DFW Fiber Fest

Normally DFW isn’t back-to-back weekends with the Missouri Fiber Retreat, but this year, there was apparently a scheduling issue somewhere that caused that to happen. I barely had time to get home, unpack, do laundry, and kiss Robert, before turning around and packing again for a drive to Irving, Texas.

I love the DFW Fiber Fest. Every year I tell everyone I know how great this event is. It’s the perfect size, has a great market, and a wonderful class selection. And this year, one of my class proposals was selected so I was one of the regional teachers.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot, was the keynote speaker Thursday night, and Friday night we heard Franklin Habit speak. Stephanie is always so funny – seriously, how does one turn knitting humor into a career? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Franklin’s presentation, but it was pretty interesting.

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Ginger and I ended up spending a lot of time with our friend Jo Dee of Fishknits Yarn, and the crew in her booth. It was so awesome to meet Amber and Liz in person, and I feel like I’ve known them forever. We can’t wait until we can spend time together again.

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We both took classes most of the weekend, and my friend Michelle came up from Houston for a couple of nights, too. And, of course, the market was awesome.

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We also had a wonderful dinner with lots of friends at Saltgrass Steakhouse. (Amber was quite impressed with the decor.) :-)

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Joi and Linda were more impressed with the frozen margaritas!

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I taught a class on Afterthought Heels, and had a fantastic group of students! I hope I get the opportunity to teach there again. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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Missouri Fiber Retreat 2015

Wow. The last two weekends have been a blur. Let’s try to recap, shall we? Earlier this month, my friend Annie came down to be the first official house guest in our new home. We had a couple of play days before going up to the Missouri Fiber Retreat in Jefferson City, Missouri.

We spent quite a bit of time in our local Target while A shopped for household items. She’s been undergoing a major remodeling in her home, and thought that our Target wasn’t busy. LOL, keep in mind, this was Spring Break, and A is from Chicagoland. J

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The next day we spent several hours just down the road from our house at the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. I think I was last there in 1978 when my dad took me. I’d forgotten a lot of the history, so it was great to watch the video and explore the museum, and then we drove the 5-mile loop around the battlefield, which was host to the 2nd major battle of the American Civil War. We took one of the hikes down by the creek, and I definitely want to go back with Robert to explore more.

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On Friday we headed up to Jefferson City for the Retreat. I was very excited to take 3 classes on using my circular sock machine. (Oh, yeah. I bought a CSM last year and didn’t tell you. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the future.) I’m fairly confident that I can actually make socks and hats on my machine now.

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I also took a spinning class on Sunday morning, and of course, we always have great fun meeting up with fiber friends that we don’t get to see often enough. And again, as always, the weekend goes by much too fast and we have to say good-bye.

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Annie left and headed home, and Robert drove up to Jeff City to pick me up. We had a fun drive home stopping at the outlet mall in Lake of the Ozarks, and then drove by the company that built our shed. If only it would stop raining long enough to let the ground dry up so it could be delivered and set up!

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Once home, I didn’t have much time as I had to turn around and leave again a few days later. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

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Valentine’s Day 2015

I’ve never been the gushy Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers type of girl, and back in my single days, I was quite vocal about this made up holiday as just another excuse to spend money to show you love someone. And heaven forbid, if you didn’t have anyone in your life at the time, society made you feel like there was something wrong with you.

There’s a battle going on at the theater this weekend, and it should come as no surprise that Robert and I want to see the movie “Old Fashioned.” We want to support those who are seeking to bring another message about love and romance to the theaters – one that is pure and wholesome. Obviously, I won’t ever see the “other” movie, nor will I read the books. Philippians 4:8 says, “ Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Why on earth would anyone want to willingly put garbage in their hearts and minds? (Don’t answer that – I really don’t want to know.)

Anyway, in spite of my misgivings about the nature of Valentine’s Day, Robert has made it a goal of his over the years to change my mind. And in a way, he has. Not about the specific day – well, I don’t hate it anymore – but I don’t believe that showing love should be confined to one day a year. But I’ve learned to appreciate the mushy and romantic gestures my wonderful husband comes up with, this year was particularly special.

First, and this was my idea, we headed to historic Commercial Street in Springfield. If you’re a native, you know that this is not the most romantic location in town, and is known for being run down. However, Commercial is home to Askinosie Chocolate – Shawn Askinosie has become one of the premier chocolate makers in the world, and operates his business on a direct trade basis. (Go read his story – it’s really quite amazing.) The point of our little side trip was that we signed up to take a tour of the chocolate factory, which was led by Shawn himself.

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We got to see the not-so-fancy equipment that makes awesome chocolate, and had lots of samples.

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That’s a lot of peanut butter!

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And of course, we had to buy an assortment.

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After our yummy excursion, we headed south to Branson, Missouri. First up was a practical stop at the Tanger Outlets. I wanted to get some replacement Crocs so I wouldn’t fall and break my wrist again, but it was so crazy there and so hard to find a parking spot that we didn’t buy a thing and I ended up ordering my Crocs from Zappos before we were even able to get out of the parking lot.

