Sunday, 30 November 2008

Christmas Movies

So today I was thinking about my favourite movies that I like to watch during the Christmas season and I thought I would just make a list. Feel free to comment on my choices and leave a list of your favourites, too.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Christmas Toy
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
Muppet Christmas Carol
White Christmas

Another of my faves, which is not available on DVD, is John Denver and The Muppets:A Christmas Together from 1979.

Today, in Borders, the music from Charlie Brown Christmas was playing and I got all nostalgic and wanted to go home and watch every Christmas movie I have. Then I remembered that I still need to buy Charlie Brown, Christmas Toy, Grinch, and Miracle. I'm sure a couple of them are on video in Mom's old collection but I would have to play them on the smaller tv so maybe I'll find them on sale somewhere during the holiday season.

Perhaps I will wax nostalgic about holiday music for my next post and list my favourite cd's for the season. :-)

It is Midnight...Happy December!

Nearly forgot - I finished reading Midnight in the Garden (finally) so Heather can borrow it and now I am reading:

Diana Wynne Jones Volume I in The Chronicles of Chrestomanci
Truman Capote Portraits and Observations
Joe Lee Dante for Beginners
Monica Furlong Zen Effects, The Life of Alan Watts

Also, tonight I bought Valkyrie in anticipation that I will have time to read it before the movie comes out later this month. (Except that just this minute I noticed that, in the fine print on the cover, it says it is an abridgement of the book To The Bitter End so I guess I am going to have to order it and exchange this one. I really despise abridgements. sigh.)

And, just so I don't leave out any obligatory knitting content, I finished a lovely black pair of men's fingerless gloves for a customer (yea! money is good) and a plum pair for a special young lady in Texas. The picture of hers will be up tomorrow because I'm just too tired to take pics tonight.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

More Ramblings for Catch-up Posting

Today was Friday? How did that happen? Are you sure it wasn't Saturday? Boy, this is going to be one crazy weekend.

So, today Dad came over in order to work on my sewing nook and get it more "user friendly" - yep. That was the plan. Unfortunately, we kind of had one of those "one step forward and two steps back" kind of days. He is making this really cool addition to my sewing machine desk/cabinet so the Bernina will fit down into it (now that I've relegated the Singer Golden Touch&Sew to Dad's basement). Today's dry run proved that it needs to be a wee bit larger and about 3/4 inch less deep. So, that went back home with him for fine-tuning. When I post pictures, it will be more obvious what I'm talking about here; in the meantime, it's probably difficult to imagine - sorry.

The second project was to install track lighting above the sewing area. This was a two-person job with me standing on the desk and dad on a step-stool. There was much meticulous measuring, drilling, hammering, and screwdriver-ing and the toggle bolts were finally into the ceiling and the base for the track lighting was up and...installed upside down. Don't even ask how we managed it but we did. And, in order to take the track down, we had to take the toggle bolts completely out which means...yes...the toggles are now stranded up in the ceiling and we have to buy more to install it the correct way. The project will resume next week after Dad builds the desk insert and we run up to Lowe's for lots of hooks to use on my pegboard which he installed last week.

The nook is really going to be awesome when we finish. So many things will be handy - either hanging or in the desk drawers. And having the Bernina sit down into the cabinet will be much easier on my back. Oh, yeah, I forgot one thing that did turn out right today. Dad took the cord for my Singer Featherweight and was able to add about a foot onto it so there is more length from the machine to the foot pedal. Previously, the cord was just barely long enough to touch the floor and it was rather annoying. So this is a great improvement. See - we did accomplish something today!

Next post will have more pictures and I'll try to remember what in the heck I did for the past umpteen days.

Terminator Fun

Check this out!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Turkey Day, Everyone! (Part One of the Blog Catch-up)

I feel like "bad blogger, no cookie" - too many days have gone by without writing. I shall attempt to recap by moving backwards in time, beginning with last night...being Wednesday, 26 November, and Thanksgiving Eve. How about a couple of pictures from the family dinner at Olive Garden? I'll bet everyone will enjoy these.

The wise people at Olive Garden gave us a table that was set in an area that was sort of like a private room. Although it was open space, it still set us apart from the rest of the area (kind of like a little nook) and, well, that's probably the best for this crazy group. We had a great time, as always, with Steve's YouTube comments being the new inside joke.

Also, his new Iphone did its best to impress us by bringing along Raiders of the Lost Ark. We were distracted but not quite enough to watch the entire movie. The entertainment factor of our troupe can't be compared to even Indy on the Iphone.

Desserts are always a highlight (if we actually leave room for them) and last night was no exception. There was much sharing and eyes bigger than our stomachs, but who could resist such decadence?

Actually, sharing was optional and some of us (cough, cough, Steve) did not partake.
And then, there was Michael...

