Monday, December 21, 2009

This, That, and the Other Thing

A couple of weeks ago, while I was driving around lost in a maze of condominiums, Len called me in a bit of a panic. Since I was already close to a meltdown, he decided whatever he had to tell me could wait. This sent me further over the edge because he had spent the day with his mother and ailing father, so I made my apologies to my family (or the part of my family I was meeting for dinner) and hightail it home. It turns out all of the drama was because Lizzy chewed up some knitting and a needle. This knitting, in fact. After some minutes of trying to decide if at least some of it could be saved, this is what it looks like now:

Starting Over

No dogs were harmed in the destruction of this knitting. Oh well, it could have been worse, I have a ton of this yarn, and while I had gotten pretty far on it, the hat wasn't deadline knitting or anything. So the dog got off with a {shrug}.

After 2 months of searching, Len finally found a truck (2006 Toyota Tacoma, 4x4, 6 speed manual, extended cab). It took a long time because he had some very specific criteria and we were beginning to despair of ever finding what he wanted. We had to go all the way to not-so sunny Akron, Ohio (it took us about 12 hours total), but he finally has a truck and a budding case of buyer's remorse (par for the course with him).

Then I was laid up all day Sunday with a nasty sinus headache. Are sinuses really necessary?

I finished Gilead a little while ago. When I first read reviews, it sounded good but very dry, demanding, but kind of dull. I knew I wanted to read it, but I was afraid it would be a chore. I was completely unprepared for what a deeply moving experience it would be. Demanding, yes. The book demands time, attention, and no small amount of devotion, but for this the reader is rewarded with a literary experience brimming with grace, love, and redemption. It is one of those books that makes you happy to be alive.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

For the past several years I've been going to an evening craft show in Saline and in the last couple of years my niece Lauren and nephew Isaac have come along. A particular feature of this show is the Gingerbread House competition/fundraiser.

Gingerbread Houses

Part of the competition is for professional bakers. The public votes for their favorite houses by dropping change in a little box by the displays, the display with the most money wins and all of the money is donated to a school charity.

Gingerbread House Decorated with Glee

I voted for this one. It was decorated by the children of the bakers and it is just so gleeful (more is more!)

Patriotic Gingerbread Houses

The area school kids get in on the action, too. Part of the school's cafeteria is taken up with their houses. I think the younger kids all do the same basic pattern and the older kids get more leeway.

Serious Decorator

There is a cookie decorating station. Lauren takes her decorating seriously.

Grumpy Cookie

Sort of.


Isaac is of the More is More school of cookie decorating.


He went out on a sugar high.


We came home to find my dad backing out of the attic crawl space with this little guy in tow. Lauren was smitten, much to my dad's horror. They took him a few miles out to a nature preserve and let him go.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Silence and Knitting

I can't guarantee my blog silence is over, but I will try. We are finally getting DSL at home, so that might help (although our computer is still ancient and sometimes it has trouble working things out).

One small piece of housekeeping: I moved my photo blog to WordPress. I was playing around with that platform for a work project and decided I liked the way it worked for the pictures better than anything I could come up with here at Blogger. Because I am a bit obsessive, I reloaded most pictures so they would be that nice big size.

Anyway. Despite feeling like I don't have much to say in the last few weeks, I have been knitting. A lot. My knitting mojo has raised its fuzzy head in such a way that I am having a hard time keeping myself from casting 5 or 6 new projects, despite actively knitting on five projects (not to mention the projects I want to be knitting but am not getting to). I have not been as successful at keeping myself from ordering yarn.

Austrian Socks

Austrian Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks (also a very old issue of IK). I didn't do the i-cord cuff because I am not bright enough to figure it out. My aunt convinced me I'd be happier with a ribbed cuff anyway. I don't think I'm happier with it, but it is fine. I am at the toe of this one, then I knit the second one then I can make knee socks (don't ask me why I want knee socks but I do). I have yarn to do the Treetop Socks from Knitty and ordered yarn to do these (yes, Koigu, I am a lame copy cat).

Barcelona Jacket Front

Sorry about that picture. This is the right front of the Barcelona Jacket from the Fall 2009 IK. I'm not planning on making the full collar. I would normally do both sides at the same time, but there is way too much shaping happening at both sides for me to able to make that work. After this, there is a whole bunch of Mission Falls burning a hole in my stash. And alpaca. And...oy.

Stocking Ornaments

Teeny, tiny stocking ornaments. I love these. These are Priscilla's Dream Socks (also from the aforementioned Favorite Socks), 32 stitches, size 2 needles, scrap yarn, a couple of hours and done. I don't have much more red, but I do have a ton of green in various shades, so I think the next 4 will be different textures (cables, lace, etc.).

