Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Another wonderful year of Halloween Cheer!
Plenty of treats with very few tricks.
Giggles and goblins
Captain Rex too!

Spending time with my little bears
Precious, indeed.




Friday, October 28, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Nerd Wars and Give Away

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Another wonderful week full of Fiber Arts love.  I finished my first cabled project.  HOORAY!  My hat is super awesome.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  Now I am ready to start knitting my next pattern with cables.  I used this hat for the Nerd Culture Challenge in Nerd Wars.  This month's challenge was Best Dressed and I know this hat totally creates the Best Dressed Look.

I have one more project to complete before Monday to complete my October challenges in the Nerd Wars Tournament and I'm over halfway done.  I do like that Nerd Wars is helping me complete projects by creating deadlines.  I have quite a few projects that I must complete before the holidays so this is very good.

Now, somewhere in the midst of sharing all of my Fiber Arts Fun, I have met many amazing Fiber Artists and Bloggers.  I have received a lot of wonderful gifts (which I try to post and share when I get them) using all forms of Fiber Arts.  It's been a long time since I've had a give-away so...today will be the day.  To share in the celebration of Halloween (because I really do love the fun of the holiday), I am going to give away a skein of my handspun yarn.  Yup!  You read that right.  360 Yards of my Suri Alpaca blended with Blue Faced Leicester and Silk all processed by yours truly.  You know you want it!  All you have to do is leave a comment.  I will draw a name before next Friday then post the winner.  It's that simple.  Thank you to everyone who shares their Fiber Arts Adventures here weekly.  I love my TGIFAF (Thank Goodness It's Fiber Arts Friday)   Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts.
Fiber Arts Friday ! 
To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Knitting Cables at Fiber Expo

While I was away at Fiber Expo this last weekend, I started knitting cables.  My Antarctica hat just grew once I got past the first cable row.  Why was I all freaked out?  I LOVE cabled patterns and they are super fun to knit.   Ok, this cable pattern is super fun to knit so they all have to be...right?  Of course!  Seriously, I have a cabled pattern wish list that fills a full binder full of projects I want to knit.









 Since I have been home, I have vowed not to touch my spinning wheel (and poor Frodo is sulking) so that I can finish this hat.  Only one more row then the decrease.  HOORAY! This hat will be submitted as a Nerd Wars challenge and it will also become a gift...now to decide who the recipient will be.


While at Fiber Expo, I was able to spend a lot of time with fellow fiber friends who were also vendors.  We were able to go out to dinner at night and chat at times throughout the day.  I have learned that you have to be careful where you stall because if you are directly across from awesome, you tend to spend most of your profits.  This time, I was stalled across from Jone and her amazing felted creations.
She owns Spectral Glass & Artworx.I walked away with a sassy felted tuxedo style vest and really wanted about ten other items.
Did I mention fun? Dreads felted by Suzanne Higgs of Hooked on Felt

I also had the opportunity to meet a couple of Ravelry friends who drove up from Ohio.  It's always fun to put a face and a voice to the friend that you chat with in the groups, especially since we send and receive swap gifts.  Now we have a personal connection if our names are ever drawn for each other.
 Finally,  I leave you with a few photos of my booth.  I am constantly changing it up depending on space and what product I take plus I was sharing space with Mama Melissa aka Melissa from Needle and Wheel Designs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Give so others can live...

I was given this card for Halloween and wanted to share. I thought it was cute.
Give a great Halloween treat and register to be an organ donor. 
It's the most amazing gift you will ever give.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday -

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Knit, Spin, Crochet, Weave, Felt, Sew...all Fiber Artists are welcome to share their adventures in Fiber Arts.  So...what are you waiting for?  Link in your Fiber Arts Blog and join the fun!  This week, I've managed to get a bunch of knitting in during lunch and spinning before work and after the bears are asleep. 

Nerd Wars has been keeping me busy with our October challenges.  I still have a couple of challenges left.  I am working on the Technical Challenge which is Colortastic.  I am cheating a bit and using a pattern that I've already knit before instead of something new but I wanted one in a new color so it is a new project.  Anyways, I am knitting the Mosaic Ornament written by KellyJ Knits.  We are require to use more than one color so this is the perfect project plus I needed an ornament for another project I'm working on so win/win.

Next, I cast on my Antarctica and am on the row to begin my first cables ever.  Dear Mama Melissa from Needle and Wheel Designs made me promise to finish pricing all of the yarns and batts for Fiber Expo this weekend before I continued with it so...my reward is that she is going to walk me through my first cable row.  I am really enjoying this yarn, Waterlily, that I purchased and I am really loving the color. It's a nice Merino yarn and feels nice to knit with.  I am hoping to use this for another challenge in Nerd Wars but not sure if it will be for the Giving Geeks or Nerd Culture Challenge.  As usual, anything I create needs to be tied in to my team, Team Bite Me, which means vampires are involved.  Oh yes, I already have my story figured out for the ornament once it's finished.