Friday, 21 November 2008

Ganked from a Tasmanian blog (among the many bazillion blogs I read)

From the blog, Loz and Dinny: Go to the closest book to you, not necessarily the book you have just read, or your favourite, but the closest. Turn to page 56 and copy out the 5th line, followed by the next 2 to 5 lines.

"At low volume, one can take enormous strides, a mile long and fifty feet high at the peak, or float gently through valleys and over the tops of trees without rush or noise. At high volume and dressed in a space suit, one can soar into outer space or travel easily at three hundred miles an hour at four thousand feet. Needless to say, every such outfit is equipped with a radar device that brings one to a hovering half the moment there is any danger of collision."

From the entry "The Future of Ecstasy" in Cloud-Hidden Whereabouts Unknown by Alan Watts. I just began reading it this afternoon and am about 1/3 of the way through. Amazingly, this book was assigned to us as sophomores in high school and I don't even think I made it past the introduction. I was so burned out on The Secular City by Harvey Cox that I think I just ran screaming into the night when the same teacher assigned another book for us to read for religion class. And, yes, dear reader, this is the only class I failed in high school. And, when one fails religion in a Catholic high school, one has to pay a visit to the principal. So I had to try to explain to Fr. Kelly why I had this big, fat "F" on my report card. I was honest - I told him I didn't have a clue what our teacher was talking about - he was talking to us as though we were college students and that was so far over my head that the air was probably thinner up there. So, a few (cough, cough) years later, and I can appreciate Watts and thank Ded for introducing me to him...even after my earlier traumatization. I would probably, however, run and hide in a dark closet if someone confronted me with a copy of The Secular City. (Note to kids - Don't even THINK about it)

Back to the passage from the book, though, it makes me wish I didn't have to get in the car to take Mary to Loganville this evening.

Currently reading: Alan Watts (noted above), Dante for Beginners, half-way finished with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Another finished hat - yea!

Well, I just finished the second of the slouch hats and am really loving the pattern but hating working on black yarn. My eyes are so tired and I think I need a miner's hat with the light in the front in order to see what I'm doing. I keep moving from one lamp in the house to another, looking for just the right amount of light. Suffice it to say, I begged Guili to choose a light colour for her hat and, bless her, she chose a mint green. :-)

Pictured above is Mary with the latest Gretel hat. I love the way the patterning decreases are just clicking in my brain now. I can anticipate what the pattern needs to do instead of just being a blind follower. Elizabeth Zimmermann would be proud of me.

Giuli started knitting something for the Squirrel the other day so I'm putting up pictures of her here, also. Today Mary was sewing, Giuli was picking out fabric for a stuffed animal she wants to make, I was! All that artistic talent in just one house. Can you tell we are very right-brained around here?

I'm Not Dead Yet

I promise to write a real post tomorrow but here's a quickie update.

Sleeping patterns have been miserable. Many days I can't get to sleep before about 5 (even after taking melatonin) and Wednesday morning I was still up around 5:30, finally fell asleep until 7-something, woke up with some weird sinus achiness, took some meds, still couldn't sleep, put the heating pad directly on my sinuses and sat up until after 9, went back to sleep (or so I thought) but tossed and turned instead because my RLS (restless leg syndrome) decided to kick in for about an hour, took yet another melatonin, finally got some sleep! and then got up around 1:30. And I was supposed to meet my dad and Squirrel at Kohls/Northlake to shop at 3. Not gonna happen. So I begged Squirrel to move it to 4pm and I was able to get there, after picking up Mary and Giuli. But...

Hadn't had any coffee yet, so by the time dad got to the mall, I was sorely in need of coffee. He and I went to the food court, I had just some regular coffee (but they only had French Vanilla cream and that's just not what I like for my first cup - I wanted the regular stuff, sigh), then we hiked all the way to the opposite end of the mall, hunting for the elusive cheese plane. Thank goodness I found a picture because I was beginning to think that there was some sort of epidemic and all cheese planes were wiped out. Anyway, no success there, I was yawning my head off again, got back to the girls and finally checked out at Kohls. Mary said she was starving, so dad gave us coupons and money and we went to Quizno's across the street. I got a Mountain Dew and finally woke up. Now this is roughly 7-ish and I had been semi-awake since 1-ish. So, it takes me like 6 hours to feel as though I'm not going to fall flat on my face asleep or walk into walls? Sheesh. The Mountain Dew rush lasted until about 8 o'clock when I got in bed with a good book (Midnight in the Garden) and promptly fell asleep after about 10 minutes. So, here it is, after midnight, and I'm awake again.