Gray Cables

Hat for Len. I have quite a bit more than this done (6 cable crossing). I've been knitting this while riding in the vanpool (very productive), but it is getting so that it is too dark to see so progress may slow on this. He wants more socks and more hats, which is easy enough to accommodate.

I'm also making some progress on Frost Flowers and Leaves, which I don't seem to have posted about since April 2008 (scroll down). It looks like that, but bigger.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009


It seems I am taking a break from the blog. I don't really mean to, but there you are. Here is a pretty picture to distract you:


Um. Otherwise, the new car is fabulous. It seems one does not need to major muscles to shift. Who knew? The van pool is fine, there are two drivers who switch back and forth. They both listen to really bad country music, but neither has tried to kill the passengers or anyone else, so that's good.

And I'm reading a really good book: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Such a lovely meditation on faith, love, family and loneliness, the writing is so beautiful it is almost painful to read.

Grass and Moon

Len is going to Florida for week, he is leaving tomorrow night. I'm using that as an excuse to take next week off. He told his sister he thought I was excited to have the house to myself, but I am actually kind of weirded out by it. I haven't been alone in our house for that long. I have the first season of Mad Men coming, all those pretty clothes should sustain me.

Strawberry Leaves

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do you want to hear something funny?

I'm buying this car:

New car

And starting in a vanpool on Monday. Yep. I am very bright.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Knitting! And Sewing!

Good gracious! And the worst pictures ever!*

Purple Blob

The Purple Blob. I finished this just after last year's retreat and promptly decided it was too short and too boxy, so I ripped it back to the armholes, figured out a better rate of decrease (which is to say, I thought about it before I reknitted, unlike last time when I got to somewhere around my waist and totally faked it, which didn't work at all. I know. I'm surprised, too) and re-knitted. I finished it again at this year's retreat. And then bought new buttons because I totally winged the buttonholes and ended up with more holes than buttons. It's still a little short and boxy but I'm much happier with it. It is a basic top down cardigan following Barbara Walker's instructions in Knitting From the Top Down.

Tulip Skirt

Tulip Skirt from the winter 2008 issue of Stitch (will they make this available for subscription?). I made one last year from a black rayon-linen blend (no picture, apparently), which I do not recommend as it feels nasty and pills. This is something called "weaver's cloth", I have no idea what that is (100% cotton from JoAnn's). I don't know. I want to like this skirt, but it may be too short and too poufy for me and I end up feeling like my rear end goes on forever. Maybe if the fabric has better drape and is a little longer? How many times will I sew this skirt before I admit that I am not 25 and thin as a rail? The color for the sweater in this picture is just right, though.


This is also from that issue of Stitch, but I don't remember what it is called. I have also made this one before, but I only took my waist measurement into account, forgetting completely about my hips. Hahaha! Let's pretend that one never existed. This is supposed to have horizontal pin tucks as well, but at some point early on I realized that was going to take 2 inches I didn't think I had to spare. I was right. This fits perfectly in the hips, the waist is a little big, but that is manageable.

*I've been playing with Blogger and headers and layouts for most of the afternoon (for work, not for me) and I'm a little loopy. Here is a sunflower, just because:


Monday, October 19, 2009

This and That

I want to get back to posting more than once a week, but I seem to be at a loss for words these days. It will get better, it has to.

I saw Where the Wild Things Are on Saturday with my mom, my sister Krista and her two kids (plus a friend of Mani's).

It was as beautiful as I had hoped it would be. One objection I've heard is that this isn't a movie for children, I find it hard to be objective, though, since it didn't seem that far off from my own childhood which was lonely, scary, occasionally dangerous, and often very fun.

We went shopping earlier in the day. Along with two blouses and a bunch of t-shirts, I found a great deal on this:

New Toy

I've wanted a Professional 600 for a long time and now I have one! I want to go home and pet it right now!

On Sunday I dragged myself off the couch (quite difficult, I must say) and pulled out the rest of the garden: four stalks of Brussels Sprouts and a basketful of potatoes.

End of Summer

I didn't have Brussels Sprouts until I was an adult, since my dad hates them and he did the cooking. I love them, as does Len. There are four stalks in that picture. This was the first year we did potatoes, they worked out well, despite my having put them in late.

I'm not looking at you!

