch repeat + 7 so I finally placed markers to identify the 13 stitch sections and I'm happily knitting away. Tips-when knitting black make sure you have bright light level and plenty of markers at hand. (Also helpful to have on hand is an understanding husband who is learning to ignore my mutterings, complaints, and whimpers) As I reached for the 3rd skein to attach I realized that I probably would not have enough yarn after all. Those darn cables were eating up the yarn as fast as I could knit it.

I did another ravelry search because you just never know there might be a fellow raveler with a need to destash that particular yarn (no there wasn't) as well as called up the shop I had originally bought the 16 skeins from. They did not carry black Sublime anymore and the 2 other shops I called did not have the correct dye lot. However, I found a yarn shop in the UK on which did have my dye lot and have now purchased the additional skeins I think (I hope) I will need.

The moral of this story? BUY ALL THE YARN YOU NEED OR THINK YOU WILL NEED AT THE SAME TIME. Now I will have an excuse to buy massive amounts of yarn because I will be able to say " but honey, remember my search for that black yarn?"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Balmoral Sweater

Happy Days!! I finished Rob's sweater... AND it fits... AND he loves it!

This sweater counts double in my completed projects as it is the first completed project of 2010 as well as the first WIP completed since I made my New Year's knitting resolution to complete my WIPs. It is also the first mens sweater that I had attempted which I suppose makes this project the winner of the triple crown of completed projects. One small step towards WIP completion goal and one giant leap for knitting self confidence.

The yarn is super soft prime alpaca that I bought at a fiber expo in Ann Arbor. It came in 650 yd skeins and it was a joy to knit.

The pattern is Sirdar Balmoral DK 9109 and it was the first Sirdar pattern booklet that I have knitted from. The directions are extremely well written and the pattern is easily memorized. The only mods I made to the pattern was to knit it in the round from the bottom up.

What's next? I knitted a few rounds to the mate for my Azure Mock Cable Sock, another WIP that has been languishing in my basket, and I have begun the lace scarf that I plan on giving as a retirement gift. I initially chose Silky Alpaca Lace Scarf by Alice Halbeisen and a lace weight yarn from my stash. My frustration at knitting with yarn that was a scant size larger than sewing thread was too much to bear so I changed both the yarn and the pattern. I am now knitting Checkerboard Lace Scarf by Whitney Van Nes and using sock yarn. It will still be a pretty scarf just perhaps not as lacy as I had originally intended. I am also going to be casting on another sweater. This one will be for my youngest son, the seminarian, which means he wants it solid black. I chose Sublime Extra Fine Merino and the pattern will be Ben by Norah Gaughan.

I think these projects will keep me busy for awhile.