Squirrel likes her slouch hat (yea!) and has requested a kitty hat with ears next. She is going to be in Louisiana with the Lost Boys for the next 3 weekends for the Ren Faire there. And the Lost Boys' new cd should be out (please don't jinx this) for Christmas. Squee! Methinks all the kids are now taken care of in the Grampa/Christmas department. I scored a major coup while talking with Dad the other day and gleaned not one, but two, ideas for Christmas DVD's which I passed on to Heather last night.

Speaking of last night, what does it say about a couple who, when one of them is having a personal crisis, the partner decides to give said better half some space, partner number one drives to a bookstore at least 30 minutes away, then several hours later partner number two turns up at the very same bookstore whilst driving around aimlessly. Talk about two minds thinking as one! And yes, this shall remain vague except to the parties directly involved but just know that, once again, all is right with the world. But, talk about your Rod Serling moments! (cue Twilight Zone music)

OMG, speaking of Twilight, I just remembered that Mary was supposed to go to the midnight show, I was supposed to contact the mom of the girls she wanted to go with, and I hope it wasn't tonight because I totally slept through everything. Oops. Bad mommie, no cookie.

Okay, tomorrow I shall have knitting pictures and hopefully not such stream-of-consciousness-type content. And, note to Heather, I hope you enjoyed your leftover lunch today. Yummy. :-)

Monday, 17 November 2008

OMG Quantum of Solace was AWESOME!!

Okay, wow, we went to see the new James Bond movie tonight and it was fantastic. I am totally up for seeing it tomorrow, maybe. The chase scenes were incredible, Judi Dench got more screen time (and I think she's probably one of the classiest actresses alive) and Daniel Craig...well...yeah. He is now my favourite Bond. I have to say he just seems to BE James Bond. (And it doesn't hurt that he has a cute butt...I'm just sayin') I won't post any spoilers here so I'll just give it a thumbs-up and say that I was exhausted after a couple of those chase scenes. Damn. Stunt coordinators outdid themselves. If you liked the chase scene at the beginning of Casino Royale, you will love this movie.

Let's see, on the knitting front, I'm at least halfway finished with the second slouch hat. I had to take out one row last night because I was off by one stitch and the cabling didn't quite line up. That's one row of 192 stitches. Yep, that's the perfectionist in me. Even though the hat is black and it might not have showed that much, I would have known the booboo was there.

While I was knitting yesterday, I listened to about 8 or 9 podcasts: 4 were LimeNViolet, the others were Diva Knitting, Irie Knits , It's a Purl, Man , Knit Picks Podcast, and Sticks and Strings. I know there were a couple more but my brain is a little fuzzy on which ones. I'll post when I remember. I have to say, LimeNViolet is still my favourite. I have listened to their 2008 episodes from summer through the current one posted yesterday and I've gone back to the beginning (summer of 2006) and listened all the way through January of 2007. I think I like them so much because they are my kind of people - crazy. And I say that in the most sincere and flattering way possible.

Sticks and Strings I could listen to just for the fantastic Australian accent David has. It's a Purl Man (Guido) went to Rhode Island to interview some folks and that was cool just because nobody usually goes to RI for much of anything that I know of. (waves to my RI relatives) Kelly at KnitPicks had some great ideas for gathering your pre-designing info which I just loved. I think I probably gleaned some tidbits from each of these and I'll let y'all know if there are others you might want to check out.

I am starting to get orders for the fingerless gloves, which is cool. Speaking of cool, I wore one of the scarflettes and a pair of the gloves today to go out to eat and then to the movie. Always advertising... ;-) Actually, that's how I got one of my orders so I'm glad the weather has finally turned chilly. I'll have to start getting out of the house more often so I can wear the samples.

I have a few pictures to post but haven't uploaded them yet so I'll do that tomorrow. Giuli has some knitting that I can show off, particularly since I spotlighted Mary's crocheting the other day. Michael has his YouTube stuff - I guess I'll link to it. Okay, that's enough nepotism.

On the reading front, I finished several more of Truman Capote's short stories and now I'm reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I enjoyed his City of Falling Angels (which Heather read today and loved) and I really don't want to put this one down. Having been to Savannah many times, it's always enjoyable to be able to really picture where things are taking place. And leave it to John Berendt to find the quirkiest residents. He must put out some sort of pheremones that individuals.

Lastly for tonight (I mean this morning) I found Blade Runner The Final Cut at a good price at Target and decided I had waited long enough and need to own this. Running time is 117 minutes so perhaps I won't watch it right now (2am). And probably after watching it, I'll want to watch all the extras, and then read the book. Rather like "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk" etc. Definitely not a project to start in the wee hours of the morning.

Oh, speaking of DVD's, Hell Boy 2 has a lot of great special add-ons and behind the scenes footage. I haven't watched them yet but Ded has and says they are awesome.

So, we leave off where we began - awesome movies. Go watch!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

It's Not Really 5AM, Is It?

