Sunday, October 2, 2016

Where Has Snowbird Been?

It has been quite a while since my last post. In fact, it was in 2015. So what has Snowbird been doing over the last year? Quite frankly, I have been studying. Yep, I have been working on one of those insurance designations that is time consuming and has multiple parts. Well I finished the last test in September and waiting for the grade which I should have within the next couple of weeks. I feel very good about the test and excited to have this behind me.

So what is this insurance course that has taken up the better part of a year? Certified Insurance Counselor or CIC as it's better known through the National Alliance. I chose to take the five part course using an option that is webinar-based over a five week period and then test for each segment. This happened for each of the five segments -- webinar for five weeks and then test. So as the courses became available, I would sign up and then I was in the insurance zone. Spent many nights awake before testing; just studying. So it is wait for the final result.

What will I do with my time now that I'm not in the insurance zone using up all of my weekends and evenings to study insurance? You can only guess. Yahoo! I am itching to get back to my knitting and crafts. I might get some help with a long overdue project that just needs to be finished. It doesn't require knitting, but sewing and quilting is required.

Can I say I have really missed crafting.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Miss Clara's Raglan Sweater

One day last week, I went to the bookstore at lunch. After making my selection and waiting to check out, I noticed the elderly lady in front of me. It wasn't so much the woman, but the sweater she was wearing. Only a knitter would notice the raglan sleeves and know immediately that it was a hand knit sweater. As she was waiting for the clerk to obtain a book she had on hold, I asked her if she made her sweater and, to my delight, the answer was yes.  She had made it years ago. When she turned around, I could see the knitted bands up the front and the specially selected buttons. The sweater was a beautiful buttercup yellow color. The raglan sleeve was done by yarn overs. Continuing to talk, she said she had started another sweater just like it back in the 90's, but had run out of yarn/fiber. I told her that was okay because every knitter in their lifetime had done the same thing. It was so nice to talk to her on that day. My day was very stressful at work and I usually don't leave for lunch, but just meeting and talking to her took away some of the anxiety from my workday.

Thank you Miss Clara for being at the right place at the right time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

HI HO HI HO Off to Work, Work, Work

I wish I could sing about going to work, but not really.
I appreciate my job and vocation and never want to appear unthankful to God for the blessing he has given me to work and help care for my family, but then....

So today is eight days in a row that I have been in the office chair trying to push through the insurance paperwork. Cannot tell you how many weekends since September 1st that I have been in that office chair. The last quarter of 2014 and January have been extremely hectic. Missing one person in the department and other changes have put an undue burden on a lot of people. I have been in this business for a very long time, but this year has made me decide that maybe I need to slow down a bit. Entirely too much work for one person to do. There are some options that I am looking at along with my husband. I can possibly work at home and he can too. So we are going to pursue this option. It will mean a pay cut, but the sacrifice would be worth my well being not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. So I will fill out the application and see what happens next.

I am hoping that slowing down and reducing the stress will allow me to do the things I love -- knitting, crocheting, embroidery and anything else that fits into crafting.

So with God's help and turning all over to him, I am looking to make changes. Praying all will work out.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee

My latest read  was The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee by Marja Mills. Not sure why this caught my eye, but it did. I am careful about books that have tried to capitalize on Harper Lee.  Ms. Mills has managed to give us a birds eye view of Harper Lee, but also to let the mockingbird continue to sing through her original work and thus maintain her privacy.

Interjection -- I read a lot and especially anything that has to do with Monroe County, Alabama. My mother grew up in that county. So I've lived a life hearing stories from that area. Continuing...

