Saturday, December 17, 2011

1980 Something

A group of us were having a discussion on G+ the other day, it started with music of the 80s, posting youtube links to our favorite videos/songs and then it went over into fashion. It was so much fun I thought I'd share a little bit of it here.

Do you remember getting home from school to try to catch your favorite video on MTV before your parents got home?

I graduated high school in the mid 80s and some of the songs I remember most are
Mandolin Rain and The Way It Is, by Bruce Hornsby
Rock Me Amadeus by Falco
Our House by Madness
Come on Eilene, by Dexy's Midnight Runners. (Honestly the thing I liked the most about that band was the name!)

Some of the bands that were popular my senior year were Wang Chung, Boy's Don't Cry, Nu Shooz, (love Nu Shooz), and Pet Shop Boys. Really there are too many to name but if you want a good source for remembering some of those songs you thought you had forgotten Ultimate 80s Songs is a great site!

Now about about some of those fashions! Cuff boots were my fav. I wore mine all the time, my favorite look in high school was my high heel cuff boots with my long black wool trench coat. Don't ask.

Of course, there were the parachute pants, okay I admit I had a pair, but only one pair! And of course the Michael Jackson jacket, honestly I never got into that so didn't have one of those. But I did have the bat winged sweaters! And lets not forget the Baja Hoodies! OMG I loved my Baja, wish I still had it! I had my share of sweater dresses and wide colorful belts too! And a pair of checker board vans, I mean who didn't?

So imagine me sporting a hair do similar to the guy from Flock of Seagulls, a screaming yellow bat winged sweater (v in the back of course), stirrup pants and cuff boots! Blue eye shadow, a small seagull drawn on the side of my face with my eyeliner pencil and my twisted bead necklace! You couldn't tell me anything! So that was the look for Friday, Monday was something more like my jeans, vans and baja hoodie, sans the blue eye shadow and drawn on seagull. LOL.

And then lets not forget the arcade, my friends and I spent a small fortune on Pac-man, Space Invaders, and Galaga. I still play a pretty mean game of Galaga.

Top movies of the 80s? Risky Business, for sure. But my fav was 16 Candles, and one quote that seems to get left out of the best movie quotes of the 80s is "They F*&*& forgot my birthday!" classic.

So what are your favorite memories of the 80s? Don't be shy fess up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Well I did it! 50,000 words in 30 days, National Novel Writing Month is complete for me!

I actually finished up with 56,402 words, I have to say it was quite an experience and I can't wait until next year.

We return you to your regularly scheduled life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

4 Days 2 Pairs of Socks

While needing some down time for creative thinking for my Nano writing. I needed something more soothing than the sweater for the KAL. My default knitting is socks.

And so I managed two pairs, both from Wendy's Johnson's Toe Up Socks for Everybody.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adopt an Indie

I found this great website through one of my Google Plus circles and wanted to share it with you. It is a great resource for indie writers, if your  not a writer check out it find the names of some great indie writers and their work!
Adopt an Indie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Would Now be an Appropriate Time to Panic?

There are officially 2 days, 4 hours and 4 minutes (at the time of this writing) until NaNoWriMo starts! (National Novel Writing Month) and I had the crazy idea that it would be brilliant to participate this year! The question now is, me.!? Who let me think this was a brilliant idea.

I have notes, I have characters I have a plot, without a definite ending but a plot in general. I know how I want it to go, but I want to build some juicy twists and turns to keep any potential reader hooked on the character and the story. That I am having a little problem with, well that and the fact that I have never done anything remotely like this and oh yeah there is the whole 50,000 words in 30 days.

Palms are starting to sweat, I somehow don't think the coffee is going to be necessary. I have already appropriated Mr. Sheep Shack's Mac Book Pro, so that I can write in every possible spare minute of every day.

And of course I still have to knit the three scarves and one pair of socks I have on the needles. One scarf is part of a commission set of two hats and scarves for some little ones.

What knit fish and donkey hats and scarves, socks, lace stole, reversible cabled scarf, prepare for the holidays, write 50,000 words in 30? Sure! No problem. I'll sleep in December!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Well, all the progress with Velvet has suffered a setback. I had to take her to the vet for shots, and while our vet is extremely good and takes excellent care of all our animals. She was not happy about being in the carrier or the car ride. She had gone back to hiding in extreme places and only comes out when we bring her out. Poor thing. And poor Olive is loopy because she had to be spayed and the pain meds are tripping her out. Only Lily is normal this week and she is so happy both cats are quiet and she is the boss of the house again, even if it is temporary.

