Archives from October 2006

Ten Things I Learned at College this Weekend

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, October 30th, 2006 in Sheri's Top Tens

We had a great weekend with College Boy in Indiana! It meant a lot of eating out (a perk when parents come up – you can get away from the DC – aka, the Dining Commons) and plenty of walking around in the wind. I did discover a few things while we were up there that I thought I ought to share with you. If you have college kids, maybe you have learned similar lessons? Do share with me…..

couch 1. College kids are always up for silliness. This is College Boy (on the left) with his two great roommates. Ohio Boy is in the middle and Indiana Boy is on the right. Indiana Boy’s mom knitted (!) all three boys hats in the college colors, and then brought them fake teeth for this photo op. They were great sports, even when it was mentioned that this photo would go up on the blog for all to see. (Note that I have protected their identity by naming them after their states. If I really wanted to have fun, I’d post this photo on their Facebook sites…..) :-)

2. College dorms frequently smell like a) burnt popcorn or b) pepperoni pizza. I guess it could be worse.

3. There is always someone yelling, somewhere in the dorm. The mothers present will always wonder if someone is hurt or just fell out of bed. The college students in the dorm ignore it. Makes one wonder what would happen if someone really did need help.

4. Cookies are always accepted, anywhere, any time, for any reason or no reason at all.

5. When you ask how classes/grades/tests/projects/papers are coming along, the answer is always, “Fine.” That’s it. Just one word. Always “fine”.

6. I am drawn to buying a sweatshirt every time I walk into a college bookstore. I’m wondering if this transfers to colleges that I don’t particularly care about? I have not walked into a college bookstore that I’m not somehow “related” to. I ought to test that out sometime. This time, it was a navy hooded pullover sweatshirt with TAYLOR in pink and white letters. How could I resist? I’m wearing it today, even though it is supposed to be 75 degrees this afternoon.

DSC00047 7. Sometimes when your college student picks wonderful rommates, they come with wonderful moms that you can become friends with. Besides knitting our boys wonderful hats, Jari (Indiana Boy’s mom) brought me a very fun care package! In there, I found this sheep that I am totally in love with. You’ve seen these sheep tape measures, right? But have you ever seen one with Loopy’s red socks on them? I’m throwing all my other tape measures away. None of them measure up (ha!) to this one. DSC00048 And then she made me this wonderful felted little bag! (It came with gum and a pack of Kleenex. Both of us get just a bit teary when telling our boys good-bye and she was planning ahead for me. It came in handy.) I found that this is perfect for hanging on the car door lock and keeping your tape measure, your scissors, and your needles in when knitting in the car. I have other uses in mind for it, too, but I really liked it in the car.

8. I always over-estimate what I will get done on car trips. I won’t tell you how many skeins of yarn I took with me, but I will say that I was nuts they didn’t all get knit up. I have been wanting to knit one of the DSC00050 Sock Blocker Keychains, and that was very fun to do. I used Claudia Hand Painted yarn in the Blue Fields colorway. One gal told me that she knits a mini sock with each pair of socks she gives for gifts. I thought it’d be fun to knit up a keychain like this to give with your hand-knitted socks. You could use it as the package tie-on! (These are great as keychains, or to hook onto your purse or knitting bag, or to attach to your scissors so that you don’t lose them so easily. Although we just got in more cute Zecca scissors fobs, which are fun as well.) Now that I have made one, I want to make more. DSC00046 I did get my Posh Cashemere/Wool sock done and have included the second sock that I’m in the middle of, lest you think I knitted one and moved on to something else as I seem to have a bad habit of doing. These are a Christmas gift, so I had to do the twin right away. I like how it went together and I also like knitting for someone who’s feet are not as long as mine. It makes a difference. (Posh mailed out our order – from the UK – last week, so I’m hoping it will arrive at The Loopy Ewe sometime this week.)

9. If there are knitting shops within shouting distance of the campus, it is your duty to check them out. We detoured slightly to go to Mass Avenue Knit Shop in downtown Indianapolis and I’m glad we did. Husband was glad that we arrived a half hour before closing time, as that limited the damage that I could do. It’s huge and packed with all kinds of yarn, patterns, accessories and books. (But not much sock yarn.) I bought a book, a magazine, and a couple of accessories. There just wasn’t enough time to buy yarn. I did tell them that I wished they were my LYS, as I was checking out. If you’re in the area, it’s worth making the detour to visit. They all seemed very friendly and helpful there.