I thought I would start on my weekend wrap-up now (it's 5:18am on Saturday) even though I'm sort of feeling sick to my stomach but I surely don't want to get into bed). I've been reading lots of knitting and quilting blogs and I want to start off with one comment - please don't put music on your blogs. I know, I used to have music back when we had a website for our guinea pig rescue and I thought it was oh-so-cute but, here's the rub, if you're listening to anything else (i.e., a podcast, or perhaps your media player) it really can make one crazy. I love to look at the other people's blogs while I'm listening to podcasts but, if there is music, I totally skip it. Just sayin'.

Okie doke, let's see - this week. I will start with Friday and work my way back (if need be). Today, my dad came over and helped get the sewing nook in shape. I used to go to a friend's house to sew and quilt. She had a full basement and we had this awesome studio set up. Well, she called me this week and said that she needed to store some furniture for her mother-in-law in her basement and we were going to have to move some of my stuff out. Actually, we moved all of my stuff out. So, Dad and I are creating a nice little area in a corner of my kitchen for me to sew. (Of course, I just got "spare oom" fixed up just right to be a knitting studio, right? So, now, I have to regroup and figure out where I'm going to sew.)

So, for starters, I had already moved my sewing cabinet downstairs to the kitchen (thank you, son Michael, for help with that) but I really didn't have many of the sewing/quilting accoutrements nearby. Today, Dad installed my thread holder and we made plans for some awesome additions, including cool lighting, which I think we will do next week. He is going to put up a pegboard for my rulers and such and take the track lighting out of my mom's bedroom to reinstall here. (Thank you, Mom. I hope you're looking down on this and approving. Especially since I'm using mass quantities of your quilting fabric.)

I am really looking forward to having a cozy little sewing area. Granted, a lot of the fabric is going to be upstairs and the actual sewing center downstairs, but that's the way it goes. I shall cope. BTW, let me say right here and now that my Dad is totally awesome - I swear, he can make anything. He's 86 and looks like he's in his 60's and probably has more energy than I do. If you don't believe me, just ask the grandkids. The man is amazing.

Knitting is going along well. I started on Caitlin/Squirrel's slouch hat and am about halfway done. It started off much better than Mary's now that I know what I'm doing on the tubular cast-on. But, I'm at the point where there is a lot of cabling so it goes rather slowly. Why, oh why, do my daughters insist on hats in black, I ask you? I am knitting precariously perched under a light at my desk and really can't sit anywhere else because I just flat-out can't see the stitches. Hey, kids, if there are booboos in this, it's y'alls fault because I could totally see what I'm doing if you would just request a lighter colour. sigh.

I think I've got a couple of orders for the fingerless gloves - squee! I am having such fun designing them.

I finished reading Breakfast at Tiffany's in the wee hours of Friday morning. I am, of course, one of those people who is only familiar with the movie and was surprised to see how different the short story is. I was reading one of those Amazon reviews recently where somebody liked the character of Holly Golightly better in the movie. After reading the story, I have to say that, although the movie is different, I love the way Truman Capote fleshed out the character of Holly. He had a wonderful style and you just have to appreciate the way he wrote it on its own merits. I am enjoying his short stories very much - I never read anything of his before but his writing is really quite an art. Much as Flannery O'Connor's is. You can just see them working and reworking every single sentence to make sure it turned out perfectly. I have to wonder what he thought of the movie version - it is quite toned down from the original characters. It's unfortunate that we have taken for granted that the movie version is the "canon" version and that, when reading the author's version, we might say "ooh, I don't like the way he portrayed her as well." For pete's sake, he did it first, people! Remember that his story was adapted to something more suitable for the movie-going audience of that era. Holly was definitely more of a free spirit in the story. Check it out.

(As a silly digression here, I must admit that I started reading Capote for two reasons - first, I really do love Breakfast at Tiffany's and I wanted to see what the original story was like but second, I know that the character of Zero the Hutt (or however you spell it) was based on him and it was sort of kicking around in my brain. Actually, I have this urge to get a copy of Murder by Death and watch it again. Geez, I loved that movie.

So, I think that's enough for right now - still not feeling one hundred percent but really getting too tired to blog coherently. I shall return to finish at a later point this weekend when I can tell you about - Squee! I got my business cards!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Just to update you on my projects for the week, here are pictures - look, I'm actually finishing things these days. What a difference from years past.

First up, a slouch hat for Mary. As Mary is sick, it is being modeled by Giuli. This is the Gretel pattern by Ysolda Teague. I made it from a wool blend and absolutely love this pattern. I had issues with the cast-on because it was something new and different and, yes, I frogged it several times before it finally sank in. The cable pattern was actually not as hard as I thought it would be, but it does take concentration so this is not a mindless pattern by a long shot. I'm pleased with the result and will be casting on today for another one, this time for Caitlin. Although it is a Christmas present, I am going to give it to her next week so she can wear it when she and The Lost Boys go to Louisiana for the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in Hammond, LA.

