27 December 2007

FO Socks

My Mom is visiting, the Things are on vacation, and we've been busy. But I did finish a pair of socks for my Mom:

The yarn was, I think, some Mountain Colors from my stash. The pattern is Thuja from Knitty (thanks, Emily! :-)). Thanks to the relatively big gauge (I used size 5 needles) and my Mom's size 5 feet, even I was able to finish these in a jiffy. This is a nice easy pattern that's not too boring.

20 December 2007

More pottery

Last night was the last night of the session for my ceramics class. I took several things home.

The vase thing above is actually probably my favorite thing I've made so far. I really like how the glaze turned out. It's a pretty big piece--about 8" long and 6" tall.

This piece is a smaller variation on the same theme. I'm not sure why I put a hole there. I guess I just like holes. And I like the glazed/unglazed effect on this piece, too.

It's hard to capture the color of this dish--it's actually a slightly irridescent, purply red. I'm very fond of it and will use it on other pieces. This dish lost one of its feet in the kiln and is now lopsided, so I'm going to have to glue something on to replace it.

I'm going to miss the class, but I do plan to sign up again for the next session, which begins in late January.

17 December 2007


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the very last Lizard Ridge block:

Of course, Lizzie's not yet an FO. The blocks need blocking, then sewing, and then the whole thing will need a zillion miles of (shudder) crochet edging. But the knitting is done.

Over the weekend, I made peppermint bark with the Things, to give to T2's teachers as a gift. T2 was Official Stirrer and Product Tester.

14 December 2007


Just 1 more Lizzie block to go! And man, I love this colorway (40, I think).

13 December 2007

22, Dora, and a holiday miracle

Voila--Lizzie square number 22! The next to last block is on my needles already.
Thing 2 received a learn to sew kit as a Hanukkah present. The kit makes a felt Dora puppet. She really enjoyed sewing it, and here she is enjoying the fruits of her labor. She's sitting on several pillows, in what we have named the Princess and the Pea Method of watching TV.
Incidentally, see that Ikea stool next to her? One of these days I'm going to explain why I think these stools are among the Best Products Ever.

In yesterday's post I mentioned that Tuesday night I received a FedEx package of Recchiuti chocolates. I'd ordered a couple boxes as gifts for friends, plus one for myself. I have to make it through the end of the semester somehow. Well, yesterday I received another box containing the exact same items as the first. Apparently, through some hiccup they'd shipped a duplicate of my order. I called them today, and the very nice person said I get to keep the duplicate for free. It's a holiday miracle. ;-)

12 December 2007

Random Wednesday Thoughts

  • Last night the Fed-Ex guy delivered a package to our house at 9:50 pm. Which was okay with me, because the package contained Recchiuti chocolates. If I could have only one kind of sweet for the rest of my life, it would be Recchiuti fleur de sel caramels.
  • I am currently eyebrow-deep in final exams and term papers. I was trying to grade papers today for my scientific evidence class while eating some noodle soup for lunch, but when I got to the part in someone's paper where she was discussing the rates at which dead human brains become semi-liquid, I decided to eat first and grade later.
  • It's a hazard this time of year: I'm daydreaming of vacations. We try to take one big family trip a year. In 2007 it was Disneyworld, and 2008 will be a Disney cruise in the Caribbean. We haven't settled on a 2009 destination yet. What would you all suggest? It doesn't have to involve Disney. :-) In 2009, the Things will be 9 and 6. My best ideas so far: Montreal, Hawaii, or a Mediterranean cruise with maybe a stay in Barcelona.
  • Winter Knitty is up. Several of the projects have my interest.
  • Read this on Yahoo! today. All I can say is, thank goodness it wasn't my kid.

09 December 2007

21, makover, and tea request

Here ya go--Lizzie block #21. Just three more to go. I've been doing these blocks between larger projects, but I'm not sure whether I have the patience for that now. I just may knit 'em all up now.

Thing 1 went to a birthday party this weekend. The girls went to someplace at the mall called Libby Lu's, and returned with fancy hair, glittery makeup, polished fingernails, and assorted girly loot.

And I need your help with this. I received some of this tea via a swap, and I've become totally addicted. And this is my last bag and I can't find a source for this stuff online. If anyone knows where I can get more of this stuff, please let me know!

