30 December 2006

Irony Time

Tonight, Hubby is hosting some sort of Fantasy Football party thing (it involves pizza, beer, poker, testosterone, and, of course, football).
And this is the fortune Thing 1 got in a cookie today:

27 December 2006

"My First Story" by Me

Thing 1 wrote me a story yesterday. Here it is, verbatim:

My First Story by me
to: mom
for: mom
from: [Thing 1]
Once upon a time there was a princess named Kina. One day, she found a prince. She said hi and he said hi. then they danced together until they grew tired. then, he asked, "Whats your name?" And she said, "Why, my name? My name is Kina." she said. What's your name? she asked him. The prince said, "My name is Ajeta." he said. Well, they fell in love as usual with girls and boys. But one day Ajeta moved. Kina was sad. When would he call her again? Not yet, anyhow. One night, they called each other. Ajeta called Kina over for dinner. So the next night, at eight o'clock, they met each other in front of a cafe. then, together, they went inside and ate dinner with eachother. then, when they were finished, they got out of the cafe and once again, they went home. The next day they got married. People were there. the threw flowers as they waved and said "Good-bye!" Then Kina and Ajeta lived happily ever after as long as they didn't get into any more problems.
THE END
The original is illustrated with a drawing of the couple, arms around each other, standing among flowers and with hearts floating overhead. I like this story very much. I especially like the last line. Can you see why we believe Thing 1 has a promising career ahead of her as an attorney?
She is currently writing a sequel that has something to do with evil samurai kings.

26 December 2006

FO


A pair of simple fingerless gloves in Kureyon. They're basically just tubes of 2x2 ribbing with a thumb slit.

24 December 2006

Fish and FO


As a present to her fish, Thing 1 made a decoration for the outside of their tank.




And I finished another Lizard Ridge block. I particularly love this colorway of Kureyon (but the ballband has disappeared, so its identity will remain a mystery).

22 December 2006

Peppermint Bark Recipe


Peppermint Bark
This candy is quick and easy to make, and, packaged in a tin, makes a great little gift. I made a couple batches this year to give to neighbors, but the Things have managed to nibble quite a bit themselves.
8 large candy canes
2 packages (12 oz. each) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Line an 11x17 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unwrapped candy canes inside a ziploc bag. Crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until pieces are less than 1/4 inch long. Melt white chocolate chips in top of double boiler, stirring often. When chocolate is completely melted, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint extract. Mix well. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly in baking sheet. The mixture should cover about 3/4 of the sheet. Melt semisweet chocolate in top of double boiler (or in microwave, using 50% setting and checking and stirring often). When semisweet chocolate is completely melted, use a spoon to drizzle and splatter atop white chocolate mixture. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until bark is hardened (about 30-45 minutes). Break bark into pieces (I use the point of a large knife to crack the bark). Package--or eat yourself! For best results, store in refrigerator.

Two-fer and Tuco



I actually completed one project yesterday and sort of completed another. That's what happens when you turn in your last grades. :-)

The sort of FO is a second block for the Lizard Ridge afghan. I've already begun a third block. Knitting these things is like eating potato chips, plus I feel virtuous because I'm working out of my Kureyon stash.

My second item is a sushi change purse from a Pick Up Sticks kit. I added a lining made from this great fabric you see here. What fun! And I just found this pattern on their web site, and am feeling that I must have it. Must...control...self.... And hey, Knat! Check out this hat! You could make it in an adult size and be the most stylin' jeune fille in Quebec.

Finally, I have to share with you this incredible gift I received yesterday from Susan, my Secret Santa from the canine-l list. Susan has such a wonderful job that I'd probably hate her from envy if she weren't also a wonderful person. ;-) She actually sent me a whole bunch of really great things (like a photo album with paper made from elephant poo!) but this was the topper:

Ruthie is admiring a painting made by Tuco, a jaguar who lives at the Houston Zoo. Very, very cool!

21 December 2006

Exciting Wednesday

Another image-heavy post, folks!

Yesterday, both Things had school performances. Thing 2 and her preschool class sang a medley of holiday songs. Unfortunately, I had to miss that, but Hubby caught it on camera. Can you pick her out of this lineup? I think they were still getting ready here and not everyone was seated yet.


In the evening, Thing 1 had two parts in a school play. Those kids (and their teachers) worked really, really hard on the play, and it was adorable. That's our Thing 1 in the top pix as the Telegraph Operator, and that's her in the green in the group shots.


