Friday, December 14, 2007
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I'm using a combination of both this year (see photos in previous post). Every year my mother makes a few cloth gift bags out of christmassy fabric. These get reused and passed around every year.
2. Real or artificial tree? Little skinny artificial one. I'd love a real one, but I'm away a lot during the holidays and I can't deal with the mess a real one would make.
3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take it down? That night after the cats have knocked it over and stripped the ornaments off, broken half of them and hid the rest.... (but really the first time I have a few spare hours after new years...)
5. Do you like eggnog? No, but I heard a rumor that my next door neighbor makes his from scratch and it will change my life. I'm waiting for my invitation...
6. Favorite gift received as a child? None, because I never got the Easy Bake Oven I asked for every year up until I was 18.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? No.
8. Hardest person to buy for? Brother. He doesn't like stuff.
9. Easiest person to buy for? tie between mom and sis.
10. Worst Christmas present you ever got? When I was a kid Gramma W would give us mittens every year. We were always bummed - we wanted toys. What I wouldn't give now to have someone making me custom sized, fair isle mittens to match my new coat every year... Kids are dumb.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I try to mail them...but usually don't get to it.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Love Actually
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I usually pick up one or two things in late summer or fall, but the real shopping (and knitting) starts in November.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but once my brother gave me something he found in a dumpster. Does that count?
15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Christmas Eve we always have fondue and champagne. It makes me happy.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear
17. Favorite Christmas song? This year's favorite is Wizard Chess by Harry and the Potters.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home to mom and dad's in Vermont
19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer? maybe. I can't be bothered to try though....
20. Angel or star on top of tree? Star (mine is rusty metal)
21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. In PJs, with good coffee and mom's coffee cake.
22. Most annoying thing this time of year? There's no time....
23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? no
24. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies. And this year he's getting a bottle of Sam Adams Winter Lager with them. 'Cause man that beer goes good with cookies - seriously!
In the meantime, I wanted to share these easy gift tags I made using symbol, dingbat, wingding and ornament fonts. I collect these sort of fonts and never have a use for them.
These were done using the Apple Symbols font that came installed on my Mac.
These are mostly from Zapf Dingbats, Bodoni Ornaments, Adobe Woodtype Ornaments and a font called Type Embellishments One.
I used Adobe InDesign to make these. There is a Glyphs pallet in the Type menu that lets you look at a whole font at once and easily paste the characters you want into your document. I resized the characters and changed the colors. I drew circles and squares around them with a very light dotted frame so they were easier to cut out. Laser printed on free cardstock samples from a paper company that I had lying around the office.
They look pretty good combined with the bags I bought at Ikea and the paper from the bargain bins at Target!
If anyone wants these, leave me a comment with your email and I'll send them to you as a PDF.
Melissa's BOOK is out. The launch party is tomorrow (12/15/07) 1pm-3pm at Webs (changed from Sunday due to the impending Nor'easter...). I'm not a sock knitter, but somehow I 'volunteered' to demonstrate the technique during the launch, so if you're going to be there I'd recommend watching one of the other Two-at-a-Time models instead...
Friday, October 19, 2007
In other news, I finished the surprise project - a Tomten for the ragamuffin next door. She turns 3 on Sunday, but I couldn't wait that long. I ran over there as soon as I got home and her folks got her out of bed to try it on. I love this little coat!
It's done in Valley Yarns' Northampton - two strands held together on US 8s. It's a little big, but that means she can wear it for a long time.
Speaking of Valley Yarns I found this on the Webs website today. I know the holiday catalog is due out soon, but I hadn't seen the photos yet. This is the 'Hers' of the Housatonic His and Hers Reversible Cable Scarves I designed. These are done in Valley Yarns' Lenox (the poor man's cashmere).
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I wonder if all fire hydrants in France wear berets?
Here's a few samples of recent stuff:
I made two of Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweaters. The green one is on it's way to Nora Frances (poor Amy will have to accept that she's getting a baby sweater for her 35th birthday....).
The blue one was a gift for Haley Sienna's baptism. Haley is doing well. She recently had another MRI that showed the tumor has not grown since her surgery in August. At the luncheon after the baptism (where this photo was taken) she seemed happy and alert.
I also recently finished this shrug from the book Lace Style. It's a simple almost mindless project:
I'm working on the "Back to School Vest" from Fitted Knits. This is yarn I bought at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in 2006 from the Decadent Fibers people. It's been burning a hole in my stash waiting for the perfect project. The Fitted Knits book is fabulous - Glampyre is a genius - and I plan to make several other things from the book (when I can find some free time when I am not working on stuff for a class or the store or Christmas....).
