Sarah Jane Humke

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

Getting Serious June 15, 2013

I don’t talk on here a lot about beauty products and regimes mostly because I typically don’t have any.  That is until lately that is.  You see, I’ve decided it’s time to start getting serious about my skin.

Over this past winter, I started using a moisturizer on my face consistently every night after my shower.  I know, big whoop.  But for me, it kinda was.  I generally don’t use moisturizer regularly.  However, I’ve decided to up my game a little bit.  I am starting to use a proper facial cleanser for my face as well as moisturizer with sunblock in it in the mornings.  I’m scarcely outside anymore, but I know that doing this will help my skin in the long-run.  I’m thankful that I was never one of those women who tanned for a hobby.  Even in high school when my friends were all doing it, I was sitting in the shade reading.  Some of those women today look 10-15 years older than what they really are because (I think) of those golden brown tans that they worked on so diligently.  I’m not naming any products at this point because I’m not sure how I like some of them still.  I have really sensitive skin, but sometimes it takes a bit before reactions start.

There are a couple of other things I’m getting serious about other than just my skin care.  Obviously, I’ve been knitting socks a fair amount lately.  I just finished my second pair of Monkeys and am getting ready to cast-on my third.  Here are the just finished ones in their bath.

serious 2

There was 19 grams of yarn left, which seems to be about average for a pair of Monkey’s in Socks that Rock Lightweight for me.


I’m also getting serious about learning to sew more.  I now have two sewing machines (the Necchi and an IKEA one) and it seems pretty silly to have them and not use them.  I’ve found a few “easy for a beginner” patterns that I plan on trying out this weekend, I’ll let you know how it goes!



Generosity January 21, 2011

I have several thank you’s that I need to make for people who have donated sock yarn leftovers to the massive undertaking that is my sock yarn blanket.

First off there is Tini, who sent me a great package with some sock yarn, beads and some candy.  Always a good combo!

Then I also got a package from an Anonymous RAK’er.  See, I belong to a group on Ravelry that is called RAK in Europe (RAK stands for Random Act of Kindness, just for those who didn’t know!) and the idea is to post a list of things that you are wishing for.  They can be physical (in my case sock yarn remnants) or more good feeling (well wishes for something going on in the person’s life).  So, you look over the list and see if there is anything that you can help with and if there is you send off whatever it is that you can help with.  There are no “paybacks”, there is no “requirement” to do anything, it’s just a nice thing to do to help someone out.  Anyway, I joined this group this past month and have had a lot of fun in it so far.  I’ve sent off 3 RAK packages which made me feel really good, and I’ve received 2 (I’m counting Tini’s as one as she is the one that suggested that I join this group!).  This package from the Anonymous RAK’er was completely unexpected, so all the nicer!


Perfect little butterflies of sock yarn!


Now my last thank you is a BIG super-duper-humongous-ginormous-holy-shit-look-at-the-size-of-that-thing one.  Jon from Easyknits said that when I came to his house to help out he would give me some of his tangled skeins and unsold yarns and such from up in the attic.  He said that is was, “a lot”.  I threw a couple of tote bags into my backpack when I was getting ready to go into the city on Wednesday, then I threw in more in “just in case”.  I also had a good-sized shopping bag with Jon’s birthday cake in it (his birthday is shortly before Christmas, but there was snow insanity and plague going on then, so he got it about a month late).  Anyway, Jon filled-up all of the totes, the backpack plus a big blue bag from IKEA!!!!  We were up in his attic and he just kept throwing yarn and fiber at me!!!  It was like a really good dream except that Jon was Jon and not a scantily clad Viggo Mortensen (not that Jon isn’t handsome!!!) (I think that you may have glimpsed a little too far into my head with that dream description!).

I was such a quivering mess of yarn-y-ness that I didn’t take any photos of it all until I had gotten home and unpacked it all.  But you can imagine how interesting it was sherpa-ing all those bags home on trains and tubes was!  Luckily, it was well after rush hour so I didn’t have a million people pushing at me to go faster and the route that Jon’s husband Roy came up with for me to get to Euston station had minimal steps to hike up and down.  I just got a lot of interested looks, not scowls.  Anyway, here is most of it, though I realize that there was also a bag of ends of cones that I didn’t get in this picture!

That big pile in the back? That is all sock yarn.

Some of this is going to be RAK’ed and a bit is going to Finland with me in February, so don’t think that I’m a total greedy pants (well, ok, I am, but I do share!!!)