I have also finished a personal challenge to step out of my color comfort zone.  I dyed a bunch of really bright colors and created some really fun batts to spin.  I spun these last weekend at Mama Melissa's house during the Arts and Eats Tour.  She opened her farm for the public and a few of us demonstrated spinning.  It was a great afternoon and I learned spinning is even more fun when Ukalele are involved.  I really felt like the bright colors hurt my eyes as I spun even with the added black  but once I plyed the yarn, the colors calmed down a bit and I'm very pleased with the results.

Today I will be setting up my booth in Ann Arbor for Fiber Expo.  If you are in the area this weekend, stop by and say hello.  Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts.



Fiber Arts Friday ! 

To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fierce Mama Bear

 "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"
- Mrs.  Weasley, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
written by J.K. Rowling

Those are strong words from a mother who will do anything to protect her child.  In the context of that quote, Mrs. Weasley is protecting her daughter, Ginny, from the evil Bellatrix with all the fury that love can muster and the sacrifice of knowing that she puts her own life in jeopardy.

So...why am I quoting J.K. Rowling?  Well, have you ever heard stories about how a mama bear will protect her cubs in the wild?  Well, this Mama Bear is fierce when it comes to my Sister Bear and Brother Bear.  For two years I have struggled with the school trying to get help because I felt that my daughter my have a learning disability.  Last year, she was failing her elementary class. Seriously, she was failing elementary!  She had a teacher who didn't seem to mind giving her "E" on every assignment and never thought twice about it.  When I continuously asked how I could help her, I never got the support I needed.

At a parent teacher conference, her teacher flippantly had the nerve to say, "Oh great!  Another Special Ed student!"  I was in tears (of anger and frustration) because if, indeed, my child needed special help then help me give it to her.  I had to beg for the school to give her a Child Study, which I felt wasn't handled very well.  I kept saying that I thought she was Dyslexic and needed help to get her a screening (at the time our family was without health insurance due to a job loss) and their answer was to start testing her on items a grade level below where she was instead of helping me find the problem...I was beyond angry, frustration,  and hurt.  I didn't know where to go to find the resources to even begin researching.  I was that parent without health insurance trying to help my child.  I didn't have the money for a pediatrician visit.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know where to begin.

Fortunately, I got a new job last Winter where I met many amazing people who directed me where to go for information and to find a list of doctors to talk to.  Finally, I had resources to work with. Once the benefits kicked in, I was able to schedule an appointment with a neuro-psychologist.  Actually, I ended up doing this for both children because Brother Bear's teachers approached me with struggles that he was having.  Now here is the "funny" thing about this elementary school...they got him a screening with the local dyslexia center with no problem and started the groundwork to have him screened for special education classes/help.  Now how is it that within the same school this can happen?  Apparently, it does depend on the teacher. ARGH!  By all means, I am not knocking the profession of education.  I know that it's hard for teachers to work with the limited resources (i.e. budget cuts)  they have but when you have a parent that is willing to work with you...

Anyways, over the summer (because these doctors schedule way out in advance) they had all of their testing.  The doctor and her assistants had the bears in for a day and they tested them where they could assess all quadrants of the brain.  I have been working with the local Dyslexia center to get the tutoring help they need.  I have a great group of teachers this year who are working with my children to give them the assistance that they need so that they don't have to struggle.  My bears are getting the help they need...finally.

Sister Bear won't get the typical parent-teacher conference this year because her teacher contacted me and asked that we have a sit down with all of her teachers so we can discuss how we, as a team, can help her.  They will work with me on any accommodations that need to be made.  Why was this so hard last year?  I'm thankful that it's not this year.  I am finally getting cooperation.  I do have to admit, if I didn't have my health insurance, all of the testing would have cost a few thousand dollars.  Now...how are uninsured people supposed to pay this?  Apparently, you don't get assistance until you get a diagnosis yet how do you get a diagnosis when you don't even know where to go?  ARGH!

2011 is the year to be positive, productive and full of wonder possibility...

Just remember, we are our children's strongest advocates.  We have to be active in their learning.  We have a great educational system that is struggling with budget cuts .  I am still disappointed that the school didn't give me resources to check out...but, we are working together now.  Just be warned, I am a lot like Mrs. Weasley and I will protect my children with my life, if need be. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nerd Wars - Team Spirit Challenge (You say it's your Birthday)

I've completed yet another challenge in this round of Nerd Wars.  This was the Team Spirit Challenge.  Here was our task:

Your challenge this month is to craft the ideal gift for a character from your nerddom. This is a great opportunity to show fellow Nerd Warriors, and especially your teammates a bit about who you are and who/what you love in your own particular nerddom.