07 December 2007

Hanukkah Loot

Yay, two posts in one day! Here are the Things enjoying some of their Hanukkah loot. T2 loves the alligator mittens her grandmother knitted her. "Hey!" she said. "I could have a puppet show with these!"

Maybe T1 could provide the musical accompaniment to the puppet show with her new iPod shuffle. I'm going to be happy not to have her begging in the car to listen to the pop music station she likes.

Of course, Ruthie got gifts, too. And she helped the Things open theirs. She's a very helpful dog.

They look happy, don't they?

On an unrelated note, Ruthie's been limping lately. I took her to the vet this morning, and he says she has arthritis in one of her rear knees. He prescribed some meds that we hope will help. Poor girl.

FOs in three media

After an FO drought, I've managed to finish a few things in the last couple days.

I decided to try making an Artist Trading Card for a swap on Swap-bot. It's my very first ATC. I entitled it "Daydreaming." I can see how these little guys could get addictive:

Next up, a finished pottery dish. The blue splotches are melted glass. I quite like how this dish turned out. I'm developing a problem, though: most of my pottery isn't nice enough to inflict on others as gifts, but I'm too attached to it to throw it away. Our house will soon be buried in the stuff. For now, this piece is sitting on my kitchen island, where it will inevitably attract Stuff. Our island is like a giant Stuff magnet.

And here's this scarf, knit from some beautiful alpaca Knatolee sent me. I love the color, which is this soft gray-brown. The lace pattern was really easy--perfect for knitting while watching season 1 of Dexter. And the scarf is now ready just in time for what passes for winter around here.

03 December 2007

Vase and Books

This is the vase I posted about yesterday. I'm very happy with it. :-)

And today a nice person in Israel sent me a children's book in Hebrew, as a surprise because she learned I collect kids' books in different languages. Several other people have generously sent me books, too. Here's the collection (well, most of it--the Things have secreted some favorites in their bedrooms):

I've picked some of these up during my travels, some came from friends and family, and some came from swaps. I love the diversity of languages: Hebrew, French, Korean, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese, I believe), Romanian, Portuguese, Czech, German, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Malay, Catalan, Japanese, and Dutch! The Things and I all enjoy looking through these. When T1 was about 3, the Russian and Czech alphabet books were some of her very favorites, and T2 currently is extremely fond of a couple of the Chinese books. I can manage to read and/or partially understand some of the books, but for the most part we just enjoy the pictures. I also like how sometimes you can learn things about a culture just by looking at the pictures.

02 December 2007

Fun Day in the City

Soon (but not soon enough) this semester will be over, and I'll have a few minutes to breathe. And maybe knit. Currently, I'm making snail's pace progress on a scarf in beautiful grey Canadian alpaca.

Now, I did take yesterday off--I spent a wonderful day in San Francisco with some friends. Some highlights of our day:
  • We went to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It's a really nice museum with beautiful gallery space.
  • The museum was hosting an artisan fair, with maybe 18 or so artists selling their jewelry and glassware and the like. As soon as we walked in, I was very excited, because I spotted Joanna Mendicino's table. One of her ceramic vases had just been featured in Sunset magazine, and I liked it so much, I'd torn out the page to use as inspiration for my (much less accomplished, obviously) pottery. Not only are her vases even nicer in person, but they're affordable, too. So I now own one of my own. And she is very nice, too. When I told her I've been taking a ceramics class, she was quite supportive. Another artist there, Cuong Ta, also had some really nice pottery, and he encouraged me, too. :-)
  • Later, we were walking by city hall just as an anti-AIDS rally was finishing up. We walked across the square across the street, which was empty aside from a small group of cops and a guy in a suit. We walked right by them, and a moment later, one of my friends casually mentioned that the guy in the suit was Gavin Newsom, the mayor. So I turned back and took a more careful look, and sure enought, it was him.
  • We had dinner at a Korean restaurant in Japantown. Japchae and kimchee. Mmmmm.
  • Then we walked over to Yoshi's, which just opened on Fillmore a couple days ago. We had tickets to see Taj Mahal. The venue itself is quite nice--every table is a great seat, and the acoustics are really good. We had some dessert there before the show: chocolate cake with a scoop of caramel ice cream, with bits of caramel corn and nori (!) sprinkled on top. Strange as that sounds, it was delicious.
  • Taj Mahal was fantastic. He puts on a great show. He's been performing for 40 years, and still seems to enjoy it. It was supposed to be a 70 minute set, because we were at the 8pm show and there was another show at 10, but he didn't finish until nearly 9:45.
  • I didn't get home until 1am, and that's later than I've been out in a long time. When I arrived home, everyone was asleep and Hubby had cleaned up the kitchen. :-)

26 November 2007

Festive Tiki Cups

I found these at the grocery store a couple years ago for $1.99. The Things like them. And when they demanded wine glasses on Thanksgiving, but I balked at giving them fragile glass, these were an acceptable substitute. And somewhere, probably China, somebody's job is to make these things.