There was also a ton of Kool-Aid packets that he gave me to play with the undyed yarn with, which I did yesterday for the first time.  Since I was just playing, I wasn’t too worried about how things turned out.  It was a lot of fun (though I needed to add less water to the Kool-Aid dye that I was using to make designs.  Live and learn!) and I managed not to make a complete mess of the kitchen.

Now for all of this yarn-y love, I did do a little bit to help.  Let me tell you sock club members, you are going to love this months colorway and pattern (which I helped to label, so I am very familiar with it!).  It’s perfect for curling-up in front of a fire and knitting during the cold and dark of winter.  Jon is also going to be at Unravel if you want to check out his yarn up close and  in person (as will I hopefully!). (more…)


The Snot Monster is Sad December 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:55 pm
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My favorite box of Kleenex ran out today.

I love the little sheep on it.

Especially the little, lonely, black sheep on one side.

I kind of want to keep it, but that’s just a little too Hoarders-esque even for me.  Sigh. I tried to find more of it at the shop, but now it’s all boxes with Scandinavian style hearts on them.  If I want shit with Scandinavian style anything on anything I’ll just go to IKEA like everybody else!  Damnit.  First time that the insipid box designers at Kleenex came up with something good and then they STOP MAKING IT!!!!

If someone in some other place still sees these regularly… stock-up now, or be sheepy free forever!


(Yes, I know, 2 blogs posts in one day.  Watch out folks, I’m all kinds of hopped-up on Dr Pepper and Sour Cream and Onion Pringles!!)


Going, going……. August 20, 2009

Last day here.  Tomorrow I will be getting up ass-early to haul my sorry carcass out to Heathrow airport (at least it isn’t Gatwick which is even further) to get onto an airplane to go to Dusseldorf.  I’m flying Lufthansa all the way there and United on the way home.  I am so excited that I am practically vibrating!  Which, is not such a good thing when one is trying to KNIT LACE!!!  

Anyway, my bags are packed and triple weighed and waiting in the entryway.


However, I’m a little sad to be going as well.  I’m going to be missing the bulk of my first Autumn here and I have a lot of plants that are looking very nice and are beginning to bloom.

My streptocarpus has one or two blossoms open and smells fantastic.


My dipladenia hasn’t yet stopped blooming.


I moved nearly everything that I don’t want to freeze back into the conservatory so it sort of looks like conservatories in the movies do.


I have finally figured out how to make the passion vine happy.


The best litter box screen EVER!

The best litter box screen EVER!

I have lots of happy flowers on the windowsills.


And I finally got the african violets sorted out!


For the astute IKEA fans out there these are the cheapy shelves connected by grow-bag trays.

For the astute IKEA fans out there these are the cheapy shelves connected by grow-bag trays.

My lemon tree has LEMONS on it!!


Honey, please don’t kill them!!!


13 hours and counting……..


Shopping List August 7, 2009

Here is my shopping list for the US so far*:

Kool-Aid Believe it or not they don’t sell this paragon of sugary virtue here at all.  However, I don’t want it to drink, I want it to dye with as apparently it makes an excellent wool acid dye that doesn’t smell bad and it pretty non-toxic.  It is also something that is good to trade with other fiber freaks (sort of like smokes in the “big house”, ya know?).

Fritos They don’t have Fritos here.  This makes it rather difficult to have the chili-with-cheese-and-sour-cream-eaten-with-Fritos meal.

Jeans Everything is sized so differently here.  I swear, given the sizing of the jeans, no one has an ass here.  They are just sitting on the back of their legs.

Orchid Basket I need this for one of the orchids that they have.  I guess maybe I just got used to being in Florida where these are sold at Home Depot.  Then again, orchids grow like weeds in the trees there too….

Beads, Buttons and Fabric  JoAnn’s, here I come!!!!

IKEA Cat Scratchers I guess that cats here don’t scratch, much like they don’t pee or poop either as evidenced by the lack of clumping cat litter.

Underwear See “Jeans” above.

Yarn/Fiber Duh.  I’m going to Rhinebeck dudes.

Lysol  I guess that they don’t have germs here either.

Charmin On-The-Go  This is a little roll of Charmin that has a hard plastic case.  It’s great for traveling.  I carried on of these in my purse for a year and it saved my ass many times!  Alas, the version that they sell here has a plastic bag type of covering for it and I fear that when the roll gets a little smaller it will be less sturdy and in need of the protection.

