Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Winning No Sewing Awards

Well, there won't be many close-ups of my newly made iPad bag. I used this pattern, but made a few poor material choices. I had some black jeans material left from another project, which ended up making all the layers very thick. The color is also somewhat boring and lackluster. In addition, the cushioning and interfacing inner layers were also the thickest and most stiff available. My sewing machine was seriously groaning, not to mention that it was difficult achieve a straight seam on the finishing round. I ended up breaking three sewing machine needles.. ouch...
I added some pockets to store items that might scratch the screen. Represented are my school's colors: black and gold. Unfortunately you can't see the colors peek out because the bag is so stiff. An appliqué on the outside might make the whole thing more interesting.
All looted up. This project took me 8+ hours to finish... My initial hope was 3 hours. The time spent is worth the organization though, so no regrets.
Ready for business with my projector remote, voice amplifier, power cord, and iPad pen. I'll probably add some other classroom items for easy access.
On the whole, the bag is working out very well, and I feel a lot safer using the iPad now that I have a safe storage compartment at my hip. After all, the school district was nice enough to supply it, so I may as well take care of it-without dropping it or stepping on it any more... (oooops, don't tell!)
The goldenrods are so pretty right now, and I am amazed by the diverse bug life in the blooms. Hope you are enjoying the wonderful Fall weather. Till next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Blues, Improved

Usually I consciously avoid media and thinking about events associated with 9/11 in the weeks approaching the anniversary. The sadness that the memories of that day bring up are baggage that I don't want to bring with me to school. For some absurd reason I thought that the ten year anniversary last year was the magic eraser and that I would no longer have to deal with the emotions. But of course there were stories on the radio this morning. Military veterans had set up their flags on the overpasses. My reflection was interrupted as the Alpaca Farmer called me on the phone. He was on his way down to the barn, wanting information on another local news item. There was a lot of humming down there... And then there were maybe more animals than normal...
Sure enough, SIX animals in the barn at Shady Grove Alpacas - the new cria had been born in the night and was already dry, wandering about, taking a dust bath, etc! How can your mood not lift with this wonderful image in your head! It's a BOY, by the way! And he weighs 17.7 pounds.
What to name him? All animals born here at Shady Grove get named after songs by the Grateful Dead. We had thrown around names like Jack Straw, China Doll, Stella Blue, but those did not seem fitting for the day or the animal. We started thinking of commemorating the day, and other titles like "US Blues" (sometimes referred to as Wave the Flag) and "Chimes of Freedom" started sounding like better options. "Chimes" was written and performed by Bob Dylan with the Grateful Dead, but the Dead never covered it on their own. Coincidentally, Bob Dylan's 35th album came out today as well, so it would have been another nice connection to the day. In the end, calling the cria by one or the other word in the title did not have the right feel to it for us. And there happens to be another song named "The Eleven." The eleventh of September. The eleventh anniversary. Perfect. We will be calling the little man 'Leven for short. (The music geek in me is thrilled that the song is written in 11/4 time!)
The little animal is very red, but we suspect that it is the usual amniotic fluid stain on the fiber, and that the little guy will be a dark brown or black like his mom by the time the fleece grows out.
'Leven has a funny crimp in his tail. Curls? A weak bone?
Playing on the lawn with Cassidy. Cassidy is the slightly bigger cria on the left. The grown-ups are munching some grass. Go figure.
'Greta is the BEST mom ever. She is humming almost non-stop and looking after the 'Leven in all ways possible.
Off on a first adventure into the corner of the pen. Greta is following right behind. Later folks, there is some exploring to do!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


We recently acquired some moveable fencing, allowing for a small pasture area. The alpacas were super happy, frolicking around and eating grass as quickly as possible. It is also helping restore some of the luster in Darkstar's fiber. Recent rains have restored the grass to "edible" status. It will be a happy Fall for the animals!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Garden Journal #5: Transitioning

Summer is reluctantly winding down. The days are still hot, but many plants are at the end of their days. The beans got cleared today and several pepper and tomato plants have already dried up. They will be replaced by some greens to be planted tomorrow. Beets and chard are coming up already. I had to reseed the spinach. Unfortunately I think that little roly poly bugs are eating certain seedlings as they sprout. Of course, the zucchini plants are still thriving!!

See what everyone else is growing in the garden over at Ginny's today:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Darkstar!

A year ago today, I had the honor of witnessing this guy's amazing birth. It's hard to believe how quickly the year passed us by. Darkstar is turning into a very handsome young man who we hope to show this Fall. Happy Birthday to you and many happy returns!