22 November 2007

21 November 2007


I just bought tickets to see Taj Mahal in San Francisco. Yay! I have no life and I never get to go to concerts, so I'm excited about this.

20 November 2007

Gift Ideas that Give Twice

Around the corner from my office is a staff lounge room. I go in there periodically to use the microwave. While I'm waiting for my soup to heat, I like to peruse the interesting stack of literature that has accumulated on a table in there. There's a copy of an obscure medical journal, several New Yorkers, and--my favorite--acouple of romance novels. Recently, though, I noticed an interesting new magazine called GOOD. And thanks to Virgin Mobile, I learned this morning that if you subscribe now, 100% of the subscription cost ($20/yr) will be donated to your choice of 1 of 12 worthy causes. Here's the link. Sounds to me like a great gift idea, for yourself or someone else. Sorry, Canadians--you have to pay an extra $10 shipping. But at least you're paying it measly, nearly-worthless, greenbacks.

I think I posted this last year, but there are also some great things at The Hunger Site and its sister sites. Also, if you're planning some online shopping you might want to check out iGive. It has lots of major retailers, and they'll donate a portion of your purchase price to a charity of your choice.

There. Now go forth and shop. I'm already almost done--Hanukkah begins December 4 this year!

18 November 2007


Robin asked what the deal is with these squares. Angela's knitting them, too. So is Emily in France. Robin, they're parts of the Lizard Ridge afghan, affectionately known by some as Lizzie. You're supposed to knit 24 squares, and then you sew them together. The yarn, Noro Kureyon, is amazingly gorgeous. I've been working on Lizzie in between larger projects, and I now have my 20th square on the needles. I hope to finish sometime this century.


Sorry I haven't been posting the colorway numbers. I've been really disorganized about them, and have been basically throwing them into a pile. So I know which ones I've used, but don't know which is which. Anyway, of course I like this one, too.

17 November 2007


Don't tell Thing 1, but I had to share with you this note I found tucked in her backpack. Apparently she intends to bring it to school on Monday.

Dear Troy,
I love you. Did Aurora already tell you? Anyway, my mom, when me and her
were watching you do the g in cursive after I did the d in cursive she said she
thought you were cute to. (I told her I loved you.)
[Here, she just signed her initials]

T1 one brought home a video her teacher made of the kids practicing their cursive. And it's true--I did say Troy is cute. He is.

I'm thinking, though, that very few 8-year-old boys would be pleased to discover a classmate is in love with them and her mother thinks they're cute. I haven't decided whether to reveal to T1 that I read the note, and try to discourage her from giving it to him, or to remain silent and let her face her first heartbreak. Maybe we'll just have a general discussion about 8-year-old boys and their typical disinterest in romance.

16 November 2007

Stolen Meme

I stole this from Knatolee.

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
Eight facts/habits about me:
  1. My very first real job was at McDonald's. I still have a small scar on one arm from a hot french-fry basket.
  2. I like being barefoot and almost always kick off my shoes as soon as I get home.
  3. I'm allergic to grass and bamboo, and touching them gives me a rash. But bamboo knitting needles don't bother me. :-)
  4. I am a member of the Nebraska State Bar. I went to grad school/law school in Nebraska.
  5. We bought our first house when we lived in Lincoln, in 1989. It was 100 years old and cost $26,500.
  6. I met Hubby in high school, when I was 15 years old.
  7. The moment I realized I was probably pregnant with Thing 2, I was standing in a square in Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic. But because "pregnancy test" wasn't in my Czech-English pocket dictionary, I couldn't confirm her existence until I returned home.
  8. I am a terrible singer.

If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged. :-)

15 November 2007

Many FOs!

Look how productive I was yesterday! First off, I finished the Habu Textiles Kusha Kusha scarf. I like how it turned out--looks like something someone would wear to art school. Most of the scarf is knitted with a strand of thin merino and a strand of silk/stainless steel, but the final part is just the silk/stainless steel. And it's lightly felted, too. You can sort of scrunch and pull it into different shapes.