As if that weren't excitement enough, there were packages! This one wasn't a surprise, because I'd ordered it myself off eBay. But I'm still thrilled about it. It's a Print Gocco!

And then came the surprise packages! Here's Ruthie modeling a gift from my Secret Santa. The shirt's actually for me, but Ruthie is a prettier model.

And to top it all off, I got a wonderful package from Ivy in Singapore! A bunch of treats (including White Rabbit candy, which I'd received in a previous swap from Singapore, and which is delicious), yarn, two great Japanese knitting books, children's books, Tiger Balm (perfect for this time of year!), a lipstick case, a pen, a magnet, and a snowglobe for Thing 1's collection. Wow! Another great swap! Thank you, Ivy! And seriously, I have the most interesting and global collection of junk food right now you've ever seen. :-)

18 December 2006

SP 9 answers

Here are the answers from my SP9 spoilee (who lives in Switzerland!):

Well the oddest gift as some silver thing my husband and I got for our
marriage
(8years ago) and we still didn't find out, what it is for! The
first year we
showed it to every one, but noone could says, well thats an
XXX! So we still
don't know and it shure was expensive......!

The
oddest gift I
have ever asked for........don't know any! Maybe a rain
blanket for my horse?

The oddest gift I ever gave - maybe a little yucca
palm with a lot
of vouchers on it!

the worst gift I ever got - once
for christmas
I got a pullover from the wife of my father and it was ugly,
but also 3 sizes to
small, I really couldn't go in. Every one saw it, that
it was to small. But she
said that I was only telling that, because I don't
like her ! Finally she cried
and was angry with me and the pullover was
still to small...... she never could
admit, that may be I was to tall for
that pullover!

And from my spoiler:

1) the oddest gift you have ever received (not asked for) Oh, man....I don't
know. I answered the other questions first and still can't think of
one. I'll get back to you if I do!
2) the oddest gift you ever asked
for I am having trouble with the word "odd". I asked my parents for spoons
this year for Christmas. Because we moved so much over the last few years,
we have a hob-knob of silverware. Somehow, we have a ton of forks and
knives, but only 2 or 3 large spoons. We haven't gotten them yet, though.
We'll see. I always end up asking for really boring practical gifts for
Christmas.
3) the oddest gift you ever gave My boyfriend and I gave his
younger brother a self-contained synthesizer musical instrument made out of a
cigar box. Odd to some people, maybe.
4) the worst gift you ever got I
had a boyfriend in college (before this one) who didn't get me anything for
Chrismas the year before I left to go study abroad in Italy. We had broken
up a few times prior because he couldn't deal with me leaving. (and it was a
pretty bad relationship to begin with). The absence of a gift was the worst
gift, bacause he was so selfish and insensitive.

This is fun! :-)

6 Weird Things

I got this from the Keyboard Biologist.

Here are THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

I'm not going to tag you in your blogs' comments, but if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged. :-)

Here goes:
  1. A portion of the genetic material on one of my chromosomes is upside down. All the right stuff is there; it's just reversed from the usual order. This runs in my family, apparently.
  2. I never learned to tie my shoes properly. I can only tie bows via the rabbit ears technique.
  3. Since I was about 2 or 3, I have always been in school as either a student or a professor.
  4. I'm phobic about heights--but only over water, and only if there's no fence or railing. Even a really flimsy railing will do.
  5. When I got married, I kept my last name but took Hubby's last name as my middle name. This confuses people.
  6. I skipped third grade (never missed it, except I've never been great at my times tables. I guess that's the only important thing they teach that year).

16 December 2006

Celebrations

Sorry--this will be a picture-heavy post.

Today was another great mail day! Look what arrived in my mailbox, courtesy of a certain generous person and Canada post:



The inside's even better than the cover.

And I also got a swap package from Amirah in Malaysia! Thanks to Homeland Security, I can be assured that it is a safe package:


The box was just chock full of goodies, including Malay sweets, tea, and spice packets (can't wait to make those--mmmm!); batik fabrics; a wooden bookmark; a children's book in Malay; a snowglobe for Thing 1 (not pictured here because she'd already whisked it away); beautiful postcards; and a gorgeous bracelet, card, and personalized picture frames Amirah made herself. Big thank you to Amirah!!



Thanks to these swaps, I now have a bowl filled with the most delicious and interesting mix of international candies you've ever seen. It's a trip around the world in sugar.