Next on the FO list, more shorty fingerless gloves (also being modeled by the lovely Giuli). My own pattern, incorporating a Barbara Walker Shetland Eyelet stitch from my new set of BW Tresuries (cue angel choir here ) and made from a wool blend. And may I add how much fun I am having designing these? Whee! (Also, I was neglectful when first posting about this wonderful book collection, aka the Holy Grail of Knitting, as I should have given a much-deserved plug to Schoolhouse Press. I have bought several things from them over the past few years and they are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.)

Lest you think that all I do is knit, I finally finished reading Trojan Gold by Elizabeth Peters, started Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, and am reading aloud Inkheart by Cornelia Funke to Giuli. In the past two weeks, I think I have listened to about two dozen LimeNViolet podcasts, also. I live to multitask. :-)

Where did Giuli go? (And, yes, that is a Jayne hat that Mr. Teddy Bear is wearing in the background.)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day

My family has grown up listening to my dad's tales of navy life during WWII and, I'm sure, thinking that everyone must have had similar wild and wacky experiences. I absolutely love to listen to Dad relive the days when he was a baker on a mine sweeper but today I would like to just take a few minutes to reflect on the much more serious nature of why we owe such a debt of gratitude to those who fought in wars past.

Today was originally dedicated (1938) to the cause of world peace and known as Armistice Day in honour of the veterans of WWI and celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the war. However, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law a bill proclaiming a national holiday for Veteran's Day and now we pay tribute to all of our veterans.

In Canada, today is known as Remembrance Day -
Background info courtesy of Wikipedia)

Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the following on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, the day before. The poem was first published on December 8, that year in Punch magazine. The poppies referred to in the poem grew in profusion in Flanders where war casualties had been buried and thus became a symbol of Remembrance Day.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— Lt.-Col. John McCrae

Monday, 10 November 2008

Wombat Squeals of Glee!

Too bad we don't have audio or you could hear the estatic wombat squeals of glee due to the UPS guy delivering only the best set of knitting books known to man/wombat. Yes, indeed, it is the holy grail of knitting - every pattern in the known world (or close to it) right here in the four-volume Barbara Walker Treasury. This is designer nirvana...wombat paroxyms of bliss...I simply must swatch every one of these'll be in my bunk.

Almost forgot, yesterday I finally sauntered to the mail box after several days of avoidance and found a lovely, thick and squishy envelope that came from Australia! :-) Yarn samples...and in purple, no less, from Thicket. Of course, I want many skeins of each because they are just yummy!

Mmmm...imagine scrumptious purple yarn and new pattern books. Life doesn't get much better.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up Parte Due

And now for the scattered and smothered part of my blog. Things that happened this week that either made me crazy or gave me great delight. I trust you will be able to figure out which is which.

In the "where have all the proofreaders gone?" category:
Seen at Target on Thursday night - a beverage dispenser which I'm guessing was being marketed to redneck moonshiners because, right there on the box in front of the few literate people left in the world, a picture of said object with the word "lightening" emblazoned on it. Mary took a picture with her cell phone because we were in such "shock and awe"...hopefully, I can upload said photo here at a later date. People, people, people - you "lighten" your hair but when there's a storm you could get zapped by "lightning" whilst drinking "white lightning"...sigh.

Even worse, in the same category, I present for your consideration, this full-page ad (sorry it's not clearer) in a quilt magazine that I discovered at Borders later that same night. I guess "lightning" struck twice. This makes my head hurt...but let's just talk about it "tom-morrow", okay?

Switching gears, after I saw the "tom-morrow" atrocity, I needed something to make me smile. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a British magazine with French and Saunders on the cover. Oh glee! It was about 15 minutes until closing (I know this because Ded had just made the announcement) so I had to hurry through the article, shushing all who tried to talk to me at that inopportune moment. Okay, maybe I'm one of the last people to discover this but, much to my delight (and I'm sure hers, too) it turns out that Dawn French is married to Lenny Henry.

Lenny Henry is the comedian who played "Chef" in the Britcom of the same name. If you're never seen the series, run (don't walk) to your nearest DVD supplier and scarf up the boxed set. Picture Gordon Ramsay with a fairly inept kitchen staff and tone down the language a bit and you end up with Lenny Henry's role. The thought of him married to Dawn French makes me giggle.

Next...this week I disovered plurk. After listening to Miss Violet go on and on about it, I had to check out what in the world this plurk thing was. I guess it's sort of like having your facebook status meet instant messaging..but on steroids. It is seriously addicting so, if you don't want to be forever chained to your computer, don't (for the love of all things sacred), I repeat, don't go there. (Yes, dear reader, if you are observant, you will see that I have plurky-type-stuff in my right column. I have gone over to the plurk-side.)