So...instead of using my typical vampire inspiration (Ann Rice, True Blood), I chose to use The Little Vampire as my muse and I created Batty, The Vampire Bat.   Now my little guy didn't turn out quite like the pattern.  I think it's because I stuffed him with too much Alpaca fiber which is totally different than poly-fill plus I used a merino/camel yarn for the bat and an angora yarn for the cape so I had very drapey fibers.  I love him though. He totally has character and right now he is decorating my office at work.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Time

All Winter long our neighbor requested that we bring our Alpaca poo over to his house so he could compost it for his gardens.  There were times he even helped us scoop poo and being one that never turns down poo scoopin' help, we let him.  Well, his secret mission was to improve the flower gardens and his pumpkin patch and it payed off.  He had his best pumpkin harvest ever!  He had so many pumpkins that he invited everyone on the road plus some to come and pick out their own pumpkins.  Of course, Brother Bear and Sister Bear were eager to get their pumpkin carving groove on so...we had a pumpkin carving party.

Sister Bear looked in a Halloween Pumpkin book for her design inspiration while Brother Bear wanted to use a character from a game called Empires & Allies.  Well, his drawing didn't turn out how he wanted although we thought it was awesome.  Grumpy went ahead and cut it out while Brother Bear had a breakdown.  I thought it was a super creative choice and one that was totally unexpected from my Star Wars crazed son.

I loved the pumpkins that the kids made and we have been enjoying toasted pumpkin seeds all week.  I love that Grumpy also created his very own jack-o-lantern too.  Halloween rocks! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - I Love Yarn Day!

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Did you know today is "I Love Yarn Day"?  I love that I Love Yarn Day falls on Fiber Arts Friday.  So what do you love about yarn?  Well, my answer falls on the line of, "Is the sky blue?"  What is there not to love about yarn?  Seriously, I can't walk past a skein of yarn without touching it.

Check out the website created by the Craft Yarn Council for suggestions on what you can do with yarn.  Knit or crochet something for charity?  Gather with friends to enjoy your favorite fiber art.   Me?  Well, I will be reading all of my favorite Fiber Arts Friday submissions (Thank you, in advance, for linking in) then heading to my favorite yarn shop to knit tonight.

I have cast on Antarctica.  I am using this as part of my Nerd Wars tournament submissions and...conquering  my fear of cables.  Yes, I know, cables aren't that bad but I've chosen to make them scary and now...I will take that fear away.  Seriously, I keep finding sassy cable patterns so I need to get over the intimidation and just knit it.

Finally, I submitted my Scientific Challenge aka the Prehistoric Challenge for Nerd Wars.  I spun a yarn for this challenge.  The challenge was to make something that pre-dated our history. Since I am on the Vampire team, I chose Ann Rice's Queen of the Damned for my Team Bite Me Inspiration since that was the beginning of vampires.  In my submission, I wrote a bit of vampire history and why I chose the colorway I did.  I think the yarn turned out great and soon it will be tagged and ready for me to take to Fiber Expo in two weeks.  Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts then go out and enjoy I Love Yarn Day!


Fiber Arts Friday! 

To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where's my size 6?

I have a new project I want to knit but can't find any of my size 6 circular knitting needles.  I have their empty packages but the needles which should be in the packages are no where to be found. 

I last used them while knitting hats last Winter so where did they go?

I even have a awesome green case to hold my needles yet they are not in their appropriate sleeve.

Does this mean I will have to clean my house?  Oh please, say it isn't so.

Knitting needles, knitting needles...come out, come out wherever you are.




Sunday, October 9, 2011

Harvestfest 2011

For the second year in a row, I spent my birthday at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds for Harvestfest.  The MI-ALPACA group gathers in the Goat Barn to display our Alpacas and goods made by Alpacas for the public so that we can educate them about our industry and also sell our products.  This year Sister Bear wanted to bring Sexy Rexy so that she could use him for the Obstacle Course Demonstration with her fellow 4H Club members.  I didn't have to scoop poo once during the whole day because she was in charge of our Alpacas.  We had a nice day and I got a lot of spinning done as visitors asked questions about spinning and fiber arts.

The best part of the day was the kids in the arena learning about Alpacas.  Many children who visited and had never seen an Alpaca before were able to walk the Alpaas through the course with the assistance of the 4H Club.  In a time where sales might not be the best for breeding programs and many farms are getting out of the business, the sight of these children falling in love with Alpacas brings hope for our growing industry and that it truly why members of MI-ALPACA gathered for a beautiful October day in Marshall.

I ended up having a nice day, after starting out in not the most wonderful of moods.  I will treasure all of the time I spent with Sister Bear and it was great to see friends old and new.