And now for some picture of the holiday festivities. We acquired a T Rex (which roars and makes stomping noises):



And royalty of some sort:


I made that set out of some nifty sparkly vinyl I found.

Finally, this is a picture I took a couple weeks ago but couldn't post then. Thing 1 drew this picture on burlap and then embroidered it herself, with only a tiny bit of help from me. It is her present to her grandparents, and you can see she's very proud of it.

12 December 2006

Devil slipper socks


Just finished these for my MIL. They're in Lion Homespun, which isn't my favorite yarn anyway, and hurt my hand as I was working with it. It has zero elasticity, yet you have to watch the tension carefully because the boucle tends to unravel. But it's quick to knit with, it was easy to find, it's soft, and it's machine-washable. And now my holiday knitting (which was pretty minimal anyway) is DONE. Wish I could say the same for my paper grading....

Pirates ahoy!

Last year I knitted myself the Skully sweater from one of the Stitch 'n Bitch books. It's in charcoal-colored Lamb's Pride Bulky, with white skulls on the sleeves. Spiffy. So the other day it was cold enough to wear it. Thing 2 took one look and cried, "Is that sweater for ME????" Thing 2 is a little over 3 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds. Somehow, I think this sweater would be a trifle big on her. So she then pleaded, "Please please please please can I have a pirate sweater?!?" So as soon as the gift socks are done, and before my surgery, I'm going to have to try to whip out a tiny skully sweater for her. The latest Knit.1 has a pattern in baby size; I think I can pretty easily size it up a bit.

10 December 2006

15 seconds of fame

Lauren has just pointed out that Solresol is one of three patterns in the December bag project at Let's Bag It. That's so cool! Thanks, Lauren, for leeting me know. :-)

09 December 2006

Another great package


Liz in Thailand sent me a package so very full of goodies I could barely get them all in one picture. And I don't even know where to begin listing them! See those CDs in the lower right? That's three CDs full of music and pictures and videos! There are packets of spices (I love Thai food) and candy and gum and dried fruit and tea. There are postcards and stickers and a bunch of fun little things, and a stuffed cat, and soap, and beautiful chopsticks, and that gorgeous paper beneath the pile. And, of course, a "God save the King" shopping bag--I don't know how I've managed to survive this long without one of those. I had such a great time just pulling all of these wonderful things out of the package! Thanks so much, Liz!!

Another FO!


This is Yorick, from the Fall 05 Knitty. I actually knitted it many months ago. But the instructions say to do most of the felting by hand. I tried, but after about 20 minutes I had sore hands, puddles of water all over the kitchen, and about 3 inches felted. So I put it away for "later". Yesterday I admitted to myself that I was never going to hand felt the rest of the thing and I decided to try it in the washer, since it wasn't going to do me any good unfelted. Well lo and behold, it felted just beautifully. In fact, I really love the way this yarn feels felted. It's a 50/50 angora/wool, and it felts up quite thick and sturdy, yet with a soft soft hand. I still have to cut the nose holes, but it's otherwise an FO!

08 December 2006

Socks done


I finally finished this pair of socks. The pattern is Butterfly Bows from Socks Socks Socks, but I added a fur cuff. The sock's knitted in Regia 4-ply with a Berroco Sizzle Bright cuff. These are going to a family member who has much longer feet than I do, so they took me longer to knit and they look sort of dorky on my home-made sock blocker. But I'm pleased with the result. I think they look festive. :-)

Winter Knitty is up today. Lots of cute patterns, but not, of course, my own Solresol. But I've put a permanent link to Solresol here, off in the left-hand column. And the Berroco email I got today had a link to free patterns for very cute tiger and dog puppets. Susan, it's supposed to be a Siberian tiger! Also a pattern for catnip mice, but who really needs a pattern for that?

07 December 2006

My poor hand



The pile in the forefront is everything I have to grade in the next week or so. Notice the pen giving a sense of scale (sorry for the crummy cell phone pic). Woe is me.

Ignore the pile in the background--that's part of my "filing" system.

06 December 2006

Turkey

I don't crochet. But if I did, I'd want this pattern for a turkey tote bag and drumstick coin purse.

Bulgarian goodness!