Completely gratuitous picture of Lizzy. It might have been my picture of the day, but she wouldn't look at me and then she ran over to bark at the neighbor's horses.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Health Care Costs

I don't know if you are following the health care debate, or if you even care (there are certainly plenty of things to get worked up about, I would think one could be forgiven for not getting worked up about this issue). I myself am alternately fascinated, appalled, confused and depressed by the whole mess. My opinion is as simple as this: I have really good health insurance, Len has no health insurance and I am at a loss to explain why I deserve to have health care and he does not (of course if a catastrophic event happened, he would have care, but it would bankrupt him).

However, no matter where you sit in the spectrum of opinion on this one, I highly recommend listening to this week's This American Life which explains the rising costs of health care. It is fascinating, appalling and depressing. But not confusing. More Is Less.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Also Ran

Unfortunately, I'm still feeling crummy, which has apparently dried up my usual witty drivel. Mostly I just want to complain. No, that isn't even true. I just want to take a nap. I did finally see the endocrinologist and there are a couple of solutions. Maybe, someday, I'll feel better. In the meantime, I am taking pictures and posting them at the other place. Here are some that I haven't posted there:


I love these fuchsia, they look so fake, like plastic flowers.

Fall Leaf

These colors shouldn't go together.


I really like grass seed heads.


Volunteer lettuce. This started growing out of our porch a couple of months ago, I haven't had the heart to take it out. It's so random, I have no idea how a seed could have gotten there.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

365 Days of...


I've been seriously remiss at taking pictures this summer. I don't really know why besides an overwhelming lack of motivation. I'd been needing something to kick start me, and a few weeks ago I got one. My brother sent a link to a very large 365 Project (80 women post one picture a day). We talked briefly about taking on the project, but didn't really make a decision either way.

Today, I made a decision. I'm doing it. What do I have to lose, besides a little self respect? And he has decided to do it too. I finally made the decision when I found a blog called 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs. That is clearly more insane than one little picture a day.

I will be egging on my brother and posting pictures here.
He will be egging me on and posting pictures here.

Of course, I don't actually have my camera with me right now, and I am taking tomorrow off, so the fun (for me) starts Monday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


25 half-pint jars of pickled jalapenos;
25 pints of smushed tomatoes*;
6 quarts smushed tomatoes;
21 half-pints of tomato sauce (to be doctored later);
28 pints of salsa;
4 pints of ketchup;
7 pints of Zydeco beans;
1 gallon + 1 cup pesto (frozen without the $20 per pound cheese);
A lot of ground up basil and oil;
A lot of dried tomatoes;
A lot of roasted tomatoes;
2 ice cube tray-fuls of tomato paste

I need a nap.

*Smushed tomatoes: peel them, quarter them, drop them in a jar and press down. Wide mouth jars work best, unless you have tiny hands.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm Here, I'm Here

Don't panic! However, I'm fairly certain my brain has drowned in a vat of tomato sauce. Ugh. I know I'll be very happy about all the work, but right now I am so sick of tomatoes I could cry (which I figure I'll be doing around 9:00 tonight).

The knitting retreat was fabulous, I had such a good time. It is so inspiring to hang out with 60 other women who are just as delighted by the craft of knitting and I feel totally recharged. I took well over 100 photos, but only about a quarter of them turned out.

Red Line

I stayed with my friend Cindy and her lovely family on Thursday night (and didn't managed to take any pictures of them, how lame is that?) Portland has an amazing light rail system, which I took from the airport to Beaverton, where Cindy et al. live.

Blueberry Lodge

Each lodge at Silver Falls State Park has six rooms, three on each side and a common area in between.

Knitting on the Porch

Plus a porch. Friday and Saturday were very warm and sunny. Sunday was cooler and overcast.


One side of the dining hall. Even though there wasn't ever a fire in the fireplace, it is still a natural place to gather.


A few of us went for a walk on Sunday. Everything seems to be covered in moss.


Most of the pictures I took on the walk didn't turn out because it was just dark enough in the woods that focusing was difficult. I took this one with the flash, which I don't use much because it can be very harsh. The effect is very eerie and looks like it is much darker than it really was (it was around 5:00 P.M.)

Very Big Clover

Hand sized clover.

You'd think as much knitting as was going on, I'd have taken more pictures of that, but no. I was, you know, too busy knitting.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Len dragged me up to Manistee, Michigan to spend the night in a camper. Which is to say, he asked nicely, and I, because I am really not very bright, agreed. Let me give you a piece of advice from my own hard won experience: if you have spent the last month dealing single-handedly with the garden, house and dog because your beloved has been working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, do not, under any circumstances, go to Manistee to spend the night in a camper, with the dog, so your beloved can go fishing. Especially if you hate camping. It is a very bad idea. And you will cry. I did, anyway.