In knitting news, the cabled scarf is seriously kicking my butt. I don't know why I have done cables before, but I seem to be messing this thing up every time I touch it. So I put it down for a while to concentrate on the sock and start a fish scarf. Hopefully I will have better luck there until the cable mojo returns.

Spent the day out and about so no knitting today as of yet. But it is only 9:00 pm so plenty of time for knitting yet this night.

Well, happy knitting ya'll!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 8 - Velvet and a Little Knitting

Well between Day 3 and today, Velvet has been coming out at night when the other animals are not in her part of the house and eating. Last night we closed off the living room from Lily and Olive and just sat in there with her as she hid behind a book case. We tried tempting her with toys of every shape and color, but it was the wine corks that did it. She finally crept out on her own and started playing with the corks we tossed in her direction. Then she started running from me to Mr. Sheep Shack and back for pets on the head. So hopefully now we will see more her and I get some cute photos to share.

In knitting news, I am in the process of binding off my lace shawl. The problem I have it that you jump from US 7's to 11's for the bind off and the stitches are very tight, it makes things a bit difficult. But I will muddle through.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One More to Go!

Well dear friends,

  I have only one more row to go on the Knitpicks Seasons Summer Shawl. I will be posting before and after blocking picks soon. I have really enjoyed my first lace project, I think I will do a lace stole next. Along with the Serendipity Socks I am currently working on, a cabled scarf for Mr. Sheep Shack and oh yeah, we have what something like 77 shopping/knitting days until Christmas! Yikes!

  I had great plans back in August to knit Christmas Stockings for the whole family, hmmmm. Haven't knit one single Christmas Stocking. It's sad really.

  Oh and now, commission pieces to do as well. Thank goodness my family actually likes gift cards!

  Well back to the needles, happy knitting!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day Three - Velvet Watch

Okay, this cat is not overly huge, but she is not petite by any means and I am amazed at the places she can squeeze into to hide. We find her we bring her out set her in our laps and pet her for a few minutes. Surprisingly the basset hound is not a problem. Velvet isn't over thrilled at the basset nose in her face. But the basset just can't wait for Velvet to come down and play.

Olive however, the very petite six month old kitten is the problem. She is having nothing to do with Velvet and does not want Velvet in the house. She makes quite a show of it every time they by chance are near each other.

Today we were outside for several hours working and came in and couldn't find Velvet anywhere. Mr. SheepShack was starting to get pretty worried. We looked under and behind everything in the house. Until, I found her on the table behind his computer. It's funny she hides behind his computer and when cramping herself onto the bookshelves, she lays on his books.

Well, I hope she comes out soon, and knows all is well here. I'm really starting to worry about her not eating.

In the mean time, I think I will show Olive some Simon's Cat movies.

Have you hugged something furry today?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day Two - Velvet Watch - Updated with Pic.

If you are on G+ you may realize that we have adopted another kitty. This one is a year old and her humans were splitting up so she needed a home. She is a very pretty black kitty, so we named her Velvet. We not have Black Velvet and Block Olive Dammitcat.

Velvet has let me hold for all of about 5 minute over the past two days. She stays tucked in a book case or behind the entertainment center. She hasn't eaten anything that I can tell.

Last night/early this morning at 2:30 am I found her on the sink in the bathroom, standing on her hind legs front paws on the wall. I don't know if she thought she would be arrested for being in the bathroom or if her new home is making her climb the walls.

Velvet hiding behind the curtains.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Big News from Apple Today, color me unimpressed

Being a recent convert to Apple, I am always finding ways to sing their praises to anyone who will listen and convert my old Windows friends to the side of good and light. But today, I came home all excited to update my Nano, after today's announcements for updates and the new iPhone.

So I plugged in my Nano with hands shaky with anticipation. I wait impatiently as the download progress bar moves across the top of the screen.

I excitedly eject my Nano and look at the screen......(insert screech car tire sound here) The improved icons are now one icon per screen so I have to scroll for my music, then tap music twice more to get to my playlist?! What gives! I go back I scroll some more check out the new clock faces...okay cute but I don't use the clock so no big deal.