Ruthie is of the opinion that these dog cookies from Bulgaria are the most wonderful treats ever. I will have to take her word for it. I, personally, am enjoying all the other goodies sent to me by another Ruthie, this one being a generous Spanish girl currently living in Bulgaria. Her package was waiting for me at the post office this morning, and I very patiently waited until I got home after work to rip open all the cutely wrapped contents:

Inside there were two beautiful bundles of wool for felting, several rose scented toiletries that smell so good, chocolates, books, and, of course, those dog cookies. The books look like they're meant to help Bulgarian kids learn English, which is great, because the Things and I can use them to pick up a little Bulgarian. Luckily, I can read Cyrillic; I'm just going to have to hope that the letters are pronounced the same in Bulgarian and Russian. What a fun swap! Thank you, Ruthie!!

05 December 2006

packages!

I love packages! Today I received a box of little goodies from Lynne in Australia, a thing I ordered for Alvina in Singapore (who's actually currently on vacation in japan, lucky her), and a notice from the post office that they'd tried to deliver a registered mail parcel. I was heading for the post office in the morning anyway, so I'll pick that package up then. Oh, and I also got 20 yards of fabric that will become new living room drapes when I fix my sewing machine and have time to sew them, or else break down and take them someplace to be sewn.

04 December 2006

Christopher Moore

I love Christopher Moore. His books are more likely to make me laugh out loud than just about anyone else's, with the possible exception of Bill Bryson's. Today when I should have been doing work I visited his blog, which is as funny as his books. Check out his October '06 posts from England, as well as the I DO NOT READ entry from April. Think wistfully about other careers you could have if you could write like that. Sigh.

03 December 2006

meme

I've been seeing this around lately. You can only type one word; no explanations.

1. Yourself: tired
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: married
3. Your hair: curly
4. Your mother: patient
5. Your Father: helpful
6. Your Favorite Item: photos
7. Your dream last night: children
8. Your Favorite drink: smoothie
9. Your Dream Car: expensive
10. The room you are in: kitchen
11. Your Ex: who?
12. Your fear: failure
13. What you want to be in 10 years: rested
14. Who you hung out with last night? Thing 1
15. What You're Not? thin
16. Muffins: poppyseed
17: One of Your Wish List Items: books
18: Time: scarce
19. The Last Thing You Did: tucked-in
20. What You Are Wearing: sweats
21. Your Favorite Weather: spring
22. Your Favorite Book: varies
23. The Last Thing You Ate: lasagna
24. Your Life: busy
25. Your Mood: grouchy
26. Your best friend (s): Hubby
27. What are you thinking about right now? work
28. Your car: comfy
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: short
31. Your relationship status: settled
32. What is on your tv? Hogwarts
33. What is the weather like?cool
34. When is the last time you laughed? today

02 December 2006

Saturday Night

It's that time of year when time is in extra short supply. I wish people could give me festively wrapped hours and minutes as gifts. I've managed one and one-quarter socks for family member with long feet lately, and that's about it.

Today we did escape to Berkeley for a few hours. It was a pretty day there, low 60's and sunny. We visited Black Oak Books and then we ate at Saul's, a deli on Shattuck. This is is the area known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Quite a few people were picnicking today in the grass in the median strip down the middle of Shattuck.

I guess because I'm just generally tired and stressed lately, people are ticking me off. Among the latest miscreants:
  • everybody who attempts to drive while yack yack yacking on their phones
  • the woman yesterday at the post office who saw the loooong line of cars waiting for a parking spot, walked ever so slowly to her car, and then sat there and read her mail
  • students who repeatedly miss class and then email me to ask questions I've already answered in class
  • academic administrators
  • the postal service--or maybe it's customs--which is taking frigging forever to get me packages from overseas
  • people who walk into my office, see me trying to do 4 things at once, and then ask, "Are you busy?"

28 November 2006

Made My Day

I'm practically counting the minutes until the end of the semester, and hoping I don't throttle anyone before I get there. All I want to do is curl up in a corner with my knitting, some chocolate, and a great big margarita.

But then today I received such a great package from Alvina in Singapore! Look! Even the package itself is cute:


There was so much great stuff in here that I can hardly fit it all in one picture:

Fun stuff for the kids, great Australian tie for Hubby, beautiful blouse and three (!) pairs of Alvina's earrings for me, lots of great snacks (I love the salad crackers!), and well, so much more. Doesn't the hat look cute on Thing 1? Doesn't Ruthie look impressed, too?

Many thanks, Alvina!!!