But we didn’t have much time to shop, because we had dinner reservations at The Keeter Center. You might remember we had an anniversary dinner and Sunday brunch here in December, and liked it so much we returned with my sister and brother-in-law for a Christmas brunch. We’d tried to go last year for Valentine’s Day, but didn’t think about it soon enough and reservations were booked well in advance. This year, though, Robert was on top of it.

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For dinner we got to choose from a fixed menu, with appetizers, salad, entrées, and desserts. I had the roasted Brussels sprouts, the pear salad with goat cheese panna cotta, filet mignon with mashed potatoes and asparagus, and the dessert trilogy of crème caramel, flourless chocolate cake, and ricotta cheesecake. Delicious doesn’t begin to describe it.

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Thanks for a lovely date, sweetie. I love you.

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A Seedy Establishment

Now that the house is essentially finished except for a few more punch list items, our thoughts have turned to the outdoors.  We have just under 6 acres, and have big dreams for our little farm.  Robert wants to start some walnut trees, even though it will be 10-15 years before we see any nuts, and we want to have a mini fruit tree orchard, a vineyard with grapes, blueberries, and blackberries, and then of course, the gardens.  We know that we are being very ambitious, but we’d like to be able to grow most of our own food so that we only have to purchase meat and dairy items.  And chocolate.  I can’t grow chocolate the way I want it.  Or coffee.  Ok, so there’s still a lot we’ll need to buy, but fresh fruits and vegetables I can handle.

We’ve had success with tomatoes in the past, and I’ve even posted before about putting them up for the winter by making sauces and stewing them.  So that’s a given.  But now that we have the space, we want to plant more varieties, as well as have a strawberry patch, herb garden, and some wildflowers just for fun (although we will eat the sunflower seeds).  Then there’s the salad garden with lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, garlic, and onions.  We eventually want to plant some potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as pumpkins in the fall.  We’ve got a lot to learn about the complex timing of when to start seeds, when to transplant, frost dates, and when to harvest.  But we’re going to give it a shot, so expect to see a lot more gardening posts as the year progresses.

But seeds – let’s talk about seeds.  When we were in Maui last fall, there was a lot of publicity about GMO foods, or genetically modified organisms.  Let me just say that I have not done much research on this issue, so my opinion is just that – my opinion.  And my opinion is that man cannot improve upon anything that God created.   I’d heard several years ago about the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, and knew it was located in Mansfield, Missouri, but had never been.  Honestly, I was more interested in the “heirloom” aspect of their seeds, but to learn that they were non-GMO was another plus.

So last Sunday when we had a beautiful 70 degree day – you know, typically for Missouri in February – Robert and I took a road trip.

At first we thought we were trespassing on someone’s property, LOL.

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But then we arrived at the Pioneer Village, which is supposedly the longest-lasting homestead in Missouri.

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There were sheep!

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We’ll have to come back in the summer when the gardens are in full swing.

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The seed store had more seeds than you could imagine, including some hard to find varieties of many plants.

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The restaurant was closed due to winter hours, but we’re curious to try it out.

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We did hit the flour mill and brought home a loaf of this gorgeous oatmeal bread.  It was delicious!

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We are privileged to have such a cool source of seeds just a ways down the road.  It was a perfect Sunday afternoon drive.

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Klutz!

A couple of Saturdays ago we made so much progress in the garage; it was definitely an early birthday present to me to see this part of the house come together. After a few hours, we were done working and getting ready for my birthday dinner. Robert headed out with another load of cardboard and to pick up cupcakes from The Cup.

I’d put the chili on to warm up when Melvin showed up to work on our outdoor stuff. I went out to talk to him when, wheeee! My 10-year old Crocs I was wearing that had zero tread remaining hit the one patch of mud by the driveway and down I went.

My wrist didn’t hurt as much as my pride as I tried to laugh it off saying, “Well, I guess I have to do another load of laundry now.” But it was swelling up, so I went inside to put ice on it and take some Advil. I called Robert and told him I didn’t think it was broken, but asked him to buy a brace for me.

He wanted me to go to Urgent Care, and for the record, offered to drive me, but I refused. My wonderful, amazing niece is getting married and she was trying on bridal gowns that afternoon and I was not going to miss out. Somehow, I managed to get my seat belt buckled and drove to David’s Bridal, where she found the most beautiful dress ever. But afterwards, my fingers had swollen, my hand was throbbing, and I had extremely limited range of motion in my wrist. I decided to stop at Urgent Care on the way home for x-rays.

The doctor was funny as he said, “Good news! There are no major breaks.” “Um, what about minor ones?” That’s when I learned that I had an avulsion fracture in my left wrist. For the record, it hurt as bad as it sounded.
Armed with a new brace for the next two weeks, I headed home. It’s incredible all the things you can’t do without both hand, or at least not easily. On the passenger side of the car, I was completely unable to buckle and unbuckle my seatbelt. Washing my hair one-handed was a challenge, as was directing Robert on how to put my hair in a ponytail.

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And, of course, that meant no knitting or spinning for two weeks, but I managed to survive. I got caught up on a lot of reading, and worked on our tax documents. Now that I’m free, you’ll find me playing with yarn as much as possible!

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