Last, but not least, Mary has caught the Amigurumi bug. Although she was in bed (okay, sofabed) all day yesterday, alternating between severe pain and that feeling-no-pain light-headedness, she managed to crochet a carrot, hamburger with onion, and a mouse AND watch the entire first season of House.

I was not as productive but I did finish two bangle bracelets for Mary (see her mouse check them out here). And, for a final quickie, after much frustration, I discovered a handy way to keep my yarn in check whilst working on Mary's slouch hat. (note the many watchful eyes of the adipose...they let me know if I've dropped a stitch)

That's all for now. Wave goodbye to the cute little adipose.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Let's see - what's been going on this week?

In the knitting world, I've been in design mode for a few days with mixed results. One of the fingerless gloves turned out very pretty but the lacy patterning on the front made it a looser gauge and now it doesn't fit as snugly as I would like. I was taking a stitch design written for back-and-forth knitting and modifying it to circular, also. Trial and error, but I did get it to work after forgetting to reverse both the type of stitch and the positioning. One without the other just doesn't get it - close, but no cigar. So, back to the drawing board on that one. I also have a possibility of supplying a friend with some items for her online store so I'm working on prototypes on that front.

Last night, I began work on a slouch hat for Mary from a pattern I bought from Ysolda. It has a tubular cast-on, something I've never done before. So, thank godness, Ysolda also has a great instructional video right on her website with directions. Now, normally, that would be enough for me as I'm much better with visuals than trying to make heads or tails out of written directions. The problem, however, was the fact that I was learning something new whilst working with black yarn. Yes, let's make it difficult to see what's going on by choosing the darkest possible yarn and starting at about...oh...two or three in the morning. I think I ripped it out about three times before I finally got it right. Looks great now but geez. I'm just sayin'.

I bought four patterns from Ysolda this week and might actually end up with something for myself from that lot. She has gorgeous items - check them out. The ones I chose, in addition to the Gretel hat, were Leisl, Coraline, and Snow White. There are lots of pictures up on Ravelry for the Snow White and this sweater seems to look nice on every body style so I thought I should give it a try.

Also, I had a 40% off coupon at Borders so I got Custom Knits by Wendy Barnard because top-down sweaters are my favourites and there are lots of designing ideas that I know will come in handy. Another book that just jumped into my hands was Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant. Books like this are great "jumping-off points" for days when my design brain is in full gear.

I've been alternating my podcast-listening with episodes of Firefly this week as my "something to do while I'm knitting" activity. Because doing just one thing at a time is just not enough. Then there are the times that I am listening, reading knitting blogs, and knitting. Although I can do it all at the same time, it really does slow down my knitting a little bit. And definitely don't try that if you're also attempting a lace pattern. No way.

I'll be taking a knitting break here and return later for parte due.

What Does Your Taste in Art Say About You?

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

24 Renaissance, 13 Islamic, 18 Ukiyo-e, -35 Cubist, -44 Abstract and 22 Impressionist!

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.

People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Just a Quickie

I just got my word of the day email and this just made me LOL so I had to share it.

defenestrate \dee-FEN-uh-strayt\ (transitive verb) - To throw out of a window.

"'And if you can defenestrate you must be able to fenestrate, mustn't you?' she finally said.'Throw yourself back in through a window?'" -- Peter Guttridge, 'No Laughing Matter: A Nick Madrid Mystery'

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

So how did you spend your election day?

I thought I would go visit Captain Chiropractor today since it's the beginning of the month and I need a tune-up and realignment. After I called and left a message, I decided I would get a nice hot shower, go vote, and then stop to get my adjustment. Ah, how plans do go awry.

In said nice, hot shower where you think that your muscles are going to say "Aaahhh! Thank you" instead my muscles in my left shoulder said, "AHA! Gotcha!" and I yelled out in pain everytime I moved my left arm. This did not bode well for the rest of the day. After somehow managing to get myself dried, dressed, and caffeinated, Joanie called me from Capt. Chiro's office and said to come on in.

Blessed relief! First the ice treatment, then the fun rolling table, and some bone crunchy crackly goodness. My lower back feels better and the pain in my shoulder is gone with just some residual achiness. I got a stern look when I admitted I'm not drinking as much water as I should but I shall try to do better. I love that Capt. Chiro wants to be a superhero because every time that he is about to crunch down on me, he hums the Superman theme. I have the best doctors in the world. (My neurologist is a roller coaster addict. Does that tell you anything about the kind of specialists I have in my life? Funtime.)