25 November 2006

Shopping Idea

So, like me, you're doing some of your holiday shopping online. I recommend that you check out the store at the Hunger Site. Why?
  • They have a really nice selection of things to please just about anyone on you list. I'm drooling over the Peruvian vitro glass jewelry, but there's lots and lots of other nice stuff.
  • They have yarn! Including banana fiber and recycled sari.
  • Their prices are very good.
  • They're having a special now: $1 shipping on all US orders. They ship internationally, too, for $9.95 per order.
  • For every purchase you make, food will be donated to the hungry (the site keeps track of how many cups)
  • Many of the goods offered for sale are fair-trade or the products of cooperative efforts
  • You can add to your shopping cart donations such as sending girls in Afghanistan to school ($20), stuffed bears for AIDS orphans in Africa ($15), or a feeding kit for infants in Niger ($20)

If world hunger isn't your cause of choice, you can order instead via one of their sister sites: The Breast Cancer Site, the Child Health Site, the Literacy Site, the Rainforest Site, and the Animal Rescue Site.

I ordered a bunch of stuff from them last year and was very pleased with the quick shipping.

Okay, commercial over.

Caught Red-Handed


Guess who was painting today.

22 November 2006

Onion Bread Recipe


Linda's Onion Bread
This is a family Thanksgiving tradition. Every year I make these to go with dinner and, even better, to make into sandwiches later with the leftovers. It's my Mom's recipe. I use a KitchenAid to mix and knead the dough. Sorry for the picture--I'm not much of a food stylist.
4 Tbsp dehydrated minced onions
4 Tbsp water
2 C hot milk
1/2 C hot water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp sage
about 6 to 7 cups white flour
2 Tbsp dry yeast
Rehydrate onions in the 4 Tbsp of water. Set aside. Put all liquid ingredients in mixer. Add onions and seasonings. Add 4 1/2 C of flour. Add yeast. Knead. When all flour is mixed in, add more in 1/2 cup increments, letting flour knead in well each time. Dough is ready when it sticks together in a ball, "cleaning" the sides of the mixing bowl. Dough will still be somewhat sticky. Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 mins. Punch down, knead briefly, and then shape into 2 loaves or rolls of desired size (I usually get about 16 large rolls per batch). Place loaves into loaf pans or rolls onto cookie sheets. Let rise again for 3o mins. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Bake for about 45 minutes for loaves, about 25 to 30 minutes for rolls. Bread is done when top is light golden brown.

21 November 2006

Slow Boat from the Netherlands

Remember how a package recently took 3 months to get here from Singapore? Well, today's wonderful package took "only" a month or so to arrive from the Netherlands. Oddly, the package Myriam mailed me the day after this one arrived weeks ago. Apparently, the USPS is randomly routing some international packages via Purgatory. Anyway, look what I got!

If you can, click to enlarge so you can see the cute cute cute ghost that Myriam made, as well as the adorable bunny that arrived last month. That yarn is handspun near Myriam, and the licorice and gingerbread will not last long at all.

The pen isn't from Myriam. It's just the time of year when red pens are everywhere.

Here you can see the Things attempting to learn Dutch, and yes, Thing 1 has a new addition to her (sizable, thanks to you guys!) snowglobe collection.


Thank you so much Myriam!
Getting packages in the mail is one of my favorite things in the world, no matter how long they took to get here.

Sorta FO


This is the first block of the Lizard Ridge afghan.
I like the bumpy texture from the short rows, but it will actually be blocked flat eventually. Each block will be a different color of Kureyon. This afghan is, therefore, an excellent way to use some of my Kureyon stash while safely feeding my addiction to buying more. I've even joined the Kureyon Club at Yarniverse. I plan to do these blocks in between other projects, so it may take a long time before I truly have an FO.