I am momentarily frustrated until I find in settings I can turn off certain icons and restore the icons I do want to the smaller size to I can have four per screen. Whew! That was close! I was about to reset the whole darn thing!

So for me personally, I'm not happy with the update, I don't think it offers much, if you like big icons that take up the whole screen, though this update is for you! Enjoy!

Screen shots of new available icons can be seen here: Apple Nano

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have I Mentioned How Much I love Evernote, Lately?

Seriously, I love this program. I know I did a brief review of it some time back and I loved it then. At that time I was using a Windows machine and now I have converted whole heartily over to Apple.

With regard to my change over to Apple, I resisted for years despite friends singing the praises of Mac's because well, frankly I didn't understand and Windows was working for me so why change. Then I got the iPad, well I know that is not the same as a desktop or even a laptop, but I love my iPad, I don't leave the house without it so if something like that can be so awesome, how cool must a full fledged desktop be right? Right! We took baby steps though, my hubby bought a Macbook pro and I played with it. Nice, but I wasn't yet sold. And I was working from my Windows laptop just fine at the time. But then I started using Pages on my iPad and I don't care what they say, going from Windows to the Macbook pro and back isn't easy. It can be done sure, but it isn't easy. So when I started having a few issues with the laptop and doing more creative things on the computer I decided to try the iMac. I visited one in the store numerous times and then finally took the plunge. After a few weeks, I am so completely sold on any and everything Apple that I have visions reliving the scene in "Office Space" with the fax machine, with my laptop in the back yard. But, I digress, this post is really about Evernote.

I still in all honesty haven't used all the cool features of Evernote, of course they keep adding stuff all the time. But I loved it when I used Windows and I totally love using it on my Mac. For example, you can have the Evernote icon on your tool bar so that you can clip webpages into your Evernote for future reference, this knitters is really handy when you are searching Ravelry for a pattern.  Say you find that perfect lace pattern, its free, (bonus) and it directs you to a blog where the pattern is laid out. There is no "download" button, so you would normally have to go through some sort of right click gyration and copy and paste it. Unless of course you have Evernote, then you simply click the icon in your tool bar, it asks if you want to clip the whole page or a portion and like magic there it is in your Evernote account! I then have it available on my iPad to take with me everywhere. No printing out patterns and wasting ink for the pictures when you just need the text. No printed patterns to get crumpled, creased, ripped or lost in your knitting bag, or left at the coffee shop when you were meeting your knitting friends for a little caffeine in take. And it is in color with the pictures.

Now in fairness this works if you have a windows desktop or laptop and and iPad. Just clip or download your pattern, drag it into the Evernote account, if you download it to your laptop or desktop and sync the account. Make sure you have the Evernote App on your iPad and your all set!

I use Evernote more than any other shared program out there, like dropbox or sugarsync. I totally cannot live without my Evernote, to me it is a must for carrying around my knitting patterns.

Evernote Download

Knit on!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Totally Over Facebook

Well folks, that's it for me on Facebook these most recent changes are more than I am willing to deal with. Especially the timeline feature and the new sidebar thing that scroll every time anyone does anything. For example, posting items you have read on Facebook without your knowledge or permission.
I refer you to this article:Facebook Privacy Issues.

Also, now the ability for people to tell when you have unfriended them. Chances are if you have unfriended someone, you probably don't care what they think, but it could cause ripples if you have shared friends you are keeping, or if it is someone at work. Or what if you unfriend someone by accident and don't realize it. Then your "friend" will be hurt and upset wondering why you unfriended them.

Another interesting article: FB User Dislikes

It is all just too much for me. I have a rule I do something because it is fun, when it isn't fun anymore, I stop doing it. Facebook is no longer fun. And I am concentrating on G+ and Twitter. Please come join me at either of those sites. If you still enjoy Facebook, good for you, but a personal word of caution, be very careful what you share in your profiles and in your posts. What you listen to and what you watch on Netflix, pretty soon it will be out there for the whole world to know. And personally I don't care if people know my fav Disney movie is the Princess and the Frog, but I should be able to choose to share that information; Facebook should not be sharing it for me.