So, then we tooled over to the park to vote. Now, this is the first time I've had to vote at this location and I was a little skeptical when I saw that I had to go to the park. we have voting booths spread out amongst the trees? Should be interesting. I originally had a book and my knitting with me but, after seeing the average-sized amount of cars there, I decided just to take my book with me. All the volunteers there were so nice. I can't believe they get there at 6am and were still happy (punchy?) when I got there after 4:30ish. I ended up having to wait in just one of the lines and I read all of one page in my book (and I read fast). We had touch screens which are pretty cool. I guess I was in there for maybe ten minutes.

Then we went to the other park (the nice park farther down the road a piece) and I knitted by the lake and enjoyed just hanging out with the ducks and geese. Ded walked around a bit since he likes to let the ideas for his writing come together whilst walking but I wanted to sit and knit so I worked on a washcloth that I started earlier at the chiro's office. It started getting cool and I didn't have a jacket on, so we headed out around 6ish.

So, now I'm back home and I plan to knit on the second fingerless glove, probably listen to a LimeNViolet podcast or two, drink water!, and put some pictures on the blog later this evening. That's about it for now.

On a somber note, I found out today that Everything is Not Just Smooty. My daughter posted that "the artistic director of the theatre I used to work at commited suicide yesterday?!?!" I just want to send my condolences to everyone who is affected by this. I don't think I met Robin when I was up there, but I know that this had to come as a shock to all those great folks who worked with him.


Fingerless gloves are finished and here are pictures. This style is my own design and made into a shorty glove for people with shorty hands. :-) The top of the glove uses a pattern from The Harmony Guides and the palm is in stockinette stitch. There is about a 3/4 inch ribbing at the top and bottom. I am really pleased with the way they turned out.

I will definitely be making some of these for my Etsy shop and there will be a longer version (aka the director's cut) which will probably come up about an inch further on the fingers and an inch or two up the arm.

Yes, I am available for hand modeling. :-)

One Finished Fingerless Glove!

Apparently, getting that bad chi out of here did finally make a difference...that and the fact that I changed yarn to something that was more suitable to the project. Duh. I also changed the pattern a bit and will post a picture sometime during the day since it's 3am and I think I'm ready to call it a long but productive day. But, suffice it to say that I am pleased with the result and should be able to make its mate tomorrow (if I just remember that I am now going to be making the right one and the thumb goes on the opposite side for the other one). Perhaps I should wear this one whilst knitting as a constant reminder.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Knitting Woes

On those days where nothing seems to turn out right with ye olde knitting, when every one row you knit causes you to rip out two in its place, when you see that the stitches you thought were just the right amount to allow for the thumb hole turn out to be too many and you're going to have to rip it again...

...thank goodness you can still find some solace in knowing that... are now a LEVEL 9 BARBARIAN!!!!

Yes, some of us are more easily amused than others.

And now, I shall listen to my Skynext podcast and cast on for some fingerless gloves out of a different weight yarn and try to clear the Studio of all the bad chi left over from the frogging.

BTW, for those Sarah Connor Chronicles fans out there...can you freakin' believe tonight's episode????

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Weekend Wrap-up: Parte Due

So, back again with ye olde weekend wrap-up, entitled "In which I expound on the Dr. Who Debacle" and other not-so-important stuff.

Yes, folks, after months of rumours, David Tennant finally made the dreaded announcement that he will be leaving Dr. Who (and there was much tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth throughout the Who-niverse).

Which brings me to the obvious question - who will be the next Doctor? That is the topic of many forum discussions and I would like to contribute to the debate right here with the obvious, hands-down choice for someone who could really take charge of all the chaos in the Who-niverse. Wait for it...drum roll...cue Terminator music...Gordon Ramsay!

(the rest of this scenario provided by Ded/Dilemma Productions)

Think about it, Dr. Ramsay's Time/Space Nightmares. Davros and the Daleks have soundly been defeated and sequestered somewhere on the spiral arm of galaxy M87 where they are now being rehabilitated in order to fit in with the general population. Of course, their task is to set up and run a successful restaurant that will pass muster when Dr. Ramsay comes to inspect.

Picture the TARDIS appearing in the parking lot which is, of course, nearly empty. Dr. Ramsay observes..."hmmm...good location with the space lanes nearby. Not sure about the name of the place, though. Gastronimate??? Might be sending the wrong f*cking message."

Dr. Ramsay enters the restaurant, daleks bustling around, running into each other, patrons cowering at their tables, wondering if each bite might be their last. The tension is high as Dr. R approaches the maitre d' and is greeted by a surly Davros.

"I am Davros! You will obey me!"

"F*ck me, I don't think so. I'm the Doctor and I'm here to take a look at your establishment. Since there are so few customers here now, I believe I'll seat myself and take a look at your menu."

