Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can I go back?

I am back in civilization and after one day of work (it was not a good one) all I want to do is get back in my car and drive north and spend the rest of the summer by the lake.
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

Lake time

I am in Maine staying at Gramma's Camp on a small lake. The camp was begun by my Grandfather and completed after he died by my teenaged father and his brothers. It is a rickety, dusty no frills sort of place. This is not a luxury lake home or anything that could even be called a 'cottage'. It's the sort of place where it feels like the rest of the world doesn't exist. There is nothing to do but read, swim, boat and contemplate the water.

It is one of my most favorite places on earth.

Here look.....

These first 3 are the views from the deck where I sit and drink my coffee in the morning.

Gramma's Camp

'Norman, Norman, the loooooons!'

Rumor has it there is a pair of bald eagles nesting on these cliffs. I haven't seen them yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where's the knitting?

I saw the new Harry Potter movie last night and overall I loved it. There were some big things missing (but I expected that given the length and details in the book). The most crucial detail missing, to my mind, was the reason Harry must live part of the year with his horrible Aunt and Uncle (because his mother's blood, which his Aunt shares, keeps him safe). They also left out the fact that Ron and Hermione became prefects and that the Weasley's had basically disowned Percy. There were lots of other minor things left out.

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.
Look'it them all!

These are called Green Zebras. I'm not really sure how to tell when they are ripe?

The hot peppers (3 kinds in this pot) are doing well. I worried about them falling over, so had to brace them up a bit (with a bit of leftover Silky Tweed...).
There's a tiny baby chili!

Pete decided this chili plant was lonely and added an onion.

It's hard to see here, but something is eating the leaves off the Habanero plant on the right. I have not seen the little beast yet, but when I do......

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hey Kool-Aid!

Apologies in advance (to those of you with slow connections) for the photo heavy post.

My neighbors and I decided to try out kool-aid dying this past weekend. And we documented the whole process......

We used Berkshire and Northampton from Webs.

Only the best dye pots would do for us....
(that's Traci's Sahara in progress in the background)

We bought every flavor of Kool-Aid in Stop & Shop. We maybe didn't think about these two flavors. But maybe we should try them.
We could knit an Invisibility Cloak!

I had help mixing the colors.... (yup that's a One Skein Wonder I'm wearing)

Tags for our test swatches made from the scraps of Pete's bag fusing project.

Test skein ready for the microwave

Our test pallet.

Lily approves.... maybe.


If I had a dollar for every time one of us said 'This is soooo cool!' on Saturday afternoon....

Don't do this.

Or this will happen.
It took some serious scrubbing to get rid of the stains.
The corners of my fingernails are still tinted red.


Ooooooooh pretty!

Finished skeins ready to use!

I will definitely be doing more Kool-Aid dying. It was a blast and it was easy and not terribly messy. It's nice that you can use your mixing bowls and glasses since there's no toxic chemicals involved (except whatever they put in Kool-Aid. Seriously? If it did that to my hand imagine what it does to your stomach???). We've got some ideas of how to mix some more muted 'adult' colors next time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fun with office supplies

Post-it note flowers. I had to try one. I didn't have any glue at my desk, so I just used tape.

Friday, July 13, 2007

In charge of me?

There's a new boy in the neighborhood. He lives downstairs and it's understood...

Since I heard about this a couple of days ago a certain theme song from a certain 80s sitcom has been running through my head.

I had a huge crush on Chachi and was soooo jealous of Joni who got to love him. But what I really wanted was Charles in charge of me.

My DVR is set. Damn you Reality TV.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tiny knits

Mom loved the Very Hungry Scarf! But I stupidly forgot to take a photo of her with it....

I did remember to photograph the baby presents I made for an old friend who is about to pop. Pictured here are a Baby Surprise Jacket and Baby Surprise Hat. The yarn is some superwash - I cannot remember the exact details - purchased a few months ago in the Webs warehouse. The jacket should fit the baby girl (they think) this fall. The hat was done in an effort to use up all of the yarn. I'm tired of half skein balls kicking around the house (the cats are not tired of this, but that is another story...).

I found the perfect buttons also at Webs. How cute are they???

I'd finished the BSJ and hat a while ago and last week had the urge to knit a tiny baby hat that could be worn right away. So knitted up the hat from the Pea Pod set last weekend while watching the Prairie Home Companion movie (I did not love it). That is the yellow one done in Knit Picks Shine. But I couldn't stop there and had to make the purple one also. It's Debbie Bliss Cathay and the design is my own. More on that to come...

While visiting my parents in Vermont I managed to get away to meet the very pregnant Amy for lunch on Monday in the town we went to high school in. It was never a great town or cute Vermont tourist destination, but it was a decent place to be a teenager in. For the past few years I felt like Randolph was on the verge of a comeback or maybe a new identity, but this trip left me sad. Everything just looks a little grungy and run down. Businesses that had opened in the past few years (including the nice food co-op) are closing and there is an air of depression on the streets. Very sad. We had lunch at the Three Bean Cafe which is a nice cozy coffee shop type place that opened a couple of years ago. I worry about their future and I hope they can make it.

Amy loved the little knitted things. She's a knitter herself which makes her appreciate the hand knits as they should be appreciated. It's so much nicer giving hand made gifts to people who make things themselves. Non-knitters/crafts persons are always impressed and grateful, but they don't really get it the way crafty people do. It's rare to give a gift and have the receiver admire the evenness of your stitches.

Oh, I almost forgot! When I arrived at my folks place on Sunday another old friend was sitting at the kitchen counter. Mom took this photo of us. Jill's new haircut (and color) is so cute!