Thursday, November 15, 2012

The blanket, it is finished!

Finally finished BossLady's baby blanket, and baby is only a couple weeks old. Yay! Turned out gorgeous!

Next, I start blankets for other bosslady's twins. Oy. Theirs will be simpler, but still gorgeous.

Note: blanket is EZ 100th Anniversary Pi Shawl Pattern in Hearts, knit on KnitPicks Zephyr circular needles, 10 1/2. Yarn is two strands of Lion Brand Pound of Love in Green and Antique White.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So far so good! Initial review and impressions of My Memories Suite

I spent some time tonight playing with the new My Memories software. And so far... I like it! I downloaded several of the free templates from the website and installed them.

Note number one: If you buy the software as a download, make sure you have a VERY good high-speed internet connection. The initial download is only 18MB, which is next to nothing these days. However, once you start installing, it pulls a file that's over 1GB. It's not unmanageable for a good broadband connection, but even on mine (which is pretty rocking) it took a while. So I would suggest starting this before, say, watching a good movie, preparing and serving a large meal, going grocery shopping... you get the picture. The download speed was exceptional, really. I've downloaded software from sites that had servers so bogged down, there was no way you were going to get what you needed in a timely manner. But I would not recommend trying this on anything less than a high quality broadband/cable connection. No DSL unless you plan on letting it run a while! This is not a download for your visit to McDonald's or your local library! Okay, I think you have the point. Oh, you can order a DVD of the software as well. A note for the technologically inclined... the files are served from Amazon's cloud servers. This is actually a Good Thing, as it shows why the downloads go so well. Amazon does a generally awesome job of serving files on their cloud. Lots of redundancy, lots of bandwidth.

Enough about the download. Once it is complete, the installation will continue. It's absolutely standard. No surprises, go ahead and feel free to accept all of the defaults.

I am using the Windows version. They do have a mac version available, and their design kits can be downloaded in a general format for use in other applications. One of the things I really like... if you go to your account page on the website, it shows all of your purchases. And links for downloading again. So you aren't stuck if something happens to your computer. The design kit downloads are simple executable files... double-clicking on the download automatically installs all the files to the proper places. Sorry... the tech support geek in me is excited about this. I would make very little money helping people with this program. I consider that a good thing.

Without the additional templates, the software has a LOT of options. It also gives you the ability to create loads of custom items. Remember good old fashioned Word Art? It's here. You can modify stock shapes and it automatically prompts you to save them with a new name - no accidentally overwriting things!

The basic template wizard is great, if you use one of the downloaded album templates it gives you a whole book you just have to add pictures to, and if you want to have a good time playing, you just create a new album to design yourself. Add pages, move them around, determine page size. It even has a lovely feature that will show you what parts of your page may get cut off if you have the album professionally bound. Not too shabby. You can export pages as pdf files, png's, and jpegs.

Here is one of the pages I made:

I printed the page on matte photo paper (8 1/2" x 11"), by default it left about an inch of white around the edges. Other than that, it looks exactly as it does above. I printed this on a Canon MX340 color inkjet printer (multi-function), with genuine Canon ink, using the highest resolution.  I had a good time playing with wallpapers, adding color and textures, even modifying the basic heart shape. The program is pretty self-explanatory, using most of the standard shortcuts.

I've only just begun to scratch the surface of what I can do with My Memories Suite. It strikes me as being as simple or complex as you want it to be. And the price is DEFINITELY worth it. If you follow the link to the right and copy and paste the discount code in when you check out, it gives you $10 off the full suite. Not too shabby! With the discount My Memories Suite is half the price of the competitor.

So there ya go. I'll give more info and updates as I continue playing with the program. And at some point I'll have a copy to give away (yay!). So comment if there's something in particular you'd like to know about it, tell me how you feel about digital scrapbooking software, tell me anything here. Because the more feedback I get, the better I'll be able to review more about this. And hey, if this goes well, I might be able to get more stuff to review and give away. One never can tell!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


In case there's anyone trying to legitimately post to my blog who can't figure out why it's not working... Most anonymous posts get filtered as spam. So if you want to comment, tell me who you are. Okay? Okay.

With that out of the way, I have downloaded the aforementioned software. And a bunch of free design packs. I will be playing with it this week, then posting a review, and with the review will be a GIVEAWAY! Yep, that's right. I get to give away a copy of the software. So keep watching. You never know when it will show up...