The Doctor easily finds a vacant table and notices wide aisles, allowing easy access for the Imperial dalek waiters. Unfortunately, this limits the seating capacity drastically. One of the bulky mutants glides to Dr. Ramsay's table, a well-worn menu clutched in its claw. The formerly-white cloth draped over its mechanical arm looks none the worse for wear. The dalek turns quickly toward the Doctor, nearly taking off his head with the menu, and loudly (and electronically) yells, "You will tell me your order now!"

Perusing the menu, the Doctor wonders aloud, "What the f*ck is this shit they are serving? I think I'd better start with the Tarqeq salad and the asteroid-dried Bebhionn rangoon as an appetizer. At least I don't think anybody can f*ck that up."

The waiter glides away, nearly colliding with another dalek-server that is precariously balancing a tray at the end of its specially-modified-for-restaurant-work claw. Glancing around the room, the Doctor wonders just how many patrons actually come in of their free will.

Sounds erupt from the kitchen and Ramsay easily overhears Davros yelling, "You will be punished for this! I am your creator!" There is a crashing of plates, pots, pans, and whatnot and two of the more squeamish customers quickly sneak out the side door.

Time elapses, the Doctor barely makes it through his meal and the scene cuts to the kitchen where he is confronting head chef Davros, who is functioning as maitre d', chief cook, and bottle washer mainly due to the fact that he is the only employee with real arms.

A shouting match begins as the kitchen staff begin to try to escape the confrontation, knocking each other over in the mad dash to the back door and relative freedom.
"You, Davros. What the f*ck were you thinking, putting Akihikotago seeds in the South Synopian BonBon Cherry Chipes? No wonder the locals aren't eating here! And this shit - I wouldn't serve it to the Cult of Skaro!" Pointing to something obviously rotting, Ramsay explodes. "That is not going anywhere except in the f*cking rubbish bin! Are you f*cking blind? Are you trying to poison these patrons?"

Suddenly, it dawns on the Doctor - that is indeed what Davros was intending. He wasn't interested in rehabilitation. No wonder the name of the restaurant is...

"Gastronimate! Gastronimate!" Davros' voice rises above the Doctor's. "I will teach you the power of your words, Doctor. I will destroy you! This is not the end; it is only the beginning! This time we will triumph!"


I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see where this will go. The BBC is totally missing the boat on this one if they don't run with this idea.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Oh my holy freaking cow! (as I am wont to say on some truly momentous occasions) This blog post was so unbelievable that I had to put a link to it because describing it just will not in any way, shape, or form do justice to it. Please go to the Tacky Weddings site and pray that none of your daughters, sisters, cousins, whatevers will ever want a wedding like this. (bashes head on monitor repeatedly because I, of course, have four girls...all of whom would request that wedding dress just to get a reaction.)

Saturday Wrap-Up...parte una

I've decided to use this day to ponder what the week has produced. So, as I sit here with my first cup of coffee for the day and look around the room of many changes, aka "the girls' room" or "Spare Oom" or "the room formerly known as Squirrel's room", the first thing that comes to mind is the chameleon-like nature of this room. This week I've moved my knitting library in here along with various knitting accoutrements so I really am thinking of it more as the knitting room, or the craft room (due to copious amounts of quilting fabric and supplies) or, even better, The Studio. Yes, I like that.

So, The Studio has most of the necessities of life now:
1 - The mighty Wombat of DOOM Computer (in order to read blogs, listen to podcasts, or listen to music to knit by)
2- The TV with DVD player. Many, many thanks to my dad for these (which is a story in itself - more on this at a later date) so I can watch entire seasons of my favourite shows whilst knitting (Buffy marathon, anyone?)
3 - Fairly decent lighting plus two windows for natural light
4 - The knitting library
5 - The knitting stash is nearby (in the master bedroom across the hall) plus more stash in The Studio closet (currently sharing space with the out-of-season clothes but that is about to be rectified since I made an area in my bedroom closet for these non-knitting items when I moved the library in here)
6 - An adjoining bathroom (no explanation necessary if you remember I'm up here for hours on end, drinking coffee and knitting)
7 - The washer and dryer are right outside the door so I can do a modicum of housework while only taking 3 steps outside my studio.
8 - And there's still enough room for the girls to have school in here, with a bookcase for their educational stuff.

I sometimes wonder, should the management realize how cool this room really is, would they raise my rent? Inquiring minds...

The only thing lacking in The Studio is a good knitting chair with better back support. The one I have is comfy but too squooshy (I guess that's because it's the mamma bear's chair). Everybody loves to sit in it and immediately wants to take it home. But I can tell you that I know it's time for a friendly visit to Captain Chiro after a few days of mondo-knitting sessions.

I guess now I need to take some pictures to illustrate this post...but first I must finish this coffee while I write...parte due...What happens in the outside world while I'm too wrapped up in listening to multiple podcasts by Lime & Violet to know there really is a world outside The Studio...or...David Tennant's quitting Dr. Who?? How did that happen???