I also finished block #18 of Lizard Ridge. Take a look at this colorway!

And I brought home several ceramic FOs last night. I made plaques for the Things' rooms. T2 has an undersea theme, so she gets fish. T1 has a jungle, so she gets a flower. The spots in the flower and the top fish are actually bits of crushed colored glass (some of which used to be Hubby's beer bottles!), which were melted onto the clay during the final firing. I also quite like how the glaze turned out on the bottom fish. Very fishy, I think.

Here's my favorite thing I've made so far: a bowl that actually looks like a real bowl! Obviously, I threw this one on a wheel. I also like how the cobalt and white glazes turned out.

And finally, this little bowl/dish also came from the wheel. It looks like a cat dish to me, but my classmates suggested it'd make a good soap dish or pillar candle base.

14 November 2007

Ah, sadness and woe

Text of card discovered on my bed last night:
Dear Dad & Mom,
Why do you keep grounding me? And by the way dad, [Thing
2] atcually started the throwing thing. Do you guys love me or not?
Love, Your daughter,
[Thing 1]
P.S. Did someone leave me on your doorstep or Did I come from your stomach?
The card also contains a four color illustration of four people in a house. The parents are frowning and telling a crying girl, "You are grounded for the rest of your life." Another girl is smiling and saying, "Yay. Tee hee." There are also four hearts, three of which have scribbles through the center, symbolizing heartlessness, perhaps, or broken hearts.

08 November 2007

Lots of Stuff!

I have been remiss in my blogging, but this post helps make up for it. Prepare for lots of images!
I've signed up for another 8 weeks on ceramics, and last night I brought home some FOs.

The little bowl on the right is the very first thing I threw on the wheel. It's only slightly lopsided. I like the shape and how the glaze turned out. I'm not sure what to use it for. Condiments? Candy?
The thing on the left is an idea I had one day while knitting. I always end up with little pieces of yarn, which I place on the end table, but which inevitably end up on the floor. This vessel is for those little snips of yarn. Here's the other side of it:

And I often end up with an extra needle floating around, especially when I working on double points. They tend to roll away. So I made a place to stash them:

There's a matching hole on the other side, so I can just stick the needle(s) through.
Today I received a really wonderful package from Eve in Switzerland! Eve always sends me such nice things! Ruthie thinks so, too.

The calendar on the table is from the Barry Foundation. Eve made that really cute little bag. The yarn is one of my favorite colors, and it's a beautiful wool/cashmere blend. And Eve included some delicious-looking chocolate and other sweets. Thank you Eve!!
Finally, the California fuschia on my back patio looks gorgeous right now.

It's a little overgrown, but I won't let Hubby chop it back until it stops blooming. Not only do I like to look at it, but it's a hummer favorite. Although actually, the hummers seem to spend more time gaurding it than they do eating it. They hang out nearby, chirping loudly, and chasing away anyone else who gets near their treasure. I just saw one little guy go after some pigeons. Can you see him in the picture below, looking triumphant?

05 November 2007

The Joy of Monday

I'm still working on that Habu scarf kit. Ten billion rows of stockinette using--I kid you not--stainless steel yarn. My orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist would be so pleased. Meanwhile, I've caught a case of the Creeping Crud. I spent most of the weekend in bed, but I don't have time to be sick this week.

I was informed that today is supposed to be Green Day, or something. So I guess I can gloat that in the past two months, we've generated more electricity with our solar panels than we've used. So the power company gave us a credit. They also charged us an $11 "customer fee" each month. I think that since we're selling them the electricity, we ought to charge them a customer fee. Anyway, the fog will settle in soon--we've already had some foggy mornings--and then we'll be back in the red for a while.

Meanwhile, the Things have been creatively inventing new ways to be naughty:
T2--fell asleep wearing a poky, scratchy tiara
T1--used up 1/2 bottle of shampoo doing an "experiment" in her bathtub
T2--smuggled a pen into her room and used it to scribble on her footstool
T1--made some sort of concoction involving crushed Smarties in water, which she spilled on her bedroom carpet
T2--fell asleep with a poky, scratchy giant plastic flower
T1--either accidentally got hit in the mouth while playing with boy friend at school, or else deliberately licked his hand. The stories differ.
T2--learned to use the computer mouse and messed up my email; also managed to find and attempt to play Yahoo games, even though she can't read yet
T1--during sewing lesson, when thread slipped out of needle, said, "Goddammit!"
T2--hid a rather bulky stuffed cat between her mattress and the support boards
T1--tortured T2 by refusing to let her help empty the dishwasher (!)
T2--tried to "rescue" a snail out of her sister's fish tank, because "snails don't like water." (Did you know those little guys actually can survive several hours in a dry plastic cup?)

