Monday, January 25, 2010

Nor'easter Hat & Mittens

I have a new pattern for sale on Ravelry - Nor'easter Hat & Mitten set. For those of you who don't live in New England, a Nor’easter is a type of storm common during the winter in the Northeastern US that occurs when cold air coming from the Arctic Air Mass converges with warmer air from the Gulf Stream. These cosy mittens and hat will keep you warm even in the worst snowy weather.

They are a quick knit in chunky yarn and a perfect blank slate for simple embellishments. My embroidery skills leave a lot to be desired, but I learned quite a bit from this book.

100% of the proceeds from Nor'easter patterns sold between now and February 28th will be donated to Doctors Without Borders to assist with their work in Haiti. You can find other patterns for sale on Ravelry whose designers have pledged to donate proceeds to Haitian Relief funds here.

How cute is my colleague Alexandra (Editorial Assistant Extraordinaire) who graciously agreed to model for me?

The white set is done in Valley Yarn's Northampton Bulky which is a nice soft bulky wool (at a bargain price). The dark green set is done in Malabrigo Chunky which is extremely soft (but I have some fears that it will pill up with wear).

Of course the day I finished these, we're having a January thaw and it is too warm and soggy outside for thick woolies. But this is New England and the Nor'easters will come...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthdays are such a good excuse to bring out embarassing photos

My little sister turned 30 yesterday (I meant to do this post then, but I was busy lying feverishly on the sofa and blowing my nose all day). I dug through the box of photos I inherited from my maternal grandmother and came up with this random selection of photos of, and including, sis. Really random. And most don't have any sort of notes on the back (if anyone reading this has boxes of photos sitting around, please label them all. Someday someone else will have to go through them and they will thank you), so I have no clue when or where they were taken. Sis? Mom? Can anyone chime in here with corrections?

Look at Linz in her baggy 80s jean jacket.
I wonder what the pins say?
Not sure what she's watching here. This was maybe at a parade?

A (rare?) tender moment between siblings. I'm pretty sure that's Cricket Magazine I'm reading to them. I had a subscription to this children's literary magazine for many years. They have since branched off and now have literary mags for all ages of kids (even a board book magazine for little tykes) as well as science and archeology/exploring magazines. Some of the best magazines for kids out there (IMHO).

The thing is, I probably dressed her like this.

I include this photo only to show off my stylin' junior high winter look.
And the feathered hair.
1984/85? Was this a family Christmas card photo?

I cannot look at this photo with out snorting.
I don't know why it cracks me up so much that Linz and the
Care Bear have exactly the same expression.

So many questions about this one.
Did she take this of herself?
Did she know then that she would have years of orthodontic work?
Is that a hand knit sweater?
Was the faux paint-splatter OshKosh cap the height of fashion in the early 80s?

I can't believe I slept under the same roof as this.
I'm wide awake now and it's giving me nightmares.

circa 1990 - give or take a year? Clues being:
My hippie hoodie thingy (when did I buy that?) paired with late 80s skinny acid washed jeans,
Mikey is either growing out his asymmetrical, shaved-on-one-side, skater cut
or is working up to it.
What year did Linz get gum in her hair and have to cut her bangs really short?
Who's hair was longer mine or Lindsey's?

This one I can identify. All dressed up and well-behaved on my high-school graduation day.
(Mom that flower bed was a mess - you totally did the right thing tearing it out and redoing it.)
Liking the suspenders and the side braid and the socks with the mary janes sis.
And holy frik I was skinny then!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Throwing up the Knit Signal

Taking the advice of the Yarn Harlot, I'm throwing up the knit signal for Haiti. The symbol is in recognition of the fact that knitters are a force to be reckoned with when we put our minds to something. Today, whether you are a knitter or not, do what you can for the people of Haiti.

You can donate to Doctors Without Borders here. Quoted from the Yarn Harlot's blog:
The MSF Hospital has sustained damage that means it isn't functioning as a hospital right now. Staff have moved to the courtyard and set up tents and what materials they could retrieve from the building and are doing their best to help people as they can. Doctors who were providing maternity care are now running a trauma centre.

They, and their sister offices in other countries spent all night figuring out who could go and how to get them there, and staff is packing as we read this to get there as fast as they can. They'll be taking inflatable surgery suites with them so they can use that instead of their damaged buildings.

There are directed donation sites set up for Haiti on all of their websites, but I'd like to take a moment to ask you to please make your donation "undirected". Money given to a specific fund can only be used for that area and making sure your donation is undirected helps them a lot. It lets them keep serving other crises that continue to happen while the world watches Haiti, and more importantly, it allows them to be first responders.

On their websites (Canada here, USA here, Other countries can find their site here) when you give there is a drop-down menu that you'll see called "I would like my gift to be directed to..." and you'll see a lot of choices. Please consider selecting "Greatest Needs" or "Emergency Relief" so that they can have the flexibility that they need to do their best work.
You can also donate to the Red Cross which has pledged $1 Million to Haiti relief here. The easiest way to donate is to text the word 'Haiti' to '90999' and $10 will be billed on your next cell phone bill by the Red Cross.

The US State Department website links to this list of many different (valid) charities which are directing funds to Haiti.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Queen of Mod Podge

My sister wins the prize for making the most gifts this Christmas. She also made many different kinds of cookies and I think she said something about making 6 coffee cakes. And she is in grad school. I'm pretty sure she doesn't sleep. Here's a few samples of what she made:

First off are these bowls she made for my mother and I. They were inspired by these. She says the globe was very difficult to saw in half. The equator on globes is apparently reinforced with very thick cardboard.

She found the globe on Craigs List. My bowl is the Northern Hemisphere half and has the old Soviet Union on it.

She lined the rough edge with aluminum foil and Mod Podged pages from an atlas inside (Note to anyone thinking about what to get Linz for her birthday next week: She needs a new atlas). The feet are glass marbles.

I've always wanted to make my own vanilla extract and sis beat me to it. It's vodka and vanilla beans and I can add more vodka to replenish it.

I've got another week before it will be ready to use. I'm looking forward to baking something next weekend. I'm also thinking, now that I realize it's really just vanilla flavored vodka, about adding a few drops to mixed drinks. Vanilla martinis maybe?

Here is where sis went really nuts. And learned to know and love Mod Podge. These are yarn lights.

She Mod Podged yarn around balloons, let it dry and popped the balloons.

The finished balls were stuck over a string of LED lights.

I have no idea where she got the idea for these, but I love them. Perhaps she'll speak up and let us know where the instructions are.

Update: Sis says,"The idea for the yarn ball lights came from my own little head. There are no instructions. And I was afraid it was all a bust when I tried to paint on the mod podge and found the yarn collapsed when with the popped balloon. Then I GLOPPED mod podge on. That fixed it... but took forever to dry."
These are the perfect accessory for my house. They match the rest of the decor perfectly (since it it mostly consists of balls and skeins of yarns perched on shelves and tucked into baskets).

Up next is my brother's interpretation of the Non Commercial Holiday. Hint: He's a connoisseur of Goodwill stores.