10. No matter how often I see him (or not), I still really miss having College Boy at home. But I’m glad that he’s where he’s supposed to be, and that he’s happy. :-)

Sheri gladtobeoutofcollegebutit’salwaysfuntovisit

Leaving Town to Knit

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, October 27th, 2006 in Uncategorized

hof 173 I’m not getting enough knitting done, so I’m leaving town. Seems like the only way I can guarantee time to knit is to take a car ride. We’re heading up to see College Boy this weekend! (Really, the primary reason to head out of town is to see him. Not to knit in the car. Really.) So do you want to see what I’m transporting my knitting in for the weekend? Look at this amazing knitting bag that I bought from Martha over at Green Mountain Knitting Bags. I had heard that these bags were addictive. You buy one, you “must have” another. You know how that goes. I am a logical person. I don’t need more than one. (Did I even need one, I asked myself? Didn’t I already have enough knitting bags/containers/totes/etc? I am of the firm opinion that you can never have too many knitting totes.) So, I ordered a Micro Carpet Bag. Martha does special orders if you want to pick your own fabric. There is a long wait for special orders. However, she also puts new bags for sale up on her website every Thursday night. They sell out so quickly that it will make your head spin. Now that I have this Micro Carpet Bag (which I just adore, and which really isn’t “micro” at all), I find myself “needing” one of her sock bags. Never mind that I bought this carpet bag for transporting sock projects. Now I think I need a Sock Bag. The workmanship in these bags is beyond amazing. The pockets inside the lined bag are lined with a coordinating fabric! You need to go over there and check them out.

pasta Since it’s Friday, it’s time for a recipe. This one is another family favorite and I’m just sure there are no calories involved in it. (Next week, I have another fun salad recipe for you.)

Tacos in Pasta Shells

18 jumbo pasta shells
2 Tbl. margarine, melted
1 1/4 lb. ground beef
3 oz. cream cheese with chives, cubed
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 bunch of green onions

Cook pasta shells. Drain and toss with butter. Brown beef and drain. Stir in cream cheese, chili powder and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Fill shells with beef mixture. Arrange in greased 9 x 13 pan. (I doubled the recipe and made it in our deep dish pizza pan for the photo above.) Spoon taco sauce over the top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover. Top with chips and cheeses and bake 15 minutes longer. Sprinkle with green onions.

You can also make this ahead and freeze it until you’re ready to bake. Or make two batches, eat one and freeze one. Then on the day you use the other one for dinner, you can trade dinner-prep time for knitting time!

Remember, I’m leaving town today so all orders this morning will go out today, and then Friday afternoon through Sunday orders will all go out Monday. I’ll look forward to returning to a lot of them! I also hope that I have knitting to share with you in Monday’s blog. Car trip = knitting time.

Sheri mymailmanwillbesohappynottohaveabigpileofboxestopickuponSaturday

Sheri’s Top Ten Ways to Decorate With Yarn

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 in Sheri's Top Tens

DSC00024.JPG Well first of all, you guys are all so wonderful! Your comments on my Customer Service blog just couldn’t be nicer and they just made my day! I appreciate you all so much. We base our customer service on how picky I am how much I appreciate good customer service from others (like that Starbucks story). If I were shopping somewhere, I’d like the kinds of things that we do at The Loopy Ewe. And as for the fast shipping? Don’t you feel like once you’ve made a decision to buy something and you’ve gone ahead and ordered it, you want it …. yesterday? Me, too. That’s why we do fast shipping. (Well, it’s either that, or the fact that I’m just afraid if I don’t get this yarn out of here it’s going to end up in my own stash. I like all of our yarns a bit too much.) So we’ll keep it up on our end, and please let us know if you ever have suggestions, comments or ideas on how to improve things around here. We want to keep you as customers forever! (For those of you who have written customer testimonials for our webpage, I have all the recent ones in a folder, waiting to be put up with our next update. They’re coming! You all are truly just the best. The BEST!)

The topic of today’s top ten list came from hearing people talk about how they really need to decorate with their yarns, as they have so many in their stash. (Specifically, L-B and Michelle – thank you for getting me thinking along these lines and for sharing some of these ideas.) Boy, can I relate. Something must be done about my yarn, and it’s all just so beautiful that displaying it somehow seems smart. Here are some ideas. Please share your ideas in the comments section, because I know this is just the tip of the iceberg…….

1. Big glass jars. Depending on how large the jars are, you can throw skeins, balls, or leftover snippets of yarn in there. Wouldn’t it be cool to change the colors with the season? Heaven knows, I’d have enough yarn colors to do that. Cool glass jars here and here.

DSC00022.JPG 2. Big wooden bowls. Who needs bowls of fruit when you can showcase bowls of yarn? I do think balls would look better in here than skeins – what do you think? Cool wooden bowls here and here.

3. Pegboards. If you have long, lovely hanks, then hanging them on their own pegs would make you feel like you were in a yarn store. (A yarn store in your own house. How inspiring would that be?) Here are directions to make your own.

4. Or hooks. My favorite hooks come from places like Restoration Hardware. Old-fashioned looking hooks with character. In fact, I’m liking this idea so much that I might need to go buy some long colorful hanks just for the hooks that I haven’t bought yet. (Oh, I really should not have just wandered over to Restoration Hardware’s website to look at hooks. Jeez.)

5. Tree stands/coat racks. This would make a nice combo – you could use some hooks for the long stands, and you could hang baskets of yarn balls off of some of the others. Nice in a corner somewhere. (Did you know that when you Google Tree Stands they think you’re talking about hunting? I guess you can call them Hall Stands or Coat Trees or Coat Racks, but not Tree stands. Ok. Coat racks.)