For what it's worth, here are some pictures (many more in Fickr):

Connor and Lizzy

We borrowed Len's nephew, Connor, who was delightful. He and Lizzy bonded.

A Fish!

He caught a salmon.

Cuttting Fish

And cleaned it.





Anyway. Once I got over the melt down, it was fine. And pretty. I am leaving tomorrow for the knitting retreat and that really will be relaxing. See you next week!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I've Been Known to Knit a Stitch or Two

I know, that surprises me, too. But here is proof:


Soleil from Do you like how it blocking on Mabel? I haven't unpinned it and tried it on yet to see how that worked, but I'm betting it is fine.

But wait! There's more!

Featherweight Cardigan

The Featherweight Cardigan from Hannah Fettig. I love this cardigan. The yarn is a lace weight from Blackberry Ridge which I dyed with grape and black cherry Kool Aid.

Featherweight Cardigan

The dye behaved oddly when I washed the finished item: it continued to bleed (which isn't so surprising), but the backs of the sleeves are much darker than the fronts. Very weird.

I would like to note that at the moment it is 66.6 degrees. I find that hilarious. And kind of cold.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Miscellaneous Whining and some Road Trip Music

Normally I would be off this week scrubbing toilets for Len. However, he has plenty of other helpers this week, so I am off the hook. Cleaning apartments isn't the most fun in the world, but it is nice to have the extra cash. It's a draw.

I read something today that Blew. My. Mind. Apparently it is no longer acceptable to put 2 spaces after a period. Not only that, it hasn't been acceptable for a very long time and is very annoying to people in the know (which seems to everyone who learned to type on a computer rather than a typewriter). I will try to get used to this new fangled word processing thing, but I cannot guarantee it. My head hurts. (via Amy a la Mode, a sewing blog for cripes sake!)

After a few weeks of iron, I continue to be very tired and cranky. It seems I am a bit hyperthyroid. I have only one symptom: "nervous, moody, weak, or tired." I am, indeed, nervous, moody and tired. The iron took care of the "weak". Whatever. The doctor told me I need to see an Endocrinologist. After much back and forth and someone making an appointment for me without ever speaking with me, I have an appointment in October. Can I sleep until then? As irritating as it all was, at least I have health insurance and I don't have to worry about any of this being covered. Many other, including Len, are not so lucky.

Pajiba had a Roadtrip Playlist Comment Diversion last night. This is my list, which was culled from a much longer iPod playlist. I think it shows my '80s cultural roots:

"American Girl" -- Tom Petty
"Any Way You Want It" -- Journey (I can't believe I just typed that)
"Blitzkrieg Bop" -- The Ramones
"Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" -- Neil Diamond
"Corona" -- The Minutemen
"Drive South" -- John Hiatt
"Give it Away" -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Higher Ground" -- Stevie or the Red Hots or both
"Look at the Rain" -- Meat Puppets
"Love Train" -- O'Jays
"Memphis in the Meantime" -- John Hiatt
"No Fun" -- The Stooges
"Running on Empty" -- Jackson Browne (too obvious?)
"Sabatoge" -- Beastie Boys
"Someday, Someway" -- Marshall Crenshaw
"Teenage Riot" -- Sonic Youth
"These Boots are Made for Walkin'" -- Nancy Sinatra
"Third Uncle" -- Brian Eno
"4th of July" -- X

I really can't get used to that whole Single-Space-After-a-Period thing. Not at all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's a Dress!

Vogue 2902

A crummy picture of a dress, but a dress nonetheless. This is Vogue 2902, it started out as view A, but ended up view B (with the contrasting hem band) because I, um, yeah. I cut it too short. The dress would have been knee length, which might have been ok but the proportion just seemed out of whack. Since the dress is completely lined (which is good since the fabric is cotton lawn), adding the contrast band was a simple matter of trimming the lining piece I had cut off and sewing it onto the outside skirt. As if cutting the skirt wasn't enough of a screw up, I also managed to put the zipper in the wrong side. Oh well.


I was supposed to hand stitch that band to the dress. I am much too lazy for that! Besides, I kind of like the look of the topstitching. I also had to shorten the straps by about an inch and a half. I think this will be fine, but had I made a muslin first I would have avoided cutting the skirt too short (though I do like the contrast hem), I could have fixed the straps more elegantly, and I probably would have managed to get the zipper on the correct side.

Stacking Up

I've started cutting for a new quilt. That is all for now.