Happy Knitting ya'll.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Once You Go Mac You Never Go Back

Dear Reader,

  I have been on a short hiatus, due to two events. The first, I was off for several days from work, to relax and enjoy life a bit and then had to go back..... the second, I decided that it was time to stop working on my Windows based laptop and level up to an iMac.... tada....

So the Sheep Shack writing corner is set up and ready for NaNoWriMo in November.
So the heat is on as they say.

In knitting news I finished a slouchy hat and circular scarf from my Malabrigo yarn, finished up those glomits and made progress on my shawl.

The weather here as also turned decidedly fall-like. It as 59 degrees last night and that is a bit cool for us this time of year.  So the urge to stay in and knit in the evening is quite strong. Time to turn on the knitting afterburners to prepare for the holidays.

Please don't forget the flood victims in the north east!

Happy Knitting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I just rearranged the furniture  and had the pillows all in place and looking pretty and then.....this happened.

Starring Olive Dammitcat

Shawls, hats, mittens, oh my!

Wanted to share with you a few WIPs today,

first a mitten, the first in the pair completed last night.

This is a mitten pattern of my own design. It has the basic elements of any convertible mitten pattern but I think the process is a bit easier than most. I still need to tweak it though.

Next up the shawl, the shawl has been neglected for a few days while I wrote and knitted the mitten pattern.

Still in blog mode, of course, but it is getting there.

And last but not least, the slouchy hat using the Malabrigo...I plan to finish it today and can't wait for it to get cold enough to wear it!

But so far today I am in cleaning/organizing mode so the knitting will come later. Also, making some beef stew in the slow cooker today. Yummy! Now if I could find the time to made some bread to go with it......

Well Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Well we survived Irene with very little physical damage here at the Sheep Shack, no flooding or downed trees in the immediate area. But we did lose power for about 24 hours and Internet for a couple of days. My cell phone only just returned to normal yesterday. But these things are unimportant and material when compared to damage in other areas and the fact that some of my co-workers only just had their power restored this weekend.

Here are a few pictures of the storm from the Sheep Shack window:
Irene moving in

Patio after Irene

Clear skies chasing Irene away
Much knitting was done during the storm, I worked on the shawl, started a hat and some convertible mittens.

I hope everyone reading this a safe and wonderful Labor Day, and if you experienced Irene that you are on the road to recovery, so many places were hit harder than we were and if your are being affected by TS Lee, my thoughts and prayers are with you that you do not suffer damage.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zen and the Art of Stash Enhancement

The weather lately as been pretty typical for this area in August, heat (in the 90s), humidity( pushing the index over 100) and haze (added to swamp smoke).

But yesterday, we had a break temps in the 80s a nice breeze, the smoke was being blown in a different direction and made for an all around pleasant day so..... I went yarn shopping! I mean what else does one do on such a gorgeous day?

Okay yarn shopping isn't all I did, but it was a very yummy part of it. We drove up to Knitting Sisters where I indulged in some Malabrigo:

Malabrigo in Nostalgia colorway

And while I was there I noticed that the Sisters have started carrying Namaste bags and accessories, so I added the mini messenger bag to my collection:

We also went over to Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown and enjoyed the breeze off the river. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Something Knitty Going On

Well I haven't done as posting lately as I would like, but good reasons:

  1. I have a new kitten.
  2. It is very hard to type with said kitten chasing the cursor across the screen
  3. I have been knitting, a shawl, a sock, and baby gifts
Here's the proof.....
Baby all natural gift set
New fun with scrap yarn books
Bellatrix LaStrange socks
Summer Shawl


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Progress made and not made.

So I have this wonderful shawl I'm doing as a knit a long and haven't touched it in a week, but that is okay. Because I am knitting a super soft natural colored cotton washcloth and towel for a special wee one. I have ordered some lovely handmade soap from August Soap House, Carolyn is a wonderfully charming lady who makes the most deliciously smelling soaps. Pictures will coming soon ans Mr. Sheep Shack tries out his new digital camera.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Major Changes to the Stitches and Stories Group on Ravelry

Dear Reader,

  If you followed my group Stitches and Stories over on Ravelry there have been some changes to the focus of that group. It is now called Spirited Knitters and focuses on fiber arts, wine and spirits. We can talk about your favorite drink recipe or cooking with spirits. Or really anything else that comes to to mind! Your favorite pint, book, yarn. So stop by Spirited Knitters on Ravelry and pull up a chair and lets mix it up!


