Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Favorite things December 31, 2009

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So, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote for you my faithful readers.  I’m sure that you have also been busy with the holiday season so I hope that you don’t hold it against me too terribly much.  I’ve had an interesting holiday season working in the department store.  All I can say is that it makes me more glad than ever that I usually do all of my Christmas shopping super early.  And for all of you out there let me tell you something.  If you are rude to a store clerk, we will find ways to pay you back!  (this makes me really not to be rude to wait staff as they have control over FOOD!!!!)

However, overall, it has been an uneventful Christmas.  I got lots and lots of goodies and wanted to share a few of my favorites with y’all.

First up is this gem from my husband.  We’ve been talking about getting one of these since, oh, well…. March.  But, better late than never!

(Water Butt)

This is, what they call here, a water butt otherwise known as a rain barrel to my US friends.  Really, these make so much sense here that I find it hard to understand why everyone doesn’t have one!  The water that comes out of the tap here is loaded with calcium which makes it so that my indoor plants get that lovely crusty white stuff on the soil surface and on the pots.  This crust isn’t just unsightly, it is also in the end, harmful to the plants.  By collecting rainwater, I am hoping to avoid the whole darn issue!  Oh, yeah, and save water, always a nice thing!

Another thing that we got this Christmas was sort of a present from the hubby and I to each other.  We got a new bed.  It is a UK sized “King” which is more or less a “Queen” in the US.  We went to IKEA and each of us got a different mattress given that we both have different firmness requirements when it comes to a good nights sleep.

(photo of bed)

I also got a stand mixer to facilitate all of my making of cookies and baked goods.  The hubby and I went on a baking spree right before Christmas so that we could share yummies with the neighbors and friends around us (helps to solve the “what are we going to get the neighbors” issue rather well!  Anyway, I’m sure that it will get lots of use, just not in the month of January as my neighbors have all said, “no more!” for a little bit as they are all having trouble getting their pants (I mean trousers) fastened!

Stand Mixer

We got lots of lovely gifts from all over.  My mom sent a great care package with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (can’t find it over here) French’s onions (ditto) and chocolate chips (can find but not quite the same and way more expensive).  I got lots of books and a wonderful gift certificate to the pub and other fun gifts, all in all it was a very fun and relaxed holiday.

Part of the fun of it was that it was the first time that I have had a white Christmas where I was actually living.  This isn’t a totally good thing as British drivers do not know how to drive in snowy/icy conditions! One night it took me about 2.5 hours to get home from work.  It normally takes about a half an hour.  It wasn’t really the road conditions that were the issue rather the other drivers on the road and a plethora of accidents littering the main roads.  But, as long as I’m not needing to be anywhere, the snow is fun and really, really pretty.

This is more or less what the whole neighborhood looked like!

Malcolm, the new dog, really loved the snow.  He would go outside just to play in it, which got old for those of us who were letting him in and out all of the time!

And then after all of this playing and running we get a much needed rest…

I hope that all of you have a wonderful evening and a fantastic 2010!


It’s going to be another busy summer (I think). December 3, 2009

So, the UK has gone from having zero (or seriously close to zero) major knitting get-aways to having two in one year.  Not even in a year, in a summer!  First up is Knit Nation which is being held the 29th, 30th and 31st of July this year in London.  It’s three days of shopping and classes with the likes of: Cookie A, Judith MacKenzie McCuin, Clara ParkesNancy Bush and many more.  The Ravelry team is going to be giving a talk as well in addition to an awesome market place being in the works.  It’s being held at the Imperial College in South Kensington which is right by the Victoria and Albert museum as well as a bunch of other stuff.  I have signed up to take a Spinning for Lace class with Janel Laidman on Thursday, the Estonian Lace Sampler class with Nancy Bush (OMG!!) on Friday and a half-day class with Clara Parkes on Saturday called the Wonders of Wool (UK).  Since it is “just” in the city, I plan on taking the train with my friend Tini who will be staying with us for that weekend as well.  It should be interesting taking my Ashford Traveler on the commuter train into the city that first day:-)

I’m glad that Knit Nation is so close that I don’t have to worry about accommodation as it leaves me more money to spend a few weeks later at the UK Knit Camp 2010 which is being held in beautiful Stirling, Scotland.  This knitty adventure is going to be a bit longer than Knit Nation as it is going on the 6th through the 13th of August.  It’s being held on the campus of the University of Stirling and the accommodation is really reasonable.  To stay in one of the dormitories for 6 nights, it is 150  pounds.  That’s a really good deal for a room anywhere in this country, especially in the summer!  The classes that they are offering are pretty amazing, with instructors like Jared Flood, Annie Modesitt, Lucy Neatby, Norah Gaughan, Franklin Habit, and Ysolda Teague all teaching there.  There are also going to be excursions to local mills and whiskey distilleries as well as much fun and craziness had by all I am sure.  Just imagine, dormitories all filled with fiber freaks!  I have a feeling it’s going to turn into a huge, more-or-less, slumber party at some point!  Sign-up for classes for this yarn porn week open in January, though you can book your space to sleep now.  My friend Malin is planning on coming over for this one and I plan on driving up there so there is sure to be lots and lots of adventures!

So, it seems that the UK has sort of gone from zero to sixty in the span of a year in terms of knitting camps.  Hopefully this will become a regular thing that all of the British knitters can enjoy!