20 November 2006

Monday ravings

  • I occasionally get cravings. They're always for something extremely specific, and never for something we actually have in the house (of course). But they're usually for something I could possibly obtain within, say, a 2 hour drive. Today, though, I have a hankering for a turkey burger from Burgerville. The nearest Burgerville is something like 600 miles away. Woe is me.
  • There is no end to the idiocy of academic administrators.
  • I got a surprise call today from a cousin whom I haven't spoken to in years, and whom I haven't seen since dinosaurs roamed the earth high school. He's visiting his inlaws a couple hours away, and may be able to visit. Wouldn't that be cool?
  • It's been grey here for the last several days. In my opinion, if it's going to be grey anyway, it might as well rain, but it hasn't.
  • Last night I engaged in a Thanksgiving tradition by making 2 batches of onion rolls. These rolls are great warm with butter on them, but they truly reach their potential when they're used for leftover turkey sandwiches. Mmmm. Anyone want the recipe? It's my Mom's.
  • We just bought our plane tickets to Orlando for our February trip to Disneyworld. $225 round-trip. Can't beat that.
  • A student complained to me today because he wasn't advised that when he took the exact same class at the community college and then from us, that the units wouldn't count. Of course, you'd think he might've noticed on his own that the class had the same name and content, but I guess not. And he still can't remember exactly which class it was, so he may be aiming for a third time.
  • I took Ruthie with me today to pick Thing 1 up from school. One child took a look at Ruth and asked me, "Is that a real dog?!?"
  • The other day I mentioned to Thing 2 that I'm a teacher. She started laughing. "You're not a teacher! You're a mommy!" I explained that a person can be both. She retorted, "But you can't be a teacher because teachers don't have bumpy hair. Teachers have straight hair." I guess none of her teachers have curls.

19 November 2006

Failed Photography

I have been trying to get a good picture of the Things for our holiday card. Here is today's failed attempt:



Thing 1 kept complaining that the sun hurt her eyes. When I pointed out that today it's gray out and no sun is visible, she claimed that the air hurt her eyes. Apparently, Thing 2 is impervious to sun and air.

It was much easier to get a shot of the Travelling Roses scarf Leanne sent me, and which Knatolee requested a picture of:


Leanne and Knat, you should meet someday. You're practically neighbors, and you're both nice, creative people with interesting jobs.

15 November 2006

Caps to the Capital


I've finished up these three itsy bitsy hats for Caps to the Capital. It takes about an hour and a half or so of slow knitting to make one. The top left is from leftover Kool-Aid dyed yarn, top right was the leftover Lion and Lamb, and bottom is a bit of Lorna's Bullfrogs and Butterflies.

14 November 2006

Warm Thoughts

It's a routine, gray Tuesday. Work is stressful. I haven't been getting enough sleep. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Physical therapy's not helping my hand. But I can smile because today I am wearing my Travelling Roses scarf from Leanne. It's red. It's beautiful. And I keep thinking about how Leanne made it for me as she journeyed through Switzerland, South Africa, and Mozambique, and then back to Canada. :-)

13 November 2006

Nice weekend

Yesterday, some friends and I attended a calendar-making workshop in San Francisco. It was sunny in the city, and it's so nice to drive in on a Sunday when traffic is light. The workshop was in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, a comfrotable, family neghborhood, far from the tourist places. As we turned onto Cortland Avenue, a homeless man came flying down the long, steep hill on a shopping cart, a huge grin on his face. At the top of the hill, a yuppie-looking couple craned their necks to watch his descent.

Right near the community center where the workshop was to be held, there are cute little shops and lots of familes with kids in strollers and dogs on leashes. I saw no children over age 5, though. I wonder where they go? Do their parents keep them locked indoors? Do families move someplace else when their children reach school age? Do all the older kids in San Francisco magically sleep in on Sundays? Anyway, we had a delicious brunch at the Liberty Cafe.

The workshop lasted 6 hours, and even so, I didn't quite get my calendar finished. I still need to cut out the pages with the dates and assemble the whole thing. Other people made calendars that were much fancier and more artistic than mine, but still, I'm pleased with my results. Mine has a travel theme. Here's the front and back covers, and some of the internal pages:



I like the process a lot (although many handwashings and a shower later, I'm still picking medium off of my hands). I'm tempted to make more, time permitting. In any case, it was a wonderful, relaxing day with friends.

After the workshop we had dinner down the street at Moki's Sushi and Pacific Grill. Mmmm. And then I made record time on the drive home, and it didn't rain until I was in bed. What a great day!

And, in case there was any question that Thing 1 is my offspring, here's an unposed shot I got this weekend. Note the size of the stack of books :-)

09 November 2006

Slow Boat from China

Several months ago, I arranged a swap with Liz in Singapore via Gimmeyourstuff. She got my package, but I never received hers. I'd given up. But guess what arrived today, three months later?:


That's a pile of kids' books in Chinese and English, candy from Singapore, beads, and delicious-smelling chocolate drink packets from Spain. Wonderful! And the timing is actually good--I've had a rough week, and I'm ready to starting mainlining chocolate. Thank you, Lizzy!

Thing 1 is my ever-present, ever-willing model. It was coldish out today. Poor kid was freezing in her gymnastics leotard. Notice the new front teeth on their way in?