Speaking of class things, I'm teaching Lace for All Levels in November and using Victorian Lace Today as a textbook. I had hoped to get a few samples from the book done before the class, but I kept putting it off. I'm working on one now that is flying along, so there's a chance I might have a couple of things done (assuming the knit on lace boarder on this one doesn't kill me). This is the Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern. I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk. The photo does not do justice to the color.
I also made these His and Hers scarves for the Webs Holiday Catalog. The pattern will be available from them soon. I believe they are calling them the Housatonic Reversible Cable Scarves. They are done in Valley Yarn's Lenox - a merino/baby alpaca blend that I've been known to call 'the poor man's cashmere'.
There is also a secret project going on that I cannot discuss yet. It involves these colors:
And, finally, in non-knitting news, it's a Steven Colberty kind of week. I bought his new book on Wednesday when it came out (I am a dork) and have been listening to the Audio book at the same time. He was on Fresh Air on Tuesday night and it was strange to hear him out of character. You kind of forget that he's not that guy all the time. At BookExpo back in June he was signing copies of the first 5 chapters. Here's a bad camera phone photo of him with my copy (gotta love the scruff....).
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I finally typed up the instructions for this toddler hat and posted them on Ravelry. Thought I'd put them here too. The Stockbridge is on sale this month at Webs for $2.99 a skein and the hat (in toddler size) only takes one skein...
1 skein Valley Yarns Stockbridge (50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, 109 yds)
or, any worsted weight yarn will do
US 7 16” circular needles
CO 90 sts Join for working in the round and place marker to mark start of round.
knit 6 rows
Row 1: Purl Row 2: [K1, YO] 6 times, K2Tog 6 times repeat to end
Row 3 & 4: Knit
Repeat rows 1-4 a total of 7 times. Knit one row even.
Crown: Row 1: K8, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 2 and all even rows: Knit
Row 3: K7, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 5: K5, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 7: K4, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 9: K3, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 11: K2, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 13: K1, K2Tog repeat to end
Row 15: K2Tog repeat to end
Break yarn (leaving long tail) and use darning needle to run tail through remaining 9 stitches. Pull tight and leave tail on outside.
Add ‘sprigs’: With Crochet hook, tightly chain stitch tail starting at the crown of the hat. Attach 5-6 more long pieces of yarn at center crown and chain stitch those.
For infant size, use DK or sport weight yarn. For larger sizes add stitches to the cast on in multiples of 18.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Last night I went to the hairdressers where they have new sinks with MASSAGING recliners. Absolute heaven. My favorite shampoo girl (you know you pay too much for your hairdresser when you have a favorite shampoo girl...) massaged conditioning treatment in my head while the chair back rolled around under me. I could have stayed there forever. Tiffany, my hairdresser, looks different every time I see her. Her hair yesterday was cut in a cool, longer in the front, stringy rocker chick style with fuchsia chunks through it. It looked amazing on her. I was jealous and inspired. I want the guts to have pink rock star hair. But pink would clash with my wardrobe... Tiffany is good though. She knew I was inspired and suggested we 'mix things up for fall'. She knows pink isn't for me so I acquiesced.
While I was waiting for my new bright copper streaks to set, I flipped through the biggest issue of Vogue ever (seriously it's over 800 pages). I stumbled across this picture which was LOLed so well by Grrleigh knits last month. I swear every time I look at that LOL I start snorting. So there I was in the hairdressers, under the heat lamps, with crazy alien satellite head trying not to snort. Tears were forming. There may have been snot. (Who's the crazy girl over there having a conniption over last month's Vogue?) There was also a crazy giant knit coat (styled as a dress in the photo) by the same designer, but I cannot find a photo of it. I went to the website listed in Vogue, but no luck. I did find some lovely inspiring designer knits though...
I love this coat:
And this sweater:The construction on this one is very cool (though the cable looks a little funky on the inside where it flips open a the top. I would have to make it more 'reversible'):Love this little $1650 number:
But seriously, Burburry, I think you can do better than this. It's called the Waffle knit cardigan, but anyone can see that it's not a waffle stitch. It's garter stitch. Should I choose to, I could crank this thing out so fast for a tiny fraction of the $650.
Friday, September 28, 2007
This summer he was asked to help out on a documentary film some friends of his are working on. Hydro Quebec is in the process of damming the Rupert River in Northern Quebec. There will be over 70 dams total which will flood most of the native Cree hunting ground. Michael and 5 other guys went up to Northern Quebec for a month this summer to document the river (and its crazy whitewater) and the impact the damming will have on the Cree people.
A trailer is up on youtube now.
I'm pretty sure the first kayaker you see in the video is my brother (if it's not him I'm sure some of the other boat footage is). He's the one with the red beard talking crap later.