Plastic Baggies  The baggie culture here isn’t nearly as sophisticated as in the US.

Pepto-Bismol  This stuff costs a small treasury here.  Seriously, it is mucho expensivo.  For what folks living in the States (I’ve become more sensitive to saying “Americans” since I got here.  I mean, there are lots and lots of Americans and only some of them come from the US) would consider a “travel sized” bottle you pay something like $20.  Dude, this is on the list for Costco!!!!

A Cheap DVD Player  Our US DVD player bit the dust a few weeks after we got here.  So we got one that would play UK DVDs (yes, they are different, doesn’t that suck on so many levels???) and Tech Support thought that he would be able to break  I mean hack it so that it would play all the different DVDs no problem.  Alas and alack, it has proven more difficult than that and I have not been able to watch any of my favorite DVDs except on my computer.  Doh, suck.

Black Beans  There is also not a whole lot of Mexican cooking here.  Go figure.


I know this sounds like a hell of a shopping list, but I have 2 large suitcases that are going to be filled mostly with things that are not coming back with me.  I’ll give you a hint, there are 2 afghans, a throw blanket, 4 small travel pillows and a passel of large books that aren’t coming back with me.  I’m not taking a lot of clothes with me (see “jeans” and “underwear” above) as it is obvious by the length of this trip that I am going to need to hunt down a laundromat at some point in the trip.

*List is subject to change.  Change may occur because the writer saw something that she did not think of in the UK or merely because it was “way cool” or “so fraking cheap!”  


Just one of those days August 4, 2009

Today I am having one of those days where everything is going great.  You know, one of those days that you think that you really should be working towards world peace as you could probably get it worked out by noon.  One of those days that you think that you really should go shopping as you would find the perfect fitting pair of pants on sale!  

Today, so far, I have figured out a route for my flights within the US that is both convenient and half of the price that they were going to charge me originally.  I guess that “nearby airports” means something different to Midwesterners than it does to normal folk.  I was putting DSM into the search feature and when I exchanged that for MSP…. voila!  Cheaper flights!  This booking had been bothering me for several weeks as it hadn’t yet been booked and not getting any further away.

Another thing that I “mastered” that has been tickling my brain for a bit is combination knitting.  When I was at the UK Ravelry day, I found that I had been twisting my stitches as I was doing a bastardized version of both combination knitting and continental.  I started working on continental but it still didn’t “feel” right.  I mean, it felt more difficult than what I had been doing before.  My lace knitting teacher that day sent me a link to Annie Modesitt’s website where pretty detailed instructions for combination knitting are given.  So, today I went there and voila! I get it today!  I need to refine it a little bit but I think that I just needed to understand a little better what the hell I was doing on the needle to get the differences between the two types of knitting.  

So, now I am off to IKEA to try to work some shelving magic so that I can use the space in the conservatory a little bit better.  I need to do this before I leave otherwise the Hubby will have a serious time trying to keep all the plants straight and watered and, well, alive.



Making the Case July 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:01 am
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One of the things that has been “made” recently has been a Knitpicks/Knitpro case for my Symfonie wood and Nova interchangeable circular needle set as well as for the DPNs.  The set came with a nasty vinyl case that stuck together and smelled funny and was sort of hard to find anything in and was already really full feeling with out the DPNs or the Novas in it.  

So, my lovely husband decided to take up the challenge.  He has sewed a lot in the past and now that we have a sewing machine it really isn’t a big deal.  So I looked around for fabrics that I liked and I found a quilting cotton at Hobbycraft  for the inside and a heavier almost cotton duck at IKEA for the outside.  The hubby and I discussed strategy and he came up with the first one.  It was perfect except that the cotton fabric on the inside was just too thin and literally started falling apart.  

The first case with the too thin fabric

The first case with the too thin fabric

At Woolfest there was a lady selling odds and ends of woven woolen cloth.  Pretty heavy stuff, really quite nice for a pound so we bought it in order to take another try at making this case.  We also got some really cool buttons from the button lady and we were back in business.  Here is what it looks like now…

The current version in wool.

The current version in wool.

The outside of the case all folded up

The outside of the case all folded up


With it's current closure method

With it's current closure method

I’m thinking about making a matching project bag from the leftover IKEA material.






I know he’s awesome and no you can’t have him……