Needless to say, Marja Mills must have had the "journalistic gods" with her on the day she tapped on the front door of Harper and Alice Lee. To be invited in and then to spend time with the elusive author is what I call "happenstance" (circumstance especially that is due to chance). What are the chances? But it did happen and we now get a firsthand look at the life of Nelle Harper Lee and her older sister Alice Lee and their close friends. How she has managed to elude the press and people who would have otherwise stalked her is beyond me. I do know that when you go "visiting" in Monroe County or any little crossroads in that county, people will know you are there. It is a grapevine like none I've ever witnessed before. A license plate number that begins with letters other than their own county, is recognized as someone "visiting". The grapevine starts buzzing as to who might be "visiting". People will know who you are before you leave the county. Enough about the grapevine....

The book was an escape for me. It took me on a journey that you wouldn't understand unless you had relatives who grew up in that area. It is an understanding of a close-knit community of friends. Friends who treat you the same no matter who you had become in the eyes of the outside world. They let Harper Lee continue to live her life without interference and kept her confidences so she could do just that -- live a basic, unencumbered life.

Harper Lee did not write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird. A sequel could have followed. There is so much about Scout, Jem and Dill that would have made a sequel within reach.

My prayer is that more people will continue to read To Kill a Mockingbird and take to heart the life lessons conveyed by Atticus, Jem and Scout.

Thank you Marja Mills for not giving up and staying the course or as they say in Monroe County "keep on keeping on".

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Silk Hankies

So I found out quite by accident something that has intrigued me to the point of reading and finding out its history in the fiber world -- silk. I guess my interest was piqued when I went to the Alabama Fibers Arts Festival a month or so ago with my sisters. I purchased some sari remnants.  After that I was on a mission. I have read, watched videos and made an additional purchase. My recent purchase -- silk hankies. Yes hankies. Not like the cotton-type put in your handbag or you embroider with pretty designs, but squares made from individual cocoons that have been processed, stretched over frames and then dyed.

The processing and laying out of the hankies one on top of the other renders what looks like not much fiber, but when you start pulling the individual layers from the center the magic begins. What didn't look like much silk to begin with rendered this amount of silk to knit with:

A total of 22 cocoons made this much silk. I did not spin the silk, but opted to pull the fibers (really long fiber length) and will knit with it this way which will do just fine. I have three more packets to pull.

The silk fiber was purchased from See Jayne Knit. She has an ETSY shop and sells some of her hand dyed silk hankies there along with information on the amount of silk you can get from the hankies and expected estimated yardage. The color of my purchase is Monet.

I will knit something special as a gift and will post end results later.

Happy knitting....


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chevron Baby Blanket

So I had a special request from a woman I work with for her new little grandson. She gave me a piece of the gray and white chevron pattern that would be the design for the bumper pad and crib set. So I thought about this pattern and decided on my version of chevron while still using the gray and white. I incorporated a hit of blue for a little guy. She really liked the blanket.

Alabama Fiber Festival

Last weekend my sisters and I took a vacation day on Friday and went to Montgomery, Alabama. One day for family visit and another at the annual Alabama Fiber Festival.

Friday we spent the day with our 90 year old aunt. She is the last in my Mother's family. What a delight to spend time with her. She is as sharp as a tack and doesn't miss anything. My favorite picture of my aunt is one where she is holding her cellphone. Not bad for 90 years old.

On Saturday, the three musketeers went to the Farmers Market in Montgomery and looked at the flowers, fruits and vegetables. Really wish I had a pick-up truck. I would have loaded it up with plants and bushes for my backyard. Instead, I came away with red and green pepper jelly, Mayhaw jelly and apple butter. Saving the pepper jellies for Christmas to serve over cream cheese with crackers.

Then on to the Alabama Fiber Festival. What fun we had! Got to look at all kinds of fibers as well as the real live alpacas, sheep and rabbits. Bought an organic cotton baby afghan kit and two sari silk skeins. Little sister and I took a spinning class. Harder than you might think. Big sister took a weaving class. We came away with so much to talk about. Dreams of future purchases of spinning wheels and looms danced in our heads. We are planning on going to the next fiber festival in Georgia to be held in the Fall.

Relaxing today. May pick-up an afghan I am crocheting for the newest member of the family -- great nephew baby Nick.