01 November 2007

Watch This

I saw a link to this video on Neatorama today. It's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. And after you watch the video, visit Mortified.

31 October 2007

Trick or Treat

Thing 1 had 2 costumes today. For school, she was Jenny the cat from the book Jenny and the Cat Club. I improvised the costume myself. Her tail is part of a feather boa.

This evening. T1 was Cleopatra and T2 was Ariel.

Ruthie helped me pass out treats. She loves Halloween because it means children + candy. Here she is waiting for the next group to arrive.

We went through a LOT of candy. We had probably 300 trick-or-treaters tonight. People drive their kids into our neighborhood on Halloween. Ruthie thought it was wonderful. Almost all of the 300 kids petted her. But her very favorite was a little girl, maybe 6 years old, with Downs syndrome. Ruthie gently and methodically covered her face in kisses, and the girl (who has 4 dogs of her own) was ready to take Ruthie home with her. :-)

Last night, the earth played her own trick on us, and we had an earthquake. It was centered near San Jose, over 80 miles away, and didn't do much damage, but we felt it pretty well here. It didn't wake up T2, who was asleep. T1 thought it was "cool." Ruthie didn't seem to notice.

30 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

We love Halloween! Here are the Things getting ready.
Yes, Thing 1's pumpkin has "blood" dripping from its mouth. And T2's has really big purple ears. But you know what's really scary? Two monsters hopped up on excitement and too much sugar!

28 October 2007


I'm working on a scarf from a Habu Textiles kit. It's going to be a while before I finish it. Life intrudes. It's too bad, too, because I have a fairly strict 1-project rule (Lizard Ridge blocks being the exception to the rule). And Friday I received the newest Blue Moon Sock Club package, which had nifty blackish yarn and a pattern for fun gothic socks. In the meantime, last week, Ruthie turned 9. The average lifespan for Saints is 8-10 years, so 9 is getting up there.

Can you tell she leads a hard, hard life?

22 October 2007

Strange Coincidence

I'm on Postcrossing--a wonderful project that I think Emily pointed me to. I never know when the mail will bring me a postcard from abroad, or where that card may come from. Today I lucked out with 3. And here's the slightly odd part--the first card was from Finland, but the sender attached a cute little Saint Bernard sticker (my profile on Postcrossing says I have a Saint, so that part's not so strange). The second one was also from Finland, and that person's screen name is "Saint." And the third card came from Switzerland. All very appropriate, considering my Ruthie turns 9 this Wednesday. It must be All Saints Week. ;-)

21 October 2007


I believe this is block #16 of the Lizard Ridge afghan, which means I'm 2/3 done with blocks. It's an interesting colorway--kind of like Noro threw in whatever dyes were leftover from other things. I like it anyway, especially the blues and purples on the right.

Yesterday was a busy day. T2 has soccer in the morning.

She pours her whole little heart into playing. In the afternoon, we went to see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D. It was cute. The theater even had the entryway done up like a haunted house, and an employee wandering around in a Jack Skellington costume. Tim Burton + 3-D. What's not to love?

18 October 2007


Today I have a couple FOs to show from my ceramics class. I'm quite fond of them. First, a pumpkin bowl with lid:

And then, this funny character:

Unfortunately, I managed to break her cauldron handle. I hope she doesn't put an evil spell on me. I love that black glaze, and I'm quite happy with how she turned out.

I only have one more ceramics class left, and I didn't sign up for the next 8-week session because this time of year is always so especially busy. I'll miss it. Last night I threw a couple bowls on the wheel. One of them I had a lot of help with and it turned looking like a slightly misshapen cereal bowl. The other I did all by myself and it looks like a wobbly cat food dish. I'm enjoying the wheel. :-)

Thanks for the nice comments on the pinwheel sweater. And Knat, Hubby wore shorts in winter in Nebraska (in the snow!) so I'd bet he would in Ottawa, too. WHat can I say? He's a 3rd generation Californian.