6. Cubbies. I love these wire cubbies because you can put them together in any way that works best for your space. And you can fit a lot in each cubbies. Again, it would make you feel like you were in a yarn store. Or a yarn corner. :-) Here are cubbies that you can use those 20% off coupons for that we get every single week in the mail.

DSC00023.JPG 7. Magazine holders on your bookshelves. Don’t you need yarn mixed in with all of your yarn books? I like it. When you mix two different things like that, it goes from being books on a shelf to being a “display”. I like the clear magazine holders that show off all the yarn. (Apparently I have purchased all of the clear magazine files like this for the Loopy Room, because I can’t find them anywhere online. I got mine at Office Depot. If you find them, put it in the comments section so we all know where to find them because I need more!)

8. Baskets. I have more baskets than I know what to do with. Those “what were you thinking??” expensive ones. (They’re better quality. They really are. I keep telling my husband that.) A basket of yarn can tuck in anywhere. I also think World Market and Pier One have nice baskets.

9. Basket stands. I really like these basket stands from Lantern Moon. If they weren’t such a pain to ship, I’d be stocking them at The Loopy Ewe! Tucked into a corner with bright yarns overflowing? I’d want to knit all the time. (Wait – I already want to knit all the time.)

10. The freezer. If you have recently had a Freezer Intervention like I had, then you have lots of room in there for showing off your yarns. (And someone did tell me that it helps calm down mohair.) You just have to make sure you send dinner guests to get their own ice cubes so that they can appreciate your freezer decorating. My freezer? Full again. No room for yarn. I guess I will have to go shopping for all of this other stuff.

You know the best place to buy any of this is garage sales and flea markets. That leaves more money to spend on the yarn to fill them all up.

Sheri wholoveshavingamissionlike”buymoreyarnfordecorating”

Good Customer Service

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, October 23rd, 2006 in Uncategorized

fall It feels like Fall here today. The trees are turning red, orange and yellow, and the air is definitely nippy. I like nippy. In fact, I love this season. It’s my favorite of all. I have a kitchen window above my sink – one of those garden windows. We added a screen porch onto the back of our house several years ago, so the window isn’t the greatest for growing things. (Or maybe I’M not the greatest for growing things.) So I use it for seasonal stuff. That way, I can get into some fun things for that season, without doing up the whole house. I only do up the whole house for Christmas. So, these are some of the nice and then downright goofy things that are representing Fall in our house right now. Do you decorate for different seasons?

I went to Starbucks today (I’m a little sad that this new Starbucks is only 2 blocks from our house. It’s a bit too convenient.). One thing that I’m a fanatic about is good customer service. I LOVE shopping at places that make me feel appreciated and constantly “do the right thing”. I ordered my regular: Grande Sugar Free Vanilla Latte with 1 Sweet and Low. The gal taking my order said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. We’re out of Sugar Free Vanilla.” I replied, “Oh – bummer! I like sugar free vanilla.” She said, “We have sugar free hazelnut …. ?” So I said, “Sure – that works!” When I went to pay, it was free. FREE. She said, “I’m buying it for you because we’re out of what you really wanted.” I replied, “Oh my goodness – you don’t have to do that. Hazelnut is fine – no big deal!” But she wouldn’t let me pay. Now is that not amazing customer service? And here I am blogging about it, spreading the news. Word of great customer service always gets around.

On the knitting front, I am working on a sock from the new Posh Yarn cashmere line that we’re getting in soon. Cashmere (blend) socks – doesn’t that sound decadent? I’m making them for a Christmas gift. I’ll have the first one done by the time the yarn is in the shop, so I’ll post it then. (I know I know I know I know – I wasn’t supposed to start something NEW until I finished some of the twinless socks. I don’t want to hear about it.)

CIMG0039 College Boy went back to college yesterday. OHHHH how we loved having him home! His visits always seem too short for me. Here he is, helping me pack a few orders up on Saturday afternoon. He’s a great help. Mostly, he just does “Web Guy” duty, fixing everything on the website. It’s an ongoing process – we’re always updating and tweaking things on there. This time, it wasn’t quite so painful to say goodbye, as we’re heading up there for Parents Weekend on Friday afternoon! I love everything about that: knitting time in the car up and back, and being with him on campus for the weekend. (Wonder if I can convince Hubby and Daughter to stop at a yarn shop on the way? I have been wanting to check out the Mass Avenue Knit Shop in Indianapolis ever since Danny started attending Taylor. Because of course when you’re going to be heading one direction quite often, as we have done for two years now, you want to know the knitting shop options on the way.) I’ll let you know if I was successful in getting the car to detour! And by the way – all orders in to The Loopy Ewe by Friday morning will go out on Friday, but the afternoon and Saturday orders will go out on Monday. I know I have you all used to same day or early the next day shipping, and wanted to give you this heads up. Because, you know, GREAT customer service is important to us! :-)

Sheri anothertoptenlistcomingyourwayonWednesday:makinguseofyourstash

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