He's a big dork, but he makes his big sis proud.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
- You are #14523 on the list.
- 3879 people are ahead of you in line.
- 15003 people are behind you in line.
- 35% of the list has been invited so far
Anyway, I'm a bit worried about this whole Ravelry thing. Everyone who's anyone in the knitting world is talking about it. Those who are already in are acting like they're part of some secret exclusive knitting clique. I hate them. I want to be them. My biggest concern however lies with the day I actually get the invite. This Utopian knitting community is going to be the biggest time suck I have ever encountered. What should I do on that day? Call in sick to work and camp out with a pot of coffee in my PJs in front of the computer? Act cool and pretend I don't really care and put it off until I have free time then sneak looks all day when I should be doing other things? How will I keep it from being a distraction day in and day out? It's a serious quandary. There's a little part of me that doesn't want to get the invite any time soon because I'm afraid of what will happen to me.
But I wish it would happen soon.
I've been a big slacker about posting the last couple of weeks. But, coming soon... photos of my Super Awesome 80s Birthday Party and some knitting (though I'm not as prolific as normal in the late summer heat) and maybe even some home cooking.
Friday, August 17, 2007
This week she reviewed the new issue of KnitScene. I'll pretty much buy any magazine with handmade yarn stuffs in it (or hand made anything really). But I've been a bit of a tightwad about this one. I think I have an issue or two stashed away here somewhere, but I can't buy it on a regular basis. It's just to 'sceney' for me. GrrLeigh starts her review with a great definition of 'Scene' from Urbandictionary. It's a pretty apt definition. She seems to be a hesitant fan of the magazine and I agree with most everything she says.
I love Glampyre's bright blue vest (obviously in something non-fuzzy) and the Firefly Mobius (but I wonder what it would look like on someone with breasts?). The Road to Golden might convince me to try fair isle again. Traci - show Pete the Hero Pullover. It could be the one.
Whenever I get in that mindset where I think everything cool has already been done, I have to remember that I'm grateful to the cool people out there who do these things to save the rest of us having to....
Thursday, August 16, 2007
• The new log cabin blanket - Buncha Squares - from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I must do this immediately. I'm going to start plotting out the yarn tonight during drop-in at Webs. I really shouldn't start it with all the other projects I have in the works, but maybe if I only do one square a week?
• Tricks for making the perfect popcorn.
• Tom Robbins. I'm thinking of rereading Still Life With Woodpecker (and maybe all the others). I recently read a quote taken from the book that got me thinking about it again. His writing runs the gamut from hysterical quips, to lovable nonsense, to philosophical uber-wisdom. He's basically brilliant and, if you haven't read him, you must. Here are a few choice quotes from Still Life:
"She lunched on papaya poo poo or mango mu mu or some other fruity foo foo bursting with overripe tropican vowels."
"He looked at her with that kind of painted-on seriousness that comedians shift into when they get their chance to play Hamlet."
"I'll follow him to the ends of the earth," she sobbed. Yes, darling. But the earth doesn't have any ends. Columbus fixed that."
"Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense."
"'It's only a paper moon/Sailing over a cardboard sea.' The moon can't help it if the best toys are made of paper. And the best metaphors made of chesse."
"There are only two mantras... yum and yuk. Mine is yum."
"Who knows how to make love stay? Tell love you are going to the Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay. Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning."
See? (thanks Wikiquote)
• Melissa doing canning on her grill. Cool.
• And this? This is the coolest thing. Ever.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I love LOL Cats. They make me laugh. I'm a simple girl - it doesn't take much. I know they're tacky and a bit passé already, but I had these pictures and I had to do it.
Also? I am big Harry Potter geek.
Just found this. Funny fake sign making fun of the LOL cats...
Knitting content to come soon. I promise. Haven't done much lately because it's been hot and I've been busy. But there are a few things - a FO from vacation last month and a store project and a redo that needs to be done on my Sahara sleeves.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
When I get in this sort of a mood, nothing is right. Today I was thinking about how I have no time to do all the crafty things I have ideas for. I’m wondering how it was in my 20s I had plenty of money to go out every night and plenty of time to do all sorts of crafty things. Now, in my 30s, I make more money and have no social life, but I never have any money or free time. How did that happen? Is there some strange age vortex that sucks away your money and your free minutes? Did I not eat or buy clothes in my 20s (I know I paid bills and drank a lot of wine….)? Did I require less sleep so there were more hours in the day (I know I worked all the time and kept my house relatively clean. Maybe cleaner than it is now even.)? I read just as many books and watched just as much TV. It’s a mystery.