Oh, and in knitting news... I have a class with 3 people in it tomorrow. Should be interesting. Teaching 3 unrelated people to knit. Always a good time. Always. I'm knitting a ribbon scarf to prepare. Absolute basic, brings me back to a simpler time/level. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay tuned...

I have a new link in my sidebar. It's for MyMemories software, and the coupon code shown will get you $10 off. The software only costs about $40 to begin with, so I figure hey, if it does what it should, it's worth it. I'm waiting for my review copy of the software so I can evaluate it and review it. If it does the stuff it says it does, and does it well, it will definitely make me happy.

My lovely sister has been working for a certain scrapbooking company for a Long Time, and I've used their software for years, so I'm curious to see how this one compares. Especially since the other company requires you buy two different software packages to manage your photos and create items. You also have to purchase digital packs of things to add. That gets pricey. And the process of re-installing is quite tedious... Great for my technical side-work, because I get paid for the process, but not so great for someone recovering from computer collapse.

So anyways, I'm looking forward to finding out how this new software works. And telling you all about it. And hoping my big sister doesn't shoot me for it. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Banana Jumbo Recipe

So peeps can make them themselves... All about the teaching, I am.


1 cup shortening (I use softened unsalted butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2 average)
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use a reconstituted buttermilk powder to make it, because I make these so often)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag baking chips of choice (approx 18 oz). Heath bar cookies with the chocolate are a favorite.
Also can add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

1) Mix well shortening, sugar and eggs.
2) Stir in bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.
3) Blend flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into wet ingredients.
4) Stir in baking chips
5) Chill 1 hour (I never do this)
6) Heat oven to 375
7) Drop by rounded tablespoonfull 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet (I don't grease the sheet either. Will use parchment paper sometimes though)
8) Bake 10 min or so, until tops look slightly dry.

This makes a moist, cake-like cookie. Yummy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Knitting is a Gateway Craft...

Just so you know. When it comes to Yarncrafting, knitting is totally a gateway craft. You start with some sticks and string. Learn the knit stitch. Then learn the purl stitch. Find out that with these two basic stitches and with various methods of manipulating them you can make anything from a basic garter stitch dishcloth or scarf to the most intricate and complex lace and cables. And once you start making these cool things, you realize you want to do more.

And it occurs to you that if you learn to crochet, you can put a simple edge on your stuff. Which leads to more complex edgings. And accents. Because crochet is awesome for things like flowers and other such items.

Then you decide that the colors you want just aren't quite there. But you have the picture in your head. So you start dyeing. It begins with kool-aid (doesn't it always?). And you get fun colors with some kinda cool scents. Then you move up to various other dyes and mordants to set them and playing with mixed fibers and such.

Then you decide that well, the color is right, but now that you're playing with the way different fibers react and work together, you want something that's just *so* with squishiness and twist. So you start spinning. And even that starts innocently enough... a little drop spindle and a bit of roving. Or silk hankies. Something small. And you like what you can do, but want to do more. So you get a spinning wheel. And now you can spin in project quantities...

And somewhere in there, some wool ends up in the wash, and gets fulled (aka felted). And you start thinking about doing it on purpose. And hey, you know what, a bunch of that roving can be needle felted to make more cool fun accessories...

And your friends realize that you're never without pointy sticks of some variety.

And your stash of fiber gets out of control...

And that's without going into adding embroidery to your knits... stitching over the knit item to fake intarsia... which makes you wonder why you ever put down that old embroidery hoop and aida cloth and dmc floss in the first place...

You're mixing your crafts now.

It's a dangerous obsession.

And it all started with a couple sticks, some string, and two little stitches... the knit and the purl.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You think US Elections get vicious?