Here's my latest FO:

This teeny-tiny little hat is made from the remains of my Lion & Lamb, and it's going to Caps to the Capital. I'll be making a few more, and I hope you all do, too. Even for a slow knitter with carpal tunnel syndrome, it takes only a couple hours, and it uses a tiny bit of stash yarn. After the hats are made, I'll be knitting five things for the Dulaan Project. I can't feel guilty about using my hand if it's for a good cause, right?

07 November 2006

This and That

  • Thanks for all the nice comments on Solresol, folks! I'm so glad to know I'm wasn't completely crazy when I thought it was a really cool idea. I'd love to see your finished bags, too. Incidentally, I got the inspiration when I read the book Banvard's Folly. I can heartily recommend the book to fans of the eccentric and esoteric. There's a whole chapter on Solresol. And Gail has posted my pattern on the Island of Misfit Patterns. Thanks, Gail!
  • I voted via absentee ballot. The ballot was so long it required extra postage. Don't you wish that once you voted you got some special code that allowed you to skip political commercials and phone calls? Not that it's not fun to see which celebrity will call you next. We scored Clint Eastwood this week. And that secret code? That should work for NPR--once you give them your money, no more having to listen to Begging for Money Week.
  • The new AntiCraft is up.
  • I finally have a new FO. It's Bombshell from Big Girl Knits. It's knitted in scrumptious Lion & Lamb in a wonderful "Here I Am!" red (technically, the color name is Bold Red, but that's kinda boring), and it's a perfect weight for Fall in the Central Valley--where it's in the low 80's right now but will be in the low 40's by tomorrow night. It's not blocked yet, but here it is:

04 November 2006

Rejected Pattern

I just posted my Solresol pattern, which is the brilliant pattern I submitted to Knitty, and had rejected. Well, maybe only I think it's brilliant. But anyway, here it is. It takes only a few hours to knit up, so makes a good last-minute gift, I think.

Solresol

In the 19th century, Jean Fran├žois Sudre invented a universal language called Solresol. Each word in this language is composed of a combination of some of the seven notes of the musical scale (do, re, mi, etc.). People can have a conversation by playing instruments or humming at each other. But that’s not all. Each of the seven notes is also represented by one of the seven colors of the rainbow, so you can communicate in Solresol via a sequence of colors.

The felted items in this project contain a message in Solresol. The vase (on the left, and which could also be used to hold knitting needles) says dore milasi domi, which means “I love you.” And the bag, which could be used as a purse but is perfect to hold small knitting projects such as socks, reads laresolmi mimifaso. That translates to “string everywhere.”

Of course, you can substitute other messages instead. There is a short on-line dictionary and grammar of Solresol available at http://www.ptialaska.net/~srice/solresol/intro.htm. The color equivalents of each note are as follows: do = red, re = orange, mi = yellow, fa = green, sol = blue, la = indigo, si = violet.

Just remember that you’ll be knitting the project from the bottom up, so you’ll need to knit your colors in reverse order. I’ve separated each word with two rows of black (which shows up better than white, and felts better as well). Where two colors appear next to each other, as they do in mimifaso, knit the stripe double-wide.

This project knits up quickly and makes a great gift. Just include a little card explaining your secret message to your recipient.

SIZE
One

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Before felting:
Height 11 inches
Base diameter 5 inches
After felting:
Height 7 inches
Base diameter 3.5 inches

MATERIALS
Note: 1 skein of each color will give you enough yarn to make several vases or bags.
[MC] Cascade Pastaza [50% llama/ 50% wool; 132 yd per 100g skein]; Color: 008 (black)
[CC1] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220 yd per 100g skein]; Color: 9404 (red)
[CC2] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 7824 (orange)
[CC3] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 7828 (yellow)
[CC4] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 7813 (green)
[CC5] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 8887 (blue)
[CC6] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 8393(indigo)
[CC7] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220ydper 100g skein]; Color: 9345 (violet)

1 set US #09/5.5mm double-point needles

stitch marker
tapestry needle
clean, empty 16 ounce jar (optional)

GAUGE
Gauge is not important for this project.

PATTERN NOTES
The vase and the bag are worked the same until the last row. If you want a vase, simply bind off all stitches in the last row. If you want a bag, you will turn the last four stitches into an I-cord.

I’ve used Cascade 220 in this project, but you can use any feltable worsted-weight yarn, as long as it comes in the seven basic colors. I used Cascade Pastaza, a somewhat bulkier yarn, for the bottom and black stripes here because it gives the base a little more heft.