Because I think a funk is only ok if you can find one thing to focus all that negativity on (It’s not good to go around feeling miserable about EVERYTHING at once), I’ve focused on this issue of free time. I’m not really sure what I do with myself, but there is never time for all the projects I want to do. There are materials and even partially finished crafty things stuffed away all over my house. It’s embarrassing really. If a stranger were to come in and go through my things I wonder what they would think about the giant bag of salvation army sweaters (some felted already) in the basement. Or the large stash of plastic bags – organized by color. I have big plans for those bags. Someday. They came with me last time I moved. I moved bags of plastic bags. There is a large closet (and much of the adjoining spare room) full of yarn. Much of it is partially knit or set aside for certain things that I will probably never get to. I go in the ‘yarn room’ looking for just the right yarn and sometimes I find it, but I can’t use it because it is slated for some project I will never get to or there is too much of it to use on the small thing I want to make now. If I use a small amount there might not be enough later when the right project comes along. And the beads. There are large quantities of beads and wire and stuff tucked away around here somewhere. I’ll probably never use them again. I should ebay all this stuff, but I think – maybe? – I’m a pack rat. I think I can’t get rid of it. I might need it someday. Someday when I have more free time.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I cant remember the last time I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated. I finished the Harry Potter book on Sunday night. (I was satisfied but did not love the ending.) I was coerced into reading another good book on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for a day-long Maine-backwoods adventure that took place on Wednesday (much more on that to follow once I’ve weeded through all the photos….). The rest of the week I spent more time playing and conversing, but nearly finished a strange off-kilter Western Mass mystery I picked up at BookExpo (again, more on that one later).
I had planned to drive home early on Sunday. I hoped to get home and unpack and relax a bit before the workweek started. And it was supposed to rain on Sunday. It did not rain. It was gorgeous. There was a sailboat race on the lake and there was the crazy rope swing my young cousin Will built (that’s my dad on it in the photo) and there was log rolling (This is Maine. There is a professional logger in the family.). So I stayed and played in the water all afternoon.
Someday (soon I hope) I need to live by water. Nothing relaxes me more than just sitting and looking at it. I’ve found this is true whether it’s the ocean, a lake or a river. Amsterdam may be my favorite city on earth because most of the streets have canals running down the middle (but I haven’t been to Venice yet….). If I cannot live by a body of water, I need to find every chance possible to get near it. I need to make a point of planning trips (for a day, a weekend or longer) places where I can find it.
It was a sad drive home, but I arrived home to a driveway and sidewalk covered with fabulous chalk art. There is nothing like seeing your driveway proclaiming your awesomeness when you arrive. I love my neighbors.
And? There was a mysterious package on my step. From Lexie Barnes. I was confused. Had someone made a mistake and thought my birthday was a month earlier than it is? I forgot about that day in Stop and Shop a few weeks ago when I saw the table with the fishbowl and the sign that said ‘Enter to win a Lexie Barnes beach tote’. And I did. Enter and win that is.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It is one of my most favorite places on earth.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The thing I missed the most though - that I was looking forward to - was the knitting. In the book Hermione seems to be knitting in almost every scene. She's constantly making hats and socks for the House Elves in an effort to free them from their servitude. I expected some hardcore magic knitting. There was none. There was nothing about Hermione's crusade to free the elves at all.
There were, however, some fabulous knitted items...
Mrs. Weasley gives all the kids knitted stuff for Christmas. The twins get crazy striped scarves and Harry gets what looks like a very colorful hat and mittens set. This was good because Harry always seems like he dosn't have the proper clothes for the weather. All the rest of his friends are all bundled up in snow gear when they go into Hogsmeade with nice scarves and hats (some look machine made, but there's quite a few handknits in the crowd) and Harry is basically in a hoodie. Is this supposed to hint to us again that he doesn't have a mother to look out for him? Luna Lovegood wears some cute crocheted things throughout and in one scene has on what looks like a handknit blue jacket. Ginny Weasley is wearing a fabulous cabled vest in the very last scene that you only see for a few seconds (but it's long enough to covet it...).
All in all though it was well done. The effects - especially in the climactic fight scene - were awesome. Emma Roberts (aka. Hermione) has grown into a little hottie. Her hair is enviously perfect in every scene. The boys are looking better, but still a bit gawky. The woman who played Umbridge was perfect for the role and Helena Bonham Carter was great in the little evil role she had.
I'm busy cramming for the next book. I found a good site that summarizes the chapters of each book and read the summaries for the Half-Blood Prince in preparation for Saturday's release of book 7. I'm going on vacation next week and I plan to do nothing but read for the first couple of days....
My 'garden' is loving all of the rain we've had this week. I picked 5 loverly little orange tomatoes this morning.