Try a Tribal Election process. I am a registered member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. This year was an election year for the tribe. Every two years half the board is elected, 4  year terms. The Tribal Chairperson is up for election every four years, coinciding with US Presidential election. Tribal election is held in early summer.
This year, Aaron Payment was elected for his second, non-consecutive term. I can't tell you much of what happened over the past four years, because I am not a resident of the regular tribal service area. I am allowed to vote in the elections, but it requires that I register with one of the 5 Units of the Upper Peninsula. Unless I actively stay on top of things, it's far too easy to slip through the cracks. I don't have the numbers right now, but I know that tribal members living outside the UP's service area vastly outnumber those in the area. And since the Tribe is a nation within a nation, getting things done requires even more finesse than most other political situations. Just wrapping your brain around all of the factors involved can be a workout.
Fortunately, Aaron is a hands-on Chairman. I don't know him personally, but followed what he was doing during the beginning of his last time in office. He actually established regular meetings in the lower peninsula. He acknowledged that there needs to be separate representation for the members not living in the 5 units. He also recognized that you reach a point where blood quantum isn't as important as knowing your heritage. He was a break from the lackadaisical status quo that had previously reigned over the tribe.
I don't know what lead to him losing re-election. I don't know what happened over the past 5 years or so with the tribe. But I know that those outside the 5 Units were once again forgotten and ignored.
Now that someone is in place who is willing to help the rest of us be acknowledged and informed, I'm looking forward to being active with the tribe. Because it's about time for the rest of our voices to be heard.

As far as the voracity of tribal politics goes... look at back issues of the tribal newspaper. Start with the first issue listed in 2005, page 4, Aaron's update. Yeah. It gets better. I'm going to have to skim through the following issues to see where things went from there.

So this is a heads-up to you... I will continue posting about knitting and baking, but don't be surprised if there are posts about the Sault Tribe and things going on with that. I'm not interested in starting a new blog, because this is all about me, and about all of me. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get out of my HEAD!

Let's talk about head pain. Migraines and otherwise. A dear friend posted a picture on Facebook... the following:

(Let us briefly thank the people at for the joys of being able to make our own snarky e-cards.) She tagged me in the post, but only because she knew I do get TRUE migraines. I thought it was funny. Others thought she was making fun of me, but I knew otherwise. (So others... no need to bug her... she was standing next to me when I pointed out I wanted to fall down and cry earlier that day, but I kept working because the work wasn't going to do itself, and saved the rest for when I got home... she knows I was amused by the card.) The point of this is when people say they have a migraine, but it's not a migraine.

Because unfortunately, a lot of people think a bad headache is a migraine. Tension headaches are not migraines. Rebound headaches are not migraines. Sinus headaches are not migraines. They all hurt like hell in their own ways, but they are not migraines.

I go to the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute to participate in migraine research studies, in the hopes of helping them build a better mousetrap, as it were. In order to ensure that people who are testing the medications really do have migraines, they go through testing and extensive questioning to make sure it's not another form of head pain. My file lists the frequency, triggers, even the *side* of my head that the migraines generally affect (left, in case you wondered).

So you think you have a migraine?

Here is the official symptomology to determine whether you do or not:

"IHS diagnostic criteria

Migraine without aura (MO) diagnostic criteria

Migraine with aura is similar, just with an aura. Click on the link, it also gives the official criteria for other debilitating headaches. Think you have a migraine but it's across your whole head and a stabbing pain? You can probably figure out what it really is there... and from there, you can figure out how to get rid of it. Because naming the enemy brings you one step closer to defeating the enemy.

What's REALLY fun is when you have a migraine layered with a tension headache. Or with a sinus headache. Those bring me great joy. If, by joy, you mean "the urge to go hulk on the world and smash things". 

Right now, I'm on day 4? 5? of a migraine/tension headache roller-coaster, triggered by monthly hormones. Throw in a bit of PMDD, and I'm just a fun person to be around right now. But I'm still doing laundry, taking care of my kids, making sure food has been prepared, doing all the stuff I'm supposed to do. 

But it's not as fun. I want to be baking and knitting and sewing and washing all the wonderful dishes that came with the china cabinet I got from my parents last week. (You know... the stuff that, as a kid, you know you aren't allowed to touch, but you look at through the glass and make up stories about... I got that stuff.) Instead, I'm sitting in the living room, in the semi-dark, with sleeping dogs around me. Work this afternoon for a bit, that's all. If I'm lucky, the worst of all of it is behind me now, and tomorrow I will be refreshed and alert and a whole new woman! (*snort*) Or something like that.