Color instructions below are for the “I love you” vase. Adjust the colors if you wish to change the message. If your message is longer than 7 colors, you may want to change the number of rows you knit in each color, so that your finished project has approximately 60 rows on the side.

4-st I-cord: Knit 4 onto a second double-point needle. [Slide all 4 sts to other end of needle. With yarn in back (it will be at the left side of the work) and RS facing, knit across, pulling first stitch taut so as the create a closed tube.] Repeat to desired length.


PATTERN
Using MC, CO 9 sts. Divide sts. evenly between 3 needles and join, being careful not to twist. Place marker at beginning of round.

Bottom
Row 1: k all sts
Row 2: [k1fb] 9 times
Rows 3-5: k all sts
Row 6: [k1fb] 18 times
Rows 7-12: k all sts
Row 13: [k1fb] 36 times
Rows 14-15: k all sts
Row 16: [k6 k2tog] 9 times

Sides
Rows 1-8: using CC3, k all sts
Rows 9-16: using CC1, k all sts
Rows 17-18: using MC, k all sts
Rows 19-26: using CC7, k all sts
Rows 27-34: using CC6, k all sts
Rows 35-42: using CC3, k all sts
Rows 43-44: using MC, k all sts
Rows 45-52: using CC2, k all sts
Rows 53-60: using CC1, k all sts

For vase, BO all sts.
For bag, BO 59 sts, put remaining 4 sts onto 1 needle. Work 4-st I-cord for 48”, or to about one-third longer than your desired finished length. BO all sts, and cut yarn, leaving a 12” end.

FINISHING
If you have made the bag, sew the free end of the I-cord onto the opposite edge of the bag, forming a strap.

Weave in all ends well.

Felt the piece: Place the piece in a zippered pillow protector (this is to keep fuzz out of your washing machine). Place in a top loading washing machine with a tiny amount of liquid detergent. To assist the felting process, also place a couple of pairs of jeans or old towels into the washer. Set the water temperature on hot and the water level on medium. Turn on the washing machine. When the machine begins agitating, stop the process every few minutes and check the progress of your felting; continue until the project has shrunk considerably and you can no longer see stitch definition. On my machine, this took about 15 minutes, but yours may vary.

Remove project from zippered bag and blot some of the excess water with towels. To block the piece into shape, you may wish to place a clean 16 ounce jar inside the piece. The jar ought to fit a bit snugly. Allow to dry thoroughly; depending on temperature and humidity, this may take a day or two.

If you wish to use your piece as a vase, keep the jar inside to hold water and to provide extra stability to the sides.

[This pattern is copyrighted by dephal. Please feel free to make copies for your own use, but you may not make commercial use of this pattern without my permission.]

03 November 2006

Politics




You Are 4% Republican



If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance.

You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!



The 4%? Well, I couldn't dis soccer moms because, technically, I am one.




You Are 84% Democrat



You are a card carrying Democrat, and a pretty far left one at that!

There's no chance anyone would ever mistake you for a Republican.



Why only 84%? No Hilary for President for me.

01 November 2006

Monkey and Monster


Here's the gang last night, all ready for trick-or-treating. I wish I could say I was one of those creative moms who whips up clever costumes for her kids, but life is just a bit too much right now for costume-making. These came striaght from Old Navy and Target. Still, I love the monkey getup. Notice the banana. :-)

The Things made a good haul, and we ran out of candy to hand out and had to resort to raiding Thing 2's pumpkin for all the gum (which she doesn't chew anyway) to appease the last of trick-or-treaters. It's also possible that a chocolate item or two may have ended up in a parent's hands. After all, we do have to safety check the candy, right?

28 October 2006

SP9


I must have some sort of very special luck which allows me to get the best Secret Pals. Today--already!--I received my first package from my SP9 Pal. She's obviously been reading about my love of Kureyon, and there are also 2 balls of dreamy soft alpaca (it's Misti Alpaca, the same yarn Leanne used for my ISE scarf, but in blue this time). There was some chocolate in there, too, but...ahem...it seems to have disappeared. There were also two lovely postcards, including my first from Stockholm. And it all came in this wonderful Lantern Moon basket:

You can fold the top half of the basket down inside. I've been eyeing these for some time and trying to justify buying one for myself. Thanks to my Pal, I don't have to think up an excuse! :-)

Thank you, Pal!!