The Eagle has Landed....

outside my office window!

Here are a couple of pictures a co-worker was able to snap of a bald eagle hunting in the field behind our office building yesterday. What a treat! I have only seen the eagle out there once before.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks Knitting

I was visiting Knit Purl Gurl's site today, and saw this video, I had to share it:

Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks Knitting

Make sure you head on over to Knit Purl Gurl's site, she is having an awesome give-a-way contest!

Happy Knitting

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We've been Slated...

By "we" I mean all of us who already know how awesome Ravelry is....

Slate Magazine - Ravelry

Preaching to the choir but good article!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ever Get the Feeling.....

...your being watched?
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you" - Joseph Heller

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Milk in a Mason Jar

Now that's fresh, when you get milk that hasn't been commercially bottled! How does one get milk that fresh, well it is very hard these days with everyone watering it down and everything. But apparently Mr. Sheep Shack works with this nice lady, Mary Lovell, who is the goddess of all things yummy! At Easter she sent home chocolaty treats, then she sent me an adorable sheep, for the collection not for eating, and now she has sent home fresh real honest to goodness milk from her family's farm! Oh it has been too long since I have had milk that good. The kind of milk you have to skim the cream off the top. If you've ever had that got of milk you would understand that they stuff they sell in the grocery store is criminal. White water, labeled milk.

So thank you goddess of all things yummy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A New Little Blog

Dear Reader,

  I want to tell you about a fun new blog; it's a little different though, no knitting, maybe a little gardening, but a whole lot of mixology! Yes, I have launched a second blog to discuss all things related to spirits. Come by and join the fun, we can talk about anything related to home bartending or professional bartending, your fav drink, or bar song, it's pretty much anything goes. Think of it as your online pub!

Not to worry though, Stitches and Stories is not going anywhere, we will still be here for all your non-alcohol related topics.

Visit me at Laugh Love Drink

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Re-purposing in the Garden

So to me the thing about urban gardening is one, to grow fresh food yourself that is healthier than what you can buy at the store. And two, be self sufficient but not strain the environment around you, so we re-purpose items to be used in the garden year after year. Our latest project is rain barrels made from three olive barrels and one soda barrel.

We recently had new gutters installed on the house and purchased the larger size downspouts and then had them cut to accommodate the rain barrels. The barrels were purchased at an military surplus supply store and the faucets and related hardware was purchased at Lowes for less than $5 per barrel. We bought a length of 3/4 inch white hose when we then cut into smaller lengths to connect the barrels. These are located at the end of our garden so that we can easily water with them. 

The next thing we did this year to make better use of our garden space was to plant potatoes in tubs and buckets. Mr. Sheep Shack drilled holes in the bottoms to allow for proper drainage and I painted some 5 gal. buckets that had once held laundry detergent when they were new. It seems to be working nicely. 

This year I am trying my had with a fruit tree, we purchased a tangelo tree and placed it on the patio where it will get lots of sun, we put it in a pot so that we can bring it indoors in the colder months. 

Mr. Sheep Shack is out now looking for a lime tree and I have some mint growing as well, not reason why a bartender can't grow some of her own ingredients as well. Nothing like a freshly made drink! 


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Inspiring, Inspiration, no matter how you say it, it all boils down to one person, Ernestine Shepherd. If are like me and really need/want to be in better shape but have given yourself every excuse in the world not to, read this story and tell me your are not inspired.

Ernestine Shepherd 74 yr. old body builder

I came home from work today and lifted weights and got on my elliptical machine!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Urban Farmer

Dear Reader,

  There has not been much progress in the way of knitting in the past week. Oh there are projects on the needles but they seem to be in that black hole of knitting where you knit and knit and it seems like you haven't made any progress at all. But, progress is being made in the garden!

The garden is taking off nicely, the tomatoes are doing the best so far, but the zucchini, squash, beans and peas all have blooms! In an effect to get everything pollinated I have several pots of flowers and bee balm in and around the garden; I am hoping to make it "the" place for bees this summer.

Pots with bee balm and pineapple sage

tomatoes and beans

More tomatoes

marigolds to keep away the bunnies

English Lavender

With all the flowers in the veggie patch, the jasmine up against the house and the English lavender, the yard smells so good. I just love sitting out there and breathing it all in.