But for now, seriously, all this pain can just get out of my head. Please.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dear Head:

I realize that I now have medicine that makes the migraine pain go away more quickly, without the sensation of my spinal cord/brain stem being aflame. I know it doesn't make my sinuses feel like they are being chemically burned from the inside out either. And I do not know why the insurance company requires I try those to get the right one. That is still no reason to flare up in a migraine. Yes, you get kinda interestingly fuzzy and lightheaded, and the random jaw pressure is definitely a change from the ordinary. But seriously, I'd rather the meds were able to just *sit* in the cupboard for a while. 

Please consider changing your vile ways.


The Rest Of Me

Friday, July 20, 2012

What day is it again?

Monday... was completely, utterly, and thoroughly Monday. From Midnight to Midnight, just about.

Tuesday started out okay, sort of... mostly recovery from Monday, called in to work, followed with a family birthday party, celebration of a friend's anniversary, and the night spent hanging out at an ER in town (not me, she's fine, no worries). But yeah.

Which meant Wednesday was recovery from Tuesday. Honestly don't remember the day much. Seriously.

Thursday was better. Shopping, work, nice dinner on the grill, followed by a good time hanging out with a friend in the middle of nowhere, and the revelation that all Military Men, when Home on Leave, sound Exactly The Same. And the necessary call to an old friend to point this out to him. He was amused.

Today... was a Monday Friday. Started okay, got a bit rough around the edges. Struggled through it, overcame random issues, managed to have some fun around the snags.

And now... it's quiet. I'm able to relax. Ate dinner, and will be able to spend the evening enjoying myself. The weekend should be quietly pleasant.

Tomorrow is Saturday, right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Very Long Monday

My Monday started around Midnight. Before I went to bed. And it didn't let up one bit. I think it attacked me to make up for all the Mondays that I managed to get through unscathed. Not sure.

Hopefully tomorrow behaves appropriately. Because I'm not sure I could handle another Monday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Knitting for a Wee One

I get to knit small person things for an expectant someone at work. Starting with the EZ 100th Anniversary Pi Shawl, which, when knit with 2 strands of Lion Brand Pound of Love held together on size 10.5 needles, becomes a throw blanket. Using pastel green and antique white. I'm knitting the Hearts version. Loving that it will move along quickly. More and better images to come. And if by chance you know the recipient, don't tell her. It's going to be a surprise.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Knitting away

Had to post progress on Achilles Heal. Different sort of architecture for me. At the heel you take back stitches and put them on a holder. Knit part of instep flat. That's where I'm stopping. See the pictures.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mystery Sock KAL

Started with my first mystery sock knit-a-long. Top down, two at a time, magic loop. First clue was the cuff, very cool. Just finished. Pretty, no?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hey look!! I'm knitting!

Working on my breaking hearts sock. Need to finish it before Tuesday so I can take it to work with me. I get to show it to the education coordinator so I can find out about teaching. Whee!
I get to spend my weekend knitting and pulling my stuff together. Even Mike is encouraging me in his own way. Not a bad time.
And yes, I took these pics at the bowling alley. It's a smoke free pet free environment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Stitched up hole pup chewed in sofa cushion (albeit roughly) and hole in coat pocket. Won't win any awards but they're functional. Should work on his jeans pockets next. That would surprise the hell out of him.

Gonna knit more to. Working on siren sleeves two at once. And a sock. And shawlette that's nearly finished. Get stuff to take to work on Tuesday to show education coordinator so I can get approved to teach. Would so love that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tomorrow, tomorrow ...

Orientation in the morning. It's not the biggest deal, but enough to make me jittery. Hope I can sleep tonight. No real clue what to expect at this point.

Wish me luck, or something.

And stop asking if I get a discount.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ob-la-di ob-la-da Life Goes On...

Had today off... disorienting, at best. Tomorrow kids go back to school and I get myself pulled back together. On Wednesday I start my new job - orientation. I'm excited. Still figuring out my head, but still have more clarity than I've had in years.

My cell phone - a loverly Samsung Google Nexus S - died today. Puppies were playing and knocked my coffee over onto it. Ugh. So it is sitting in rice now. We shall see if it starts tomorrow. I hope it does. I like that phone. Although my beloved actually *cheered* when he heard that it wasn't working. It's okay though - it's just a phone.

We have snow. Winter is finally here as it should be. And for that I'm grateful. I like winter.

So one day ends and the next is about to begin, and life continues marching along. And I'm marching along with it.